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Archive for May, 2011

Perhaps you’ve heard by now; I mean, if I’ve heard about it, who hasn’t?   Katie Couric called it quits over at CBS, Meredith Viera is history come June on the Today Show.   Low ratings?  Brighter tomorrows?  A book deal?  Don’t believe a word of it.   Fear has led them to their spur of the moment decisions.   They weren’t up to conducting “The Interview” and, subsequently, were dismissed from their jobs.

My sources tell me Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer weren’t even considered – “too lightweight when it came to ‘The Interview.'”   The Anderson Cooper 360 team and Mr. Cooper, himself, did make an appearance out at Whidbey Island Distillery, but when they saw what they were up against, they fled.  Larry King thought he might make a come back just to be able to say he delivered the goods when no one else could, but when She snapped his red suspenders, King went running, okay, hobbling away like a sissy.   Her people thought about calling Geraldo Rivera.  I jest.  “Al Capone, are you in there?”   Like She would let anyone that bogus near her, let alone interview her.

Believe me when I say I was more than a bit nervous when Her people called me.  Would I be interested in interviewing Her?  “I’m headed to California.  I’ll get back to you,” was my response.  While in California I had time to ponder my decision; see old friends one more time; visit with my favorite child; make amends wherever necessary (not really).  Perhaps it was the overbearing heat, perhaps it was being so close to the neighborhood where I survived Catholic school and Sister Mary Delores with her lightning fast ruler; where I survived game after game of “butts up” hand ball with my older brother.   (Yes, if you lose,  you have to go up to the wall, bend over, and the winner gets to throw the handball as hard as he can at your rear end.  The one game I think I ever won, I missed.)  So, with all these hard-won life lessons under my belt, I thought How hard could it be to interview Her?

Upon my arrival at Whidbey Island Distillery, Bev warned me, “Don’t look her directly in the eye.  Keep your head below her head at all times.”  When asked if I had brought a gift, I blanched with embarrassment.  I searched my pockets and found some lint covered poco dolce chocolate pieces left over from a purchase at bayleaf (corner of Alexander and Coveland in Coupeville, don’t ya know), and my library card.   By the look on Bev’s face, I could tell I had wandered into dangerous territory even before beginning  “The Interview.”  “There are some live mice in the closet, ”  Bev said.   I wondered if it was too late to call Brian Williams over at NBC; then I realized he’s far too intelligent to let anything happen to that handsome mug of his.

I sat in the room with Bubblin’ Betty.  I hadn’t seen her since New Year’s Day.  Still every man’s dream, that one; though not much of a conversationalist.  While waiting, I reviewed my script.  Background notes on Her were in place, and intelligent questions regarding the operation at Whidbey Island Distillery had been judiciously prepared for “The Interview.”   I was ready.    I felt that old rush of adrenalin that used to set in before stepping in front of my audience to teach Stress Management and How to Lower Your Blood Pressure with Your Mind seminars (yes, I get the irony).    I was about to succeed where Couric, Viera, Walters, Sawyer, Cooper and King had failed.  I was about to interview the real brains and power behind Whidbey Island Distillery.

Two and a half hours passed before the door handle finally turned to the left.   The mice in the closet started to scratch at the closet door.  A small voice whispered, “It’s too late for us.  Save yourself.  Get out while you still have time.”   The door hinges squeaked.  A black shoe, worn down at the tip; the kind of worn down that comes from kneeling or groveling, crossed the threshold.

Stay tuned for “The Interview – Part 2.”

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I made an impromptu, quick trip to California to see good friends Kathryn and Scott and participate in Susan G. Komen’s Race for the Cure.   It will be two years May 17 (oh, that’s today) since I set foot in my old home state.  I’ve got to say flying into Sacramento is a treat.  If you overlook that inversion layer of smog hanging low and ominous, this time of year you’ll bear witness to a pattern of budding crops stitched together like a verdant quilt that seems to go on forever.  I’m always awed by their linear precision.  Given the chance and instruction, I’d no longer be able to plow a linear field for crops; way too many distractions would land in my line of sight.  No, I’m now more likely to plow a wavy, circular, angle to the right, sharp turn to the left field.   As much as I’d like to say it’s always been my artistic way,the truth probably resides somewhere closer to age-related “oh, look over there at that shiny bobble,” or “where’s that rabbit going?” which leads me from a patch of the property I was working into a wooded area where I’ve forgotten about the rabbit because I’ve spied a falcon, who when he flies away, makes me notice that the limbs of the tree need pruning, which leads me to wonder where I left my pruning shears, which…  You get the picture.  I’ve grown accustom and comfortable with my new non-linear life with all its curves and around the corner surprises.

My latest surprise was One Very, Very Bright Star whose brilliance I’ve not experienced (or so it seems) for months – the Sun!   When I left Coupeville it was 42 degrees and overcast.  When I arrived in Sacramento, it was 91 degrees and the sun was blinding.  Now I know where the sun spends its free time.  For seven days I wore sunglasses; sunglasses that had been tucked away for so long, their prescription strength was no longer relevant.  “God, it’s so bright here,” I said, “and hot!”   The kind of hot that made me wish I had panty liners to stick in my arm pits.  The kind of sun those who live in the great Pacific Northwest hear tell of.   I had just grown accustomed to seeing sunshine accompanied by a temperature of 50-60 degrees and suddenly I was on high alert for sun stroke, burn; or even worse – age spots.

Fortunately, a few days in the sun eased up and the temperature dropped to a tolerable range in the low 80s.  Doable.   And the trip was so worth it.  I got to sit with my dear friend Kathryn (the other Very, Very Bright Star mentioned above), shake our heads and laugh at life’s ups and downs, shop, have manis and pedis, and laugh some more.    We planned the brunch to follow the race: spinach and mushroom frittata, fresh fruit with yogurt, along with the crew’s contribution of scones, a berry strata, spinach salad, and Marie’s Donuts.  If there’s another reason to stop in Sacramento other than to fill up your tank and use the bathroom it would be to grab some of Marie’s donuts.  (No, I am not putting down my old home town.  We grew up knowing that’s why people stopped in Sacramento on their way north to Lake Tahoe, or south to San Francisco.  Sacramento is in the “piddle middle.”)  Come race day a bold and brilliant decision was made.  The heck with the crowd of 25,000.  The heck with having to get up before the crack of dawn to be surrounded by the 25,000.  Instead, we had our own walk for the cure right there on the levy followed by brunch, followed by naps.

On Mother’s Day I took the train into San Francisco to see my favorite of all my children – Nate.   I was treated to brunch at Greens where we had a table by the window with a beautiful view of the marina and the Golden Gate Bridge.    After brunch we sat in the sunshine and talked and laughed.  Seems I need to start saving up my change ‘cuz come July Nate’s moving to New York to take a bite out of the Big Apple.  Once my pennies have added up to a round trip, I’ll head to my old haunt and take a walk down my memory lane with him.    While in San Francisco, I saw what my pennies will buy in the way of travel.  I’m not sure where coach is on board, but I’m pretty sure the flight will give me something to blog about.

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