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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

week 6: I Love California!

We spent the final night of our road trip in Pasadena at my cousin's house. This is one of the views from his terrace.He and his wife Susan are wonderful people and we love to see them when we can. They have a lovely home with a beautiful terrace and an adorable dog named Sam with whom we both managed a few cuddles. We are missing Tanner these days and the canine love we received from Sam was a welcome bonus! I am feeling sad that I didn't take a picture of the dog!The view of downtown L.A. from their terrace.

We found our way back to Palm Springs for our last days in paradise. The weather was up and down...a bit stormy, a bit windy (really blew on the day we played golf), mixed in with gorgeous sunshine and beautiful evenings. We ate steak, we took walks, we went swimming, we played cards with my parents, we watched the Olympics, we ate other things, we slept by the pool, we got tan. Bliss.
A few days before we were scheduled to leave I could feel the coming "funk" in my belly. I told Doug that I was struggling with my usual "hate to leave California funk" and he simply replied by saying, "I know." I said, "Is it that obvious?" To which he lovingly said, "Jodi, I've watched this happen every year for many years now. It's OK. It's hard for me to leave too."Usually when we leave California we are finished with our vacation and thus beginning the long journey into night that takes us back across the Atlantic to Stockholm. As our departure from California neared, I realized that we weren't actually leaving the States yet, but instead we still had a brief stopover in Chicago to look forward to as well as a wonderful stay with Doug's parents in Pensacola, Florida. The thought of lingering by the sugary white sands of Pensacola Beach for a few days perked up my mood. Even so, it's always hard to say good-bye to my folks, especially when health concerns continue to be present.
Sadly, our last week in California we also got news that one of Doug's sister's is quite ill as well. I am not wanting to discuss this in specific detail on the blog at this time, but your prayers for all involved are appreciated. It is hard news to receive and definitely reminded us again of how fragile life really is. My mom continues to feel good but tests are indicating that something is going on that may not be positive. The great news is that she is not symptomatic and so we celebrate how she feels not what numbers say. I am so thankful that she is so much more herself than in the years when she was so sick and that so much joy and thanksgiving has been ours to share with both her and my dad. My dad also has some lingering health concerns that he needs to deal with and so we are kind of in a wait and see mode. Doug's sister is awaiting deeper diagnosis and protocol for treatment. We become acutely aware of our position of living in Sweden during these times of uncertainty. But we thank God for the fruitfulness of this wonderful sabbatical and the time of joy and thanksgiving we've been given.
Our final day in Palm Springs was absolutely gorgeous...the kind of day that reminds me of why in the world I long to live there someday. We sat by the pool until 4.00, ran a couple of last errands and then finally won 3 games of cribbage in a row against my parents after enduring getting beat 8 times in a row! We didn't even the score but redeemed what otherwise would've been the ultimate humiliation. In the grand scheme of life, card game outcomes don't matter very much, but what I treasure about these games is how we laugh, rag, celebrate, gloat, prod, and enjoy one another's company whilst playing!
On the day of our departure, we went out for breakfast and I had delicious cinnamon french toast that took me through the day! It was mild and sunny at the airport. Check-in was a snap and a lovely glass of Pinot Grigio helped to ease the tug at my heart strings. I barely even shed tears this time around.
I love my life in Sweden and I love California. How in the world I came to know and love climates and places that are so out of whack from one another is a great mystery but I feel the richer for having experienced both. Until next time...I love you mom and dad...I love you California. I'll miss you both.