Friday, July 10, 2015

The Constant Moon

Yesterday afternoon, after my girlfriend got to her mother’s house to help her for a few days, I got a call from her asking what could be wrong with her television or her remote.  Her mother is somewhat house-ridden because she has C.O.P.D, and the television is her primary means of entertainment.  So, having long ago anticipated that something like this might happen, given how my own similar HD cable set up does that wackiest things now and then, I had on my phone photos I had taken of both of her remote control devices for the television and the cable, and I used them to start to trouble shoot with her. 

It doesn’t take an elderly person to hit a couple wrong buttons in sequence to find themselves neck deep in a menagerie of error line input messages and a black screen.  I’ve done it myself too many times.  So speaking with my girlfriend, I walked her through a few of the options of what might be wrong and how to correct the possible problem(s).  In the past, this has worked, but as the evening went on, I couldn’t seem to untangle whatever the problem was over the phone. 

So I told my girlfriend to call their cable company’s tech support, which happened to still be open.  This was about 9:00pm in the evening.  I thought that there was possibly some system problem that the cable company might know about, and which I didn’t.  But after about forty-five minutes, I texted my girlfriend and asked her if she had solved the problem.  She called back.  “Nope!”  The lady on the tech line had tried to have her use the television remote (as opposed to the cable remote) and had told her to make sure the line in was on HDMI 1.  But nothing had happened.  She also reported back to me that the first time that someone from the cable company could go out there would be Monday. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Mark Kausler - Animator


This is probably not my story to tell, but it affected me so deeply on the day that it happened that I want to share it. 

During my production management time at the Walt Disney Company, a veteran animator named Mark Kausler showed up as usual to work one morning on the production we were working on, which was a segment of “Fantasia 2000,” called, “Pomp and Circumstance.”  This was the story of Noah’s Arc, starring, Donald Duck (I love Donald Duck!).

Mark was a slender, maybe fifty-five year old man at the time, who was lean, had sandy-gray hair, and fair skin with mature facial lines.  He spoke with a plain, almost country way about him, and the first time I laid eyes on him, both his speech and his look made me think of an 1849 California gold prospector.  I liked him right away.  He was fun and humorous in social settings, but eventually he always wanted to get to the business of animating. 

Mark slipped into the Royce Building (our production building) with his seemingly consistently wind-swept hair, wearing his heavy dark blue windbreaker, and choaking the neck of his brown paper bagged lunch the way one might tote a rope that one is dragging behind.  Mark quietly settled into his cubicle with his animation light board to start his work for the day. 

A little later, I was doing my morning rounds, checking to make sure that each of my animators and clean up artists had a nice stack of scenes to work on, and as I neared Mark’s cubicle, I heard him moaning as if in pain.  As I walked into his space, I found him very upset, crying and wiping his glasses, while he was concurrently still animating on his drawing board. 

Cultural Neuroses

Something that a friend of mine first alerted me to, and which I have been consistently noticing since, is that when news networks report crimes, they have been omitting racial descriptions about eighty percent of the time.  All one has to do is watch any nightly local news broadcast, and one will see this pattern. 

Case in point:  Last night, July 2, 2015, on KNBC’s 11:00 o’clock news, Beverly White reported from somewhere in Orange County's City of Santa Ana that a middle aged Hispanic man was sitting in front of his residence when a young man walked up to him and asked him if he had a car phone charger.  As the Hispanic man started to answer, the hooded black youth (his appearance obvious from security footage broadcast as part of this news segment) beat the Hispanic man, who tried to fight back, but was knocked onto the ground by the suspect.  The attacker then grabbed the middle aged man’s necklace that his ex-wife had given to him, valued at $1500, while the suspect ran off along with another black youth playing the role of lookout on a bicycle riding off with him. 

