Tuesday, August 30, 2005

I hear the echos of her voice

Today I was in the library, browsing. I saw a book on Eleanor Roosevelt and her mother-in-law. (It was, Sara and Eleanor: The Story of Sara Delano Roosevelt and Her Daughter-In-Law, Eleanor Roosevelt.) I said to myself, that's a Lura book!

Suddenly I was fighting tears. There, in the middle of the library I could hardly keep from crying.

The twin cities are Minneapolis and Saint Paul. It is hard to imagine them not together. Like those two cities my sister's and my birthdays are twins, a day apart. It is hard to imagine one without the other.

I hear the echo of her voice sometimes, like today in the library. I hear the echos, for a moment it seems she is present. It is still hard to believe she is gone.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Is there a dirty little secret at SJSU?

Dirty Windows

San Jose State University is a great university. It has beautiful grounds and talented faculty, students and staff. The view of Tower Hall seldom fails to inspire. But, there is something dark and dirty here. Sometimes it seems to me to be a bit of a facade when you can step a few feet away from the lovely lawns and see sights like this that just scream neglect. These dark and dirty places at SJSU that just seem to get darker and dirtier. Some messes here just never seem to get cleaned up. I don't understand why our great university tolerates such malaise and mediocrity. Is it that the folks who make decisions are so mesmerized by what they want people to see that they are blind to details that so plain and out in the open? How can our institution tolerate and fail to see the malaise that has so long been in the open and begging to be cleaned up here? That, in my opinion, is a huge mystery.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

My dad's old caboose chair

I remember when I was a kid going to work many times with my dad. He was a locomotive engineer for the Southern Pacific railroad. One time we were in the railroad yard and there were three old cabooses that were marked "dismantle." They were headed to the scrap yard. My dad walked through the cabooses and in one of them he found this old chair. He loaded it up in his pickup and we took it home.

Back in those days I had a big model railroad in my bedroom. Under the model railroad I had a mattress that I slept on. The chair ended up in this room. My dad and I would spend hours running trains with whomever was operating the trains sitting in this old chair. My mom made a seat cushion for it that has long since rotted away. All this time I have kept this chair.

After I moved out, and my dad died, I held onto the chair. Both my wives declared it an eyesore and it spent years relegated to various darkrooms I have had. Later I took it to work and it sat in my old office at San Jose State for years. Lately Susie let me bring it home and it is now in our family room.

Last weekend we put Madison's baby seat in it and we enjoyed a family dinner together. It really was special to me to have my first grand child there eating with us in my dad's old caboose chair.

Madison in the caboose chair

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

In and out of the saddle

Me riding my bike

In his start of the school year address University President Don Kassing told a story about the Tour de France, showed bike racing videos and told the university faculty, staff and students assembled at his Monday August 22 speech how we should be inspired by Lance Armstrong's out of the saddle hill climbing style. I was so inspired the next day that I rode my bike to work. Continuing on that thread of inspiration after I get off work today I think I will go on a bike ride. Yes, I am feeling very inspired.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Madison's point of view

Madison Crawling
The world is different when you are on your hands and knees. Everything looks so much bigger, even bugs. Dogs and cats are peers.

Yes, we all crawl before we can walk. But, seeing Madison relate to her world makes me wonder if we loose something when we stand. When we crawl the blades of grass, ladybugs and carpet fibers touch our fingers. This makes it easy to stop and appreciate the little things that once we stand we trample. When we stand we gain mobility, but does this mobility come at a cost? For the rest of our lives are we ever as close to the earth as we are when it is in the palm of our hands?

Monday, August 22, 2005

No shortage of rude motorists

Big car, small space
The university has an abundant supply of small spaces and drivers who drive huge cars. Even when other spaces are available, drivers of land yachts will cram into the small spaces to save themselves from having to walk an extra 100 feet a day. I wonder if they are ticketed by University Police? Since they seem to do it day after day, I doubt it.

Jeff turned 27

Jeff's birthday
We had a great and relaxing weekend. On Saturday we celebrated Jeff's birthday with a barbecue party at our house. It was fun. Jeff is such a fine young man. He is a real joy for all of us and we are very proud of him.

We had Jeff, Nicole and Madison as well as Sue's mom over. Earlier in the day Jeff and I went on a bike ride together. We rode from Woodside up to Skyline Blvd., along Old La Honda Rd.

