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..it just hasn’t been here.

It’s been surreal here. At times I’ve been calm enough, the denial of the risk in simply being here strong enough and then once the conditions change, better very locally, but so bad not so distantly, that patina of calm cracks wide.

I live in the wine country of Northern California. It dawned on me half an hour ago many who follow me know I live here & just as likely know about the wildfires rampant here.

For those who don’t, Monday night there were abnormally high and bone dry winds which sparked fires in multiple locations almost spontaneously. We’re near the end of the long dry season so there is much fodder for fire. While it’s not yet determined, fallen power lines seem a real possibility, if not likelihood. Within hours one had spread into heavily populated areas of Santa Rosa; within 24 hours it destroyed almost 3000 homes.

Locally a blaze began on the other side of the page from us. It was pretty much restricted successfully to a peninsula that’s juts into the lake. Folks got evacuated in the middle of th night from the north end of the city of Clearlake. We took a family we knew in, a young couple and their 3 year old. The following morning when we awoke there was so much smoke that we could not see the lake. I have lakefront property. Well, the local fire got contained & they were able to return home after 3 days.

Meanwhile things almost everywhere else is having less success than we. The
Fires have spread dramatically and two of the better exits from this county drop right into areas already facing mandatory evacuation. In short, not an option. That realization truly shook me.

While there is no need to evacuate now I feel pressed to be ready. There is now 2 weeks of clothing in the boot of my car, small valuables and sentimentals I am unwilling to lose, & necessities like the computer. It’s sobering walking through your home an asking yourself what comes with you. Mañana I’ll put some dog food & a bowl for him. Mandatory winnowing. It’s a valuable exercise and not unexpectedly a painful one. After packing I spent the bulk of my day expanding the defensible space around the house and garage.

As I write, strong winds are forecast to strike the area tonight and tomorrow. Fingers crossed tightly this is not a repeat of Monday.
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I'm finally not miserable after 4 days. I wanted to kick myself for forgetting limitations, but then my ankles, particularly the left one, was too sore to do so.

Twenty-five years of an inflammatory arthritis left me with some resulting joint damage that even though the inflammation is gone, I still need to remember there are limits to what I can do. Tuesday I was faced with painting some paneling with polyurethane & the only pair of shoes I had that I didn't care if they got ruined was a pair of water shoes. Basically rubberized this soles attached to synthetic socks. No padding to speak of.

At the time I felt fine. I hadn't intended to keep wearing them, but I got distracted with the work on the remodel that was needed. Two crew people expected hadn't shown that morning and there's much to get done with the garage remodel before the rains come. What I thought would be 30-45 minutes with them on stretched to 6 or so hours over half of which was in the garage itself, on a cement slab.

What the hell was I thinking?

Point is I wasn't thinking. I wasn't in pain to start & by the time I began to notice my left ankle was bothering me, the insult had been done. Tuesday night it hurt to walk or stand.

I awoke at 6 Wednesday morning, bladder insisting i needed to trot down the hall. I stood up and down immediately had to sit my butt back down. Both ankles hurt laterally, but I was having trouble trying to bear weight on the left, it hurt so bad. My ankles weren't warm or swollen, they were sore. It was minimal until I tried to stand up and then I almost went down. My bladder then reminded me if I didn't attend to it's needs, i would shortly be peeing on the carpet.

Celebrex, Tylenol and a Norco left over from dental work 6 years ago was the only way I made it thru the day. I was improved by 50% this morning, finally tonight, I'm aware of my ankles, but able to get around with just the Celebrex.

The right shoes make a tremendous difference. Brooks makes running shoes specifically for people who pronate their feet. These are the only running shoes I use. The moment I put the on, if I'm hurting, the pain is immediately reduced. Between adequate cushioning (aka shock absorbtion) and the support changing the position of my foot for the better, off loading much of the stress on the lateral ankles in particular. They are game changers.

I'm surprised I'm feeling as good as I do right now given what I did to my myself Tuesday. Need the remember to engage the brain, before I put the feet in gear again.
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I've just had an absolutely fabulous time.

So my first cousin Steve's middle child, Matt married his fiancé, Adam this afternoon. My husband and I flew out for the occasion and my lord, what a time we've all had! A Jewish wedding under a chupah, two of their friends, an older gay Jewish couple officiating, the wedding coupl's siblings, parents, & surviving grandparents all in attendance, including two grandmothers well into their respective 90s & all involved in the ceremony. Watching both sets of parents marching their sons up the aisle left me with tears streaming quietly down my face, as my husband & I sat there to witness it, my elderly mother sitting between us.

Such a long way we have come.

