Posts Tagged With: good food


Four years, now, we’ve managed a get-away for a family reunion. Tahoe has been our destination in the past and we’ve never failed to have fun.

The cabin we rented sleeps 16 people. It had a pretty picture on-line but the square footage proved a tight squeeze. The lighting was poor and the place had “garage sale” amenities. On one end of the table, a Rummicube game, and on the near end, cribbage. Our entire group could not fit around the table.

Our family is big on games. The only other activity was a hot tub. We took turns at the games.

Doug, besides being the master chef, served as D.J. and kept us supplied with tunes by request.

Saturday, before lunch, we drove to King’s Beach which is close to our Pina Grande rental.  The water was refreshing, the beach crowded, but we had a spot in the shade. Laurie, Theo and Austin played frisbee in the water and did a fair amount of swimming. The beach was quite narrow with the recent rains filling the lake to near capacity.

Ken took a cooling dip and came back to shore for snacks.

It is possible to walk out a couple hundred feet and still be in shallow water.

People of all ages paddle board safely, considering the lake is 6,000 feet deep at the center.

This young girl was very adept, taking her dog for a ride.

Off she went. She didn’t seem to have any adult supervision.

She and her brother had their own shade and their own boards. She told us she was local and they spend every minute they can at the beach.

It was time for snacks…

…and a cool drink. Ahh. Refreshing.

Theo proceeded to dig a hole. His mother said, “Tell me my son’s not going to be an engineer.”

Owen barely got his toes wet, enough to cool off. He wished he’d brought his swimwear.

The “sisters” decided to have a photo together.

Not to be outdone, Virginia decided to remove her shirt and show her “girls.” Grandma decided to do likewise. Omigod! I can’t believe I did that!

On the way back to the parking lot, Austin found these cards stuck up in the sand. We wondered if they were directions for someone?

While we were at the beach, Cedric made his signature pies, except, he had a flour shortage and the crust wasn’t his usual standard. Austin and Theo were given the privilege to carve the crust decorations.

Doug and I fixed Friday nights dinner. Saturday, was Virginia’s night to cook. She made taco fixin’s to die for. This family eats well.

Normally television is off-limits on our reunions. I had asked the boys what their favorite movies were? They tossed me names and the bond film, Casino Royale with the latest Bond character was everyone’s favorite. Ken happened to have the movie and we all got to see the last scene. I guess, now I’ll have to find it on Yahoo.


Sunday morning breakfast, Laurie put out gobs of fruit and bacon to go with Virginia’s pancakes. I prefer pie for breakfast along with the fruit. There was no lack of choices.

Sunday, grandson, Stewart drove up for the day. His girlfriend Allie is in nursing school and stayed in the library to study. It was nice to have a good visit with Stewart. And it was nice to move the games outside where we could more or less all be together and the light was great.

Cedric played Mr. Fixit and repaired two torn screens on the front deck.

He likes to make himself useful.

We left for the beach later in the day on Sunday and struggled to find a spot with a bit of shade. It was even busier than Saturday.

Theo brought a couple of shovels and deepened his hole and came home with a blister.

With skin so fair, the redhead claimed he was fine. His spray doesn’t wash off for several hours. He and Theo played frisbee with me for a while, but they wore me out very quickly.

I caught a nice shot of Owen who tends to be deliberately camera-shy.

A friendly game of elevator, and our last dinner. This time prepared by Laurie and Ken. Special Italian pasta and gluten free pasta with BBQ’d chicken. More fruits and much more.

Stewart left with a huge “doggie bag”.  Doug and I were first to arrive and last to leave. It took us 2.5 hours to drive up on Friday but 5.5 hours to return to Murphys on Monday morning.  We had slowdowns, but saw no accidents. Ken and Laurie, Cedric and Virginia, made it home within about the same time frame as they arrived. Ken, Laurie, Kris and Austin made a game of counting returnees from Burning Man.  Between them they spotted 500 plus Burners. Doug and I spotted one bus and two cars. Every year is different, but always fun.

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Sunday was ski day at Incline. I don’t ski, I’m the photographer, mule. There is a lot of clothing, gear and ticketing, and waiting around.

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The sun was very bright. The weather balmy. The predicted rain didn’t show.

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Cedric dons his goggles.

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No,wait!  Virginia is going to wear the goggles. Cedric put on a light weight pair of sunglasses.

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Sisters.  Aren’t they sweet?  Where did those goggles go?

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Finally, they are ready to go. Kristanne is skiing for the first time since high school. Austin is skiing for the first time. Last year he chose snowboarding, but this was their togetherness plan. Notice that the dark clothing.

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Am I supposed to pick them out from all the rest from a great distance?

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Owen only uses a snowboard. Doesn’t like to ski. And, of course he does it in all black clothing.

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Theo only skis. Dressed in black. Both boys use the big runs.

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Both Austin and Kris had a brush up lesson and skied three of the beginner hills, which was fine with them.

