Archive for June, 2013

Jun 30 2013

Freakish Friday

Published by under Bullshit,Family,Friends,Jessica

The unusual rain gave way to unnatural heat. It’s been way too hot for way too long. Looking at the weather forecast makes me want to cry. At first, they said it would go away on Monday, but now it looks like Thursday before we can get onto the back burner. I hate the front burner.

Living in my uninsulated, upside down rowboat shaped house doesn’t help. Even when it has cooled down outside, it’s still an oven in the house, especially upstairs in the sleeping loft. Even with the screen door (thanks, Rob!) and a fan on upstairs, I can barely sleep with a sheet on, and I hate that. It’s flying in the face of my pro-blanket policy.

The heat makes me cranky (or crankier), as you can tell. On Friday, my brother invited me over to the property for a barbecue. He said that Erica and Jessica were there, and my late-breaking birthday present, but I didn’t want to leave the three fans in my living room for the sunstroke savanna that is the property. He called me back to ask me again, and I felt like Cameron in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, where he says, “He’ll keep calling me…he’ll keep calling me…he’ll make me feel guilty…OK, I’ll go! I’ll go! I’ll go!” You can see Alan Ruck in all his comic splendor in this scene here.

I got in the car and blasted the tunes and the air conditioning, even though it’s a quarter of a mile drive (not including our very long driveways). I drove about 10 miles an hour the whole way to make the coolness last as long as possible. When I finally pulled up, Jessica came over to the car and she was actually mad at me for not coming sooner, so it’s a good thing I didn’t bail on the whole thing completely as originally planned. I don’t think she has ever been mad at me before.

We huddled in the shade of some rhododendrons and drank some cold Mike’s. My present turned out to be a fancy camera. Erica asked her professional photographer friends what they would recommend as a step up from the one I had, and they suggested this one. It’s $900 new, but Erica found one that had been previously enjoyed, but not too much, since it still had its original packaging and accessories. She had even taken a couple of pictures of Jessica to test it out. I was kind of overwhelmed. Just the ceramic knife (which I use all the time) would have been enough!

Lichen turned up, hot and scratchy after a long day of ripping out brambles in the bone-crushing heat. He sat in the shade, took off his boots, and applied tea tree oil to his scratches. He says it’s the best thing for scratches and bug bites. I thought about how different our days had been before we all met up. Lichen working in the sun; Jonathan driving to another town to help a friend fix his equipment (and later working on Erica’s car); Erica and Jessica’s long drive from the Valley; Megan working in the garden in the blazing sun; me at the courthouse with all those other sad women (it’s always women), working on our paperwork for divorce or custody or restraining orders, supporting each other the best we could.

My divorce is hopefully on track for October 2. The judge in the county seat wanted me to fill out an Income and Expense worksheet and submit copies of my pay stubs (which I don’t have) and tax returns, all of which felt like a huge invasion of privacy. It also seemed totally unnecessary, since we have already signed and notarized a document which states that we are not asking each other for alimony and further, that we never can, so it seems ridiculous to do this other paperwork.

The Family Law Facilitator said that the county seat judge is new and wants everyone to dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s, but she was pretty confident that the local one wouldn’t, so hopefully that will work out. If not, I’ll just have to do the extra paperwork. Apparently John and I may well get the final decree from the judge before October 2, though the soonest we can plan our next weddings is October 3.

I’ll get right on that.

4 responses so far

Jun 29 2013

Monica’s Birthday

Published by under Friends

The unexpected rain also derailed Monica’s plans for her birthday party on the beach. As the day grew nearer and the weather forecast became more ominous, it became clear that she would have to come up with a Plan B. Fortunately, a friend who has a large, mostly covered deck was able to host the party.

Megan picked me up after work and we headed over to the party.

Monica greeted us at the door and asked us to choose a slip of paper without looking from a little container on this little table by the front door:

Megan’s said “Beauty” and mine said “Harmony”. On the deck, there were rocks painted by Monica, and we each chose one. Then we decorated them with Sharpies in keeping with our theme words. Monica is going to spray them with a plastic coating and put them in her rock garden:

You can see Megan’s rock on the left and mine is next to it, leaning against the painted tree slice.

Everything Monica does, she does in style:

She painted this slice of tree trunk with blackboard paint in the middle to make a tic tac toe board. The game pieces are stones painted with ladybugs and daisies, in honor of Monica’s dogs Lady Bug and Daisy. So cute!

Isn’t that a cool idea? She is so creative.

