Strawberry picking, sunny nap, burned thighs, tamales

When was the last time you got to fall asleep naturally, an afternoon nap unexpected but delightful, all the more because you're outside on a comfortable chaise lounge, a great book in hand, the sun shining down on your bare legs, a soft breeze blowing, and the clouds slowly swirling above as if you're looking through a giant kaleidoscope? It's been a long damn time for me, and though I now have sunburned thighs and a scarlet neck plus the attendant silly "tan" lines, it was unbelievably, completely worth it. You see, it'd really been quite a big day beforehand.

I awoke this morning from a very dark, macabre dream about the parents association I'm involved in at the boys school. Nothing could be further from the truth, but it was totally strange to watch many exceedingly lovely people I know acting in decidedly evil ways. Also I thought the palm tree scratching at my window screen was Oliver sneaking in along the floor to try and scare the pants off me. Clearly I was in a seriously somnolent state.

The forecast suggested afternoon rain so we decided to head right out and into the U-Pick strawberry fields just around the corner from our rental. It was totally expensive but honestly a ton of fun, and the berries are terrific. It wasn't long after picking that we made biscuits and whipped cream for some shortcake. But that was after a saunter through Encinitas where Ol saw a barber pole and finally agreed to a trim, and we happened across what looked like an incredible promising taco stand called Haggo's (terrible name).

Ol sat regally on the barber's throne and emerged shorn and proud. He then tried to convince us to buy him a large shark tooth necklace but we put our foot down there. At Haggo's, Jack ordered the chicken tacos and definitely chose most wisely. His were quite good but we were disappointed; the carne asada tacos were totally overpowered by a good but very strong blue cheese, not at all what I would ever expect and definitely not quite right in a corn tortilla. As well, the fish tacos needed a zip; we added salt, lime and avocado fairly liberally but those were only short-term fixes. We'd forgotten about lunch before we even left the parking lot. Poo.

We did encounter some spectacular flowers, succulents and generally striking foliage all around. Aren't these gorgeous?

 Now, lest you get the idea that the trip has been completely perfect, please disabuse yourself of that idea. I say that only because so many people get so stressed out about the seeming perfection of "everyone else's life" as they appear on Facebook or the like. I cannot tell you how many times I've both heard and read about the stress in comparison many people suffer when they see nothing but smiling faces, perfect poses, happiest-ever updates.

People, that is so NOT true for most everyone out there. And so you should know that J very nearly talked my head into spontaneous combustion before 1p today, Ol has developed a new tic (his second though the first was closely related) which is a fake cough every 2.5 seconds AND when we woke him from a nap just before 3, he undressed, would not redress and cried, naked, for a good half hour or 45 minutes because he did not want to go to the beach but also did not know what he wanted to do.

I finally force-dressed him and dragged him to a farmers market back in Encinitas while T and J went to the beach. Being that I was sunburned by this point and looked like Medusa because my hair doesn't do beach-sexy like I wish it did, I donned an enormous sunhat and sunglasses and didn't take them off once until we got home; then I immediately took a shower, futilely blow-dried and then flat-ironed my hair and slathered so much Solarcaine on myself that you'd have thought I'd OD. Alas, there is not as much Lidocaine in there as one might wish.

He recovered while at the market, asked for a baguette which he really tore into and ate 75% of, and I was off my head when I happened across a tamale stand that, I hope, will not disappoint when we chow down on them at dinner tonight- these gals and their tamales and salsas looked authentic, and I am psyched. I LOVE good tamales, LOVE them.

It is spectacularly gorgeous here, and I am so grateful to be outta DC. It's still well below freezing, and my pals there are sick of the snow that continues to fall. Y'all have my every sympathy. Hopefully we'll bring some of this California spring back with us! Off to steam tamales!