1.051 hair, docent

Wednesday, 1/22/2020

I blew off going for a run today, tsk. At 9:30 I left for my haircut appointment, the usual. Although my hair is increasingly thin, it still looks better after Chris has cut it.

I thought I had the rest of the day open because FOPAL is out of commission; and had a serious plan to do some writing. But while at the hair salon, I got an email from the Museum. There’d been a late cancellation and nobody was covering the 12:00 tour, could anybody step up at the last minute? Yeah, ok. So I signed up to do that. Went back to CH, changed into my docent clothes, went to the museum and led a tour.


1.009 haircut, FOPAL

Wednesday, 12/11/2019

I had a haircut appointment for 9:30, so wanted an early run. Just to keep it short, I ran on the treadmill in the basement. 32 minutes of running there feels like more exertion than actually running on the street. I’m not sure why.

Actually could have had time for breakfast in the dining room, but instead had a Sated RTD on the way to Chris’s place.

From my haircut to FOPAL where I got the Computer section ready for the upcoming sale weekend. That includes counting the books on the shelves and generally arranging things for a pleasing layout.

I walked over to the grocery store for snacks and took a break in the car; then went back in for two hours of sorting.

A few days ago I think I mentioned that my anti-acid-reflux med, Ranitidine, had mysteriously disappeared from drugstores and online. This morning I messaged Dr. Julia about this, and she replied that Ranitidine had been recalled because of possible contamination with a cancer cause — but unlikely and don’t be concerned. Meantime, use Famotidine 20mg. So I need to get some of that.

Before supper I gave my wrap-up essay a final editing pass. I would like to get it read by Susan, who I know is a good editor, but I am a little afraid to do so. It’s pretty raw and open about emotions and it might be uncomfortable to expose myself this way to somebody here. On the other hand, why not? Well, think about it.

After supper (where I sat at an empty table and was quickly joined by Craig and Diane, which was nice) it was time for the Channing House Chorus to perform. I had bowed out of the Chorus back on day 326 (or 0.326 as it would be, by the new numbering scheme). Since then they’ve done a lot of work and did a pretty good performance. Most successful was a number in which two spirituals, Amen and Go Tell It were woven together; they actually swung it. There was drinks and cookies after, so very nice.


Day 318, tech squad, hair, docent, FOPAL

Wednesday, 10/16/2019

First thing was to be an appointment for a haircut at 9am. But at 7am I found an email from last night asking me to look into somebody’s problem with their Comcast TV; they weren’t able to watch the debate because inexplicably their TV had decided it wasn’t authorized for CNN, which is in our building’s contract basic package.

I passed this off to Craig, who said he had seen that problem. Then went and got my hair done, and then down to the museum to lead some Apple employees on a tour. Here I tried something new, that I’d been thinking about doing. I explained I would give them a 45-minute survey of the major technical developments,  along with pointing out the different galleries, and then they would be free to explore on their own, except that if they wanted, I would lead them back to look at some specific objects that I like.

The idea was I could include more stuff than the usual “keep it under an hour” tour allows. I’d do a cut-down version of my usual survey, then stroll back to look at the Xerox Alto, the Apollo Guidance Computer, maybe the SAGE system. Great idea, and I may try it again, but this time it definitely didn’t work. They all opted for independent exploration (or more likely, a quick exit) and nobody followed me as I headed back.

Something ridiculous also happened. I had mixed up a 500-calorie meal replacement shake and put it in an insulated shaker cup, which I’d never used before. The plan was to have it for lunch after the tour. But when I parked at the museum I discovered that I had not properly sealed the new shaker top, and it had emptied itself onto the passenger seat, out of sight because it was covered by my shopping bag of museum stuff. About 12 ounces of high-protein drink, half still on the leather seat, the other half down under it on the carpet.

I went across the street to the 7-11 and bought a roll of paper towels and some wipes, and got a lot of it up. Fortunately it was “pumpkin spice” flavor and now the car has a delicate cinnamon aroma. But I suspect soon I will be paying somebody to steam clean my carpets.

In the afternoon I went to my usual 2-4pm sorting job at FOPAL, which makes three times this week. Not what I want to do on a regular basis.


