Posted by: GeekHiker | January 7, 2010

Brief Holiday Rundown

Just a quick rundown of the holidays, for posterity’s sake.  The holidays were pretty mellow, so don’t expect a lot of excitement here.  Then again, a mellow holiday is probably exactly what I needed.

* * *

After the exceptionally clear flight up to Northern California, the remainder of the day was very busy.  After picking me up, The Parentage and I had lunch, then went to a meeting, then headed through accident-laden traffic to see my Grandmother.  You may recall that she is the one who developed delusional disorder (similar to dementia) last year.

In the year since I’d last been up north, the doctors have been tweaking her medication, and I do have say that this visit was remarkably different from the previous one.  Unlike last time, she wasn’t having discussions with people no longer alive or staring vacantly off into space.

New this time was the limited number of subject matters.  Basically, there were about five subjects, and we just kept revisiting them over-and-over the 90 minutes that we were there.  Still, it was definitely much more of a conversation than last year, which was nice.

(My Parents also seemed quite proud of the fact that I had brought a Christmas card for her with me and that, of her three grandchildren, I’m the only one who has come to visit her in the past two years.  Maybe typing that means that I’m bragging a little but, screw it, it’s nice to be the good grandchild.  And, in truth, NOT going to see her wasn’t even an option in my mind.  She’s family and, seriously, my short visit made her unbelievably happy.)

After another meal out (where I failed to find the good French Dip Sandwich I have, for whatever reason, been craving of late), we headed to the house and promptly collapsed.

* * *

Christmas Eve we decided to make a little field trip, and headed downtown to see the California State Capitol.  It’s a typical field trip for kids growing up in the Sacramento area, along with Sutter’s Fort and the California State Railroad Museum, but somehow none of my school classes ever went there.  Somehow, though, we did make it to the Wonder Bread factory twice.  Go figure.

Sac 09 01
Exterior of the Capitol

The building, completed in 1874 and expanded since then, is quite beautiful, both in the classical artwork outside and domed interior.  Two hallways are dedicated to the 58 California counties, with each county given its own window display to decorate.  I always find these sorts of things interesting, mainly because the smaller counties always seem to put a lot of thought and effort into their displays, but the larger counties don’t do much (apparently feeling that they don’t have to).  L.A. County’s display was little more than some pictures, a listing of county facts, and a T.V. display that wasn’t working.

Sac 09 02
Entrance to the Governor’s (or Governator, if you prefer 😉 ) Office

Capitol Dome Photomerge
Looking up into the Capitol Dome

Sac 09 03
Carved bear’s head on one of the banisters

Anyway, we toured the mostly-empty building as much as we could before they shooed us out for the early holiday closing.  After the building was closed up, we walked through Capitol Park, a large park with trees and plants from all over the world.

* * *

Christmas was a simple affair.  The Parentage and I didn’t trade much in the way of gifts, as we already have most of what we need.  The gift opening was followed by a tasty dinner of turkey, stuffing, etc.

We spent the evening playing games and watching movies.  This would be a pattern repeated over the next few days.  In fact, we would ultimately watch the entire Bourne Identity trilogy over three days, which seems to be becoming something of an odd family tradition we’ve done for the last couple of years.

Of course, since “The Bourne Identity” is set during the holidays (note the Christmas decorations in the American Embassy lobby), I guess that makes it a holiday film, in a slightly demented, incredibly violent, and ultimately pretty damn cool way.

* * *

The next three days were kind of the same: general hanging out, playing games, watching movies.  Not terribly exciting blogging material, I suppose.

We did go for a hike one day, in the Sierra Foothills at Hidden Falls Regional Park.  It was a cool, slightly overcast day.  The Parentage and I hiked together for a little while, then separated for a bit as I headed off on some more difficult trail mileage before meeting them back at the car.

No trail write up, as I lacked a good trail map and my GPS, but I do have a couple of pictures.  You didn’t really think I’d go without a camera, did you?

Hidden Falls RP Photomerge
Heading up the trail at Hidden Falls Regional Park

Sac 09 05
Descending on the other side of the ridge

Sac 09 04
Holly(?) berries growing in the park

Sac 09 06
Hidden Falls

* * *

The remainder of the holiday season isn’t terribly exciting blogging material either, I’m afraid.

