Bright Side of Stuff

My pinkie finger on my left hand is undergoing a make-over.  This involves a “digit widget”.  It looks like an oil derrick of the grasshopper variety.  See below.

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This has happened because I have a genetic disease.  See Dupuytren’s Contracture.  Google it, I mean.

Loving to write means typing.  I’ve trained myself over the years to express myself in writing using the computer.  It took some doing but there you have it.  And I need that pinkie to hit the keys on the keyboard.  With a “limp” pinkie, it was becoming exceedingly difficult.  Hence the digit widget.

Ode to the Digit Widget

Bent by contracture the pinkie needs help

The finger is stubborn like a wet piece of kelp

It cannot get wet nor can it lie dormant

Stretching it hourly in hopes it will not torment


The widget is mechanical and simple in form

Screwing into the bone it tries to perform

A miracle.

Oh, digit widget, my constant appendage

Will you right the wrong brought on by my lineage?

For if you deliver on the straightening as designed

My hand will be more useful and I will be resigned

To continue my typing

As long as I can.


Now that I am someone inhibited, I’ve had to make some changes.  No swimming.  No dishes.  Showers by the Rayman.  And life is a stitch.  Now I’ve taken to walking the dog for an hour each morning.  Good for doggie.  Good for me.  Showers are a kick.  Rayman has to wash my hair and body for the most part and help me towel dry.  I recommend everyone to try this even if you don’t need to.  It’s very fun.  For both of us.

Other advantages include no dishes.  Gee wizz.  Rayman often cleans up after dinner anyway, but now it is a given.  No negotiating.  This may last up to 6 weeks.  I’m a week and half into it.  Glory, glory.

We have been studying Italian and take one class a week, on Wednesdays at 5:30.  This interferes with Valentine’s day so we improvised and did a good dinner last night.  Rack of lamb roasted with slices of eggplant, tomatoes, garlic and olives.  The whole thing was washed down with great Opolo zin.  And we enjoyed some See’s candy that Rayman bought for the occasion.  Hope you all have as good a time as we did. 

But I digress.

Italian is fun.  No grades.  He speaks to us in Italian and that’s where my blank stare comes into play.  I have no illusions of speaking the language other than some perfunctory phases.  However, we will be able to read some of it and get the gist.  Oh, we leave for Rome on May 1st for those that don’t know.  For a month.  Should be wonderful.  And the digit widget will be off.  Yippee.

Several of our friends have fallen victim to various diseases and this concerns us.  We very much wish them a speedy recovery.  You know as you age that things are going to happen and yet, we are always surprise when they do.  My advice is to get out and do whatever while you can, if you can.  As if you need my advice.  Still.

One thing we can’t seem to do is ignore the politics de jour.  OMG.  Never thought it could be this bad.  And yet.  Here we are.  So, Rayman and I are trying to curb our habits of getting carried away.  It isn’t easy.  Enough said.

We are racing back to Stanford tomorrow for a follow up appt on my hand.  Driving to the Bay Area is such a good drive.  Beautiful fields of vineyards, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuces.  A meandering Salinas River.  All the signs with Spanish names, Arroyo Seco, Gonzalez, Soledad.  A reminder of all that  has come before us.  We owe so much to the Mexicans.  it is so much a part of our culture.  Life would be boring without tacos, enchiladas and our gardener, Vicente.   I count my blessings as being empathic to my fellow man allows me so much joy and many tequila drinks!   I hope you all feel the same way.

My writing has stopped because of my duties as trustee.  Since June, 2016, when my uncle died, I have been working as trustee.  It’s hard work.  It takes effort, time, patience, and lots of it.  Perhaps I should write about the job of trustee.  There is so much to know.  And if you want to do it right, you need help.  And then there are faux pas, mistakes, issues to handle.  A book would be good to write as it is still fresh in my head.  I’m thinking about that a lot these days.  I compose paragraphs in my head all the time.  Do you ever do that?  Make up stories?  Compose letters?  I often times find myself doing that and I wonder if that is what most people do.   One does have to wrestle with the mind, doesn’t one?  Keep it moving in the right direction.  Keep it positive.  Keep in fun.  It all takes work to corral the good and cast off the bad.  And I’m not always successful.  However, it is a goal, nevertheless.

