Thursday, January 14, 2010

California Here We Come!

On December 30 we flew to California to spend eight days with Zoe, George, Nick & Tommy. We rented a beautiful chalet in Yosemite Valley over New Year's and enjoyed this magnificent national park in Winter with them. The place was in Forresta, a little known private enclave of homes within the park. They are just off the great meadow with the big red barn. This is on the old road into the park on the site of the original Inn where the first visitors stayed. A huge forest fire twenty years ago wiped out more than half of the homes, but a number were rebuilt.
It was a lovely place with a spectacular view, far off in the distance, of the Half Dome. A small cupola on top, reached by a steep ladder, gave 360 degree vistas. Our two grandsons particularly loved that!

We cooked most of our meals there and hung out in the comfortable living room playing games and reading.
Nick adores his time in the snow each with us. Unfortunately this year there wasn't much around the floor of the park, or at our chalet. We drove up to the highest pass on the road in and spent an afternoon in deep snow, sleding, building snow men and forts. Of course a lot of snow balls were thrown! We walked up to Bridal Falls (that's Nick and I with the Falls above) and into Mirror Lake, the latter took us all morning, luckily we brought a picnic lunch. The road in was iced over and tricky walking. There was more snow at this end of the Valley and the temperature much lower than at our house.
On almost every bridge we crossed over the boys and I played Pooh Sticks. For those of you unfamiliar with this game from Winnie the Pooh, you throw a stick into the water on one side of the bridge and then rush over to the other to see it make it's way down the stream. It's sometimes played competitively but we didn't.

We took a park bus back to our car afterwards. That's Zoe, George,
Tommy and Nick waiting for the bus above. They drove back to Palo Alto the last morning and Scott and I stayed to do some more walking in the Valley. We took the Valley Floor trail and also went up to Yosemite Falls. In the morning crossing the valley we found a strange and beautiful phenominon; in the shadows, the ice had not melted, creating in the photo showed here an ice painting of the fence on the bridge.

We stayed for another four days visiting with them. One highlight was going skating with Tommy and Nick. Nick had been before and was terrific. It was Tommy's first time. That's the four of us on the ice. We really enjoyed visiting their schools and Scott and I also went into San Francisco one day and saw the King Tutakamen exhibit at the new Art Museum in Golden Gate Park. We loved visiting Nick and Tommy's schools too.
Nick went to Cub Scouts during our visit and made this spectacular sculpture! Zoe's sister Kyrie is his Cub Scout Leader. This brought back many memories to me as I led a Camp Fire Boys and Girls group for nine years with Sean.
Then Scott flew back to Trinidad and I went on to San Diego to visit friends there for a few days. David Wood, Pat & Brian Armstrong and Sandra Francour played host/hostesses to myself and Pam Pinsky. Harpal & Jeannie Dharma drove down from L.A. for an evening as well.
We spent one day in Balboa Park at the Mingei Musuem and the Museum of Photographic Art. We really enjoyed the special show of Indian folk art at the former which combined sculpture, painting, photos and film. Sonabai Rajawar, a sculptor who came to Mingei in 1986 to exhibit her art, was an untrained artist who lived in total isolation for the first fifteen years of her marriage, creating a style of sculpting previously unseen anywhere in India.

Her work is whimsical, delightful and imaginative. She has subsequently been given the highest award that any Indian artist can receive and has engendered a whole ‘school’ of art, consequently changing the entire economy of her remote village. Another beautiful exhibit there was the wondrous sea creatures knitted and/or crocheted of color-coated copper wire by renowned San Diego designer craftsman Arline Fisch. The shadows they created against the walls added a whole other dimension to the pieces.

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