Letters From a Bus
February 2008: Spring Fever
1st entry for February

February Spring Fever

Mountain View, CA, Day 44 at Walton & Sons Masonry, Site: 1

Monday, February 18, 2008 — Nine Months

February is always one of our most beautiful months in the Bay Area. Although there are still plenty of rainy days and chilly days, there are also many days of sunshine with promising warmth. The trees begin to celebrate with flowers. First there are the pink tulip magnolias. The camilias and azaleas bloom. Then there are the yellow tree blossoms and then the white decorative apple blossoms and the pink decorative cherry blossoms. It is a wonderful time.

Without my garden I am drawn more than ever to Dinahs where I can walk around the gardens and spend an hour over a lovely breakfast or my favorite lunch — an avocado, lettuce and tomato sandwich on toasted sourdough.

This is the entrance to Dinah's on a rainy day. Mr. Handley installed many art objects on the grounds.

This stone sculpture was done in 1979 and is titled, "Land of Otahiete; Capt. James Cook 1773". The camelias are blooming at Dinah's. The above three photos were taken on a rainy day, Jan. 27, 2008.
One of the joys of being home is that I get to see my family. Brent works at the masonry so I get to see him every day. Jeff lives in Pescadero so I see him less often. Can you tell that Dennis and I have sons who are both big characters?
Brent Walton, Driver, Walton & Sons Masonry, Inc., Feb. 4, 2008. Jeff Parry, Mgr. Pigeon Point Lighthouse Internat'l. Hostel, Feb. 4, 2008.
Another joy is being able to visit with my friends. Thank heavens, I was home when Dale lost her son. She needed all of her family and friends and support that she could get. We've spent a lot of time together — as much as possible with her work schedule and my affairs. Many have asked me how she is doing. I guess she is holding up and doing as well as can be expected. How does one ever recover from a blow like that? Nothing can be done. We walk and talk and hang out.
This entrance at the Alhambra used to be a cafe with tables. Sometimes my dates would bring me here for dinner before a movie. Very romantic! Feb. 5, 2008
This is the old Alhambra movie theater. Now it is a Border's book store.
Feb. 5, 2008.
Downtown Palo Alto. Dale was playing hookey from work in the week after Brandon's memorial. Feb. 5, 2008
Dale and I enjoy a sunny day in downtown Los Altos. We share a fabulous dessert at Satsuma. Feb. 6, 2008
Dale and I enjoy another sunny day at Stanford Shopping Center where we look at spring decorations in Pottery Barn. Above, there's my favorite clothing shop, Tommy Bahama for both Dennis & me. Next door is an outdoor cafe where we share soup and a small pizza. I just had to jump up and take photos of the dogs meeting each other at the cafe. Feb. 7, 2008
Everyone got Spring Fever. I dragged lots of sections of the folding dog pen fences out of storage. I can't let Rudi and Margot run free during working hours but with a fence they can enjoy fresh air and sunshine on weekdays. Although the the masonry gate is open, they do stay nearby but I can't trust that they won't run under the wheels of the trucks that come and go. Of course they don't want to stay outside unless one of us sits outside with them. It would be nice if they could have a fence and go in and out of the bus. But I can't block the area underneath and behind the stairs at the bus door. If I put the fence up to the door they escape under the bus.
The masonry staff got spring fever. I caught them gabbing for hours standing by the trash bin near the materials and equipment in the yard. Looks like a major meeting....

Dennis and I took our Honda for repairs and drove a Saturn for a month. I took a photo of them side by side. They kind of look alike but there is a big difference!

Everyone in the masonry yard has spring fever. Dennis and Steve and others confer by the trash bin. That's the newly repaired Honda parked behind the rental Saturn. It looks and drives like new. Feb. 7, 2008.
Sally had spring fever. Fridays are her day off so she suggested we meet at the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University (Lomita Drive and Museum Way). We had a light lunch on the deck behind the museum and enjoyed the large expanse of lawn and the famous Rodin sculptures scattered around the garden. Then we walked about looking at the sculptures and at the equally sculptural big old trees on the campus. It was another lovely February day.
We meet in front of the Cantor Center (Dennis & Sally right above) and then walk left around the corner to the courtyard (left above). The center has a diverse collection that numbers some 25,000 objects. The collection spans 4,000 years of all the world's cultures. Feb. 8, 2008.
Sitting on the terrace at the center's outdoor cafe, we have a view of the Rodin Gardens and some buildings on the Stanford campus beyond. The scupture garden features the largest collection of Rodin bronzes outside Paris. Nearly 100 contemporary sculptures are sited outdoors throughout the campus. Feb. 8, 2008.
Sally and I sit in front the Rodin's "The Gates of Hell" and strike a pose like Rodin's "The Thinker." I'm afraid we don't look too serious. (The original thinker, a miniature, sits above the gates.) To the right is a large scale bronze of "The Thinker." Feb. 8, 2008.
The Thinker by Rodin
"The Thinker (French: Le Penseur) is a bronze and marble sculpture by Auguste Rodin, held in the Musée Rodin, in Paris. It depicts a man in sober meditation battling with a powerful internal struggle. It is often used to represent philosophy.

