Can I use your phone?

August 1, 2021.

We were having a cocktail on the patio.

Light was refracting at the bottom of this super cheap IKEA cocktail glass.

I asked Casey to use his phone’s camera as I was without all technology.

Thought it was pretty.

Up on a ladder at Wave Pool

I was in Camp Washington to take down some of the Reform America vinyl lettering that covered the front windows of Wave Pool. I wasn’t there for the installation, but just trying to chip away at these letters gave me immense respect for Cal, Eli and crew for getting it up at all.

In hindsight? This was an incredible undertaking and I’m proposing we avoid such installations in the future!

I did the best I could with wobbly legs and made some progress, but the letters way up the top were beyond my capability. Once I packed up supplies and ladder I did a loop through the gallery to see some of the art.

Good stuff.

Above: Erika Nj Allen’s Respira

A broken plate with a screenprinted design in blue ink
Terence Hammonds Welcome Edition #4 – The System Was Never Broken It Was Built This Way
A painting of colorful people holding shapes that resemble houses over their head
Sharareh Khosravani Untilted I from “Windy Land” series

Clicking away

Things will be very boring here for a while.

Example, I’ve resorted to adding a wired mouse to my favorites area.

(And in hindsight, I wish all those favorites were simply posts from this journal flagged as such, but that’s for some future day.)

I’ve half a mind to fast forward through these last 30 days and just catch up to today. Only thing that will be undocumented is lots of pictures of food and Edie, and lots of dealing with things and steeling with resolve.

Back at the desk

Normally I’d have started the day with a Zoom workout, but I jumped right into work instead.

Other things have reverted upon return. We’re back to remote working and doing pickups instead of going inside stores.

Oh, and I didn’t go into details about the haircut I had before vacation. It didn’t go well. I’m fine with going back to using clippers at home.

A miffed cat and a bunch of carbs

Unlocking the door to my apartment, Edie’s greeting was tinged with skepticism and intrigue. There was a month’s worth of scents on my luggage, so she started inspection there before checking me out to see if I was the same person I was before. (To answer that particular question, one really needs to specify a time span.)

Extra bonus: My neighbors Kathryn and Terry left a surprise on the counter with carb-filled goodies as a welcome home from “Keto Mountain.”

It was good to be home.


Casey watched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (his first viewing!) while I sobbed through Supernova — double masked, flying from SFO to SLC to CVG.

Considering the shift in variables, personal travel by plane will subside for the moment. (Sigh.)

It was fun while it lasted, and it shall be fun again.

In the meanwhile, here are some views along the way.

Photograph of a seatback video screen on a flight. The scene is of two men with their arms around another at the edge of a lake with an RV in the foreground
Supernova (touching film about a partner with dementia, but ultimately was so-so)
A view of the Oquirrh Mountains on the edge of Salt Lake City, Utha
Approaching Salt Lake City
A very tall smokestack at the base of the Oquirrh Mountains
Kennecott Garfield Smelter Stack
Dimensional paper cutouts of colorful paper butterflies
Pop Art 08 Rebecca Coles
Geometric colorful triangles form a piece of art
Urban Geometry by David Cheminant

The spaceship

It was possible to adjust our route from the coast and hit up Apple Park on the way.

Once I found out this was happening I got very excited.

I’d always wanted to visit Apple at some point and pay homage / tip my hat to the company that opened doors for realizing ideas so early in life.

They have a visitors center at the edge of the circular spaceship building with a store and viewing platform. Every detail and surface (particularly the stair case rails) were exquisite.

It was hard to see much of the main building from this vantage, but still… some micro-bucketlist item was checked off and I was thankful for the moment. (Plus also it was fun to see the new iMac colors IRL.)

Exterior of a modern designed glass and concrete building
Viewing through large panes of glass, the interior of an Apple Store is revealed
Three iMacs in pastel orange, yellow and red
T-shirts with Apple branding displayed in a retail setting
A man in a mask walks down a modern set of stairs.
A deck overlooking Apple Park

Along the coast

Our last days on this trip were spent with one of Casey’s best friends from Florida.

We spent the previous evening playing board games and noshing on charcuterie while gaps were filled in.

Waking up we hit the road to Half Moon Bay and drove down Highway 1 along the coast, popping in to a handful of beaches to get a glimpse of the ocean.

The last time I was on this particular route was 2003.

It was great to revisit from the passenger seat.

We deemed the Santa Cruz Boardwalk too busy for the moment, but that didn’t deter from the overall success of the day.

