1.055 SWBB, photos, grief

Sunday, 1/26/2020

For morning coffee I again walked to the old P.A. Cafe, getting very slightly wet from a light shower. Rather than walk back through slightly heavier rain, I took a Lyft.

For a couple of hours I worked on organizing and filing a month’s worth of pictures from my iPhone. Then I realized, the SWBB game is at 12 and it’s now 11:15. Headed out for Maples.

The Cardinal dispatched Utah fairly easily. There was a fairly dramatic period in the third quarter, when a decent lead got pumped up a lot by a sequence involving our freshman sharp-shooter, Hannah Jump. (In December 2018, blog Day 33, I went with others to see her play as a high school senior.) She has an amazingly quick release from the three-point line and is usually very accurate. So with Stanford up 10 points, we have this sequence (from the official play-by-play) as Hanna’s teammates kept feeding her the ball:

  • 3:35, Hanna Jump missed 3-point
  • 3:31 Hanna Jump missed 3-point
  • 3:10 Hanna Jump missed 3-point
  • 2:40 Hanna Jump made 3-point
  • 2:19 Utah player made 3-point
  • 2:00 Nadia Fingall (Stanford) made 3-point
  • 1:00 Hanna Jump made 3-point
  • 0:33 Hanna Jump made 3-point

So over three minutes, Hanna took six shots, making three. At the end of the quarter, Stanford’s lead had doubled.

Back home I finished up fiddling with those pictures. I went down to supper and as has happened before I didn’t like the look of anything on offer, and went back to my room for a beer and a sandwich.

I want to mention that today, for the first time in weeks, I was bothered by grief. It started when I was walking to coffee, and noticed a Daphne growing in a front yard. This brought back our, or more correctly Marian’s Daphne plant. Daphne is a pretty little bush with highly fragrant flowers. Ours started out as a porch plant in a pot, but a couple of years back, Marian moved it to the back yard. She was very protective of it, and very particular about how it should be watered. She thought it was prone to root-rot, so it couldn’t be served by the drip irrigation. It had to be watered by hand, a specific amount, and only if its soil measured dry. I followed these instructions to the letter after I took over plant care in 2018. I presume the plant is still there at the back of 2340 Tasso.

Anyway, there was a Daphne looking just like ours, and somehow that just started a train of feelings. Later, walking into the basketball game, the daphne combined with memory of Marian’s love for SWBB and for a few minutes I was as near to crying as I’ve been in months.


1.013 Sunday, play, SWBB

Stanford volleyball started slow, behind as much as 6 in the first set, and I’m thinking, oh dear, this is going to be another five-set marathon if that. Then suddenly, with the score Stanford 14 Penn State 20, they woke up and ran off a bunch of points and finished the set 25-22. And just dominated the next two sets to win in a sweep. So they are off to the final four.

Sunday, 12/15/2019

Coffee and paper at the PA Cafe. Then drop in on the FOPAL sale room before anyone was there, to tidy up my section after Saturday’s sale traffic. Move books back to their proper sections (why do books from the adjacent Business section get shelved with mine?), neaten the rows, etc.

Showering this morning I noticed that my last bar of Pear’s Soap is diminishing. After breakfast I checked the shelves of CVS and Walgreens. No bar soap of any kind. Hmmm. I seem to have missed a general social transition to liquid bath soaps. I don’t care to use a bath gel, I’d rather rub a bar on my bod. Well, a repeating theme lately. I try for a product in the local stores. Then, 30 seconds at amazon reveals exactly what I want at a reasonable price with free shipping. It is so easy to fulfill any wish…

I don’t think I mentioned that among all my other activities yesterday I ordered the 8×10 area rug I want. A week ago I spoke to Angela the Upgrade Honcho and she said of buying a rug, just be sure to have it in house before January 10th, when the freight elevators are restricted to the move. Store it in your temp room and we’ll install it on the move. So I looked it up again on Amazon and it was in stock with free Prime shipping — which actually means something for a package that size, about half a cubic yard and heavy.

