Sorry I’ve been absent/sporadic for the last couple of months year…I still love blogging and writing for you guys, but you see, when there isn’t much going on in life, there isn’t much to blog about.  Like, “ooh, I went to the grocery store today!” might make an interesting post once, but pretty soon, it’d get old. 😉  Tongue-and-cheek aside, though, I have had a million and one random post ideas (not many with pictures) that I’ve wanted to write, didn’t have the time and then promptly forgot.  Enter giant sad face.  (In other posting news, I am working on a mammoth post of epic proportions on some of my favorite things ever.  Or at least currently. 😜)  I’m going through this very odd period of my life right now where I’m doing basically nothing other than normal daily/weekly routines, and yet I’m frightfully “busy”.  I can’t seem to find time to do this, that or the other thing, and I’m left wondering, what is it that I am really doing all day??

So there are the times when I’m busy doing something I can’t really identify, and then there are the times I’m busy doing something I can most certainly put my finger on.  Like making trips down to California to help take care of my grandma.  This time, I went with my sister Katie.

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Grandma is doing a lot more since I was here last back in November.  She is able to scootch herself along the bed or wherever she’s sitting (despite her still somewhat unresponsive left side), hold herself in a standing position for a while (with the help of a walker or bed rail), she can feed herself and she’s gotten to be an absolute pro at transfers!  With a walker and an incredible focus and determination, she can walk across the room a couple of times a day.  But there are endless exercises, stretches and therapy practices to do at home to keep her limber and using those muscles she’s working on waking up.  Grandma has grit, and she keeps at those!  My Auntie Lizzy and her wife Bunny wanted to take a short vacation for Bunny’s birthday, and since Bunny has been Grandma’s caretaker for the last 4+ months, Kat and I came down to take her place for the week.  We became Grandma’s drill sergeants. 👮🏽😜

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I don’t know what it is, but whenever Auntie Lizzy and Bunny leave the house, everything gets crazy.  Heck, they don’t even have to leave the house!  Within the first few days of us getting there, the washer had quit working, the hired help that usually came in to help Grandma on the weekends couldn’t make it because her truck broke down, Auntie Lizzy and Bunny both hadn’t yet packed for the trip, close friends of theirs needed someone to watch their little guy while they picked up their newly adopted little one who had been born unexpectedly and I don’t even remember what else.  By the time they came back from vacation, the sink and ceiling were both leaking (separate and unrelated to each other), we’d broken three glasses and lost the top to Auntie Lizzy’s favorite lemon juicer, but we (read: Auntie Lizzy) had managed to get a repairman to fix the washer. 😯  And that’s just some of the stuff that happened.  I’m not even talking about the time I got lost driving home from Lunardi’s (guys, that’s like 5 minutes and 3 turns away) or the time I found out the vegetables I was going to roast for dinner were all rotten 30 minutes till dinner time.

But enough craziness and on to some cute baby pics!  Remember up there ^^ when I said that close friends of theirs needed someone to look after their [adorably cute and super easy] little guy?  Well, we took it on as a group endeavor (though Bunny did most of the harder-ish tasks, mostly meaning that the rest of us pitched in to hold/play with him 😊) and seriously, he’s pretty much the easiest baby ever.

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He only ever fussed a little and it was easy to figure out because he was usually tired or hungry. <- I guess pretty much broadly applicable as the reason all babies fuss, barring dirty diaper and overstimulation reasons, but the difference was that almost all the time with little Arthur, as soon as you gave him the food or the nap, he’d calm down right away until he got hungry/tired again.  It seems like most kiddos I watch don’t really know what they want and have to spend a while crying before going to sleep or fussing some even after they’ve had a bottle, like they need some time to get used to the idea of having their trouble satisfied.  Arthur cracked me up, because he would laid awake in his bed for a long time (before and after sleep) before he would actually start calling..and yes, it was calling.  You know that way you can tell when the baby is actually trying to call out “I’m aw-ake!!” but just doesn’t have the words yet. 😜

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Arthur was just a delight, and I had a lot of fun carrying him around for the short period of time when he and I were the only ones up and about and at home. 😉  And taking selfies together.  Both the old school way and normal way.

