Friday, July 12, 2019

Last day

We will soon be on tbe road heading hone but what a great last day we had.

It started with brunch with friends at a restaurant on the beach. My crab cakes were SO much better than i had the other day.  At the end of brunch we were invited to bring the girls to view the infamous Star Wars bathroom and so I crossed something off my bucket list. The girls were suitably impressed.

Home briefly and then back to Tom's to get Lacie for her dance recital. Always such fun to see those little guys "dance."

In the audience was Josh Holloway (Sawyer in Lost) whose daughter had also been in Bri's pre-schhool. He is such an adoring father and positively glows when watching his kids perform.

We said our goodbyes after the show and then someone suggested dinner at the Nugget restaurant so we all went there. It's a sports bar with dead stuffed heads on the wall and a beautiful bear carcass down tbe center of tbe room. I silently apologized to all those beautiful animals who gave their lives so we could eat under their heads

 But dinner was fun and we finally did make our final goodbyes. Now to drive home and see what Ned hath wrought in our absence.


Thursday, July 11, 2019

Lacie Day #3

We have never had this much "alone time (without Brianna)" with Lacie  -- ever.

We picked her up from dance camp and went to Taco Bell (her favorite place) for lunch and then AN decided we would go to the natural history museum, which Lacie pouted was "boring (which seems to be her favorite word if there are 2 minutes without getting anything she considers fun...usually a game she invents.

I got the idea to challenge her to find 5 interesting things in the museum and then make up a quiz game to play in the car later. That seemed to work and we actually spent 4 hours there with live butterflies, fake dinosaurs, and an ecology exhibit which may have been the most fun of all

Taco dinner at Tom's with a chance to find out what Bri has been doing for the last 3 days.

Home so they could all get some sleep. Word from Ned is that they hit a snag (More termites) and best stay here another day so we will now drive home on Friday, which means we will be here for Lacie's dance recital tomorrow. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Lacie Day #2

Another day with Lacie. We picked her up at dance camp and went to lunch, then to see "Toy Story #4"  Fun movie.

Back at home Lacie had set up for a talent show. We were all supposed to participate but really sbe just wanted to dance for us for a very long time. Walt & Alice did the Maryland fight song (with pom poms), I sang a boring song  and then Lacie gave us extensive rules on what we could not due while she danced (which was pretty much anything NOT undivided attention). Fortunately her friend wanted to come and play so we managed to sneak out.

Quiet evening at home

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Lacie Day

With Bri at softball camp this was a day to spend with Lacie. We picked her up at her dance camp and went to lunch. Alice Nan wanted to go to a sit down restaurant and by the beach where we could watch boats; Lacie wanted to go to Taco Bell so we compromised on in-and-out, which has a sticker game Lacie likes.

We spent an hour or so playing games back at her house then returned here for an hour or so. At 5 Alice picked Lacie up to take her to karate. Walt and I met them there and when the class was over we went to dinner at the house of good friends.

I have given up trying go post FTW and will just do the boring overviews until I get home (I am writing an entry each day just WAITING until I can post them!)

Monday, July 8, 2019

Damn computer

  • I woke up this morning thrilled to discover my internet connection was working again. I was able to download all the photos for yesterday's entry but when I tried to upload it the connection quit again. 

Yesterday was a sports day--World Cup soccer then 3 little league games. Bri's team won the championship so it was a good day all around.

We have decided to stay until Thursday. Bri is going to soccer camp and won't be home till Wednesday so we are staying an extra day 

Sunday, July 7, 2019

More problems.

Got my review of the party all written and tho I am ,logged into the network it won't connect to any site so I'm dead in the water for today. It was a GREAT party tho. Details whenever I can publish them!

I posted all the photos to Facebook, tho. 

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Problems, problems

I Can't connect on my laptop but I am writing entries to post w1hen we get home. With luck maybe I can eventually connect t or post from Tom's house.  
 We just felt a 6,4 eartbquake 

Walt got me onto the internet.  I'm back....

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Only 98

It has cooled of from 105 all the way down to 98.  I guess I have to acknowledge that we have reached summer.  California is getting nervous, hoping to avoid the fires that destroyed so much last year.  Pacific Gas & Electric is actually talking about turning off power to people in dangerous areas for as much as 4 days.  I'm trying to decide how we would survive four days without electricity.  I hope it doesn't come to that.

I have enough electric gadgets and ways to turn them on without plugging them in, but not for four days.  We have flashlights and candles.

We have a gas stove and a French press, so we would still have coffee, for example.

We could drive to another town and spend the day in a mall or at a movie if the house got to be an oven.  But I don't know what we'd do about things in the refrigerator or freezer.  It would be a good excuse to eat meals out (every situation has a silver lining).  This is what happens when first world people are faced with possible third world problems.  At least the toilets would still flush.

But looking on the bright side, four days with no way to hear Trump.  Doesn't sound too bad.

The problem with the heat, even in an air conditioned house, is that just knowing how hot it is outside is is so enervating (and this is a dry heat, the good kind) -- I simply have absolutely no energy whatsoever.  As soon as I wake up from a nap, I am looking forward to my next one.  Talk about being a lazy slug.  Fortunately, Ned didn't come today, so I had no sorting of anything to do.

Lately I seem to be getting a "normal" amount of sleep, in a not normal way.  I start out on the couch and sleep almost exactly 3 hours, then go to the recliner and am awake for 2-3 hours, and then fall back asleep for another 3-4 hours....and then there is the mid-afternoon nap.

I mention this because I have started watching the new Netflix series of Tales of the City, one or two episodes until I feel sleepy, and then go right back to sleep.  
This morning I woke up to the background noise of Live with Kelly and Ryan.  Ryan Seacrest was interviewing the Jonas Brothers and they were discussing "comfort objects" they had as children.
I was a thumb sucker.  I don't know how long I sucked my thumb but apparently I sucked it so hard the doctor felt I was in danger of developing an infection, so every day I would stand on the toilet seat, to make me taller, and soak my thumb in some vile tasting solution.  After I had soaked the thumb, they put a wire cage-like thing over the thumb.

I don't know that it really worked.  I developed a taste for the wet metal and when they didn't put that on me, I would lick and lick and lick until I finally got rid of all the bad taste of whatever I was soaking my thumb in.  I wonder what they ever did to finally break me of sucking my thumb.

Tom and David never had comfort objects, and never sucked anything either, but Jeri sucked her two middle fingers and Ned and Paul each sucked their thumbs, though not with the determination that I had as a kid.

But the three older kids each had their own "comfort object."  For Jeri it was a frilly satiny-feeling comforter with a kind of lace trim.  We carried that with us everywhere.  She had to have the lacy corner stuffed in her nose when she went to sleep.

