September 16, 2014

Dinner with French Foodies

We had fun flying Michele and the boys
from Seattle to the ranch in Wyoming, then
a week or so later to Tahoe.
Raw ingredients for our French dinner.  American
supermarkets aren't quite the quality of French
street markets, but Michele did her best to hunt
down some good ingredients.  She was completely
mystified by the "Miracle Whip" in the store,
(yuk!) which will likely never be in France.
I love how the French love great food!

Bob showed us how to make crepes, a French diet staple.
  Mike tried for three days to pronounce "crepe" properly!
We had them savory (with ham, cheese and an egg) or
sweet (with strawberries and whipped cream).
Note our flour sifter is a spatter guard...
hey, it works!
Michele and Bob preparing Navarin D'Agneau
 (tender braised lamb with pearl onions and green beans),
and ratatouille (eggplant and zucchini with tomatoes,
 peppers, onions, garlic and herbs de Provence).
 Hot or cold, real French ratatouille is to die for!

Our dinner out at West Shore Cafe, where we rode
in the boat, and the "boat valet" gave us a ride to
the dock in a dinghy!
Smiles all around for our American dinner:  beef
 tenderloin, salmon, russet and sweet potatoes,
 grilled sweet onions, and a big salad.

Dessert temptation - Babas au Rhum from Paris,
 which Michele cradled carefully in her suitcase.
Hard to describe, sort of like cake balls in rum,
really incredible over fresh strawberries :)

September 15, 2014

Lake Tahoe avec nos amis de Paris!

Emerald Bay, just south of our place in Lake Tahoe,
was alive with boats and kayakers in the midst of
a warm summer day.  Note the "teahouse" in the
middle of the bay, built by the wealthy owners of
a 38 room mansion (Vikingsholm, on the shore)
 back in the 1930's.  The only island
 in Lake Tahoe, the owners were the primary backers
of Charles Lindbergh's nonstop solo flight across
the Atlantic in 1927.   
Climbing up to the teahouse involves a swim,
a scramble up the rocks and a little bravery in
the face of a tall building on a sheer cliff with
no railings!  Mike and I, along with our friends
Michelle and her sons Bill and Bob from Paris
were up to the task

Bonjour from the teahouse in Lake Tahoe!
My first attempt at paddle boarding,  thanks to a
lot of advice from Dan and Vicki.  Easier than it
looks, as long as there is no wind and no boat wake.

Mike was brave enough to test the line to start.
Bob and Dan had to give him the heave ho.

Dan shot a slingshot up in the trees
to make a fun tree climb.

Bill showing some style on the paddle board!
Bob was hoisted up a good 50 feet in the air for
a true bird's eye view.

August 18, 2014

Tim and Amy's Wedding

Nephew Tim and Amy tied the
knot in style at the Skyline Loft,
 just outside of Chicago. What a
great party!!!  
Making sure my date is up to snuff - it's been a
while since he wore a tie.

The beaming bride and groom, looking forward to
a lifetime of happiness.
An elegant chandelier graced the industrial
elevator  - seemed like we should be wearing
hardhats with our wedding duds.
Amy was delighted with Tim's
accidental kiss, stolen before the
official one was announced.

Catching up with Rolly, who really dressed up for
the occasion (note that Mike's tie is now gone)!
Mike photobombing a few of his sisters!

Party on, Raney sibs!

Mike's sisters know a thing or two about how to
cut a rug 

Table decorations of Amy and Tim in the early years.

August 15, 2014

Chicago River Tour

Brilliant Henry Moore bronze
sculpture sets off some of Chicago's
fine architecture.
Crown Fountain in Millenium Park,
a kid magnet on this summer day.

Famous radio commentator "Good Day!" Paul Harvey
 was a proud Chigagoan from WWII until his death in 2009. 
America's finest, the Blue Angels, thrilled the crowds
in downtown Chicago as they buzzed the buildings.

The old Montgomery Ward administration building
has been converted into swanky condominiums
and luxury office space for companies like Groupon
and Dyson Vacuum.
Our family group of ten had a great time on the
Chicago Architecture Foundation boat tour,
where you can see all the amazing buildings from
the water view side, with no traffic at all.
The massive old Chicago Post Office was the largest
building in the world in 1932, when Chicago was home
 to massive mail order titans Sears and Montgomery Ward.
  Plans are slowly in the works to turn the 2.7 million
 square feet into residential space.

Willis Tower, formerly known as
Sears Tower, was the world's tallest
building for 24 years.  Those people
on the top floor didn't have such a
good view on the day we saw it.
Love the shimmering green building, 333 West Wacker
 Drive,  contoured to echo the curve of the Chicago river.
Many Chicago buildings are named by address only,
 to avoid fire department confusion.   This is
where Ferris Bueller's dad worked!
Always knew the Donald had his
head in the clouds!

July 29, 2014

Lake Tahoe Family Reunion

There were plenty of arms available to feed Mabrey.
Cousins Ty, Sophia, Lilly, Abbey and Caleb in a rare
moment of repose at the Raney Lodge.

Big brother Mike and I with Mom.
Abby is taking the law into her own hands.

Alex with his first OREO cookie - mini Megan!
As opposed to the light beer..... 

Mom took a header off the stairs, while she was
trying to take a photo of Lake Tahoe at dusk.  Thank
goodness she was OK, but sported some heavy bruising.
We wanted to know what the other guy looked like!
In the back, Caleb, Tony, Mark, Sarah, Mike and me.
In the front Jenny and Ty.  We hiked up Eagle Rock Trail
 to the volcanic outcrop for an amazing
 panoramic view of Lake Tahoe.

Justin and girlfriend Sandy enjoying a little R&R.

Ethan eagerly volunteered to drive the
boat.  Good thing Anthony is in charge
of the throttle.
Megan and Adrian in a rare 20 minutes alone on the jet ski.
  That must be why they call it "speed dating"!

July 27, 2014

Lake Tahoe Family Reunion

One of the most delightful moments was
seeing my mother painting again.
Sarah and Mark unwinding.  No high tech problems
to solve here at the lake.

Tony had to make good on a bet he lost
last year when the Seahawks beat the
49ers, by wearing feathers and dancing
to "What Does the Hawk Say?"  The

Seahawks went on to make Superbowl
history.  The 49ers were busy watching
TV and cussing that day.
Swimming noodles can also be repurposed to run
around the deck and play tag.  Good to know.

More of costume night - he's strong to the finish 'cause he
eats his spinach, he's Popeye the sailor man!
Butt Furr?  We'd never say who
chose to wear this, Tony.

Mike and the boys ready to take on the monster
whipsaw flip ride.
Jenny waterskiing 

Mike scrambled up onto a
40 foot rock and jumped
into the water!
Caleb and Ty spent hours throwing rocks into the
lake.  My favorite exchange?
 Ty: "I'm out of rocks"
Caleb: "I'll throw you some"
Alex taking in a little Vitamin D sunshine
Beth opted for shade with a sleepy Mabrey.