The best part about traveling to destinations to spend time with other folks that I meet on this journey is that I have an opportunity to get see where people live, and know them on a more intimate level. Spending the evening in someone’s home and then drinking coffee and chatting is so much more relaxing, and even exciting to me – than seeing sights or landmarks.
Sure, I long to see things I’ve not seen before – like the Statue of Liberty and such. But, the truth is – Lady Liberty isn’t likely to be happy to see me return. Nor, is she particularly welcoming. Not like I experienced this weekend in Orange County, CA with the folks I met.
Spending the weekend in Laguna Beach with folks like Val and Tracy (who were so gracious and allowed me to stay in their home the first night) is part of the many little highlights – that ultimately – make up a life.
My life is comprised of many of these little highlights. meeting folks in Laguna Beach, Vancouver, Seattle, Miami, St. Louis, Kansas City, Phoenix, Omaha, SF, San Jose, Detroit, Houston, Sacramento – everywhere provides me an opportunity to meet many people.
Some of my friends, give me shit regarding my number of alleged friends on Facebook. But, being in recovery for 27+ years, and traveling the United States to meet people has afforded me the opportunity to say howdy and make friends everywhere. Nothing so much that I’ve done in life has made me feel as connected and filled my life with a purpose and provided me a sense of accomplishment.
I suppose if I spent less time traveling, and focusing on continuing to maintain and expand my recovery circle, I could have accomplished different things. Perhaps I’d have a degree. Maybe I’d have children. Perhaps I would have amassed more material wealth – or some other noteworthy success. But in my quest these last three years to have God reveal to me the meaning of the word “enough”, I’ve been blessed to know that even without these measures of success – I have enough.
It has helped me tremendously let go of envy that I sometimes experience when I measure myself against my peers and others, seeing what they have in their lives brings them happiness – and for that, I should merely share that happiness and allow it to be “enough”.
The truth is, I have a tremendous measurement of success. Albeit, it is measured in different ways. I am confident that the pursuits I have in my life of getting to know people, sharing with others, continuing to develop the relationships I have is what is right – for me. It is allowing me to exhale these days, look at my life, and recognize in every sense of the word, I am blessed, I’m rich, and I truly have “enough”.
When I purchased my first Apple in 1992 my friends scoffed. It was the ramp up of an age. The beginning of a new way we would live our lives – with a computer in each of our homes. Many still didn’t own one. “Why” many questioned would I differentiate myself with this product that had far less software, appeared to have less support, certainly had less market share and proliferation and many believed had less of a future than a dominate PC?
But Steve and others at Apple believed that a computer could be friendlier. It could be simple. It could have interfaces that were intuitive. It could ultimately grow and expand to include creative programs and solutions to how we handle our photos, how to integrate our music, how to take a risk and attempt to edit our own videos. This list is endless. We discussed this at work this morning and to the doubters, most of them two generations younger than I who have only known a world with a computer in every home, I felt confident in pointing out everything a PC is today is a direct benefit of Apple showing us it was possible. That these devices could be so much more than a games machine and a word processor. I feel so grateful today that I got to see a company grow from infancy to the amazing success story it is today. For those of us who were loyal from the beginning and who endured the puzzled looks from the rest of the computer world, who simply “didn’t get it” – know that without the perseverance and vision of so many of the people at Apple, under Steve Jobs – we just wouldn’t enjoy life in the same way we enjoy it today. And that is all of us, not just the Apple family.
In 2001, when I was working at UC Davis, my department was literally the last place to find Mac’s anywhere on campus. Thankfully my mentor and boss Winnie was also a Mac person. We had agreed that there would fight to maintain the last Mac and Apple product space for students to use. Little did we know we’d have difficulty with the University. They had decided that we’d be entirely a PC world and that our last resevoir of Apple hope was going to be dismantled.
