Monday, September 15, 2014

Heavy Mist and Swirling Thoughts....

We head out the door really early this Sunday morning, as we do every  mornings.  Ten minutes before six we are already going past the Ridgemark Lodge..... in the dark!  A flashlight would have been good to have as the ocean mist is thick and heavy.  Usually the mist stays on the opposite side of the Diablo Mountain Range but this morning it had spilled over.  Garbo's coat and my hair gets damp from the fog, as we go on our way,  down Paullus Drive.

As we walk in the dark I think about the fact that Garbo gives me such a sense of  security!  Without Garbo, would I be out stomping around in the dark?  Hardly!

She is growing up our girl!  Developing a more mature look and sensibility about her.  We are learning a lot at dog class she and I with Tiffany as a positive instructor with much knowledge and patience.
This morning we meet a couple of dogs and their owners as we are about half way done with our close to two hour morning walk and towards the end as we are on our way back home we meet one of Garbo's favorite people!  She gets to snuggle and nuzzle.  Our friend gets her "Garbo fix" and off we go to start our day.  It is fun to think that even our dogs have favorites.

To our delight we see a post from Pernilla on Facebook today about Katia - Garbo's Mom-she won yet another prestigious prize in Eslöv's International Dog Show!  3,500 dogs were competing!  The Vi'Skaly's dogs are amazing!  As someone said:  "what a family"!

Today is the day the citizens in Sweden vote for a new government.  It is with bated breath I await the results..... Will those in the populous fearful of those different from themselves gain large numbers of votes?  It is too early to tell as I write this, Oh, how I hope not.

Sweden is a very progressive country!  People there have, for the most part, such a different outlook on how things should and could be.  Thinking in the collective rather than the "I".  Caring about Mother Earth with more fervor.  Working hard to change the equality gap.  May they continue to go forward...... Is it perfect there?  No.  But it is a fabulous place.  I am indeed proud to be swedish and yes, I voted too!

There is yet another fire burning in Oakhurst as I write this.  Reportedly an arsonist has now been caught, while families are fleeing from the fire!  Hoping fervently that old friends, Brian and his family, Penny Pie, our  ex-customers and everyone else, will be safe!

My mom on the left and Helmi "my other mom."

As we trot down the streets and pathways here, Garbo and I, my thoughts travel to Sweden and hover above and around my Moster Helmi .. (Mothers Sister - or Auntie.)  She will turn the 100 year mark the very 1 of October!  Feeling tired and weak these days, my cousins inform me.  I hold my breath! Imagining a time without her in my life.  Selfishly thinking of the loss of my "childhood" as she, my beloved Other Mother has forever been the link.  She has always been my "touchstone," my "rock," ever since I was a  very little girl.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Out with August

a full month it was!

Filled with Birthdays.... lot's of Leo's in our midst!  Our oldest son in Seattle along with our oldest granddaughter, the photographer had his day as did Russ and Cathy in Mariposa... Magdalena and Lotta in Sweden and Malva turning a big 11!  Wooosh.....

A year ago we had that fun Hewlett Packard reunion here.  Just a few days ago we had the pleasure of having Nancy visit for an "overnighter," she is another Hewlett Packard person, A VERY important friend from days gone by!  How does that saying about friendship go?  Something about how great it is to have fun with friends, but best of all are the friends you have that you seldom see, yet nothing changes.  With any luck at all the quote will "float to the top" before I finish this.

Garbo has been to the Dog Park in Morgan Hill a few times this very busy month.  She also goes to see Cristina at Bel Amour Pet Spa and Boutique regularly!  Cristina is the best groomer in town!  Garbo comes home sweet smelling and tired.  It is exhausting having a bath you know!

Garbo also got to go on an adventure to Lepa Dog Doggy Day Care!  We have been searching for a GOOD place to leave her, if ever we need to go someplace, "dog-less".  Sue, the owner of Lepa Dog generally only likes to have small dogs stay there, yet she likes  Garbo.... well.  Who would not?  So  Garbo may stay there, anytime!

Sue told us a little story about another new client who came to see her the day before we were there. Sue had made mention of the fact that a Great Pyr by the name of Garbo was coming to visit and the new client said: "I know Garbo".  "No," said Sue, "I don't think so, Garbo lives in Hollister"..... as it turned out, the other new client knows Garbo from the dog park!  Small world?  Yes it IS a small world!