And then there’s Kuma, Auntie Lizzy’s and Bunny’s dog.  Oh Kuma.  She is so sweet and so good!  Actually in this picture, she’s standing on my lap, looking out the window for Bunny.  We took Kuma and the three of us, Kat, me and Bunny, went on a girls’ productive day out. 😉

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First we did the fun part.  We went and Bunny got us manicures (which we’d never had before) and pedicures (which Katie had never had and I’d had once before).  It was amazing.  I unashamedly admit, I love being pampered and thoroughly enjoyed the spa experience. 💅  I was super happy with the colors I picked for my nails and my toes!

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{You don’t have to say it, I am SO orange!!  Weird thing is, I stopped eating inordinate amounts of carrots a long time ago.}

 

 

The lady who did my toes was so talented!  I refrained from posting the gross up-close picture of my toe that shows the detail she added to the flower, complete with multiple accent colors, because that just felt too weird.  I have this bizzare thing about up-close pictures of the most normal body parts (just get my siblings started on the fuss I kicked up when one of my sisters sent my cousin a picture of her ear on a dare).  But zoom up if you like; you might be able to see it.

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{Wow, the orangeness continues…}

 

 

Then Bunny took us out to lunch – huzzah, one of my favorite activities!! 😆  We agreed (finally) to The Cheesecake Factory.  Katie and I had never been, and pretty soon, I found out just how wrong my lifelong assumption was that The Cheesecake Factory only served a) dessert and b) only cheesecake.  As promised, the menu was beyond extensive.  Add in right now some bonus points and maybe a few medals to my fast decision lunch companions.  Whenever I go anywhere, I must read through the entire menu…at least twice.  Once to get my bearings, as well as enjoy the experience of reading menus and vicariously tasting the various flavors and dish options.  It also gives me inspiration and I can appreciate the creativity of the restaurant in question.  Then I go through a second time, looking for and mentally bookmarking my favorites.  After that, I go through my favorites and gradually eliminate it down to two, at which point it takes me an eternity to pick one.

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To me, eating out is a process and is to be experienced slowly and to the fullest.  Unfortunately, we don’t have all day/evening and most of the time, I’m with others who flash through a menu at the speed of light, and the booth beneath them has hardly warmed when they’ve smacked down their menu and with a satisfied smile say, “I know what I want.”  Jaw drops.  I’m still on the first page (this actually happened to me).  So needless to say, I’m learning to cut down on my average perusal time from excruciatingly plodding to your more typically slow person.

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{This was our appetizer: white and brown bread with butter.  The brown bread was my favorite…it was sweet and delicious!}

I really should just flip to the sandwich section.  Sandwiches are pretty much my favorite food.  Besides pizza. 🍕  And chocolate. 🍫  And peanut butter. 🍯  A plus in favor of sandwiches is that you can have just about anything in them, by definition they include one of my favorite carbs (bread), and they usually don’t suffer too badly from loss of my allergens (unless it’s grilled cheese or PB&J, but don’t even get me started on those delights 😢)

I loveloveloved what I got: a grilled turkey burger served with lettuce, tomato and two of my favorite toppings, sauteed mushrooms and grilled onions. 🍔  You could order sweet potato fries or salad as a side, but I mean c’mon, why in the world would I go for a salad (much as I truly do love veggies, though salads aren’t usually an especial fave) when I could have SPF?  Yeah, I know.

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The burger was out of this world (you wouldn’t think that it was “just” a turkey burger), especially after Bunny’s kind addition of avocado when I commented that the only thing that would make it better was some avo.  She had some to go with her ahi tuna salad, and she gave me all she had left.  It was so sweet of her, and took the burger to perfection status!

And the sweet potato fries…words fail me at how much I love these goobers. 🍟 😍  I can’t ever manage to make SPF that are quite as good and as crispy as the restaurant ones (probably mainly because I don’t have a hot enough oven or perhaps a powerful enough convection fan #nerdalert), so I really just die when I get the chance to order some truly excellent restaurant ones.  See?  Super crispy.  Perfection in the world of fry-dom.

