Sunday, July 31, 2005

Weekend Update

Yesterday Susie and I went to San Francisco to do some furniture shopping. We have some furniture dating back to before we were married. We have already bought a new table and chairs. Our old table was bought by Sue when she came to California in 1990. Our couches are newer but are getting ragged and uncomfortable. In San Francisco, after furniture shopping, we went to Koh Samui and the Monkey [link] a decent Thai place.

This morning Jeff and I went for a 40 mile ride. It was great, we made fantastic time for us. It felt good to be riding. I love riding with my son. One flat, no problem. Then, Susie and I did more shopping. We bought a new Ekornes couch and a chair [link].

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Looking back on Seattle

Space Needle
Washington State Epilogue
Here we are in the dog days of summer. Vacation is over. On Monday we will be returning to the mountain of work that has built up during our absences.

We went to Seattle. The second of my three sons got married to a very nice woman. We have three new grand kids. We had a number of family get togethers. We got together with old friends. We explored Seattle. We saw new places. We did new things. We had fun.

It doesn't get much better than that. Now we are home. Yesterday I went for a 35 mile bike ride. Besides work, next week we have a club meeting and more bike rides. The cats are healthy and glad we're back. (Pixel is sleeping in my lap.)

Looking back in the last two weeks a lot of new memories were made that will live in the collective memories of all of us for many decades. It was a good vacation.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Before we went home, we rode the ducks!

Susie and the duck

This is really a pleasant way to see Seattle! The ducks were great and the driver was both knowledgable and fun. He really knew the city and was entertaining. The duck went through some of the historical areas of the city and then sailed across Lake Washington.

After that we flew home. On our way home we saw the sunset from the jet. Jonathon met us at the airport and we got home by around midnight.

Sunset from jet

Thursday, July 28, 2005

We explore Seattle

Susie with train

We have been spending the last few days exploring the Seattle area. We've been wine tasting. We went to the Ballard Locks and saw both fish and ships traverse the passage between the Sound and Lake Washington. (Lake Washington is 20 feet higher than Pugent Sound.) We went to the Gas Works and even a scooter shop.

The dinner train was a lot of fun. It runs between Renton and Woodinville and stops at Columbia Winery for wine tasting. Today we go home, but were planning to do a duck tour first.

Salmon swimming

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

New Family and Old Friends

Steve & Luci & Family

New Family: Steve Sloan and Family
Steve's recent marriage brought more than a new daughter-in-law into the family, it brought three new grandkids. Sam, Saxony and Casden are Luci's kids and they are great kids. It is wonderful to have them in the family and we look forward to getting to know them more.

Old Friend: Robert Scoble
Yesterday Sue and I went to Woodinville and went wine tasting. After that we got together with Robert, Maryam and Patrick Scoble. (Yes, this is the same Patrick Scoble who is the podcaster and who at age 11 was mentioned on the Dawn and Drew Show.) It was great seeing all of them and catching up with them. Sue had never met Maryam and we had some very pleasant conversations. Bob is a Microsoft Vista evangelist and is quite a celebrity now in the geek world. (Bob was also one of the most gifted students I ever saw at San Jose State.) We had conversations about stuff geek and stuff not geek. We had a great time and shared some good food and good Washington wines.

Old Friend: Lynn Benson Johnson
My family blog is way out here on the long tail. One of my best readers is our wonderful old friend Lynn. Lynnster is a gifted writer waiting for well deserved world recognition of her talent. She is also very pregnant and she and husband Brian are waiting for the blessed event. She sent me this Email recently and I hope she doesn't kill me for putting this in my blog:

Ahh, pregnancy. Well, you know it's a boy. I'm getting HUGE and the midwives say that he's healthy. Judging by the rate he's been kicking the shit out of me, I'm inclined to agree. :) Brian first felt him move on July fourth, which was funny because it was like his end-of-independence day.

D-day is November 5th. I can't help but feel that he's going to be a bit early, but that sort of thinking can be dangerous. My mom is coming out on Nov. 5th and staying with us for two weeks, which'll be good!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

After the wedding

We are still in Washington. Yesterday Fran went back. Today Kenneth goes back and we are going wine tasting. We're going to Woodinville. Later this evening we are meeting our friends the Scobles for dinner. That will be fun.

Last night we went to Monroe to Steve and Luci's for a BBQ. We visited with them, their kids and her mom. It was a nice visit and great to see them in a more relaxed setting. It is so great to see the boys and the paths their lives are taking. Their mom would be very proud of them. I know Sue and I are.

My three sons

Monday, July 25, 2005

The wedding, first post

Steve and Luci had a great wedding in North Bend, Washington. I can't write a lot now so here is the first picture. Stay tuned folks!

