|Much time goes to decorating the floats and rehearsing — but also to standing around and waiting.|
|Girls had to prepare their program in randomly selected pairs.|
Traditional Christmas Parade in Los Gatos takes place on the first December Saturday. For several years we used to attend with Bear Creek Stables, for the third year now we have been joining Lisa's vaulting hobby — Mt. Eden Vaulting Club. And as the previous year, this time again weather forecast looked bad. I had ideas in the direction of skipping for rain, but Lisa threw me a completely disgusted teenager look (the kind where she, like, totally does not get how such a genius child can have such clueless parents) — and so we went. Just the two of us; Sid participated in a role of a taxi driver — dropping us off in town (where it was impossible to park) and picking us up four hours later on the other end of town, where the parade ended.
The actual Parade naturally does not last four hours — its route can covered walking in twenty minutes, and with two hundred participating organizations, the affair is over in between ninety minutes and two hours. Much time is spent, however, on the marshaling place, by decorating and preparing and rehearsing. The vaulting club did not even bring horses, for they are difficult to handle and pavement is slick in rain, but nevertheless it was necessary to decorate a small truck carrying the show barrel. On it, the girls would present short numbers throughout the parade. Individually, and in randomly chosen pairs, which needed rehearsing. Last year it had rained during preparations and then it got pretty during the show; it was the other way this year. We managed to prepare relatively dry, and the downpour coincided with the parade. I'm not sure what was better. The girls performed in the rain throughout the parade on a soaking wet barrel, and we all thought about heading back home soon. Surprisingly, Lisa did not get ill this year, and so it ended well. There was a club Christmas Party following the parade, but such affairs are blessedly informal. And it was the ONLY Christmas party we had to attend this year.
|They've shown their numbers throughout the parade.|
|It rained more and more.|
We picked up Sid at home (kids had refused to join a mass trip of boring ancients, and besides, Lisa had enjoyed enough of fresh weather on the previous day), and soon we were of to the coast. I wanted to show sea otters to our visitors, as they (the otters) normally hang out in Elkhorn Slough, but apparently the town cut them off from payroll and they packed their stuff and stopped posing for tourists. In the end we had spotted one male otter (according to rangers' information they are all males; females and young swim off to a more sheltered inland part of the slough), some sea lions too, and thus my reputation as a native guide was preserved.
By then it was time for lunch. We favor Moss Landing's Lemongrass Thai, so we refreshed there and then finished trundling to Point Lobos. The place, again, fulfilled our expectations — Boris kept taking pictures like in a competition, which extended our walk to incredible three hours, until dusk. Days shortly before winter solstice are short.
Naturally, once the avalanche gets rolling, there's no stopping it — our "goat" vet (who had studied in New Zealand, where they teach and practice animal doctoring on sheep) was on vacation — surprisingly on New Zealand — and could not come. Toni had called her horse vet, expecting that if Hazel could not get up and has difficulty urinating, it would look like a quick put-down. Of course, before the vet could show up, Hazel stood up and walked it off. Quite in pain, but eventually ate some grains. The vet declared that rumen was operational, bladder empty (goats have trouble with kidney stones) and that Hazel had a slight fever (toward forty — normal goat temperature is between 38 and 39 °C). So Hazel got a shot of banamine (for pain) and an outlook that if the fever came from pain stress (likely arthritis, which is emphasized in winter rainy and cold season), it would pass; if the fever jumps up or Hazel gets worse, there would be more tests.
Oddly, Hazel improved, and when our goat vet arrived on Thursday, she just pronounced Hazel alright enough, as much one such old and arthritic goat can be. And said that we should prepare for times when there won't be individual bad days, when she'd be miserable, but they would just increasing in number and occurrence until we'd consider termination. Hazel HAS been taking pain medication and received shots in the knee joint, but slowly it stops being enough. At least the vet dispelled my worries about infectious diseases, and I could start planning again my trip with my goaties.
