senoritafish: (Default)
A few years ago my dad had me sign him up for Tin Can Sailors - a group for people who served on naval destroyers. I think I mentioned before he served on the USS Stormes in WWII. This morning I got an email from someone in that group who'd put up some movie footage of that vessel - although 12 years later. I emailed him back thanking him for it and wished I could show it to my dad. He knows someone who may have been aboard the same time my dad was, and they might have known each other. I linked him to some pics of my dad in earlier journal entries here although after almost 60 years, who knows if someone would remember.



Dad would have also liked that there was a Navy Week this past week in San Pedro. We tried going to see the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln Wednesday when I had the day off, but it got shut down early for security reasons. So we went to the Maritime Museum instead, which I haven't been inside of since we took Dad there for his birthday when my mom was still here, although I drive by it every time I go to the docks. Then [livejournal.com profile] runsamuckwas starving, so we had some lunch at the Crusty Crab (not the Krusty Krab; this one's been there since before Spongebob) at Ports O' Call.

CIMG1309

I had to work Thursday, but the rest of the fam damily tried again on Thursday, along with some friends from school. They left about 8 am (ships didn't open until 10 am) to secure parking and get aboard the mandatory shuttle to the ship. It was all a self-guided tour, but the most exciting thing, I hear, was the plane elevator from the lower deck to the flight deck. Quite the E-ticket ride, I understand. Gareth took some video of it, but being 11, excited and not a trained videographer makes for a rather motion-sickness inducing recording (plus it takes freaking forever to upload); but I may put it up later. Some photos here.
senoritafish: (pensive)
CIMG0375

One of our last walks around the block before he went back in the hospital. It was a gorgeous day, having rained that morning; you can see the clouds in the background. He saw me taking these and told me, "Eh, you don't want me in your nice pictures." I assured him that I did, very much so. Then we went home and I packed to go to the Bay Area for work for the weekend. The next Wednesday, after an xray by his doctor, he was admitted to the hospital once again; he'd only been home for about a month and a half.


The following is an account of my father's death. I'm leaving this public because after my mother passed away, I found similar stories comforting, but maybe I'm just morbid. Please skip if you find such things distressing, or if needed I could make a filter, because there's likely to be more related stuff here for a while.

Alternatively, other entries from this journal about my dad are here - or by clicking Dad in the tag cloud on the right on my LJ page. They may be happy or not so much. Also, I had made a journal for him where I was transcribing some of the stories he told me at [livejournal.com profile] deadwood_bob, although I always intended to write down more of them. If you knew my dad and have a story about him, I would love it if you could write it down and send it to me, and I'll include it there as an entry.

Read more... )
senoritafish: (pensive)
Robert Stephen Laughlin
June 14, 1926 - May 1, 2011

Pics you may have seen before... )
senoritafish: (perfect TV mom)
After buying the new laptop, soon after John had rush out and buy Hoyle's Casino, because he can't be long without a gambling game.

One of the slot machine games is called Ninjas of the Caribbean.

Angus made a character that wears a cowboy hat and a monocle.

Just thought I'd pass that along...I'm easily amused...

Ok, finish my coffee and go get something done...
senoritafish: (Default)
(First posted March 29, 2006. I've been seeing this test show up on Facebook a lot lately, and I knew it was familiar. I just realized that for some reason this was posted privately, which was not what I intended. I must've wanted to edit it more.)

testing, testing... )
senoritafish: (multitasking (doing the dishes))
So, brought kitty home Wednesday night, and after some initial mewing during the ride home, I was worried he (yes, we're pretty sure he's a boy) would want to hide for awhile and be scared. Absolutely not. He came out of the carrier and immediately started bouncing all over the place as if he'd always lived here. For the first couple of days we confined him to our bedroom, mainly so he's sure of where his food and litter box are, but now have started letting him out into the front of the house.

I really thought John would be negative about getting another cat, but allergies and all he's first in line to play with him and even woke up early on Saturday because the kitten did. Kitten has a fondness for sleeping right on someone's pillow, which makes it difficult to avoid the occasional face full of fur. I woke once to find him draped around the top of my head. I have a slight cat allergy myself, and for the first day had very itchy eyes and was taking antihistamines right along with John, but it's getting better now. Hopefully he'll acclimate soon too; he usually does after a couple of weeks exposure.

Avalon will NOT let him alone. We've had to get after her several times for carrying him around constantly and not letting him rest. He actually goes back into the carrier for naps, partly to get away from her. She's like the character with the boneless cat in the Peanuts strip. She was previously doing the same thing to Spot.

