Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The weird time just before Christmas

For the last few week I have been off of school, but with the holiday almost here I really couldn't get organized to find some part-time work. So we spent our time together hiking all over Sonoma County. We did a rainy day hike in Armstrong woods down into Austin Creek Trail.

I cooked every opportunity I could. This sweet potato with pecans and goat cheese dish came from my favorite food blogger Smitten Kitchen. It made it as an appetizer for Christmas dinner and it was a hit.

We also did some mushroom hunting. This was our loot from one day out in the forest. For the following three days we made mushroom this and mushroom that. Delicious and FREE!

Mostly we have been doing some serious resting. A good nap cures all ills. Lily and Tuxedo agree.

Monday, December 13, 2010

December fun with Christmas lights.

Since August 2010, Kayla has been a steady presence in our lives. Once a week we get her for a 24 hour period from Friday night until Saturday afternoon. Since Mom is busy with six-month-old Baby B at home Kayla gets some fun just-me time with us.

In December we did do all kinds of fun things.
We discovered a free carriage ride in Rail Road Square. FREE! Thanks to all the merchants in the area she and I got to meet Willy the horse and his gracious owners.

We sang Jingle Bells and now she tells people she rode a one horse open sled. That works for me.

On another Friday we drove around our neighborhood looking for Christmas lights. Well we found four houses decorated to the max. This house has been dressed up in lights for over 40 years. Kayla and I counted 42 Christmas trees on the lawn all with lights, some twirled, some were small, it was all so fun. Her favorite was a Santa train right at the base of the big tree.

We don't decorate for Christmas, it has never been our thing. So we enjoyed the lights and enjoyed Kayla's reaction. At this house she named all the story characters, "that is Snow white, there is Pooh".

It was all smiles.

My favorite reaction was watching her dance for joy under the snow-flake making machine at the last house we visited that night.

In spite of all that snow making fun, her favorites were the angels. Kayla has a thing for angles.

Since our Friday night outing we have been looking for lights and discovered Lights of the Valley a website were you can look for and rate decorated houses in most of Northern California. The following week we made it to Walnut Court and saw more story characters.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mushroom hunting and new friends

Thomas and I are part of a cool community called Couch Surfing. Since we won't be doing much travel this year and next we decided to make friends from around the world by inviting them to stay with us. In November we hosted our first CS friends, Wendy and Gary. They came to visit for Thanksgiving week and stayed with us for a few days. Gary and Wendy are a fantastic couple. On their first day visiting Sonoma County we took them for a late afternoon hike at Shiloh Park. (Following 4 Pictures taken by Wendy)

While the were with us we introduced them to Salvadorean food and curing olives and they showed us how to play Catan.

Who knew you could have fun with wood and sheep.

It was a fabulous time. Thank you G & W, hope to visit you some day in West Virginia.

In November we also attended our first mushroom foray with the local SOMA group. We brought Kayla along for the fun.

She was the only kid in the group that day and you could hear her kid voice in the forest every time she found a mushroom. Mushroom! Mushroom! Mushroom! Thomas I see a Mushroom!

There were so many great happenings that day. We learned to identify wild edible mushrooms, we played with Kayla in the forest, we made some great new friends, we ate some fantastic food and most of all we enjoyed abundant generosity. The folks at SOMA shared their knowledge and hunt with all who attended. Thank you guys and gals!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Love One Another

It was a rainy Friday afternoon but it was a perfect day. We had the wedding at the Yacht Club in Bodega Bay.

Dad, my youngest brother Marco and I awaiting the perfect moment to walk down the isle. I chose the Bach's Cello Suite No.1 in G major, Prelude by Yo-Yo Ma as my precessional song. When Thomas and I first lived together, Thomas would practice playing the cello everyday after work. Since he got home before I did, every day for a few weeks, he would great me with Yo-Yo Ma's rendition. It filled my heart with so much joy and I felt it again when I walked down the isle.

