Tag Archives: County Park

Life in Morgan Hill
April 19, 2010
March-April.  We get settled in Morgan Hill.
This oak shade corner has a history plaque. In the background is Starbucks where we drop in for a latte once in a while.

This oak shade corner has a history plaque. In the background is Starbucks where we drop in for a latte once in a while.

We are getting settled in Morgan Hill. We live a mile from Tennant Station, now a shopping center located on Monterey Rd. and Tennant Ave. A plaque in the corner (California Historical Landmark # 259) commemorates the history of Tennant Station.

SITE OF 21-MILE HOUSE
“This famous Tavern and Stage stop was located 21 miles from San Jose on the road to Monterey. The 21-Mile House was built in 1852 by William Host. Beneath a spreading oak that later was called the Vasquez Tree, the house was sold to William Tennant in November 1852. Now destroyed, this stopping station was a place where horses could be changed, fed, and stabled, and where tired and hungry passengers could refresh themselves.”

Almost no one has driven south to visit us in Morgan Hill.  My old joke, “I never go south of Mountain View” has turned around to bite me.  Apparently my attitude is not unusual.  My friends look blank when I suggest they drive down to visit us at our RV park and go out to lunch in Morgan Hill.  They also have no clue as to where Morgan Hill is located and the thought of driving on those freeways with the chance of getting hung up in rush hour traffic — oh no.

I give my sister, Sally, credit.  She came down on her day off to visit us in Morgan Hill.

Oddly, although they live in San Francisco, James and Lilia visit us often and we go out for brunch or an early dinner.  And even odder, Karen who lives four hours north in Clearlake, came down to visit me after an early tax preparation appointment in Campbell.  I took her to Rosy’s for their famous fish tacos.  I suppose those who are used to driving long distances are the most flexible and mobile.

I drove up to Fremont to see my old friend Carlene, and she took me out for a marvelous lunch at the Afghan Village. And each month I drive 67 miles north to go to my Women’s Group in Berkeley. I’m so glad to be back in the area where I can attend Group on a regular basis.

Walton & Sons Masonry has settled into their new quarters.  The unfinished offices are finished with trim, carpets and door handles with locks.  The yard is sorted and organized and equipment is tucked away leaving empty space where we will compact the ground — if it ever dries out and stops raining.

The weather has been unbelievably wet and rainy.  We’ve never seen so much rain in California.  By April the dry season should be here.  But it continues to rain.  We are all amazed.  Is it El Nino?

Rain or no, I drive fifty minutes back and forth to my home turf not only for sales and storage reasons but to meet friends for lunch.  I often combine socializing with various appointments such as acupuncture, dental, annual medical visits, beauty salon, and the like.

Tuesday, March 16.  Our Honda CR-V gets bashed in a parking lot.

The cars are having an inappropriate relationship.

The cars are having an inappropriate relationship.

I’m always wary about being in a traffic accident but it never occurred to me that my car would be attacked in the parking lot at Dinah’s while I had lunch with friends.  But that’s what happened.  I came up to Palo Alto for a 1:30 pm dental hygiene appointment at Foothill College.  I arranged to meet Dona and Joann for lunch at Dinah’s at 11:00 am.  It was our first warm day and the first day we’d been able to sit at an outdoor table.  We enjoyed our sense of springtime while we caught up on our news over lunch.

At 12:30 pm when we walked out to our cars, I found the front of my Honda demolished.  I was pulled up facing the sidewalk that borders the Trader Vic Restaurant at it’s eastern exposure.  Parked on the corner next to an end cap island I had the protection of a huge cedar tree planted in the island.  How could anyone hit the front of my car?  The cars parked in my row face west.

Parking spaces on the other side of the island face north and are on a 90° angle to the spaces where I was parked.  They also pull up to the sidewalk that borders Trader Vic at its southern exposure.

