Day 1811

Thursday, December 28, 2017

It finally slowed down at work, allowing me a few hours to work on Alice's appeal.  I packed for our trip tomorrow and relaxed after dinner.

Day 1810

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

I slept in this morning, missing racquetball.  Work was busy again, surprisingly.  I updated my finances and prepared for our LA trip coming up this Friday.

Day 1809

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Left Alice's at 4 and went to the gym to work off a little of yesterday's ginormous meal.  Work was busier than I'd anticipated. 

Day 1808

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!  It was a very low-key, quiet, totally peaceful Christmas, which I've come to appreciate in my older years.  I joined Alice's family for some amazing food at the Dim Sum Club on Van Ness.  So good.  I love this restaurant, especially the sweet & sour pork, which is the best I've ever had.  There was so much food I thought they were going to roll me out of the restaurant when all was said and done.  I spoke with family, read a few pages on my nook and phone, and just took in the day. 

Day 1807

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Alice's Air BnB is starting to look really nice.  She did a great job picking things and making her downstairs unit feel comfortable. 

Today was a very quiet, relaxing day.  I went to Macy's for some last-minute stocking stuffers for Alice and Austin.  I'm all set for tomorrow!

Day 1806

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Spent most of the afternoon reading several personal essays from Patrick and Katherine for their college applications. Alice made her delicious salmon poke for lunch. So good.  We switched Alice’s bed with the futon downstairs in preparation for Alice’s Air bnb in February.  We needed Pete’s help because the mattresses were so heavy.

Day 1805

Friday, December 22, 2017

Work was surprisingly busy (again), considering it was the Friday before Christmas.  I did take an extended lunch to pick up a few last-minute stocking stuffers for Alice and Austin.  After work, Alice and I went to the Pans for dinner.  Patrick made beef Wellington, which is so delicious.  His recipe was fantastic, just like Gordon Ramsey.  They gave me a very generous gift card for helping them with their college essays.  Amy, like my sisters and mom, really knows how to decorate a room.  Their tree was beautiful and nutcrackers, lights, and of course Christmas music filled their living room and dining room.  We had a very enjoyable evening.  Patrick and Katherine weren't accepted to their first choice school (Penn for Pat and Stanford for Peaches) so they were discouraged about the entire application process, but they'll have many schools offering them sizable scholarships in March.  That's what I'm predicting.  These two are very ambitious and talented.  They'll go far in life!

Day 1804

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Alice has enjoyed taking care of Mr. Birdy.  The bird is very fond of her. 

Lots of work today and once I came home, I just ate dinner and watched a few political shows.  It seems to be my drama of choice these days.

Day 1803

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

No racquetball today.  I slept wrong and my neck is sore.  This getting old thing is really getting old.

Day 1802

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Left Alice’s at 7:50 a.m. and arrived at work at 8:30. I had many jobs in the morning but it slowed down in the afternoon.  I went to Powell and Market for a little Christmas shopping to look for gifts for Alice. I continued work on Alice’s appeal and hope to wrap it up this week. I came home at 6 and updated my stock portfolio.  I bought a bunch of large cap stocks and ETFs on Sunday.  With $1.5 trillion in free stolen money from the Gov't, corporations will live large for a while.  I'm still in shock Republicans actually got away with this.  Watch the deficit balloon to new heights.  It's inevitable.

Day 1801

Monday, December 18, 2017

Racquetball, several jobs at work, including Word Perfect docs and Power Point slides. Maybe tomorrow will be a little less busy. After work, I went to Alice’s and helped Austin assemble his new bed frame. We had sushi salmon and rice for dinner. Alice is taking care of Elaine’s pet bird Mr Baby. He’s called Mr. Baby because he says "Mr. Baby" all the time. He's a cute bird. I also tried to get Alice's Sonic replacement modem working but it wasn't connecting properly.  Not sure why.  Bed at 10:15.

Day 1800

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Spent the day wrapping up last minute Christmas gifts, talking to Tristan, practicing, and continuing work on Alice's Appeal.  I was at home this weekend which was nice.  I think I needed a few hours of down time.  Oh, and I also shifted so much 401k capital to large cap stocks and ETFs in order to collect the 20% free money coming to corporations courtesy of future generations.  Thanks, Millennials for failing to vote last year and in effect allowing Trump to rob your future dry.  Oh, and thank you as well, Trump supporters in the rust belt who own no stocks or funds whatsoever, for voting against your own interests to allow this insane con artist to line the pockets of the rest of us and especially his billionaire friends with endless unnecessary riches, all at your expense.  Keep hating Hillary and attending his white supremacy rallies, since that's about all you'll ever get from this pathetic sham who really truly loves the poorly educated.  What a selfish disgrace this tax bill is.  When the bottom falls out...and it will surely fall out one day...oh, it's gonna hurt bad.  Especially for the chronic poor who will get nothing from this orange monster.  

