John and Jonathan visit the Computer History Museum. 8/1/18

Post written by John

Jonathan and I finally were able to visit the Computer History Museum located in the old Silicon Graphics campus in Mountain View.  We had an outstanding few hours, bringing back many great memories.   Jon decided he would try to take pictures of me with some of the stuff I had actually used.

EAI Analog Computer

This is me with the first computer I actually programmed (Summer 1966 at a high school engineering institute at Northwestern University), an Electronic Associates (EAI) analog system.   It was programmed using patch cords and solved differential equations.  The mess of wires by my shoulder is actually a “program”.

 

Fortran

Here is me not with a computer I used, but with books about my first high-level programming language, FORTRAN.  The rightmost book is Daniel McCracken’s A Guide to FORTRAN Programming, which was our text at MIT for the introductory programming course (Fall 1966).  At the top of the stack of books is a FORTRAN text in Russian!

Apollo Guidance Computer

During Fall of 1967 I had a short stint at the Instrumentation Lab at MIT.  This is where I learned industrial-strength IBM System/360 assembly language.  I helped develop tools to enable writing programs for the Apollo Guidance Computer.  That’s it at the top.  Less than two years later, it would be on the Moon.

Diablo Disk Drive

By 1972 I had started work at Data General Corporation writing code for the Nova (to be seen later in this post).  The disk drives that were attached to our machines were Diablo 31 units.  Each platter (shown sitting above the drive unit) was 14 inches in diameter and could hold a whopping 2.5 million bytes.

Family tree of programming languages

I used a lot of high-level languages (FORTRAN, Algol, LISP, Pascal, COBOL, PL/I, C, C++, BASIC…) and wrote compilers for some of them, most notably FORTRAN.  The exhibit on the family tree of programming languages was fascinating.

IBM 7094

Here I am standing with the operator’s console for the IBM 7094.  The first FORTRAN and assembly language (FAP) program I ever actually ran were for this machine at MIT in starting in 1966.  Within two years the System/360 had replaced the 7094 as the teaching vehicle.  Gotta love the earth tones, though.

DEC PDP-8

The first minicomputer I actually programmed for real was the DEC PDP-8.  During the summer of 1971 I wrote some lab control software for the Materials Science department at Northwestern.  In the picture I am re-living the experience of entering the bootstrap loader program from the front panel switches.  Pain then, pain now.

Data General Nova

Next we come to the Data General Nova, the first minicomputer to sell for under $10K.  I wrote and managed a lot of software for the Nova and its successors, the Eclipse, the Eclipse MV (aka Eagle), FHP (aka Fountainhead) and AViiON from 1972 through 2002.

IBM 1130

Taking a step back in time, the is me in front of an IBM 1130.  The Civil Engineering department at MIT circa 1969 had one of these that was available for drop-in use.  Back then this was as close to personal computing as I could get.

Apple Lisa

Finally we jump to the late 1980s and the Apple Lisa.  We got one of these at Data General to try to understand what the next wave of desktop computing might be like.  Sad reflection:  Data General is no longer.  It was acquired by EMC, which was later acquired by Dell.  Apple is now a trillion-dollar behemoth.
Other highlights of the day:
Restored and working PDP-1 from MIT running Spacewar.
Restored and working IBM 1401 complex
Reconstruction of a section of Babbage’s Difference Engine
Displays on large early computers from ENIAC to SAGE.
Development of the IBM S/360 (esp. the Fred Brooks video)
A (non-working) Cray-1.
… and many more
Thanks so much, Jon!

Anniversary celebration, part two. 7/17/18

Today is the actual day of our anniversary. Yay, forty-six great years married and over fifty years since we met! Our final celebration will occur in August when we take a vacation to Oslo and then catch a ship to cruise the Baltic for a couple of weeks. Love all this celebrating!

John and I have modest plans for today. We are driving up to Sonoma Wine Country to visit Jacuzzi Winery, Imagery Winery, and have lunch at Tasca! Tasca! In downtown Sonoma.

