November 22, 2013 – Busy Weekend

Our weekend starts out Friday morning when our friends, Cathy and Brad, whom we met on our China trip, arrive. We have lunch at the Wente Restaurant joined also by Karen and George and then go wine tasting at McGrail Vineyards and Occasio Winery in the Livermore Valley. After a quick stop home to spiff ourselves up, we go out to dinner at Barone’s in Pleasanton. After breakfast on Saturday our friends depart. It has been a very nice visit with lots of good food, good talk and good wine.

After a quick nap to revitalize, we head over to Mountain View to pick up Sarah. We get our hair cut and colored for our big trip in two weeks time. John, Sarah and I have dinner at the Fish Market.

On Sunday we head into San Francisco to visit Eileen and Jim who are staying with their daughter, Ali and her husband, Van. The star of the show is Eli, their 14 month old. He is a little unsure of us at first.

Eli is curious but wary
Eli is curious but wary

We sit down and have lunch together. Eli is my right-hand luncheon companion.
Hmm..who are you?
Hmm..who are you?

Before long Eli is wearing his shades and giving Nanu high fives.
Eileen, Ali and Eli
Eileen, Ali and Eli

After lunch we stroll out into the Presidio woods. John and Jim pose for a picture.
Old buds
Old buds

It is a beautiful, clear day and we can see the Golden Gate Bridge over the tree tops.
Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge

Eli keeps us all entertained with his antics. He has found a large stick which he loves.
Eli and the stick
Eli and the stick

Pretty soon it is time for Eli’s nap. Well, maybe everyone’s nap. The delicious lunch accompanied by wine has made everyone sleepy. After a cup of coffee to keep us awake on the ride home, we leave all to their afternoon naps.

November 14, 2013 – A day in Sonoma wine country

John and I spend the day up in the Sonoma wine country. As usual our excuse is that we need to pick up our wine club shipment at Chateau St. Jean.

We start the day doing an olive oil tasting at Jacuzzi Winery and the Olive Press. We are hoping to get a new bottle of their Arbesano olive oil but it turns out that the olives were not plentiful enough this year to make it. So after slurping a bunch of oil, we settle on the Mission olive oil. Thoroughly lubricated with oil we move on to Anaba Winery.

John at the porch at Anaba Winery
John at the porch at Anaba Winery

Vineyards in the late fall
Vineyards in the late fall

This is our first time here. It was recommended to us by the wine server at Wellington Winery the last time we were up. He recommended their white wines. Although it is a little nippy, we sit out on their patio and enjoy a tasting. One of their white wines is quite good. We buy a couple of whites and a couple of reds and then move on.

Our next stop is at Deerfield Ranch Winery. Their tasting room is in their cave. Seated comfortably at a table we are served a selection of their wines. We like wineries that let you sit down and taste. We buy a couple of bottles and join their wine club.

John in the Deerfield Ranch Winery tasting room/cave
John in the Deerfield Ranch Winery tasting room/cave

After a quick lunch at Cafe Citti, we make our last stop at Chateau St. Jean. They are pretty swamped with many tasters and a wedding going on. We taste some Pinot Noirs and make a selection for Thanksgiving. After picking up our shipment we are on our way home.

November 10, 2013 – Visiting at Ryan and Jon’s house

Since we haven’t seen Nathan and Sam in a few weeks since we’ve been away in Utah, we head over to Palo Alto for a visit. Jonathan makes a nice brunch of bagels and lox. Nathan and Sam spend some time playing with a box and then the three of us have a fun collaborative drawing session. First Sam and I draw a picture of Daddy in his running attire. I add a stop sign. Sam adds space ships. Then Sam, Nathan and I draw Nathan in his pajamas who somehow morphs into a Storm Trooper, a scary clawed creature and another creature who is named King of the Imps. These are all pretty violent characters. What is it with little boys? They seem to spend a lot of imagination time sorting out the good guys and the bad guys.

Sam in a box
Sam in a box

Sam peeking out of the box
Sam peeking out of the box

Nathan creating something out of the box
Nathan creating something out of the box

Sam with our picture of Daddy running. Sam has added spaceships.
Sam with our picture of Daddy running. Sam has added spaceships.

October 12, 2013 – Nathan and Sam visit

Today Jonathan arrives with Nathan and Sam. Jon and John go off and play tennis for an hour or so in the morning while I stay with the boys and play various games on the iPad, watch a little TV, work on a new U.S. puzzle and construct weapons of mass destruction with Legos.

As usual we have lunch at Main St. Brewery. Sam has a hamburger. He removes the hamburger from the bun, sets it aside and eats a ketchup bun. This seems to be a new trend since he ate the hamburger the same way last time. Nathan is fine with this and eats his hamburger as well as Sam’s pattie.

Then we go to Toys R Us and the boys pick out new Lego sets. John, Jon, Nathan and Sam spend the rest of the afternoon working industriously on their new creations.

John working on Legos with Nathan and Sam
John working on Legos with Nathan and Sam

John and Sam collaborate
John and Sam collaborate
Nathan is intent
Nathan is intent
Jonathan still enjoys playing with Legos
Jonathan still enjoys playing with Legos

September 18 and October 19, 2013 – Visits to St. George

Since my knee has been a continuing problem, I just haven’t been doing as much and I seem to be taking fewer pictures as well. We went to St. George on September 18 for a couple of weeks and again in October with Jonathan.

September 18, 2013 visit contains the Navajo Trail do-over which was posted previously. Here are a few more pictures.

First order of business, wash the windows!
First order of business, wash the windows!

Ah, the view is much more beautiful with clean windows.
Ah, the view is much more beautiful with clean windows.
Oscar's in Springdale.  I can't hike in Zion NP due to my bad knee but I still can eat!
Oscar’s in Springdale. I can’t hike in Zion NP due to my bad knee but I still can eat!
A new favorite place to eat, Mad Pita.  Jon discovered it and now it is our go to place for Mediterranean food.
A new favorite place to eat, Mad Pita. Jon discovered it and now it is our go to place for Mediterranean food.

On October 19, Jonathan joined us for the drive to St. George. We had a great time together! We played tennis (I mostly only hit balls that came close to me since movement is still a problem.) Jon and John played golf and Jon also golfed out at Sand Hollow a couple of times solo. We also ate at our favorite lunch places, tried out the new Kokopelli Lounge at the club (very sad), and played ping pong.

Jonathan out on the courts at Entrada.
Jonathan out on the courts at Entrada.

John waiting to return Jonathan's shot
John waiting to return Jonathan’s shot

This great blue heron is a daily visitor outside our window
This great blue heron is a daily visitor outside our window

End of summer and Labor Day with Nathan and Sam

Here are some pictures taken late in August…

Playing legos on the stairs is always fun!
Playing legos on the stairs is always fun!

Sam enjoys it too!
Sam enjoys it too!
Ryan shows the boys a video of their play.
Ryan shows the boys a video of their play.
Yay, for legos!
Yay, for legos!

and also at our family BBQ for Labor Day.

Nathan works on a Legos project.
Nathan works on a Legos project.
Sarah enjoys a Labor Day glass of wine.
Sarah enjoys a Labor Day glass of wine.

Sam plays with Changeable Charlie, a toy I enjoyed as a child.
Sam plays with Changeable Charlie, a toy I enjoyed as a child.

Nathan with his Lego flag he made to help decorate the table.
Nathan with his Lego flag he made to help decorate the table.
Happy family!
Happy family!
Our Labor Day table decorations that the kids made.
Our Labor Day table decorations that the kids made.

Kids and grandkids at the table
Kids and grandkids at the table
John, too!
John, too!