Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Farris Family visits Grandpa and Nana

July 23, 24 and 25

The Farris family drives south for a visit with Grandpa Jim and Nana.

With every one's schedules being what they are today and with the economy up-side-down, it seems like family visits have a way of getting postponed or moved down stream for one reason or another. A case-in-point, my oldest daughter Theresa and her family, who live 5 hours away in the town of Templeton, has wanted to come down since Father's Day but all kinds of things got in the way. Well the other day Theresa said "They were coming on July 23 and it couldn't change." That when I said "Come on down."

On Friday afternoon the Farris mini-van pulled up to our house and it was a love fest. Look at the top picture and we will name them off. From the left is Sam (17 years old in Dec.), Leah (14 in Sept.), Theresa and Kelly (celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary in June), Grandpa Jim, my little buddy Chris (12 in Nov.), Sara (youngest daughter), Ruth (celebrated our 36th wedding anniversary in July) and Bebe (who just turned one in April). There are three missing in the shot; Theresa's oldest son Josh, who turned 21 in August, my oldest son Robert and our son Daniel, who was kite boarding on Lake Isabella this weekend.

Once all of the hugs and kisses were exchanged Ruth prepared a fantastic spaghetti dinner. We sat down to a fabulous family style dinner and then we were finished watched Madagascar 2. It was a lot of fun on our new BIG screen and the sound was nice and loud too.

It's now Saturday morning. I don't want to get ahead of myself here...Theresa and Lea stayed the night in our guest room and all of the boys stayed close by in a motel. We got together for breakfast around 10 A.M. and after that it was off for a bike ride. Some preferred roller blades. One interesting note, Chris (in the red shirt) is riding Ruth's bicycle that she got when she was exactly the same age, twelve years old. What a coincidence and it still works.

Our destination was the AVP volleyball tournament that was being played Saturday and Sunday up near downtown Long Beach. Sara had tickets to Sunday's match but we wanted to check it out on Saturday too.

One of Long Beach's own Misty May-Traenor (on the right) and her partner Nicole Branagh (not shown) won the woman's division.

We made it to the volleyball games with no let's head for home I'm getting hungry

On the way home I could feel the wind building so I had to check it out. Ruth went on ahead to start lunch and the rest of us rode to the end to the Veterans Pier. A very nice man who was fishing with his family set down his pole to take this shot. Check the kites in the background.

This was the view from the pier looking at Belmont Shore. To get the full effect double click on the picture and it should fill the frame. The catamaran sail marks the spot that we normally kite. I love this picture!!

As we rode back towards the house on the bike path who should we run into but my oldest son Robert. Ruth had told him we were riding back and it was quite a surprise to just see him there walking along. "Funny meeting you here."

After a big feast of BBQ hamburgers and potato salad, Robert had to leave. He had a previous engagement that night and it was hard to say "Goodbye." We wanted to kidnap him.

After dinner we decided to take a walk to Dog Beach and then get desert.

Ruth had the brilliant idea to walk to the Cup Cake Shop on 2nd Street and everyone select their special one. Then home for more fun.

Since this group of grandchildren live in central California we aren't always present for their birthdays, so Ruth thought we would celebrate all of their "Special Days" at the same time. Tonight!!! Can't you just feel the "Happy Birthday" song jumping out of this picture????

But the evening is not over, because it's time for card games and videos.

On Sunday morning we found the four girls in the kitchen preparing a wonderful breakfast.

Check this out, French bread, bacon and eggs, plus fruit. Mmmm GOOD!!

Here we are, the group on the other side of the table.

Sara, Chris and Kelly went back to the volleyball game to see the AVP finals. Here is the men's division winners Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers pulled it out after loosing their first game.

We, in the mean time, decided to go kayaking over in the bay.

The four of us were out for a good time. Yes we brought plenty of sun screen and water.

My grandson Sam, daughter Theresa and granddaughter Lea were ready for a little exercise and fun.

After going by Marine Stadium we paddled by Mother's Beach.

Kayaking was not enough for Lea and Sam. OH NO. They turned it into Stand-Up Paddle Kayaking. Theresa and I were in aah.

After circumnavigating Naples Island we made it back to the rental place in just under two hours

Yes we had fun, got a little sun and it was truly a bonding event. It was a good workout too. Can you find the guy holding up the kayak????

I am waiting for pictures from Sara. She went to the volleyball tournament with Kelly and Chris, and one of these days I'll insert them here.

