Monthly Archives: June 2014

Art Day

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I was up very early this morning, cooking breakfast for John and Ingrid, as Ingrid had her weekly sleepover with us last night.  After she left, I got busy and completed work on three articles and am now sketching out the details for the remaining three that I have to write over the next 72 hours.

In a couple of hours, John and I will be headed to Tacoma to finally meet Stacey Harvey Brown and Agnes Hauptli at B2 Gallery for another Nature in the Making reception.

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I was shocked the first time I visited Tacoma because I had been told all kinds of negative things about it.  Both John and I found it delightful.  It is a nice little art Mecca hidden among the hills, on the water and is as lovely as lovely gets.  If you know the “old” Tacoma, you might be surprised by how much it has developed into a truly beautiful place.

We took our Maya there a few years ago, and had fun watching the glass blowers in the Chihuly museum.  Fascinating and a lot of fun to watch.

Mt. Rainier looms in the background and there are a zillion opportunities for awesome photography.

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Can’t wait, but if I’m going to go, I need to get off this computer….so goodbye for now.  Hope all of you are having as great a Sunday as I am!

I Love Days Like Today

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ImageI cannot tell you how thankful I am that my husband and I get along  as well together as we do.

Both of us stay so busy with our work and our individual life activities that when we have a day like this one, it really stands out as a pleasant time.

John will never admit just how creative he is, but indeed, he is.  No sooner do I design something, or even suggest it, and he will be on top of it, making it happen.  For instance, right now, he is building a pretty wooden stand to set our microwave on so that my chopping boards can slide under it.

Prompted by  soon-to-be arriving house guests, I  am redesigning the entire kitchen space and storage areas.  Our kitchen is tiny and I have a lot of nice kitchen equipment without dedicated spaces, so am coming up with creative storage ideas that will add more space and ease of functionality.

Today, John  hung our new blinds in the living and dining room.  I have never really cared for bamboo matchstick blinds, but since he put in the new bamboo floors and we bought a mid century modern credenza, they were the best thing to tie those two elements together.  They are replacing some much more formal silvery/blue Dupioni silk drapes that just looked out of place hanging there.   We got some “nicer” bamboo blinds with pretty stitching running down the front and a little built in valance.  I ended up loving the way they look hanging, and John did such a great job of putting them up.  They let in a lot of light while providing the privacy that we both want.

 

So…this is the “before” picture.  We have bamboo floors now…and a beautiful jute rug…and a credenza in front of that window…shown in the “after” picture of the bamboo blinds below.  Much lighter.  Better.

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I went off to a guitar lesson.  When I returned to the scene, he had hung three of the aprons from my handmade apron collection above our pantry.  I collect handmade aprons that were created by famous and semi-famous artists, made  from some very cool fabrics. but until now, I’ve not had the space to display them very well.  They look great  hanging there and I was taken by his desire to help me display them in this small space.  I have many others, but he chose the three that fit there most perfectly.  John is very considerate in that way.  He tries to think outside of the box and to consider what we both would like.  It is nice that I don’t even have to ask him to do these types of things.  We are both on the same page in that respect and we work so well together.

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Our next project is to paint the kitchen.  The walls behind me when I took the picture above, are dark blue.  We are going to take them back to their original cream color, and then John is going to add some gorgeous green glass tiles in a couple of places for a back splash.  This will go behind the stove and, perhaps, in a few other places.  There is very limited wall space, so we will have to plan carefully.

John  did the big project in the front yard that I’ve already blogged about….

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…….and he transformed our little side yard into a lovely little Zen garden where we can relax and entertain.  Since he did this, we have added more plants and a water feature, so it looks quite cozy.   Image Our goals of doing certain things before our summer guests arrive are getting checked off the list one by one and this makes me very happy.  He’s a go-getter….and I’m very grateful.

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Is your speech fraught with gossip, judging, negativity, complaints, excuses, lying and dogmatism?    Why not change channels and make it about honesty, authenticity, integrity and love?  This video is very brief, but can teach you how to speak so that others will listen to what you have to say.  You should begin, however, by listening to yourself…..

