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.

To Dwell, Or Not to Dwell?

Don’t get hung up on the fact that I’d make a terrible witness. See photo below for explanation.

Streets. Cities. Communities. Neighborhoods. What is it that we are “doing” this past year? Glen and I have talked about the appropriate term for what we are doing as we spend extended periods of time in different locations. Glen recently posted that in a conversation with Charles, our Uber driver, they agreed that “staying” worked for them. Me, not so much. To me, “staying” doesn’t imply “living” and I think that we are really trying to “live” in the community in which we are…dwelling?

A few posts ago, I wrote about my observations of the patrons in the café where Dug and I were enjoying a pastry and coffee. I mentioned the immediate surroundings outside, but it wasn’t until I left that I talked with a gentleman whose “office” appeared to be the sidewalk. He was about my age, wearing khaki cargo shorts, spectacles and he was sitting criss-cross applesauce on the sidewalk with his backpack and bike next to him and his laptop in his lap. I stopped to chat with him and opened the conversation with…I like your office! He proceeded to share that it all started when COVID came and he had to have a vaccine card to sit INSIDE the café. Since he didn’t have the vaccine, he got his coffee and “sat” across the street. He’s been doing it ever since even though you don’t need a vaccine card to sit inside anymore.

Today when I walked by he was there and I told him that I loved his story and asked if I could take his picture. He obliged and then shared more about his office and “officemates”, the sparrows. Over time, the sparrows that live in the eaves above him began to notice him and he began share tidbits of his breakfast with them. He continued to tell me that he now can differentiate between the birds because they interact with him differently and the way in which they eat his offerings is different, too. As winter turned to spring, he has watched them feed their babies – first by chewing and regurgitating the food into the mouths of their young and eventually, breaking up the seeds and taking them to them to eat on their own. (By now you are probably singing, “Feed the Birds”. I know I was…)

It occurred to me as I was chatting with him, that this is what it means to “dwell” in a place. You spend enough time in a location to learn about the inhabitants, to notice the patterns of behavior, for people to recognize and greet you, to know that you have a place – though it may still be temporary – in a community.

As I shared about my time in NOLA and explained what we were doing, I tried to define it for him – is the word for what we are doing live? stay? dwell? My “bird man” and I agreed that his story is a metaphor for what we are doing. As he “dwells” under the eaves and we “dwell” in our new community, we are both learning about our “birds”.

Note the slingshot? He uses it to scare the pigeons away!

PS It’s ironic that as I’m writing tonight about our desire to be “one” with a community; today we did the most touristy – least “dwelly” thing that one can do in NOLA. We went on the Jazz Riverboat cruise on the Mississippi. 😉 And this also makes me think about the fact that as a native Californian, I’ve never been to Alcatraz. I guess everyone should be a tourist in their own community from time to time.

Chapter 23: “Staying” at the intersection of Dauphine & Gov Nicholls

First, and absolutely most important, thank you Allison for the gift (idea) you gave to Joyce and me. Exciting!

JDT has suggested it might be a good notion to slow down on my number of posts. She’s almost always right. AND how do I turn off my brain. I’ll compromise. I’ll write AND leave them as drafts and trickle them out. At least it feels that way to me.

Streets, it seems to me, are big things in the cities I have visited. You have your famous streets, your streets of commerce, and your neighborhood streets. I’ve heard people say, “oh! you lived on Del Playa?” (shut out to my Isla Vista friends).

We are “staying” quite near the intersection of Dauphine Street and Governor Nicholls Street. As you know, this is on the edge of The Quarter adjacent to Treme and The Marigny. Both of these run through The Quarter with Gov going into Treme and Dauphine heading into The Marigny. Two wonderful and very different neighborhoods.

