Friday, May 13, 2016

California 1

As soon as we got back to Boston, we left town again. We were eager to see family in California, and only waited a few days to move on. We have plenty of people to see there, and barely got started this time, so I guess we’ll have to go back.

On this trip, we started out in Woodside, spending a weekend with John and Meredith. It’s hard to explain who they are to me, but Johnny often feels like the son I never had. As a huge added bonus, he married Meredith. It’s no surprise, then, that their son James is great too. We always like seeing them, and each visit feels like “the best.” We didn’t do much. We didn’t have to. We cooked a little. We hiked a little more. Johnny and I went to the hardware store, where I was pleased to learn that I could have bought a package of live bugs if I needed any. California is a wonderful place.

From 2016-04 To USA
We hit California at the exact right moment, too. The drought is finally more or less over, and the hills are all green. They’ll dry out and turn “golden” very soon, but while we were there, we saw green vistas everywhere. Alla reveled in the biodiversity. We took a wonderful little hike in the hills above Woodside. Sometimes James walked too, but mostly he rode happily in a backpack. He’s a great companion, with a healthy respect for the pleasures of mud.

Johnny’s sister Susie came over with her husband and kids on Sunday afternoon. I haven’t seen them often enough lately, so I was very happy that they could join the party. Their second son, Grant, is almost exactly the same age as James, but he’s bigger. They’re both very big boys. Maybe they’ll grow up to be a rowing doubles team. They’ll sure have the build for it.

On Monday we picked up a rental car, which was a whole story unto itself, and drove down to Hollister to see my cousin Nants, her husband Tim and their daughter Ila. Ila’s been living far from home for a long time, and I really enjoyed seeing her again. She’s always been thoughtful and frequently wise, so it’s fun to be around her. To be truthful, it’s great to be around all of them. Nants stayed home from work and made a bunch of individual cheese souffl├ęs for lunch. And an apricot pie with apricots from their trees. Oh my, did we eat well, almost as well as we enjoyed their hospitality and conversation.

We hated to leave, but we still hadn’t seen our own daughter. Well, she’s really Alla’s daughter, but she’s nice about letting me claim her. We were so eager, we got to San Francisco a little bit early and had to spring Nika from work before she planned to go. Tough luck, Nika! As usual, San Francisco’s yards and parks are filled with flowers, so we went for a walk before dinner. Nika and Tim live right between San Francisco’s two largest parklands, so we always have someplace pleasant to walk. Alla and I like the ethnic grocery stores in the area too. We’d be with Nika and Tim for almost a whole week, so we had plenty of time to explore. I’ll tell you more about it later, when I also tell you about our bonus trips to Sacramento and Mendocino.

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