All posts by Chris

Zach's Dad

moving on

Sepi and I went to Southern California not last week but the week before. I already posted about going to Norman’s Rare Guitars and I hope to do a whole post on her nephew Jon’s recovery from surgery.

But a thing happened on the way back. We stopped to get gas at one of those places along I-5. They’re not really truck stops. Maybe one gas station caters to trucks but there are three or four others. There were some fast food restaurants. We wanted to eat but not fast food. Our choices were Denny’s or Harris Ranch. We chose Denny’s because it was on our side of the freeway.

We parked carefully right in front of the front door. We chose seats so that we could easily see the car. After our food had come, we noticed that a family was out there milling around their car. At one point, the young boy – about 10 – went over to my car and looked right in the window. He was just a kid, but still . . .

I got up and went out there. This is what I saw:

My first thought was the Tele. I walked around to the other side and looked in. The Tele was still there. I thought everything was still there, but then I realized that my back pack had been in the back seat . . .

. . . and now it wasn’t.

It turned out that the other family had had their car broken into in the same way. The two kids were wailing over the loss of their iPad and Kindle. The Mom kept telling them, ‘It’s just stuff.’ I thought that was awesome.

My wallet was safe in my pocket but the backpack had some stuff in it: my iPad, my voice recorder, a headlamp, some memory sticks, my work IDs, my headache pills. Losing that stuff didn’t bother me that much. But the backpack was Zach’s and I had kept two of his special pens in it. Now they’re gone. That bothered me.

All the way home I stewed about it, but ultimately I realized that this is the universe telling me to move on. I filled out a police report. I talked to the insurance agent. There is a minuscule chance that I will get Zach’s backpack back. Minuscule here really means none. I’m moving on. It’s one more step.

PS. I looked up my earlier post about Zach’s backpack. It’s not bad. Check it out here.

jazz band

Already it’s been a week since the Skyline Jazz Band concert. Yikes! The last month has been such a blur. We got back from Southern California late Friday night. I had a long day at work Saturday. Sunday was Mothers’ Day so we went down to Santa Clara to be with Mom. The jazz band dress rehearsal started at 6 in San Bruno, though, so we had to bolt our dinners and head back up the Peninsula early.

Monday we went to the Brisbane City Hall to finalize our reception location. Then we went to San Francisco City Hall to finalize our wedding. (It’ll be August 8th at 5 pm. Invitations should be going out within a week or so.)

BTW, ‘finalize’ means ‘pay for’. Expenses so far haven’t been too bad, though. The catering for the reception will be expensive. Sepi at one point suggested that we contain our costs by keeping the post-wedding numbers to a minimum but I thought if there is ever time for a party this is it.

Anyway, the jazz band concert went ok. Teresa, along with several of Sepi’s friends, came to listen and everyone pronounced it good. I could only think of the mistakes I made. Nevertheless, making music is one of my favorite activities. It’s been a privilege to be part of this really good band. I already signed up for next semester.

Here’s a picture Sepi took of me warming up before anyone else got there. It’s kind of moody and cool thanks to the lighting.

guitars

After two weeks without posting there is so much to write about I hardly know how to start. I’m going to talk about my visit to Norman’s Rare Guitars in Tarzana last week.

Sepi and I went to Southern California to visit family and friends. That’s another story. I happened to see a little video thing by a guy named Mark at Norman’s a few weeks ago and thought it would time to see if my 1989 Telecaster Custom shop had any value. Here’s a picture of me playing it at Vince’s in 2011.

That’s Franco playing my Washburn bass in the background. Here’s his story.

I was prepared for a big guitar store, but Sepi was gobsmacked. She took about a hundred pictures. Here’s a view of part of the store.

It didn’t take long for the expert at Norman’s (Mark) to tell me the Tele was worth about what I paid for it. Of course I would have to give a significant discount if he were to buy it for the store. I’ll hang onto it . . .

Well, naturally, as long as I was here I was going to look around. The first thing I spotted was an Epiphone Century just like Peter’s except in better condition.

Then I looked for an example of the late ’60’s ES-335 I used to own. Yep, they had one.

Now I’m thinking of other guitars I used to own. My high school friend Bruce Johnson sold me a Gibson Melody Maker that I used for a while. No pictures of this exist and even my memory is a little cloudy but I’m pretty sure it looked like this.

None of these guitars spoke to me now. I was thinking of leaving and took one more turn around the shop. There were some archtops I hadn’t noticed before. One was a Gibson ES-150 from the early 1950’s.

Looked, played, and sounded very nice. Sepi suggested that if I liked it more that the Tele, I could work a trade.

Aieee! I hadn’t thought of that. I called Mark over and he said I needed to talk to Norman who was busy at the moment. More agonizing while Sepi encouraged me. I already had a very similar guitar although not a vintage Gibson. What a dilemma!