 

 

Speak Your Mind ….but do it correctly.

Neeee-HAWWWW!

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I grew up in a small town where, if one did not have a horse….well…everyone DID have horses, so that’s a moot point. I spent many, many hours during my childhood and teen years barrel racing, both for fun and in competitions on Friday nights at the “Play Day” rodeo practice in a nearby town. Bet I could still do it today if I had a horse. I miss it! Anyway….my friend, Tommy just sent me this video. Said he thought of me. Ha. ha.

Thanks, Mr. W! 🙂

Dark Chocolate and Heart Health – Avoid the milk!

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This topic interests me greatly, since my husband has a heart condition. Each year, Dr. Michael Greger does a search of the latest empirical research on nutrition and presents these facts in a series of videos on his website: nutritionfacts.org. His qualifications as an expert on nutrition are unsurpassed. He is a widely respected authority who bases his findings on valid, reliable science rather than bruhaha. In other words, he’s not in it to make money.

Bomb those Clothes…with poetry.

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I have long been a fan of leaving art-related items behind for others to find.  Poetry bombing is one of those things that really appeals to me for that reason.   When you think about it, places and objects are alive.  We “will” them alive in our minds and imaginations.   These things  tell our stories.

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Sewing poems in clothes as this artist does, is giving the garments a voice.  The act places us  in relation — with others, with things, with the world. This being-in-relation, is a way of perceiving, a mode of moving, a narrative of global truths designed by cultural fictions.  Each poem sewn into an article of clothing will travel.  It will effect someone else’s  life.   It will matter … and cause a slight change in what would have transpired, had it not been there.  Sewing poems in clothes is a way of bringing poetry to everyday life just by displacing it, by removing it from a paper to integrate it and fuse it with other people’s  lives.

Sometimes little details are stronger when they are separated from where they are expected to be.

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EVERYTHING IS GOOD. 

Don’t worry.

 

Portland Waterfront Blues Festival

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I have been to many, many blues festivals and concerts throughout the world in the years that I have been a music enthusiast.  Our annual Waterfront Blues Festival is one of the best, at least in America, and is just one more thing to love about living in Portland.  This festival is set in a park, right on the banks of the Williamette River in the middle of downtown.  One can hop on a bus or the trolly and be dropped off right at the gate.  The crowd is always mellow and the music is outstanding!  Even the food is exceptional!
This morning, John presented me with our tickets as a nice “good morning” gift, as he is prone to give me spontaneously.  (Both of us have a thing about gift giving and give to one another regularly.  Keeps things hoppin’! )  With company arriving within the next few weeks and travel plans on the horizon, I had not thought to buy tickets myself, so I’m really happy that he did.  We have a great lineup of artists this year and I look forward to going again.    The thing I look most forward to is dancing with the other happy attendees.  We do have a great time when we go!

