Day 352

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I flew home at 7:45 and arrived in Oakland at 10:30.  Richard picked me up from the airport and took me home.  I went right to bed.  I watched the documentary Salinger in the afternoon, then went back to sleep.  I took a shower at 8 and entered some blog entries until it was time to go to sleep.  Being sick is the absolute worst.  I hope this is the last time I get sick like this again.  It's so debilitating.

Day 351

Monday, December 30, 2013

I was supposed to play games at Neal and Karin's but was too sick to do anything.  I stayed at Gwen's and slept all day.  I also searched for something to watch on television and found Oliver Stone's The Untold History of the United States on Showtime.  I watched 7 of 10 episodes.  It's outstanding.  I found each episode riveting.  The editing is amazing and the storytelling is terrific. This is Oliver Stone at the top of his game.  I loved all of it.  I'll have to watch the remaining three episodes and also buy the book.  

 Aside from watching these documentaries, it was another waste of a day.  I can't believe I got sick again.  I'll have to take better precautions when I fly.  Airborne, Vitamin C, whatever it takes.  This is ridiculous.  

Day 350

Sunday, December 29, 2013

I had no voice and felt horrible, but still managed to get up early and go with Gwen to a meeting, then breakfast, then to west Seattle to visit Dad and Sue briefly as they returned from their holiday cruise to the Caribbean.  We met at Mugs and Mary's house.  They live in a beautiful two-story home on the corner of Rose Street.  It was a pleasant visit, but my voice was so gone I didn't add much to the conversation.  Once I returned home to Gwen's, I spent the rest of the day in bed.  I watched the second half of the Seahawks game.  They look great.  I ate dinner with Gwen's family, a delicious Italian meal with fresh home-made pasta.  Wow, was it good.  I fell asleep around 8 and didn't wake up until around 9 the next morning. 

Day 349

Saturday, December 28, 2013

I woke up around 10:30 and felt dreadful.  I had a sore throat and no voice.  I still had the chills from the night before.  Nicole came over around 11 and we were planning to go to lunch together.  I took a shower, which helped me feel better, and we went out to Purple in Woodinville.  We had a great meal and an amazing conversation.  Nicole told me all about her 3.5-week family trip to Europe last summer.  I hadn't really heard any stories from that trip.  All I knew was that it was a very difficult trip for everyone.  Nicole's version of the trip was incredible.  It was like experiencing every Eugene O'Neill play at the same time, with scenes full of crazy, highly dysfunctional behavior, high drama, and lots and lots of drinking.  I listened for about 90 minutes to all the details of that trip.  In a way, Nicole and all her family members are still dealing with effects of Europe.  Relationships have changed and everyone's doing what they can to get back on track and reclaim the clarity of their lives while managing the poison of our family, alcohol.  If all of them banished booze from their lives for good, they'd be in far better shape to confront life's unrelenting problems and issues, but most of the players in Nicole's family aren't there yet.  Gwen may be the only one who truly gets it.  Mathew and Tristan are too young.  Nicole's starting to get it, but she may need another five-to-ten years of life experience to truly see the dangers and consequences of this brutal disease in our family. 

After lunch, we went to Starbuck's and talked about all kinds of things.  It was an incredible afternoon of conversation and bonding.  I'm so proud of my niece and the insights and wisdom she brings to the table.  She's a true survivor.  I guess in a way we all are.

After I came home, we all went to the Bellevue Mall and met Tristan, who was working at Johnson and Murphy.  I bought a really nice vest jacket that was originally $156, but was discounted to $35, thanks to a 70% off promotion that Tristan had through his account.  What a deal.  Afterward, we hit a jewelry store where Mathew went shopping for an engagement ring for Rothna.  Talk about overwhelming.  Poor guy.  I'm not sure what the rush is, but Mathew seems intent on getting married in his early 20s.  Having spent the past week with my two sisters and their children, I can't help but feel as if I'm replaying moment of my life from childhood to my twenties.  My nieces and nephews remind me so much of myself back then.  I want to tell them all to relax and take things slow and show them how not to get into their own way, but I know I can't really do that.  They'll have to learn on their own how to get things where they want them to be.  Too bad it takes so long to get there.  This trip, more than any other, has shown me how much I've changed these past few years.  I'm really no longer available for other people's dramas.  They own it, and I can't do much to help them unless they ask for help.  Thing is, they rarely ever ask.  I'm so glad those days of drama are behind me. 

