Moms Love Their Marines Letter 6: So Cal Travelogue, With Bears & One Bad Kitty

Note the Category This Post is Filed Under

Another letter sent to my Marine son when he was stationed in Iraq–slightly edited so that he won’t hunt me down and kill me when I reveal the time he hid under the blankets from Ursula in the The Little Mermaid–whoops! Too late!.  If you like order in all things, you can get to the first letter, here.

Almost didn’t include this sixth letter–honestly, it’s drab. But I am an Aspie, and like order in all things. Heck–just skip over it. Who needs to see wooden bears, or a live beach cam? Here’s the next letter. Now that one’s a little more worth a look.)

Dear Justin,

No, I haven’t forgotten you. Have just been spending quality time with Jonah (i.e. totally vegging out). He and I watched “Dog Soldiers”, and “There Will Be Blood”.  I also watched “American Psycho” on my own.  All bloody good (heh, heh). 

Sunday, Anne and I started out early to drive to Solvang.  Traffic whizzing along at 80-85 mph.  Then, suddenly, five lanes narrowed to 4, 3, 2, 1, none. No traffic movement. Stuck for almost 2 hours.  Turns out there was a shootout way, way far off the freeway, but the police closed the freeway anyway. Well, after all, it is L.A.:  Some news channel probably needed the ratings boost from the giant jam.

Got to Solvang at last, and had us a good time.  It is extremely pretty there–don’t know if you remember.  Clean, flowers everywhere, happy people, family-run businesses, delicious eats.


Last weekend, we went to:

  • San Clemente (very nice–quiet strolling, interesting shops, delicious restaurants, lovely walk down to the water, a peaceful mission to visit [Readers: check out the link if you’d like to see the town’s nifty live beach camera views and their truly beautiful Snapshots Slide Show]).
  • .

  • Carlsbad (too bad it’s now ‘eh’, except for Legoland. it used to be so charming!),
  • .

  • Encinitas (the always-enjoyable Quail Botanical Gardens–you’ve been there many times)
  • Quail Botanical Fountain

  • Newport Beach (too-too! [the median home value is $1 million])
  • .

  • And then to the Balboa peninsula (we rode a ferris wheel that never stopped–the guy kept it going for us until the little kids were whining to get off–Hah! Fooey on them!

The Balboa Fun Zone: "Quite possibly the best Ferris Wheel ride you will ever take."

We also did our usual dump-store diving (thrift store shopping). Bought a long-sleeved shirt that I just loved–dark grey, with a design I couldn’t place, but knew it was familiar.  The front had a big bird of prey, shown with its head turned to one side. Unfortunately, can never wear the shirt.  Finally remembered what the design was.  The little dagger dripping blood on the back gave me a teensy clue:   The German S.S.   Rats.  Don’t think there’s anywhere I could wear it, except maybe in all-Danish Solvang, which appeared to be run exclusively by the blond-haired blue-eyed master race. The whole time there, kept expecting all the children to turn at us in unison and force us to buy the wares through use of their widely staring eyes… [If you’ve never seen it, 45 seconds or less of the vid below is enough to get the idea.]

At another store, also bought two little wooden bears glued to a paddle with a ball suspended underneath.  Y’know the chicken ones, that when you swing the ball, take turns pecking?  My bears feed themselves from a bowl with wooden spoons.  It is a blessing to have such a simple mind, and be so easily made happy.  I’m even thinking of loading a little Cream of Wheat into their bowl, to see if they manage to scoop any up (I’ll make it extra thick).  I think they would like it with brown Sugar Twin®.  Mmm…happy bears, coming up!

Gave my dad your email address over there, so get ready to be inundated by spam-tastically cornball “humor”.


I love you.


P.S.  When we were stuck in pre-Solvang traffic for those hours, we at least grew so bored, I introduced Anne to little-kiddie car games.  We were playing “The Minister’s Cat” (you probably don’t remember, but the first person says “The minister’s cat is an Awful cat”, and then the next says “The minister’s cat is a Beautiful cat”…)  Anyhow, Anne’s version ran a little differently.  The typical letter P might be “The minister’s cat is a Peculiar cat.”  Anne’s went like this:  “The minister’s cat secretly pees in the minister’s penny loafers in the pantry.” And that is why she’s my bestesty-best friend.

P.P.S. You know that I wonder how you are. More than just when I write.
Next letter, please. (Thank you.)


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