Monday, May 27, 2013

Monday Mellow Yellows - Yellow San Francisco Home - May 27, 2013

One of the delights of living in the San Francisco area - and one of the
reasons I always have my camera with me - is the wonderful abundance
of beautiful Victorian homes.  Even many other houses are painted in
bright and beautiful colors that make you stop your car, pull over and
get out your camera.  I will miss those during my six months in India
but, thankfully, there is so much in that enormous country that I enjoy
photographing.  While I'm there sweltering in the heat, I'll remember
that I've complained my whole time at home that I haven't been warm
enough.  Right now, it's 61 degrees in Daly City, California and 90
degrees in Mumbai, India!

I am participating in 

Add your yellow photo to join in the fun.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

UE's Weekend Challenge: The Color Orange - Gourmet California Poppy - May 26, 2013

The bright orange poppy is our California state flower. This caterpillar certainly
devasted this one in short order.

I am participating in 

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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Camera Critters #268 - Taffy and Bucky & Harper Ann - May 25, 2013

I spent three days in West Sacramento this week, enjoying my last days with
my son, Alex, my daughter-in-law, Laura, baby granddaughter, Harper Ann,
who is already a month old, and my granddogs, Taffy and Bucky.  It was a
wonderful visit.  Taffy is so maternal with the baby, always nearby and keeping
a watchful eye.  Bucky loves her but he is content to sleep on his bed near
her crib, with an occasional lick on her head.  Taffy, however, acts like she is
her puppy and it is so sweet to watch.

When Taffy isn't busy with Harper, she isn't far from Bucky and I love this
shot I got of them sleeping.

Needless to say, I will miss them all my six months in India.  I leave June 1st.

I am participating in 

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thursday Challenge: Weather - Jaipur Monsoon - May 23, 2013

Last year's monsoon season, in Jaipur, was minimal but I got some delightful
shots of Vishu, my landlady's grandson, playing in the rain.  I remember my delight,
as a child, in Columbus, Georgia, running in the rain showers, as long as there
were not tornado warnings out or streaks of chain lightning illuminating the sky.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

On My Way In Ten Days - May 22, 2013

Last December, when I arrived home from India, it seemed eternities before I
would return again.  I had plenty to do in the meantime - catch up with friends,
have my total  shoulder replacement surgery, drink good California wine which
I had sorely missed in India ( relishing decent vintages, some priced at under
$10/bottle ), eating at my favorite restaurants, seeing all my physicians and
getting medical clearance to return, once again, to "the country of my heart".

I even tried to move out of the large storage space I'd been renting since October
2011 - at almost $400/month - into a smaller space, to no avail.  For my Mother's
Day gift, Shawn ( my oldest ) and Jeremy ( my youngest ) spent the entire
weekend helping me go through things but we barely made a dent in the pile
of boxes.  Nonetheless, I sent over ten bags of clothes to Goodwill, all clothes
I am now too slim to wear, plus many other thing, that I initially thought I couldn't
without.  Furniture, that failed to be snapped up by Craig's List buyers, was
broken apart and taken to the dump.  Perhaps, if I hadn't been sidelined for
three months with my shoulder surgery, I might have been able to accomplish
more.  At any rate, though, I felt quite righteous in eliminating as much as I did..
and I really appreciated the gift of time from my boys.  It was nice hanging out
with them as well.

Yesterday, I drove up to West Sacramento for my final visit with Laura, Alex,
baby Harper Ann, and Taffy and Bucky.  I am really going to miss seeing them
and watching my granddaughter's first six months of life.  Though he has not
done it yet, Alex has promised to download Skype so I can keep up with them
that way.

Harper Ann is now a month old.  She has gained three pounds already and she
is a charmer.  I get such a kick out of the two dogs who are aware  of her every gurgle
and, heavens, if she actually cries, they go racing to the crib, then back to Laura and
Alex if they think there is not a fast enough response.

Harper Ann still spends most of her time sleeping

At 11 lbs, 3 lbs over her birth weight, she's outgrown her newborn clothes!

A bit disgruntled and wanting food!

Taffy and Bucky standing guard!

I will be home again the first week in December.  One of my baby gifts was a 
Christmas stocking for Harper Ann and I'll be working on that while I'm in India.
I've made stockings for all my sons and Laura but this one will be a special
labor of love.  

