Month: May 2021

The Ranch Memorial Weekend

Above, part of the olive tree lined driveway into the ranch, and below, the entry gate.

For the welcome first night’s Friday dinner we always have Shabbot with candles and prayers, songs, and challah with wine. Tradition! Bill and Rita always bring duck from Chinatown and make a vegetable stir fry. We always have salmon, this time prepared by Nana in Japanese style with another vegetable dish and rice. Sandy made poppy seed cake with whipped cream and fruit.
EAT is right. Oh my goodness. The food is so tasty and so very much of it and proffered so very often mostly by Barbara and Jerry but everyone has something to offer. The cooking and clean-up, no surprise here, is held up primarily by the women in attendance.
This is the other main eating venue. Lunch is always out here, and also the traditional BBQ FEAST on Sunday night. There’s a large and fully stocked kitchen there to the left and the BBQ area is down the path past the fence.
Samara, Sandy, Lewis, Lynn in the Dining Hall.
Bob, Bill, Dennis, Carl at the Pool House.

This was an unexpected and delightful addition to the program. Ian and Nana and their fabulous baby who I enjoyed Every Day came in from their home in Japan. Here is Nana making us all Japanese tea with a delicious selection of snacks she brought from Japan, and cookies she had made the night before, all served up in the new family dining room. You go!

Jerry’s Garden…GROW!
Naomi and Rita. So many sporty activities for the guests to enjoy. Tennis, basketball, ping pong, swimming, hiking, yoga, what else? added to a barn full of indoor games such as skee ball, foosball, pool, and more.

And then there’s the spa! Lynn, Naomi, Marijke.

Everyone takes The Walk at least once per day, a one mile stroll (or power walk or run…) around the olive groves with much to be seen and enjoyed along the way.
I was so excited to see these cherry trees thinking Hanami might be in my future but Jerry fears they’re not going to make it. Fingers crossed for someday a canopy of cherry blossoms.
This is here as an example. Everywhere Barbara goes she comes home with trunks full of amazing things, things that one finds in every room of the property.
Lots of cars this year.

And below, Inside and Outside my front door.

Here and below, some pictures from around:
Ben and Bonnie enjoying these amazing better-than-a-hammock things. We took a picture of the label but I don’t think it will be too much help since it only gives an address in China.

Here’s me taking a turn. So even if we could find them to buy we couldn’t buy this view!

And below, I’m closing with the group shot from Saturday’s Entertainment Night. I hope to get a few pictures from the others of the bits I missed (Bonnie…).
Bill, Jerry, me, the baby (get the spelling!), Nana, Lewis, Barbara, David, Naomi, Lynn, Carl; Ian Dennis, Samara, Rita, Ben, Bob, Marijke, Bonnie. Missing: Sandy, Dusty and his two boys.

Pinnacles National Park

First I’m going to make a map. I ‘think’ I’ll have time for that before it’s time to EAT AGAIN. omg The Food here at The Ranch.

An overview of where Pinnacles is:

And a closer view to appreciate the long and winding roads.

Notice how the two sides of the park, the East and the West Entrances do not join. Just one of the reasons I’ve never been to the West Entrance, the whole point of this little sojourn. Google offered me a nice short alternate route to get from the West side to the East. What Was Google Thinking?!

I traveled 14 miles on a rutted dirt road with crazy-sharp switchbacks up and down through the mountain. What?! YES! I wanted to drive on roads unknown to me but maybe not quite that unknown.

Leaving King City at 6:30am heading into the West Entrance where I have never been. I filled the tank with gas in King City so as to be sure not to repeat a previous episode when I got lost going to the ranch and arrived on fumes. Fortunately Jerry keeps a gas station on the property but I hope, if at all possible, to never repeat that embarrassment. Here I am turning onto Highway 126 from the 101.
Along the way I passed many fields…
And vineyards. It was a lovely ride.
The main activity at Pinnacles National Park, from both sides, is hiking which usually involves some scrambling and climbing, and also repelling is popular. I asked a couple of guys at the parking lot who were loading up their gear, how long would it take to get to where they were going. Oh about 45 minutes of hard slog. Not surprisingly, not for me!
I did stroll along a little for this view, just my speed. I was concerned by the huge blinking sign at the entrance declaring one might expect a 1-2 hour delay due to the one-lane road ahead. I was there so early I had no problem but people kept arriving and I thought I might as well head out.
Check this, a cloud lake! I am about to hit the dirt road. I’ve asked google a hundred ways and I can’t find anything to tell about that dirt road and I was too absorbed in No Falling that I didn’t take any pictures. Oh well, I’ll not be on that road ever again anyway.
Into the more developed East Entrance I chose this place to consider a stroll. The mileage markers are the distance to the trail head. Not one of the hikes was ‘easy’, ‘moderate’ was the least challenging and knowing what the Park Service considers moderate “appropriate for children” I just went a short way in and turned around when a family with three wailing children passed me on their way down.
The distance I did travel was lovely. I had been on one of these trails before, leading to the dam and a cave. I remember, it was beautiful.
One of my goals was to find a quiet comfortable shaded spot to settle down and listen to the surrounding landscape, but it was not to be. There were people, and rocks really are not that comfortable.
Views aplenty though.