A largely empty beach on an overcast day
San Gregorio State Beach
Three friends in jackets pose for the camera
Chris, Casey & Amanda
A man and woman regard the ocean
Amanda & Chris at Pomponio State Beach
A lighthouse on a gray coastal morning
Pigeon Point Lighthouse
Stickers along the back window of a VW Squareback
VW Squareback and flowers
Orange poppies along a fence
A teal and yellow metal framed roller coaster against a blue sky and a single palm tree
Undertow roller coaster at Santa Cruz Boardwalk
A teal sky lift goes across the sky along a coastal boardwalk amusement park
Sky Glider at Santa Cruz Boardwalk

Larry was a dog person

If you couldn’t find him at a social engagement, he was probably wherever the pets were hanging out. He often preferred the company of dogs, but there were exceptions.

Larry was a husband.

Marrying his best friend and partner of many years in Massachusetts the summer it became legal in 2004 and celebrating the expansion to all states in 2015. Larry and Tom were inseparable.

Two men face each other during a marriage ceremony
Larry and Tom wed – June 28, 2004

Larry was fired up.

When it came to social issues and politics, he championed causes that favored liberty and justice for all. He never let up and inspired others to be aware and act.

Larry was sober over 30 years.

One day he up and made the decision and stuck with it. He became a supporter with a calm and relentless understanding for any who wrestled with addiction seeking help.

Larry was an advocate of fitness.

He found his calling in life and changed the lives of many, introducing folks to exercise for the first time or helping those already in good shape to achieve higher goals. He framed working out in a context of listening to, nourishing, challenging and honoring one’s body.

A man in a red shirt walks through a sunny day at a street fair
Tom and Larry at the Northside Art Market – August 2015

Larry was a survivor.

He overcame two bouts of cancer, the second during the height of the pandemic in 2020. After he started to regain his health, it was time to sell their beautiful Victorian home in the Gaslight district of Cincinnati and move to sunny shores.

Larry was a man that lived a dream.

Once in Florida, Larry and Tom eased into a life of retirement, walks along beaches, caring for their family of cat and dogs and a network of friends and family that spanned the globe.

Larry was a friend — a friend I loved dearly.

He changed how I consider my self, my capabilities and potential — as he had with so many others.

I would not be the person I am today without his guidance.

And as it pains me to write about Larry in the past tense, it is his stubborn, delightful and supportive spirit I carry forward.

He left us too soon.

Please be considerate. Get vaccinated, love everyone a bit extra and take time to pet the dogs.

Larry Johnson 1951-2021

Two men at a party
Larry and Tom at a pride party – June 7, 2014

Last day on the mountain

Charlie stopped by on his way out this morning and Darla was her normal adorable self.

Otherwise I didn’t use my cameras much on this last day up here—making mental images instead of this moment in time, this place.

It’s been such a wonderful experience.

I hope the rains come back this winter and to visit again.

Making Tsa-Tsas

I always wanted to get mom out to the mountain. She loved nature and wildflowers… and sorting through rocks, selecting favorites to keep. She marveled at moss and the cycle of nature.

She would have dug it out here.

But being this remote and angled can be a bit treacherous, so it was a trip we only talked about in hypothetical and somewhat magical regard.

I decided to bring some of her ashes on this trip to spread along the creek. Brent took hold of the idea and made it better. His experience in Tibet and with Buddhism presented the concept of making tsa-tsas – sacred objects to memorialize a spirit.

Brent gathered clay and flowers and we kneaded ashes into the foundation, putting them in a metal form of Tara.

Once dried, we placed one of these tsa-tsas on a moss-covered boulder by the creek. Surrounded by beauty, it will slowly make its way back into the earth.

The base mixture of clay and flowers
Hands holding a metal tsa-tsa form of Tara
The metal mold of Tara
Ashes on the clay mixture
Mixing in ashes
Kneading the clay mixture for tsa-tsas
Kneading things together
Erik kneads the clay mixture
Erik prepares clay for the form
Tsa-tsa metal form
Tsa-tsas of Tara dry in the sun
Ready to dry
A man holds a dog and another man stands by them
My thanks to Brent (and Bandit) for this lovely experience

Akin to meditation

I thought that having time on the mountain would fuel some sort of creative flow. What really happened were days filled with friendship, and appreciation of nature. Sitting outside these nights was a calm, quiet wall of being. There was no noise from data, just an acknowledgement of this powerful, magnificent and delicate world.

Trees against the last remants of sun against a deep blue evening sky