SeQueL, November 21, 2008 – November 23, 2021

Grand Champion Lilliput’s Royal Munchkin of Wagsmore

From the moment SeQueL arrived at Ozdachs on March 8, 2009 she was the guiding spirit of our second pack. She was the fifth dog Geoffrey and I had, so we thought we knew how we would train the three-month-old girl. Instead, starting on the first day, SeQueL explained to us what she wanted and what we needed to do. On Day One we were puppy whipped.

SeQueL on Day 2Throughout her entire life she did not whine. Instead she communicated with her eyes, with happy enthusiastic barklets, and with terrific gruntled noises when we were doing the appropriate thing. Her enthusiasm and happiness permeated her pack and our lives.

When she arrived three members of our original pack greeted her. Syntax, Vector, and Array were delighted to see an energetic puppy around them, but they were older and happily yielded the center of attention to the newly arrived play machine. From her early days here, SeQueL has set the tone and standards for pack behavior.

SeQueL as Winners Bitch

Best of Winners at a Major

SeQueL trained to become a show girl, and under Geoffrey’s handling became a Champion and then a Grand Campion. She loved the attention she received in the ring and the adoration given her while she was sitting on our laps waiting for her turn to strut her stuff. To the end she jumped into crates whenever we offered because she thought she might be going to another dog show.

SeQueL always treated members of the pack with openness and joy. She seemed delighted to have relocated to our home. She made friends with the older residents. Then when Paris came to live with us, SeQueL welcomed her without jealousy as a full-fledged pack member. That was SeQueL’s imperative: everyone in the pack would love each other.

SeQueL spent a lot of effort finding in-home playmates. Initially, the other Ozdachs were older and wore out easily. One of the reasons we all wanted her to have puppies was so she would have someone to chase around the house. Even that was not enough sometimes!

SeQueL was a spectacular mother to Zenith and Array. She watched over them and clearly enjoyed their company. Syntax, our first mother dog, did a great job of whelping and taking care of the small puppies, but when the nursing was over, she created some distance between her and her children. Not SeQueL. Up to her last month of life, SeQueL would chase, be chased, growl and play with both her children and her grandchild, Auroara.

SeQueL, Apex, Paris, Zenith, and Auroara eagerly perform.All of SeQueL’s pack gets along and cares for each other. In SeQueL’s last days, Zenith and Paris slept close to her wherever she was, cuddling her with their bodies. Apex and Auroara would also check in, lick, sniff, and love.

SeQueL’s spirit has guided the Ozdachs for twelve years and her memory will continue to empower and comfort us.

Please see some of our favorite photos of her at https://bit.ly/SeQueL or visit her gallery at https://ozdachs.smugmug.com/Dachshunds/SeQueL-2008-2021/.

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Taking Care of the Poor, San Francisco Style, 2021

There is something humanly disturbing and wrong about how we Americans have decided to NOT handle poor homeless people in need. In some areas of the country people look down on street people as being lazy addicts who deserve whatever happens to them. In left-wing San Francisco we view our hands-off approach through the lens of individual rights and respecting the choice that people have… we honor the “decision” to do drugs, stay on the street, and survive however they can.

Our determination to let other humans rot on the street is apparently official.

Last Thursday afternoon I was sitting with a friend on a Castro Street parklet enjoying a cocktail.  While sipping our drinks we watched a disoriented man go back and forth on the sidewalk. He looked to be either on drugs or on an internal mental journey. But, he didn’t approach us so we pretty much lost track of him.

Then out of the side of my eye I saw him fall in the middle of the sidewalk.

How San Francisco Handles the Homeless - 1 of 5
Our attention shifted to see if he got up, moved, or otherwise looked okay. He did none of those things. Instead, we watched pedestrians change course to walk around him. No one stopped or took any action.

So, I called the Police Department to report a man down on sidewalk. I explained that he looked like a homeless man in bad health who collapsed. I tried to make the call urgent and wouldn’t speculate that he was drunk or otherwise a low priority.

Within a few minutes — and after a follow-up call or two — officers arrived.

How San Francisco Handles the Homeless - 2 of 5

They were nice officers. At least the one I talked to was friendly and reasonable. They made contact and assured themselves that the man did not need paramedics.

