Today I'm like the invited paparazzi with a touch of the fan-girl thrown in for good measure. Julia Rachel Barrett is AMAZING!
The first day I got to California, Julia drove me through Sacramento and Napa. I knew about wine country but had no idea how beautiful it was. I got back to her home where she made an amazing meal of homemade (grandma's recipe) tomato soup (folks, this isn't an ordinary soup. I has things like Chard in it) and spinach salad with candied bacon (OMG!).
The first full day I was here, she took me hiking at a local dog park where she and her Louie used to go. Mr. Barrett was there, too and they shared memories along with fine personal stories about bored police officers that had them marked. Seriously? In this little town, they were leaping from the bushes at Julia and Mr. for walking their dog. Julia had some great stories of subterfuge about escaping the cops via rough pathways.
Later we drove around St. Helena and into Napa for wine and cheese tasting. I'm not a big wine drinker. No worries though, because she knows the right places where sampling is free and they served us up exactly the best three wines to taste. She and I shared. Julia's not a huge wine drinker either, so it was great to go with her and try some things we were both inexperienced with. That night, she took me into Sonoma where we had a VERY nice dinner at a club type place. Julia had me try raw oysters, something I'd had but wasn't keen on. Well, west coast oysters are a different breed. I ate my quarter dozen just fine while we waited for our gourmet meals to be served with Kir Royale (raspberry liquor in champagne).
Yesterday was mountain hiking day. If I thought the trek the day before had been challenging--albeit beautiful under the sky full of hot air balloons--this one was a topper. We three (Mr. was there again) climbed a "dead" volcano. I discovered that despite my three mile a day walking habit, I'm actually way out of shape. We climbed through amazing ancient trees, around a bee hive community, over creeks, along side wild plumbs and blackberries (YUM) to reach the top. Once there, we could see the entire landscape complete with mountains in the distance and, if the fog had been fully rolled out, San Francisco Bay. I took pictures but don't have my download cord with me. I'll do that when I get back.
Back down the trail with yet more stories of local interest, we cleaned up and headed for San Francisco. Julia pulled off the road for my tourist ZOMG! over the sight of the Golden Gate bridge, then down to Rodeo Beach. We walked nearly a mile to the beach up and down the side of a mountain, which blocked in a shallow lagoon. The lagoon has water trapped from ancient times and prehistoric fish the size of porpoises lurk in the shadows. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see any.
Once Julia and I got to the beach, I was astounded at the makeup of the ground. BAZILLIONS of semi-precious stones, tumbled and polished by the ocean, ARE the beach. She and I planted our butts on the ground and searched out slips of Jade, Carnelian, sea glass, shark teeth and countless other awesome things.
Driving back, we went through Sausalito , near Tiburon. Sausalito was tourist happy and oh-so-cool. I really want to go back there next time I come to California. Julia and I picked up cheeses, french bread, prosciutto ham, olives, crackers, and spreads just before reaching her home. Then we laid all that out for a Tapas type dinner with the Mr.
I opted out of the walk today. My thighs are killing me and I have been burned to a crispy critter, but later today we are going to a Giants game with the Mr. and the Jr. Don't worry, there will be much walking between the parking location and the game site (I write this on Sunday). I'm leaving heaven tomorrow for home.
I haz a sad.
Julia is fun. She likes trying new things with me and hasn't shied away from anything yet. She's a long time vegitarian sho recently began adding meat for personal reasons. Bacon, for example. However, she isn't keen on red meat. I find that funny since her tomato soup requires browning meat in a pot for added flavor. So, she had all this cooked meat and I made her a roast beef sandwich with it. And... she ate it!!! And liked it!!! :)
Now I'm not extolling my incredible sandwich making skills, so much as her ability to try new things. In return, Julia had me eating the above mentioned raw oysters. Slimy little buggers, but in this location it all tastes good.
Julia is energetic and hopping. If she sits too long in front of the computer (like the edits she worked on while I was here), she jumps up to feed one of her three cats (all of which have their favorite canned items...which she stocks and feeds them at will), or grabs nuts. Now I know what you're thinking. I teased her a little about needing to grab nuts and what that said about her erotic writing. Julia just MOVES a lot. She's kenetic.
You'd expect someone like that to be constantly jabbering. She doesn't. Julia smiles easily, flashing beautiful white teeth and making her warm chocolate eyes crinkle slightly. There's a touch of green in the dark, warm tones too. She has short auburn hair. It's thick and always looks good, even after a sweaty hike in the hills. I don't know how she does it, frankly. I looked beat up and dragged out afterward.
Julia listens. She offers thoughtful insight and spurts of girlish excitement that you can't help but join in on. She's so encouraging, friendly, engaging. I have total respect for her.
I'm probably telling too much so I'll make sure to let Julia read this before I set it up for a post. Still, she's completely devoted to her Mr. who is completely devoted to her. They're cute together, actually.
Anyway, if you want to know more about her, you'll have to ask her. I'm already verging on TMI. Trust me, there's a lot to know and a lot to like about her. You wanna see how her brain works? head over to her blog by clicking here.