June 21--At the solstice

It's been at least a few days since I posted anything. I've been busy trying to get all the stuff I need to get done before we go to Thailand in TWO WEEKS! I've also been doing fun stuff too, so it's not all work.

We went up to my step-sister's in Auburn for father's day. It was somewhat overcast and unusually cool, so we didn't swim. My dad didn't come. He is having some circulation problems in his leg, and wanted to stay home down in the bay area. So it was a small gathering of us and my step-siblings, and their dad, who missed my dad, because they like to watch baseball together.


There are some horses on the property that belong to their maintenance guy. One of the horses just had a baby about 10 days ago. We walked down the hill to feed them apples and take some pictures. It was pretty cool. We had a nice afternoon. I really only see my step-siblings (on that side) about twice a year--on father's day and on my dad's birthday, and I am always happy to see them.

I've been in to work every day trying to get this summer course ready. I am in the middle of writing the exams for the first two months. It's tedious, and I want it to be over. This morning I will be facilitating some sort of education program for high school teachers who teach health-related topics in their schools, so I'm looking forward to that. I will be using our new patient simulators for the first time, so got here early to practice on them.

Last night I photographed a band in their little recording studio as they recorded some songs for their album. The producer and bass player is my friend from the farmers market, who invited me to the session. He has a studio in his detached garage. It's a small space but pretty cool.


A cellphone shot. I got some really good shots with my camera, and will edit them over the weekend. They want to use them for something, but I'm not sure what. In any case, it was fun.


My friend's cat Tiger. The friendliest cat in the world.

June 17--propane eyes

"Happy fathers day!" say the cats, "and give us some food!"

We went out hiking on Friday, down to Point Reyes. We decided we wanted to leave early, so we could get back home before the terrible Friday afternoon traffic leaving the SF bay area. So we got up at 4:45 am and left by 530 am. We are both used to getting up early, so no big deal.

The drive down was ok. We got to Point Reyes Station at about 8, and drove out to the Chimney Rock trail parking. There was only one other car. Yay! It's not really a long walk, but it is beautiful.

chimney rock

It was a bit foggy, which was great. I have plenty of pictures where it is sunny, so the fog gave me a different view. We walked out to the point and sat on the bench for a while. It was a bit windy, but not bad. We saw a bunch of seals down below on a beach.


They were having some sort of argument about something.


As we were driving, a doe and two fawns crossed the road in front of us. We stopped and watched them for a while. They kept their distance, but didn't freak out or anything.

We stopped and talked to the cows for a while, then headed up the coast to have lunch at the Marshall oyster stand. We ordered our food and sat outside. It was pretty--maybe about 60-65 degrees. I had crab salad and clam chowder. The food, though good, is really expensive, and the place is a dive, so I guess they are paying for the beautiful real estate they are occupying.

We headed for home at about 1 pm, hoping to avoid the traffic. I guess it didn't matter what time we left. We hit traffic as soon as we got on Highway 37, and crawled the rest of the way home. It took us 4 1/2 hours, on what is normally a 2-hour drive. Lesson learned--don't go on a Friday.

Anyway, it was a lovely day.

  • Current Music
    Joni Mitchell--Big Yellow Taxi

June 14--The procedural pause that refreshes

I don't remember what I wrote about yesterday having to do with what I needed to get done today. Maybe nothing. Anyway, I didn't do what I needed to get done yesterday, so had to go in today and get it done. I'm not sure why it seems like such a monumental task. It's really just putting together a couple of hours of content for a group of high school teachers that I will be facilitating next week. Maybe it's because high school teachers seem more like adults than nursing students, though I have had nursing students who were teachers previously.

In any case, I got up early and went in, and sat there for about an hour drinking coffee, listening to music, and staring at a blank notepad. Finally I decided to go take a walk, and I walked around the perimeter of the campus.

It was a lovely morning--a bit cooler today than yesterday. I walked down near the light rail station, and around the stadium on the east side of the campus. The east side backs up to a bunch of railroad tracks, and what used to be a rail yard. Now the former rail yard is being developed, and they have built a pedestrian bridge over the tracks to connect it with the campus. At the foot of the bridge is a planted area with big river rocks.


