Archive for June, 2011

Small Things Make Me Happy

Blue Skies through the June Clouds

Two things have happened today that made my heart go pitter-patter and brought a huge smile to my face.  Numero UNO is that I saw blue sky through those nasty clouds that have dropped an unprecedented amount of rain.  A friend who moved to California about five years ago complained to me that it rains as much here as it did in Oregon.  I told him that the wet weather of last summer and this week was very unusual.  He retorted, “That is what all you Californians say.”  But, really, I don’t ever remember having rain at the end of June before last year.  Is that getting old and forgetting?  Or is this a sign of the global weather patterns changing?

Grilling on the Patio

Whatever the case, I think that summer is for outdoor dinners with cloudless skies.  Just three evenings ago, we were enjoying the barbecue in wonderful warmth.  Today I had on the furnace.  This last weekend was beautiful.  I was able to work in the garden, toast the sunset in Bodega Bay and life was good.  Don’t get me wrong, you can do many wonderful activities when it is raining – but isn’t that supposed to be in the winter when you live in California?

A "minor" hole in Joy Road

On to Numero Dos.  My joy leapt to new bounds when I drove towards home and saw the County Road workers filling the potholes on Joy Road.  This may not seem like such a big deal to people who do not come up here but the biggest complaint I get from friends and family who visit me is that the potholes are huge.  I must admit that one had gotten so big that I could not straddle it in my car.  One or the other – or both – wheels had to hit it.  It had become an obstacle course to drive in either direction.  But as of today, at least 99% of the major holes are filled.  I wonder why they do not fill the minor holes so that they do not become major ones.  This is one of those mysteries that I guess will never be answered.

So today was a wonderful day.  The rain is gone. The road is somewhat smooth.  All is right in my world on Joy Road..


What is Happening this Weekend in Sonoma County?

Sebastopol Farmer's Market

Every weekend in Sonoma County is packed throughout the year but once summer has hit (which it has!) there are so many things to do that I have a difficult time deciding which to take in.  There are signs along the roads in every community with a Pancake Breakfast or a dance at the Grange.  And then there are the Farmer’s Markets.  I like Occidental on Friday night and Sebastopol on Sunday morning.  But others are probably just as good – these are the ones close to home.

Just to give you an example – In THIS WEEK SONOMA COUNTY which is only four pages long are three unique events.  The Lavender Food and Wine Festival is happening in Kenwood at the Lavender Barn at 8537 Sonoma Highway.  There are cooking demonstrations, music, lavender products and wines by Chateau St. Jean, Kenwood Winery and B.R. Cohn.   Sausal Winery is celebrating the 1956 purchase of Sausal Ranch by Rose and Leo Demonstene on Saturday from 11 to 4 with a 1950s themed diner-style lunch, classic cars and Elvis Presley music at 7370 Hwy. 128 in Healdsburg.  Right here at Bill’s Farm Basket and Pony Espresso at 10315 Bodega Hwy between Sebastopol and Freestone is the Hoe Down with Three Legged Sister performing at 6:30 on Saturday.

Lavender in the Garden

One great place to find something to do is to the Sonoma County Gazette.  The Calendar is always full of ideas.  If you do not get a hardcopy of the Gazette, you can find it on line at:

I plan to see friends, play 9-holes at Northwood Golf Course in Monte Rio, maybe visit the Di Rosa Preserve on the way to Napa and work in my garden.  Oh, maybe I won’t be able to fit that all in!  But I will be happy trying.  Have a wonderful weekend.

Father’s Day

Bodega Head from Bodega Harbour Club House

When your father is no longer available for celebration and the father of your children is not a part of your life, what does one do on Father’s Day?  Having moved into the “older generation” of the family and no longer having an “intact” family, this is the question that I pondered on Sunday.  I love celebrations so the loss of one is in the bummer category.  But why can’t I have an “un”-Father’s Day like the un-Birthdays of Alice and the March Hare?

I must first say that after months of rain and cold weather, the warmth of this Sunday was incredible.  The day started with a round of golf with a friend (who is a father so I didn’t feel guilty about getting the Father’s Day Special) at the Links at Bodega Harbour.  This course is one of my favorites and an early tee time is usually a good choice to avoid the midday winds.  The downside is that even in the summer, the temperature is nippy.  Not this week – it felt like it was 68 degrees at 8 AM.   I didn’t play my best 18 holes but it was wonderful weather, good company and terrific scenery.

My son-in-law, Dan, at the barbecue

I arrived home in the heat of the day.  For those who live in the San Jauquin Valley our 80 degree weather does not sound so hot but for those of us used to mild temperatures every day, it feels like a scorcher!  It was all I could do to water my potted plants before hiding from the sun.  Around 3:30 the troops arrived with beer, potato salad and energy to start the barbecue.  Not a one of us is a father but we did the evening up as if we had one amongst us.  It was a fabulous dinner of ribs, fresh vegetables and potato salad on the patio.  Can’t ask for better than that.