Ned had a thermal blanket to which he was addicted.  It got so old and ratty that the entire center section of it fell out and he then only had the satin binding, which tired itself in knots with threads of the thermal part hanging off of it  We lost it one time and searched everywhere for it, while Ned cried and cried.  Finally, we mentioned it to our neighbor, who said he found something like that on his lawn.  He checked his trash and there it was...the precious blanket.  I can't imagine how he would think of something so "sacred" as trash!

The most notable thing about that blanket, though, is that 51 year old Ned still has it in the pocket of one of his jackets.

By the time Paul came along, I was determined we were not going to have the blanket problem, so I never gave him the same blanket every night.  I had three blankets and I rotated them.  And when Char was babysitting him and having a difficult time calming him down, a cut up swaths of an old dress of mine, that smelled like me, and that made him happy and we didn't have to bring a big blanket with us.

HOWEVER, that plan backfired on me and he reached an age where in order to go to sleep anywhere, he had to have all three blankets AND all of the swatches from my dress!  Parents are never smarter than their kids.

It was a relief that Tom and David never needed comfort objects, though each of them nursed for more than 4 years.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

More Oddities

We're kind of getting toward the bottom of the books, though far from finished (and this, of course, does not count the books in the other part of the house).  But more oddities keep turning up.  Like where did this come from....

It was printed in 1915 and contains not only the translations, but also pictures of allthe U.S. presidents (ending with Wilson), a "how to" section of what to do if you want to become a citizen, and a sample citizenship test.  I don't have the slightest idea where this came from.  We never had a foreign student from this part of the world and neither of us have Danish or Norwegian ancestors, nor have we ever even thought about learning the language(s). 

And then there was this book...

Yes, I worked as a typist for an ob/gyn office for 12 years, and I certainly would remember acquiring this book, but I don't.  And don't know what I'd do with it if I did.

Today's last oddity is this

I'm not even quite sure that I know where Tunisia IS, much less wondered about living there! Where DID all of these books come from?

In a way I will be sorry when we have finally sorted through and given away so many books.  It is, I have to admit, a voyage of discovery every time Ned sets up stacks of books for me to sort through.  Of courses the next problem will be--where will we put all the books we decided we want to keep, since all of the bookcases in the other rooms are full.  I hadn't thought of THAT problem yet.

We went to see Shrek--the Musical tonight and it was a fun show.  Jeri and I always send each other pictures of the programs for whatever show we were seeing each night.  By coincidence, tonight she was seeing Fun Home with music by Jeanine Tesori, who also wrote the music to Shrek.

After several "dry" weeks, it appears we are headed into a busy season.  We have one more show to see this week, then three next week, and Oklahoma! the following week.  There's also a memorial service, a graduation party, and a dental appointment in there too.  So I guess I won't be bored for awhile.

Friday, June 7, 2019

I can't believe I ate the hole thing

I decided that if I wrote an entry about donuts, I'd remember that today is National Donut Day and would remember to go out and get donuts for breakfast.

Then I stumbled across an Alton Brown Good Eats episode all about donuts and realized that there is more history to donuts than I realized.  The donut is an offshoot of the Dutch "oliekoek" which was round balls of dough, fried and covered with a sugary substance.

The Dutch brought donuts with them so that by  the start of the 19th century, this country had donuts.  The earliest printed mention of donuts comes from a 1809 book by Washington Irving.
Sometimes the table was graced with immense apple-pies, or saucers full of preserved peaches and pears; but it was always sure to boast of an enormous dish of balls of sweetened dough, fried in hog’s fat, and called dough-nuts, or oly koeks: a delicious kind of cake, at present scarce known in this city, excepting in genuine Dutch families.
Wikikpedia adds a bit more of the history:  Hanson Gregory, an American, claimed to have invented the ring-shaped doughnut in 1847 aboard a lime-trading ship when he was 16 years old. Gregory was dissatisfied with the greasiness of doughnuts twisted into various shapes and with the raw center of regular doughnuts. He claimed to have punched a hole in the center of dough with the ship's tin pepper box, and to have later taught the technique to his mother. Smithsonian Magazine states that his mother, Elizabeth Gregory, "made a wicked deep-fried dough that cleverly used her son's spice cargo of nutmeg and cinnamon, along with lemon rind," and "put hazelnuts or walnuts in the center, where the dough might not cook through", and called the food 'doughnuts'.

Though "doughnut" is the proper spelling, "donut" is also correct and given that Americans are all for doing things the fast way, is much faster to type than doughnut.

When I was a kid, there was a donut shop on Market Street in San Francisco and I loved standing at the window and watching the hot donuts roll off the machine

When our kids were little, my mother usually had donut holes for them to snack on when we visited (Walt's mother had M&Ms).

The best donuts I've had recently were apple cider donuts, which we bought on Apple Hill in the fall a couple of years ago.  Those were wonderful...and every fruit stand sold them.

I was going to try making them, since they are baked, not fried, and went out and bought donut baking pans...but have since lost the pans, so I have not yet made them.

I probably won't get all patriotic and try these....

Being a plain person, my druthers are always either sugar or glazed, but apparently you can find all sorts of specialty donuts.  I'll be happy if I can just have my sugar donuts tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

All It Takes is a Keyboard

I have been so concerned about my typing in the last few years.  It seems I can't type two words without making 3 typos.  I still type fast because I've learned to correct errors almost as fast as I type.

People who want to borrow my keyboard are very frustrated because most of the letters have worn off from overuse.  I don't need them, but if you don't touch type, it's difficult to use my computer.

I am not quite so error-prone on my laptop, so I wondered if maybe my error rate would go down if I had a better keyboard.  But when I went to shop at Office Max, all they had were the same flat-ish key keyboards like that one I had.  My guru told me what kind I needed to order from Amazon, but I never got around to it.

Yesterday Ned found another keyboard in among the "stuff" (he says it might even have been his that he moved over from Sacramento) and got it installed.  This is the fourth paragraph in this entry and I have made TWO typos since I began, so I think I have solved my problem.

We aren't at the end of the Big Book Sort, but the end is in sight.  So far we have filled 22 large boxes and donated two to a rummage sale.  We have found such weird things.  When we FINALLY get this all done, it still hasn't made a dent in our book collection,, since this is just sorting through the books in t he two rooms that Ned and Marta will be occupying.  There are still books in Walt's office, his bedroom, my office, the family room and the living room. But we don't need to get to them yet.

I sorted through the first box of my clothes (all my clothes are now in boxes awaiting a solution to the termite problem).  I have a kinda/sorta new wardrobe of all the things I'd forgotten I had...and she tells me there are two more boxes to go through.  I have two bags ready for donation somewhere.

