!Note: if you have trouble reading the light letters on dark background, change the theme yourself by selecting from the many themes in the menu bar above. I like light on dark. It makes me feel more dangerous.
!Hint: clicking on any photo thumbnail will load a larger image of any photo. Have fun.
Tonight we will be avoiding all of the potential terrorist sites in Palm Desert. We will not be watching Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper on CNN. We will not even be watching all of the angst and concern over the terrorists on CNN. Quite honestly the terrorists are a waste of time. We hire governments to deal with terrorists. ![Kathy and Anderson](http://www.appletons.ca/voximages/2015/CNN New Year_s Eve Live.png "Kathy and Anderson")
We are going to use our precious time to see Star Wars (the movie). Tomorrow, ahh, it is a new year we will be visiting with some friends from Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Seattle, Colorado, California, Alaska - - all of us assembled here in Palm Desert solely to share some of Jim Johnson's New Years ham. Marinated lovingly for 3 or 4 days then slow roasted for 10 hours, served with rye bread and a good dollop of Dijon mustard. A terrific way to bring in the New Year.
!Hint: Carol and I wish everybody a healthy dollop of Dijon mustard in the new year.
We are waiting impatiently for 7:30 AM PST to roll around. It would not have mattered what time was chosen for the online christmas morning meet-up on the web (aka FaceTime), we would have been impatient for that time to arrive. ![Jackson](http://www.appletons.ca/voximages/2015/2015 11 30 Jackson Allan Garland 02.jpg "Jackson") ![Eryn](http://www.appletons.ca/voximages/2015/2015 11 18 Eryn Llewellyn Neath.jpg "Eryn") ![Billie](http://www.appletons.ca/voximages/2015/2015 Billie Grace Garland Halloween 03.jpg "Billie")
To fill the few minutes before the call - we started christmas eve in the morning with a couple of hours of tennis. I expected to see more of the players dressed in red and wearing antlers, but it was just pretty typical drop-in tennis. When play was finished people seemed to sit, drink coffee and eat cookies for a little longer, and there were cheers of "Merry Christmas" as people drifted away, but otherwise a typical southern California morning here at Silver Sands.
The afternoon was spent picking up a few last minute supplies for christmas dinner and then off for christmas eve dinner at Fresh Agave one of the several good Mexican restaurants in the valley - ok, one of several Mexican restaurants that know how to make a good margarita and also serve good Mexican food. Dinner was with good friends from the San Francisco area, Amy and Robin. Amy is also my partner in crime with our little website venture.
I may have put my foot into christmas day. We have been invited to dinner with some other friends Ken and Carol (of Seattle). I have made a big fuss about turkey cooking bags - how easy they are to use and how wonderful the turkey cooks that the traditional cooking method is being nervously abandoned for the new method. If the turkey is not ready on time, if one morsel is not cooked perfectly I will be roasted on Boxing Day. i await my fate.
Listening to a lot of Dallas Green, You+Me, and City and Colour - all Dallas Green. I have managed to signup for Pandora One. Hope I can haul it back to Canada in the spring.
A few months ago I caught a glimpse of a documentary on TVO titled Don't Panic, The Truth About Population. I needed to see the rest of this documentary, so I found it on YouTube. It is about an hour long, but the presenter was so energetic and his messages so exciting that I did not want it to end. In fact I have watched it more than once. Hans Rosling, the presenter is a Swedish medical doctor, academic, statistician and public speaker. I have concluded after watching a few presentations by Dr. Rosling that I do not know very much about the world. I have always felt that we were making progress on the important gender, health and economic issues, but then there is the despair built by CNN groaning on and on about the problem areas of the world, seldom showing the progress, just focusing on politics and shootings. Watching a bit of Hans Rosling can be a tonic for all of the negativity of normal broadcasting. I recommend watching Don't Panic, The Truth About Population. When you are finished, if you enjoyed it, try Googling for more video presentations. I was not disappointed.
I am thinking about sending out christmas cards. Here is a candidate:
Ten years ago, with her high school diploma and a backpack, Maggie Doyne left her New Jersey hometown to travel the world before college.
She lived in a Buddhist monastery, helped rebuild a sea wall in Fiji, then went to India and worked with Nepalese refugees. There, she met a young girl who wanted to find her family in Nepal. Doyne went with her.
That's when Doyne's life took an unexpected turn.
