It's been four long months since I've written on this (gasp!) I know, I know, but usually visits with family doesn't count. However, I'm seeing my second family now in northern California.. my sister from another mister (so to speak.) Tanya and I have been friends for close to 18 years. I've known her husband since right after she met him, and her kids since they were concepts. I come here once a year to reconnect, enjoy and continue to adore them. The two kids, Mitchell and Isabelle, are precious, precocious and lots of fun when they aren't being bratty (oh hell, even when they are!)
We've been doing lots of family time with the kids and I've seen a glimpse of 'soccer mom' life: walking the kids to the bus stop, going to a field trip (to a one room schoolhouse, think: Little House on the Prairie.) We, of course, played our parts complete with boots and bonnets (pictures may possibly follow) and had a great time. Tanya and I went into San Francisco today to kick around. I wanted to see a city: big buildings, street folks and hear horns blaring. I was disappointed by the lack of tooting though Tanya sure gave it her best effort. We walked by pier 39 and watched the sea lions frolic, saw a view of Alcatraz, went to Ghiradelli (of course) then found the falafel truck for a 'little loving' (two falafel balls in a pita and sweet potato fries, in a paper wrapper addressed to us specifically.) Sat in a park with lots of grass and flowers watching the dogs play and feeling the cool breeze. Ahhh.. very nice.
Walking back from the pier we met Gloria and Flat Stanley. Apparently it's a book that gets mailed around the country, which has become a great young school project where kids draw and cut out 'Flat Stanley' then friend and family pass around Flat Stanley to take pictures of him on their travels. Gloria asked us to take a pic of Stanley and her in front of a street car. Of course we got a shot with him as well (Why not?) then talked with her for a bit. It's always great to meet interesting folks!
We planned to go camping but instead decided to enjoy the hot tub, sit on the grass and talk, watching Bill and Mitchell tossing a ball back and forth. It's lush and green here in San Fran suburbia. Friendly neighbors, lots of dogs and kids... pretty cool. We did make s'mores in the fire in homage to our camping trip that didn't happen this year. There's always next time. Oh, and we did get to go to not one, two but THREE baseball games for Mitchell. Now, those of you who know me know that baseball is my least favorite sport, and if not for cracker jacks, I wouldn't probably ever go. But there's something interestingly fun about seeing 9 year olds playing that kept me enjoying it. At least the first couple of games. :o) Family fun always keeps me coming back.
This year won't be big for international trips, but lots of family and long-time friend trips to reconnect with those I care about most. When it comes down to it, isn't that what makes travel so special? Those connections.. old and new....