I want to insert here before I continue, I have always felt that Beverly White is probably THE best on-scene reporter that this city has, period.  The lady is everywhere and in every kind of weather or chaotic condition, and when she speaks, I listen.  When there is a fire in Canyon Country, she is standing in front of it, with precision, machine-gun like demeanor, reporting on all of the hard facts.  When there is fatal hit and run in South Los Angeles, she has already been talking to the Sergeants on scene and gives us what we need to know with her Jack Webb sterility.  And, when there is the rare rain downpour in Los Angeles, Ms. White is over in Baldwin Park as transformers are exploding, or she is down in Long Beach dutifully turning in her segment on the mass flooding of the Los Angeles River and surrounds at thirty minutes to Midnight with her Robert Mitchum deliberateness.  And in the meantime, my mind always calculates her evening to come.  She and her camera guy have to do the forty-five minute drive back through the sheets of downpour to the studios in Universal City.  With all of this, Ms. White’s reports are still the most clear, crisp, and the most professional on scene segments that I have ever seen on television.  I greatly respect this reporter.  Eat your hearts out, Clarrisa Ward, Holly Williams and Carter Evans!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Why I Type Loudly

You know what's a strange sign of the generation that I came from?  How loudly I type.  I often go to libraries to work on various self-assigned writing projects, and what I find is that invariably at some point as I'm typing, I will get a look from a person or two.  It only had to happen a few times for me to realize what was going on. 

These people were all young people, in their twenties or thirties.  And I'm fifty.  The first Mac SE that I ever touched was in the U.S.C. library during about my junior year there.  And the first Mac that was ever mine to use with regularity was when I worked at Disney Feature Animation, where I was assigned my own Mac SE.  That was the one that looked like an upright shoe box and had a black and white screen about the size of most stock car navigation screens.  And the first Mac that I ever bought was the second generation color screen Mac with money that I had invested in Pixar Animation and had made enough upside to purchase it. 

My Boxing Workout This Morning

Here is a boxing workout from this morning:

Doesn't matter if you are a professional athlete, or someone that desires to train like one.
Posted by Delmar Tolliver on Thursday, June 11, 2015

Monday, May 18, 2015

Recognition Versus Recall

Not having done an ounce of research on this topic, I really shouldn’t be writing about it.  But I will anyway simply because it interest me; yet not enough to do any research on it.  Go figure!

Most people come to realize at some point that their recognition is and always has been better than their recall.  Okay, I will exclude Marilu Henner and her ilk (who are perfect examples of why you chop off the extremes when doing statistics) from this “given.”  But think about it.  If someone asked you to name off the books in your book cabinet in the other room, or the old CD’s that you have in that old box under your bed, if actually tested, you might get fifteen percent of them right?  Maybe twenty?  Yet, if someone took all of your books out of your cabinet, or all of your CD’s out of that box, and mixed them up with a bunch of others, you would undoubtedly be able to recognize those, which were yours, and those that you had never seen before.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Pearblossom Highway – Was He The Zodiac Killer?

After watching a program on a cable channel about a notorious killer back in April of 2012, a frightening and long dormant memory was sparked within me.  My memory was from back in 1981 and I had possessed my California Driver License for about a year at that point.  My cousin, K.C., who was seven years my senior, was in town visiting when two friends from high school, Tim and Kim, and I decided we wanted to go skiing at Mt. Waterman in the San Gabriel Mountains in Los Angeles.  K.C. decided he want to go too, so one sunny, winter Saturday morning, we all piled into my mom’s yellow Volvo station wagon, and I started driving us to the ski area. 

My parents’ house was in Studio City, so I decided that instead of taking Interstate 10 east to Interstate 15 (the 210 freeway did not go farther than the 57 freeway at that time), I decided to take us around the back of the San Gabriel Mountains.  Mt. Waterman sits in the very northeastern corner of this range, just to the west of Interstate 15.  The route I chose required us to drive west on Highway 101, north on the 405, north on the 5, north on the 14, and finally, east on Highway 138, which is also called, Pearblossom Highway.  After negotiating all of these freeways, which was relatively easy on a Saturday morning, we turned east onto Pearblossom Highway and headed straight east for Mt. Waterman. 

This section of the 138, which begins way back west at Gorman’s Interstate 5 and Highway 138 interchange, and which ends at Interstate 15 north of the Cajon Pass, is a rolling highway.  It’s relatively straight, but it has these fun ups and downs which follow the topographical intersecting contour of where the Mojave Desert and the northern San Gabriel’s join.  Back then, it was a two lane road with no divider.  There were a lot of accidents back then with vehicles trying to pass with less than sufficient viewing corridor.  The evidence was in the signs that dotted the rolly up and down portions of the highway reading, “Do Not Pass On Hills.”  But I had driven the road on several occasions prior in my exploration of areas outside of Los Angeles. 

