Sacred Music Friday: Flight Song

“Flight Song” by Norwegian composer Kim André Arnesen, performed by the St. Olaf Choir, Anton Armstrong, Conductor. Words by Euan Tait.

Real People

RealPeopleReal People: A Novel
Alison Lurie
Open Road Media (originally published 1969), 188 pages
Kindle edition, $9.99
Purchased as an Early Bird Books special for $2.99

Real People is a portrait of a group of visitors at Illyria, a fictional retreat for artists and writers. The narrator, Janet, is a writer of moderate success who is also a wife and mother. Although feeling somewhat guilty about leaving her family, she is spending time at Illyria to focus on her writing.

Things start out well enough and Janet is happy to see a friend from a previous visit. Janet and the others enjoy the interaction with each other and struggle with actually doing the work that they are there to do. Quickly, however, things start to fall apart and relationships deteriorate and become tense. The goddaughter of the owner of the retreat plays the role of femme fatale, and has a central role in the deterioration of those relationships.

In the end there is no great climax, and conspiracy theories about the role of the goddaughter in some sort of Dickensian Miss Havisham revenge plot are dismissed.

Real People does not offer anything profound, but it is an enjoyable diversion about the artistic life.

a different Saturday routine

Terry and I long had a standard Saturday morning routine. We slept late and fixed a big breakfast. It normally included scrambled eggs and sausage. Sometimes we would have waffles instead. For the past couple of years we got our sausage from Rocca’s Market and I squeezed fresh orange juice (thank you Tahoe Mom!). We listened to West Coast Live via the live KALW stream.

But we’ve moved, and new shows on WCL have become so sporadic it’s hard for me to give the show much respect any longer. And in any case, things are done differently down here.

My brother Brian and sister-in-law Bobbie, my dad, our nephew Eric and his daughter Teaghan have long gotten together for a late breakfast, brunch really, on Saturdays. We are now part of that routine.

It works like this: once Brian and Bobbie are up and moving about they make a decision as to where we’re going to meet for breakfast. They then let everyone know. They have a rotation of locally owned restaurants, at which they are well-known and valued customers, from which they select. The decision is always last-minute and we never know which place they will choose. We generally meet some time between 10:00 and 11:00.

It is a very different routine for us, but it is a lot of fun sharing a meal and conversation with family.

my new favorite comic

When we were in Gilroy we subscribed to the San Jose Mercury News and the San Francisco Chronicle. Here in Hemet we get the Inland Empire newspaper, the Press-Enterprise, and the Los Angeles Times.

The Times has a comic strip I haven’t seen elsewhere. It’s called  Prickly City, and it certainly comes from the left wing of the political spectrum. It is so on and gets things so right so often. The author loves to go after politicians and presidential candidates in general, and he certainly has no love for Hillary. Here’s Saturday’s cartoon.


Now don’t get me wrong. I like Hillary. I support Hillary. I am voting for Hillary in the primary next year. And in the general election, barring any unforeseen upsets. I want to see Hillary elected president in November 2016 and I want to enjoy her inauguration ceremony in January 2017.

But two things can be equally true, and Hillary, as much as I like her and support her, is far from perfect. So I enjoy Prickly City, which does a great job of getting it right so consistently.

our marvelous, amazing berm

One of the things that attracted us to our new home was the berm in our back yard. It is an amazing mixture of foliage that has surprised us with new, unexpected blooms on a regular basis. It needs some effort and cleanup work, but it keeps our attention and hummingbirds enjoy it.


On Friday we bought solar lights and installed them along the retaining wall. It was amazing that evening to watch the lights turn on one at a time. Rather magical. It made me think of the firefly scene in the Woody Allen film Hannah and her Sisters.

We’ve completed the process of covering the rocks in back with bark, and with the lights on the berm and the sound of the crickets in the evening it makes our back yard in summer an enchanted, special place.


Sacred Music Friday: Dona Nobis Pacem

Chicago Chamber Choir & Milwaukee Choral Artists

spice racks

We loved our spice rack in Gilroy. It was custom-made to our specifications. When we got to Hemet we didn’t have anything like it. We put our spices in a drawer, but it was quite a jumble with the jars falling all over the place. So we asked my dad if he could SpiceRackmake us a set of dividers to help us organize the drawer. He was happy to do that and brought it over last week. It fit perfectly and made a huge difference.

On Saturday I arranged the jars in a way that is intuitive probably only to me. Terry, however,spicerack seemed to be able to make some sense of a similar scheme I used in the old rack. On Sunday I made labels for those few lids that did not have them.

In some ways this is an improvement, as in the old rack we had to lean over and peer under the top rack to find something on the bottom rack. Here everything is all visible in one place.

I believe this is going to work out well.