Of Course I Know the Way to San Jose!

It was great to drive back up to the Bay Area on Monday and go straight to Mom and Dad’s house in Sunnyvale and just be immediately comfortable – period. No grocery store runs, no sneaking the cat into a hotel, no need to make the room homey. It was heaven. I spent the week in one of my old bedrooms (I think all us kids have called all three of the bedrooms in my parents’ house “ours” at one point – we sort of rotated through them at different points in our childhood). Tallulah and I were upstairs for the week, thanks to my lil bro Simon being kind enough to let us take over his space up there so that Tallulah could have some room to roam, since she couldn’t mingle safely downstairs with Jack (my parents’ Jack Russell terrier) or more specifically, Val (my brother Nick’s pit bull, who is staying with my parents for the time being). It was kind of fun being back in a twin bed and going to sleep under a ceiling of glow stars, which are still up there from when we were younger.

My parents' house in San Jose

My parents' house in Sunnyvale

I had a mellow evening at home after the long drive, sorting through all the boxes of my crap that I had sent to my parents over the past couple of years every time my trunk got too full to close. I packed a box of winter clothes to travel with me as it will be cold when I get back to New York. Typing this from Tucson where it is 100 degrees out today, it seems impossible that I might need a parka and snow boots in just a couple of weeks’ time, but it could happen. Last year it snowed on the east coast before Halloween – just look back at my photos from my stay in the Berkshires last October.

My mom made a yummy pork roast, and I was able to catch up with my parents over dinner.

It was funny driving down to San Jose the next morning for load-in. I don’t think I had been to downtown San Jose since I stopped working at the Rep around 1999 or 2000. Downtown is surprisingly clean and appealing, and lots of new restaurants have opened up. It’s not super hopping or anything, but there’s a movie theater and a yoga place and a Safeway and plenty of places to eat, so at least I didn’t have to be embarrassed to have our company staying there 🙂 Way to go, San Jo!

I know I’d seen shows at the San Jose Performing Arts Center back when the Civic Light Opera still existed, but I had never worked in the space. Its a big enough building, with plenty of dressing rooms, and a really nice crew. The Broadway series is a new development in San Jose, so everyone was very inviting – we had a cake given to us by the presenters at sound check, and a really nice opening night party afterward at a nearby restaurant (which had the best party food we have had in a while). There was a bit of a snafu – well, kind of a big snafu – at the box office prior to the show. The line of people picking up tickets extended around the block, and we had to hold the curtain a half an hour before they could get everyone in their seats. Needless to say, the crowd was quite restless by the time we finally got started, but they ended up being a very fun and receptive crowd.

Me in the lobby at the Performing Arts Center

Me in the lobby at the Performing Arts Center

The next day I met up with my best girls at Santana Row, an outdoor shopping center, in San Jose. Mary, Fin, Tristan and I had lunch and then shopped for a couple of hours. It was great to see them all – Mary, Fin and I have been close friends since high school, and I think I’ve known Tristan for close to ten years now, too. Fin is expecting her first baby in December, and it was so cute seeing her with her baby bump!

Mary and Fin

Mary and Fin

The next day I met up with an a friend who goes even further back than Mary and Fin – Shawnee and I went to elementary school and have been friends since we were seven years old! Crazy that we have known each other almost thirty years – yikes! We went to elementary, junior high and high school together, and although we don’t see each other very often now, I am so glad that we are still in touch and get together from time to time to catch up. Its always just as easy to be together as it was when we were kids – I love friendships like that. You just pick up where you left off. Shawnee made lunch for us at her house in San Jose and we hung out in her gorgeous backyard all afternoon. It was also nice because I was able to spend a bit of time chatting with Shawnee’s husband, Shawn, who I had only met once before. They are a really great couple and seem very happy together – a perfect match.

On Thursday night my parents came to see “Spamalot” for the fifth (!) time – they saw the Broadway and Vegas companies, as well as our company in Portland and San Francisco (and now San Jose). They brought Rick and Barbara with them, who have been our neighbors ever since we moved to the house on Prince Edward Way in  1982. I grew up with Rick and Barbara’s daughters, and their middle daughter Gina is one of my best friends. Sadly I didn’t have time to catch up with the girls this visit, but it was great to see Rick and Barb, and it seemed like they had a great time at the show.

On Friday I got up early and drove downtown to pick up Suzanne so we could go hiking. It had been a couple of weeks since we had done a hike, and I had missed it! We went to Rancho San Antonio in Los Altos, where I have been dozens of times before with my friends. We did a really pretty five mile hike – it was a great morning.

Crossing of trails at Rancho San Antonio

Crossing of trails at Rancho San Antonio

At Rancho San Antonio

At Rancho San Antonio

In the afternoon I worked on finishing a couple of projects up – a pair of knit pants and two pairs of cotton bloomers for Fin’s baby. All were very easy, fun projects that I will definitely be making again .

Knit Pants for Baby Draeger

Knit Pants for Baby Draeger

Baby Bloomers 1

Baby Bloomers 1

Baby Bloomers 2

Baby Bloomers 2

On Saturday we had two shows, but I met up with my family in between at Cicero’s for some of my favorite pizza and some family time. Everyone was there – my parents, Simon, Nick and Morgan and Becky and Dave. Love my family. Love. Love. Love.

Me and my sibs at Becky's wedding (I totally didn't take any photos of us this trip!)

Me and my sibs at Becky's wedding (I totally didn't take any photos of us this trip!)

My parents (when they came to see me in Portland)

My parents (when they came to see me in Portland)

After the show I met Mary and Erika (who wasn’t able to come shopping with us on Wednesday because she was being responsible and working!) at the Duke, my favorite pub on the planet. We had a couple of beers and caught up on the gossip before saying goodbye. Hopefully we’ll see each other again soon!

Two shows on Sunday, and we were done. It was fun seeing familiar faces on the crew throughout the week – the hair local I had worked with at San Jose Rep and Shakespeare Santa Cruz, as well as the Lady of the Lake dresser who used to be the wardrobe supervisor at the Rep. We also had some of our local dressers from the San Francisco run on the crew, and it was nice to see them again, too.

On Monday I packed up the car and headed to the airport to fly to Tucson – my last air travel of the tour! (thank god!) For someone who is terrified of flying, I am pretty proud of myself for surviving over fifty plane flights in the last three years, and only chickening out on one of them! That’s a pretty good track record if you ask me. I still don’t like to fly, but I’ve learned to tolerate it if I have to 🙂

I waved good bye to my parents and brother again as I set off – it never gets easier. Why can’t New York City be in California? Hopefully I will be back again before too long.

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