Day 1771

Saturday, November 18, 2017

I came over to Alice's around 9:30 today.  We went shopping for food, then prepared the house for visitors tonight...Howard and Leslie came over for dinner.  Alice cooked up a storm:  baby back ribs, zucchini, rice, salmon sashimi with rice, avacado and mango, squash soup, and brownies for dessert.  They were here until 10 or so.  It was a delightful evening catching up, sharing stories, and talking about all the craziness out there in the real world.

Day 1770

Friday, November 17, 2017

Poker last night started out strong but went cold the final two hours, leaving me $28 in the hole.  I didn't make racquetball this morning, sleeping in until 7 and arriving at work a few minutes late.  The day was busy with forms and formatting requests in the morning and afternoon.  I had coffee with Beth my former recruiter at 10 and it was great catching up with her.  In the afternoon I wandered the streets of San Francisco, looking into the Black Friday deals at the Gap and other stores.  After work, I had to wait an hour for my bus home.  Traffic along the Bay Bridge was horrendous, so I didn't get home until 6:30.  I managed to wash and fold a load of laundry, watched the season finale of Real Time and two episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm, then fell fast asleep. 

Day 1769

Thursday, November 16, 2017

There's talk at work that the firm will begin a telecommuting program next year.  This means working from home a few days a week, which for me is perfect.  I rarely work with anyone face-to-face and telecommuting would be a dream...doing laundry and cooking soup while working...I love it!

Poker later tonight.  I'm reading Lee K. Abbott stories.  Always a good thing.  And practicing Mahler.  Also a good thing!

Day 1768

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

My work ID and Clipper card have been missing since yesterday.  It was in my pocket yesterday and this morning I couldn't find it.  I looked all over and couldn't believe it was gone.  Finally, tonight after rehearsal, I found it between a couple of hanging shirts in my closet.  The card protector must have fallen out of my pocket when I folded them and placed my pants back in the closet.  Luckily, I didn't cancel or replace anything, which was what I would have done tomorrow morning if I didn't find them tonight.

Mahler rehearsal was enjoyable, though we were interrupted for a few minutes early on with a crazy person playing an electronic piano while we were rehearsing.  The conductor stopped rehearsal and the crazy person was escorted outside the church.  She went off on a horrible tirade for 30 seconds or so, but finally left the room.  We eventually carried on.  That's part of city life I guess. It's tragic when someone whose mind is fried tries to interact but cannot.     

Day 1767

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Busy at work and practiced after work.  The day went so quickly.  

Day 1766

Monday, November 13, 2017

I came home early and placed the couch covers on my couch after washing them this past weekend.  The couch looks brand new.  I didn't go to the club this morning but instead slept another two hours.  I was sluggish at work, which wasn't like me, especially with so much sleep, but I guess I needed all the sleep I got.  I came home, practiced for an hour, then cleaned up and went to bed.

Day 1765

Sunday, November 12, 2017

I practiced this afternoon and rested from 3 on.  Just hung out with Alice and took long naps.

Day 1764

Saturday, November 11, 2017

I played three and-a-half hours of racquetball with Alice's neighbor Pete at Active Sports from 8-11:30.  Pete's 59 and really fast.  He also never gets tired.  I kept him running all morning, but he never slowed down.  We'll play again I hope.  It was a lot of fun playing with him.

I picked up the demo bag and had lunch in Alameda before heading over to Alice's in San Francisco.  We had a delicious steak dinner with vegetable and rice.  It was so good.  After dinner, we watched a few episodes of Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown.  Alice loves her food shows.  We caught episodes in Tokyo and Rome.  Alice can't wait to go back to Japan.  She loves Japan, loves everything about it, from the obsessive varieties and presentation of food to the safe, clean lifestyle.  She wouldn't mind living there for a few months.  Maybe we will later on in life.

Day 1763

Friday, November 10, 2017

Gwen's birthday today.  I talked with her for about 20 minutes.  She sounded good, even though she isn't happy with her current job.  It's not what she thought it would be.

My hip is better than yesterday.  I'm playing racquetball tomorrow morning with Alice's neighbor Pete.  That should be fun! 

