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Weekend - Keeping Track

October 14-15, 2017
Written October 16+
Dear Diary and Friends and Family,

Weekends in retirement don't have the same role as when we worked for a living.  In the old days, weekends were a time to slow down, but now they are often times to to get busy.  However, what we consider "busy" may be less activity than "slow down" used to be.  Still, we do need a diary record from time to time.

On Saturday morning I needed some more photography practice, so I grabbed the new camera and went to my nearest photo location - the back yard.  It has everything I normally shoot: local crops, flowers, wildlife, still lives, and an artist's studio.

Our orange crop is looking good, although it is still a couple months until harvest.  The small maple tree remains just that - small.  In past years, it barely survived the hot summers, but I have learned to give it plenty of water.  It may not grow much, but it is no longer shriveling.  Speaking of small, our hummingbirds are also back. 
d171014_04_paintings.jpgOf course, our backyard includes a famous artist's studio.  I caught her practicing her color mixing.  A colorful spot indeed.

Speaking of color, our flowers are in their second season.  Spring is the first season, but after the summer dormancy, color returns.  The roses are not as perfect, maybe because bugs are more prevalent after summer than before.  (Can you spot the little guys on three of the four pictures?)

d171014_20_1035cambridge.jpg The big Saturday event was a 100th birthday party - for the house at 1035 E. Cambridge Avenue.  Blain and Ethan were celebrating the centenary of their freshly restored house.  Theirs is one of the oldest homes in the area, although not the first of our neighbors to use 100-years as an excuse for a party.  Nor the last, although our place needs 17 more years before joining the second-century club.

d171014_22_all.jpgThe party was well attended by both neighbors and other friends of our host and hostess.  Somehow, Blain even manged to get the whole bunch to pose on the front porch!

Otherwise, we all chatted as we normally do.  Always fun.

Dinner was catered by Casa de Tamales, an authentic local establishment.  The food was a hit, with the only complaint having to do with overeating!  (Personally, I gained at least two or three pounds!)

d171014_44_kids.jpgd171014_46_frontyard.jpgAfter dinner, the dozen or so young attendees enjoyed a free run of the front yards.  The neighbors who have lived on Cambridge for decades reminisced about the old days, when there were a couple dozen resident children.  Nowadays, only 1035 has kids (two), but we are all hoping for a new infusion of young-families-with-kids.  The noise is just delightful

d171014_50_contest.jpg The final event was announcement of the winners of the 1917 history contest.   The contest asked such knowable items as "Who was president in 1917" (Wilson) and the obscure ("Who won the World Series" (Chicago White Sox.)  To our own amazement, neighbor Annie and I tied for first place with four of seven right answers.  Luck, I have to say.
Actually, our whole experience on Cambridge Avenue has been lucky.  Established neighbors have welcomed us into their group, a great advantage as we moved from far away and needed all the local knowledge we could find. New neighbors, like Blain and Ethan continue to add to the welcome.  Thanks.

On Sunday, we headed across the San Joaquin Valley to the Cardella winery for their Fall Schizzo di Vino.  This is the event where wine club members pick up our Fall shipment and are treated to an afternoon party.  Always a good deal and this time the weather cooperated, with bright blue skies and perfect mid-70-degree temperatures.
This year, Marianne's mom joined us.  We had introduced her to wine tasting a couple years ago, at age 95, and she loves the Cardella setting.  So do we.  The owners have created a real Tuscan oasis, surrounded by immense valley fields and vineyards.

We arrived right at the 1:00 pm opening and our punctuality qualified us for a no-line walk through the buffet and a convenient table.  Marianne collected food, while I collected wine tastes.  In no time at all, we were all enjoying the food as well as the happy activity all around.    

Marianne even manged to see some people she knew, a surprise since we were pretty far from home.  She chatted with her grocery store manager and a pair of women who she sees regularly at Curves, the exercise place where women make up for excess wine and food.  All in all, a good balance.
Just behind the tasting facilities, the vineyards still had grapes in them.  However, when I got close to take a picture, and to sample the fresh grapes, I found they were more raisin than fruit.  In our last visit, I had learned that they only pick the best quarter or a third of the grapes to make the wine, and leave the rest.  Anybody want special raisins?

With that, it was time to drive home, until the Spring Schizzo.

What next?  An art benefit.  Stay tuned.

John and Marianne


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