Tuesday, November 20, 2007

With temperatures hovering in the 20's during the day and the teens at night I've been thinking about the nature of change. It's actually quite reassuring to see seasonal changes even if it makes life a little uncomfortable. One simply adds more layers of fleece and uses the Jotul stove more hours in the day. Change on other levels is harder to understand and more difficult to accommodate. Two areas are on my mind: health, which is personal, and the current state of American newspapers which all seem to be in free-fall toward demise or irrelevancy.

Follow this link for a good read: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2007/11/18/AR2007111801390.html?sub=AR (you may have to plug in a username and password). If you can't open this link go to washingtonpost.com and search for Howard Kurtz and his commentary about changes at the San Jose Mercury News.

I concern myself with these topics because both have impact on my life. Health, obviously, is what determines how comfortable retirement is and will be. Newspapers, because they defined nearly all of my professional life and I still have many friends in the industry who will be affected by the rapid changes occurring daily. Neither of these topics are as predictable as the weather outside. So for now, cold days are of little importance.

Thanksgiving has been a great time with Jesse, Carmen and the perpetual motion child Alton. Diane and I howl at his antics and admire the absolute unconditional love that Jesse and Carmen have for him as young parents. I understand more intimately now why child rearing is one of those great life tasks one gets to do at an early age. Participating as a grandpa is exciting, tiring, and comforting to see Jesse and Carmen raise Alton. The great pleasure and pride only a grandpa can feel is the best. I'm also glad to have been there done that.

I hope your holiday season is off to a great start. Cheers!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Fall is struggling to hang on. A sunny day is followed by rainy one and each succeeding nice day is cooler with temperatures barely reaching 50 degrees. The Metolius River is running steady and cold and late afternoon light plays on the Ponderosas in the forest. Yet it is refreshing to get out on the bike and see the magnificent Cascades covered in fresh snow. A week or two more and the rain that comes now will be snow later as the snow level drops. Now it's around 5000'. We're at 3100'. Thanksgiving is next week and we're anxious for Jesse, Carmen and Alton to come for the holiday.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

I made my first return trip to Sacramento last week since relocating to Oregon. The main purpose was to photograph the dress rehearsal by the Sacramento Ballet. This year begins Ron Cunningham's 20th year as Artistic Director and he choreographed "A Woman's Journey: The Tamsen Donner Story" for the season opening. The Ballet uses poems by Ruth Whitman she gleaned from Tamsen Donner's diary during the disastrous Donner Party journey to California. The ballet recounts the journey and it's fateful end in the Sierra. Ilana Goldman was amazing as she danced the role of Tamsen Donner.

My friends Renée Byer and Paul Kitagaki lent me their guest bed and it was a little strange sleeping in a town where I used to live. Paul and I rode up the American River bike trail on a balmy afternoon. We sat on a bench and watched a Red-tailed hawk sit at the edge of the trail totally unfazed by cyclists whirring by. On another day Randy Pench rode with me up the trail again. It never gets boring.

There isn't too much I miss about Sacramento, certainly not the traffic, city noise, congestion. I definitely miss my few close friends, Paul, Renée, Randy and former neighbor and cycling partner Brian Taugher and of course my daughter. The bike trail can't be matched anywhere. While cycling in my new area is challenging and amazingly scenic it doesn't have the comfort of no vehicle traffic and constant smooth pavement.

Allison and I had a dad-daughter date night with dinner at a great Thai restaurant and then the opening night performance at the ballet. She had just been to Sisters for a visit the previous weekend after attending her grandfather's 80th birthday party/family reunion in Portland. Still I wish I could have had more time with her.

I made the absolutely bucolic drive from Sacramento to Geyserville on CA 128 through the hills around Lake Berryessa and then through the Napa and Alexander valleys to Geyserville to visit my friends of 34 years, Ed and Ann Howard. I stayed the night and then went to Geyserville the next morning with Ed to a pancake breakfast sponsored by the volunteer fire department. There was a fall festival complete with an antique/rare car show. Ed drove his 1956 Austin Healy down to the show.

I left Geyserville and made the 8-hour trip home, i-pod constantly pumping out the tunes. It's good to be home.