This week we enjoyed having dear friends came up to “our” cabin for the day. We had a fun picnic lunch, a good long hike topped off by ice cream, and, a light supper before… More
Last week, two dear friends were visiting Loren and me at our AirBnB on Clear Lake. After a day’s drive along the east side of the lake together, we finished the day having ice cream at a park with Mount Konocti in view, then taking a walk around town.
This week started with the four of us taking another drive around the rest of the lake, along the west side. We began the day with a walk at Anderson Marsh,
then drove by the Dome home that Loren and his Dad had built 40 years ago, past the stalled refurbishing of Konocti Resort, and through Buckingham Park. We also stopped to see Bell Haven, a resort property that some years ago was in run down condition that Loren and I had seriously considered buying and refurbishing. Now, from over the gated fence we jealously admired the renovations that have been made. However we believe the costs incurred far exceed the vision that our own efforts likely would have produced.
Then we dropped in to see the salesman for Loren’s Dome kit, who still lives with his wife in their own dome home. We had a nice catchup visit, and learned he has recently established a new business downtown for slot car racing. While it loses money, it offers a place for kids of all ages to have fun. By the way, Clear Lake is the largest natural lake that is wholly in the state of California. It was fun over two days of meandering around to see some of the places that have been special in our friends’ lives over the years, showing them places here that are special to us, and making some new great memories.
Our last full day at the lakeside AirBnB was gorgeous – no clouds in the sky, and featured us hosting a BBQ. We were delighted that a cousin of mine who lives a couple hours away, and a long time friend of Loren’s who lives locally, were able to join us too.
Before Loren and I left the AirBnB, I caught a photo of one of the hosts’ many curio cabinets full of old phones. This one holds similar models nostalgic from my parents and grandparents homes during my childhood, especially the pink princess phone, and, the red and the black rotary models.
Then Loren and I were off for a lunch date with our friend who lives locally. His home was burned in one of the fires here a couple of years ago. He is just now having a garage built on his property, and, had tree trimmers come to shape up some badly burned trees.
Loren and I then relocated to van camp at a marina further north on the lake. On our first morning we went for a four hour kayak ride across part of Clear Lake and all the way to the end of Rodman Slough and back. Last week I was sure I had seen a pair of water birds walk upright on the lake, but the event ended so quickly I couldn’t point it out to anyone. I was excited then on Loren’s and my kayak ride to see several pair of what we now know are grebes, doing their mating dances which is culminated by walking on water. It was so astounding to me that I must share a video:
We must have seen at least a hundred grebes, dozens of great egrets and night herons, many great blue herons, lots of Canadian geese, a few North American geese, some ducks and cormorants, several raptors including osprey, a flock of pelicans, one bald eagle, and one black-plumed gray bird of some unknown-to-us sort, unless because it flitted out of sight perhaps it was another heron. There are a few noteworthy geese though that seem to be confused as to their “feather” – one American goose consistently seems to believe that s/he is a Canadian goose, and,
a trio of two American geese and a mallard who remain inseparable in the marina. Or, just maybe they all are teaching us that different cultures can live together in peace!
Loren and I have been additionally naturally entertained by a variety of fishing boats – a feature of Clear Lake is that it is a bass fisherman’s haven.
Another couple of highlights this week include going to the local cinema to see the new Lion King, which had me crying even more than the first version, and, driving to nearby Blue Lakes, where we had a refreshing dip followed by a picnic lunch in the shade.
At the start of this week Loren and I were still in Nebraska with Loren’s cousins. We enjoyed four educational days at the county fair with them this visit. We have always seen their many prized trophies earned over the years from 4H (Head, Heart, Hands and Health), and more recently FFA (Future Farmers of America), and this time we had the opportunity to experience firsthand what the trophy earning process is all about. We found it impressive! Loren’s cousin’s grandson earned not only first prize for showing one of his aunt’s goats, he also earned a coveted first place in a judging content.
