Friday, May 30, 2008

Happy Birthday Patti !!

June 4, 2008

It is an understatement to say today is a rather poignant day for me. If Patti were alive today, it would be her 60th birthday. Boy, what would I have done for her to celebrate the BIG "60!"? We were usually not big celebrators of birthdays nor anniversaries but this certainly would have been a special year. Through the years, we both felt that being together everyday was a gift in itself and we didn't need to buy each other any baubles to affirm our love.

That being said, at the very least, we would probably have gone out to a nice dinner with some of our closest friends and broken out one of her favorite wines - Penman Springs Petite Sarah for one. There would be other fine vintages brought to the dinner by our friends I'm sure. It's become a great tradition. She would want it to be a nice simple celebration which is one of one of her endearing qualities - unpretentious and keep it simple. She is not one to make a big deal or bring attention to herself.

However, being travel nuts, we would have probably picked a warm place to visit for our next winter trip as her delayed birthday present. We tend to do things like this. It would have been either Southeast Asia or South America which we talked about doing in the coming year.

So tonight my dear, I will pick out one of your favorite Paso Robles wines and make a toast to you on your 60th birthday.

Happy Birthday my dear Patti !! Luv', Huz

I continue to add to her "shrine" by adding a beautiful thank you card (with flying egret) from Pacific Wildlife Care in Morro Bay for donations made in her name; insert of b/w photo of her high school graduation picture which I kept in my wallet for 44+ years; my Tour of the Unknown Coast Century Patch, the arduous 100 mile ride I dedicated to her; and a pic of us when we were sooo young. A couple of hippies!

Oh, about the funky sculpture on the right. We picked it up in Chicago years ago and it found a permanent home on the antique ice box. They are sad that Patti is gone too.

I'm ready to transplant the four sunflower seedlings which sprouted from the seeds given out at her memorial service. The seeds were sent by Dawn, our RV friend.

Sprouts in the ground. Patti's spirit and I will watch them grow over the summer.

Winter food for our birdy friends!!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day - May 26, 2008

Memorial Day is a day dedicated to honor our departed family members and friends. My family has a plot at the Newcastle Cemetary in Placer County where my roots are firmly established.

My parents had a fruit orchard in Newcastle and this is where I was born and grew up. I have many fond memories of spending my youth in this area, attended both grammar and high school in Auburn, and Sierra College in Rocklin, playing sports with many childhood friends, attending the local Buddhist Church in Penryn, and best of all, meeting and dating Patti back in 1964 on our very first date. We dated for 4 years before we got married in 1968.

This Memorial Day had special significance since I honored Patti along with my mom and dad, grand-parents and other long departed relatives. I have not yet placed her ashes in our family plot where space is reserved for both she and I. I want to keep her ashes at home for awhile until I'm ready to do so. There is no hurry and who knows, I may want to have my ashes buried with her's when the time comes.

I want to take you on our tour of this beautiful cemetary and show you my family plot, the Buddhist Memorial Day ceremony, and my family members who attended today's ceremony.

Note: To view enlarged photo, mouse over picture and click

Our minister conducting a short sermon

Placing flowers in front of the Masuda Family gravestone. On the front-side are the names of my grandparents. On the back-side are the names of my parents, uncle and aunt. Patti's name and ultimately mine will be engraved on the granite gravestone, as well as my brother Ed and wife Terrie. It is a Buddhist custom that the sons and their wives will be buried with their parents.

A view of the Japanese family section of the Newcastle Cemetary

A close-up view of table where burning incense and religious symbols are placed. During the ceremony, we line up and place incense into a burning bowl and say our "gassho", a quiet acknowledgement to Buddha.

Standing with my sisters - Yuki, Emi, and brother Ed

Emi's family - Tiana, Lourdes, Tod, Talia, Emi and dog- Kieko

Ed's family - Terri, Mariko, and Ed

Emi's family in front of her husband Wilfred grave. He passed away in 2002.

My friends Audrey and Dick Hastings joined me on this occassion

Hoorah! The sunflower seeds that my friend Dawn provided at Patti's Memorial Service has finally sprouted. I will transplant these sprouts into the ground in a few days and watch it grow over the summer.