There were candles and little jars of wildflowers tied with lace everywhere, a fire pit, and even a guitarist singing softly. We had a great time. Sometimes Plan B be can be better than Plan A!

2 responses so far

Jun 25 2013

Wild, Wild Life

Published by under Cats,Country Life

Well, the rain has finally stopped, leaving 1.6 inches in the rain gauge and battered honeysuckle petals on the ground.

I woke to sun shining in the skylight – on some mornings, the sun seems way too sunny and cheerful when aimed directly at my face – and Audrey growling up a storm. I discovered Orange Cat sitting on my – I mean, Audrey’s – front porch. He took off as she pleaded with me to let her at him. I fed the cats and started coffee before opening the doors to give Orange Cat a head start. He may be twice her size, but little Audrey is the terror of neighborhood dogs and Orange Cat may not know what he’s getting into.

In other wildlife excitement, a hummingbird found its way into the house and couldn’t find its way out again. It was buzzing frantically against the highest window in the house, one I cannot reach even with a ladder. This entire house is too tall for me, including the one kitchen cabinet, having been built by a man who was well over six feet tall.

Fortunately, the hummingbird did the exact same thing that his buddy did last year, and flew over to the very skylight that woke me up this morning. I got a chair and a t-shirt, and, standing on the chair (and shooing an overly curious Clyde away), carefully put it over the buzzing bird. Then I took him out to the balcony, where he zoomed away to both of our reliefs. I even got a chance to admire his iridescent red and green plumage as he flew into the blue sky.

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Jun 25 2013

Rainy Morning

Published by under Cats,Weather,Work

As I write, it’s raining outside. And inside, too – I was temporarily blinded by cold rainwater dripping in my eye on the way to the coffee pot this morning. I can hear the soft plop of rain falling on the wood floor as I type.

Oddly, the kitties are outside. The boys will eventually come in with soaked, spiky fur and muddy paws, and Audrey will somehow be magically dry, slipping through the door with a noise that’s somewhere between a purr and a complaint. They will try the other doors and discover that the weather is equally bad through each of them, and then either sit and stare at the rain as if they can psych it out, or zone out. Megan and I think our pets do that when nothing is fun is happening – they turn off. Not really asleep, just kind of a dial tone.

The rain is very unusual for this time of year. We rarely get rain in the summer months. We hardly got any rain in January and February, the traditional rainy months, so maybe this is all part of climate change. The timing of the unseasonal and unreasonable rain does mean that I missed the Super Moon, a disappointment given my close relationship with the moon. I’m trying to convince myself that I couldn’t have seen it through the trees anyway.

At least we aren’t flooded, like those poor people in Calgary, and I won’t have to water the garden for a couple of days. I hate watering, unsurprising since I dislike anything dull and inconvenient. If someone could invent a hose that didn’t kink, they’d be my personal hero. Especially if it didn’t weigh about 5,000 pounds. My current hoses (one for the front, one for the back, and one on the balcony) are super heavy and not supposed to kink, but you know they do anyway, usually as far away from me as possible so I get to trek over, unkink it, and get sprayed by the end that’s suddenly working again. Until the next kink. I’m pretty sure my hoses’ kink is sadism.

On the bright (sunny?) side, it’s my Friday. We hired a new guy at the jobette who took over working on Saturdays, so my new schedule is Sunday through Tuesday, plus the first Wednesday of each month. We will probably close on Sundays during the winter, so I’ll go back to Monday through Wednesday and have weekends free. Whether it rains or not.

2 responses so far

Jun 18 2013

The Threads of Life

Published by under Special Occasions,Work

At the jobette, we feature a local artists each month. On the first Friday of the month, shops and art galleries stay open late, and in the summer, that’s when the farmers’ market is open downtown. So it’s pretty festive.

This month, our artists were a group of women who immigrated from Mexico. They live in a wine-making valley, and together they learned to read, speak English, and quilt. They call their group “Los Hilos de la Vida”, or “The Threads of Life”. Their quilts are remarkable.

Many of them show their immigration stories, and these can be joyful or painful. One artist told me that she carried her money in her hair to hide it from the coyotes who helped her across the border, and another woman told me that she was in labor during her border crossing and no-one believed her (both she and the baby are fine). This quilt shows a train journey, with the artist in a baggage car with her cats:

A woman after my own heart. There can’t be too many people who bring their cats on a journey like that!

