Happy Birthday Donna!!

Fact:  The most common birth date in the United States, excluding leap years, is 22 May.

We adjusted our gym time because we celebrated with Donna and Bob in Laguna.  Colleen visited her mother and met us in Laguna, spending most of the day with us.

We opened presents at the winery! Mary had fun taking it apart; it was fun to watch everyone stuff it back in.

Unwrapping Donna’s gifts at Laguna Winery (One got away but we will set a trap!)

After tasting, we went to the Sawdust Festival and grabbed some foodies to tide us over until this evening.

It’s a bird; it’s a plane….

Donna told stories of being young and remembering.

Donna Remembers:

  • It took three minutes for the TV to warm up.
  • Nobody owned a purebred dog.
  • When a quarter was a decent allowance and made with real Silver!
  • You’d reach into a muddy gutter for a penny.  Made with real copper!  Looking to see if it was a 1943 lead penny!
  • You got your windshield cleaned, oil checked, and gas pumped, without asking, all for free, every time.
    And you didn’t pay for air?
    And, you got trading stamps to boot.
  • Laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes, or towels hidden inside the box.
    Not to mention Cracker Jacks!
  • It was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at a real restaurant with your parents.
  • They threatened to keep kids back a grade if they failed…and they did it!
  • When a 57 Chevy was everyone’s dream car… to cruise, peel out, lay rubber, or watch submarine races, people went steady.
  • No one ever asked where the car keys were because they were always in the car, in the ignition, and the doors were never locked.
  • Lying on your back in the grass with your friends and saying things like, ‘That cloud looks like a…’.
  • Playing baseball with no adults to help kids with the rules of the game.
  • Stuff from the store came without safety caps and hermetic seals because no one had yet tried to poison a perfect stranger.
  • When being sent to the principal’s office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited the student at home.

And with all our progress, don’t you wish, just once, you could slip back in time, savor the slower pace, and share it with today’s children?

We loved the Sawdust buildings; each is unique and fun to see.

Yep!  It’s the Sawdust!

They were wandering up and down, looking for a treasure.

Ookie Ookie over there, a bobble with bling!

We all got into the van, headed to Laguna proper, and parked near the restaurant.   We had to walk through a maze to get to the restaurant and also right by several candy stores.

What do you call Chewbacca when he has chocolate stuck in his hair?  Chocolate Chip Wookiee.

I asked Donna if she knew what you call a lamb covered in chocolate.  I whispered to her, “A candy baaa.”

STOP!  I am dry! Bob and I sang thee chorsus of “How Dry I Am” and three people stopped and gave us money to stop! Note to self: Bring a metal cup next time and dark glasses.

Bob and I wanted to stop right here!

C’est La Vie was our destination, and we had an excellent seat on the patio overlooking Laguna Beach.  We could watch the sunset and the beachgoers from our perch.

Colleen had a ball as Donna and Bob made her feel like one of us; poor girl!

Just plain cute, like her daddy!

We had a super dinner.   I had Cajun Linguine – Tiger shrimp, sausage, and chicken sautéed with onions, peppers, and tomatoes in a very spicy Cajun sauce, all on top of fresh linguine.  All of the meals were quite good!

Time to dine!

Time for dessert, and since it was a bakery, there was a fantastic selection of goodies.

Decisions Decisions

We had a wonderful day with fantastic friends!

Great times with friends and family!

Did I enjoy my meal or what?

Yummy; good for the tummy!

Our table was perfect.

We could hear the h-i-s-s-s-s-s- as the sun dropped into the water

We dropped off Colleen at the Sawdust (she had our car) and then stopped at the Laguna Winery to transfer wines into Bob and Donna’s car.  I think next time I will keep the wine in the bottle instead of pouring it in the back seat!  Purple leather does loo neat in the dark!

Mary and I popped into the Swim Spa as soon as we got home, and I almost fell asleep in the water; I guess the heat and the walking did me in.  We walked 6,600 steps yesterday.

 

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Monday, Time To Kick Back!

Fact: There are 32 muscles in a cat’s ear.  This feature is what allows cats to swivel and rotate their ears so that they can pinpoint the source of the noise.  But what’s more incredible is that they can move each ear independently and rotate them 180 degrees!

