Happiness is an old friend … and a little guy named Iggy

3 11 2007

Heather will probably murder me for calling her an ‘old’ friend … but I could go off on the semantics tangent, but to quote her I’d have to say “Get over it!”

I flew in to Oakland, California yesterday for my first walking of the San Francisco US Half Marathon (www.ushalf.com).  I’m a little nervous for a handful of reasons:

1. I did a competitive to me 1/2 only a couple of weeks ago.
2. I’ve not really been able to get my training up to par.
3. The hills.
4. I’ve got a lot of things I’ve got to get done in Denver.

So – again, I flew in yesterday on Southwest.  The gig with Southwest is you get a pass for A, B, or C to board … there are no seat assignments and unlike my liking to start out in the back of the race and move up … you want to get confirmed early so you can get an A boarding assignment.  That makes zip sense … let me try again. 

I have had next to no sleep all week.  Just trying to get things done.  Gina dropped me off at DIA early so I could get my bag checked.  I wandered to the Southwest counter … with those horrible video clips from Airplane – a show of nightmare airline travellers on A&E – floating about in my head.  The gal gave me my new frequent flier number and checked my reservation.  “You’re a B”. 

Hu? 

Well … I’m feeling guilty enough about not keeping up with my work, but this just kind of hit hard!  It was then she explained the plane is boarded A, B, C first come first serve.  When they were calling the flight, this really irritating older guy and his wife dove to the front of the A line.  Fine … as far from me as possible, thanks!  I was 10 people deep in the B line thinking “Ok – this is not going to happen again” as we went down the gangway. 

The nice thing about travelling solo is that you can sit just about anywhere.  You’re not concerned about being ‘near’ someone or anything.  I got on and the center seat in row 1 was open.  Dove on it!

On either side of me, I had professional women about my age and I figured I’d be able to get my reading done?  Um … nope on the last two accounts.  It appeared that I had two really fun gals on either side of me who had just met in line.  They were protecting each other from having to sit too far back in the plane … or near the child with the piercing scream.  I lucked out just being a solo.  When I’m a smidge over 50, I want to not only look like these gals but have their amazing attitudes!  I don’t think I’d had such a relaxing fun time in a long time!  It turns out the three of us are flying back together and are each to bring a snack to share.  I’m bringing Newmans’ Cookies …

The Sonoma Express Airporter is expensive.  There is no two ways about it.  Almost $30 to get from Oakland to San Rafael, but it’s the only way to do it unless you’ve got someone to pick you up.  Kind of reminds me of DIA in the respect that it’s a long trip!

Mom picked me up in San Rafael and we toodled out to Heather’s.  Her dogs … You know … I love these goofy doofy doggies!  Yo-Yo, Freckles and Venus … and Charlie the Cat.  More hair than you can swipe at with a high powered Dyson, but they’re love in fur suits!  Yo-Yo, Freck and I spent a lot of time outside.  I was choking down some reading and the dogs were babysitting me.  Heather called and asked about Venus … oopse!  I was really tired when I got to her house and Venus is new to me!  I invited Miss Vi-Vi out to play and all was well.

Sometimes when you’ve been friends with someone a long time, but have had a lot of long gaps in there there is a bit of an awkwardness.  That’s never been the case with Heather and me. Quite honestly, I don’t think there’s the time for it!  We’ve got to catch up while moving forward in the present … it just happens and I can’t explain it.  The nice thing about it is that she’s comfortable with me just floating around in her house and such.  Essentially, we’re a kind of sisters after this much time … It’s one of those compatibility things and trust.  I just kind of go into ‘float’ mode — I have x and y that I’ve got to do … other than that, it’s float.  Trust.

Before we ordered something for dinner, Yo-Yo walked us the mile through some densely apartmented neighborhoods to her Mom’s apartment.  Tara, one of Heathers’ younger sisters, was in town from Ireland with her son Iggy.  Heather has kept me posted on her sisters because she’s proud of them and because she also knows that I’d kind of adopted them in my mind because it’s a family thing …

 I kind of adopted Heather’s family a long time ago … and it’s been no problem since … heck … if I’m around, I can grab things off the top shelf without too much effort (smile).  The thing I love about them is that we all just laugh!  There are various personalities, but they are really very real people … and it’s like a breath of fresh air in a lot of respects.

