November 2022


Claudine Jones | Scene4 Magazin

Claudine Jones

What if
the high point of your day
is seeing how
your weight has dropped
Stark naked
standing on the scale
at 6:00 AM.


June 2022

Life is quite the same here., over again each day.  Today seven of us went in the van to see Arcadia national park. Tthree of us got out for a minute once, and we had ice cream when we were almost back.  We all need canes, so it wasn't too adventurous.  There is no such thing as tides.  There were a couple of little beaches we couldn't get down to, but it was a nice ride among a million trees.

I'm sorry to have missed that last concert and the goodbyes afterwards.  Sometimes the buttons just don't work right 

I  long for news .

What kind of news y'all want?

I've got my guy Patrick finally showed up to do some yard work in the back and of course he's a creative guy so he looks around and he says after the cleanup you could do this and you could do that. But I  swear to God every time I have tried to do something like vegetables for example, I do it one year, turns out great, everybody is happy and then the next year and the year after and the year after it gets worse and worse and worse till I finally just give up. I mean, one year I had the most fabulous cucumbers! Don't get me started. Never happened again, even though I use the same pot the same style of cucumbers.

So here comes Patrick: he sees my miserable abandoned horse-troughs full of old dirt and notices that across the driveway is a spigot. The next thing you know he's got me agreeing to make a cut in the concrete from the faucet right across to the troughs and establish an elaborate sprinkler system and then fill the horse troughs full of various kinds of water tolerant plants. I mean of course it'll look beautiful but I'm supposed to be leaving on this trip in three weeks. I told him this is 'spose to be fire mitigation. With Summer coming up I really need all of the yard to be free of any kind of kindling, ya know?

I kind of see the light go out in his eyes, so I guess I just took pity on him I'm gonna let him go ahead. With the caveat that we're not going to do any of the planting, not till I get back.Then he coughs up what he thinks the cost is going to be… 


Oooo. Pretty spiffy job!
I'm  working on several sections of this greens vest. One part was too short so I cut off the rib and made another, plus an inch or two of stockinet.  Now I'm sewing the two together, but the - what is it that hurts at the top of your arm?  Some kind of cuff I think.  It hurts to work but I do it anyway.  Then there's the V neck, which I lost how to do it. Tthere are two pieces that made too sharp an angle going up toward the  shoulders .  Now I could do with more greens. 
But we are nowhere near Russia, for which I am grateful.
No news here. Spring may come any week,  now.
Is that a new director or a tryout?

Rotator cuff. That is not good my dear! I would suggest you see a physical therapist. You sort of have the right Instinct I think as long as there hasn't been an injury just keep stretching and moving, and of course not overdoing it. I wrestled with that for years and let me tell you it was not funny. I was making an exit off stage left and grabbed a door frame. The spasm was so bad I almost barfed. They called it a frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis. I even had acupuncture treatments for it. Anyway I'm not a doctor so don't let it scare you just get some good advice from a physical therapist.

By the way you remember Dr. Cheng--she was our conductor for Carmina Burana last night. So far we've had to guest auditioners for Mark's position. One woman and one man I hesitate to call a man he was so young! They were okay but no great shakes.

Performance was a lot of fun and very LOUD. I really like Dr. Cheng--great humour, although trying to understand what she's saying through a mask not so much--but when she likes what you're doing she says "I LOVE it!". That's not hard to understand.

Here's where I am on the poncho. Both front and back sections ready to be crocheted with the contrasts,  then joined and given a bit of cuff and cowl.

It was surprisingly emotional to say goodbye to Bill and Mark. The end product of the extravaganza was exhausting. I don't know if you got a link to the live stream? It seems possible that they will post it on YouTube at some point as
well. Anyway we had plenty of food and jollies at the reception, which was fine, but I then got overwhelmed and just grabbed my backpack, headed home.

How's by you?

13 days and I'm off to Budapest with the gang. I took your experience and booked myself business class. Non-Stop. I'm not fucking around. We'll see.


I have been talking to my poncho. I am at the point where everything is finished except for the vertical crochet lines. I did some calculations and I realized that if I want to finish it before I leave on the choir tour, I would have to do 3 a day everyday. That's not going to happen. So the question is does the sweater come with me in my suitcase? I asked it, do you want to come? Silence. 