I had a nice visit with my mother yesterday. She was very pleasant, very talkative and didn't make a bit of sense. But I just go along with her and it works out all right.  When she used to ask me why her sister(s) haven't been to visit, I used to tell her they were dead, but each time it's a fresh grief and anger that "nobody told me."  Now I just make up a story about where the specific sibling is and that seems to suit her.  She has, however, seen and talked to her mother often, who is in good shape for someone in her 140s.

She pointed to Simba, the dog who lives at Eldervilla, and told me he was a nice dog and asked his name. I told her, and when 2 minutes later he moved to the other side of the couch, she said it was a nice dog she had not seen before. But that's just the way things are these days.  Visits are more for ME, I think, than for her.

Nicest thing was that she told me several times what a nice house she lived in and how much she likes it there. I'M SO HAPPY!

I'm going to start taking photos on my cell phone to show her because that's something we can talk about, briefly--and often.
So on a more serious note -- I'm sure you remember those 1000+ kids that our government kidnapped 
and put in prison for months?  You know, the group that had 8 of them die while in our "care."
Well, the latest, if you haven't heard the news,  last month, 37 children, age 5-12, were put in a van for what was to be a 30 minute ride, after which they would be reunited with their loved ones.  The children spent 23 to 39 HOURS in the van.
NBC News obtained emails sent between employees of BCFS Heath and Human Services, the government contractor and nonprofit organization responsible for transporting the children, who were frustrated by the lack of preparation by ICE, and senior leadership at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)....

Despite two notifications from HHS that the children would be arriving, ICE officers kept to their regular schedule, clocking out for the day while the parking lot filled with children eager to see their parents again. There was no one present to greet the arriving children and they were not equipped to process them in a parking lot, the BCFS official told NBC News, describing the scene as "hurried disarray."
I'm not sure - have we made America great yet?

Monday, June 3, 2019

Who Knew?

Because of Saturday 9 and Sunday Stealing, I didn't get a chance to recognize "World Outlander Day," which is June 1, the anniversary of the publication of the first Outlander book ("Outlander") in 1991.

Though I am an avid fan of the 8 books (and eagerly awaiting Book 9 later this year), it didn't start that way.  I don't know who recommended the first book to me -- it might even have been my mother.

I can't remember if I read it all the way through the first time or not, but I set it aside for a long while.  I don't remember what made me pick it up again, and this time got caught up in the magic of the Outlander world and read that and the subsequent books which had been written to that point.  I don't think it had anything to do with my Scottish heritage, but that didn't hurt.  And I don't think that I was immersed in the Outlander story when Walt and I went to Scotland or I would have paid more attention.  I was more interested in bagpipes than anything else.

This is a time travel series, and I'm not really into sci fi.  But it's not really sci fi.  It's a great love story, and I'm not into chick lit but this is...different.  It is kind of historical fiction and I've always liked that, but I certainly would not file the books under "history." I'm not into war books or cruelty in books.  And yet the series is all of these things and I love it mostly because Diana Gabaldon is such a good writer.  Above all, I like good writing, especially in long books (most books are >1000 pages).  And she does incredible in-depth research on the era she is covering (18th century Scotland).

I loved the story of Claire, a married former army nurse on her second honeymoon to Scotland with husband Frank, an historian, when, on a solo trip to a site of some standing stones, so prevalent in Scotland, she happened  to touch one of the stones and was instantly transported to the 18th century.
Attacked by her husband's look-alike, Jonathan ("Black Jack") Randall, whom Claire realizes from her husband genealogy research is his umpty umpth grandfather. She is rescued by a band of highlanders and taken to a house, where she ends up treating young Jamie, who has a dislocated shoulder.  The rest is the start of history.

Over the next books, they fall in love, marry to save her from Randall (making her an historical bigamist), both Claire and Jamie at different times, are captured and tortured and saved by the other, they live in France trying to change history, unsuccessfully, during which time Claire is raped by the King.
They return to Scotland  Knowing Jaimie will be killed in the upcoming battle of Culloden, Claire returns to the 20th century to give birth to their child so there will be "something left of him" after his death.   Twenty years later, after discovering that he survived the battle and was working as a printer in Edinburgh, she returns to Scotland to see if the romance is still there.  It is, of course.

There follow many adventures with pirates, indians, and lots of different bad guys, always with the relationship between the two foremost in the story.  Author Gabaldon says the story will end with Book 10, so there are at least three more years before we know in which century Claire dies.

Fans of the books were thrilled to say the least when STARZ decided to make a mini series out of Book 1.  Gabaldon had turned down many offers to turn the book into a movie, feeling "a" movie couldn't possibly cover the material in the book, so a mini series seemed  the perfect idea.

Casting was important and the first criticism came from those who felt Sam Heughan, cast as Jamie, wasn't tall enough (Jamie's height is a big part of all the books)  and his hair not red enough.  People complained that Claire's eyes were not the right color.  But the chemistry between Heughan and Caitriona Balf was perfect and everyone grew to love them in the roles.

Season 1 was pretty well perfect, though there were some visual things that made me wonder.  For example, the first day Claire is with the highlanders, they ride all day for 2 or 3 days, she sitting on a horse with Jamie.

Her voice-over says that she hadn't ridden a horse in years, yet she gets off the horse without a sign of soreness or without problem riding.  Now THAT is suspension of disbelief!!

The casting of Tobias Menzes as Claire's husband Frank and as Black Jack Randall was brilliant (it will be interesting to see how he does as Prince Phillip in the next series of The Crown).

The costuming is gorgeous.  I could not find a good picture of Claire's wedding dress, which was amazing, but this one from their year in France (Season 2) was one of my favorites)

And yeah, there's a lot of sex.  Some have called the show "soft porn," yet there are only a handful of episodes where there is anything that could come close to being that, but done so naturally within the scene in that it would seem strange if it were filmed any differently.  (Do people REALLY have hot sex in beds with their underwear on?) It's the relationship-relationship-relationship, and the story that keeps me a fan.  

Jamie's rape by Black Jack is about the most graphic scene in the series, so difficult to watch, but so "appropriate" to the story.

Last season Jamie and Claire's daughter Brianna went through the stones to warn her parents of news of their impending death, which she read in an old newspaper.  When Jaimie meets his daughter is one of the really tearjerker moments.

Then there are

Jamie's godfather Murtagh, who dies in the books, but still lives in the TV series because fans liked the actor so much
Young Ian, Jamie's nephew, who saves everyone by agreeing to join a band of Indians, giving up his blood family forever.
Lord John, a closeted gay man in love with Jamie but married and raising Jamie's illegitimate child.
Gellis Duncan, another time traveler who saves Claire's life...and then tries to kill both her and Ian.
...and so many more.  Memorable characters, memorable incidents.  Is it any wonder that someone decided to set aside a day to honor the book, its author, and the TV series.  I can hardly wait for the next season on STARZ and the next book!

