Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanks for Thanksgiving

Hoping everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving. We certainly did. We spent the day in Paradise, even Geraldine. No, really, we did. Paradise, California. My daughter, MsM decided that we should all gather at her parents'* place for the holiday. Six people came in from Utah and we came up from the Bay Area so it ended up as 14 for dinner. MsM took care of much of the food by enlisting Marie Callender's to do all the prep work. We picked up a big box of frozen goodies at the restaurant in Chico, then made a sharp right turn and headed up the hill to Paradise. There we were welcomed by our gracious host and hostess and made to feel right at home.

Geraldine was so excited to arrive that she rushed right in the house without making a pee stop first. As soon as the greetings slowed down that omission needed an immediate remedy - right on the living room rug. Such a nice first impression. Fortunately, she was soon able to charm her way out of exile in the back yard and rejoin the festivities. No more accidents.

All the activity; patrolling for dropped morsels, monitoring everybody's movements, playing king of the mountain in a recliner with CJ, getting chased out of the kitchen, getting underfoot (you know, standard dog duties) left her exhausted as you can see. It's a dogs life.

Dinner was delightful. There were so many of us that we needed two tables. Excellent food, lively conversation, delightful company. After we were able to stagger away from the table, we convened to watch Kung Fu Panda. During the movie almost everyone slipped off to bed. By 10pm not a creature was stirring, not even the dog.

The next morning started with a huge bowl of sausages, a prelude to the day-after eating. A quick run to a local beanery for coffee to get the heart started and I was ready to take on the day. After breakfast part 1 (I didn't realize there would be a part 2, silly me) a walk was suggested. Upon discovering that CJ makes his spending money walking dogs I handed over control of Geraldine to him and away they went. It was a glorious morning - cool, crisp, clear. Quiet streets, beautiful trees, stunning views - we had lovely stroll around the neighborhood.

After breakfast part 2, DBFA and I accepted an invitation to tour the neighbors' home and shop. In addition to a charming and roomy home, the large wooded lot also concealed a pool, a garage/kennel/workshop, and around a corner hidden from view is an amazing workshop. I walked in and my first words to DBFA were "Ooohh, I want one of these." All of the woodworking tools a reasonable person could wish for, and maybe a few more. And all of the room needed to use them. If DBFA and I lived there, we'd probably never go in the house.

Lunch was next on the schedule. After all, I hadn't eaten in almost an hour! Leftovers are the best part of the traditional Thanksgiving meal. Cold white meat turkey, stuffing, cranberries and mayo sandwiches - yum! Because all of the ingredients were out on the kitchen counter,I was able to introduce our host and hostess to one of my favorite snacks - peanut butter and barbecue potato chips on sour dough bread. In my opinion its best with all natural peanut butter but if all you have is Jif or the like, go with it. The chips must be barbecue flavor. Smear the bread with a generous coating of peanut butter. Cover with a solid layer of chips. Smash chips with your hand just enough to crush them. Eat open faced. Repeat as necessary. This is the main reason why I don't keep potato chips in the house. An alternative: substitute crisp fried bacon for the chips.

After lunch we decided another walk would be a good idea. This time around we detoured into Bille Park. Next time back in Paradise I want to spend more time exploring there. It was almost time to start home so that was going to have to wait.

We were packed up and on our way by a little after 3pm and home before 6pm. A whole vacation crammed into 36 hours. It was great.

* It's a complicated extended family, so just take my word for it.

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