Thursday, June 24, 2021

Really Random Thursday, 6/24/21

Welcome to Fresno in July and August.

Oh wait. It's only June. My grandfather used to always say Fresno was the hottest during the last two weeks of July and first two weeks of August. Apparently he would have to readjust that theory. At least this year, as we have had a run of days reaching 108 to 111.

Happy birthday to my brother today. He and his wife, Gracie, drove through town last week from Washington DC. They were able to visit with our dad, have lunch with us, drive to the Bay Area to spend time with their daughter, and head up to Yellowstone. We were so happy to spend even a little bit of time with them.

We didn't have onion rings for lunch. However, if we would have had them, they would have been totally healthy. Because...

Aaron and Christa just celebrated their 21st wedding anniversary. HOW do we have children celebrating 21 years of marriage? They have gone to school together since junior high, and were obviously destined for one another, as evidenced by this picture in their 8th grade yearbook. And then they both were valedictorians of their high school senior class. 
Here's some random proof. Aaron loves flags. And he can identify nearly every flag from every country, no matter how obscure. My favorite morning newsletter (the Morning Brew) posted this on Flag Day. So even though they were on vacation, I couldn't resist sending it to Aaron to look at when they were back at their hotel. 
He got back to me the next morning. As I was pretty sure he would...

His guesses: "1--Russia, 2--either Serbia or Slovakia (my guess is Slovakia--{correct}, 3--some Latin American country--I wanna say Paraguay {again, correct}, 4--France, 5--Iceland, 6--Australia."

100 percent correct. You know what you call a person like that?  A vexillologist. And now you know.

Our niece, Rose, is an amazing artist. She recently won a contest to have her artwork represent the 2021 Greater Yellowstone Crane Festival. So proud of that girl.

I have not been doing much of anything in this heat except some sewing and reading, both of which I'm enjoying immensely. The best thing I have done since last year was to download the Libby app, which is linked to my local public library. I read the books on the Kindle app on my iPad. And because it's the public library, I have 21 days to read the book. It's made me more focused in order to finish the book before I have to turn it back in. My most recent books have been: Beach House for Rent by Mary Alice Monroe, book 4 in a series that takes place on the Isle of Palms off the coast of Charleston, The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz, and the Last Thing He Told me by Laura Dave. I also highly recommend The Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley and Meet You in the Middle by Devon Daniels. I'm currently listening to the Armand Gamache series by Louise Penny--I may be slightly obsessed with that series. If you read, or have read, any of those, let me know what you think. I'm also open for more recommendations. :)

We went to a graduation party on Saturday night, after a day that had been 109 degrees! Honestly, I was kind of dreading it, since it was still 106 at 7 p.m. But the yard was in the shade and there were some clever misters around to keep the air cooler. It was for both sons of our good friends--Daniel who gradated from high school and Michael who graduated from USC. They are both excellent musicians so we enjoyed lots of amazing music and ended up staying until 10 p.m. Daniel opened with a set on the drums, and then Michael and his combo performed songs from his new album. Yes--it was an album release as well! Michael is on the left playing the trombone. I'm not kidding when I say each member of this jazz group was AMAZING! I'm putting Michael's link here--take some time and watch some videos. Start with Good4U. #timewellspent

Other than that, I mostly have a collection of memes.

Lunch with two fabulous fathers on Father's Day, along with the rest of my fabulous family. 

An appropriate Father's Day meme.
When you don't have a pool, you get out the slip-n-slide.

A little sewing.

More memes:

Mark sent this one to me after we came back from Capitola. Although this would never happen, since he doesn't make annoying sounds. And he does most of the driving. :)

I was obsessed with the Monkees in 8th grade.
I love to have individual "dates" with the grandkids, and Aaron and Christa when they have time. For Mother's Day I received the coolest gift--cards from a place they each wanted to go with me.

I cashed in on McDonald's yesterday, with the sweetest 7-year-old who loves her McDonald's happy meals. She was particularly chatty and we had the best time together.
I guess I had more to say today than I thought. COVID-related memes seem to have slowed down, but I'll close with this truth.

Hope you can stay cool where you are. It's supposed to zip back up to 108 Sunday.

Thursday, June 17, 2021


 Somehow we have made it from here (engagement picture--when they still printed engagement pictures in newspapers!):

To here, our wedding in Seattle:

To five wonderful days in Capitola, near Santa Cruz.

When Mark made reservations for a week in Capitola three months ago, he had no way of knowing that rather than escaping the Fresno heat, we would be leaving behind a really nice week, only to return to a record-breaking heatwave this week.

