Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Oregon coast

After Allison was settled at the University of Oregon Diane and I headed for the coast, two hours west. It was our first excursion that way and there wasn't enough time to see all the lighthouses, beaches and interesting towns so we selected to visit the Sea Lion Caves north of Florence, the Yaquina Head Lighthouse
and the magnificent Coast Aquarium in Newport, a fascinating exploration with fish and other marine life swimming around you as if you were fifty feet down in the Pacific. We stayed a couple of nights in Newport, hunkering
down to try and recover from the long process of getting Allison to school. We walked out to a bluff overlooking the Pacific and the seven-mile long Nye Beach. People strolled on the sand which I found visually interesting. We were glad to get home and have a week of completing some home tasks before I head back
to the St. Charles Medical center next Monday for my second knee reconstruction surgery.

As always, click on any image to see it full-size.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Allison begins her college life

The time between Allison's high school graduation in Sacramento, a rite of passage, and her enrollment at the University of Oregon, a larger rite, has gone fast. Not fast enough for her, however, as her last days in Sisters seemed endless. Diane and I were prepared (as in weeks of preparation) and anxious for her to finally get to the campus and settled in her dorm room in Eugene. We are melancholy watching her leave home this time. It's not that we've not been down this road before as Allison has always split her time with us and her birth-mom in Sacramento. This time is different. Allison will not be living in Sacramento or Sisters. There are lumps in our throats as we ferried her things from the car to her third-floor room in the LLC (Living-Learning Center) which is across the street from Hayward Field, the iconic track and field venue. She and Diane unpack boxes and arrange he clothes in the small wardrobe. My job is to get the computer and t.v. functioning (and to make some photos of the event). Her roommate, Alesa, from nearby Springfield, is already setting up her side of the room. With the situation basically in hand we leave for the rest of the afternoon, drive to our hotel and collapse on the beds. Moving day is wearing, plain and simple.

Our plan to meet for dinner in the dining commons doesn't happen because 5,000 other kids and parents have the same idea. Our last meal together until Thanksgiving is deli sandwiches. We will see Allison once more before we leave Eugene and head further west for a few days on the coast before returning to Sisters. In my head I am still going through the years of memories: elementary school plays, ballet classes and Nutcracker performances, soccer, piano, camping, and a trip to England in 2003. I let myself go back even further to first bike rides, first day of school, a skiing accident resulting in a broken elbow, and several "brave girl dresses" she earned for enduring some of the most unpleasant days of her life. Then there is moment Allison, at age three, gets her first doll, a Christmas gift beautifully wrapped in a big box. The doll cries and it's eyes blink when it's moved. Allison has the box in her arms and waves it around and the cry is audible within the box. Her nose and eyes squish together and she innocently asks, "How a box could cry?" The question tonight is "how a Dad could cry." There is no loss here to mourn, rather a great success. It's a quiet moment of reverie as I contemplate Allison's transition into adulthood. I'm proud to shed that tear.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

McKenzie Pass

A guy can have small dreams, right? Today I realized one of mine. Since my first total knee replacement surgery June 23rd I've worked hard to follow the rehabilitation plan. Two months of physical therapy, lots of painful stretching, and a slow and steady return to a point when I could get on the bike and ride. At first it was just 3-mile laps around the
neighborhood, then my basic 18-mile loop and then moving on to 25-30 mile rides. In the back of my mind since day one was the plan to ride McKenzie Pass between the first and second surgeries. Initially I thought I'd never get there since my endurance was reduced to squat. Over the past few weeks, however, I've become a little stronger and today accompanied by a friend, Doug Smith, we did the ride up the pass from Sisters, 15 miles of 6%-7% grade to the summit with 2500' of elevation gain. Tonight I'm beat and upbeat. I won't have to mull over the "what if" scenario in my head all winter. I'm not a fan of self-congratulation so this post is somewhat abnormal. Just once though, I just need to hoot and holler. And, yes, I did wear a helmet.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fires everywhere

Today the whole world seems to be on fire. Financial institutions are collapsing like a house of cards, the stock market is free falling, the news out of McClatchy Newspapers is more grim by the day and after a relatively calm summer, forest fires in Oregon are blazing away. Fortunately, in my neck of the woods, so much has burned over the past few seasons, that the risk is low for imminent danger. A fire to the south, in the Crescent Lake region, is impacting this area with drifting smoke.

Allison and I went out this afternoon to see if there might be a photo to summarize what's happening. She insisted on driving up Three Creeks Road to s spot we have visited often for the spectacular view of Whychus Creek Canyon and the Three Sisters. I hesitated thinking the effort wouldn't be worth the effort. Once there the magic happened and I, once again, am reminded of serendipity. Thanks, Allison.

Over the past few days former colleagues have told me of people missing from the list. I've added them to the long list, now 81 former journalists who worked at the Sacramento Bee. I hope that anyone with other folks will let me know so I can add them as well (scroll down to the previous post to view the updated list). My intention is that no one will be left out and that on my blog, if nowhere else, they will all be named and remembered.

