Journal

Monday, January 21, 2019

Pick up mom from the hospital post hip replacement surgery. She's in good form. My parents together is another story all together, but, in the end, we all pull our weight and make it to their house after a brief stop at the pharmacy for pain meds.

Get back home to Emily who is franetic trying to make an impossible deadline on the eve of her departure back to the east coast for a job. We agree that the day is totally off and we can't wait for it be over. The Great British Baking Show lends a sense of civilized relief to a challenging day.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Make a fancy breakfast for Emily's first morning back home in a week. We discuss the job she has just finished and her quick turnaround, she's back on plane for Maryland on Tuesday.

Tell her about my desperately mediocre experience at the Farm Shop and we decide that going out for drinks has become highly overrated. The experience of going to many of the bars in Marin and San Francisco has become and exercise in getting fleeced. We think back to our last trip to Paris and how going out to meet friends for a drink in Europe is much more of a congenial social excursion rather than a contrived Disneyland-ish outing requiring a heavy financial commitment.

By way of an experiment and protest, we decide to cut our dinners or drinks out by more than two thirds. By our reckoning we think this will save us enough money to take a trip somewhere within a few weeks.

To the office for an incredibly frustrating morning of distractions. Then off to the city to help my father.

Make it back to Marin just in time to catch a quick hike.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Get dolled up to attend a charity event at The Palace Hotel in San Francisco. On the way a stop at the hospital to visit my mother. She's just had her hip replaced this afternoon. My father is there, he informs that the surgery has gone well.

Join Julie C and John C at the benefit event for military veterans. After the event ends, Julie, John, and I grab drinks at the hotel bar.

Stop by the hospital again, on the way home. My mother is in some discomfort as the effect pain meds diminish.

Home and immediately to bed.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

It pours with rain. A quick haircut with a substitute stylist, mine if off having a baby.

Meet Tamsen for a hike. We're hopeful that we can take advantage of lull in the weather. The storm that's coming is predicted to be torrential.

After an hour hike, we get back to the car just as the first drops start to fall. Pick up BBQ, the deluge and wind are in full force. Umbrellas are ripped from peoples hands walking the parking lot of the mall. Tamsar and I get to my house and settle in with Casino Royale, BBQ, and bourbon.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

On grey rainy days like today we in California always say something like, "it's a good thing, we need the water," as veiled way to cover up our disappointment that the sun is concealed by cloud cover.

Come across an article that contends the use of sunscreen causes a Vitamin D deficiency. It says skin cancer comes from burning, repair, and burning, not normal tanning. And taking Vitamin D supplements to counter the compulsive sunscreen slathering that's been heavily advocated for the last three decades is all but useless and, in fact, preventing Vitamin D absorption from the sun via the sun is deleterious to one's health. The article is backed by compelling statistics of numerous studies. In light of recently reading Steven Poole's book Rethink: The Surprising History of New Ideas, I think that the article may be on to something and, indeed, radically important.

It's a busy day that goes by remarkably fast. By late afternoon my hopes for a break in the rain to take a much needed trek up the hill are dashed. The deluge continues unabated and it's cold outside to boot.

Meet Lynn C for drinks and charcuterie at the Farm Shop in Larkspur. I consistently try to like this place, I mean the interior is nice, the location is great, and the food is good, but it just misses every time. It's not welcoming. The bar is half a block long which feels like an assembly line for drinking. One is largely ignored by the bartenders. The drinks are a little overpriced and too carefully measured which gives the drinking experience an Orwellian overtone. The cocktails are are served in glasses that look specifically designed to embellish the precision measures. Kind of like drinking out of a wine glass with a horizontal hash mark half way up to demark the correct level of wine to pour. Bartenders are artists in their own right, let them splash a few milliliters more or less of the components of a cocktail according to their taste and style. I am not a number, I am a drinker.

Monday, January 14, 2019

My intention to sleep solidly through until six a.m. is handily thwarted by a nightmare that shocks me awake at four. Try all my various insomnia remedies, none work. What's really necessary is a less busy life. Leap out of bed at 5:45 to make breakfast for Em and then take her to SFO for her flight to Maryland.

Back home by seven-thrityish and pass out until five minutes before my nine o'lock UK call.

Learn that Magnum photos in the UK is going to start using BB. That means our software is used by the two largest photojournalism archives in the world; National Geographic and Magnum. It's cause for ebullient lunch with Chantal.

The day passes under rain clouds. Which is good, this state always needs the water. Inexplicably short circuit a perfectly good work momentum and piss away two hours on something daft. Mildly disappointed in myself decide that only a home cooked meal, James Bond, and a large whiskey can pull me back together. It does.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Start the day writing over breakfast. Completely trash the first two chapters of the novel in lieu of more succinct opening.

A lazy day of catching up on tons of emails. I really don't see the need for so much communication. Have a nice chat with Emily T, the youth of today, who is in New York.

See Leah, my favorite USC candidate, at the bakery. Pick up the normal fare at Joe's and head to my father's for dinner.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Spend the day wrangling various tasks to help Emily prep for her trip to Baltimore tomorrow. Make a half hearted attempt at getting some of my own work done, but decide that tomorrow is better suited for catching up.

