So we took another road trip. Jon had some responsibilities at work that took him away for a bit, and with the general sadness of July 24, I thought it would be good to give the kids a change of scenery. We decided to double-team the map, and hit two of our favorite families, both of whom live in Ohio.
First stop: Auntie Heather’s house. A few years ago, Auntie Heather met and married a superbly delightful man and relocated from San Francisco to a charming little town in Ohio. Life is weird, and the older I get, the more it seems the things bringing us the greatest happiness are the things we never imaged or expected. So young’uns? Be okay with your best laid plans being cast to the four winds once in a while. You never know… you could end up in Ohio with three gorgeous children, renovating a historic old house in your spare time, while you run a local food co-op, manage the farmer’s market, and lobby the city counsel. You can take the girl out of San Francisco…
It didn’t work out for us to see my dearest Crazy Chicken Annie, but sometimes life is that way, too.
There is a unique joy in seeing your kids take to and love the kids of your own dear family members. Cousins are special, and neither time nor distance changes that bond. Heather’s youngest son took to Bean, and it was charming watching them interact and be kind and sweet to each other. Her oldest daughter and Abby basically disappeared into the attic of the house and didn’t re-emerge until it was time to eat. I wish we’d had more time.
Second Stop: Karen’s House.
Karen is my kids’ godmother, if we had a way of formalizing such a thing without converting to Catholicism (though Francis makes that tempting, I admit). A year ago she moved from near us in DC to Ohio, a fact which all the kids have been lamenting and wailing over ever since. The truth is, it’s really not that far a drive, and we’ve done it a couple of times- it’s easy to forget with these tiny eastern states that driving through West Virginia gets one to Ohio. Same time zone even.
Karen is a professor, and is deeply involved in legal education and rule of law reform. The kids got to spend some time at her college, where Jeffrey loved the trial room and immediately assumed the seat of the judge. Abby may or may not have shoved him off the bench and taken his seat.
Bean got sick, and spent the majority of the rest of the week feeling like crap, while I got a substantial lesson in how to make oxtail phò. It was easily the best phò I’ve ever had- use oxtail, folks- the collagen gives the broth the most unctuous and delicious texture ever! Just be careful when you buy your ox tail- take it from squeamish me, make sure it’s already cut when you get it from the asian market. It was almost traumatizing. Almost.
So we put 1500 miles on the car in two weeks. Picked up a rock somewhere in Pennsylvania and have to have the windshield replaced, but are otherwise enriched and happy- and there truly is no place like home.
Oh, and I got a craving for La Bamba burritos. So I made some.
Odds on how long 16 burritos will last in my house? By the way, if you’re ever in Mountain View, CA- head to this place. Get the carnitas super burrito. You’ll understand.