You can see this aunt, who is Loren’s cousin’s daughter, being remembered by the local museum which had a booth at the fair. This is a photograph of her earning a prize for showing one of her chickens at the fair some years ago.
Our cousin’s daughter also coached our five year old cousin, who is a potential future 4Her, to show another of her goats. She has already learned well to always look at the judge as she parades the goat around the arena, one of the aspects of showing that the judge looks for, and, she was well prepared to answer the judge’s questions about the animal. He told us he was amused when she told him the goat was “…a pain in the butt,” however, he also said he has heard worse.
Other aspects of the fair included cheering for competing teams in such fun contests as bobbing for apples, searching for a toy chicken in a haystack, nailing nails into a board, and rolling enormous tractor tires end-to-end across a field. The evening concluded with a “Bohemian tractor pull” in which our cousin’s son-in-law took the lead on his team. He and his daughter had returned from Kansas City from a three day softball competition to participate in this brand new contest at the fair. Another first time event at the fair on a different evening was a team contest to catch a greased pig.
Our cousin’s granddaughter did not show animals this year — the first time in her life to not do so since she joined 4H. Her softball team team won the tournament. Then she and her dad stopped by at Loren’s cousin’s farm for a short visit between a private pitching lesson in Omaha and the start of an upcoming softball camp at Wichita State University.
Once the fair was over, it was back to farm work as usual for our cousins. I should clarify, the animal care chores were also accomplished on fair days, now the more time consuming work of checking and harvesting alfalfa could be attended to as well.
I had to snap a photo of the enchanting view from Loren’s cousin’s house of a neighboring farmhouse, a view I never tire of seeing when we visit the farm.
On our last evening in Nebraska, we enjoyed playing the card game, Pitch, with several members of the family. We went to bed with the weather report of “slight chance of thunderstorms” but we woke up to an ominous sky. As Loren’s cousin drove us to the airport, we encountered rain, which they do need for the crops, and which did not cause any delays or disturbance with our connecting flight through Denver to San Francisco.
Once back in the Bay Area, we had a lovely evening and dinner visit with Loren’s sister. As I was checking the battery in our van for integrity after it had sat idle a few weeks in front of her house, Loren received a message from our AirBnB host to not lock our bedroom because the lock was malfunctioning. We were surprised at the late hour of notice as we had been due to check in at 3pm. We were then grateful to Loren’s sister who invited us to stay overnight. The next day the lock was in working order. We enjoyed a dinner out with another AirBnB guest who we had become friends with from our previous long stay. Her sister manages the restaurant where we ate and it was nice to see her again too.
Then Loren and I were on the road again, this time heading for Clear Lake, northeast of Napa. It was nostalgic to see the blooming oleander along the more rural freeway. It struck me that all the freeways in the bay area had had roads similarly decorated when I first moved to California. That lasted until the increases in traffic necessitated removing them in the more densely populated areas, to make additional lanes for the people.
We had invited friends to join us at our AirBnB and they arrived not long after we did. We four spent today driving around parts of the lake where we all have memories. Most notable are the houses and apartment complex that one of our friends’ father built in the 1970’s, which are still in excellent condition.
We took along a picnic lunch and stopped at a roadside park to enjoy it. While there we had a different view of the most prominent feature of the lake – Mount Konocti. A few weeks ago I read something in the New York Times about spending 2 hours a week in nature… actually, I think we should spend 2 hours a day in nature when we can.
At the start of this week, Loren and I were still in Ipswich, where our AirBnB host – who taught us about microwavable pancakes – took us for a kayak ride in Plum Island Sound. Fortunately she knew the water patterns and it was an enjoyable day, though we could see how easily it could have been grueling if instead we had been fighting the currents. We finished the evening playing a game of Scrabble together.
The next morning Loren and I took a stroll around Strawberry Hill. Unlike the trek we took on Poon ‘Hill’ in the Himalaya, this ‘hill’ is a flat walk on a mowed path to the water’s edge. Then we returned to the house for the Women’s Soccer Finals, where we watched the US defeat the Netherlands.
