Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas in the Mountains

    Merry Christmas, Everyone! I am finally updating my blog! We finally had a decent snowfall Christmas night; about 4-5". I want more snow....


I hosted a great craft at Chatterpillar on Dec. 11. We read The Polar Express, made jinglebell necklaces & pinecone ornaments, drank hot chocolate, & ate cookies!

On December 23, we enjoyed a visit to the California Living Museum (CALM) to view the Holiday Lights. It was even better than last year, with better lighting on the pathways, more concessions that were spread apart, and even a Santa for photo opp's. Really fun!!

 We had a lovely Christmas Eve (chicken posole & sparkling wine), and Christmas (turkey, etc.), with our family and some friends. We love all of you!!
    I am happy to report that Moose (our new doggy) has made wonderful progress, and his behavior with the other doggies is amazingly better. No more injuries, and he has tolerated a variety of two and four-legged guests very well! The Christmas night snowfall was so pretty! Hope everyone had a Christmas as filled with love as we did!!

Friday, December 10, 2010


     Ladies & Gentlemen, I am pleased to present the newest addition to our family, Moose! Saved from possible euthanasia at the NEast LA Animal Shelter! Has already had his first bath (he was dirty!).
Moose at the shelter before coming home...

Last two photos are of Moose in the exact spot Rio passed...

Monday, December 6, 2010

More Eberle Black Tie Dinner

   Okay, I am getting really tired of these false hopes for snow; it snowed nicely for about 20 minutes last night, while we were watching Rudolph. Then, of course, it began to rain. Woke up to icy roads & a smidgen of snow. Rats!
    Anyway, on to the Eberle dinner! Warning: vegans will NOT want to read this! We were a little late (why did the hub exit at 46 west, when he's been to the winery a zillion times?), but Jan, (Gary's awesome 'right hand' woman extraordinaire), made sure we had some appetizers. Wow! A pork belly amuse bouche in a won ton soup spoon, a shrimp 'lollipop' (stick was a green onion) & this amazing creamy celery soup with a bit of truffle oil...yum! And of course, wine!
    We were lucky enough to get to sit at Gary & Marcy Eberle's table this year! We actually had been seated with them a few years back, but a couple we had met a few times had us moved to their table. The wifey got a little loud & rude that year, made some highly inappropriate comments in the tasting room, & we haven't seen them since. Perhaps they got the boot; I'm just glad we didn't by association!
    Anyway, we also sat with a very nice retired couple from Texas, as well as a very interesting man who lives in Cali & Nevada, who is a self-taught electrician, and works on big-time assignments, with extremely high voltage, like nuclear plants...
    Last year's dinner was a little disappointing, but this year was a homerun! The chef was Budi Kazali, the chef & co-owner of the Ballard Inn & restaurant in Santa Ynez. First course was an amazing yellowtail hamachi delicious! This was served with avocado & a soy/yuzu vinaigrette. I'm usually not a huge yellowtail fan, but it was perfect. Very thinly sliced, which I realize, is part of my problem with sushi bars; the fish is sliced so thickly. Then, my favorite course: a seared scallop with a slice of foie gras on top. Delectable! These two courses were served with two very nice white wines: a viognier, & the Côtes-du-Robles blanc, a fantastic blend. I usually am not a white fan, but esp. enjoyed the blend.
    The third course was a pan seared duck breast, with a sweet potato puree, balsamic reduction, served with an awesome Eberle zin made from the famous Steinbeck vineyard, as well as the Wine-Bush vineyards. Fourth course was a yummy braised short rib, with parsnip & chanterelle mushrooms, served with the Eberle '06 cab. Dessert was a perfect chocolate pecan tart, with Frangelico whipped cream, served with the first ever Eberle port. I usually don't like port, but this was so good, we had to get a bottle. Not overly sweet or syrupy, and a very 'manly' port. It was aged in very old barrels obtained from Remy Martin.

    This is chef
a magnum
meal he prepared.
Every year
we have
to take
a photo
in front
of the
tree in
the cave.
I took
photos of
but I
am not
posting those
to respect their privacy. It was a fantastic evening!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Paso Robles Weekend!

    Finally, a new & happy post! We went to Paso for the weekend to attend our 10th black tie Holiday Dinner at Eberle Winery (vegans beware: it was a carnivorous weekend!). This photo is from the deck of our adorable cottage at the Santa Rita Inn B&B in Templeton.
    After a late start, we made good time to Laetitia via the 166 (beautiful drive). Enjoyed the sparkling tasting, of course. Took this photo as we left.
Our b&b was adorable; we had our own little cottage, with a vaulted ceiling, electric fireplace, & a cute little blue heeler from next door that kept us company. Wanted to take her home...

