The Art of Choke

October 31, 2016


Halloween without the kid. A bit weird… not that Peter did much in the last 6-7 years having to do with Halloween… but still: kids’ holiday, no kid.


In honor of Halloweens past, here’s the photo I sentimentally posted to Facebook today:


Peter and Chenoa, back in the day.. the day being about 2001. They look about three years old, give or take a year. Both are lions. Jim made Peter’s costume. So sweet…

One of these days, I’ll compile a bit of a record of Halloween outfits… I remember maybe a leopard (a costume that’s been in the Frame family for decades and is passed down through the generations), a Black Widow spider, the above lion, a gulper eel, plutonium, an M&M… sure there were a lot more. Jim made most of Peter’s costumes and did a great job of it.

Anyway. No kiddo this year.

We had maybe our record of trick or treaters, however, even on a rainy All Hallows’ Eve: five. In two separate groups. That’s pretty good for this neighborhood.

Meanwhile…I made dinner tonight which, among other things, included artichoke. Grew up eating them regularly, but can’t recall ever preparing them myself, hard as that is to believe. Called mom to get cooking tips and it worked great:






Roots in Davis

October 30, 2016

I’d only been gone a week, but, as usual, it felt fantastic to be back home. Nothing like it.

Jim and I got out pretty early for a walk to brunch… wanted to beat the rain (which we just barely did).

Everything looks extra pretty on one’s first morning back:


That is across the street, and that little tree is the Borton’s son’s memorial tree, which was planted at least fifteen years ago.  I think it’s a linden but I’ll have to check that out. Wikipedia says lindens are fast growing trees.. but this one is anything but.

Breakfast at Bernardo’s, and my usual bowl of cafe au lait. Gorgeous today:


Back home… and we noticed our single solitary tomato plant–spectacularly low performing–had finally squeezed out its first fruit of the season. Its one and only. If I’m not mistaken, we planted this thing back in May or possibly June.

Last year, the tomatoes on the mound were ridiculous–thickly matted vines that produced an embarrassment of tomatoes.

Not so this year.

One tomato. Uno.


But, hey, will ya look at that Meyer lemon tree!!!



Spent a fun evening at Carrie and Marc’s watching the Cubs win game five of the World Series at Wrigley Field. A big deal for Cubs fans–first World Series win at Wrigley in, like, 400 years or something. They are still behind the Indians 3-2 in the series, but it was a great and emotionally charged win. We ate a lot of great food and yelled our heads off for the Cubs (I exaggerate) because.. well…there are only two teams left to root for and the Cubs are certainly the sentimental favorite. Seem like nice enough guys.

Go Cubs.








As Seen

October 29, 2016

How about some PV –> LAX –> Sac –> Davis commuter shots?

Southern California has some interesting places, architecturally speaking. As seen in the South Bay, on my way to the airport:

This is in Hollywood Riviera, along PCH…


This is deeper into Redondo Beach, along PCH…


This was a billboard just beyond the airport, on my way to Alamo to turn in my car…


The cows were in relief.

Now… I’m in the air. Here is a nice shot of Catalina, just beyond the Palos Verdes peninsula (about twenty six miles beyond)…


And my favorite kinda shots flying into Sac.. all filtered up…




The next two are interesting because I inadvertently shot a near-replica of the Phil Gross painting hanging in our living room:



I just love these.

And, back on the ground, Fall has arrived to the Sac airport.. the grounds are so beautiful…


Arriving home to a favorite sight.. the view as we back into the driveway.. the lighting was so pretty on dad’s bench…



So… something new happened on this flight. My suitcase arrived to the carousel with a huge crack in it.


I asked an airport employee if I had any recourse for this and she said “absolutely” and pointed me to the customer service folks. Within about ten minutes, my case had been heard, a report filed, my suitcase emptied and I was sent on my way with all my belongings in a plastic bag. They will send, at no charge to me, a replacement suitcase–my exact Eagle Creek–to the house; should arrive in a few weeks. And that was that.

Here’s the ever gallant Jim, hauling my bag into the house:


Funny, huh? Plastic bags are quite inelegant, suitcases far more efficient!


I handled all of this in stride (who wouldn’t? it was such great service) in part because I’d finally, after years of seeing these airport massage places, had an airport massage! It was an incredibly relaxing experience.  I’d arrived a bit early so had time for a head massage, a light late lunch at the Rock ‘n Brew, and was just as mellow as could be by the time I boarded the plane.

This is be relax:


I sat in a big reclining chair that had moving rollers beneath the surface, and also had these sort of boots into which you placed your feet for the best mechanical foot and leg massage I’ve ever had. I’d go back for that alone. I’d also go back for the head/neck massage.


These be relax places exist in selected airports all over the world (not all, but a few that I might use).

And I now have a club membership (free). I may or may not do it again, but it sure got rid of my headache.

