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April 14 to 27 - maybe
Written April 23+
Dear Diary and Friends and Family,

Not much is happening, but I wanted to write anyway.  Therapy for me, but maybe just killing time for you.

On the 14th, we went to the 90.7 KFSR Jazz and Wine Festival. Neighbor Vern had recommend we attend and we were glad to support the local Fresno State University radio station and their jazz offerings.  Vern hosts a jazz session twice a week, a job he says keeps him out of the bars.  Best 88-year-old DJ in California.
The Festival was held at the home of the FSU president, so we also got a chance to see Fresno's own White House.  Pretty nice fringe benefit, but I can hardly imagine how difficult the job of University president is, nice house or not.
Wine tasting was courtesy of the Fresno State Winery, an award-wining operation that provides education and hands-on experience for young wine-grape growers and vintners. We tried each offering (a 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, a 2017 Viognier, and an   "Old" Sherry) and enjoyed them all.  This may be due to good product or simply to what I call the fun-wine-tasting effect: wine always tastes better in a fun environment.
Food was offered from that Fresno culinary standard - food trucks.  I can't tell if this is just a local trend, or a state-wide or even national development, but food trucks and "pop up" dining is a big deal here in Fresno.  We have not developed much insight into this scene, but I suppose we should.  Especially if we can enjoy it in as nice a place as the FSU president's Fig Garden home.
Entertainment was provided by three groups.  First, was the jazz mandolin of Eva Scow/Espacio.  I didn't get a chance to ask if she knew Marianne's brother Tom, the only other jazz mandolin player I have ever heard.
After that it was the Rich Seversen Jazz Quartet, also good sounds on our sunny afternoon.

The last act was the Joe Lenigan Band.  I think Vern tried to convince Joe he should sing a piece or two, but we had to leave before we heard the results.
Mostly, this was an occasion to hang around with Vern and Joan, some of their family, and a few neighbors.  A great way to spend an afternoon.

So, what other homey activities do I want to remember?  Not a lot.  Cambridge Avenue did reschedule the annual garage sale after the rain-out a week earlier.  We unloaded a few things and avoided buying any replacement junk.  That alone would be success, but I also finally sold my BBS wheels and tires from the old Audi Allroad.  We got about 10% of what they cost us, but at least the garage has a bit more space.

d180418_10_bocceeready.jpgMost of the rest of my house activity has been spent getting ready for summer boccie and barbecue season.  I swear this year we will make better use of the court, especially now, before the 110F weather sets in. 
The other preparation work has been refinishing the German beer garden tables and benches.  I suppose by now these are becoming antiques, but they still remind us of the good old days, when summer weather was a lot cooler and gardens more used.

The last of my nothing-much activities has been following our back yard hawk pair.  We named them Holly and Hank Hawk, but I honestly can't tell them apart, unless they are side-by-side.  The male is smaller.  I suppose watching back yard birds is a sign of how quiet our lives have become.
Meanwhile, Marianne is preparing for her May ArtHop showing.  Here are two new mixed media pieces and her new business card:
Don't forget, May 3rd at CMAC (1555 Van Ness Ave, corner with Calavaras), 5:00 to 8:30.

Of course the biggest event for grandparents is a visit from grandkids.  Last Friday (21st) Gabby packed up Ava and Sam right after school and hit the already-crowded highways.  She does deserve some sort of medal for volunteering for the three hour drive, especially Friday afternoons.
Our contribution was to have take-out dinner ready for them they arrived at Mamo's, since everyone was claiming "starvation".  The driver had developed a thirst too, and we couldn't let her drink alone. 
After dinner, Ava and Sam shared their new skills.  Ava tooted a few tunes on her recorder with Gigi while Sam read his book to Mamo.  d180420_04_sammamoread.jpgHe has made remarkable progress in the last few months of first grade and now enthusiastically reads book after book.  Nice to see.

It's all nice to see!

On Saturday morning, Sam and the girls headed over to Storyland and Playland and the Chaffee Zoo.  I opted to stay home and work on the beer tables and barbecue, but they shared pictures and stories with me.
Playland is a 60-year-old amusement park, properly sized for small kids. Ava and Sam both felt they qualified!  It is great to see that the two continue to be good buddies.
Chaffee Zoo is just across the parking lot from Storyland/Playland and, while not world-famous perhaps, offers plenty for visitors young and old.  (I have spent a few photography days there myself.)

d180421_12_kids.jpgAva and Sam enjoyed the petting parts, from goats to stingrays.  No picture of the rays, but plenty of in-person reports about how "soft and squishy" the swimmers were.

Meanwhile, Magdalena enjoyed being the oldest giraffe feeder of the day!  A new experience, even at 98.  A great time was had by all.

d180421_20_bbqready.jpgBack home, I had worked to make the barbecue patio clean and inviting.  This really is the best time of year for outdoor activities, warm enough to wear shorts, but not so hot that we would be tempted to retreat inside to the air conditioning.
After a whole day at Playland and the zoo, the kids were pretty tired, but mom had already planned quiet time with new Lego kits.   She deserves recognition for planning and the two builders deserve awards for concentration-while-tired.

The steaks, hot dogs, and corn-on-the-cob were good.  It's hard to miss when feeding hungry tourists.   Then everyone left, exhausted but, reportedly, still able to chit chat until late.  Sounds about right.

Sunday morning, Gigi made her palacsinta favorites (Hungarian crepes) and everyone stored up calories for the return trip.  (Especially Sam!  He has developed a morning appetite that will be hard to keep up with!)

Thanks for the visit!

I do not have plans for anything else in this jazz-and-little-things diary, but maybe something can be stirred up this week.

Stay tuned.

John and Marianne


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