We left San Francisco on May 4th, driving down to LA in the afternoon. We had originally planned to stay overnight with Ray (profkampf), but due to an upstairs neighbor's water tank leaking all over Ray's apartment, we were graciously hosted by Jason (fidgetcub) and Dave (e_ticket), whom we wanted to see too, so it worked out wonderfully. Ray and Brad joined us for dinner, and we caught up and relaxed.
Next day we drove down to Aliso Viejo to visit Reid (animbear), Richard (redbeardedblond), Robert (bigsabu) and Tim (martini_tim). It was so good to see the boys together after such a long time, and stay overnight. We ate, we drank, we played with electronics and watched videos. These two visits were all too short, but we had an itinerary to follow, so eastward ho!!
Thursday we drove to Palm Springs for the first of two stays. This one was with Randy and Dick and their two adorable miniature Dachsunds Sparky and Buddy. We caught up and spend several days relaxing in the pool and looking at real estate. Dick took us out all day Friday, and Randy all day Saturday, to see what was available and look at some open houses. I should explain the Steve (rootbeer1) and I are beginning to explore getting a second home, for vacation use and eventual retirement, and Palm Springs is our primary destination. Well, we looked at condos and houses, in a variety of price ranges, and saw a few we really liked. We also met a plethora of realtors, all friendly and eager to assist us, of course.
We ate out a lot and had plenty of downtime, and also saw a lot of Keith and his magnificent show Boxer CJ, who is 16 months old and the friendliest dog of that breed I've ever met. Keith was busy bringing him to training and scoring events--he's only five points away from his championship, at which time he can enter a lot more shows. He's quite beautiful and a real chick magnet too--women were coming up to us all weekend to fawn over him.
On Tuesday we headed east to Tuscon to visit Steve's brother David and his wife Andrea for a few days. We helped them select and install a new 52" LCD television, and I was wowed by all its features, especially the built-in Internet connectivity. I helped David get his wireless router back online, and we then watched some YouTube directly off the net. Hooray for technology!
Wednesday we hung out at the pool, went out to lunch, and D&A hosted a little cocktail party in the evening to introduce us to the neighbors. There were three couples and the widow next door, as well as the four of us, and we had a very nice time chatting about the climate, living in the desert, and the joys and woes of retirement in Arizona. We were the youngest ones there by far--Tuscon is known for its retired snowbirds. Most of the elderly neighbors felt the desert was nice, but too hot, so they traveled a lot to avoid the intense heat in the middle of summer.
It was great spending time with family (I wish mine weren't so far away), but on Thursday we needed to move along back to Palm Springs. We were staying with John and Frank (sunbeam_bears) this time, our first stay in their new Mid-Century Modern Alexander home. We've been friends with these guys for at least ten years, and they've hosted us so many times. We caught up, cooked, sunned, and relaxed. We also checked out a few more houses, and found a few that were very interesting. More on that to come---anyway, on Sunday we drove back west to the Disney resort complex in Anaheim to stay a couple of days at Frank and John's vacation club villa at the Grand Californian. What a beautiful place! The food and wine festival was going on too, so we explored that in the parks, and since the villa has a full kitchen, we brought a ton of groceries and cooked all our meals the two days we were there. We were glad to see the recent and ongoing changes at California Adventure, and it was nice to be in Disneyland without holiday decorations for the first time in many years.
Tuesday we made breakfast out of leftovers (jambalaya omelets!) and headed back to San Francisco. It was a great, relaxing vacation, and also productive. We did a little shopping, a little exploring, a lot of relaxing, and best of all a lot of time with our dear friends and family, whom we're very blessed to have in our lives. Thanks everybody for having us!!!
Ray, Jason, Dave, Brad, Jack
Steve, Reid, Tim, Richard
Sparky (or Buddy, they're identical)
One of the first houses we saw
Steve by the pool
Grand opening of SHAG gallery
Jack, Rick, Dave, Cal
Steve's brother David and the new TV
David and Andrea
The Brothers Freitag
Frank and John in their new living room
Steve made pizza!
One of the houses we really like
Another house we really like
Grand Californian pools
Jack made pineapple upside-down cake!
Tshirt and poster
The actual Disney Matterhorn