I Let The Bed Bugs Bite

July 31, 2014

At least I slept tight.

For what was supposed to be a restful, uneventful week in PV–mom’s pneumonia recovery week–it sure has had its share of drama. Today’s: the likely discovery of bed bugs in the guest room, aka MY OLD ROOM!

So not happy about this.

Mom will get confirmation tomorrow when the pest people come, but in the meantime, a look at my pillow with my mom’s lighted magnifying glass (my beloved tempurpedic pillow that I ALWAYS travel with because it is the miracle neck saver), reveals the tell-tale bed bug fecal spots (so gross), which I think I got down here, but who knows?

The pest people will investigate and let her know if the guest room bed is crawling with bed bugs and, if so, that will explain the dozens of bites all over my back, chest, neck… well, everywhere. I’ve got them everywhere. And they’re so itchy.

I’m in the early stages of bed bug research, which is to say I’m in that mildly panicked state, trying to figure out what-all has been infested… all the guest room bedding? Carpets? Mattresses? If I brought it on my pillow from Davis, does that mean all the clothes in my suitcase now have bed bugs? Have I been wearing clothing infested with bed bugs and is that why I have bites everywhere? Is our bed at home full of them? Is this itching in my hair just my imagination? When will all this itching stop???

Here’s a picture of the front yard, which… when you live in such a forest, I guess you can expect bugs, huh?


Slow News Day

July 30, 2014

I may have a hard time turning this into a blog post… but here goes.

First, nothing happened today.. which is good if you’re providing support to your 85-year-old mom who’s recovering from pneumonia.

But, actually, one thing did happen:

I went to pour cream into my coffee this morning, and out came chunks that looked more like thick, gloppy sour cream than the 1/2 and 1/2 I was so expecting.  Very disappointing if coffee with cream is one of those things you’re really, really looking forward to.

Then, growing suspicious, I looked inside the carton of nonfat milk that I bought just yesterday and found what looked like a square of soft tofu swimming in not-very-white milk. There went the cereal plan.

And finally, I realized that the half-gallon of fresh squeezed orange juice that had bloated up to something half-again its normal size… was probably not normal.  When I unscrewed the cap, a gust of gas whooshed out. Yeah, definitely not normal.

Remembering that Jim had complained a couple of days ago that his beer was undrinkable (because it was warm), I started to think we were having a refrigerator problem.

Long story short, Sergio, pictured here on a ladder with a vacuum in his hand, came over and, after a short investigation, announced we had severely clogged filters in the compressor compartment, which, if not thoroughly cleaned on a routine basis (annually is suggested), leads to all kinds of refrigerator inefficiencies, which leads to the one thing refrigerators are designed to prevent: spoiled food (which we now have a ton of).


Sergio also brought up on his iPhone the record of service calls to Via La Selva.. the last one being “December 2005: Customer said food was not cold.” Funny guy, Sergio. So, okay, this had happened before. But, it won’t happen again! Annual maintenance from here on out; promise!

Anyway, he vacuumed the filters and thinks we’ll be back to cold food within 24-48 hours. All is back to good on Via La Selva. Big shopping trip tomorrow to replace all the spoiled food.

So there was that.

A related and very annoying thing happened next… not really worth mentioning, but it was a slow news day and I got a picture, so here’s the next part of this story:

The orange juice I mentioned? I’d taken it out of the refrigerator and laid it on its side on the counter (because the plastic bottle was so distended it no longer stood up). I meant to empty it, but forgot. A couple hours later I came into the kitchen to find it had leaked all over the counter and onto the floor, and then, most annoyingly, into the third drawer down that just happened to be open a crack. As luck would have it, there were a thousand things in this drawer (including eight crab pliers, four wine bottle openers, two basting syringes, various martini-making accessories, rarely used baking paraphernalia, a meat roasting fork thing that I impaled myself on, and more), the entire contents of which had to be removed and cleaned. Of course I have a couple shots:

Here’s the drawer with most of the contents removed and most of the orange juice sucked up:


And here is the sink full of sticky utensils:


I know.. but as I said… slow news day.



July 29, 2014



Outings when you’ve sorta still got pneumonia are a big deal.  So, today we went to the beach…. It was a big deal because it’s great to get out, and it was a big deal because it was exhausting and took its toll on mom.

Read for almost two hours–mom her LA Times, me the manuscript I’m editing. Right here. In the car. Periodically looking up to look at the ocean and do a little people-walking-their-dog-watching. Mom in front, me in back. The windows were open, so we caught lots of conversation snippets, too.

