Thursday, December 28, 2006

Wild Water!

We took a drive to the coast yesterday to check out the high surf at Jenner and Bodega Bay. Jenner is about 30 miles from Santa Rosa, but the road through the Russian River Valley via Guerneville, Rio Nido and Monte Rio is tortuous and has at least 3 stoplights to allow for one-way traffic due to road damage from the floods of December, 2005.

We went to the Sonoma Coast State Beach, more precisely Goat Rock Beach. We'd never been down the long, winding road to Goat Rock and the jetty that leads to the rock and serves as a parking lot. We have been having 50 to 60 mph winds over the last few days and we wanted to see the "surf advisory," the newspeople were yakking about.

There is almost always a surf advisory on the Sonoma Coast. The area is loaded with seals and their natural predators Great White sharks like to hang out and occasionally harass the surfers. Not only the Great Whites are a problem; the area is rife with rip currents that pull unwary waders out to sea and sleeper waves that can do the same.

I've been a visitor to the California coast since childhood and my parents retired to the Central Coast town of Cayucos, CA. I've seen some wild tides on my visits to my parents, but nothing like these waves.

It was scary and amazing.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Outta Here in the Morning

We are leaving in the morning for Carmel, CA to see my mother and father-in-law. The kids are all with their in-laws or other parents.

Here are my children Kate, 2 years/8 months and Daniel at 2 months in 1980.

From my house to your house:

Merry Christmas
Peace on Earth

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Who Needs No-Knead Bread?

You do, I do, we all do!

Sometime back, whilst doing a perusal of the blogs that I normally visit once or twice a day, I came upon this post at Hedgehog's Life's A Quilt blog showing a lovely loaf of bread and linking to a recipe in the New York Times for making a loaf of no-knead artisan style bread.

When I saw this recipe, I was completely intrigued, because as an artisanal bread baker, I am used to long, slow rises for my doughs and sometimes taking two days to complete the entire process. So, Tuesday evening in the middle of dinner prep, I decided to start a batch. Since we keep our home as cold as a meat locker (just ask the kids), I put the dough bowl in the oven that I'd warmed up for a few minutes.

I have been baking artisan Italian breads for years using Carol Field's The Italian Baker, in fact, when hubby and I honeymooned in the Napa Valley, he bought me a KitchenAid stand mixer and I was off to the races. Our favorite recipe is Pane Pugliese and I divide the dough into eight pieces instead of two. Each mini-loaf is just right for two people and two bread-loving miniature Schnauzers. =)

Following the instructions last night, I shaped the dough and gave it a second rise, also in the oven and then preheated my Le Cruset dutch oven at the required temperature. Upending the dough into the hot pan was tricky, and it stuck to the tea towel, obviously not enough flour for the wet, wet dough.

In spite of that, the bread came out beautifully with a thick crunchy crust and nice interior. The flavor that bread develops when the wheat is allowed to rise slowly and develop fully is out of this world! Last night we enjoyed it with some lovely linguine in a minimalist sauce consisting of garlic, leek, homemade sausage with pine nuts and basil, green beans, mushrooms and broccoli with a dash of red pepper. (My typical "clean out the 'fridge" kind of recipe.) We did restrain ourselves and saved half of the loaf for our Solstice Supper tonight.

Even people who don't fancy themselves bread bakers can enjoy this recipe, it really is easy, easy, easy.

All you need is patience.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Last one for this year--1956

This is the last one I'll post for this year and it is our card for 1956.

I love this picture and you may notice that it is the same one I chose for my blog. Hubby says that this picture sums me up more than any other out there.

I call it my "What, me worry?" pose. As always, I'm off to the side of the other two, doing my own thing, a trend that continues to this day.

Maybe I'll sew tomorrow......

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Here is 1955.

I'm on the left side with my beat up dolly. The bed was my grandmother's and this picture was taken upstairs in the room that became my bedroom when I was 12 until I got married at 19.

Today was the joint board meeting for our guild, held here. At this meeting, the past years' officers get together for lunch with the upcoming slate of officers to plan the next year and pass the baton.

Since many of the jobs just shuffle from person to person, most of the attendees are the same with a few new faces. We had a great time and got to wish each other a Happy Holiday season in a smaller, more intimate venue.

Now, back to quilting!!

Monday, December 11, 2006

One More Time

Here is 1954 with my baby sister included. My older sister is now eight and I'm two and a half. My younger sister is 10 months old.

Spotty got out of it this year.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Ghost of Christmas Past, Part Two

Possibly boring, but here's another blast from the past, me and the family, circa 1953.

In this picture my Mom was almost 33, Dad was 39 and my sister was almost eight. I was eighteen months old and who knows how old Spotty was....the poor dear was born old, but she was the sweetest thing ever.

In six weeks time, my parents would move into the only house I remember living in and eight weeks after Christmas Day, my baby sister was born. Lots happening back in the day!

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Ghost of Christmas Past, Part One

My Dad was a newspaper reporter, then editor, managing editor and finally publisher of our local paper, the Visalia Times-Delta between 1949 and 1975 when he retired. Every year, he would use his camera and the darkroom at the office to make a Christmas card for family friends and relatives. This was not his first, but it was the first in which I appeared, 1952 when I was six months old.

Don't we look so '50s? Mom, me, Spotty Annabel, Dad and my older sister who will be sixty next week.

Happy Holidays!!!!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Quilt is in the Mail.....Really

Back to the quilting front!

I made this quilt for my long-time friend Maureen. We met as single moms in 1983 taking Chemistry as a pre-requisite for continuing our educations. She became a nurse, I opted for dental hygiene.

We were lifesavers for each other as neither of us had anyone we could trust who was willing to watch our preschool children other than their daycare providers. As a result, our kids frequently spent the night at each others' homes, went trick-or-treating, etc.

Maureen turned 50 eighteen months ago and I had already planned to make her a quilt. She asked me if I knew anyone who she could commission to make her a Christmas quilt, so my design was set. She had already collected some fabrics she liked and I added more and used Terry Atkinson's "Lucky Star" pattern, but mixed up my fabrics instead of making each star out of one fabric only. It is pretty eye-popping, but Maureen does love bright colors. I hope she likes this, it was my biggest attempt at free motion quilting on my Bernina.

Happy Birthday, Mo. I told you I'd have it done before Christmas!!!!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Christmas, Observed

We spent the weekend collecting our blended-global-thermo-nuclear family for our celebration of Christmas, observed (thanks Nancy, NP for the name). Some of us shopped, some went wine-tasting, we played Apples to Apples and charades, ate a fine prime-rib dinner, laughed, chatted and just had a wonderful time with our kids. Does life get any better than this?

The Cates family, Steve, Benjamin and Kate. The one in utero has been confirmed as a boy and they are going to name him Alexander. He's due April 17th and we can't wait to meet him!

Scott and Erin, recently escaped Seattle and now settled in Sacramento. Welcome back to the Golden State and we are so happy that it will no longer be a major undertaking to see you!!

Sarah, on the right with her girlfriend Kristin. Hostesses of our fabulous Thanksgiving last week, they are enjoying life and having a great time!!

Mike's step-daughter Michelle, her boyfriend Kala and three month old son Arjuna. We were so excited for Michelle to join us and re-connect with the other kids after almost 10 years!!

Benjamin takes after Mike's mom Daisy, (even without a blood relationship) and will scrape the guacamole bowl clean!

Finally, King and Queen for a day in our tissue paper crowns from the party poppers Sarah brought. We are still recovering from the party!