Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Wedding Pics Are In!

Well, doesn't he look relaxed :)
A little help from his friends

Almost new sisters

I let him go a while ago but this made it official

Let's do this!

Uncle Doug officiated

I think she promised to watch a lot of sports. That's why the men look happy :)
Just the beginning

Getting ready to celebrate!

Woooo Hooooo !!!

Mr. and Mrs.

The guys! And, er, Lauren. 

The wedding was as fun as it looks!

Every wedding gets a bit hectic right beforehand but the month before this one was crazy because Giovanna and Drew bought a house and had the sellers from he_l.  It was an incredibly bizarre transaction but they had an amazing real estate broker who hung in there with them and refused to let the house go... Giovanna's mom, Josephine. And she managed to pull it off in the midst of planning a big wedding.  Every detail was flawless - from the paper-signing to the flowers at the wedding. 

Finally Josephine and Gino can enjoy!

The garter...  3 year old Caleb is giving it his best shot.
Hey- some guy out there really seems to want to catch that thing! Awesome!

The bride had a few things to say too. Uh oh :)

Sissers now!

Pullin' the trigger.

Got it done.

Congratulations Giovanna and Drew

We love you!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Ultimate Sacrifice

Last year around this time, I wrote about a longtime friend who flew for the California Fire Service. We lost him yesterday when his tanker (81) crashed in a canyon in Yosemite while he was laying fire retardant and fighting a fire near the entrance to the park.  Craig and Dave were looking forward to their planned golf in November after they both hoped the 'fire season' would be over.

Craig never stopped flying over the past, nearly 40 years. First in the Navy, then the Reserves and then the last 13 years for Cal Fire. Just last year he put out a fire in Copperopolis, the town next to ours up at the lake - just blocks away from where our friends own homes. Over the course of 13 years, he has helped save many communities and thousands of acres of beautiful wild land. Just this year alone, it's mind boggling to think of how many fires he has flown on!

He was always upbeat and quite a guy.  He and Sally just celebrated their 39th Anniversary and his first granchild is due in 2 months. He was quite a guy.
Today the Governor called it "The ultimate sacrifice".

ABC News:

And my blog from last September:

Tanker 81

   When Dave and I were newlyweds and he was assigned as an NFO (navigational flight officer) in the Navy, there was no other pilot he would rather fly with than Craig.  We all had babies and social lives intertwined with one another.  Well, oddly enough, Craig is now flying tanker 81 for the state of California and fighting wild fires that threaten the territory near our house at the lake.  In the off-season he teaches BioChemistry at one of the University of California universities. 
So... the Professor flies dangerous fire missions in his off time. Who would ever know!  

Ironically, he was working the famous Rim Fire, only an hour from our house, laying retardant on the flames.

                                                                        Tanker 81.  Craig's plane. There he is!

Craig flies over our house regularly and tells us whether our cars are there or not. 

Ever since the "Rim Fire" was broadcast on TV for the past few weeks, we've heard from friends from all over the country, asking how we are and whether the house at the lake is in danger and we really appreciate everyone's concern.  Thankfully, all is well with us but we have seen firsthand the power and ferocity of these wildland fires and it is scary.  Within the first week after the Rim Fire broke out, we were at the lake with Drew and Giovanna and her parents.  Luckily, the smoke only came in one morning for a couple of hours and then the breezes blew it out.  So we thought we were home free from then on.  
Well... over Labor Day we were expecting to be at the lake with Kevin and his wife Lauren so Dave and I headed up first and this is what we found when drove through the gate:

It was definitely not the place to be.  The fire by this time had spread into Yosemite National Park which is about an hour drive from our place. 
We turned around and went home.

Craig works for "Cal Fire" - the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection- which is responsible for protecting over 31 MILLION acres of wildlands. Wow. Fortunately for us, we have a major Cal Fire Base at the end of our road.  We sometimes hear them doing drills and, frankly, it is reassuring.

The devastating Rim Fire started on August 17th and it has been the third largest wildfire in California's history, burning about 400 square miles.  It's the biggest wildfire on record in the Sierra Nevada. As of September 12th it was only 80% contained.  They estimate it will be fully contained by September 20 - a week from now! The fire was caused by a hunter's illegal fire that went out of control and is named for its proximity to the Rim of the World vista point in the Stanislaus National Forest.  The Rim Fire now has it's own Wikipedia page!  


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

39 But Who's Counting?

This is how the weekend ended - on the beach at Crissy Field in San Francisco.

Crissy Field was an Army airfield, adjacent to the old Fort Mason and, in 1974, it became a National Recreation Area where families now come to swim, picnic, walk and run. It's one of our favorite places in the city so we headed there again at the end of our Anniversary weekend. We have been there so many times before so it's very special. It does feel a bit lonely to go there without a dog but I don't think Dave is going to rectify that ;)  I'll have to ask to borrow the Hankster from Kevin and Lauren :0

 (No comments about the blonde hair, please - the alternative is... gray... ah - maybe white.)