Day 348

Friday, December 27, 2013

I left Phoenix at 8:50 a.m. and arrived in Seattle by 11:20.  I picked up my rental and drove to Gwen's in Kenmore. I had a sore throat and worried I was coming down with another cold.  I'd already been sick last month and wasn't prepared for about bout of the flu.  I had too many people to visit and too much to do.

I hung out at Gwen's until 5:30, then went to Kathryn and Tom's where the gang was having dinner, everyone except Kevin, Steve and Amanda.  I arrived at 6:15 feeling very sluggish with a sore throat, but I managed to stay until 1:50 a.m.  We had a great dinner and played games and poker.  The dinner conversation was lively and memorable.  Neal's daughter Kara wanted to know if we were as insightful about ourselves when we were her age, even though we weren't asked penetrating questions on our college applications like the ones students were expected to answer today.  It was an interesting question which sparked a lot of discussion.  The most poignant response came from Kathryn, who said the ways in which an adult figures out how to end certain cycles of behavior that cause pain is one of the great benefits of experience and a life fully lived, from which no 17-year-old can yet understand.  Kathryn said she thought she knew so much about herself and the world at 17, but years later realized she knew nothing.  At's part of the grand perspective of life that makes each stage so interesting.  Kathryn and I seemed to be the only two who shared this perspective of figuring out issues later in life, which our teenage years seemed so underdeveloped they no longer seemed relevant.  Karin wanted to know if anyone else felt the way we did.  No one said so.  I liked that moment best.  It was a great evening.  I just wish I felt better. 

We played Celebrities and Wits & Wagers, then poker.  I had no cards until I pushed with AJ, only to be slow-rolled by Neal's AA.  I left at 1:50 and went to bed dead tired at 2:20.  I didn't wake up until 10:30 the next day, sick as a dog.

Day 347

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Alice and I got up around 8, had some breakfast, then went with mom to Kirkland's Home, Old Navy, and Santan Village where we walked around checking out the Boxing Day sales.  We had lunch at Kona Grill and had sushi and salad with a really good butter cake and ice cream for dessert.  We came back at 2.  I took a nap, then went on two adventures with niece Alex and nephew Hayden.  

Day 346

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas began bright and early at 6 a.m.  Jill and mom got things ready and Alice and I crawled out of bed.  Alex and Hayden were in mom's room, wondering if Santa had arrived.  Once everything was ready, the bell rang and the kids ran into the living room.  They each had a massive pile of toys.  I'm not sure Hayden was able to fully process everything in his chair, so he kind of malfunctioned for about 30 seconds.  He was a riot. Alex went to Jill and hugged her. 

They played with their toys and we all opened presents and had an extremely enjoyable Christmas morning.  Mom made an egg bake which was really delicious.  Alice was probably overwhelmed at all the consumer outrage.  I held her hand and told her to plow through the day.  She doesn't like getting gifts, but was bombarded with them. 

In the afternoon, Alex and Hayden went outside with their Razor scooters.  I accompanied them and we had two adventures, one regular adventure and one safari.  We covered quite a bit of the neighborhood.  It took Hayden a little while to get the hand of scooting, but once he found his balance, he looked like a pro in no time. He's a good athlete.  Alex took to her scooter immediately.

Jill's boyfriend Tom and his daughter Jordan came over in the afternoon.  We had a fabulous dinner around 6.  By 8 I was exhausted from eating so much.  Jill's kids were in meltdown mode by 8:30.  It's a wonder they didn't malfunction earlier.  Once they were in bed, we were able to enjoy some adult time.  It was one of the most enjoyable and peaceful Christmases on record!

Day 345

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Alice and I got up at 4 and caught a taxi to the airport at 4:45.  Our flight was on time and uneventful.  We arrived in Phoenix around 10:20 or so, then went to the Rental Car facility and picked up our car at Hertz.  We drove 45 minutes to Chandler and arrived at mom's a little after noon.  Mom is amazing at putting together a house steeped in Christmas.  She, Jill and the kids were all there.  Seeing Alex and Hayden together reminds me of myself and Jill at their age.  Alex looks so much like Jill at 8 and Grandma Hagan when she was a young girl.  Hayden looks a lot like his dad and my dad when he was young.