2014 Featured Artists for the Portland Waterfront Blues Festival

  • Gregg Allman

    Gregg Allman

  • Los Lobos

    Los Lobos

  • Dumpstaphunk

    Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk

  • Boz Scaggs

    Boz Scaggs

  • Maceo Parker

    Maceo Parker

  • Lee Fields

    Lee Fields and The Expressions

  • Los Lonely Boys

    Los Lonely Boys

  • Charlie Musselwhite

    Charlie Musselwhite

  • John Nemeth & The Bokeys

    John Nemeth and The Bo-Keys

  • Joan Osborne

    Joan Osborne with The Holmes Brothers

  • Bombino

    Bombino

  • Blind Boy Paxton

    Blind Boy Paxton

  • Homemade Jamz

    Homemade Jamz

  • Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials

    Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials

  • Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Chas

    Nathan and the Zydeco Cha-Chas

  • Otis Taylor with Mato Nanji

    Otis Taylor with special guest Mato Nanji

  • The Soul of John Black

    The Soul of John Black

  • Sugaray Rayford

    Sugaray Rayford Band

Additional Artists

  • Ellen Whyte

    Albert Reda & Ellen Whyte

  • Andy Stokes & Lisa Mann

    Andy Stokes, Lisa Mann & the Oxford Allstars

  • Big Monti

    Big Monti

  • Cooper

    Cooper

  • Paris Slim

    Frank “Paris Slim” Goldwasser

  • Good Foot Allstars

    Goodfoot Allstars Tribute to James Brown

  • Samba School

    G.R.E.S. Grianças de Zumbi (Children of Zumbi) Samba School

  • Jim Pugh

    Jim Pugh

  • Puppet Show

    Juste À Temps (Just In Time) Puppet Troupe

  • Libertine Bells

    Libertine Belles

  • Lloyd Jones

    Lloyd Jones Struggle

  • Rad Trads

    Rad Trads

  • Rose City Kings

    Rose City Kings

  • Smut City

    Smut City Jellyroll Society

  • Bonepickers

    The Bone Pickers

  • Tim Williams

    Tim Williams

  • Too Loose Porch Band

    Too Loose Cajun/Zydeco Band

  • Lisa Mann Really Good Band

    Lisa Mann & Her Really Good Band, featuring Diane Blue

  • Liz Vice

    Liz Vice

  • Margo Tufo

    Margo Tufo

  • Mary Flower

    Mary Flower & the BBQ Boys

  • Chris Baum Project

    The Chris Baum Project

  • The Strange Tones

    The Strange Tones & DK Stewart

  • Duffy Bishop

    Duffy Bishop

  • American Music Program

    American Music Program

  • Andy T and Nick Nixon Band

    Andy T & Nick Nixon Band

  • Anson Funderburgh

    Anson Funderburgh

  • Lauren Sheehan

    Lauren Sheehan

  • Ayron Jones

    Ayron Jones & The Way

  • Ben Rice

    Ben Rice Trio

  • Chris Bergson

    Chris Bergson Band

  • Chris O'Leary Band

    The Chris O’Leary Band

  • Commander Cody

    Commander Cody

  • Curley Taylor

    Curley Taylor & Zydeco Trouble

  • The Frank Bey & Anthony Paule Band

    The Frank Bey & Anthony Paule Band

  • Hillstomp

    Hillstomp

  • Jeffrey Broussard

    Jeffrey Broussard and The Creole Cowboys

  • Kara Grainger

    Kara Grainger

  • Karen Lovely

    Karen Lovely’s Prohibition Orchestra

  • Leif Totusek

    Leif Totusek’s Candela Blues

  • Leo

    Leo “Bud” Welch

  • Lilla

    Lilla

  • Linda Hornbuckle

    Linda Hornbuckle’s Old Time Gospel Hour

  • Miz Dee

    Miz Dee

  • Rae Gordon Band

    Rae Gordon Band

  • Simon Tucker

    Simon Tucker Band

  • Ural Thomas & The Pain

    Ural Thomas & The Pain

  • Yvette Landry

    Yvette Landry

  • Horace Trahan & Ossun Express

    Horace Trahan & Ossun Express

  • Trancendental Brass Band

    Transcendental Brass Band

 

Spontaneous Poem for Wednesday – by Pamela Goode

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My friend, Pam Goode probably has no idea how much an inspiration she is to me, and on so many different levels, and for so many different reasons….but she is.  I considered her Spontaneous Poem for Wednesday a true gift, as it was exactly what I was looking for this morning…in a “Seek and ye shall find” kind of way.    Thank you for this, Pam.

(P.S. – Oh…and you rock.)

Weightless

there are times of
too many
too much
too few
never enough

and the subject matter dances between the lines, depending
voices
emotions
work
drink
sustenance
fear
sorrow
joy
surprise

and sometimes what falls into “too much” one day
falls into “never enough” on another

and i struggle with this dance of
emotion
pain
joy
change

in equal amounts of
too much and
too little

believing
that to live fully is to know
it all
intensely
hurt and
solace

but it is never
weightless

c. Pamela Goode

It’s a Crazy World! Loco Weed Vs. Chinese Fortune Cookies

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This morning, my friend, Diane, complained that she was unable to get decent Chinese food delivered to her house in Puyallup, Washington, but that she had the option, if she so desired,  to have marijuana and related products delivered without problem.    I checked out the link that she posted and this appears to be true.  A website called THCfinder.com lists Puyallup as a delivery location for the new legalized marijuana products such as an $8 pack of Boggle Gum or other hybrid and specially cultivated marijuana products.