Hearing my mother this past Thursday tell a friend calling to see if she would join them for cards that night, "I can't this week. My son is visiting with my son-in-law. They're here from California." Completely matter of fact. I'm still a bit flabbergasted it's become second nature for her as well as the remainder of my family.

So, as of 8 hours ago, my husband and I are no longer the only married same sex couple in our family. For my cousin and his bridegroom, it was less of a novel and political act, than it was for my husband and I, who were one of the 18,000 couples who wed in California during the window between mid June and Election Day back in '08.

My other real joy is my other foray into normalcy. When we last saw my family just before Thanksgiving last the occasion was our nephew's wedding. That was also now 74 pounds ago. I have graduated from being THAT fat guy to just a guy who's fat. Now I was feeling truly frustrated about clothes for this wedding. We both wore guayaberas to our wedding, thoughts one I wore is now more of a tent. For the last 4 months, I've reliably fit into 2Xs. The remaining guayaberas I still had in 3X all swim on me, so I ordered two over the net, actually is eBay. I had one come to the house, and the other, from a NJ vendor l, sent directly to mom's. They were both Cubavera brand, tho differently styled. Both proved to be too small for me to wear yet. I did try one on at the big and tall back in Santa Rosa and the 2x there did fit. I just wasn't willing to shell out $70 plus tax for a dress shirt that hopefully will be too big for me by the end of the year.

The frustration of buy of one, but two shirts that should have fit, coupled with the weight plateau I've been on for nearly two months had been wearing on me. I was feeling extremely fat again. Sitting down on he plane was heartening. Not only was no seat belt extension needed, I had plenty of length to spare. Moreover, the tray table not only came down completely, I had several inches to slide it back towards my gut! Say amen!!

Further, I've had no trouble moving this week. A 5K Monday was followed by a 2 mile runs on Tues., Sat., & today, as well as a 15 mile bike ride around lower Manhattan with my husband and sister on Friday. My plateau appears to have ended according to mom's scale, which has fallen 4 lbs over the course of this week, which I think is a real loss, as my pants are fitting considerably better on Sunday, than when I packed them on Monday.

I danced today. Horas, as is obligatory at any Jewish wedding, including the chair dance, where the men in the crowd hoisted both grooms into the air, bobbing them up and down as they each held the end of a kerchief, trying simultaneously not to get tossed off the chairs to the floor. My weight lifting has paid off. Adam is the heavier of the two, likely I think 170 & I was one of the 5 who hoisted him skyward.

I danced! Not just the hora, but every chance I got, including 5-6 minutes flinging Matt about in a West Coast swing, even dipping him half way the the floor a time or three. The look on his face was classic. WTF? I've always had a powerful lead, but never had I had the opportunity to dance with Matt or any male relative till today. I had stopped dancing many years ago. With the inflammatory arthritis it was just too hard. To boot I got out of breath way too easily, way too quickly. Well not today. I danced a bit at my nephew's wedding last year. Today however, it was pretty much every dance. I lead numerous partners through west coast swing moves, my sister, several cousins including one of the grooms, as well as his mother & even my husband. None of the 20 and 30 somethings had done swing before, but as I said, I have a powerful lead. I made it work. My ankles may be none but ok happy with me in the morning, but I happily danced the night away, getting good and sweaty, but never once getting out of breath. I'm so bloody jazzed I can't even describe how happy I am.

Add to it all, Matt and Adam are theater people. Adam is in entertainment law, while Matt at one time did regional theater. Their social crowd are theater people. A swing dancer in their midst was a surprise to many of them, especially an older, and still heavy relative, but the number of people who came over to me expressing their surprise on just how light on my feet I am, assured me I was not out of place.

A rather talented drag queen provided much of the entertainment during the wedding reception and the piano bar/cabaret that followed. A large number of people attending the wedding sang. I was one of the earlier singers and drag queen (stage name Cacophony) both performed and MC'd. Her introduction for me started, "I suspect most of you noticed this gentleman on the dance floor tonight. Well he not only dances, he sings. Weaver, please come up here." I went for classic Gershwin - Someone to Watch Over Me . I sang this at my own wedding and was determined I'd do it for theirs. There I was, in a room full of theatre people, on stage singing and it went over splendidly. Matt's younger sister is doing regional theater professionally, and has a voice nothing shy of angelic. She was one of several who sang during the ceremony. She came to me as her parents both hugged me, to tell me my phrasing was perfect. All my cousins of my generation, having not heard me sing since my own Bar Mitzvah almost 50 years ago were uniformly stunned.

