My Trip to California

So, I’ve decided to keep a running log of what has happened over my trip, since it seems to be rather an amusing and bittersweet sort of trip.

The Planes and Old Friends:
I left work an hour early on Friday, April 17, 2009. I parked in the garage underneath a whale in the Providence airport (which is not actually in Providence), printed my boarding passes, checked in my one bag, bought candy for my littlest sister and had soup. After my soup I went and sat down in the waiting area for my gate only to realize that the guy I had bought candy from was probably wondering when I would come back and get my passport and such other things, like boarding passes. I walk all the way back to find a very apologetic candy man. He had sent it to my gate. I walk back down to the gate after many assurances that I would be a silly person if I were upset that he had been kind to send it down to the gate.

I got on the plane and slept much of the time. When I was awake it was all cute toddlers toddling down the aisle, sprite cans, and a girl sitting next to me reading what I can only assume was a book about Mylie Cyrus since it was literally covered with pictures of her and the girl was wearing a Hannah Montana shirt.

I got off in Phoenix and saw a dear old friend of mine from high school. I hadn’t seen Dave Mancini in about 7 years, though his wife (who is also a dear old friend from high school theatre) had sent me wedding photos. We sat with each other on the plane and talked in animated form about everything from what we’re doing now to silly movement classes we’ve taken (picture “Be the tree” and you’ve got the general idea). Yes, I completely ignored the attractive businessman in the seat next to me for my goofy old friend. I’m okay with that though.

I got off the plane, grabbed my luggage, and headed outside to be picked up by my mother, which is unusual since my father normaly picks me up. It took me a moment to realize that, being Good Friday for us Orthodox people, he was in the middle of a very long service. I got home, my mother made me food, I attacked my midgets (my little sisters, who are now 22 and 19, so not so little), and then ate my dinner. I then dashed away upstairs because, as much as I love my cousin, she will talk your ear off and I wanted sleep. I ducked back downstairs to give my Dad a hug when he came in and snuck away again.

Hair Donation Fail:
The next day we picked up Tash’s boyfriend from the airport and went to chop off all my hair for donation. My very long ponytail is now a short haircut that is longer in front and follows my jawline, and shorter in back. It’s got a bit of edge to it. I asked them to put the ponytail in a plastic bag and then in a paper bag. Apparently that’s not what happened. We walked across the street to the mall and about 7 stores and an hour in I realize that the bottom of my bag has given way and the ponytail is nowhere to be seen. We traced our steps back and I had to ask in every store “Have you seen my ponytail? I seem to have lost it.” and then explain that I donated it. All the salespeople were very amused, slightly baffled, and very polite. We never found the hair. Somewhere, out there, someone has found a ponytail and must have been completely freaked out by the fact that there was hair just lying around on the floor at a mall.

Pascha and Mr. Terry’s Death:
The Pascha service was lovely. The choir sang a little slowly but they were on key and there were some beautiful new voices amongst them. There were three priests giving Communion (my D, his assistant, and his friend who was a chaplain on a Navy ship), which meant that Communion went fast. I was surprised, there weren’t as many people there as I thought there would be. I was especially surprised to see that I didn’t see the Kalomas family at all. Alice was apparently cooking up a storm at home because their family was doing a separate Easter thing the next day. We then went home and I realized that I didn’t have tops that work for 95 degree days and that I would have to go back to a mall the next morning before the service at 12 noon.

Ksush and I got up and went to the mall for 10 a.m., only to find that the stores didn’t open until 11a.m. So, we ate breakfast, sat in the food court, and strategically planned the tops and dresses that I was going to try on at high speeds as soon as the store opened. Then we sat around and played I Spy for 40 minutes. When the stores opened we managed to get me 7 things (worth $234) for $130 in under an hour.

We got back in the car and rushed back home to find that we were very late to host these people at the picnic but that Mom didn’t leave because she had to tell us that a friend of our passed away 15 minutes after the service had ended the night before. Mr. Terry was 98 and a dear old man. He was godfather to my goddaughter’s sister. He looked after my midgets. He was a gentleman and one of the kindest peope you would ever meet. He had a very long life and while it is sad, it’s not the kind of sadness that comes when someone’s life is cut short, it’s the sadness of knowing that you are going to miss someone now that they are gone but knowing that they are in a better place. I’ll probably write a memorial piece after the funeral.

