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The Trip To Yosemite

June 22, 2013

One of the first things the  Nurse asked me when I moved to Sacramento was whether I had been to Yosemite (no) and whether I had any interest in going (YES!).  So we went.

On the way we had to stop and get some cherries.  Because $1 a basket?  That’s crazy talk!  (And slightly deceptive.  The basket I’m holding was actually five dollars.  But still worth it.)

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We stopped in the little town of Mariposa on the way.  Cute shopping, a few restaurants and a good place to stretch our legs.

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Our room wasn’t quite ready for us at the Cedar Lodge, so we backtracked a short distance to hike at Hite Cove.  The Hite Cove trail is known for beautiful wildflower displays, but you have to catch it at exactly the right time.

We missed it probably by a week or so, but we still had fun looking for the stragglers.

After our hike we decided to cool off by the Merced River.  The Nurse had to coach me on my pronunciation.  It’s mer-SED.  We ran into some river rafting guides and got some local tips from them.  These guys are in their 20s and spending the summer doing what they love, basically living out of their cars.  You know what kept running through my brain?  Chris Farley talking about living in a van down by the river.

Here’s the link:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaoM0FyLmGY

You’re welcome for that.

Up Next:  Yosemite!

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Pizza In Sacramento

June 18, 2013

I love most everything about Sacramento.  But one thing worried me when I first moved here:

Would I be able to find good pizza?

You see, I’m very very picky about my pizza.  I can’t help it.  I grew up on New Jersey pizza.  Every time we visited family in New Jersey we ended up getting pizza for one meal.  Plus we had pretty decent pizza when I was a kid in Maryland.

Then we moved to southwest Virginia and I stopped eating pizza.  Because really, when your option is Domino’s that just doesn’t count.  There was one place a couple of towns over with decent pizza,  but we didn’t get there often.

My Mom actually thought that I didn’t like pizza, that’s how little I ate it.

When I moved back to Jersey after college we had an amazing pizza place near work.  Some days the highlight of my day was leaving the office and meeting my Dad (who worked nearby) for a slice.

After living in Baltimore for 17 years I had identified my pizza sources.  And now I’m starting over again.

Fortunately, I have a partner in crime.

Remember Walker C?  She grew up in New York, and she has equally high standards when it comes to pizza.  Bonus, Walker C gets and reads the Sacramento Bee every day.  She found this article.   We have made it our mission to taste all the contenders on the SacBee list and select our favorite.

So far we’ve been to the following:

1. Masullo – This is very good pizza.  It leans towards the artisanal side.  Meaning it’s more destination pizza rather than “grab a slice” kind of pizza.  The pizzas are smaller with very high quality ingredients.  It’s delicious and I’d go back in a heartbeat.  The interior or Masullo is interesting.  They have a few small tables, but most of the restaurant is devoted to large family style tables, so you may end up in a very interesting conversation!

2. Matteo’s – Just average.  I may go back to Matteo’s in the future for dinner.  It’s got nice ambiance and it’s close to home.  Plus they have a dog-friendly patio.  I just won’t order the pizza there.

3. One Speed – Similar to Masullo, they focus on artisan pizza.  Again, delicious, but not what I have in mind when I want a slice of pizza.  One Speed would be a terrific date place – they have a few charming outdoor tables.

4. Giovanni’s –  I’ll go out on a limb and say that so far Giovanni’s is the pizza that best matches my search criteria.  The crust is thin, the sauce is well seasoned.  Yum, I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.  This is pizza like I remember it.  However (and it has to be said), Giovanni’s is not a destination.  The ambiance leaves much to be desired and the place is often full of kids being kids.  So go off hours if you need your pizza hot and fresh, or pick up Giovanni’s and enjoy it at home. Giovanni’s serves 4 sizes of pizza: small, medium, large and NY style Jumbo.  You can guess which size we order.   (So far Walker C and I have been to Giovanni’s twice.  They have two locations, so we felt – in the interest of research – that we needed to test both sites.  They are equally good.)

5. Wenelli’s – How this place made the SacBee list is beyond me.  For starters, here is a picture of our pizza.  What is that yellow stuff?  Did they actually put cheddar cheese on a pizza???  And what the heck happened to the crust?  Why is this pizza puffy and dome shaped instead of flat with a crust handle for each slice?

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Look how thick this crust is.  Yuck!

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To be fair I have to say that Wenelli’s was packed the night we went.  So apparently there are more than a few misguided souls who prefer this type of “pizza”.  I guess to each his own.

So there’s where I am with my pizza research.  Walker C is out of town right now, but I’ll be sure to bring you further updates as they occur.

If I can help one frustrated Sacramentan pizza eater, then I’ve done my job.

May In Reno, Part Two

June 14, 2013

I barely had time to admire the ducklings before I was headed back to Reno for more time with my people.  It was Cricket’s birthday, so the first order of business was opening gifts.