A woman entered the parking lot traveling east and she intended to make a 90° left turn to park.  She missed.  She pulled in on an obtuse angle headed straight towards the front of my car.  She hopped the curb so that her front wheels were up on the sidewalk when she hit high on the front hood of the Honda, well above the fender.  (No, it wasn’t a Toyota.  She was driving a Ford Taurus.)

The force of the blow pushed the front of my Honda on an angle that caused it to hit the Volvo parked to my right.  A lot of sickly yellow fluid was bleeding out of the Honda and running down the pavement.  Apparently this had just happened because two women, the driver, Cheryl, and her companion, Kelly, were standing there staring at the mess.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  I couldn’t absorb how it could happen that my car would be on an angle pushed up against the Volvo (as if I hadn’t parked correctly in my stall).  And I couldn’t comprehend how the Ford could be up on the sidewalk in a face-to-face confrontation with my Honda.

The lady who owned the Volvo came out from lunch with her female companion.  Suddenly, three older matrons were all busy trying to exchange vital statistics.  We kept misplacing purses, insurance papers, pens, notepapers, and keys.  I felt completely confused.  “Now where did I put my head?”  We were all shocked.  I needed to take down information but I also needed to find the number for the dental department at Foothill.  Clearly I was going to miss my appointment.  However, everything was very civilized and amicable — a Palo Alto tea party.

The hotel concierge called the police and AAA —as of course, all three of us are members.  He and an officer kibitzed because the officer couldn’t make an accident report on private property.  It took some doing for AAA to separate the Honda from the Ford Taurus.  Because of the height on the sidewalk the Taurus slightly lifted up the front wheel of the Honda.  The two cars were enmeshed.   AAA tried pulling the Taurus backwards, which didn’t work.  He tried pulling the Honda backwards.  Finally he elevated the back end of the Honda and was able to break the two cars apart.

A small curious crowd gathered.  A very handsome young man was taking photos.  He approached me and in a strong accent German accent asked me what happened.  It struck me as a silly question.  I didn’t know what had happened either.  I looked into his lovely blue eyes and said, “These two cars are having an inappropriate relationship.  We can’t get them separated.”

“Really?” he said, very polite but full of doubt.  Perhaps translation failed him….

Cheryl tries to explain what happened to the watching officer.

Cheryl tries to explain what happened to the watching officer.

Anita owned the Volvo.  She was in a hurry but couldn’t pull out until my Honda could be separated from the Ford.  She whispered to me, “That woman should never drive again.”  Once she could get out we saw that damage was negligible.  She only had a small nick on the driver’s door.  Days later my favorite waiter at Dinah’s told me that she had said to him, “If you’d brought my bill sooner, this (accident) wouldn’t have happened” (to her).  Juan felt terrible!

Cheryl, the woman at fault was very embarrassed and felt terrible.  I talked to her and she said, “What we all need now is a donut!”  I couldn’t help but like her.  She was with a friend whom I recognized.  Kelly used to own The Palo Alto Baking Co. on California Ave. where I bought many pastries and loaves of bread.  I was actually thrilled to see her.  She sold the business and the bakery has never been the same since.  We all chatted while we watched AAA try to separate the cars.

When the cars were all free another watcher asked me if I planned to drive the Honda.  I looked at her in horror.  What?  With the front end crumpled up and liquid on the ground?  I don’t think so.  I had every intention of having AAA tow it to an auto repair place.

Eventually Cheryl and Anita drove away with their companions and even the Taurus had little damage.  My car had to be loaded onto the AAA flatbed.  Dona had stuck around for a while and offered to take me somewhere but I told her to go and I would call her if I needed her.  It was 2:30 pm before we were ready to leave.  The AAA driver dropped me a few blocks away at Enterprise.

The entire time I was back and forth on my cell phone with Dennis.  I tried to explain the accident but I couldn’t clearly describe such a bizarre incident.  I need one of those new phones that take photos and can send them.

