After having a lovely first night of Hanukkah with Laurie and Maya, plus a nice visit with Alan, we went to bed fairly early to play "catch-up" on our sleep. From Laurie's house you can see the Santa Cruz Boardwalk which had absolutely no activity while we were there. However, right beside the boardwalk is the pier that houses many sea lions lazing on the pylons underneath the pier. I know this because at 3a, I woke up to barking...not dog barking, sea lion barking. Later in the day Laurie, Sofie and I headed down to explore the pier and allow Sofie to snap some photos.
It was a beautiful, sunny day with a brisk breeze blowing about. The sea lions were contently perched beneath the traffic of holiday shuffling. Is it me, or do you think this sea lion is posing?!?!(Notice the catty glance upwards towards Sofie.)
It was also quite breezy that day. To my surprise, Sofie actually admitted she was cold! We meandered on the not so crowded pier, shopped a bit, had hot chocolate, then off to Laurie's for packing up the car but not before we saw this as we were leaving:
Yep, that's a seagull with a starfish hanging out of it's mouth, seemingly stuck in the bird's gullet. There was discussion in the car wondering if we should pull the starfish out of the sea gull's mouth. (As if that bird would have stayed there waiting for one of us to grab it around the body and yank it's dinner out of its' mouth!) I was worried that it couldn't swallow the meal, since it was probably only slightly smaller than the bird. We witnessed it try, with no success, to swallow. In the end, we left poor Gully to fend for himself. Maybe the pelican could help him out!
After fun in Santa Cruz, Sofie and I packed up the car and headed Northwest to Brisbane to visit the Wexler's and share in second night of Hanukkah. It was rainy, foggy and nearly dark when we were finally on the freeway heading north. If I uttered these words once, I uttered them a dozen times..."Yay, traffic...one thing I really don't miss about the Bay Area!" Sofie agreed, but alas we were on the road again!
It was dark by the time we arrived at the Wexler's home. Parking(another thing I don't miss) was a pain. There were teenage boys with fake guns(I hope) running around their street playing some sort of laser tag or non-paint paintball. At some point, Becky and Wex came out and instructed me to park in their driveway. Which I happily obliged with the rental car fully blocking the sidewalk. As we went inside, I was just hoping the teenagers were kind to the cars.
Walking into the Wexler house I always get a warm fuzzy feeling. With a chef in the house, there are usually wonderful smells wafting about. That night was no different. Naomi, the eldest Wexler child(who is actually a freshman in college) was making a heaping pile of latkes. Sofie and Tamar(the youngest Wexler) immediately went off to play, so I enjoyed chatting with Becky, Wex, Naomi and Nathan(the middle Wexler.) We caught, reminisced about prior visits that had included Debra. (One day I really have to write about the time Debra and I took Nathan and Naomi to Los Angeles to see Lion King on stage and a day at Universal studios. It was less than a month after 9/11 so we experienced airline travel in its utmost fearful state. With all that was going on in the world, we managed our own "Escape to L.A." for a wonderful trip with fun memories including losing Nathan at Universal Studios...but I digress!)
We lit the menorah, discussed the meaning of Hanukkah. Afterward, we sat for dinner. A lovely dinner with tasty food. A dinner where Ms. Picky eater ate a plate of turkey...that's it, turkey. Whatever. I enjoyed every morsel. We chatted more thru dinner. Nathan talked about getting the part of "Mark" for the local community theatre only to have the play yanked from any community theatre production. Bummer. He's such a talented guy. Luckily, they had a DVD of his recent performance as the Master of Ceremonies in his high school performance of "Cabaret." I'm amazed every time I see him on stage. Keep an eye out for him...or his sister, Naomi. The Wexler family is bursting with talent. Naomi is a gifted singer and studying music in college. Tamar seems to be the athlete of the family, something she and Sofie had in common.
By 9p I felt as if I'd hit a brick wall. I needed to sleep, right then! Originally we were supposed to drive to Palo Alto and stay at Debra's mom and sister's house. Fortunately, the Wexler's rearranged and Sofie and I slept like logs in Nathan's bed.
We snuck out of the house around 730a to head to Palo Alto. Nancy, Sofie and I were heading into San Francisco to spend some time at the newly re-opened (after years of being closed for renovation) California Academy of Science in Golden Gate Park.
Since that was such a long day, I'll continue on with that day in Part III of our adventure...soon.