Day 1505

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Up very early -- 4:55, and took care of a few things, including booking my room to India in August for Mathew's wedding.  I'll only miss a few days of work.  It'll be a whirlwind trip.  I'll fly out Thursday and return to work Tuesday, all for the sake of family.  I booked my cruise with Alice in September 2018.  That will be something.  Tonight, I'm catching up on everything, or trying to, including letters I need to send to my aunts.  I did not watch the State of the Union speech tonight.  I just can't.  What is Kaiser Trump going to say that we haven't already heard a million times from that blaring obnoxious voice.  It will gall me to my dying day that that con is our pres.  America, you must be so proud.

Day 1504

Monday, February 27, 2017

Played racquetball and felt pretty good, though I only played doubles.  Singles league starts Wednesday for me, so we'll see how I do.  Could be good, or could be tough.  Work was very busy.  I had dinner with Howard V. Monday night at Star Pizza.  It was great catching up.  After dinner, I came home and went to sleep before 9, missing Gwen's call.  I'll talk with her tomorrow.

Day 1503

Sunday, February 26, 2017


I'm old enough to have seen the streaker live in 1974.  The Oscar misstep reminded me a little of that moment in time.  It was shocking.  It was wild.  Way to go, Price Waterhouse.

I strung three racquets this weekend, so I was ready for a little Oscar time.  The show was so good up until the Best Picture announcement. Jimmy Kimmel was terrific, the new Billy Crystal.  He seemed so relaxed, so calm and in command of the festivities.  The tour bus group was an instant classic.  Candy parachuted down?  Loved it.  The Jimmy/Matt feud?  I can never get enough of it.  But seeing what happened at the end happen...oh dear.  Truly, the world is spinning wrong on its axis.  Something beyond insane is going on here.  Has this world no decency?  The sad thing for me is that I have seen so few films this year.  As in next to none.  No time for it, sadly.  I need to make time.

Day 1502

Saturday, February 25, 2017

I drove over to Alice's at 7:30 and went with her to her doctor appointment for her MRI on her other hip.  I hung out at Starbuck's and sent texts and wrote a few lines. It was finally a nice day without rain.  We went to Irving afterward for groceries.  The rest of the day I spent reading and hanging out.

Day 1501

Friday, February 24, 2017

So today Sean Spizer banned the New York Times and CNN from the White House daily briefing.  Unreal.  What's next in life?  It's as if the world has somehow slipped off its axis.  Best we be on our toes the entire year (decade?).  I'm in Oakland tonight taking care of a few things, then to SF tomorrow.

Day 1500

Thursday, February 23, 2017

A full day of work.  It's getting busy again, unfortunately.  There's a secretarial opening at Hanson and luckily for me, Lillian emailed saying things were going nuts at her place...she wanted to know if there was anything at Hanson.  Um, well, it just so happens there is!  Oh, that would be so amazing if she came on board.  She meets with Mary S. today.  I spoke with Chris from Princess Guest Services today.  The planning has begun.  I'll have three people helping me put things together for our cruise in 2018, so that's kind of cool!  Bed early because I'm getting old and need more sleep it seems.

Wow, 1,500 days of doing this.  That's just ridiculous.  That was a fast 1,500 days.  Hmm.

Day 1499

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Played a game or two of racquetball but was still feeling the pulled muscle that had been bothering me these past few days, so I stopped.  I can't play in the tournament this weekend.  Now that Jill's wedding is behind me, I need to start planning my own in September 2018 aboard the Golden Princess when Alice and I do our three-day cruise from Vancouver to LA.  It's the ideal cruise I've been waiting for to plan a little party with all my family and friends. It'll be so much fun, complete with ping pong and cribbage tournaments and of course lots of eating!

