Seacliff Aptos/Rio Del Mar visit

Visited my gaydad friends of many years, Mike and Todd, at their new place near Santa Cruz, where we had taken our kids to play on the beach years ago.  It’s a lovely area and the weather was just perfect.  Great company, great food and great conversation were also at hand.  We stopped by the visitor’s center where they had a new aquarium on display.  The S.S. Palo Alto was also a topic of discussion.  The cement-based ship was brought from Oakland and sunk to become a night club and swimming pool for years, until a series of storms eventually turned it into a new ecosystem for the birds and marine life.

New Puppycuts

Monte and Cappy looked pretty shabby when we got back from Europe, so instead of dealing with trying to get them trimmed up myself (especially around their sensitive feet), we had them professionally groomed again.  We’re very happy with the results from a local groomer here in Castro Valley.  Another picture has Tucker taking advantage of the guest room having recently been vacated.

Oakland Pride

We only stopped by for a little while, but it was nice to see a bunch of people we hadn’t seen in a while.  The Yorkie shown is NOT ours, but rather one of a friend of ours who I’ve known for years.  I was glad to get the picture with the Hillary placard.  I have one with Obama from eight years ago!  The corndog prop I’m holding is known as a “porndog,” in case you’re wondering.  I’m vegetarian, but it was a prop that my friend John had many of his friends hold.  I don’t know if he even ate it afterwards!

Point Isabel

First chance for a major walk after we got back from Europe.  After the first several days of an extreme heat wave to welcome us, this was the first day of blistering cold by the water, together with overcast sky.  Of all days to have removed my reserve jacket from the SUV.  Oh well.

Sitges with Shando

After my daughter flew back to New York we moved on to Sitges, the other city we visited in Catalonia, Spain this trip.  Of course we went primarily for the bear event which was commencing that weekend, but we really were only there the weekend before the event started.  Still, it was a great crowd in an amazing location.  The weather wasn’t super hot, but warm enough to get into the calm, clean sea.  Once again we really scored with an Airbnb, despite it being a five flight walk up.  We had terraces with ocean views on both sides of the two story apartment and plenty of amenities and comfort to make meals for ourselves, although we did partake in lots of savory delights in restaurants also.  To our amazement, with the very international crowd, we met New Zealanders, Australians, Germans and even dozens of San Franciscans there, but I don’t recall seeing one person I knew from New York, strangely.

Barcelona with Shando and Alexandra

Shando asked me what country we were when we woke up in Barcelona, as we had changed location quite a few times in two and a half weeks.  We had heard so many languages during this trip.  Spain is a gem of a place (and yes, I do mean Catalonia, which has a very special place in my heart).  We made some impressionable memories during our visit with a particularly spacious and inexpensive Airbnb, where we got to have two cats remain with us, which made us miss our dogs even more.

This was Alex’s fourth time to Barcelona with me, and of course I grew up in Toerella de Montgri, part of Catalonia closer to the French border, when my dad was stationed in Estartit the 1970’s.

Alex had gone into Sagrada Familia the last time she was in Barcelona and said she could see the progress made since then and was thrilled to get a chance with her last minute plans to join us to get in within a reasonable amount of time.  There are only eleven more years left until this structure will be completed, which isn’t a lot when you consider it got started in the 19th Century.

This was the first time for me to actually go inside the basilica, so I’m really glad we had made reservations for a walking tour with a guide during our relatively short stay in the city of Barcelona this year. Unfortunately the battery in my headset ran out during the tour, so I had to stand uncomfortably close to the woman who was giving the tour, but I explained why in Spanish, which I think she appreciated. Pictures of course cannot demonstrate the way the light is used to tell stories in this place.  The acoustics of the choir must be amazing, but unfortunately all we heard was a lot of construction taking place on a regular weekday.

Pictured with me in one picture is my friend Hugo and his Valenciano partner, Agustin.  They were instrumental in making sure we went into the cathedral and some other parts of the oldest part of Barcelona that I had also never seen before.

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