So, why the quotes on “staying”? I struggle with how to label our time here. We jumped in an Uber on our way to dinner (Irene’s) last week. AND as always I made some quip to the driver (Charles) with the intent to fuel a conversation. Boy did this one work. It started with us “out positive mind setting each other”. Took a turn or two and I asked, “Charles, may I ask you a question?” What ensued landed this “ride” in my top 5 of our seemingly endless (50ish) Uber rides here in NOLA. First, a bit of a u-turn. Most of our rides here average 12 to 15 minutes. This really leaves little time for the conversations. So, best not be wasting. Back to the ride. I told Charles (most of my questions require an introductory explanation – duh!) we were in NOLA for 51 days. And that I was struggling how to label. Charles was game for my little game and we played tennis with our words. It was a blast. WE LANDED ON STAY. We were then about 1/2 way to our destination. Somehow we got on the concept of genius and I brought up Robin Williams – we agreed. Charles then told JDT and me how he had spent 2 hours with RW during an earlier stage of Charles life. At the end of the time, RW handed him some money as a gratuity in an environment where a tip was unexpected. AND Charles proceeded to find three separate homeless people (not hard to find here in NOLA) and handed each a crisp new Benjamin. Charles realized then the value of that 2 hours was so much more than the $300 and wanted to pay it forward.

One of my favorite improvements made to Uber over the years is the ability to provide a tip to the driver. It isn’t sufficient for me just to click 5 stars. I now rarely give nothing. It is almost always at least $3 on these mostly $10 to $15 fares. And quite often $5. For Charles, my tip? Let’s just say it exceeded the fare, by some margin (yet, I’m no RW). I know the chance that my path ever crosses Charles again is slim (however, I can stay hopeful). AND I AM 100% CONFIDENT THAT CHARLES KNEW WHAT I MEANT WITH MY TIP.



Rage. Don’t tell me that the “leaker” should be prosecuted. Don’t tell me, “Trust in the Supreme Court has been weakened by the leak.” Don’t tell me, “The Supreme Court Justice candidates didn’t lie during their hearings.” Bullshit. It’s not about “Christian” values. It’s not about the life of a child. It’s about control and power.

Rage. I’m still raging about the real possibility of Roe v. Wade being overturned and then Buffalo happened. An outright White racist man, fueled by hatred, killed ten loving, caring mostly senior Black community members. Don’t tell me the murderer was “mentally ill”. Don’t tell me that Fox News doesn’t fuel this hatred. Don’t tell me that a “good guy with a gun” could have stopped the “bad” guy. Bullshit.

Rage. And now Texas. Thirteen innocent children and a teacher have died. Don’t tell me we “can’t talk about this yet”. “It’s too new.” “Law enforcement needs to do their work.” Bullshit. Buffalo is STILL holding services for those ten lives that were lost and now Texas has fourteen (no, it was just announced it’s fifteen) deaths due to GUN violence. The NRA OWNS the GOP and a few Democrats. It’s all about money and has NOTHING to do with human life and our Constitutional rights. It’s not even about “freedom”.

Don’t tell me that I’m too emotional. Don’t tell me that it’s too complicated. Don’t tell me I’m not a gun owner so I don’t know what I’m talking about. And don’t think that calling me a liberal or “woke” is an insult.

Don’t tell me that we have to live this way. We are the ONLY country that lives like this.



134 children ages 0-11 killed by gun violence in 2022. It’s only May.


202 mass shootings in the USA in 2022. It’s only May.



We Go Again

I have spoken of my love of sports. I have spoken of how sports and my brain and my life intersect. I’ve also spoken of my recently found fondness of Liverpool Football Club (LFC).

I have also spoken of my current inability to watch Warrior games in full. There is something that occurs in me that just makes it TOO hard.

This past Sunday the English Premier League (EPL) played its final match of its very long (10 month – 38 match) season. The EPL is a force. The 1960s brought us “The British Invasion”. I believe the 2020s are bringing us, in a sports context, a 2nd British Invasion, the EPL. AND the EPL, warts and all, gets IT. Championship Sunday is played out over 10 matches involving all 20 sides that kickoff at the same time. BTW, not surprising this is at 11 AM EDT / 8 AM PDT. And, when it is imagined by the marketing staff, the matches matter on multiple levels. You see, there is the championship itself. And there is the Champions League qualification, Europa Cup and Europa League qualification AND, perhaps biggest, the battle to stave off relegation. All of these contained a high level of drama. Incredible.