Oh heart, if one should say to you
that the soul perishes like the body,
answer that the flower withers,
but the seeds remains.
~Kablil Gibran

Patti's spirit will always remain in our hearts

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Delta Do Bike Tour - 5/19 - 5/21

Twelve members of the Sacramento Wheelmen participated in the annual tour of the Sacramento River Delta led and organized by our trusted leader, Dave Storm. The tour named Delta Do covers approximately 150 miles over 3 days.

The ride started in West Sacramento and the first day's ride travelled through farmlands of Yolo County and communities of Woodland and Winters and ended at the Solano County Campground along picturesque Putah Creek.

The second day, the route wound through the foothills of Pleasant Valley Road, through Vacaville and the windswept hills of the Montezuma Hills to Rio Vista and the Sandy Beach County Park. A 30 mph tailwind blew us into Rio Vista from Birds Landing.

The third day, the route looped back up the Sacramento River, crossing on river ferries, along the bayous and sloughs of the Delta, through Clarksburg and along the river to Sacramento. The 3rd day was a tough slog with the typical strong tailwinds sweeping in from the Bay Area abruptly changing directions and gusting from 20-40 mph from the north.

This was my first time participating in this mini-tour. My fellow riders were fun people and we all had a blast inspite of fierce winds encountered in the Delta. We ate most of our meals in cafes with a few snacks in camp so it was a pretty lux tour.

My Bike Friday set-up for it's first loaded tour worked out quite well. The 2-wheeled suitcase trailer pulled alot easier than I anticipated and much better than the one-wheeled BOB trailer that I previously used. But next time, I want to go with full panniers and see how this works out.

Note: To view enlarged photo, mouse over picture and click

At Bird's Landing, I take a break at the tavern for a cool one before we hit the Montezuma Hills

Touring the Rio Vista riverfront with my Bike Friday

The twin towered Hwy 12 Lift Bridge crossing the Sacramento River north of Rio Vista

Our leader Dave Storm enduring 30+ mph gusting winds at the Sandy Beach Campground. Note bike shorts (upper left hanging from tree) flapping in the high winds.

A fine dinner at the Point Restaurant overlooking the river in Rio Vista. L-R clockwise - Dave, John, Sally, Kris, Ralph, Chris, and me (enjoying grilled salmon dinner). Great food and even better company.

A reststop at the historic Shiloh Church, circa 1875, near Bird's Landing

The Bird family grave stones behind the Shiloh Church

Taking a break at the historic Myrtle Tavern in Bird's Landing

Chris ready for a tall cool one at Myrtles Tavern

Myrtles Tavern is a veritable museum chock full of historic photos, newspaper headlines, and artifacts. The tavern is stuck out in the middle of nowhere. I just luv' places like this.

The posse ready to roll in West Sac - L-R - Ralph, Chris, Dave, Sally, John, Ed, Paul, Andy, Mike, and me sitting on the Samsonite Suitcase trailer. Missing - Ralph and Kris.

Picturesque Lake Solano County Park west of Winters

My campground site at Solano County Park

The card sharks playing Up and Down. L-R - Ralph, Sally, John, Kris, and Chris. Paul looking on.

The non-card players preparing dinner at Solano Park - L-R- Ralph, Mike and Ed

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Last Lecture

I just finished reading a remarkable book, The Last Lecture, authored by Randy Pausch who was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer and has only 3-6 months left to live. He had become famous for video-taping a lecture he gave at Carnegie-Mellon University where he is a professor about "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams". The lecture wasn't about dying but the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because "time is all you have. . . and you may find one day that you have less than you think). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe.

I was compelled to read this book with the recent loss of my wife of 40 years who died suddenly without the opportunity to either say goodbye or to express the importance of what she meant to me, or more importantly, what we meant to each other. Not surprisingly, I identified with Randy's wife, Jai, who will have to carry on after Randy passes away.

Randy, who had time to prepare his final farewell, was able to express the important lessons of life that he learned and wanted to impart these lessons to his three young children and to Jai. He had many words of wisdom on how to live a better life and to consider others over oneself.

I told my full-time RV friend and email pen-pal, Dawn, about this book and she wanted a summation of what advice or lessons learned that Randy imparted.

So Dawn, here's a quick rundown of some of Randy's words of wisdom. Randy said it best "This section maybe called 'It's about how to live your life', but it's really about how I've tried to live mine. I guess it's my way of saying: Here's what worked for me."

