My book of life is presented in two volumes. Volume One of The Dash between the Dates is a retrospective of my first seventy-two years, written as memoir, progressing through 32 chapters, and concluding in March, 2022. Link to A Retrospective of my First Seventy-two Years
Volume Two of The Dash between the Dates, is a Monthly Journal of my life with each calendar year forming an additional chapter. Volume Two began on April 1, 2022, and will continue as long as my health, my mind, and my God see fit.
The years of 1988 to 2022 may be viewable in a Photo Journal format at chrisalanforeman.com
April 1, 2022 was a busy day. On the way to the San Matero gym, I dropped off my 2021 taxes in the mail box. It was a lot of money, but the $162,925 to the IRS and the $76,384 to California was less than I had anticipated. H&R Block charges $1000 dollars, but I figure that was worth it. I'm not yet sure how I'll file my 2022 taxes. In the afternoon I got an iPad message from Simon informing me that Gia had been accepted into the BAK middle school art program. The family was celebrating. Liz and I also sat at Starbucks with John and Tami Kamperschroer. His Fuller Seminary position had relocated him to Illinois.
April 2 proved to be even more challenging. Liz and I joined in a CSM hike with Tom Tabor. This was the first such outing in 29 months, since the onset of COVID. We drove in my Prius to Almaden-Quicksilver County Park in San Jose. This seven-mile hike challenged me physically. My feet, knees, and legs hurt. I made two mental notes: next time take two bottles of water; remember to clip my toe nails before a strenuous hike. This being said, we both enjoyed the wild flowers, the views, and the history (especially me). I was pooped when we got home and on Sunday settled for a CPC Live Stream service.
On Wednesday morning, April 6, I walked with Steve at Seal Point, came home for a rest, then headed the camper south. My first stop was at Los Banos Reservoir Campground. That short drive put me two hours down the road. On Thursday, I drove down Highway 99, through Bakersfield, to a place called Mountain Valley RV Park. The spot was right next to a little airport. I watched as small prop planes towed glider planes into the air then released them to glide back to the runway. On Friday, I arrived in Las Vegas about 4:00 pm and stayed overnight at the Motel 6 Tropicana near the airport. I walked the streets a bit before turning in for the night. I received a message from Zachary that his family was on a road trip to Minneapolis where Ruth was attending a convention. The four of them stopped in Tomah near the home we once lived in.
I picked up Frank at the Las Vegas airport at 8:30 on Saturday morning. We filled up on gas, then entered Death Valley National Park. On this first day, we drove down to Badwater Basin which is the lowest-hottest-driest point in the USA. We then drove through the Artists Palette, then to Furnace Creek. It was the hottest day of our road trip, reaching a temperature of 104 degrees. Wanting to avoid the heat, we drove west to spend the night at Wildrose campground in the mountains where it was much cooler. We saw three burros by the roadside, then heard them bray during the night. Frank slept in a four-man tent on an air mattress while I stayed on the camper bed. My brother and I had a great time in company, conversation, and cooperation.
On Sunday morning we read scripture about Palm Sunday as we walked down a dusty road. It was always surprising to see springs of water in these desert places. We drove past Stovepipe Wells Village and north to view the Ubehebe Crater, walking the ridges taking pictures. We had planned to drive down a dirt road to see the Racetrack of moving stones, but the roadway was washboard and driving too difficult. We spent that night at Mesquite Springs. While rummaging through my stowed clothing, I ran across an old doggie coat that Jody used to wear. Frank helped me memorialize it with stones in the cleft of a rock. I STILL MISS MY DOG!
On Monday we stopped by a few more sites at the National Park: a borax works, Zabriskie Point, and Twenty-Mule-Team Canyon. We bought gas, ice, and a few grocery items at the General Store in Furnace Creek. We also watched a short video of Death Valley and munched ice cream bars. We exited Death Valley and set up camp at a place named Desert Pads near Death Valley Junction. The site appeared to be an array of abandoned concrete pads. Who built this place and why? Was it a government experiment gone bad?
To call the night windy would be an understatement. I used eight ropes to tie down Frank's tent. My camper shook with gale-force winds. Frank was a champ to endure the night as the red tent pitched, rocked, and nearly collapsed. My brother said the chill was worse than the wind. He was fortunate to survive the night with his shelter intact.
