Thursday, August 31, 2017

an anniversary of sorts

Vicky in 1951
02/03/1947 ~ 08/31/2009

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

back on the grid

A very nice young man (he looked about 15!) was at our front door to fix the pesky air conditioner.  It took him about 15 minutes to figure out what was wrong, fix it, replace the filter and be on his way.  So we now have nice, cool air.  And just in time.  It's going to be 109º here in the lovely Central Valley this weekend.

New reading recommendation:  A Summons to Memphis by Peter Taylor.  Short, elegantly written, family saga.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

a cool Tuesday

To keep cool during this incredible heat wave we are having here in the valley, we went to see this film today in an air-conditioned theatre.  It's well worth the outrageous cost of two senior tickets.  The scenery is magnificent, the acting superb (Jeremy Renner is a pleasure to watch; his slightest eyelid flutter tells volumes), the rest of the cast is excellent.  There's a lot of mayhem involved; if a REAL FBI agent and a BLM agent engaged in anything close to the shootout we see, they'd be tied up in court for the rest of their lives.  But hey, it's the movies.  We both liked it; we both recommend it.

Oh yes, I forgot to mention that the reason we needed a cool spot is our air conditioner went out on Monday.  We did suffer a bit yesterday when it was 108º.  We are now in a cooling trend; it's only going to get up to 98º tomorrow, but up into the triple digits again on Thursday and over the weekend and into next week.  Perfect for a nightly swim, though.  Fortunately the repair guys are coming tomorrow morning so we may get back on the cool side, at least indoors, by tomorrow afternoon.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

the fevered travel agent

I spent almost the entire day yesterday making arrangements for an October trip to New York City with daughter Caitlin.  The last time I was there was with my sister, probably 20+ years ago.  The precipitating reason is to visit g'daughter Emily, now living at a chic address in Harlem, working and going to school.  I have found us a veery interesting looking hotel on Central Park West, gotten us tickets to two musicals ~ Come From Away and Beautiful (Dear Evan Hunter is sold out until sometime in late December, unfortunately) ~ and the rest will be walking, eating, museum-going, a ride on the Staten Island Ferry, a visit to the 9/11 monument and museum.  That will probably take care of the 3+ days, don't you think?

Thursday, August 24, 2017

and then the ceiling fell down . . .

I got a message from our realtor in Mexico that he had taken some prospective buyers to the house for a walk-through.  Lots of oohs and aahs when they walked into the front garden, lots of nods and smiles when they went upstairs and saw the beautiful views, but a gasp when they went into the kitchen.

Yikes!  I don't know when this happened but Fernando did not tell us, if he knew.  It's not as bad as the original message portrayed it; I thought the whole thing had fallen.  But today I talked to the agent and he advised that indeed the entire ceiling may have to be torn out and replaced.  Don't know what has caused this, but most probably water has gotten into the space, the rebar has rusted and contracted, the cement has pulled away, and KABOOM!  Needless to say, the Se Vende sign has come down, the web advert has been pulled, and there's work to be done.  Our agent will get our favorite contractor in to take a look and give us an opinion, a plan, an estimate.  We may have to get a structural engineer in to have a look, too, and see if the entire house needs to be jacked up.  ¡Dios mio!

As a result of this disgusting turn of events we will be leaving for the beach a month early so we can take care of this before the "season" begins.  This was NOT in our plans; it is now.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

it's good to be a hostess

Like all other sentient beings in this great country of ours, I was outside yesterday morning, gazing open-mouthed at the breathtaking magic occurring in the sky.  We had about an 80% eclipse here in the valley.  It was everything every other gazer has said, so I will say no more.  Except, however, that the light seemed to be different for the entire day and that was downright eerie.

But moving on to more mundane things.

Hostess gifts from my guests; bright sunflowers from Bobbie's beautiful  garden and a bottle of my VERY favorite SB by Kim Crawford from Carolyn.  Erin brought beautiful salad; we ate it.  No photo!  Sorry . . .
Last evening I hostessed (sic) a little dinner party poolside.  Four of us who are neighbors sat out in the warm night air and enjoyed a lovely picnic dinner of salad and bread and fruit and cheese.  And a nice Geyser Peak SB, of course.  I so enjoyed the hostess duties; I don't get to do this very often, but when Mr. C is off on his frolic and detour, I take advantage of the opportunity.  And speaking of Mr. C, he returns today, eventually.  Since he flies standby, one never knows.  He didn't get a seat on his connecting flight from Minneapolis (over booked) and has been routed to Salt Lake City.  We'll see what happens there.  I think the airlines are busy bringing eclipse-ties back from wherever they went for a better look. I expect he'll be home late this afternoon or evening.  Or maybe an o'nite in SLC is in his future.

