Anne began clutching her pearls after she posed for this photo and realized that she wasn’t actually wearing her pearls in it. What kind of homemaker must she look like, doing her ironing, without her pearls on? The idea for this picture began as a way to show off her new ironing board extension. She built it and I helped. I was doubtful about the idea of it, but she made it happen.
Chris, our friend from Rochester, arrived by train last night. Frankly, I was amazed that his train showed up on time. We picked him up downtown at the train station and whisked off to his hotel, near our house. After he checked in, we went out for dinner at our local Greek place, the Olympia. Today, first thing, we met him at a nearby Starbucks. Then we all walked together in Tower Grove Park, which was one of Chris’s old haunts. Signs of last week’s big storm were still quite evident. After our stroll, we decamped back to Chris’s hotel, so that he could change rooms. We had lunch at also nearby Mai Lee, a Vietnamese restaurant that we like. After lunch we toured the Slammer, admired the Moroccan doors that he had restored and then toured the new Nubian exhibit. Well, maybe new isn’t the right word, since most of the artworks were thousands of years old. I’ll be fixing dinner tonight, so we’ll be staying in air conditioned shelter for the evening. It’s July. It’s Saint Louis and it’s hot, hot, hot!
Today is weigh-in day. Anne lost two pounds this week for a total of more than twenty pounds and I managed to not gain any weight this week, having lost 25+ pounds in total. As a percentage of total weight Anne is way ahead of me and has probably hit her weight goal, while I still have further that I’d like to go. As is our wont, we went out for a celebratory feast after weighing in. After all, we now a full week to account for any excesses on Monday. The humidity has moderated some, making it possible to pleasantly walk outside again. We did the long version of our neighborhood walk, which has Kaldi’s Coffee located on De Mun at about the halfway point.
Anne snagged a table in the shade, although there were plenty still available in the sun. They also now have some inside seating, but it was way too nice not to sit outside. She had a latte and I had a cold brew with milk. We both ordered their avocado toast, which is my favorite version of this dish, the first avocado toast that I’ve ever had and what I have always used as the model for my own avocado toast. Kaldi’s doesn’t use as much avocado as I do, but their toast is extra thick, because it is served on hand sliced bread. They accent the plate with lines of the Siracha with mayo mixed in with it, which makes it a little milder than straight Siracha sauce and gives it nice orange color that looks quite appetizing along with the green of the avocado. They also sprinkle the dish with black sesame seeds, which we joked look like mouse turds. At least I hope that they are not mouse turds. Now that I’ve refreshed my memory with how Kaldi’s makes their avocado toast, I’ll have to revisit their recipe again, because I can see now that I have strayed quite a bit from it over time. I had to bus our table as soon as we each had finished eating, because the sparrows were both fierce and voracious, with no sense of the meaning of personal space.
Chris has taken a four-day weekend, beginning today, which means that we’ll be under his tutelage for the weekend to come. He is still working, but he is working from home, which he likes. He is looking ahead to retirement, but is not yet ready to pull the trigger now. I’ve tried to explain the benefits of everyday being Saturday to him. I guess you have to learn these things for yourself. He organized our trip to Nepenthe. I drove, but Chris planned it. California is still in the throes of Covid, as I guess, so is everywhere else, but only more so here. Restrictions are supposed to lighten the middle of next month.
So, Dad, Chris, Anne and I drove together to Big Sur, which is almost fifty miles from the house, but only 26 miles along the twisty turny CA 1 that everyone loves and I hate driving. Let’s face it folks, I’m a flatlander. It’s where I learned to drive and where I have done most of my driving. A place where you can set the wheel and only have to nudge it after that. Sort of like steering a boat on the open sea. We went to Nepenthe for lunch. I drove, because I had the new car and I would be damned to have anyone else drive. The drive down wasn’t too bad. We left in plenty of time and traffic was relatively light. I was fortunate to have a couple of slower than me drivers ahead of me, so I felt no pressure about the train of vehicles that had accumulated. A few gonzo drivers speed past me, even in a no passing zone, but I figure that is who the cliffs were made for. I look at the guard rails as only wannabe ski ramps. We made is safely and in plenty of time and enjoyed a scrumptious meal.
Dad announced to the waitress that he had been coming to Nepenthe for sixty-five years and with a little math, I figured that so had I. Our young waitress announced that she planned on living he life in Big Sur. Nepenthe is a word derived from the Greek word meaning no sorrow. A mythical Egyptian drug, the wife of Thonis, King of Egypt, gave it to Helen, daughter of Jove, to induce forgetfulness and surcease from sorrow. The word and thought have been used through all time. Homer mentioned it in the Odyssey. Later, Poe mentioned it in his poem The Raven. Poe said:
Quaff oh quaff this kind Nepenthe and forget the lost Lenore.
Dad and Chris being traditionalist ordered the Ambrosia burger, Nepenthe’s signature dish. Sixty-five years ago, it was significantly cheaper. The waitress asked if he had not been back for sixty-five years, but we enlightened her. It has been a year for Dad and Chris and two for us. Three years ago, we had to hike several miles and up a thousand feet to reach the restaurant. That time Dad couldn’t make it, but we did enjoy the added benefit of being passed on the long uphill hike by a younger, fitter man, who had a dress shirt hanging from his backpack. He turned out to be our waiter. On the way back, we were passed by one particularly obnoxious gonzo, but I had the satisfaction of catching up to him as he was stuck behind a garbage truck. It is the afternoon, but an already windy day has made going outside even less desirable. We saw a cyclist walking his bike, because of the wind. A quail, who rarely leaves the ground for long was blown up onto what is a third floor balcony.