Saturday, October 17, 2015

My Life Time-line

Here is a timeline of my life.
1949 March 21, Born, New York City, Bronx, lived just one block from maternal grandparents in tenements. 1st memory was enjoying repeatedly climbing up onto crib rail and jumping from crib rail to parents' bed next to crib.
1952 moved to Queens NYC garden apartment
1955 moved to Kettering OH garden apartment (dad said he escaped NY)
1957 moved to Xenia OH $10,000 new tikitaki 4-bedroom tract house with cardboard walls on postage-stamp lot. Met Dick, childhood friend that became lifelong best friend.
1960 moved to Framingham MA, nicer new tract house on large wooded lot. Had dream that started my lifelong fuzzy fetish.
1963 moved back to Xenia OH, same house as before, because mom refused to move to California where dad had a job offer. Summer 1st trip out West to camp at Philmont Scout Ranch New Mexico. 9th grade Met Jayne, 1st 'girlfriend', but we proudly preferred to call ourselves "buddies", because we were too intellectual for romantic mushy stuff. Jayne became 2nd lifelong childhood friend.
1964 moved to Beavercreek OH, nicer custom house on half acre wooded lot, originally built by architect for himself.
1967 Wright State University still living at home, joined Unitarian-Universalist fellowship, met Nancy, 3rd lifelong friend. Dick went to WSU with me, Jayne went to college in Boston. Met 1st real girlfriend, including 1st kiss, during Fall semester, but she broke up with me New Years Eve, because I also wanted to date her best friend who was also one of my best friends that Freshman year.
1968 Summer visited Jayne in Boston. Fall semester met, fell in love with and proposed to 2nd college girlfriend, but her parents made her break up with me because I'm not Christian.
1970 Shared apartment for summer with my best highschool-years neighborhood friend who was homophobic and knew about me being bisexual but shared apartment as long as he never saw or heard about any gay activities.  I had a boyfriend in bed with me for the first time in that apartment on a weekend my roommate was out of town.
1970 Fall semester WSU finally opened its first dorm and I moved in. Gained 30 pounds just because dorm food was so much better than mom's. Friends said I looked pregnant. (I still have never given birth and lost that belly)
1971 Winter/Spring semester Did not have the money to continue to pay dorm fees so moved back home. but actually spent most nights in the dorm's women's wing, in a woman-friend's room, sleeping on the floor, platonic friends, no sex, graduated still a virgin.
1971 Summer after graduation rented apartment in Dayton with boyfriend, (I thought this would be happily ever after) but he never moved in, just paid his half of rent and stayed home with parents, scared of disappointing them.
1971 Fall met and married first wife Marty, apartment in Dayton, my parents divorced the week before my wedding (used their rings for my wedding), the family house was sold, dad married his secretary to raise my new baby half-brother, and mom moved to an apartment and she fell into deep depression.
1972 February moved to Lima OH, to take an awful job that 1st wife badgered me into taking. 1st wife, who did not drink when I met and married her, went back to drinking heavily and became a mean drunk. 
1972 July 1st wife left me, with her girlfriend, for San Francisco. She was lesbian and I was her one unsuccessful attempt at going straight.  I met my 1st live-in girlfriend a week after breakup and moved her in, and my mom moved in with us to get over her depression.
1973 April quit job and moved back to Dayton with girlfriend, mom got her own apartment again because depression over.  June found first career job in air pollution control, 1st wife mailed me Living Love Handbook to Higher Consciousness, which has been the basis of my philosophy for the rest of my life, and that finally gave me a reason for having endured that terrible first marriage.
1974 brokup with 1st girlfriend and finally officially divorced 1st wife.
1975 met 2nd girlfriend at New Years Eve party, the only woman I ever managed to convince to leave the jerk she was with and start dating me instead. She and her 8-year-old son moved into apartment next door to mine, then I moved in with them, then we got a house together.
