Tuesday, July 01, 2008

I Wonder How the Other Half Lives

There would be things to fill our day, I told myself. Myriad photo ops, for one; including a particularly lush garden down the street with a gorgeous orange tree spang in the center. I could start negotiations to buy my house. Plus, Alameda is, in fact, an island and that implies a beach somewhere. We'd be suitably entertain one way or another, although The Child was less convinced.

In the midst of coffee and formulation of a Plan B The Child burst into the secret garden to announce, "Mom! Danny texted you! Danny texted you!" Back to Plan A.

A word, before I continue, about the California Department of Transportation. I don't know how they apportion their tax dollars but I can tell you what they don't spend it on:
a) highway maintenance (unless that washboard thing is intentional)
2) signage

Speed limits? Clearly a matter of personal preference. The state certainly doesn't have any strong feelings about it. Directional signs? The operational premise seems to be that if you are in California, you must know where you are going. One or two place names on a highway sign are all you need. Alameda is, we learned from natives, a particularly tricky place to get in and out of. The "in" was no trouble, thanks to Dana's excellent directions. I had neglected, however, to ask him how to get out.

So it was that, despite following the signs Danny told us to look for, we found ourselves driving south, parallel to the freeway we were supposed to be on. I made a U-turn and instead of signs leading to the freeway we found ourselves smack in downtown Oakland (which is this far from Alameda).

There were no signs anywhere indicating egress to the freeway and while I am not a pussycat when it comes to urban environments, there is a diciness to Oakland that got my spidey senses tingling. I wasn't inclined to pull over for directions, sure as I was that it would be the equivalent of showing our soft underbellies.

By the grace of my car angels I found myself, quite miraculously, in a lane on which was painted "Hwy 000" with a left turn arrow. Why a corresponding sign didn't hang from the overpass above, you know, where everyone could see is beyond me. But a hairpin turn across 2 lanes of traffic later, we were on the right road.

The frustration was worth it.

Danny's sweet, little house has a street presence that belies the expansive warmth within. Full of light and color, it is a beautiful home. Introductions and big squenches ensued, followed by cocktails. We meandered out to the Eden of the enclosed back garden where I proceeded to pretend to be in Tuscany for the duration.
The Child nibbled some cheese then, true to her Aquarian nature, hopped into the pool and was a merchild for the rest of the day.
It should also be noted that The Child talked frequently all week about the fact that she intends to go to college in "Cali". Somehow, it makes sense.
Let's talk about food for a minute:

Tasty hors d' oeuvres:

Crisp salad, loaded with fruit and a watermelon vinaigrette to die for (and I loathe watermelon):
A delicious, chicken-laden rice concoction that could have been a meal in itself:
and delicious BBQ, chicken and steak, that Danny maintained was overcooked due to an accident of knob turning (up when he meant down) but which was moist and flavorful anychar.

We met the boys' friend Stephanie, a lively and sweet young woman, plus their son and some of his friends, including a dead ringer for Lindsay Lohan, only sober. I was impressed with the kids, especially son Andrew. I like a teenager who is happy to sit comfortably with his parents' friends and talk easily about his interests. He and his buddy, Chris, were also very sweet to The Child.
Anthony is a charmingly loquacious gentleman who oozes hospitality and warmth. And Danny...oh, this is why you meet blog buddies, people. Based on his wild and crazy blog presence I had him pegged for a flamboyant, table dancing sort. Not so. He's quiet, with a dry wit and eyes that sparkle with the effervescence of his heart. I adore him.

Oh, is there anything better in this life than a long, leisurely lunch al fresco, surrounded by friendly dogs and friendlier people?

I think not.

We ate and drank, talked and laughed; pausing once in a while to pat a dog or make sure the Child hadn't been sucked down a drain or something. At one point Danny reached out for a wine bottle and I noticed his watch. "6:30?!? How did that happen?!?" A few more nibbles, a few more sips and then, really, The Child had to come out of the pool. After a repeated litany ("Come on, we have to go"..."Okay, one minute"..."Come on, we have to go"...."Okay...") Danny and I jumped in. If you can't beat 'em...

The dip was beautifully refreshing and I felt all alert and perky again, after the languors of the afternoon. With reluctance, we finally, finally marshaled ourselves out and to the car, happy to count lovely new friends among our acquaintance.