On the one hand it would be so stupid to schlep a wool turtleneck poncho to an area of Easter Europe that is supposed going to be hot. On the other hand it would be so nice to have it finished! Then I could start something else when I came back. Or conversely take some other project with me that is not quite as problematic, except I know myself: that means learning curve which I don't got time for. 

Or I how 'bout I forget knitting and just read! How's them apples?

It's the last minute of July and my grandson is probably on a lobster boat or in bed to get the energy to go at it again tomorrow.  He's a stern man so he works hard when he's on the boat.  I depend on him to teach me how to use Facebook or the other one.  It would be fun to see you all.

You won't recognize me, though, because it took until right now to grow out the last experience with the person who dealt with my hair.

If you have or know old people, don't just dump them in an old folks' "home" ( drop them off and dust off your  hands.)  We are still alive, and we may put on a happy face when we see you, but life is really a bore with our people gone.

So  get off your chair,  find a postcard.  Draw something on it.  Then find a stamp.  Lick and stick.
Address it if you want. 

Thank you. You made my day!

Hi C, I know you won't get this until tomorrow but I'm so glad to hear from you. Is this your preferred email address? I had sent a couple or three emails to you with no response...

Anyway I don't do Facebook but I do do WhatsApp. We started doing that on the tour because it was the easiest way to keep in touch amongst the group. See if your grandson can install that. It's really easy to use you can text and you can also use the little camera if you want to see people.

Or we can Skype if you want.
The trip was pretty out of control. Like life. About 10 days in, I tested positive and so I had to go to an isolated Hotel all by myself for four days. It wasn't a bad experience, since I wasn't truly feeling much of anything. The Hotel people were lovely and I went for long walks because there was nothing like crowds to worry about, in fact I rarely saw anybody outdoors. As I said quite isolated. Not a tourist area at all.

So people were pretty testy. Literally. I think we got maybe 12 people who finally got covid, either on the trip or shortly after they came home. The Greek Islands were wonderful but being on a cruise ship not so much. Not for me I think. Actually the best times I had were in the lounge looking out the window at the Aegean Sea. Reading a Beatles book from the library. I would doze off and then wake up and the sea was still there!

I got scammed at a shop in Turkey. I bought some earrings and they somehow magically disappeared. The shopkeeper made me search my purse and kept saying Madam madam, but it was clear that while I wasn't watching, they just pocketed them I guess I don't know. I took my eyes off of them for a second while I was running the credit card and poof! Contacted my bank when I got home and I think I will probably be able to dispute the charges, but I liked those earrings dammit.

My hip did not give me a lot of problems. The more I walked the looser it got, although I did need to hang on to things and maybe grab somebody's arm, because walking on marble pavement or cobblestones yike.

Please let me know how you're doing and let's have some long chats.


(I took my damn sweater with me to work on but of course in 90° Heat that was kind of pointless. It's still not done because the crocheting in the purl lines is so tedious. I got the front finished but now I have to launch into the back. I thought maybe I would just leave the back plain but the front looks so nice. Sigh.)


So I had an interesting day today. I signed up for a walk through Meetup with Senior Women in Berkeley. They meet at Roma's cafe on Hopkins and then somebody picks a route. Last week it was Community Gardens. We hit three of them I think and also a place where they play outdoor bowling. About 4 MI total.

You'll recognize this! Today, it was a walk to Berkeley Rose Garden. Now I'm not stupid; I knew that it was uphill. I used to have singing lessons at my teacher's house up by Indian Rock. The problem was I knew from last week that they walk at a pretty good pace, but I never believed that they would decide to charge uphill a mile and a half. I mean come on! This so-called seniors group is supposed to take into account our aging bodies otherwise why do they call it a seniors group? So we got over by Fat Apples on Martin Luther King and I missed the light so they went on ahead without me. As soon as the light changed I crossed and one of them came back and confronted me. She said you're going too slow for the rest of the group. So I said okay I guess I'll just go home. I didn't. As I watched them disappear up Rose Street I got out my phone and planned a different route. It took me awhile but I got up there. I was just crossing Euclid in front of the Garden when I saw them take a left and go off back the way they'd come.
So here's my question for you. Do you think I'm justified in saying that they should change the name of the group from Berkeley senior walking group to Berkeley walking group? Anyways I felt pretty put off by the idea that I'm known in this group as somebody who is too slow in contrast to not as fast.