Then they followed apparent policy.

How San Francisco Handles the Homeless - 3 of 5They had the man crawl with his crutch over to the side of the walkway where he would not be in the way. Then they left.

How San Francisco Handles the Homeless - 5 of 5I was — and still am — stunned. Here’s a man who effectively cannot walk, and we respect his “right” to pass out by the side of a building.

When I was a police dispatcher 40+ years ago, I was trained that California’s Health and Welfare code is supposed to protect people who are either a danger to others or to themselves. Officers, doctors, and some other people are empowered to put people in a hospital for 72 hours… even if the person objects. I cannot conceive of a time when I would have sent a unit to a situation like the one I observed and the officers would have left the man still down on the sidewalk.

But in 2021 we do that in San Francisco. I don’t know the official policy wording that has police walk away from someone clearly gravely disabled. But, whether we say it’s”individual freedom” or other lofty reason, we are doing it wrong.

We need to take care of the crazy and the drug addled. I am not advocating making the streets “cleaner” or even safer. We simply owe each other enough care to give safe shelter and food to the desperate among us. Even if they say they don’t want it.

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Mother Nature and the Side Fence

Just a fun observation.

Back in March, 2018 we noticed a small volunteer growing in a small crack in the concrete on our side fence. The plant looked a bit like the potted jade plant we had 25 away, but its structure was different. Sturdier. There was nothing in our backyard or the neighbor’s yard that matched the tenacious fence dweller.

I photographed it for my church’s Climate Justice Month photo essay, but its small size kept it off the list of submitted pictures. Still it was pretty cute.

Backyard Volunteer in 2018

Appreciated March 28, 2018

Today I photographed some winter plants and flowers around town AND in our back yard. The little guy is looking pretty healthy three years later!

Backyard Volunteer in 2021

Appreciated January 16, 2021

As so it grows!

There’s still no dirt for it to get nutrients from nor space for it to anchor itself. So, I don’t know how long this volunteer can keep its act together. But, it’s fun watching and appreciating.

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Deaths Beyond Counting

A house on the 700 block of Waller caught my attention in June. As I walked by I noticed that the residents were displaying the current US COVID death toll in their front windows. Stickies formed the numbers of today’s total in one window while the other front window showed yesterday’s toll.

The windows on a residential street shocked in contrast to the cool, remote news reports of the pandemic’s impact. I walked by several times on my morning treks, watching the numbers grow, until on June 27 I decided the non-panoramic scene should be preserved as another Sign of the Plague.

Signs of the Plague - June 27, 2020. Death Toll 126,780

Window of a private residence on Waller.
The Waller Street House’s COVID US Death Count, June 27, 2020.

Whenever my morning walk took me into the neighborhood, I would check the window’s grim updates.

Mostly I just walked by the house, but on August 20th I decided to take another photo. Another 45,000 Americans had died, according to the Waller window.

Signs of the Plague - August 20, 2020. US Death Toll at 171,821

The Waller Street House’s COVID US Death Count, August 20, 2020

I didn’t look for a while in September, but I am still spooked and questioning about the message that stayed posted for quite a while after I took this picture.

Signs of the Plague - September 19, 2020. "I miss you so" In the windows of a house on Waller at Castro.

“I miss you so”
In the windows of a house on Waller at Castro. September 19, 2020.

First person singular… “I miss you so.”  So personal.
Did someone in the house die? Was there anything to do? I had no clue and still don’t. I checked back several times in the fall, but the message was the same haunting statement of loss.

I was actually relieved when I walked by in December and saw that the totals were back in the windows. The numbers were terrible, but I can handle numbers more than windows screaming emotion.

Signs of the Plague - December 5, 2020. Toll 275,386

The Waller Street House’s COVID US Death Count on December 5, 2020.

The windows continued to record the depth of the pandemic. Just 10 days after my first December walk-by, the of US dead had reached nearly 298,266.

Signs of the Plague, December 15, 2020. Toll 298,266

The Waller Street House’s COVID US Death Count on December 15, 2020. 298,266 Americans dead.

The news media was catching on to the rising numbers. Cable networks seemed in a competition to see who could most breathlessly announce that day’s milestone of bodies. Just four days after my last visit to Waller Street, 12,433 more of us had succumbed to the virus.

