Friday, November 28, 2008


Thanksgiving dinner 2008

[Click here to see more photos]

Our 2008 Thanksgiving

We had a nice Thanksgiving at our house. Youngest son Kenneth was over along with Sue's cousins Adam and Eric. Sue's mom Frances was also there.

Tupper, our oldest cat, decided to spend a few rare moments in my lap. She was rewarded with the turkey giblets.

I baked the turkey following our friend Maria's old recipe. It came out yummy. Kenneth carved the bird, his first time!

We opened some of our best wine and had a splendid evening together.

Today Adam, bike friends John and Alison and I rode our bikes up Mt. Diablo. That was quite a ride!

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Brandon and Pam

Thinking of Brandon

Today's rain for some reason mad me think of Deb's son Brandon. Just last week we attended his funeral. He was 27 when he died. As I was driving in I heard David Gate's song, Suite: Clouds and Rain. The lyrics melted into what I was feeling for Brandon and his recent untimely death.

See the clouds adrift so far below
Ever changing as they come and go
Makes me wonder why I'm up so high
When really I am down so low

As we age we lose more and more people we know, sweet people, people we love. The first loss is a shock. It is like a grim myth has come to life and taught us that what we have been told is true; we all are indeed mortal. Even good sweet people die.

Of all the wonders I was one allowed
I think that I would always choose a cloud
Always brings my feelings right out loud
Whether I'm ashamed or proud

It all seems so unfair because it is. Death comes to the young, the sweet, the most precious and full of promise of us, people like Brandon.

See the clouds they're giving life below
In colors that the canvas cannot show
Keeping secrets no one else could know
For I'm the one who told them so

We try to seek meaning in it all; at least I do. I choose to believe in something bigger that this world. There is no risk in doing so and it holds out hope in some reason for what appears to be without reason. Also, it holds out hope for reunion.

Rainfall don't bother me at all
You see the world reflected in the highway
Come on rainbow-I can't let you go
Before I reach the end of you someway

I did not know Brandon well, but every memory I have of Brandon is good. Most of what I know of Brandon I know through his mom. Years ago we used to be bike riding buddies. We would often go on long bike rides and quite often would talk about our children. I knew Deb well then and I know Brandon enough to see that all that's best of Deb is in him.

Also, I know that Brandon continues to live on this earth in all of us who knew and loved him. Beyond that; I choose to believe that somewhere, someday, Deb will hold her son again.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A test roll of film

Red Scooter

Nov. 2008, SJSU and Downtown San Jose

[Click here to see pictures]

In mid-November 2008 I went picture taking around San Jose, California and San Jose State University. I chose days with different kinds of lighting.

These photos were all taken on a film camera using Kodak's new (yes, I said new) film Ektar 100.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Last Day in Portland

Old Portland Buildings

My Boston of the Pacific

[Click here to see photos from our trip]

They say Boston and San Francisco have a lot in common. To me Portland is more like Boston than San Francisco. Yes, it is smaller, but it has more classic architecture and it felt closer to me.

November 11 was our last day in Portland and the photos from that day are here as well as fhose from the rest of the trip. It was a great trip!

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Modesto Train Chasing Day

M&ET 70-tonner 602

[Click here to see more train photos]

The historic locomotives from Modesto

Built between 1947 and 1955 the Modesto and Empire Traction 70-tonners are some of the oldest locomotives in revenue service in California. Recently the railroad ordered new locomotives to replace them so they are running their final miles.

November 21 was a great day and the canneries were still in operation so I took a day of vacation to go shoot these beasts before they are history.

I was very lucky. Nine of the locomotives were used this day. Here are just a few of my photos of them.

[All my train photos on Flickr]

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Another day in Portland

Portland Streetcar

[Click Here to See Photos]

Nov. 10, 2008; Portland Photowalking #2

November 10, 2008 was our last full day in Portland. We spent this day on foot and streetcar.

We went to the Pearl District, Chinese Gardens and walked back to our hotel via Voodoo Doughnuts.

These are just photographic impressions of the city.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wine Tasting Oregon Style, November 9, 2008

Fall light on Hills

[More Photos Here]

Fall in the Dundee Hills

After our Portland family breakfast we took a drive in our Mitsubishi Eclipse rental car to one of my favorite wine growing regions, the Dundee Hills appellation in the Willamette Valley.

Some of my favorite Pinot Noir wine comes from this region. Pinot Noir is a grape that is associated with the Burgundy region of France, where it is called Red Burgundy. It is widely considered to produce some of the finest wines in the world, but is a difficult variety to cultivate and transform into wine. Pinot Noir varies a lot depending on the soil and climate of a region.

We have a lot of Dundee Hills Pinot. But, it was not Dundee Hills Pinot I was seeking, but it's white cousin Chardonnay. Dundee Hills Chardonnay is different than California Chardonnay because it comes from French Dijon clones. California Chardonnay comes from clones developed mostly at UC Davis. Dundee Hills Chardonnay is more like white Burgundy in my opinion for that reason.

Being eclipsed by California wine, Dundee Hills Chardonnay is very hard to find in California. Dundee Hills Pinot Noir is easy to find here in California if you know where to look.

