High Seas Highlights


Hi all — Just back from our very first time going on a cruise.  Our friends Paul and Sue (experienced cruisers & close friends for almost 40 years) invited us along on a trip up the western coast from L.A. to Vancouver.  So we tagged along and here are some of the best bits about cruising up the coast with good friends.

We arrived at the terminal and settled into our smallish rooms. Then set out to explore the ship–15 floors of lounges, dining rooms, shops and decks and places to settle in.

        

Between ports, we passed the time reading (it’s a gift to have friends who like to sit and read the morning away), eating (too much!) and enjoying the ships entertainment venues (here- a pop concert, interview with a Oscar winning song writer and our favorite piano violinist team from Russia)

     

And of course there was the meals, high tea and snacks galore.  Plus my favorite– a tour of the ships kitchen.

     

     

After 7 pleasant days, we glided into Vancouver B.C. docking right up nestled in the city!! (See Larry at the rail, taking a photo).   And I’ll end with our last late night walk around the deck.  Thanks thanks Paul and Sue.  We love time to talk and laugh and relax with you two!

Wisconsin in Winter


Hi friends!!  We’re just back from our stay in Wisconsin with our kids– John & Laurel.  Those two know how to make everything fun.  So here’s my favorite– “Great Eight” things we did for our Wisconsin winter!!

#1.  One afternoon Larry and I trekked down to the campus of University of Wisconsin, for a stroll through the campus, a stop for the best ice cream (from their dairy department!) and a walk on the frozen lake!!  yikes!

     

#2.  We also studied our way through the Chazen Art Museum on campus one afternoon– small, but with a wide range of art from around the world and across genres.

   

#3.  Saturday morning we browsed at the indoor Farmers Market, where each week a different restaurant in Madison, serves up a wholesome breakfast (That week was root veggie hash!!)

   

#4.  On a blustery afternoon Laurel ferried us over to the Olbrich Botanical Gardens to wander through their greenhouse tropical garden– lush and warm and filled with singing canaries!
     

#5.  We tagged along with John & Laurel and their realtor Wade, while they did a little house hunting around Madison (But are still looking to find the perfect place).

#6.  Our most Wisconsin-ish adventure was an evening at the Fishing Expo– I had no idea there are so many many accessories to fishing, from boats to lures to wall mounted trophy fish!

     

#7.  Madison has a gorgeous new library downtown so one day we hiked down past the capital building and on to the library, where we raided the new book section an sat and read to our hearts content.  (P.S. the sculpture on the library wall is all made of battered old bookends!)

     

#8.  And last but sure not least, we had several wonderful meals with Laurel and John– starting with an assortment of coffee shops, a few morning walks to Bath Bakehouse, Salvatore’s Tomato Pies (the Best Pizza!), fashionable Mint Mark Cafe for breakfast, Noddle’s & Company Pad Thai, and our very own John’s incredible burgers at home!

     

     

Loved every minute with our John and Laurel.  They know how to hug and talk to and feed visiting parents in the very best sort of way!  Thanks you two!!  We can’t wait to come back to Madison…

Home with Kids In SF

Hello there– Just home from a kid-filled week in San Francisco– Lots of quiet days breaking out the crayons and building blocks and library books.  I’m grateful to have sweet days with the 4 grand-kids up there.

My big occupation was keeping company with Little Lois while her Mom went to work– Here we are around the house.

     

One day Uncle Aaron picked us up for a morning with the cousins– Mae, Eero & baby Otto.
      

There was a park day out with friends.
     

And a morning inspection of the house remodel -almost done!!

     

It was a fine full week– love seeing how those grand-kids are growing and changing!  Thanks thanks Ani & Brian– and Aaron too.  It’s always the best to be together.

Eating our Way Across Wisconsin

Hi All– Do you agree that one of the best parts of traveling is sitting down to share meals along the way??  We did a whole lot of eating during our Wisconsin weeks this summer– here’s the Top Ten of those meals together:

#1. BATCH BAKERY —  So many pastries (Did I really have a mini cherry pie and pecan bourbon tart for breakfast one day??) and the bread is sturdy moist and pretty perfect!  It’s just a 3 block walk from our daughter’s house so they saw us more than once!

#2.  PIZZA AT CRESS SPRING FARM —  On a warm evening we trekked across rolling Wisconsin farmland to order up pizza on the farm– picnicking out on the lawn, while the blue grass band played away.

     

#3.BRATS & BEER BAR-B-QUE AT JOHN & LAUREL’S WEDDING — The first night at the camp, we all lined up for grilled brats soaked in a Wisconsin beer bath along with Lulu’s super salads– and ended with s’mores by the campfire.

     

#4.  For a quiet beautiful lunch together Larry and I landed at Graze, just across the street from the State Capitol in Madison.
     

#5.  GLORIOSO’S DELI — One day for lunch, we dropped into this wonderland of a grocery store–every type of Italian food your could desire.  Sorry no lunch photos (a delicious prosciutto & fig flatbread).  We dug in too fast!  (And– smiley little Lois hates to see dessert end!)