One of the things that has kept this series so popular is how accessible the stars have made themselves to fans.  Sam Heughan tweets all the time, Caitriona Balf and Diana Gabaldon less so, but still often.  There are opportunities on You Tube to see what is going on behind the scenes of the filming and Heughan even did a fund raiser for a charity this year, bringing a lucky fan to Scotland for a "date" with him.  I haven't come across another show that is quite that open and accessible with its fans.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Sunday Stealing

What was you first movie-going experience without your parents?
There was a movie theater four blocks from our house and we went every Saturday, but I don't remember which was the first one that I went without my parents.

Do you still buy DVDs or Blu Rays (or do you just stream them)?
No, I don't buy DVDs any more.  It's Netflix or Amazon or nothing.

What is your guilty pleasure movie? What about it works for you?
A lot really, but let's go with Legally Blonde which is a relatively dumb movie, but for some reason I just really like it.  I guess it's because Reese Witherspoon is so good.  Or maybe it's the Chihuahua.

You have compiled a list of your top 10 movies. Which movies do you like, but would not make the list?
Legally Blonde, Toy Story (all 3), any of the Christopher Guest movies (Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind), and Notting Hill, for starters.

Which movie(s) do you compulsively watch over and over again? What makes it so great?
If I like a movie, I'll watch it over and over.  A Star Is Born (1954, with Judy Garland) tops the ist.  I've probably seen it more than 100 times--before they showed movies on TV!  But others that I have watched many times include An Affair to Remember, Dave, North by Northwest (and any Hitchcock)....and too many others.

Classic(s) you’re embarrassed to admit you haven’t seen yet?
I did a google search on classics and was pleased to see that I've seen most of them.  Only 3 that I have not -- The Shining, A Touch of Evil and Citizen Kane (yes, really!)

Do you have any movie posters hanging on your wall? If yes, which ones and why?
No movie poster but I do have lifesize figures of the Scarecrow Tin Man and Cowardly Lion in the living room--it was the decoration for my 70th birthday party.

Tell us about a movie that you are passionate about.
There are dozens of movies that I like a lot, but I can't think of any that I would say I was "passionate" about.

What is a movie you vow to never watch? Why?
The Matrix.  I tried and couldn't understand it at all.  Any movie with too much fighting.  I want a story

Tell us about a movie that literally left you speechless.
Gaijin, a Brasilian film, beautifully filmed, but MUST be seen captioned, not voice over, or you miss the whole point of the movie.

What’s a movie that you always recommend?
Well, I recommended Affair to Remember, one of my all time favorites for a long time until a friend decided to rent it and watch it with me (after seeing Sleepless in Seattle, which talks about it a lot).  She made fun of it about halfway through and then fell asleep.  I don't recommend movies any more. They are too special to me.

Who is an actor you always watch, no matter how crappy the movie?
Robin Williams, Cary Grant (though I don't think he ever made a crappy movie), Spencer Tracy

Who is an actor you don’t get the appeal for? Why don’t you like them?
In the past 20 or so years, all the actors, male and female seem to look the same and while I don't NOT like them, I can't tell one from another and don't go out of my way to watch them.

Who is an actor, living or dead, you’d love to meet? Why do they intrigue you?
I really don't have any desire to meet an actor, living or dead.  If I enjoy them, it's for the characters they play and I don't want to be disillusioned to find out what they are like in real life.

Sexiest actor/actress you’ve seen. (Picture requested!) - gee I wonder which Kwizgiver will choose....

Sam Heughan from Outlander
(though he is almost young enough to be my grandson)

You are casting a movie, pick four or five actors you’d hire to be in it and why we’d love them together.
Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Fred Willard -- these are part of Christopher Guest's group who have made several movies together.  I love each of their movies!

Which are your favorite actor pairings of all time?
Tracy and Hepburn, Paul Newman and Robert Redford, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, Buzz Lightyear and Woody the Cowboy.

Have you ever watched movies from a decade that was before you were born? If so, which decade is your favorite?
I was born in 1943 and so there's really only one decade from which to choose and I have seen many films from the 30s, like Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind.

If you were to be in a movie would you rather play the hero, villain or anti-hero? Why?.
Oh the anti-hero is much more fun. 

Friday, May 31, 2019

Project Runway

Why do I like Project Runway?

I don't sew.  I don't know a bobbin from a button.  I couldn't thread a sewing machine if my life depended on it.  I don't know a thing about fashion -- and care less.  I've never seen a single copy of "Elle" magazine.  And yet Project Runway is currently in its 17th season and I think I have watched it from the beginning.  I can identify "Elle"'s editor, Nina Garcia.

My history with sewing is extremely limited.  My mother was an excellent seamstress and even took a course in tailoring at one point.  She made wonderful clothes for Karen and me.  

I took sewing in high school.  My teacher, Sister Bernadine, was a large woman who joked that the first thing she did every morning was to check the obituaries to see if she was alive or not.

I don't remember a lot about what I did in my sewing class, but my finale was a dress that I don't remember at all, except that it had a reversible overskirt that I really liked, which Sister wasn't all that keen on, but as I began to make it, she was very encouraging and I think actually liked the idea...until I accidentally tore the top of the overskirt and she was so upset about it, I don't remember her being at all encouraging after that.  I wore that dress for our mandatory fashion show and never again.

I made a couple of costumes for Jeri, which never turned out as I'd hoped.  The words I hated most in any flyer about an activity were "mothers will make costumes."  One costume I made never looked right at all until I realized that I had the head piece backwards and didn't realize it.

Walt had shirts he threw away because they needed a button.

And yet I became fascinated by Project Runway.

What kept me going in the beginning were co-hosts Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn.

Probably Gunn over Klum, since she often drove me nuts and I loved his relationship witwh the contestants, especially when he visited the final 4 at their homes.  I had to laugh at how many times my favorite choice of all the fashions that were modeled at the end of each episode were the ones that the judges sneered were for "older women."  But I cheered the season that the winner was a rotund woman with blue hair who designed for larger women. 

The only designer who ever won (or even was a contestant) whose name I remember is Christian Siriano.

I liked him when he was a contestant, was happy when he won and thrilled to see his name starting to be given on awards shows when stars were asked whose fashion they were wearing.  He is considered the most successful designer who ever won Project Runway.  Perhaps one of his most notable designs was this one for the Met Gala.

Klum and Gunn left Project Runway after Season 16, but Bravo has brought the show back with Siriano in Tim Gunn's position and model Karlie Kloss (whom I'd never heard of before because I don't pay attention to fashion shows) is the new Heidi Klum.  The only hold over from the old days is Nina Garcia, who still sits on the judging panel.

