Saturday, January 06, 2007


The Twelve Days of Christmas conclude today with the celebration of Epiphany.
I'll open my final gifts, take down the trees, and work at resisting....
(Click on the colorful underlined words above for explanation and recipe. If you dare!)

After we flew home on Wednesday, we stopped at the grocery store to pick up milk and juice for the next morning.

There was a display of King Cake up, which hit me completely unexpectedly.

I had already seen Valentine Day displays, and was prepared to put that decorating off for at least a month.


I had never seen King Cake until we moved to Houston. They are only to be served between Jan 6th and the evening before the beginning of Lent, also known as Mardi Gras.

In the Southern states, everywhere you go in business settings, there are tattered remains of King Cake somewhere nearby, usually by the coffee maker.

They are VERY messy to eat. Some are delicious, buttery, light, and iced just right.
I'm a sucker for the almond spice filling.

Others are dried out horrible things. It's a real blessing when that happens. Temptation is easier to resist, and post Christmas diets stay in effect.

My six extra pounds from vacation say they will block me from wearing my cool new duds until I shed them.

My brain says KING CAKE!

I called gal pal Gail this morning. Colorado is socked for the third time, they are air lifting food into outlying areas. I figured I'd ask if she needed me to airlift her some M&M's.

Darn her...she was out SWIMMING. She works out five days a week and swims on weekends.
Now I feel like I should go for a long walk and go for a swim too.

How much walking and swimming do I need to do before I can reasonably indulge in a slice of

A Tiggie update:

He has not stopped purring since we got home. His meow always sounds like a rusty gate, and he alternates purrs with pitiful meows.

Apparently he knew about Epiphany too, because last night he dragged THREE kitty gifts to our bedroom door.

His very special silvery rope cord, his knitted catnip snake from my mom, and one of the tree ornaments.

Three Kings, three gifts.

Tiggie, you so smart!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Adventure begins....December 19-January 3:HOUSTON- SLC-SAN DIEGO-SLC-HOUSTON

We got home last night from one of the best vacations I have ever had in my life.

It was just sweet from beginning to end.

A Christmas to remember.

It was difficult not having photo download available during the sixteen days we were gone.

So I have gone ahead and posted today, January 4th, beginning with pictures from the first day of the trip and ending with the last day of the trip.

Sometimes my bookish orientation shows through.

The first page shown should be the first page of a story.

But with blogs, the first page shown is always the last page in the story of one's life as blogged.

Not this time.

This post covers day one of the vacation and you will need to keep reading down, down, down, to get to the last page, the part when we finally come home.

I hope you will enjoy.

It truly was a beautiful time.

Bernie and I left Houston early on Tuesday, December 19th.

I had about five hours of sleep, as I just can not leave for a vacation until everything is clean.

Add wrapping gifts and packing clothes for beach/snow/holiday dress/three homes, and of course I couldn't sleep!

We had a layover in Salt Lake City, time enough to hand off gifts to son Jeff.

It was hard to just see him for an hour, knowing we wouldn't see him until after Christmas. Plus all that tantalizing snow! So Christmasy!

The area had had a pretty serious snow fall, and Denver was paralyzed with snow.

It sure looked pretty from the air.

Good skiing ahead in a week!

Posted by Picasa A few hours later we left Salt Lake, and flew to San Diego, where it was colder than usual, but still glittering Southern California pretty.

I had to take another red and green in nature shot for my continuing holiday series on the blog.

This flower was blooming on the fence at the San Diego air port.

It was wonderful to see my folks, whom I had not seen since August.

More, MUCH more red and green awaited me at their home...

THIRTY red roses, one for each year of our marriage.

Bernie is an amazing husband, and he showered me with this bouquet as a surprise.

I wanted to shrink down to about rose size and LIVE in the middle of all these velvety red roses!

It was hard to take them all in.

Three were taken with us to his parent's home, where we spent the first three nights.

I was able to enjoy watching the three unfold probably better than I could all thirty.

