Saturday, March 25, 2017

SOLSC 25: Baseball Season Coming Up

            Opening day is just over a week away. So today I took the train to Connecticut to meet a group of New York Mets fans that has been meeting just before the season starts for almost 35 years. The group started as part of a Bill James initiative called Project Scoresheet.* The Project organized groups of fans for each major league team to score games with its computer database, and those groups met just before the season started to divvy up who would score which games. I joined the group in 1990, shortly before Project Scoresheet disbanded. But our group captain was a sociable organizer, and the group continued to meet every March, to discuss baseball and the fate of the Mets, and play baseball trivia.
            I’m not great at baseball trivia. I don’t remember who pitched, or even won, the first game I ever saw. I can’t tell you the lineups, positions, or numbers of every player on the New York Mets since their creation. But I know enough to guess that it was Tom Seaver who made 11 opening day starts for the Mets. I know that Terry Pendleton of the Cardinals hit a home run that dashed the Mets hopes for winning the NL East for a second year in a row (I was there). I know just enough not to make a fool of myself in a friendly baseball trivia game.
            Today we met at the Cask Republic, a bar/restaurant serving a multitude of craft beers. Everyone but me lives in Connecticut, so South Norwalk is a central location. These occasions are the only time I drink beer, but today I went for a very exotic sangria mix (it included coconut rum). In between eating, entering the Mets 2017 wins pool, and playing trivia (I came in last), we watched the UConn women beat UCLA.
            I donated Jack’s two Mets hooded sweatshirts – too big to fit me – as prizes, and showed around the rookie baseball card for Darryl Strawberry that I was given while in California, by a friend of a friend’s husband who happened to have been Strawberry’s high school Government teacher. When he learned I was a big Mets fan, he gave me the laminated card.
            There was still hulking piles of dirty snow here and there in Norwalk.

But the train station had some very interesting historic artwork, characteristic figures of many eras, from a Civil War soldier (right) to civil rights marchers (left).

*Bill James is a baseball historian and statistician, and Project Scoresheet was a method of scoring games for computer input and collecting the information to sell to fans and teams. It was supplanted by Stats Inc. and the Elias Sports Bureau. I love this scoring method because it counts balls and strikes.)

Friday, March 24, 2017

SOLSC 24: Mammogram Time!

            Women, you all know what this is like. Men, if you read this, try to empathize with your wives or girlfriends.
            When my daughter was going for her first mammogram, I had to tell her it wouldn’t feel pleasant. Your breast is treated as a hunk of meat. Mine are relatively small, so I hesitate to think of what it must be like for women with large breasts.
            You probably have to wait, first in the waiting room. Then you are called and shown a changing room with a locker, or maybe the lockers are full, so you’re offered a large plastic bag for your belongings. Undress down to the waist. If you’re lucky, the radiology center will have cloth gowns, not those paper ones. Then you wait some more, in the inside waiting room.
            Then your technician calls your name and leads you to the exam room. She will most likely be from an East European country. I’ve had technicians from Russia, from Azerbaijan, from Ukraine.
            The room will be cold. Very cold. That’s for the health of the scanning machine. Cloth gowns will be marginally warmer than paper. You lower the gown to your waist so the technician can attach labels, first to cover your nipples, then to indicate any brown spots aka liver spots or keratoses.
            Finally, the scan machine. The right breast is placed flat, squeezed down by a plastic frame just to the point of pain. One arm is placed under the main structure, the other up and onto a hand-rest. You feel like a stage set in a piece of choreography. You are instructed not to move, not to breathe.
            Same for the left breast. The machine is moved at an angle, breast positioned. This time your arm is held over your head with your chin turned away, your other arm down and around the edge of the machine. Don’t move, don’t breathe. Other breast, don’t move, don’t breathe.
            Finally, the technician checks the scans to see if she has to take any more pictures.
            When it’s a routine annual exam, which mine was today, I don’t even think about results. I don’t think about my sister’s experience more than 20 years ago, when she had her first diagnosis, or five years later for her second diagnosis, or eight years after that with her third, and final, diagnosis.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

