A long weekend at the beach

The first tai chi class went well aside from us all being locked out when we first got there. The instructor said they hoped for four or five people, but there were 16 of us. We learned the first five moves. Maja wasn’t able to go with me but will go this week. They called me on Tuesday to tell me that if Battle Ground schools are closed today, we won’t have class, but there’s just a late start. On Monday night we got a couple of inches of snow up here (although not in Battle Ground) and Tuesday we had more.  Wayne also said he might go, but as usual he has copped out.

On Thursday night at art class, I drew my pigs, which will be my next painting. My teacher told me I should do a furry animal after finishing my landscape. Almost everyone in my class picks cats, dogs, horses, or wild animals like foxes and tigers. I thought it would be nice to do a barnyard animal. I looked at pictures of cows and pigs and picked some pigs sleeping in hay. I completed transferring the drawing onto my canvas a few minutes before clean-up time, so I did not begin painting it.

Lucie, John, and Sue on the beach at Seaside

On Friday, Sue picked me up and we loaded up some things that John and Lucie left and drove to Seaside. We arrived about noon in pouring rain. In fact, it was raining so hard when we crossed the bridge to the south of Astoria that we could barely see where we were going.

Haystack Rock from south of Cannon Beach

John and Lucie’s cottage was built in the 1930’s and is very nice. It has cedar shake siding and has two bedrooms downstairs and an attic with three twin beds upstairs. It is small but a lot larger than the apartments we looked at here and well lit and pleasant. There is a little sun room where Lucie sits in the morning reading her book. Luckily for me, Sue volunteered to sleep in the attic. The staircase from there to the little bathroom below it is very narrow and steep, and the ceiling slants so that you can bang your head on it. I was sure I’d fall down the stairs during one of my many nighttime trips to the bathroom. I had been trying to figure out if both of us could sleep in the guestroom bed, but it is pushed up against the wall, making it difficult for the inside person to get up in the middle of the night.

The cottage was rented furnished, and it is furnished to the max. There is very little room for any of John and Lucie’s things, and it is also full of kitsch with a seaside theme. Lots of shells and starfish around the place. Not very good paintings of water. And so on. However, it is comfortably furnished and the decor isn’t overly annoying.

I took this picture at Oswald West just north of Manzanita.

After we ate lunch, we walked the three or four long blocks to the sea. We had heard warnings of king tides and sneaker waves on the way in, and I tried to impress on John and Lucie how serious this was by telling them about a man and his child who were dragged out to sea the summer before, but John and Sue still went pretty close to the water. Lucie stayed well back with me. We walked along the ocean for a while. It was very windy and rainy, though, so after a few miles, we turned around and went home. John said they had already started a habit of heading out whenever it stopped raining. They had only had one day so far that it didn’t rain. (During that same time period, we had none.)

That night, Lucie made us a delicious dinner and we finally got to watch Amadeus, which I brought from home.

The next day when we went back down to the ocean in the morning, the tide was so high that the beach we had been walking on was completely underwater. We went down to the promenade and checked out the ocean from several viewpoints, before going to breakfast at Pig n Pancake. When we headed south to drive around the point below Seaside, the road was blocked off, so we had to go back to Highway 101.

We spent the day exploring a bunch of stops along the highway south of Seaside and looking at the ocean from different angles. Only once did John and Lucie go down to a beach, but it was at a tight cove, which is not a good place to do it under these conditions. Most of the time, we were looking at views from up high. We went down to Manzanita, and as we were going there, we encountered several ambulances. Later, we found out about the man and his two children who were pulled out to sea right when we were in the area. His little girl drowned and his little boy was never found. I feel so sorry for that family.

In the evening, we went out to dinner at one of the fish restaurants in Seaside, and we went to bed fairly early. The next morning I got up early and was thinking of taking a shower but was worried that it would wake up John and Lucie, who shared a jack and jill bathroom. I’m glad I didn’t do anything, because John got in the shower that morning and found the water not going down. When he got up, he saw that water had flooded up from under the toilet. We had to get the property manager to call a plumber. It turned out that the bamboo roots from the hedge on that side of the house had clogged up the pipes. The water was turned off for some time, and during that time, I had to walk several blocks down to the public toilet. However, I’m sure that will soon be fixed, and I’m glad they are so happy in their new home.