Day 1498

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

First day back at work...I was still pretty tired.  Traveling takes it out of me.  I worked all day, then came home, had some eggs, and talked to Jeff and Kevin about investment ideas for an hour.  At 8 I received a text from Nicole saying her mom was planning to fly home to Seattle the next day.  I immediately contacted Nicole and asked if it was a done deal.  She said no, it was not, so I called Gwen and told her she had to stay at Resilience.  She immediately agreed, thankfully.  This really is an important time in her life to get the help she needs.  There are no guarantees, but I do think this place is good for her.  Now, as long as Greg can remove himself from the picture, that would be ideal.  Not sure how India will play out in August.  I hope it won't be another round of the engagement event last January.

Day 1497

Monday, February 20, 2017

I got up early with the kids, who had to go to school today.  We had cereal together, then we got in the car and Jill drove to school about 15 minutes away.  We said our goodbyes and they ran inside the building.  They're amazing, Alex and Hayden . They have their whole lives ahead of them. 

Jill and I drove back home and talked about stuff.  I slept another hour or so before getting up again and preparing for the day and the long journey back.  I left Jill and Tom's around noon and got to the airport early. I actually ran into Leo and Louanne at security, which was neat.  They saw me off at my gate.  I flew to Dulles in D.C. first, then on to S.F.  My second flight was delayed a bit so I didn't actually arrive home until after 11.  I didn't even unpack.  I just went to bed.

Day 1496

Sunday, February 19, 2017

I was tired when Hayden turned on Cartoon Network at 6, then watched three episodes of Animal Planet's Rescue Animals show.  I think I had dreams of all my previous pets trapped in cages on an isolated farm in the deep south.  Nasty stuff.  Eventually, I got up and prepared myself for the day.  We were due at the Carolina Hotel at 9 for brunch, but arrived around 9:40.  Amazingly, most of the wedding guests had already eaten.  I would have thought most people would sleep in, but no. Everyone was fired up for the day.

After brunch, I took a walk with the kids for about 30 minutes, then went on a walk with mom, Leo and Louanne around town.  It was so nice driving around and enjoying the scenery.  It's a lovely place.  Mom and I headed back to Jill and Tom's around 3.  Everyone was tired.  I rode bikes with Alex in their neighborhood, took a walk with Jill, and also took a walk with Hayden.  It's fun spending time with just one person.  I prefer that always!

We had pizza that evening and watched the Meryl Streep film Florence Foster Jenkins.

It was entertaining and interesting.  The cast was very good, especially Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant, who never disappoints.  Bed after the film.

Day 1495

Saturday, February 18, 2017

We headed out to Pinehurst around 1:30 or so.  Mom, Alex, Hayden and I stayed in a condo that was still decorated in early '80s decor, a golf bungalow from Dynasty.  It was fine for the occasion.  We got dressed in our wedding wear.  Hayden was funny.  He asked me, "what goes on first, the jacket? The vest?  The shirt?"  Once we were dressed, we took a small shuttle to the club house where the reception and dinner were held.

Oh, it was really nice.  I loved how Jill and Tom kept everything in the room we had and made it all elegant, festive and really fun.  There was a long captain's table for all 28 guests.  We had hors' d'oeuvres from 4:30 to 6, then dinner.  Tom and Jill arrived at the reception around 5.  The ceremony was simple and emotional.  Jill and Tom exchanged vows.  It was all very sweet.

At dinner, speeches were made.  The most memorable was Hayden's speech.  He sat up in his chair and started talking, but his emotions overwhelmed him and he couldn't get any words out.  He refused to stop and it took about four minutes or so for him to get through an impassioned speech about the hardships of the past few years until Tom entered their lives.  It was certainly a highlight that washed away a certain lowpoint that I also won't forget anytime soon.

Dad was not at his best this weekend.  Perhaps he was tired or fatigued.  Perhaps he's thinking about his own impeding demise.  Perhaps gravity is weighing too heavily on his knees, which are in such bad shape he can no longer finish a round of golf.  Anyway, his temper was short and he was a bit unhinged.  When he and Sue were lost last night, he was in a panic.  Jill said he was mad at Sue and out of sorts.  He had that angry, hostile look in his eyes which he hasn't really had that much these past few years.  Anyway, at dinner he gave a toast as the father of the bride.  It was a perfectly fine toast, though he brought up details from the past with Chris that easily could have been edited out of his speech.  He was riding the line between good toast and About Schmidt toast, but came through in the end, until he did something at his toast's conclusion that I don't think I'll ever forget.  He looked over at mom and said, "Top that," in a voice that was aggressive, confrontational, and just plain mean. It was startling, but in a way sort of captures who this guy is.  When he did that, my immediate thought was, "Yup, that's the guy I lived with for the first 18 years of my life, that's Dad."

