Home Again

It's been a whirlwind several days, and now I feel as if I'm out of the frying pan into the fire. I need to get ready for a camping trip to Mt. Rainier this weekend. But before my trip to Southern California fades to dark, I thought I'd better get on here and tell you all about it. I have lots of pictures to show you too, so buckle up because we're on our way to California.

Flying from Oregon (or from farther north in Washington) to California always gives you some wonderful views of the mountains. I'm not sure, but I think this might be Mt. Shasta in the image below.

I was up at 3:00 a.m. to catch my flight, and my friend Lisa was up early too in order to get to the airport and pick me up. We didn't do a whole lot the first day because we were both pretty tired. We did go into town and take a little tour around. Lisa needed to get a haircut and I just relaxed with a tall iced tea while I waited. It was such a nice day, and warm, so the tea was a good refresher, not to mention a nice hit of some badly-needed caffeine. Oh yes, and this was when I met my little buddy the raccoon. In case you missed it, I posted a picture early on of me petting the little guy. He was absolutely adorable.

He is a rescued baby. I don't know his complete history, but his adopted dad (shown in the image below) told me that raccoons are often either orphaned or abandoned, and he raises them to the age of ten months before releasing them back to the wild. He also explained that for the last two months of their time in captivity, they are not handled at all in preparation for their return to their natural habitat. 

Lisa and I scouted out a good recipe for salmon cakes. She was given six (!) cans of canned salmon and wasn't sure what to do with them. We found a pretty easy recipe that Lisa modified for baking rather than frying, and they were quite good! We were pleasantly surprised. They were also gluten free. Lisa saves the crumbs from her gluten free cereals to use as breadcrumbs and they worked great to bind the salmon cakes together.

The next day, we took a nice little excursion on her mountain where Idyllwild is located. We had this nice view of the valley below in our hike at Pine Cove Park.

It was a beautiful day...not too warm, and not a cloud in the sky.

And I can't resist reposting this image of us intrepid hikers. We balanced the camera on a rock to take this picture and I had to try to figure out how to use the delayed shutter release on my camera.

It was a comedy of errors in and of itself. And I'll just say right here that there was a whole lot of laughing on this trip.

After that we took off on a 4-wheel journey in Lisa's little Subaru. Lisa said she felt like we were Thelma and Louise with a little better outcome at the end. There were wildflowers in abundance on Lisa's mountain, but the ones we saw most were these.

We took about a half-hour to drive five miles to this virtual oasis called "North Fork". 

It would make a wonderful place to spend a day and picnic. 

That night we went to a summer concert in Idyllwild where I took this picture of Lisa and her husband, Ron. They make a nice couple, no?

The next day, Lisa and I made the hours-long drive to our former home in Vista, where we attended the reunion of our high school band. This was the second reunion, and I'm told it wasn't as well attended as the first. I missed the first, and so it was great to see some dear old friends. This is Mr. Don Lauder, our band director, and his wife Pat. Still ticking along and very sharp after all these years.

The image below includes the choral director, Mr. Don Bursvold. These two men influenced a lot of singers and musicians. Mr. "B", as he was affectionately known to his students, tagged me to play the piano for the glee club when I was in junior high school. Both of these men moved to the high school and I was lucky enough to learn from both of them. While I didn't have as much contact with Mr. "B" at the high school level, we performed two musicals during my three years of high school, and he was very much involved in that.

Here I am with my wonderful friend, Tom Z. Tom played saxophone.

Here's Tom with his wife, Deb, another one of my most beloved friends from high school. Deb played clarinet.

And I'll just point out that Lisa and I weren't having any fun at all. By the way, Lisa played flute. I played alto clarinet and piano.

This is Debi W., another friend I've been looking forward to seeing again. Debi was a year ahead of me, and we weren't particularly close in high school, although in the band, we were all close. Debi played flute. We reconnected on Facebook a while back, and Debi is a quilter. She is also a nurse, and she was incredibly supportive and helpful to me when Mike was in the hospital last year. I couldn't wait to see her and give her a big ole' hug. It was so much fun getting reacquainted.

 I was so distracted and excited at the reunion that it was nearly impossible for me to focus my attention long enough to take many pictures. Most of these pictures were taken by others, and I'm grateful to them (including Debi) for allowing me to steal their images from Facebook. Below is the requisite group photo:

It was a wonderful evening, and we had enough food to feed two small armies (or one large army, depending on your needs).