I was pleased to see that someone took the initiative to stack some of the rocks. I approve. I continued south to the street, and then turned west. Our old building is on the southwest corner of the campus. I noted that even though we have been out of there for more than a year, the building still stands, with every brick intact.

mohr hall, June 2018

I guess it's gonna be a while before we can move into the new building.

I walked along the western side of the campus until I was at the northern edge, where our little temporary village sits. I propped open the office door to let some of that beautiful morning in. I poured another cup of coffee, sat down, turned up the tunes, and got started. I made a quick outline, then started putting stuff into a presentation. I finished at about 12:30, just as the person I was supposed to send it to dropped in to see how it was going. She was pleased with what I came up with, and so was I.

After she left I sent it off, then went into the simulation lab to play with our new sim people, which I will be using in the class next week. They are way cool, and are operated by a tablet. I turned one of them on and after it warmed up, it opened its eyes and said "hello!" Kind of awesome-creepy.

Tomorrow we are going hiking out on the coast. It's supposed to be 70 degrees. Perfect.
  • Current Music
    Pixies--Where is my Mind?

June 13--We ain't seen nothing yet

We are in a stretch of warm summer weather, with temps in the high 90s, heading toward 100. I don't mind it too much--it's part of living here. The plants are loving it, and garden is thriving. I went out yesterday evening to check things out and noticed that the watering system hadn't come on, like it is supposed to. I went into the garage to check the controller thing, and it had a "power off" error message. I unplugged it and plugged it back in, and nothing.

I read the manual, which I found online. It suggested the possibility of a blown fuse in the controller thing. So this morning, I took that as excuse enough to not go in to work and finish this thing I need to finish. I can go in and finish it tomorrow. Today just wasn't happening.

So I stayed home and did house chores. I went out and fooled with the controller thing. I took off the bottom part and saw a board with a fuse right there in the middle. On the back of the panel I removed, was another fuse, labeled "spare fuse". I popped the old one out, put the new one in, and boom! It now works. I can't think of how that could have been any easier or more convenient.

I mostly just had the music on today and kicked back.

I don't think I mentioned that I was waiting for another package the other day, with the extra battery for my camera. It was supposed to be delivered Monday, but then it got changed to Tuesday. I got a message Tuesday afternoon that it had been delivered. I was home, and it hadn't. I sent a message to FedEx, which somehow got routed to their German offices. I got a reply the next day suggesting I sent it to the US office. So I did, and someone called later. They would look into it.

This morning when I went outside, the package was there. Whoever delivered it didn't knock or anything. I think it was probably a neighbor with a very similar street number. I get packages for them a lot. Anyway, I have it now, and don't need to deal with FedEx anymore.


I saw these guys on one of our walks last week. They look like little orchids. Maybe they are. There are all sorts of interesting things out there.
  • Current Music
    First Aid Kit--Nothing Has to be True

June12--A sensless tree is like a coldhearted mind

I've been somewhat moody/reflective/crabby the past day or two. I worked all day yesterday. I went in to work on a project that is due this week, and ended up spending the whole day working on the summer program that will be starting in two weeks. I had the realization that time was passing by, and I needed to get shit done.

I met with the incoming summer group at the start of their class at 5 pm. I explained how 4th semester works, and what the expectations are. Because the group is somewhat of an anomaly, they aren't able to access the course site I set up for them, so we have to port everything over to their current site and keep it going through the summer. So that's what I did. I anticipate further issues as the semester progresses, as no one really thought any of this through. I guess when I asked, "who's responsible for this?" a while back, that's why no one answered. Now I am.

As I was trying to go to sleep last night, I thought about my first job (other than my paper route). Actually, I didn't think about the job itself, which was working in a hospital kitchen, but thought about the woman who was my boss during most of the time I worked there.

Her name was Maxine. She was a dietitian, and was about 29 years old. The thing I remember about her was that she was one of the most beautiful women I have ever encountered. I was 17, and had a huge crush on her.

