One good thing about seemingly endless summer – not, I hasten to add, the upcoming forecast* – and keep in mind, these are coastal temperatures, so add 15 degrees for my house:

– is that it does make it possible to sit outside, even with only two months of the year left and the current month being well past the autumn solstice. Trees are not bursting into color here, though the vines that escaped the fires are, and apples are ripe in the family orchard. That woodsmoke smell is more likely to be wildfires than keeping the home fires burning. We aren’t embracing the woolen wear and pumpkin spice that much of the country is. I personally am dreading yet another heat wave, with ominous threats of record-breaking heat. “Sweater weather” has a whole different meaning here.

But the unseasonable temperatures do mean that I could join my friend for a drink at her lovely little house. I hadn’t been there since she first moved in, so we were overdue for a visit. It is a charming home, probably built in the 1920s, with a sort of Craftsman cottage feel. It is likely all redwood, and old redwood at that, though much of it is painted, making everything lighter and brighter. The dining room still has the redwood paneling and built ins. There is an actual mud room, something that is common back east (like window screens and insulation), but not so common here in California. It makes sense to take off our muddy boots in the winter, especially when, as at my friend’s house, the washer and dryer are right there.

No boots or mud were to be seen that day. My friend M is an excellent hostess, bringing a tray of nibbles along with a bottle of chilled rosé out to her porch, where we spent a delightful couple of hours together. She lives in the Big Town, so there was the novelty of sidewalks, people walking down the street, and even street lights. Imagine!

On the way home. I stopped in at Luna Trattoria, where I was greeted by a very friendly young cat:

He was soft and even allowed me to pick him up after twining himself around my legs. He clearly lives nearby, since he looks quite healthy and well cared for.

I got some of their wonderful penne alla vodka to take home. I have tried unsuccessfully to reproduce it at home. I think part of this is due to the high quality, chunky pancetta and some of it because they make their own pasta. Sometimes it’s good to just stand back and let the experts take over.

All in all, it was a lovely evening, and one I hope to repeat soon.

*There seems to be as little accountability as a weather prognosticator as there is in the highest office in the land. When I was a kid, I thought the weather reporters ordered the weather, like food off a menu. “I’ll have some partly sunny skies with a side of early morning fog”. Maybe I was right about that, after all. And while I note that they are often incorrect when calling for rain, they are never, ever wrong when calling for excessive heat. Why is that?

A YEAR AGO: Adventures at the gas station. I’m sorry to say that the Bear is still around and making his/her presence known in a most unsanitary fashion.

FIVE YEARS AGO: Spending an evening in town.

TEN YEARS AGO: The elusive Audrey.

FIFTEEN YEARS AGO: More songs about buildings and boobs.

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