Napa Road Trip minus the wine

My friend’s road would be slurried, she wanted a landscape of a vineyard, and I went along to capture some new images. No formal destination and no time constraints. Armed with ice coffee, plenty of water and music for the road.

Early morning departure means little sleep for me. My sleep cycle has really flipped this summer. Even if I try to get to bed early, I fall asleep around 3:30 am. This also seems to happen if I am going somewhere the next day. Need to start making a switch, and wake up early before the temperature rises.

Silverado Trail is our first stop. Vineyards on both sides of the road, but the fields planted along the mountainsides are not as mature and lush.

Grapes ripening on the vine
My imagination goes wild with the bark of the vine. Peeking animals.

I see a cute sign post with a donkey, and then I spot donkeys. I approach animals carefully, but one donkey was particularly friendly. Almost called her such a good puppy. A natural mistake given my situation.

I first spotted this cute garden art. Then OMG donkeys.
Ready to say hello
Just so sweet. Came right over for some love.
Pregnant donkey (called Jenny). Gestation takes a long time. 11-14 Months! I wonder how long this Jenny has to wait?
Good bye my donkey friend.

Facebook has been reminding me that nine years ago Liberty came into my life. Having her, missing her, and needing another dog is a tribute to my Libby.

We brought my Libby Love home 9 years ago.

David would want to have another English Lab, but I am open to looking at another breed. Looking for a medium sized dog. I would like to be able to lift the dog up, be easily trainable and have a good personality. Thought about a cocker spaniel, or Logatto Romagnolo.

I decided to go with an Australian Labradoodle. The DNA includes Labrador retriever, Poodle, and Cocker Spaniel. This is multigenerational hybrid that was essentially developed to provide canine assistance to those who are allergic to dog hair. Since poodles improve the chances for this characteristic, and the Labrador retriever has a proven track record for training the hope is for the best of both. The Labradoodle comes in three sizes, and so this satisfies my need for a more portable dog. Having less hair to sweep up is a bonus! Though I will need to become informed about the grooming. My Libby was a wash & wear dog.

My I have gotten off track. Back to my road trip. Remembering past trips our destination was the CIA – Culinary Institue of America. First stop was the CIA at Copia. I was pleasantly surprised to come across a photographic homage to Julia Child by her husband Paul. Such a wonderful collection of black & white photographs. Well worth taking time out to visit if you are interested in photography!

A Toast!

The space at the CIA was amazing. The light, design, and architecture captured my imagination.

I will certainly schedule another visit and spend time exploring the outside when the temperature is below 100 degrees.

Interesting staircase. Another place to explore next time.
Beautiful glass sculpture
Love the lighting here
Replica of sculpture that rests on top of building.
Serene setting.
These real spices fill the space with wonderful aromas. Makes you hungry!
Grand space

I didn’t spend too much time outside but the outside had much to see.

Outside seating under a pergola. Live music venue at Grove

Fork sculpture made out of forks. But where is the spoon it ran away with?

Went next door to the Oxbow Public Market. Another place I need to come back to for some great people watching with my Fuji x100f. Put myself in a street photography mind set. Ate an interesting gourmet oven baked Mushroom pizza with ricotta cheese sauce. No pictures, just good food!

Last place on our road trip was the Greystone Cellers. This is home to the CIA School. Interesting history. The building was impressive, but the view overlooking the vineyard was difficult to capture. Trees blocked the view. How rude! And then there is the parking lot to contend with. Not to mention the heat.

Massive doorway leads into Greystone Cellers
Impressive main entrance.

Cakes decorated by the students attending the CIA at Greystone. Reminds me of when my daughter decorated cakes in high school in ROP Bakery Academy. Being the good mom I sampled each creation. Made with lard and not buttercream the taste did not match up with the beautiful design.

Among the many collections I was drawn to this clown bottle opener.
Ironic that this truck advertising Vodka was parked next to the vineyard.
Not sure what kind of flower this is. Pretty in Pink.

So ends a day in Napa Valley. No wine was consumed. Any blurriness in the photographs are due to photographer error and not the vino!

Moving from Independence to Dependence

In eleven days my Mom will celebrate her 90th birthday. Earlier this year my grandson turned 18 and graduated high school. My granddaughter is 13 and just started 8th grade. My youngest grandson will be welcoming a baby brother in a couple of months. My 3 1/2 year old Elijah is ready to start preschool and granddaughter Alyssa at 13 is gaining on me in height. All kinds of life changes. Kind of sets my mind spinning since each stage has very different needs.  As my grandson, Isaac starts his job search, gets ready to drive, and move out on his own, my parents move from “Independent” living to Assisted Living.