A decade-long civil war had just ended in the country, and Doyne witnessed its effects firsthand. She met women and children who were suffering, struggling to survive.
"It changed me," said Doyne, now 28. "There were children with mallets that would go into the riverbed, pick up a big stone and break it into little, little pieces (to sell). And they were doing that all day, every day."
Doyne called her parents and asked them to wire her the $5,000 she had earned babysitting.
In 2006, she purchased land in Surkhet, a district in western Nepal. She worked for two years with the local community to build the Kopila Valley Children's Home.
Today, Kopila -- which means "flower bud" in Nepali -- is home to about 50 children, from infants to teenagers.
Doyne started the BlinkNow Foundation to support and grow her efforts. In 2010, the group opened its Kopila Valley School, which today educates more than 350 students.
Doyne lives in Nepal year-round, traveling to the U.S. a few times a year.
The CNN Heroes team traveled to Surkhet and talked to Doyne about her work and the community she supports. Below is an edited version of their conversation.
CNN: How does it work, raising nearly 50 kids?
Maggie Doyne: It's communal living, for sure!
We're a family of almost 50 kids ages 8 months to 16 years. Everybody just pitches in and helps each other. They all have their chores. They all have their duties. And everybody cooks the meals together and makes sure that they do their part to make the home run smoothly. The staff at the home, we call them the aunties and the uncles.
We wake up in the morning and go off to school. And then come home and do homework and eat our meals together, and everybody goes to bed at night.
CNN: How does a child come to live in your home?
Doyne: Our first priority as an organization is to keep a child with their family if at all possible.
In order to come into the home, you need to have lost both parents, or in some rare cases have suffered extreme neglect, abuse or have a parent who's incarcerated. We have to conduct a full investigation. So usually that involves going to the child's village, making calls, doing police checks, getting documentation and paperwork. We have to dig up birth certificates, death certificates, make sure that everything lines up the way that they say it does.
CNN: Meanwhile, you have 350 children attending your school. What is their background?
Doyne: Every single year we'll get from 1,000 to 1,500 applicants. And we choose the ones who are the most needful and really won't be in school without us.
Most of them live in one room, a mud hut. A lot of them are just in survival mode. We try to relieve the burden from the family, so that the child has food, medical care, books, zero fees for education.
CNN: What have you learned working with the local community in Nepal?
Doyne: I learned very early on, from the beginning, that I couldn't come in and just be like, "Here, I have a vision. This is what we're going to do." That doesn't work. It has to be slow; it has to be organic. And it has to come from the community and be a "we" thing.
It's really important to me that this is a Nepali project, working for Nepal, for the community. So the faces that you see are strong Nepali women and amazing Nepali role-model men.
CNN: How does the project continue to grow?
Doyne: We started with the home and then school. We run the school lunch program. Then we needed to keep our kids really healthy, so we started a small clinic and then a counseling center. From there we started getting more sustainable and growing our own food. And then from there we decided to start a women's center.
We just bought a new piece of property to create a totally green and sustainable off-the-grid campus. This year we converted to solar energy. So we'll have a high school and then a day care, preschool, elementary, all the way up, and a vocational center where kids can become a thriving young adult with everything they need to succeed moving forward.
It's become so much more than just a little girl with a backpack and a big dream. It's become a community. And I want to teach and have other people take this example and hope this sets a precedent for what our world can be and look like.
This young lady is brilliant!
For several years i have been loaning money through Kiva. Kiva is a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of micro-finance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world. I am one of 1,363, 259 people who have loaned a total of nearly one billon dollars to thousands of people around the world. Individual loans are small, but are combined with the loans of many others to invest in small business in developing countries. I like to support women in these countries, and specifically those that are working to start or build grocery stores.
Have a look at Kiva. If I can answer any questions let me know. I think it is a very good way to contribute.
!Note: Nobody told me that I had named the song incorrectly for the past few weeks. Everybody - keep your eyes on the fries.
Two of my favourite musicians have come together to sign one of Canada's iconic songs (one of everybody's favourites). The song is Songbird, written my Gene McClelland and originally recorded by Anne Murray.
Kathleen Edwards was born in 1978 in Ottawa and after high school became a full time singer-songwriter and musician - a 20 year career recording and travelling. I admire those who stick to the dream and come out the other end healthy and sane. Today she runs a coffee cafe in Stittsville, Ontario - lets drop in.
