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  December 2011 - CA
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December, 2011 - CA
December 26 - 31, 2011 - CA
Wednesday, December 28. It's been a quiet week and we saw our first cold and foggy day on Monday. I should say it was cold and foggy here on the bay, but when we drove to Costco in Novato it was sunny and warm. In fact, the jacket that I had on was much too warm. Again, we walked out of there and had spent $100 - mostly on vitamins and supplements.

We've not been doing much other than taking the dogs for walks and playing some ball with them out in the large, open field near here. I started a new crochet project for Charlotte - just have to have something to be working on during open times in my day. I decided to get the laundry out of the way today. We could have taken it with us to Ben's but I had some bigger items and wanted to get it all out of the way within a couple of hours.

I'm surprised at how quickly the old fingertip is healing. Yesterday, I decided that I no longer need to have a bandage on it - it is sensitive and feels numb and tingly - I suppose because a lot of nerve endings were cut.

I got a response from an inquiry on Craig's List for a carseat base for Charlotte, so I will be off to Novato in the morning to look into it - if it's what I'm looking for and in good shape - $10 isn't a bad price. With this item, we can keep it mounted in our car and just clip her carseat in whenever we want to go anywhere. She is getting to the age where we should be able to get away now and then. We will leave it behind for Ben's car when we leave.

Friday, December 30. Yesterday morning, I headed off in the fog to Novato to get the carseat base. I had received an email from the seller saying that it would be on the front porch and I could just put the money under the mat - what a trusting soul. I got there and knocked on the door, his wife answered, we chatted a little and I took off with the base. It feels good to have found a good deal on an important item that will save us much time and energy and some freedom to go places with Charlotte.

In the afternoon, we went to the neighborhood theater to see the American version of "The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo" and we both agreed that it was very well done, followed the book, and had some real good actors in it. I think I would recommend that version over the Swedish version for those who never read the book. I'm looking forward to the next two coming out.

I made a lousy batch of turkey chili for dinner - not really sure why I couldn't get the flavor right. I didn't have the Bush's brand chili beans that I usually use - maybe that was the problem. Whatever, it wasn't the best that I've made and I was disappointed.

When I walked the dogs this morning, I noticed the clouds were looking very nice over Mt. Tamalpais, so I took a couple of photos when I got back home. Check it out.

We packed Ruby's stuff up and headed to Ben's to get their car so we could pick them up at the airport. The cleaning lady was there and their flight was delayed for an hour, so we had about 3 hours to kill. We headed to Pacifica and browsed some of the shops near where we have stayed in the past; the antique shop, a music store, and the pet store, before stopping at Columbo's Deli for a yummy sandwich. We then went to the RV park to see who was still around and our former boss, Dorothy was on her lunch break so we didn't get to talk to her. Carl and Becky are still there, so we sat and chatted and caught up with them for a while.

By then it was time to head to the airport and that all went well. We had a nice visit, played with Charlotte, and then headed home.

Saturday, December 31. Today is the last day of 2011 - time sure does fly, even quicker than it did in the past.

After picking up some groceries, we headed to Ben's to hang out with him and Charlotte until Jill got home. We had decided to make a spaghetti and meat sauce recipe for dinner, so later in the afternoon, the kitchen was busy with activity. While the sauce was simmering on the stove, Ben gave Charlotte her bath - she absolutely loves the water.

When Jill got home, she fed her and tucked her in bed and we had a quiet evening, a pleasant dinner, some wine, and a movie, Horrible Bosses. Both Jill and I fell asleep during the movie but revived in time to see the very end of the movie and then it was time to have a champagne toast to see in the new year. We could hear fireworks going off all around us, causing the dogs to bark and growl and make lots of noise. By 1:30 we were all tucked in bed. Goodbye to 2011.
December 18 - 25, 2011 - CA
Tuesday, December 20. Yesterday, other than a couple of walks with Frisco, we laid around like a couple of beached whales. I got a lot of reading in and it felt good.

Today we were back spending the day with Charlotte, who greeted us at the door with big smiles. She played so hard today, just jabbering away and focusing on her surroundings. She played with her toys and no longer wants to sit in a reclined position, but leans forward and tries to grab whatever is near to put in her mouth. When she wasn't playing hard, she was taking good naps. What a fun day! Every smile from her is a reward and just keeps us smiling too.

Friday, December 23. We watched Charlotte on Wednesday and Thursday and there isn't much to write about that. We stuck around and had a nice pizza for dinner Wednesday night and got off early yesterday and were back home by 6:00.

Ben had today off, so we got to sleep in and take it easy. Our propane tank was close to empty, so we had to secure the motorhome, disconnect, and drive a few blocks away to fill the tank. $56 seems like a lot, but then when we consider heating and cooking for a month, that's not too bad. We do use it sparingly, basically warming up the house in the early morning and in the evening when we get home. During the day, if the sun is shining, it does a good job of warming up this little box.

I also made a trip to Trader Joe's to stock up on groceries to get us through the weekend. What a busy place that was - starting with a parking spot and then standing in a line 8 people deep to checkout. Now it's over and we are in good shape once again.

