You probably know that when something goes well, you just want to bask in it and not dissect it.
We all had a great time over Thanksgiving. Virgin America is supreme with their individual touch screens and ordering menu. Way cool with the technology. Going out, I watched three Housewives of Orange County in preparation. Also saw a couple Top Chef but for architecture students shows.
We got in late and stayed in LA the first night, Monday. Lyd met us there after she got of work and had lucked into being off until Saturday. Got up and went to Ft. Irwin CA to see the desert and get a satellite tour. We met up with an old co-worker of hers and spent a fun evening at her house with her family, who Lyd knew well. Drove back to her home and stayed over. Met her step dad (a chatty good old boy type) and her mother (a frenzied psycho control freak and she showed her butt for us.) I'd gotten a painting framed for Lyd and to match her room. Unfortunately, I decided to present it to her mother for their "home," although Lyd had already "claimed" it. Of course, her mother didn't claim to hear the Lyd part, promptly took something off the wall, and put mine up. I was crushed for Lyd, but you can't go up against her mother. It's freaky. Instead, I'll paint Lyd another of these particular eucalyptus trees she likes, so it'll be more personal anyway.
We went almost 2000 miles and I took almost 2000 pictures. I'll have plenty of subjects to paint once I force myself to paint from photographs.
That day, we went over to Monterey. I'd been raining pretty much the whole time we were there and continued that way. We had dinner at the Fisherman's Wharf and then drove through San Francisco wayyyy up to Eureka for about 13 hours of travel that day. I drove the few hours and made Lyd sick in the mountains; she's a primo wuss. Can't believe the speed limit was 65 on those mountain roads. I'm a good driver, but she didn't let me drive again. Instead, we had to go more like 40 when she drove. After I got home Saturday, I told her on the phone that I would be doing the driving next time, even though we drove each other crazy. She said that if I drove, I couldn't take pictures and she has a point.
From Eureka, we came back south a little to the Avenue of the Giants and the Redwood Forest. It was like entering a different world. She'd never been before, either, so it was wonderful for us all to experience it together. We took a side trip to Ferndale to see the Victorian homes and another to the coast where we saw a lighthouse and a black sand beach. Going and coming, we picked up hitchhikers - despite her youth, Lyd is a throwback - and they both reeked of alcohol. We figured out that that 20 mile stretch of road over that mountain was these people's lifeline. They had no concept of ferigners in their parts, particularly on Thanksgiving without a special meal to attend. I asked one guy if they played banjos and it went straight over his head and he started talking about hip hop. I was biting my lip.
We did finally have Thanksgiving at the only restaurant we could find open. These little towns along there didn't even have gift shops or gas stations open, each barely with a couple buildings. This restaurant had the worst service I've gotten in a while. Starting off, it took forever to order, so I sent to the manager and politely asked if maybe we'd been forgotten. She replied with a classic line, "No, you haven't been forgotten. She's just slow as Moses." It was hilarious her ragging on her employee like that.
That night, we continued south back toward San Francisco. I never sleep, but I was nodding off so badly that I couldn't help with the drive. We stayed north of the city and toured the city until 1pm the next day. We took cable cars up, then a taxi down. He went down curvy Lombard for us. The best thing was Lyd's favorite place - a museum of old timey amusements, squashed pennies, player pianos, etc at one of the wharfs.
From here, we drove back down to LA for our red eye flight. All told, I painted six small paintings, a couple of which I am happy about. Lyd would randomly stop and I'd paint where we were, then she'd keep us on schedule and get us on the road. Carrying my pastels in their new trays and bag worked well. It was easy getting through the airport here, but LAX had more kinks. The little guy was overzealous, almost dumped a tray, had no comprehension of why I would be nervous, him defaulting to the idea I must be a drug smuggler or terrorist, and broke the zippers on each side of the special pastel bag - they seem to be self correcting, but I figure they're damaged.
For anyone who stops by the art blog, Lyd does read and comment anonymously there. She's very whimsical and, if there's a nonsense comment, it's from her. She's very supportive and I appreciate it so much. Through the week I complained that I didn't have enough grayed out pastels, then I blogged it with a link, thinking my father might take the hint. Instead, she ordered them immediately. She's very thoughtful and has a great heart. She planned the whole trip and did a great job; that's usually my role and it was wonderful turning it over.
I had faith the trip would turn out well and I am relieved that it did. I'm glad we only spent one night at her house. I don't do egg shells well and admire her for being able to be the caretaker for both of them as well as her even worse princess of a grandmother, who I only saw briefly.
I really think a lot of her and am in awe of how she takes care of me and feels for me. And how good she is to my son.