Sunday, May 7, 2023

Visiting my parents

Sorry for the blog silence, dear readers. I've been simultaneously having a family reunion as well as working.

Yes, working. Just because I'm in a different spot doesn't mean my job didn't follow me here, so I've spent the past three days holed up in my parents' guest bedroom tied to the computer. But last night I was able to emerge, blinking, into the metaphorical sunshine. Here's what we've been doing.

This is a customized print my sister-in-law gave my parents, with their faces photoshopped into the historical figures. Cracks me up every time I see it.

In the evenings, Younger Daughter and I have been walking around the suburban neighborhood where my parents live, to stretch our legs. We see lemon and orange trees in backyards everywhere we go. Astounding.

On one such walk, we crossed a small park which was separated from an agricultural field by a chain-link fence. Whatever was in the field had just been harvested, and we couldn't quiiite see what the crop had been. That's where my camera's zoom feature comes in handy. Aha! Cauliflower.

Even while working, it's been a treat to take the time to sit with my parents during meals, lingering and chatting. During one lunch, my mother noticed some birds in the backyard: cedar waxwings, a whole flock of them, casually grooming themselves.

Younger Daughter is just relearning how to drive (she hasn't needed to drive while in Japan or on board her ship), so we've taken a few local excursions to give her some practice behind the wheel. Somehow, magically, one such excursion landed us at a small bookstore, which tragically (ahem) turned out to be excellent. Ahem. I'll excuse what I spent on books by claiming I'm on vacation.

I'm taking time off from work to run a few errands for my parents. When we learned how difficult it is for my dad to go shopping (since he can't leave my mother alone), Younger Daughter and I offered to make a Costco run for them. Mom asked to go too (she doesn't get out much anymore), and suddenly a Costco run became a grand family adventure. Seriously, we had a blast.

Dad drove, since he knows the way to the next town where the store is. The coastal scenery was beautiful.

This is a heavily agricultural area, and these hoop structures seem to be everywhere. I couldn't quite tell what was being grown in them, nor of course why the cloches were necessary in this mild climate. Anyone know?

We got to Costco and separated into groups. Dad and Younger Daughter went off to select the items they needed. I pushed Mom up and down random aisles in her wheelchair and we had a lot of fun making trenchant observations about everything.

On the way out from Costco, Dad bought us all ice cream, and we sat in the car and ate it. My mother had a couple of small strokes a few years ago and can't use her dominant hand anymore, so she has to awkwardly eat with her non-dominant hand. Dad is the soul of patience in helping her. One of the reasons we ate in the car instead of the food court is to preserve her dignity while eating. Try doing anything with your non-dominant hand and you'll understand.

I still hadn't seen the beach, so yesterday evening we loaded Mom's wheelchair into the car and took off for the ocean, about a fifteen-minute drive away. This beach access is actually on military property, and we arrived – literally – just as a man in fatigues was fastening a chain across the access path. (Turns out the beach closes at sunset.) So I just took photos from a distance.

Portions of the beach are cordoned off this time of year to protect plover nests.


Truly a beautiful sight.

Today is Younger Daughter's 25th birthday, and we have a few surprises up our sleeve for her. Stand by for details.


  1. I too love the beach. I was born in a CA beach town and learned to swim in the ocean while still toddling around learning to walk. Just the smell of the ocean puts me in a happy place. As for the hoop houses, my first thought was hot house tomatoes. Cheers, SJ now in California

    1. Something was on the news about a problem with California's tomatoes.

  2. Hopefully, since the beach is so close, you'll have opportunity to go back and walk on the beach and perhaps wet your toes.
    Have no idea what those hoop houses are for, but the sun was burning up some of my plants starting weeks ago, in spite of unseasonably cool weather, and I've had to cover everything with things to shade them. Some plants need some shade anyway.

  3. Patrice, something that might help your parents. My mom orders her groceries from Walmart and they are delivered to her home. Saves her time and it's easier. If Walmart too far away they could order from a local grocery store and schedule a pickup. Blessing to you and your family

  4. Happy birthday to younger daughter. It is my son's 36th birthday as well. I pray older daughter is recovering at home from covid.
    I go back to work tomorrow from getting covid from work.
    Enjoy your time w/ your family and have a safe road trip home.
    Debbie in MA

  5. I miss SoCal, and the thought of going to the beach......In NorCal, the beach is cold, the water is COLD, and it is surprisingly crowded. SoCal has warm water, warm and windy beaches, and lots of sun. Lucky you! I bet those hoops are for tomatoes, lettuces, or similar fragile things.

  6. It is very kind of you to help your mother go around the store and preserve her dignity. I suppose I will be good to go since I can use my left hand very well even though right is dominant.

  7. I'm sure yall's outing was a lot of fun for everyone. There may actually be a niche for non- family caregivers who can take older people shopping. Delivery is great, but just getting out and being able to do the things most people do ordinarily is refreshing. Taking your mom to the beach was very thoughtful also.

  8. Sounds like you're having a great trip. The Costco was a great idea. I still remember a trip I took to Costco with my parents - six years ago, they are both gone now so that memory means a lot to me.

  9. I'm so glad your trip was (I'm a little late in reading this) wonderful. The ocean and beautiful land is one reason we don't want to leave. Family is the other. My thoughts on your hoop houses is. . . well. . . Pot. Making it legal, knocked out the little farming operations and now big corporate farmer has taken over. In your pic you can see the tops of plants. Oh, the horrors they've done to my state! Enjoy your kido and have a wonderful time.