Monday, January 31, 2011

Days of Wine and Roses

I woke up this morning knowing what I was missing.  I felt a bit of guilt in this revelation I had.  (I hate that word guilt.)

*Disclosure:  While I have been writing some utterly honest difficulties with my mom and our relationship....there have been some amazing, wonderful times as well.    

I miss the dinners out.  Oh how I miss the fine food and expensive wine.  My mom pretty much stopped fixing dinners at her home, except for Christmas dinner every now and then after Papa passed away.  We went out a lot when he was alive but after he was gone there were no casual family dinners at her home. No BBQ's.   She gave the BBQ away even though my Love had offered to do the BBQing for her at her home.   She wanted to go out and she would call us to do this almost every other week.  No wasn't really an option.  If we had plans she would make it clear that by not going we had disappointed her and surely we could alter our plans or go the next night to dinner.  Frankly I became unable to make plans.  Just knowing my mom would call me and want to go out prevented me from making plans.  Over months and years I just expected her to call to tell us we were to go out to dinner on the weekend.  Looking at it now, I know I should have just said No and let her deal with it, but you would have to know my mom to understand how hard this is to do.  No is not a part of her vocabulary.

On one hand you could say what a treat to be able to go out to these wonderful restaurants, but all the invitations to dinners were annoying because I would have much rather gone to her house like we use to.  I would have liked her to come to our home for dinner which she didn't really want to do if she could help it.  She would tell me "You don't want to cook. We'll just go out".  Here we could have relaxed and not have to get fussed up in fancy clothes.  Following her stroke, her speech was much softer making it quite hard to hear her at a restaurant.  She would be talking but unless I sat right next to her with my ear next to her head I couldn't really understand her.  I attempted to explain to her that if we were at home I could hear her better but that didn't amount to enough reason to not go out for her.  Sometimes we would go back to her house after a dinner out and sit downstairs, try to talk though most of her talking centered around her life and friends.  We listened, nodded our heads and tried to be good company.  After an hour we would leave.  Our bellies full but our thoughts muddled.  

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The food, the glorious food at some of the best restaurants in the Bay Area!  We couldn't afford these places she would choose to go to.  She always paid the bill, always.  If we wanted to go to some place less expensive she would blow it off and say that she would rather go to a place she had in mind.  We tried, because at some point we would have liked to take her out to dinner but well, we do have to pay our mortgage and electric bill.  Paying the tab at her choices would have put us on the street.  If she resented that we didn't pay she never said a thing.  I felt like she wanted us to go as her chaperones so she had company.  All we could do was thank her profusely for taking us out.  Of course there were times we did get her to go to a less expensive place but one still in the Zaget book of which she wanted to consult.

It must be hard for a widow to still want to go places when you no longer have your significant other.  She would go out  with her friends and pick up the tab at their evenings out too.  Her friends claim they tried to pay but she would insist that she was paying.  It was non-negotiable.    Sometimes she would slip the credit card to the waiter before the dinner was over.  Sneaky mom.   

She loved putting a dinner party together at a restaurant.  She has done so many special evenings for her friends as well as for her family from time to time.  She gave me several very large surprise birthday parties at Trader Vic's with one time having Hula Dancers with their musicians.  We had the entire back of the restaurant with waiters all over the place, cocktails and wine flowing.  It was quite a show she would put on.  She would give one of her speeches and all of us would be captivated by her ability to create such an evening so effortlessly.  For my 5oth she did another big birthday bash but it wasn't my 50th but my 49th.  It was really funny for me to have to tell everyone that I loved being with all my  family who were flown in for the event as well as friends I had not seen in awhile, but that I was not 50 yet.  We joked that we could repeat it the following year.  All of her friends thought her so generous, and she was without a doubt just that.  Still it was almost embarrassing with all her extravagance.

Even if it was just the four of us she insisted we order a bottle of red and a bottle of white wine.  Now R. can't drink and most time she was the only one drinking white wine.  No matter, we must have a full bottle.  Never just any bottle either.  My Love made the sad mistake once of just ordering her a glass of white wine and she made it clear that it was not good wine.  

