On my way through


On my way to Mom's, I stopped by Bob and Suzanne's for the night.

Actually, I was stopped on the 5 just before the Grapevine, and called Suzanne to see if she and Bob were available for breakfast the next morning. Suzanne said no, though they would be up for another three hours, if I wanted to stop by and stay the night tonight. Hot damn, a place to sleep.

I love these two. They are two of my favorite people in all the world. Just as I wish I lived closer to my brother, my mom, and my dad, I wish I lived closer to the Dillers so that they could be a bigger part of my life.

Bob and Suzanne visit


Bob and Suzanne were up in the Bay Area this weekend, checking on a friend's family (long story, not mine to tell), and asked if they could stay with me. Ignoring the kabillion times Bob and Suzanne let me stay at their house and the desire to return the favor, I was unbelievably happy to have them stay at Krikitt Downs, my excitement not very well contained.

Suzanne has asked for suggestions for dinner. I had made a suggestion for a Malaysian restaurant I had never been to, but a couple joining us whom I hadn't met yet suggested an Afghan restaurant about a mile from my house, the restaurant, oddly enough, I wanted to originally suggest, but didn't. I don't know why I didn't, but I was happy to go.

Life happens, making Bob and Suzanne a little late, which worked out wonderfully for the six of us at dinner with the Dillers. Bea's aunt and Peter, were both early, allow Kris and I a few minutes to catch up with them before everyone else showed up. When Bob and Suzanne arrived, we were all BFF.

As much as I miss my friends, I have to admit that I enjoy the stories they have to share when we meet up: stories that are new and fun because I wasn't there to experience them in the first place

Take for example, Bob's current volunteer project: he teaches the application of science concepts to a class of fourth graders. Here's this Caltech grad, who knows a lot about just about everything in science (let's say 46 science subjects, the 47th being one too many), and can explain any of it in such a way that you understand it. That holds true even if "you" are a fourth grader.

I wish I had had Bob teaching me science in fourth grade.

He's currently working with them discussing the possibility of a manned spaceflight to Mars. He has his class thinking about all the things that have to happen to make that possible. The kids divide into groups to tackle the logistics of different parts of the mission: from lift-off to survival to investigation to return. dealing with air, food, water, recycling nutrients and wastes, etc. The lesson is about the application of science and rational thought in creative ways so different from the "memorize this fact" sort of scient learning that is so overwhelming in today's education. How to problem solve has to be the best skill to have, and the worst one taught.

Bob's class named their ship a great name: "Beyond." See? Ten year olds can be creative and brilliant when asked.

Bob happliy told us a new story tonight, too. A group of Techers were together doing something or other they weren't suppsed to be doing (a bonfire maybe?), when the police showed up. Most everyone left, but one person stayed behind. He was told to disperse by teh police officer, and yet refused to leave. When the officer threatened to arrest him if he didn't disperse, he still didn't leave. He was arrested. When asked by the court why he didn't disperse, he commented, "One person can not disperse."

The charges were dropped.

I love Bob's stories.




Bob and Suzanne have been wonderful about arranging dinners for me. Last night was a brief visit with Edie and dinner with Yosufi. Amazing what a decade will do, yet, how much Yosufi looks the same. Well, except for a few grey hairs.

I wonder if he thought the same about me.

Tonight James Douma is joining us for dinner. Which is strange, as I didn't really know him when I was down here, and have last seen him in Northern California. Smaller world than I normally think it is, though not as small as it could be.

Lunch with the Dillers


Small world dinner


Bob and Suzanne Diller were up in town today, having driven up from Los Angeles for a friend's mother's 90th birthday party. They stopped by Santa Barbara on their way up, driving the 101 through Salinas where some event backed traffic up for an hour to drive twenty miles. Like we've ever heard of such a thing.

Suzanne's friend Savite selected an Indian restaurant for dinner on Friday night. I convinced Kris, I don't know how, to join me at the dinner, and off we went. I didn't realize the restaurant was an Indian buffet restaurant. With a name like Kabob Korner, I was expecting more of a, oh, I don't know, Afghan or Greek restaurant. At least one which served kebobs of some sort. Shish kebabs maybe?

In retrospect, I should have realized the difference in spelling of "kabob" and "kebab". I didn't.

Bob and Suzanne arrived slightly late, giving each of us time to become ravenously hungry, gnawing on each other's arms in a circle waiting for the Dillers. They arrived in good spirits, so off to the buffet where I managed to find two dishes that I could in theory eat, neither of which turned out to be non-spicy enough for me to actually eat.

Did I mention I really don't like Indian foods? "Mild Indian food" is an oxymoron.

At one point Bob commented, "In Pasadena, we have an Afghani restaurant that serves a cross between Persian and Indian." I, admittedly, had to stare at him for a long time before pulling out my phone to text myself that quote. When Bob looked at me puzzled, I had to assure him that I had absolutely no idea how to tell the difference in tastes among Afghan, Persian and Indian restaurants. "Well, if you'd visit us, we could teach you."

Oh, the bitter bite of truth. I clearly need to visit them more.

Once all of us had our food, conversations started up, and Bob turned to us to ask where we had travelled recently for tournaments. Peter from across the table asked what type of tournaments did we travel for. I managed to say all of, "Kris and I play ultimate frisbee," which is when I usually pause to take a breathe in anticipation for the explanation of what ultimate is and how it doesn't have any dogs or freestyle in it, when Peter commented, "Oh, Joann's niece also plays ultimate. Maybe you know her?"

Thinking, "Ugh. You used to live in Indiana? I have a friend who did, too. Maybe you know his family?" I replied, probably not, but possibly. Where does she play? She plays in the City, her name is Bea. Maybe you know here?

Holy crap. Yes, I do know her! Peter and Joann are uncle and aunt to Bea Leung who plays on Brass Monkey, and wow, yes, I do know her, and heh, wouldn't you know her team is our cross-town rival, and oooooo, they beat us last weekend, but we're playing again next weekend, and isn't her blog great with all the food reviews, what, she's going on a two month vacation, that's awesome, yes, I do know Will Lavery, he's an awesome ultimate player, have you ever seen a game. The conversation was wonderfully entertaining and delightfully animated as Joann told Bea stories.

We talked a while longer before I asked Bob how he knew Peter, and had I ever met him before. "Haven't you ever had Peter's Caesar salad?" Peter's Caesar salad being a salad Bob makes, and has been making for years that is fantastically good. Peter laughed and commented that he hasn't had a Peter Caesar salad in ages, he didn't know what it tasted like any more. Oh, but he didn't know what he's forgotten!

When we left that evening, I couldn't help but laugh with Kris at just how small this world is.