After flying back home (cloudy/foggy; no view until we passed over the San Andreas Fault in central California (yet another geological feature I can pick out easily from the air; geek-high-five!)), I went back to work for a couple of days.  New Year’s was a low key event at a friend-of-a-friend’s house, which involved very tasty deserts and watching the “South Park” marathon.  The remainder of the weekend was spent at various lunches with friends, general relaxation, and helping a friend get a bumper for his car at the junkyard.

I do have to admit: that last part was pretty fun.  When you sit behind a desk all day, typing on a keyboard, getting out with real tools and working on a real car is a nice change of pace.  It feels like, you know, real work, MAN’S work, and all that.  But you know what they say: the grass is always greener.

I capped it all with, surprisingly enough, a bike ride rather than a hike.  I was torn between the two, but not wanting to get caught in the holiday traffic returning to town Sunday, I elected to make the shorter drive down to the beach and hit the bike trail.  It was one of those rare L.A. days: warm, with clear air where one could see the snow-capped mountains, the distant Malibu shore, and Santa Catalina Island out in the Pacific.

It was a pretty good way to end a low-key holiday.

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Responses

  1. I visited the building in 2000. The only thing I remembered is that Sacremento is brutally HOT in summer!!!

    One of my friends has the “holiday tradition” of watching Bond movies. Bourne for you? Way cooler (I think)!

    Junk Yard trip sounds like highlight of the weekend! 🙂

    I am jealous to death — rainy/gray whole day after I got back. No bike riding for me till… oh, June? Aarrgghh!!!

  2. i think low-key quiet holidays are nice. i’m glad you enjoyed yourself and got to see the family. great photos, especially from the park. one question – why did your school do trips to the wonder bread factory?

  3. Sometimes low key is the key to fond memories. Sounds like you had a nice family holiday.

    Ahh, the picture of the dome from straight below. That’s one of those mandatory pictures. I’ve got several in my collection.

    So, did wonder bread sponsor your school?

  4. You guys are the only part of the country that hasn’t been hit by this torrential snow covered laden winter. Makes me jealous.

    Bears….that’s all California seems to be…hehe, bears, mountain lions, brush, and geekhiker. 🙂 I like it already.

  5. Are you still craving the french dip sandwich? Please tell me you’ve been to Philippe’s in downtown LA. If not, go there immediately to indulge your craving. You won’t be disappointed.

    You make me want to go to the state capitol. I sort of can’t believe that in 33 years, I’ve never been to Sacramento. Crazy.

    Sounds like you had a nice holiday. Good for you for being the best grandchild!

  6. My folks and I watched ‘Lake Placid’ one Christmas Eve. Win!

    As for junkyards: F*ck yeah! I scavenged various VW Bug parts from junkyard on the outskirts of Albuquerque; the attendant said simply to get out by x o’clock, because at that time they let the dogs loose.

    And no, he wasn’t kidding.

    Nothing like a fear of mauling to get customers out by closing time!

  7. This sounds like a wonderful holiday. Movies, games, hiking (you go hiking with your parents? That rocks!), and food. I am shocked that the trip to The Capitol wasn’t packed but glad that you got a non-crowded day to tour. Great photos of the dome!

  8. I am a big fan of all the bears.

    Sounds like all in all, a good holiday! 🙂

  9. K – You went before I did? LOL So, no one in Portland rides bikes in the rain?

    BlakSpring – I dunno. All I really remember is the mini loves of sliced bread we got at the end.

    Homer-Dog – Yeah, well, uhhhh… at least my dome pic was a photomerge! LOL

    CripKitty – I know, and we in California aren’t complaining.

    MelHeth – I have been there. It’s a good sandwich; my only complaint is that they pre-dip, where as I prefer to have the au jus and dip myself.

    AbsurdBeats – Heh, next time bring a very large steak…

    Dingo – Well, it was the day before Christmas, so I have the feeling a lot of people took the day off. Sort of like I did, come to think of it!

    MissMcCracken – It was indeed!


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