Alright, enough navel gazing for now; I need to get horizontal.
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I'm determined to get into shape and that shape no longer is round. Last week's physical challenge was a daily 2 mile run. Mission accomplished. I'm traveling this week. My husband and I are headed back east, first to Mom's, then onto a family wedding. With the trip, my time and gym access will be limited and still I'm opting for at least three 5K runs. The first I got out of the way this evening. I'll shoot for the second mañana before we leave for SFO, and I'll have gym access again at the hotel Saturday next. Friday, my husband & I are going to drive into NYC to meet my sister and a bike ride is planned on city bike paths in Manhattan.

I've been plateaued for roughly a month and not liking it one bit. I'm tired of being obese. Really tired of it. I want to be able to blend into the crowd, not constitute one. (Yeah right. Blend into the crowd. A large man with a full red beard and long red hair. I may have to rethink this desire to blend in.)
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The light is all wrong…

This is the very first time I've experienced a solar eclipse directly. Where in the 80% area a good 12 Hours drive south of the total eclipse band. It's dusk here at 10 o'clock in the morning. The shadows of the trees on the hillside are all in the wrong place for this degree of dimness. I can see reflections on the lake, normally not visible because of the glare of sunlight.

There is a feeding frenzy going on at the Hummingbird feeder. Hummers are extremely territorial about their food supplies, with a truce generally observed at dawn and dusk. There were 4 feeding ports on our hanging feeder; it's rare to see more than one of them in use at any given time. This particular feeder also allows a bird to either perch or hover to feed. A few moments ago, for the very first time, I saw two hummingbirds perched and feeding from opposite ports simultaneously.

Where the hell is a camera when you need it? Of course my phone was on the charger.
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The late Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill famously once said, "All politics is local".

The Koch brothers and their Americans for Prosperity action committee have been doing just that across the country, hitting small local elections to make local governmental officials friendlier to their agenda. It's an example of the "best democracy money can buy". They bring in outside financial support to target elected officials to get rid of, overwhelming the local financial support the incumbent has. It's how they pick off budding progressives. Today's progressive city councilman could be the locale's representative in the state legislature or congress a decade from now.

This is happening to my nephew, Councilman James Pasch in the Cleveland suburb of Beachwood. James is running for his second 4 year term on city council. He's a progressive, a Democrat, & a long time supporter of the LGBT community. Exactly the kind of profile the Kochs see as a problem.

Josh Mandel is a hard right Republican and currently Ohio's State Treasurer. He happens to be from Beachwood and is challenging sitting Sen. Sherron Brown for Senate in 2018, like he did unsuccessfully in '12. Sen. Brown is directly in the Koch Brothers' crosshairs. It's Mandel's office supervisor who's running against my nephew. Mandel is firmly in the Koch's pocket (think Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin for an example of a Koch supported politician) and he's helping to funnel contributions to my nephew's opponent. No matter how much James raises locally, he'll be up against the Kochs' deep, deep pockets.

James with Sherron Brown at a Cleveland Cavaliers game last year

My husband and I just donated to James' campaign. Though I really hate sending money from across the country, this as a necessity in our current milieu, if we're to speak truth to power. At least until we get real campaign finance reform, which will only happen if we have a congress full of people like my nephew.

If you're willing to help support James and the progressive values he espouses, the link to donate is below.

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Midnight, a sudden, mildly nagging hunger struck & I went rummaging in the kitchen. I wanted something savory, and small, but yet, substantial. I ended up toasting lightly a slice of GF seeds and millet bread, topping it with a thin slice of queso fresco. I recently found this GF bakery in BC, which makes what I find is the best GF bread I've had to date. Great texture, superb crumb, delicious flavor. That paired with the firm, but slightly salty rich crumble of the queso was so satisfying.

After that sensory input, I almost feel like I need a cigarette.
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Temple Shaari Emeth

Dear Friends:
The tragedy of Charlottesville is something that has rattled our nation. White supremacists and Neo Nazis took to the streets in Virginia, armed with torches, displaying weapons, spewing hate as they marched. To those of us who stand as witness to the tragedy of the Holocaust, and those of us who believe that it could never happen in America, this weekend was a frightening wake-up call. Sadly our people have learned over and over again that hatred plants a dangerous seed that can grow quickly given the right environment. Though frightening to watch, we must also remember that these groups are loud and they love media attention, but they are still relatively small in number.

Anti-Semitism, whether it is on the streets of Charlottesville, or promoted through the BDS movement on college campuses, must be challenged. Torah teaches us that baseless hatred is dangerous and destructive. White supremacists and Neo-Nazis espouse pure hatred which destroys the innocent. This rally in Charlottesville left three dead and over 30 people injured. Our hearts break for the families of Heather Heyer, Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates and we pray that their memories will always bring blessing. This tragic loss is what happens when we forget that everyone is created in the Divine image.

Elie Wiesel warned that “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” There is no moral equivalency here. Nazism and White Supremacy are dangerous and wrong and must be disavowed. Good people do not seek to intimidate, oppress or destroy others.

