(Thursday) morning, one of those hazy grey days
(before the sun burns it off by noon), it was cool at about
9:30 when we started our trek for Montecito to have lunch
with one of the NYSDs frequent readers and correspondents interior
designer Penny Bianchi at the house she shares with
her husband and business manager Adam Bianchi.
our way to Montecito or so we thought.
It was a
sensational trip up the freeway, sun now out, through the deep
canyons and over the sharp and strawcolored mountains covered
with little more than scrub much of the time. The California
landscape is so dramatic and seemingly endless that we were
two hours into the trip, as the sun was beating down with desert
heat (we had the top down), when I suddenly realized we were
going the wrong way!
We were headed for Fresno through the Central Valley.
Which is like going to Buffalo when you intend to go
to Boston from New York. Fortunately
the beauty of it all compensated for the stupidity (on my part) of
not looking at a map. Id been to Santa Barbara
(Montecito is its southern suburb) many times before
but obviously not enough to know which turn-off
to take on the Hollywood Freeway heading west and north. Duh, and all
Mrs. Bianchi, expecting us at noon, called at about 12:30 to
ask where we were. We were on our way back down the
5 to Santa Clarita and then over west on 126 to Ventura and
then back up to Montecito. At ten of two we reached our destination.
A trip that shouldnt have taken more than two hours max
and most likely not even that.
ladies got cold waiting for us so Penny brought
out the sweaters.
was entertaining several NYSD readers on a picnic table in
her garden and most had finished their main course, fortunately.
I sat down to eat mine and a minute into the chewing felt a
sharp object stabbing me in the inside cheek. It was a wasp!!
I pretended it was nothing and made no mention of it as we
were conversing about the NYSD. But suddenly my palms started
to itch intensely. And soon much of my body was covered with
the welts of hives.
I was stung by a bee (or bees) many years ago and had a mild but memorable
reaction an anxiety attack had set in right after. A doctor later
told me that this could be dangerous in the future. If it ever happened
again, he said, take an antihistamine immediately.
Finally I told our hostess because I needed that antihistamine and didnt
have one handy. She didnt either and immediately sent for it.
Within an hour the dreadful itching had subsided although the wasps
sting remained (it felt like a sharp sore through on one side). Unfortunately
I was not in much a mood to experience Adam and Penny Bianchis
wonderful hospitality and to get a good look at their beautiful house
which sits on a piece of property adjacent the great Oprah Winfrey.
However, JH and the dependable Digital took care of that, as you
can see. Didnt need me for a moment, as it turned out.
A lovely place, Montecito. By four the marine layer coming in off the
Pacific had cooled the weather down to a temperature where I had to put
on a sweater. Then I went over to another part of town to visit a very
old friend, Luis Estevez, who once lived in New York and Los
Angeles and now resides in this paradise north of the city.
After an early dinner, we left Montecito about 8:20 and were back in
L.A. at twenty two ten. Less than an hour and a half, that ride that
took four and a half hours on a convoluted route in the morning. As of
this writing, if youre curious to know, my wasp bite seems to be
fading into memory; thank god.