Tuesday, May 17, 2011

he did it!

This past weekend went by so fast and there was so much going on that I decided not to even try to record it moment-by-moment. Now I've been back home for a couple of days and it's time to sort it all out.

Thursday evening we had dinner with Andrew; Mr. C, Cait, Andrew and I sat down to a delicious dinner of Indian fare; lamb curry, creamed spinach, chicken tandoori, rice, and big bottles of Indian beer. They definitely have a knack for brewing and bottling!

Friday afternoon was the Claremont Colleges baccalaureate honoring the graduates of all six of the colleges: Pomona, Scripps, Harvey Mudd, Pitzer, Claremont McKenna, and the Claremont Graduate School. Beautiful music, inspiring words. We walked from the Garrison Theater on the Scripps campus over to a lavish buffet reception at the Claremont dining complex.

I took this photo only because my sister graduated from Scripps. She loved the place. It's a lovely, serene campus with beautiful old buildings, lots of shade trees and quiet walkways. But so is Pomona, my mother's alma mater. I'm hoping Emily chooses to go to one of the Claremonts. Keep it in the family, you know.

We went back to the hotel for some reading and relaxing before heading out to a dinner party hosted by the parents of one of Andrew's roommates, Alex Bargmann from Pelham, New York. The dinner was held at Rosa's in Ontario. A lovely Italian place with superb food, efficient service, handsome setting.

The place was jumping with a joyous mob of soon-to-be-grads, their parents, grandparents (that would be us), aunts (Cait), brothers and sisters (Em). Great looking young men and women, eager to get on with it. Along with us at our table was this absolutely adorable classmate of Andrew's, Reed Hogan from Milwaukee. He actually looked like Prince Harry, red hair and all.

And I finally have a very nice photo of granddaughter Emily. Next commencement in the family will be hers, next June, from Thacher School in Ojai. We're making hotel reservations NOW.

Andrew's girlfriend Cara wasn't there that evening. We would have to wait and meet her on Saturday at commencement or at the reception her parents were throwing at yet another delightful restaurant, Walter's in Claremont.

But before that we had commencement. It was held under a big tent on a playing field. Unfortunately it was cold and windy Saturday afternoon, with occasional flashes of sunshine. I do not have the full load of the photos that were taken; they are scattered around among the various camera-toting family members, but Alex did send me this one, taken after the ceremony at the college's reception. I still find it remarkable that the tiny little boy I first met and fell madly in love with when he was just four days old is now a tall, charming college graduate. I must have blinked somewhere along the way.

Can you find the proud grandmother?

Then it was on to the reception hosted by Cara's parents. Again, lots of good-looking kids, ready to take on the world. Cara will do it in Mountain View, working for Google. Andrew will do it in San Francisco, looking for a job! But before that the two of them will drive from Claremont to Chicago for a family visit, then fly off to Berlin for two or three weeks of travel; also going to Amsterdam and Prague. Nice. Then it will be home to start what's known as real life.

Home on Sunday to rain and cold. I'm not used to this. I actually put flannel sheets on our bed this morning. Expecting more rain and cold tonight with some clearing tomorrow and some sunshine later in the week. Right now the Heavenly Bamboo is scratching against the windows as the north wind rips through.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

you'll have to wait

It has been such a marvelous three days that I haven't had time or the inclination to write about it. But there are many photos and many things to write about. But you'll just have to wait. We head home tomorrow and I will give this weekend it's due. What a wonderful celebration for these gifted and talented men and women! So photos and text tomorrow.

Friday, May 13, 2011

in Claremont

I have much to tell you about this wonderful weekend so far but it is too late tonight to do much writing. Tomorrow, for sure. Let me just say that Andrew is in fine shape, as are all the other members of the immediate family. Tomorrow is the actual graduation. The past day or two have just been leading up to the big extravaganza. I'll write in the morning. I am exhausted because the room in our hotel is about 200 yds. from the I-10 freeway and we hear traffic all night long. But tomorrow is another day and we'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

on the road again

Tomorrow we fly down to Ontario, CA for Andrew's graduation from Claremont McKenna College. Good grief! He went from diapers to a cap and gown in the twinkling of an eye. My beautiful little grandson is now all grown up into, of course, a beautiful man. Post-bac plans may include relocating to the Bay Area. Wouldn't that be a treat! We'll all be there; daughter Cait is flying to Sact'o today to have a visit with old friends. Then she and we will all fly together down to SoCal for the weekend's festivities. Home on Sunday. I'll take pictures, of course.

Monday, May 9, 2011

catching up

I've been away from TV for 5 months and, except for the President's State of the Union speech, have had total blackout. But now I'm back and what to do but turn on the TV at 5:30 for the news. Oy! What a mistake. However, I did watch "60 Minutes" last night and was very impressed by the interview with Obama. A measured, thoughtful assessment of the l'affaire Osama. No cowboy tactics.

But I also don't get to see movies while in Mexico. So I am catching up. First one was "The King's Speech." Superb. Next was "The Kids Are Alright." It, too, was good. Frankly, I prefer Colin Firth to either Julianne Moore or Annette Benning. Next up, thanks to the Flix® will be Season 2 of "In Treatment." I think Deborah Winger appears in these.

