We were overdue for a family dinner, so on a sunny Saturday afternoon, we assembled in Megan’s garden, where things were looking lovely and welcoming:

Rob is nearly finished staining the deck and installing a fancy handrail, so I’ll share photos with you when it’s done. It’s darker than they expected, but that just gives it a luxe, mahogany look. Next up before the rains start is to lay down some pea gravel to go between the deck and the garden gate, to cut down on the summer’s dust and the winter’s mud.

Millie has no problem getting in and out of the house using the deck, and it’s definitely a huge improvement over the old metal stairs.

Megan had acquired a box of pre-made watermelon-tinis and a bottle of Midori melon liqueur on the way home from her night shift. What with our opposite schedules, we both find ourselves buying booze in the early morning hours, me on my way to work and Megan on her way home. There does seem to be something semi-disgraceful about buying liquor at 6:30 am.

It didn’t seem all disgraceful at 6:30 pm, however, and we added some Midori to the previously pink ‘tinis, turning them into a strange sort of green. They were delicious no matter what they looked like, and it was nice to sit in the garden and sip our drinks and chatted.

Millie was still nervous, but not shaking. She stuck pretty close to Megan – like Star, she seems to be a mama’s girl – but, as I pointed out to Megan, Millie could easily have hidden, but she chose to stay with the people. She had open crates inside and out, and could have stayed on the bed or the sofa, which are the safe spots for her. She even sort of napped a bit, so I think she is adjusting. It was nice to have her there, and Stella is definitely happy to have another dog around the place.

Lately, I have been watching “The Streets of San Francisco”, and enjoying it very much. It’s really fun to see the City, which is basically the third co-star of the show, along with Karl Malden and Michael Douglas (four, if you count Michael Douglas’ hair). I told Rio that I saw her stepfather, Carl Betz, in an episode just the other day, and he was great in it. She said that it was one of his favorite roles and that he was really proud of his performance. She added that she had met Karl Malden and that he was a really nice guy, or as she put it, “a mensch and a half”. I was extra glad that I had sent him that fan letter years ago.

Megan made chicken tacos using her trusty Insta Pot for the filling, and I think it also used some salsa verde from the garden. With it, we had salsa made from mostly garden ingredients, and home-grown black beans. It was an easy and festive dinner.

As the sun left the stage to make way for its co-star, the moon, the solar lights on the shade palace winked into view:

These were left over from Megan and Rob’s 30th anniversary celebration this year, and they are a lovely addition to the garden. It was a delightful end to a delightful evening.

A YEAR AGO: Scary, scarily near-by fires.

FIVE YEARS AGO: Farewell to our dear Ben.

TEN YEARS AGO: Planting the twin palms. I cried when I had to leave them behind when I moved.

FIFTEEN YEARS AGO: A fun visit with Dad in London, circa 1991.


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