Artichokes and Pink Martini

If you like artichokes, Pink Martini, knitting, then read on. If you are interested in the woes of losing the last 20 lbs or working in education, then read on. If you want to know what it's like to be an empty nester or to share that nest with to two dogs, then read on. If you want to know what the theme is for Monday night dinner, when the kayaks are going out, or who was at the Y at 5am, then read on. If none of this interests you, just hit the button that says "next blog", & read on.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Goodbye 2006

The party of the year happened across the street at Jason & Railene's. So that's where we headed to ring in 2007!

Railene, our own neighborhood Martha Stewart (but much nicer), slaved over a hot stove all night long to keep the rest of us well fed.

Jason was flaunting his 6 pack abs all night long. Generously sharing with anyone who was thirsty, what a guy!

The cutest couple of the evening were Loren & Jill (Jason's sister & bro in law) sans their little guy Max. It's fun to get out with the grown ups from time to time!

This is a rare picture of Judy and her infamous husband Von. This is the first time I've seen Von in years. Judy keeps him in the doghouse, literally! Von is a musher and is usually tending to his 4 legged family of sled dogs. See Von, us two legged types aren't that bad (especially with the right amount of good alcohol).

Oh, oh, this looks like trouble. Katie, Avril and Jill look like they are getting ready for midnight. Look Out!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Farewell to Yuma

It's time to leave Yuma, though clearly it appears Katie is happy to stay.

Goodbye for now to our very entertaining twins. Can't wait til the next time we get to visit to see how much you two will have changed.

The geography isn't the most interesting to look at, but the sunsets are truly spectacular each and every night.

Yuma may not be the big Christmas draw that New York City or Aspen is, but we had a great time and are very thankful to Dick, Joanne, Sean, Toni, Dave, Margaret, Brandon & Lucas for all the fun!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Jailed in Yuma

Yuma's big draw is the Yuma Territorial Prison built in 1876. Even though it transferred it's last prisoner out in 1909, it was a busy facility housing the Yuma High School from 1910 until 1914 after the High School Buildings burnt to the ground. Imagine thinking yeah the high school burned down, no more school. Yikes, its really a prison now. What do you think the school mascot is now? They are the Yuma High School Crims (criminals).

This old cage was locked preventing us from getting in for photo ops. But did that stop the twins? Nahhhhhh, without any prompting from the adults they broke into jail all by themselves.

Of course Katie went straight to the saloon.

This group looks like they belong in prison.

Hey Dave, was it something we said??? Visiting with the relatives makes you climb the walls? Or is it just being in jail that makes you try an escape route?

Field Trip to Gadsden

About 20 miles down the road from Yuma is the booming metropolis of Gadsden, Arizona. Well, maybe not booming, but it is on the map. Why, you may ask, should you visit the town of Gadsden? When your relatives have the last name of Gadsden, you tour Gadsden, AZ.

Here we have the Gadsden men, father & son. Its a proud moment when you get to stand i9n front of the sign for the town named after you.

The Alaska Gadsdens at the park named in their honor.

Lucas & Brandon trust their Uncle Dave at the Gadsden Amusement Park. Doesn't this look like fun??? That's what the kids thought. Brandon landed on his feet, while poor Lucas followed this moment of merriment with a face plant.

Margaret is a high school teacher in Alaska and interestingly enough teaches her students about the Gadsden Purchase. And now she has her very own school. It seems that she may have to do a little brushing up on her Spanish if she wants to make the move and teach in Arizona. Oh well, no fun in the January sun for you, back to the land of ice and snow.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Yuma Nightlife

21 years old for a whole week now, Katie dragged us out kicking and screaming to experience the Yuma nightlife.

The only relatives brave enough for this field trip were the Alaskans, Cousin Dave & his lovely wife Margaret. Our first night in town it was Crazy Earl's Cocktails & Pool. The waitress there recommended some local topless bars & strip joints that we never found (luckily). The next night we hit Chili's. On this evening we visited the Shilo Inn Lounge. Dick told us that it was the hot spot where all the young people hang out. We chose it because it was mere stumbling distance from our hotel.

