February 11, 2017 – Hookslide Concert

Today Hookslide sang at the Willow Glen Middle School in San Jose. They are terrific! This is one in a series of concerts and workshops they do with area schools to promote the arts.  All the proceeds except for expenses go to the schools.  The kids, judging by the reaction of the audience, had a great time. We did too!

Hookslide in concert at Willow Glen school

January 28, 2017 – Jonathan turns 40!

There is no way that I can be the mother of someone who is 40 but I guess it just happened while I was not looking. The whole family went out to the Fish Market in Palo Alto. I got to sit next to the birthday boy. I forgot to take pictures but here’s one that I posted on Facebook on the day. It is from when he was 10 months old. He looks a little concerned!

Jonathan at 10 months old

 

January 13-24, 2017 – A visit to St. George in the winter

John and I decided to get away from all the rain in California by going to Utah where mostly it rained and was cold. Oh well, it was a nice break and we met with our contractor to work out the details of the bathroom renovation.  Mostly, though, we stayed inside and cooked, or did puzzles, although we did manage to play tennis on a couple of days when the temperature got almost all the way to 50F.

Pictures are mostly of various dinners we made.

Here are a few more pictures which are mostly not about food.

Not food, just a picture of the kitchen

Sarah and her friends at the Women’s March in Oakland. I found out too late that there was one in St. George

Artsy shot of chicken and rice curry with sand paintings

There was a lot of snow in the mountains but none made it to the ground in SG

January 11, 2017 – Sam is eight!?

Today is Sam’s birthday! Since he will be having a large children’s party on the Saturday after his birthday and we will be in St. George, Sarah, John and I go over to Palo Alto for a special family party with gifts, cake, and pizza! The biggest present hit is an ant farm given to him by his Auntie Leigh. We have brought some gifts and cards along with the dinner and cake. Happy Eighth Birthday, Sam!

Sam and his ant farm

Sam opening cards and presents

Sarah lighting candles

Happy Eighth Birthday, Sam!

January 8, 2017 – Hookslide concert

We are such loyal fans of Hookslide. Today they are singing at Thornton Junior High School in Fremont for the League of Volunteers.  We are among the youngest in the audience. They sing a variety of hard rocking songs and ballads. The crowd which is a little smaller than usual due to the rainy weather is appreciative. We, of course, think that they are great.

Hookslide singing

Hookslide singing off-mic

December 24-25, 2016 – Pilat Eve and Christmas

After making a lot of food and getting the house decorated we are ready for Pilat Eve and Christmas.  Some pictures from those days –

Our new expanding Xmas tree is up and decorated

Guests arrive and Jon and Rose fill their plates from our two tables of goodies

Sam and Nathan are so ready to open their presents

Jonathan opens a gift

A bottle of wine for Rose and John!

Sam and Nathan are happy with their gift!

Time to gather for the singing of carols

Sarah has picked out selections and we all follow the bouncing ball

Christmas morning with Sarah, John, and me is a much quieter affair

Of course on Christmas morning we have our traditional bagels and lox washed down with  our favorite beers, Schneider Weiss for. Sarah and me and Scheider Aventinus for John.

Picture of Christmas breakfast (12/25/15)

Later we head over for more festivity at Jonathan’s where he has prepared a fabulous dinner including a prime rib, mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, pies, and Indian pudding.

December 16, 2016 – Hookslide concert

This evening John and I go to hear Hookslide at the Backyard Coffee Co. in Redwood City.    The guys do a great job and sing two long sets.  The venue, however, is pretty grotty and I am hoping that this will be the only time they sing here.

Hookslide with Bud on lead

Hookslide with Bud on lead and Jon in center back

Mayan on lead and Jon in the back (as usual)

Mayank on lead and Jon in the back (as usual)

 

December 11, 2016 – Birthday celebration with Nathan, Sam, and Jonathan

On the Sunday after my birthday Jonathan, Nathan, and Sam come over for a little celebration.  In addition to having another coffee cake that Sarah has made, we play some fake tennis, and Sam marvels that I still have the pumpkin that he gave me for Halloween.

