Day 1536

Friday, March 31, 2017

Had one good doubles game with Glenn, Steve and Kirk, then Glenn had to play with a friend of his who showed up and wanted to learn how to play.  So Steve, Kirk and I played singles to 7 for an hour.  I made 10k steps before 9 a.m.  Work was a breeze today, just like yesterday.  Had a wonderful lunch at Tender Greens with Lillian, Murry and Jonathan, old friends from Wendel.  We shared a few stories that I cannot repeat.  After lunch, I had a few small jobs to take care of.  I continued jotting down ideas.  Came home, had a quick bite, watched Shields and Brooks, cleaned up for an hour, then headed to Alice's.

Day 1535

Thursday, March 30, 2017

It was dead slow at work, which was rare and nice.  I wrote ideas for a story I've been kicking around.  I have all this editing to do, but I do like beginning something new and different.  Came home, did a load of laundry, then crashed around 9:45, only to wake up at 1:30.  Unable to go to sleep, I watched about four openings of Stephen Colbert's The Late Show while folding laundry.  He's so amazing to me.  I've always said he's as good as Jack Benny.  I still believe it.  I liked the chemistry he had with Marisa Tomei.  I finally went to sleep at 3:55 a.m.

Day 1534

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

I didn't play badly in our 7th week of singles league, but everyone else played way better than I did.  I only one one game and lost five.  Ouch.  If I want to ambush anyone in the playoffs, I'll have to step up my game at least two notches.  I was so tired at work and when I came home I went right to sleep.  Chris called at 8.  We talked for an hour, then I went back to bed after calling Alice.  I slept through the night and woke up at 7, which it late for me.

Day 1533

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

I FaceTimed Dad today for his 75th birthday.  He and Sue are in Las Vegas, staying at Bellagio. They're seeing Donnie and Marie tomorrow night.

I'm putting together ideas for a new book that combines many elements (where I work, Millennium Tower, Syria, 9/11, Blues, poverty, immigrants, childhood, etc.).  Where I work is an amazing place. There's so much construction going on and the Transbay terminal is going to be unbelievable. Someone said it's the most expensive bus terminal in human history.  I believe it.

I watched another two videos on Syria:  The Boy Who Started the Syrian War, and Death of Aleppo.

Both are gripping, tragic, and ultimately horrifying that this country has been reduced to rubble without any civilian support.  Syria will haunt our time for the next decade or two, maybe for the rest of my life.  There are many lessons to learn from this conflict, none of them uplifting.  Evil wins in the end.  I'm sure Obama wonders what he could have done differently.  Russia and Iran are why Asaad is still in power.

Day 1532

Monday, March 28, 2017

After work, I watched a Vice segment on Syria called Inside Assad's Syria.

Isobel Yeung does a good job capturing the Orwellian state of Syria post civil war.  The war appears to be over, thanks to relentless Russian bombs dropping over the heads of the Syrian resistance.  The war has come to an unlikely end with Assad still in power.  Amazing.

My book Burning Country is waiting for me at the library.  I can't wait to get my hands on it.

Day 1531

Sunday, March 26, 2017

We got up at 6 and left the house at 7:10 for Berkeley to meet Jeff's wife Cheryl and her nephew Isaac for breakfast in Berkeley.  Cheryl has a conference in Berkeley and Isaac's visiting schools (Cal and Stanford today).

We ate at Berkeley Social Club, a new place near University and Shattuck.  It was very good.

We chatted and ate until 9:30, then dropped them off at the university stadium before heading back home.

The rest of the afternoon I caught up on everything:  taxes, journal, wedding cruise, the works.  I also made time to walk to the library.

Day 1530

Saturday, March 25, 2017

After a very long sleep, I came over to SF and got the house ready for Elaine's arrival after she dropped off her parents at the SF cruise pier.  We had San Tung chicken wings and beans and rice, with custard pie for dessert.  It was a very pleasant visit, after which I took another very long nap. Alice and I watched YouTube videos and I went to bed early, still in total sleep mode.  I slept through the night, two full nights of sleep.  Sleep sleep sleep.  I can't get enough of it right now.

Day 1529

Friday, March 24, 2017

After work, I didn't even make dinner. I listened to Shields & Brooks tear into the GOP and their complete incompetence over repealing and replacing Obamacare.  It was never going to happen and to see their D-Day happen was most satisfying.  There's no there there with these politicians.  And Trump...another big loss for him.  With each passing day he's becoming weaker and weaker.  I enjoyed what Mark Shields had to say.  Inept like nothing else ever seen.  After the News Hour, I fell asleep and stayed asleep until the next morning after 8 a.m.  I slept nearly 12 hours.  I needed it.

