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 220, moving, canceling, FOPAL

Wednesday, 7/10/2019

Today was the day scheduled for my relocation meeting. Angela, the boss of all the renovation logistics, and Gloria, the rep for Gentle Transitions, the moving company that executes the move-outs and move-backs, came and spent two hours going over my apartment and its contents in detail.

They had a floor plan of 621 and of 435, my temp location, on magnetic boards, and lots of little magnetic furniture tiles, and first built a detailed plan of my current arrangement. Then we went down to 435 and with my input, worked out where to put my furniture there. All recorded by arranging the pieces on the magnetic boards, and then photographing the final arrangements.

It was made easier because the two units are quite similar; 435 has one less closet than 621, but fortunately I don’t make much use of two of the three closets I have. So Gloria planned out which items from what closets and cupboards and drawers, would go to which others. Same for the bathroom, as the 621 bathroom has a few more drawers than 435 does. It took the full two hours, but is done. 435 is not as nice a place as 621 for sure, but it will do for six months.

Before they arrived I came to a decision and executed it, possibly to my cost. Before I knew the dates of the move, I had booked a tour with a departure date of 9/6. Then Angela told me that 9/6 was my move-out day, with no flexibility. I was anticipating moving out to a guest unit on 9/5, and returning 16 days later to my new apartment. That was barely acceptable but now I’m seriously worried about the house sale maybe not getting completed in August and running into September. It shouldn’t, but I don’t like the chance that I could be away and unable to sign stuff, and texting Chuck at all hours.

So I decided rather precipitously to change the date. I called Road Scholar and they agreed to change to the same tour but with a 9/25 departure date. Same price, but, sadly, since I am now less than 60 days from the original departure, they can only give me half credit for the fee. Fortunately I had bought all-reasons travel insurance as well, so I can get back the other half from the insurance company. So I was trying to arrange that while simultaneously talking to Angela and Gloria, and it was kind of stressful.

When the move conference was over I gobbled some lunch and headed out to FOPAL. This is the last day for arranging one’s section before the sale this weekend. I processed five boxes of computer books, sent four boxes to the bargain room (the bargain room guy, Frank, says there’s no room on the shelves there, either, but he’ll deal with it) and priced one box. But rather than shelve them, I set the box in the vast mound of boxes for all sections labeled “Hold”. Then I spent two hours sorting and boxing, and came home quite tired.

For supper I headed to the open table where Rosina usually sits. Ed and Colin joined me. During the conversation (much of it about Colin’s boyhood in South Africa before WWII, as Colin is rather chatty) it emerged that Rosina during her career in education traveled the world setting up links between classes in, she says, 104 countries, so that the classes can meet over Skype and converse.

Like I said, I’m surrounded by over-achievers. It’s quite shocking to me what an ageist I am. I just never expect an old person to be a distinguished anything. Old people don’t matter, as a matter of mental habit. It’s just like racism: automatically assuming less, or discounting the value, of a person based on physical appearance. Gray racism. I think it’s one factor in why I am having trouble remembering names to go with faces. Not the only factor; I’ve always been bad at remembering names. But to some extent, my brain doesn’t like to pay attention to old wrinkly faces, or distinguish between them. Of course the irony is, I’m one of them. Which I only remember when looking in the mirror.



Day 219, realty and book

Tuesday, 7/9/2019

Started the day with a run, which felt not just normal but actually good. For an hour I worked on the book. Then it was time to drive to Tasso street to meet with Chuck.

There I met Sean, a tall, gangly guy with a wild blond hair and a gentle manner straight out of the 1960s. He’s employed by Deborah to house-sit for security. He’s been sleeping on the used McCroskey mattress and really likes it, so I suggested he talk to Deborah and buy it. (If he doesn’t, I’d just have to pay somebody to haul it.) When not house-sitting, Sean lives in the warehouse of a music store. He’s got a ten year old son in Munich and would love to go back to Germany, but he’s only just managed to qualify for SSI (bad back) and would lose it if he lived outside the U.S.

