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Bye For Now…

October 24, 2016

… darling boy.

Peter thought lunch with me would be nice before I take off, which so thrilled me (which I was careful not to overreact about). He had classes at 8:00, 9:00 and 10:00, so he went to those, but texted as soon as he was done. In the meantime, I checked out of the Sheraton and plunked at a nearby Starbucks to write and be all mellow and happy.

I picked him up at our usual spot–parking lot behind Meteor–and headed to a place called Urban Plates.

An absolutely great place.. a high-end cafeteria with healthy, organic, creative choices:

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And a huge, attractive, comfortable place to eat it…

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We had a nice, long lunch, discussed holiday logistics, then checked out a nearby bike store. I dropped him off back on campus in time for his 1:00 class.

And with that, Family Weekend was over.

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A month now until our next meet up…

 

Just Missed

October 24, 2016

Look who was playing golf at Torrey Pines the day after our visit…

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That would be our great, classy, dignified, decent, funny, intelligent, compassionate president, Barack Obama.

Dyin’ to know what he shot…

(This was a random photo grab off the web… credit to somebody for a nice shot.)

Day to Play

October 23, 2016

So looking forward to this day… a full, planless, unencumbered Sunday with our kiddo, and a big old town to explore.

Picked Peter up at 9:00am..

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Hiya P.

Then off to Torrey Pines–reservations for breakfast at 9:30.

In search of great corned beef hash… the current hash to beat is the one I got at that pancake restaurant in La Jolla on a previous visit.

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Good, nice presentation, but not even close. The large chunks were great, but too much room for error (hunks of fat).

After days of hot weather, it was weird to get some raindrops, but we decided to stick with our outside table. We sat beneath a heater so it was very warm. We saw they provided blankets for diners who wanted them, but it wasn’t cold. And the rain didn’t really materialize. Very nice view of the first tee!

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We walked around.. checked out the now finished course construction on the north course.

Here’s a before and after:

 

It’s a pretty course…

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Peter decided it was a good time to take advantage of his parents being in town–sure there were a few clothing items he needed–so we went to that UTC place again. Sears was a nice low-cost option and Macy’s a good middle-of-the-road option. He scored some pants and shorts.

Walked around to see what all’s there… went into a Tessla showroom (and sat in a very nice car), and found an ice rink:

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Then….. we then headed up to Mt. Soledad…

 

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for some views…

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They have hundreds and hundreds of memorial plaques on the walls that surround the monument:

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This one was interesting to me:

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Grew up playing at the Jack Kramer Tennis Club and played with Wilson’s Jack Kramer autograph racquet for most of my youth. Who knew he was an honored veteran?

Next… we headed down to Coronado.. wanted to show Jim the Hotel Del. Here are a couple pics around the island…

This is on the side that faces downtown San Diego; there were some lovely homes along the waterfront:

 

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Here’s a shot of a nice sunset over on the Hotel Del side:

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We decided on fish for dinner… looked at one, which was a no go, then settled on a restaurant called “The Oceanaire,” in the Gaslamp district. Very expensive and spotty service (but at least I got my wine comped). We had two hours, but in the end were rushed, even without dessert.  I think the place has promise, but we didn’t hit it on their best night (‘course maybe that’s because we were in tee-shirts and jeans and stumbled onto the place, whereas the other customers were dressed to the nines and prepared for dining events). Dunno.

Still… good food. I had grilled swordfish “drunken” with port cherries, smokey almonds and goat cheese cream. Jim had salmon with blue cheese, I think and Peter has sea bass with a spicy tumble of crab on top. We added an order of asparagus and au gratin potatoes. Yummy. (And, oh… $200… no apps, no dessert, no alcohol.)

We got Jim to the airport on time and I took Peter back to his dorm because he wanted to study. How ’bout that. Good kid, starting out college on a serious note. I like it.

 

 

 

 

Baseball Revisited

October 22, 2016

Beautiful day in the way-southland. I think they forecast another day of 90s.