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Katie ordered cheese pizza.  I tasted a really tiny, mostly cheese-less piece and nearly swooned over the red sauce.  I honestly don’t really care for red sauce and am developing an ever-increasing dislike of everything tomato-based.  But this was phenomenal and you could taste the difference.  It tasted homemade, like with fresh tomatoes (except I happen to know that if you use fresh tomatoes, it will taste more water-y and not nearly as good as you would expect).

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Then we took passles of laundry to the laundromat, since the washer was out and we didn’t want to beleaguer Uncle Carl and Aunt Lisa (who live less than 5 minutes away from Auntie Lizzy and Bunny) with oodles of loads of our laundry and constant stopping by to move them along.  While we kept several washers/dryers busy at the laundromat, we kept ourselves occupied playing three-handed Cribbage…with no board.  Katie kept score on a sheet of paper.  It was very survivalist. 😂

Every day, Kuma goes for an evening walk.  Katie and I took turns taking her because we both enjoyed it, though I did get some unfair turns when she was sick. 😷

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This was the sky one time we went.  In an odd, creepy way, it was beautiful.

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This one, though, is my favorite.  This is the play/sports area of the school we walk Kuma to every evening.

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We had the weirdest weather while we were there.  For the first almost-week, it was sunny, warm and blissful, just as we expected and hoped.  As soon as Auntie Lizzy and Bunny left, the rain rain rain came down down down (anyone else remember that?), fit to challenge Washington a time or two!  Most of the time, it rained about what you would expect from a really rainy Washington day, thought it was considerably warmer in temperature.  Meanwhile, it was flooding the poor Cali souls out, and actually, it shocked me to see how such “standard” rainfall could cause such vast ramifications.  Puddles, and huge ones, everywhere, and cascades of rivers in the roads. 🌊  Apparently, either the ground couldn’t soak up that much water that fast, or else the roads weren’t built to drain well, or both.  And little note, while I am shocked by Californians’ normal mode of driving and entitled, privileged way of using the road, I was constantly astonished and somewhat exasperated when I saw that Californians absolutely do not know how to drive in the rain!!  They’re as bad as Washingtonians in snow!!  Thankfully, I am pretty well-versed in both walking and driving in the rain. 😉☔ <-which, BTW, I’d like to point out that most of us don’t carry umbrellas every time water falls from the sky and we don’t wear jackets every time it gets below 70 and no, we’re not going to get pneumonia.  And yes, I am sporting a snobby ‘tude about rain. 😜  Because there has to be something good about living in a nearly-perpetually (according to legend, but we know the truth) rain-soaked state, and developing a Scotchgard exterior and an indomitable go-getter attitude to water while driving are two of them, even if it’s about the only things about which we can look down our high-and-mighty-dripping-wet-noses at everyone else.  That and we have the Space Needle. 🗼😄

While they were gone, I had to make multiple trips to Lunardi’s, the local grocery chain, for emergency supplies I’d forgotten. 😳  (Shout-out to my cousin Noah and Auntie Lizzy for letting me borrow Noah’s car, Batman…thank you!!)  I was shocked and fascinated by some of the things they carried.  Truffle oil??  Though I’ve heard of it a lot, especially as an extremely expensive and very delicious delicacy, I’ve never seen it sold.  Only seen it in recipes and wondered in awe how bloggers can afford it.  Either I have an over-inflated idea of how expensive the stuff is, or the brand Lunardi’s was selling wasn’t purest, or both.  Still, it reminded me of this story Mom read in a book once of this guy who went to stay at his parents’ house for a few days years after he’d moved out, and he found all these strange ingredients in the cupboards that were so opposite to the idea he had in his mind as to how his parents cooked.  “When did Mom and Dad start liking truffle oil???”  I can’t do it justice, but it was a very funny part and so seeing the truffle oil at Lunardi’s made me laugh.

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Another thing: gooseberries!  Fruit only found in books!  I’ve never ever seen it for real.  Apparently they’re also called golden berries?  Who knew…

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{to be continued…}

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