Monthly Archives: January 2017


I wasn’t going to post tonight but I logged on and noticed that I’ve done 100 posts since I started last June. Let’s see, that’s in roughly 7 months . . .I’m averaging over 14 posts a month! Wow, that’s better than I thought! I hope all you silent people out there are enjoying what I write. It is therapeutic but I do appreciate positive (or negative, for that matter) feedback.

Carry on.

on the basketball court

I was out today to see my therapist. I came away with some good things to address here which I still hope to do.

Meanwhile, on my way home I got a text from Jeremy. He said Micah sent him this picture from the just redone LSU UREC basketball court.

Thank you, Jeremy. Thank you, Micah. Thank you, everyone at UREC who got this done. I cried the rest of the way home.

work vs play

The title of this post has been in my drafts folder since September. Hmmm. Well, obviously it’s a recurring theme. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. Today was my second day off after a nine working days in 10 stretch. Yesterday I looked at my long list of things I wanted to do . . . and went back to bed.

I finally got myself out about 1 pm and ran a couple of errands. Then I even cooked a real dinner. That’s as opposed to heating frozen food or going out. All good but this morning I’m unmotivated again.I still have a lot on my list but I find it’s easy to rationalize staying in. I’ve been thinking lately how a couple of years ago I went out on hikes on this beautiful peninsula pretty regularly. Not so much now.

At years’ end I tallied the number of days worked and found that 2016 was almost exactly the same as 2015. In fact, the last 4 years are remarkably close. That would be fine except I’ve stated many times, to myself and others, that I want to reduce my work load. Days like today, though, highlight the question of what do I do with the extra time.

Jazz band starts next Monday so that will be something. It remains to be seen if I can practice more.

I think about writing a lot but actually doing it less so. I did pick up the Stephen King book On Writing yesterday at the library so perhaps there will be some inspiration there.

OK, up and at ’em. Time for more errands.


Sarah’s birthday was the other day. I was at Davies for SoundBox and she was there for the program on the big stage. A little before the rehearsal at ten I went into the back hall looking for her but I didn’t see her. One of the other violinists came up to me and asked if I was her Dad and I said yes. She told me that she was so happy that Sarah was getting hired and that she played beautifully. About this time, Sarah came up and joined us so I gave her my birthday card but hesitated before saying anything in front of her friend.

It didn’t matter. She laughed and said she knew it was her birthday and she wished Sarah a happy birthday. I thought, what more could a father want than for his child to have the kind of success that Sarah is having.

Sarah, of course, is more in the weeds about it than I am. It can be a strain on her. She has to be able to practice enough to continue to play well while still keeping all her other jobs going. The Symphony pays well but as a sub, Sarah can’t depend on getting called on any particular week. She’s in a good run now but it could end at any time. The contract Symphony musicians are constantly polled about the quality of the subs’ playing. It’s hard to say how much one’s personality is a factor. Neither of us is kidding ourselves that it’s an emotionless rating system so she has to be friendly to everyone. (Not that she wouldn’t be but it ‘s just another thing to have to think about.)

So, I enjoy seeing her there when I do. I don’t take it for granted. I treasure the comments from her colleagues about her playing. I know every one of them has put in the thousands of hours of unbelievably tedious work to be able to make music at that level, as has she. They certainly don’t say those things just to make me feel good. But they do!

Women’s March

I don’t know what it was officially called. I heard it a bunch of times but it just didn’t stick with me. It was the afternoon one. Evidently the morning one was anti-abortion. They both started and stopped in the same places. Anyway, Rose and Jane and Julian and Julian’s girlfriend Lisa went. All the demonstrations going on this weekend around the inaugural and I’ve been in SoundBox. I’ll try to do a post about that but for now I’ll just post (lightly edited) my impressions from last night.

left home at 5:15 for a 7 pm call. Daly City BART. The train was from Millbrae and packed – I was lucky to get a spot by the door. Being at the door at Civic Center, I didn’t wait around to see how many got off, but there were lines of people waiting to get on a la 5pm on a weekday. Many people coming down the stairs and many, many people in the ‘foyer’ lined up to buy tickets. Really, folks? Did you think you’d never come back?

