Day 363, Movie, plant stand, mess

Sunday, 12/1/2019

I’m confused with my day numbering. But no, today is the 363rd day since Marian died. I numbered the day following, Day 1. Tomorrow is the 364th complete day since she died, and the anniversary of her death.

Coincidentally, it will be my birthday. A coincidence I’ve not drawn attention to. We never made much of birthdays anyway, but if I needed a reason to not celebrate mine, there we are.

Today I went for coffee at the old spot, the Palo Alto Cafe, still the nicest venue for sitting and sipping.

At 11 I headed out to meet Dennis at the Pruneyard for a movie, Ford v. Ferrari. Generally it was pretty good. The in-car racing sequences would be more effective in an iMax theater (I’m not sure there is an iMax version, but there should be). And there were a couple of times when drivers going 200mph down the Mulsanne straight turned to glare at each other, and I was annoyed. Driving 200mph you do not turn your head and look sideways to lock eyes with a competitor, not for a second. But, OK in all.

In the afternoon, I went to the resident shop and brought up the plant stand, and put it on my balcony and put a couple of pots on it. It’s going to do very well. After I move back to #621 in February I overhaul of plant collection, repot a couple of them, maybe add a couple, organized around the plant stand.

After moving the stand I observed that the tile floor of the shop was a bit sticky and although the color wasn’t noticeable, there was an obvious ring where the bottom had been. I had taken some care while spraying, holding newspaper behind to catch the overspray, but the green mist of paint had settled out on the floor. Well, I had a can of Goof-Off and a roll of paper towels, so I got down and started cleaning.

The Goof-Off (a pungent liquid in a squeeze can) produced an odd, and embarrassing, effect. I say the green mist wasn’t obvious, but as soon as a towel dampened with solvent hit the tile, all the microscopic mist dots melted and ran together to make a very visible light green smear, which quickly dried, so it had to be wiped. So I ended up using up most of the can and the roll of towels. In hindsight, I should have laid newspaper all over the floor. Of course. Duh.

I spent yet more time going through previous posts, tagging them and sometimes extracting paragraphs of text to use in the wrap-up I plan to do. Later in the week, I guess.

Day 360, Thanksgiving

Thursday, 11/28/2019

Showered shaved and put on nicer than usual clothes. Had breakfast downstairs, then was faced with quite a long gap of time until 4pm when I should leave for Denise and Jason’s for dinner. So I thought, heck, I’ll take the Dish Walk. Been a while (Day 167) since I did that. I assumed that many people would have the same idea, so the tiny parking area at the trailhead would have been full since 7am, so I took a Lyft there. There were a whole lot of people on the trail, from family groups ambling, to gorgeous sweaty athletes racing along in running shorts. I did the full 3 mile loop and now it was 11am.

What to do for some lunch, I wondered. I had the notion that the CH dining room was going to be closed. I was sure that we had instructions that, if we needed supper we should pick up a bag lunch between 8 and 10am. So I had myself Lyfted down to California avenue, thinking I’d lunch at one of the many restaurants along there. Hah! Not one was open, it was a ghost town. I knew there was a MacD’s not too far along El Camino, but really. So I took a Lyft home.

And found that not only was the CH dining room open for lunch, it was a full Thanksgiving menu with choices of sliced ham, turkey, something else, pumpkin or pecan pie for dessert, etc. And the place was jammed; apparently a lot of residents were having their relatives in for this fancy lunch. I had completely misunderstood the schedule; the staff will indeed be off, but only for the evening. So I had some turkey and gravy for lunch.

At 4pm I drove to Denise’s place (the bride and groom of two weeks ago) where they had cooked a turkey for Dennis and Toni (her father and mother) and very kindly included Uncle Dave. That was nice.



Day 349, return, plant stand, laundry

Saturday, 11/16/2019

Went for another walk with Dennis, starting at 7:30. Whitney and Ted came along. We all strode along to the Pacific Grove city limit and back, about 3 miles. I had already packed up so I checked out and drove home, back to CH by 11.

Later in the day I spent half an hour cleaning one more tier of the plant stand (three to go before I can paint it), and then did the laundry.


Day 348, walk, art, wedding

Oh, from the dinner last night, kids with phones.


