Friday, June 29, 2007

Home Sweet Home

The Ten S clan is finally home again. We visited several interesting places, saw good friends again and gave Californians a good reason to grow more grapes due to the sizable dent we put in our friend's wine cellar. I did not forget how good the wine is out there and our friends live in Amador county, an up and coming wine region. I can tell you that this region seems to specialize in Barbera and Pinot Noir, my two favorite varietals. Enough about the wine.

First stop on the tour was Monterey. The above picture was taken in front of a tank of jellyfish. Bink loves jellyfish. We all loved the aquarium and personally, I was way more interested in the otters hanging out in the ocean than the ones in the tank. My family is scourged with phobias, so I was unable to go out on the boat to do some whale watching. Maybe next time. I think the theme of this vacation was Phobomania. Between the lot of us we know now that collectively we have phobias of the following:


We are a twitchy bunch. We still managed to have a great time. It was just a little extra interesting at times. Guess which item on that list is mine.

We then took a tour of San Francisco, where Mr. Ten S delighted in making the kids squeal as he drove up the steepest street he coud find and then let the car roll backward just a little bit. We went to the beach and had a lovely lunch at The Cliff House. They recently restored The Cliff House which was good and bad. It now is back to one of its original footprints, which is cool, but the National Park ranger station is gone and so is the arcade of old games from days gone by. In its place is a kind of upscale restaurant, nice, but not the same. You can still watch the birds and the seals, but it has lost some of its pedestrian charm.

From there we went up to Jackson. Our friends Glenn and Sandra live there. Jackson is up in the foothills, in old mining country. The downtown area looks like an old Western town with the saloon down at the end of the street. Their house is up on the side of a hill and overlooks a beautiful valley. I enjoyed this part of the vacation most. We relaxed and played cards and drank REALLY good wine. I'm happy to say that after one night of gaming, Mr. Ten S and I were up four dollars.

Next it was on to the home of our friends Stuart and Loretta and their kids in Stockton. Stuart was the pastor of the church we attended when we lived out there. He is originally from Austalia and at one point was a race car driver. He is an anomaly. His first question for us was, "Have you ever had a passionfruit martini?" They cooked traditional Australian food for us one night and we drank, ate and talked until the wee hours. The kids all hung out and reestablished their friendships.

In the end, this trip was less about the place and more about the people. While I certainly enjoyed revisiting old favorite hangs, I enjoyed catching up with old friends more. You could have put me in a paneled basement with these people and we would have had just as much fun. I also realized that moving back to Chicago was the best thing that ever happened to me. I love where I live and I love my life here. I guess the image I have in my mind is of an empty cicada shell. Our life used to be there, but it's somewhere else now.


Dale said...

Welcome back, it sounds like an excellent time. It's always the people isn't it? Good or bad, you can't get away from them.

Tenacious S said...

Yup, Dale. It is always the people for me. Scenery is nice and all, but people are what make life worth living.

I forgot two phobias from our list. Elevators and escalators. I really don't know how we manage to go anywhere.

lulu said...

You forgot Kittens. I know someone in your house is afraid of being attacked by hordes of kittens, or is that more of an irrational fear and less of a phobia?

And what's the arcade at the Cliff House closing? Where in the world are you going to find an moving opium den miniture now?

Dale said...

Same for moving sidewalks like at the airport then? You must be one fit bunch.

Tenacious S said...

Lu, apparently they moved the arcade to somehwere over by the wharf, but we didn't have enough time to look for it. Our list of phobias is limited to what we actually experienced on vacation. There were no kittens involved with this trip.

Chris said...

Sounds like an excellent trip, TenS. I rode my bike through Jackson. That is a beautiful area.

Beth said...

Great post. I'm ready to hit SFO again.

Coaster Punchman said...

What about the phobia of the Look of Pounce?

When Lu and I were driving together last weekend she told me of your particular phobia. I started trying to reason about it until I stopped myself mid-sentence, realizing that phobias are irrational to begin with.

Did you know about my fear of escalators?

Johnny Yen said...

As much as I love my home town of Chicago, I have more and more trouble leaving the Bay whenever I go. I feel at home there.

Tenacious S said...

CP-I hate phobias. I'm a smart girl and know the whole idea of it is crazy, but I feel like I'm on a runaway train once it starts. It sucks and I'll be starting meds again for this. Better living through chemistry.
Johnny-Don't get me wrong, I like it out there and all, but I have realized that I am not a California girl. I'm a Chicago girl and as much as I tried to fit in out there, it just never felt quite right. Well, that and it is prohibitively expensive to live out there.