December 25, 2014 – Christmas Day

This morning is pretty low-key. Sarah, John and I get up late. First thing, we prepare our traditional Christmas breakfast. Our breakfast of bagels and lox is long standing but having a breakfast beer with it is fairly new but has quickly become part of the Christmas routine.

Christmas breakfast
Christmas breakfast

During breakfast we unwrap the presents we have given to each other.
Sarah attempts to figure out a Christmas clue
Sarah attempts to figure out a Christmas clue

Sarah has given us a beautiful book of early California photography
Sarah has given us a beautiful book of early California photography

After breakfast and present opening, we prepare the dishes we will bring to Jonathan’s for Christmas dinner. Then we are on our way to Palo Alto.

Jonathan has prepared a wonderful Christms dinner of prime rib, mashed potatoes and green beans. John has brought the gravy and I’ve brought along some smoked salmon spread and Indian pudding for dessert. The kids are mostly engrossed in their gifts. Unfortunately I forgot to take any pictures.

December 24, 2014 – Pilat Eve

Although John is still a little shaky on his feet, we decide to go ahead and host Pilat Eve (known to other folks as Christmas Eve.) When I was teenager Christmas Eve was always celebrated by my friends at our house. There would be tree decorating and lots of munchies. When we got older there were also adult beverages. And so the tradition continues.

This year we have pigs in blankets, chicken liver mousse, bean and cheese dip with tortilla chips, vegetables with dip, salmon spread on bagel chips, egg nog, mini-cupcakes, cookies, wine, and rum cake. Rose, John and Leigh Henderson and the Pilat contingent are here.

We exchange some presents. We eat a bunch and drink a bunch. John lights the Hanukkah candles. Sarah has made up a YouTube play list of “follow the bouncing ball” Christmas songs and we sing to the best of our abilities. It is a really nice evening.

Living room awaits Pilat Eve guests
Living room awaits Pilat Eve guests

Hard to believe but I made a dessert that everyone likes
Hard to believe but I made a dessert that everyone likes

Jonathan gathering up some hors d'oeuvres
Jonathan gathering up some hors d’oeuvres

John lights the Hanukkah candles
John lights the Hanukkah candles

Nathan unwraps a Lego treat from us with Ryan's help
Nathan unwraps a Lego treat from us with Ryan’s help

Ryan and Sam look at his new book
Ryan and Sam look at his new book

Nathan loves his new Spooner from Aunt Peggy and Uncle Ted
Nathan loves his new Spooner from Aunt Peggy and Uncle Ted
So does Sam!
So does Sam!
Nathan looks through "The New How Things Work"
Nathan looks through “The New How Things Work”
Nathan and Sam help Zayde unwrap a new blender
Nathan and Sam help Zayde unwrap a new blender
Santa has not forgotten Jonathan
Santa has not forgotten Jonathan
or Ryan!
or Ryan!
Ryan and Nathan look through Sam's "Book with No Words"
Ryan and Nathan look through Sam’s “Book with No Words”

December 10, 2014 – John is just so hip

Today is John’s left hip replacement surgery. Having had his right one done in June, he is eager to complete his set. The surgery is scheduled for early in the morning and we and then I are staying at the Hampton Inn in Brentwood.

John’s surgery goes smoothly except for the spinal block which for some reason does not take effect. So unfortunately he has to have general anesthesia and the whole procedure takes a little longer. I am somewhat concerned as I sit and wait. It is taking longer than the doctor said it would. Finally his doctor appears and says that everything has gone well and explains about the anesthesia problem. I am relieved.

After what seems like forever in Recovery, John is taken to his room. He looks pale but is in pretty good spirits probably due to the abundance of painkillers in his system. He’ll have two nights in the hospital and then we will go home for rest and recovery.

John after his surgery
John after his surgery

Update: After almost 4 weeks John is doing well with his recovery. He can walk about unassisted although often brings his cane along for extra stability. Although I promised I would be nice during his recovery, I had some breaks in composure probably due to lack of sleep. I guess I am just not cut out for being a TLC nurse. My bad!

December 6-7, 2014 The Birthdays

Gosh, we are getting old! But that means a lot of birthdays and a lot of birthday celebrations. This year George and I decide to indulge in some wine tasting in Sonoma Valley and then dinner and overnight in Guerneville at the Applewood Inn and Restaurant. As usual we let John and Karen come along.

The best wine tasting of the day is at Chateau St. Jean. Since it is too chilly and wet to sit outside on the porch, we are ushered into their Vineyard Room and served many, many fine wines by a knowledgeable employee.

Chateau St. Jean
Chateau St. Jean

After fumbling around trying to find some place open for lunch on Sunday, we opt for some fast food, try tasting at a couple more wineries and make our way up to Guerneville for our stay at the Applewood Inn. We take a little rest until it is time for dinner.
Applewood Inn
Applewood Inn
Our room
Our room

We decide on the tasting menu at the restaurant. It is all really excellent. The picture is of the lamb chop which is almost always on the menu.
Lamb chop at the Applewood Inn Restaurant
Lamb chop at the Applewood Inn Restaurant

After a fine breakfast which is included in the room rate, we head for home. Another year behind us, we begin talking about what to do next year.

November 27, 2014 – Thanksgiving

John has come down with a bad cold and I have banned him from the kitchen. Sarah and I will man all the stations today. It is very helpful that everyone is bringing something. Our Thanksgiving dinner consists of Autumn soup (Sarah), deconstucted turkey with stuffed thighs (M & J), stuffing (Mary), gravy (John), chipotle sweet potatoes (Sarah), mashed potatoes (Jonathan), Brussels sprouts (Mary), roasted creamed cipollini onions (Mary), green beans (Jonathan), cranberry relish (Ryan), crescent rolls (Leigh, Nathan and Sam) and three pies for dessert made by Rose. The pies are cranberry-apple, mincemeat, and pumpkin.

Dinner is delicious and everyone leaves full and happy. Now there’s just the billions of dishes and glasses to clean up.

The table is set
The table is set

Everyone gathered around the table
Everyone gathered around the table

This time including me!
This time including me!

Everyone looking good in this picture
Everyone looking good in this picture

Jonathan and Sarah zonk out after dinner
Jonathan and Sarah zonk out after dinner