Steve and Luci Sloan

Saturday, July 23, 2005

The Rehersal Dinner

Yesterday was the rehersal dinner in Monroe, Washington. It was at The Clay Oven, a very nice Indian Restaurant Steve and Luci frequent that just happens to be located in a Red Barn gas station. It was a great dinner with family and close friends of the couple.

Here are some photos from last night:

The restaurant

Steve and Luci

Steve and Casden

We're staying at a B&B in Snoqualamie Falls called The House in the Trees. It is an amazing place. Owen, who owns the place with his wife Nanci, is a great host. He gave us a fantastic tour of the place.

The B&B

Friday, July 22, 2005

Dinner Pictures

These photos are from our dinner yesterday:

Madison with her daddy

Luci and Steve

Susie and Madison

Closer to the big day

Bainbridge view of Seattle
Yesterday Fran and I went to Bainbridge Island. It was a beautiful trip over and back on the ferry and the island was very quaint. Later yesterday we finally got together with Steve and Luci. My sister Carol and her husband Stan also joined us. They are staying in the same Inn as us. Finally Ken arrived. He flew in from Sacramento after finally giving up on the idea of getting his car road worthy. More on all this later! Carol, Stan and us are having breakfast. It is raining today is Seattle.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Blogging from Bellevue

Pike's Market

Yesterday we really enjoyed Pikes Market. It was my first time there. What an amazing place, it is like a three dimensional maze of markets, shops and places to eat. After we got to Bellevue we had a great Italian dinner at a place called "Salute of Bellevue." With dinner we had a bottle of Hodges 2002, Three Vineyards Meritage, a Bordeaux blend that was very a nice Washington red wine!

We are staying at the Silver Cloud Inn in Bellevue. We have a great 4th floor suite. We watched the Tour de France and the most recent London bombings here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

We are in Washington

Mt St. Helens

Sue, her mother Fran Graziano and I are in Bellevue, Washington. We got up at 5:30 this morning. Diane Chauncy came to us an hour later and drove us to the airport. She and JC are such great friends. The flight up was good, the highlight of it was the view of Mount St. Helens with steam venting from its cone.

We went to Pike's Market in Seattle, a great place that I had never been to. Exploring the market was like exploring a maze! That was an adventure, but the real adventure was yet to come!

While we were in Seattle, Kenneth was leaving San Jose to drive to Seattle. Just outside of Elk Grove, CA his upper radiator hose broke. As I write this he is at a Honda Dealership in Elk Grove. His car will not be ready until tomorrow. He is spending tonight at Marie's in Sacramento (another great friend.) She and her husband Kirk Roby are going to pick him up and put him up for the night. I hope they have a good visit. Friends are everything!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Family matters

Jeff with trailer
We are off to the great northwest. Wednesday morning we fly north with Fran to Seattle for Steve and Luci's wedding. It is going to be a big family event. Jeff, Nicole and Madison already left. They are driving up the coast. Kenneth is driving up and other family will be there. I hope to keep blogging from Washington State (if Susie will let me.) I am going on vacation until August 1st.

Meanwhile, our sick kitty Shadow has been having problems. So far it is not as serious as before and hopefully it will not put a crimp in our plans.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

A good anniversary day

Eleven years ago today Susie and I were married at La Foret, a restaurant in old Almaden in San Jose. It was a wonderful wedding in a romantic setting. When we can we try to return there to celebrate on our anniversary.

Us at La Foret
Today we went there for brunch. After brunch we went to a movie. It was a great way to escape the heat wave we are having. It has been a good day!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Three Rivendell Bikes at Folsom

Theresa Sickmiller shot this photo in Folsom during the Sierra-to-the-Sea 2005. It shows Cora Haselbeck, April Manns and myself showing off our Rivendell bikes. This was a great adventure and I appreciate Theresa sending the link to the photo album that I took this from.

Three Rivendells

While my guitar gently weeps

Clicking Here, or on the photo of Jake, will take you to one of the most amazing things I have heard in my life. This music touched something very deep inside of me. When I first heard about the song I thought it was a joke, it is not. It reminded me first of Jay King, the sweet man who fought a seizure disorder that finally took his life at 53, just a few short weeks of when he was going to retire early. Also, I know it touched other parts of me that I myself am not in touch with.

I don't know what it is about this, but I have listened to this music many, many times. In my opinion. it is great. I urge you to take the time to listen to this amazing music.