There were the dinner parties that she had the chef especially prepare a multi-course meal for friends and us.  She would call ahead to plan the entire meal from appetizers to dessert and several varieties of wine for each course served.  Yes, it was good. Very, very good!  Still, inside I just wished she could just contain herself and let us order from the menu. The chef would come out and ask us how the meal was and both my mom and the chef would ingratiate each other. 

A stroll down memory lane of  dining....Lalimes,  Prima,  Trader Vic's, Tourelle which became Postino (which was just as delicious) K. celebrated her 16th birthday with a special birthday dinner along with a magician, One Market, Mudd's, Citron, Garibaldi's, Tommy Toy's, Pican, Oliveto, Big 4 Restaurant before we saw and met Ravi Shankar and Anoushka perform, Clift Hotel's Redwood Room before we saw Phantom of the Opera, Fleur De Lys for her birthday one year, ......some still here and some gone....but what glorious food we had. 

Pican....E. and I thought we had died and gone to heaven with the Fried Green Tomatoes with sheep’s milk feta cheese, radish salsa and spicy buttermilk dressing...(we have tried to duplicate because we had to!), their tasty Buttermilk Southern Fried Chicken served with smoked gouda "mac and cheese",  and heavens for the Sorghum Lacquered Duck...mmmmm.

Tommy Toy's....Seafood Bisque ~ Oven baked in a fresh coconut, with puff pastry on stood out because of the uniqueness of it...but every dish incredible....

Lalimes.....fresh organic food perfectly prepared...delicate Black Cod served with a luscious broth and perfectly trimmed petite carrots and fresh green beans....

Trader Vic's....we went there so much...every special occasion.  Harry waited on us hand and foot...making our dinners feel sort of like home because we usually had our own room.  Pupus...of Cheese Bings, Crab Rangoon, BBQ Spareribs and Crispy Prawns.   Crispy Duck with mu shu pancakes,  fresh fish from the wood fire, Halibut or Mahi Mahi,  Won ton Soup,  Chicken Chow Mein with almonds... and always tea with fortune cookies, almond cookies and Trader Vic's mints.   It seemed like we went here so much we all finally burned out on it, but I know the memories of our "special times" will remain...Papa's big 80th Birthday Party a stand out in my mind.  Those years when the men had to wear a jacket to get in.  My Love had to 'use' one of the restaurants early on since he didn't own one.  You see all kind of dress there now.  No dress requirements except maybe shoes.

Our last dinner with my mom was last May 2010.  Two weekends in a row we ate at Oliveto.  I don't really see the fuss in the place personally.  I don't know why she decided that this was her new place to go back to.  Because it is upstairs we need to use the elevator which is down a long corridor of trash containers and such.  It was a long walk for her to go using her cane.  Parking is difficult to obtain as well.  She was convinced that Trader Vic's had closed down though it was just being renovated.  Those last dinners were sad for me.  I would sit across the large round table and straining to hear her and looking at her silly wig that was put on crooked.  I knew that her future was heading down a path none of us would know or be prepared for.  We were together and that was what meant the most to her I believe.

She goes out to dinner with her caregivers or her friends now.  We don't.  My mom can't call me anymore.  She doesn't have the ability to do this.  I call her.  Eating out never comes up and I don't ask.  I don't want her to take us out.  I don't think I can handle the change in her nor that fact that there is all the pretending that nothing 'really' has changed in her manner.  

I well remember those days of trying to get the kids 'dressed' for dinners out.  So much hassle, so many times running around telling them to hurry up and put something nice on.  Someone asking where are we going, why do we have to dress up, why can't we eat somewhere else and so on.  So many times I just wanted to scream.  I just wanted to stay home.  I just wanted to be a normal family who ate at an ordinary place where I could wear my jeans.  I would do it for Papa....I don't know why but I would and did.  I liked watching him choose a wine for the evening.  Watching him taste it as it was poured into a wine glass..."Yes, it's fine" he would say.  I liked him smiling at the kids asking them what they were up to.  They would answer him with faces smiling.  He had this way of making everything better.