I was previously thinking some variation of silver or gray for a name, but his being male shot down the main one I thought of- the mom in El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera; as a superhero, her name is Plata Peligrosa (Dangerous Silver) and she's a little bit crazy. Sounded perfect for a kitten to me and we have a precedent for cartoon names with Stimpy. I suppose the name itself isn't gender specific, but in any case, John didn't want a color and has dubbed him Scooter. I don't know where that came from - I asked him if he really wanted to name him after a Bush aide who went to jail. Eh.

Anyhoo, he's finally met his older brothers. They were hungry and Avalon let them in this morning. Everyone was more intent on breakfast than whether there was someone new around; Stimpy headed right for the bowl of kitten chow and polished it off; then I discovered we were completely out of cat food, so I pulled on my pants and headed to the store at 6 am. When I got back, Scooter (eh...) was still being ignored for the most part, so let's hope the interaction stays on that neutral level. If I know kittens, though, they do manage to ingratiate themselves - although Stimpy's the top cat now and will likely continuing the ignoring bit, he did the same thing himself to Bob, when he was a kitten. ;)
senoritafish: (That's Ms. señoritafish to you!)
IMG_0591

Talked my brother into coming down and trying to go grunion watching, as it was an early 10 pm run, and the kids didn't have school the next day. We went to Seal Beach because it's one of hte few that doesn't close at 10 pm. He brought a bunch of friends with him, including new beau from Sweden, and his dog Luna, an Italian greyhound who's completely blind now. Unfortunately, we got skunked; nary a scout even showed up. I felt a little bad because one friend had come before and we hadn't seen any - he's going to believe they don't actually exist. I'm a little floored at how international Doug's friends are; the other two were from France and South America.

Seal Beach Pier and no grunion
Seal Beach CA
Canon EOS 1000D
24 May 2009

+2 )
senoritafish: (Heart fish)
IMG_0246

On Easter, we took the grandparents out for brunch: John's mom and grandma (the kids call her GGma for greatgrandma), and my dad. He has kind of tense relationship with these two women, however, he said today it was nice actually talking with his grandmother one on one, without being interuppted (the kids and my father being at the other end of the table). It still trips me out a bit that John is only a year younger than me, but his grandmother and my father are only a couple of years apart themselves.

Hof's Hut patio
Long Beach CA
Canon EOS 1000D
12 April 2009

cake! )
senoritafish: (6yrsold)
... or so a few old friends who found me on Facebook asked? I shall attempt to summarize...

(I wrote this up, yeesh, back in November, and then was too lazy or shy to actually post it...I've been reminded that I did, though...posted here at LJ because it'll show up there, or at least it's supposed to...)

You may skip if you already know - the last eight or so are right here... )
senoritafish: (pensive)
PICT0285

Finally, all $12.50 of it - Alaska never did show up in any of our change, so [livejournal.com profile] runsamuck finally went to a coin store and bought a couple. This was started by [livejournal.com profile] runsamuck's brother as something for the fry. He passed away in 2002, so when we finally filled in all the holes, [livejournal.com profile] runsamuck got a nice frame and put a little plaque at the bottom of it in memory of Jay. "In Remembrance of" became "For..." because Things Remembered wanted $3 a word.

I had actually started the little books of these coins that had two spaces for each quarter, so you could save front and back, one from each mint. But the kids were much littler then; they got into them and ripped them all up, scattering the quarters everywhere.

"For Jay, Gone but Not Forgotten..."
Huntington Beach CA
Sharp VE-CG30
30 January 2009
senoritafish: (6yrsold)
... or so a few old friends who found me on Facebook asked? I shall attempt to summarize...

(I wrote this up, yeesh, back in November, and then was too lazy or shy to actually post it...I've been reminded that I did, though...)

Graduated from Humboldt State University in June of '87, but actually finished classes in December '86. In between, I worked two stints as a foreign fisheries observer (this was when the US still allowed foreign vessels to fish in our waters), first for a month on a Japanese Longline vessel fishing for cod in the Bering Sea, then for two months on a Polish factory trawler fishing for hake (whiting) off Oregon and Washington. Following that (and working temp jobs in between), I applied to grad school at CSULB, was accepted and spent my first year studying marine biology at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia as an exchange student. That was wonderful and I have always, always, wanted to go back.