So, happy Valentine’s day to you all.  Love is a good sentiment to celebrate.  It is positive, heart warming, and good to remember every day, not just VD day.  Have a good one.  And if you have the ensuing baby and want to name it after me, I use two n’s in my name.  Dianna.

End of Gozo

To see the maps of Malta, just click on the link above.

It’s been since October 10/11th that we have been in Gozo.  We leave tomorrow for Malta which is about 30 minute ride across the water on a ferry.  And I take the liberty now of making some general comments, takeaways, if you will, on the island.

Squirrels don’t seem to live here.  There is squirrel habitat but where are they?  Perhaps they have been killed by all those gun shooters that start firing their shotguns in the morning.  The firing range is on top of a hill here, near the village of Gharb…that’s where our hosts are hanging out for 3 months.  The only dead thing I’ve seen here is a dead pigeon, no doubt a victim of gunners. 

Speaking of pigeons.  There aren’t many of them here.  See paragraph above. 

No foxes, no prairie dogs, no vultures (who’s scraps the bones, I wonder?).  Haven’t smelled or seen a skunk.  There are plenty of lizards here.  They are small and quick and live in the all the stone walls that line the roads.  One suspects snakes but this kid ain’t looking for any because I might find one and then what would I do?  There are lots of flies.  Apparently there are not enough natural predators because they are everywhere, all the time.  We, therefore, became the fly’s un-natural predator with the canary yellow flyswatter the Morrow’s own.  I heavily suspect that fly swatting could become a national sport.  Some entrepreneur could make a fortune marketing fly swatters if they would only develop it into a game.  Perhaps someone should working on this immediately. 



Speaking of things that fly, there are bees here.  This is good news.  Local honey is stocked on the shelves of the local markets and I saw a few with my own eyes so I suspect the honey is not from, say, China.  They were buzzing around the lavender plants that grow like weeds…along with wild fennel and thyme.  The yang …of ying and yang are mosquitos.  Had to pop into a drug store here to buy “bug wipes” and, curiously, after I purchased them, the mosquitos went missing (and I only used one wipe).  The mosquitos must be as clairvoyant as my dog, Beau, who knows exactly what time it is at 3:00 because that’s when he gets fed. 


Beau in repose. He’s clairvoyant.

It is reported that goats live nearby.  And by nearby I mean a few doors away behind the garage door.  Interestingly, all the houses on this island are built with quarried stone from the island.  They are two or three stories tall.  I’ve only seen one one-story home.  Most are connected so they qualify as the original condominium island, perhaps.  Some are freestanding but the majority are not.  Each has a garage and garages can hold from up to four cars stacked fender to fender in a long line…or, apparently, a herd of goats.  I don’t know.  Maybe the door there isn’t a garage door but a large door to a lot.  You know goats live there because of the odor.  And the flies.  See second paragraph above.


Pictures of a garage door and a new house under construction.


We have seen and heard chickens.  There are cows in the fields.  And horses in the street.  Upon our arrival, our cab found itself following a fellow in a buggy holding his buggy whip while his horse trotted down the street, holding up traffic.  We are told that  “chariot” racing is a Gozitan activity here and the horsemen need a place to work their horses so they use the public streets when the race track is unavailable.  The locals also use the streets to move their tractors and it’s a quite a sight because the streets are narrow.  Very narrow. 



Taken from the bus. See how close we are?

Speaking of moving, I would not want to move here.  The attitude of the men on the island is brusque toward the gentler sex.  Several times we felt invisible and or ignored by shopkeepers, baristas (haven’t seen a Starbucks here) in local coffee shops.  And it feels like it did in Greece where men hang out together on sidewalks playing games or just smoking their lives away.   The women stay home and hang out the laundry.  (driers are non-existent).

