Fish Out of Water

Musings and observations about life from an East Coast native now living on the Left Coast in the California State Capitol since 2004. This fish has made her home in Madison, WI (7 years); Portland, OR (2 years); Las Vegas, NV (7 months); Middlebury, VT (3 summers); Marne-la-Vallee, a small town east of Paris, France (6 months); Middletown, CT (3 years); and Marshfield, MA, the fish's coastal hometown 40 miles south of Boston (17 years).

Location: Sacramento, California, United States


Belated Travel Updates: Denver

Friday, July 6-Sunday, July 8
On my way back to Sac from Marshfield, I spent the weekend with A, R, F & C in Lakewood, CO, just west of Denver. My flight was delayed by an hour, but A was still able to pick me up so that we could grab dinner just the two of us on the way back to her house.

We headed to nearby Golden on Saturday to enjoy the playground near the Community Center as well as the indoor "leisure pool" with big slide and other play areas for the boys. Despite the warm and sunny weather, we braved the relatively short walk along the river into downtown Golden, where we got lunch at Trailhead Taphouse. Lots of people there were watching the World Cup match between Russia and Croatia, so it was pretty crowded, but we luckily had good timing and were able to grab a high-top table that could accommodate all of us. Once we got back home in the afternoon, we all took a bit of "quiet time" to rest and cool down. A and I worked on her butterfly puzzle for awhile but didn't quite finish it. We weren't super-hungry for dinner, so we made snacks and brought them to the cool basement entertainment area and watched Finding Dory to wrap up the evening.

On Sunday morning, I went for a long-ish run along Union Ave, and then we all headed out to A's 10am soccer game. She plays in a women's recreational league and has been really enjoying the experience so far, although this was the first time that the weather had been so hot during the match! Luckily, we had a large sports umbrella to protect R, me, and the boys, so spectating wasn't too uncomfortable. We cooled down with fro-yo at a nearby TCBY and then freshened up once we got home. A and I finished her puzzle, and later in the afternoon we worked with F on his new puzzle as well, which A and I eventually completed. F and R went out to play in the backyard for a bit, including with the sprinkler to help stay cool. I got a chance to call Mom for our usual Sunday check-in, and then A drove me to the airport for my return flight to Sacto. Mr. E met me at the airport since his flight from Chicago had arrived earlier in the day, so we had just a couple of hours together that evening before he left again for another work trip to Shanghai and Taipei on Monday morning. Lots of July travel for Mr. E!


Belated Travel Updates: 4th of July

Thursday, June 28-Friday, July 6: Marshfield, MA
I was able to take a full week for my annual 4th of July visit to Mom in Marshfield, starting with my favorite (!) Jet Blue redeye through Long Beach, which departed on Thursday, June 28 and arrived in Boston at 6am on Friday, June 29.  Mom had arranged for Key Limo to pick me up, and I followed my usual routine of taking a nap for a couple of hours once I got to her house, so then I was good to go for the rest of the day.

Unfortunately, the Duxbury pool was closed that afternoon for a swim meet, so we couldn't go swim laps together as usual. Instead, I did some Zumba in the office and went to the 10:45am yoga class at The Workout Club. We took care of some errands in the afternoon and enjoyed a dinner of fresh steamed clams and mussels from the Brant Rock Fish Market that evening.

On Saturday, I went to morning Zumba at the Club followed by swimming at the pool with Mom. We then enjoyed some beach time, and I made a light pasta dinner with the leftover mollusks from the night before along with a bunch of vegetables. Sunday started off with a long run for me, and then Mom and I hit the road to drive north to York, ME, to meet up with Mom's cousin, C, who is also my godmother. We had lunch together at the Stonewall Kitchen Cafe and had a lovely time chatting and catching up. Sunday afternoon was a perfect time for the drive, as we didn't encounter much traffic at all. Mr. E arrived later that evening and joined us in Marshfield with the rental car that he picked up at the airport.

Mr. E worked for much of Monday, but Mom and I were able to take care of some projects, go swimming at the pool, and spend some time again at the beach. That evening, we had fresh lobster from the Fish Market. Very hard shells but so yummy and sweet! On Tuesday, Mom went off to work while Mr. E and I both worked from her house, but we were all able to regroup that evening to enjoy the [illegal] fireworks on the beach nearby. I eventually had to escape from the mosquitoes and come back inside, but I still got some great videos and photos.