 Friday night we had a fabulous dinner at Artisan. Had two different wine flights. We enjoyed the ahi tuna & abalone appetizers. The hub had a great scallop dish, and I was adventurous & tried the rabbit. Pleasantly surprised by how really delicious it was.
The desserts were also amazing: the hub had the churros with a warm chocolate sauce, and I had a trio of creme brulees: pumpkin, ginger & butterscotch. I am going to have to steal the idea of using a sake cup & serving more than one flavor...
    The next day, we enjoyed breakfast at our b&b, then did a little wine tasting (spaced on taking photos at the wineries, though!). We began at Linne Calodo (so awesome of course), then Opolo (another fave). We then continued to Pasolivo for some olive oil. While there, we met a lovely lady named Tina, who was pouring Villicana winery tastings there for her son. Really enjoyed the rosé and a lovely blend. Tasted some great honey & vinegar, that is a flavor explosion when combined with the citrus olive oil.
     Noticed these bushes all around Paso, with these pretty red berries...
After Pasolivo, we went to La Vigne (formerly Sylvester). Had some nice wines, & were very impressed with the deli case & gourmet food selection. They also sell some delicious panini sandwiches there (we were famished!). From there, we went to the Wine Wrangler next to the train station to pick up our club order, & enjoyed tasting some wines there as well. By then, it was time to get back to the Inn to get ready for the Black Tie Dinner. I will post about that was fantastic!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Farewell to My Sweet Rio...

We came home from a really nice Thanksgiving in time to comfort Rio, our incredible labrador. He passed away Thanksgiving night wrapped in my arms, with Kosmo lying with him, & Henry keeping us company. He was the best dog ever, visiting my students at Arlington, always my protector. He joins his best friend, Olive, whom we also lost so recently. I hope they are playing across the rainbow bridge, pain-free, and full of joy...This is a photo of Rio & Olive at the old house in 2004, in younger days... The monkey's baby album is full of photos of him lying on Rio, crawling on him, etc.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Random News...

We had a great time at the Ridge Route Museum with our little group at my monthly free craft yesterday.
     The gloomy weather, and last day of soccer, no doubt had a lot to do with the small turnout. We enjoyed reading The Rainbow Bridge (based on a Chumash legend), and making feathered armbands. The children also had fun exploring our local treasure of a museum, inside and out. Daisy Cuddy made delicious 'cowboy' cookies, and I made tollhouse, with a pinenut in each, to honor the Chumash. Attendees were rewarded with a bag of yummy cookies, and Daisy's recipe. I had a surprise teenage volunteer, as well.
     My favorite part of the day was hearing about Harriet, the ghost at Gorman School. I may have to attempt to write a children's book about her...She was a 5 year old girl in the 1930's, whose family fields were where the school now resides. She wanted so badly to attend school, that when she saw a school bus, she jumped off her father's tractor. She fell, and was run over by the tractor, and died instantly. Her father buried her where she died. The school was built over her grave, and there are numerous Harriet stories at the school. She is a friendly ghost, enjoying her stay at the school...The Ridge Route has a desk and chalkboard in the museum to honor Harriet. Here is a link to a youtube video from television program that featured her story: Harriet the Ghost
     This morning, we awoke to beautiful snow, but not enough for sledding. The forecasters were once again completely off about how much snow we were going to get...
     On a comical note, Kosmo, the 10+ month old puppy (AKA 'Dr. Destructo'), managed to get a feather stuck on his nose this am. Hilarious, then he managed to get it off & eat it.
     So bummed I was unable to snap any photos of him playing in his first real snowfall. The hub was shoveling the driveway and said Kosmo cavorted for a while, snow on his nose, etc. Next thing he knew, the puppy disappeared, and was next seen watching the hub from the comfort and warmth of the living room window. He is a clever puppy, after all...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Why You Should Adopt an Adult Dog...

Two weeks ago, it was craft feathers everywhere...then on Nov. 10, it was my sofa pillow stuffing everywhere! Little minx!

Later that day...not a creature was stirring... note the lovely noseprints on my window...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Cub Scouts!

   Last week, my wolves had fun making the table decorations for our Blue&Gold/Holiday Feast. We had the feast on Sunday, Nov. 7, at the Mil Potrero Campground Lodge. It was SO much fun!

    It was the perfect location: in our local mountains, and we even had a fire in the fireplace.
The food was all so yummy, and the cake auction was a resounding success. The monkey's cake won "People's Choice," and went for $30+. Everyone had fun, & my wolves received their totems & first bead...

Here is the lodge, the sky was actually beautiful and blue....
Wolf table was right by the huge fireplace...

Some of the cakes; the monkey's was the chocolate one with the big chameleon...

The winner of the People's Choice...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Life With Dogs...

    Kosmo apparently really likes Curb Your Enthusiasm, and cameras. Came home today to Glade's birthday boxed set ripped up (dvd's are okay). This is a photo I took of him with the ruined camera case on his head, just because I could get him to do it. A little humiliation goes a long
    Rio survived his surgery, and we are trying our best to fatten him up. May have to return to feeding him whipped cream out of the can, like I did after seeing "The Tao of Steve." LOVE that dog! The first day he was home, I put the 'cone of shame' on him. Felt pretty good about him, so we took a drive up to Mt. Abel, on a whim, when we picked up Griffin. Saw a baby mountain lion!! Couldn't snap a photo of it, but did take some nice photos I'll try & post tomorrow.
    Came home to Rio dripping blood from hanging his head down while wearing the cone of shame. Kind of freaked me out, but vet reassured me....Really defined the term 'hang dog.' Snatched that e-collar off, & so far, he's been better about not rubbing stitches too much...
These photos do not do justice to the mess I come home to on pretty much a daily basis. Naughty Kosmo is like a 55 lb. termite...Here he is Greco-Roman wrestling Henry....