Monday, February 29, 2016

The trip home by Southwest Airlines was a time to be grateful...
My sister Jacqueline's 90th birthday was especially good...
She is in good health and all six of her brothers and sisters
were at her house to celebrate with her... all alive and all well.
Life is good.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

A Shrimp boil...and a crawfish boil on a porch in Louisiana... on the same evening
is as good as it gets... thanks to Shawn and Alicia and Cherry and, and, and
many other people who made this weekend beyond rare,  I'd even say unique.
Beautiful... Wonderful... Incredibly meaningful...

Saturday, February 27, 2016

My sister's 90th Birthday Party in Houma, Louisiana.
She and her six siblings are alive and healthy.
A great room was filled with people who love Jacqueline.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Today at my sister Jacqueline’s House… Houma, Louisiana:  She is wonderful, as always. Other members of the family are also wonderful people.  It’s amazing that of seven children, with the oldest being Jacqueline at 90, we are all alive, and all healthy.  What a blessing.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Flying from San Diego to New Orleans by way of Seattle today (don't ask)provided some of the best time an old retired guy has had in a long time for reading…  No bicycle or gym to interrupt the flow of time today.  I confess that I can’t get myself out of the habit of analyzing stories or other pieces of writing as if I’m going to present them/it to a group of 18-year-old students who want to be effective writers.  Today I picked up the April 2016 Motor Trend magazine and was reminded that some race car drivers and other racing enthusiasts are a better bunch of writers than average Joes and Janes out there in the writing world.  I was so impressed by a piece by Jonny Lieberman that I’m going to keep the magazine and send it to a Eric Johnson, a younger friend of mine who is still teaching high school English.  Lieberman’s piece about three cars is a masterpiece of writing.  I read it twice and will probably will read it again before I send the magazine on to Eric.  The second time through was even better than the first.  I slowed down and appreciated the handling of language the way Lieberman handled the three cars and then wrote about his driving experience.  The three cars were the Dodge Viper ACR, the Porsche 911 GT3 RS, and the Chevrolet Corvette Z06.  Wow!  I’d like to have a group of students read “Track Day Bros” and tell me what is good about them. Of course, the students would want to know why I’m riding a bicycle to school or why on Fridays I’m driving a Chevy Spark and why I’m not driving the Viper, the Porsche, or the Corvette…  

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The two-week old that I met this week... Here she is with her Mother.  Both are doing very well.  

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

I was on my way back to my car a couple of weeks ago from MOPA in Balboa Park when I saw several homeless people... Took a picture of this guy lying asleep around 3:30 in the afternoon. I don't know if he found a shelter when night came or if he just found some place under a bridge or in a thicket of trees in the park.  I thought of him today as I got ready to go back to another volunteer job... this one not in the Park but at the Methodist Church in Mission Valley.  Thirteen people who for whatever reason have no home to go to sleep the night in the church.  I remembered the man and the photograph, and thought it would be appropriate for my picture and my BLOG for today.  Of out thirteen homeless people, one is a 12-day-old little girl.  Her parents are homeless, so she is homeless with them.  I was at the shelter last night, too.  I took time last night and It's been on my mind all day that I have no reason to be disappointed in whatever personal situation I find myself.  I don't know anything personal about any of the thirteen people who are staying the night with us.  They come at 5:30 p.m. and go out again by 7 in the morning.  We eat dinner with them and breakfast, and they pack a lunch for themselves before they leave in the morning.  The same 13 people will be back at 5:30 today.  I won't ask any questions about their personal losses.  Asking questions is against the rules.  Being grateful for my good fortune is not against the rules, so that's what I am doing.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Ed and Pat have moved into a fantastic place in Solano Beach for one month.  The ocean is on one side of the house and a small stream with some of the most amazing rocks I have ever seen is on the other side.  Wow!  I can't imagine where the rocks were found originally... It doesn't matter.  They are incredible even without our knowing what geologic formula formed them.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

I meet most Sunday mornings with a group of friends to discuss a book we are all reading.  This morning after we had been reading A gift to Self, a book of poems and stories written by William Stephenson, I remembered a poem by Robert Frost that has probably impressed and perplexed me for longer than any other of his poems or, for that matter, any other bits of writing that I have ever read or had read to me, Frost called this poem, “The Dust of Snow,” which is the third line of the first stanza of the two stanza poem.  Frost wrote the poem after going through what he referred to as the worst night of his life, a night when he was a young farmer in New Hampshire, a night in which one of his children died of flu… 

The discussion today developed into sharing of experiences people had around death… people shared their own experiences surrounding the death of people whom they had loved, and the writer of the book, Bill Stephenson told about what he had learned about himself from his having  been present at the end of life of his patients. Some of his patients had been young and some were old. “The Dust of Snow” is one sentence. The sentence/poem with an AB/AB rhyme scheme is a string of one syllable words except for the word hemlock, the name of a tree with the same name as a classic deadly poison. As I said earlier in this writing, the poem has perplexed and impressed me since Frost himself said it was his favorite poem.

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Antonin Gregory Scalia, the Associate Justice of the Supreme Court who died this week, was honored today at his funeral in Washington, D.C.   I watched the entire solemn funeral mass and was moved by the spiritual tone set by the service. His son Paul Scalia, a priest in the Roman Catholic Church, officiated at his father’s mass. The Reverend Scalia referred to his father as “the country’s good servant.”  For the day Washington set aside its political bickering. The mass was not a political event but a spiritual ceremony.  I’m almost afraid to watch the television news tonight, because broadcasters have a tendency to put a political color on everything that happens in Washington.  

Justice Scalia and I disagreed on many social and political policies.  I am a Democrat, and he was a Republican.  How I feel about him and about his service to our country has nothing to do with our political differences. He was a good, a very bright man.

In the next few weeks, perhaps months, political weapons will be sharpened and drawn in Washington and all over the country.  This election year is an unsettling time for our country.  The Supreme Court  represents the country to the world in a way that no other institution does.  I am hoping that Americans, and especially political leaders of both parties, will handle the transition of the Court and political campaigns with the kind of dignity and reverence characterized by Justice Scalia’s mass today. 

Friday, February 19, 2016


What does it mean?
Expose, in italics, people to God through Christ.
Sounds like something Jim Bakker or Jimmy Swaggert
would say to a T.V. camera
not having given enough thought
to the lack of clarity the statement has
to anyone real who likes words specific,
which I do in the second half of my life,
especially since I figured out 
that Orville Redenbacher became rich
being specific about popcorn.

Tuesday, April 24, 1990

P.S.  The last time I dropped into a book of poems that I'd written a long time ago and typed one of them out for this BLOG, I turned the 1990 into 1900.  Some people caught the mistake, and some of them told me about it.  Ninety in years is a long time.  I'll try to remember to edit more carefully.

Margaret and I went to Balboa Park this morning.  It's the third Friday of the month and we subscribe to a lecture series.  Today we heard Matthew Herbst, a member of the UCSD faculty, discuss the time when the Desert because Art... Reminded me again of reminders I've been getting from friends that this year Death Valley will experience a super bloom of wild flowers. I'd like to go out there with my camera... 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Thursday again...
Photos today like those last Thursday
are what I saw on the way from MOPA
to the car.