We also went on an historic town walking tour. Ipswich boasts several homes and buildings still standing from the 1600’s, 1700’s, 1800’s, reminding me how and where parts of early America was settled and claimed its independence. And everywhere tiger lilies are blooming.
Then we were off to New York. We first stopped in for a final — for now — Bikram yoga class in North Andover.
Once in New York we drove through Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonia neighborhood which we had seen last Thanksgiving, again in appreciation of his unmistakable home designs. Afterwards we read how UNESCO World Heritage thinks his works are extraordinary too, adding these eight of his innovations to their official list:
. Fallingwater in Pennsylvania
. the Guggenheim Museum in New York
. the Hollyhock House in Los Angeles
. the Jacobs House in Wisconsin
. the Robie House in Chicago
. Taliesin in Wisconsin
. Taliesin West in Arizona, and
. the Unity Temple in Illinois
We finished our day with a wonderful evening with my brother, his wife and younger daughter, then spent the night at an AirBnB in the Battle Hill neighborhood of White Plains, named for one of the sites led by George Washington in the Revolutionary War.
Our connecting flight the next day took us through Detroit, then we were on our way to Omaha. Dear cousins from Denver picked us up, and as we drove south, we were in Iowa for about one mile, which their new car’s navigation system loudly announced upon our brief departure and reentry into Nebraska. Along the drive we stopped for a lovely dinner together. Then we arrived at the precious farm where Loren’s first cousin lives.
We had a lovely first day at the farm, then while this cousin was attending to the needs opening the County Fair which she oversees, another cousin took us on a tour of rural cemeteries in nearby Rulo and Falls City to find family plots. Here I noticed markers proclaiming certain headstones as “G.A.R.” I came to learn that these denoted the soldiers who served in the “Grand Army of the Republic” during the Civil War. Over dinner with these cousins we toasted with “Bloody Beer,” a drink of tomato juice mixed in with beer.
In the morning we helped a cousin with a small part of his home remodel, holding up a mantel piece for him to bolt in place. Then we reminisced about the history of this home, which was beautifully preserved for the ages through paint on an old saw.
This is also where Loren remembers 50 years ago this month watching the old black and white television in this living room when Neil Armstrong said his famous quote heard over the airwaves on being the first person to land on the moon on July 20, 1969:
That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.
He also proudly showed us the buckets of trophy home run balls his daughter has earned over the last few years, as she approaches her junior year in High School this fall.
We bade our Denver cousins a safe drive home before we headed off to see the goat showing competition at the County Fair… please read more on this in next week’s post.
Loren and I spent most of this week in Massachusetts, still staying in North Andover at the start of the week. After taking a Bikram yoga class, we had an enjoyable breakfast date with the yoga studio’s venerable 83 year old practitioner. She is featured in the studio owner’s book for Bikram Yoga teachers, where she is quoted as one who takes daily yoga class instead of daily prescription drugs, unlike most of her friends. Afterwards I went to the local Red Cross office to complete a CPR course, then Loren and I enjoyed watching A Star Is Born at our AirBnB home.
That evening we had a delicious dinner and meaningful visit at the home of a dear friend who moved back to Massachusetts from California some years ago. She and her family commented on how their dog was so comfortable with me, as this only happens with those who are family members.
The next morning our AirBnB host fixed us a yummy breakfast, and I appreciated a walk in her yard just as light rain began. Loren and I then went to the yoga studio for a Yoga Talk but, with it now hailing, the only other attendee was our 83 year old friend. So it was half yoga talk and half social, or perhaps more social than yoga. Loren and I decided to stay for the 4pm class, then we drove on to our next AirBnB on the Atlantic coast in Ipswich.
We arrived before our host had returned home, and we delighted in seeing so much of the inspirational quotes, artwork, and imagery around her house that she has collected. Then we were treated to a beautiful sunset outside her window.