Then I headed out to see You/Emma at the Pear theater. This is a one-woman show in which the actress rehearses the plot of Madame Bovary, alternating between, one, the persona of Emma Bovary, two, a modern woman reflecting on how Emma’s life might have been in this century instead of 1840, and three, Gustave Flaubert (the same actress wearing a black wig and giant moustache, on a TV screen at the side of the stage). At some point in the past, Flaubert was quoted as saying “I am Emma Bovary”. In the play, Emma argues with him over his treatment of her, and his lack of insight into her plight and circumstances. It was quite clever and well done.

The play ran from 2pm to 3:30pm. Then I had an hour to kill before a SWBB game at Maples, my third time at Maples in three days. Stanford played Ohio State, which I had thought was ranked, but checking now it isn’t in the top 25 in any poll. They looked big and athletic in warm-ups. And Stanford had four players in street clothes, including two sometime starters, so I expected a competitive game. Stanford quickly took a lead and widened it steadily to the end. Six players scored, three of them freshmen. This is one solid team.


Day 362, Docent, plant stand, SWBB

Saturday, 11/30/2019

Had breakfast in the dining room. Two of three central elevators are still out, so I’m getting lots of stairsteps. The plant stand that I’ve been working on is still on the balcony waiting to have the top half primed and painted, but the weather has turned cold. Too cold, really, for spray painting. Well, heck I have access to the resident workshop. So I carry the stand, and my paint cans and some latex gloves, down to the basement via the freight elevator. I prime the top half and leave it to dry.

At 11 I leave for the museum. Steve is not overjoyed to see me; for some reason he likes to not split docent duties, he says, but then he graciously concedes there are quite a few people and we should. At 5 to the hour there is a group of 15 or so already, so he starts out. I wait, chatting to the gathering crowd, until 5 after, but even with that delay my group keeps catching up to Steve’s. I have to fill and stall, and then finally I leapfrog him; and then I have to rush so I don’t slow his group down. It’s a mess, and I don’t feel I did a good job at all. I apologize to Steve, who is very nice about everything. But I don’t think my group of 20+ got the best experience.

At supper I sit alone at a table for four; then Helene comes to join me and we talk a bit. At 7:30 I settle down to listen to SWBB, the championship game of their tournament in Victoria, against Mississipi State. I’ve seen the MS Bulldogs play, in fact I remember a couple of years ago cheering for them at the Final Four in Knoxville, when they upset UConn in semi. They are known for rebounding, but tonight Stanford out-rebounds them by a lot, takes a good lead, gives most of it up, but holds on to win by a few. A very exciting game to listen to.

Day 361, Docent, SWBB, rug

Friday, 11/29/2019

Went for a run in the morning. The outside temp was 45F (the two thermometers were only a degree apart, 44 vs. 45) so I wore a knitted watch cap as well as a sweatshirt (my classic SGI employee freebie sweatshirt from about 1997) and it was fine.

I spent a couple of hours then continuing the review of blog posts for this year. At 11, I drove to the museum and led the noon tour. I had expected that on a holiday weekend Friday, there would be a lot of people, but in fact I had a group of only about 12 to start. But a bunch more joined on the way, so at one point it was a crowed of 30 or more, which thinned out at the end to 20 again. One older lady told me afterward “You were great!” Awww.

Before leaving I had checked my personal schedule and tomorrow is basically open, except for maybe listening to a SWBB game from their tournament in Victoria, BC. I also checked the volunteer schedule to make sure today’s shot was the noon tour, and noticed that only Steve is signed up for noon Saturday. Which, again, will probably be heavy. So I signed up for that as well. I’ll go down there, if there isn’t a big crowd, I’ll come home.

