Palo Alto, Day One - Tuesday, June 20

1) Up at 4 AM, car service present at 4:30 AM, arrived airport by 4:45 AM.

2) My first time in about seven years flying [Insert Name of Airline Here]. For some reason the auto-kiosk wouldn't allow me to check my bag. So I had to get into the Customer Service Line . . . for 45 minutes. Two family groups were in the two slots closest to the start of the line when I got in line, and they were both still there when I finally got to the counter. This contributed to the impression that nothing was happening, and that we'd all be in line there forever.

3) Then a 30-minute line for security.

4) After buying some breakfast at a place with no line, I got to my gate and - horrors! - couldn't find my ticket! or passport in my travel folio I ran back to security, where the guard pointed to them . . . in my shirt pocket.

5) Two colleagues were also on this flight, but we were not seated together. Since I hadn't been able to buy my traditional copy of the Economist before boarding. I had nothing to read. I either tried to sleep, or became engaged in entertainment on other people's screens. This included Good Will Hunting, Aladdin, and a film called About Time.

6) A handsome flight attendant with a ring on his fourth finger told me how much he appreciated that I said "Good morning;" apparently I was the only passenger to do so. This led to a discussion of customer service in general, the Boston community, and travel. Later he brought me a complimentary cheese tray. The benefit of courtesy!

7) Colleagues and I took a Lyft out to Palo Alto, checked into the hotel, and, after a bit of confusion on foot, found our way to the Quaint Main Drag and a sort of a sports bar for a good lunch.

8) A NAP and then a pleasant hour with one of my elderly volunteers and his wife (they both live in the area) and one of my new, much younger volunteers. A nice mix of generations.

9) Dinner with our entire cohort of colleagues at a very nice Italian restaurant was marred only by the absence of three colleagues: one due to illness, the others due to a very late flight. I enjoyed a caprese tradizionale and the special risotto con frutti di mare. I could feel Etiquetteer giving me the hairy eyeball since I enjoyed a red wine with these dishes. I distracted him by observing the excellence of the service.

10) I was dropping by the end of dinner, and chose not to go to the late-night mixer for conference attendees. In bed at 9:45 PM for a sound sleep.

Monday morning, June 19

1) Provincetown weekend relaxing and healing, wonderful camaraderie. So grateful.

1a) Brought down my tarot cards to read for friends, and then couldn't find them. Color me annoyed to discover on returning home that I'd left them in the kitchen.

2) Rushing this morning to get the jump on a busy day. Laundry and dining room breakfast, lots of activity at work preparing for a conference I'm attending for the rest of this week.

3) A gigantic horsefly.

Saturday night, June 17

1) Luncheon at Mac's Café: lobster macaroni and cheese and pink champagne, and the best of friends.

2) Often I'll begin the summer by bringing in a bag of books to trade at Tim's Used Books. This year Tim took only one of the seven or eight volumes I brought in, which covered half the cost of the book I chose to take away, King Lehr by Elizabeth Drexel Lehr.

2a) As I took down a copy of one of Edward Garland's books about the North Shore, Tim said I could always find the snobbiest book in any section. "Of course!" I replied.

3) After a NAP and two strawberry ragamitas, we all went off to Ye Cryne Pynte for a lovely dinner: crab cakes and lamb chops for me. Conversation ranged from Barbara Stanwyck in Pretty Baby to politics to commuting habits.

BONUS: After dinner a promenade along Comical Street in the soft humidity. My search for B** and J****'s U**** B****** came to naught. The phrase "peculiar drifting ease" from Willa Cather's The Old Beauty came to mind. Gossip, glancing into store windows, happily on the periphery of any madness.

Saturday, June 17

1) Long weekend on the Cape with my best friends. Rainy. A soft gray-and-green morning after torrential rain in the night.

2) Such wide-ranging discussion!

3) One friend observed that he missed seeing my three-part status updates on Facebook. I told him to come here. "Do you mean I have to remember to do something else?" Sorry, yes.

Wednesday morning, June 14

1) Completely forgot I was invited to go to the opera tonight! Thank goodness for my friend's email reminder. Now, what to wear?