Ye Old Self

October 28, 2016

I dare say, mom’s feeling a little bit better. As the week went on, her energy grew. By Friday, she was up for a breakfast out…


This is the Pancake House (not to be confused with the House of Pancakes), one of our favorite places.

Then some shopping…


(That would be mom, peering out from the dressing room, where she was trying on all kinds of tops in a cute boutique in the Riviera Village — formerly and forever known as Hollywood Riviera.)

Then, after a few more errands, a quick beach drive-by:


I can never resist these beach shots. Noteworthy on this day: the crystal clear outline of Pt. Dume (the prominent point north of Malibu) and the whole northern boundary of the Santa Monica Bay. It had rained in the morning and all was clear in the LA basin.

We returned home and continued our marathon of gin rummy (natch, as Grandma Celia used to say) and then had evening visits from Chris and Betsy, rounding out an outstanding day.

I know she’ll have good days and bad days, but the last three have certainly been a good trend.







Afternoon with M&M

October 27, 2016

Got another great haircut from Claes the Swedish hair stylist today. That alone was enough to make the day great, but there was more.

We went to Matt’s and Michael’s for lunch.. always a treat. It was also a big deal because it was the longest trip mom had taken since her extra long hospitalization a couple of months ago.

Matt and Mike remodeled their kitchen, so that was the first thing we looked at:


The dogs gave us a big welcome:



We had tuna sandwiches, potato salad, chips and fancy iced teas:


As a bonus, Aunt Joy called while we were sitting at the table, so we got to have a nice conversation with her, and she with four of us! (Michael joined us after this photo was taken).

The other new addition to the house (there is always something), was the bear…


Michael’s got a fascination for taxidermy. The bear joins a tiger, a giant peacock, numerous raptors… all in the bedroom. Downstairs in the office/den, dozens of heads, antlers and other things are on display:


Wouldn’t be my choice of decor, but it’s very interesting.

Michael’s handiwork was also evidenced in the Halloween costume category:

Here, he’s showing mom part of the Day of the Dead ensemble…


.. and here’s River’s porcupine/hedgehog jumpsuit that John picked up while we were there…


Those guys… never a shortage of things going on over there.

On the way home, mom and I swung through the Park Estates neighborhood where  Grandma and Grandpa lived, and the house where we spent so much time:


Classic 50s-60s architecture. The pepper trees have gotten so gnarly!

We also dropped by Joe Jost’s for some pickled eggs:


They aren’t $.75 anymore…


Joe Jost has been a Long Beach institution on Anaheim Street since 1924.

It was another worthwhile nostalgia tour!






A Day

October 26, 2016


The beach played only a small role in our day. Even so, I give the day an A rating. I’d have given it an A+ if I hadn’t screwed up the butternut squash and apple dish I made.

What made it good? Mom had high energy and a great attitude. We had a good outing of errands and had fun decorating the house a little for halloween (just a little).  We enjoyed the World Series (Cubs won 5-1), watched a Coen brothers movie (Raising Arizona), played tons of gin rummy, and she told me some stories I hadn’t heard… some sad, some great (I’m writing them down, don’t worry). And as a bonus, no kerfuffles with Eppie. I was a rock star daughter, and that feels good.

Will shoot for an A tomorrow, too.






Sixty Years in the Hood

October 25, 2016

It was a weak day for mom today. It happens. It’s unpredictable… some days, she’s energetic and some days not so much. Mostly, then, we sat and played gin rummy… which is always pleasant. CNN’s muted in the background and if a headline looks like it might signal a new story line.. we might turn on the volume… but mostly we sit and play cards..

Cabin fever lead to a late afternoon gotta get outa here walk. With mom in a wheelchair, that’s a pretty easy outing!

We headed down the street.. two blocks away to our first house on La Selva:


That is a lot of nostalgia there. We lived in that house–we, being mom, dad, Jay and I–from 1957 to 1959. Jay’s the only one of us born in this one.. Chris came along after we’d moved up the street. I started life on earth in the Manhattan Beach cottage.

Anyway. Nostalgia. She shared a lot of stories about the neighbors. I think my favorite story was the one when she had the Schooks and Osbornes over for dinner and served bread and cioppino. She’d made the sourdough bread from scratch, which took a couple of days, and purchased her shellfish from a vendor on the Redondo Beach pier just hours before so it’d be as fresh as possible. She said it was the best meal she’s ever made (of many, I must say). She said the bread went instantly–which, of course, is a compliment, but kind of anticlimactic… you’d rather people savor and compliment you for a longer time! She also said that Irv and Ed–both employees of American Airlines, which is why she paired these particular couples–hated each other and found the evening very unpleasant… which took all the attention off the food, which was not so gratifying for her either.. after all the work.  Hrrumph. But it was still a good story.

One of the Schook girls, legendarily, was quite taken with the size of my dad’s toes… which has always been a good family story. So we laughed about that one, too.

