The Diederich Journal

May 2003

I took a few days off this past Easter to visit my parents back in Ohio. Noriko couldn't get the time off work, so I made the long flight from San Francisco alone.

The airplane was half full and the seat next to me was unoccupied so I could stretch out a bit and relax. The flight was uneventful -- I can't even remember what the movies were. But one thing did stand out: I was snoozing and awoke to the pressing question from the flight attendant: "Breakfast burrito or banana?"

I remember thinking, "What an odd choice for the flight's so-called 'meal.'"

I was immediately suspicious of the now mysterious "breakfast burrito." I figured that if it was offered alongside a banana, something had to be amiss. So I opted for the banana.

Once I landed in Dayton, Mom and Dad Diederich were there to take me "home" again. It had been more than three years since my last visit -- and that was too long.

Aside from watching their huge HD (that stands for "high definition " for you analog folk) television with its 200-plus channels, I did manage to get out of the house for at least one day and head up to Columbus to meet our long-lost Diederich relatives: Jennifer and John Diederich. Our grandfathers were brothers. (In this photo, Jennifer is to the left. John is holding little John-John as his wife looks on.)

We met at one of my favorite places to eat at when I am in Ohio (after White Castle, that is) -- Bob Evans. Afterward, John and his wife had to take little John home for a nap. But Jennifer had a few hours free and offered to head across town with me to our alma mater: "The" Ohio State University.

I told Jennifer that I wanted to stop by my old fraternity house, Phi Kappa Tau. Ironically, it turns out that she was a member of a sorority just a few doors down -- the Alpha Kai Omega house. We were even in school at the same time, though we never knew one another. She told me that she was now the sorority's academic advisor and needed to stop by anyway, so it was no big deal to head over there with me.

The Phi Tau house looked the same. We spoke with a couple of the current "brothers" for a few minutes and then walked up 15th Avenue to the AXO house for a brief visit. After that we walked up to the corner and stopped by Longs Bookstore, where I was obligated by Alumni Law to purchase an official OSU National Football Champs T-shirt.

After a brief stroll across the Oval to Mirror Lake (the dog in the "Jacuzzi" is Oden -- that little pool is actually a part of the lake. I'm sure it serves some purpose...), we headed back to our respective cars. I told Jennifer that my next stop was my friend (and journalism teacher and mentor) Phil Porter's house a few miles away.

I had some semi-legible directions that I'd jotted down in my Palm handheld, but I confessed that I did poorly with navigation and she graciously offered to lead the way. I felt guilty but also relieved since I didn't want to wander about Columbus all afternoon.

Phil (that's him in the photo) was in fine spirits and we all had a beer and watched his dog, Bailey, romp around with the neighbor's dog, Maggie. Jennifer informed Phil that her dog was also named Bailey. It then occurred to me that my best friend since the fourth grade, Mark Ruetschle (who lives in Dayton), also had a dog named Bailey.

I was beginning to wonder whether this was the work of an insidious Ohio cult that required its followers to have at least one canine named Bailey.

In other news, Easter dinner was a very enjoyable event at my baby sister Jill's house. She is a fine cook and we all feasted on prime rib. However, since she lives in Xenia (tornado capital of the world), a storm naturally threatened to roll in and ruined dessert -- we had to speed home before the rains, winds and hail were set loose.

And as of today (May 17), Mom and Dad are on the road with Aunt Betty and Aunt Willie, headed back to Ohio after a two-week excursion somewhere near Tampa, Florida. Dad will file a complete report of this exciting trip in a few days -- along with some photos.

And that's about all the excitement there is to report for now. Check back soon for the next exciting installment of the Diederich Journal! Meanwhile, here are a few more photos from my recent trip to Ohio -- and a few others from back here in San Francisco.

Dad busy at the Mac.

Ichi digs away at Montara Beach.

Ichi is always on the lookout for passing dogs to bark at.

This is Cody, my sister and brother-in-law Danny's pup.

My best friend Mark's dog, Bailey. His daugthers ride it like a pony!

Here's one of Mark at work. The world's greatest architect!

Mom and Dad.

Jennifer Diederich holds up the OSU champs banner in the Oval.

Mom's dog, Pepper. (Oddly, he is not named "Bailey")

Phil's dog, Bailey.

Phil in his back yard with Bailey and Maggie.

Here's one of me, pinning Mark's Bailey.

Here's a shot of Jennifer's Bailey.

And on an unrelated note, here's a photo Mom dug up of me at age 15, running my first (and last) marathon.