Thursday, May 29, 2014

men working

Remember when "Men Working" meant being physically engaged in some sort of outdoor or at least 3rd floor endeavor?  This is what it now looks like, in the John Wayne airport on Tuesday afternoon.

Our quick trip to SoCal for the memorial service was just that; quick.  But we're very glad we went.  Got to see family and friends, dropped by the bank to chat up our investment guy, drove past my parent's old house, not repainted and with a bit of remodeling.  Saw Peter, looking very well.  Andrew will be up on Friday.  And Emily leaves on July 20 for her Junior Semester Abroad in Argentina.  ¡Adios, chiquita!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

remember the three twins?

Five years ago, my walking partner , Gina, and I came across a woman pushing a three-seat stroller with triplet girls out for their morning stroll.

Five years later, here they are.  There is actually one set of twins (left and middle) and one "singlet" (right) in this adorable trio.

Monday, May 26, 2014

away for the day

Tomorrow morning early ~ 6 AM ~ we are flying down to Orange County to attend a memorial service for Annamary Jordan, the "other" grandmother to Andrew and Em, who died about three weeks ago.  It will be a very quick trip, down and back on the same day.  Even though Peter and Alex have parted ways, we were very fond of both Annamary and her husband, "Mac."  It will be a chance to see Peter and also the g'kids, esp. Em, who leaves in early July for Argentina.

When we get back it will be time to get the ranch ready for a weekend visit from Andrew and his main squeeze, Ariel.  They'll take the train up from San Francisco for a couple of days of relaxation and, if the temperature holds up, some pool time.  I have been in the water several times over the past two days and it's absolutely perfect!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

it's summer!

The temperature is rising here in the valley.  It will be in the high 90's for the next few days so it's time to get the garden furniture out, put up the umbrellas, shake off the cushions and get ready for the hot season.  The pool temperature is about 82º according to the live-in pool boy.  Perfect!

This is the first photo I've taken with my new iPod.  It took awhile to figure out how to do it - at first everything was a video! - but perseverance and a few hints from the Apple manual and I'm ready.  It will go with me on my walks for those "I-wish-I-had-a-camera" moments we've all had.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

it's cherry time!+

From this morning's farmers market.  Mmm, mmm good!

Friday, May 23, 2014

caught unaware

I knew nothing about this film when I opened it up on the Flix instant watch.  It showed up on my "you might be interested in" list and, since I'm a fan of both Terrance Stamp and Vanessa Redgrave, I thought , "Why not?"  I was completely unprepared for its emotional whammy.  Stamp and Redgrave are stunning, luminous.  When it's over, if you still have any Kleenex left, go here for the coup de gras.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Tony's last act

I watched this lovely, funny, slightly quirky movie yesterday.  It's so bittersweet, too.  After coming to recognize James Gondolfini as Tony Soprano, we now meet him as Albert, a kind and gentle bear of a man, a bit defeated, a bit confused and shy.  He and Julia Louis Dreyfus are absolutely delightful together.  But we'll never see Gondolfini again.  I believe he had a world of fine performances left in him.  His loss, plus the overall sweetness of the story, make it at least a three tissue flic.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

pearly whites

I may be fat and bald but my teeth are sparkling and I once again have no cavities.  I paid a visit to my very delightful Iranian dentist who has the most beautiful set of choppers I've ever seen.  Big, white, even teeth and a ready and warm smile to show them off.  I've been a patient for about 15 years and despite the occasional need for some numbing and his use of that wretched ultrasonic gizmo for cleaning, I keep going back.  I can't say it's really a pleasure, but he makes it as pleasant as possible.

Fat.  Bald.  But look at those teeth!

Monday, May 19, 2014

balding and ravenous

For the past couple of years my thyroid numbers have been slipping.  That may have been the reason that my energy level has been down.  Even after a good night's sleep I felt tired.  Not sleepy; tired out.   My appetite ~ never very big ~ was almost nil and thus my weight has been too low.  My wonderful doc said she thought it was time for thyroid replacement meds.  So four weeks ago I started on some magic potion called Levothyroxine.  One each morning, one hour before eating or drinking.  So far, so good.

