July 21, 2016

[Or is that poli-tyrant? Fair question.]

Final night of the RNC tonight…the grand finale…the candidate will speak. And yeah, I’ll watch. Part of me is revolted, traumatized even, at what has gone down so far, not only at the RNC, but during this campaign, and that part of me can not stomach another second. A bigger part of me believes it’s important to listen to opinions that are very different than my own, which, I have to say, is quite an exercise in open-heartedness and open-mindedness. Another part, a very rational part, knows it’s all show–smoke, mirrors–the best in mind-bending manipulation, and that part doesn’t want to  waste its time on a well-crafted, prime-time, made-for-TV-Internet-Social Media event. Hell, I could write their entire script, we all could; we know exactly what they are going to do and say (uh, except when we don’t, which has been hugely entertaining.)

Watch, don’t watch; listen, dismiss. Conflict abounds. Internal wrestle-mania.

Here’s the thing.. or one of the many things: This is Peter’s first election. I’m seeing a lot of this through his experience. I’m embarrassed for us. But here we are.

There is this footage making the rounds on the interwebs… it’s a debate between Reagan and Bush, Sr, in whatever primary that was, way back when, discoursing civilly on a very modest, very non-glitzy stage, on topics of the day. Both making a  compelling and reasoned case for immigration. Each speaks eloquently about the value of immigrants and compassionately about policies to support them. And each listens to and respects the other.

Peter does not know this kind of debate. All he knows is the rank and reckless style of campaigning today, where people yell at each other on the debate stage, engage in tactically negative campaigns, blame, humiliate and call each other ridiculous names, and where people look to Twitter, late night comedy shows, YouTube and the Young Turks for news, reaction and analysis.

But, he’s 18, man, and very, very engaged; very knowledgeable about the issues. He’s been following the candidates and their campaigns since it all started well over a year ago. He’s on it.

And it’s his first. I want him to care, in whatever generation-appropriate form that takes. Therefore, I cannot give up on the damn thing, even though I want to. (For the record, I’m done with politics, done with this current, ugly version of America, ready to move out of the country–see earlier blog post about moving to remote mountain cottage and listening only to folk music).

(And Peter, you know this blog is for you, and maybe, hopefully, one day you’ll read all this stuff, and if you do, please know I’m really proud of your enthusiasm for this election. I’m impressed by your analytical muscle, your instincts, your ability to parse truth from radical, political fiction. I have been loving 1) watching you bent over your computer absorbing facts and analyses; 2) hearing your take on all of this over dinner, or your summoning us over to watch something that Cenk Uygur has to say; 3) your calling us on our assumptions, and your readiness to forge your own political path.)

So anyway, anyway, anyway…

I have to keep my head up and in the game, gotta keep an open mind. (Ugh.)  Not easy, because, man, I can’t stand this never ending election, my remaining choices, and can no longer stomach the political process. It’s hard on my soul.

But……..   I’m watching the convention and here are some things I KNOW.

I can listen to [some] republican party leaders–say Mike Pence, whom I heard for the first time last night–and hear passion, conviction, and a commitment to an ideology. There is some, but not much, I can agree with. And though I personally believe the republican ideology ranges from a simple disagreement on principle, to tired, to unkind, to amoral, to downright dangerous, I get that it resonates with a hefty percentage of people, and so be it. I don’t mind being in disagreement. I’m okay that some people follow their heart and come to a completely different conclusion about how things should be done than I do. Mike Pence made his case, strongly, I thought. I could see how some people could swing that way.  I thought he represented the party with some intelligence and dignity. I could see the power of his conviction and was moved by both his passion and his leadership qualities.  I listened and was challenged to define my own positions. That, to me, was stimulating (and gratifying). (It also made me cry for Bernie Sanders… a man of true character, humanity and passion.)

