Woke up to the sound of rain. Uh oh -- the family plan for today involved both picnicking and hiking. But we got ready, walked up to BART, and BARTed down to Fremont, where Shannon's step-dad (Bob) picked us up in the rather discouraging rain.
We met up with Shannon's mom (Bev), his brothers (Jason and Robby), Jason's wife (Lisa), and Bev's 3 adorable dogs (Abbey, Dinah, and Hope) at Del Valle Regional Park. It was still raining, but Bev had brought along a sort of pavilion-style shelter, which she and the boys had set up to protect one of the wooden picnic tables. So we all sat under the little shelter and had our picnic: chicken wings, shrimp, pasta salad (with lots of vegetables and whole-grain pasta), Robby's homemade bread (he had, unfortunately, mistaken "tsp" for "Tbsp" when reading the recipe, and so the bread was rather salty, but it seemed to have risen okay -- I wonder how that works, scientifically), chocolate-covered strawberries (delicious), and chocolate-pecan brownies (also by Robby, but not salty like the bread). The air was freezing, but at least we stayed pretty dry under our covering.
By the time we had finished eating and chatting (Jason is running a triathlon tomorrow, and Robby is leaving the U.S. for the first time in August on a trip to Shanghai.), the rain had mostly stopped. The dogs were very excited to run in the park, so we all headed out for a bit of a hike. The park is gorgeous, full of large, full trees of many different species and of many different shades of green. We walked along a lake, and the dogs ran in and out of the water frequently. The youngest dog, Hope, is only 5 months old, and she is absolutely adorable! Very friendly, very energetic, very sweet, very happy. Even Shannon -- who is usually pretty anti-dog -- said that she made him want to get a dog. I just wanted to pet and cuddle her all day long.
We hadn't walked far, though, when the rain started coming down again. Most of the party were not hardened walkers, so they voted to come in out of the rain, and we headed back. The dogs ran all over the place and discovered some horses, and some people, and some plants, and many interesting smells. Mostly they just ran and ran, though. Hope couldn't keep up, but she still seemed to enjoy herself.
I really enjoyed myself, much more than I had expected. I had great conversations with everyone. (Bev, Lisa, and I have similar tastes in books, so it's always interesting to chat with them.) My digestive system was even pretty cooperative!
Of course, we came home and I promptly fell asleep on the couch until dinner time.
The weather now is gorgeous. Well, at least we got to hike a little bit. I told Bev I'd like to go back to that park sometime, because I really liked it. She said sometime we could go out there and take their kayaks! Um ... okay. Maybe. I've kayaked before, but I wasn't very good at it. Of course, that was in the ocean, so maybe it would be easier in a lake.
Anyway, it was a very good day. And tonight is the season finale of "The Amazing Race." Cool!