Friday, September 30, 2016

Life Goes On Beautifully:  Today at our new community, a birthday party was staged for a woman who celebrates her 102 birthday today.  Early in the day, a man reported to the receptionist that he was having his 102nd birthday within a few days.  He was included in the celebration, but the party was for Vespa.  Having just celebrated my eighty-first birthday with my family in a very private dinner party, I enjoyed seeing what another twenty years will do to me; and I can report that the news is good.  Both of these people are holding up well.  Vespa plays piano beautifully, and as a tribute to her, all of us in the community were given the opportunity to join together to establish a Vespa Fund to provide scholarships for youngsters in a school nearby. I don't know how much money was raised, but enough was in the fund to pay tuition for two students to have private lessons for the present school year; and there will be a fund available other years to pay tuition for more students.

So I went away from the party thinking being older isn't so bad... In fact, it's so much better than the alternative, that I'm feeling celebratory. Life is good!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

When I came out from my volunteer job at the Museum for Photographic Arts this afternoon, everything was right for a balanced photographic.  Of course, I didn't know the little girl, so I didn't feel that taking her picture was an imposition.  Clouds over the eastern mountains were fixed in the right places.  These clouds are bringing a chance of rain to the area east of San Diego, but here in the city the temperature is warm... some even say it is hot.  I crossed Park Boulevard to get another picture of the clouds.  Life is good.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Some photographs need no writing. 
Last night's sunset pictures made such photographs.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

There are few things more beautiful, more exotic, more mysterious than the passion flower that grows all over San Diego County.  It is the blossom of a vine.  The design looks as if it may have been designed by an artist.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Monday:  Today was the final day for changing officially from 7084 Camino Degrazia, No. 240, to 601 Arcadia Place, No. 421.  The Department of Motor Vehicles for California says you have two weeks when moving to officially change residences… and it can, with extreme difficulty, be  done on-line… or by standing in a long, long line at any DMV office without an appointment, or by standing in a not-quite-so-long line after an appointment has been made on-line.  The reason changing on-line is extremely difficult is that to begin the process of on-line registration one must choose a user name,  a password, select 5 (not one or two of five, but 5) secret questions and answers… and the process is more difficult than it sounds.  How many 81-year-old persons remember the name of their second grade teacher?… so Margaret and I made an appointment and presented ourselves at 1:30 on this last day of the two weeks required time for officially changing our address.  We were on-time, but there was a line, well, actually three lines.  I’m not sure at all what the other two very long lines were, but the appointment line was significantly long.  At 2 p.m. we had worked ourselves to the front of the line, learned simply that the papers we had completed were done correctly, placed the papers into a box that had on the outside of it, “Change of Address.”  We were given cards with a place to write our correct new address and were told to carry the new address cards with our drivers certificates… and to present them whenever we are asked to prove that we are indeed legal drivers. The DMV in Chula Vista (which serves National City and Chula Vista) is indeed the looniest place in the universe. 

So… we went to the mall on “H” street in Chula Vista to buy a table cloth.  Clerks at three department stores in the mall said they had stopped carrying table cloths, and said maybe the stores in Mission Valley still did such a thing, the look we got from each clerk suggested that no one buys table cloths anymore.  One of the clerks suggested that the “super Walmart” in National City might still keep them in stock.  We stopped there and on the way back to our apartment, and we found not only table cloths but they came in three colors and many sizes, and we bought a blue one and place mats that are also blue.  The search for table cloths was actually an exercise that proved again what we already knew about ourselves… Much of what we do is out of fashion.  We concluded that people don’t use table clothes anymore, but that doesn't mean we are required not to use them. At the Chula Vista Mall on H Street, I found a whole row of passion flowers still blooming in late September.  Passion flowers are not out of fashion.  I got pictures.  Life is good.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sunday... I've spent some of this day wondering... and thinking... and wondering over the words of Justice Learned Hand.  He said, "The spirit of democracy is that spirit which is not too sure it is always right."  First, I am convinced that Justice Hand was  one of the most insightful thinkers and deliberate, quiet speakers in our history.  With this presidential election looming I am wondering where in all the rhetoric, the debates, the election fervor is someone like Learned Hand reminding us of the fragility of our democracy.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Piece by piece, bit by bit, the new place is coming together.  Yesterday we received the new table and chairs, so now we can eat like the civilized people that we think we are.  The new place definitely feels like home.

