Steve, Lauren, and Evan graciously invited me to Oakland for Christmas. Making travel plans was not the easiest thing, but in the end I was able to get flights through Chicago, although I had to go to San Francisco. I usually fly to Oakland. It is a smaller airport, but it is much easier to get to their house from there,. That ended up being something of a nightmare. The flight was delayed, so it was rush hour by the time I got there and picked up a rental car. The drive through the city took forever and a day due to construction at the entrance to the Bay Bridge. I had trouble finding their house in the dark on the crest of a hill. Fortunately, Steve was home and we were in touch several times by cell phone. I finally made it. He, Evan, and I dashed off to meet Lauren at their favorite Chinese restaurant - just what I needed after a long travel day.
I knew but had not thought much about the fact that the end of December is in the rainy season. This year's rains were worst than many. There were some good days when we went out, but there were many days filled with heavy downpours, so we stayed in a lot. A favorite pass-time was playing Monopoly - and Evan is quite good at it. We also mostly ate in, but that is always a great pleasure, as Lauren and Steve are great cooks. We also had a couple of great dinners out at friends.
Soi4 is a favorite Thai restaurant where we have eaten many times
Lauren opening her main gift from Steve - it turned out to be a magnificent wooden bowl to display
It is now our tradition to open gifts on Christmas morning. We always say we won't buy too much, but as usual there were lots of gifts. The favorite thing I received was a beautiful silver serving spoon.
Lauren and Evan, glad from all the gifts they received
Evan is smiling, as the gift was a Lego
I had a delightlful long holiday weekend with family, but I do also like to be a tourist when I am in Northern California. So it was soon off to Pacific Grove.