Jeff's birthday started the holiday season for our family. From now until mid-January it is a constant parade of birthdays and other holidays. Nicole's birthday will end the season.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Summer whine and dine fun

Cyclists on hill
The whine and dine season this summer is great fun. We have had nice weather and a fantastic group of people. This year Jeff has been co-leading the mellow rides with me and it is wonderful riding with my son. Life is good!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Great Whine and Dine Saturday with John and Rosa

John and Rosa
Last Saturday John and Rosa had a great party for riders of the whine and dine ride. It was great fun! We started the day with a ride from Los Altos, up Old La Honda to Skyline, across to 84, back down and return to Los Altos. It was one of the most aggressive rides I have done in a long time. You know after the ride and the party, I slept like a rock!

As the after work rides wind down we may start doing more weekend whine and dine rides.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Sheehan conversation moved

I have moved my part of the Sheehan conversation off this blog and over here [Link.]

My dad's birthday

Today is my dad's birthday. I remember when I was a child laying in my bed and hearing my parents talking in the other room. I could hear their voices through the wall heater that separated my room from where they sat in the living room. They are no longer in the living room. My dad died in 1977. I remember thinking as a child how awful it would be if they died and how alone I would be. My mom is now also gone and sometimes I think about how right I was as a child. I miss them both and I can still hear their voices.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

President Bush, Meet with Cindy

Cindy Sheehan

I found this thanks to Joe Trippi's blog [Link]. It struck a resonance with me as a father of three sons. On the way home from work I saw these folks on a corner in Willow Glen. Joe Trippi is an amazing guy who wrote an amazing book [Link], and he is leading a charge to evangelize the cause of Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq [Link.] This is the letter they are gathering signatures to. When I checked over 12,000 patriots had signed. It is a real Internet movement:

Dear Mr. Bush,

On August 3 you said the soldiers who were killed in Iraq, "died in a noble cause." Cindy Sheehan's son Casey died in Iraq, but she takes no comfort in your words. She wants to meet with you to ask you directly: Why did my son die? What was the noble cause that he died for? We, the American people, urge you to meet with Cindy Sheehan to answer her questions.

Please consider signing the petition here [Link]

Friday, August 05, 2005

Sanborn Hostel, Great Destination

On Wednesday we rode to the youth hostel on Sanborn, off highway nine. This is a great place to ride too. The hostel is this tranquil quiet place that is way off the beaten path. I can't recommend it enough. Up until the incident with the motorcyclist, that is.

Cyclists at Sanborn

Thursday, August 04, 2005

ACTC cyclist assaulted by motorcyclist on my ride

Police cars investigating

Jeff and I lead Wednesday evening bike rides in Los Gatos for our bike club, the Almaden Cycling Touring Club (ACTC) called the Whine and Dine Rides. This report is from yesterdays ride:

According to former ACTC president Michael Curtis, as well as several witnesses to the incident, Curtis was injured on the evening of Wednesday August third when a motorcyclist shoved him to the ground causing him to crash. Curtis was traveling eastbound on Los Gatos Blvd near Los Gatos Saratoga Road in the bike lane.

Curtis said the motorcyclist entered the bike lane and came close to him. According to Curtis words were exchanged. Then the motorcyclist reached over to him, from his motorbike to Curtis's bicycle while both were in motion, and shoved Curtis to the ground. Curtis was riding from the end of the Wednesday club whine and dine ride to the evening dinner after the ride, also in Los Gatos.

Witnesses stopped and helped Curtis, except for one that followed the motorcycle and got his license plate number. According to police they are investigating.

I came upon the scene and went with Curtis to the hospital. Curtis was banged up, he had several wounds and some road rash but no broken bones were found.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Train vs. Cop Car, who will win? See the video!

Will the train hit the cop car? Watch and find out. While I was reading the Atlas Forum, I've found this link to a video from a recent episode of "Cops".

The circle game

Steve holds Luci's hand

The Circle Game is a Joni Mitchell song we sang around the campfire on the cross country bike ride in June. To me the song is about a child's life and the wonder of how children grow up and have children. This repeating miracle, this "carousel of time," goes on all over the world, repeating over and over billions of times over time and through all time and we are all living it. It is life.

I have been thinking of this a lot and listening to the song often. I've pondered this when I thought of my children, and friend's children, once babies, now growing up, marrying and becoming parents themselves. The carousel of time turns constantly for us all.

"And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return, we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game."