Wednesday, July 30, 2008


When I was a kid BFF was a favorite way to sign notes to friends. While we never used it in conversation it was like the secret seal for any correspondence with your best pal. Best Friends Forever. What a cliche, or was it?

My BFF pretty much from pre-K on was Kate. Kate was a good foot shorter than me (or it seemed that way) and if I was a hefty kid she was the exact opposite. We were a pair. We played together everyday of elementary school, often as our teacher mothers were finishing up at school we could be found playing on campus together. When it was time to go home we went to my house or hers. When we were in 4th grade we planned to be vets together and live in a duplex that we would share - her family on one side and mine on the other. We remained best friends as we went to different middle and high schools and then off to different colleges. Over the years and many life changes we are still BFF.

The thing about BFFs is that you remain friends even when you don't physically see each other for long periods of time. Kate still lives in CA and we are both very busy given that we both ended up being nurses (not vets). I saw her last week when we were in CA just before we left to go home. It had been too long, but we always pick up like no time has passed. The morning was spent enjoying each other's company as well as our now extended friendship with Brian and the kids as well as Nick, her boyfriend (who we love - the only man I have met that is good enough for my BFF). As I was looking at the pics from this little visit I realized that in my almost 30 years Kate has been my friend for most of that. For at least 25 years she has been one of my best friends and the odds are this friendship really will last forever.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Still More Pics

More Reunion Pics

The Castle, dinner, the Elephant Seals, Kayaking and more... Please note, Brian and my cousin Justin were the only ones to capsize their kayak. Justin is in the Navy so we made fun of him especially. Also please take note of how not flattering wet suits are on everyone. For this reason alone I am glad I didn't go. Otherwise I would have so been out there and totally not capsized.

The Reunion

Our CA adventures took us up the CA coast to Cambria. Here is where we got down to the meat of the reason we were in CA. And what a great reason that was. The FAMILY REUNION. This is no ordinary family reunion. This is the Heller Reunion, the source of our most fond childhood memories. There are tales of mythic proportions told about these reunions. In my youth we would travel by Mini Van Caravan to get to said reunion. If you haven't traveled in a caravan with my parents, my aunt and uncle, and 6 girls - you are missing something. We are hysterical. Tales have been told that I dare not repeat here or now. Another time maybe...

This reunion was a blast. We aren't as young as we once were and most of us came in our own vehicles some of us with our own families now, but we are still as funny as ever. Brian and I so enjoyed seeing the family again - my cousin match (we each had a cousin that was very close in age) and I caught up on what seems like a year's worth of news while the husbands ventured in the dark down a very steep and long flight of outside stairs to visit Mustache Pete's (a pub) where apparently the adventure back up the stairs was far more difficult. Brian kayaked in the Pacific through the sea lions and sea otters with my cousins, parents, and aunts and uncles while I stayed with the kids on shore and entertained the first generation with the children's pure adorableness (all while guarding the picnic site for later that afternoon). While on the peir Jacob had a bathroom emergency and I let him run back ahead of me to the bathrooms (which he had already visited from a previous emergency). While making my way slowly back two nice ladies came walking up to me asking, "Are you Jacob's mom?" Oops, apparently it was a bigger emergency than I thought. And I decided Central Coast people are nicer than the average SoCal dweller.

We visited Hearst Castle, which we have decided is the next logical step in home purchases for us. I think everyone needs a several hundred acre ranch where you have your own airstrip, zoo, movie theater, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis courts, multiple guest homes, and gardens that have more blooms than I have ever seen. The story goes that if you were a guest of Mr. Hearst you would know when you had stayed over your welcome when your place at meals had been moved to the end of the table. I checked out the floors and decided I could have eaten there should I be finally kicked off the end of the table.

All in all this was a great trip. Cambria Pines Lodge had amazing accommodations and beautiful gardens. The family was so much fun. The kids especially loved meeting my younger second cousins as well as spending time with Grandma Luce (whom they have a special connection with since we lived with her when they were babies). Well, look at the pictures and see for yourself. We will go back there, for sure. We are already looking forward to the renion 2 years from now. Thank you Grandma and Mom for getting us there.

Crazies and other family members

Brian says I left my last post kind of hanging. He thought he was missing the rest of the story. Well, welcome to my stories. There are times when I am talking that I just sorta trail off and never complete the thought. This is most of the time actually. Brian will stand there staring at me waiting for the rest of the story and I am wondering, "What the heck is he still looking at me for?" ADD, that's just part of the charm...

Speeking of charm we arrived back at the in-laws Sunday night after Grandmama's for a late night dessert with Grandma M and the rest of the crazy bunch. The kids love seeing Brian's cousins. They don't have 1st cousins yet and are still slightly confused about the cousin relationship but somehow understand that they are family. Sarah and Andrew are certainly adored by these two kids. Sarah used to baby sit for us before we moved and they know she is game for anything. Andrew is just a big kid - I notice as he is playing connect four with Reba that they are now sporting the same bangs in the face hair cut - aren't they cute?