My side, LFC, were in it for the quadruple (there are four “cups” competed for by the top EPL sides – Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup). No side has ever “held” all four at the same time. NONE! And no side had ever made it to this point in a season with the possibility still alive. UNTIL this past Sunday. LFC won the League Cup and FA Cup in the past month by the narrowest of margins – shootouts won against the same side Chelsea (I refer to them as Chelskey – a moniker I use to deride their ownership, Roman Abromovich). Could they capture the EPL crown?

So what happened? How did it play out? At halftime (remember these matches occur nearly simultaneously) LFC were tied at 1-1. AND Manchester City, the machine owned by the sovereign nation wealth fund, were trailing 0-1 to Aston Villa (if you need further context and drama, “Villa” are managed by LFC legend Stevie Gerard). AND as the matches proceeded toward the 75th minute “City” fell behind 0-2, while LFC were still knotted up 1-1. LFC were pressing and simply needed a goal and results to hold for them to “raise the cup”. AND IT WAS NOT TO BE. At least for me. City, in the way that true CHAMPIONS do, went on to score an amazing 3 goals to win 3-2, while LFC got their winner and an extra and won 3-1.

What is truly amazing for me to observe? ME. Yep. I watched it play out in its entirety. It reminded me of the boy I was at 10 when I was blessed to watch amazing wins and crushing defeats (I was that child crying in his Dad’s arms in the stands) by Da Raiders at the Oakland Coliseum with Dad and Steve and Mike. No angst at all. Just the sheer joy and the crushing sadness that I enjoyed and was crushed by as a child. I’m not really sure why, just yet. Is it my newness to LFC and EPL? Is it the lack of expectations I have that worry more about the agony of defeat versus the thrill of victory (shoutout to the Wide World of Sports!)?

My morning started again early. And as is my tendency (still dark and too early to wander), I went on my phone to catch up on Bleacher Report (perhaps my favorite App?). And I’m spending a lot of my time there enjoying the noise around the Dubs and LFC. I made my way through several clicks and found my way to a 5+ minute video interview of VVD, the beast (Virgil Van Dyke – LFC Center Back). He might be the hub in the LFC wheel. He was being interviewed by Rio Ferdinand (retired Manchester United (MU) center back legend). He was VVD before VVD was VVD! AND that is not easy for me to say about a Red Devil, as MU are LFC’s most despised rival. Greatness knows greatness. For those of us watching, we can only imagine. The interview is really well done. It meandered and found its way to a discussion of the quadruple. And this is where the magic occurred for me. VVD answered the question of how much time LFC spent discussing the quadruple in the “changing room”. He said, none. And went on to explain this was due to the Boss (Jurgen Klopp). Sure, they all were hopeful. Yet, they can only do their best. Results are not guaranteed. And regardless of outcome, “WE GO AGAIN”.

Maybe, just maybe, I will be able to watch all of tonights Dubs game?

All the Reasons for an Out and About

Dug after a walk.

It’s been quite a week. I’ve been out for a walk at least once a day. Some days I’m headed somewhere specific, sometimes I’m just going. For example, today I went out 3 times.

The first outing was to take Dug for a walk, plus there’s a bakery nearby that keeps promising that they are opening “soon”, but the city seems to keep creating roadblocks. The owner told me that they were going to hand out free samples this morning so…of course I had to make it worth her while. And I must say…that mushroom and gruyere puff pastry hand pie was delicious! Well worth the walk. Hopefully they will open before we leave.

Not the “soon to be” bakery, but I like their last item…

Later I went out because I’d walked past this house that’s a museum a million times and I finally made a reservation to visit this morning. (It was a very enlightening and interesting tour. Stay tuned.)

The Gallier House – built in 1860

As I was walking earlier with Dug, I noticed that several roads were barricaded so I knew that something was going on…of course, that meant that I had to head in that direction! That’s the thing…you go in one direction and might end up in a total different place because there’s ALWAYS something going on in the French Quarter. Or just the opposite, you see that there’s something going on and you don’t want to be anywhere near it! (Read – Bourbon Street revelry aka daily drunk fest at all times of day and night.)

