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May 8, 2020

My daily power walks have been along the same uphill route. I like the pitch of the uphill climb, which gets tougher as the elevation rises. I take short steps as opposed to long strides. “Shorter steps save energy”, a wise mountaineer once advised when he guided me on a strenuous mountain hike in the Swiss Alps. When I reached the top of the street, I greeted a friendly gardener. He smiled and said, “You were moving very fast!”

On that walk I spotted a sweet three-tiered library box in front of a house inviting passersby to take a literary break. Built with lots of TLC, it has an embossed tin roof and each of its three bookshelves is protected with a hinged glass door complete with a glass knob to access the books. On the other side of the sidewalk a park bench underneath a tree offers a shady spot to read. And in this time of the coronavirus, the thoughtful library box maker didn’t miss a beat: A sign ensures that the box is regularly sanitized.

Jacqueline and I took a drive into the canyon five minutes away to check out some of Sierra Madre’s original stone walls. The winding rustic roads are so tight, it was hard to find a spot to park. So, we drove slowly along capturing some wonderful stone wall images, including the dry riverbed. Little by little, I will search out more wonderful stonework to post in my diary.

And while the federal government has decided to unmethodically reopen the nation’s businesses, I am comforted to see that California Governor Newsom is taking a responsible and careful approach by allowing only certain businesses to open – testing the waters, so to speak. Rather than taking the plunge blindly, we will dip into an unpredictable future one toe at a time. If this move proves to be unsafe and Covid-19 cases spike, we will be forced to return to sheltering again. If that translates to saving lives, I’m all in.

For dinner last night, Chef Louie looked into the fridge to make side dishes for the nice salmon pieces I picked up at the local market. He made a refreshing slaw with chopped purple and green cabbage and halved cherry tomatoes mixed with red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper. Then he found a box of button mushrooms and some garlic, sliced them up and sautéed the bunch in olive oil, butter and red wine, seasoned with salt and pepper. My contribution? A perfect pot of steamed jasmine rice.

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