Packing – Hmmm?

As I approached our impending three months in Brooklyn, I found myself avoiding packing. I’ve traveled extensively for business over the years. I’ve become really good at packing for one or even two weeks on the road, even when that included climates as different as South Texas and Western New York in the middle of winter. So, I figured it wasn’t about the “packing”. So, it must be about what I am packing??

JDT and I traveled to Vietnam / Singapore in October 2019. Our travel involved six or seven flights from San Francisco to Tokyo to Singapore to Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang to Ho Chi Minh City to Tokyo to San Francisco. A lot of up/downs mostly on airlines that we were not familiar. We made the decision that the safest thing was to travel with a carry on we could put in the overhead and our individual daypacks. The consequence was we would need to do laundry twice during the three weeks. Side story – I love the immersive aspect of doing laundry in foreign countries. THIS WORKED OUT PERFECTLY!!

Back to the travel at hand. Please recall that one of our goals is to live a life centered on experiences, not stuff. This got me to thinking. They have stores in Brooklyn, right? Our “budget” has enough “room” to buy stuff, right? And how does one put everything one would need for three months in a mid-size SUV? Hmmmm?

Have I said how excited I am to experience and learn from what is around this wonderfully exciting bend in our lives?

I will let keep you posted on how this goes.

Six Saturdays and a Sunday

Generally, I think retirement is different for women and men though I should probably just speak for myself. As a first grade teacher, I always said that when I couldn’t sit “criss cross applesauce” anymore, it was time to go. Well…I could still make it down (getting up was not pretty), but there were other signs. So when the opportunity came (I might have nudged it a bit…), I wholeheartedly said YES, PLEASE! Before I move on to the real purpose of this post, please know that I LOVED my career and I did not take leaving it lightly, but I also knew that the pace was taxing, my patience was not as good as the kids deserved, and my expectations for myself were harder to meet as time went by…so in 2019, I retired thankfully before COVID hit. And here it is almost 4 years later and I can confirm that retirement is EVERYTHING it’s cracked up to be!

Jump forward 3 1/2 years and it was Glen’s turn to contemplate “retirement” – whatever that meant to him. His situation was completely different from mine and his process for determining his path was different from mine and eventually…he came to the same, or maybe a similar place as I did…As he likes to say, “Six Saturdays and a Sunday” didn’t sound all bad!

Last week TYS, the CPA firm Glen and his colleague, Chris founded, held a retirement event for Glen in a suite at an A’s game. If you know Glen, you know that he’s been an A’s fan his entire life – through the good, the great, and the ugly so this seemed like the perfect way to celebrate his incredible career. The entire firm was in town so it gave them all the opportunity to reminisce with Glen and enjoy the beautiful Coliseum atmosphere (that’s another sad post). Glen also invited a few clients and of course, Niels, Blair and I were there. It was a beautiful day for baseball (the A’s lost), and I think everyone had a great time.

In the days before the game, I thought about Glen’s career and considered preparing a few “words” to share. As I reflected, I think what really stood out was the profound impact he has had on the careers of so many others – be they clients (who, more often than not, became his friends), and everyone else who passed through the firm from intern to partner. Understanding his impact really hit home for me when on that infamous Friday in March 2020, Glen, Niels, and Blair all walked through the front door and called “dibs” on their new office space in the house that I thought was going to be my castle during retirement! What I learned during those months (years) is that all three of them are incredibly talented, caring, and skilled. I enjoyed hearing and seeing them in their roles and was just completely wowed by their professionalism. I witnessed the positive impact Glen has had on his “kids” as they make their way in their own careers. But what I learned and began to appreciate about Glen is that he is not only an accountant – for sure a gifted mathematician – he’s also a planner, financial advisor, teacher, counselor, therapist, consultant, confidant, guide, sage, mediator, futurist, and oh yeah…a CPA.

What I really came here to do is share my memory of Glen’s career. I most assuredly got some details and dates wrong, but the following is the gist of his accomplishments as I remember them – and they are many. Please indulge me…Glen has always loved baseball and I think that we can liken his career to a baseball game.

We’ll start with: Spring Training aka The Years at Chico State

Glen likes to tell anyone who will listen that “all the good stuff in his life began at Chico”. He took a crooked path to get there – I think he was a “freshman” for something like 7 years before he made it Chico, but when he got there, he knew what he wanted to do…and it wasn’t attend class and study. Not being the most focused student, he did learn how to stay awake for long hours which was good training for becoming an accountant and getting through “busy season”. However, he didn’t get that training in the library, I’ll let him tell those stories, but he did learn how to get up after an “all nighter” and get to his earliest class at 1:00 pm. See…great training for the run-up to all the April 15ths of his career! He actually did get a great education, made lifelong friends, and has stayed connected to the University through the years.

His First Hit – A Single at Jones and Marzluft, later JHS

Glen began his career in Danville with the CPA firm, Jones and Marzluft. Rumor has it that as he was being considered for a position, an employee who was a Chico State grad and knew Glen from their shared accounting classes, recommended that they NOT hire Glen…hahaha. Good thing someone on that hiring team saw his potential!