1976 2nd girlfriend left me in March for a cowboy type, but left her son with me so I could keep him through the rest of the school year in the progressive private school that I paid for him to go to that he enjoyed so much and blossomed academically at.  Then in August I met future 2nd wife Mary. Mary was conservative and was looking for a conservative man, but found me intriguing. We decided to share companionship with each other while we continued to look for and date other people more compatible with ourselves.
1977 continued staying nights with Mary while we both continued dating others. By end of year we ran out of others to date and only had each other left. She had grown more liberal and more compatible.
1978 after the Great Blizzard of '78, future 2nd wife Mary said, "I'm moving to where it doesn't snow. I'd like you to move there with me, but with or without you, I'm moving to where it doesn't snow!" April 22 married 2nd wife Mary and in May moved to Albuquerque to escape OH.
1979 laid off job in Albuquerque and moved to Santa Fe to work for state.
1981 moved to Denver to get 50-100% more for similar work. rented house east of Denver, joined Living Love support group.
1982 bought house north of Denver. met 4th lifelong friend Sunny when she attended Living Love group that I hosted.
1984 fell in love with Sunny while attending Living Love group she hosted.
1985 January moved to San Diego. February attended first bisexual forum meeting and met and fell in love with Cindy at 1st party, formed 1st triad with 2nd wife and Cindy.
1987 Cindy died in April, 2nd wife Mary was then in and out of hospital for the rest of the year, couldn't manage to make other close friends in San Diego; correspondence and phone with Sunny back in Denver sustained me for the next 3 years.
1990 Parisianne and Jeanne moved to San Diego, we met at biforum on September 9, we all 4 fell in love, and they formed a quad with 2nd wife and me.
1991 Parisianne and Jeanne moved to Illinois in July and Sunny got married in June (I attended wedding), with all 3 of my closest friends gone, I fell into 1st depression
1992 February, a story Parisianne wrote for me and sent to me that was particularly affirming of my most unusual idiosyncrasies ended 1st depression. I started begging Parisianne and Jeanne to move back to San Diego. After sticking with me through the depression, 2nd wife Mary left me in spring, because she could not stand how hyper I had gotten after the depression lifted.  December Parisianne and Jeanne finally moved back to San Diego at my request and bought a 6-bedroom house with me as my 2nd triad. Met Andrea at December party and became platonic best friends.
1993 found and attended California Living Love support groups.
1994 attended Human Awareness Institute (HAI) workshops on Love, Intimacy and Sexuality, did Landmark Forum, and a friend Tina introduced me to learning Compassionate Communication, quit attending UU church. 
1995 Met and fell in love with Marty (the 2nd) at HAI meeting in July, broke up in September because Marty wanted monogamy, starting 2nd depression because I thought Marty might have been my last chance for true love
1996 January, Tina badgered me into getting up out of my depression bed to attend New Years Eve party, where I met folks who cofounded Rumi's Field, a weekend intentional community for practicing and living Compassionate Communication, which immediately ended 2nd depression.
February met and fell in love with Mark at party at Andrea's house.
March Mark met Andrea at next party, we formed 3rd triad, but did not move in together, though I wanted to.
October Mark moved back to Utah, and without Mark's catalyzing energizing presence, Andrea went back to just platonic friend. Then I began dating future 3rd wife Sandy.
1997 I took the nickname Ami Amema, because I wanted a name that was not gender-identified, since I do not identify with gender. Valentine's Day, I began supporting Andrea's younger daughter Laurie and her kids (as a step-father). October 2nd wife Mary died after enjoying the best 5 years of her life with her lesbian partner (also named Sandy).
1998 weekend intentional community fizzled. June future 3rd wife Sandy and I bought condo together in Santee.
2000 September 15, Sandy and I married, after agreeing that she would become more supportive of my polyamory as she continued to work on herself with my support, but instead she became more jealous as years went on.