Aside from the mattress, there is very little left from the sale. All furniture is gone. The refrigerator is gone, and that pleases me; I had come to hate that refrigerator over the past six months and I’m glad it’s gone. Apparently they had trouble getting it out, having to remove not only the back door, but the refrigerator doors as well. But there’s a dusty space where it was. There’s yet another possible buyer for the washer/dryer coming Wednesday.

The only real surprise to me was that nobody wanted the Rorstrand dinner service. I really thought… well, what do I know. It was back on Day 6 that I started restoring it by ordering replacements for all the chipped plates. Then Denise didn’t want it. Just a surprise to me that nobody wants such a handsome, complete set. Well, I suppose it’s that anybody with a household, buys their dinner service early on, or gets it as a wedding present. And they don’t need another.

Chuck arrived and we went over the next steps. In order they are: To get Amy to take a quick look and decide what paint colors she wants; then to get the painting contractor scheduled. When the painting is done, or while it is done, get the area rugs removed. After the painting, to bring in a cleaner to polish the wood floors and clean everything. And then Amy does her staging. Last or nearly last will be to get Richard to apply a new layer of garden mulch, and maybe get someone in to power-wash the brick walks and porch.

Can all this get done in July? Doubtful, I think. Can it get done in August? It damn well better had, because on September 5 I am out of here for two weeks. I really, really want the house sale wrapped before September 1, and I need to push everyone for that.

After Chuck left, the guys from the fireplace contractor arrived, Jose and Noah. They opined that the only way to get electric ignition and a remote control, is to replace the burner and grate that is in place now. Their boss, Eric, is to send me a quote. They didn’t say how much it would be, but I’m predicting it will come in over $1200. Less than $2K I hope.

Back at C.H. I spent a couple more hours on the book. I resolved a nasty problem with cross-references. The publishing platform I’m using supports x-refs but I’m trying to use them within my end-notes file to do op.cit. references, that is, cross-references from inside one note, to another note. Their software wasn’t quite up to it, but I found a work-around and reported it on their user forum.

I am just about ready to generate a final, print-ready PDF, which I can then use to build a book on Kindle Direct or one of the other on-demand publishers, Lulu or Blurb. But I also need to prepare a separate PDF of the cover. To now, I’ve only needed a front cover because that’s all an e-text needs. But a print book needs also a graphic for the spine and the back cover. It will take a bit of creativity to generate those, working from the nice front-cover graphic I purchased way back when.

Ate supper alone at a table for one, reading, like a nerd. But dammit, by comparison, it is stressful to sit with other people and make conversation. Not difficult while I’m doing it, but in the moment of entering the seating area holding my plate of food, faced with the options of, A, going to one of the open tables and smiling and saying, mind if I sit here? and B, going to a small table on the side and sitting down alone and bringing out my phone and opening Kindle to read while I eat, well, A is more stressful and B, more relaxing. That’s being an introvert.


Day 214, a walk, grief, fireworks

Thursday, 7/4/2019

Good night’s sleep, pleasant quiet morning. Edited two more chapters of the book, then at 10am decided to go for a walk somewhere. Where? Some years ago we had a nice outing in Edgewood Park, on the west edge of Redwood City. However, this being a holiday, no doubt the parking lot will be full already, so: take a Lyft. Which I did.

Edgewood park’s trails all start with a stiff climb of about 300 or 400 feet. I do not think Marian could have managed those anytime in this century, so my memory of a pleasant outing there must date back to the 90s. Today was one more in a series of just beautiful days, temperatures in the low 70s, clear and sunny. I went up the hills in decent style, feeling normally strong.

After an hour or so, I called a Lyft and headed back, in time for a special lunch here, barbecue on the patio. Very decent ribs. Got invited to sit with Nancy, Tom and Karen, all retired from the medical field, working at Stanford or PAMF, I’m not sure which.