It was during this time that I met Glen in Chico at The Bear 2 years post-graduation…another “Chico good thing” in my opinion. There were stories about his job – learning to stay focused when working the phones in the ” bullpen”, wild drunken work parties, trips to clients in Kansas and Denver, and a firm basketball team. The office team members were excited for the season when they saw this new 6’6” guy join the team. How could they lose with him under the basket? Glen will have to tell you his version of that story. It has to do with jumping skills.

It was here where he developed lifelong relationships with colleagues and clients. He learned his craft with the support of his mentors, including partners, managers, and peers. He learned how to close a deal and how to provide remarkable service, expertise, knowledge, and creative problem-solving. After all, he is the master problem solver.

After a brief stint opening a JM office in Orange County and then working for a client outside of public accounting, (plus a wedding and a baby), he returned to Jones and Marzluft in Danville and became a partner and then managing partner, but there was always his desire to have something more, something different – to create a different kind of firm.

Glen and Chris dared to dream and began building the concept of a something new. Tobin joined them in their shared ideals and…

A Double – Thomas York Was Born!

Glen and Chris had the fire to create something different – something that “could be”. They were a great team, largely because they were so different. They were eyes wide-open and their unique approaches and creative thinking provided balance, allowing them to create the “what could be”. They were wise enough to know that they needed support so they brought in important players to help them build out their vision – Jim Kelly, Boomer, Jim Gebhardt, and many more “influencers” (before “influencers” were a thing!) provided them guidance, helped them formulate their model, and gave them the “juice” that they needed to build Thomas York.

I think this is the period where Glen really hit his stride. He was having a blast being creative and I think he really “hit his groove” in those early days. I believe it was during this time that he really developed his unique communication style, peppering his conversations with riddles, “isms”, mottos, one-liners – call them what you may – they helped him get his point across! Mind you, sometimes those one-liners made us all roll our eyes, but they were definitely part of what makes Glen successful in communicating his ideas. I should ask his colleagues to share their favorites with us!

BTW…Shout out to our son, Niels. It was during this time that he began developing his accounting chops. He worked for Thomas York before he enrolled at Chico State. (Yes, his Chico grad parents couldn’t have been prouder!) TY provided him great background experience which gave him a leg up when he entered as an accounting major.

As Thomas York was just rolling, Glen had a life-changing event and he hit an unlikely…

Triple Also Known as His “Greatest Accomplishment”

Eight months after Thomas York got started, Glen was diagnosed with cancer and thus began the greatest fight of his life which he also calls his greatest and truest gift. During his long, challenging treatment and an even longer recovery, he was supported by Chris, the Thomas York staff, and all of his clients. They allowed him the time and space he needed to regain his health. Knowing that the firm was waiting for him to return was a major contributor to Glen’s ability to fight and eventually thrive. It didn’t take long after he was back in the office to realize that he was still dreaming about what could be and he rekindled a relationship with Tim whom he’d met earlier in the TY history and it was a…

Home Run – TYS – An Even Better Iteration of the Dream

Tim joined Chris and Glen and at the beginning, Glen’s trips to Rochester were frequent! What was really wonderful was that he was able to make the trips – a feat that was not guaranteed just a short time earlier. What’s even better? At TYS, Blair also found her talents and skills. It’s true that both Blair and Niels have learned so much from their dad. They have a set of values and skills that guide them in their careers: work ethic, problem-solving, communication, project managing and myriad other necessary accounting/business skills (including soft skills) that I can’t even label! Hey – now that I think about it…I realize that I am the only Thomas who hasn’t worked for the firm…hmmm…Should I have a turn?

As Glen was preparing for his “change of life” (let’s not call it retirement), he began the slow process of handing over the reigns to the next generation. We started traveling which made it easier for him to step aside, step down and be proud of what he and Chris created.

Robert Reich recently wrote about his retirement. He noted that “to retire” historically has meant to go into seclusion. I think we need a new term for what happens after you leave your profession, your calling, your career. Reich quotes Oliver Wendell Holmes who said, people “do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.”

So as Glen rounds the diamond of his career, I’m reminded of a favorite Glenism…He always called work “play” because as he says…if you love what you do, it’s not work.

What will be Glen’s next game?

Puzzles vs Problems

Noodling around on this lazy Sunday morning and I came across something I’d recorded on my phone. Why would I be recording on my phone, you ask? Okay, maybe you didn’t, but here’s why.

When I drive to LA, I often listen to podcasts or books to pass the time. I mean, let’s face it..in the 40+ years I’ve been up and down I-5 gazillions of times with most of the drive a snoozer…and as soon as I say that…I get images of the beauty of California even in its less desirable locations…but okay…that’s another post.

Anyway, when I’m driving and listening, I often hear a nugget or idea that I don’t want to forget and the downside of listening to something versus reading (while driving 🤪) is that you can’t easily highlight, take notes, add a post it, etc. Especially while driving!