Pick up Kira S from Mill Valley and drive to the city for dinner at the The Slanted Door with our friend Jane who's in from New York for a few days. Bridgid, Jane's daughter, makes a surprise appearance which turns the evening into a fabulous time.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Meet with producer Karen D who was kind enough to fly from Los Angeles to the BB offices here in Kentfield. It's a long day made more tolerable with lunch at Taco Janes. Chantal and I cross swords a few times. Two different styles of managing a meeting. In the end it all works out fabulously.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Start at 6:30 a.m. totally befuddled why I'm up so early. Dive into an article due by midday for Kimi, a contemporary take on a piece I did a decade ago.

At the office for an hour before the fabulous two show up, Gabrielle at ten and Chantal at eleven. Kick C and G out at noon so I record a podcast with Kimi who's in LA.

Chantal and I go through a tiresome but necessary list of decisions for the company. Gabrielle departs, feel like today was a burn for her. Lot's of stuff on her plate. Chantal runs out a bit later.

The busy day ends with dodging a personal bullet. Can be quite discouraging to go down old trodden roads, but I just about do it before pulling back, realizing that it's a tired prospect.

Quick hike just after sunset before heading home. Start a new series, Killing Eve, which is brilliant and the highlight of the day.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

At work today and it's not going well. My mind is still in travel mode and weekends, even after long holidays, are meant for fun. Outside it's dumping rain for the second day.

Settle in for a long fabulous call with Ali. It's been months since we've caught up.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Spend part of the day at the office. A break in the rain gives me and opportunity for a short trek on the hill. Emily and I head out to the movies to see Favorite which is just incredible. Spend the rest the evening sipping bourbon, eating great food, and talking about the movie.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

San Luis Obispo—Have a chat with Diane, one of the proprietors of Petit Soleil, at breakfast. For some reason I'm having a difficult time sounding intelligent. My mouth opens and dumb words flop out like suicidal salmon leaping out of a creek onto the shore. Too many familial social interactions over the last few weeks of the holidays me thinks.

Desert like landscape at Lake Laguna.

Sufficiently recovered from our eleven mile hike two days ago, Emily and I head to Lake Laguna for a farewell trek. The sky is a crisp blue owing to the winds that have been whipping around for the last few days.

Cliff at Montana de Oro.

Get word that my meeting scheduled for this evening is postponed for two weeks which Emily and and I take as a sign to extend our departure time. Celebrate with a trip to MontaƱa De Oro to see the cliffs and feel the wind. Without a doubt one of the most beautiful parks in California.

As the sun sets, we grab our bags and hit the road. Make remarkably good time home. Whip up a quick dinner and settle in for a movie before heading to bed. There's a palpable sense that vacation is over and although the week is eerily quiet because the holiday fell midweek, my calendar tells a dreadful story that tomorrow is full of calls and tasks.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

San Luis Obispo—Meet Emily for coffee in downtown SLO. Then meander around the town a bit.

Dinner at Korberl at Blue to see one of our favorite bartenders who's in a bit of a snit. He makes us a too sweet Manhattan before he tells us that he's not actually working the bar this evening. Nevertheless, the evening is a hit under the care of Jeremy, the bartender on duty. Unable to finish the Manhattan, Emily and engage in tasting tour of bourbons ryes as we eat our way through a myriad of small plates of food.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

San Luis Obispo—To Irish Hills for a short hike which turns into a long hike when Emily declares she wants to see the ocean. Up and up and up on the Ocean View trail without any idea how far we have to trek to see the actual view.

As the sun sinks closer to the hill tops, I check my watch; an hour until sunset, followed by 30 to 35 minutes of twilight (civil and nautical). After that we'll lose our depth perception (astronomical twilight). A mountain biker tells us that we're less than a mile a from the top. We soldier on. From what I remember of the map posted at the trailhead, we've come too far to go back the way we came with the remaining light.

Ocean view.

Emily and Lou at sunset.

At last the top. Acknowledge the view, a hug, a kiss, and a selfie, then it's time to get a wiggle on to get back to the car before dark. Confirm with another mountain biker that we're headed in the right direction. We are, but the wide sweeping gesture he makes with his hands to describe the canyon we have to walk through leads me to believe that I radically underestimated the distance.

Field at dusk.

The descent is breathtaking. The silence and the soft breeze provide an other-worldly ambiance. Through the trees, on the faces of distant hills, we see the remnants of sunset. The clock is a concern now.

Break off of the Ocean View trail to the Froom Creek trail which takes through the previously described canyon. Emily and I talk about how the pale dirt and rock feel like we're traversing a western desert. Round a point and hear traffic din which gives us hope that we might indeed make it before the light fades. But, looking at the canyon walls, I think how they're spectacularly efficient at reverberation. My guess is the soundscape we hear is actually a long long way off. Forge ahead in good spirits.

The rocky terrain and tired legs cause more missteps and stone kicking. Remind Emily to stay focused. Fatigue, haste, and rough ground make ideal conditions for ankle sprains. She chides me for speaking the obvious. Finally the connector trail which leads us to the trail we started on. To the right, across 200 yards of grass and brambles, a fence and the Costco parking lot. In front of us another three quarters of a mile of trail to the car. The silhouettes of a group of kids on mountain bikes are barely discernable. We make the call to go off trail, through the brambles, and a muddy creek to the parking lot.

Find a TJ Max. Walk in looking slightly bedraggled and smelling outdoorsy. Emily buys, for a great price, a fabulous new coat to defrost under. Next door at Whole Foods, we eat packaged sushi while waiting for a Lyft to take us back to our car. All in all we trekked just over ten miles. A fabulous way to start the new year.