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October 16 - 29, 2010

Written October 24 through November 3

Friends and Families ,

This is my (John's) report on my visit to two of three grandkids. Of course I got to visit other folks too (MARIANNE, for example) but it's little kids that are special after all.

10/16 -- I flew over from Frankfurt to Washington. The flight was "OK", nothing special positive or negative. It has been a long time since flying was special. After clearing customs, Geoff and Ryan met me with a sign saying "OPA". Nice welcome, but it would have been better if I were more observant and actually SAW the sign. My bad. Hugs after they tracked me down were nice in any event.

Back at home, it was just the guys, as Suzanne was off learning bookkeeping software.

Ryan and Geoff and I had more fun. Here they are assembling a toy truck I brought over. It was nice because it could be three different vehicles and, of course, Ryan wanted to cycle through each -- several times. By the end, I think he could do it without help, which is pretty amazing for a three-year-old.


10/17 -- On Sunday, we boys went to the neighborhood park along Rock Creek and Ryan enjoyed all the bouncy rides and the climbers. It was wonderful weather and there were lots of families out enjoying the sun.

Suzanne's mom Mary joined us for a big dinner at a Barbeque restaurant while Dan was busy getting the Redskins ready for their evening game. (not good enough- they lost)

ps: A week or so later, Ryan "carved" his Halloween pumpkin. In this case, it is safer to give a three-year-old colored markers than sharp knives, so the pumpkin looked like this. (Another advantage of this approach is that a pumpkin can have two or three "faces".)


10/18 -- Geoff drove me to the airport early, passing an overturned truck on the other lanes of the Washington beltway. This was another reminder that I would not like to commute around here! The United flight to SFO was all-too-routine and I was squeezed in a middle seat toward the back of the full plane. On arrival, my bags were ready early and I got to wait a bit in the California sun for Marianne's pick up.


The rest of the week was mostly playing with Ava. This was an excellent way to have a vacation. I also caught up with Ava's mom, and she's doing wonderfully except a "bit" of discomfort probably caused by Ava's pending brother/sister. I also managed to see dad Mamal, including a quick stop at his office to replace a filling that had fallen out. If it has to happen on a trip, it's nice to be staying at the dentist's house.

10/22 -- On Friday, we were off to Fresno to see Marianne's mom. The three-hour drive over was even more boring than my airplane rides. But, on arrival at Mamo's, Ava could hardly contain her excitement as she screeched a welcome greeting before invading the house.

10/23 -- On Saturday, we were all invited up into the Sierras to celebrate the beginning of the 1956 Hungarian revolution. (Marianne's Hungarian connections tend to celebrate defeats.) There was a ton of food, which I recognized, and speeches and songs in Hungarian, which I did not.

10/24 -- Today we just hung around the house. Kind of nice and a quiet time to play with Ava. We did manage a visit to a "pumpkin patch" where Ava and Gabrielle rode a tired old train, but it was special. Ava sampled pumpkins, sitting on big ones and throwing a little one or two. (They DO look like balls, after all.) A fun visit.

10/25 -- On Sunday, it was out for breakfast plus a birthday celebration for Marianne (one day early). For the celebration, we went to a Brazilian barbeque and overate once again. So far, that's been the pattern, but we DO need to get under control! Later.

Maybe I will add more later, but now that Ava has gone home, we don't do the fun things, just visits to banks and city offices and Home Depot. Probably not picture-worthy.

10/26+ -- Actually, we did continue to have fun. First, we went shopping for Giants' baseball caps. The San Francisco baseball club had just qualified for the World Series and we HAD to get the spirit.

Throughout the week, we also managed to eat out a lot. There were two trips to Outback, for steaks and things, daily visits to Starbucks for good coffee, some American breakfasts and even a bakery visit to remind us of home.


Finally, just before leaving, we squeezed in a quick glance at Marianne's sister's new house. The landlord hadn't completely cleaned the place, so we had to reassure Babi that a little cleaning would make the place the start of a home. Good Luck!



So, that's MOST of the trip. The next diary will finish the trip with some scary things!!!





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