But Trump. He is flat out a deal breaker for me. I do not believe he is driven by any deep, core governing and policy principles. I do believe he’s honed his business skills (and some questionable practices) over the years, and is driven to amass success and wealth, and does believe he can apply those business skills and practices to running the country/world. But more than that, I believe he cares about only one thing: rising to the highest pinnacle on planet earth. He wants to be president of the United States because that is the best, the mightiest that is available to him, the zenith, the most powerful rein of control that exists, and he wants it. He’s just pathologically competitive, which everyone who knows him confirms, and he has the resources and position to go after the brassiest ring. His ego absolutely trumps all. Others far more expert in matters of the psyche can explain this far better than me. But all of us have known this guy in our lives, and probably dislike him immensely. He’s just a small, boorish, self-obsessed man, the guy who needs the young trophy wife, the guy who needs to put his name in gold letters on a building higher than all others, or on a plane, or a bottle of nail polish. He’s the guy who needs to make an entrance, to have people clamber to take his picture, to be knelt before. He’s a tabloid article and a reality show, a man who thrives on attention. Period. I don’t believe he has any interest in the job, per se, just the power and trappings of the title President of the United States.

To me, he has not a single solitary quality I value in a leader. He’s brash, impulsive, petulant, vindictive. He seems utterly uninterested in listening to others. He lacks any sense of open-mindedness, he lacks humility. Not a shred of empathy. Out of the gate, he’s nobody I could ever vote for, or trust. Not a model of behavior for any of the kids I care about. Not the person I would want representing my country. None of it.

To me, his campaign’s been humiliating. It’s been a catastrophic slo-mo car crash ever since he slowly descended on that escalator to make his announcement a year ago.  It’s all been horrific, every single word that has come out of his mouth has been nails on a chalkboard. It’s been a year of shaking my head at his preposterous words and wondering how he’s gotten to this point.

So that I know.

I never believe anything anyone says. Melania says she wrote her own speech (right). Until she said she didn’t (of course she didn’t). Handlers and Christie and Gingrich said it was no big deal that so much of her speech was lifted from Michelle’s speech from 2008 (how is that not a big deal? It’d sure as hell be a big deal if Hillary did it, lord knows.). We all knew it was out of Melania’s hands anyway, so I’m not eager to blame her, but I’m disgusted that nobody takes responsibility. Plagiarism is a minor thing, apparently; they’re tired of hearing about it, offended it’s diverting attention away from their pep rally, want to focus on the real issues of the day. Trump’s 475,302,485,926 court cases … inconsequential. Trump won’t hand over his tax returns. But Crooked Hillary…

Then, there are the kids. I watched Donald, Jr one night, and Eric another. Eric I thought delivered a pretty heartfelt tribute to his dad. I found it calculated, but moving. I mean, people in charge of branding know the kids are there to deliver messages of trust and devotion. I agree with something Mike Pence said: often the proof of a good person can be found in the goodness of his kids. Of course I don’t know the Trump kids so can’t comment, but I heard genuine warmth in Eric’s comment.  So there’s that, FWIW.

Donald Jr’s speech, on the other hand, was smug and lecturing. He went on an anti-academia rant that I found ridiculous. The irony of calling educated people out of touch with the common man… puhlease...this from an entitled, filthy rich son of a billionaire who lives and breathes privilege. So out of touch is he, he actually said something like, “my siblings and I are the only children of billionaires who are as comfortable driving tractors as we are our cars,” and also said his dad was so dedicated to his granddaughter, he taught her how to swing a golf club. Okay…  How does that sound to you, kids in the projects? No, nothing out of touch here… move along.

And his children, as they call them, are his key advisors. WHAT IS THAT? How are these insulated, billionaire kids standing center stage advising their political outsider father on matters of governing an economically divided nation?  For example.

And one more thing about the Trump children:

I know I’m sickened by that photo that’s been circulating on the internet of two of the Trump boys–Eric and Donald, Jr–holding a dead leopard while on a safari in Africa. There’s another photo of a huge, dead elephant on the ground beside Donald, Jr, who’s holding its severed tail. And yet another of Eric squatting next to another dead large, exotic animal. The idea of killing animals for sport enrages and nauseates me. The arrogance of the two entitled billionaire brothers callously paying for the rights to hunt down and kill defenseless animals is disgusting.  For me, a conversation ender. After that, nothing you ever say about the sanctity of life, or the value of people, society, humanity, the hard working middle class–none of it–will ever ring true. You kill animals for SPORT. Sorry.