Day 290, haircut, book, FOPAL, A/V

Wednesday, 9/18/2019

This morning I was scheduled for a haircut at 9am, so, as with the prior morning’s 9am flu shot, I wasn’t able to go for a run and instead did exercises in my room. Then out to have Chris cut my hair as she’s been doing since the 1970s (when I had a lot more hair to cut). Back to C.H. for an hour working on the novel. Then to FOPAL where I found seven or eight boxes of books waiting for the Computer section, and spent three hours in total culling, pricing and shelving.

Got back to C.H. just in time for a 4:15 appointment with Ian to be shown the A/V equipment, which is quite extensive. I learned where pretty much everything is. Since there was a lecture at 7, I ate a quick supper then joined Bert, who was doing the A/V for the lecture, and shadowed him — learning several things about the systems that Ian hadn’t thought to tell me.

In fact we the A/V team had a fairly public screw-up. The speaker, a very affable and easy-going (fortunately) Stanford history prof, wanted to start his show with a short video from Vimeo. The prof was supposed to have arrived well in advance of the 7pm start so we could set him up. You need to get the lapel mic and transmitter on him, and you need to connect his laptop to our video projector, and get it ready to show the video, followed by a smooth transition to his power-point slides. On a laptop you’ve not seen before.

He didn’t arrive until 6:55, when a fair number of people had already filtered in and sat down. So we had to set up his stuff with lots of people watching and under time pressure. We set up the video easily enough, although this was one of the new Macbooks that has no old-school USB, and no HDMI, just a selection of identical USB-3s (“lightning” connectors). Bert had a dongle for this that broke out an HDMI and an old-style USB from a lightning port. Right away the Mac found the HDMI, and here my experience with Macs was a help, Bert is a Windows guy and didn’t know how to make the Mac mirror the displays instead of treating the external projector as a second screen. That set, we verified the power point (actual Power Point, not Mac Keynote) worked. And cued up the video full-screen ready to start.

UN-fortunately in the rush, neither Bert nor I thought to check whether we were getting any audio. And we weren’t. Without audio, the video wasn’t much help, so the speaker just said, forget it, let’s go to the slides. I still don’t know what the problem was, although I’m pretty sure we could have worked it out had the guy actually showed up when asked.

I think Friday I’ll take my laptop down and see if I can make things work.

Day 255, lost to posterity almost

Wednesday, 8/14/2019

This was the first day so far where I completely failed to do a blog post. Not even remembering to do one in the morning of the next day, as I’ve sometimes done. Well, now it was 30. hours ago, what did I do?

Went for a run, I remember that, starting early, around 7:30, because the forecast was for heat and indeed it was already warm by the time I returned. About 10am I left for my haircut, the appointment I had flaked out on last Wednesday. From there to FOPAL to cull and price and shelve computer books, and then to sort for three hours.

At some point along there, I got a text from Chuck saying the buyers had indeed opened an escrow with that $81K nonrefundable deposit. Back home I found my new key to the workshop in my mailbox. I’ll put that to use on Friday, I think.

I believe I ate supper at Rosina’s table. There we go, timeline patched up.

Day 82, FOPAL, haircut, groceries

Wednesday, 2/21/2019

Pretty routine day. Started with a run. Reviewed a couple of big slide groups. Not many left, now.

Drove to our long-time hairdresser, Chris, to trim my increasingly thin hair. Really not a lot left, but what there is, looks better for being cut. Chris said she had been going over her recipe file and had noticed how many of her recipes she had gotten from Marian. Over the years the two of them swapped recipes often.

Down to FOPAL a bit early so started sorting at 1:30 and didn’t leave until 4:30. Bought some groceries and was surprised when the bill came to $70, probably the most I’ve spent on food since December. Well, some stock items like a big brick of cheddar at $15 which will last two or more weeks.

Relaxing in my chair, the doorbell announces a visit from neighbor Pat, just stopping by to see how I am. We chat for a few minutes about this and that.

