simplifying my walk

For a number of years now I have listened to lectures from The Great Courses on my iPod when I took my walks. It has worked out well and I really enjoyed it. Recently I wrote about how I couldn’t get a clean copy of the lectures onto my iPod from iTunes. What I did was start streaming my lectures from the Great Courses app, which has worked out fine now that we have a more generous data plan on our iPhones.

Great Courses for iPhone appInitially I was concerned about the transition from WiFi to cellular as I got out of range of our house. Turns out that’s not an issue. That is all handled seamlessly and I listen to the lecture without interruption as I head out.

The other advantage is even better. At one time when I downloaded lectures from the Great Courses I could click a button and it would download all 24 or 36 lectures automatically to iTunes while I walked away. Some time back they changed that, and I had to download each lecture individually. Big pain.

Now that I’m streaming I don’t even have to think about that. And instead of having both my iPod and my iPhone (with the fitness app that records my time and distance) on my belt, I only have my iPhone.

Simpler and easier. Much better!


forever in corduroy?

I have long been a “forever in blue jeans” kind of guy. I haven’t always worn blue jeans, but somewhere along the line I started wearing them and have done so for many decades.

corduroy pantsI did not wear blue jeans during my Claremont cockroach days. I certainly did not have a lot of money for new clothes then. I did not have a lot of money, period. But one of my Claremont friends turned me on to a hole-in-the-wall clothing outlet store where I found a pair of corduroys at a really good price. They were my favorite pair of non-work, casual trousers until I wore them absolutely threadbare.

That was in the mid-1970’s. I haven’t owned a pair of corduroys since. Until now. I reinstated my Lands End account online to order a pair of slacks for church, since the pair I had been wearing were seriously falling apart. I got an email from them that offered fifty percent off a regularly priced item. And they tantalizingly featured cords in that same email.

I ordered one pair half off full price and another heavily discounted, apparently on close out. So now I have two new pair of corduroy.  Terry loves them and I am really enjoying my soft, comfortable corduroys for the first time since 1975 or so.


our local dining scene

Several months ago the last restaurant here in Hemet to serve a range of American cuisine in a pleasant sit-down environment closed. That was The Anchor. It is now the Mexican restaurant El Patron, which rose from the ashes, you might say, their previous location having burned to the ground. While many in the community are delighted about the opening, I am also sad about the loss. I remember the Anchor growing up.

The Anchor restaurant signI have thought a lot recently about how the dining scene here in Hemet has changed from when I was growing up. Today we have a nice Thai restaurant for dinner, as well as a very nice Italian place. But we no longer have a go-out-for-a-nice-dinner restaurant that serves American cuisine.

It was very different when I was growing up. In addition to the Anchor, there was G’s Steak House (where I worked as a dishwasher for about two evenings), The Quarter Horse, The Stables (yes, two horse motifs), Reimer’s, and finally the estimable Embers restaurant.

It was a much smaller town with a wider range of choices. I know the demographics are very different today than they were in the 1960’s, but the fact that we don’t have such a restaurant today makes me scratch my head a bit. And makes me a little sad.


our amazing child

It’s November 1st, so that means I am writing about Tasha. It was on 1 November, All Saints’ Day, 2005 that we brought Tasha home from the shelter. The vet told us at the time that she was about a year-and-a-half, so that makes her 13 ½ now.

TashaShe is still as active as ever. Sometimes she has a bit of a problem jumping up on the bed in the evening, but otherwise she hasn’t really slowed down at all. She insists on her walks twice a day and all other aspects of her routine are important. She has to have her canned food at 7:00 in the morning when the light in the great room goes on. She needs her dry food about 7:30 when we generally get up, as well as in the evening at around 5:20. It’s important that I head into the kitchen to fix dinner about 6:30 and that we go into the bedroom and put our feet up on the bed right after dinner (where we read the paper and our books). That’s when she has to have her chew.

She is our amazing child and a central part of our lives.


our whistling tea kettle

Tea KettleAt the same time that we realized we needed to replace our toaster oven we noticed that the cord on our electric hot pot was getting hot as well. As my firefighter brother, who knows about such things, told us with respect to the toaster oven, that is a fire hazard waiting to happen.

We therefore put the hot pot in the cabinet in the garage and went to that store where we’ve been spending a lot of money lately: Bed Bath & Beyond. We bought a stove top whistling tea kettle.

As the weather starts to turn cooler and we drink more hot tea the kettle provides a comforting, reassuring sight and sound.


Farewell, Fr. Rob

Yesterday was Fr. Rob’s last Sunday at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church. We will miss him. At least I will miss him. But I think it’s accurate to say that we collectively will miss him.

Fr. RobFr. Rob first joined us on All Saints’ Sunday 2016. He has provided us with some superb leadership. He certainly gave the profile committee on which I served some much-needed guidance. I believe he has done the same for the vestry and the search committee. He has taken a personal interest as I have been developing my web and writing business.

I haven’t agreed with him on everything. We disagree on the dating of certain books of the Bible as well as on Biblical exegesis. I don’t like his emphasis on evangelism. But I love his high church mentality and his respect for the liturgy. He brought vestments out of the sacristy that I believe had sat untouched for a number of years.

It would be good if he could stay a while longer since we have not yet found a new rector, but the mileage we have paid him to come down from Tulare means that his earnings are maxed out in the eyes of the Church Pension Fund. That, combined with the wording of his contract, means that an extension is not possible.

Fr. Rob is one of those people about whom I can honestly say:

quoteWho can say if I’ve been changed for the better,
but because I knew you,  I have been changed for good.


the Dodgers in the World Series

I have to say something about the Dodgers making it to the World Series this year. The last time they were there, after all, was 1988.

In 1988 I was living in San Jose and was still a Dodger fan. I didn’t develop a fondness for the Giants until Terry and I were renting a house in Mountain View in the mid-1990’s and I listened to Hank Greenwald’s marvelous play-by-play on the radio when I was outside doing yard work. But during that famous game 1 in 1988 I turned the television on and saw that the Dodgers were behind. I turned the TV off. I missed Kirk Gibson’s famous walk-off home run that won the game for the Dodgers. Gibson, who was in a great deal of pain, and spent most of the game on the trainer’s table in the clubhouse, pulled on his uniform and came into the dugout. Tommy Lasorda sent him in to pinch hit and Gibson came through. And I missed it.

Terry and I returned to Southern California in 2015, and despite my years as a Bay Area snob and a Giants fan, could not help but return to rooting for the team that I grew up loving. The Dodgers moved to Los Angeles in 1958 when I was five and my dad and I began following them from the very beginning.

Now, 29 years later, the Dodgers are back in the World Series. It’s an exciting time.