Bahamas was born Afie Jurvanen in Toronto but was raised in Barrie, Ontario - in other words, a local boy.
Arrived safe and sound on December 1st and we have settled in very nicely. The house had been cleaned and the furniture moved out into the patio, but we needed to get food and water. I always leave a few bottles of beer and wine in the fridge when we leave so there is not a lot of pressure. Tennis started the next day so the social side is also under control.
Carol arrived with some gruesome headaches and I arrived with my sinus faucets wide open. Some antihistamines and pain killers and we are starting to come around.
Yesterday we purchased some gardening tools and started to spruce the place up a bit. We intend this to be a lower investment year, so it seemed appropriate that Friday we were at Best Buy purchasing a new washer and dryer and today we have ordered a new front entrance door. The good news is that we feel quite at home. Temperature is in the low sixties at night and mid seventies during the day. We cannot complain about that.
I dragged my baking steel 15 pounds of steel to California (put it on Carol's side of the car to balance the weight) to master BBQ pizza. The steel was heated to about 500 degrees (F) and then I slid a homemade pizza onto it. The result - about 1/16th (ok, maybe an 1/8th) of an inch of carbon, then 3/8th of an inch of nearly cooked dough covered by the toppings. The toppings were good. Carol and I ate enough carbon to filter our liquids for about a week. Next I will try the oven, I have had quite a bit of success with this at home. Gotta keep pushing the envelope though.
We are watching Anderson Cooper's annual Heroes show. Very inspiring! A must watch every year.
Hope all is well in the North.
Mid-sized drive yesterday, and best of all - Carol drove for two hours; I had a midday nap. The weather was much, much better - blue skies and dry pavement - 80MPH the whole way. We stayed at a Drury Inn, so some of you know what we had for dinner. The steamers were as good as ever. It is now 6:30AM and we are up and showered and ready to go. There is one more time change so we will easily be in Palm Desert by noon.
With not much to do last evening, Carol started planning the entertainment calendar for this winter. First up, Jennifer Nettles early December at a local casino; just cheap tickets.
Getting old is miserable. You lack the stamina you used to have and muscles give up when they are needed. We did not get out to see Coco in Austin. After a full day of driving in the rain (9 hours) we were just too tired to leave the hotel room. Instead we slept. Then got up and drove in dreary grey rainy weather for a good part of today. Finally the forecast says that we will get some good weather. We did stop yesterday in Shreveport LA for lunch. Ken Whitaker had sent along the lunch suggestion: Herby K's. Have a look.
Fred: Happy Thanksgiving! I am recovering from overeating yesterday. We're going to the new James Bond movie this evening and will leave Boise tomorrow to head South. It looks like we will be arriving in PD in the evening on Monday 11/30. Are you guys going to be there by then? If not let me know when you will be arriving and we'll try to get tennis set up.
and then later when Ken heard that we did go for lunch -
Fred: I hope you had a Shrimp Buster and went inside where there is a profile of an Indian shot into a piece of metal by the original Herby K. It's now run by the ex daughter-in-law of the founder. The son (her ex-husband) had a drug problem and the daughter-in-law used to run it with the mother-in-law (wife of Herby K) until she died.
That area of town died around the bar but they never moved. They tried expanding to a second location but that didn't work for some reason. We went there after my mother's and my father's funeral. As a kid my mother and father would sit in one side of the old wooden booths and the 3 boys on the other and Dad would drink draft beers from big frosted glasses.
We did have Shrimp Busters - very nice.
Ken referred to the "area of town dying". There were two or three blocks of buildings that have been abandoned and are falling down. the restaurant is right in the middle. If it had not been raining we would have explored and taken photos. Very interesting.
We are only in Jackson trying to avoid the storm and it appears to be working. There was just enough rain yesterday to make me stop the car and remove the bicycle seats. I had forgotten to do this as we left home. We pulled into Jackson early did some laundry and went to bed. Austin TX for Saturday night. We will attempt to get into the Saxon Pub tomorrow night to listen to Bobby Whitlock and Coco Carmel. Bobby played with Derek and the Dominos and Bonnie and Delaney in the old days. Coco is just Coco.
A short driving day made even shorter by listening to Richard Dawkins narrate his auto-biography. An amazing life. One of the campaigns supported by Dawkins that I am most interested in is "Ask For Evidence". The thinking is that when you are presented with "claims", you should look for evidence that supports those "claims". You should do this for new drugs, diets, religion, Donald Trump. Here is the place to go Ask for Evidence.
