I was born in Southern California, in a small town called Alpine, in the foothills of the mountain range which separates the coast from the desert. My brother, sister, and I ran around barefoot and helped care for our dairy goats, pigs, chickens, and beeves. Every summer, our schoolteacher parents took us backpacking in the high Sierra. I carried my first pack when I was 5.
These are my parents in 1956 shortly after they married, and in 2006 on their 50th wedding anniversary. Mom used to be an Ironman triathlete, and now plays cello and Viola de gamba with the Acme Chamber Music Ensemble in Alpine. Dad was a radical high school teacher and plein-air painter.
I have a degree in biochemistry, and spent several years in that field before switching gears to real estate. My projects included the Scripps Institute in La Jolla, the Long Marine Lab in Santa Cruz, Genentech in South San Francisco, the Medical Research Institute in San Francisco, and XOMA Corporation in Berkeley. Many of my friends still are science geeks, so I still get to talk shop and be geeky too.
First atom: “Oops…I think I just lost my electron.”
Second atom: “Oh, no. Are you sure?”
First atom: “Let me check…Yep, I’m positive.”
Two of my favorite things to do are spend time outdoors and take photographs, preferably at the same time. This shot of a zig-zaggy branch was taken along the Estero Trail at Point Reyes.
I study and sometimes teach Martial Arts at Berkeley Cuong Nhu Karate. This is me breaking some boards with a flying side kick during my black belt test.
I started learning to play cello about 5 years ago, and I’m still embarrassingly bad at it. But I have fun playing duets with friends and with Mom when we visit. My excellent teacher is Cathy Allen with the Rose Quartet.
I especially love to play in my garden and grow fresh produce to cook and feed my friends and family. Every year I also plant a crop of sunflowers of all kinds, and for a month or two the yard becomes a sunflower forest.
My favorite creative outlet is writing. I’ve published some shorter pieces and am now working on my first novel. I belong to two local writing groups, Solid Yellow and A Good Read. My mentor is Jon Carroll, and I also have a steady writing partner, Jacqueline Winspear, the author of the best-selling Maisie Dobbs series.