The day AFTER Christmas

2014-12-05 21.54.33I find the quiet today a bit disconcerting after eight days amidst the energy and enthusiasm of my four grandchildren. Although I’m still enjoying my annual flamingo Christmas tree.

The holidays began with a six-day trip to Oregon where my son Zach and daughter-in-law Amy are raising my two grandsons, Ryan almost 15 and Sam 11.

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At the beautiful Pittock Mansion in Portland

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Sam’s NinjaBread Cookies!

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The Oyster Themed dining room at the Pittock Mansion

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Zach and Amy whipping up great dinners in their kitchen

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Sam…the real ninja!


And I enjoyed watching the “boys” play with their Anki Drive car racing set–played on an iPad with real cars that zipped around the track on the floor. 

Then back to San Ramon for a Christmas Eve of baking…not one but two bûches de Noël plus Grandma Kinnison’s famous Christmas cookies. And Christmas day with Santa coming through with a train around the tree and much “FROZEN” bounty to the delight of the girls.

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Christmas dinner–oysters, salmon, foie gras (shipped in from New York!), caviar, butternut squash soup, filet de mignon and all the fixings

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Aveline and Estelle with some of their favorites.

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“I’m hiding!”

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Bûche de Noël

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A wonderland of new Dicken’s houses for my daughter.

And finally, a Christmas greeting to my French friends on FB via my bilingual daughter and granddaughters and a French Christmas song by Aveline.

Gratitudes on this Thanksgiving Day

Gratitudes have always been my key to brushing away the cobwebs of disappointment, the shadows of fear, the chimera of lingering doubts, and the pain of promises broken. Today on this official day of Thanksgiving, I share a few of my gratitudes in photos. All of which have put a smile in my heart. .


Eleven marvelous trips to France and memories in photos. This of Villefranche at night. A photo turned to oil.


A visit to Strasbourg with our dear friends


Killer Burgers in Portland with my son and daughter-in-law


Being present at the birth of my granddaughters


Wistful moments


A proud Mom with her volunteer firefighter son and grandsons


A beautiful daughter who is teacher, Mom, wife, and friend


Memories of my union days


Bonifacio, where it all started in 1963 and ended with my new novel MOTHER TONGUE


Bringing France home in the pottery and colors of Provence


Being Helio’s number one fan!


Having adventures–flying over Denali

Paperback cover final

The publication of my new novel in paperback and Kindle

Aveline Estelle & Minnie

Having Minnie in our lives

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Best friends for 63 years!


And happy to be @docflamingo and not a turkey today!


Shakespeare with all the trimmings

If you haven’t been to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, put it on your bucket list. This trip with the good friends that enticed me to go the first time several years back was just as enjoyable as ever.

2014-08-09 11.17.53We stay at the McCall House, which is at the top of my list for gracious, lovingly restored and decorated B&Bs in either California or Oregon.2014-08-08 15.30.58








2014-08-09 19.43.16And just steps away from the Festivals three theaters–two indoor and an Elizabethan style one outdoors.


We started with a innovative version of The Two Gentlemen of Verona with an all-female cast. It took only a few spoken lines to completely forget that women were playing the male roles. Then a bloody and brilliant version of Richard III, the king you love to hate, with consumate acting by veteran actor Don Donahue. For comic relief, a Marx Brothers farce, Cocoanuts was next on the agenda with an improv approach that included the audience–whether they wanted a Marx brother in their laps or not! The last of the eleven productions slated for the 2014 season (which goes from January through October) that I was able to see this time around was Into the Woods, the crazy mixed-up fairytale by Steven Sondheim, with princes on 3-wheel bicycles with horses heads and giant’s wive’s faces projected on the proscenium, a fanciful morality tale for all. I’ll be back next year for sure.