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The state became one of the first to legalize pot for recreational use two years ago, but there remain many challenges ahead.  Washington is currently setting up a licensing system for pot growers and sellers and the Fed is busy setting a new limit on the amount of pot that can be found in the bloodstream for safe driving.  Medical marijuana is also still in the picture.

Things are really changing.  Now, it is  legal to light up in both Denver and Seattle, and marijuana is approved for medicinal use in some 20 states.  There’s one thing the Obama administration is most concerned when it comes to legalized recreational marijuana.  That is  making sure that kids are not part of this grand pot experiment.  In Washington, the rules have been written to restrict marketing and advertising. And there’s a hefty tax levied on legal pot.

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Yup. everything is changing.  Many view this as a bad thing…but is it really?  Is it even as bad as alcohol?  Guess we’ll see.   Colorado is already reporting a lower crime rate and profits from legal marijuana crops going toward school improvements.    However, Washington has run into problems.  A legal and political haze is making it all but impossible for entrepreneurs, activists, regulators, and smokers to know when legal pot will actually be a reality in Washington — which puts the high-stakes marijuana legalization experiment at risk of failure not just in the state, but in the rest of country.

Some of the bizarre complications currently plaguing Washington are inherent in any conflict between state and federal government. Marijuana remains a Schedule I prohibited substance under federal law, although US Attorney General Eric Holder has said the Justice Department will allow Washington and Colorado — Amendment 64 there also legalized recreational pot as of January 1 — to proceed unhindered. Some complications arise due to cumbersome provisions in the Washington law itself.  And others from the way the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) has interpreted its authority to create a new recreational marijuana system.

Even when Washington’s aspiring weed moguls finally do get their licenses, they’ll have only begun the permit process. Each license holder must also secure business permits from local authorities who are often openly hostile to legal pot. Most growing operations will need construction permits to build their irrigation, electrical, and waste-disposal systems. Premises must be found. Leases must be signed. Finances must be secured to pay for all this, and not from traditional lenders — banks remain skittish about funding an industry that remains illegal under federal law, even after the Justice and Treasury departments announced in February that financial institutions may work with licensed pot businesses. Lastly, marijuana has to actually grow. It takes at least a couple of months to produce a crop.

Over the next decade, we will probably see more states legalize marijuana.  Oklahoma is in line and there is talk of legalization down the road in Texas and in other states.  Only time will tell if this will be a good thing.  One thing that even opponents of legalization should consider, however.  Even if you are opposed to smoking marijuana yourselves, legalizing it will make things safer all around.  It will cut down on drug-related crimes by eliminating street dealers.  Regulation of bud will keep the quality high and the dangerous chemicals out.  It will generate revenue for schools, roads and health care and it will cause it to be much less likely to fall into the hands of children.

The jury is out on this one.  We’ll see how it goes.  There was a tremendous bruhaha about the legalization of alcohol, back in the day. Now it is legal everywhere.  I have a feeling the same will be true of pot.

Folded Light and Shadows by Yuko Nishimura

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I have long been fascinated by the variety of works that can be accomplished through folding paper.  My friend, Arlene Elizabeth, for instance, makes giant representational works from tiny origami cranes.  I have her portrait of the Daili Lama hanging here in my office.

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Japanese artist Yuko Nishimura takes things to another level by  transforming single white sheets of special handmade paper into complex geometric wall reliefs.

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Please visit the Yuko Nishimura website to see additional works and to read more about the artist.

Having an Opera Day

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One of the things that brought us together initially, was the fact that both John and I were (and still are) big opera fans.  When we met, I had seasons tickets to the Houston Grand Opera , and we used to go together frequently….or I would go by myself….or I would go with my best mate, Katie or with my kids.

We are an opera family.  While still a high school student, my  son used to be an usher at the Houston Grand Opera, which allowed him to see all of the operas free of charge.   He has loved opera since.  I took all of my kids with me, however.  Again…we are an opera family.

