People Fun in Sun Valley

We arrived in Sun Valley and saw this magnificent garden greeting us. We are so happy we put pavers in the driveway, put a stone marker for our house number and planted a perennial garden. It just gets better every day.

And before you knew it, I was hiking with my neighbors Joanne and Linda in Fox Creek…of course with Tuqui..

And we ran off to the symphony with our glass of wine and Tuqui right away.


And we played tennis at Dick Barker’s marvelous clay court in Bellevue…



We picnicked at the symphony with old friends of Tony’s from Chicago who now live in Cleveland


And I ran into a “little girl” I have known for 35 years who now brings her children to SV


Of course, Tony arranged a float on Silver Creek before you could say Trout

We were so happy our friends, Cam and Kate Baker joined us for a week. We had to show them Stanley and the blueberry oatmeal pancakes…It was a bit cold and rainy, but somehow we managed to love every minute. We had a hike and a bowl of soup at Galena Lodge. Just the best way to spend a day.


And we ran into mutual friends from the Bay Area and had them over for drinks before eating at Globus… a favorite of ours.


We of course wanted to have a dinner party for the Bakers and a dinner party is just much more fun with Nancy Winton.


And Gigi and Jim Daniels are new friends whom we met through Buzz and they now are also Nancy Fans! Should I say Cam supplied the wine and we managed to run through several very good bottle of wine that night. Darn it was fun!


Wonderful Jim and Flip Caldwell came for the weekend to celebrate Jim’s 70th. Dennis Raney brought his chair and a bottle of wine and joined us as Gwen was in Seattle.

Flip and Kate…


Tony joined Jim on the hike to the TOP of Baldy. Flip and I joined them at the Roundhouse for lunch…we rode the gondola up and down…


My sweet sorority sisters came for (hopefully) the annual Sun Writers Conference fix. They flew into Boise, drove 3 hours, changed their clothes by the side of the road and joined us for the Wood River Land Trust Annual Party on Silver Creek.

And the conference was beyond stimulating with Tom Brokaw…


and Abraham Verghese (Geez, how DO you pronounce his name?) We also loved Alexander Fuller and Naomi Shihab Nye.

Last year we ran into a sorority sister, Dee Howard who now lives in Greenwich, so this year we made sure we spent some good time with her.


The iconic photo.  We missed our friend Lynn so much. She broke her darn foot and ankle and is slowly recovering, but knew that the conference would be too rigorous. NEXT YEAR!


And THEN CATE CAME!!! For some unknown reason (maybe because she is 30???) she let me decide what we were going to do…


FISHING… She kept saying, ” OMG , you walk right into the river!!!”

A book signing for a fabulous book about dogs…

Bonnie Raitt concert at the Pavilion… we danced with the Holloways and she was horrified…

And of course a hike on Trail Creek where Tuqui could show off her swimming skills.

Summer in Sun Valley is a lot, no… mostly, about the people….. But hiking, biking, fishing, golfing, playing tennis and going to the symphony and dinner is more fun with friends…


Our Beautiful Weekend Wedding in St Helena


We kicked off the weekend with a Friday Night Wine Tasting! Generous and wonderful friends agreed to share their wines and their stories with our guests. Our guests came from all over the world, Hong Kong where Stoney and Laura live, Australia where the Macquarie headquarters and Stoney’s boss is located, New York where they met, Boston where Laura grew up, Poland where Laura’s parents grew up and where her dad presently lives, London where Stoney’s college roommate lives and where Ved, his godfather is teaching law this summer, Singapore where Stoney’s partner at Macquarie works and lives, France where the Lisowski’s best friends growing up live, Denver where Stoney was born, and of course, the peninsula, San Francisco and St Helena where we all have friends.

I made name tags for the wine glasses and put “conversation starters” on each one. Hopefully, people mingled and got to know one another. Everyone there was so worth knowing!!!

