Wednesday, July 22, 2015

last day in Bozeman

We continued the birthday festivities for Mr. C with a wonderful dinner last night at the Emerson Grill in downtown Bozeman.

This building is the old Emerson Elementary School, now housing the restaurant, galleries, shops and offices.  Great use of the space.  We started with a grilled calamari that did NOT resemble rubber bands, Mr. C stuck with a vegetarian selection, I had Pasta Tutte Marerisotto
k with sausage, arugula, mushrooms  and garlic scapes, and Mike had a pasta carbonara.  Some desserts?  Of course!  A chocolate pot au creme with port wine and some sort of custard-y delight.  It was all washed down with , two bottles of Tangent Sauvignon Blanc.   We returned home full and happy and, for Mr. C, one year older!
Today was a quiet one, with reading out on the deck with the granddogs in attendance.
Zeke posing for his annual portrait.
Huck and his smiling face!

We moved inside when the afternoon rain started.

This next post is a video but I have no idea if it will show.  It's the sight and sound of the rain.  Maybe yes, maybe no ...?"> rain storm
.  Well, I just checked it out and it doesn't work.   I need more tech instruction!
Tomorrow we move on toward Walla Walla and a visit with Alex.  Tomorrow we'll be in Coeur d'Alene, a moste beautiful city.  Look for the next post from there.  Bye bye boys.  See you again soon, I hope.

Monday, July 20, 2015

what's new?

Absolutely nothing, you must be thinking, since I haven't posted here in I don't know how long.  But in fact, there has been quite a bit of activity since I went to ~ and returned from ~ La Jolla.  Here is a brief rundown of the past 3 weeks.

LA JOLLA:  Did everything I had hoped to do, saw everyone on my list, took walks, finished book (bio of Audrey Hepburn), got caught up with Phemie, went to a spectacular Evensong and got all the latest from sister Vicky, and had an all-around fine time.  A few photos from my Sunday trip to the local farmers' market.

It is held on the playground of an elementary school so it's big and paved and flat.  Fruits, veggies, plants, flowers, crafts, clothing, and lots of food trucks.  Crowded and bustling.  Festive as all get out.

There is an orchid vendor with the most exotic blooms I've ever seen.  Even Phemie, an orchid grower herself, found these beauties intriguing.

I bought some of these bright, sweet peppers to stir fry for our dinner.  So delicious.

Sunday evening, as I mentioned, we drove into San Diego to go the church at the Cathedral of St. Paul.  The service, usually attended by about 50 people, was absolutely packed.  Seems there was a convention of church organists in town and the service was to be followed by an organ concert. The music was gorgeous, soaring, uplifting.  As I looked around at the congregation, the beautiful cathedral building and its glowing stained glass windows, I thought of the nine worshipers in the church in Charleston who went off to their spiritual studies with glad hearts, and never returned home.   " O Death, thou comest when I had thee least in mind."  Everyman, Anon. 1485.

I think about these things, too, every time I go to an open market.  We come and go, stroll up and down the aisles and never think that someone might burst in to do us harm.  How lucky, so far, we are.

OK, enough of this mournful dirge.  On to other doings of the past weeks.

BACK IN THE VALLEY:  After getting back home it was time to get busy with the garden.  It's hard to keep it going when we are now around for so many months.   I decided to turn it over to our landscaper/gardener Tim, the fine chap who does his best to keep it alive in our absence.  I made a long list of what I need done ~ new plantings, emended soil, repair of the watering system, take out some things, cut down a very messy tree that is buckling the fence, repair of the electrical system, and anything else I can think of along the way.  He came over, made many good suggestions, gave us a date he could start and the rest is waiting.  Meanwhile I got the new succulents potted and positioned outside the front door.

 I put some things in pots, repositioned pots that were getting totally fried in our valley heat, planted hanging baskets and two wall-hung baskets, took a few dips in the pool to cool off, and generally cast a critical eye at how things look (not so hot in some places) and made more plans for the future.

This is the trunk of our very messy volunteer privet tree.  It's along the west side of the house.  Across the walkway are two surviving star jasmine shrubs that get NO sun and will be removed.

No more privet (looking south)!