I saw Pavarotti sing Nessun Dorma and other of his “greatest hits” in person, upon a number of occasions, thanks to dear Katie, and still weep at the notion of his no longer being among the living. He was magnificent!  I was never fortunate enough to see him in an actual opera, however.

John and I both adore Puccini’s operas and have been listening to them this morning with the windows open, the cool breeze blowing in and the flowers blooming everywhere outside. This is another day in which the temperature is mild and absolutely perfect. (These Portland springs and summers make the dark winters well worth the wait. )

As I write this, we are listening to Pavarotti sing Turandot.  There are simply no words to describe how beautiful this music is!  It really brings out the romance in my husband, too.   🙂

Fell in love with him all over again today.

This, my friends, is a beautiful day.

Thank you, opera.

Cinnamon Roll Scones

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Inspired by the delicious scones at Lauretta Jean’s, an awesome bakery down the street, I  got up early this morning and made these for my husband.

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It drives me up the wall that the woman in the video keeps calling these “scons” rather than “scones”…but whatever. This recipe is fast, easy and delicious. It is really hard to screw this one up. I make these in all kinds of flavors, but the cinnamon roll ones, I believe, are the best.

Instead of white flour, however, I use Bob’s Red Mill whole grain oat flour, and I use far less sugar than this woman uses…and I do not use processed white sugar at all. I use date sugar or coconut sugar or turbanado sugar.  I usually don’t even keep sugar in the house….Same deal with butter…but when I make these, I gotta have it.

Sometimes, I make a fruit compote to fill the center…blueberry, marionberry, raspberry. Sometimes, I do an orange marmalade or a lemon curd with lots of zest, and those are good, too…but there is something comforting about the smell of fresh cinnamon scones baking in the oven. Makes the house smell good all day long.

Metamorphosis

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One of the reasons we went for our walk together yesterday, was because I have been having difficulty coming up with a design for my Doctors Without Borders mosaic.  With only 5 weeks left in which to complete it, I have been looking for inspiration everywhere.  With all of the flowers and butterflies and beautiful things that I saw yesterday, I believe I have come up with the perfect design:

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I enjoy the fact that this design is built on a circle rather than a more traditional butterfly shape.  I like it that it has straight lines mixed with curved ones.  This lends a sense of grace to the overall design.  Yes, I think this, or some variation of this, will be my design.  John has promised to cut a piece of Wedi-backer board for me today or tomorrow so I can get the design laid down and get started.  My glass cutting skills are a little rusty, but I plan to make most of this piece from glass.  Haven’t decided on a background yet….maybe smalti….maybe tile.  Will have to wait and see how it goes. I want to make this large enough for the wings to go outside of the borders of the piece so that it only shows a portion of the butterfly.

In other news, I have decided to paint the kitchen.   I painted it a deep, dusty blue a few years ago, which looks great with the white cabinets, but  have been longing for something lighter and brighter, so am going to lighten it back up to white and put in a smoky gray/green glass back splash.  I have a lot of company coming this summer, so need to hop to it.  I want to do some kind of mosaic work over the stove….but we shall see…..

I love having all of these projects, and it feels great to complete each one.

What a Glorious Day!

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The temperature hovered around 77 degrees f all day today.  The sun was out, a soft breeze was blowing.  Couldn’t have been more perfect except for the fact that I spent most of the day working.  When I finished, however, John and I decided to walk to the local organic market for some veggies, and I grabbed my camera.  What follows are the pictures that I snapped today.  The battery on my camera was low, so some of them didn’t turn out as sharp as they could have.

This is the time of year when the roses and some of the other flowers are at the end of their lives.  Days like today seem to perk them up and they look beautiful even in their withering state.  The plant life in Portland is so vibrant and alive!  These are happy plants.  This is a city that is pretty happy overall.  I just love it here!

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Hope you have a wonderful week!

Which Song Was Written for You?

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A friend sent this little quiz to me this morning and I thought I’d share.  Answer a few questions to find out which song was written especially for you!   It’s sort of fun.  Click HERE to find out which song is a fit for you.