There was a mild sort of reaction from the table and mom made a kind of grunting sound before she shook her head and stood up and said, "Well, okay, I wasn't planning to speak but I guess I will!" Without planning to say anything, mom delivered a gracious, heartfelt toast that totally nailed the sentiments of the evening while putting Dad in his place.  I'll never forget those few moments, sitting between my two parents as they dueled it out one last time.  I was so proud of mom for standing up to him and actually topping him quite easily.  Like Trump, Dad was left to comfort himself using only the power of his imagination to believe his speech was the best, even though it was tainted with an unnecessary poke and dig at mom's expense.  Boo on that moment.

Dinner was fantastic!  I loved my steak.  I enjoyed every single bite.  After dinner, we danced for about two hours, especially Hayden and Colin, who were both amazing.

The reception/dinner was over at ten, so we took the party to the Rider Cup Bar, where we closed the bar down at midnight.  I took the shuttle home and fell fast asleep.

Day 1494

Friday, February 17, 2017

I managed to sleep a little on my flight to JFK.  In the morning, I boarded my flight to Raleigh and arrived around 9:15.  I got my rental at Alamo and drove south to Whispering Pines.  The weather was great, sunny and mild and not cold at all.  I used Waze to get there and had no problem finding Jill's, even though I had to take many isolated winding roads to get there.  I arrived before noon. There's a party tonight at 6 but most of the prep work is done.  Mom and I chatted in the living room and after lunch I took a nice long three-hour nap before finding Alex and Hayden home from school. They were excited about the weekend.  I hung out in both their rooms and walked around the neighborhood with them.  They have a great baseball field in their back yard.  It's that big.  Hayden reminds me of myself as a kid.  He has lots of energy and he's really funny.  He's much more social than I am, which is a good thing.

The kids hung out by the front door, waiting for guests to arrive.

Alex and Hayden in Party mode, waiting for guests
Leo and Louanne were the first to arrive after six.  Leo, Dad, and two of Tom's friends played golf in the morning, Pinehurst No. 6 (Pinehurst has 9 courses).  No. 2 is the most famous course, where they've played the U.S. Open.  Dad and Sue arrived a little later (having trouble finding Jill's house because the development's so new it's not on many GPS systems).  Lori and John, Jill's friends from Reno, arrived a little later.  I hadn't seen them in years.  It was great to catch up with them.  Tom's family was there.  His sister seems a little down.  His two daughters Jordan and Shannon were there, and Colin's husband Colin, who's really fun and nice.  Sadly, Shannon and Colin's dog passed away just a few days ago after eating a rope.  Crazy.

By 8, everyone was at Jill's and the party was in full swing.  It was great seeing everyone.

Me and the bride, Jill


Getting ready for the party
I stayed up until 11 or so, then shut things down in a hurry.  I was hardly functioning that last hour. On to the wedding tomorrow.

Day 1493

Thursday, February 16, 2015

Left early for work, taking B bus with luggage.  I tried not to rush things this time.  Flight is at 9:10. I'm not good with red-eye flights but I had no choice with this one.  I can only afford one day off because all my vacation time is taken up with our trip to China in May. 

Day 1492

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Took N Judah to work.  Work was fine.  Came home and ran two loads of wash and packed for my flight to North Carolina tomorrow evening for Jill and Tom's wedding.  Lots to do and little time left to finish things.  Blah.

Day 1491

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

I stayed with Alice tonight.  She had a tooth extracted and was so miserable and in a good deal of pain.  She also had a bit of a fever and was throwing up from the strong medication she had taken.  I got wanton and fish soup from ABC on Noriega and watched all the news shows while she rested.  Alice is taking care of all her medical issues so that she'll be pain-free for years to come (hopefully).  Man, getting old is a drag.

