Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas, 2007 with Will & Stacey in Los Angeles

Getty Villa and Center in Malibu

Will imitates (below) the statues on this fountain in the Getty Villa courtyard

Yamashiro in the Hollywood Hills above L.A.

Will and Stacey Christmas Day

Candycane Lane for Christmas

1482 Shenandoah St. Los Angeles

We returned from Kauai to L.A. on Saturday, Dec. 22 for Christmas week with our kids. It was the best!

Sunday, Dec. 23 we met at their charming apartment on Shenandoah St. off Pico in a wonderful ethnic (primarily Jewish) neighborhood. After appetizers, we went to see Johnny Depp's new film version of "Sweeney Todd," followed by dinner at Sushi Roku.

Christmas Eve, Louis and I spent the morning wrapping presents. Then, having heard on NPR about the shortage of food at shelters for the needy, we went to the SOVA food pantry down the street from our hotel . Louis found out what they needed (dry milk, peanut butter, Spam, Vienna sausages, Matzoh, tuna fish, etc.), and we had fun shopping at Ralph's market. The big surprise was that Louis went to Peabody High School in Pittsburgh with the husband of the founder and director of the SOVA agency. A bizarre coincidence. After that we went up Beverly Glen Dr. to Mullholland Dr. to Dragon (rare) Books for ogling, browsing, and visiting with the shopkeeper. It is a gorgeous wood paneled shop, designed after Trinity College's library in Dublin. We bought a few children's books (in the under $20 range, obviously not rare), but it was treat to see the first edition of Moby Dick, price tag=$48,000! Later, we met Will and Stacey for Mexican food, followed by a trip to Candycane Lane, where the Christmas lights are massive and amazing.

Christmas Day we opened presents at the kids' apartment, then visited friends of Stacey's who share her Polish heritage. Ivana was Stacey's roommate in Boston, but grew up in the L.A. area. The party was at her grandparents' house. The crowd was large, loud, friendly, and festive. Little kids chasing each other throughout the house, adults visiting in every corner, the whole scene. The food and fellowship were just great - a beautiful day with all generations represented.

The 26th was to be devoted to Japanese food at Stacey and Will's choice -Yamashiro, in the Hollywood Hills. Sadly, Will had come down with a serious cold and toothache. So, Louis and I spent the daylight hours at Childrens' Book World to buy books for the SOVA program, which gives books to needy children along with the food. After that, we wound our way up the hill above Sunset Blvd. to enjoy the sunset with L.A. lighting up below. Yamashiro was spectacular in every way - view, food, drinks, service...all of it. We were so sorry Will and Stacey couldn't come, but we gave a full and complete report the next day. Later on, they can go up there any day for drinks and appetizers to take in the view and the experience for a modest price.

Thursday was the Getty Villa and Museum in Malibu. The Villa, a re-creation of a country house in Herculaneum, just re-opened after almost 10 years of renovation. Louis and I had been there years ago, but it's much larger now, and focused on the antiquities collection J. Paul Getty began acquiring when his fortune grew to massive proportions. The luncheon food was delicious, though the setting in the huge new building was not nearly as pleasant as the old days when we ate with Christie beside the Villa's courtyard pool. Up the hill is the Getty Center, a truly massive art museum on the top of a hill overlooking the valleys and ocean in the distance.

Friday, Dec. 28th, Will spent at the dentist, while Stacey took the two of us to the L.A. County Museum of Art. It, too, has a large new addition, and was mobbed with holiday visitors waiting to get into the Dali exhibit. We chose to visit the permanent collections, where we renewed our pleasure in the European and American art and crafts this museum is famous for. After dinner at a neighborhood Thai restaurant, we bid farewell to Stacey and Will until summer, when we plan to meet in Huntersville for Mom's 90th birthday celebration.

Kauai, Dec. 15-22, 2007 Scottie & Louis

Beach House Restaurant in Poipu -
our last night in Hawaii (This trip!)

Minehune Fishpond near Lihue

Wailua River

Blowhole in Poipu

Bubba's in Kapa'a (they really are the best hamburgers in the world!)


Limahuli Garden

view from our hotel room

Waimea Canyon

Once again, as in January, 2005, we got lucky and were able to trade our timeshare in Boston for a week in Hawaii. This time we returned to Lihue, Kauai. We'd visited here for 3 days in 2005 and loved it. Kauai is the oldest of the islands, known as the garden island because of its lush greenness. There was a short rain every day, usually in the early morning or at night. Camelot, for sure. It was a thoroughly quiet and relaxing week. Perfect weather, pleasant accommodations, fine food....couldn't possibly ask for more. Who'd thunk we'd fall in love with Hawaii, Kauai specifically? Not me, but there it is!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Thanksgiving with all the little ones in Huntersville

One of Donna's gorgeous turkeys

Mom enjoyed watching the kite-flying from the porch

Thos learning to knit, Betty, Uncle Jack

Presentation on Thailand at The Oaks

Leland Park, Scottie, Mom at the presentation

Louie tells the little ones the Herman story.

Donna & Chrissie

Louis and I drove to N.C., arriving Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 20th, and went straight to see Mom at her new digs at The Oaks. The one-storey building is behind the old hospital, and it has all the bells and whistles, with a bathroom that is the biggest improvement over her previous one. Wednesday meant cooking (pecan & chocolate pies) at Kay's, and lots of visiting with Cheyenne, Thos, Chrissie, MacKenzie, Porter, Jama, Donny, Matthew, Jake, Tom, Donna, Jim. The kids had fun flying the kites we'd brought them from Vietnam last spring.

Donna handled all the organization and cooking for this big crowd, everything delicious and beautifully presented. Wed. night was spaghetti and Thursday had every imaginable T'giving delicacy. Even with the addition of Andrew & Nathan and a friend of theirs from UNCC, we ate only about half of the food, so that meant no more cooking for the rest of the weekend! Mom had long asked me to give a talk at The Oaks about my time in Thailand, so I did that on Friday. My good friend, Leland Park, retired director of the Davidson College Library, came too. It was fun, with good questions from the audience. On Saturday, we had an easy drive home, getting off I-77 in Parkersburg, WV, and going across Rt. 50 and up through the Hocking Hills towns and Lancaster, OH. It was a fine time to be thankful for a loving family, health, useful employment, and joys too numerous to recount.