Monday, February 18, 2019

Necessities Wrapped in the Joy of Little Boy Love

February 1-15, 2019
Valencia, California

February begins with a rare visit with the other grandsons. Maximus and Mason are Nick's sons (Bill's oldest, our number two). We meet them in the park on a cloudy and chilly day, but with all the rain we're having Maximus is very ready to get some time outside. He and I take Tessa for a walk around the grounds while Mason and PopPop hang out with the parents. A quick lunch, and too soon this time with them is over. Hopefully there will be more in the next few weeks.

Maximus, age 2

Maximus with Daddy on the big-boy swing.

PopPop and Mason getting to know each other.
Saturday it pours rain and we forego The Accidentals house concert down the hill. We're big fans so don't mind that we "donated" the price of a couple tickets to this talented trio. Still bummed we didn't get to see them again.

Super Bowl Sunday the rain continues, but we make the drive to our good friends in Lake Elsinore for the game. We're meeting up with more high school friends there as well.

Lousy game, good commercials, enjoyable half-time, and really, really great time with our friends. We return home not long after the game ends. More rain but the traffic isn't too bad. 

We love getting together with these life-long pals. Jodee, Kevin, Bridgette, Anna, Jimmy, Bill, Donnie, Marc and Maggie.

Sharing laughs over stories old and new.

Bridgette and Anna find something more interesting than the game.

Lizzie shares my opinion.

Maggie and Tessa share some cuddle time.
The next couple weeks blur into dentist and doctor visits, lots of time with Ezra, a surprisingly quick visit to DMV, an afternoon with friends, and lazy days inside while we get more rain. We enjoy dinner with Travis (Bill's number three, our number five) and Emily who married last June. Ezra joins us as they are his favorites.

Chuck E Cheese on a Monday because we can :-)

Dancing with the big mouse. Afterwards, Ezra is the only one who thanks Chuck E. Love this kid!

Loving the clock "ride".

Always crowded, but our DMV moves people quickly.

Cold but sunny day at the playground.

Such a happy boy!

Ezra having fun with his Auntie Em.

Travis wonders where Ezra gets all that energy!

On Saturday Ezra, Daddy and I pick up his new big-boy bed from IKEA. He doesn't know how long the line will take :-)

Practicing patience.

Later we get pics of his fun new bed.

Complete with "under there" play space!

Another day playing outside.

You're getting too big sweet boy!
Bill's former boss reaches out to get together at their lovely home in Burbank. They're retiring in a few months and want to pick our brains about the RV-life. I naturally forget to take any pics while there, but we enjoy a very fun Sunday afternoon with Rick and Sue.

Back in October I broke a tooth that was annoying but never caused me any problems. Then a few weeks ago I noticed that the tooth next to it had also chipped off. I swear I don't eat rocks! Tuesday I get my first crowns. My dentist is amazing and although it's a lengthy process, the procedure is pain and stress-free. One more thing off the list!

Friday we drive into Hollywood for lunch at the iconic Canters Deli. I have wonderful memories of eating here with my mom over several years. When we walk in I nearly start crying as the smell is exactly how I remember it! Even better, my borscht, knish and stuffed cabbage taste the same as well. Prices have increased to the ridiculous, but I'm so happy we made the day trip for this tasty memory.

No changes in 50 years!

Cold beet borscht - heavenly!


Early preparations for the Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland.

Hollywood and Vine where Lana Turner was discovered, and where I met Sammie Davis, Jr.
We're both getting hitch-itch, but having so much Ezra time around all our necessary appointments makes our stay in one place enjoyable. I already know how hard it's going to be to leave him this time :-(

Table cars with PopPop has all three of us laughing. Life is good.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Focusing On What's Important

January 23-31, 2019
Desert Center-Banning-Valencia, California

We're very happy to move on from Tucson. So happy in fact that I drive all the way to Desert Center, California. 325 miles is a long day for us, but it's a familiar drive and not one that requires additional exploration this time.

In Desert Center we hook up at one friend's house and cross the street to visit with another. It's a perfect place for us to regroup after our little medical drama.

We are so blessed that this view is still available to us after all these years.
Bill and I grew up in this area, went to Eagle Mountain High School. Not surprising our mascot was the Eagle. Still, we didn't know that just to the south there is an amazing natural stone eagle. Recently discovered, we're anxious to take the Jeep out to find it.

It doesn't disappoint!

The Stone Eagle

Kevin on the rock raptor.

The weather is perfect and the desert very green.

The headgate of the pumping station in the distance.

The fiery blooms of the Ocotillo are everywhere.

The Weeping Woman in repose - the camera is tilted in this shot.

Vast views with a peek of the solar farm.

Lupine blooms cover the hills.

Nothing other than a post office remains open in the ghost town of Desert Center.

Many of us have memories of milk shakes and burgers, of first jobs, of the stories of travelers passing through.

Each year a little more is gone.

The past fades but in our memories.
We spend the day playing in the desert with Kevin, while Bridgette is off to Mexico with a couple neighbors. I make a pot of taco soup, and we spend the evening visiting with these dear friends.

Winston keeps us entertained with his antics. What a character! No, of course I don't remember a photo of the humans :-))
At the last minute we decide to add a stop in Banning to see some of our other high school friends. As it turns out, it is a very serendipitous change of plans. So important to take the time to see people you love whenever you have the opportunity.

Tommy, Shirlene, Maggie, Bill, Stacy, Jodee and Eric - thanks for the photo Jimmy!

Dear friends, lots of laughs.
Saturday is a perfect SoCal day of blue skies, mild temps and no wind. A beautiful drive that takes us to our family! Jeff moved back to Seattle in December, but the other five sons, two and a half daughter-in-laws (one wedding pending), and three grandsons all live in Santa Clarita.

Snow on San Gorgonio and non-spinning wind turbines.
We set up at Valencia Travel Village for a few weeks (we'll extend like always), and before long Ezra has come to play!! Oh how we've missed this little boy who is as excited to see us as we are him. Nothing better!

Ezra Michael

Glad the park has this playground. We spend a lot of time here!

He's getting so tall.
We get together with the boys, get our eye appointments out of the way, and spend more time with Ezra over the next several days. 

Richie, Bill and Gabbie
Simple joy.

These two!

Can you see me?
Nothing like a medical hiccup to remind us what's most important. Having this time to spend with family and good friends has been wonderful. In February we still have more grandsons to see; a Super Bowl party to attend; more doctor, vet and dentist appointments; friends and extended family to visit; and a maintenance checkup for the rig. Life goes on.