Day 1528

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Work, racquetball league night, then poker.  I ran out of energy midway through league night while watching Gonzaga barely beat W. Virginia, and lost every game after that.  Then I went home, had a burrito at Chipotle, and played poker for a few hours.  I had crap cards all night and took down only one hand.  I ended up losing $25.  I came home at 12:30 and slept on the couch in my coat.  I was too tired to even change.  Sad. 

Day 1527

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Talked with Gwen's family counselor for 30 minutes during lunch, Joe at Reslience.  It was an okay conversation, though I get discouraged when Gwen backtracks to the pity party she is so attached to her ongoing divorce with Greg.  It's so self-defeating.  I appreciated Joe's approach to reframe the narrative in a way that Gwen could hear.  Her bad days will always be self-defeating and unproductive.

Day 1526

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Updated my finances today and talked with a financial adviser through Capital Management.  I should be just fine the rest of my life, now that I have a secure, enjoyable job.  My only problem has been the time it takes to write, revise and read.  I'm gearing up for a new wave of projects, revisions, and ideas to express.  I just hope I have the energy to do it.

Watched a two-hour WWII documentary tonight before bed on Netflix.  Can't seem to move away from WWI and WWII histories.  

Day 1525

Monday, March 20, 2017

I'm so happy that one of my former coworkers from Wendel, Lillian Byrd, is working with me at Hanson Bridgett.

She'll fit in just fine!

Mario returns in two weeks.  I'm looking forward to having him back.  I won't be so busy (hopefully).

Day 1524

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Woke up early and made a big dutch pancake in Alice's iron skillet for breakfast. It was an appropriate foundation for another full day of eating!

We left the Sunset around 10:30 for the East Bay.  We unloaded at my place, then headed for Starbuck's to refuel in preparation for our walk around Lake Merritt.  Kevin and I remembered running around the lake so many years ago.

Walking the entire lake at our age felt much longer and more difficult, but we managed.  On our return to Lakeshore, we ran into some familiar personalities!

Miles was working at the juice shop next to Lin Jia and was off around the same time we were headed to Homeroom for lunch, so I brought him with us to hang for an hour or so.  Miles is a star and his company is always such a delight.

Homeroom never disappoints.  Richard swung by to take Miles to a music store, so it was total boys time for a good 45 minutes or so.  Nice!

We went to Berkeley after lunch and walked the streets of Telegraph Ave.  It's still a bit bleak and angry on Telegraph.  Cafe Mediterraneum is closed and so is much of the old-Telegraph character of the street.  Moe's is still around, however, and Ameba and Rasputin's.  Kevin bought t-shirts for everyone.  We hung out for an hour, then headed back to Lakeshore.  Mike took a nap and Kevin and I played a few more games of crib.  Miles texted me saying he and his dad were back and late-afternoon hot toddies were being prepared, so we headed to Richard and Lisa's for an hour.  Oh boy, those hot toddies were tasty.

The evening ended with a visit to Star Pizza.  After two slices, we were done.  So good.  We came home at 10 and played one more game of cribbage for we all called it a night.  I was so tired but very satisfied at all the delicious food we ate and wonderful company I enjoyed.  We a wonderful weekend!

Day 1523

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Kevin and Mike arrived in the Sunset district around 11:15 or so, taking the N Judah from their hotel on Powell.  I picked them up at the corner of Judah and 39th and drove them a few blocks to Alice's house.  We hung out for a few minutes, then got in the car and went to Irving St. for vegetarian Chinese food at Shangra-La.

It averaged 3-4 stars on Yelp and sounded like a vege institution among the Chinese vege crowd.  We ordered sweet & sour pork with fake pork, a goose appetizer with fake goose, an eggplant dish, tofu dish, and rice dish.  It was just okay.  I liked the eggplant dish best.  The s&s dish was all right but needed more fake pork.

We sat at the window and certainly ate enough food to keep us contained for a few hours.  Afterwards, Kevin was yearning for Arizmendi sweet sallies, so we went there on 9th between Irving and Judah while Alice waited in the car.  We ordered all kinds of pastries and scones, then headed to Andytown Coffee Roasters near Alice's on Lawton and 42nd for lattes and a mocha for me.  Once back at Alice's we feasted on our treats, took naps, and Kevin and I began our weekend cribbage battle.  It was nice to see lady luck on my side for once against Kevin, and all I can say was the crib games were about as satisfying as eating sweet sallies and drinking mochas.

After a few games and another power nap, Kevin, Mike and I took N Judah to Haight Street and walked upper Haight, something I hadn't done in years.

On the Haight

Passing a typical window posting along Irving St.

The highlight was the sock store we went into.  Kevin bought Alice a pair of ladybug socks that are so cute!  Alice loved them.

We walked back along Irving St. and met Alice at Yummy Yummy!, our favorite Vietnamese restaurant in the neighborhood.  Kevin loved his vege spring rolls.  Yummy Yummy never disappoints.  After dinner, we came back to Alice's, cracked open one of our favorite wines...