When I returned to the States, I visited the CSULB campus fully intending to continue grad school (as I'd always been told I'd never get a job in marine biology without a graduate degree). However, that day they were having a job fair on campus and I began talking with a guy who worked for the California Dept.of Fish & Game, who needed a scientific aide. I had bills to pay, so I filled out an application and got the job. Scientific aide jobs are temporary, and only supposed to last for nine months; however, they found other stuff for me to do during the three months I was supposed to be off. I did that for about three years, then took a short break for about 8 months and worked again as a fisheries observer, only this time in New England on much smaller gill net boats. I lived on my own in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, living for the first time somewhere it snowed in the winter and also experienced my first hurricane (both were fairly mild, although it was a bit nerve wracking being out at sea in a small boat, the nets clogged with dogfish, about 12 hours before the storm made landfall-I finally gave up on the sampling I was supposed to be doing and helped them pull dogfish out of the net - that fishery is not doing too well nowadays).

I visited home over the holidays that year, and at the same time, interviewed for a permanent position with the Department. They hired me and I've pretty much been here ever since. I've spent most of my time on a project monitoring commercial fisheries for what's called Coastal Pelagic Species - that is, small schooling species like sardines, mackerel and squid, that are caught by purse seine vessels. Our main focus is collecting biological data about them for use in biomass assessments, i.e. how much fish is actually out there, so we can tell the fishermen how much of it they can catch without overfishing and leaving enough for the other wildlife that needs it. I also ran a shark tagging program for awhile; however, the powers that be cut funding for it about eight years ago. About a year ago, I got a promotion and now I serve on a interagency team with other West Coast federal and state biologists managing the fisheries of Highly Migratory Species - those are the big fish like tuna, swordfish and sharks. I don't get to actually see the critters I work with much anymore, but I get to contribute to their still being around for future generations. I did get to go out on a two week federal shark tagging cruise last year, which was wonderful.

On the personal side, after putting him off for a very long time (he was very persistant), I wound up marrying the chef who worked next door in the UC Chancellor's Office (you can read more about that here, if you want). We've been together for 13 years now. My mom passed away in 1994, and following that, my father asked us to move in with him - he's never lived alone in his entire life. He's 83 now, so we're sort of his default caretakers - not that he needs much,he's in good shape. As a friend tells me, I'm the only person he knows who still has the same phone number she had in high school.

We have three kids - Angus, who's 10 and loves Ancient Egypt and drawing comic books; Gareth, who turned 9 on Halloween and is interested military history (Granpa got him into that - they like to watch the History Channel together) and an aspiring pilot; and Avalon, who turned 7 in August, is a very girly girl (unlike her mother), but nevertheless likes bugs, reptiles and gets dirty regularly. John decided to be a stay-at-home dad for them and does a lot of woodworking on the side as well. I can't believe so much time has gone by, that they've gotten so big, and I've gotten so gray - not that I mind, I sort of have racing stripes. I'm now closer to 50 than 40, but I still like alternative rock and science fiction, although I've gotten into anime a lot lately, and I'm as weird as I always was.

And what have you been doing for the last 20 years?
senoritafish: (Sesshomaru and Inuyasha)

My uncle and dad ...

Veteran's Day

This was taken in 1943 - my father, on the right, quit high school to join the Navy after Pearl Harbor.  He was seventeen.  My uncle John, two years older, was already in the ROTC at UC Berkeley.  They met up in the Bay Area when my father had shore leave and had this and several other pictures taken for my grandmother.  I think my father felt he had to join up in order to keep up with his older brother; he always had a much harder time in school and always felt as if he had to compete with him. 

Shortly after, my father shipped out to the South Pacific, including Midway and Okinawa.  His ship, the USS Stormes, was hit by a kamikaze at one point.  My grandmother always told the story of how one night, she woke up screaming, and realized later it was the same moment my father's ship had been hit.

 My uncle served in the reserves until he retired from a long career as a high school math teacher, along with my aunt, also a math teacher.  He passed away in 1999, of heart problems no one in his family knew he had - he also had Parkinson's and apparently chose not to go that route.  My grandmother was heartbroken; although he was elderly, she outlived him by several years.