2004 October Jeanne died and Parisianne fell into deep 8-year isolating depression. December Sandy and I split up because I could not stand her jealousy, and I bought 1st mobile home, 3-bedrooms.
2005 March met and fell in love with Kathy, the perfect bi-poly affectionate non-jealous partner I had always dreamed of, she dated me that year but did not move in. Summer Laurie and kids moved in with me. Late September Kathy broke up, preferring other men. November I bought 2nd larger 5-bedroom mobile home for me (hoping to entice Kathy back), leaving Laurie and kids in 1st mobile home. December Kathy moved in to 2nd mobile home with me, but just as platonic housemate, December 31 Mark died with me at his hospital bedside in Utah for his last week.
2006 started with 3rd depression due to losses of Kathy and Mark, Kathy then met Jeff who lives on his sail boat. June my mother died. By September, 9 months of depression lack of appetite finally brought my weight back down into 170s for the first time in decades. September joined 2nd intentional community group and 3rd depression ended. 
2007 weight started going up again rapidly gained 100 pounds. Sunny's son Daryl (whom I had always wanted to raise with her) at age 25 visited as 2nd housemate for 6 months, spring 2nd intentional community group fizzled, October Bill moved in as 3rd housemate, we joined 3rd intentional community group.
2008 January Kathy left to sail across Pacific with Jeff in his 44-foot sail-boat, enjoying lengthy visits at all the beautiful islands along the way, emailing back pictures.  Spring 3rd intentional community group fizzled, weight stayed up over 270, so I felt debilitated and fell into 4th depression. December went to doctor, got Constant Positive Airway Pressure breathing machine to treat sleep apnea.
2009 Kathy and Jeff arrived and settled in Australia, but still live on boat. 
2009 and 2010 weight gradually came down to 200. Greater involvement in Compassionate Communication, including co-teaching classes about it with Joe, ended 4th depression.
2011 Joe introduced me to Amrita, just because "you are the 2 weirdest people I've ever met, so I just thought that you should probably get to know each other", and she moved in. July 2011 financial hardships hit. November 2011 moved Laurie and kids to Humboldt County to get rid of first mobile home to save money. Tried unsuccessfully to also sell 2nd mobile home.
2012 failure to sell mobile home and continuing financial stresses lead to 5th depression. Father died.
2013 the 5th depression lifted and in April Amrita and I visited New England. I stayed a week in Boston with my lifelong friend James, who had been Jayne until transitioning ten years earlier. 
June 27, 2013, Tina introduced me to Mary (I jokingly call her Queen Mary the 2nd) now my 4th wife, not intending to introduce us, because she thought we would not have anything in common, but she just wanted me to join a conversation she was having with Mary, to corroborate a point Tina was trying to make. June 30 Amrita moved out. July Mary moved in, but Mary found she hated the mobile home in Santee almost as much as she had hated the 'sober-living' shared apartment I had moved her out of. October 16 we were married. Halloween we moved to a 2-bedroom condo in the Linda Vista neighborhood where she had lived most of her life and she desperately wanted to get back to (actually the same complex where she had a condo years ago). We thought the condo would be plenty for us, but it wasn't, we never felt like we comfortably fit into it (because I had so much stuff from my 5-bedroom home).
2014 October we moved 4 blocks down the street to the 4-bedroom ranch house where we currently live. Right after moving, we went on an anniversary trip to the central coast including Ventura, Carpenteria, Santa Barbara, Ojai, and Solvang. December a young couple we call "the kids" moved in with us. We get along great!
2015 Valentine's Day I married the kids! For those who have not gotten the riddle, I officiated at their wedding. Sept-Oct We took our 2nd anniversary trip to Denver, Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse monuments in the Black Hills of South Dakota, Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, Salt Lake, Bryce and Zion canyons, Lake Powell, Grand Canyon, and Las Vegas.