Glen and I were walking to lunch one day last week and came upon these two sleeping it off. They were both snoring. Two hours later on our return walk, they were still there…snoring.

And I digress…but one of the great things about this town is ALL of the music. It can be the greatest of distractions when you think you have a plan for where you’re headed including your path. It often feels like you are surrounded by music; as I walk along one sound fades and another is picked up. I hear music coming from the houses – maybe it’s just a speaker blasting reggae, but it could just as easily be someone playing the piano or a saxophone or a tuba. Some of the bars make it hard to carry on a conversation as you walk by because they have live music that is LOUD! Outside of Rouse’s Market where I often go for our groceries, there is almost always a street jazz band. On the back side of the cathedral on Jackson Square there’s always a violinist or some other solo instrumentalist. Especially during the Jazz Fest and the French Quarter Fest, it was fun to see the musicians walking into town in the late morning with their instruments on their backs heading to their gigs.

More than once I’ve seen music videos being filmed. One day right in front of our house (circa 1781), there was a singer walking along in front of a camera man and the guy who holds the light reflector thingie. They also carried a “boom box” (I know, not a thing anymore) playing the singer’s song. so she could mouth the lyrics. I guess our Creole plantation house makes an interesting backdrop for the video. (Remind me to tell you the history of the house some day.)

One of my favorite stories is the day that there was some sort of a community celebration going on in the park that is directly behind our house. I was sitting outside (in the front) and I could hear music, but I couldn’t identify its direction. The sound of music always makes me jump up and go see what I’m missing because I have a serious case of FOMO! I couldn’t figure out the locus of this music, but then I realized that people were literally pouring out of the houses nearby with “soccer mom” chairs (here they’re called “festival” chairs) and heading to the park to enjoy the free music. Of course, I had to go, too.

Our block on Governor Nicholls is actually directly off of Bourbon, but luckily, our place is half a mile or so away from the crazy part of the street and is pretty residential. Today when I headed out to the Gallier House, I turned onto Bourbon because it was barricaded to cars. In a couple blocks, I ran into a group of teenagers with a videographer, light reflector thingie guy and other people with equipment PLUS a Second Line! They were definitely taping a music video for some purpose and the street was closed because they were in the middle of an intersection right by what is known as the oldest bar in America – Lafitte’s Blacksmith.Bar. These filming events always gather quite the crowd of lookie-loos…like me!

I got so distracted by writing about music that I didn’t get to telling you about the Gallier museum house that I visited which is what I thought the topic of this post was going to be. I’ll get back to that in another post because…

View from inside the entrance to the Gallier house.

I need to tell you about my third walk of the day…and I got Glen and Dug to go with me…I was feeling a bit sluggish in the evening and needed to move so what better way to make that happen than to walk down to Verti Marte for some Ben and Jerry’s? I think that counts as a walk/wander. Yes?

Baby Boomers . . . DAMN!

This post is a rant. Yes, it is that. And I hope a bit more.

The photo above was taken at the end our breakfast this AM at Who Dat Coffee Cafe. Two specifics about it form the context of this Rant.

Notice the sign board “advertising” their help wanted condition. This is a fundamental side effect of the endemic phase of the pandemic. Since the earliest phases of COVID-19 I suggested (I’m sure they heard as a rant) to clients / friends that when we were past the pandemic (certainly within 90 days) they’d be right back where they were in late 2019. That condition was an economy of flourishing opportunity wrapped by an environment of scarce labor. Many struggle to remember, but thems the facts! I suggested why not use the benefits of the emerging CARES ACT. But . . . they feared. How could they trust the government to “GET IT RIGHT”. “It” certainly doesn’t often. Yet, this seemed different to me. I encouraged them to imagine a world where they had created a sense of loyalty. Hell, even a sense of deep caring by all (themselves, employees, even customers). This, ultimately, is the best characteristic I have tried to learn from the best leaders I’ve been blessed to be close. The phrase I use to summarize – Be the Change YOU Want to Create.

