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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ho Ho Ho!

Here is, perhaps, my favorite picture of this holiday season: Cleo in her holiday finery. And so on the last day of 2013 I am looking forward to the new year and all it holds. Happy New Year!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Seasonal Cuteness

Blogger is still giving my trouble, but I am actually liking not being a regular blogger. However, this sweet shot of Chris hunting for the perfect pumpkin inspired me to sit down at my computer and attempt a post. I discovered that I can no longer type text...only in the caption mode. Grrr. But isn't he cute?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The End?

Oh my. Blogger is not cooperating with me. Or maybe my computer is on the fritz. At any rate, I am not enjoying the frustration and will be taking a break until I can get the train back on the track. The picture on this page shows me with 2 of my grandsons as we celebrate my birthday this week. The big question: How did I get to be 70?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

All's Fair

We did it up in a big way as we took the Sonoma County Fair by storm. Our first stop was, of course, the rides

Getting to the fair shortly after the gates opened was a wise decision as it was not until afternoon that the lines grew, involving lengthy waits.

We sprung for the pricey admission deal that allowed us unlimited rides, another wise decision and a money $aver in the long run. 

The most unusual ride of the day was named "Walking on Water" and involved the boys being placed inside giant plastic bubbles that rolled around a large pool. Walking was pretty near impossible, as you can see from the picture. And  yet no one got wet!

Great day!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Garden Gala

The summer fundraiser at the Luther Burbank Gardens has come and gone, and it looked like it was a big success. I helped with the flowers, which turned out to be a more athletic job than I had anticipated. First I had to pick up the many arrangements from cold storage and transport them to the gardens, about 35 vases in all. That was the easy part. Once I got to the gardens, they had to be unloaded to hand carts and then wheeled to the tables on the far (of course!) side of the property. The final step was to schlep them to the 20 individual tables and plop a table number in the center of each vase. I was pleased with the finished product, but my feet were telling me that I was finished, too.

So, as the band and the catering team arrived,  I limped to my car and left the approaching festivities behind, not even stopping at the martini bar, open for business, featuring fruit infused gin and vodka. The $100 a plate tables looked beautiful and welcoming, and the weather was perfect. 


Monday, July 1, 2013

Being Posh at the Palace

To celebrate Dick's birthday, a b-i-g one with a zero, we made a special day of it and went to brunch at the historic Palace Hotel in San Francisco. We knew we were out of our league when the bar tab for  Bloody Marys, three of them, came to $45! Yikes.

However, we did not pick the Palace in order to sit there and count our pennies. It was a day to be extravagant, live beyond our means, and maybe pretend just a little.  I could not stop looking up at the fabulous glass ceiling and the sparkling brilliance of all the chandeliers.

The food was amazing: fresh crab, dim sum, paella, sushi, prime rib, omelets to order, seven different food stations in all, just packed with all kinds of goodies. I managed to empty my filled plate four times, my favorite being the dessert plate.

There was even a table with cold cereals, just in case someone had to have their Cheerios! 


More champagne, please?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Cousin Reunion

The day began with an early lunch, gazpacho, which turned out to be a very tasty treat.  Jane had packed lunch for the boys, I had potato chips for them, so everyone was happy as we had our meal before heading out to the parks.


The first stop was Brush Creek Park where all three grandsons found plenty to do: swings, slides, and all sorts of wonderful gadgets on which to climb.

Jane and Nika

The highlight of the day, however, was the arrival of the Bowen Family. Our park meetings used to happen regularly, but busy schedules have made visits a bit of a challenge.

Taylin, John, Kate, Rylee, Alex and Chris
 What a wonderful day it was!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Tea for Ten

Putting on my best Martha Stewart facade, I found myself wondering why I had volunteered to host a tea when I had never before done anything of the sort. Birthday parties, yes. Cocktail parties, yes. Dinner parties, yes.  Luncheons, yes. A tea?


