September 7-11, 2010 Peg and Ted Visit

The other big thing that has recently happened here is that my sister, Peggy, and her husband, Ted, came for a visit starting on Tuesday, September 7. Luckily since Peggy doesn’t read my blog, she will not know that I skipped over her visit and wrote about John’s birthday first. Peg and Ted are on a vacation to Hawaii from Maryland to celebrate their 52 year anniversary of having met. I remember Peg and Ted holding hands and hanging out on the front porch from when I was in my bratty little sister phase. Although according to Peg, I am still in my bratty little sister phase.

They are only here for a few days and there is lots to do! After picking them up at the airport, we return to Pleasanton and have pulled pork sandwiches for a late lunch. I show them the new bathroom. Ted and John talk guy stuff. Peg and I go to the grocery store and toy store. Exciting stuff. Later we put them to sleep with our travel pictures.

Lunch al fresco with Peg and Ted
Lunch al fresco with Peg and Ted

On Wednesday, John, Jonathan and Ted go out and play golf. We will meet up with them later. We have a big day planned! Peg and I drive over and pick up Sarah from work. From there we drive to San Jose and have lunch at Zeni. Mmmmm…Zeni! I don’t think Peg was all that enthralled with Ethiopian food. Perhaps a little too out there for her.

Sarah and Aunt Peggy
Sarah and Aunt Peggy

After a stop to see Sarah’s apartment, we go over to visit Ryan, Nathan and Sam. Peg has never met Sam before. We play with the kids for a while and then head back over to Sarah’s.

Aunt Peg is impressed with how well Sam manages a fork and spoon
Aunt Peg is impressed with how well Sam manages a fork and spoon

Sarah has invited us for a “cocktail party!” We are having wine and all sorts of hors d’oeuvres. It’s like Pilat Eve! John, Jon and Ted arrive and we enjoy each others company while munching yummy snacks. Peg and Ted meet Mark, Sarah’s roommate, who is very sweet and very Pilat-y. That’s Sarah in the picture posing on Mark’s motorcycle.

On Thursday we head off for a bout of wine tasting in the Livermore Valley. So handy! Karen and George join us. It is our first time at Ruby Hill Winery and Peg discovers that our server attended the brother college to the one she went to. We have a good time. Then we head over to La Rochelle and have cheese and wine. It’s fun and you get to sit down. We have steaks on the grill for dinner along with some haricot vert and new potatoes. Karen contributes with a delicious carrot cake.

Motorcycle chick
Motorcycle chick

Friday, Peg and I prepare food to take along to Jon and Ryan’s for dinner. It’s a big family gala! Peg and Ted bring toys for Nathan and Sam. We take lots of pictures. And then the visit is over too soon. They leave for Hawaii early Saturday morning. Next time I hope we can visit for longer.

Our family!
Our family!

In the change to the new format I lost a comment by Sophie. Sorry 🙁

September 14, 2010 John’s Birthday

We’ve been celebrating John’s birthday lately. He turned 61 which is, of course, a prime number and worthy of celebration. The first thing we did was go to Denny’s for the free breakfast. This is actually kind of embarrassing because I think of Denny’s as kind of a lowlife place for geezers to go. But since we fit at least one of those categories and because it was free, we went. Given the free breakfast is one of the Grand Slam breakfasts, I figure Denny’s isn’t planning on giving out too many of these to the same person. With a couple of eggs, breakfast meat, and a choice of other high cholesterol favorites, they probably figure that anyone who eats it often won’t last too long.


Breakfast at Denny's
Breakfast at Denny’s

The next thing we did was go to the Rose Hotel for drinks (no, not right after breakfast!) The Rose Hotel is owned by the (John) Madden family and is a boutique type hotel right in downtown Pleasanton. I’d like to stay over some night but it’s hard to justify. They didn’t seem to be doing much business but we enjoyed ourselves. Later we went home and made fish tacos as the birthday dinner.

Drinks at the Rose Hotel
Drinks at the Rose Hotel

Since we are celebrating all week, on Wednesday we went with Karen and George to Lunardi’s (an upscale grocery store) for wine tasting. What a deal! For your $20 admission you get to taste lots of wines and also there are great snacks. We tried Opus One, Rombauer, Sterling, Provenance and many more. We liked the Rombauer merlot the best. Everyone was friendly and accommodating. We also tried a chocolate caramel torte by Three Senses which comes frozen and is really outstanding.

Lunardi's wine tasting
Lunardi’s wine tasting

Then because moderation is never enough, we went to The Crown, an English pub in downtown Danville. John and I shared fish and chips. We were pretty full from our Lunardi’s adventure.

So we are up to four celebrations. But we haven’t had the family one yet. That is scheduled for September 25th and will be a joint party for Ryan and John. A continuing Happy Birthday to John!

At The Crown
At the Crown

August 17 – September 4, 2010 Master bath remodel

After getting home from our big trip, it is time to start our home projects. We are planning on remodeling the master bath, replacing all the carpeting in the house, putting in new landscaping in the patio area and having the back of the house, trellis and fence painted. It is a lot to do! One of the biggest chores is clearing all the closets and bookcases of all our accumulated stuff. The carpet layers will move the furniture but not with anything in or on it. Wow, have we kept a lot over the years! The living room and dining room became the depository of what we’ve decided to keep.


Living room clutter
Living room clutter

The downstairs is now divided into two zones – the living zone and the demolition zone. Plastic sheeting separates the two sides. We have to walk outside and back in through the garage to get to our office. The master bedroom has become off limits. We are guests in our own house confined to eating and computing in the family room/kitchen and sleeping upstairs. Bathroom demolition and rebuilding takes longer than expected. We are trying to juggle the tilers, landscapers, painters, plumber, handyman, glass installers and carpet layers so that everyone fits into the correct timeframe.

In progress
In progress

Yay! Our new master bath. It looks great and we are pleased. There are a few items still on the punch list but for the most part we are done.

Master bath
Master bath

Here’s our shower. My sister, Peggy, calls it the grotto. We love it and John is so pleased that the showerhead is up high enough. It must be tiresome to always have to bend over to get your head wet in the shower. It is so nice to have our house back together and sleep in our own room. All that’s left is our patio landscaping. That should happen this week!

Shower
Shower