Wednesday began with a coffee date for me at Starbucks with L, a friend from high school whom I hadn't seen since we graduated in 1990. She's had quite an interesting past few years due to some family transitions, and it was great to catch up with her and chat for a bit. The rest of the day included some house projects, more beach time, and then [another] lobster dinner, this time with Aunt M and Uncle J, which has become sort of a tradition for this 4th of July week visit. The next day included work again for all of us, although Mr. E also had to head to the airport for his flight to Chicago, which ended up getting delayed about 4 hours due to weather and equipment issues. On Friday, Mom and I spend the morning together and took care of some computer stuff before I left for the airport for my mid-afternoon flight to Denver.


Belated Travel Updates: June

Friday, June 1-Tuesday, June 5: Chandler, AZ
I combined work travel for the Region IX Clinical Excellence Conference with a little extra time to catch up with K & M. The Conference was at the Sheraton Grand at Wildhorse Pass in Chandler, just south of downtown Phoenix. I was planning to arrive Friday morning in time to tour Taliesin West, but due to Southwest travel delays (boo), I didn't arrive until mid-afternoon and missed out on the tour.

I had just enough time to take the shuttle to the rental car facility, where I jumped on a conference call about a grant opportunity. Then K picked me up, and we headed towards the restaurant where we met up with M for a lovely dinner. K & M then very kindly drove me to Chandler and dropped me at the hotel... um... but not the right hotel. Oops! The first property off the highway is the Wildhorse Casino, but the Sheraton Grand is about 2 miles farther down the road. Luckily, the inter-property shuttle was out front of the casino, just about to leave for the Resort, and there was 1 seat left for me to hop on board. Phew!

The next few days began with the New Clinical Directors Training session on Saturday and Sunday, followed by the full Conference on Monday and Tuesday. The Sheraton Grand property was quite lovely, but with the 105+ convection-oven heat each day, I felt a bit trapped indoors except for the early morning. I did manage to fit in a couple of 35-minute runs along the "Gila River" prior to 6am and even did some mini-laps one morning in the small part of the pool that had some shade.

Luckily, the return flight on Tuesday evening (with lots of my colleagues and other Conference attendees from the NorCal area) didn't encounter any delays, so I arrived home on Tuesday evening, as planned. Unfortunately, Mr. E wasn't here to welcome me, as he had left on Sunday for a somewhat last-minute work trip to Shanghai & Taipei! At least the kitties were happy to see me...

Thursday, June 7-Sunday, June 10: Austin
I was home for fewer than 48 hours before heading back to the airport for my trip to visit J & C in Austin (taking some flex time for working the previous weekend for the Conference). Both J & I did a wee bit of work on Friday, but the rest of the visit was all just family time. We had a picnic dinner by the pool at the Amenity Center in her neighborhood on Friday night, and B joined us there for some play time in the water along with dinner. On Saturday, we did some arts and crafts and other family activities.

One highlight of the visit was the boat cruise on Saturday evening to watch the bats fly off from under the Congress Avenue bridge. During a previous visit several years ago, we had tried to experience the bat migration from atop the bridge, but it was too late in the year so the critters were all gone already. This time, however, there were lots and lots and lots of bats taking wing and flying en masse to hunt for their dinner. It was incredible! The masses of flying creatures were so densely packed that they looked like smoke columns blowing through the sky. Amazing!

C spent Saturday night with B, so J and I had some sister time on Sunday, which included going to see Ocean's 8 in the afternoon and then meeting up with C and B for ice cream before J took me to the airport for my evening flight back to Sacto. Once again, the fur babies welcomed me home, since Mr. E was still abroad for several more days.

So nice to have this visit, although I had always sworn to never be in Austin from May-September due to the climate. And I must admit, it was quite hot and steamy, and rather uncomfortable going from the convection oven of Arizona to the sauna of Texas!!!


Mahalo Moment: Coffee Carafes

Sometimes, it's the small
things at work that matter. Like
seeing an array

of coffee carafes --
Peets and Starbucks and Coast Roast --
waiting in the "Bean." 

[Special thanks to my colleague GD, our resident CPCA barista!]


Mahalo Moment: Feline Homecoming

Kitties welcome me
home with purrs and purrs and purrs...
and scolding meows:

Where have you been? - Why
did you leave us? - Sit down now! -
Give me lap! - Pet me!


Mahalo Moment: Desert Bunny

Lots of bunnies here
in the desert near Phoenix.
How do they stay cool?!


Mahalo Moment: Guinea Pig Love

Volunteering at
SPCA, guinea pig
snuggled in my lap.

His name is Coco.
Caramel and mocha stripes,
so sweet and loving.

I think he wants to
come home with me! The kitties
would be quite annoyed...