Today we had another gong on, so we messed around the house for a while and then headed to the Orange Circle, the center of Orange, California.  We walked around for a couple of hours and showed Colleen the “sights.”

Mary stopped at the new hat store and bought me a new black hat (she thinks I am the bad guy).  While shopping I saw an advert saying “Hairpieces from $5”.  I thought, “That’s a small price toupee.”

We loved their front window signs!

Oh, how true!!

Mary and I always wanted to stop at Paul’s Bar, but it looked a little seedy.  It turns out Colleen knows one of the bartenders, so we took a chance.  It was not seedy inside, and the people were very friendly.  We had a drink and cooled off; it was 93 outside.

So lovely and cool inside!

We stopped at several antique stores and looked for our personal treasures.  I just bought an antique clock with missing hands.  I think it’s a timeless treasure.

With a sign like this one, we had to go inside!

The store was huge, and I ventured into the backyard.

I now know what to do with my watering cans.  The water goes from can to can!

They had an extensive collection of junk!!

Inside, the girls roamed from aisle to aisle, chattering about this and that!  Mary and I remember so much from our childhoods; it was scary!

I was glad we did not have a pickup truck with us today!

We stopped by Jan’s on the way home and had a glass of vino.  From Jan’s, we went home and watched a movie on our new outside patio TV.  It was a good day with Colleen.

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The Party Is Over! Let’s Do Another!!

Fact: Most elephants weigh less than the tongue of a blue whale.

Thank goodness for our caterers.  When we woke up, the kitchen was spotless, the outside was cleaned up, the trash was taken out, and the place was “spotless”.  We pretty much just relaxed the entire day.

At 5:00 PM we headed to Studio-M to dance the night away.  We all sang Happy Birthday to Colleen.

Colleen gets serenaded by the gang!

We were surprised by the cake!

Anniversary Number One

One more happy sound!  Colleen did well, especially after her half-hour speech!

Time for a group photo courtesy of Colleen.

The dancing gang!

We came home and crashed; it’s been a long weekend!

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Party On!

Fact: The term ‘party’ was first used in the early 18th century.  Social events and celebratory gatherings were first called a ‘party’ sometime in the early 18th century.  The oldest known use of the term ‘birthday party was in 1852.

We beat the roosters up again as we had to prepare things for the evening party.  Colleen was a BIG HELP as she ran errands and helped us get ready to go.  By 3:00 PM, we were prepared for the catering staff to arrive and begin setting up tables, putting on table clothes, arranging the various food/beverage tables, and setting up the bar.

Join the fun!

Having fun!

We partied until 11:00 pm1  great fun.

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Party Time Is Near!

Fact: Alexander the Great is famous for making the biggest party blunder in history.  After conquering Persia, Alexander settled down in Persepolis for a ‘symposium’ with his generals.  The drinking and partying began to get out of hand and ended abruptly when Alexander flew into a rage and burned down the city palace he now owned.  Needless to say, he regretted it the following day.

They were setting up the lights for dinner tomorrow.

We added two 50″ TV and a 45″ on the outside wall of the fireplace!

The girls knew work was to be done, so they escaped to the hairdresser.  They said they would be gone thirty minutes, four hours later they straggled in making wild claims about a hair dryer exploding, or something like that!

How can you make perfection better?

Colleen got a lice treatment first and brought some home in a jar.

Lookin’ good girl!!!

The rest of the day was getting ready for tomorrow.  Mary and Colleen fixed dinner with MAry teaching Colleen how to make the tomato pie!   It was yummy.   We went into the Swim Spa, and Chuck and Lisa went to the OC Mining Company for dinner.   When they returned, we hit the sack, and they used the Swim Spa; they loved it.

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Happy Anniversary & Happy Birthday!

Fact: By the mid-to-late 1930s, people began to celebrate 1st, 10th, 20th and 70th anniversary along with 25th and 50th anniversaries. A gift for each of these milestone anniversary years was also decided by the society. The logic of presenting gifts was that stability deserves a reward and the more the stability, the greater should be the reward.

It has been a year since the big day!! and we are happier than ever. It’s a double because we are also celebrating Colleen being 50 years of age, almost an adult.

Mary and I had our “first date” on July 28th, 2020, got married on July 28th, 2021, and celebrated our first anniversary on July 28th, 2022 – all at Patty’s Place in Seal Beach.