This one would not be out of place in an art gallery in New York:

I’m not sure how she managed to transfer the wrappers from cigarettes and candy bars to the fabric, but it’s an amazing effect. She also has tiny wheels and other found objects. This part of the quilt represents the garbage piles in Mexico City – the city itself is in the background – where people live in huts. This is what she left behind to come to America.

I love it that these women came together to help and strengthen each other, to learn and grow together, and to tell their stories in such a beautiful and moving way.

2 responses so far

Jun 15 2013

Wrapping up the Week

Published by under Cats,Country Life,Work

I’m coming to you from the jobette, where things are more annoying than usual. I arrived to find that there is a car show blocking off the street, so I had to park elsewhere and then make my way through the maddening crowds to get to work. Not being able to park at work – usually, because some interloper has stolen one of the three spots allotted to us hard-working non-profit staff – always makes me irate. Maybe I need to learn to meditate or something so I can deal with parking banditos and people who drive below the speed limit.

The car show, for reasons best known to the motorheads in charge, is accompanied by blasting, bass-pounding music that reminds me of the bad old days in Oakland. I already have a headache and despite that, am contemplating an adult beverage when I get home.

Maybe I just need a vacation.

Last Saturday was Roscoe’s and Clyde’s third birthday. After my birthday Suzy Q, I came home and opened a can of tuna for the kitties to celebrate the boys’ birthday. Audrey jumped right in, but the boys sniffed at it, poked at it, and walked away in disgust. Now, that would be my reaction, too, but I never thought a cat would scorn tuna, especially birthday tuna.

Clyde sat hopefully next to the kitchen cabinet where The Treats are stored (Clyde lives for treats), and sure enough, he had trained me well enough to dispense treats to everyone. I put the rejected tuna away and Audrey ate the rest of it over the next few days. I have a year to think of a better birthday dinner for next year.

There seems to be a new cat in town. Last night, Audrey woke me up, growling in her “Get the hell out of here” way in the living room. I came downstairs and put on the outside light by the kitchen (I leave the outside light on by the garbage cans to deter bears and other undesirables. So far it’s worked, or Luna has kept them away). Anyway, Audrey and I both saw a light-colored cat slink into the trees in the direction of the haul road. It took her a little while to de-puff and de-grrr. She takes her territory seriously. I probably don’t have to tell her she’s in charge when I go away – she always is!

This morning, I saw the cat again. It’s a large orange cat with a striped tail, and once again he was heading to the haul road. Clyde was watching carefully from inside the house. I’m assuming it’s a male, since orange cats usually are. My sweet Sophie*:

was the purry exception to that rule.

I stopped by Megan’s place on my way home from work on Wednesday, and in the thirty seconds or so it took me to walk from her place to mine, the power went out. It was very windy, so that was undoubtedly the culprit, but it was surprising this time of year, and I was totally unprepared. It’s a different experience having the power out when it’s light and warm out, but I was still glad when the house started to hum again.

*She was Buddy’s constant companion, right until his last breath. She died of a heart attack on May 24, 2005. John said she looked very peaceful, as if she just went to sleep. She was the sweetest and shyest of our cats. Now only Jack, the adorably naughty Siamese, is left. John still has her and my mother’s cat Twice.

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Jun 12 2013

Birthday Wrapup

When I got home, it was clear the kitties missed me. Clyde came running up to me meowing, and climbed up my (always) left arm to bury his little head against my neck, purring*. Roscoe slunk into the house and let me pet him before stalking off, and Audrey sat on my lap and went to sleep, relieved of being in charge. All three cats slept on the bed that night.

It’s not only the cats who missed me. Luna came running up, wagging her tail and rolling around on the ground in welcome, and Megan told me that Schatzi patrols my house more than usual when I’m gone. Both Megan and Rob found Schatzi hanging out in my garden, which she doesn’t usually do when I’m here. She prances by several times a day, but she never stays. I think I have honorary pack privileges in her eyes, since I often try to get her to eat and/or take her medicine. It’s nice to know that there’s extra protection while I’m gone, and it’s surprising that Audrey didn’t chase Schazti away.

On Saturday, I had my slightly delayed birthday BBQ (or, as my brother called it, my Suzy Q). My sister spent hours making chicken tikka masala and grill bread, as well as the magic Lu salad. My brother made cherry crumble from scratch – not from their trees, but that day will be here in a couple of years. The peach trees already have teeny, fuzzy peach-ettes on them, and some of the apple trees have mini apples. They gave me a ceramic chef’s knife, which is supposed to be diamond hard and not need sharpening (hopefully I will be able to avoid Calamity Suzy episodes with it). The handle is a lovely, translucent turquoise. Apparently I have yet another present which Erica has. Megan and I are trying to plan a sleepover at Erica’s this month, though it’s been challenging with our crazy schedules.

