Monday, July 11, 2022

Lunch with Bambi, and The Joke Was On Me.

I met "Bambi" once.  It must have been sometime in 1980.  After living in New Orleans for ten years my family decided to move back to California. My dad had just gotten a new job in California and my family moved from New Orleans. My parents and younger sisters settled in La Mesa, CA (a San Diego 'burb).  I had my own apartment but was looking for other things to do in my life. 

In the San Diego Newspaper there was an ad for a hotel in the high Sierras.  The hotel was looking for kitchen help.  I applied.  I had always wanted to move to the mountains.  I wanted to get back to the hills.  So I applied.  I had four years experience as a fry cook and I was hired.  

I loaded all of my belongings into the back of my new old pickup truck and moved to Lake Tahoe.  People asked me if I was afraid to make such a move.  I think I was just to young and stupid to know there should be fear involved.  I had no problem.  I thought this is what people do all the time.  

I started work in late August 1979 at the big coffee shop in the hotel.  A few months later I was transferred to the New York Deli.  In the New York Deli I met Bob.  Bob was the lead cook and we became fast friends.  He was from Montana and I told him I had always wanted to go there.  I loved mountains and wanted to hike and fish.  

Bob became a mentor to me.  He became my best friend.  He was later to be the best man at my wedding.  But Bob was always a jokester.  We would play practical jokes on each other all the time. 

One day he told me that he had a good friend named "Bambi" and we should go see Bambi in Sacramento.  Bob was a relatively new friend and when he heard I was from the San Diego area I think he just really had to introduce me to his friend, Bambi.  At the time Bob did not know that I had only lived in the San Diego area for six months prior to moving to Lake Tahoe. 
So, he arranged a trip to Sacramento to meet his friend Bambi.  We drove the hour and a half to Sacramento to have lunch at Bambi's house.  I remember Bambi fixed us sandwiches.  Bob and Bambi talked about stuff.  I was a shy kid and really didn't ask too much and didn't get involved in their conversation.  

It was only years later that I found out that Bambi was Lance Alworth, the great receiver for the San Diego Chargers.  I still have no idea how Bob knew him.  

I wish I had known.  It turned out that my mother-in-law was a huge fan of Lance Alworth.  Sadly, she passed away before I could talk to her about him.  I wish I had known.  So many lost chances at conversations.

Yes, I met Lance Alworth in 1980. My friend thought it would be a cool thing to surprise me.  I had no idea.  I guess the  joke was on me.  I still kick myself.  

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

 File clean-up:


Sitting at the computer looking for something new to write about.  Looking for something to get the creative juices flowing.  I found this gem from about 28 years ago.  I think my son was about 4 years old.  

My wife and I were both working and to help our daycare situation we worked staggered hours.  I went to work early and picked up the kids in the afternoon while my wife works late.  I usually had dinner ready when she got home from work and we then sat down for a family meal.   

One particular Friday evening, my wife and I and the kids were watching TV when we thought that popcorn would be a good idea.  My wife went into the kitchen and pulled out the air popper from the cupboard.  She was plugging it in and adding the popcorn when my three-year-old son pulled up a chair to watch.   My son was so amazed, that he had to remark, "Gee, Mom, I didn't know you could cook."

 Ah, from the mouths of babes.  My wife is a great cook.  It just worked out that at that time in our life I took on those duties. 

Our son is an amazing kid.  He was a happy, smiling kid.  His nickname on one team was "Smiley".  

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

March Forth, that is an order (to myself, anyway)

 March first.  Then write.  

A little play on the date.  A friend once told me that the date, March Fourth, is the only day of the year that is an order.  I remember that as we start March First.  Today.  And so, I shall make ready to March forth. 

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Advice taken


Stephen Sondheim died this weekend. I remember I bought a vinyl record just because Judy Collins recorded his “Send in the Clowns”. I admired his talent. I admired his career.

Just this weekend CBS Sunday Morning did a couple of segments on Sondheim. In one segment he is quoted as saying to “…let the content dictate the form”. This to me is profound. I shall take that to heart. 

I retired from my career in January. And for the past year I have been considering compiling all the essays that I have written for my blog into one complete memoir of sorts. Of course, “let the content dictate the form”, so I have been trying to format this document, these stories, these essays about my life into a memoir.

I hope to have these little vignettes structured to a cohesive memoir in the next few months. That is my new retirement task. 

Monday, October 11, 2021

Day 277 - My Retirement Bliss

 Happy Columbus Day to those who remember the history of the world.  Happy Indigenous Peoples Day to those who empathize.  Happy both days to those who understand the history of migratory peoples, the history of the world. 