They wouldn’t allow a purchase order I submitted to go through because it was for Apple products and this conflicted with their new found appreciation for all things non-Apple. We were so fortunate the Apple rep recognized our plight when I conveyed to him our situation and dedication. The new iMacs in all their illustrious turquoise compactness were out and they worked with us to undercut the price all the competitors. They also included a free G3 and a 23″ Cinema Display – at the time cutting edge and awe invoking. It was the centerpiece of our computer resource center at the Cross-Cultural Center. And the day the students came in and saw the new technology – they gave up their grumbling about why we weren’t like every other computer lab on campus and they embraced what they could do with these new computers. We sent Apple a “thank you” with a photo of the many happy faces around our new hardware, and Apple thankfully footed the bill for the banner we flew outside the center announcing the new iMac was HERE. And, only HERE.
When I returned to campus recently and sat with a former colleague in another department as she peeked around her new 24″ cinema display and chatted between bites of her sandwich, I commented how much I admired her new Apple monitor. “You know”, she said “When they said they were replacing my old Dell with this I was worried, but it’s the nicest equipment the Univeristy has ever provided”. It was nice to know that a decade earlier, a few die hard fans and Apple had managed to keep the dream alive.
To so many legions who now appear to “get it” and are discovering Apple to be the amazing find we knew it was all along – we know more than any – what an accomplishment the team at Apple has achieved. Not just in the innovation which required brilliance but in the courage it required to overcome the obstacle of pessimism, disbelief and those who just couldn’t envision that it could be done.
Is Steve Jobs the Edison or Henry Ford of our time? I don’t know. I suppose history and time will sort those questions out. Our hearts are heavy, but our hats are off. We’ll miss you Steve Jobs.
We were at the Sutro Bath ruins in San Francisco this lovely day. Rob loves the ruins and they are the inspiration of several of his art pieces. RobRough.com
This is one of those dreamy days, where it’s just he and I enjoying time together. So much of our time is spent with other people. We are always on the go, often running in directions that aren’t always parallel during the week. We enjoy our time together in the evening at the end of every day. But, I especially enjoy these times when we can just enjoy the company of each other without any outside distractions. He’s my favorite person in the world. He’s my favorite person ever. And, this picture will always remind of that.
I love San Francisco. Although, I’ve admittedly never been to New York, I think San Francisco is the most beautiful city in America. It’s at once charming and cosmopolitan. I love the ocean breeze, the sun that peeks through the fog and all the landmarks that make San Francisco unique.
On our trip home for mom’s 75th birthday we stopped first at the Cliff House, where we had pop overs. These delicacies are amazing. They are rolls full of air and seem so light, you could eat a dozen. You could, I couldn’t – but they are THAT delicious.
Looking out over the ocean and seeing people run along the beach with their dogs and the birds circling above Rob and I were amazed at all the natural beauty that was just feet away. Amazing colors of flowers and greenery, some of it growing right out in between rocks. We were pondering, what it was about Texas that was so beautiful anyway?
Certainly Texas has it’s own charm, but I wouldn’t compare it to the natural beauty found in Golden Gate Park and all the surrounding communities of Northern California. And, when our bill came for our popovers, coffee and light bite – I was reminded. The beauty in Texas is found beyond the lazy banks of Lady Bird Johnson Lake, or the hills of West Austin or the charming rows of homes found in Hyde Park – it’s in the cost of living.
Visiting San Francisco is always a treat. I just would never be able to stomach living here at these prices. Sure, salaries are higher, sure, there are offsets. But, I have become an Austin person. It is the first time I’ve come “home” to California, and felt like a tourist.
Enjoying the company of Sacramento folks in San Jose. Each year I try and make a trek to my original home-group of friends in San Jose. When I lived in Sacramento, it was fairly easy. Get in the car, drive 2+ hours, tah-dah. But, it’s a little harder now that I’m in Texas.
But here’s a group of folks that made the trip with me. And, I love them for it.
When I was a upcoming graduate of Del Campo High School, I’d saved a little money. I worked at the A-1 Grocery Store. It was a little mom and pop store in downtown Fair Oaks. Mr. Lee was a Chinese man who hired me because he thought I was “good boy”.
Riding the bus home from school was never much fun. I didn’t get along well with most of my class mates, and the confined space of a bus didn’t help that situation much. So often I would walk the few miles home instead. When I walked, I often passed this home that had a car parked on the side of the house.
With the grass grown high in front of it, the headlights appeared like the eyes of a cat stalking me as I walked past. I always wondered why it just sat there. It seemed like a nice car with the exception of all the dust that had settled on it. From what I could see, it had a teal blue interior. A Pontiac. 1964. The year Pontiac’s started getting really good.