Alan Zimmerman, the president of Congregation Beth Israel, a Reform congregation in Charlottesville, VA experienced intimidation first hand:

“On Saturday morning, I stood outside our synagogue with the armed security guard we hired after the police department refused to provide us with an officer during morning services. (Even the police department’s limited promise of an observer near our building was not kept — and note, we did not ask for protection of our property, only our people as they worshipped).

Forty congregants were inside. Here’s what I witnessed during that time.

For half an hour, three men dressed in fatigues and armed with semi-automatic rifles stood across the street from the temple. Had they tried to enter, I don’t know what I could have done to stop them, but I couldn’t take my eyes off them, either. Perhaps the presence of our armed guard deterred them. Perhaps their presence was just a coincidence, and I’m paranoid. I don’t know.

Several times, parades of Nazis passed our building, shouting, “There's the synagogue!” followed by chants of “Seig Heil” and other anti-Semitic language. Some carried flags with swastikas and other Nazi symbols….

Soon, we learned that Nazi websites had posted a call to burn our synagogue. I sat with one of our rabbis and wondered whether we should go back to the temple to protect the building. What could I do if I were there? Fortunately, it was just talk – but we had already deemed such an attack within the realm of possibilities, taking the precautionary step of removing our Torahs, including a Holocaust scroll, from the premises.”

This is wrong. This is the face of hatred. We must speak out clearly against this ideology, and we must stand with others who seek to work for a world filled with tolerance, love and respect. The Temple will continue to do the important work of building interfaith and interracial connections in our community and we will always work for justice and right in our world.

Discussing this with our children can be a challenge. I share with you this article from the LA Times about how to talk to children about the violence in Charlottesville. It is a helpful resource. http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-charlottesville-talking-to-kids-20170812-htmlstory.html

I close with the poignant words of my colleague, Rabbi Adam Latz:

In Response to Martin Neimoller (z”l)
First they came for transpeople and I spoke up—because God does NOT make mistakes!
Then they came for the African Americans and I spoke up—Because I am my sister’s and my brothers’ keeper.
And then they came for the women and I spoke up—Because women hold up half the sky.
And then they came for the immigrants and I spoke up—Because I remember the ideals of our democracy.
And then they came for the Muslims and I spoke up—Because they are my cousins and we are one human family.
And then they came for the Native Americans and Mother Earth and I spoke up—Because the blood-soaked land cries and the mountains weep.
They keep coming.
We keep rising up.
Because we Jews know the cost of silence.
We remember where we came from.
And we will link arms, because when you come for our neighbors, you come for us—and THAT just won’t stand.

We cannot let this stand. May God who makes peace in the heavens inspire US to to make peace with one another. Amen.

In peace,
Rabbi Melinda Panken
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I only look white.

Ruddy complexion, curly auburn hair, now starting to grey. "What part of Ireland is your family from," isn't a rare question. Apparently I'm a LIBI - looks Irish, but isn't.

My minority identity is pretty strong. My family is Jewish, both sides. All 4 of my grandparents were emigrants & while they learned it as children, English was a second language for both my parents. Even I heard more than just English as a child. My family came here to escape European antisemitism. The States weren't devoid of antisemític sentiments. They just weren't what they were in Europe. Your prospects were much brighter here than there. The bulk of my father's family succeeded in coming over. Sadly, not the story for my mother's family. Particularly hard hit was my maternal grandmother's family. The town she was from was taken off the map by the Nazis. It no longer exists. The only two to survive were my grandmother and her eldest brother, the only two that were here in the states prior to the war.

Both my father and his brother wanted to become physicians. My uncle succeeded, although he was most of the way through a PhD program before he was able to get a seat in a medical school at the same midwestern public university. Despite graduating summa cum from Syracuse University with a dual major in political science and bio chemistry, my father wasn't able to gain entry to either medical or law school in this country in the early 1950s. Why did he go to Syracuse? Simple. They were one of the private universities willing to accept Jews in 1948. (Incidentally, Jerry Stiller was one of my father's fraternity brothers.)

Growing up in the safety of New York City's "melting pot" I never feared for my safety because of my ethnicity, the basic safety in numbers. However, after my grandfather's death, post a long battle with lung cancer in the summer of 1968, my parents took us on a road trip from New York to Florida. I was 13. We pulled off the interstate somewhere in the rural Georgia, to stop for gas and something to eat. Walking into a country diner, we sat and patiently waited for service. Though my mother is a blue-eyed blonde, Pop had the map of eastern Europe for a face & my youngest sister had a gold star of David hanging on her neck. After 20 minutes, a waitress sauntered over, leaned over to speak quietly to my mother, who was seated next to me. With a saccharine drawl over pursed lips she said, "we don't serve your kind here. I suggest you take your children and leave, before something untowards happens." With the nod of her head, she gestured over her shoulder towards two rather large men in overalls seated at the counter, both of whom glared menacingly in our direction. We left, leaving behind a piece of my innocence. Years later, I would read about lynchings of Jews, including one in outside of Atlanta in 1915 & feel much more comfortable with my parents move to retreat. .מאָדנע פרוכט (strange fruit.)