A friend from New York had previously suggested we visit Cape Ann, north of Cape Cod, and as it turns out, Ipswich is just next to Cape Ann. So far we have taken a long walk with our AirBnB host and a friend of hers at Crane Beach, which boasts six miles of undeveloped sand and dunes. We encountered numerous shore birds, as well as starfish and remnants of horseshoe crab along the coast.
That evening we four attended a talk in Rockport at the point of Cape Ann, that was given by our AirBnB host’s renter, an ecological expert and accomplished author. His talk was arranged for the local garden club. Earlier in the week some of the gardeners had created floral impressions of the art on display. It was also fascinating to see some of the pieces that were still on hand.
Afterwards we walked around the quaint streets of Rockport, then out to the wharf to snap photos of Motif #1, a building thought to be the one most often painted in all the world.
The next morning Loren and I were up early to travel to Maine to see more friends who have relocated from California to a senior living community in Topsham, said top-sum. We were surprised at the large size of their new home, impressed with the tour they gave us of nearby Bowdoin College in Brunswick, and, appreciated spending time with them and some of their neighbors who were also interested in seeing the Women’s FIFA semifinals that ended up ensuring the US a place over England in the finals.
That evening Loren and I continued on to see BoothBay Harbor – a place Loren had been thwarted in seeing the grandeur of 40 years ago due to overcast skies. We were fortunate to have clear skies this time. This allowed us to share clam chowder, scallops and lobster outdoors, while being treated to a view of the harbor, before our return drive to Ipswich.
The next day Loren and I watched the other soccer semifinals match, resulting in it being the Netherlands who will face our US team on Sunday. That evening we attended the opening event of a month-long art show in Ipswich titled, “Americans Who Tell the Truth.” We were tickled to find our AirBnB renter among those being recognized. We followed up the event with a stroll on the Ipswich RiverWalk, where we encountered an enormous mural depicting aspects of our country’s early history.
By coincidence, the next day was Independence Day. Loren and I hope you too had a wonderful 4th of July, celebrating a Happy Birthday to us in the US. We spent the day by taking a Bikram yoga class, then heading out of town to visit yet more special friends – another couple who have moved to Massachusetts from California. We were treated to a delicious lunch, a dip in a nearby pond, and a tasty BBQ dinner, all while catching up on each others’ lives. We learned a new word from them to add to our vocabulary – Loren and I are peripatetics, because we travel from place to place.
We have just a couple more nights in Massachusetts. It is claimed that “Everyone in Ipswich is Buddhist,” or so said the long term renter/award winning writer at our AirBnB. At the least our AirBnB host practices a form of Buddhism. In honor of Ipswich, Buddhism, and, us being peripatetic, I will include this inspirational quote that Loren came across a couple of months ago:
On an ancient wall in China, where a brooding Buddha blinks
Deeply graven is the message, “It is later than you think”
The clock of life is wound but once and no one has the power
To know just when the hands will stop at late or early hour.
Now is all the time you own, the past a golden link.
Go cruising now my brother, it is later than you think.
It was more than a full week, spent in memorable times with my cousins, and with me taking a robust Bikram Yoga seminar. Hence this post is more than a little late…
Loren and I began our week still in New Hampshire, where the state license plates proclaim: Live Free Or Die. We had another good visit with my cousin and her husband, this time including their children and grandchildren, and her mother. I found a photo of my great-grandfather holding my mother’s cousin – my cousin’s father, on display in her mother’s room. We also helped setup for the big family party to celebrate my cousin’s husband’s 65th birthday.
Later that afternoon Loren and I took a drive around Lake Sunapee, where I had hoped to be able to spot the cabin I had visited a few times with a dear friend some years ago. Alas, without the address and directions, it turned out to be simply a nice drive around a large New Hampshire lake.
That evening our AirBnB hosts offered us a ride around the smaller Lake Horace in their motor boat, something they often do with their dog. It was a nice way to finish our day.