Played my space game for a couple hours (it’s wearing thin, I think I’ll toss it), and then Deborah texted with a picture: do you want the stuff in this drawer?


What the heck drawer is that? She was working at the house, so I went over to see. It was a shallow drawer in the top of the bedroom cabinet that I’d simply overlooked. Apparently Marian had used it as the place to keep… stuff she didn’t want to throw away. Mostly SWBB memorabilia, but quite a few other things, like the wrap-around sunglasses she used for a while, and her Stanford Blood Center Volunteer badge with its 750 hours endorsement. Deborah suggested I bag it all and sort it later, which I did.

Back at C.H. I went through it and set aside a few items as meaningful to me, like the orange button, “Croix de Candlestick”, for surviving an extra-innings night baseball game there, and some other pins. Several things seemed particularly meaningful for Marian’s life, and I put them in the box of her memorabilia I created some months ago. The rest went into the trash.

During all of that I was sniffling. I haven’t mentioned grief much in the past couple of months. That’s because it has not been a common problem. It hits at widely separated intervals, triggered by quite unpredictable events. This was an obvious one. But anything that recalls the life we used to have, the comfortable, interesting life of “Dave’n’Marian”, is cause for a deep wave of regret. I’m not going to compare my present, very comfortable life to that one; they exist in completely separate compartments. They aren’t commensurable. But the old life is gone forever, and every once in a while I get reminded of that and get a spasm of emotion.

I also still get occasional, brief twinges of the anxiety that I noted in the first weeks. I’m pretty sure it is based in the fact that for 45 years I had a smart, diligent person double-checking me and calling me on my bullshit and catching my oversights. Nobody around to do that now. What am I forgetting to do in a timely fashion? Well, actually, nothing. Nothing I’m aware of, anyway — but that’s rather the point, isn’t it?

So the transition continues.  Later tonight C.H. gathered on the 11th floor deck to watch fireworks in all directions. I stayed at the party for a few minutes, had a delicious rootbeer float (thanks to the Fourth Floor which were the nominal hosts) and looked at distant sparkles. But it was chilly out on the open deck, and crowded inside the penthouse, so I went back to my room. Not without some guilt; I really should stay up there and “network” but I don’t feel like it.

Distant artillery noises–the sound of a distant fireworks show travels better than the light–continued until 11pm.


Day 194, counting down to move

Friday, 6/14/2019

First up, I went for a run (“the last run on this route” — just about every thing I did today was “the last” something.)

Then I rearranged the to-do lists, moving “Kill AT&T and DirecTV” to Saturday morning, just in case they would actually cut off service immediately. Then did a bunch of small things, including the laundry. I’m trying to arrange so that all my clothes are either clean, or on my body, when the movers come.

I found two drawers of stuff I’d never triaged! One was the travel drawer, all the stuff like toiletry bags, foreign plug adapters, etc. that one would rummage through when packing for a trip. The other was just a drawer of “decide later” items that I’d collected back in, probably, December. Well, “later” is here, so I went through that, selected a few things to keep, left the rest for Deborah to try to sell.

I was still flip-flopping on the TaskRabbit thing. TaskRabbit support responded with the PDF of their Certificate of Insurance, so I emailed that to Angela. (Responded at 8am to a ticket I opened at 10pm, not bad.)

Then I drove to Channing House and found Angela in her office. She was in the middle of conferring with the new Director of Facilities, who introduced himself, so that was handy. We settled that I would get at least enough Facilities help to set up the bed, and as much more as they would be able to do on a Saturday. She reviewed the PDF I’d sent, and she and the Facilities guy looked at it and agreed that normally, such documents name the organization, in this case Channing House, specifically, and this one was generic. She said she would ask them for a customized one, and I saw later she’d written to support@taskrabbit, copying me, but I doubt there will be any useful reply. So I canceled that Task, and I’ll rely on CH staff.

Back home, I shut down the big iMac and packed it up in the original form-fitting Apple shipping box. And then… there’s nothing more to do, today.