My father has been retired from the aerospace industry for nearly 20 years and is enjoying teaching his nine-year-old grandson about those historic times when he served his country.  Gareth now wants to be a pilot (and an astronaut, and a scientist, and a marine biologist, and a veterinarian...)

senoritafish: (dreams on a 'chovie can)
Yesterday was our 13th anniversary. Given the year we've been having, that's probably appropriate. Anyhow, it was pretty low key, given that we are broke until payday. The last thing I bought was my bus pass and while I was at the grocery store getting it, my gaze fell upon these silly little figures with a tillandsia glued on the side in the plant section. The figure I spied was a pair of blue rainforest frogs, and they struck me as looking like a fat, middle-aged couple, leaning on each other and holding each other up. Perfect. A whole $4. I've never given John a plant before; although he's been know to give his mother a cactus for gifting occasions ("Because you're prickly, and you're a thorn in my side!"). I didn't give it to him until this morning, because he confessed to not having gotten me anything either, and didn't want me to. However, the little plant was getting squished in my purse, so I gave it to him anyway, and it made him laugh.

I wasn't really expecting anything, but actually, I was kind of wondering if he'd gotten me a camera or something. My great aunt's estate sent me $800 last month, apparently the last bit left after all the taxes and all had been paid, and I told John we needed to put it aside and not spend it, so we could put it toward the trip he wants to take later this summer. It seems to be gone already, and I have no clue where it went. I know I havn't really made any big purchases, and neither has he, that I know of. And I'm quite sure we didn't spring for pizza that often. I mentioned this to VT on our walk at lunch and she offered to send me a spreadsheet she uses for a family budget - not that they always stick to it but it helps. Something we should have started a long time ago, I know - I'll try to put it to use.

Anyway, when I got home, the house was empty, except for Dad, who said "Happy Anniversary!" and explained that he'd sprung for Chinese take-out. When John got back with our regular orders, he laughed and told me the woman at the counter is always happy to see us and remarks on how the kids have grown, but her husband in the kitchen gets cranky, because he knows he's gonna have to cook something; most of their customers just seem to order off the steam table - but I like to order something off the menu, usually mu shu. So she yells into the kitchen and he yells back. We don't know Chinese, but it sure sounds like he's swearing.

So, thirteen years. Where has the time gone?
senoritafish: (Heart fish)
L's pics 020

Off to trick or treat!

A pirate, an astronaut, and a chicken? )
senoritafish: (Not Again...)
Good grief. If it's not one damn thing it's another. The school year starts and of course, the kids start bringing home all the virulent viruses, so one of us gets sick after another. I had to take time off last week because John was sick, then on Monday he stepped in a hole while walking the kids home from school, and sprained his ankle. At least, we hope it's just sprained. I stayed home Tuesday to make sure he went to the doctor - and he really couldn't drive anyway because it's his right foot - and get an x-ray, as well as drop off and pick up the kids from school, and run to the store to pick up whatever he happens to be craving at the moment. Although we could only get an appointment with the physician's assistant because the doctor was completely booked up, the doctor did look in during John's appointment and prescribe the x-ray because he thought the amount of bruising might indicate a torn tendon or a fracture. However, he didn't prescribe any kind of brace, just an ACE bandage. The last time I badly sprained my ankle, I got yelled at for waiting so long to come in, had a brace and was on crutches for a week.

We're supposed to hear back about the x-ray today. In addition to being very dark purple under his ankle bone, I think the swelling on the top of his foot has gotten worse, and he's getting more bruising showing up around his toes and the top of his ankle. He was moaning last night about "No! I won't go under the knife!" and I told him if it's necessary, he'll do it if I have to take a 2x4 to the side his head. Although he amended that with "Now that's love, when someone makes you do something that needs to be done." Sometimes I think he says stuff like that just to get a rise out me.

Anyway, this week I've been having to come in late because of getting the kids to school, then leave to pick them up when they're done. So probably less than half day some days. I feel really lucky I work in a place that allows me to do this - plus my boss has kids, so he understands dealing with them. However, I can't help remembering a previous boss, after some very bad asthma attacks, telling me "If this is a regular occurrence, you're going to have to find some kind of alternative child care." She also called me to come in at noon when I was really sick once. I keep thinking that's going to happen here, too, and it makes John think I'm neglecting him when I say I need to go back to work after I pick the kids up from school. I know he can't walk, but Dad is there, too. I know he's more of a frustration than a help sometimes, but at least another adult is there.

On another note, re: John's health, the last time he was having digestive problems, I did some searching regarding his symptoms, i.e. bloating, gas, sulfurous belching, malaise, recurring general crappiness, and the only thing that came up - especially for the burping - was giardia! While I know giardia is pretty widespread and inhabits just about every stream, I'm not sure where he could have come across it. We haven't been camping and we live in a city with treated water. So, ??? Still think he sould be tested for it. And of course I forgot to take that little sheet along when he went in, so now he won't ask about it until next time he goes in.

