Saturday, January 11, 2014

Brother Geoff's visit

It's been quite a January so far!  It's been 12 years, but on Saturday my brother Geoff and his dog Belle came to visit us!  Our good weather was holding so we took advantage of it to take Belle on a walk.
Lee, Belle and Geoff

Me and my baby brother!

Now that Geoff is working in the bay area and living in El Sobrante, we hope to see more of him on the weekends.  And who knows, maybe one day Teri and Emilee will get down here, too!

Sean's visit to Moss Beach

Sean was able to have an adventure during his winter break from university - he flew to Long Beach and spent three days with his brother, Nathan.  Then he took a bus to the Amtrak train to Grover Beach where we met him, and then drove up to Moss Beach with us.  Anyone remember the movie "Planes, trains and automobiles"?  And a bus!

Sean arriving in Grover Beach, right on time!

Before we started home we were able to have lunch with Jim at the Graduate!  

New Year's day in San Francisco.  Despite the clouds it was pretty warm - note Sean is in shorts!

Sean and Grandpa with the ships at Hyde St. Pier in the background

Sean at Fisherman's Wharf

We've added a San Francisco sweatshirt in this picture of Sean on the cable car

Lunch!  We wanted to go to Boudins, a San Francisco bakery famous for their sourdough bread, where we were all going to have clam chowder in a bread bowl!  Unfortunately, thousands of other people had the same idea so we went to the Rainforest Cafe, instead, where we all had clam chowder in a bread bowl!

Some of the "wildlife" at the Rainforest cafe

On Thursday we took a walk up to the Distillery.  The tide was on it's way out and the weather was gorgeous!

Cousins!  Jacob came over to visit with Sean.  They had lunch on the deck - burritos from our little Mexican restaurant up the road.  Then it was off to the beach with the frisbee!

Sean and Jacob - maybe I should post a picture of them as babies together?

A walk around Half Moon Bay to get some frozen yogurt.  We had artichokes for dinner the night before and then we discovered one that had "bloomed".

And then it was time for Sean to head home and back to University for his next semester.

Grandpa and Sean

Bye, Sean!  Thanks so much for coming to visit with us!  We'll see you and Bailey soon!

Christmas at Grover Beach

As you know from our previous posts, we did something different for Christmas this year!  We went to Grover Beach and spent the holiday with Jim and Rex!  Grover Beach was experiencing summer weather, so aside from the fact that I hadn't packed appropriately, that was a huge bonus as the rest of the country had VERY cold conditions.

Jim had Tuesday and Wednesday off from work, so we were able to plan our holiday dinner, which was totally non-traditional!  We decided that a "beach" theme would be good so Jim bar-b-qued steaks!  They were wonderful!  We had various side dishes, but no potatoes/gravy or stuffing.  Jim's neighbor, Fred, joined us for dinner and we had a good time!

We got to "skype" with the Murphy's and with Gary, Joyce, Mark and Alisha in Idaho, so we touched base with most of the family on Christmas day.

There was definitely a "theme" to gift-giving this year - the Richey's and Murphy's sent the three of us a great wine gift basket with lots of goodies in it AND 4 bottles of wine!!  We had gotten Jim a bottle of wine and Gary and Joyce sent us a bottle of wine, too!  You can see the Idaho ornaments on two of the bottles - gifts from Mark and Alisha.

On Thursday Jim went back to work and Rex went to Doggie Day Care!  Lee and I went to Cambria and spent quite a bit of time beach-combing.  It was HOT at the beach - about 84 degrees, so a wonderful place to be.

On Friday we went south and spent the afternoon in Solvang - a great little Danish town.  It was all dressed up for Christmas and really pretty.  We did lots of walking, browsing, shopping and finally finished up with a beer at an Irish pub!  Funny how no matter where we go we always find an Irish pub!!

On Saturday and Sunday the four of us just relaxed and enjoyed the incredible weather!  We did some wine-tasting up in Paso Robles and discovered the Opolo Winery - excellent wine if you ever come across it.  We took a long walk along the boardwalk into Pismo Beach, which Rex really enjoyed.

Then it was Monday.  Jim had to go back to work and we left to go home, picking Sean up at the train in Grover Beach along the way.

