in the Monterey Bay orbit

Gilroy is in an interesting location. It is at the very southern end of Santa Clara County. Leave Gilroy on U.S. 101 heading south and you’re in San Benito County. Head east through Hecker Pass and you find yourself in Santa Cruz County. One of the very first things you see on the other side of Hecker Pass on Highway 152 is the Santa Cruz County fairgrounds.

Officially all of Santa Clara County is part of the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose market. When we had DirecTV satellite service we got all of the San Francisco stations. Now that we have cable that is true as well, but we also get the Monterey-Salinas CBS and NBC stations. That is not true for the next town to the north, Morgan Hill, which has the same cable company.

Most of the Monterey/Salinas radio stations come in clearly here in Gilroy. I listen to both of the NPR stations in the region, KAZU in Monterey, and less often to KUSP in Santa Cruz. I love the traffic reports on those stations. Very often it’s something like “no major incidents to report” or “heavy traffic on Highway One through Santa Cruz.” That’s it. Terry and I both like the weatherman on the Monterey NBC station, an elder statesman with a relaxed attitude.

In general, the radio and television media in the Monterey-Salinas-Santa Cruz market reflects the somewhat slower pace of life in the region. And that’s a Good Thing.

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our newest kitchen tool

You’re aware that Terry and I are suckers for kitchen gadgets. I decided a while back that I was tired of fighting with that hand-held wheel pizza slicer. Terry was off to do a couple of errands, so I pulled out one of those ubiquitous Bed Bath & pizzacutterBeyond 20% off coupons and asked her to score a proper pizza slicer. She brought home the real deal, and at $9.99 less 20%, how can you complain?

I had to make pizza from scratch, of course, to try out the cutter and it did its did its job well. I had a bit of a problem a week later with our Papa Murthy’s take and bake and the paper tray, but I think it’s simply a matter of cutting the pizza on a flat, solid surface rather than on the (unheated of course) gas stove top with its gaps where the tray bends. And I think it was still better than using the handheld rollingpizza pizza cutter.

Terry and I both thought that the tool would work well when I cut corn tortillas to make tortilla chips. I tried it and it did the job wonderfully.

Pizza or tortillas, I seem to have a problem creating pieces of equal size. I need to work on that.

Regardless, we’re delighted to add this to our kitchen gadget collection.

paying it forward

When we go to Capitola we generally park in the parking lot above the village. They used to have parking meters there. I’m nowhere near as good at paying it forward as some people, such as my friend and former manager Sue, but in Capitola I’d always put more money in the meter than necessary, and we’d usually drive away with an hour or more on the meter, leaving the time for someone else.

Now they have the central pay stations that so many municipalities are switching to, so I can’t do that any longer.

I guess I will have to find another way to pay it forward.

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Bella Sera

Remember those television commercials several years ago for Bella Sera Pinot Grigio? The couple who picked up the bottle found themselves on the terrace of a beautiful seaside villa overlooking the Mediterranean at sunset. That commercial is in part responsible for the fact that when we buy wine for our getaways one bottle is almost always Bella Sera. Such was the case when we had our anniversary getaway to Monterey last week.

We had a marvelous time. We had a great afternoon Wednesday at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and a wonderful stay at the Monterey Bay Inn. We had a superb anniversary dinner on Wednesday at Schooners, where I had made-to-order clam chowder with fresh clams still in the shell, a first for me. We enjoyed a fun morning Thursday at Point Lobos.

Wednesday evening, however, we came about as close as possible to that scene from the Bella Sera commercial while remaining in California.

It was a first-rate twentieth anniversary getaway.


Sacred Music Friday: Here I am, Lord

Luther College Nordic Choir conducted by Allen Hightower, Stephen Uhl accompanist

I am not training for a 5K

That may seem like a silly thing to say, but there is a point here.

Terry has been training for the AAUW Wildflower Run. The reason that I am not is that the run is on Palm Sunday. Once upon a time it was on a Saturday, but for the past several years it has been on Sunday, and most years on Palm Sunday. I wrote an email to one of the organizers complaining about that, and got a long response back explaining all the factors that went in to determining the date, and telling me that as it worked out most years Palm Sunday was the best date. This year Easter is quite late, but last year it was unusually early. The run (or walk for Terry and me) was not on Palm Sunday and I was able to participate. Not this year.

I suppose that there is nothing stopping me from behaving as if I were training for the 5K, but there is something different about having the actual goal to work towards.

There is the Mushroom Mardi Gras Fun Run the Saturday before Memorial Day. That’s something to look ahead to and train for.

twentieth anniversary

Today Terry and I celebrate our twentieth wedding anniversary. Lest you think I am sitting at the computer blogging on such a significant day, I have written this in advance, and while WordPress takes care of publishing this blog entry automatically, Terry and I are off to Monterey spending two nights at the Monterey Bay Inn, with a beautiful rom overlooking Monterey Bay.

It’s hard to believe that it has been twenty years since that warm, sunny Saturday in Hemet, CA when we exchanged our vows at the Religious Science church. We wrote our own vows and had our favorite songs performed by two beloved musicians from the Religious Science church in San Jose. (Those songs were, in case you were wondering, “All I Ask of You” from Phantom of the Opera, “The Way You Look Tonight,” and “As Time Goes By.”)  The caterer did a great job in setting up multiple food stations rather than a long buffet line. Not that we got very much to eat, since we were busy talking with those in attendance. We spent Saturday night at the Ontario Hilton, before heading home to Mountain View, and a honeymoon a couple of weeks later.

In 1994 I was in Religious Science and Terry and I were renting in Mountain View. 1997 was a watershed year. I became part of the Episcopal Church, we bought our house in Gilroy, and I joined my current employer. Today in 2014 we are in the same house, I am with the same employer, and I am once again part of the Episcopal Church after my eleven year sojourn in the Lutheran world.

What’s really important is that Terry and I are still together, still doing well, and still happy. It’s been a marvelous twenty years and I look forward to many, many more.