We arrive at Jacuzzi Winery around 11 AM. First we are tasting some olive oil and getting our bottle refilled at The Olive Press. Tasting olive oil is as much fun as tasting wine. We choose Arbequina.

Jacuzzi Winery and The Olive Press (photo from internet)

Bulk delicious olive oils – bring back your bottle for a discount! (Photo from internet)

Next we visit Imagery Winery. We used to be Wine Club members here. After tasting some delicious varietals available only from the winery we decide to re-up.

Pretty pathway to tasting room of Imagery Winery (Internet photo)

Since it is heading past one o’clock we make our way to downtown Sonoma to Tasca! Tasca! for an enjoyable lunch of Portuguese tapas.

Some things we shared – ceviche, goat stew, crispy potatoes, and pulled pork sliders

We love their not sweet ice creams – salted olive oil and piri piri chocolate

Great anniversary celebration!

Anniversary celebration. 7/14/18

Our anniversary is on the 17th but we are celebrating today nonetheless. Actually we are sort of celebrating all week as we plan to go up to Wine Country on the actual day.  We are married 46 years which sounds like a long time but to us it does not seem that way. We are still enjoying each other’s company (even though John has been retired for 15 years!) Obviously we chose well.

Our plan for our celebration is to drive out to Half Moon Bay, have a lovely dinner at Navio, the fancy restaurant in the too-expensive-to-stay-there Ritz Carlton. A room there after you add on the taxes, parking, and resort fee would run around $1200. One night!! Even in our heydays I do not think that John and I could get enough benefit out of a room that cost that much!

We are staying at a hotel on the beach up the road about 6 miles. It is soooo cheap, only $400, and it really isn’t much to write home about – leaky shower, uncomfortable bed, no carpet on the floor, meager breakfast, etc. But most places want you to stay two nights so this is the best choice. It does have a lovely view of the Pacific Ocean.

View of the Pacific out our window

John and I get nicely dressed for our dinner date. We head to the Ritz Carlton where it costs $40 to park your car. We are a little early and sit and have a glass of wine while we watch all the presumably rich people walk by.

When we are seated for dinner we decide to get the tasting menu with wine pairings.

Here are pictures of most of the dishes. I forgot to take a picture of the orecchiette because I am always so excited about pasta. It was not well done in any case, our least favorite dish.  🙁

Amuse bouche #1, hamachi and cucumber

Funny story about the next amuse bouche – there is a nice couple seated next to us. They are celebrating their 12th anniversary. We end up having a pleasant conversation with them as he is a recently hired doctor at the Kaiser facility that we go to. He is very gung-ho about his new practice. Anyway he orders the tasting the menu with the wine pairing (his wife who is pregnant just has a salad or something). We have already finished our second amuse bouche when he gets his. The small bite is an avocado cream, uni, and caviar in a buckwheat shell. The whole thing is sitting on a rock with seaweed decorating the plate. Our table neighbor eats the buckwheat shell with its goodies, determines that the rock is merely a non-edible rock, and eats in one mouthful all the seaweed. This is tough looking seaweed. He chews and chews and chews and chews. I think it is growing bigger in his mouth. Then with what can only be described as a Herculean effort he swallows the whole giant wad of seaweed. I am amazed he did not choke to death. Way to save face, though.

Amuse bouche #2, uni over an avocado cream with caviar in a buckwheat shell.

Ahi tuna ribbons with mustard fruit, black sesame, and basil

Next is the unfortunate, unphotographed orecchiette. It is supposed to be prepared ala cacio e pepe. Something other than pasta water, cheese, and pepper has been added so NOT AUTHENTIC! Plus the orecchiette is thick and grainy. This is a major fail.

Moving on…

King salmon with pumpernickel, sorrel, and smoked onion

Rabbit with foie gras, morrel mushrooms, and fava beans

I am so happy to see that there is only one small dessert. So often half the tasting menu seems to be half dessert.

