Well, one holiday down and one to go. Then it's smooth sailing until tax paying day, not that tax paying day is a holiday but it's way more stressful than any holiday possibly could be.
We drove (and drove and drove) down to Ventura on Thanksgiving for dinner with Keith's brother Bruce, his wife Carolyn (who likes to cook and is really good at it), their big tall teenage sons Jesse and Asa ( I don't know how they got so tall since Carolyn is really really short and Bruce isn't all that tall either), Keith's mom Cleta (yes, she is from Oklahoma and has a sister named Jorene, those Oklahoman's like unusual names) Keith's daughter Katie, and her boyfriend John. It's a long drive to Ventura and it's really boring for the first hour or so, a very straight road through farmland from Bakersfield to Grapevine, then up, up, up the Interstate and lots of barren hills and mountains with not much to look at but barren hills and mountains, then down, down, down into Castaic, and a right turn onto the 126 and at least that road isn't quite as boring because there is green stuff to look at and a couple of towns to go through and then you are in Ventura.
We ate the traditional turkey, no potatoes and stuffing for me, but I did have a little sweet potatoes (with marshmallows) and some really good fresh green beans with almonds and some kind of seasonings on them, and a salad with sliced pears and walnuts and a pomegranate vinaigrette dressing on it that was homemade and really delicious except for the bleu cheese sprinkled in the salad (gag). Then two kinds of pie, pecan and pumpkin cream cheese with an oatmeal cruncy topping on the pumpkin and yes, I had a piece of the pumpkin pie and it was pretty darn tasty. Then after eating and visiting we stopped by the ocean to say hello and we miss you and the sun was going down so we drove home in the dark which is even more boring than looking at barren hills and mountains.
Then on Friday Keith wakes up with a sore throat which quickly develops into a full blown cold, something about being the fresh air in Ventura and then going back to the not so fresh air in Bakersfield seems to always make him sick. So he kind of laid around all day Friday and Saturday, and then yesterday we got in the car for another road trip down to Castaic to John's house for another sort of Thanksgiving dinner. Meghan and Ryan (niece and niece's boyfriend) were down for the week from South Lake Tahoe (what a lovely place to live!) so she wanted to get a chance to see everyone that she hasn't seen for quite a while. So we had all the family that we didn't see on Thanksgiving all together for second Thanksgiving, and had a traditional meal of tri-tip, baked beans, salads, and brownies, cupcakes and lemon cake for dessert.
We were a little nervous about going over the hills, the forecast had been for 70% chance of rain in the valley, meaning snow on the mountains, and as we were driving towards the mountains the flashing road condition sign was warning of icy roads, but even though the clouds were dark and threatening as we headed through the mountains, no rain or snow and by the time we got to the other side, the sun was shining and later when I checked the weather report on the internet, the chance of rain was down to 0%, so no worries on the way back home.
But, when they tell you that Thanksgiving weekend is the busiest travel weekend of the year BELIEVE WHAT THEY SAY! The interstate was bumper to bumper going through Castaic and up the hill and stayed bumper to bumper crawling along until we got past the part of the road where it goes down to three lanes because of the never ending construction there after the road fell down the hill years ago during heavy rains and hasn't it been at least 10 years now since the road fell down and they're still not finished yet? Anyway, once past the part where the road narrows, all the cars spread out and no more problems. Lots and lots and lots of cars on the road, though, and by the time we got to the other side of the mountain it was getting dark and you could see the ribbon of headlights stretching for miles and miles on the interstate and hwy 99.
So, one holiday over with for another year and Keith says we are staying home next Thanksgiving. Will I cook dinner? Um, no, we will go to a restaurant for our Thanksgiving dinner, thank you very much. Although I think he is losing part of his mind because he was talking about having a Thanksgiving dinner for our cats. With little pilgrim hats and Indian headbands for them to wear. And little tables for them to sit at. Seriously. Maybe it was the copious amounts of cold medicines talking, though.