Being a very Catholic country, see previous blogs, I am perplexed that I have only seen one nun (running to catch a bus…nun on the run).  Have not seen a single priest.  Where are they?  What are they doing?  My suspicion is that they stay in their churches so they can supervise the ringing of bells.  The bells here get “rung” every few minutes.  Every 15 minutes to be precise.  They have a coded bell system.  It goes something like this.  There are 6 hours.  1 a.m. is one dink of the bell.  1:15 is one donk followed by one dink of the bell.  2 a.m. is two rings.  2:45, for example, is 2 dink rings and 3 donk rings.  And so on until 6.   7:00 a.m. is 1 dink.  7:15 is one dink and donk and so on.  It is somewhat practical.  Who wants to hear 24 rings at midnight?  And who does the ringing?  I believe it’s all pre-recorded.  Just like the call to prayer in Istanbul, perhaps.   In this day and age, it seems quaint…unless and until it starts ringing while you are sleeping and wakes you up.  Then it seems rather annoying.  Just sayin.

So as you can see, I am perfectly capable of contradicting myself with free abandon.  See paragraph above. 

Gozo suffers from some of the same things we suffer from in CA.  See the story below:

We are not alone in the struggle for water.  I think if we don’t blow ourselves up with North Korea, water may be the war to worry about.  Water wars. 

But I digress.

Certain people of the world are quite beautiful, both male and female.  Not so much in Gozo and I’ll leave it at that.  Well, no, I won’t.  This island was invaded by nearly everyone and ruled by the the Roman, Brits, the French, Middle Easterners etc.  The list is very long.  Why attractiveness is not evident, I do not know.  Now, I will leave it at that.  Well, no, I won’t.  It is a relatively modest country in terms of means.  They don’t spend much on their teeth.  Okay.  This is it.  I’m done with that line of thought. 

Did I mention the pomegranate trees?  There are lots of them here.  Fig trees too.  Olive trees.  When I say a lot, I mean here and there.  The island as a whole doesn’t have many trees and apparently never has.  There are no orchards.  There are, however, fields of crops and I mostly don’t know what the crops are.  Farming seems to be a big part of the economy only surpassed by tourism.  With all the ancient ruins, and beautiful vistas, the island gets a lot of tourists.  So, why those surley baristas exist ( they remind me of  the waiters at Tadish’s in San Franciso, if you have ever been there.  Or Sarah Huckabee Sanders doing a presser )is beyond me.  Charm school wouldn’t hurt.  See paragraph 8, I believe. 

So…those are my observations of Gozo.   Hope you enjoyed it.  Today Gozo.  Tomorrow Malta.  The island of Malta is Malta’s main island.  Gozo and Comino are part of Malta.  They are the ugly stepsisters, I think.  Not because the are ugly but because they are smaller and generate less taxes/revenue.  I’ll only have a day to see Malta so I hope it is a good one.  A journalist was murdered there a few days ago.  Apparently there is a lot of graph and corruption ala mafia type stuff going on.  I’ve been reading the Malta Times.  It has caused quite a stir because the journalist, a woman, was speaking truth to power and they needed to get rid of her.  The EU is concerned about this young democracy circa 1960 when they were given their independence from England.  And apparently they were up to their necks in the Panama Papers  (money laundering scheme) yet the government here turned a blind eye.  Interesting times.  Sad times.  Dangerous times.  Glad to be returning home to my Rayman and Beau and all my friends!!

See you soon!!!


Our Day on the Love Boat

On a bright and sunny morning (yesterday), we took a cruise on The Love Boat.  It lasted 8 hours because we spent the day circling two islands.  The first island is named Comino and other than two resorts on it along with a variety of concession stands, it is uninhabited.  During the winter, two couples reside on the island because tourists and locals have no desire to visit other than on a day trip.  The main draw is the blue lagoon so named for the color of the water.  I think it is the bluest, clearest water I have ever seen. 


This was the first stop of our day trip.  We were given the option of disembarking or staying on-board and anchoring off shore to either just sit and gaze or swim and snorkel.  We opted to go on shore.  The dipping of toes ensued.  The temp of the water was in the low 70s, I guess.  People from northern European countries were everywhere and the water temp didn’t bother them one darn bit. 

We had been on shore about a nano second and Greg came up holding a pineapple filled with pina colada.  Here’s a pic. 


