When you see the road, don’t sit looking at it. Walk.

California got all complicated today when I tried to treat it like the rest of the nation. Like Texas, California likes to make up it’s own rules and ordinary solutions don’t apply here. Sorry CA, I know you hate any comparison to a place with hats measured in gallons and the words “yee-haw!,” but it’s true and you know it.

In any other state (except Texas), “near” means “easily drivable within the space of a morning.” In California, geographical nearness and length of time necessary to traverse that geographical space require California Math and a Xanax. Yes, it’s 15 miles. Yes, the speed limit is 60 mph. Yes, in another state you would get there in 30 minutes. Yes, your (non-Californian) google maps program says “45 minutes with traffic.” And yes, you will get there an hour and a half later. Don’t try to reason it out, just do like the rest of the state: get a medical marijuana card and go surfing instead. Oooh, sorta kidding! C’mon Californians, don’t be mad! (road rage is so unattractive…)

Weirdly, Texas has the opposite problem where it seems like it can’t really be as far as it looks and you should get there sooner, when it fact it’s further and takes longer. But I digress.

Forgetting all my previous driving experience in CA and the rules so trenchantly impressed upon me, I made plans to have breakfast in Laguna Beach, go see my aunt and spend time with her in Trabuco Canyon, drive back to Laguna Beach for a late afternoon yoga class and then to my aunt’s house in Rancho Santa Margarita for dinner. All in one day. Californians everywhere are laughing themselves silly. This series of trips encompasses about 50 miles and in California time it means 2 solid days of driving.

Fortunately, I realized this before I got in the car and amended everything. I made plans to see my friend tomorrow. I had a frighteningly expensive but very photogenic omelette near my hotel at Rosa’s Sugar Shack:

 I stopped in at the San Juan Capistrano Mission:

Beautiful. Museum-esque. Well trampled. Full of people.

I’ve had a shrine heavy trip and my friend, Eric, asked if I thought I was in spiritual crisis. I said my spiritual crises are perpetual (an answer part facetious and part true, percentages unknown) but I love seeing artistic evidence of other people’s faith and I enjoy any opportunity to light candles, pray, make wishes and think. Shrines create a peaceful void that gives my mind a chance to wind down. I breathe a little deeper (much needed with the current lack of yoga) and take in some of the stillness. San Juan Capistrano isn’t the best example of this stillness; but I got a better chance that afternoon in Trabuco Canyon at the Ramakrishna Monastery walking around the grounds with my aunt and her kids, stopping at all the multi-faith shrines:

 If I lived near this monastery, I like to think I’d take this walk often.

It’s beautiful and thought provoking and full of things to look at.

Hills full of greenery:

Lakes:

 Untrampled, untamed, wild California:

I’m going to have to drive into LA tomorrow but tonight I’m still thinking about the canyon.

Reasons #3-100 to love the golden state.

My aunt made dinner, we took a walk around the lake afterwards and talked nonstop for hours. No yoga. But that’s ok. I’ll be in Washington for a month after this trip and can actually do an uninterrupted 30 day Bikram challenge and drag my sister along for part or all of it. I’ve got a couple friends to see tomorrow and still try to make it up the coast a ways before midnight. Let’s see how that goes. I’ll try to refrain from yelling about the traffic, but no promises.

Doesn’t that make you want to come back? I know. Come back anyway. If I’m yelling, it’s funny. And who doesn’t love that?

See you then.