The other element in this photo is just above the very top of JDT’s hat. It is two women. I’m reasonably certain they are Baby Boomers. Earlier, a similar generational gentleman was walking by and took up a three way conversation. They talked of real estate and how they both had owned a certain home in the neighborhood. One of the women said how she had bought for $40,000 and sold for $150,000. The gentleman took up and said he had purchase for $250,000 and sold for $400,000. He went on to say how it had recently sold for $440,000. I just smiled. You see, this represents progress. It represents an evolving society. YES, it presents challenges. Very few things are entirely positive or negative. On balance this was a VERY positive to me. To them? Not so much! They bemoaned how it created the unattainable “American Dream” for todays young. The gentleman asked “Do you know what a SARK is? They both said no. A Smart-Ass Rich Kid. He quipped, not for “them”.

Why do we, generally speaking, think in such a negative mindset way? I probably think too much about this. I know my RANTS are exhausting to JDT. And yet.

I really think I am a pragmatic optimist. Does this make you laugh? Here is how it applies to this post. I have vivid memories of Grandma talking in the way of the three Boomers. Yet, my parents “burned” their mortgage at 51/48. I have vivid memories of Dad talking like “Mother”. Yet, I we “burned” our mortgage at 54/53. Where is the data, you ask? Well, look at the “affordability index” in the early 80s when I bought my first residence. Look at the “affordability index” now. Virtually the same rate. I have always believed the real challenge is “getting in the game”. Coming up with the initial down payment. I will acknowledge that sum is exponentially higher today. Especially when viewed through the OG lens.

Here comes the rant. Baby Boomers, of which I am a card carrying “proud” member, your statements are “TIRED”. AND like our parents, and our parents parents, they are driven from fear. A fear of that dreaded inflation. That fear of not having enough. A real fear of the beyond. Upon reflection, we are the most selfish generation ever! Looked at the condition we have left our country and our planet. We have overspent our resources. All, for OUR pleasure. Be responsible. Be optimistic. Be resourceful. BE SELFLESS!

Wandering . . . to Breakfast

JDT loves to be spontaneous. I’m best when I have a plan. Last night (I’m always energy best in the morning and it’s just a question of how empty the tank is at the end of the day) JDT was rattling off things still to do as we neared one week left. Friends Brian and Joan were going to visit us starting today. As life goes, plans changed. Brian now has a new name – Two Legs. It’s funny to me. So, this new found time opened up opportunities.

How do I intersect the joy I’ve found in wandering with a walk to breakfast and my “need” to plan?

Mindset, that is the key. As we set out on our targeted wander, we crossed The Esplanade (remnant of Chico days) and across Elysian and into one of our great “finds” on our stay in NOLA – Marigny (MAR-eh-NEE). Quite similar, yet completely different than Williamsburg, Brooklyn. And as I came upon the Hotel Peter & Paul I took the photo above. Zoom in on the small street sign. It cracks me up.


For Me, It Always Seems To Be Two

For those of you (and I believe it to be most) that get “it”, you are welcome from the deepest recesses of my heart. And for those others, I can only say, I am sorry and I hope you’ll tolerate me as I continue to emote.

I have two older brothers – Mike and Steve. One nearly three years older; the other right at four. My childhood memories conjure up the rainbow of emotions. Gratitude and anger. Seriousness and silliness. Adventure and drudgery that sometimes life can me. I can trace many of my joys in life, whether it be live music, the spectacle of politics or food and beverage to Steve. Mike taught me how to tear down a Honda 90 into its seeming 5,000 parts and put it back together; how to do auto body repair and paint a car. Little wonder they went on to highly successful careers. Mike as an Engineer. Steve as an Attorney. They were always the best teachers to me. It was not any kind of book learning. It was through the experience of tough love. No one can be tougher on a little boy than an older brother! THANK YOU STEVE AND MIKE FOR THE GIFT OF TOUGHNESS!