The next day, Deb, Lisa and I went to Tamarack Beach. When I was a teenager, I went to the beach nearly every day, spending a full three hours each day cultivating my many skin cancers. Since moving to Oregon, beach-going is a fully-clothed and fully-shoed affair. On a good day, we might actually take off our coats. And so it was delightful to be able to walk barefoot in the sand and wear my bathing suit. In my old-age, I'm wise enough to slather on sunscreen now. I can't remember when I've had so much fun. While I hadn't planned on getting in the water, I did end up getting fully submerged, jumping through the waves as if 40 years hadn't passed. I did, however, threaten Deb and Lisa with homicide if they dared take a picture of me in my swimming suit.

We laughed, and laughed, and laughed until our cheeks hurt. 

It used to be free to park at the beach, but now costs a whopping $6 for two hours. We used up our two hours and then paid for one more. And would it be possible for three girlfriends to get together without snapping the requisite selfie?

When we'd used up our parking time, we headed to this restaurant just a little bit up the road for some of the best fish and chips I'd ever eaten.

The batter was so nice and light, and we devoured our lunches with great gusto.

The next day Lisa and I headed to the Oceanside Pier. The pier has been an Oceanside icon for longer than I suppose anyone can remember. After Mike and I left the area some time ago, I recall reading that a storm had washed at least half of the structure away. Since that time, it's been rebuilt at least a couple of times until now it is clearly a major tourist attraction for the small beach town of Oceanside. It is so much nicer than I remember it, and Lisa and I walked to the end and back. The weather was perfect. On the way, we saw these plantings of statis. It's often used in flower arrangements, but I don't know that I've ever seen it growing this way.

As we approached the pier, a man offered to take our picture. He was wearing a name tag and appeared to be some sort of greeter there to provide information and to offer to take pictures of tourists. Not a bad job!

Heck, a picture? Why not? Then we took off down the pier.

Look north, and this is what you see. This area was formerly ramshackle huts where surfers and beach bums lived. Now it's all fancy with condos.

From the end of the pier we could see The Oceanside Strand, which is a sort of frontage road that runs along the sand. This used to be a strip where folks drove up and down looking for guys or gals, depending on their proclivities. There is also a small amphitheater there and Oceanside high school still uses it for its graduation ceremonies.

There were lots of people fishing, and they seemed to be pulling lots of mackerel from the ocean. This was just one guy's catch. 

I know. I felt kind of sorry for the fish. Yes, I'm that kind of carnivore. I only like meat when it no longer resembles the animal it once was.

So we walked out and back. We wanted to try to get the iconic under-the-pier image, but the tide was too high, and we couldn't get out there without going for another swim.

After that, we went to the California Surf Museum, which was small but interesting. It had a good display of the history of body surfing and board surfing as well as some great examples of surfboards through the years.

Later that day, a few of us hard core band reunion people met up at the Pepper Tree Frosty, a landmark in the city of Vista. This used to be the place we naughty teens would sneak away to when we left our closed campus for lunch. Lisa and I each got an order of taquitos and a milkshake. They were just as good as we remembered. The Pepper Tree Frosty has been owned by the same family for 55 years, and while everything has grown up around it, it remains the same...same food, same shakes, same pepper trees, same devoted customers. 

From there we drove back to Lisa's place in Idyllwild and I prepared for my flight back home early the next morning...yesterday.

I was so missing my little buddy, and Mike said he was missing me too. Gracie prefers Mike, and so she didn't even bother coming downstairs when I arrived home. I didn't even carry my suitcase into the house but walked out to the patio calling my little "Smithereens". When I turned around and returned the way I came, I saw him sitting in the shade of our butterfly bush, and just beyond I saw the bobcat. Smitty was all fluffed up and looking in the direction of the bobcat. I called to him and he turned and headed toward his kitty door, but then followed me just a few feet further to go inside where the sliding screen door is. He immediately jumped up on the top of the china cabinet, the place he goes when something scares him outside, and sat still while I took this picture of him.

What an expression! He stayed inside the rest of the afternoon. When Gracie decided to, um, grace us with her presence, he decided to go outside with her. He looked in the direction of where the bobcat had been, and then went the other way. Smart kitty. I wish I had seen the bobcat before I scared him away because I don't know if he and Smitty had seen one another or if they had exchanged words. But it's good to know that Smitty will give him a wide berth.

