Friday, November 27, 2015

The Thanksgiving that Was...and Wasn't

Well, Thanksgiving didn't happen the way we planned, but was very nice anyway.

The plan had been to take dinner to my mother so we could have a family thanksgiving together in her apartment.  This was Ned's idea and better than mine, bringing her here to share Thanksgiving dinner with us.  Ned and Marta were bringing mashed potatoes, green beans and rolls; I was cooking the turkey and stuffing and making the pies.

My mother had never been particularly interested.  I had hoped the idea of having a family dinner would have pleased her, but she had been particularly blasé whenever I mentioned it, merely saying "well...whatever you want."

In the morning, hoping to help her remember that we were coming by in the afternoon, I brought the pumpkin pie, and a floral arrangement for the table.  I sat and talked with her and she said that she was feeling sick to her stomach.  Jeri called and we did a facetime chat and even that didn't help my mother.  She said she felt like vomiting.  It was obvious we needed to cancel our plans.  She said she was going to bed, and I left her lying on the couch looking miserable.  I will go over there today and see how she's doing.

I contacted Ned and he said that he and Marta would bring their food to our house and we'd have Thanksgiving dinner here.  So we did.  I had recently heard of an interesting way of basting the turkey, which is to soak cheesecloth in melted butter and wine and cover the turkey with it, basting a couple of other times with the remaining butter-wine mixture.  It resulted in a delicious, moist turkey!
Ned carved the bird (Walt very happy to turn this task over to the oldest son!)

It all came together very nicely.

I had left the nice floral centerpiece at my mother's but we ate on placemats that we had bought around the world--Ireland, Greece, Croatia, Germany.  And I was able to use our wedding china, which I rarely do because we have only 4 place settings.

During dinner, Tom called and we had a face time chat with the family in Santa Barbara.

And after the pumpkin pie, Walt opened the cherry brandy that we bought in Croatia.

We had eaten early and Ned and Marta were gone before Jeopardy started.  I fell asleep before the show ended and slept until 2:30, at which time I wrote this entry...and will now go back to sleep!
All in all, a lovely Thanksgiving; I just wish my mother had been well enough to join us.  But I suspect she was just as happy she didn't have to. 

 Our Thanksgiving "family portrait"

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Merry Minuet

Many years ago, in the folk song era, the Kingston Trio recorded a song called "Merry Minuet," which I have thought of many times in the past weeks.

After I woke up to hear that Turkey had shot down a Russian plane over Syria this morning, I thought about it even more.  The whole world is going crazy.  I decided to check on the attacks that have taken place just in the last month.  This is not all of them, but it gives you an idea.
  • Paris is attacked
  • Turkey fires on Russian jet
  • The US State Department has issued a rare global travel alert for possible travel risks due to “increased terror
  • Brussels is on lockdown and highest terror alert and Thursday’s Europa league match between Club Brugge and Napoli will be played behind closed doors in Brugge, Belgium’s Jan Breydel Stadium after the city’s mayor cited increased security concerns amid ongoing terror threats.
  • 12 were killed and more than a dozen injured in an explosion in a bus carrying Tunisia's presidential guard.  It is considered a terrorist attack by Isis.
  • 4 killed and 12 injured by a suicide bomber at hotel in Egypt where judges overseeing Egyptian parliamentary elections staying
  • Suicide bombs by the Islamic State in Beirut kills 43
  • There was an Al Quaeda attack at a hotel in Mali. >2 Dozen killed, 100 held hostage
  • 12 killed in suicide bomb in Mogadishu
  • 48 killed, 80 wounded by Boko Haram in Nigeria
  • Boko Haram suicide bombs in Chad and Cameroon
  • 2 killed in suicide bomb in Sarajevo by Salafi movement (an ultra-conservative orthodox movement within Sunni Islam)
  • 31 killed in bombings in Baghdad
  • 4 killed, 24 injured in bombing in Philippines, part of Moro conflict (part of the ongoing civil conflict)
  • 7 killed, 3 wounded suicide bomb in Yemen
  • Xenophobia is running rampant across the United States
  • Demonstrations in Chicago after indictment of policeman...5 demonstrators were shot (since 2001, more Americans have been killed in Chicago than in Afghanistan and Iraq combined--residents of the south side of Chicago refer to it as "Chi-raq")
And then there's Israel...
Terror attacks by numbers (as of November 24):
74 stabbings
10 shootings
12 car rammings

The whole world is, indeed, festering with unhappy souls.  Friends of ours planned a trip to Turkey to celebrate their anniversary, and have changed and are now going to Japan, which, at last count, has not had any terror attacks or threats.

