Chris Alan Foreman
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~ Months of the year ~


~ On the Road in 2023 ~

January ~ Weekend in the Northwest
February ~ Travel to Pasadena with Liz
March ~ Roadtrip to Joshua Tree with Frank
April ~ Flight to Florida and drive north
May ~ to Canada for gardens with Liz
June ~ Travel with Simon, Lolo and Gia
June ~ Quick flight to the Northwest
August ~ Road trip to the Northwest in new Prius
September ~ Five days in Pittsburgh
October ~ 3 Adventures: with Liz, Franc, solo
October ~ Six nights in Florida
November ~ Early Thanksgiving in Northwest

Total words for 2023 = 17,629   photos = 147   video clips = 62   music file = 1   pdf files = 4   html links = 2

January 2023

January first marked the first day of the week, the month, and the year; as well as my tenth anniversary. It was a good day for Liz and me. We had planned to go to Half Moon Bay and lunch at the Ritz, but the fierce storms had closed the beaches. Instead, we opted to go to Leo Ryan Park and stand in the spot where we stood as newly-weds ten years earlier. We also visited our Starbucks, location of our first encounter. The day grew wet so by afternoon we were homebound.

The remainder of the week was stormy with heavy rains every other day. The gym closed, so I walked the Hillsdale Mall. I did a video conference with Dr. Teng on Tuesday, mentioning problems with my heart (Afib), my hip (Osteoarthritis), and my hands (purpura). I walked the mall with Steve on Wednesday, avoiding the rain, and met with Men's Fraternity leaders on Thursday morning at six. On Friday I filled four vials of blood at KP, picked up a senior meal and conducted a phone conversation with a physical therapist regarding my hip. I also received in the mail my new phone from Lively. It's a red flip-phone. As I set it up, it seemed I was stepping back a decade, but then it's only $16.99 per month and I seldom require it

I took my camper to Men's Group on Saturday morning, hoping to get more miles on the vehicle as needed for the smog check. Alas. The battery died, the trip odometer reset to zero, and now I'm back to zero for registering my camper. This is one of the many reasons I have planned to sell my Eurovan. I seemed to have encountered some writer's block. I really do want to plow through chapter 4 of my novel, but every time I think about it, I discover a novel way to while away my time.

As the month progressed, Liz and I became more fans of the SF 49ers.They had won their 10th straight game on January 8 and Allan Kennedy celebrated his birthday. A few days later I got word that Zachary's family had acquired a cat named Twilight.

January seemed uneventful. I walked with Steve, shopped for a potential new car (Will it be a Kia Sportage?), and hiked the Sawyer Camp trail. The recent downpours gave voice to the several waterfalls.

I had to put miles on my camper odometer and spent one cold night at Prayer Mountain. The steep entry road suffered a few rockslides, but remained clear. During a walk, I tossed a few off the cliff side. I dropped the camper off at Hari's 76 station and hope to get it smogged this month. Liz and I shared lunch with Ryan on January 10 and with Grace on January 21.

I continued to struggle with my writing. When will I get back to composing chapter 4? I did think of a new title, but will it stick? So Great a Cloud of Witnesses. Franc's book, Spitting Beans, was put on the shelf at a library in Pittsburg and on January 21.

The Chinese neighbors gave us pancakes for Chinese New Years - - the year of the rabbit. That means Kim would be celebrating her 72nd birthday in 2023. She was born a rabbit 6 cycles ago.

As the month grew to a close, I had a tooth crowned by Dr. Chan in San Lorenzo, and walked Catamaran Park in Foster City. My camper still could not pass the smog test and will require further driving. I spoke with Liz about her mother and hear anxieties at 92. Growing old is tough! Do I fully believe this quote by C.S. Lewis? "There are far, far better things ahead than we leave behind."

~ Weekend in the Northwest begins ~

Early on Saturday morning, January 28, I parked my Prius at the Airport Aloft Hotel and caught a United flight to PDX. It was a short visit, mostly to check on Charlotte and Jeanne. Frank picked me up about 10am, then Jeanne at her assisted living facility, then we drove to Eileen's in Longview. Charlotte was not well enough to join this group, so after a lunch of tacos, we all went to the Francis home in Kelso. The fellowship was warm as we spoke of old times and family. Jeanne brough old pictures of Ohio to share with Char. I was happy to see Shelley integrated into this group. I stayed with Eileen and the two dogs for the night.

On Sunday, I attended Columbia Heights AG with Eileen, then watched part of the 49ers game. They did not do so well. I did my Zoom Bible with three couples and three singles in attendance. About 4pm we headed back to the Francis home, picking up a bucket of KFC. We as we reminisced, Eileen told us January 29th marked the 58th anniversary of when she first met Terry at a railroad crossing. Shelly surprised me by knowing all the lyrics to my old 78 record "C-U-B-A". She said she enjoyed my 78-record player while I was in Korea in 1972. We spent a long while in Kelso, then I returned to Longview with Eileen. I was cold - - in the 20's.

I rested on Monday morning and went for a walk with cold while listening to an Audible about WW2. We headed out to Vancouver to visit Jeanne in her facility: Cogir of Glenwood Place. It looked great to me, lots of light. Jeanne, Frank, Eileen, and I shared lunch at Red Robin, then I was homebound. Frank dropped me off at PDX where I boarded an Alaskan flight to PDX. Listening to Audible, my time passed quickly. I soon arrived at SFO and caught the shuttle to Aloft. I arrived home about 6pm, washed up, then talked with Liz a while. My lightening trip was over and my routine picked up again.

February 2023

The month began with rain, sometimes drippy from trees sometimes pounding against my window pane. In the midst of these storms, I strove to get my camper smog-checked. I took my recalcitrant VW to Hari's shop three times, but all the lights wouldn't go out. I drove the vehicle to Marin and back just to get miles on the odometer. On Friday my camper finally passed smog - - the bill was an unbelievable $1600. On Saturday, after men's group, I drove to a 5-star smog shop and passed the test. Next, I drove to a mailbox send out 2023 registration. What a hassle! That's why I'm planning to sell this beast - - as much as I love it.

The weekly routine continued. I wrote more of Chapter 4 in my book, watched the Chosen with Liz, zoomed from the Gospel of Mark, and walked with Steve at Seal Point. February is birthday month for Gia and Lorenzo. I sent them an Amazon package of Japanese treats. I received a video clip of my two grandchildren sorting the candies. It was quite an ordeal for the indecisive Gia. On Wednesday, I discovered I was the victim of credit card fraud. My g-mail inbox was filled with a blizzard of 100 spam messages and some criminal used my Chase card to buy an expensive iPhone at the Hillsdale Apple store. I did cancel the card. I figure the smog shop, Hari's, or an online camping reservation caused the theft.

It took a week for my new Chase Visa card to arrive. I had to update 13 auto-pays with my new information! While waiting this out, I continued to attend Saturday Men's group. We are working our way through the Beatitudes. I stayed two nights at Prayer Mountain (February 13-15) alternately celebrating sunshine, cold, and sprinkles. My camper needed a simple surprise repair in Scotts Valley. The protective shroud under the engine began to scrape against the left front tire. The shop was slow to fix it, so in the end they charged me nothing. I got pictures from Zachary leading ballroom dancing and from Simon showing Gia in her first soccer game. For Valentine's Day Liz received a vase of flowers and I got an electronic greeting. I guess we have been getting along better. The days of February were passing.

The next week saw me getting into the groove of novel writing. I'm not sure where my book is heading, but it continues its motion. Whence? not sure. A week passed with Liz and I preparing for our journey to LA. The weather turned cold and our travel plans complicated. I really enjoyed sending little gifts to my grandchildren. I spend just enough time with them to guess what they will like. For Gia it a "soccer girl" makeup kit and for Lorenzo a Samuri pin.

~ Travel to Pasadena with Liz ~

Liz and I rested on Sunday morning and then began our trek south. My wife has this notion in her head that I'm an unsafe driver. She says I brake too quickly which hurts her neck. So, my lovely wife got to do all the Prius driving. We checked the latest weather reports which suggested the grapevine, going into LA down I-5, might be closed. So instead, we drove the longer highway 101, leaving at 8:15am. We stopped at Gilroy for a break, then at Paso Robles for gas, a walk, and coffee. The weather wasn't too bad-lots of threatening clouds but only a few sprinkles. We then hit some slow-go traffic driving past San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria. Liz said her back and shoulders hurt. We stopped in Santa Barbara and stretched our bodies. It was a pleasant stroll along the beach. Again, it was slow through Ventura but soon we arrived at our courtyard Marriott in Valencia. We were both tired when we arrived at 5pm so it was wasn't too hard to follow Liz's diktat and turn out the lights by eight. We did manage to visit a Wendy's for dinner.

After a hotel breakfast and leisurely Monday morning we headed off in the rain to Huntington gardens. (This was my third visit). We arrived as the grounds opened at ten. It was good day for the two of us. My umbrella was up and down several times as we stepped through raindrops. We first encountered the Chinese and Japanese gardens- lots of art, flowers, architecture, and culture to see. We walked through camellia trees. We visited the European art collection and saw Blue Boy and Pink Girl. Then we walked through the library to view the ancient books of Gutenberg's Bible and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. I'm glad someone is looking after these treasures.

Liz and I took a lunch break sitting in the Prius consuming bagels borrowed from the hotel breakfast. During this second half visit, we walked through the desert garden to the lily pond. Marveling at the fantastic shapes of the miscellaneous cacti may have been my favorite part of the gardens. We visited the American art center, then returned to the car. We checked into our new Marriott hotel in Monrovia about 3pm. For dinner we drove to a Panera Bread then settled down for the evening. I walked the environs some to reach my goal of 10000 steps.

On Tuesday, we weren't sure if the Gamble House would be open. The unusual cold, raining, snowy weather had shut down many venues. When we arrived about 10am, the place was open-although the bookstore was storm damaged. The Gamble house was a medium-sized structure build in 1908. The tour guide pointed out architectural details as we stepped through the rooms. It was OK but nothing to write home about. We did see the Rose Bowl in the distance as we walked down a back trail.

We then kept an appointment we had with Dasha from Fuller. Liz and I did experience some drama after she parked the Prius in a city lot. I walked one direction and she in another. We each spent $3 for a parking tag and we met at the rear of the car. Alas, there were some harsh words. At the Urth coffee shop I consumed a pastry and coffee as Liz did most of the talking. We spoke of the seminary and its future. Wearing my fedora, Dasha said I looked "dapper". I guess for an old man who has aged beyond "handsome" dapper is a good thing.

