Monday, July 29, 2013

new wine in old bottles

The Irishman John Banville is one of my favorite writers.  Moody, anguished, inventive.  Here he is in a new incarnation as Benjamin Black, writer of fine, moody, anguished, inventive mysteries.  This is his first and I recommend it highly.  I finished it on the way home from Bozeman.  Also finished David McCullough's A Greater Journey:  Americans in Paris.  Every single page was a feast.  What would I give to have been in Paris in the 19th century when it was THE place to be.  Wonderful.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Thursday night in Twin Falls, ID

Yes, we're on our way home from our Bozeman visit.  I have a couple of photos to put up to mark yesterday's events, but the camera is locked in the car and I'm not going back downstairs to get it.  Why?  Because I fell yesterday morning and tore up my ankle so am not doing any extraneous walking!  I've iced it, wrapped it, and the swelling is substantially down from yesterday.  The photos will have to wait until we unpack the car tomorrow in Winnemucca.

Everybody left Cait and Mike this morning although Alex will be back from her business trip to Billings this evening and then back to Walla Walla tomorrow.  They will have their lovely, roomy and comfortable home to themselves again.  Yippie!

Twin Falls is a bustling city on the majestic Snake River Canyon.  It has been our traditional stopping place on our trips to Bozeman, although we did bypass it for Blackfoot on our way north this time.  A mistake.  It's nice to be here again.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

dropping dollars in Dillon

Before the saga of the trip to Dillon, a couple of pictures of last night's dinner.  First, there were cocktails on the front deck, looking out at the view to the mountains.

Then we moved into the house to cook.  And finally, it was dinner on the back deck.

Mike, Andrew, Mr. C, Cait, Em 

A salute from the hostess!

To end the day, a beautiful sunset, somewhat obscured by ash clouds from a fire south of Bozeman.

Today was our long-anticipated trip to Dillon, to the Patagonia outlet.

goodies galore
For anyone interested in really good sporting wear, this outlet is THE place to shop.  I was looking for a very lightweight but warm down jacket for the trip to Normandy and Brittany.  After trying on several models, I finally settled on a black number designated as a "Nano Puff."  It fits it's description perfectly;    almost weightless, comfortable, sleek, really not too "puffy" and very warm.  And the price was just right.

It also folds up and fits into this tiny little pouch.  Looks like a Barbie sleeping bag.

Compared to a coffee mug, pretty small!
My cold weather needs were all taken care of in one spot.  Then it was on to lunch at the Taco Bus.

Mr.  C places our order
Bus mural
A nice drive home, another lovely dinner out on the deck, a gorgeous sunset, and it was off to bed.  I promised to get up at 6 AM to go with Cait and the g'dogs to the local dog park for a morning's hike (for the humans) and run (for the canines).

Huck (front) and Zeke (rear) are wonderfully happy, friendly dogs.  Endlessly amusing, too.  And big.

So this morning it was up and out to the dog park, these two big guys sitting in the back seat of Cait's beetle.  The park is about 5 miles away, is a 20+-acre space, completely fenced, with groomed walking paths, lots of meadow for the dogs to run.  They got a good workout, greeted their dog friends, and an hour later were ready to get back in the car and head home.

Huck at the dog park
 Bozeman from the dog park
We are all gathering at Ted's for a farewell lunch at 1 PM this afternoon.  Andrew heads back to SF later this afternoon, Em goes back to LA tomorrow morning, and we get on the road tomorrow, too.    Until then, more family enjoyment, more laughing and carrying on, all of which we do quite well.

Monday, July 22, 2013

love is in the Air®

I couldn't resist.  I just couldn't.  Well, I could have but I didn't.  After consulting with g'son Mac guru and Does-it-for-a living Mac guru, I took the plunge and purchased a new Mac Air®.  A typically beautiful and elegant Apple product.

The main reason for the purchase of this jewel is that it's so lightweight and will be perfect for upcoming travels.  It seems to do most of the things the older, heavier, slower lap top does; it has no CD or DVD player, which gets rid of both weight and ROM needs.  So far, I've been able to set up a few things, using the combined skills of Andrew and Emily.  In a couple of weeks, the Mac Guru #2 will come to the house and move data off of the iMac desktop on to this little beauty.

