Thursday, November 12, 2020

Really Random Thursday, 11/12/20

 Last week, Wienskler Academy (aka online school) went on a field trip to Forestiere Underground Gardens. Christa's mom, Debbie, joined us as well.

Forestiere Gardens is a California State Landmark, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, hand built by Baldassare Forestiere from 1906 to 1946. Basically it is a network of underground rooms, courtyards and passageways.

It's utterly fascinating. Mr. Forestiere built his underground home largely because the temperatures underground in summer range from 10 to 25 degrees cooler than ground level. He had many open skylights (covered with glass in the winter to maintain the heat) and grew many trees, shrubs and vines.

(Gabe and I took pictures of each other at the same time.)


Summer bedroom. Interesting story about the suitcases: our guide said that Mr. Forestiere stored his clothing in the suitcases. He had to go to the hospital for a medical emergency, thought he would only be there overnight and didn't take more than the clothes he was wearing. Unfortunately, he passed away while in the hospital. According to the guide, the suitcases have never been opened, being deemed too fragile.
Winter bedroom, with fireplace.

A graphic representation of an actual tree with seven different fruits grafted together.
Fish pond.
As often happens with iconic locations that are local, it's been many years since I have been to the underground gardens. It was fun to go with the kids.

My brother, Jeff, and sister-in-law, Gracie, drove cross country from Washington, D.C., last week. They felt the need to get out of the city during the presidential election. They stopped by for a couple of hours on Saturday. We visited outside for a bit, then headed over to Aaron and Christa's. While the grandkids were all happy to see Jeff and Gracie, the big draw was their dogs, Moose, a golden doodle, and Esteban, a miniature Australian shepherd.

We don't see each other very often so it was nice to get a picture together, even with social distancing.
We were even able to take the dogs to a local restaurant, Lazy  Dog, that has a lot of outdoor dining (with heaters this time of year) and caters to dogs, including a special menu for them.

On Sunday, we had our first rain since May 18!! It was awesome, but was not nearly enough. I love the rain and it just did not last long enough.

I was pretty excited when this new emoji was released this week. :)

I have mixed feelings about the Christmas decorations already up around town. But 2020 is like no other year. So while I would ordinarily agree that we need to hold off until after Thanksgiving,  I feel like we can all use some joyous holiday lights, even if they are earlier this year.

For sure...

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Really Random Thursday, 11/5/20

Welcome, November. This year is getting closer to coming to an end. For that I'm grateful. The upcoming holidays will be like no other. For that I'm sad. 

Our son was extremely happy last week when his beloved Dodgers won the World Series. You might remember I did a little bit of alteration on this suit. He was prepared.

We celebrated Halloween with a special school lunch last Thursday. Ella and Gabe helped make our charcuterie board.

Mark made ghosts (meatloaf mixture and provolone cheese).

Charlotte made cupcakes.

Have you heard of haunted carwashes? Apparently, this year it was a national trend. There was one close to us, and the only night that worked last week was Friday night. Us...and the rest of Fresno. Ella doesn't like carwashes under any circumstance, so she had no interest in one where creatures jumped out at your car as it went through the wash. But Charlotte, Levi, Gabe and Ruby were excited to go through. And my car definitely was ready for a wash. We got there about 7:15. By "there," I mean that we got to the vicinity. It took us awhile to find the end of the line.  Turns out it was nearly two miles long! And you know how long it takes to go through the carwash. It's not like they can speed it up... We were sure it was at least a two- to three-hour wait. So we went to the regular carwash nearby, and the kids screamed their heads off the entire time, even though there was no haunting going on. If only you could hear the audio...

Then we stopped for ice cream, came home and watched the Addams Family movie, the animated version. It ended up being a great evening. Next year we will plan ahead and not wait until the night before Halloween!

I was shocked to find out that none of them have ever seen any episode of the original Addams Family TV show. I am taking it upon myself to educate them on quality TV. We will be watching at least a couple episodes from The Addams Family, The Munsters, Mr. Ed, My Favorite Martian, Gilligan's Island, the Flintstones and the Jetsons, and any others we deem necessary to their education. 

I love this idea. Maybe next year.

Ready for Halloween.

Our church had a socially distanced Halloween party in the parking lot.

Gabe as Harry Potter, Ruby as the mad scientist, Ella as Jojo Siwa, and Amelia as the black cat

My father turned 93 on November 2. Charlotte and I took a balloon and gift to him. We were not expecting that we could see him as it was not a formally scheduled visitation. But the staff thoughtfully wheeled him out so we could wish him happy birthday in person. Here's the funny thing. He thinks he is 95. He remembers that he was born in 1927. When we asked him how old he was, at first he said, "79." And then he quickly said, "Just kidding. I'm 95. I was born in 1927. YOU do the math." Haha. Of course there is no use telling him that he is 93. And really, what does it matter? He can be whatever age he wants to be.

The election was this week. As I am writing this, a winner has not yet been declared. And this is all I'm going to say about it at this point.