The 70s

November 23, 2016

I have to say, that’s the first thing I notice down here… the warm air. It is just lovely as all get out.

It’s been a relaxing day… here are some shots:

Our room at the Crowne Plaza, Redondo Beach:


The view from the balcony… nice to have a clear shot of the PV peninsula!


Peter’s still sawing logs as the So Cal sun pours in:


Breakfast at that Pancake House (again, not the IHOP)…always  a wait…but at least it’s pleasant out there. Sun much?


I got the world’s weirdest, but yummiest, veggie omelet… my stand-by order. Those are also my coconut pancakes, and that’s Jim’s iced tea levitating in the background.


Peter got a Dutch Baby. Awesome.


Peter and Jim headed down to a nearby pitch ‘n put. Here’s P on the tee (photo courtesy of Jim):


They came back and Peter took grandma on in Gin (and won 184-78, good job, P):


While Jim did this…


And I blogged. Of course.

The Thanksgiving Commute

November 22, 2016

Peter, Jim and I took off, largely uneventfully, from Davis at a reasonable hour. We hit the usual milestones (literally in this case) at the usual times.

Couple sights from the road…


(I don’t think this had anything to do with California’s recently passed recreational marijuana law!)

And a nice sunset over the coastal range..


As expected, we hit LA at rush hour and things slowed down.

But then, we made a fateful error… we missed the bear-off of the 405 and didn’t realize in time to turn around. Now, sort of stuck in thick traffic of southbound 5, we had Siri give us a new route.. thinking, well… how bad could it be to drive through the heart of downtown LA at the peak of pre-Thanksgiving rush hour traffic?

This bad:


Clever how I got this shot, eh?

Zooming out, not much rosier:


Here are a pair of shots I did actually take myself.. from ground zero:


We were a bit weary and bleary-eyed:


I’ll just add, downtown LA is also a tough place to pull off if all you’re doing is looking for a place to pee… that was about a 45-minute adventure.

Suffice to say… we were late for dinner.


We got into the south bay, made a quick stop for a birthday cake and salad fixins’ (our pre-planned contribution to dinner), and arrived as mom’s famous chicken dish was coming out of the oven (our travel status was at least well communicated along the way).

Chris turned 57 yesterday… so we got to celebrate. Here’s the birthday boy… NOT as surly as he looks here!


Fifty seven, but still has pipes:



After dinner, Peter, Jim and I headed down to the Crown Plaza.. which turned out to be a great place, well located! We won’t experience much of it, but it’s nice to know it’s there.


November 21, 2016


The science and art of making all essential measurements to determine the relative position of points or physical and cultural details above, on, or beneath the surface of the Earth, and to depict them in a usable form, or to establish the position of points or details.

Says Wikipedia, “Basic surveyance has occurred since humans built the first large structures. The prehistoric monument at Stonehenge (c. 2500 BC) was set out by prehistoric surveyors using peg and rope geometry.”
The article goes on to lay out the history of surveying through ancient and modern times. Quite interesting, actually.
Fun surveyor fact… George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Henry David Thoreau were all surveyors.
I’m married to one:
This is my all time favorite photo of Jim (well, at least in the silhouette category).

Hari and Sanu

November 20, 2016

When Bill was in Nepal, serving in the Peace Corps–nearly fifty years ago–he befriended a young boy, Hari. They worked together for the next three years, as Bill worked on getting water to his, and surrounding, villages. Hari cooked for Bill and his fellow workers and learned a lot about best agriculture practices.

Hari went on to a long and successful professional life in agriculture.

They stayed in touch.

When I was in Nepal five years ago, I met Hari. He and his wife Sanu hosted three of us for a wonderful lunch following our two weeks of trekking in the mountains around Everest. They were generous and amazingly kind.

Hari and his wife Sanu are in Northern California visiting Bill (and two others of his Peace Corps friends from the way back). Interestingly, their son is working on his masters at the University of Oregon.. also in the field of agriculture.

Such a great story.

Sabrina, Jim and I decided on a more-or-less typical American dinner…

Jim made veggie and chicken kabobs to grill…


I made a green salad with lots of fresh local stuff… (to be tossed, of course):


Sabrina made a killer potato salad with all kinds of veggies and expertly seasoned. No pics.

For dessert, Sabrina made an apple crisp and we baked chocolate chip cookies. So, so good.

Here we are:



First Ever Homecoming

November 19, 2016

First college break.. Peter’s coming home!

He figured out he could get a jump on the Thanksgiving break–by missing just one day of classes, he could expand his vacation from four days to nine days. This seemed like a great idea, plus, more days for golf! 

He just couldn’t cope with the prospect of lugging a duffle bag for clothes, a computer bag, a backpack and a set of golf clubs through bus terminals, train stations or airports and opted to look into renting a car.

Renting a car gets complicated for anyone under the age of 25, but he found a company that had an under-25 option, E-Z Rent-A-Car!  There would be a small surcharge, some restrictions on pick up and drop off, but all things considered, it seemed like a very manageable option.

Now, I have a lot of faith in Peter’s driving, but I have to say I was kind of a wreck… there were just a LOT of hoops to jump through to carry this off successfully, and I knew I wasn’t going to relax until I saw him walk through the front door.