Most associate the KKK with the American south, but historically they've flexed their muscle in areas far flung. How about in Queens, New York in 1927? There was a march & with a riot that followed. Post riot, a number of people were arrested, including Fred Trump. That name familiar? It should be. He's the Donald's father. Perhaps this explains the president's tepid response condemning the recent events in Charlottesville, claiming both sides were to blame for the violence, where a young woman peacefully protesting was killed by a supremacist who plowed his van into the crowd, ala an ISIS inspired attack.

One of the Charlottesville synagogues had three white supremacists, armed with semi automatic rifles standing across the street while their congregation met for services Saturday morning. I guess simply being a person of color, or Jewish appears to be provocation. They got to listen to those man screaming for people to burn down the synagogue as the congregation stood there in worship. (A letter from the rabbi of my sister's congregation in New Jersey of her communication with the congregation in Charlottesville will be posted to follow this post. Please do read it.)

I am clearer now than ever that I am a minority person, who is not safe within the borders of my own country. That we have a president who cannot unequivocally and immediately condemn in no uncertain terms, racial and ethnic hatred as antithetical to everything this country stands for, gives me great pause. Reality is he is both a cause and a symptom of the pervasive underlying bigotry that still exists in a large portion of this country. There is no racial, ethnic, religious, or social minority within this country he is unwilling to throw under the bus, if it suits his needs & sadly enough, he has a like minded community to preach to.

We must work in coalition and unity to stand up for what is right. Jew must support Muslim, who must support Hispanic, who must support African-American, who must support LGBT, who must support women, who must support environmentalist, who must support Native American, and so on, and so on. We must speak with clarity when we speak truth to power. Anything less insures our failure, if not out right subjugation.
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Last week after almost two weeks away from the gym I had an emotional recommitment. I promised myself this wasn't going to continue, that no matter what's going on in my life, I still need to get to the gym.

Recently, I took my mountain bike in for a tuneup so I could start riding again. I'm not mountain biking; I use it as a road bike. Why a mountain bike? Short answer: my weight. These bikes are built to withstand some serious G Force abuse. Run or jump, your heel hits the ground with 3G forces, so take your weight and multiply it by three – that's how many pounds of force hits the ground. Mountain bikes are meant to be able to take the weight of the rider jumping over things and landing on the wheels. I figured if a 200 pound rider jumping over boulders landing with 600 pounds of pressure could be withstood by the bike's frame and wheels, then my 265 pounds just going down the road should be no issue. At my absolute heaviest, back in the early 90s, I had a bicycle wheel fold and warp under my weight. Granted, there were 170 some odd pounds more of me then, but having a bicycle folder under my weight is something I never wish to experience ever again.

The gym is only 4 miles from here, but it's almost all uphill. Funny how you never really notice the incline whilst driving. It's a whole other story when you're on the bicycle. At the height of the heat early last week I set out for the gym on the bike, & only made it halfway up the hill to the housing development roughly 2/3 of the way there. I may be foolish at times (Like riding your bicycle uphill in 100 degree heat, on your first day out), but I'm not suicidal. Halfway up the hill I decided it was too much of a climb, & I turned around and rode back. I decided to try the journey to the gym again today & this time I made it to the housing subdivision, we're deciding I'd had enough. I actually had to get off the bike, and walk up the hill when it got really steep. Now I ran a 5K at the gym yesterday, so I don't feel too bad about not making it there successfully today. I will drive over tomorrow morning to get in that run. Current goal is to do that at least every other day & every time there to run at least 5K on the elliptical.

I guess what's disappointing to me right now is realizing just how much of a challenge the bike is going to be. Once upon a time I was a bicycle commuter in New York City, while I was in medical school. I averaged about 60 miles a week at the time. I was also in my early 20s and not my early 60s. (Cue reality testing) there was indeed a time when that hill would have constituted no insurmountable challenge. There was a six city block segment in Northwestern Brooklyn that was every bit as steep, on my commute between Brooklyn and Manhattan back then. I actually used to look forward to that segment. Towards the end of it my quads would be bulging and burning, looking strikingly muscular in a pair of bike shorts. Again, that was 40 years ago and I am no longer that 20 something.