Some good news was that while we were there, Nancy texted John inviting him and Lucie to attend Mark’s 70th birthday potluck in early February. That made him very happy. Maybe we’re all going to put the latest unpleasantness behind us.

Sue and I drove home about 11 on Sunday morning. It was supposed to snow in Yacolt later that day, but we really didn’t get much. However, we got a lot more on Monday night. It was a little slippery going down to town to do our usual errands on Tuesday, but when we got to Battle Ground, they had no snow.

Lukey was very happy to see me when I got home. Wayne said he spent most of the time looking out the window.


Start of a new life stage

I’m referring in the title to my brother John and sister-in-law Lucie, because over New Years they were applying to rent their house on the beach, on Wednesday, they were accepted, and on Thursday, they were told they could move in any time. Of course, their new life stage actually started when they retired, but everything has been chaos and up in the air until now, what with his several surgical procedures, followed by selling the house, traveling out here, and then their hunt for a new house. Because the new house was let furnished, they are going to send for their things but keep the furniture in storage until their lease is near to being up, at which time they will decide whether to renew it or whether to try to find something unfurnished. They are still set on not buying, but I think that as a long-term decision it’s not the best one, because of the rising rents. We’ll see how that all turns out. They like Astoria, and it seems as if home prices there are still affordable as it is a working port instead of a beach town.

John and Lucie on the beach in Seaside on a foggy day. Is that haystack rock behind them? It doesn’t look right, but that may be because of the fog.

So, they decided to leave Friday morning, because they had to meet the property agent at 1 PM to sign the lease. On Thursday night, I decided to miss my painting class so that we could all have a nice dinner out before they left. We took them to a very nice Greek restaurant in Battle Ground called George’s Molon Lavé. On Saturday, we received several pictures of them in their new home or on the beach, including this one.

Just before our New Years’ Eve party, some of the family was very upset because we heard of some untrue things my brother Mark’s wife had said or implied about John, I assume in an overzealous loyalty to her husband. In a way, it was none of my business, because the things weren’t said to me, but I was tempted to pull Mark aside and tell him to rein in his wife. However, it was clear to me on the night of the party that he knew nothing about any of this, because he was friendly to John (after not speaking to him for seven years), and he even got up from one end of the dining table and walked over to sit next to him at the other end, where they remained in conversation for quite a while. That decided me to say nothing at this point, although Nancy was not at all friendly to either John or Lucie, interesting because neither of them have ever been anything but nice to her. But then the whole thing is just plain stupid. In any case, my hope is that John and Lucie will now be far enough away for Nancy to stop meddling. If I hear of anything else, though, I’ll be speaking to Mark about it.

We had a fun New Years Eve, but because my brother Steve’s family was unable to come after all (they were unfortunately all sick), I knew none of us was going to make it to midnight (they are the ones that keep going and going, like the Energizer bunny), so at my instigation, we toasted in 7:13 PM, which just happened to be the time we started the toast. Everyone thought that was very funny. I read the situation right, because all the guests were gone by 8:30 (we started at 5, at least we were supposed to; this was the only time in my life that most of the guests showed up 1/2 hour early), although John and Lucie and I attempted to sit up watching Amadeus. Unfortunately, we thought the DVD was defective because only the last half was on it, so we switched over to It’s a Wonderful Life, which turns out to be John’s Christmas movie. (As it was, the DVD wasn’t defective, but the movie was on BOTH SIDES of it! I had never seen that before. Unfortunately, we lost the DVD case before Wayne rescued the DVD from the trash. I dug through the trash for it but did not find it. Maybe it will turn up.)

Thursday was a day for the blahs, as John and I ended up staying up well after midnight (Lucie has seen It’s a Wonderful Life too many times to stay up for it), but at least we got some exercise. I had taken John to Moulton Falls Park a few days before, and he wanted Lucie to see it, so we went for a long walk there in the rain (going in two cars so that Luke could go, as Lucie is very allergic) and got very wet. In fact, it has continued to rain here almost every day for the last couple weeks, and the only letup will be if we get some snow. Right now, I see snowflakes on my phone for every day in the next week except Friday and Saturday, but the forecast highs seem too high for that to be likely, at least this week. Next week, it’s supposed to be colder.

On Friday morning, John and Lucie left, and I went into Battle Ground with Luke to take a walk with my friend Christine. We hadn’t seen each other for a while, and we both missed what have become our almost weekly coffees. We walked Luke from the park to Battle Ground Deli and had coffee. Luckily, it was one of the few days lately that was dry.

