Just Got Back From Roch

The girls (and Pax) and I drove 300 miles to visit my mother over the weekend.
The last time I saw her was between Christmas and New Year's day.
I slept in my dad's office/computer room surrounded by all his stuff.
Since his death five years ago, this was my first time to really examine his library.
He was a big underliner and highlighter of phrases so it is an interesting experience to read his books.
It is like having him read over my shoulder, making sure that I do not miss salient points.
I felt even more connected to him  when I discovered that he owned a hardbound copy of one of my favorite books (that my niece Erica recommended),
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.
I did not know that he had this.
But I am not surprised.

I recently read a book recommended by DZ called, Silent Voices, The Lives of the Trappists Today by photojournalist Frank Bianco.
Very fascinating, these monks are--so I wanted to visit one of their abbeys which is a 45 minute drive from my mom's house.
Last saturday my mom, my SIL Chari, K, G and I drove 45 minutes 60 minutes to visit the Genesee Abbey in Piffard, NY.
We got lost trying to find it.
As we were meandering through endless cornfields in the middle of well, cornfields-- my SIL Char teased me and predicted, "when we finally get there, the place will be closed for the summer."

It turns out, the chapel was closed for renovation.
(there's that words-become-our-prayer- thingy again.)
But all was not lost since the bread shop was open.
So we bought two loaves of delicious raisin bread.
And the day was still not wasted since I was also able to stalk my friend JB, who was also "in town"
visiting her sister who lives 5 miles away from the abbey.
JB is from a tight knit family and they are beginning to notice that we keep crashing their family events....

We did not stay long, as my eldest brother Jimmy was going to grill pork belly for dinner.
We did not get lost getting back to Roch.
After dropping my SIL off at their house,
and dropping my mom and K off at my mom's house--
G asked to go to a super large Barnes and Noble bookstore.
I dropped her off at the bookstore while I looked for "bear spray" in an outdoor sporting shop nearby.
While they did not sell bear spray, they did have bear proof canisters for sale.
Maybe they should make bear proof tents.
(they do. They are called houses.)

At my brother's house, had a huge dinner of grilled pork belly dipped in crushed garlic vinegar, grilled veggies.
And rice.
For dessert had many servings of creamy ice cream from the local dairy.

Drove back home today after church and a big lunch.
The big lunch was probably a mistake because I got very sleepy during the first 65 miles.
You know that jarring feeling when you realize that you may have been asleep for a split second?
So I pulled into a rest stop.
Unfortunately two large tour buses got there before me and so the lines were very long to get a hot cup of coffee.
So I decided to check out the convenience store.
I found bottled iced Starbucks in the refrigerator and bought that instead.
That woke me up.
In fact I realize that it was better than hot coffee because I would not have been able to guzzle that down quickly.
The caffeine kept me alert as I drove through some powerful rain storms on the rest of the drive home.
It must have been pretty strong caffeine, as I am still awake right now, while the rest of my family sleeps.

I think I will counter the caffeine of the bottled Starbucks coffee with a shot of  iChill.
(Which works by the way, iChill, I mean--it is this berry flavored sleep aid concoction sold over-the-counter, but I am not yet sure of any side effects--more tests needed.)
And no,  I have not been paid to advertise either Starbucks or iChill.
Just sharing.