...made brownies, and had enjoyed our drink and dessert while watching the latest Real Time with Bill Maher.  At 10 it was time for bed.  We'd eaten so much food and walked over 17k steps.  We'd talked about everything and thoroughly enjoyed the day!  And the best part of it all was we were about to do it all over again the next day!

Day 1522

Friday, March 17, 2017

St. Paddy's Day!

Today was nice and slow, finally!  I was able to catch up on this blog, write a couple of long-overdue letters to my aunts, and catch up on entering the scores of our singles racquetball league.  Kevin and Mike are in town this weekend and Alice and I will spend tomorrow and Sunday with them.  I met them for lunch at Super Duper burger.  They had vege burgers and I had the real thing.

On Kearny St.
The rest of the afternoon was easy.  I came home, had dinner, cleaned, cleaned some more, then fell asleep at 10:30. Ready for the weekend!

Day 1521

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Busy in the afternoon, still listening to The Signature of All Things, thinking about the language, the characters, the life people lived in the 19th century. Finished The People vs. OJ.  It was excellent, really well done, though I didn't need to revisit that dark, horrible story in our culture.

Day 1520

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The endless movement is good for me but I feel like my butt’s being kicked hard today.  Started the day with our singles league and I was so exhausted after just three games. I ended up playing 6 and won 2, lost 4, which is not good.  I didn’t play too badly but everyone else played better.  I think this is my last singles league.  I don’t know. Movement’s good, but too much is too much.

Alice and I met Leo and Louanne for lunch at the Ferry Building.  It was so great fun hanging out with them like tourists at a fancy restaurant.  It took all my energy to make it through the afternoon.  Alice is still moving slowly and in pain from her 1/11 surgery.  Her body takes time to heal.  I worry that the pain she felt prior to her surgery is still there.  She hasn’t had any relief from her midsection pain in years. 

Went to dinner with Rhonda and Biff.  We actually exchanged Christmas gifts in March. That’s how tight the schedule’s been.  It’s non-stop.  I’m ready for down time, but it won’t be this weekend.  Kevin and Mike are coming to town. 

Day 1519

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

So I’m listening still to The Signature of All Things, which has turned away from science and taken on a leisurely pace through the passions of the heart, with Alma’s love and despair of Mr. Pick.  Countering that brilliant book is brilliant TV, namely, The People vs. OJ Simpson.  I had no desire to watch this.  As in zero will to see what we all painfully lived through 20 years ago.  But it was on Netflix and I’d already heard glowing things about it, not to mention seeing all those awards it collected.  So I started watching.  Mistake.  Now I can’t stop.  It’s 10 episodes and I’m already half through…in one night.  Oh dear, not good for a mind that needs rest.

Day 1518

Monday, March 13, 2017

I felt like the walking dead all day as I went through the motions of being alive. All I really wanted, actually was sleep and lots of it.  I needed a day of rest to recover from the weekend trip to LA.  Not happening, unfortunately. 

Day 1517

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Left LA at 5:30 a.m., stopping for gas, mocha, and a few minutes of rest along the way.  Listened to another five or six chapters of The Signature of All Things.  I’m still in awe of the writing and expansive dimensions of this work.  Once I arrived homed, I checked to see how much more of the book I had left.  I was thinking I was nearing the end.  Of no.  I wasn’t even halfway through!  I was both surprised and delighted.  I didn’t want the novel to end.  I downloaded a copy on Kindle to experience passages in my head.  What a glowing masterpiece.  I listened to another chapter before unpacking, then met Lisa at La Parisienne on Grand Ave. to catch up for 40 minutes or so.  We talked about life, marriage, Ari, all the things we’ve talked about all these years.  I’ve seen her four children grow up to become such amazing and articulate young adults.  We had lattes and shared a delicious chocolate pastry that was dense with all the things I need to reign in.  The older I get, the more I love food and less discipline I have to say no to such things, especially at cafes in the afternoon. After we said our goodbyes, I headed to Trader Joe’s for ingredients to make the best damn chili recipe I made for the Super Bowl.  I chopped and opened and poured everything into a giant pot while cleaning up a bit.  In need of a few minutes to watch something on TV while eating, I noticed the People v. OJ Simpson mini-series was now on.  I had no desire to watch it, but the positive buzz was so strong that I was curious to see how the series began.  So I watched.  And watched.  I couldn’t’ stop watching.  I can see why it generated such praise.  Everything about it is excellent.  The acting is superb, the writing tight and believable.  I may have to watch it all, even though I have no time for a mini-series right now.

