For the second year in a row Theo and I had a solo Thanksgiving thanks to Covid. With both kids and their families on the east coast it was just not worth the risk to travel. Especially true for our grandson Cody who is too young to be vaccinated. So, we settled for a FaceTime call and a quiet meal for just the two of us.
If there is a bright side it is that I got to smoke a turkey on Thanksgiving, which I was not doing pre-Covid when we were traveling east for the holiday. Even so, we would rather have traveled east and have had the kids here for Christmas. Regardless, the food was amazing and we will eat it for some time. We will also have turkey left to make turkey noodle soup which Theo and I both adore.
May Covid pass soon so we can freely travel and get past this blip in history. We will travel in January to see our grandson after the holiday hustle and bustle is over. Below are some photos of our Thanksgiving day.
Sean, Carlie, and Sheldon (their dog) decided to make a trip to Oregon and spent a few days with us. On their first night here we treated them to our all time favorite Italian restaurant Rosmarino and one of their 5-course wine-pairing dinners. Chef and owner Dario is the best at pairing wine with food I have ever known and we feel so fortunate to have discovered them by accident many years ago when we were simply looking for a place to have New Year’s dinner. Open Table listed this Italian place out in the middle of nowhere called AgriVino (their old name) literally on a dirt road on the way to the small town on the road to Lafayette, OR. We said what the heck and never looked back. It was sooooo amazing. Since then they have moved to Newberg (their old location got sold) and we do the 5-course dinners as often as we can.
All five courses are served one at a time paired with a specific wine. Sometimes the wines are Italian varietals chosen by Dario and sometimes dishes are paired with wines from a guest winery. Regardless the pairings are flawless. With each dish Dario comes out and explains both the history of the dish (most are old recipes from his grandmother) and his choice of wine (this part is done by the winemaker if a guest winery is involved). These dinners are simply a blast and worth every penny (no, they are not cheap). Sean and Carlie thought this might be the best Italian dinner they had ever had. I certainly feel that way. If you are in Newberg I highly recommend you give Rosmarino a try. However, if you know in advance you are coming best to book a reservation as far in advance as you can since they always sell out.
Theo and I traveled to California to help my sister Peggy and brother-in-law Alfred Martinez celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. The rented a house for the week at Newport Beach with an ocean view that was big enough for all of us and it was a great time. The party was hopping with tons of family and family friends in attendance and lots of good food and drink. It was a great time of celebration.
Theo and I spent a few days at the beach house because, well, Theo loves the beach. We took a beach walk which in all honesty was not quite as relaxing as our Pacific City beach walks in Oregon, but it was warm, and heck, it was the beach. We also took a long walk along the boardwalk (6-8 miles total) that was fun even if we had to frequently avoid an abundance of motorcycles masquerading as e-bikes. It frankly was just good to get away from work for a few days.
The trip did have one bitter-sweet note. This was the last time we got to see our lovely niece Amanda who passed away a couple months later from cancer. Even so, it was good to be away for even a few days since Covid has prevented us from doing so for so long.
Fresh off our trip to New York we headed off to Hood River for a day of wine tasting. Normally we just do this trip for Theo’s birthday in October, but since we joined wine clubs at both Marchesi and Syncline we have no choice but to travel up the Gorge more often since we have club pickup events in both October and May! It is also nice that my birthday is in May so Theo and I get to celebrate our birthdays with matching trips.
We have always enjoyed wine tasting in the Hood River area, and in the early days of our adventures would visit about four wineries over the course of our day. However, now that we belong to two clubs and in the age of Covid appointments are required everywhere, we just visit Marchesi and Syncline (our club wineries) taking extra time to just have a relaxing day. We have always kept the day somewhat simple in that we pack a lunch (usually bagel sandwiches) so we do not have to worry about finding a meal anywhere. If the weather is good we will head down to the river between stops and eat our lunch their while enjoying the view.
Below are a few photos of our day for you to enjoy!
After six months, now that we are both fully vaccinated, Theo and I flew off to New York to meet our grandson Cody. Frankly, I am not sure there is anything I have looked forward to more in my life than this. There is just something special about being a grandparent that you simply cannot explain without experiencing it yourself. If you know me you know I am not a terribly emotional person, but when I found out that I would finally be a grandpa I cried. Enough said.
I got to spend two and a half weeks in Brooklyn, NY with our grandson. Pretty much the entire time I was a babysitter and freaking enjoyed every single minute. Ryan and Hillary were both working hard from home and needed their rest. Cody would wake up at around 6am, Hillary would get up and feed him, then hand him to me and say “go see grandpa!” Sweetest words one could ever hear. Hillary would then go back to bed and Cody and I would pack up in his stroller and go for a really long early morning walk around Brooklyn. I walked Cody a lot during the time I was there putting in 10+ miles a day. We would frequently go to Prospect Park, one of New York’s large city parks, where I would start to teach Cody how to enjoy birds (you had to be there). There was not one thing I did not enjoy about caring for Cody and that included reading him nap-time stories, rolling around the flow with him, listening to his music playlist (over and over), and yes, even changing his diaper. It was a sad day when I had to return home.
Not a day goes by when I do not think about going back to NY to hang with Cody. May that day come soon.