© 2006 denise

Fire from 38,000 feet, a mystery house, and a bush on Bay Avenue.

Our annual trip to California was unusual in a few ways, and beautiful in other ways. This year was special as our visit included the honor of our participation in my best friend’s wedding in Muir Woods, among the Pacific Redwoods. That stands alone as the sweetest memory; breathtaking and unconventional.

Here’s to your long and happy life together, M.G.(B.)H. and J.L.H. We still didn’t figure out what J’s middle name was, which truly was a disappointment. But we are thrilled for your new lives together, regardless.

M and J Wedding

A few other memories, illustrated:

1. On the flight to California, we flew over an area near Bakersfield where the mountainsides were full-on afflicted with wildfires. I was surprised at the sheer magnitude of the pillars of smoke as these fires raged on. I snapped a picture from our plane window.

2006 Bakersfield wildfires

2. On the last full day of our vacation, the husband and I looked up the Winchester Mystery House. I’ve seen this house on television before, and I recall my friend B calling me from the WMH some years ago when he was sent out for some technical training. Quite possibly one of the strangest places I’ve been, and totally worth the price of admission. The thing I felt most after the tour was this: Sarah Winchester, widowed heiress (who really was pretty damn wealthy for *our* time, let alone the turn of the century) may have been a bit of a kooky chick, but she was practical in some ways. And apparently she was a great employer. I was slightly disappointed that our tour guide did not play up the “spooky” factor of some of the rooms. Other than that, a great way to spend a few hours in San Jose.

Winchester Mystery House

3. The people of San Fransisco. We love you all. Especially “Bush Man on Bay Avenue.” The story: After the WMH tour, the husband and I high-tailed it to downtown SF so we could experience more of the city. We found parking somewhere on Chestnut, and made our way near Fisherman’s Wharf, off of the Embarcadaro. I’m walking along, and doing a lot of people gazing when I notice this guy squatting next to a big, blue mailbox. I notice he’s clutching several wilted branches of tree or shrubbery. As we pass, he lunges out into the sidewalk right next to us, scaring the shit out of my husband who had not noticed him before — and resulted in this classic “fight or flight” response:

Bush Man (lunging and shouting): “BLAAAGGH!!!!”

The Husband: “You f—ing idiot!”


Me: “Honey, he does have a point. He was the only bush on Bay Avenue.”

It’s things like this that make me so happy for things like vacation time.

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