Guest Post: Growing up in Temecula

My sister Stephanie is a beginning blogger but longtime writer–longer than myself. Our family has always been fans of her creative writing, even from elementary school age! Over at her blog she’s been writing about our Eurotrip (each new post is like a time capsule that transports me back to June). For this week, though, I asked her to share her perspective of the town that she and I grew up in–one I’m sure you will hear more and more about now that it serves as a “home base” for the two of us. 

Temecula, California is a big city with a little city feel, resting smack dab in a valley between LA and San Diego. Temecula has quite the rich history, first home to Native American tribes and later to cattle ranchers and cowboys. The California Mission and Old West influences can still be felt around the city, and it only adds to the unique charm of the place.

Growing up in Temecula, I did not appreciate its charm. Every weekend, I would groan about the lack of things to do, and I was always dying to get out and move somewhere urban, somewhere with “culture.” After having lived somewhere like that for almost 4 years, I am dying to move back to Temecula.

Yes, the city of Temecula is suburban in every sense of the word. It has housing developments with parks and green belts, community pools, chain coffee shops, and a large shopping mall. The majority population consists of housewives and businessmen who drive SUVs and sport fake tans. But peel back those obvious layers, and you find much, much more than that.

Temecula is easily most famous for its unsuppressed, rolling wine country. The moderate climate of the city makes for soil perfect for growing grapes, and the wine country has become a not-so-hidden gem of Southern California. The vineyards themselves are breathtaking. I have gone for many a late-afternoon drive through the hills to clear my mind. Driving on those dirt roads can transport me to a different place and time. However, growing up in a family of non-wine drinkers, the wine country culture is not my Temecula.

My Temecula is the city’s remarkable spirit. One of the things I appreciate most about Temecula is the city’s appreciation for the arts. Any given Saturday, you can find a band of teenage boys (or middle aged men) playing a pick-up concert on a street corner in Old Town. Head over to the Old Town Community Theater and catch an impressive performance of an American classic. Lose hours of your weekend browsing through one of the used record stores, trying to find that rare album you’ve been pining for.  Visit the community library on the weekend and glimpse an art show or poetry reading. It’s hard to believe, but the sprawling suburban city is actually immersed in culture. Take a closer look at that stodgy businessman to learn he knows how to play the saxophone. Ask his housewife about her past and find out she went to Woodstock in ’69. There is something about the valley that inspires creativity in so many people, and its influence is unmistakable.

Temecula has been a godsend for my family and I. When we moved there, Staci and I were at impressionable ages. It was a wise decision on my parents’ part, and it has become the cornerstone for our family’s personality. I couldn’t imagine a better place for us to have grown up, and I am stoked that Staci and Doug are finally coming back.

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Friendly Furniture

Am I the only one who views furniture as a dear friend? Even more so than clothes, I think, I get attached to the pieces of wood and/or plastic that sit firmly and consistently in their appropriate space–they provide a sense of comfort and stability. They are what makes my home mine, not somebody else’s. (Okay, I guess a locked door helps that feeling too).

That said, we have been downsizing our funriture stash since we realize that in order to afford an apartment in San Diego, at least at first, we’ll have to downsize from a two-bedroom with generous dining room to a one-bedroom with “dining area.” This is fine. I look forward to the mild weather, the sunshine, the beach, IKEA, you know… the finer things in life. However, it’s not easy for me to part with furniture, especially ones that have been with me the whole time I’ve lived here in Kansas! For example the desk-turned-media unit-turned-back-to-desk and the small blue couch were picked up by Doug and my roommate Lisa before I even moved here! Other things have been picked up for a few dollars here and there–some were even free! It’s not like I’m getting rid of big-ticket items, but the sentimental value makes up for the low price.

The good news is that by letting go, I am allowing myself to fine-tune my decorating aesthetic and opening new possibilities for future purchases ;) I’ve been pouring over the couch section in my West Elm catalog and I downloaded the IKEA catalog app for my iPhone since last year’s catalogs have already been boxed up and put away.

And now, cheesy as it is, a tribute to list of the items that have been downsized.

The desk and the tall bookshelf:

The black headboard

The blue couch

The sofa table/TV stand

The dining chairs

Pretty cheesy, I know. But the house is still starting to feel empty and we still have several weeks before we go. Luckily thanks to my hoarding tendencies we still have plenty of chairs to sit on, even after getting rid of 4 dining chairs and the blue couch. Which means that we will probably still invite company over up until the last day ;)

Productive Monday

So, there are lots of things I always told myself I’d do much better at, “if I wasn’t tied up at work 8 hours every day.” Well, time for a reality check–Friday was my last day at work, and this week is my opportunity to prove to myself that without constraints of work I really AM the superwoman I kept telling myself I could be. So, I made a massive list of stuff to take care of this week, including lots of “preparing-to-move” stuff and other “ultra-housewife” stuff (like well-thought out dinners, dishes caught up with daily, etc).

I let Mosey try some watermelon–he liked it!

So far so good! I’ve picked up records of Mosey’s shots from the vet to show the apartment complex he’s up to date, and to get him set up with a new vet. I also made it to the grocery store to get ingredients for fresh, healthy meals tonight and tomorrow night. Not to mention, I caught up on a TON of dishes (we had several people over for tacos last night so there were more dishes than usual). And it’s only 2:00! Maybe I can be superhousewife after all.

I also got a little behind-the-scenes blog housekeeping taken care of, and I’m scratching my head trying to come up with posts for this week. The house is a wreck since we’re getting rid of some furniture and packing, so I am definitely not starting up any new projects at the moment.

Well, I’m bound to come up with something to write about, so see you here tomorrow!