Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

end of one year and beginning of another year

On the 27th I returned to work. In the middle of the afternoon, I attended a funeral at Restland Memorial Park. The ceremony was meaningful. I worked late that night. On the 28th, I worked a solid day.  On the 29th, we caught a plane at DFW Airport after a morning Super Shutttle Ride to the airport. We left with temperatures just a bit above freezing. We landed in Ontario, California.  The temperature was roughly 26 degrees C. We rented a car at Enterprise Car Leasing. Then we settled in for a 90-minute drive to Big Bear Lake. I liked all the little mountain resorts on the way to Big Bear. The exit on the 215 Freeway accurately called the turn-off the Mountain Resorts exit. We climbed at slow pace in fairly heavy traffic for a goodish part of the drive. Finally, we arrived at our friends Heidi and Ken's place in the City of Big Bear Lake. We were pleased to see Heidi, Ken and their 17-year-old daughter Bella. We have known Heidi since my wife worked briefly at her law firm in 1994ish. When we last saw Bella, she was perhaps 12 or 13. Now she is a senior in high school, having just been accepted to Oberlin College. We all talked and ate turkey chili with beans.

We also enjoyed seeing their two retrievers, Rosie and Chester, as well as meeting young Sadie, a chi-weenie. We all went for a walk down at the lake. The weather was temperate rather than cool. In the evening,I walked by the dry lakebed of the auxiliary run-off lake also called the Stanfield wetlands and boardwalk. We went out to dinner at a great fish and steak place, the Captain's Anchorage. I enjoyed my broiled salmon.

Early Saturday morning  I walked again on the boardwalk trail. I took pictures of the coyotes in the lakebed and of the sparrows and finches in the trees.

We headed to the Village Inn for breakfast. I had eggs and a huge ham steak with country potatoes.  In the afternoon my wife drove to see a co-worker one few towns over. Ken dropped me off at Big Bear Lake Discovery Center. I got some directions from a helpful ranger and set out on a walk. I chose the flatter portions of the trail leading from the center to the lake. I liked the Steller's Jay who mimicked a hawk, in just the same way a Blue Jay in Texas might have done. Ken, Heidi and Bella picked me up at 2 p.m. We all drove in to Los Angeles.

When we got to Los Angeles, the weather was a trifle cool and the air was misty. My wife caught up with us early in the evening. Then we drove a short way to Pitfire Pizza in Westwood.  I had a margherita pizza. My pizza was good,but Heidi's Tuscan Bean Soup looked even better.

I got up early on Sunday morning and walked to the Westwood Weight Watchers for my Weight Watchers meeting. I was down 8/10th of a pound. Ten people attended the New Year's Eve meeting. One fellow explained how he had gone to an expensive steak place and had a burger, and that the burger was good but he still lost weight. At the meeting's end, the leader made a joke about the coming crowds and we all chuckled. We know that January is always a time of new resolutions to lose weight.

Later that morning, Ken and I assembled their new electric smoker. I handled the instructions and helped here and there. Ken did all the heavy screwdriver action. The instructions listed 9 steps, each incorporating different screws or bolts. We worked through it all, and got the smoker assembled. We put a beef brisket on to smoke.

My wife and Heidi went shopping for supplies for a dinner they hoped to cook. I walked to Westwood Park on Veterans--about a 20 minute walk away. I hoped to see some California birds. When I first arrived, I saw tents pitched by homeless people, children on the playground, and tennis courts. I thought it was unlikely to have much wildlife to see. But as I walked around I saw some handsome birds--Lesser Goldfinches, Western Bluebirds, Black Phoebes, and White-Crowned Sparrows, among others. I took some photos and enjoyed my walk.

On my way back, I ran into my wife. She was out for a walk. We walked together to Westside Pavilion mall. I got a great Chicken Breast Super Pita sandwich at a kebab place in the mall.  

In the late afternoon, my wife and Heidi made a chicken pasta, gingerbread shortbread, and salad. It made a fine meal.

Monday I took the rental car and drove to little 10-acre Burton Chace Park in Marina del Rey. I've had a fondness for this little park since the days I lived in Los Angeles and fished from a tiny metal fishing dock made part of the park. I believe that the dock is gone, but the little park has some interesting birds. I do not fish much nowadays anyway--bird-watching seems to have filled that space in my hobby life.

I like the group of people dressed in Sunday-go-to-meeting-clothes who gathered to witness a New Year's Day wedding. As I walked by I heard the minister say "Whom God has joined together let no man put asunder". People laughed happily and took cell phone pictures. It was an elegant micro-event.

I saw birds--Say's Phoebe, Black Phoebe, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, and White-Crowned Sparrows, among others.  I drove back to Ken and Heidi's house. In the afternoon, Heidi and Ken invited over Heidi's father, his girlfriend, and Heidi's colleague and friend Sara. We all had a nice visit. In the late afternoon, the air got cool as we saw in their backyard.  Heidi and Ken have a propane firepit thing that was warming.

In the evening, we ate the beef brisket that Ken had smoked, as well as the remainder of the food from Factor's deli. I liked the turkey pastrami.

We all went to the movie Coco at night. We all liked the film.

Today my wife and I caught the plane back to DFW. When we landed the temperature was 4 degrees below Celsius. We took our Super Shuttle home, It was good see Beatrice doing well. I drove into the office and got a few hours' work done. I picked up turkey and vegetables from Boston Market for us to have for dinner.

Now we are watching television and relaxing and the holidays were fun but I am glad they are over.

from Dreamwidth, because two posts of the same text are twice as nice

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