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Home Update and a Bit of Jazz

Sep 29 - Oct 12
written October 6 +
Dear Diary, Friends, and Families,

This is just another diary that we can refer to in the future when we ask ourselves: "What HAVE we been doing with all our time?"  We know that the big events stay in memory pretty well, but most of our time is spent doing something else.  Over the years, diary writing has given us a way to keep track of people, places, and events.  And if some of the recorded times seem pretty ordinary, that's the way it really is.

Currently, a fair amount of our time is taken up with caring for Marianne's mother.  Mamo is a couple of months short of her 95th birthday and lives by herself in her own home.  "By herself" may not be 100% accurate, since Marianne or her sister (or husbands) visit almost every day for meals, shopping trips, doctor visits, or just for chatting.  Our own meals-on-wheels program often includes restaurant excursions.
Lunch at Harris Ranch, a Fresno County landmark and one of the largest beef farming and feeding operations in the West.  On Sunday, it was a bit crowded, but a good excuse for a drive.
More locally, we have discovered Le Parisien Cafe, a nice French bakery for breakfast, lunch, or sweets-anytime.

Meanwhile, the garage and backyard garden projects seem to be wrapping up.
Rain gutters were the last of the contracted tasks, although I'm uncertain if the San Joaquin Valley will ever see enough rain to fill the drains.
As for our do-it-yourself back yard, I managed to finish all the "decomposed granite" paths.  After ten tons of material, they look nice, even if I do say so myself.

On October 4th, we finally inaugurated our bocce court with family and neighbors coming by to try their hands at the new game.  We sponsored Oktoberfest beer and bratwurst and neighbors contributed a wide array of "sides" to complete the celebration.
Guests included Cary Catalano, a candidate for Fresno City Council.  Cary needed to "work" with the voters, while the rest of us concentrated on eating and chatting.

(Friday am):

On Wednesday I said we were looking forward to "more  ordinary events -- Mamo meals-on-wheels, a wine-club "party" on Thursday, and a jazz dinner on the Cambridge Commons on Sunday -- plus whatever else we can come up with."

Well, we did fill Wednesday and Thursday with activities, as we all do every day.  However, I took no pictures and ended up with modern doubt: Did something happen if there are no pictures? Selfies-on-Facebook are the most ubiquitous examples of this practice of photographing normal activities to make them "real", but this 15-year-old diary may be just a different flavor of the same process.  I don't DO Facebook, but maybe I shouldn't be so critical of those that do. 

In any event, for the sake of our diary, I'll try to remember that even written words can be our record.

On Wednesday we did at-home things.  Marianne in the Art Hut and me in the back yard mostly.  She is managing a bit more time lately out there, but still not as much as she would like.  There are just too many chores.  On Thursday morning we continued the same at-home activities and in the afternoon we went to the Fresno State Winery club wine distribution.  There we met Jody Gomes, the club president and Kevin Smith, the head of winery marketing, both nice folks combining academics and economics in an atmosphere of wine. Next month, we have scheduled both a wine class and a wine maker's dinner via the Fresno State connection, so even if the products are just ok, the experience and education should be worthwhile.

From there it was dinner and overnight with Mamo.  Marianne did a great "paprikas krumpli" (Hungarian sausage and potato soup) and Marianne and I split a nice bottle of Paso Robles wine.  We all enjoyed a bit of talking, something that has been made possible by our return to America.  As planned.

On Friday, we had the very last (I hope) contracted garage task: storage decking over part of the ceiling.  I think this will become the absolute dead end for all our storage!  After the weekend, I would also install a picture hanging system for the garage, so Marianne and I will have more wall space for paintings and photos.  Maybe not YOUR idea of a garage, but it makes sense to us.  I also installed the historical society plaque by our front door, proclaiming for all that this is the 1934 Peckinpah Home.  (Yes, Sam did live here, but the house was named for his parents, the original owners.)
Storage and Display
Front Plaque
Friday Dinner - Snacks, Our Favorite

Our really big event was Sunday jazz-on-the-commons.  Neighbor Joan had arranged the services of two music professors from the neighboring community college and they treated us to some very nice music.  Joan's husband Vern was "forced" into a few vocals with the group, something he loves to do and does really quite well.  The crowd included grown children of the Cambridge neighborhood residents and Cary Catalano, who very quietly asked for votes in the upcoming city council election. A very special afternoon with neighbors.

Vern and the jazz players
Folks, young and not-so
Cary's campaign Nash Metropolitan
Now the first half of October is behind us.  It is amazing how quickly the calender moves on.  We have
noticed that the rest of 2014 is getting booked with visitors, a reunion, trips to see kids, wine "education", birthdays, Thanksgiving, and the inevitable eight-stops-in-15-days that will be our Maryland and Virginia trip in early December.

I'll try to keep this diary current, so we remember everything.  As we age, the importance of memories grows, even as the ability to remember shrinks a bit.  Hence, the technology.

John and Marianne


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