Cleared bed (looking north), old jasmine gone, watering system repaired, awaiting row of dwarf pittosporumshrubs.  They'll be planted on both sides of the walk and, in spring, will give off a wonderful perfume.
The other beds will be refreshed, repaired and replanted with perennials.  It should be much prettier by next year.

ON THE ROAD:  Then it was time to pack up and head for Montana and Walla Walla to visit Cait and Alex.  First stop was Elko, NV so we could go to dinner at the Star Hotel Restaurant, a famous Basque eatery.

Whipped cream clouds over Elko
 I can't find an on-line photo but suffice it to say it's funky, busy, and not very good.  If you're on the road, want Basque food, head for Winnemucca instead and the Martin Hotel.  Really good!  Next morning it was off to Pocatello, ID for an overnight.   Most uncomfortable motel bed EVER, but it was only for one night.  And so here we are, in beautiful, green, cool Bozeman at the best little inn in town!

We took a different route this time.  Instead of going through the Galatine Canyon we headed for West Yellowstone and drove along the Madison River.  It was crowded with trout fishermen (and women, I presume) and floaters, even though the day was cool and overcast (Mike says that's the best fishing weather).  We stopped in Ennis, MT at this little spot, an inlet of the Madison.   Nice picnic area under the trees.

Next stop was Bozeman, Cait and Mike and the granddogs.  Everyone is well.

Saturday night sunset

Sunday morning, 6:30 AM, looking across the meadow
I took Mr. C to his favorite restaurant ~ Ted's Grill ~ for a birthday luncheon on Sunday.  Bison meatloaf sandwich and IPA suds.  This coaster is his memento from the occasion.

I don't have much to report on the "culture" front in the way of reading or watching.  Currently reading Sarah Waters' "The Paying Guests" read by the wonderful Juliette Stevenson.  Next up will be "The Art Forger" set partially in the Isabel Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.  Watching "The Crimson Field" on Masterpiece Theater and loving it.  Took my friend MAS's advice and watched "Red Dog" on the Flix instant watch; she didn't warn me about how much Kleenex® I would need.  Wonderful tale.  I'll have "Wolf Hall" waiting for me when we return; loved both it and vol. 2, "Bring up the Bodies."  Wish she'd finish up vol. 3!

That about does it from here except to add that I had a tiny little accident with Dorothy, the Smartie.  I turned into a parking lot too sharply and creamed her right front tire.  Have to get new tire and have the alignment worked on.  I hope I didn't do any further damage.  But there she sits in the garage, listing to the right, looking so pitiful.  And then I left town . . .

Saturday, June 27, 2015

La Jolla interlude

I am in La Jolla visiting old friends for a few days.    Fled the HOT valley yesterday for the cool, overcast, foggy southland.  I have photos to post later; I'm using a PC and have no idea how to do anything on it except type!  Tomorrow is the big farmers' market in the morning (after beach walks with dogs).  In the evening we'll drive into San Diego to attend Evensong at the Cathedral where I can visit my sister in her cozy little niche.   Monday is a coffee date with Vic's brother-in-law who is the interim rector at the Episcopal church in La Jolla, followed by lunch with yet another boarding school classmate, followed by a Shakespeare Film Festival at the Old Globe theater in Balboa Park (Lawrence Olivier's Henry V).  Tuesday is back home, exhausted but very happy to have been here.  I have always loved La Jolla and will move here when my ship comes in.  If ever.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

our local tianguis

This being Saturday it's Farmers Market day, so I roused myself early and went up to see what's good.  Needless to say, everything looked so beautiful, fresh and inviting.  This was my morning's haul.

This vendor had two big stacks of these beautiful carrots, some with the stems, some without.  What would you make with carrot stems?  Put them in a vegetable broth?

This stall also had gigantic yellow patty pans and green and yellow zucchini.  This is my favorite squash, steamed and slathered with butter and sprinkled with fresh rosemary.  Along with a lamb chop, of course.

L to r:  kale, leeks, onions.  I thought this last item might be a shallot but the grower said, "Not really."  What does that mean?  Yes or no?

Beautiful nectarines with a smell as good as they look!  Didn't buy any this week; they're still quite hard and small so I'll wait a week.

