We just returned from a great couple of weeks on the road for the holidays. First, we went to Fargo for an early Christmas celebration with the Johnson family. Hana enjoyed all the attention from her cousins, aunts, and uncles and a special visit from Santa.
It was 12 below zero with a 40 mile an hour wind when we left Fargo for the Los Angeles area. The blowing snow made visibility tough, but we were fine by the time we left the Dakotas. It took us three days to get to South Pasadena, where I grew up. Both Hana and Bailey (our second oldest cat) did well. Bailey needed daily medication and other care, which is why she went with us.
It was rainy, but of course, much warmer in South Pas. for Christmas. We spent it with Grandpa Mits and Grandma Akemi and the Sakai family.
Hana especially enjoyed meeting Rabbit.
We included Mieko in our celebrations by giving each family member an ornament with her picture and a dvd of the videos from her Celebration Service. The last time I had been home was two years ago with Mieko.
We spent the next week visiting with friends home for the holidays from all over the U.S. and even Africa. Hana hit a lot of tourist attractions, including the Santa Monica Pier, Griffith Park, and La Jolla Cove in San Diego.
She also went hiking for the first time (in Daddy's backpack) in the foothills of the San Gabriel Valley.
Luckily, Hana is very easy going. She's smiling and babbling a lot now, which delighted her family and new found friends.
One of the highlights of the trip was an historic tour of Little Tokyo in Downtown L.A. I had been there many times, but never knew the history of the buildings. We also visited the WWII monument to Japanese American service members, where I found my Uncle Frank's name.
A California vacation wouldn't be complete without a lot of our favorite food. Shawn satisfied his craving for carne asada tacos from the taco truck at Nishikawa Auto Service. In fact, one night he ate 18 of them! We also had Chinese Dim Sum, Korean BBQ, Baja fish tacos, and much more. To top off the culinary adventure, my Dad made soba noodles from scratch.
If you eat the noodles on New Year's Eve, it's supposed to bring you long life. On New Year's Day, we had a traditional Japanese soup called Ozoni. The other dishes symbolized peace, family, and wealth. Our tastebuds had quite a workout.
New Year's Day we did what the locals do around Pasadena... watch the Rose Parade on T.V. and avoid the parade route. Instead, we walked around Lacy Park and enjoyed the sunshine and 70 degree weather.
Our trip home was not quite as bright. Bailey took a turn for the worse and we tried to get to St. Paul as soon as possible. The freezing rain in Iowa and Southern Minnesota made the trip even longer. When we took Bailey to the emergency vet clinic, we discovered her kidney disease had advanced and she also had lymphoma. We were glad we spent some quality time together before she went to the hospital. We said goodbye to her early Sunday morning. We're trying not to be sad because she had a long and happy life. We hope Mieko is taking care of her now.
We wish you all the best in 2009!