All I was responsible for was the coffee, tea, lemon water, and fruit; another guest was to provide the pastries. As I gathered up my tea pots, I knew I'd be able to pull it off...not that big a deal, really.  The most difficult part of the job was cleaning the house, getting rid of all the animal fur and dust curls that tend to lurk in the corners of my home. My vacuum and I became best friends in the process.

I picked flowers from the yard and set a pretty table using my Staffordshire Calico Brown, though the cups and saucers, basically unused, needed a major bath to regain their sparkle.

I'm happy to report that the event came off without a hitch.

Mission accomplished!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day

Another Mother's Day has come and gone, and I miss my wonderful mom every day. Since she died when she was only 52, we lost many years together; but I am grateful for the years we did have. And all the wonderful memories.

Though a bit reflective, I always manage to have a nice Mother's Day as I am celebrated by my own wonderful daughter. This year was no exception. A fabulous herb kit
 from Smith and Hawken arrived in Thursday's mail. The perfect gift for a gardener! I eagerly filled the pots with soil and sowed the seeds. Then under the grow light the pots went to begin their journey to full-grown plants.

On the day itself, I received a phone call, the next best thing to being together. In fact, as we jumped from topic to topic, it was just like we were right across the table from one another enjoying a tasty brunch.

Lucky me.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Bounce House Cometh

Chris hams it up!

Birthday celebrations are always exciting, and this one for Alex was no exception. Perhaps the most exciting part of this particular party was the magnificent bounce house plunked in the center of the backyard. The day was filled with somersaults, cartwheels, and back flips - all so very fun to watch.

  The colorful cake added a tasty touch to all the merriment. I love that indivdual cupcakes make up this cake, and who doesn't love a Thomas cake?

Alex enjoys his new pool.

There were plenty of gifts, a favorite being this blow-up pool, perfect for the boy who loves to play in water. From the look on his face, it is easy to see that this Birthday Boy is having a wonderful day.

So glad I was there for the fun.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Take It Aweigh I go again.

The bathroom scale has become my best friend,  better than being my worst enemy...I guess. Yes. We are working together, the scale and I, to erase the holiday weight that just adores me and does not want to leave. I mean, come on: it is almost May, and I still have that Christmas fudge and tasty eggnog hanging about on my hips. And elsewhere.

So, I am exercising more regularly, and my walking shoes are no longer pining away in the back corner of my closet.

I have even taken the radical step of asking for help. Hello, Weight Watchers.

Well, really, I need all the help I can get. I still am that skinny kid who had to drink milkshakes in order to retain weight and who was teased with the name "Broomstick" when  in 6th grade. However, my body has betrayed me and decided to reverse the pre-teen trend, gradually at first, but then with a vengeance once middle age visited. It is what it is.

Funny how things change.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Just Wondering...

Is it in the DNA?

Chris and John, two of my three grandsons

My Brother and I pose for the camera. He has been doing this to me ever since we were children.

Hmmmm. Could be.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Awaiting Spring

Theme Thursday - Greenery

Every year it is the same for me: I look forward to spring with all its newness, a time when my garden begins again putting to rest the winter's gloom, ready to surprise me with brilliant green buds that will soon blossom into jolly splashes of vibrant color. These new, baby hydrangea leaves caught my eye a few days ago, and I look forward to the months  ahead when this same shrub will be filled with pink snowball-like blooms; but, for now, I am enjoying the first signs of renewal and the promise of what is to be.

Thanks, Mother Nature.

See what else is happening at Theme Thursday.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Home For Rent

The search is on! The neighborhood birds are flocking to my bird houses, going in and out of the entry holes, and discussing the situation with each other. I am not sure quite what they are looking for; some years I make the cut, and other years I don't.

I am hopeful that at least one of my houses will be selected so that I have the fun of watching the nest building and all the activities that follow. Here's hoping...

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Some Enchanted Evening

What a night!  Weill Hall, the much touted concert hall modeled after Tanglewood, opened last summer; but I have not set foot inside it until last night, though I have been listening to the ooohs and aaaahs of Sonoma County residents, raving about the beauty and acoustics of the place. Well, it is all true!