The next day was the big party. It was awesome to have more chances to visit with each of them, their children and spouses, see the grandchildren play, and spend time with their extended family members, neighbors and friends.
We enjoyed lots of good food and games, and the next day we returned for a delicious brunch, thoroughly enjoying more time to visit together.
Then Loren and I were off to Massachusetts, where the state license plates proclaim: The Spirit of America. Loren had a mostly relaxing week at another AirBnB, while I attended the seminar each day, well into each evening. I have now taught over 250 Bikram Yoga classes – of those I taught well over 100 just in the past year, so it was time to take my experience and skills to the next level. It was also great to see three of my teacher training Littermates from our 9 weeks spent together in 2014.
Another teacher brought her family along for the week. It was fun to see her studio’s advertisement for Bikram Yoga on her son’s t-shirt. On one of the days, Loren had the opportunity to participate in a private lesson demonstration for us, and he actually took several classes with us this week.
Our week ended with a fun visit to nearby Hampton beach,
followed by a delicious “lobstah” dinner, ice cream desert, and, my first viewing of the The Princess Bride from 1987 with Peter Falk, Billy Crystal, Andre the Giant, and others.
Not only did we have a fulfilling week, I expanded my knowledge for future classes and Loren and I met and got to know more wonderful world-wide Bikram Yoga teachers.
This week we celebrated Father’s Day with my brother and his beautiful family at their lake house in New York where we were staying. Despite the overcast and on-and-off rainy weather, my brother was still able to go out on his boat and fish a little. It was his wife who caught the fish while out on the boat with him.
Otherwise we spent the day relaxing, celebrating his upcoming birthday and enjoying a scrumptious mix of takeout and home made dishes for dinner.
My only disappointment that evening was there was no Warriors v Raptors Game 7 to watch… Congrats to the Raptors once again.
The next day, after a too short but memorable visit with my brother and his family, Loren and I drove 4 hours north to visit in New Hampshire. This is the view of Lake Horace from the deck of our AirBnB. Loren has enjoyed kayaking a couple of mornings.
We enjoyed taking lunch nearby to my cousins here and seeing all the additional work they have put in on the house that they moved into last summer. We also admired the beautiful birds who visit her generous feeders – and she can differentiate all the species!
Then we had a fun evening with friends who live in New Hampshire who we had met in Italy a couple of years ago. They suggested a restaurant in Manchester that is “an institution in the area—started years ago by a Greek family.”
The next evening my cousins joined us at our AirBnB for a dinner I prepared, including a desert to celebrate both her husband’s and Loren’s upcoming milestone birthdays…
While in New York and here in New Hampshire I have enjoyed taking some Bikram Yoga classes, which is what Loren and I did the next morning. We were treated to a class by one of the visiting teachers from my teacher training in Los Angeles in 2014. I love it that I can enjoy the same yoga class when we travel to areas that offer the Bikram yoga style!
That afternoon Loren and I visited the Currier Museum of Art, and we were both enraptured by the glass paperweights display from the mid-1800’s.
We finished the day visiting another Frank Llyod Wright house that is owned by this museum, donated to them by the original and only owners, the Zimmermans.
Tomorrow we are looking forward to my cousin’s big birthday bash!
Hello from New York! And, Happy Father’s Day tomorrow to all our family and friends who are Fathers!
Before leaving California last Saturday night, and after packing up our belongings at our AirBnB, Loren and I enjoyed a delightful meal out with special friends who we made at the AirBnB where we stayed just 3 days shy of a full year.
