C. is in Reception year. In England, this precedes Year 1, so in age group it's like Kindergarden in the U.S., but it's full day, not half, and like the last year of Maternelle in France. In content, though, it's more like 1st grade (U.S.) or CP (France). S. is in CP in France and both kids are learning to read. I've now had a chance to have each of them read to me and they are about at the same level of sounding out the words. I love it when they read to me. C. is starting gymnastics, continuing swimming, and has decided that she doesn't want to do the "Foundation" class in music but would rather go straight to the piano. That's a pretty full schedule for a 5-year-old.
A. is in Year 4. She hates doing homework and practicing her viola. I don't know that she actually hates doing those things as much as she hates starting. In the time she spends complaining and putting off the start, she could finish the task. Once she gets started, though, she's fine. She's given up the piano and switched from violin to viola. She prefers the deeper tone. She still does gymnastics and Brownies, so she has a pretty full schedule.
We returned home on the 4th, did a laundry, and Paul took me to the airport the next morning so I could catch my flights to Philly, via Dublin. One of the good things about flying via Dublin is that you go through U.S. Immigration and Customs in Dublin. As you get off the plane in Dublin to transfer to the U.S. leg, you are directed separately from passengers transferring to other destinations. You end up in the U.S. sector, in the passport check line. It's a long line, but shorter than what we normally go through at a U.S. airport. Once through that, there's the security check, as at any airport, and then straight to the gate for departure. I had just enough time to grab a sandwich and some water for lunch before we left. Good thing, too, since the food on Aer Lingus was less appealing than on other airlines I've been on recently. I binge-watched half a season of Fargo.
We were late leaving Dublin and late getting into Philly. I took a cab to the hotel, found my roommate, N., for the weekend, gabbed a bit with other reunion attendees in the lobby, but I was pretty tired. I went out to mail my absentee ballot and walk around the neighborhood -- Locust street, then a bit of Spruce St., up to Rittenhouse Square, to Sansom St. and back to the hotel. I was craving a corned beef sandwich, but couldn't find a deli. I did not go south to Panama St. to walk by the house. It was warm and muggy. By the time I got back, my friends had all disappeared and I simply went to bed. N. and I gabbed for a bit when she got in, later. I love sharing my room when I go to these reunions. This time, N. had flown in from Alaska and I had come in from France -- opposing jetlags. We were not really on the same sleep schedule!
The 50th reunion of Girls High class 212 was wonderful afternoon. Just us. No spouses. Several of the band/orchestra group were there and we managed to grab a table for serious catching up. There was lots of table hopping, finding old friends and discovering new ones. J. drove me home with her, so I got to see her husband, E. This was a nice chance for quiet talk. In the evening about 20 of us ventured up to Ambler to see Anita Wise, classmate and stand-up comedian. It was a good show -- a fun evening.
The very next morning, Sunday, I headed over to the Greyhound bus terminal for a 6-hour drive to Pittsburgh. I had hoped I'd catch signs of fall -- red and gold leaves on the trees. Nope. Although I was freezing on the bus, the outside temperature, when we stopped for a break on the turnpike, was in the 80s F° (almost 30°C)! Visible signs of lack water -- dried up ditches and ponds. We got into Pittsburgh exactly on schedule and J. and T. were there to meet me and take me to their house. We had a pleasant few days together, went out to eat, had sandwiches in (I got my corned beef sandwich!) and just caught up. I went to the gym with T. and lasted no more than 15 minutes before caving.
Wednesday, they took me to the airport and I got the first of my flights to San Diego via Chicago on Southwest. Having just barely gotten on schedule on the east coast, I was back in jetlag mode on the west coast. I slept. I got an early shuttle back to the airport the next morning to pick up the car I had reserved. First of all, the off-site car rental garage is really far away. Yes, there are shuttles to go there and you don't have to wait too long for one, but the ride there is long. I went to the Avis counter and got all the way to handing over my card, when the guy said that they couldn't take a debit card. I immediately went outside, loaded my phone with Uber and Lyft, and got a Lyft to visit T&B. I then worked out, mentally, how much it would cost to Lyft for the rest of the stay and it came to less than the car rental would have been even before factoring in parking and gas costs.
T&B are in an elegant independent living residence that has multiple levels of care for when more assistance or convalescence is needed. They have an enormous apartment with two bedrooms and two bathrooms, a big kitchen area, good-sized living room and dining area and even a separate office area. The residence has an art studio, mail room, several dining rooms from small lunch to full meals to fine dining, a movie theater, a pool, a gym, a library, and other activity rooms. All very upscale. We had lunch at the snack/light-lunch room. Then, they had to go off to an appointment and I went back to the hotel and spent some time relaxing by the pool.
|Plane landing -- on my walk to the Midway|
|Navy ship being guided to port -- on my walk to the Midway|
The Midway is well worth visiting. It's not the first time I've visited an aircraft carrier and they are all, basically, the same, but here, the docents actually served on the ship and they give wonderful talks, explaining the procedures for taking off, landing, and more. They have their personal anecdotes. I did not go up to visit the "island", the control tower. I did not feel up to taking the steep stairs. I was feeling a bit wobbly from the long walk.
After the visit, I went to the tourist office to ask about buses and discovered that seniors get a nice discount in San Diego, so I got change to have $1.10 in exact change and crossed the street to sit for a while and wait for the bus that took me back to the supermarket at Nimitz and Rosecrans, where I got some fruit and another sandwich. After walking back to the hotel, I took a well-deserved nap. The second friend and I rescheduled our meeting for the next morning, breakfast.
|My Local Bag, with a French touch! With knitting in it.|
After breakfast, T. and R. picked me up to take me back for family lunch with T&B. This time, we had lunch in the main dining room. Again, it was good to catch up.
Sunday morning, I had to catch a 7:20 flight to Dallas before the last leg to Philly. The early flight time was one of the reasons I had chosen the hotel. They have a shuttle. What you don't see until you read the fine print is that the shuttle service doesn't start until 7. I needed to get to the airport much earlier than that, so I got a Lyft. It's a good thing I had read the fine print before. Not having to return the car to that far-away car-rental center was an added advantage to Lyft.
Sunday evening, I stayed near the Philadelphia airport and E. and M. came to have dinner with me in the bar of the hotel. In movies, the bar area always seems a very muted, quiet area. Not so in Philly when they have football playing on the big screen. It was horribly loud. Conversation was difficult as we almost had to shout, but once again, we were able to catch up.
|The first start -- before it went haywire|