Tonight I’m basking in the glow of a fabulous California weekend – 48 hours of catching up with the girls, seeing my high school bestie walk down the aisle with the man of her dreams, and soaking in the Central Valley heat has left me feeling happy as a sun-tanned clam.

Shane and I left rainy Seattle on Thursday evening in search of warmer, sunnier skies.

And two hours later, we arrived at the land of sunglasses, sandals, and In N Out burgers.

We settled into Amanda and Josh’s place that night and were up early on Friday morning for a run through our old stompin’ grounds.  I did a short loop around the college while Shane ventured farther out into the countryside to watch the sun come up over the orchards.

(photo by Shane)

By 9 am, it was warm.  By 11 am, it was downright hot – six years in the Pacific Northwest has caused 82 degrees to feel absolutely sweltering.  And so we hopped in the car and made the drive out to Knight’s Ferry to lay in the shade and put our feet in the water.  It’s easy to poke fun at the Central Valley, because it smells like manure and is full of Wal-Marts and bad chain restaurants, but it’s also stocked with some pretty scenic little gems.

It’s also stocked with amazing Mexican food, so after leaving Knight’s Ferry, we grabbed a table at Las Casuelas and indulged in margaritas and tacos.  Shane didn’t acquire a taste for Mexican food until after he’d moved to Seattle, so he’s making up for lost time with each trip back to California (this was taco round 1 of 2).

We caught up with Marco and Lisa over drinks on Friday evening, and then I spent the rest of the night working on centerpieces with the ladies for Amanda’s upcoming wedding.  We cut up piles of ribbon for her polka-dot bouquets, listened to pop music, and talked about old times.

I spent Saturday morning drinking coffee with Amanda and Kelly, doing more updating and reminiscing (I hadn’t been back since last June, so we had a lot of ground to cover!).

And then Saturday afternoon was devoted to shoe shopping with Amanda – every time I’m home, we set aside a couple of hours to wander the aisles of MJM and engage in the kind of bonding that comes only with fashion-related brutal honesty.  We talked each other out of some brightly colored wedges and instead walked away with just a couple of pairs of flats.

Saturday evening was reserved for the big event – we headed out to the country and grabbed our seats at the Lavender Farm to watch Jody and Travis begin their life together as husband and wife.  Jody and I go waaaay back, as she was one of my very first friends when my family moved to California in 1993.  Through much of junior high and high school, we had a standing date for Friday night sleepovers, where we’d paint our nails and flip through Delia’s catalogs and stay up late talking about the boys that didn’t even know we existed.  We were inseparable.  And slightly awkward.

But those days are gone…  We’re all grown up and my best friend with the side ponytail is now a lovely, elegant bride.

The wedding was beautiful – classy and cute and so wonderfully “Jody”.

And the night was filled with so much catching up and laughing and dancing and soaking in the comfort that comes with being around people that have known you for ages.  Gosh, I love these gals (and guys!)…

We were up early this morning to return to home sweet home – but I think I left a little piece of my heart back in California.


  1. Nance says:

    Delia’s catalogues!!!

    Glad you had such a good trip. It’s good to be with people who knew you when.

  2. Jody Atkinson! says:

    Kelly, I am so glad you and Shane were able to make it Saturday! It was so good to see you! 🙂 These are some of the first photos I’ve seen from the wedding! I love them! See you again in June for Amanda & Josh!

  3. Jamie Peterson says:

    Kelly.. I am so glad all of you could come. When I read this and saw the picture of you and Jode in jr high.. I have to say I lost it! It is hard to believe you all are grown up , married and starting to have kids of your own. Your pictures and sentiments are very special. Thank you for sharing!