The entire trip seemed like I would have to cancel it. On Saturday morning, the girl work up crying about her ear hurting. Luckily her ped said to just bring her right to the office. After the ped looking too worried for this mom, that she didn't know what was wrong. She gave me an Rx for ear drops and said to continue the antibiotics. She said she had no idea what was wrong, but to keep an eye on her for swelling and infection(the pain wasn't in her ear, it was near the jaw bone). So by the time we were in the car it was late and we had a long uneventful drive.
We stayed with my grandma. She has a darling little house, a pretty garden and a little lap dog (as the girl pointed out, he looks like a sausage with tiny stick legs). We spent time with grandma, my aunts and their children.
Later in the week, the kids and I grabbed a map and went to Berkeley. We visited the Lawrence Hall of Science. Everyone should visit - even without children. The view is unparalleled. It sits on a hill and overlooks San Francisco. You can see all the bridges, Alcatraz, and, well, almost everything. One exhibit made a huge impression on me. There is this patio with viewing of the city. They have two rocks and every year move them closer together. Then you look over the water and it's exactly like and island and land. At the rate of 5 cm per year, the island is moving. It won't be visibly from than point in 40 years. I hope I'm lucky enough to visit again in 40 years to see how the island disappeared from view.
After the museum, we went up and over to the home of the Bruins. While we didn't have time to really explore much of the University, I did find a restaurant that my grandmother took me to when I was 16. Pretty impressive for a flighty mind! We found our way back to my grandmother's without stress. I'm finding that the freeways of Northern and Southern California are etching themselves into my mind and I am loosing all fear of getting lost.
The boy and male cousins all went to see Beowulf in 3d. None were impressed with much, except the slaughter of some serpent/dragon. My Aunt J and I had a nice walk on the water interspersed with the girl being joyful and a handful.
My cousin (almost a teenager herself!), spent the day with us and she was sweet and entertained the girl. Eventually she asked for a "project". So the she, the girl and the dog, went hunting for perfect leaves to wash and dry and decorate for the Thanksgiving dinner.
Thanksgiving is always one of those holidays that you prepare for the entire week, and it's over in an hour and this year was no exception. I was so blessed that all of my Aunties made it. Of course, I longed for my mom to be there... I can see bits and pieces of my mom in them, but I always long for the real thing. My Aunt C is always social and carries conversations so everyone feels instantly at ease, my Aunt D is careful, makes things beautiful and I have always thought quite brilliant, My Aunt J has a way about her that makes me feel like my mom's shadow is with her - mostly quite and especially gentle - there is a naiveté and sweetness. Maybe it's the color of her eyes... I think you always miss the ones you love even more during the holidays.
I have to laugh at how my grandmother and I settled into a routine. Every morning she would make coffee and pull out the paper. After she reads a section, I read it and comment on her small town news, then when the paper is done, she folds the crossword puzzle out and fold it just so. Then she goes to work. Eventually she puts it down and gets ready for the day and I try the puzzle. I almost always want to rip it to shreds and end up throwing it on the table. later in the day we both pick it up and put it down. Sometimes we get out crossword books (until last year I had no idea there were books made specifically for solving these puzzles). When on of the aunts comes over it's something they gravitate to and they also give it a try. One in particular is very gifted at it and FINISHES hers without the books or Internet. I know it sounds goofy, but I love the routine - even though not solving it makes me quite a spoiled brat.
Grandma's dog is a younger dog. But totally a personality. He loves the girl and would sit on her lap all day under a blanket if she could possibly sit still long enough. he roots around under the blanket like a little pig searching for truffles and then sighs and collapses with cozy joy.
I watched a lot of television - I'm not sure if I shared that I do not use cable - I just have broadcast television. So the whole cable thing is a novelty and from about 9pm-11pm, I'm hunting for shows on Bravo, food network or Turner classic movies. And the kids are exposed to Ben10 and Sponge bob in the morning. Last night, I saw part of Team America with the boy and ended up walking away at the puking scene...I think I had my annual fill of cable television. And thank God, he missed the sex scene. Somethings should NOT be seen with your mother.
It was hard to leave - there is no one like your grandmother, I'm beyond words to say how much I adore her. The drive home was hard hard hard! The girl suddenly became Chatty Kathy and said things like "Why would a bottle of water explode in the freezer? What if it was juice? Would soda explode more? Oh I know - I froze a glass of water one time!" and on and on.... the boy and I just started cracking up. She just kept going and going.
We finally hit the Grapevine and it was torture. Constant stop and go. Eventually, my calf, shoulders and hands were in pain. It took almost three hours to get from the top of the Grapevine to the 405. In the dark. Eventually I pulled out all the Cd's and made the kids sing Broadway musicals. I know, cruel punishment. But it is entertaining - for me. I love to sing and I am quite bad at it. I have all of the joy, but none of the talent. So Chicago, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and Hairspray. By the time we got down I had moved onto oldies - Rod Stewart. I have a special affinity for Rod. It could be I was named after a song he sang, or because of the young man who played and sang Rod's songs on his guitar one summer night under the stars for me when I was a young girl... Rod put both children soundly asleep until we were almost home. Thank you, Rod Darling!
So now I have unpacking, laundry and a party to prepare for tomorrow. Maybe I will have less domestic topics for you all next week...