September 25, 2011 Just a typical day in Utah

Clark and Lewis have been on their best behavior. They haven’t had a pillow fight or jumped on the beds. They haven’t gone into the kitchen and eaten up all the popcorn or drunk all the soda. They haven’t even been particularly noisy. Could it be that they want to impress Beeba and Zayde so they can go on the trip to Italy?

“Gosh, Clark,” said Lewis, “I am so bored! We need to do something fun.”

“Oh, Lewis, you are such a complainer,” remarked Clark. “Let’s not forget that Beeba hurt her back playing tennis and can’t do too much.”

“At least she was playing!” grumbled Lewis.

“C’mon, let’s go lean against Beeba’s heating pad. It will make you all warm and you’ll feel just like you did when you were a little duckling in your nest,” suggested Clark.

“Ooh, this is nice,” quacked Lewis.

Clark and Lewis warm up against Beeba's heating pad

“Well, pretending we were ducklings was much better than trying to watch the dumb old TV,” said Lewis. “I can’t believe we have to go at least four or five days with no TV.”

“Hopefully the Direct TV guys will send out the replacement DVR right away and we’ll be back to watching Kermit,” said Clark. “He’s my favorite! I love it when he sings ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green.'”

“Of course you do,” sniffed Lewis.

Clark and Lewis are hoping the TV will come back to life

“Did you see the new toys that Beeba and Zayde bought for Nathan and Sam?” asked Clark. “There are puzzles and Play-Doh and even a fire truck.”

“I heard Beeba say that Nathan and Sam might come for a visit after Thanksgiving,” said Lewis. “We could come too. It would be so much fun.”

Clark and Lewis admire new toys for Nathan and Sam

“Hey, you guys!” shouted Beeba. “Can you give me a hand shucking the corn?”

“Sure, Beeba,” said Clark and Lewis.

“You know, Lewis,” said Clark as they sat down to their task, “Sometimes there are bugs in corn. We might get lucky!”

Clark and Lewis are hoping for a bug treat

“Let’s go outside and see if Zayde needs any help with washing the windows,” said Lewis. “Maybe there will be some ducks in the pond.”

“Or frogs!!” exclaimed Clark.

So they sat for a while and watched Zayde wash the windows. They kept one eye on the pond in case a friend might come by.

Clark and Lewis watch Zayde wash windows

“I don’t mind getting wet,” said Lewis. “I am going to give Zayde a hand.”

“Oh, Lewis,” moaned Clark, “you always have to get into the act.”

Lewis helps Zayde with the window washing

Do you think that Clark and Lewis will have a more exciting day tomorrow?

September 23, 2011 The Adventures of Clark and Lewis: The Crisis (Clark and Lewis Argue!)

[For those who are unfamiliar with the Adventures of Clark and Lewis, Clark is a frog and Lewis is a duck. These stories were written for Nathan and Sam, Mary and John’s grandchildren. They accompanied Beeba (Mary) and Zayde (John) across the United States this past summer. They are upset that that Beeba and Zayde have decided on a new traveling companion.)]

Well! Well, I thought it was all settled. Clark and Lewis were staying home while we took Giovanni, the pink elephant, with us to Italy. But, oh no, apparently it was far from settled. After a long day in the car traveling to St.George, we are worn out with their arguments.

“Oh, so you are okay with Giovanni just taking over?” said Lewis indignantly.

“Shh-shh, Zayde’s driving. You don’t want to upset him!” said Clark urgently.

“Oh, duck feathers,” said Lewis. “He’s going to have to understand that we are unhappy. UNHAPPY! Do you get it, Clark?!” screamed Lewis.

Well, obviously Lewis was very upset over Beeba and Zayde’s decision to take Giovanni, the pink elephant, to Italy and leave Clark and Lewis at home.

“What’s he got that we do not?” asked Lewis. “An Italian name, Giovanni Elefante? Seriously, Clark, we could be Carlo Rana and Luigi Anatra. We are as Italian as that elephant! Probably more so! Who ever heard of an elephant coming from Italy? They have zero elephants and lots of frogs and ducks!”

“But they eat frogs and ducks,” said Clark.

So after bothering Beeba and Zayde all day long on the trip to St. George, Clark and Lewis came to them with an ultimatum.

“Beeba,” said Lewis, ” if we can get our passports in time, please let us accompany you to Italy next month. My mother, Maria Anatra, would be so happy if we could go.”

“Si,” said Clark, “and my father, Signor Rana, would be hopping for joy! Just call us Carlo and Luigi in your stories.”

“Well,” Beeba said, ” You’ve given us a lot to think about. We will let you know when we’ve decided.”

Who knows what Beeba and Zayde will decide?

Luigi and Carlo in an earnest discussion

September 18, 2011 Family birthdays

Today we celebrate the birthdays of John and Ryan. Since many of our family events usually include John slaving over a hot grill, me cleaning house and doing dishes and both of us winding up exhausted, I decide that a good way to celebrate will be to go out to Main Street Brewery for lunch. I bring along a birthday cake. I rarely make desserts so my efforts are not too exciting – banana cake with cream cheese icing.

Happy Birthday cake


Nathan and Sam bring along Clark and Lewis and they all enjoy the really good Main Street Brewery French fries.

Ryan with sleepy Sam (and Lewis)


Nathan offering Clark a sip of his drink


Ryan and John open their cards. Nathan and Zayde have a great time discussing trucks and when it will be time for cake.

Nathan watches as Zayde opens his card. He has written both his name and Zayde's name in it.


