I am so grateful to still get to spend time down in Orange County. That was something I always appreciated about my summers at D&T. Things usually slowed down that I could take my vacation in June and get some concentrated time down there with family and friends. I gave up a lot of vacation time transitioning to NRC (from five weeks to two) and was worried about losing flexibility to make weekend trips out of town, too.
But thankfully, the flexibility is there in spades. In three months of employment, I've made three trips down there. Usually I decide to come down with less than 24 hours notice. I think that spontaneity is the balance to my otherwise very structured life. Thankfully my family puts up with it.
Last weekend, I left work at noon and got on the road. I'm listening to The Chronicles of Narnia radio theatre productions from Focus on the Family. Overall, I love them, but the volume can vary dramatically, so I keep my hand near the volume dial for the not-so-lovely shifts from whispering dialogue to screaming attacks. I finished up The Horse and His Boy on the trip down, mixed in with some quiet reflection time and so radio time.
Many of my friends were at the VBC college camping trip, and the church softball team was in danger of forfeiture. So I volunteered my services. I was terrible, but I had fun, and thankfully I wasn't the sole reason we lost so miserably. We were playing the best team in the league that night.
The game was called early because of the score disparity, so I dashed over to my parent's church for their Friday night service to hear the end of the Thailand missionary speaker's talk. Andy and Tina are a really neat couple; I got to talk to them afterward. Andy is blind, they just had their first child, and they just planted a church in Bangkok.
On Saturday morning, I went to help with Second Harvest at VBC, where we bag and distribute groceries to needy families in the community. I love being so involved in that church. I even have a printed name tag since I make about two or three of these monthly service opportunities each year.
My sister Joy is home from college for the summer, so I'm really trying to take some time for us to spend together. She just got hiking boots and is very excited about it, so we went on a hike on Saturday afternoon. We were aiming for Crystal Cove, but I missed our turn-off, so I just decided to stop at a trailhead off the road we were on. It ended up being an awesome 3.5-mile hike. I can't believe how much Joy is maturing. It's still hard for me not to see her as 10 sometimes, because that's how old she was when I moved to Fresno.
I showered when we got home, got some admin stuff done on my laptop, and played a quick round of Hand and Foot with Mom and Joy.
I invited myself over to Jacob and Sarah's house for dinner. I always enjoy getting to see them and talk with them. Jacob is one of my closer guy friends, and I like what I see in their marriage as they work together. And now that they have an adorable baby, there's even more reason to spend time with them. On my last two visits I haven't been able to make much time with them because of the crazy scheduling that my trips here always involves. Sarah is an amazing cook, serving BBQ'd chicken and fried rice that night. Afterward they introduced me to a new game "Small World," which reminded me of a combination of Risk, Munchkin and Puerto Rico. I loved it! After the game, I kept them up way too late as I do with so many of my friends, just talking about life stuff.
Fred gave a sermon on John the Baptist and the prophecies preceding his arrival at VBC on Sunday. I enjoyed it, but had been disappointed to realize I miscalculated the Guatemala missions team trip report. But I'm not coming down next weekend with Carmageddon happening (the 405 will be closed). After church I went to the Transitions Sunday School class. It was created for the demographic of parents with children leaving or having left the nest, but somehow I fit better there than in the 20-somethings group. I never did completely gel with peers growing up. I was almost always with people either younger or older than myself.
Lunch with the dynasty after church, and then back to Mom and Dad's to pack. This trip I cleaned out almost all the residual stuff I had there (only one file cabinet drawer left). Mainly books that I'll probably try to sell at our neighborhood garage sale in September, but I did fill five banker boxes.
Then I drove out to Century city to see my friend Daniel. We seem to be getting a good routine down. His place is a nice stop on my way out of town; I stopped here on my last trip down on my way home, too. This time we went for a run. His pace is a little faster than mine, but I needed a running buddy and resolved to keep up. Then I learned he'd been slacking off in his running and wasn't prepared for nearly the distance I was hoping for. We met in the middle at 4 miles. With the hills I wasn't accustomed to (central Fresno really doesn't have any), and his pace, I got a great workout out of it, and the distance was a push for him. Then we grabbed dinner, watched a couple episodes of Bones, and I got on the road for home. Crawled into my bed at 2 a.m.
Another awesome weekend. I love my life. Now if I just had time to sleep...