So how do I solve that problem? I hit “record” on my phone and take a verbal note. And then I promptly forget that it’s there until one day when I’m randomly scrolling around or I hear something else weeks or months later that I want to record and see these notes listed as “I-5 S” which is how my phone labels my recorded notes taken while driving down I-5. Since the label is cryptic, I have no idea what this note is about and most of the time I just move on past and record a new note…to also forget.

But…When life and I slow down and I decide to stop and take a listen…my memory is jogged and sometimes…I actually find an interesting nugget! And I have a bunch of these “I-5” notes because it’s a frequent, long, boring drive!

I digress. So today, I was sitting on the beach listening to a book that Glen has asked me to read. There was a thought I wanted to remember so I opened my phone to record a note. Per usual, I got distracted by all those I-5 notes, started listening to them and promptly forgot the thought I had wanted to record from the book. Maybe I’ll remember later?

So what did I find on my phone today? A few nuggets about a switch in how to think about problems. First, I’ll admit that I’m not a fan problems. I mean, do people really like problems? I think that some do. Glen, for example, loves a good problem and is a master of breaking it down into chunks and solving it in a systematic, thoughtful, logical way. Whereas I’m all emotion and reaction and WAAAAHHH!!! (Hey Allison – I know you’re relating to this!)

The nugget in this podcast or book I was listening to was about switching to thinking of a problem as a puzzle. I mean, who doesn’t love to play with a puzzle? And the author (sorry-i can’t credit the author because I didn’t record it in my notes) offered a symbolic way of thinking about problem solving.


Simple, right? State the problem, move forward to the solution and voila!! Problem solved. Whoever came up with that symbolism is whacko! Right? I mean that’s WAY simplistic. Are there some solutions that obvious and easy? Sure. Like should I have a second cup of coffee? Duh. Should I wear these black sandals or those? Not as easy 🤪 What should I have for dinner? This one can be a challenge for me, but not for Glen these days. (That’s another post.) But are all or even most problems that easy? No. At least not for me.

Here’s my symbol:


That last !? is self-doubt, but that’s another post! And I’m going to try this “puzzle” approach to problem solving…stay tuned…

Not a bad way place to do some noodling….

Real Real

Kids are so real…and I could take a lesson.

I had the privilege and joy of working in a bilingual/dual immersion Kindergarten classroom at Cambridge this morning. Be still my heart. Such joy!

I was just an extra set of hands and eyes in the classroom as the teacher went about her regular daily routine…on “pijama” (aka “piyama”) day and the day before spring break which tells you that there was absolutely nothing routine about the day! I fell right into “teacher mode” as soon as I stepped into the room and found myself helping with putting things away, getting students to the rug, and answering myriad questions.

About mid morning, after Spanish instruction, the kids were sent to their seats to get out their workbooks and pull out “page 296”. That was a challenge unto itself! After helping them get their booklets prepared, I just meandered among the tables seeing where a smidge of assistance might be needed. These 5-6 year olds are actually READING!!! (Their teacher is phenomenal.)

I immediately was drawn to a boy in green Hulk “pijamas” who not only wasn’t participating in the reading activity, he hadn’t even pulled out the page. I pulled up a chair next to him (a very small kindergarten-sized chair), as I observed his avoidance strategies – aka – fiddling around. He was poking his neighbor, picking at his pencil, etc. He clearly was struggling to figure out the reading process, but boy oh boy, he has figured out how to avoid it! But never fear, Ms. D-T to the rescue! Hahaha…if only…

As we got started working on the “sílabas”, he immediately started poking at my hand, noticing my dry skin and he asked “¿Qué pasó?. With my very best “you’re so sweet to ask, but this is not our task” face, I glanced at him and ignored his pokes and his question. This was not my first rodeo and I had a whole bag of tricks I could use to entice him to look at the book instead of my dry winter hands. Back to the book…

When his pokes and question failed to distract ME from our task, he started poking my arm and plugging his nose as he looked at me. I had to curtail my smile when he asked me why I smelled like coffee which reminded me of all the years that kids told me I smelled like coffee – some said they liked the smell, others not so much.

Well here’s the real real…this little one clearly did not like the smell of coffee and he told me that I needed to “cepillarse los dientes”. (Don’t judge my Spanish if I got it wrong!)

Oh my gosh. I can’t wait to go back to Kindergarten!!!


I’ve been thinking about home for awhile. I just checked the dictionary definition – home: a house, apartment, or other shelter that is the usual residence of a person, family or household – a place where one lives…hmmm…

As a kid, I lived in the same community for 21 years. I did live in three homes, but always in the same town. This community of La Crescenta was home to me. So much so that when I was 14 and my parents told me they wanted to move one town away, I threw huge teenage girl tantrums until they gave up on that idea.

