I'm just back from what I call The Western Loop - my yearly visit to Denver to see my mother and brother combined with a visit to Oklahoma City to visit my younger children, my granddaughter and my best friend. It was quite a good visit in both places this year but I am glad to be home. It involves a fair amount of travel time and this trip ran me through Cleveland and Newark to get the lowest fare. I do not recommend the Newark airport, but on the whole I prefer it to O'Hare. In the past it's been really awkward to schedule my flights, but Expedia has finally made it easy to book a trip with several legs and it saves me a fair amount. I generally go in January or early spring, but this year I am so glad I waited until later because the winter was tough and there were so many cancellations I would probably have spent my vacation in some airport.
I had two (!) birthday cakes, and lots cool gifts and fun visiting with everyone. I wish I either lived closer or airfares were a lot cheaper so I could come around more often. We manage to pack a lot into a few days, but I think I would enjoy a more casual pace just as much. Unscheduled time to just hang out doing nothing would be a treat.
Mom and I spent my first afternoon there in the parking lot at K Mart having locked her keys in the car. Not as bad as you might think, as the weather was good and the passing parade of people was a lot like going to the fair. We spent a fair amount of our waiting time laughing. A very nice lady helped us out after our first locksmith came along asking for much more than the advertised price and entertaining us with a fascinating stream of conversation that had us mesmerized while we waited for her AAA road service. Mom and I proceeded on to our planned dinner at Village Inn in high spirits. This time we did not go on a yarn store field trip because my visit was a little short and we had a lot of projects to do, not the least of which was to do battle with huge and ugly weeds which had taken over her flower beds. It felt good to be outside gardening in shorts without a giant sweatshirt - it's still too cold here in Massachusetts to do a lot. Richard and I had a good visit too. He's turned into quite the container gardener and has much better results than I do with cacti.
This time in Oklahoma City I got to stay with Alex, which was a big improvement over staying in a crummy motel. Much cozier, much cheaper and much more to my taste. I could spend my hotel money on treats for the kids instead of on a room whose safety I have reason to doubt. Sami lives just across the back yard and Vivian was there all weekend, so I was able to spend the most time possible with family. We mostly ate, hung out, and shopped. I swear in three days I drove across NW Oklahoma City fifty times. After significant driving confusion Alex had to ask if there were traffic lights on Cape Cod - I had to admit there are hardly any. Traffic problem on the Cape are almost all the result of millions of tourists cramming themselves onto roads designed for a much slower pace of life. Weather in Oklahoma was windy, but the trees are in full leaf there and I loved being outside in temperatures above 50 degrees (the wind was high the whole time I was there, but the promised bad weather went east of Oklahoma into Arkansas). I actually wore flip flops and shorts!
After an inspiring visit to Gourmet Yarn and its wonderful selection of beautiful yarn Sami thought she might like to learn to knit, so next time I will see how much I can teach her, maybe supplemented by a gift of lessons. Gourmet opened its doors while I was living in Oklahoma City and it was grown into a wonderful shop. Sami and I spent quite a while there poking around molesting yarn. I purchased a few items, mostly for holiday knitting and Sami bought me a beautiful skein of Opal sock yarn for my birthday.
Jimmy's Egg for lunch. We had a leisurely breakfast with good conversation and delicious food. It was a special treat to have a nice visit with Sharon and the raisin toast and "garbage breakfast" at Jimmy's Egg is something I dream about all year. The only thing wrong with our visit is that it was just TOO SHORT. Sharon came to see us on the Cape last year and a week was not quite long enough either. One meal's worth of conversation or a week once in a while does not compare with the conversations we would have while riding our bicycles 40 miles together and having breakfast afterwards every week.
Our home projects are proceeding slower than we would like due to rain every other day. It's great for the landscaping projects but less so for fence building and painting the outside of the house. Today some guys are delivering out fencing, which outrages the dogs even though they will benefit from it the most. Ingrates! I am thrilled with the quality and scope of our projects and I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Shana has decided to replace our bulkhead doors as well. Our current ratty rusty doors would not compare well with the cleaned shingles and freshly painted trim on the house.