SOLSC 23: Agitating in the Cold

            It was about 34 degrees just before noon today when I set out for a little politicking. Our local state senator was elected as a Democrat, but she is part of something called the Independent Democratic Conference, eight state senators who vote with the Republicans to give them the majority in our state Senate, even though elected Democrats are the majority.
            (Why do they do it? The Republicans promise them committee chairmanships, staff, and funds, which they didn’t think they’d get from their Democratic compatriots. One result is that a single-payer health system, which the state Assembly has passed, is blocked in the state Senate.)
            With IL, a neighbor, we set up a table near the farmers’ market. I handed out leaflets explaining what we were for, and my IL asked people to sign a petition asking this state senator to either come back to the Democrats or resign.
            But it was cold. Really cold. And breezy on the corner where we stood. Most people walking by had their hands in the pockets and didn’t want to take them out. The pen for signing the petition seemed to be freezing. IL managed to get at least a dozen people to sign, and she had some good conversations. I’m not so good at conversing, but I know how to hold leaflets so passers-by can see what it’s about before they ignore it, or take one. 
            When my fingers began to feel frostbit, after about 45 minutes, we decided we’d done enough good work for the day. Packed up our gear and headed home for a warm lunch.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

SOLSC 22: Prepping

            This evening is one of my book groups. We’ve read Hidden Figures, on which the movie was based. I’d say that this is one case when seeing the movie first is better than reading the book first, since the movie covers only about the last quarter of the book. But both are excellent and highly recommended.
            The book also has a tiny bit of personal connection for me. The human computers worked at Langley Field, and the book starts during World War II. My father worked at Langley, first as a lab assistant in 1939, and soon as an engineer. I was born down the road in Newport News, and we moved away, to Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, in 1943, just as the first of the women highlighted, Dorothy Vaughan, applied for a job at Langley. Alas, my father died four years ago, so I can’t ask him which computers he knew or worked with. He would have loved this book.
            To prepare for the book group, I usually write a book summary, so I can make sure I make all the points about the book I want to. That needs to be done this afternoon. I also have to bring a dish for our potluck dinner. My contribution today will be a beet salad, with a mustardy vinaigrette, scallions, and pine nuts, and surrounded by sauteed beet greens, the best part. So the beets are cooked, and now it’s time for cutting up and mixing together.
            Looking forward to tonight.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

SOLSC 21: More Political Action

            My cross-the-hall neighbor invited me to join her today at a protest against the Medicaid block grants part of the “repeal and replace Obamacare” bill. I met her downtown at the Federal Office Building, where we joined around 150 people with some of the following signs.

            It was a pleasant day, sunny, not too cold – it’s the second day of spring, after all. After about  40 minutes, the demonstration was over. My neighbor and I met a friend of hers for lunch at a quite nice Italian restaurant with this peculiar sign on the door.

“[G]ently... pull... hard”? We did have to pull very hard on the door to get it open, but “gently”? Don’t know how to do that.
            On the way home, I couldn’t resist this shot of the snow still piled along the curb on Broadway.

The snow is slowly shrinking, but we’re getting a cold snap in the next few days, so what remains is going to freeze hard. O Spring, when will you arrive to stay?

Monday, March 20, 2017

SOLSC 20: Yesterday’s Events

            Here’s what I did yesterday. I walked across 110th Street aka Central Park North to a book reading by a friend, Robert Roth. Alas, I was too late for Robert’s reading from his latest, Book of Pieces, containing poems, stories, essays. But another writer, Frank Murphy, was reading from A Great Disorder when I arrived, and his poems were quite amusing. “The Good Man Is Shaped Like a Banana Peel” suggests all the bad things that could happen as a result of one good deed. “Crossing Over” is about Manhattanites’ reluctance to go to Brooklyn. And “The Art of Losing It” relates many meanings of “lost”: the ways we can lose things or people or be lost or lose a train of thought. (You can find both books through Google Books.)
            Next I walked back across 110th Street to a Cookies and Postcards party. Our hostess made cookies and provided a list of addresses of Cabinet secretaries, legislators, and the president and his staff, as well as ideas for who to write to about whatever issue was most important to us. I wrote to the president; Scott Pruitt at the EPA; a thank you to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and also a thank you to James Mattis, secretary of defense, because he thinks climate change is real and is a national security issue, and maybe he can persuade Scott Pruitt of that fact. The only people I knew were the hostess and her mother, but I met a couple of people I may get to know better. It was energizing to feel that I was doing something positive. I know the people the postcards are addressed to will never read them, but someone on their staffs will, and perhaps it will make some of them think differently.
            And I may organize such a party myself soon. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

SOLSC 18: Boring Day, but Interesting Evening

            A lot of catching up today, cleaning up the to-do list. That’s the boring part.
            Tonight I’m going to an Orpheus Chamber Orchestra concert. If you don’t know about Orpheus, check them out. They are a leaderless ensemble; a small group of musicians work together to develop the orchestra’s arrangement for each piece, and have been playing and touring for more than 45 years. You can read about their process here and see their calendar here. They play mostly in New York, but will be in Winona, Minnesota, in July, for the Minnesota Beethoven Festival.
            Tonight, their soloist is a cellist, Alisa Weilerstein, and the program includes a Schumann Concerto for cello, as well as a Mendelssohn, a Schubert, and a Webern (they always include a modern piece).
            Jack and I had a three-concert series with them for years, and I’ve kept it, now including my daughter, good friend GirlGriot, and adding another writing friend next season. It will be peaceful.

