Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year and Yes, I Survived the Drive from LA to Reno

I can't believe it's been so long since I've posted, but it's been an action packed week.
Our Christmas was very nice.  Quiet, relaxing, fun.


The day after Christmas Mr. Tennis and I headed to Reno, NV to check up on The Nephews and pick up my brother, Mr. Connor and bring him back here to LA.

We left about 8am in the morning and had planned on an 8 hour drive. You know what they say about making plans.....

We hit the Sierra Nevada mountain area about 4pm and started seeing signs about "chain warnings". Huh?
Good thing we stopped for gas and talked to the attendant inside.  Yes, it was snowing and icy up on the pass through the mountains and the highway patrol was requiring everyone to have chains to go through.

Bought some chains just in case (we weren't even seeing snow at this point) and started what we thought would be a 2 hour drive through the pass.

Did I mention it was The Donner Pass?  Google it if you aren't familiar with the story.
To put your mind at ease, if you are familiar, we started out with two adults and two dogs and ended our "2 hour drive" with two adults and two dogs at 11:30pm. Took us over 6 hours to make the drive at a snail's pace and one container of Christmas cookies.  
Good thing for the dogs we had those cookies.

Yes Mom there are still cookies back here, stop looking at me like that!

Here's some pictures of what turned out to be quite the driving adventure for four Floridians - one who grew up in Canada and completely forgot everything there was to know about driving in the snow!

You know what they say about a full moon (well, almost full, but it might as well have been)

The donning of the chains...

Lots of cars in ditches, but the Floridians made it to their Reno hotel.

Everything looks better in the light of day...

The Bostons channeled their inner Husky and handled the snow quite well.

And of course, seeing cute nephews made the trip totally worthwhile!

Mr. T and 18 month old Sebastian

Three month old Theodore.


So, what did you do the week after Christmas?????

Next up:  drive back through the mountains in the light of day and our stop at Carmel and Pebble Beach.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays From All of Us!

We are very pleased that the end of the world did not occur and thus we are able to wish all our good friends and family members a very Merry Christmas and a Joyous Holiday Season.

We are a small party this year for Christmas, but our hearts are big and full as we think of all that we have accomplished in 2012 and how fortunate we are to be continuing this new life we are forging in California.

The day after Christmas will find Mr. T, me and The Bostons hitting the road and heading towards Reno, Nevada.  We will visit with "the nephews" that I saw in October, their parents, our neice Val and Mr. Connor, my brother.

After a quick turn around in Reno, Mr. Connor will accompany The Bostons (and us) back to our rental in the LA area - first stopping overnight and taking in the beautiful scenery surrounding Carmel, CA.  A week of new sights and fun will then commence as we show Mr. Connor a lot of what our new city and state has to offer.

This will be my last post until after Christmas, but I will be online sporadically to read and comment and then eventually post some pictures from our Christmas adventures.

Best Wishes to all of you, dear friends and family!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Happy Birthday to The Writer!

With his lovely wife, mugging for the camera

Another year has passed and it's already my son's birthday again!  We haven't been able to spend it consistently each year with him since he went to college in 2003, so it sure is nice to spend it together this year.

Happy Birthday to The Writer, we are so proud of you!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Go Snoopy!

It's starting to look a little like Christmas around this house.  Presents have been wrapped for the most part, thinking of doing some baking later this week and, well, look who showed up to show off his downhill racer skills:

We've had a chilly week with drizzle and wind.  A couple of Floridians decided they needed new coats and showed them off during a walk.

And then there's these two:

Thanks to Tony, my Brother-in-law, who put this together!

Wishing everyone happy preparations.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Friday, December 14, 2012

Pay It Forward

Most likely we all woke up this morning and tuned into the tragic, developing news unfolding as I write this, in Connecticut.  I planned to write this post today, but hesitated because it just didn't seem right to be typing away on my little blog while this horrible scenario unfolds.

But as I thought about it and needed to keep busy waiting for the inevitable horrific numbers, involving children, I thought what better sentiment to write about than "paying it forward".

Seems like our world could use a bit more of the Pay It Forward philosophy in showing gratitude, generosity of spirit and thinking of others.

I have a very good "bloggy" friend, Pat from Corn in My Coffeepot, . She and I exchange many emails in addition to commenting on each other's blogs as the days and weeks have become a couple of years now.

In January, I believe it was, Pat posted an idea of a "Pay It Forward" chain of people, with her blog as the conduit for the launch point after people signed up.  The idea was to pay it forward to another person in the blogosphere with a homemade gift of your choice with the only restriction being that it be done before the end of the year.

Fast forward to December. Procrastinators unite!!!  
Not Pat, but me.  But I did it. Mailed it this week and I sure hope Pat cracks a little smile when she sees my homemade attempt. (And I hope it survived the mailing experience).

I received my gift from Pat earlier in the month and was so excited when I saw her name and return address because I knew she had created something special.

I wasn't disappointed.  Pat is a gifted crochet-artiste and I've admired many of her items in her ETSY shop over time, even purchasing a sweet pumpkin garland for the autumn season.

