I have only been gone to the US for four weeks and had an interesting and wonderful time with family and friends. However, as I was sitting on my condo patio this morning enjoying my latte and the different songs of the Ant Birds that visit me in the bouganvilla a few feet away, it was clear to me that I am a very grateful and happy here.
Two of my grandchildren graduated–Hannah Smith from Chico State and Isaiah Smith from Dixon High–which prompted my visit to the US. In between the two events, I was the chauffeur for Gloria and JW Williams–the Smith’s other grandmother and husband. They rented a Mazda 5 sedan and I drove us to Oregon where we stayed with a longtime nursing school friend and her spouse, Carole and Gary Manners. From OR we traveled north to Seattle where the Williams stayed with Gloria’s oldest son and I housesat for a friend who teaches in SEA, Joyce Murakami. Joyce and her partner, John Diles, were on their way to Hawaii where they were being married. Joyce and I took scuba classes and were buddies many years ago. I am Joyce’s nursing consultant for her elder family in Sacramento.
The primary focus of the Seattle trip for me was to visit my stewardess days roommate, Ellie Parker, who moved to Seattle from San Francisco a long time ago. Ellie and I have always shared a love for art and music. We spent almost everyday enjoying or talking about art and music. People watching is another of our special common interests. We had fun people watching at the Ballard Locks in Seattle, near where I was staying. The five day visit in Seattle was great for all of us. Seattle’s weather could not have been better. Surprisingly, I didn’t freeze the whole time I was there.
After leaving Seattle we drove down the WA and OR coast enjoying the beautiful forests, historical places on the Lewis and Clark trail, and of course the gorgeous blue ocean. We arrived back in Dixon, CA in time to help prepare the Smith house for the BIG graduation party the day of Isaiah’s graduation on June 6th. Hannah had planned almost everything for months ahead–it was six months at least of planning. There many of us worker bees staying in the area with assigned tasks–grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins of Hannah and Isaiah. We, all 150+ of us, had fun eating, drinking, and enjoying each other. I got to see all of my immediate family and a lot of nieces, nephews, and friends that I hadn’t seen in years. The weather was perfect for such a noteworthy day. Miles driven on this trip by me = 2700. It is a good thing I like to drive.
While I was in the US the wheels of my projects here in NI were still turning. The next Aproquen event plan is taking shape for three days in Granada in July. Hengel got to his doctor visit at Shriner’s Hospital in Philadelphia with help from my friends. I am including a photo of him on that day with the therapist. What an accomplishment for this little boy and his family. Nan Zinn, my business partner, took charge of delivering a custom bag order amid her crazy schedule working in her booth at the International Surfing Association (ISA) contest event that was held on our beach at Popoyo.
The rains have started and are so welcome. The beautiful green fields are beginning to appear and trees that appeared to be dead have revived and are covering the bald spots on the hills.
I will only be here in my condo for ten days before I move to my friend’s house on the hill while my condo is rented for five weeks. It is somewhat of a challenge to move while the condo is rented. If I were just going away, it would be easier, but I will be living in the area too. Therefore, I need to move survival items–printer, files, bag inventory, plus food and clothes. More about this experience in the next blog.
Photos: Hengel at first visit for prosthesis; Hannah and Isaiah at the Party; Ellie at Asian Art Museum with pinhole image of the Seattle Space Needle in the middle of the sculpture; Russian River Brewery with Darlene, Cousins Larry and Jim, & Pam enjoying great craft beer;