Macro and micro...both perspectives in life.
I flew wearing my Christmas chapeau, not wanting to risk crushing the delicate glass berries.

Even my father-in-law Hal looks good in that hat!
Posted by Picasa (The hat help distract from the fact that he was actually a "dolly with a hole in his stocking.")

Just plain home, Christmas cookies, and Laura stayed over too.

My heart was home in Houston, then Salt Lake, then La Jolla, and then La Mesa.

I saw my family, everyone, all in one day.


Dec. 20th: Girl's Day Out-Coronado Library and Tea

Bernie headed out for golf, and us girls headed out for girl time.

To get from San Diego to Coronado Island, you go over a bridge.

You can look back to downtown San Diego from the bridge.

Most people know about Coronado because of the Hotel Del Coronado. The Marilyn Monroe movie "Some Like It Hot" was filmed there on the island.

I was interested in see the new Coronado Library and its installation of Wizard of Oz glass art in their children's library.

The above picture is not a main entrance. Sure looks like it should be, huh?

This is the main entrance.

I suppose everyone who isn't a librarian is asleep by now.

Hang in there, it gets better....
Posted by Picasa Art over the Circulation desk, retrofitted from a WPA mural.
Frank Baum, the author of the Wizard of Oz lived on the Coronado Island for a few months, not while he wrote Wizard however.

No reason not to commemorate his literary achievement anyway.

These are glass panels with the designs stained upon/inside the glass.
BIG glass panels!

Posted by Picasa
Elsewhere in the library they have other displays, like this one of Beatrix Potter mini books and bone china figurines.

I had to laugh, as my Children's literature professor has an entire Beatrix Potter room in her home, and took a tour of England to each spot where Beatrix presumably painted her scenes in her little stories.

The same prof also took a tour of every town Laura Engels Wilder of Little House on the Prairie fame lived.

But wait! That's not all! She also had an entire room dedicated to dolls!

She also collected all stuff animals that were originally book characters.

Librarians...what a whacky group we are.

Being Christmas and all, why not have gingerbread houses displayed in the library?

Better...gingerbread houses of places in Coronado.

Best: Gingerbread Aquatic Center, with plump gingerbread water aerobic ladies in sunglasses doing their morning work out!

On a more serious note, the library also owns a Donal Hord sculpture.

Hord was responsible for a great deal of exceptional art, ranging from LA County Court House facade art, to San Diego State University's Montezuma sculpture.

Hord lived next door to my dad when my dad was a kid.
He paid my dad to sweep out his studio, a great kindness during the Great Depression.

I met him once myself.

His studio was impressive, and his artwork still thrills me.

Posted by Picasa One of the library's galleries.

Lovely library.

And I'm not even posting all the great stuff in the children's library.

Let's just say it's a Magical place, and Dorothy and the Gang should be proud to provide an entrance to such a Magical place.

December 20th con't: Tea for the ladies

The plan was to go to the library and also out for tea.

This was a charming little tea room on the main street of Coronado Island.

My mom.
My mother-in-law
Posted by Picasa My daughter
And me.

What happened to my lipstick?

Posted by Picasa Tasty tea treats.

I thought of my tea loving friend Maureen in Texas.

And wished she could have come too.

December 21st: American Legion Christmas Dinner

Dad is Commander of the La Jolla Chapter of the American Legion, so Mom and I helped decorate the room for the Legion's Christmas dinner at the Sea Lodge.

A room full of WWII vets, and a smattering of Viet Nam, Korea and Gulf War vets too.

A barber shop quartet entertained us.
I decided to wear my "Russian Army" style "Jill" hat with a new sparkly gold and silver sweater.

(Um...that actually would be Scottish army, but never mind. I got complimented on it, naturally!)

It was the coldest it ever got in La Jolla. Brrr...the hat felt good!
Posted by Picasa Mom looked beautiful too.

Laura was with us as well. But her only picture was a close-up I took of her rarely seen cleavage.

Us cleavage challenged types take note when we wear something that makes us appear to have cleavage! Whoo hoo!

She looked great, if a tad cold.