I am moved by her pluck.

Eat, Play, Love

July 28, 2014

Settling in for the week. I am spelling my brothers, who’ve been doing most of the work so far on mom’s post-hospital recovery effort. My turn to share the love. No big plans.. no beach walks, even. Just rest. How about some settling-in, day-in-the-life haikus? Mostly because there’s not much else to write about.

Mom is doing well
Pneumonia does not stop her
Should be a fun week

First, coffee and cream
Then, go fetch the LA Times
Meds, shower, breakfast

Clean up from breakfast
Endless hands of gin rummy
Snack plate’s always close

Now to plan dinner…
Chicken is marinating
Let’s play some more cards

Clean up from dinner
Talk, read, text, blog, and email
Now it’s time for bed



I know. Best I could do.


Back Forty

July 27, 2014

I must say, I really love reunions. At 11pm last night, I felt very bummed we were getting kicked out. So many people left to talk to and a few more I really just wanted to hang out with longer.

People, even if they didn’t entirely remember you, were so open and friendly… I suppose it’s because everyone’s a little apprehensive about the whole thing. But for all the people I had superficial and/or awkward conversations with, there were many, many more with whom I had genuinely sweet and interesting conversations.


Marnie Hartley remembering we were lab partners in biology and 1) how we used to sing “Hold Your Head Up” (Argent, right?) while trying to lift our heads off our desks, feigning boredom, and laughing our heads off, and 2) getting caught passing a note to one another during class about how everybody around us was cheating on their tests except us and why didn’t the teacher see it. The teacher grabbed the note, read it to himself, passed it back to us and simply said, “acknowledged.” Then walked away. I sort of remember the first, but definitely not the second. But so sweet to hear. (I do remember singing “Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog” when we were dissecting frogs.)

Greatly enjoyed conversations–some long, some short–with (sort of in order of appearance over the course of two days and three events): Sidne Shaw, Cary McCullum, Wendy Cooper, David Lefkowitz, Heather Lewis, Mike Foreman (who accidentally stumbled upon our reunion while dining at Nelson’s with his wife and some friends.. really), Rick Reynolds, Lisa Barnes, Dave Fisher, Alicia Peifer, Jeff Schultz, Mike Duffin, Nancy Roedel, Valerie Tracy, Missy Smith, Cindy Wise, Georgina Pena, Russell Caterson, John Weaver, Neal Barab, Kathy Horn, Janis Dalseme, Becky Bates, Julie Sutter, Robbie Wilson, Amanda Duddleson, Barb FitzMorris, Mr. Kinney, Mike Flood, Edie Rogers, Debbie Bryon, Marnie, Marcia Aylesworth, Donna Bennett, Suzanne Strauss, Kathi Costello, Carter Morgan, Pat Rowe, Peggy Chandler, Chuck Babbitt, Barbara Rayburn. Probably missing a few good ones, and there were so many more just “hi”s in passing.. plus the awkward conversations with people I didn’t really share much of a past with.. oh, and assorted spouses.

But there were so, so many more conversations to have… glad we have the book.

As I felt at past reunions, some of my deepest bonds are with the kids I went through elementary school with. Even if-as is the case with most of these–we weren’t close friends through junior or high school, our history is longer and they’ve come to represent, to me, fonder friendships.  I feel like, as a group, I love these guys for the years we went through. They feel almost siblingesque (right, not a word).  Even though school years were a blip, the years were formative. And everyone endured this formative–awkward, fun, weird–time together, as one big, moving, evolving group. It’s pretty unique, right? No other collection of people in our lives are quite the same, except, I guess, our siblings.

Anyway.. processing that.

There’s also the part about who we were then, who we are now, the forty years between that moved us in one direction or another. Such the socio-anthropological field day you can have absorbing, analyzing all that.

There was only about a quarter of the class there, maybe.  It’s not like I don’t have my hands completely full with my current life and people, but I’d sure like to know what’s going on with the others–the three quarters who weren’t there. Just curious.

Twenty seven, at best count, have died–two of whom were best friends as well as neighbors… Katy and Cindy.  Another was a pretty close teammate on the track team (Cindy Davis). I thought they did a nice job of honoring them at last night’s dinner and in the program book. RIP you guys.

