Playing Catch…Up Part I

Hello from Home!

No, you are not reading the wrong Coconut Chronicles, Prez and I have actually found a place we are proud to call home. Of course, that special location is the one-and-only Nelson, BC, formally known as “Mountain Mecca & Hippie Heaven”. We have only put down the shallowest of roots, thus far, but we have our radar on the lookout for more permanent digs.

This does not mean we will not be going walkabout ever again. No, no, no, no, noooooooo! No. What this does mean is that we will have an official home base to return to when our itchy feet take us away, as they always do.

So, I guess I should catch everyone up on our latest wanderings, as it has been weeks and weeks since my last Coconut Chronicle. (Please feel free to hit me with the Guilt Bat, I can take it).

When we last left Prez and Princess – well, you left us, we stayed with us the whole time – they were enjoying some down time at Casa Meyer in the wilds of Twenty-Nine Palms.

After over a week of chillaxing, hiking, Rummy-cubing and other healthy activities, we decided it was high time for a little hedonism and headed the wagon to Las Vegas. Yee ha! Once again, thanks to the sagging economy, I was able to score us a stellar deal on four nights at the Venetian or as I prefer to call it the Ve-weeeeeeeeee!-tian.

From humid, sweaty nights fending off mosquitoes and roosters, sleeping on a well-used bed and sharing a shower with geckos and spiders, (provided there was water, otherwise showering on the beach in front of the guests), we now found ourselves on the twenty-second floor of a room I can only describe as “palatial”. Amenities included, (but certainly were not limited to), a king sized bed with 14,000 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets (weeee!), remote controlled window blinds, a full sized sitting room, free hi-speed internet (weeee!), jumbo bathroom with two sinks, a separate vanity, gigantific tub and separate shower (weeee!), and three flat screen, plasma TV’s, one of which was in the bathroom so I could watch it while having a tub (weeee!). Now you see how the hotel earned its nickname?

The view from our room… 

We shopped, we ate, we gambled, we ate, we saw a show, we ate, we walked the strip, I went to the spa, we ate, we…ahem…spent “alone time” in the room (weeee!), we ate and just generally lived like royalty the whole time. Prez even took 8th place in a poker competition with well over 200 competitors. Oh, and did I mention that we ate?

Now, I need to mention that while in 29 Palms, Mom II and Miz Liz were kind enough to take me to a mall so I could shop for a Vegas dress. You see, having come from The Rock, where the dress code is two notches below casual, I didn’t have any suitable dress clothes for a night out on the town with my sweetie-pie and I really wanted something sexy and city-ish to surprise him with. After much searching, I found a tiny red number that was perfect and I modeled it for my co-shoppers who insisted that I send a photo once I was all gussied up. So without further ado, the Vegas Dress…

  

After four days of overindulging we were ready to head west again to the familiar, homey tranquility of Petaluma and the Benedetti family. As always, we were instantly welcomed into this beautiful and unique family group. Petaluma has sprouted since our last visit and we took advantage of the rejuvenated downtown area by catching our first big screen movie together in two years. Popcorn, fizzy drinks, candy, things exploding…ah, heaven.

I’m not sure if it’s luck or fate but our visits always seem to coincide with some fun, family gathering and activity. Last time around it was sausage making, this year it was wine pressing. If you haven’t guessed it already, the Benedetti’s are of Italian ancestry, they also live right next to the Napa valley soooooo…

Now, this was a wine “pressing” not a grape stomping. What that means is that the grapes have already been jumped on and are sitting in a hundred year old vat fermenting. On this day, the juice was siphoned out of the vat and run, by a long hose, into the cellar vats where it will age for two years. After the initial juice has been drained off, the grapes are then transferred into the press, where they are “squashed” down, (for more juice), with all the speed and efficiency Italians are known for. (Hey, I never said they were German).

From the first vat to the second…

Prepare the press…

Crank vigorously…

And voila! Wine juice….

As an interesting side note, the leftover grape mush is shoveled out and tossed onto the ground. This has been going on for a number of years and in days of yore, apparently, there were cows that used to wander the property and feed on the discarded and highly alcohol-laden fruit. Said cows could later be found stumbling around, bumping into each other, falling down, and getting quickie marriages in Las Vegas.

OK, I’m kidding, I don’t think any of the cows fell down.

Someone was sampling the supply…

From Petaluma, it was time to move north, this time by plane. A very late plane. Gotta love that San Francisco fog. Back in Vancouver, we were picked up by Kozy and chauffeured back to the Kozak mansion, where food and frivolity awaited. This time around we were not only graced with the traditional Kozak five-star fare but Wink and Keith – Kozy’s buddy and brother, respectively – were also hard at work in the kitchen. Between the three of them, the dinner menu consisted of salad with super-secret Thai dressing, Kozy’s award winning chicken wings, sweet potato fries, some other delicious stuff, (I had a few glasses of wine and I was very tired, sorry, not ideal for the memory), and for dessert a “Chocolate F&*k-F*#k, which I didn’t sample until the next day because I passed out at 9pm.

(I am beginning to suspect that there is some secret competition, between our friends, to see who can out-feed us. If so, um, keep it up.)

Tweeter was in fine form and it was nice to see that the two of us can still mock with the best of ‘em.

Our first stop at the mansion was a quickie as we were just off-loading gear before our family visit on the island. Mom had the camera out before we even had exited the ferry, (apologies to the people who had to stand and wait behind us while we posed and smiled). No one will ever accuse Prez and I of being conventional, so no one should be surprised that our first, impromptu family reunion in two years was held in the parking lot of the Parksville Ford dealership.

But more about that in my next Chronicle.

QUESTION: Can you think of a stranger place for a family reunion

Until next time, I hope this finds you healthy, happy & lovin’ life!

The Princess

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