Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Grounds For Remorse - a Book Review

As Tallie Graver sat chatting with her friend Gina and her new beau, she could not help but wonder how to tell her newly smitten friend that Mr. Right might not be what he makes himself out to be. Fortunately for Tallie, in burst a woman claiming to be the wife of said questionable male. Unfortunately for Gina, she reacted with a pot full of hot as coffee threats and insults. When Mr. Not-So-Right turns up dead at the bottom of Gina’s stairs the next morning, a room full of witnesses point their fingers in her direction.

Saturday, June 23, 2018



BSC, CA – Ever since the day I stumbled across Trattoria Toscana, the Italian restaurant owned by chef Pietro Cinus, and wrote my review of the place, there was an element missing that my Lois Lane nose could sniff. This past summer solstice, Pietro opened a connecting deli, an addition that finally added up to what I was missing. At the end of this review, the solution will be given though clues to the puzzle are sprinkled along the way, Batman Comics style.

The very first clue is revealed in our solstice-styled lead in photo above.

I arrived with the band* and found a new face snapping pix in this magic valley.Also new was the wall entrance in the rear of the restaurant leading to the new deli.

I ventured forth to see a nice assortment of authentic Italian food fare, grocery products for the home chef, and found customers already acquired from the month's soft opening. 

No doubt some of those ingredients went in to preparing these gourmet to-go dishes.

The deli has its own entrance.

Now that we have seen the place, there is no doubt it was Pietro's day as the opening day festivities started. La Bottega di Trattoria Toscana was going to be recognized as 'open for business'.

As if by magic, suddenly the deli side started filling up in anticipation of the coming ribbon cutting.

The stage was set so out front we went. [Are you keeping an eye open for clues to our mystery?]

Another official photo was taken.

Then Pietro showcased all his staff to those gathered for the opening.

Alas, the Ribbon Cutting.

Then it was time to party.

I kept it light and authentic.

I sat at the press table, meeting the area's rising star for local sports and area food reviews, publisher Charles McKee, of Inland Empire Sports & News. It turns out that Charles and his son, Dan, are old friends of Pietro's.

It was a glorious day and summer solstice. Did you guess the answer to our riddle? What is the culinary addition? In the opening pic, there is homemade food created by the chef himself. In shot after opening shot, you see beautiful dark wood furnishings and handmade picture frames. Both are also 'homemade' by Pietro himself, while friends back in Tuscany did the paintings of area landscapes familiar to the chef. Is there any wonder now about the charming, homey nature of the restaurant and deli?

Located just behind the Broken Yoke and next door to Oreck, get your Italian on.

(*- there was no live music as advertised, due to a horrific accident on the I-15 that left a big rig dangling over a highway edge. Two other cars were involved but there were no fatalities, Ed))

Sunday, June 17, 2018



BSC, CA – I was all set to write my Fathers Day comments about the small group of mementos that I have as remembrances of my three sons and the kids I consider my blended fam. It wasn't a self-pity piece but I do lament the lack of time spent around them. But just when you cry about not having shoes, someone comes along with no feet. My phone rang and a dear old friend, read brother, called to say his daughter had died of a drug overdose.

As I sat there getting the circumstances leading up to the tragedy and the back story, I pushed the sadness back as best I could. I have known this person since she was a baby. An acquired opiate use had morphed into a heroin habit, a story told many times in today's news stories. Unlike the young woman in the story, Hillbilly Heroin, this wasn't a party foul. My friend's daughter had started a methadone program.

However, a recent stint in county for two weeks had pushed her into the clean category. Getting out and returning home, she told her boyfriend that she had an errand to run. He said 'fine' as he was going to bed to sleep for his third shift job. When he got up at 11 pm, he found her, a victim of some additive used in today's China white.

My friend had called me a couple of days later with the sad news. After that I wasn't worth a shit between bouts of sadness. The next day, Wednesday, I figured out what I needed to do, which was get two condolence cards as the girl's parents are divorced and I know them both. Thursday morning I sat out front hidden behind the tall sunflower stalks and other yard foliage, watching the hummingbirds go through their feeding antics, talking to them as I searched for the right words to write in each card. I also recalled various moments past through wet eyes. The birds seemed to sense my state and weren't their usual noisy chattering selves though there were many more than usual feeding.

Friday I had a plan to give my cards to the neighborhood mailman who comes by daily. I know his schedule and knew what I had to do, which was find addresses for both cards, find the stamps I purchased with my cards, and get them ready before the mailman came around. I would sit in the drive and wait for him, once ready.

Though there were some anxious moments as I searched for this or that, I got the cards all done and set them on top of the house mailbox. Not seeing any movement through the bush shrubbery and a little peckish, I dashed back inside and super-waved a slice of pizza. Returning a few minutes later to the front porch, I saw the two cards were gone. I looked around to make sure the wind hadn't blown them off accidentally, but no, they were gone, picked up. I breathed a sigh of relief. Then I noticed something. I must have left the porch gate unlatched which may have helped the mailman reach the mailbox [?].

Returning inside the house and back to my room, I was surprised to find a young green vine sprig placed on my bed sheet just below my pillow but before the covers started. I immediately thought of my departed friend and could feel her say, “I'm sorry, Dad.” My eyes filled up again but I wasn't sad this time. It was more a feeling of missing someone I wasn't going to see for a while.

The opening picture and the same pic below show the young green vine, which is laid upon my beanie for better contrast. The vine is now inside my Gideon Bible at Psalms 104:14.

This story also goes out to every father who has buried a child. R.I.P.