Friday, December 31, 2010

DAY 88 - New Year's Celebration or My Basic Needs?

(photo courtesy of viZZZual.com)
It’s New Year’s Eve, and I’ve been thinking all day about whether to stay up ‘till midnight to welcome in the New Year. I’ve been thinking about it because I need a lot of sleep in order to feel good. If I were like those people who only need 4-6 hours to feel good, I wouldn’t give it a second thought.

It is rare that I wake feeling rested; been that way my whole life. I feel my best with 10 hours of sleep a night; and don’t get it. Since beginning to write this book, I am getting even less sleep.

But, the point I want to make is that I have struggled throughout my life trying to make decisions about staying up late for special occasions, or getting the sleep that I need to feel decent.

Even without others trying to convince me to stay up, I have my own challenge with trying to decide what I want to do, and what I am willing to do to feel rested. Special occasions are so special, and trying to get enough sleep can seem so mundane.

Luckily, I know what it feels like to feel rested, and I love it; it is special! Fortunately, I also know that when I am tired, my whole body feels heavy and mildly achy. When I’m tired, I find it difficult to care for myself; I am less apt to stretch, to go for a walk, to make veggie juice, or to prepare healthy food. Being tired, just doesn’t work for me.

Tonight, I come first! I’m going to hit the sack. I’ll say hello to the New Year sometime around 10:00 AM tomorrow. I will feel better, and 2 011will get off to a good start!

I’ve got carrots in the fridge, and kale, chard and collards in the garden. After a good night’s sleep, chances are I will make and enjoy some fresh, organic, healthy juice.

Rested Happy New Year to you!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

DAY 87 – Diagnosis: Then What?

In our present culture, the hallmark of doctoring is making the diagnosis; naming the disease or condition. Just ask Dr. House. And, there is obvious value in recognizing the patient’s herniated disc, pancreatic cancer, or bacterial pneumonia.

While acknowledging the critical nature of diagnosis, one still has to wonder if the perception of its importance has overshadowed less glamorous and less considered responsibilities of doctoring.

We agree that knowing what the patient has, diagnosing, is very important. But, in comparison, how important is it to understand what caused the disease or condition in the first place?

Few patients that I have interviewed in the last 28 years have seriously considered the cause of their conditions. Furthermore, my patients report that most doctors they have seen have shown little interest in the factors that brought about their illnesses.

High blood pressure is a good example of a condition that is easy to diagnose, but whose causes can be difficult to determine. Treatment can be very different depending on the cause, be it stress, or lack of exercise, insufficient vitamin D, or magnesium deficiency, or food allergy. As with most conditions, it simply cannot be properly treated without knowing the cause.

A missed diagnosis can endanger a patient. Causation, not questioned, endangers a society.

Ask your doctor if understanding the cause of your illness is right for you.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

DAY 86 - Smell The Coffee But Don’t Drink It

My son, Kenn, got me addicted to the stuff. I am not suggesting that he meant to. It was all quite loving and innocent. Returning from a year in Costa Rica, he brought gifts for his sister, his mom and me. I have no memory of what they got, but I remember mine; it changed my life.

As a child, I was attracted to things my parents, and other adults did. I wanted to smoke, and drink coffee. But, the coffee tasted so bad, and the smoking is for another story.

I did not drink coffee, ever, until age 43, the summer of 1995. Even then, it was not with relish; I was just trying to be gracious in accepting the gift that my son had brought from Costa Rica. The gift had 2 parts; a couple of pounds of coffee beans, and a rudimentary drip-coffee maker constructed of a simple cloth bag hung from a piece of heavy, twisted wire that was stuck in a small flat piece of wood.

Things started out slowly. I could only make one cup at a time with the bag on a wire. For the first year, or so, I would make a cup every other day. Before long it was daily; and then more than one cup per day. I graduated to a French press, allowing me to make 4 cups at a time. I was hooked. I even liked it.

So now, its December 29, 2010, and I have a sense that coffee may not be doing me good. I wonder if it is making my knee worse. It certainly wires me at times. I need to take a break, do an experiment, and remove coffee from my diet for a while. During December I have considered setting a date and going cold-turkey for a month. Some days I thought I would do it. Some days I didn’t think I could face it.

Today, with Gail’s help (a patient off-of-coffee), I am in; I’m public. I will be 100% off of coffee from January 1 until midnight of January 31st. Should be an interesting ride.

