The month of June holds a lot of meaning for a variety of reasons: we celebrate Father's Day, Flag Day, Juneteenth, Mary Kate and Ashley's birthday, National Donut Day, the first day of summer, and the invention of the toothbrush (in 1498!)... just to name a few.
But two years ago, June became an even more special, unforgettable month for me - it was when someone with the screen name of 'Jamesey' sent me a message on MySpace. You all know the happy ending of that little exchange, so let's jump ahead to the weekend of June 21, 2009 - our second anniversary.
Jamie surprised me with a trip to Ojai (pronounced oh-high) up in Ventura county. All I knew when we left Saturday morning was that the bikes, the dog, and our bathing suits were coming! I didn't know if we were camping or pet-friendly bed and breakfast-ing or what! (One of the few surprises that Jamie has actually pulled off.) ; p
After cruising up the 101 and across the 33, we entered... Shangri-La. And by this I mean... a gated community of rolling estates! We drove along the twisting and turning roads of the Oak View neighborhood and finally reached our very own Zen Bungalow. (No really, that's what it's called.) We explored the place and all its amazing features - wrap around balconies, breathtaking views, and even a record player with a decent vinyl collection - and eventually got Katie all settled in.
It wasn't long before we were unpacked and ready to go see downtown Ojai. We took a drive into town and had a really yummy lunch at the local pizza place. Jamie said it reminded her of places from back home. Afterward, we took a quick walk on the main strip, but could not stop thinking about our gorgeous little retreat that was waiting for us! So we grabbed groceries for dinner and headed back to prepare ourselves some salmon, broccolini and baby potatoes... Mmmmmmm. (Full disclosure: I was in the hot tub while Jamie cooked.) Following some wine and Fred Clause, I believe we passed out in our jungle-themed room.
Day two began with breakfast under the tiki cabana. Nothing like fresh-squeezed orange juice and egg whites with zucchini from your own garden to start the day. I believe Air Supply was wafting from the living room and Katie was sitting beside us on her blanket. And if that's not a glorious memory, I don't know what is!!
We finished up and agreed it was time to go find the famous Ojai bike path. Something to note the next time you find yourself wanting to ride there: Elevation. What a workout! Fortunately, there were countless photo opportunities (er, reasons to rest our legs).
After that cardio adventure, we headed back into downtown to wander around some more. We sampled the ice cream, the used bookstore, the local hippies at Libby Park, and the blooming flowers of Rotary Community Park. We even drove through the stunning grounds at the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa (which is, apparently, one of the 1,000 Things to See in the U.S. Before you Die, pp. 835-836).
Our night was filled with more fine dining, an embarrassing UNO tournament (embarrassing because of how severely I got my ass kicked), and starlit swimming. Hard to believe that tomorrow was Monday and there was a city we had to get back to.
I won't say that, "All good things come to and end" because for me, that's just not true. Even in North Hollywood, I have my zen moments in our little zen bungalow... and despite the stresses of work, the economy, and loud neighbors, life with Jamie can feel like Shangri La.