I also know I’m horrified by the behavior of many leaders in the republican party and at this convention who, with their words and actions, have brutalized and terrorized the opposition, namely Hillary.  I’ll keep an eye on the dems and hopefully be willing to call them on their sh**t, too, but people, you need to call off the dogs. This is not constructive, entertaining, effective. I find it polarizing and divisive. And incredibly sad and dehumanizing. Enough.

Regarding the hate for the Clintons and Hillary. I get some of the criticism, and share some of the mistrust and disenchantment. I don’t want to try and use this space to discuss/refute the numerous issues Reps have with her. But it’s the viciousness of the attacks I’m sick of. Relentless, uncivil, and far over the line.  It shouldn’t be a fine line between calling a person’s action into question and calling for their death by firing squad. C’mon Christie, chants of lock her up? The interactive public lynching you orchestrated in your convention speech? Guilty of what, exactly? You’re a lawyer, dude… after countless investigations, they conclude there was questionable judgment, but nothing illegal, so what’s the charge? What the reps are doing to Hillary is unethical, irresponsible and misogynous. New lows. This kind of attack is demeaning and ultimately we’re all suffering for it.  It’s beneath the dignity of grown people who aspire to be in charge of our country, to lead and inspire a diverse nation, and to represent us on a world stage.

So yeah, I know I’ve lost all respect for the republican party. Get it together people. I know that if all you’re going to do is shout ugly rhetoric and point fingers and never give credit where credit is due, and make defeating the president at every turn the centerpiece of your congressional strategy, there is nothing to talk about. And when your convention is all about demonizing Hillary, but you aren’t putting up any solutions of your own and you can’t rally your people… it’s hard to take you seriously.

WAAHHHHH. Please stop the political hysteria. Stop the dangerous, fear-based rhetoric. Talk to us like smart adults.

Can’t stop the rant, can’t stop the rant. Can’t stop…

I am overwhelmed with disaffectedness. Not a happy citizen. Our congress, this party, this entire election campaign. This is not our best selves. I have deeply respected the Obama administration and will never get over the wall he ran into at the hands of congress (ha, the other wall we’ve been fighting). He’s a human being, compassionate, smart, nuanced, measured, reasoned. And I’m not naive…a political animal. You need that to mobilize the engine of government. It’s so. I forgive him.

I’d love to see skilled, inspiring leadership; intellectual depth; solid, progressive core values; strong ethics; a unfailing sense of humanity; genuine kindness; in combination with real political effectiveness, working for everyone’s benefit.

Is that too much to ask?











July 20, 2016


As seen in Manhattan Beach last week.

I don’t have a blog to go with this photo. I did write today… a ton. About seventy hundred thousand bazillion paragraphs worth after watching the highlights of the first two nights’, plus tonight’s, speeches at the Republican National Convention.

So, I do have words.

But wow, they’re just all over the place. Hard to corral them into a coherent narrative. Will keep working on it. Or not… we’ll see.


Announcer Love

July 19, 2016

I got to be an announcer for a District 9-10 tournament tonight. A tournament made up of the winning teams from multiple Northern California Districts. No need for further details… the point is I got to announce the game, instead of my usual scorekeep.

Of course I love scorekeeping. But, wow, announcing is a tiny bit thrilling. Especially fun to team up with a crackerjack scorekeeper like Dianna.

I don’t have a photo of us in the booth, so am going with one of Peter when he was that age. This was one of our very first Crush games. Crush was a travel team that came together after Peter made his first District all-star team, and was made up of the best players from Davis Little League’s American and National District teams. T’was the start of an elevated level of play that lead eventually to the High School teams. Making that first District team was a pretty fortunate turn of events. Opened quite a door!

Anyway… here’s Peter in a pickle, and from the looks of it, he probably did not fare well.



Taste of Hope

July 18, 2016

I have this amazing friend.