She had blonde hair and flawless golden skin. I can't remember the specifics of her appearance--just an impression. She looked like a Southern California girl.

She was married to a guy who had a Corvette, and she got to drive it to work sometimes. The rest of the time she drove a Chevy Vega wagon, which must have been a disappointment after driving the Corvette. They lived in a little beach community south of San Francisco.

She was friendly with me, and gave me quite a few opportunities in the kitchen. When she first became the boss, I was a dishwasher, but she gave me a chance to learn how to cook, and let me work with the old Estonian woman who was the regular evening cook. At the same time, I enrolled in a cooking program through my school district, and got credits for cooking at work. She suggested that I might consider becoming a dietitian, and offered to help me get into a dietitian program. I was all for it. I loved what I was doing.

One day I came in to work and found out that she had been fired, and was not coming back. I don't think it had anything to do with her specifically--it was more about some contractual stuff between the company that provided the food services and the hospital. In any case, she was gone.

For some reason, I was asked to clear out her desk. As I did, I came across a small piece of paper with some writing on it, separated by a line down the middle. There were two columns, each headed with some initials. It was a list comparing the attributes of her husband with some other guy. I recall that she had nice handwriting.

The first item written in the column that I presumed to represent the attributes of her husband was "Corvette". The first item in the column representing the other guy was, "Good sex". Each column had at least 10 items listed, but I can't remember anything other than the two at the top. What else could there be, really?

So I lay awake in bed last night, thinking about her, and wondering which one she chose. I mostly remembered how beautiful she was. If she is still around she would be about 73 years old. In my mind, she aged gracefully. She didn't choose either one, and eventually met someone else, who fulfilled her in ways well beyond good sex or Corvettes. She has a bunch of grandchildren, and still lives in the little coastal town.

After Maxine was fired, a new dietitian came in. Her name was Marlene, and she didn't think men belonged in the kitchen (or anywhere, really). She and I came to an understanding pretty quickly. I would quit, and she wouldn't oppose my getting unemployment until I entered the Air Force a few months later.

Which I did. And now I am here, somewhat moody, but very much fulfilled, thinking about someone whose path I crossed many, many years ago.

I don't have a picture today.
  • Current Music
    Michelle Blades--Ring

June 10--Welcome to Plaster City

We left the house fairly early yesterday to drive up into the Sierras to take a hike. Before we left, we stopped at the Vietnamese-French coffee shop and had some soup and a croissant. it hit the spot.

The place we were heading was Caples Creek, up highway 88, which is south of the highway that takes you to Lake Tahoe. The area has all sorts of little lakes, meadows, creeks, rivers, etc., but without the crowds of the Tahoe area. At the moment, it is sort of our little secret. The developers have plans, though, particularly for the area around the Kirkwood ski resort, and it won't be our little secret forever. So we enjoy it while we can.

I've been going up that way to hike (and fish when I fished) since about 1991, when one of my coworkers told me about it. It's always been one of my (and now Malida's) favorite spots, and we go up there at least a few times a year.

caples creek

We went up hiking around the same time last year, but the trail was impassible because the creek was too high because of the rains we had. This year was back to normal, and we were able to do the full hike out to a little lake.


A pond along the way. The weather was a bit cool, in the 50s, and breezy, but that was about perfect for hiking. There were a few people on the trail, but mostly we had it to ourselves.


I'm still carrying that lensball around.

We headed back down the hill and stopped at our favorite place to eat along the way, Cook's Station, which is an old stage stop. They have the best hamburgers around. Malida had a Hawaiian burger and I had a mushroom Swiss burger. Delicious.

Malida is talking to her cousin in Frankfurt. We are going to meet up with them when we are in Thailand, and they want us to bring them some things from the US, and asked if I wanted anything from Germany. I told her to bring me some muesli. I can never find good muesli here. I couldn't think of anything else, but it made me want to go back to Germany just because. Maybe in a few years.
  • Current Music
    Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova--Falling Slowly

June 9--The Old Waterfall

I got off to a sort of slow start yesterday. My goal for anytime I'm on break is to be up by 7 and out of the house by 9, whether I have someplace to go or not. It's more a matter of discipline than anything else. It keeps me from frittering the day away.