Thursday, October 15, 2015


To celebrate our second anniversary, Mary and I took a fabulous tour of the Rocky Mountains and beautiful canyons of the South West.

Monday 9/14 flight was great but had trouble finding the right door to exit Denver airport terminal to be picked up. 

Tuesday 9/15 went to rocky Mountain national park. Ended evening in hot tub. Glorious day! 

Wednesday 9/16 walked downtown Fort Collins.

Thursday 9/17 walked large regional park in Fort Collins and along Horsetooth reservoir. Then driven to Denver (Lakewood suburb).

Friday 9/18 went SW on Route 285 into the mountains to Kenosha Pass to see the aspens turning gold. Extra beautiful because we caught them when they were still half green and half gold, interspersed among the pines. Over-looked South Park, beautiful view of broad valley with high mountains in distance.Visited Red Rocks park and amphitheater. 

Saturday 9/19, had yummy Lebanese meal in Denver suburb. 

Sunday 9/20 enjoyed the Denver museum of nature and science.  

Monday 9/21 enjoyed an adventurous drive into the mountains taking back roads that went through 30 years ago, but are now dead ends. Had to backtrack and find alternate routes, but the rock formations on the cliffs were spectacularly beautiful! 

Tuesday 9/22 Pikes Peak Cog Railway to the summit for spectacular 360° views! Saw marmots, deer, and mountain sheep. Walked Manitou Springs and took a small side trip to New Orleans for gumbo and a seafood sampler that included seahorse, yum! While listening to Cajun music at a veranda table! The magic of cuisine theme decor at a historic Manitou Springs establishment. 

Wednesday 9/23 was Anything Can Happen Day, like on the Micky Mouse Club in the '50s, while leaving Denver to go to the Garden of the Gods, we got rear-ended. We are all fine, including the car (at first glance, but it is getting checked out), (the front of the other car that hit us is all smashed in), but spent the rest of the day finding and seeing a doctor to confirm that we were fine. 

Thursday 9/24 was just a quiet day to recuperate, only highlight was a great Mexican dinner. 

Friday 9/25 walked downtown Denver, also rode the free shuttle when tired from walking, enjoyed Union station, dined at Bubba Gump's. Met our tour director Friday 9/25 evening. 

Early Saturday morning 9/26 we leave on the tour bus for South Dakota. Saturday 9/26 was many hours of bus riding through prairies of Colorado and Wyoming before getting to the incredibly beautiful rock formations in the wooded Black Hills of South Dakota. Saw the Capitol building in Cheyenne Wyoming (only outside because Saturday). Previewed Crazy Horse and Rushmore drive-bys. Dined at Ruby's brothel in Keystone. 

Sunday 9/27 enjoyed visits to Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, and Tatanka (bison in Lakota), where they explained how the nomadic Lakota plains people relied on the bison. Sunday 9/27 saw Dall sheep, ewe and lamb, right next to the trail at Rushmore. Had a hilarious humorous guided tour of Deadwood. Dined at Diamond Lil's restaurant is in Kevin Costner's Midnight Star casino in Deadwood.

Monday 9/28 Long bus ride across Wyoming. Saw Devil's Tower in distance. Stopped for pie, yum! Dined in hotel established by Buffalo Bill Cody in Cody Wyoming.

Tuesday 9/29 beautiful drive past mountains with soaring rock formations and deep gorges to Yellowstone, saw Lake Yellowstone and Mammoth Hot Springs, bison, deer, elk.Dined 9/29 at Chinatown restaurant full of chinese tourists. 

Wednesday 9/30 full day in Yellowstone and then come back to this same hotel. Wednesday 9/30 saw black bear near road, elk and bison right next to trail, had to delay walk considerably once to wait for bison to move away so as not to walk too dangerously close to bison. Saw Old Faithful erupt twice! Saw many other geysers, 3 others erupting that sometimes don't even erupt in a day! Mudpots blooping and Grand Prismatic, the biggest most colorful hot spring. 9/30 had 2 very delicious unique items to eat that I had never had anything like before, portobello mushroom slabs stacked/stuffed with seasoned quinoa and lettuce wraps filled with a scrumptiously seasoned chicken and mushrooms mixture at the Branch restaurant in West Yellowstone Montana.