In Channing House news, the third elevator is again on the blink. One supposes they are having trouble getting service on the holiday weekend? Anyway, there’s only one elevator in the central bank, although we are allowed to use the freight elevators at either end of the building. I’ve been taking the stairs always when going down from 4, and tonight after supper I climbed up as well.

I listened to the SWBB game (as I did last night after coming home). Last night they had a hard time just edging out a win from California Baptist (who?), who shouldn’t have caused such a problem. Tonight they played Syracuse, a matchup of The Orange against The Cardinal (and I love “autumn” colors), and won much more easily. Wins do come more easy when a freshman, Hannah Jump, goes unconscious and hits eight threes in the game. It turns out she is not the first to do that, and in fact Bonny Samuelson once hit nine in a game. During the postgame interview it emerged that the Samuelson sisters, Bonnie and Carlie, had been special idols for Hannah when she was growing up. Awwww.

3137947_image_1010I talked about rug shopping Day 355. Yesterday at Denise’s, I admired their area rug and Denise said, oh yeah, we got that on Amazon. Huh. So today I did some rug shopping on Amazon and… I would say things look bad for local rug shops. There are just a ton of nice looking area rugs at very reasonable prices on Amazon. With free shipping for Prime. I noted several that would do me nicely, would give just the needed patch of color on my new dark gray-brown floor. So I noted URLs to those, to be revisited in January after I move back to my proper unit. And now I can stop shopping and thinking about rugs. Nice!

Day 356, coffee, market, SWBB

Sunday, 11/24/2019

For coffee this morning, I drove to Menlo Park to try the home store of Mme. Collette, the little coffee shop three blocks from CH where the pastries are better and more interesting than anywhere else, but there isn’t room for comfortable reading. The other shop has even nicer pastries, but very little more room. For just comfy sittin’ and readin’ it is hard to beat the old PA Cafe in Midtown, you know?

Well, I was out in the car, where to go? I thought I’d go and stroll the California Ave. farmer’s market, maybe shoot a couple of pictures. This market has been a success ever since it started more than a decade ago. I know, because this afternoon when I was saving the best shots from today in the folder named “farmer’s markets”, I noticed the last time I shot pictures there it was 2009.

20191124 squash!

This was the best pic I got today. Something about that sign on top of the avalanche of zucchini just tickles me.

At 1pm I went downstairs and met with Patty and Florrie to ride in Patty’s new Honda Fit to the SWBB game. Like other newer cars I’ve ridden in, it has the side-view feature: when you flip the turn signal lever, the screen on the dash shows a view of the road to that side behind the car. I’m fortunate in that my neck is still flexible enough that I can turn my head to look behind before changing lanes. For people who can’t, this is a lifesaver. And if I had it I’d probably use it. Along with other neat gadgets, it’s an argument for replacing a perfectly good Prius. (Against that, by the way, is the fact that Toyota sided with the Trump administration in the suit against California’s emissions law, which I have heard mentioned more than once among CH residents as reason not to buy a Toyota. We are a hotbed of liberalism here in the old professors’ and doctors’ home, ya know.)

Anyway, Stanford played the Buffalo (NY) Bulldogs, another team that, like Gonzaga, has a very active and pestiferous defense. Stanford had a hard time pulling away and the score was pretty even at the half. Then in the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs ran out of gas. Stanford was rotating all their players (every available player had minutes and almost all had some points), and they just ran the legs off the team in blue. The fourth quarter was a rout, ending in a 20-point win.


Day 342, mostly SWBB

Saturday, 11/9/2019

The big event for today was to attend a SWBB game to be held at the new Chase Center in San Francisco. This was an event arranged by USF, with the USF women versus Stanford at 3pm and the USF men versus Princeton at 6pm.