Friday, 11/15/2019

Met Dennis at 6:45 to take a walk, his preferred daily exercise, and very sensible, too. We walked along the public trail/bikepath from the hotel, near the wharf, as far as the Aquarium and back, about 2.5 miles.

I then drove down to Carmel and spent an hour and a half walking around looking in art galleries. At the New Masters gallery I hoped to see a Linsky, as they represent him, but nope. I saw lots of splashy abstracts, lots of incredibly detailed photo-realistic still lifes, some plein-air California landscapes although none as nice as Linsky’s. Nothing I felt really attracted to.

I took the 17-mile drive back to Monterey, stopping several times to try to capture waves as they swelled up massively,


And then broke explosively.


Ansel Adams I ain’t, but it’s fun to try. (Here’s Adams’ version) Just as I was walking out of the garage at the hotel, I got a text from Dennis suggesting lunch. We ate at a place that emulates an English pub. He reminisced about a pub he found tucked away under one of the Thames bridges. I said I’d look for it on my trip.

Back at the hotel I dressed in my finery, i.e. my nice new blazer and slacks, and a white turtleneck. Walked to the wedding venue, The Barns. Was early. Here’s Judge Loftus checking out the microphone.


I didn’t try to take a picture during the ceremony, and was pleased to see only a couple of other people were holding up their cell phones. There will certainly be enough pics; there was both a professional photographer and a professional videographer around the whole time. Denise, the bride, was walking across the venue before the ceremony, a bit to the right of the above picture, and you can see how low the sun was. The pro photographer was trailing behind and I thought, oh, it’s lighting up her hair, and I said to him loudly, Get that back-light! He hadn’t noticed but that made him look, he lifted his camera just as she turned to look back,18848861_401 and I think he got an excellent shot. So, Denise: if there is a spectacular pic of you with the sun behind making you look like Cate Blanchett as Galadriel only with smaller ears? You can thank me for that.

So there was a nice short ceremony, the bride and groom read vows they had written for each other, very nice, very touching things and well-phrased, too; and that was that. Well, not quite; then came about 90 minutes of standing around under the pine trees drinking and talking. Or in my case, not talking. There was really nobody to talk to. I got a case of the shy’s, and just couldn’t seem to insert myself into any of the circles. In the old days, in similar situations, I would get first embarrassed, then resentful, and then leave. But I’m older and know myself better now. I just wandered around trying to look engaged and was a little bored.

I missed an opportunity at one point. There was a pair of women, one dressed a little butch so I presumed they were probably partners, and I noticed that they were not talking to anybody but each other. I have no idea who they were, presumably friends of the bride? but they reminded me of me and Marian at some parties in the past, neither one of us knowing anybody. I kept circling past them on my lonely orbit, thinking, alright, go up to them and say, ‘so are you friends of Denise, or Jason?’ and start talking. But every time I circled past them, they seemed to turn toward each other and talk more animatedly. I should have imposed, but I was afraid they were seeing me as the creepy old uncle wanting to hit on them, so I let it slide.

Eventually we went in to the Barn and had a nice supper. I had some conversation with the people next to me and across, so that was alright. Lots of toasts, nice things said. When the dancing started, I felt I could bail, and did.

Day 347, Monterey, party

Thursday, 11/14/2019

Today is the day to transfer to Monterey for Denise’s wedding festivities. I depart about 10:30 for the 90-mile drive, arriving at our fairly posh hotel at 12:30. My room is pleasant, with an amazing surplus of pillows, I think it’s five per bed.

I meet Dennis for a drink in the bar and a chat in the middle of the afternoon. At 4pm a pre-dinner crowd begins to gather in the hospitality parlor off Denise’s suite. Lots of people I’ve seen at various family occasions, lots of people from the groom’s family that I’d never met before. Small room, loud conversations.

At 5:30 we move on to a restaurant for what is nominally the rehearsal dinner, although most of us didn’t attend the rehearsal. Here’s the bride, the groom, and the groom’s father.


Partly shown, the hair of Judge Loftus who is a long-time family friend and will perform the ceremony. Fully cropped out, the father of the bride, as his face was in shadow.

