A couple of projects remain: raised beds, a fence, selecting patio furniture, final plantings .. and some minor cosmetic enhancements. And that, folks, will be it, house-and-yard-wise.

Here’s a pic of the first section of a raised bed that will surround the newly poured (well, last December) patio.. redwood 4x4s and corrugated aluminum sheets. There will also be a 2×6 (I think) that caps the top so a person can rest a spell as that person tends to the garden (or gets tired from shooing away squirrels).

Hey, Guess What?

March 30, 2021

Today, twenty five years ago, Jim and I decided to get married. This is our silver engagement anniversary!

We were sitting on the west wall in Central Park on a beautiful, spring morning during the Saturday Farmer’s Market and the conversation went something like this:

One of us: Hey, do you think we should get married?

The other of us: Yes! Let’s!

Then we set a date, October 5th… which we ended up changing to September 21, in order to accommodate some family members, who were unable to attend anyway! And really? The Fall Equinox was a much better date for a million reasons!

Here’s us

This also means that we will celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary on September 21 this year!

Jim Actually…

March 29, 2021

… made a special trip to Target today to get these:

And for that, I think I love him just a tiny bit more today.

It’s not that I like Peeps (I mean, I ate one today, maybe my first, and whoa nelly.. they’re weird), but something about his impulsive run to the edge of town for sugar-coated, dye-&-preservative-filled marshmallow bunnies and chicks with darling faces sort of endeared him to me.

Drum roll…. here are our new metal panels. We’ve concluded they are their best in the morning sun, as the leaf/flower images cast beautiful shadows on the wall!

I mean, those could be flowers, as well as leaves, right?

I expect to fall more and more in love with these as the years go on and the plants, vines, trees and flowers grow in the yard. I think Jim did a GREAT job on the frames (but of course!)

It don’t bother me at all!

On Freedom

March 27, 2021

One thing I’ll say: Freedom is not the right to not wear a mask. Let’s just get that out. But freedom IS the ability to travel once you’re vaccinated — the liberation, the safety, the consideration of others — the right to be out in public, privilege to be out in public, mixing with humanity, seeing family, seeing friends.

So.. I did that.

And it does feel like an enormous freedomy freedom.

As I write this, it’s Saturday, March 27th. I left last Monday (the 22nd) and returned last night. I am going to go back and enter — day by day — photos and commentary from my southland trip, pretending I did it concurrently. I didn’t do it concurrently, however, because — weird — I FORGOT MY LAPTOP. In the history of me, I have NEVER forgotten to take my laptop on a trip out of town. There have been times (very few) when I’ve opted NOT to take it (like, foreign travel, for example), but have never been without it on a simple southland trip. It’s worth noting that I made the effort, when packing last weekend, to provision my computer bag with all the necessary accoutrements, and didn’t forget to load into the car that well-equipped bag… I just forgot the actual laptop. (Such a shock when discovered.)

So… of course… I didn’t blog the whole time I was away. Gonna do that now. And catch up with Davis life and settle in on the homefront.

I return to 250 unread emails (just); a garden full of blooming bulbs (they worked!) (and wow!); an astonishing array of weeds (ugh); a partially (very) built set of raised beds around the patio; erected & stained redwood frames (beautiful), ready for metal panels (also beautiful)!

The big news items while I was gone (some of which I kept up with via CNN on Sirius whenever in the car): mass shooting in Boulder; follow up on mass shooting in Atlanta (so nice that the US is once again open for mass shooting business as usual); Biden’s first presidential press conference; the possibility of a revised — if not eliminated — filibuster; and Peter is scheduled for his first Covid vaccine next week.

With that… I’m going to upload some pics and put together some brief commentary on the past week, and back-post chronologically. Not momentous, but sorta momentous in these times of near-post pandemic.

Drive home day.

Arose early, packed up and said a silent goodbye to my cute little cottage by the sea:

Well…. you can’t actually see my cottage by the sea.. it’s behind that fence. (It’s not that tallish thing on the right — that’s a storage shed).

I made my way, freeway by LA freeway, to Kath’s neck of the wood (West Hills).. on the far west end of the San Fernando Valley, between the 101 and the 405.. with some 118 (that’s the Ronald Reagan freeway, so you know you’re in the real Southern California!) criss-crossing through, and probably a few others.

We made plans to meet up for a birthday lunch. A very nice stop on my way home.

I am a person unfamiliar with the valley, so every time I see the name of another city I say “Oh! Calabasas! I didn’t know this is where that was!” … things like that.