The 60’s certainly were the grand years for the brand. I don’t know, looking back, if it ever got any better than that. Certainly years later, 1985, driving around in my friends Korean made, front wheel drive LeMans, it was clear that someone at Pontiac completely had no emotional connection to the 60’s.
But I digress.
With just a few hundred dollars in my account from my work at the cash register and helping Mr. Lee with sides of beef I walked up to the door one day and knocked. I didn’t know what I was going to say but the mystery of what seemed like a perfectly good car sitting there with GTO dual-hood-scoops had to be solved. The woman who came to the door was very nice.
She said her son Billy had parked it there when he left for college back east. He’d since decided he was not returning to California, having accepted a job out of school – also back east. He’d ok’d her to sell the car, but she just never got around to it.
I was not very good at the game I would later learn of being a disinterested buyer. It didn’t occur to me to not tip my hand, that I really “had” to have this car. I think I might have even hopped up and down there on her front porch at the prospect of buying my first car. I think Mrs. Billy’s Mom was fighting a smile as she anticipated my next question.
Might she sell the car to me?
“Well”, she wondered, “The car has been sitting there for a while. It runs fine, but the battery may be dead”. “I don’t care” I said – losing any pretense of a poker face.
And, so it was, 1 battery for $29.99 and a hundred dollar bill to Mrs. Billy’s mom, I was driving home in my 1964 Pontiac. I don’t know if I’ve ever been as excited to drive a car home since. (Although my husband Rob might declare that he can’t imagine me being more excited than the day I bought my first BMW convertible, or when I finally landed the rare 1989 Dodge Dakota Convertible that I’d wanted a long time).
Having that memory and also the one of the other Pontiac I drove (a 1975 Firebird Esprit with a 400 Cu Inch engine and a 4-barrel Quadra-Jet Carburetor) made it especially sad today to hear that the many years of GM mis-management have resulted in the demise of this brand.
Remember? Pontiac was supposed to be the ‘excitement division’. Sure, many of the cars were knock off of Chevrolets but they were nicer, sportier for sure, and often times, I thought – far better cars. One of the things about growing older that I’m finding is the melancholy that comes from remembering good times when we didn’t worry about things like the downward spiral of American manufacturing preeminence. Or that these products, which we emotionally connect with – like cars would be perceived as one of the pariahs of our social ills and economic collapse.
It’s going to be harder as time marches on, I supposed, to fight the resistance to be one of those “old” people we used to make fun of. You know, the ones who’d claimed about how things were better in the ‘good ole days’. I don’t know if they were, or they weren’t. But they sure seemed simpler.
I just know that as I watched that 1964 Pontiac hooked up to a tow truck to be taken off to Rancho Cordova Dismantlers that I had a feeling of sadness. And, I’m experiencing again watching a whole division full of history being dismantled.
I was holding two one hundred dollar bills in my hand as the tow truck turned the corner. And, somehow that didn’t provide any comfort – knowing that I’d made a hundred dollar profit from the price I paid for the car.
My hope is that all those executives at GM who have plundered this company for personal gain and have, for years, disregarded the brand value and historical trust they were charged with steering have just as little comfort counting their money knowing that the whole division has been hooked up to a truck to be taken to the wreckers.
But time marches on. Things change. Products come, products go.
Then again, right now – some high school student somewhere might be walking home looking wistfully at an old Hyundai. I just can’t imagine – in my mind – that once he or she turns the key and pulls it out on the road that the experience will be the same. No Hyundai of any year will be a 1964 Pontiac. No way.
We had an awesome time again on our monthy roadtrip meeting! We started as usual at the roadhouse and then the crew caravaned to Modesto. We were running SO LATE. We were all a little freaked out that we wouldn’t make it in time. And then… my gas light came on. OOps. I thoughttt we had enough to get there.
We coasted into the Tully Road meeting on fumes.. but we made it! Thanks to our wonderful hosts as we had a great time. Especially after at Bakers Square as seen here with Patty Cake and Rita Lynn..
Everyone had the best time and we sure hope the next time you join us. We’re headed to San Jose on the 1st of February. It’ll be a blast!