Over Spring break, we're going Back East. Or Up North. Or Back Up North East, you might say. There's a conference there near enough to a city we very much want to visit that it's only a rental car away, and thus a good option.
This means, however, that Spring Break will not be spent in the traditional way--that is, going Down South (at least, down South relative to here, Out West, which is to say, going to Los Angeles/Long Beach from Turlock) to spend it with my mother. Who still makes us freaking Easter Baskets stuffed with candy (she even made one for Chris, last time!), and thank goodness for it. I don't know what I'd do without baskets of candy. NEED BASKETS OF CANDY. NEED.
So, since we are going Back Up NorthEast, rather than going Out Down SouthWest for break, there needs to be an occasion to go Down South. Out a-little-bit-West, you understand. In brief, to follow the homing beacon back to the Bay--the South Bay, we call the area, in fact, in Southern California. I'd never heard of no Northern Californian "South Bay." So fuck you, San Jose. We've got dibs.
So. We need to find a time to get Down South, Out West, to the SoCal South Bay area (which is not the "NorCal"--and I cannot stand the phrase NorCal, by the way, folks; SoCal has a ring and a snap, whereas NorCal sounds like a branch of the food and drug administration [and I don't ever want to see/hear "CenCal" again in my life]--South Bay). To see Mama. Because Mama misses me, and I miss her.
So when to go Down South, Out West, to the SoCal-not-Northern-Californian South Bay area, to see Mama, who misses me, and my little brother who is not so little, anymore, and in fact is quite a lot taller than me, and even a little taller than Chris, and just a smidge taller than my father was at his height? (And it would have been my father's birthday, today; he'd have been 61, rest him.)
In a week and a half, that's when. For a weekend trip, the likes of which we've made a lot more frequently this year than last. And we're going to see a goddamn live hockey game, in the Long Beach Arena, between the ECHL hotstuff, the Long Beach Ice Dogs (who are the affiliates of the Hamilton Bulldogs and thus of the Montreal Canadiens Up North and Back East) who were local to me all my life, and the now-local to me--that is to say, local to the Turlock area, which is to say, located 45 miles North of here, but they're closest--Stockton Thunder, from the bottom of the league (who are the affiliates of the Pheonix Coyotes who are Back East from here but Out West from most places). Pure serendipity put a three day weekend for Cesar Chavez day coinciding with a quiet enough time to be able to go Out Down South West to see Mama, who misses me, and my little brother who is not so little any more, and whom I also miss, and with a game between my once local Ice Dogs from Down South at the top of the league and the now local Stockton Thunder from Up North at the bottom, and have them playing in the SoCal-not-NorCal-South-Bay-area.