Cappuccino coffe mousse with vanilla creme

We have had a really good dinner. The plates were quite small and we do not feel like we are going to explode. Our waiter comps the $40 parking fee (yay!)

Happy Anniversary to us!

 

Jon, Nathan, and Sam visit Utah. June, 2018

Each year after school is out Jon, Nathan, and Sam visit Utah for a week. This year is no exception. They are coming a little later this year since Jon has some work obligations. We are hoping it will not be hot.

It is so exciting to see them emerge through the secure area of the airport. We and they are all smiles.

Jon, Nathan , and Sam at the St. George Airport

An important area is food for growing boys. I start out with their Beeba favorite macaroni and cheese. I also make pancakes with Ryan’s recipe so they will be sure to like them. I appreciate their loyalty to their mom when they say mine are good but are lacking the magic touch of their mom’s. I feel, though, that during their visit I am out of sync with what they want to eat. They are craving a lot more sweets than I am used to having around. I try making hamburgers and tater tots, sausages, spaghetti but nothing seems very palatable to them. When we go out to eat they really are not interested in eating what they have ordered. Maybe they are homesick. We also have a disastrous dinner at the club where the chef would not say that there were dishes without the chance of contamination of peanuts even though there were none on the menu. Nathan is so upset.

Yum, macaroni and cheese

A successful dining out experience was at a Mexican restaurant in Kanab

Since I am having a lot of trouble with me knee, Jonathan takes Nathan and Sam to the big pool a couple of days. The kids also really enjoy playing video games in their room. We watch the movie Clue altogether before breaking out the board game for several spirited games. Jonathan wins two games and Sam wins two. We also play the matching card game, Set, and a few rounds of Scattergories plus Blokus.

All the guys playing Blokus

Our outing this year is a trip to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. We plan on a few short hikes, mostly around 1/2 mile round trip. I am unable to hike because of my knee but John and Jonathan are gung-ho. Nathan and Sam are less enthusiastic. They feel it is too hot and they are tired after the first foray out to look at the Grand Canyon.  So John and Jonathan go ahead and do another short hike while Nathan and Sam and I look for soda and something else to do. After lunch we drive to another area where the boys and John and Jonathan take a hike to a window in the rock  and a 360 degree look out. We stay the night in Kanab, have dinner at a great Mexican restaurant and decide by vote that instead of going on to Bryce the next day we will return home.

Jon, Nathan, and Sam on the trail

Beeba by the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

The next two pictures are taken in front of the North Rim Grand Canyon Lodge. I think the boys look especially great!

Nathan

Sam

Other things we do during the week is the terrible experience at the Club for dinner. Also a trip to Tuacahn to see a performance of Matilda. Unfortunately the musical play is not as good as the ones we have seen in years past. We also have a celebration of Father’s Day. Nathan and Sam make cards for Daddy and Zayde while they are out playing tennis. We surprise them with their cards later on.

All dressed up for dinner at the club

I think this trip is less successful than the ones we have had in the past. I feel very bad about that. If Jon, Nathan, and Sam want to come back next year, we need to rethink what we are doing. Maybe having a meeting ahead of time to find out what they would like  to do would be a good idea. They are getting older and their ideas of how they would like to spend this vacation are changing.

Mother’s Day. 5/13/18

Today is Mother’s Day! I have invited over the whole family for a cookout to honor the moms and have a good time.

My first special gift is a Swedish tea ring made by Sarah. We have an early morning piece before everyone gets here.

Yum, Swedish tea ring

Sarah and I pose for a picture

Then everyone arrives for our lunchtime cookout. We haven’t seen the kids in a while so it is wonderful to have a visit with them. Ryan’s parents and Leigh also come. Everyone has pitched in and we are eating on disposable plates so there is not too much mess to clean up afterwards.

The moms get cards and hugs and everybody feels loved!