I got up on time, but didn't go out until about 10. I went for a walk in the park. I had a vague plan of going to Home Depot and thinking about what I wanted to do in that corner of my yard where the fountain is, and that's what I did. I went over there and stared at the paving stones for a while, then wandered around looking at other things. I came back to the paving stones and started playing around with them, seeing how they fit together. Eventually an idea formed in my mind, and I loaded up a cart with stuff and brought it home.

I spent the afternoon working on it. The weather was perfect for working outdoors. I had to level out the ground and reroute the irrigation hose. I started stacking the stones to see what it would look like and came up with a plan. I only had enough stones for one side, but it's a start. Now I know how many stones I will need for the other side, and I'll do that next week.


It doesn't look like something that would take a big chunk of the afternoon, but it did. I was really into it and forgot to eat lunch. I went in and cleaned up, and made some chicken for my caesar salad with chicken.


I drank one of these La Croix fizzy waters. I have seen people talking about them on "social media", and complaining about the taste, so I thought I should try one so I could complain too. The first couple of sips were unimpressive, but by the end of the glass I was hooked. I will have to try some of the other flavors to see if there is one I can complain about.

Trillium Falls

This popped up on my Facebook memories thing from four years ago. It is a place called Trillium Falls, up in the Northern California redwoods. It's a beautiful area, and I don't think we have been back up that way since. Malida recalls it as a really long trail to get to the falls, but I think it was more that we weren't used to hiking as far back then.

We are going to hike today, up in the Sierras. It's supposed to be cold and windy, but no rain or snow, so it should be ok. We will stop for a burger at our favorite burger place on the way home at Cook's Station. Out of the house by 9!
  • Current Music
    Elvis Costello--This is Hell

June 8--There and back again

I had to take my car in for regular servicing yesterday. I have gotten the servicing schedule to pretty much match my school breaks, so I don't have to take time off to do it. It wasn't much servicing--just an oil change and a tire rotation. I took it in at about 8 am, and decided to walk home. It's about 4 miles from the service place to our house. It would be shorter, but we live on the other side of the freeway. Anyway, it is a pleasant walk, with lots of Ingress portals along the way.


I stopped at the halfway point at the local coffee house. I like it because it isn't Starbucks or Dutch Bros., and the coffee is good. I had a double espresso, which was served with a big glass of ice water, which was refreshing after walking. I sat at a big wooden table and read my newsfeed.

As I was reading, someone came up behind me and said, "What are you reading?"

It was one of my now former students. He was there with a couple other former students. They were there to study for their licensure exam, which they will be taking in a few weeks. I like running in to former students. They alway seem kind of surprised to see me acting like a normal person.


Jessica, Jillian and Steve. Good luck with that test. You are well-prepared.

I walked the rest of the way home, stopping in the park to capture some portals. As I was walking through the park, the service people called to tell me my car was ready. I finished walking home and waited for Malida, so we could go to lunch and pick up my car.

My package arrived at the local FedEx place and I retrieved it. It is my second camera body. I bought it earlier in the week when the price went down. So now I'm done buying camera stuff for a while. I spent the afternoon getting it set up and fooling with the settings. I haven't taken any pictures yet, but will over the weekend.
  • Current Music
    Little Feat--On Your Way Down

June 7--Kitchen prose and gutter rhymes

I was expecting a package today, one that I have to be here to sign for, so I didn't plan anything. Then I got an email update yesterday that it was going to be delivered yesterday. I was going out, so I arranged to have it delivered at the local FedEx store a few miles away. In the afternoon I received an email telling me it had gone back to the shipping location. Apparently their delivery schedules are so tight, they are unable to adjust on the fly. One would think with such tight schedules, they might be able to give you a more precise delivery window other than "tomorrow by 8 pm". Anyway, hopefully it will be delivered to the FedEx store today.