There was also  a Ladies Night in the "hood" one fun Friday night in August!  A few neighbour ladies have had me join them before and it is such a pleasure to attend.  I am delighted to be included in these evenings full of great food, great wine, great ladies and lot's of laughter!  Thank you, Cathy and Cathy, Irene, Patty and Sandy.  (plus a few  others) This is a great place to live.  It is good to  feel like you belong!

Saga made these sculptures of us.
Yes,  August has been a FULL and LOADED month, with Grand Kids and Birthdays, visitors and  parties, plus all the normal dog (and cat) activities, though Mister Kitty truly does NOT get his fair share.  No Cat Park to go to:-(

Maria very gently  talked me into going back to Dog Class!  So, for the next several Wednesday evenings we will go together for dog training.  She to agility and I to obedience!  We need to "fine tune" this puppy!

When Nancy was here, she suggested I teach Garbo some VERBAL commands!  Like what, I asked? Such as NO, she said!  So yea, guess I better get her " whipped" into shape!:-)
...oh yes, the quote: "True friendship isn't about being inseparable, it's about being separated and nothing changes"  author unknown. I like that!

Monday, August 18, 2014

A Macaroni & Cheese kind o' Week

Last Sunday, after Garbos' long morning walk, I climbed into the car and drove half way to LA to pick up the South Cal grand kiddles.  Yesterday we made the same trip in reverse.  Meeting at Mac D's (one of my least favorite places) in Kettleman City to make the child exchange.

It was a very good morning for the Little Man E as he had a big plate of plättar = swedish mini pancakes before we left and then regular american pancakes at McDonalds!  Both versions drowned in maple syrup!  Oh YUM.  The rest of us eating eggs on a toasted english muffin.
It was a wild week!  Intense!  Pretty much Non Stop!

Garbo was in heaven.... having her OWN kids to play with, all the six days!  Talk about a happy puppy!  Even she got tired!

A week when I reflected on times long ago, with the now grown grandchildren, spending time with us.  A time when our  energy  and our  patience was at a different level.  Mariposa was a particularly special place during the grand children's young growing up years.  A place with lot's to do.  If we were not cooking, baking or making Ice Cream there was a bubble pool, there was lot's of dirt, lot's of animals, a forest to explore, and a creek to pan gold in.  There was the yearly Mariposa State Fair, where one could ride those rides until one got sick! :-)  But oh, I am looking backwards,  I am digressing.....

This last week, with the two youngest grandkids we did similar things down scaled!  Miss S who is growing tall and lanky, enjoys cooking and baking just as much as her predecessors.  We ate a lot of good food, Miss S and I sharing a Lutfisk Dinner one evening, with the traditional cream sauce, potatoes and little green peas!  Too bad The Future Chef was not here!!  Little Man,well, if it is not Macaroni and Cheese, Grilled Cheese or Hot Dogs, forget about it!.... No despair! We used to have someone who ate little but ramen noodles, for many a year:-)

There was Golf Camp.  Miss S participated in a three day event and seemed to have a great time.  Little E changed his mind, decided to not go... maybe next year,  he said.

There was dog walking with Little E inline skating on the golf cart paths, he is really good at it!
Miss S also used her roller skates a couple of times.  She is good too.

There were visits to the grocery store, visits to the dog park, shelf building lessons for Little E at Uncle R's one afternoon, and swimming at Garbo's friend Yuki's house two times.  Yuki, the worlds most adorable Aussie, lives near Auntie M's house and she took them there for some water fun.  The kids could skip their baths!  Hurrah!

Boompa showed Miss S lot's of photographs of her Dad, from his life before her time.  That was fun too! It gave her much to think about.

There were of course, the regular squabbles between siblings.  Big Sis is VERY protective and helpful (for the most part) with her little Bro, who runs on two throttles!  He is either uproariously happy or he is mad. Like the faucet.... cold or hot? But when he laughs, well,  it is one of those laughs that makes you laugh right along.

She is like all Big Siblings...a bit bossy!  Yea, you get it!  It can be a lethal combination at times.