San Francisco complicated things with timing as well. Lisa has a practice on Saturdays until two thirty. So I brought her up to the practice, stayed there with her. Meanwhile, rest of the expedition converged on our home. Lisa and I then drove down from the stables to the freeway, and jumped over to our bus. Then we just needed to endure the one hour to San Francisco, park, enter through the main gate, join the bathroom line, meet our friends from Fremont who came to see the same show — and it could begin.
Amaluna was our second show by Cirque de Soleil. I must say that I liked Volta a little better. Amaluna has awesome solo numbers and more coherent plot, with a romantic twist. Volta had more circus nature, more action and energy. Besides, it features clowns that were really funny. Clowns' plot line in Amaluna was rather schematic. Also, our girls found it unfair that a lizard man Cali was a lot more interesting than Romeo, who nevertheless wins Miranda. In the end Cali gets rid of his lizard tail and transforms (for Miranda?) into a human — and nothing happens? On the other hand — pole dancing Romeo captivated my interest. I never understood what men get out of girls dancing on a pole; now I saw :-).
|We left only after sunset.|
|Boss Peaches wants to know who we are, what we want (and whether we brought any treats).|
By three o'clock Sid reported from home and his computer that indeed the whole highway got opened up, and we tasked him to reserve us a hotel room on the other side of the Sierra — for only now it seemed hopeful that we'd make it. Gaining altitude, I drove slower and slower. Opposite direction, from Kirkwood ski resort going TO cities, was well salted and driven, but only few went in our direction, and spots covered with packed snow did not make me feel well. Perhaps it was well sanded, since I never slipped, but also I crawled sometimes just ten miles an hour, sphincter clenched. From Kirkwood on we found ourselves in the more driven direction, but I really exhaled only down in Woodfords. We had a Vietnamese dinner in Minden, where I shocked the owner by ordering in Vietnamese. Honestly, I need glasses to read the menu, and I did not feel like fishing for them only to find out how they translated com bo luc lac into English this time; I was too tired.
Our original plan was to visit the goaties that same evening, but we gave up on it in the end. It was dark and cold, goats stay in a barn that has no lights, and it would involve hand torches and showing up by eight o'clock in the evening, when they have gone to sleep some three hours earlier — it would also entail rousing Colleen from her evening with family, stumbling around in the dark and cold, waking up and confusing the whole herd of goats. I would actually complicate lives of people and goats alike, just to satisfy my desire to see my beloved soonest. So I gave it up and headed with Lisa straight for the hotel. Yet our reserved Andruss Motel was dark and empty — no live soul around, not even parked cars. I tried to ring the bell, nothing. Finally I spotted a phone number on the door and called the owner that way. He said to be stuck in traffic at Tahoe, but not to worry — we were to "get into number three, it's unlocked, key's on the table" — and so it was. When I got back into our car for something by ten o'clock in the evening, I could see the owner had made it back, and I went to talk to him. Situation cleared up — he had departed before our internet order came through, and so he did not know about us. Thank God for country attitude, where people think it reasonable leaving places unlocked with a few rooms ready, just in case somebody were to make it after all.
|Licky and Twy demanded to be taken home.|
|During this trip, my goats ended up least problematic of all things.|
Our journey home passed without much drama, the road was considerably more passable than the day before. The greater surprise was our arrival to the stables. I parked and got ready to unload my goaties, when three runaway and bewildered horses rushed in. I had to leave goats be, and pacify the horses with a bowl of food (which they came to check out and then let themselves be taken home). Then I discovered that somebody released chickens into the pen that I had carefully cleaned before, so I had to clean out chicken droppings again, before letting my goats in. Lisa and I got back home only after five o'clock in the afternoon. Lisa had to play catch-up with school, and I eventually "had to" go climb, for after two days behind the wheel I felt completely stiff.
And that put us a week before Christmas, and of our holiday preparations, only tree purchase was done — fetched by Tom and Sid on Sunday. Somehow our Christmas seemed to get out of control. On the other hand — despite various obstacles, we managed to get our goaties back home, which is positive.