In case you have been wondering (Eileen!) what I have been doing during our quarantine which is now entering its 14th week, the answer is not much but not nothing. As a matter of fact I have written 29 blog posts but they are at the beginning of my blog not at the end. I am in the process of matching pictures (actual photographs) with my written commentary (as in a travel journal) and making entries. The blogs start in 1994 and are about our travels. It takes a lot of time and I only have completed two and have one from 1999 in the works. When I run out of written commentary I will just look at the rest of pictures from travels and events and with John, who has a remarkable memory, we will try to match memories to the pictures.
Some of the photographs are very slow to show up so you have to tap the blank square to see the pictures or be very patient.
Sarah’s poppies which were just buds in an earlier picture bloomed riotously in April. Sad news, though, gophers have attacked her garden and many of the plants she shepherded from seeds have been killed.
We have been cooking a lot! And sticking to our diet. We have both lost over 40 lbs. which is a remarkable achievement if I do say so myself. We have been eating a lot of vegetarian and vegan dinners. Here are a few.
Lastly here is a picture of me minus 43 lbs. My face, neck, arms, and legs have been the major recipients of the weight loss. I am thinking about maybe another 10 lbs. but it is slow going these days.
Finally we celebrated the graduation of Sam to middle school and Alex to high school in June. We sat outside at Jon’s house keeping our social distancing and had coffee and tea. Sarah made the graduates some of her renowned macaroons and we gave them books and gift certificates. It was really pleasant to spend time together after so long apart. We followed that up by playing tennis with Jon this weekend and then had lunch outdoors. We are still being very careful.
Oh, and I must not forget the masks I have made – two for John and five for me with more in the offing. I am a big proponent of wearing masks so if you are not wearing one when you are out, stop being a selfish twit and protect your neighbors from your germs!!! And do not forget to wash them between wearings.
Since the lockdown due to the coronavirus continues, we are having a small Seder—just the three of our household members. It is sad not to have the whole family here but we managed to have a good time anyway.
Unfortunately the videos I took could not be put in my blog. (Or I do not know how to do it.)
The coronavirus and its disease, COVID-19, are making their way across the US. Thanks to a totally incompetent White House which used magical thinking in hoping it would go away, we are in much worse shape than we might of been. Our governor has ordered that all but essential businesses be shuttered and the population in the Bay Area, some almost 7 million people, only go out for necessary items such as healthcare and food. The order lasts until April 7 but could be extended. The disease is easily passed from one person to another. The illness is most lethal on people over 60 and those with underlying conditions which category John and I fall into. It is scary times.
One of the things we are allowed to do is go out to exercise as long as we stay six feet away from other people. John and I take advantage of this and go to Brushy Hill Regional Park to do a little hiking.
The weather has been rainy and cold and the most difficult thing about our hike is the mud that gets caked onto our shoes. John says it is like hiking with 5 lb. weights! But we are out for about an hour which helps with our isolation and it is nice to hear the bird songs and see wildflowers. Here is hoping that we get through this without getting sick!
Today turns out to be a pretty special day. Our friends from long ago (1970’s), Sue and Mike Richmond, contacted me after seeing my post on Facebook from yesterday. They live in Portland and suggest that we should get together. We meet for breakfast at our hotel.
In a matter of moments forty years compresses down to “didn’t we just get together last week?” We talk about our families (they have three kids who are up to some pretty incredible stuff as adults) and the old days. I very fondly remember when they came to visit me at the hospital after Jonathan was born—my only visitors. John and Mike were colleagues at Data General and both of them have only great things to say about each other. The visit is too short and hopefully we will try to visit again when our paths cross.
They give us the idea to go see Multnomah Falls, a 620 ft. waterfall only about a half an hour away. This is right up our alley of things we like to do. The weather is not cooperating. It is cold and rainy so we only briefly get out of the car to see the waterfall. It is quite impressive and reminds us of the ones we saw in Norway. On a better weather day we would have liked hiking to the bridge.
It is around 3 PM when we decide to get something for lunch. We find another restaurant serving pho and this time are successful at ordering beef pho. The bowl is gigantic. They should have small and large. I cannot finish even half of mine. But a hot bowl of pho is the perfect lunch on a cold and rainy day.
When we get back to the hotel it is time for a little lie-down and we do not venture downstairs until 8 PM or so. We order a glass of wine, another plate of calamari, and some hummus with crudités. Then it is off to bed because tomorrow we start the drive back to Pleasanton.
John and I have decided to take a little road trip this week. We are going to drive up to Portland, OR and poke around for a couple of days while eating some excellent seafood. It should be fun!