Did I mention that Dave has the gift of gab? We meet the most interesting people when we are with Dave. At Chili's we met a newly out of work fry cook and learned about the politics of the Rib Joints in town. At DQ we had the entire life story of the manager in under 5 minutes.

These are the boys we became aquainted with at the Shilo. They are from Florida and drove 3,000 miles to go ATV-ing in the famous Yuma dunes. We refer to these guys as Katie's harum (or is it hisum?)

Monday, December 25, 2006

Its beginning to look alot like Yuma

Some people dream of a white Christmas. Others dream of gila monsters and saguaro cacti. We decided to take a walk on the wild side and see how the other half celebrate their Yuma Yuletide.

Here is a beautiful example of O Tannenbaum, Yuma style. Not quite native to the area, but you will find desert dweller sure love their palm trees.

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without kids ripping paper off of presents. These are the twins, Lucas and Brandon. only 19 months and already present opening professionals.

How do you get a set of twins to look at the camera at the same time? I know that this will be my challenge for the week.

I met the Yuma relatives back in 1974, that was 32 years ago. Yikes. Joanne sports one of the hats that I knitted for her. She's Grandma J to the twins, Mom to the boys, Sean, Paul & David & Aunt Joanne to Katie and numerous others. Hubby, Uncle Dick, not much for the photo op, doesn't like to get his picture taken.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Is it snowing yet in Iowa???

I know I'm not going to get a White Christmas this year. Katie & I are visiting relatives in Yuma, Arizona. If you look on the map, Yuma is right next to where George is planning to build the big fence. It's sunny & in the 70's in Yuma this time of year. So for my White Christmas I am relying on my friends Eve and Eli to bring me some snow (or at least snow pictures) from Manchester, Iowa. Eve and Eli are visiting their Grandparents Dean & Sue Boone. Hi Dean! Mitch tells me that next to the Drudge Report, my blog is your favorite website. Who knew I would have a fan in the Midwest?

Doesn't look like much of a White Christmas there in Iowa either. In fact, it looks mighty green (not a bad color choice). Here we have Eli and Grandpa Dean in the great outdoors. Eli, are you wearing swim trunks? It must be pretty warm back there in Iowa.

By the way Dean, I may have to come out and visit you some time in the summer. I understand you live pretty close to my favorite baseball field. For those of you who have never read my blog profile, it's the baseball field from my favorite movie, Field of Dreams. I can't tell you why. but I love everything about that movie and I could probably watch it every single day without ever growing tired of it.

With all the crazy weather happening in Tacoma it sure does take its toll on the city employees. Especially the power and cable crews. Not to mention the cable execs. Poor Mitch has been working way too hard. I must admit though, after a few hours back in Iowa, you do looks years younger. Enjoy your vacation Boone Robinsons.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Big Bang!

It was about 4 am when I heard a huge explosion. But did I get out of bed, naahhhhh. Then my phone beeped telling me I had a text message. Who would text me at 4 am???? That would be Jason & thank heaven the big bang got him out of bed. He looked out onto the street for what he guessed was a bunch of kids with fireworks, just to see the power pole near my backyard on fire. So Jason (did I mention that he is in charge of the neighborhood safety committee) called the power company and they arrived moments later with the fire department. Thank you Jason!

For the next couple of hours they worked. The top of the pole was now hanging at a 45 degree angle. It was pouring down rain when they sent one lone guy up in a bucket with a flash light to survey the damage. They kept on working in the dark, sawing off the top of the pole with a chain saw. I can't tell you how much admiration I have for this power crew.

Look Jason has a new vehicle. It's big, it's shiney and it's ORANGE ... Jason's favorite color. Just what he needs to patrol the hood during our next natural disaster.

I wish I could have gotten a picture of the pole at 4 am, but the light was not good. I had already been yelled at by the fire fighters when I wandered into the alley just to see what was going on. So I figured flash photography of the guy in the bucket truck would not have been well received. As you can see our power pole is shorter than the others further down the alley.