Well, while at CH, I picked up my mail, and there was the bag of TO-5 form transistors that I wanted to replace the two a museum visitor filched. So I have the transistors to show-and-tell. (Specifically the TO-5, which look like metal top-hats on three legs, because that is the shape of the transistors on the circuit boards that are on display. It’s an old style not much used now, but I think having the one I show look just like the ones on the exhibits, is important.)

OK, but I hand the transistors around for inspection in a little clear plastic box. It was the perfect size, about 2 inches tall and about ¾-inch square, to hold two transistors. I can’t remember where I got said box, but it is gone now. So I spent a wonderful half hour on the internet trying to find a similar box. Amazon, Etsy, Ebay, Nope.

At 3:30, Deborah texted, could I see a buyer for the desk today? OK. So I hustled around and cleaned the dust off Marian’s desk. Sam arrived and we carried it out to his car and he gave me cash. Deborah says with Craig’s List, cash is king. I’m not used to having a wad in my pocket. I need to do a cash deposit pretty quick, my money clip is stressed.

Deborah wanted to know how old the desk was. I am not sure. Marian had it when we married. From 1965 to 1968 she was in Hawaii and I doubt she would have shipped a lot of furniture back and forth. So I can only guess she bought it between 1968 when she settled in her apartment in Menlo Park and started working at IBM’s Watson Court building, and 1973 when we married. I told Sam it was probably bought around 1969-70, and he was very impressed. “So, it’s like… fifty years old already?” He looked about 40-ish to me, so I guess, anything is an antique if it’s older than you are?

A week ago, a Susan Gilbert at CH emailed asking if I’d join them for dinner Friday night, so at 5:15 or so I need to leave for that. A Social Event. Tidied myself up for that.

OK let’s try to remember names. Susan and Keith Gilbert. Keith said, “Your biggest problem moving in, is remembering all the names. Like me.” I gotta like this guy! They’ve been at CH for just a year. Ann Clark, Bob Schwaar, longer time. Lennie Stovel, she is new also, and hasn’t moved in yet. Impressive people generally. Lennie managed software development for Stanford Libraries. They’d all attended colleges like Wellesley, MIT, Stanford.

Burning off the last recorded shows on the DVR which will be shut down later.



Day 165, Yosemite, CH

Thursday 5/16/2019

Drove through unseasonable heavy rain showers to Yosemite, the Museums warehouse for a day of work. Aurora, the curator, assigned me to work with Ken doing photography. She’d turned up a couple of boxes of previously cataloged artifacts that had never been photographed. We have a new volunteer, Tom, who spent a long career in Burroughs and its later incarnations as part of Sperry. Aurora had him sit with her all day as they went through every Burroughs-related artifact in the catalog and he added or clarified information in the descriptions.

At four I headed back toward Palo Alto but not simply home. In the daily CH schedule — which I now get in my email every morning — it said that there would be a ceremony in the lobby to welcome Rhonda Bekkedahl, our new CEO. She’s been acting CEO for a few weeks, and in fact it was she who conducted my signing day a few weeks ago. I sat across from her at her desk and she led me through each of the numerous documents I had to sign. She was warmly congratulated by the chairman of the Board, who noted that both the outgoing CEO (who retired last month) and the Board as a whole were unanimous in recommended Rhonda as his successor. She’s been an executive here for some time, COO for a year. So she knows the organization and is apparently liked by the staff and the residents.

Anyway this is the first time I saw the whole membership, or at least most of it, assembled in one place. The lobby is large and it was pretty full of a crowd of a couple hundred people. I was looking around trying to feel like I fit in, but I don’t really, which is due to a mismatch with my quite inaccurate self-image. When I’m not actually looking in a mirror, I fall into the habit of thinking of myself as middle-aged. Um, dude… that train pulled out 20 years ago.

OK, fair enough, but I think I am in better physical shape than most of the other residents. However it is easy to notice how many are tottery or have wheeled walkers, while overlooking the large minority who are walking freely, standing straight and conducting animated conversations. Like Colin at dinner the other night, 93 and plays tennis every day.

