Tuesday, July 30, 2013


The other day , my boss randomly asked me if I have ever tried writing a fortune (for a fortune cookie). He told me that it is surprisingly difficult. I'm always up for an honest creative challenge, so I figured that it would make for an interesting blog post. Here are a few fortunes that I came up with, based on lessons I learned or photos I took on my recent family vacation to California.  

Take care to make sure airplane sleeping position doesn't leave fellow traveler in awkward position.
I know that it is difficult to get comfortable on an airplane. I personally have never been able to sleep when flying (even on all-nighters). I'm not sure my neighbor considered how her chosen sleeping position might appear to her fellow passengers, though.

Sunshine smiles on Southern California 99% of time. Check Nancy's itinerary before planning trip to Golden State.
It's been said that "it never rains in Southern California". That's not entirely true, but rainy days are very rare. The Southern California coast's weather is influenced by the Pacific Ocean. When the winds blow over the cold ocean and meet the land that has been warmed by the sun, a "marine layer" of clouds forms. In the summertime, you can pretty much count on a gloomy morning, but by noon, the strong sunshine has often burned the gloom away, revealing clear, electric blue skies. This was not the case the first two days of our vacation. We even had a hotel room with an ocean view - perfect for sunsets, IF the gloom hadn't taken over and you could even distinguish the horizon. By day three, though, it was beautiful.

Cash in pocket guarantees gas in tank. Carry credit card only? Good luck.
We learned the hard way that cash is the preferred (and at some stations the only) method of payment for fuel in California. (And let me tell you, fuel ain't cheap, which is ironic because you literally pass dozens of working oil pumps along the roadways). Depending on the station, you may not even get your money's worth. We learned that the hard way too. If you want to charge it, be ready to pay at least 30 cents more a gallon. Good thing our rental car was a fuel-efficient Hyundai Elantra!

Do not be fooled by outer beauty.
These public bathrooms on Venice Beach really are quite beautiful. Having done mosaics myself, I know the work that went into creating this architectural masterpiece. However, I'm fairly certain that the inside of these restrooms did not match their outer beauty. In general, beach bathrooms are nasty. In California, toilets along the beach are made of metal (which can be quite cold in the early mornings), perhaps for they can be pressure sprayed. There is a chance you may find a resident (human) sleeping in a beach bathroom, but there is very little chance you will find any soap. Eeeeew. Keep your Purell handy.

NOT a homeless dog - just a sweet one

Only home dog needs is your heart.
In Venice Beach (well, all over Southern California), you see a lot of homeless people. (Honestly, if I were homeless, I can't think of a place I'd rather live myself.) The day we visited Venice, there were a number of men and women sleeping underneath the palm trees with all of their worldly possessions next to me. One in particular, though, really touched my heart. Underneath that palm tree an adorable German Shepherd was curled up next to his master. This just proves that even if you lose everything, you will still have unconditional love. It was the sweetest thing. :) As much as I would have loved to capture the moment, it felt too "stalkerish," even for Wang.

Human jaws can cause more pain than jaws of biggest predator.

OK, I didn't really learn this in California, although there were some less-than-kind words slung around (Hey, try being trapped in a car or hotel room 24/7 with your spouse and two teenagers for a week!). In all seriousness, though...although the jaws of a Great White shark can certainly cause serious (and even fatal) wounds, words can leave lasting scars too. Think before you speak and ask yourself how you would feel if what you are about to say was said to you. Words to live by. 

Look to nature (and the "doctors" in Venice Beach) to cure what ails you.
Who knew that for just $30 (or $40, depending on which "medical evaluation center" you dipped into), you could get a prescription for a popular, albeit illegal in most states, "medicinal" herb? "The Green Doctors" even have their own website, boasting that they are located next to Jodi Maroni's Sausage on the Venice Beach Boardwalk. Something tells me that had I been evaluated that day (five days into our vacation), my anxiety level and blood pressure just might have qualified me. ;)

Nature's gym much better than L.A. Fitness.
You do see a LOT of fit people in California, for good reason. It's not just because most celebrities have to stay in shape to keep working, either. California's fair weather - cool, dry air, hilly terrain, and beautiful beaches make physical activity actually enjoyable. Everywhere you look, you see men and women of all ages surfing, paddleboarding, jogging, bicycling, rollerblading, skateboarding, etc. Even if you haven't set out to work out, chances are, you are going to get some exercise in California. At Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, you have to walk down a steep incline to get from the parking lot to the beach (and back up again), lugging your beach gear. Although there aren't really 1,000 Steps at 1,000 Steps Beach in Laguna, you will need to climb over 200 down and back up again if you want to enjoy this secluded stretch of sand, dotted with tide pools that are home to beautiful sea creatures. The cool thing is, being active is FUN in California.

Delight in the sea's treasures, but take only photos.

I love to go shelling here in Florida. Hunting for the ocean's treasures is my ultimate therapy. Some days, a bounty of all different varieties can be found, while other days, there is NBS (nothin' but sand). On the shelling front, Florida definitely has California beat. Although I did find a few mussel shells and broken sand dollars on the shore, I learned before I even went out there that collecting them was prohibited. The general rule on the California coast when it comes to treasures of the sea is that only photographs may be taken. So, that's just what I did.

One's true nature is revealed in the last light of day.
A few of my very best memories from my latest vacation are the sunsets over the ocean that I got to experience. So often, when I'm on the west coast (of Florida, the United States, an island, or even the westward facing side of a cruise ship), clouds seem to take over the skies at sunset. This trip, however, I had a few clear evenings that allowed California to show us one of the reasons why it is known as "The Golden State."

Yes, I am still absolutely in love with California and believe it is my destiny to be out there. For now, though, Florida is my home. It really does cost a(n actual) fortune to live out there. So unless my lucky numbers come in, I'll just keep (California) dreaming. 

With Love and Aloha ~ Nancy :)


  1. This was fun! Now do the other states! :)

  2. Venice Bathroom Mosaics by

    Attaway Fine Art

  3. Very cool! Thank you, Attaway Fine Art, for adding your link to my blog post! Feel free to use my photo, if you wish! Beautiful work! :D