Christmas in California

Special thanks to WordPress and their update for delaying this post.

I can’t even begin to tell you how wonderful it was to spend Christmas back home in the Bay Area with my family. Interspersed with wrapping all the presents I had shipped directly there (yes, I’m aware Amazon wraps, and had I thought about it, I would have had them do it), supervising my son baking gingerbread, and running errands with my dad, we also did tourist stuff.

We were supposed to go up to San Francisco while we were here and ride the trolleys, because although the kids have ridden the trolleys up and down the hills and smelled the wooden brakes burning, they were not old enough to have that momentary fear of what-if-this-time-the-breaks-are-too-thin-and-we-careen-to-our-deaths. Yes, I really do have those thoughts.

We made it into the city one day for a Girls Day of Culture, seeing the San Francisco Ballet’s version of The Nutcracker. If you ever get a chance to enjoy the ballet there, do it. Especially if your Not Wicked Step-Mother has taken the time and money to purchase box seats, and a bottle of champagne. The only thing missing from our Pretty Woman moment was Richard Gere. Who could have been there somewhere, but I wouldn’t have noticed because when not watching the dancing, I was checking out the French Horn section.

Photo of kids at Monterrey Bay Aquarium
Snarky Daughter and Scout Son take time to pose after checking out the wild otters.

So, anyway, we were supposed to go back up to the city with everyone, but that morning, we woke up to huge rainstorms. Which was actually fantastic because that meant we could lounge around the house and wrap 1,453,267 gifts (which are all now residing in an extra suitcase in the belly of the beast we’re waiting to board).

While we missed out on trolleys and Pier 39, and the really tacky touristy stuff of San Francisco, our first day in town was beautiful, exactly what winter in CA should look like, and we wandered around the Monterrey Bay Aquarium. This is a great aquarium. Among otters, sea turtles and a fantastic jelly fish exhibit, you’ll also find a sea horse exhibit (way cooler than you think), and penguins. Yes, penguins.

Photo of Monterrey Bay Aquarium Penguins
They’re not native to Northern California, but I love visiting them.

I don’t really know why the penguins are there since I haven’t seen the penguin feeding show in about 10 years. I just show up and watch them play. The funny thing about the penguins is, that they’re all tagged. To which you immediately think, where do they expect the birds to go? It’s not like they’re going to wander into the coral reef exhibit and not be noticed. But if you look closely at the tags, you learn they’re nametags. Of all the penguin names, the only one I can remember is Bee. Bee the penguin. She was hanging out with Penguin I Can’t Remember the Name Of, and they were having a lot of fun.

Then, there was the ultimate in touristy, walking on Carmel Beach at sunset. In addition to not remembering the trolleys, the kids also don’t remember that I dipped them in the Pacific at an early age. We ended up chasing Scout Son around the beach, trying to get him wet since he was avoiding the water’s edge.

Whatever. We had a wonderful time in CA, partying with family and playing with dogs. We can’t wait to come back, hopefully for good. In the meantime, I’ll be writing on the plane. As soon as they’re sure my laptop isn’t a threat to our ability to fly.

Really, we’re still thinking that’s a possibility during take off?


Posting at 30,000 Feet

So, we’re in flight, on our way to California. At least, we were when I wrote this. The plane has Wi-Fi. My computer is showing a happy little Wi-Fi sign. But can I post this blog when it’s written? That would be a big, fat no.

Damned if I know why. I think it’s because everyone around me is streaming movies on their various technologies. Apparently I decided to get online too late in the game. Which wouldn’t bother me if we had an in-flight movie. But no, apparently we’d rather pack a couple hundred people onto a plane for six hours and provide no entertainment.

Yeah, I know. See previous statement about all the people streaming around me. But that’s them, not me. How am I supposed to tell you about anything if I can’t get online? And yes, I am the last person on the planet to not have a tablet of some sort. Until this moment, I didn’t think I needed one. And if even one of you points out something like tablets don’t need Wi-Fi to connect, I’m going to scream. The guy two rows back is watching Animal House. The guy across from me is watching some sort of news. What’s up with that?

So I thought I’d hook myself up with a little TNT and watch last night’s Leverage. Alas, that’s not happening. Actually, now it could happen, if I’m willing to cough up $10 for an hour. The problem is if I cough up the cash, I’m going to post this blog because now I’m thinking about writing, so I won’t be able to watch the whole episode.

What I should be doing is plotting the next book. But I’m tired. Like all of you, I’ve been going all day and my brain fried itself somewhere in the security checkpoint. During which something popped up on my ankle. I’m still trying to figure out what that was all about and fear a doctor left something in my foot during surgery years ago.

The Billionaire Bachelor's Revenge Book CoverAnd in a moment of total stupidity, I agreed to guest blog today at Do not get me wrong. I’m all about an opportunity to talk to folks about Billionaire Bachelor’s Revenge. Or, in this case, what their favorite thing is about the holidays, and share holiday recipes (Butterscotch Shortbread!). But when I picked the day, it obviously didn’t click that I’d be basically incommunicado because I’d be packing 8,543 cookies in our carryon luggage, or traipsing through an airport. Oops. I’m a little ticked about that because it’s a great group over there and they’d make this trip more interesting.

Then I had Snarky Daughter flipping out because she wanted to download a book onto her Kindle. Totally shocked that she could do that without the use of my computer. Duh! I have done this in front of her. Not sure why this came as a shock. Anyway, turn the Kindle on. Immediately get a low power warning. Climb over all the bodies packed around the outlets to add one more plug, and charge said Kindle. Load the book while waiting in line to get on the plane.

Finally on plane, eating really boring airport wrap. It claimed to have chipotle in it, but I found no spices. Flight attendant asks me what I’d like to drink. I had seriously been considering this for about fifteen minutes. Brought out the In-Flight Beverage Menu and everything. One drink will cost about the same as 50 minutes of Wi-Fi. And what with the bathrooms being miles away, I’m sticking with water.

And that, my friends, is my rambling from 30,000 feet. Hope you’re having fun today. Stop by and see what’s up. I really am going to shell out some cash so I can get online and chat with folks for an hour. It is, after all, a business expense. Oh, and I’m giving away one copy of Billionaire Bachelor’s Revenge to someone who comments over there — NOT here, over there — so come on over!