The guy knows how to party!!  The only other thing that was purchased were three bracelets, one for each of us women to commemorate the occasion.   No picture included.  There were a variety of ways to spend your hard earned money.  Jet ski rides, kayaking (I wish I could have done that but we were only on shore an hour), the crazy sofa ride…The only thing they didn’t offer was walking-on-water lessons which is odd since it is such a Catholic country!!   Here’s a picture of Gozo from Comino.


Once our hour expired, back on the Love Boat we went.  We then circled the near-desert island stopping for an hour in a cove for snorkeling, swimming and lunch.  Nancy and I stayed in the boat (we didn’t bring our suits to Malta) and people watched.  There were bikinis everywhere (a younger group of folks) and hairy-legged men with short suits too.  Eye candy, anyone?  Sorry, no pictures except of my friends (out of politeness on my part). 


Perhaps all this skin prompted a few couples on board to start embracing, kissing, hugging, groping each other as we sailed around the islands.  More than once or twice we mentioned to each other that “they need to get a room!!”.  I think that is when I dubbed the name of the boat, Love Boat.

OMG.  And then there was a fellow that appeared to be about 60 plus years judging from the thinning gray hair on head and chest, his sagging pecks, and other aged related issues.  I’ve dubbed him Romeo.  His companion looked like his daughter.  She looked like Jezebel.  Not a wrinkle anywhere.  Long dark hair.  A bikini was worn which revealed almost everything.  We had a hard time keeping our eyes off the couple.  Romeo’s age, I think, was an issue for him because he kept trying to behave like a young man.  Here’s a picture of Romeo’s legs as he perches himself on the boat railing while holding onto a styrofoam noodle that we presume he was using to poke Jezebel who was on the upper deck of the boat while the boat was moving. 

IMG_2465Shades of teenage pranks…He was using his hands in interesting ways.  She, at one point, sat on his lap.  Then a shriek was heard…from Romeo.  At that every moment we were in a cave and the pilot threw the gears into reverse, providing enough cover (noisy maneuver)  for us to laugh in dismay. 

Fast forward to the rest of the trip.  After circling Comino, we went back to where we started.  That’s were most of the cruisers disembarked and new cruisers got on.  The company offered a tour to Comino, followed by a cruise around Gozo.  We had booked the whole enchilada.  Both islands. 

Leaving out of the harbor, we went south first.  This afforded us views of towering cliffs and a few harbors as seen below.  We again anchored three times and swimming and snorkeling occurred.  With calypso music playing along with U2 and a few other groups.  Lunch was again served (we brought a picnic).  Much to my delight, the sea was calm.  Even so I wore some cloth bracelets that Teri loaned me for the expressed purpose of keeping me from sea sickness.   They really work.  Or do they?  Perhaps they are a placebo for people like me.


Again, the water of the Med from a different spot.


One of the villages of Gozo in a cove.

But I digress.

The day became long.  Eight hours on an open boat is, well, a long time.  Yawning began.  A longing for a walk was evident.  However, it was a great opportunity to see the entire region and that’s exactly why we were there.  So, we soldiered on and kept ourselves entertained with the lovers in our midst. 

By the time we returned to the dock, the sun was almost down.  See the picture taken as we motored from Comino to Gozo for the last time. 

IMG_2492 Nancy snapped it and captured it perfectly. 

As we anxiously disembarked, Romeo decided to leap from the upper deck of the boat onto the dock.  The cement dock.  It did not go well.  He hit, bounced, and fell in a fetal position.  And as quickly as he hit, he scrambled to get back up as though nothing had happened with some aid from Jezebel.  As we walked away, we had a hard time keeping from laughing.  After all, karma is a bitch. 

Operas, My Interpretation

So, this is what we did last night.  What a hoot.

2017.10.14 CavPag Event Banner







Editor’s note:  I wasn’t able to figure out how to get the spacing between the picture and my prose right.