I celebrate Columbus Day because of the history and discoveries he brought to our lives.  The world is no longer flat.  There are no serpents at the edge of the world.  We will not fall off into the abyss if we travel too far. We have been to the moon and confirmed that the earth is a blue marble flying through space. The world, this earth, is a giant rock hurtling through space with no end in sight. What I mean by that is, we have time, and the knowledge enough to make changes, however you perceive it to be.  We have time to become who we want to be, to become better.  Humans have done that since the race's beginning.  

I celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day because I care about the lives and contributions of the people who lived here before European intrusion.  I am also the product of a certain indigenous tribe or my great great grandfather was and his blood flows through me. 

I am proud of my Indian heritage.  I am proud to be living in an area of the country with such a vast array of indigenous history and European history.  For the most part I am proud that these two groups have learned to live together.  

As a part of my celebration of Indigenous Peoples' Day, I want to post a picture of a sunset over the historic Columbia River.  I am sure that there have been sunsets in this area similar to this for the past 10,000 years.  But I just wanted to share.  


Wednesday, May 26, 2021

PonderingDave, May Be Another Name for ProcrastinatingDave

 Yes, there you have it.  My last post suggested that maybe I should change the name.  No, not going to happen.  But I am beginning to think/ponder that pondering may just be another name for procrastinating. It all happens in the mind.  People say that a writer's job is a lonely pursuit.  We sometimes work by ourselves.  The relationship between mind and page: mind and electrons with in a chip.  Who knows how we publish our thoughts.  

My mind is always going.  There are thoughts and plots, characters and voices, ideas and stories.  But, there is something wrong with my motor functions in the rest of my body.  My mind very rarely tells my body to sit down and WRITE.  I don't know why that is.  I was born to be a writer.  I think.  But the creation of an idea, a character, a story, whatever must get transferred to some media for it to be real.  I am learning, striving to do that.  

Please be patient.  


Friday, April 16, 2021

Finding My Muse, Again

On January 7, 2021 I retired from my career.  I had plans to settle into the life of a reclusive, lonely poet, and maybe start writing that novel and some assorted stories that have been haunting me for many years.  So, I cleaned up my office, created a workspace. 

And…nothing.  Some words hit the page but they were, so, bland. 

Three months into this I was ready to give it up.  Maybe the dream of being a writer was enough to keep me alive for all these years.  Maybe tomorrow…?  Maybe next week…? Maybe next year…? Maybe when I retire.  But what then? 

Retirement has been great.  Pensions, and other assorted income makes for a stress free lifestyle.  With the pandemic and quarantines all I really have is time.  Time to write.   

 And…nothing.  Why?  I used to write a lot.  I used to have these words.   But for the last three months nothing really came forward. 

I should state that I write from deep down in my soul. Hypnagogic, I believe they call it.  It usually manifests itself right when my subconscious is about to take over when I am falling asleep. I drag myself out of bed and to the desk.  And I write.  But not lately.  I really don't understand why.  

I have been rather pensive and have been looking back over my long working career.  50 years of work.  I was smart.  I worked hard.  I accomplished things.  I made money, paid taxes, raised a family, created a pension for my later years.  But what bothers me?  I cannot help but look at all the mistakes I made in the 50 years when I was employed. Why?  I was successful, mostly.  I was gainfully employed most of my adult life.  It brought me to where I am today - a pensioner. 

But looking back I only see the mistakes I made.  Is that nature's way of telling me to take control of my decisions; take control of my life.  Don't make the same mistakes.  Be good.  Do well.  Make the correct choices. I just have a hard time following the signposts in life.  

 Maybe I should rename this blog.  Call it the procrastinator's diary or something.  I will think about it and maybe do something next week.  Stay tuned.  



Monday, March 1, 2021

February 28, 2021

Today, this last day in February, 2021, was a beautiful day in the PNW. I stepped out onto the porch after lunch to breathe in some pure fresh air. Several deep cleansing breaths really did the trick. I felt great.

I glanced across the street to the mailboxes about 50 yards away. The winter rains left the drive access to them all rutted and created three rather large puddles. It wasn't so bad with the snow, but now the snow has melted and there are puddles. Not good for retrieval of mail but good for other reasons.

Today I looked over and saw splashing coming from the puddles. There were several birds splashing around in the water. Once those birds flew away there were more in the bushes and trees behind the mailboxes who waited patiently to bathe themselves in the puddles.