Thursday 10/1 Grand Tetons, lunch at the park lodge, dinner at a wagon train chuckwagon bbq and wild west show in Jackson Hole Wyoming. 

Friday 10/2 Snake river float trip today was canceled due to rain. Just walked around Jackson Hole. Tomorrow 10/3 off to Salt Lake.

Saturday 10/3 walked around Temple Square in Salt Lake City and quickly looked inside the hall with the giant pipe organ where the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings, and dined at the home of Brigham Young. 

Sunday 10/4 saw spectacularly beautiful multicolored rock formations called hoodoos at Bryce Canyon. Dined and enjoyed another western cowboy show including rope tricks, whip cracking, and singing at Ebenezer's Barn and Grill. Flower gardens in Temple Square were as beautiful as the elaborate and impressive architecture.

Monday 10/5 morning saw soaring cliffs at Zion, and walked to see a waterfall. Then late afternoon cruised on Lake Powell and saw more cliffs that are 95 feet higher because the lake is 95 feet low due to the drought. Dined on trout at a steakhouse.

Tuesday 10/6 rain and clouds prevented seeing grand canyon. Dined at lodge. No internet, so log delayed. 

Wednesday 10/7 morning walked to canyon rim from lodge and got a good view of canyon. Spectacular! Got lost a bit on way to rim so got a longer walk and 2 shuttle bus rides, seeing more of lodge village, including the original main lodge (we stayed at a secondary one); took correct short trail back to lodge from rim.Noon on way to Vegas, stopped at old Route 66 wayside town. Evening in Vegas saw Menopause the Musical, hilarious! Got free ticket offers for 4 other shows! Dined at Harrah's buffet, at hotel where we stay just tonight to end the tour. Tomorrow move to the Artisan, where we got a better deal for the next 4 nights.

Thursday 10/8 sat through 4 hours of time share sales pitch (they said it would be less than 2) to get free tickets to Ka Cirque du Soleil show Sunday night and a free buffet that we had that night. Then saw Divas female impersonators show. 

Friday 10/9 toured Hoover Dam, impressive! Lunch cruise on Lake Meade on stern wheeled paddle wheeler, fun! Evening walked the strip. Rode 550' ferris wheel at sunset. Mirage volcano and Caesar's Palace moving statues we were there at the wrong time to see them happen, but we did  see Bellagio dancing fountains, fabulous! Dined on yummy rare-grilled Ahi caesar salad.

Saturday 10/10 managed to sleep some last night even with the party noisy music all night and morning til noon. Tonight Mary has ear plugs. Walked the strip again. Lunch antipasti at Venetian, where they have gondola rides on canals. Dined Vietnamese at the Rio, then saw Penn and Teller, Great show!

Sunday 10/11 walked Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Dined Italian at Excalibur huge portions gave take-home bag to a hungry homeless man on the street, New York New York, then saw Ka in MGM Grand. Then took bus to Fremont Street. 2 blocks covered with a canopy and made into a pedestrian-only mall. In the Golden Nugget, saw largest gold nugget in the world, and pool with a shark tank in the middle and a water slide clear plastic tube that goes through the shark tank. 

Monday 10/12 lunched at Circus Circus and saw acrobatic roller skaters. Walked Paris and Sahara and back to see moving statues at Caesar's Palace actually move! Performing The Fall of Atlantis. Missed pirates show at Treasure Island and the eruption of the volcano at Mirage because not able to be there at the right time. Also didn't pay to see white tigers at Mirage. Snacked on guacamole at the airport and then flew home.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