Speaking of Calabasas, I stopped there to pick up some lunch stuff for Kath and me.. and found myself waiting for my to-go order while perched on the edge of a nice fountain. I wondered why so many people were walking by, pointing, laughing and gawking at the fountain.. and finally noticed these:

Hundreds and hundreds of black turtles, I kid you not. (Turtles All the Way Down.) (A book I bought not too long ago about a girl with OCD… A book I should love, right?)

Anyway. Got to Kath’s about 10:00, hung out, caught up, looked around, talked and talked, ate lunch..

Fun. We met when we were the speediest two on the Palos Verdes High Track team. At least we were the speediest two in our final two years. That was fifty years ago!! Just about 1971 (maybe 1972 by the time she joined the team). Long time and a lot of years between then and now. Mostly a lot of life.. so many twists and unexpected turns. Fifty years counts for a lot, I’ve decided. She turned 65, just like I did exactly two months prior.

Deep breath.

She liked her Kacory pouch and her birthday card with a track shoe on it.

I hit the road by 2:00, home by 8:00. First post-vaccine road trip in the bag. Life is turning a welcome corner.

This is what I love about a visit south: Multiple, leisurely walks on the beach and meals with family. This day had both in abundance.

Morning walk on the Esplanade…

This choked me up a bit… the mass shooting in Atlanta had happened the week before, killing eight, six of whom were Asian women, which sparked an overdue conversation about hate against the Asian community, hate stoked and amplified by our thankfully voted-out and now-largely-muzzled ex-president. Creep. But what’s been heartening is the outpouring of support and expanded coverage of incidences of hate and discrimination, which is a good start. It’s an effort that needs to grow and deepen. I like seeing even the smallest signs of compassion.. a flag at half-mast on a life guard station.

After a long walk (with some Starbs on a bench on the Esplanade in the middle… so incredibly lovely), I headed to Long Beach to meet Staci at her house and buy myself some Kacory merch. Kacory stands for KAte-COurtney-RYland, and is Staci’s new crafty enterprise.. homemade backpacks, pouches, bags and such. I bought a backpack and two pouches for myself and another pouch for Kath (who I will visit the next day).

Here’s Staci’s sewing studio (the gal equivalent of a man-cave!). Hers is a separate unit they built on the far side of their yard. So cool. The outside.. (she has a good view of the kids swimming):

And the inside…

I’d “designed” the backpack — picking fabrics and zipper pulls — but had a hard time selecting pouches! I am a pouch person (and a box person, and a bowl person… a container person, generally). Here’s what I settled on:

After transacting our business, we caravaned over to Legends to meet Judy for lunch. Bummed I didn’t get a pic of Judy and Staci… sorry. We had a wonderful lunch, though! After they took off, I hung out with John, who’s now the general manager at Legends. Wuv him so.

Then I returned to Redondo Beach, via Rolling Hills and PV, and took another walk on the Esplanade!

But of course. I really cannot get enough of the air, smell, vistas.

Then… time for another meal… this time with Matt and Chris… this time at Bertollini’s in the Village. Super pleasant, here are some pics of the bros:


March 24, 2021

Thirteen months and two shots of Phizer vaccine later, it was time for a haircut. Whoop Whoop!

Fresh out of Claes’s new salon on PCH:

I know.. it sorta looks like the before shot.. but it’s not.. it’s much shorter in the back (I can’t get it into much of a pony tail, for example) and while it’s not evident, the grey is now integrated with some high and low lights. He asked if I wanted 1) a bob, or 2) something more interesting. I went for the latter, but don’t know how to style it myself (the above is very sticky as he placed hairs just so and then sprayed them.. something I have zero patience for).. so will probably let the crazy layers in back grow out and cut the bangs… and then a few months down the road will prolly cut it all off.. but this is where we are now. Thanks, Claes!


After that excitement, I met John, Alexis (plus three) and Chris for lunch. Then… it was off to the park for a couple hours of hijinks. Three kiddos under 5 gets a medal every day. Hats off to J&A. Here are some pictures I took.. (a few I had to really mess with to cover up mistakes):

John, Chris and Juniper..

A couple of River..

Juniper (with just the slightest roll of snot)…



… and with Mags and Juni…

I ended up taking a walk on the Esplanade again (can’t have too many of those), but am saving those photos for tomorrow’s post.

Instead, here are a few from the sunset walk I took with Chris up at Lunada Bay. May I just say, for the millionth time: the Palos Verdes Peninsula is a sweet corner of our little planet.

You can almost imagine you’ve got a VW Bug and a VW Van here… and it’s 1965.

And a few from the edge of the cliff…

Do you like people (prolly surfers) or ferns?

And then, here’s a first: Chris cooked dinner for me/us. It was fantastic.

