What else can I say except that we have been having a really really great and fantastic time. It is hard to believe, but we are nearing the end of our first two weeks in good old sunny California. In fact, today is the very last day at Grandma's house, and we will be flying to the East Coast early tomorrow morning. Sad but true. Boy, time sure flies by. Two weeks may seem like a long time, but as you fill the day slots in with all of the activities, people you want to see, sites to visit and ad infinitum, the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle fit in nicely and snugly to produce a tight and complete picture of it all. Not much room left over.
The best part of the last few days was visiting the San Francisco area, where we could see all the relatives: my wonderful aunt Jeanine, my cousins Gail and Sue and their husbands Allan and Geoff respectively, and my nephew Scot. Boy has he grown up into a man (24 already) with potential and a love of life! Brent brought his wife Cindy and youngest son Nick also. Even Uncle Dick flew down all the way from Reno, Nevada to see us for the weekend, thanks alot Uncle Dick, I feel honored to see you again. You have not changed that much at all. Everyone was really nice to us, and a special thanks go to Sue and Geoff for letting us stay over at their house. They have an absolutely beautiful home in Orinda, just perfect. Great barbecue dinner with everyone the first evening. You guys are fantastic, I mean it! The big highlight was the good old American picnic we had up in the hills behind Oakland, where after riding the little steam train and the hundred year old merry-go-round, we played baseball and ate some great food. Loved those fudge brownies (I think I had five of them). Why does it all have to go by so quickly? Vacations cannot last forever.
We ended up staying one more day than planned in the Bay Area, because I had to take Lennart to a Giant's game. I felt kind of bad staying away from my Mom, as she was the one who had paid for our plane tickets, and she really likes and deserves to see us more. But this was a once in a life opportunity to see a real ballgame. Although the game was sold out we took the risk and went there anyway using the BART public transportation. Standing in line we kept our fingers crossed, and just as we moved in front of the ticket window, two adjacent seats became free, right in back of home-plate on the upper tier. Boy were we ecstatic. The Pacbell stadium is neat with a fantastic view of the bay. The game itself was packed with runs and hits and plenty of action. We witnessed Barry Bonds hit home-run number 599, and we jumped up and down screaming our lungs out. His last time up he was thrown an intentional walk, so we felt robbed of the historical six hundred. Oh well, can't see everything. We consumed a giant hot-dog, had cokes and ice-cream, all in order to get in the mood. The Monday evening game was a first in a series of three against the Cubs. Wow what an unforgettable evening.
Other activities in San Francisco included: Fisherman's Wharf, crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, driving down Lombard Street the crookedest road in the world, China Town, Union Square, a long walk along the Embarcadero promenade next to the piers, Little Italy, riding a Cable Car, the Cable Car Museum, crossing the Bay Bridge, ad infinitum. I am sure I am leaving out something, but I do not want to bore the readers too much with the specifics of our sojourn. The best part though, as I said above, was seeing everyone again, and they were so nice to us. That is probably the one thing I miss the most living so far away: the more intimate family and relatives interactions that are so important in life. Thanks alot to all of you guys! Hope I didn't leave anyone or anything out of this blog entry, and if I did I apologize.
On the way back to Monterey, we stopped over in Menlo Park to visit my old Salinas High School friend Trudi. Hadn't seen her in many years. We had lunch at this so-called famous corner grocery where you could eat upstairs and have their famous brownies. Within an hour, we had a quick chat before I took the family to see Stanford University from which I graduated way back in 1979. That's a long time ago, twenty-three odd years, almost a quarter of a century. We walked along the corridors and I started to give the kids the grand elegant tour filled with interesting discussion and details of student life in those days. At least that is how I felt, all invigorated by the surroundings and rambling on and on about this and that. Unfortunately, it had been a long day up to then, and the poor kids were a little bored to say the least. Pretty bored. Are you sure you do not want to see my old Physics classroom? No thanks. Want to see my room at the Freshman Dorm? Think we'll pass on that one, Dad. Howabout my old Fraternity SAE? We want to get back to Grandma's house now, please. Without realizing it I was acting like a boring old fart father, reminiscing about the good old days. Dad, we are bored stiff. Sorry kids, maybe when you get older you can appreciate the importance of history better. What hit me hard was discovering that my favorite Physics classroom called the "tank" had been demolished back in 1995 to make room for this stupid modern-looking replacement. That hurt. Lots of memories in that place lost forever except for those in my mind.
So here we are at Grandma's house again. The very last day. We are sad but at the same time glad, because we were able to see and do so much. So very much. As a father I feel very thankful they could witness first hand how I grew up and get a feeling of what American life is really like. A bit different from television and the movie films. Because it is vacation maybe not exactly the most objective view of things as they really are, but close enough. I try to temper the kids' judgments about this great country, balance their ideas with the truth insofar as that is possible and to the limited extent that kids even hear what their parents are saying. As far as the kids are concerned though, life in California is a hundred times better than Disneyland. Now that's pretty cool.
Better stop here, even though there are tons and tons of other things to write about. Like yesterday evening when we went out with David Wilsey, his wife Linda and their son Bryan for pizza, and we had a great chat afterwords at their house. Reminiscing about the good old days, talking politics, and discussing the fine art of raising kids. I had even brought with me a couple really old yellowing pictures of me and Dave when we were kids. Pretty funny and also embarrassing. However, I cannot spent the rest of the vacation blogging my limited and valuable vacation time away like this. Grandma will be returning shortly from the hairdresser, and I want to spend some quality time with the greatest mom and grand-mom in the whole wide world. Even vacation life has to continue.
As a symbolic gesture of thankfulness for these wonderful two weeks, I promised to go with the kids to the top of the hill behind the house. Once atop this famous monument of nature, we will salute the Monterey Bay Area with a couple of meditative moments of introspection and deep thanks.