Monthly Archives: August 2016


I think originally this was going to be a post about being depressed. When I described how I felt to my therapist after the weekend in July that’s what she said it was. That led to some good conversation but minimal improvement until this week.

Actually it was a couple of weeks ago that I started to improve. I got a guitar lesson and did better with my exercises (PT). I look at my posts over the time before that and I see ‘reaction’, ‘more reaction’, ‘killed’, ‘reality’, ‘legacy’, ‘work’ – pretty bleak.

And that’s just what I actually wrote. It’s a lot less than I wanted to write and it’s not as bleak as what I was thinking.

Anyway, last week I took my guitar to the Fall Semester’s first meeting of the Skyline Jazz Band. There were many familiar faces and they were all glad to see me. That felt good. I was able to follow the charts reasonably well so I decided I would try to stick with it.

Now tonight is the first night I have at home this week and I had great plans but I happened to look at my work email and discovered some things that could not be ignored. Aargh! Now I’m all pissy again.

I whined and got tomorrow off so hopefully I can recover. I have work Friday and Saturday days only then two days off. Next week is the Gala opening for the Symphony so there is much chaos at Davies Symphony Hall.

I’ll try to post something more coherent tomorrow.


After getting all excited writing and feeling pretty tired at 10:30 last night, I went to bed without taking my usual sleeping pill (generic Benadryl OTC). 3 am came and I woke up and that was it. I was tossing and turning until I gave up about 15 minutes ago (6 am).

But partly what I was thinking about was the lovely post Ashley did on Facebook about Jeremy’s birthday. I thought this photo represented Jeremy at his happiest: walking into the forest with his daughter.


This, on the other hand, is a vision of this girl at age 25! Try to ignore the foot in the foreground. She looks so sophisticated here! Thinking deep thoughts no doubt. Shades of things to come!



Man, this working every day sucks! I’ve been trying to write a post for days and there just isn’t time. I get home, eat dinner, and poop out completely. I was off Monday (after a 16 hour day on Sunday) but went to PT  and then jazz band in the evening. I believe I didn’t turn on the computer all day.

Of course, there’s more to the story. The post I’ve been trying to write was titled ‘depressed’ so that’s the real reason. Monday those things happened but they were interspersed with lots of laying around. My therapist says it’s ok so there you go.

Honestly, today has been better. Is work the cure for depression? Hardly, but a better night’s sleep helped a lot. Sunday really kicked my ass although I was low before that.

The projects at work have been useful and, arguably, helping get me back on track. The easiest for a non-stagehand to understand is the canopy cleaning we did earlier this month. The first picture with the line array is from last summer. The second is partly done, so you can see the difference in the same light. The third is how it looks now. Yeah I am pleased to be part of making the old hall look better!

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I went back and looked at some of Zach’s journal entries the other day. They resonate differently from how they felt six months ago. Am I changing or is the memory of Zach the flesh and blood person dimming? Maybe it was just that particular entry that struck me differently.

More generally, it started me thinking about how we are remembered. Once there were paintings, then photographs and now videos for images but throughout it all there has been writing. And writing, unlike images, requires the person to take active steps to create those memories. (We’ll set aside self portraits for now.)

I had reached out to my nephew Steve the other day about his blog that I remembered but didn’t have saved anywhere. He got back to me with the link and said he still went back and read it to see what kind of person he was then. Well, I think it’s too bad he’s not keeping it up, but that’s not the point. We write to be remembered – by ourselves and by others. Steve hasn’t taken the blog down. I spent a few minutes looking through some of the last entries. He’s moved on to other things I suppose. (Actually he’s a brilliant videographer. See his website at

I’ve written a lot over the years. I generally have written more when I travel than when I’m at home so I’ve got lots of good records of that. When the kids were little I kept journals of their doings. Some of my more recent musings have been on the computer. Will the paper or the electron last longer? My bet is on the electron although there are issues with that as well.