The approach to the magnificent hall is very picturesque, not unlike walking the path to Lincoln Center in New York: a showy spectacle of large light-filled windows inviting music lovers to enter. All that is missing is the gurgling fountain.

The hall itself, not to be outdone by the very impressive foyer, is a masterpiece of golden wood, a feast for the eyes. The most amazing feature of this wonderland is the back wall, covered by a curtain last night, which operates like a huge garage door, opening up to reveal a giant green space that becomes lawn seating for summer concerts. I must put that on the agenda for the future.

Big names have been guests at Weill Hall; Yo-Yo Ma played to a sold-out crowd just a couple of weeks ago. How I would have loved to be in that audience, but the tickets were snapped up by season ticket holders, so I lost out. However, because she is not nearly as well known locally as the famed cellist, tickets were available for a concert with Tony Award winner, Barbara Cook, now 85 years old. I'm here to tell you: she can still hit those high notes! I was captivated.

The crowning moment for me was her encore number, John Lennon's Imagine, one of my favorite songs. She put aside her hand mic and walked slowly, holding her cane for support, to the front of the stage.

And sang. Softly. The incredible acoustics carried her voice to every nook and cranny of the hall, and she delivered Lennon's powerful message with the emotional force of an atom bomb. It was stunning.

An enchanted evening, indeed.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Just Pugging Along

Since my pug ladies now have different walking speeds, our outings have become more complicated, with Cleo pulling on the leash while senior citizen Winnie lags behind. The solution, of course, is very simple: two separate walks.

 So, Cleo gets the first shift.
And Winnie, the second.

Cleo moves ahead at a pretty fast pace but occasionally does slow down if something catches her eye.

Winnie, on the other hand, does very little walking but lots and lots of sniffing which gives me time to take my eyes off where I am walking and enjoy the sights...

like paper whites...

and teensy pale pink tea roses.

Winnie's once tightly curled tail has completely unfurled, a signal from her to me that it is time to head homeward, so we slowly make our way down the path that leads to our front door and, inside, her soft and cozy cushion.

There's no place like home.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

My Three Grandsons

All I can say is WOW!  This is such a fabulous picture of my three grandsons. Because they are so active, it is nearly impossible to get a photo of all of them together,  motionless and actually posing for the camera. I am in awe and will treasure this wonderful capture of the three brothers enjoying a beautiful day in the park.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Still Hoping

Inauguration Day has come and gone, and I am eager to see what the  next four years will bring. No matter what, I am very pleased that President Obama has been given another four years to carry on his work. This fact says to me that the election of a black man in 2008 was not, as some people claimed,  a fluke; the people have elected him once again.  The misguided goal of making Obama a one term president, overtly stated by some of our supposed leaders,  has bitten the dust.

So, now, will our elected officials come together or will there be four more years of dysfunction? We'll see.

"The most evident of truths - that all of us are created equal - is the star that guides us still...just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall."

-President Barack Obama
Inauguration Day, 2013-

Yes, still hoping.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Beginning Again

Theme Thursday - AGAIN

I love beginnings...the chance to start all over...and so I  welcome this new year. However, I am again  taking  a slightly different direction on the new year's resolution road. As of a couple of years ago,  I have given up making these annual goals because, to tell the truth, it never worked particularly well for me. Instead I have begun attempting new year's  evolutions. You see, there's not quite so much pressure involved.

So, without further delay...this year's evolution attempt is: LOWERING THE BAR OF EXPECTATIONS. I would love to say that I thought this up on my own, but I did not. Instead I borrowed the idea from the very wise Marin County, CA writer, Anne LaMott. There's nothing deep or hugely complicated here. All it really means is to me is LIGHTEN UP, go with the flow, and stop over thinking situations.

Yes, I am going to work on that.

See what else is happening at Theme Thursday.