... the journal

The Guest
Refrigerator Door

From  my cousin Donna's   fridge

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She has refrigerator poetry magnets, so a lot of these magnets will be sayings she's made out of the magnets

* Discussion *

Talk about it here.


Deja Dead
Kathy Reichs

(not for the squeamish!)


Anne of a Thousand Days

Pictures from the Cincinnati are now up at Steve's Club Photo page.

Pictures from our Family reunion are on my own Club Photo page.

That's it for today!


19 August 2001

We've just had a most incredible experience. Of all nights to have left the camera at home! We were invited to join Ned and Marta, and most of Marta's family for dinner to celebrate all of the birthdays in the family for the summer and fall. I lost count of how many people there were.

The location chosen was an Italian restaurant in Sacramento.

What can one say about Buca di Beppo? If you've never been, it defies description. I first learned about this chain of restaurants from a visit Steve made to one in Southern California earlier this year. Apparently all of the restaurants are somewhat similar.

It was obvious this was a popular place. When we arrived, there were huge groups of people waiting for tables. They spilled out the door and onto the hot sidewalk of the overflowing parking lot.

We had reservations but still had to wait for awhile. While we were crammed into the front reception area, I took the opportunity to examine some of the photographs on the wall. This is one of those places that is covered with photos and other memorabilia. I was surprised to see the album cover for a souvenir record issued after John F. Kennedy's assassination. We have that same album sitting on a shelf in the living room.

There were also photos of Sophia Loren, Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra and other famous faces. There were also old photos which looked like they were from the turn of the century. There were sports figures, scenes from operas, and contortionists. It's like someone raided the 10 photo vat at an junk shop and framed whatever they could find. "Eclectic" doesn't begin to describe it!

In due time we were escorted to our table upstairs. This involved being led by a sweet young thing in a very tight, very sparkly shirt (eat your heart out, Hooters!). Our path took us through the kitchen, where she pointed out the mountains of bread and the vats of salad. We were also amused to notice that one of the patron tables was actually in an alcove of the kitchen. You could lean over and ask the chef for another slice of lasagna, if you were so inclined. No space is wasted in this restaurant.

We went upstairs, past the blue glazed statue of Michelangelo's "David," and into the dining room with ceramic angels, lots more photos, wall hangings, old time posters, and a singing trout mounted on the wall.

Someone in our party had made reservations for 16 people. Fifteen of us showed up and we were escorted to a table for 12. I have to admit that I would have made a stink, but somehow, with much maneuvering and rearranging, we managed to squeeze in 3 extra chairs and still have room for the high chair for 8 month old Isabella.

The room was filled to the gills. It was so loud you could hardly hear yourself think, much less carry on a conversation. The menu was posted on the wall and after we were seated we all checked the selections--the usual Italian fare. We had been told that service was family style, so all the dishes were huge and intended to serve 4-6 people.

One in the party immediately decided that on this very long list of options, she couldn't find one thing that appealed to her. There wasn't much we could do about it at the moment, and she finally did agree that perhaps the tortoloni might be OK.

While we were waiting for the first course, presents were passed out. Something like eight different people in this party were being honored for their birthdays and the pile of gifts was larger than we have under our Christmas tree. There was a lot of paper and ribbon flying about, cards being passed around for everyone to enjoy, and "oooo's and ahhh's" over everyone's gifts.

Others in the restaurant were also celebrating birthdays and whenever a dessert appeared, someone on the wait staff would stand on a chair, call for attention, announce the name of the birthday person, and ask everybody in the restaurant to sing "Happy Birthday" (generally in about 8 different keys, which produced an ear-shattering cacophony).

They brought mountains of Caesar salad to the table, along with two huge rounds of garlic bread, which we cut into generous wedges. The wine was in large un-labeled bottles and the choices were "red" or "white"--forget the fancy vineyards. Instead of wine glasses, those who were having wine drank it out of tumblers.

The main dishes began to arrive. Huge platters heaped high with spaghetti, rigatoni, tortoloni, chicken parmesan, and cannelloni. Plates were passed around and came back heaped with food. I discovered that these meds really do affect my appetite. I ate my fill, but didn't stuff myself and was able to push my plate away still full of untouched spaghetti.

When the plates were cleared, a cake was brought out and there was more singing.

Through all of this little Isabella was absolutely wonderful. Not a whimper out of this adorable baby, who sat at my elbow. When I had a coughing fit she thought it was terribly funny.

At the end of the meal, we all gathered up the packages and staggered out of the room and started to leave. On the way out we passed the Pope Room. I knew about the Pope Room from Steve. Apparently we tried to get the room for our party, but it was already booked (they've suggested making reservations a year ahead of time).

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The Pope room is decorated in everything papal. I'm sure it's a terrible sacrilege. The walls are lined with photos and paintings, there are standards of the roman legions, a bust of the Pope stands encased in plastic on a turntable on the round table. There are golden statues, and the ceiling is painted by a Michelangelo wannabe. I stole the photo from Steve's trip to Buco di Beppa because it truly needs to be seen. I hope that the next time we eat there that we, too, can make the Pope's head spin.

What an amazing night!

And the one who couldn't find anything appealing on the menu went home with a large doggie bag after all.

One Year Ago:

Some pictures from this journal
can be found at
Club Photo

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Created 8/19/01 by Bev Sykes