Also I think it was just stupid to push that hard because it occurred to me that I don't really care about a destination. What's the hurry? The Rose Garden is beautiful. I get that. But I go because I like to walk! I feel like Mr Rogers: I like to take my time!

Thus endeth my rant~


(Found another group that's going to go around a loop down by Lake Chabot. Sounds nice.)

Yes, you  are justified in your assessment of the name.  Changing it? Less
likely.  I think they like being senior and able to speed right along.

I'm slowly learning to let some things go.  Are these ladies old?  Are you going to see them again?  Are they pushy? Proud of their something- pace? ability?  Are they walking snobs?  Maybe their name isn't important. 

I asked about changing a dining room name  away from "private " to something else and was, shall we say, dismissed.   Who cares?  Not worth bothering about.  Sounds like being with those people isn't a good fit.…

All the leaves on the shrubbery have curled up to protect from the lack of rain.
The grasses are California brown .
No news here, except for a lack of sweltering heat.  Lovely to walk in the middle of the day.
Send news or make something up .
Hugh just got here with two, two! file cabinets.

That new project looks sort of complicated, but it does give a nice effect  How often do you do that row?

Very easy 3 color "wrap". With some bumps and bobbles added for interest. I was trying to explain to my grandson why do we knit. The best I could come up with was in the old days people needed clothes. But now we just enjoy doing it. This one's a good one to do while you sit & gossip.


Remember that thing where I said real easy? Bobbles?  Well so much for that . I don't remember when I've spent so much time fiddling on YouTube. Finally figured it out but I don't know why I was making it more difficult than it was. Now the only issue is making sure I don't knit too tight.

It's eleven thirty, with a slight breeze on a sunny day.  I'm sitting on a swing on the blueberry path.  The occasional  cars on the road below  make it seem quieter somehow .  The sun feels warm and friendly ..  buttermilk clouds are sneaking across the sky.

No fall colors yet, but the draught will probably make some changes in the season. The other day leaves on one shrub were tightly curled, waiting  for rain.  Then we got a downpour in the middle of the night.

That's as close as we come to having news .  No word of either the dog or the family.  The cat  is a good substitute  for Mason.  Easy care,  responsive company., no required dawn walks.

Who was it who just gave all the shares he had, in a company he founded, to a climate change group?  Good for him.  If I were sure my money would outlast me I might do the same thing.

How is that beautiful fabric developing?  I remember the vibrant colors. 

This greens vest is way too wide.  I think when I soak it, maybe it will lose some of those inches when I lay it out to dry.  Shall I put into the dryer? 
Keep tuned.  You might hear me screech when I pull it out.

The cat is ready for brunch.  Goodbye.

That's the family that runs Patagonia. Good stuff.

I'm going to call this thing a "shawl". Think I'll stretch it out a bit so it's like a throw as well. It's moving right along.

In other news we're having our maiden voyage with this new ucac director and it's a bit rough going. I'll stick with it but I might have to get a little passive aggressive at some point. Some of the physical things she's having us do I just can't. I had the worst backache yesterday and I was trying to figure out where'd that come from? I realize it's because she wants us to rehearse standing up straight and tuck in our pelvises and do all this bullshit. I'm too old. I still sing good that's all that matters. YMMV Point is I don't think you're missing

This was weird yesterday morning I woke up and spontaneously uttered a silent prayer that somebody would drop out of the Mercy Center retreat that I've been to a couple of times and I'm now on the wait list for. Couple hours later I got an email saying there's a spot opened up you want it? How weird is that! So I guess I'm going on another retreat.

Your shawl/ throw is  beautiful.  I'm addicted to colors. Carry on!

Yes, right time for a prayer to work.  Have a good retreat .

I have to go on every outing, to every destination, to feel, well, not like being at a retreat, but better, anyway.  This will never feel like home, but as things go,  it's pretty good.

I decided that my shawl was too short—the Cutie-crdesigner said to get two skeins of each color—and I've got a lot left over! The upshot is that I added three wide stripes with a diagonal Stitch and now I can't make up my mind whether I should make it symmetrical because overall it is a symmetrical pattern. I measured it and it's 5 ft long if I add another 6 inches no big deal I suppose. Best not be in a hurry, is my own advice.

So, did you add more to your blanket?  It looks very appealing in the pictures.  I like the bright stripes of color.

