Sorry about the gap in posts. I lost the urge to blog for the last few weeks. And I appear to have been sucked into the vortex that is the PTA - in a good way and I'm enjoying it but life is keeping me busy right now.
Meanwhile, this weekend we headed down the coast in a Zipcar to the Sunset Beach State Park to stay in a small and very country cottagey cottage in a small enclave in the Park, about 4 minutes from the fantastic beach.
The girls and their stressed mother set off from home and drove down the 280 which is a gorgeous road for much of the way to Palo Alto where Tom's new office is. We collected him from what looked like a very studious bunch of geeks working hard until I realised they were working hard at shooting people and blowing things up on their computers. A regular Friday evening activity. In lovely light, we headed further south and over the hills through woods to the coast, arriving shortly before sunset at Sunset Beach.
It's a glorious long sandy stretch of beach in Monterey Bay, surrounded by farming land. Plonk my girls on a beach and they are happy for hours. Yesterday, they made sandcastles with occasional help. Tom and I watched porpoises (or similar), long-billed curlews, sanderlings, and a long line of brown pelicans sail slowly by northwards.
For lunch we headed south to Moss Landing on a friend's recommendation to find Phil's Fish Market and Eatery which is clearly a local institution. Tom and I had the cioppino which is a tomato soup loaded with seafood and for which Phil's is justly famous. One of the best meals I've had out since I got to the States.
We got back to the beach in golden late afternoon sunshine and ate strawberries while listening to Lottie laugh hysterically at the cool young dudes with their para-kite thingy, leaping into the air and falling into soft sand. They probably meant to, and it looked like fun, but Lottie thought they were hilarious.
This morning, it was raining, which is apparently so unlikely at this time of year that Californians keep apologising to us. It lasted about half an hour and was drizzle rather than full on rain. We headed north to Santa Cruz and the boardwalk.
It is what you expect and none the worse. Rollercoasters, small ferris wheels, merry-go-rounds, amusement arcades and stalls selling all manner of truly awful food. I now am the proud possessor of a $1 off voucher for a deep-fried twinkie - wasn't tempted. I didn't fancy this either.
The girls refused to go on anything more exciting than a merry-go-round with Tom who may or may not be faking his despair at the utter wimpishness of the females he lives with. After a small hot dog and the largest small Pepsi I've ever seen, we drove off up Highway 1 along the coast towards Pigeon Point Lighthouse.
This is a 19th century lighthouse set on jutting rocks in a relatively deserted part of the area. It's surrounded by gorgeous seashore flowers and sadly by fencing as it is structurally unsound and they haven't the funds to restore it. There are paths around the edges of the cliffs and down one was a small crowd of animated people all staring out into the bay. They had seen a whale - or what turned out to be two, a mother and her baby - who then appeared at least six more times as they swam north past the lighthouse.
We or rather Lottie also saw seals. We were so busy watching for the whales that but for our observant youngest who got bored looking at water we'd have missed the seals on the rocks below.
After all this we were so tired we came home. And my last Mother's Day (yes it's later here than in the UK) treat came when I uploaded the pictures and found what Tom, Millie and Lottie had been up to while I packed up this morning.