Goodbye, Sir

January 10, 2017

I’ll have comments later about the ending of Barack Obama’s presidency and the suspension, for the time being, of all things decent, intelligent and compassionate.

Yep, how I feel.

I have pretty much run out of words to describe my despair over what’s to come. For now, I don’t want to waste the keystrokes. For now, gratefulness beyond measure for the integrity, grace, and strength of character of this man…


… and his wife, for all they gave to our country. We are better for it.

It was a gorgeous goodbye.

Tears were shed.


Enjoyed an evening with 2/3 of the bro contingent. Mom’s signature chicken…


..and lotsa chillin’by the fire on an uncharacteristically rainy night in the southland…



Owl in the Family

January 9, 2017

I love spending time in La Jolla. I am sure looking forward to many, many more trips as the years go on. Peter and I found another good breakfast place, this on down the hill from UCSD, but not all the way into the Village. The Kitchen is in the Shore, but we accessed it from the north side, which was a much  better way down the hill.

After breakfast, dropped Peter off and headed north to PV.

My bathroom and gas stop coincided with a quick trip to Joe Jost’s for an egg salad sandwich and pretzels and pickles.


Then a nice long bonus day with mom.


(This is a card I gave my mom long ago.  For some reason, she’s got the card prominently displayed on the round table. It’s us… sorta.. in the persona of two owls… her longtime love.)

My Way

January 8, 2017

Long day! Started in the most inauspicious ways, as they say. We shoulda been asleep during those wee hours of Sunday morning, preparing for a long day of driving on a rainy road, but instead, we were engaged in plastic removal from all of Peter’s lightly-colored clothes.

Come again?

We don’t exactly know how it came to be that a black plastic-like substance adhered to two loads of Peter’s most-worn–and in many cases, favorite–clothing items… chinos, golf shorts, tee shirts, but there it was. Coulda been something in a pocket, could have been lettering material from one of Peter’s shirts, could have been rubber from an aged, overheated dryer part.

Thought it might come off with another pass through the washing machine, but it didn’t. Jim then had the brilliant idea to use heavy-duty packing tape to “pull” the plastic from the fabric. I figured out rubbing a coin over tape enhanced the removal.

That whole strategy worked reasonably well! So… that’s what we did… for maybe an hour…



After the plastic removal thing, we actually got some good sleep, then got up, packed, got some breakfast at Bernardo’s, hit CVS one more time to stock up on a few dorm supplies then finally hit the road.

The first few hours of driving in the so-called atmospheric river looked like this:


Very WET.

One thing about California, when it rains, all those golden hills turn to the most luscious, verdant green. Another guy posted this one from I-5 today:


(Photo credit: Paul Lacques, that left-handed guitar player from the I See Hawks in LA band… we’re now Facebook friends.)

The rain stopped about Harris Ranch. Peter got this nice sky photo..



For most of the drive, Peter read Tina Fey’s Bossy Pants and I listened to my iTunes. Favorite part of the drive was singing Frank Sinatra’s My Way (on Peter’s iTunes) at the top of our lungs while driving through about San Clemente. The 8.5 hour drive (which included a 30-minute stop at the Grapevine) went faster than expected.

And speaking of 8.5.. I heard that Davis got 8.5 inches of rain today… could that be true??

And With That…

January 7, 2017

This year we took down Christmas in a couple of stages. Last week, all the ornaments and chotchkies got taken down and put away, so that alls that was left was the tree and its lights. It was pretty still… to have a lighted tree in the house.. but, ya know, January 7th…it was time.

So today… down it came. This is our first year with Davis’ new organic matter carts and since street collection is now down to once per month, most people are cutting up their trees Fargo style (or nearly so) and stuffing the remains in the carts. Here’s what our tree looked like after Jim took saw to branches..


Very pitiful. But quite a coif, huh?

Then the final assault…


For having been up for over five weeks (good lord!), there were not many needles to clean up… good watering, I guess.



Tree be gone.


