--Robyn Hitchcock, "Oceanside"
MonkeyMom's 60th Birthday Weekend was marvelous. We stayed in two suites in a hotel in the little surfing hotspot of Oceanside. Our party included MonkeyMom's two sisters (a third sister lives in Bali and couldn't make it) and their spouses and children--twelve people in all. I think MM felt blessed and honored that most of her family could be there, and that was the point.
I love the maternal branch of Monkey's family--they are quite madcap, talkative, affectionate, quick to laugh and quick to express their emotions. We had a blast. One of M's uncles is Indian and has done yoga every day since he was a kid. We spent a lot of time talking spiritedly about hatha and meditation, and we promised to keep in touch via phone.
In the mornings there was jogging on the beach, swimming and hot-tubbing, and then in the afternoons and evenings we went sight-seeing in cute-as-a-bug La Jolla and Balboa Park (near the Zoo), where they were having their annual December Nights, when all the museums are open til 9:00 PM and free.
The whole Balboa Park area is gorgeous--lush and jungly with old-style Spanish architecture. The museums are small but comprehensive. Among other things we saw Egyptian mummies, a sobering photo exhibit about the perils of war and other human atrocities and a fun exhibit about American "biomorphism" art and design of the 40s-60s, featuring items like Slinkys, Corvettes and Formica countertops.
I took a class at the most spiritual Bikram studio I've yet encountered.
Last night we had a festive Mexican dinner in Old Town, a little touristy 'hood preserved from an original settlement.
And today, relaxed and nourished as I was from my mini-vacation, I had the smoothest and most enjoyable bi-coastal plane ride ever. I read Ian McEwan's The Cement Garden in its entirety (it's a short novel). This is his first book, and although it only hints at his eventual greatness, it is still rather creepily enjoyable.
(In other book news, I finished Extravagance on the way out to CA. This is a fun read if you like your plot and characterizations wrapped up neatly in a bow. I don't mean that to sound negative--I have nothing against Hollywood endings, and it was really well done.)
To sum, I love California. I couldn't wait to be back home with Coney (Monkey is still in CA for business), but being there confirmed my love for the weather and the openness and laid back pace and rampant weird spirituality of the place.
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