Wednesday, February 21, 2018


One thing my father taught me was a deep love of chocolate malts.  He could get positively orgasmic over a good chocolate malt.  I remember sitting on a stool in the little drug store near our house, having chocolate malts together (in those days, drug stores often had a place where you could get a sandwich or an ice cream treat).

It's hard to find a good malt these days.  A long time ago, I discovered vanilla malts, which are even better (IMO) than chocolate, but places that offer malts often put so little actual malt powder in their drinks that they are essentially tasteless.

However, Fenton's, a creamery we knew in Oakland which we visited far less than I wanted (I had to force myself to stay away from the place!) opened an outlet at the old Nut Tree site (about 20 miles from Davis) and we have occasionally gone there for lunch.  I have taken my mother there for ice cream and she loved it.  I'm not sure she would now...too loud for her.

Char and I have chosen Fenton's as a location for meeting for lunch.  It's a longer drive for her than it is for me (three times as far), but that is her preference for where we meet.  Today was that day.

I got there early and ordered a vanilla malt to have while waiting.  

Char finally arrived and ordered her own vanilla shake and we both ordered our standard meal, a crab salad sandwich, adding onion rings instead of potato chips.

It was a huge lunch and I was not hungry for dinner (I also brought half of the sandwich home for Walt).

We had a nice visit, and then said good bye. I decided to go home the "back way" through the town of Winters, where I knew I would find lots of trees in blossom.  I did not, however, expect to run into this...

This guy was very patient while I got out my cell phone and took several shots...he even posed, buy opening his wings a bit. 

I finally left and drove toward home, finding the orchards I expected to find.

This is such a beautiful time of year and I just love all those never ending blossoms.  Such a shame it lasts such a short time.

I came home, took a nap, and woke up so full I realized that I was not going to want dinner.  Thank goodness I made a meat loaf last night, so Walt is on his own for fixing his dinner.  I'm going to watch for Lindsay Vonn and remember how good that malt tasted!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

It's Only a Game

As I was driving to my dentist appointment yesterday, I was listening to an interview on NPR. The man being interviewed worked in developing video games and said that the last game he was expected to work on was a game which allowed the player to choose a random person on the street and shoot him.  He was to help make the blood look more realistic.

There is always a lot of talk about the effect of violence on children (and young adults) and whether it plays any role in the increase in violence we are seeing in this country.

I did some research on violent video games (leaving aside violent TV shows and violent movies) and was shocked at what I saw.  There is even this video game.

which uses actual film from the massacre.  Great fun, of course.  At least one of the recent mass murderers apparently spent a lot of time playing this video game before he went on his rampage.
I wondered what parents are thinking letting their kids play games like this--or a game in which the idea is to kill random people.

Then I thought about that infamous "wardrobe malfunction" at the Super bowl and how up in arms parents were at what their kids might have seen and how it would warp them.  You know, I saw the reruns of that infamous split second many times over many news broadcasts and I never saw any breast tissue -- and I was looking for it and was seeing it up close and personal on my television screen, not from half a football field in the stands somewhere.  (When I checked photos on Google, I did finally see what people were talking about)

Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson were under some sort of black cloud for a long time because of what they did to the psyches of the country's young people.  Yet those same parents let their kids virtually shoot people at random?  (OK, not necessarily the same parents)

When a baby is born, it knows nothing.  It learns what is good and what is bad, what is acceptable and what is not, what is normal and what is not from observing the world around him, so it only makes sense that realistic role playing games have had a part in inuring today's kids to the shock of violent crimes...that, and how often they are reported on television.  I suspect they learn more of what is acceptable from "Super Columbine Massacre" than from Roadrunner cartoons.

My dental appointment went well.  It's not often that Cindy says "good brushing" to me! Best part was that the posters on the ceiling had been rotated.  I am used to seeing posters of types of peppers or animals threatened extinction, or varieties of fruit (like durian), but today I got to concentrate on something different.

Whoever first got the idea of putting posters on the ceilings of dental offices was absolutely brilliant.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Word Nerds

The last time we attended a taping of our favorite radio show, Says You, ("a radio game show of bluff and bluster, words and whimsey") Richard Sher, who started the show in 1996, was the host.  Richard died in 2015 and actually, though I have been a devoted listener lo these many years, I had a difficult time listening to the show without Richard at the helm.

Richard was first replaced by Barry Nolan, who had been a panelist for all those years, but I found he was a much more enjoyable panelist than he was a host and so I just stopped listening altogether.  Walt still listens, but he no longer lets me know it's on, so I haven't heard it in a long time.

