Monday, April 06, 2009

Sistertrip V

“You know I never like to interfere… but…”
Anonymous In-law
I recently returned from a 4-night trip with several of my sisters. This, our fifth biennial sister trip, was in Ventura CA. (For the archivist: Traverse City, MI, Harper’s Ferry, WV; Santa Fe, NM; and Savannah, GA.) Thanks to one sister’s timeshare, we enjoyed sunsets over the ocean as we sat and read our various books and newspapers, drinking good red wine and looking up to chat briefly about whatever we were reading. With four of us, we could enjoy a single conversation, whereas when all six of us get together, conversation groups generally break down into smaller units.

We had time to whine about our various family and home trials and tribulations, to discuss the amazing (and not-coincidental) differences of political opinion between us sisters and our brothers and boy cousins whose opinions range from uncompassionate conservatism to wacko conspiracy theories. We spoke about our various states of health, getting old, dying, shepherding aging pets and elderly in-laws “across the rainbow bridge” and toward the light. For several days, it didn’t suck at all to be me.

Here’s the thing about spending time with sisters. We easily slipped into intimate conversations, tapping the same veins of family history, dumb jokes and reminisces to provide context. Some things you can talk about only with people who understand on such a deep level you don’t have to qualify your statements with “I love ____, but…” We shared our favorite punch lines like “Liquor? I hardly knew her!” and “Do I remember the minuet? I don’t even remember the men I f*&%ed!”

We waited too long, drinking mimosas, for our overpriced lunch at an otherwise delightful sidewalk café in Santa Barbara. We exercised our privilege as white women of a certain age and laughed too loudly, shocking the locals. When I got a box for my leftover lunch, I took the “complementary” tiny metal sauce dish that came filled with cream cheese. Well, I’m never going back there.

We (I) drove our rented Chrysler PT Cruiser over several curbs, while lamenting the awful turning radius. The hatchback trunk smelled like pot, you could see daylight between the closed passenger side door and the frame. The final insult was that the electronic key had a dead battery, and I was inconvenienced by having to actually use the key in the actual lock. How primitive! Can you blame me for punishing the car by driving into curbs?

While I’m casting blame, I also blame M1 for nixing the red Mustang convertible we could have had in lieu of the PT Cruiser. I have to assume it would have had a tighter turning radius and/or a functioning remote key. I blame Tech Support Guy for not letting us use the Prius with gps navigation, causing me to mistakenly enter Camp Pendleton Marine Base, where we were waved through by the 12 year old Marine guard at the gate who didn’t bother to notice we didn’t have a base parking sticker. I’m also pissed at Huntington Library for being closed on Tuesdays, as was the Norton Simon Museum and the Gamble House all in Pasadena. The picture of the Gamble house front door (below) was taken through the window on the patio behind the house.

We shared our favorite vulgar and unladylike synonyms for manure, or at least my sisters did when remarking upon the quality of my driving. We agreed that if, in any given conversation, the speaker forgets a crucial noun, the words “werewolf” or “tugboat” would suffice; and to our considerable surprise, this shortcut made conversations much more interesting. We visited the Mission in Santa Barbara and mused over the sanitized history of how the devout friars committed genocide on the natives in the name of the Lord. I scored the most tasteless souvenir: a credit-card sized 3-D picture of Christ on the shroud of Turin, that morphs into a lovely white man’s face – presumably that of an alive Christ - when you wiggle it in your hand. Priceless!

I wore my cheap pedometer all during the trip and logged 5k steps each day! Then I lost it – the pedometer, not the steps. Then I found it folding laundry this morning – it had been washed and dried and seems to be fine: 298 steps so far today. All in all, a very good sistertrip.


tina said...

All in all a good trip:)

chaiselongue said...

Sounds like a great trip. What fun to have so many sisters!!!

greeny said...

This all cracked me up.

I can't be my normal self with family so Im feeling envious.

walk2write said...

Lucky you. I only have one sister, and I can't remember the last time we spent even a day together, just the two of us. Neat trick, getting your pedometer to fold laundry.

TC said...

I would've loved to have seen y'all with a hidden camera! Did y'all feel better after drinking sensitive plants? ;~P

Martha in Michigan said...

I had been meaning to write to M3 and M4 to let them know they didn't miss a whole lot, but you captured it better anyway. I tried to explain to my own girls why it was not a waste of time, money, and effort to travel thousands of miles to sit and read, which one can theoretically do much more cheaply and easily at home. The fact is, one would NOT do that at home, where the garden beds beg for weeding, the floors are filthy (and there's no dog to blame for it anymore), the work-from-home has no quitting time, and the LR wall cries out for an END already to the paint job begun in 2005.

I'm sorry (not!) about the Mustang, but convertibles (I say from experience) really do suck. And blow. Mightily. And, as the remaining member of a Ford Family, I could not have borne to have its product excoriated in this public manner. Those associated with the Detroit 3 (no longer the Big Three, alas) already feel held in the same low esteem as lawyers and used car salesmen (although perhaps not in as much contempt as Congresscreatures) in this atmosphere of bailout fatigue. No need to have you piling on, as well. I actually am sorry that I chickened out on sharing the driving. SoCal freeways are quite intimidating to those from the hinterlands, even from the Motor City.

TC: I get it! Mimosa pudica was the most common weed in my garden in the Philippines. Lots of fun to play with, if a bit spiny to pull. You made me think of my favorite tree in my Maryland youth: Albizia julibrissin. It had a graceful form, attractive bark, airy fern-like leaves, and gorgeous, fragrant blossoms. They aren't hardy enough for SE Michigan, although I did see them all over Philly roadsides recently. Naturally, it is considered an invasive alien. See and

spookydragonfly said...

Your top photo is stunning! It must be great to have sisters, I'd imagine that they would make the best friends as well. Sounds like you had a great time!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah....sisters are great. But if TC could have seen us with the hidden camera on our first night together, well....

Driving from the LA airport, trying to find the the dark, on empty stomachs, lost, without a map or GPS...each of us shouting directions and counter directions. Madness!

But! We aren't completely mad. We had several bottles of good wine and some snacks. So when we finally found the place and got unpacked....we had a delightful evening together. But we are a little nutty. Sure am glad the hidden camera was not there! love....the favorite sister :-)