Monday, April 21, 2014

Home sweet home, California

Pardon the hiatus but I was catching up from a week back home. Getting back into the flow of your usual routine is hard when you spend over a week in another time zone.

I was fortunate to get to spend a lot of time with my family and take a stroll through memory lane with them.  I got to see some friends as well, which was nice too. It's hard making friends in new places but it's nice knowing your life long friends will always be there for you.

I have a bit of a chip on my shoulder lately. Fresno gets so much trash talked about it. I recently spoke to someone who was from the Central Coast area of California who replied "I am sorry" when I mentioned I took a trip home to Fresno. Well, I am not, and I don't think he should have been sorry for me either. 

Every town has it's ups and downs, crimes and beauties. I think it's the beauty you take from it that speaks volumes of personal character.

In any case, returning home in April when the citrus and jasmine blossoms were bursting in bloom, roses scenting the air with their fragrant scent, and hyacinths and narcissus bursting into color, is almost other worldly. I left Minnesota while it was layered with snow and came to a land that was fully immersed in spring.  And the lucky part? Now that Minnesota is budding I get a second spring all over again.  It is absolutely glorious. 

So let me share with you what makes Fresno such a special place.

The Chaffee Zoo
A few years ago, or more than a few, Measure Z was voted into effect to take a portion of tax dollars and allocate them to the zoo. I got to experience the new Sea Lion Exhibit that was opened in 2012. It's nice to look forward to more exhibits in the future and to see the fruition of those measures that were voted on a few year back.
Baby tigers
A cute sea lion
Some Hungry Giraffes
Nonini Winery
My sister and brother in law indulged me. They took me to my favorite local winery and tasted the wines with me. The owner, Jim, is such a personable man and so passionate about his grandfather's vines and wine making techniques. It's hard to not be enthralled. He ages his wines in oak and/or red wood. He makes good wines from 60-80 year old vines that warm the body and the soul.

Nonini Tasting Room Sign.

Grandma's House
Going to grandma's house rekindles so many memories. Farmland childhood memories. Making mud pies with my sister, or playing on the swing. Eating home cooked meals. Fireworks off by the vineyards.  And her garden, which was full of so many flowers. Naturally, it has reduced in size because of the lack of upkeep that occurs in aging, but it's still a place of memories. And it instills a need in me to cultivate those plants myself, to create a little bit of "home".
Baby Grapes!
Orange Blossoms

Art Hop 
I have a ton of memories of going to Art Hop in downtown Fresno with my girlfriends; we drank wine, ate a lot of hummus and pita chips, admired local artists while keeping an open eye to  cute guys. There was never any cute guys, but there was great art and the beginnings of a strong appreciation for hummus. I took my mom to her first Art Hop experience recently.  In your late teens and early twenties you are finding yourself. You blow off family to hang out with your friends. You search for love in all the wrong places. And then one day, all the puzzle pieces fit. You marry. Your friends marry. You start your family and they start theirs. But you also remember how special family is. And you savor it.  And you just savor life.

The Grand
Warner's Theater and the Grand
Down Town Fresno as the Mural District
And at some point you realize that "home" is not a place. Home is where your heart is. Mine is spread over California, from the Central Valley to the North. But a big chunk of it is in Minnesota, with my Husband.  Home isn't a place, it's a feeling.

My Mom, myself, and her '73 Chevy Malibu

No comments:

Post a Comment