Wow. I have forgotten just how much “fun” it can be to drive halfway across the country.
Driving toward the memorial was somewhat stressful. However, driving home was pretty, although a bit boring at times. Plus, I am incredibly worn out.
I really should have brought more than just “Twilight” to watch. Unfortunately, I can no longer read in the car, like I used to do for days on end.
I actually really over-packed, in regards to food, but that’s much better than ending up without enough.
We stopped at Trader Joe’s in Albuquerque and picked up some things to try, and stopped to stock up on the way home. I think it’s high time that Trader Joe’s puts in a store in Fort Worth (email campaign, anyone?). I think this is the first time in 6 years that I’ve had yogurt-covered raisins. Their gluten-free stuff is labeled gluten-free, they have a list available, AND the gluten-free symbol is on the price stickers (on the shelves). How awesome is that?
If you make it to Trader Joe’s, here are a few of my favorite picks:
Sweet Potato Chips – oh my gosh, I could not stop eating these
Veggie & Flaxseed Tortilla chips – the bag has carrot & tomato, spinach & garlic, and red beet & onion chips. Mom will probably try to pile these to the ceiling, lol.
Spring Onion Noodle Soup Bowl – I really liked the flavor of this – it was light with a bit of spice. Bonus, all you have to do is put in some water and stick it in the microwave for a few minutes.
Licorice Scottie Dogs – it’s black licorice, the kind that gets really stuck in your teeth J
We ate at In-N-Out Burger three times during our trip. Each time, they carefully prepared my protein-style cheeseburger (wrapped in lettuce) and fries to keep them away from the buns. I really like going “animal-style” with cheese and sautéed onions (though I like going sauce-less). The burgers were really good. The fries were different, because they were kind of dry and not really oily, but I really enjoyed them (especially with the cheese and onions).
We were only actually “there,” in northern California, for a day and a half, so I just stayed low-key. I actually didn’t ever feel like eating when they were having meals anyways, so it worked out fine for me. At the hotels, in general, I was able to have Yoplait yogurts (but I mostly stuck with the Chobani I brought), fresh fruit and hard-boiled eggs for breakfast, plus juice and milk for my Mesa Sunrise or Trader Joe’s granola. (We always stayed at the Choice family of hotels, because that’s where my dad stays on his business trips, and we stayed on points.)
As for the memorial services, they were really nice. I played the piano and sang a song called “Adorable You.” My grandfather wrote the music and my grandmother wrote the words; we think it was when they were dating in the early 1930s. It was very lovely (so I’ve been told). Even though I had practiced it a few times, I had not had any big emotional reactions to it until I was performing it at the memorial. The graveside services were quite interesting. We weren’t really there to mourn, but to celebrate his life. My brother and I got the chance to meet our cousins (our first cousins, and their kids our age and a little younger). Grandpa had made the choice years ago to be cremated and have his ashes buried (with a headstone) next to his parents. My grandpa had always loved trains, and had even patented a child’s train many many years ago. His headstone had an engraving of a train emerging from a tunnel, and his memorial took place on National Railroad Day. How very fitting, for a man who had an entire room in his house devoted to model trains.