Friday, May 16, 2008

San Diego, Part 3

“Mmmmppph,” I mumbled, rolling over. “Have a nice time at your conference, honey.” I said, rubbing my eyes.

“Uh, yeah. Have a nice day exploring California without me,” he smiled.

Todd went off to his conference. I put gas in the rental car and headed for the highway. My plan for the next day and a half was to head to Los Angeles to visit with my sister who lives just outside of the city.

Because I’d never been to California I’d never seen my sister’s house, and I could not wait to get there. I drove along The 5 as the Californians call it and checked out the scenery on the way. There is a portion of the 5 that runs right along the Pacific Ocean, and the view was beautiful even though it was a gray day.

An hour and a half or so after I left I arrived in Margaret’s neighborhood. Awhile ago I had Google-stalked my sister’s address on Google Earth, but from that I could only see what her roof looked like. But looking around in her neighborhood, it was exactly what I had imagined. Margaret is a great gardener, and the shrubs and flowers in her yard were very pretty. It was great to be able to spend so much time with my sister and my niece, Maya. The last time I saw them was at or Grandmother’s funeral, in 2006.

Margaret is 14 years older than I am, and we’ve always been in different phases of life for as long as we’ve known each other. She was a teenager when I was a toddler. I was only 4 when she graduated high school, and was in third grade when she’d finished college and moved back home before setting out to live in Arizona. While I was a teenager, Margaret was in her 20s and 30s, while I was navigating through college, she was navigating through the early years of marriage—then she and my brother-in-law, Bruce, adopted Maya while I was just moving out of home and figuring out how to live on my own. Before I even became a wife, she became a mother.

The difference in life stages sometimes made our relationship a bit challenging. There were times when we couldn’t exactly relate to each other—while she was going through potty training with Maya, I was restoring my first sailboat with Todd. Even though we still live very different lives I think we’ve finally managed to strike up a connection. Which is great and I am very thankful for that.

We picked up Maya from school and ran a few errands before we set out to walk on a trail in a canyon near their house. It was a beautiful walk, and I enjoyed seeing the different kinds of trees and plants. Maya showed me some coyote and deer tracks that were made in a patch of cement, and Nickel—their puppy—chased sticks and bounded through the bush.

Nickel scaling a wall before retrieving a stick.

At the end of the hike we spotted a couple scouring the bushes near the parking lot. We approached them and they told us that they had seen a stray kitten and were trying to catch it. Margaret and I climbed into the bushes while Maya directed us to the kitten from the pavement. I heard the hiss come from the frightened kitten Margaret shouted “I got it! I got it!” She scrambled out of the brush, holding a claws-beared kitten out from herself. She wrapped it up in her fleece jacket and we brought it into the car, Maya, kitten and I in the back, and Margaret fending Nickel’s curiosity off in the front.

Margaret and the kitten, just after she rescued him from the bush.
We had dinner, and discussed what to do with the kitten. They already have two dogs and two cats and Margaret and Bruce were not keen on taking in another animal. Maya, of course, wanted to keep the kitten. What ten year old have you ever met didn’t want to keep a kitten? Heck, I am not a cat person but remember wanting to keep a stray kitten when I was 10. Of course, my mom said “No way.”

“Can we keep it?” Maya asked.

“No,” Margaret would respond firmly. And on it went.

“I’m going to name him….” Maya started.

“You’re not naming him. Be prepared for the possibility that he won’t be here when you get home from school tomorrow. We are not keeping that cat.”

Then Maya emerged from her bedroom, cradling the kitten, “He was lonely,” she said. Already, after knowing the kitten for an hour or two she knew that he was lonely. You have to love 10 year old animal lovers. I wonder if they ever did manage to find a home for the cat.

My dog-nephew, Juneau, age 17.

My other dog-nephew, Nickel, age 1.

The next day Margaret and I hung out and got caught up on each other’s lives some more. Then I set out to meet up with none other than Cece for lunch. Cece had just returned to town from her corporate sponsored drunk fest, I mean company conference. Our visit was short, way too short, because I needed to leave the city before LA’s impossible traffic kicked up and she’d been away for a few days and I didn’t want to intrude on her family reunion time. She and Mister took me to lunch at their favorite Mexican place, which was incredibly good. We laughed and joked with her youngest daughter while we ate. A wonderful time, and way too short. Thanks Cece.

I headed back to San Diego and chilled out a bit before Todd returned to the room. That night there was an event for his conference at the WaveHouse. Free food, free drink, a live band and surfing demonstrations on these giant artificial waves. I got the chance to meet some of the new friends he’d made, and Todd’s vodka and grapefruits were going down pretty easily that we had joked about having to use a luggage cart to get him back to the hotel room. The surfers did these elaborate jumps, the band played a ska-beachy kind of sound—a perfect complement to the free food and booze.

The next morning, bright and early, we returned the rental car and headed to the airport and jumped on a plane headed for reality.

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Blogger *~*Cece*~* said...

OMG that kitten is SO cute! and I'm not a big cat lover.

I wish our visit could've been longer. I have to say that after you left I think I slept, with my little one & Mister, for like 4 hours! It was good to be home.

I hope we can get together again in the future!

May 19, 2008 at 6:38 PM  

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