Day 1, Pleasanton to Ashland, OR
We get kind of a late start since I have to get B-12 shot first but by 9:40 we are on our way. Our first stop is at a random McDonald’s for egg McMuffins. We are trying to obey WW guidelines for breakfast and lunch so we omit the cheese and I only eat half the English muffin.
Although we have driven north on I-5 many times it is always interesting. After our tuna filet lunch at the Habit in Redding, we climb up out of the Central Valley towards the volcano, Mount Shasta, the most southerly volcano in the Cascade Range. It is covered in snow! We also pass the Shasta Lake reservoir and check the water levels. It looks better than a few years ago.
Later in the afternoon we reach our hotel, BW Windsor Inn, in Ashland, Oregon. We find the hotel rather dated but it is just for one night. Our room has a ridiculous array of pillows!
For dinner I have chosen the Brickroom in downtown Ashland. The food is very good and we have a great time taking pictures of the food and each other.
We have been home for a couple of weeks and are getting back into the swing of things. We have missed seeing Alex and Sam and today had Jon and Sam over for tennis and lunch. Sam helps me make an apple pie for our Rosh Hashanah celebration tonight. He does a good job peeling apples. I promise him a piece when it cools and half the pie to take home.
After Jon and John are showered we all go to Fiesta Taco for lunch. Sam enjoys his chicken tacos and after lunch we return home for pie! Sam takes Jonathan’s usual spot on the couch and promptly falls asleep.
After Sam and Jon leave Sarah bakes the challah for dinner and I make Autumn Soup.
With all the work behind us we settle into a lovely dinner of golden soup and yeasty bread with apples and honey and pie for dessert.
I had a pretty horrible May which started with a cold and ended up worse and worse until I was forced to go to the doctor and get some cortisone to try to quell the lung inflammation. But a few things were happening-
We have made the decision to sell our vacation house in St. George, Utah. As much as we have loved coming here these past 16 years it is time to move on. I am no longer able to hike or play tennis due to my painful knee. Even if my amniotic stem cell shot works totally, I still think that the wear and tear of the long trip to St. George and the worry over the condition of the house when we are not there is enough to have us consider the sale. It also frees up time and money to do other things that we enjoy.
In what should be a poignant last visit to sign the papers over to the new owners turns into a horror show that makes us happy to leave. The people who have put the offer in on the house have indicated that they want to buy it furnished and we are happy to agree. We just want a few things out of it, one picture and our pottery. We send a list of things we want before we depart for St. George and upon arriving realize that we left off a few of the pottery pieces and one additional print that we would like to take with us. There are also a couple of small knives and spreading knives.
But these people want everything. All of our sheets and towels, all of our decorations and are threatening to walk if we don’t let them have it all. We are flabbergasted. These things are our personal items that we have collected over the years. What is wrong with these people?!
After much negotiating they finally agree to let us have our stuff and give us a list which includes the pottery, and also our tennis equipment, Jonathan’s golf clubs, a set of dirty sheets and towels that we used while there, and a knee brace that was on a shelf. We did not realize that these were items of contention.
By the time we leave we are no longer sad to be selling our house. These buyers have sucked all the joy out of our experience.
P.S. One funny note about all this is that their horrible realtor wants to buy our Santa Fe. After taking the car for a test drive and to their mechanic they list everything that needs to be fixed. We immediately lower our price to $1500 from $3000. In a rather an unusual move they counter with $2000. We say, are you sure? They say yes and we agree on $2000. Backwards negotiating, amazing!
I have been up half the night worrying about Ryan and Jon. Will their flights go smoothly? Will they make their connection okay? Will they figure out getting train tickets? Are the trains to Florence sold out? Although Jon has been texting me all the way and things seem fine, I will not calm down until I see them. John and Sarah go to the train station to meet them. I stand at the window watching for them until I realize that I don’t know which street they will come down. Finally I hear the elevator. Yay, they are here!!
They look at their rooms. They seem okay with them. I think they find all the nooks and crannies absurd but enchanting. We decide to go out to lunch as soon as they are settled in.
We head off to La Busola, our preferred pizza place, for lunch. It is such fun having everyone here. We order our own personal pizzas and beers all around!
Afterward we take a walk by the Duomo. Florence is really bustling with people! I thought it would be fairly empty this time of year. Maybe too many people took my advice to come in the off-season!
Ryan and Jon decide to explore the surrounding area while the rest of us have some food shopping to do. We meet back later for hors d’oeuvres and wine. It will be our dinner since we are still pretty full from lunch. I am so happy that Sarah, Ryan, and Jon are here to help me celebrate my birthday and Christmas!!!