She, Sarah, put together an event Saturday night that was so inspiring and so well done, it just left me in awe. It was a play, written by Sarah, adapted from the experiences of real people living through the Holocaust, performed at the Warehouse Artists Lofts on R Street in Sac.


I went with Jim and Frances. We were all inspired and impressed.

I think the story of this project begins when Sarah came across real-life accounts of women who lived and suffered in the German camps, specifically the experiences of four women–Rebecca, Edith, Trude and Mina. All were born in the early part of the 1900s in different parts of eastern Europe, all were deported to concentration camps in the 1940s; two survived their time in the camps, two did not.

Sarah wrote a fictional play that features these four women. The play shows how the enslaved women bond by sharing stories from their past. In particular, they each share their family experiences of treasured Jewish holidays, most particularly their detailed recipes and preparations for each holiday’s traditional dishes.

We, the audience, eavesdrop on these intimate conversations which are tinged with understandable despair, but also faint optimism. In the first act, the women–dirty, wearing burlap dresses, drab head scarves and “shoes” made of fabric and rope–reminisce about Hanukkah. Each shares her family’s recipe for latkes. While they are gathered center stage, conversing around a very inhospitable-looking wooden structure, we look to the right and see Rebecca’s past kitchen. There we listen in on occasional snippets of conversation between the young Rebecca and her mother, as her mother reveals her family’s secret ingredient for latkes (challah). On the left side of the stage, we see a modern kitchen and listen in on Rebecca’s present-day daughter and granddaughter (with her cell phone in one scene), as they prepare latkes with challah. It is such a clever way to depict the continuum of family and tradition, and thus strength and hope.

Center stage:


The past kitchen:


And here’s the best part: at the end of the scene, servers rolled out a cart full of individual servings of latkes–with sour cream and applesauce, made according to Rebecca’s family’s recipe–and passed them down the rows to each audience member! As the women on stage talked about latkes center stage, and prepared latkes in the past and modern kitchens, we could smell the finished product. Between the conversation about latkes, the smell, and then the taste, it was a full sensory experience.

And so it went.

In the second act, they talked about their secrets for matzo ball soup served during Passover, which we also got to taste, and in the final act, they talked about the sweets of Rosh Hashana. We finished off the evening with honey cake and fantastic caramel candies.

How fantastic is that?

There was more.

Sarah also wrote a song called In Memory’s Kitchen, which the entire cast gathered on stage to sing, in a round, while we audience members approached the stage, one-by-one, and placed large stones (found on our chairs as we took our seats initially) on the inhospitable-looking wooden structure, as a memorial ritual to honor those who suffered the horrors of the camps.

It was a very moving experience.


Above: Singer, food server, modern-day daughter, modern-day granddaughter (Sarah’s daughter), one of the prison camp women, prison guard (Sarah’s husband), Rebecca (Sarah).

Other touches were evocative and haunting, like the music that opened the play, a piece sung by Sarah’s daughter (who’s got a gorgeous voice) and another woman (also a lovely voice). Oh.. and following that lulling lead in, a most brutal scene in which we heard, off stage, a very loud and disturbing rant by a raging prison guard (Sarah’s very nice husband, effective in a terrible role). Then, from behind a screen, came said prison guard rolling a wheelbarrow, with what looked like a dead child in it. Discreet but horrific. That told us that while the play is about hope and resilience, built around women and the sharing of recipes, it is based upon something dead serious and very real. A reminder of part of our collective heinous past.


All put together by the good hearted, creative, multi-talented Sarah. And her family, and friends.

Did I mention all proceeds, ALL proceeds, benefited an organization (O Allos Anthropos in Athens) providing food and relief to Syrian refugees? The whole Taste of Hope effort (the play’s been performed numerous times over the past few years) has raised thousands of dollars, over $10,000, for numerous organizations that feed people. .

Wow again.

Should this play come around again, I recommend it. I’m very glad I got to experience it.





