Grandma last saw my house in June 2006, when nothing yet had been done except some minor repairs, some paint & some decorating. She’s been seeing photos all spring of the kitchen remodel & other projects, so on her way to a wedding in Santa Rosa, she asked to come stay with me…hooray! This is the first time Grandma has visited me without other family around, so it was fun to have time to ourselves, like the Alaska cruise last year.
She stayed with my cousin in Menlo Park the first couple days, so my cousin brought her to my house the day after Labor Day so she could see my house too. My cousin was impressed, and she’s difficult to impress, with much more expensive tastes than me! After she left, we finally got dinner started, with fresh sourdough bread, caprese-inspired heirloom tomato, feta & balsamic vinegar salad from my garden, and a new recipe I’d found for Bermuda Onion Marmalade, saying it went well with chicken or pork, so I had chicken breasts for us. Grandma was excited to see my experiment, so she was very interested in the recipe, and she helped stir while I got out other ingredients. Since it was an experiment & only a recipe for the marmalade, next time I would add the raw chicken in earlier, since some of the onions got extra carmelized, but it was so tasty Grandma requested the recipe! She’s complaining about slowing down, but I want to be that healthy & active when I’m 95! That’s Johnnie Walker Red Label scotch with water on the rocks as her favorite evening cocktail… 😉
Grandma eating chicken with bermuda onion marmalade and fresh sourdough bread, all made in my new kitchen!
The next morning we both slept in – hey, I was on vacation myself! – had a late & leisurely waffle brunch, then met Cyd at the Savannah-Chanelle winery in the Saratoga hills for free wine tasting since Cyd is a member. All 3 of us bought the 4-pack special of the 2006 Pinot Noir & the Pinot Noir Rose we tasted, so combined together we got the case discount too! I had thought we’d just go back down through Saratoga, but it was such a beautiful day & Grandma was enjoying the breeze in her hair in the Briata, so we decided to continue over the Santa Cruz Mountains to see the ocean! Grandma lives on the Pacific herself so it’s not that exotic, but Puget Sound is a lot different than the California coast. 😉
In the Santa Cruz Mountains in the Briata after wine tasting at Savannah-Chanelle, heading for the ocean!
It was nearing 4pm when we drove through Santa Cruz, with a ton of rush hour traffic already starting, so we took Hwy 1 up just far enough to see some coast with some crops growing right up to the cliffs & pretty clear blue ocean. I knew there were some cool cliffs with craggy trees at Davenport, so we parked there, walked about 10 ft for the best view, then it was so windy we got back in the car & headed back. I used my GPS on my new iPhone to find a route to cut through the mountains back to Hwy 9, which took us down Big Basin canyon & up again, but was a very nice drive, and much better than just sitting in Santa Cruz traffic!
At Davenport on Hwy 1…gorgeous day!
We took it easy before dinner, Grandma enjoyed the sunny patio with her Johnnie Walker Red, then we went to Left Bank in Santana Row since I’d never been there & wanted to try it. We each had a different savory tart & shared the cheese plate, which was perfect portions for both of us. We had just enough time after dinner to check out Z Gallerie & Sur La Table before they closed, then I hooked up my laptop to my backyard projector & showed Grandma all the Eerie Elegance podcasts from last year up through current…she was impressed! It was funny to see them so huge…8 ft wide! Talk about extreme zoom for the eyeball painting! haha…
After-dinner entertainment…showing Grandma my Eerie Elegance podcasts at Cinema Brittahytta
Thursday morning I set Grandma’s hair after leftover waffles, then we got on the road for Santa Rosa by around 1pm & got to the hotel just before 3pm. No top-down this time since freeway driving would have messed up her freshly-done hair! 😉 We checked in & got in contact with her friends, then it was a big party on the deck outside Jonelle’s & Grandma’s room at first with Savannah-Chanelle wine, scotch, some of my sourdough bread, my homegrown grapes, smoked salmon from Alaska & other munchies from others, but then the bride’s parents had bought BBQ & wanted the whole Dontos clan to come over, and their house was about 5 minutes from the hotel. Since there was no point in even trying to get through Bay Area rush hour traffic by leaving Santa Rosa that early, I went with them too, driving Grandma with me, close enough & slow enough we had the top-down for those few minutes, and that was a hit with everyone to see us with the top down…haha! We all went back to the hotel by about 9pm, when Grandma said “It’s too early to go to sleep!” so it was back on the deck awhile longer chatting again. They were strongly twisting my arm to stay the whole weekend with them for the wedding & everything, and they are a fun bunch, but I declined & got home with no traffic around 11:15pm…whew!
Incidentally, all these photos were taken with my iPhone 3GS, which sadly has no flash, but has a camera with almost as high megapixels as my trusty Nikon Coolpix 995 from 2002! The top-down photo was when we were on the side of the road when we had to take a cellphone call, NOT while I was driving of course! 😉
Grandma said she had a really great time & I told her I did too! Maybe we can make this an annual event?