All posts by Scott Kenison

The coffee cup, I think about you

I will be quick.  A lot changes in thirteen days.  David is not making a solo trip back east.  Sorry.  I think we will plan a visit in the fall though for both of us.  Nothing terrible happened, and actually, he is doing better – back up to five time around the block.  He is just nervous about traveling on his own.  We may fly to Palm Springs and I will let him try to do as much as possible without me.  Harder for me, I think, than David.  I still have to remind myself that he doesn’t need me to do everything for him.

Otherwise, things are good.  It is getting warmer in Livermore.  Tomorrow it is supposed to be 90 tomorrow.  Sorry about the snow for many of you in the Northeast.  We are working on finishing up our season for 2016/17 and I am very pleased with how it is looking.  Lots of great artists and it has a little bit for everyone.

The Bronx is up but the battery’s down

The other night, I came home and David tells me he wants to go to NY.  A friend here in Livermore was telling me about an upcoming theater trip to NY, and David thought that was a great idea.  So, we are planning a solo trip for David to NY!  I will let you know what date we pick, so any east coast folks who want to rendezvous with David can make that happen.  Also, any theater suggestions will be most appreciated.  That will be the main purpose.

Speaking of Theater, the SF touring season was just announced, and while Hamilton will be the hightlight, they are also presenting the pre-broadway showing of Roman Holiday.  That will be fun.

Alright, I did not write the next night, as I had hoped, but let’s just be happy it was days, not months.  A lot happened in a few days though.  On Saturday we went to test drive a new car.  With the beetle and the convertible, we were realizing that we needed a four door car.  It was getting tired (mostly for our friends) to have to squeeze into the back of the convertible or the beetle.  We decided we would try and follow Ed Begley Jr’s lead and look at an all electric car.  And that is what we did.  Leased a Nissan Leaf.  We traded in the beetle and kept the convertible (you have to have one in CA, right?)  Now we have a great little car to take drives around the area (it goes about 120 miles on a charge).  It is lovely to drive and blue, although one has nothing to do with the other.

The best part of getting the car though was, while we were in Dublin, we found what will now be our favorite Chinese restaurant.  We have Uncle Yu’s here in Livermore, and it is good, but a little upscale.  We had so much food at this place and it was so good.  We will be going back regularly!

You are looking very well, weren’t you clever dear to survive!

Well, it has been too long, and recently I have gotten some emails asking when I would start this back up again, so, here’s an attempt.  It has been a challenging couple of weeks.  Two weeks ago, David had a fall.  He was getting up and coming into the kitchen and just lost his balance and fell.  Initially, he was just a little shaken and sore, but the next day he was in real pain, so we went to urgent care, and they sent us to the ER.  He got checked out, and not internal bleeding and nothing broken.  So, home we went with some pain medication.

A week later, he passed out while on the toilet, so I called 911 and they came and took him to the hospital.  This time it was a drop in his blood pressure caused by dehydration and constipation.  So, home again.  The most unfortunate part was it shook his confidence.  Just before the fall, he had worked up to walking around the block five times.  Today he got back up to three times.

So, things are going OK here in Livermore.  Aside from needing to sell more tickets, we are doing great.  David is not in love with the town, but folks are very nice and I really am enjoying work.  David has two folks who are friends through the theater who come to read to him each twice a week, and the daughter of our Director of Finance comes and tutors him on the day when they don’t come.  I actually think they don’t do so much tutoring, but just have fun.

In June, we will be heading to Paris for a week to see Alex, Claire, Theo and Vincent, and then return to San Francisco with Claire, Theo and Vincent.  Alex will be coming back in July for most of the summer.  Both of us are really looking forward to Paris and the summer with them.  We have a house a Donner Lake for a week, which I hear is beautiful.  We have a subscription to SF Ballet and on Sunday we are going to see the next program.  Two pieces – Dances at a Gathering and Swimmer.  I am excited for David to see Swimmer.  I saw it last year, and it was amazing. We are also going out to lunch at a place we walked by that looked great called Monsieur Benjamin.

As I said, I can’t complain.  Life is great here, and I can’t say it enough – the weather is great.  Just getting warmer, not that it really got cold.  Although David does complain about the cold, and we did have about five days of rain (mixed with sun).  It makes everything look green, so it’s a good thing.  The house is great and close to downtown, so we stroll a lot, and I can walk home from work in about three minutes.

