Le vacay

Jul. 19th, 2015 11:10 am
stgulik: default icon (benita)

If it's July, we must be back in Tahoe!* This year, the whole clan has rented three cabins on the west (California) side of the lake, so we will meet up here and there throughout the week.

My daughter drove me here, leaving Groom to his own devices in the second car. I wanted to make sure the kid could make it all the way there. She has class on Wednesday and will need to drive home in one of our cars, so I wanted to make sure she was competent to make the long trip. She is.

The first day here, I usually just sleep. In fact, a lot of us are like that--we build the "coma day" into our collective expectations for a vacation week. Now we are in fine form and potentially ready to journey down to the lake this morning.

Reading Mark Twain's "The Innocents Abroad," which is a travelogue he wrote about his trip to Europe, back in the day. I'm kind of working up a review for Goodreads. Though it's a funny and insightful book, and I'm enjoying it, I don't know how to approach recommending it yet.

* This particular picture is of Donner Lake, which we gazed upon at a rest stop along the way.
stgulik: default icon (benita)

Last Sunday's day trip was to Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.  (^not my photograph)  Such a long day! But I didn't mind; this place holds a special place in my heart. Groom and I went camping on our honeymoon near here, long ago, and one day he and I took time out of our, erm, busy schedule, to play at the park.

Traffic was horrific due to a) Father's Day, b) the weekend, and c) very poor urban planning on the part of the City of Santa Cruz. Honestly, this amusement park must make a killing--would it hurt to install a parking structure? If they're worried about disrupting the skyline, well, even a two-story structure would double the capacity for the pitiful couple of blocks that are allocated for boardwalk parking.

Because here's the essential hypocracy of Santa Cruz: On one hand, it cherishes an old-fashioned hippie, Surf City U.S.A. vibe that embraces a low-carbon-footprint, environmentally-friendly lifestyle. But at the same time, it blithely allows thousands of tourists to come to town every day and spew carbon monoxide for an hour apiece as they crawl down narrow streets in underdeveloped neighborhoods, searching in vain for street parking.

I think I'll write a letter. Santa Cruz's irresponsible attitude toward traffic flow has awoken my inner Leslie Knope.

Anyway! We had to drive down in two cars. We lost my uncle twice along the way and once on the way back. We had to split up in the course of finding parking, ("Every Van For Himself"), and for a while I really believed Uncle Don would be lost to us forever. I mean, he was alone in a strange town with no cell phone and no way to call any of us. But in retrospect, I believe it was the nicest part of his day, being away from all our yammering.

Once I knew we were all parked and accounted for, the day improved for me. I ate ice cream and rode the sky tram, teased my cousins and got too much sun. Also visited a psychic, but that's a story for another entry!

Go Nuts

Jun. 21st, 2015 08:20 am
stgulik: default icon (benita)
Groom and I treated the whole crew to a minor-league baseball game last night.

Our team lost, unfortunately, but not because of the way they grouped themselves at second base like this.

Read more... )
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Our San Francisco day trip was so much fun!

My midwest relatives got to check a few things off their vacation to do lists. They saw the ocean--in fact, the teenage girls were fairly boisterous at their first sight. They took loads of selfies in front of the Golden Gate Bridge, and later had their first taste of sauteed calamari, fresh off the pier.

Also, we saw a whale underneath the bridge! It was my first real live whale, so that's a thing that got checked off my own list.

Ushering them around reminded me of my first time there. That's why I really like taking relatives on tours: for the nostalgia factor. Also, I love them and want them to be happy, of course.
stgulik: default icon (keep calm oh shit never mind)
We'll soon have our own Hogwarts on the West Coast!

We visited Universal Studios in L.A. last week and got a big surprise:

Pic-heavy post ahead )
stgulik: default icon (keep calm make coffee)
It's strange to be home. Though it wasn't our first choice to stay at a resort whose heyday had passed before I was born, the place really grew on us.