On Saturday Luke’s classes started back up, but unfortunately, I forgot about his Monday night class this week. That’s especially bad because this coming Saturday he’ll miss his class, for I’ll be out of town. The days when Wayne might have taken him to class are long gone. Luke won’t miss Puppy Play this week, though.

This week, we are back to our usual schedule with one exception. Maja and I are switching hiking day from Wednesday to Tuesday so that we can go to a tai chi class at the Battle Ground Senior Center. I have been looking for a tai chi class, since I took it for a few years in Austin, but until I happened upon a sign in the Community Center advertising this one, the nearest one I could find was in Vancouver, and it was expensive. As far as I know, this one is either free or inexpensive. I’ll find out today when I go.

Looks like a happy new year

We had a very nice Christmas morning with my brother John and his wife Lucie. My husband magically got me something I wanted, a nightgown I had marked in a catalog then decided not to buy. John and Lucie don’t really do presents, so we got them a pair each of alpaca socks so that they wouldn’t feel left out as we opened our presents.

Here is a picture of the decorated Christmas cake. It’s a work of art. (I’m sure Katrina probably finessed some of our work, because the mushrooms I made looked better than I remembered.)

In the afternoon, we made our veggies in preparation for the big dinner at my niece Katrina’s house. She made a Norwegian buffet for appetizers, and I’m afraid one cheese was so good that I ate way too much of it. Then the dinner, which I barely had room to eat, then the beautiful Christmas cake, decorated like a buche de Noel with mushrooms that we all made the Sunday before.

We were pretending it was Christmas Eve so that my sister Sue could be there for “Christmas morning” when the kids opened up their presents, since she worked the night before and slept in that afternoon until late. For once, though, she was there for Christmas dinner on Christmas. The kids got their presents from the people at the party early, though.

On Thursday and Friday, I went around with John and Lucie showing them different areas where they might find a place to live. They are renting, at least for the near future while they decide if they want to stay in that particular area. For what they want to pay, though, we were seeing some awfully small apartments.

However, yesterday they went out with Ares and Katrina to see some areas Ares recommends, and they ended up finding a house! It’s much farther away than we hoped, but I knew John thought a house on the beach would be nice, and they found one in Seaside, Oregon. It is larger than most of the places we looked at around Battle Ground, Vancouver, and Camas (except for one very nice but expensive two-bedroom in downtown Vancouver that we saw), but it is at a lower rent, an older cottage just a couple of blocks from the water. We are very excited because we will be welcome to visit them. It is furnished and has a room up in the attic with three beds in it as well as a guest room and a master bedroom, so several of us can go visit at a time. Right now, they are applying to live there, so we expect that soon they will have a home. I love the beach, although Wayne does not, so I am sure to be visiting soon.

Here is my newest painting.

On Thursday night, I finished the painting I had been working on since September. It’s another landscape but in colors very similar to my starfish. My teacher says I should do an animal with fur for my next painting, so I picked pigs, because everyone in the class does either cats, dogs, horses, or sort of exotic animals like lions and tigers. I decided to do a barnyard animal.


A merry Christmas lead-up

The big news for this week is that my brother John and his wife Lucie arrived here on Saturday after a leisurely trip from Madison. They had planned to arrive here on Sunday, but when they got a message referring to our planned baking day being Sunday, John decided he wanted to get here in time for that. So, they arrived about four PM.

You have to use your imagination a little to see that this is a Christmas tree of dogs on their places. There is Luke on the far left. He’s supposed to have all four paws on his place like the other dogs, but Luke always puts his front feet out. (I make him put them in at home.)

That morning, Enzo’s had its Christmas party. I was going to post the picture of Luke with Santa, but they didn’t post it on their Facebook page. I saw a lot of other dogs, but not him. That’s a little disappointing. I should have asked them to take a picture using my phone.So, here’s a picture from a few days earlier when they made a Christmas tree out of the dogs.

So, on Saturday John and Lucie got here, and there was lots of conversation. We took them out to dinner, and we stayed up very late talking.

Here is Katrina with the cake with just the moss on it, ready for the other decorations. I’ll take a picture of the finished cake today and post it next week.

