Last week, I turned 34. And I have a completely valid theory about birthdays. I have long believed the quality of the birthday itself is a direct indication of the kind of year ahead. A good birthday means a good year. A bad birthday means a … challenging year. I have based this hypothesis on years of personal observation, extrapolating data from key moments over the course of a single year and plotting them against the hour-by-hour progress of that year’s preceding birthday.
Okay, I’m full of bullhooey. I am superstitious to a certain extent, and have used the good birthdays as a way to convince myself of the high quality of the year ahead. On those rare cases I have had less-than-spectacular birthdays, I tell myself it is not a bad day. It may not be going according to the standard of amazing I have set for the day, but it’s never a bad day.
But I like to think I have an ability to enjoy my birthday no matter what. I am always determined to have a great day because I want it to mean I am going to have a great year. And if I’m not having a great day, then I try to keep turning it into one.
Luckily, I didn’t have to work too hard to turn my 34th birthday into a great day. Because it was a *fantastic* day full of the nerdiness I absolutely love: a road trip down to San Diego and back with stops at lighthouses and ocean-themed holiday lights along the way.
Yes, I loved every second of it. I did say “nerdiness” after all.
First stop was the Point Vicente Lighthouse in Rancho Palos Verdes, just south of Los Angeles proper. This classic cylindrical tower was constructed in 1926 and is very much the romantic lighthouse with its position on a craggy bluff overlooking the deep blue of the Pacific. Only a few miles south was Lighthouse # 2: the Point Fermin Light, built in 1874 in a gorgeous Victorian style complete with gabled roof, horizontal siding, and wood railings. It sits on an equally craggy bluff overlooking the port of Los Angeles (also known as San Pedro).
Then it was a longer journey south to San Diego, where we visited Lighthouses # 3 and 4, although they should probably be called Lighthouses # 3 and # 3A since they are both known as the Point Loma Light. The creatively named “Old Point Loma Lighthouse” was built in 1854 – one of the first lighthouses in California – and remained the functioning lighthouse for the San Diego bay for almost 40 years. It was then closed and the light keepers moved to the “New Point Loma Lighthouse” farther down the cliff and closer to the water in 1891. Apparently, at 420 feet above sea level, the Old Lighthouse was often obscured by fog and clouds, making it near impossible for ships at sea to see the light.
On our way back home to LA from San Diego, we stopped in Dana Point for IlluminOcean, the festive village by the sea with hundreds of thousands of holiday lights twinkling along the waterfront. And not just lights glowing in trees and along yacht masts, but sculpted to look like giant sea otters, sharks, mermaids, dolphins, and whales. There was a Loch Ness monster, a fishing boat with a reposing Santa Claus, and a life-sized pirate ship (well – it looked life-size anyway). And there were holiday lights glowing in the trees and along yacht masts. It was an explosion of sparkles, twinkles, and glimmers. I was in heaven.
Along for the ride was the intrepid Charlie, who, aside from a little morning mishap (he managed to throw up his breakfast in the car), was an endless source of entertainment throughout the day. Each lighthouse stop meant a walk through a park or along hiking trails, which is tantamount to Disneyland for a dog. So much to smell; so many bushes to pee on! The best, however, was the visit to the New Point Loma Lighthouse, which included a stroll along some coastal tide pools. J and I hopped expertly over stone and kelp (okay, okay. “Expertly” may be too strong a word to apply to my movements among the rocks and stone slabs of the tide pools. I’m just happy I didn’t slip, fall, trip, slide, or otherwise endanger myself. I think the fact I did need to crawl around on all fours at points to get from one outcrop to the next means I didn’t escape the adventure without embarrassing myself… but I can live with that since I am still alive and intact as I write this), but Charlie wasn’t quite as adventurous. He wasn’t sure about the rocks, so there was a lot of slipping and sliding as we navigated around those. The poor thing splayed his back legs more often than an Olympic gymnast.
He also didn’t want to get wet, so he tried to avoid the water, but every once in a while, he would just give up and dive right in. He made this choice when he was faced with going through the tide pool or sliding around on rocks. No gymnastics for this dog. He’ll swim, thank you. And it was still quite entertaining to watch him come to this realization over and over again.
We also lucked out big time on the dining front. Dog owners the world over will know that carting around a pooch can make finding dog-friendly restaurants a bit of a challenge. But we had no trouble at all. Turns out a delightful little bistro right on the coast in San Diego is so Fido-friendly, they have a dog food menu!! Have to admit I had never seen that before… but I’ll take it. And so did Charlie. He scarfed his chicken entrée down faster than it took the waiter to put our plates down in front of us. And as I watched Charlie inhale his meal, I felt one of those questions arise: why isn’t this more of a thing??
Anyway, the perfect day came to a perfect end when J picked up slices of pie from one of our favorite LA pie houses for dessert. Peanut butter pie. If there is a heaven on earth, then it is right there. In those slices of peanut butter pie. I can say no more on it than that: heaven. On earth.
So, yes, if my scientifically-valid theory on birthdays is anything to go by, then 34 is going to be a perfect year. Although, we did come home to find an entire bottle of laundry detergent had leaked all over the floor in our bathroom. Apparently I didn’t screw the cap back on tight enough, and when I set it down in the bathroom closet, it tipped and spilled. It was nice to walk into our apartment and breathe in deep the eau de laundry… but then came cleaning it up.
Does this mean 34 will be a clean year?