Tag Archives: Wood


It’s interesting to read the generally upbeat tone of the last post from the perspective of a few days later. I had left the larger group to their activities and went off by myself, first (after breakfast) heading over to Zephyr Point where Nancy had had the bench installed. I suppose I was technically trespassing as I was not a guest there. No one challenged me and I did not stay long. I was well familiar with the conference center layout and went right to it.

It’s a lovely spot and a lovely bench. The day was the best that Tahoe could offer:


I drove on up the east side to Incline Village, got some lunch and headed down the hill to the Kents in Grass Valley, where I spent a good couple of hours just talking. Then to my brother Tom’s, where the foothill Woods were gathering.

That was very nice. I especially enjoyed watching the cousins play together. We stayed the night at Tom’s and got up early the next day to have breakfast with our former neighbor Patsy. Originally I wasn’t going to go since Nancy was going to be there and I didn’t want to harsh anyone’s buzz. The children prevailed upon me and in the end it was fine. We were both on our best behavior. After breakfast, Emily & Linda loaded their stuff in my car and I took them back to SF to fly home.

All that went well. I felt pretty normal most of the time; no big weepies or anything. I knew I was going to need a nap when I got home. Both nights away had been really short. So the three hour nap Sunday afternoon didn’t surprise me but going to bed again at 8:30 and sleeping to 6 am did. Then Monday morning after I did laundry, I was really tired again and had to lay down some more. I had driven 625 miles by myself from Friday at noon to Sunday at noon with a total of 8 hours sleep.

Jeremy was coming back from Grass Valley and Teresa had a big dinner planned but I was logy the whole afternoon. Finally after they called to say they were there at Teresa’s, I walked over without enthusiasm.

Before I even got in the front door, I was hit with a 3 1/2 year old lightning bolt named Rosalie who doesn’t do sadness. So that was good. We had a wonderful evening. Rosalie wanted to go to the beach and Ashley wanted to go to the pier to look for whales again. Luckily, there is beach near the pier. The whales were still putting on a show and Rosalie played in the sand and watched the birds and fisherfolk. Then we came back and ate and visited some more.

The next morning we saw the Georgia folks off to the airport from Teresa’s. Jane took them in her van. We got one last photo then I headed home for more laundry and cleaning up. Nancy had wanted the oak box that held Zach’s ashes for these last few months so it was gone.


I put Hobbes in my bedroom next to Poochie and took the dead flowers out to Rose’s little Zach garden and laid them there.

IMG_8361 IMG_8364

I don’t feel sadness so much as I’m just really tired. I’m going back to work today so we’ll see how that goes. I had agreed to work on Friday which would have made four straight long days working. The thought of that was making me weak so I bailed out of that one. Hopefully I can keep it together for today and tomorrow and recover on Friday.


Father’s Day

Since this page is a confessional, I’m going to confess: I don’t think I’ll call my father today. Some of the reasons are in the previous post, but also it’s the knowledge that Dad called this a ‘Hallmark holiday’. That is, a fake holiday ginned up to sell stuff. I know, that’s what made America great, but I’m hoping we can find another paradigm.

When we were kids and Father’s Day rolled around, we would ask him, ‘Why isn’t there a Children’s Day?’ He would always reply, eyes twinkling, ‘Every day is Children’s Day.’ And it was for him. He loved us unconditionally, every day.

For me, every day is Father’s Day. He’s a treasure & I value him every day.

Besides, Dad doesn’t do too well on the phone these days and I’m going down to visit him tomorrow. That’ll have to do.

Mom & Dad

When I moved back to the Bay Area in 2010, I naturally visited Mom & Dad more but I didn’t think too much about it. I went when I had time but I didn’t make time for it.

Until one day. The day was nothing special; we might have watched golf on TV. We didn’t talk about anything heavy or important. But as I was leaving, they were effusive in how nice it had been for them to have had me there. It hit me like a ton of bricks: they’re your parents! They worked hard and raised you and allowed you to become who you are. And they’re in their 80s and aren’t going to last forever. Many of my friends my age have lost one or both of their parents – I need to treasure them!

So I made vow to visit them more frequently, which I have largely done. If two weeks pass without my getting down to Santa Clara it’s unusual. I’ve helped them with some things but mostly I just hang out with them. In fact, a common pattern for a visit is arrive for lunch, eat lunch, sit around and talk, take a nap, eat dinner, go home. Pretty sweet for me!

This past week I went down for the specific reason of meeting the Kaiser nurse who had given Dad a memory test. She had done the same test on him 4 years ago and now wanted to meet with another family member (besides Mom). As it happened, Mom had a bad cold & couldn’t go to the meeting so it was just Dad & me with Elaine the nurse & Grace the social worker.

They delivered the news: Alzheimers. It felt like they said Cancer. As in a death sentence. However, they said the disease is slow moving and Dad could still be happy for a long time. We discussed a lot of things and they gave me a huge packet of stuff to take back. At home, Mom wanted to know the bottom line, which I had trouble saying, but when I finally did she didn’t seem surprised.

Nothing is changed, really. He’s not going to take any drugs; he’s not going to die in a month. We, the family, are all determined to do what we can to keep him engaged and active and in his own home.

My own insight was in being there for two days with Mom being sick, I learned how much she does to keep things running. I couldn’t just sit back and wait for dinner to appear! I had to acknowledge that although she is in generally good health she is only a year younger than Dad and shouldn’t have to bear so much burden.

This story will be continued . . . .


I don’t know who first started calling Zach by the nickname ‘Z’ – it was probably a Ewing, as they are much better at nicknames than the Woods – but it became one I really liked. As Zach moved through middle school & into high school, none of his friends used it while the family, especially his mother and me, used it often, usually in an affectionate way. It was our family nickname for him & no one else used it.

I believe it was at Thanksgiving in Santa Clara, where the Woods traditionally gathered, in the days after Zach’s death that my sister Mary showed up with a ‘Z’ that looked like one of those European country designators: a letter or letters, black on white, within an oval stuck to the back of your car. Mary had gotten a few of these Z’s printed on magnetic paper and she suggested that we put them on our cars to remember Zach.

Here it is:
Small Z single

I thought it was a great idea and put one on my car immediately. Unfortunately, the magnetism on the paper was not enough to withstand the rigors of modern driving and the Z soon fell off. I scoured the local craft shops for better magnetic paper without success. Mary’s original Z’s were rather large, as befits a sign on a car. Once I realized that smaller ones could be just as effective with easily obtainable magnetic paper, I took to my trusty InDesign to make more of them. I made two sizes and put them in the thank you notes I wrote and gave to friends, suggesting that they put them on their refrigerators, or other metal surfaces in their homes to commemorate Zach. I’ve put several in inconspicuous spots backstage at Davies Hall & they never fail to give my heart a little flutter when I see them.

Eagle-eyed readers of this blog will notice that the header of this page features a ‘Z’.

Here are links to the two sizes if anyone cares to make their own:

Large Zs

Small Zs