* Give yourself permission to dream big. Fuel your kids' dreams too.

* Earnest is better than hip. Hip is short term, earnest is long term. I'll take an earnest person over a hip person every time. Earnestness is highly underestimated. It comes from the core, while hip is trying to impress you with the surface.

* Raising the white flag or knowing when to compromise. Life is too short. With the passage of time, and the deadlines life imposes, surrendering became the right thing to do.

*Don't complain, just work harder. Too many people go through life complaining about their problems. I've always believed that if you took one-tenth the energy you put into complaining and applied it to solving the problem, you'd be surprised by how well things can work out.

* Don't obsess over what people think. I've found that a substantial fraction of many people's days is spent worrying about what others think of them. If nobody ever worried about what was in other people's heads, we'd all be . . . more effective in our lives and on our jobs.

* Look for the best in everybody. When you're frustrated with people, when they've made you angry, it may be because you haven't given them enough time. In the end, people will show you their good side. Almost everybody has a good side. Just keep waiting. It will come out.

*Watch what they do, not what they say. A female colleague told me: "It took me a long time, but I finally figured it out. When it comes to men who are romantically interested in you, it's really simple. Just ignore everything they say and only pay attention to what they do."

* Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want.

* The lost art of thank you notes. Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other. I think that a thank-you notes are best done the old-fashioned way, with pen and paper.

* Loyalty is a two-way street . . . and work harder. All my adult life I've felt drawn to ask long-married couples how they were able to stay together. All of them said the same thing: "We worked hard at it."

* Show gratitude. Go out and do for others what somebody did for you.

* Always be prepared. When you go into the wilderness, the only thing you can count on is what you take with you.

* Tell the truth. If I could only give three words of advice, they would be "tell the truth." If I got three more words to add: "All the time." My parents taught me that "you're only as good as your word," and there is no better way to say it.

These are just some of life lessons that Randy imparted in his book. I highly recommend reading the book in it's entirety since there are many more insightful messages.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Preparing Bike Friday for first loaded tour

I'm getting ready for my first loaded tour on my new Bike Friday, a folding bike. The first tour is a short 3-day venture with the Sacramento Wheelmen who are making a loop from Sacramento to Winters (Putah Creek Campground) on the first day, then to Rio Vista (Brannan Island Campground) on the second day, and finally a ride up the Sacramento River back to Sacramento on the third day. The name of the tour is the "Delta Doo" and the total riding distance will be around 150 miles.

What's unique about this tour is I will be using the Samsonite suitcase which turns into a trailer to haul all the camping gear and misc. items. The reason I bought the BF ( is that the bike folds up and can be stored in the suitcase for easier transport, particularly on airplanes for any overseas travel. I am planning a 2-month tour of Japan in the fall so this tour will be a nice practice run.

The following pics shows how I pack the suitcase and turn it into a little trailer which is attached to the bike. It's quite remarkable.

All my gear (tent, sleeping bag, pad, clothes, toiletries, food and cooking gear) stashes nicely into the suitcase

Close the suitcase and it becomes a trailer. Note the trailer tongue with the knurl which attaches to the bike.

Hooking the trailer to the bike

OK, I'm ready to roll!!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Tour of Unknown Coast and Ferndale

During May 8-13, five friends and I went to Ferndale to participate in the 30th Annual Tour of the Unknown Coast Century Ride and spend some time in the area hiking and exploring this unique part of Northern California.

The TUC was an awesome ride, one of the most challenging that I had ever done. Over 100 miles, the elevation gain was nearly 10,000' with three major, very steep mountains to climb.

Overcoming extreme fatigue and cramps, I finished the ride in 10 hrs, 15 mins. I dedicated this ride to my late wife, Patti, who inspired me to finish this grueling event.

Following the ride, our group hiked the trails of Trinadad Head and Patricks Point State Park. We visited some of the beaches near the Big Lagoon, the Eureka Old Town and the redwood forests.

The photos below were taken in Ferndale and other places in the Humbolt Redwoods area.

Note: To view enlarged photo, mouse over picture and click

It's spring so the rhodos were in full glorious bloom

Frank and I at the Kinetic Sculpture Museum in Ferndale. This pedal powered bi-plane is an example of many creative crafts designed to race across land and sea between Arcata and Ferndale every Memorial weekend.

