Tag Archives: Sepi

the Fourth of July

I stayed in Pacifica last night. I had to work until 2 yesterday afternoon and got lazy after I got home. I had talked to Mom and Dad about coming down but finked out. Unlike prior years, Pacifica had been fairly quiet in the previous week.

Although it wasn’t fully dark until 9:30, the bombs and skyrockets started in earnest about 8 pm. The back of my apartment complex faces the backs of some houses which all have decks. In almost eight years of living here I’ve seen people on those decks maybe 4 or 5 times. Last night was one of them.

There were a dozen or so people including kids. I could see beer bottles and cigarettes. I was hoping their deck did not go all the way to the house because they were shooting off big fountains and skyrockets right there in the back yard. The airbursts were out of my sight from my kitchen window but I could hear them. The fountains splashed sparks on their roof and their neighbor’s roof. The neighbor’s house was dark so I assume they weren’t at home. Maybe they were on the deck.

Out the bedroom window looking towards the beach we could see several large displays. About 9 pm a police car sped down Linda Mar with its lights on but no siren. A minute or so later came another, then the fire truck from the station up the street. The fire truck put its siren on. There was smoke all over.

It’s the first time I’ve ever seen (or heard) police and fire presence on the Fourth of July in Pacifica.

I went to bed around ten. The explosions continued for at least another half hour. I believe I fell asleep about then so I don’t know how late it all went. If there were big explosions later they didn’t wake me up. I am thankful for that. I remember in years past huge bombs at one in the morning.

Also in years past there were big signs posted along Highway 1 in the run up to the Fourth saying that Pacifica had ‘zero tolerance’ for illegal fireworks. The fine was publicized as $1000. I didn’t see those signs this year, perhaps because there is work going on upgrading the highway. Maybe instead of ineffectual signs, the city has decided to actually prosecute the scofflaws.

My favorite guitar forum, TDPRI, had a discussion on fireworks with predictable comments from some about restrictions on ‘freedom’. Another common theme was how communities have banned fireworks but people get them and shoot them off anyway. Sepi says Brisbane enforces their fireworks ban more closely, perhaps because they are right up against San Bruno Mountain, which is covered in dry grass.

I suppose in the big picture of where our country is going, this is a small thing. OK, rant over. Tomorrow we are heading up to Lake Tahoe for a group camp out in honor of Zach. I think I’ll do another whole post on that happy subject.

moving

It’s official. Sepi and I will be moving into her house in Brisbane in September. Despite my efforts to not accumulate ‘stuff’ there is a lot of ‘stuff’ in this apartment that I do not need.

I have three boxes of Zach’s ‘stuff’ that I have already decided I can let go of. He had looked at it all in 2014 and said he didn’t want any of it. I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away then and I hadn’t even thought about it at all until very recently. I’ve reached out to his siblings and to Ally but there is no interest. It’s possible his mother may want them. That inquiry is pending.

I sent out a message this morning to relatives about my furniture that I will not be needing in a couple of months. Perhaps in the coming weeks I will host visits where they can look through my things for ‘stuff’ they want. Meanwhile I will be accumulating boxes to put things in.

From 2004 to 2010 I moved three times. It doesn’t sound like much but I had been in the Grass Valley house with a family for ten years. There was a lot of ‘stuff’! Also, there was a lot of shuffling of ‘stuff’ back and forth between two houses for a while culminating in the foreclosures. Some things I thought had value I just left in the house for the new owners. I had no room for them where I was going.

I learned that I didn’t need most of that ‘stuff’ in my little apartment. There is a hardware store down the street that sells screws and things by the piece. I don’t try to work on my own car any more. Pacifica has a library.

Sepi’s house is comparatively big but we are both committed to downsizing in the long run. Ultimately our expectations are that we will move to a condo with a pool and an exercise room with shops nearby. Then we will have to downsize still more.

two years

Sort of continuing my last post . . .

Originally, I was going to write about my last week and how stressful it has been making preparations for my wedding with Sepi. This is not a political blog.

I may develop that further but for now I want to acknowledge the second anniversary of my public writing here.

Two years and two weeks ago I put up my first post on this blog. This post is number 277. If I’ve done my arithmetic right, that’s a post nearly every three days on average. That’s remarkable especially since the last three months have been much less often than that.

Thank you to my loyal readers and commenters. You are few but very meaningful. I’m going to try to write another post tonight to bring my average up. (Just kidding.)

crisis

One week ago last night I wrote this word in my datebook. I use my datebook for more than just appointments and work records. I make notes of my activities when I feel like it. Sometimes I wonder when I saw a certain movie or had dinner somewhere and I can page back through the datebook and find out.

Last Wednesday’s box has ‘suit in for alterations’, ‘Jack Grad party’, and ‘– crisis –‘.

The crisis was Sepi telling me that she could not marry me because I was an atheist and to for her to marry an atheist was to turn her back on God. Her suggestion was that I ‘accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior’.

For those who don’t know, I was raised as a Catholic and was active in the Church throughout my high school years. I went to Mass regularly, sang in the church choir, and was active in the parish youth group. I had attended parochial school through the 6th grade.

In the late ’60s, there was a requirement for all American males to register for the draft, which was a mechanism for teh government to populate the armed services. One could argue that service in the military was an essential part of citizenship but that’s an argument for another day. The Vietnam war was a real thing and the draft and the military was in the thoughts of every young American male at the time.

With this background, I began to draw parallels with the military command structure and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church and not in a positive way. I felt that the reasons for the US to be waging a war in Vietnam were not good enough to commit such wastage of blood and treasure. And I felt that the requirements of the Mass were similarly arbitrary.

