Tuesday, 7/5: El took me to the station and I arrived in San Juan Capistrano at 1:30. Went to a nearby restaurant and ordered lunch, as Carole had texted that she'd be a little late. She came in shortly later, though, and we shared the meal.
On the way to her place, Carole showed me around Dana Point, where she lives: extraordinarily beautiful scenery--soaring cliffs, swaying palms, and of course, the majestic and glistening Pacific. Combined with those, there are large and pricey--millions, I mean--homes.
Later, we had a bite, then put on our suits and walked down to view the water. It was a little chilly, so we didn't go in, but went back to bask in the hot tub.
Wednesday, 7/6: We caught the tail end of mass at a church lovely in itself and overlooking such loveliness of nature, it almost made me nostalgic for my Holy Girl past. Not quite, though. After, we joined six of Carole's lady friends for breakfast; lots of references to the deity, but their piety was not offensive and they were warm and welcoming to me. We went from there almost immediately to lunch with Father Jack, my sister-in-law, Marybeth's cousin. Met at a pizza place and had a pleasant enough time. From there, we rushed to Carole's book club meeting, which I found very interesting. It seems that a member of the club named Pat Maloney, a psychologist, had written a book called Whiz-Dom. Unfortunately, he died a few weeks ago at 89. From the discussion, I got the impression he was a very interesting guy--wish I could have known him.
We called my brother Frank to tell him about our lunch with Father Jack, then Carole called her brother, George, and we both chatted with him. Carole called my sister, Betty, to tell her she was giving me a flash drive for her that contains an "interview" Carole conducted with Betty after Hurricane Sandy. Betty's coming to the this area on Saturday, and I'll see her, of course, so I'll give it to her then.
Back at Carole's, we changed into suits and treked to the beach. This necessitated a fairly long distance on a concrete walk, then steps going down at least the equivalent of six stories, then traversing a kind of sweeping incline of concrete covered in sand. By the time we got to the water, my calves were screaming for mercy and they still hurt. The water wasn't terribly cold--about 69--and Carole dived right in. I wish I could have, but I was apprehensive about my balance and just splashed around and got my feet wet. We stayed a good 45 minutes, but finally left to go home and shower. Dressed, then went out to dinner. Carole got free fried fish from a little joint about to close, then suggested we share a hamburger at "Jimmy's Famous." We did, and each had a beer and good talk.
Thursday, 6/7: Carole had to go to work (volunteer) so dropped me off at the SJC station early. She said I could then visit the little shops and local sights. I was fine with going early, but had no desire to visit the little this and that. We said goodbye with hugs and I was happy to catch the 10:45 train, which got me in just after 2:00. El picked me up and we went for lunch, then to the farmers market at Kimball, which is held every Thursday. I bought some homemade marmalade and a plum, El strawberries, then we went to her place. Viewed her patio, which is shaping up beautiful, with the addition of two trellises, transplanted jasmine, and shifted pavers. She took me home after and much as I enjoyed my trip, I sighed with relief.
No place like it, all right.