Caveat: Tree #1403 “A small amount of snow”

This tree was lightly frosted by some morning snow.


Art and I drove to the VA hospital in downtown Portland, this morning, for an annual follow-up with the “poly trauma” team that has been monitoring his progress since the stroke/concussion/broken neck in 2018. The doctor was humorous and pleasant and had excellent communication skills, but I was disappointed with the degree to which the VA was rather unorganized with respect to Arthur’s current needs for some specialized follow-up appointments on various dimensions. Basically, they wanted to make follow-up appointments but were somehow not aware of, or not taking into account, the fact that we were only briefly here in Oregon and live in remote Southeast Alaska… as if we would travel down once a month for doctor visits. That’s not going to work out. So now we are just going to have to wait for a consolidated set of appointments, and travel again later.

The doctor said something funny, though, as we were small-talking about navigating the labyrinthine VA hospital campus: “Actually, this place is mainly just doors.”

picture[daily log: walking, 5km;]

Caveat: Tree #1402 “Old photographs, and older”

This tree is in front of the house I grew up in, in Arcata. I took this picture a few days ago.


I went and had dinner at my cousin Jori’s house with her husband. My second cousin (her daughter) and daughter’s family were there visiting from Anchorage. We spent some time looking through some old photographs Jori had found. For example, this is a picture of my grandmother Alice, her mother-in-law (my great grandmother) Isabel, my uncle Allen, my father Phil, my Aunt Janet (in front), and my great grandfather John Way Sr. (sitting). They are in front of the San Marino house.


picture[daily log: walking, 4km;]

Caveat: Tree #1400 “Another thanksgiving dinner that couldn’t be beat”

This tree is in front of a high school, which I attended from 1979 to 1983. .


It’s not that much changed, actually. The prison-like facade I remember so fondly is almost entirely unmodified. I took the picture yesterday as I took a walk around Arcata, my hometown, which is something I always do when I visit, given my visits are always short and infrequent. It’s been four years since I was last here, and that visit, too, was only a few hours long: just “passing through.” I also had a long visit with Peggy and Latif, who live in the house that I grew up in.

Apparently the old Trinity Hospital – the building in which I was born, and which closed in the mid 70’s – which languished for years as a physical plant annex for the nearby university, is now undergoing renovation, and will become the new early learning center for the university’s education department.


I am pleased, anyway, that the original building is being preserved and restored rather than simply torn town. The university has been expanding rapidly in recent years. The campus has been promoted by the state system to a “polytechnic” – a kind of “elite” level of state campus intended to be on par with San Luis Obispo and Pomona. This has brought in a huge amount of money, and will, of course, radically change the character of the town, but I don’t believe change is bad. Nevertheless, the “feel” of my hometown is much transformed from the memories of my childhood and adolescence.


That was all yesterday. Today, I had another thanksgiving dinner that couldn’t be beat. Here is a picture of the gathered diners.


That’s the tradition, at Juli and Keith’s house – thanksgiving on Saturday. That’s why I was able to enjoy thanksgiving twice. Double-thanks. The picture above shows Robin and Juli on the left, working on a puzzle (a gift that my mother sent, indirectly). Also seen are Mindy, Kai, Taylor, Keith, Arthur, Hope, and Grace.

Interestingly, Taylor became very engaged in the puzzle, which was apparently uncharacteristic of him. So everyone was drafted to finish the puzzle before any guests could depart. So I guess this completed jaguar puzzle is courtesy Ann and Taylor.


After the great meal was over, and the puzzle was done, and the other guests had left, Juli and Keith and Arthur and I sat in the living room in complete silence for maybe five or ten minutes. It was a strange, but calming feeling. Then Keith spoke up. “I could go to bed now.” That was a perfect end to the day.

picture[daily log: walking, 3km;]

Caveat: Tree #1399 “Pick up your shoe”

This tree is in Humboldt County – barely. This sign at the lower right is the Humboldt County boundary – sorry that it’s a bit blurry.


Humboldt County, California, is one of my favorite third-order administrative divisions. It is, after all, where I was born and spent my childhood. But only a geography nerd like me would conceptualize it as a “favorite third-order administrative division.”

There’s an anecdote about this boundary sign, and Arthur’s role in my childhood. Arthur and I were traveling somewhere. I was around 12 or 13 years old I think. We were driving somewhere, a long road-trip in his 64 Ford Falcon that was his main car for several decades. I don’t remember exactly where we were going. It was late at night, and I needed to pee, so as one does when traveling rural highways, we just pulled over and I peed beside the road. It just happened that we’d stopped by the sign at the Humboldt County line. Later, I realized that I’d lost a shoe. It was obvious to both of us that my shoe, which I’d not been wearing, had fallen out when we’d stopped, somehow. So several days or weeks later (I don’t recall exactly), we were headed back home. I’d completely forgotten about the lost shoe. Arthur stopped abruptly and circled around, so we were pointed the same direction as we’d been traveling before. He stopped the car on the gravel by the roadside. “Open your door,” he said. I was puzzled – I really had forgotten about the shoe. I opened the door. “Get your shoe,” he said. Sure enough, sitting on the ground below the door was my shoe. He’d managed to park the car in exactly the same position he had done last time. He truly had a phenomenal spatial memory, “back in the day.”

