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Christmas in July - Tuesday, July 5, 2022
Last year, traveling between NorCal and SoCal at Christmastime was pretty hectic and it felt too soon after Thanksgiving to go down again. So we decided that this year, we'd try visiting in the summer instead of for Christmas in order to better space out our visits, and see how well that works out. We decided that the July 4th weekend would be the best time during summer to visit. Christmas in July... sort of. Our families don't really do anything special for Christmas anyway.

We were originally planning to drive down Friday, but then we learned that my mom tested positive for COVID. Her patient at work had it, and it was either going to be my mom or her coworker attending to him, and my mom didn't want her coworker taking the risk because that's how she is. Fortunately, my mom's symptoms weren't terrible and she's getting better by the day. She's been limiting direct interaction with my dad and so far he hasn't gotten sick.

So we drove down Saturday, waking up early and leaving early (around 7:15am) to try to beat traffic, but traffic didn't seem to be much of an issue. Though there were some minor slowdowns, it wasn't too bad overall. The worst part was a 17-minute slowdown caused by an earlier accident; interestingly, that cleared up a couple hours later. Overall, the traffic map was pretty much green the whole day. Fewer people driving this year because of sky-high gas prices?

So instead of splitting time between staying with my parents and Priscilla's parents, we just spent three days with her parents this time. We did visit my mom briefly (my dad was out) and talked to her from outside the house. She was only willing to open the window a crack because she didn't want us to breathe her germs, so we could barely hear her. Heh.

As always, the time with Priscilla's parents was pretty low-key. We mostly just ate and I also helped them with lots of computer issues (I'm always their IT guy whenever we visit). On Sunday, Priscilla and I visited New Life Church, joined people for a small lunch (tacos) there, talked to Aaron and his family briefly at the end of that, then had another lunch with Gina and Weber at California Pita, and then hung out with Crescentia and Raymond for 3.5 hours at Tang & Java. Whew. It was nice seeing people, but I definitely needed some downtime after so much socializing.

On Monday, Priscilla and I walked to Gen Korean BBQ since she had a hankering for buffet and it was either going to be Gen or All That Shabu, and the latter was a bit more expensive. We got to Gen at opening time and were seated in a section with several other tables. There was just one waiter for all those tables, so it took a while to get any service. But once our waiter got things started, he made sure to keep coming back to take orders so that there was always a steady stream of meat at our table. I've never seen a waiter hustle so much - he was constantly running up and down the aisle, whizzing by to drop off food or take away dirty plates, and when taking our order, he spoke in a fast, energetic manner. Priscilla remarked that he seemed like an anime character. His bleached hair might've contributed to that impression as well. At the start, we were about to leave after having waited 20 minutes without getting any attention, but our waiter turned a miserable experience into a terrific one. He definitely got an excellent tip from us. We left full, though we refrained from gorging ourselves this time. Maybe we're getting wiser and learning moderation.

Then that evening, we took a post-dinner walk with the parents when the city fireworks show happened to be in progress. We walked down to the main street where we (and lots of other people) were able to find a decent view of the fireworks being shot from the park less than a mile away. From there we also had a partial view of fireworks shows from several other locations maybe a few miles away. It was awesome to see so many; I guess LA loves their fireworks. Meanwhile, our own city back up north is foregoing its fireworks show for the third year in a row, humph.

After a quick breakfast this morning, it was time to head back home. There was a moderate amount of cars on the road but for the most part, traffic was pretty smooth. I do think fewer people were driving this year, though maybe Friday and Sunday were heavier days.

For Christmas, it does feel like something will be missing when we don't go down. But we might spend Christmas with my uncle and aunt and their family; they typically have a get-together and we're unable to go. And I'm sure that Priscilla will use her Great America pass a lot this December, and she'll probably make me go there once with her during WinterFest. And hopefully, our time with family and friends in LA for Thanksgiving will be all the more meaningful.
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