Let me explain beginning with the fact that I have only attended one other opera, Aida, in my life.  I don’t speak Italian.  I’m a highly dubious person when going to this event because of the second fact, language issues.  Since we are in Gozo, and the operas have Italian sounding names…chances are they will be sung in Italian.  However, I am fond of following the old rule, “When in Rome, Do as the Romans Do”, I’m game for the opportunity.  But, I did not google the plot line of either opera.  Laziness?  Lack of curiosity?  The same reason I don’t read movie reviews?  I report, you decide.

Before the opera, which were scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m., we suppered on the terrace of a restaurant that was down the street from the opera house.  Gozo is a small island, with few people.  The village of Gharb (spoken as Arb, with the Gh remaining silent), has 5 churches.  Big churches.   The capital of Gozo is Victoria with a population of about 10,000 people  They have managed to erect two opera houses.  Being a Catholic country, me thinks there is a co-mingling here of church and state.  How else could they afford all this?  Below is a picture of one of the churches.


But, I digress.

The restaurant had a terrace (terrazzo, I’m guessing) that afforded a view of the square below.  In the square, stood large green trees.  In those trees there must have been 5,000 birds all talking at once.  The clamor was amazing and somehow perfect.  I admit being a bit concerned that some of those birds might fly directly over the bamboo slatted “ceiling” we were sitting beneath.   Insofar that none of us wore hats, “Would they poop on us or our food?”, was a vivid concern in my mind.  (no, they did not).   Attending the opera with our dress-up clothes with bird poop in our hair, I’m am fairly certain would be frowned on.  I did feel as though the concern was legit.  (Mentioning this to the group seemed likely to be a mood swinger, so I refrained from doing so and just soldiered on).

Dinner was good and inexpensive.  Four cocktails before dinner, a bottle of wine, dinner for four and tip came to 100 euro.  And the birdsong was free.

On the way out our waiter snapped our pic.  Here we are.


From left to right, Greg, Nancy, moi, Teri.

So, off to the the opera we went.  Here’s a picture of the opera house inside.  As you can see the opera was well attended.  And everyone was in their finest duds. 


The opera started with the introduction of the maestro.  He looked like a cross between Danny DeVito and Gene Wilder!!  Then the curtain went up.  Oh, my.  So, much Italian.  What was happening?  The first opera (there were two because it was the 40th anniversary celebration) opened with a woman stage left setting the table.  Chianti bottles were placed on tablecloth she has spread out.  Glasses were placed.  I understood all that.  Then a waif appeared.  It took a long time of pensive looks and wondering around by the singers before a note was sung.  But then all hell broke loose.  Singing galore.  Men came on stage.  Some had “white grease paint faces”.  Why?  Don’t know.  A younger man, an older man (he had a Santa Claus body shape).  Most of the songs sounded like the singers were imploring each other for some reason.  The waif kept throwing herself on the floor.  Then lots of people came on stage and sang the only songs that didn’t sound emotionally desperate.  The mood in the theatre lightened.  But then the chorus faded away, and we were back to the begging, pleading mode when a woman in a red dress appeared.  I think she was a harlot.  The younger man seemed smitten.  Knives appeared, kettle drums were struck down in the orchestra pit.  The maestro at this point was really animated flailing away with his baton.  The lady in red vanished from the stage, the waif sang an aria.  The chorus returned and a priest was involved.  Did I mention that the waif was bearing a wooden cross on a neckless.  The cross was torn off and heaved to the ground after the non-singing bishop left the stage.  OH, my.  Then there was a scene with a little girl.  The waif seemed to be attached to the little girl, her daughter perhaps?  The little girl went away.  The younger man came back and appeared to argue with the waif.  A knife was branished.  The mother swept the floor.  The older guy came back.  He did an aria.  Then the stage was occupied by the woman who had set the table and I deduced she must be the mother of the younger man.  This is because the younger man sang out, “Mama!  Mama!”  This was the only time I understood any word the entire time.  The younger man is clearly vexed.  He runs off-stage with the knife.  Screams ensue from off stage.  The young man is carried back on stage, deader than a doornail.  People appear with long daggers, surround the man, presumably cutting the mortally wounded man some more.  And the curtain falls. 

At this point, I turn to Nancy and we burst out laughing as we clap along with the audience.  “What just happened?”, Nancy squeezes out between peals of laughter. 