L.A. Attitude

Recently, one of my acquaintances, a beautiful blonde woman in her early forties, who has sung with some success in a few Hollywood rock bands and has always seemed to have a down to earth attitude that I appreciated, put onto her Facebook profile, which everyone else had to see on their public walls, “Wear a ring a day to keep the assholes away.”  This bothered me on few fronts. 

First, it harkened me back to when a close male friend of mine returned from living in Europe for a number of years to find himself disappointed with being back in the states and Los Angeles in particular.  He told me that when he was in Europe all of that time, he could start a friendly conversation with a women without the expectation or presumption from her that he was trying to get down her pants.  He enjoyed the more open-minded personalities that he met in Europe.  After being back in L.A. for a few weeks, he was walking back from a corner market through his neighborhood when he happened upon a woman walking her dog along the sidewalk towards him.  He said hello to her and asked what kind of dog she had.  She pulled her dog aside while simultaneously whipping out her cell phone in order to avoid contact with him.  All I can say is, I wish I were as good looking as my friend.  And he is one of the most approachable, non-pushy people I’ve ever met in my life.  I suppose that’s why I’ve been a close friend of his for so long (thirty-four’ish years?).  His post mortem of the incident was that it was a reflection of how many women in Los Angeles have deliberately evolved themselves; superficial and assuming of the worst of intentions.  I agree with him.  And with the post that I saw my Facebook acquaintance post over the weekend, this same naïve attitude seems to be baked into her efforts.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Flying Over Fremont

It was with great pleasure and excitement that I flew over Fremont Street in Las Vegas.  I flew over it, not in an airplane, but via SlotZilla’s Zip Line. 

We were a group of nine friends visiting sin city last weekend and were walking around Vegas’ old downtown Fremont Street.  It’s really gentrified now.  I’ve been there with this same group of people several times in the last few years.  But each visit, it seems that they’ve improved the whole of Fremont Street and given a new life to an old part of the city.  There is now a huge permanent metal arched canopy that encloses the entirety of the walk from one end to the other.  There are also three large stages along the pedestrian enclosed avenue that have great music.  During our evening visits, we watched a band perform a bunch of great country hits, and we also watched another band do rock and roll hits that were impeccably played.  Imagine how hard it is for a band to cover, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” in a way that rivals the original recording.  This band did it. 

One afternoon, we were walking on one of the side streets that feeds into Fremont, peeking into Hogs and Heifers, which a dive bar that has hot girls dancing on the counters and a continual line up of Harley bikes parked outside.  As we were walking away from the bar, one of our clan, Stephen, said, “You all want to zip line now?”  I was the first to respond, “Shit yeah.  Let’s go!”   “What?” “You want to zip line?”  my voice asked in my head.  “You know it’s high off the ground, right Fred?”  But I just ignored the voices and kept leading the group to the ticket office. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Umbrella Laws

Something that I’ve been running up against for the past thirty one years, beginning at a time when I started hunting down my own personal information, is the fact that laws that are made are often created in a way that tried to fit all circumstances under one umbrella.

I was an adopted child, and through no small feat was I able to find a sibling completely on my own without any help from the County of Los Angeles or the State of California.  I have also been able to find other documents and notes about my own adoption, no thanks to any county or state governmental agencies.

But what has been frustrating for me is that since I have a special situation (as I’m sure there are many people with varying degrees of situations that deviated from the norm), the laws of the county and of the state do not fit well or nearly at all with circumstances of my adoption. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Good Stock

Roy Conli, Don Hall, and Chris Williams

Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, and Peter Del Vecho

I'm happy to write that four people who I have worked with in the past at the Walt Disney Company have won Academy Awards in the past two years.  This year, it was Chris Williams and Roy Conli for, "Big Hero 6," and last year it was Chris Buck, Peter Del Vecho for, "Frozen." 

These guys are genuinely great, hard working people who would buy you lunch in an instant if you were out of cash, or gas, or whatever, and are great fun to be around.  It's always a good feeling to know that those who are being recognized are really good souls in their day to day lives.  I couldn't be happier for all of them.

Also pictured are Don Hall and Jennifer Lee who I haven't worked with, but are obviously masters at what they do...congratulations to them as well!. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Rain Song

"It is the springtime of my loving. The second season I am to know."

It has been raining a bit here this weekend in Los Angeles, and the wet weather sometimes makes me think of a live performance version of a tune by Led Zeppelin, "Rain Song." 

"It isn't hard to feel me glowing.  I watched the fire that grew so low."