Here's how things are here in beautiful Montana.  The drive from the valley up to Winnemucca was as it always is, utterly boring.  The landscape is brown and flat.  Winnemucca rivals Gila Bend, AZ for tourist attractions.  On to Blackfoot, ID.  It's a bit more interesting; at least there is irrigated agriculture ~ primarily potato and corn fields ~ to give relief from the dun brown.

All these potato plants were covered in little white blossoms
Then it's into Big Sky country!  The sky was blue with a few puffy white clouds floating by.

All is well here in beautiful Montana.  Mike, Alex and Andrew were on had to greet us, along with Zeke and Huck.  Cait was at work but made a cameo appearance late in the evening, went directly to bed as she had to go back to the airport early on Sunday morning.  Em arrived last night and Alex took off this morning to attend some meetings throughout the state.  She'll be back Tuesday night, then we're all together on Wednesday before everyone goes home on Thursday.  We've had such a delightful time relaxing, reading, laughing and carrying on as we usually do when we're together.

There's a big tree outside the living room window and a robin has built a nest in the branches.  Here's Mom bringing a tasty morsel for her constantly complaining offspring.

And here are the greedy little kids.  There are two of them and we can hear them chirping for more!  more!  more!

On tomorrow's schedule is a trip to Dillon, MT to the Patagonia outlet and to lunch at a Mexican truck restaurant.  Report tomorrow.  And I'll try to get the group to sit still long enough for a picture!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

next stop, Bozeman

We leave early in the morning for Bozeman for a wee's visit with Cait, Mike, Alex, Andrew, Emily and the g'dogs.  First stop, Winnemucca, NV.  Then on to Blackfoot, ID.  Saturday we get to Bozeman and beautiful Big Sky Country.  We haven't done a summer trip in a couple of years so it will be lovely to be there when it's warm.  The only plans we have are (1) to go to Ted's for bison meat loaf (Mr. C's favorite) and (2) to drive to Dillon, MT to visit the Patagonia Outlet in our search for the perfect down sweater.  Just what we'll need in Normandy and Brittany in November!

Pictures and more news as we travel.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

spa day for Dorothy

It put a big smile on her face!  Yesterday Dorothy went to the Mercedes Benz shop (her big brothers and sisters get their facials there) for her annual spa day.  You know, fresh oil, tire rotation, check of all the various hoses and fans and other unmentionable car parts.  She got a bath and a shine along with everything else.  Three hours later we were on our way home.  She's still the cutest kid on the block or, in my opinion, in the whole town!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

well connected kids

Andrew and Em were with us over the weekend and what a pleasure it was, start to finish.  They arrived by train on Thursday and, for the most part, napped and read and relaxed.  Friday Em had a mani/pedi, Andrew took some crazy long bike ride and, as a result of such exhausting pursuits, more naps and reading with a swim or two in between.  Saturday Andrew took another long - 50 miles - bike ride while Em caught up on, yep! more sleep.  In between all of this was much electronic activity.  Andrew brought with him is Mac Air® computer (more on that at a later date) so he could catch up on work, and both brought their iPhones.

After dinner last night we watched "Django Unchained" , they for the second time.  I loved it.  It's funny, outrageous, violent and utterly over the top.  Samuel L. Jackson is in it and it took me awhile to recognize him.  I bet this cast had a ball making the film.

Andrew went off again this morning on yet another ride, this time about 70 miles, I would guess.  Meanwhile, the rest of us had a lovely breakfast and then it was time to take Em to the airport for her flight back to Long Beach.

Andrew was back from his ride by the time I got home.  He stowed his bike in the car and Mr. C hustled him off to the train station for a 12:30 departure to SF.  We'll see them both again next weekend when we all gather in Bozeman for a summer reunion.

These kids are not only brother and sister but really, really good friends.  It's such a pleasure to watch them together.  They have the same sense of humor, the same take on the world, the same ready smile and warm hearts.  Their next adventure will be a trip together to Budapest and Berlin in August.  Makes me miss my sister a lot.

Friday, July 12, 2013


Since I am not always very organized and/or can't ever find anything, I decided to rely on a variety of little bags for the BIG TRIP in the fall.  I'm also addicted to  oil cloth and to color.  The solution:  a variety of little bags made of some of my various oil cloth patterns.

The biggest bag is to hold all my electronic needs.  They include, L to R, top row:  voltage converter, needed for camera (LapMac already works on 220) and reader, camera charger, camera cable, two digital cartridges that will be loaded with books for my reader.  Bottom row:  adapter for Italy (3 prongs), France (round with two prongs), flash drive also loaded with books, ear buds.  The big bag has two gusseted pockets inside to hold the cartridges and zip drive.  The outside pocket will hold note book and pen.