After checking into the hotel, we walked to the music district and spent a couple of hours at Robert's Western World a honky-tonk and country bar. Most Nashville bars were closed for Thanksgiving, but the ones that were open were busy and hopping. Robert's Western World is three doors down from Tootsie's (closed) and was featuring "The 12 Hour 6th Annual Eileen Rose & Silver Threads Thanksgiving Show" - happy smiles on our faces. We stayed for hours 4 and 5 of the marathon, and they were still yakking, honking and singing everything in sight. The 82 and 80 year old 2-stepping couple at the next table were regulars out enjoying the music, the dancing and a couple of 2 dollar beers. Nice, just what you hope to see in Nashville.
Today we are off to Jackson Mississippi. Why? We are trying to get as far south as we can before we head into the storm that has hit northern Texas. The weather maps show that if I can get into southern Texas before turning west, we might miss a lot of bad weather. I am following the map at US Weather Service and it shows a clear path along the Rio Grande.
Today is Black Friday!
There is nothing too exciting to report about our first day on the road except for a nice visit with Bronwen and Eryn in Guelph. We all had lunch together. Bronwen gave Eryn a dill pickle and she really seemed to enjoy chewing and sucking on the vinegar. Occasionally her face would pucker up but she would keep on going.
The drive seemed long, with fog in the morning as we left Collingwood and the 401 closed at Tilbury for a multi-car prang. Stopped at the Outlet mall in Fremont, but the Calphalon store had gone out of business. Today we start in Fort Wayne and head to Nashville. I have been scouring the internet for music in Nashville hoping to go to the Bluebird Cafe but it is American Thanksgiving. Looks like Tootsie's might be open though.
Tried to book a room in Baton Rouge, but the prices are sky-high - $300US plus a deposit of another $300 if you live within 50 miles of Baton Rouge. This being a deposit for damages. There must be a local college football game. So - - we will shorten the drive on Friday and stay in Jackson Mississippi. By Saturday morning the storm in the mid-west should have subsided and we can shoot across the lower part of Texas, to California.
Ron Hynes passed away this past Thursday. I have been watching snippets of the funeral service in St John's - lots of Ron's songs being sung by Amelia Curran, Allan Doyle and Ron's family. The Internet is full of beautiful tributes to Ron. I will just say that I was a big fan from the moment I heard Ron being interviewed by Shelagh Rogers on CBC. On that show he introduced two new songs (The Mother Who Bore Me in Pain and Dry), both songs about his ongoing battles with drug addiction. The songs and interview were so candid that I went looking for more Ron Hynes. I have remained a big fan. There is no video posted here. There are several videos posted on YouTube that you could browse around.
Mother and son doing just fine. Everybody very happy. ![Jackson Allan Garland November 9, 2015](http://www.appletons.ca/voximages/2015/2015 11 09 Jackson Allan Garland.jpg "Jackson Allan Garland November 9, 2015" )
!Note: there is a big gap here. Carol and I have been very busy this summer.
Here is a photo that I just found from earlier this spring. It is of the tennis team that I played for in the BNP Paribas Indian Wells Seniors Tournament. We did not do well this year. Must have been over-confident from last year. The 2nd photo is a partial shot of Anne's Carmelcrisp at a street fair in Tillsonburg ON in the 1970s. this photo was sent through by Susan Schneider today and is much appreciated. You can find this photo on the Fairground Archive page.
We are well on our way home. We stopped in Quebec City for our first night out of Moncton. Had a nice walk around the walled city including lower Quebec (walked down, but rode the lift up), found the old Anglican church founded by the Scottish troops after the battle on the Plains of Abraham (probably members of the 78th Fraser Highlanders), and took in a nice dinner.
Our hotel that evening was a bit of a surprise. When we first opened the door to our room we were hit with a blast of heat - the room was over 40 degree centigrade. The staff claim to have never seen this happen before. Fortunately they were able to find us another room.