The fallout continues for Louis CK.  At least he admitted doing those disgusting things in front of those female comedians, but it hardly means he's off the hook.  He's done for a while and perhaps for the rest of his life, though a year or so into the future I easily see a concert performance in while he talks about life as a pariah.  He's as funny as he is damaged, but the funniest comedians, by definition, are always damaged goods.  That's why they're comedians, to say the things no one else has the heart to say.  If any of the male harassment scum class survives this perv hunt in the longterm, it's Louis.  But for now, his career is over.

The fallout continues....just ready Anthony Edwards was molested by Gary Goddard when he was 12.  I think this is all coming out because our current commander in chief is himself a Huge harasser.  Here's waiting for his turn, which will happen one of these days. 

Day 1762

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Met with Lisa's brother Eric after work at the Hardwood bar and talked clothing for 40 minutes.  He likes on Maiden Lane, so I'll check them out and get fitted for a suit within the month.  All in preparation for September!

Hurried to the club to watch Steve and Noah play their finals match.  The first game was amazing. These two get everything, and their hustle was on full display. 

Noah ended up taking the first game 15-13 and easily took the second game 15-3.  He's so tough!  I don't think I can beat him.  He's only getting better and I'm only getting older. 

Day 1761

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Tonight was my second rehearsal playing with the Oakland Civic Orchestra.  Most of the members are regular musicians who sound very good, and the conductor Marty is fantastic.  Finding enough time to practice and learn my part will be the biggest challenge.  We're playing Mahler's 4th Symphony and the Hansel and Gretel Overture by Engelbert Humperdinck.  Both pieces have a few tricky passages that will take me weeks to learn.  But I'm getting there.  Tonight's rehearsal went well, but by 9:45 I'm really exhausted.  At any rate, it's wonderful to be back in an orchestra again after so many years. 

Day 1760

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

I had my semi-final match against Noah tonight and he got me in the tie-breaker.  I took the first game 15-14 after being down 11-14.  It was a battle throughout the game, but amazingly I scored the final four points and took game one.  Game two was another story.  As much as I wanted to close it out, Noah played well and was super aggressive, making some great shots and blowing me out 5-15.  The tie-breaker was 6-6, then he took the lead and kept it, winning the game and the match 7-11.  He's a tough tough player.  I'm not sure I'll catch him.

Day 1759

Monday, November 6, 2017

Another week of stuff to do and there's no rest over here.  I got a good night's sleep last night but the day started so early and just kept going until I shut things down at 9:30.  Reading Lee K. Abbott again, who always puts me in the right frame of mind when writing. 

Day 1758

Sunday, November 5, 2017

We went shopping for items for Alice's Air BnB this morning and I practiced for two hours in the afternoon.  So many notes and I'm so rusty!  The rest of the day I rested.

Day 1757

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Lots of chores and activities at Alice's as we get her downstairs unit ready for her Air BnB.  I think she'll really enjoy it.  Cecilia and Jay came over for dinner and Alice cooked up some delicious food! 

Day 1756

Friday, November 3, 2017

My mind is a whirl of activity today, thinking of Orianna Oh!, a character I've been kicking around in my head these past few months, along with Vivaldi.  The book I'm reading really makes him come alive.  Home to laundry and cleaning up my place.  

Day 1755

Thursday, November 2, 2017

I had my quarter-final match with Ramon tonight.  Ramon can be deadly, especially with his little 1970s racquet.  He played with it the first two games.  I was ahead 8-1 in the first game, but Ramon slowly crawled back and finally took an 11-10 lead.  He continued drive serving aces and won 12-15.  Thankfully, I was focused and on, beating him 15-6 in game two.  Our tie-breaker was both and forth for a good 30 minutes.  I was down 3-5, then up 6-5, then down 7-9, then 7-10.  He lob served that went too high off the back wall and I easily killed it.  I then served four successful serves and won the match 11-10.  We played a good 90 minutes or so.  I play my semi-final match against Noah on Tuesday.  That will be a tough one.  Noah's really good and fast.  I'll have to dig deep if I have any hope of beating him.