While we were in the restaurant, we received a text message that our flight leaving San Francisco airport that evening was delayed. It was long enough to interfere with our connecting flight and to cause us to be late for our scheduled rental car pickup. We called the airline only to find it would be at least a two hour wait time to speak with an agent…
A dear friend had offered to drive us to the airport, and we only pushed back our ride with him by half an hour to have enough time to speak with an airline representative at the airport. I am grateful we went early and had the delayed flight because, when we arrived at SFO, I discovered I had forgotten my ID. Loren was kind to me about all the effort it took for us with round-trip public transit and Uber rides to retrieve it. We were also able to rearrange our rental car pickup time. When we returned to the airport, our flight had been further delayed due to severe thunder storms in Georgia. We had actually needed most of that extra time. We ultimately left San Francisco 4 hours late, spent 4 extra hours in Atlanta, and arrived safe in New York 8 hours later than scheduled. I smiled on seeing an advertisement from the amusement park of my youth at the airport.
As Loren said, “It was a journey just trying to leave!”
Fortunately Loren and I had both been able to sleep some on the overnight flight. We rented the car, and drove to Pennsylvania to arrive at my junior high school friend’s place where we had a lovely visit. We extended our stay an additional night, to make up for how late we had arrived. We played cards together and I put together an easy puzzle which nearly had me feeling like I had visited the Jersey shore.
While in Pennsylvania one evening, we went to a local bar to watch the NBA Finals’ Warriors vs Raptors Game 5. This lounge had 10 televisions, with 8 of them showing the basketball game. Loren and I were thrilled when our team won!
On returning to New York, Loren and I enjoyed a wonderful Mexican dinner with my brother, his wife and their younger daughter. The waiter prepared our guacamole to order at our table. Similarly he prepared a fiery table-side display for my niece’s desert.
The next day I drove to the upstate village where my father had said his father was born. My brother and I have known little about my father’s side of the family because his parents both died young. I had driven my father to this town once in recent years before he died, but I had not learned much from that trip. This time I stopped at the Village Clerk’s office and was rewarded with seeing the handwritten record of my grandfather’s birth. Now I know the exact month and day of his birth – in addition to the year which I had previously learned from his headstone – as well as the names of my grandfather’s parents. Then I went to the village cemetery and was fortunate to find not only my great-grandfather’s and great-grandmothers’ tombstones, but also this great-grandmother’s parents tombstones. I was so touched to find these special ones’ graves.
On leaving the area, I was treated to a great blue heron sitting on a rock in a pond on the side of the road, and just had to snap its’ photo. That evening Loren and I were sorry to see our Warriors lose the Finals to the Raptors in Game 6 of the series. Our team had suffered several injuries in the post season, and another key player had to leave that game due to an injury, dashing the team’s dreams of wining a three-peat championship.
There have been other aspects of nature that also caused me to pause to snap a photo this week – from a colorful bush that reminds me of Australian eucalyptus, to the density of dogwood blossoms this season, to a cardinal and bluejay on adjacent tree branches.
The next day Loren and I had an hours-long lunch date with another dear friend of mine. She brought photos of she and me from before I had moved to California. I was shocked to be reminded how I had looked thirty years ago when we had visited Cape Cod together one summer. That evening Loren and I went to see The Secret Life of Pets 2, which was as amusing as my recollection of the first Pets film that I had caught most of during a long flight some year or so ago.
Today, we had another wonderful time with my brother, his wife and their younger daughter, in driving to and taking a guided tour of historic West Point. We learned its location was strategic at the time of the Revolutionary War to take advantage of a particular narrow passage of the Hudson River, preventing the British to pass between their ports in New York and Canada. It was a lovely day and we were grateful for the information imparted to us with the high caliber of our tour guide – might I even label her a guidess?
Tomorrow we look forward to spending Father’s Day with my brother, who is a great Dad to two beautiful young women.
As Loren and I make our last preparations to leave California after a year in the AirBnB near Loren’s Mom and sister’s house — now Loren’s sister’s house, we made a priority to have some special connections with important people in our lives. First I want to record how our bedroom has been brightened all week by a bouquet we took home from Loren’s Mom’s Celebration of Life last Saturday.
We began our week over a patio brunch with dear neighbors from San Jose, who drove up our way with their treasured family member – their dog, Arctic. I regret not taking photos, however our meaningful and deep conversations, and a pleasant connection with our waitress who is originally from Turkey, made for good memories.