Just one of the many reasons I love living here.


Monday, February 15, 2021

Notes from my desk...

 Some quotes on tolerance:
"No man has a right in America to treat any other man "tolerantly" for tolerance is the assumption of superiority. Our liberties are equal rights of every citizen." --Wendell L. Willkie

"Tolerance. I have seen gross intolerance shown in support of tolerance." --Samuel Taylor Coleridge

"The responsibility of tolerance lies in those who have the wider vision." --George Eliot

"Tolerance comes with age. I see no fault committed that I myself could not have committed at some time or other. "--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"People are very open-minded about new things--as long as they're exactly like the old ones. "--Charles F. Kettering

"Tolerance is another word for indifference." --W. Somerset Maugham

"Broad-minded is just another way of saying a fellow's too lazy to form an opinion." --Will Rogers

"It is easy to be tolerant of the principles of other people if you have none of your own. "--Herbert Samuel

"Tolerance is the oil which takes the friction out of life." --Wilbert E. Scheer

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Drain the Swamp

 My first presidential election was in 1976 where voters were unhappy with the state of the federal government.  It was an era of high inflation (“whip inflation now” WIN), oil crises (OPEC), the Viet Nam war, the cold war, and the war on poverty.  There was a general dissatisfaction with Washington D. C. 

I remember that election.  The appointed president, Gerald Ford, was running against the Washington outsider, Jimmy Carter, the former Governor and peanut farmer from Georgia. A new, young, republican, I voted for Gerald Ford. 

The issues in that election, in addition to those stated above, were the trade deficit, the national debt, social security reform, health care’s rising costs, and assorted other issues.

I won’t delve into the reasons or the effectiveness, or ineffectiveness of each administration but it is clear to me that in the 10 elections since then the American people have elected individuals promising change to the Washington establishment.  Carter (governor), Reagan (governor), Bush (a one-term Washington insider exception – but as a Reagan disciple, a point can still be made), Clinton (governor), George W. Bush (governor), Obama (a rookie senator, so new that he may qualify as an outsider), Trump (a businessman outsider from New York). 

I think it is clear that Americans want change.  We want results from out Washington officials.  Do we have to wait?  How come Washington is so ineffective in making changes?  Has ideology supplanted the altruism of public service?  We have been looking to ‘drain the swamp’ since at least the 1970’s. I just don't know how we do that.  Term limits?   Isn't that what elections are all about?     

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Inauguration Day

 Yesterday was Inauguration Day.  I usually only watch parts of it.  Not a big fan of pomp and circumstance.  But, a few things caught my eye.  Fashion.  Yeah, fashion.  Me, the jeans and t-shirt kind of guy.  But I did like the yellow that the poet wore.  Two things caught my attention.  First, the bright yellow that she wore.  WOW.  Talk about attention grabbing.  Really caught my eye.  Second she is a poet laureate.  She is a poet.  I am myself a poet.  Nowhere near a poet laureate, but I write.  

So, I listened.  To the short excerpts on the news.  I was impressed by the optimism.  I checked out the complete text online.  (I know there are others, but I found this link:

The optimism she expressed is really the point of America.  The dream of a new life.  The  promise of a life that you make.  I encourage you to check out the poem.  I found it fantastic, uplifting, inspiring.  I see many great things to come for Ms. Amanda Gorman.  


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Short musings on my first day of retirement

 So, yesterday morning, my first full day of retirement, I woke at 7AM.  I showered and then wandered into the kitchen for a bowl of cereal and a cup of coffee. Great leisurely breakfast.  I like this.  

Morning hours spent doing minor chores. By lunch time I was looking for some quiet time.  After a nice lunch with my wife, I settled down to read. 

About 3PM I was in need of a nap.  I sat in my chair and closed my eyes.  Thirty minutes later my wife comes out of her office.  "You just couldn't resist, could you?" 

"Hey, I was tired when I woke up this morning.  But now, this afternoon, I got re-tired."  

I don't think she got it.  


Friday, January 8, 2021

Tommy Lasorda RIP, age 93.

Today I hear the news of the passing of Tommy Lasorda.  He was an amazing baseball manager.  I had a lot of respect for him and I loved to root against his team when they came to play my team.  Hey, that is the good spirited element of sports.  Still, you can't argue with his success.  And who can forget him being knocked over by a foul ball in that All-Star game?  Classic. 

I wrote this many years ago.  It was out of respect to him.