Some pictures from the day-

Jonathan in the kitchen

Jon, Ryan, Alex (formerly Nathan) and Sam

Zayde showing Alex how to cook hamburgers

Mon and Jon

It is a lovely day and now that everyone has left I can sit here and look at my cards and flowers and be happy!

Mother’s Day cards and flowers

Visit to Utah. 4/14-4/29/18

We enjoy a quiet couple of weeks in Utah. The first week is windy and rainy and limits what we can do but the second week the weather is beautiful.

Our first event is the battle with the geese. Since more of the houses around the pond are occupied full time, the geese have fewer choices to use as their bathroom facilities. Ours has become a favorite. We strike back with our Patriotic Goose Guard! This turns out to be a good deterrent but since we will have to take it down when we depart, we are hoping that the geese will be imprinted with “this is a bad place to go.”

Patriotic Goose Guard

Once John has cleaned off the goose poo from the patio and washed the windows we are all set to enjoy the view out the windows.

John washing windows

But what is this I espy? A giant swan in the pond! I am impressed with how enormous this bird is. I look up information on swans. They are the second largest migratory bird in North America (after some sort of pelican) with a wing span of 10 feet across. They are also nasty tempered and I decide not to go out and try to shoo it away.

Swan-zilla across the pond

The swan swims closer to check out the goose guard

Many of the plants in our yard are blooming. The cacti all around the neighborhood are putting on quite the show this year.

Coreopsis, flowering cactus, and some sort of succulent by our driveway

We have done A LOT of cooking while we are here including two “fancy” dinners.  Fried scallops is always a favorite of mine and the shrimp in saffron Pernod sauce is especially delicious.

Fried scallops with new potatoes and broccoli salad

Shrimp in saffron Pernod sauce served with brown rice and collards and corn

While we are outside cleaning and setting up our goose guard we meet our new next door neighbors Shaleace and Rocky Price. They suggest that we come to dinner the following Sunday. With some trepidation we accept and I make snickerdoodle cookies to take along. We figure that they are LDS so the simple solution of a bottle of wine is a no-go.

Snickerdoodle cookies

They stop by on Sunday to arrange a time and catch us in our sweaty tennis clothes with the house in mild disarray. It is rather embarrassing. They say to come at 5 PM and when we do, we all sit down and eat immediately. We chat with them and their children, Shantay, and Clayton, over chicken and ribs. When dinner is done it is obvious that it is time for us to leave. It’s 6:45. It is a little weird. We go home and have a post-dinner happy hour.

While we are in St. George our nephew Andy’s wife, Brittany, has her baby. They name him Harrison but he goes by Harry. Now there are two new babies. Mike and Becca’s Jack will be the slightly older cousin. They have a little get-together to introduce the babies to each other.

New members of the family, Jack and Harry. Jack is about two months older than Harry.

The rest of the second week is spent playing tennis and doing shopping. It seems like there is always another thing we need from some store. St. George is notorious for not having everything you want in one place. At the end of the week we manage to make a dish that uses up mostly everything left in the refrigerator, Mediterranean Seafood Soup.

Mediterranean Seafood Soup

On Sunday we make the long journey home. Recently I decided it is better to do the whole trip in one day. Now I am not so sure. We end up being pretty exhausted afterwards. One bright spot on the trip is a stop at Mojave Thai Cuisine where we enjoy Spicy Thai Basil Eggplant with Tofu. Yum, spicy and delicious! (And enough to bring some home for lunch.)

Mojave Thai Cuisine’s Spicy Thai Basil Eggpllant with Tofu

We will only be home for a few weeks before heading back to St. George. Jonathan, Nathan, and Sam are flying in on June 3rd for a week+ visit. Looking forward to it.

Passover celebration 4/1/18

Since we just have gotten back from our Italy trip and there are engagement conflicts for the first two nights of Passover, we have our Seder on third night of Passover, April 1. I always enjoy preparing the food and getting the table ready.

Table setting

Jonathan and Ryan with the kids and Ryan’s sister arrive at 4 PM. The first order of business is some picture taking!

