D is for daughter

I have been feeling the need to write something new on here. What could I write about? I didn’t have a clue, then I remembered that back in February 2013 I came up with the idea, following something that Pete Denton had written. Whenever I don’t have a subject to write about I will take the next letter of the alphabet and write a post using that letter. Starting with this post here then going on to letters B and C. Now comes the turn of D. Each time I said to myself D is for … I just kept coming up with the word Daughter. Why could that be? There are many other words I could have chosen but Daughter is the one that I keep hearing in my mind.

Daughter, well I am one. I hope I am a good one although I have never been the perfect daughter, I do try to be the best that I can be. I see some of my friends posting messages to their wonderful daughters on facebook. I don’t have any daughters of my own. I do have one step daughter though, Missy M. Over the last few years since I met Owl, I have had many skype chats with Missy M (who lives in California with her mother and brother and their new family). Last year I was lucky enough to spend two weeks in California for our honeymoon. During that time we spent several days with Missy M, which enabled me to get to know my new step daughter without having a computer screen between us. Five weeks later Missy M and family were in the UK for three weeks so again we were able to spend time with them.

I particularly enjoyed her first visit to our home. She was amazed to see so many things that were familiar to her as well as things that were new to her. She loved our home, she also got on well with my sons, now her step brothers. Poor girl now has one brother and six step brothers and one step sister. Its a good thing that both her parents were past having new babies with their new partners.

I have also come to the realisation in recent months that although none of my boys have married they do have girlfriends who they feel will be their life partners. Prodigal and Model have been together for 10.5 years and although they don’t have that piece of paper that makes it official they are in a committed relationship. I guess that makes Model my daughter in law in all but name.  In a few weeks time Prodigal and Model are moving to London with two of their friends. The house/flat viewings begin this week. Prodigal will be able to get more work in London and hopefully Model will find more opportunities in the fashion industry once they are in the big smoke.

Statto and his girlfriend (who has just qualified as a primary school teacher) will also begin viewings for a new home together, with another couple, in south London, in a few weeks. Whilst Statto and Miss Effervescent have been together a little under a year they already believe that they are a match made in chemistry.

Not to be out done by his elder brothers, Pug and his Princess, have plans to live together next year (their third year at Uni). This year they feel they must concentrate on their studies. They will be living in different student houses in Oxford this year but still try to spend time together when they are neither studying nor working. He has no doubts that Princess will one day become his wife.

It seems that although I don’t have any daughters I do have three young ladies, whom I can consider to be my daughters in law. Not forgetting the lovely Missy M who is my step daughter.

I hope that in the years to come I shall get on as well with my ‘daughters’ as my mother does with my sisters in law.

 

Advertisements

Time

I can’t believe it, the time has gone so fast.

It is almost two months now since we got back from California and I still have not had time to finish writing about that experience.

When we came home it was going to be about 5 weeks before my step children arrived in the UK for a 3 week visit. Last night they were here for a farewell meal with myself and Owl along with Skater and Pug, (my younger two sons.) Today we are meeting up with Missy M and Mr T briefly for the last time for who knows how long. Tomorrow they fly back to California and we will be back to relying on skpe and email.

It has been great to see them here and show them our new home. It has been good for them to meet 3 out of 4 of my son’s their new step brothers. It has been great creating new memories and cementing relationships.

During the three weeks they have been here there have been a number of get togethers for  different combinations of family members, including an evening up on the hill looking out over Portsmouth eating ginormous burgers. An afternoon of tenpin bowling and a weekend visit to our beach retreat.

I only hope that time will be kind to us and we will manage to be together on the same side of the pond again in the not too distant future.

Beached

Monday 10th June 2013

Monday morning saw the return of the sun, much to our relief, we did’t come here for cloud we could get that back at home. We had a leisurely morning before having a drink at McNear’s. We decided to return to our room for a picnic of cheese, meat and crackers.  We had been to the local Safeway store enough times that the staff were beginning to remember us. After lunch we decided to drive to the beach that Missy M had taken us to a week earlier.

Driving along with the roof down we once again congratulated ourselves on upgrading to a mustang convertible.  It was mid-afternoon when we parked up, the sun was warm, we were happy. To our dismay we discovered that the tide was in making the beach inaccessible from the road way. I was quite happy taking endless photos and even a video of the water lapping at the rocks.

