Rick and I are at my nephew John’s house here in Pataskala, Ohio (just outside of Columbus) for the Memorial Day weekend.

I walked outside this morning and said, “It’s summer!” It is hot and sunny…  I love it.  It sure beats the rain back home in Seattle.  (I had a glance at the Seattle 10 day forecast and I think I saw 10 days of rain.) I just sat outside in the back yard which borders a thick forest and the bird song is so loud and beautiful.  Cardinals, blue jays, and goldfinches all eating at the bird feeder at the same time.  A feast of color for my eyes.   A pair of yellow-bellied sapsuckers and many other birds thrive here.  There is the cutest raccoon mother and her two babies living in one of the trees.

Last night we got in super late, past midnight, and stayed up til 3 a.m.  I am all out of sorts today because I never stay up late.  Christa had a wonderful spread of cheeses, salmon pate, raspberries and strawberries, breads and crackers, and chocolates waiting for us beside a huge vase of fragrant pink peonies.  She is a tiny package of joy.  Poor Christa had to wake up early and take classes all day (she is studying to be a dietitian and maintaining a 4.0 GPA) and then nanny this evening while the rest of us slept in!

We talked to my aunt and uncle  (mom’s brother) in Sicily today on SKYPE.  It made me want to be there so badly.  Both John and I felt that way talking to them.  I hate being so far from my relatives.  Here are some pictures I took from our SKYPE talk.  Zio Lilo (who reminds me so much of my mom!) is wearing the cowboy hat that John bought for him!  And that is their son Salvatore in the middle.  I wish you could hear my uncle singing while I snapped these pictures of him.  They are so precious!

John’s home is incredibly beautiful and so tastefully furnished and decorated.  It is perfect in every way and super clean!  His walls are  a gallery, a backdrop for his photographs.  Each time I come here, there are different photos showing.  His fantastic landscapes transport me to Ireland, Italy, Brazil, El Salvador, Belize, and Costa Rica.

So you can imagine my surprise to see two pink flamingos in his front yard!  Apparently, his Grandma Toni Urbano gave them to him as a sort-of-joke  birthday gift and he absolutely loves them!

And here is John in Malasana (a squat) kissing his flamingos. This guy is hysterical!  The flamingos are here to stay!


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