And this is how the weekend started!  
We moved Giovanna and Drew into their new house in Walnut Creek. It's a big town, close to all the commuting options in the Bay Area, and it has great schools. But... it was a harrowing real estate purchase. Multiple offers and a bidding war ensued with a seller's agent who was the worst of the worst. They would never have had anyone hang on during this ordeal but Giovanna's mom, Josephine, is a real estate broker and she was not letting this place go.  It was an awesome example of persistence and making people do the right thing. We are all very grateful and appreciative. 
So here they are...still in the box stage.

After the boxes were unloaded, we headed into San Francisco for an Anniversary weekend. We're a couple of blocks from Lauren's place in this photo. The deal was that we were "switching" homes - she was staying at our house and we stayed in her apartment in the city. We like to call it our 'pied a terre'. It sounds good :)

The metal 'line' in the road is the cable line for the cable cars.
Here's the street outside her front door. I hesitate to give out too much info on the blog... I'm getting paranoid... But the red awning is a good restaurant and it's on my 'list'...
We went to dinner at Cotagna and our menus were very tailored to our evening!
The restaurant called to confirm our  reservation and they asked it were an 'occasion' .  So I said it was our Aniversary, thinking we would get a decent table - not thinking much more about it. But the menu was a nice touch.

The next morning was pretty sweet in Lauren's apartment. She has a great view and a Keurig coffee maker which was so nice for me because I love a good cup of coffee. (I have to break down and get one.)  Dave requires the morning paper and he wasn't as lucky at getting that. He had to settle for reading the paper on my cracked ipad... that's another story... 

We did not go to Church that Sunday morning but... well, almost...with my coffee. 
Often, that is more thoughtful.

After a nice brunch at Park Tavern (which was better than dinner the night before) we made our way to Crissy Field.
That water is freezing! It comes down from Alaska.

Alcatraz is the 'rock' island in the distance.

One of the mansions on Marina Blvd. What you can't see is that behind me is... the ocean and the Golden Gate bridge.
 Nice digs.

Washington Park - next to the Church of Saints Peter and Paul.  Our neighbors, Anna and Steve, were married here. There's an art venue in the park every weekend.

The End.
Great weekend.

Can't believe it's been 39 years!

Now for the Wedding in 2 weeks!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

#TBT Turning Back Time

I guess everyone, when they get to be my age, thinks about turning back time.  We can't of course but I think we all go back in time and wonder how things would be if we had done some things a bit differently.

When I was starting out after college, I deliberately did not move into New York City.  I know it's an awesome place now but at that time it was a mess - dirty with much higher crime rates - my dad worked there all his life and hated the commute and the subway crime so I wanted no part of it.  I wouldn't change that decision at all but when I see Lauren taking off for San Francisco, it does make me think... I bet I would have liked to have been in a clean, smaller city like San Francisco. Last January, she moved into an apartment with one of her best friends from high school and they are now both working for the same company.  How funny that seems because they met in 5th grade and grew up 2 blocks away from one another.  Now they're playing house for real.

I told Dave I wouldn't mind having a go at it now.  We're going to get a smaller place in a year or two anyway so it seemed pretty fun and romantic to move to San Francisco.  We know people our age who have done just that - but he's not having any of it.  Oh, well.  I can alway visit Lauren.  I have my part-time apartment with Lauren and my part-time dog with Kevin.

Here's a bit of Lauren's moving day

Looking out the living room window

 Here's a look at the Bay from the living room.  I stayed there last weekend and, after Lauren left for work, I sat here with a morning cup of coffee and I thought.. I could so do this!  Lauren was thoughtful enough to put on the Today show for me (I'm pretty clueless about getting other peoples' TVs to work). Did it bother me that I was enjoying my morning coffee while Lauren was at work?  Well, yeah. Actually, it did.

A Sunday brunch.  Rare free time.

This is a view from her front window.  See the odd building in the background that looks like a triangle?  That's the Transamerica building and I had a job interview there in 1976.  I ended up working for Transamerica but in San Jose - not San Francisco.  Turning back time... I never thought in 1976 at that stressful interview that someday I would be looking back at the building from my daughter's window.

 There have been more than a few parties on this roof in just the past 6 months.  That's Coit Tower in the background.  Lily Coit was a wealthy socialite who loved firefighters (who doesn't) and chased fires - and left one third of her fortune to the city in the 1930s and requested that it be used to beautify the city.  The tower was built and has sweeping views of San Francisco.  Coit Tower looks very much like a fire hose but the resemblance is said to be just a coincidence.
OOOPs - How did that get in here?  Not much has changed...

Oh.  And my part-time dog... Hank 

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood

And sorry I could not travel both 
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;  

Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,  

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

Monday, April 28, 2014

Engagement Photos!

We were so happy to hear that Drew and Giovanna wanted to have their engagement photos taken at the lake.  It really was wonderful for Dave because he has poured his heart and soul (and blood, sweat and tears) into the lake house.  Besides that, it's just a nice setting.  So I'm happy to post some of their awesome photos!


                                                     All photos courtesy of www.markwilliamphoto.com

They are a very sweet couple and have been together since college - it's their time now and we are very happy for them and - for us!