I finally finished the greens sweater.  It was way too wide so I stretched it -  soaking it first.  Then I mercilessly stretched it long long long. I  like the sweater now, so I'll make another one for my friend.  We went to the Turnstile  , a high end second hand store, & I picked up lots of acrylic yarn in various colors of blues and whites and strong pinks. 
The store didn't have any animal yarn at all.  I didn't want to make a $200 sweater and this will occupy me for a couple of months .  I like playing with the colors.

When is your recently decided upon  retreat ?  I forget everything, so tell me again.

You might like Black Diamond, by Martin  Walker.  Bad guys are polluting the market for expensive French mushrooms with cheap Chinese look-alikes.  You read along while somebody cooks up something that smells delicious,  with a little French sprinkled in with the chopped parsley.

It's 11:25.  Time for bed.

Well here's where I'm at today. Still in bed waiting for the urge to get up and weigh myself. I decided that I wanted to lose 10 lbs and it's not really that hard. I have to walk a lot and reduce the intake, and that pretty much does the trick. 

It's also starting to get cold which I know compared to what you guys have is a Bay Area joke, but even so. I haven't turned on the heater yet this season. It just feels nippy and I require my comforter on at night.

I'm not sure what this means but my knitting folder is now much more organized. There was a point in which I wasn't clear which batch of yarn went with which pattern. That's unacceptable so I fixed it. I also have not yet finished my shawl—although it's looking good—and the idea that I need more pattern kits? Well yes apparently I do! I got another one coming in the mail and I have to say the thing that was attractive to me was the fact that they send you the base color, one skein and then include 27, I kid you not, Mini bits of 27 other colors (this is an attempt to not waste full skeins.) I just thought it was way cool and sadly too much to resist. (I don't know why I say sadly, it's going to be very joyful.)

Which brings me to my retreat. Rupert Spira. I always have a hard time articulating what is the ultimate goal of going on a retreat because Rupert doesn't like to spend it in silence. He likes the sense of community that people experience sharing meals and conversations and walks. But at the end of the day he also admits ruefully that the farther into the week we get with our 2 hour meditations, the more of that time is spent in silence. 

Same thing with Eckhart Tolle, who finally made it to the Paramount couple weeks ago. I'd had those tickets for a year and a half! So he came out on the stage and the place was pretty crowded. He said I don't know what I'm going to say or how long I'm going to talk, maybe an hour maybe two maybe four maybe six? It actually turned out to be two, and it was like a very long song. I left afterward with my friend, and we each shared that the takeaway wasn't what was actually said but in how it was delivered. I don't think it really matters at all what language it's spoken in. It felt like Music or the ocean but in essence something akin to being wordless in your mother's arms. 

Being by myself has been a revelation. Not that my sons aren't certainly welcome, but I'm by myself. Decision making is a wonderful simple yet intricate process. I sit with an idea or with no idea, just anticipation? Or a sense of no pressure, ease at waiting for a sign or an indication that I'm on the right track. Okay to just observe Something Beautiful. 

Here's an example: we've got this friend down the road on College Avenue that runs the antique shop called Talisman. He's a very quirky guy and my younger brother hangs out with him in front of the shop helping to restore things that need a little help before sale. Since his name is Kingsley we call the group FOK for Fans of Kingsley. The other day I finally got up the nerve to just tell him straight up hey I've been looking for a little tiny chest of drawers and you got one in the window there and I want it! It was for some reason difficult, possibly because back in the day my mom used to go sit with him and chat for hours, because she loved antiques almost above anything. So I don't want to compete with her in any way shape or form. I just appreciate good stuff as does my brother and I guess I gave myself permission to be okay with a little Self Indulgence. 

I mean I'm sitting here and that little chest of drawers is right there across from me looking so cunning and warm and certainly happy to have my knitting work sitting on top of it.

It's beautiful.

SubjectQuick note before I go to skklrrp

That means sleep. 
I'm exhausted From hoinjhbyhtouhh  famn ,   Never mind  I'll tell you tomorrow.



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Claudine Jones | Scene4 Magazin

Claudine Jones has a long, full career as an Actor/Singer/Dancer. She writes a monthly column
and is a Senior Writer and columnist for Scene4.
For more of her commentary and articles, check the Archives.

©2022 Claudine Jones
©2022 Publication Scene4 Magazine




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