Sunday, November 29, 2009

Family, Friends and the DreamBoat Baby Ian

We joined Doug's Aunt Jan and Uncle Allen as they arrived in Bullhead City at their winter home. We spent a couple of days helping them get settled and deal with some electrical issues. We had a wonderful visit and enjoyed a great prime rib dinner together.

It is always more than fun to join Jim and Masayoshi in their beautiful place in San Francisco. Masa is a superb cook and we are superb eaters. We took long walks on the waterfront near Jim's workplace. He tells people that we have been friends for 50 years but I beg to differ - it has only been 48 years.

Heidi and I often mused on how her girls would grow up. We were certainly right about one thing - they are all beautiful. Melissa and Ali joined us for dinner in Concord with Leah and Andrew at their lovely home. Baby Ian was the star of the show. Doug dubbed him the DreamBoat baby. He is a watchful and alert cuddle bug with a wonderful disposition. He tolerated everything with a stately charm including being dressed in the funny hat that Aunt Jan knitted for him.

Life is beautiful.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Some Old and Some New

One of the joys of aging is meeting those who follow your youthfulness. First it is the children and then the grandchildren. Heather, daughter of our friends, Wayne and Martie, has been a delight to watch as her life unfolds. At about 13 her father referred to her as a "praying mantis" not because of a proclivity for religion but rather for her slender build which she still maintains. Although Wayne advised Heather to specialize in pathology, his advise well went unheeded and she practices family medicine in a low income clinic.

We had the joy of visiting Heather, Mark and their children, Joshua and Julia when we passed through Illinois. Mark cooked a delectable grilled lamb dinner and we had the opportunity to have a good visit. I learned about the Wimpy Kid Diaries from Joshua and learned the names of members of Julia's stuffed animal menagerie. Doug became the resident story reader for Julia. We thank Heather and Mark for the visit and wish them safe travels as they visit her parents in Singapore for Thanksgiving.

The Western Plains through Oklahoma and Texas are an interstate blur with too many miles that looked so like the last miles. Then the terrain changed and we stopped for a moment in Cline's Corner, New Mexico where Jan's great-great-great uncle ended his freight line. As the family story goes, he had been a Yankee prisoner-of-war held Andersonville following an early Civil War battle. When the war ended and he was released he made his way home to Illinois and found his family had thought him dead. His younger brother had married his sweetheart and had taken over the farm. Great uncle struck out in a new direction and established a freight line from Wichita, Kansas to Cline's Corner, New Mexico. Thank you to Grandma Grace for preserving so many family stories.

Our next stop was Phoenix, Arizona to visit Jan's longtime friend, Heidi and her Bill. When Jan and Heidi met, Heidi had three girls under the age of two, Renee, Leah and Melissa. The girls have since grown into three beautiful women who still keep in close touch with their Aunt Jan. The eldest, Renee lives with her husband, Al, and their children, Trey and Ella in Phoenix. They live a short distance from their Oma, Heidi. It was such fun getting to know Trey and Ella who are characters in their own right. Al and Renee are delightful. Hopefully we will spend time with Leah and Melissa as we conclude our journey. We had a wonderful time and look forward to Heidi visiting us on the boat in the late spring. Plans are being made.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Good Old...

Good Old Places to Honeymoon could be no other than Niagara Falls which we visited from the Canadian side of the river. It is spectacular and spellbinding. It is unimaginable that people have gone over in a barrel and lived. Fits the definition of stupid.

Good Old Ideas that Changed the World
are found at Seneca Falls, New York that is the birthplace of the Woman's Movement as well as the home of the Finger Lakes wine country. The fall foliage was a leaf peeper's dream and the wines were quite good.

Good Old Boston Meets Japanese Fusion Paintings at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Time to catch some culture. We met our friend, Mike Moran, at the Boston MFA for an excellent brunch followed by a viewing of the Japanese painting collection procured by Jan’s brother Jeff and his partner, Bill. This amazing art of the Showa Period is collected from the Japanese Emperor’s Exhibits in the 1930’s. Each of the paintings fuses elements of the Japanese culture with Western influences.

A Good Old Boyhood Friend of Dougs and his charming wife, Bonnie, shared beautiful upstate Pennsylvania with us. Their daughter, Megan, showcased her fine baking skills with a delectable apple pie (crusts by Alan) and molasses cookies. Alan, Doug and Jan visited the Corning Glass Museum in Corning, NY for an astounding display of glass through the ages and a two great demonstrations of glass art.

We ended this part of our trip with five days in Indianapolis with Doug's daughter and son-in-law, Shari and Ryan. They have a newly installed light in their kitchen and pretty new Roman shades in the living and almost finished in the kitchen. It was fun to work together with both of them. Shari runs a compassionate sweatshop and we are happy to help them again.