In the morning I went down to FOPAL just to check my section at the start of Sale Day. Looked fine, but customers hadn’t begun rooting around in it yet. On the way back I stopped at the hardware store to buy a couple of screwdrivers. I wanted to assemble one of the 11×14 picture frames, and it needed a straight screwdriver, and I didn’t have one in my kitchen drawer. When I went to the storage locker in the basement and checked my toolbox, the multi-bit (“six-way” they are called because they feature two sizes of straight bits, two of phillips, and also fit two sizes of nut) screwdriver that I thought I owned, wasn’t there. I assume it got lost in the last or previous Repair Cafe day?(*) Anyway, I wanted a new one, hence the stop at Ace Hardware. I bought a “six-way” or the kitchen drawer and an “eight-way” for the toolbox.

After lunch I met with Patty who wanted a ride to the game, and off we went. The nav. system in the Prius refused to admit that the Chase Center parking at 1800 Owens street existed. Note to self: get GPS updated next time you get service. So Patty set up guidance on her phone. Entry to the parking, like entry to the arena, was controlled by an e-ticket on the phone. It all worked fine. The new Chase arena looks like — any other big commercial arena, and I’ve been in a few. Well, the monster video screen above the court is better than any I’ve seen before. But I can still carp. Big professional TV presumably maintained by professionals, right? And you can stand there and look up at the screen showing the court and the players, and down at the court and the players, and it is very obvious that the color balance is off. The players look like they have a sunburn and the wood floor is pinkish-yellow instead of brownish-yellow. Sheesh. The lighting levels and colors are completely  under their control, how hard is it to tweak the video so it actually resembles the subject it is showing?

Got back to CH in plenty of time for dinner.

(*) Days later, I found it neatly stowed in the case where I keep my power drill. Now I have three.

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 335, filing, SWBB

Saturday, 11/2/2019

We are approaching “Day 365” at speed. I’m mentally going over what I want to do or say at the one-year mark. I need to sum up, and maybe close this down, or decide how to continue it.

I took care of a little business this morning, paying for my next six months of car insurance and filing that receipt in the appropriate folder. Then I had a little panic session because something wasn’t where I remembered it.

Two days ago, I applied for an Apple Card. Just for fun, really; I already have three perfectly functional credit cards. The Chase Sapphire has the longest history, and Chase has been very good at fraud detection and alerts. The Hyatt card is another Chase one; I got it a decade ago when we were planning a trip to Europe and I found it was the only card (at the time) that did not charge a fee for currency conversions. I still use it primarily when traveling; I used it probably 15 times for small purchases on the recent Greek trip, and on the latest bill, there are all the transactions in Euros and converted to dollars.

The third card is a BofA card branded by Alaska Airlines. We got one each at Marian’s insistence, when we were traveling often on the west coast for SWBB away games. You get extra Alaska miles for purchases, and once a year, each card could be used to book a flight for two with the second traveler getting a flat $100 fare. After Marian died, I canceled her card but kept mine, for no very good reason. I hardly use it, although I have tended to use it for online purchases, because if it were picked up by scammers, I would not be discomfited at having to change its number and get a new card — as I have been when the Sapphire card had to be changed. So I’ve been using the Alaska card strictly for online purchase when I can’t use PayPal.

Anyway, I applied for and got an Apple Card. And then found out that I can’t pay my Apple Card bill the way I do all the others, using my SFCU bill-pay app. They just flat “don’t support bill-pay” — said the person who replied to my text query.

The only way to pay an Apple Card is to give them the routing and account number for your account (in my case, the SFCU checking account), and then they initiate an EFT  to debit my account for the amount I want to pay. That’s just the opposite of what I am used to, where my bank initiates the EFT when I tell it to, via bill-pay.

Two things wrong with this. First, payment has to be immediate. You open the Wallet app and initiate the payment on your phone screen. It uses a very smooth, colorful UI, but I have to do it manually, and the funds are transferred right then. With bill-pay, I get a bill, then I tell the bank when to do the paying, and then I can forget about it; the money will be sent on my chosen schedule a couple of days before it’s due. If I want to pay off the Apple card a couple of days before the due-date, I have to personally remember to initiate it on that date.