Join the party!

Great fun!!!

I was told the next day that I had a good time!  So happy that daughter Colleen came with us and drove us home!

We teased Colleen, she is now this side of 50!

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Wednesday; A Busy Day!

Fact: Our friends truly bring out the best in us.  In 2013, research at the University of California, San Diego, found that people look more attractive in a group than individually.  It’s a phenomenon called hierarchical encoding, but it might be more commonly known as ‘the cheerleader effect.’

Why does this happen?  The study proposes that “the visual system automatically computes ensemble representations of faces presented in a group.” Essentially, the more attractive people in a group serve to ‘raise the average,’ making the ‘average’ faces appear more attractive overall.

Bummer!!!

We were up at the crack of dawn and on the road to Long Beach for a 9:00 AM appointment with an oncologist.  The meeting went well, and we had many options.  Mary got a call from a long-time friend who is Chief of Urology at the Michigan University Hospital, and we talked to him for quite a while.

Dr. Sheri Marquez was excellent; first-rate!

We did not leave the office until 10:45 AM, making us about 20 minutes late for the celebration of life in Santa Ana.

The next stop, a sad stop, was Sam Deiner’s Celebration of life.  Sam, and Brenda, were long-time friends and Sam passed at the age of 52 of cancer.  He will be missed.

Sam and Brenda

Almost eighty folks came to pay their respects at the Santa Ana Elks.  After the ceremony, Brenda arranged for Ronnie to stay and play dance music for their dancing friends.  We stayed until about 3:00 PM before heading home.

The people were a mix of his Experian friends and his dancing friends.  The CEO of Experian made a tape so he could say something; he was out of town today.

Samuel J Diener from Lakewood, California, passed away on June 25, 2022, at the age of 52.  He attended Saint Pancratius elementary and middle school and Saint Anthony’s high school, where he played football.  Sam was proud to have graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor’s in Science degree in Business Administration.

He is survived by his wife, Brenda, and four sisters: Mary, Denise, Diana, and Ann, and their families.  He was preceded in death by his parents, Lillian H Diener and Samuel L Diener.

Sam worked in the information technology field, supporting a global team of executive leadership and board members for Experian.  Whether supporting his peers or leadership, he was loved and appreciated.  Sam saved many days with his expertise, calm demeanor, follow-through, and excellent customer support.  This is also where he met the love of his life, Brenda, and together they enjoyed swing and ballroom dancing, ice skating, traveling, visiting botanical gardens, and going to a wide variety of concerts and plays.  Sam also enjoyed, photography, cooking, sports, computers, gaming and movies – new and old.

Sam was a kind, gentle soul who also had a good sense of humor.  With his strong ethic of servitude, Sam was generous with his time and patience and enjoyed helping people.  He was a genuine person through and through.  His smile was made of pure joy and infectious to all around.  His eyes sparkled with his love for life and his friends and family.  Sam loved all animals, but particularly cats and was proud to have five rescue cats and considered them family.  On cold winter afternoons, he could be found on the couch with a blanket of his five kitties, who laid on him not only to warm themselves and nap as well, but also to warm him and ensure that he had the sweetest of dreams during his afternoon slumbers.

He has touched many in life and lived fully, leaving an abundance of memories for which we can be grateful and can recall, keeping his spirit alive in us all.

From there, we went home and met up with Chuck and Lisa, who flew in from North Carolina to assist with Saturday’s party.  We discussed the layout of the tables and everything and then went to dinner.

The excavation is underway, and so far, we have uncovered a spoon and a baby horseshoe.

They are still forming the foundation for the walls.

After dinner, we talked for a while and then crashed.  It was an emotional day, to say the least.  Colleen is driving back from Arizona, and we spoke to her at about 11:00 PM.  We told her to stop and not drive all night long.  She texted us at 1:30 AM and said she did stop for the night.

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Tuesday And We Are Hard At Work!

Fact:  According to a study conducted in America, Californian people are less likely to barbecue on a Tuesday than any other day of the week.

Today was a relatively slow day!  We went to the gym bright and early, returning home by 9:30 AM, at which time we did chores around the house.

I made the mistake of listening to the news, and here is my takeaway!

Seriously!