I borrowed an old Spanish tradition the 'Lasso' or 'Rope' which signifies unity. We wore it around our shoulders during our exchange of vows...
"With this ring, I give you my promise that from this day forward you should not walk alone. May my heart be your shelter and my arms be your home. May we walk together through all things. May you feel deeply cherished, for indeed you are. May you always see your innocence in my eyes. With this ring, I give you my love. I have no greater gift to give. I promise I will do my best. I feel so honored to call you my husband/wife. May we feel this joy forever. I thank you. May the blessings be."

We were both so happy.

Our first kiss as the Mr. and Mrs.

Witnessed by our family and friends it does feel official.

Marco was our ring man. He took his job very seriously.

My family traveled from El Salvador to be with us. In birth order, my brother Billy, myself, Cristy, Tony (11 years after I was born), and Marco (30 years later).

The Paine Family.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


The big weekend is almost here. As I have been preparing, I realized that the last time my entire family was all together was more than 12 years ago. I usually try to go back to El Salvador every two to three years but it has never worked out for all of us to be together. I see my parents more often than that since they will make the trip to CA to visit me. This is the BIG weekend. My sister Cristy, my older brother Billy, and my younger brother Tony (not pictured) will all be here. So will Marco my youngest brother and my Step-Mom Maria del Carmen. So we are taking a huge family picture, both families (pre- and post my parents' divorce) together for the first time.

Hot enough

Bees need a source of fresh water. When we first got the bee boxes we worried that we would hear complaints from our neighbors with pools. We were glad to discover that the bees have been enjoying the water fountain in the front yard.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I want samour sleep!

Isn't she so cute! Lily gathers her toys and sleeps this way most every day. On this particular occasion I just had to take a picture because she had 3 out of 5 of her toys with her. They are all her favorites and she knows were they all are. I have been trying to give each a name and get her to bring them by name.

I have to confess these days I am jealous of how much sleep she gets. I want to sleep! This is my final week of our Med-Surgical clinical rotation, next week we move on to Psych rotation. Lot's of work = little sleep.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Taking some time off, mushroom hunting, and another beautiful sunset.

After a relaxing morning on the beach with Lily and after Thomas had gotten his fill with the waves, we headed back to our campsite at the Gualala State Park.

We love our weekend escapes up north, mostly cause we get to sleep under the trees, hear the calming ocean waves in the background, hover over a roaring fire, and forget about our cell phones--they don't get any reception here.

We prefer our tent any day over a hotel room. Call us crazy.

Thomas made breakfast, that always makes me happy.

I got in some knitting. Working on a Celtic vest for this winter. I am biting my lower lip, I was working on my set-up row for the pretty cabled front.

Then we headed for a hike. Our destination for the day was the Kruse Rhododendron State Reserve just 18.5 miles south of Gualala.

Even though the Rhododendrons are in bloom April-June you can still get an idea of how spectacular the forest would be if these giant plants (most were taller than 6 feet) were all dressed with their pink and white flowers. We will definitely be back for the show.

We have been interested in mushroom hunting and the Mendocino/Sonoma coast is perfect for that. It didn't take long for us to spot some fungi.

Really they were everywhere. These particular mushrooms popping out of the ground are not edible. Still we were fascinated by them.

Thomas' spotted this variety and from the looks of it, something or someone was busy eating it up. Edible?

Yes, we were all smiles.

We were mostly looking down, but we managed to spot some wild huckleberries. Slightly tart but sweet and delicious.

I counted a total of 15 mushroom varieties spotted on our 4 mile hike. After talking with the locals at the Point Arena Pier the next day, they assured us with much excitement that it (the abundance of fungi) gets better after the first rain. Now the pressing question are they edible?

Oyster mushrooms, growing out of dead bark... totally edible. This winter I am going to come back with some local fungi folk for a day of mushroom foraging to learn about mushrooms. Want to join me?

We spotted this plant. With orchid like foliage and berries?

As promised, I learned to use the timer on our camera. Can you spot the worried big eye look on me, I was wondering if it would work as the camera took the picture.

We opted to leave all fungi in the forest. After our hike, we arrived at our campsite in time for the sunset.