Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ms. Gimpy Says Thanks to Robin

I've known for some months that my blue Scrub Jay friend Ms. Gimpy recognizes me as the human who fed her last summer when she had a broken leg.  What I didn't realize was how much she trusted me. That is what I learned this week when I decided to try feeding her by hand. You can see, above, how it all developed.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sad News About Scarves at Neiman's

"Lafayette's Triumphal Tour of America" scarf by Hermes.

Neiman Marcus had a giveaway this weekend. It wasn't much--just a glamorous tote bag if you made a minimum purchase in the cosmetics department.  Since I've invested quite a bit in Neiman Marcus over the years, I'm always happy to drop by if they want to give me something--since it seems likely I'm bound to make the minimum purchase (at some point) anyway.

So I picked up my sort-of-free tote bag and then drifted over to the scarf department where I have spent many a happy hour looking through the Hermes silk scarves from France. There, I was in for a bad shock.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

New Asphalt, or An Old Orchard?

The grounds of the Los Altos City Hall, with our library in the distance.

I've been to two presentations now on the plans for a new $81M city hall, police station and community center for my hometown, Los Altos, California. The presentations are excellent as are the plans.

And then, yesterday, I had to run an errand that took me by our City Hall. The apricot trees are not yet in bloom, but the spring sunshine has brought out the wild mustard. The acreage is so beautiful--at all times of year--and it is especially beautiful in the spring.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy Washington's Birthday (Almost)

 "Army! Stand fast! My birthday cake is on its way!"

George Washington's Birthday is still a couple of days away--February 22 (NS) though by the calendar he was actually born on February 11 (OS).  What those initials mean are New Style and Old Style.  Many of you know about the change in the calendar during GW's lifetime, but it is interesting so I'll run through it quickly here.

And I'll throw in an excellent (though somewhat large) recipe for a George Washington Birthday Cake.  It must be good, as it is from the kitchen of Martha Washington's.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Perplexing Public Art

Gary Hume's creations on a plaza in downtown Mountain View, California.

When I drive back and forth to Moffett Field through Mountain View, California, I've often slowed down in their downtown area to puzzle at the two sculptures above.

Mountain View is the home of Google, Sun Microsystems, and NASA Ames Research Center so it has a rich tax base on which to draw. The city government there has designated that one percent of any project in the city that costs more than a million dollars goes to public art.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Did J. Davis Ever Celebrate Lincoln's B'day? (If Only He Had Moved to California ...)

Honest Abe couldn't catch a break when it came to holidays.
Postcard from the collection of Russell Hughes. 

Happy Lincoln's Birthday!

Growing up in the West, we were happy to celebrate the birthday of Honest Abe, since we got to take the day off from school on any February 12th that arrived on a school day. Later in the month, we also got to take February 22nd off, for Washington's Birthday. What a great month, was February, to my friends and I!

Leave it to the federal government to step in and curtail this joyous excess.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Presidential Race a Lifetime Ago

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the presidential yacht Potomac. The photo is from the FDR Presidential Library and is in the public domain.

I've been reading No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin about President Roosevelt and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and their lives on the home front during World War II.

One real stunner struck me in reading the book: in July of 1940, with FDR nearing the end of his second term as president--there was no announced Democratic presidential candidate! Four months before the presidential election, FDR had not yet made it known whether he would run for a third term or not.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Adventures in my California Garden

A heart-shaped pot my friend Phyllis gave me for my birthday two years ago, is now filled with pansies.

We're having a very mild winter in Northern California. Almost no rain storms so far, which means there could be lots of fires in golden California this summer. With spring on its way, I thought this might be a good time to compost my roses and some of the other flowers my folks planted here over the years.

I asked my friend Mickey, who has a landscaping business, if he could get me some compost and he said he would. When he delivered it, it was enough compost to make a pile that filled about a quarter of my driveway. I believe 'Holy Cow!" would be a very appropriate expression here.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Return of the Killer Shrews Is A Wrap!

My friend, Steve Latshaw, the Hollywood screenwriter and director, has a lot to celebrate this year. His new movie, Return of the Killer Shrews, has just been completed and is ready for distribution and sale.  

That's the business side. There is also the news that Steve is getting married this year. I know he's a little superstitious and is afraid to let people know he's happy for fear, if he gloats, he might tempt the gods to smite him down. So I will gloat for him.