After seeing the pictures of Mary working so hard in the garden, I decided she needed a present so what better romantic present could I get than a garden cart?  Now I must find a big red bow and a card; HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!  How to get in trouble quickly!

I got Mary a present; I am such a romantic!

We do a lot of gardening, and the van was not big enough, so we bought a pickup to use!  It is grey, just like the Silver Fox, but it does not have a name yet!  We need a “name that truck” contest!

We needed a truck, so I now have a new Chevy.

A police officer was monitoring the highway when he saw a pickup truck going 20 miles below the speed limit.

The officer pulls behind the truck and pulls the truck over.

As he walked up to the driver, he noticed that the trunk bed was filled with penguins!  Doing as penguins would waddling around and such.

The officer goes to the truck driver and says, “You can’t be driving with all these penguins!  They gotta go the zoo!”

The truck driver apologizes and promises to head straight to the zoo.

The next day, the officer again sees the same truck going 20 below the speed limit!

The officer pulls the truck over.  As the officer walks up, he notices that the trunk is still filled with penguins, but this time they are all wearing sunglasses.

The officer is furious.  He tells the driver, “You think you can pull one over on me!  I told you to take the penguins to the zoo!”

The driver looks up and says, “I took them yesterday!  Today I’m taking them to the beach.”

One more day of forming, a day to check everything, and the cement will start flowing for the wall foundations.  It is getting exciting.  He will have to lay 160 feet of stone to complete course #1.  The first course has to be square and level; difficult to do with an eight-inch drop from front to back!

The yard is coming along.

The kitchen was quiet, so Mary decided to fix that problem.  I was in the office and heard the familiar clanking of pans, so I peeked in, and the counter was awash in veggies being meticulously sliced and diced.   She then prepared the pie crust and put a bunch of goodies into the blender, and it smelled delicious even before it was cooked.

A few weeks ago, I was working in the yard, and Mary called me saying, “Come on in for a quickie!”  I was excited.  When I arrived at the house and found out what she meant, I had to tell Mary, “Sweetheart, it’s pronounced Quiche.”

I am such a lousy cook that I use the smoke alarm as a timer.

After the gym, Mary hit the kitchen.

Into the oven it went, and the countdown began.  It was looking good!

A magnificent quiche.

It was out of the oven and ready to eat, but we had to go to the hair parlor.

Oh boy, I can hardly wait.

When I returned home (Mary stayed for a while), I got this photo of NJoe and the boys saying goodbye from their retreat.  They are a lovely family, and they are on their way back.  What did E.T.’s mother say to him when he got home?  “Where on Earth have you been?!”

Joe heads home today from the retreat!

After Mary’s hair appointment., we dined at the Greek restaurant next door.  Lamb chops were outstanding.    I always wondered,  if Mary gave birth to Jesus and Jesus is the lamb of God, then did Mary have a little lamb?

What’s the difference between a vegan and a computer programmer?  One is disgusted by a rack of lamb, and the other is disgusted by the lack of RAM.

After the hair salon, we dined in Greece this evening.

Arriving home, we grabbed some tomato pie and a slice of quiche and headed for Jan’s to pay her a quick visit.  We are glad we did as she was having a bad day.

We returned home after an hour’s visit.  We hit the swim spa and soaked for a good hour, watched the stars, and talked about life.

Mary mentioned that she has an issue with remembering passwords, so I told her my secret!

Works every time!

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The Week Starts Over!

Fact: The iconic stone heads protruding from the ground on Easter Island are familiar to most, but many don’t realize what lies beneath the surface. In the ’10s, archaeologists studying the hundreds of stone statues on the Pacific Island excavated two of the figures, revealing entire torsos, which measure as high as 33 feet.

Wow!

Mary is on patrol, checking to see if any varmints got into the tomatoes. It looks pretty good from my perch next to the firepit.

Man is the only kind of varmint that sets his own trap, baits it, then steps in it. – Author: John Steinbeck

First things first, inspect the garden! Looking for tracks! Perhaps a mountain lion, octopus, crocagator?

Scout knows something is out there because, at night, he sniffed the tomato plants and barked.

“M-m-m-m-m-m How did I miss whatever it was??”

Mid-morning, I got a text from Vicky, and it set me back a bit.

