Family Visit

Well I didn’t mean to disappear from here for the month – and I’d been doing so well at writing regularly in February and March, too. Oh well!

But my excuse is that last week my sister Katy and her clan visited. Katy visited once before back in 2008, as part of a trip for a conference out here, but this was a planned vacation. When I say “her clan”, I mean her boyfriend Andrew, her son I, and his daughter A. They flew in Sunday night, getting in around 10 pm – which was 1 am in their east coast time zone. I was surprised the kids were not totally asleep! We’d spent time on-and-off during the month getting ready for their visit, making sure we had sheets and blankets, and buying an air mattress for our study so we could use all of our bedrooms for them. We had everything set when they arrived, so we gave them a short tour of the house and let them crash.

We planned a pretty quiet first day: We had brunch at Hobees, then went to the Apple campus because I is a huge Apple fan and wanted to see the mothership. Then we met Debbi in downtown Mountain View to show them our stomping grounds.

We spent two days in San Francisco: Tuesday we went to California Academy of Sciences and Ghirardelli Square, and then Thursday we hit the Golden Gate Bridge, rode the cable cars (who surely have the most primitive web site of any major attraction in the nation), and went to Pier 39.

Andrew used to live in the area in the late 80s and he wanted to go down to Santa Cruz to see his old stomping grounds, which we did on Wednesday. I guess Pacific Ave is quite different now since they rebuilt much of it after Loma Prieta. We also went to the Beach Boardwalk and walked out the municipal wharf. We had gorgeous weather for this trip, and finished with a drive up the coast, turning in at Half Moon Bay.

Friday was not so nice, as we went back to Half Moon Bay and it was cloudy and chilly on the coast. That didn’t stop us from going to the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. Then we went along Skyline Drive and took in some of the scenic views, as well as a walk at Russian Ridge.

This was not as packed a visit as I’ve had with some other folks, as we spent the mornings hanging around the house, and the late afternoons and early evenings in the back yard, where I, A and a mixture of adults kicked around a soccer ball and played with out bocce ball set. We did have the usual food-fest, eating quite a bit of Mexican and hitting some other favorite restaurants too.

It only took three-and-a-half decades for Katy and me to develop an adult relationship – we did not get along as kids, and didn’t interact a lot in our twenties. I guess the bright side of us dealing with our mother moving into assisted living and selling her house has been developing that relationship. I’d gotten to know Andrew during our trips to do all that, as he helped out with a bunch of stuff and was extremely helpful with the manual labor, and he’s a friendly, funny guy. The kids are great, too, and both had fun. I was a little worried that they’d be a bit bored by the visit since we don’t have a lot of experience entertaining kids of their ages at our home – most of our friends’ kids are much younger – but I was worried about nothing, I guess. We barely even turned on the television, except to watch some sports!

They all headed out Saturday morning to go home, which went smoothly too. Now we’ll have to go out to visit them sometime!

The Clan

Sibling Revelry

For a rapid-fire, three-day introduction to the Bay Area, you could do what my sister Katy and I did the first half of this week:

Katy and I have had a tempestuous – is that the right word? Sure, why not – relationship. We didn’t really get along at all in our teenaged years, and we have rather different memories of what it was like growing up in our home town, though to be fair on that count our experiences were quite different for two people who went through the same school system and grew up in the same town with the same parents. So all things considered we didn’t really have a lot of motivation to become friends as adults. I think what changed is that we just grew up (eventually), and my nephew Ivan I think motivated Katy to reconnect, as she drove up with him to visit the last two times I went back to visit my parents. So although I can’t speak for her, on my end I was perfectly comfortable having her stay for a few days before attending the conference she’s at for the second half of this week.

Maybe I pack a little too much into visits from family and friends, but we had a lot of fun, and ate a lot of good food besides. We had great weather – she came out just ahead of the heat wave that’s scorching us today – and had some nice quiet evenings with Debbi and the cats. And as with my Mom, Blackjack was charmed by Katy and visited him every night to snooze with her.

To my amusement, when I introduced her to my cow-orkers on a tour through work, three of them asked whether he had any insight into where my punning nature comes from. She doesn’t really know, though; I think I’m just a prodigy.

So it was fun, and she might even come back! And, for those of you who know both of us, here’s the evidence:

Me and Katy