Archive | March, 2012

Prime Time – March 12-15, 2012: It Was Lovely!

17 Mar

It WAS lovely and we are too.  Here we are toasting us as well as those not able to attend…Michel, Diana and Angel.

My Prime Time began on Sunday, March 11, when Dot Demmin arrived in the afternoon and then we awaited Susan’s arrival at LAX.  She was flying in from Mexico, D.F. after celebrating the 85th birthday of her Mexican mother, the lady (and family) she lived with when she was studying Spanish in Mexico.  Susan arrived on time and then all we had to do was wait for Monday’s dawn to take off for Pajaro.

We got on the road in time to miss the majority of the traffic through LA and that was a relief.  It’s frustrating to sit in traffic when one wants to be zooming off to good times and fellowship.  The weather was good as were the roads.  We had a little hitch going north when Dot was experiencing blurry vision from meds for recent cataract surgery.  Through the miracle of Internet, cell phones and prayer, she was able to schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist she had worked with years before.  (It also helped that she and Bill have moved quite a few times and she has doctors all over the map  )  A great load was lifted off her shoulders when the doctor told her surgery was progressing properly.  He tweaked her medication and off we went.  It was a great day!

Walkin'

Dot, Susan and I made some requisite stops at Trader Joe’s and Costco for dinner, treats and wine supplies and we arrived at Pajaro around 3, I think it was.   Others arrived in time for us to take a walk on the expansive Pajaro beach.

The weather was going to be inclement for the next few days and we wanted to get in at least one good walk.   There was a brisk breeze blowing as you can see from Dot’s holding of her hat.  We turned around quicker than our usual several miles because of a wind chill factor that penetrated jackets.  But not before we discovered a Buzzard statue.   This piece of driftwood reminded us of a buzzard and so it was named.

Two Buzzards

By the time we returned to our Buzzard’s Roost (Trish’s condo that is technically Pelican 10), it was time for a taste of the grape, some appetizers, much catching up with each other and the beginning of many fascinating discussions, and dinner.   I call this picture, “Hangin’”

Dot prepared a wonderful dinner of marinated salmon, salad and rice.  I helped a bit, but she is the primary, creative cook.  She does such a terrific job with being innovative with foodstuffs.  I admire how creative she is in making tasty vittles.   She also made some delicious brownies that were something like three layers with brownie, marshmallow, peanuts and more chocolate.  I can’t remember what she called them, but I thought they are akin to rocky road candy bars.

Now Dot’s dinner was very healthy (brownies aside), but, of course, we had dessert.  Linda had brought Gizdich pies, her

Dot's Salmon

famous biscotti and some persimmon cookie bars.  There were other treats, too.   Here is a picture of passing around some of the treats.  This is actually the second night because Shoo forgot to pick up ice cream when she and Sherry were driving down.  It became the joke of the event because Shoo doesn’t forget many things.

Passing the dessert(s)

Baileys and???? It's all good!

THEN, we discovered that one of our staples, Bailey’s goes with just about anything (except salmon and eggs).  It’s really great with pie, ice cream, cookies, brownies, etc. as Elizabeth is demonstrating.

Unfortunately, after dinner, dishes have to be done and Pat graciously stepped up to the task.  She doesn’t look very pleased in this picture, but she always says she doesn’t cook and this is her contribution.  She does a great job and we thank her for all her effort.  The table and counters look great when she’s finished with her task.

Damn Dishes

I wanted to talk about our many discussions during the time we were together…and we did have many, as it seemed there was never a totally quiet moment.  Someone always had a comment or an idea to put forth.  But, alas, not being a good reporter, I took no notes as Michel would have and, thus, don’t remember all we talked about. (See, Michel?  We needed you!)  However, I do remember thinking that if the politicians would leave the nation’s problems to us, there would be more equality, fewer social problems, no wars and men would not be allowed to enact laws concerning women’s private parts or what’s inside them.  They have no clue as to how demeaning some of their ideas and rules are.

Our group is so well educated, reads so much and is knowledgeable of so many issues that it’s inspiring to listen, watch and learn from all of you.  Although, sometimes I’m not up on all that is being discussed and am not always able to put my two cents worth in, I always come away enlivened.  It’s a great feeling to have friends like you to enlighten me.