IMG_0874  IMG_0873

I was watching the water and some surfers over to my right whilst Owl spoke to surfer who had just arrived. He told Owl that we could reach the main beach by going back up the road and through the village and following the road round. I thought this house looked very quaint with its rocking chair on the front porch.IMG_0885 rounding the corner we found the centre of the village. Owl went in search of a restroom while I sat in the community garden waitingIMG_0886 and waiting. IMG_0887 Then I saw Owl walking across the street a little way off so I moved along to wait for him near to the establishment he had entered. IMG_0892 Still I waited, I watched the locals from a distance feeling that it would be best if I didn’t go too near.(Owl later told me that it was not the kind of place women should enter)”You wouldn’t have liked it. It was a real hicksville bar full of men with long beards and brown dungarees cussin” I crossed the street again to the local gallery. These tiles on the doorstep intrigued me. IMG_0890IMG_0889 back across the street so that Owl would see me when he finally emerged I took this view down the street we had yet to investigate.IMG_0893 After what felt like an age Owl emerged and walked across the street to where he had earlier left me. I scuttled back there to grab his arm and lead him back in the direction we were supposed to be going. Rounding the bend we were met with this vista, the entrance to Bolinas Lagoon.IMG_0894 IMG_0895 we both found this house fascinating. I am sure it would make a good setting for one of those find the object games. IMG_0898 Across the street we found this unexpected gem.IMG_0897 I loved this place, what lucky people to live here with views across the lagoon entranceIMG_0899  towards the hills behind Stinson beach. IMG_0900IMG_0901 A moment later we were back at the ocean. You can see quite clearly where the lagoon meets the open sea.IMG_0902 It was lovely to feel the warm sand under my bare feet and the water was very refreshing too.IMG_0615 Missy M had told us that she loves the graffiti that is found at Bolinas Beach and I can see why. Every piece of concrete lining the base of the cliff behind the beach is cover in wonderful and varied colours and intricate designs.IMG_0912  IMG_0913 this was my favouriteIMG_0914 we also saw a couple of signs that we have never seen anywhere before and probably won’t again.IMG_0612 andIMG_0915 By the time we reached the place where we had started the tide had gone out far enough for us to safely reach the slipway without getting wet feet.IMG_0920 We had spent a lovely afternoon in the sun looking out at the pacific ocean from what we had been told was the 2nd best beach in the area. Now it was time to drive back to base and walk over to the diner for our evening meal and the pleasant company of the staff who we were now getting to know quite well.

Peggy Sue Adventure

 

Sunday 9th June 2013

After our adventures of the previous day we had a pretty quiet Saturday morning. Missy M had called the night before to tell us that the annual art and music festival would be in Novato and we should go. We visited our favourite diner Pepper’s for a late brunch of omelette for me and waffles for Owl.IMG_0757

Wandered back to our room and waited for the call to go and meet Missy M.

By the time we arrived at the festival the temperature was a massive 100 degrees, which is not good for walking about. We were all melting, I am sure we all shrank a few inches during the afternoon. There were lots of interesting stalls to look at. Missy M bought herself a dress and some earrings.  We all found this stand very intriguing.

IMG_0760 my favourites wereIMG_0759 Owl likedIMG_0463and thisIMG_0465

We walked from one end of the street to the other where we left Owl to listen to a live band playing while we went in search of ice cream from Missy M’s favourite ice cream store.  It was a blessed relief going into this air conditioned store full of every kind of sweet you could ever imagine and the sweet scent lingering in the atmosphere was hypnotic.  Missy M chose her tub of two kinds of ice cream and I had two kinds of sorbet which I felt would be more refreshing. Grabbing a bottle of water for Owl we headed back along the hot road to find my husband enjoying the music.

Cold desserts (rapidly melting) in our hands we meandered along back in the direction of the mustang. We had seen everything we could muster up the enthusiasm to see, it was just too hot to do much else. Even just walking at a slow pace felt like wading through treacle.

Once back at the car we decided it was time to collect Mr T which we duly did. I wouldn’t recommend travelling with father and daughter when the daughter knows her way around and the father doesn’t. Giving vague directions and not paying full attention to directions can lead to an interesting situation. With help from Mr T we finally found our way to a part of town we hadn’t seen before and a retail park that included several eateries.  We found ourselves at Pasta Pomoro one of Missy M’s favourites. Both teenagers chose a pasta dish whilst Owl and I both had a soft drink only as we were not hungry. It was nice to sit in partial shade just relaxing and chatting.

We were feeling tired and the teenagers had things to do so once the table had been cleared and left over pasta boxed up to take away we dropped them home and drove back to Petaluma and an early night. We were planning a busy day for Sunday.

