Friday, September 5, 2008

Deja Vu

A couple of weeks ago, I spent a fabulous weekend with girlfriends of mine from high school. The 10 of us met for a long weekend in Ventura and had such a great time. It’s been a long time since I laughed so hard so often (and I typically get a chance to laugh a lot). Kitty said we could think of it as doing abdominal exercises we laughed so much! Some of these women I have known since elementary school. Although we’ve tried to keep in touch I hadn’t seen Sid since Judy’s wedding almost 20 years ago and Roxanne since 1983. So it was a great time. Even with the passage of so much time and life events, we all seemed to pick up where we left off (albeit with a few more pounds, a few more gray hairs (whether we could see them or not), and a few more marriages and divorces between us).

We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express on the Marina which was in our price range and in a lovely spot. The rooms were large with balconies and views of the Marina. Breakfast was very good (the cinnamon rolls were scrumptious perhaps TOO scrumptious for my hips). And they accommodated us nicely by letting us use a glassed-in patio one evening for a potluck of sorts…with no charge.

Judy and I drove out a day early to avoid Friday traffic. We took the 126 from Interstate 5 over to the 101 which was surprisingly and delightfully a very pleasant drive through orange groves, strawberry fields, and nurseries. Very little has changed through that the area over the years since I left So Cal except the road is now 4 lanes divided and hence a pleasure to drive. It was wonderful to see a bit of southern California that reminded me of the California I grew up in…like south orange county when I first started at UC Irvine in 1973. The fields also made for a great Saturday morning Farmer’s Market in downtown Ventura. Great heirloom tomatoes, perfect globes of artichokes, eggplants worthy of an old master painting, and perfect, sweet, ripe strawberries.

The market also had a great tamale stand where, we enjoyed great tamales of all types, pork, chicken, beef, pineapple????, and green chili (my favorite). We bought them for our potluck but we got a few extra and stood right there and devoured them in a shared frenzy!
Check out this site for more info on VEntura farmer's markets (there are several depending on what day of the week it is):

The first evening it was just Judy and me for dinner since we got there a day early. We ate at the Spinnaker Seafood Broiler in Ventura Harbor Village at the Marina. Fish was very good. And the rum drinks were perfect....ahoy matey!
Downtown Ventura is quite charming, much to my surprise. The last time I remember it was probably 30 years ago when it was a small tired beach town of no exceptional merit…but then again maybe I didn’t pay close attention as we were probably just driving through to Santa Barbara. But today it’s enjoying a renaissance with restaurants, a restored mission, nice stores, antique shops, and a good crowd (at least on the weekends). 5 of us spent the afternoon there (while the other half of the group went to the beach). We had a lot of fun at the antique stores each buying a little something.

On Sunday some of us stayed until it was time to take Terry to the train station. We strolled through a small art and craft fair at the Crown Plaza Hotel which sits right on the beach in Ventura and then down to the Aloha Beach Festival. All the dogs were out with their masters…big and little. The beach ground squirrels were scurrying along the beach edge near the boardwalk. Surfers were catching the waves just off shore and one lone sailboat raced with the wind under a mostly gray sky.

A great weekend. We plan to meet again in 3 years in Santa Cruz…where Roxanne lives. Hopefully we’ll round up the other 4 of our Coed Capers Group.

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