First Day of the Rest of My Life

 Cliche warning:  Today is the first day of the rest of my life.  A new beginning. I retired from my career yesterday. My department was really great in giving me a virtual send-off. It was nice seeing all my co-workers on the z**m call. It was a very nice send-off.  

I went to the office -the empty, vacant office - and turned in my computer and assorted equipment.  Turned over my notes on tasks to my boss. Left my badge and secure ID with the security guard and my career is over, done, kaput, complete. I set out to do what I wanted. I was a professional writer.  Check that box on the bucket list.  

Years ago while camping with a church group, I remember wishing on a falling star. I wished to be a writer.  Never doing much really to work towards that goal. Writing at my desk late at night.  Never revising.  Bad poetry, some essays, three lousy stories. Ideas. Lots of ideas. Papers stuffed in manila folders for future reference, or future sweat. I wished. I dreamed.  

I am a lazy writer.  I waited for inspiration.  Some works come from deep in my subconscious, late at night when the distractions have faded, or are non-existent.  I thought that was how writers wrote.  So, I waited for those moments. The more life got complicated the less often those moments showed up.

As a way to realize my dream, my wish, I sat in a writing seminar with "The Writer's Ink" in San Diego. The instructor had just described a term which described what kind of writer I am. Hypnagogia. A state of mind between wakefullness and sleep. I have some of my best ideas at this time, if I muster the energy and strength to get up out of bed and go write.  Some ideas are just lost.  "I'll write them down tomorrow,"  I always tell myself.  Most of the time that is just me lying to myself.  Sleep makes me forget my best ideas.  

Instructors tell you to have a notebook next to your bed.  Yeah, and turn on the light to write stuff down.  Wake your partner.   Wake the pets, who think it is morning and want food.  Or, as I get older, I have to fumble around in the dark for my glasses so I can find the notepad and pen.  Whatever happens, I never seem to catch all the hypnagogic ideas.  Some I do.  Sometimes I get up and go to my desk and write for 20 minutes, or an hour.  Mostly, I get short quatrains, or small 20-liners that I believe are so profound and beautiful that no one wants to publish them.  

But, I ramble. I wished to be a writer. I look back now and I realize I should have been more specific. I should have wished to be a best-selling writer, or a great literary writer. But all I wished for was to be a "writer". And so, yesterday I retired from my career as a technical writer of aerospace procedures. I was a  professional writer. I guess wishes and dreams do come true.  

 So, now onto the next dream.  If it weren't so rainy up here in the Pacific Northwest I would go sit outside and look for falling stars.  The next one I see I will wish for that best-selling author status, or that world renowned poet title.  But since it is rainy and cold I will toil away at my desk, til night fall and bedtime and hope that I am not too tired for the hypnagogia to lure me to creativity.  


Saturday, January 2, 2021

Our Columbia River Adventure

Update:  This was actually several months ago, in September, before the cruise stopped for the winter season.  I forgot to post it at that time.  


My wife and I decided to take a cruise on the Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler for a nice brunch.  It was such a gorgeous day.  We love our life. 

The Cascade Locks cruise is a great adventure.  It runs about two hours.  The first half is going upriver towards Hood River.  The narration points out the rounded core of an old volcano, which today just looks like a round hill.  The cruise turns about just about two miles east of our house.  And it was great to see Government Island, Government Cove, and the entrance to Herman Creek. 

Usually there is a lot of traffic on the river.  Sailboarders, windsurfers, and sailboats all love the gorge winds.  It makes for an adventurous ride.  A lot of the windsurfers have these boards with a small hydrofoil underneath.  One windsurfer told me that the hydrofoil provides lift that raises the surfer out of the water for a smoother ride.  “It is like flying,” he said.  After he said that I always looked it with even more awe than my original interest.  “Someday”, I dreamed. 

But while on our cruise my wife came back to our table with a picture of the wake boarders out this morning and afternoon. I followed my wife out the aft to watch the sternwheeler.  Then I, too, saw the wake boarders.  AMAZING.  They were using a small raft boat to tow them into the wake of the stern wheel and then they would glide along in the surf for, what seems to be quite the ride.  It is a site to see.  If the boarders fell in the water, the boat would circle around and then the boarders would grab the tow rope again, and in less than a minute or two, the boarders were back in the wake, surfing, “flying”.

I captured two short videos of those rides, but they may be too large to post here.  The first video is of our trip down river.  The second video is of our trip heading back to the dock.  In the second video you can see Bonneville Dam in the background.  I hope you like these two videos.  Maybe it will inspire you to come and visit the Columbia River Gorge.