Monday, May 30, 2005

Google #1 Again

...for "Little Allie"

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Lovely Galatea

Today, the Martinez Opera held a rehearsal of “The Lovely Galatea” at the Senior Center all afternoon. I felt extremely lucky to be able to attend, as I can walk around the corner to reach the center, and had a very fulfilling day.

I felt bad for the vocalists and director, as the Seniors were not interested in this event, and the few that attended were very rude, talking and making plenty of noise while the rehearsal was going on. I moved away from everyone and sat alone up close and personal, giving the performers my undivided attention. Can you tell I love opera?

They rehearsed on the floor, not on the stage. Just the accompanist was on stage, playing the grand piano. The director was near me, sitting at a table, and throughout the rehearsal, he made remarks to me, including me in the rehearsal, basically. He asked what I thought about certain parts, told me about items that would be used as part of the set, and gave me the feeling of being a part of the company. The singers performed to me a lot of the time, because it was obvious no one else was interested, and eventually everyone else left the building.

At the end of the rehearsal, the director came to me and said, “You stayed until the very end.”

“I love opera!”

He also stated that “they are all professionals”, meaning the soloists. I had told some of them on the way out that they have beautiful voices, and they thanked me. The director translated the opera from German to English, and it is delightful.

The opera features Rebecca Garcia as Galatea , Ben Bongers as Pygmalian , Roberto Gomez as Ganymede , and Brian Frutiger as Midas . The production will be great, I am sure.

Martinez Opera is the oldest opera company west of the Rockies, I learned today. The Opera House burned during the 1906 earthquake. The opera will be performed at the Alhambra Performing Arts Center.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Google #1

I am #1 (out of 8,140,000) under Failure as a Mother. What does that say?

Friday, May 20, 2005


The weather was nasty – cold, rainy and windy. We sat under a huge tent with no sides, the wind whipping around and making everyone want to cuddle. This was supposed to be California, in mid-May, no less.

The Seniors of the state, along with some persons on disability, had gathered for a Rally on the lawn directly in front of the Capitol. There were many speakers, from various organizations, and from the political scene. We had traveled to Sacramento on buses, and luckily, our group from San Pablo was provided with wonderful sandwiches at no cost to us, along with chips and drinks. A woman from Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia’s office was with us, although she had been on a bus with another group, and handed out the sandwiches. She sat right in front of me and kept track of my needs (my sandwich was a bit sloppy and she kept handing me napkins). I must say, she was a very personable woman. Later, she and I had a nice conversation.

I took time out in the morning to go into the building to sneak a peak at the Rotunda area. I absolutely love old buildings. I was very impressed with the Capitol. There are many offices that have been restored to their appearance in the early 1900’s, and they are wonderful to behold. Of course, the Rotunda is magnificent.

After lunch under the tent, Joan, from the County Supervisor’s office, asked if we would like to see the Chambers, and of course, we all said yes. We followed her into the building, so I had a chance to see the areas that I had missed earlier. When we first entered the Capitol, we went to the fourth floor to a meeting room to listen to our representatives in the legislature speak. Then we toured parts of the building; the Senate and Assembly Chambers; various offices – meeting people that worked there. It was all very interesting and exciting to me, as I had once been very involved in the political scene and it brought back fond memories, making me feel young again.

I was very pleased that the building was so beautiful to see, definitely worth spending a day or three checking everything out. I wish I had more time to read everything in the areas that were designated as museums, and peruse all the old photos.

A good friend was my companion on the bus, and for the whole day listening to speeches and touring the building, so that was also a plus. We have like interests, and both appreciate the finer things of life (the artistic things).

Maybe one day, I’ll have a chance to finish my tour of the California State Capitol. As of right now, I would certainly love to do that.

From Craig

I got all choked up and teary-eyed today. My youngest son sent me two CD’s that he felt I would love. They are beautiful. It is extremely touching when my kids do things like that. Thank you, Craig.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


Grace became a teenager Saturday. It is hard to believe. I think of her often as “Baby Gracie”, Carrie’s and Bob’s firstborn. She was such a cutie, toddling around. Now she is heading toward being a grown-up; all involved in school projects, music, and her friends.

Carrie, Bob, and the girls live in Florida, and now Craig has moved there, as well. He went to visit a few weeks ago, liked it, and decided to move there from Buffalo. I’ll visit them sometime soon.