At Enterprise I rented a black four-door sedan, a Pontiac G6.  I had to sign a contract that included “no pets”.  Ha, ha.  I often take Rudi with me and I’m not going to stop.  I drove out of Enterprise and caught myself feeling guilty about the accident. In my head I cautioned myself to drive carefully because I had just wrecked the Honda. Our brains play strange tricks on us.

After stopping at my favorite German butcher to buy corned beef for St. Patrick’s Day, I went to the AAA storage yard to retrieve a few things out of the Honda.  By 3:30 pm I was driving home in a strange car during heavy rush hour traffic.  I got home safely at 4:30 pm and lay down with a big headache!

Later I called Cheryl to be sure I’d given her the correct information.  She said she was sitting in front of her fireplace eating popcorn.  She said she needed to have a good cry.  She’s never had an accident before and didn’t know what had happened.  I’d like to get to see Kelly again so I suggested that the three of us should get together at Dinah’s when this is all over.  Cheryl cheered up and said she certainly owes me a lunch so we agreed to it.

Cheryl’s insurance, California Casualty, accepted full liability for both cars and is paying for everything.  They’ve been great.  Repairs will be about 10K+ in addition to car rental fees.  The Pontiac is fine although I miss the GPS in my Honda.

Monday, March 22.  We rediscover San Juan Bautista.

Dennis walks by a very old structure, Casa Juan de Anza, built in 1799. The inset shows the sign on the wall ahead of Dennis.

Dennis walks by a very old structure, Casa Juan de Anza, built in 1799. The inset shows the sign on the wall ahead of Dennis.

It was a sunny day when James drove down to visit us so we decided to take a scenic drive south. We found ourselves passing Hollister and heading to San Juan Bautista. We’ve visited this cute small town many times before. We like to tour the Mission and look at the antique stores on Main street. On this occasion we simply renewed our fond acquaintance with Dona Esther’s Restaurant. They serve terrific Mexican food.

Tuesday, April 6.  We take a hike with the dogs along Coyote Creek Walk.

Sunny days have been rare so when a clear day arrived we grabbed the dogs and drove twenty minutes north to a small parking lot by Coyote Creek, north of Bailey Ave. We hadn’t hiked there yet. From the parking lot we walked south along a wide waterway parallel to Monterey Rd.

We were surprised to see a speedboat go by with a waterskier. We discovered that a club has rights to use that section. We crossed a canal on a bridge and then crossed Metcalf Rd. to follow the creek south. We walked about five miles round trip. It was a pleasure to see the big oaks and the green meadows. The pink Scottish Thistles are blooming. I know they are lethal but I love the look of the flowers.

Of course the dogs had a great time. The stickers that adhere to their paws and hair are not out yet so they can be comfortable as they run to investigate along the path.

Sunday, April 4.  We have Easter Brunch at the Crow’s Nest in Santa Cruz.

Dennis and I drove on the Watsonville Rd. across Mt. Madonna to Capitola to celebrate the Equinox on a sunny 21st of March. It was such a nice day we were able to sit on the patio at the Crow’s Nest — with a little help from the wind protection of windows and the heat lamps overhead! The Crow’s Nest is a marvelous restaurant by the Santa Cruz marina and the beach. We had a great time and I enjoyed a wonderful dish of eggs benedict served over crab cakes. Oh my! It was delicious.

After brunch we dropped Chris at home and followed Jeff to a surfing store where we bought a boogie board as a belated birthday present for Sara’s son, Camron. We found Sara and the kids at Cowell’s Beach by Cliff Dr. and Manor Ave. We walked down the steep wood stairs to the narrow sand beach and found it crowded with Equinox sunbathers and swimmers. It is a perfect beach for children who can play in shallow pools or wade and swim in shallow water. Beginning surfers like Sara can swim out farther and get a good ride.

We enjoyed ourselves so much at the Crow’s Nest that we decided to return for Easter Brunch. This time we were joined by my sister, Sally, and Jeff’s friend, Sara. Easter was cold and windy so this time we did not sit outside. We had our same waitress, Rachael, and she took our group photos for us. We had a good time talking to her also.