Sarah and Jonathan at the restaurant


We have a really nice time. Unfortunately Sam is very tired and Ryan opts to take the kids home right after lunch. I feel bad about this as I have promised Nathan that we will play his version of tennis after lunch. I hope that he is not feeling disappointed. Next time for sure. Jon stays at the house until he needs to leave for a gig in San Francisco. Sarah stays for quite a long time. We find her American girls, their furniture and clothes and she takes them with her. We hope to also find Lincoln Logs which we have saved for when Nathan and Sam are old enough to build with them but they seem to have vanished into thin air.

Happy Birthday, John and Ryan!

September 10, 2011 Ali’s wedding

Eileen and Jim arrive on Thursday from Prescott to stay over before making their way up to Healdsburg for Ali’s wedding. Due to the impending nuptial and partying this weekend, we are somewhat more circumspect in our eating and drinking. Operative word, somewhat. After Eileen and Jim depart on Friday we head to Sonoma Wine Country, have a little vegetarian lunch and do some tasting at Chateau St. Jean. Phillipe is on hand to host the proceedings and we have many tastes of many good things.

Later, after checking in to the Holiday Inn Express in Windsor (2 stars at most), we leave for a party at a house that Eileen and Jim have rented. All Jim’s siblings are there, also Eileen’s mom, the groom’s mom, friends of Ali and Sara and the bride and groom-to-be. We have a great time and find all the relatives and friends easy to talk to.

On Saturday we go to the wedding. It is being held on a farm outside of Healdsburg. This is the first wedding to be held there. The grounds and we are all spiffed up.

The barn. There is much exuberant dancing here later.


John and I spiffed up


Eileen, Jim and Sara accompany Ali to their “altar” which is a ring of sunflowers. Ali’s to-be, Van, walks across a field to meet her. They have a lovely, personal ceremony.

Jim, Sara, Eileen and Ali


Ali and Van exchanging vows


The wedding kiss


After the ceremony there is a fabulous dinner made with local produce and pork. Jim sings a couple of songs which are greatly appreciated. Then dancing and more dancing. What a great day!

One of the guests of honor

September 3, 2011 The Wrap-Up

Because I’ve been a bit lazy since we got home, I am posting the last day of our trip (see post of August 30) and the wrap up today on Facebook.

We get home on the 31st after 7 weeks on the road. Oh, it is so nice to have space again! And sleep in our own bed! And have TiVo! And of course we are looking forward to seeing Sarah (who is here right now baking cookies), Ryan, Jon, Nathan and Sam (whom we are seeing tomorrow.)

Sarah, cookies and Clark and Lewis

People have asked us what did we like best. We usually answer that Kansas City was really great and that we enjoyed the Newseum in Washington a lot. Some of the best things were seeing my sister, Peggy, and my two best friends, Sophie and Eileen. Having dinner with our nephew and his wife was also special. But the best, best thing of all was having seven concentrated weeks of being with my very best friend and “enormous information universe,” John.

Finally, what of our little traveling buddies, Clark and Lewis? Well, they are happy to be home too. They enjoyed meeting the P-town folks at the Concert in the Park last night. And just relaxing at home. I am sure, though, that they’ll be itching to go somewhere before too long.

Clark and Lewis enjoy popcorn at Friday night at the Park

Ah, there's nothing like a cup of tea and a puzzle in the morning

August 30, 2011 2nd Day Prescott

The second day in Prescott we go to the Smoki Museum (pronounced smoke eye.) This is a weird place. In the early 1900’s in order to make money for the Prescott rodeo, a bunch of white guys performed a Hopi Snake Dance in full regalia. It was not done in a respectful manner. The group morphed into this Smoki Club with secret signs and chiefs and the whole deal. Even Barry Goldwater was a member. This continued until the 70’s when, duh, people realized how racist it was and its popularity waned.

The museum has a bunch of Native American artifacts and Smoki memorabilia. The earnest docents (who totally would like to have been chieftesses) explain the history. The whole thing is pretty bizarre.

Clark and Lewis at the Smoki Museum

Then we return to Eileen and Jim’s for an evening of revelry. John makes margaritas and Eileen makes fish tacos. Later Wouter and Paul, friends of their daughter, arrive from Frankfurt. More fun ensues.

Eileen and John on the porch swing

Clark and Lewis sample the tequila too often

Many thanks to Eileen and Jim for a great visit!

August 31, 2011 The Adventures of Clark and Lewis – Home

Beeba, Zayde, Clark and Lewis had a great time in Prescott, AZ. But it was time to go home.

“Lewis, I will be so happy to be home again,” said Clark.

“You and me, both,” agreed Lewis.

“What are you looking forward to?” asked Clark.

“Well, I heard Beeba say to Zayde that we are going to the Concert at the Park when we get home,” replied Lewis.

Oh, I am so excited,” said Clark. “We will be having popcorn!”

And so after a long day’s drive, they all reached Beeba and Zayde’s house. There was lots of unpacking and laundry to do and a great deal of mail to be picked up. On Friday they all went to the park.

“Yum, I love popcorn,” said Lewis.

“I think, though,” said Clark, “that I will enjoy quiet mornings when we can sit and have a cup of tea and work on a puzzle.”


Clark and Lewis enjoy a puzzle

“The best thing, though, will be seeing Nathan and Sam again,” said Lewis. “I want to hear about Nathan’s first day of kindergarten and what Sam is doing at Pili’s.”

“Oh, I agree,” said Clark. “ I think we are going there on Sunday. We have lots of presents to give them.”

“Adventuring is fun,” said Lewis. “I hope we will have lots of stories to send to Nathan and Sam.”

“Oh, I am sure we will,” replied Clark.