Tuesday, August 25, 2009

On Vacation


All right y'all, this should be the last trip for awhile. We are headed to Ohio for business and will then drive over to Pittsburgh for a short visit and a Steeler's game. Think happy travel thoughts for us!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Salt Flats


Here's one last pic from my trip to California with grandpa. It's one more of the Great Salt Lake area, though this is of the salt flats at a rest stop. You could actually walk down and step out onto the salt, which looked like slushy ice.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

ETSY PLUG - Geek Gear


I had seen Geek Gear on the front page of Etsy last year. This pencil holder was particularly popular, and like tons of other folks, I thought it would be perfect for someone I knew. I loved the simple cleverness of it, and the fact that someone was making functional art with items that would otherwise end up in a landfill.

Joe at Geek Gear works as a network engineer during the day, but at night he works on these cool items, like the above keychain and the clocks below.





He's always looking for donations of old computer and gaming items, so if you have an old Nintendo, Atari, Intellivision or Commodore that you are going to get rid of, send Joe a message. You can feed his creative habit and do the environment a bit of good.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Fuschias



Another thing that always made my grandparents' house seem special, like nowhere else, was the fuschias. I know other folks have fuschias, but honestly I've never even seen these in person at someone else's home. That made them unique for me, and the punch of color the lend to the backyard is delightfully overwhelming.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Grapes of Sonoma and Napa








One of the best things about where my grandpa lives is his proximity to the multitude of vineyards in Sonoma and Napa counties. One Sunday afternoon we drove the twisty roads through the hills on our way to have lunch in Yountville, at the restaurant of Michael Chiarello. By the time we found it, it had already closed for lunch (Yountville is now quite the weekend destination whereas my mom and grandpa remembered it being empty years ago). We had passed a place called Brix on the way into town, however, so we stopped on the way back for brunch. It was everything we were looking for - a relaxed environment, with a beautiful patio that backed up to vineyards and an organic garden, and more delicious food than I can even recall. And wine, of course, to include a wonderful California Riesling that I should have written down. We lingered for hours in the perfect weather, savoring every heavenly bite, and each other's company.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

By the Railroad Tracks


We were in northern California on the prowl for somewhere to eat after visiting a great quilting shop that Mom had wanted to check out when, at a stop light, I saw these beautiful golden grasses swaying in the breeze by the railroad tracks.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

FEATURED ON: Paper Mango


Mom's blue cheese plate has made another appearance - this time on the lovely blog of Paper Mango. Paper Mango is a stationary design company that specializes in eco-friendly, affordable and modern paper products. You can tell from Melanie's blog that the eco-friendly part is a real passion, and to champion all the wonderful upcycled products that abound, she created a column called "Sustainability" that features four such products from other sellers. She has a great eye for beautiful items, so do go check out her blog. Paper Mango is also an Etsy seller and you can see her beautiful stationary here.
Thanks so much to Paper Mango for the feature!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Lemons


My grandpa has this huge, beautiful lemon bush in his front yard. It produces so many more lemons than we can use, but we always try, making fresh lemonaide every other day. They are so much better than the lemons you can buy at the supermarket. They are soft and the juice squeezes out so easily, and they are so very fragrant. I brought a grocery bag full of them home in my suitcase.
Grandpa lives in sunny California, as you know, so his lemons stay on the bush all year. It was covered with ripe yellow ones while in between, the new crop was already coming in.


The two look like they are whispering to each other. Probably sharing those secrets on how to become so plump and tasty.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Great Salt Lake


I was going to fly out to California to surprise grandpa for his birthday, but since it would only add a few days to my trip, I decided to drive back with him instead (he had been camping with us in Wyoming). The drive on I-80 is not the most exciting, but it was a nice way to spend time together. We talked about all sorts of things, listened to lots of Johnny Cash, and stopped along the way to take pictures. The Great Salt Lake was looking beautiful when we passed, with the sun glittering off the surface.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Grandpa's Roses




My grandpa loves roses and has been growing them for decades. His favorites are the deep reds, like "Mr. Lincoln." But I always loved the bright pink ones because they were so fragrant.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Grandpa's 80th Birthday Party


Well, I'm back from my time in California. Mom and I went out to throw my grandpa an 80th birthday party and I'm happy to report it was a big success! We had a camouflage theme, since grandpa is a big hunter and fisherman, and nearly everyone we invited showed up! He had a great time, and he really deserved it. I don't know a kinder, more patient or more compassionate person and I try everyday to live up to his brilliant example.