Friday, March 17, 2017

SOLSC 17: Random Conversation Not Pursued

           I was at the gym today, on the stationary bike. Each cardio machine has a TV attached, and if there weren’t one, I could never force myself to keep going. The time, pace, and speed numbers are helpful, but not alone. I need something that will take my mind away from my legs pumping away.
            Usually I watch the Food Network. Ina Garten, Giada De Laurentiis, Rachael Ray are my favorites. Then I remembered that the Mets are playing a spring training game, and there they were, leading 4-1, and while I watched, they scored 6 more runs. Yay!
            Next to me two men were talking, and when I glanced at what was on their screens, it was the joint news conference with Trump and Angela Merkel. The two men were discussing Trump, his words, how Merkel was responding to him, and what to believe.
            I was strongly tempted to join in. I wanted to ask whether they’d seen the Gail Collins column in the New York Times a week ago, in which she talked about the three versions of Trump.
Reasonable Chatting Trump is pleasant but useless. Unscripted Trump is pretty close to nuts. And then there’s the Somewhat Normal Republican Trump, who we enjoy calling SNORT.”
            The trouble was, I could only remember “Reasonable Chatting Trump,” and I thought it would sound lame if I couldn’t bring up all three. I tuned my screen to the channel covering the news conference, thinking I might hear something I could use to enter this conversation. Since my husband died, I’ve missed the casual comments that come up when there is another person around. I’d seen these two men at the gym many times, though I’d never spoken to them. Another woman would have joined in, I thought, but how do I become that woman? Maybe I will be that woman another day. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

SOLSC 15: Frustration, Then Accomplishment

            What a day! It began with almost no sleep, who knows why. Maybe delayed, extreme jet lag?
            Visit to my doctor for annual checkup, and I am pronounced healthy. Good news, after spending a week and a half with a couple recovering from pneumonia, and returning home to a cold. Lungs clear, blood pressure normal, pulse normal.
            Outside it is COLD. I choose not to go to the rally in support of the Reproductive Health Act, designed to keep the Roe v. Wade framework as New York State law. There will be a rally at Governor Cuomo’s New York City office every Wednesday until this bill passes, and given how slowly our Republican-led state senate moves, I know there will be more, and not so cold, Wednesdays to demonstrate.
            After lunch with homemade chicken soup, I call the public library to find out why the e-book I borrowed three days ago will not download on my iPad. After my phone hangs up in the middle of my tech support for the third time, I move to another chair in my living room. The woman on the phone suggests I uninstall, then reinstall the e-book reading app. Which I do. Which works. Of course, it’s the old “plug-unplug” that seems to work for all electronic devices.
            Now I am off to the gym and to start reading my next book group book, Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants. Maybe there will be some tips for future political protests.
            And I’m getting my Slice in before late evening. Another accomplishment.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

SOLSC 14: Snow Storm Stella

            Yes, even snow storms get names these days, though where were the storms with names beginning with A-R?
            I only went outside my apartment today to take photos of my street, looking west and east. (And technical difficulties are preventing me from uploading the view looking west. Very frustrating.)

We got less snow than forecast, 4 inches in Manhattan instead of 8-12 inches. North of the city, there were 18 inches in Highland Falls, 55 miles up the Hudson, but no measurable amount in Sea Bright, New Jersey, to the south.
            But it was quite windy, and on my street, it’s always more windy because it comes off the Hudson River. So since my cold is taking hold on my lungs and I didn’t need to go out, it was better to stay indoors.
            My lobby does offer flowers to cheer our mood. They change every few weeks – a professional flower-arranger lives in the building.