Up the stairs to the street, lots of people coming down, many with umbrellas as it was raining lightly. Up on the sidewalk, tho’, it was jammed. Just like the BART car shoulder to shoulder but slowly moving towards downtown. I got to the edge and went up Hyde to the other side of the library. Hardly anyone was there. A crew was taking down the sound system for a stage there. I didn’t go over.

By the time I got to the front of the library, Grove was practically deserted. I guess I had seen the tail end of the parade. It had a really good vibe tho’. I did some musing on people and their hopes and dreams and their tendency to fuck them up. [By the time I was writing this last paragraph inside at S/B, people were talking to me about work and this doesn’t seem very coherent. It’s a theme I hope to expand on someday.]

7 pm time to start work

work weekend

Jeremy’s email has me all excited about the work weekend in May. Not about the work itself but about the idea of being with a lot of people who cared about Zach. I guess I’m seeing it as another celebration of his life, but with hopefully less sadness and more ‘celebration’.

My hope is to go to Camp Greenville for the weekend then top it off with a quick visit to Noah’s family in Cincinnati. Everything is tentative right now so watch this space!

email from Jeremy

This came in my email today:

**I apologize if you’re receiving this message through more than one channel. In an effort to reach a lot of people, I’m sending it to as many contacts on Facebook and email as I can think of. I’m sorry if I accidentally doubled up and spammed you.**

Dear family and friends,

I hope this finds you all well. I first and foremost want to thank all of you who have reached out to my family and I to offer support and condolences in the year since we lost our beloved brother, son, uncle, cousin and friend Zach. I’m deeply appreciative for all those who’ve been able to offer support through their own grief. I’m continually amazed at the impact of Zach’s life on so many disparate people.
I’m writing to let you know of a project that’s been in the works for a long time, and am happy to announce it’s finally happening. As most of you know, Zach was a camp counselor at YMCA Camp Greenville in North Carolina for one summer; while the demands of school and life precluded him from returning to work there, the experience impacted him profoundly and he often spoke warmly of his memories there. Last fall, one of Camp Greenville’s backcountry camping shelters was destroyed by a falling tree. With the invaluable assistance of longtime camp director Greg McKee, we’ve arranged to “pick up the slack for Zach” by holding a service weekend at camp in Zach’s memory, with the primary goal of rebuilding the shelter and renaming it “Zeke’s and Zach’s” (the original name of the shelter was Zeke’s Place).
The project will take place the weekend of May 5th through 7th (FridaySunday) at Camp Greenville. The very tentative schedule is to rendezvous at camp Friday night, work all day Saturday and hold a remembrance chapel at sunrise Sunday morning at the Pretty Place chapel before we part. We will stay in cabins at camp on Friday and Saturday nights.
I live in Atlanta, and will coordinate travel from there to camp and back for as many people as necessary. Likewise, we will do everything we can to accommodate folks who come from out of town and need a place to stay for an extra night.
I understand that the travel will be untenable for many of you. If you would like to help but cannot make it that weekend, we also need to raise approximately $2,000 for the building materials for the project. Any extra money we raise will be donated to camp’s scholarship fund in Zach’s name.
Please let me know as soon as possible if you will be able to come, or if you’d like to help with a donation. I very much look forward to remembering Zach for a weekend with you. Please contact me at (404)895-5325 or Also, please forward this message to anyone who I don’t know who would like to participate in Zach’s memory.
Much love,
Jeremy Wood
(not Pretty Place but in the Smokies – 2008)

power outage

Last night I picked up a Papa Murphy’s pizza on my way home. It was about half way through cooking when the power went out. Unlike the last few days when I’ve lost power for an eyeblink – just enough to require the electronic clocks to be reset – this time the power stayed off.

After about 10 minutes, I took the pizza out of the cooling oven and ate it. It wasn’t really done but it was good enough, particularly considering the alternatives. The pizza and the bottle of wine I cracked were to celebrate some news that I am not yet allowed to tell.

I had flashlights but no candles. Rose, of course, had some candles and brought some over so we sat in their flickering light and drank wine. When the bottle was finished and the lights hadn’t come back on, she went home and I went to bed.