We relaxed in the evening. Instead of going out for dinner, I microwaved a bag of popcorn. I listened to podcasts, we played scrabble, and soon it was 8pm. I cheated a bit by listening to Mike Winger with my ear buds. I think my Tuesday stretched to ten. Then the 28 days of February had ended.

March 2023

Our time away from home continued into the new month. The night was full of rain, but the morning brought sunshine and the hope we could do a hike. With Liz still driving, we traveled to Eaton Canyon Trail. We didn't know if the area would be open because of rain and damage. But all went well. The start point was beautiful and the winding Mount Wilson Road presented numerous views of the Los Angeles Area. It was a lot of up and down and my legs were tired. We then stopped off at the nearby visitor center where we encountered a burst of snowflakes - nothing serious. We rested for the remainder of the day and walked to a Baja Fresh down the street.

On Thursday morning, Liz drove us to the Burbank Airport, dropped herself off, and I was on my own. I drove about three hours to Lost Hills listening to yet another Audible about the Civil War. The Grapevine was wide open with just patches of snow along the roadside at the highest elevations. I settled in at Days Inn, got a massage from Liz that she was safe at home and got photos from Simon, showing Gia and art. I ate next door at Dennys and turned in early. I headed out Friday morning about ten, stopped a few places along the way for walking, coffee-in, and coffee-out. I was home just after two, did a swim at the pool, and my adventure was complete.

The rain and foul weather continued in San Mateo. I went to Sunday CPC in the rain, while Liz recovered at home from our trip south. A weather break was forecast, so I moved up an outing to Prayer Mountain. After walking with Steve at Seal Point, I drove the hour to Scotts Valley, staying for two nights -- March 6 & 7. It rained some at night but I was able to walk and get my 10000 steps in. On Tuesday night I decided to do something different and went to the cinema to see The Jesus Revolution. It brought back memories and dreams of a time long past. While in my camper looking at raindrops I got word from Frank that he had experienced a house fire and words of Zachary teaching and a gift notice from Simon. I am blessed to have such children.

At mid-month there was a week of rainstorm, wind, power-outage and mud. Then on a bright day, Liz and I went to Filoli with her friend June and Aram her husband. It was a good lunch, walk, foliage, and company. A good day all around.

On the Ides of March - - brother Jack's 80th birthday - - I pondered my own age of 73. Am I really this old? I reckoned it must be true. There were telltale signs. First thing in the morning, I continued my Greek reading in the Gospel of John. When I arrived at the part in chapter 13 where Judas betrays Jesus I thought. "What? Again? Why would this guy betray his master?" The story which I had read a thousand times had shocked me. How could any sensible man turn his back on Christ? Musings of an old man?

Later in the morning, I walked into the CSM gym to lift weights. I noticed an old guy who always seemed to shadow me around. Why was this geezer imitating me, wearing a blue t-shirt and trunks? At first, I saw him from across the long workout floor, barely visible, but as I approached the full-length mirror, he grew in size. His beard was gray and face crinkled. I smiled at him and he smiled back, certainly not the man who exists in my imagination.

After a soapy shower in the locker room, the last item of clothing to cover my body are my socks. Putting on this foot apparel almost seems like a second workout. You see my legs don't bend like they used to. First, I place my left foot firmly on the bench. I then strain to slip the toe of the sock over my dorsi-flexed foot. I then pull the sock up in increments until I snap the elastic top above my ankle. My right foot proves to be even a greater challenge, because the hip socket hurts. I put this foot on the floor with toes up. I just manage to snare the foot in the sock. Then standing, I crank my right heel above my left knee. With one hand I support my wobbly body against a wall and with the other hand I yank the sock into its proper alignment. Thus, I am prepared for my slip-on shoes and my walk to the car.

I talk to a gym mate about my two boys, Zachary and Simon Peter. The years melt away in mind. I mention a Toyota that I once drove in Missouri. I say "in the 1990s, no 80s, no 70s." I have to peel back to reach the right decade.

Then on the evening Fox News there's a new story about the assassination of John Kennedy. Was it just Lee Harvey Oswald who did the deed or was it actually a conspiracy? The newscaster speaks as if it's ancient history, comparable to the Lincoln assassination. But I remember the date as clear as a bell, just sixty years ago. I guess I am getting old. My personal biography has become most people's history!

The month of March continued with frequent rain storms and with daily writing. I finally finished the Butare segment in 4 chapters - City on a Hill, Eye of Darkness, Interim President, Bus Ride into Burundi. When I attended Men's Fellowship in Burlingame, dozens of trees were fallen, at various stages of removal. I mailed out my taxes. Ouch! $8000 Federal - $2000 State. I will begin to make quarterly payments to avoid a penalty.

Zachary thanked me for helping Zofia with her Montessori Catholic School and Simon and I discussed how I could help Lorenzo get into the proper high school. The days were winding down for my brother-bonding road trip to Southern California. I prepared my camper and my mind for the final 8-day voyage of my trusty Eurovan: 2 nights there - 4 nights camping with Frank - 2 nights back.

~ Road Trip to Joshua Tree (with Frank) ~

As usual, Thursday began early with Men's Fraternity. I was joined by the usual trio of Steve, Dave, and Dan. It was a morning of table talk. After a walk around Catamaran Park, I drove the Prius to the parking shelter, then walked home. I played puzzles with Liz, packed a few final items, then headed the camper south for my eight-day getaway -the final voyage of the VW Eurovan Camper. I sped down I-280, HW 101, HW 152, and finally I-5. I stopped a few times for rest, coffee, gas, and steps. I ran into a few waves of rain along the route. I arrived at Buena Vista Aquatic Park about 5pm. It was a lot of driving for me. I walked a little to get 10000 steps and fell asleep in the camper not long after dark.

My Friday morning was leisurely. I walked, fried some eggs and spam, competed my crytoquip, and 8 verses of Greek from John, chapter 17. My activity for the day was the Ronald Reagan Library. Simi Valley was about 2 hours away. I finished listening to an Audiobook of U.S. Grant along the route.

The place was packed and I parked the camper on the overflow street side. I paid $18 to get in. It was fun to re-live the era of 1980-88, posing for a photo beside statues of Ron and Nancy, and walking through corridors of Reagan's life. I was more liberal in my 30s and didn't appreciate his conservatism. There was a lot to see, but I was ready to walk back to my car by 2:30. I think I like viewing antiquities more than memorabilia of my own lifetime. I filled up with gas at Costco headed south.

It was painfully slow driving through the LA metro. I had to pull over in Pasadena for a few hours just to rest my back and stretch my legs. I didn't arrive at my overnight until 8pm. The overflow lot of the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio was fine for the occasion. I just buttoned up the camper to keep out the blowing sand and fell asleep.

I left the casino lot early to reserve a spot at the Pinyon Pines camp site. I started at -10 feet sea level, drove through Palm Springs, and climbed a winding road to 4000 feet. I parked in a great spot, cooked some breakfast, and walked among the cactus. Zachary face-timed so I showed Zélie and Zofia where their grandpa was located.

I drove to the Palm Springs airport to pick up Frank by 2:00. It was a 90-minute drive there and back to Pinyon Pines. We talked along the way and stopped to gaze at the winding roadway. I've been sharing about my Rwanda novel so we talked about the characters and the nature of good and evil. We cooked a dinner of French fries and sausage, then talked around the fire. I managed to get cactus needle points stuck into my ankle, so Frank helped to remove them. It was cold and windy, but lots of stars. Mountains loomed in the distance, and a grove of various cacti served as our sentinels.

Sunday was a restful day of talking, walking, traveling. After breaking camp, we wound down the mountainside and gassed up at a Costco in Indio. Then we shared breakfast at a nearby IHOP. The place was packed and the service was slow. But we sat outside and, although we had an agenda, the wait was pleasant. A plan-a purpose, but no deadlines.

We arrived at Joshua Tree RV Park about two, listening to a Sunday sermon by Alistair Begg along the route. We sat up camp, Frank in his red tent and me in my pop-top. We then drove to Black Rock Nature Center within the National Park. We walked a loop and returned to the campsite. Our one-day-home was a flat sandy acre with lots and hookups. I joked with Frank, "this is for people who were too late to make in-park reservations". Our evening meal was sandwich and soup, then it was dark.

On Monday, we headed into Joshua Tree National Park about 9am. I hadn't realized it was a spring break, so the place was crowded. Our experience along the route was stop and walk. We paused at several sights just to step out into the marvelous rock jumbles, Joshua trees, and cacti. I took dozens of photos. That was the first half of the drive through the park. The second half was more barren as we drove past the Salton Sea to a desert RV park called Leapin Lizard. We walked the grounds and enjoyed a dinner of sauerkraut and sausage. At near sea level, it wasn't as cold as the previous two nights.

Frank got a surprise about 2am. An automatic sprinkler drenched his tent, but he scrambled so no serious harm was done. On Tuesday morning we headed north, first stopping at the shores of the Salton Sea. We drove past deserted streets and managed to walk past apocalyptic surroundings to put our toes into the brine. The scene was otherworldly. We paused at little town called Mecca for provisions, then passed through Palm Springs once again. Our overnight stay was at Bonelli Bluff Park in San Dimas. Rain was in the forecast so Frank set up his tent on the hardtop.

And it did rain on Wednesday morning - from about 5am to noon. We did manage to stow our gear in the back of the camper before moving out. That was sad, because the bluff setting was picturesque and the rain dampened our time. After camping together for four nights, this was our day of interaction.

First, we found our way to Life Pacific University - flagship of the Four Square Church. Our great niece, Kristina Stover, worked and lived on the campus. Her husband, Justin, was out of town, but Frank and I did spend some time with Kristina and her three kids - Jaden (5), Jaxon (3), and Sophia (1). Since I would soon be selling my camper, I left a table, tent, air mattress, and chair with her. Frank and I were both pleased to see her serving the Gospel of Christ.

After this get-together, we drove down the I-210 to Pasadena to hook up with Dave Scott at Fuller Seminary. We walked the area for a while, then met Dave at the Psychology building. He showed us around campus and his office building where we met up with Amos Yung - Dave's boss and Frank's friend from the 1980s. From there, Dave drove us to the Mi Piace Italian Restaurant. There we met up with Dasha and five of us enjoyed a meal and conversation. I am happy to report that Fuller is prepping to send missionary interns to the Lighthouse in Butare for a practicum.