Back to the hotel by 8 and early to bed.



Day 338, plant stand, Jean, move, SWBB

Tuesday, 11/5/2019

I had breakfast in the dining room (Tuesday is Belgian waffle day, and when I start getting excited about that? Just shoot me.) and left at 9:15 for the welding shop where I picked up the mended plant stand.

Then to sister in law Jean’s place to supervise updating the phone I lent her months ago. She admits to not using it much, but she’s a photographer and I talked about iPhone photos, and demonstrated using air drop to move pictures to her desktop Mac. That impressed her, so maybe she’ll start carrying it more. Jean is amazing in many ways, at age 90-something still living alone, firing on all cylinders mentally, and has even had a remission of a sciatica-like pain that troubled her all last year.

On the way back to CH I stopped at the hardware store and bought: a 9×12 plastic drop cloth, a wire brush for the drill, and spray cans of rusty-metal primer and satin black. I parked out front to unload the plant stand and bring it up to my balcony. Then took the car around to the garage, and brought up my drill case and the hardware stuff. Then spent an hour beginning the process of cleaning the stand.

This is going to be a long job. Where it isn’t rusty it is caked with gummy dirt. The drill-powered wire brush is effective for the flat bits, but it has many curly bits where the drill brush can’t go, and I will need to use sandpaper or steel wool or something. The rotating wire brush cut through the dirt and black paint to reveal that the stand at one time was painted pale green, or else had a pale green primer coat. Standing in the hardware store I debated whether to use a black finish coat or a green one. Now I need to rethink that.

At 3pm was the monthly Renovation Upgrade Status Meeting. At this one, we 6th floor people got our move-back dates  (January 20-31st) and the 5th floor got their schedule for move-out dates.

Going in to dinner, Dave Golden (the other, other Dave) asked if I was going to SWBB tonight, and offered to drive, so fine. He has a 2016 Camry hybrid. Every time I ride in a newer car, I get antsy to upgrade my 2012. Those newer widgets…

Stanford played Eastern Washington. It’s a division 1 school playing in the Big Sky conference, but they were completely outclassed. Stanford’s defense just shut them out; they scored 15 points in the entire first half, and ended up shooting 11%. Stanford’s freshman “big”, 6-5 Ashton Prechtel, not only had a couple of blocks but also stepped back and shot three, three-pointers. It’s gonna be a fun season.



Day 329, Printer, TSA, Repair Cafe, smoke

Sunday, 10/27/2019

Went out for coffee and to read the paper at Verve. Talked to Dennis on the phone while waiting for my cappuccino. Back at CH, I had an hour to kill and put it to good use. First I tested the new printer by printing an 8×10 of one of my Greek pictures on good quality paper. Screen on the right, paper on the left. It did pretty darn well.

It could be a little more contrasty and more blue, but for a first try with default settings, not bad at all. Certainly every bit of detail was there.

I had time remaining so I did what I’ve meant to do for some time, went to the TSA site and applied for Global Entry. This is a superset of TSA Precheck which supposedly makes it faster to return to the US from abroad.

Now it was 10am (gosh but I am productive in the mornings), so I took one of the house shopping carts from the garage and used it to roll my toolbox three blocks up Homer street to the Museum of the American Heritage, for the quarterly Repair Cafe. I was teamed with apprentice fixer Daniel and we had a pretty successful day. We repaired an old calculator quite easily, and a wooden floor vent with somewhat more effort. Then we got a stand mixer that turned into the Job from Hell. Spent at least an hour figuring out how to get it apart. Quickly identified the broken part, a worm gear, and showed the client how to order a new one on Amazon. Then spent half an hour trying to reassemble the goddam thing before, with the client’s encouragement, giving up on the whole job.

Finally we had another easy one, an electric jigsaw where the user had cut into the cord. The break was only a foot from the handle, so we opened it up, discarded the short piece of cord, stripped and reattached the good part of the cord inside the device. Fixed!

We were working outdoors under canvas marquees and several times the gusty wind in the courtyard threatened to blow our marquee away like a kite. “Grab a pole!” was the shout and people would rush to hold them down. It was all fun and games until you realized, every such gust up in Sonoma county was spreading the Kincade fire…

Due to the wind shift, the smoke from that fire finally came down to us, and by late afternoon the sky was yellow and the air smelled like an old cigar. At sunset I saw the color and took some shots with the Nikon from my west-facing balcony.