Back at the jobette, my desk was covered with cards and presents, among them a Hello Kitty magnet set and glittery Hello Kitty socks. Megan took one look and said, “Do they know you, or what?” Nothing like feeling appreciated, is there?

*Also his signature move when I first saw the boys. He did that while Roscoe watched aloofly, such things being beneath his dignity even at two months of age. Sometimes I tell Clyde the story of how he convinced me to take them both home, and I swear he purrs louder.

4 responses so far

Jun 08 2013

Presently Past

Published by under San Francisco,Technology

As I mentioned earlier, I decided to stay at a different hotel this time, mostly due to the internet access issues at the usual place. As so often happens, I was wrong about everything.

My knowledge of San Francisco’s neighborhoods has clearly deteriorated since becoming a bumpkin. I thought Hotel B was in North Beach, which it might technically be, but it was much closer to the Wharf than what I think of as North Beach, where City Lights books, Vesuvio’s, and Molinari’s deli are, not to mention the Condor Club, the city’s oldest strip club. When I first moved to San Francisco, the Condor featured a neon sign of its famous topless dancer and early implants enthusiast Carol Doda, with her nipples flashing through the fog. I still miss that sign.

On my last day in the city, I headed out in search of bath salts so I could enjoy the bathtub in the hotel room. This proved more difficult than you’d think. I first went to Walgreen’s, which is in the old Tower Records building, but no luck. Then I headed toward Pier 39, where my brother and sister lived for so long. I discovered that Cost Plus World Market is still there, and the cash registers seem to be manned by the same ancient Asian guys who were there 20 years ago.

I scored heart-shaped, verbena-scented bath fizzes and a pomegranate face mask. I headed for Safeway on autopilot, passing what used to be a book store but is now a discount clothing place. Before I realized it, I was there, and picked up a few things including a bottle of wine to go with the bath fizzes and face mask. Back at the hotel, I cracked open the wine and had a relaxing bath with fizzes and mask.

The internet, however, was anything but relaxing. I called tech support every day, and every day there were problems. Even though they provided wired ethernet access, the internet still stopped working several times a day and most of the night. The fact that the tech support number is included on the same slip of paper with the user name and password should have given me a clue. It was pretty frustrating, and Hotel B actually cost more than Hotel A, so I think I’ll go back to the old place the next time I’m in town.

2 responses so far

Jun 07 2013

Après Anniversaire

Published by under San Francisco

Despite going to bed after midnight, I woke up the day after my birthday at a dispiriting 5:45 am. Sleeping in is not among my few talents.

I discovered to my horror that there was no coffee in the hotel room, necessitating the almost unspeakable ordeal of having to get dressed and face the outside world in a pre-caffeinated state.

I shuffled off to the nearest Starbucks, passing the Mason Street cable car turnaround. The brakeman waved and said hello. Tip to tourists*: there is no line at 6 am and you will probably have the cable car to yourself and an unobstructed view of the dawn breaking over the Bay as you ascend the hill.

At Starbucks, I was immediately peppered with questions by the friendly staff. I explained that I was unable to process these questions because I hadn’t had coffee.

Barista One: I stopped at a 24 hour Starbucks to get coffee. On my way to work…at Starbucks.

Barista Two: I go to the 7-11. I love their coffee!

You’d think the 7-11 confession would be heresy in that complicated chapel of caffeine, but everyone laughed. They helped me choose a medium light roast, and the guy behind me ordered quickly and fluently. I said, “You’ve done this before,” and he said, “Every day. Every day.”

Armed with much-needed caffeine, I dragged my remains out to my beloved Legion of Honor to see an exhibit called Impressionists on the Water.

As usual, photography was forbidden. Arriving at the exhibit, I literally gasped at the sight of a huge Monet painting of the sea screened on the wall behind a graceful wooden boat which had featured in one of Caillebotte’s paintings. I asked the guards if they would let me just take a picture of that, but they regretfully said no, so you will just have to imagine it.

The exhibit was arranged chronologically, and it was fascinating to see how the Impressionists took their inspiration from classic marine paintings and made it their own, as well as how Monet’s style became bolder and more innovative as time went on. Several of the paintings were from private collections, so it was special to see those.