I've been watching Season 17 but realizing that I'm not enjoying it this season, and I think this is my Project Runway finale.  There are very few designs that I like any more, many of the contestants annoy me, and I often sit there wondering what in the world am I doing watching this stuff.
It's time to find another show.

Thursday, May 30, 2019


I don't do as many swaps on SwapBot as I used to.  But I do like exchanging post cards and journals.  This year there have been monthly journals, where you keep a journal for a whole month and then send it off to your partner.  There has been one of these journal swaps every other month, and they've all been fun to do.

The day before I began the current (May) journal, Walt and I met our friends Jeri and Phil (the other Jeri and Phil) for lunch at Fenton's in Vacaville.  At that lunch, I discovered (after years of eating there) that they have (free) post cards, including the one at he left, which is one of my favorite pictures--a larger-than-poster size copy of this picture adorns one of the walls of the restaurant.

I brought home a couple of the free postcards and so the first page of my May journal was this photo and a description of Fenton's.

Today is the 30th of the month and the journal will end tomorrow, and yesterday I met Fenton's, so I got a different free postcard that that will be at the end of my May Journal.  It's kind of like Fenton's was bookends for this particular journal.  

Given the distance from Davis to Vacaville it's definitely rare that I would eat at Fenton's twice in one month.

As usual we had a great lunch.  We started with shakes (I had a vanilla malt) and I learned a great secret for next time.  It used to be I would get a small sundae which comes heaped high in a small bowl and dripping with so much topping that the topping all rolls off the ice cream and pools at the bottom of the plate that the bowl sits on.  Awhile ago I asked for my sundae to come in a LARGE bowl and that was just GREAT.  For the first time I didn't have to try to figure out how I was going to get hot fudgs off of a flat plate without licking it.

They deivered the shakes.  The waitress had asked us if we wanted whipped cream and we both said yes, but my malt had no whipped cream on it.  When I complained to the server who brought it to me she said she would get some more.  She came back with a whole little bowl of whipped cream -- easily twice what would have been squirted on the top.

(the whipped cream was actually heaped on this bowl)
Next time I will order my malt with whipped cream on the side and see if I get that much whipped cream again.

My new favorite menu item is a crab melt sandwich which is different from the usual crab salad sandwich I have gotten on several trips to Fenton's.  The melt comes with avocado and I like it a lot better.

The sandwiches are huge and I usually bring half of my sandwich home to Walt, if he doesn't come with me.  Today he was here with Ned while an assessor came to check the house and give us an idea of what it might be worth.  We have no plans whatsoever to sell it, but Ned thought it would be good to get the assessment before he and Marta start doing major rennovation around here.. 

When I finished the first half of my sandwich, I did consider taking the other half home, but it just tasted too good, so I ate it.

After lunch, my plan had been to stop at one of the other stores in the mall where Fenton's is located, but once I got into the car, I felt so full I couldn't see getting out and wandering around a store again, so I just drove home.

I got home in a full post-prandial exhaustion.  I thought about the standard Mexican siesta after heavy meals and what a good idea that was.  It took me a good, oh, 5 or maybe 10 miutes to get to sleep and I slept for an hour or two.  I woke up still groggy, was up for an hour, trying to think about what to cook for dinner, given that there was no way I was going to eat anything.  I was so groggy that I went back to sleep for another hour.

I finally woke up and made dinner, but gave it all to Walt and stumbled back to the recliner.  It was probably 8 p.m. before I actually felt "normal" again!

I woke up in time to paste a Fenton's postcard into my May journal, to make the second half of the Fenton's bookends.  Now it's time to go back to sleep.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The Bridge

Whenever I think of the emotional pain New Yorkers went through when the twin towers came down, I have to think of how I would feel if one of those bombs from N. Korea took out the Golden Gate Bridge.
I only lived in San Francisco for 18 years, the first 18 years of my life, but still think of the City as "home" and one of my favorite things is going up on some hill and looking at a view of the bay, with the bridge stretching across to Marin County.  I'm a bigger tourist than the tourists I take to view the City.  It would take a piece of my heart if the bridge were to be destroyed.

The two San Francisco bridges were built at the same time in 1937 and two of my uncles worked on both of them.

(no, those aren't my uncles! ... that I know of ...)
Strong winds come through the golden gate and workers were constantly buffeted by high winds and were in constant fear of plummeting to their deaths.

Here are some stats:
*The bridge is 8,981 feet long (1.7 miles) and contains about 88,000 tons of steel.
*The total weight of the bridge is 887,000 tons.
*There are two towers that hold up the two steel cables anchoring the bridge. Also, there are approximately 80,000 miles of wire inside each of the two steel cables.
*The towers stand 726 feet above the water and 500 feet above street level. They weigh 44,000 tons each and are 4,200 feet apart from each other.
*The bridge is 90 feet wide. There are six driving lanes and two sidewalks. The width of the driving lanes is 62 feet between curbs and the sidewalks are 10 feet each. Street level is about 220 feet above the water.
The bridge opened in May (and the first suicide off the bridge was in August of that year!  As of 2012, 16,000 people had jumped off the bridge, only 25 of whom survived.).  

My father and grandfather were among the pedestrians who walked across the bridge that first day.

I remember when I was a kid, the toll to cross the bridge was 25 cents.  I just learned that the latest raise in toll will bring the cost to cross this bridge to $9.

The 50th anniversary of the bridge was celebrated in May of 1987.  The bridge was closed to cars and pedestrians could walk across it.  Walt. Char, Mike (and others) went to do the walk.  I knew I wouldn't be able to keep up with them, so I drove them to as close as we could get so they didn't have that far to walk.  As it turned out, it was a madhouse on the bridge and so crowded that they never actually made on to the bridge, but were trapped on the road leading up to it.

It was a great idea, but they estimated 80,000 people would come and more than 800,000 did, 300,000 actually got onto the bridge.  Nobody anticipated that the weight of all those people would actually flatten the curve of the bridge. "The Golden Gate Bridge, all 419,000 tons of it, groaned and swayed like an old wooden plank thrown across a ditch," painting contractor Winston Montgomery wrote. "Frightened and seasick people vomited on their shoes.  People began throwing bicycles and strollers off the bridge in order to lighten the load on the bridge."  The engineers, however, stated later that there was never any danger of collapse.