We stayed at the Capitola Venetian Hotel. I have been intrigued by this little hotel ever since seeing pictures posted by Karen of @capitolaquilter with the charming and quaint units in the background.

You see what I mean, right?
Our room was in the top level, the tan units, right in the middle behind the bright pink one. But it was only pink on the front side. From our room, it looked like this:
The walkway between our room on the left and the rooms in the middle level.
Our view of the ships.
We arrived midday on Monday, walked around a little bit, and had a great seafood dinner at the Paradise Grille.

On Tuesday, our anniversary, Mark had made reservations to ride the steam train at Roaring Camp in Felton.

These trees nearly lean into the train itself.
Old burned trestles.
California was still one week from completely reopening from the pandemic, so masks were mandatory even though we were outside. We also could not choose where to sit--we were told where to sit, and to maintain social distancing at all times. It would be interesting to know if things have changed this week, since the state pretty much reopened on June 15.

It was a beautiful afternoon, perfect for a ride on such a historic train.

We came back to the hotel and got ready for dinner at the famed Shadowbrook,  which was just a short walk from our hotel.

From the street level, you can either walk down a lot of steps, or take the trolley. We chose the trolley. This was the view from the inside.

Lush greenery on the way down.

View of the trolley track from the restaurant.

See the cute little trolley car? 

We had a lovely table on one of the patios.

Mark had swordfish and I had scallops, with creme brulee for dessert.

We took the trolley back up to the street level and enjoyed the view.

A fun little highlight when we got back to the room was that there were fireworks on the beach. I pretended someone had the show for our benefit. Ha...
Naturally we had to try to photograph a quilt with the hotel in the background, which we tried the next morning. However, even though the beach was empty, it was too windy to get good pictures. But I'm happy with the reflections in the water in the first picture.

We had gotten several recommendations to make sure we went to Gayle's Bakery. We went there for breakfast, and were impressed with some of the bakery items.

Then we headed to Half Moon Bay for lunch at Sam's Chowder House. 

Mark had had his heart set on lobster for our anniversary dinner. However, the Shadowbrook was completely out of lobster--something to do with overfishing during the pandemic and the available lobster not "being up to Shadowbrook standards." So we both chose lobster rolls for our lunch at Sam's. Yum.

We were on scenic Highway 1 again on the way back to Capitola. Of course I had a quilt in the car. Just in case there was a photo op. The lighthouse in Pescadero was the perfect place to stop.

The waves, the clouds...

And me...

On Thurdsay, we headed to Mystery Spot, a very iconic place to visit in California. It is a very bizarre place. It's been open to the public since 1940. So what is the Mystery Spot? It is an area about 150 feet in diameter located in a redwood forest just outside of Santa Cruz. We had read that the law of physics do not apply in this area. We were skeptics. What does that even mean?? 

This car was completely covered in Mystery Spot bumper stickers. Actually, it is not unusual to see at least one of these bumper stickers every week here in Fresno, most likely because they hand them out for free.

Our guide told us that even though this incline is a bit steep, it would MUCH harder to climb than would seem possible. Again, skeptical. Until we started climbing. Seriously we could hardly make it up to the next level. So weird.
Over and over, the guide used a level to show us that, contrary to what our eyes were telling us, things were actually level. 

When we made it to this house, Mark (who can easily get dizzy) had to hold on for dear life with a minute or two and even felt nauseous. 
This board was level, and yet when our guide put a ball on it, it rolled to the right, stopped, and then rolled to the left, without ever being touched. 

We had to hold on to the railings to get!
There were beautiful fuchsias growing. They seemed unaffected by the weird gravitational pull in this area, but wow, what a weird place.
So we headed back to the Shadowbrook for pizza for lunch--which turned out to be the cheapest meal of our entire stay.
Dairy Queens are hard to find in our area, but they are one of Mark's very favorites. There was a Dairy Queen about half a mile from our hotel, and Mark went there two days in a row, once for a peanut buster bar and the next day for a Blizzard. It was undoubtedly one of the highlights for him. 

Karen @capitolaquilter was able to meet us for happy hour, which was a huge highlight for me.
This bridge was just across the street from us. Next year (Mark says we will celebrate 49 at the Venetian next year too) we will spend more time exploring.

On the way out of town on Friday, we found a bench that overlooked Capitola (a favorite photo spot recommended by Karen).
We ended our lovely coast time with lunch on the wharf at Monterey and headed back home. 
I made the best decision of my life when I chased this man in college until he asked me out. Here's to a great week and many more years. :)