We had Five Wine Owners: Pictured left to right are Cam Baker of Larkmead Wines, Tony, (ha ha of Turtle Ridge…we served that Saturday night for diner) Peter McCrea of Stony Hill Wines (Stoney remembers being given a bottle of that before we even knew the McCreas!) and Ted Hall of Long Meadow Ranch. In addition, Christina Turley of Turley wines and Jeannine’s daughter served their Turley zins and Vanessa represented Arietta for Fritz and Caren Hatton who were in Croatia. Also there were wonderful Kate Baker whose family owned Larkmead and the vineyards since 1948 and Willinda McCrea who is presently hiking in the Yosemite High Country and Laddie Hall whom I saw being filmed at the Farmers Market in St Helena as she was selling her fabulous vegetables, Olive Oil and meats. They are unstoppable, Ted and Laddie. They just keep creating.

We just got plain lucky and Tyler and Kim had their little guy, Carson, a week early so they were able to come to the wedding. It made the wedding complete. Having all the “kids” together is something we do not take for granted! Especially now that they have a little one. 

And usually I talk the photos so there are none of me, but someone got this shot of me with my wonderful nephew, Tommy. Neither my brother, nor my sister came to the wedding, so I am extra extra happy I have such fabulous nieces and nephews who “have my back” and make me laugh.


THEN there was the wedding at Meadowood. Oh my, Stoney was the happiest I have ever seen him. He LOVES Laura! And can’t you see why? This is the guy who has so many  opinions about everything visual and whenever Laura wanted to change something or add something or take away something, Stoney only said “Great!” Phenomenal! I guess he is really ready to be married. Thank heavens she has excellent taste as well!

Laura’s Matron of  Honor – Micole

Her Maid of Honor – Stefanie

Stoney’s Best Man – Tommy, his cousin. I think Stoney is saying, “Really, I was supposed to do THAT?” And Tommy saying, “I have you covered, bro…”

So again my nieces and nephews came through…this time with absolutely darling little girls. Hailey is Kristen and Jim’s, Annika is Stefanie and Tommy’s, CareBear and Gabi are Wendy and Patrick’s. They were perfect…barefoot little princesses… They piled most of the petals right in front of Tommy the Best Man. Perfection!

And Harrison, who loves animals and tuxedos had a dream come true when he walked Tuqui down the aisle as Ring Bearer!!!

And do I look Happy? Yes, Yes. I wished my mom could see this. She would have felt so so proud.

And Ved flew from London where he is teaching law and brought Kathy his wife and Anjali their gorgeous daughter. He could have done the whole ceremony, but what he did was exceptionally wonderful. I want make a short movie clip of just his part. Next posting!!

How gorgeous is Laura. I know it is a fuzzy photo, but is so gorgeous.


And how great is our newly constituted family… Whoa! So darn happy!

And, I get to be with the Newly Weds!!!!

And I am pretty proud to call these two MINE! Well, not really MINE, but I DID make it all possible 34 and 30 years ago. I am enjoying the good times.

And how lucky are we? We have new in-laws that are fun, nice, generous and even like us!

and their you see the cousins showing up again… Just so lucky. You notice everyone under ten including Tuqui was driven home by Patrick and Steffi. Thanks, in-laws, you were great to do that so the rest of us could be oh-so-rowdy!

It is hard to see, but the tables were pretty gorgeous. I am waiting to see the professional photos…Should be amazing.


Our great and oh-so-generous friends, Barbro and Pancho Greene and Kate and Cam Baker,  hosted a brunch for all of us at their house on Larkmead Lane. They had the Crepe Man from the Farmer’s Market come and he served almost 100 crepes!

Cate brought her darling boyfriend, Harold and loved showing him St Helena. Many of these photos are thanks to him!

And this little guy, Tommy and Steffi’s Alexander, got to come to the wedding with his Grandma from Germany, Steffi’s mom and then to the brunch besides. How cute is he?

And you know, I think I should try to keep Cate away from Gabi because I think they could get into a lot of trouble, but maybe it is already too late! Sorry Wendy!

Spring is Here in the Bay Area

We have friends who look at this view everyday from their gorgeous home.

Of course I had to try to be artsy…

If the city view is not enough, look at their most amazing flower garden.

The beauty of the city contrasted with the beauty of the wine country… these are our first roses of the season in St. Helena.

And our first lettuces…

It poured the Saturday before Memorial Day! There is always a gift…this time it was a rainbow. It made up for our wet feet and soaked clothes.