The Golden Gate Bridge is my "twin towers," and when swords start rattling in other countries, I get afraid for the safety of my bridge.  It wouldn't be San Francisco without the Golden Gate Bridge, even if I had to pay $9 for the privilege of crossing it.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Memorial day

This is reprinted (and edited) from 2011.  It's the story of my Uncle Roger Scott (Scotty):

By way of introduction, this is an uncle who had never really spoken to me before, but we found ourselves seated together at the far end of the family table at a dinner and he began telling me about his experiences in a prisoner of war camp in World War II.  It killed me that I had NOTHING to take notes with--no paper & pen, no recorder, not even a camera that would record video.  When we returned to my mother's RV after dinner, I raced into the thing, dug out my laptop and wrote as much as I could remember.  Here, unedited, is what I wrote..
I think I knew he was a P.O.W., but I had never known much about it and there we sat, the two of us, oblivious to the rest of the table, and Scotty talked on and on about his experiences in Germany in WW II.

He was shot down over Germany and spent 9 months in the camp.  I can't remember where he was at first (a name I couldn't pronounce and don't remember hearing before), but he was moved to Nuremberg and then marched 100 miles to (Musberg?).  On the march he befriended an older German sergeant, about 55 years old, who was in no shape for a 100 mile march.  The sergeant was trying to find a truck to hop aboard, and Scotty signaled to him to let him (Scotty) carry his (the sergeant's) pack, which he did.

After they got to Musberg, they were sitting around cooking C-rations when this sergeant and another officer walked by.  The sergeant shoved his hand in Scotty's pocket and walked on.  Scotty put his hand in and found an egg and 2 onions.  Nobody in the camp had even SEEN an egg, much less one, in literally months and he said "you wouldn't believe what I went through to cook that egg without anyone seeing me."  The next day on the march he ate the onions, though "we weren't supposed to eat vegetables because they put human manure on the fields, but I ate them anyway."

Another tale was when one guy was going around with an empty can trying to collect a spoonful of powered milk from everyone in the camp.   The deal was that there was a guy who said he would masturbate in 3 minutes and if he was unsuccessful, he would contribute a whole can of powdered milk.  The whole camp gathered in the bathroom to watch and the guy did masturbate in 3 minutes...and then asked if anyone wanted to bet another spoon of milk for him to do it again (nobody did).

There was a German sergeant they called "Mr. Stoop" who had, it is reported, strangled 3 American POWs with his bare hands.   But Scotty ran into him one time and the guy gave Scotty a cigarette.  After the camp had been liberated by Patton's troops, they lined up all the German officers and paraded the POWs past them to indicate which were the ones who had done them wrong.   The sergeant who had given Scotty the egg, "I think was taken into another room and given a medal; everyone liked him," he said.  But Mr. Stoop was not to be found.  Later they found his body in one field and his head in another some 12 miles away.

They were liberated by Patton's troops, as I said.   Scotty said that this one day he and his friend decided to take a shower.  It was the day for officers to shower, but he and his buddy had not showered in something like 6 weeks, so lined up with the officers (I am not clear on whether they were without clothes or not--they must have been because Scotty said that you couldn't really tell the officers from the enlisted men--they had to argue to get the group in because there were 2 too many and the officers weren't going to give Scotty and his friend away).  Anyway, they had to cross a courtyard beneath a guard tower to get to the shower, and as they were making their way across the area, Patton's troops in tanks arrived and opened fire on the guards in the tower.  Scotty said, "if you've ever seen men trying to dig instant foxholes in concrete, this was it!"

After the liberation, Scotty's friend came across an English soldier who was roughing up a German housewife who hadn't really done anything, but who was German.  His friend tossed the Englishman over the bridge, 40 feet to the water below.

He said that he weighed 174 when he went into the service and 138 when he came out of the camp, but returned home on a troop ship on which the baker had just quit.  There was a sign up that there would be no bread unless someone volunteered to take on the job.  Scotty said he had worked as a baker when he was about 12, so he agreed to take on the job.  He was so good to the troops that he ended up with a key to all the store rooms, full run of all the ship's stores, and his own private stateroom.  And when he returned to Galt, he weighed 174.

I don't know if all this reads interesting in the telling, but the best part of it was that it was fascinating, and it was just Scotty and me talking and I think that it was the first conversation I have ever had with one of my uncles about anything.  I left the restaurant feeling as if I had discovered an uncle--and feeling that this was the best night of the whole trip.

NOTE FROM TODAY:  Scotty and I never had another conversation and he died a few years after this incident took place.  But I will treasure it always as a wonderful night.

After he died, my cousin Peach found a lot of things pertaining to his time as a POW, most special of which was this little book:

The cover is corrugated cardboard, as if it was cut from a box and the pages inside are like tissue paper--apparently it was toilet paper.  On the pages, he recorded the names and addresses of the guys in his unit (some had X's on them, and we wonder if those are the ones who died when the plane was shot down).  But he also recorded the forced march that they made shortly before they were liberated by the Americans.

This is the telegram his family received letting them know that he had been taken prisoner.

Monday, May 27, 2019

143 in Pennsylvania

I missed it by a couple of days, but May 23, the 143rd day of the year, was declared "143 Day," in Pennsylvania, a day to celebrate and honor the Fred Rogers (Mister Rogers) by following his example. According to the Fred Rogers Center, the number was a reminder of compassion, and it meant a lot to everyone's favorite neighbor.  "1-4-3" is a code that Rogers would say to his friends in the neighborhood — and it stands for the number of letters in the words "I love you." 
Isn't it nice to see a headline dealing with something positive for a change?

To help people show their neighbors a little extra kindness through simple good deeds, the state's website created a "kindness generator," which pumps out ideas such as "Donate to a local children's fund" and "Write your favorite teacher a letter." 

Imagine what our real neighborhoods would be like if each of us offered, as a matter of course, just one kind word to another person. --Fred Rogers

It may be belated, but better late than never.  Here are some other ways you can show you care:

- Donate a book to the library
- Bring constructions workers bottled water
- Giver a server a big tip and a good review
- Send care packages to the troops
- Leave some quarters at the laundromat
- Send friends or family a postcard
- Let someone ahead of you in line
- Make a list of your best qualities
- Throw away a piece of litter
- Help someone who's busy at work
- Give a stranger an honest compliment
- Bring donuts or muffins to work
- Send someone an encouraging tweet
- Offer to cut a neighbor's grass
- Offer to take a photo of a couple
- Clean up a common area at work
- Send flowers to nurses at the hospital
- Give your pets a brand new toy
- Give a friend or coworker a ride home
- Sweep a neighbor's walkway
- Feed some birds in a local park
- Return an abandoned grocery cart
- Leave someone a nice note
etc., etc., etc.

It doesn't take a lot of work, and not necessarily any money, to show kindness to someone.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if 143 Day became a national holiday? 

I spent the day showing kindness to lots of people.  I spent the day writing letters and sending photos to the Compassion kids, a job which is more time consuming than you would think and I didn't get as many letters written as I would have liked, but the letters were more personal than the ones I write and send to everyone from time to time. 

