Thank you all so very much for your comments on yesterday's post. A wonderful thing happened after this trip, actually. Really, until we went, I felt as if I had firmly shut the door on our life back there. I almost had to. But going back to L.A. and visiting our friends Debbie and Mike and their kids somehow allowed me to open that door again and enjoy all the wonderful memories we have of that place. I'm not saying I didn't have wonderful memories of the time we lived there, but of the place? Well, I realized that I just didn't let myself think about it too much. Before I start sounding too crazytown, let me tell you about the heart and soul of our trip. Our visit with our friends.
We felt so well hosted and tended to during our time with them. The family we stayed with are friends who lived in Virginia who moved back home to California about a year ago. Their kids are like cousins to my kid, and it was both wonderful and not at all amazing to see them fall in together as if not a single day had passed since they'd seen each other.
Part of what made this visit so lovely was how well incorporated we felt into Debbieand Mike's day-to-day lives. They were busy, and still they comfortably fit us in. We knew where the waffles were and what time the coffee started brewing. We knew where to put the silverware and the cling wrap too. It was easy being there. Homelike.
We spent most of our time at home sitting outside. Our meals were out there and the kids moved in and out, from the pool to the sofa and back again. It's that California weather that lets you do it. I felt for Neel, back home fighting 100+ degree heat and beating off derechos. Not in sunny California!
We shared some amazing meals together. Grilled chicken from a local butcher one night and Mediterannean food for take out another.
There may have been a cocktail or two.
One of my favorite evenings included another set of dear friends from Virginia who spend their summers in California. Debbie, Tracy and I would meet regularly for lunch when Debbie was still living nearby, and now Tracy and I carry the torch. Just the two of us. Sniff. Five kids in the pool giggling madly, five grownups sitting around the table catching up. We played Running Charades after dinner (Has anyone heard of this? I'll explain sometime if you want me to.), adults and kids together, and we just had the best time. One of the clues was Sugar Sugar (try acting that one out!), and after we were all done and having dessert (I made that trifle again), everyone was gathered in the kitchen, rehashing the game and someone led us off singing that famous chorus. I can't sing, at all, but hearing everyone belting it out? Well, my heart was full.
It's funny. I'm usually really detail oriented when I'm taking photos, and this time I keep thinking of things I missed. The yellow bucked filled with blue and white striped towels that they keep out by the pool. The tower of white towels in the guest bath. The guest bath that about has me convinced that we don't need a shower in our master (Debbie, I may need you to send photos so Neel can see...or we'll just come back. But I think we'll need a bathroom sooner rather than later.). It's funny to me that I missed all that. I was busy just soaking it all in, I suppose.
Evenings were my favorite. Twlight time.
Once the chill hit the air, we'd gather around the heat lamp or the firepit. I dearly love California evenings.
We'd listen to music (Cachao or old Simon and Garfunkel) and sit around the table as night fell, and one night the kids made s'mores.
I could go on and on I guess. About the breeze (right, Erin?), or the mountains and the palm trees. I could talk about shopping in my old grocery store chain, and how when I came home I told the cashier here that I had a Von's card. I could tell you about how right hills feel to navigate, and how I loved wearing a sweater in July. I could talk about how surprising it was that it was so much fun to see all those iconic L.A. sites. I could talk about how lovely it was just being outside so much. And the clarity of the light. I could talk about how different the landscape is from here, all dusty pinks and beiges instead of deep, deep greens. I could describe my surprise at seeing a street in Pasadena (must get back there) lined with magnolia trees, and how happy I was to see bougainvillea and jacaranda again.
But when you boil it all down, it's being with these people again. We could be sitting in my muggy, buggy backyard instead of feeling the waters of the Pacific rush over our toes and I'd be just as happy, I think.
Thank you, my friends.