This is a landmark year for our group in that we’ve all known each other for a minimum of 50 years (as we graduated from dear ol’ OHS in 1962…a very good year).  Some of us have known each other since grammar school…for example; Diana and I met in Kindergarten and have known each other for about 63 years.  Amazing!  But, the point is, that even though we might not see each other annually or more often, our friendship is such that we can pick up and continue as if we had seen recently seen each other.  It doesn’t matter if it’s the large group or just a couple of us; it’s automatic to pick up where we left off and have a good time together.  I have to think that this large of a group with such a relationship for so long has to be unusual.  Prime Timers rule!

Talking hands

Speaking of conversations, I noticed that we have a couple of folks who need their hands to carry on a conversation and we are all very engaged in active listening.  I think we all do this, but Trish and Pat were the only ones I caught on camera.

Talking Hands 2

We made our traditional trek down to the Whole Enchilada at Moss Landing during the second day and had a delightful meal.  I apologize to Dot ahead of time as my camera cut her off a bit, but we know that she’s smiling.  Lynda might have a better picture and I can insert it later if she has one.  This was before we were served, so you can’t see the sumptuous meal we consumed.   Rest assured the Enchilada has outstanding food and if you don’t get enough to eat, it’s your own fault.

The Wholey Trek Group

Online Pelican

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While leaving the Enchilada, I happened to spot a pelican perched on a power line.  I’ve never seen pelican perched like this before and had to get a picture of this guy or gal.  The wind was blowing and he was wobbling back and forth but didn’t seem to be uneasy about being online.

Is This Real?

A fun thing about having online access at Trish’s condo was that we could use Google Earth to show each other where we live.  It was really neat to do this and we gained a bit more insight as to each other’s domicile.  Dot is showing us her ranch (that’s what I would call it) and pointed out where she and Bill have planted trees, put in a garden and how far they have to go just to get the mail.  We could also see Evert’s observatory at Lynda’s house and much of the work they’ve done repairing earthquake damage as well as preventative measures for other possible problems.

No Cobwebs for Us!

Sometimes we feel as though we have cobwebs in our joints (or perhaps even our heads), but this really isn’t true.  As a group, we are vibrant ladies still contributing to society in our own ways.  I am very proud to be buddies with you all as you have all contributed to making me what I am today.  Thank you all and thank you for a primo time at Prime Time.


The Ninth Annual Tim Baptista Memorial Crab Cioppino Dinner – The Ultimate!

8 Mar

This long anticipated annual feast happened on Tim’s 31st birthday, February 25, 2012.  It was tough for me to realize that within a few months, it would be 11 years since the Baptistas so generously  gave Bob the Gift of Life with Tim’s heart.  It doesn’t seem so long ago and yet seems like forever.  Difficult to explain.

I had planned on leaving home about 9 or 9:30, but got antsy and left too soon, traffic-wise.  It took a bit more than hour to traverse about 50 miles.  Oh well, such is life in Southern California.

My first pit stop was at Buttonwillow, a mile or so north of Route 58.  A few years ago, some shepherds had their sheep grazing next to the roadside rest.  It was very pleasant to hear the sheep contentedly baahing to each other.  A real pastoral scene.  This time, there were no sheep, but there were flocks of blackbirds, starlings and other birds chattering to each other.  A bit farther north, I did see a flock of sheep and off by themselves was a ewe with twin lambs that weren’t very old.  That made up for missing other sheep herds.  I also saw a beautiful male northern harrier (technically a kite bird and not a hawk) flying over a pasture.  I imagine he was looking for a mouse or something for lunch.  Once I got going on I-5, I made good time going north and then cutting off at Hwy. 152 to Gilroy.  Gas at the Gilroy Costco is a LOT cheaper than in San Francisco. I arrived at my Hotel Kabuki about 4 PM.

After checking in and getting settled, I walked a few blocks to Van Ness to catch a bus to Fisherman’s Wharf.  I had a craving for clam chowder in a bread bowl, which I bought to go and took it back to my hotel room.  For $6.24, it was probably the cheapest dinner I’ve ever had in San Francisco.  I love the SF bus system and so do many other folks, as it always seems to be crowded.  It only cost me 75¢ each way.  It would have cost at least $9 an hour to park at the Wharf.