On Sunday, Katrina scheduled baking day. The first thing we did was make marzipan mushrooms and holly for her cake. She at first intended to make a buche de Noël, but since she doesn’t bake often, I think that rolling the cake intimidated her. So, she found several examples of a regular cake decked out like a buche, and that’s what she decided to do. She made a three-layer cake with fruit in it and buttercream frosting, then she covered it in chocolate ganache, which she gave the texture of bark, and then she put pistachio moss on it. Once our mushrooms dry, she will decorate the cake with all the marzipan decorations.

The big group pictures didn’t come out that good, but here are John and Mischa hard at work.

After we finished the mushrooms, we decorated Christmas cookies. Each of us had a tray of cookies to finish. It’s always fun when the whole family does it. Sue wasn’t there, because she was tending a sick Mason, and Mark and Nancy didn’t come, but otherwise, we all helped.

On Monday, John, Lucie, and I went for a walk in Lewisville Park. After that, we went grocery shopping to get our things for the holiday dinner. Tuesday was a settling in day for John and Lucie, while I did the laundry and just puttered around and read. Wayne had an appointment, so he was out part of the day.



A white non-Thanksgiving

I noticed earlier in the week that we had a couple of ducks in our pond. I’m surprised. It seems rather late. We haven’t had nearly as many geese migrating overhead. Now they are gone, so perhaps we were just a short stop on their journey. Wayne saw two does in our orchard the other evening, so that’s two wildlife sightings in one week.

This last week has been strange because Enzo’s was closed, so there were no puppy activities. In addition, my pack walking ladies were all busy and so were my hiking friends. It was super cold earlier in the week, so I wasn’t good about getting out to get exercise. Now, it has warmed up a little.

Mischa looking very much the young lady before our tree

We treated Thanksgiving Day as a regular day except that my great niece, Mischa, came over to help me decorate the Christmas tree. We got it up and I put the lights on the day before. That went much more quickly ever since I switched over to the small LED lights. Before, I had LED lights that clipped onto the branches, and it usually took me several hours to get them all on. (I like lots of lights.) Now, I just drape them over the branches, and it takes me about 20 minutes.

Similarly, working with Mischa makes the decorating a snap. When I lived in Austin, it used to take me an entire weekend to decorate my tree, with lots of rest stops. Now with her helping and me in better shape, we finished the tree in an amazing two hours. Then we had lunch and played dominoes for a while before Mischa went back home.

On Saturday afternoon, I went with Shawn and a friend to Randy’s Christmas concert with the Portland Choir and Orchestra. This year, they played with the Big Horn Brass, and they had an impressive sound. However, I missed the bell ringers they’ve played with the past two years. Afterwards, the four of us went out to eat, and then Randy had to return for the second performance. Unfortunately for all of us here, Shawn and Randy are moving to Utah early next year.

I look this picture around 7 AM on Sunday. It’s just the front lawn and the driveway with a bit of snow.

Sunday morning, we awakened to our first snow fall, just a dusting of snow. Sunday was our non-Thanksgiving dinner, so I got up early to work on the turkey. It snowed just a bit again around 11:30 that morning and then proceeded to melt.

In mid-afternoon, we had 13 people to dinner. We had a very nice time, eating turkey, dressing, and all the fixings. Considering I had prepared only a small portion of the food, I was amazed by how tired I was when everyone left. I was just trying to get a load of dishes that my sister had rinsed off into the dishwasher, but I really wanted to just collapse into a chair.

This week, all the puppy events are back in force, so Luke and I went to class on Monday night. Unfortunately, he had a case of diarrhea when we arrived at puppy play on Tuesday and was sent home.  I should have tried to make up for this by taking him for a walk, but I got too involved in writing Christmas cards. However, Maja and I are taking him on our hike today.

Wayne’s project to expand the hanging capacity of the guest closet hasn’t progressed very far. It has resulted in two trips to buy more parts, and one day he spent a lot of time down in the basement planning it out. However, he turned on a heater down there yesterday because he said it was too cold to work, which I took as a good sign except he never went back down to work. I hope he’ll do some today while I am out. My brother and sister-in-law have made it to Taos so far on their slow journey out here, and I have been waiting to clean their room until I see how much mess Wayne has made in working on his project. At this rate, he’ll be halfway done when they arrive.

Working toward the holidays

This last week, Wayne and I did some preparation for the holidays. We shopped at World Market for stocking stuffers and went to the alpaca store to buy alpaca socks. I have presents for Wayne, my friends, and Mischa, but I still need to find things for two nieces, a nephew, a great nephew, and a second cousin, all kids. That reminds me that I need to find out how old the second cousin is.

