Not With a Bang

But maybe some whimpering.

Faithful readers have perhaps noticed that I haven’t posted anything new in over a month. And fellow Bridge residents are now asking how I’m doing when they see me since they’ve seen so little of me recently. And close readers who look at my Production Reports will have observed that there’s been a great falling-off in the frequency with which I’m preserving things (at least until the past week or so). Last week I had to drop out of my beloved Spanish class because I don’t seem to be able to keep up anymore and worse yet, am forgetting things faster than I’m learning them. Qué lástima. Yep, the bottom line is that I’m grinding to a stop in every way. Then again that’s not terribly surprising since I just had my eightieth birthday. What’s surprising is that I’ve made it this far since the odds sure were against it.

Genetics? Oh please, I gave my sister all the family tree stuff I’d gathered, but I’m almost certain that no male on either side of my family has lived to 80. Clean living? Don’t spew your coffee. In the first place I started smoking when I was in high school in the late fifties and didn’t stop until 2004 or so. Then I fell off the wagon in about 2014 and didn’t stop again until I returned to the city in 2017. I no longer buy packs of cigarettes, but if I see people smoking on the street, I whirl the Segway around, extend a folded dollar bill between thumb and forefinger, and ask them if they’d sell me a cigarette. I do this three or four times a week, and most folks say Yes.

Also in the less-than-clean living category, there was a twenty-five year period in mid life when I was actively gay, and gays don’t live as long as the rest of the populace. And finally, for the past fifteen years walking has been increasingly difficult and I’ve been getting around town on my Segway, which wouldn’t be quite as dangerous if I’d just stay in the bike lanes. I do that only when there’s one going to my intended destination. I’m trying to be more careful now, but I’ve fallen on a number of occasions in previous years, in the process breaking – mostly in separate falls – all my right metacarpals, both index fingers, my right ring finger, my right radius, and my left fibula. I’ve also, in my most spectacular accident, hit my head so hard that I broke my helmet and woke up some time later unable to account for how I ended up in this strange large room when the last thing I remembered was pulling out into traffic on 24th Street after leaving Whole Foods. Turned out I was in the ER at SF General Hospital (now “Zuckerberg San Francisco Hospital and Trauma Center”) where I’d been taken by a passing fire department ambulance that had plucked me off the street, unconscious.

Anyhow, living this long has been fun, mostly. My life for the past ten years has revolved around writing material for this website and preserving fruit and vegetables. But I’ve now reached an exhaustion point and have had to cut back in all my activities, spending much more time in bed and less in productive things like making jams.

So, faithful ones, you should go to the 2020 and 2021 Production Reports and pick out some things you’d like. The shipping box holds six, but I can often juggle things around and get more in. So pick your six favorites and some spares to account for outages. And do this soon because it’s clear to my fellows in this building that I’m not making as much as I used to and some of ’em still have enough brain function to figure out that they need to go ahead and get theirs while they can. On the other hand, I don’t think any of the people in this building are regular readers of my blog posts, so if you act soon, you can grab all the good stuff while I still have a bookcase full of it.

I’m not going to say that this will be my last post, but it might be. And of course when I expire my sister will kill the credit card that’s set up for automatic payments to keep the site going. Objectively speaking, there’s little on this site worth saving, but this might be a good time to look at the recipes and save any you’re interested in. You could also surf around in my posts, particularly those in the Favorites menu, which is now not nearly as long as it will be once I nerve myself up to do the scut work of adding more posts.

Somehow just writing this has made me think of some more material to write about, but who knows how long it’ll take me to do that.

Meanwhile, my old friend Al has just given me a shot he took of me in late 1975 when I was still fresh meat in San Francisco.

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  1. Erik de Gelder
    Posted 29 July 2021 at 02:50 | Permalink


    Gefeliciteerd met je verjaardag: 80 jaar bereiken is je toch gelukt!
    Vervelend dat het lichamelijke toestand wat minder gaat maar je brein functioneert nog (OK, niet helemaal 100%, maar grotendeels wel!)

    Jouw producten verschepen naar Nederland wordt een duur ding, daarom kan je ze beter aan je huisgenoten verkopen.

    Ik weet wel één ding zeker: als je 81 wordt ga je schrijven dat je toch beetje fitter was toen je 80 was. Als je 82 wordt ga je schrijven dat je toch beetje fitter was toen je 81 was…

    Geniet van wat je lukt te doen!

    Hartelijk groet, Erik & Barbara

    Om het makkelijk te maken hier de tekst volgens Google Translate:


    Happy birthday: you managed to reach 80 years!
    Annoying that the physical condition is a bit less but your brain is still functioning (OK, not quite 100%, but for the most part it is!)

    Shipping your products to the Netherlands is going to be an expensive thing, so it’s better to sell them to your housemates.