Ferndale is known for its Victorian architecture. The entire town is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This home is a famous local icon and a bed and breakfast inn.

In Eureka, is the famous Carson Mansion built entirely of redwood. This home originally built by a lumbering tycoon is now a private men's club.

Frank, Harvey, Jay, Bob and me on the Big Lagoon beach between Orick and Trinadad

Looking down on the Trinadad Pier from the Headland trail

Me and my bike in front of Musubi (aka riceball) before the TUC

Our campground at the Ferndale Fairgrounds, home for 4 nights
Bob Anderson, Jay Okada, Bob Tribe, Harvey Cohon, and Frank Gerace who joined me on this excursion to the Redwoods. Thanks guys, it was a great week.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Patti's Celebration of Life Memorial, 4/19/08

Patti's Memorial was held at the Roseville Maidu Community Center. Over 250 family members and friends from the area and from distant places attended. The memorial was a moving and beautiful event and a fitting tribute to a kind, considerate, artistic, and very talented soul.

Dick Fraschetti and Jim Regan did a masterful job as the co-masters of ceremony and provided an appropriate level of levity in a somber event. Terry Kuntz made a video slide show of Patti's life encompassing her baby pictures, childhood days, and life with me highlighted with pictures of all our wonderful travels. The video was most moving and not a dry eye in the hall was evident.

Jan Fraschetti organized a Memory Table and Emi Fukushima made a photo board of Patti's life.

A wonderful buffett was provided by caterer Chef's Affaire along with dishes brought by family and friends. Some of Patti's favorite wines were also served.

The following pictures were taken Eric Saur and Peter Saucerman.

Note: To view enlarged photo, mouse over picture and click

"Please sign the Guest Book" - Nephew Tod, Brother Ed, and niece Misa greeted guests at the door

Work Party - folding napkins before the guests arrived. Cousin Karen (right of Dick) made center piece flower arrangements for 30 tables.

Let the wine flow! Ralph Lemeur uncorking Bogle Petite Sarah, one of Patti's favorite wines

The guests start arriving. The room was filled to the max.

Patti's sister, Maria, and sister-in-law, Melena

Jens, husband of niece Sara, Terry Kuntz, Maria's husband, and nephew Steven

Friends Mike, Pat and Alice

Talking with friends Nancy and Hilde

Front - Aunt Mary, Uncle Mas, and cousin Arlene
Back - Cousin Karen, daughter Stacy, cousin Bob and wife Agness, John (Arlene's husband) and Ron (Karen's husband)

Friends from Southern California - Sadie and Dwaine Batt talking with
Kris and Ralph

Dennis and Marty Renault, old friends from Monterey

My meditation friends and neighbors Peter Saucerman and Susan Twining

Dick Frascheitti (center) with cousin Arlene and husband John

Cycling friends Dave Storm, Brian Groves and Peter Becker

Jan Fraschetti organized Patti's Memory Table showcasing her artwork, favorite wines, hobbies and travel pictures

Jan putting the final touches to the Memory Table and holding basket we bought in Belize, our last foreign travel together

Some of Patti's early artwork - woven wall hangings and tiny sheep collection

More from the memory table- Picture of Patti and me from our 1985 trip to Japan

Patti's birdhouses decorated with buttons and shells from Morro Bay. She was an ardent Obama supporter too. Please vote for him in memory of Patti you all!!

Sunflower seed packets mailed to the Memorial from our RV friends from the east-coast, Dawn and Jeff Fine. Plant them and watch them grow in memory of Patti.

Patti's Photo Board prepared by my sister Emi

Emi with Eric Saur in front of Patti's photo board

Wonderful and delicious buffett prepared by Chef's Affaire and home-made dishes brought by friends and family

Jim Regan and Dick Fraschetti who did a superb job as co-masters of ceremony. Jim and Dick were Patti's best wine-drinking buddies on many visits to the Paso Robles wine country.

At the end, I express my appreciation and gave big "thank you's" to everyone who helped out with the Memorial and those who attended the affair. I could not have been any happier with the way it all came together. I felt Patti's spirit orchestrating the entire event it went so smoothly.