4617 Dunsmore Ave – ages 6-14ish

Then came college and I reluctantly left my home and moved to Chico in northern California. I say reluctantly because though I desperately wanted out of LA, I’d never lived anywhere else and Chico was a long way from home. My family went to great efforts to help me create a space in which I’d feel at home, but oh boy…was I homesick that first semester.

Like many of us who left our homes for college or other adventures, the first year was rough. I missed home – I missed my friends, my family and my community. I did not miss the “structure” that was my home. In fact, my parents waited until I left and then they made that move so when I came back, I had a new bedroom in a new condo in that “one town away” location. That’s when I really understood that home had very little to do with housing; it had everything to do with the people and the comfort of being safe, warm and loved – the place where we feel most comfortable.

I recently read one person’s definition of home and it sent me down a different path – home means a future. During my career, I worked with families who were in search of the home that would mean they had a future – a safe, secure future where they would be accepted and included and live the “American dream”. I’m reading a book – Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival, and Hope in an American City by Andrea Elliott. The author is a journalist who followed a family who frequently moved between public housing projects in NYC. She specifically followed Dasani, the eldest daughter. This book gives me a whole new appreciation of the impact of being “unhoused, homeless” or without a home and the effort that people in this situation go to to create a home.

I digress…this brings me back to 1980 when I moved to Chico as a junior in college. My first home was a studio apartment. I lived by myself and truth be told, I was lonely. I quickly found my people though and created my own sense of home which was really my community, not a structure where I lived. My second year, Therese, a friend from LA, (with whom I had breakfast yesterday!) moved to Chico to go to school and we created our home together for two years. In these 3 short years (followed by another two years after my stint in Salinas which never felt like home), I knew that Chico would always be a home for me.

I’m rambling…Short story long…Glen and I met in Chico where I had moved for a dream job in my dream community and I never intended to leave. But…love called and I followed him to Orange County (first Irvine then San Clemente) where we created a home near the beach, got married, had Niels and…ended up leaving because…well…that’s another blog post.

139 Trafalgar
T Street – “our” beach

And the “end” of the story? We ended up in Walnut Creek for 30+ years where we have a wonderful home – by all definitions. And yet…

Here I am today…sitting at a rooftop café in Chico enjoying an afternoon coffee. I am looking down Broadway toward the University.

I can see the “new” city plaza with its fountain, bandstand, benches and quite a few people who likely call the plaza their home.

I can see “our” hotel, The Diamond, where we are at home when we come to Chico.

I’m thinking about all of our travel and the places where we really feel we could create a home. (Some of you may know that we actually went brownstone shopping in Brooklyn a couple years ago.)

Which brings me back to Chico. A place where I feel at home.

A place where I take a deep breath and say….ahhhhh. I’m home.

Sorry…don’t turn me in…I found this on the “web”…and forgot to get the credits…

Okay. Truth be told…I’m at one of my homes!

Where are your homes?


I wrote this in December. November? Got frustrated adding photos. Stepped away…for weeks. Now I’m in Phoenix at the airport waiting my flight to Honolulu. Stay tuned…

You know how those little moments happen and cause you to reflect? Almost like a déjà vu? And then one of those little reflections leads you to another?

Here’s one from today*…I was standing at the bathroom sink when Dug came wandering in and wrapped himself on the mat around my feet. The memory moment came as I was reminded about the hundreds of days that he had done that while I was getting ready for work in the morning…at o’dark hundred. He used to follow me from the bed to the mat every morning. I think he knew that it meant that I would be leaving soon. Since I’ve retired, he doesn’t do that very often and I’m wondering if it’s because my schedule is so unpredictable now? He usually just stays on the bed licking his paws (or some other unmentionable body part) waiting for me to head down the hallway. Then I do whatever I’m gonna do in the kitchen/family room and he plops himself somewhere where he can see me. If he thinks I’m heading out and he doesn’t think I’m going to get his leash, he goes and stands by the cookie jar. He knows that I won’t leave him without giving him a cookie. Small solace for being left at home. Wow. I am so grateful for retirement and not having that early morning alarm go off five days a week. What a lovely change!

The other memory that came to me today* requires a bit more reflection. In 2017, Glen, the “kids” and I went to Munich for two weeks and then Glen and I continued on to Slovenia. (If you haven’t been…I HIGHLY recommend it!) We have some good stories from our time there. The first one was when we were on the train heading to Ljubljana when it made an unscheduled stop in some small town and everyone started getting off. It wasn’t our stop so we waited to see what was going on. People were talking in a language we didn’t understand – duh we were the foreigners. Since the train completely emptied out, we decided to grab our bags and get off, too. We saw people lining up to get on a bus. There were WAY more people than seats, but we managed to get on with hopes that the bus was going our direction! Lo and behold (a favorite phrase that I learned from my Auntie Barbie in 1968)! It was our lucky day! We arrived safely at our destination. We never did find out why the train stopped and why we had to transfer to a bus. Or what happened to all the people who did not get on the bus.