We chose a place in Del Mar for breakfast … a wonderful outdoor-only place called the Stratford Court Cafe–seems you can have those kind of places down here:

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And yet another great vanilla-ish smoothie-like drink … this one: orange juice and vanilla powder. Jim had a Belgian waffle, I had a veggie scramble with a mountain of arugula and avocado… Mmmmm…

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Eating fresh organic, outside in late October. Love California.

And for a bit of gravy: baseball!

We were lucky to be in town for a club baseball double header: UCSD Tritons v. USC Trojans. We headed over for the start of the 10:00 game…which we missed while searching for the field, but arrived in time to see Bobby at the plate in the bottom of the first.

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Not too far from UCSD is University City High School. This is often where the club team hosts its home games. Nice field with shadeless bleachers.

Club ball is very low key.. it’s about fun and camaraderie, playing a sport you love. They self coach and self manage. They also provide and launder jerseys (not sure who does that), and provide most of the equipment (including helmets, bats). Players provide their own pants, belts, socks, cleats, gloves.. of course.

It’s official, too. They have umps, a league, league standings, titles, tournaments they travel to and hope to win (for example, the team traveled to Las Vegas last weekend and narrowly lost in the championship game), and big fancy things like world series (if they win their league and prevail in a series of post season tournaments). So, mostly it’s fun, but they also want to win.

It was incredibly fun, and such a bonus buy, to see Peter on the mound today. And Bobby, who played for DHS before Peter came along, and Ray.  And, AND, it was fun to play against Nate whom Peter & Ray played with in their junior year, who now plays for USC.

Look how pleased we are to be at yet another Peter baseball game:

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We sat in the bleachers with parents of another freshman, Kyle T, who’s from San Mateo. Got some good info about the team, dorm life and what the first quarter at UCSD feels like from another’s perspective. Nice folks.

Peter started the second game of the double header:

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He has such a distinctive style… it was fun to see that signature wind up..

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Lead off batter for USC in the second game was none other than Nate. I think Peter went about 2-2 in the count before grazing him slightly on the elbow:

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All pitchers today went a max of two innings. Peter pitched well enough. The Tritons won both games, 6-0 and 5-0. Good for them.

Afterward, the four former DHS varsity players posed together… Classes of 2013, 2015 and 2016…

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Peter stayed to work on the field, Jim and I headed out for some drinks. Decided to check out the UTC — University Town Center — a very upscale outdoor shopping mall that we’d heard about, just across the freeway from UCSD.

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After a while, we got a call from Peter who’d gone home and showered and was now ready for dinner.  We picked him up at his dorm…

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…and he even let me come inside (no pics). It was interesting… cramped, messy but not horrible. They have a lot of stuff. The mini-fridge is great and very appreciated.

For dinner, Peter picked an Italian restaurant in Little Italy: Mimmo’s. Great ambiance, good service and our dinners were all excellent. My guys:

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Walked around a bit after dinner..

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I liked this apartment building. Little Italy’s about two blocks up from the water, great location in downtown San Diego.

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There was a Lamborghini show in the street. Peter and Jim checking each one out..

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Then… something bizarre… we found a new concept in desserts: iDessert…

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… where you construct your own dessert via a bank of iPads set up along a long counter. Here is Peter through the window making his selections:

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This guy, Jean-Philippe has come up with this unique dessert concoction and figured out how to make the entire selection process so gimmicky you want to try it. You first choose an outer meringue layer from a lengthy menu of options. Then, page by page, you customize your dessert by making similar selections in a range of categories: flavored creams, gelato flavors, sauces, cake types, crunchy toppings, fruit layers, etc.  You fill your entire order this way and then pay online. When they call your name, you retrieve your masterpieces:

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Those are the upside down meringue shells, on top of all that other stuff . Jim’s is mint something, Peter’s mocha something, and mine is vanilla and coconut-themed. They were good… but a little contrived, if you ask me. Not sure we’ll go back, but interesting to try.

And that was that day. Again, mostly just a treasure to spend it with the kiddo.