Jake on Uke

Friday, July 15, 2005

Feather River Memories

The Feather River Canyon is a place I have been going to for forty years. I went their with my dad as a youngster. We used to camp at Belden and walk up to the then Western Pacific (WP) tracks to watch the trains go by. I also went their with my high school friend Paul Bermeister and his father Bud. Bud had worked for the WP the railroad that ran through the canyon then. The Union Pacific (UP) later bought the WP. I will never forget the winter trip Paul, Bud and I made then.

When the boys were little we would go there and camp for a week. In the winter my first wife Candy and I would take the then small boys to the canyon for a winter trip. Susie and I have gone there and now I have gone their with a grand child. I made a lot of great trips with good friends over the years, photographed a lot of trains in the canyon and made a lot of wonderful memories.

Feather River Canyon Train

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Memories of the old swimming hole

The old swimming hole in the Feather River Canyon was one of the boy's favorite places when they were young. It was an abandoned boy scout camp, we were told, and it was called by some "Wally World." Jeff and Steve loved to catch crawdad's there. The road down there was not good and so when we'd drive our truck down there we were often alone. The place was known mostly only to locals. Some folks would go skinny dipping there.

It was also a great place to camp. At night the river would sing us to sleep and only the occasional train passing by on the hill above would waken us. In 1990, about six months before my first wife Candy died this was the last place we went together as a family.

The swimming hole
Since that time they built a wide and paved road down from the highway to the swimming hole. It is a state campground now. Now there are a lot of folks who swim there, but the skinny dippers are long gone. It is not the same, but it is still the same. It is still a great swimming hole.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Madison did well on trip

Madison Sloan

Madison did really well last weekend on the trip to the Feather River Canyon. She is crawling and she loved playing and crawling around the floor of Jeff and Nicole's trailer. She had plenty of hands to hold her, between her parents and two grandpas.

Monday, July 11, 2005

In memory of Jay King

I just learned this today:

Jay King died about two weeks ago. He was having heart problems, and then had some sort of seizure that made his heart stop and the doctors couldn't revive him. He was 53 years old and was also planning on taking early retirement (that would have gone into effect right about now.)

I have known Jay for a number of years. Jay worked in the College of Education as a tech. Jay was a real gentleman, with a heart of gold. Unfortunately it was not a healthy heart and he suffered from other medical problems. He had a passion for technology and a child-like curiosity for how things worked. He struggled with disabilities and one or two people who were not very accepting of his. I am proud to have known him and proud that he was my friend. The university is worse off without him and I will truly miss him. My heart goes out to his family and friends for he was a good man and was loved by many.

Feather River Revisit

Jeff, Nicole and George

After my back went out last week I did cancel leading the wine and dine ride on Wednesday evening. I also thought I was going to have to cancel on the quick weekend get away planned with son Jeff, his wife Nicole, their daughter Madison and Nicole's father George. But, I went and we had a great time. We went to the Feather River Canyon. Jeff and Nicole have a 30 foot vacation travel trailer and we stayed in an RV Park in Oroville. It was a lot of fun and we had great weather. It was great seeing some of the places I've been going to since my childhood. I used to come to this area with my father. My back is doing much better now.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Unexpected Thursday at home

Morning bikes

I hurt my back and other stuff
I am home today after pulling out my back yesterday morning. I was loading my bike in the back of my car so that I would have it after work for our bike club's whine and dine ride. I felt my back cramp and that was it. I was not able to ride yesterday evening. I was in misery at work and went home early. I took some pills and spent a lot of time sleeping. Today the cats are keeping me company.

Weight Watchers
Seven days ago I joined weight watchers in an effort to loose about 30 pounds. I went in and got weighed today and I lost a bit more than six of those 30. I guess I am a fifth of the way there!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Kitty Update

Pixel resting

The cats are doing well. Shadow remains healthy and is eating well. He has one of the most outgoing personalities I have ever seen in a cat. Pixel is all heart. He is healthy and loves to lean up against us as he sleeps. Tupper is doing well despite her advancing age. She brought us a little winged gift this morning. It was her first in a long time.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Unusual fourth of July

There were no fireworks for us this year. Sue was not feeling well this evening so we stayed close to home. As I am writing this I can hear fireworks going off in the neighborhood. This morning was our club's annual fourth of July pancake breakfast. The club's board of directors hosts the party. As a member of the board I was one of the hosts. We start at 6am preparing for the breakfast, so I got up at 5:30am. The breakfast went very well. After the breakfast we cleaned up and went on bike rides. Joanne Grimaldi hosted the ride I went on. It was a fun ride. It was short, only about 36 miles. We went for lunch after the ride. Then I went home. Susie came home from shopping with her mom, shortly after, not feeling well.

