Sunday, May 24, 2009
Going to California with an Aching in My Heart
Penny and the Life Aquatic.
I love to fly. In my former, childless life, my pre-flight ritual was to buy a coffee and a new book/magazine in the airport, and savor each sip and each page on the way to my destination. Armed with my headphones, I tuned out any annoying passengers, especially any obnoxious, crying babies. Now I have new sympathy for parents on flights.
Having never flown with Penny before, I was worried that we might be in for an interesting experience. In fact, I packed some Benadryl, just in case I had to resort to extreme measures. But she was very good. No drugging needed! After tiring of the flight-safety literature and the handmade barf-bag-puppet, she almost fell asleep in my lap, but snapped to attention for the beverage service. I gave her one of my cookies, and she worked on that for quite a while. Whew! Who could have guessed that a cookie would provide a good 30 minutes of entertainment? And although there was no savoring of my coffee, and certainly no reading of my book (the coffee was downed before we were seated, and the new book stayed in the diaper bag), I was just grateful that she didn't make a scene on that tiny plane.
Is there a lovelier place than California? As we were driving from the Sacramento airport, I was looking out the window at the flowering plants by the road, the fields and orchards, and the city skyline in the distance. I thought about Britt's dad as a little boy, living here, with his mom and dad. I thought of East of Eden (even though it describes the Salinas Valley), and I thought of my extended family, who live in L.A. and San Diego (next trip, ok guys?).
It was hard not to treat this like a vacation, especially since the main purpose of the trip was to honor Ethel and attend her funeral service. But it was fun to travel, to see family we hadn't seen for years, to eat out and to take Penny to new and exciting places. Ethel's service was lovely, and she was interred next to her late husband, Francis. We visited with family and they enjoyed spending time with Penny and her cousin.
Robin Hood and Little John in Sherwood Forest.
We took the girls to Fairy Tale Town and the California State Railroad Museum, which Penny's dad and uncle enjoyed as little boys. We had a great time.
The cheese stands alone...but sometimes lets children climb on it.
M is for Manta Ray.
We were also able to take a day trip to San Francisco, and went to the California Academy of Sciences. Penny was really interested in the rays and the florescent fish, but didn't like the octopus whatsoever, nor the scary, predator fish. Smart baby. We had some lunch near the coast, and then went down to the beach for a bit, because that's something we land-locked people can never get enough of. Britt and I love to watch the waves roll in, to look for shells, and dig our toes in the sand.
Unfortunately, Penny was not into any of that nonsense. She did not see the allure of the crashing waves and the cold Pacific water. As soon as Britt put her feet into the water, it was all over. She pulled her legs up, and hollered. She wouldn't let anyone hold her but me, and refused to walk on the sand. We offered her shells and sand dollars, which she would not touch. She looked at them as if to say, "Are those from the beach? Because I hate the beach." Clearly, we need to spend more time at the beach.
Hating the beach, wish you were here.
As the trip came to an end, I found myself missing home, but trying to figure out how we could bring room service and fresh towels with us. Penny fell asleep in my arms before take off, and before I knew it, we were home.