Signs of the Plague - December 19, 2020. Toll 317,489.

The Waller Street House’s COVID US Death Count December 19, 2020. 310,699 Americans had died.

In the last part of December the clear morning weather pointed me to heights with scenic vistas and memorable sunrises. So, I hadn’t visited Waller Street in a couple weeks before this morning’s fog directed me to a low-land walk.

I was prepared to see a jump in the number of dead Americans, but I hadn’t checked the actual totals. I was steeled to be upset by the total.

What I saw was worse.

Signs of the Plague - January 3, 2021

Waller Street House January 3, 2021.

There is no count. The windows have given up tracking. The total is just too much.

The stickies cannot measure infinite loss.

Damn COVID.

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1828 Days Later

Yesterday I completed my fifth year of doing at least 30 continuous minutes of exercise a day. That means today’s five-mile outdoor walk was my 1828th day of exercise in a row.

As I’ve said before, this consistency is Doug Wilcoxen’s fault.

Doug and I were at the opposite ends of Wig Hall at Pomona College our freshman year. The dorm geography meant although I liked Doug, we weren’t close friends.  I just knew that he was very bright and we shared a definite label of “Not a jock”.

When Doug posted on Facebook in late 2015 that he was pleased that he’d gone to the gym 300 plus times that year, my doing something similar seemed possible. It wasn’t like a football player or my cross-country obsessed roommate was bragging about their workouts. It was a real, normal person doing something another non-jock could do.

So starting January 1, 2016 I started exercising, mostly by going to the gym. I made myself exercise at least 30 minutes straight every day. I didn’t want off days because I knew I needed to get in the habit to disempower the inevitable excuses. Usually I went early, right after dropping Geoff off for work, but if an early airplane flight or a colonoscopy interfered with a morning workout, I made sure that I did something for 30 minutes later in the day.

This year COVID made daily trips to the gym problematic. Instead, early in March I started walking around the city. My first treks were just 30 minutes or so. But, soon I jumped up to 3 mile round trips, and then in summer I moved up to 5 mile circuits.

Sightseers on Eureka Peak waiting for Sunrise

Crowd waiting for sunrise on Eureka Peak, New Year’s Morning 2021.
Click on any photo in this post to see a larger one.
But go to www.sfoutdoorwalks.com to see full-size photos.

Not only were the walks keeping me active and keeping my exercise streak going, the urban hikes were showing me details of the city I had completely missed. Learning how different neighborhoods fit together, seeing the differences in housing stock, lots, and streets, and discovering both beauty and decay have been real gifts of the pandemic.

Looking through the trees in Buena Vista Park at Ambassador Hormel's home and downtown

Looking through the trees in Buena Vista Park at Ambassador Hormel’s home and downtown

Moonset from Twin Peaks

Moonset from Twin Peaks

Who knew that the top of Twin Peaks is just a mile up the hill from our front door? Who knew that there is a canyon 1.1 miles from our house, that the top of Mt. Davidson is just over 2 miles from home, that our new favorite wine bar is 2.5 miles away, … or, or, or? Fun!

Of course, I am way behind in sharing what I have seen. There are just so many interesting views appearing every day that I am tardy in selecting and editing. The photos here are the first of 2021, but there are many more from 2020 waiting attention.  I hope to catch up!

(Checkout the complete collection published so far at www.sfoutdoorwalks.com.  That gallery lets you enlarge the pictures and learn more about the date, time, and location of the shots.)

Going down the Henry stairs

Going down the Henry stairs

1828 days in a row  means that I have been very lucky, too. I haven’t caught a disabling illness or acquired a serious physical malady.  Pretty amazing, when I think about what’s out there.

I should also stress that the daily exercise has not made me an athlete. I have aches, pains, conditions, and several extra pounds. But, I am convinced that the chronic exercise has kept me more mobile and both mentally and physically flexible.

So, thank you again, Doug.

Not only did your post spur me to commit to regular workouts, it led me to learning and loving a lot more about my City!

Happy 1828th Exercise Day! Happy New Year!

Painted Utility box on Sanchez Street

Utility box on Sanchez Street

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