After making arrangements for my package, I decided to to out and explore a bit, rather than go into work, which was my original plan. I have some stuff due next Tuesday, but I have Monday to do it.

I drove up to Sutter Creek, which is one of those small towns that popped up during the gold rush, and still exist along highway 49. I like Sutter Creek because of the old foundry that sits at the end of one of the side streets, though they have cleaned it up and it's not as visually interesting as it was.

I walked around for a while and looked in some shops. I was in search of an old concrete garden squirrel for our yard. Malida wants one as a tribute to the dead squirrel I found behind the fountain the other day.

fresh flowers

I found a cool little garden shop with all sorts of interesting things, but no concrete squirrels. They did have an old concrete tortoise, and I bought that and put it out next to St. Francis.


I walked through the old church graveyard and admired the old locks on some of the gates. I'm surprised no one has stolen them. I didn't either.

I drove down to Ione to have lunch at my favorite Mexican place. They have the best tacos. Almost worth a trip up there just for the tacos.

I came home and did some laundry and stuff until it was time to go downtown for a concert. I was meeting my sister and her husband to go see Jethro Tull. We were supposed to meet for dinner first, but her husband didn't want to, so I just met them at the theater. We weren't sitting together, so it was mostly "hi" and "enjoy the show".

The show itself was interesting. The only real band member left is Ian Anderson, and he had some touring musicians working with him. It was the 50th anniversary tour, so there was a screen behind them showing footage of old shows. It was kind of strange to see 70-year-old Ian Anderson facing a picture of his 20-something self.

The band was great, but Ian Anderson can no longer sing. At all. It was weird. It wasn't just that he can't hold a tune--it was as if he had trouble getting the words out at all. He paused after every syllable, and was always falling behind the music. I thought it was some sort of neurological thing, but he could talk fine, move fine, and killed on the flute. Too bad. It seemed like they were kind of doing the tour on the cheap. They should have invested in some decent backup singers to take the pressure off.


I got home at about 11, and watched a couple episodes of the Larry Sanders show, which is now 25 years old.
  • Current Music
    Donovan--Mellow Yellow

June 5--Refreshingly Tasteful

The windows are open and there is a breeze coming in, refreshing after a few days of hot weather. The blinds are up and the early sunlight is filtering in through the trees we planted out front a few years ago, illuminating the red leaves of the japanese maple. I have the music on (as I most always do). I pulled the plain white mug out this morning, and it is filled with good coffee. I don't need the cinnamon roll I don't have.

I went in to work yesterday morning to get some stuff done, but found that my computer wouldn't connect to the network. I called the help desk, and Peter, the IT guy, was kind of snippy about it.

"Do you think you are the only one without a network connection?" he asked.

"I don't know--am I? I replied.

"I don't know," he responded glumly." I can't get hold of regional IT to check."

I just laughed. I waited around for a bit to see if it would come back, but it didn't. I think the IT guy was snippy with me because of the multiple emails I have sent to our Dean complaining about the lack of IT support for when we use the computer lab for testing.

Instead of working, I went out looking for a new office chair. I went to about four different places, before being worn down at the last place and getting a reasonably comfortable chair that was nothing like what I had in mind. I haven't gotten used to it, but I am sure I will. It's made by Beautyrest, the mattress people.

It's been a while since I had the time to just wander around stores on a weekday. I kind of liked it. I even ventured into the Wal Mart to get a new electric kettle to replace the one that stopped working for us the other day, and escaped unscathed.

I came home and took a nap, then got up and put the chair together. It was pretty straightforward, with all the parts clearly identified, and a nifty Allen wrench with a handle. I never realized that the "Allen" in Allen wrench was capitalized. Just like Kleenex.

I walked early yesterday, before my failed attempt to go to work, and I will do the same today. I have a meeting at 10:30, and will try to get other stuff done before and after, provided there is a network connection. I've run out of things to shop for, so I don't know what I will do if the computers are still down. Maybe come home and clean up this disaster of an office.


A leftover from one of our walks last week.
  • Current Music
    Leif Vollebekk--Elegy