Our dog Bixby is an endlessly cheery example of what is possible in a life, canine or otherwise. Eight years after his rescue, what one sees is a timorous, yet happy-go-lucky border collie mix who, moments ago, was standing doing his usual begging for a treat. You can imagine the general stance. A foot raised in anticipation, his little tongue going around in imaginary tasting mode.  And this is where we usually run into trouble. Bixby is too frightened to take a treat directly from my hand. Read more [...]

Lunch on the Embarcadero

It is 4:15 AM, and I am inexplicably awake. I might have been inexplicably asleep. Everything is inexplicable at that hour of the morning. My awakeness continues without further illumination. Our cat, Nutmeg, howls. Jane rises and attempts to soothe her. She announces that it is 4:45 AM. I am now aware of one important thing, the state of my nostrils. They are blocked, and this is not a good thing. Actually, it isn't a bad thing. But the blockage is enough to make an anxious person more anxious. Read more [...]


Well, this has been rather a momentous day in this introvert's mind. I am an incorrigible idealist in matters political. This makes me a chronically disappointed person, of course, barely able to cope with reality as it is. Still, this is a two-sided blade, as it were, and this very day it has cut both ways. I began the day by meeting a young man from Yale. That's right, in the heart of the Ivy League. Ah, but the plot thickens. This kid comes from a modest background, got into Yale on a scholarship, Read more [...]

By the Bay

June is bustin’ out all over, as Oscar Hammerstein put it, and in California June arrives in March. This is a most fortunate March. General climate projections have 40 million Californians living under the stresses of a drawing West Coast, winter shorter, snowpack smaller. But all this is in the future. The present is most enjoyable. Just stand on our upper deck, look out and see the neighborhood to our southeast, the Excelsior. The distant streets with their no-longer-cheap wood and stucco houses Read more [...]

Next Time

Well, this blog shall be short, but not sweet. Life hit us last night in the form of a medical emergency, all in the family, and let me point out, now totally resolved. The ending being a happy one. Meanwhile, Jane was suddenly gone. She spent the evening at a Bay Area hospital, and I faced an uncertain prospect. It wasn't clear when she would be home. It was clear that it was time to go to bed. So I did my best. And "my best" consisted of undressing on my own, by now a slow but doable process. Read more [...]


Indigenous people, that is to say people considerably wiser than myself, know when things are out of joint. In particular, they know that one thing is rarely off. The totality of things, the Gestalt, the zeitgeist, whatever big picture speaks to you, that is the thing that is off. I saw it yesterday during my tutoring session with Paulino. He has the wavering attention span of a nine-year-old. So I'm not surprised to see him tune in and out of a checkers game. But this was different. He really Read more [...]