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I'd like to rest my heavy head tonight on a bed of California stars

This morning I venture out to California to meet with Alex, already there conducting some business audits. California is special to us because just after we were married in December of 2000, we moved to Monterey.  Alex was stationed there learning Russian at the Defense Language Institute (DLI) for the Army Reserves.

We moved back to Ohio in July of the 2001 to finish our college education but our hearts and marriage are forever linked to the golden state.

Actually, our marriage came about because of California, in a way.  We were dating before Alex left and both knew we wanted to be together forever.  We were young, very young, so marriage seemed like something in the distant future.

When Alex got to DLI, he was bunked in a small room with another man.  His married friends had whole houses, with beautiful hardwood floors and spacious kitchens.

One night when we were talking on the phone he said, "I'd really like to live in married housing."

"Oh yeah?," I said.

"Yeah," he replied, "Do you want to get married and come live here?"

I visited in September, he gave me a ring, and three months later we were hitched and living as newlyweds in Cali.

young rachel and alex on monterey coast

In the years since, Alex has traveled to California at least a half dozen times for his work.  I recently jokingly threatened to divorce him on our tenth anniversary if I didn't visit the left coast by then.

So there you have a long winded version of why we are going.  Lillian will stay with Alex's parents amounting to our longest separation from her.

Our trip will start in Los Angeles.  Then we will drive to Monterey for a few days and back to LA.  We plan to enjoy local dining and wine in ways we couldn't when we lived there before because we were poor students. The only thing I absolutely want to do is visit Point Lobos park, possibly the most beautiful place on earth.

One other thing on the itinerary is to discuss some changes to this blog. We want to make it bigger and better for all of us. :)

Cheers!  I have an airplane to catch.

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The title is lyrics to the song California Stars by Woody Guthrie recorded by Wilco and Billy Bragg in the Mermaid Avenue album.  It is one of our favorite albums ever, introduced to us by a friend stationed at DLI with Alex. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGlsfM3Tf70]