No matter. I am working on body reclamation & not becoming a body beautiful. The true goal is better health, longer life, better mobility and agility, and being truly happy with in my own skin.
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One of the joys of rural living is nature right at your doorstep. Yes, the area around my home is landscaped; plants, including non-native species, were long ago planted here, but I am treated to a vista of natural colors when I gaze out my door or my window, or even better, sit on my porch to enjoy a meal or even just a cup of coffee. So too, there is wildlife here that we are not used to seeing in urban environments. Songbirds & raptors abound. Lizards periodically will enter into our living space and realizing their error, will quickly turn and flee. Deer are a constant presence, both day and night, though the local population learned quickly to stay out of our yard, given our large canine, who would happily give chase and quite possibly take one down, faun or adult.

Mornings this time of year are my favorite. The heat by mid to later afternoon can be oppressive, but the cool of the morning is welcoming. Pretty much daily this is where I breakfast.

There is a rich population of hummingbirds here, and my first tour of the week is making a supply of hummingbird food and filling the feeder that I hung here on the porch. It's amazingly simple and Rich in reward. for parts water to one part granulated sugar boiled for a few minutes and then allowed to cool. I add a tablespoon of cherry syrup to it to give a light red color that seems particularly effective in attracting them. Throughout their life hours on into the evening past dusk, I am treated to the display of these tiny avian visitors. They are territorial little creatures, frequently divebombing each other at the theater, unconcerned by the human presence just feet away. It's not unusual to have one of them come & check out what's on the table as we're sitting here. They're clear, as we are, that even if we were so inclined, we're not fast enough to catch them.

Enough navel gazing; time to get on with my day.
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Some time back, I made a batch of organic GF oatmeal cookies, the last of which were/are still in the back of the fridge, sealed in a Tupperware bin. I just gave into temptation, & had one, topped with some organic, low sugar, apricot preserves. The combo verges on orgasmic.
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Despite feeling quite tired, sleep proves elusive.

The night's real dark; I'm not sure what phase of the moon we're in or if it's just overcast. The temperature is quite comfortable, cooler than it is in my bedroom. We opened the window a couple of hours ago, but neglected the patio sliding door. Sans air conditioning, the bed felt both too warm & slightly damp from sweat. Not a recipe for good sleep. I gave up 15 minutes ago and came out here. Meanwhile, my husband is blissfully within the arms of Morpheus.

LJ got back late this afternoon. He'd been away since last Friday; off to an annual meeting, with all four of our godchildren in tow. He had five days of playing parent, while I spent my time trying to bring order out of chaos. While I did take a friend's invitation to lunch on Friday and had a memorial to go to on Sunday, I've been quite busy the remainder of the time.

I was desperate for a dresser. While I have ample closet space, both of my dressers remained at our old place, leaving me no place to put things like underwear, socks and sweaters. Further, T-shirts were hanging, taking up room in the closet they just didn't need to take up. I made the journey with a handcart to the old place, retrieving the smaller of the two dressers, a modern oak coffee table & a dining room chair inadvertently left behind. I would've preferred the mule chest, but the dresser will live in my walk-in closet, & there just wasn't room for the larger chest. That, plus the fact the mule chest simply will not fit in the back of the Prius, while the smaller dresser did. The mule chest will eventually make the journey here, likely to be in my craft space.

With the dresser in my closet I was able to sort through things like socks, underwear, t-shirts & tanks and decide what stays and what goes. This afternoon (well, I guess yesterday afternoon), 6 sizable boxes of old clothes went to the thrift store that supports the local hospice. I found a cache of ancient shirts that dated back to the late 1970s. They got packed when I moved to the West Coast after medical school, and never opened, given all the weight I gained while doing my residency. They were mediums & larges. I think there's a reasonable possibility I will once again get into larges, getting into a medium feels rather doubtful. I got rid of 2/3 of them & washed the remainder. They're sitting on the living room chair right now for my husband to take a look at. Many, if not most, should fit him and I've asked him to take what he wants, and I'll bring the rest to the thrift shop.

With the china hutch in the living/dining room, in the place where it's going to live, I've been unpacking all the things that go into it. The china, the crystal, the fancier serving pieces I've acquired of the years were all super well packed, & taking up a lot of space. I had hoped to have everything put away before my husband's return, but that was just not in the cards. I did make a huge dent in it however. New goal is to try and have it all the way by the weekend.

I did have numerous boxes of things that belonged in the china hutch, in various kitchen cabinets. That's no longer the case, so I have more space now in the kitchen to figure out how I'm going to use. I also now have a bunch more bubblewrap to use for shipping things that I successfully sell on eBay. Speaking of that, three more items shipped out today, but I await payments on another half dozen, three of which I suspect I'm going to wind up having to relist. However, putting stuff up on eBay is definitely working and I expect when all is said and done, I'll reclaim 3 to 4 grand out of things I know longer want or need. I'm already up to 800 bucks and only a fraction of what I ultimately want to dispose of, has been listed and sold.

