Monday, July 25, 2011

The Potato turns 200,000

I woke up thinking it was Monday, so I rolled over and went back to sleep. I got up around 9:00 and suddenly remembered that it was Sunday. I already missed mass so I made a pot of coffee and started painting rocks. Around 10am I still hadn’t accomplished much so I thought I would get dressed and go to the meeting at Tucker Farm. Scratch that idea, as it is now 10:30 am. It seemed that I could not get my Mojo working today. I downloaded some old 60’s songs like Crystal Blue Persuasion by Tommy James and Kind of a drag by the Buckinghams which described this day aptly.

Next thing I know it’s past five and even a hike is out of the question. I took a second nap and my body was still recouping all the energy I had expended on Saturday was a great day both financially and Spiritually… however draining

6:30pm rolled around so I forced myself to make the meeting in St. Helena. Then in a moment of Spiritual enthusiasm, i took off for Berkeley to make the 10pm student mass at Newman Chapel. I drove south for an hour and a half and arrived in Berkeley just around 9:00pm and went to Bongo Burger on Euclid for a Hummus plate and a “Lassie” ( a cold yogurt soda ). They had never heard of it and corrected me calling it a “dook" or something like that. I said that I had ordered a Lassie there for years and the clerk looked at me with some suspicion. I think Bongo Burger changed management from Indian to Pakistani Vegetarian and didn’t switch the menu… only the NAMES of things like their stupid yogurt soda.

I drove from north Berkeley to mass, after which I spotted an old friend Tina who was surprised to see me there. She said that I was the reason for her attending the student mass at Neuman initially. We both still wanted to get home early enough after services, but agreed to meet each other on Wednesday at 2:30pm in San Raphael at Cafe Gratitude. I look forward to catching up.

Lastly, driving through American Canyon I got pulled over because the CHP said that I was going in and out of my lane. He ran a check on my license and then asked me if I had been drinking. I said that my car was out of alignment which was true and he let me go. I drove ten miles further and pulled off the road in Yountville. The Potato’s mileage had just turned 200,000 ! Good job, and great way to end the day.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Trip to Gualala

My friend Reid and I drove from Santa Rosa out to the coast for a five-hour trip to Gualala. I have never been there before and the route we took was great. I was especially impressed with the emergency access route on the return trip. We went through Redwood forests, small depressed areas, scenic vistas and long winding downhills.

Skaggs road in particular, took us back towards Healdsburg and close to the Dry Creek Winery district of Sonoma. The reason for the trip was to deliver a famous picture to a gallery that specializes in Ansel Adams photography. Reid had won the picture in an auction a long time ago and was now ready to sell it. The gallery owner knew what he wanted and so did Reid, so they agreed on a fair price and the picture of the “Sonoma Hills” which will be displayed and hopefully sold sometime between now and December. If not, it will be returned to Reid.

This was a time when we could have a long conversation about many things, to get current with each other. Now that he is a dad with three boys, he hardly has any time to himself. It was fun just to cruise and talk.

The picture above is of the coast as it looked just outside of Gualala looking south.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Ceasar and Monica

Here are my neighbors children, Ceasar and Monica Ayala. This is a picture taken of them after their First Holy Communion at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church. Their mother, Sylvia invited me to attend the reception afterwards which lasted from 3pm to 10pm in the evening. I am certain that if I drank Coronas and spoke fluent Spanish I would have been entertained the whole time. For better of for worse, I left around 4:30pm. I had given Monica and Caesar an envelope each with cash. I put ten bucks in Caesar’s envelope and only nine bucks in Monica’s envelope. I told her that I owed her a dollar because I used the twenty to buy a pack of Juicy Fruit and could not divide the money evenly after that. She held me to my promise to provide another dollar when I got home. I folded one up into a “Dollar Ring” and surprised her by putting it on her finger in front of her entire family. Then in a moment of ridiculous abandon, I asked her to marry me...Quite naturally, she refused.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

A Friendly Fourth

My neighbors, Dick and Carol Uschyk hosted a lovely BBQ in their backyard over the fourth. They served ribs, chicken, frittatas, potato salad, beans, rice and assorted plates that the guests brought. Now that I am foregoing meat, I satisfied my appetite with frittatas and smiled pleasantly as others devoured flesh ( no judgement, mind you ).I also provided Dick with a bottle of Alacante Bouche from the grapes harvested atop the entrance to Greystone. I can’t and won’t be able to tell you what the wine is like because I never sampled it. A Chef by the name of Lars Kronmark gave it to me after an event at the Culinary Institute one year.Since my memories of the CIA are bittersweet at this point, I am passing along all those items that I have collected over the years.

I spoke with Dick’s friend, Peter as we discussed some of the history of the Napa Valley. I did not know for instance, that many people had snubbed Francis Ford Coppola’s opening party at the former Inglenook Winery ( I have learned that they are now planning on restoring the name, and abandoning the name Rubicon Estates ). Over 200 guests were invited, and only the Mondavi’s showed up. Robert Mondavi inspired Francis to start processing some of the classic grapes of that area.

After dinner, we gathered across the street to watch the annual fireworks display after sunset. It turned out to be an enjoyable evening. Earlier in the day I had spent three hours swimming at Bothe State Park ( which has been slated to close at some point ) and received a righteous sunburn on my face,neck, back and arms. The image above is of a thistle that was discovered during my hike with Don Freeland.