Here’s a little wikipedia about the Park and why you might not have heard of it:

The national park is divided by the rock formations into East and West Divisions, connected only by foot trails. The east side has shade and water, the west has high walls. The rock formations provide for spectacular pinnacles that attract rock climbers. The park features unusual talus caves that house at least 13 species of bats. Pinnacles is most often visited in spring or fall because of the intense heat during the summer. Park lands are prime habitat for prairie falcons, and are a release site for California Condors that have been hatched in captivity.

Pinnacles was originally established as a national monument in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt, and was re-designated as a national park by Congressional legislation in 2012 that was then signed into law by President Barack Obama on January 10, 2013.

Morro Bay

What a delightful day with Becky and Jack at their beach house in Morro Bay!


The weather was perfect, cool, bright, fresh, perfect. We had a yummy lunch…
…in this harbor where we enjoyed a beautiful stroll on the boardwalk through a bird sanctuary and you know how much I appreciate a boardwalk.
And from everywhere, views of The Rock.
We took a short walk down to a protected rookery. Notice all the nests…
And we had to swing by the big entertainment of the past week – The Dredge. This guy comes by once a year to dredge out the harbors and then build the protective banks. (There is a vocabulary word that is escaping me right now. Yikes!)
It was from here that we walked over to The Dredge and then on to The Rock to watch the otters. I’m not sure if the walking trail goes all the way around but it looked intriguing as do many other walking trails in the area.
Thanks guys, it was great and congratulations on your awesome home. Jack, Becky, me, on the balcony at Casa Brand.

San Luis Obispo

Strolling through downtown SLO I came across a tourist highlight, Bubblegum Alley. Wiki says this use of the alley was recognized either after WWII or in the 1950s but at least by the 1970s it was a well-established Happening Thing.


I was hoping to get into the Mission in SLO since I can’t remember ever having been in before but today was not to be the day. They are still doing mass out here in the garden. Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa was founded by Spanish Franciscan Father Junipero Serra in 1772, fifth of what was to become 21 missions on the El Camino Real, running along the California coast from San Diego to San Francisco. A little perversely maybe considering my feelings about religion…I seek out these missions just like when traveling I always want to find the cathedrals. Long story I suppose, but I Think I do know why. I’m going to make a list!

They’ve got a pretty big college here, the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, established in 1901, a golden oldie with 22,000 students enrolled. SLO, with a city population of around 50,000, does the 50k include the 22k? I don’t know, but in either case the population skews very young. This is evident by the downtown commercial properties being predominantly bars, restaurants, and clothes for college-age souls.

There was a month-long Let’s Have Flowers event which was fun.
There’s a creek down there and it creates a lovely place to walk and find some shade in the summer.
The creek runs down there too, between the bushes and the stone wall, you can’t see it, and the mission is there behind the plaza. I sat out here and enjoyed my book and a glass of surprisingly good College Bar wine.
The setting here in SLO is really quite pretty so if you’re ever rolling along the 101 you might consider a stop. And the Madonna Inn is just down the road…

Santa Barbara

I started this trip with a swing by the car place to get everything double-checked and to get a couple new tires. Then it worked out that I could see Nancy and Jim in Santa Barbara for a little while. I could have enjoyed just sitting in the garden admiring the birds. But we also went for a walk, so good for us!

Heading to San Luis Obispo over the Chumash Highway, I pulled off to stand for a few minutes amid these amazing trees and the wonderful smells of California Live Oak.

A Few Days

A fun surprise out of reach at Palisades Park.

Below are a couple views from Tongva Park on a walk with Jerry.

It had more flowers last week but you get the idea. (The backyard trumpet vine and bougainvillea.)

Someday I might get a bigger version of this photo from Kathleen and Cheyenne’s Cinco de Mayo party. Hello neighbors!

Yay Susie

I am so happy that we got to be together. Wow, after so long and yet we are The Same. You’re right Susie, we should have taken the picture without masks.

And here’s 12 year old Magic out with his pack for their daily happy walk. Thanks for the photo Susie.

