Some of you have been asking about our trip to New York. It was glorious! We spent several days with my brother and his family on Long Island, enjoyed his birthday party, reconnected with people I hadn't seen in many years from my hometown, and got to know three of my great-nephews and one great-niece.
My brother and his wife have eight grandchildren, four of whom live in Ireland. The others are all nearby, so they are still intimately connected to the world of childhood. I think it keeps them young. They are both quite remarkable. I'm sure that there is nothing my sister-in-law cannot do well. She has an amazing grace combined with attention to detail, and she gives good party. When my brother and I were growing up, I was his biggest booster. It was wonderful to renew a relationship that time and distance had faded, and to be an adoring little sister again.
The child Flip and I spent the most time with has been our "family baby" since he was born. Jack is a force of Nature. He exists to be worshiped, and seems to be okay with the concept. I have never known a more appealing child, and I was exhausted by all the smiling and laughing he occasioned. (A terrible way to be wounded.) Flip says that Jack is a Cult of Personality.
My daughter, Ellen, took us to Coney Island, which Flip had never seen, and they rode the Cyclone, the world's first roller coaster. I do not ride roller coasters as I think that life is scary enough without inducing heart attacks, and I am old enough that I no longer need to prove my machismo. I took pictures. And walked in the surf, which was not bone-chilling like the Pacific.
Since I grew up by the Atlantic, I feel an affinity with it that I do not for the Pacific, although they are both magnificent. I would find it hard to live far from one or the other. Living inland makes me homesick when I attempt it.
We spent a night in Brooklyn in the Buddha room of Ellen's apartment, and then drove up to Hudson, where she has a home. Hudson is a beautiful historic town filled with great architecture, friendly people and antique stores. New York State is so green. Literally. It almost breaks the eyes. The California hills are brown and tan with only scrub pine for greenery, but flowers bloom all year. Both coasts are beautiful. Pick an ocean, any ocean. It would be hard to choose.
I had forgotten what summer was like. Northern California has no logical progression of seasons. Our weather is likely to be unlikely. When we got back from the airport, Flip turned on the heat in our apartment. I put on a sweater. We were home. Mark Twain once said, "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." He wasn't exaggerating.
Truffle was well-cared for by our lovely neighbor, Lisa, but she is nervous. She supervised the putting away of suitcases but is taking a wait-and-see position. This morning, she rolled in my hair at 5:00 to be fed, and when I showed signs of lingering by my computer afterward, she made it clear that she needed me to get back in bed where she could keep an eye on both of us at the same time. She isn't taking any chances. Truffle has often been mistaken for taxidermy, but now she is watching our every move with uncommon alertness. We will have to be away from home in shifts for awhile so as not to alarm her. It's the least we could do.
It's Sunday morning. I have a thick newspaper filled with bad news, ads and two magazine sections. Flip is drinking coffee out of his new I-Heart-NY mug from the Albany Airport, and life is good.