My last week consisted of lots of goodbyes. I had lunch with some Fugroians at Victoria Pub on Monday, where some gave me advice on my new adventure, followed by cheesecake that afternoon. Malibu gave hosted an incredible luncheon - I believe Marianne made most of it, with other people contributing, like Patricia and Steve. Delicious chicken wings, and chicken with roasted vegetables to put on large sandwich rolls with hummus or ricotta spreads. Also some coucous and quinoa salads - Marianne said she wanted me to get a feel for what I might be eating; if it's that good there, I won't lose the weight that I'm expecting to!!!
I had sushi with Pete on Monday, followed by bowling with him and Mike. Tuesday night was a final drink with Reina and Juan, and then dinner and marguaritas with a few of my girls at Casa de Soria. Wednesday was packing day followed by a nice steak and salmon dinner with Loree and Adam. Thursday lunch was at Meridian's with Bill, and Friday I had lunch with a fellow coastal engineer, Reg.
I had a very nice pot luck, hosted by Shelbi, on my last night (Thursday) in
Ventura. Lots of friends came, good food, good conversation. They got a gift for me - a handmade photo book (Shonna I think did the work) with pictures of me with my friends over the years and messages from individuals. I've already looked at this book about 4 times when I feel a little lonely. But the awesome camera was what made me break down and cry (again!). I guess Bill had some recommendations and Jazz picked it up, but everyone contributed. It was really touching. I hope they can continue to work together like this in my absence. We have such a great group of people from all walks of life that have come together over the years and are able to have fun together. You will never find another group like this again. I love you all. Ok, I am stopping so I don't cry. Again.
Friday afternoon, Gwen, Sharnell, Ron, Bruce and Virginia came over to help me put the final touches on packing. I left a lot of messy stuff, but since I'm paying the first half of June rent and all the utilities til then, I figure RJ can take care of that
and we're even. I mean, he gets a huge beach loft for 3 weeks by himself for free, right? I had so planned to clean out the Botmobile for Chris and Sharnell, fill it up and wash it - the day just got away from me quickly!! Well, she will enjoy her new parents. Anyway, we barely made it to the shuttle, said our last good byes, and I saw Ventura fade away.....
I arrived at LAX, took the shuttle to the Renaissance hotel, where I had planned to get a good night's sleep for the first time in more than two weeks. I ordered room service, a glass of wine, and laid down until Aaron came for a drink and to say good bye. I wound up in bed at 11, and up at 3 am for my 5:45 flight. I got to the airport before they really even opened. Lots of lines with my heavy luggage; I went overweight on one of my bags, so I will have redistribute the weight in NY.
Detroit airport used to be one of my least favorites (only stupid Dallas was worse), out of more than 40 airports, but it has improved tremendously in the last few years and is currently among my top five. So, if you have a connection through here, I recommend it. I had a beer before I got on a dinky flight to Ithaca. Previously when I flew to Ithaca rather than Rochester or Buffalo, I was literally on a propeller plane, with my seat beneath the wing so I could see the blades of death. I figured I needed to not care. But we actually had a nice jet this time, so not so bad. I was able to sleep for about an hour and woke up just in time to fly over Buffalo, then the Warsaw area where I had recently done some family research, and finally the Finger Lakes. If you have never visited the Finger Lakes, you're missing out! They are so gorgeous. I wished I had my camera on hand to take photos to prove it. The day was clear, and everything was so green. I didn't truly appreciate going to high school in such a beautiful place, but boy do I understand now!
Well, we successfully landed in Ithaca and for the first time in probably 100 flights over 15 years, my family was no where to be seen. I got bags from baggage claim (which is basically to the left of the security area), and still they were not there. I texted "You remember I am at Ithaca right?" They finally arrived about 35 minutes late - something about running from the cops or something... While waiting, I was able to lay outside on the bench and read my book - the weather was perfect: upper 60's and humid, with a slight breeze. I am pretty sure our flight was the second and final flight of the day, so there was no one around - very peaceful.
Well, I will stop now because I'm rambling. But I will say I love how it feels like I never left my family when we're together. We had some Indian food and I played with Emry who is WALKING now!!!! And today - I am doing a whole lotta NOTHING!
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