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It’s still so nice to have this guy around:

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We took a nice walk today and ended up at Mishka’s for coffee and so much fun conversation. I treasure this.

Tonight, a tiny celebration.. a split of prosecco, some chocolate cake.. and, at long last opened a few cards from family and friends:

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And a toast: graduation, a job well done!

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Aww… my guys.

 

 

Seems Like Old Times

July 16, 2020

Oh my god, it’s good to have Peter home. Some shots:

Within, I’d say, 6 minutes of arriving (at 12:45am by the way), Peter found his way to the piano and begin playing through his repertoire. Even though late, I plunked down to listen and stare adoringly (out of view, I hope). I snuck this pic.

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He’s also been playing a lot of guitar in the last 24 hours since he’s been home. This was taken by Wes down in La Jolla a week ago, but it’s a familiar sight hereabouts:

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And the usual discourses.. this one on that classic “100 prisoners problem.”

The 100 prisoners problem is a mathematical problem in probability theory and combinatorics. In this problem, 100 numbered prisoners must find their own numbers in one of 100 drawers in order to survive. The rules state that each prisoner may open only 50 drawers and cannot communicate with other prisoners. At first glance, the situation appears hopeless, but a clever strategy offers the prisoners a realistic chance of survival. Danish computer scientist Peter Bro Miltersen first proposed the problem in 2003.

He lives for this kind of stuff. If you want to know how to solve it:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/100_prisoners_problem#The_malicious_director

It took Peter a few days, but he did solve it and explains to Jim here:

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Jim looks like he’s going to wring the life out of that polkadot napkin.

 

It’s a Lot

July 15, 2020

  • Chris had a stroke. He’s at Torrance Memorial for at least a night for testing. He seemed very perky on the phone, he feels fine, there appears to be no damage. Cardiologist is on his way. He’s wondering… heart attack and stroke in the last week… what in the world is next? Chris says, “Something’s wrong with Chris.”

 

  • Michael’s biopsy revealed multiple myeloma. They will begin aggressive treatment and he’ll be a person who is living with and managing cancer from here on out. Simultaneously, Matt’s dealing with his own forever condition that will require lifelong management. Matt says, “We all have something.”

 

  • Peter’s due home in an hour. We haven’t seen him since mid February. He left La Jolla yesterday morning. Moved out, done with that part of his life. He called when he was passing Harris Ranch on his way to Berkeley to pick up a friend for a couple of days of Sierra backpacking. He pinged us when they settled for the night (about 8pm) (always thrilling), somewhere in the high Sierra. He called a little while ago to say they bailed out due to weather; he was dropping Ryan off in Berkeley again and coming home. I am besides myself to see him. And… we need to distance and practice safe togetherness. Anxious about that. Significant risk management ahead.

 

  • Jim, Peter and I are planning on a trip to the high Sierra to hike.. and presumably to camp somewhere outside the park. Leave on Sunday. We just can’t miss a summer in Yosemite.  Eager to spend days off the grid, in the mountains, hiking and being together with my guys (but not too together). It won’t be our usual Tuolumne Meadows experience. I am quite apprehensive. See above.

 

  • When we return, Peter will begin the enormous job — both logistically and emotionally —  of packing and planning his cross country move to Michigan to begin a whole new chapter in his life story. A significant blind dive into a new life. During a pandemic. So. Much. Uncertainty.

 

That is just a lot of stuff going on. I actually don’t have a photo that goes with all of that.

I do have a pic of our tent. Jim found it and set it up yesterday. It’s a tiny bit worse for wear (though not much wear in the last 15 years, maybe more). But we think it’ll work for Jim and me.. we may have Peter bring his own tent! See above.

 

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Good Sign

July 14, 2020

Folks came together over the weekend and painted this giant sign along Second Street in downtown Davis.

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Photo credit: I’m not sure.. the photo’s been circulating on Facebook. I’m using it and don’t know whom to credit.. but it’s a great drone shot.

Vicki and I had coffee at Mishka’s this morning — that tuft of trees in the lower left hand corner of the above photo. I walked around and around and tried to get a photo that captured the hugeness and beauty of it. It stretches over the better part of the block between E and F.

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It’s good, I like it. I hope it means people are noticing, that they are ready to listen, to reflect, to learn, to act. Repeat.

I’ll take this as a sign that we are.  It’s a good sign.

Monday Memes

July 13, 2020

I am in such a blah mood. I shared with Jim tonight at dinner my list of grievances. He was more impressed I’d actually made a list of grievances than he was with my grievances. I get that. I’m a weirdo.  Just sharing my list made me feel better, though. In the greater scheme of things, all pretty trivial. Interesting how that works.

I’m not in a mood to write, so I’m going to have myself a Meme Monday. Here are some pretty great virus-related memes I’ve collected in the last couple weeks:

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dense

 

fear

 

naive stupid

 

pres bs

 

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There is reckoning going on in Davis.

There was a fairly routine situation — a current member of the school board took a new job in a new state and needed to leave her position on the board. The board moved forward in its customary way to appoint a replacement to fill out her term (two and half years remaining).

