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18 NOV 2018 - This is the weekend before Thanksgiving (yeah, it's early this year - caught a lot of us by surprise!) and the skies are murky with the Camp Fire smoke. Without diminishing the trajedy of people who lost lives or homes, the smoke down here in the Bay Area is pretty bad. Schools closed a couple of days last week due to air pollution. I never subscribed to the idea that the smokey air is "dangerous" - the real danger is up in the mountains where the fire is burning - but the air quality certainly isn't healthy. Don't run any marathons if you can avoid it.

Tran family will be joining us for Thanksgiving along with my Mom and sister. Should be fun, but also a lot of work preparing the house and food. And right about now nobody feels like doing anything much...

 

23 AUG 2018 - Day 1 of our Hawaiian vacation and hurricane Lane has decided to join us. Aside from the usual hurricane disaster scenario (something that doesn't seem likely according to the weather forecasteres) I do have a few concerns.

First, we were waiting for an elevator in the hotel and it's hot and muggy in the hotel hallways, and Sunshine speculated that if the power went out then we wouldn't have AC either. That is NOT something I would want to face in Hawaii in August. It's hot and stuffy and not at all comfortable. When finally walking into a room or building that has AC, there's a feeling of relief that is quite a pleasurable sensation. I don't want to be here without AC.

The other concern involves the coastal road that leads from the airport to here. It's a small road, one lane each direction that winds along the coast and takes about 30 minutes to drive. It's a nice drive with wonderful views of the ocean, but what if that road gets washed out from the hurricane? We'd be stuck here until an alternate route became available, which could take weeks!!

More and more I realized there are a few scenarios involving a hurricane that I hadn't thought of before... such as a lack of services even though the storm itself isn't much of a threat. Stores and restaurants will be closed, and basic things like food and gas will be in short supply. We were fortunate to find a grocery store that had food, but the shelves were emptying quick and later in the morning the store began closing the door if too many people were inside. Once it emptied out they'd let a few more in... soon a line formed outside waiting for the opportunity just to buy groceries... not exactly my idea of a Hawaiian vacation.

 

Hawaii Breakfast22 AUG 2018 - On our way to Hawaii and this might not be a normal Hawaii trip... there's a forecast of a possible hurricane. The islands don't get many hurricanes - the last to actually make landfall was in 1992. But just my luck, after a Caribbean cruise that encountered endless rain and showers along with the coldest temperatures recorded, I'm now going to Hawaii to experience a hurricane. We'll see... would be my first major coastal storm.

FIRST DINNER IN HAWAII - Ugh. This was literally my dinner tonight. Our food options are limited to the single restaurant on the beach that serves several very large resorts - not only is it crowded with 1-1/2 hour waits, but it's also incredibly expensive. After realizing this we decided to either get something from the little market inside the hotel or drive to another restaurant outside the resort.

The kids found instant noodles in the little market, and each of our rooms have a kitchen, so they wanted to make a meal of instant noodles and spam... seriously. I could handle instant noodles if I was desperate, but not spam. So I finally settled for a large beer (this will fill me up) and a little protein from beef jerky.

 

 

11 AUG 2018 - Going thru our weekend morning routine - coffee and computers while quietly listening to music. We're on the patio with the Pulse 2 hooked up and a mix of pop songs is playing. One in particular song caught my attention... Another Grey Morning by James Taylor.

I know this song from years back after going thru a James Taylor phase. He's a great artist and I love everything from the early stuff up to his JT album. But the lyrics of Another Grey Morning are just so haunting and real. More here...

 

PERSPECTIVE - i posted this on Reddit in a sub that was discussing mental health issues related to the guy that stole and crashed a plane in Seattle:

My son was born brain damaged. He's now 26 years-old living in a full-time care facility. He's never been able to walk, talk or do anything except lay wherever he's placed. He lost the ability to chew and swallow so he has to be fed formula thru a tube in his stomach. He also has a seizure condition and grand mals are often at least once a day, so lots of anti-seizure meds to go with everything else.

I go to visit him once a week for a few hours and all he does is look at me with eyes that seem to know what's going on and murmur. He loves it when I'm there.

I don't mean to minimize depression or mental health issues, but every week I walk out of his home with an adjusted perspective of my own problems. It's a tremendous blessing to simply be able to walk and talk, let alone all the other talents and opportunities we have.

Sometimes life sucks and there's nothing that can be done except appreciate what you have. In the case of Richard Russell, I'm glad he had enough sense to crash without taking out others with him.

Count your blessings - it can always be worse.

 

29 JUL 2018 - Weird afternoon yesterday. In the morning I did a P90X workout (Plyometrics) that is tough, and it felt good starting out, so naturally I pushed it to the max. Done this so many times that I know what to expect even though it messes the rest of the day up... because I'm so wiped out that at some point later on I have to lay down and rest. Which happened around 4pm. So far so good.

Then at 6:30 Sunshine bursts in my sleeping solitude with animated demands to get dinner. She's big about eating on time, which is usually between 5-6pm, so I kind of understand what's going on. Still, I'm half awake trying to respond in a sensible manner to this continued, half jesting, attack. The result is I end up ordering a pizza that we will drive to pick up.

Okay - all is under control... so far.

Then while driving there, still somewhat groggy, I'm cut off by another driver and nearly get in an accident. The important thing is nothing really happened, but it put me in a bit of a mood. Why the hell don't people pay attention when they drive?!! Whatever...

So we get to the pizza place, I walk in and let them know I'm here to pick up a pizza that was called in. The gal behind the counter is somewhat rude and immediately accuses me of calling the wrong place, because they don't have my order. Still smarting from the near accident I get defensive and insist I called the right place and then, without thinking, place and order on the spot for another pizza. She takes the order, I pay, and wander back to the truck where Sunshine is waiting. I explain everything to her, including that we now need to wait another 20 minutes for a pizza.

I pull out my phone to check what number I originally called and sure enough, I called a place that's a couple miles down the road. Crap - I paid for the one we're currently waiting for and the other place has my name and number. We discuss it and initially I'm going to blow off the original order.

Then I get to thinking... I'm in a sour mood because of a foolish driver and rude pizza worker. How can I complain about other people being assholes when I'm ready to stick this other pizza place with an unclaimed order? I decide I'm not going to be that guy.

Long story shorter, I pick up the original pizza (yes we now have two extra large pizzas) and drop it off at the home my son is at. Kind of unusual to walk in unannounced with a pizza, but I think they liked it.

So yeah - moral of the story: don't complain about people being jerks if you're planning on being one too. Suck it up, admit when you do something stupid and try to fix it as best you can.

'Nuff said.

dmv24 JUL 2018 - Wow... just wow. Spent 6 hours at DMV yesterday renewing my drivers license. Got a notice that it was expiring and this time I'd need to go down to an office in person to renew. I tried to schedule an appointment but the earliest would have been 2 weeks after my license expired (just checked and the next appointment available from today is November 16th). So I decided to grunt it out and just wait in line.

Holy mother of St. Sacramento - waited 2-1/2 hours standing (no place to sit) just to get a number. Once the sacred number (GG0091) was awarded it took an additional 3 hours before my turn. Another half hour of processing the special docs for a Real ID, eye test, and photo. I walked out zombie like, too exhausted to even bother with an attitude.

I know it's the DMV, but there has to be a better way.

 

 

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