After parting ways, it was time for me to drive Frank to the Burbank Airport. I dropped him off at Southwest and soon was on my own and on my way home. I drove about 90 minutes, over the grapevine, to the TA Travel center in Wheeler Ridge. I walked the area, bought a walking pole, and settled down for the night. The rain returned, but sounded musical on the roof of the camper.

I indulged my laziness and stayed inside my sleeping bag until past 8:00. I heated up coffee, read some Greek, listened to an audible - 1776 by David McCullough, then continued north. I stopped off at a Citibank in Bakersfield to transfer funds into Simon's bank account. Lorenzo might be needing money to get into American Heritage High School. It's expensive, but supposedly, the best in the state. I parked right next to a debris box and began purging my camper of items no longer needed.

I stayed at the San Luis Reservoir for my final night of camping. I walked by the waterside, listened to music, and read until dark. My final meal was macaroni and spam. The next morning I did some more purging, throwing out the foam mattress, carpet, and various impedimenta. This was my final voyage and this dumpster was as good as any other. I arrived in San Mateo on this final day of March about 2pm. I switched out the camper for the Prius at the parking garage, took a swim and shower at the gym, and got home around 3:30. Liz and I talked, did puzzles, but I was too full of peanuts to eat dinner. In the evening, I began sorting out pictures/memories, prolonging the journey. Frank had posted words and pictures at Facebook, so I stole them to preserve our moments together.

April 2023

The end of my road trip with Frank marked the beginning of the end for my VW Camper. I was mentally prepared to let it go. However, the chore was bigger than I had anticipated. (Plus, I was older and less energetic than I had remembered.) There was clean-up, fix-up, pack-up, throw-away, stow-away, and repair. It seemed to be almost like selling a house. A week into the project, I decided to slow down and have the Eurovan professionally detailed on the inside and out. There is no rush.

My grandson, Lorenzo, didn't get his first choice of ninth grade - - the public magnet school called SunCoast. So, instead, he enrolled at the expensive private school called American Heritage. It's rated number one in the state of Florida. I helped with the tuition and got a thank-you note from Dilia.

Liz went on a Saturday hike with Tom Taber. I decided to pass this year. I enjoyed the hikes for several years, but they were becoming too difficult. My talented wife also published an article on line. Liz and I sometimes encounter differences of opinion. I term this as her getting on the war path and me retreating to the dog house. They seem serious while they last, but they pass like thunderstorms.

While Liz was hiking, I went to my Men's Group in Burlingame. The etching in the stump appeared philosophical: "Not all that is lost is gone." I'm still mulling that. The week passed with a meal at the senior center, a walk with Steve, a zoom call with Frank and Franc, and a visit to Dr. Chan in San Lorenzo. I had a tooth re-crowned.

Soon it was Easter Sunday - April 9th. Liz and I accompanied her mom to Burlingame Presbyterian. I got a wonderful card from my wonderful sister, Eileen, and pictures of Lorenzo and Gia and Zélie and Zoshie.

As the month progressed, I tried to take some action every day to sell my camper. I finally posted it at on April 17. I paid $169.95 for the ad so I hope it sells soon. I also created a video clip to promote the sale. I'm advertising it for $33,000. My guess is I'll have to lower the price. We will see. The next day -April 18- Liz and I enjoyed a morning viewing wild flowers, first her favorite place, Edgewood Park, then a new place called Kite hill. I posted a favorite photo on Facebook.

~ Visit with Simon / Drive with Zachary ~

Jeffery Tuttle picked me up at 4:30am on Tuesday morning, April 25, and I was on my way to Florida. I flew two cheap-seats on American Airlines and sat center row to Chicago, then to West Palm Beach, arriving at 5:30pm. The flight was uneventful, but long. Simon was right there to pick me up. It was great to be in Florida again. I was tired. We talked a bit, then I rested until Lorenzo and Gia showed up about 7:30. (It was Simon's night for the kids). Lorenzo liked the Chosen t-shirt I gave to him. My grandson continues to be in my prayers. We watched some TV, then it was lights out for me.

My stay of four days in West Palm Beach was a slice of life. I helped Simon as he searched for a suitcoat for Lorenzo. Lolo was going to his first dance on Friday. At 14 years old, he fell between the largest children's size and the smallest adult. He finally got the right outfit at Men's Wearhouse. We did a lot of shopping. Lorenzo was also in a middle school track meet where he ran an incredible mile in 5:49 without breaking a sweat. He is amazing. I helped Simon buy fountain supplies for his pond in front and did a lot of walking. On one outing, I noted a woman in the distance who was walking three dogs. She turned out to be Dilia! So, we talked for a while, first about Lorenzo's school, then about Gia's (my granddaughter wants to switch from Bak to Conniston).

At noon on Saturday, the four of us headed the two hours north to Orlando to meet up with Zachary and family. My older son was enjoying Disney World until late, so I hung out with Simon as it rained outside the Candlewood Suites. We did manage to walk to Chili's for dinner. Sunday was a packed day. We met up with Zachary, Ruth, Zélie and Zoshie at a Catholic Church called "Mary - Queen of the Universe". Then we were off to lunch at T-REX: A Prehistoric Family Adventure. It was great to have all eight of us around one table. It turned out to be the seventh wedding anniversary for Ruth and Zach, so Simon and I split the bill of $200. We spent the remainder of the day walking around the Time Share section of Disney World thanks to Zachary who had a pass to get us in. Lorenzo played Zach in a game of giant chess and we viewed the area in a monorail. All great fun.

Soon it was time to go. Ruth, Zélie, and Zoshie had a plane to catch. We transferred my luggage into Zach's car, said goodbye to Simon, then we headed out; first to the Sanford Airport, then northward. Zachary drove to Daytona Beach where we ate BBQ sandwiches at Bucky's. I then took the wheel up I-95 to the Georgia state line. Zachary as far as South Carolina, then I drove to the North Carolina state line. Zach drove the last few miles into Charlotte where we arrived at our hotel at about 3:30am, after 520 miles.

May 2023

After a quick night, we enjoyed a self-serve breakfast then continued on stage two of our journey. We also kept to our routine. Zachary drove through North Carolina into Virginia. I took over at the "Virginia is for Lovers" welcome rest stop and drove to the West Virginia state line. We did take one prolonged stop at the newest National Park in the USA - New River National Park, which is known for its winding river and long/high bridge. West Virginia required two drivers so I took over and drove to the Pennsylvania state line. As we passed through Morgantown, WV, I asked Zach to play an old favorite by Joni Mitchell called Morgantown. We got to Zach's Pennwood home late, about 6pm after 450 miles. We talked and I enjoyed interacting with my granddaughters but soon it was time for bed which for me was an unfolded upstairs couch. I was tired so it was no problem to sleep.

In the morning, Zélie recited a poem and Zachary showed me how she was learning to play chess. Zofia showed me how to stretch. I asked if she could touch her toe to her nose. So, standing on one foot, she lifted her left heel to her forehead. Wow! I have trouble raising my heel above my knee. Then, when Ruth left to work, we headed to the Children's Museum. The girls had an awesome time and my job was to hover over one or the other keeping them supervised. I did go for a few long walks to get in my 10,000 steps. It was great to have this time with Zélie and Zoshie. We drove back to the house, picked up Ruth, and had dinner at Chick-Fil-A. Zach dropped me off at the Airport Hyatt about 8pm. The second leg of my flight home - ORD to SFO - was delayed, so I adjusted flights and didn't have to leave Pittsburgh until 9am. It was another full day!

On Wednesday morning, while waiting for my flight and walking my steps, I noticed a musical beat coming from a conveyer belt. It was odd how it sounded like bongo drums. So, I sampled about two minutes of the "accidental music". The next day I mixed it with some old rock music from 1968. It was a fun project. Anyway, the flight continued to ORD, where I enjoyed a hotdog at the USO. It was a long leg back to SFO where I arrived about 3:30pm. Jeffery was right on time to take me home - there was an incredible hard rain for several minutes. Once home, I was in the dog house because I texted Liz too early in the morning about my flight change. Oh well, the silent treatment made for a restful remainder of Wednesday. And thus, my trip east was over.

After Men's Fraternity on Thursday, Liz began to talk to me again. I grew a bit despondent, because my top two Camper prospects - Ron and Gerri - both backed out of purchasing my vehicle. (Oh, when will it be sold?) On May 5, I sent Eileen a seventy-eighth birthday greeting. Four days after Eileen's birthday, I received dreadful news. Jonathan Umfleet, the husband of my neice Laura, died in a backyard accident. It happened that he was moving dirt with a tractor on his hobby farm. The tractor pitched backward and without a rollbar for protection crushed the life out of him. So sad for my sister, Laura, and the three children-Marc, Alison, and Levi.

That was on a Tuesday. On Wednesday, Liz and I ate lunch at Subway, as a substitute for the senior carryout meals - she a tuna melt and I a Philly steak; on Friday with shared lunch with Liz's mom and her sister at Stirling Court then on Saturday our lunch was atop San Bruno Mountain where we hiked with Tom Tabor's class. That last one tired me out.

The month of May was passing and I got prospects on selling my camper, but not buyers. The price dropped to $25,500. I went to Prayer Mountain for two nights staying in a little cabin and slimming down my camping accessories. I led Table One at a closing meeting for Men's fraternity on the 18th. We took a group photo. I also met a Rwandan man who knew me from 2002 (although I did not know him, but Simon remembered him). I had lunch and conversation with Apollinaire and his Korean Friend on Friday.

Liz and I were preparing for our big adventure to Canada. Why is that when I read the newspaper comics I am reminded of my complicated relationship with my wife? I also learned that Zachary and family were visiting Canada (at Niagara Falls) while Liz and I were at the Pacific end. I was happy because on the day before of Canadian tour, someone put down a $200 deposit on the camper. Yippie.

~ To Vancouver and Victoria Canada with Liz ~

~ May 22 ~

Liz and I got up early to meet Jeffery at 6:30. We were packed and on our way to Canada. Liz sat in the United Lounge while I walked, listened to Audible, and snacked. We sat across the row-23 aisle for the 2-hour flight. Liz was not feeling well, still recovering from a cough.

