Well, I'm on vacation for a month. Yep, a month. No pay, because that's the way my union contract works. But still, four blissful weeks away from the job.
This is the last week, I go back the day after Labor Day. So, I know that my hundreds of readers (HA!!) are asking, "So what have you done with all that time?"
As always, click on the pictures to see them full size.
Well, the first week my wife and I went up to Sonoma County north of San Francisco and stayed at a beautiful little inn right on the cliffs called The Timber Cove Inn. We dropped our son George off in Berkeley to stay with a friend and look at schools. We spent 4 incredibly relaxing days driving around Sonoma County visiting little wineries and asking questions about growing grapes and, of course, tasting the wines. Brought home 3 cases of different wines. I rarely sleep well when away from home and my own bed, but I had no problems in the quiet surroundings. At night we would drink a bottle of wine and look at and listen to the ocean and feed the raccoons that came to visit.
The little vineyard we planted in the back yard is really taking off. This year we will cut the new growth way back and next year put up a trellis system and start to train the plants. We are still about 3 years away from having enough grapes to start making wine. So we had lots of questions for the folks at the vineyards we saw. Once they understand it's just a back yard hobby, they are quite friendly and helpful.
The day after we got home, Emilie came home on leave. She is done with her advanced training and on her way to her first assigned base. Looks as if she will be there 2 to 3 years, but who knows. So I spent the last part of that week cooking some of her favorite foods, and catching up with the girl. It is wonderful to see her again, and see the change that a year away has made.
The next Monday, I went traveling to see some old friends in Washington, D. C. and Fort Worth, Texas. My buddy in D. C. took me bass fishing on the Potomac, we did some hiking on the C & O Canal, and I reminisced about how it was almost exactly 30 years ago that I left from there on my bicycle to ride across the US. In Fort Worth, my other old friend took me eating and drinking around the city. Had some fantastic barbecue, and the best tequila I have ever tasted (Don Julio 1942). Both these couples were extremely hospitable, and made my stays totally enjoyable.
But getting home is always wonderful, and I was reminded once again that we have the best weather in the world here in southern CA. Cool evenings, hot but very dry days, and , best of all, NO MOSQUITOES. How do all you folks stand those dang things? I was getting eaten alive. Those bugs must have a thing for California blood. Must be a delicacy or something. My legs looked like I had leprosy for days.
The following Thursday was our 21st wedding anniversary. Great day! I told my wife that we can now drink together legally. She laughed. Spent the rest of that week cooking more stuff for the daughter to take with her.
But the reason for this post is that I spent last Friday helping a friend set up his blog. Burrel is in his mid 70's and is a retired newspaper man. He still writes for the local senior paper, a humor column. He's an interesting guy, originally from Oklahoma, a veteran of Korea, and very involved in the community. His blog is called Burrel's World , and will be mostly his homespun Okie humor. I've been encouraging him to use the blog to record some of the more serious experiences he has had. He has some great stories he tells the group that meets at the local coffee shop. If you get a chance, check it out. Good luck Burrel!