Last weekend my sister and I went up to the San Francisco area to attend a family wedding. Kathy and I had not had an overnight road trip in quite a while. On the way up north, I wanted to stop and put flowers on our relatives' graves in Bakersfield. We had a little trouble with Siri and GPS but did find the cemetery location on the bluff. Then, at Siri's direction, we made a large roundabout trip in a huge circle to buy flowers and then have lunch before returning to the cemetery. Much ridiculousness and laughter during this portion of the day, but we did complete our visit to the gravesites, honoring our grandfathers, grandmother, and great grandfather. Two hours later (!), we continued our journey north to the East Bay town of Livermore.
There is still some water in California...
...at least in the aqueduct! On our trip up Interstate 5 through the San Joaquin Valley, we saw lots and lots of farmland full of dead trees and fallow fields, many with signs posted saying that "agriculture equals jobs" and that the government is "creating a dust bowl". To be sure, we are now under 25% mandatory water reduction restrictions statewide. A possible El Nino effect bringing significant storms this winter has yet to be confirmed by experts. Pretty grim!
Kathy and I checked into a Marriott and then met our brother and family at a PF Chang's for dinner. I ordered Moo Goo Gai Pan, if only to say the name for fun, but all the food was excellent and we had a great time sampling tons of different dishes. We got back to the hotel room and just after Kathy settled happily onto the bed with her iPad and jammies, I ruined her party by reminding her that she'd said she was going to dye her hair that night. Her naughty-worded reaction to my reminder sent me into a prolonged attack including clutching my stomach while bent over laughing until I cried. That was fun too. (Kathy decided she'd bought the wrong color dye anyway!)
The next morning after another hilarious interlude with Siri to get a manicure/pedicure at a nearby shop, we got ready for the wedding--a Hindu ceremony, as our cousin was marrying an Indian gentleman. The Hindu ceremony is very structured and takes many many hours. We arrived, again guided by Siri/GPS, to the Hindu temple. Not having any more direction than the address, we were pointed by an Indian lady to a shoe room in a separate Hall to leave our shoes, and then walked back to the temple, accompanied by another single girlfriend of the bride, also at a loss. We three entered the temple in bare feet and saw many unusual and interesting sights of worship; however, not a single other person did we recognize from our family. Quickly becoming embarrassed and awkward, we exited at once and went back to the Hall and shoe room. Someone directed us to the real location in the Hall and we happily met our family members and greeted the bride and groom.
We were not in time to witness the above portion of the ceremony, where the couple were throwing rice on each other. Our cousin's sari was gorgeous, as were those of all the guests and wedding party. We sampled Indian dishes and visited with relatives we hadn't seen in a while, and met others we'd only heard of.
Kathy then managed to break her pinky toe rather badly on a chair leg during the luncheon portion, and I had to take her back to the hotel. She was disappointed that our planned quilt shop trip would leave her behind, but she really couldn't walk. Our sister-in-law, Laura, and I headed to the quaint old downtown Livermore area to the quilt shop, In Between Stitches. What a nice shop it was, too. We pottered about for a good half hour, picked out some batiks for Kathy, and generally breathed the scent of fabric, patterns, notions, and quilt displays. I signed up for email notices, which came in handy when we inadvertently left the shop without a 1/2 yard of fabric that was on the cutting table. They are mailing it to me :) Here's my loot:
After Siri took us on a rather grand back-roads tour of the neighborhoods, I dropped off my SIL at their hotel in Pleasanton and then went to Target to pick up some flat flip flops for Kathy and some tape for her toes. Luckily we had traveled the same stretch of highway so many times by then that I didn't need Siri to get back to the hotel. After trying to tape her toes and causing more pain, Kathy and I fortified ourselves with chocolate, rested a bit, and then put our finery back on for the reception.
The reception location was luckily only moments away from our hotel and we got there faster than at any other effort so far on the trip! We had a good time at the reception, visiting, dancing, and eating more unusual Indian dishes, while being introduced to many new family members and listening to some very funny best man and maid of honor speeches. The next morning we again met many family members at their hotel across the street (free breakfast!), though we drove since we were dropping off a piece of family furniture the bride wanted.
This Victorian-looking rocking chair belonged to our maternal great-grandmother, and to her mother before her. My grandmother gave it to me when I was pregnant with our son, 30 years ago. It has been languishing in the corner of my bedroom for far too long and I wanted another family member to enjoy it. An uncle transferred it to his truck for delivery later, and we enjoyed a happy hour eating and visiting a final time before packing up and checking out of the hotel. We took the coast route down the 101, a much prettier drive, IMHO. For one thing, we were much closer to my beloved hills and coastal mountains.
Mile upon mile of rolling hills covered with Coast Live Oak trees. Not much green grass to be found, sadly. We stopped in San Luis Obispo to visit some old neighborhood friends and had a good time swapping stories and memories before undertaking the last 2 1/2 hours of the journey. What a great trip. Then, yesterday, Kathy called me to say she had finally emptied her suitcase and discovered she was missing a brand new expensive bra with the store tags still attached, and a nightgown. She thought she must have left them in the dresser of the hotel. I told her to call the hotel, it couldn't hurt to have them check for it. She let me know later that she actually did call the hotel and, while there was nothing in lost and found, they would check with housekeeping. Lo and behold, she got a call back saying housekeeping did find the bra, now tagless, and the nightgown, but they were found in a different ROOM. Very curious. Anyway, they are mailing them to her and she has yet another funny story to tell. Travels with Kathy are always an adventure to remember!