Saturday, August 19, 2017


This morning's farmers market had so many beautiful fruits and veggies it was hard to choose.  But since I am here alone ~ Mr. C is on his annual pilgrimage to visit family in Ohio ~ I had to restrain myself.  These are the things I brought home to enjoy; bag of beautiful green beans, six peppers of differing colors and flavors, ripe tomatoes, a big melon , two Fay Alberta peaches, one Babcock peach, one plum (a freebie!), and four multi-colored pattypan squash.  Can't wait to get started!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

better late than never

Today I finished Season 1 of The Crown.  Don't you think it's aboout time, since Season 2 is starting soon?  I don't know what I've been waiting for all these months.  I did look at one episode while at the beach but decided I needed to look at it on something bigger than an iPod!  Great cast, especially John Lithgow as Churchill.  What a performance.  So now it's on to Season  2.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

lunch among the vines

I drove over to St. Helena yesterday to meet two delightful women of long acquaintance for a wonderful lunch at The Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch.  I had heard about this dining citadel first via Check Please Bay Area, the restaurant review program on KQED.  It was every bit as good as was promised.  Most all of what they serve in this big, airy space is grown or raised on the property.  Despite the size of the dining room the noise level is very tolerable, making for easy conversation.  A couple of highlights on the menu are macaroni and cheese (we did not try) and the cheddar biscuits (which we did try).

Go for the biscuits if for nothing else!  They are utterly delicious.

We stayed until about 3 PM after which I battled the parking lot that is I-80; took me 2 1/2 hours to get home.  But it was well worth it.

The Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch, 738 Main Street, St. Helena, CA

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Tuesday matinee

I watched this movie yesterday and like most "based on true events"films, it was another example of how truly amazing human beings are and what they are capable of.  The story goes from a sort of wonderland setting to absolute horror and back to some level of sanity.  Set in Warsaw at the outbreak of WWII.  Many people did not behave well.

Monday, August 7, 2017

summer's bounty

Our neighbor planted 6 or 7 tomato plants in three raised beds in her garden ~ big beefsteaks, some Early Girls, Romas, and a variety of grape and cherry varieties, red, yellow and gold.  And, as always happens after a spate of hot weather, they ALL came in at once.  Dozens and dozens of tomatoes just right for the picking.  She sent out an SOS to her neighbors and Mr. C, our resident farm boy, went right over to answer her call.  Above shows about half of what he brought home.  Yesterday he roasted one batch for his delicious tomato soup.  This morning he took care of the rest in the same way.  And there will be many more of these beauties before the summer is done. As soon as we get some cooler weather, we'll eat!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

sweet distraction

It's hot here in the valley, in case you were wondering.  So after all my "indoor" chores were done -- mainly cleaning up my "office" room, decluttering it of all sorts of accumulated stuff -  I treated myself to this sweet little movie, Gifted.  Reminded me of Little Man Tate, Jodie Foster's movie of many years ago which I loved.  The cast ~ Chris Evans, Octavia Spencer, Mckenna Grace ~ is wonderful.  If you want a sweet distraction this will do it.

Friday, August 4, 2017

a short update from cyberspace

Just a short note to let you know that the new computer was NOT killed off by some invading virus called Zeus Virus.  Instead, the virus was sent off into the ether and my beautiful new machine was declared safe.  But really, the Mac operating system (?) is so well protected from enemy invasion that we, the fortunate users of this system, really don't have tip worry about such things as enemy invaders.  Isn't that the reason we bought an Apple in the first place?

I took the machine up to Sacramento to Core Care, the ne plus ultra of Apple service.  They checked it all out, pronounced the virus a total fake, and sent me home.   But they did say that this particular "virus warning" has been cropping up lately.  The solution is to simply shut down the computer, restart, and the threatening warning will be gone  DO NOT call the phone number on the message.  It's totally bogus.