Saturday, December 24. Happy Birthday, Rita! And Merry Christmas everyone!

Our day started with a trip in to the city to take Ben and family to the airport for their trip to Mankato. The back of their CRV was loaded to the hilt, packing for a baby sure isn't the way they packed in the past. We then dropped their car off at their apartment, picked up Ruby and headed back to the RV. It's a beautiful day, sure doesn't feel like Christmas eve.

We had a nice dinner of Spicy Baked Shrimp, salad and bread and topped it off with spiked eggnog. After walking the dogs, we plugged a comedy into the dvd player, Larry Crowne with Tom Hanks and Julie Roberts - it gets less than a 1-star rating from us. Too bad, because they are both good actors - just not a good movie.

Sunday, December 25. Merry Christmas to all our readers. It's been a mellow and relaxing day, highlighted with converstions with. A nice sunny day in the mid-50s, we took the dogs for a walk before getting involved in roasting a whole chicken on the Holland grill. I rubbed it with olive oil, sprinkled it with Old Bay seasoning and salt and pepper, stuffed the cavity with onions and garlic and popped it in the Holland. Three hours later, it came out tasty and crispy, served it with baked potatoes and seasoned green and yellow string beans. We haven't gotten to the apple pie dessert yet, but I'm sure it's going to be tasty. Merry Christmas to us!

I just can't make it through a Christmas without remembering my dear, sweet Mom who passed on Christmas Day in 1964, at the young age of 42, she was the mother of 10 children and I was second in line and 16 years old. She was way too young and I think about how much longer I've been able to enjoy my life and my family than she ever had a chance to do. In spite of her short life, she left an indelible imprint on me - most days I remember something she did for me or some little thing she taught me. I still love and miss you after all these years, Mom!

And then I have to remember all of the others that leave an empty hole in my heart at this time of year; Dad, Rocco, Dad Bridge, Owen, Casey, my many aunts and uncles, cousins, and dear friends. It kind of makes me shudder and realize why Christmas isn't quite as much fun as it was years ago. There are so many more who are close to my heart that are struggling with health issues and fighting for their lives this year.

On a more positive note, I am thankful that I have my wonderful family; sons Pat & Ben, my dear daughter-in-law, Jill, Tracey, and sweetest ever grand-daughters, Charlotte & Savana, mother-in-law Jane, siblings, in-laws, nieces, nephews, cousins, and a long list of friends in my life - that's what makes Christmas' merry. Love you all!
December 12 - 18, 2011 - CA
Monday, December 12. Well, the weekend just flew by and we hardly left the house, except to pick up a few groceries yesterday. I've been working on little craft projects for Christmas and trying to get my cards together. Most of you will be getting e-cards this year.

A front has come through and left us with gray, drizzly skies once again. We have been fortunate for the last 3 weeks, having mostly sunny days that always help to keep the spirits up. We have definitely become spoiled, living in Arizona.

Today we got out and about the finish getting ready for Christmas with a few things to wrap and a package to send off to Wisconsin.

I fixed one of Trader Joe's spiral hams for dinner tonight - they are so good, lightly honeyed and uncured. I will take the bone and leftovers with us on Wednesday to make some good old bean soup.

Tuesday, December 13. We were back with Charlotte today, and it seems that she has changed so much in only 3 days; her cheeks are looking a little chubbier and her hand-eye coordination is much improved, actually grasping onto a toy and reaching out to touch our faces today.

I couldn't resist dressing her up in one of the cute outfits that my sister, Rita sent last week. Check it out.

Saturday, December 17. Most of the last few days were spent with Charlotte, although we did have Thursday and today off.

Thursday was one of those mellow days until after I woke from my nap. I was planning to work on one of my paper embroidery projects. In preparation, I was cutting paper to the right size with a brand new blade on the knife, when I made the cut eight through the tip of my index finger. Naturally, "oh *bleep*" were the words that came from my mouth. It's bad, especially when I saw the chunk of skin lying on the table, the size of my pinky fingernail.

I proceeded to stop the bleeding by applying pressure with a square of gauze, only to get the gauze stuck to the wound. I just couldn't deal with any more pain so I left it on and put more bandage over it.

Yesterday was a long day with Charlotte as we stayed with her through the night so Ben and Jill could go to his holiday party. Also, the cleaning lady was there today, so we went for a long walk with Charlotte and the 2 dogs, then hung out in the park for a while. The weather was nice and enjoyable.

Charlotte was out for the night by 7:00, so Mike and I had some dinner and watched a movie before heading home about midnight. Seeing the giant, bright half-moon over the city lights and San Pablo Bay was absolutely gorgeous, although it didn't look quite as good when we got back home - so, no photos this time.

Most of today was nice and relaxing. We both slept in this morning and just took our time getting ready for the day. After a call to my doctor yesterday, I learned that I had to get that gauze off my injury and it was going to be a painful thing to do. I sat with my fingertip in a bowl of warm, soapy water for an hour, followed by ice to hopefully numb the effect. No such luck, I ended up just biting the bullet and yanking the thing off. So now, it will just heal - and I hope it will heal quickly. What a stressful thing that was.

