When I was kid, many of our birthday parties were bowling parties at Skytop Lanes, the local bowling alley in town. I still love bowling. I’m terrible at it…really terrible…but there is something about bowling that takes me back to being a kid. I even like wearing the bowling shoes.The sights and sounds—the thunder of the balls as they roll down the alley, the crash of the pins, even the sound of a sad gutter ball —make me smile. My brother, who lives in Connecticut a few hours away from our hometown, heard that Skytop Lanes is closing down, after fifty years in business. Since I was in town for Easter we decided to make a pilgrimage home for a last game. We had a blast! The place had not changed really one bit since we were kids. Kids were there having their birthday parties. Families were bowling up a storm. My brother and Evan outplayed me for sure. Quite a few of my turns were gutter balls but I managed to get my groove back a two games in and even bowled a strike!Otto isn’t quite big enough—he barely outweighs some of the balls but still, he made a great cheering section. It was a really fun afternoon!
Two of my new year’s resolutions this year were to be more spontaneous and to explore more of my adopted home state of California. Death Valley is one of the hottest and driest places in the US. This year, with the combination of rainstorms in the fall and warm winter weather, this normally barren place is alive with color. Seeds that have been dormant are sprouting and painting the landscape in shades of yellow, white and purple. A “superbloom” like this is rare–once in a decade. I’ve never been to Death Valley but had been thinking about wanting to get out to see the wildflowers, since this year, with the rains, they are bound to be spectacular. So, when I read about the “Death Valley Superbloom” a few weeks ago, I immediately thought, “Let’s go!” I feel very lucky to have friends willing to take up the call and head off for the weekend. Thanks Willy, Judy, and Sophia! Our “roadtrip” turned out to be a bit circuitous because, as it turns out, when thousands of tourists decide to make the pilgrimage to Death Valley, hotel vacancies become very scarce in rural Nevada. Not to be daunted, we decide to stay in Vegas and drive from there. Vegas itself was an adventure, having never been. All in all, it was a fantastic weekend and just what I needed. The last few weeks have been tough. I’ve been both very busy at work and also feeling really anxious and sad about being in adoption “waiting limbo” and as a result, it’s just been hard to get out of my head. This roadtrip did a lot to restore some balance. Just seeing this amazing scenery, having fun with my friends and living in the moment has been a great respite and chance to escape even if just for a weekend.
Rain, rain and more rain
In a perfect storm kind of situation, the long-awaited El Niño storms finally arrived this weekend and it was pouring buckets all weekend. And Season 4 of House of Cards just came out on Netflix. So, what’s a girl to do? Yes, I spent most of the weekend on the couch binge watching Frank and Claire Underwood and their latest scheming. I originally thought I might not watch this time, given that the current election year is already more than enough real live political drama for me. The thought of watching more political craziness on the screen seemed not appealing. Plus, once you get started on one episode, there goes the weekend. But, then the rains came down and the temptation was too great. Plus all my friends seemed to be hunkered down at home watching. So, I caved. So glad I did. Great season! Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright are both devilishly awesome. Can’t wait for season 5!