I hope all of you fathers out there had an equally great day.

Dinner Fit for a Father

Wine Tasting Weekend – Two

Trentadue Winery Gondola for Wine Tasters

I really do not go wine tasting very often – but two weeks in a row were available and so off I went.  This was a very special opportunity as my friend, Gail – yes, Gail who was the instigator of the previous weekend’s outing to Coppola – had purchased a private vineyard tasting at a charity auction for Trentadue Winery.  Eight of us gathered at 2 with no real idea of what was in store for us.

Instruction on Popping the Cork

The beginning experience was the opening of champagne with the Sonoma County substitute for a saber – a large kitchen knife!  The demonstration was performed by Randy, our host for the day, and was a teaching lesson for Katy.  Or was it an excuse for him to put his arms around a babe? Whatever the case, we loaded into the gondola with champagne in our glasses and smiles on our faces.

The tour provided tastes of the various wines while amongst the vineyard where the grapes were harvested.  A clever idea and the perfect day for the occasion.  A wedding was happening on the grounds so we didn’t wander far from the tasting room when we returned.

Gnarly Old Vine

The wines were terrific.  We tasted Merlot with a great peppery taste.  The Sengiovese was over the top.  Old Patch Red is a blend of mostly zinfandel but is from “an old patch” of vines.

Inside we found a full array of college insignia etched bottles.  I had to pick up one with Fresno State Bulldogs for my sister and her husband who still attend the games after 40 years.  Two fun ports – one white – one red – were shared.  A great day with great friends – old and new.

Happy Tasters

Wine Tasting Weekend One

Entrance to Francis Ford Coppola Winery

Just two weeks ago it was rainy and cold.  The day after the Giants game, Gail and I took off for Geyserville to go to the Francis Ford Coppola Wine Club Pick Up Party.  Yes, that is when members pick up their shipments and do a little partying.  If you have not visited this winery since it was remodeled by Coppola, you have to return.  The outside sports a beautiful pool, cabanas and refreshment kiosks – not that we visited anything out of doors as we dashed from the car to the building.

Barbara Ellis at the Breakfast Bar

Inside is a museum to the Hollywood works of Coppola including his five Oscars and the desk used by The Godfather.  The event started at 9 or so in the morning so the bar was covered with breakfast sweets and mimosas.  The sparkling wine was Sofia – named after Coppola’s daughter.  Sofia comes in a large glass bottle or a four pack of single serving flip top cans with straws.  Cute and reasonably priced.  Yes, a bought some and the bubbly is good even at home!

We did a bit of tasting and ended up with needing help to get it out in the car.  The day was great fun and we will remember it as a wonderful rainy day.

Gail Winmill-Lee at the Tasting Bar

Take Me Out To The Ball Game

The Rain is Only a Delay

Last Saturday the sky was falling with one of those all to familiar rains. (I am hoping they are gone for the season now!  They should be.)  But there was a break predicted at noon and that was in time for the Giants to at least begin the game.  I started following the Giants last year – a resurgence of a childhood fascination with baseball.  I had not been to a baseball game since June 24, 2003.  Long story as to why I remember that – not fit for a blog.  RE/MAX was a sponsor of the day (check out the RE/MAX balloon by the screen.)  I got an email asking if I wanted to buy tickets for the June 4th game.   Why not?  Little did I know that it was going to be a very wet day.

So I am stilling looking for someone crazy enough to go to San Francisco in the rain on the hopes that we will see a Giants game at 8:00 AM on the day of the game.  I think of Gail, friend-in-crime from Kauai trip in January.  I showed up at her door in 45 minutes and there she was in full Giant’s regalia – Giant’s Shirt – black hat – she forgot the glove!  We drove through pouring rain but when we got to San Francisco there were only a few drops of rain.  By the time we reached the ballpark there was a light mist.  When we sat down in our COVERED seats, the sky started showing some blue..

Cody Ross Bobblehead

At the time to start the game, the crew began removing the tarp from the infield.  It was an interesting process that I have never seen before.  Kind of like a pre-show.  Thirty minutes after the scheduled start time, the first pitch was thrown.

Saturday was CODY ROSS BUBBLEHEAD day.   I have to admit that the Giants have never won when I was at the game.  And Saturday was no different.  They win more times than not these days but I am not taking it personal.  At least Cody Ross hit a home run.  It was the only run that the Giants got.  But on the positive notes – the game was exciting, there was not a drop of rain during the game (or on the drive home), AT&T Park is  great place.  We got to see great ball and have a wonderful day.

Since Saturday the Giants have won 3 out of the last 4 games.   I had a great time on Saturday and look forward to the next chance I get to attend a Giant’s game.

Removing the Tarp


June 2011


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