I was intrigued to learn that Caillebotte, perhaps best known for Paris Street, Rainy Day was a dedicated boatsman and eventually became a boat designer. A couple of the wooden boats he designed and used were at the exhibit. Called “skiffs”, they were small, wooden boats with flat bottoms which were moved with oars. Apparently, they were quite dangerous and glamorous at the time, and they featured in many of the paintings.

Leaving the museum, I was asked to take a picture of two visiting teenage girls, who then asked how to get the Golden Gate Bridge. Seems I’m always a tour guide, no matter where I am!

*A more useful tourist tip is to get on the cable car at Van Ness and California, which is the end of that line. You can almost always get a seat, and you’ll pass by the Fairmont Hotel, which survived the 1906 quake, Chinatown, and have a stunning view of the Bay Bridge and the Ferry Building. Stop in for delightful restaurants and shops. /tour guide>

2 responses so far

Jun 06 2013

Birthday Baseball

Published by under Special Occasions,Technology,Work

My birthday dawned foggy, but the sun began to shine as I stepped out of my taxi in front of the Four Seasons. The doorman said, “Nice to see you, miss,” which he probably says to everyone but which made me feel special. I have loved doormen since the one at the Huntington Hotel rescued me from an early morning butt grab several years ago.

I was there to attend a seminar. The seminar itself was preceded by lunch, which was quite nice: spring greens with strawberries, marcona almonds, and balsamic vinaigrette; salmon and beef tenderloin for those who like such things, and a tray of fruit kabobs and cupcake pops, surely one of the greatest of modern inventions. I soon learned that it’s a little awkward to make polite, work-related conversation with total strangers while attempting to eat a salad in a semi-graceful manner.

The seminar itself was interesting and I learned a lot. After the seminar, we piled into a Mercedes mini van that drove us to the ballpark in plush style. The company hosting the seminar had reserved a luxury box for that evening’s game, which was the Toronto Blue Jays versus the Giants.

I highly recommend the luxury box experience. You get ushered in past the lines of peons and into an elevator. Once you reach the box floor, you can look down on the little people:

The suite had comfortable leather sofas and chairs, a buffet, and was literally draped with bags of Cracker Jacks and plastic-wrapped candy. There was beer and wine and big bowls of popcorn and peanuts. Here’s a blurry shot of it:

You can watch the game from inside or outside, where the chairs are cushioned and there’s a ledge for your plate and/or glass. So civilized!

Here’s the view from the box. Note the Canadian flag. You will be glad to hear that I sang BOTH anthems.

Getting the field ready for the game:

That’s my favorite Giant on the right, the wonderful and wonderfully named Buster Posey. I love my Giants, but I hoped the Jays would win. I’m a Gemini, after all. I was thrilled to see Tim Lincecum, “The Freak”, in real life. Even though he’s been in a slump lately, I have always liked him. His pitching style is so unusual and balletic that it was a real pleasure to watch him. I’m glad for his sake that he got a win. I miss his hair, though. The long hair suited The Freak in my opinion. Those crazy, misfit, World-Series winning Giants.

Mid-game maintenance:

The Jays lost to the Giants 2-1, but on the following day, they got revenge on their hosts by beating them 4-0.

It was so great to be back at the ballpark after so many years and just revel in the experience.

3 responses so far

Jun 03 2013

The Fly in the Ointment…the Monkey in the Wrench

Published by under Bullshit,Technology,Travel

The trip to the city – well, the preparations for the trip – were not exactly snagless.

I went to check the car fluids, and on propping the hood open on a stick in the usual way, discovered that the oil cap was missing. A look around Miss Scarlett’s interior revealed nothing. Since I only ever check the oil and fluids in the driveway, I must have dropped it there at some point. Maybe it blew away or the kitties played with it into oblivion in the way cats do. Who knows?

I called my brother, who was getting ready for work, and he told me to come over. He took the oil cap off his non-operational (for now) car and tried it on mine, and voila! It fitted. While I’m in the city I will get a replacement part. I hope.

Rescued by the rescuer, I went home and washed the dishes. In the process, I managed to drop and break the last of the hand-made Mexican glasses I bought many years ago from the artist who made it. Brooming and vacuuming ensued, and some grumpiness, too. I began to feel that this trip was not meant to be.

Arriving at the motel, I leaned over to pick up something from the back seat of the car and the contents of my bag spilled to the garage floor. I could find everything but my phone, a cause for panic. I called Megan, who said she’d call my phone and I’d see if I could hear it. I didn’t hear it, but I did see it flashing. It was caught in the door handle of the back seat. Even when I’m more than a hundred miles away, my sister still came to my rescue, just as my brother did earlier. What would I do without them?