I know I'll have a hard time saying goodbye when I leave West Sacramento this
time.  I've never been gone any length of time with a sweet granddaughter 
seven thousand miles away.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

UE's Weekend Challenge - Seascape & Sundays in My City. May 19, 2013

This beautiful view is only about three miles from where I live, in Pacifica, 
California, next to - of all places - the Mussel Rock Transfer Station Disposal
Site ( the local dump ).  The daisies and wildflowers reseed themselves and,
every Spring and Summer, the hillside is a mass of spectacular blooms,  I 
think it is one of the prettiest spots I've ever seen.

I am participating in UE's Weekend Challenge: Seascape


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Camera Critters #267 - Granddog and Granddaughter - May 18, 2013

Since Harper Ann arrived on the scene, Taffy, though she  was adopted
minus her uterus, seems to be experiencing some maternal feelings.  At the
first whimper from the baby, Taffy runs to check on her.  She watches, with
what seems like concern, while Harper is fed, changed, and sleeping peacefully

She looked so sweet one day, while Alex was holding his daughter, and Taffy
had her nose on Harper's head.

I am participating in 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Friday Flash 55 - India Bound, Once More - May 17, 2013

India Bound Once More

Two weeks from now,
I leave once more,
To spend six months,
On a distant shore.

I’ve a brand new shoulder,
And a grandchild, too,
I’ve seen friends and family,
And every doctor I knew. 

I’ve enjoyed good wine,
And eaten lots of steak,
Now I’ll feast on curries,
And the great breads they make.

Copyright ( c ) Carmen Henesy
May 17, 2013

I am participating in the above
brainchild of Mr Know It All...

join in with your effort in 55 words.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Signs, Signs - Awful Annie's - May 15, 2013

Last month, I had lunch at "Awful Annie's" in the quaint gold country town of 
Auburn, California which is not too far from Lake Tahoe.  I was with my lovely
daughter-in-law, Laura, and my new granddaughter, Harper Ann, who debuted
on April 14th.  Harper slept through our entire meal which was certainly nice
for us.  I wondered about the sign, "Awful Annie's" and why Annie earned that
nickname.  The restaurant was lovely - homey with lots of warm, welcoming
decor and a fabulous menu.  The food was excellent - we had trouble making
up our minds what to eat!  I left without finding out why Annie earned the name
"awful" but it is emblazoned on the menus and the signs everywhere.

I am participating in Lesley's meme,

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Harper Ann Vukasinovic - May 7, 2013

I've written snippets here and there about the arrival of my sweet granddaughter, 
Harper Ann Vukasinovic, but to do her justice - and for posterity - I feel she
deserves to be memorialized in one of my blogs!  All along, we didn't know if
this first grandchild of mine was to be a boy or a girl.  Laura and Alex were
adamant at every ultrasound that they did NOT want to know the sex of the
baby, that they wanted it to be a surprise.  They didn't care if they had a boy
or a girl.  I was equally vocal that, if I had a choice, after raising three sons, I
wanted a girl!!

Harper's due date was April 21st.  The kids invited me to go to Laura's ultra
sound on April 10th so I made the two hour drive to West Sacramento, planning
to stay for a three day visit since my India journey is drawing close.  Laura was
told the baby was weighing in 8 lbs!

You can definitely see Harper's face here, hair and an expression that seems 
to say, "Good grief, let's get this show on the road."

At Laura's OB visit after the ultrasound, her doctor initially was saying the first baby 
is often late but, after examining her, he said labor might begin that week!!

On Saturday morning, April 13, as I was preparing to head back home, Laura told 
me she was having back pain and hadn't slept all night.  She was having irregular
contractions, she thought, about twelve minutes apart.  A shopping trip with her
mother was planned for the Galleria instead of downtown Sacramento so she
would be near the Sutter Roseville Birthing Center where she was to deliver.

I moved my suitcase back into the bedroom, amused at Alex's text, "Oh, no, I'm
not ready."  

About 5PM, i headed to the hospital and joined Christine Calhoun, Laura's mom 
for the grandmother vigil.  I was most impressed with Sutter Roseville's beautiful 
birthing rooms and, especially, with Donna Taylor ( I think that was her name ),
a wonderful OB MSN from Alabama - I picked up on that kindred accent 
immediately ) - who was simply amazing.  As the hours passed, Laura finally
decided to have an epidural and then the atmosphere became downright festive.
Alex's two brothers arrived as did another family member of Laura's and we
waited patiently for the debut of "baby Vook."  

Here are the three brothers together.  Shawn Smith, the oldest, at 42, is senior
to Alex by 12 years.and is 14 years older than Jeremy.  I don't think I could
have managed without his help when I had extensive back surgery when his
younger brothers were just toddlers.  He says he will remain forever single 
and has done his child rearing with his two brothers.

