Cooking, Travel and just Other Stuff

You have to understand. I come from a line of very crafty people. My sister paints, one niece can knit anything out of a ball of yarn...oh and she paints and wood carves and makes jewelery. The other niece designs things and then sews them and then my great niece...well we will just call her insanely crafty. They all have blogs where they show all of their wonderful things they do. So, that brings me here. I decided I wanted a blog too, but what to write about. I'm not insanely crafty, can't paint, don't wood carve, tried knitting-didn't work....hummm, what do I do? Well, I like to cook and travel and eat, so I thought maybe we can start there. My blog will be about recipes I've made, places I go and restaurants I eat at with a few other things thrown in along the way. I've also heard that writing is good for you brain, so I figure-as I'm getting older now-this could be a good thing. So anyway, if you find my rantings worth commenting over, I'd love to hear from you. If I post a recipe you like, please let me know, other wise you can keep your opinions to yourself. This, after all, is my blog to make myself feel better, to try and compete with my family, because I don't do anything crafty.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas will never be the same.....

I heard this today on a television program, "I don't think anyone experiences real loss until they have lost a child." I have wanted to write this blog for a while but just haven't. While this time of year is filled with much joy and happiness,  There is always a loneliness that fills my heart. There is a part of me that is missing.  A part of our family that has a hole. This year, for some reason, the hole has been more acute.

Lindsay-Christmas 1982
 She would have been thirty this year. Her name was Lindsay Joanne Agee and she is my daughter. In 1983 we lost her to cancer. I don't think about her everyday anymore with an aching sadness. Sometime her birthday will go by or the anniversary of her death and I realize I have forgot. I'm not over taken with great sadness anymore at the thought of her death, time really does heal. Most of the time I remember her with very happy memories.  I picture, and find comfort, in her and my Dad walking down a country lane in heaven hand in hand. But this time of year is always hard for me. No matter what happens during the rest of the year, Christmas is a time for all of the family to be together. For all those pieces of the family puzzle to come together to form one big loving puzzle.

This week has been especially difficult. I have thought a lot about four very special women who belong to a "club" that none of us wanted to join, Candee, Sharon B., Sharon T. and Connie. I have prayed for all of you. And I have thought a lot about and prayed for the parents of Newtown. For all of us, the puzzle will never be complete again. At least not in this life.

The upcoming week will bring many joys that will help fill the hole for me. I have been blessed with two of the most beautiful grandchildren who are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Santa. I have a wonderful son and an amazing daughter-in-law that fill my life with joy. I am so blessed they live close. Life is so precious but none of us are guaranteed it's length. I miss Lindsay and without her Christmas will never be the same, but our family puzzle will come together to share the love that is family and I will be so thankful. I pray the same for you.

(Side note: My friend, Connie, who lost her son a few years ago will have her son's photo on the Donate for Life float in the Rose Parade this year. When George died, Connie made the decision to have his organs donated. George's liver recipient, Alfonzo Garcia, will be riding on the float with George's picture and Connie and her daughter, Nicole get to help decorate the float. Love you, Connie)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Hiking to Lands End

It has been a while since I have posted a hiking blog. This one I think you will like. The hike around Lands End has to be one of the most beautiful hikes in California. You have the forest and the ocean with some cool things to see along the way. It is absolutely worth the drive to San Francisco. I stumbled upon this in the Sacramento Bee about three years ago. I cut it out and tucked it away to do some time in the future. Last Thursday was the day. My niece, Sherie, great-niece, Corrie and I took off for Lands End. So to give you a prospective of where it is here is a picture of the map we used for the hike. We did the trail in the orange with several of the side hikes. We ended up doing about four miles from what we could tell on different signs, four pretty strenuous miles. If you are used to hiking and stair climbing...a lot of stair climbing, then you shouldn't have any problems. Great place to take kids, although you might not be able to do the whole thing with small kids. It is also dog friendly and parking is free. We parked in the Lands End parking lot. The one nice thing is you could do how ever much of it you wanted to do depending on ability. We just choose to do the whole circle. It took us a little over three hours to do the trails we did. The views as you will see...amazing!
 So a little bit of history. The trail is on property that was once owned by a man named Adolph Sutro. He earned his fortune from his engineering skills in building a drainage and ventilation tunnel for the silver mines of Nevada's Comstock Lode. He sold it in 1879 and returned to San Francisco and used his profits to buy real estate and construct public attractions. Two of those were the world's largest indoor swimming complex, the Sutro Baths, and the Cliff House Restaurant. We started the hike by going down to the Sutro Baths ruins. Constructed between 1892 and 1896, it featured seven swimming pools, a museum, restaurants and hundreds of changing rooms. The entire complex was covered by three acres of stained glass and steel. They burned down in 1966.
Looking down on the Sutro Baths ruins
You can still see the blue of the plaster

The ocean laps right up on the walls

Steps down into one of the pools

Unfortunately the water is not so good anymore. It smells. Considering the time it was built, it must have been spectacular. Adolph Sutro built the Ferries and Cliff House Railroad to bring people from San Francisco to Lands End. The trains ran along the edge of the cliffs above the Golden Gate and through a pair of tunnels to bring people to the baths and Cliff House. Part of the trail you walk on follows the former roadbed of the train. 

You can walk through one of the tunnels and see what looks like part of the old track.

The train tunnel

Looking out the other side

These steps went down on to a platform. This area is roped off.

On the right side of this picture is what looks like it could have been the train track. The ocean now almost comes up to it.They don't tell you what this was used for but it is at the end of one of the tunnels and the stairs came all the way up to the top.

