Sunday, August 30, 2015

i'll be having a wonderful time . . .

Vicky in Paris, 1985
. . . wish you could be there with us.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Sunday in the vines

I went up to Yountville yesterday to have lunch with a pair of delightful sisters who are my daughters' ages.  I've known them since they were just young girls and have watched them grow into beautiful women.  We met at Bistro Jeanty ~ I'm getting in shape for my Paris trip in 40 days!!

We sat out in the enclosed patio in this really quite French spot.  I had a salad of heirloom tomatoes of all sized and colors followed by a warm lamb tongue and potato salad.  It was incredibly delicious.  The other two had the same salad along with French onion soup.  We all agreed the bistro was every bit as good as advertised.  I haven't been in Yountville for ages.  I remember it as just a wide spot on the road where there were a couple of restaurants, a gas station, and not much more.  It has become just too, too trendy, jammed with tourists, eaters, shoppers, etc.  I think I liked it better in the old days.

Alex, Andrew and Emily were here over the weekend.  I had not seen Em since she came to Mexico on her Easter break 18 months ago, and Andrew since last Thanksgiving.  However, after several hours of lounging around the pool and covering all topics,  I feel caught up with them.

 I don't know why or how this movie got on my Flix list but it arrived, I watched it and liked very much.  Very quirky.  I recommend. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

beating the heat

When the temperature looks like this . . .

I am exceedingly grateful that I have this.

Gal pal Jackie was here for the weekend and for even more cooling off we went to a nice air-conditioned theater to see this:

It's good but you can certainly wait until it's available from the Flix.  Ian McKellen is always a treat to see and he is so here.

More hot weather expected tomorrow, then a bit cooler.  Mr. C returns from his Ohio safari on Thursday.  I hope he is refreshed and renewed after a few days down on the farm!

Monday, August 10, 2015

51 days and counting


In only 7 weeks I will be here.

That would be Paris, always a good idea according to Audrey Hepburn.  She knew well whereof she spoke.

Then I'm going here.

That would be Florence.

I am going with daughter Alex to celebrate a sort of anniversary.  Ten years ago we went on a barge trip on the Saône river.  Aside from the fact that the rudder broke loose from the barge and we got stranded and had to finish the trip by bus, it was terrific.  We arrive in Paris on Saturday, October 3, stay in a hotel for 4 nights (Les Marronniers in the 6th - MSMASSF and ECHJ take note!), fly to Florence on the 8th for a week in a smart apartment near Santa Croce, back to Paris (an apartment this time), and home on the 20th. I still am not quite sure how it all happened but reservations have been made, money has changed hands and it appears it's a go.  I can only take one suitcase so it's purge, purge, purge.  Plus I need room for all the scarves I always manage to find in both places, and of course a little something from Dehillerin's.


A few words about the rest of our road trip.  We left Bozeman in a driving rainstorm which didn't let up until we had covered 50 miles.  Then it was on to Coeur d'Alene, a lovely place I would very much like to spend some time in.  Next morning we headed for Walla Walla and Alex's sweet little house.  We spent  a relaxing afternoon sitting out on her deck enjoying the mild weather.  We had a lovely dinner outside, too.

Saturday we took a long walk along Mill Creek, passing by the playing field of WW Community College where 1200 fire fighters from all over the Pacific Northwest were bivouacked, doing battle with a big fire just to the west of town.  Brave folks all.

 Then we did some trendy chores including a trip to the Saturday farmers' market where we loaded up on fruits and veggies.

Next was the Walla Walla Roastery  for coffee, and a couple of bakeries for bread.  The larder was fully stocked!  In the evening we went to Brasserie Four in downtown for a wonderful dinner.  Both Mr. C and I had mussels in a luscious spicy tomato broth ~ I think it had coriander seeds in it and boy was it delicious.   Alex had bouillabaisse in a tasty sauce.  There was no bread and no sauce left over anywhere.

First thing Sunday morning Alex and I took a walk through her neighborhood.  It is filled with big, old, gracious wooden homes, most of which have large verandas, several fireplaces (by the look of the chimneys), rolling lawns and flower gardens.  They've been there since the early 20th century, most having been built by the wheat farmers for their families who preferred to live "in town".  At 11 0'clock we had an appointment for  a "private" tasting of some splendid reds.  The winemaker is a friend of Alex's so we got very personal attention and instruction.  I tasted and bought.  We took Mr. C home and Alex and I headed out to two more of her favorites, Gifford Hirelinger Winery and  Castillo de Feliciana.  At both we tasted and we bought.   We napped in the afternoon, no surprise.

Monday we lounged around the house, packed up, went shopping, made plans for our trip (see above!).  In the evening we had a little dinner party out in the garden under an umbrella.   Good food ~ shrimp and pasta ~ and good conversation.

Then it was time to head off toward Portland and the Oregon coast.  We drove down the Columbia River, past Portland and on to Tillamook, through that sleepy little town ~ except for the cheese factory ~ to Netarts right on the coast.  A lovely little place.  This was our home for the night.

It reminded me of Newport Beach in the 50's.  It was very comfortable, with a view to forever from the rickety porch outside our door.

Next morning it was up and on the road, the Redwood Highway, to Crescent City, CA.  It's a long, slow drive but really gorgeous.  Old redwoods, lots of ferns and forest blooms along the way.  Stayed at the Best Western in CC; another very nice iteration of that chain.  Thursday morning we were up and on our way home on the old US 101, mostly 2-lane and again, absolutely gorgeous.  But slow.  Oh my, is it ever slow.  We were going to turn off at Arcata to cross over to I- 5 but a big flashing sign announced a 1-2 hour delay due to road construction so we blew right on by and finally crossed over to I-80 at Novato.  Slow again, but things picked up after Vallejo and we made it home around 3 PM, 71/2 hours later.  It had been so cool and fresh when we left Crescent City - 52º.  In the valley it was at least 100º .   In fact, big heat wave over several days while we were enjoying delightfully cool days.


So here we are, back home again, still awaiting the landscaping of the garden although a batch of plants arrived yesterday.  Mr. C goes off to Ohio on Tuesday for his annual "greet the family" while I stay here and do whatever it is I do while he's gone which will include watching "Wolf Hall" and any other goodies I can find.  I finished "The Paying Guests" by Sarah Waters (I recommend highly) and have embarked on a Sinclair Lewis  binge; it has been many years since I have read his work and I am enjoying "Arrowsmith" no matter how dated.  Next will be "Elmer Gantry".  It's dry as dirt here in the valley and on my morning walks I watch lovely trees and gardens turn brown and die.  It's very depressing.  I'm paying scant attention to national politics; that's really depressing.