Good morning and greetings, NBA fans. Per my psychiatrist’s orders, I was walking along West Cliff Drive last week, hoping that the edge of the continent would help enlighten me as to what to write about. And then, while being serenaded by the crashing waves, chains of pelicans and lost tourists, I remembered my wife telling me that I was soon going to turn 57. Fifty-seven! The number blows my mind. Holy middle age, Batman.
When I think fifty-seven, I usually think Heinz 57 Sauce, not the amount of candles atop my birthday cake. That’s a little too close to the big six oh. And here I am, at age 56, and I still haven’t decided whether I want to be a fireman, policeman or vice-president when I grow up.
So that got me to thinking, at this stage of the game, and we’re talking middle innings, I should write about what I’m grateful for. I’m not trying to get too personal, just trying to give you cyber readers and blog stalkers a little insight inside the mind, the spirit and occasional psychotic breaks that go into making Sunrise Santa Cruz.
Both are my parents are alive and living in Santa Cruz. My father is 92 and my mother, who didn’t breast feed me, is 83. Some thirty-odd years ago, on a hot summer night back in New Jersey with the humidity over 100%, I told my parents they should move to Santa Cruz. I wasn’t sure if they heard me over the whirring of the air conditioner, but a few years later they showed up on my doorstep at West Cliff Drive, wondering if they could stay for the night. Turns out they had sold their house and business, put their stuff in storage and manifest destinied to the west coast.
Well, that one night turned into five months, before I had to have them evicted for too many late night parties. At the time my modeling career going full bore and I needed my beauty sleep. They are now living happily in semi-retirement, enjoying the good life in Santa Cruz while running a small interstate bookmaking operation.
The house on West Cliff Drive, where I spent my wonder years (1975-89), is also where I met my wife, Allison. I was advertising for a quiet, female roommate and she showed up, spied the ocean view and asked when could she move in. I explained to her it wasn’t that simple. She then told me her father had Laker’s season tickets at the Fabulous Forum (3rd row across from the visitor’s bench) and I said, in that case, forget last month’s rent and a deposit, you’re in.
Then, after nine years, we rushed into marriage and the rest is AP World History. She is the greatest thing to ever happen to me, not including the time my freshman basketball coach stormed into the lockerroom at halftime and screamed, “Dammit, no one is playing any defense out there except for Gilbert.” Ah, high school memories.
Our marriage has produced two children and a golden retriever. Jason is a 5′ 10″ high school sophomore, with a 5′ 9″ wingspan, who speaks Spanish like the maitre de at the Tacqueria La Cabana. He is a smart, sensitive, funny kid who someday would like me to pay for his medical school. I still remember the day he told me, “Dad, I either want to be a doctor or the Oakland A’s video guy.” I am extremely proud of him and will be even prouder the day he dunks a basketball in traffic off the fast break.
My daughter Aimee is a blonde-haired, blue-eyed gift from God. She is a gifted artist who also has big ambitions. She told me one day that she either wanted to be a lawyer or a hair dresser. She knows how to make her father laugh. She has the smile, the glow and an aura surrounding her, and most importantly, can throw strikes all day as a lefty softball pitcher.
Which brings me to our golden retriever, Summer. Some say there’s no such thing as love at first sight, but when I saw that tubby, little six-week-old ball of fur, I was hooked, line and sinker. Unlike Jason and Aimee, she hasn’t mentioned any plans for the future, just that she wants to be fed and covered by President Obama’s new health care program.
That’s the immediate family. I’ve got two brothers and an imaginery sister. My brother Paul lives in Marin County and created all the “NBA action, it’s fantastic” promos when he was Director of Video Promotion for the league back in New York. He claims I didn’t speak to him for a week after he beat me in ping ping for the first time (never happened,) and even if he did, it wouldn’t have been more than two or three days.
My brother Brad resides in Boulder, Colorado and is CEO, President and head chef at People Productions, which involves Intelligently Integrated Media and delicious gluten free desserts. My youngest brother is very devoted to his work, as exemplified by the example he sets for his employees by snowboarding in as much fresh powder as possible during office hours.
And finally, as Jennifer Aniston once told me, you’ve got to have friends. Over the past year, through some difficult days, many of you have touched my heart, pancreas and other vital organs. Now, there are way too many of you to mention here, although if any of you had sponsored this blog, you’d have top billing. In any case, I’ll mention a few.
I had lunch on Friday with my oldest non-New Jersey pal, Doug, whom I’ve known for 38 years, yet, still don’t know his last name. I have a incredible friend and confidante named Nancy Mager, whom I speak to almost every day, and who fortunately allows me to call her collect. And then there is my old Garden State pal Steve, who I struck out swinging twice in our minor league championship game and who still remembers the grin on my face. Steve and I go way back, I knew him before there was history.
All right, enough of my life story. For our photo runway, we’re heading over to Natural Bridges State Beach. This would come under the heading, something old, something new. The first three shots are from a sunset from this week back in 2005, before Michelle Obama started going sleeveless. The last three images are from an outrageous night back on October 26, when this cloud formation lit up the western sky and dazzled partygoers, sports fans and focus groups gathered along the West Cliff Drive.
On to some late night humor. “Sarah Palin announced that she’s gonna travel across the country on a bus to promote her new book. She’ll be hard to miss ’cause it’ll be the only bus on the road with a dead moose strapped on the hood.” –Conan O’Brien “On Monday, Oprah Winfrey and Sarah Palin will sit down and they’re going to talk for an entire hour. And I was thinking, too bad John McCain didn’t do that with her before he chose her as his running mate.” –David Letterman “CBS News is reporting that President Obama has decided to send 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan. Obama says it’s all part of his plan to finally deliver on the campaign promises made by John McCain” –Jimmy Fallon
“President Obama is traveling to Asia this week. He’ll be making a trip to China. While he’s there, Obama plans to visit the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, and America’s money.” –Conan O’Brien “Al Gore was here in New York yesterday signing copies of his new book ‘Our Choice’ at Barnes and Noble. It was strange, Gore wouldn’t write his name. He just signed each book, ‘I’m sorry, tree.’” –Jimmy Fallon “The AMA is urging the Federal Government not to classify marijuana as a dangerous drug and do more research. That’s what they said. It’s a big story, yeah. Yeah, that request came not only from the AMA but also from KFC.” –Conan O’Brien
“Three young Americans have been charged with espionage in Iran after straying into the country while hiking in Iraq. Now, obviously, we all pray for their safe return. But hiking in Iraq? I mean — you know, if you’re hiking in Iraq and Iran, you might want to get a you new travel agent. I mean, who goes hiking in Iraq? What was the rafting trip to Somalia all booked up?” –Jay Leno “Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, who was forced to resign because he used prostitutes, will deliver a lecture tomorrow at the Harvard center for Ethics. Yeah, if you want to check out the speech, it costs $500 for half an hour, $900 if you want to stay for the whole hour.” –Jimmy Fallon “Chrysler announced it’s coming out with a new logo that’s going to appear on all of its cars, and they hope it will boost sales. And it should help, because the new logo says, ‘Toyota.’” –Conan O’Brien
That’s it for our mid-November report. I’d like to welcome some new folks to the blog, who I met this weekend at the Autumn Artisans Faire. Glad you’re along for the ride. And thanks to everyone out there who has read this far down in this posting. So enjoy the November skies and we’ll catch you on the far sideline. Aloha, mahalo and later, Peyton Manning fans.