The evening’s entertainment is watching an episode of “Brokenwood Mysteries“, not on the DVR but streamed on Amazon Prime. I like that series and am pleased to see from that Wikipedia link that it has been renewed for another season. But with me watching streamed stuff, TV is stacking up on the DVR; I noticed this morning it is 55% full. Must watch or delete something. Oh, the burdens of being a responsible consumer of media. (jk)

Day 54, haircut and FOPAL

Wednesday, 1/23/2019

Went for a run in the chilly morning. At 11, departed to get a haircut from Chris, just like on Day 18. There was this difference: as I pulled into the Ladera Shopping Center parking lot, I automatically scanned for open slots near to the top — just as I had twenty or more times over the last two years or so, parking to minimize the distance for Marian to walk. And suddenly realized, wait a minute: I can walk just fine. I don’t need to park close to the entrance. I can sashay across the length of the parking lot with no difficulty. And pulled into the first available spot.

Claiming my new life. I never felt any resentment at Marian’s limited mobility, or the limitations it forced on us both. If I thought about it at all, I admired her matter-of-fact, dignified acceptance. This is how I am now, was her attitude, and this is how we deal with it. Parking close to your destination, avoiding stairs, skipping activities that needed many steps — these was just ways the partnership operated.

But I’m living a new life now, and it has pluses and minuses. One of the advantages is that I no longer need to compromise with limited mobility. (Well, for now. How long will I be freely mobile?) Today I consciously realized that advantage.

I loaded two cartons of books and went to FOPAL where I sorted for 2 and a half hours. Afterward I drove down to say hello to Jean. I took a bag of books. When she was at the house last, she took all of Marian’s Tory Hayden books (Hayden wrote books about saving troubled children). Well, that was a genre that Marian had loved. Cleaning out the next shelf I found another dozen books of a similar kind by other authors. Now I brought that bag of books to her and we chatted a bit.



Day 18, Books and Haircut

Last night’s adventure was to attend a “story slam” put on by The Moth. Back-story: my niece Laurel has been trying to connect me to her friend Ed Lewis, who has an avocation as a story-teller. Ed was going to be in San Francisco for this slam, and we agreed to meet before the event to eat. My friend Scott was interested so we drove up together. Ed is a cheerful guy with a lot of stories. At the slam, anyone can put their name in a bag, from which ten names were drawn to tell their stories in five minutes each. Ed’s name wasn’t drawn. His professional opinion of the tellers who were chosen was not positive, except for the two who were scored highest by the judges. Those two really did tell gripping personal tales with confidence and panache. Ed invited us to come to a story-telling festival he’s running in January to hear “really good, professional tellers.”

Wednesday, 12/19/2018

After a run (another good one, 40 minutes nonstop and felt fine) I spent some time trying to master this WordPress blog’s styling. Ended up using the WordPress online chat for help, which was quite helpful. But I really would like to get an archive of prior posts in the sidebar, similar to what Blogger offers, and it doesn’t seem possible.

New Gig

At 1pm I went for my first volunteer gig at FOPAL. This was quite enjoyable. I’m going to like this weekly 2-hour gig. What I’m doing for now is sorting. FOPAL has defined about 60 interest categories, like “computers”, “classic literature”, “travel narrative”, “movies/tv” and so on. Each category has some shelf space in the big Sale Room, where the monthly book sales take place. Each category has at least one volunteer “manager” who prices and arranges her category’s books on the shelf before sale day.

People come to the door with bags and boxes of books as donations, and of course these are not nicely categorized. The donation boxes and bags pile up in a small mountain in the center of the Sorting Room. Around the walls of the Sorting Room are shelves with boxes labeled for each category. What I and other sorters do is to open a donation box; look at each book; decide if it is worth keeping at all, and if so, into what category box to drop it. Then put the book in the box for its category. When a category box fills up, move it to the appropriate area of the sale room for the category manager to handle.

It’s a fun job, good mental exercise evaluating the books, and physical exercise as well, walking back and forth and carrying heavy boxes of books around. Nice people to work with, too, as one would expect at an all-volunteer outfit.


Since the 1980s, Marian and I both had our hair cut by Chris Johnson. She gave Marian’s last shampoo and blow-dry the week before she died. On the way home from that appointment Marian asked what I planned to do about haircuts when she was gone. I said “Oh, probably stay with Chris, no point in changing”. So today was the appointment for haircuts that we’d made weeks earlier. I left early from the FOPAL gig to make the 4pm appointment. Chris and I kind of talked around issues, not doing a lot of reminiscing about Marian, so I only choked up a couple of times.

Home for a rest and supper, then I go out again at 7:30 to see Into the Woods at the Bus Barn theater.