All right, time to try and lie down again.
osodecanela: (Default)
Life plods along.

I went to see the eye doctor in Santa Rosa yesterday. I was overdue for an eye exam, like by about two years. I've noticed over the last several months that my eyes are slowly but definitely getting worse and that my old prescriptions just were not cutting it. Along with the fact that there's both glaucoma and macular degeneration in my family, it really wasn't good that I haven't been looked at in a long time. I think the adage is something about the shoemaker's children going barefoot. Well, the news was good. I have neither macular degeneration nor glaucoma. There were no signs of any significant problems, other than two early cataracts which are stable since my last exam. I now have a new prescription for glasses and I'll log onto Zenni sometime over the next couple of days.

We went to fireworks in Sebastopol last night, with the god children in tow. Great display & good company. We've got a mess of bamboo flooring that's been sitting at their home for the last six months. We loaded up my car with about a third of it before the fireworks and drove it home afterwards. LJ is going back down on Friday I will bring back some more and I have a dental appointment next week and will try to bring back the rest of it. This is eventually going to be the floor in the garage once that days of the remodel gets done.

LJ brought home a lithograph that used to hang over our bed, one of the Native American man and a shirt made from the American flag. The frame sort of fell apart in transit and so today I took it apart and repaired it completely. It's nice to have at least that skill used again. I learned how to frame things about 20 years ago & in the last couple of months have gotten the opportunity to use that skill several times. It's oddly satisfying.

Getting rid of things on eBay is actually working. Six of seven auctions that closed on Sunday sold & 4 were paid for immediately by the people buying. Those items went to the post office yesterday, on my way to Santa Rosa. Another nine options closed at 6 o'clock tonight, with all but one selling. Four of those have already been paid for and will go to the post office in the morning. I have a ton of more things to list, but if this last few days wasn't impetus to do so, I don't know what is. I should see about five bills in my pocket from everything that sold so far, after eBay and PayPal takes their cut. I certainly won't get rich, but it does reinforce "thinning the herd".

We were supposed to have friends over to watch fireworks from the porch tonight. They were certain we would have a good view. I had my doubts. The begged off 15 minutes before they were supposed to be here. I was in the process of making dinner, but had held off putting anything on the stove since I was suspicious they would flake. It was easy enough to put everything cut up back into the refrigerator, and so much of the prep for tomorrow night's dinner is already done.

Mid afternoon I made a dash to the hardware store to pick up a few things needed to do the frame repair. Yesterday when I was in Santa Rosa I stopped at Grocery Outlet for the picnic we were going to have while watching fireworks. The store was carrying a new line of gluten-free bread, this one imported from Canada. I remain amazed at how many gluten-free items are made in Greater Canuckistan. I picked up a loaf and at the picnic was duly impressed. This bread is probably one of the best GF breads I have yet had. Even better it's only 70 cal a slice, and 3 g of fiber. This afternoon when I ran into Clearlake, I stopped at Grocery Outlet here and to my pleasure they actually had some. I now have 8 loaves sitting in the freezer. I don't know whether they're going to continue to have this or whether It will be a one time thing. (Hence, eight loaves in the freezer.)

Enough navel gazing for now.
osodecanela: (Default)
The pantry closet was ready for shelves, so that's what I did today. Now that those RN it was time to unpack the alcohol, and the cookbooks. The only problem is, where the hell are they?

I knew with the bulk of the alcohol was, and so that's been retrieved from the center of the barn. Also retrieved from the barn was the case of homemade vanilla, now residing at the bottom of the pantry closet next to the sake. There's still more alcohol in the garage, somewhere, but we are still remains to be seen. Such is also the case for most of the cookbooks. I found a small box of oversized books, which have now been put away in the closet, but the bulk are still MIA.

It's good and hot here and after getting the bulk of things away after dealing with that much alcohol I decided to make myself something to drink. We have an inordinate amount of coffee liqueur of different pedigrees and there was a bottle of Saint Maartin's which is tequila-based. When I went to open it unfortunately the cork stopper broke off in my hand. There after I took a bottle opener and shredded the remaining cork. Fortunately in with the vanilla with some good stoppered bottles, one of which was perfect for the Saint Maartin's. Ever prepared I had a filtered funnel in one of my kitchen drawers and, perfect for decanting in the remains of the Saint Martin's into the new bottle, with none of the offending cork bits.

A White Russian sounded way too mundane and I'm not a fan of vodka anyway. I knows the rounds on one in the little bit and came across a recipe for a white nun, and in this heat rather than make it over ice it went over some cappuccino ice cream instead. Quite decadent. I think I'm going to go take a nap.

