Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pre-Christmas Gathering

'Twas the night before, the night before, Christmas. Our family is so large now and spread out, I asked the girls if we could meet with the little ones before Christmas, so we got together tonight.
Lacey and Dean met us at Amanda and Keith's home. We visited and even talked to Shannon on Skype for an hour. Kristen had to work, so we missed her a bunch.

Lacey, Amanda, Dean and Ryder.

This stocking played music. After this we met up with Brandon and his work Christmas party at a restaurant in Seal Beach. Roy Jr. joined us. We had a terrific meal and lots of fun. There were about 15 or more people.

This is a funny 3 minute video of Dean and Ryder dancing. Kids make me laugh, they are too cute.

Merry Christmas to all, I hope you enjoy your families.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


This year marked our Fifth Community Christmas Crawl, and it was better than ever. The crawl consists of good friends, lots of booze, and tasty food; in that order. Brandie and Joni hosted the first stop with a full selection of holiday cheer and appetizers.

Patrick and Justin, wearing matching sport coats, Neil, Cathy and her nutcracker crunk cup.

Lori in the center with her mom on the right and Beverly on the left. It looks like mom just did a jello shooter!!

Here's the Britt Family, Neil, Stephanie, Rondi and grizzly Sean. Notice the little faces in the background (Cathy and Patrick).

Neil and Pete wearing their matching Santa beards.

Tim and myself, he's looking much fancier than I, with his gold holiday necklace.

Ron, Matt and Kelley, telling tall tales.

Carl with Brian, Betty and Teresa.

Brandie and Lori - having fun.

The bar was a very popular place.

There's Joni on the couch, wearing her flashing necklace.

Carol, Nancy and Yvonne all in their Christmas sweaters.

Nooooo - Carl with a bottle of Jack Daniels????

Pete and Carl.

Hi guys!

Cathy, Justin and Tim wearing clothes right from the '80's.

Teresa was styling in her "jeggings" and boots.

Me and Teresa.

Next stop (and last stop) - the Britt house. As we entered the door, Neil took our pictures in front of the custom wall. Brian, Nancy, Yvonne, Carol and Pete. At this house we had dinner and dessert and more holiday cheer. Everyone brought sweets, chile and salad, and our hosts made roast beef and potatoes and more. The house was decorated festively.

Brian and Betty.


Here's Neil, the photographer. Tonight he gave us our pictures from last year. Such a great idea.

The bowling team getting organized for their photo.

Brian and Pete.

Awww, aren't we cute?? A minute just after that shot I was firing off some f-bombs, but no big deal. I may have scared a couple of the men. It was the Moonshine, provided by Pete.

I had a huge time, did not follow my planned alcohol restriction, had a jello shooter to start off and ended the night with lemon Moonshine. It took 'til noon on Sunday for the drunk to wear off. But, I sure had fun. Thank you to our hosts and to all of my good friends, it's an honor to party with you.
Merry Christmas,

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Second Week in New Zealand

Shannon is just starting the job search process. She looks so cute in her interview outfit.

On Thursday we spent the day in Auckland (downtown), had lunch at the Sky Tower. There was a humongous Christmas Tree in the center of the lobby. The Sky Tower is similar to the Space Needle, with a gambling casino. A big tourist spot.

Outside, looking up at the tower, there was a car mounted to the side of it. This gives you an idea of how huge the tower is.

I felt like taking a stroll around the city, but Shannon wasn't up for it, so we walked one block.

Next we headed to the Botanic Gardens, south of the city. I had been there twice before on my other trips here, but now the flowers are all in full bloom.

The gardens are located on many acres of land (?not sure how many) with lakes and paths.


We sat in the building for a while perfecting our camera adjustments. After the gardens we went to Craig and Mel's to stay with Ruby while they attended a Christmas party.

Shannon entered her art in a show where all pieces measured 10 x 10. Her's is the little robot to the right of her. On Friday we planned for and shopped for the party on Saturday. We stopped by the exhibit on our way to shop.

It's a great idea for an exhibit.


On Friday night we met Alina and Tom for Indian food. Grant makes it a point to screw up pictures, so I'm posting this one anyway, because Shannon and I look alright.

Tom and Alina. It was so good to meet Tom and to see Alina again.

Saturday the party started at 3 pm, we prepared all day for it. Made potato salad, salsa, margarita mix, guacamole.

Dinner was great, hamburgers and salads. Peter, Rebecca and Sybilla and Mel, Craig and Ruby all came and brought goodies for the meal. We had such a great time. Carl joined us for a time on Skype. The guys got to chat with him.

R U B Y !

Today is Sunday and we are getting ready to take the ferry to Rangitoto Island to do some hiking. I hope I make it. Photos to follow.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The First Week in NZ

I've been here a week and two days now. The first or second day, we hit the thrift store and got two old wooden tables. Shannon is sanding them down and going to paint them dark blue. She has projects going all the time, gardening, sewing, decorating.

I can't remember what day we did what, but here we are at Mission Beach, where we had Mexican food for lunch.

On Friday afternoon, we drove up North to Grant's family bach (vacation house). It's on a peninsula in Doubtless Bay, a four hour drive from Auckland. This is the sandy beach in front of the bach. The tide was out and left interesting wave patterns in the sand. Cars drive on the beach like at Pismo.

They were having a "suck your stomach in" contest. Also shell gathering.

This is the view from the front porch. We saw dolphins jumping out of the water on Sunday morning.

This is the bach, it has one bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, garage with a boat inside. The couch folds out to a bed. I got the bedroom.

Sunday morning before we drove home.

We stopped at a Maori memorial hill with a 360 degree view. I forgot the name of it.

We stopped on the way back to Auckland at Russell. Took the car ferry from Pahia to Russell.

I'm standing in front of the Bay of Islands Swordfish Club, where Carl and I had a great time last year. We love Russell.

We had lunch at a cafe with our table on the edge of the beach. This is the view from our table, the Russell pier.

This was the best. A little girl and her older brother were playing on the sand. She wanted to roll a huge rock to the water from the top of the boardwalk. She tried once, then got out her long stick and instructed her brother to move the rock. This little guy tried to lift it and shove it, and finally figured out that he could flop it end over end to move down the sand. All the while, the sister had her stick pointing and swinging just like a conductor. He did finally get the rock to the water. We all laughed and now it's a joke between Shannon and Grant, she had the wand and he moves the rock. You should click 2 times on the picture to see up close.

We decided to take the long and winding road home, instead of the straight 2 lane highway. We traveled the coastal road, hardly passing other cars. We stopped at a beach for Grant to do some surfing. The beach was shared with a cow pasture.

Grant got in a couple of rides, the waves weren't big enough.

Pulled over to look out at the coast. It's completely empty with beautiful beaches. We got home around 8:30 after a full day of driving and stopping to see the sights.

Today is Monday. Grant went to work. Shannon and I went to One Tree Hill and had lunch at the cafe there. We walked around, I wanted to see some sheep, but couldn't find any.

We did a short hike.

Tonight we made taco's for dinner. Delicious! I made salsa, chopped all by hand. Shannon made guacamole. We had Bananarama's (we made that up) OJ, Bananas, Tequila, Ice - like a smoothie.
It's 11:30 PM here and I'm off to bed. I'll post again in a couple of days.
I'm enjoying my time with the young-un's.