Saturday, January 31, 2009

Gold Mountain Manor

In the final chapter of our ongoing quest to experience the best of California before we move to Texas, we spent a couple days in Big Bear Lake, a mountain town in Southern California. 

We stayed at a charming bed and breakfast called Gold Mountain Manor, and we just LOVED staying there!  It's like a log cabin mansion with cozy decor...just beautiful!

This was the rustic four poster bed in our room...

...and this was the cute little fire place next to the bed...

...I felt like I was on my second honeymoon!

As if I wasn't already charmed by the place, they sweetened the deal by informing us that they have a hot cocoa station, complete with mini marshmallows!

The breakfasts were gourmet, and they were happy to accommodate my vegetarian needs.

We loved Gold Mountain Manor, and would highly recommend it for anyone who wants to have a mountain getaway.

In fact, I'd give it five out of five pine cones!  

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I miss him, but we'll be reunited again real soon!

For those of you who don't already know, I have the most adorable nephew.  And I love him!

Obviously, I'm about a month late in posting these, but better late than never! 

Our family photo made on Christmas Day.

I can't wait to live close to little Sam and be part of his life as he grows up. 

Sunday, January 25, 2009

San Diego Zoo!

In an effort to see as many of California's state gems as possible before we move to Texas, we made a trip down to the San Diego Zoo with our friends Jenn and Dave. It was so fun to get to visit a place that I've heard about my whole life. I really loved it and had so much fun taking pictures of the animals and the scenery.  It was a gorgeous So Cal day--sunny and clear--perfect for a day spent outdoors with friends!

For some reason, the whole time we were there, the theme song to Three's Company was going through my head!

Alexis, you were in my thoughts as I was walking through the zoo, since I know that you and your family adore the zoo. I couldn't believe it...just as we were about to walk out the zoo at the end of the day, an artist who was selling his work had this on his display:

The day closed with an absolutely gorgeous and huge full moon!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Memories of a Tough Old Bird

One of the joys of going to visit my cousin in San Francisco is that she and her husband are living in the same house that our grandparents and parents grew up in (her mother and my father are siblings). Now my cousin's kids are the fourth generation to by growing up in the house, and it is fun to peek in their room, as it was the very room that my father grew up in, and it is the one room in the house that they haven't remodeled, so it has an old-school feel to it!

They have done a beautiful job of remodeling the home, while still preserving the integrity of its original style in a lot of ways.  One of my favorite things about the living room is that the same piano is there that has been there since my grandparents lived in the house.  Isn't it beautiful?  

I have no idea how old it is, but look how the pedals have been worn down over years of playing:

My paternal grandmother wasn't exactly a woman who gave you the warm fuzzies. For example, she preferred that her grandchildren called her by her first name. None of this "grandma" business for her! Lest you think I'm being a little harsh in my recollection of her, know that she even referred to herself as "a tough old bird". 

And a tough old bird she was!  She lived to be 95 years old, and proudly proclaimed to the end, that she never colored her hair with a bottle...that dark brown hair was natural, by golly!

I have two favorite memories of her from my childhood. One was that she would have my sister and I belly up to the bar on two barstools she had that looked through a portal into the kitchen, and she would serve us root beer floats. To this day, I love the taste of root beer floats!

The other favorite memory I have of her is sitting next to her on that piano bench, as she would play me "Engineer's Child" (though I think her version had a slightly different tune than the original). She even taught me how to play it, and when I was there visiting this past weekend, I waited for a moment when I was alone in the house, and I sat down on the bench and played that crazy song, singing along as I played, and I cried.

Generations come and generations go, but certain legacies live on. And as I played and sang that day, perhaps the walls in that house or even the piano itself remembered those very same notes played decades ago by a tough old bird to her impressionable young granddaughter who remembers.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Fun with Focus

This past weekend, while I was staying at my Fairy Godmother's beautiful home, I spent some time in her backyard playing with the focus on my camera. One of the features I love about my new camera is it's ability to focus on one object in the frame and blur out the rest.  

For example, in this photo, I focused on the white bird house, while on the one below it, I focused on the pretty purple blooms in the foreground:

In this one, I gave the focus to the yellow flowers and the green leaves in the background, whereas in the one below it, the violet flower in the foreground got the attention:

And finally, I focus on twiggy branches in foreground and then in the background. I loved the juxtaposition of the leafless branches against the clear blue sky:

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Fashion Faux Pas or Fashion Hoorah?

For Christmas, Santa brought me some super fun harlequin diamond multi-colored tights.

I have a bad reputation with my sister for wearing tights that in her words are "just wrong". I don't know why, but I LURRRRVE a sassy pair of tights that make a fashion statement.  I think my sister would be pleased with how I wore these...just a little hint of color showing between my skirt and the tops of my boots.

What do you think? Fashion faux pas or fashion hoorah? 

For those of you who need a better view of these colorful tights, here's a little peak:

Yea, I'm thinking HOORAH!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What makes for an awesome Saturday lunch?

Fun friends,

excellent conversation,


delicious food,

and 'ritas!!!

I spent the weekend in San Francisco, and on Saturday, I got to have lunch with three blog buddies who I have gotten to know over the past three years of blogging: Cherry, Autumn's Mom, and Jelly Jules! We spent three hours chatting across the table and one more hour walking around town doing a little shopping together.  It was a great girls' day, and I'm so pleased to call these three blog buddies my friends.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Palm Springs

Last week, we drove to Palm Desert to visit my friend, Angie, who I've known since I was in high school. She and her husband and son were in town for a few days. It was so fun to see them and to meet their son Landry.  

Isn't he adorable?

Hubs knew about a tram that you could take up to the top of a mountain in Palm Springs, so we bundled up to see what we could see at the top of the mountain, and boy was it ever beautiful up there!

It was a wonderful day spent with friends in the natural beauty of Southern California!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Did you ever hear the one about the girl who went to the trailer park and left with a black eye?

Bless my achy breaky heart.

Yes, that is me with a little shiner over the Christmas holidays. Ain't I purty?

My mother-in-law is an adventuresome spirit who loves to leave the cold climes of Virginia in the winter and drive around warmer parts of the country in her RV. We were thrilled that she decided to join us in Texas for Christmas!

In fact, we were so excited to see her, that Hubs and I drove over to meet her at the RV park where she had just arrived (about 15 mins from my mom's house) to see how she was getting settled in. Sadly, on her way out to TX, she camped in some places where the temperature was well below freezing, and some of the water pipes on her RV burst. 

Just before we had arrived to greet her at the RV park in Texas, she had hooked up the water to her RV and water was gushing out from under her RV through the broken pipes.

I thought I'd take a gander at the broken pipes, and just as I bent down to look under the RV, my MIL's dog Dakota jumped up into the RV and well...we bumped heads! Actually, his head bumped the bone over my right eye and resulted in this lovely bruise. 

It really looks much worse than it felt, and now it is all gone, but it was such good blog fodder, I couldn't resist sharing it with you! 

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Things I'll miss about California: Jenn and Dave

Jenn and Dave have become such dear friends to Hubs and I. We just love them, and will miss them so much. The cool thing, though, is that we feel pretty certain that they will be life-long friends. So even though we're moving, our friendship will continue.

For New Year's Eve, we got together with some of our good friends and had a dinner of raclette! Oh my goodness, was it ever yummy! Chocolate fondue was for dessert. Mmmmm.