Update (finally!): As of today, the final word on the x-ray is extensive soft tissue damage. It is still very swollen and puffy and he has discoloration on the other side of his ankle and his lower calf as well. I'm going to look into getting one of those inflatable Velcro splints when I get off work, so at least his ankle has more support when he trieswalks.

Eeee!

Jun. 26th, 2007 08:17 pm
senoritafish: (Do the Aquaman Butt-Dance!)
Actually from back in June, but I hadn't posted about it yet. We'd been looking for awhile, and something finally clicked!

new baby! )
senoritafish: (multitasking (doing the dishes))
Blah - I have a couple of longish posts that I can't seem to get finished. And my brain keeps reasoning to me that I can't post about anything else until I get those done. But heck, it says right there on my profile: Warning: Events may not occur in chronological order...

So, then:


  • I have acquired another gadget; I find myself the reluctant owner of a 30GB Video iPod. I say reluctant because I really had convinced myself I was quite happy with hauling around my little flash drive with a few tunes on it and plugging it into any computer I happened to be using, and holding out for some kind of all-in-one device (phone/web/music player). About a month ago, DP came up to me and asked if I wanted to buy her 2GB iPod Nano for $100 - about half the price you can buy them for. She had gotten one for Christmas for herself, and then decided it didn't hold quite enough went out and got the 4GB one. She tried giving the first one to her mother, but after trying to use it for a week or two, her mom gave it back, saying her computer was old and cranky, and wasn't up to the task of copying all the music. That's when she offered it to me. I loved the small size and big sound, but soon realized I would have the same problem she did. So I offered mine to my Dad, since he's been thinking about an mp3 player for quite a while. I put some of his Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, and Your Hit Parade, circa 1937 on it for him and soon he was having a grand old time hooking it up to his PAL one-speaker radio (which actually sounds pretty nice - we used it for background music at the flower show).

    Shortly after I did that, John walks in the door and hands me a bag; he's been to Fry's by himself and thought he would pick up the larger capacity Nano for me. But then he saw the 30 GB video full-size iPod, which was only $50 more - plus they had a package deal with a case and one of those radio tuner jobs that lets you listen to it through your car stereo for no extra charge. He thought I'd be all excited. Well, I wasn't. I did really like the size of the Nano and I was used to it. And I had wanted to go shopping and make the choice for myself - I was already aware the big iPod wasn't that much more. But no, I'm the bad guy because I wasn't ecstatic about something he'd done for me. He brought up the story I'd told him about giving my dad a M.A.S.H. t-shirt for Christmas; he opened it up and declared "I hate olive-drab!" However, I think there's a difference between an outright gift (which I probably would have swallowed my pride over - and have done so, many times) and someone going out and grabbing something they know you were planning on getting yourself. I kind of wanted to make my own decision. So he was upset with me for that

    But now that I've had it for while, it's grown on me. I could put pictures on both and they look good, but the screen on this one is three times bigger. I haven't put any videos on it yet, we'll see how that works. I would have really like if it had a voice recorder, but I don't think it does. I miss the tiny size, though. Couldn't I have both? ;)

    And why, why, why, does Apple only supply those stupid earbud headphones? Those things do not stay in my ears on their own for more than a couple of minutes, unless I'm completely motionless. Not to mention, I hate sound going directly into my ear canals; after about half an hour, my eardrum actually begins to hurt. My larger pair of behind-the-head headphones just died for no apparent reason, so I think I'm in the market for a pair of reasonably-priced noise canceling headphones.


  • My MIL took a misstep at the gas station, and fell down and broke her leg - her fibula, just above her ankle. John felt bad because she called his cell phone a couple of times, but he was working putting up molding for someone and just canceled the ring without looking to see who it was. I'm just wondering how she's getting in and out of her home - she lives in a mobile home with several steps up to each of the entrances. SO here at the office broke her ankle, too, in a similar fashion, but she has one of those inflatable walking splints, so she's still able to get around.


  • Gareth got a student of the month award in his classroom for Cooperation. He got a certificate with a coupon for a free kids meal at Mimi's Cafe.


  • I had been planning to get them new outfits and haircuts for the occasion, but somehow we missed the announcement about the second picture day of the year, and the boys went to school in old clothes and needing haircuts. In the photos, their moptops are sticking out in all directions and Gareth looks sick; he came down with pinkeye the next day and he looks it in the photo. I'm tempted to send them back, and just go to Target and have new pictures taken. Blech.