Barry has since been replaced by Gregg Porter of Seattle's KUOW.  I had never heard him before, though he has been hosting for some time now.

Says You broadcasts at various venues around the country.  Though they are based in Boston you may find them all over the place.  We have seen them in San Francisco, in So California, and somewhere near Stanford.  One weekend we flew to Burbank and attended tapings in two different venues on two different days. We began to recognize some of the other "regulars" as we stood in line waiting to get into the venue.  I even worked for panelist Tony Kahn for awhile, doing some transcription for him and his own PBS radio show.

I think the group must have come to San Francisco once before, since Richard's death, because the guy sitting in the box seat with us yesterday saw them at Herbst theater, and we did not.
Walt let me know a few months ago that the show would be recording in San Francisco on my birthday, which seemed to answer the question "what are you going to do on your birthday?"
We drove down to SF in the afternoon and got there in time to have dinner at Max's Opera Cafe.  They must have known I was coming.

It was delicious and though the cabbage didn't look that appetizing, it was almost (but not quite) better than the crab cakes, but it was sautéed with bacon and onions and huge chunks of shitaki mushrooms and was fabulous.

We were finished in plenty of time to walk the block to Herbst Hall and find our box seats.
Then the panelists came out and filled in the "stereo left, stereo right" seats.

We did wonder whatever happened to Barry Nolan, who said he had been out on SF Bay during the day, but didn't mention the color of his face!

They tape two shows each time and toward the end of the first show, the host made the announcement that I was in the audience and celebrating my birthday.  Tony (left above) said he didn't realize I was there.  I guess someone backstage had been checking the Says You Facebook page, where I mentioned looking forward to going to the show for my birthday.  It was a lovely surprise to be recognized.

All three of the kids (and grandkids) called during the day, which was lovely.

I got to sleep before midnight and slept almost 7 hours, so it was a win-win-win situation all around.  I am a lucky woman.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Sunday Stealing

1. What is your middle name and what is a middle name you'd rather have instead? Why?
It's Anne and I'm happy with it.

2. How would you spend $1MM (you have to spend every penny!)
Help my kids with what they need most, give the maximum amount ($200 ea) to my sponsored kids on Compassion, and see how many clean water set-ups I can have built in Kenya (where I have the most sponsored kids)

3. Yellow light - speed up or slow down??
Slow down -- that drives Bostonite Jeri nuts.

4. What was the last movie you saw and what did you like/dislike about it?
Jane, which is a documentary about Jane Goodall .... I loved it!  She is one of my heroes and I have long followed her work with chimpanzees.

5. If a movie was made about you, who would portray you in that movie?
Melissa McCarthy,

6. What is the strangest thing you've eaten and what did it taste like?
Ewww....Durian.  Indescribably awful.

7. What color is your bathroom?
Blue (the guest bathroom, which I use the most, is covered with wallpaper that has old fashioned toilets on it)

8. If you could vacation anywhere in the world RIGHT NOW, where would it be and why?
Right NOW?  Don't rush me with decisions!

9. What is your least favorite thing to cook?

10. What is the dish you make that your family rolls their eyes at?
I don't think there is anything, except maybe Joe Special (spinach, hamburger, eggs, Parmesan cheese), because before Home Chef I made it so often.

11. What are three things on your bucket list?
* see Hamilton
* more movies this year
* see the end of the Trump administration.

12. How many skeins of yarn do you think you are currently hoarding?
Zero.  I am not a knitter.

13. Today is my birthday.  What virtual gift are you going to give me?
Well, since I'm "me," I'll just see what the rest of you are going to come up with.

(Google loves me)
14. What is your favorite candy?
It used to be a U-No bar, but lately they taste too sweet to me, so I'll just say See's candy's California brittle.

15. What is your favorite time of the day and why?
Lately, believe it or not, I've been enjoying 3 a.m. when I wake up each day.  I watch TV for an hour and a half and then fall back asleep.  (I'm currently doing a mini-marathon of Grace and Frankie)

16. If you could call in sick for a day, what would you do with the time?
I'm retired.  Who do I call?

17. How much did your last crafting run cost you?
Any time I get out of Michaels under $50 is a good run.  That's why I go there rarely.