It was still windy when we broke camp on Tuesday morning. Only later did I realize my blue pantry box must have blown away in the night wind storm. Alas, I lost Tupperware, a bag of corn chips, bread, and a can of chili. We ate breakfast at a place called Moms in Pahrump, then entered Las Vegas. Frank's departing flight would not leave for a few hours, so we walked the Strip visiting the Luxor and Excalibur. I later put together a video of this three-day road trip through Death Valley. Frank later made a post on Facebook.
After dropping Frank at the airport, I began the return phase of my adventure, spending one night at a KOA near Barstow and a second night at the Basalt campground on the San Luis Reservoir. That was a lot of driving and I spent hours listening to an audiobook called The Next 100 years; a Forecast for the 21st Century. I was happy to finally arrive home, to swim and shower at the gym, and to play puzzles with Liz. Like all good adventures, it was great to be on the road but good to be home again.
On Good Friday, I sent an email to Eileen about meeting Snoopy's brother (Spike) in the desert. She returned a smile to me. On Saturday Liz and I had scheduled a hike with Tom Tabor, but it was raining! We decided to suck it up and I drove to Long Ridge Open Space. I wore my 49'ers rain gear, but the wind and rain still made hiking a challenge. I ate my salami sandwich lunch on the drippy Wallace Stegner bench.
Easter was a special day. I drove to Sterling Court, picked up Becky and her friend, and attended First Pres in Burlingame. Liz received her Easter picture (posed for a week earlier) and I received an Easter photo of Zélie and Zofia.
I spent much of the next week puzzling out my next book, trying to mesh together the Rwanda Genocide, Simon Bikindi, and the source of evil with the story of my friends and my own adventures. Before beginning to write this novel, I strove to establish a list of characters, a timeline, a narrative arc, and chapter headings. I seemed to go round 'n round, not even having a good working title yet.
The final week of April passed with a busy schedule. On Saturday morning, I walked the Sawyer Camp Trail from the north end. I wanted to see the "second tallest Bay Tree in California," but it wasn't worth the effort. The tree had crashed into the ground. Nonetheless, the long walk was good for my body. Then on Monday, I began to repair my camper at the Union 76 Station. The check-engine-light flickered and indicated an "evaporative issue". Can you believe that little light cost me $400 to fix? I'm glad the place was close, because I walked back and forth three times. Hari was the name of the guy who does the repair work. I told him, "It's not a good thing for me to be on a first name basis with my car mechanic." It may be time to sell my over-sized toy.
On Wednesday, I received my second Covid booster at Laurelwood Rite Aid, and on the last day of the month, Liz and I did our last hike with Tom at Memorial Park. It was a long drive to get there but the weather, wildflowers, and scenery were marvelous. Twenty hikers participated in this event.
The first day of the month fell on a Sunday. Liz was attending the SF Ballet matinee -- a performance of Swan Lake -- so I attended CPC alone. After church I began to mentally prepare for my first Deep Dive into the Gospel of Mark. Then I answered my cell phone. My Table 1 friend, Gil Limtangco, was comatose in intensive care at Mills Peninsula Hospital. Gil's wife asked if I could visit him to pray and give some kind of last rites. And so, after my deep dive, I drove to the hospital. I laid hands on my friend and encouraged his wife and daughter. Gil was always such a positive and godly man. I later learned that the plug was pulled from his life support and he died of septicemia at 9:00 that evening.
The next day I drove the camper to Prayer Mountain for two nights. I was able to focus on my writing, keyboarding into my iPad the first tentative words of my nascent novel: "Victor Kwizera rubbed his red-flecked eyes."
On Friday I spoke at Gil's CPC memorial. I knew so little about his life and his wife, yet she mentioned how important it was for him to locomotive himself into Thursday morning meetings. I will miss his shining presence in our midst. Whenever a table member might moan about difficulties, I would silently gesture to Gill smiling from his wheelchair.
On Saturday Liz and I hiked at Sweenie Ridge near Skyline College. It was a one-way trek down a dirt road with a car-share start and ending. Tom Tabor told me he had been leading hikes like it since 1982. No wonder was he so good at it. The trail margins were bright with a spectrum of wildflowers and an ocean breeze moderated the sunlit day to perfection.
I dreaded following my investments at Wells Fargo Bank. The war in Ukraine and on-going inflation had pushed the market into bear territory with my portfolio plummeting by 12% since the first of the year. A picture from Zoshie cheered me up. She was such a drama face!
I continued to conceptualize my novel landing on the title: "The God of All Hope". Will that name stick? To research my topic, I ordered four books concerning the Rwandan genocide.