I know I’d sure like it if my grandfather had written more. My mother has a couple of things he wrote but it’s only tantalizing. I can remember him but what about when I’m gone? A few fading photos like some others that I have. They’re of families – ancestors – but I don’t know who they are.

To be continued . . .

Here’s Steve’s blog address (last entry 2010!):


This blog isn’t really about Zach even though lately he’s been the top topic and his picture is on the front page. As it says on the front page, this blog is about understanding myself. It’s a way to make me write things that are on my mind. It’s been helpful to me to get this stuff out. I would like to generate dialog with others but that has been slow to develop. Hello, reader! Does my writing make you want to respond? Please do!

So, Jeremy. Jeremy started a blog many years ago. I think he was living in Montana then. He wrote something that his mother took exception to and he was upset. He was just being open with his feelings. I remember counseling him that he always needed to remember who his audience was. The subtext there was that if she might read it, then he needed to take that into account when writing. I think the experience took the wind out of his sails and I don’t believe the blog is extant.

Anyway, Jeremy’s birthday is coming up and I sat down this morning with a card to write something to my son. So many things came into my mind that I sat there for several minutes before writing anything. In the end, I wrote something brief and light for the card but I want to go a little longer and deeper here.

When I was a teenager, I railed against my father for his ‘perfect’ life. He went to college, got a job, got married, had kids, bought a house in suburbia … you get the idea. Despite (or perhaps because of) my own wanderings, this model seems to be lodged in my consciousness as an ideal. Jeremy hasn’t followed that path either. He’s done all those things but in a less orderly fashion.

Perhaps that says more about the changing times than it does anything else. Now he and Ashley are plotting to move across the country in an attempt to improve their living situation. How can you not admire that grand vision and steadfast purpose? In the face of unspeakable tragedy, Jeremy showed a grace and maturity that sometimes surprised me. That says more about me than anything else.It’s hard to let go of the idea that your child is in need of your wisdom. Jeremy has plenty of his own, hard-won, wisdom.

So Jeremy I just want to say how proud I am of you and what you’ve accomplished. From your doddering, sentimental dad.

a happier Zach story

I thought I might have details on this in my own journals but a trip down memory lane found only a note that we went out for dinner. A dedicated journal writer I’m not, although in fairness who could have guessed how precious those encounters would become.

I was surprised to find out that I didn’t go to Louisiana to visit Zach for almost three years after I went with him down there in 2011 on his move from Oregon. Of course we saw each other once or twice each year in either Georgia or California.

So it was February 2014 and he was in the midst of trying to find a doctoral program. He had driven by himself to Lawrence, Kansas in January through snowstorms and now he was going to have an interview in Tallahassee at Florida State. I drove with him and we went on to Georgia to visit Jeremy afterwards.

Anyway, the night I arrived in Baton Rouge we went out for dinner to a sports bar he knew. They had an order counter near the front and after we ordered the girl asked Zach his name so they could call us when it was ready. He told her, ‘Roger’, and started walking to the table. I looked at him with a question and he said he just liked to use different names in those places.

A few minutes later they called out ‘Roger’ & we went and got our food. Zach’s quirky humor!


Well I had a couple of doses of reality, as one might say, today. Why would one bit of reality be more significant than another? As one of my science fiction authors said in another context, reality is just a shared hallucination. True enough, but some things are more important than others.

Reality first came to my attention this morning about 6:45 when I woke up but that isn’t what I’m writing about. I had received an email yesterday from the Assistant District Attorney in Baton Rouge telling me that he had finished his investigation of Zach’s death and wanted to discuss his conclusions with me over the phone. I responded telling him that this morning was a good time and he called me about an hour ago.

I spent yesterday evening steeling myself for the news that there would be no criminal prosecution and that in fact is what the gentleman had to say. I do not use the word lightly. This man, who I will not here name, was a gentleman from start to finish. This in addition to being completely professional. He was very familiar in our conversation with all aspects of the evidence and circumstances.

