This week was a whirlwind, with many more cherished memories made. At the beginning of the week we were still in New England, staying with a dear Bikram Yoga studio owner and her husband in their warm, inviting home. It is always fun to have a dinner date out together with them. During this visit to their house, one of their cute kittens climbed right up on my chest as I was working on my laptop…
It is always heartwarming when Loren and I can introduce our friends to each other. This week, while having coffee with a Bikram Yoga teacher friend, we were even able to reconnect longtime friends who had lost touch. When we mentioned that we had stayed overnight in her same home town with friends who we had met in Italy, she asked with who… and we had a nice telephone conversation to facilitate reviving their connection. Then Loren had a private Bikram Yoga lesson, picking up tips to improve his practice.
We also had dinner with a dear friend, her husband and adult son. She had moved to New England some years ago now and it was good to catch up with her again. We had fun too with the family’s lively puppy.
Then Loren and I drove to back to New York, stopping near Albany to stay overnight with good friends. They indulged us in my wish to visit Cherry Hill, an historic home that was showing a play about World War I called Dutch. I had no idea that the event would also include period snacks and tea sandwiches along with a complimentary historic WWI era cocktail. I chose the French 75 while Loren and our friends each had a Sidecar. In addition, we were treated to a Virtual Reality clip, a precursor part to the live play. While other audience members had their VR experiences, we toured the historic home. In the end, I believe our friends enjoyed the whole experience as much as I did!
In the morning before our departure we joined them in attending their church service, which included celebrating the 1st Sunday of Advent, then we had a delicious brunch out afterwards.
From there we headed to Connecticut for an evening visit with cousins… it is so nice to be able to see and catch up with so many family members and friends who we do not get to see very often.
The next day Loren and I returned to Albany where my younger niece is in her first semester of college. We had time to stop at the Capital Region Welcome Center before taking her for a lunch date, then stopping to see her dorm. I have no idea how she became such a mature 18 year old already? She was just celebrating her Sweet 16 yesterday and was a 6 year old soccer player the day before that, or so it seems…
As if that is not enough, my older niece is now living in her own home! That evening we visited with her and her delightful beau, seeing their lovely home, decorated for the holidays. Then we enjoyed an evening together which included playing in a trivia quiz contest over dinner at a local restaurant, making more treasured memories to savor. We actually won one round which will give them a discount on their next meal there.
On our last full day in New York Loren and I awoke to what became a gorgeous day.
After we took a Bikram Yoga class, Loren joined me on a driving tour to a few of the places of my childhood memories. For example I drove on Buckout Road, which in my youth was a narrow, winding, hilly road where as a new driver I and my friends sometimes went for joy rides. It was not to be on Buckout Road so much this time, as it was to find the nearby property where the last farm in White Plains had been located. This has a special meaning because my grandfather, who was the estate attorney for the owner, had tended the farm for a brief time after his client died, so that it could be properly and judiciously closed down. It is now the site of a local community garden.
I also drove by the house that my grandfather had built himself to sell to raise the cash to take my grandmother on their honeymoon. They bought a car, drove to California in 1928, then sold the car to take the train home to New York. One event they often recounted was how my grandfather was testing out how fast the car could go and was pulled over and given a speeding ticket in Pennsylvania. Aha! It is my grandfather who I inherited my lead foot from! The current owners of the house he built have it a lovely color, which is the same color that my grandparents home in a different neighborhood had been painted when I was a child. Then, we drove by the Washington Headquarters of my childhood. As we drove around the east coast, it dawned on me that while it is a familiar sight to me, it is not something we would see in California or other places west.
That evening we enjoyed another wonderful dinner visit with my brother and his wife, just the 4 of us, which was extra special, though I regret not capturing the evening with a photo… Now Loren and I have returned to California, to stay in the same room in the AirBnB where we had been staying since June. We have already had a couple of visits with Loren’s Mom and sister, and especially enjoyed the remaining fall colors in their backyard.
Loren and I spent our first full day back in California starting the day with a Bikram Yoga class, then paying a visit to the UC Berkeley Botanical Gardens on a day with more gorgeous weather. Our docent guide pointed out that this is the only Botanical Garden in the world where on a clear day you can see the Golden Gate Bridge in the far distance.
Even though the temperatures in northern California are in the 40’s and 50’s, we were still surprised to find that it felt cold out to us, given that we had just returned from weather in the teens, 20’s and 30’s. I hope you are keeping warm this winter!