Family, Friends, Jury Duty

During the two weeks since the last entry, it seems our time has been split between family, friends, have-to chores and Christmas shopping.  Taking these one at a time:

Almost every day, we interacted with the family in some way.  Usually, we alternate between visiting Andy or Heather to spend time with them and the kids.  Jeanne especially likes to play the grandmother role with Heather’s daughter Erika, who just turned one and is learning to walk.  In just two short weeks Erika has mastered basic walking skills including the pivot, standing-still and run-away-from-grandma moves.  It is a marvel to watch.

Last week the family celebrated Dannette’s birthday with a dinner at Lin’s Chinese Restaurant, which has been a Santa Paula culinary icon for generations.  What it lacks in taste it loses in ambiance.  Yes, you read it right.  Anyway, we very much enjoyed the meal and visiting with the family afterwards at their home.

We attended two parties organized by former State Fund co-workers.  The first was a small group of friends from the Woodland Hills office.  Her friend Janice hosted the party at her home in the nearby town of Camarillo.  Jeanne really enjoyed catching up with her Woodland Hills friends and on the way home, we discussed what a pleasure it is spending time with such a diverse and talented group.

The second party is an annual event usually hosted by Chris and her husband Dick, who Jeanne met while working at the State Fund office in Ventura.  This is a small group of close friends.  Since moving away from the area, the party has been an opportunity to stay connected.  This annual gathering has been going on for almost twenty years and it has been interesting watching these several families move through life.  These are all fine people who work hard and participate in the community.  Most of the kids are either completing their education or have settled into a career.  In any event, once again we appreciate the invitation and thoroughly enjoyed spending the evening with old friends.

One afternoon, Ed and Nancy stopped by to visit, see the coach and share an early dinner at La Cabana.  Ed is an old 7up friend who is an avid outdoorsman and regular reader of this triplog.  We very much enjoyed visiting and sharing certain tales of the road not fit publishing in this triplog.  As discussions progressed, we talked about the future.  I sincerely believe that on some future afternoon warmed by the California sun, Jeanne and I will be listening as Ed and Nancy share their travel experiences.  We look forward to that day, but in the present, we very much enjoyed their visit and look forward to seeing them again before we move on.

On an absolutely beautiful day, we visited Doug and Karen at their home in the Malibu hills.  Doug is a college friend and it is hard to believe we stayed in touch for over 30 years.  The Malibu house has always been a special place for us to  visit and it is interesting to see how the place changes from year to year.  This was the year of the kitchen and patio remodel, both of which turned out great.  Also apparent was the maturity of garden, which now seems to feel like an extension of the house, sort of like another room.  Anyway, after dining on home-made pizza, we retired outside and had dessert while sitting around a small fire.  We talked late into the evening while owls hooted in the distance.  We had a great time and the visit was very much appreciated.

Since we expected to visit Canada this past year, the firearms were left in storage and I had not done any trap shooting in over ten months.  How bad would I shoot after the long layoff?  I was about to find out.  One blustery afternoon, Ed and I met at Oaktree for a few rounds of trap.  It had been a long time, but I did much better than expected.  Ed had just had some work done to his shotgun and was getting it dialed in.  Although he was shooting a modified gun with some truly ancient ammo, he scored well.  At the end of the day, we left a field of dead clay targets and the aroma of gunpowder in the air.  After all this manly activity, we were hungry.  With our guns stowed, we headed for a nearby Italian bistro for an excellent lunch and leisurely conversation.  Without a doubt, a good time was had by all.

At the top of the have-to list of chores was jury duty.  Ventura county has a one day or one trial policy and I was determined to keep it limited to one day.  Fortunately, it worked out as planned and my jury duty was consisted of sitting in a room for one day reading four periodicals cover to cover.  I’m safe for another year but just yesterday, Jeanne received her jury summons in the mail.  Ha ha ha-ha ha!

We had some follow-up medical appointments that were nothing more than routine tests and checkups.  Bottom line, we’re good to go for another year.

Both Jeanne and I caught colds, which cut our activities short while we recovered.  According to Jeanne, for most of one day I laid on the couch and whimpered.  This is a gross mischaracterization of my behavior, but somewhere along the line a day is missing.  Anyway, most of the Christmas shopping was already done, but the interruption to the workout routine was annoying.  At this time, recovery is almost complete and we look forward to returning to normal activities.