April 15, 2010

Are we there yet?

U.S. Route 101 is the highway that hugs the West Coast from top to bottom. It's usually not the fastest way to get somewhere in California but it's definitely the prettiest way to get there.

That's why Cara and I decided we'd drive down the 101 from Cambria to Anaheim. This decision meant we heard, "Are we there yet?" more times than I can even count but the view more than made up for it.

The question, "Are we there yet?" was actually somewhat funny since my two had no idea that "there" meant Disneyland and instead only knew that "there" was somewhere other than the car they were currently stuck in. My standard response to their questioning was, "Look at the pretty ocean," which did the trick for about 10 seconds.

We stopped in Montecito for pizza and truly-divine cupcakes at Whodidily Cupcakes. (If you ever find yourself in Montecito it is worth every calorie to stop by this darling cupcake bakery. I highly recommend the peanut butter and chocolate cupcake, which is the perfect combination of chocolate cupcake and peanut butter frosting with a peanut butter cup baked inside.) While eating cupcakes, Cara and I had a serious discussion about why Oprah chose Montecito for one of her homes but didn't choose a beach-front location. It just seems that if you're Oprah and you're spending $55 million on a home in a beach community, you'd buy one actually on the beach.

But then I'm not Oprah.


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Back in the car again I suggested we stop at UCLA. Cara and I both attended UCLA and the last time either of us were at the campus was many years ago. And since the three people in the back clearly had a burning desire to be "there" I thought we might as well give them a "there," even if it wasn't our final destination.


We got to the campus and found that UCLA has installed a long row of metered parking and for a mere quarter you can park for five whole minutes. I had six quarters in my wallet which meant we had exactly 30 minutes to share with our children the glories of our college years, the splendor that is our college campus, the signifigance and joy of this hallowed place . . .

. . . and to use the bathroom.


There was something a bit surreal about watching Brennan, Michal and Kenna run down the steps of Powell Library across the Quad to Royce Hall. It was one of those "worlds colliding" moments when your past and present come careening together in a way you never expected they would.


While Cara went back to the car to make sure we didn't get a ticket -- some things at UCLA just never change -- I took the three kids to Ackerman Student Union to buy a souvenir. The Student Union has been completely remodeled and now looks like a department store. Brennan picked out a UCLA t-shirt, I got a UCLA t-shirt for Eric, and the girls each chose cheerleader outfits and a Peter Pan book they found in the sale bin for $4.99. And at the cash register, in a moment of collegiate pride, I grabbed two UCLA Alumni car decals -- one for me and one for Cara.


Back in the car Michal and Kenna declared that they want to to go to college at UCLA. I told them that was an excellent idea and one they should be sure to share with their dad when we get home since he attended a rival Pac 10 university and would no doubt be thrilled with their decision.


We then drove past our sorority house and into Westwood where we stopped at Diddy Riese Cookies. Diddy Riese sells what can only be described as large, average-tasting, but astonishingly-cheap, cookies. In college Diddy Reese cookies were $ .25 each. They're now $ .35 each.

I bought seven cookies for $2.45 and blabbered on and on to the cashier about how I had attended UCLA and couldn't believe that the cookies were only $ .10 more than they were, uhh, a few years ago. He just looked at me like I had six heads.

And there ended our shared trip down memory lane.

We finally arrived in Anaheim, at our hotel with castle turrets, and shared the happy news with Michal and Kenna that we were at Disneyland. They screamed and yelled and hopped in their seats beaming with joy.

We unloaded the car, checked into the hotel and Michal and Kenna had their swimsuits out of the suitcase moments after we arrived in our room. Swimming and fireworks from neighboring Disneyland rounded out our evening.

We were finally "there" and everyone knew it.

1 comment:

  1. Oh but if you've seen Oprah's compound... it would make sense! It's stunningly beautiful and the trees and foliage as you get back into the hills of Montecito are just... unimaginable.

    My mom used to live right up the street from her house and yeah, I could live there!

    That cupcake place used to be a restaurant that was my favorite of all favorites! I'm so happy to see that it's turned into something so cute and delicious. I can't wait to get back and try it!

    Thank you for the "trip" home.




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