 

 

 

 

It’s Go See Peter Day!

October 21, 2016

The day didn’t start out well. Well, actually, it did (in my view), then it went south, but then it came back.

The rough start had to do with the travel anxieties that typically characterize our departures, particularly those that involve planes. The short of it: Jim and I have different time sensibilities. It’s gotten to a point where even if I’m on time, it’s not on time enough, probably because of past infractions. He starts with the assumption that I’m going to be late. I am a victim of the late label, slapped on way back when. I’m late before I’m even late. And it’s quite a hole to climb out of.

We, of course, have different definitions of late: mine is a tad relaxed, based on standard societal conventions (a few-minute window on either side is reasonable and acceptable); his is rigid. It’s become even more rigid, I believe, as a result of past travel wounds. The truth is, I’m late before I even start getting ready. I’m already late the night before, as we negotiate alarm times. He’s already girding for my lateness.

The irony is, I’m not a crazy late person. Not even close. I’m within the totally normal part of the bell curve. If anything, and I’m serious here, I’m on the slightly obsessively punctual side. It’s just–and this is a reality that runs through all my dealings with Jim–I’m on the late side of Jim.  Not normal people. Jim.

But this time, I wasn’t late. I hit it right on. He wanted us in the driveway at 5:30. I was walking down the hall at 5:29. He seemed cold and stiff. Which I thought was odd, but I didn’t react. I was pleased with my effort.

Then, as we’re moving out the door and into the driveway, he says: We’re late.

I protest. He stands firm.

I tried to make my case. In addition to hitting–even bettering–my acceptable window of timeliness, I also think I should get credit for 1) trying super hard (he had no idea how close I’d come to actually missing my mark), and 2) having to overcome greater packing challenges (always the case).

But it fell on deaf ears and that stone cold Frame facial expression. In his mind, we weren’t in the driveway at 5:30. What more need be said?

Let the record show,  I was sitting in the car ready to go at 5:34 (a huge steamy black cloud over my head, and defensive expletives flying).

We rode in silence to the airport. I maintained a sizable contact-free zone. I sat separately on the parking shuttle bus. At the airport, we mechanically went through all the check in procedures, avoiding eye contact. We were offered seats on an earlier flight (we were there so early). I got TSA-pre and he didn’t and had to wait in a long and winding line, so we showed up to the gate at different times. We were the last seated. We sat in silence.

At some point on the flight, I broke through with something like “I don’t want to be mad.”  We talked, we softened, we reasoned our ways to a better place. And, finally, we shifted our focus to the happy reason for our trip: PETER.

Let the wonderful visit begin.

~~

Due to our very early departure, we arrived to see the sun shining through skywalk windows:

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Peter had classes (which we knew), so we went to breakfast. Drove a mile and half up the hill from the airport to the Hillcrest neighborhood and had breakfast at Crest Cafe… that wonderful diner Peter and I found last time:

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Yum yum. Loved it.

We were able to check in early, so did that, then headed over to campus, found the Hopkins parking structure, did that, then wandered around. Nice. Still feeling nostalgic about it. Still. I’m keep shaking my head that we ended up here… in the same place I went to school. Still amazed at how much I recognize, as well as how much has changed.

Anyway.

Ended up at Muir for iced tea, a vanillacano and a nice break. Sat here on this very cool bench/art installation and watched students come and go:

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Turns out, we missed Peter and Ray by minutes; they’d finished lunch in the Muir dining hall just before we arrived. Unplanned, but wouldn’t that have been fun to run into them…

Jim did run into another fellow–the same one who, weeks ago at the Revelle orientation, had complimented him on his hat. He was sitting in the same plaza area today and when he saw Jim’s hat, came over to say hi. So funny. Like an old friend.

We explored a while longer, then went back to the hotel to wait for Peter to be done with classes. The plan was to meet Wes, Bobby and Ray for an early dinner. We ended up registering for the Parents Weekend and then meeting up with Wes and Ray at the Price Center to just hang out for a while. Very nice to meet up!

