... the journal

The Guest
Refrigerator Door

Now we have some magnets from Bob, who is an internet-friend I've never met, but who sent this series...

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Becoming a Man:
Half a Life Story

Paul Monette

My Amazon wish list


Steve's Show

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That's it for today!



15 November 2001

I'm having a difficult time getting into the mood to write this entry. It was a full day, one which was not entirely happy.

The day began much too early -- 2:30 a.m. I'd fallen asleep too early and by 2:30 had slept 5 hours, which is my normal night of sleep, so I was wide awake. I probably could have gone back to sleep, but I also realized that by going to sleep so early, I had not done any work and figured I should get up and get something done.

First, of course, I got a journal article put up (I do have my priorities, after all). Then I started to get some transcription done, but found out that my transcription unit was not working right. I can still transcribe, but it's driving me nuts and needs to go in for repair. By the time I came to that conclusion, I was feeling like maybe I could sleep a bit more, so I blew off work entirely and decided to get into my recliner, turn on some boring TV and see if I couldn't sleep for another hour.

I was starting to doze off when my mother came downstairs. We thought her plane for Seattle left at 8:45, but she realized that was the time it arrived and that it really left a bit after 7, so we had to leave for the airport right away.

We got her suitcase in her Lexus and rushed out to the airport. Everything you read says to get to the airport 2 hours early nowadays and we were hoping that we weren't too late. Not only were we not too late, but the terminal looked totally deserted. There were no other passengers--there wasn't even a clerk at the Alaska airlines desk! But I dropped her off and came back home again.

Walt was about to leave for So. California and I gave him the happy news that I would be using the Lexus, which meant he could take our car and not a company car (which will give him more "mobility" on his trip).

He was reading the San Francisco Chronicle, which had just arrived. In it was the long-awaited review of The Last Session. The reviewer hated the show. It was one of the worst reviews the show has ever received. I've never been able to figure out what's with San Francisco critics. Over the years, I've watched a number of very good shows totally destroyed by what seems to be the critic's interpretation of their job title as meaning they need to find something to criticize. The San Francisco production has a couple of things I would complain about, but this guy destroyed everything. Hated the story, could just barely tolerate the tunes, but hated the "rambling" lyrics.

Steve and I got on IM and talked about the review for a bit. That's the problem with reviews (I say, as a reviewer!). Once they're written there's nothing you can do about it. If you say "yes...but...!" it comes across as sour grapes. You take your show in your hands whenever you invite a reviewer to come and offer his opinion. The critics for this particular production in general have not been excited, but the Chronicle review was by far the worst.

But couldn't mope about that for long, because I had to get to work. It was a short day, but I got a lot done. I've almost completely finished all the screw ups of my predecessor and we almost can start afresh. This is a very good thing. Now all the screwups from here on are my own. So knowing how badly things have been messed up before, I'd better know what I'm doing and do it!

Our last patient came in at 2 and when she left, I rushed through cleaning up the exam area so I could hop in the car and get back to the airport to pick up Steve. He was coming for a few hours to give a talk to the Sutter Davis general medical staff meeting. A busy few hours. Pick him up, come home to check e-mail and contact Leon Schimmel MD, my former boss, who had arranged for Steve's appearance, get out for an early dinner, so Leon could meet Steve, at least, before he introduced him. Then up to the hospital for the performance itself.

There was not quite the crowd that had been predicted (60), but the doctors did finally straggle in. I was pleased to see that not only was my old boss Leon there, but my new boss, Dr. G, as well as the psychiatrist I transcribe for! By the time Steve was into his second or third song I could see he "had them." He gave his usual moving performance, which had to be cut short because we had to race back to the airport. No time to sell CDs or talk to folks afterwards. He finished his last number, waved goodbye, and we were racing out to the car.

I dropped him off and came back to an empty house, and went to sleep at 8:30 (which means, of course, that I'm writing this at 3 a.m. again).

But as I drove back from the airport, I finally had time to process the information I'd received that afternoon, just before Steve and I went to dinner. It was an e-mail from my friend Char, who said that she had been trying to get in touch with our mutual friend Tim Toohig, a Jesuit priest/physicist, whom we have known since college. Unable to reach him, she finally contacted the Jesuits to find out where he was. That was when she discovered that in September, while attending a meeting at the Stanford Linear Accelerator, he suffered a heart attack and died.

I am still stunned. This is the first person from our peer group from college to have died. He was 73, which surprised me. I don't know why. I knew he was older than I, but I guess I didn't realize he was that much older. I didn't know Tim as well as Char and some of the others did, but he had a lasting effect on my life, since he was the priest who married Walt and me. He had been ordained just the week before, and we were his very first wedding. He has since gone on to marry some of the children of people in our group, and to baptize some of their babies. We haven't spent a lot of time with him, but have enjoyed getting caught up with him when he was in town. I can't quite believe that he's gone.

As Jeri's godmother wrote, when she read the news, "The world has lost a brilliant man and we have all lost a wonderful friend."

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Were we ever this young?

One Year Ago:
Surrounded by Brasilians

(Club Photo has started deleting
photo albums after 90 days,
so the photos which were once there,
have been removed now)

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Created 11/9/01 by Bev Sykes