From Fresno to Albany

March 17+, 2019

Dear Family, Friends, and Diary,

After Marianne's Art Hop showing, things settled back down to our quiet Fresno life. Despite the ordinariness of our activities, I do keep this record so we can remember, from time to time, ordinary life. We have found that past "ordinary lives" fade, if all we make note of are the extra-ordinary events.

old basement paintedIn the ordinary classification, I am getting around to cleaning up our small basement. The idea is to be able to carve out another workspace, this time for photo mounting, framing, and, hopefully, high quality printing. A couple of months ago, I had Tim the electrician install lights and power, and now Louis came in to paint the walls and floor. It looks good, but now I have to get to work.

FCCNext on the ordinary path was another community outreach meeting from the neighbor Community College. We started interacting with Fresno City College management as part of an effort to get student parking under control, since it directly impacts our neighborhood. Over the past few years, we have heard promises of new parking, but never enough specifics. Now, president Carol Goldsmith described a new four-level garage, on the far side of the campus. Building in just a year. Great for us!wine

Speaking of great, our Fresno winter ended. We are now starting the best time of the year, when we turn off the heater and don't turn on air conditioning for two or three months. Neighborhood porches are starting to accumulate wine drinkers every afternoon at 5. Marianne and I got a head start on Friday by adding white wine to our lunch on the patio.perched hawk

wingsflying hawkAnother harbinger of Spring has been the arrival of our Cooper's Hawks. This pair is hard at work remodeling last years nest in neighbor Clay's huge pine tree. They perch on the highest limbs in our cypress trees, looking for meals and picking off twigs for home.sharpener

vanOn Saturday morning, we needed to get some of our kitchen knives serviced. Budd (Julio) Solaegui drives his Perfect Edge workshop up from San Diego to the Fresno farmer's market once a month. Years ago, we bought good knives straight from German factories, and we value sharp kitchen cutting tools, so we go out of our way to have Budd do his magic.

post arrives

gardenHome chores done, we left for The Bay Area to deliver one of Marianne's art pieces. Her Monterey Mamo had commissioned a painted garden totem for brother Tom's 65th birthday. Part of the deal is that we show up for installation. It was all ceremony!

grassgirlsOf course, we were not going to just plant the post and leave, so Tom and Kate took us for a walk in their Albany neighborhood. It is a charming mixture of comfy houses and walkable city services. Withing a few blocks, we must have passed by a dozen recommended restaurants before we stopped at a garden shop where Marianne consulted while Kate selected a few additions for her front porch pots.

three folksmixerFor dinner, we got in the car and drove the few minutes over to Berkeley and a very crowded restaurant scene. Our hosts picked Comal, a large and very busy Mexican place that Kate swore had the best Margarita's in the country - the whole country. We sampled and won't argue. The food was good too.


After dinner, Tom took us on a drive through the University and up into the Berkeley hills. The neighborhood may be one of the nicest in California. Classic Arts and Crafts homes, our favorite style. The light and the view at the top was just spectacular, from the Oakland harbor and Bay Bridges across to a truly golden Golden Gate.

whole bay Oakland bridges Golden Gate

Sunday morning our B and B offered coffee, lox, and bagels. Thanks again.

With that, it was off to Fresno and a return to our ordinary lives. Next weekend, it will be more relatives in yet another favorite California location: Monterey. Stay tuned.

John and Marianne.