Well, it’s August already. Sabbatical is officially over as of today. I had a meeting at the college and actually put on a tie. I have not been writing too much because—it’s not the same here. Nothing is really new and novel and exciting. Anyway, here is an update about what I have been up to.
I went to visit my mother in California. She lives in the Bay Area in a community for 50+ called Rossmore. She moved to California in 1992 after the last of the original neighbors left the street where she lived, and I grew up, in Baltimore.
Both of my sisters were already living near San Francisco, so it seemed like a good place for her to go. She is 83 now and does not drive anymore. My sisters check in on her and take her shopping and to the doctors. Twice a year I go out to give them a break.
When I arrived at the Oakland airport, my niece, Lauren, and her brother, Michael, were dispatched to get me. As we made our way to the Caldecot Tunnel, Lauren’s car overheated. My already-long journey was about to get longer. We had to wait for my sister, Karolyn, to rescue us in rush hour traffic.
I stayed with my other sister, Kathy. Her son, John, visited us while we were in Buenos Aires. Kathy was supposed to come and we were going to celebrate our birthdays together. She got cancer and has been undergoing treatment. While I was there, she went out without the head scarf for the first time. We thought it was amusing that we now have the same haircut.
Traveling between my sister’s house in Orinda to my mother’s in Rossmore, I pass Lafayette. For the past years or so, some people have been placing crosses on a hillside for each American soldier who has died in Iraq. While I visited, it was up to 3592; it’s higher now.
There was a bit of excitement one day at my mother’s. A power transformer blew and sparks ignited the hillside behind her condo. We watched the fire copter scoop water from the pond on the golf course and drop it on the fire. That was fun.
Another fun time was Friday the 13th. It was pretty strange that 777 and Friday the 13th occurred in the same week. Anyway, my brother-in-law, Dan, is a VIP in an accounting firm in the City. They were having their annual company meeting and family night and Dan got me a ticket. After their meeting, my sister and I met him at a really great cocktail party in the terrace of a hotel across from the ferry building. After getting all liquored-up there, I stumbled to the stadium to watch the Giants and the Dodgers. It was funny to think that two New York teams are now California teams and playing in San Francisco.
Barry Bonds went hitless that night, but that did not stop a thousand camera flashes with each pitch. In the seat in front of us was Meredith—a three-year-old who kept sticking her hand in Dan’s soda for ice and “allowing” us to shell peanuts for her.
Before my week was up, Lauren’s car was determined to be unfixable. Her dad went out and bought her a new Nissan as a wedding present. She gets married September 1st. (Dan has some scratch.)
So, I am back home now and have broken ground on my parrilla. I’ll keep you apprised on the progress.