Eating together as a family is the most important tradition I stand by.  We always eat at the table together in our home.  No phone calls.   If it was quiet so be it.  It there was a discussion so be it.  If there was laughter all the better.  These days with most of children elsewhere or caught up in their own lives, eating together still holds a specialness to looking into each others faces and eyes.  Listening to what is new or going on in their lives.  Sometimes I catch myself just absorbing the time together.  Photographing it in my head.  

Maybe we can't go to all those places we use to but hey, maybe once in awhile, for a special time we could if we really wanted to.  Times change, people age, places close, new places open.  Forward we go....I could use a bit of dessert now.  Can't forget about the desserts.....

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The itchies have my dogs

It has been a long itchy time for our Golden Annie.  LONG...

Three weeks ago I finally took her to the vet since all I tried did not help.

Since October she has had a slew of hot spots and has had to wear a cone pretty much the whole time.  I did what I could which is to cut the hair away from the hot spot, clean it well and put the cone on till it has healed.  One would heal, I would take the cone off and within days a new one appeared.  Repeat this over and over.  I took her in for baths with the groomer since it was too cool to do it at home.  I had hoped that maybe the cleanliness would help but it didn't.

She itched all over.  At night while we watched TV she would come up and rub her tush on the sofa which made her look like she was doing the rumba.  All we needed to do was add some good music.  Just touching her she would start the scratching with her skin crawling under your hand.

I would spray her with Relief, a topical spray that is suppose to sooth the skin but that did nothing.  I started giving her Benedryl which helped because it makes her drowsy but doesn't last long.

The holidays were tough.  Wearing her cone gives her a satellite dish look about her which we can laugh at but the itching isn't funny.  Aside from my Love and I, who wants to have a large dog rubbing  her body on any passing person?  Our poor Annie was miserable.

Over the years Annie has had many skin issues.  In the past it was seasonal....Late Summer / Fall and then a brief Spring fling.  There were many times I would bring her in because her belly was so red and irritated that she was prescribed antibiotics and steroids which always did the trick.  Hot spots have been a problem in the last three years.  Disgusting and ugly.   The last one was on the cheek of her head.  I couldn't figure out how she could even get one there.  I dutifully cut the hair away to promote healing and checked it daily to make sure there was no oozing.  The hot spots seem to take anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks to be healed with the drying of the scab to be around week three.  Hair regrowth doesn't come back for several months.  

This has been by far the worst she has ever had.   Our visit to the vet we talked a lot about the causes of potential skin problems.  A) fleas on her at all so we can't blame this on the cats.  B) Seasonal allergies....this has lasted 3 months!....not sure, but this is what I first suspected.  The vet. tech. said they have had a bad year for seasonal allergies for dogs.  C)  Food allergies.....

Years ago with our previous vet who retired (darn....) we tried the food change to rule this out.  I put Annie on Lamb and Rice food....I tried several brands over the course of 4 months.  At the same time we did antibiotics and a dose of steroids and she was clear in less than a month.  I kept her on that food for many months but it was so expensive that I found a different food of high quality and she seemed fine on it all these many years.  It was only this past August that I thought I should put her on a Senior food because of her age.

I had already changed her food right after Christmas just to rule out a food allergy.  She had only been on it for one week when we saw the vet.  He gave Annie a steroid shot but since she had no sign of any bad rash on he did not give her any antibiotics.  For two weeks she didn't itch.  One day after the two weeks had passed and I had told the vet she was fine....what should happen?  She started getting itchy!!!   About this time I noticed in her food bin the old food at the bottom mixing in with the new food.  I asked my Love why he didn't completely take out the old food because if that is the problem she can't be eating it. the itching back because she was eating food that was causing the problem?   Great.

I went down to the pet store and bought a new bag of dog food, trying Duck and Potato this time by Natural Balance.  $34 dollars for about 17 pounds of kibble!  Now we have to wait to see if the mixed food upset the skin and started the scratching or rule it out as food related.  Next step will be back to the vets if she stays itchy or gets worse.  Prescription medication?  Oh I hope not.  In the meantime I will get her bathed again and keep my eye on her closely.  We don't want any hot spots surprising us.

Now to really stir the pot.....Stewie who never, never gets itchy started getting itchy five days ago.  What gives?  I gave him a bath today since he can fit in the kitchen sink.  He is itchy on his tush.