The walk was good.

Matty, Michael and Chris came over for dinner. Matt made pasta with bolognese sauce (of a sort), which was excellent. Also, sauteed zucchini (with heaps of butter and herbs), hot bread, and rocky road bars that Michael made (sinful).

Here we are:


Very nice evening. Appreciating my brothers immensely.


Hoping to remember: Michael, who makes elaborate, themed customs for himself, Matt and always a big group of friends each year for the West Hollywood Halloween Parade, has the idea that the Halloween 2017 theme shall be Cruella Deville and 101 Dalmatians… in which, he’ll invite as huge an entourage as possible, up to 101 of their closest friends/family/pets, who will all be dressed as Dalmatians, as he’s decked out as Cruella. Rent bus, include people of all sizes and shapes, join thousands of outlandishly costumed people on the parade route… wouldn’t that be awesome?  This year, his theme is Day of the Dead — many skeletons and such. This will probably be their 12th or 15th year… each year’s theme more remarkable than the last. Well, actually, some years are more spectacular than others, but all are fantastic, creative and beautifully carried out.

Bye For Now…

October 24, 2016

… darling boy.

Peter thought lunch with me would be nice before I take off, which so thrilled me (which I was careful not to overreact about). He had classes at 8:00, 9:00 and 10:00, so he went to those, but texted as soon as he was done. In the meantime, I checked out of the Sheraton and plunked at a nearby Starbucks to write and be all mellow and happy.

I picked him up at our usual spot–parking lot behind Meteor–and headed to a place called Urban Plates.

An absolutely great place.. a high-end cafeteria with healthy, organic, creative choices:


And a huge, attractive, comfortable place to eat it…


We had a nice, long lunch, discussed holiday logistics, then checked out a nearby bike store. I dropped him off back on campus in time for his 1:00 class.

And with that, Family Weekend was over.


A month now until our next meet up…


Just Missed

October 24, 2016

Look who was playing golf at Torrey Pines the day after our visit…


That would be our great, classy, dignified, decent, funny, intelligent, compassionate president, Barack Obama.

Dyin’ to know what he shot…

(This was a random photo grab off the web… credit to somebody for a nice shot.)

Day to Play

October 23, 2016

So looking forward to this day… a full, planless, unencumbered Sunday with our kiddo, and a big old town to explore.

Picked Peter up at 9:00am..


Hiya P.

Then off to Torrey Pines–reservations for breakfast at 9:30.

In search of great corned beef hash… the current hash to beat is the one I got at that pancake restaurant in La Jolla on a previous visit.


Good, nice presentation, but not even close. The large chunks were great, but too much room for error (hunks of fat).

After days of hot weather, it was weird to get some raindrops, but we decided to stick with our outside table. We sat beneath a heater so it was very warm. We saw they provided blankets for diners who wanted them, but it wasn’t cold. And the rain didn’t really materialize. Very nice view of the first tee!


We walked around.. checked out the now finished course construction on the north course.

Here’s a before and after:


It’s a pretty course…





Peter decided it was a good time to take advantage of his parents being in town–sure there were a few clothing items he needed–so we went to that UTC place again. Sears was a nice low-cost option and Macy’s a good middle-of-the-road option. He scored some pants and shorts.

Walked around to see what all’s there… went into a Tessla showroom (and sat in a very nice car), and found an ice rink:


Then….. we then headed up to Mt. Soledad…



for some views…


They have hundreds and hundreds of memorial plaques on the walls that surround the monument:


This one was interesting to me:


Grew up playing at the Jack Kramer Tennis Club and played with Wilson’s Jack Kramer autograph racquet for most of my youth. Who knew he was an honored veteran?

Next… we headed down to Coronado.. wanted to show Jim the Hotel Del. Here are a couple pics around the island…

This is on the side that faces downtown San Diego; there were some lovely homes along the waterfront:



Here’s a shot of a nice sunset over on the Hotel Del side:


We decided on fish for dinner… looked at one, which was a no go, then settled on a restaurant called “The Oceanaire,” in the Gaslamp district. Very expensive and spotty service (but at least I got my wine comped). We had two hours, but in the end were rushed, even without dessert.  I think the place has promise, but we didn’t hit it on their best night (‘course maybe that’s because we were in tee-shirts and jeans and stumbled onto the place, whereas the other customers were dressed to the nines and prepared for dining events). Dunno.

Still… good food. I had grilled swordfish “drunken” with port cherries, smokey almonds and goat cheese cream. Jim had salmon with blue cheese, I think and Peter has sea bass with a spicy tumble of crab on top. We added an order of asparagus and au gratin potatoes. Yummy. (And, oh… $200… no apps, no dessert, no alcohol.)

We got Jim to the airport on time and I took Peter back to his dorm because he wanted to study. How ’bout that. Good kid, starting out college on a serious note. I like it.