February 5, 2012 Super Bowl Sunday

Peg and Ted have a really, really big TV so their house is the perfect place to watch the Super Bowl. Peg and Ted had wanted the Ravens to be in the Super Bowl and we had wanted the Forty-Niners so we are all a little bummed. But they are rooting for the Giants since they used to live in the NY Metropolitan Area and we are rooting for the Patriots since we used to live in Massachusetts. It’s good to have a rivalry. We fill the first glass of wine and wait for the game to begin.

Let the game begin!

Of course, as usual, we make way too much food and drink way too much wine. The picture only shows part of the munchies. At half-time Peg makes pigs in blankets and meatballs.

Super Bowl spread

Well, some team had to win and the other had to lose. Since John and I aren’t big football fans, we really didn’t care much who won. It made Peggy happy though, so I am glad the Giants won.

Clark and Lewis celebrate at the end of the game

January 28, 2012 The move to Villa Court

Although our original plans had been to return to Peg and Ted’s for the last seventeen days, we decide to see if we can find another rental property for the rest of our time here. Hurrah! We are successful and find a house just down the street from Peg and Ted’s and the YMCA. The house itself is a little dated but it is on a canal so it has a nice view. It also has a really nice infinity pool. We can make this work!

The view and infinity pool at Villa Court

January 14-21, 2012 Sarah visits us in Marco Island

Sarah is coming to visit! She found some reasonable air fares and has decided to take a week’s vacation in Marco Island. We are very excited. She wants to learn to play tennis and there will be a big family gathering while she is here.

Sarah and I are happy to be together

Every day while she is here we go out to the tennis courts. She is doing really well. Hopefully we can have a whole family doubles game when we get back.

Over the weekend, my sister, Phyllis, and her son, Mike, and his girlfriend, Becca, come down to Marco. It’s the best excuse for a party. Peggy gets some ribs from Porky’s and we make salads. Ted’s sister, Nancy, and her husband, Jesus, join the festivities.

Clockwise from the front left, Phyllis, Jesus, Ted, Peg, Mike, Becca, Sarah (hidden by John) and John

Clockwise from the upper left, Becca, Sarah, John, Phyllis, and Jesus

Manny, Moe and Jack

Group shot

The next morning before Phyllis, Mike and Becca leave to go back to Tampa, we host breakfast. Of course everyone wants to have their picture taken with Clark and Lewis.

Mike and Becca with Clark and Lewis

Phyllis with Clark and Lewis

Even Sarah with Clark and Lewis

Sarah is really pleased to see her Aunt Phyllis and cousin Mike. It had been a long time between visits.

The night before Sarah leaves, Nancy and Jesus host a tapas party. Jesus is from Spain and the food is authentic and delicious. They have a condo right on the beach and the sunsets are spectacular.

Sarah making tapas selections

What a spread!

Sunset in Marco Island

It has been a great visit. We are sad to see Sarah leave.

January 8, 2012 Moving into Colonial Drive, Marco Island

NOTE: In an effort to get caught up, I inserted some of Clark and Lewis’s entries into Today’s Worry. However, now I am behind on both blogs and will have to come up with some new entries. New Year’s Resolution – KEEP UP WITH YOUR BLOGS!!!!

We have spent the past ten days at Peg and Ted’s house here in Marco Island. They are great hosts. But they need some privacy and we have rented a house until the end of January. Then we will be freeloaders again for the last seventeen days. Although we cannot ever repay them for their hospitality, the first thing we do is have them over to dinner.

Peg and Ted come for dinner on Colonial Drive

The house is pretty swanky for a rental house. There are three bedrooms, a great room, kitchen, dining area, sitting area, and an empty room which we have repurposed as the tennis room. It’s where we put our tennis bags and shoes. Except for being on the other side of town from Peg and Ted and the YMCA, it is pretty perfect.

John in the kitchen

Clark and Lewis in the sitting area (better known as place to put sneakers on)

Here’s the part of the property that John really likes. There is an enclosed lanai with a swimming pool. It’s nice because it’s very private. (Bathing suits optional!) Nice to jump in after coming back from playing tennis.

