I had forgotten how much fun driving is. And seriously, the route I took from Southern to Northern california is really boring through most of the drive, and yet, I had the grandest time. My ipod failed, so I had to search for radio stations, and ended up finding wonderful crappy music to play and sing to, and got to drive on roads I hadn't taken in years. And stop whenever I wanted. And just hang out with myself. It was a great time.
So that image above is of the view you get coming over the hill in Jackson, CA, where my Mom lives. Apparently I brought the blue sky with me - they've had an unseasonably rainy spring. Lucky for me it left the hillsides green (instead of the normal yellow they would have turned by now).
We made beautiful food at my Mom's. This is the bowl of fava beans that we slaved over. They're a terrible amount of work, but the pay off was so amazingly delicious we both decided that it was ok. Actually, the entire trip was filled with amazing food sort of thrown together - breakfasts with fresh strawberries, dinners with strange but delicious chicken and dumplings and brie, and my stepmom's new recipe for creamy chicken, sun dried tomato and artichoke fettuccine. My stepmom sent me home with two jars of her insanely scrumptious plum jam. I even stopped at a fruit stand on the way home and bought five lbs of strawberries, a whole bowl of cherries, and apricot preserves.
Back to Jackson - there is this row of houses along the walk to my mom's office - a profusion of flowers, amazing over-the-top fountains, and yet, it's all so charmingly beautiful that I couldn't help myself. Above is the image, and the next few are the close ups.
Remember I mentioned the rain? It filled the hillsides with poppies. Literally, entire mountains covered in gold. And the gardens throughout the city were filled with them too.
The little street where my mom's office is located. I love Jackson, with it's horrible roads and it's old brick buildings and kind of beautiful (and yet higgedly piggedly) looks.
This is totally where my mom spends a lot of professional time - the new courthouse. And also where she put me to work redesigning the website for the Amador County Bar Association. It's not fancy, but we needed pictures. And courtrooms are kind of cool. Especially when I get to watch her in action and the judge actually goes the way her clients want.
It was a good week for both my parents because I finally got to see my dad in action too. Even though he made me wake up at an ungodly hour, we had the nicest morning getting coffee, dropping off his bills, things like that, and then during a morning when he thought it was just going to be boring character testimony, the judge ruled in his client's favor on two different things, there was a great deal of discussion about points of law from all sides, and I got to actually, you know, see him making little bits of arguments. All in all a huge yay, and before lunch too.
Mom's garden blue-bird! He posed quite nicely for me. Of course, this is the first series of pictures from Mom's garden. It has all these nooks and crannies that have beautiful things to see. And since it's been raining it's a profusion of green, of plants having fun growing and growing and growing.
ME AND MY MOM!! AND MY INABILITY TO OPEN MY EYES FOR A FLASH! hahah.
This is the one picture I took at my dad & stepmom's house, the morning I left. I guess I managed to leave my camera behind for most of the fun moments of the trip:
my mom and I went to the trash & treasure event in Sutter Creek, wandered down to Amador City, and managed to spend all of Saturday in the beautiful sun, admiring people and city and everything else. We had tea and sweets in a real tea room in Sutter Creek, where they actually had lace on the tables and a group of lady friends lunching next to us.
my stepmom and i pretty much shopped till we dropped (we even exhausted my sister and nephew's wife), got our nails done, and were girlie girls together.
my sister is getting her house ready to host my nephew's wedding ceremony (they're already married civilly but hadn't had the party yet) and so going to hang out, see the beauty in their garden and all the new things they've done to the house, and how handsome my other nephews have grown (they just passed their paramedic certification exams, so they're kind of awesome too) was fun.
and then the last night i was at my dad's, my other nephews showed up (the two on the left in the picture above), towing girlfriend along (in the plaid) and my littlest sister and her boyfriend came over for breakfast the morning I left so we could say hi properly and in person.
I love the crazy mash of our family, and how no matter how often I talk to them or how much I learn, they're always crazy, wonderful, and happy making.
And then I met up with my Mulhollando-san!! And we went into San Francisco to be tourists (well, after catching up for hours and hours at her house).
the sea lions have return to pier 39! and even though they're in the distance, you can totally see them. Of course, not the city - it was shrouded in fog.
the secret to loving cable car rides? 1) take them at night - they go faster downhill! 2) don't ever sit down, hang onto the bar and stand on the step, because you get to look off like a grinning maniac, 3) take them with your friend, who loves this and is as big a geek about it as you are
speaking of geek, here's the last shot, which is really a scan. But you can see, we're geeks. GEEKS I TELL YOU, GEEKS.
Really, this strip kind of gives you the summary of the whole trip in four different panels - it started off with big grins and ended up being goofy beyond belief in all of the best most fantastic slightly blurry ways. I am so glad I went, and so pleased I'm back in California so I can make other trips like this one.