Posts Tagged With: relatives


DSC08213 (Copy)My son Ken, in the bright blue t-shirt, hosted a goodbye California party for family, friends and neighbors Saturday. It has been nice having he and Laurie in Calaveras County, but his job required him to move to Reno, Nevada.

DSC08192 (Copy)What are the odds that when Ken bought the house on Vista Del Lago three years ago, he would find this man, Lynn Breitzman a neighbor on the same street. He, and his wife Sandy went to High School with Ken in Fremont. Lynn’s sister, Dawn, was a close chum of my oldest daughter Kristanne, as well.

DSC08205 (Copy)This couple, Jeff and Debbie Machado also live on Vista Del Lago. Debbie is Sandy Breitzman’s sister, who attended high school  in Fremont with Ken, Doug and Kristanne.

DSC08193 (Copy)Debbie and Sandie with Laurie, kind of enjoying my bewildered looks at the connections.

DSC08195 (Copy)But, wait, there’s more. Jeff, it turns out, used to be a member of  Laurie’s brother’s band. Mike didn’t know Jeff lived in the neighborhood until they ran into  each other at Laurie and Ken’s.

DSC08209 (Copy)Mike and his wife Ramona, live in Lodi where he, Laurie, and her sisters went to High School.

DSC08203 (Copy) Ken’s buddy Dave Pinkett,  attended High School in Fremont with those mentioned but he remain a Fremont resident.  Daughter Kristanne was Dave’s date for his  High School Senior Ball.

DSC08201 (Copy)We had the biggest driveway in the neighborhood and kids with paper routes folded papers on our driveway.  Doug, didn’t smoke and he policed the driveway and forbade anyone to sneak a cig. None of the paper-boys were allowed to smoke at home, either.

DSC08204 (Copy)George and I were the first of my family to move to Calaveras County in 1978. Followed by Clark who settled near Camanche in Burson.

DSC08199 (Copy)Followed by Brother Bill, who lives about a mile from Ken and Laurie in Rancho Calaveras.

DSC08186 (Copy)My grandson, Stewart, missed all the coincidental tales and laughter since he is involved with his girlfriend Aly. They met on the job where they both work as writing tutors for college students. He won’t be making many trips to Calaveras County now that his parents will move. Boo, hoo, for me. I will really miss them all.

DSC08207 (Copy)  Laurie’s sister Michelle…

DSC08208 (Copy)…and her husband, Wayne, live about 4 miles down Highway 26 from Vista Del Lago.

DSC08194 (Copy)Laurie, too, has lifelong high school friends. This is Diane and Randy Cantoulupis

DSC08189 (Copy)Two sister’s-in-law, Ramona and Theresa.

DSC08206 (Copy)I don’t know all of their neighbors and friends.

DSC08188 (Copy)It was a fun day, as people spread out into the yard.

DSC08190 (Copy)I talked to this woman about her impending move to Oregon. I know Laurie told me everyone’s name, I may even have marked names down-somewhere.

DSC08212 (Copy)I have an excuse. I’m still a bit disoriented. Out of my sling for hours each day since June 2nd.

DSC08202 (Copy)The food from a local Mexican restaurant-a standout. Laurie and Ken may be saying goodbye to California, but moving means you end up with a new crop of friends and neighbors. And, by chance, you might meet people you knew in a former life. Could it happen again?


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DSC07440 (Copy)The first thing to great me at my daughter-in-law’s house, was the table full of sweets and a savory cheese cake. It seemed full until others arrived and added even more good things to the table. Laurie collects elephants- you may have noticed her elephant table cloth.

DSC07441 (Copy)I once did an inventory of her elephant collection and I counted about 700 elephant items, from ashtrays, jewelry to swizzle sticks.  Collecting is fun and appealing and I zeroed in on elephant ornaments that never made it into her inventory.

DSC07442 (Copy)The elephant is barely visible in this photo,but no matter, I was having fun.

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DSC07444 (Copy)I would have given this elephant a bigger eye.

DSC07447 (Copy)Laurie is the youngest of two sisters. Michele on the right with her daugher-in-law is her middle sister. Her oldest sister lives in North CarolinaDSC07493 (Copy)Laurie’s brother, Mike and sister-in-law Ramona. At the last minute, we decided to have a wine exchange. Ramona kept everyone in stitches as she examined each person’s choice with two pairs of glasses and a magnifying glass, before she decided which bottle to steal.

DSC07495 (Copy)My oldest and youngest brothers, Bill at 78 and Clark at 60. Michele in the background with her husband Wayne who smoked the lamb roast. Clark was the other clown of the wine exchange, threatening to open and try them out. He got stolen from four times. I guess the threat worked.

DSC07449 (Copy)A good game of liar’s dice was entertaining most of the “kids” the youngest two age 13.

DSC07496 (Copy)My oldest, Ken and youngest Virginia.  I guess men like to grow beards when they have vacation. They vacation from shaving.