This is what mine said:

 “You are a positive and passionate person. Your smile is breathtakingly beautiful, no one can resist smiling after meeting you. Go on and spread some joy while listening to “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, it’s YOUR song!”

 

What about you?  What’d YOU get? 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Tracking, Counters, Software, Stealth…..

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Today, I am officially tracker-free on this blog.   I used to spend a great deal of time and energy checking to see who was reading it and that developed into a nasty, non-productive occupation of my time.  This blog isn’t even “moneytized”  like some of my other blogs, so why bother?   I have released the bonds that held me here longer than I should have been, by removing all counters, tracking software and other devices used for that purpose.  I will, instead, apply that energy toward making more money, more art and other more constructive endeavors.  Not checking has already saved me about an hour this morning.  It is working already.                      Rene Best musician

The King Returneth… An Uber App Review, Capellini and A Lot of Theatre Talk…

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My husband, John,  returned from the 2014 TCG National Conference in San Diego last night  feeling renewed and excited, having learned a lot more about the play writing arena.  He feels that this conference really helped him elevate his endeavors to a more professional level.   He saw many one act plays and worked with some notable Hollywood writers, such as the guys that wrote the HBO series, “Hung”.

It was fun to see how this conference sparked his enthusiasm and breathed new life into his ardor for play writing.  Can’t wait to see what he does next.  He is now urging ME to write a play and to attend next year’s conference with him.  I hope to be able to do that, but since I still have another year of my grad program to do, it isn’t likely that I will be able to accomplish it just yet.

One can dream, however.

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Global Citizenship is one of TCG’s four core values (Artistry, Advocacy, Diversity and Global Citizenship), underscoring the organization’s  belief that the future of the U.S. professional not-for-profit theatre requires a connection to the international network of theatres, artists and other cultural leaders.   John loved how the group promotes cultural and aesthetic diversity, and learned about many  of those things as they apply to playwriting in this context.

This was a good thing.  I’m so happy that he went, and I love the fire that attending seemed to have lit under him.  His voice sounded so excited as he spoke of it all, and I was glad to hear that. Can’t wait to see what he does next.  He also got some excellent leads toward production deals for his own work.

In other news, I  had a nice meal of capellini with fresh, organic tomatoes, peppers and basil waiting for him when he got home.  I served it with some pistachio-encrusted asparagus and some of the organic zucchini that we picked last weekend, cooked  in a light white wine sauce with Hawaiian sweet onions.  I also made a nice salad of sliced tomatoes, avocado and other earthly delights.  It was delicious, and John was appreciative of my efforts.

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We ate slowly, sipped wine and had a lovely visit after he got home. I loved listening to him talk about his time in San Diego, and I had fun filling him in on everything that has been going on here…and no, this isn’t us in the pic below.  Just illustrating someone else eating FISH, which I, the vegetarian, never eat .

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While in San Diego, John tried out the UBER app on his iPhone for the first time.  He is now quite enthusiastic about it, so I think it will be regularly used during our future travels.  The app is one that enlists a network of private drivers to run a cab service that is a fraction of the cost of regular Taxis….and the experience is much more pleasant than that provided by the usual cab service, so he was happy.

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It is a little hard to explain exactly how this app works, but the concept goes a little something like this:  Users download the app for either iPhone or Android platforms, and then use it to signal their needs for a ride.  Within a few minutes (John reported less than 5 minutes every time he used it.) nice, shiny black cars show up to take users to their destinations.  Since the user’s credit card is already configured to the mobile app used to call for the ride, the payment and tip are both charged automatically, so no cash is exchanged.  John said service was perfect, and that he enjoyed using this app very much.

John and I both love San Diego.  We stay there from time-to-time, in our timeshare near Balboa Park, but this trip was all business, and I was busy here in Portland, so I stayed behind this time.

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I’m glad that he is home now.  He still sleeping this morning, and I am getting ready to make some Meyer lemon pancakes with blueberries.  The aroma will wake him, and when he wakes to the smell of something delicious on the stove, he is in an excellent mood all day…so cooking this morning, is a win-win.