Day 1799

Saturday, December 16, 2017

I stayed home today because Rhonda and Biff have a Christmas party at 6, while Alice will attend her uncle’s family dinner at R&G Lounge. I spent the day shopping on line, tidying up, and talking to Gwen, Jill and mom. Gwen is spending a week with her friend Debbie in Bellingham, and I’m so relieved. I didn’t want to tell her she was not welcome here. Gwen’s delusions have returned and according to Jill they’re here to stay. Her mind is permanently damaged. There is no joy whatsoever in talking with her. With Jill as her designated point person from now on, I’m in the background. I don’t see many conversations in our future. It’s as if she’s already gone. I did talk to Mathew for an hour or so and that was good! He was flying back from a drop interview in Dallas. He and Rathna live a few blocks from the Brooklyn Bridge in a very cool neighborhood on Worth St. They’re living the life. Rhonda and Biff’s party was a lot of fun. They have a new dog Oliver, who’s squirrely as hell and full of naughty energy. Biff makes the best Cosmos of all time, so I had threee throughout the night.

Day 1798

Friday, December 15, 2017

Our company Christmas party was today at Mezzanine on Jessie St. tucked behind Bloomingdale's.  We were there last year as well.  The food was good and the annual skit they do was so-so, but the best part was going home at 3:15!  I met Margaret on bus 29 and caught up with her before getting off at Lakeshore Ave. to get some money and a scone for Alice, who was waiting for me at my place.  We hung out for a few hours before joining Lisa, Richard, Margaret, and a few of Lisa's friends from work at a cute little Peruvian restaurant on College Ave. called Picquot.  We were there for 3 hours and had all kinds of delicious food.  A really fun evening!

Day 1797

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Busy at work and racquetball hit and switch league at night.  Came home at 9:45 sore and tired after such a long day.  Racquetball was fun.  Won my first 4 games and lost my last 3.  It was a struggle focusing after 9 p.m. 

Day 1796

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Timing off again in racquetball.  Frustrating.  Last rehearsal of the year was tonight.  Looking forward to two weeks off and will practice hard to get all the fingerings in my hands.

Day 1795

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

After work, I turned on MSNBC and Fox and watched the election returns for the Alabama Senate seat.  Had Roy Moore won, it would have represented another embarrassing low in American politics.  Thankfully, he lost, as he should have.  He'll go down as one of the worst candidates in history, an accused pedophile predator who is crazy and full of contempt for societal norms.  He lost, but barely.  Doug Jones won, the respected prosecutor who helped convict two of the four KKK members responsible for the 1963 Birmingham bombing that killed four school girls.  The African American vote came out in waves for him and the result was an amazing, if not improbable, victory!

It's so good to see Steve Bannon lose.  That man is a cancer upon this nation.

Day 1794

Monday, December 11, 2017

Ineffective in racquetball today.  It's like my timing is totally off.  Not sure why.  Practiced after work for an hour. 

Day 1793

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Shopped online for gifts and took care of a few chores for Alice.  Had a yummy steak dinner tonight that was so good. 

Day 1792

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Up at 5:30 and at Alice's by 9.  We went to Lowe's to return a bathroom mirror and Comcast to return my cable equipment.  Alice's Air BnB is coming along well.  Her contractor will put up the IKEA mirror I picked up for her and finish work in the bathroom.  The bedroom is small and will just barely fit a queen size bed, but the living room area is spacious and comfortable.  Alice had visitors for afternoon tea who have been advising her on setting up her Air BnB unit.  The busy season begins in March and Alice will have everything done by then. 

Jill texted me while I was practicing at 5:30 p.m. and said Gwen finally called her.  Jill was very angry with her for not contacting her on Friday and had been worried all day about her.  Gwen apologized but Jill continued to lay into her.  Instead of checking in each day, Jill told Gwen to call her in a couple of days, after a cooling off period.  Jill's only been Gwen's contact person a week and already she's exhausted dealing with her.  For me, without a goal like her divorce, I have little to say to her when she can't distinguish fantasy from reality.  To her they're the same thing.  The issue with Gwen is she's so off the grid and afraid her ex-husband is after her that no one really knows where she's staying.  When she turns her phone off, she's untraceable.  That will have to change. 

During dinner, Alice and I watched a couple of cruise videos of the Majestic of the Seas.  I went to bed early, around 9:15.

Practiced the first movement of Mahler for an hour.  I love Mahler!

