Deerly Beloved

Driving down the Ridge one morning this week, I saw a young deer dash across the road. It looked like the car may have hit the deer. I stopped, thinking of the “Never Just One” theory, and although another deer didn’t appear, a dog did. He went to investigate in the bushes where the deer was last seen. I joined him, and could find no sign of the deer, so the car must just have clipped the little guy. At least he wasn’t too injured to run away. The driver, who had parked his car on the road too, was very relieved to hear that the deer was in running condition. It was funny, though, because he himself looked more like the kind of guy who would hunt a deer rather than worry about one, wearing a trucker’s hat and plaid shirt.

We both got back in our cars and went on our deerless ways, but I couldn’t help thinking about the deer and how afraid I am of hitting one, or a cyclist, and how much likelier this scenario would be as the mornings and evenings got darker earlier. With the long hours I’m working these days, I’m kind of dreading the darkness driving as fall and winter approach.

A YEAR AGO: Apparently I am never too injured to shop. Or have a spa day.

Dentists, Dogs, and James Dean

I had my filling replaced last week. It was about as unpleasant as you’d expect, though the old silver (really more grey or black looking) filling has been replaced by an almost invisible tooth colored one. With all the strides in medical and dental technology, you’d think they would have found a way to decrease or do away with the high pitched noises and make-up destroying water sprays, but apparently not. I still kind of wish they could just knock you out, like they do for dogs undergoing any kind of dental procedure*. Ignorance (or least unconsciousness) can be bliss.

At least the freezing wore off in time for me to join some friends for a glass or two of local wine at a soiree at a historic inn, which just happens to be on my way home. Of course, it also happened to be the only day this week that I wasn’t marooned behind several slow-moving cars, so I was almost regretful as I turned off the beautifully empty highway.

The regret wore off as I was warmly greeted by my friends, who were standing near the Audubon-certified golf course. It’s nice to know that something as man-made and man-centric as a golf course can still be respectful of the wildlife in the area. And there can’t be too many ocean-view golf courses. The Inn itself hosted James Dean when he was here filming “East of Eden” and horrifying the current inn owner’s grandfather with his shocking language, t-shirts, and putting his booted feet on the bar.

*We also keep people alive way longer and in more horrible circumstances than we do our pets. Not sure exactly what to make of this.

A YEAR AGO: A door to door tree delivery. Yes, you read that right. A tree.

Time of the Season

The year has tipped over into dark mornings already. The boys wait impatiently for 6:15 or even 6:30 am, whenever their Staff considers it light enough to open the doors – Miss Audrey, of course, is exempt from any and every rule – and scamper off into the early morning, looking for trouble to get into.

And the year has tipped over from constant weeding and watering in the garden on the family property to preserving and canning. I wonder if every year my sibs think they have overdone the planting once they start with the weeding and the canning. Even if they do, it never seems to stop them.

Last weekend, they made relish from the tons of cucumbers, as well as onions and garlic they grew. And they made jam from the relentlessly productive strawberries. They just keep putting out more and more fruit. I stopped by on my way home after work that day to find my hard-working sibs enjoying adult beverages after a long, hot day of canning.

Speaking of finding: Rob had found a canopy at the dump mall, which needed some repairs but was, as Jacques Pepin would say, perfectly fine. It kept the sun off as they labored over the outdoor propane burners and pressure cooker. I love it that Rob is always finding things he can fix at the mall.

It was nice to sit under the canopy with my family and talk about the present (canning), the past (summers in Maine), and the future (Jonathan’s upcoming 50th birthday). I reminded myself that I should take more time to be with them, though it’s hard when you work six days a week. Still, I’m always glad when I do it.

Finally arriving home, I discovered a pot of home-made blackberry jam on my kitchen table:


Citlali had stopped by and left it as thanks for borrowing milk and eggs over the past week or so. I feel so lucky to have such great neighbors and friends. And it’s fun to never know what you might find when you come home. Maybe a Bowflex! Maybe some jam! Maybe a bunny! Who knows?

A YEAR AGO: Ah, the vagaries of country interwebs.

Without You

I may not always love you
But long as there are stars above you
You never need to doubt it
I’ll make you so sure about it
God only knows what I’d be without you
If you should ever leave me
Though life would still go on believe me
The world could show nothing to me
So what good would living do me
God only knows what I’d be without you

A YEAR AGO: Thirteen years since we lost Dad and our lives changed forever.

Hole in the Head

I started the week with losing a piece of a filling. One minute, I’m eating an apple at my desk, and the next, there’s a little black thing in my hand and what feels like a giant hole in my tooth.

Uh oh.

I immediately headed over to the dental department, which is conveniently located near my office, thinking that if you have to lose a filling, doing it just feet away from dentists is an excellent choice. Sadly for me (though happily for the clinic), they were booked solid the rest of the week.

So I called my regular dentist, and he was able to fit me in the next day. Fortunately, the hole in my head didn’t hurt, though visions of the million dollar crown that ensued the last time I lost a filling danced in my perforated head. I thought: it can’t be as bad as losing an entire filling and needing a crown right before A) a holiday weekend; and 2) having to fly across the country to testify in front of the Grand Jury. Can it?

It wasn’t. The dentist put in a temporary filling and scheduled me in for a real one later this month. I was delighted to learn that it was only $50 for this session and it will be a mere $34 for the next one, which I think we can all agree is a vast improvement over the $950 the crown cost. I hope from now on that the only crowns I have to deal with are in tiara form, and on my head, not in it. Princess Suzy has such a (diamond) ring to it, doesn’t it?

A YEAR AGO: Home improvements, Rob style.

Fairy Godmother

I came home from a long day at work (is there any other kind?) to find that the Bowflex fairy had stopped by my house:


The BF had thoughtfully adorned the machine with a sparkly purple bow, so you know who it was: Erica, who knows my love of all things sparkly. I was delighted by its arrival and sorry that I had missed the Dynamic Duo and their fabulousness. They were unable to attend Kalli’s annual birthday party in July, so it’s been far too long since I have seen them. I must remedy this soon. Look how gorgeous they are:


Erica also provided a manual, so Megan and I are going to help each other figure it out. We can Bowflex on Sundays, which will change things up from my working week routine of using the treadmill while watching “Bewitched” with Mark’s dog Lupe:


Everyone needs a workout buddy.

A YEAR AGO: Back home from a trip to the City.


I’m not sure if the overcast skies over the last few days are because of fog or the wildfires raging in the next county:


The last I heard, there were 50,000 acres burning. Highways, including the one I took to Reno a couple of years ago, are closed, and thousands have been evacuated. It reminded me of the terrible wildfires my brother fought so bravely and so long a few years back, when the smoke veiled the Bay Area hundreds of miles away.

Megan is working as a medic at the Reggae on the River festival up in Piercy with our dear friends Lu and Rik, and there are wildfires there as well. She texted me that there had been hundreds of dry lightning strikes, which is what caused the massive fires here years ago. The drought has made every Californian’s dread of fire that much worse, and our wonderful Governor, Jerry Brown, has had to declare a state of emergency in the Golden State.

I hope the firefighters stay safe and that containment comes soon.

A YEAR AGO: A trip to Oakland.