Wednesday, August 19, 2009

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Just back from our (mostly) annual sojurn to California to catch up with family and friends.

If you're looking forward to lots of wonderful photos of our time spent on the beach, with friends, on horses, at the water park, of the new baby, of the 75th birthday party, etc. I am sorry to disappoint you. All three of us forgot our cameras (even though it was clearly listed on TWO of our lists!). For those of you who hosted us and took photos, please send them!

Our first day there started off in the best way possible - meeting and holding the adorable 2-day old Skylar Kiera, my new neice. Such a cutie pie! Good job, Jude & Brad!

Then it was off to Captain & Nonna's house for several days of chickens, chores with Captain, a baseball game, a visit to a marine mammal rescue center, and lots of time sharing a cup of tea on the sofa gabbing with Lynn. I had a fantastic ride in the hills with Kelli on two very nice horses. Later that night she and I made what is beginning to be an annual trip to the "old fogey bar" to party with the octogenarians and sing show tunes.

We also visited the kids old preschool, I had lunch with an old friend, drove by the old house and generally tried to stay in touch with old things. The preschool teacher, the marvelous Polly, invited Bridget to come ride her Very Nice Horse (named Vienna) at her Very Posh Barn and that was a special morning. Bridget really enjoyed the time on the horse, the time at the barn (heaven, to Bridget) and her time with Polly's puppy. I think Polly got a kick out of seeing that one of her former students has the talent and ability to ride her horse.

Aidan got to join Miles's birthday extravaganza and hit Great America with a bunch of boys. Heaven, to Aidan.

Our last night in Danville, we got together for dinner with more "old" friends from preschool and even further back. It is so neat to see the kids play together like they've never been separated. Also neat to see my kids playing with the children of my childhood friends. Hansen-Judd, Bullock & Powers crews - thanks for coming! It was a lovely evening with your company!

The middle portion of our trip was spent in Manhattan Beach. BIG thanks to Janet for being such a gracious hostess and letting this road-weary lady and her two obnoxious children crash at her place for 3 nights. Janet, it was better than camping. The soft bed and warm shower and put all thoughts of Big Sur out of my head. We still had good grilled food, s'mores over an open fire, and hours and hours on the beach. I think it'll be an annual thing unless you move and don't give me your fowarding address.

Also in LA, we saw old friends from NoCal who moved down there recently. Christie and Ryan, thanks for making the trek out to the beach to hang with us. It was such a joy to see Bridget and Ryan playing together just like old times.

Cousin Dan also joined us on the beach and I got to catch up on extended family news. Note to self, must email Paul Belzer about the two new kids he's had and not notified me! On our way back up north, we went to Dan's for breakfast and to see his beautiful home. The kids were treated to parts of Dan's one-man show "A Songwriting Lesson From Irving Berlin" and got to be wowed by a bit of the huge talent this man possesses.

Back up to NoCal to spend the final portion of our trip with Papa and Grandma. We spent a lovely evening in Fremont's Central Park listening to a very energetic and fun rock and roll dance band. Such a nice setting with Lake Elizabeth sparkling in the background and the evening light on Mission Peak beyond.

Then it was "party prep" mode to get ready for the big hoe-down in celebration of both Papa and Grandma's 75th birthdays. Lots of cooking (I was in charge of appetizers), and lots of set-up (western themed backdrops, straw bales, floral arranging, etc.), and lots of errands by Papa and Aidan (pilfering tables and chairs from the church, trouble shooting and then replacing parts of the AV system...). Big shout out to Julie for her amazing party planning and organizational skills, she had us all mustered and marching like the military and it was a great party!

Wonderful to see Jeff and his beautiful and accomplished kids. Tucker, come visit me and give me a golf lesson! McKenna can give Bridget some tennis pointers.

And if we didn't wear out Papa and Grandma enough, our last two days were spent at the water park, dining at our favorite restaurant (The Willow Tree!), and a trip to the beach to crash Dave & Shelley's vacation. Bill and the boys (and even Chester!) generously carved some time out of their busy schedule to come join us for a while and it was great seeing the kids play together again.

Whew. Got me tired just writing about it.

All in all, it was so nice to hug my family members, hang with old friends, do some old favorite things, and some new ones. We had many generous hosts and a lot of people who changed plans to accomodate us and we are grateful. We are sad we didn't connect with a few of you (Lisa! Paula!), but hopefully you will come visit us soon.

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