So that's all I have to say about the past several days. I have a busy day ahead. I was hoping to get in a swim, but I don't think I'm going to have time. I need to water the annuals, do laundry, and I need to go to the grocery store. Since we're heading out for another camping trip to Mt. Rainier on Friday, there's no time to waste. And with that...I think I'll get on with it.

Thanks to all who have visited and left such nice comments for my Blogiversary giveaway. And good luck!

22 comments from clever and witty friends:

Ann Bassett said...

Wow, what a great trip. I love the pix of Smitty looking all freaked out. Welcome back.

Linda M @ Pieceful Kingdom said...

Glad you had a good time. You make me miss being in Southern California where I grew up! We made many trips up to Idyllwild. My parents' home is not too far from there now.

Betty said...

Sounds like you had a great trip and reunion! I always enjoy seeing your pictures of places you visit.
Good thing Smitty scared away that pesky bobcat. ;)
I've seen that look from my boys lots of times, but in my suburban neighborhood it's most likely caused by a lawn mower or the garbage truck. One would think in 2 years they would have gotten used to that big ole noisy truck coming by every week!

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Welcome HOME!!

Marei said...

Too bad we missed each other by a couple days as I would have liked to hang out with you all. When I was a small kid in the 50's the O'side pier was really, really long. Close to a mile if I remember correctly. It used to be quite a big deal to walk the length of the pier. Then a big storm in the late 50's/early 60's took the whole end of it off....almost half of it was gone. It was quite the 'event'. I remember the fish shack at the end of the place being washed out into the ocean. The city decided to not rebuild and left it in it's shortened stare which is the way it was when you moved to the area. Ah...the memories.....

gpc said...

What a fun trip, and another one just around the corner. Happy days!

WoolenSails said...

You really packed in a lot of fun and great places to visit during your trip. His face says it all, like, what the heck was that.


Tami C said...

That sure was a busy busy vacation and visit with all your old friends as well as some sight seeing! Glad you had such a good time. Have fun camping!

Needled Mom said...

It sounds like it was a great trip down Memory Lane. You got out of here before the humid weather hit us!!!!

Judy1522 said...

Sounds like a fun trip. I have walked on that pier in Oceanside so I know right where you were. Glad to know Smitty left the bobcat alone, very smart kitty.

Junebug613 said...

Looks like you had a great trip! I've just gotten caught up on what you've been doing. We've been busy with work and I've been pretty upset over my missing kitty, Diva. I'm glad you had such a nice time at your reunion. I hope your camping trip is terrific too!

liniecat said...

Welcome home : )
What a smashing time youve obviously had and how lovely to meet up with pals from 'yesterdays'.
Looks like youve done a little of everything and am sure youll be refreshed for the break away.

Kate said...

Looks like you had lots of fun and had a chance to create some fun new memories.

Diane Wild said...

What a wonderful trip. Lots of laughs, sun and food. Perfect. Always nice to get back home, however. Even mundane tasks feels good.

Lynn - JnL4God said...

What a wonderful trip and such fun. I was in band for so many years too however we weren't close like it appears you all were. That is awesome.

Dana Gaffney said...

What a wonderful trip, it looks like you had a great time. That's a beautiful place, I really liked the hike pictures, so peaceful looking.

Anonymous said...

Your travelogue was most enjoyable. Sounds like an awesome time away with "old" friends (friends of old--??). You barely have time to breath on this one.....off to camping, hmm? Have fun!!!!

Jacque said...

Wow! You packed a lot of fun into a short trip! Glad you were there for Smitty at just the right time!

quiltzyx said...

I love the shots from the plane! Just gorgeous. I'm glad you had such a fun time while you were down here - since laughter is the best medicine, you aught to be in tip-top shape!!

What a fun pic of the Smitster too! YIKES! It's good he has that safe place to hang out up there.

Now, take a BREATH or two before you're off again to Mr. Rainier!!

Michelle F said...

I enjoyed the trip through California. The seafood platter looks scrumptious!


VickiT said...

Wow. What a great sounding trip you had. I was in band myself, but we never have had any reunions. Heck, my high school class has only had two reunions to date that I know of. So sad. It sounds like your band has a great group of people. It looks like you and your friend had a blast.

Oh my gosh, how scary to see a bobcat in your yard, and worse yet, so close to your baby. ACK!

Janarama said...

Looks like you really had a blast on your trip. Laughter is good for the soul. Holy smokes ... a bobcat in your yard! I would have had a heart attack if I saw one that close.