Thursday, August 3, 2017


Brand new computer just fired uo on Tuesday.  Message this morning:  Zeus Virus now in charge of this computer.  If you want to get this computer back, call this number.  NO WAY!! So this little post is being sent via my Mac Air.  New  iMac goes in to hospital tomorrow to have its insides diagnosed.  I am SO pissed!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

my boys and girls

Mr. C and I went on a 2-week road trip in late July.  First stop was Walla Wall, WA for a visit with daughter Alex and my grandcat, Flower, an amazingly furry and fluffy creature.

We had a splendid time; good weather, a bit of wine tasting, a wonderful dinner at one of our favorite spots, Saffrons, and a good visit.   The downtown was festooned with these beautiful flower baskets, hanging from all the lamp posts along Main Street.  Such a lovely addition.  Here in our town in the valley we have crepe myrtle trees that are also a brilliant blaze of color throughout the downtown.,  No matter which it is, such decoration is a wonderful addition.

Then it was on to Bozeman via Missoula, MT, home of the University of Montana.  It's a fairly quiet town right now with the college on break for the summer.  We arrived at Cait's on Sunday and, has usual, it was absolutely gorgeous ~ cool and lovely during the day, downright chilly at night.  Everyone was in grand spirits, including the two granddogs.  It is always a pleasure to see them!

Huck, the more shy of the two

Zeke, who thinks he's still a puppy
They are a mix of Blue Heeler and Golden Retriever; Zeke is the more "Golden', with lots of hair and feathery legs and tail.  Huck is more sleek and has the silkiest ears ever.

Again, we did the usual; shop downtown at the BEST card shop I've ever been to, got a copy of this year's Sweet Pea Festival poster, went to Ted's for bison meatloaf sandwich (Mr. C), and out to dinner at the Emerson Grill.  We went to the Museum of the Rockies to see a great exhibit on crocodiles, alligators, other prehistoric survivors.  Big Mike was still watching over the museum!

We've done this for so long we could do it blindfolded.

One more flower baskets, this one outside the vet's office where Huck had to see his doc after having some dental surgery.  But he's all better and back on crunchy food after eating pap for a couple of weeks!

The big announcement is that I now have a great granddog!  I figure since Emily is my and she now has a dog, Toni is my great granddog!  They live in NYC and, if all goes well, Cait and I will be going for a visit mid-October.  Toni is 2 yrs. old, has one brown eye, one blue (maybe some Aussie sheep dog?) and is, by all accounts, a lovely creature.  So welcome to the family!

Then it was time to go.  Next stop was Burley, Idaho, just short of Twin Falls for the night.  Next, Winemucca so we could have dinner at our favorite Basque restaurant, the Hotel Martin.  Lamb shanks!  Enough so that we have plenty for dinner when we get home.

We had a quick visit (way too quick!) from Andrew and Arielle who were on their way back to SF from a weekend on a houseboat on Lake Shasta.  I think they'll be back again in September on their way to or from somewhere!

I am writing this on my new iMac!  Very fancy but I can't make out how to use the photo program.  Gotta do some research because it has taken me much too long to get this together!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

August, Yolo County

It has been far too long since I posted here.  To be fair, I willfully ignored you, my faithful readers, for weeks (if not months).  I have been carrying on a mad love affair with Instagram instead.  But a couple of weeks ago I decided it was time to get back to blogging.  BUT when I tried to do this, the blog had disappeared.  I could not access it any place.  I put out a plea for help to other bloggers who made several suggestions, none of which achieved the desired results.  So I waited until this past weekend's visit of g'son Andrew, who was weaned on computer stuff.  I explained to him what wa going wrong.  NO LIE!  It took him 3 minutes to figure it out.  A dozen or so clicks, some classy utterances and I was back in business.

So please check this space for more deathless prose, tasteful suggestions, great photos.  I'll get back into the rhythm of the blog life.

As a start, just finished reading Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance (while on vacation to Walla Wall and Bozeman).  HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

Now reading Olivia Manning's The Balkan Trilogy, another superb read.  Some of you may remember this as a BBC Masterpiece Theatre presentation many  years ago, with Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh as Harriet and Guy Pringle in Fortunes of War. The book enlightens the TV series but doesn't overwhelm it.  See/read if you can.

So that's it for tonight.