DSC07498 (Copy)But the Greek feast was on. Roast lamb, tzatziki, a famous Greek yoghurt dip, with condiments. Greek meatballs with rice, feta and mint, with zucchini feta pancakes and lemon sauce.

DSC07499 (Copy)Roasted potatoes with a Greek dressing…a spicy lasagna with special cheeses…seasoned chicken kababs. DSC07500 (Copy)Spinach filled spanakopitas, a Greek fruit salad and a Greek rice salad. The food, with a bunch of good cooks in the house?  Stellar. Everyone agreed that enough turkey and ham at Thanksgiving should be bypassed for ethnic foods at Christmas. The only thing missing was the famous Greek circle dance and music.

We decided on Mexican food next year, because Virginia just learned how to make home-made tamales, heavy on the filling and light on the masa. Cha, cha, cha.





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Saturday, daughter-in-law, Laurie and I walked and rode the trails of PAWS, Performing Animal Welfare Society. All of the animals that come here are in trouble, have been abused or tied up for years, confined in zoos, and so on. PAWS gives the animals freedom near the end of their lives. It is a great charity. The sad part is how awful some of them have been treated before they arrive at PAWS. Tigers, a black leopard, and lions, were off somewhere in the bushes and trees enjoying their freedom and space except this barely visible lion who took a liking to a nap on a platform next to the fence.

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We saw four active  Black Bears. They have red or black fur.DSC06775 (Copy)

Protective fencing makes it tough to photograph them. The camera wants to focus on the fence.

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Laurie is an elephant lover and has never touched one and felt their leathery skin. She has a vast collection of elephant items that started when she was in grammar school. She hopes someday to ride an elephant. It is pleasant to view them out in the open enjoying a spacious range. PAWS has 2300 acres for the animals to roam.

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This is Nikolaus, a young bull. PAWS is the only sanctuary to take bull elephants.

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He wanted to be playful and stay where all of us were gathered. DSC06791 (Copy)

He rested his heavy trunk on the bars and seemed to say, “Isn’t anybody gonna throw me a carrot?”

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We bused past Asian elephants grazing in a flower filled field.

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These two African Elephants rummaging for something good to eat next to an oak snag. rDSC06827 (Copy)

A couple of females were grabbing everyone’s attention as they staged themselves by the fence close to a road stop.

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They came from a performing background and were obviously begging for goodies, though no one but staff is allowed to feed them anything. One kept tooting funky elephant calls with her trunk, and tossing dust over her head. The other would crowd the fence, step on the steel cord as though to say, “I could bust through this flimsy fence if I wanted too.”

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Of course, they can’t.

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We returned to the bear sanctuary and then had lunch in town. (PAWS is located in San Andreas.) If you plan to attend an event, contact them through their website and read the stories and see good pictures at this link. It was a fun time in on a nice day at PAWS.

Sunday, Mother’s Day, Laurie and Ken hosted a salad lunch and dessert.

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Laurie is a stellar cook and loves to try new recipes. The salads were varied and different. She made deviled eggs with avocado as the binder instead of mayonaise. They were good. Of course, before the salads, we munched on all the snacks. Is it a habit to eat before we eat?

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Lauries’s sister, Michele brought carrot cake, Virginia made berry cobbler, and Laurie made a really good key lime pie also with avocado as part of the ingredients. Avocado makes it a healthy dessert.

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Someone took all we mother’s picture. I don’t have a clue what we were laughing about. Laurie, Michele, Virginia and Me.


Then we trooped over to my brother, Clark’s house for Mother’s Day Dinner with a whole new set of mothers. Clark, with his future Mother-in-law, Sue.


Sue’s sister, Jean.


Clark’s father-in-law to be with their daughter, Tammy.


Clark’s fiance, Theresa, on the right conferring with Laurie.


Theresa’s daughter, Whitney is unmarried and has no children.DSC06860 (Copy)

Theresa’s daughter Courtney, with the newest member of the family,  seven month old Tyson.

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Courtney with husband Josh, the baby,  and two of the cutest sisters who dote on baby brother.  Theresa has a third daughter, Lindsey who was unable to attend. Clark has a daughter, Melissa, who lives in Texas.


Tammy’s son John, has two dogs. No kids.

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Clark allowed each woman, and the grand-daughters, to pick from the bouquets of flowers hanging on the patio covers. Cammi picked this one because it matched her dress.

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Her younger sister went for contrast, black and yellow petunias. Beautiful.

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This is the gang, but everyone moves around. Somehow, I missed Matt, Tammy’s husband. We had a good chat, though.

DSC06865 (Copy)Baby Tyson is the new apple of Grandma’s eye.

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My brother Bill and Clark live near each other, that is makes three of us in Calaveras County. We said our goodbyes, and waddled off home, each of us with a huge bouquet of Petunias. Theresa, too, is a marvelous cook and we can’t seem to help but eat. All of us decided we prefer family time to dinner in a restaurant, even if it means a lot of cooking.






