January 31, 2014 – Other January doings

With some sadness we donate our piano to the Pleasanton Unified School District. We are glad it is getting a new home where it will be played but sad to see it go. Neither Jon nor Sarah would like to have it so we are pleased to find somewhere that does. We receive a really nice note from the Middle School Music director thanking us profusely.

Goodbye, old friend

Goodbye, old friend


One Sunday Jon and the boys come over. Sam builds a fire truck from the birthday present we gave him.
Beeba and Sam work on the fire truck

Beeba and Sam work on the fire truck


Beeba,  Daddy and Sam take a selfie

Beeba, Daddy and Sam take a selfie


The finished fire truck

The finished fire truck


Happy Sam

Happy Sam

January 12, 2014 – Sam’s birthday party

Sam turned five years old yesterday and today is his party. We pick up Sarah and arrive a few minutes early. The main event, other than Sam, will be Auntie Leigh’s fabulous cake. This year it is the evil emperor from Star Wars sitting down in a chair onto a whoopie cushion. I ask Sam to pose by his cake but he is too shy. However, Jonathan is not.

Jonathan and Emperor Palpatine

Jonathan and Emperor Palpatine



There is the usual excitement of opening presents.
Sam with Auntie Leigh opening his friend's present

Sam with Auntie Leigh opening his friend’s present

Sometimes the excitement is too much for Sam

Sometimes the excitement is too much for Sam


John mans the bar

John mans the bar


Finally it’s time for the cake to do its thing and for everyone to have a slice of Emperor Palpatine’s throne.
The kids and adults are ready for the cake action

The kids and adults are ready for the cake action


As the Emperor sits down his eyes light up and the appropriate sound it made

As the Emperor sits down his eyes light up and the appropriate sound it made


Sam enjoying his cake!

Sam enjoying his cake!


HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SAM!

January 8-9, 2014 – The (belated) Birthdays

Since we were away on our Italy trip in December, George and I missed celebrating our birthdays. Today we are making up by going to Carmel Valley to do some wine tasting, have a fabulous dinner at Marinus, and stay over at the Bernardus Lodge. Due to some misinformation about the restaurant being open when it is actually closed in January, the nice people at Bernardus have arranged to have us sit at the chef’s table in the kitchen for a multi-course tasting menu.

We start the day doing some wine tasting. We’ve never tasted wine down here in the Carmel Valley and are pleasantly surprised. We go to Talbott, Bernardus, Boekenoogen, Joullian, and Cima Collina.

Mid-afternoon we make our way to Bernardus Lodge. All the staff are very nice. Our rooms are very attractive. After a little lie-down, we get dressed for dinner and meet Karen and George in the lobby.

The four of us looking forward to dinner

The four of us looking forward to dinner


We are shown to our table. It is right in the kitchen! We are greeted by the chef, the chef de cuisine, and the sommelier. We are served some amuse bouche and champagne.

The niche that the chef’s table is in is covered by graffiti. There are some famous names here!
Julia Child ate here!

Julia Child ate here!

So did Jacques Pepin!

So did Jacques Pepin!


Here is what we ate for dinner –

It is all delicious! What a great birthday dinner. Happy Birthday to George and me!