Back in the Orlando airport once again waiting for my flight to San Francisco. Drove down to Orlando yesterday with heavy rain for much of the trip, so off to a stressful start. But it will be fun to see Chris Fong, Judy, Annie and my other California friends. At my age, you never know when you’ll see old friends again… or “if.” So many are gone now—like lights blinking off one by one.
San Francisco, CA
Had a great time in San Francisco staying with Chris, visiting her daughter Corin, and having lunch with Annie Ruiz and her mother. Did a reading at Bird and Beckett Bookstore in San Francisco, a wonderful old and legendary shop where they also host weekly jazz sessions. Left a copy of my book at City Lights. Old stompin’ grounds from my high school days.
Made a visit to Old Sacramento—which is really the “new” Old Sacramento, a “back to the past” remodel that took down a lot of the original buildings (including some of Sacramento Nihonmachi—the Japanese section of Sacramento) and replaced it with what looks a lot like a Western movie set. But the Firehouse restaurant is still there and my friend Jane and I had a lovely lunch in the courtyard.
Rancho Cordova, CA
Relaxing at the Doubletree Hotel after a high energy morning at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center in Ancil Hoffman Park where I gave talk to about fifty enthusiastic folks. Ancil Hoffman used to be the Deterding Ranch, a six-hundred acres working cattle ranch, when I was growing up just down the road. Since the Deterdings gave the ranch to the county as a nature preserve, it hasn’t changed much at all except that the alfalfa field is now a golf course. Otherwise, it’s still a beautiful sweep of land along the banks of the American River where the oak trees stand out against the background of golden wild oats and the willow trees form little clumps along the river’s rocky bank. Saw lots of deer and other wild critters, just like old times.
While in Carmichael and the surround I visited a bunch of memorable places—my childhood home on Stanley Avenue, the little towns of Folsom and Auburn and Fair Oaks—still familiar
Also made a pilgrimage to what used to be Tosh’s Restaurant in Folsom. It has a wonderful rustic dining room that overlooks the American River, and carries many fond memories of other lunches and other times. Food is such a maker of memories!
Somewhere Over Wyoming
Well, had to cut short my California adventure. With two hurricanes headed for Florida and my conference cancelled in L.A., I pulled the plug on Southern California and headed east. Somehow I just KNEW there would be a hurricane if I left Florida for two weeks in September! Not just a hurricane, mind you, but the most powerful hurricane ever with winds of 185 mph. The storm has been wreaking havoc in the Caribbean and is due to hit Florida by Sunday. So, I re-shuffled the travel deck and got outta Dodge.
Sad to miss seeing my old friend Zena and my cousin George and his partner Rob, but couldn’t imagine leaving my darling husband to deal with the storm alone.
And California was not at all a loss—did have good talks in SF, Carmichael and Auburn and sold a good number of books, but won’t even begin to make back the cost of the trip. Maybe the book game is a game for the rich, a sort of sport, like raising race horses. You can enjoy breeding them and taking care of them and watching them grow, but you can’t count on them to win races or make back your investment. Just do it for the enjoyment, for the thrill. For the pleasure of creation/nurturing. Kinda like having kids. They may turn out this way or that, be successful or failures, or somewhere in between. Might or might not contribute to your comfort in old age. But it was better to have than not, to have loved and lost than to have lost the opportunity to love.
So I return to Florida with mixed feelings. I’ll be glad to get home, but concerned about what I’ll find. The highways will be filled with evacuees from South Florida, so travel will be difficult, and of course I face a long list of priorities once I get home: do I need gas for the back-up generator? Do we have an adequate supply of food? How long will the power be out? Do I have tarps to cover any roof leaks? Do I need sandbags? Duck tape? Do I have enough cash? Batteries? Meds? Gas in the car?
Maybe I should have stayed in California…