Day 1754

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

After work at 7, I had my first symphony rehearsal in 25 years!  I played through Mahler's 4th Symphony.  There are passages I'll need to practice for weeks to fully work into my fingers.  It's such a beautiful piece.  By the time I came home, I was so tired I went right to sleep on my couch.  I'm glad I'm back in an orchestra.

Day 1753

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

I left work early and rode the bus home with Rossana.  It's Halloween and I haven't even been over to see Richard's set and run through the new skit.  I changed, packed my silent violin and came over around 6.  The show started at 7.  We ran through the new skit "Bloody Mary" two or three times before finally getting it.  The show ended up being terrific, as always, with a really good special effect at the end. 

We ended things at 9 and I went home around 11.  Another great Halloween night.  24 years and counting!

Day 1752

Monday, October 30, 2017

Carrying all this cruise weight made me pretty tired today.  It wasn't too bad at work, which was nice.  After plowing through my emails, I went through one long job after another.  I have three really large documents to convert...after that, I'm caught up.  The rest of the week is going to be brutal.  Tomorrow I have Halloween duties, then on Wednesday I have my first symphony rehearsal in 20-something years, followed by my quarter-final match against Ramon Thursday night.  Too much stuff going on!  I want back on the cruise ship.

I did get a wonderful surprise in the mail today. A book I'd ordered from Italy finally arrived.  It took six weeks to get here.  I've been waiting for this book a while now.  It costs $100 to order through Amazon, but I got it for $45 through a book seller in Italy.

Day 1751 - Arrival in San Francisco

Sunday, October 29, 2017

We returned to San Francisco early in the morning.  We took Lyft back to Alice's, then Alice drove me home, where I unpacked and took care of an entire day's worth of things to do. The coming week will be brutal, with Halloween, first Mahler rehearsal, and my quarter-final playoff match.  The fun never ends!

Day 1750 - At Sea

Saturday, October 28, 2017

During our final at sea day, we attended an art auction in the Explorer's Lounge.  We got good seats and free mamosas.  I had a $250 gift certificate I'd won, and waited more than two hours to make a purchase.  On one of the final auctions, there were six paintings going for $199 each that we could take off the ship.  I got one and Alice picked the piece she liked the most that night in the art gallery.

It's a cute piece on aluminum, fully framed and everything for free.  What a deal.  The art auction was a bit strange.  There were paintings selling for $20,000.  Who wants to buy a huge painting on board a ship? 

Our final day at sea was relaxing, easy going, and lots of fun.  The ship leaves for Hawaii tomorrow.  I could easily go.  I'm not ready to go back to reality just yet, and I'm certainly not ready to read what's going on in the world. 

Day 1749 - San Diego

Friday, October 27, 2017

We spent a wonderful day in San Diego, taking the tram to Old Town, having lunch in the University district (Alice wanted Vietnamese, so we went to a great little place on Fifth St.).  Old Town was fun, but the day was so hot it was hard to enjoy walking around.  Alice found a really nice necklace that was half off.  She was happy. 

I found some saltwater taffy and ate a few pieces.

When we came back to the ship, we found some bicycles to rent and rode to the end of the pier and back.  It was a great one-hour adventure. 

For dinner we ate at Sebatini's, one of the specialty restaurants on board. It was a very good meal.  We stayed up until 11 or so exploring the ship, hanging out at the nighclub on the top deck, and sipping Isaacs. 

Day 1748 - Ensenada

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Alice's birthday!

Our day in Ensenada was very simple.  We left the ship around 9 a.m. and took a shuttle bus to downtown.There were many things to buy and lots of opportunities for tequila shots, but neither of us bought anything, though Alice looked for jewelry.  We went back on board around noon and had lunch, then had our second formal dinner (lobster!). 

Day 1747 - Long Beach

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

We spent the day in Long Beach.  Alice and I took the bus to The Pike, a new shopping district.  We walked around for a bit, but it was so hot that after an hour we took the bus back to our ship.  We had lunch, then I went out to investigate the ship docked next to us:

This grand old ocean liner has been moored in Long Beach since 1967.   I walked around the ship, poking inside cabins and down hallways, taking in all the details and magnificence of this great slice of history.  It's a functioning hotel now with suites that appear very comfortable.  I wouldn't mind staying a night or two on this ship after our September cruise is over. 

