Monday, December 26, 2011

San Francisco, on the way to Asia

It was a wonderful Christmas. Santa came early and left gifts and filled stockings - incredibly we actually found some bits of carrots that the reindeer didn't finish on the front steps - wow! I read The Night Before Christmas same as I have for the past 25 Christmas eves. And the magic of Christmas and our little family.

We stayed at Charles' house, so were with David and Charles most of the time (Charles was on-call, hence working
on and off through Christmas eve and day). We all cooked and hung out and walked around the neighborhood (Castro and Noe Valley). David and Charles made a roast, curry, macaroni and cheese, souffles and I baked two pecan pies.

Leslie and I did our usual San Francisco trip ... trolleys and buses all over creation. Look at that! Yeah, Look at that building ... house ... garden ... trolley ... person - over and over again. Look! Look!

Photo: And look at that pecan pie Leslie and David are holding! Taken with camera David and Charles gave us.

Of course we made it to Good Luck Dim Sum. Of course we found new (to us) bus routes. Of course we went to Haight-Ashbury and Golden Gate Park. Of course we found new places and new marvels. over and over again ... Look! Look! Of course we made it to new places and new marvels.

We wanted to be sure we didn't wear out our welcome and so moved from Charles' house at the junction of Noe Valley and The Castro to David's apartment waaay up the hill in Diamond Heights/Twin Peaks. So here we are with San Francisco and the Bay spread out before us diamond lights in the night and fog in the morning. We're leaving tomorrow night for Hong Kong. Leslie has (again) gotten us brilliant seats on that big Cathay Pacific 747 - at the back of the plane where the fuselage begins tapering and there isn't room for three seat rows, so we're in one of three rows on each side of the plane with two seats + space between the seats and the bulkhead to stretch our legs. Niice.

Photo: David and Charles outside of David's apartment

I'm reading one of the books I've been saving for travel - Jon Krakauer's Eiger Dreams. Here is something from the chapter titled On Being Tentbound: "Being tentbound isn't wholly
an ordeal. The first few hours can pass in a dreamy euphoria while you lie peacefully in your sleeping bag, watching raindrops trickle down the outside of the translucent fly, or the snowdrifts slowly climb the walls." Exactly so. Cozy in my tiny space, glad I did a good job of getting stakes in and reinforcing them with rocks (the wind blows hard in the Wind Rivers), rearranging my stuff, getting ready for the short dash to the overhanging rock where I'll brew up some coffee or hot chocolate - ahhhh.

On the road again.
(The following written before the preceding - what can I say but that it's the internet) It's Sunday. I stayed home from church to prune the roses and get the yard squared away in general. Last night I did a good close-to-final packing so that I have all my stuff + our medicine bag + the "kitchen" and electronics box (coffee, sugar, heater, plugs adapters, etc.) in a medium-size roller. I also have a carry-on daypack with a laptop, books, weeks worth of medicine, etc. in it. There's also a shoulder bag which we'll leave in Cali. Leslie has a shoulder bag and a carry-on bag. Summary: check one bag, carry on the rest.

Photo: What a great trolley coming up the F Line! I think it's one of the ones from Cincinnati or Baltimore (SF bought old trolleys from various places and volunteers restored them).

The past few days I've felt occasional waves of euphoria as the trip gets closer
and closer and and it's two days before we leave.
Tuesday. Last night we talked more about the sense of adventure with this trip.

"Whole generations of westerners who went out there as soldiers, doctors, planters, or journalists lost their hearts to these lands of the Mekong ... there are places that take over a man's soul." Jon Swain

Leslie feeling waves of anxiety and euphoria. Me too. This feels like an adventure. The route is not untraveled (San Francisco, Hong Kong, Hanoi, Ninh Binh, Hue, Dalat(?), Saigon, Can Tho(?), Chau Dac(?), Phnom Penh, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, BK, HK, SF), but still, given our ages, every trip has the distinct potential of being the last. And, even in these days of bottled clean water and plenty of aircon guesthouses, there's some of what some people would see as somewhat hard traveling in that route + it's hot, and maybe, hopefully raining some. At this stage of the game it's a challenging trip. Like the Sherpas say, Ever Onward!

These lands of the Mekong ...