This morning we woke up in Cornwall, ON. We stayed here so that we could visit Upper Canada Village for the first time in 40 years. I wanted to get some photographs of Louck's farm. The main farmhouse was moved from nearby and once was owned by a direct ancestor of Mary (Loucks) Lauro a good friend of ours. She has never seen the house. ![Loucks Farm](http://www.appletons.ca/voximages/2015/LoucksFarm/Loucks Farm Upper Canada Village-2.jpg "Loucks Farmhouse Plaque" ) ![Loucks Farm](http://www.appletons.ca/voximages/2015/LoucksFarm/Loucks Farm Upper Canada Village-1.jpg "Loucks Farmhouse Street View" ) ![Loucks Farm](http://www.appletons.ca/voximages/2015/LoucksFarm/Loucks Farm Upper Canada Village-3.jpg "Loucks Farmhouse Kitchen" ) ![Loucks Farm](http://www.appletons.ca/voximages/2015/LoucksFarm/Loucks Farm Upper Canada Village-4.jpg "Loucks Farmhouse Back Door" ) ![Loucks Farm](http://www.appletons.ca/voximages/2015/LoucksFarm/Loucks Farm Upper Canada Village-5.jpg "Loucks Farmhouse Rear Garden Area" ) ![Loucks Farm](http://www.appletons.ca/voximages/2015/LoucksFarm/Loucks Farm Upper Canada Village-6.jpg "Loucks Farmhouse Summer Kitchen" ) ![Loucks Farm](http://www.appletons.ca/voximages/2015/LoucksFarm/Loucks Farm Upper Canada Village-7.jpg "Loucks Farmhouse Summer Kitchen" ) ![Loucks Farm](http://www.appletons.ca/voximages/2015/LoucksFarm/Loucks Farm Upper Canada Village-8.jpg "Loucks Farmhouse Dining Room (sorry for the poor exposure)" ) ![Loucks Farm](http://www.appletons.ca/voximages/2015/LoucksFarm/Loucks Farm Upper Canada Village-9.jpg "Loucks Farmhouse Upstairs Bedroom One" ) ![Loucks Farm](http://www.appletons.ca/voximages/2015/LoucksFarm/Loucks Farm Upper Canada Village-10.jpg "Loucks Farmhouse Upstairs Bedroom Two" ) ![Loucks Farm](http://www.appletons.ca/voximages/2015/LoucksFarm/Loucks Farm Upper Canada Village-11.jpg "Loucks Farmhouse Upstairs Bedroom Three" ) ![Loucks Farm](http://www.appletons.ca/voximages/2015/LoucksFarm/Loucks Farm Upper Canada Village-12.jpg "Loucks Farmhouse Upstairs Bedroom Four" ) ![Loucks Farm](http://www.appletons.ca/voximages/2015/LoucksFarm/Loucks Farm Upper Canada Village-13.jpg "Loucks Farmhouse Mainfloor Parlour" ) ![Loucks Farm](http://www.appletons.ca/voximages/2015/LoucksFarm/Loucks Farm Upper Canada Village-14.jpg "Loucks Farmhouse Entrance to Garage and Summer Kitchen" )
Many of he 78th Frasers were Scottish survivors of the Jacobite rebellion and may have been present at the battle Culloden Moor in 1745. I believe that the 78th was recruited from the survivors of this battle and they were shipped to North America with General Wolf to ensure that they did not participate in any further rebellion against the crown, and that the regiment was disbanded in Quebec City after the Battle of the Plains of Abraham to ensure that they did not return to Scotland and take up their old ways. Further, Williams family history believes that an early member of the 78th was a Cameron ancestor of my mother. Wolf is not well thought of in Scotland for the butchering that took place at Culloden. We think pretty highly of him and he is enshrined in Westminster Abbey by the English - just different POVs
Last time that we arrived at home it just did not feel right. This time when we arrived it felt very good. We were rested (actually unpacked already) and the home and community looked good - not grey and cold, but green and promising. We were hungry and thirsty so started dinner and cocktails (one should not withdraw from the travelling lifestyle too quickly; we would not want to get the tremors).
Canada Day, but nothing broadcast by CBC from Parliament Hill. I was counting on a live music broadcast from the Hill. When did this all change? CBC was showing the Dragon's Den - very patriotic - lots of flag waving and Kevin sang O'Canada, but still not the hill. I had to watch a Maple Leaf press conference explaining why Phil Kessel was traded. I did not know that he had been traded but I already knew why he was traded. Maybe the Food Channel will have a good show about how to preserve poutine (canned poutine - a great idea, not mine originally but a good idea).
We are home and that is good.
