Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Year

Ended 2011 with a foggy hike on Mount St Helena.Charlie, Gabe and I had planned to go climbing, but we picked the one moist day of this dry winter so ended up hiking instead.
It was a beautiful damp day, enticing for photographs. I forgot to bring my camera, so Charlie and I shared his and some of these photos are his.

It's been so dry this winter that the hills are still pretty brown, but this area was nice and lush.
The reds of the manzanita looked particularly burnished in the damp air.
And the fog and moss gave the forest an ethereal quality.Lichen-covered branches contrasted beautifully with the fallen brown leaves,
and it coated standing trunks as well, making for a fuzzy forest.We veered off the path to find a nice deep dry hole with interesting little nooks.
And we checked out one of the climbing spots, the Bubble.
We stopped at a newish restaurant in Winters on the way home. Preserve Public House is a great place to eat and drink, and Charlie loves their pulled pork sandwich so much, he had it two days in a row while he was housesitting in Winters so he could introduce me to it. We headed home on a full stomach, then Charlie and I snuck over to Froggy's for Carol's surprise birthday party. Carol's friends filled the bar. It was a tiki-themed party, so I'd made a set of 19 cat and dog tiki mugs which were used as centerpieces. Here are a few of my favorites:

New Year's Eve was spent preparing a handmade ravioli feast. I was too busy stressing over being late to take photos, but luckily Sarah thought to snap a picture, so here's some I stole from her. Happily, we had lots of hands to make the ravioli, and everyone was fine with dinner being a process. And even more fortunately, our Italian friend Tommaso showed up in the nick of time to show us how it's actually done.
Dinner was delicious. It was so good that Charlie and I had to take a nap afterwards and never made it to the New Year's Eve party. Oh well.
Charlie made up for it with a January birthday party that broke records. He had the brilliant idea of hiring a taco truck and inviting all his friends. We're not sure exactly how many people came, but someone counted 99 folks at one point, and the taco truck fed at least 75 before running out of food. Charlie helped serve a few plates. (Photo courtesy of Julia Luckenbill.)There was a pinata too. The kids all took a swing, then Charlie finished it off.
Happy birthday Charlie!

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