As the hours passed, everyone began to grow weary.  Alex hopped up on the
hospital bed and napped between Laura's contractions and everyone else
got a little shut eye wherever they could.

Jeremy had borrowed a motorcycle from a friend and made the two hour drive from
San Francisco in pretty cold weather and he was totally exhausted.  Shawn, in military
style, can sleep anywhere.  "Nana" and "Nina", both nurses, of course, could sleep
standing up, if necessary.

Christine Calhoun, who will be "Nini" waited patiently for her grandchild.

Laura's cousin, Iva, was also a cheerleader all night.

Finally, as dawn approached, serious contractions began and all but Alex were
urshered out so Laura could begin pushing earnestly.  A short while later, Alex
came out and said Christine and I were grandmothers, still not telling us whether
he and Laura had a girl or boy.  "See for yourselves," he told us.

The first thing we saw on entering the room was the sign next to the door:

A GIRL!!!  The answer to my prayers - a beautiful, healthy baby girl in our family
of testosterone laden men.  

With Nini

With Nana and Daddy

With Uncle Jeremy

I've got my eyes wide open for Uncle Shawn

I was waiting when Laura, Alex and baby Harper arrived home from the
hospital on April 15th.  She was greeted by Taffy and Bucky who wondered
about this strange little creature.  She must have immediately aroused some
dormant maternal instinct in Taffy who responds to her every gurgle and cry.

Bucky says hello

Now it's Taffy's turn

At 8 lbs, Harper is already outgrowing newborn sizes!

I am overjoyed with this sweet granddaughter.  I have to get the kids hooked up
with Skype so we can have weekly visits the six months I'm in India.  June 1st is
such a short time away.

Laura and Alex have settled into parenting so easily.  I am very impressed.
Harper isn't really fussy at all.  She's a good eater and she can sleep just
about anywhere.  We've already had her on outings and, as long as she's dry
and fed, the adults can enjoy dinner without interruption, for the most part.

One of Harper Ann's favorite spots to "hang" out

With great Uncle Charley, Nana's brother, from Georgia

Supervision from Taffy

Lunch at Awful Annie's in Auburn, CA with Mommy and Nana

Needless to say, this is only the first of many pictures to come of Harper Ann 
Vukasinovic.  There will be a bit of a hiatus while I am in India for six months but 
I will certainly post an update from time to time.  I expect to be back in California 
for her first Christmas and I will need to have her stocking finished by then.  What 
a joy she will be to all of us, that is for sure.  Thanks to everyone for your wonderful 
wishes and prayers at the start of her life.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

The Hollands at Cafe Divine, San Francisco - May 5, 2013

What an incredible San Francisco evening!  The sun was shining brightly, with
temperatures near 70 degrees in the afternoon and San Francisco's North 
Beach was jamming.  My dear friend, Kris, picked me up and we headed to
Cafe Divine, one of my favorite spots on Stockton, to see the dynamic duo,
Sony and Jerry Holland perform.  They surprised us with an email announcing
a quick trip up from L. A. and I couldn't have been happier with this chance to
see them once more before heading off to India

Driving down Lombard Street - perfect weather!!

Old friends were in attendance and the food and wine, as always, were superb.  
Thanks to Milo for his great suggestion on the wine, a Domaine Santa Duc 
Digondas 2010 from France.  We really enjoyed it with our shared dinner - arugula 
salad with blue cheese, pears and walnuts, steamed mussels, penne with Italian 
sausage and grilled vegetables.  And, of course, we could not turn down the 
gingerbread cake and ice cream!

We were too busy eating to photograph any more of the food!

Sony and Jerry were fabulous ( when aren't they ).  They sang some of our old
favorites, including "I Was No Angel Myself" and "On a San Francisco High".
They always leave us feeling wonderful.  I've been so lucky this six months at 
home - I've gotten to see them six times!!  I just wish they would come and 
perform in India!

We had a special treat as well.  Our friends bought McKinley ( named after
the highest mountain in the U. S., Alaska's Mt. McKinley ), whose nickname is 
"Mac".  He's the sweetest Siberian husky who joined their family when their 
beloved, Sabrina, after enriching their life for fifteen years, went to Husky 
Heaven.  Mac is so smart, having already learned so many tricks.

It was a perfect celebration for the one month date before my arrival in India.  I
have enjoyed my long stay at home, got a brand new pain free left shoulder,
and my sweet first grandchild arrived a week early on April 14, 2013, with all
of us there.  I'm ready now, though, for good Indian food, seeing my friends
there and, hopefully, losing 20 more pounds.  If I can get down to 200 pounds,
I'd be delighted.