Our Vancouver portion of the adventure had begun. At the Vancouver airport, we worked our way through passport control and customs, then taxied to our Coal Harbor Hotel. We were able to check into room 1211 even though it was about noon. This Monday was our bonus day in town. After a rest, we walked to Stanley Park taking in the sights, rested more, then walked a short way to the Port of Vancouver. For dinner we each had a paper bowl of chili at Tim Hortons. We were both tired and concluded our first day in Canada about 8pm. I fell asleep with an audible of the Civil War in my ear.

~ May 23 ~

We got up about six and I stuck to my routine of Greek Bible study and newspaper-reading. We walked to the port for a breakfast of coffee and muffin, then we boarded a hop-on hop-off bus for some sight-seeing. We hopped off for a second walk at Stanley Park, then hopped off again at Granville Island. This was funky place of artists, foods, and shops. Our third stop was in Chinatown where I bought a souvenir t-shirt.

After resting in our room, we met up with our Roads Scholar group at 4pm. This first encounter was just to sign in and pick up information. At 6pm we gathered for dinner in the 4th floor restaurant. We met Marlene our group leader and introduced ourselves to members of the group which turned out to be eighteen in number (2 couples dropped out). All things seemed to bode well.

~ May 24 ~

Just after breakfast, we listened to a "local expert" named Lori. Her presentation was titled "Rediscovering our wild, native and medicinal plant", but mostly she spoke of herself and her First Nations spirituality. After this rambling discourse, we boarded our coach to arrive at the Van Dusen Botanical Garden about 930. After Lori talked outside, Liz and I had a wonder few hours inside the park. We walked a maze, marveled at multiple displays of azalea and rhododendron. The grounds were marvelous. My favorite was the "hanging gold chain" tree, especially when juxtaposed with the purple flowerings.

We lunched at Shaughnessy Restaurant, then went for a brief coach tour of Vancouver - Through Stanley Park - and arrived at Queen Elizabeth Park about 230. This place was on a hilltop with a view of the city as well as a glass-covered conservatory of tropical plants and birds. (A few mice unwanted were also present.) At 5:00 we ate at Seasons in the Park. My ethic is to finish all on my plate, while Liz's practice is to only eat half of her full portion. And so, we are! We got back to the Coal Harbor Hotel about 7:00. I had fewer than my allotted 10,000 steps so I walked the neighborhood before turning in.

~ May 25 ~

After a breakfast of eggs, bread, and bacon, we boarded the coach to Nitobe Memorial Garden. Our tour was lead by a delightful German-born woman who provided an excellent explanation of the Japanese sensibility. I learned a lot and hope to visit Japanese Gardens wherever I travel. (One in San Mateo and Hayward are at the top of my list.) This was probably the best experience of the Road Scholar tour. I must have some Zen in my soul or maybe minimalist or hobo.

In the afternoon, we visited the UBC Botanical Garden - led by the same woman. Again, it was a great experience. The Azaleas were in their multicolored prime. As a university garden of learning, there was a collection of plant specimens and student projects. After a snack lunch, our afternoon was free. We did laundry, walked the streets, and had a dinner at Tim Horton's, both of us settling for a bowl of chili.

~ May 26 ~

Friday was our day of transition and a long day. We packed our suitcases and were at breakfast by 7:00. Our day started with a field trip, a "Mural Walking Exploration of Vancouver led by a guy named Ali. The city has made it a point to decorate this portion of town with wall murals. It was a good walk, talk, and viewing. We then traveled to the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Gardens near Chinatown. The guide was good and the grounds interesting, but I must be more Zen than Confucian. I enjoyed the history of the Chinese in Vancouver.

We bussed to the far end of the city where we caught the ferry to ferry to Victoria at 1pm. I drank coffee and ate a small rhubarb/cherry pie. Liz took a nap in the sun. She still wasn't 100% healthy. We caught a coach on the Island of Victoria and headed south. An expert was on board who talked about the city and the gardens. Since Butchart Gardens was on route, our first garden stop was at this world-famous location. Don't get me wrong. The place was superbly manicured and super-sized, yet it appeared excessive to me. Like Disneyland of the north. We took a group picture at the entrance sign and for a few hours walked the grounds. There was lot to see. We reached the provincial capital of Victoria and our hotel about 7pm, eating a late dinner. It was a long day and we both fell asleep quickly.

~ May 27 ~

Victoria was a great city for strolling. After breakfast we went on a guided walking tour of the Inner Harbor which includes the provincial assembly building and the Empress Hotel. We also gazed upon several totem poles created by the First Nations people. We had lunch at Finn's Victoria, then enjoyed the rest of the afternoon in free time. We ate at our favorite place for dinner - Tim Hortons and walked the harbor again. It was day of recovery. I did get an email from the prospect who put the downpayment on the camper. He backed out. Oh, well!

~ May 28 ~

After breakfast on the rooftop, we boarded a coach for the day's activities. The garden exploration was Government House was excellent. It was about 100 plots looked after by volunteers. Like most places, it was the dazzling multicolored azaleas that caught the eye. Liz and I posed for a colorful picture. We then sat in the coach for tour of the city hopping off and on at a few locations. Lunch as at Stick Wicket Pub then we went on a walking tour of backyard gardens in the James Bay area. Three old homes were bursting with foliage. After these we stopped at Beacon Hill Park, not far from our hotel. A father son team, John and Chris Adams lead the way. Again, the walk and foliage were amazing. Dinner was at Milestones and that was our Sunday. I did manage to listen to the sermon at CPC, but my Zoom class of Mark was not possible.

~ May 29 ~

Our garden visit for the morning was the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific. This place was kept in more natural state than other gardens and parks. We spotted rabbits, lizards, various trees, and a wide variety of plant species. The guide seemed to know most of the them. We arrived at the Teahouse of Abkahzi Garden at 11:30. After enjoying a high tea, we walked the grounds. There was a lot to see on this double plot of land. I guess it's possible to burn out garden-wise. This was our 12th and final viewing of a garden. Our dinner was the Steamship Grill, a short walk from the Chateau Victoria. The steak and wrap-up meeting were a good way to end the program.

~ May 30 ~

Liz and I paid for an extra day at the hotel to not rush so much. We got up late and walked Beacon Hill Park. The highlight of the hike was spotting the 14 turtles basking on a log. We walked the inner harbor again. I bought a box of tea for Liz at the Empress hotel and we looked upon the native poles in the convention center.

~ May 31 ~

On the last day of the month, we were on our way home, but first we stopped at Tim Hortons for breakfast. I had enough time to get a haircut at Jimmys. The old Greek guy was a character. Liz and I shared a taxi ride to the Victoria airport, then to Vancouver, before landing back home in San Francisco. I was a great trip for the two of us. So good in fact, that Liz began to plan an Oceana cruise to Ireland and Scotland.

June 2023

On my first day back home on the first day of June, I rested and recovered from the ten days away. It was a discouraging week. Two men stopped by to see the camper, but both prospects washed out. I got to keep the $200 deposit, but that is a consolation prize. It seemed like the guys liked the mystique of the camper, but their ladies - upon reflection - did not. I got a few more nibbles, but not a purchase. One guy tried to low-ball me at $19,000. I may return to him if I can't sell.

On top of this, I developed a chest cold, perhaps from Liz. I felt miserable on Saturday, Sunday, Monday - coughing, hacking and expelling green stuff. I finally was able to walk a bit by Tuesday, but still felt sick. I also felt bad because I missed the funeral of Jonahan Umfleet on June 3. While I was busy, putting together pictures and narratives of our Canadian adventure, Liz was already planning a cruise for next April. The first few weeks of June were really an interlude between vacation with Liz in Canada and vacationing with Simon in the foothills at mid-June.

On June 15, I finally sold my camper. I met a guy named Christopher Sparks at my Wells Fargo branch, received $20,800, gave him the title, an era of my life had passed. A little later, when I came home from the gym, I heard conversation in the house. Greg, Carolyn, and Allen were sitting around the breakfast table. I joined in the conversation and for a Greek takeout dinner. I left the festivities about 6 and headed to the Kasa Catrina hotel in San Mateo. I napped until 10:30 when I went to SFO to pick up Simon, Lolo, and Gia. I drove them back to the hotel and got home late, about 11:30.

~ Travel with Simon, Lorenzo, and Gia ~

On Friday, I picked up my family at 10 and met Liz at Nick the Greeks at 11. The five of us enjoyed lunch together, then we four went to Laurelwood Park for a hike to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. It was fun to be with my son and grandkids. It was a long drive to Groveland in my Prius; lots of stop-and-go traffic. Our cabin at Pine Mountain Lake was great; a room for me and for Simon downstairs, and a loft upstairs for Lorenzo and Gia.

Saturday was full day enjoying the resort facilities. I joined the three for a while at the lake side, studied my Book of Acts, and received updates from Zachary about Zélie and Zofia. I do have four active grandchildren. Our first day of hanging out together at Pine Mountain Lake was memorable. We also explored downtown Groveland.

Sunday was a full day at Yosemite National Park. We left about 7:30, still it was a challenge to get the 50 miles to the park, then to drive through Yosemite Valley on the busiest day of the year. We cheated with a roadside parking near Yosemite Lodge. I walked the sights with the three for a while; waterfalls, tall granite mountains, and fallen trees, then returned to Prius to Zoom my Gospel of Mark class. Unfortunately, I couldn't get signal on my iPad and had to cancel the class. The three returned to the car about 5:00 - they did go for a long walk - and we began our exit. Again, there was lots of traffic. We paused at El Capitan for pictures and drove back to the cabin. It turned out we were on the road for 12 hours - 730am to 7:30pm. The day at Yosemite was full but lots of fun.

We packed up on Monday, then made a stop at the lakeside. I joined the three on the motorboat this time. It's becoming a challenge to step onto and off the wobbly boat. Such are the vicissitudes of aging. We took our time, making stops, and I got them to Daly City at 5 for Simon to pick up his rental car. (He will be spending a few days with his old buddy Dan.) I got home to find Liz already in PJs. I was tired and flopped down after this long day.

Simon remained in town, staying at "Fredo's Crib"/Danny's house in Mill Valley. I met him on Thursday at Fort Baker and we walked to mid-span of the Golden Gate Bridge. On Friday, I met him in Daly City. He turned in his Jeep rental car then dropped me off at SFO, borrowing my Prius to continue his vacation. He later sent me a few pix of the family surfing near LA.