A had a few gifts to wrap, so once that was taken care of I went out to the playground and played with Alex and Hayden for about an hour.  We ended up going to that park every day we were there.  The weather was perfect.  I had a great time playing with them.

We had clam chowder for dinner and the kids were in bed by 8.  It took me about two hours to place all the stickers on a fire engine transformer Jill got for Hayden.  Good thing I like doing projects like that.  It was such a relaxing, easy-going Christmas Eve.  We went to bed around 11 or so and woke up bright at early at 6 on Christmas Day.

Day 344

Monday, December 23, 2013

I worked three hours today, the did some last-minute shopping in preparation for my trip to Phoenix and Seattle for the next week.  Packed up and ready to go.  Alice came over in the evening and we went to bed early.  Looking forward to a wonderful Christmas!

Day 343

Sunday, December 22, 2013

I had two parties to attend today.  The first was at Alice's.  Her family came over around 11 for lunch.  We had tons of food and played Winning Ticket afterward.  The party ended at 4, and I headed over to my house where a special Eerie Street Theater showing of Troll Hunter was slated for the gang.

It was good!  We only watched one film because everyone was so tired and had a lot to do in preparation for Christmas. 

I went to bed around 10:30.

Day 342

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Alice and I went shopping at the Westfield Shopping Mall in San Francisco.  We walked around, window shopped, and hung out at the VIP United Airlines Chase Visa Lounge for 20 minutes.  After lunch, we watched Saving Mr. Banks.

This was a very enjoyable, well-made film.  The storyline about the author of Mary Poppins being very disagreeable and difficult in the film adaptation of her story unfolded nicely.  Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson are always so good.  Alice enjoyed the film very much.

We went home and ordered our favorite chicken wings from San Tung.  Yummy!

We went to bed around 11.

Day 341

Friday, December 20, 2013

Another morning of laundry, shopping, to-do lists, baking, and racquetball, all before noon.

Played Steve twice and took both.  My shots were better today, but I ran out of gas after 6 and barely moved during doubles.

Almost caught up with the blog and my 2013 entries.  Picking up where I left off on True Colors.  It's time to wrap that book up.

Day 340

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Most of the day was spent taking care of all the year-end items I never have time to take care of.  I also did one last power-shop on Amazon Prime, taking care of Gwen's family and a few old friends.  It's nice to have that behind me. 

I'm still feeling sluggish and not quite 100% healthy.  That cold a few weeks ago really knocked me out. 

I watched two episodes of Alpha House on Amazon Videos.  I like it.  It's funny.

Day 339

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Today ended up being busy, starting first with several games of racquetball from 5-7.  Steve got me a couple of times, which was great but also frustrating.  I seemed a step behind in everything.

After racquetball, I made butter tarts for Rhonda and Biff and wrapped Christmas gifts.  Work was slow, so I was able to leave early.  I went to Best Buy and bought mom this:

I bought one for myself last week, and it's a great little wireless speaker with incredible sound.  I use it to connect to my ipod nano.

In the evening I went to Richard & Lisa's for dinner.  The whole gang was there, Ari, Trey, everyone.  We had Chao Thai, which I haven't had in a while.  Very good.

I went to bed around 10:30.

Day 338

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Taking care of chores and getting ready for next week's holiday trips to AZ and WA.  Still a bunch of stuff to do.

I had my third match of the season tonight against Harry, who's slowing down a bit.  I beat him handily, which I've never done before, 15-6, 15-5. 

Once my Christmas shopping and wrapping is done, it's back to True Colors, then Intervention Island.

Day 337

Monday, December 16, 2013

Woke up at 4:05, drove back to Oakland, played racquetball until 6:30, then went about my day.  Still slow going as I try to get back to my routine.

Day 336

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Alice stayed over and we slept in until 8.  We went to Starbuck's and Arizmendi.  It was a very relaxing morning.  After breakfast, we went to Ranch 99 and Costco, then headed over to her house.  I strung a racquet in the afternoon.  That was about it for the day.  Went to bed early.  A nice Sunday.