Well, that’s enough for tonight.  Tomorrow, I promise I will write and maybe about the next season or the film festival which is coming in May.  Tomorrow we are going to the Livermore Valley Opera’s production of The Italian Girl in Algiers.

And happiness is coming home again

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.  I do think it is my favorite holiday.  It is still pretty universal and it is generally pretty easy to avoid the folks who have turned it into Christmas Part I, but I won’t get into that.  Most of the stores are closed and everyone is focused on family and just being happy with what they have.

Speaking of family, we recently tend to be the interlopers at family celebrations and tonight we went to friends nearby who were having family over.  It was a very nice evening with some terrific people, and we all had a good time.  Food was great.  Wine was delicious. Dessert was a virtual buffet of delights.  Before dinner, we made the usual round the table list of things to be thankful for.  Lots of family, which is right and appropriate.  When it came to my turn, it was simply being with people who care, but mostly, that David was still able to critique me and give me advice on work, life and everything.  I also mentioned that both of us were thankful that our family in Paris were safe and seemed calm and happy.  Then it came to David’s turn, and he sort of summed it up as usual and just said Hillary.

Now, I know I shouldn’t get into politics, and like her or not, I am very thankful that she reminds me that there are sane and caring people trying to take positions of power.  The Republican corral of donkeys scare me with their mean spiritedness or their downright incompetence.  I will be more thankful this time next year after they have gone down in flames.  I would say it has to happen, but to honest, I though George W didn’t have a snowballs chance in 1999.  Please, if there is a god, please.

I should stop.  Not sure if I have mentioned this, but have begun rehearsals for a production of Pirates of Penzance in January at the Bankhead.  Playing the Major General again.  The producer keeps on reminding us that we are doing the Joe Papp version, and while it is different in style, the text is pretty much the same, except for the song borrowed from Ruddigore.  I have been enjoying the work.  It feeds my soul.

Next year we will have Thanksgiving here at the house, I promise.

I dodged the same old taxi cabs

So, it has been too long, and I have been getting loads of emails asking about Alex, Claire, Theo and Vincent in Paris, and wanted to let everyone know that they are OK. I think that the world is a bit shaken by the events yesterday and we are all thinking about the people who are in Paris and France.  I won’t go on, but it is crazy that there are people who can hate so much.  I will leave it at that.

We are good here in Livermore.  Work is challenging, particularly hiring in the east bay.  The competition is so fierce and when you are up against the likes of Google, etc it is hard to find people willing and able to take on some positions.  In NY and DC, there were always a pool of artists who were eager to take on challenges at a relatively low pay.  We don’t have that pool in Livermore.

David is doing well, and his speech is improving.  He has been keeping a small diary to help with his writing, which in turn helps with his speech.  David was in Palm Springs for the month of October, and liked the independence, and the warm weather.  Not that it is terribly cold here, but it does get chilly in the evenings.  Days are generally in the low 60’s to 70’s, which is not so far off from Palm Springs.  10 degrees different is normal.

David, as you can imagine, is beloved by all the staff and volunteers at the theater.  They seem to tolerate me (sometimes).  It is great to be able to walk to the theater, as we did last night.  We also can’t really go out anywhere without running into someone who wants to come and say hello.  I keep chalking it up to living in a small town.  We went last night to see Richard Glazier, a pianist who did a presentation called From Broadway to Hollywood about the great composers, but a lot of Gershwin.  The audience loved it, and even David, who you won’t be surprised has a high bar set for entertainment, loved it.  He did miss quite a month in October with Rosanne Cash, The Wailin’ Jennys and Paula Poundstone.  We are planning the season for next year, which is lots of fun, as well as being kind of nerve wracking!

I will keep this brief, and will try to write some more tomorrow.  I have missed this.

The longest night is the shortest night with you

Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary

OK, I have been absent.  Well, absent here.  On this blog.  Things had gotten pretty distracting.  First, I went down to Palm Springs, packed up enough stuff for the summer, and got David and me in the car and we drove to Livermore.  We spent one glorious week in the cottage, and then moved into The Pickle House.  We hit the ground running, of course.  We drove into Livermore on Tuesday night, went to Rotary lunch at the very muddy rodeo grounds and Valley Study Group on Wednesday, a cultivation event for LVPAC (Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center) on Thursday, Hot Club of Cowtown at the Bankhead on Friday and the Livermore Rodeo Parade on Saturday.  We didn’t see the parade, but rode on the back of a 1944 firetruck.  David was game, but I assure you, not happy.

