1. Our daughter and the two little ones stayed the entire week with us. What fun it has been to flex my grandma muscles. One activity we had promised them was their Christmas present. We had decided that instead of buying things for them, we would purchase an experience. What more exciting adventure could there be than a train ride from our town to Santa Barbara.
It involved just enough time on the train to keep it fun but not boring, several station stops and views of the Pacific Ocean and beaches which are world famous. An added bonus was that The Professor's brother who is just as train crazy as The Professor came along.
2. Then on Sunday afternoon we enjoyed a lunch and visit with four of the five siblings in The Professor's family. Having almost all of them in the same place at the same time is an unusual event which doesn't happen often since one sibling lives in the midwest. Mostly, I just sat and listened.
3. Our local community healthcare district sponsored an evening of cooking with Chef AJ. I was fortunate enough to sign up early and scored TWO reservations for this culinary class, one for me and one for Younger Daughter. I gotta tell you, not only did I learn some great new ideas for cooking unprocessed plant based whole foods, I found Chef AJ to be a hilarious and highly entertaining speaker.
(photo taken by Younger Daughter on her cell phone)
4. One afternoon we decided that the Little Ones needed a good run outside to expand some of their boundless energy. Their favorite place to play is the beach, so off we went to the same spot we enjoyed last week--the pirate ship playground. beach in Ventura. The weather was perfect, and the sun was shining. I had compositions to correct, so I dragged them along. I've decided that the best place to do my grading is the beach. I might just make this a weekly event--sitting on a beach blanket correcting papers while watching the waves roll in, and the seagulls stand guard, and the sandpipers scurry along the shore's edge.
5. To top off the week, I decided at the last minute (truly in the last hour) to grab a suitcase and some knitting (and compositions) and hop in the car with The Littles and their mommy and head back to San Diego with them. I don't have responsibilities at home for the next five days and I can spend that time helping my daughter organize, declutter and pack for their cross country move (compliments of the US Marine Corps). As The Professor says, I do love to declutter and organize other people's stuff. And as a friend commented on facebook this week, the drive from Ventura County to San Diego is one of the most scenic car trips one can imagine. I agree. Here is a photo I snapped from the car at sunset as we passed San Onofre Beach--so amazingly beautiful--it makes me misty-eyed.