Sunday, August 03, 2008

Travelogue: San Diego day 7, last day

Thursday July 24, 2008
La Jolla California

I work up really early after a pretty good night's sleep. A sore throat and stuffy nose had plagued me the entire visit, and each morning I had woke up feeling pretty crummy until I got moving around.
On this particular morning I got up around six, took a look around outside...

Admired the Belladona lily, and went out front to get the newspaper. I settled back into bed to read the San Diego Tribune from cover to cover. That took about an hour or so. After that I heard my mom rustling around, so I got up again and headed down the hall.

Old Rufus had also enjoyed an unsupervised visit to the garden. And he had caught and killed a rat! No small feat as he has been declawed...

Mom was in the bathroom, and my dad was still abed with the door closed. I can assure you that if the bedroom door had been open, my dad would have been awoken with a freshly killed rodent being dropped on his chest!

What a way to start the day.

Goofy cat...

La Jolla is a community with lots of fruit trees and avocado trees and pets with pet food dishes out in the back yard. Swimming pools and fountains also abound; all of which makes for a paradise for Norwegian rats, also known as brown rats or wharf rats.

Happily settled in around housing with posh zip codes, the rats run along the telephone wires, and scurry about getting food and drink on the run. Just about everyone has a story about exterminators and traps, plus encounters with stubborn rats who have taken up residence in garages and garden sheds.

Well, all I can say is Hurrah for Rufus, the ecologically sound rat killing machine. And boy, just wait until Tiggie and Hart hear about this! The rat Hart caught last January was hardly worth mentioning compared to this mega rat.

The sun broke through the gloom early, and I decided to get a swim in before my flight took off. The water was 72 degrees at La Jolla Shores; the waves were small and clear as glass. I swam and body surfed for an hour by myself, then sat on the sand for a bit, before plunging into the water again.

There is always a bit of melancholia about the last day of any visit home. I encounter myself as a child digging holes and making sand sculptures with my friends who are now out of touch with me. None of their parent's still live in the neighborhood, and sometimes I feel like a place marker of another time.

I watched young women reading on the beach, belly down on a towel, baking in the sun, glistening with lotion. I was one of those women once, a teen, a twenty something. Now I am too antsy to read in such a beautiful setting, and my mind and skin is sensitive to the damage that the sun can bring.

I watched young mothers corralling their babies and remember the years when I arrived at the beach with sand toys and snacks for my own little ones.

I saw older women in funny hats walking with prancing children, clearly grand children pleased to go to the beach, unaware that their grandmother is even more pleased to have them there to share her day. I remember my own mom and her time with my two at the beach, and wonder if one day I will be the one walking grand kids along the shoreline.

In front of me sat a cluster of children under a tarp. They wore matching tee shirts with the words La Jolla YMCA Surf Camp emblazoned across the front. Has it already been twenty years since my own children wore that same shirt, and sat under the tarp on this beach too?

I was reluctant to leave the beach. Time is rushing by too quickly; once I leave, the waves will continue to break and the tide will continue to ebb and flow as it has since the dawn of time, but my life will change and change again before I return in another season of my life.

I loved being with my mom and dad eating our meals outside at the picnic table. That table has been in use there for 50 years now; yet it still is as sturdy as ever. My mom has always been a "hostess with the mostess", and I was lovingly served colorful and tasty meals each night.

Many Siamese cats have prowled this garden, and the landscaping has changed little over the years.

Before I went to the beach I planted the fuchsia tree. I think it will do well there, and the two smaller fuchsias should grown just fine there too.
(And if you look closely, you will see the "Anti-Rufus Jumping Over the Fence" security measure that my Dad has carefully install up top the redwood fence. I post this so if there is any question about how long ago my Dad lost his marbles, we can refer back to this!)

Mom and I spent a little time going over some family genealogy. I was curious as to exactly when my mother's grandparent's arrived from Germany to Salt Lake City back in the late eighteen hundreds.

Mom pulled out some paper work that a relative had given her; paper work that I had seen many times before. This time some side notations suddenly had meaning. And the reason why the family came over from Germany became more interesting due to some current reading that I have been doing about the history of Salt Lake City.