After last night’s concert, Peter, who plays a lot of guitar anyway, seemed extra inspired. Here he is practicing a few riffs…



Since I’d forgotten to mention it before, let me say now: Jim’s MRI results came back on Thursday… completely clear. While neither of us really expected otherwise, it was a surprising relief to know that he wasn’t growing a tumor on his brain.

The burnt coffee smell remains, and its significance remains a mystery, but at least it’s not a growth pressing on his smell center.

Good job, Jim!




I See Hawks

January 6, 2017

Had a date with my guys tonight. Happy me.

There were big doings in the region: the Palms Playhouse in Winters reopened tonight under new ownership and we got tickets for the kick-off show.

We started the evening at the Buckhorn..


(I actually took this picture as we were leaving town… a bit before midnight, the rains had just started (*))

And, oh, the Buckhorn…  hot sourdough bread with butter the instant you’re seated, followed by cold, crisp, fresh salad (or clam chowder for Peter), red wine (a Seghesio Zin, and root beer and iced tea for the boys), a filet mignon with gorgonzola butter (Peter had rib eye and Jim had a steak sandwich), the special cheesy scalloped potatoes (Peter had mashed), buttery green beans, coffee and french vanilla ice cream atop a chocolatey brownie. Ye gads, fabulous.

Then, on to the Palms, for re-opening night! When the two new, young owners–both Winters natives–took the stage, the crowd erupted in a long, sustained ovation–so happy is everyone that the Palms is going to remain a going concern.

They made a few comments, issued a few thank yous and without much ado introduced the band: I See Hawks in LA. Weird name, I know.

I’d heard they were great from my music hippie kindergarten-alum friend Jeff, a true music connoisseur who told me to go if I could, though it doesn’t take much for me to want to go to the Palms. It was a great night of music and we’re always going to see lots of friends there, and we’re always going to hear music we might not hear otherwise.

Plus, tonight: celebration cake!

I See Hawks is mostly country, blended with lots of rock, and a bit of folk. I’d say. Here they are:


Jeff suggested I seek out a band member or two at the break and pass along a few hellos (he actually suggested I plant some wet ones, but I opted for hellos).  This one, Paul the southpaw lead guitarist, suggested we pose for a selfie and send it to Jeff.. which I also did. Nice guy:


T’was fun fun fun. And heaven to be with Jim and Peter.

Jeff also informed me the lead singer, Robert Waller, is a professor of creative writing at USC. That was kind of a fun fact.

A parting shot because Winters was looking very fine in its wintry shimmery glow:



(*) Tonight we are to get slammed with something called at Atmospheric River, or the Pineapple Express… a weather event considered to be mighty impressive in its power and volume. We’ve had a ton of rain already this week, and tonight, after a couple day’s respite, the rains are supposed to intensify and give us an epic soaking, followed by inevitable flooding due to its relative warmth. We shall see. My weather app shows only rain for the next nine days. Should make for exciting driving on Sunday.


January 5, 2017


The findings came in yesterday and they are conclusive: The Russian government used hacking and leaks to try and influence the presidential election.

This was the forcefully reaffirmed conclusion of top US intelligence officials and senators from both parties.

Hours before he was to be briefed this morning, Trump calls the NYT and gives them an eight minute interview (no idea why he does this). They run the story. Trump is quoted as claiming the whole issue of Russian hacking arises out of democratic party embarrassment at having lost the election so badly. He cries, “it’s a witch hunt!”

(It’s a witch hunt?! What, evidence and a report and a hearing, delivered by our respected intelligence community about Russian election hacking?  A unanimous response from a bipartisan congress? A witch hunt because it doesn’t support his narrative?)

He said all this before his briefing.

Not only is he alone in his opinion, he got his side of the story from Russia herself, or from Julian Assange, take your pick. And the weird and disturbing point is, he appears to value the opinion and judgment of the Russians and/or Assange over US intelligence professionals.

Not an exaggeration. This happened.