I think she would get a tad "hot" if I published that picture here.

Or maybe not.

We'll see how it goes.....

December 20th: Around the garden in La Jolla

The red and green in nature theme continued.

My dad's camellias were glorious.
A shared fuchsia cutting, from my mother-in-law to my folks.
I love this shot. I remember when these camellias were knee high.

They were planted in 1958, and I always loved how they would bloom in such lovely variations.

Pinks, whites, rose, and splattered colored mixed blooms would float elegantly in bowls during the winter months.

Dad is walking down the path, and he is about six feet tall, to give you an idea how much these plants have grown in about fifty years.

They do get pruned back to form a hedge.

If they were allowed to grown naturally, they would be trees by now.

Posted by Picasa My hearth as a child.
My brother and my Christmas stockings would be hung on the fire place tools.

Santa would drop off the filled stocking next to our pillows during the night. When I woke up on Christmas morning the soft jingle of the bell on my stocking would sound, and I would remember it was Christmas, and dig out a new mouse and angel.

You can see the top of Rufus the Cat's stocking hung there now. Wonder what he will get? (coal)

I always wished we had a mantel, but our house was very 1950's and mantels didn't happen much in the fireplace designs of those years.

Raised hearths, however, did, and I used to love to sit comfortably right in front of the fire and block the heat.

December 23: Dad turns 83!

Dad celebrated turning 83 again.

He was born December 23, 1923, in San Diego, California.

He had (and still has...) twin older sisters.

Each year on December 23 the two of them would pool their money and buy him ONE gift to serve as their gift to him for both his birthday and Christmas.

He, on the other hand, was obliged to purchase a total of four gift for them each year, one for each of them on their birthday, and one for each of them for Christmas.

Being a smart kid, he declared that his birthday was too close to Christmas to be properly celebrated, and therefore in the future he would celebrate his birthday November 23rd instead. Posted by Picasa
That way he at least got two from both of them together on his birthday and one from both of them together on Christmas.

At 83, I'm not sure we should be rushing the age along like that.

Usually we get together for either Thanksgiving or Christmas, and usually it is Christmas, so I am lobbying to have his birthday moved back to where it belongs on December 23rd.

On the other hand, if there ever was a guy who deserved to celebrate his birthday twice each year, he's the guy who should.

I think the twins have pretty much forgotten all about his birthday on any date by now. Christmas gets a pass too.
(The twin aunts have always been a tad self absorbed.)

I say two birthdays a year, or a birth MONTH a year...what ever you want.

Once you're over 80, life ought to be gravy!

December 22nd and 23: Sushi and the WAP

Best sushi in San Diego's Gas lamp Quarters!

Sweet tuna, spider roll, uni. Delicious.

Downtown San Diego used to be a snooze. Now it is just hopping with restaurants and places to go and be seen.

Lots has changed since we left San Diego in 1998.

Bernie had to go to a convention in SD a couple of months ago and was astonished at the night life.
He wanted to show me the new SD. It was pretty amazing.

Saturday Bernie headed out for a golf date with friend Brad Stewart and Brad's son and son-in-law.

Chris Stewart, her daughter Jessica, her grandson John and her VERY pregnant daughter-in-law Heidi (she gave birth New Years day) and I got together for breakfast and a trip to the Wild Animal Park, AKA "The WAP".

I visited the WAP the first day it was open back in the early 1970's.

It has come along nicely since then.

I didn't take pictures of friends as I should have. The animals...well, I used to work at the San Diego Zoo.

Animals are great, but really, haven't we all seen a tiger by now????
The birds interested me.
Especially this mob scene.

The ducks don't have to stay.

I wish blogger would allow the film clip to play. Rush hour traffic has nothing on these goofy ducks.

John managed to feed the ducks bravely.

The young men managed to defeat the old men in golf.

And we got to see Chris's lovely new kitchen in her home in Ramona, a community inland from the coast.

Always a treat to eat at the Stewart's, but the time around her table feeds both the body and soul nicely.

Again...shoulda taken a picture! Posted by Picasa