Oh how true it is: Knowledge is Power, Ignorance is Bliss and No Information Is Ever Innocent. Those simple notations that we had shrugged off as irrelevant may provide an entire new chapter to my family history. I do love a genealogical mystery, and boy howdy, does SLC have the best library in the world for unraveling such a thing.

(If you are interested in family genealogy, and want to really "do it", and you want to come to SLC to research, let me know. I am a total genealogy research junky and would love to go to the library to research with you!)

All too soon I had crammed all my belongings back into a suitcase and it was time to head out to the airport.
Our family gardener Carlos was on duty out front. Carlos has been with the family for years now; he works cheap, and is friendly to the neighbors. We only have one complaint about Carlos: we wish we could get him to stop dressing in such ratty clothes while he is gardening out in the front yard. It is so embarrassing!
The neighbors surely must talk!

(Love ya Dad!)

It was time for a quick ride to the airport, and a slightly sniffly goodbye (my mom always gets a bit blue when we part, only recently have I understood the feeling as I have had to say good bye to my own adult daughter so often.)
Up in the air I watch the scenery change from sparkling Pacific water to mysterious desert landscape.
Hurricane Dolly has come through the area; I wondered how it was to be on the ground beneath this towering cloud.

I watched an in flight movie...and don't even remember what it was.
I think my mind was just too full of other newly made memories to even care.
Seven days of days of memories to enjoy forever.
(Side note: Yes, we are under a hurricane watch, and there definitely will be at least a Tropical Storm bearing down on Houston tomorrow morning. I am at work, the campus will close a half hour early. I've watched as dead trees have been taken down outside in preparation for the high winds that are expected, and lighted signs on the freeway warn drivers to be sure they fill their gas tanks before the storm hits. Oh boy...wonder what tomorrow hold. Sometimes I can hardly believe the adventures of my life!)


Janitha said...

Well done Rufus! That was one for the trophy wall...
With you in the hurricane watch. Keep in touch.

Vicki said...

What a beautiful tribute to wrapping up your week. Sometimes it is difficult to go home for a visit, but it's always more so when it's time to leave. You definitely have had many adventures and memories in your life so far...and there are many, many more to come!

I smiled when I read, "walking grand kids along the shoreline." That warms my heart so (anticipation, you know).

Oh, and I can't forget to say, "Way to go, Rufus!!"

Spooky said...

Whoa, Rufus! That was a very brave thing you did. That thing was almost as big as me.

Tiggie FOC said...

That...was a...BIG rat! I'm a little nervous just looking at it.

Dang Uncle Rufus! I sure wish I could come hang out with you and learn how to hunt like that.

Your Faithful Orange Nephew


PS: Hart caught a rat one time but it was just a bitty little thing compared to that.

Lovella said...

Oh I cheered for Rufus too. I saw a mouse in my garden yesterday .. I think it might be time to get another dog or at least a cat.
Oh your time with your parents seemed wonderful, all the memories and the beach and the love of your mom to prepare meals for you. Whenever I read about mom's making meals for women my age, my heart aches. . .we all have something our heart aches for don't we?
I loved the photos .. they were wonderful.
Oh .. and sorry our email isn't getting through .. what is that about?

Julie said...

Sounds like a memory jewel box week ! I'm glad you had that time at 'home'.
I have been blessed to have my parents within a half hour's drive all my life.

I will be praying for your protection from any hurricanes thinking of coming your way !!

Sara said...

That rodent did not look very dead to me! I kept expecting you to say it revived and started running for the door...

The fuchsias look great.

Your bittersweet memories resonate with me; I guess it's our stage of life that we have such thoughts, and that memories seem even more precious than they did a couple of decades ago.

Miss Kitty, NFC said...

Did you say NORWEGIAN brown rat??!!! Please tell Rufus I'll be making my way down the coast to join him in an early morning hunt just as soon as I can talk The Red Headed One into taking a little drive.

Miss Kitty, NORWEGIAN Forest Cat

(Norwegian rats are the tastiest...way to go, Rufus!)