Saturday, August 13, 2005

Monterey Bay and Emily

Emily and I had a really nice time at the coast. We stayed at Motel6 in Watsonville. I had forgotten just how big the Monterey Bay is, and how far apart Monterey and Santa Cruz were. I thought Watsonville (which is in between Monterey and Santa Cruz) was just a hop-and-a-skip from Monterey. Turns out its a bit further than that. About a 30 minute drive. But still, it was worth it for the price difference and the money we saved on the room.

Oh, by the way, the weather was awesome! Upper 60s, low 70's at the coast, with fog most of the time near Watsonville. Monterey was sunny and cool. Just thought I'd share for you 100-degree sufferers back here in Sacramento.

First night there we hit the Santa Cruz Mystery Spot, which turned out to be a total head trip!

I got some photos where two people simply change positions about 18 inches apart, and seem to gain or lose 5 inches!! The tour guide proved the ground was level, using a carpenter's level, right in front of our eyes. Two people stood face to face, one of the "inside the Mystery Spot", and the other outside. The they change places, and the person inside the Spot looks crazy short!! Again, right in front of my eyes. It was weird!

Later, we went through the strangely angled house, and everyone seemed to be leaning at an odd angle. The tour guide claimed it was a 17% lean, but whatever, it was, again... weird!

That evening we drove down to Monterey and made a stop at Moss Landing. We found a neat marina just full of seals and pelicans. We also found the ugliest jellyfish I've ever seen.

The next day we hit the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and had a really nice visit. The aquarium is just huge, with tons of things to see. I highly recommend it if you ever get out to the West Coast.

Wednesday evening, Emily and I went to Marina State Beach, just north of Monterey, at dusk. We collected sand-dollars in the surf, and found a dead, beached, baby Dall's Dolphin. It was sad looking at the little dolphin, all torn up, but it was a vivid reminder of just how wild and uncompromising mother nature can be.

We came Thursday afternoon, returning to the heat and pollution of the Sacramento Valley. I really enjoyed my time with Emily. She had trouble sleeping in the same room as me, since apparently I snore pretty bad, but that's a story for another time!

It's good to be home!

Now then... tonight I'm off on another adventure, for which I'm very excited. It's of a personal nature, so I'm not gonna blog a lot on it, but just suffice to say - I'm looking forward to it!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Back to the Coast

I am off to the coast again tomorrow. I know, I know.... but I'm just loving this vacation thing!! I highly reccommend it to anyone who can do it.

I'm taking my eldest, Emily, down to Monterey for a couple of days. I haven't been to Monterey in 10 years, so I'm kind of excited. I'm looking forward to spending some time with my daughter. I haven't had the chance to spend a lot with her, and I think we need it.

A good, nay special, friend of mine turned me on to these little smileys. And to that person I say:

See ya'll in a few days.

Passings - Lacy Jones 1915-2005

I got a call from my mother this morning, about 8:30. My uncle, whom I was named after, passed away last night.

His name was Lacy, which is my middle name. It's a name which spans at least four generations now, as his uncle was named Lacy, and my daughter's middle name is also Lacy (though we spelled it Lacie for Camie... girlie style). She tells me she'll pass it on to her kids, too.

He was my father's brother. He was an elderly fellow, in his 90's, and in poor health, so the death, although tragic and always heartbreaking for those closest to him, was not completely unexpected, at least from my point of view; his children may feel differently. He was recently suffering a form of senior dementia or possibly early Alzheimer's.

I didn't know him very well, really. He lived most of my adult life in southern California, near his own children and their families, as is right. I did visit him and my aunt 2 years ago when I took my father on a trip to southern California. We stayed a couple of nights with them. They were always gracious, loving, and kind; members of that Greatest Generation for whom having someone to your home was an event to made special, even if it was just rag-tag family visiting. Even then, though, I could tell the hale, stout fellow I knew from my youth was deteriorating, as we all do, eventually.

I remember Lacy could sing. He had a wonderful baritone, from what I recall. When I visited last, he sent me home with all kinds of old sheet music. Things from the 40's and 50's, old gospel hymns, Frank Sinatra hits.... stuff of which I've barely scratched the surface.

I also remember him being a strong man. Physically powerful. My memories begin, at the very youngest, when he was already in his 50's, and I remember he always gave little me a great big bear hug whenever he visited. His arms felt like steel bands, and his voice boomed and filled the room. His laughter was boisterous and his smile wide. I always enjoyed his visits.

My heart goes out to his wife, their children and their families, my cousins, and my dad. My dad's now the last of his siblings left alive. All of his brothers and sisters are gone. I can't imagine that some day, one of my own siblings will be in that exact situation - the last of a generation.

Lacy, though, was a member of that Greatest Generation, which is fading quickly.

I encourage you, reader, to take the time to talk to those in your life that are meaningful to you. Do it now. Don't let petty fears and anger, or whatever the issue is, get in the way. As this, and the funerals of the Sheriff's Deputies last month demonstrate: you just never know when those you love will not be around to talk to anymore.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Humboldt County Revisited

Well, the trip to visit my brother went very well. I took my great-nephew, my daughter Camie and her friend Alfie, and we spent two fun-filled days running around McKinleyville, Arcata, and Ferndale.

The drive up was very easy, if long. Highway 101 is always a nice drive, along the Coast Mountains, into the Redwoods, then out along the Eel River into Eureka and the Humboldt Bay area. I took the girls to Clam Beach the first night, where they played in the surf as we watched the sun set.

The next day I took the girls into Arcata to do some shopping. Arcata is a really cute town, but it's hippy-ville USA. Homeless "travelers" hang out in The Plaza, which is a well-known park in the center of town surrounded by the town's shopping district. They play music, dance and smoke dope, mostly. Most of them are not the typical homeless types we see here in Sacramento: strung out druggies or alcoholics or mental cases.

Most of the "travelers" appear to be able bodied young people, 20's and 30's, many of them college students at Humboldt State, who just choose not to work for a living. According to the shop owners I talked to, they panhandle and steal stuff as a way to make do. The town government doesn't seem to want to discourage the "travelers" because they represent a cultural icon that Arcata and Humboldt County is know for: freedom of expression, freedom of choice, freedom to do what you want, drugs included. Interesting stuff, folks.

The shops were very cute, though. Camie and Alfie had a grand time trying on various types of clothing, from hippy stuff and retro 60's wear, to jeans and jackets and dresses.

In the afternoon we went to Ferndale, where the movies "The Majestic" and "Outbreak" were shot. Again, another very cute small town full of various shops. We tromped around a beautiful Catholic cemetery while we were in town, and got some neat photos.

Before we left on Thursday, we went out to the North Jetty in Eureka and walked out to the end of the pier, which juts about 1/2 mile out into the ocean. The pounding surf, even on a quite day, is quite awesome.

We came home over Highway 299: 150 miles or so, through the Trinity Alps, down into the northern end of the Sacramento Valley, into Redding. From there I-5 provided a straight shot into Sacramento. Highway 299 passes through a little town called Weaverville, which is the home town of a good friend of mine. It was all frontier looking, and quite touristy. I think I'll nee to back there sometime.

I've posted a number of photos from the trip over on the photoblog.

Anyway, it's nice to be back. Attending church today was a big spiritual lift I needed. It felt so good to worship with my friends.

I still have many days left on my vacation. Hmmm what to do, what to do.