Shasta: Attempt #1

July 17, 2016

Peter and Solly have been seriously talking about climbing Mt. Shasta for weeks. After a bunch of research and fielding advice from many corners, they felt ready. They did their list-making yesterday, shopped, and packed. Their plan was to hike halfway in, summit tomorrow, then drive home–about a 36-hr adventure. Peter took off at 5:30 this morning to pick up Solly…


Djina got a photo of the two of them:


About a half an hour later, we heard Peter pull in… turns out he’d forgotten his hiking boots. Hey, other than that, totally ready!

They were on their way.

I have to admit, I have been nervous all day. Shasta is not a trivial climb. They’d picked a popular route, far less technical than many of the routes, but it’s still a 14,000′ snow-and-ice-covered peak, vulnerable to avalanches. He’s been hiking and peak bagging his whole life. So has Solly. They are reasonably experienced, level headed guys on a popular trail. But still. The more reading I did, the more nervous I became.

I’ve been scared and worried as a mom before…

Like the time I strapped a 1-yr old Peter securely into his carseat, then closed the car door, to realize I’d not only accidentally locked all the doors, but I’d boneheadedly left the keys inside. This is hard to do, but it can be done if you’re super spacey for just an instant. To make matters worse, it was one of those 100+ degree summer afternoons in Davis. The story goes on, and involves the fire department and busted windows, but suffice to say it was a scary moment (a long 25-minute scary moment).

…  but thinking about those boys on the windy, snowy, icy slopes of Mt. Shasta in crampons may be the most scared and the most worried (a long 36-hour scary moment).

In fact, check this out:

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On top of steep, icy slopes (which they plan to climb in the dark,  wee hours in order to insure a stable surface, using headlamps for light), they are dealing with winds of 20-35mph and a 12-degree wind chill.


It’s after midnight as I write this. He’s texted a few times today, thank goodness for that. We know that they: 1) had breakfast in the town of Mt. Shasta; 2) got their permit; 3) rented an ice axe for Peter; 4) parked at the Bunny Flat trailhead; 5) passed Horse Camp; 6) reached and made camp at the Helen Lake trail camp, their intended overnight spot about halfway up. Pitched their tent on snow. And likely ate a great dinner (pizza, believe it or not, something they bought yesterday and then cut up and froze last night.. how ’bout that).

We also know, because he also texted this, that he is not confident about his ice axe skills and is feeling dubious about their planned 1:00am departure up the mountain. He’s never used an ice axe for self-arrest. He watched a bunch of YouTube videos in the last couple of weeks and thought it looked straight forward. They planned to practice today on their first icy slope. I’m not sure how it went, but evidently it was not as easy as he thought it might be. His deciding to forgo the summit tomorrow is the best news I could have heard. Not because I didn’t want him to bag a premier California peak, but I’m incredibly impressed that he had the good judgment to determine he wasn’t ready. I’m especially impressed that he feels okay about saying so. To me, that is a mountaineer in the making.

He further texted that Solly may go ahead; they met another person at Helen Lake and Solly may join him for the ascent. Peter will wait for Solly at trail camp and go down with him after the climb. As far as we know, that’s the plan. (It’s now just a little before 1:00am… should plans change, I hope he’ll let us know.)

I’m sure he’ll be disappointed, but I know there will be future attempts. We’ve heard many stories from people who said that their number of attempts far outnumbered their actual successes. That, too, is the mark of a good mountaineer, one who lives to tell the tale.

I can hardly wait to see them and hear their stories.



Birds Be Gone

July 16, 2016

Defending to the end our precious peaches:


Jim crafts a newspaper solution…


I’ll let you know if it works.

Pokemon Go

July 15, 2016

So, last night when Peter picked me up at the Sac airport, I asked him about this Pokemon Go thing. Jim had mentioned that Peter, Solly and Ray–and a few hundred others–gathered at Central Park late on Tuesday and Wednesday nights (and into the wee hours of each morning) to play.

As I understand it, it’s an interactive game, maybe a cross between geocaching and World of Warcraft, where you hunt down characters (in this case Pokemon characters), which–once you’ve downloaded the app–appear real time/real place on your phone. Maybe you claim landmarks as your own. That said, I have no idea what any of that means, nor if that’s an accurate description. Best I can do, though, given complete ignorance about these things. Not hostile, just aged out. I’m sure it’s cool, but wow, it’s not my thing.