No tiangues today. I hardly knew what to do with myself. While up town doing errands I ran into Stan Singleton, the owner of the Casa de las Flores, our favorite B & B in Tlaquepaque. His parents live here and he is visiting for a few weeks. His father, Vern Singleton, is an esteemed emeritus member of the UC Davis department of viticulture and oenology. It was sort of strange to see Stan "out of place" here; he belongs in Mexico.

Bought a tank of gas for the adorable Dorothy. $40! What's going on here?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

from the mother's day bunny

This beautiful bouquet of roses was a gift from Mr. C in honor of my Mother's Day achievements. I am deeply grateful for the gift of my two daughters, both of whom acknowledged this day by cards and calls. I hope that all of my readers ~ mothers, steps, or in any other "mothering" capacity ~ had a fine celebration today.

Friday, May 6, 2011

home again, home again

We left Long Beach at 6:30 AM, got thought LA and onto the Grapevine in easy time, crossed the Sacramento County line at 12:30 PM and pulled into our driveway by 1:10 PM. Los Angelenos drive like crazy people, and there are a lot of them. Our favorite Rest Stop was closed ~ we always stop there for a breakfast break and short rest ~ so we had to press on. Not too much traffic until, I would say, Fresno. Then it was 2-lanes and a bit slower. But all together, easy.

It's good to be here. House was left tidy and clean. Two big bins of mail to deal with, a few phone messages. A huge bunch of flowers on the dining table; what a lovely welcome. So tonight it will be a grilled steak ~ haven't had any really good beef for 5 months ~ and a good night's sleep in my own bed. Tomorrow it's unpacking, laundry, the Davis Farmers' Market, and a restocking of the larder. So it goes.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

day five

In Long Beach tonight. First stop was Trader Joe's for dinner goodies, crackers, wine. It's good to be back. Easy drive from Gila Bend. You know you're not in Mexico anymore; everything is so neat and clean. Home by tomorrow afternoon. A few photos and some travel notes when I have time to think about it.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

day four

What, you may ask, happened to day three? No internet is what happened. And wouldn't you know it! It was the only day (so far) with an "occurrence." When we arrived in Topo, Mr. C decided he wanted to keep some of our food cold so he left the cold chest that runs off the car battery plugged in just a bit longer. End result? Dead battery. Problem? No jumper cables. We had already decided we were not going to go to Chicho's for dinner so had no plans to go out. We'd figure it out in the morning. When the hotel office opened I went over and explained what had happened and asked if they knew a mechanic who might be able to jump-start the car. They had no idea what I was talking about, and one of them was the night-watchman-handy-man. Things did not look good. As I was contemplating another day in this lands-end place, three young Mexican men came out into the parking lot to get into their truck. I sprang! My battery is dead. Do they have jumper cables. Like all good Mexican young men who drive trucks, they did! We hooked up the car, it gave a tremendous squealing whine and roared to life! Cheers all around. So instead of staying at the hotel for breakfast as we had planned, we packed up the car and took off. The next potential problem was that we had to stop for gas and cut the engine. So in 20 miles we pulled into a Pemex station and, hoping for a bright future cut the engine. Mexican gas stations aren't like US stations; they don't have any services other than gas and windshield wipes. No mechanics. But not to fear. Vincent had made his point; don't drain my battery by keeping your beer cold! Car started and we were on our way to San Carlos.

The weather all along the route has been hot and muggy and overcast. San Carlos was no different. It was too humid to sit out on the balcony until early evening. No splendid party going on this visit. Finally went down to the dining room for a bowl of soup and called it an early night.

We were on the road by 6 AM this morning, through Hermasillo in a flash, and at the border by 11:15. There were no long lines as usual, and we were through with all questions, searches, etc., in about 15 minutes. Fastest time ever. Then on to our favorite Burger King for lunch and finally here, in Gila Bend at the Space Age Motel. The place has been up-graded and refurbished since we were here in December; quite spiffy. It's hot and dusty outside; cooled by AC inside. I am very relieved to be here, even though there was nothing at all that caused concern, except the battery. I do believe that if you exercise caution and good judgment you'll probably be OK. That and wear a boat-load of talisman necklaces!

Tomorrow morning we will drive to Long Beach for the night. Thought we would be able to see Alex and Pete but they are both very busy so we have opted for a hotel so we can be up and out in a hurry on Friday morning. We are eager to get home.

Monday, May 2, 2011

day two

In Topolobampo. Left Tepic at 6:30 this morning. Easy drive to Mazatlán where we encountered mega traffic snarls. The entire go-through is being ripped up and rebuilt, presumably to make it much easier to by-pass the town if you are so lucky as to be avoiding this terrible place. Then on to Los Moches and Topo. Same hotel ~ the only one in town ~ and the same room ~ #209 ~ for the night. We're not going in to dinner at Chichos; we'll snack ourselves into satiattion and get a good night's sleep. Tomorrow morning we'll have breakfast in the hotel's dining room before headint on to San Carlos for our last night in Mexico. Mojo still holding.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

day one

Got away at 9 AM this morning after farewells from Chuy and Fernando and a brief visit with Jack. Drive to Tepic completely uneventful; safe, no hassle, very little traffic. We gain an hour's time here so it was only 1:30 when we arrived. Checked in to our usual hotel but not in our usual room. That wing is undergoing renovations. We can rough it for one night. Early night tonight. Off at dawn tomorrow for a long day's drive to Topolobampo. Many thanks to all who sent good mojo for the trip. It's working so far.