2) My sleep patterns are starting to return to normal. 'cause I woke up quite naturally at 5 AM and got up. And it was OK. Back porch coffee, large dining room breakfast: two eggs scrambled, two slices dry whole wheat toast, large bowl of vanilla yogurt with blueberries and granola.

3) People go into business to make money, not to do you favors.

Tuesday evening, June 13

1) This morning at the bus station a young black boy asked me "What's that book about?" I was reading Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage, and I explained briefly that it was about passengers on the Titanic, which hit an iceberg in 1912. This led an older white man also nearby to chime in that it was the anniversary of Lincoln's assassination, which I of course affirmed. This older white man, it turned out, had clearly lost his ability to have an internal monologue, and I was grateful when the 47 bus came along and he got on it.

2) "Wearin' next to nothin' 'cause it's hot as an oven!"

3) Lovely to watch the sky darken with clouds right now.

Tuesday morning, June 13

1) Running late, and I don't care. Back porch coffee enjoying the cool breeze. Must stagger to dry cleaner with suits and shirts before heading into work.

2) Whimsically, I've decided not to turn on the air conditioning until after I return from San Francisco at the end of the month.

3) And speaking of laundry, with temperatures this hot, save energy and hang dry your clothes.

Monday, June 12

1) Today is my Uncle Bill's birthday. Among the things I have from his house and my gramma's is a charcoal portrait done of him in the early 1960s at some tourist trap. It captures well his look and personality.

2) Very surprised to get a friend request from a Brief Roommate from six or seven years ago. We had some nice dialogue catching up.

2a) So glad I'm living alone now.

3) Usually I'm prostrate after Reunions, but this year, thankfully, I'm just very very tired. Got home from the office at 4 PM, and ended up sleeping solidly for two hours. Beautiful.

Sunday morning, June 4

1) Today is my day for me, 24 hours at home to rest, relax, and summon my resliience for the week to come. Parlor coffee with my feet up on the sofa, letting my fancy drift through the Internet.

2) And laundry. Oh mercy, lots of laundry. Second load is already in the washer and it's only 7:31 now.

3) Isn't the weather today beautiful?! And now I'm rejoicing because the extended forecast has changed for Reunions from heavy rain to partly sunny.

Tuesday night, May 30

1) Being the first work day after Memorial Day, of course I trotted out my whites: shoes, socks, and trousers, along with a white shirt, navy blue blazer, tne the blue and orange tie I bought at Harrod's way back in 1988 when we spent Christmas in London. Funny thing though: somehow being folded up in my closet all winter has made those trousers awfully tight. I think I might've strained a kidney trying to button the buttons.

2) For a moment I thought I coined the word "apocalicious," but someone already did. Of course I'd want to use it in reference to food - chocolate especially.

3) The next week is going to be nothing but checking and rechecking.

Tuesday, May 30

1) In keeping with my annual theme of "Murder is so relaxing at times of stress" during the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, I snatched up my rarely-read copy of Raymond Chandler's The Little Sister. Not quite in the same league as The Big Sleep and The Long Goodbye, it's nevertheless a riveting read. And Chandler's use of language just gets me. "She wore a hat that had been taken from its mother too young" is just one example.

2) I forget quite how or when a discussion of fear of heights came up at the office recently, but it reminded me of my own childhood acrophobia, and how my father dealt with it. In the early 1970s, the Old Hometown decided to turn several blocks of the main downtown shopping street into a pedestrian mall, with all sorts of built-in features like a pavilion and (of all things) a clock tower with a second-floor balcony.* One night we were downtown with another family and everyone but me wanted to go up the clock tower. I was quite happy to wait downstairs, but after a minute my father came back down, marched me up those stairs, and made me run, and then walk, along the periphery of the balcony.

I remember it being very embarrassing - but it did the trick. Years later Daddy said how bad it made him feel to do that, but I reassured him that the outcome was beneficial.

3) I've been awake since 4 AM. The last three days have been nothing but Pops seating, and this morning a group of colleagues will begin stuffing ticket envelopes with me. Right now I just hope I stay awake through it all. :-)

*When I was much older I learned that this had been a last-ditch effort to Save Downtown from the New Mall. Being the early 1970s, everything was made of gigantic panels of dark woodwork set in black metal. The whole effort was a failure, and decades later the street was finally restored.