He finished his last class on Friday at 2:00 and took first a bus and then a trolly to the San Diego airport. A lot of haggling and hitches later (having to do with insurance plans and debit card payments…both issues involving numerous texts back and forth with Jim), he left E-Z with a nice VW Passat. He drove back to La Jolla for all his stuff, then hit the road (I-5) pretty much at the peak of rush hour. He had to get through the Friday evening, pre-holiday gridlock of San Diego County, Orange County, then the traffic nightmare of LA and the Valley. It took hours and hours just to get to the Grapevine. There, he stopped for coffee and called us to let us know he was looking at a 2:00-3:00am ETA.

And, at 2:20am, he rolled right in, totally chipper and pleased with himself. And SO happy to be home!


We were ecstatic (though conveyed confident coolness). Many hugs were exchanged.

I was even ready with my camera. Not bad given the wee hour.

We had lots to talk about, and did.. and then went to bed… Peter wanted to get up by 6:00am to get the car back to San Francisco (the only place in Northern California  where E-Z has an office!) and get back to Davis in time to play some afternoon golf. (Really.)


Except a storm came in.


At 6:00am, it was just too rainy and wet to play golf, so thankfully there was no reason to get up with the crows. Instead, he slept in a bit, and we headed to San Francisco late this morning.

It rained and splashed and sprayed the whole way. Peter said today’s leg of the journey was far more stressful than last night’s drive.

Finding E-Z was anything but. It was not with all the other rental outfits.. located instead down in Burlingame. But the check in was quick.

Hmmm.. now what? We decided to go to a place in Daly City for a late lunch that Peter found a few months ago when playing Harding Park with Ray and Dylan. It was fun to follow his lead on this..

The place was a 60’s vintage lounge called the Boulevard Cafe:


We had a couple of standards — a Club (Peter) and a Reuben (me):


Both completely perfect.

Peter then offered to give me a tour of the nearby famous golf courses. We drove by the Olympic Club and then decided to get a closer look at Harding Park…



Lots of Cypress trees, lush fairways, extremely manicured greens.. and a whole bunch of wandering raccoons!


The drive home was long… as the rain and traffic continued… but so very lovely to have so much time to spend with the boy.




Light The Fire

November 18, 2016

Went to Matt’s book signing tonight. Got his book. Got it signed. Just the way it’s supposed to go.

Here’s Matt reading excerpts:


This is the book:


Anxious to read it. About a year ago, I’d read a handful of chapters from an early draft he’d posted on an author’s website for input. I understand this final version represents many additional polishings.

Here’s the back cover:


Matt signed my book: “To my most favorite reader!”

How nice!

Two take aways from tonight:

  1. I wanna write a book
  2. Get recipe for those green olive-stuffed cheese biscuits.



It was a bit of a momentous project day. I didn’t really realize how much so until I finished this one thing that’s been on my list for a very long time.

The two sentence backstory is this: I save, cull, sort, and binderize Peter’s school work. Have done it since day care days.

I was actually a year behind, so 11th and 12th grade were both on the list.  AND… today I finished those. Here they are on the shelves..


And here’s the shelf below, which dates back to kindergarten…


… and I also have preschool, daycare and even a box of birth stuff.


Below this shelf are large portfolios full of the best of Peter’s art.

Here’s what the inside of a binder looks like:


You are reading the comments of someone very pleased that this project can be checked off the list! It’s one of the more tedious things I’ve ever done as a hyper-documenting, obsessive-compulsive mom. And I’ve done some pretty hyper-documenting, obsessive-compulsive things, let me tell you.

Here’s what makes it worthwhile: 1) the binders contain a lot–though not ALL– of Peter’s work over the years so when/if he looks through all this stuff years from now, he’ll have a pretty good sense of the academic side of his school life; 2) it was tedious and time consuming, but it’s done; and 3) Peter actually really appreciates it (he’s looked through a few of the binders over the years when he needed some info). He told me college will be a lot easier to do (!), to which I replied, “dude…” (though, if he really wants me to, I’ll probably do it).

If you saw the condition of the raw material, you’d be a lot more impressed!

But here’s the thing: this represents a phenomenal body of work. HIS, not mine! From pre-school to 12th grade…it is a LOT of learning. The distance these kids travel from their earliest efforts to draw a stick figure or form the letter A, to solving a problem in AP physics or composing an inspiring, well-crafted college essay… is so mind blowing.

And the journey is pretty much all contained on those two shelves.

Anyway… one day I imagine it’ll all be recycled, or perhaps he’ll recycle most, but keep a few of his favorite things, who knows. It’ll totally be his choice…. I did this part… the rest is his.

And now, cuz I’m singing it…..

Gonna take a sentimental journey
Gonna set my heart at ease
Gonna make a sentimental journey
To renew old memories

I got my bag, i got my reservation
Spent each dime i could afford
Like a child in wild anticipation
I long to hear that: “all aboard!”

Seven, that’s the time we leave – at seven
I’ll be waiting up for heaven
Counting every mile of railroad track – that moves me back

I never though my heart could be so yearny
Why did i decide to roam
Gotta take a sentimental journey
Sentimental journey home

Written by Benjamin Homer, Bud Green, Jacques (f) Plante, Les Brown • Copyright © The Songwriters Guild Of America, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc