Normal - Home and Art Hop

May 26 - June 1, 2023

Dear Family, Friends, and Diary,

A pattern is developing: a diary a week, even if little is happening. Maybe that's the benefit of a diary, one needs to write no matter what. This week, for example, I'll note car activity, art activity, and neighbor activity, none of which on its own would cause me to pause and think, but together they do. Will this be useful ten years from now when we might be depending on this record to supplement (or supplant) in-head memories? Who knows. Here goes.

carOur 20-month-old Model Y has 38,000 miles on the clock. I took it in to Tesla for warranty service this week and noted that, by this time with our last car (2015 Jeep, Grand Cherokee), we probably had ten times more service visits to the shop. That's a comment on both the simplicity of electric vehicles and the poor design of the diesel Jeep. Tires, for the heavy and powerful Tesla, are something else. I put on the second set of "summer" tires this week and hope to get better service than the original ones provided.

Regular home activities include reading and puzzles for me and painting for Marianne. Her work produces something permanent, but we don't need to find more wall space for products. It all keeps us busy and out of trouble.

pieces done
artist products

My normalish Friday started with a neighborhood walk and flowers, birds, and bugs pictures. And a group getting ready for a Gay Pride Parade next month. Lots of color.

orange yellow back yard
yellow field purple field
bee bird flags


As usual, at-home Fridays end up with family games via Zoom. The California, Colorado, Maryland link-up has been a gift from the pandemic, although it doesn't really make up for the loss of in-person visits. Hopefully, we will be getting back to those once current medical complications get resolved (more on that later).

On Saturday, we had another family Zoom, this time with cousins from Seattle, Boise, and Lisbon. Maryetta reported on her recent knee-replacement. Hurts. Tom and Kathleen reported on their new car, a hybrid that seems to fit Idaho better than a battery-electric vehicle (BEV). Somehow, the right-left split in America carries over to BEV support, with obstruction from the right. Meanwhile, Tim reported enough on life in Portugal to make us jealous. Marianne and I promised to visit in a few months.

porchMonday was Memorial Day, a day for porch-sitting, flag-hanging, and neighborhood-visiting.

Jon and Susan hosted a barbecue for the Cambridge Avenue bunch and we all enjoyed visiting, chatting, drinking, and eating. An added bonus was no holiday highway traffic!

group Jon
chatting eat

The rest of the week was pretty quiet. Not much to report on. Visits to Kaiser Medial Center are normal for our life, and Marianne had a physical therapy session and then a consultation with a surgeon for (hopefully) the last of the cancer-related operations. The relatively minor skin removal is tentatively planned for Monday, June 5. The idea is that we can start planning our travel life once the report on "clear margins" comes back a couple of weeks later. Here's hoping.

We did manage to make a few Fresno ArtHop stops on June's first Thursday. We eschewed our normal stops in favor of a few places we had not visited in many months. At M Street Gallery we started with Calvin Hoff's "Scraps Collage". The retired pastor and theater teacher, now pursues a childhood fascination with art, imaginative creations from magazine scraps and other "waste". Fun work that he clearly enjoys.

scraps Calvin


Across the hall, we visited with John Walker, a retired Fresno Bee photographer. With some prompting, he gave us background on a few bits of his 42-year career. Justifiably, he was proud of moments he had captured here in the Central Valley. As a picture-taker myself, I am intimidated by real professionals, but John's honest enthusiasm made me comfortable.

UkranianNot far away, we found another inspiring story. Svetlana and Veronika Kolomy and their mother each displayed a few of their own paintings and told the story of their escape to Fresno from Odesa, Ukraine, shortly after the Russian invasion. Marianne chatted with the mother (whose name I failed to note) about both art and the family's seven-month life in California. As with most refugee stories, it was a reminder of how privileged our lives can be.

Van GerpenFrom M Street, we headed off to A Sense of Place, a gallery just around the corner from home. We had not visited in at least a year, but returned in time for a showing by Daniel Van Gerpen, a local painter whose aerial landscapes we had admired in past shows. His work remains exceptional, but so too were many other works on display. We need to remember to vist the gallery more often!

And that ended our not-too-remarkable week. Writing this diary reminded me that our life is better than we sometime think.

In the coming weeks, we will report on surgery and visits with friends and family. Regular stuff.

Stay tuned.

John and Marianne