When the asphalt gets wet and blacker, and thick water droplets hang from plants that seem to have a deeper green than normal…

"These are the seasons of emotion.  And like the wind, they rise and fall."


And throughout the song, they appeal to our senses to help us understand that life and relationships are not one even ride; that everyone experiences their storms of sorts.

“And this is the mystery of the quotient. Upon us all, just a little rain must fall…just a little rain.  All, I know."


I can hear sway of Jimmy Page’s guitar as the cold, humid breeze moves the shrubs and trees to and fro.  Then, Page's arpeggios resolve into one final blast of sound from the band as Robert Plant lands on his final emphatic note, "Awwwwwwwwwwwww!"

John Paul Jones' Hammond organ settles into home, and John Bonham hits every kettle drum like a timpanic symphony.

Beautiful emotions. Beautiful song.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Eva's Goodbye

Last night, Brenda's Gramma Eva passed away.  She had been fighting pneumonia for the past few months off and on, and this very hardy woman, a product of the Oklahoma Dust Bowl, said goodbye on this Thanksgiving night, November 27, 2014. 

The last time I saw her was just a few days ago at the hospital she was in.  Brenda's aunt had driven up to Tulare and picked up another aunt to bring her down to see her.  We all met first at Brenda's mother's house, currently vacant since Brenda's mother, Letha, is still in the hospital.  We then proceeded to take the visiting aunt, along with Brenda's step-father, to the hospital to see Gramma Eva.  When we arrived, there were lots of people in the room.  I stroked Eva's hand and told her that I loved her and that I missed her being at home with her family. 

She then did something that was so, "Eva."  The room somehow got into a discussion about how someone would arrive or get home or the like, and I, still close in proximity to Eva, saw her lift her tired head, crane her neck to each side of the room's visitors, and ask,"What is everyone talking about now?"  Eva always wanted to know what was going on around her and had to know the latest bit of news all the time.  I swear, if it was humanly possible for a person to live forever, Eva would have been the first to do it.  I will miss her greatly.  And so will Brenda and her family.  Brenda had a very special relationship with her Gramma Eva; something I wrote about here a few years ago in, "The Gramma Phenomenon." 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tender Moments

We had literally just stepped into the parking lot from the lovely wedding of my cousin’s daughter we were attending in San Diego, a night of good food, dancing and great cheer, when all hell broke loose.

It was 9:25pm, and I unlocked the doors of my Jeep with my remote and Brenda and I sat down and turned on our phones.  Just then, a call came in from her oldest brother’s girlfriend.  “Letha is being rushed to the hospital.  They think she had a massive heart attack.”  I could tell by the way that Brenda hesitated for a second, and then said, “No,” softly because the breath had been punched right out of her that something was very wrong.  Letha is Brenda's mother.  She is the closest person on this earth to Brenda.  Brenda takes care of her daily through phone calls and monthly in person. Then, after another hesitation of hearing a bit more from the girlfriend on the phone, Brenda repeated to me what she had just been told.  My heart sank.  We just went from one of the most joyous occasions that a person can experience to complete horror. 

At this moment, they were taking her mother out of her home and onto an ambulance with her older brother inside as well.  Letha lives in a rural area about a half hour north of Bakersfield, and getting her to the hospital as soon as possible was vital. The girlfriend would follow them to the hospital.  Brenda finished up the quick conversation with her brother’s girlfriend, which included some additional information about how the girlfriend had found Letha, incoherent and lips blue, half way off of her bed, and had called 911 and administered CPR per the emergency operator.  At that point in reviewing the account Brenda, the girlfriend had to hang up with Brenda since they were involved in the complete chaos of getting the mother on the move. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Californian Misadventures of Fran and Shaley

I met them many years ago and it’s been a very long time since I have seen them, so please accept my apologies in advance for my memories being somewhat splotchy. It was around 1999 when they moved into my apartment complex.  I saw a slender five-foot, one-inch, red haired woman carrying a box in, then a blonde girl of the same or slimmer proportions hauling some stuff past me.  They were both attractive with high cheekbones and a polite, folksy manner.  Fran, it would turn out, was a year older than me, and Shaley at this time was fifteen, just about to turn sixteen.

