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Saturday, June 17, 2006

Mini-Hen Party in Santa Rosa

Had a v. busy week; took the 3-day rule-making class in downtown Sacramento. As the building the class was held in was only three blocks from Macy's and given that Macy's was having a HUMONGOUS sale, I found the class quite expensive. Ouch.

When the class ended Thursday afternoon I headed dead west for the little town of Santa Rosa where I met up with two buddies of mine, Barbara, who was at my house last weekend, and Diane Knutson, a mutual friend of ours who is down from Yakima Washington.

Diane is my lost & found friend from my senior high days in San Diego. After high school graduation I used my graduation present money to visit with her family who moved to Ukiah not long after we graduated. That was my first ever trip to northern California and it was the beginning of my love affair with Northern California. Diane's mother Eunice was wonderful to me and she drove around giving me my first views of the magnificent redwood forests on the Avenue of the Giants and the quaint towns along the coast where I want to live when I retire. It was on that vacation I saw my first California Quail. Ah! What a great trip that was. Here are some pictures from that trip so long ago; Di on the right, me on the left. Weren't we young? Weren't we innocent? Weren't we smug and chock full of teenage angst?

"Alms for the Poor" - on the Mendicino Coast

The cause for Diane coming down from Yakima to Santa Rosa was sad, her brother is ill and she and her sisters had to scramble to set things to rights for not only her brother James, but for her mother whose caretaker was James! How is that for a double whammie? Things seem to be settling down a bit now and there were a few good things that came out of it all, the best of which was finding a place for Eunice that knows what benefits she has coming to her because she is a veteran. No great harm without some small good - oh, and that Barb & I got in a visit with Diane was another bonus.
We had a good time Thursday night. We took a short walk to a Swiss/French restaurant for our evening meal and I don't recall what Barb had, but Diane had salmon and I had to be smart; deciding to try something entirely new & - wait for it - sweetbreads. Um... it was ok. Not bad at all, but the sweetbreads had no flavor of their own so it was lucky they were drowning in a French cream sauce with loads of tasty mushrooms. We washed all that down with a bottle of Gewürztraminer and chased it all with desserts; a flan for Barb, crème brulette for Di and a marvelously decadent chocolate bomb for moi!
Need I say that the entirety of the evening was a story swapping chat fest? I was finally persuaded to stfu around 2 am. Ahem.

Friday morning we had a last walk, over to a nice omelet shop and then it was time to leave. We dropped Diane off at the transit hub & she was off for a ferry ride and to meet with her cousin Eric. Barbara and I caravanned to Napa where I was able to enjoy a short visit with Barb's parents, Hans and Irmgard and then my mini-break was over and it was time to head back to Fair Oaks.

Barb, Diane and I had a wonderful mini-break and it will not be our last! Come August Barb and I will be driving north to Crescent City to visit friends. Diane will fly down to Eureka where her sister Aveeda lives. There, on our way north, Barb & I will pick Diane up, whisking her away with us to Crescent City where we will have a room on the beach for a few days. Something for us all to look forward to - hurrah!

"Whimsy" Diane and her sister Heidi on the Mendicino Coast