On Thursday, May 12, I spent the early morning presenting slides at Men's Fraternity. Then in the late afternoon, I strolled with Lizzy at Filoli. The first half of May had sped by and I began to pack my bags for my mid-month triangle: a flight from SFO to PIT to PBI back to SFO.
As I began my triangle to visit Zachary and Simon, international news continued to focus on the Ukraine-Russia War. Will that struggle end with a bang or whimper? I missed out on some weekend family events. Zélie performed in a ballet recital and Lorenzo ran in a track meet.
Jeffery picked me up at the house at 4:30 on Monday morning. I was off to Pittsburgh! Zac had booked the Hyatt Hotel inside the PIT airport and there I stayed for my first and last night in town. The three Z's met me as I was pulling my single bag from the carousal and we spent the afternoon together - - in the hotel room, in the pool, at a restaurant, and to the zoo. At two and four years old, Zoshie and Zélie required constant supervision. (As a grandpa, I had forgotten about these details.)
I spent Tuesday night in Zachary's dark basement and on Wednesday morning we five headed out to Great Wolf Lodge all the way in Sandusky, Ohio. It was over a three-hour drive, but it turned out to be a great place for kids - - lots of water fun and a magic scavenger hike. The suite was perfect and I got my own upper bedroom. The weather turned wet and stormy, reminding me of my young days in Indiana. In the mornings I was able to translate my Koine Greek and to listen to my audible book as I walked outside. I was able to balance kid-contact time and horizontal rest time.
On Thursday, I hung out with the three Z's, first at a Zélie soccer practice, then on the way to the airport, at the riverfront walkway. Zachary was a meticulous planner and his activities fell together like clockwork. My number-one son stayed up with me talking religion and politics past midnight. I had to remind him of my early morning departure. This was a delicious slice of life.
I flew Allegiant Airlines on Friday to Palm Beach where Simon picked me up at noon. I rested a while and enjoyed hanging out in his magnificent home. His living quarters, both inside and out, have evolved into a work of art. He keeps this masterpiece spotless and in perfect order. He adds bit by bit in a continual series of household projects that appeal to his aesthetic sensability. Simon taught me how to feed his six koi in a pond outside his front window. Gia pointed and recited the names.
My son's time is one-third house / one-third kids / one-third work. He never seems to rest. On that Friday evening, I attended Lolo's band recital to hear his trombone. Gia attended with her mother.
It was Dilia's weekend to look after Lorenzo and Gia, but we had plenty of time together; to eat, play, watch TV, and drive about West Palm Beach. I gave Lorenzo A Wrinkle in Time / Spanish version and pledged $100 if he would read through it and give his mother a book report. I entrusted to Gia my Jesus People denim jacket from 1971. I'm hoping it will inspire her faith and she will remember her gwampa.
On Saturday, we went to Lorenzo's taekwondo sparring practice and, after church on Sunday, we bobbed in the ocean at Lake Worth Beach. Gia got buried in the sand. After a Korean dinner with Dilia, I returned to Simon's place in time to facilitate my Zoom Bible study of Mark. At the end of chapter one, we were introduced to Simon Peter. The group was amused when I introduced them to my own version of Simon Peter.
Sunday, May 22, was also Zachary's forty-seventh birthday and Ruth posted an Instagram of the celebration.
I spent Monday shopping with Simon for shrubs to set outside of Gia's bedroom window and for a basketball pole/backboard/rim to set on the street for Lolo to practice his jump shots. My utter lack of mechanical skill made it impossible for me to assist in the assembly of the basketball mechanism.
My time with Simon ended in style with a steak and salad on his back patio on Monday night. Simon was a wonderful host and we got along so well. On Tuesday morning he packed sandwiches for my long return trip - - PBI-EWK-SFO - - home to California. I felt blessed as I considered my time with my Florida family.
Jeffery picked me up at SFO and soon my adventure was over. Liz was really into the Golden State Warriors and we watched the first half of that game until it was apparent that our team would not sweep the 4-game series. It had felt right to be away to see my kids and right again to be home with my wife.
A few days after my return, I received a message from Simon. Both Lorenzo and Gia were showered with honors at their end-of-school ceremonies.
The final week of May whizzed by. I walked with Steve on Wednesday, Zoomed with Men's Fraternity leaders on Thursday, and did a deep dive into Mark on Sunday afternoon. In preparation for my upcoming trip to Franc's graduation in Missouri, I packed ten copies of his book - - Spitting Beans -- and put together a one-page appeal to partner in Rwanda.
