Hmm, don’t know where that came from for a working title. This is just a diary of a long, hot day, but somewhat positive in that I refocused my blurry mind and aching tired body toward eating well and exercising from the getgo this morning and experienced a remarkable turn around in how I feel nearly 11 p.m. this evening. I have been feeling awful for weeks now, with very high blood sugar postings in the 200 and 300s and higher. Yet continuing to eat bad food, lots of breads, pasta, rice, sweets, cookies, biscotti, you name it. I have always tended to indulge myself with little provocation — a full moon, my birthday month, week, day, special year, holidays, whatever small hook to place a holiday from wisdom or even sensibility.
I have been feeling awful and the reason is simple. My blood sugar is out of control because my diet has been crap. Eating well for three meals today, starting with a two hour nap after breakfast of a banana, V8 can and a hard boiled egg, with insulin, and later a solid veggie salad lunch at Kaiser, with insulin, and followed up by driving to Sonoma — no tiredness, no nodding off. Amazing
Also took a timed 20-minute walk up the canyon before breakfast. 10 minutes got me to the General.e
BS at 85 before heading to Roses for shamefully good birthday dinner: lamb bbq, ratatoulle, garden tomatoes, artichoke with sauce — all fresh, mostly Rose’s garden, followed by Beverly’s special crushed pineapple upside down cake (two good size servings and the rest safely (so far) shut in the car outside.
Bought $120 of good food at Olivers — no bread, lotsa veggies.
OK — 11:01, test and shoot … 218 from the cake and cup of coffee I had an hour ago with cream and sugar. Taking 40 units nighttime insulin. bet BS is fine in the morning.
This spilled out of a very old, chewed up manila folder in a mouse infested file cabinet I was cleaning out this weekend. I’d forgotten completely about borrowing a thousand dollars to buy a truck to haul wood and country-boy stuff from Sonoma County to San Francisco after the 1940 Chevy Special Deluxe died on me. The truck was a powder blue, 1964 Chevy C/K long bed with a 293 cu. in. inline six and three-speed transmission. Absolutely nothing fancy about it; it had been a working truck for a carpenter; not abused but not pristine by any means.
The money was paid back, and the truck was thoroughly enjoyed for the ten years I used it, and while looking online to find a picture of one like it, I was floored to find a fully restored version could sell for over $20,000 in 2019.
The note evoked a strong feeling for my mother for the Grand Adventure she — and my father — set our family on. I only recently have sensed just how much of an extraordinary adventure my life has been and continues to be, and a fairly wonderful one at that. No life is without darkness and miasma; but on the whole, mine has been full of light, laughter, beautiful days of sun and rain and fog and snow and twilights and dawns …
My Dad, Adventurer
Col. Jay F. Gamel — not yet a Senior — was posted to the 10th Army Air Corps in the China-India-Burma theater, sometime in late 1943 or early 1944. He was in Burma when I was born in August of 1944, so that dates my conception using Kentucky windage to somewhere around Thanksgiving in 1943. He served under Mountbatten and Stilwell and told stories about both of them. I’ve since harbored romantic notions of the the war — WWII — in China and Burma.
I grew up listening to tales of planes full of medical supplies headed for both Chang Kai Chek’s Kuomintang and, eventually, Chou En Lai and Mao’s Communists, being shot at by Japanese, crews freezing to death at altitudes over 15,000 feet, balky and badly designed new air frames disintegrating mid-flight. Dad had the ribbons to back up those stories. He once told of being berated for not carrying a side arm in forward areas. Having finally secured a 1911 Colt .45, he managed to bag a tiger that was marauding the local chickens while sitting in a latrine. These stories electrified my pre-pubescent brain, let me tell you. A frequent visitor to our dining room was Johnny *** a survivor of Bataan whose emaciated body never recovered, a living, breathing example of what Hollywood movies would never portray, lest audiences be repulsed by the reality of war. His impact on me lasts to this day.