Anyway, I digress…I’ve been thinking about independence. I think I’ve been a fairly independent person for most of my life and yet, like all of us…there are definitely areas of my life where I’m more dependent.

As a college student and young adult, I lived alone and I remember loving it…mostly. I moved to Chico in 1980 not knowing a single person and I had no one to rely on for support. (Remember the landline and long distance calls to parents? 10 cents a minute was too rich for my blood!) Today, I like my house to be empty of people from time to time so that I can diddle around alone (with Dug). I’m happy to take a hike alone. I go to LA alone all the time. I cook alone. (I think I prefer to be in the kitchen alone.)

However, travel is an area that I have never contemplated as a “solo” activity. Other than traveling to visit family, I’ve never headed out on my own for a vacation or adventure. Last summer in Europe, it became abundantly clear that I needed to consider and broaden my definition of traveling independently. As Glen’s health condition has changed, there are likely some trips that I’d like to take that just aren’t going to be realistic for Glen. And he enthusiastically encourages me to make those happen.

But linking back to Slovenia – As I was brushing my teeth with Dug at my feet today, it struck me that this “independent traveler” change has actually been happening for awhile. We were in Slovenia for two weeks in 2017. For the first week, Glen wasn’t feeling great so I was more or less on my own to explore the city. I remember feeling Annoyed? Resentful? Overwhelmed? The prospect of figuring out the city on my own had not been on my agenda. I had not done anything like that since I traveled in the UK for three weeks alone in 1978. In 2017, I was not mentally prepared to be independent. I remember feeling that I had been thrown into the river without paddles. (BTW – Ljubljana has a beautiful meandering river that runs right through the center of the car-free old town.) At the time, it didn’t occur to me that independent traveling might be in my future. I thought that this was just a fluke; a one-off, not a trend.

Below are some photos to give you a taste of Slovenia. Enjoy.

Ljubljana is an idyllic town with a river running through the center of old town which is pedestrian only so it’s a great place for walking.
This was the view of the castle on the hill from our apartment window. The river was right below and a couple nights a week a boat went by with an opera singer. Just magical.
This is the path up to the castle. Inside there was an art gallery, a café, a fancy Michelin starred restaurant where on our last night we enjoyed dinner and then moved out to the courtyard and watched a movie under the stars. Did I say magical?
This is the coffee shop that we went to every day – at least once. It is still owned by Alexander from Colombia. He went to school at Cal and married a Slovenian woman. He’s part of a growing small business community.that has international ties.
The countryside is no less idyllic. There are green rivers, the Julian Alps, lakes, vineyards, valleys, castles, churches, farms, and…
To the west is the medieval town of Pirán. It sits directly across the Adriatic from Venice. There’s a good story about my near drowning in the harbor. We can laugh now, but it wasn’t so funny in the moment!
Glen and the tiny streets of Pirán.

And now, I’m thinking back to Brooklyn in 2021. While Glen got out and about with me some, I definitely went out on my own. A lot. Independent day travel was becoming a bit normalized.

Here are a few memories…

Our home away from home

On to New Orleans April and May 2022…where I spent many of my days exploring the neighborhoods of NOLA on my own. Well…with Dug.

Our home away from home – bottom left where the windows are lit.
Took this on my first solo walk.
Marigny Opera House – It looks abandoned, but it has been lovingly restored – maybe not to its original beauty, but it’s a soulful place. Glen and I went to a performance there right before we left. There’s no place like NOLA.
This doe snot look like my front door. Yours?
I spent quite a few afternoons sitting in the park and watching the world go by.
Over the tracks to the grand Mississippi. Note Dug’s head at the bottom. He was not a fan of this bridge, but he got pretty good at darting across it.
For real…

And then…if you’ve been reading our blog, you know what happened in Europe last summer.

I meandered around Brodick, Isle of Arran, Scotland.

The Douglas Hotel – Our home away from home
The harbor
Brodick Castle
The western side of the Isle

I became very familiar with Canterbury on my own…

Blair and I explored Paris together…

and during our last 10 days of the trip in Nice – (we were actually scheduled to be gone 2 more months), Glen literally never left the apartment. I was out and about every day…on my own…

From our balcony…

I feel like this change in our way of traveling just snuck up on me. I definitely was not paying attention to how independent I’d become. And like most things, it’s a good thing and a bad thing. I mean, learning to be independent and having the skills to explore on my own – good. But – not having a partner to explore with and share the memories with…kinda bad. But it’s all a mindset, yes?

So how am I normalizing this concept of “independent” travel? Now what? For many years, I’ve enjoyed learning about my friend, Bennetta’s worldwide independent travel experiences. I’ve always called her my role model (for so many things) and it seems like now, I really might need to lean on her and other friends who explore the world on their own. And Glen is encouraging, maybe even pushing me to do so.

