So in outline, this trip:
Thursday: San Francisco direct to RDU. Beer with my sister to debrief. Gathering at my folks home with Mom & Dad; mom's brother, his wife, his son; my brother and his eldest and youngest; my sister, her two kids, and her husband. I went home with my sister to sleep in her guest room. Her son stayed with his cousin.
Friday: Breakfast at my sister's place and then lots and lots of family at my folks. All of the above, plus my mother's sister and her husband. (And my sister's husband worked during the day.) It was very low key, and i spent most of the time listening.
Saturday: Morning at my sister's place and folks visited her new-to-her home. My brother's wife and his other son arrived very late Friday night, so they were added into the gathering. Lunch was at my folk's place and once folks retired, we took the kids out to decorate my folk's car. I departed with my sister's clan, dressed for the party, and then my sister and i set up for the shindig. (All of ten minutes: the rest was provided by the venue.) My parents were delighted, astounded by the shindig: i swear it is the only occasion my mother has experienced where she wasn't deep in the organizing other than business events. (They planned their own wedding.) After, i met up with my sister and her dear friend in the bar and had a few cocktails. One had Aperol, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, and prosecco; the other was Hendrick's Gin, Fever Tree tonic, and cucumber. Very pleasant and fun (a rare for me bar experience).
Sunday: After breakfast with my sister, her husband, and their daughter, we arrived at my folks just as some family were departing (my dad's step-sister and her creepy husband, my aunt and her husband). Others had left very early (my uncle and his clan). After lunch my sister took all the boys and her daughter home, my brother, his wife and daughter settled in for what turned out to be a very long nap, and i had some time just with my parents. After a regathering for dinner, my sister headed home, dragging her son behind her. It was his first separation from his cousins since i arrived. My folks took me to the train. Amtrak was an hour late so we went out for an unnecessary but incredibly indulgent desert. It took some time before my roomette was ready on the train; once in the room i quickly retired and watched little towns slide away into the night.
I really liked sleeping on the train.
Monday: I woke in Savannah and not Jacksonville as expected: Amtrak had added another hour of delay over night. I sketched pine trees. Meals: leftover veggies and cheese from the party, cheese and crackers from the train. Once in Kissimmee, Enterprise took an hour to get me a car. I was steamed, mostly literally as i waited in the tropical pre-thunderstorm air. Severe accident on the interstate led Google maps to route me on some country roads: still a longer drive than i had expected. I had a shorter than planned visit with Grandmámá, then met up with BB at Pirate's Pointe. We then had a fish dinner out with Grandmámá and Charles, BB listening to Grandmámá's stories of Brazil and the Bahamas (and imperialist natural resource extraction in which her father was engaged). BB and i enjoyed a lovely gulf sunset, a pair of osprey, and a juvenile Night heron.
Tuesday: A good breakfast with BB, sun shower and rainbow on the Little Manatee River, hours with Grandmámá (i'm not sure we could have engaged much longer), Taco Bell for lunch, Flight out of Tampa at 3 pm, arrived in Newark 6:10. In Newark, one can dine on points, and i had a lovely crab, coconut, watermelon salad and chardonnay for dinner as there was some delay. The flight i should have taken was scheduled to leave at 7:30. It kept having the delay set back by an hour or so and wasn't cancelled until midnight. By the time i had a new flight, it was almost 1 am and the line for getting a comp room was quite long. While on hold i had checked all the Newark airport hotels for rooms, and they were completely booked. The thought of the line, a shuttle ride of a half hour, waiting for a shuttle in the morning, arriving in time to go through security to catch the early flight.... I figured napping at the gate was going to be the best bet.
Wednesday: I woke in time to go to a restaurant and have eggs, potatoes, and an herbal tea for breakfast. I dozed the whole flight to Denver with an empty seat between me and my seatmate.
The layover in Denver was three hours, so i bought my first ever airline club pass. Free wifi, light meals, infinite tea and water, power sockets that weren't crowded by everyone, and fairly comfy chairs. For three hours, it seemed a good deal. (Yogurt and berries; nuts; hummus and olives and bell pepper strips.) And then, 11:40 mdt, there was a two hour delay, and it seemed an even better deal. And then, 1:30 mdt, the flight was canceled. The best United could do was route me through LA and get me to the Bay area via Delta at 10:22 pdt. Other flights i could find on airlines through which they would route me were booked solid. Christine found a Southwest flight through Salt Lake City and booked me on that to get me home by 6:30 or so. I was sound asleep before the other flight would have arrived (and that's not including the actual delay it experienced). It turned out my luggage was delivered to SFO: Christine was able to collect that en route to getting me in Oakland.
This is also posted at http://elainegrey.dreamwidth.org/570302.html .