I’d say the princess sunglasses were a big hit.

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Providing minutes of hilarity.

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Mr. K is styling!

Once presents were opened we headed to Mr. K’s welcome back party!

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See this guy holding Cricket?  The one who looks suspiciously like Mr. K’s?  That’s her favorite cousin.  Something tells me Cricket has a type…

The next morning Cricket couldn’t wait to give KK her Mother’s Day gift – she wouldn’t even let KK dry her hair!  (Chloe wanted in on the action as well.)

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Ever the patient big brother, Tank waited in the wings to give his present.

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The morning passed in a flurry of breakfast and visits from out of towners in for Mr. K’s return party.  I finally grabbed KK and made sure she got a little pampering of her own.

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Because pretty toes make everyone happy.

And then I realized that I was one of the out of towners interfering with the KK Mother’s Day celebration.  It was time for Chloe and me to skedaddle!

But not before one last picture.

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Because princess sunglasses make everyone happy.

Make Way For Ducklings

June 9, 2013

We have had a duckling explosion here at the Ranch.  We have three sets of ducklings and two ducks are still sitting on eggs!  (Although by this point we are wondering if those eggs might be duds.)  Every evening you’ll find people down by the ponds observing our newest residents.  They name the ducks and discuss feeding (did you know that feeding ducks bread causes diarrhea?  me neither!).  Chloe and I visit the ducks each day.  She is always put out that I do not allow her to get closer.  Go figure.

May In Reno, Part 1

June 5, 2013

I traveled to Reno twice in May for two good reasons.  The first weekend I came up to spend time with Cricket and Thomas while KK and Mr. K attended a mandatory military training.  Childcare was provided for the kids, but I snatched an opportunity to spend time with my two favorite munchkins.

As always, I was greeted by LOTS of energy and new things to show off.

A new move from gymnastics…

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And Mommy’s high heels…

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Whoops, I guess you can’t really see the heels in that pic.  I just love her smile in that one.  Here are the heels:

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We bundled up and headed for the playground.  Tank figured out a new way to power the merry go round.

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Lying down on the job!

And yes, there were wood chips all over him (and my car).

More playground pics:

Then it was time for our traditional pizza dinner at Grimaldi’s.

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Killing time with bananagrams

And obligatory statue poses.

Power to the people!

Power to the people!

Gangnam style

Gangnam style

KK and Mr. K spent the night downtown so it was up to Auntie Juice to get kids dressed and ready for church on time.  The promise of a donut post-service sped things along nicely, although Cricket tried to get one over on me.  She did not want her hair done for church, so I gave her the option of getting her hair done or sitting in her room in time out.  While in time out, she opened the door to go downstairs, breezily telling me “I’m going to get a snack!”

Um, not so fast sister.

Everyone knows there ain’t no snacks in time out!

Fortunately we made it to church in time for service.  And everyone’s hair was done.

A quick errand at the Home Depot to make some spare keys*…

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…and my work in Reno was done for the weekend.

Until next time Reno!

*Thomas asked if he could pick out the key designs.  He chose a cross “because we go to church” and a flag “because we’re a military family.”  That boy might be the sweetest 8 year old I know.

Thanks Auntie Sparkles!

May 31, 2013

*a guest post by Chloe

Deer Auntie Sparkles,

Dis starfish awesome!

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Nom nom nom nom nom all afternoon.

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Nom on de floor.  Nom on de couch. Nom nom nom.

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Shake shake shake starfish. Kill starfish.

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Seereeusly, dis best starfish ever.

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I not kidding.

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Seereeusly.

Mama say, what name for dis new toy?

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I say, Deelishus.

Auntie Sparkles, dis nicest surprise gift ever got.  I try send you writing thank you, but dis too hard for me.  On account of no thumbses.

I hope type suffice.

With love to you and your peoples,

Chloe

With A Swing In My Step

May 26, 2013

The other night Neighbor K and I decided to check out the Midtown Stomp.

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Midtown Stomp is a Swing Dance Club here in Sactown.  They have dances every Friday night, often with live music.  See the Chinese lettering by the stage?  The dances are held at Confucius Hall in what is left of Sacramento’s historic Chinatown.

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Here we are after the beginner lesson, waiting for the band to start.

Notice our fun wrist bands?

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Those glowing bracelets officially identified us as “taxi dancers.”  Meaning that we would dance with anyone who asked us.

And we danced.

IMG_2400And danced!

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It was so fun to glimpse a part of society that I don’t normally see.  As a Baltimore friend said of the swing dance crowd, “The folks almost reminded me of the hard core Civil War reenactors. Interesting and intense.”

It’s true.  We were clearly outsiders there in our non-vintage clothing and beginner-klutzy moves.  But it was still lots of fun and a memorable night.  I’m so glad to have found an adventurous friend here in Sactown!