Dear Family, Friends, and Diary,
This is the record of another family weekend. Last time it was brother Tom (and Kate) up in Albany and now it will be a few days with brother Chris, his family, and Monterey Mamo (and Jack). I can't decide which place would be my favorite, if we could choose.
We left early, with the sun barely up. Just the time when our backyard hawk was high in the cypress tree, looking for breakfast.
The three-hour drive was uneventful, an advantage of a weekday departure. Out in the valley, there were yellow wildflower fields, thanks to the winter rains. Monterey Bay reflected the blues of the Thursday sky. Even out-the-window iPhone pictures look good.
Arriving at the Colton Street homestead, we barely had time for a "hi" and hug with Leisa and Chris before we went off to see Spencer's tennis match. The players came in different heights, a feature of Middle School, and the coach admonished everyone to enjoy themselves: "This isn't high school tennis." Certainly the fans were ready to have fun.
Once the match got underway, we could tell these guys were pretty darn good players.
The first three games each went to deuce before Spencer's opponent got his victory. Spence won the next two games handily but fell behind again. Excellent tennis.
In the end, everyone left happy (enough - Spencer would have preferred a win, I'm sure.).
Back home, Leisa and Marianne fixed a good roast-pork dinner while Chris poured the wine. My job was just to eat and drink. A nice start to the family weekend.
On Friday morning, Marianne had a breakfast date at the Red House Cafe with two of her school chums from the old days. They managed to update each other for the decades they've missed. For Marianne, this is a nice part of Monterey, it's a home town where many folks have hung around, offering friendship renewals. (My history, with childhood and adult moves every few years, can not compare. Choices, first by parents and then by ourselves.)
While the school chums were chatting, I did yesterday's diary (above) and then went to look for photography opportunities on a gray-sky day. I tried the Monarch Butterfly Garden in Pacific Grove, but learned all the bugs had recently left their winter grounds. Next year.
In the Monterey climate, there are almost always some colorful flowers and even ordinary shots are pretty. More a function of the Great Flower Designer than the photographer.
The other photo-worthy attraction is, of course, the ocean. Ideally I would like a bright blue sky on the top and roaring waves over rocks. Instead, I got a gray sky and medium waves. Still fun to click and see what shows up back at the darkroom. (Yes, the middle pair are the same shot, one cropped and one uncropped. Same picture, different feel.)
After lunch back at the Red House Cafe (we DO recommend the place) it was back to the Hidas home to prepare for the Upper Colton Friday Bash. A dozen or so neighbors were coming over for margaritas, street tacos, and wine. Leisa and Chris had been working hard on preparations while Marianne and I were out goofing around, but we managed a little help toward the end. A little.
Chris worked the grill station, despite the drippy weather. The big black umbrella and a margarita helped. He did an excellent job, by the way.
Back inside it was a full table and plenty of time to serve, eat, and chat. Lots of chat. I think we need to move into this neighborhood! (Really, it would be a dream, but we need to win the lottery first. Coastal California demands a much higher house price than the Central Valley.)
Last, but not least, I do need to mention the other Colton Street residents: Spencer and Adam. On this Friday, Spencer came home with his latest ceramics project - a large, white ... something. Looked like a fun project.
Older brother Adam has been almost completely absent from our family interactions, mostly because he is a busy high school junior with a driver's license.
He remains a serious tennis player and was featured in this week's Carmel Pine Cone newspaper sports page. He is also a serious student, starting the college search process. (He got back his first SAT results on Friday - 1400. Darn good.) His other passion is playing Overwatch. It's a good mix.
We couldn't ask for better nephews.
Saturday. A slow start. Diary-writing at Starbucks for me and checking news and gossip at home for Marianne.
By 10:00, we figured we needed breakfast, so we headed to one of our Monterey favorites, the "Paris Bakery Cafe". I had a turkey on croissant sandwich and Marianne had a more traditional jam and croissant. We split a cinnamon roll. It just doesn't get any better.
Fortified, we headed over to Pacific Grove and the rocky beach for some pictures. I tried a couple different techniques and just generally enjoyed the sun and ocean. Like the fishermen, anything I caught was just an extra.
Klare, aka Monterey Mamo, joined us for dinner back at Colton Street. There were plenty of leftovers from the neighborhood party and Marianne suggested shifting street taco material to become salad fixins. Great idea.
We spent the next couple of hours sipping the last of our weekend wine and catching up on family stuff. ("Family" includes the two dogs, of course.) Lots of laughing too. We need to do this more often! (Except all the food and drink. It will take a week to get back in shape.)
Speaking of family, Marianne and I will go to Seattle for a week in April for a memorial service for my aunt, the last of her generation in the Trotter family. A melancholy event perhaps, but an opportunity to see my cousins in the area. Stay tuned.
John and Marianne