Closure

On January 26th, the small town of Colfax lost part of its soul. A perennial favorite of the locals and hungry travelers on I-80 for seven years, Cafe Luna closed its doors for the last time.

It was the sopas with carnitas that hooked me. The very first time I ate at the cafe in 2015, it was located on Depot Street, in a hole in the wall. Well…an even smaller hole in the wall. Mario’s music was playing, Lauren was still nursing Lola, the vibe was super cool and casual, the food was great. What more could a customer want? For those of us who were regulars, it was as comfortable as hanging out at a friend’s house. We got excited when the back of the building was opened up for more seating options – (yay!); we counted the days as Lauren waddled around, working right up to her due date with Mael, who then became the town baby; we watched in dismay as the news of their separation and divorce ultimately became public knowledge.

But life goes on, and Mario continued the business, experimenting with different ideas. Some of them were hits, some were misses. He was just about to re-open the back after a massive redo to what was surely going to be a hit when he discovered his lease wasn’t being renewed.

Moving, no matter how well planned, is generally a messy endeavor. Locating another site for your business can be tiresome, very expensive and usually requires lots of time. The new owner of the building, for whatever personal or business reasons, gave Mario three months to vacate; Mario chose to end it after one month.

The last business day, Saturday, I ordered a favorite of mine. I would have liked to order the whole menu so I could make the savory goodness last…but it wouldn’t have. The food was always made with fresh ingredients and wouldn’t have kept well. Instead, I ate it slowly, trying to remember the textures, tastes and smell.

Monday rolled around and I was back at the cafe with my camera to take pics for Mario on a different project, so I snapped a few while there of the progress being made. All the little knick-knacks that made the place so homey were packed up, the walls were uncharacteristically bare, and an empty McDonald’s bag sat on a table, a telling sight in this room. The cooler that normally held the drinks and salsa and other condiments was turned off, no happy music came from the kitchen where Mario normally spent his work day. It was, after all, just a place with four walls, a roof and a floor.

I have asked Mario several times if he plans to continue looking for another local site. His response is general and vague, and he assures me if something good comes up, he’ll pursue it, but for now, he’ll be working at Dine ‘n Dash.

So ends that chapter of Cafe Luna on 38 N. Main Street. We will miss you.

Good Times, a Parking Ticket and Farewell to a Dear Friend

 

On Worldwide Knit in Public Day, June 10, I made the 100 mile round trip trek to the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento to knit with a friend of mine that I hadn’t seen for awhile.  Last Knit in Public Day event I had been to was in 2015, and we were outside where I had to sit on some hard ground. Well, it was the well manicured lawns around the capital building, but ground is ground and it can be hard on these middle-aged bones! Being indoors with air conditioning during a heatwave was a welcome relief and I didn’t have to constantly shift my weight for pressure compensation.  It was a pleasant affair and I did enjoy myself immensely.  We closed them out at 2:00 pm, and my friend and I walked to our metered parking spots where I discovered –

A parking ticket.  I had been very careful to choose the time I wanted and paid up with a debit card and was unhappy.  I’ve disputed the ticket, and now I’m in ticket limbo.  Fun.

On a sad note, I had to put down my beautiful baby boy, my chocolate labrador retriever who was 12 years old, on June 29.  We were there with him at the vet’s office when he passed peacefully.  I’ve been crying on and off for the last few days – in fact, I just finished a crying jag.  I have a Queensland Heeler and a Chihuahua mix rescue doggie, and they’re adorable, but they’re not my Mario.  He was my 24/7/365 companion.

I’m not having a good year.

What’s happening with everyone else?

Of Flooding and Exploding Blow Dryers

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We’ve all heard the expression “When it rains, it pours.”  January was a monsoon for me.

It actually started mid-December with the news of my mother-in-law’s stage IV stomach cancer diagnosis.  With a six-month timeline, Elke* has opted to receive hospice care.  All her life she’s dealt with cancer.  It started in her late 20s, returned in her 40s, again in her late 60s, and with this last bit of news, she said she’s done.  Prognosis was not good to begin with, and she just didn’t want to go through the “cure” again.  Her husband, John*, has been displaying signs of dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease.  He had to be reminded who we were, and yet, most cruel, he’s aware of it right now.  They live in Texas, three and a half states over, and timing was not good.  But it had to be done.

The journey back to Texas was odd.  Any road trip I’ve taken before has always been a good thing.  My husband and I made the most of it, since it was three days hard travel.  My sister, who lives in Bakersfield, was gracious enough to let us use her place as flop house.  We literally spent less than 15 minutes talking to her before we headed for bed, and then in the morning, we hugged one and another and moved on, both going and coming back.  The second day out, I wrote some errant thoughts.  Those long drives gives a person way too much time to think.

January 4, 2017, Wednesday

When the sun is rising, the errant contrail casts a shadow on the higher clouds

Driving east along Interstate 10 to Texas

Don’t know how to feel

Sedimentary, layered mountains Las Cruces

Texas landscape out of El Paso flat

Scrub brush

Minimal traffic

Can use cruise control – indefinitely

Occasional butte, rolling hills

Road stretches out in front of you in gentle, undulating waves

Cerulean sky, painted with high altitude stratus clouds

Harmless, no rain

When sun is setting, the color of the western sky shifts from blue to lavender, then gradually to a dusky plum, all but obscuring the horizon, then gradually, deep purple to the black of night.

Headlights

On the third morning of our visit, I was drying my hair, when my blow-dryer of at least 10 years decides to go out with a bang.  Sparks flew and I had to unplug it to stop the sparks from turning into flames.  The acrid smell of burnt electronics filled our hotel room for at least a day.  I felt it was appropriate, somehow, that it should happen at that time; however, I had spent the night before crying, so it was possible I was just upset.  Saying good bye to something else, even something as replaceable as a minor appliance, really set me off.

When driving back, we ran into the storms in Northern California that we’d been monitoring even before we left.  It was an eye-opener to see the areas around Sacramento, flooded by water that had overrun the bank of the Cosumnes River.  Sacramento has the American and the Sacramento Rivers to deal with and the levies around the city are monitored more closely.  What I photographed was the Cosumnes River gone a bit wild, just south of Elk Grove, a suburb of SacTown.  And then from Highway 99 North to I80 East, up around Applegate, the trucks were pulled over because the road over Donner Pass was closed due to snow.

I was so grateful to be home…because our garage was flooding.  We got some more sandbags (don’t ask) and cleaned up what we could.  Thanks goodness the foundation is concrete, and no real damage was done.

On a lesser, but more immediate note, my husband’s car has stopped running.  The money we would have used to fix that was spent visiting his mother.  It sits in the front of the house, ads running on Facebook, Letgo and Craigslist with no results.  I guess no one wants a mechanic’s project at this time.

There is more to the story, but I will leave it.  Sometimes it’s good not to tell so much, and this is one of those instances.

*names changed for privacy