Seder crew

Beeba and Zayde with Nathan and Sam

Back in the house Nathan arranges the 10 plagues on the mantle while Sam directs the action by looking up the plagues on his laptop.

Nathan positioning the plagues with Ryan

Sammy directing the action from the computer

Perfect!

Now it is time to get down to serious Seder business.

Everyone at the table

Jonathan washing his hands while Nathan holds the bowl of water. Sam off camera has the towel.

Sam does a superb job with the Four Questions

Nathan dipping parsley in the salt water

For dinner we have grilled lamb…

Yummy mashed potatoes…

And asparagus.

Sarah’s homemade macaroons for dessert!

We finish up the evening with some hearty “pouring out of wrath” and many songs. This is our best Seder yet!

January and February, 2018

Things were pretty quiet in January and February. I was having a lot of trouble with my knee and an adverse reaction to a medication. Bright spots were Sam’s 9th Birthday, a trip to St. George, and a visit from my dear friend, Sophie. Here are some pictures –

I Sam, who is very into art these days, had us all draw while receiving instruction on a video. It was a fun activity at his birthday party.

Sam blowing out his candles

Sam’s super Auntie Leigh cake

Enjoying the rain in St. George

Watch out for bobcats!

Pilat Eve and Christmas, 2017

Our celebrations started off with Pilat (or Christmas Eve). We exchanged presents with the junior Pilats, had a great grazing dinner of hors d’oeuvres, and finished off with some excellent carol singing.

Part of the Pilat Eve spread (my excellent rum cake)

Happy faces during present opening time

Group singing!

Follow the bouncing ball!

O Christmas Tree

The festivities continued the next morning and afternoon with a traditional breakfast for Sarah, John, and me. We ate Christmas dinner at Jon and Ryan’s where Jon did a fabulous job preparing a prime rib. Merry Christmas!

Bagels and lox with Weissbier from Schneider’s

Nathan and Sam practice vanquishing imaginary foes with their trident shaped spears from The Legend of Zelda

Jon is busy at the stove

What a Christmas spread!

Hanukkah. 12/19/2017

This evening we celebrate the last night of Hanukkah with cookies, candles, and latkes.  John buys six giant potatoes which we decide to use three of and makes 17 latkes! He has his frying station at on the back patio to minimize the mess and does a great job.  They are so delicious! Plus Sarah has made Norwegian drommer cookies and Monrovian spice cookies.

Sarah and I take some of the latkes to our neighbor next door. She gives them rave reviews!

Happy Hanukkah!

Hanukkah candles lit and Sarah’s Norwegian drommer cookies

John making latkes

Latke and cookies

Another birthday celebration. 12/17/2017

Today we travel over to Palo Alto for another celebration of my birthday. Yay!  I get so many cards! Nathan and Sam have crafted their own cards. Nathan’s has stars and planets on it and Sam’s has sea creatures.

Nathan and Sam’s cards for my birthday

Interior of Sam’s card has a dinosaur-horse-unicorn!

Since I have requested no sweets we have a bagel and lox birthday breakfast. There is even a candle for the bagel! Thank you to Ryan, Jon, Nathan, and Sam for a very happy birthday,

My guys and me

 

The Birthdays. 12/8-9/2017

Wow, the first time George and I celebrated our birthdays together I was 29 and here it is 40 years later. We are not so spry now but we always manage to have a good time. This year’s Birthdays celebration takes us to Little River, CA. We are staying at the Little River Inn and will also dine there.

On the way up we stop at Healdsburg for lunch at the Healdsburg Bar and Grill. It has food that everyone should like. They are especially known for their burgers. Karen and George opt for a cheese burger while John and I try the veggie burger. I am still trying to stay on my vegan before six diet. The veggie burger comes with a load of feta cheese so I dutifully scrape it off.

Veggie burger at Healdsburg Bar and Grill

The drive out to Little River is beautiful and we pass through redwood forests with their deep shade and ferns abounding. Along the way we stop at Goldeneye Winery for a little tasting. For $15 we get a seated tasting with some nibbles and seven different wines. This is so much better than Napa where you have to pay $50 just to walk through the door!