One evening we enjoyed a nice evening with Loren’s sister over a barbecue, and relaxed together afterwards over desert on her back deck. She offered that I could pick more of her scrumptious lemons. Like other brimming bags-full this spring that I have taken to the yogis, these lemons were gleefully snatched up after the next classes that I taught.
Another evening was spent over dinner with Loren’s Godson at what has become a favorite sushi restaurant. Afterwards we went together for ice cream at the parlor Loren frequented on occasion since childhood. Later in the week we enjoyed a pizza dinner with his godson’s parents. We are impressed with the rig his father is outfitting for off-roading and overnighting in the desert – similar to our van in that its size can neatly fit into any parking spot. We look forward to testing out the 5 seater cab when he graciously drives us to the airport for our flight.
One day this week Loren and I drove to San Jose where Loren had a meeting with some of the men who were advisors to him in his business. During that time I had a wonderful, though too short catchup lunch with a beloved girlfriend. Again I didn’t capture the time with my camera, though smiles and tears will linger on in my heart.
A different sort of event this week was when one of our AirBnB friends turned 14 years of age. This afternoon we look forward to a belated birthday meal together to celebrate with him and his Mom. She has gaily decorated the door to their spacious bedroom for the occasion, which we also derived pleasure upon seeing…
Loren and I also thoroughly enjoyed viewing a Warrior’s basketball game in Toronto at a Watch Party over a light meal at a theater in Oakland. We attended with these same friends. Together we rode BART there and back. You may not be able to tell from my photos that we were treated to seeing our team win up close on a movie-theater-size screen. Sadly our guys lost Games 1, 3 and 4 so far in this Finals series, from some of our key players having to miss playing for a variety of injuries. We are still hopeful that they can make a miraculous comeback to win the best of 7 when the competition continues again in Toronto next week… they must win each of the next 3 games. Fingers crossed!
Loren has reconnected with his bicycle while we have been here and is off for one more good ride before our departure. For me, I am grateful for the many months I have taught classes for the local Bikram Yoga studio. It has been the longest stretch of time that I have been consistently on a studio’s schedule since my training in 2014, and my teaching skills now reflect the benefits of this time and focus. I was moved when one of my newer students, who knows I will be traveling, expressed her appreciation to me with a bouquet of flowers and a card that says how much my classes have meant to her. Personally, I took the studio’s 30 day challenge that was offered in May, and kept up my daily practice for another 7 days beyond its end. Since then with teaching and packing I had to miss a day though intend to take classes as regularly as I can going forward.
Next week’s post on our blog will be from New York, where Loren and I will have begun a month-long visit with more dear family and friends who live on the East Coast. Farewell for now California!
It was another memorable week in Castro Valley, California and its environs. Loren and I started our week attending an informal dance show put on by one of our AirBnB friends. He is 13 years old and will turn 14 next week. He has been able to claim part of the AirBnB garage for his dance studio. He is quite the gentleman too – of the four women among us in attendance, he invited me – the oldest woman, to share a dance with him.
The next day was Memorial Day, and with him and his Mom Loren and I went to see Aladdin at the local theater. It was an awesome rendition of the story! At one point I was laughing so hard that I cried, which opened the gates for me to shed more tears as the plot thickened. In that way it exceeded my bar for a movie – they are the best when they elicit me to laugh and also to cry.
In preparation for the Golden State Warriors Finals Game 1 also this week against the Toronto Raptors, our friend – the Mom, created this appealing poster, which recognizes the team’s recent history, slogans, sport and colors.
Loren and I also enjoyed a few meals with friends this week. One evening we had a fabulous dinner with one dear friend at an Italian restaurant. A highlight of the meal was drinking a bottle of Nebbiolo together, an Italian wine from the Piemonte region of Italy, where Lorens mother’s parents each hailed from.
