Monday, September 29, 2008

Sonoma, Shopping, and an Endless Countdown

It’s hot again. High-90s, not a hint of the famed “Delta breeze” (but is there ever?). To escape our quickly heating-up apartment Saturday we joined Beth and Nate and the babies for lunch in Sonoma. It wasn’t much cooler there; usually wine country tends to be a bit more bearable. Nonetheless, we had lunch at a Mexican restaurant just off the main plaza, then wandered around for a bit. There was a wine-tasting festival going on, with a band, and lots of veteran tasters walking around with wine glasses in hand, and the requisite peppering of aging hippies, one walking a large parrot.

While Beth and Nate did a little shopping in a kids’ store, they challenged us to keep an eye on baby Henry. After about three minutes of cleaning up a variety of things tossed in his (adorable) wake and chasing him up and down a small ramp and etc., Andrew and I were exhausted. I’m pretty sure Beth and Nate were secretly laughing.

On the way home, Andrew and I stopped at The Outlets to begin our shopping for Japan. We had some success—we got a few things at J. Crew, and we both got shoes. I discovered it’s a lot easier for men to find stylish, comfortable, slip-on shoes that are good for walking than it is for women. (Slip-on is a requirement for Japan, we’ve read, to ease the following of shoes on/shoes off customs.) Most of the selections for women resembled an unappetizing blend of slipper, moccasin, clog, and the kind of loafer I remember wearing in grade school. But I found a pair I think will work. They’re not the most stylish shoes I’ve ever owned, but they’ll suffice.

Yesterday we spent some time planning the trip itself, beyond the confines of our suitcases; and I think we’re now ready to take the next big step of booking hotels and train tickets. Somehow there are still eight weeks to go: every time I try to do a countdown, it’s eight weeks. It was eight weeks two weeks ago. This same frustrating phenomenon happened when I was moving to Spain, too—that tricky, tricky calendar.

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