I am staying at a different modest motel this time, ironically because the internet works so poorly at the old place, a real problem when your database is online only and your chief communication with your boss is by email. Ironically because it’s even worse here and I was on the phone for half an hour with tech support, who admitted it was an issue at their end and said they’d call me back when it was resolved, which hasn’t happened.

Happy birthday to me?

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Jun 03 2013

Birthday Eve

It’s my birthday eve and I am off to San Francisco to celebrate.

The city seems to be my celebration theme this year, since I also kicked off the new year by going there. This time, I’m attending a seminar on my actual birthday, and then the seminar hosts are grandly taking us all to see the Giants play the Toronto Blue Jays – from a luxury box. How’s that for a birthday party?

I’m hoping that the cats have used up their naughtiness quotas for the week, though this seems unlikely.

Yesterday Clyde went over to Megan’s house to cat burgle – or attempt to cat burgle – Harriet’s and Ramona’s food. The weather has been beautiful lately, so Megan’s doors, like mine, were open. Clyde took this as an invitation to check out what the neighbor cats were eating. Megan’s dogs, however, had a different opinion.

Small, stripy Schatzi, who is the most polite dog ever to all cats, has been chased away from my house by the small, stripy Audrey, who has done the same thing with the much bigger Luna. But let one of my cats turn up on Schatzi’s home turf, and it’s a different story. Megan was drinking coffee on the couch and said it was all over before she realized it was happening.

There was a scuffle in the kitchen, a water bowl went flying, and Star joined Schatzi in the feline eviction with such enthusiasm that they almost knocked Rob over in the driveway. Megan said it was like “Scuffle! Sploosh! %@#@$%^#%$^!” and then all that was left was the dust in the air (and the water on the kitchen floor).

Not to be outdone, Roscoe decided that my last night at home for most of the week and the one right before a four hour drive the next day was the perfect time for him to stay out all night. I saw him slink under the house, so I was pretty sure he was nearby, and tried to vanquish thoughts of how the beautiful June disappeared on my birthday three years ago.

Needless to say, sleep was sporadic, and I kept getting up and calling him. All the outside lights were on to try and keep the marauding monsters at bay, but you know that I am a Worrier. At last, around 4:00 am, Roscoe came calmly out of the darkness and into the house, where he had a snack and then curled up next to me in bed, so I couldn’t be mad at him.

Let’s hope they behave better for Megan!

2 responses so far

Jun 01 2013


Published by under Dogs,Family,Friends

Yesterday, Megan and I headed to the Big Town to run a few errands before meeting Monica for a drink at what is rapidly becoming our usual place, the Whale Watch Bar at Little River Inn.

Monica and Joe had to put their dog Drew to sleep this week, so Megan thought that buying Monica a drink was the least we could do. I think the venerability of the aging Schatzi makes Megan really empathize with Monica’s situation. Drew was 16 years old and had cancer, so he had a good, long life with a family who loved him until his last breath, but it’s still hard to say farewell to a beloved family member. As John observed when my father died, you always want one more day.

As we were just about to pull out of the parking lot at the garden center, someone honked at us, a rare occasion here on the Coast. It turned out to be Lu! She came with us to the next nursery – Megan was in search of tomato and bell pepper starts – and then took off on her own errands while we finished up and then met Lu back at her place. Star was thrilled to see her BFF Harlow, and they dashed off to play together while Megan and I admired the garden.

Lu has a whole wall of fuchsias:

I have to ask her how she did it. I suspect the answer is that she can plant directly into the soil instead of having to container plant the way I do. I love fuchsias, but mine are looking a little leggy despite fertilizer (I probably should have cut them back in the winter. My father always used to say you have to prune ruthlessly). She also gave me a cutting from her hedge of rose geranium, which smells absolutely heavenly.

Lu came with us to the Inn, where Monica joined us, carrying a nice article about Daisy Davis in the local paper. She was doing about as well as anyone can do in that situation, and I think it did her good to be with her friends. Here is the view from our table:

Lu, Monica, and I all have birthdays in June, and Monica is having a party on the beach a couple of days after hers, so I’m looking forward to that later this month.

As for today, it kicked (or splashed) off with aqua zumba with Megan, followed by work, and tonight a barbecue at our brother’s place with our neighbor who has been having a tough time lately. We’re hoping to cheer her up and let her know we are here for her, whatever she needs. Sometimes that’s all you can do.

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