Pie Day

A very long day.  Yesterday I ran errands and picked up the last things I needed for Thankgiving.  I also loaded the trunk of the car with everything non perishable like my mixer and crockpot and a crazy amount of other stuff. 

Today I loaded the cooler wth the turkey and ham and other refrigerated items. Loaded the back seat and hit the road about 10 am. 

After I got to the house in Calimesa everyone helped me unload and I started right in making pies. 

Apple, sweat potato, pumpkin and persimmon. My little sister made us all dinner and my brother pulled my table out of the garage and into the house. He moved their table into the kitchen area and put the big table together for tomorrow.  

I am now down the road six miles, checked into a hotel and heading to bed.  Less than twelve outs after I left the house this morning.  

Weekend Away Zero Photos

I had to work late on Friday night, it just meant I didn’t spring out of bed to get an early start to our last minute road trip on Saturday.

We drove up to Paso Robles to see friends.  It was Deb’s birthday and they had just bought a new home up there.  It will be a rental by November but are spending all of the weekends up there until then.  They actually don’t live very far from us but this was not just to see them but celebrate the tough year they have had with selling one house and buying another.  In fact we hadn’t seen them since we finished putting landscaping in for them in May.

So we drove up and visited.  They drove us around to see the area and went to one of the many winery’s for a tasting.  I actually ended up buying four bottles for Thanksgiving that is upcoming.

We left there and headed down to Pismo beach but could not find a single available room for the night.  Instead we continued on to Santa Maria and got one of the last rooms at the Santa Maria Inn.  Slept well, Lori slept straight through the night with out all of the noise of our neighborhood to wake her.

Got up in the morning and texted friends in the area but didn’t hear back before breakfast so we headed out and found a nice spot…oh wait I have a breakfast photo
img_4633and then just when we were done we heard from them.  They actually live in San Jose but are in the area clearing out C’s mom’s house who passed away this Summer.  But we had a lovely catch up and visit and support/assvise for what they are dealing with since we seem to be pros at the clearing out houses at this point.

We hit the road to drive home and it would be redundant to say the traffic sucked coming in from the coast on a Sunday afternoon when the weather was 102 and 90 at the beach….so by the time we got home I logged right in to help at work again.  In wasn’t my on-call weekend (that is next weekend) but I knew my co-worker who had been in since morning had the first shift today.  He had asked me for help on Sunday and I let him know I would log in when I got home.

I worked until almost midnight and then had to be in at noon today.  I didn’t have time to call my friend Katherine…three weekends in a row, seriously I need to put in a alarm or schedule better or something.  Luckily Lori did all the laundry on Friday and I had gotten some groceries on Thursday.

Another week starts, noon-10:30 pm today and so you might as well call this Tuesday already.  On your mark get set go…..


Well we have been back a week (actually only six days) and boy did that go fast!  So much is already crammed into our schedules it is a reminder of why we took the three weeks away.

Along with ordinary everyday things like laundry, grocery shopping and Work a few other items have cropped up this week.
Sunday we bought a refrigerator from Sears Outlet on-line.  They have such good prices on “scratch and dent” items.  In Washington this is exactly how I bought my fridge and paid a third of the list price.

This one was delivered yesterday while I was at work and Lori was out visiting a friend.  My brother was home to take delivery and move everything from one to the other.  It is so much bigger then the one that was there.  We live in a very small house, which just amplifies the size.  But it fits, and it is a great fridge and was 40% less than one without a dent on the door.IMG_4177
My dear friend and co-worker Albert was in town for work on Wednesday and Thursday.  I get off work at 10:00 pm and we met up at a bar close to work on Wilshire and Rodeo for some yummy and super spendy cocktails (location location location.)  It was fantastic to visit with him.
Lori and I went to Eldorado Park on Wednesday and as we pulled in my car made a grinding sound.  It sounded to me like the wheel rotor and instead of going for a walk we turned around and drove to the dealership.  While they checked out the car (it was due for the 45K maint anyway) we took a less thrilling walk than at the park but a walk none the less.

I left there with a loaner Mazda 3 that had five miles on it and they have had my car for two days putting new brakes on it.  (parts were delayed)
Today we met Coach John for Tennis lessons.  These too have been set up since we got home less than a week ago.  I was a little unsure when we started.  Not of taking lessons but of this “kid” and his approach.   As it turns out it was a lot of fun and the muscle memory from high school was more accessible than I thought.
So here we are one week from vacation; we have bought and installed a fridge; Lori started taking a Tuesday night class; started tennis lessons; had a car go down and get repaired; visited with old friends and I worked all week!  July has started and we already have the three-day weekend looking pretty full.

