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Boofore and After

October 31, 2014

Big night on A Street.

Here’s our candy bowl all stuffed and ready for the waves (upon waves, upon waves) of costumed kiddos:

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And here is our bowl at the end of the night:

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Ha. Tricked ya. We didn’t get (but one pair of) trick or treaters tonight. That is about our annual average.

More candy for us!

Our kitchen window display…

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Boo.

A certain future Olympic swimmer and her mouse friend.

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C & P… buddies on a long-ago pre-Halloween trip to the Farmer’s Market.

The Agony of Defeat

October 29, 2014

And you thought yesterday’s picture of meatloaf in the oven was un-blog-worthy… how about gin rummy scoresheets?

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After four days of gin rummy with my mom (between store runs, a few meals out, beach walks and World Series games) I find myself even further behind than what you see on the scoresheet above (which is two days old). The current score, after some 49 hands: I’ve won one game, my mom’s won eleven (a game is made up of many hands). “I” trouncing “K”has been the trend for at least six months. I am starting to conclude her winning streak is not attributable to luck.

I feel like a Kansas City Royal facing Madison Bumgarner–totally dominated, out-played and shut out.  [Hangs head.]

I have one more day to turn this around.

Loafin’ Around

October 28, 2014

Hey, it was either this or another shot of the beach.

Sorry about this.

But if you ever want a good recipe for meatloaf, try Biba’s meatloaf, Bologna-style. I made it for dinner tonight and our small crowd seemed to like it a lot. Biba calls it “Polpettone alla Bolognese,” so there you are. Fancy.

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If I had to guess, I think the thing that makes this better than the other 4852 very dry meatloafs (meatloaves?) I’ve made in my life is the generous use of oil, milk, wine, chopped tomatoes, and eggs. It’s got other things in it, too, that make it taste great, but all the liquid & fat stuff really make it moist (and, actually, it swims in this amazing rich broth).

Anyway. Biba’s meatloaf. Ping me if you want the recipe.

Visiting mom in the southland. Our daily trip to the beach.

Mom has been very unstable on her feet, so no walking today, and maybe not this entire trip, but we did settle ourselves for a good long time on this bench at about Avenue F.

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And looked at this. I wish I could bottle that air and release it in Davis as needed.

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And a very intense conversation was had.  Aging and the details around it…

It’s good that we had such a lovely thing to look at.

Parents as Peter

October 26, 2014

For the I-don’t-know-what straight year, maybe the tenth?, we went to a great neighborhood Halloween party last night. These guys make Halloween–not my favorite holiday–something to really look forward to, even on a night when the local team is playing in the World Series, even when Halloween is no longer about your darling son in a darling costume (sniff).

Lisa, Ted and their two daughters completely remake the interior of their house. They take everything normal out of their living room and family room and replace with horror and Halloween-themed stuff. They keep the house dark, lit just enough to see with pumpkin and skeleton lights that are strung throughout and candelabras with drippy candles on most table tops. There’s a spooky soundtrack, ghoulish decor everywhere and webs spanning all the corners. The pictures are cool… they replace all their family photos with famous monster types, and pictures on the wall are all crooked. They do it up, and do it well. Totally Halloween.

I could never capture the enormity of this in a single picture, but here’s an example anyway:

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The best part is the food. For starters, it’s everywhere. Cauldrons overflow with chips and nuts on corner tables, but the stars are the three long banquet tables, a kitchen table and one long counter top full of food that must take days to prepare (a lot of it Halloween-themed: skeleton, ghost and witch-finger cookies; gummy worms all over eyeball cake balls; carmel apples; popcorn balls… and then a lot is just great food: flaky, hot stuffed things; bacon-wrapped, sweet chewy things; a cheese table that’s amazing; wonderful wines; a nothing-but pizza table). And that’s just the inside. Outside there’s a bar with more cauldrons of snacky things, and drinks. Believe me, I know inside and out the food layout, they repeat it with careful exactness every year (they are entertainment pros). I even know where I’m going to start and what I’m going to avoid in favor of my favorites.

Serious party eater.

Their haunted house, set up in their garage and different each year, while the main go-to event, is almost an afterthought compared to the overwhelm of everything else. The parents both come from theatrical background (no, really?) and the kids lean that way, too, so the haunted house is always unusual and sophisticated.  This year, it had a seventies disco theme. Hard to explain, but clever.  Not quite as elaborate and creepy as some years, but a delight, and we got to go through it this time with our plucky and eccentric 80-something neighbor Dick, in full Pope regalia.

So speaking of costumes, Jim and I both went as Peter. Peter was a little mortified, but in the end agreeable.

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I think it’s cool that all of us fit into each other’s clothes. Hee.

I’m suffering a bit today (more than a bit) for all that I drank (wine, beer, root beer, ginger ale) and ate (utterly un-listable). But lots of good conversation with neighbors and many, many laughs.

Puddles of Relief

October 25, 2014

This is good.

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June

October 24, 2014

June moved today.  June is our 93-year-old, two-doors-down neighbor. While I think she’ll be far better off at Covell Gardens, I’m a little sorry to see her go.

She and her husband (who died long ago) owned the house on A Street, but she lived in their home in Willowbank until 2000 when she decided to downsize and move back to the central Davis neighborhood. For the last 14 years, she lived with Tracy the pitbull, who had ridiculously bad arthritis and was grossly overweight, and Charlie the stray cat. Each of them is/was ancient; it was anyone’s guess who’d go first. Tracy gave up the ghost about six weeks ago, which was truly sad. She was a sweet dog but, wow, in a lot of discomfort.. could barely get up and down, in and out, couldn’t hear. Charlie’s still roaming around, but I can’t imagine for much longer. June will probably live to be a hundred!