That was the first play.

There was a 30 minute or so intermission.  Afraid there was only one toilet for women, I decided to stay in the box.  Did I mention that we were seated in a box?  Before you get impressed, let me state that very uncomfortable chairs (think kitchen chair style) were in the boxes.  And we were the box closest to the stage.  The problem with that was that I could only see half the stage.  Luckily it was stage left where much of the action took place.  Nancy and I were in a box with another couple.  They had the best two seats in our box in that they could see the entire stage without leaning in toward the railing which is what I had to do to see stage right. 


The photo above is Nancy in our box.

But, I digress. 

The maestro returned after the orchestra took their collective seats.  And with a swing of the baton, the curtain rose.  This play started with a “Fantasia” light show projected onto a screen whereby pictures of people were morphed into circular lines and back.  Then the screen rose.  There were clowns on stage.  Singing commenced.  A woman appears in a goofy looking outfit with knee high boots.  The mood is more jocular.  The songs were more uplifting.  The woman is not as good a singer as the waif from the previous production.  (I feel like I am becoming a good critic.)  She sings an aria.  Then the stage fills with circus activities.  Jugglers appear.  Acrobats perform somersaults, cartwheels, balancing acts.  An unicycle and it’s cyclist dart across the stage.  Everything seems happy. 

But then a young man appears.  Same opera star from the last play?  Not sure, but probably.  He does an aria while clinging a rag of a coat.  He is beseeching us about something.  The tune sounds familiar to me.  The audience likes his performance judging from the enthusiastic applause he received.  He exits the stage.  The chorus comes back as the screen comes down ever so slowing.  The screen has a bell ringing (up and down) projected onto the screen as the chorus sings, “Ding, Dong.”  (The only other words I recognized all night.)   It was an upbeat number.  Then the screen goes back up and the mood instantly goes down.  The songs get serious sounding with lots of chords using lots of flats.  Oboes kick in.  Flutes disappear.  At this point, a light from the other side of theatre shines directly into my eyes.  What the heck?  It is so annoying, I get up and stand behind the couple in our booth for quite some time.  That light turns off and I return to my kitchen chair for the duration.  While I’m standing, the costumed woman (I loved her dress of primary colors and white set off with red shoes) sets a table. Wine and glasses are placed.  Do all operas have tables that get set?  I don’t know.  Then she seems to hold court.  Then younger man number two comes by.  They seem to be in love.  They roll around on the stairs together singing at the top of their lungs while trying to appear intimate.  He leaves.  The older man comes by.  Knives start appearing.  Do all operas have daggers?  I don’t know.  The mood sours.  Another younger man enters stage right.  He is not happy.  The man that had left returns.  The kettle drums are engaged again.  Perhaps the cymbals clash.  The knives are bantered about.  The chorus reappears.  The mode lightens.  Bowling pins are juggled.  A woman jumps up on a man’s shoulders.  Circus time.  But suddenly, the chorus leaves.  Foreboding returns.  Arias are sung.  Daggers reappear and then the woman in the lively dress gets toss around by the other man, not her lover (actually the women in both operas get toss around the stage quite a bit and it bothers me, all this violence against women).  Her lover intercedes and he gets stabbed by the second young man.  Then the woman protests by attacking the killer, and the killer whacks her by slitting her throat. 

The curtain falls with the Santa body-shaped singer, standing at the front of the stage with hat in hand.  Why?  Don’t know.

And that was our night at the opera.   

On an Island in the Middle of the Ocean (technically Sea)

Trump inspires the title of this blog.  Remember his description of Puerto Rico?  Spoken like he just discovered where it was located.  In my case, I knew Malta was in the middle of a body of water…the Mediterranean.  And that’s where I am now.  Gee.  I could be President.

dinner on Gozo

My debit card didn’t work at the airport.  So, I’m penniless.  This is beyond embarrassing.  So, I jumped on the phone and texted the Rayman.  SOS.  The machine didn’t like my PIN.  Could he help me?  In a word no.  Not because he didn’t try.  I do not know the PIN.  And the bank will not give me a new one unless and until I waltz into the bank with two forms of I.D.  Then they will do it.  Good grief.  Criminals are making our lives so hard.  Because of larceny we suffer.  Where will it end? 

