On Friday I headed out to the West coast for a brief visit in order to surprise Aunt Linda on the occasion of her 60th birthday party. Well, she was surprised, thanks to some excellent planning, scheming, and misdirection. It was a really nice party.
On Saturday the out-of-town partygoers gathered at Strand Terrace for brunch. I always love it when we host meals while I am in town because it is fun to cook together as a family. Shaina made quiche, I chopped things and cooked up bacon, Mom made an apple cake, and Dad and Jess cooked as well as taking care of all the grocery shopping. The parents have redone their patio to give it more of an “outdoor living room” feel, and I think it really works — definitely a good fit for the California climate.
On Monday Jessica, Mom and I went paddle boarding in Newport Beach, which is fun once you recognize how absurd and inefficient it is. The high winds kept pushing us back and threatening to topple us over, but we made it to our arbitrary goal (a bridge) and back without major incident. In the morning Mom and I had also hiked at Santiago Oaks, so it was an active sort of day.
Throw in some family time, pool time, meal time, and beach time, and cap it with lunch at In-N-Out — a pretty good few days in the sun! I’m sad that the trip is already over, but I’m spending a few days in Portland with Jessica before heading back home.