Even the dogs miss it. The Flamingo in Santa Rosa provides "pet-friendly" rooms, located on the ground floor and featuring Pergo flooring instead of carpeting. Near the room was a nice shady dog run. Every morning, I would take my four-legged children bye-bye on a walk so they could get their daily exercise. Cousins liked to bring them treats from dinner. All in all, the dogs quickly got used to vacation, and seemed eager to return to the room even after we'd packed to leave. Hedonists.

My sister in-law quickly sussed out the politics of the pool area. Every morning about 7:30, she would bring out tote bags and towels and stake out the pagoda. The family would proceed to lounge the rest of the day, swimming, ordering things from the menu, sharing letters and pictures, and playing Scrabble.

We drove to the ocean. We paid exorbitantly for pedicures. I tried Bulleit bourbon and now nothing less will satisfy me. Can't imagine why I'm sad to be home, can you? ::sigh::

In other news, I'm happy to report that St. Gulik's Room of Good Intentions is tamed once again! Yes, I spent all my weeknights one week organizing the room in time for my book club's meeting. Now it's - well, not beautiful, but functional and nice to look at.
stgulik: default icon (snupin funny mine)
A family reunion should be somewhere glamourous and exotic. So why did we agree to downtown Santa Rosa, California?


I can't even. Good thing my family is so awesome, we bring the party wherever we go.

In other news, Red 2 was a lot of fun. It started out slow, but they seemed to have been establishing interpersonal relationships, which I can't really fault them for. The pace picks up about the time David Thewlis makes his appearance. I don't want to risk a spoiler, but when somebody kissed him, I about came up out of my seat. That's MY Dear Remus, you bitch!


Jul. 28th, 2012 07:39 am
stgulik: default icon (now take off your clothes)
Our stay at the posh house by the ocean ended with the traditional dinner of leftovers.
How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat? )
stgulik: default icon (mcgonagall lolcat)
2012-07-21 07.17.49

Bodega Bay, baby!

A few of my husband's cousins and siblings, as well as various spouses, teens and children, have rented a six-bedroom house for the week. This isn't our first reunion of this type though it's our first on the ocean. This morning, we're doing our usual sitting around the dining room table, gossiping, playing cards, eating, scheming, and surreptitiously checking the wifi.
stgulik: default icon (Default)
That was my impression when we stepped off the plane in Charleston. Boy, it only takes a few years away to forget the hideous discomfort that only West Virginia's humidity can bring. But the one-minute walk from the airport terminal to Dad's car brought it allll back.

Other things I'd forgotten about West Virginia:
  • When you sit in groups of five or more, somebody always brings up the "dew point." During our visit, the dew point reached 78. This is trouble because, at 80, the air is so wet that fish in the ponds get confused and swim straight out of the water and start flying through the air. Don't get me wrong; them fish is good eatin', but they tend to splat against the windshield. (Okay, I made this up. Most of it.)

  • The locals know a damn sight better than to go outside in the humidity, thank you very much. We rented a pontoon boat so we could putter around a lake for a few hours, and we saw NOBODY. Just a few isolated campers who were probably tourists like us. It was odd. I'm used to life on the West Coast where, if a lake like that had 2,000 boats roaring around, we'd be marveling at how deserted it was.

  • The local paper runs a column called "Garden of the Month." Families work hard to win this honor and have their gardens featured. Competition can be fierce. There was a joke in there somewhere about unusual fertilizer and the mysterious disappearance of rivals, but I did not dare reach for it.
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I got a great compliment from one of my nephews. The whole lot of 'em are underclassmen in college now, and I guess they've been talking about their oldster relatives while we've been in Tahoe this week.

"Aunt Pam," said one of them, "We have to say that, of all the people in your generation, you stand out because you're the only one who really gets the internet."

I told him that's because I built a second home here in 2003.

They were similarly impressed with me last summer, when I knew all the good bands and could even share music with them. I rock!


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