John, Karen, and George at Goldeneye Winery

We reach our hotel and our rooms are pretty far apart. George needs a disability room and our room is on the second floor of a building on the other side of the complex. The room itself is pretty spartan for the price but has a nice porch and view. We are greeted by a seagull sitting on the railing who does not seem to be afraid of people.

View from our room with seagull

Sunset over the Pacific

We meet for dinner to celebrate my birthday. The food is pretty mediocre but we have a great time nonetheless.

John and I at the restaurant

After breakfast at the hotel the next morning we are off to celebrate George’s birthday. We decide to go to a few wineries for tastings and find lunch somewhere.

A beautiful clear day in the 60’s awaits us

One of the wineries we stop at is Greenwood Ridge Vineyards

They have some veryf friendly ducks!

While John and George peruse the menu of wines WE CAN TASTE FOR FREE I spin the wheel and hit the jackpot – 45% off a case of wine! We decide to split a case. My birthday celebration is going along great!

Jackpot!

After visiting three places we find a place for lunch. Stone and Embers is a great choice with a wood fired pizza oven. The oven is so hot that it cooks the pizza really fast and the crust comes out wonderfully cooked with a little char. We sit at the counter and George has fun schmoozing with the owner/chef.

Our pizza puffing up in the oven

Yum! Supposedly the sausage is from a turducken

Since the food in the restaurant is only meh we decide to have dinner in the bar. We have a lot of fun. George has found someone who is also celebrating his birthday and we get a rousing chorus of happy birthday with our dessert course.

Me with John and George

The next day we ride down the coast towards home stopping in Point Arena for breakfast. I love our Birthday celebrations and this has been a great one.

Birthday Eve – 12/7/2017

Since I am going to be away for my birthday, Sarah has made me my birthday confection a day early. I have my choice between pretzel rolls and Dugan coffee cake (Swedish Tea Ring.) Such a hard choice!! Ultimately I go with the coffee cake because it is so delicious and brings back memories of being a kid again.

Dugan Bakery style coffee cake

Inside there are swirls of almond paste, almonds, raisins, and cinnamon

I just cannot help myself and eat three pieces, two with butter! We are off on our birthdays adventure tomorrow so I tell her she can have the rest for her and her friends. A real sacrifice!!!

Thanksgiving, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!! We are having the feast at our house and expecting 10 people. In addition to us and Sarah, there is Jon, Ryan, Nathan, Sam, and Leigh, plus Rose and John Henderson.  John and I have been cooking for days and things go along pretty smoothly. We have one disaster dish, butternut squash with bacon and sage. The squash tastes terrible and we throw it out. Our only other hitch comes when John puts the turkey in the oven not realizing that I had turned the oven off. Turns out that we only need to slip the schedule 30 minutes.

Jonathan brings a broccoli dish and sauteed kale. Ryan brings cranberry sauce. Leigh contributes homemade Chex Mix for before-sies. Rose makes four pies – strawberry rhubarb, pumpkin, mincemeat, and chocolate chess. Sarah also makes dessert, our family favorite, Indian pudding. I think we have enough desserts.

Nathan has made a Lego diorama of aliens at the first Thanksgiving and Sam brings along placecards. Everybody is taking part this year.

Here are some pictures –

Table

Indoor decorations

Outdoor decorations

Nathan’s LEGO depiction of the first alien Thanksgiving

John’s innovation for keeping stemless glasses identified – peelable vinyl stickers (like Color-Forms)

Sam and Leigh pick out stickers for their glasses while “Gramps Henderson” looks on

John and Jonathan

Jon and mom

Sam’s place card for Beeba, a bee saying baaaa

Zayde gets a hissing snake

John and Sarah waiting for their turn at the buffet

Nathan and Sam picking out their favorites

Leigh and Rose in line

Jonathan with his plate

I only took a spoonful of each, except the onions, and my plate is so full!

