Mary Claire’s 80th – Fri. April 20, 2018 (Part 2)

The birthday cake was tiramisu from Bella Bru Bakery in Carmichael.

In 2001 there was a picture of a tiramisu wedding cake on the cover of a prominent magazine. Bella Bru copied the picture and made the cake for my daughter’s wedding. Guess who likes tiramisu?

The gals sang Happy Birthday, Mary Claire.

MC blowing out the candles.

Dolores photographed Mary Claire at work.

Nanan watched as Sue Pach helped MC with the cake cutting. Sue was an invaluable help with clearing off the dishes, pouring coffee, and passing out the dessert.

Sue Mecum, Sue Pach, Mary Ann Stewart, and Kathy Cunningham enjoyed dessert.

Kathy, Nanan, Dorla, and Mary Claire having dessert.

Dolores, Mary Mayer, Sue Mecum and Sue Pach busy with eating dessert.

Now it was time to read the cards. There were 3 or 4 yellow envelopes, but no two cards were the same.

It wasn’t that easy to find an appropriate 80th birthday card. At one store, the numbered cards ended at 60, so I gave up on an 80th card.

Clark joined the party for a few minutes to explain his Sportscaster cards which he collected in the 80s. He had a pile of cards of women athletes which he passed around for people to take. He gave Mary Claire a card of auto racer Janet Guthrie who also was born in 1938, the same year as MC. He also gave MC a card of the 4 Horseman of Notre Dame to take home to husband Jim, a graduate of Notre Dame.

Mary Mayer selected a card of Flo Hyman, volleyball player on the US Olympic team in 1984.

Mary discovered that Flo grew up in Inglewood, as did Mary. And Flo attended El Camino Junior College in Torrance, as did Mary.

Here are some samples of the cards. Clark made the labels thanking people for coming.

The party’s over!!

Thanks for sharing your 80th with us, Mary Claire. I can’t think of a nicer person with whom to celebrate their 80th birthday!! ♨️


Happy 80th, Mary Claire – Friday, April 20, 2018 (Part I)

Mary Claire O’Connor, the baby of our former social bridge group, turned 80 on Friday, April 20, 2018. She was by far the best of our group at remembering what cards had been played. Our group played bridge once a month for 46 years from 1969 until 3 years ago. Since then Mary Claire has frequently invited us to have lunch at North Ridge CC to celebrate birthdays. At the end of the lunch, Mary Claire usually passes out a round of homemade black bottom cupcakes and give me extras to bring home to Clark. She also used to frequently bring chocolate chip cookies to Erin.

I invited those who could, to come to lunch to celebrate Mary Claire’s 80th. Also, I invited 5 of her friends who used to substitute in our group. Mary Claire plays in other groups with them, and she is the baby of those groups, too. Mary Claire knew we were meeting for her birthday, but she didn’t know of the 5 additional invitees. They were a lively group and a lot of fun. We gathered from 11:30 until 3:15.

The birthday girl – Mary Claire O’Connor

Dorla Morse, Dolores Underwood, Mary Claire, Mary Mayer.
Dorla played bridge with Mary Claire on Thursday at North Ridge and didn’t want to spill the beans, so Dorla didn’t even wish MC an upcoming Happy Birthday.
Dolores and Mary are neighbors of Mary Claire’s.

Mary Mayer, Nanan Buchell, Sue Mecum, Mary Ann Stewart.
Nanan also saw Mary Claire Thursday in the bridge room at North Ridge and avoided wishing MC a Happy Birthday.
Sue Mecum is an original member of the social group. She and her sister have recently moved about 3 blocks away from me. Sue went to Oaxaca with my sister Patricia and me 15 years ago to study Spanish for a few weeks.
Mary Ann joined the social group in 1973 when she and her military family returned from the Philippines. She has 5 daughters and 11 grandsons, only 1 granddaughter,

Kathy Cunningham and Sue Pach.
Kathy was one of the original members of our social group. She and Mary Claire moved to Sacramento from Portland while I was in Oakland with my broken leg in 1961.
Sue Pach and Mary Claire played in the Notre Dame wives bridge group and used to play golf together at North Ridge. Sue Pach and I met in 1971 when our children were on the Carmichael Beavers Swim Team. Her son Joe and my son Brandon were in kindergarten together.

Clark was hungry Thursday night and he wanted to go out to eat after bridge, but I wanted to come home to finish preparing the salads. So, I fixed him a plate: crab and shrimp salad on an avocado half, fruit salad, tortelini-chicken-spinach-pesto salad, and roll.

The group about to eat. Clockwise from me (bottom left) Barb, Dolores Underwood, Mary Mayer, Sue Mecum, Sue Pach, Mary Ann Stewart, Kathy Cunningham, Nanan Buchell, Dorla Morse, Mary Claire.