May 2004, I just came back from a vacation on the island of Bali in Indonesia, and Bangkok Thailand and Singapore, which is right on the equator, half-way between the other two. My first trip overseas.  Because those places are so hot and humid, for the first time in years, I had to wear only T-shirts and cotton pants all day, nothing fluffy.  
The trip was wonderful.  In both Bali and Bangkok we toured many elaborate temples and saw many traditional dances and ate lots of delicious exotic foods, including many delicious fruits I had never heard of before.  In Bali, we snorkeled for the first time at a reef with colorful fish, took a bird walk in rice fields and forests, fed monkeys, and petted bats and pythons and mongoose, saw woodcarving, stonecarving, batik, painting, and silver and gold smithing.  In Thailand, we saw a working elephant demonstration, took boats on the river in Bangkok, and on rural canals to the floating market.  I bought balinese shadow puppets, an elaborately carved wooden flute, and a rattle, and a watch to replace mine that died from the humidity causing it to develop condensation on the inside and short out. Singapore was just an all-day layover where we were able to get a tour of the sights of the island city nation, including a beautiful temple and a lovely park at the top of the highest hill.


9/25 As some of you know, Andrea (my long term friend and traveling companion) and I are traveling to New Zealand via Fiji.  Here is our first email from New Zealand.  Fiji was fine but not fabulous.  Its third worldyness reminds us of Tijuana  We do not see any need to go back.  We took a boat tour of several of the islands in the morning and went on a cultural tour in the afternoon.  Both were great but that was enough of that.  We like New Zealand much better.  Its pretty much like being in California but much more lush.  We wandered around downtown Auckland on our first afternoon here.  We toured glow worm caves yesterday and now are in an area like yellowstone that is the inside of a giant volcano's caldera.  Geysers, mudpots, hot waterfalls, etc like Yellowstone.  I also enjoyed the Maori cultural presentation including dancing and traditional greeting and native foods feast (their version of a luau).  We also saw a presentation on sheep including sheering and then visited a nature/conservation park. Tomorrow we head south to the capitol city Wellington at the south tip of the north island.  After a day there we take a ferry across to the south island where the most spectacular scenery is supposed to be.  From the north tip of the south island we will take a train to Christ Church.  I may write again from Wellington if there is anything more to say by then.

9/27 Hi again,  Yesterday I spent the whole day at the New Zealand national museum.  It presents New Zealand's natural history, cultural history, and art.  My favorites were the exhibitions on continental drift, and hence where New Zealand's mountains, many volcanos and earthquakes come from.  New Zealand straddles the fault connecting the Austrailan plate and the Pacific plate.  I also enjoyed the outdoor garden displaying New Zealand's native plants.  There is also an intersting exhibit on how the coming of humans and the invasive species we brought, have altered the ecology of New Zealand, including showing realistic lifesize models of some of the extinct native species.  It was also fascinating to see two video presentations of two similar but slightly different versions of the Maori creation myth, one as told by north islanders and the other as told by south islanders.  This morning we take the ferry from here in Wellington at the southern tip of the north island across to Picton at the northern tip of the south island and then this afternoon the train down the northeastern coast of the south island to Christchurch on the east coast.  I'll hopefully write again from Christchurch.  

9/29 Today I took a short sidetrip to Antarctica, well actually just to the Antarctica Center at the Christchurch airport.  That is where all Antarctic expeditions are launched.  The museum includes a room where we get to experience an antarctic storm with temp -16 and winds up to 50 knots bringing the windchill down to something like 50 below.  I also watched penguins being fed.  Later in the afternoon, I enjoyed the very large and elaborate botanical gardens in the main city park downtown.  Finally I just strolled downtown in the evening.  Early tomorrow morning we leave for Queenstown via Mount Cook, the tallest peak in NZ.  I presume we go to the bottom of it, not the top.  I'll write again from Queenstown.  

9/30 Today I flew in a small plane around Mount Cook the highest peak in New Zealand and other neighboring alps and their glaciers and glacier lakes.  The views were absolutely breathtaking!!!  After I got back on the ground though, I saw that the mountains are even more impressive when I am looking up at them than when I am looking down at them.   I also watched a 3D large-screen movie about mount cook national park at the visitors center.  Tonight we are in the tourist resort town of Queenstown.  I ate venison for the first time in my life.  It was delicious!  We saw deer farms on the way here, so I decided to find a restaurant that serves it.  When I was wandering around the little touristy downtown tonight, on the pedestrian mall street, I saw a restaurant with a chalkboard sign outside listing their specialties that said "locally grown venision" so that's where I ate.  Fantastic!  Tomorrow we cruise on milford sound to see the fiords.  I'll write again after that.