Sam and his "I love you" pumpkin

Sam and his “I love you” pumpkin

Nathan and Jon are ready for some fake tennis against John.  They win!

Nathan and Jon are ready for some fake tennis against John. They win!

Sam is the ball boy

Sam is the ball boy

Celebration!!!

Celebration!!!

December 8, 2016 – The Birthdays!

This year we have a smaller celebration than usual because George has torn his Achilles’ tendon and is still not terribly mobile even though he had the tear in August.

Happy Birthday, Mary and George!

Happy Birthday, Mary and George!

We meet for drinks at Karen and George’s house and have dinner at Piatti’s, a local favorite. Piatti’s has this olive oil, crushed pepper, and garlic dipping sauce that is so good.   Of course, after eating hours d’ouevres at their house and dipping quite a bit of bread, I am barely hungry for dinner. So I take at least half home.

Dinner at Piatti's

Dinner at Piatti’s

December 8, 2017 – Birthday morning

Today is my birthday and I start off the day with flowers, cards, and a fabulous present from John, an Apple iPad Pro with a keyboard! No more schlepping around my heavy computer when we travel! The screen is large and all my pictures look great on it.  In addition Sarah makes me a wonderful coffee cake which is just like the one we used to get from the Dugan man when I was a kid growing up. The Dugan man came to the door with his expandable case full of bakery goodies a couple of times a week.  I always loved it when we would get the coffee cake with nuts and almond paste.

Thank you so much, John and Sarah!

Coffee cake

Coffee cake

November 30, 2016 – Thanksgiving weekend

John, Sarah, and I also went out to dinner with Phyllis & Gary plus Becca and our nephew, Mike, while we up in the Tampa area. Phyllis suggested a German place, Taste of Berlin, and it was great. Becca and Mike are fun to be with and we all enjoyed schnitzels and beer!

Becca and Mike (who looks just like my father!) at Taste of Berlin in Brandon, FL

Becca and Mike (who looks just like my father!) at Taste of Berlin in Brandon, FL

November 24, 2016 – Thanksgiving

Yum, Thanksgiving! With all of us making a contribution, we are having a lavish feast! In addition to our dishes, creamed onions and Indian pudding, I have made myself and my sisters Thanksgiving aprons.  Peg and Phyllis seem happy with them. Dinner is definitely a case of too many cooks not spoiling the broth (dinner.) Our dinner consists of turkey, sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, creamed onions, green bean casserole, parsnips and carrots, rolls, and cranberry sauce. For dessert there is apple-cranberry pie and Indian pudding with ice cream. In addition Andy and Brittany have smoked a brisket.  No one is going hungry today.

I am sad, though, that this is the first Thanksgiving that I have not been with Jonathan since 1977, the year he was born. I know he will do a great job cooking dinner but I miss him as well as Ryan, Nathan, and Sam. But, yay!, this is the first time I have had Thanksgiving dinner with my sisters in a long, long time.

Peggy in her turkey apron holding a pre-dinner "turkey" snack

Peggy in her turkey apron holding a pre-dinner “turkey” snack

Phyllis wearing her apron hard at work

Phyllis wearing her apron hard at work

Gary carving the turkey

Gary carving the turkey

The kitchen is abuzz with activity

The kitchen is abuzz with activity

John hasn been banished from the kitchen but hovers around the edges

John hasn been banished from the kitchen but hovers around the edges

Phyllis and Gary's round high-top table has plenty of seating for everyone

Phyllis and Gary’s round high-top table has plenty of seating for everyone

Wow, what a feast!

Wow, what a feast!

Time to dig in!