Day 1490

Monday, February 13, 2017

I went in this morning, but my muscles were still tight and hadn't healed, so another week off before playing again.  Work was reasonable.  Still plowing through Paris 1919.  President Potter is in trouble, I have a feeling.  With the departure of Michael Flynn, the wolves smell blood.

Day 1489

Sunday, February 12, 2017

A day of chores and tasks for Alice since I'll be gone the following weekend.  We switched her drapes from her bedroom to her dining room, changed the filters in her oven vent, went shopping on Irving for the first time since Alice's surgery, picked up lunch, then watched the rest of Bill Maher.  I went to the library and picked up a biography of Handel.

Handel is the best right now.  His music has been flowing through my mind since the holidays.  Op. 6 in particular.

Day 1488

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Alice is moving better today, though still using crutches.  We headed to Oakland around 10:30.  I got my watch battery replaced in Chinatown, then we went to my neighborhood and picked up a half-box of Arizmendi pizza.  We watched Bill Maher at my place until it was time to go to Rossana's for her housewarming party in Emeryville.  Lisa, Richard, Miles and Sophie were there, along with Rossana's friend Amy.  It was a very pleasant afternoon.

We stayed until 5, then headed home and relaxed the rest of the evening.

Day 1487

Friday, February 10, 2017

I did not go into the gym again (still resting my legs) and slept until 6:30.  I've been needing a lot more sleep this week.  When I sleep 8 hours I have energy throughout the day.  Work was steady but reasonable today, which was nice.  I really enjoy working at Hanson Bridgett.  The kinds of questions I'm asked range from familiar to curious, and everyone is pleasant.  I enjoy my co-workers and like working in the middle of the financial district.

I came home at the normal time, then cleaned up my place a bit before heading off to Alice's at 8.  We watched episode 1 of a Netflix show about Louis XIV called Varsailles.  The first episode was excellent.  We'll continue, though it may be a little too intense for Alice.

Day 1486

Thursday, February 9, 2017

I came across these two Tafelmusik videos the other day and find then so delightful.  I’ve been a fan of this baroque group for years.  From Canada, I first learned about them on CBC Radio in the 80s.  This video captures Handel’s brilliance and playfulness, his brimming lightness and warmth.  How I love Handel.  In the madness of our time, Handel helps.

Day 1485

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

At work I received a call from Joe Hobel at the Resilience facility, the recovery/mental hospital Gwen checked into on Monday.  He wanted to know what was real and what wasn't from my perspective.  I gave him a very general overview of our family from the beginning, what Gwen was like growing up, during her marriage and raising her kids, and the victim/trauma identity she has identified with now.  She mentioned she seemed to be the grand orchestrator of her own destiny, that more than being with an abusive partner, she was supporting the behavior with details from her own mind.  This isn't to say there aren't disturbing and highly dysfunctional elements in Greg's behavior.  He has proven himself to be completely disinterested in Gwen's mental well being.  He's rather be with a mentally ill partner than have that partner get well and potentially leave him.  At any rate, any place that seeks out the perspectives of family members feels legitimate.  I encouraged Joe to gain Gwen's permission to speak with Nicole and Jill, though I doubt Gwen will give them permission to speak with Jill.  We'll see how her stay goes.  It's unfortunate that Gwen doesn't go to places near where she lives.  Part of her need to go somewhere far is to keep away from Greg, but also I think she likes the adventure of going to a fun, exciting place like Beverly Hills.  It's more glamorous than a place like Kirkland.

Still reading Paris, 1919, about 20% done.  Very good book, and interesting time in history, just like now.

Day 1484

Tuesday, February 7, 2016

Jill's birthday.  Busy at work, then after work, my Bellingham Gang and I tried to connect online through Facebook Chat, then Google Hangouts.  The Facebook video app worked, but not very well. The sound was all muffled and hard to hear at times. We’re forming an impromptu investment club, which will be fun.  Who knows what’ll rise and fall during such turbulent times.  I'm actually surprised the Facebook quality wasn't better.  The sound was choppy, coming in and out.  Maybe it'll be better next week.

