The jacarandas have begun to jacarandize. I wait for this all year. It begins with the faintest of purple hazes in the jacaranda trees, and ends with all of them in full purple glory. Can you see the little bit of purple there?
Soon the whole tree will be covered with it. Along with trees all over our neighborhood. I can't wait. It's one of my favorite moments of spring in the southland, to see exuberantly purpling trees on every street.
Alas, I will have to wait, as we are leaving for the Bay Area tonight. We've been planning to go up to see Grandmom for a couple of weeks now, ever since we heard that she'd begun receiving hospice care at her assisted living facility. At this point, the hospice person only comes to check in on her every so often, but it's a sign of things to come, and we want to spend as much time as we can with her this summer. This morning we heard that she's had what appear to be a couple of mini-strokes in the past 24 hours, so I think that we're going none too soon. We'll spend the weekend there, and start looking for an opportunity to spend as much as a week up there this summer so that we can see her for short stints each day, which is all that she has the energy for any more.
It's hard to believe, though. I realize that it's been almost exactly 19 years since I met her. Rick and I had been dating for a few months, and had realized that we were getting to a place where our families were going to have to be involved at some point, and we'd better just get it over with. He came up to see me over summer break in Sacramento, and after a few days with my parents, we drove into the City to stay with Grandmom for a while. I remember so clearly driving up to her house in the Marina, and walking up to the front door to ring the doorbell, wondering what this first meeting with someone from Rick's family would be like. She flung the door open, took one look at this imposing 6' 6" man at my side, threw her arms open, and joyfully said, "Ricky!" I about died laughing. Ricky? Snortgiggle.
For all kinds of reasons, many having to do with proximity at the right age, I think that we're closer to Grandmom than either of us was with any of our other grandparents. We lived across the Bay from her for 10 years, and spent a lot of time with her during that period. We had our engagement pictures taken at a beach near her house. She took us on a tour of the Legion (where she docented) when I was hugely pregnant with Older Daughter. We cooked at her house, shared meals with her, and took long walks on the Marina green. She and I (along with Rick's mom and and aunt and my mom) went to France together for 10 days soon after Rick and I were married. She has always been stubbornly independent, and fiercely interested in everything that happens around her. It's hard to see her frail, blinded by macular degeneration, nearly deaf. But it's better to see her than not.
So I've been spending much of today getting things done around the house so that we can leave. I did take a much-needed break with a dear friend; good conversation and Indian food and a little bit of yarn shopping never hurt anyone, right? I picked up a little bit of yarn (in spite of the fact that we were ostensibly shopping for yarn for my friend to knit her very first sweater ever for her daughter; I figured that some sympathetic purchasing was in order, just to be encouraging, don't you know)...
The pink one (shades of dusty rose colors) will, I think, become the lace scarf that Older Daughter has been asking for. It's her kind of colors. I'm not sure about the other one, which has blues and browns and greens in it, but I'm pretty sure that I can think of something to do with it.
All right, I'm off to pack. If I don't manage to post this weekend (which is starting to look very full, between visits with Grandmom and Rick's aunt and uncle and cousin, and my parents who are kindly coming from Sacramento so I can take Mom out for Mother's day), I will most definitely be back on Monday. And with luck, I will come back with a completed stars shawl in hand; after all, 1,000 miles of driving in three days has to be good for something, right?