I really cherish my days as a Chico State student. I literally found myself in Chico. A big part of that experience was two life long friends – Galen and Steve. My goodness, we have some experiences that still makes us laugh on the rare occasion we are together. I rarely see them these days; I guess its a choice that I must bear the consequence. AND during life’s “big moments” these two are among the top of my “list”. During my journey with cancer they both came and spent time with me and figuratively, if not literally, held my hand. Yesterday I reached out to both and shared Mom’s passing. As I try to do more these days I told them I loved them and how special they are. Mom had a special place for Galen. He knew that AND knows that. One of the bonds that will forever hold us together? We are all “Mommas Boyz”!! AND DAMN PROUD!

Friendship is different to me. Perhaps different than most? I am not sure. I am not the easiest person. I know that about myself. I can be terribly opinionated . . . at exactly the wrong time. I take my role as a friend quite serious; things happen less “naturally” for me and with me. AND the most important thing for me as a friend, a true friend? Being that person that will hug you not when you want but need a hug. Being that person that will kick you in the ass when it is the last thing you think you need. AND I sometimes, and sometimes more than sometimes, make mistakes. BUT make absolutely no mistake, it comes from the best intent possible. I am naive enough, even pompous enough to believe that I can make a difference. Within a week of being diagnosed with cancer and after telling family and work I asked to meet with another two – Jim and Jim (My Two Jims – you are familiar with one, Jim Kelley). We had an incredibly emotional experience. I know I cried, a lot. AND they challenged me (swift kick in the ass and HUGE hug at the same time). The challenge? Could I find the opportunity in my diagnosis? Could I find the gift? I know I was not even partially ready for the message. For their gift to me. Yet . . AND their gift literally changed my life.

These last three days have been a roller coaster. I am emotionally exhausted AND exhilarated AT THE SAME TIME.

I need to stop as my physical day needs to begin. AND one last MOST IMPORTANT thought. I have others in my life that are INCREDIBLY important to me. This is not meant to demean or diminish those relationships! I hope it doesn’t. I will be better at telling you how much I love you!!


Learning . . . Forever

I used to call these “things” epiphanies. I don’t any more. I use the term “connecting the dots”. It seems to me that one could have only so many epiphanies in life, certainly no more than a handful. AND there was really no way, in my mind, to language around theIr magnitude. Large epiphany? Relatively unimportant epiphany? It just doesn’t work for me. With connecting the dots, there can be multiple dots. There can be large dots and small dots. There can be a small distance between or the smallest distance. THIS IS HOW MY CRAZY, ORGANIZED, CHAOTIC MIND WORKS.

Dad retired at 51 before FIRE was even a thing. AND, from my vantage point, he began his march toward death. Sometimes there were uphills and sometimes down. And make no mistake, it was a straight line. Physically he started to erode. Mentally, he was a finished product that only thought in ways that appeared selfish and focused on his comfort and pleasure. Rereading this sounds really harsh. I suppose it is, AND my ability to express his teachings would make him proud. To this day his approach to life from 51 to nearly 88 is with me and forms my very essence.

Mom was 48 when Dad retired. I was finally finding my way in life as a 24 year old that would graduate from Chico State at 25. I have such vivid memories of those days. If I can be allowed the latitude to use a bicycle as the vehicle that takes you through life, Chico State is a hub at the center of one of the wheels. The cycle surely isn’t a unicycle. It is at least a bicycle (2nd hub being “family”) and possibly a tricycle or even . . . One of the cherished memories of that time is a moment when Mom came to visit me to talk. Up to that point I had always called Mom and asked if I could come home for a short visit. She ALWAYS said yes. And I believe Mom always knew, in that way parents know, that I needed something. She had the patience of Jobe in those moments. I really hadn’t a clue why Mom wanted to visit. I just trusted her and always looked forward to our time together. And while the specifics of our discussion are not the point, I will say Mom was struggling AND wanted, no needed to talk and work it out in the way we always did. SHE ASKED ME!

To simplify things beyond reason, while Dad was devolving, Mom was evolving. It has taken me a long time to appreciate Dad for what he gave me. Believe me, my emotions over the years has swung wildly. I currently believe a gift they gave me was them in contrast to each other. Their relationship was complicated AND THROUGH IT THEY ALWAYS LOVED EACH OTHER.