18. Can you play a musical instrument and if so, which one?
I'm a whiz on the kazoo.

19. What is your least favorite craft that you still do? Why?
I do so few crafts that I only do the ones I like.  Currently I'm working on 2 journals

20. If you could have any job for just one day, what would it be and what would you do?
I'd work with the staff at the Sheldrick Foundation in Kenya, taking care of baby elephants (I suspect a day is about all my body could take!)

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Saturday 9

Baby Love (1964)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) When this song was popular, the Supremes were known for their elaborate hairstyles, make up and full-length gowns. When was the last time you got dressed up? I can't remember.  I look like shit in pretty much anything I wear and after going to 60 shows a year, a night at the theater doesn't seem like a "dress up" occasion any more.  I did wear my beautiful tailored Chinese jacket to a Chinese New Year tea last weekend, though.

2) "The girls," as they were known to the engineers and executives at Motown Records, were Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson and Diana Ross. They began singing together when they were high school classmates. Are you still in touch with any friends from your high school days?
Three.  Joyce, Anne and Margie.  Joyce and I are Facebook friends and may touch bases briefly once or twice through the year.  All three of us exchange Christmas cards.  I haven't seen Anne and Margie in decades.  I saw Joyce about 30 years ago when we met for lunch.  I also stay in touch with my "Big Sister" (when I was a freshman).  We talk on the phone about once a month, but haven't seen each other in about 20 years, though she lives just about an hour to an hour and a half from me.

3) Mary Wilson was born in Mississippi and her family moved a great deal before settling in Detroit, where she fatefully met Florence and Diana. Were you uprooted often when you were a child? Or did you spend your school years in the same neighborhood?
My parents moved into a flat on the edge of North Beach in San Francisco when my mother was pregnant with me.  I moved out when I was 18.  They moved out about eight years later.

4) The Supremes began as a quartet called the Primettes. In addition to Mary, Flo and Diana, there was Betty McGlown. In 1960, Betty left the group to get married and was replaced by Barbara Martin. In 1962, Barbara left the group to have a baby. They quit trying to replace the fourth voice, soldiered on as a trio, and made pop history. Have you ever found yourself in a position similar to Betty's or Barbara's, where you had to make a difficult decision and choose between your personal life and your career?
Well, I loved my job as private secretary to a physics professor at UC Berkeley, and left shortly before Jeri was born.  It wasn't a difficult decision, though.  I never intended to be a career secretary, and only wanted to be a mother.  I do occasionally still miss that job.

5) Thinking of babies and "baby love," is anyone in your life expecting a baby in 2018?
Not that I know of.

6) With twelve #1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, The Supremes remain America's most commercially successfully recording group, and this song (along with "Stop! In the Name of Love") is one of the most popular karaoke songs. If we handed you the mic this morning and absolutely insisted you perform, what song would you choose (any song, any genre)?
Good are masochistic, aren't you?  Any song, any genre?  How about Stan Freberg's "Take an Indian to lunch this week" ?

7) Original group member Florence Ballard left the group in 1967. She died of cardiac arrest in 1976 at the age of 32.
Since February is National Heart Month, it seems appropriate to ask: Is anyone in your life battling heart disease
No, thank goodness.

8) Florence Ballard's brother, Hank, wrote Chubby Checker's famous dance song, "The Twist." When did you last dance?

Tom's wedding in 2003.  I am not a dancer, though my mother still asks me all the time if Walt and I are going dancing tonight.  I finally told her it's difficult to do with a cane, but of course she doesn't remember that.

9) Random question: Close your eyes and visualize the most beautiful place you've ever been. Now describe it to us.

Wow.  That's difficult.  I have seen so many beautiful places in my life.  I think it would have to be the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland.  Whenever I think of beautiful places, my mind always goes to somewhere with an ocean view.  These huge cliffs and that crashing surf underneath took my breath away.  The memory of it still does.


It's not often that I sit here, getting ready to write one of these entries, and have nothing to say.  Sometimes I struggle trying to think of what to write about, but somehow it always flows.
Today, I am speechless.

I am not exactly speechless, but my brain is such a jumble that trying to sort it out is overpowering.
I have been on the verge of tears ever since the shooting in Florida.  I have alternated between fighting tears and wanting to explode in anger, especially this morning when Our Beloved Leader stood up, did not take questions, spouted a bunch of meaningless platitudes and ended with "we are here for you.  We want to do whatever it takes to make you feel better."