The Vineyard Walk the next day was as beautiful as ever.

And Tony let Tuqui swim in the pond…she was happy and our furniture was not.

And the vines are growing like crazy. So amazing. Two months ago they were just sticks.


In Our Garden

Our first crop of icebergs have come and gone. The peonies have been cut back. But the hydrangeas are starting to pop and the iceland poppies are very happy. It will be mid June before the lavender turns purple and the agapanthas will not be far behind. Of course, we want everything to be perfect for the 4th of July and the July 7 wedding. Hmmm…Mother Nature…

I LOVE Mumbai!

Yes, I LOVE Mumbai! What a beautiful city. It is surrounded by water. On one side is the Arabian Sea with a long boardwalk where folks walk in the mornings and evenings.

But, of course, one cannot speak of Mumbai without talking about the slums. There are 22 million people and real estate is at a premium. The people in the slums don’t want to leave as this is where the jobs are.

Thanks to John and Tawny Farmer who were here 5 years ago, we visited Akanksha, an after school program for the children in the slums. Speaking English is the key to success. The children join the program at age 5 and attend each day after normal school from 3-6 pm. Hard to imagine they are from the slums, sleep on the floor, live in crowded dirty surroundings with only a public toilet and bucket showers. They are clean, well groomed, bright eyed and attentive.

Tony and I hopped over to the Taj for a quick lunch and gorgeous views of the Mumbai Harbor and the Gateway of India.

On the long walk home (because we got lost), we resisted the sidewalk vendors with fruit 🙂

The next day, we took a boat into the Mumbai Harbor to Elephanta Island where the 7th Century Cave Temples dedicated to Shiva are located. Gorgeous views of the harbor and the Taj Hotel.

Of course, on the boat, there were wonderful jewels to be consumed. We all HAD to buy something!

How did they carve the Cave Temple from one large rock. It is huge and intricate. I love the Hindu religion…so personal, so simple. We have the divine within us and we get closer to it  by meditation, yoga, good thoughts, good words and good deeds. They also value education and our minds. Makes so much sense to me. Do we really need all those priests and ministers to interpret for us?

The only time so far that I have wished to cover my nose due to the scent was walking along the wharf. Look at these women carrying baskets on their heads. We see many women carrying heavy sacks and baskets on their heads, but very few men…

Lunch at the Leopold Cafe. I believe this was also a terrorist target in the 2008 attacks on Mumbai.

Good thing they did not get all of the beer “towers!” How cool are these? They have ice going down the center in a cylinder. We do love our Kingfisher! Many of us wished we had room in our suitcases for one of these. How much would our children love us!

Off to the market where we found gorgeous vegetables, fruits and live animals and many men sleeping as they had arrived so early in the morning. I will never complain about an uncomfortable bed again.


Then to the Public Laundry, the Dhobi Ghat. The people who do the laundry also live there. Our guide said the clothes are amazingly clean and ironed. Wow!

And how could you resist buying a purse from this little girl?

5.5 Million people pass through this Train Station every morning and evening commuting to work. There is an amazing system of lunch box delivery to over 300,000 people a day. The couriers pick up the lunch box from the workers home around 10 am, deliver to the office before noon, pick up the lunch box after lunch and redeliver to the home in the afternoon. This is an incredible system based completely on time management and a numerical system that identifies the home location and the office location. The couriers wait for no one as the whole system is based on time. 

I found myself saying as I left Mumbai, “I want to return, I want to feel more of this vibrant city. Two days was not long enough. I said I could see Stoney and Laura living here for a while. Careful for what you wish for. We are now in Udaipur, a gorgeous drier, more mountainous area with much less population. More on that later. And YES, the shopping is quite fun.

Beautiful Kerala

Kumarakom, Kerala
We spent a few lazy days at a resort on Vembanad Lake at the Zuri Resort. I loved doing yoga on the little island with all the right statues around me.


We took a cruise on the canals on a houseboat and saw the rice farmers living their daily lives. People were relaxed, friendly and smiled and waved at us. Our guide Bahwani noted that the people age slowly and are quite healthy here due to the lack of stress. Hmm.