Monday, December 12, 2011


2011 has been an amazing year, and I'm filled with gratitude. We’ve had some really good times with David and an intense family time in May. Leslie and I have traveled a lot, hung out together a lot – these are the days. Leslie is taking care of business. I’ve been baking and cooking some wonderful things (see below). I was able to backpack again(!) and am planning on going back into the mountains in 2012. Photos: Spring, Wind Rivers, San Francisco & home, CK's SF trip, Trance & assorted, Thanksgiving

Next year we may need to slow down some.

Photo: Spring at our house

Part of retirement has been (thus far) a marked reduction in time and effort in helping others. Leslie is doing a big job with someone who has pancreatic cancer and other serious problems and I’ve been helping some with that, but she’s doing most of the work. Maybe we’ll get back to those sorts of things further down the road; maybe not. Maybe our race is run and it’s goodbye to all that.

Our house smells like coffee every day. Some days it smells like coffee and chocolate, some days like garlic and chilies, some days like cookies and hot chocolate, some days like curry and chutney, some days like bread coming crusty and brown hot off the stone and out of the oven.

January – We traveled for about 8 weeks in Cali and SE Asia with David (the trip started 11/2010 and ended 1/2011).

Photo: Junior wren - her or his first day to fly

February – Arthroscopy knee.

March – Cali (Oakland & SF) – some good times.

April – I went to Oklahoma to see Jeff for a couple of days – a good trip.

May – Berkeley for David’s graduation from Berkeley Law School (photo below). Congratulations! And talk about an intense family trip. What a great thing to have been there, then.

June – Deep in the Heart of Trances (photo below), which was wonderful and Sonic Bloom, which wasn’t. Deep in the Heart felt like coming home; Leslie to San Francisco to spend a week with David.

July – Rest. LOL, after I wrote “Rest” I quit working @ the Agape Clinic – differences in values. I’m fully retired. What a wonderful career and what a wonderful time working with Leslie.

August – Full Moon party @ Armadillo Acres; backpacking in the Wind Rivers, into the alpine and the incomparable Titcomb Basin, again! Past the trees, into the alpine, rock and snow, water and tundra, high and wild and beautiful

September – Many days August and September over 100o; Leslie to SF for a week with DK and at Holden’s; David home for a few days; CK to SF for a week, staying with DK.

Photo: David after receiving his diploma

October – We had a brilliant trip to SF and Berkeley – saw David, 4 days at Grant in Chinatown and 4 days at Judy’s guesthouse in Berkeley (Leslie got us $99 RT tix DFW-SFO – we had to go); party near Austin.

November – Soul Rise, a perfect psytrance gathering in the Hill Country - good times with Loyed, Melvin, Roberto, Devon, Derick, Chris, and others; I reached my goal of doing the same # push-ups as my age: 67; to San Francisco for a great Thanksgiving with David.

December – home from SF, getting ready for SF and Asia.

Some of what I’ve cooked in the past several years is listed below. Baking has been a wonderful experience:

Flour in the air!

Flour in my hair!

Flour on my nose, ears,

Flour everywhere!

Photo: One of my campsites in the Winds

Mains & related

Tomato basil soup

Bun cha


Grilled chicken (Cajun, jerk, curry)



Tom ka

Tom yum

Avocado salad

Poulet Marengo

Stuffed chicken breast

Mushroom soup


Crostinis a la Leslie + pesto, kalamatas, other

Goan curry

Tikka masala



Assorted dehydrated things

Photo: The bench in front of the Star Grocery - where we sit to have morning coffee in Berkeley


Whole wheat bread from Tassajara


Batards and Boules from Acme Bread Co. recipes

No-knead bread

Country French sourdough

Sourdough and yeasted breads with cheese, kalamata, herbs

Photo: Sunday morning at Deep in the Heart of Trances


Pecan pie from Cook’s Illus.

Pecan pie (chocolate/bourbon), whipped cream

Toasted pecans


Banana pancakes

Hot chocolate

Chocolate pie almond crust

Pecan sandies

French toast with eggnog

Honey bars from Tassajara

Apple cobbler

Banana nut bread

Orange marmalade


Pear, strawberry preserves

Chocolate chunk pecan cookies


Ice cream (chocolate, vanilla, pistachio)

Oatmeal-raisin-walnut cookies

Triple chocolate cookies

Chocolate pecan torte

Photos: Above is of peach blossoms and below is whole wheat bread and some oatmeal cookies