Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Max’s Birthday

2010_1220DEC100001 Actually, Max’s birthday was yesterday, the 28th---he just turned 15!  Do you remember when you were 15???  Because his brother had to leave on the 27th, we sort of celebrated all Christmas weekend 2010_1225DEC100019  2010_1225DEC100025  2010_1226DEC100031 AND Monday---Tuesday, (his actual birthday), he went shooting rifles with his Dad along with his friend, E., and his Dad.  You see, E got a rifle for his birthday, and couldn’t wait to shoot it. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA            OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         Besides, Monday, the 27th was E’s 15th birthday too!  Max, E and his other friend L, usually celebrate together because their birthdays are so close together (L’s birthday is Jan. 7th).   Then, after the rifle shooting, that evening Max and E went to boxing class2010_1227DEC100013 and worked up quite a sweat. 2010_1227DEC100014

Well, Max’s actual birthday was a rainy, windy day, so we stayed pretty much inside while he played his new video games and goofed off.  Then, today, Wednesday, he went to visit L over in Yuba City, about 2 hours from here.  He’ll be gone until sometime this coming weekend.

It’s so hard to believe Max is already 15.  It seems like only last week he was going to Kindergarten, and only a few days ago that he graduated from the 8th grade.  But now, he’s a freshman in High School and playing High School sports and enjoying the school band program.  He’s thrown off his little boy innocent face and a bright young man is shining through that big grin.  Why, by next year at this time, he’ll be wanting to get his driver’s license…  Oh no!  He can’t be THAT old yet!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAX!   2010_1220DEC100003

Monday, December 27, 2010


DSCF0919 Coming back from the city of Napa the other day, we (Sean, Max and I) stopped at this castle winery for a look-see.  Sean and his girlfriend had visited it when they were here before and peaked my interest.  Most of you don’t know how much I LOVE castles.  Just ask Carol Dee.  One of our fondest memories together centers around a lost castle---but that’s another story.

DSCF0920 This castle was brought over from Italy, stone by stone and reconstructed in the Napa Valley.  DSCF0926 You can’t see it from the road, so I had no idea it was there!  But it is spectacular to come over the small hill and see a beautiful castle.  We were able to wander around, but they charged a fee to go inside, so we passed on that one---for now, anyway.  We’ll save that tour for another day.  But the grounds and up-close views of the stonework DSCF0921 and metal work DSCF0927 were fun.  There were also sheep in one pasture where I took this “sheep shot:” DSCF0928   This cat appeared to be the official “castle cat” DSCF0925 as he sat at the entrance, and collected all pets.  Reminded me of Caruso.  The boys rolled their eyes when I insisted on pics of them, but humored me anyway.  DSCF0923

All in all, it was fun to see this little jewel hidden in the Napa Valley.DSCF0932 DSCF0931

Friday, December 24, 2010


DSCF0893 Christmas is nearly here and our oldest, Sean, is home from the Navy this year!  It’s so good to see him again and watch him and Max exchange teases!  Sean arrived around 2 in the afternoon after a long grueling drive from San Diego.  He was wearing his new Navy uniform, which is a blue cammo! DSCF0901 Pretty spiffy!  He said he wore it because the matching raincoat was so nice and he thought he might need it. 

The boys played pool a while DSCF0898 before coming in and dragging out their musical instruments. DSCF0906 What fun to watch and hear the two of them playing together in front of the Tree! DSCF0910 Sean brought his old metal clarinet DSCF0907 and sounded spectacular with the bass accompanyment.

After Christmas, Sean will head on up to Bremmerton, WA, where the ship is in dry dock, in his car.  That way, he’ll have his car there.  He has a cute one-room, furnished apartment that is rented on a month to month basis, so he can easily leave when he needs to.  He’s only stationed up there until sometime in the spring, when he will go to China Lake, CA.  Dates are not certain yet for when that will happen.

So nice to have family all together for Christmas!  Happy Holidays to all!!!DSCF0905


Oh, and I promised to put up my recipe for Meringue Cookies:

Preheat oven to 350.  Beat 2 egg whites until stiff, then add

3/4 cup sugar slowly, beating it in thoroughly before adding

1/8 t. salt and 1/4 t. vanilla (or mint).  Mix in a 6 oz. (approx. 1 cup) package of chocolate or mint chips.

Then, on a sheet of parchment paper (or an old paper bag cut to fit your cookie sheet), spoon by teaspoon onto sheet (can be close together).  Put tray in oven and TURN OVEN OFF.  Leave in over-night.  In morning package and freeze or refrigerate.  If the cookies come out soft and chewy, freeze---the meringue will harden just right!  Enjoy!  I always make a double batch and still they disappear fast!!!  

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Who says cats don’t have a sense of humor??

Christmas is nearly here---Caruso has discovered the low tree ornament and chooses to keep it company.  DSCF0885 Then he remembers how much he likes Rudolf and for just an instant, transforms into the famous reindeer.  DSCF0886 Ah, but that was too much work.  DSCF0887

Sunday, December 12, 2010

White Bird Week

DSCF0878 What a crazy week!  I worked like crazy getting all those out-of-tune pianos up to par.  But when I came home, an amazing thing greeted me one evening---a pair of white geese waddled across the driveway.  Max was with me then and thought at first they were “giant ducks.”  I knew they were geese, by their size and bills, but I don’t think he’s ever seen domestic geese---the white ones. DSCF0877 Well, these two geese hung around for at least two days---they were quite skittish and when I tried to get pics of them, they noisily told me “Don’t you dare come closer.”  Then they took off, flying for short distances before landing and looking back at me, as if to say, “Can’t catch us!”

Then, just yesterday when we were coming home after retrieving Max from a friend’s house, our local wild turkey “herd” crossed the road in front of us. DSCF0880 I slowed to a stop for them to cross.  I admit I haven’t seen them in ages, but we were all surprised to see this snow white addition.  I’m not positive it was an albino wild turkey, as I couldn’t get close enough to check the eyes, but it sure had the same slim look as the wild ones and with those pinkish legs, was a real stand-out in the herd.  DSCF0879 Wish I could get closer for a better shot.  I’ll keep a lookout for the herd now that I know there is a white one among them.  After looking online, one place DID say true albino wild turkeys are RARE.  Most of the pics online were from Michigan and southern areas, none from CA.  Have any of you out there seen any albino wild turkeys?

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Glad we have rain…

Christmas_fireplace Ah, the days, they are a-flying by!  The holiday will be upon us before I even get the decorations up, at this rate.  Luckily for us, our Navy boy, Sean, will be home for Christmas this year, so we’ll have the family all together for the first time in YEARS!  That’s gift enough for me. 

I’ve been tuning and tuning like a madwoman---thank goodness for the work!  People have been so generous this year and for that I am truly thankful.  The Christmas Spirit seems to be stronger this year than in the past.  Perhaps it is due to the economic status or maybe because folks are discovering that Christmas is a time for GIVING rather than grabbing.  Or maybe, I’m just lucky and can put all that greed out of my mind for the time being.  Since I am NOT sending anything out via post office or UPS this year, it all seems…well strange.  For years I’ve mailed tons of stuff and been so relieved when it’s all done and I can concentrate on just our family here.  This time, that stress has been lifted and I can look at the season through different eyes.  Besides, I’m MAKING most of the gifts this year (that’s my excuse for not blogging more!), so I have plenty to prepare for. 

Just got a call from Sean, who says he’ll be driving up here on the 23rd and leaving for Washington State around the 27th.  It’ll be great to see him again!  Enjoy the weekend. 

(The Girls say HI and are still laying 5 to 6 eggs a day!)