A couple weekends ago, Barbara finally returned to the U.S. from her yearlong stay in Bologna, Italy for her Masters program. She technically flew in from China where she was visiting Andrea, but that's an unimportant detail much like the rest of this post. We'd been planning her visit for a while, but I didn't really get excited until I realized the possibilities of resurrecting my dormant life of Starbucks, CPK, rides on the beach, dancing, and Cold Stone's. As if she'd read my mind, she emailed me and asked for exactly those things during her four day stay here. Thus, the fun-filled weekend began.
Everything progressed more or less as planned. I ended up chauffeuring Barbara all over the bay area because she had to meet with some lawyers for informational interviews. By Sunday, my right hand was raw from the shifter and my left leg fatigued from the clutch.
One stop included picking up Bailey, Barbara's bunny, that a nice woman in Dublin had babysat for the year she was gone. For those that don't know, Barbara has a thing for cute fuzzy animals, the most recent of which were Charlie the Chinchilla, and Bailey the Bunny, both of which I've had the (dubious) pleasure of babysitting at one time or another. Unfortunately for Bailey, Barbara ended up returning to Chicago without him this time since American Airlines would only allow dogs, cats, and birds onto the plane. I almost called them up to ask which animal they would personally prefer to sit next to on a plane: a growling (and/or yipping) canine, a fanged and clawed cat, or a cute fuzzy bunny rabbit.
We had some of the most fun on Saturday when we celebrated our riding instructor, Laurie's, birthday. I brought my new Nikon D70 SLR to the barn and had a heyday shooting photos of Jen and Tanya jumping their horses Reco and Payback. Then, after their lesson was over, Laurie began the "I'm Laurie, it's my birthday, and I'm going to play with all of my horsies" jumping session. She started on Reco first and took some fantastic jumps. The only way to describe Reco's jumps in writing is to say that he's too big and powerful for his brain. Certain words like "uncoordinated" and "overeager" come to mind. After Laurie tired of Reco, she got on Payback and romped around some more. Payback, unlike Reco has the opposite problem. His brain is too big and powerful for him. Some might even say that he's too f*#king smart for his own good. However, intelligence and coordination do pay off while jumping and he made some amazing jumps that afternoon. Even when Laurie led him astray, he remained composed, corrected for her as if it were nothing and created picture-perfect jumps every time. What an athlete he is!
After the jumping madness, we stopped by Max's Opera Cafe for a late lunch and a toast to Laurie. I delicious end to a wonderful afternoon. All of the photos I took are posted in my new photo section so be sure to take a look (as soon as I link it up).
By the end of the fourth day, both Barbara and I were pretty exhausted from the action-packed weekend. One visit to CPK, Friday night waltz, Chili's, Cold Stone's, Krispe Kreme, In-n-out, a ride on the beach, and many drives, horsies, and movies later, we concluded Barbara's visit with a calm afternoon at the park, sitting together on the grass watching Bailey hop around and nibble at the grass and our toes. It was one of those moments away from the hustle and worry of daily life that I wish could last forever.
So that was my weekend. I promise to write more. When the photos are ready, I'll let you know. Until then, peace, love, and happiness.