The beautiful wooded trail

When you leave the Sutro Baths and the Point Lobos area you get up into a wooded area. The coastal cypress are beautiful and there are some beautiful flowers along the way. After a short walk you come upon a memorial to the USS San Francisco. The ship served in World War II and was critical in the Battle of Guadalcanal. Part of the crew for California set up a foundation to maintain the memorial. It's a nice stop along the way and a great reminder of the history of our country.

Once you leave the memorial you are back in the woods with spectacular views of the ocean.

These stairs go down to the most beautiful little beach. It would be a great place to have a picnic. Going down these were not bad but the coming back up was another story.

This is the little beach. It would even be a great place for the kids to make a sand castle. This is definitely not a place to go in the water. The water here is very powerful and the current strong. 

...but it sure was pretty. This was looking down on it from above.

 On the edge of the cliff above the beach is a rock labyrinth. why it is there and who made it, don't know. But we did it. It is really almost right on the edge.


...And did I tell you there are quite a few stairs....

....well there are really quite a few will not need to hit the gym after this.

Thank goodness some of them actually go down.

Wild sweet peas grow everywhere along the trail.

Unfortunately the fog never lifted so we could only see the bottom of the Golden Gate.
It was such a wonderful day. It is such a great way to spend the day especially when it is going to be hot in Sacramento. If you don't live in the area but are going to visit San Francisco and you like to hike this one is a must do. Before we started out on the trail we needed to eat lunch. At the trail head to the Sutro Baths is a wonderful little restaurant called Louis'. It has been there since 1937 and the food is great! We had fish and chips, a BLT and a ham /cheese sandwich. It was all good, but the fries...oh, yum! Not necessarily a place for good diet food, but if you eat before the hike it just won't matter. (note: they only take cash)
One other note, If you park in the Lands End parking lot there is a gift shop, restrooms and a little espresso/tea shop with snacks and drinks. The kid that did the cappuccinos for us makes a great espresso. It was a wonderful place to stop into after we were done and it had gotten a little cool. Well I hope you enjoyed reading this and if you get a chance to go let me know what you think. Happy Hiking!!
Rhonda, Corrie & Sherie

(For more information on Lands End visit:

Friday, April 20, 2012


Okay, so after 3 weeks the kitchen is finally done. I am so glad to have my kitchen back and be back to cooking. With the space I had to work with to try and make the area look bigger and have more space, I think we did a good job. You can only expand so far when the kitchen is in the middle of the house. I do love it!
Old stove area
New stove area

The cabinets have an "espresso" finish on them. I don't think I have said this before, but my daughter-in-law designed my cabinets. Julie works for a cabinet company as a designer.We got her discount on the cabinets-lucky us! She put in all the bells and whistles. The drawers are self-closing and the shelves pull out. We replaced all the appliances with Stainless. I love the clean look of the stainless steel.
Old laundry room
New butlers pantry
I love this area much better then when it was the laundry room. It gives me so much more counter top and cabinet space and it's really no big deal to walk out into the garage to do laundry.
old frig area
New frig area
We did the area around the frig with a pantry. The lower cabinet has pull out shelves making it easier to get to everything. It is deep and big! Love it!
Old kitchen looking from family room
New kitchen looking from family room
I just looks so much richer. Lowering the island gives me so much more counter work space, so even though I lost a little counter where the new pantry is I gained it with island work space which is what I needed. We also replaced the old can lights with the new LED can lights. It makes such a difference as far as a true light goes.
This is a pull out next to the stove. I love this feature. I use it to hide things that were sitting on my counter before and some of the bigger spice containers.

The pull out garbage can. Can I just say how much I love this! Yes, yes i can!

This is the back splash. It is a limestone tile bordered by a travertine rope with glass tile insets.

Granite counter tops.
I still have the painting left to do but that will come later. We have a few more things we are going to do to the family room space before I have the painting done. But that's another blog.

All of the work was done by DiChristina Custom Builders and they did a fabulous job. If you need some work done give John a call. I can't say enough good things about his work. He is reliable, trust worthy and reasonable. And one of the most important things-finished in a very timely manner. Highly recommend him and his wife Linda. If you need some remodeling done in our area give him a call at (916) 799-8501 or

I got some of my ideas at: If you have not discovered this website it is fabulous for ideas. It lets you save things you like to ideabooks so you can go back and readily found them. Fun site.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Kitchen Redo

It has been a while since I have taken the time to post anything on here, but some of you have been asking what we are doing so I thought I would start posting something today. Some of you have had to listening to my whining on Facebook. I don't mean to whine it's just that I like to cook and have not been able to do so for over two weeks. Money guy and I are REALLY tired of eating out. Last week's saving grace was that we went to Las Vegas for four days so at least I didn't have to be here. It's like I don't know how to function without my kitchen. Anyone else have this problem or is it just me? Probably me, huh? Oh well it should be done by next Tuesday and I will be all back together by next weekend. I can't wait. I don't think I will want to go out to dinner for a while. Anyway, here are some pictures to show you what been up. I will post the grand finale when it's done.
So the first thing we did was take the half wall out. Sorry I don't have a better picture but I guess I just never took a picture of it. The wall was between the living room and dining room. I always felt like it made the room look smaller. Your eye stopped at the wall, so we had it taken out. Love it! 
It will really make a bigger difference when we get the hardwood floors done and your eye doesn't break at the carpet. The next thing we did was move the laundry room out to the garage. Since our kitchen is in the middle of the house there is no way to make it larger without taking in the laundry room. So that's what I did.
This is what the old laundry room looked like. It is 
now called the butler's pantry.
After we did that the door needed to come out and make an arch to open the room up and make it look a part of the kitchen.
Old doorway

New arch

So that was the beginning. I will post some more later but right now I need to go hide Easter eggs.