Later we received a message that Missy M had left her makeup bag and car key in the mustang. She didn’t need them immediately but could we drop them off in the morning. Which of course we did even though Novato is in the opposite direction to Santa Rosa which was our chosen destination for that day. Whilst at the starlight the other evening we had picked up a free paper. Reading this we had discovered that Peggy Sue’s All American Cruise event was being held from Thursday to Sunday.

This morning the sky was looking a bit glum but we were confident that it would improve. Having completed our mercy mission we turned back north along Route 101 which didn’t actually take very long at all. Soon we were pulling into the designated car park. Already Owl was getting excited just seeing the cars parked around us, before we even got into the show itself.

There were mustangs, challengers, Bel airs, and corvettes every which way you looked. A slow walk through the car park to the field of cars, cars, cars and yet more cars. Owl was in his element. I won’t bore you with all the cars we saw, but here are a few.IMG_0764Since we arrived in California Owl kept talking about cars wearing a bra IMG_0787this was what he meant.IMG_0788IMG_0800bet you haven’t seen many cars that colour.IMG_0797and lastlyIMG_0803The weather never did improve, we were so glad we had our hoodies from the previous weekend. We didn’t see all the cars on display but after a couple of hours we decided that we had seen enough and besides which our feet were aching. Time to go back to Petaluma and call into Peppers for a drink and a slice of home made mandarin cream pie to share mmmmm.

mandarine cream pie

Meeting Texas

Tuesday 4th June 2013

After a good night’s sleep we lazed in bed watching tv, before wandering off to find the local shops. It was time to begin a bit of retail therapy. First stop was Payless shoe store, I needed new sandals and some flat shoes for anytime we might go walking. Owl needed some lighter shoes than the boots he had brought with him. He loves his Caterpillar Boots but it was just too hot to wear them all the time. I had to check with the sales lady which sizes we were looking for. Something I should have done back home before we flew out.  I settled on a pair of striped slip-ons and Owl got some canvas Oxfords.

129749_6_167x167   sp06_20130528_men-slot14

Next stop Ross Stores where I bought some black sandals and Owl bought some shorts and t-shirts. After this we just had a mooch around for a while before heading back to our hotel to await our lunch guests. By the time they arrived it was about 2pm but it didn’t take long for the four of us to pile into the mustang with the roof down and head into downtown Petaluma to Missy M’s favourite place to eat,  McNear’s . Today was the day fathers dread.

Meeting the boyfriend for the first time. Missy M and Texas have been together for 3 years but this was the first time Owl got to meet Texas. He seems to be a very confident and pleasant young man. The two young people obviously care about each other. Conversation between the four of us flowed easily. The food was very nice and very plentiful. Owl, Missy M and I all chose taco salad I have never seen such a huge taco shell.

IMG_0680We realised once our food was in front of us that we really should have shared.

After we had all filled our bellies as much as we wanted to we had a walk up and down the street window shopping. We had of course to enter those dens of iniquity that lure our men folk through their doors. A couple of music shops. Here are a few of the guitars we saw there.

IMG_0683  Missy M and I both loved the pink oneIMG_0682this one I took through the window so it hasn’t come out too well but the design was very pretty.

IMG_0681 Owl particularly liked this upside down guitar.

Texas had to be somewhere else so we drove back to the hotel where we said our goodbyes and that was the last we saw of Texas during our trip.

Moving on to Patagonia

Monday 3rd June 2013

We had only booked 3 nights at our hotel  before we flew out to California. We wanted to have the freedom to move around during our stay if we so wanted. My step children’s step father had helpfully drawn up a list of hotels for us to look at in a nearby town.  So as Monday morning dawned we managed to get ourselves not only out of bed but packed and checked out of the hotel by 9.30am

We decided to have breakfast at McDonalds, so I set the Sat Nav to find the nearest  Macky D’s which turned out to be on the far side of town. I had my first taste of Blueberry and pomegranate smoothie which was delicious.

It was still fairly early so we decided to just follow the road to see where it went. We were due to meet up with Missy M later in the day. We drove for miles along the same road following hills and valleys. After some time I plugged in the Sat Nav for directions to the town of Novato where we would meet up with Missy M. Owl couldn’t believe it when he saw a sign for Laurel Canyon (not the one in Los Angeles). In a previous era of his life he had owned the album Blues from Laurel Canyon by John Mayall. I had better not tell him that this was not The Laurel Canyon, but hey it is still in California.