So – we got to Terry’s house and there was ‘little’ Tara … what a kick and a half!  She’s all grown up, with a cute little boy and after 10 years in Ireland … well … I’m used to accents in Heather’s gang!  Nothing pretentious about her, but she’s always been a good kid.  The thing I would love to see is if she could do more of her artwork.  One creative kid be Tara … and she made an amazing (and easy) chicken tandoori dish that I’m definitely giving a go when I get home.

Iggy.

What a DOLL! He’s got lightly ginger hair and big curious eyes … and unlike a lot of little people … he was amazingly behaved.  Very interesting with his limited vocabulary and very friendly.  He even accepted me in, which blew my mind.  Many little people are spoiled rotten and really are just caved in to.  Iggy kept himself occupied (reminded me of Linus with a rubber band in the Peanuts) playing with Yo-Yo (“Dogh”) and bopping around. 

Although Heather loves her work as a 5th grade teacher, she’s not one of those melt and get gooky at the sight of a small child or baby.  Neither of us are.  I’ve never really thought of myself as the ‘mom’ kind … and I don’t think Heather has either.  I’m good at the “aunt” thing, however.  Then there’s Iggy.  I remember when she sent me notes about his birth etc.  Ok – new wrinkle in my bud … but she’s also really protective and interested in her family.  Terry had shown me photos of the “Cutest Little Guy In The World” … it could have been passed off as Grandmother Love.  HOWEVER when Heather said “You get to meet Iggy!” in a way that connoted “You’re going to love my nephew … there’ll be no winning over …” not in an “or else” sort of way … but just very matter of factly.

Um … yup.  This kid is really sweet and wasn’t such because his Mum said “be on your best behavior with Granny and Heather … and the other gal, she’s a little nutters, but behave here also.”  He was fun to watch and interact with.  No high pitched screaming or tantrums to get what he wanted … just a really good kid who liked to play with Yo-Yo (who was insanely patient in and of himself)! 

We were chatting, catching up and laughing … Iggy was doing whatever he wanted with his Bob the Builder t-shirt on … and the weather was amazing.  

Iggy had been up for a long time and was starting to get tired and a little crabby.  Heather was messing with this rather … interesting … clock and Iggy wanted it.  Auntie H said “No.” and he got a little fussy, but unlike most tired 2 year olds I’ve been around it didn’t signal a high pitched screaming it which would shatter crystal within the surrounding counties.  When Auntie H. was finished with the clock, she did offer it to Iggy.  I don’t exactly recall what happened next, but I do remember that he wasn’t pulling a full on “I wanted it when I wanted it and not when you want to give it … so I’m going to pout because you’re giving it to me because it wasn’t on my schedule …” pout. 

He was getting more and more tired.  We were coaxing him into getting on his jammies.  The thing that blew me away, was how a couple of times he came over to talk with me.  I’m the stranger, but he came over to show me things or talk.  While I was listening to a story being told by Heather or Terry, I flopped over on the floor with my tired new friend.  He even let me carry him over to where his Mum was … wow … that’s only happened once before.  

Just before Heather and I left – Mr. Iggy, clad in his green sports footed pyjamas – was passed out on the sofa.  He really was an angel … who when he went trick or treating with his Auntie and Mum wouldn’t say “Trick or Treat” but would say “Pumpkin”.  When I was little, I didn’t understand why people would say “trick or treat” because I never wanted to be tricked!  Saying “Pumpkin” … much more to my liking!  He further won his Auntie’s heart by pointing out not the other costumes and such, but the stars in the sky.  That’s what’s important — going “Pumpkin” on Halloween with your Auntie and Mum pointing out Stars in the Sky.

Heather and I had a walk back in the inky blackness of the late evening.  I was beat, happy and full of yummy food and fun.  We weaved our way through the mass of humanity of the Canal with a huge, ginger, furry mass of 4 pawed goofy love in front of us.  The bike path rings the apartments etc and affords an amazing view of the San Rafael side of the Bay.  Islands blotting out the lights of the cities and then the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge lit up like a Christmas present.  Lights of all over, but completely black around us.

I felt really happy and peaceful.  One of the big things I miss about the Bay is the water, darkness at night and the warm evenings that never quite make any sense.  I miss the water, sound of boat rigging clanking in the distance and Mount Tam cut out against a background.

Happiness is nature, rigging clanking, water splashing on the shore, Iggy figuring something out, laughing and feeling accepted by a friend’s family … and having a Best Bud who puts up with me anyway!

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