Thursday, March 17, 2011

A spontaneous drive to Sac and an aspiring photographer

Speaking of perspective, on Monday Chloe had a chance to share hers with the rest of us.  After a full week of driving to and from Sacramento to help cover cases at Kaiser for a co-worker who was on vacation, Neil was looking forward to a less chaotic week of staying within a 25 mile radius of our house and his own territory.  That is, until he got a call from the same guy Monday morning requesting his help later that afternoon.  With this job, it's common for a surgery to get pushed back or rescheduled at the last minute, sometimes resulting in double-bookings.  And because it's impossible to be in two ORs at once, helping hands are often needed.  Unpredictability is a frustrating reality but just part of the job.

We barely saw Neil last week.  He was out the door as early as 6am and home as late as 7pm from Tuesday on.  And to make matters worse, both Neil and Ryan caught the same crud Chloe had the week prior.  So even when Neil did make it home by 6, he was in bed by 8.  Anyway, Monday morning when he told me he was heading back to Sac, yet again, I asked if we could tag along.  It's a solid hour's drive, so I figured it might be nice for him to have some company in the car for a change.  Plus he wasn't expecting to be there long so we could easily occupy ourselves while he did what he needed to.  While this made a great excuse to spend a little extra time with Neil, I was also just plain anxious to get out of the house.  Between Ryan's potty training and cold bug last week, we didn't make it out much.

I promise I'm going somewhere with this story.

One of my dad's oldest friends, David, who in our family goes by his middle name, "Alfred" and his wife, Grace live in Sacramento.  My brother and I call Alfred "[our] Mexican uncle".  He and my dad were in the Air Force together eons ago and became close.  In fact, Alfred, who was the chief photographer for the Vallejo Times Herald for several years, took this beloved picture of my dad and me when I was just a few days old, as well as the one below of Grace holding me when I was not much older.

We've seen Alfred and Grace a handful of times since we moved to California, and I figured since the kids and I were going to have some time to kill, why not give them a call?  So I did.  Grace was working so Alfred and I took the kids to the mall for a bit while Neil did his thing. Then we all met up for dinner a little later when Grace was off work and Neil was finished at the hospital.

I got my camera out while we were at the restaurant.  Chloe has recently expressed a greater interest in taking pictures and lately has asked to use my camera practically every time she's laid eyes on it.  This was no exception, and I reluctantly handed it over.  Luckily I just had my small, light 50mm on there so it wasn't too enormously heavy for her.  Now after looking these over I'm really glad I let her carry my camera around.  Out of the dozen or so shots she captured, she got a handful of true keepers!

I especially love this one of Grace.  The angle and overall composition (particularly the placement of the subject with other items blurred in the foreground and the Chinese lanterns hanging from the ceiling, which are also blurred), not to mention Grace's expression, which is so telling of the sweet and nurturing woman she is.

Here are a couple more taken outside the restaurant.

It was a bit of a spontaneous drive up to Sac, but definitely a worth while one.  Neil even mentioned he was glad we came so he could drive in the carpool lane.  :)  It's really cool being so close to loved ones.  Alfred and Grace have been a part of my family longer than I have!  They will always be my "uncle" and "aunt," and I'm grateful Chloe and Ryan can grow up knowing and seeing them frequently.

1 comment:

Jill Halliday said...

Aww.....that whole story is just precious. How wonderful that your sweet family now lives close enough to Alfred and Grace to spend time with them at the drop of a hat (was Bravo there too?). The pictures are amazing - wow! Chloe took some great ones. Good for her! (I love how her hair looks - and ALL of you look wonderful in each picture.)

I'm sure it was a happier day for Neil that you and the darlings could drive with him too.

I'm sure whenever you see Alfred and Grace, you will give them our love.

And of course - love to all of you!
Love love love,
Mama/Gma Jill