Day 315, walk, tech call, tv

Sunday, 10/13/2019

Started with the usual crossword puzzle and coffee at Mme. Collette’s. Then, it only being 9am I thought I would go for a walk around the Dish. That early on a Sunday, surely there would be parking up there, right? Nunh-unh, all the local walkers had already filled up the limited parking by the trail entrance. Plan B, I went down to the Baylands and did a walk there. There were lots of water-birds, including three different pods of white pelicans. Lots of ducks. Marian used to like to use her binoculars and pick out the different species of duck; and she doted on the white pelicans. I didn’t have binoculars with me, so I couldn’t tell a shoveler from a mallard. Actually I think I could have recognized the mallards, and there weren’t any.

I went the three miles from Byxbee park around to the foot of San Antonio road, but rather than close the loop with two miles on pavement, I just called a Lyft to get back to the parking lot where I’d left the car. Back at CH I had a snack lunch in my room and a nap; then went out again. First to FOPAL where the sale weekend was winding down.

Then down to sister-in-law Jean’s to help her with a software problem. She uses the Photos app to manage her huge collection of images, and she had somehow lost a bunch of them. I personally detest the Photos app because it takes possession of your images and stores them in its own proprietary “Library” files. Contrast that to comparable image managers like Adobe Bridge or Lightroom, which leave the images safe in the hands of the OS’s file system, each image a file that you can copy, back up, open with another app, etc. Those managers have their own catalogs, but they don’t hide the images in massive opaque globs where the only access to the image is through Photos itself.

But there it was: Jean had a Library of hundreds images taken in her work in the local diocese and sometime in the past month, most of the images in it had disappeared. Photos helpfully displayed the image names still, but only little blank rectangles to show they weren’t there.

Fortunately when I helped her set up her system, back in 2015 after her husband died, I set up a backup drive for use by the Mac’s Time Machine backup system. So now we just started the cool “Time Machine” effect and went back a week and restored that Library, all 27GB of it. One file, 27 gigabytes, contents only accessible through Photos. Unfortunately that version was still missing the images. So we restored a copy from two weeks back. Nope. Each restore cycle taking about 10 minutes for Time Machine to copy the file and then Photos to “recover” its catalog data, whatever that meant. Finally went back a month, and that version, when restored, was 51GB. That’s promising, we said; and when Photos had finished munging it, yes, there were all her pictures up through that backup date. She hadn’t lost a lot of work. So that made me a hero, yay me. I had gone into this assuming it was likely user error (e.g. she meant to delete one picture but accidentally selected a bunch of them), but now I think it equally likely that Photos has a bug where its database gets corrupted. Well.

Back home again, I had a nice supper sitting with Craig, Diane and Patti. Then watched more TV. Before heading off to Greece I had set up the DVR to record three new series that sounded good. One was Carol’s Second Act, Patricia Heaton as an older woman trying to have a second career as an intern. I gave up on this halfway through the second episode. The writing is pretty bad and the jokes are labored.

One was Stumptown, and this I’m kind of enjoying after two episodes. It’s basically a noir detective show, could be from the pen of Raymond Chandler or Mickey Spillane, except that the broke detective with the complicated past, the alcohol problem, and the propensity for getting beaten up, is a handsome woman, and instead of New York or L.A. the setting is Portland, Oregon.

Third is In a Man’s World, where women, with the help of Hollywood makeup artists, go undercover as men, to prove that they were unfairly held back. The first episode was entertaining, although it’s not clear what Emily proves, in the end.

Plus, a new season of Mom has started, and a new season of Bitchin’ Rides, and I have at least three eps of Austin City Limits, and … life is rich, I guess.


Day 292, goodby Safari, art, lunch

Friday, 9/20/2019

First thing this morning, while sipping coffee and waiting for the newspaper to slide under the door, my Macbook said, you have updates. Fine, what? Oh, just a new version of


OK, install that.

