Monday, June 19, 2017

Epic Road Trip Day 10

And from close friends to someone that I have known longer than my own brother!

I awoke early and lay looking out the window at the beauty of early morning on the hilltop.

After a walk around the neighborhood (to our credit we were very good about getting in our morning walks: of course it helped that the scenery in most places was breath-taking)


and a breakfast that only G can make – in terms of pretty table, great food and fresh-squeezed orange juice by husband B – we tore ourselves away from Arroyo Grande.

We chose to drive the lower – and hopefully prettier route – to our former neighbor and her husband’s place near Bakersfield. The drive was all that I could have wanted: small lakes then suddenly over the pass and down into the desert. I will always remember that in the summer when we went camping in Yosemite – or anywhere north for that matter – we had to be up by 4 a.m. and on the road so that we could get to Bakersfield by 8 a.m. or we would suffer even more from the heat.

the blur of being a passenger

and down the other side - less green - of the mountain

oil derricks in the desert - many still operate throught the valley

Headed towards dry and hot Bakersfield
We moved into our first real house before I turned six. There were two girls next door that spaced in between us three sisters and for 8 years we were mostly one big family. As her parents never moved although my family did many times, we always visited whilst returning. I attended her wedding – one of the very few of my friends that I made.

She and her husband are now retired and love to travel as much as I: I have joined them on the Christmas Market River Cruise on the Danube in 2015 and will meet them this summer in Scotland. Meanwhile whenever I have gone to California to see my siblings or parents I have tried to squeeze in a visit to them as well. Without giving away our advancing years, I met her before my brother was born! So there’s more than enough to talk about.

We decided to go to a Mexican buffet for lunch then wandered into a couple of antique stores in Bakersfield before going for ice-cream and returning to their (gorgeous) home for drinks. 

A real old-fashioned ice-cream parlor

Their inner courtyard

Yep, my tipple of choice!

They have collections of most everything and although their home is full of memories and souvenirs from throughout the world it all works well.

Late night stories and we dropped into bed not even noticing that we were sharing a queen-sized one, we were so tired.

Our little sister's garden angel has another loving home.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Road trip Day 9

My apologies for having not finished my "epic" road trip. When last I left my dear readers hanging - or gliding along the highway in California - my sister and I had started loop 2 of the two-week saga.  Life here at home intervened so a couple of local trips later and I am finally ready to finish off that which happened almost a month ago.

But then, it doesn't much matter, does it, as one road trip is like another and done is done.

So after a lovely more leisurely day (remember the elephant seals, the walks on the boardwalk, the lovely dinner and sunset facing the Pacific Ocean? If not here is the link to a refresher: )
we were on to visit very dear friends: friends who not only helped our little sister throughout her illness, but who were there for us afterwards. Strong ties have been made and although we don’t see each other enough, we are grateful for what we do have.

However before we got there, we had another walk along the board walk in the early sun before breakfast.
Same angle of the sunset the night before

California seals - a mom and a pup soaking up the sun

Footprints in the sand

Driftwood "houses"

Part of the miles-long boardwalk

There are many tame and pesky squirrels!

Another part of the boardwalk
After breakfast we continued down the coast stopping first in the small town of Harmony

An artist's colongy just below Morro Bay

Very interesting cactus


A lovely trinket in the glass-makers shop.

then in one of my personal favorties: Morro Bay

The rock in the morning fog is just barely visible

One of the main attractions here: the otters in the bay

I coud - and sometimes have - spend hours watching.

Staying at their house was bittersweet as I had last been there on another road trip after my nephew married and they are selling and moving closer to their grand children in San Louis Obispo.

Dinner at our favorite local Mexican – also full of memories as this is not only my deceased sister's and my favorite local mexican but also where the family had dinner after her memorial service in 2012.

An evening and the next morning of sharing, exchanging thoughts both silly, day-to-day and profound. I almost got the dog to make friends with me and a big thrill was his licking my hand whilst I ignored him on purpose.

If the quality of one’s life is measured by the caliber of one’s friends, my quality is over 100%! Bless you G & B.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Law and Order

-      If only for a day

We moved into our house May 2, 1981 and over the years I have very seldom actually been “home alone”, even after the death of my husband.

First of course, although the older son was studying in another city, the younger was still a minor and thus here.  Then there was the housemate, eventually her daughter for a while as well as her husband to be. Once they had all moved to their own homes it was son number two who returned. I did have a very brief period in 2016 when I had my broken shoulder where there was no one living here, but all in all in between family, friends, visitors (one of my names was “Hotel Julia”) I have always benefitted from having company.

I have been extremely lucky in that all these multiple “lodgers” only produced the very rare and usually when-I-was-too-tired clash. We all rubbed along very well indeed… with one notable exception: the kitchen. After I had the kitchen renovated in 2010 my whole goal was to keep the counter top neat (read empty mostly), the stovetop clean, polished and free of utensils, the sink empty and clean as well as the small sideboard. The table is black glass top and shows every crumb or streak as well.  And I like it all to look like no one has ever had a meal there.

Yesterday, my younger son moved back to his flat in town after having been here – with my permission – since January.

So what was more normal this morning than my deciding to put the kitchen back into “my” type of order. Scrubbed the back splash even and washed every piece of equipment allowed to stay on the counter-top.

Will it stay this way – hardly. Will I enjoy it while it does – greatly.
However, believe it or not, I’m already looking forward to my next lodger and more life in the kitchen. If only for the day works for me!

Now on to something a bit less smacking of household chores like my puzzle, sorting photos, sorting papers, sorting, sorting. The wash is well under way, I am invited to dinner tonight – oh heck, think I’ll go to the spa – everything else can wait now that my kitchen’s clean.

The counter top as I like it.

Kitchen - CLEAN - hadn't realized that there would be a cool reflection matching my place mats!