Anybody going to join me on the 31 days without?  Post your YES or NO to the comments at the end of this book/blog post.

Could you do it? It is not a healthy sign when a food or drink owns you.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

DAY 85 – Don’t Be So Sensitive!

I’ve always been a bit sensitive, so maybe that’s why I’m a bit sensitive when I hear someone being told “don’t be so sensitive.”

Are people really asking that another reduce his awareness of and concern for others, or for conditions in the world? Interesting.

In our culture, being sensitive, often means being weak and emotionally excessive.

Frankly, I am pro sensitivity. I ask patients that I counsel, “Would you like to have a friend who is sensitive, or one that is insensitive?” I suggest that sensitivity is a wonderful gift, while reminding that a keen awareness of the pain in the world can challenge one to maintain balance. By attending to the care of oneself, one can also care for others.

Just a thought, but maybe those of you who want us to not be so sensitive, don’t have to be so sensitive about us being so sensitive.

(Photo of evan and Catalina by Hannah FitzGerald)

Monday, December 27, 2010

DAY 84 – Warren’s Chiropractic Three-fer

Today, as I worked on my brother-in-law, Warren, I was reminded to tell you that good chiropractic manipulation provides a two-fer, if not a three-fer.

Warren was lying face down on my portable table as I began a manual scanning of his back, testing the tone and texture of his muscles, and gauging the flexibility of the joints of his spine and ribs.

He commented that the gentle pressure of my hand on his left, upper back, had elicited a mild numbness in his left arm. The numbness, he shared, was something that he experienced at times from lying on that side at night. I let him know that there was an obvious stiffness in his upper back that was a cause of his symptoms.

Lying on his left side, with his right shoulder rolled back and his right hip rotated forward, I felt his mildly torqued spine. Just as in a chain necklace, held at one end, and twisted from the other, if a kink exists in the spine, it is exaggerated, and becomes apparent. Simultaneously, while my hand felt, and moved from flexible spine toward the apex of a kink, Warren experienced a transition from painless to tender. As my hand crossed the apex of the kink and moved back into a flexible area on the other side, Warren felt the tenderness disappear.

A thorough spinal manipulation followed; restoring mobility to stiff joints, from occiput to sacrum.

The first half of Warren’s two-fer consisted of his direct experiencing, and learning more about what was going on in his body, rather than just getting a report from the doctor. The second half was manipulative treatment to improve his spinal function.

Potentially, inspired by the real connection to the stiffness and pain in his back, the door swings open for the three-fer; the opportunity to both discuss the causes of physical restriction and discomfort, and to consider self-care methods for restoring health.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

DAY 83 - Organic 4 Life: A Reflection

Thank goodness I write a bit. I find it both pleasurable and valuable to look back at what I thought, said and did, in this case, ten years ago. Looking back provides me with something akin to depth perception; giving me a greater, a more complete sense of where I am.

The following was published in HopeDance Magazine in the April/May 2002 Food Issue. The website referred to, no longer exists due to the then unimagined work required to maintain it, and the emergence of web-based resources that filled the need.

So, ... Sherman, set the Wayback ....

*****

This haiku may give you a feel for why I have written this article, and why the website, Organic4Life.net now exists.

no escape through flight
our fouled earthly nest needing
organic farming
7/28/00 ky

Make what you will of my haiku. For me it contains the power of clearly seeing the reality of our condition and the excitement of what can be. It is hopeful.

During the last century (in 1999), as I strolled and shopped through the Farmer’s Market in Ojai, California each Sunday morning, I began to wonder where else, other than our farmer’s markets and our local health food stores, organic foods might be found in our community. I also wondered how others, less committed or less connected, would find organic foods and products in our area. I began asking the organic farmers at the market if there were a central source for information on buying organic food in our area. There was no source. In the midst of conversations about organic food and how to locate it, I would often comment that it would be great if we had a website resource for organic food in our community.

A year went by and nobody took care of the problem; my problem. On July 11, 2000 I took the bull by the horns and registered the domain name Organic4Life.net. With zero knowledge of website building or site hosting, my daughter Jovi and I jumped in and began the process. We researched and bought website development software, contracted for site hosting, and at a snail’s pace we were off.

A year and a half later, we have a very simple site that contains information primarily for Ventura County, California on the following; calendar of events, community gardens, farmer’s markets, organic farmers, food stores that carry some organic products, nursery/garden supplies, organizations, produce stands, recipes, and restaurants.