Time to dig in! (l. To r.  John, Sarah, Brittany, Phyllis, and Andy)

At the table

At the table (Brittany, John, Ted)

At the table

At the table (John, Ted, Sarah)

November 23, 2016 – Victorian Tea

As long as we are already on the East Coast, we decide to make a trip down to Florida for Thanksgving at Phyllis and Gary’s near Tampa.  First order of business, though, is a little girl-time at a Victorian Tea Room. Peggy, Phyllis, Sarah, Brittany (nephew Andy’s wife), and I tuck into a spot of tea with some delicious sandwiches, soup, scones, and dessert.

Sarah and Brittany

Sarah and Brittany

Phyllis, Mary, and Peggy

Phyllis, Mary, and Peggy

 

November 19, 2016 – Melissa and Rob’s Wedding, Murrells Inlet, SC

Sarah, John and I travel to South Carolina to attend the wedding of Melissa Hansen Keefe to Rob Murren.  How can I miss this? It is a great chance to spend a little time with my dear friend Sophie.

The wedding and reception are full of happiness. Melissa has been through very hard times losing her first husband, Nick, at such a young age. We are thrilled that she has found this new love and that Tyler will have a new dad. The ceremony is very touching with Rob making vows also to Tyler promising to be a good dad to him.

Melissa and Rob at the altar

Melissa and Rob at the altar

Mr. and Mrs. Rob Murren

Mr. and Mrs. Rob Murren

With Sophie at the reception

With Sophie at the reception

John and Sarah at reception

John and Sarah at reception

Pilats!

Pilats!

Pixie Sarah

Pixie Sarah

Melissa and Rob first dance

Melissa and Rob first dance

Melissa and Al dance

Melissa and Al dance

Sarah and Melissa, first best friends

Sarah and Melissa, first best friends

October 27, 2016 – Fall Family Fest

Today we had the gang over and we went to the Pumpkin Patch at the Alameda County Fairgrounds. Afterwards we had dinner featuring Zayde burgers, brussels sprout slaw, and potato salad. For dessert we had what Sarah called brain cake but was actually an upside down cranberry cake.

Sam on the slide

Sam on the slide

Coming down frontwards this time

Coming down frontwards this time

Nathan in the floating bubble

Nathan in the floating bubble

Nathan doing a good job balancing

Nathan doing a good job balancing

Sam in the bubble

Sam in the bubble

Sam relaxing in the bubble

Sam relaxing in the bubble

Ryan, Nathan, Jon, Sam, Mary, and John at the Pumpkin Patch

Ryan, Nathan, Jon, Sam, Mary, and John at the Pumpkin Patch

This time with Sarah included and Ryan taking the picture

This time with Sarah included and Ryan taking the picture

Table set for Fall Family Fest!

Table set for Fall Family Fest!

October 8-17, 2016 – Jonathan visits St. George

On Saturday, October 8, 2016 John, Jon, and I hit the road for St. George at 5:45AM! Jonathan likes to take the route through Yosemite NP and as it takes a little longer, it is imperative that we leave a little early so we can finish in daylight. So armed with bagels and coffee for an in-car breakfast, we are off. Traffic is a little heavier than usual due to it being Columbus Day weekend but we make good time and by lunchtime we have reached Tonopah, NV.

We arrive in St. George around 7PM MDT, check to see that everything is in working order (both Direct TV and the internet are on the fritz) and then head over to the Club for some so-so dinner.

As we will do five times during Jon’s stay, we play tennis the next morning. Poor Jon has tennis elbow but plays valiantly through the pain. I am playing horribly through all of our sessions and only start to improve at the very end of our stay.

Jon ready for his forehand

Jon ready for his forehand

John hitting his forehand

John hitting his forehand

Jonathan and I have such fun grocery shopping and cooking. We get the ingredients for his favorite “mom” meal, meatballs and gravy over noodles with green beans.

Jon's favorite, meatballs and gravy over noodles with green beans

Jon’s favorite, meatballs and gravy over noodles with green beans

The days fly by and Jon plays golf on his non-tennis days and arranges music, takes naps, and continues to shop and cook with us. We bring some better wines along to share. One of our older Zinfandels gets a big thumbs up from all of us.