The weird thing about last night’s power outage was that some of the lights were still lit. Any incandescent on a switch I tried came on dimly, about 30%. My one incandescent light that is on a resistance dimmer would not come on at all. A night light that is LED glowed at about 30%. The apartment out my back window (where the big TV is) had outside lights that were flashing as if they were trying to strike but couldn’t. The TV was dark. I thought about measuring the actual voltage but didn’t. I didn’t care that much!

I did go around and unplug the computer so the weird voltage wouldn’t damage it. I threw the breakers to the oven in case it came back on with the power and I was sleeping.

PG&E actually called my phone to tell me my power was out and that only 113 homes were affected. Up the hill out the kitchen window all the houses had lights on. I guess I am kind of curious as to why such a small number of buildings were affected and what was going on with the leakage. Maybe with all the solar panels and other local power sources these days there was some voltage trickling around backwards. There are supposed to be interlocks to prevent that but perhaps some are wildcatted in without interlocks. Be careful out there, PG&E guys!

It’s all good now. The sun is shining and the breeze is moderate. I hope to be given permission to share my good news soon.


In recent years, when people have asked me about what I might do with my time when I retire, one of the answers I usually give is, ‘Play music.’

For those who don’t know, I was consumed by music as a teenager. I learned to play guitar and played in a band in high school. My local JC, DeAnza College, had a very good jazz program and, rather by accident, I ended up there for three years. My last year was primarily to take advantage of the opportunity I had to play bass with the #1 band. It was a hot band and I was stretched to the max. Many of the musicians in that band went on to careers in music but I decided to work in the theatre and have the freedom to ‘play’ music when and where I wanted.

As it worked out, I played very little music for the ensuing 25 years. Work and family took precedence.

About a dozen years ago I started to come out again, mostly playing rock and roll with Tom Kent and his bands. When I got back to the Bay Area, I enrolled in the jazz band at the local JC, Skyline College. I played bass for two years then guitar the third year.

Then . . . then I had jobs keep coming up on Monday nights so I quit. But last fall I started again. On guitar, on the theory that a missing guitar player in a big band is no loss whereas a missing bass player is more serious.

I needn’t have worried. They had three bass players and another guitar player; they hardly noticed when I’m there.

Actually, everyone was very nice and welcomed me back. Many of the current band members were there for my first go ’round but my contributions this time were minimal.

But what I noticed was that I wasn’t practicing the material. I looked at it and worked at it long enough to get through it, but I didn’t work it to get any better. In fact, the second half of last semester I don’t think I picked up the guitar at all except on Monday night for rehearsal.

I decided to write about this when today, with no need to go to work, I got up and did my laundry and the dishes, then wrote a nice blog post, then  . . . farted around the house: read some, tried to take a nap, ate lunch, read some more, did a crossword, had a cup of tea.

Now I’m writing this. Why don’t I play the guitar? Or the bass? They’re all here, hanging on the wall, begging to be played. I don’t know.I’ve got tons of resources: books, music, backing tracks. It’s making me reassess my stated retirement plans. And wonder about all my motivations.

Well, I signed up for another semester of band so I’ll keep trying. It starts in a couple of weeks.

Rosalie’s gifts

I had one gift in mind when I wrote that title since the two items came in one box. After I wrote it, though, I thought of the larger sense of it. Rosalie’s gifts are many!

But today I am speaking of two gifts that came in one box about a week ago. A coffee (or, in my case, tea) mug and a little ‘Z’, also ceramic.

The mug has ‘I ♥ Grandpa’ worked into it. The base color is white but there are colors spread around on it by a young hand. In fact, the hand itself is well represented on the side opposite the slogan. On the bottom are the letters ‘AR’. What? Well, Jeremy told me that they asked Rosalie to write her name on the bottom. That would be tough for anyone using a finger full of paint. She managed the R and the A. OK!

The ‘Z’ I thought was commercial but Jeremy told me she decorated it as well. It is black with red polka dots. It’s from the same font as the ‘Z’s on magnetic paper that Mary Beth first came up with (and the logo for this blog).

My first thought was to hang it up in my apartment so I could see it someplace where there wasn’t already a magnetic ‘Z’. But before I got to that it was sitting on my table or on the kitchen counter and I liked the feel of it as I moved it about.

So I gave up on the hanging idea and now leave it in places where I will see it every day. I pick it up and roll it in my hand and think of Zach and Rosalie.

Thank you, Rosalie!