John in the pool

My favorite picture of John in the pool

I think we will be very happy here.

December 31 – January 1, 2012 Mary, John, Clark and Lewis celebrate New Year’s Eve

“Do you know what day this is, Lewis?” asked Clark.

“Uh, Saturday?” replied Lewis.

“Yes, it’s Saturday but it is also New Year’s Eve and Beeba and Zayde and Aunt Peggy and Uncle Ted are going to have a little party with great things to eat and drink!” exclaimed Clark.

“Ooh, now this is sounding interesting,” said Lewis. “You know I love hors d’ouevres!”

“But first we have to watch some football. It seems that football watching is part of the celebration,” said Clark.

Clark and Lewis watch football on TV

So Clark and Lewis watched some football and ate a lot of snacks. Everybody ate in the living room which seemed odd to Clark and Lewis. Then Aunt Peggy and Beeba made party hats for Clark and Lewis out of aluminum foil. Beeba also made a tiara for Aunt Peggy.

“These are great hats, Aunt Peggy,” said Lewis. “I am really in the party mood.”

“It’s nice to see everyone so happy!” said Clark.

Aunt Peggy with Clark and Lewis and homemade party hats

The grownups seemed to get a little silly as the evening wore on. At one point Aunt Peggy put Clark on top of Beeba’s head. They laughed and laughed.

“You know, Lewis, we get to stay up until midnight tonight,” said Clark. “We watch a big ball drop in Time’s Square and everybody hugs one another and says Happy New Year!”

“I hope I can stay awake until it’s tomorrow,” said Lewis.

Beeba wears Clark like a hat

Finally the big moment came and everyone yelled Happy New Year!

Clark shouting Happy New Year!

The next day everyone slept late.

“Gosh, where is everyone?” asked Lewis.

“All the grown-ups stayed up very late so they are catching up on their sleep this morning,” said Clark.

“But who is going to make me my breakfast?” asked Lewis.

“Oh, Lewis, you are always hungry!” said Clark.

Aunt Peggy finally got up and got ready for the big game. Her team was playing and she got all dressed up in her Baltimore Ravens outfit.

“Aunt Peggy, if you wear those clothes and beads and stuff, will it help your team win?” asked Clark.

“You bet it will!” said Aunt Peggy. “These are special lucky clothes that I always wear on gameday.”

“I think maybe we should get Beeba a Roger Federer shirt for when she watches tennis. He could use a little luck,” said Lewis.

Aunt Peggy ready for the football game with Clark and Lewis

The lucky clothes worked! Aunt Peggy’s team won the football game and everyone was happy.


December 30, 2011 Clark and Lewis having fun in Marco Island

Clark and Lewis have been very busy since they arrived in Marco Island.

“Hey, Clark,” said Lewis, “you look way cool in your sunglasses.”

“Thanks, Lewis. I really like this place,” said Clark. “It’s got its own cement pond in back of the house. Only problem is that they put up screens so no bugs can get in. It makes catching a snack really difficult!”

Catching some rays by the pool

“I tried having a conversation with the snowman,” said Lewis. “But he was very cool to me.”

“Oh, Lewis,” laughed Clark, “he’s just a blow up pool toy.”

“I knew that,” muttered Lewis, embarrassedly.

Carl the snowman

Clark and Lewis renewed their acquaintance with Aunt Peggy’s cats, Tiger and KC. They had met them this past summer.

“Shhh, Lewis,” whispered Clark. “KC is sleeping.”

“I think I like it better when she is asleep,” said Lewis. “She’s really awfully big. I have to admit I am a little afraid of the cats. You know cats like to catch birds and I’m a bird.”

“I saw Tiger and KC chasing a poor gecko. I’m no reptile but they might like to chase amphibians too,” worried Clark.

Clark and Lewis check out a sleeping KC

Later on in the day Clark and Lewis accompanied Beeba and Zayde to the YMCA. Beeba and Zayde played tennis and Clark and Lewis watched.

“These are some pretty nice tennis courts,” remarked Clark. “This summer when we were driving cross country, we went to some really rundown ones.”

