follow A Selection of Varied Topics

Thursday, June 24, 2010

back in town

Our vacation to Southern California was very sunburnt, listened to Nightwish, failed epically to do any writing, smelled an insane amount of jasmine flowers, ate avocados, swam way too far out in the ocean, met a very dear fellow blogger  :) and was on the road for 17 hours straight on the way home.

Yes, I kept a detailed account for the first couple of days....reprinted below.

"We left for California, to visit grandparents near LA, Sunday morning at the unheard-of hour of 8:45 AM. Usually we are lucky if we are out of the house by 10....
Started getting ready for the trip Friday, to some extent. Friday was also my last day of class at CHS, owing to the fact that I would be far away this week :D  
Well Thursday night, in addition to preparing for the second trig final exam, I typed up The Quotes. In addition to taking notes in math class each day, I jotted down the frequent amusing quotes by the class, or teacher.  I fully intend to post these soon. Anyways there was a page, front and back, of 8-point font quotes. 
Friday morning I was up early. Printed up The Quotes [all 15 copies thereof]. I also was struck with a sudden enthusiasm to wear Appropriate Attire on my last day of school. This proved to be medieval Scottish hopefully to come. Lots of green plaid, to say the least, hehe. No sooner had I got well in to the school library, and the end-of-class bell rung, than I hears THA PIPES going at it. Bagpipes. There is this one lad at CHS that plays the bagpipes, and is let run around loose  :P   Today, I suppose graduating the next day, he was kitted out in full Highland garb and had a small entourage of drummers. They paced round the halls above the library. It was all quite exciting.   [The rest of that day, we had 10 minute breaks between classes, and as soon as the bell rang UP would start the pipes.] 
My quotes page, a Parting Gift for the class, was met with mass hysteria by the class :)   
The test went pretty well. QUITE well in fact. Right at the end I got hung up on the EXACT SAME SORT of problem that had fouled us up the day before.  Nevertheless, I GOT the problem just as the class ended.....another sprint to victory  ;) 
Then it was out to me dad's school, to help him tidy his classroom before the summer break. We did this rather faster than usual, but still did not get home until late, due to little excursions to shop for food and other things. 
We had by this point laid out a plan of action, to prepare for The Trip. In fact, we'd already established the fact that we would NOT be planting seedlings the morning we left. Plants were going to be safely in the ground LONG in advance. [That has occurred rather infamously before big goes along with the paradigm that encourages waiting until JUST before dark to begin mowing the lawn.]  

