Well, I can honestly say I had a 'new' experience recently. After being gone for a full month I have to say my little hovel in Storm Lake looked SO GOOD TO ME! It actually took me by surprise! I'm often fussing about how small it is (esp in the winter!), how chopped up the floor plan is, how this or that it is or isn't ... you know, crumbling in general (I know! I'm to be content in ALL THINGS, right? right!) Everything seemed 'different' somehow ... I don't really have words for the sensation, but it was GOOD TO BE HOME.
January 18 I left Iowa for a stay in California. The first week I was at Tara's being a 'helper' in preparation for the arrival of her third child. Then Bruce drove out to join me (poor guy! He somehow managed to give himself food poisening! So...about that idea ... leaving your 1/2 eaten sandwich 'on top' of the cooler ... yeah ... 'not' such a good idea after all!). A couple days after he arrived, we checked into a beachside condo at Mandalay Bay near Oxnard.
Ron and Cheryl (Bruce's sister and brother-in-law) joined us. We stayed on the beach for a week.
We spent one day visiting the Santa Barbara Zoo with Tara and the kids.
On Feb 6, in celebration of Cheryl's birthday, we went to the Ronald Reagan Library (which happens to be Reagan's birthday too!). All four of us were amazed by this experience. WOW! What a tribute. This man had so many qualities and was accomplished in so many things we were unaware of ... guess that goes to show you can't trust the media to be your only source of information!
We enjoyed boarding Air Force One! and seeing the recently retired Presidential helicopter (Marine One?).
While at the beach house, we had a several sleep-overs with Savannah and William. They loved the easy access to the beach ... just a partial block (two houses between us and the beach). The little storage closet under the steps provided hours of fun! It had a louvered door and they just had a ball 'hiding' in there and surprising us when we'd walk by! It was just too cute! Then, to top off all that fun, "Gwampa" would get up with them early in the morning (they LOVE to wake up at O'Dark-hundred, as does Grampa) and together they would make fresh cookies for the day ... we are totally loving the Grandparent role!
Bruce took Cheryl and Ron on a tour of Hollywood, various interest points in LA, Malibu, and the famous pier, ending in a meal at a restaurant at the ocean's edge (recommended by friends of Ron & Cheryl).
When our little grand-daughter didn't arrive on time (in fact she was two weeks late!) Tara and Nathan bought me a return flight so I could stay until after baby arrived. We said good-bye to a very disappointed grampa and great-aunt and great-uncle ONE day before baby arrived!
Scarlett was born at home and immediately welcomed into her family by not only mama and daddy, but big sister and big brother! The older siblings fell in love immediately with their little sister ... it was so precious to witness! I feel so blessed that I was there to be part of her first day here on earth! And, of course, happy that I had the extra time to get to know her before I had to come home.
The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one's own country as a foreign land. ~G.K. Chesterton