While the rest of us were off doing our thing, Ruth stayed home and made us a great lunch. She served watermelon with a cheese topping, peanut butter with celery sticks, BBQ chicken and corn on the cob. Thanks Sara for taking this great shot.

Ruth grabbed the camera for this shot. If you double click you can see the fresh fruit drink and watermelon.

Then we got a stranger who was walking by to take a picture of the whole gang. Finally everyone was in this one.

This was the desert round. Here Ruth cut up the remaining cupcakes from last night and topped them off with two kinds of ice cream. Multi-flavored sherbet and vanilla. Mmmmmmm. This was a lunch fit for Kings and Queens.

Unfortunately Kelly needed to be back in Templeton for work the next morning so they had to hit the road.

It was bye bye Farris family and hello to the 5 hour drive. I think after all was said and done they really enjoyed the short but sweet visit. Now it's our turn to drive up north.

Hope to see you soon....

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Kite Expo Pictures

I finally have the pictures for our first Long Beach Kite Expo.....

On Saturday July 10th it was an early morning wake up call to get the beach and set-up for the arrival of the vendors. This is typical beach weather during the summer, overcast skies, but we hoped it would burn off and we would have a great day of kiting.

At 9 A.M. the vendors started arriving and they immediately went about their business of setting up their tents along the beach. In the foreground Leslie Elison from the Sea Festival is putting up flags that will line the entrance. It's going to look great!!

And starting at about 9 my wife Ruth and dogs Bebe and Loki were holding down the fort at the catamaran entrance. We tried to keep the vendors cars closest to the ramp for ease of access to their gear and safety too.

The launch ramp was starting to take shape with the Sea Festival flags drawing you down the launch ramp to the two SCKA tents.

Now the beach was starting to take shape. Most of the vendors had arrived and started to pump up their kites and set up their booths for the visitors. Now's when the clouds should be burning off.

The time is now 1 P.M. and vendors were ready for the public, and for the wind too. This was quite a site. A sea of kites all the way to lifeguard tower 8.

On the right is Mike Noel, the head of our Safety Patrol, along with Al Navas, the lifeguard from tower 8 and me setting up the water entry point. Don't we look official with our bright vests? We were ready.

This is the reverse shot of the vendors looking East towards the Claremont ramp.

Bart Miller, from So. Ca. Kites was playing "Pitch The Bag In The Hole" at Pyramid Breweries booth. I think Bart was saying "Hole in One!!!!!"

It's four o'clock and the only thing in the air were the banners flying past the Expo. It's not going to happen today. Maybe tomorrow.

It's now seven o'clock and thanks to Holly Wood and Pyramid Breweries we had an after Expo party at Legends.

Upon arriving, the bar was instantly jumping because of the pumped up kiters. The Expo was a success and "Dr. Bobby" in the grey shirt, who is front and center, was having a blast.

I think Gene Rotondo, the ownerof Legends, would be proud regarding how much we ate and drank that night. We definitely held our own and next year we should plan on the upper deck.

It was a crushing good time at our booth as many of the members of Kitesurfari dropped by to say "Hi."

At the bar the "Hornito Girls" were giving out free samples and there were plenty of guys in line willing to take the samples home.

It's now Sunday morning and it was overcast again. Not looking good.

But not looking that kite in the air. If only the clouds would go away.

The SCKA team was ready for anything after surviving Legends last night.

Dan and Max did a little SUP demo race. We had more SUP races later. It was fun to watch.

It's 3 o'clock and there's a little wind. Some kiters took out some demo gear.

It's now two hours later and there's still not enough wind. It's time to have our opportunity drawings and give away all of the great stuff that the vendors had provided.

Kirk Robinson of Captain Kirk's (in grey) congratulates Mike Bell, the winner of four days lodging in La Ventana.

In the center is Naji Flour, he is being congratulated by Robert McCullough (on his right) the owner of Kitesurfari for winning a new kite, kite board and lessons for two.

It's 7:30 and the beach is cleared of the vendors and all cleaned up. Now we can go party again.

This time it's Taco Surf.

Obviously the party was well under way. Who cares we can catch up.

Can you tell who the sponsor is???? Pyramid Beer. Now put your hands over your head, form a pyramid and chug another beer.

Sure our table had to play catch up, but we had plenty of beer tickets so keep them coming.

At the end of the evening my son Dan surprised me with this award. On the left is Robert McCullough and on the right is his wife Danny, together the four of us were the driving force behind the first Kite Expo. This award is shared with all four of them. We really look forward to next years Expo and hope we can do a better job of guessing when there's going to be wind.

For more pictures check out Dan Slater's web site,