Lobby Area

Promenade Level


Bar in the front

Hallway on Deck 5
Alice and I hung out the rest of the afternoon and had a relaxing dinner.  On our way to Ensenada tomorrow.

Day 1746 - Santa Barbara

Tuesday, October  24, 2017

Today we tendered in Santa Barbara and took a big bus to Solvang. 

Alice and I love Solvang!  The only problem was on the day we were there it was 102 degrees outside!  It was so hot we had to walk in the shade most of the time.  We had a great afternoon walking the streets, buying souvenirs, and eating some great Danish food.  We ate at the Red Viking.  Yum!

It was a buffet, so I pigged out!  Alice had really good deep fried scallops.  This place rocks.  I ate my fill of pickled herring.  So good. We went to a bakery for dessert but I was so full I couldn't finish my apple strudel. 

Back on the ship, we napped, then went to dinner and caught a hilarious comedy show in the Princess Theater at 8.  A really fun, awesome day!

Day 1745 - At Sea

Monday, October 23, 2017

Our first At Sea day of the cruise.  We're on the Grand Princess, a massive ship that's about 19 years old with new updates last year.  Each Princess ship is slightly different, I've noticed.  This ship has Alfredo's, a really good Pizza place on the Piazza (Deck 5).

Alice and I did our usual thing on sea days.  I woke up early and exercised in the fitness center, then joined Alice for breakfast in the dining room.  Afterward we hung out at the International Cafe, our favorite spot on the ship, and had our morning lattes.

I then went around the ship and collected stamps from various locations for the traditional Treasure Hunt drawing that all week-long Princess ships do.  Alice won two coffee cards on the Regal Princess, and ever since I've made sure her ballot is in the box.  She's lucky.  After collecting all the stamps, I placed our ballots in the big wooden Treasure Hunt box an hour or so before the drawing.  Well, running around the ship certainly paid off, because my ballot was selected first and Alice's was selected second!  I won a $250 Auction credit at one of the art auctions on board and Alice won another coffee card.  Amazing!

We spent the rest of the day lounging, reading, having lunch, napping, then getting ready for our first formal dinner.  Alice aunt and uncle and two of their friends (Steve and Judy) were also on the ship, so we all had dinner together.

It was a wonderful first full day of our cruise!

Day 1744 - Depart San Francisco

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Alice and I left for  our one-week cruise out of San Francisco this afternoon at 12:30.  We took Lyft to Pier 27.  So convenient.  Our cabin is small but comfortable.  It's my kind of route, easy and relaxing.  This week we're doing all the things we want to and nothing at all...a perfect week off.


Day 1743

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Woke up early and got everything ready for tomorrow's cruise.  Alice arrived at 9:30 and we headed for IKEA.  She's turning her downstairs in-law into an Air B&B and wanted some ideas for the rooms.  I think she'll do very well as an Air B&B host.

We arrived in Fairfield at noon for Louanne and Chris's 70th birthday party.  It was a swell affair with lots of family, food, drink and great bonding as always.  Leo & Louanne have such a comfortable back yard.  The weather was perfect.  I ate way too much food, but I couldn't help myself.  Chris's potato salad and Louanne's coleslaw were like a seriously addictive food drug that I couldn't stop eating.  It didn't matter how many calories they were.  By the time cake and ice cream arrived, I was done.  Good times seeing my mom and her brothers together!

Day 1742

Friday, October 20, 2017

Sore all day from last night's grueling play.  Now I have a week to prepare for the playoffs.  I'm looking forward to my routine on the ship next week.

Came home, did laundry and packed up.  Went to bed early.  Hope to read a lot of material on the Grand Princess.  Weather should be perfect!

Day 1741

Thursday, October 20, 2017

Tonight was our last league night at Active Sports and I finished strong, losing only one game to Noah and winning the rest.  I should finish second in the league and will play Ramon, Noah or Carlos in the quarter-finals in two weeks.  Steve and probably Tyrone will in all likelihood round out the top three and Kirk and Ron will be seeded 4 and 5.  I think that's how it will play out.  I'm hoping to get in a lot of strength training and weights on the cruise next week.