After that, we took a nice walk, chatted with some folks in the park, and finished getting our Christmas stuff together for our family Christmas celebration tomorrow.

Sunday, December 18. Today was our family Christmas with Ben's family, starting with a nice, relaxing morning. My cooking contribution was to bake a Cranberry Cake With Butter Sauce, a family traditional dessert from past Christmases.

Ben and Mike did most of the food prep for dinner and we had a delicious chuck roast with bacon and root vegetables; carrots, shallots, parsnips, and garlic. Now that a delicious recipe choice - mmmm! mmmm! mmmm!

Jill brought Charlotte out in one of her cute Christmas outfits and we took lots of pictures - none of which turned out very good - oh well. Ruby sure enjoyed ripping open packages. We got a beautiful picture of Charlotte and a certificate to a great SF restaurant. It was a very enjoyable day with family.
December 5 - 11, 2011 - CA
Thursday, December 8. Guess it's been a while since I've written, not that there has been a lot to write about. Watching the weather lately, we learned that it was to be colder in Mesa than here in northern California for a couple of days this week. I'm hoping that my plants survive but if they don't, I will just have to replace them when I get back home.

We've spent some of our time off getting ready for Christmas; a little bit of shopping online and at local stores and working on some crafts and cards. We found a great little toy store nearby and spent a lot of time looking at that stuff with Charlotte in mind. Mike was drawn to the musical noise-making kind of things and I was drawn to all of the cute little dolls and playhouse stuff. Shopping for her is going to be lots of fun! I really am not in the spirit of things, have no decorations up and I don't think I'm even planning on doing any of that, especially since I left all of that stuff at home.

The last two days have been spent with Charlotte and we have managed to get in good walks each day - a little bit of a challenge with both dogs and her in the stroller. On some of the days, Ben takes Ruby to work with him, so it is a little easier with just Frisco. He is such a worrier whenever he hears Charlotte cry. The poor guy isn't getting his beauty rest, as he has to come check on what I'm doing whenever I walk back to her room. By the time we go home at night, he can hardly keep his eyes open - and the same goes for us.

Friday, December 9. Today was a long day, as we decided to have dinner ready for Ben and Jill when they got home and Jill didn't get off until 8:00. The weeks before Christmas are really busy for her, as she has just gotten back to work and wants to fit everyone in that she can. It's got to be hard on her though - especially having to leave her new baby all day.

I got a full giggle out of Charlotte this afternoon, when I tickled her armpit while removing her shirt. Funny!

I found a great recipe for pulled pork sandwiches - here goes, Louie:

Southern Pork Tenderloin

1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Coarse salt and ground pepper
3 pounds boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), cut into 4 equal pieces
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
4 garlic cloves, minced
8 soft sandwich rolls, split
Store-bought barbecue sauce, for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks in lower and upper positions. In a small bowl, combine sugar, cayenne, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.

Place pork in a 5-quart Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed pot; rub with spice mixture.

In a medium bowl, combine vinegar, garlic, and 1/2 cup water; pour over pork. Cover pot, and place in oven on lower rack. Bake until pork is very tender and separates easily when pulled with a fork, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Transfer pork to a work surface, reserving pan juices. With two forks, shred meat. Transfer to a large bowl, and toss with pan juices to moisten (you may not need all the juices). Pile pork on rolls, and top with barbecue sauce, if desired.
December 1 - 4, 2011 - CA
Thursday, December 1. It was another day with Charlotte and one of the best things about spending time with her is watching her develop new skills. Today, we noticed that she is sticking out her tongue and is having great fun doing that. Also, when a toy or book is placed in front of her, she is now reaching for it and purposefully touching it. She also likes seeing herself in the mirror and is enjoying her tummy time more than last week. Wow!

I made a batch of Scalloped Potatoes With Ham for dinner tonight. The only trouble is, we eat at 8:00 and don't leave for home until 9:00. We are starting to adapt to that change, though.

Saturday, December 3. Yesterday went well, although their cleaning lady came in the afternoon and our plans for nap time didn't quite work out. We walked to the little park and planned to spend an hour and a half there, thinking she would sleep a good part of that time. She woke up after a half hour and was interested in what was going on all around her, so didn't get much of a nap - resulting in a pretty cranky time between then and when her daddy got home to feed her and put her down for the night.

We were glad to hear this morning that she only got them up once during the night. Ben was just hanging out this afternoon so we went over to join him. There really hasn't been a lot of time to just talk with Ben in the last 2 weeks, so it was a nice afternoon together. Part of the time was spent trying to do a photo shoot with Charlotte. The timing was the greatest since the good sunlight had disappeared and Ben was disappointed with the pics that he got. Mike did some touch-up on this one Charlotte - 3 Months Old.

It was another beautiful day today, we were talking about how fortunate we have been to have had such great weather since we got here. I love how the motorhome is positioned - we get the morning sun that helps warm up the east side and as it tracks to the west, it keeps us comfortable most of the day. We have had to use the space heater and furnace some mornings when it dips down into the low to mid-40s.

Created on 11/30/2011 07:20 PM by bridge
Updated on 01/16/2012 07:13 PM by bridge
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