stillhowlyn's travels 2010 travel blog

Decorating the tree!

Just Annie!

Howard gets his 'hohoho' on!

San Francisco's Union Square!

Meeting Santa & Mrs. Claus!

The Lighted Boat Parade!

This is actually fun!

Happy Birthday, Noelle!

Daniel & Liliana pose for Grandma!


Yes, the holiday season arrived right on schedule, but somehow my calendar got turned back or maybe fast forwarded! But it's hard to be Scrooge-ish very long with so much going on with the family and around town here in Petaluma.

There was Norm's 44th BD celebration on the 29th, much too soon after Thanksgiving. He had a choice of dinner selections, coq au vin or mushroom risotto, chose the former which we prepared and delivered with all the trimmings. Oh, and we enjoyed too!

New Elk's Lodge friends, Phyllis and Bruce, who live here in Petaluma, invited us over to a fantastic dinner Bruce prepared at their beautiful home. Traveling friends, Lynne & Brad, and Rusty (whom we meet up with in Anacortes) are here also; this being our common ground. There's also Patrick from our old Half Moon Bay days whom I reconnected with on Facebook, now living in Petaluma with his girl friend, Suzanne.

Next came the Christmas tree decorating at Norm's which was fun and laid-back but still needing a fair amount of snacks, baked brie and smoked salmon, to provide fuel for the festive fires. Christina was so excited to be helping in this endeavor as was Annie the Lab and Rudy the Cat. Annie proceeded to eat selected, cherished, homemade ornaments, passed down through generations, and Rudy stalked and swatted anything shiny, dangling or otherwise on the tree!

The Elk's Lodge, where we park our home during these family visits, is very community-oriented with many activities of which to avail oneself. They have their own 1950's vintage touring bus which takes members and guests on a tour of Petaluma homes competing in the best holiday themed decorating contest, made even better with spiked egg-nog and Christmas cookies.

Howard and I had our day in San Francisco, checking out Union Square with thousands of others shopping and sightseeing. Performers from Shrek, The Musical were strolling the sidewalks in full costume, and caroling was provided by the CAL band. We window-shopped and oohed and aahed over the seasonal store-front decor, and plowed our way through the throngs to the rotunda in Neiman Marcus to see their gigantic Christmas tree. We had hoped to have lunch there but the wait was longer than our hunger would allow so headed instead to the St. Francis's Oak Room which was terrific.

Last Saturday was the Lighted Boat Parade arriving at nightfall at Petaluma's Victorian downtown waterfront. Rails and masts were strung with lights, and crews and captains all decked out in holiday garb. We had our granddaughters Noelle (15) and Christina (4) for an evening of total celebratory wall-to-wall crowd immersion.

Starting with pizza at Dempsey's on the waterfront, then weaving through the throngs to view the glorious array of boats, and on to Powell's Sweet Shoppe in the Theater District for a final treat....Then the long walk back to our remote parking place and off to tour the homes competing in the holiday decorations' contest where we were pleasantly surprised to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus. The look on Christina's face was worth a million and the spectacular display of lights, dazzling.

Sunday capped a great weekend with Stephanie and Gary with Riley the youngest grand-lab coming from Sacramento for the day. All the dogs gathered in the extremely muddy dog-park to romp and play then later we all gathered at Wendy and Norm's for a marvelous spaghetti dinner in honor of Noelle's 15th birthday!

We then spent a couple of days about an hour's drive south in Half Moon Bay, visiting daughter Terri and her family. Liliana just turned a year old and provided hours of great entertainment. We got to babysit which really amounted to us just playing and having fun with her. She is just beginning to walk and is the absolute best baby ever. Terri and Clint just found out their new baby is a boy and due the end of May 2011. Daniel made a few brief appearances but in all fairness he is cramming for final exams in his sophomore classes. He also was awarded MVP on his football team.

These are times to cherish!



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