If there is anything to be thankful for as we approach Thanksgiving is that our cruise is over, we are home, Davis is an unlikely terrorist attack, and we have no plans to travel anywhere in the foreseeable future.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Sunday Stealing

Stolen from Would You Rather...
  1. Would you rather be stuck on an island alone or with someone who talks incessantly?
    Alone.  Definitely alone
  2. Would you rather be too hot or too cold?
    Too cold.
  3. Would you rather have a cook or a maid?
    A maid who would also plan meals and shop...I'll cook.
  4. Would you rather be the youngest or the oldest sibling?
    I was oldest, so I'll go with oldest
  5. Would you rather get rich through hard work or through winning the lottery?
    The lottery, of course...instant gratification.
  6. Would you rather have a 10-hour dinner with a headstrong politician from an opposing party, or attend a 10-hour concert for a music group you detest?
    I'll go with politician.  Like 10 hrs with Chris Matthews.  Might be interesting.  I couldn't handle 10 hrs of music I hate.
  7. Would you rather be an Olympic gold medalist or a Nobel Peace Prize winner?
    Nobel Peace Prize winner
  8. Would you rather have a desk job or an outdoor job?
    Desk Job
  9. Would you rather live at the top of a tall NYC apartment building or at the top of a mountain?
    Oh definitely a NYC apartment building
  10. Would you rather have Rambo or The Terminator on your side?
    Good lord.  I don't know enough about either of them to choose, but since if I had to choose between Stallone and Arnold, I guess I'd go with Arnold.
  11. Would you rather be proposed to in private or in front of family and friends?
    In private.
  12. Would you rather have to sew all your clothes or grow your own food?
    I suspect if I had to do either, I'd be naked and starving.
  13.  Would you rather hear the good news or the bad news first?
    The bad. 
  14. Would you rather be your own boss or work for someone else?
    My own boss 
  15. Would you rather have nosy neighbors or noisy neighbors?
    What terrible questions these are.  I guess I'll go with nosy.
  16. Would you rather be on a survival reality show or dating game show?
    I'd never survive on a survival show so I guess dating game show, though that idea is abhorrent! (are there any dating shows for fat old ladies who are already married?) 
  17. Would you rather be too busy or be bored?
    Bored, I guess.  I can always read or watch TV, so I'm never really bored.
  18.  Would you rather watch the big game at home or live at the stadium?
    At home, where I can see the plays better and have it all explained to me.  Plus the food is cheaper
  19. Would you rather spend the day with your favorite athlete or you favorite movie star?
    Movie star
  20.  Would you rather live where it is constantly winter or where it is constantly summer?
    Constantly winter

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Getting the Holiday Spirit

I'm not sure why, but it seems that most of the theater companies in this area are opening their Christmas shows much earlier than usual.  The two shows I saw this weekend were both Christmas shows opening before Thanksgiving.  The day after Thanksgiving, I'll be seeing "Miracle on 34th Street."

On Friday, we saw "In-Laws, Outlaws, and other people (who should be shot)" at the Winters Theater Company.  Winters is a little town about 10 miles from Davis.  It has a population of about 7,000 or less  There is one main street, which runs about 3 blocks long, and the theater company performs in the community center, which is very much like a high school auditorium.

But I love these guys!  They don't aspire to be more than they are--a nice community theater, emphasis on community. Sometimes they're good, sometimes they are not so good.  Sometimes the cast has one or two good performers, sometimes there are more good performances.  But they remind me of the Lamplighters in the early love them because they love what they are doing and make no apologies about their shortcomings.  They include everyone who wants to be a part of the company.  They also usually do shows that you aren't likely to see on any big stage.

They also give the opening night audience cheesecake and champagne before the show.  How can you not love that?

Friday's show opened with a children's chorus singing Christmas carols.  But this wasn't any formal chorus, just a bunch of kids getting up and singing, more or less in tune, and between acts they did "Little Drummer Boy" with drum accompaniment.  I couldn't help myself.  I had to take a photo. They were just so darn cute.

The show was funny, too, about a quirky family being held hostage on Christmas Eve by two bumbling would-be robbers, who needed to hide out from the cops until the coast was clear.  There was a predictable "aww shucks" ending that sent everyone home with a good feeling about the holidays.

Then today it was A Christmas Carol at Sacramento's B Street Theater.  I was expecting a traditional version of the Dickens classic, and the set certainly did not indicate that it would be anything  else.

But I should have known from reading that this was director Buck Busfield's interpretation that it would be anything but the classic story.  A lot of the Dickensian elements were there, all right, but in this version, Scrooge is fed up with having to recreate his redemption story year after year ever since 1843 and he kind of takes control of the story and directs the ghosts.  A little odd, but by the end of it, I was enjoying it.

Now we get a break to celebrate Thanksgiving and then see Miracle on 34th Street next weekend.