Second, I’m trusting Apple to keep my routing and account numbers secure, and to not reach into that account and debit itself any amount except what I tell it. I suppose that Apple (and their contracted agent, Goldman Sachs) are about as trustworthy as anyone, but still. When I learned that, I very nearly decided to cancel the thing. And still may. I will cancel one or the other, the Alaska card or the Apple one.

On the side of the Apple card: It is not associated with BofA, a company I trust only slightly more than I would Wells Fargo. Apple charges no fees for the pleasure of having the card. Apple doesn’t give “points” that you have to redeem in some complex way (I can’t tell you how many Alaska miles, or Hyatt points I have, or Chase ones, but I remember trying to figure out how to redeem such and being confused). It simply gives you 1% cash back. Finally the physical Apple Card, the stiff white piece of titanium that came in the mail yesterday, doesn’t show a number on its face. There is a standard 16-ditit number, but you have to go into the phone to see it; and they will change it for you anytime you ask them to.

So probably the Alaska card will go, next time I get a bill for it. But I still don’t like the Apple payment system.

OK, so there I was at my desk, paying this shit and filing that shit, and where shall I file the white titanium Apple card? I don’t expect to use the physical card much, just the iPhone app. Well, the same goes for the Alaska card, I don’t carry the card, I just use LastPass to fill its values into online purchase forms. Where do I keep it? Aha. I keep it, with some other things like my Palo Alto library card, in a 4×6 manila envelope, labeled in Marian’s neat printing, “LITTLE USED CARDS”. Where is that?

I was sure it was in my fireproof storage box, along with all other important but rarely viewed papers. But it wasn’t. I could see that envelope in imagination; I could remember handling it when going through the fireproof box last; but it wasn’t there. I looked other places, then I fretted for a while. And then, I had a vision of myself having put that into a pendaflex folder. Which one? I had already flipped through the pendaflex folders in the file drawer. But I went back and went through them one by one and… the very back-most folder was labeled “Card Info”. It was formerly (and still) for pieces of paper about card accounts. But when rationalizing the desk file drawer a few months ago, I had decided to move the envelope of seldom-used cards to that pendaflex.

Perfectly logical. Sensible, even. Panic over.

Finally it was 3pm and time to leave for the SWBB game. On Tuesday, I’d given a ride to Lennie and we casually said she would drive next time. I emailed her and she was riding with a friend, Carol, and I’d be welcome to ride along. So at 3:15 I went out the front door and there was Lennie, and minute later Carol rolled up and we were off to the game.

This was a game against the USA Basketball team, including Stanford alum Nneka Ogwumike along with other famous players, Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Sylvia Fowles and on and on. Players I’ve seen a number of times each over the years.

On the way to the game I said I expected Stanford to get beaten by a lot, the way Stanford beat Beijing Normal earlier in the week. But in fact they did extremely well. They took a lead in the first quarter and stayed ahead of the national team until late in the third quarter. They were down by only 6, mid-4th quarter. At the end they lost by 15, but that is a highly respectable result. One factor is that we have four very talented freshmen, and all played and did well. Tara’s strategy appeared to be frequent, rapid subbing. In part that gave everyone experience playing against top-notch competition (and can you imagine how excited the freshmen were, on the floor with women they’d seen on television since they were in grade school?). Every available player had at least 4 minutes; 8 of them had double-digit minutes. This was also meant, I’m sure, to deliberately tire out the older women by making them defend a steady stream of fresh 20-year-old legs. After all, Sue Bird is 39 and Diana Taurasi is 37.



Day 331, teeth, book, A/V, SWBB

Tuesday, 10/29/2019

First thing this morning was to walk to the dentist’s office for dental hygiene. Times past, I would allow 30 minutes for this walk, starting at Tasso street. Now it’s four blocks. Good news, my gums have not receded any further, and Dr. Kono couldn’t find anything to complain about, no decay or anything.