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The emergency services brought in this injured skier, a reminder of how dangerous this sport is. There were two accidents that day.

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People like to start their kids at a very young age. This little guy didn’t ski, but he wasn’t much younger than others I saw on the bunny slope.

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Mt. Rose Ski area supplies incentives by entertaining the kids and a disc jockey playing popular music LOUDLY that appeals to young people.

Everyone had fun. We packed a great lunch and everyone went out for a couple more hours. I read Virginia’s newspaper and started a new book.

At the condo the non skiers watched the Patriots vs. Ducks?  Or Sea Hawks? And hung out visiting and snacking. We had another big family dinner. This time, I cooked the dinner of chicken boudin, Virginia prepared several salads to go with it. Doug’s and Virginia’s cookies, Cedric’s pies and Sees candy. No lack of desserts. Yum.

And, while we were gone, Laurie finished the puzzle.

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Friday past, Doug, myself, and a lot of baggage loaded into Ken’s seven passenger Tahoe and headed for a rented condo at Incline Village. It has five bedrooms, four bathrooms, a hot tub, a foos ball table, books, television, and, plenty of room for our gang of 11. (Missing was grandson’s Mason and Alec.) Our first stop was the Great Basin Brewing Company for lunch, in Reno.

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Ken is growing a mustache, and his son, Stewart lives in a house close to his campus at Univeristy of Nevada at Reno. All college kids like a free lunch, and it gave Stewart, who has facial hair, a chance to rib his dad on his “paltry” mustache.

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After lunch, we picked up my oldest daughter, Kristanne and her son Austin at the Reno Airport and drove to the condo.

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On Saturday morning, (Virginia and her gang have yet to arrive), Doug, who is known for his fabulous omelets was relaxing when his brother said, I’m hungry now, where is that omelet?  I love this, Doug, in pidgin English, said, “you-want-omelet-now? OK.” Ken got his plate of eggs in about one minute, including a do it yourself kit.

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The omelets were full of veggies, cheese and ham, made to order, and delish.

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Later Saturday morning, youngest daughter Virginia, her husband Cedric and their boys, Theo and Owen arrived. Theo and I started a jigsaw puzzle, all the while wondering if all the pieces are present. It was a challenging puzzle.

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We are a games playing family, and soon Laurie and Kris were playing RummiKub. Virginia read her paper she brought from home.

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Stewart drove up and he, Doug and Ken had a game of Elevator going at the other end of the table.

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It was chit-chat, relaxation and games. Elevator, Thirteen, Phase 10. People jumped in and out of the games, as they changed throughout the day.

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Theo and Austin went out, played in the snow, came in, jumped in the hot tub and came up to make their lunch before going back in the tub. Theo taught Austin to put the “right” kind of potato chips in his turkey and cheese sandwich.

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Cedric tried a hand game Austin brought that is popular at his school. It is a Japanese game where you toss the ball on the end of the string and catch it in one of two cups and on a peg. I think it is Chandra? Much harder than it looks.

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Cedric spent part of the afternoon baking pies for dinner. We all demand a pie fix. His are the best.

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We play a lot of cards. Stewart laments that in his generation only a couple of his friends actually play cards. Virginia brings a card game she discovered in Mexico, an auction game we play only once. I think it is called Ah Fiance.

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Laurie cooked Saturday night’s dinner. A big pot of Mexican chili with cilantro and cheese, her  home-made corn tortillas. A black bean and pepper coleslaw, a bowl of guacamole, and dipping chips. Hardly anyone was hungry enough for desert.

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By bedtime, the puzzle was unfinished. Theo, Cedric, Laurie, myself and Owen all worked off and on during the day on the puzzle. More tomorrow.




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Growing up in a big family, we didn’t celebrate birthdays, other than to have a home-made cake and possibly your favorite meal for that day. In our family we have two March birthdays, my son Doug and my grandson Mason. Mason’s uncle Mike, I discovered, drinks craft beers and offered me my very fav, Black Butte Porter. Now, that makes it a celebration in itself, selfish person that I am.

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Doug turned 50 and he has recently joined the 21st century and now has an email address. He and younger sister, Virginia, appeared to be in deep, serious, conversation with that computer.

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I had an opportunity to talk to my 14-year-old grandson, Owen, about our upcoming trip to Turkey, explaining how the trip works, what to pack, etc.

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Mason, the other birthday boy, age 19, told Owen, (and Theo, looking on, since he is the next 14-year-old to get a trip with grandma), that the way they stop the buses on these tours is to let it run down a hill and hit a bunch of cars to stop it. Of course, we had a good laugh about that, because that is what happened when we were in Thailand. Mason was one of three people still left on the bus when it went careening down a hill and the driver had to run into a bunch of parked cars to stop it. It tipped over on it’s side and no one was seriously hurt.

