Monthly Archives: March 2018

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.

Tom and Dean (with Cameos by Elena and Joey), Tues. March 20, 2018

Colleen writing:

My mom mentioned in the previous post that she didn’t have any photos of Erin’s favorite* cousin Tom and his husband Dean from my recent wedding reception. So here is one featuring them and their considerable photo booth skills—along with special appearances by their niece (Elena) and nephew (Joey), two of my cousin Mary’s children.


Deke was impressed by how well the Zavadils seemed to manage the photo booth experience in general. I caught him awake in the middle of the night reviewing the images in wonder.

*my editorial opinion

Colleen & Deke’s Celebration on March 17, 2018 (REVISED)

(I am revising this entry to the blog because some of the pictures appeared as thumbprints, and the labeling got scrambled. Barbara)

Colleen and Deke were married on Thanksgiving Day 2017 in Albion on the Mendocino Coast of Northern California. They chose another holiday, St. Patrick’s Day, to celebrate their marriage with a dinner reception in Boulder, Colorado, where they live.

At the party Piña Coladas, Margaritas, sangria, draft beers, and wine flowed freely. Appetizers included chicken or meat kabobs, bison meatballs, small stuffed potatoes, mozzarella on a skewer with dried pineapple (yum!), and lettuce wraps stuffed with Caesar salad. This was a prelude to a variety of pizzas on the buffet.

Colleen greets the guests as Deke looks on.

Colleen with microphone in one hand, champagne in the other.


Note Colleen’s comfortable Boulder style shoes.


Colleen and Deke greet the crowd. The attentive wait staff listens. Colleen and Deke met the couple (woman with blond hair) on a diving trip in Indonesia. They found out that the couple lived 7 doors down from Colleen and Deke in Boulder!

That is Brandon (Colleen’s brother) standing next to the picture of the violin. Deke’s sister Denise Frau, is seated in the foreground with her 13 year old daughter Keena in the print dress. On the far right is Deke’s mother, Virginia McClelland.


Deke, what is that on the wall behind you?

Colleen and 22 year old son, Wheeler Strand. Wheeler lives in Boulder, also.


As we entered Under the Sun restaurant (closed for the party), Colleen greeted us and showed us the photo booth that was set up for the occasion. That is me (Barbara Wheeler) and my sister, Patricia Zavadil, with Colleen. Patricia lives in Denver.

Lots of Colleen’s cousins attended:

Patricia, Cousin Betsy (Zavadil) Davis, and Barbara in front of Betsy’s house in Denver


Colleen’s brother Brandon with cousin John Zavadil from Albuquerque


Brandon, John Z, and John’s Mom, Patricia Z.


Cousin Dave Smith and Muffy Marshall from Portland, OR. Dave is the oldest of my sister Joan’s children.


Muffy and Betsy hammed it up. Josh Davis, Betsy’s husband, is talking to Betsy’s brother, John Zavadil.


There is Patricia dancing with her daughters, Betsy Davis and Mary Gurierrez.


Patricia, Betsy, Mary, and Josh Davis. Betsy was the leader of the dancing in spite of dealing with breast cancer recently. Mary got me to join them in dancing, too. Cousin Tom Zavadil and his husband, Dean Lindsey, were there, but I missed their picture.


Colleen dancing with Betsy. Betsy daughter Lilly is on the left. Mary’s daughter Elena is on the right.


Deke’s son, Max, age 17, dancing with his girlfriend, Heather. Deke’s son, Sam, age 16, showed up wearing an Irish newsboy flat cap.


The old folks, Clark and Barb, observed the dancing from afar.

The young folks enjoyed the photo booth.

Patricia, Joey, Betsy, Mary
Joey is Mary’s son.


Joey (Mary’s son), Lilly, Wheeler, Elena, Jonathan Mills (Elena’s boyfriend)


Colleen and Deke visited Erin in California, Sept. 26, 2016. I am sure Erin was with them in spirit on this St. Patrick’s Day. Erin loved visiting her cousins in Ireland.


Tommy’s 9th Birthday Party – Sat. March 10, 2018

Today Tommy had a birthday party. Steve says that Traverse City doesn’t have places like Jumping Houses for birthday parties the way Sacramento does. So, the parents have to be very creative! Tommy’s party had a car theme.

Tommy is wearing a sticker that shows that he was a member of Team Jaguar. There was also a Team Ferrari and a Team Lamborghini.
The children made cars using twinkles for the body. Note, Tommy’s car has oreos for tires with 2 tires on each side of the back.
The children also made red, yellow, and green light signals out of skewers of strawberries, pineapple, and kiwis. Note the box full of stoplights on the counter behind Tommy.

Tommy and classmate, also on Team Jaguar, are making their cars with Twinkies for the body and oreos for the wheels.

Note that the 2 girls and 2 of the boys kept their stocking caps on for the party.
Looks cold outside!

Tommy is getting some help with present opening.
Instead of playing “Pin the Tail on the Donkey”, they played “Gas up the Gallardo”, i.e. “put gas in the Lamborghini Gallardo”.
Steve’s friend, Kirsten, made the neat “Gas up the Gallardo” sign just over Tommy’s head.

Tommy can be shy. He ducked under the table when the other children sang, “Happy Birthday”.
Paco spent the afternoon skiing for the last day that the local resort was open.


Steve explains the Dessert – Thursday, March 8, 2018

Steve just wrote that Tommy asked to go to his favorite Mexican restaurant for dinner. He is all about that dessert: fried ice cream, cinnamon ice cream topped with spicy hot chocolate with crispy cinnamon tortilla strips. Note my misspelling of sundae in the earlier post.


Tommy celebrating his 9th Birthday – Thurs. March 8, 2018

Steve just sent me this wonderful photos of the always smiling Tommy.

A Happy 9 Year Old

Looks like Tommy is following his father’s interest in cars.

Wow. That is some ice cream sundae. Are those pita chips on the side?

Happy, happy birthday, Tommy!!


Happy 9th Birthday, Tommy!! – Thurs. March 8, 2018

This seemed like a most appropriate card for the always smiling Tommy.