When the second one, the blonde one, passed by my door, I said hello.  I was always a bit hesitant with new people in the building, but they both appeared fun and energetic.  There were a couple of steps up from the pool and common walkway area to the hallway in front of my apartment, and their apartment, it would turn out, was inside the building from mine.  So it was impossible for us not to have crossed paths rather quickly after their arrival.  I thought to myself that I hoped they were moving into the vacant unit near me, and then, with their new door wide open I verified that they were indeed.  I wanted good folks on my end of the hallway. Their three-bedroom unit sat on the corner facing the park, while mine faced the pool on the inside of the complex.  I was paying nine-hundred fifty dollars per month at that time for my one-bedroom, and I knew that their unit went for one thousand seven hundred fifty dollars per month.  Did two women need all of that space?  Maybe they had a lot of clothes and shoes.  Maybe they liked to shop a lot and needed the extra storage.

The next time I saw them was when I was walking into the front gate from a jog I had done, and I noticed them with their small red SUV hatchback open and loading groceries into their apartment bucket-brigade style; Fran, pulling the bags from the vehicle, and Shaley, standing on the balcony, reaching down as far as she could to ground level with all of her might to carry the filled barrel sized paper bags up and into their apartment.  They both seemed to be at their extreme capacity in completing this task, rushing as if some timer would go off and their sliding glass doors would shut permanently. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Casey's Tavern

It’s been a long time since I came to see him play.  He gets together with a bunch of guys every Thursday evening at the same place, still, after all of these years.  The last time I saw him, he was playing piano at the Bel Air Hotel, where my parents, Brenda and I had a nice dinner and watched him run through all of the standards with his Louisiana style of playing.  Lloyd Hebert is from Baton Rouge, and he has a slightly hard-hitting, sometimes brash attack in the keys.  His voice is precisely the same; a hard Louisiana accent with a kind of aggressive cadence.  I am always expecting him to talk about catching shrimp or motoring through the bayou.  Yet, in his melodic piano playing, he has all color hues and subtlety of a watercolor painting.  He passes through and even makes an issue at times of major 7th notes in his playing, which gives his improvisations a layer of melancholy.  I’ve always loved that.  It speaks to me. 

I first met Lloyd at U.S.C.  I had studied piano with different teachers outside of the school intermittently, and now back in the U.S.C. dorms, one of my dorm mates, who seemed to always be attached to a small Casio type keyboard he was carrying with him, did a little jazz-blues run in front of me.  I asked him to do it again. When he did, I told him to please reveal to me where he had learned this. 

“I’m taking a Jazz Performance Piano course here for a couple of extra credits.”  I asked, “You’re not in the School of Music here, so anyone can take this?”  “Yeah, I believe so,” he answered.

The very next day I went down to the music school asking how I could add on this music performance course.  It ended up being an easy addition and I arrived at my first music lesson with the then head of the jazz piano division of the music school.  Lloyd introduced himself to me and immediately asked me to sit down at his piano and play a little for me. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Minding the Gap

I’m always perplexed at how some people get to know movie stars and other forms of celebrities with ease.  I’ve never had the schmoozing gene in my body, so that kind of thing doesn’t easily fall into my lap, though I can flash a great smile.  I see my share of well-knows around town since I live in the Los Angeles area.  But now and again, I’ll hear from someone that they met and spoke at length with a star at a party or event, and somehow it comes so easy to them.  I think that as much as I hate to admit it, even though I grew up in Studio City (or maybe because of it), I am a star struck guy, and I still get a little nervous around well known people.  That frame of mind puts a distance, a sort of emotional gap, between myself and someone who has been on television, or in a movie, or in the media for some reason.  They’re not just a normal person to me. 

And I think I have a point there.  They are really not normal.  They are outstanding in some way, or I wouldn’t be familiar with them.  They got to their position or status through a lot of hard work, self-determination, confidence and some luck, and I’m always impressed with people who get themselves through years of fire like that.

I was recently talking with a woman who had stayed with a man who was the head of a huge industrial company.  I won’t name his name, but the person is very well known in our society.  It knocked my socks off when she told me this.  And this woman became friends with him, traveled with him, even lived with him, and to her, it’s just like another person who had a lot of responsibility in his life at one time and was noteworthy for sure, but it wasn’t such a big deal to her.  And yet it amazed me that she even knew him at all. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Growing An Album


One of the most spectacular feelings I’ve ever experienced happened while I was working at the Walt Disney Company in Feature Animation when I created a polished demo CD of music that I had written.

