Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Going to Grandma's House

Oh, wait! I'm Grandma. I went to the kids' house, but now I'm home. In one photo blog, I'll just do a quick tour through the holiday events of the past week.

Noël Party - Chantal's two French classes gather for Fondue Savoyarde and
other treats at her house, followed by a lively French competition.

Jean-Luc sez: If I sit on this stuff, maybe Mom can't pack it.

Mom has packed and lies down for a little rest. 
If we sleep on her maybe she can't leave.

I finally found where the miles and miles of "rock crops" grow. I remember them from the early years up here, but had only run across small fields of them in recent years. There are many even more needle-like than the ones I stopped for here.

Out across the flatness of California's Central Valley, heading into the winter sun in the southwest
I arrive at my son's house in Arroyo Grande at sunset,

his house sparkling with Christmas lights.

Sister Elaine and daughter Melissa

Grandson Chris with his lady Michele and other Grandma, Norma
Food, steaming from the oven . . . 

Granddaughter Ashley, the Chef, and son Ben, the sous-chef

Melissa lights a candle and leads a prayer for Jennifer, Ben's wife, who died just before Christmas last year.

Perfect asparagus and hollandaise sauce for Christmas Eve

Roast beef and roast lamb

Chocolate mousse


She has the cutest little goatee.

Dinner in Fresno . . .

Melissa and husband Clay each ordered their own bowl of Seven Seas last week.
This week they knew to share.

My chile verde burrito. This will provide three meals (two down, one to go).

 My daughter has just moved to Fresno for a new job, She's renting -- and hoping to buy -- a lovely old house. She has barely begun to unpack, but already these rooms show her touch in the morning light.

The breakfast room

The dining room. The drapes "walked away" but she fashions some coverings.

The living room
Out the living room window

I decide to go home from Fresno by driving into Yosemite from the south (Hwy 41) and out to the west (Hwy 120). It's probably shorter than via freeway but not faster. It's most definitely more beautiful.

I stop at the Tunnel View parking lot to take a picture of this "first view" of Half Dome.

Only a fraction of the crowds of busier times of year


Although the thermometer in my car shows outside air temperatures running from 47° to 50°, all the water you see has turned to ice. Little or no sun hits it this time of year and it doesn't feel very warm!

Ice-skating, anyone?

And that was my Christmas, gratefully spent with my family. Not everyone could be there, as grandkids are setting out on independent lives of their own, with new obligations. My step-kids spent quiet Christmases in San Diego and in Washington State where they live. But we nevertheless felt everyone's presence.

See you soon!



  1. OK-next year I want to be invited to Christmas dinner, the food looks fabulous! I love the scenic pictures. My aunt and uncle live in Arroyo Grande. I bet your family lives by them. Even the pictures of the house looks similar!
    Merry Christmas to you and your family:)

  2. Branch Mill Road doesn't sound familiar. It looks like it is on the other side of the 101 from my aunt and uncle's house. They live on Pony Place. That area of California is so nice and scenic. Makes for a nice vacation spot!

  3. I love the winter sun picture and of course the family and food! But the Yosemite photo is especially nice. Sounds like a great outing!

  4. Gave you the 'Candle Lighter' award. Enjoy!

  5. Looks like you had a very adventurous trip! I am so sorry about Jennifer. There certainly are some breathtaking scenes there. Almost makes me want to start a photo blog. Just what I need!