Kitty is done with us

Olive the cat in the suitcase.
Every time I pack, this happens. Olive is done with our vacations.

We had a tiring but fun weekend. I’ve decided that a six-hour drive on Friday, followed by six-hours on Sunday to get home, is too much for me.

I don’t mind the long drives like we took to Santa Barbara in August. That’s because we stayed for awhile. My body had time to relax and recover.

We arrived in San Diego Friday with one hour to rest and get read for a 30-minute drive to the wedding venue. What saved us on the drive was listening to “The Rooster Bar” by John Grisham. It’s amazing how books on tape — or Audible — make the drives fly by.

I made the mistake of booking our hotel room in Santee, SC — instead of Santee, CA. Oops.

Who knew there was more than one Santee and they’d have hotels with the exact same name?

The highlight of our trip happened Saturday. We visited my husband’s aunt and uncle who live in Santee (hence the reason I booked a hotel there — or thought I did. Right town, wrong state.) His cousin surprised us and came too with her son from an hour away.

My husband’s uncle is 93 years old. The last time we saw him was August three years ago to celebrate his 90th birthday. Because of COVID and then moving we haven’t visited. I have to say he looks amazing. He’s full of energy. He drives, he shops, he cooks, he waits on his wife — my husband’s aunt. He makes the best Italian food I’ve ever eaten. Luciano (the uncle) came to the US from Italy when he was 30 years old after marrying my husband’s aunt. She met Luciano while she was the city planner of Rome.

After she graduated with a degree from Berkeley in the 1960s, she couldn’t get hired in the U.S. in her field because she was a woman. However, she did get hired in Italy, so she learned Italian and moved.

She’s a dynamo that I’ve always looked up to. Not only has she had an amazing career, she’s written and published at least 15 books. She’s a world traveler and had a series based on a travel agent/murder solver. If you’re interested, here’s a link to R. Ann Siracusa on Goodreads. My favorite book of hers is “Family Secrets: A Vengeance of Tears.”

If that’s not enough, she’s a grandmother who actively takes care of her grandchildren. And she quilts. She taught my daughter and I how to quilt.

Whew, I’m exhausted thinking about these inspiring relatives.

What relatives have motivated and inspired you? What’s your limit for drives on trips?

Magic at the Beach

Beach at Padaro Lane
Labor Day walk at the beach. We go early to beat the crowds.

Every single day we observe dolphins. At first, it was one or two. Then it became three and four. Now I walk a quarter mile with dolphins leaping, playing, cruising up and down the beach. I can’t imagine how many are in pods that stretch the length of my walk.

Every single day I try to get a video. They don’t do the dolphin magic justice. That is what they are to me. Magic. Or is it spiritual?

My husband was out catching waves with our son’s girlfriend. They both told me how they were out beyond the waves and a dolphin leaped out of the water right before their eyes. It’s mesmerizing.

I can spend hours starting at dolphins. I feel peaceful and in awe.

Here are four fun facts about dolphins from the Monterey Bay Aquarium followed by one fact from the Dolphin Project:

  • Bottlenose dolphins in Shark Bay, Australia learned to wear sponges over their beaks while foraging among sharp coral — the only known case of cetacean tool use.
  • As is true for all cetaceans, a dolphin’s nostrils have shifted to the top of its head, becoming a blowhole that permits easy breathing at the water’s surface.
  • A bottlenose dolphin contains three times more blood than a human by body weight, increasing the dolphin’s oxygen-storage capacity during dives.
  • When asleep, a dolphin keeps half of its brain awake in order to keep breathing.
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Dolphins have very large brains– their brain to body size ratio is second only to our own! They also exhibit sophisticated forms of communication, tool use, cooperative feeding methods, culture and social learning, and play.

https://www.dolphinproject.com/resources/about-dolphins/dolphin-facts/

I keep taking videos of dolphins with my phone. As soon as I stop the video one or two leap into the air. The best one was filmed on Labor Day.

A pod of dolphins near Santa Barbara.

What magical or inspirations sights have you seen lately?