Also, I follow two groups on FB that are often interesting. They were recommended to me by my friend, Jill. The page names are something like Women Traveling Solo Over 50 and Women Traveling Solo Over 60. (The latter is the better match, but hey…it’s anonymous!) The pages are full of stories of hundreds of thousands of women (not kidding) from around the world who travel the world…alone. Or maybe with a tour. They tell their stories of success, they ask for advice about luggage or transportation or…, they share tricks and recommendations, they talk about their fears and their joys. They are very inspirational pages to poke around.

And Glen and I are also talking about ways that we can successfully travel together. We recently made a quick trip driving to LA to visit my mom. We also had a sort of ? successful trip to Alabama a couple weeks ago. I say “sort of” because we were testing Glen’s ability to “eat” on planes, in airports, etc. and that all went well. What wasn’t so great was that we both came home with COVID! Yuck. All better now. Thanks to the Fauci Ouchies, we had very mild/non-existent symptoms. Our thanks to Mary and David for ALWAYS making us feel like a king and queen when we visit them. AND every trip has some extra memorable moments! Gotta love having stories to tell…looking forward to the next one!

So…what’s this post about? It’s about change. The sneaky kind. And it’s also about taking the time to reflect on the little changes, the big changes and everything in between.

Local Travel Blog Alert!!!

Lucky me! I got to spend a couple nights in San Francisco thanks to my dear friend, Lorraine. And it was to celebrate my birthday…one more year til Medicare! LOL So please enjoy the photos of San Francisco and a few tidbits of information…and that’s it!

The photos entering the city don’t do it justice. It was a glorious sky with incredible light.

Then came the rain. Not complaining because…drought. And what’s not to love about a hot cup of coffee, a window for traffic and people watching and a good book?

Our first stop at the day was at the Salesforce building. Lorraine had scheduled a tour – rain or shine! So we were there waiting…and waiting…and waiting…No worries! We can do the tour ourselves! This was the view from our “waiting” point. It reminded me of the “OY/YO” sculpture in front of the Brooklyn Museum. And as it was pouring down rain…en”joy”ing the moment is a choice!

From Brooklyn 2020

This is the garden on the 5th floor. We took the elevator and the security guard looked at us like we were crazy. Maybe we were, but it was still fun to wander (all alone)! and admire the skyscrapers.

Loved the messaging on this building. It might have been SLACK.

Self-tour over…onward!

And this is what you do when live gives you lemons…or when your tour guide abandons you in the rain!

What’s a trip to San Francisco during the holidays without a stop at Union Square…and Macy’s? After wandering through the store (okay…there may have been some purchases), we went out to admire the festivities on Union Square. There were plenty of tourists and we also observed so many “helpers”. It was heartwarming to watch the guy in orange (some sort of official tourist helper) offering to take photos for visitors and giving advice and/or directions. The police were also super helpful. And if you’re wondering…we were pleased to see the downtown be so well cared for and busy.

We wandered to a favorite French café for some frites and a burger…plus a cocktail and ran into the gelateria that Blair and I “visited” EVERY night that we were in Paris! Who would have thunk it?

Lorraine continued to amaze me with her planning…there was a holiday festival practically right outside her door for us to enjoy!

Followed by a trip to Club Fugazi. I had NO IDEA what to expect. We’d been there years before for Beach Blanket Babylon – the classic SF revue, but I had not heard a peep about its replacement, “Dear San Francisco”. I’m not going to say any more than…GOOOOOO!!!!! It was an incredible 90 minutes that flew by. It will be closed for 6 weeks or so and then reopening in February. Did I say…GOOOO!!!!!

So after a full day and night of rain…this is what we woke up to in the morning…Perfect day for a walk in Golden Gate Park.

This view never gets old. Best kept secret in San Francisco…and free.

In the photo below, the view is from the top of that building. The art in the foreground of this photo encircles the Francis Scott Key statue that was toppled on Juneteenth 2020. The sculptures are known as “The Ancestors” and they represent the 350 kidnapped Africans who were the first to be brought to “America” in 1619. What we know as “The Star Spangled Banner” was a song written to the tune of a British drinking song. The rarely sung third verse urged sending uprising slaves to their graves. Key was the District Attorney for the City of Washington who “defended slavery while attacking abolitionists”. His brother-in-law was the Supreme Court Justice who wrote the Dred Scott decision.

Across the park from the (removed) Francis Scott Key statue is the Spreckels Music Temple that has recently engraved “Lift Every Voice” across the top. (Sorry, no photo.) This is the title of a song (actually Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing) written in 1900 by civil rights champion, James Weldon Johnson. The song is also known as the Black National Anthem.

Our current national anthem was only adopted in 1930 and to me, as a nation, we should rethink our choice as it clearly does not represent the entirety of our society. It’s past time that we learn (in school) that our history is complicated and sometimes brutal. Our understanding of history is incomplete and leads to false beliefs. While I’m a serious traditionalist and I love ritual, I won’t be singing our national anthem now that I know its history and understand its lyrics.

I love an impromptu concert.