Normalcy, Day Two

March 23, 2021

I’m liking this out and about stuff.

I’m already regretting that I arranged only a single night with Matty and Michael. I think I could build a nice life around cocktail hour, a large plate of cheesy aps, long leisurely conversations around a dinner table, the total absence of pretense (one can be oneself around one’s little brothers) and, combining the last two, the kind of conversations that come with the shared experience of growing up and the knowing and understanding that comes with that. Adding to that–a bit of a bonus–the delight that there remain a good hunk of shared values and, for example, that we all hate trump. (That last part was gratuitous… true, but gratuitous.)

Well… maybe I over romanticize cocktails and aps (and old movies and thick mounds of down and pillows on the guest bed), and maybe I couldn’t quite make a life out of it… but it was totally fun and I missed it, missed them, missed the beaches and the southland and the eucalyptus trees. One day was too short with the M&Ms — as mom called them — and I expect now, with covid precautions easing, there will be more trips.

Okay. So.

Rose on Tuesday morning to the sound of Michael making coffee and yelling at the dogs (lovingly, both). Stumbled in and got my mugful, with flavored cream (but of course) .. chatted breezily about the day/s ahead, wandered through the garden and ummm-ummmmed over all Michael’s new flowers (their garden fussiness pays huge dividends). Ooohed ignorantly over their latest vintage car acquisition — a 69 Mercedes something with original everything.

A couple pics:

When Matt got back from physical therapy (this is a big deal and suggests great progress on his muscle-attacking-autoimmune front), the three of us went to breakfast — a vestige of the beforetimes and so .. normal. Hung out a bit, and then I took off to see Bev and Anne. Learned (or relearned) that she also has multiple myeloma (didn’t realize that was the cancer she was dealing with, which is, of course, the cancer that Michael–and Chad–has been fighting/treating all year).

It was such a lovely visit! Bev’s the last of the tri-family parental generation and I’m grateful to be having the chance to spend more time with her (and all the Osbornes and Hesses) in recent years.

Here we are…

Took the long way to PV, via the new gabillion-dollar bridge at the Long Beach/LA Port, averted my eyes as I passed the former, one-term president’s golf course and made my way down to our old house to check out their remodeling progress. Parked in front of the Walter’s old house and ambled up the alley to ours. Had to climb the Bacon’s fence to see the back-forty, since the new owners have put up a very tall fence with no gaps whatsoever. They have removed the brick steps, graded the terrace into a rolling slope and are building a pool (damn.. why didn’t we think of that?). It was a bit hard to hold a long pose since I was wrapped around a chain link fence.. instead, I went to the other side, and just extended my phone over the top of the fence and shot blindly.. this is what I got:

After that little nostalgia tour, I checked into the cottage on Ave A and took the requisite walk on the Esplanade and dropped down to the sand for a while (it was a short one as it was incredibly windy.. additional pics on a later day). Seemed as though no time had even passed…

A great way to wrap a relaxed day… dinner with Betsy at the Blue Water Grill.. Grey Goose w/ two olives, hot sour dough bread, grilled swordfish, scalloped potatoes, sauteed spinach… all my faves… and I think we shared a key lime pie. 🙂

Nothing not to love to pieces.

Panels in Placentia

March 22, 2021

My main reason for driving down to the south land was to retrieve our custom metal panels in Placentia .. saving $700+ in shipping costs! Arranged to pick them up as soon as I was beyond the two-week post-vac point so I could add some non-stressful family visits. So.. damn… it worked out beautifully.

Finding “Artisan Panels” was a bit tricky, since that name is nowhere to be found. The fact is, they are primarily a precision metal laser cutting business (their largest client is SpaceX and a letter from Elon Musk hangs in their lobby). But because they have the set up for large scale metal work, they throw in this other side business.. artisan panels for all kinds of decorative consumer and business applications. That was us. Here’s a corner of their vast warehouse (I’d have loved seeing the manufacturing side of the house.. but I was eager to get on the road).

Here is Mark and a warehouse guy loading the panels. They just fit.

Not much more to say about that (skip ahead to Sunday’s blog post to see them installed…). I was just pleased that from concept to design to ordering to collecting, it worked out so well (best of all: installing.. ).

Made it down to Matt and Michael’s in time for awesome aps and wine and catching up. Chris then arrived and we had a fabulous dinner (toasted macademia nut-encrusted roast halibut, coconut and Vidalia onion rice and sauteed bok choy in something tasty). So much great conversation. I do love hanging with my brothers (and BIL).

Then settled into a Doris Day-Rock Hudson movie with these goofballs:

Klondyke and Joey….

Sophie and Violet… (or maybe Violet and Sophie..)