A Whirlwind Visit

Cody-and-Mum It felt like I had hardly been gone a few days when I landed down in SoCal last week. I was so glad to leave here, with winter coming on fast. As I lifted up out of Seatac, it was pouring and gray and miserable and all I could think of was SUN.

This time I rented a car and that worked out great. Picked it up from Budget and as it was rush hour, took Burbank Blvd instead of the 101 to Ryan. So good to see him and the others. He had got home a little before me but we spent some time chatting before I hit the sack. It takes so long to get from here to there; a whole day.

reds house

The following day I went to meet this friend of a friend who lives in Topanga Canyon. She is battling to keep her house, sort of like I did to keep this one. Red (her name) has a really sweet spot on what looks like a couple of acres. She's lived there for more than 20 years and everything she has is wrapped up in the property. She is very chatty and has had an interesting life. Anyway, we sat outside and had tea under the oak trees. It's the California scrub oak but so pretty.

Before I met up with her, I drove around the canyons, trying to get a feel for it. I had really liked it that first time Ryan and I went to the Inn of the Seven Rays and that's when I first considered the idea of moving back down there. The roads are VERY windy, switchbacks, but fortunately there aren't too many cars. I wanted to find out if it might be too isolated there seeing as I am a real hermit in some ways. But I think that having met Red, it would be OK as she could introduce me to to people a bit. There is a lot going on in the community, yoga, theater etc., so I would have make the effort to get out more - way more than I do here.

So I think it would work if I decide to move back to SoCal.

On Friday I headed up to Apple Valley and Mel, Karen and I got things ready for the graduation party. Oliver and Everett are the cutest little boys - of course I am biased, but really, they are good looking boys. Cody got off early on his last day, somewhat relieved but knowing that he had to lead the graduation the next day and make a speech which he had been working on for a while.

speech

Graduation day dawned clear and cold and Cody left early to do a run through of the event. We showed up around 9:30 - Karen and Bob had kindly offered to stay with the little ones as neither they - or anyone in the audience - would have appreciated two restless, noisy boys. The ceremony went off without a hitch - bagpipes and all. When Cody appeared leading the squad I had tears streaming, much to Ryan's amusement! And his speech went off without a flub, um, ah - just right out there! I - and the rest of the family - was terribly impressed. He has matured and it seems like he has found his niche. It is still long row to hoe - 800 hours of fire service before he can actually get his firefighter certificate. But being the Class Leader has its benefits - the fire captains and chiefs in the area know who he is and how well he has done, so he will most likely be the first to get hired (fingers crossed, thumbs held).

The Party was a blast, lots of little kidlets running around, making noise and eating too much sugar.

Which translated into a crabby Oliver the next day, when it actually rained in the desert. Cody was supremely hung over and had a long nap with Oliver.

In between all the fun and festivities, I tried to work, with some success. But the cognac that Bob produced at the party had a lingering effect on me on Sunday, so we all spent a quiet day.

With a meeting planned in Carpinteria for noon on Monday, I planned an early departure, but woke to thick fog! And I didn't want to be driving in that so waited a while until it lifted. It's about a 3.5 hour drive and I took the back road, to the north of the mountains through the desert. When I can, I avoid the freeways. It was a gorgeous drive, cold, clear and sunny with minimal traffic. The mountains had a frosting of snow. I only made one wrong move which actually proved to be an OK one.

Betsy was heading north at the same time, driving up the coast and we managed to arrive within 10 minutes of each other, which I thought was pretty good! The meeting went off well, though with no formal agenda and a couple of prima donnas among the crew, it went on a bit too long, but all good stuff. Jane is a kick in the pants, as is Bob, her husband. Two hippie throwbacks - love it!

By the time I got back to Ryan's that night, I was exhausted. Five hours of driving in one day and a meeting was a lot. My last day there I spent working getting out the Thanks article for the site but ended up going to dinner at the favorite curry place just down the street. Finally Les was home early enough to go with us.

I packed up, had a good night's sleep, dropped the car off and ended the whirlwind trip back in Seattle in the pouring rain and stop and go traffic!

Help! Get me outta here!