It’s hard to read, but since Golden Gate Park has closed its roads to cars, there are a lot of murals painted across the roads. This one says, “We Are On Native Land”. Someone used a can of yellow spray paint and added “Stolen” above “native”. I think it’s important that we continue to think about our history more realistically and from all angles.

And…yes…while there were serious moments, being in The City was joyful and I’m so appreciative of my kind and generous friend, Lorraine who made my birthday such a special 3 day event!

Hmmm…where to start?

And this is where I get confused…Is this blog a journal? A diary? (Are those two things different?) A travel blog? Just some drivel coming to my (our) brain? Clearly, we haven’t been traveling so currently this isn’t exactly a travel blog – though we do live in a beautiful area and there are plenty of opportunities to see new places and have new experiences even close to home. And a diary, which to me means a daily notation of life, is not at all of interest to me. Which leaves me with either a journal or drivel and those might just be where this blog meets!

We last left you with a couple posts from Glen sharing a few details of his journey back…both literally and figuratively. Clearly, since we’ve been home, our two paths have been different as we have re-entered “normal” life in “The Creek”.

I’ve had my regular Monday morning hikes in the Open Space with Lorraine, Mike and Dug,

trips to Costco and Trader Joe’s,

Didn’t buy it…

walks and gatherings with local friends, Book Club “meetings”,

My pick for our December meeting.

walks in the neighborhood with Blair and Dug,

a trip to visit my dear friends Marie and Bill,

Sadly, I didn’t take a picture of them, but they do live in the beautiful foothills off Hwy 49.

fun exploring Berkeley with Carol,

enjoyed the Lafayette trail with Cherisse,

had fun teaching about the Gold Rush with my “life partner”, Diane in Emily’s classroom,

and a trip to LA to visit my mom.

Here she’s enjoying her first “meeting” with her great-grandson, Brodie.

Plus, you may remember there was an election so I was involved in getting out the vote and working the polls.

I’ve also discovered my new love – Make It Home! Thanks to my cousin, Randy and his wife/my “new” sister, Allison, I’ve been volunteering at this great non-profit and I LOVE it!!! More to come on that in a future post.

I’ll let Glen share about his forays back into life at home, but I will say that he has been addressing his health issues from all angles which means lots of appointments with health care providers of all sorts.

Together we’ve journeyed to Chico for a couple nights to enjoy our work with the incredible leaders of Chico State,

If you know, you know.

Sunday dinners with Niels and Blair, Saturday college football marathons and now the World Cup, a trip to have dinner in Los Gatos with my aunt and cousins,

a visit here with Glen’s college buddies Galen and Steve

and another from Janet and Galen (Galen was our best man in our wedding)

I didn’t take a picture of the four of us, but this blast from the past (1991) is fun! We were heading to Charleston for our first vacation without kids after we’d all become parents. Galen brought down a treasure trove of old photos.

and of course, our family Thanksgiving Day gathering.

The reason we enjoy staying in places for months at a time is because we like to become “residents” and experience the place as the locals do. I’ve wondered why we treat our life here in The Bay differently. We fall into our habits of living very local rather than getting out and exploring more like we did in Brooklyn or New Orleans. So…

We had our first local “outing” with the idea of testing Glen’s ability to get back out exploring the world. We rejoined SFMOMA and went to see the Diego Rivera exhibit. We drove to BART on what turned out to be a holiday (weird how when you’re retired you sometimes miss those “minor” holidays) and found the parking lot vacant and free. Bonus! We hopped onto an almost empty train and glided through Lafayette, Orinda, Oakland/Berkeley and poof! before we knew it we were in San Francisco at the Montgomery station. It was a beautiful fall day and while I would have loved to walk around the city – maybe head over to Yerba Buena Gardens…this trip was about testing the boundaries for Glen and as we exited BART, it was apparent that his back was already acting up.

We walked to the museum and headed straight upstairs to the exhibit. That’s the great thing about joining a museum, you can take it in small, targeted doses. We usually would purchase the headphone tour guide, but again…we were just testing the boundaries. I was remembering one of the first signs of Glen’s worsening health issues was when we were in Brooklyn and he found he couldn’t stand in one place well – so that bagel line, that ticket line, waiting for the subway, admiring the art at the Met or Brooklyn Museum…all proved a challenge. Walking distances also became painful. Here we were back in that mode – how would he do? The first thing he asked as we entered the exhibit was – Are there chairs with backs in the galleries? Nope. One thing he noticed in Europe (at least at the smaller museums) was that their rooms had chairs in them (they were really for the docents/guards, but they all generously offered them to visitors) so he could stop, rest his back and admire the art. Not so at MOMA.

So while he made his way around the rooms quickly, I took more time and still scadaddled through. Remember, we can go back. (Well, not to the Rivera exhibit as it has ended.) Glen was as always, encouraging me to take my time, and I needed this trip to be successful.

I did take the time to go out the patio by the café. I love the architecture, art and view.