![Eryn](http://www.appletons.ca/voximages/2015/Eryn/2015 06 27 Eryn Llewellyn Appleton.jpg "Eryn")
We are in Moncton. Carol and I just left Elwood Cemetery where there was a short committal service for Joyce. To our pleasant surprise both of Joyce's living sisters were able to make the trip to the service and we were able to meet some of Carol's cousins for the first time. After the service we went to Joyce's favourite restaurant for some lunch and to visit. ![Ripley](http://www.appletons.ca/voximages/2015/2015 06 26 after Joyce's Committal.jpg "Lloyd, Marie, Jean, Ray, Irene, Paul, Sandra, Carol")
We are in Montreal. It is normal for us to pass through Montreal, but not actually stay and enjoy the city. Checking into our hotel, we were asked "are we sensitive?" Hotel 10 has an after hours club and they are shooting a video tonight. We might hear some thumpa - thumpa - thumpa from the dance floor. We were certain that we would be OK. We probably will not be fine.
Old Montreal (close to the hotel) is an area of Montreal that has been preserved from the early 1900s. I thought that it might be a bit older. Full of good restaurants. Lots of people walking and reading the menu boards. Really very nice. Carol thinks that she saw one of the FIFA women's soccer teams out for stroll through "Vieux Montreal". A minor disagreement occurred during dinner. Carol thought that the hostess was not wearing enough clothing. I just thought that it was warm out tonight. All of this disagreement because Carol would not go to Schwartz's Deli.
How about your daughters and their families making certain that you get to a beer festival for Father's Day. Good grand-parenting is what we call it.
We are proud to announce the birth of Eryn Llewellyn Neath, May 1st 2015, about 1:21PM. First daughter of Glenn Neath and Bronwen Appleton. Mother and baby doing very well in Guelph Hospital. For those in the Appleton/Williams family it is worth noting that Carol and I will be referring to our two grandchildren as "Billie and Lew". It will roll off our tongues really easy as that is how we heard everyone refer to my parents for years and years.
Apple announced recently that they were going to replace their photo enthusiast Aperture software with a more consumer oriented product targeted towards iPad and iPhone users. Yikes. This started me looking for new software to manage my 20,000 photographs. Although I am upset at Apple's decision, it has not turned out too bad. I have decided to move to Adobe Lightroom and it is better software. Apple has not been keeping pace with Adobe it turns out.
Another benefit is that I have been forced to look at the thousands of photograhs as I move them from Aperture to Lightroom. Now that has been fun. For example, here is a digital photograph taken in 1996 on a visit to North Caicos island to drink rum punch and play tennis. In the picture you will see our host Ron (left), a young Adonis (me), Dave and Bob. The unfortunate part of this picture is that it looks like there are four hands reaching for three rum punches. Perhaps that explains the anguish on Bob's face.
Oh, and did I forget to mention that Billie is visiting.
We are home. Had a great winter/summer. There was lots of opportunity to update the VOX but I am just a lazy pig - play tennis, drink beer and think about what I am going to have for dinner. The ride home was uneventful, the usual - Holbrook, Amarillo, Springfield, Fort Wayne, Collingwood.
Indian Wells PNB Paribas was good. We were treated to some of the better seats by our friends Ken and Carol. Carol and I had free tickets in the nose bleed section (I shot this photo from that section using a 300mm lenses.) Ken and Carol had tickets where you could order a glass of champagne and actually get it. It beats me but they wanted to arrange it so that Carol and Carol (yes) would watch the ladies final from the champagne section while Ken and Fred held Kleenex to our nostrils way up high. We would switch seats for the mens finals. See if you can spot Carol and Carol. The only clue allowed by the rules is that both were wearing sunglasses.
Home - what can you say. It is good to be here but quite a shock coming from the warm sunshine to the cold and cloudy. Canadians like to have their guilt rewarded and the last few days at home has felt just about right. There is still snow on the front lawn. The Japanese Maple has been clobbered by a snow plough and will not survive. There is ice on the pond behind the house. It is raining. I opened the garage today and a robin was shivering in the rafters. The house was standing though and we were glad to be here.
The BBQ will be used for certain in May.