The Fall colors were abundant and our first stop was the Leeds certifies winery, Stoller where Tasting Room Supervisor Mich Nelson gave us a great tour and sold us some yummy Dundee Hills Chardonnay. Mich also gave us some great winery recommendations.

After that we stopped for lunch. We went wine tasting again to Argyle, Winderlea which was closed, Erath and lastly Daedalus Cellars where we had some great wine including some unusual Gruner Veltliner. (This is an Austrian Grape.)

The wine at Daedalus Cellars was poured by one of the owners (and wife of the wine maker) Pam Walden. We brought home some Gruner and Chardonnay from there.

We had a wonderful time and brought back some super wine!

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Amazing Santa Cruz Day

Wave at Bonny Doon

Like summer somewhere else

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November 15, a Saturday, was like a summer day somewhere else. It is almost never this nice during real summer. It was 82 on the beach near Santa Cruz, CA and there was no fog to be seen. This is at Bonny Doon. It was an awesome day at the beach.

Note: This is my first roll of Kodak's new Ektar 100 film.

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An imagining filled with sorrow

There are some events in life that draw us closer to our God, just in order to get through the day. The death of a child is one of those things. I do not know how you could survive such an event if you did not believe in God. The death of a child is about the worst. Robert Thompson describes the death of a child this way, "the death of a child takes you on a journey like a hawk carries a rabbit through the sky. It eventually drops you either dead or wounded. What you see and do on the journey is up to you. The journey itself is not."

There is a word for a person who has lost a spouse and for a person who has lost a parent but no word for a person who has lost a child. I have heard that is because such an event is too sorrowful to attach a word to.

My heart goes out to our friend Deb over the loss of her sweet son Brandon. As a parent I can only imagine the hurt and pain. It is an imagining filled with sorrow.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Family Breakfast in Portland

Lindsay holding Madison at breakfast

[Click here to see more photos]

Photos from family breakfast

The weather from last weekend was amazing and there will be more on that later. For now I am presenting some more photos from our trip to Portland.

On November 9 2008, the day after Alex and Lindsay's wedding, we had a breakfast at the Hyatt with our two families. It was a great opportunity for our families to come together and share many happy memories from Alex and Lindsay's wedding the day before.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Beer, Bikes and Burgers

Bill Reisinger with Beer

[Click here to see more photos from ride]

Morgan Hill Bike Ride

Penny Carl and Sandy Lorber led a great Burger (and beer) in Morgan Hill ride today. This very social ride had 53 riders. It was perfect weather for this great ride.

For me Penny and Sandy's ride was a great reminder of what I love most about being in ACTC; fun rides with nice people.

The beer was nice too!

Here are some photos. I hope you like them.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

A family wedding

Lindsay and Alex Yale

Portland Wedding Photos

Here are some selected photos from nephew Alex and Lindsay's wedding and reception in Portland on November 8, 2008. Starring Alex and Lindsay and co-starring granddaughter Madison (age 4) as The Flower Girl:

[More Wedding photos here]

Before the wedding we went for a walk in downtown Portland. Of course I took photos there too:

[Morning walk photos]

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Powell's Portland

Susie in Powells

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Photos from our trip

On November 7, 2008 we flew to Portland to attend my nephew's wedding. Our first stop was Powell's Bookstore on Burnside. We spent the day there! We had lunch at Henry's then went back to Powell's.

What an amazing bookstore!

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Back from Portland


Back from Portland

Early last night we returned from Portland. Alex and Lindsay's wedding was lovely and we had a nice stay in Portland. We spent some great time together and with family.

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Friday, November 07, 2008

Great day at Powell's

Powell's bike parking

The Best Book Store We Have EVER Been To!

Sue and I are in Portland. We spent all day today at Powell's Books. It is an amazing bookstore. About a half dozen people recommended the Powell's to us and we had a great time. One day there was not enough, not even close. It is said to be the largest new and used bookstore in the world. (With the possible exception of Strand's in New York.)

We are shipping over a dozen books home.

We had a very good meal and some fantastic local beer at Henry's Tavern!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Going on vacation

Steve Sloan

I am headed out of the area. I will be posting mostly on my Twitter Feed.

Please follow me here:

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Yes we did!

Part three of Obama's victory speech

[Click here to see video]

Yes we did, change America

It has been a long time since I have felt as proud to be an American as I do today. But, I am reminded by the passage of California's gay marriage ban that despite our election of a black president, bigotry is still alive in our state and our nation!

I think Obama is the man for this time and his election sends a powerful message to the world about our capacity for peaceful revolution. But, there are still barriers to overcome. Despite these barriers, in my heart I know, we shall overcome them. We shall overcome.

My sister sent me this poem in reaction to Obama's victory. Thought you might enjoy it, too:


Sometimes things don't go, after all,
from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel
faces down the frost, green thrives, the crops don't fail,
Sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.

A people sometimes will step back from war,
elect an honest man, decide they care
enough, that they can't leave a stranger poor.
Some men become what they were born for.

Sometimes, our best efforts do not go
amiss. Sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen; may it happen to you.

By Sheenagh Pugh

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

It is election day

Today is election day. Don't forget to vote...

unless of course you are planning to vote for McCain or for Prop 8.