A Year on Hiatus

OK, so it’s been a while since I posted anything. There are many reasons (or excuses) for this, but none of them are very good. Mostly, I’ve just been lazy. What follows is a quick overview of the last year, which included more weekends away from home than at home. I may expand on some of these things in future posts, and I will hopefully post more in the future.

My last post heralded the arrival of my son, Richard Michael. Two weeks after that, I took part in the first of five, wait, make that six weddings, plus several associated events. For some reason, all of my friends decided they had to get married last year. Fortunately, many of them got married to each other, so the number of weddings wasn’t as bad as it could have been. We went to weddings in San Francisco, Hayfork, Lake Tahoe, Sausalito, Folsom, then Weaverville. The last one wasn’t announced until after the rest were over, so we were only planning on five, but ended up going to six, though the sixth was close enough to home that we could sleep in our own bed. Most of the weddings we just had to show up to, but I was a groomsman in my brother’s and best man in Rob’s. It could have been worse though, one of the couples went to seven weddings, one of which was their own, and two of which were during their honeymoon.

Most years, I end up spending several weekends at various triathlons (and one marathon) throughout the state. Not competing, mind you, but working in various support roles. I missed Wildflower because of my brother’s wedding, but I made it to See Jane Run in Oakland, the Escape from Alcatraz Traithlon (San Francisco), the San Luis Obispo Triathlon, the San Francisco Triathlon at Treasure Island, and the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco. See Jane Run was a new event for me this year, but my role was mostly limited to driving a truck around while people loaded or unloaded stuff. Normally, Molly stays home for these events, but since she was out on maternity leave, she came with me to this one and we got to see some family and friends while we were there. The San Luis Obispo Triathlon is always fun, since a bunch of us who normally have lots of responsibility at triathlons go to just hand out water at an aid stations. Our goal is to show people how an aid station should be run, including a theme, lots of shade, hot meals for breakfast and lunch, and this year, I even brought my RV. I didn’t get much rest the night before, though, since I spend most of the night before cleaning up after and trapping the family of mice that had taken up residence while it was in storage.

Our travel wasn’t all work and weddings, we took a couple of mini vacations too. In May, we went to the “West Coast Brew Fest”:http://www.matsonian.com/wcbf/home.html with several friends that live in the Sacramento area, and one that flew in from southern California.. It was a lot of fun, the price of admission includes unlimited beer tasting. Well, sort of unlimited, since all of the good booths had lines that were longer than it took to finish the little cup they served in. It was still lots of fun, and we drank lots of beer, a little “cider”:http://www.woodchuck.com/ , and not enough water.

We spend labor day weekend on the northern California coast. One of the things I like most about owning an RV is we can just hook up and go without much planning (assuming we don’t have to first evict any rodents). We didn’t call ahead and make any reservations, we didn’t even know where we wanted to stay. I just printed out a bunch of search results for RV parks between Eureka and the Oregon border and we drove over to Eureka. After hanging around Eureka and having dinner at a great little sushi place called “Samurai”:http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&view=map&q=samurai,+eureka,+ca&sll=40.802164,-124.16467&sspn=0.010168,0.022745&gl=us&ie=UTF8&ll=40.802375,-124.164648&spn=0.040672,0.090981&t=h&z=14&iwloc=A we called down the list until we found a place to stay. It only took two tries, and the first number had been disconnected. We ended up at the “Mystic Forest RV Park”:http://mysticforestrv.com/ in Klamath. It was a great location, and we took day trips from there to Crescent City and other surrounding areas. The RV park office gave us a great, hand-drawn map of local places to see, including a scenic drive through the redwoods that was mostly unpaved and a lot of fun.

Those weekends we were at home during the summer, we mostly stayed inside, since the whole area was surrounded by wildfires. The smoke was so thick in the valley we live in that we couldn’t even see across the street clearly. We couldn’t go hiking, or even do yard work. They even canceled our county fair because of the fires, not because of the smoke or any danger, but because the fairgrounds made more money housing the fire crews than from the fair. It’s a shame, too, because they finally added a Beer category and I was going to enter.

This time around, we spent Thanksgiving with my family in southern California, where Richard Michael got to spend some quality time with his great grandmother, though I doubt he’ll remember. While we were there, we had dinner with some of my friends from high school. Since everyone there had young kids, we spend most of the time in their playroom, watching the kids. It was a great opportunity to share tips and see what toys were being actually used. Other than that, we spent most of the time hanging out at my parents house or my grandma’s house enjoying the air conditioning and the company.

Christmas brought some sad news. Just a few days before Christmas, my dad called to tell me that my grandma had passed away. It was unexpected, but not surprising. Her health had been failing for many years, but when we saw her at Thanksgiving, she was doing better than usual. I think having all the family home helped raise her spirits more than anything, and I’m glad we got to spend as much time as we did with her. As a family, we decided to postpone the memorial service until all the holiday madness was over, and things calmed down a bit. We ended up having the services in February. The memorial was great, there were people we hadn’t seen in years and stories we hadn’t heard in years, if ever. The day after, we drove down to San Diego for the interment at the Rosecrans National Cemetery, where my grandpa is also buried. There was a nice short ceremony, then we went to visit the grave site and say our goodbyes. We spent the rest of the day driving around San Diego, visiting places we used to know when my grandparents lived there. We ended up stayed with my parents for the whole week afterward to help go through her house and pack some things away.

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