The next morning, I walked over to Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep to help with the set up for the Cioppino feed.  About 450 people had signed up for the dinner compared to the 600 in 2011.  But the economy has affected many people and perhaps interest has waned for the dinner.  But that didn’t dampen the spirit during the day.  We put flowers in strategic spots, set the tables with bibs, plates, bowls, napkins, and other things and we were finished about 2 PM, I think.

Traditionally, Louise Upp organizes and decorates the dessert table, which consists of cookies and sometimes Hershey’s Kisses or some such candy.  She does such a good job that I just follow her instructions and together we place dozens of cookies in an attractive manner on the table.  This year, it was decided to serve the cookies family style after the cioppino has been eaten.  Although it took a bit of figuring to get equal amounts of cookies on the 58 plates, it worked out well.  The student servers brought them to the tables and that way, no one jumped the gun in getting dessert.  For a change, everyone had an equal opportunity to get dessert.

I went back to the hotel to rest a bit and await the family to arrive.  Jerri and Allan checked in a bit later and then the kids (Jolee, Jason, Dalan and Megan and Scott) arrived about 4 or so.  They toured Fisherman’s Wharf for a few hours, as they’d never been there.  They enjoyed it and looked forward to going back the next day to see more.

We all walked the few blocks to Sacred Heart Prep about 5 to begin the celebration, see old friends and feast on the cioppino.  In addition to the family, I had invited Anthony Robinson and his fiancé, La Monica, to join us.  Anthony is a heart transplant and is also a firefighter for San Francisco.  We became acquainted during the Rose Parade festivities and it just seemed right that he and La Monica join us.   We had a great time with them, lots of laughs and great conversation.  You can see they were pleased with their cioppino buckets.

We took Anthony and La Monica downstairs to see where and how the cioppino is prepared and we happened to time it just right so that they could see the crab and shrimp dumped into the multiple vats of sauce.  Oh boy!  Did it ever smell good!  They were quite impressed with what the Baptistas have done with the funds they have raised during the past 9 years. 

The dinner was superb as usual, beginning with traditional sourdough bread, salad, pasta with pesto sauce and the piece de resistance, the cioppino.   It was difficult not to eat too much of the first courses, but we sort of restrained ourselves.  Not!

It was a good thing that Dick tied on my bib for me or as he says, “We tied one on,” as you can see in the pictures below. Tying One On Eating cioppino is not for the faint of heart.  One just digs in and chows down. I tried to savor each bite and tried not to wolf it down like I usually do.   You can see how much food was in my bucket, which was just about all I could handle.  But Scott, Jason and Allan each had another bucket.  They were loving it!  They all told me that the next day, they could still smell the cioppino on their hands even though they had scrubbed their hands.  It was a good memory to have.

First Bite - No Mess

After digging in, a big mess

Jason's getting into the groove

We ate our fair share of cookies too.  The little kids liked some that were on some other tables, so they scrounged around and picked what they wanted.  No one came to complain, so I guess it was ok.  I think a lot of folks were too full after scarfing down all that good fare.

After dinner was the traditional auction but we didn’t score this year as we have in the past.  No cabin (the Baptistas sold it last year) and no cioppino pot (I got that last year).  They did auction off some of Colleen’s famous cookies ($350), some Giants tickets, some Sacred Heart gear, and a mystery box.  Dalan and I bid on the mystery but were glad when we didn’t get it.

Waving our bids

It turned out to be some more Giants tickets along with some gift certificates for local restaurants.  We struck out in the raffle, too.  Oh well, we contributed to the cause.

It was kind of a bittersweet dinner about halfway through it because Colleen made the announcement that the 9th Annual Tim Baptista Crab Cioppino Dinner would be the last.  There was a collective sigh from all over the audience…I think for different reasons.  People like us don’t want to give up the delicious vittles and they enjoy attending and helping the cause.  I like the camaraderie as well as eating the dinner.  The cioppino dinner is hard work, not only to cook, but, to organize, get prizes for, and a multitude of other things.  The Baptistas are tired and, as Colleen told me, “It’s time.”  Colleen also mentioned that the kids at Sacred Heart today didn’t know Tim and it’s just a different atmosphere.  The economy had an effect too.  So as she says, it’s time.  They plan on continuing their Memorial Golf Tournament in August that will help to perpetuate Tim’s fund.

