Friday, April 14, 2006


Clear blue sky and warm today! Everything changed overnight.

Went to the Village Barber Shop, the same place I’ve gone for 17 years. (No laughing, please.) And the same barbers: Michelle and Jim. Jim wasn’t there today. Michelle said he’s in the “final stages” of congestive heart failure, on oxygen all the time now. She has purchased the shop from him.

It was necessary to make a trip over to Napa to have the motorcycle insurance policy re-written. Among the changes I’ve seen, new stop signs and signals. (I have seen countless traffic controls added here over the years, so much so I keep wondering if someone on the City Council is a contractor or wholesaler for traffic control devices!)

One of the latest, on Highway 12 at Arnold Drive, is long overdue for this dangerous intersection.

I couldn’t pass through Sonoma without a stop at Artisan’s Bakery, part of my daily routine for the nine years I worked at Robert Mondavi. Outside, a sign says the building’s for sale. “What does that mean?” The staff didn’t know. But for now, I had my “butterhorn” and coffee, and all was right with the world!

On the east side of Sonoma, another signal is going in at East 8th and Napa Road, another place I’ve long wanted them to add one..

At Napa Valley Insurance, even though I was “bad” in allowing my vehicle insurance to lapse, the policies were rewritten without any penalties or hand-slapping. I was whole again! (Of course I had to pay very dear premiums to be made whole.)

In another nostalgic indulgence, I went to Villa Corona for lunch. This was a favorite eatery for the Mondavi gang I worked with. Still getting used to portion-sizing, I only ate half of a burrito that, in the past, I would have had no trouble devouring.

Drove up the Napa Valley on Highway 29, past the Robert Mondavi Winery, then turned around. Stopped out front to read the line-up for the Summer Concert series. Shawn Colvin appearing on the list gives a nod to the younger crowd. It had long been my criticism of this event that we were not attracting a younger audience, younger wine lovers.

Returned to Sonoma County via the Oakville Grade, a wonderful winding mountain road through the Mayacamas Range. A gorgeous day.

Kept roaming, reacquainting myself with all the old territory. Up Sonoma Mountain Road toward my home of 16 years. The road was closed just half a mile short of “my” driveway. A particularly troublesome section of road had started to slide away again.

I took the “long way around”, a five or six mile detour, up to the property entrance. “Why am I looking up here? I said ‘good-bye’ to this place. Am I having second thoughts?”

At the entrance, a “for sale” sign. One of the two house on this 150-acre property is being sold. In the neighboring redwood grove, there are more “no trespassing” signs posted along the fence, where the Land Trust now controls access to the grove that was once part of “our” property.

Another change: the “Lewis Road Car Wash” is now $2.50 ($1.75 before I left!) Gave the bike a quick cleaning.

A'Roma's my favorite local hang-out, offers wi-fi but expressly prohibits electrical hook-ups. (They have now covered the outlets.) So, my working sessions there are limited by the computer’s battery to less than two hours.

But I finally finished the blog’s "Winnie Inn" entry, which proved quite a hurdle for me. How to convey what I had just witnessed along the southern coast? The effort seemed supremely inadequate.

At A’Roma’s, the familiar music and many familiar faces support the illusion of belonging to something.

Back at the motel, installed “Panda Anti-Virus Platinum” software (a free trial download) on my computer and let it do its thing. It worked! Virus removed and the system is up to speed again.

Watched CNN’s news journal “360-degrees: Dead Wrong”, a very critical analysis of the Iraq invasion. The criticism sounded very blunt and harsh, but you have to realize “it’s now safe” to attack the Administration. Where was CNN, our “news leader” in the run-up to the war, when these very challenges were put forth by those opposed to attacking Iraq? If I recall correctly, CNN was quite the cheerleader. Spineless hypocrites, I say.

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