Day 1483

Monday, February 6, 2017

Couldn't help but check out Stephen A. and Skip talk about yesterday's Super Bowl.

Day 1482

Sunday, February 5, 2017

I was up at 6 to continue cleaning and prepare for the Super Bowl with my regulars, the Youngs, Alice, Rossana.  A small crowd this year, which seemed fitting considering the state of our world.  Of the two teams, I was all in for Atlanta.  Do the Patriots really need another Super Bowl victory?  No.  They do not.  Unless you're a fan, the Pats were the evil enemy and the Falcons were the good guys.  \

I picked up Alice from her house and drove her over here at 11.  I continued cleaning while Alice relaxed on the couch.  She's still in a good deal of pain.  It's hard for her to move around.  I'm not sure she'll be able to go back to work.  In fact, I doubt she will. 

I heated up the Best Damn Chili I made yesterday, and I have to say, it is the best damn chili I've ever made.  It's such a great recipe and here it is:

Best Damn Chili

I also made butter tarts, guacamole, and salad.  With my nacho cheese Doritos, Weinhard's root beer, regular beer, and chocolates, it was game time by 3.  Lisa brought over two plates of homemade fried chicken....oh my, this fried chicken was heaven.  So delicious.  So good. 

It was nice not having any game sheet or side action.  We just sat back and enjoyed the game and caught up on all things administratively incendiary.  The game was looking so good, just the way I wanted it, a blowout...and then....

Oh my God, that 4th quarter, what the hell happened Atlanta?  That was crazy.  That was ridiculous, but that's what champions do...they figure out a way to win.  I've seen it happen so many times in life, and there it was again last night.  It was disgusting but also epic...Tom Brady just may go down as the greatest football player of all time.  I'm not a fan, but I think he actually has my vote.  I can still remember the playoff game against the Raiders about 15 years ago in the snow in which he led his team to a come-from-behind victory at the beginning of his career.  He's one for the ages.  And Bill Belichick is a creative genius. 

After the game, I cleaned up, then drove with Alice back to SF.  We watched the last half of Victoria, but I was so tired I fell asleep on the couch and didn't wake up until 10:30.

Day 1481

Saturday, February 4, 2017

It was a day of shopping, cooking, cleaning, more cooking, and that's about it.  That's all I did from 5 a.m. until about 7 p.m.  Why is time going by so quickly? 

Day 1480

Friday, February 3, 2017

Finally Friday and I'm Oakland, about to get ready for the weekend's Super Bowl festivities. 

Day 1479

Thursday, February 2, 2017

I’m an immigrant.  I came to this country at five with my family.  I had a green card until my senior year of high school.  I thought nothing of it at the time.  I was never targeted, never made to feel less than.  Now it's all different.  Being an immigrant is somehow something to feel ashamed of.  What's shameful is the disgraceful language of our current president, who targets and accuses immigrants for things they haven't done and most likely never will do.  It's stirring up imagined fear, something nationalists and demagogues are notoriously guilty of.  There are terrorists and destructive individuals everywhere.  Immigrants form who we are in this country, just as in Canada.  Syrians who’ve lost everything deserve a new place to live. How we can turn our back on them goes against everything this country is supposed to stand for.  Canada is the new America.  What we're witnessing with the Trump presidency is a rejection of leadership, strength and courage.  Instead, we have fear, suspicion, meanness, cruelty, and insanity at the helm.  Deplorable.

Day 1478

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

So I finished The Guns of August tonight.  I'm struck by how closely the allies nearly lost WW1 within the first month of the war and how profoundly that war shaped history.  Now I'm starting Paris 1919.

Read a good piece by David Brooks in the NYT.

The Republican Fausts

Without heat until Friday morning when my heater is fixed, so I wear my coat and crank up the heating pad before bed.

Day 1477

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Work and more work.

Day 1476

Monday, January 30, 2017


Day 1475

Sunday, January 29, 2017

With Alice.