The Police were still awesome, even better for me this time since it was FREE and even better seats that last year! I liked Elvis Costello as opening act better than last year's bands, especially the joint Alison when Sting came out. I can't stand Sting's scruffy beard though - yuck! I have never been a fan of facial hair. ;) They didn't care about cameras at Concord Pavilion, so I took lots of photos & even video with sound, so if I get a chance, someday I might post more. Not much time lately though for reasons yet to be disclosed that I can hopefully announce soon...
A few days later I saw Chris Isaak at Mountain Winery, not free, but a great show, even though I nearly froze to death in the freakish breeze when it had been warm for his other 2 nights beforehand. I only knew his main hits, but he & his band are obviously having so much fun just playing you can't help but enjoy it. Refreshing after the ego of Sting I had seen a few days earlier. ;)
Booked the Alaska cruise with Grandma leaving the end of August...looking forward to it!
The last Cinema Brittahytta happened to be the day after my birthday, so my friends turned it into an absolute blast of a birthday celebration...yay! Nice timing too since the fancy new movie screen had arrived just in time, which was a surprise group birthday gift from the Friends of Cinema Brittahytta! We had a guest projector & PA system courtesy of DJ Matt, so Princess Bride was crystal-clear & hilarious in my backyard with about 25 people & 2 dogs. :)
Birthday Cinema Brittahytta
I found a safer & sturdier dining table & chairs for $75 at a garage sale when I was in Sacramento the weekend after my birthday. It's nice and small for everyday, leaving more room around it, plus rounded edges won't make as many bruises as the corners did. Two leaves can bring it out to party-size as large as the glass one I had, which was becoming unsafe as the kitties keep growing larger. The glass table has been moved to the patio for extra party food for now. I'm not sure if the new set will stay white, but I thought it was a cute shape without being too fancy, and definitely solid & sturdy. When I got it to my parents' house my mom said how it looks Scandinavian style to her, and I think she's right...haha...
New Dining Table
My dad came to visit for a couple days last week to install my birthday window box he custom-built for me, plus build my plan of a movie screen grape trellis. My grapes need more room and will look better than a blank wall at the back of my house, so the trellis is cemented 2ft down with 4x4 posts to hold the heavy pull-down movie screen too. The screen is put away against the elements right now, but it will hang off the top braces at the ends so it will be in front of grapes that grow next year. This also puts the screen in a better position for viewing since it's not against the wall behind the arbor bench from that angle. I took both days off as vacation so we could optimize house project work, especially anything needing a large vehicle to transport home. We even crammed a new fence panel by my shed into the 2 days of work, which looks so much nicer than the ancient rotting one that has only gotten worse since I moved in! Home Depot had a pre-built cedar fence panel the perfect size for only $50, cheaper than the time & supplies for a similar fence panel, but tying to the van luggage rack made it look like it had wings! haha...
Movie Screen Grape Trellis and Custom Window Box - thanks, Dad!
My tomatoes have been ripening since mid-July, and I have enjoyed many with nice balsamic vinegar. My Early Girls unsurprisingly started first, with tons of small fruit in clusters so large I had to tie up the branches from dragging on the ground, but my Ace is something else! Nowhere near as much fruit, but the ones I get are HUGE! I've grown Ace in other locations before and never seen any this big! I haven't been able to grow my own tomatoes since 2005, so I have missed that. I'm so happy that the tomatoes are doing so well in that spot so I can look forward to more next year!
After two years of patiently waiting while my tiny bare-root vine grew & matured, I have tasty organic flame seedless grapes! Either birds or animals beat me to a couple bunches while I was waiting for more sweetness, so I gave up & harvested everything left last night, even though they're not as sweet as the might become, I wanted to get some myself!
Saw The Wrath of Khan at midnight movies on Saturday...wow, the print was absolutely atrocious, with red starfields instead of black, awful pops & scratches, and even off track a couple times so that the line was in the middle with heads at the bottom...but the saving grace was the opening trivia contest where I won a poster for the new Trek movie coming out in May! Woohoo! Just too bad it's the Kirk poster, not Spock... ;)
Next up is Yosemite, leaving Thursday, hopefully hiking to the Halfdome summit on Friday with mrmouse, recovering with local hikes on Saturday, then coming home Sunday. I barely got the single campsite in March with the most stressful Saturday morning at 7am I've had in a long time! I tried this trip 2 years ago, getting an even better campsite in North Pines on the valley floor then, but an old friend scheduled his wedding the same exact weekend and I couldn't get another campsite date, so I had to pay the cancellation fee last time. hp_jenorama and her husband are also coming but won't be tackling the 12-hour Halfdome hike past two waterfalls and including cables along the rock towards the summit. This will be my first serious hiking since Scotland in 2005, and I haven't even been tent-camping since Scotland 1997, so I have been so looking forward to it! Even if the wildfires make the view hazy, that's no different than our view at the summit of Ben Nevis in 2005. ;) Wish us luck!