In a recent conversation, the term “dementia” came about and while I had a rough idea of what it meant, I did not know exactly how to define it. So, I looked it up on the internet and this is what I found.

“Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease aren’t the same. Dementia is a general term used to describe symptoms that impact memory, performance of daily activities, and communication abilitiesAlzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease gets worse with time and affects memory, language, and thought.” Healthline

“None of us wants to be reminded that dementia is random, relentless, and frighteningly common.”Laurie Graham

Both conditions are indeed frightening, especially when you have known the affected person for a long time. It is when you see people at irregular intervals, that you most notice the changes. Everybody ages, this is the immutable law of nature, but age affects everybody differently. Generally, what is most apparent is the physical decline. Wrinkles and various physical ailments.

What is less obvious, is somebody’s mental decline. Yes, occasionally everybody forgets one thing or the other, but it is generally a temporary lapse. It is when a person becomes incapable of learning and memorizing a simple routine, that it becomes truly frightening.

This is most noticeable when you are in contact with both, older folks, and young children. The youngsters learn extremely fast and have an ironclad memory. Don’t ever make a promise to a young child if you don’t intend to keep it. They will remind you of it until you cry, uncle. The contrast between these two groups is difficult to believe.

A person affected with dementia becomes incapable of remembering the simplest routines, like making a phone call on a smartphone, or even more important remembering a password. Memory loss is what you will notice most readily, and if you are not aware that the person has some dementia, you might crack a joke or make a remark about it.

But you should not. Dementia can strike randomly, and you never know who will be affected. And it is especially painful when it hits a relative or somebody close. Lately, I have heard that an old girlfriend of mine is now going through this dreadful disorder.

When I think about how lively she was when we were together, and how she is now, it breaks my heart. Don’t ever joke about dementia; it is a horrible fate.


Sonoma Regional Select Doubles Tournament

Yesterday, while my better half went galivanting to San Francisco, I gathered my spying devices and drove to Sonoma to gather intelligence on the Valley of the Moon gang’s suspicious activities.

Bekah Howe

I arrived there incognito around 10:30 am and immediately blended with the crowd. Thirty-two (32) double teams had signed up for the tournament and were already going at it. The first thing that I noticed though, was the mild springlike weather; it got much hotter in the afternoon, but the morning was ideal.

Besides the players, there were quite a few onlookers who probably came to cheer up their favorites or simply to rub elbows and share gossip with their friends. I recognized a bunch of people from La Pétanque Marinière and greeted them all with a friendly fist bump.

The Lofaro clan was there in full force, including their dog. I have a weak spot for those critters, and I am always glad to see one and shake its paw.

The nice thing about a sporting event is that you don’t have to participate to have fun. Usually, everybody is in a festive mood, and it is highly contagious; catchier than Covid.

There were great players on the field, and I witnessed plenty of “carreaux”. Upon my arrival, I noticed Janice Bissonnette’s partner who looked slightly familiar but whose name I could not recall. It turned out to be Bekah Howe and she was truly impressive. Not only was she very accurate, but she also displayed a perfect form that is highly photogenic. Just love photographing her and people exhibiting the same style.

Three timed games were played before lunch and elimination games in the afternoon. Since I was not playing, I had the luxury to come late and leave early. After gathering a few hundred shots, and with the temperature rising, I opted to go home without waiting to find out who were the winners and who were the losers. Sorting and editing all those shots is very time-consuming.

I am relying on my contacts to share the final results with me, and in turn, share them with you. The minute I get the names of the winners I will add them to my report.

In the meantime, I will share my pictures with you and I hope that you will like some of them.


PS: to screen the pictures, click on the link labeled “My photos” and watch them on “full screen” on your computer for the best effect.


Heavens is lounging in a sidewalk café

What I miss most in Marin County are French-style sidewalk cafés.

Les Deux Magots

Places that are a world away from the indistinguishable, characterless holes in the wall called Starbucks.

A café worthy of its name must have a terrace or at least a spot on the sidewalk. Where else could tourists leisurely gawk at other tourists for just a few euros?

Without a place in the sun, the venue is just a plain “bistrot”, a small bar where standing at the counter, you quickly down an “espresso” or a Cognac. It is the poor relative of a reputable café and does not pretend to be anything else.

By the way, the origin of this quintessentially French word is said to be Russian. “Bistrot” (Бистро́) means “quick” in Russian and “it is a legacy of the Russian occupation of Paris after the defeat of Napoleon’s Grande Armée at Waterloo in 1815.” Russian soldiers would sneak away to a drinking place and shout “bistrot, bistrot” for a quick drink. I don’t know if it helped…

Mais revenons à nos moutons !

A terrace is important because it feels like a safe harbor for tired pedestrians and lost tourists. They can enjoy a room with a view of a fancy district while giving their sweaty feet a rest. Contrarily to cheap coffee shops, a café is a place where the customer is king and does not have to wait in line to get some refreshment.

In a real café, you pick your own table and wait for a waiter to take your order. And beverages are not served in paper containers, but in real cups… with handles. Yes, you might pay a little more than at Starbucks, but heck, you only live once… grab it while you can.

Famous sidewalk cafes in Paris like Les Deux Magots, Le Café de Flore, La Closerie des Lilas are not strictly focused on making money. They have a good name to protect, and their first order of business is to please customers. Profit, while important is just secondary to this.

I wish that Elon Musk could be made aware of my predicament and instead of wasting his money on Twitter, spend a portion of his stash on opening a few nice flowery cafés in my neighborhood. What do you think?

Elon, you can call me night or day if you feel that my proposition has some merit.



« Tous les matins, j’apporte à ma femme le café au lit. Elle n’a plus qu’à le moudre. »  Coluche

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