All I want for Christmas is a new power pole. I don't remember putting on my list, but I am sure glad the the Tacoma Power Elves came through with this early gift.

Let Her Eat Cake!

When your birthday is a 21 day event involving thousands of people from all over the world, it takes a lot of energy, as Katie found out. Finally it ended with singing and cake on Monday Night. She looks a little older, a little wiser and a lot pooped. It's ok hunny, you have a whole 363 days before you have to face another one. And next year, I promise, a more low key approach ... maybe.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

You Go Birthday Girl!

You only turn 21 once! It's 4 pm and time to hit the town in style. This is Winston our limo driver, he kept us going all night long!!!

Our cheeks are nice and rosy and comfy cozy are we, we're snuggled up together like birds of a feather would be.

First stop, Katie Downs! That's right kiddo, this sign won't be stoppin' you any more.

What a happy group. And this is only the beginning gang so make sure that you all pace yourselves.

It's Katie in Katie Downs drinking a Katie Cooler, yum! What a nice shade of green!

Movin' On!

The plan was to go from Katie Down's to the Swiss. Luckily, my Scout Mac, called to let us know that the Swiss was closed while we were in route. U Turn to the Parkway. They were also closed for their staff holiday party. I would just like to point out that I was hoping Katie would have been born on December 16th, but she insisted on waiting til 4:40 am on the 17th. I knew way back then that planning a 21 st birthday extravaganza on a Saturday would have been easier than on a Sunday. Would she listen!?! I did my best.

After passing a few more bars (all closed) and Winston suggesting that we should just head to Seattle. Luckily Meconi's was open. I had never been into Meconi's but I must admit I really like it. And our party had grown to about 15 people by then so we made Meconi's very quiet night. Katie liked Meconi's too as you can see.

Next was dinner at the Matador. They were having a quiet night too until we arrived and moved tables to accomodate our now group of 21 for the 21 year old. The Matador is a great place to eat and celebrate in Tacoma.

I figured that after dinner the group (especially those who had to go to work on Monday) would be ready to head home. Most of the group did bid us adeiu and then the die hards kept on going. Time for a little table dancing at the Blue Olive girls???

Blue Olive closed early and we moved on to Katie's new favorite Tacoma stop, Doyle's. 10:30 Sunday night and the place was packed. It was St. Practice Day. Since March 17th is St. Patty's Day, Doyle's uses every other 17th to practice for the big holiday with live Irish Music and Irish beverages all the way around.

We met some great people all along this adventure. We met these new friends at Blue Olive and they followed us to Doyle's. He just turned 21 this summer so he and Katie were comparing notes on the proper way to drink.

Winding down

A proud moment. Doyle's has a tradition that if you finish off the bottle of Jameson, you get to sign the label and they display it proudly on a shelf in the pub. Katie, on her 21st Bday, now has a signed Jameson bottle in Doyles. A night she won't forget.

Closing time, so it's back to the limo. As you can see the wrestling ice fight has begun, so it must be time to go home. And Mac, you have to stand in front of 25 4th graders in just 7 hours. Hope you're a good power napper.

Time to say good night and thanks to all of the friends who made this such an extra special night for the newest adult in the group. Glad she's not acting like an adult yet.

Happy 21st Bday Katie

Tell me, does this child look old enough to go to a bar and order a "Fuzzy Navel"???? Of course she doesn't. So that just proves that I am not old enough to have a 21 year old daughter.

Katie is ready for a “Wicked Good” 21st Birthday. Doesn’t it look like someone cut her Wicked poster into a circle? Well, almost. Peter, the talented cut these shapes out of glass and fused them together to make this amazing plate. Wonder if I can convince her that it would be safer left here and not to take it back to Portland???

Tada, she has arrived at Doyle’s at midnight:01, December 17th where friends were waiting to celebrate this long awaited milestone.

What? Who’s this??? Is it Dominique Du Bois, all the way from Louisville, Kentucky. SURPRISE!!!

FINALLY!!! The first legal beer in Doyle’s. For the record books it was a Stella Artois, YUM!