This has happened to me quite frequently. It always makes me feel bad. John and I walk into a restaurant or a hotel or somewhere that you get waited on. They ask how they can help him and then they ask me, “Are you checking in?’ or “Table for how many?” “No, we’re together,” I say. Of course, I immediately feel like they are thinking, how can she be with him? John says I am just being paranoid and they are merely covering their bases by not ignoring the lone woman standing there. Maybe I am just being insecure but I’m not sure.


I once heard George Carlin talking about hats. To paraphrase what he said – Isn’t it interesting that when you put on a hat you are, at first, really aware that it’s on your head and then after awhile you don’t even realize you have it on. But when you take it off, it still feels like you are wearing it. It’s the same with smells. Everytime you first get into a relatively new car, it has that “new car” smell. Then after riding in it for a while you don’t smell it. But the next time you get in, there it is again! It’s a phenomenon called habituation.

habituate – To accustom by frequent repetition or prolonged exposure. (

The Producers

Here’s another non-restaurant but food-related entry. When we are away from California, I often find the produce to be overpriced and of questionable quality. Too often it is wrapped in plastic, pre-selected for you. Seriously, I’d much rather rummage through a bin and find the best stuff for myself. Here in southwest Utah, the produce is often very sorry looking. You can drive to Utah from California in less than a day. How could the produce have gone so down hill in less than 24 hours? Perhaps it’s because fresh produce isn’t used as much here? One time we picked out an eggplant and at the checkout the woman said,”Is that an eggplant? I’ve been working here for 9 months and no one has ever bought one of those before!” But the point is we have found a great place for produce. It’s called Eisenhauer’s Country Produce and is located in Ivins, Utah. Their motto is,”Affordability for the Family!” Last Friday, we bought asparagus for $.99/lb. and onions were 3 lbs. for $1. There was great looking lettuces, $.79 avocados, red peppers for less than $1 each. We are so pleased to have found this gem.



There was recent economic news reporting that new home sales are booming. I wondered why that was. I know the economy has improved somewhat but it still seemed an unusually high number. Do you think it is because so many baby boomers are getting ready to retire and they are buying retirement and second homes? I’ve spent part of this week viewing the homes in the St. George Parade of Homes. St. George, Utah is a hot spot for the “active retiree.” There’s lots of hiking and outdoor sports plus gorgeous scenery. Lots of the houses on the Parade were in the $1 million+ range. My thought is this, who are the houses going to be resold to? If you have millions to spend on a retirement home, wouldn’t you want to have one custom built for you? There’s lots of land out here and no one seems to be putting the brakes on development.

Manifest Destiny

Happy Birthday, Buffalo Bill. Born February 26, 1846, he’d be 159 years old today. He has been an iconic figure of the expansion west in the United States. Politicians and historians needed a rationalization for the genocide of native Americans and the ecocide of the wildlife in which he took part. They called it Manifest Destiny.

Manifest Destiny – The 19th-century doctrine that the United States had the right and duty to expand throughout the North American continent.

Pick Up Sticks

The other day we had lunch at the Mongolian Barbecue in St. George, Utah. We don’t dine out much here due to the lack of quality restaurants but we like the Mongolian Barbecue because you can see that you are getting fresh ingredients, you choose the flavorings you want and watch the cooks cook your food. It’s kind of personal quality control. I got the smallest bowl and filled it with vegetables only and no noodles since I knew that they would be serving rice. John got the middle size bowl (this is starting to sound like Goldilocks). So the problem here is, I would get finished way faster than he would and then wish I had gotten the middle size bowl too. Solution? Chopsticks. If you want to slow down and you haven’t grown up eating with chopsticks, they are a great way to make you pause between bites.



Noah, call the lifeboats! Here in the southwestern part of Utah I think we have just surpassed the most rainfall ever. Because all the activities we were planning on doing have been washed out, we decided to go and become members of the local library, the Santa Clara branch of the Washington County (Utah) Library System. After having to prove we were not usurpers trying to take out books illegally, we were given our library cards, a brochure about the library and allowed to browse the shelves. The library goes for the minimalist look. No shelf is more than one third full and the bottom two shelves have nothing on them at all. Although there are several hefty shelves of Mormon doctrine, there is only one slim volume on the Catholic shelf called Catholic Thought. Apparently, Catholics don’t think too much in Utah.

It was, however, the brochure that really caught our attention. Here is an actual quote from it. “Because of the high demand for certain non-fiction books, only three (3) books on any one subject may be checked out at a time (i.e., flower arranging, abortion, holidays, etc.)” So, young Utahan, don’t be having an unintended pregnancy during the Christmas season, especially if you were planning on making the wreaths and centerpieces yourself.


I found a new website the “worthless word of the day.” Of course, in my book there are no worthless words. Each is interesting in some way and a possible crossword puzzle clue or answer. Given the recent weather here in the West, I thought this was an apt word for the day.

pluviose – marked by or regularly receiving heavy rainfall. As in, “Since we have arrived in Utah, we have experienced a pluviose period.”

But the sun is shining today and all is good.

Louka, Danville, CA

Louka is a restaurant which is doing the new trendy thing, small plates. We went there with another couple and shared small plates. Now I have a problem with this concept. First of all, I don’t like to share food. Secondly, unless everybody likes all the same things, you or someone else at the table are stuck with a dish that you don’t eat or at least would never have ordered. Lastly, the amount of food on a small plate is about one third the amount you would get on a normal plate for half (or more ) of the price. The service at Louka was abysmal. It took a long time for our first small plate to arrive. There was enough for everyone to have one small bite and then we waited another long time for the next small plate. Thirty seconds of eating and ten minutes or so of waiting was the pace of the evening. We had orders of root vegetable fries, pork ribs, seared skate, roasted lamb, cheese-potato-yam gratine and braised veal. All the dishes were well-cooked and tasty. We complimented the owner on the quality of the food but raised questions concerning the service. He admitted that he was having trouble finding competent waitstaff.

Mary’s grade – C-
John’s grade – C-



Last week, on our way to Utah, we stopped at the Carl’s Jr. in Mojave, CA for lunch. Given the nature of part of this blog, we of course chose wisely and dietetically. Well, at least we didn’t have french fries ( I understand now that Chirac and Bush are pals again, they are no longer freedom fries.) Anyway, John did the ordering and, as the girl behind the counter rang it up, she automatically gave him the senior discount. This was not a discount he had asked for since he was not even aware that Carl’s Jr. had a senior discount. A friend of mine, Catherine, once told me she had been getting the senior discount at the movies since she was around 40 just by asking for it. She claimed that the teenagers at the ticket booth think everyone over 30 looks old. But the fact that John, whom I have always thought looks younger than he actually is, got the senior discount without asking for it, is quite sobering.