Oddly, coincidentally, it turned out Max from the DHS baseball team was on campus with his family touring UCSD as a prospective school to attend next year (unrelated to Family Weekend), texted Ray/Peter, and were just around the corner. We met up with them:

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Honestly.

We meandered through Warren College… so pretty. This part of campus did not exist when I was there. This is the engineering building with the house on top:

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Here are Ray, Peter, Wes and Jim…

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Met Bobby at Rock Bottom, a brew pub down the hill from our hotel, right across from campus… great to talk with all three about school, classes, baseball, future plans…then Wes grabbed an Uber and headed to the airport… proud dad:

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Peter, Jim and I had tickets to see a comedy show.. a comedian/magician who definitely had some very funny moments:

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I completely enjoyed him, as well as the other two, though less polished.

Took Peter back and that was our first full day.

It’s normal, comfortable, and yet it’s different. It’s weird to say goodnight and drop him off in a dorm parking lot. But it’s also good to see he’s finding his way and fitting into his new place. Couldn’t have imagined quite what that would be a year ago.. but it’s this. It was an abstract concept then, now it’s not abstract. And it all seems just totally good.

 

 

 

 

 

Limp In. Smile Out.

October 20, 2016

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I saw this billboard the other day as I was driving along I-80. Looks like hip replacements are trending!

And speaking of which, Kaiser called me today (not Sutter Health) and we scheduled the surgery for my hip replacement. Mark your calendars, friends, it will be January 10, 2017!

Well, at least I’ll mark mine.

I have to say, I am REALLY looking forward to this. By the time the surgery comes around, it will have been nearly exactly TWO YEARS since the so-called flare up that was the sure indication my hip had crossed a line into symptomatic osteoarthritis.

That’s two years of a very nagging pain that at times has severely interfered with mobility and activities.

In some ways, I wish I’d accepted Dr. Haight’s initial arthritis diagnosis (in February of 2015 ). But I simply did not believe it. Instead I spent the better part of two years trying to fix it through alternative therapies..anything but the nuclear option (surgery). That included physical therapy/training with Hideshi, physical therapy with Scott the Kaiser PT, regular massage therapy with Kellie, acupuncture and cupping with Brian Dempsey, cryotherapy, over the counter anti-inflammatories (ibuprofen, glucosamine, something Dempsey gave me), various anti-inflammatory diets, the ol’ raisins & gin concoction (thanks, Robin!), ice & heat of course, cortisone injections (2)… and then hoped for a Steadman Clinic stem cell procedure, but that was a no go. I think that about covers it.. and nothing really solved the problem.

Additionally, in the two years since I hurt it, I’ve gained quite a bit of weight and lost a lot of my baseline fitness/strength. In addition, I’ve got mechanical issues up and down the chain… a recurring back issue, now this frozen shoulder thing. I can’t help think that any deviation in our basic mechanics manifests in some kind of misalignment elsewhere. And so it goes.

You can’t say that quality of life was not affected.. it was. I limp and hurt and am discouraged a lot. And I definitely missed out on a lot of good hikes.

On the other hand, I’m mostly glad I tried everything I could. I learned a lot. I will certainly recognize the signs when my left hip starts to go (only a matter of time), and will know to proceed right away to the stem cell option…

Anyway, now with a date certain, I can execute my get in shape and drop some weight plan with a little more intention. Knowing there’s a clear block of time I’m working with, for some reason, helps.

So yeah… I’m totally ready. And excited to get back to life.

Hil Yes

October 19, 2016

Tonight… third and final debate.

I, like the entire country, am so relieved these debates are behind us. I truly found them stressful. He’s been such a wild card and so beyond standard decorum you just didn’t know what to expect. Through it all, she handled herself with dignity, strength and self-respect, but I still had a hard time watching him abuse her. His demeaning bully tactics–the name calling, the interrupting, the stalking (at the second debate)–were chilling and ugly. He has no place in the public eye. I shudder to think how young people perceive his behavior. Do young men find his behavior admirable, something to model? Do young women think they deserve to be talked to like this? His complete lack of basic decency and civility is appalling.