“It looks like Beeba and Zayde are having some trouble playing on clay,” said Lewis. “Especially Beeba.”

“I think she is getting frustrated, Lewis,” said Clark. “We will have to be extra nice to her later.”

Clark and Lewis at the tennis courts with Zayde

Later on they went to the Naples Botanical Garden. There was a celebration of winter with lights, a big bonfire, music and cocoa. Clark was very excited when they saw a Christmas light frog.

“Look, look, Lewis,” exclaimed Clark, “it’s a frog made out of Christmas lights! I remember being so disappointed when there were no frog mosaics in Sicily but this really makes up for it. Plus there is a frog habitat. These people from south Florida really know how to please a frog.”

“I am so happy for you, Clark,” said Lewis. “I’m also a little jealous. I wish there were some ducks.”

A Christmas frog
The frog habitat

Clark and Lewis had fun today. Tomorrow would be a big day because it would be new year’s eve.

December 28, 2011 The trip to Marco Island as seen through the eyes of Clark and Lewis

“Wake up, wake up,” shouted Clark. “C’mon, Lewis, it’s almost time to go!”

“Mmpf,” snorted Lewis and snuggled deeper into his quilt.

“Oh, you are such a sleepyhead,” said Clark. “The limo is coming to get us in 45 minutes so GET UP!”

“Forty-five minutes?” asked Lewis, “at 3:15 AM?!!”

“Yes,” said Clark, “and I thought you’d want to get up and preen your feathers and check all your lists.”

“Seriously, Clark,” said Lewis, “between you and Beeba it would be impossible to forget anything! Plus I think that you are the last passenger on an airplane who still gets spruced up so you can be squished and jostled while flying.”

“Maybe you are used to flying,” replied Clark, a little hurt by Lewis’s remark, “but it’s still exciting to me.”

"Wake up, Lewis!"

It was true that Lewis was more used to flying being as how he is a duck. Clark, on the other hand, enjoyed flying only in short hops rather than non-stop.

Beeba, Zayde, Clark and Lewis got to the airport with plenty of time to spare. In fact, the TSA inspectors were not ready to start inspecting until about 15 minutes after they got in line. Finally, they got on the plane.

“I think these are not as nice seats as the ones we had flying home from Italy,” complained Lewis. “I feel a little squashed.”

“I agree,” said Clark, “we had our own little compartments to sit in on our previous flight. Here we have to be squished in with magazines.”

“If I were you,” warned Beeba, “I’d adjust my attitudes. You know I could have put you in the luggage.”

“Gee,” whispered Lewis to Clark, “I think Beeba needs a little nap.”

Clark and Lewis are a little squashed

Before too long the menus came for breakfast. Everyone brightened up considerably.

“What do you want to have, Clark,” asked Lewis, “Cereal or eggs with sausage?”

“Oh definitely the eggs. They sound way more exciting,” said Clark.

Clark and Lewis choose breakfast from the menu

But the eggs were not too exciting. Clark and Lewis ate some but wished they had ordered the cereal instead. The best part of the breakfast was the bagel with blackberry jam.

“I wish there had been some nice over easy bugs for breakfast,” said Clark.

“I agree,” said Lewis. “I think we will have to wait until we get to Aunt Peggy’s to catch a few.”

Clark and Lewis are not impressed by breakfast

Clark and Lewis spent the rest of the flight coloring in their American Airlines coloring book and singing songs about airplanes. They were disappointed that they couldn’t flutter and hop up and down the aisle. The flight was very bumpy and they had to stay in their seats almost the whole time. But soon enough they landed and took a ride on the luggage cart which made them happy.

“Whee!” shouted Lewis.

“Push us faster please, Zayde,” asked Clark.

Clark and Lewis ride on the luggage cart

Uncle Ted and Aunt Peggy picked them up and everyone was so glad to see one another. Aunt Peggy and Beeba gave each other big hugs. Then they all got in the car for the ride to Marco Island.

“I want to sit with Aunt Peggy,” said Lewis.