In the meantime, I’m without money.  And if I did get a new PIN, we would need to take the taxi to the wharf, ride the ferry from Gozo to Malta, take another taxi back to the airport.  There are no ATMs on Gozo.  It’s a step back in time here.  Quite lovely though a bit inconvenient.  So, what to do?  If Rayman can’t FedEx me another debit card, I’ll be borrowing money (Euros) from our hosts.  We (Nancy’s debit card didn’t work either)  are running a tab. 


I’m not worried about Teri and Greg running out of money enough for me.  Pizza was 4.50 euro.  Things are dirt cheap here.  Great place to retire except they will only allow you to stay 3 months at a time.  That’s why Teri and Greg are leaving in December for Panama.  Then they will return here for 3 months.  Their life is so interesting and varied and I’m a total fan.  They are expanding their minds and their hearts and their knowledge of geography.  Crossword puzzles will be easier for them.  So many good things to say about this life they are living.  Will they do it forever?  Who knows.  I’m grateful to call them my friends. 

Gozo receives about 25 inches of rain annually.  It is dry and rocky.  The two lane roads make streets in Portland seem like parkways.  Horns are used here by the drivers that are seated on the wrong side of the automobile and drive on the “wrong” side of the street.  The islands were colonies of the British until the 1960s when they achieved independence.  Hence, the villagers speak either Maltese or English.  The country is a member of the european union and they use euros as their currency.  Today I met a woman that is an editor of a newspaper on Malta.  She was against brexit but didn’t vote because she has lived in/on Malta mostly.  A lovely woman full of grace and good fashion.  Also met an ex-pat from San Francisco.  She moved her a few years ago when her siblings decided to sell the family home in which she lived.  She has applied for citizenship here.  Costs about 10,000 euro to apply.  Currently she is cashier at a local market.


Lunch today, Friday the 13th.  Poor fishie.

The market is interesting.  Filled with essentials.  The produce looks aged in many cases.  What looked great was the case full of broad beans marinated in garlic and oil, the fresh olives, the locally made goat cheese.  The goats live in town behind a garage door.  You know they are there when you walk by.  They have a certain smell.  Just sayin.  Teri assures us there is a yard behind the door.  Unique but functional on a small island in the middle of the sea. 

We took a walk today after we napped (still tired from the trip).  The sidewalks are about 3 feet wide where they exist.  Streets are cobblestone.  It looks deserted except for all the cars (mostly very small cars) darting to and fro.  Walking is dangerous but necessary since Teri and Greg have no car.  The houses are all attached and every one of them are named.  Their rental is named Ta Terez.  We saw one named Two Blossoms.  Some have religious names with statuary of religious people (think Madonna).  There are no front yards.  It looks like a bomb went off.  Eery in a way.  Again, though, the cars make it known that people do live here.


Weatherwise, it’s in the 70s  this week.  Mild and wonderful with blue skies and cumulus clouds scattered here and there like cotton balls drifting by.  We are thrilled because we are going on a boat ride around the island at some point.  And we are taking the ferry over to Malta a few times.  And we will be walking a lot so sun, not rain is a good thing.

The only thing I did today, I screwed up.  I julienned the basil, quartered and cut in half the tomatoes (Nancy made me do it that way), and cut up an avocado for the salad.  Teri unfortunately discovered a quarter of an avocado peel in her helping of salad.  Good grief.  I have no earthly idea how THAT happened. 

Update on the debit card.  Received a text from the Rayman this a.m.  He said he was on the way to San Luis to the FedEx office.  I called him immediately and told him not to go.  He had three of his friends at the house for two days of golf.  FedEx was going to charge him $70 to send the debit card and we’re not even sure it will work because only certain cards work according to our host, Greg.  What a sweetheart.  I am very fortunate to have such a wonderful guy in my life.  He turned around and went back home.  Guess I’ll just be running a tab.  I am very fortunate to have such wonderful friends to extend me credit!!  Although…they did ask me what my credit score was!!!


