New Year Party Redux

December 31, 2015

We partied like it was 2014.

That is…   we went to the Odd Fellows Hall and danced in the new year to the very danceable music of Mumbo Gumbo. Just like last year.

So much fun.

Couldn’t help but notice the demographic at this event was quite, uh… well… old. Like us. Guessing the average age was 50-55. Is that possible? Lot-o-grey hair in that crowd. But here’s the thing: we’re all boomers– raised in the 60s, raised on rock and roll. I must say, we rocked it.

Even though they limit the door to about 200-250 people, we ran into lots of people we know. Makes for a fun time.

Here’s a dark and not very clear shot of the stage. Mumbo Gumbo’s been around a long time, but they still serve up some great music…lot of talent in those musicians:


Jim and me…


Aren’t we funny?  (Or maybe just fuzzy.) (Any month now Jim’s going to get that implant in…)

So.. dancing, balloon drop, champagne, noise makers, Auld Lang Syne, kissing and hugging all around… the whole nine yards. Hilarious.

They were serving gumbo downstairs, but we’d eaten at home first… a small pre-dance party gathering. Ginger, butternut squash soup, salad, and…

A slow-cook pot roast:  Yukon potatoes, onions, carrots, tomato paste, worcestershire sauce, broth and a wee bit of corn starch as a base.


Rub a chuck roast with fresh minced garlic, season with salt/pepper and place on top:


Cover, set on high, and six hours later dinner’s done. It was pretty good!

Happy New Year.





This is Only a Test

December 30, 2015


You may have noticed I’ve been a remiss blogger for the last couple of weeks.

I have an excuse.

Well, two excuses: 1) I got sidetracked by holiday stuff, for one. Because we were heading south for Christmas, the timeline for getting holiday-ish things done was somewhat compressed… so… I was just busy and unable to post. I made up a few of the back posts while down south, and was getting on a roll, but then something bad happened… 2) My iPhoto program got all corrupted and I was unable to post or access photos at all.  Which really really sucks.

It happened on December 23 when, unbeknownst to me, my AC plug had fallen out, leaving me with only battery power and, since I have the world’s most anemic Macbook Pro battery, my screen blinked out before I realized what was going on.  By the time I plugged it back into the wall and got everything up and running again, my iPhoto program had crashed or died or I don’t know what, but I’d totally lost functionality. Very weird. I really think it was a complete overreaction on iPhoto’s part! But whatever, iPhoto was all corrupted and that was that. I was on the road, my hard drive with all my backups was at home, and I couldn’t upload or access any photos.

The night we got back from PV, I contacted the Apple tech support folks, but I didn’t really have enough time to complete a full restore because we were leaving the next morning for Geyserville. I started the process, but had to abort because it was going too slowly. Tried again while in Geyserville, but it failed.

Got back last night, and tried two more restores–one from Carbonite and one from Time Machine. I had what I thought was success with the latter. Everything looked normal again and I went to bed relieved. I had another session with the Apple people this morning just to make sure. The guy screen shared with me over the phone, said everything was good and even said he’d send me a more current version of iPhoto. Score!

After hanging up, I uploaded nearly two weeks of iPhone pictures and at this point everything went haywire. I don’t know why I didn’t call Apple back, but decided instead to call my buddy Gil, who now lives in New York. He’s very willing to help, but he isn’t free until next week. So… I’m on hold.

I think I need a new computer or an updated operating system, or both. But we’ll figure that out next week. In the meantime… I figured out a bit of a workaround on importing photos into my iPhoto database, but I’m a little nervous about it. So I’m not going to go crazy with lots of photos for a little while longer. But… maybe one…

This is a picture from yesterday… we’d come to a stop on Hwy 116–fortunately in a really pretty spot (most spots along 116 are pretty), so I got a few nice pics… here’s one:


And hey… that worked, so maybe I’ll be back tomorrow with another post.. and maybe some back posts… got a lot of catching up to do.

Where the Huck is Jim?

December 17, 2015

Went in search of Jim. He was not on the creek.

Lovely as it looks–duckweed notwithstanding–it was extremely cold. He’d already packed up.


I mentioned the project to map the depth of the creek? It’s only a small section and he’s wrapping up, but hopefully we can put the newly acquired inflatable kayak to use in other ways… because…

jims kayak

.. it’s neato, right?  (A shot Jim took on another day.)

Turns out, there seems to be no prohibition on water craft on Putah Creek.. so he’s promising a quiet little float trip when the weather warms.



Where Turkeys Roam

December 16, 2015


It’s been a rainy week. The turkeys seem happy. This was on the north side, at the point where the greenbelt crosses Catalina. There were about 40 turkeys crossing the road.

I know there’s a joke in there. Just not real quick with the jokes…


December 15, 2015


That old diseased-infested Modesto Ash next door–the one that was on the verge of falling on our house, crushing our roof, our bedroom and us–was slated for removal.

It took a few years of nagging on my part, but the city arborist finally agreed it was too far gone. The street tree commission gave the go ahead and today the crews came to take it down.

Here is the before:


Here is the final blow:


And here is the after:


It leaves a hole for sure, but not as bad as I expected… what with that monster REDWOOD right behind it, ready to fall, now completely unhindered by the Modesto Ash. Do NOT let those north winds blow.

(I’ve mentioned my fear of falling trees, ya?)

Also in the category of things coming down: the last wind storm did this to our back fence….


Is that crazy?

I believe that is going to turn into a spring project for Jim… keep ya posted.







