Sunday, September 11, 2011

I spent the last week in California to visit my mother. It was great to go back and see her, but I can't say I miss California any more. I tried all the restaurants that aren't in Virginia and that I miss. The food was great, but not as great as I had built it up in my mind. The traffic was crazy right from the get go. I got in around 11 AM on a Thursday and already all lanes (6?) were busy. Not packed and at a standstill like they would be later in the day, but still busy. There was concrete everywhere you looked and all night I could hear people talking and laughing outside the window. What a great relief to return to our beautiful green valley and the peace and quiet of our hilltop home.

I stayed with my friend Marcy in Laguna Niguel. She has hosted me so many times and won't take any money for it, so I try to do something nice for her each visit. This time she was working at the Orange International Food Fair in the city of Orange. It is a big event with around 450,000 people over the three days and she needed help. Instead she got me!

We demonstrated the hair clips that she sells and sold quite a few. Women are thrilled to find a non-plastic hair clip that is pretty, strong and easy, so that part was fun. You can check out her website at\marcy The non-fun parts involved the heat, the intense noise from the various bands, although they had a lot of good bands and the port-a-potties we were expected to use. Portable potties in the sun after 10 hours of people drinking beer? Oh, I think not. We took turns buying food we didn't have time to eat just to go into a restaurant and use their bathrooms! We met one lady who was with the Elks Lodge nearby and she kindly let us use their bathrooms. GO ELKS!

It seems their is an unspoken law of street vendors. They give a discount to other street vendors. So we were able to get some fabulous olive oils and balsamic vinegars at a nice price. When my bags went through security at John Wayne airport they must have been concerned with the amount of liquids I had in my suitcase as they opened them after X-rays! I got them home safe and they will make some nice meals for us. I will have to go back to the store in Irvine when I next visit my mother. The store is 41 Olive or They have a lot of wonderful oils and vinegars. I bought loved all I tasted and ended up with the Tuscan Herb Olive Oil and Persian Lime Olive Oil with the 18 year old Balsamic Vinegar. You can really taste the herbs and the lime and the vinegar is dark and sweet and wonderful. It was the centerpiece of my first dinner back and we may have more like this soon!

Mom is happy at the Villas and it was fun to see her again. One of the reasons I am quitting the library is to have more time to go see her. I don't know how many more years she will have and I want to see her as much as I can. I can't convince her to move here, so I have to step up the visits there.

I hope I can convince Marcy to visit here. I may have to find a festival of some sort to get her to come. I am not sure she will want or need my help, but I may go along just for the backstage look into the life of a street vendor!

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