Reaching a modest shopping centre we called Missy M who knew exactly where we were and joined us a few minutes later. It was then decided that she would show us the local beach. I assumed that this beach would be on the edge of San Pablo Bay, but it did seem to be taking us much longer to get there than we had expected.  45 minutes later we arrived at Bolinas, we parked just a short distance from the beach itself. Missy M told us that it was a popular beach for surfing. Whilst there we watched a couple of fishermen with their rods set up near the slipway.IMG_0674

Not long after we arrived we watched as one of the men reeled in his catch. A sting ray, while one man held onto his rod the other unhooked the fish. He tried to put it back into the sea but the waves brought it back. The three of us watched in horror as the poor creature lay flapping helplessly at the edge of the water. The ebbing tide not managing to take it back to sea. We knew that before long it would die. Sadly there was nothing we could do.IMG_0675

Driving back from the beach we discussed the list of hotels that Missy M’s step father had kindly printed out for us. We were moving on to a nearby town which Owl just could not get his mind around the name of, he kept referring to the town of Petaluma as Patagonia. It begins with a P but there the similarity ends.

Having dropped Missy M off back at her car we took the back road to Petaluma. We were planning to book into Step dad (SD)’s recommendation Hotel Petaluma. Using Sat Nav we found the road where this hotel was situated. The entrance was a little on the shy side, hiding among nail bars etc. Opening the door we stepped into what appeared to be a an office with the dated appearance of a throw back to the 1920’s. I have just looked up the history and indeed the hotel does date back to the late 1920s.

There was a jovial silver surfer (older gentleman) sat behind a huge desk who when asked about booking a room said he had to phone someone. He then proceeded to speak to a woman on a mobile (cell phone) which he then passed to Owl. The woman told Owl she would be there in 20 minutes to show us a room. Having been on the road for hours I was by this time desperate and asked if there was a restroom I could use. I was directed to a door at the end of the office. It was like going into a cupboard under the stairs. It took me a while to find the light switch as it as covered in the same ancient wallpaper as the walls.

We made our excuses and left. Owl has since described Hotel Petaluma as having the appearance of ‘The Addams Family House’. Next we thought we would try our luck at the local Best Western. Half an hour later we were unpacking our luggage at the Best Western. The very helpful receptionist told us that they had an agreement with the local diner for 20% discount for BW guests.

We were made very welcome by the staff at Pepper’s restaurant. For dinner that evening Owl wanted a bowl of soup but was astounded when he was offered either a sandwich or salad to go with it. Finally he agreed to have a salad, expecting a small side salad. Nope he got enough salad to feed a family. My chili n’ cheese potato was the biggest potato I have ever had, it too was served with enough salad for a family.

Needless to say we didn’t go to bed hungry that night.

Muscle with a grin

Sunday 2nd June 2013

Sunday started bright, sunny and warm. We were both in good spirits. Owl was feeling stronger almost back to his usual self. The only down for me was when I looked in the mirror and saw the black bags under my eyes. The bruises from my fall on Friday were making themselves obvious. I had been sleeping with a cold flannel draped across my face in the hope of lowering the swelling. Oh well if bruising was the only price I had to pay for examining the airport floor with my nose then I was getting away with it lightly. My left hand was still and is still painful but I don’t think I broke anything so I am relieved about that.

After a drink and a snack that we had bought from the gas/petrol station the night before, Owl called a cab to take us to the local bus station. We were informed that our bus would be here in a few minutes. An hour later it arrived, sitting on a wall in the bus station for an hour in the middle of a hot Sunday, I was beginning to gain a little redness on my shoulders. Our bus took a circuitous route calling in at places with names like Larkspur landing (I would like to go back there to investigate more one day.)

Mid afternoon we were dropped off at the airport and told that we needed to catch the skytrain. What a great way to get around the airport. The last stop was the Car Rental area. Luckily for us there was no queue at the desk we needed. We (by that I mean Owl) explained that we should have picked up our rental car on Friday but had not been able to hence why we were there now. ‘Not a problem, as it happens we can offer you an upgrade if you are interested.’ Of course Owl was very interested especially when he was offered Mustang convertible. The grin on Owl’s face was as wide as the Channel Tunnel. I think all his Christmases had come at once.

IMG_0406    IMG_0620

The only query we had before we drove away……how to take the roof down. All it took was two clips and a button. With hired Sat Nav in hand (boy are we glad we asked for one of those!) we set off back through San Francisco, over the Golden Gate Bridge along Route 101 ending up in San Rafael, stopping at the pizza parlour to show off the car to Missy M.

After having more pizza we headed back for our third and final night in our San Rafael hotel. We still didn’t know where we would be staying next but we were armed with a list of hotels to visit, but that is another story.