Thank you Pat for my Pay It Forward gift:

A pretty Christmas themed garland with Christmas Trees and snowflakes.  It hangs on my hutch that contains many of my favorite treasures.

Pat also included these pretty, yet functional dish cloths - dare I use them for such? 

 It seems a shame to get them dirty, but Pat assures me they can be popped in the washing machine come out as good as new.

Please stop by Pat's blog Corn in My Coffepot when you have a chance.  She's a woman with a big heart, a huge amount of knowledge and skill and an ETSY shop full of homemade goodies and vintage items.

Words are not enough, 
but our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by the events of today in Connecticut.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Grandma Goes to the Movies...And We Go to The Staples Center

While Mr. T and I had the pleasure of watching The Orlando Magic of do this to The LA Lakers:

Grandma, The Writer and Sammy hit The Maven's new place of employment and saw the movie, "Argo" on the house!

We had already seen the movie and the tickets to the game were my bday present to Mr. Tennis. Double the fun because our old home town did us proud.  Perhaps triple the pleasure (for some of us) because the handsome Mr. Beckham was in attendance and they flashed his pretty face on the massive jumbo tron:

Jack was somewhere down in the floor seats, but we were up in the rafters and forgot to bring binoculars, so he was safe from our prying eyes.

I think Orlando Grandma got bit by the movie bug because she chose to spend her last day in LA touring The Warner Brothers' studios where we had watched a taping of "Two and a Half Men" the Friday before.  We certainly had fun at that taping and it continued for this excellent tour.

****Long post alert!****
 I will never know it if you scroll in a liberal fashion, so go ahead if this isn't your thing.
(Or will I? )

We were in a twelve-seater golf-cart-like contraption and had strict instructions about where and when we could take pictures, so my photos are somewhat limited, but I can fill in the blanks with my words.

"Mike and Molly" now film on the "Friends" soundstage, and we passed by 
Conan O'Brien's hangout.

Tour starts out in the backlot which looks like "Smalltown" USA.  Current productions filming here are: Hart of Dixie (using most of the outdoor portions of the town square), Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, Mike and Molly, Dirty Little Liars, The Mindy Project, and that's where my memory stops.

Apparently this building front was used a lot in "The Dukes of Hazzard"

Current Feature  film using sound stage and some outdoor areas, Hangover 3.

A poor picture, but they are re-creating the outside of Caesar's Palace in this sound stage.

This store front was originally built for "Casablanca" and was the Paris apartment used by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman's characters.

We got a brief glimpse into the massive prop house at the studio which houses a permanent scene from "Friends", the studio's largest money making sitcom to date.  In syndication it is still their biggest earning television production.

We came upon some blood on the floor....

That our tour guide quickly picked up.

And Grandma met an old friend.

There was a whole wall of Presidential and state seals used in various productions and many had "hold" tags for different shows who claimed them for use.

The prop house is four stories high and is one of the largest in Los Angeles.  Warner Brothers' makes a good bit of money renting out various props, and their sound stages and back lot,  to other studio productions so there was a lot of activity while we were there.

There is a small vehicle museum where pictures were allowed and I snapped a few.

Orange car in the background is from "Dukes of Hazzard" 

And for us Big Bang fans, the capsule that "Howard" spent time in, in space.

Other non-picture visits were to a working sound stage where "Dirty Little Liars", an ABC Family production, although on hiatus, was still set up from their last shoot. During this portion of the tour, we learned how massive the lighting system is and how the camera easily fools us as far as how big the set is and how authentic things can look.  To save space on the tight sets of hour-long dramas, only one camera is used therefore stretching the production time for a one hour show out to up to eight, 10-12 hour days. A half-hour sitcom, in comparison, is often shot before a live audience and uses multiple cameras on more open sets and filming is completed, in our case at Friday's taping, in four and half hours.

Our last stop on the tour is the one I wish I had pictures of as it was the costume museum.  They had many historical costumes such as Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman's outfits from Casablanca and several Clint Eastwood outfits starting with his old westerns, "Dirty Harry" up to his most recent in "Trouble with the Curve".

Bette Davis and Joan Crawford's costumes from "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane" were spooky to look at and we got a kick out of seeing current movies represented including the costumes for the cast of "Argo" which Orl Gma had just seen the night before. Most interesting is how petite many of the actors really are, or at least their clothes seem to be - and I'm not just talking about the women actors!
 Part of the magic of film.

The whole second floor was taken up with "Harry Potter" costumes and props.  I never even made it up there!

Warner Brothers' number one rated TV show was represented right up front with the zany outfits from the boys (and girl) on The Big Bang Theory.

A wonderful history of the studio is also documented with various pictures, ledgers, contracts, scripts, etc.

It was a great wrap up to Grandma's visit and a treat for me too since I am such a movie hound.

Have a great week!  I will be getting ready for the holidays in the next few weeks - a little later than most of my blogging friends, but I'm getting closer to being finished!
How about you?