Day 1791

Friday, December 8, 2017

Set up a new Nook that I got last week and wrapped up a very busy week of work.  Jill called worried that she hadn't heard from Gwen, who drove to LA yesterday to clean out her storage unit.  Only Gwen would drive to LA when there are several fires raging all over the place.  I told Jill not to worry, that Gwen has a history of turning off her cell phone and disappearing for a few days.  We'll see how that plays out.  Jill is a worrier and when Gwen calls Jill will be unforgiving.  Went to IKEA after work and picked up a bathroom mirror for Alice's downstairs in-law unit.  It's really starting to look nice.  I practiced for an hour or so, then went to bed around 9:30.  

Day 1790

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Writing Alice's appeal for her long term disability.  It will take time to complete.  After work, I participated in the first of an eight-week long hit & switch doubles league at our club.  There are several fast, excellent, hard-hitting players who've joined.  Tonight we had 25 players total and Robbie stayed all night to organize who played with who.  It was a full-time operation.  It was a bit confusing and chaotic, but still a lot of fun and great practice getting used to playing with different people and different styles.  I didn't get home until after 10.

Al Franken announced he'll resign from the Senate in the next few weeks.  Lots of Dems are furious that the MeToo movement has come to this.  I get it.  I'm disappointed, too.  The timing of this really worked against him, with the Roy Moore election next week and growing resentment that our predator in chief is still there.  That picture really backfired on him.  Without that horrible picture, he's weather this, but with the picture, he couldn't have any more accusers of boorish, inappropriate behavior.  Instead, he had eight accusers, some anonymous, accuse him of inappropriate contact, mainly while taking a picture.  I read the Atlantic Magazine piece about Al Franken and it didn't do Franken any favors.  Anyway, the Giant of the Senate is departing.  He should have been given an opportunity to redeem himself (remember Edward Kennedy, anyone?), but I guess the times they are a changin'.

Day 1789

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

So, should Al Franken resign from the Senate after seven women have come forward with claims that he sexually harassed them?  It's a question many Dems are debating.  Given this moment in history and the political realities of Congress, Roy Moore, Trump, the MeToo movement, etc., I think yes, even though his actions are nowhere near what Roy Moore had done.  There are degrees and levels of harassment, but there's something wrong with defending the guy on our side while taking the high ground on all sexual harassers on the other side.  I'm a huge supporter of Al Franken and think he's funny, smart, disciplined, articulate, and a champion for so many of the causes I stand for; however, this undermines his credibility and influence, and quite frankly, I don't really understand how he could allow himself to be in this position in the first place, given his role as a Senator.  Grabbing a strange woman's ass while having a picture taken of him?  That's wrong.  Everyone knows that.  Normal guys don't do that.  Ever!

Day 1788

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Full day of news, got a new Nook in the mail, very busy at work, read another very long expose on Harvey Weinstein and his army of complicit enablers, then a New York Times lecture with NY reporters and Ashley Judd talk about the ongoing harassment story.  Practiced for 90 minutes after work.  A full day of stuff.

Day 1787

Monday, December 4, 2017

Racquetball, lots of work at work, little time for anything else. Came home exhausted and not able to practice.  

Day 1786

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Up at 6, chores with Alice, catching up on journal entries, spoke with Jill re Gwen about her floundering and inability to distinguish what's real and what isn't, appeal research, and through all of this managed to relax a bit.  Also practiced, which I'll need to do practically every day in order to tackle some of the hardest passages of Mahler's 4th.  My Fantasy season is over.  I started strong, but had several lackluster weeks.  A very average team, which makes sense I guess.  I just don't watch football anymore.  

Day 1785

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Saturday - Switch from Comcast to Uverse.  Update tech stuff, two loads of laundry, reading.  Cleaning at home.  There was a terrible accident this morning on the Bay Bridge, causing traffic jams all day long.  I stayed in Oakland as a result and took the time to catch up on everything.  To bed early.

Day 1784

Friday, December 1, 2017

Friday - Racquetball, work, lunch with Lillian, an hour on the phone with Gwen, home to phone calls with Jill and Nicole, then with Chris while the U.S. Senate shifts more than 1 trillion to the donor class in a historic tax bill that was written and passed with such haste and secrecy that you gotta wonder just how devastating this might be to the greater good down the road.  It's been a great year for greed, coruption, and pathological lying.  It's as if George Bailey is long gone and Pottersville is thriving.  The weathly and powerful run things and everyone else is just getting by with no hope in their cup.  I guess we'll see where we stand on mid-term night in 2018, but even if some of the GOP bums are voted out of office, the damage is already done.  It's a country of corporations.  The Corps have won bigly tonight.

Day 1783

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Thursday - Exploitation Nation.  That's what this crazy tax bill the GOP Senators are pushing through feels like.  Okay, I guess I'll load up on more stocks and wait until the bottom falls out of the economy...hopefully not until I'm long gone, but it'll most likely be sooner rather than later.  It just might not be typical human nature to save for a rainy day and save in general.  It's looking to pass and there's nothing the Dems can do. 

