West coast vacation– unfinished

My threesome; daughter, partner and me are nearing the end of a two-week vacation. We flew to San Francisco and spent several days with my long-time friend L and her guy/husband–S and their younger daughter, H. When I say that L is my long-time friend, you should understand that this year, this month, is the 40th anniversary of our meeting and becoming best of friends. L’s and my friendship, is rare, I think, in that it has never wavered. We have had our struggles and our fights but there has, in my memory (she can weigh in if she reads this), never been any question for either of us that this was a deep and permanent friendship. As we get close to the end of this time together I only want more, I am never satisfied that I have had enough of her and I love her family– each of them individually and each of them in their relationships now with M, my partner and with my daughter.

It was hard getting ready to leave town for many reasons– the biggest of which was saying goodbye for awhile to nephew/cousin Izzy who has left this morning for his semester in Ecuador. He will be gone from our summer of living together and will not even be in our city going to school this semester when we return. He brings to our household the joy of more family, a 20-year old’s enthusiasm, his own experiences and perspective, his own particular brand of boundless energy, his handsome, eager, open, presence and a lot of love for each of us–among many good things.

When we arrived in San Francisco we did our brand of great San Francisco things for several days– family dinner at L’s house on Sunday night with her mom and another family, also old friends of ours now. We drove L and S to the hospital where they both work each morning and spent days taking in the views, walking the dog at the ocean, drinking coffee from just one of our favorite SF independent coffee shops– Martha’s– looking at the gorgeous bougainvillea that grows abundantly in this climate and being together. I had a great time and took great satisfaction spending more money than I intended at my favorite outdoor outfitter– getting a good fleece jacket and backpack for my suddenly-so-big daughter, N. and tee shirts, socks and hiking boots for me. I also went twice to the YMCA where L and her family belong– and worked out amidst a bigger and more diverse crowd– particularly a diverse group of women of all ages, shapes and sizes — than I ever see in our city on the East Coast. Going with L to this YMCA has become one of the highlights of my trips to San Francisco. We always run into her mother (also initial L, though she and my friend do not share the same first name). Her mother is 89 years old and walks with a walker to the YMCA where she works out. Inspiration for me.

A week ago today, we drove north to the mountains. I am still working to get my blogger’s rhythm back, and I so want to hit publish– I will share a few photos and save more for later.

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Lassen National Park, at 8000 gorgeous and scary feet high-- with daughter nearer a steep drop-off from a narrow path than this photo shows.

Lassen National Park, at 8000 gorgeous and scary feet high– with daughter nearer a steep drop-off from a narrow path than this photo shows.

My friend, L.  We were teenagers when we met.  Women in our 50's now.  Gorgeous.

My friend, L. We were teenagers when we met. Women in our 50’s now. Gorgeous.

Our gang, looking down at Bumpass Hell, geothermal area below, with water that steams and bubbles at over 200 degrees f.

Our gang, looking down at Bumpass Hell, geothermal area below, with water that steams and bubbles at over 200 degrees f.

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