A view across the marsh in the wildlife refuge

On Wednesday, Maja was still feeling a little under the weather, so we chose an easy place to hike, the Gibbons Creek Wildlife Art Trail in Washougal. This trail is in the Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge. It was a beautiful sunny day following several cold, rainy ones, and it was nice to see all the birds and one big fat nutria who couldn’t be bothered to leave the path. We had to walk around him. We just missed seeing an eagle. We were looking at a bird of prey scaring the water birds in the marsh and asked a guy with a large camera lens if he had seen it. He said no, he was looking at the eagle, which had just flown away. The path intersects with the Columbia River Dike Trail, so we spent a while on that. Nice day to walk along the river.

On Thursday, Wayne and I did our Thanksgiving shopping, or maybe we should say non-Thanksgiving. On Sunday afternoon, our family is having a non-Thanksgiving dinner that just happens to include turkey, dressing, and pumpkin pie. Since we moved out here, we’ve only had a Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday once, and that was because our family was out of town. My sister always works on Thanksgiving, and some of us are too politically correct to observe Thanksgiving. My niece always says it’s a stupid time to have a harvest festival and she observes hers at the autumn equinox. I haven’t broken to her yet that it’s not a harvest festival. Anyway, we are hosting our non-Thanksgiving dinner, so we bought a turkey and things for stuffing and my grandmother’s scalloped oyster recipe. I made sure there were going to be mashed potatoes and pies, and other than that, I’m not keeping track of who’s bringing what. This didn’t sit well with sister-in-law Nancy, who persisted in trying to make me tell her what to bring. Finally, she said she’d bring green beans, and I said fine.

On Friday I stopped into Bi-Zi Farms, a nice produce stand where I often shop, to see what they had. I was thrilled to see that they were setting up to sell Christmas trees, because last year we had a hard time finding a lot. We only found one in Battle Ground after driving all up and down the highway, which used to be lined with them. That lot had a choice of only a few trees of the size and type we like, and I have to admit that last year’s tree was quite scruffy but expensive. Bi-Zi Farms told me they would be selling trees the next day, so Wayne and I decided to go there after dog class to make sure we had a good choice, even though it’s quite early for us to put up a tree. I made arrangements with Mischa to help me decorate, as a week or so ago she told me that was her favorite part of last Christmas (a bit of an exaggeration, I’m guessing). However, when we came by on Saturday, they weren’t set up yet. They told me they still didn’t have prices from the owners.

If you look closely at the middle of this photo, you can see the heron we saw in the turtle pond at Salmon Creek Park. He’s sitting on the branch sticking out of the water.

On Monday, the pack walk devolved to me and Christine (and Luke and Duchess), so we decided to go somewhere else for a change. We drove to Salmon Creek Park, where Christine had never been, and had a good walk of about 3.5 miles.

On the way back, we passed by Bi-Zi Farms and saw they were set up to sell trees, so in the afternoon, Wayne and I went to Home Depot and then to buy our tree. We usually buy a big one, but this year, we had a choice of several really tall trees that looked a bit scruffy or a really nice seven footer. They told us the taller trees were not shaped as they grew. I sort of liked one of the nine-foot trees, but Wayne pointed out that it didn’t have very many branches for ornaments. So, we picked a seven-footer. It’s probably the shortest tree we’ve had in ten years, but it is also very pretty. I won’t need a ladder this year at all. We put it up Tuesday afternoon.

On Tuesday, snow was forecast for  1,000 feet, which is where we are, although the weather seemed to be going more toward the south of us. We were excited to see if we’d get some snow; however, the storm did go just to the south of us, and we got nothing but wind and colder weather. My sister Sue says we always get a big storm right at Thanksgiving. I guess this was it, but if so, it didn’t do anything to us.

Last night, Sue and I went to see the movie about Mr. Rogers, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. Two movies in two weeks, amazing! It is seldom that the little theater in Battle Ground has any movies for anyone older than 14. My sister was going to invite Mischa, but I told her I didn’t think it was a kid’s movie. I was right. It was a very touching and sweet movie, though, about a guy who is assigned to write a story about Mr. Rogers. You can’t go wrong with Tom Hanks, anyway.