Anyway, nobody there uses an actual Zimmer frame type walker, thank the lord! All nifty three-wheelers. If I saw anybody pushing one of those aluminum frames with tennis balls on the back legs, I’d… I don’t know what I’d do. But I would be profoundly disappointed.

After the meeting the dining hall had opened so of course I had supper there. I ate alone. Should I have invited myself to join one of the tables with three or four other people? Yeah, probably. But I’m not going to beat myself up about this. It just isn’t going to happen that I learn a bunch of people’s names and faces right away. I feel like I’m desperately clinging to the five or six I tried to remember from the floor meeting last week.

On the drive home I conceived another route that may be more fitted to my nature. I will not try to learn all the names, and I will not go out of the way to socialize at meals. I will relax and be my nerdy self, but I will also volunteer for multiple committees, of which there are many. I will learn people in small numbers, by repeated exposure in committee meetings and volunteer activities. From that may arise invitations to sit with people at meals. Or not; I really don’t care about that.


Day 161, disassembly, market, art

Sunday, 5/12/2019

I managed to sleep almost to 7am (and without getting up in the night, either). Yay me. Did the NYT puzzle and wrote yesterday’s blog post. As a result when I got to the coffee shop the almond croissants were just out of the oven, and that’s a good start to the day.

My plans for today were, first, to attend the Sunday Assembly, and then in the afternoon to drive to the City to look at the current exhibition at the Palace of the Legion of Honor. I figure to time that so I get back to Palo Alto around five, and find supper somewhere to kill the time until the potential buyers have cleared from the house.

Sunday Assembly is an international secular organization that sponsors Sunday morning meetings under the slogan “Live better, help often, wonder more”. They try hard to create the sense of community that is (I think) the main reason religious services exist, but without any supernatural trappings.  I and Marian attended a couple of their meetings back in 2017. Marian didn’t think much of them. I attended once with Dennis, also. I haven’t been to one in at least a year, and I thought I’d try it again.

I’m afraid that Sunday Assembly is not doing well; there were fewer people in attendance than I remember from before. I don’t think they are setting up as many rows of chairs at the Masonic Hall as they used to, and there were a couple of empty rows anyway.

As usual the meeting began with group singing. The speaker today was a person who was a counselor and leader of the secular summer camp movement, Camp Quest. So the theme was “adventure” and we opened by singing summer camp songs: “There’s a hole in the bottom of the sea,” “If you’re happy and you know it,” etc. That was fun in a mild way.

Then came a strange episode that I’m still processing. This of course is all to do with me, not a reflection on Sunday Assembly. The next activity was introduced as “We always start with an ice-breaker and here’s <name I didn’t get> to lead it.” Well, I can live with an ice-breaker, at least, times I’ve attended a Mass, I could shake hands with strangers around me during the “kiss of peace” ritual. But in this case, the very enthusiastic <name I didn’t get> tried to explain this quite complicated thing in which people were to pair up and you would say your name and point to the other who would say “Yeah!” and say a sentence about yourself and point, “Oh, yeah!” and trade off — there was more to it than that, a really complicated three-stage thing.

Even as he’s explaining and demonstrating this supposedly fun ritual I am thinking (I may have actually muttered aloud) “I ain’t doing that.” I was just swept by a negative reaction, an instant “Nope” as they say on Reddit. Nope nope nope! I don’t want to do that, I won’t do it well, I’ll feel like an idiot: in just a few seconds these barely-coherent feelings came over me. Plus, I’m sitting alone in a back row, there’s nobody near me to pair up with. So I instantly apprehend that I’m not going to have a choice, somebody in the row ahead is going to come up unpaired and look back at me and I don’t want to do this but I’ll be stuck. So just as the leader is saying “OK, let’s pair up and…” I just swept up my hat from the seat beside me and strode out of the room. Out the door, to my car, and drove away.