10/1 Today we saw some of the most spectacular scenery in New Zealand.  We cruised among the fiords surrounding Milford Sound on the southwest coast of the south island.  The fiord walls are thousands of feet high and were laced with many waterfalls.  We were lucky that today had been a partly rainy day.  Most of the waterfalls only are active on rainy days.  Only a few of them are permanent.  Those permanent ones are larger volume and more spectacular though.  We were able to enjoy the cruise under partly cloudy skies, but got to see all the extra little waterfalls!  Also, when we crossed the southern end of the southern alps on the way to the sound, we got to enjoy a light snow flurry!  It was light enough that it did not affect the bus trip at all.  We even got to go walk out in the snow flurry at a brief rest stop.  Almost all the mountains around here are snowcapped and breathtakingly beautiful with steep jagged peaks.  Because almost all the flat land in this region is glacial valleys, the mountain slopes come down precipitously steep right to the edge of the valley floor.  That makes the landscape incredibly dramatic. 

10/3 First of all, sorry about neglecting to put the title "Queenstown tourist resort village" on the last email.
Today was the best of times and the worst of times.  The worst was that our hotel is 3 kilometers out of town and has no restaurant and no courtesy shuttle and the town's shuttle service won't answer the phone and its raining and the glacier viewing spot is several kilometers the other side of town.  The best of times is our "room" is a whole one bedroom apartment with cathedral ceiling and full kitchen.  And we thought we had been impressed with our room in Queenstown which had been 50-100% larger than most of our other rooms.  I finally did get to view the glacier, from afar, in the rain and fog!  I hitched a ride with another visiter into town.  They dropped me at a building called Glacier Center, thinking that would be where I would go to get to the glacier.  But the lady inside said they do not go to the glacier.  They just have a little museum exhibit and an indoor ice climbing wall.  But she said she would help me find a ride to the glacier.  She called around town to find where the driver of the shuttle might be.  On her third call she found him at the internet cafe.  So I walked around the block to where he was.  Conveniently (for him) the internet cafe is in the same building as the shuttle office.  He took me out to the glacier viewing area parking lot and showed me where the trail was that goes to the viewing spot, gave me an umbrella, and said he would be back to pick me up in one hour and then he would drop me off at my hotel.   It was a 10 minute walk on a paved trail through the rain forest (temperate rain forest like on Washington coast) to a small pond that acts as a reflecting pool and the view of the glacier reflects in the pond.  I wiped rain water off the bench and sat down to drink in (literally) the scene.  The west coast of New Zealand gets 5 to 8 meters of rain a year.  If I had arrived earlier, I could have taken a 3 hour walk that would have taken me to the foot of the glacier.  Tomorrow we take the transalpine train back from Greymouth on the west coast to Christchurch on the east coast.  The transpalpine is supposed to be one of the most spectacular train trips in the world.  I hope the weather clears enough for us to see the mountain peaks as we ride past them.  

10/4 Well, today it was rainy and foggy while we were up in the alps so we couldn't see anything, and then became partly cloudy after we got down to the flat land.  Basically the spectacular transalpine journey was waisted due to weather.  One thing exciting though, was when we were on the bus coming north up the west coast to get to the transalpine train, the bus driver said this was the highest he has ever seen the rivers.  So even in that incredibly rainy area (7 meters a year), last night was a record heavy rain!  Our hotel tonight in Christchurch (Hotel So) is super modern and flashy and our room is super tiny.  I think this is a Japanese idea.  Tomorrow we fly back to Aukland.  We are wondering if our Bay of Islands cruise the day after tomorrow will be cancelled due to bad weather.  We will see.  