Routinely, he blames, and lashes out, and stubbornly stands his ground against not only everybody, but against all odds.

I am just so done with this guy. Even if I wanted to give him a chance–which frankly I don’t–he just hasn’t earned it, he’s done nothing, NOTHING, to persuade me that he’s deserving of respect. He behaves like a child.

I’m just disgusted. Is this really the way it’s going to work on every little thing going forward?  It’s gonna be the world according to Trump?  Unilateral opinion-making? What on earth does he know about ANYTHING?  This is an immature, unevolved man-child with an insatiable need to have his ego fed. He’s now sitting at the head of an entire nation. OUR nation. He’s incapable of listening, processing, reasoning and acting accordingly. He’s incapable of admitting he might be wrong. He’s incapable of admitting he might not know the answer. He’s incapable of apology. He’s incapable of being vulnerable. He cannot bear criticism or opposition. If you’re not there to prop him up, he disposes of you. He possesses not a shred of humility. He remains defiant and, yes, victimized. Everyone’s against him.

He’s a lasher, a caged animal. WITCH HUNT!

I’ve never seen anything like this.

Not the skill set for a person in government, where the process is ALL about give and take, ALL about compromise. And it’s certainly not the qualities of a thoughtful leader, much less our president. Most of us saw that. It came out in every debate, it’s been stated in op-eds and on political talk shows. AND people still voted for him. He’s  not magically changing because he’s president. He is exactly who he’s been since day one.

And the tweeting.

This is not normal. Impulsive and petulant tweeting (for godssake) should not replace direct and thoughtful communication with the American people. It used to be (always) that communication from the executive branch was thoughtfully considered and released in a careful way because words matter–people, countries, markets, industries.. everything rides on what presidents say and how they say it.

Everything everyone’s saying is scarily true: his tweets are creating chaos, he’s sending people, countries, markets and industries into tailspins trying to figure out what he means. It’s only a matter of time before he says something someone is going to completely take the wrong way and there will be dangerous or deadly consequences.

He is absolutely reckless, seemingly completely unaware of the impacts he’s having. Or very aware, who knows.

WHY IS HE EVEN TWEETING? How is it that this is even allowed?

And then there’s the stupid shit he says on Twitter. And I mean shit.

Today the child-in-chief tweeted all about how his ratings as host on that stupid reality show were higher than Arnold’s. Na na na na na. He went on to taunt Schwarzenegger by saying it’s no wonder his ratings are low, he supported Kasich and Hillary.

This is the [soon to be] President of the United States.

His supporters must be so proud.


Never mind the stability- and security-threatening tweets he reels off on a whim. It’s the above garbage that really kills me. Who IS this guy? And why is he OUR president??

To quote Joe Biden: Grow UP!

Someone PLEASE take his Twitter account away from him.




Counting Down

January 4, 2017

Winter break is almost over and our darling boy must soon return to college. Boo. And, I guess yay. Way it’s supposed to be.

I have so enjoyed having him around.. and we get him for about 3 more days before we make the long drive back down to La Jolla.

He’s messy, still quite destructive, keeps crazy hours, leaves empty milk cartons in the refrigerator (sometimes even empty glasses), shoots rubber bands all over the place (still!), leaves cabinets and drawers open and counters crumby… but I tell ya… I love it when he’s home.

Cuz he also plays a lot of guitar and piano, makes me laugh, is sillily affectionate, makes us watch Seinfeld with him every single night no matter the time, surprises me with occasional helpfulness, asks about Grandma, and cried about Grandpa.

I can tell he just loves us to death and loves being home. I see it, I feel it. It’s just great and makes me sigh deeply and happily.

Here’s a typical scene. Peter and I are having a conversation earlier this evening about something, I can’t remember… he’s standing on the arm of the couch and letting the ceiling fan bonk him in the head–just barely, but whap whap whap while I’m trying to focus on whatever we’re talking about.


Goofy, but that’s the stuff I’m going to miss when he’s gone.