     

     

#6. UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN LAKE TERRACE — The perfect place to spend a summer afternoon is on the terrace of UW right on the lake– it’s beer, brats and ice cream from the university dairy department!

     

#7.  COLLECTIVO COFFE HOUSE — For breakfast in Milwaukee we walked down toward Lake Michigan and happily came upon coffee & breakfast out on the patio.

     

#8.  SOBELMAN’S — We went to Sobelman’s for their famous Bloody Marys and discovered it was National Brat Day!1 (Who knew??)

     

#9.  ISHNALA SUPPER CLUB — And the highlight of our Wisconsin  dining– a rustic cabin tucked in the woods on a beautiful lake.  Lovely food in a truly beautiful setting– Thanks Ani & Brian!

     

#10.MARIGOLD — Old friends Jac & Jackie guided us to this cozy cafe for Sunday brunch (braised chicken tostada) after church.  Always the best time talking over a meal with them…
     

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Thanks Larry for being my best travel buddy
and eating companion along the way!!  It was
sweet time with family and friends (and food!)
that I’ll always remember…

Happy Grandma

Hey there– It’s been a grand week– we trooped up to San Francisco to meet our new baby grand-guy baby Otto!!  Hung out with his brother & sis– that Eero and Mae.  Watched baby Lois 3 days while her mom headed off to work and to top it off landed in Ojai today with the 3 big grand-girls to celebrate Maryann’s birthday #9!!  It was a fine full week!

It was good times with little Lois — reading, crawling, hanging out with Mom & Dad.

   

Always a great time with Mae & Eero –picking Mae up at school, out for ice cream, playing at home, and Mae & I assisting on Jessica’s extraordinary donut making day!

     

And then there was new baby Otto– sweet and tender– so much fun to study his little face and watch him squirm and wiggle!
    

To finish the week off, we trekked up to Ojai to get in on the fun of Maryann’s #9 splashy birthday party at the pool.  Love that friendly, inventive girl!

   

So it was the best week– lots of hugs and talks and playtime with grand-kids.  What more could a grandma ask for?!  And one more photo to remember that getting that perfect angelic grand-girls photo doesn’t always work out–

Joining Jac & Jackie

Hi there– We ended up our trip with a restful stay with the dearest friends Jac & Jackie–at their cabin in small town Endeavor, Wisconsin.  It was 5 days of woodsy walks, quite meals and talks on the porch.  From the first big hug, it felt like we were on a retreat!  Here’s my favorite bits.

Early the first morning Jac & Jackie bundled us into the car to trek down country roads past such farms, wild turkeys and then onto a forested track.  We came out onto a tidy Amish farm with it’s little log cabin bakery.  We stepped in to racks of pies, breads and sweet rolls fresh from the wood fired oven.  Breakfast!

     

Later we wandered over the Amish market– So many baking supplies.  I was wishing my sis Lulu, the baking queen, were there to stock up!

   

We spent a quiet afternoon hiking the 4 mile loop around Devil’s Lake– wooded paths and rocky shores.

     

And mostly there were talks by the campfire, morning walks and morning prayers on the front porch. Such a sweet time with friends we admire.
   

Thank you Jac & Jackie– for feeding us, showing us the Wisconsin countryside, for asking us the important questions and praying and loving us through it all.  You’re the best.

Wonderful Woodsy Wisconsin Wedding Weekend


Hello friends– Just home from 2 weeks in Wisconsin.  Our Laurel and John were married in the woods of Wyalusing State Park, such a warm and wonderful weekend together with family and friends from far and wide.  Here’s a few snapshots from the weekend.

We all met up at the camp on Friday afternoon.  Friends and family went to work to set up camp (I was on the flower crew!) and then it was lawn games, brats on the grill and s’mores around the bonfire before we all tucked in.       

Saturday morning we woke up to Lulu’s scrumptious French toast with berries (Thanks Ted & Lu for being our cooks!).  After breakfast we moved on to more games and some serious painting at the “Craft Corner.” And then scattered to get ready for the wedding.
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We gathered at the glorious lookout point for the wedding.  After a flurry of photos and guests all arrived, the ceremony began.  Beautiful Irish pipes for music, officiating by John’s brother Danny, “wise words” from Dad Larry and the planting of a small white pine tree with soil from family gardens.  It was lovely.
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Back at the camp, we celebrated Laurel and John with a roast pig dinner & all the fixings.  There were speeches and dancing and cutting the cake (including a birthday cake for 6 year old Jobay)– and ending with some quiet moments with our girl by the campfire.

    

     

Well, that’s about it.  Sunday morning it was a quick breakfast and cars set off in all directions.  A few us packed up all the wedding detritus into the van–  And saw Laurel and John off to their National Parks honeymoon (we’ve been getting texts of glacial lakes and buffalo!).


God bless you John & Laurel.  It was a fine full wonderful weekend.  One we’ll never forget.  I’m thankful.