Merry Christmas from Grover Beach!  Wine, anyone?

Steaks!  Served on the platters that originated from the Desert Inn in the Fresno area in the 1950.

Waves crashing at Moonstone Beach in Cambria

Lots of beach goers on December 26th!

This estuary is at Morro Rock and that is a group of sea otters floating in on the tide

Solvang windmill!

Horse-drawn trolley to get you around town.  We walked!

Most of the shops had decorated trees outside with decorations that reflected their business

This one was outside a needlework shop and these are packages of embroidery floss hanging on it - very clever!!

And outside the bakery?  Pretzels on the tree!

The clam used to be actual currency in Pismo Beach long ago.  There are still clam sculptures around town and they dress them up to fit the seasons!

Every winter Monarch butterflies from all over the Pacific northwest migrate to this grove of eucalyptus trees in Pismo Beach.  There are literally thousands of them hanging in the trees.

We visited this winery, also in the Paso Robles area.  The owners are a retired actor and a former Miss America!  The wine was really good and in the tasting room they served beer bread!!  I had forgotten about beer bread and how good it is!!

Justin is a well-known winery.  We did some wine-tasting there on the patio, overlooking the foothills.  The wine was wonderful!  Nice to taste wine that we could never afford to buy!

Our wine-tasting spot.  Rex was not terribly impressed!

Thanks, Jim, for a great holiday.  And for the little dose of "summer" in December!!
Happy New Year!!

Sunday, January 05, 2014

2013 Christmas brunch at the Cliff House

Another holiday tradition for us is brunch at the Cliff House with brother Jon, sister-in-law Sue and our nephew, Jacob.

It's always great fun to catch up and do it in such a beautiful setting with such yummy food and endless champagne!  One of our favorite holiday traditions!

Jacob and Lee sitting down, Sue and Jon in the back

Jacob, Pat, Sue and Jon

Jon, Jacob, Pat and Sue on a beautiful, sunny Sunday!

The McPherson's!  Merry Christmas!

Hughes Airwest 2013 Christmas Party

On December 17th we attended the Air West Christmas party hosted by Judy and Russ in Sunnyvale.  Their house was all dressed up for Christmas!  We had a wonderful potluck dinner and lots of fun visiting and catching up with everyone.

A beautiful tree - Judy makes her own "snow" each year and flocks her tree - just beautiful!

Chris, Russ and Judy

Charla, Lee and Tracy

Jan and Chris - Merry Christmas!!

Tracy and Jan

Gloria's home made Santa cookies!!  Yummy!

See the "snow" on the tree branches?

It's definitely Christmasy here!

Thanks, Judy and Russ for a fabulous evening!!

Our pre-Christmas visit with the Murphy's

And then it was off to the Murphy's in Aldergrove BC.  It was the last week of school for Patience, Jordyn and Nick.  Nathan was there visiting from Long Beach so it was great to see him, too.  Dylan was at home so we were able to spend some time with him, too.  We weren't expecting to see Sean as he was in his last week of finals at University of Victoria, but he surprised us on Friday night and came home for the weekend!  

So, we saw all the Murphy's, and even got to visit with Don's parents, Don and Waneta as they came down on Saturday for a pre-Christmas gathering with the kids!  Banner day!!

We were able to go with Patience and Jordyn to their Pioneer Girlz Christmas party at church.  Lee and I were with Jordyn and we got to do lots of craft activities as well as take pictures!

Cathi and Don went with Patience and had just as much fun as we did.  It was great that each girl had their own set of adults.
The girls also did a great musical performance for all of us.  It was wonderful to be able to share that with them.

Nathan was not able to stay for Christmas, so he had an early Christmas with lots of Sharks-themed gifts.

The Murphy's!  Nick, Nathan, Don, Cathi, Patience, Dylan, Jordyn, Waneta, Don Sr. and Sean

And Cathi and Don and their family

Don and Waneta with their grandchildren

Sean and Bailey by the tree

Much to Nathan's delight, Nick is on a hockey team!

Grandpa got to go to some of his practices and got some great shots!

Nick took this picture!  We think that he has a future as a photographer if hockey doesn't work out!

Another wonderful trip!!