~ Quick flight to the Northwest ~

I had a little time to spare at SFO, so I snacked at the USO, talking to a vet from the Navy. My UA flight left on time at 6:30. I was tired and dozed part of the 2-hour flight. Frank picked me up at PDX and we headed straight to Sue's in Canby. We talked mostly about the disagreements among Jeanne's kids as to her assisted living. There are differences of opinion. I spend the night at the "Davis Hotel" first having a long talk with my #2 niece. She wants to hand POA on to Debbie. I prayed with her and processed the conversation as I fell asleep.

I spent the morning with Sue, Don, and their new dog, Rowdy. I passed on to her a short note that I had written for her to consider as she talked with There was a bit of confusion when we arrived at Cogir Assisted Living. They had double-booked the room, but we managed our birthday party for Jeanne quite well in the main dining hall. About twenty people gathered to celebrate my oldest sister's 88 years. We took a picture of 4 generations. Crystal (Nancy's daughter) asked Jeanne the three most important things she had learned in her life. I was able to put together a video of her response: 1. Never speak in Anger, 2. Show Your love, 3. Trust God to direct your path. Just as the Zelen powwow began, Eileen, Frank, and I left. My brother drove me to his house, mostly to see the extensive damage caused by the fire a few months ago. He and Lelia are confined to about 1/4 of their living space. Frank drove me to Eileen's in Longview, where I spent the night.

Sunday was a busy day. I went to the 9:00 Columbia Heights church service with Eileen, then headed to Newberg for a rendezvous with Laura. Frank and I wanted to speak and pray with her concerning the death of her husband Jonathan. We shared a meal at Shari's Restaurant, then went to her house near by. Laura showed us the property and explained some details of the tractor accident. Levi was home so we spoke with him for a while. Afterwards, Frank headed south to do dentistry while Eileen drove Lelia and me north. It was strange, but I was able to facilitate my Zoom Deep Dive Bible from the shotgun seat. Lelia joined in a bit. We encountered a lot of traffic on I-5 and got home tired. After some brief conversation, it was time to hit the hay.

Monday was set aside for a visit with Jim and Charlotte Francis. Since that could not happen to 2pm (they both are night owls), we had the morning free. Eileen and I talked, I walked, and entertained 3 dogs. Eileen was dog-sitting Sophie, Jenny's dog. I had to do a double-take. This little pooch looked so much like my dear Jody! Jim and Char were their regular selves, talking about old times, medical conditions, and family matters. Shelley was on hand and introduced her new dog. I helped Jim pick up tacos from Taco Time and we whiled away the evening until 8pm. It is always good to catch up with them. I spoke with Eileen about "regrets". Should we have them or live with "no regrets"?

Eileen and I shared a leisurely Tuesday morning, then she drove me to PDX. My plane was scheduled to leave at 1:30, but there was a two-hour delay. "Crew shortage" as I understood it. I landed at 6:00; Jeff picked me up, and I got home by 7:00. I was able to get to my room without awaking Liz. It was a good five days of visiting.

I was car-less on Wednesday and on Thursday Simon stopped by the house at 4:15. Liz said "hi" to the kids, then we went across the San Mateo Bridge. We stopped for a moment at Holy Sepulchre Cemetary to remind ourselves a wife, mother, and grandmother. Then we went to Union City to a place called iFly. Lorenzo and Gia had a great time simulating a sky dive. Prior to lift-off, they had to weigh in. Both Lorenzo and Gia weighed 95 pounds each. Afterwards, we visited Jamba Juice, Taco Bell, and Eden Park for basketball. Then it was time to drop them all at SFO and re-claim my Prius. Simon testified it was was a great 2-week vacation for his family.

July 2023

Unlike the last jam-packed weeks of June, the first weeks of July were uneventful. I donated $40k to my charitable account a Fuller, half coming from the sale of my camper and half from the sale of stocks. I went to the Toyota 101 dealer and reserved a Prius Prime. I may have to wait until 2024 to get it. I worked on my Rwanda book a bit, completing a few chapters. The July-4 holiday passed without celebration, although I did stick a star & stripes on my Prius. I continued to swim at the CSM pool every-other day. Splashing in the small pool has become a routine in my life.

On Saturday, July 8, Liz and I drove to Hayward to attend the 80th birthday of Diane Varady. I was happy to honor her and Charles. I stayed in contact with my sons and enjoyed photos of Zélie and Zofia. I finally broke the doldrum of the month by spending a few nights at Prayer Mountain, July 12-14. My guest room was the A6 A-frame and my part-time roommate was a cat.

July continued to be a lazy month. I walked with Steve at Seal Point and with Liz down the Waterdog Trail. I met with Jeff and Steve at Denny's on July 20 and got my Prius smog checked on July 25. I did spend time listening to an Audible about Harry Truman and writing chapters in my novel. I was focused and able to complete Chapter 16 in about one week The Man in a Yellow Coat. I was having dreams about Rwanda. I Zoomed the Mark Deep Dive on Sundays and swam at CSM pool 4 days per week. I met with Dasha on July 26 at noon and then headed on a car-camping adventure at Lake Chabot Campground.

I wanted to test my mettle. Was I really capable of sleeping in the back of my Prius? The answer turned out to be NO. I stayed three nights: Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. I could not sleep well. The mattress was too thin, my arthritic hip hurt, and my body proved too stiff to navigate the hatch-back and side doors. (Maybe I could have done it a few years ago.) A blanket of dust covered my campsite and on the last night I endured lots of racket from groups of kids. Alas, my camping days are ended. As the preacher said, "There is a time for every purpose under heaven." I did enjoy making fires in the fire pit and walking down trails. I even walked 20,000 steps on Thursday. BUT, I'll have to re-invent my traveling adventures. I shared all this with Liz when I returned home on Saturday. I plan to sell and give away my camping paraphernalia.

Soon it was the last day of the month. After a morning of writing, I ran four chores: I dropped off shirts and pants at the dry cleaner, walked with Steve at Seal Point, swam at the campus pool, and dropped my car off at Hari's Arco - then walked home. The backend in making a muffler-like noise. On this day, I weighed myself on the gym scales and I was 199 pounds - a good trend- and my investment portfolio was up to $932k- also good. (especially considering how much I give away). Of course, July 31 also marked the 13th anniversary of Kim's demise. It was 13 years ago my life capsized and I was devastated.

August 2023

The new month began with a Chris Lane get-together. Liz was the organizer/instigator. Most of the neighbors showed up. I talked and drank a little wine. On my return walk to Hari's I learned my wheel bearing was and cost me $500. ouch! I felt motivated to buy a new car and dropped by Toyota 101 looking at the new Prius Prime model.

I got word that Lorenzo was accepted into Suncoast High School and sent a picture of a port-o-sound cart to Simon asking if his kids needed one. No was the answer, but Apple Airpods would be nice. And so, I ordered Amazon Prime to send two sets. I recieived a late video clip of Zélie's birthday and on a hike through Lauralwood Park I considered the Bible verse concerning the "quick and the dead". By then it was August 7 and I embarked on another one of my outings to Prayer Mountain.

The two nights/three days at Prayer Mountain were a nice getaway. When I spoke with Simon, I said, "I enjoy a vacation and at the same time Liz enjoys a stay-cation. It's a win-win." I stayed in cabin 1A shedding more of my camping equipment: a black bag, red tub, mat, pillows, and various containers and tidbits. I do enjoy making coffee on my mini percolator on the back deck. I walked, prayed, listened to Audibles, and wrote a bit of my novel. I almost finished PART ONE: the extermination. On Tuesday, I went to Scotts Valley Cinema for the $5 Tuesday special. This was Oppenheimer. I liked the A-bomb testing part, but there was too much of his personal angst. I got a photo from Zachary of my four grandchildren posing together on the gulf shore.

When I returned on Wednesday, I learned that Toyota 101 had a Prius Prime available to me.They offered $15,000 trade-in so my old faithful Prius would be going to 101. It just arrived in port and would be available on Saturday. Unfortunately, I would be away that weekend. And so, I was. Liz and were driving my old Prius to Santa Maria for the wedding of her friend Grace and Brian. (Liz had met grace through her job coaching.) We left on Saturday morning and stopped after an hour at the Elkhorne Slough Estuary near Salinas. It was a good few hours of hiking. We spotted barn owls and otters. Liz continued her drive down 101, to the hotel where we rested.

The wedding wasn't until 2pm and I wanted something to do. Pismo Beach was just 20 minutes back up highway 101, so I drove solo and walked the beach. There were lots of Pismo Clams along the sandy shoreline! I considered finding a sand dollar a sign of fortune. The afternoon was warm so I took off my suit jacket at Heritage Church on the far side of town. I was happy for Grace and for Brian as they entered the new world of marriage. I snapped a few pictures as I sat on an isle row. A few friends from CPC were present as part of Grace's home group. We talked, but left after a short time because the noise was hurting Liz's ears. We returned to the hotel before 5:00. We walked to Burger King where I got the 2 for $5 deal. I got to bed eary on both nights - 8pm - and so got plenty of sleep.

Liz and I had a bit of a quarrel on Monday morning. She got anxious when my walk lasted 60 minutes rather than 30. There were unpleasantries before we left just after 9:00am. She dove my car in silence all the way to King City where she loosened up a bit. We then stopped at the outlet mall in Gilroy where she bought some ECCO shoes. We got back about two, and with incommunicado, I rested in peace. On Tuesday, things were better between us. Liz had a contractor painting parts of the roof and I busied myself with cleaning out my Prius and ungluing six stickers.

I picked up new 2023 Prius Prime Hybrid Plug-in on August 16. Nice shape, nice color, nice gadgets, big learning curve- - especially learning about the public charging stations. My vehicle cost was $39,004 - - minus trade in - plus taxes. The guy who sold the car to me, Spencer was a delight to work with. I did spend a few hours that Wednesday and the next day, learning and studying the books about my new car. My first charge was for 16 miles at $1.56 at the Charge Point by the district office. I did that while swimming and walking.

On August 19, I led a table of seven for a Men's Fraternity event. Mark Mitchell spoke and 102 men were in attendance. The next day was Liz's birthday- - The big 66. I charged the Prime in preparation for the road trip on Monday. It was a 3000 step walk to the charger, a four hour wait, then 3000 steps back. Not bad: walking and free charging. I Zoomed in the hot evening.