We have been squatting for a week in the Pickle House, because getting the closing done has been a trial.  Maybe ordeal is better.  We are closing either on Friday or Monday.  David was able to see for the first time, the poor schmuck who has to wear the Mr. Pickle costume across the street and dance and wave and generally amuse the passing traffic.  There is a lot of honking when Mr. Pickle is outside.  The Mr. Pickle sandwich shop is across the street, and I can see the darkened building as I type this.  Dark and nothing much going on, but during the day, it is the lunch mecca of Livermore.  I am sure there are others who would protest, but the lines often snake out the back door.  Think about it.  We went from saying “We are in the building across the street from the Empire State Building!” to ” We live across the street from Mr Pickle.  No, not the big white house, the green one across 4th Street!”  I will tell you that the Mr Pickle geographic reference is maybe more effective than the Empire State!

So, as you can see from the picture above, we celebrated our anniversary.  You can see that if you can read through the smeared chocolate on the plate.  We went to Jardinière in The City.  I say “The City” more to impress than inform. I am picking up the Livermore lingo.  It is often hard to remember that here the city means San Francisco and not New York.  Both great cities – don’t send me any hate mail.  When we got across the bridge, I think David almost transformed.  He actually commented that the people look different in the City.  Beautiful restaurant and David was very pleased.

It was a great meal, and we both agreed that neither of us regret the events of three years ago.  Well, the July “event” we do both regret.  At one point during dinner (I think it was between the Foie gras pasta and the wagyu beef) David said, “I’m sorry”.  He was apologizing for the stroke and the past three years.  I suddenly thought (and said) “no, I should be the one who is sorry.  You shouldn’t be sorry”.  This was one of those moments when I thought, life is so complicated.  There has got to be a Norwegian word for this”.  I’m sorry, but I am not sorry.  I’m sorry I couldn’t make it different.  I’m sorry I needed to get back to work (but I’m not really sorry)  I’m sorry to desert you (but, I’m not really.  Well, sort of).  I’m sorry I forget to put things on the schedule (Joy will understand that one).  I’m sorry our lives aren’t perfect.  Life is messy.

On the drive home we were listening to John Waters on NPR.  I think John Waters would like Livermore.  I think he would find a new charm city.  While listening to him, I did think, we have to get him to the Theater.  He could stay in the Pickle House, circa 1952.  Did I tell you that the original wall oven – a stainless steel thermador – keeps almost perfect temperature?  Wouldn’t that be fun.  We saw him in Palm Desert and I think his was the best show I have ever seen there!

Sorry, I’m rambling and that isn’t polite.  You will begin wishing I were more absent!

I have had my mind spun around in space

Well, I was chastised over the weekend for not writing for such a long time.  Still not in the Pickle House, but hopefully by mid June.  I met with the painter and have the floor work scheduled.  David is anxious to get up to Livermore.  Yes, I said David is anxious to get up to Livermore.  I think that he will like it.  Things are busy, but I have still been going to Palm Springs every other week.  Was down last week and we had a nice time.

David has been a little tired, but I think it is because Blade has been pushing him.  He appreciates it though.  He has graduated from the cane to a walking stick and is now spending two days completely on his own.  He gets up, makes breakfast, showers, makes lunch and light dinner and watches TV.  He also has been sitting out in the sun on his own as well.  It really is amazing that six months ago this autonomy seemed so far away.  David has been great, and as always, very positive!

Things are going great here at the theater.  I am posting a recent article that was in the regional paper.  I thought he did a good job and got the sense of what I am trying to do.  In a few weeks we have our season launch and members party.  It should be fun.  I am hoping that the community comes along and enjoys the artists that we have booked next season.  We have a couple big names – Pink Martini – and some more unusual performance – DhakhaBrakha.  I expect comments on both.  We are also hosting LA Theatre Works production of Dracula.  I will fill you in on the rest of the 40+ performances we are presenting after the 27th.