After an absolutely exhausting, extremely fun couple of months with our boating buddies (see four previous posts!), we were looking forward to some home-cookin’ – that is, our U.S.-based homies. With the exception of Rand’s planned ski excursion to Colorado with his brothers, visiting home this time around was supposed to be more relaxing – a time to chill out and exercise with some regularity in order to trim off some of the lbs I gained from all the eating on the mainland, in particular, the ice cream and churros. But, alas, it was not to be. While I managed to eek out a few mornings of yoga and long walks, I still ingested more calories than I expended. Darn it all. Rand, on the other hand, burned enough calories for both of us – too bad it doesn’t really work that way. Despite this, or because of it, our time with our homies was extra fun and super special.
The quick and dirty? Let’s see, the highlights always include food (duh), like Soup Plantation, Mitch’s, Blind Lady Ale House, Pizza Nova, Tajima, and morning coffee with Pop and Jer at Starbucks. But the biggest highlight of these trips home is laying our eyes on the people we miss so much when we’re in Mexico. For Rand, it was seeing Jeff and Tobin in Colorado for their annual brothers’ ski trip, which is always all skiing, eating, drinking, and belly-laughing. The bonus this year was spending a little time with Thad and Kristin of She’s No Lady who are currently making Colorado their home away from home, and they also surprised an old childhood friend, Daryl, who owns and operates a yummy restaurant near Beaver Creek.
Our visit coincided with a visit from Court and Spencer and flying Spencer’s new drone and, of course, eating. I spent a wonderful evening with Erin and Simon at Tom and Barb’s lovely abode in Escondido. Dined in Murrieta with the Jerry/Mary family and had a slumber party. I got to hang out for a few hours with Pete and Lisa in Vista and take a free tour of their garden; then it was dinner in Carlsbad with Lee and Kai Coulter, complete with hopeful conversations about positivity and compassion and love. We had too short of a visit with our guide baby, Jack, and his family, but the Pizza Nova was delicious. Then came the quick jaunt to Palm Springs to see Flea and my former Fish and Wildlife Service coworkers, learn to play pickle ball, eat at our fav Thai restaurant and Flea’s fav burger joint, and inadvertently miss Jay and Kathy (we suck – so sorry!). After a day and a half in PS, we bolted for Vegas Baby via the Mojave National Preserve to connect with Jeff, Betsy, and Sophie who were in town for a massive volleyball tournament at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. We arrived back in Chuly at 2 am the morning of the 19th, lunched at Tajima with Triple J (Jes, Jon, and Jack) and Uncle Nobi, and wrapped up our visit where it all began – at Soupy with Pop. Unfortunately, we missed too many good friends and family this time around – tip of the hat to the other Sawasakis and Chuppes, the Sacketts, the Musolfs, Michelle, Kathleen and Matt, Ayoola, Vicki and Dan, Monte and Jeanne, Kurt and Lori…next time, we swear.
Now for the real highlights – February 8th. We got to watch my baby sister, Annie, marry her partner, Vanessa, in an Anchorage courtroom over Zoom. Courtney watched from work in Seattle, Lee watched from her home in Marin, Lea and Stace watched from The Resort (Flea’s house) in Cat City, Virgie watched from work in San Marcos, and me, Pop, Jer, and Melannie watched from Pop’s living room in Chula Vista. It was the sweetest day. And we have a new sis-in-law! Yay! At times I feel as if we’re going backwards as a society, but on this day, thankfully, I felt that positive progress has truly been made with respect to equal rights.
And – February 14. Court and Spencer got engaged!! The video speaks volumes. Love love love love love!