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Ken faces his barbeque so he can get smoke in his eyes. He barbequed a bunch of ribs and chicken. The rest of us brought food to go along with the meat, and hey, any reason to have a party and good food. Why not?

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My daughter-in-law Laurie is so grateful that she and Ken were able to move out of Vegas and back to California. Her brother Mike and sister-in-law Ramona Henniger, live in Lodi where Laurie was born and grew up.

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One of her best high school friends, Diane, came to help celebrate. It is nice to get back to your roots and she is a happy camper.

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Cedric likes to plink on his guitar. Both Mason and his brother Stewart play.

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And Cedric discovered that Mike is a pretty good guitarist and played in a small band when he was young.

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Jim found that he has a lot in common with Diane’s significant other, Randy, who rides motorcycles, does a lot of camping and now likes going on trips in his 5th wheel. He kind of envies Jim’s lifestyle of being a full-time RVer.

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And, brother Bill, has gotten much of his sight back and no longer wears a patch. He was left with a bad astigmatism in his right eye and will soon have glasses to correct the problem. But, it is a great relief to no longer have to face double vision or wear a patch over that eye.  I kind of liked the looks of the patch. Thought he made a great looking pirate, but he couldn’t toss it soon enough. That’s fair. Hey, good food, good company, whose birthday is next?

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I mentioned previously that I took a drop of water on my lens. The drop of water came early in the cave. Be warned, it is  very wet at the traditional entrance. They have 27 entrances now, I cannot speak for the others.

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A flash photo looking up into a hole from above.

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In some pictures, I was able to crop the smudge.

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From a long distance and no flash, this is a cluster of bats. The ceiling in one place was bristling with those giant crickets but when the guide would shine the flashlight on them so you could see them, they would immediately scurry into a crack.

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This was a very dark area of the cave. Lighting is very subtle.

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This is a closer shot with the flash.  I took three flash pictures. I was amazed at what color came from the light when I unloaded my pictures.

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A hole in the ceiling worked through the heavy limestone cover above and water pours through this hole. You can’t see the water.  It is a thin but forceful steady stream.

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This particular tour is named for this formation called Frozen Niagara Falls. To the left you can see railings where those who can go down 49 steps and back up can look up at the falls.

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This is a view down into the “fall room” from the top of the steps.

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The falls is the end of this tour, then you can photograph what you missed on the way back. I didn’t miss much.

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These last two photos are repeats from a different angle.

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I enjoyed this cave. I don’t fear the dark or unknown or earthquakes or rocks falling  that others on the tour expressed. But there are some people who absolutely love them and can’t wait to get back under. They can easily spend weeks in a cave. I heard people say, all caves are alike, and I can certainly acknowledge their similarity. But, there is something unique about each one, too.

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When I got out of the cave, it was the strangest feeling, like this sunny world is unnatural  and less rich compared to what we had just seen. It only lasted for seconds. I guess the eyes couldn’t make the switch quickly enough. Fleetingly, it occurred to me, the feeling of let down people get when they come up, may be what inspires those to become addicted to caving.

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We lunched at their cafeteria. Great vegetarian choices made it tough to choose. I’m now hungering for the spicy black bean burger I didn’t choose over this spinach wrap humus and veggies with mango and passion fruit dressing.  Yum!

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After the Cabalgata, we followed the locals to the park where the smell of cooking food attracted hungry celebrants like us. The family walking in front of us are obviously from El Paso, Texas. We expect they have a father who rides in the Cabalgata.

Food booths surrounded the  park.  We passed on the chili burgers and found something delicious, without a name.

There was no sign, but the woman was filling some type of dough pocket with a filling of potatoes, onion, meat and peppers. Then adding fresh tomatoes, lettuce and red pepper sauce. They were delcious, but we only sampled. Later we bought a chili relleno burrito for me and a rojo  burrito for Jim. We went back for seconds. Lunch for the two of us, without drinks, $8.00, all home made. Can’t be beat.

The band set up and began to play music.

Young folklorico dancers giggled while they waited their turn.

While they dance, the younger girls watch and wait for their turn.

The faces are worried. For some of them their first time “on stage”, perhaps.

Light weight costumes barely protect them from the wind.

Then they realize how much fun it is. Click the short video below to watch them dance:

Now that it is over, they are relaxed and smiling and have coats to keep them warm.

Next on the program a youthful mariachi band.

For a short video of the mariachi players, click the link below:

We especially enjoyed the cute kids like this future cabalgata rider.

And, a budding cabalgata queen.

It was bitterly cold the day of the ride. Locals said the weather was unusual for the time of year.  Jim is bundled up and talking to Dr. Linda McCoy,  a fellow engineer and Viet Nam Vet. She hails from Las Cruces, NM and came for the Cabalgata. I took this picture because I’ve never seen Jim this bundled up against the cold. And, Linda was an interesting woman.

Yesterday, we arrived at Rock Hound State Park. And, I leave New Mexico for home tomorrow. It has been an interesting two months.

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