Another day we enjoyed a coffee date with a couple who were at our wedding. In fact he was Loren’s Best Man. We lingered over our drinks for a few hours and could easily have spent more time in good conversation together. Towards the end of the week, Loren and I had a fun lunch date with another couple to try a New York style thin slice cheese pizza. It was doughier than I remember from New York, but the flavor was indeed reminiscent of slices I had as a child. I noticed the smiles on the face of the one friend were so much more pronounced than I had ever remembered seeing, and I attribute that to her recent retirement, or, maybe it is that the preparation for their daughter’s wedding that they recently hosted at their home is now behind them.
This week too, I completed my 30 day Bikram Yoga challenge! It feels good to have gone everyday for a month, and I continued the challenge – today I took class for my 32nd day in a row. Not all who attempted the challenge completed it, but at least several gave it a whirl. It was also fun to see the studio manager’s puppy there one day. It seems that just a few weeks ago the manager was holding her puppy in her arms like an infant, but now she is much too big for that. She brought her in to the studio for the first time in a long time, as the pup is recovering from being spayed this week.
The most important event for us this week is that we formally celebrated the life of Loren’s Mom. It was a small gathering, beautifully coordinated by Loren’s sisters, and it was a wonderful tribute. From the tasty fare, to the photo collages, to the meaningful conversations with special friends, neighbors, coworkers and family, and, the heartfelt remembrances and accolades, I am sure she would have been touched if she could have been there in person. Her daughters even thought to display her favorite poem, Joyce Kilmer’s Trees. To use one of Loren’s Mom’s favorite phrases, the event was Super Duper!
Happy Memorial Day weekend! I am especially remembering my father today, who was a WWII veteran. He left Syracuse University to volunteer for the US Army with the intent to preserve freedom, like so many young men of his generation did. He was a lucky one, able to return to finish his studies and have a good, long life. My brother and I had the fortune to escort him to his college reunion twelve years ago, then the next year to commemorate my niece’s Sweet Sixteenth birthday celebration. He died at age 91, just five years ago this month.
Like my father, when I become interested in a sports team, I am all in. In addition to the Syracuse Orange athletic teams, his was the New York Yankees baseball team. Right now, mine is the Golden State Warriors basketball team. Loren and I are so proud of them for their sweep of the Western Conference Finals. They “Won the West” against the Portland Trailblazers in just four games.
Now we will face the Toronto Raptors later this week, starting in Toronto. They similarly took the Eastern Conference Finals, but it took them six games to win the series. During one of their games played in Toronto, a newscaster borrowed a Raptors fan’s placard to show the camera. It said “The Bucks Stop Here!” a witty play on President Truman’s famous statement, “The buck stops here.” I wonder what slogan their fans might come up with for our upcoming series? Regardless, while they were right about the Bucks, I have faith that our two-consecutive-years championship team will clinch the three-peat…
Other news this week is, my 30 day challenge of taking a Bikram yoga class every day for 30 days is nearly over. Since I am not on the schedule to teach through the end of the month I will not have to spend the more than four hours in the hot room – like I did on the days when I also taught two classes, to complete my own yoga class for the day. What I noticed this week on my drive to and from the yoga studio are the bountiful roses in full bloom along the freeway overpass.
Loren and I finished out this week having dinner with friends at a restaurant that Loren and I used to frequent a lot before we began our travels. Before dinner Loren and I took a walk around the downtown of our neighborhood, something we always enjoyed doing when we lived there. It was interesting to note what is new mixed in with what we remember. Later, in the restaurant, it took me aback to notice a familiar chair with the same upholstery as I remembered from that long ago.
Loren and I so appreciate our family and friends for keeping up with us here on our blog all this time. It is nearly a year that we have been staying at the AirBnB near what is now Loren’s sister’s house. Next week we will have a small gathering to celebrate their Mom’s life. The following week, Loren and I will begin to resume our travels. We will start off with a visit to New York again, and are excited to share here all that will come next.