Here are a few more shots to add to the ones I posted earlier:

Walking down to RAT for the second gathering of the weekend:



At the beach:

Me and Kath:



Kath and Janis Dalseme:



Kathy, Jeff Schultz and Mike Duffin:




The dinner was at, of all places, the Malaga Cove Library. I liked that it was close and historic and a total part of my growing up:



Appetizers I never got to, among some nice hanging art:


Dinner was actually really good, though I didn’t eat much. Here’s a before shot of the carrot cake I ate even though I hate carrot cake:


And that’s about it.  If I see some others’ photos and think they’d add to the reunion story, I’ll post them here, later.

One closing thought: Jim attended with me. I was so glad to have him there  1) to get a glimpse of part of my past, 2) to have a clear reference point for future conversations, and  3) so people could see the smart, nice, squared away guy I ended up with.  He was even okay with my disappearing more than a few times as I got drawn to conversations that then lead to other conversations and next thing I knew an hour had gone by. Thanks, Jim.






We Are the Sea Kings

July 26, 2014


I will plan to post pictures tomorrow of the 40th reunion. For now, a nice little shot of the ol’ high school on the hill.

We are the Sea Kings,
The mighty, mighty Sea Kings.
Everywhere we go-oh,
People want to know-oh,
Who we are,
So we tell them..
We are the Sea Kings,
The mighty, mighty……

And so it goes….


PS. Please note the track.

Formerly Marineland

July 25, 2014

Palos Verdes High School’s classy class of 1974 had the first of three events associated with its 40th reunion tonight…  it was an informal gathering held at Nelson’s restaurant located at the site of what was once Marineland of the Pacific, now part of the huge and swanky Terranea resort.

Here’s a shot of Terranea…(uh, not my picture).

Terranea Resort Aerial View


It was a pretty view from the restaurant and I did take some shots of that….










Here are a couple couple shots:

Chuck and Lisa:


Rick and Debbie:



And, Jim and me:



High school reunions… I was starting to wonder who needs them what with Facebook–an ongoing, virtual high school reunion.  I mean, what more do we need to know?

But you know what?  It was, actually, a blast.

Mom Time

July 24, 2014

Will be spending a week here.



Good News, Bad News

July 23, 2014

It was a good-news, bad-news kinda day….

The bad news: My mom got the dreaded pneumonia bug which, after three weeks of not getting better, landed her in the hospital. You don’t want to get pneumonia if you’re a frail 85-year-old with vital organs in a delicate balance.

The good news: She got out on Monday, after only six days, and spent two hours today sitting on a bench looking at the ocean. I’m heading down to see her tomorrow.

Here’s a great shot, not taken today, but you get the idea. Sheer joy.


The bad news: We haven’t yet built that backyard, stone-sided, very cool raised garden bed.

(See blank spot in upper left corner of picture, just beyond the foot bridge….)


The good news: In the meantime, we planted some vegetables and herbs in the front yard.

The bad news: We committed the classic rookie-gardener error–not keeping an eye on those zucchinis.


Look at these two whales.. way bigger than bananas.. ridiculous:


The good news: Our backyard crape myrtle had a world record, eye-popping bloom this year, hitting a spectacular high note in the first week of July:




The bad news: Something weird happened. What is typically a three-month lavender color fest in our backyard is now this… so sad:




No idea what happened.

The good news: The opening game of the Junior Legion’s post-season playoffs is tomorrow and Peter Frame is on the mound for Davis!


(Please excuse the slightly dated picture of Peter, with braces!)

The bad news: I will miss this game. I think the last time I missed a game, other than that one pre-season scrimmage at the beginning of the JV season, was when I went to Nepal and missed three of Peter’s games in his final season of Little League. Way to go, mom.

The bad news: I thought I had another basel cell carcinoma. I took a picture of it and sent it to my dermatologist and she wanted to see me right away.


The good news: I went in today for the exam and it turned out to be just a broken blood vessel, “come back in a year for your annual scan,” she said.

The good news: I finished all that filing–bills, Peter’s sophomore year, bills, five seasons of baseball, bills, writing projects, bills, travel paraphernalia, bills, photos, and some bills.

The even better news: I’m never letting those things pile up again. Fantastic news, huh?

Little Dots

July 22, 2014

This being Tuesday, we were walking around the arboretum, as we do, and this happened.



The grey clouds overhead were responsible.  It was a nice development.


In other directions, it looked like this:



I could get used to this little variability in the weather!

Thanks, O-BA-ma.