Monday, March 13, 2017

SOLSC 13: Prep Work

            I had an errand that took me all the way downtown this afternoon and then the Post Office. When I came home, I intended to immediately go back out and restock my refrigerator, which I’d emptied out before my travels.
            Once I sat down, though, fatigue took over, and I lay down for a nap. An hour later, I got up, made a shopping list, and went to the store. Where, at the entrance, I was directed to the “very short wait, short line.”
            There is a blizzard forecast, with snow starting around midnight and continuing all day. So maybe people are panicking just a bit? The line was not so short. I waited 10 minutes. Some people passing by said, “This is crazy!” A woman who said she lived above the store and shopped sometimes twice a day: “This is hysterical,” she said.
            Once I got in, there was no problem. The store was still well-stocked. I didn’t have long to wait to pay, and since I was paying cash, I wasn’t affected by the computers processing credit and debit cards going down briefly.
            Bring on the blizzard.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

SOLSC 12: Getting Sick?

            This will be brief, because it’s late, and I think writing on the computer after 9 p.m. is disturbing my melatonin.
            In California, my hosts were recovering from very bad colds, as well as pneumonia. We thought they were no longer contagious, and maybe they weren’t and I got this budding cold from the flight home, always a possibility. In any case, I couldn’t sleep last night, and today I’ve have all my usual cold symptoms.
            I’m going to bed soon, and hope I can beat this. Ginger and honey tea sounds like a good idea. And lots of vitamin  C.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

SOLSC 11: What Is the Meaning of Life, and Death?

            Can you imagine a medieval morality play adapted as a 21st century performance? Branden Jacobs-Jenkins has, and I saw his work, Everybody, at the Signature Theatre this afternoon. It was very cleverly done, and it would be useful for our current president and vice-president to see it as well, though that’s not likely. It’s only playing through March 19.
            It’s based loosely on the 15th century English play Everyman, which may have been based on an earlier Dutch play, we’re informed by the usher, who shortly is possessed by God, who is rather angry at what his creation humans are doing to the rest of his creation on Earth. God orders Death to bring Everybody to Him to give an account of themselves.
            Death is an elderly white woman (God was, temporarily at least, an African-American woman), who picks several people out of the audience – at first we’re not sure whether they are ordinary spectators or plants, real actors. They are needless to say not very happy to be summoned by Death, and they are not even sure it’s happening. Maybe it’s a dream. Death concedes that Everybody can bring someone with them, but can’t tell them how to give that account of themselves.
            One actor (and a different one at each performance, chosen by lot, as so much happens to us all by chance) takes on the role of Everybody and tries, successively, to get Friendship, Kinship, and even his Stuff to die with him, but each one demurs. Friendship’s speech is a perfect amalgam of all the generic ways we think friendship exists (“Remember that time...?” “We had the best night...” “You know that joke...” without any specifics). Everybody’s encounter with his Stuff hit particularly close for me, as Everybody described all the ways that I use my stuff to remember my life and reveal its meaning to me.
            Love is the only character who finally agrees to go with Everybody, not a Love that a Hallmark card would recognize, forcing Everybody to humiliate himself. But once Everybody can surrender to this Love, the strobe lights and disco music come on, and two larger than life skeletons come out to dance, a perfect 21st century recreation of medieval visions of death.
            This play deserves more than its brief run, and there’s so much more that could be said about it. It made me think not only about everyone’s inevitable death, but about my husband’s so recent one. I found myself wishing I could tell his dead self about the play and ask whether he identified with any of Everybody’s thoughts or feelings
-->  as he was about to die. An eerie, thoughtful experience.

Friday, March 10, 2017

SOLSC 10: Getting Organized

            After opening all the mail accumulated while I was away, I simply put it into piles. Today I sorted through the piles, and gave in to my propensity to make list
1. 2 New York Review of Books
2. 3 New Yorkers. The anniversary issue at the end of February has always been a reproduction of the original cover in 1925, showing a dandy named Eustace Tilley.

That issue this year is a satire of that cover.

3. 4 The Nation
4. Poets & Writers
5. Milk Street (a new cooking magazine by the founder of Cook’s Illustrated)
6. 6 newsletters, including the Hightower Lowdown, Church & State, Healthy Aging, and Mind, Mood & Memory
            Then there were my pension checks, bank statements, and donation receipts for tax reporting. Also a bill from a doctor who saw my husband briefly in his last days in the hospital, 15 months ago. Can it really take Medicare that long to process bills?
            Finally, solicitations for donations from the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Humanist Association, Planned Parenthood of New York City, the Hospice Support Fund, and the ACLU. I’ll give money to some of these organizations after I check out the ones I don’t known on Charity Navigator. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

SOLSC 9: Coming Home

            I arrived home this morning, after the overnight flight from California. Coming into the empty apartment was melancholy, with no one to say, “Welcome home, baby,” and give me a big hug and kiss. I had to whisper “welcome home” to myself, a poor substitute for Jack’s voice.
            Everything was as I left it, the eggs I’d left for Christie gone from the refrigerator. But as I wheeled my suitcase to my room, I was surprised to see books on the floor. They’d fallen off a bookshelf. Why? How?