Look who I came across this morning when I met Brenda and her mother for breakfast. Yes, Vince and Nancy, and it was so lovely to talk to them. Vince looked around and asked me. “Well, where is Del? So I let them know as they did not know. Then when Brenda came in, they wanted to know where Sam was, and I had to tell them, and Vince was shocked. They both looked well.

Vince and Nancy.

We did some chores around the house, getting ready for the party. We visited Jan and then went to the market for supplies.

Upon returning, we inspected the progress, and there is still some serious forming to do before the concrete arrives.

We are making progress, albeit slow!

It’s my duty to visit Allrecipes.com and find us good things to eat. Mary can fix anything. Tonight is tomato pie night, and I must tell you it was WONDERFUL!!!

Mary has a new recipe.

I chopped onions and tomatoes while Mary got everything ready to go into the oven.

I sliced and diced the goodies.

The last step is a coating of cheese mixed with sour cream!

It looks like fun, and no wonder she is smiling.

We popped it into the oven and waited. We watched new releases of Virgin River while the stone did it work! Storyline: Seeking a fresh start, a nurse practitioner moves from Los Angeles to a remote Northern California town and is surprised by what — and who — she finds. We have been awaiting the fifth season. The fourth season was released on July 20, 2022.

The pie came out and had to sit for about 30 minutes before we tried it. I find myself being impatient because it smelled so good.

I remember once I tried an apple pie. Following a recipe, says I need: apples, five cubed. 125 sounds like a lot of apples for a pie!

Topped with cheese and baked for an hour.

The pie was finally cool enough to cut. I had a memory from years gone by. A slice of pie is $2.50 in the Bahamas. A slice of pie is $3 in Jamaica. Those are the pie rates of the Caribbean.

We both had two pieces; that was dinner tonight.

Dinner? Nope, pie! We are old (at least I am), so I can have dessert first! After dinner, we crashed as it was about 10:00 PM.

One final thought; I should not have turned on the nightly news!

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Sunday And We Are In The Garden Again!

Fact: Broccoli contains more protein per calorie than steak, but it would take a LOT more broccoli to eat!

Project Manager…because Miracle Worker isn’t an official job title.

We are armed and ready to go!

Colleen hit the road as she is visiting her cousin in Arizona.  They met through Dave Mall, my second cousin.  She is also going to visit my late Uncle Chuck’s daughter.  The van will get another good run.

Cousins Chelsea and Colleen; they finally meet after almost half a century!

We hit the yard again, and it is now as perfect as it is going to be.  Under the flagpole was dry (it needs to be rototilled), so I went after the dirt with a four-pronged spade and turned the soil.  It was indeed thirsty.

As raindrops say, two’s company, three’s a cloud.

Oh, how true!

I ran the water for almost an hour, and the ground just kept drinking.  Remember, “Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful,’ and sitting in the shade.” ~Rudyard Kipling

You better believe it!

The orange and avocado trees are doing quite well in the front yard.  The flowers are all drought tolerant and we have mulched them almost two inches.

The yard looks wonderful; all our neighbors comment on how it looks!

The new plumeria (in the four pots) are doing well and show start showing leaves within a week or two.

The front patio is one of the next projects.

Now to the backyard, we trek.  We planted watermelon, and I did some tree trimming around the base of the trees.   I had a friend who went to a Star Trek fancy dress party dressed as a tree. He was the Captain’s Log.

Dinner is served; we had zoodles again, and they were better this time.  They had overnight to soak in the sauce.  The sausages are treated with habaneros and had a slight fire to them.  We were going to have watermelon, but I had two helpings, and no room was available at the inn.

We made the zoodles with a spiralizer.

Did You know? Spiral vegetable slicers (also known as spiralizers) are kitchen appliances used for cutting vegetables, such as zucchinis (to make zoodles), potatoes, cucumbers, carrots, apples, parsnips, and beetroots, into linguine-like strands which can be used as an alternative to pasta.

Dinner was magnificent; Zoodles forever!

The are easy to make and even Colleen enjoyed them; no cards, yeah!

One minute in the microwave makes them soft and ready to use!

After dinner, we went to the Swim Spa for a good hour and talked.  We waved our glass of wine until after the spa so we could sit by the fire.

It was a wonderful day!

Just a thought!

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