Sunday, October 23, 2016

California Dreamin

For my fall break this year I was able to make a pilgrimage of sorts to the sunny shores of California. Sharry and I always loved going on vacations to California. Our very first “trip” together when were dating was a trip to the Pacific ocean and back within 24 hours. Our parents weren’t the biggest fans of us staying the night together and we were good kids. So we left right after 3 AM drove way too fast and made it to Malibu beach before 8 AM California time, it was a fun and exhausting day. Sharry would tease me that I may be her one true love but the beach and pacific ocean were her first love.
Sleeping in the car in one of our many Cali trips

Bumming it up at the beach

Over our years together we typically would visit some part of California annually. These visits covered a wide range of fun activities which included but are not limited to: lots of beaches, beach camping, honeymoon, driving up and down the 101, snorkeling, boogie boarding, beach campfires, kissing while driving, amusement parks, national parks, lots of concerts, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez (who we hung out with afterward thanks to Shar’s persistence), Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Coachella Festival 2x, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival 2x, family visits, family trips, tons of good food, visiting University campuses and dreaming of amazing grad schools, many museums, attending synagogue, meditating at buddhist temples, Tijuana, intense sunburns, super sunsets, great road trip tunes, vacation fights & vacation makeups, Chargers’ preseason game, Padres’ game, sleeping in the car, sleeping in ghetto motels, getting lost and loving it and so much more that I’m sure Shar could add to my foggy memory.

Museum of contemporary art
I wanted to revisit what has become hallowed ground enshrined within Shar’s journals and my memories. So thanks to an amazing Mom (JJ’s grandma) I was able to make my first ever solo road trip. I loaded up Shar’s California playlist, some audiobooks on near death experiences and hit the road. (here’s a spotify version of Shar’s Cali tunes). It was a tough trip with many tears shed but I’m very glad I had the opportunity to do it.

For the majority of my trip I felt like a ghost. I did not seek out human interactions and as a weird looking single dude not too many people looked my way either. In fact I spoke far more to Sharry than any other living human. The only human I spoke more than a sentence to for the first part of my pilgrimage was a psychic which probably still fits within the realm of “ghostly behavior” haha.
Snorkeling in La Jolla

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

After the long drive there (far less enjoyable than road trips in the past btw) I headed to La Jolla near San Diego. My first visit was the San Diego LDS temple where I walked around the beautiful sunny grounds and reminisced about doing the same thing with Sharry a couple of times. Next I headed to La Jolla Cove one of our go to spots. I was both to sad and cold for snorkeling but loved walking up and down the coast people and seal watching. I also finished my very last Sharry journal there which is such a difficult and sad thing for me. In an upcoming post I’ll share more wisdom from that account. Then following our footsteps from a few years past I walked to the Museum of Contemporary Art where I soaked in photography for political action, modern installations, sculptures and a beautiful garden grounds. I would close my eyes look back in time and imagine Sharry there with me. In fact I would do this throughout the trip even reaching out my hand to hold her imaginary fingers.
Me 2016

Sharry 2012
Finishing Shar's journal

Next I decided to check something off of Sharry’s bucket list, “consult a clairvoyant gypsy.” I googled psychics in San Diego and found one with the best sounding written reviews. I went in thinking this would be an interesting and unique form of entertainment and it ended up being a comforting and spiritual experience. At some point maybe I’ll write a post about this interesting experience.

At the end of the day I returned to our beach campfire spot on Coronado island with its soft sands to watch the sunset and walk along the lapping waves. There was a beautiful little wedding happening on the beach as well that was beautiful to watch.

Friday morning after sleeping in I went to visit Balboa Park and to visit the beautiful ground and many of the beautiful museums. Then I revisited the first Thai restaurant that Sharry and I ever went to years ago in San Diego that began a life long love affair with this delicious food.
Balboa Park

Then I drove up the 101 to Irvine California to visit with Sharry's awesome brother his wife, and their cute kiddos. It's always great to get some Buhanan time in any day and in such a beautiful location this is of course magnified. We ate good food, went to a few beaches, saw beautiful sights and reminisced. I love me some Buhanans.

After Irvine I headed up to one of Sharry's favorite museums ever, "The Getty." Beautiful gardens and inspirational art made me emotional in my third visit (first without Sharry) to the gigantic museum.
Our 2005 visit to the Getty

2016 solo visit
Really enjoyed these. Made me emotional applying it to my life. Top right an old couple, what we always hoped for. Bottom right, a woman surrounded by family in bed, what I hope Sharry has now in her current existence. Top right a man in a wheel chair, how I feel without my other half.

Eve. I feel like Adam without an Eve. 

Finally to end my pilgrimage I desperately wanted to track down our very first contact with the beach together on Malibu beach and after searching up and down the coast I found it!

Over 11 years later, found the whale tale bench

Overall it was a very difficult trip with many tears and intimate conversations with God and Sharry but it was a very positive experience and on the last day I could not wait to get home and see our baby boy. When I made it home I ran downstairs with him to cry, hold and love on him.


  1. Love and peace to you my friend. (I'm a sobbing mess right now, but I'm trying to hold it together.) You're teaching the rest of us to love more fervently, so thank you.

  2. What a great way tribute Shar and your memories together! Reading your posts always makes me feel like I need to be better about documenting me and my husbands life & love. I have a trillion pictures of my kids, but I'm not nearly as good with me and my husband.

    1. Thank you I'm glad you enjoyed it and yes cherish your family...what else matters!?

  3. I want to hug you and your beautiful son. I lost my mother from complications from birth and a mistake the doctors made. I lost her and went home from the hospital without her. I was a month old when she passed. She never even held me. I never knew her and I still know very little about her because it makes my father very sad.

    Please do me a favor and always keep her memory alive for your son. Play those beautiful songs and let him always hear the sound of her voice. Let him always know the strong love his mother has/will always have for him. We may leave this earth but love never dies. Her love will always live in him.

    I'm sending you both hugs. You are his world. & you are doing wonderfully. Although I do not know you I will keep you both in my thoughts.


    1. Karen, thank you for sharing that! I appreciate your love and support. And believe me there is zero chance that JJ will not hear constantly about his angel mama.

  4. Just read about you and your cute little boy, JJ via CNN story highlights. We feel sorry for the loss of your beautiful wife and may God bless and your junior.

    Regards from Malaysia.

  5. This was touching and enlightening to embrace gifted memories of our loved ones while we are able to do so. Peace and joy to you, J.J., and your families.

    Best from Ohio,

  6. While I cried as I looked at your baby boy and saw so much of your wife in him I prayed for God to continue to give your strength and comfort. That he may give you peace. We may never understand but trusting God through our circumstances and giving him ourselves helps to get through the most difficult times. Thank you for sharing your love with us.

  7. A very good sms! The same is for us guys, too. I am enjoying it because of these so romantic. Actually, I am looking for True Love. Do you have?

  8. Love is a very powerful feeling that we are all able to relate too. In fact, love has proven to be the answer to a majority of the worlds problems, if only they had time to sit down and actually think about it for a moment.

    Nevertheless, we can all still individually make our way to finding our own meaning of "true love".