What makes this situation different is that the departing school board member is a woman of color on a board whose other members are all white. And, the school board chose a white woman to fill the spot, in spite of the fact there were fifteen applicants, many of whom were people of color. And, we’re in the middle of a racial reckoning in this country…awareness awakened as to the institutional racism that exists across the board. There have been numerous uprisings and marches in town over the course of the last couple of months …. and now what may feel like lip service on the part of officials to remedy long standing injustices.

Many feel, rightly so, that this was an easy opportunity to make a more meaningful appointment. Addressing racial injustice must be on the minds of people everywhere. Increasing representation in positions up and down the scale has to be a priority. School boards have to look like and represent the populations they serve.

So.. there are petitions circulating around town. They are calling for an election to fill the vacancy, rather than to let this appointment stand. I believe they need 800 signatures.. don’t quote me on that. But gathering signatures is near-impossible in a time of physical distancing, so people are getting creative.

Our neighbor, Meghan, reached out to her contact list and let folks know that she was going to set up a petition signing station on her front porch. She promised it would be safe. She would witness the signing (a requirement of the process) from the other side of a glass window. There would be hand sanitizer and disinfectant.. or you could bring your own pen.

 

 

And, it’s working. Dozens of people are gathering signatures and they just might make their number. Dozens of small efforts, hundreds of people participating.. to correct, in this case, a ridiculous opportunity missed. These actions feed into a larger, national effort to address the monumental challenge of bending society toward fairness and justice.

This is where it starts…

 

 

 

 

 

Bev Turned 90

July 11, 2020

I made the realization the other day that nobody on the planet has known me as long as Beverly Osborne. That’s quite a distinction. She and Ed were neighbors of mom’s and dad’s on 39th Street in Manhattan Beach. Mom always told a funny story about Bev walking right in while mom was on a ladder painting the tiny living room of their new beach bungalow and, marching right to the base of that ladder said, “Hi, I’m Bev!” And a lifelong friendship was born (nearly 65 years ago!). Fred and Betty Hesse, who lived across the street, were the third of what became a three-family cohort.

That beach bungalow was my first house.

After a year of starting-out-in-life-young-family get togethers, the three families scattered to bigger, fancier homes in Southern California, but remained close friends. The get togethers continued for decades — legendarily the annual Christmas Eve gatherings — until, one-by-one, the six parents started passing away. Now only Bev remains.

Between the Peterson four, the Osborne three and the Hesse six, there were a lot of children (nine girls and four boys) with whom to form another generation of life-long friendships. And we did just that.

So, back to Bev… she was there for the very, very first moments of my life on earth.  She’s sort of my honorary mom.

And zounds!, Bev turned 90 today! We all had all planned to attend the 90th birthday party today.. but for the pesky pandemic.  A beach house had been rented, some plane tickets had been purchased… but… it was not to be. Instead, the Hesse girls, Betsy and Bev, and I (and some of our significant others) gathered for a Zoom birthday party.. funny hats were donned, Happy Birthday was sung.

From top left: Karen Hesse (Reno); us; Vicki Hesse and Leah (Detroit); Claire and Lisa Hesse (Ann Arbor); Lauren Hesse (Mapleton, Or); Bev (Betsy’s in the square, but off camera); and Leslie Hesse (Norway).

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So, while we couldn’t be there, the Osborne clan threw an in-person party for their immediate family members. I can’t name them all, but Bev and her three daughters (and assorted spouses, children, and I believe Bev’s brother) are pictured here.

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Grateful for the history we share.

Fun fact: When Peter moves to Ann Arbor, he may get a chance to form some cross-generational connections with Lisa, Vicki and their significant others! So the tradition just may continue at least a little.

Pat

July 10, 2020

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Peter found a baby bird. He came upon her, tossed from her nest, presumably while on a walk somewhere in La Jolla. He found a way to bring her home, put her in a Beer Nuts can, and, for two days, nurtured her along with food, water and what he could muster for creature comfort. He named her Pat.

[For purposes of this tale, I’m calling her a she; she could be a he, but let’s just agree for blog purposes that her pronouns are she/her.]

Jim and I don’t really know the full details of this story.  Was this a joint effort? Were Ray and Sean part of the rescue, naming, care-giving effort?

Today, while talking to Peter, we learned a tiny bit of the backstory.  But we spent a great deal of time talking about the logistics and responsibilities that attend the finding of an orphan baby bird…and most interestingly, the moral issues. Being a 22-year-old analytical, math-y, physics-y guy in the deepest throes of higher education, given generally to beating logic problems to death, and always, ALWAYS enjoying deep philosophical discourse, he challenged us and played devil’s advocate on a variety of moral issues around baby bird life and death, his arguments mostly grounded in some kind of logic, choices evaluated on some kind of cost/benefit scale.

Like.. do you leave a baby bird that has been booted from her nest by her mama; what does nature intend? If you take her home, what kind of responsibilities have you taken on? How far are you obligated to take these responsibilities? How long do you sustain her? How far are you obligated to drive, how much time are you obligated to take, to transport a baby bird to an animal rescue facility? To what degree do baby bird issues compare to finding, say, an injured, abandoned dog? Where does a baby bird land on the orphaned creature rescue scale, a scale that might range from dog to tiny insect? When is a creature expendable?