The little bags are for money, metro tickets,  probably one for jewelry (if any) or whatever else I'll take that I don't want rattling around in my suitcase or purse.  I've been using a small sized oil cloth purse as a wallet for several years and love it.  I also have an oil cloth check book holder.  Do you think I've gone too far with this stuff?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

a reprise!

This is a splendid series ~ excellent acting, great story, creepy enough to satisfy anyone's thrill-o-meter.  These four women were at Blechley Park during WW II where they worked as cryptographers.  They reunite some years later to solve a gruesome crime spree in London.  The best news is that there will be a Season 2 series.  Don't yet know dates and time, but most probably on PBS (of course!). 

Andrew and Emily arrive tomorrow for a nice long weekend.   Such bliss!   And it's going to be hot so lots of pool time. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

high summer in the valley

I went up to the Saturday market, camera at the ready, to check out the staggering bounty summer brings to us.  The market was bustling with eager shoppers, filling their baskets and bags and baby strollers with all sorts of wonderful things.  Enjoy!

luscious nectarines

bought a lot of these for more gazspacho

oranges and white peaches

squash blossoms ready to be stuffed!

all different varieties of cherry tomatoes, so colorful and tasty

summer means sweet yellow corn

best apple juice in the world!
first a stop at one of the bakery vendors .  . .
then join the queue at the coffee wagon for espresso or capp

this chap was quite good and his guitar case was filling nicely
and finally, meet Dilly Dally the Clown who makes balloon animals and generally adds a great splash of fun to the market scene.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

reading on the 4th

With the hardback in one hand, my dogeared and much treasured street map of Paris in the other, I am strolling my way through this splendid book.  It traces the journeys of young (and some not-so-young) Americans as they discover the wonder and richness of Paris, traveling between about 1820 - 50.  Oliver Wendell Holmes, Ralph Waldo Emerson, James Fenimore Cooper, Samuel Morse, Emma Willard (founder of the Emma Willard Seminary for Girls in Troy, NY), and legions of other writers, artists, thinkers, and general all-around flaneurs who discovered themselves while exploring this most wonderful of cities.  I'm doing my homework before our fall trip to spend 6 weeks roaming around France (mainly Paris, Normandy and Brittany).  David McCullough's genius of story-telling is certainly well known and richly rewarded.  This work ranks right at the top.

Moving across the pond, I watched this charming movie yesterday afternoon.  The acting is superb ~ Maggie Smith (who here, as in Downton Abbey, has all the best lines), Billy Connolly, Tom Courtney (remember him in The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner?), and Pauline Collins.  The music is gorgeous, the setting stunning, and the story warm and funny.  Two tissues.  I recommend it.

It's hot up here again today but it's supposed to cool a bit tomorrow.  I had to go up to Sacramento yesterday to pick up the iMac from the repair shop.  The video card was beginning to fail and the screen illumination was getting dim.  Several hundred dollars later it's working perfectly.  I should hope so!

Friend GG was to leave today for Cairo to take care of family business.  Wisely, she cancelled.  I should hope so again.

The Fourth of July bbq is marinating; ribs, slaw, corn on the cob, Trader Joe's coffee ice cream for dessert (those last two items are NOT marinating.  I am clarifying this for NN's benefit!)  Enjoy the day one and all.

Monday, July 1, 2013

an anniversary of sorts

Today is the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, the pivotal battle in the Civil War.  In honor of this I watched "Lincoln," a film I've had here on my table for over a month.  I don't know why I hadn't watched it sooner.  Nevertheless, I have now seen what all the shouting and praise is about.  I want to see it again, too, to study it more closely.  Even though the heart of the story was Lincoln's struggle to pass the 13th Amendment ~ and the wrangling and smoke-filled rooms where the wrangling took place ~ the war was in clear evidence.  I thought the final scene when Lee surrenders to Grant was so moving, so quiet and, yes, wrenching on Lee's part.  Well done, Mr. Spielberg, Mr. Day-Lewis, Ms. Field, Mr. Jones, et al.

Hot up here in the valley, as I'm sure you all know.  107º today.  Same for the next couple of days.  Thank goodness for the pool; it's 82º and perfect.