Saturday I have boot camp at 8:00 and we are taking the old fridge out to the girls.
Sunday I am on the waitlist as the class is full but we are also going to see Emily and visit and show our vacation photos.
Monday I am taking the 6:00 am boot camp because we are having breakfast with Alice and we have a Skype date in the evening!
And since we are out of weekend, the next one’s schedule has started with a five-hour first aid/CPR class for us both since our certifications have both expired.

Time to start planning the next vacation!!!!!







While in Switzerland we found that the public restroom was clean, monitored, co-ed and cost 2 francs.

McClean: You put a 2 franc coin into the slot and the sliding partition/doors open and you go in.  There is a row of urinals to the side, not out in the open.  There are the stalls and sinks in the main area.  The doors are full length and have lights indicating occupied or vacant above them.

It does not matter your gender.  There are not separate facilities.  There is also an attendant who keeps the place clean and addresses any problems in the stalls.  Two Francs seems like a high price to use a toilet.  However, they have to cover the attendant wages, repairs, supplies and rent for the place.

I was a big fan of these facilities.  What Lori liked was that if there was not a stall vacant,  the que was before the pay turnstiles and once someone left you could get in.  We found them clean and efficient and spent quite a few francs to pee in Switzerland.

(I have no photos of the places but there are a few in the Link above)

I think the US should move toward this model.

missing pieces & bikes

Wow, blogging on an actual keyboard. This should be easier than all of the travel blogs. One would hope that would mean better content or at least I would have something profound to say, but sadly no.

I have immersed back into the ‘usual’ life.  We went grocery shopping, went through the mail and paid bills.  I had to decide last night if I was going to boot camp this morning so I could reserve a spot.  Although extending the vacation mode a little longer was tempting I knew I had to go to work tonight anyway so I signed up and went to work out this morning.

Coach G was happy to see me and the workout was tough.  I will be sore tomorrow but have already signed up for a spot in the morning.  He did weigh me and I officially gained 5 pounds in the three weeks I was lounging around drawing and eating tons of pasta! (Oh and wine and Gelato)

There is still so much about the trip that I didn’t get around to blogging, or didn’t have a connection to blog.  For instance something that impressed me about Switzerland….

We were in Switzerland for 3 days before training off to Italy.  On every one of our outings there we were impressed with the amount of bikes and just how seamlessly they seemed to work in traffic.  The train station and schedule in Switzerland was amazing and 99.9 of the trains were one time.

We saw hundreds, many hundreds of bikes in Bern and the other towns we were in.  While taking the train into Bern there were bike racks by the station.  Probably 40-50 bikes in the racks and not a single lock!  At first I thought it was because it was this little one road town and so it was safe.  However while in Bern there were racks and racks and racks of bikes by the station and other streets and in total I saw two locks.


Upcoming blog includes public restrooms in Switzerland.  (Exciting I know)



Home again home again!

We are home!   Quite a trip and we managed to stay awake the entire flight back so going on 27 hours now. 

My brother picked us up in his Uber car and we all went out for Thai food.    We got home unloaded; went through mail; unpacked; showered;  its 9:00 pm and heading to bed.

There will be additional posts about the trip, so much I didn’t get to during our stay.

We are now home safe and tucked in…..sweet dreams of villas and sketching.  Probably a nightmare or two about drawing in pasta as well.


Trains and Taxis

We left the villa yesterday in the van to the train station. 

Char had given us some 10Euro discount coupons for the train.  Unfortunately you had to go up to the counter and not use the automatic machine.  The que was so long I just got our tickets to Milan from the machine. 

The train to Milan was very full and took several hot hours to get to Milan. 

That’s where things got fun!!!!  We got tickets from the machine for the Malpensa airport as we were staying at a hotel pretty close to there.  Then we waited for the platform to be announced. 

When one train time had come and gone without a platform (nothing surprising as time in Italy is “a theory” per Char) we found someone to ask.  He just shrugged and said he didn’t know they were on strike. ??!!!??

So the next train was up on the board again with no platform.  We waited for a bit and Lori asked a different, slightly more helpful guy who told her they have no idea if or when the train will show up because they are on strike.  Our best bet was to go out front and take a taxi. 

Taxi we did!!   After 40 minutes and €90 later he dropped us off and said it was right around the corner.  I got the backpack back on and we gathered our things but the only thing around the corner was a Gellato stand.  We turned around and the taxi driver got directions from someone and took us circling around side streets and roundabouts for about five minutes before finding our hotel. 

Luckily the hotel had a free shuttle to the airport this morning that was only 10 minutes away.  

The hotel didn’t have much else.  To get internet you had to get a code off the tv in your room.  However ours would not turn on, the room did have airconditionong which was a plus.  

We showered off the train and at 7 (earliest time the restaurants open for dinner) we walked to a local place and had dinner. 

We are now all checked in for our flight home.  

(Photo courtesy of our new friend Marisa)