at the end of july, after returning from arizona, we headed up to san francisco to drop thomas off for his month of feldenkrais studies.
the main event of the road trip up there was me losing my keys in paso robles. i had set them on top of the car at the gas station. why? who knows. it made sense at the time. then we drove back off, (with thomas driving, using his keys) and of course mine were still up there and we were tootling merrily along for a mile or so when i suddenly heard a rattling noise across the roof of the car and remembered my keys! but it took me a couple seconds to process what had just happened, so when we turned around we were not sure of where exactly they had fallen off, and we drove back and forth looking for a good half hour, occasionally getting out and combing the side of the road, getting more and more heated and aggravated over the situation all the time (how much does it cost to replace those clicker keys again?), until FINALLY we were giving up and driving away, when we spotted them!! HAH! whew! THEN, finally, thomas laughed at it all. and we both breathed relief and decided to just be thankful about it. he said an hour or two later: "if you hadn't found them, i'd probably still be mad!" yeah, but who can blame him. so would i.
thomas would be staying with (and has been staying with, for most of these sessions) Al, a great guy who has been a family friend since the mcdonnells were little ones. He was so generous and let us stay there for four nights, furnishing his extra room with a mattress for us, and allowing us to practically take over his house as we cooked and did baby stuff in his area. he was so mellow and kicked back about it, allowed me to borrow his gps around the city, which was a lifesaver!! and generally was a great friend to us. people like that need to be celebrated, because i know hospitality is not easy! we almost went to the famous aquarium, but had no $25 to spend on entertainment, so the girls and i basically visited parks for three days, mainly this one that was close to al's, was brand new, and had tons of cool "toys." it had a huge, fast, big tunnel slide that freaked even me out when i went down, holding both daughters and whooping with surprise! akin to splash mountain at disneyland. i am a wuss when it comes to fast rides and heights. a super wuss, and am unafraid to admit it. it made the park slide so exciting. we also went to the library one day, had a couple of encounters with whole foods, trader joe's, peets... got to visit grandma alice in her care center! she is such an amazing woman. she sits there all day for months on end, going through rehab, trying to get stronger, and after a string of similar injuries, still smiles, gushes over grandchildren, proclaims Jesus, and is generally delightful to everyone around. she is my heroine. we got to rub her feet and sing her some kids praise songs and cuddle her for the few seemingly brief moments that we were able to visit. she's a steel magnolia. we visited larry at the fire station, too, and he took us on a ride in the fire truck! sparrow was melon-eyed. sparrow and i had fun for those few days looking at all the colorful houses and freaking out over steep hills. on thursday morning we reluctantly said goodbye to thomas, and to al, and drove drove drove, back to the empty apartment, dusty with afternoon sun beams, quiet and empty, and lay low for awhile to process all of that month. thomas would be back on the 21st and in the meantime, there was much to get done.