Some of Sharon’s Back Garden

I’ve been thinking about planting Jasmine over my arbor too, just thinking, not doing. Our plan was to walk and then enjoy a happy hour but it was too hot to walk so we enjoyed a happy two hours instead.

And her kumquat tree is what it is supposed to be unlike mine, a sad story with no point in the telling.

My Plan

I’m going to wear a mask whenever I’m outdoors in a crowd or indoors with the potentially unvaccinated. That’s my plan for now. I do wish the stores etc. still required everyone to wear a mask. I just checked, the California vaccination numbers are moving in such an optimistic direction, wow.

Crossing Town

To eat Monday Lunch Out West! Marsha took Tom’s big car and Alicia took herself because she had to leave early. We ate outside under the arbor, nice shade, good temperature, comfortable enough with the table and chairs, and I’m SO pleased to report, no flies.

I can’t believe I didn’t take any pictures of the set-up because I was happy with the outcome of it all. We were celebrating two birthdays, Marsha and Maxine, so as well as the yummy potluck, we had two desserts. FUN!

Ljubica, Maxine, Marsha, Becky, Marija, Ann

Oliver and More Fun

We enjoyed a picnic among our other activities. I don’t have a picture of Oliver after his delights in the mud. He was seemingly enjoying himself so entirely, and once a bath was inevitable, why not have All the fun?

This is how Oliver sleeps, snuggled up under the covers in Darryl and Angela’s bed, and since I was sleeping in their bed I got to enjoy the snuggles too.
Ahhh, Lilly and Oliver.

Fri-Sat-Sun With Rome and Lilly

Lucky dog me! I won’t list out all the fun we’ve had, cooking, walking around, stopping off for treats, we even made TIKTOKs and it was a total blast.

You can follow Rome’s @formygrandma0 (that’s a zero) to see our tiktok fun first hand. If you don’t know tiktok then you might not get the jokes, it’s a whole civilization there up in tiktok land, but what we made is pretty funny on its own! We all contributed to all of them, a real group effort!

First time in the house In Over A Year!

Oh Joy

The Getty Center is opening on the 25th! Quick, get a ticket, they’re free!! The 25th is already sold out and I’m leaving on the 26th so no Getty Center for me until I get back in early June. I’m so pleased though, it’s making me smile to think of it. Photo from the Getty website.

It’s Mine Now

Merlyn and Hilda are doing their big remodel and thought they wouldn’t have a place for this rug. Say I, if you’re absolutely sure, before you sell it to someone else will you sell it to me?! Hilda dropped it by and said why don’t you live with it for a while just to be sure.

Oh yes, it’s mine now! Different light, different colors, all good.

A TV House

Mostly I lust after the house in Bosch. It is a real house and google will show it to you. None of the pictures do it TV-show justice. Fortunately it’s surrounded by not so lovely houses and you can’t walk anywhere from it. So actually I don’t want that house. I lust after it, but I don’t want it.

The house in this picture is a screen shot from 9-1-1. (9-1-1 and especially 9-1-1 Lone Star are pass-the-time TV procedurals where all the characters are likeable. That’s nice.) The house is not what I thought would be to my taste and yet I like it so much.

Happy Mother’s Day All Y’All

Our first time together for a meal in How Long?! That’s right, more than a year.

Darryl, me, Angela, Lilly, Rome, Oliver, Liz, Gary

We still kept our distance for eating, DAR&L on one side and we three fully vaccinated ‘seniors’ on the other. I solicited everyone’s choice from Veggie Grill and I think it worked out well. They packaged the food so nicely and we each got what we wanted.

And Cynthia sent this super-sweet Happy Mother’s Day bouquet!

Wood Is So Expensive Now

There are three big home remodeling projects in my life that I can think of now. Maybe I’ve forgotten something? I looked up about the cost of plywood and the consensus was since mills closed because of covid, and weather, and mill operators had fears of a real estate crash that didn’t materialize, demand has simply outstripped supply.

Rome took this picture of the layers of materials that make up a house.

Lilly Makes OC

OC=Original Characters in Lilly’s world (original content at Imgur). Look at that, it’s me. We did it together on zoom-share-screen and it was fun! It’s the crooked smile that makes it look particularly like me.

Sure Why Not Another One

I’m not in this one but everyone else is: Becky, Maxine, Ann, Marija, Marsha, Alicia, Ljubica.

Santa Monica City Hall Plus

Sharon and I did this walk for the first time in more than a year to City Hall, through Tongva Park, and food at Chez Jay. There are still so many things I used to do regularly and now haven’t done in more than a year. That’s going to just keep happening for quite a while it seems.

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