But now.. the debates are over: we don’t have to pretend anymore that this is a normal campaign for the presidency. Hillary and the Donald do not have to appear on the same stage any more.

We can coast to November 8 now, and just ignore his [sure to continue] silliness.

Deep, deep, relieved breath.

~~

Speaking of the debate stage, here is a supreme boo boo of a camera setting that accidentally resulted in a pretty cool image:

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Darlene, Sharon and I watched together while drinking champagne and eating sausage.. among other things. It was mildly cathartic, certainly fun.

It seems the overwhelming consensus is that Hillary won, again. All she has to do in the last weeks of this campaign is run out the clock; her lead is substantial and he’s doing nothing to turn things around for himself. She did in this final debate what she’s done in others–presented her policy positions, repeated details of her experience and credentials, pointed out his shortcomings, stayed calm.

He did none of that. I personally thought his tactic this time of railing on her vulnerabilities was effective, even as he lied and lied. I thought he landed numerous wounding punches. But the analysis afterward seized on his dramatic and eyebrow-raising comments, most notably his sly, teasing and irresponsible statement about not accepting the outcome of the election.

Unless he walks that back, that statement’s going to be front and center for days, if not weeks, if not historically.

Such a doofus.

~~

So Hillary….  our next president. I have these two favorite photos… been wanting to post them for awhile. They are useful in demonstrating her strengths and his weaknesses.

She has a passion for public service, which came across last night, as it has in all debates. She has a long, long record of working in the public sector and always in the public’s interest. A brilliant honor student at Wellesley and Yale, she had the chops and choice to do anything, but she chose to devote her life to public service

Once in the trenches, always in the trenches:

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When it comes to a real and demonstrated commitment to public service, she runs circles around anybody, but especially the self-serving, personal empire building Donald, who cares about one thing only: his name in lights.

She is also the most qualified candidate ever to run for president. Period. Which also came across last night, as in all debates. Her understanding of how government works in combination with her experience in a variety of roles is completely unparalleled. In addition to a thick CV of academic achievements and honors and an insanely impressive employment/public service record, she served as First Lady of Arkansas, First Lady, Senator, Secretary of State. She knows her stuff. As a wonk, her poring over policy briefings never ends. She lives and breathes it.

This, and her preparation showed again last night. And really.. isn’t that exactly what you want from a leader? Someone who comes to the table completely informed, someone who has not only the interest but the sheer capacity for taking in great gobs of information, has the ability to process it, can make reasoned decisions, and can present her arguments cogently and persuasively? I’ve watched West Wing, I’ve watched House of Cards. This is no place for someone who has no patience for minutia.

My favorite photo of the non-glam side of politics.

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But the Donald…. he’s the opposite of policy wonk. He has no interest, no curiosity, no capacity for the details of the job. He had no patience for preparation. He boasted about this before each and every debate. Instead of doing his homework, he opted to continue with his large stadium rallies, his favorite stage, where he was bathed in adoration. This is all he’s ever wanted from the job.

He is the most ill-equipped individual ever to seek office, let alone the presidency. No dues paid. No patience for the minutia. No time served in any trench whatsoever. He claims this as a plus, and on some levels I understand the argument: an outsider sees things differently. An outsider is not beholden to a process that many see as flawed. But I don’t see it that way. Politics is all about process, compromise, relationship building, and common ground; and I’ll take her depth of experience in government over his brash, corporate, dictatorial style any day.

So, again, sigh, his lack of preparation and lack of knowledge was in full view on the debate stage: he ran out of things to say long before his two minutes were up on any given policy question.

There has never been a person less suited or less equipped to be a government leader.

Blah blah. No need to even go here anymore.

In fact… so many have voted already, and he’s so far behind in the polls, and, he’s lost his last chance for a national stage on which to make his case, that the race for presidency over. Definitively over. The only battle now is for the Senate and a productive number of House seats.

No need to fret anymore.

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