Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Extra, Extra: Life Abounds!

Headlines from our 12-day Southern California odyssey,
on the eve of our departure to Mexico City:

Protector

Attacked By A Hawk! On a hike in Canejo Valley, I felt and heard the swift rush of big wings and looked up to see a hawk just a few feet above my head.  I encountered two other hikers who told me that hawk had actually touched their heads with beak or claw.  She must have been protecting her nest.  Good mama. ... "Canejo" means rabbit in Spanish.  On the hike, I also encountered a couple of adorable bunnies with dark bodies and white cottontails.  This hike is walking distance from our friends' lovely suburban neighborhood.  I like how there's nature available almost everywhere you turn in California.

Disco Party Takes Over the Garage. There's nothing like a dad--our friend, Paul--who installs disco balls in the garage and cranks up the tunes.  We boogied with the parents and three boys under age 7 beneath the glittering lights.  And we still had enough energy the next day to go to a sports park to play soccer, frisbee, and baseball!  I enjoy the way these friends make life so fun and rich for their very active boys. Each stop on this trip has been a journey into the different lifestyles of our friends--a reminder that there are so many ways to do this living thing.


Exhilaration!

Father Lives On Through the Love of Family and Friends.  It was an honor to attend a friend's father's memorial service.  What a moving communal experience--and a reminder that these rituals of music, pictures, stories, food and communion help mark the cycles of life.  My favorite moment was when the 11-year-old grandson spoke, telling us the five things he loved most about his grandfather.  One of them was that he came to the grandson's baseball game even though he was in a wheelchair.

Boys on the boat.

Boat Party Rocks Marina del Rey!  And now for something completely different:  There's nothing like spending time with super fun friends who have a boat called "Chillaxin'"!  The minute you step on board, you feel yourself exhale.  Laughter rolls through the day as naturally as the waves lap the shore.  Being on a boat with friends is love and freedom rolled into one.

The effects of Chillaxin'.

Woman Cavorts on Stage Two Nights in a Row!  Our next stop was North County San Diego where we hung out with friends and family.   At the Del Mar Fair--after riding intense rides with the fearless 9-year-old daughter of our friends, and eating  turkey legs as big as our heads-- we went to hear Cathouse Thursday play on the fairgrounds, a band whose members are friends of my sister. 

Only one hand required.
It's a blast to experience music in a community setting where all ages boogie together.  There was an especially lovely Mexican family dancing, including a young boy in a wheelchair who grinned as he was being jiggled to the music.  Suddenly I heard the lead singer say, "Would the woman in the silver hat please join us on stage?"  I was wearing a sparkly hat and pink sunglasses that I'd just purchased at a booth.  I guess I projected the aura of a fun person who would jump on stage.  So I did--and was handed a tambourine, which I shook as I danced to "My Baby Does the Hanky Panky." 

Tony was a hit with his sparkly party shirt.
The next night we went to a wonderful party at the 50 Friends Vineyard where the same band was playing.  Once again, I was one of several invited on stage to take the party to the next level!  50 Friends is a wonderful endeavor, a kind of co-op winery-in-progress.  My sister is one of the 50.  What magic, with the sun setting, white twinkling lights twining around, grapes growing on the vine, food layed out, and of course, music.  It's so clear that in communal events, the whole is bigger than the sum of its individual parts.

North County San Diego Individuals Charged with Abundance.  When I'm immersed in someone else's world, I enjoy exploring all aspects of it. I realize I can sit in their houses and appreciate what's around me without thinking about what needs to be cleaned or fixed or done as I might in my own environment. Another joy is experiencing others' rituals. For instance, in Encinitas, we went to the SRF service with our friends. There's a Sunday school for kids, in which they are taught to meditate. The adult service also starts with a meditation, which I found centering and calming. The speaker of the day talked primarily about positive thinking being the key to abundance; and that abundance and success are rooted in happiness. Now that's a message I can get behind.

Fresh cream on top.

Afterward, we experienced culinary abundance at Solace & the Moonlight Lounge, a bar and restaurant in Encinitas with the most incredible carmel pecan cinnamon roll.  I also had an amazing warm spinach salad--so fresh and rich.  Our friend Shannon swears their salty dog is the best in the west.  The next day a group of us gathered at Shannon and Tony's house for a BBQ replete with fresh summer foods, wine, and stories.  This Southern California adventure has helped me feel to the core how fortunate I am to have so many fabulous friends in my world.  As Cat Stevens once said, "Communal well-being is central to human life."


Abundance of food and love in Solana Beach.



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