And the cats....they are doing just fine.   No fleas, no scratching...nothing.  Lucky kitties.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A walk on a day in January

Went for a gentle hike today.  First hike since my broken wrist in August.  I asked my Love to please let us go on something I won't fall down on.  Feeling wimpy yet knowing I need to do this. 

What a lovely sky of blue with long sweeping clouds.  The header is another photo from today.  My Love and Annie way ahead of little Stewie and I....sorry no photo of Stewie.  Long shadows from the bare Oak trees on the East facing hills.  Quiet and alone except for a family out with their Golden.  I think I will go here with the poochies on my own during the week while the weather is clear. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Closets in our hearts

   There she was coming down the lift while I looked up from the back stairwell.  Gliding down in slow motion.  Her caregiver walking down just ahead of her descent.

"Your daughter is here to see you Mrs. L."

     My mother looks at me, her eyes scanning down at figures below her.  The caregiver says she has much going on today with a previous visitor and what else I do not find out.

"Ellen", she says it clear as a bell.  My name.  The name I have not heard her say in ever so long.  I am surprised and delighted all at the same time.

     She reaches the bottom, rises from her seat with the aid of our hands and stands facing me.  Her words that flow from her mouth so odd.  Her face shows a glimmer of being happy to see me.

     I see she is wearing the black pinstripe jacket that she wore on Christmas day and black slacks in need of being taken in as they are too large for her now.

     I direct her to her chair that she always sits in at her breakfast table and sit in the chair nearest her.  She reaches for my hand and I to her.  

"Love you...." those words I understand that come from her lips.   My thoughts come to how she says these words to me now so often.   Whereas before it was I who would tell her "I love you" at the end of our phone calls or saying goodbye from a visit.  A desperate attempt from me to want to have her understand how much I needed to know I was truly loved by her.  I had to tell her to let me know.  What an odd thing for me to have thought?  Does she not love me?  Does she love me the way I love my children?

     I look at that jacket.  How is it that her mind goes to this jacket and the need to wear it?   My mom has three very large closets in her bedroom, one being a walk-in.   Two other bedrooms have large closets with one room having a walk-in as well.  Down on the lowest level of her home she has another walk-in closet.  All are filled with her clothes.

     When Papa was alive he surely had a closet in their room.   I know this to be true, I know he had the two smaller ones though it is hard to see it that way now.  I remember after he passed away seeing his handsome jackets, suits, dress shirts, slacks, and sweaters all neatly hanging in one near the armoire.  I see his grubby clothes as well.  The ones he wore to do "work" around the house.  The puttering that men do so well.  I see those pale khaki ones that he would wear with an old polo shirt.  They were the kind one doesn't wish to let go of because they are comfortably broken in.  

     When a spouse passes away, while they leave our presence their belongings, clothes, personal items remain.  How long does one hold onto the clothes, shoes, hats and such?  For my mom is was a bit by bit passing on of his things.  A long raincoat to a friend who might use it.  His belongings of day to day passed on.  Yet in the top drawer of the armoire his watch, wallet, keys and small items such as these remain.  I only found this out while trying to figure out where she might be hiding her jewelry before we insured them and put them in her new safe.  I wanted to gather them up and put them in my pocket.  I wanted to still feel like he might put his watch on.  I never noticed, though I know it doesn't, if the watch still ticked.  No, I know it has stopped as surely as his heart did.

      How long does one leave their loved ones closets empty once they have taken those clothes away?  How hollow to see a room still in the living yet a closet empty.  Moved on.  How long before one chooses to not open the door to see that emptiness?  The wanting of it to not be empty of their loved one and the comfort they once had.  

     I can imagine my mom filling each closet more full to somehow fill her emptiness she had within herself.  More items added till it no longer looked like it held a man's life of living.  Yet now filled with clothes never worn, tags still on, alone hanging mutely.  I have looked at these items remember how my mom enjoyed shopping.  She often shopped alone, getting to know the store personnel who kept their eyes open for things she might like.  She bought to buy for no other reason except to buy.  She didn't need these things.  It just was her way to fill the empty spot in her closet.  When it became too full she started to give those clothes away only to go and buy more to once again fill the space that to her was still empty.  She did not know that while one can fill a space it does not fill your soul of the loneliness that creeps in.  No matter how her family tried to help fill in the space we were not what she wanted.