Monday, April 19.  We stay busy with errands, appointments, and social dates.

From under our table umbrella, this is my view of flowers at the patio entrance. The gardens at Dinah's Hotel are so beautiful.

From under our table umbrella, this is my view of flowers at the patio entrance. The gardens at Dinah’s Hotel are so beautiful.

I continue to make runs up to Palo Alto two or three times a week. On Wednesday, April 7th I visited my acupuncturist, Catherine Burns, at Real Health in Los Altos and then met Becky for lunch at Dinah’s. On Friday, I had an early Dermatology appointment and afterwards I did some errands at Stanford Shopping Center before resting up with lunch at Dinah’s and my latest Kindle novel, “Wolf Hall” by Hilary Mantel.

(I’m becoming an overnight expert on Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s Chief Minister in 1532. He was a brilliant lawyer, parliamentarian, humanitarian, and religious reformer. Too bad I know it will all come to a bad end in 1540. Henry VIII was an ungrateful cuss. Wolf Hall, I’ve learned was the birth place of Jane Seymour and Cromwell’s daughter-in-law, Elizabeth Seymour, the Queen’s sister.)

Tuesday, April 13th was a very hectic day.

Dennis and I drove together to Palo Alto to keep his 10:30 ophthamology appointment. After breakfast at Dinah’s. Dennis dropped me at Foothill College for my 1:30 pm dental hygiene appointment (the one I’d missed on 3/13 when my car was damaged). We did this because I would not be finished until after five and with two of us, it would be faster to get home during rush hour if we could carpool.

Oddly, when we were in Palo Alto, Magnuson Auto Shop called to say our Honda was ready to pick up. While my wonderful student dental hygienist, Karen, worked on my teeth, Dennis picked up the Honda, transferred stuff from the Pontiac and let Enterprise know that we would be returning it. After Dennis picked me up, we drove both cars to Enterprise to turn in the Pontiac. Then we sped home in the diamond lane. After 28 days I’m so glad to have the Honda back. The Pontiac is low and it is hard to climb out of it. The Honda is higher and I feel I have better visibility. The repairs cost something over 7K — less than estimated.

The next day I drove the Honda to Los Altos at Sally’s request to help her help the children on a decoupage project for their mother’s birthday. They had painted flowers and people on heavy paper so I had them cut out their paintings and arrange them on a tray Sally had prepared. Then we glued and glued. It was lots of fun for all of us. Afterwards the children rested while Sally and I sat outside in the sun to enjoy her delicious pork roast sandwiches served with her marvelous strong coffee and cream.

Not a good day to go out, it was pouring rain on Sunday, April 11th when we drove to San Jose to meet James and Lilia at the Saint Claire Hotel on Market and San Carlos for brunch at Il Fornaio. We got a window seat and enjoyed watching people hurrying by with umbrellas. James and Lilia haven’t seen Avatar yet so I wanted to go next door to the Tech Museum to see it again — this time on the IMAX screen. But no one else in our party was interested. What old fogies!

On Thursday Chris Soden drove down from San Jose to visit us. In the late 80s, Chris made Dennis a grandpa with two beautiful daughters, Denise and Jenny. She divorced Dave but she is still a daughter to us. We showed her our motor home and where the masonry is located and then walked around downtown Morgan Hill before having lunch at Rosy’s by the Beach.

I’ve rented a smaller storage unit in Morgan Hill and now I must get busy moving things from our Mountain View storage or getting them sold. On Wednesday I will show four trunks of “vintage clothes” from the late fifties/early sixties to Katherine (Trappings of Time), a vintage clothes store buyer. She will take them on consignment. And I must get ready for my May Day flea market sale. I’m sharing a double stall with my friend, Becky at the next De Anza Flea Market. Busy, busy, busy.