July 4 ride

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Scooter ride to the city

Scooter in the scooter shop
After somebody stole the battery in my scooter I had to ride it to San Francisco to get it fixed and serviced. There are no scooter shops south of San Francisco until you hit Santa Barbara. My scooter is still up there waiting for parts.

There is nothing like riding a motor scooter to San Francisco off the freeway. You can really get a sense of how Silicon Valley and San Francisco are knitted together this way.

There was a time when highway 82, The El Camino Real, was highway 101 and was the main road between San Jose and San Francisco. It is still a major road but with two freeways, 101 and 280, between the two cities, 82 is mostly used for local traffic. Few people drive between the two cities on 82. On a scooter it is almost a three hour ride. From where I start in San Jose, I ride to Los Gatos. then I take highway nine and continue straight after highway nine turns to go to Santa Cruz. I take Saratoga-Sunnyvale road to Cupertino, cut across to the Foothill Expressway, take that to Palo Alto, cut over to the El Camino Real (82) and take that to Daily City where 82 ends and the El Camino Real turns into Mission Street. Mission Street leads to the scooter shop on Mission and Tenth.

Riding through the Mission District is my favorite part. It is a maze of double parkers and left turners and Muni buses as well as open air markets, scents, sounds and people, lots of people. You really have to be on your toes here! I love the Mission, it is so alive.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Trains and Bike Races

Susie and I are watching the prologue of the Tour de France. Lance is off, the race is on! After this I am riding my scooter up to San Francisco to get it fixed.

Night train in Santa Clara
Last night I went to the model railroad club I belong to. It is located right next to the train tracks and several trains went by.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Email from Luci

Dear friends and family,
Announcing the graduation and completion of Luci's year of Domestic Peace Corps Service. I will receive a Presidential Recognition and scholarship for $4725.00. I have further received, local scholarships and awards for my year of college. I was very fortunate to be awarded with a further $9,968.00.

My graduation date is 7-18-2005 and I am very happy to share with you my joy. Whew... I wasn't sure I'd make it as I did the high ropes course the first week and it only got harder from there. Sunburns while planting trees with the navy then onto freezing my ass off in an unheated garage to build Christmas bikes for homeless children.

By far my greatest work was with a family I have come to know and love; the Al-Maly's. Never before has there been a greater form of family unity presented to me. This man's care for his family responsibility for his aunt (who passed away) needing to be returned to Iraq for burial. I am so blessed to be called his friend. I treasure the many lessons I have learned from Mohammed this year. I cannot wait for you all to meet him at my wedding. He has respectfully agreed to attend. I cannot find enough words to thank him for the experiences that he helped me through. Nor can I thank him enough for the opportunity he gave me to advocate for his very spirited young sister. I am eternally grateful to his father for raising a man who truly is how men should be. Mr. Al-Maly has many reasons to be proud of this magnificent young man he has raised. Thank you both.

Thank you for any and all of your support.

Especially to Steve who has had to listen to constant liberal speech preparations (which he loves.) For him I am the most grateful. How I love this man. From the move in to the proposal and all the joy in between I cannot think of life without him. And there have been struggles, lets not elude to perfection on either of our parts, lol. We have shared moments when the kids let the toilet overflow and casually came out with 'I don't know mom something is up in the bathroom.' You know all the joys of parent- hood. He has been a real trooper- who would have thought he would rise to the occassion of Cazden saying 'daddy, can you wipe me?' He has yet to experience the projectile vomit instances that so often occur in the car but I am sure he will rise to that. He has overcome his indoor enthusiast attitude to rise to all the challenges of parenthood and marriage. he is a man for all seasons and I love him. Pleae pass this email on as the world needs to know these truly great examples of manhood exist. I was begining to wonder myself, lol.

Let's not forget those kids. Let's see Saxony has helped so much with lunch packing and shuttling. She is great. And Cazden well- A Priceless Memory. My first day of Service Corps I drove to work- suddenly 'mommy- mommy, I need to go potty.' We stop at the Am/Pm, but, it is fair season so they won't let you use the inside potty- there is a porta potty set up outside. It is roughly ninety degrees. We enter. His first porta potty experience. What a surprise? I am trying to geer him up. Okay honey, let's go- Well no sooner did I say that then he said, 'yuck, I am going to throw up.' I said, 'non-sense let's go potty.' Well, never again will I poo poo that comment. As he projectiled everywhere. I said okay. 'I have to go potty,' he still says. Okay. As I lift him high enough to pee, in the urinal. He pees all over my feet and shoes. Oh motherhood. Thanks for the christening into service. The rest of the year went pretty much that same way. I love ya babe.

Many thanks and much love to everyone,