One of the 5 big churches in this village of 1,200 people. There are 30,000 on the entire island. Oh, and see the sea?

Missing the Rayman

Missing the Rayman

Gee wiz. How is this going to work? My dearly beloved is staying home while I go globetrotting to Malta. With my friend, Nancy.

The best way to proceed with any story at the beginning and I have decided that the beginning started yesterday when i bid my fond adieu to Rayman and Beau and headed out to Ridgecrest which is located in the Mojave desert. And I set out in our new Ford C-Max, a hybrid. And all was going along as expected until I reached Bakersfield. The yet-to-be-named GPS woman directed me a different way using a long, dusty road between I-5 and 99. Oil derricks, dust storms (eek the paint on my new car) and fruit trees. The wind was blowing the overused gray soil airborne and if one was outside on foot, a person would get a free face peel complete with grit between the teeth. Once I reached the 99, I encountered a sign announcing congestion on 58 which the road I was taking. Transitioning on 58 there weren’t any trucks…yet. Then BAMB. Screeching halt. And I found myself parked on the freeway. I finally rolled down the window on the passenger side and asked the trucker parked next to me if he could see anything. Did he know anything. No, he did not. About that time I called Nancy to report my dilemma. She looked on the internet. A fire. She advised me to turn around and go find highway 178 that goes through Lake Isabella. So, I followed fellow deserters and made a u-turn in the median and headed back to highway 99. I got lost because my GPS lady didn’t know what I was doing or where I was going…just like me!! Finally, I turned off on Merle Haggard Parkway and wove my way thru housing developments, oil fields, Del Webb Retirement community, a big city park and finally came to a turn that took me to 178.

And while all this was going on, my friend, Diane, called me to visit. Happily my phone worked. At this point I must make some interjections.

New cars have new technology and I fall on my sword here because I have not read, hence I don’t know how the car works….completely. Example. I stopped at a Pilot station on highway 41 to gas up and stuff. I couldn’t figure out how to open the gas tank. I called the Rayman. Boy, was I missing him. Turns out the button to push is on the middle of the instrument panel. Every other car I have ever owned had a lever near the floor on the driver’s side. Progress got the best of me.

My phone worked through the car’s system but getting it to work with verbal commands? not yet. I’m still working on it. Same with the audio. And it is tough to figure it out when I’m alone at the wheel. Without running into something.

But I digress.

Highway 178 was fabulous. It took longer but the rock formations were breathtaking. The Joshua trees were impressive. And yellow flowers were blooming. It looked like spring. Lots of curves, slower speed limits, the highway follows the river Kern. And the Kern was running, cascading over rocks, raucous at times. Slow and languid at other times. And no big rigs. I arrived about an hour late, but the drive was worth it.

Alps alert. We are currently flying by the Alps. FAB, baby. (yes, I’m blogging at 38,432 feet as we jet toward Frankfurt, Germany.)

The day today was completely different. Set out from Ridgecrest headed to LAX. Spent a lot of time standing in lines. Security detail as it were. After finally passing muster, we entered the main cavity of the Thomas Bradley International Terminal. Boy, have they fixed it up. High scale retailers, restaurants. Before boarding, I think I had charged $70 worth of stuff I had to have. Quite an experience.

We flew (are flying) on a huge bird to Frankfurt, Germany. It was a lovely flight. I had about 50 movies to chose from, all kinds of audio. TV, sports, news. You name it. I tried to sleep in-between meals. With my new memory foam pillow, I managed to count sheep on our 11 hour flight.

Now we’re on a 2 hour flight from Frankfurt to Malta.

So here’s my mea culpa for the day. Before I left home, I cleaned out my wallet. Something about simplification. Tiding up. When I checked my walnut this a.m. I could not find my debt card for my bank. Then I could not find my debit for my brokerage account. Panic set in.

I called the Rayman who told me he was very worried about me!! I re-searched my purse and the Wells Fargo card was swimming in the bottom like a flounder. Must have fallen out. A big sigh of relief by everyone concerned, me, Nancy, Rayman. OMG.

To be continued. Did I mention how much I miss the Rayman?