How about strengthening the gun laws, Mr. President? I suspect the survivors of this tragedy would feel somewhat better if they could at least think that the loss of their loved one led to some change in the rules in this country.  But it won't.  Someone pointed out that if the mass shooting of 5 year olds in Sandy Hook didn't move the hearts of Congress to stand up to their NRA masters, this ain't gonna do it either.

As others have pointed out, strengthening the gun laws isn't going to fix it.  We need to concentrate on help for the mentally ill too.

Of course.  And yes, I realize that even if we had changed all the rules last week and made sure that the shooter had lots of mental health help, it still might not have changed anything.  But is that a reason to do nothing?  There is another Cruz out there making his own plans. Maybe we can stop him.

(Oh, and BTW, the weirdos are all over Twitter claiming he's a DACA guy because his name is Cruz, the name his adoptive parents gave him when they adopted him)

Obama put regulations in place that made it more difficult to buy a gun if you were mentally ill, or a domestic abuser, or even on the TSA no-fly list.  Trump lifted them all.  You can be a crazed, wife-beating, terrorist suspect, and still buy a gun.  

His budget also cuts funding for mental health care.

So yeah, Mr. President.  You want to make me and 90% of all Americans, 70% of all NRA members feel better?  Let's put those regulations back in place and throw in a couple of bucks to mental health too.

No, it won't stop all mass shootings, but it's a step.  Something is better than nothing.

And while you're at it, let's ban assault rifles.  Who needs an assault rifle?  Do you have to blow up a deer?  Or a duck?  What does one use an assault rifle for, outside of shooting bad guys in war?  or kids at their school desks?

Three of the worst shootings in the history of this country (let me repeat that: in the history of this country) have occurred in since Trump was elected -- the Las Vegas massacre, First Baptist Church in Texas, and now this school shooting.  The timing could be coincidence, but all of these shootings were done with assault rifles yet nobody will even officially consider banning the guns.  It would offend our NRA overlords.

I don't want to wish ill to anybody, but my black little heart wishes that SOMEONE in congress had to suffer the painful loss of a loved one by either gun violence or due to mental illness.  Maybe they they could then make a more convincing argument in favor of gun control and/or mental health support.

"We are not powerless," the president says in his "sound and fury signifying nothing" comments today.  OK.  Prove it.  Sponsor the Very. Best. Gun. Control. Regulation the country has ever seen.  Be the best.  Everyone will sing your praises.  You want to out-shine Obama--that's how you do it.  Do what he tried to do and Congress would not let him do.  Be a hero.

And pigs will fly.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

29 in 18

There have been 29 mass shootings (12 in schools) in this country in 2018. 
In only 45 days of the year.

Think about it:

February 14, 2018 Florida
February 13, 2018 Louisiana
February 11, 2018 Michigan
February 10, 2018 Kentucky
February 7, 2018 Florida
February 5, 2018 Colorado
February 3, 2018 Ohio
January 31, 2018 Missouri
January 28, 2018 Pennsylvania
January 28, 2018 Pennsylvania
January 28, 2018 Indiana
January 27, 2018 California
January 27, 2018 Kentucky
January 25, 2018 District of Columbia
January 23, 2018 Pennsylvania
January 23, 2018 Kentucky
January 21, 2018 Florida
January 21, 2018 Illinois
January 17, 2018 District of Columbia
January 16, 2018 South Carolina
January 15, 2018 Florida
January 14, 2018 Alabama
January 14, 2018 Alabama
January 12, 2018 Tennessee
January 11, 2018 Missouri
January 7, 2018 Florida
January 5, 2018 Mississippi
January 4, 2018 Arkansas
January 1, 2018 Alabama

What will it take for changes to be made in our gun laws?  Deporting people who have been here as responsible citizens for 40 years is NOT going to cure this problem!  Strengthening gun laws will not eliminate the problem, but it would help!  (If nothing else, it would show the country that our congress critters actually CARE about the problem and are willing to do more than just give a "moment of silence" for the victims.) There were two police officers routinely assigned to the school attacked today (the NRA solution) --- and still there are somewhere around 17 deaths and ~14 injuries.  (Obviously these stats may change as more information becomes available)

From Amy Ferris:  

17 humans who aren't walking through the door tonight, who aren't going to run into someone's arms tonight, who aren't going to give a kiss & a hug to someone they love tonight, who aren't going to be sitting at the dining room table or watching their favorite TV shows tonight, who won't be snuggling with their mother or father or sister or brother tonight, who won't be getting up to go to school tomorrow. 

17 dead; 17 lives taken because bullets & guns mean more than a human life.