~ Road Trip to the Northwest in new Prime ~

I headed out early on Monday morning. I wanted to beat the Bay Area traffic. My new car registered 100 miles as I crossed the San Mateo Bridge. I took my sweet time stopping in Dunnigan for two hours to charge up the car battery, walk 5000 steps, translate 6 verses of Greek, and eat a breakfast sandwich at Jack in the Box. Somewhere around Redding, the clouds crept in and I encountered significant rain. It was the tail end of a typhoon. Then after a few more hours, I stopped off at Rogue River. Here was ash in the air, like tiny snowflakes. I checked to discover wildfires a hundred miles away along highway 199. I got to Jim Walkers about 4pm. We engaged in great conversation with Jim and Val, then went to eat at Montezuma Restaurant. I had a Tequila like Jim's. I stayed up late talking and disputing with my nephew, mostly about eschatology. Was it 1:30am when I finally plunked down to sleep?

On Tuesday, after coffee with Walkers, I continued my trek northward, once more taking my time. I paused at a Toyota dealer where they tried to resolve a problem with my display. My car pesters me with "Driver Monitor Unavailable". They were not successful. At Seven Feathers I charged the Prime for free and walked the grounds. It was a long day of driving before I met Sue and Don Davis at Nuevo Vallara Restaurant at 5pm. (yes, as second day of Mexican). We then sat and talked in her back yard about Jeanne mostly, but also about old memories.

I headed out the door on Wednesday at 8:30 and arrived at Jeanne's assisted living an hour later. She didn't look so good. She had knocked out some front teeth and seemed to shuffle her steps more. I was able to sit with her and follow her conversation. It's still a wonder to me at 73 years old I still have my oldest sister with me. After an hour, I headed up to Longview to spend some time with Eileen. We talked in her living room and I gave her an old Jody outfit to pass on to Jennifer. I walked her streets and then it was time to visit the Francis house. I drove my sister in my new car and we met with Jim, Char, and Shelley for about 4 hours. We consumed the obligatory burritos from Taco Time, and Jim prepared everyone a root beer float. At times I got into a heated debate with Shelly about politics and UFOs. Charlotte seemed OK, sitting in her recliner, but following conversations. We got home late and it was time for bed.

On Thursday morning Jenny dropped by with her dog, Sophia, the one who looks like Jody. We spoke a while. The dog tried on Jody's wardrobe. Then Eileen and I went out for Thai lunch at the restaurant of a friend. We also ran some errands to various stores. I was a good way to spend time with my sister. At 3:30 I headed to Vancouver to Frank's place. Frank was planning to meet me at 5pm. He was a little late. It was a long drive for him after a late patient. With Lelia in my car, we headed to Debbie's house. I wanted to treat her to dinner. She has been so competent in looking after Jeanne. Thom didn't join us, so Frank, Lelia, Deb and I ate at Farrar's Bistro. I hadn't spent time with my #1 niece in ages, so it was nice to talk with her. Again, most of the talk was about Jeanne. It was now time for my long trip home. I drove to an hour to Salem and stayed at a Motel 6 - cheap but adequate for a hobo camper like myself.

Friday was a day of driving. I listened to a PDF file reader read my novel, So Great a Crowd of Witnesses. I make mental notes about what I want to tweak in this first half of my book. Actually, I was read the book three times during the 1500 miles of round-trip travel. I stopped, walked, charged again at Seven Feathers, and got to Red Bluff Classic Inn about 6:00. This place was run down. My room was behind an overflowing dumpster. But it was just for one night. I resumed my travel at 6:30 the next morning- - Saturday - - and was home by noon. I swam at the gym, car-washed the Prius, and did puzzles with my wonderful wife, Liz. And so, another road trip was complete. It was quick, interesting with the new car, and filled with people, 14 in all.

The month of August coasted to its conclusion. I held my final Deep Dive Zoom on Sunday. I had to end the session early because the internet blinked off. I walked with Steve on Monday and had my new Prius diagnosed at Toyota 101 on Tuesday. The pester screen is not fixable at the moment.

Lizzy had a busy week of home repairs. She replaced her dining room chandelier; the clothes washer spun its last cycle (I drove her to Home Depot to order a replacement); and the garage door required a professional visit (it stuck open overnight). Liz also endured a vein procedure on her leg. On August 31, I ended my book - part 1. I emailed 11 people asking them to take a look and give me feedback. We will see how that goes.

September 2023

The month began on a Friday. I did get acknowledgements from my book e-mail from Susan Orloff, Jim Walker, Frank, Franc, Jason McCoy, and Paul Gasigi. Paul seems like he wants to assist in the process. That's good. I began writing Part Two: The Reconciliation.

The new Washer arrived on Saturday, September 2. Monday was Labor Day, on which day I met with Steve, Dave, and Dan at Denny's for breakfast. Then spent two nights at Prayer Mountain. I was able to charge my car with cabin electicity and got a haircut in Scotts Valley. There was a BBQ to kick off the Presbyterian Men's Group on Saturday evening. Tyce cooked up tri-tip and I had more than my share. On Monday 9-11, I waxed my new car at Jacks. (I like it shiny) and on Tuesday I spent the morning walking the beach at Half Moon Bay.

Franc Murenzi will be touring America in a few weeks so I've been planning his itinerary with Frank. It looks like I'll be seeing him in Pittsburgh and in the Bay Area. I carried out a Zoom meeting with the leaders of Men's Fraternity on September 14, met with the Presbyterian men for the first Saturday of the season on the 16th, and received from Zachary a video showing Zélie making her very first official two-point basket. I did some preparation for the Pittsburgh trip and finished up Chapter 27 of my book, "Mission of Mercy". Let the travel begin!

~ Five days in Pittsburgh ~
Thursday, September 21

Thursday morning began early. I woke up at 5:15 and prepared for my exit. Jeff was waiting at the driveway for me at 5:45. We drove to the first meeting of Men's Fraternity. It was good to be back at Table 1. I had contacted Blaine and David Alexander. They were no longer in town. Wendell was absent as was Dave Steinert. Present were Steve Wilson, Dan Clary, Jeff, and a new guy named Stan. My stay was brief and Jeff drove me to the airport at 7am. I thought I might be late for my 8:40 flight, but I had plenty of time.

The flight seemed long with a middle seat, but I listened to music and watched John Wick on the mini-screen. The flight was 4 1/2 hours and the time shift 3, so I arrived about 4pm. My timing was good. I notified Zachary upon landing who picked me up at the Hyatt parking lot just as I stepped outside. The first thing I noticed were this plague of bugs. Zach told me they were Spotted Lanternflies, hundreds of them. We drove the 30 minutes to his house and I rested a bit. I picked up some treats at Giant Eagle grocery store, then we walked from his house, through a tunnel and down the street to my temporary home at 813 E. Hutchinson. The airbnb was a third-floor attic in an old part of town. It suited my purposes fine. I stayed home with Zach late, until Ruth came home from work at 9pm. We talked a bit, then I walked to my space.

Friday, September 22

I was tired on Friday morning, but Zachary messaged me saying Zélie missed her "Pap-pap", so of course I had to rush over. Zachary insisted I play a game of chess with Zélie and so I did. (Zach is now coaching a chess club at his school as well as a Rubic Cube club). I read a book to my granddaughters and we hung around the house for a little bit. I walked them to the park and helped Zélie fill out some homework - a list of items on a nature walk. Ruth was working all day.

In the afternoon we visited the science museum in downtown Pittsburgh. Zachary informed me that as part of his home-school regimen, he has several memberships to such places. My son is a good stay-at-home parent. The girls really enjoyed themselves, especially the talking robot. We four also took a tour of the moored submarine.

I got to my room a little earlier - about six - and enjoyed some recouperation time.

Saturday, September 23

The day was rainy so we cancelled plans to go to Idlewild Park. Instead, we hung out around the house and visited a few sights I can no longer remember. With Ruth we drove to an Olive Garden for an early dinner. It's a challenge to fit into the car, since Ruth has to squeeze between two car seats in the back. The Olive Garden proved a forty-minute wait, so Zach took me and the girls to Chuckie Cheese, not to eat, but to recreate. After a meal of spaghetti, we headed to the big event of the night - a live presentation of Bluey, a cartoon puppy. It was a good fit: there's a dad and a mum, a 4-year-old girl named Bingo, and Bluey the 6-year-old girl. So, we five sat in the bleachers and the girls really enjoyed the show, dancing and cheering. It was late, so Zachary dropped me off at my airbnb.

Sunday, September 24

We were supposed to go to church on this morning, but Zélie wasn't feeling well. We hung out a while at the house and Ruth stayed home with her sick daughter. Zach and I were on a mission to pick up Franc Murenzi at the PITT airport at 2:00. We had some time, so we paused at the Natural History Museum. (Zach is a member there too.) We followed Zofia around as she flitted from place to place. We looked at all the dinosaur bones and Zofia got to dig for some. She was a focused girl.

We then parked in the hotel lot. I put my luggage in my room-1028, then we went to look for Franc. Zofia and I found him on one of the long people-movers. It was good to see him. He checked into the room, then we went for a tour of Pittsburgh. Our only stop was at the Lower Monongahela Incline where a funicular transported us to a viewpoint overlooking the downtown.

Franc stayed at the house a while and read his book "Spitting Beans" to the girls in the original Kinyarwanda. Franc became the girls' African Uncle. We then walked a long way to eat at a restaurant called GoodFellas. Franc ate his fill of chicken wings. I had a large sandwich. After the long walk home, Zachary drove me and Franc back to our airport hotel. (He says he likes driving.) I was tired and had to get up early, so I turned off the light at ten. It was a 17,000-step day.

Monday, September 25

I got up at 5:15 and tried to let Franc sleep in, but he dressed and walked with me to the security gate. That was nice of him. I was able to stroll a few thousand steps before boarding the United flight. I had to check my carry-on bag and sit in a middle seat, but other than those annoyances, the 4-hour flight proceeded without incident. I played some scrabble, napped, and listened to classical music - ah, Brahams.

Jeff met me at 9:30 and soon I was home. Liz was at the gym, so I did all my unpacking and fell into a deep sleep. I rose about noon, talked with Liz some, then drove to the gym for a drive-by shower and short walk. I picked up some items at Safeway and was home again by four. After a light dinner, I did some writing and finally collapsed into bed about eight. It was another long day. BUT . . . It was a great vacation! a great time with my Number-one son and family! and a quick visit with my African son.