When I set up Godot, I had opted not to use Chrome. For years I’ve had the habit of using two browsers: Firefox always open with my Gmail and some other routine tabs, and the other browser–which on the big iMac is Chrome–for general and ad-hoc browsing. On Godot I thought I’d use Safari for the ad-hoc browser. That worked more or less well but there were some problems.

One was that Lastpass is essential to my browsing, filling in passwords and credit card numbers as required. Lastpass doesn’t work super-well with Safari. Unlike with other browsers, where it is simply a browser extension, with Safari Lastpass needs its app open all the time, and the app window often pops up annoyingly when it is trying to fill in fields in a Safari page. But I coped.

Another was that WordPress, where I post to this blog daily, had some issues with Safari, and would occasionally forget posts if I forgot to refresh its page carefully before starting a new post. But I coped.

This morning, when Safari restarted in its updated version 13.0, it put up a message: “Ublock Origin is not compatible with this version of Safari.” Nope. Nope nope nope. Ublock Origin is the best ad blocker, I have it everywhere. I will not try to use any alternative. Goodby, Safari. Chrome come back! All is forgiven! Google, track my every click, I don’t care. (Although I see that Chrome intends to restrict its API the same way, making UBlock Origin impossible there as well. At which time I will switch to Firefox for everything.)

So, at 9 I headed off to join Darlene and Jessea to view some


by Carol Aust. As I wrote before, I had originally planned to buy a painting, but it had been sold last week. We walked from D&J’s house to Carol’s which by pure coincidence was just four blocks away. It was a 1920’s Oakland place on a block were every other old home showed signs of remodeling. Definitely a neighborhood on the way up. Carol welcomed us in, and Darlene immediately engaged her in house-talk, comparing the ages of their homes and the details. Jessea and I walked around looking at the dozen or so large paintings she’d set out. Some of them had elements of the “Eight Pelicans” that I liked so much, but none resonated the way that had. So we chatted for a while and I gave her as many clues as I could about what I was hoping for, and we agreed she’d keep in touch. I think that by spring when the Hunter’s Point Open Studio event comes around again, she’ll have something I like.

From there we drove to the The Wolf for lunch. Formerly the Bay Wolf, and coincidentally, according to Darlene, just a few doors from where the Lacrampe family had a French Laundry back at the turn of the 20th century, where Marian’s parents worked a while early on.

Back home I did my laundry, taking two heavy naps while the first and second loads ran, the result of a heavy lunch and a beer.


Day 280, coffee, drawers, show

Sunday, 9/9/2019

Harriet had texted suggesting coffee, and we met at 8:30 at the Midtown coffee shop. Nice lengthy chat.

Back at C.H. I pondered what to do for the next couple of hours, and decided to execute the plan to varnish the bathroom drawers. I took them to the basement workshop, did the sanding, put on a coat of varathane.

Back in my room, I noticed it was past 11:30 and about time for Dennis to arrive for our outing, and exactly at that moment my phone rang. Together we drove up to Foster City for lunch at BJ’s Brew Pub, and from there to the Hillbarn Theater for Anything Goes.

This was an excellent production. I totally fell in love with the lead actress, Caitlin McGinty playing Reno Sweeney. She apparently starred in  Beach Blanket Babylon for three years and is now a realtor(!) but she nailed this performance. Oddly I can’t find a personal web presence for her. Neither actresses nor realtors are usually shy about having their own page.

In the evening I watched Guardians of the Galaxy on Comcast on-demand. I keep seeing references to this and thought I should really see it. I remember a year or so ago, I started to watch it on TV and when the blue-skin villain came on ranting about destroying civilizations, I didn’t see it as over-the-top meta-humor (which apparently some do) but as just tone-deaf boring use of a worn-out trope by bad screenwriters; and turned it off ten minutes in.

This time I stuck with it. It has some charm but really it is not good SF. And the special effects space battles are way too long and confusing to watch. Who’s who and which way are they shooting? And they take a cheap way out of one of the only real emotional conflicts, the battle between the green sister and the blue sister. That should have been resolved in some constructive way. (For that matter, why is only one of the daughters of a blue-skin villain blue? The mother of the green-skin one has some ‘splainin’ to do, I think.)

I’d give the flick a C+ at best.