Is it even necessary to mention the fact that dad was out at dawn Sunday, putting tomatoes in the garden? 
We made a heroic effort, all right. I believe I may have even done a little work on that front Friday after school. I certainly did not PACK UP on Friday. I saved that til Saturday  :P  We ran around rather frantically, to farmers' market, and more stocking-up in town, and back home to rendezvous with the folks taking care of our critters, and so on. Spent the afternoon washing produce to take with us, and packing, and yelling out the window, and so on. And planting the morning I had the revolutionary idea of using the carrot-bed for tomatoes. This revolutionary idea was cemented by first attempting to dig holes in the cement-like garden clay, and by noticing that the lovely raised-bed full of Sandy Loam was full of carrots that had monumentally failed to sprout.  Dad hailed this idea with a look of awe [I think] and we went at it. First of course we had to go at the WEEDS and encountered rather a lot of slugs. But anyways we got a lot of them planted...not ALL though.
Sunday I got up at 6:15....was awakened at 4:45 by birds making a racket in the yard. They do that....tweeting, chirping, and so on. The swallows are particularly bad. Well dad went out and started feverishly planting the rest of the seedlings. By a heroic effort [aided by me working backstage on food-packing], he got them all in the ground....there must have been 50 or so tomatoes and assorted seedlings. 
Then we dealt in hoses and chicken-waterers and signs for the gal taking care of Tha Critters. 
 We were going to try to leave at 8 AM. At 8 AM, therefore, we were racing from one end of the house to the other, and back out to the car, all with the Tascam audio recorder sitting on the kitchen table, recording every NUANCE. Such as this gem:  
Dad [seriously]: This could set us back. Where are the chia seeds? I am going to eat only chia seeds on this trip: I am going to be like the Aztecs.  
We eventually got on the road, minus the chia seeds. It is highly ironic that Oregon simply POURS rain for TWO MONTHS SOLID, when the rain is supposed to stop around April [or at least let up], and then, two days before we leave for California, clears up to beautiful sunshine. 
It is a good two-day drive to get from our place to my grandparents', south of Los Angeles. The first day was rather brutal....about half an hour down the road Dad commented that he was getting also turned out, half-hour down the road, that we [or rather I....] had neglected to pack enough towels. especially the big fluffy ones that are nice to sit on. We went through the Willamette Valley [lots of trees], Southern Oregon [different kind of trees], and  Northern California [no trees]. Well that is an overstatement, there ARE trees. In spots. Palm trees, too! And oleander, lots and lots of oleander. Ordinarily we make camp about Williams [Sacramento-area] but we got such an early start that we made it all the way through to Monterey.
 I like California farm country, if there's little farm houses mixed in with the acres of crops. A California farm-house follows a certain and invariable patter. Smallish, usually white wood house [or mobile home], with willows around it for shade. A small plot of vegetables. Variations include farm animals, wild sunflowers, oleander hedges, wash hanging on the line, and rosebushes. All in all a very pastoral, Steinbeck-ish image, and one that I would far rather see than unbroken miles of crops. 
Near Sacramento I waxed nostalgic: 'Ahh, dear old Davis!'...Davis, where, I may say, I have only been once in my life. Several years ago we traveled with the robotics team to the Sacramento regional, which was held at a stadium in Davis. That was what we might term the beginning of the robotics saga, so I naturally have fond memories, hehe.    
The Northern Cali rice fields always make interesting window-watching. At this season the rice is just poking above water....acres of water with green fuzz on top. 
It was nice and warm all through the middle part of Cali, much nicer than cold Oregon...even though it was about 95-100 the whole way. When we started through the mountains to the coast, the fog came up as promised. By night it was chilly and damp.   
We checked into our favorite hotel in Monterey, the Padre Oaks, after a 12-hour day of driving. I was all ready for bed when the parents decided to go out for a walk. I had just finished getting into my very disreputable nightshirt and declined to get back into more suitable togs. A solution presented itself in the form of my wrinkled and sketchy trenchcoat, which I proceeded to throw on. "

Anyways,  the rest of the trip was very satisfactory. There was some discomfort in the way of sleeping, including a terrifying moment in SoCal when I, at 4 AM, heard a distressing loud crash sort of noise outside....I immediately thought it was a bomb, and thereupon resolved never to live in a city.....then there was the small earthquake that happened a few minutes after we got ensconced in my grandparents' house.....but yes, all in all it was fabulous :) And awesome to finally meet a fellow blogger that I've gotten really close to in the last few months especially.  
You-all folks on the East Coast, we must have a REUNION at some point! :) 


Rochelle Blue said...

had no idea you liked Nightwish too!! :O

Anonymous said...

Pretty flowers, like some faery creature deigning to grace the mortal sod. Very summer.

Bethany said...

Rochelle: HEE! I just recently started listening to them...they are AWESOME :)

Tragedy: :)

Danzibar said...

awesome! Hope you had a great time...I've only gotten to visit the West Coast a few times...actually just once that I can remember...the other times I was so small I can't recall it. But even then, I'm still not sure how representory LA was of CA....I mean really! ;) I've heard about the infamous Oregan rainy season...I have some other friends that lived there.

Bethany said...

:) yes I had a great should definitely visit other parts of the West Coast though, you're right LA is not really representative ;)
I PROMISE though, the rainy season really does stop and Oregon's summer makes up for it....we're embarking on summer right now in fact....dry, warm, no humidity, cools down EVERY night, and rarely gets above 90. :)

Danzibar said...

oh...I wasn't complaining...I actually happen to love rainy weather...although I might change my mind if I lived in Seattle too long. :}