Day 335

Saturday, December 14, 2013

I spent the morning cleaning.  Some corners needed a deep cleaning, so I got out the vacuum and blew threw all that dusty bunny nonsense.  Alice came over at 3 and we went to Rhonda and Biff's for dinner at 7.  We brought over the cab we had purchased at Trahan Wineries and bought a chocolate cake from the bakery at Grand Ave. next to Primrose. 

Rhonda presented a wonderful spread of pan-fried chicken, an orange salad, couscous, and vegetables.  It was a great evening.  We have to get together with them more often. 

Day 334

Friday, December 13, 2013

Played racquetball in the a.m. for the first time in over a week.  My energy is still shot.  Afterward, I had breakfast with Rhonda.  It was great catching up with her.  I told her the story of the hostess with the leastest and she was appalled.  Work was slow which was nice, so I shopped on Amazon.  I love Amazon.  I stayed at my place tonight and continued taking care of small tasks here and there.

Day 333

Thursday, December 12, 2013

No writing today.  Just shopping.

Day 332

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Still lacking in energy and recovering from last week's flu. I've been using Amazon Prime for most of my Christmas shopping.  It's so convenient.  Work is slow, so I have some time to take care of chores I've neglected, like stringing all my racquets.  I have three racquets that need to be re-strung.  It takes about 90 minutes per racquet.

Day 331

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Another lazy day for me that included no writing.  I bought some gifts online, and in the evening I went over to Richard and Lisa's to celebrate the revision of Zombie Cookies. I read the last four chapters to them, which was fun. We had Star Pizza, root beer, wine, and port.  Yum.  Went home at 11 wiped out. 

Day 330

Monday, December 9, 2013

Slept in until 6 this morning, then went home from Alice's and prepared for a morning of jury duty.  Thankfully, I wasn't called and was dismissed by noon.  I walked home from the court house, a clear, cold morning that brought out all the beauty of Oakland around Lake Merritt.  The rest of the day was quiet. Still recovering from last week's flu, but certainly feeling better.  Now it's time to tackle a few Christmas gifts and holiday plans at mom's and Gwen's.

Day 329

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Having those revisions behind me is like having a one-month prison sentence behind me.  I'm still wiped out from the last month of craziness.  That was a brutal rewrite, but I think the results were worth it.  This book is much stronger now, with a very solid ending.  Solid endings = solid stories.

Day 328

Saturday, December 7, 2013

 I finished the revisions to Zombie Cookies and emailed them to Sharon at 8:30 this evening.  What a job.  I like what I came up with.  I really like what I came up with.  Yolanda's edits were terrific.  Now I can go Christmas shopping and vacuum my apt.

Day 327

Friday, December 6, 2013

I need that extra push to wrap up the re-writes and ship these revs off.  I have chapter 38 and 39 to write.  I'm reading over the last 15 chapters now.  Slow going, but it will be done.

I'm feeling better but still very tired.

Day 326

Thursday, December 6, 2013

Now that I'm not playing in the Fremont Open, I can relax a little bit, knowing I have the weekend to revise.  I hope I won't need the entire weekend.  Maybe just Saturday.

I'm still sluggish and have little energy.  This flu really knocked me out.  I'm sleeping the rest of the evening.  I can't do much tonight and it's only 7:30 p.m.

Day 325

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Not a good day.  I barely got any sleep last night and my body aches.  I'm sick.  Dang.  How could this happen?  I already cancelled my matches in the Fremont Open.  What horrible timing.  I was worried I was vulnerable to something.  I've been putting in too many hours and getting too little sleep. 

Day 324

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Around 2:30 in the afternoon, I felt a tickle in my throat that let me know I might be coming down with something. Sure enough, my throat became sore a few hours later.  This is exactly the wrong time to get sick.  I still have so much left to revise.  This can't be happening.  This is not good.

Day 323

Monday, December 2, 2013

I played Mike Cota this morning and took care of business 15-8, 15-7.  I played well. 

Left for home and hit the rewrites.  So much to do.  I was hoping to finish today, but that was an impossible deadline.  By the end of the week should be fine.

Day 322

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Came home from Alice's and have been writing all day.  I like being in this space but also can't wait for it to end.  It's hard for me to do anything else.  Can't wait for the rewrites to be over.