    I do know one thing for sure: when you turn 81 you will write that you were a bit fitter when you were 80. When you turn 82 you’re going to write that you were a bit fitter when you were 81…

    Enjoy what you manage to do!

    Sincerely, Erik & Barbara

    • Posted 15 September 2021 at 17:38 | Permalink

      YOur points here are all quite accurate. I sat here laughing over the lines :
      “When you turn 81 you will write that you were a bit fitter when you were 80. When you turn 82 you’re going to write that you were a bit fitter when you were 81…

  2. Jeff
    Posted 29 July 2021 at 05:09 | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing your wit, your adventures and your research found in your writings. And thank you for sharing your photography and your food creations, both of which are works of art. It’s been a fun, enlightening and quite a remarkable journey that you’ve brought many of us on, over the past 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 years – depending on when we lucky enough to have discovered you. For me, it’s been about 22 years and you clearly remain my most delectable San Francisco treat!

    • Posted 30 May 2022 at 13:51 | Permalink

      Sorry to be so late in thanking you. And yes, it’s been a remarkable journey for me also.

  3. Erik de Gelder
    Posted 29 July 2021 at 05:14 | Permalink

    Ter herinnering aan iets dat je 10 jaar terug schreef:

    2011 – Amsterdam Revisited
    Who would have thought i’d ever be able to return to Amsterdam? Certainly not i. Oh no, i had got comfortable with the idea that i was simply too old, too weak, and too poor to be able to return.

    Je gaat het nog vele jaren volhouden (en de mensen die bij je wonen gaan langzamerhand denken: had die gozer niet al lang dood moeten zijn?)

    Vriendelijke groet,


    Translation for elderly people (*named Louis):

    You’re going to last for many years to come (and the people who live with you are slowly starting to think: shouldn’t that guy be dead long ago?)

    • Posted 15 September 2021 at 17:31 | Permalink

      I’m looking at a horizon months away rather than years, but still, I’m having fun and plan to keep doing that until my last gasp. My mind is failing, but I’ll never forget all the pleasure you brought me during our visits.

  4. Erik de Gelder
    Posted 29 July 2021 at 05:35 | Permalink

    Hoi Louis,

    Hi Louis,

    I admire your “In het leven staan” attitude.
    Is a Dutch expression, means that you are still fully involved in daily life.
    If you die somewhere around 2027, I would like to say that I found you nice person (with a good recipe for large white beans: that’s how it started) and a good laugh when visiting Amsterdam pubs.

    Kind regards, Erik

    • Posted 11 September 2021 at 16:21 | Permalink

      I love Dutch expressions, and I especially enjoyed “In het laven staan” because it reminded me of its opposite: “achter de geraniums”. Also, when I see one of your comments, I remember that wonderful evening when you came to Amsterdam and took me to a proeflokaal a few blocks from my apartment and introduced me to Dutch and Belgium beers. This was somehow all the better for my having ridden past that place dozens of times on various visits to Amsterdam but had no clue that it had all those treasures in it.

  5. David Queen
    Posted 28 August 2021 at 22:06 | Permalink

    Louis – I’m grateful for what you’ve added to my life. I found you when you were writing /had written “Dutch in 3 Weeks” and then eventually came to the City to meet you for a dim sum lunch. I’ve been reading your stuff for some 19 years now, and I’ve enjoyed every line of it.

    Though you’ve got 9 years on me, I’m getting old too. I’m sometimes depressed (mostly from grief and isolation), my health is seriously shot, my memory essentially gone. Poor pitiful me.
    I suppose I could go on needlessly about the state of things,
    but when it’s all said and done, I just want you to know that I really care for you and feel grateful to know you. You’ve made me happy on more than a few occasions, just reading your written thoughts & feelings.

    I am wishing you better days, and many more of them. If I was there I would give you a big hug (whether you wanted it or not).
    I’ll keep checking back from time to time. Please write if you feel like it.
    With love, all the best
    David Queen (davequ)
    Denver, CO

    • Posted 11 September 2021 at 16:03 | Permalink

      I have this vague idea that you might be venturing to SF, and I of course started slavering over the idea of lunches with you. Let me know.

    • Posted 15 September 2021 at 17:24 | Permalink

      OH hell, I started a reply and then somehow touched the wrong button and lost it. I’d love to communicate with you by email rather than by comments in my website. I can’t find your email address, but mine is louis.sfx@gmaixl.xcom. I threw in those x’s in hopes that they’d thwart spammers. THe real address contains not a single x.

    • Posted 16 September 2021 at 15:39 | Permalink

      So sorry to learn that you’re having health problems and are faced with depression over your lot. What can I say other than “welcome to the club”. I have prescriptions for a couple of meds that mellow me out and help me bounce back when I’m depressed. It would be wonderful if you were able to gather the strength to make a trip to San Francisco. I’ve enjoyed your company as much as you’ve enjoyed mine. Unfortunately, I have too many health problems to travel anymore, even just to Denver.

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