10/5 I had wanted to ride the Christchurch gondola this morning but I decided not to because the rain and fog would have prevented me from seeing anything.  This afternoon we flew from Christchurch on the south island back to Auckland on the north island.  There were clouds below us the whole flight, but a couple of snow capped mountain peaks managed to peek through the clouds and be visible to us.  Otherwise, clouds is all that we saw.  Tonight I walked to the Sky Tower.  I got 360 degree views from the 60th floor of the tallest building in the southern hemisphere.  It was a lonnnnnnggggggggg walk uphill to get back to the hotel but I survived.  Tomorrow we cruise the bay of islands.  I'll let you know how that goes. 

10/6 Well, I'm in the Auckland airport waiting for our flight home.  Our flight to Fifi has been delayed 5 hours.  So instead of having a 5 hour layover in Fiji, now they will have to hold the flight from Fiji to LA to wait for us because it is scheduled to depart at the same time that we are now projected to arrive.  The airline just announced that we can get refreshment vouchers to eat in this airport while our flight is delayed.  This morning I had to go back to the tour office downtown and pick up my jacket that I had left there yesterday.  I also had to repack this morning because one of my pieces of luggage ripped out from overpacking with furs I bought here.  So I just left the ruined piece of luggage at the hotel and somehow miraculously everything fit into the luggage we had left with some very creative packing.  Unless my flights are more delayed, I'll be home tomorrow night.  We spend tonight on the plane.
Yesterday we took a long bus trip up to the Bay of Islands at the north end of the north island and then a cruise on the bay including going through the hole in the rock.  We also toured the site where the treaty was signed in 1840 between the British and the indigenous Maori peoples.  New Zealand has been incredibly beautiful, and now I am ready to come home. 


Sandy's best friend moved to Berkeley a few years ago, and we'll want to see him.  He is acting in a community theater play there currently, thru Nov 20.  Sandy and I have decided to drive up there in our camper this coming Veteran's day weekend to see the play.  We'll drive up on Thursday, see redwoods and maybe visit some folks too on Friday,  On Saturday, we'll have breakfast or lunch with the friend who is in the play, and then see the play, a comedy called "Noises Off", Saturday night, 8pm, at Contra Costa Civic Theater in El Cerrito, 951 Pomona Ave.  Sunday, we'll drive back down here.
Let me know if you would like to see us on Friday or Saturday or for breafast on Sunday, and/or would like to go to the play.  Hope we can see you!


5/3 I'm at Mark's!!!!!!!!!!!!!  YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!    Andrea and I drove all the way up here to Salt Lake in one day today.  Long drive, but Utah is beautiful!  Snow-peaked mountains!  It's so great to see Mark again!  I'll let you know what adventures we get into.  nightynight


Zion Friday 8/18 (Sandy's birthday) and Saturday 8/19, Bryce Sunday 8/20, Capital Reef Monday 8/21, and Arches and  Canyonlands Tuesday 8/22.  

Wednesday 8/23 we go on to Colorado.  We will be in Denver Thursday 8/24 with Sandy's brother and Sunday 8/27 with my Denver best friend, Friday 8/25 at Colorado Springs and Pike's Peak, and Saturday 8/26 at Rocky Mountain National Park and Fort Collins with another old friend.  

Monday 8/28 we head down into New Mexico and drive past Philmont Scout Ranch where I went when I was a Scout at 14.  Monday night we stay in a teepee at Arroyo Seco (wherever that is).  Tuesday 8/29 we sightsee through Taos and Santa Fe (SandTaffy) on the way to Albuquerque (AppleCookie).  Wednesday 8/30 in
AppleCookie with Sandy's childhood friend. 

Thursday 8/31 across I-40 to Flagstaff, seeing Meteor Crater on the way.  Grand Canyon Friday 9/1, then Sedona and Arcosante Saturday 9/2.  Home again late Sunday 9/3.  Then, Labor Day we rest up from this insanity.