...the Journal

Refrigerator Door

Walt picked this up on a business trip to Las Vegas.

Household Hints


A Medieval Home Companion:
Housekeeping in the 14th Century

On mosquitoes

I have seen rooms laden with mosquitoes which, drawn by the vapors of a sleeperís breath, sit on his face and sting so fiercely that he is forced to get up and light hay to make smoke so they will die if they donít fly away. One can do this in the daytime too, if he suspects there are mosquitoes too. Also he can protect himself with a mosquito net, if he has one.

I am a theatre critic

OK...so it's a new "career", but if you're interested in reading my reviews, go here

Updated 3/10/01


In a Sunburned Country
by Bill Bryson

I was able to get into this book while waiting at the doctor's office yesterday. Fascinating book!! Fascinating country!!

Dharma & Greg

That's it for today!


21 March 2001

I met a friend for lunch in Berkeley today. She moved back to California from Texas a year ago. They moved to San Jose, about 150 miles from here, and weíve been talking about getting together somewhere in the middle for lunch some day, but our respective schedules have made a date prior to this impossible.

I was glad that I had plans today because the news had announced that our energy block would experiencing one of the rolling blackouts that morning, so it would give me something to do rather than sitting here frustrated because I had no power. They tell us this is just the beginning and that this will be a daily occurrence through the summer (and itís only the first day of spring!)

We met at Spengers, an old Berkeley institution, a sea food place near the railwood tracks on the west end of Berkeley. We enjoyed a lovely lunch (my chance to have crab again), and then I offered to take her for a brief tour around the UC Campus, or at least walk down Telegraph Avenue.

We had to take both cars, because the restaurant parking lot was ridiculously expensive. It was bumper to bumper traffic driving up to campus, and when we got close the parking lot was full. Finding on-street parking for two cars, one of which was a van was pretty much impossible. The streets were wall to wall people. Trisha had to get back home early anyway, so we took a raincheck on the tour and slowly drove back down University Avenue, in the bumper to bumper traffic, and then went our respective ways when we hit I-80. I keep thinking that I'm so calm and collected about traffic, but it takes a trip to the Bay Area to make me realize that I don't really know "traffic" and "crowds" out here in the hinterlands.

It was a lovely day for a drive. In fact, it would be difficult to prove that it was spring, since the temperatures were climbing into the 80s. But I had the a/c on and the radio telling me of the progress of the blackouts and I was doing OK.

During lunch, we had spoken of the energy crisis, and the blackouts and of the predicted water shortage for this year. Trisha had just read a book about the history of water in California and how none of us had any business building on what geologically was supposed to be a desert (and how no civilization which attempted to colonize a desert ever survived--look at the Mayans).

As I drove home, I was remembering the many trips I made from Oakland back in 1972-3 when we were building our house up here. In those days you passed through Berkeley and El Cerrito and Richmond to Pinole. Beyond Pinole there was Vallejo and then a ways farther up the road was Vacaville, then Fairfield, signs to Dixon and signs to Davis. The area between the towns was all rolling green hills, farmland, cattle, trees.

One expects growth in 30 years, but I paid close attention to this same area as I drove the road today and....where did all these people come from??? Where did the green rolling hills go? Where are the trees? Where are the cows? What happened to "space"?

There wasnít just "growth" -- there was an explosion of housing tracts, and more and more being built all the time. Some seem to pop up overnight. Not only the hills near the freeway, but stretching back as far as the eye can see.

I remember visiting some friends recently who had moved into a retirement community. The community sits like an oasis out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by dead grass. But suddenly shimmering off in the distance are rolling green hills, waterfall, golf course, and sprinklers going everywhere. Our friends told us about the 6,000 new homes that were scheduled to be built in the coming year and invited us to check them out.

California is being overrun. Here we are in spring. This isnít the time when you expect the heavy usage of air conditioners which will come as we hit extended days of triple digit temperatures. And already we are living in darkness, keeping all non-essential appliances turned off, washing clothes at midnight and yes, Peggy, even hanging clothes on a line instead of using a dryer.

Yesterday the news reported that water shortages are expected this summer and they are already encouraging conservation. We can't support the people we have here now.

And yet the builders keep building, the people keep coming and the land is disappearing at a frightening rate.

When will it end?

Or are we getting closer to "the big one," which will finally dropCalifornia off into the Pacific and make Denver beachfront property.

One Year Ago:
Videotapes and web cams

Some pictures from this journal
can be found at
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Created 3/20/01 by Bev Sykes