What has happened over this past month? Is it working?  On the plus side, I have much more energy, and I am sleeping much better; no waking at 2 am, unable to get back to sleep until five.  I've put on about 4 pounds.  BUT, on the minus side are the very side effects the doctor warned me about.   I am ravenously hungry all the time.  This whole concept of stuffing myself with food is completely foreign.  I've spent my whole life as a light eater; not picky, just a gastro minimalist.  Suddenly I can't get enough and have to consciously remind myself that I'm not really hungry, that I just ate and don't need to eat everything in the fridge or on the shelf.  Even though my metabolism is working more efficiently and effectively, I can't possibly need that much fuel.

The other minus is the hair loss.  It's temporary (so I was told) but still a tad unsettling.  I was told before I started on the meds to expect it and, in fact, I cut my hair quite short to avoid finding clumps of shed hair on my pillow.  I can tell by running my fingers through my hair that it is getting thin.  I remember years ago when daughter Cait had her overactive thyroid irradiated that she had hair loss, and she started out with far more than I had to begin with.  But it all grew back.

I haven't had any of the other side effects enumerated on various medical sites or in the literature.  So if I'm just bald and fat, that's enough.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

next stop, Belmont!

California Chrome.  What a guy!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

spring in my nabe

Since we've been back from Mexico we have had three weeks of warm, lovely weather.  But for the last three days it has been very hot ~ up to 100º.  The heat, plus a new water metering system initiated by our fair city that is going to send our utilities bills into the stratosphere, means that gardens are going to get the biggest hit.  So I went out to check out how things are doing.  About three blocks from us there is a vacant lot that someone has seeded with wild flowers and, since it's not really cared for, I know it will be gone very shortly.

We have a vacant lot across the street, too.  I think I'll try scattering some wild flower seeds there in the fall and see what happens.

I'm now all caught up on Downton Abbey.  What a great high-class soap opera.  Can't wait for Season 5.

No opera today; the radio season is finished.  Next will be Verdi's Macbeth on Saturday, October 11.  Put it on your calendar.  Instead, for today's entertainment we have the Preakness.  Do it again, California Chrome!  A California boy, don't you know.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

They made me what I am today ~ one happy mother.  To you both, my beloved daughters, thank you so much for coming.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

a continent apart

Although they weren't  mussels in Brussels we had some delicious ones right here in the valley.

This old recipe from the NYTimes calls for roasted cherry tomatoes and lots of garlic as the base for the sauce.  They were a big hit.  Not a drop left.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

two great films

"Oranges and Sunshine" with Emily Watson.  It's "Philomena" from a different angle.  If you teared up then, you'll gush at "Oranges."  Watson is luminous.  From the Flix with a definite recommendation.

I came across this enchanting film while looking up the filmography of Sophie Nélisse who played the young daughter in "The Book Thief."   (Emily Watson plays her mother in that one.)  "Monsieur Lazhar" is the story of an Algerian man who takes a job as a substitute teacher in a school in Montreal.  His life is a wreck, his students' lives are wrecks; their previous teacher committed suicide in her classroom and her body was discovered by one of the students.  It is a lovely, tender story of how each ~ the teacher and the students ~ is comforted and restored by the other.  Sophie Nélisse is one of his students.  Another Flix find with a enthusiastic nod.  In French with subtitles.

I also "read" John Grisham's latest, Sycamore Row, using my new, spiffy iPod.  What a great idea; put it in my pocket and go take a walk, reading all the way.  The plot is typical Grisham; good guys, bad guys, very bad guys, serendipity, and it all ~ or almost all ~ comes out well in the end.  In this one, the brilliant Jake Brigance from A Time to Kill, is back on the scene in fine lawyerly style.