 The brackets holding the shelf were all there. The sides of the bookcase were in place. I replaced everything, but it was unsettling. I don’t really believe it was Jack’s ghost urging me to get rid of books – but there was one book that was a duplicate (The Encyclopedia of New York City), and I’ve been meaning to donate it to a library. It went onto the pile by the front door.
            In the evening I opened 25 days’ worth of postal mail, which took an hour and a half! Most of it was junk, but there were a few bills I’d forgotten to take care of, some checks, and several magazines. Lots of reading to catch up with. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

SOLSC 8: A Walk in the Park

            My last day in Watsonville, it’s in the upper 60s, and Heidi and I go for a walk to Pinto Lake City Park (not to be confused with Pinto Lake County Park at the other end of the lake). While it looks like we are in the country – there are agricultural fields between the settlements of houses – there is also a sidewalk. It’s not well maintained in spots, and lots of vegetation on either side, but a sidewalk nonetheless, which is more than one would find in this terrain in the east. A big plus for California.
            After the torrential rains last month, most of the park was submerged until last week. Most of the water has receded by now, but there is still more lake/less park than there should be. Some park benches and tables are knee-deep in water. One man had waded out to a table now yards out in the lake to fish.
          Those birds in the water are not ducks; they are coots. Have you ever heard of a coot? I never had. They have long legs, and their feet aren’t webbed like ducks, but each of their claws has its own webbing, and as they walk, they look like they are wearing too-big galoshes.
            That water between the paved area and pier is not normal; it’s left over from the flooding. You should be able to walk from the paved area to the pier without getting your feet wet.

            Three-year-old William (shown above) and his five-year-old brother, Connor were also out with their father shouting at the coots, but Heidi’s dogs were a much bigger attraction. I didn’t have my phone with me, so I can’t show you the two dogs, Zoe and Pippin, on a double leash, but here they are back home, tired out from all that exercise.

            The park is a peaceful grassy place, with a volleyball net, a baseball field, RV camping area, and a three-tree redwood grove dedicated to the pioneer ancestors of Mary Curtis. Pinto Lake is 10,000 years old, but parts of it are now afflicted by toxic algae, and swimming is not allowed.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

SOLSC 7: Protest Time

            A construction company called Graniterock, in Watsonville, where I am visiting, is considering a bid on building Trump’s wall. This afternoon I went with Heidi, my host, to join a protest against the company, hoping to persuade them that building a wall is not the best way to use their resources.
            In the morning we brainstormed what her sign should read. Heidi wanted to use a word or two from the company’s statement to local newspapers, that it remained neutral in terms of politics, as well as what projects would be better for the company to be working on. “Infrastructure” came readily to mind, but that’s just too long for a sign and doesn’t work as a catchy slogan.
            “Neutral” was also an important word. How about “A wall is not neutral.” Perfect. Adding “It’s mean” added a bit of an edge. Heidi’s daughter suggested, “It’s un-American,” as a better ending.
            Heidi found black poster board, a backing board to stiffen the sign, and double-sided tape to fuse the two together. Then she outlined the words to make sure everything would fit, and filled in the colors with acrylic paint. Here’s what the final result looked like, held by a neighbor's child.

            Then we got a ride to the company’s office, in an area of warehouses. Maybe 40 people were there when we arrived, but the sidewalk eventually filled with at least 200. More than half the passing drivers honked in support. A few of the organizers tried to meet with company officials, but were told they had to make an appointment, and there was no one there to make an appintment with at that time. So we continued holding up our signs for another hour, until the sun set. Here are some of the signs others brought.


SOL 6: Is a Comedy-Horror Movie an Oxymoron?