I drove up from Eureka back to Forest Grove, today. I stopped in Arcata and took a walk around the town, and talked to Peggy and Latif, who are close friends of the family and who live in the house that I grew up in. Many things changed… many things the same. It’s good to revisit old places.

picture[daily log: walking, 5km; driving, alot more]

Caveat: Tree #1398 “High-speed Thanksgiving”

This tree is a guest tree from my past – because I drove most of the day and then had a thanksgiving dinner at David’s house on a redwood-clad hillside outside of Eureka. I failed to pause to take a picture with a tree in it.

The tree shown (take your pick) is along one of my “pedestrian commuter” routes in Goyang City (Ilsan), South Korea. I took the picture in December, 2017.


I set a new personal record for driving time between LA (Pasadena) and Humboldt (Eureka): ten hours, thirty minutes. Driving on Thanksgiving day, with minimal traffic through cities, was the advantage.

Here is thanksgiving dinner at David’s. I guess there’s some shrubs in the shadows at the edges, and I could have used this as a tree picture. But it didn’t feel legit.


Erilynn took the picture, that’s David in the front right – an iconic friend of the family from my childhood, one of my many unofficial uncles, I guess. I look like I have a bandage on my neck – that’s just a mask because we were occasionally wearing masks in the house, because of concerns about Covid.

picture[daily log: walking, 1km; driving, alot]

Caveat: Tree #1395 “The house that no longer is”

This tree is in front of a house which replaced another house where my grandfather grew up.

This house that no longer exists was known in the family as the “San Marino House” – it lies on almost the exact city line between Pasadena and San Marino. My grandparents didn’t live there when I was a small child – they lived over in Temple City. My great grandparents lived in the San Marino house. But when my great grandparents passed away, my grandparents had moved into that house by the time of my memorable trips to LA with my parents when I was 7 or 8 years old. That San Marino house was a fabulous old house on a very large lot, with passages, bamboo forests, outbuildings, an ancient 1920’s era pool, a fountain, a pipe organ…

When my grandparents had passed away, my dad and his siblings inherited it, and in 1990 or so, my dad and stepmother and brother Andrew moved into it. And when I came back from Korea the first time, in late 1991, I stayed there for about a year, too. So I know the neighborhood, and developed my own relationship with that old family estate. But for various reasons, the house and lot were sold a few years later, and the house was torn down and replaced by three modern and relatively boring houses – though the one on the corner, which can be seen in the picture above, retains some of the “Craftsman” style features the original old house had. I miss that old San Marino house.

I don’t have many pictures of it. I need to remember to get some from my dad and scan them. Meanwhile, I did draw that house. Here’s one scan of an ink drawing I did of the house in 1992.


And here is one photo of it I found – that’s my dad’s cousin Larry in his Model A in front of the San Marino house, as seen from the driveway.


picture[daily log: walking, 3km;]

Caveat: Tree #1393 “Gabrielleno”

This tree is out there leaning over the a stretch of the Gabrielleno trail, which runs up the Arroyo Seco into the San Gabriel Mountains in northwest Pasadena. I met my brother, his friend Roy, my friend Jay and his friend Cameron for a hike up that trail. I had an enjoyable day talking and catching up with Jay and Cameron – I haven’t seen Jay since 2018 and I haven’t seen Cameron since… 2009. Jay and Cameron are both very interesting people, though. It was great to spend time talking with them.


picture[daily log: walking, 8km;]

Caveat: Tree #1390 “This train’s service ends here”

This tree is by the wide blue sea.

It is a painful irony, given where I’ve chosen to live these recent years, that I am an unrepentant “public transit nerd.” I love public transit: buses, subways, trolleys, etc. So I am eccentric: I arrive in L.A. with my own rental car, but promptly set out to take the trolley and subway to the beach – just for fun. L.A.’s public transit is grossly underrated – some stations even have clean restrooms – though not quite to Korean standards. A trolley-subway mix from Pasadena to Santa Monica takes about 2 hours. But a drive would be at least an hour – and unpredictably, it could be much more, depending on traffic. Further, driving is intense and focused and doesn’t allow one to read or surf the internet during the journey, whereas sitting on train permits such leisures.

So that’s what I did today. I find large cities reassuring more than alarming.

picture[daily log: walking, 4.5km;]

Caveat: Tree #1389 “Burbank”

This tree is in front of a building in Burbank where I worked for 6 years. That’s the longest I’ve worked in a single location in my life. I worked for Karma Academy in Korea for longer, but the school moved twice while I worked there, so it wasn’t a single location.


picture[daily log: walking, 6km;]

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