“No, I want to sit with Aunt Peggy,” said Clark.

“Pick me, pick me,” said Lewis as he tried to push Clark out of the way.

Aunt Peggy just laughed. “Here, you can both sit with me!”

Clark and Lewis both sit with Aunt Peggy

After getting up so early and the excitement of the trip, Clark and Lewis were tired. They fell asleep sitting with Aunt Peggy and when they all got to Marco Island, Beeba picked them up gently and put them to bed.

“Goodnight, little travelers,” whispered Beeba. “There will be time for new adventures tomorrow.”

December 25, 2011 Christmas dinner at Ryan and Jonathan’s

Christmas afternoon John, Sarah and I went over to Ryan and Jonathan’s for dinner. Ryan’s sister, Leigh, and her parents, Rose and John, were also there. The kids were still very excited from opening their presents. Jonathan made a fabulous prime rib dinner. He cooked the roast perfectly. We all had a great time.

I don’t seem to have many pictures from the day but here’s one of John, me, Sarah and Jonathan.

John, Jonathan, Mary and Sarah

December 25, 2011 Christmas morning and decorations in Pleasanton

Since Nathan and Sam are at an age to appreciate Christmas decorations, I decided to put all my Santas out this year. There must be 150 at least. Jonathan was afraid that they would break something but everything came through unscathed. I explained that the Santas were decorations to be looked at but not handled roughly. There were no problems at all.

Sarah stayed over on Pilat Eve and we opened our presents by the tree in the morning. We also had the traditional bagel and lox.

Christmas tree and gifts
Our traditional Christmas breakfast

We decided to put clues on the gifts this year again. It is always enjoyable and stretches out the present opening. I use gift bags for wrapping. I can use them year after year. It is fun to see the old clues and try to guess the presents of Christmas past.

Let the guessing begin!

And now some Santas…..

John likes to call these job-oriented Santas the "working group" (a la the Westminster Kennel Club dog show)

It’s a little disturbing that my two policemen Santas have guns.

The sporting group

Upper deck, the tableau Lower deck, traditional Santas

The tableau is usually on the dining room table but since we needed the table for our Pilat Eve munchies they were moved to a smaller venue. The tableau starts with Santa getting requests and making toys. Then he gets in his sled and goes down the chimney and through the fireplace. After delivering his toys he has a well deserved rest. The final Santa has a mug that says Good Job! and he is holding a newspaper with the headline, “Santa Delivers Again!”

Motorcycle Santas

Family room decorations
Kitchen Santas

I am always on the lookout for more food oriented Santas. It is always enjoyable to have the Santas watching while I am at the sink.

I’ve obviously left out a lot – Santas with animals or children, international Santas, wino Santa and the whole of Santas’ Band or Santas with instruments. Santas’ Band is another area that I am always trying to find new members for. The Band currently consists of Santas playing the piano, the bass drum, the bagpipes, a double bass, the sax, an accordian, an electric guitar, an acoustical guitar and a violin. It’s an odd mix.

Later on Christmas Day, John, Sarah and I have Christmas dinner at Ryan and Jon’s. But that’s another post.

December 24, 2011 Pilat Eve

Somehow Pilat Eve has become a holiday in our house. It may consist of a Hanukkah celebration, present opening by some members of the family, and singing. It always means great hors d’oeuvres and drinks. This is a pictorial posting of this year’s Pilat Eve.

Sarah makes her fabulous snickerdoodle cookies for Pilat Eve

Nathan watches Zayde light the Hanukkah candles

Sam opens his Duplo Hanukkah present

John prepares latkes

And now it’s on to the Christmas section of Pilat Eve!

Nathan poses by the Christmas tree

Nathan and Sam are eager for Auntie Sarah to open her present

Nathan opens his Cars lego set

Hurry up and open my present, Zayde!
Aunt Peggy and Uncle Ted have sent Sam a counting toy that he loves

Sam rocks at his Sesame Street piano

Rose, John, and Leigh sing with Nathan

Nathan and Sam play cooperatively with Nathan's nanobot habitat

Happy Pilat Eve to all!