To complete the circle, I would like to go back for a moment to the why of creating and maintaining this site. I realize that we need to be more gentle with our planet and with each other. I realize that awareness is key to gentleness. I realize that we can only achieve these goals through an integrated web of communication and function. I realize that each of us can contribute. This is one of my small contributions.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

DAY 82 - Could You Be Stuck and Not Know It?

Even an avid yoga practitioner can have areas of his spine; vertebral joints, that are stuck; and not know it.

The human body is not well designed to assess its own localized, intersegmental spinal mobility/immobility.

The human body is actually poorly designed to monitor many of its functions and conditions. For example, it is not well designed to sense blood pressure, nor a slow loss of vision.

I can guess who’s monitoring your blood pressure, and I imagine you see an optometrist periodically. But, who lets you know if you are stuck?

(photo by Tony George at Flickr)

Friday, December 24, 2010

DAY 81 - Arthritis Causes Knuckle Cracking

That’s right - or at the very least plausible - that you’ve had it backwards all these years. Arthritis causes knuckle cracking, not the other way around.

There is no medical evidence that knuckle cracking causes arthritis; not one study.

If a young person had mild discomfort or stiffness in his hands, would he crack his knuckles to make them feel better? Yes, he would; and he does.

In my chiropractic practice, I find that young people who crack their knuckles, have early, mild arthritis. These same young people also usually have signs, obvious to a trained physician, of arthritis in their necks and other parts of their spines.

There is nothing inherently wrong with knuckle cracking. It simply must be recognized as a probable early warning sign of arthritis, and we need to get our story straight!

Note: Arthritis is, in most all cases, treatable, and in many cases “curable”.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

DAY 80 - The Magic of Juicing with My Son

Juicing wasn’t really feasible this last September when we stayed with him and Jenny at their new studio apartment in Greenwich Village, but my son, Kenn (aka Kay) and I have a pact. When we are together, at his house, or mine, we start the day off making and drinking fresh vegetable juice. One day I am responsible for juicing, the next, he is.

We both have an interest in green juices, and enjoy experimenting with a variety of herbs and vegetables. Anything goes as long as it’s heavy on nutrition and light on the sugar.

As with so many things in my life, I have great intentions to regularly make fresh vegetable juice, but I have never been able to stay on track for anything but a short time. Our pact assures me a few more days of fresh juice, and is a small part of my overall health plan.

For me, the magic arises from the amalgamation of a shared interest in health, a shared connection to fresh juice, a sharing of energy for action, a joyful pact, and a soft spot in my heart for my son.

Question: do you have a mutual health pact with a friend or family member?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

DAY 79 - Salad Support

I LOVE a great salad! It’s not my knowledge of the profound health benefits of a colorful, iceberg-free salad, I just LOVE them! The crunch, the textures, the greens, reds, and oranges. Nonetheless, there have been so many times when I have been both tired and hungry, looked in the refrigerator, and just couldn’t face trying to put one together.

Fortunately, I have a salad support partner, my wife, Joanne!

When we married in 1971, one of our treasured wedding gifts was a wooden salad bowl set. Many were the evenings we would come home from work, put on James Taylor or Carole King, and together make a hearty salad. There were times when one of us didn’t have the energy to make a salad, but rarely both of us. The energy of one would lift the other.

Whether it is walking, stretching, or preparing healthy food, a buddy or support team can be invaluable. To have found love, marriage and health support all in one, I am blessed.

To this day, we make beautiful salads together.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

DAY 78 - Death Panels or Life Panels?

“Death panels”, as they are often called, are groups of people that are asked to make determinations about the best use of a community’s limited financial resources as it relates to an individual’s need for healthcare. How interesting that some would choose to call these “death panels”, when the process of determining how to best allocate resources, is being done to maximize life in the community. I would be more apt to call these “life panels”.

Today, the US is almost 14 trillion in debt. We simply don’t have enough money to provide every American with all the drugs, MRIs, surgeries and therapies they want.

It is also clear that some people feel that no expense is too great if it will extend the life of their loved-one; regardless of the impact on others.

I realize that talk is cheap, but it is my hope that when, and if, I find myself in need of a large healthcare expenditure to continue my life, that I would consider all of you.

I support “life panels” because I value the health of my family, of our communities, and of our Country, as much as I value my own.