I can certainly understand where they are coming from.  It’s been a long time and a lot of work for them.  They’ve created a lasting legacy in Tim’s name and he certainly won’t be forgotten with the two endowed scholarships to deserving seniors and a state-of-the-art fitness center.  I think that was one of their goals as well as helping Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep.  I’ll miss going north each February, but then I’ll have time to go other directions.   When one door closes, another opens, is my philosophy.

We hung around after dinner, kind of wanting to relish the evening and embed the memories in our little brain cells (at least I wanted to do that).  Dick took a nice family shot of us as well as some clowning shots.  I’ve included them on the next page.  I should add that Scott has a certain pose he likes to strike and we complimented him by imitating him.

Cora and Dick

Jan and Cora

The family - Allan, Jerri, Cora, Scott, Jason, Dalan, Megan, Jolee

The Pose

So endeth our festive evening at the Ninth Annual Tim Baptista Memorial Crab Cioppino Dinner.  It was a night to remember.

I would like to thank all those who have been great supporters of this event and of Bob and me.  It means a lot to me that you have traveled from far and wide throughout the years to attend and enjoy the food and fun.  Louise and Charlie, Dick, Jan, Mary Lou, Connie,  Allan and Jerri, Scott, Jason and Jolee, Dalan andMegan.  Your love, support and encouragement has been uplifting and I really appreciate it.  I also want to thank the Baptistas because without them, none of this would ever have happened.  Their generous Gift of Life and their desire to create a legacy for Tim while benefitting Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep have made them tops in my book.  Thank you Colleen, Rick and Kate!

“Levitated Mass” Moves through Cerritos

7 Mar

This is my first ever post and I’m interested in seeing how it works out.  Thanks for reading it.

Some of you may be have been following the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s (LACMA) new acquisition, “Levitated Mass.” LACMA is moving this behemoth rock from a quarry in Riverside County to its campus on Wilshire in Los Angeles at a cost of about $3 million (from private donations, thank goodness).  It’s been in the news quite a bit since it’s so huge (21.5 feet tall and 340 tons), costs so much to move, needs special transports and and requires a circuitous route to get to LACMA because of bridge tolerances and street width/strength.  Image  Compare the size of a man to the rock 

The customized transport moves about 3 mph and only in the wee hours of the night so as not to cause too much disturbance with traffic.  The movers have been surprised that people have lined the streets along the route even during the night and even more so when the rock is parked for the day.  Teachers have been taking their classes to see it, parents with their kids and dogs and people like me who are curious to see it before it’s actually placed at LACMA.  

The “Mass” moved through Cerritos early this morning and was parked in the middle of South Street just west of the San Gabriel River overpass.  It fully took up the two middle lanes of South Street.ImageMaking the turn at Studebaker and South Streets

I didn’t see the rock on the move, but did venture over to see it this morning in its parking spot.  I wasn’t surprised to see a lot of people there but I was surprised at how friendly people were in discussing the rock.  The camaraderie reminded me of when the Olympic Torch went through Anaheim and everybody was so happy to see it pass by. I met a lady with her 13 week old chocolate lab puppy, Bear, and her two girls who wanted to see it before school.  Something new to tell the teacher, I suppose.  A man told me that his first real memory was seeing his house being moved from a rural area to a place where they had more services like electricity and running water.  Ever since, he’s been interested in seeing how things are moved.  We both agreed that we’d have to go to LACMA to see how they are going to “mount” the thing to “levitate” it.  I can’t imagine how or where they are going to put it.  As you might know, the tar pits aren’t far from LACMA and if they’re not careful, it might sink into a pit.  Wouldn’t that be the pits?  

Image

Yes, the Oversized Load sign is definitely a must! 

The white thing is the actual rock, strapped in and supported by huge steel girders.  Note the number of tires needed!  I was amazed that giant tires weren’t used but I don’t know much about tires.

Image

The rock is supposed to arrive at LACMA March 10 and then become the centerpiece of “Levitated Mass,” a piece of art by Michael Heizer.  Perhaps other things will be levitated in lieu of the actual rock.  who knows?  As I said, I’ll have to go see it to figure out how it worked out.