Dad earned medals for feats and service, flying The Hump over the Himalayas in cranky new C-46s, as Chief Surgeon of the 10th Air Force — a Command Flight Surgeon — staffing advanced medical facilities for Vinegar Joe’s ill-fated though often glorified sortie into Burma. I’m reading Barbara Tuchman’s Stilwell and the American Experience in China: 1911-1945, a work that earned her second Pulitzer Prize. The book puts some real-time perspective and insights into the enormous egos at loggerheads in this thoroughly misunderstood and murky theater of war. With nearly 75 years of perspective, some of the fog has been lifted, though the monumental national polities remain locked into eternal conflict over how best to enrich their owners and continue to cloud insight and reason to further their aims.
My Mother, Adventurer
Mom was one of two girls left fatherless at a fairly early age, raised by a none-too-hardheaded, opera trained, southern belle, with ‘notions.’ Let me be clear here; Jayne Doris Estes was a beauty and given to no little drama to fill her days and hours. That I know from personal experience. I have come to doubt much of what I heard from her and learned from her sister and mother, but what I know for certain is that she loved life, her children, her husband for all his martial ways, and being on the grand adventure she chose, an adventure that led her to England and France, a life in mansions with many servants, married to a diplomat/officer serving in the murky regions of American policy making (at times) in the capitals of England and France. And, boy, did they have a time of it.
What she said: She graduated a fine girls school at 16, went on to read law but never obtained a degree. There were some other stories I do not know about (talk to sisters), but she headed to Hollywood in 1932 or so, with a stop in Carmel where she made silver jewelry in a swimming pool and played tennis with a young Pancho Gonzales (though that is patently impossible, since he was born in 1928 – though she may have met him later. What do I know; I was a kid when I heard this stuff.) She married an Army General, Fred Gardner, a doctor whose wealthy mother convinced him never to have children (short version). Mother divorced him, met my father (though the order of these events was never clear), and they were married in 1939, honeymooning at the Ahwanee in Yosemite.
There’s a whole lot more, but that can wait. What’s clear is that I came by my adventurous nature legitimately and have carried on a family tradition with abandon and joy. I no longer have to be frustrated, confused or sad about not having decided to “settle down” or any of that other nonsense people spout to justify becoming fossilized by forty. I yam what I yam, and that’s a fact.
An awesome day to contemplate, though to tell the truth, I didn’t think about it much until tonight. My little sister, Janet, woke me up with a phone call and said, “Turn on your TV, now.” I tuned in just in time to watch the second tower hit and remained glued to the tube the rest of the day. It was Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and a few other national disasters all over again, with the same, mind killing lack of information, perspective and grasp heaped in vast quantities over my captured attention riveted to the tube — which I no longer watch.
The attack was overwhelming in it’s completeness and savagery, sophistication and sheer genius. My country, the biggest and bestest, was totally unprepared, reacted poorly, and lurched into the unknown future without leadership or accountability. Eighteen years later, I don’t feel one bit safer or better prepared to cope with the world’s dangers than I did on 9/12/01. It’s worse, if anything.
The leadership was bad then and it’s worse now. The conditions on the planet are far worse than they were then: climate, population, wealth mis-distribution, health, failing education, and a never ending list of ‘things’ that can’t be done because of our mismanaged money and human capital.
I’m older and more cynical, to be sure, but I don’t think I’m wrong in my assessment of where we are today. The very wealthy still own and run everything — from China to Luxembourg — for their own selfish and greedy desires — and have even more of it than 2001. There are nearly a billion more people to feed. The oceans and atmosphere are dying from man-made pollution. There is no cohesive movement on the planet that can physically address any of it. Violence — individual more than collective — is increasing daily with no hope of diminishing. Stability of any sort is ever less probable in any part of our daily lives.
I’ve decided it’s OK to talk about the bigger world of my work as a journalist for the Kenwood Press and explore the land I live in as it’s being tossed about — or at least just under a thousand acres of state owned land now being abandoned. The former drooling ward Jack London cast his wry eye upon a century ago is to fade into the sunset, leaving a couple of hundred dilapidated buildings scattered over two hundred acres, with the rest of the land allocated to deer, bobcats, raccoons, birds and wandering neighbors. This jumps you into the middle of the fray. Read my articles at kenwoodpress.com over the past few years to catch up.
An Oct. 28 bulletin from the Glen Ellen Forum noted that, “The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors has shelved its agenda item on SDC for the time being. The process continues to be dynamic and fluid. Rather than bombard you with alerts, we invite you to stay up to date on developments by