Sue’s Birthday Month

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Once again I will be on vacation during the month of May. This means that I will be away for my youngest daughter’s birthday. This is not the first time I missed my daughter Susan’s birthday. In fact I have missed it a few times before.  It does make me feel bad but it is the best time to go on vacation. If I start my vacation in the spring before the schools close the sites are much less crowded.

This year I may miss her birthday but I will not miss her wedding.  Susan originally planned her wedding for the month of April so I scheduled my vacation for May.  She is now getting married in June and I am happy that I will be back from my vacation in time for her wedding. She asked me to walk her down the aisle and I feel honored.  Marti will be with me so we will both enjoy the ceremony.

Sue has two children.  Her son Michael is her oldest and he will graduate high school this year.  Monica is her young daughter and will be promoted to second grade.  Bruce is her fiancé and will soon be my son-in-law.  I am a lucky man to have such a wonderful family.

My daughter Sue is a nurse and she works with children who have a long-term or fatal illness.  Sue would like to work for the Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford should the opportunity ever come about. I am very proud of my daughter and her choice of profession.  I remember a time long ago when Sue volunteered to spend her summer at a camp for disabled children.  She worked as an assistant to the children.  Sue loves her work and the children she is happy if she can make just one child smile.  If you are looking for a charitable organization to donate a little money please consider the Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. Their e-mail is http://www.lpch.org/

Sue has been very busy. She is planning her wedding.  She has adjusted to her new responsibility as a nurse and may take some additional classes.  She works most weekends and on her days off she volunteers to help at Monica’s class.  I am sure that is the reason she was unable to send me any photos for their Easter celebration. I love my daughter with or without photos.

John C

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John C is one of my wife’s younger brothers. My wife Monica had two younger brothers, John and Rick.  She had two older brothers, Mark and Joe (Joe passed away).  John C has four sisters, my wife Monica and Donna who have both passed and Mary and Missy.  John is married to a wonderful lady, Terry.  I could tell you more about Terry but I just want you all to know that she is a sweet and special person.  John and Terry have one son, Michael.

The first time I met John, he was called Johnny, and he was playing with his younger brother Ricky.  He was a happy child with a brilliant mind.  He had a love of music and wanted to live both making and enjoying music.  He became the leading entertainer in the Bay Area.  He entertained by playing his electric piano and singing popular songs as well as his own songs.  He interacted with the audience and they enjoyed both him and his music.

John bought an 80 acre farm in North California where he grows grapes, makes wine, raises pigs and chickens.  He also raised his son in this smog free, insecticide free, chemical free environment. He has continued with his music and is planning to produce a tape by this summer’s end.  John informed me that he is very busy putting together a compilation CD of some of his home recordings of his original songs. He said that he would send me a copy when he gets it completed.  I am looking forward to this music.

Here is a photo of John, Michael and Terry.

John, Michael, Terry

Cousin Judy talks about Grandpa John

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I must tell you about a response I received from my cousin Judy.  She lived in Des Moines, Iowa and was able to visit both my Grandpa John and Grandma Mary.  She loved both of my Grandparents and knew them better than I.  Please read what she had to say about my Grandpa John and my Grandma Mary.

If anyone can add more information about these two wonderful people please send then to me or call me and tell me your stories.

John

Here is what she wrote:

I remember your grandpa John, very well. He was a wonderful kind, strong and caring man. Your grandpa was my Uncle John, because he was married to my grandmother, Carmella’s (or as they referred to her, Rafella, her name in Italian) sister, Mary, your grandmother. We (my mother, Chris and my father, Joe) visited Uncle John and Aunt Mary’s every Sunday. It was traditional in those days to make the rounds on the south side, where all the Italian relatives lived. My grandparents, your grandparents and Aunt Minnie (another sister of your grandma, Mary) and Uncle Pete were our usual Sunday stops every weekend. We ate everywhere we went–pasta, brachiolis, homemade Italian sausage, homemade cookies and pie; always homemade wine and anisette. Ate and drank from morning till night, then we would roll home!!! During the summer when my grandmother (Nana) was in California, I would stay with your grandparents while my mom and dad were at work during the day. There was always a big garden and grape vineyards in the backyard. Aunt Mary watched me very closely, the kids would always have to come to her backyard to play, and she would not let me go to theirs because she was very protective of me.
They were wonderful people and Aunt Mary spoiled me when I stayed with them. We loved them very much! I have a lot of fond memories of Aunt Mary and Uncle John.

Left to Right: Judy’s grandson Nicholas, age 13; Judy’s husband John, Michael, age 8, daughter Krista, granddaughter Natalie, age 8, Judy’s son-in-laws Doug and Craig, granddaughter Kaitlyn, age 12, Judy’s daughter Lisa, and Judy,

 

 

 

A Special Dinner (pasta, sausage, onions and peppers, without tomato sauce)

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We arrived in Aptos ahead of Marti. She had to work at her job with the Monterey County today but she will not have to work this weekend. Chris and Monica put their things away in their respective rooms as I prepared dinner.  I was planning to make my special sausage pasta without tomato sauce.  I start by cooking the sausage in a frying pan.  I place the sausages in the pan with a little water and cook the sausage for about twenty minutes.  By this time the water has evaporated and it is time for a little olive oil to brown the sausage.  With the sausage browned I remove them from the pan and prepare to brown some onions.  Using the same pan the sausage was cooked and browned I add just a little butter and cook the sliced and chopped onions to their caramelized state. I add three crushed and chopped garlic sections and a dash of crushed red pepper.  I normally cut each of the sausages up into four equal pieces and toss them into the onions and garlic.

Just prior to sitting down I toss my pasta into the salted water to start the cooking process.  As the pasta cooks I prep the final few ingredients.  I cut cherry tomatoes into half’s, chop fresh parsley and basil, and grate my hard cheese. I reheat the sausage, onion, oil, and butter mixture to await the pasta.  When the pasta is cooked just right I remove it from the water and toss it into the pan with my sausage mixture.  Tossing this combination quickly to coat I dump it all into a large pasta bowel.  It is at this time that I add my four last items to the dish cherry tomatoes, parsley, basil, and cheese. One final toss to mix the cold ingredients and my dish is ready to be enjoyed.

I like to serve my pastas with a cold crisp green salad with just a light oil and vinegar dressing.  Of course I also serve Crispy French bread with butter or better yet, John’s special olive oil.  Round out the dinner.  Let me add my special note here.  To make “John’s Special Olive Oil” for bread all you need are the following simple ingredients:  Good tasting Extra Virgin Olive Oil, black pepper corns crushed, balsamic vinegar, and grated parmesan cheese.  Mix well and serve on the table in small individual bowels for each person.  I have found that normally people will dunk their bread into the mixture.

I have served this meal many times and too many different people and it has been a hit with all.  If you ask Monica, Chris, Michael, and Marti they will all tell you not only how good it is and they even like it reheated by microwave the next day.  I am always happy to hear just how much they like my pasta.