More than ever, I find myself wanting to move to some remote fjord and live out my days tending a small garden, cooking simple food, watching the sun rise and set, hiking in the mountains, reading, writing and listening to folk music. With Jim. And no Trump news. And Peter will have a place next door and will visit often with his own loving family in-between his generation-appropriate rich life of stimulating work and travel. Thankyouverymuch.

Back to their weird world…our new world, it would seem.

Here are some shots taken tonight while walking home from the movies.. these guys look college age:


And here’s another band of youth, this one more junior-high-looking, in front of Burgers and Brew:


Central Park seems to be some kind of a gathering cell. And it seems to intensify at night and in the wee hours. I know Compassion Corner now factors into the game locally.

Here is what David said this morning:

… I’ve noticed groups of young people gathering within various proximities of the corner, looking down at their smartphones. I wondered why, coming to discover the new phenomenon Pokemon GO.

Today, a young man sat down, staring at his phone, tapping away. I asked him about why people were specifically coming to the bench. He said that the Compassion Corner Earthbench was one of the structures in the game. That it is the most contested public structure in Davis that people are trying to claim. That, at any given time of the day, about twenty people are within range of the bench “fighting” over its ownership. He said that it’s called “The Compassion Bench” in the game and asked me if I’d like for him to call it a different name. I requested he refer to it as the Compassion Corner Earthbench in respect of Brennan Blazer Bird’s Earthbench efforts.

We sat for a while talking. He explained how the game got “a nerd like me” out of the house. I told him about the history of the bench. I offered him the notebook to write his concept and he did. He shared a very sincere, sentimental “thank you” for creating the space for compassion at the corner….


At 2:00am, long after we’d gone to bed, a text came in from Peter:

Leaving for like 10 minutes. It’s Pokemon Go related. 

I’m wondering what this is … passing fad or paradigm-shifting trend?  Something in-between or something else entirely?

Memes already circulating on Facebook. Here is a funny:





Red Onion

July 14, 2016

Growing up in PV, one of the main go-to restaurants in town was the Red Onion–right up there with the Admiral Risty and the Velvet Turtle. Always good for a celebration dinner.  It opened back in the 50s and is still around.

The hall is lined with memorabilia. Here are a couple shots:

When the top of the hill was still wide open spaces (I think the horses here are for effect only) …


An early menu, from the late 50s…


Ten cents for a coupla corn tortillas. I can’t imagine buying anything for ten cents.

Anyway, we met my mom’s birthday group for lunch. This is a group she’s been gathering with for decades. They are all tennis players, most of whom started playing together in the 60s when the Jack Kramer Club was founded. Many 50+ year friendships around that table.

It was Dolores’ 87th (or 86th) birthday today; she’s on the left, Reenie (Irene, low to mid 80s) is on the right:


Here are Jody, 87, and Sue (not sure of age)…


(Both Jody and Irene played golf this morning, Sue plays tennis five days a week, when not bothered by her knee.)

There were nine of us.  Very fun to drop into my mom’s social world. It’s a very shrinking world, but I’m glad she’s still got the birthday group.

From there, we headed to Manhattan Beach and shopped ’til we dropped. I am not kidding… that woman is a shopper. Then, finally, home to pack.

Chris came by and told us about the bombing in Nice; we talked about that and the changing world… it’s always fascinating to hear his take on things. He really soars, intellectually, when he’s talking about what he’s reading and prognosticating about what the future holds.

Then I left…

Here’s my fabulous hot dog dinner (Rock and Brews, terminal 1 at LAX):


I love dining at the airport. Even if I’m only flying back to Sac, it feels all travel-y and exciting.




July 13, 2016

The first thing that happened today was I got my hair cut. Been thinking about it for months and planning to do it for weeks. I made the appointment with my mom’s hair cutter, Klaes the swede, a few weeks ago, and kept mum about it, 1) in case I chickened out and 2) as a surprise for Jim.