A White Nun on Vacation
1 ounce coffee liqueur
1 ounce white rum
1 scoop cappuccino ice cream

Stir the 2 ounces of alcohol together. Put small scoop of cappuccino ice cream into an old-fashioned glass and pour the alcohol over it. Serve on the veranda with and ice tea spoon in the glass.
osodecanela: (Default)
Well, this looks like an encouraging week on eBay. Between Sunday and yesterday I put up a total of 16 auctions. As of 20 minutes ago, there are bids on half of them, several with multiple bids. Already I'm at almost $200 in bids, with much time to go before auctions close. This is a very good thing.

I'm jazzed.
osodecanela: (Default)
EBay follow up…

I'm less than 24 hours into seven 7-day auctions, & already there were bids on four of them, one having three bids already. I'm hoping that this week's crop proves significantly more fruitful than last & given that I'm almost there in less than 24 hours, this has promise.

I have another nine listings opening at 7:30 tonight.

I knew that the cowboy boots would sell, but to my surprise the very first auction that sold was a pair of shoes Birkenstock USA sold prior to their Footprint line. Given that, this week I put up 4 pairs of of Birks. When I unpacked 4 boxes this past weekend, I found 2 pair that had never been worn (wrong width), and two pair that I was going to bring to Goodwill. As I was finishing my listings today, I looked at these two pairs and decided to list them together as a lot for $5 as an opening bid. We'll see what happens.
osodecanela: (Default)
In leaving our old place, it became extremely clear to me just how much of a pack rat I am. This was not news to me; I've had that epiphany before. I've previously resolved to declutter my life and nest, & sadly failed to keep the effort sustained. We were in Hawai'i a decade ago staying at a friend's spartan condo. It's sparsely furnished really just the essentials. After 10 days there and feeling freed of life's detritus, I resolved to get rid of something inessential daily, until such time as I was free of clutter. Nice thought, but my follow through waned in a couple of months. Just not my nature. I grew up in a home that had 5 full sets of dishes, each one a service for 12. The acorn didn't fall far from the tree.

However, nothing makes you confront yourself on the issue of clutter like moving.
I did an initial sort, knowing much more would get jettisoned after we moved. Many things got packed into boxes labeled with a "$". These were items to be listed on eBay, or sites similar. I finally started getting that done.

The first 7 items listed, 6 pair of cowboy boots and a pair of shoes have all sold and been shipped. What I brought in was less than I'd hoped for, but I'm not saying now to almost $120. I beats driving over to the good will. I listed another 7 auctions yesterday and this week looks like it'll be more remunerative. In just 24 hours three items have seen bids, one of them twice, and 3 more have watchers, one pair of boots a half dozen.

I was out in the garage early today gathering boxes to go through. I found 2 boxes of my good, everyday pots, and frypans, my woks (yeah, I've got two. One large and one small. What part of 5 sets of dish did y'all miss?), pizza stone, and Dutch oven, all of which got put away. I also found a box of shoes and a box of boots the latter with $$ on it. The upshot is I'll have another 9 items up for auction tomorrow (7 pair of boots and 2 pair of Birkenstocks). I've got drafts of the items already uploaded to eBay. In the morning, I'll get things polished and photos uploaded.

I'm also listing neck ties. I inherited a pile of them from Pop when he passed away. I'll hold on to some of them, and the ones of lesser quality have already gone to the thrift, but the lion's share will be listed for sale

An update

Jun. 25th, 2017 04:06 am
osodecanela: (Default)
So I did actually get back to sleep early this afternoon, I about a two hour nap, more or less. We had friends for dinner followed by poker. All quite enjoyable. Each day this place feels more like a home and less like a construction zone.

So, the first batch of things I listed on eBay all sold, though for less than I had hoped, but the important thing is they all sold. $125 is significantly better than zip for things no longer of any use to me. I have 7 auctions scheduled to begin at 6 PM tonight, with 4 more to finish up and get listed this afternoon. The photos are all done; I just need to figure out shipping costs and quote them in the adds.

I have a ton of things to get rid of still and hope to convert most of them to cash on eBay. We shall see what comes of it.

I have some framing repairs to do. I was happy with what I did for the mirror in the bathroom. We have settled on 3 things for that room - 2 Mexican bark paintings and a large lithograph of a western rural winter landscape. That is on the do list for this week. The photo of Yosemite that I got for its frame as come undone and now is the time for me to deal with that. I had intended to put our marriage certificate in that one. I'm thinking it will eventually hang in our bedroom, which come to think of it was where the Lovings kept theirs, if I'm not mistaken.

Time to get horizontal.


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