My brother John has messaged us that he has the okay from his doctor to leave town. He and his wife Lucie have already emptied out their house in Madison and closing is today. They had originally decided to leave on Wednesday immediately after closing, but because of the storm in the Midwest, they are leaving Friday, heading for Taos, New Mexico. Eventually, they will come to our house to stay until they figure out where they want to live, somewhere in this area. We are all really excited. For their long-term stay, Wayne has started on a project to extend the hanging capacity of the guestroom closet, which only has a four-foot wire rack in it. The closet itself is huge, 12 feet wide. We’re going to extend the wire shelving to stretch across the whole thing, at least I hope that’s going to be the case. With Wayne it’s hard to know how quickly he’ll accomplish a task, or even if he will.


A more ordinary week

This week, Nancy asked if we wanted to go on a six-mile, moderate hike in Yacolt Burn, but I told her we had decided to do something super easy because I was recovering from being sick. Maja had already planned a harder hike with her on Tuesday. But Maja ended up getting sick, so she cancelled that hike and our Wednesday hike. Wayne had been supposed to take Luke to the groomer while I was hiking, but since I wasn’t hiking and Wayne was having back problems, I took Luke to the groomers. He looks very pretty now.

On Thursday, we had our people training for using Luke’s e-collar. It was amazing. One of the things Luke always does on the leash, even with a prong collar, is pull as hard as he can, despite me using the correction with the collar (a short jerk). I spent most of the time after learning about the controls walking around with Luke on his leash. He walked right next to me and didn’t pull on the leash at all. The only problem with this is that he seems to think he only has to do that at Enzo’s, so yesterday I took him down the road on his leash, and he did very well. I will have to do more practicing.

It was my birthday on Friday, and Wayne gave me a backup device (yippee! not!) and a nice Aran cardigan. The only reason I got a nice sweater was that I circled it in the catalog along with the color and size. I haven’t worn it yet, because I want to make sure that Luke has completely stopped jumping on me first. He would have it in snags in no time.

That day, I went over to Christine’s and we walked our dogs and had coffee. I always enjoy visiting Christine. She gave me a little jam container that I can use for tea parties.

My only birthday requirement is not to have to cook dinner, so we tried out a Szechuan restaurant in Vancouver that was opened by some Portland restaurateurs. I had the personal hotpot with lamb and broccoli added (it comes with tofu and leeks, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and wood ear) and for an appetizer, the Szechuan wontons in special sauce, which looked delicious in the picture on the menu. The hotpot was hot without having much other flavor. The sauce needed something. However, the wontons were fabulous. I ended up dumping some of my special sauce into the hotpot, which improved it. We will go there again, because Wayne’s food was also good, and good Chinese restaurants are few and far between here in Battle Ground and Vancouver. In fact, the ones we have been to in Battle Ground are horrible, and before this one we only found one mediocre one and one bad one in Vancouver.

Luke did much better in his Saturday class with the e-collar on.

On Sunday, my niece and her family and my sister took us to Portland for a birthday dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant. Yum! I am sure I gained five pounds, but I haven’t checked because there was no Weight Watchers meeting on Monday. After we stuffed ourselves to the gills with Ethiopian food, we went to Powell’s for about 45 minutes before taking ourselves off to Salt and Straw, Portland’s decadent ice cream parlor. Weight Watchers just went out the window. Several of our party tried an a salted caramel ice cream with bits of crispy turkey fat in it. It was really good, even though it sounds horrible. I just stuck to plain salted caramel.

That’s really about all of note for this week except that on my birthday, I also heard from my brother Steve, who lives in Seattle. He said that our cousin Amy, whom he had briefly visited when he took his oldest daughter down to school in L. A., was coming up for Christmas. I haven’t seen my cousin Amy since she was a little girl and I was in college. She lives in Spain, where she is a French hornist in an orchestra. She married an Icelandic man, Petúr, who was also in the orchestra. Sadly, her husband died last year, still young. She was invited to L. A. by a friend whose husband also recently died. So, she’ll be coming to visit Steve and co., and then they will bring her down here, along with her youngest son. Or, since Steve’s family is very disorganized, she may come here and they will come down later. My brother John and his wife Lucie know her, and they will be here, so it won’t matter which way it happens.

Finally, we’re started planning a non-Thanksgiving dinner for the Sunday after the holiday. I am hosting. We’ll see how everything works out.