It was fun!  But let me say that last night I soaked in the tub filled with hot water, Epsom salt and lavender essential oil!
It felt REALLY good!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Making Ice Cream on a diet day is like....

Let us say it is like washing windows or your car, when it is raining!  Not a good idea.  But, when the peaches are ripe, the peaches are ripe!  Get to it.

What about the diet day you might wonder?  Well, in an effort to slow down the "muffin top" an  unanimous decision was made, let's try the Five - Two Diet plan.  A good idea we thought, as the one who loves to cook is cooking too much:-)  That one is moi!

Therefore, while I was trying to fill the freezer with Peach Ice Cream ... batch after batch... unable to lick a dribble, a paddle or a spatula, I felt like I was extremely tough!  And strong!  I was!

Yes, that peach tree in Maria's garden produced another bumper crop.  Last year not so much.  She has been busy making jam and peach butter along with a load or two of the frozen treat mentioned above. Personally I stuck to the sinful stuff the photographer loves so much.  No wonder the waistline expands.

Perhaps it is a GOOD thing that I don't have more freezer space?
Now, we are in for a period of wonderful produce from that same garden.

Garbo and I were there for a play date with Buddie and Gemma the other day and brought home green beans, fresh corn on the cob, and cantaloupe juicy and sweet.  There have been  many variations on zucchini lately as well.  Zucchini Lasagna, Zucchini Gratin, Grilled Zucchini, not forgetting a quite heavenly Zucchini Chocolate Chip Bread, to mention just a few things.

If one needs to walk for five minutes to burn up the calories in one wedge of cantaloupe, I wonder how long a walk would be required for a slice of that chocolate chip bread.  On second thought no, I don't think I want to know.

It has been a busy time lately.  The living room has been rearranged.  Always fun with a bit of change.
The Seattle branch of our family was here for a weekend visit.  Zucchini Boats were on the menu and I had some help in the kitchen.  The "Zucchini Growers" joined us for dinner and we had lively conversations about some of the current top topics in the news.  The photographer was not present as he had to work, but that did not stop us (at least not me) from some wild discussion.  Here, in America, other than news of the Israeli Palestinian Gaza Iraq Afghanistan Syrian Russian Crimean Ukrainian conflicts, the list is so long, yet the now BIG news story here  is about a few thousand children at the Mexican border sent here illegally by their families most likely to save their lives, in an effort to get them away from the violence in their home countries such as El Salvador, Guatemala .... how much they cost to house and feed and we must send them BACK!

The fact that Europe is coping with "boatloads" of people every day, arriving from Israel Palestine Gaza Iraq Afghanistan Syria and AFRICA among other places is, I fear, not something people here are so aware of.  So to me, these few kids at the border of Mexico creating such outrage seems odd. Ideally yes of course,  every refugee should arrive legally... but if you are fleeing for your life,  you are fleeing for your life and it might not be possible to get the correct paperwork together.

Watching the news from Sweden yesterday via SVT Play, there are  now busses filled with refugees from Syria, arriving in the province of  Dalarna (Dalecarlia).

During our dinner here there was also talk about the minimum wage, much lower here in the US than in many of the counties in wester Europe.  We touched on an article "The Pitch Forks Are Coming" dealing with the consequence of the wealthy having so MUCH and so many others  so little.  Birth control being denied women via private medical insurance these days, while Viagra for men is quite OK.

These were our topics of conversation.  It was wild and woolly and fun!  The Peach Ice Cream almost melted before it was on the desert plate next to the Peach Cobbler.

I wonder what hot button items we can cover during our next gathering?  I want to know  where the Tomato Worm comes from and how on earth  I  can send those back!  Maybe that is a subject of "slower" or lower concern.  Betting we can find something to talk about to heat things up!

 ..and a few pictures of Garbo and her friend Love at the Morgan Hill Dog Park....

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Hollister July 4, 2014 Annual Motorcycle Rally

It was a great fun time for all.

Telling war stories.

Cruiser Bikes

Dressing up.
Bands of all ages playing to the crowds and having a great time.  I loved it.

The usual suspects riding together and having a great time.

Promoting the Indian Motorcycle.

Downtown Hollister

I loved this band the best.  They were great and the crowd loved them.

Nice Cruiser Bike

We will be back next year.