In the meantime, if we are truly serious about life, and whether one calls them “life panels” or “death panels”, we could all get busy protecting our lives by improving our health through daily exercise, less sugar, a few more green leafy vegetables, and a couple of hugs.

Monday, December 20, 2010

DAY 77 - Conjecture


“Conjecture is not of the devil. 
 Certainty may be.”
 

2/4/04   KY

Sunday, December 19, 2010

DAY 76 - Get a 3rd Opinion

My dear friend, Tom Sult, MD, is right!

Dr. Sult has a medical practice in Willmar, Minnesota, called 3rd Opinion. The name is not just catchy; it offers an opportunity for conversation about complicated health problems, about 2nd opinions, and about where patients might turn when they really need help.

Usually, a 2nd opinion is obtained from a healthcare practitioner with the same training, and often the same or similar approach as the practitioner that provided the 1st opinion. Understandably, the opinions are often the same or similar. The patient gains no additional insight, but may feel comforted if there is agreement.

A 3rd opinion could be a new look, from a different vantage point. That’s what Dr. Sult is offering. As stated on his website, “Understanding the influence your beliefs and thoughts, fears and wants, combined with your diet, lifestyle and environmental issues have on your genetic expression, is central to the work at 3rd Opinion.”

Dr. Sult’s practice is founded on the principles of Functional Medicine (FM). FM is the future of conventional medicine –available now. It seeks to identify and address the root causes of disease, and views the body as one integrated system, not a collection of independent organs divided up by medical specialties. FM uses new research that for the first time allows treatment of the underlying causes of disease, instead of managing or masking the symptoms as conventional medicine often does.

Dr. Sult is right; when it comes to our health, it’s time to get a 3rd opinion!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

DAY 75 - The Fox that is Guarding the Drug House May be Offshore


For a very long time it has been hard to feel a sense of trust in drug companies. This is true because there is so much money (imagine billions) to be made in drug sales, and because there has been so much evidence against, and conviction for fraud in the prescription drug world.

Things are not getting better, they are just going "offshore". Check out this Vanity Fair article that an MD friend sent me, about how the testing and safety of your drugs are becoming less tested and less safe.


So, what's the moral? It might be, to start learning about and practicing health, so that you have less need for drugs.

Friday, December 17, 2010

DAY 74 - We Are All Headed Somewhere

We are all headed somewhere. The question is; are we headed toward a nursing home, or out to the street for a 40 minute walk?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

DAY 73 - Beautiful Food on the Fly

I realize that this title could be confusing, cuz we’re used to a fly on the beautiful food, but today has been a different sort of day.

Since starting this book on October 5, I’m a bit fried. Writing daily is keeping me up later, on more nights in the last 72 days, than I have ever experienced in my entire life. So, imagine me this morning trying to get myself together to do my yoga, check my calendar and responsibilities, figure out a nutritious breakfast and lunch, and get to my first appointment.

For a moment, I resolved to figure out something healthy to eat. Next thing I know, I am staring at a bag of granola; plenty of sugar.

I put on a pot of buckwheat groats to steam (gluten-free). While it’s cooking, I go out to the garden and harvest some greens for stir-frying. Tree collards are what I bring in. As I lay the large leaves on top of one another for chopping, I realize that they would make a sturdy and delicious raw wrap. So here is what I did:

collard leaf wraps
steamed buckwheat groats
minced white onion
wheat-free tamari
flax oil

Really tasty! I am not always so fortunate as to pull off something of this magnitude. Great to have been creative, and to have supported myself, even when I wasn’t feeling so splendid!

I hope this account will give you a lift as you move toward food that will enliven you. If you would like to see the pictures, go to: http://doctoryoung.smugmug.com/Turning-60-Consciously/Collard-Role/15102160_5qhJn#1128859782_9Tbpt

In the next few weeks, I should have some small tree collard plants to share with those who live nearby.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

DAY 72 - Warning: Your Insides Are Connected to Your Outsides

What I am about to tell you is one of the most important things I have ever learned about health and the human body.

Nerves interconnect our internal organs, also called viscera, and our musculoskeletal parts, or soma. Trauma, inflammation, or infection in the viscera or soma, can cause symptoms or functional changes in the other. These 2-way influences are called viscerosomatic and somatovisceral reflexes, depending on the direction of the signals.