My main focus is the pull between independence and dependence.  As the oldest child and only daughter I have become a parent to my parents.  This role requires a bit of a balancing act. A role reversal happens and my new place in life is difficult. It is hard enough to make life choices for yourself. With experience you weigh the pros and cons, and hope for the best. Looking back, you realize that decisions do not always equal a final decision.

As a new parent, you weigh your decisions and care for your baby. If your baby isn’t happy you are alerted by their cries. A teenager (young adult) knows “everything” and can verbally admonish your ruling as being unfair. Arguements ensue and life moves on. As a young adult each choice may seem final, yet later years show that it is possible (and probable)  to regroup and take life in another direction. Part of living are the changes that occur.

The circle is closing. Memory isn’t clear, and I have to make decisions for my parents. I need to make a choice for the pair, but their needs are different.  Mom and Dad married in 1947. They have been together for 68 years. They always relied on each other, and now they both need help. Dad approaching 97 still has another 6 1/2 years to catch up to his brother, my Uncle Mark. Yup, that makes my uncle 103 1/4 years young. I understand you go back to counting those half years.  Remember when someone asked, ” How old is your baby?” Always replied 6 months, 9 months, 18 months.

With this decision to move to Assisted Living I meet a bit of resistance, but the fight retreats into a quiet resolve. I am saddened when I see this. My father looks around and says, “What about all of our furniture?” Then he takes another minute, and asks is it time to go to dinner? My mother wants some help, but having someone come in for a couple of hours in the morning doesn’t meet this need. I hope that I have chosen well, and that help will be provided in a caring fashion.

I’ve been told that growing old is not for sissies.

Here are some photographs taken from the last 10 years.

We gathered in Sun City West, Arizona to celebrate my Mom turning 80. Arizona in August is not the place to be, so we took the celebration up to Sedona, Az. Mom’s macular degeneration was starting to affect her good eye. This caused quite a bit of worry.

Ten years ago my parents lived in Sun City West, Arizona in their own custom built home.
Ten years ago my parents lived in Sun City West, Arizona in their own custom built home.

Sometimes I would tense up when I saw my mother with her cards. Usually meant that she was not at peace. Now, I would be happy if she could see her cards and play.

Mom often played Solitaire, Here she is at the kitchen table in 2006 at 81.
Mom often played Solitaire, Here she is at the kitchen table in 2006 at 81.

Must have got my tech genes from my Dad. Gadgets always facinates him. He tries to work my iPhone or iPad. Got to  watch or like my grandkids all my apps and stuff will be moved around. Maybe I’ll  give him one of my less important gadgets. Unfortunately, my iPhone keeps me in line. What kind of boss do I have?

2007 finds my parents using the computer. My Dad is almost 89, and my Mom is turning 82. Still very independent in Sun City West.
2007 finds my parents using the computer. My Dad is almost 89, and my Mom is turning 82. Still very independent in Sun City West.

Parents are still in their home in Arizona.

A sweet moment
A sweet moment

In August 2008, on my Mom’s 83rd birthday my parents move to Sacramento. The move was not smooth. She  arrived here with a pelvis fractured in 5 places from a fall on the last day before the move. She recovered completely, but it was two months before she could go down stairs for dinner. Her eye sight was quickly failing, and adjusting to this and not driving was difficult.

2008 My Dad is 90, and Mom is 83. Now liviing in Sacramento at Eskaton Carmichael in "Independent" living.
2008 My Dad is 90, and Mom is 83. Now liviing in Sacramento at Eskaton Carmichael in “Independent” living.

Celebrating my Dad's 95th birthday in 2010.
Celebrating my Dad’s 95th birthday in 2010.

Brunch with my parents in 2012.
Brunch with my parents in 2012.

Dressed up to celebrate another milestone in 2013. Dad turns 95.
Dressed up to celebrate another milestone in 2013. Dad turns 95.

The  Rubinstein Family together in 2013.
The Rubinstein Family together in 2013.

My parents together for nearly 68 years of Valentine's Days (2015)
My parents together for nearly 68 years of Valentine’s Days (2015)

And the circle of life continues.