We walked straight back to BART, caught a train and about halfway home as I was reading on my phone, Glen said, “It’s BART”. Huh? “It’s BART.” He realized that the jerky movement of BART was what was triggering his back pain. Ahhh…if he can isolate the triggers, maybe he can address the roots? And we can find ways to avoid the triggers. That’s progress.

Have I mentioned that while we are on a trip/vacation, we have the habit of dreaming/brainstorming/talking about our next trip? Lately we’ve been doing that at home. One of us mentions a place or a mode of travel and then off we go into researching our next trip. As previously discussed…there will be changes in how we travel. How far can we push our physical boundaries? How can we accommodate the changes? Let’s find out…

Next week, Glen will be joining me on a road trip to LA to visit my mom. Then later in December, we will be making our first full trip, catching a plane to visit our dear friends, David and Mary in Birmingham, Alabama. Glen is figuring out the logistics of “eating” every four hours on the road and in a new destination, including transporting the equipment and supplies that he needs and…as he says…We’ll figure it out.

So…let’s “get back out there” and explore the world, explore our relationship with each other, with ourselves and keep learning, adjusting, engaging…living.

And yes, I’m grateful.


Straight up gonna say it…I’ve been struggling. Can’t quite put my finger on it. I’ve been trying to figure out how to address it in my head and heart and I kept thinking that if I wrote about the struggle, maybe it would help me through it. But I couldn’t figure out what to say…I had no clarity. Still don’t.

I don’t like limbo.

Not knowing what’s ahead, where I’m going, what I’m doing does NOT sit well with me. And for sure…I feel like we are a bit in limbo right now. We’re moving…towards figuring it out, but I’m not sure where we’re going…and I mean that literally and figuratively.

Neither here nor there.

I feel like I’m here in Walnut Creek and I also have this itch to be somewhere else. I’m loving the beauty of fall here, but in my head, I’m constantly flitting between so many places – let’s go to Rome for that month that we missed. Nope. I mean, let’s go to NYC. I miss it. No. I think I need a beach. Wait. Is there snow anywhere?


I find that I need to be busy. Not just busy, but busy with something that matters. Being home intermittently these last couple years has created a challenge for me to find my purpose – or purposes. My restlessness has had me cleaning a cupboard here or there, planting bulbs, going for walks, writing postcards to voters, hanging with friends…but it hasn’t felt like enough. And then I find myself just diddling my time away sometimes and that does not make me feel good. I am challenged to allow myself to just sit. To be. To………I don’t know…

*Another one written months ago. I just read it for the first time since I wrote it. As I read it now, I wonder…why didn’t I post it? Too personal? Too self-focused? Who’d read it and think “blah, blah, blah”? Is this blog taking a weird twist?

Stay tuned…I did find that beach…

August 23, 2022

August 23, 2022 was the day we started our two day journey back home from Europe. The photo below was taken by Joyce in the Nice airport. I believe Joyce was reluctant until she understood my reasoning.

Have you ever been sick, really sick, while traveling? I’m a big whiner when I am sick. We flew home first class the whole way. We had Black Tie Limousine take us from San Jose Airport to home. And I pretty much whined my whole way through the two days. Joyce somehow found a way to get away from me at times and mostly ignore my whining.

I had an abundance of time to myself over the last few weeks in Europe. My health got progressively worse and my weight kept dropping. My mind did anything but see the possibility that I could get appreciably better. I imagined chronic pain and ever dwindling strength.

I love the photo below. Not because it is in any way endearing. Heck, the look in my eyes is a bit pathetic. I’m emaciated. So, why do I love the photo? No, I am not that emotionally twisted. It helps me remember. My biggest regret from my journey with cancer in 2008 is not creating more of a photo journal. I have so few photo reminders of those days. I wish I had more. Why? To have a reminder of one of the best parts of myself. The part that weathered the storm. The part that endured. The part that spent the next ten plus years rebuilding my body and my self into a version that was so much better than the version before cancer.

So, when I asked Joyce to take photos of me, it was my way of hoping that I would be able to look back and reflect.

Yesterday I went out and walked in the Walnut Creek open space for the first time in nearly two years. I walked for 33 minutes of mostly flat with a bit of up and down. I reflected on my late 2008 walks there. It is a place I treasure. I was tired and full of hope.

It Has Been A While

I believe my last post was August 18th, nearly two months ago. Too Long! In that post I told you we were heading home from our European adventure. And head home we did.

Joyce has told you a little about the last two months. I won’t go into any great detail about it in this post as I am still sorting much of it out. And please know, while I am not yet fully recovered, I feel better than I have felt since late 2021.

Frankly, I have been dreading making this post. In one of Joyce’s posts she talked about the “Help Prayer”. She said it so beautifully that asking for help is acknowledging failure. Coming home early from our European adventure represents failure for me. I own that. And I am doing my best to learn from the failure and incorporate the learning into living my best life.

So much has happened in the last two months. I promise to share, likely over a series of posts. In order for me to do that fully, the posts will mostly focus on what I have learned. And while these will be very personal to me, and sometimes Joyce, I think they may also apply to the broader context.