In the end, we had to go to the picnic, put on happy faces, and be the Priest’s Family. It rather goes with the job. It was a nice picnic but it was 95 degrees out and so the girls, myself, and Guillermo (Tash’s boyfriend) took to hiding out in D’s office in the air conditioning. We decided that we were going to go see the movie “17 Again”, which was surprizingly sweet, funny, and more original than I thought it would be. After that Tash and Mom took Guillermo home and Ksush and I went to the pool (which, for being heated was pretty bloody cold and would’ve felt great if the sun were still out).

Mr. Rhodes and Tash’s Birthday Celebration:
On Monday Ksush and I went out to Thai food with our former high school 10th grade English teacher. He is living most of the time in Michigan at the moment and was back in town. We talked about life and work and why I love teaching. We thanked him for all that he’s done for the family over the years. He’s a good man and I was glad to see him. He seemed happy and healthy and only slightly stressed over financials. (Former teachers don’t really have a ton of money stashed away but he has a beautiful home that he loves and seems to be doing well).

After lunch with Mr. Rhodes I took Tash out for her birthday (which I had missed). We went to see the movie Dragonball Evolution. This was another movie that surprised me. It felt a little bit like X-Men, but with a Japanese twist to it. While I don’t really like the anime, I did like the movie. For me, the animation style had always bothered me so much that I couldn’t get into the story. While there were a few mockable moments, the movie was good fun and pretty well done for the type of movie that it is. I enjoyed it. After the movie, we went to Red Robin, walked around RSM Lake, and then went to the park to talk. We had a good time and I think that spending time together, just the two of us, was a good thing.

Grades, Room Design, and Ren Faire Possibilties:
I was completely focused on grades and getting that done. It took me all day and a cup with chocolate chip ice-cream to get it done, but get my grading done on time I did. After Oksana got back I found that this guy has been attacking me on the Robin Hood game something like every half hour. I rather think he’s a jerk for it but he’s gained 22 levels in just under 5 days of playing so he’s clearly spending real people money on it and generally being obnoxious to people. Oksana and I have decided that we’re going to redesign the room that we share at home. We’re not sure on the colours but we both like the blues, greens, and back and white stuff. Later on we discovered that two of my friends are playing at the Ren Faire this coming weekend, and decided that we would ask about going on Saturday.

Track Meet Day:
So, the track meet went well. Ksush did a “personal good” (meaning, not the best but not the worst by any means). I got a picture of her looking like she started a sandstorm. I read a lot of my book that I’m reading at the moment and I got to talk to both Lindsay’s parents and my old teacher Mr. Costigan. Ms. Tilton is trying to convince me to move back here and teach 7th grade. I keep reminding her that I love my job and that even if I were to move back I hate teaching that age of student. They’re too clique-y. They’re mean to each other just because at that age. Mr. Costigan and I talked about history, weather, places to live, marriage, kids, my class, places to go, photography, etc. We talked for about 45 minutes. He has a son who is now a sophomore at SMCHS and is on the track team. We waited for our respective student-types to be done cleaning up from the meet and talking to coachs and then headed out at about the same time.

Mr. Terry’s Funeral:

Mr. Terry’s funeral was actually very nice. He was a veteran so his flag was draped over the coffin. It was during Bright Week, so there were flowers everywhere and we sang Christos Anesti a LOT. He didn’t look anything like himself in the coffin but I got the feeling that Tash wanted me to go first so I went up even though I’m inclined not to. There were a good number of people there for a man who lived a quiet exsistance the past 12 years or so. He was a man who was well loved and really loved others so while the funeral was on the small side, the 100 or so people who were there for the service really loved him.

After that we had the makaria and I think that went pretty well. My family sat with my goddaughter’s family. Sophia, his goddaughter, looked a little dazed. She’s really growing up into a beautiful young woman and sometimes I forget that she’s only a 10th grader. She and her sister, my goddaughter, look so much alike it’s amazing. They’re both beautiful and sweet, so I think that rather works out.

