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, ( and then the travel delays begain.Collapse )