Happy at Home!
After such a busy and emotional December, we eased into the first day of January. A lazy day starting with Rose Bowl parade. Then we cheered on Michigan. Funny. I don't even like football.
I didn't have the proper shirt, so I wore Don's old U of M rugby shirt!
A week later, we dressed up a bit more and went to dinner. It was the night before Michigan played Washington in HOUSTON! You never know if any celebs will be in town for the National Championship.
There was a festive buzz of energy and we kept a look out. No celebs sighted, but we chatted with many people wearing maze and blue. And we ate well.
The beginning of January, offered good weather. I stopped rolling my eyes and played Pickle Ball for the first time. I had to admit, it wasn't dumb, it was fun and I was pooped after 90 minutes.
I did a thing I haven't done in a million years. I went clothes shopping with a friend. Shari found a gorgeous Mother of the Groom dress at the Galleria! I love shopping when I'm not the one trying on clothes!
January weather was lovely, until it wasn't.
This photo was taken in mid January, the evening before our big freeze. We lost some plants but kept the pipes from freezing.
We managed to avoid frozen pipes at the cabin, too. Which is very good, since we had visitors!
Charlie came to the cabin for the very first time. It was fun to see her reactions as she discovered things.
Puzzles and games!
We had a quick lunch outing...
Charlie kept busy, but she did pause for some Mommy time.
And we all relaxed and stared at the fire. So much better than a TV.
Charlie helped with real cooking... and pretend cooking.
The iron stove was one that her great-great-grandmother played with as a child. It had been a salesman's sample! What a cozy visit.
On January 22, Don and I left the cabin and headed west.
We stayed at a favorite hotel of ours in Van Horn, Texas.
We made sure to allow enough to time in Arizona, for a visit to Saguaro National Park.
What a perfect place for a winter picnic... and posing with cactus characters.
So glad we had time to stop and explore this unusual town!
We visited the grave/monument for Hi Jolly. Hi was not a camel, but he was a camel driver from Syria. Hi died in Quartzsite, in 1902.
2 Nights in Tucson
We spent 2 nights in the same city, which we rarely do while traveling. Lodge of the Desert was a little oasis. It started welcoming guests in the 1930's.
Of course we changed it up and stayed the second night at a totally different kind if place. Casino del Sol. "You booked us in a casino, Don?"
But we had fun, jumping from one kind of atmosphere to the next. Slot machines to tiki bars!
Food & Drink in Arizona
I packed a couple of "just in case shirts".
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You never know when you'll need a western shirt, or a tiki shirt.
Villa Royale in Palm Springs
The real destination of our road trip was to see our son and daughter in law in CA, So why not stay at the hotel they told us about last year?
It was just as heavenly as they described.
Palm Royale was indeed a retro oasis. We lucked out and hit it on their monthly Paella Night! What a feast!
Upper Lake, CA
We drove through Upper Lake a few years ago, and were drawn to the old hotel.
This time we got to spend a night at the historic Tallman Hotel.
What an evening with dinner and live music at the hotel's restaurant. I even danced with some locals!
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In the morning, we had breakfast along with the musicians, from the night before. Then we hit the road.
Big rains were starting to roll in, when we checked into Heritage House, south of Mendocino.
We explored the historic property and took in some incredible views, before the rains hit that night.
We had a rainy drive to Napa the next day. Most go to Napa for the wineries. We were content to just stay put near our hotel, which had once been a milling complex. We wandered with umbrellas.
We dined at a sweet French restaurant, spotted a curious octopus near the river and saw the sun peek out the next morning.
Sacramento with The Kids!
Our meandering road trip was fun, but the real reason for the trip was to see Scott and Chali. It's hard having them so far away!
Hanging out in their home, is always my favorite. Lola the pooch loves the attention and we get to catch up, without distraction.
But we did get out for walks in the park and we even had a fun trip wandering through the neighborhood hardware store!
And there was a brunch, at Bacon & Butter. What a name!
And I had some time with Chali!
She invited me to my very first Sound Bath experience. Soothing, with curious instruments and magical meditation!
I finally got to see a movie at Sacramento's old Tower Theatre!
I love old theatres and movies and popcorn! Don and Scott were back home, enjoying some football.
It was a good start to the 2024. A little quiet home-time and then some travel.
But, the absolute best part of January was the time spent with The Kids, in Texas and in California. How lucky I feel to have family that we enjoy, so very much. I of course wish we all lived closer. It's especially tough saying good-bye when you'll soon be nearly 2,000 miles apart. But we have a lot of sweet (and fruity) memories to enjoy... until we get together next!