In hindsight there’s something familiar about that instant, strong, emotional rejection of a group activity. I haven’t felt it in many decades I’m sure, but now, a couple of hours after, I think I can relate it all the way back to grade school. It’s like the awful feeling when you are required to participate in a sport that you are shit at, but have to go out on the field anyway, knowing you will only humiliate yourself. So, I guess I’m still in touch with my inner third-grader. I’m not sure that I want to be! But maybe I should start to think about how to nurture that pathetic little guy.

Driving home along El Camino from the Sunday dis-Assembly I realized that it being Sunday, the

California Avenue farmer’s market

would be on. I haven’t been to that in four or five years. Marian and I always did our week’s food shopping on Sunday, and for several years we always started at the California Avenue market. For the last few years we found it more convenient to go to DiMartini’s farm stand in Mountain View; so it’s been a while. Just for the heck of it I parked and walked the length of the market.

This Sunday market, I’m pleased to note, is thriving. Walking it made me a little sad, however, because I really have no excuse to buy. Well, today I bought a box of Medjool dates, half a pound of cherries, and a bottle of apple-pomegranate cider. These are things I can consume in my bachelor life-style. But looking ahead, living in a facility with full meal service really means having no connection to food prep at all. This isn’t a new feeling. One of my very first realizations, like within 24 hours of Marian’s death, was that I’d probably never cook a proper meal again. But this was a reminder, a cold wind blowing on the raw surface where that “shard” of the old life has fallen off.

Anyway, 2pm I headed for the city for the

Early Rubens

exhibit at the Palace of the Legion of Honor. Drove myself, it being a Sunday, rather than using the train and Lyft. Took a few pictures.

Nice Jewish Girl


In an early “Annunciation” Rubens caters (no doubt) to the expectations of his Amsterdam audience, giving Mary a lovely head of blond curls.






This lady was I think not quite getting what she wanted. But I like my composition, the diagonal line from subject’s eyes to artist’s.






Here, the spotlights make Rodin’s “Three Shades” into six or nine.




So drove on back to Palo Alto, had a burger and a beer at The Counter, then over to Midtown for a dish of ice cream. Answering texts from Chuck all along this route, as he relayed questions from the clients. “How old is the roof” and so forth. Later he said both parties were very favorably impressed. I’ll meet him tomorrow afternoon to learn more.


Day 155, FBC and FOPAL and mixer

Monday, 5/6/2019

Started the day with a run, departing earlier than usual, 8am instead of my normal lazy 9am departure. That was so that I could get home, shower, and get back to the local coffee shop to meet with Harriet at 10am to talk about Steve’s idea for a

revived Fast Break Club.

This was an enlightening meeting. Harriet brought her friend Leslie who is a Stanford WBB alum as well as having worked in the WBB office.

We all agreed that Steve’s ideas were a complete non-starter unless there was real, enthusiastic buy-in and support from the WBB office, and Tara in particular. Leslie explained how, since the program is now completely funded from the Athletic department, there is no real concern about attendance. Steve’s strongest argument for a new fan organization is the slow decline in average attendance  over the last decade, but the department and WBB coaches and staff really don’t care. Their job performance isn’t rated based on attendance. Only if we can find out what they do want, or what would help them with things that do count, like recruiting, would we get support. So job one, she thought, would be talk to the coaches and try to find out what would seem like a benefit to them.

After that, even with Office support, the problem remains of how to recruit new fans, especially younger parents with daughters. Here again Leslie knew something that I (nor I think Harriet) had known: that parents of high- and middle-school students, and the students, coaches, and teachers, all work off the school website and other social media these days. So if you can get any parent to post a fan-club event on their school’s site, that’s how to get things known.

We left it to Harriet to take these thoughts back to Bob and others in touch with Steve, and talked a little bit about Norway, where they want to tour next winter. My experience was only in the summer, and they’d read the blog, so there wasn’t much I could add, except to recommend Stockholm for a visit. Turns out Leslie has a relative in Helsinki, which is a reasonable ferry ride from Stockholm.

