I’d be embarrassed beyond belief to share with you all the things I’d hoped would happen as a result of taking eight days off to travel with my sweetie to Cabo San Lucas, staying with our friends Diana and John who have pooled their creativity, smarts, and resources into creating a beautiful home on the Sea of Cortez. Did I mention they offer the experience of five-star hospitality to their house guests? It was sure to be a great time but I had even bigger expectations.
Alright, alright, I’ll share. As a result of taking this trip I wanted to come back home with a beeline focus on worthy projects, the determination to ax time sapping activities after figuring out which ones those are, and of course, rejuvenation after these last weeks of fires and health issues, chaos and concern. Add in sleeping late, reading (I brought three books), writing, and chronicling beauty. Oh, and to learn some cooking tricks from Diana. I suspected a week might not be enough to accomplish all of that but you know me, I’m optimistic and ready to take on a challenge.
I marvel at my naiveté. Really, what was I thinking? I did learn something muy importante this morning while standing in my kitchen in Sonoma. I’ll let you in on that stupendous realization, but let me share some highlights first.
The Flora Farm Sandwich
Our friends John and Diana live in Mill Valley and we got to fly out on the same flight to Cabo. We spent the first night at Hotel Natalie, a boutique hotel in San Jose del Cabo. The next morning John and Diana took us to Flora Farms for Sunday brunch. It was very much my kind of place. It was packed so clearly, it’s many people’s kind of place.
The Flora Field Restaurant is one part of the 10-acre piece of property. Besides the restaurant, they have a donut stand, an ice cream stand (all homemade of course) and the Flora Grocery that sells bread, meat, vegetables, and goodies to take home. There’s a wine and coffee bar, a gift shop, and a James Perse Concept store. One shop is where they sell soaps, lotions, and potions that they make there on the farm.
I love the message on this chalkboard that stands above the baskets of fresh produce for sale. It’s a perfect reminder as we prepare Thanksgiving meals this week.
The other amazing thing about Flora Farms is that they’re building and selling homes on the property that are surrounded by gardens. I kept thinking this existed somewhere else but actually, I think it’s just that it seems like it should exist in other places! Maybe Sonoma for starters.
Our experience there was so divine that we went back again the next Sunday for brunch before we headed to the airport to come home. What you’re looking at next is a palm tree that’s right near the bar. Lanterns, birdhouses, and pigs hang from it like holiday decorations on a Christmas tree.
They must have a thing for pigs. This lovely pig greets you as you walk into the restaurant. Notice her accessories? Of course, you do!
Our week at John and Diana’s beautiful casa on the Sea of Cortez
I’ve been to Cabo before, twenty-four years ago, for John and Diana’s wedding at the Palmilla Hotel. I was one of forty guests who flew down for the event. Twelve of the guests were clients of mine thanks to Diana’s insistence that her friends should really think about calling me. Actually, I think she was more forceful than that. Gosh, I was heading into a very hard divorce when she became my client. Her faith in me by way of her referrals kept my ship from sinking.
To be back in Cabo and in the home they rebuilt together (how it looks now is nothing like how it looked when they bought it over a decade ago) was just delightful.
I realize now I didn’t take many photos. I was too busy doing nothing!
I had to take this picture of Russ looking out through a kitchen window to show Caitlin, my daughter, their papa, mama, and teenager beaucarnea potted plants. Their common name is elephant foot tree. I bought one for Caitlin last month to thank her for all she did to help me during the Wine Country fires.
The first morning I found my spot right next to those beaucarneas where I did my morning writing.
In the afternoon the pool area was the place to be. Diana designed this area which is intimate and enclosed. It’s kind of like a tree house only with a pool. The eye patch? Well, two nights before we left I was in the emergency room because of pain in my eye. It turns out I have an abrasion on my cornea so at the beginning of the trip (which I went on against doctor’s orders) I was wearing an eye patch but it got better and better throughout the week. By Wednesday I wasn’t wearing it at all. Do you see that whole row of I-can’t-remember-what-they’re-called green frond-y tree things behind me? Diana bought three-inch pots of those and planted them and they really took off! They’re a favorite part of the pool area for me. They look so frisky!
This is one of the Baja skies. Sunset comes and first, the sea is light colored and the sky is darker. Pink turns into blue and the sky gets this violet color. Then the sea gets darker and night falls fast. This is the beach in front of their house.
It’s activity time!
Having grown up on the plains of North Dakota, I’ve never been a water person. John pulled out the kayaks one day when the sea was quite calm and suggested kayaking. I had never kayaked before and just hoped I wouldn’t suck really bad at it…or tip over and drown. John got me a life jacket. Although I’m sitting here at my desk typing away I look at this picture and I’m right there again in that kayak. THAT WAS THE MOST FUN EVER! If I could be transported, I’d be doing that again right now. Is there a drone for that?
Diana told us ahead of time that she’d cook dinner every night if someone else cleaned up. Deal! She’s such a confident cook. It was fun to watch her conceptualize the dinner meal in the morning and put it all together at night. I came home with menus and perhaps the false confidence that I can do it just like she did!
Don’t these veggies look yum? They went over grilled eggplant grown at Flora Farms. John grilled the chicken sausage that also came from Flora Farms and that went on top. A meal in a bowl, another one of my favorite things.
See those toes there covered in sand? They’re mine! John and Diana have countless areas on every level of their property where you can relax. This is one of them. I made it a point to find every single one of them and I think I did!
Here comes the big ah-ah
As we packed up Sunday morning to head out, I blew kisses to the beach. It was hard to walk away! I’d had new adventures, learned some cooking tips and tricks (check), read and written (check), and appreciated the beauty all around me (check). But had I solved the other issues in my life? Not so much.
This morning Maria came to clean our house, something she does every two weeks. She said, “You’ve been on vacation!”
“Yes,” I said.
Then she said, “We can work hard, but then we have to take vacations.” And there it was! Vacations are just the thing you do to take a break from working. They’re a timeout, not a fix-all. The realization? I need to take more vacations!
Are you good at taking vacations? Care to share some insights with someone who’s not so good at it but wants to learn?