Feeding Frenzy

One evening, several years ago, Jim and my son Craig and I witnessed quite a spectacle while hanging out on the pier in Santa Cruz. It was a gorgeous evening, with skies and water cast in mauves and pinks.

We had been watching the sea lions and pelicans, and just in general enjoying ourselves. It was part of our almost weekly routine, after selling at the flea market, to go to the pier, have something to eat, and enjoy the sea around us. All of a sudden, there was a tremendous influx of seabirds and sea lions; pelicans diving into the water, other birds joining the melee – hundreds of air and water beings swirling around. It was quite incredible.

There must have been a huge concentration of fish that had attracted all of the birds and water occupants, and it was totally amazing watching them feed. I don’t believe I have ever seen so many pelicans in one place. Apparently there must have been enough food to go around, as this display lasted for a long time, as the sun was setting. The colors in the atmosphere, the wildlife, the beautiful water, would have been nearly impossible to capture in a photo, but I still wish I had been able to take one anyway, for posterity.


Remember when you used to chase “lightening bugs” on a balmy summer evening, perhaps even capturing a few in a canning jar? That was a favorite East Coast pastime when growing up – I don’t know about other parts of the country.

In the summer of 1990, we had our motorhome parked in my sister Jamie’s driveway in the Finger Lakes area of New York State, after wintering in Florida. Jamie lives in the country, a mile outside Ovid, my hometown. We experienced the most fantastic evening as thousands of fireflies lit up the night; in the yard, over the fields, down the road, every where we looked. It was better than any computer generated scene; an absolute phenomenon.

They were high in the sky, down on the ground and in between. I do not remember ever witnessing such a spectacle, and I have been on this earth quite some time. It was a completely magical evening, straight out of a fairytale. The fireflies were there for hours, as far as I can remember. Something jogged my memory of it the other day, although I have thought about it from time to time. I doubt that I will ever see that many “lightening bugs” again in my lifetime, but if I do, I will let you know.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


Last night I attended a vigil for a friend, Joe. He was the handyman here at the mobile home park, as well as having a “real job”. Sunday, upon returning to the park from the Alameda Antique Show, the former park manager informed us that Joe had died a couple of hours earlier. He had cancer, starting with tumors on his lungs, and spreading throughout his body.

Joe was always such a cheerful person, and would stop and visit whenever he saw me as he was driving through the park. Everyone liked him. When I arrived at the vigil, across the street from here at the funeral home, there were several park residents, as well as some women that I know from the Senior trips. They are Portuguese, as was Joe (Jose). He was born in Portugal, on the Azores Island Flores, in 1954. The Portuguese are a very close-knit family here in San Pablo. The women sat behind me in the chapel, and we talked about Joe for a bit before the service started.

A printed folder with Joe’s life story in brief was available at the chapel; a great photo of him on the front with his boat and a big fish. In Portugal he was known as a fisherman who enjoyed playing soccer. He played goalie on a team.

The chapel is fairly large, and very nice, with stained wood cathedral ceiling, attractive lighting, very peaceful. The place was packed with friends, and most likely former co-workers at the steel casting place. Joe was only 50 years old, and it is sad to think that he is gone in the prime of life.

The same day that I was informed of Joe’s death, a friend stopped by my booth in Alameda to inform me that his partner, Fred, has cancer. Fred is a great guy, and I have known him since I arrived in California. He used to bring his mother to the markets and shows in a wheelchair, and always checked out the jewelry in my cases. Eventually, he started buying pieces, as he was trying to make up complete sets of high designer jewelry; pins, earrings, necklaces and bracelets. A few years ago, he started selling his jewelry at the Cow Palace shows, and established quite a clientele for the gorgeous high-end sets that he had in his cases. For the last couple of years at the shows, before they were discontinued as the show promoter from Oregon was losing money on them, we had booths across from each other, and could spend the three days of each show chatting and comparing notes.

I was totally distressed to hear about Fred’s illness. He has had several surgeries of the abdominal area, and now the cancer has spread into his bones. He has been too weak for chemo, so his prognosis doesn’t sound too great. He was planning on retiring from his job with the county where he lives, this month, but has been sick for a year. His co-workers have donated sick days and vacation days to help him, a surprising thing to me. I will be thinking of him, and hoping for the best.

Monday, May 02, 2005


I just spoke with my granddaughter Meghan in Florida. She is 11 today. She has an adult vocabulary in a pre-teen’s voice. I was particularly conscious of it. She is a great student, and I am very proud of her. She is a very loving granddaughter, as are all of the girls.