The last week of September whizzed by. I rested for a few days, went to Men's Fraternity on Thursday, then the BurlPres meeting on Saturday morning. John Choma was the speaker, an ex-49er who knows Allan. Suddenly it was time for me and Liz to go on an adventure.

October 2023

~ Three Adventures: with Liz, with Franc, Solo ~

ADVENTURE ONE! Liz and I left on Sunday morning, October 1, about 8:30 for a two-night stay in Capitola. We passed through Half Moon Bay and stopped at Bean Hollow State Park, walking from one entrance to another. The way the beans (pebbles) fit into the rock hollows still amazes me. We then stopped at The Seymore Marine Discovery Center, just short of Santa Cruz. We went on a short tour, saw dolpins, jellyfish, sea anemonie, and a puff shark. Then we checked into the Hyatt. Liz enjoyed watching the 49ers football game. They are now 4 and 0!

On Monday we rested mostly. We did make a visit to the UC Santa Cruz Arboritum. We saw the plants and walked the grounds. With a lack of rain, most of the grounds were too dry to see activity- - especially the humming birds we saw last time. We left on Tuesday morning and we were both glad to get out town a few days. I was happy the hotel had a car charger and I was able to get 40 electric miles from my Prius Prime.

ADVENTURE TWO! Franc was coming to town for three nights. So, on Wednesday afternoon I drove to SFO to pick him up. We had just enough time to meet with Liz at Starbucks at 2:45, then with Ken and Shirley at 3:30. I drove Franc to his Kasa Cantina, helping him to get his numerous bags into his room. I returned home to Liz while Franc had some time alone. He said he supped at Taco Bell down the street.

On Thursday morning we made it to Men's Fraternity at 6am. I said a few words from the podium and Franc prayed to the group, talking some about Rwanda. Only Dan and Dave were at Table 1 with us. Franc spoke with Javier who said his wife, Tina, is interested in Rwanda. I let Franc rest at the hotel before picking him up at 11:00. I packed up the car for two days of semi-camping. It was a very hot October day, hovering around 90 degrees. We took a long drive to Prayer Mountain via Half Moon Bay. My African son really enjoyed the walk along Bean Hollow beach. Going through Santa Cruz, we reached Prayer Mountain about two. Louis wasn't around so we sat and waited. Franc thought this place was really special and wished Claudine could be with him. He was conducting a lot of business via his phone. He tells me his family and friends call him during all hours forgetting about the 9-hour time difference. We drove into Scott's Valley-to Target-and Franc bought some wireless ear buds. He asked if I could use my Target Red Card and get a 5% discount. I countered, "If you pay for the gadgets with your own money, I get a 100% discount." On the hot Thursday night, I reclined in my underwear until 10pm when it was cool enough to put on PJs. I also plugged in my Prius Prime to the room electricity.

Friday was our bridge day in the redwoods. Franc and I went in to Starbucks at eight and returned soon after. He was doing business on this phone so I walked alone down the road while it was still a bit cool. I did my Greek study, watched some theological podcasts, took a shower and just loafed. At four we returned to Scott's Valley. Franc's gadget didn't work, so we returned to Target and he replaced his ear buds with a new pair. He was delighted with them. Franc wanted chicken-on-the-bone, but I couldn't find a place like that in town. So, we bought an $8 whole roasted chicken at Safeway, walked next door to McDonalds, bought two drinks, sat in air-conditioned comfort, and enjoyed a meal together. The evening went by fast. I charged the Prius again and got to sleep by 9pm.

We got up very early on Saturday-4:50. We packed the car and were on the road an hour later. We had contacted Tina earlier who agreed to meet us at 7am in San Carlos. We made it just in time. We drank Starbuck coffees and talked about Rwanda and her ministry for about an hour. Then we were on the road again to the BurlPress group. Franc spoke a few words before the main speaker, John Choma. Everyone seemed to appreciate Franc being among the group. We then raced to the OAK airport where Franc had a plane to catch at 1:03. I watched him push his many bags into the South west lobby. (Good-bye Franc. It was a fun time. I hope we can meet again.) I stopped at CSM for a walk and a shower, got back to the house by one, and prepared for yet another adventure

ADVENTURE THREE! On Sunday morning, October 8, I lingered around the house until ten. I packed a few more items into the back of the Prius and headed due east. I stopped in Oakdale for groceries and a stretch. I got lost along HW 120 going toward Yosemite Valley. I stopped for an hour to climb a basalt dome near Tuolumne Meadows, then continued east over Tioga Pass and pulled into June Lake Motel at 3:30. It was a long drive of six hours, but I was listening to an Audible called Shattered Sword: The Japanese perspective of the battle of Midway. I did some walking around the lake, watched a 49ers game on the motel TV, and enjoyed the ambience of a mountain town in autumn. Back in my sheltered room, I learned with dismay about Israel declaring war on Gaza. And I was in such a peaceful place.

On Monday I lounged and walked some more. I bought a few items from the June Lake General Store. I did keep my reservation for nearby campsite and dove the 1/4 mile to get there - site 22. I made a fire, consumed two hot dogs, walked the shore of the lake and drake in the beauty of the place. It seems my motto has become "Not all who wander are lost." That's true in my case, although I do get lost a times. I returned to may motel room then back to campsite to light an evening fire. It was an odd style of camping. The night was cold - near 30 degrees - so it was nice to sleep in the motel room - 102. I did get into a talk with a woman who was sitting in the designated smoking are. She asked about my plug-in Prius and I gave her the low-down.

Tuesday was check-out time. I hung around to 10am, drinking coffee and walking the town. Check out for the campsite was noon, so I went down there and boiled a second cup of coffee. I walked and snapped pictures as the muse struck me. I headed north along HW 395 at noon and stopped off at Mono Lake. I noticed a sign pointing to Panum Crater. It was down a gravely road on which I didn't want to drive my Prius. So, I walked. The foot-trail was another mile or so to the crater rim. My feet hurt so I walked back to my parked car. I then drove to Lee Vining, then back over Tioga Pass through the mountains. Lots of majesty! Lots of God's grandeur on display. Outside of Yosemite NP, I stopped at Groveland. The city park actually had a Charge-Point so I put 18 miles of electricity in my Prius. Going down the steep decline, my miles actually went up to 25! I drove on and got to Moccasin Point camp ground just before dark. Car-camping wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I can back the back space by pushing up the front seats and with the glass roof I could see the stars. I slept pretty well

On Wednesday morning I opened my eyes to raindrops through my glass roof. I began to pack up leisurely, boiled a cup of coffee, and walked down to Don Pedro Lake. I had about a three-hour drive ahead of me - through Chinese Camp, Oakdale, Manteca, Livermore, Castro Valley, Hayward, then home. Liz always wants me to make a home arrival all cleaned up, so I stopped at the CSM pool at 1:30, charged the car at the staff lot, and swam several laps at the small pool. I thank God for the grace that allows me to splash in water most every day. I greeted Liz just after three and put all my camping paraphernalia back into its proper place. It was now horizontal time. Liz and I talked, I responded to some emails, viewed some Youtube, and by 8pm I was closing my eyes: an end to 11 days of adventure.

The middle of October was an interlude of rest and routine. I suffered writer's block, re-zoomed my Mark class, got a flu shot, charged my Prius Prime, led a table at Mens Frat, endured hot weather, and monitored a war in Gaza. Liz and I also shared a lunch with her mom and sister. Simon told me our house project for my visit to Florida was to plant bamboo along his fence line.

~ Six nights in Florida ~

Jeff picked me up at 5:45 and I was off to Men's Fraternity, which we left early at 7:15. My Jet Blue flight departed at 8:45. I paid $30 extra for my little luggage. I flew to Fort Lauderdale, mostly with head-sets on listing to Audible. I landed with a few hours of daylight left, shuttled to Tri-rail and arrived in WPB about 7pm. Simon got me to his house and that was the day. I talked with him a bit, but was tired. My son amazes me. He ran seven miles with each mile in the 8-minute range. He showed me his running app. The kids were with Dilia and I slept in Lolo's room.

Simon took off Friday from work and we worked on his bamboo project, digging holes and planting medium-sized bamboos. I helped with watering, clean-up, and assisting. Still, I got dirty and sweaty. I met Lolo at his bus stop, then we met Gia. The four of us went shopping where I bought Lulu Lemon pants for Gia - "only $104" the cashier said. We also got basketball shoes for Lolo. Simon got a new iPhone and passed his old one to Gia. I enjoyed my time interacting with my grandchildren. The kids stayed up really late, but that was okay since they slept in on Saturday.

I walked a 5000-step stroll along the sea wall. That's always a pleasant way to begin a day. Then Si and I did more work on the bamboo. Gia spends time in her room with the door closed while Lorenzo plays video games with his buddies on line. In the evening we four picked up a friend of Lolo and went to the fairgrounds for Fright Night. It was $40 a head, but, hey, I'm hanging out with my grandkids!. We stood in line for a spook house, and I watched as the others went on a few amusement rides. We got home about 11PM.

Nonetheless we still managed to make it to 11AM church-Family Church. The kids had activities, Lorenzo basketball try-outs, and Gia flag-football try-outs. The two seem to be at the age when Simon and Dilia spend a lot of chauffeuring them from event to school to event.

Gia and Lorenzo seem to get up quite early: 6am. With me in the passenger seat, Simon dropped of Gia at her bus stop at 6:45, then drove 20 minutes to Lorenzo's school. And the two have a lot of homework. Simon's proud of them. They get mostly A's. I went with Si to Home Depot where we bought irrigation material, then to a Garden store for $700 in bags of rock.

Tuesday was Halloween. Gia wore a Shark outfit to school. We finished up our outside work. Simon told me this do-it-yourself bamboo project would have cost twice as much if he had contracted it out. We both thought the end product looked great. In the evening Gia hung out with a friend at a Halloween party and Lolo did some trick-or-treating with a buddy. They stayed up late. November first was a day off school!

During my time with Simon, I learned that his Auntie Pam (Hyun Ea) Kim's #4 sibling was is hospice, then died. Simon was in correspondence with his cousins, James and Stephen. Hyun Hee said she died of ovarian cancer. She was an old and deep-rooted part of my life. I'm sad about her passing at age 64.

