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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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Grass Valley (Guest Blathering)

Guest Blatherer: Jeff Bohnhoff

The Perfect Guest

I went to Fremont on Friday afternoon to pick Debbie up at the Kwinn's. Maya and I have been looking forward to Debbie's visit since we first arranged for her to detour up to Grass Valley on her northern California tour. I have to admit though that I was a little nervous about the visit, because we had not had the opportunity to spend much time with Debbie, although Maya and I both felt an immediate affinity for her when we first met. I was a little afraid that after continuous exposure to us, that Debbie might regret spending time here that she could have spent with some of her older friends.

Anyway, I arrived at Paul and Beckett's a little after 6:30 on Friday. Beckett suggested that we go to one of her favorite Indian restaurants for dinner. I agreed a little reluctantly. Don't get me wrong, I *love* Indian food. My reluctance was based on the fact that Maya was not with us. She adores Indian food, and I dreaded the thought of going home and telling her that I had gotten an Indian meal without her. Grass Valley is a beautiful place to live, but it has no Indian food at all, so we jump at the chance to get it when we can. In fact, we often make it at home. Our planned menu for Saturday night included my Tandoori chicken and a wonderful Indian rice dish that Maya does. So, we all piled into Paul and Beckett's mini van and headed off to the restaurant.

The trip to the restaurant highlighted a couple of Debbie's most adorable qualities. One is that she is absolutely wonderful with kids. She and I were sitting in the very rear of the van, with the twins Riley and Casey strapped into the middle seats facing us. Riley decided that he was most definitley *not* amused, and let us know with all the subtlety an 8 month old can muster. Debbie began to desperately try to find a way to cheer him up. When funny faces and outright begging failed to work, she broke into the "Hockey Monkey Song". Now normally, this wouldn't be anything all that extrodinary, after all Debbie is a singer and all. However, Debbie happens to be recovering from a cold, and her singing voice at that moment owed more to Kermit the frog than Maria Callas, if you catch my drift. Singing to Riley was obviously causing her a lot of discomfort, but she kept doggedly on. Too bad Riley didn't appreciate her effort :-).

We soon arrived at the restaurant, and once released from the car seat, Riley cheered right up. The food was wonderful. I had a lamb curry with Nan, Dal, and a spicy spinach dish. Debbie had Tandoori Salmon. I'm not too sure how much she enjoyed hers, because she spent most of her time playing with the babies, who were in full-steam adorable mode. Paul and Beckett and I caught up a little bit. Most of the conversation centered around Beckett's desire to find a way to keep Debbie around permanently.

The ride home was pretty much like the ride to the restaurant, except this time Paul and I decided to help out. In all honesty, my singing voice is so bad, I probably frightened the poor little guy. Anyway, it didn't work, Riley was not impressed by our performance. When we got back to the Kwinn's, Paul played me a video tape of highlights from Puzzlebox's FilkContinental performance. His introduction in German was hilarious. The audience laughed in all the right places, and mercifully didn't laugh when he wasn't being intentionally funny. After that he skipped ahead to their performance of Persian Rose. It's kind of weird to hear someone else doing one of Maya and my songs. I usually think of our music as being something too quirky for anyone else to want to do. Paul and Taunya do a wonderful version, and I felt very honored that they decided to perform it. After seeing the con highlights, Debbie and I decided it was time to "hit the road". She warned me that she would probably fall asleep. I guess she's notorious for falling asleep on car trips.

I'm happy to report that Debbie stayed awake for the entire 3 hour drive to Grass Valley. We talked about all kinds of things, and the time flew by. My only complaint is that my right forearm was really sore by the time we got home. Everytime I would say anything nice or complimentary about her, Debbie would shout "Liar!" and sock me in the arm. Strange girl.....

The first thing Debbie wanted to see was my recording studio, so I took her out for the grand tour. She really liked the isolation booth. We listened to a couple of songs, and decided to turn in for the night. The next morning she met my 8 year old daughter Kristine. Kris and Debbie bonded pretty much instantly, and spent the morning happily chatting over tea and bagels. We went out to the studio, where Debbie demanded to hear everything we're working on. It's a real treat to share music with an appreciative audience.

Anyway, I could go on and on about everything we've done up to now (it's Sunday morning as I write this), but I can say that it has included magic tricks in the back seat of our car, impromptu art projects with my daughter, a small rebellion in which Maya and I were forcibly ejected from our kitchen after dinner last night, so that Debbie could clean up, and much much more. Debbie is a wonderful house guest. She's considerate, interesting, cheerful and just generally a pleasure to be around. I hope she has enjoyed her visit here at least half as much as we've enjoyed having her. Maya and I are currently plotting to find a way to get Debbie, Jeff, Allison and Jodi all to relocate to Grass Valley. Canada can consider itself formally warned.....


- Jeff, Maya, and Kristine Bohnhoff (J & M's 8-year-old daughter).

- House filk with Jeff, Maya, Alex (J & M's 17-year-old son), Paul, and Tony Fabris.

- Radar and me. Radar was a very cute, affectionate dog of little brain. Kristine took this photo.

- Bohnhoff house. You can see Kristine out in front (she was walking Radar).

- Jeff in his recording studio.

- The recording booth in the above studio.

Today's Poll Question (courtesy Jeff Bohnhoff)

Do you consider yourself a world citizen?

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