  • John just called and says we need to start looking at cars. He just went out and found a big puddle of transmission fluid under the Trooper - it's already on it's third transmission - although I don't really count the second, it only lasted a couple of days. It's probably going to have to be a minivan, although I cringe at the thought. We do have a family of five and Dad is probably not going to be driving on his own forever - he's turning 80 this June. We already have to take two cars if we all want to go to the same place; i.e. holidays with other family or the Aquarium. *Sigh* I was hoping to go for awhile without car payments; we only paid the Trooper off in February. So much for what my Aunt left us, I suspect.


  • The sore throat is finally (mostly) gone - I was still wincing to swallow as recently as last week, so it hung around for a good three and half weeks.


  • And finally, for this post anyway, wonder of wonders, Angus ate a whole serving of peas last night! I don't even like peas; I always have to swallow them whole.

senoritafish: (perfect TV mom)
Whee. Just the way I like to spend MLK day.

Everyone in my family (except me) got some kind of tummy virus this weekend. Icky bodily fluids documented, the squeamish may skip... )

So I'm tired. And how was your weekend?
senoritafish: (That's Ms. señoritafish to you!)
My silly brother called from freaking Bristol, England, on Boxing Day morning because he was trying to tell his hosts that trout was the same thing as salmon. Heh, had to disabuse him of the notion, although they are related. He was thinking of a steelhead, I think, which is a sea-run rainbow trout.

Then he put me on the phone with Katy and her mother (Enid), who I've met exactly once, and I had to think up small talk to them. Interesting hearing English accents over the phone though.
senoritafish: (merry chris-moose!)
So my brother is spending Christmas with his friend Katy in Bristol, UK. He sends an update...

Hello!
I did arrive in London safely and did not crash into the sea.

I took a bus trip on the National Express to Bristol. OMIGOD...64 bucks! Well,....I guess a taxi would have been more. On the way I saw sheep and horses. All the horses had a nice blanket on and it was only about 50 degrees. In the US I never see horses with blankets on. It was really great to see that there were virtually NO suvs on the road.

Katy picked me up from the bus stop all smiles. We went on a ferry ride down the harbour. Her brother evidently owns the whole ferry boat company. They also own a small boat that they plan on taking to Newfoundland from England. Its a replica of ships from the 1500's. Looks like one of the ships that Christopher Columbus used..u know....Nina, Pinta and the Santa Maria.

Bristol is really huge....old and beautiful. Katy and her Mum have so many people coming in and out of here that I don't know that I will be able to make it to London or Paris. I may have to go on my own if I want to go. I'm still jet lagged so I keep waking up when sleeping but my body still feels tired. Gross feeling

Last night we went to a party in a Georgian mansion and it was bizarre to be at a party where everyone is British and you are the only American. There were four other adults and 5 children ranging from 9 to 17. Four boys and 1 girl. All were highly educated. The kids could all play piano and the one mother could improvise anything. There were two pianos one of which was a concert grand steinway. The kids names were...get this....Casper, Ralph (Rafe), Barney, Mallory (a boy) and Clem. All Of them were fucking gorgeous and thin and had very milky white skin with natural blush in their cheeks. Disgustingly beautiful! Ah to be seventeen again. We had lamb lasagna, peas and carrots. Champagne was flowing and the kids poured it. "Can I charge your glass?" they asked. The one mother Bella, kept asking me to sing the standards and showtunes that just kept pouring out of my head and onto the piano. And the kids sang and played...amazing. I never see that in the states. After dinner we played Charades and Celebrity. They\'ve invited us back later in the week so I guess they enjoyed our company.

After Christmas I will do a lot of walking around town and take in the sites.....lots of Georgian and Victorian homes here. As well as parks, squares, cathedrals and markets. More updates soon! Merry Christmas to you all....send me emails and let me know what you are doing tonight and tomorrow.

xoxox
Doug


John says yeah, but how many of those kids know how to hotwire a car when you've lost your keys and it's snowing outside?

Lets see, we're going to do tree, gift wrapping, making of traditional Xmas eve chowder, and filling stockings after kids go to bed. Tomorrow after mass unwrapping of pressies, we may test drive my gift to the family, a beautiful dragon kite (providing it's not foggy like this morning and there's enough wind), and if I don't feel worse than I do today, we may go visit John's mom and grandmother. Gigima has surgery on her other knee coming up so I don't want to make her sick. John is having an argument with his mom right now, so I don't know how that's going to go...

But I think we're starting a new xmas tradition... )

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