To be continued …

Paco’s plans for high school – Wed. April 18, 2018

I had a text message from Steve yesterday saying that Paco was just accepted into the SciMaTech program for the high school next year! Paco turned 14 on Feb. 29th, so heads to high school in the Fall.


Visit from Jeanne Chase Tiscareno – Sun. April 15, 2018

Readers of this blog will note that the most frequent commenter to the blog is Barbara Chase. Barbara and I met when we entered Holy Names High School in Oakland in the Fall of 1948 and by our Sophomore year had become fast friends. We went to different colleges, but kept up the friendship for almost 70 years in spite of Barbara’s living in the Northwest for most of those years.

I was so excited to receive a call yesterday afternoon from Barbara’s daughter, Jeanne Tiscareno, who lives in Seattle. She and her husband Bob and son Dan were in Sacramento for a Junior Golf tournament at Haggin Oaks. Dan is 17 years old, a high school junior, and is hoping to go to college on a golf scholarship. I am impressed: he has a handicap of 0.14. But, he was not happy with shooting a 77 yesterday at the MacKenzie course at the Haggin Oaks complex.

Jeanne came over for brunch this morning and we had a wonderful visit. She is very vivacious and a great conversationalist, so between her and Clark, I didn’t have to say a word!

Clark was about to take pictures of his thumbs again, but I managed to show him where the lens was so that he avoided the thumb selfie.

Barb and Jeanne in the bright sun. It was too windy to eat outside.

Jeanne in front of a xylosma bush. When Barbara Chase visited about 15 years ago, she was impressed with the xylosma. Barbara is an avid gardener and they do not have xylosmas in Edmunds, outside of Seattle. For my birthday that year she sent me a xylosma plant for the patio (behind the fence). I didn’t get around to pruning it for the last year, and it had overtaken the patio. A couple of months ago we pruned off five or six 15 foot branches, but left the branch that was growing vertically. We now have a xylosma “tree”.


Happy Easter – Sun. April 1, 2018

Happy Easter!!

Brandon, Lisa, Beckett, and Lisa’s parents Chuck and Joleen Hecht came for brunch this morning.

Brandon and Beck wore coordinating blue checkered shirts.

The Easter Bunny left a chocolate “Too Tall Bunny” with ears sticking out of the top of the box. The bunny was carrying a basketball. Clark slipped a $2 bill into the box.

Barb, Brandon, Joleen, Lisa, Chuck, and Clark

The photographer for this picture was 8 1/2 year old Beck.

Happy Easter to all!!

Happy Birthday, Janet!! – Thurs. March 29, 2018

Today was my niece Janet Keeter’s birthday. Janet is my sister Joan’s daughter and Janet is my goddaughter. Janet and husband Steve moved back to Lodi about a year ago after living in Alamo near Walnut Creek for about 12 years. Tonight they were going to the Sacramento Airport to pick up Steve’s brother and sister-in-law who were arriving from South Carolina. So, Janet and Steve took us to dinner at Zinfandel’s to celebrate Janet’s birthday. Then they left to go to the airport.

Janet Barb Clark Steve

Steve is a volunteer high school basketball coach so Clark and Steve like to talk basketball.


Denver – Thursday, March 15 – Tuesday, March 20, 2018

As I wrote in an earlier blog, Colleen and Deke celebrated their Thanksgiving Day wedding with a wedding reception in Boulder on St. Patrick’s Day. Clark and I went to the reception and spent 5 days in Denver staying with my sister, Patricia Zavadil.

Our trip began with Clark’s vivacious daughter-in-law, Anne, driving up from Elk Grove in early morning traffic to pick us up bright and early at 7:15 am on Thursday, the 15th, to take us to the Sacramento Airport, about a 25 minute drive even in the commute traffic.

Anne Muldavin

Clark has trouble walking any distance because of the disintegrated disks in his back. So, when we bought the tickets, we ordered a wheelchair for Clark. Anne dropped us at the curb side check-in for Southwest Airlines.. And after checking in, the checker took us inside where we met the fellow who was going to push the wheelchair through the airport. The pusher knew what elevator to take and told us when to pull out our IDs and boarding passes, and got us in a short line for going through Security pulling out all of the needed trays. Then he pushed us to the gate. When it came time to board, the clerk in charge of allowing passengers to board, took us first down the ramp to the door of the plane. Then we picked seats in the 2nd row. Easy!

After a comfortable flight, a pusher with a wheelchair was at the door of the plane, and pushed us through the maze of the Denver Airport to the elevator for baggage claim. While we were waiting for luggage, he showed me how to cut and paste on an iPhone. He directed us to the proper door on level 6 where Patricia and her son Tom were going to pick us up. Tom is an architect in Denver and took time off to meet us.

Tom Zavadil and Patricia Zavadil

Tom drove us to downtown Denver (traffic was a lot heavier than in Sacramento), and we went to lunch at Racine’s in the Capitol Hill area where I had a delicious green chile omelet.

