North: Me, on the left – location - California (Okay, yes, that IS my gray hair so there ya go…..I always said I couldn’t be fat AND gray and that is now a patently obvious lie. I have also blown my big reveal.)
South: Kate – location – Australia, author of the “Tatersmama's Take on Things” blog which you will love if you VISIT. She has been in Australia for 15 years and came home to the foothill mountains of northern California to see her son, grandkids, other family, friends, and blogging buddies. (She likes to have her picture taken about as much as I do. Consequently, this photo is an act of love on both our parts so our blogging friends could see us meeting - like when Ms. Pac Man comes out to meet Winkin’ and Blinkin’ and Nod, or whatever the heck their names are.)
This is what we REALLY wanted to put up:
We think it shows us to our best advantage.
My visit with Kate was shorter than I wanted because we were late. Speaking of which, here’s a riddle I made up:
Question: What happens when you show up some place early?
Answer: I have no idea.
The prevailing factor this day was Tom-Tom. She’s my husband’s other girlfriend (the first in his affections is his espresso maker, Sylvia). Tom-Tom may have a guy’s name but she’s definitely a girl and speaks with a British accent. Supposedly, her job is to navigate for us and tell us the best way to get everywhere. Due to palpable jealousy, she did her best to thwart my plans. She didn’t take us the fastest way; she took us the shortest way, which included abandoned stage coach trails, a child’s footbridge, through a living room, and finally the end of the road where we had to backpack in the last five miles.
But it was worth it. If you know Kate through blogging, I’m here to tell you, she’s the real deal. Loving, sweet with a vinegar tang, funny, and as warm as can be. She even introduced me to The Old Guy and her friend, Jenny. These people are frequent players in the dramedy of her life and actors on the stage of her blog. She had a warm and welcoming family and the setting was LUSH with verdant greens and wildflowers thanks to all the California rain. I could have stayed for a week.
It’s a funny thing when you’ve been keyboard-pals for a year-and-a-half. You bypass all those firsts and move right to sharing in the nitty-gritty of each other’s lives. We KNOW each other. Of course, there are missing elements but we were already friends in 2-D. We just added the Imax screen and our 3-D glasses. We skipped the popcorn but only because of time constraints.
Speaking of food, there are some things you need to know about hardships in Kate’s life.
This woman lives in an odd country – sorry my Australian friends but I think you’ll agree with me on this one. She cannot get Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. She cannot get Butterfingers or Dr. Pepper. And these are among her favorite foods. We could argue that these don’t fall into the REAL FOOD category and we would be right. She would agree and isn’t calling them virtuous. But that doesn’t mean she deserves to be force fed Vegemite. (Another Australian friend tells me she’s never had a Twinkie. It’s alright, Julie. When the apocalypse comes, these things will sail right through. And they have a shelf life of 5,000 years. You’ll probably get a shot.)
So I came armed with her favorite foods. She immediately ordered me to hide them from her son, like any good mother would do. I knew we were kindred spirits.
I brought my own actors from my blog stage:
Griz and the Wild Man – husband and son. Bo couldn’t make it. She was busy cleaning the River Parkway north of Fresno. She had gangs of fun (literally) tearing out old animal pens and rusty barbed wire while avoiding a baby rattlesnake.
In the photo below, you can see where Tom-Tom tried to dump me on an old miner’s trail: Mark Twain’s Cabin at Jackass Hill. This effort contained a complete lack of subtlety.
Writing didn’t pay that well, apparently, by the looks of the cabin. (Must have been a lot like blogging.) But Mark Twain’s first book was inspired here, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” and, like a few famous bloggers we all know, sometimes you get that big break and find your place on the map. I’m just hoping I can work up to a cabin like this one of these days. I might be able to afford this level of luxury. Somethin’ tells me fame and a size 8 will be forever elusive. I have a body made for radio.
But I’ve got this strapping guy to look after me in my old age, which, near as I can tell, should be here in about three hours.
So Kate, it was great, and I thank you. Now when I read your blog I will see you and think of you the same way you can now see and think of me.
From the forehead up.