God bless us every one.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Today at Logos

One of my first customers today was the tallest man I'd ever seen.  He had to duck down to come through the front door.  It took all my self control not to gawk at him, make dumb jokes about basketball, or make any comment on his height whatever (I couldn't resist, however, snapping this picture as he went out the door).  He was a very nice man who bought a bargain book and a philosophy book.  As he paid, his hands were large and his fingers long and slender, as befitted the rest of his physique.

I was relieving Susan today.  Sandy is on vacation again and won't be back until after Thanksgiving.  Susan and I talked theater and the news that DeLuna Jewelers, just a couple of shops down from Logos, is going out of business.  They have been in that location 47 years.  The place was filled with customers all day long.  In fact, my very first customer was a guy who bought a bargain book (a Tony Hillerman mystery) and said he had to get back to DeLuna to relieve his wife, who was waiting in line!

I don't know what I will do now when my mother's watch battery dies.  I think they are the only jeweler left in town.

I had had lunch at Atria and then rushed home to take a nap before my shift, so I wasn't quite awake when I took over at the store and felt that customers were intrusions causing napus interruptus.  But I was happy to see Bruce outside at the bargain table.  I hadn't seen him in a couple of months.  I noted he was in clean, well-fitting clothes (still all in white), with no hat.  He didn't find anything he wanted, so didn't come in.

A guy wearing a Honeydew Country Store, Honeydew California sweat shirt wandered around.  I asked him where Honeydew was and he told me it was in Humbolt County, in the northern part of the state.  He bought a bargain book on Napoleon and then looked around some more and found "Brooklyn" in the contemporary fiction section.  I saw a preview for the movie based on the book today and was sorry I didn't see the book first!

An older professorial type guy in a tweed 3 piece suit and a newsboy type cap looked around for awhile, then asked if we had any Bill Bryson books.  I took him to the travel section but he was looking for books on English, so I showed him "The Mother Tongue" and other books on the English language.  He didn't buy that, but did by the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research.  He also asked when Peter works and I gave him an e-mail address.

The next customer was an older woman bundled in grey with sunglasses and a wonderful cloche hat.  I loved the hat, but she didn't stay long and left without buying anything.  (I'm not a hat person because hats never fit on my big head, but this one was nice.)

A woman in a sweater with a quilt pattern in light fall colors, over a navy blue pleated skirt went directly to the mysteries, selected two books by Amanda Cross (a mystery writer I with whom I was not familiar) and left within 5 minutes.

A woman with a young boy (maybe 9 or 10) with a neat crew cut went right to the children's room, but they were looking for a hard cover copy of Harry Potter #3 and didn't find it.  She said they'd check again.

Another woman with a son was looking for picture books of minerals and rocks, but didn't find what she and her son were looking for.

An eager guy who obviously knew his way around the store said he was looking for the history section and ended up buying a book called "Bolsheviks."

An interesting looking middle aged woman with thick, short curly grey hair and a sturdy physique who looked at things over the top of her glasses reminded me of "Mama" on the old Carol Burnett show.  She carried two backpacks and a large purse and bought two bargain books and two English-Russian dictionaries.

An Asian guy came in very happy to have found a Mexican cookbook among the bargain books.
A guy with a bag from the Avid Reader (a store that sells new books a block away) came in to buy a bargain book.
A young woman spent a long time looking at books and ended up buying: "Back Roads of California," "Grasshopper Pueblo," "Ishi," "Ecology of Fear," "Ulysses," "Babbit," "30 Simple Things to do to Save the Earth," "Cannery Row" and "Breakfast of Champions."

My friend (who had not been in last week) arrived at 4:45.  He was coughing and said he didn't want to get close, but we talked about the cruise and he bought a bargain book and one other, that I forgot to record.  It was good to see him again.

A rotund man wearing a cap and using a cane had a pouty lower lip and looked like Harry Potter's Uncle Vernon.  He didn't stay long or buy anything.

A hobbit-y nerdish guy with copper colored John Denver style hair and a huge backpack as big as he was, was looking for a book by Francoise someone.  Each time I asked him to repeat the information he said it faster and quieter.  I finally sent him off to what I thought was the logical section but he left shortly after.

Susan arrived at 5:45 and then went out to get coffee and a baklava.  She asked if I wanted anything.  I said no, but heck, if I'd known she was going to get baklava!!!.....

Probably just as well.  My intestines were feeling funny.  I came home and had no dinner, but went to sleep early (which meant, of course, that I was awake at 3 a.m.).

My heart is breaking.  Peach's husband called to let me know the priest has given her the last rites and she will be gone soon.  I told him she has been more a sister to me than my own sister was.  This is very difficult.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Family Video Night

I'm really sleepy and so I'm just going to link to this page on Funny the World because I don't want to take the time to do all the "embeds"

So go here

Sorry.  I just pooped out tonight.