Day 1740

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Received the violin part to Maher's 4th today and printed off the pages.  There are some sections that will be tricky, but I think I can handle most of the symphony.  I'm really looking forward to playing in a symphony again.  It's been about 28 years! 

Chris and I talked in the evening.  He and Elizabeth leave for Fairfied tomorrow for his and Louanne's 70th birthday party.  That should be a lots of fun. 

The Harvey Weinstein stories are still coming out.  

Day 1739

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A busy day at work today with IPD documents from start to finish.  I was so tired when I came home that after dinner I went to bed at 8:15.  That's early, even for me!

Day 1738

Monday, October 16, 2017

Racquetball in the a.m., work, dinner, relaxing.  Bed at 10.

Day 1737

Sunday, October 15, 2017

I had the day to myself, so I talked with Margaret at Starbuck's, then met Richard and Lisa.  We chatted about the NFL and their stance on taking a knee.  I think they'll do the right thing.  I spent the rest of the day cleaning up and organizing things.  Enjoyable day today.

Day 1736

Saturday, October 14, 2017

The weekend is already going by so quickly.  We did our Saturday thing, chores, food, dinner, more chores.  Next week we're on our cruise, which will be so relaxing.  I can't wait!

Day 1735

Friday, October 13, 2017

Went into work early this morning and then met with Alice and Dr. Chan at 10:45.  Dr. Chan gave Alice a complete exam and took an X-Ray to see how her hip has improved.  Her x-ray looked very good, so there was nothing to really explain why she continues to experience so much pain.  He'll write a detailed note that will override the checked box he marked last month, which will greatly help in our appeal to Alice's long term disability insurance.  I anticipate she'll be on long term disability most if not all of next year.  She's in all likelihood looking at a hip replacement.  According to nearly everyone I've talked to, these procedures are very routine these days.  Alice has a lot of anxiety about the procedure, but I think it will dramatically improve her life. 

Went to dinner with Lillian and Murry at Mona Lisa after work and that was great fun.  It's wonderful hanging out on Columbus St.  I don't do that as much as I should.  Murry had some choice Wendel stories to share that kept Lillian and me laughing nonstop.  Some things never change!  We had a nice walk back to BART and home for me by 10:15 or so.  I talked to Alice, then went straight to bed.  Tomorrow morning I'm in San Ramon for their club racquetball tournament.

Day 1734

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Tomorrow, Alice and I see her operating doctor Dr. Chan to discuss Unum denying Alice any long term disability coverage because of one checked box Dr. Chan made on a form Unum sent him.  Hopefully, the appointment will go smoothly.  I spent my lunch hour reading more Unum documents and it has been a real education seeing how these insurance companies manipulate details, omit details, and cherry pick facts to make their case to deny coverage to clients.  They will stop at nothing to make their case.  In our appeal, we will hit this unethical company with we have and scream bloody murder until Alice is properly protected and entitled to what she deserves.  If I were going through what Alice has gone through this year, there's no way in hell they'd deny me coverage.  It's another privilege that comes with being a white male.  Everything takes what you say seriously instead of minimizing and dismissing it, as Unum has with Alice.

We had our 6th league night tonight and I won the first 7 games, but ran out of gas and lost the last two.  Still, I'll take the score. I have one final regular season league night next week before the playoffs.  I played well overall and my shot selection improved.  My passing shot were accurate tonight.  I play better when I have 20-30 minutes to warm up. 

I came home at 10:30, had a quick dinner, talked to Alice, then went right to bed.

Day 1733

October 11, 2017

It was a very simple, quick birthday, my favorite kind.  I went to Alice's after dinner and we had ramon noodle before going to the movies to see the new Blade Runner film.

The tone and atmosphere were spot on in the film and Ryan Gosling is really fantastic as always.  He's consistently a great actor.  The storyline was intriguing and certainly captured the spirit of the original.  It's a long film, however, and the final third could have been trimmed a felt like an art house film in the same way The Arrival felt atmospheric and moody.  I liked the music.  All-in-all, I enjoyed the film but it did feel slow toward the end.  The conclusion was satisfying.  I need to see more films.  I don't get out as much as I used to.