     I have clothes with stories.  Memories of a time and place that make them hard to let go even if they were out of style, worn out or do not fit.  Most are of my children clothes.  The tiny layette gown they wore, so small but once worn by my babies with curled up legs that kicked and moved in them.  Receiving blankets I made of flannel so soft and cozy.  I have a dresser filled with childhood sweaters, dresses, knit baby hats and such.  A trunk with baby toys, handmade blankets knit and crocheted. In the attic more clothes of each of theirs to someday hopefully to be passed on to a grandchild.  Two of my daughters closets hold boxes of each child's life, school days, drawings, cards, report cards, stories of their growing up.  The inside walls of the closets covered with their personal touch of photos, fortune cookie fortunes, magazine pictures.  I can't remove them though my Love would like to clean the walls up.  Stories, so many stories I know nothing of but they do.  Those are my closets, drawers of my heart.  Held there that keep me whole as the mother I am.  Dreams, sweet dreams.  Though I hold these treasures of days gone by my soul is full.  I know I need not fill a visual space to know what I have. 

     The closets in our hearts to keep full, to hopefully overflow.  To spill into our arms, hands, fingers, eyes, to softly graze our skin with the life memory of times well spent.  A lifetime to fill, to share, to open. 


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Those Silver Goblets

A prayer for what I believe must be a Christmas dinner.   The year I am unclear of but near 1963.  The little child me, eyes wide open with a grin.  Naughty me to not be in reverence .  My brother is praying so very hard with such determination.  My mother in a nun like pose with her hands.  My Nan, bowed head with humble heart.

God is great
God is good
And I think thee
For our food

That was what I would say when it was my turn to say prayer.  My brother must have said something more creative than my repeating this simple prayer.

Crisp linen table cloth and napkins, my mom's Chantilly silver neatly placed next to her Lenox China pattern of Harvest.  Candles lit  with her centerpiece of gold and red.  

See the silver goblets?  Oh those silver goblets how I loved them!  Our water staying chilled in them as well as a frosty condensation forming on the outside.  Sometimes she would fix real Egg Nog and serve it in them.  But not for my brother and I as it had bourbon in it.  Southern Egg Nog which is nothing like what comes in a carton.  Real eggs separated, with yolks and cream beaten till frothy.  Sugar added along with the bourbon then let sit to "cook" the egg.  Beating the egg white to a stiff consistency and folding them gently into the egg yolk / cream / bourbon mixture.  When I was an adult she fixed it after a very long time of not serving it.  It had quite a kick and though I am not fond of bourbon I would try it again.   Maybe when the silver goblets come back to me.

Remember the song "Indian Giver" ....


That song plays in my head over the numerous times my mom would give and take them from me.   Several times she loaned them to me for a special dinner I would be doing.  It was the gifting that bugged me.  Each time she gave them to me they were all cleaned with silver polish and wrapped up.  Some lines she would say were that she didn't really use them much and new I would enjoy them.  Each time I was thrilled to be given those cherished globlets and within a few months she would need them back for her own special dinner.   I would not see them come back to me the last time this happened.

I could have reminded her to return them but that wasn't something I could or would do.  She didn't take to kindly to my asking for them back or most times there would be an excuse.  She once even said I didn't want them and had given them back to her!   They stand in grace in her large glassed door cabinet in her dining room.  All twelve staggered on the shelf like trophies along with other silver platters, urns, and such.   

Sunday, January 9, 2011

San Francisco 1977

     Hauling our first Christmas tree up to our fourth floor apartment my Love and I were laughing and filled with smiles.  The needles from our tree left a trail up the stairs to our door since it had been another drought year for California leaving  Christmas trees dry and brittle.  No trouble!  It was Christmas!  Just a few needles left behind for our landlord Mario to vacuum up.  We had gone to the Delancy Street Foundation's tree lot down from where we lived and found our perfect tree.  A trip to Cost Plus led us to small wooden painted ornaments and the nearby drug store where we picked up lights.  We placed it in the corner between our windows in the living room to sit and admire as we cuddled on the the sofa.  Our first year together was like being on a honeymoon all the time.  We were far enough away from family to be really on our own but close enough when we were asked to dinner or a gathering. 