I avoided the military by the simple expedient of having a high draft number. A draft lottery had been introduced the year before I turned 18. My number was around 175 and the highest number that was going to be taken was around 50. My friend Bruce had a number of around 35 and was able to enlist and choose to go to Germany instead of Vietnam. Actually, I’m not sure of the mechanism but that’s what happened.

As for the Church, I just stopped going after I graduated. I went away to college and was obsessed with music so it didn’t seem important.

In our early conversations, I related some of this to Sepi and at one point used the word ‘atheist’ to describe my beliefs. We have had a lot of discussion about this in the last week and one of the questions was ‘When did you turn your back on God?’ My answer is, ‘I don’t know.’ That is to say, I can’t pinpoint an exact moment when I no longer felt there was a God. A more complete answer is that I did not turn my back on God. I did hold with the belief that there is ** something ** connecting everything in the Universe. All knowing, all seeing, etc. It has some similarities to what is commonly referred to as ‘God’ but I reject the idea that this ** something ** has human qualities. For instance, God, or this ** something **, does not ‘talk’ or ‘listen’ or have ‘will’. Those are human qualities. By assigning them to an omniscient being we diminish it (or Him, if you prefer).

Sepi wasn’t much impressed with my hair splitting so we talked late into the night without resolution. I had made an earlier commitment to meet with her pastor to discuss these issues but had been finding ways to not call him. That night we called him and he agreed to meet us the next morning.

Pastor Steve welcomed us to the conference room at his and Sepi’s little church. His first question to me was, ‘If you died today and had to stand before God, what would you say to Him?’

My answer was that I saw so many cognitive disconnects there I hardly knew where to begin. Our conversation was civil and respectful but Pastor Steve believes in the Bible as the literal Word of God, that Jesus is the Son of God and He died to forgive our sins and that we have to ask God’s forgiveness to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. My apologies to Sepi and Pastor Steve for paraphrasing. I hope I am fairly representing the gist of it. In any case, I could not agree with all of that.

We went around and around but there was no resolution. In the end, I agreed to do some reading of the Bible and Pastor Steve generously gave me one to keep.

After we left, Sepi and I continued our conversations. I said I would talk to other people who were Christian and try to find a way to reconcile my beliefs with hers. I did that, but it always came down to belief, the leap of faith, and it wasn’t there. Somehow, the core of my being was not able to buy into the concept of God as someone to ‘talk’ to.

We went through our weekend, doing things and continuing to talk, but all the wedding plans were on hold. The joy that I had felt thinking of my impending marriage to this woman was muted. how could I find a way around this difficulty. I had made it clear at the beginning that this was not something to take lightly and say the words just to get through the wedding. Sepi recognized at the beginning that there was a danger of resentment developing on my part if I felt I was compromising too much.

We were happy with each other in pretty much all of our day to day activities but this ultimatum, as I was beginning to think of it, was driving a wedge between us. It was on my mind constantly. Sepi at one point asked me how I was doing and I said I was unhappy because I was facing two bad choices: compromise what I thought was integral to my identity or lose her. This was all complicated by the fact that we had already chosen a date for the wedding and it was fast approaching. I was beginning to especially resent the deadline aspect of making this momentous decision.

Then early Wednesday morning she asked the question again and I responded in much the same way. Then she said, ‘I don’t want to lose you and I don’t want you to become someone you are not happy with. I will marry you as you are.’

I was stunned. Just like that? Well, not really. She hadn’t been just sitting back waiting for me to have a revelation. She saw my torment and was affected by it. She wanted me to be happy so she decided to break the log jam.

Now I felt bad. I want her to be happy too. We talked and talked. My love for her took a quantum leap as I understood what this was costing her. She has been born again since 1982. I promised to continue talking to Christian people trying to find her faith within me. I have a copy of the Bible on my tablet now and I have been reading it. But I can do all this without the tension of getting it done immediately.

I still see it as a tall hill to climb. I looked up the story of Saul and his conversion, though. He didn’t expect anything like that. One of our friends commented that finding God through revelation is all well and good, but most of us have to make the leap of faith without it. Too true.

Rosalie

It’s nothing very unique for a grandfather to be enamored with his granddaughter. Nor should anyone be surprised if I talk about how smart or creative she is. A search in the tag cloud for Rosalie will turn up quite a few of my paeans to her awesomeness. Here’s one of my favorites from almost exactly a year ago.

Jeremy called me the other night. He’s at home with Rosalie while Ashley is camping with her 5th graders in Outdoor Ed. My conversation with Rosalie was marred by the speaker phone cutting in and out but one thing I heard clearly was that she will be celebrating her ‘half birthday’ on Sunday after her Mama comes home. How cool is that? Five and a half. My half birthday was yesterday but I’m not going to put a number on it.

Anyway, I wanted to post about a little thing she did while Sepi and I were at her house in April. Jeremy had gone off to a job interview and we were alone with her. (Ashley was at work.)

Before he left, Jeremy had come up with some scrap paper and given it to her to draw on. And draw she did! Sepi and I were finishing up a leisurely lunch at the kitchen counter. Rosalie was at her drawing table in the dining room. She came over every few minutes with a stack of colorful drawings. Some were representative and she would explain what they were. Some were just patterns or rainbows. As soon as she could satisfy us with her explanations, she would disappear, explaining that she had more papers that had to be drawn on. Maybe ten minutes later she’d be back with another stack of interesting drawings. This repeated for a while until the paper was exhausted. She clearly wasn’t!

We saved a selection of those drawings but they got into Sepi’s house and I haven’t gotten them back yet. I did save a couple of smaller works she did earlier that day. We had each outlined one of our hands on paper which she then embellished and signed. Somewhere along the line they got cut into smaller pieces before I saved them. If you look carefully, you can see the yellow outline of fingers. Since they were our hands, we were required to sign them too.

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 . . .

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.