Friday, November 15, 2013

I am at my sister's house in Venice

I am reading the Mill on the Floss by George Eliot. It was published in 1860. I've decided to stay in the 19th century for my reading pleasure. With all of time spread before me I choose this period. I like Dickens, Austen, Hardy, Tolstoy, and Trollope.

I like Joseph Conrad and Balzac. I don't believe I will read anything written after 1914.

Health Care. It's kind of a mess. I wish I could say or do something to make it better, but I am quite at a loss.

Drought. I'm beginning to hear this word around Southern California. For a while I was hearing "It sure has been dry this year" and "I sure hope it rains pretty soon," but now I'm hearing the "d" word -- drought. Lake Cachuma is very low. Leaves are falling off the sycamores a little early.

I can't do anything about that either -- can't make it rain, can't fix health care.

Let's Pep it Up. The problem is that I have been sitting in this over-stuffed chair here at my sister's house in Venice. It has influenced my mood. I am reclining into a state of utter passivity. I don't actually need a plan. I just need to get up and get moving.

What can I do? What I can do is walk down the street to the Abbot's Habit coffee shop and sit down with Eric. He comes there every morning. I will talk it over with him -- Eric is a pretty smart guy. He might know what to do.

So I got coffee and sat with Eric. Sky walked in. She's a California babe with cascading blonde curls, wearing light blue slacks and a tank top cut low. She has a figure like a Barbie doll. "Hi, I'm Sky." "Yeah, we've met, I'm Fred."

They all come into the coffee shop and sit with Eric and tell him about their boy friends, or their work, or their real estate problems. Eric is the godfather. He listens, he might say something or he might not say anything........ Sky said she is going back to New York for a while and she is going to put her house out for a vacation rental. "I can get $500 a night."

In Venice, if you're near the beach, you can get that kind of money.

Eric nodded his head. "This is what people are doing," he said.

Sky made some inquiries about my gardening work, but she's all-city and not really interested. Then she got up, gave Eric a big kiss and said "I'll be back in six months."

So I left the coffee shop. Health care is still a mess and the drought continues in Southern California. But if you know people like Eric and Sky -- this is the greatest place on earth.

Later for Lunch. I bought one container of egg salad and one of potato salad before I left the coffee shop. This was to bring to the pot luck lunch at the Learning Garden.... They have this every Friday. And lots of people came -- a women from Bulgaria, she said her name was Mimi --- like that wasn't actually her name, but you could call her Mimi because that was easier to pronounce than her Bulgarian name. She brought potato soup. Julie brought a warm dish of baby bok choy and mushrooms. Others brought salad and pumpkin pie...... By the time Mel got there, the food was almost gone and he started to get annoyed. "How come you got all the food?" he whined. And David King, the master gardener, said, "Hey Mel, that's why they call it pot luck -- you gotta be lucky."

But more people came and someone brought a big tub of spaghetti and someone brought a sack of Halloween cookies, so Mel got his plate full.

Then the fellow who lives across Walgrove Street from the Learning Garden, he brought an entire wheelbarrow full of avocados from his back yard tree, hard and green, he dumped them in a pile and said help yourself. So I snagged a dozen and went back to my sister's.

Dinner. I have dinner reservations at 7 p.m. at Piccolo's on the Venice Boardwalk, with the person who wishes to remain anonymous. She said don't mention it. I said fine, nobody needs to know. But I will not be conspicuously curious and ask her why she wishes to remain incognito. No, that's not my style -- to ask questions.......

Tomorrow. Tomorrow I'm driving back early to Santa Barbara because Amanda wants me to clean up her yard -- she's having people over for brunch on Sunday.

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