Patricia, Clark, and Barb after lunch at Racine’s

We drove past the state Capitol on the way home.

About a year ago or so, Patricia refinished her basement, so Clark and I had our own bath, huge TV area (which we never had time to watch), bedroom, and walk-in closet to ourselves.

That night (Thursday) Patricia had Colleen and Deke, Deke’s mother Virginia McClelland who lives in Denver, Tom and his husband Dean Lindsey, and Patricia’s daughter Betsy (Zavadil) Davis and her husband, Josh Davis for dinner – 10 of us. Patricia had made a delicious lasagne. Patricia’s daughter Mary and her husband Greg Gutierrez stopped by before dinner on their way to choir practice.

On Friday morning, we met Patricia’s son, John Zavadil, at the light rail from the airport. John is the only one of the Zavadil family still living in Albuquerque. Patricia and her husband Joe raised 6 children in Albuquerque, the oldest and youngest were girls, Mary and Betsy, who both live in Denver now. John was the 3rd of the 4 boys and Tom the youngest of the boys. After we picked up John, we went to Starbuck’s to meet daughter Mary for coffee, but we couldn’t find a place to sit. So, we went on to a salad place for lunch.

Patricia, Mary, John, and Clark having salads at the Chop Shop on E. Colfax in Denver.

Closeup of Mary (Zavadil) Gutierrez and her brother, John Zavadil. Mary looks so relaxed, not at all concerned about having 15-20 people for dinner at her house that night.

Mary’s daughter Elena turns 23 on March 27th, and Betsy’s daughter Lilly turned 18 on the 22nd. So, the party Friday night at Mary and Greg’s house was a birthday party for the 2 girls. Mary had tamales from a shop in West Denver, and Mary made wonderful rice and beans.

18 year old Lilly and her Dad, Josh Davis

Jonathan Davis, Lilly’s brother, presents her with a special chocolate cake which Lilly’s mom, Betsy had made.
Elena’s father, Greg Gutierrez, brings in a different kind of chocolate cake which Mary had made for her daughter.
Jonathan Mills in the red tee shirt is Elena’s boyfriend.

The chocolate cakes.

Patricia talking with granddaughter Lilly as Lilly’s mom Betsy dishes up cake. Lilly requested Betsy to make the special cake.

Patricia talking to grandson Paul Gutierrez, the youngest of Greg and Mary’s 4 children.

Eating in the living room.

The birthday girls opened their presents.

1st cousins Dave Smith and Betsy Davis put their bald heads together. Dave is naturally bald. Betsy is bald from chemo for breast cancer.
Dave lives in Portland, OR and is the son of my sister Joan.

Saturday was the party in Boulder. Before going to the party, Patricia, Clark, and I managed to get in a session of duplicate bridge at the Denver Metro Bridge Club. On Sunday we went to see Tom and Dean’s newly renovated house. They lived with Patricia in her spacious basement for 6 months while their house was being renovated. Patricia really misses them. Dean did all of the cooking while they were there.

Here is the outside of Tom and Dean’s house. Clark was fond of taking selfies of his thumb.

Patricia and Barb in front of 1037 Cook.

I was so intrigued with all of the work that Tom and Dean did, I forgot to take pictures of the interior. There is a very small space, so they planned the renovation very carefully. I think they went from something like 6 kitchen cabinets to 17. Both are architects.

Dean and Tom (picture taken the next day at Patricia’s house.)

On Sunday night we went to dinner with Betsy and Josh Davis and their children Lilly and Jonathan, and John Zavadil who was staying with them. We went to dinner at MIci’s, an Italian restaurant on the way to the airport where John was about to catch the train for his flight back to Albuquerque. As we were about to leave the restaurant, it started snowing, coming down diagonally in the biggest snowflakes that I have ever seen.

Patricia, John, and Jonathan made a rush to their cars through the falling snow.

The next morning there was still snow on the side yard of Patricia’s house.

There was snow on the sidewalks on the way to bridge Monday morning.

On Monday night, our last night in Denver, Tom, Dean, and Mary stopped by after dinner.

Mary and Clark. I appreciated Mary coming by because Mary, a pediatrician in Denver, had worked Saturday and Sunday, and had gotten up early Monday to take daughter Elena and Jonathan Mills to the airport.

Barb Dean Tom Mary and Patricia.
Clark was proud of taking a picture without his thumbs getting in the way.

Clark Barb Dean Tom Patricia

Thank you, Patricia, for being such a wonderful hostess!

Patricia drove us to the Denver airport Tuesday morning where again we had a wheelchair waiting for Clark which made the trip a breeze. We arrived in Sacramento about a half hour or so late, but Anne Muldavin was patiently waiting for us.

All in all, it was a great trip.