The news out of Sacramento continues to sound like a eulogy for an industry in demise. Perhaps it's changing for the better. I would like to believe that not only individuals but an institution like the 4th Estate can be reincarnated. Sometime down the road this evolution of how news is gathered, reported and paid for will be understood. For now, however, it's a tale of how quickly and tightly the wagons can be circled. I trust that my former co-workers and friends still inside that circle will find some job security and professional fulfillment in an ever-changing environment and for those who are now free to do whatever comes next in their lives, godspeed and good luck. The fires are raging and survival is "Job 1."

Friday, September 12, 2008

The demise of quality local journalism in Sacramento.

Photograph by Jay Mather

Sacramento Bee cuts work force another 7%
By Dale Kasler - dkasler@sacbee.com

Under continued pressure to reduce costs, The Bee cut its work force on Wednesday by another 7 percent, this time through voluntary buyouts.

The Bee said 87 full- and part-time employees accepted a buyout offer that followed a previous round of layoffs and attrition in June that shrank the staff by 8 percent.

The buyouts went to 23 newsroom employees.

It wasn't clear whether that's the end of the staff cuts. At the time buyouts were offered, Publisher and President Cheryl Dell said more layoffs were possible if there weren't enough takers.

She said on Wednesday the paper won't know for a couple of weeks if the buyouts did the trick.

"I know there's anxiety with not having an answer today," she said.

The newspaper industry has been hobbled by the economic slump and competition from the Internet, prompting layoffs at almost every chain.

The facts of the story don't tell the whole story. No one who is leaving the place where they poured their heart and soul into is named. It is those people with their own lives, families, problems and promises for a better future who need to be recognized for what they did to make Sacramento a fine place to live and be informed about the world around them. David Barton compiled most of the list and I added several more. Most of these journalists, including three Pulitzer Prize recipients, worked decades at the Bee and none would have imagined their careers ending or being drastically altered in the free fall that the newspaper industry is enduring. I worked with virtually everyone on this list at some point in my 20 years at the Bee. The names include those who have left in the past few years or so. Good luck my friends.

Mike Dunne
Janet Fullwood
Pat Rubin
Dorothy Korber
Deb Kollars
Bruce Dancis
Sarah Williams
Dan Vierra
David Favrot
Lori Richardson
Bob Sylva
Greg Endicott
Kevin McKenna
Gwen Schoen
Art Campos
Lakiesha McGhee
Milt Whaley
Ramon Coronado
Edgar Sanchez
Barbara Stubbs
Lisa Elizondo
Matt Carroll
Angie Pappas
Mark Billingsley
Matt Boudourian
Gerri Boutrarye
Janice Coleman
Fahizah Alim
Mareva Brown
Alison ApRoberts
Ralph Montano
Lisa Heyamoto
Dan Nguyen
Cameron Jahn
Christina Jewett
Kevin German
Todd Milbourn
Erica Chavez
John Hughes
Dorsey Griffith
Elizabeth Hume
Crystal Carreon
Nancy Weaver Teichert
Jocelyn Weiner
Pamela Martineau
John Williams
Edie Lau
Walt Wiley
Owen Brewer
Cynthia Craft
Judy Lin
Tom Philp
Steve Gibson
Gwendolyn Trump
Pauline Haynes
Mark Kreidler
Maria Henson
Stuart Drown
R.E. Graswich
Becky Boyd
Patricia Beach Smith
Gary Delsohn
Jim Richardson
Alexa Bluth
Clint Swett
Rick Rodriguez
David Barton
Laura Mecoy
Erhardt Krause
Amy Eckert
Emily Bazar
John Decker
Dick Schmidt
Claire Cooper
Molly Dugan
Dick Gilmore
Rasmi Simhan
Jim Jenkins
Herb Sample
Thuy-Doan Le
Jay Mather

Monday, September 08, 2008

Summer Wine

Long afternoons, sun filtering through the pines, the birds still flock to the feeders. I enjoy a glass of wine and notice the light reflecting through the stem of the glass, more enjoyable at this moment than drinking the so-so Zinfandel. This is the sweet spot of summer, just for a moment.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Change in the air

There is a twinge of Fall in the air around here, Labor Day weekend. The Chamber of Commerce likes to say how many days of sunshine there are each year; they are less inclined to say how many days a year residents wear fleece. For me, it absolutely beats dealing with heat and/or humidity.
This September Allison will begin her college
years at the University of Oregon in Eugene. Big change. For her and us. She has been working at the Suttle Lake resort this summer and has a couple of weeks left before packing up for the transition to life in a campus residence hall. The resort held a 50's party complete with vintage cars, an "oldies" band and a barbecue.
We went for the evening, partied a little, watched a sunset and called it good. Allison spends her off hours on the computer talking to her old high school friends about their various plans for fall and has already made friends who are entering O.U. Connectivity is everything for her.
I have a five week grace period before the second knee surgery. This is a timely gift. I'll get to help Allison move to Eugene, enjoy some riding time and potentially, take a trip to the Oregon coast. Downtime before the other "down" time.