A bit later in the morning I found myself with

nothing to do,

and that’s a first! Almost nothing on the old to-do list. I’ve been expecting this time to come, but I thought it wouldn’t happen until I had moved in to CH. I pictured a day when I am moved in, all my furniture set up, I water the plants and then… nothing on the schedule.

That will be when I will have to start rearranging my days to apply time to three different long-term projects I’ve had on the back-burner for a year now, including two books. Well, fine, but not today. I decided to go down to


and make sure the Computer section was in good order. There were four boxes of books waiting. I went through them, sent ¾ on to the bargain room, and priced and shelved the rest. The section is looking quite good, if I do say so. I’ll hit it again Wednesday and Friday and it should be ready for the sale weekend. After an hour doing that, I spent another 90 minutes doing sorting, and had the sorting room almost tidy when the usual Monday volunteers showed up. So I came on home and actually played a computer game for an hour. Then I went over to CH to check the mail and for


which turned out to be a “mixer”. As you enter the dining room there’s a resident with a hat containing small numbers. If you are willing to participate you take a number, which is the number of a table. In this way you sit and eat with people you haven’t met before. I did it, although in fact I haven’t met anyone at all. But prior times I’ve eaten there, I’ve sat by myself and read a book. This time, I sat with — let me see — Carol, Julie, Betty, lady whose name I can’t pronounce, and Colin. Colin is a chatty guy with a bit of a British accent and wild bushy eyebrows. He just had a 90th birthday party last weekend; and he played tennis this morning. He said he always asked new residents some questions, I said go ahead, and asked if I play bridge (yes) but then he wanted me to play in his duplicate bridge group and I really don’t want to play duplicate. He asked if I sing, well, I can carry a tune, great, every Wednesday we have a sing-along over in the Lee Center, you must come. Do I play tennis? Sorry, no; this is where I found out he plays tennis regularly. Do I dance? Nope! I think I’m down as a poor quality recruit in his book.

And so home. Chuck messages that he has a potential buyer who wants to see the house, can I clear out around noon tomorrow? You betcha!


Day 140, easy Sunday

Sunday, 4/21/2019

I deliberately did little today, and avoided looking at the full-page to-do list on the dining room table next to all the C.H. documents I should read and file. Had a pleasant coffee and crossword time at the local coffee shop, which was unusually quiet well past 8am. I guess people were either at church or preparing a Sunday dinner.

About 11 I drove to the museum to do the noon tour. Ken, another docent, was also there; they usually schedule two of us for weekend tours. But the parking lot was nearly empty and few people were in the lobby so we agreed there wouldn’t be enough people to split in two groups, so he went on home. I ended up with about 12 people.

For supper I thought about going to C.H. and decided I didn’t want to; and instead drove to Town and Country shopping center for a burger and a beer.

This exposed a problem I am going to have to deal with in coming weeks: general shyness and introversion and enjoyment of a quiet meal. For all these decades, Marian and I had the custom of sitting down with our plates in the living room and watching TV (often a cooking show) while we ate, and talking little.

This won’t be an option at Channing House. Once I take up residence, I will need to eat at least supper in the dining room. Which opens a whole can of (trivial, but real) worms for the born introvert. Which table to sit at? Who to sit with? What to talk about? Initially at least some residents are going to want to get to know the stranger in their midst. I’ll have to talk about myself and be affable and shit. I’ve eaten in the dining room twice now, once as Craig’s guest and last Friday — and I see I didn’t mention that in the blog! — I went back there and ate alone. There were enough tables that I could find an empty one and nobody came by, except the waiter. (You fill your plate in a cafeteria-style line but there are waiters who provide drinks and take away used plates.)

Choosing a table was fraught; I was early, and had no idea of the conventions and customs. I was afraid I’d end up at somebody’s regular table and they’d come in and… what? Be offended? Give me a break. But this is the kind of thing an introvert deals with. If you don’t understand it, consider yourself lucky.