November 2023

I began the month with an eight-AM walk down the seawall along Flagler. It was 79 degrees and muggy. After that, with the kids sleeping in, Simon drove me to PBI to begin my trek home. The hop to Charlotte was just an hour, but there was delay - maintenance problems - as I sat the USO. I left an hour behind schedule. The flight seemed long with a movie, scrabble, audible, and mind-wandering. Jeff picked me up at SFO around six and I was soon home. Liz and I talked some, but I was fatigued and, after a shower, fell asleep. I did get a message from Zachary who showed me how he celebrated All Saints Day.

The eleventh month continued slowly. I planned a March roadtrip with Frank to Grand Canyon and corresponded with Simon about comic art. I watched too many YouTube clips and wrote too little of Chapter 20:Ministry of Reonciliation. On November 9, I drove to Prayer Mountain after a Thursday Men's Fraternity, messaging Liz a photo of scripture/nature. My stay for two nights was refreshing, the air cool. I talked with both Louis and Pastor Choi about how nice it was to have the place so packed with praying people. God is blessing Prayer Mountain!

On the way out of Scott's Valley, I stopped at McDonald's for Veterans's Day Big Mac meal then crossed the street for a free Starbucks coffee. Happy 11-11.

In preparing for my Northwest roadtrip, I learned that I was disinvited from Pam's graveside interment of ashes scheduled for November 17. Zac and Si may have flown into Portland to honor their Auntie Pam, but there appeared to bitter to allow any Christian mention. That's sad.

~ Early Thanksgiving in the Northwest ~

On Thursday morning - November 16 - I led the Men's Fraternity table, walked with Steve, then headed north. This six-night trip was: Jim Walker - Frank - Eileen - Eileen - Eileen - Red Bluff Days Inn. I made a few stops going up I-5, listening along the way to hymns, an Audible book about the Pacific war in Saipan, some Bach. I arrived at Walkers about 5:30, talked with Jim and Val, then enjoyed a meal of bar-b-q hamburgers. As typical, my nephew and I pontificated on a variety of subjects: the hiddenness of God, Roman Catholicism, the Sphere in Las Vegas, and family issues. It's always a treat to stay with him.

On Friday morning, we talked more. He spoke about Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, so I downloaded that book as my freebee for November. Walking out the front door, I noticed a glitter of gold in the bark mulch. It turned out to be Val's long-lost earring. She was happy. And I headed north once more. I paused at Seven Feathers to charge my car and walk and continued my road trip through Oregon. I got to Vancouver, WA, and Frank's house about 5:30 - - already getting dark. He showed me his refurbished home reclaimed from the house fire. We went out to eat at Burgerville, but since I had been snacking along the route, I just had a pumpkin spice shake. We talked some, then I turned in for the day a bit early.

Saturday started early at 6am with Frank's living-room prayer group. There was a lot of talk and prayer for the Israel/Gaza conflict. After a pause at his house, we headed to Cogir in my Prius to pick up Jeanne. It was an early Thanksgiving dinner at Eileen's in Longview. Eileen likes food and family so, of course, it was a great time of fellowship. Jim and Char arrived just at 1:30 and we ate a traditional meal, then sat in the living room to talk. At the close, we prayed and sang How Great Thou Art. It was cold and drizzly so I didn't walk and I ate too much of the good food and sweets. I was up part of the night with acid reflux.

Frank gave me five copies of the book, Spitting Beans, only it was the Kinyarwanda version. Believer's Press had sent him to wrong book! I called later to straighten out the matter and we will be getting the correct book at no cost. I also got a text from Simon attached to which was video showing Lorenzo in his first Freshman basketball game.

Eileen and I went to her early church service at Columbia Heights because our day was full. The sermon was from Matthew 23. After a short pause at her home, we went to Cogir to help Jeanne empty her room of possessions. On duty were Eileen and me, Frank, Debbie and Thom, Nathan, Tanya and their two youngest kids. They three-level building was packed with people for a Sunday-Thanksgiving meal and proved to be a warren of hallways and elevators. I filled and pushed a shopping cart from the room, down the hallways, down an elevator, to the library door. Nate had his pick-up truck to transfer items; Frank had his truck to haul stuff to the dump, and Eileen filled her van with items. We then went to "Tabby's Adult Family Home" to talk with folks and see Jeanne in her new space. She's one of six. She seemed pleased with the move. Eileen and I returned to Longview and relaxed the rest of the evening.

On Monday morning, I went for a walk and talked with Eileen. Then I drove to the Lewisville Market to visit my Korean nephew, Stephen. It had been years since I had connected with my old Korean in-laws so it was fun to catch up; to talk with Dong Hyun, and Steven, and meet his new wife and baby. We spoke about Pam and her insistence I not attend her funeral. She did voice an affection toward Simon. When I returned to Longview, Eileen and I headed to the Francis house. Again, long conversations took place, remembrances, laughs, and tears. Charlotte does seem to be doing better since removing a gall bladder. Shelly does seem happier with her gradual weight loss. Bless them both! We got home at 9pm. Eileen was so sad. She found her dog, Tootsie, lying in the back yard. She couldn't find her way in through the doggie door, being both blind and weak. My sister wanted to "put her down" but I counseled wait. She talked with Jenny and the dog has a new lease on life. I got to bed early for a pre-dawn morning departure.

I left Eileen early, 5:30am, to beat the traffic through Portland. Still, I slowed down at the I-5 bridge. Eileen had packed me turkey leftovers which I snacked on my way south. I also pulled over to a rest stop to nap and walk. I reached Canyonville at 11:30 for lunch with Frank, eating at the Cow Hollow Cafe at Seven Feathers Casino. I was full from snacking and just had a piece of pie. I continued to drive south listing to Hitchhiker's Guide. Got to Red Bluff, California, at six. I filled the tank with gas and shopped for food at Walmart also new pajamas. The room at Days Inn was good for a one-night stop.

I slept in to eight o'clock, walked the area, drank coffee, and headed south. I plugged in and walked at Dunnigan, then drove home. Along the route, I was listening to my book, So Great a Cloud of Witnesses as read in a feminine voice from a pdf file. I got through the 16 chapters in part 1. It's not too bad, if I say so myself. I stopped at the gym for a closing walk and a shower. At three, Liz was on the phone to Terri, so I was able to peacefully unload my travel gear and Walmart groceries. All in all, it was a great visit with family.

For this trek north I tracked the MPG of my Prius Prime. Here's what I found upon my return home: 1534 total miles round trip, 197 electric miles on 8 charges, 35.41 gallons of gas consumed on 6 gas stops. That makes for 43.32 MPG with the electric boost or 37.85 MPG without it.

The final week of November passed with daily activity. Thanksgiving was low key. Liz and I walked the levee along the shore of Foster City. It made for a nice pathway, cost a lot of money to construct, obscured a lot of views, and was built for an unlikely purpose - to combat rising sea level. On Friday, I washed my dusty car, did a 5000-mile Prius maintenance on Saturday, CPC on Sunday, then traveled to Redwood City for blood draw on Monday. I continued to walk, mostly at the CSM campus, getting in my 10,000 per day. I completed chapter 19 of my book- Ministry of Reconciliation. And unexpectantly November had run out of days.

December 2023

I purposfully set aside the months of December and January as recovery months - Lots of activity befor and after. I was encountering some writer's block and decided to pause my fiction writing and do a short-term project which turned out to be the transfer of photographic negatives to digital postivives. Since my old negatives were crammed into a big shoebox, I collected my massive collection of old photos under the title of Shoebox. Everyday, I tried either to scan the slides into a desktop machine, process the negatives on the big monitor, or create an HTML batch. By mid-month, I had scanned five-hundred pictures and posted about two hundred.

I spent two nights at Prayer Mountain, enjoying long cool sleeps, walks in the woods, and listening to Audibles. On December 1 and 13, I met Dr. Teng for a check up and a removal of a mole on my back. I got a few Christmas cards, one from my grand-girls. I continued to spend too much time watching YouTubes. I had fun with an app called FaceDance. And now mid-month approaches.

As spoken in the book of Job, my days seem "swifter than a weaver's shuttle." I have to seek out more outside pursuits in 2024. I did walk with Liz at Wavecrest along Half Moon Bay, with Ken Napier along the levee at Bridgepoint Park, and with Steve Wilson at Seal Point. I sent Christmas candy to Lorenzo and Gia. Simon sent me a video clip opening their goodies. I'm glad I bring genuine joy into their lives. I continued my major project for December which was to preserve a shoebox of photo negatives. I consider some of the old images and weep; for others I marvel. Was that old image really me? What does identity mean?

On a Sunday evening, I unplugged my trusty iPad and I couldn't get my touchscreen to respond! I panicked and realized how overdependent I was on the device. I read an old First Things in the evening. I rushed to the Apple Store at Hillsdale on Monday morning and they showed me to do a hard reboot. The screen responded!. I'm OK, but realize my addiction to such technology is not a positive thing. Liz put up a Christmas tree and we stacked a few items under its artificial limbs. San Mateo experienced it's first winter storm on December 19. Liz thinks I'm nuts, but I enjoy walking in the rainfall. And so the final month marches toward a new year.

The final twelve days of 2023 passed in a rush of boredom and activity. Without places to go, I admit I was restless. I need to travel; get away from the confines of the house. Yet the holidays kept me buoyant. On December 22, Liz and I walked the levee in Foster City. It's good to spend time with my wife. The next day, just after our five o'clock dinner, we went for a car ride to see Christmas lights. Our favorite stop is a house on Ralston near the Safeway. It's been a tradition for several years now. My 74th birthday fell on Sunday. We attended live-stream-Church and Liz fed me at Round Table. A small-sized pizza is good for a 3-piece lunch and 3-piece dinner. On Christmas day, we visited Becky for a fancy lunch at Stirling Court. The beef was good and it was nice to spend some time with my mother-in-law. She seems to be doing well. Liz went to her friend's house - Leanne - to watch the 49ers lose a game to the Ravens - oh well.

The final week was colder; Liz turning on the furnace at 40 degrees. Nearly every day I went to CSM for pool/weights/walk/ and car charge. My pleasure is to plug-in, take steps, and listen to Audible (now a re-telling of D-day). I drove to San Lorenzo for dental work with Dr. Chan and soon it was year's end. I did receive pictures from Zach in Pittsburgh and Simon on route to New York City. My four grandkids are growing up! The year closed with my scales weighing me in at 202 lbs. and my Wells Fargo investments at $928k - both fluctuating. I got tired at 11pm on the ultimate day and was sleeping as celebration began. I'm thinking 2024 will be one crazy year.

On to 2024