Though not usually understood as such, one of the most common examples of a viscerosomatic reflex is the low back pain that very often accompanies a woman’s menstrual period. What is virtually unknown to most American women, and apparently most doctors, is that low back pain, or low back dysfunction without pain, can initiate the somatovisceral side of the cycle, often resulting in the causation or worsening of pelvic menstrual symptoms. (The most common types of dysfunction in the back and neck are tight muscles and stiff joints.)

To emphasize the critical importance and breadth of effect, here is a brief list of other viscerosomatic and somatovisceral reflexes:

Most Americans know that kidney infections can cause back pain. Most Americans don’t know that back dysfunction can affect kidney function.

An impending or acute heart attack can cause chest pain, upper back pain, left arm pain, and/or pain on the left side of the neck, jaw or head. Dysfunction in the neck or upper back can influence heart function.

Digestive problems in the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and colon can cause back pain. Spinal dysfunction in the neck, upper back or lower back can have negative impacts such as constipation, diarrhea, intestinal gas, nausea, or digestive pain.

Inflammation or disease in the liver and gall bladder can cause back pain.

Respiratory problems such as asthma can cause back pain, while back problems can cause respiratory symptoms.

Pancreatitis can cause back pain.

Moral: When you have back pain, or a problem with an internal organ, remember that your insides are connected to your outsides. When you didn’t injure your back, but it hurts, think of your insides.

(Note: Autonomic Nervous System Chart, above, available at DCFirst.com)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

DAY 71 - Putting the “Public” into Public Health


I just created a Facebook Page called “Community of Health ~ Ventura, CA”. It is a framework for monthly gatherings for health. I think we can live more healthfully, and have a good time doing it! And part of the magic will be in doing it together!

Here is what I posted today:

What is Community of Health ~ Ventura?
COHV is friendly people coming together once a month, enjoying learning about, practicing, and staying engaged in health! COHV will provide a calming, joyful, and thoughtful environment in which to consider the factors that lead to health and that lead to imbalance, and in which to find personalized direction for health and happiness.

Who: people interested in health; for many reasons
Where: in the City of Ventura – to be figured out – offers of a comfy place?
What: 90 minute gathering with varying formats and content
When: the second Thursday of each month, from 7-8:30 PM

Who created and who will lead Community of Health ~ Ventura?
Dr. Kristofer Young, Ventura chiropractor.
“Most of us need help staying on track; staying inspired to care for our health. I have created Community of Health ~ Ventura, to help us do just that.”

Is COHV a business promotion, or a front for marketing products or services?
No, and no.

Monday, December 13, 2010

DAY 70 - Jeans for Christmas: or Genes?

Our lives are changing so fast! 

It seems like it was just yesterday that we were buying our son, jeans for Christmas. And while we may, again this year, be buying him jeans (photo left), just this evening we placed a gift order for his genes (photo right).

The company is called 23andMe. It’s a genetic testing service that provides information and tools to understand your DNA. With a simple saliva sample they'll help him gain insight into his traits, from baldness to muscle performance. Discover risk factors for 92 diseases. Know his predicted response to drugs, from blood thinners to coffee. And uncover his ancestral origins.

Holly cow; this is hardly a traditional gift!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

DAY 69 - All Boy

She was 4 years old; and all boy!

Her parents brought her to my office for treatment of leg pain. As the three of them entered the treatment room, she paid little attention to me; no fear of the doctor that would be customary for a child this age. No clinging to mama; she began to check out the room, handled everything she could, and slapped at the vertical blinds.

After adjusting her spine, I advised her parents that both the leg pain and her fearless behavior might have some connection to her diet. I recommended a trial of no dairy.

The next week, she was back for follow-up. This time, she was all girl!

Glued to her mom’s leg, the two entered the treatment room. She glanced around the room, kept a careful eye on me, and remained close to mama. Her leg pain was much diminished. Mom had removed the dairy from her diet since the last visit.

Two weeks later, she was back; and all boy again!

Just like the first visit, she cared not who was in the treatment room. She was far from her mother’s side, and showed not the slightest concern about me or my actions. I asked Mom if her daughter was back on dairy again. Her response was, “it was so difficult.” A game of tag ensued as the little guy began messing with every piece of equipment in the room. Mom would say “no” and move toward her. She would release the handle, knob or lever, and race to yet another. As she began swiping at the vertical blinds, Mom had had enough, swooped over, scooped her up in her arms and held her. There was a struggle, and some yelling from the little one. Then the real boy in her broke out; she bit her mom’s arm. Not a nibble, she clamped on that arm.

