Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Egads! Where went March?

Is it really over a month since I blogged. Oi! But March has been busy. First and best was the visit of my son and daughter-in-law from London. What a treat!  And of course Cris came supplied with European chocolates and fine (but fiercely hot) ginger/ chili cookies. These were definitely not on Dale's to eat list, especially since he has been suffering a bout of GERD (acid reflux disease).

Our son brought his cigars and some rather good scotch, as always, and we all sampled the American microbrews he can't find in London. London, it turns out, is not really a beer and ale town, or at least not an adventurous one. My personal favorite is India Pale Ale, perhaps because my father drank it when I was little, and we kids always drained the bottles to the last drop before depositing them in the return case in the cellar (or at least I did). Over the winter, Dale and I have just stored beer in the garage, where it has been plenty cold, but as the weather has warmed we've gotten in the habit of leaving it there and drinking a cool bottle or even one at room temperature. I think that better brings out the flavor. I guess it's something I have in common with the Brits.

While he was here, Dale William got a tattoo...a free one because he bumped into his tattoo artist at an old hangout. Although I wasn't an original fan of multiple tattoos, I've come to accept my son's appreciation of this "body art," and this time I went with him and Cris not only to the tattoo convention that happened to be in town, but also to watch Dale get the freebie hour glass etched on his leg.  I'll admit it was fascinating. Tattoos aren't for everyone, for sure, but they are for my son. He loves them, and others do as well because they love him. One possible exception may be Cris' grandmother in Madrid (who does like Dale) but not the tattoos at all. Fortunately, his can be covered by long sleeves, and he works in advertising where eccentricities are accepted.

The best thing about family visits is how distance and time away evaporates as soon as everyone is together again. Our daughter Lisa hosted Dale and Cris at her house, but we all got together for a couple of family dinners (a belated Christmas turkey, apparently not easily available in London, and an early St. Patrick's Day Irish stew). Because daughter Hilary and son-in-law Dustin are next door, Dale William and Cris had a good bit of time to spend with their nephew and niece. Maddox went bowling with the grown ups and was upset when one of his balls knocked down only nine pins. "He's a competitor," said his uncle. And Maddox is; he was happy to whip around on his Christmas BMX bike and show off his increasing skills on a skateboard.

Ione overcame a very short initial shyness and then reveled in the attention only a little girl with a sweet (and sometimes mischievous) smile can evoke...especially from grandpa!

However, all good things must come to an end, and unfortunately Dale and Cris' visit ended before our Reno weather turned from late winter to sunny spring. But hey, what are they used to in London!

But I am doubly blessed because in six short weeks, I'll see them again in London with one of my sisters and then travel on to Spain to tour Galicia with Cris' parents. I've been to Spain once before, and the country is beautiful; the people are welcoming, and life is lived wholeheartedly. I can hardly wait!
I do worry that my Spanish skills (I've been teaching myself all year) will leave a lot to be desired, but I think Cris' Mom and I will be able to communicate. I know we will be able to enjoy.

...so that was the beginning of March and on March 19th, I began a new journey that may occupy me for the next year and which I'll write about tomorrow (I hope, or perhaps the next day).