I sneakily took this selfie last week while sitting in the backseat, driving home from Dutch Flat, knowing it was probably the last time in a long time I’d be long of hair. I even smiled. I’m embarrassed to smile for my own selfies. Gawd.


Klaes is a heck of a nice guy. We had endless things to talk about other than cutting my hair. And, because he’s Swedish and such a nice guy, he was the kindest conversationalist ever, as I worked through some very rusty Swedish.

It was a long appointment. It started with him rubber-banding my hair in four places, and then cutting it right off! This is a bit creepy, but here’s what that process yielded:


Then some weaving, then some washing, then some more cutting, then some drying, then some styling, then some product (this time around I’m willing to use product). This was the result of that whole process:


I look half hysterical, half happy. But mostly happy.

I drove home to mom, who was anxiously waiting; she’d been in on this whole plan from the start and managed to keep quiet about it. She loved it.

We were going to meet Matt for lunch and, if it wasn’t a bother, take a look at the restaurant three days before its launch. She thought Matt would not notice; I was sure he would. We bet lunch.

Matt did not notice. Lunch on Kari.

(For the record, Michael did not notice. Nor did Eric. What’s with men?)

We did a get a chance to tour the restaurant. It was crawling with contractors, staff and delivery people. It was just nutty busy. But he showed us around and we were impressed!

Here’s mom and a coupla very relaxed partners:


Eric was meeting with folks and couldn’t join us for lunch..


Michael, Matt, Mom and I ate down the street at a Greek restaurant, which was good enough, then wandered around a bit.

We’re about four short blocks up from Highway 1 and the beach, but you still see people walking down the street in bathing suits–going into stores, sitting in sidewalk cafes… can’t even imagine how fantastic that must feel.

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It’s a very touristy area…


The shorts (shorts??) say, “I pooped today,” which explains her expression.

In addition to tee-shirt shops, Main Street’s full of restaurants…


This museum is across the street from the new Legends:


Michael and Mom kitty corner from the restaurant:


Here’s us reflected in a Legend’s window:


Before heading back north, we drove around some neighborhoods close to downtown. Love the leaning, lanky trees:



Huntington Beach is becoming quite the tourist destination. The beaches are gorgeous and extensive.

And they have a Legends in the heart of downtown!





More Gin, More Beach

July 12, 2016

Alternating active days with chill days turns out to be a good idea with mom. So after a big day yesterday, we cooled our jets today and mostly played gin.  We track our scores and track winners (what’d you expect?).  At this point in my visit, mom is way ahead.

Being a lifelong card player–historically mostly bridge, but these days mostly gin–she believes in cards. She believes in streaks. She believes that sometimes you have to change decks or switch chairs to interrupt cards that are on a bad run. She’s very superstitious.

She happens to be on a roll right now. Here is a hand she was dealt. DEALT. Not a hand she massaged and manipulated through fortunate card drawing and careful card arranging. She didn’t work this hand; it came right off the deck this way:


This, to her, is a clear signal that when the cards are with you, they’re with you. I don’t believe this and refuse to change decks.

At my peril.

Anyway, I’m way behind.

By late afternoon, we’d decided to go to the beach. Somebody needed some fresh air. Here are some shots.

Mom on the bench near Avenue I:

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And, our view:


I’m going to use this spot to post a few more beach shots. I took these yesterday. I had a couple hours to kill before we took off for Matt’s and Michael’s and decided to spend it down at RAT (missing the annual RAT Beach reunion later this month).

The path down:


Looking north toward Torrance, Redondo, Hermosa and Manhattan, in that order:


Ran into about a dozen groups of Junior Lifeguards, this one was running to PV and back to Torrance:


Watched them do some drills:



Watched a bird:


The view from where I sat:


The walk back:


Parked next to the junior high. I like this ceramic mural:


T’was a choice place to go to school…

Anyway. We returned home, played more cards (I did much better! Started catching up, even) and had a late dinner. Like, 10:00 late. You can do that when it’s just you and your night owl mom, and you’re eating from a batch of soup Matt made a few days earlier.