Glenda, Alice and I try to get together at least once a year and lately we’ve been getting out of town for that visit. We’ve gone to San Francisco, Las Vegas and taken road trips to Oregon and Washington. This year Alice decided we needed a name. She came up with G.A.D. About, from our first names, Glenda, Alice and Donna.

So we planned our annual sojourn and decided on San Diego. Glenda and I drove over together and Alice flew down from Portland. We rented a vacation apartment in La Jolla, just a short two block walk from the beach, with many little shops and restaurants along the way. The apartment had one bedroom and a futon fold out bed in the living room. We had a small kitchen where we could prepare breakfast each day (and coffee – yes, I did take my Keurig with me!) and we even made one dinner.

Sitting outside our apartment

Glenda and Alice preparing a meal in the apartment kitchenette

(I was on cleanup duty)

Jackie Booth, our landlord

On day one, we went to a Farmer’s Market in the morning to pick up some fresh produce, and then went over to Balboa Park in the afternoon. We heard the Spreckles organ play (it’s the largest outdoor organ in the world, with over 4500 pipes), walked through the botanical gardens and rode the tram around the park. It was a very warm day, and we were pretty melted by mid afternoon, so we headed back to La Jolla, where we walked down the street to an Italian restaurant for dinner. On Day two, we visited the Birch Aquarium in the morning and then drove over to Coronado Island where we love to walk around. We went down to the beach and put our feet in the ocean for a bit, walked through the beautiful hotel, and then checked out some of the shops.

The Farmer’s Market

Lots of shiny things to buy

The Spreckles Organ Pavilion

Wading in the ocean

On Tuesday (day three), we went to see the Memorial Cross on Mt. Soledad where we tried some Geocaching with no luck at all. After that, we drove up to Newport Beach and then on to Irvine. Alice has worked for FPM (Financial Planning Ministries) for several years since her retirement from the church, and the main offices are there. Her boss Mike took us out for dinner to a great Mexican restaurant. On Wednesday, we were lazy, just doing a little shopping before driving up to Carlsbad to have dinner with a former co-worker of mine. They have a lovely home in the hills adjacent to Legoland and treated us to a delicious dinner of grilled pork tenderloin and salad with cheesecake for dessert.

Glenda and me at the Soledad Cross

Alice and me

Thursday was forecast to be a bit cooler, so we got ready early and were at the gate of Sea World at 8:45. They opened at 9:00, and we planned to take in as many shows as we could before noon. After we picked up a schedule, we found none of the shows started until 11:00, so we checked out several exhibits before seeing the dolphins, sea lions, pet antics and Shamu show. We were sweltering in the high 80° temps (with high humidity and very little shade) and headed home at 2:30 without riding a single ride. Later, we ate at a sushi restaurant in the village and went to bed early.

The Sea World dolphins

Shamu, Shamu, and Shamu

Friday was our last day, and we went to see The Odd Life of Timothy Green, and then to Seaport Village to wander around for a while and listen to the music.  We ate our last dinner together at another Italian bistro near our apartment and sat and talked the rest of the evening. Glenda and I dropped Alice at the airport just before noon on Saturday and we headed back across the hot desert. We could tell there had been some rain in the Valley while we were gone, and everything looked fresh. However, I did miss my little doggie, Hope, welcoming me home. I still feel her absence.

It was a great week with a relaxed schedule, cooler weather, plenty to see and do, but mostly just spending special time with my wonderful BFFs.



July 30, 1999 – August 4, 2012

Rest in peace, sweet girl.

Hope was a gift to me. When Hollie lost her last litter  and could never give me another puppy, Carrie and Brian rounded up donations and surprised me with six week old Hope. She came to provide companionship to Hollie, who was alone at the house all day while I was working. She had a different temperament than Hollie, who was affectionate, but a bit higher strung. Hope was mellow and friendly to everyone. Unlike Hollie, she never so much as curled her lip at a child, even if she was being poked or pulled or sat on.  She was a real sweetheart.

She developed a lipoma – a large fatty tumor – on her hind leg. When we discovered it, it seemed like too extensive a surgery for an old dog to undergo, so I opted not to treat it. I thought she would be gone in six or eight weeks. She lived four more years. But the last month she had gone downhill quickly. She had no quality of life anymore, and I knew it was time to let her go. Daryl and Derek went to the vet with me on Saturday afternoon and we were with her as she was put to sleep. We all wept as she slipped away.

I sure miss her. I have lost several pets in my life, but this one is especially hard. Always before, whenever I lost one, I still had another one at home. This time, I’m alone. No one to greet in the morning. No one to say “Hi, girly girl” to when I get home from work. No one to feed at bedtime. No one to put up the gate for. No one to announce a knock at the door, or joggers on the canal behind the house. No one to give me that sweet look that says “You are my whole world.” I find myself continually looking for her. I’m leaving this weekend for a week in San Diego, and I’m hoping by the time I come home, the house will seem more normal. But right now, I really miss her.

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