Nathan, Ryan, and Sam enjoying dinner

Uh-oh Sam is getting tired. Time for dessert!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Halloween. October 31, 2017

The weekend before Halloween we spend some time with Nathan and Sam and have dinner at Jon and Ryan’s. The kids are excited about trick or treating soon and we add to their excitement with a bag of candy and a little money gift in their card. Here is what they are wearing on Halloween.

Sam in green is an Entbrat from My Singing Monsters and Nathan is a P.E.K.K.A. from Clash of Clans

Of course I have no idea what these characters are although I have heard of Clash of Clans. The fabulous costumes were made by Ryan and Leigh.

At home on Halloween we will have no costumed children at our door since we are too far out of the area of maximum candy procurement in the minimum amount of time. Sarah, though, is dressing up and spending the evening with some friends at a high traffic house.

Sarah as Trixie from the TV show Call the Midwife

While all the Halloween festivities are happening we are having Karen and George over to dinner. We have been cooking for a couple of days while we try to perfect our dinner dishes. Wedge salad, beef Burgundy, mashed potatoes, and glazed carrots and onions are on the menu. Karen is helpfully bringing dessert.

Festive Halloween table setting

September 24, 2017 – Rosh Hashanah Seder

What do I mean a Rosh Hashanah Seder? Isn’t a Seder just for Passover? That’s what I thought too until I ran across an article about these Seders which are part of the Persian (and others) celebration.

It is mostly a celebration highlighting various foods which have pun-ish meanings in Hebrew and Aramaic. So the idea is to say a bunch of blessings over a variety of food while at the same time using the food names in puns. Sounds like it is right up our alley.

The traditional foods on the Seder plate are carrots, black-eyed peas, beets, dates, apples, squash, pomegranate seeds, leeks, and a ram’s head. Since Raley’s is not carrying ram’s head we substituted heads of garlic. It is easy to make puns about beets, dates, squash, and leek!

Seder plate full of pun-ish foods

A challah I made. We all tried blowing the shofar (ram’s horn) after dinner to much hilarity.

John lighting candles

Our dinner of Autumn Soup and black-eyed peas with squash and pomegranate seeds

SHANA TOVAH!!!

September doings in St. George

John and I take a vacation for a couple of weeks in St. George. We are greeted by our guard lizard.

Guard lizard

It seems like the guard lizard has done a good job because the house is in good shape and the flowers out front are blooming.

Front yard flowers

More flowers

While we are in St. George we want to make our new non-bathroom look more like a wet bar so we add some bar-type decorations and wine racks.

Non-bathroom decor

We have also discovered an awesome way to keep the stovetop clean. It is by not using it! Our induction burner has taken over any splatter-y task.

Using the induction burner on the countertop means…

A clean and shiny stove!!!

During our time in St. George we cook, clean, shop, and play tennis. The best thing of all is sitting looking out the window at the beautiful view. As the weather starts to turn more Fall-like the sky looks like a water painting.

View of the pond

On Rosh Hashanah John and I have a small celebration. We will have another with Sarah when we get back to Pleasanton.

Small Rosh Hashanah celebration

Before leaving for home we do have a big adventure but that deserves its own separate post.

September 4, 2017 – Labor Day family gathering

Today we get together for the annual eating of Labor Day hamburgers and discussing of why workers need a day to celebrate. It seems like the labor movement in the U.S. Is receiving more vilification than usual from the current administration so it is good to take a few moments to talk about all the good things that organized labor has done for workers with Nathan and Sam. Tney have recently seen in play, Newsies, and have some idea about unions, workers, and management.

I feel like it is not so much fun to go to Beeba and Zayde’s house anymore. Nathan and Sam are more interested in interacting with their friends and doing computer stuff. Ryan brings along some of their drawing and fantasy story writing stuff and works on it with them while they are here. Sarah continues to have some cache since she is like a big kid herself.