For the last few years, I’ve been helping her out here and there, mostly with shopping and errands. It’s not unusual to find her at our doorstep, rapping on the front door with her cane (a distinctly unique sound), seeking assistance with a jar lid or to decipher some legaleezy notice that’s come in the mail. She might call us over to reset a thermostat or look for a dropped hearing aid or figure out why her cable is out. I liked doing those things and was glad she asked. At Covell Gardens, she’ll have people for that.

It was really only a few years ago that she started to lose a lot of her independence and had to give up driving and playing golf (she was a great player with a really low handicap and played mostly at the Flyer’s Club). But man, in spite of severely compromised mobility, and diminished hearing and eyesight, she managed pretty well around the house and yard. I’m impressed that she didn’t have more falls and accidents… a few, but not many. Tough bird, that June.

People make very compelling arguments for aging in place and I think a lot of her longevity and endurance comes from having to manage on her own so much of the time. Still, in her case, I think she’ll be better off in a place that’s got round the clock meals, cleaning and laundry service, maintenance people at your beck and call, staff drivers and so on.  She seems very ready and willing to make the transition to an easier life.

I wish I could remember all of June’s stories. She was born and raised in Davis.  Her mom may also have been born here.  Her father was a dairy farmer (Silva family, I believe) and she did a lot of work on their farm, but she lived, interestingly, at the corner of 3rd and C. Her grandmother, or mother, I’m not sure which, planted that huge heritage elm tree near the corner on what is now AT&T property. Over the years, she told me a lot about Davis’ pioneer families and life in the olden days. I should have written down some of those stories!!

Amusingly, 3rd and C is also the corner on which David Breaux stands (stood), my good friend the compassion advocate. I could never really bring myself to tell June about any of the happenings at that corner–David’s work, the Compassion Corner Earthbench–because she’d just literally shit a brick. While she’s an interesting woman with hundreds of great stories to tell, her life’s experience is limited to Davis. She traveled out of town very rarely, preferring to stay where she was comfortable. It’s fair to say she had a low tolerance for diversity. She did not suffer fools gladly, nor anyone really.  Those who know her, know her to be cranky and opinionated. Most of the time, I decided to overlook her off color remarks because she needed my help more than I needed to set her straight.

Anyway.

This is June, on the left. She’s actually talking to my mom, up for Thanksgiving a year ago.

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I do have to say, though it’s not evident here, she’s got a great (if rare) smile.  I’ve also lately concluded that her bark is a lot more vicious than her bite. It’s possible that she is softening a little as her dependence on others increases.

I’m also thinking our visits will be far more relaxing now that she’s living at Covell Gardens. I imagine we’ll go to lunch a lot more often. And I’ll see what I can do about writing down some of her stories.

Loving TBT

October 23, 2014

I love the chance to rummage through my photos for a favorite pic of Peter for TBT. Think TBT has now officially entered the lexicon?

TBTs give me a bit of a reprieve, too, especially while I try to catch up on days missed.  So many days missed!  For those keeping score, I’m behind on posting entries from our summer Yosemite trip (uh.. coming right up!) and last weekend’s trip to Bear Valley.  I know… nobody’s counting.  But I am.

In meantime:

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About 3 1/2, helping me make cookies.

Elmo

October 22, 2014

I believe it’s been three years since I last played golf. Before that, was another very long golfless stretch.  Combination of things… I’ve fallen out of the habit, don’t have people to play with, have a far less bendy back than before, and until recently didn’t really have five-hour blocks of time available.

But.. today.. I played.  And of course just loved it. So here I am blogging about flogging (golf spelled backwards, you know that, right?) (Which reminds me that stressed spelled backward is also perfect… but I ssergid.)

I can’t say it all came roaring back, but enough of it did that it was extremely fun.

Played with John at Elmo. I don’t recall anyone ever calling it that before, but maybe it’s a thing now.  Elmo = El Macero. I might have much to say about El Macero Country Club and how it seems nothing’s changed since it was built in 1961, but it would seem judgmental and ungrateful, because it’s really a nice course and I had a nice time. And the lamb sliders with feta and crispy sweet potato fries were excellent.

So. Golf.

Here’s John teeing off on an incredibly lovely fall afternoon:

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And taking a swipe from behind a tree:

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I used to play there, though unbelievably, I remembered very little of the course. I do remember well, however, the seventh hole, site of my one and only hole-in-one, back in about 1991. John was my witness then and still remembered it.. I was glad about that. It was also my best hole today–I think my only par.  This was my tee shot (I am not kidding), which beautifully cleared both the water and the bunker.  These shots bring them back!

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I ended up renting a set of clubs, since I never replaced the ones that were in the trunk of my car that was stolen … way back in 1992 (still bummed about that). It was a nice set of upscale clubs (should have been, they cost $45). But, funnily enough, they don’t include long irons!  Apparently, they’ve come up with hybrid clubs that are used now in place of three-, four- and five-irons. They have heads, albeit small ones.  Still, anything with a head seemed too unwieldy for out-of-practice me. Being as rusty as I was, I was going to forgo woods and use long irons for all my tee and fairway shots, but the best I could do was a six, which I used for most shots (until the end of the day when my confidence was up and I felt like I might be able to swing a wood, which I did, and which turned out great… the ball sure went farther!).  A six doesn’t get you very far down the fairway, so the fact I didn’t reach any (but one) hole in regulation is kind of understandable.

The other thing that was different was this:

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Holy sh*t that changes everything!  No matter where you are, the GPS gives you a fairly accurate reading of how far you are to the green.. and all kinds of other things. Very cool use of technology.  Where have I been??

So, all in all, it was fantastic to play. Maybe come spring and the warmer weather…

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Oh, and I shot a 120.  Hilarious, huh?