In the end I decided to let it go. I think I can sell the Tele myself for a lot more. I don’t want to be a guitar collector, just a guitar player. Time to go practice!

marriage news

I feel like I’ve been tip-toeing around this subject for the last couple of weeks but Sepi blew the doors off today with a FaceBook post with all the details. I felt duty bound to re-post on my timeline so it’ll be all over the country by morning. In just a few hours since appearing, her post has nearly 100 ‘happy for you’ comments.

We are working on details of an August wedding date. The wedding ceremony will be rather small but I am hopeful we can bring together many more of our friends for a big party afterwards.

Spokane

Sepi and I got over to Spokane last week from Jeremy and Ashley’s in Duvall. We visited my cousins Dan and Nettie and my old friends Peter and Nanci. Sepi bonded with both women to the extent that there were times when I thought I was invisible. I was just as happy to stay out of the kitchen where they seemed to spend most of their time.

Peter’s friend Charlie restored a 1938 Chevrolet pickup truck that belonged to Peter and drove it up to Spokane last year. We guys decided to get it out and give it a spin.

It hadn’t been driven since last summer. Charlie had called earlier in the day and coached me through a couple of things I needed to know to drive it. He couldn’t have know that it was out of gas, though. In the end, Nanci had to go down to the local gas station to fill up their gas can, get it into the truck’s tank and then pour a cupful of gas directly into the carburetor as I cranked it. Thanks to Sepi’s brother Ike for generous advice over the phone that led to the cupful of gas solution.

Peter was very happy. In this picture I am still clenching from the 5 minute ride we are here just returning from. The truck is a very different beast from what I’ve gotten used to.

On Thursday I walked to the Japanese Garden at Manito Park with Dan where the azaleas were blooming. It’s a beautiful spot . . .

Epiphone Century

Rather an opaque title for most people. It refers to the brand and model of the guitar I am playing in this photo.

Sepi took the picture on the front porch of Peter and Nanci’s home in Spokane last Friday. The guitar is Peter’s. When, after Peter’s stroke, I visited them for the first time, I saw this guitar on a stand in their living room. I couldn’t believe it! It was the first real guitar I had owned! I learned to play on it! I had sold it to Peter years ago and forgotten all about it.

In subsequent visits I cleaned it up and did some other work on it. It plays great but sadly, Peter can no longer play guitar. I play it when I’m there but I suspect that’s the only time anyone plays it.

Last fall I asked Nanci if I could buy it from them. She said Peter really liked the guitar and didn’t want to let it go. She did say she told her daughters that I was to have it after their passing. I really don’t need any more guitars but it would complete a circle. It will always be Peters’ guitar though.

rings

One more quick post for today. Sepi and I shopped for rings last Saturday and found two we liked very quickly. (Compared to how I’m sure these things often go. We both had feared it would be a lengthy process.) They had to be resized and yesterday I picked them up. The jeweler was very nice and gave us a bottle of champagne to go with our new rings.

Sepi will get to wear hers right away but I will have to wait. I am excited about wearing my ring joining me with Sepi. August.

199

I hit 199 on the scale a week or so ago but back slid up into the 200’s again. Today it was back at 199. I’ll keep trying. My records show that I was consistently around 180 in the 1990s. I know, that was 25 years ago, but it isn’t like it was my high school weight (165!).  Sepi has me eating better. I’m not exercising besides walking a lot when I’m working. And I’m not working that much . . .

Goals!

risk

Over a year ago I posted a quote from Jeremy about his impending move from Georgia to Washington.

It’s a risk worth taking, to have a life worth living. Our new chapter begins in June.

Here‘s the whole post. For some reason, whenever I’ve logged into this blog – it’s one of the home pages in my browser so, every day – this post shows up on the screen. I tried to fix it once but it kept coming back so I just live with it. There are worse things to see every day.

It seems particularly apt now as I enter into the next chapter of my life with Sepi. I have asked her to marry me and she has said yes. The risk is in my head after experiencing fifteen years of a problematic marriage and six years of a relationship that turned out to be not what I thought it was. I told Sepi that while I loved her, I didn’t feel sure that I could trust my own feelings. We discussed marriage, as we have discussed many things, at some length.

One thing Sepi insisted on from the very beginning was that she wanted each of us to be ‘all in’. No pre-nups, no hedging of our bets. We each have some assets but they are roughly equal and hopefully enough for a comfortable retirement. Not extravagant. Neither of us is entering into this for financial gain.

Sepi has met almost all of my Northern California family. We will be going to Southern California in May to meet her brothers’ families and other friends. We are heading to Washington tomorrow to spend time with Jeremy’s family. I’ve met many of Sepi’s friends in the Bay Area over the past two months. Everyone has passed favorable judgement.

So my risk is not like Jeremy and Ashley’s but it’s a commitment of a similar magnitude for a person who hasn’t made a commitment like this for many years. It feels risky to me but with Sepi I will be reaching for a higher level of life. I trust that my reach will not exceed my grasp.