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February 2006

High-Points


New House

Well we had to give up our beautiful house in the rice fields where we had lived for 6 months.  We found the house when we first arrived in Bali last July.  It had 4 bedrooms with 4 bathrooms and a large kitchen that was in a separate building.  All overlooking a huge tract of rice fields.   We used one bedroom as our living/dining room and another as the beautiful Mimpi Gula Guestroom.  But, there were a few problems.  The landlord didn't feel like making any repairs to the house and the roof leaked!  The bathtub didn't drain very quickly and a few other minor things.  Plus the house was far from the road and far from the village and all the friends we had made prior to going to China.  So we moved! 

We're back in Panestanan where I/we had lived from the time I arrived in Bali until we went to China.  We know many people here and we are all very happy to be back.  Our landlord is the wonderful artist Soki.  I'm putting a website together for him and you can peek at it here.  He's been very wonderful to us and we all feel like family!


View from new house. 

We added a 120 foot antennae to the house!  This is for my internet access!   It's 64kbps which doesn't sound fast, but is fast enough that I can now work from home! 


Teaching from home

Visit to San Francisco

We had wanted to go to California in January (in time to watch the Super Bowl) to visit my family in the LA area; get (re)married in Las Vegas (by Elvis); and visit friends in the San Francisco area.  But many of my relatives were busy with kids and vacations.  So we postponed our visit until the 1st week in February!

And we only came for 2 weeks instead of the 3 weeks we were planning on.  Our major task was finding a storage facility for the items I had stored under my Oakland home since I moved to Bali in 2001.  I had sold my house to my tenant and had stored my things there for the last year and it was time to move 'em out.  We got all that handled and now our things are in Alameda the town just next to Oakland in a nice U-Store-It facility!

Food

Our other agenda items included FOOD!  I had a list of 6 restaurants that I had been having a huge craving for:

  1. "Mama's Royals" in Oakland for their great breakfasts;

  2. "Smokehouse" in Berkeley for their great hot dogs and shakes;

  3. "Nations" for their great breakfasts and burgers;

  4. "La Imperial" in Hayward for their huge portions of delicious Mexican food;

  5. "Claim Jumpers" in Concord.  The best American food around with HUGE portions.  We ended up taking more than half of our food back home with us for several meals later; and

  6. "House of Nanking" in San Francisco for some really great AND unique Chinese food.  

So, when you put your mind on something you can make it come true.  So, we made it to all of them.  Yanti really liked the Mexican food the most!

We also wanted have Yanti meet my many friends in the San Francisco area.  We were invited to a wonderful party in Pacific Heights in SF on our first Saturday in San Francisco.  It let us see a bunch friends we would not have had time to see. 


Pacific heights party


   Yanti & Terra

I am so lucky to have such wonderful friends.  I truly feel blessed.  My wonderful friends of 30+ years, Darrell & Darlene, picked us up at the airport and we stayed with them and their 99 year old Mom for two days.  Darlene took us to CostCo where did some major damage!  We had a huge list of things we just can't get here in Bali or are very expensive.  Like books; vitamins; maple syrup; and stuff like that. 


Darlene at breakfast with us

Then on Tuesday, Darrell took us to Bart and we went to Chris & Ben's great house in the Oakland hills.  They'd set up a nice dinner party for us.  Yanti & Ben, who is Thai, put together a great 'ethnic' (Bali/Thai) dinner'. 


Yanti & Ben


    Yanti & Chris

We all had a great time and Yanti got to meet even more of my friends!  Then on Wednesday we moved to our 'home base' for the next 10 days.  My incredible friend Jim Pire and his beautiful wife Kelly were headed to the Philippines for vacation and we took over their great loft and even got to use Kelly's neat Jeep for the time they were gone. 


Jim & Kelly's Loft


Bruce at Jim's AWESOME computer!


Yanti at Jack London Square

                  On Sunday it was back to San Francisco and Steve & Terra's cute place with the great view of the bay and San Francisco.  Steve went wayyyyy over board and created a really great breakfast (my favorite meal) for us.  It was great to have time to visit with them.


Steve Cooking & Terra 'helping'

We invited our 'must not miss' friends for dinner on Monday.  Somehow the 10 people we originally invited swelled to 18!  But we had a great time catching up and enjoying some really fab Balinese food that Yanti put together.  Of course, I made my famous Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce  MMmmmmmm.


Yanti & John Kassner


Skip& Kathy and Chris & Ben


Yanti in the kitchen

             One of the things I really wanted Yanti to experience was to stay at the West Point Inn which is perched on the top of Mt. Tam and overlooks the entire Bay Area. 


Mt. Diablo from the West Point in on Mt. tam

Our great friend John Kassner, who is the Innkeeper there, invited us up for a night.  So we took the Jeep and headed up there.  The weather could not have been better.  It was cold but crystal clear.  You could see for hundreds of miles from the Inn.  But it was really COLD for Yanti.  But we had a great time visiting with John who has visited us here in Bali twice and is expected back again this summer.

Shopping

We had ordered a bunch of stuff from Bali to be delivered to us in Calif.  My new camera was the most important.  It's a new Sony DSC-N1.  8+ mega-pixels and a 3 inch screen (yes, 3 inches).  I LOVE it.  Here's a write up if you're interested!  I also ordered some computer accessories for my Bali computer (huge 300GB external hard drive, etc).  But we could not order Yanti's laptop from Bali because you need to be in the US to find the best prices.  I had done my homework and knew what she wanted and needed.  If you haven't discovered www.bf2005.com yet, check it out.  You can see all the advertised specials from many stores (CompUSA; FRY's; Circuit City; etc).  We ended up getting a great Compaq laptop with a 15in screen at Fry's!  She loves it.  We have it wirelessly networked here in Bali, so she can surf the internet from anywhere in the house!  She's in heaven.

Thanks

We want to send a special thanks AND an invitation to the following wonderful friends:

Darrell & Darlene - for their over 30 years of friendship, love, and understanding!
Jim & Kelly - for their love, friendship, loft and jeep!
Terra & Steve - for their wonderful brunch and friendship
Ellen - for her wonderful laugh!
Chris&Ben - for their hospitality and GREAT house!
John Kassner - friend extraordinaire!

To you of each - a huge hug; a huge kiss; and a special invitation to come to Bali so we can return your love, friendship, hospitality and generosity!

Family photos

Many people have been really surprised that a confirmed bachelor like me could now have a family with a wife and 2 kids.  Well, it is a little surprising to me too, I must say.  But, I LOVE it.  The 2 girls (5 and 6 years old) are so sweet.  It warms my heart EVERY time I come home and hear them call out 'Papa'!  I can now understand how folks feel with kids - the wonder; the fear for them; the hopes for them; the worry; etc.  So, here are some more pictures of  them.

Coming up.

Nothing special coming up for us.  I'm happy teaching English over the Internet from my bedroom; Yanti is looking at going to college (maybe law school); we're hoping my brother and his wife can visit us this year; along with a visit from John Kassner; Yanti & I want to take the kids on a plane ride - maybe to Singapore, just so they can experience it and visit a 'foreign' city (well maybe only a little foreign, they do speak the same language as Indonesians there).

So come visit us!  We don't have a guestroom, but there are several really cute Balinese houses within 100 yards of us that we can rent for you for less than $10/day include a housekeeper (laundry; shopping; cooking) and includes breakfast everyday!


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