... the journal

The Guest
Refrigerator Door

The next fridge door belongs to my friend Charlotte.

3 of Char's many grandkids

* Discussion *

What's your worst
dining-out story?

Talk about it here.

Read the forum that was banned by one reader's office computer because it has "sexual content." I must be having more fun than I thought!


The Hammer of Eden
Ken Follett



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!



5 August 2001

This story will come as a complete surprise to my friend Olivia, to whom I was too embarrassed to confess yesterday.

I amaze myself sometimes. My complete lack of direction astounds me. It especially astounds me when I can get lost in a town that I used to know like the back of my hand.

Yesterday, I met Olivia at a party for Women Over Fifty and Friends (WOFF). This is a group to which she has belonged for 2 years and she asked if I'd come and take pictures this year. It was a lovely party, pot luck barbecue and then entertainment that went on most of the afternoon. About 70 women were there, and the theme was the circus. Olivia was the clown who kept things running.

When I arrived at the garden where the party was to be given, Olivia was in the house getting into clown makeup. Soon, she burst out the door bellowing for someone to help her (Olivia is not known for being shy and retiring). Since I was feeling rather awkward, being in a group of people and not knowing a single one of them, I was happy to have the chance to do something to help, and so asked her what she needed done.

It turned out that she'd broken the earpiece off her glasses and I'm not sure if this was what she had in mind for someone else to do for her, but she asked me if I'd go to her house and get another pair of glasses for her, since I have a key to the house and know where everything is anyway.

I asked her the best way to get from where we were to where she lived and she gave me directions, half of which I promptly forgot. One teensy little turn that I forgot. The turn onto the freeway. Duhhh.

What she said was "go back to 98th st, get on 880, turn on High St., and then down to Otis." Sounds easy.

Well, I got to 98th and turned, but forgot I was looking for 880. Instead I was looking for the intersection of 98th and High St., and by the time I got to the Oakland airport, I had astutely determined that perhaps I was not where I was supposed to be.

I knew that Alameda was west of where we were, but I figured maybe I should have turned right instead of left on 98th St., so I headed back away from Alameda and drove the length of 98th St. to the next freeway.

I finally stopped at a gas station and asked directions. He directed me onto the freeway and to the High St. offramp.

So I did find that (the High St. offramp is just a mile or so from where I lived for many years, by the way, just to make this story even more embarrassing). I wended my way through town down the length of High St., past the mess caused by a firetruck, and stopping for the world's longest freight train. I finally found Otis Ave. and got to Olivia's, got her glasses, managed to clog her toilet by trying to flush it, and got in the car to return to the party.

I had, by now, been in the car for over 45 minutes (not all that much less time than it had taken me to drive from Davis to the party in the first place!). On the way down High St. I had passed the freeway that I should have been on in the first place, so took that to go back to the party. It took me 10 minutes to get back. When I got off the freeway I remembered that she had told me to turn from 98th onto 880. Oops. I felt pretty damn stupid by the time I got there. Fortunately Olivia didn't realize how long I'd been gone.

As for the party, it was an amazing thing. A yard full of women celebrating the joy of being a woman of a certain age. There was entertainment, starting with the Broken Babes, an "honor guard" of women who have had surgery or other physical problems, all hobbling about on crutches or walkers while Olivia ...uh... "sang" (I'm being kind; I'm a reviewer, remember) a martial song about their various infirmities. There were a lot of artificial hips and knees among those babes.

It got better after that. Some women sang (best were the hilarious "Tribads"), some told jokes, one woman told of a woman who was singlehandedly responsible for allowing women to enroll in medical school in the late 1800s and to go on for graduate degrees--a pretty amazing story out of "To Believe in Women: What Lesbians Have Done for America," by Lillian Faderman. There were animal acts--a violin-playing dog, and Sheba, the wonder tiger, who performed death-defying acts on the tightrope.

And there were tender moments, too. An older woman (perhaps in her 70s) whose long-term partner died of cancer last year, got up to sing and to remember her partner. The hostesses for the event, the two Barbaras, stood up, hand in hand, while one of them talked about the diagnosis she'd just received, a return of her cancer in not one, but three primary sites (quite unusual, and not very good news), and how she was going to be cutting back her participation in the group to concentrate on her health.

The show ended with a production number by "Frank Sinatra" and his backup group.

When most of the guests went home, a small group of us stayed to have a bowl full of stew and rehash the events of the day. It gave me the opportunity to get to know some of the group a little better, and I found them a very likeable bunch.

After dinner, I decided to come on home instead of spending the night. I knew it would be an easy trip--at least I knew how to find the freeway by now!

One Year Ago:
Netstock Day 2

Some pictures from this journal
can be found at
Club Photo

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Created 8/4/01 by Bev Sykes