Jon cooking vegetables for fajitas

Jon cooking vegetables for fajitas

Jon and John in the kitchen

Jon and John in the kitchen

This 2004 Imagery Zinfandel is the bomb!

This 2004 Imagery Zinfandel is the bomb!

Another yummy dinner, chicken fajitas

Another yummy dinner, chicken fajitas

We are also trying to find new places to eat. The dining scene in St. George is pretty grim but there must be restaurants other than Mongolian BBQ and Mad Pita to eat! We try Jalapeño’s, Dickey’s BBQ, and strike gold at Irmita’s. There are daily specials and the Tuesday mulitas are delicious and economical.

Irmita's Tuesday special, Mulita

Irmita’s Tuesday special, Mulita

One day we decide to take a hike in Zion NP. Since October is a pretty popular time, we search out less well-known spots to hike. Our choice is off the Hop Kiln Trail along the Kolob Terrace Rd. We decide to go off-trail to find what another hiker has named Hoodoo City. We have great fun exploring and are careful to leave a cairn so we won’t get lost coming back. Plus there are no other adventurers on our hike.

Jon near "Hoodoo City"

Jon near “Hoodoo City”

Mary and John silly selfie in the slickrock

Mary and John silly selfie in the slickrock

Tiny Jon in the wilderness

Tiny Jon in the wilderness

Our next stop is at the Lava Point Overlook. The view of Wildcat Canyon and The main Zion Canyon peaks are phenomenal.

The view from Lava Point towards Zion Canyon

The view from Lava Point towards Zion Canyon

Mary and John at the overlook

Mary and John at the overlook

Jon at Lava Point

Jon at Lava Point

The colorful aspens along Kolob Terrace Rd.

The colorful aspens along Kolob Terrace Rd.

Our culinary point of view this week is international. In addition to the Mexican chicken fajitas above, we also make –


We all have a great time and are so happy that Jonathan loves this place as much as we do. It is nice to think that there might be generations of Pilats enjoying St. George and the wonderful nearby parks in the future.
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September 30, 2016 – Meals for September

Here’s what we made during September, 2016. Obviously we had more meals than this but some pictures I forgot to take, some dinners we ate out, sometimes we had takeout, and some evenings we were invited to other peoples’ homes.

September 20, 2016 – Visiting with the Kendalls

Our good friends Eileen and Jim Kendall are up in the Bay Area visiting their daughter, Ali, and her family. We drive over to Corte Madera to see them and have some lunch. Ali and Van’s daughter, Vea, models her Halloween finery for us.  We all dine al fresco next to the Bay in the beautiful weather.  Sadly we did not get to see Eli as he was at preschool and Van, of course, who was off working. We have been slowly transferring our Bruder trucks to the Swearingen small fry.  I am so glad they are getting a new home.

Many thanks to Eileen and Jim for having us over for lunch and sharing their family with us.

Eileen helps Vea into her Halloween skirt an hat

Eileen helps Vea into her Halloween skirt an hat

Vea checks out Eli's fright wig

Vea checks out Eli’s fright wig

Ali and Vea share some lunch by San Francisco Bay

Ali and Vea share some lunch by San Francisco Bay

 

September 16, 2016 – John’s birthday celebration coincides with Hookslide performance

For John’s birthday we decide to postpone the celebration for two days and head over to the peninsula for dinner, a Hookslide concert at Domenico’s Winery, and an overnight.  Food and accommodations were good and Hookslide was great.  Plus there was a bonus of getting to see Nathan and Sam!

Dinner at Mistrals in Redwood Shores included shrimp risotto and...

Dinner at Mistrals in Redwood Shores included shrimp risotto and…

blackened sea bass.

blackened sea bass.

Hookslide at Domenico's Winery

Hookslide at Domenico’s Winery

Sam and Ryan listening

Sam and Ryan listening

Hookslide singing loudly

Hookslide singing loudly

Nathan is engrossed in a chess game with some ear protection!

Nathan is engrossed in a chess game with some ear protection!