Bottom line: he felt that the driver was ‘negligent’ but not ‘criminally negligent’, thus there would be no charges. I’m not going to go into all of his reasons now but they were all good enough.

The ADA was emphatic in telling me that he would be happy to talk to me at any time; answer any questions, etc. I told him how much of the rather fine points I was raising were on the basis of one reading of the police report months ago, that I haven’t been able to look at it with anything close to the objective eye needed for legalistic thinking. He reminded me that the statute of limitations for criminal action is 4 years so there is time.

Towards the end of our conversation he asked what I did for a living. This was after I commented that I could only admire people like him and the police Traffic Homicide Unit who faced death and other horrible things daily and didn’t go crazy. I told him worked at the Symphony Hall in San Francisco. He said how great it must be to work with such a good orchestra and I had to agree. Then I told him how Sarah has been playing with that orchestra as a sub since last fall and that really started the waterworks. I held most of it in until I got off the phone.

After I calmed down I got in the shower and got my second dose of reality. The shower drain was backing up! I choose to interpret this as Zach telling me that I have to press on.


‘Zach stories’

This blog format allows me to put each post in one or more categories. I can also apply ‘tags’ that are sort of like sub categories. Anyway, early on I established a category called ‘Zach stories’. I thought I would be telling happy stories about things Zach did.

Well, so far that hasn’t happened. All of my Zach stories so far are dark. The one I just put up especially so.

I still have many happy memories of Zach but they are all tinged with sadness now because I know there won’t be any more. I hope those who read this can stick with me until I can bring out some happy Zach stories. Maybe when that happens I’ll make another category so you all won’t get all bummed out. On the other hand I’m not going to be a Pollyanna. I feel dark; I write dark.

Thanks for reading.


Killed. I haven’t looked it up in the dictionary. I’m pretty sure I know what it means. It’s a brutal word. It’s the word I use to describe what happened to Zach. He didn’t ‘die’, he didn’t ‘pass away’, he was killed.

We say he was killed instantly when he was hit by the pickup truck but in reality we don’t really know. The front right corner of the truck hit him while he was on his bike and he rolled up and hit the window. Julie says she saw him flying through the air so I guess that’s what happened next. When he hit the ground the right front wheel of the truck ran him over. I’d like to believe he was dead before that happened. The police say he was at fault for not yielding to oncoming traffic. They say he was drunk and therefore responsible. The driver, who was going 53 mph (estimated) in a 35 zone, got a speeding ticket.

I’ve seen the police pictures – some of them. When I got to the one that showed his broken face I started screaming and ran to my bed and assumed the fetal position. My neighbor Rose heard the noise and came over and just held me while I sobbed. Of course I can still see that image in my mind’s eye.


more reaction

In my post titled ‘reaction’, I remember thinking about my reaction when I started it but ended up doing mostly just a news story about the weekend. Jeremy and Ashley left on Tuesday morning and I’ve been low ever since. Actually I’ve been low ever since that Sunday when I got home.

It hasn’t helped that I’ve been working way more than I’d like to be. in the 13 days since that Tuesday, I’ve worked 11 with 2 other days being evenings only. I thought I’d be ready to get rolling right away after but that has not proven to be the case. Part of the problem is that JJ’s wife went in the hospital last weekend and I ended up working three extra days to cover for him.

I hate to say no in a case like that but at some point I’m going to have to. We are scheduled for maintenance work all this week and next followed by a week of shows followed by possibly more maintenance work followed by the Symphony Gala week. There are a couple of holes in that schedule but not enough. JJ was supposed to be in today but he bailed to care for Amy and now he won’t be in tomorrow. I feel obligated to stick it out to help him so it’s hard. Maybe I can get out of next week . . .

I got a call from Teresa today just checking in. That made me feel better. Also I saw Dr Perry tonight so that helps as well. Onward! (Still using sleeping pills, tho’. Tried a couple of times to go without but that didn’t work.)