Allen has a treat recently. His kid sister Stephanie came to CA with him after his visit to his home in CT during Christmas and New Year.
"Stephanie is just over 20 years old, and we have a very special bond. At present, Stephanie is involved with AmeriCorps in Western Massachusetts where she works at a school for less fortunate children in the rural mountains. As well, she finds herself in work projects throughout the northeast, volunteering to rebuild and make lives better for others who are less fortunate. She is a student at UCONN, but has taken this year off to pursue her dream of aiding those in need. Each June, Stephanie joins a group of Connecticut residents in Kentucky as part of Habitat of Humanities; she and her group build and repair homes for people living in the Appalachian Mountains. She has a very genuine heart, and I admire her compassion for others greatly.
In her spare time, Stephanie works on her car, an MG from the 1960's. (MG photo at the top) She has completely restored the car to mint, original condition. During most of her summer, she works on the small island of Nantucket off of the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Her sporty little convertible is quite perfect on the island, and attracts much attention. She is very proud of her car. One of these days maybe she and I will drive it across country, with the top down of course!
Though Stephanie has visited California several times, this was her first visit to Randy and my new home. She was in love with the place as much as I am once she arrived. She could not believe the views of the mountains, of the valley, and simply the land. I was very excited to share with her my home. Dedicated lovers of nature and of the environment, Stephanie and I took the opportunity to explore and hike our mountain as well. We even spent some time admiring and analyzing an abandoned community from the 1920s behind our property.
During her stay, we drove to the Giant Sequoia park at Kings Canyon. Stephanie has never seen trees so big, and it was awesome in the snow (especially since there weren't any tour buses!). A trip to Hollywood the next day occupied our time, and we even got a chance to share a strawberry crepe in a French cafe on Santa Monica Boulevard. Both Stephanie and I speak French, and adore moments we can indulge in French culture and language. On our trip back to Tollhouse, we drove a longer route along Highway 101, and saw the beautiful California coast to Paso Robles.
Being the sister of a rabbit addict, Stephanie couldn't escape her brother's favorite hobby on this trip either. On Thursday, we drove to the Santa Cruz and San Jose area to register rabbits at several breeders' homes. One such stop was the home of famous English Lop breeder, Trina Carlson. We registered over 35 gorgeous English Lops, and got the chance to see Trina's awesome home, over looking the brilliant city lights of San Jose. Stephanie handled each rabbit, assisting me through the big job.
From our day of rabbits, we drove all the way to Lake Tahoe for snowboarding, my sister and my favorite sport! A snowstorm dumped nearly a foot of fresh snow on Tahoe Thursday, making stellar conditions for our Friday run. We spent the night in a small motel, and woke up early for our adventure. Heavenly Ski Resort in Tahoe is our choice when it comes to snowboarding, with trails stretching over the California and Nevada border at over 10,000 feet! The sky was brilliant blue, the lake was a breathtaking emerald, and the clear, frigid air bit at our faces. Awesome and amazing barely describe our time in Tahoe. We skipped lunch just to maximize our snowboard time! Temperatures on the top of the mountain were below zero, and it was not recommended we snowboard by the locals... but we ignored the warnings; we are thankful we did!
Stephanie flew back to Connecticut the next day, Saturday. We parted very sadly, but anxious that soon again we would get to jump into other ventures together. Biking across France... peut-etre?"