     My Love and I had lived in our  San Francisco apartment since June, the month before we wed, in 1977.  I had found this place while driving up and down the streets looking for 'For Rent' signs once we knew we would both be attending San Francisco State University for the Fall semester.  It was directly across from Golden Gate Park, with a view of the ocean and the biggest down side was living in the fog most of the time.  Still on quiet nights we could hear the fog horn blowing.  It reminded me of times out sailing on a calm socked in fog night when all you would hear was the lap of water on the sides of the boat while listening for the deep 'BUUUUAAAAAA!' sound of the fog horn letting you know how far land was.  

     Of course this perfect apartment would be on the top floor with no elevator.  We had a front row view from our bedroom windows as well as from the huge bay window in the living room of  Golden Gate Park.  We gazed at trees that stood strong and inpenetrable as though looking out on Sherwood Forest from the times of Robin Hood.  Yes, there were Merry Men amongst the growth below those trees.  I was warned by an officer on horseback while out jogging that it was not wise of me to do this as women had been raped or robbed in the hidden trails that wove in and out of the roads that ran through the park.  My Love and I tried jogging together, or attempted to try,  but he with his long legs ran circles around me.  Our dear Arleen and Clark had let us use their lovely Oriental carpets on the hardwood floors which as much as we enjoyed using them we would have rather that they had not moved away prompting a need for a place for them to be stored.  We had a charming breakfast room with a  built in hutch with glass doors and the tiniest kitchen with oddly plenty of cabinets.  I had a large old-fashion gas range that kept it cozy warm in there and was wonderful for cooking on.  Unfortunately I was not the best cook for my Love.  We did the laundry along with what felt like everyone else up the street at the nearest laundromat while we read the Sunday paper hopefully finding a place to sit while we waited. 

     Up the street from us was the home of Jefferson Airplane.  We never happened to see them even though they still owned the house.   It stood out due to the faded black paint color and oddly covered windows while we lived in the neighborhood giving it a forlorn and rundown look.   We were close to the Haight which was a pretty seedy neighborhood in the 70's so we rarely ventured there.  Our neighborhood was called the "Richmond District" with many small and unique ethnic restaurants and shops.  It was so cheap to eat out for two that we spoiled ourselves often by trying them whenever we could.  From Russian food at the "Miniature Bakery" we tried Borshcht and Pelmeni where the Babooshka who waited on us scolded me for not eating all my food.   

Jefferson Airplane home

We went to Chinatown often to browse the shops and bakeries but for us our favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurant  was Henry's Hunan Restaurant.  Small, with just a few closely placed tables, we chose to sit at the bar which filled the length of the place, while Henry himself helped cook and made suggestions of what to try.  Hot, fiery peppers made the dishes tasty as well as cleared your sinuses that only subsided the heat for me with a 7-Up and a beer for my Love.  If we sat at the end of the counter we could watch the help making the dumplings or chopping chicken with a cleaver knife.   My Papa came to love this food and it's proprietor whom opened a larger restaurant several years later.  Our personal all time favorite was the Smoked Ham dish that is unlike any Hunan or Chinese dish I have ever had.  To this day we always order it.  No argument over it except there is never enough.  Oh yes,  their Steamed Dumplings are simply the best we have ever tasted!

Henry's Hunan Restaurant

Henry Chung and his fantastic cookbook
    Occasionally on a Sunday morning my Love's sister and her family as well as his parents would come over to go for Dim Sum in the heart of Chinatown.  We often went to Asia Garden and sometimes to Yank Sing for some incredible dishes.  Chinese ladies would stroll up and down the aisles with metal carts covered with small plates or steam baskets singing out to the customer what dishes they had.  We never understood anything they said but we would stop them and they would lift the lid for us to see and pick.  A lot of great fun and adventure having Dim Sum as there was so much noise, talking, smells and sights to see.  Many tables were crowded with Asian families of all generations as well as folks like us clicking away with our chopsticks.  Afterwords we would walk the streets of Chinatown looking at the windows of Peking ducks hanging upside down or Tea Eggs in large glass containers, to Herbal shops, cookware, bakeries, and large stores filled with Chinese ware.