Originally named The Poet, the piece was part of a commission by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, to create a monumental portal to act as the door of the museum. Rodin based his theme on The Divine Comedy of Dante and entitled the portal The Gates of Hell. Each of the statues in the piece represented one of the main characters in the epic poem. The Thinker was originally meant to depict Dante in front of the Gates of Hell, pondering his great poem. (In the final sculpture, a miniature of the statue sits atop the gates, pondering the hellish fate of those beneath him.) The sculpture is nude, as Rodin wanted a heroic figure in the tradition of Michelangelo, to represent intellect as well as poetry. "The Thinker" is used as a symbol for academic games, as well.

Rodin made a first small plaster version around 1880. The first large-scale bronze cast was finished in 1902, but was not presented to the public until 1904. It became the property of the city of Paris.

More than any other Rodin sculpture, The Thinker moved into the popular imagination, as an immediately recognizable icon of intellectual activity; consequently it has been subject to endless satirical use.

Over twenty casts of the sculpture are in museums around the world."

Quoted from Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Thinker

Sally and I first saw "The Thinker" as small children in New York City. Our father had us look at it from all angles. Situated by a large fountain, it made a great impression on me.
Above right is a blue spruce and behind it (lower left) are palm trees. This juxtaposition in this area of what I think of as southern and northern trees always amazes me. On the front steps of the center, I had to catch the guy on the cell phone who appears to be as serious as the marble Roman legislator who towers over him. Feb. 8, 2008
Back in the seventies I fell in with bad companions and evil influences. We went out drinking and dancing and threw potlucks once a month where our favorite subject was — MEN. We called ourselves the "Dirty Dozen" and here are some of the original dozen thirty years later. I had the honor of throwing a small party to celebrate Kathy's birthday. Born on Feb. 19, 1948, she is the last of our group to turn the Big Six-Oh. Attention had to be paid so Joann, Sharon, Sylvia, Dona and I together with the birthday girl, got together for one more potluck on Monday evening, Feb. 11, 2008.
From left, Joann, Sharon, Dona, Kathy and Sylvia.
Feb. 11, 2008
Kathy and Joann. Joann and I share the same birthday year and month but we are one day apart. A night owl, she has lots more energy than I do!
Sharon Dannemiller doesn't look like she used to ride motorcycles, does she? Sylvia is our expert Salsa dancer. She brought us chili for dinner. She's near our bus because she works for the masonry.
Late in life, Dona and I both went back to school to get MAs. Now she's a Reverend. She calls me a "techie." Kathy also rode a motorcycle and she frequently takes off to camp in her little camper van.
I chose a delicious mango mousse birthday cake for Kathy. But those candles were a challenge — tough for Kathy to blow out! Empty wine glasses and unused coffee mugs must mean a good party.... Feb. 11, 2008
I can't help it. I just keep ending up at Dinah's. On Sunday, Feb. 17th I took these photos of trees on the property. The yellow blossoms could be acacia, but I don't think so. The other is one of the cherry blossom varieties.
The waiters at Dinah's. I've known these guys for years. A few years ago Juan married and now he has a beautiful little girl. Carlos always imitates a plane with his arms and says, "You fly all over the world?"
I always imitate a driver and say, "No! Carlos, I live on a bus!" I don't think he can picture that.... Feb. 7, 2008.
Dennis is always doing maintenance on the bus or planning new improvements. On Feb. 18th we took the bus to Leale's in San Jose for some warranty work. We left it there and drove in the Honda to Camping World in Morgan Hill. Dennis made an appointment there for more work to be done. I came home with a lawn. Now I have a patch of green turf on the cement in front of the bus. While the bus was moved Dennis swept and hosed the area. I watched.
Dennis surveys the area and then gets to work. I've been on my feet long enough. It's been two months since I tore the ligaments in my ankle. I can get my foot into a jogging shoe but the ankle is still swollen and hurts after too much walking. Feb. 18, 2008.
After we bring the bus back I spread out my new lawn and expand the enclosure for the dogs. We're really getting settled in here. Next time we go to Camping World we plan to buy a BBQ. Feb. 18, 2008.
Even Rudi has spring fever. He thinks I should get off the computer and take him for a walk.
Rudi, Feb. 11, 2008.
Elsa Walton, Walton Masonry, Mountain View, CA, Monday, February 18, 2008