About ten years earlier, while I was living at any number of beaches in Southern California, I had been actively writing songs.  It actually started much earlier during my junior year in high school.  As many kids of my generation had discovered, I had found that by doubling up on recording equipment, audio or video, I could edit pieces of things together.  This included hopping from one VHS tape for video to another, and also worked with using two audio tape decks.  The editing was a bit clumsy and there would remain artifacts of all sorts; rainbow streaks on video taped edits, and unsmooth transitions of audio cuts.  Oh, where was Apple’s GarageBand at the time?

My Casio Keyboard
With some more experimenting, I began to see that I could also overlay my voice using an input microphone while copying an audiotape from one machine to the next.  Pretty quickly I began to use this process to the maximum by playing an instrument, my cheap little Casio Keyboard or a guitar that I would painfully teach myself the few necessary chords to embellish a song, and I would sing at the same time while copying whatever I had already pre-taped to a second audio cassette recorder.  This process was far from optimal as during the copying of cassette tapes, there was an audible hiss, which would grow louder with every transfer.  So implementing three transfers (three overlays) was about the most that I could do without the hiss becoming unbearable.  I continued to create these recordings while either covering songs or writing my own short songs.  Because of their poor quality, I threw them out long ago. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Wormhole to Arizona - A Place of Pain


I had a strange thing happen a long time ago when a girlfriend who I had been living with for three years, up and moved out on me literally without any warning.  It was very odd, and several of my family members, who had already seen some questionable behavior from her in their presence, reacted with words to me such as, "That's a very uncommon thing for a woman to do.  Usually women like to talk things out when they have issues. It was likely one facet of a woman who was already very impulsive and who had little sense of introspection."  I don't have too many negative feelings towards her anymore, other than that she had trashed me to her own family, and her friends, some of which we had shared, and also that she had begun to see someone while she was still with me.  She shouldn't have done any of that.  Because of her own complicated childhood, I think that she was destined to gravely mishandle the way in which she separated from her relationship with me, and that she was also destined (at that time at least) never to have taken a long, hard, look at herself and how she interacted with the world.  Hopefully, that either has, or will change for her.  But that's all water under the bridge now.

With all of this in the past, one aspect of the experience remains poignant to me.  It was that when this was all happening (about the fall of 1993), it was extremely painful for me.  This caused me to go into a really strange place in my head, which will be difficult to describe here since I haven't completely made sense of it even to this day. 

I am not and have never abused chemical substances in my life.  The most I have ever experimented with was pot when I was fifteen, and that was only because I had a couple of friends who smoked it now and then, so I gave it a try a couple of times.  Two friends and I also took mushrooms at Disneyland once during our time at university, which was pretty interesting.  We chalked it up as a perceptual experiment.  I have pride in myself about my lack of interest in chemical substances because I had a biological father who drank excessively, so one might expect that I might have had an inclination to have either experimented with or have leaned on substances.  But I never have had the desire to mute my own pain at all.  I have always felt that surviving through pain directly strengthens me.  Having been adopted by a mother who was a child development specialist may have helped in this regard, as I was mostly open to my own feelings throughout my life.  I wasn't perfect with handling them, but that expressive channel was always there in myself.   

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Home Drive By - Some Self Soothing

Since my parents died and their house was sold by their trustees, I've had moments where I have driven up their street as if to verify, this was my home.  It's a slight compulsion, and not one that happens all the time.  But since their death, just two and a half years apart from each other, I've done just that five or six times; maybe more.  

Just a couple of weeks ago, my girlfriend was out of town and I felt a little bit alone.  With her absence, there was a vacuum and I started thinking about my former life with my parents, which doesn't seem all that long ago, but in retrospect, was eight, ten, twelve years in the past.  My memories of my mom planting bulbs in the front yard flower beds, and of my dad sitting at the family room table, carving out a slab or grapefruit while watching a baseball or football game, are based during a time during which they were still healthy.  It was before the period when they were diagnosed with dementia and Alzheimer's disease.  And I realize that these memories I have a from further back than my emotions would lead me to believe. 

And so just recently, after getting myself some dinner, I had one of those inklings to drive over to my old neighborhood.  It was about 8:30pm when I parked my Jeep just down the street from our old house and got out to feel and smell my old street.  Most of the same houses are there from when I grew up, but many have been extended upwards, backwards or both, to increase their square footage, and many yards have had a fair amount of light-scaping added to them for evening ambiance.