My girl and I have been to California and back, to Oakland and San Francisco and the Napa Valley, and I worked on the first day while she explored and got lost on the trains and found her way to Fisherman's Wharf and strolled through Chinatown and shopped on Powell Street where she located the perfect pair of black boots, and even though there was not a patch of blue sky the whole time we were there, she said, "I could easily move here tomorrow."
My cousin and her partner took us wine tasting in Napa, and we had a delicious lunch at a place called Rutherford's, on a rustic wooden deck with wrought iron railings that looked out over a rolling landscape of vineyards, and we four women had a fine time together, talking and tasting and laughing our way through the afternoon and into the evening. My cousin and her wife have one of the warmest, most harmonious and gently humorous marriages I've seen, and it was lovely just being around them, and also sharing that time with my girl.
My work project also started out well. I was nervous at first, as I always am when I am to meet new people, but my daughter was an excellent traveling companion and her lightness of spirit helped ground me, her laugh like music, nothing bothering her too much, just taking everything as it came. This project will take me back to Oakland a few times over the next few months. I relish the chance to discover and grow familiar with a new place, where there is that touch of the tropics mixed in with the temperate, and people have a laid-back hipstery vibe, so different from the rush and hustle of New York City, which I love anyway, and am always happy to come back to.
And now we are home. My husband, son and daughter went out and got the tree last night. It is perfectly sized and shaped for its spot next to the window, where it now stands, waiting for its lights and baubles. I think I might have to now turn my attention to Christmas. I cannot pretend any longer that it's not happening. Here are some random pictures from our our trip.