I never got to see her again, but would bet anything that if the milk and cheese got turned off again, Dr. Jekyll would return. It was clear what Mr. Hyde was eating.

Questions: What must it feel like to child, to be out of control one day, and in balance another? When out of control, what is the effect on family, school, and friendships? What is it that makes some boys and some girls, all boy? And what will it take for our culture to appreciate that foods can alter behavior?

(photo - not of the young lady in the story, but rather of, and courtesy of my wonderful granddaughter, Liel Geraci, who is all Liel)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

DAY 68 - Simple Understandings #3 – I Carry My Stress in My Shoulders

“I carry my stress in my shoulders.”

You may not hear this as often as I do, because chances are that you aren’t a chiropractor, but tell me that this statement isn’t incredibly common. It is common, and it is ripe with danger.

Let me make it quick, cuz I know you are getting ready for a holiday party.

For clarification, when we say “shoulders” in this case, we are talking primarily about the trapezius muscles that run between the shoulder joints and the neck (see photo - with strap crossing the trapezius).

Stress can, and often does cause tightening and discomfort in the shoulders. One can often feel the shoulders get better and worse as stresses wane and wax. A conclusion is natural; stress causes the problem.

When one believes that stress is THE cause of shoulder tightness and discomfort, the only answer to the condition is stress reduction. But stress is rarely, if ever, THE cause.

An extremely common cause of tight shoulders is food allergy. This isn’t a guess or premonition; I have seen this in hundreds of cases since 1983. The most common single offender that I have observed, is dairy products. Most people are allergic to a number of foods; without knowing it. These foods, or combinations of foods can gradually tighten muscles and cause pain.

Take charge of your health and life and do a little experiment; take all dairy (%100 – read labels and ask what was put in everything you are about to eat) out of your diet for one week. Then put it back for a week. Repeat this on and off for 3 cycles. Most people will realize in the first cycle that they, and their shoulders, feel better off of dairy.

This self testing is not the final word, but will provide valuable feedback for many people, and may “cure” their shoulder problems. Others have more complicated physiology and will need the help of a wise doctor to sort out the causes and effects.

The fact that you don’t stretch, exercise, or get enough sleep may also play a role in your shoulder problems, but don’t miss the chance to employ this simple understanding, and experiment with dairy.

Friday, December 10, 2010

DAY 67 - Happy Birthday Little Brother

My little brother Ken was born on December 10, 1952. You haven’t heard me talk much about him because he died in 1969. He was 16 years old, and died when he broke his neck in a motorcycle accident on Highway 1 in Big Sur, near the Garrapata Creek bridge.

A wonderful young man!
(Photo - 1969 - top Ken, below Kris )

He was a bright boy; a reader. In 1957 Ken turned 5, I turned 6, and our older brother, Kap turned 7. While I could read, Ken LOVED to read. That year, the 3 of us received a gift from our great grandmother, of an American Heritage Book Club membership which provided us each month with a thick, young-adult history book. There were titles like Whaling, The American Revolution, The French and Indian Wars, and Lewis and Clark. Thank god for the pictures! Ken liked the pictures too, but, at 5, he read each book as it arrived, to himself. At age 59, I can still remember my parent’s pride and excitement at the dinner table, as my little brother would tell us about the history he was learning.

In the summer of 1968, our Dad accepted a job in Santa Cruz, CA. We would be moving from Ventura. While not actually a chess player, I had made a move earlier in the year that would change my life with Ken. I had asked my Mom, given that I had only gone to the same school 2 years in a row, on one occasion since first grade; could I finish my senior year of high school at Ventura High in 1969. She had said I could. Now, when the chips were down, she didn’t hesitate, she immediately said that I would be able to stay in Ventura and finish school, even with the family moving to Santa Cruz.

The next thing I knew, Ken had asked if he could stay with me in Ventura, to also finish high school. An arrangement was worked out in which our parents would give us money for basic necessities and we would rent an apartment. As we settled into our new digs that summer, Ken was 15 and I was 16.

That school year we lived at the beach in a tiny studio on Bath Lane; a rowdy, partying lane off of Pierpont Blvd. We had parties of our own, but neither of us missed a day of school. The Ventura Unified School District never knew that we lacked parental supervision 24/7.

I loved Ken. We were both very busy that year, and I don’t know that I fully appreciated what a gem I had.