            This afternoon we all went to see Jordon Peele’s (of Comedy Central’s Key & Peele show) first movie, Get Out. It’s billed as a comedy-horror film, which may sound like a contradiction in terms, but really does work.
            I am not a fan of horror films, but I have watched one or two just to see what it’s all about. I do love comedy, and while Get Out is not funny-haha, it has plenty of dark humor. The film takes all the necessary features of horror – the naïve protagonist confronted with open doors he can’t resist, characters who act strangely, characters who are not who they seem, scary walks outside at night, a cellphone mysteriously removed from its recharge cord, and plenty of gore at the end – with a twist that takes cultural appropriation a step beyond.
            Instead of the innocent young (always white) woman, we have an innocent young black man who is the central character, as Rosie, white, brings her new boyfriend, Chris, home to meet her liberal parents in their home in the woods. Rosie’s father is a neurosurgeon, her mother a psychiatrist who uses hypnotism. Hypnotism is the entry toward Chris’s lack of control.
            The opening scene is a classic horror scene, but also replicates the very real fear black men feel walking on a tree-shaded suburban street at night. As Chris becomes more unnerved in this strange house, he tries for reality checks by calling his friend Rod, a TSA agent, and Rod is more than a bystander. The underlying plot is wholly consistent, and weirdly believable. I can’t say more without spoilers, so I’ll leave you with a recommendation to see this movie, and an interview with Peele, the writer and director.
            Among the four of us, two really liked it, one somewhat liked it, and one was not sure. But we all found something to like and to talk about, and what more can you ask of a movie?
I'm posting this too late to meet the Two Writing Teachers' deadline, but I am committed to writing a slice every day, to keep up with the challenge. 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

SOL 5: Lazy Sunday

            Even on vacation, Sunday can be lazy. While my hosts get the weekday New York Times delivered, they don’t get the weekend papers, meaning no Magazine section, meaning no Sunday crossword puzzle.
            Their local paper, however, the Santa Cruz Sentinel, has a big New York Times crossword puzzle, which must come from the Magazine. Since neither of my hosts does the puzzle, I have it all to myself. It’s late afternoon, and I’ve done a bit over half of it. I haven’t yet figured out the overall theme, i.e., what weird PUN-ishment editor Will Shortz is offering us for clues with a question mark. (Ah, just got some in-house help: “Celebration after a coup?” is “uprisersparty.”) And some of the clues have bad definitions: “Detergent brand with a fabric in its name” turns out to be “woolite”; no, “wool” is not a fabric, it’s a yarn or thread.

            For lunch we have the California version of a BLT, which adds an avocado. For the L, I go to the backyard, to a half-wine barrel, where lettuce is growing. It’s chilly and windy, so I put on a jacket, scarf, and hat, strange clothing for a vacation in Central California. I’ve never picked lettuce before: should I pull the whole plant, or break off the leaves near the root so new ones will grow? Obviously, the latter. The BLT&A is the best I’ve ever had.
            Soon after lunch, it begins to rain – while the sun still shines. In this area of the country, when that happens it’s said that the devil is beating his wife. Back in New York it could also be a monkey’s wedding or a fox’s wedding, or even liquid sun. 
I’m participating in the 10th annual Slice of Life Challenge over at Two Writing Teachers. This is day 5 of the 31-day challenge.  It’s not too late to make space for daily writing in a community that is encouraging, enthusiastic, and eager to read what you have to slice about.  Join in!

SOL 4: Monterey

            I set off again for Monterey today, this time with my nephew Geoff and his girlfriend, Jess. On this gorgeous sunny, crisp day, we did make it to this small city at the southern end of Monterey Bay, home to Steinbeck's Cannery Row and the Monterey Aquarium with its guide to sustainable seafood.
            First we had lunch at a lovely little (and I do mean little, only six tables) Lebanese restaurant called Paprika, where Jess and I had the garlic chicken salad, and Geoff had the Kafta Kebab platter. All the food was delicious, and the pita was light and tasty as well. The owner cooks all the food from recipes he learned from his mother, so even what made the lemonade special was a secret.
            By the time we finished lunch, it was too late to get to the Aquarium considering how expensive admission is ($50 for the younger people; $40 for me). Instead we walked down to the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail in Pacific Grove and walked along the paved path to the rocky point you can see at the right of the photo at the top of this Web page, just over a mile. Along the way we stopped to watch seals hiding in the water, quantities of seagulls, a cormorant, and perhaps some white pelicans. The views, the sun, the sea... a delightful afternoon.

There are five seals near the beach; how many can you see?

View across Monterey Bay
Is that a gull or a pelican on rocks?

Monterey cypress

I’m participating in the 10th annual Slice of Life Challenge over at Two Writing Teachers. This is day 4 of the 31-day challenge.  It’s not too late to make space for daily writing in a community that is encouraging, enthusiastic, and eager to read what you have to slice about.  Join in!