December 14, 2015

Three tediums today.

Tedium #1: Got a huge job at work today: to proof a fairly dense 120-page document in French with lots of formatting. I have three days to finish it and only got through 22 pages today. Gonna have to step up my game tomorrow.  (Total hourage: Four hours and fifteen minutes.)

Tedium #2: Stuffed, stamped, labeled (in two places), and sealed 190 Christmas cards, only twelve of which I’ll write on, but still. (Total hourage: Three hours and forty five minutes.)

Tedium #3: Flipped through (and through and through) a four-inch-thick stack of hand-written index cards, quizzing Peter on 250 government and judicial definitions in preparation for his AP Government final tomorrow. Good old fashioned memorization of terms. I’m serious, were I to take that test cold, I’d fail spectacularly… and I think I’m a pretty good student of government. Jeez. I will say this: I’m very impressed by the absorbency of the teenage brain!  The kid rocked it. (Total hourage: One hour and fifteen minutes.)

That’s over 9 hours of tedium on the day. (So grateful for the late afternoon 90-minute massage!)

And pretty much I loved it all, too. (Well… love… I don’t know, but I was totally into all of it.) I have a reasonably high tolerance for tedium, don’t know why. It may be the rush of endorphins one feels upon completion of a tedious task. I just made that up, but there is some truth to the feeling of satisfaction one gets… amirite?

My day was so head-down, I barely looked up to see anything, much less take any pictures… so here’s a shot I took yesterday of the sky as I walked out of the Davis Food Coop… it took my breath away:





adventures With a Small A

December 13, 2015

We are all loving this rain. We don’t even mind that the Richards Boulevard under-crossing was seriously flooded and we had to carefully navigate our way through the tunnel lest we stall out …


We passed a gnarly accident on I-80 and had to detour our way to Rick and Linda’s.

Other than that, it was a great day of food and buds.

First, brunch with these guys:


Rick and Ricker are in another room. (Rick and Ricker.. that’s weird.)

An incredibly enjoyable few hours

Then raced home and made a couple of apps for a Creole-themed dinner with the Dining Divas (I guess that name is sticking):

I made chicken creole deviled eggs…


And zesty marinated shrimp…


Both just fine! And, both firsts for me. Honest to god, I’ve never made a deviled egg in my whole life. Also, to my knowledge, I’ve never cooked a raw shrimp.

More adventure than I expected for a Sunday.

Basket Case

December 12, 2015

Quite pleased with our little effort today. After maybe a dozen or more years of doing baskets for relatives near and far, we found the easiest way yet to get the job done… thanks to what we think is a newish feature–surely seasonal–at the Davis Farmers Market.

In an area rich in locally grown, organic produce, baskets are a no brainer. The whole thing is kind of bonus on bonus. Buying at the farmers market supports local farmers, the stuff is mostly interesting and hopefully fun, and, not trivially, it’s one-stop-shopping for 6-8 people in one swell foop.

Aaaand there’s pretty good variety: olive oils, honeys, nuts, herbs, dried fruits/vegetables, jams, wines, vinegars, chocolates, soaps, soup kits, nut butters, …not too perishable nor breakable. We’ve bought all of this over the years, or some subset.

Also not cheap, but what the heck, right? The rest is so perfect.

We usually haul everything home (heavy!) and package it all ourselves in baskets and stuffing and ribbons and cellophane we’ve bought at Cost Plus or wherever.. super labor intensive.

We realized a week ago that Farmers Market has a basket packaging station; they do all the packing for free, including the basket and all materials, as long as your basket includes at least three items purchased at the market.

Oh yeah!

So we wheeled Jim’s cart over to the park, bought a millions things, took them all to the booth and let them do all the packing. We then hauled it all home in the cart. Easy peasy.

Here’s Jim wheeling through the market…


Filled up, on the way home…


And here they are: 8 baskets ready for shipping and delivery…


Unrelated but worth a photo, I saw something I’d never seen before.. fresh turmeric.



Hard to believe that something so mutant, so swollen-looking, is actually a natural remedy for inflammation.  But it is.

We did not put turmeric in the baskets.






December 11, 2015

Sometimes, all ya got is meatballs.


Don’t judge me.



December 10, 2015

About 8:00 tonight, Peter mentioned that he had to take gazpacho to school tomorrow for his Spanish class. He said they were going to have a party and everyone was to sign up for an item to make and bring. He couldn’t think of anything but had heard of gazpacho, so he volunteered to bring that. He didn’t know what it was exactly… he thought it might be a rice dish.

So a Google search and run to the store later, he was making gazpacho. I got to help and it worked out pretty well.

He assembled and blended the base (tomato juice, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, fresh tomato, salt and hot pepper sauce). Then we worked side by side on chopping more tomatoes, onions, cucumber, and bell pepper to be added to the blended tomato base. He actually needed a lot of guidance on how to properly chop the vegetables. For example, he was to peel, seed and chop two cucumbers, so I did one and he did one and he followed my suggestions on how to do it. It’s not something you would necessarily know how to do.


He’s got a nice technique…


He’s got to work on his onion chopping technique, however..


We ended up with a lot… so part of the batch will stay here.  Which is great for us!

Meanwhile, after nearly a week of staring at a bare naked tree in the living room, we also finished the tree trimming, decorating and inside lights:


Shopping’s all done, too, and Jim finished the card design tonight, so I can get that out … wrapping, baskets, shipping and baking remain.