Some pictures from the day –

Sarah and Nathan discuss video games

Jonathan and Sam sticking out his tongue

Nathan likes to be with Ryan

Nathan is so long!

Sam drawing on Auntie Leigh’s lap

Sam knows I am taking a picture

August 20, 2017 – Traffic and bad food

Headed part way home today. The traffic was pretty bad. I guess because of the eclipse tomorrow. It takes over an hour to cross the border and after that we average about 40 mikes an hour. It will probably be much worse tomorrow we will just be patient. We have a lot of podcasts to listen to.

Welcome home!

Picture of a faint Mt. Rainier

Finally reaching Chehalis, WA we check-in around 3PM and take a rest and look through our mail and catch up on news. We find a place, Jeremy’s Farm to Table Restaurant, with fairly good ratings so we decide to give it a try. It is terrible. It starts out with a basket of bread you have to buy for $6! I figure it will be pretty special but it arrives and appears to be several slices of commercially cut bread. They serve a slicing knife with it. I have no idea what for.

$6 bread

We both order the Arctic char which comes with seasonal vegetables and the Chef’s “surprise” starch. The vegetables are cold, not even room temperature. The surprise starch is a surprise indeed. It is mashed potatoes with brown gravy. The potatoes and some kind of packet mystery gravy are not reasonable accompaniments to fish. The skin on my fish is flabby and I swallow a bone. What a terrible dinner!

Arctic char with flabby skin and the odd bone, mashed potatoes with brown gravy, and cold vegetables

 

August 19, 2017 – Impressionism

First, a very happy birthday to my sister, Peggy, who is a year older today!

On our last sightseeing day of our vacation we visit the Vancouver Art Gallery and revisit Maenam, our favorite Thai restaurant. Pretty nice way to wrap things up! I am not a big fan of the Impressionists although I do confess to a schoolgirl’s crush on Seurat’s Pointellism when I saw his paintings at the National Gallery on my eighth grade trip. Now I prefer the somewhat cartoonish 14th and 15th century saints carrying their attributes. But here in Vancouver there is a Monet exhibition and I am interested in seeing it.

I find that I like his earlier works that they have here. Such as Snow Effect: Sunset, 1875 and Train in the Snow, 1875. Some of the later pieces are less appealing.

Snow Effect: Sunset, 1875

Train in the Snow, 1875

To me his later paintings exhibited here from around 1918 seem wild and unfinished but maybe it is because the colors are so garish next to the earlier gauzy paintings. Monet was always trying to catch the effect of fleeting light so maybe this is what it looked like to him in the height of summer when his eyesight was failing. Or maybe he was trying to push the envelope of art a little further.

Japanese Bridge, 1918

Some of the water lily paintings and earlier garden pictures are on display as well. We attend a short movie of an art critic discussing Monet’s works at different points in his life. It is very interesting.

Water lilies

A series of pictures of wisteria

Taking a Walk in Argenteuil, 1875

So I come away with a better appreciation of Monet’s development and obsession with light.

We return to the hotel to get organized for our start home tomorrow and to spruce up for our dinner at Maenam which is at 6 PM tonight.

Our dinner is great, better than Thursday’s. We get a free glass of champagne to have with our amuse bouche because John tells them we are celebrating our anniversary which is only a sort of half truth. The guys sitting next to us give us their unfinished bottle of wine for our “celebration” and what with the wine that comes with the meal we are well supplied!

Amuse Boucher tonight is tamarind/shrimp/peanuts on pineapple and salmon/roe/chilis on cucumber

We have the delicious mussels again tonight served with East Generation Dry Riesling

Also with the Dry Riesling is a much better rendition of the octopus salad

Delicious sable hot and sour soup, spicy!

The next two dishes are served with a Tantalus Juveniles Pinot Noir. First is a green beef curry

The other is a really yummy eggplant and pork belly stir fry

Chocolate ganache served with an Italian Moscato is for dessert

This is a wonderful ending to a really super summer road trip!