The A/V committee meeting is scheduled for this afternoon, and I’ll likely be assigned an event. It has been weeks since Ian walked me through the various features of running all the stuff in the auditorium, the lights, the screen, the projector, the mics. Lots of details, seen once. I’d been telling myself often, I should go down and poke around again. So today I did that. I went into the auditorium and turned stuff on, dropped the screen, played with the lights (of which there are quite a few, house lights, stage spots), turned on a mic and talked through it, hooked up my laptop and played a youtube video.

After lunch I added some more words to the book. When time came around for the A/V meeting I walked down to the third floor lounge. I got assigned just one show, a talk on Monday morning at 10. Only issue is the presenter, on the ERF (event request form) has stated he needs to show PowerPoint off his Windows laptop. I need a few more details, like, does the laptop have an HDMI port or what?

I had seen a message on the house email list, Lenny (woman who moved in just after me) wanted a ride to tonights SWBB game. I offered. So I got a quick dinner at 5:45 and met Lenny in the basement at 6:15. This was the first time I’d gone from CH to Maples, and I made a botch of it, ending up taking the wrong way, and then turning too soon and having to loop around for a second pass at the Maples parking lot.

The game was fine: the Cardinal beat Beijing Normal 100 to 58. Three of the freshmen played and all looked strong and capable. A returning junior, Alyssa Jerome, looked vastly improved, and the usual good players all looked good.

I am glad I can still enjoy SWBB on my own. Several times during the game I pictured Marian there with me, how much she’d have enjoyed it, and my eyes prickled and my throat closed up. But that didn’t dominate the experience, and there were a lot of moments when I was honestly and enthusiastically cheering for good play and high skills by Stanford.

Day 327, SWBB event

Friday, 10/25/2019

Began the day with a run. Futzed around the rest of the morning doing I don’t remember what. Feeling guilty about not working on my book, for one thing.

Let me catch up on one thing. Two days ago, when I was printing 34 pages of the SWBB season tickets, I thought about how that would be affecting the ink cartridges in the printer. The Epson Expression 630 has been a stalwart companion for a couple of years now. It works just fine as a copier, a scanner, a document printer, and, thanks to having five colors, a decent photo printer. Two drawbacks. One, it uses fairly expensive ink cartridges, and it is hard keeping them in stock because they always run out on different schedules, magenta this week, cyan next month, etc. Two, it won’t print paper larger than 8.5×11. I think in future I would like to be able to print photos larger.

Both problems are answered by the Epson Expression ET7750. It uses large ink bottles and “comes with 2 years of ink”. And it prints on paper up to 11 inches wide. I have had that on my list of things to buy because I feel wealthy. A few weeks back I bought the better sound bar from that list. On Thursday I pulled the trigger on the printer, and it should arrive Saturday. Then I’ll have to get rid of the 630, which has plenty of life left in it, now that I’ve cleaned the excess ink out of it (Day 283). Probably somebody around here will want it. The only thing left on the “because I can afford it” list is a new TV and I really have a hard time justifying that for any reason other than that.

At 1:15 I started for Maples Pavilion and the Stanford Women’s Basketball season kickoff event. The day had turned warm (the car said the exterior temp was 91º, in October? really?) and there was no parking to be found anywhere near Maples. Walking to the garage I had the passing thought, maybe take Lyft? and now regretted not having followed through on it. Eventually parked near The Bing, a nice quarter-mile walk to Maples.

The event was first, to watch a practice, and after, to have refreshments in the lobby and hear Tara answer questions. The practice was a first chance to see the new freshmen, who look very good, ready to go. And to refresh my memory of the older players. Kiana Williams looked especially sharp. This team has the potential to reach the finals, I think.

Another perennial question is, is Tara Vanderveer still game-ready? She is 66, and there are always rumors she’ll retire soon. She did not look at all like retiring, or even show her age much. I think she’s good for several more years.