Mom and I started out Thursday morning around 10:30am, and made it to Anderson's for some Split Pea soup and onion cheese bread. This stopping for a sit-down meal during a long car trip is kind of new for me. My memories of long trips with the family always include my father's determination to make it to our destination in record time and with a minimum of stops. Mom and I were more relaxed than that, stopping for food and bathroom breaks! (My father will be disappointed by this, I'm sure.) We made it to my Aunt and Uncle's house right before 6pm.
On Friday, my cousin Gabby came over with her youngest daughter (who was an infant the last time I saw her, and is almost 3 now, I think). It was good to see her, and for the first time, I really saw how much she looks like my older sister. My mother has always said that, but I'd never really seen it before. (I don't know why it struck me this time.) Must be the Alteri in her.
After Gabby left, the rest of us (Mom, Uncle Harry, Aunt Mary Lynn and I) headed out antique-ing (is that really a word?) in Ventura. We were checking out all of the cut crystal, trying to identify any Canastota glass (the actual company name is Ideal Glass Company), which was made in my mother's hometown. We were also on the lookout for cool old bottles, as my cousin Amy has started making crystal crosses with the bottles as the base. She's gotten Uncle Harry into this too. And they're really pretty neat - she's been selling them too. We had lunch at Savory before continuing the treasure hunt. I had an excellent turkey sandwich on focaccia (as shown below).
Later that night, we headed over to my cousin Kateri's house for dinner. My cousin Chris and his wife came up as well (they actually live very close to Kateri) - I haven't seen any of these cousins since Chris's wedding 2 years ago. I think we all had a good time. (If the noise level is any indication, it was quite a success!) Kateri made home-made pizza, antipasto and pasta e fagioli, which was all excellent. The spread is below.
It rained most of the day Sunday, but we decided to hit some garage sales anyway (you have never met my Aunt's equal in finding treasures at garage sales!). We headed out to an estate sale, and come to find out, it was Chris Penn's (supposedly) estate. All of the proceeds were to go to Doctors Without Borders. I did have an old appointment book in my hand that I was flipping through, which had phone numbers for "Sean & Eliz" (the seller, who said she was a friend of Penn's mother, said this was probably Sean Penn and Elizabeth McGovern, back when they were living together. She didn't realize the book had anything in it, and decided not to sell, but rather give it to his mother). There were also a few original screenplays, a whole gaggle of books and CDs, and some large leather jackets. I don't know if it all really belonged to Chris Penn or not - I'm guessing some of it may have been the belongings of the seller. I ended up buying Memoirs of a Geisha(which probably did not belong to Chris Penn, but I've been meaning to read it for a while now, and it was only $0.50).
After mass that night, we headed over to Chris & Jen's to see their dog, Bentley. He's a big old boxer (okay, not old at all). He is fascinated by reflections on the cieling and their laser pointer. Too cute! But, like a typical boxer, he seems to think he is much smaller than he is and keeps trying to put himself in people's laps. Their condo is beautiful - I am jealous (and poor!). After leaving their place, it was back to Aunt MaryLynn's for dinner. We relaxed in their living room and watched Firewall (and I crocheted a bit on my new, most ambitious project).
Then today, Mom and I headed back up North. I drove the first leg of the trip - and I don't know how I missed it (Mom didn't see it either), but somehow I ended up on 99 instead of 5. We cut over on 198, but added about 30 odd miles to the trip. I was SO mad at myself! But at least it was going the right direction, and we didn't end up in Mexico or anything. Mom and I were discussing how we need to do this more often. And we do!
So anyway, now I'm back, and have to face work again tomorrow. I am not really looking forward to it, as I've got some loans that will be showing up as expired, and don't know what kind of reaction I'll be getting from the boss. Wish me luck!