After the makaria, Ksush, D, and myself went up to LA for the burial. Mom and Tash had to leave because Tash had to take a test that afternoon. My heels sunk the full 4 inches into the cemetery ground. I had forgotten that the ground would be soft up there at Rose Hill and wore spike heels. They are my only black shoes though. The burial was nice but it was a little strange that we weren’t allowed to see him being interred. Another thing to put in the “only in California” file. He is buried beside his wife. Ksush had a bouquet of white roses to put on the casket. She gave me one of her roses and Marina had collected petals from the Reserrection for everyone to place on the casket. About 15 people came up to the burial site. It was mostly his family by birth and his family by choice, the people who really took care of him in his later years.

I sat in the back seat with Ksush on the way home and tried to make her laugh a bit since she had a friend coming over and she had to be ready to go into the prospective freshmen night. Her friend Katherine was really sweet. She seems like a nice girl and I’m glad that she’s going to go to NYU in the fall. Ksush said that the night went well, she showed off some of her paintings and came home.

I went out with D to see “Monsters vs. Aliens”. The movie was hysterical. The voice acting was awesome. It was just all-around fun. It was laugh-out-loud funny. After, we went to Red Robin and had dinner. All and all, if it was a strange and bittersweet sort of day but I think a good one in the end.

Lindsay Day:
Linds and I did our thing. We went to Tutto Fresco and then a movie. I pretended to look at the menu, she pretended to ask me about splitting the meal, and she coughed and choked on the rosemary in the bread. We got farfalle al pesto, a rootbeer and a coke. Then we went to see “Fast and Furious”. I thought that this one was better than the ones since the first, by far. It was just outright fun. I mean, yes, there were hot women, hot men, sleezy men, and hot cars. Yes, the basic formula was the same. Outlaw vs. FBI become friends, friends fight the real bad guys while destroying beautiful cars, FBI agent ends up helping the outlaw. I won’t tell the storyline really of any of the movies I watched this past week because I want people to go out and see them. Just know that it’s been a good movie week and that this one is well worth watching, just like the other 2.

After that, we went and hung out at her house. I was there until 11:30 before I headed home, hoping to allow my mother to get some sleep. She was already asleep when I got there so I suppose I could have stayed but I guess that it was a good thing that I got sleep since I went to RenFaire the next day.

Renaissance Pleasure Faire:
You’re going to have to read the next entry for this one. I have pictures and a LOT of funny stuff from this. It is waaaaaay too long to add to this entry.

Plane Back to RI, Car to MA:
So, my non-stop flight was decidedly not non-stop. Apparently, when Southwest says non-stop they mean that I stay on the plane and continue on with a different crew, different passengers, and different seats. We stopped in Denver and Chicago on our way to Providence. The first leg of the journey I sat with a Dad and his very cute little girl. I sat on an aisle. The second, next to a lady (I slept most of this leg of the trip so I have no real idea about them). I moved to a seat with some major leg room in the emergency exit row.

XXX <–this "X" is me.

The third, I stayed in my seat and a Bengali or Indian couple joined me. In front of me sat a woman who acted rather like a spoilt child. She was demanding and impatient. She was on Benadryl for what she thought might possibly be poison ivy. She had not gone to a doctor so she didn’t know for sure even though she had broken out into huge hives. She kept doing this frog thing with her tongue. Some of the time she seemed nice but I felt bad for her husband a bit. She was definately a strange lady. Every time I looked up from my book I kind of cringed as she did the frog thing again. It was just weird.

Chris came, picked me up, checked the mail, and went up to Boston. He’s apparently got a lot of stuff to get ready for his trip to Turkey and Greece. He leaves on Friday.

One Comment

  • Katie

    -I can\’t wait to see your new haircut, but I\’m sorry no one\’s going to get your hair!-Sorry to hear about Mr. Terry-\”Lindsay Day\”- there was a girl at the pool club named Lindsey Day, so my first thought was, \”Wait, how does Gimps know her?\”

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