We covered a lot of philosophical territory. We contemplated some classic scenarios, too, like the one where a train is barreling down the track, heading for five unsuspecting children playing on the rails ahead. You have the power to switch the train to an adjacent track that has a single child in harm’s way. Do you change the course of the train to spare five children in favor of killing just one?

How does that relate to baby birds? It doesn’t really, except that we were spiraling deeper into philosophical questions, and except for the part about playing god, and even then it’s not a comparable scenario. But honestly, we went on and on about the emotional v. practical aspects of intervening in baby bird care, Peter trying to argue the case for an emotionless calculation. We talked about tossing logic out and going with one’s gut, we talked about bonding and the caring for creatures big and small.

It was a worthwhile conversation, if tedious and circular at moments, and we wondered, after we hung up, whether Peter would wind up driving an hour or more to an animal rescue center to deliver this tiny, vulnerable bird to folks more equipped to care for her, or whether he’d continue to feed and fuss over her, or whether he’d return her to a spot close to her original nest and let nature run its course.

Not thirty minutes later Peter called to say Pat had died.

Gut punch.

His emotional reaction to finding her dead in the Bear Nuts can provided clarity and simple answers to what had been heady philosophical questions and sporty intellectual arguments. Revelations were had. He felt like maybe there was a limit to logic.

I love that he could tell me that. All that.

I always admire his lively intellect, and love listening to him spin academic arguments often well beyond my attention span… but today I loved his tender heart.

 

Photo credit: Wes (thanks, Wes).

Duck

July 9, 2020

Duck. That was my mom’s nickname for Chris.  So here are some ducks — a mom and ten kiddos, as seen down at the creek yesterday morning.

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And speaking of Chris. Talked to him today! Sounds great for a guy with two stents wedged into one of his main heart vessels. Got the whole story, as much as he can recall. I learned you don’t want to have a heart attack. They are very painful. He pounded a lot of sand on that beach. It started with a pain in his upper left arm that he thought was, perhaps, a pulled muscle. Shook that off and paddled out for another round.  As the minutes progressed the pain intensified and moved to his chest. He decided to get out of the water, pack things up and call it a day.

He was still wet, only having just peeled off his wetsuit. He’d gotten so far as to remove his suit and had just wrapped a towel around his waist when the pain dropped him to his knees. His rolling and writhing effectively covered him in sand.. he said he must have looked like a crumb donut. A lot of his story, while terrifying, was funny (funnily told, anyway). Interestingly, regarding his naked, sandy self (save for a loosely wrapped, at this point, towel), he was taken by ambulance straight to the cath lab for the emergency procedure, then was taken to a room to be monitored overnight. Never did they clean him up. As of our conversation — a full two days later — he still had sand all over his legs and sand matted in his hair.

He never knew who saved his life… the people who might have called 911, the lifeguard? And he had no idea how his surfboard and backpack made it off the beach. Also interestingly, a staff person in the cath lab recognized his backpack and a rug that he uses whenever he surfs because the guy’s also a surfer and a friend of John’s and is familiar with Chris’s routines (apparently this rug is what he places his backpack and other stuff on when he’s in the water, and is pretty gnarly, if practical).  Nice to have friends.

The rest of the story is about procedures and nurses and drugs and other medical logistics. He spent Tuesday night and most of Wednesday lying in a hospital bed a bit nauseous, tired, anxious, uncomfortable. Nevertheless, they kicked him out and sent him home last night. Maybe Robert Bacon took him, I didn’t get this part. He’s had lots of phone conversations and feels loved and cared about. That’s good. He’s grateful and sobered (as in, it was a sobering experience). Also good.

And I’m certain he’ll be fine. A changed man, but fine. He acknowledged this is a flash point: life has already become a before-the-event, and now after.

This would have destroyed mom…   I wish she were still alive, desperately, but I’m glad she didn’t have to see her duck go through a heart attack.

 

 

Throw Back Wednesday

July 8, 2020

It’d be #TBT if I waited another 25 minutes, but then I’d have missed a Wed post. As if I gotta explain myself.

Still have Chris on my mind. He’s home now. Kind of shocks me, but maybe it’s better to be out of the hospital, no matter. Still haven’t spoken to him, but Matt has, numerous times, and has been keeping me posted. Feel a bit cheated… I’d really like to hear his voice. Maybe tomorrow.

Anyway, it was a good excuse to do a mini-deep dive into the basket of ancient photo albums I gathered from mom’s place before we sold the house. It’s my sisterly job to scan them all and provide a nice, collated file for J, C and M. Three years and counting…. I’ll be getting right on it (maybe after the election!).

So.. for fun… a few of the cute ones I turned up of the young, precocious Chris. I had a few others, but experienced scan failure, so this will do for now.

Jay (no idea what’s going on here.. looks like he stuffed something down his coveralls), me and Chris. No Matt on the scene yet.

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Love the cowboy boots.

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Cutie pie:

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Somewhere in Rolling Hills..

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And, while blurry, so typical teenage Chris:

 

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