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THANK YOU, DAVID BALDACCI
13 November 2012
It's 2 a.m. I must be getting old. I was exhausted and couldn't keep my eyes open at 9 p.m. last night, so decided to give up on Dancing with the Stars and to go to sleep and write this when I woke up. I figured I would probably wake up around midnight, which I did, but decided to sleep a bit more and then write it. So it's now 2 a.m. and here I am, bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to think back about our drive home yesterday, not that there is really anything interesting to report.
We were awake when Alice Nan left for work around 7 and said our goodbyes. Joe left shortly after that. We packed up all of our stuff (except, I learned after I got home, my sweater, which I will pick up at Christmas time) and we were on the road by about 9 a.m.
We were eager to get back to our audio book, "Hell's Corner," by David Baldacci. When we last left the Camel Club, Reuben and Anabelle were in a gun battle and Reuben had just ordered Anabelle to to run in one direction to call for help while he went charging up a hill, facing an unknown number of men with automatic weapons, against his one pistol. Anabelle was weeping at what she thought was the certain death of her friend.
If you need a book to keep you awake on a long voyage, Baldacci is a good author to choose (Michael Connelly is another), though not all of his books are terrific. On our last trip we listened to something called "True Blue," which was so implausible it made my eyes roll a lot...but it did keep our attention.
"Hell's Corner" is peopled with so many characters and filled with so many situations, intrigues, twists and turns that it makes your head spin, but hurtles toward a conclusion that ties things together. Unfortunately, we were 2 hours before the end of the book when we arrived home, so we still haven't reached that conclusion, but have found the book a very satisfying distraction to make the miles fly by.
One thing about Baldacci's books is it makes you shake your head at the total lack of cooperation and the territorialism between all the governmental spy agencies. When a crime is committed, there are turf wars among the CIA, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and other agencies...more than I realized we had. That happens in book after book by anybody who writes about crimes, one department's reluctance to share information with another department...you find that in Connelly books, too, with one local police department fearing that another department will get the credit for catching the bad guys. It always seems to me that crimes would get solved a heck of a lot faster without macho pissing contests between the heads of various agencies and more sharing of information for the good of everybody.
But what do I know?
Walt asked, after we got home last night, if I had been following the story, since it appeared to him that I slept most of the way home, but other than dozing off briefly a couple of times (apparently missing a key incident, though I figured out what had gone on shortly after waking), I was paying attention. I have found that I do better as a passenger on these long rides if I ride with my eyes closed. With my eyes opened, I'm terrified of every semi-truck we meet, and we meet hundreds of them. My stomach is in knots and I tend to gasp audibly too often, and ride clutching the arm rest in sheer terror, though intellectually I know Walt is a good driver and that I am in good hands. But if I ride with my eyes closed, I am blissfully unaware of the impending accident that my brain convinces me we are about to have every few miles. Walt and I are both happier campers that way!
We stopped at Kettleman City for lunch. Kettleman City, at least along side the freeway, is an oasis of familiar food joints (this is actually Kettleman City Junction, the regular town about 2 miles from here). Take yer pick...McDonald's, Jack in the Box, Carls Jr, Taco Bell, Denny's, Wendy's and a few others sprinkled in among a few gas stations.
I have lately been feeling kind of "off" hamburgers, which is why we stopped for soup at Pea Soup Andersons on the drive down. I was wondering how I could get around the ubiquitous burger on the ride home too. (When you aren't thrilled by salads and are tired of burgers, the choice is a bit more challenging!) We saw the sign for one small non-chain restaurant in among all the better known signs and decided to go there, but when we got there it had been closed. Looked like something out of a ghost town. So we decided to go to Denny's instead. I figured I would have better non-burger choices there.
Denny's is doing a promo for the movie The Hobbit, which opens in theaters near you, and has a temporary menu inspired by that movie. The food actually sounded sort of interesting. Walt chose a "Hobbit Hole," which was an egg fried in the center of a cheese bread, with hash browns and bacon. Kind of a cute idea.
For myself, my eyes lit on the "Gandalf Gobble," which was essentially Thanksgiving dinner in a sandwich -- roast turkey, stuffing, and cranberry mustard all served on pumpkin bread. Never one to pass up the chance to try stuffing in any form, I went for that and was not disappointed, though I could only finish half of the sandwich. I brought the other half home and had it for dinner, while Walt finished off a pasta casserole I had fixed before we left.
It was good to be back home. The dogs were thrilled to see us. We caught up on Amazing Race and settled in to watch Dancing with the Stars when I realized I was falling asleep.
All in all, glad to be back home again after such a fun weekend in Santa Barbara.
Best of all, we received notice that Walt's cousin's grandson, Colin Willliam had made his arrival into the world to parents Kayleen and Sean. Reports were that baby and parents were doing great, and that the grandparents were a mess.
Welcome, Colin! You've joined a fantastic family and are going to have a great life!
Now I'm going to crawl back under a blanket somewhere and
see if I can finish out the night asleep!
I'd love it if you'd leave a comment!
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