Ned and Marta were here today and showed lot of kindness, some of which I almost wish they hadn't done.  Marta decided to organize my closet and she found a big picture that one of our foreign students had drawn for me.  It's about poster size and was leaning up against the wall.  When she took it out to bring it to show to me, she uncovered a termite nest.  So instead of organizing the closet, they removed everything from the closet and will make an appointment with an exterminator on Tuesday, when the Memorial Day holiday is over.

Friday, May 24, 2019

A Taste of Home

When my father's mother was nearing the end of her life, I don't know for what particular reason her diet was restricted, but I remember her saying "when I can eat again, all I want is a big slice of rare roast beef."

I don't know why I think of that from time to time. Maybe because as I get older, things don't taste quite the same as they used to and I miss the foods I used to love.  It's strange how many vivid food memories I have.  It's no wonder that I have had a  weight problem all of my life.

Walt went to San Francisco yesterday to go to a symphony matinee and decided to take the train down, so I took him to the train station at 8:30.  On the way home, I stopped at the donut shop and picked up a couple of donuts for breakfast.  I love donuts but almost never buy them, for several reasons -- one because I need them like I need a hole in the head, and two because it means getting up and out in the morning and doesn't seem worth the effort, but whenever I do get donuts at this particular shop, I'm always happy because if you get there early enough the donuts are still warm and so very, very fresh.  

I always think back to my days at UC Berkeley and the mornings we would go to Mass at the Newman center and then walk down to a donut shop nearby where I'd have a couple of warm donuts and hot chocolate.  What a way to start the morning.

My father didn't cook much, but when he did, what he made was memorable.  I have never had a potato salad to match his.  He said the secret was to slice the potatoes very thin, but even with that and adding the onions, mayonnaise, and sweet pickles that he mixed together, I've never been able to recreate that special taste.  I was his "taster" whenever he made potato salad, to let him know if he had the salt right.  My mother occasionally made potato salad, but it was never quite right.

I also remember the first time he made egg nog from scratch.  I can picture myself sitting in the kitchen while he worked in the pantry and gave me a taste of what he was making (without the liquor, of course).  It was like drinking flavored cream and I loved it.

He once made...and I can't remember what they are called, but Italian meat pies.  How he loved Italian food and swore that somewhere in his genes there were Italian ancestors.  But his pies were delicious and I have had them many times in many places, but never as good as the ones he made.
Of course then there were the peanut butter cookies that you had to drink from a glass.  We always teased him about that.  I don't know what he put in the mix, but whatever it was, it had the consistency of milk.

He always wanted the richest and the most calorie filled.  We would occasionally have taste tests where he would sit in our laundry room and open the window into the kitchen and we would give him a taste of two things and he would decide which was the was always the thing that had the most calories.

My mother was a good cook, but mostly cooked "basic" things, though she made the best meatloaf, which try as I might, I have been unable to duplicate.  My cousin Peach had the same complaint.  She loved my mother's meatloaf and could not duplicate it either.  Something about the texture, I think.  I can't get the texture right.

One thing I remember most about my mother's cooking was her chocolate cream roll.  She must have made it often when I was a kid.  It was a chocolate sponge cake that was turned out onto a powdered sugar covered towel after it came out of the oven.  The edges were trimmed off (Karen and I got to eat them) and the cake was rolled tightly until it cooled.  When it was cooled, she unrolled it, filled it with real whipped cream, rolled it back up again and frosted it with a dark chocolate frosting--something else I have been unable to duplicate, despite my many years as a cake decorator.  I have often thought of making my own chocolate cream roll but don't think I ever did.

But outside of home, throughout my life there are special moments..."nothing" moments really, that I remember vividly because of the foods involved.

I worked for a summer at a tool company with my friend Joycie.  We would meet for breakfast before work each morning and I can still taste the wonderful pastries I had there, loaded with butter and just toasted enough.  Another taste I was never able to duplicate, though I've tried.

That was an interesting place.  The guy sold those cheap dollar tools and I was his biller-clerk.  I don't know why but I can't remember his name, but I remember that his birthday was March 24.  And I remember after I left the job reading that he had been arrested for something related to fraudulent business practices.  I wonder whatever happened to him....

I can picture the restaurant where I sat with my boyfriend Bill and his father.  The father ordered sweetbreads and Bill dared me to try them.  I didn't have a clue what sweetbreads were until years later -- and how could I pass up something with "sweet" and "bread" in the name? But I remember liking what I tasted.  I wouldn't eat them now that I know it's really the pancreas from a lamb or cow.  Shudder.  But I didn't know that at the time.

Like I can picture sitting at my grandmother's table (my mother's mother) and eating tongue for the first and only time and how much I liked it until I thought about it later and didn't want to ever eat it again.  I am not an adventurous eater.

I did agree to eat escargot once, though, when I took Gilbert to dinner at a French restaurant.  He had taken Paul and me to dinner somewhere after a rehearsal of a play Paul was in and someone nearby had escargot.  That buttery garlic smell was enticing and he talked about how delicious escargot was, so I decided I would try eating snails and offered to take him to dinner for his birthday.  The restaurant where we went didn't have the standard escargot but had them in a sauce and my word...they were so good we had a second order.  I don't think I've had escargot since, though I remember that dinner fondly.  I just can't get past the "snails" part.

I remember when Walt and I ate dinner at the home of a friend of his mother's once.  I don't remember her name, but I remember she made pie for dessert.  I don't remember what kind of pie it was, but I remember that it had the flakiest crust I'd ever had and I had to ask her how she made it.  In the days when I could still make pie crust (another art I've lost in my old age), I was able to duplicate that and think of her whenever I had a crust that came out light and flaky.

It is weird how vivid so many of my food memories are, and so I understand my grandmother's longing for a good slab of rare roast beef.  I don't think she ever got it.  I don't know that I have that sort of longing, but if I did long for something delicious from my past, I guess it would be to have another big dish of my father's potato salad.

Thursday, May 23, 2019


I went to Eldervilla yesterday.  I hadn't been in a little over a week.  She was at the kitchen table eating her lunch when I arrived.  I sat down with her and we had a nice visit.  She joked with Mala, the care giver who was cleaning up the kitchen.

The thing I noticed most about her is how relaxed and happy her face looks.  She really does feel at home.  And she is definitely treating Sandy like her boyfriend, which he handles well.

(notice she has a new manicure)
I'm not sure who she thought I was but we talked about her parents and what they were doing today and I made comments based on things I knew about things when she was growing up.  It was a good conversation.

At one point she went to the bathroom and when she came back, she sat down and looked at me in amazement.  She had no idea I had come.  She said she had been talking to someone else and was surprised to see me there now.  Of course who "me" was, I don't know!  I know that many people feel very upset when their parents don't recognize them.  I guess after all these years, I'm just used to it.  It's not one of the things that upsets me.  I'm more upset when she has no connection to Bri and Lacie at all, just that they are "cute kids."