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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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We’ve often observed there is no such thing as normal. Traditions adapt to circumstance.

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I never imagined that my oldest sister and youngest brother would compare their bald heads one day.  Dawn has a few wisps more. Clark says, who needs hair, anyway? Dawn is 80 Clark 58.

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Dawn’s son, Tom, is two years older than Clark. Tom, Clark and my brother, Mark, grew up like brothers, rather than uncles and nephew. (Mark died at age 50 in 2005.)

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Dawn’s daughter, Debbie put together a great dinner for 12 with people we seldom see. Debbie’s husband Bob Blake on the right, with his son Jeff and the latest granddaughter, Abbie.

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Jeff claimed he’d never had his picture taken with both of his grandmothers, Dawn and Rita Blake.

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Debbie’s daughter-in-law Margaret with the youngest great-grandchild. At Thanksgiving, Dawn got to see her other five great-grandchildren. There are grand rewards for getting older. That must be why we call them grand children.

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Bob Blake’s sister, Pam and her two daughters and her daughter’s boyfriend came up from Manhattan Beach. I think we saw them at the last family wedding.

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The older we get, the more we look like each other,so someone observed.

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Tom and Bill share a laugh. The picture is lousy but I love it when people laugh with gusto.

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Dawn’s daughter-in-law, Maryanna used to be an Olympic swimmer for West Germany. At age 70, she could pass for someone in her 50’s.

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After dinner, we played bingo. Debbie and Dawn play bingo at the Terraces Assisted Living Center on Thursdays. So, she decided to stage a bingo game with wonderful prizes at home. Great Grandson CJ helped me call the game.  In all the hustle, I didn’t get a picture of Debbie, who is Dawn’s youngest daughter. Debbie is a School Psychologist and a whirlwind of energy.

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The next morning, Tom, Maryanna, Brother, Bill and I all met for a late breakfast at the Terraces before the long drive home. Tom and Maryanna live in Sunol, California. It was touch and go for a time, but Dawn is getting stronger and stronger after her brain radiation.  Traditions change to meet the circumstances and the circumstances be getting better.

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North Dartmouth, Massachusetts – Day 8

The motorhome is parked at my cousin Bob’s and his wife Donna’s home at North Dartmouth, Massachusetts. We will depart later this morning.

Yesterday was a somewhat decent day. With a light cloud cover the high temperature was 79 degrees with 63% humidity. Still too hot and humid for my liking.

Yesterday we drove the Bronco the about 15 miles to East Freetown, Massachusetts to the home of my cousin Mike DiPaola. Also in attendance was my cousin Jeannette and her husband of 60 years, Camello. She is 81 and he is 83 and a recipient of a pacemaker about eight months ago. Camello immigrated to the United States from Catania, Italy in 1948…

As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view…


Being a Monday, the rest of the family was at work. With their parents were the oldest Mike and the youngest of their children, Lisa…


Jeanette showed me a photo of the entire family…seven children and eleven grandchildren taken a while back…


Here’s a photo of all seven children taken a while back…


Mike has a wild peacock whom he calls Hobo in his neighborhood that frequently visits in his yard…




I swear, the neighboring City of New Bedford has more donut shops than any other city in the United States. Most of them are Dunkin’ Donuts shops. Mike bought two dozen. He said it was a state law that we’re not allowed to leave Massachusetts without eating a Dunkin’ Donut. I had two just to be safe…


Here’s Mike with a Dunkin’ Donut box…



Mike’s wife Ann arrived shortly after 5:00 PM from work…


Thanks cousin Mike and family for a nice visit.

Then back to my other cousin Bob and Donna where she had a French Meat Pie (a favorite of mine) waiting for our farewell evening meal…



I had two pieces…


And they were very tasty!

This completes our visit to the New Bedford area. This morning we’ll head back to my son’s home at Ivoryton, Connecticut for a few day visit before heading out for the west coast next Monday.

Enjoying relatives and friends is another joy in the life of a full-time RVer!

The red dot on the below map shows our approximate location in the State of Massachusetts. You may double left-click the map to make it larger…


Enjoying 65-75 degree temperatures with low humidity most of the year is a primary joy in the RVing lifestyle!

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving”…Albert Einstein


On October 27, 2012, I created a two-minute video titled America The Beautiful. The music America The Beautiful is by Christopher W. French. The photos, which I randomly selected, are from the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, Washington and West Virginia (not shown in that order)…are mine. Yup, That’s me standing in front of the Post Office in Luckenbach, Texas…Y’all!

Click this link to start the video. Make sure you have your speakers turned on and go to full screen asap.

If you have not checked out my Ramblin Man’s Photos Blog, you can do so by clicking this link…

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2013
For more information about my three books, click this link:

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