Carol and I visited Bronwen in Guelph Monday and Tuesday and had a meal with our whole family. Kate, Jay and Billie joined us for an Easter ham dinner (recipe provided by Jim Johnson.) We are thrilled that Bronwen is in a new home. Unborn baby is doing fine and scheduled for very early May. Sentimental fool that I am - I am hoping for
!(http://www.appletons.ca/voximages/2015/2015 02 11 Los Angeles 1.jpg "San Pedro fishing village, Port of Los Angeles") !(http://www.appletons.ca/voximages/2015/2015 02 11 Los Angeles 2.jpg "1980's Rock Shrine") !(http://www.appletons.ca/voximages/2015/2015 02 11 Los Angeles 3.jpg "Bronwen & Glenn in the Rainbow Room") !(http://www.appletons.ca/voximages/2015/2015 02 11 Los Angeles 4.jpg "Whiskey a Go-Go 50th Anniversary")
My sister Irene has had a big week. She has celebrated her 60th wedding anniversary and her 80th Birth Day. Now that is a couple of accomplishments.
The pavers have been installed for a few days. The landscaping is done. The lighting is installed. The water system works. We are taking possession of the courtyard. Taking possession means sweeping and keeping it clean and making certain that the furniture is arranged. We may even have to entertain. Oh, I forgot to mention, the fire pit arrives tomorrow at 10AM. It goes in the back courtyard - therefore no picture of the back courtyard yet.
I am working to perfect fish tacos. Bronwen and Glenn arrive this weekend. They will likely be sick of fish tacos when they leave, but when they leave I expect to be a master of the fish taco.
Sunday was Super Bowl Tennis. Carol and I played for the Boston Patriots. The Seahawks won the tennis tournament.
I am a big fan of what KCRW (Seattle) is doing. They are streaming some of the best music over the internet. I am also a big fan of Ben Howard and India Bourne. India is the cellist and percussionist for Ben's band. I have picked Ben as one of the stars of 2015. I have been wrong many times before. I do not care. He is one on my watch and listen list.
Here is Ben Howard w India - turn up your speakers!
You should not be able to complain (to express dissatisfaction, pain, uneasiness, censure, resentment, or grief; find fault) unless when things change you express the opposite. Lately I have complained about lack of pavers, rain, and who knows what else. Today everything changed - the pavers have all been laid, the cacti have been planted, the mini palms are planted, and the fruit trees have been planted. On top of that I had a great game of tennis. Here is a photo of Jay and Katie at Jay's corporate Christmas party. Jay was honoured as a top salesman at this get together. Congrats Jay.
!Hint: Last years entries have been moved to the 2014 Archive, so they are now under Archives in the top menu. That's progress.
All of the pavers have been cut and laid.
I may have been wrong about both. The spaghetti dinner at Frank's place was more fun than I have had in a long time. Agreed there were Frank impersonators but they were in their 70's, 80's and 90's and put on a pretty good show. A good time was had by all. It turns out that Dolly Sinatra Lodge is Lodge # 2400, Order Sons of Italy in America. It is named after Dolly Sinatra of course. There was a sense that you should contribute or someone would shoot out your knees. Great night. Our next cheap and cheerful outing is going to be Bowling at the Fantasy Springs Casino. Black lights, strobes, the whole bag of tricks. The wives have all agreed to wear white bras.
The &^!@% pavers may be another matter. Agreed, there were pallets of stones for the workmen to lay at the beginning of the day yesterday. But by 3PM they had laid all of the pavers and had only covered 30% of the courtyard. The street was empty. We have no idea if the workmen will show up at 8AM this morning. We have no idea when or how the remainder of the pavers will arrive.
A couple of weeks ago Carol and I coerced some folk into going to the Ace Hotel to see Sissy Bingo. "Trust me" we said. It was not bad, nothing that you would do twice in one season, but not bad. I think that tonight could be pay-back time. We have been invited by one of the couples to go to Frank Sinatra's mother home for a spaghetti dinner. I do not think that Frank's mom is hosting, but I will bet that there is a Frank impersonator and that he will sing a Paul Anka song or two.
The paving stones arrived yesterday. I pulled one from a pallet and had a good look and again it was not what we ordered. We have already had the wrong pavers once, how can this happen. The landscape designer was here in 15 minutes to show us that I had pulled the paver from the wrong pallet - it was scheduled to be moved to another worksite this morning. Relief.
This morning the pavers started to be installed. And yes, that is Carol doing laundry in the garage - click on the photo, you will see for yourself.
Here is Jake Bugg - turn up your speakers
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