Dim Sum
Peking Duck

   Another haunt we had enjoyed for years was Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store where we could get a great authentic Cappuccino served in a real cup no less with a small biscotti to dunk in it.  In the back was a foosball table that you could play on for free.  It was always crowded with all sorts of people from old Italians from the neighborhood to young folks like my Love and I, all there to warm up in on a  cold  San Francisco evening.  San Francisco was an easy place to explore and parking was cheap once upon a time.   We could park in the Police lot  that  straddled the old Italian area and Chinatown for a buck an hour. Perpendicular to these neighborhoods was the raunchy area of strip clubs, hawkers yelling for you to come in for the shows, flashing neon lights and streets often crowded with Sailors on leave for the night.  Amongst them were the folks who lived in the apartments above this jungle.  Such contrasts in such a small area.

Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store

     My Love's brother found this crazy place called Cafe Sport that was also in North Beach.  The inside of the place was as much a feast for the eyes as the food was for our stomachs.    Every dish was filled with garlic and their specialties were seafood dishes.   We always went with a large group so we could order as many dishes as possible.  We would get so excited thinking about what the dish would taste like as we scanned the menu.  Wine would flow as we waited for the waiter to come.  There dinner times were seatings so everyone had to sit down before the food frenzy would begin.  The standing joke however was that once we would start telling the waiter what we wanted he would often say they were out of it.  We would pick another dish and it could be available or it too could not.  What ended up happening was the waiter would tell us what we were getting!  It didn't really matter because the food was so good the mood jubilant that we just waited till each dish arrived to devour.  We would walk out of the place reeking of garlic for the next several days.  

Cafe Sport
    Those days are so vivid in my mind and I guess I wrote a lot more than I thought I would...and realized this is a subject that still has more to go Part #1 be continued!



Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Heebee Geebees!

5:00 A.M. I am awakened hearing the oddest sound.  I can't figure it out in that brief moment before I prod my Love ....

"Wake up"

Nothing...he doesn't make a sound

"What is that?"


"Can't you hear that?  What is it?"

I am wondering if it is the pool pump/filter that is going to explode.  (I seem to think any odd machine sound is something potentially going to explode.)

"Go see what it is.  Your the man."   I think I have said this to my Love every time I am awakened by odd noises in the night, 'Your the man'.  I notice the dogs don't even wake up.  A shadow at the foot of our bed is the kitties who do wake up.  It figures that they hear something.  

My Love crawls out of the bed.  What is that sound.  RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!  He is softly walking but I don't know where.  No sound from him.  He comes back.  

The sound is coming from this stupid thing.


Now what I can't figure out is how it was turned on?  You have to push in on the top to get it to turn on.  I think the cats might have done it but they are at the foot of the bed.  I think a mouse / rat (yikes!), no not strong enough (besides that just would so creep me out!).  My Love assures me it could not be a mouse / rat.   So how the heck does it just randomly turn on at 5:00 A.M.!!!!!!  Why?

I oddly fall back to sleep.  I say oddly because my freaked out nature is to lay there trying to mentally figure this out and I don't.  I am peaceful.  My Love however cannot fall back to sleep.  The dogs still are sleeping.  Little Luna comes and crawls under the covers to curl up close to my belly.  Sweet kitty to keep me (us) warm.  Of course once I do wake up at my so called 'normal' time, with the dogs jangling their collars, shaking and disturbing my slumber, time to be fed, I begin to think.

I find the device.  The hand massager that we have in the 'Man Room' where one may want to use while sitting down watching the Telly.  It is on the big wood table below our TV.  How the heck did it just turn on?  I press it on.  It takes some decent pressure to do this.  It lights up in a blue light and does the rumble as it vibrates.  Are we being notified by the beyond?

I have been reading a book that Ms. Moon suggested, "How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly. "   The chapter I had been reading last night was a bit spooky only because of what Clarissa has just found out about what happened to the owners of the home she lives in.   (Sorry can't give any of the book away!).  Was something planted in my mind of ghosts?  Of course it is one thing to think of ghosts but another to have this strange thing happen.

You tell me...ideas?


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