We got home without visiting Oakland. Still not sure how. There was only one exit sign for Alameda, followed by no directionals of any sort but instinct said "turn left" and bam, we were in Alameda, just a few blocks and one Uturn from home.

The evening was passed with pizza and "freaky Friday" and a little puttering relative to laundry and packing. Our California dreamin' was winding down.

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Blogger sageweb opined...

Oh that was worth the wait. Fabulous. Sling and Danny, you scored on the hot guy bloggers...if I was into guys I would so be stalking both of them.

July 01, 2008 8:44 PM  
Blogger sageweb opined...

Oh and living down here...cuz the signs are so crappy I use my GPS system to navigate myself most places. I call her Bitchin Betty..she gets me places.

July 01, 2008 8:45 PM  
Blogger sageweb opined...

Oh and since I left three comments...PIE?

July 01, 2008 8:46 PM  
Blogger Sling opined...

Dateline: 2018..
The University of California at Berkely announced today that Dr. D.'The Child' Thomas has successfully demonstrated the world's first perpetual motion machine,entirely eliminating the need for foreign oil,and pretty much rockin' the joint!..

July 01, 2008 9:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous opined...

Ba Ha Ha Ha (Note no W)

Hmmm. We've had a little lightening. It is noo longer threatening to break high temp records. But still no rain.


There is such a thing as "too much of a good thing". Tell the sun to go back to Cal. for a day so we can get the place wet before "The Fourth".



July 01, 2008 10:18 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Uncle Sling, you realize you'll have to be her home-away-from-home during the undergrad years, right?

Anonyba, you're giving me too much credit. And too much responsibility. Which reminds me...someone needs to water the tomatoes...

July 01, 2008 10:45 PM  
Blogger Sling opined...

..so let it be written.

July 01, 2008 11:10 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Ok, and somehow I totally skipped over the very important points made by our resident Sage, to whit:

1) Yes. Totally stalker worthy, both of 'em.

b) See? I am NOT making up that crappy signage thing.

3) Of course, pie. Duh. Whatcha want? Ala modeor straight up?

July 02, 2008 12:02 AM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Sling, so let it be done.

July 02, 2008 12:02 AM  
Blogger Buck opined...

Watermelon. Daqueries. Last Summer. Moan. I think I STILL have a hangover. . .

Lovely post!

July 02, 2008 6:06 AM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Oh, golly, Buck...I nearly forgot those delicious little glasses of heaven. Obviously there is a theme here. And obviously, rendered in certain ways by certain people I don't loathe watermelon. Although it creeps me out that I have to admit that.

July 02, 2008 7:35 AM  
Blogger LostInCO opined...

what a lovely time. I'm glad you found the place. If it was me I would still be driving around Lost. because that is me. always lost.

July 02, 2008 8:41 AM  
Blogger Auld Hat opined...

God that was fun. Weren't they the bestest?!

July 02, 2008 11:07 AM  
Blogger danny/ink2metal opined...

awwww! that was such a wonderful afternoon visit, albeit a short one. we could have been very californian and stayed in the pool til midnight!

anyway, sage, i'm honored to be on the shortlist of hot guy bloggers with sling! the crewcut looks hot on sling! ;-}

and by the way sling, that perpetual motion machine is entirely run off water energy the merchild emits...um, perpetually.

which reminds me, lorraine: the pool is available for the child's spring breaks and summers. no reservations required.

and hat, i love being stuffed into your pocket. it's so warm and comfy. wow! that almost sounds like something someone who dances on tabletops would turn into a wildly inappropriate image. not that i would know, right?

HUGS!!!! from anthony and andrew, too!

July 02, 2008 1:08 PM  
Blogger Miss Healthypants opined...

Now that sounds like my kind of day! :)

July 02, 2008 7:41 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Lost, yeah, I'm telling you, girlfriend Sage is right on with that GPS stuff. And I like the new photo. Ain't you just a cutie patootie.

Hat, they were the bestest in all the land!

Danny, next time we'll bring our jammies and then we'll just stay all night! You guys were the hosts with the mosts and we loved every minute.

It was grand, MHP, just grand.

July 02, 2008 7:45 PM  

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