Day 1516

Saturday, March 11, 2017

I woke up at 4 and left Alice’s at 5:30 for my long trip to LA.  I packed what I needed and even downloaded a novel on my phone from the library. It took a while to find something and I never really settled on anything to listen to.  I just picked something from an author who sounded familiar, Elizabeth Gilbert.  I didn't remember who she was or what era she lived in, but I listened to the first several chapters of her novel The Signature of All Things.  I was mesmerized.  What a book!  What a narrative voice! 

I asked Siri when she was born and it brought up her Wikipedia entry.  I noticed 1969 and Eat, Pray, Love.  I wasn't part of that craze a few years ago, but with the first five chapters of this novel I could tell she was a powerhouse writer, truly brilliant, as good as it gets.  Amazing. 

It made the trip really enjoyable. 

I arrived in LA around noon and met Gwen at the place she's staying on Beverly Glen Blvd.  It's an old mansion in a very nice neighborhood, very fancy, with big houses and a park across the street.  We went downtown for lunch at Uhr, then checked into our hotel in Century City, a Courtyard Marriott that was decent enough.  Gwen wanted to walk, so we headed to the mall across the street.  They're renovating the entire mall so there wasn't much to see.  I came back early and rested a bit while Gwen continued shopping, her guilty pleasure in life.  We met Arianne for dinner and went to the Overland Cafe a mile or so from her house. It was so nice catching up with Ari and talking wedding plans.  She and Conner are getting married December 30.  It was a lovely evening.

After we dropped Ari off, Gwen and I headed back to the hotel to watch a movie.  We got popcorn, red ropes and soda from the store across the street and found an old Orson Welles movie on Netflix that neither of us had seen, Compulsion.  It was just like old times downstairs at the West Alpine house in Bellingham, watching old movies late at night.  Really great day.  I wish I were hear just one day longer.  I leave tomorrow early.

Day 1515

Friday, March 10, 2017

A slower sort of day that ended an extremely busy week.  There was so much to do this week but I managed to finish all comparisons, conversions and charts.  After work, I went to SFO to pick up a rental car to drive to LA for the weekend.  It didn’t take too long and arrived at Alice’s around 6:45.  We went to ABC for chicken and noodle, then went home to bed.  I plan to leave around 5 tomorrow.

Day 1514

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Went to the gym in the morning to put my gear in a locker for the day.  Work was busy.  I took BART to 12th Street City Center and arrived at the gym around 5:30.  Warmed up and played 9 singles games for singles league, winning 6 and losing 3, which is not bad for these old bones.

Day 1513

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Three grueling work days in a row.  This has been a brutal week so far and I'm still way behind.  No energy still.  Hmmm.

Day 1512

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Another really grueling day at work with a ridiculous request to complete two Table of Contents and Authorities in only 20 minutes using Best Authority.  Usually, it takes me a good 40 minutes to do one.  The request was so ridiculous that what I gave them was a joke.  I told them as much.  In my email I said, "Best I could do in ten minutes," which was true.  How annoying.  I'm not sure who was responsible for that disaster, but I didn't appreciate it one bit.  Came home and ate dinner and did nothing until bed.

Day 1511

Monday, March 6, 2017

So busy at work today and little time for anything else.  My head is spinning.  I'm too tired to put anything on paper right now.  To bed.

Day 1510

Sunday, March 5, 2017

A day of rest for both of us.  We didn't go out, though we were planning to see LaLaLand at noon.  It rained, hailed, rained again, was sunny an hour or so, then rained once more.  We both did our thing, catching up, etc.  Really for another week of stuff.

Day 1509

Saturday, March 4, 2017

I drafted my wedding cruise email to the Bellingham gang today.  It's time to put all the details together so that cabins can be reserved.  I think it'll be so much fun bringing together my friends and family from all the various periods of my life for games, tournaments, ping pong, poker, and of course endless eating and drinking.  I'm glad I have time to put the details together.

Alice and I went out to Cost Plus and Old Navy this morning, then to the Korean market for lunch.  We came home before the big storm that hit SF in the afternoon.  We watched Bill Maher and an episode of Pretty Little Liars, which I found hard to enjoy.  

Day 1508

Friday, March 3, 2017

I was sore at the gym, sore at work, but moved a little better afterward.  I came home, cleaned up a bit, folded laundry, then headed over to Alice's.  To sleep at 10.

Day 1507

Thursday, March 2, 2017

A little bit sore today from yesterday's singles league.  Work was relentless.  Spoke with Gwen in the evening, who seems to be coming to terms with her divorce with Greg.  I worry that once Greg fades from her life, another imagined antagonist will enter her world.  There are limits to her ability to own her life and come to terms with the chaos she sometimes creates.  I doubt she will ever accept the whole of her life.  Her blind spots feel like black holes to which most people at her age know who they are.

Day 1506

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Played my first singles league session, winning 5 and losing 2 and feeling a little more exhausted than I'd like.  Work played itself out.  Talked with Chris in the evening for an hour, then Gwen for an hour, then bed.