Sunday, December 2, 2007

Home Again

Yes, we've been home several days, and almost all I've done is enjoy being here. I keep thinking about the Christmas cards, the blog, the laundry, downloading my photos and doing the slide show, but all I've really done is read, relax, cook, play my guitar, shop, attend church, take some photos and talk to the deer (lots of that). 

So here finally is my wrap up of a mighty fine trip...

We left home, kind of dragging our feet, because we knew a snow storm was expected two days after we left, and I really wanted to take some photos for this year's Christmas card, but since we were expected at a certain time, we went ahead and left on schedule on Saturday, November 10th. We packed up the car bright and early and headed into town to the church where the HAM club was conducting their licensing tests, and John went in for his "Extra" qualification license, which is as high as he can get. He passed, and then we hit the road to California. It sure put him in a good mood. He had studied hard for that test. I hadn't seen him (except from the backside) for a month, except when he got hungry. 

The trip to California was almost normal. John did his usual drive the speed limit routine, with most cars whizzing past him. We don't care. We're not in a rush. We have great music in the car, and now we listen to audio books as well. This trip we listened to Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Now John wants to hear all his books. (John doesn't like to read, but he likes to listen.) I need to find shorter books, because he'll drive for 16 hours if the book is long. 

Anyway, we were driving through one of the canyons in Utah when a lady waving a red jacket ran out in the road toward us and John stopped. She asked if we had OnStar (yes) and told us there was a bad truck wreck ahead. Would we please call for emergency response? So we were given all the details. A trucker in a hurry lost his load and his truck, but luckily not his life. We sat for over two hours while they scraped him onto one lane so that people could squeeze by on the other lane. So how much time did he save? I've always thought speeding was illogical. You have to go ten miles over the speed limit for a whole hour to save about ten minutes, and one single ticket takes about half an hour plus court time. That doesn't even count the expense. And this guy has lost his truck! There's a slide show link at the end and photos, so you'll see what I mean. It also cost us a lot of extra time, but luckily we had just eaten and used the restrooms a few miles back. 

We still made it to Mom's by Monday afternoon, and our visit with her and Papa was great. We played Bingo four times during the eight days were stayed with her, which sounds like a lot, but we had a lot of fun. She won a couple of times, and took us out to dinner at Applebee's on some of the winnings. We also enjoyed a turkey potluck dinner at their club house, and after dinner I played guitar for them, which I probably enjoyed more than they did. I played some of my "funny" songs, and had them really laughing. 

Another highlight of our stay was the day I stole to run around with Sherrie. John had gone to have lunch with some of his friends, so Sherrie and I tackled the triumvirate of California shopping: Trader Joe's; Smart and Final; and Sur La Table. We had lunch at Cho Cho San, which is a wonderful Japanese restaurant with food served at Teppan style tables, with the food prepared in front of you. (Hot Saki anyone?) I love it when the chef throws his knives around! John and I even got to spend an evening with Al and Becky before the week was over. 

On Tuesday, right after Bingo, we left for (my sister) Ellen and Johnny's house for the next stage of our trip. That gave Mom time to change the sheets, since (my brother) Pat and his wife Betty, and their son Tim and his wife Tory were coming the next day to spend Thanksgiving week with Mom. Then we all could meet up at Ellen's for the Thanksgiving feast on Thursday.

Sherrie has said that for her the most fun day was the day before Thanksgiving, and it didn't make sense to me. I'd always had to work the day before Thanksgiving. Then I'd be up half the night trying to do my part - usually pies and my Methodist Jello, maybe some bread or whatever I was bringing to Ellen's. This year I finally understood what she meant. I don't know if Ellen had as much fun as I did, but I had a ball making pie crust, setting the table, shopping, laughing, talking, eating, running stuff back and forth — just generally helping someone who really knows how to entertain 20 people in style. It was so great being there. I loved it. She's a great cook, and between the meals at Mom's, and then at Ellen's, I really came home knowing I'd been spoiled. 

Thanksgiving was as hectic and joyous as anyone could imagine. (Son) Tighe and Nicole were there, and it was so great to see them. We were lucky enough to pack some of their green bean casserole in our cooler when we left (along with a whole dinner of leftovers that gave us a feast at our next stop.) Ellen was more than generous when she helped us pack. We even got some of her famous turkey soup. 

The following day we left Johnny working at the house while John and Ellen and I went to the Reagan Presidential Library and took the tour. We really enjoyed it, but were most enthralled with Air Force One. It was fun watching John walk hunched over through the entire plane. It only looks big on the outside. We had our photo taken at the door together, and you can now see it on our Rogue's Gallery Wall. (Yes, that was another invitation to visit...)

Saturday morning we took off for Lake Isabella to get the place ready for Winter. That morning the skies were full of smoke again, as the winds had picked up and Malibu was once again burning. [The fires ended up burning down nearly 60 homes this time.] It was a short stay up at Lake Isabella before heading home. 

Once again we had a dumb trucker experience. This time we were in Colorado. It was funny that while we sat in line waiting to squeeze through the canyon where the truck had tipped over, the little pickup in front of us had a sign that read, "Let's All Drive Safely." I had to get a photo of that, of course. 

We finally did get home, and I had just walked into the kitchen, when John said, "Hey, come back here." I turned around and went back to the door just in time to see five deer finish running right up to the deck. They actually looked like they were happy to see us. They stood there and dug through the light snow covering, munching grass (it had snowed the day before we got home) and watched us unpack the car. I felt that we had been truly welcomed home. 

Our only disappointment was that the storm "scheduled to arrive" later in the week so I could get my Christmas photos taken landed everywhere but here. Roads closed down; ski resorts are thrilled. We got barely a dusting. Boo Hiss! Oh well, we're still here, and there's at least a bit of the white stuff around. If all else fails we'll drive twenty-five miles up into Rocky Mountain National Park this week and take some pictures for this year's cards. It won't be the design I have in my head now, but it'll be the new design in my head once I take the photo, right?

So now all that's left is to send you to the slide show. I hope you are getting in the Christmas Spirit, and understand that I'm never going to be politically correct and say "holiday spirit." Blessings to all... To see the very short slide show, click here

1 comment:

sherrie said...

I love reading about your trips, but I'm glad you're back home safe & sound and that your deer are happy to have you back.

I'm so glad you got to experience the day before Thanksgiving fun! It started for me when I was a kid helping Mom, but when you get that Wednesday pre-prep hustle & bustle in with anyone else who arrives early, as well as Thursday with the rest of the family, it makes Thanksgiving my favorite holiday!

Merry Christmas!