I ended the month at Prayer Mountain, catching up on sleep and reading. On May 31, I walked the grounds and counted 35 scripture verses emblazened on redwood trees. it was a blessed way to end the month.
I woke up on June 1 stretched out in the back of the camper. I completed the first six verses of Philippians converting them from Greek to English. The morning at Prayer Mountain was leisurely with walking and breaking camp.
When I returned home, I decided to upgrade my desktop computer. It had been grinding so slow with lots of hiccups. After doing some research, I bought a $604 "Office Computer" at Central Computer paying another $149 for the new Office 2021 suite. On June 3, Liz led me on a hike along her new favorite trail, "Sheep Camp" not far from home. Then on Sunday, after my Mark Zoom, Liz and I watch the Warriors whip the Celtics at a restaurant called Nick the Greek. I messaged Simon asking him if he had celebrated the win. I thoroughly enjoyed the several minutes of back and forth. His old Marin friend, Danny, was in town and he was clearly having a ball, talking especially about the blue crab that had appeared under his car after a hurricane.
On Monday Liz hiked with her friends, Alan and Carolyn, then on Tuesday I prepared for my trip to Missouri. On Wednesday it was off to the airport for another adventure. Jeffery drove me to SFO at 10:00pm and I flew to Saint Louis via Denver. I rented a car and rested at the Extended Stay hotel until 8:00pm when I picked up Franc inbound from LAX. Wednesday night was short because we headed out at five in the morning.
Thursday, June 9, was Franc's big day to graduate from Global university. In the morning he posed with his fellow graduates, then at noon he walked for his diploma. It was fun to participate as his long-time friend, mentor, and colleague. At the luncheon, we sat with folks and Franc passed out his book, Spitting Beans.
We talked with several Assembly of God people over the next day. One such was Grace - a Korean woman who reminded me of Kim. I gave a copy of Forgive Like a Rwandan and Franc promised to look into her primary school not too far from Butare. All in all, it was time well spent. I'm thinking we made a difference for God's Kingdom.
Franc and I left Springfield on Saturday morning and spent one night near Lake of the Ozarks. I had planned to walk by the lake, but at 95 degrees it was just too hot. We rested in the room.
On Sunday we attended the AG church in Jefferson City then drove on to St. Louis. Much of this driving time, I quizzed Frank about his youth and experience during the 1994 genocide. (I'm still hoping to write that book!)
We enjoyed a few hours at Gateway Arch National Park strolling the outside grounds and touring the inside displays. We watched a movie on the making of the bridge, then traversed a weird 5-person elevator up to the viewing windows, 630 feet up in the air. That arch was quite a marvel of construction.
I dropped Franc off at the airport, spent one night alone, returned my rental, then headed home myself. My bargain-basement flight included a seven-hour layover in Las Vegas - Ugh! But I endured, watched the Warriors beat the Celtics in game 5 of the finals, and made it to SFO by 9:00pm. The Uber ride home was up to $64, but then, gas prices are up too. Liz was asleep when I unlocked the door and I rested most of Tuesday. I learned that Franc got stranded at LAX because he had not taken a COVID test as required by the Rwandan government. Alas. Poor Franc spent three extra days in LA and had to buy a second ticket home.
My focus now shifted to my upcoming mission to Rwanda, just fifteen days away. I began packing, corresponding, printing material, withdrawing money, and buying supplies. I also resumed some aspects of normal life- - procuring a military ID for Liz, keeping a doctor's appointment with Dr. Teng, walking with Steve and David, as well as facilitating my Zoom Class in the Gospel of Mark. I was happy that my two sons had also grown into two friends. Zachary's family was spending a few days in West Palm Beach with his brother. Liz was delighted that her article - Bunny Tacos - had appeared in her on-line magazine.
On June 20 to 22, I camped in solitude at Prayer Mountain, listening to an audible book and walking through the woods. It was fretfully hot, yet hotter still I learned in San Mateo. Liz lost power in the house for fifteen hours.
I was surprised by three big decisions announced by the supreme court: on June 23, the right to carry concealed guns was upheld, the next day Roe vs. Wade was overturned, and a few days later the right to pray on a sports field was affirmed. A lot of victories for conservatives; a lot of tantrums from liberals.
As my day of Rwandan departure approached, I completed my lesson on "African Friends and Money Matters" and put together a 19-minute video show of CASA in Butare. I packed my bags, took two Covid tests, and awaited my long flight to Istanbul thence to Kigali.