I did have a bit of a pang when she told me that my "glass paper" was pretty.  "Did you mean my hair?" I asked, since she had gestured toward my hair.  "Yes," she said, "your glass paper."  It gave me a pang because the subject of my hair has been an almost constant topic for decades.  One of the things my other has been VERY disappointed about all of her life was that she did not have curly hair, as some of her sisters did--and as I do.  She never failed to mention it for a long time  Every time she saw me she said "Oh look at that hair! It just makes me sick. That makes me feel so DISGUSTED."  Of course she meant it as a compliment because she wanted hair like mine, but I finally told her years ago how it made me feel to be told that she was disgusted whenever she looked at me.  She actually never used that word again and rarely mentions my hair now except to say it looks nice.  I'm not sure if I'm sad or happy that I never disgust her any more.

Sandy and I talked a bit.  Nancy, the woman whom the police picked up last week, fell in the ER and broke her hip, so she's been in the hospital and is moving to a convalescent home.  And I never dreamed that Jeannie, my mother's best friend at Eldervilla, is almost completely blind.  You'd never know it to watch her.

While we were talking my mother got up and went into her room and to bed.  I had been there for about an hour and a half, so I just left and didn't bother trying to tell her goodbye.

I often left Atria fighting back tears.  I have never done that at Eldervilla, and usually leave feeling so happy and grateful that we found this wonderful place.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Fear of Buying

I didn't go quietly into the supermarket yesterday, apparently.  I had not one but two people stop me to talk about my socks.

I told one guy that I wore them so I could be found in the dark.

I hadn't been to Nugget Market in awhile and it's always a wonderful revelation of the cornucopia of delights from which to choose.  They recently reorganized the place, and I'm still learning where to find things I used to be able to find easily.  But in the search, I've discovered wonderful new things, like green pea snack crisps, flavored dried peas which are nice and crunchy and better than empty calorie crackers.  There are also always new things to discover in the international aisles, with more and more Middle Eastern offerings.  It's difficult to get out of the place with under $200 worth of purchases.  I even bought some Ben and Jerry's Urban Bourbon ice cream, which I'd heard of but not found before (it's rather tasty).

Before going to the store, Ned set us up for more book sorting.  More hard backs.

This was a more difficult set of books to toss.  These were a lot of books that I have read and reluctantly put in the "give away" pile.

But then I come across books that I had forgotten I meant to read, like one by my hero, Erma Bombeck, "Aunt Erma's Cope Book," one of her earlier books.  Erma Bombeck is the whole reason why "Funny the World" came to be.  At one point there was discussion about having a journal-type column in the paper and I decided to see if it would be possible for me to write a newspaper length column daily (which, at that time, Bombeck was doing).  Nearly twenty years later I think I've proven that  I can, but almost never have I written anything that satisfies me as much as any entry written by Bombeck.  (There is such a column now but it's weekly and it's much better than I could have written.)

I know that I need to put this Bombeck book in the "give away" box but I have to read it first, so I spent yesterday reading it.  It's about all the self-help books that have been written for every possible condition.  (The title of this entry was one I loved from her book, the funny take on "Fear of Flying" about situations happening in a supermarket.)  It's a relatively short book and I should finish it today and will then feel comfortable putting it in the "give away" box.

In the middle of all of the sorting and giving away books, I bought a new one.  Do you guys have the "Nextdoor" feature where you live?  I've seen people on Facebook talking about it in other cities.  It's a private social group for people in particular areas of towns.  I don't know how many groups there are in Davis, but our group has been quite active, asking for suggestions, giving warnings, and just notifying others of things this area should learn.

A newcomer to Davis, and to our area of Nextdoor, wrote asking for suggestions of books about California that would help her learn more about where she is now living.  There were lots of suggestions, but one guy recommended a book called "Cool Gray City of Love" by Gary Kamiya, which he says is the best coverage he's seen about San Francisco.  I'm always interested in books about San Francisco and had to order it.  

So I'm reading the Bombeck book and the San Francisco book simultaneously and both are excellent.  I'm particularly loving the San Francisco book, and in the first chapter learned a whole lot about the Farallon islands, which I have seen 30 miles off the shore of the city but really knew nothing about.  For example there are more than 300,000 birds of 13 species found there as well as five species of seals and sea lions, including  the huge elephant seal.  Humpback, gray and blue whales regularly feed there and in the fall 30-100 great white sharks come to feed.  I could go on and on, but I expect to find all sorts of new things about "my" city and look forward to reading more.

See how we came to have so many books?

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Remembering Yom

In the Big Book clean-out, we found a book of bathroom trivia, which we have put, where else?, in the bathroom.  Because of that I know that Rutherford B. Hayes was the first person in the United States to own a Siamese cat.  She was given to Mrs. Hayes by David Sickels, the American consul in Bangkok and was named Siam.
From Wikipedia:
Siam had a long journey and probably used up quite a few of her nine lives on the way from Thailand. She was first shipped to Hong Kong, then to San Francisco; and from there, she traveled by land to Washington.

Elegant and slender with long legs and bright blue eyes, Siam created quite a stir in the White House. Lucy Hayes at first named the cat Miss Pussy, but changed her name to Siam after noticing her regal bearing and high-born attitude. The cat soon became a favorite of Fanny, the president’s daughter.

Sadly, Siam became sick several months after arriving in our nation’s capital. Even though the president’s own physician was asked to examine the cat, Siam did not recover. Records show that instructions were given to preserve the cat’s body, but a stuffed Siam has never been found, according to the Hayes Presidential Center.
There were two other presidents who had Siamese cats.  Gerald Ford's daughter Susan had Shan:

and Amy Carter had Misty Malarky Ying Yang

I am not a fan of Siamese cats.  I acquired my dislike of Siamese cats when I lived for about six months with Char and Mike and then-baby Tavie (now in her 50s).  The cat was named Yom (short for Yom Kippur, a logical name for this nice Catholic family) and every morning he woke me up by reaching his paw under the door of the bedroom that Tavie and I shared and scratching the inside of the door, crying that annoying Siamese meow (Siamese cats are acknowledged to be the most talkative breed of cat.  Their meow is often likened to the cry of a baby.).

In those days, I worked in the Physics Department of the University of California, and dressed nicely for work, including heels and stockings.  Yom and I had a battle every morning.  As I walked down the hall, the sound of my legs rubbing together was an enticement for him to attack my legs and I cannot tell you how many days I had to go back into my room and change my stockings because his claws had caused a run.

For Christmas that year, Yom gave me a box of stockings as a gift.

But I still don't like Siamese cats.