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Weekend Plus (What?)

August 27-31, 2016
Written August 30+
Dear Diary, Friends, and Families,

OK, the boys' families' visits are behind us and we have returned to our normal, quiet, (boring?) life.  Summer is winding down and that's a good thing here in Fresno.  Staying below 100F is fine with me and for a week now, we've done that.  We have even had a day or two with NO air conditioning so I may work up enough nerve to look at our electric bill.  In fact, these days with highs in the mid-90's and lows in the mid-60's may be my favorite weather (although a bit cool for someone else in the household.)
Our big event for the week was a Friday visit to the St. George Church Greek Festival.  This annual event has been recommended to us every year, but it always seemed like we were gone or busy for the weekend celebration.  This year, we were home in Fresno and decidedly not busy.

d160826_04_inside.jpgd160826_06_altar.jpgWe started out with a tour of the St. George Orthodox Church, a nice reminder of our European church-touring days.  Marianne thought it resembled Kiev's Orthodox churches, but to me it was more like the ornate Bavarian church interiors.  The priest and parishioners were there, eager to explain their building and their Christian Faith.  Both explanations were impressive.
By reputation, the main attraction of the Greek Festival is food, and we needed to test the rumors.  We started with the lamb shank meal, accompanied with diet-worthy (not) moussaka, stuffed olive leaves, and such.  My meat was good, but Marianne thought her sheep had walked all the way to the Festival.

There was no question that the pastries were good!  We disciplined ourselves, a little, but will admit to sampling treats both for Friday dessert and as take-home for later in the weekend.
After the food, we toured the arts and crafts booths, but I considered it a success because we didn't actually buy anything.  Two or three stages offered Greek and regular American music to properly flavor the festival
So, now we've been to the annual Greek Festival and we will come back.  Why not visit and join us in 2017?

Saturday was less exciting.  Marianne had promised herself a day full of painting, so I was by myself for the morning run to a nearby farmer's market.  Fresno has farmer's markets every day, I think, and this particular Saturday market specializes in organic vegetables and fruit.  This time of year I just love the fruit selection from our local farms and by buying "organic" we can convince ourselves that they are all wonderful and healthy.  (The market also offers organic cookies, chocolates, and pastries, but I stayed strong THIS week.)
I am not sure if I did anything else worthwhile all day.  I suppose I went to the gym, an activity that seems worthwhile to us now, but that was about it until a 5 pm glass of wine with neighbor Vern.  All the other neighbors had left for the mountains, beach, or San Francisco, but it was nice just hearing Vern's stories and telling our own.

Meanwhile, Marianne did have her chance to paint, uninterrupted.  At the end of all this, we arranged a simple BBQ dinner, so she could get in just a bit more art-time.  Nice, quiet, day.

Sunday was picnic day.  With the weather cooling down enough to spend some time outside, we decided to take Mamo out for wine tasting and a picnic at Cardella Winery, near Mendota.  (For the non-natives, Mendota is about as middle-of-nowhere as we have around here, but surrounded by farms and orchards that feed California, America, and, for some crops, the world.)
Suzanne welcomed us at the Cardella wine-tasting room.  She explained the choices on offer and we selected ones we did not have from our last visit, just a couple of weeks ago.  We managed to try nine new wines, and I think approved of all of them.  Mamo only sampled about half, but left happy and interested in another wine tasting as soon as we can manage it.  At 96-years of age, she's getting into this California life style.

So, now we are back to our normal week: visits to gyms, doctors, stores, and all the other things that it takes to be retired.  Absolutely nothing worth remarking on yet, so we probably need to work on that.  Stay tuned.

John and Marianne


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