I’ve come to an important realization: I’m a morning blogger. The earlier I wake up, the more likely I am to blog. If I don’t wake up early enough, I always have good intentions to blog at the end of the day after work, but by then, my eyes are usually pretty sore after being in front of the computer all day, so I’m less likely to blog. So here I am — awake at 6:30am and blogging (Jen hops the bus to work in Albany twice a week at this hour these days, so I figured if she’s up, I may as well be, too!).
Two weeks ago today (has it already been that long?), Jen and I returned to my beautiful home state of California for an awesome, action-packed long weekend of family, friends, and fun. The excuse for the trip was to celebrate my Dad’s 60th birthday — and to carry out a surprise family reunion that had been in the works for months. Only on rare occasion does my Dad’s side of the family get together in full, so his birthday seemed as good a reason as any to bring the 30 or so of us together for the first time in at least a decade. The family photo I used in this post is the last time before this year I can remember all of us having such a photo.
The surprise went off excellently — my Dad was both surprised and incredibly moved. Spending that Saturday afternoon with my extended family was a memorable occasion that none of us will soon forget. It was so great being together again that my cousin Val and her husband Rik, who graciously hosted the event, offered to make the reunion an annual event. I think that’s just fantastic.
We stayed three of the four nights in California in Sacramento with my Mom and brother, Pete, and got to enjoy some chill time around the house with them, occasionally getting the Scrabble smack-down from Pete, who’s become The Fucking Scrabble Champ (my Mom tried to steal his belt at one point). He clobbered me and Jen two games in a row.
Before and after the surprise party, we managed to pack in as much friend time as possible, as well as a Thursday afternoon visit with Jen’s aunt Liz, who also happens to live in Sacramento (where we spent most of the 4-day visit).
There’s no place like San Francisco. It’s such a gorgeous, breathtaking city with so much natural beauty. I love the ocean air, which we got to enjoy that Friday night staying with Enoch in our old hood, Treasure Island. We got to see a number of other friends at the Thirsty Bear that night — including Megan, Ben, Tiff, Miguel, and Andrea — for an extended happy hour, and capped it off with delicious midnight burritos at Pancho Villa. Jen, Pete, and I were up and at ’em early the next day, cruising back to Sacramento to hit the Nugget Market to pick up the bounty for the surprise family reunion.
Following the surprise party Saturday and despite our exhaustion at the end of an already long day that Saturday, we pulled ourselves together and, along with Pete and his girlfriend, Ashleigh, cruised to James and Melissa’s place in Elk Grove for a great evening of chillin’ with the homies. There we hung out with the likes of Enoch and Val (his girlfriend, not to be confused with my aforementioned cousin), Shannon and Mike (with whom we had also enjoyed a delicious breakfast the previous day), and a friend of Enoch’s who dropped by.
Being back in California the once or twice a year I usually get there is like I never left. I always feel so at home, the sun feels so warm, and friends and family always greet us with smiles and hugs as though we never left. I feel so fortunate to have such great friends and family on both coasts. I only wish there weren’t an entire country between us and that I could get back more often.
And, of course, what trip to California would be complete without enjoying an It’s It?
Pete’s posts about the trip:
Enjoy more photos by set (or jump to the California 2007 collection):
- CA Day 1 – Sacramento
- CA Day 2 – San Francisco
- CA Day 3 – Family Reunion
- CA Day 3 – James & Melissa’s
- CA Day 4 – Sacramento
In other news today, here’s wishing a big happy birthday to Alex!