Day 1782

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The notes still aren't in my fingers and tonight's rehearsal was challenging.  The second violin section is weak versus the first violin section, and if I can get some of these passages in my fingers I'll be one of the stronger players.  But that will take a while.  My standpartner doesn't have the best sense of tempo, so it's a bit of a fighter playing with her while trying to follow the conductor.  At any rate, I'm enjoying playing in an orchestra again.  It's bringing back all sorts of memories for me!

Day 1781

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Practiced the Hansel and Gretel overture for tomorrow's rehearsal.  I'm slowly getting the hard parts in my hands.  Slowly.  I love practicing with my silent violin.  It's so much fun.  Hansel and Gretel is a playful, lively piece, a perfect compliment to Mahler's 4th.  This will be a nice program.

Engelbert Humperdinck

Day 1780

Monday, November 27, 2017

Back at work after the long holiday.  It was surprisingly busy.  I practiced when I came home.  I need to lose a good 10 pounds this month.  I feel so heavy and plump.  Not good.

Day 1779

Sunday, November 26, 2017

I went home today and spent all day reading college application essays from Alice's niece Katie, the twins Katherine and Patrick, and Alice's friend Karen's daughter Kayla.  That took most of the day.  I also organized a few things, ironed a few shirts, and cleaned the apt.  The day flew by so quickly.  

Day 1778

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Spent most of the day fixing the Toshiba laptop at Alice's, and practicing.  

Day 1777

Friday, November 24, 2017

Began the day at 7 with racquetball at the club with Tracy Leever, Glenn, Steve, Cliff, Tiger, Jamil, and Tyrone.  At noon, I joined Richard, Tray and Jared for a trip to San Fran at Suit Supply on Maiden Lane.  I'll get a fitted suit there for the wedding cruise.  We had a snack at Joe and the Juice before heading back to Oakland.  Nice day today.

Day 1776

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with the Youngs this year.  We started our day at Peet's with some coffee, then walked to the tip Lake Merritt, came back and drove to the Oakland Hills for our traditional 2-hour hike.  It was warm and a bit strange without Rocket or Sandy.  After our walk, we spent the afternoon playing games, preparing the food, and finally eating at 8:30 or so.  After dinner, we watched the hilarious "Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny."  Alice spent the day with Elaine in Los Gatos, who was hosting more than 30 guests form Wayman's side of the family.

Day 1775

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

So busy at work when I was expecting it to be quiet.  We worked right up until 5 p.m.  After work, I had dinner, then made two pumpkin pies for TG.  I needed a couple of ingredients, so I went to Safeway at 9:30.  It was surprisingly empty...I guess most folks had their act together.  I stayed up until midnight baking pies and watching mindless TV.  I finally went to bed around 12:30 a.m.

Day 1774

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Perhaps we can all be thankful to Donald Trump for exposing the hypocrisy of institutions, namely the Christian faith.  How they hitched their wagon to this sexual predator and monster is something only God might be able to fathom.  Talk about empty conviction.  Poor Sarah Sanders Huckabee.  She’s really good at deflecting the truth into something that’s simply unwatchable and at the same time turning the news corp into weak taint by merely sharing the same room with her . She's only doing her job, but wow what a job, spinning Devil Don's words into fictional spew.  She's good at it and looks the part of evil's helper.  Her ability to deny anything would make O.J. smile.  Can empty shells be disingenuous?  I wonder.  It’s something how the world looks now with this severely limited commander in chief in office. The effects will ripple down through the years for the rest of my life.    Mika B. on Morning Joe has a daily breakdown as she digests the freak show.  We’re just not accustomed to watching such a perverse display of insanity from the oval office.  Anyone who stays too long in the White House becomes becomes poisoned in some way.  You have to sell your soul to stay in this man's good graces.  There will be many books written about him because everyone loves a good train wreck.  It’s entertaining.  It’s the opposite of what Obama provided, which was a total lack of spectacle.  Hurry up, Mueller!

Day 1773

Monday, November 20, 2017

Charlie Rose is off the air now, exposed as a sexual harasser.  The hit list just keeps filling up with new celebrities.  The Harvey Zone is alive and well.  Weinstein even hired Israeli security services to go after some of his victims.  The depths to which some wealthy people go after others is amazing. There was a documentary I saw a few months ago that captured the degree to which wealth and power can be used to traumatize and harass (Tickled).  Scary times.  It's comforting here below the fray.

Day 1772

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Up at 7:30, showered, went to Home Depot with Alice to return an item.  We did, went shopping, and came back to a relaxing rest of the day.  Sunday has become a sort of long nap day.  I take long naps in the afternoon.  I did manage to practice for an hour today, which was good.

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!