This time around was a bit of a different visit! Mom started by heading straight to see friends in Richmond. Why Richmond? Well, when Mom was only 13, she went to a Girl Scout camp in Mexico where she met a lovely new friend from California, Susan. She and Susan wrote back and forth over the years until, when I was 10, Susan and her family came to visit our family in Nebraska. As life would have it, Susan had a daughter about my age and a son about my brother’s age. Susan’s daughter, Lynn, and I quickly connected and then became pen pals ourselves, exchanging handwritten letters, then moving to long waxing emails over more than 20 years. Now we live just over an hour apart!
So Mom started her trip to California with a stop at Susan’s before heading slightly south for a few days in Oakland with my brother Nick, and his girlfriend, Laura. She got to play in Oakland, enjoying dinner with Laura’s parents, exploring around the city, dinner out, boutique shopping, and a trip to the Saturday Farmer’s Market.
Plus a post farmer’s market treat of Arizmendi pizza and cookies on the grass at Lake Merritt.
She then came further south to spend a few days with Dan and me, where we put her straight to work. I mean, walked her in the door and started asking, “Where should we hang these pictures?” I mean, we’ve only lived in the apartment for six months, so it’s not so long to wait to put pictures on the wall…right?
Mom lugged a new sewing machine for me all the way from Nebraska (my first sewing machine — how spoiled am I?) and somehow maintained her patience as I learned to thread it and wind the bobbin. After two very incorrect tries, we got it, so here’s hoping the bobbin thread never runs out…or mom’s additional notes to the instructions remind me how to work it. After a trip to the fabric store, we went to town making pillow covers, footrest covers, table runners, and even a lamp shade cover.
By the time we were done days later, our apartment finally had some color in it (other than cream, grey, and brown, which, yes, are colors, but no, aren’t especially cheery) and felt a little more like home.
Although we kept her busy, we snuck in a little fun on the Peninsula with a dinner out to celebrate an early birthday for Dan and a cake for each decade of Dan’s life from Palo Alto Baking Company.
And, of course, if you’re south on the Peninsula and your son works at Google, you’ve got to take a visit! Thanks, Google and Nick, for a tasty Brazilian Carnivale-themed lunch.
It was a packed trip, so next time I think she’s just going to have to stay longer!