It's high season for cherries in the valley and several vendors had great piles of these glistening gems.

But these Ranier are my favorite and we came home with two boxes.  They'll probably be gone in a day or two.  So sweet and juicy!

Lots and lots of strawberries giving off their intoxicating perfume.  Hard to resist.

Or if you'd rather, you can always grow your own.  Plants available at several stands.

Many flower vendors, too, and I can never resist!

These  little (gluten-free) cakes are for dessert.  Looks like a layout for a Wayne Thiebaud paining.

And finally, something to put it  all into carry home.  Such a colorful collection of market baskets.

So that was my Saturday trip to the market.  Along with musicians,  the hustle and bustle of the vendors as they set up their stalls and the busy shoppers it made for a delightful start to the weekend.  Hope yours is as fun and (potentially) delicious.

Friday, May 29, 2015

another chilling read

If you were hooked  by Gone Girl or Before I go to Sleep, you'll be quickly reeled in by this one.

Great story, artfully revealed through its three main characters.  If you can get your hands on the Penguin audio book, do so.  The three separate readers are superb.  It's really a stay-up-all-night kind of story.

I have been on a mini-sabbatical from the blog mainly because I really have nothing to write about.   But here's a capsule catch-up of the last couple of weeks.  We had short ~ 2 might ~ visit from daughter Cait.  She and I did a shopping blitz and a local outlet mall, the first time I've been SHOPPING in person and not via e-tail in many years.  She found what she was looking for so it was a great success.  I've been doing my daily morning walk through various neighborhoods, checking on the progress of the changing landscapes as the valley tries to cope with our severe water situation.  Lots of imaginative uses of bark and stones!  We are in good shape here in Casa Contenta since we have no grass and most of our landscaping is done in pots.  Not much water needed to keep them alive.

I've seen a few movies over the past couple of weeks; The Imitation Game (*****), Silk (****), Birdman (I gave up after about 15 minutes; not in the mood, I guess but I'll try again), Call the Midwife (I started at the beginning since I had not watched it when it originally ran.  Definitely *****).

Otherwise, who knows where the time has gone.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

it's not just about ice cream

This morning's walk took us to this beautiful bee garden located on the far western edge of campus.  Endowed by Häagen-Dazs, it is a gorgeous spot filled with all manner of plants ~ flowers, shrubs, trees, ground cover, fruits, vegetables ~ that attract and support bee life.  The whole place is alive with the movement and sounds of busy bees.

These colorful sculptures were created by a local artist, Donna Billick, who has done many other sculpture projects on our campus and throughout town.

Right now the garden looks very healthy and fresh.  We will go back often to see how it fares in the valley heat with limited water.  But it all looks well mulched with minimal drip irrigation and strategic planting.  A beautiful place for a Sunday morning stroll.

Good job, Häagen-Dazs.  I'll buy more of your ice cream as a way to say "Thank you!"

Monday, May 11, 2015

out with the old . . .

This is our old, trusty fridge that is 15 years old.  It was beginning to have a few aches and pains, wasn't at all convenient, and just needed to be retired.  Besides, I wanted a freezer-on-the-bottom model so I don't have to squat down on the floor to find everything.  So last Friday we went up to the Sears store in Sacramento to browse the appliances.  I had done a bit of research on the internet, found the one I thought I wanted and was all ready, research in hand.  Once we got there we realized the one that had looked right was actually too small.  Mr. C, measuring tape in hand, walked around looking at every single refrigerator on the floor and we finally decided on just the right one.

Mr. C emptied it out, cleaned it all up, cannibalized the egg box and the butter dish, unplugged it and then we waited for the delivery of the new machine.  We had measured very carefully and the only problem we discovered was that the delivery chaps might not be able to get it through the front door.

BUT, never fear.  These very clever guys got it right in, no problem, and into its little cubby with even a few inches to spare.

. . . in with the new!

This beauty has more storage space than the old one which means Mr. C has more room for all his coveted left-overs.  And it's absolutely silent (the old one was beginning to make strange shuddering noises).  Seems like an awfully big fridge for just two people but I know we'll soon fill it up.