Friday, September 23, 2016

We are having a garage sale tomorrow... What an experience it is to get ready for such an event.  The big give-away is happening tomorrow at Ed Jirjis' home in El Cajon.  We've spent a couple of days getting ready... by sorting through "stuff" that we can't find room for in the new apartment.  One of the things I expect to miss at the old home above Mission Valley are the Melaleuca Trees.  I can imagine I'll find my way back there with my camera.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Magnolia Blossom... injured... still beautiful.  I like this photograph in spite of the tear and the apparent entanglement of pieces of the mother tree that seem to either be keeping it safe or refusing to let is go out and be seen.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

My favorite street corner in San Diego is Fourth and Maple...  The attraction for me is a very old tree and the two houses, old Victorians that it stands between.  The smaller house, perhaps once a servant's, is behind the larger, grander Victorian House that surely must be one of the finest homes in San Diego.  I don't know the history of the corner or of the houses.  Perhaps not knowing leaves enough for my imagination to build stories.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

I don't know the photographer, and I don't know the exact date of the photograph.  I found it years after I bought the clock on the wall.  The Singapore Government was closing the Opium Den, and all the "stuff" in the room was piled on the sidewalk in front of the place, the clock was among them.  I bought the clock for three Singapore dollars, which was approximately one U.S. dollar sometime between 1969 and 1973.  The clock has become a treasure in our house.  I moved it into Paradise Village.  It keeps good time still.  Just after I took the picture below, the clock chimed seven o'clock.

Our San Diego part of the world was gifted with a slow rain today… almost all day.  It is the kind of rain that makes farmers glad.  The rain today marks the end of a long period of no rain.  Hooray.  Life is good.  

My President, Barack Obama:  For a couple of weeks my focus has been on where I am, where I am going to be, on myself. Listening this morning to my President speak, I was jarred back to the reality that the earth, my home, is home to many other people as well as it is to me.  The boundaries created by the edges of my country are boundaries that don’t necessarily wall me into a way of thinking about my humanity.  My humanity is not determined just by what is happening in my space, but what is happening in countries whose boundaries and whose inside governments are vastly different from the democracy of the United States of America.  My President understands that difference.  He celebrates his citizenship in America, but he never seems to lose sight of the rest of the world and to his connection to the rest of the world. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

A friend wrote and asked if the place where we now live has a back entrance.  It does.  And there is a hotel-like hallway that gets us to an elevator which takes us down four floors to this entrance, which I have learned, some people think of as the front of our building.  What I can say about all this moving and resettling is that people should live one day at a time and be grateful... Take time to marvel at the beauty which surrounds every place.  Grumble and gripe about stuff that affects the lives of other people, and be grateful for all the good things that come daily into your own life.  Life is good.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sometimes the best photo I get in a day really is the best photograph for the day, even if it was shot with my phone in available light in a fairly dark room.  Molly Vetter, who was once an associate pastor at First United Methodist Church of San Diego and is now the Lead Pastor at the Methodist Church in Redondo Beach, came back to San Diego to give a lecture to a large group of people committed to the social issue of inclusion of all people in the life of the church... Wonderful.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

A friend has asked what a place like Paradise Village looks like; so here are a couple of pictures.  The reason for the name is that the village is located in Paradise Valley.  The name of the retirement community makes possible some very interesting conversations. "How are things in Paradise?" is a common question.  I must say I have no complaints about Paradise... except perhaps that sometimes my Internet connection with the outside world quits, and this afternoon was one of those times.  I'm sitting down in the reception area where there is free WiFi.  That is working, so apparently Paradise hasn't lost its connection with the outside world.

Friday, September 16, 2016

EXPLORING:  The new neighborhood, as it happens, is a lot like the one surrounding Camino Degrazia on the other side of town.  The inside of the new apartment has the familiar sense of home.  Today I put some paintings and other stuff on the walls.  The same familiar bowl with apples and bananas that were bought at Vallarta food market down the street looks exactly like all the bowls of apples and bananas from all the years of my life.  A stroll around 6th Avenue could be a stroll around Ulric Street or Camino Degrazia Street.  The yellow leaves seem the same here. The lesson that is becoming clearer as the days roll by is that all the world is the same.  But I saw the images in the newspapers and on television newscasts, and I know all the world is not the same.  I am not suffering and people in many other places in the world suffer all the time. I’ve got to find something to do about the suffering.  Ignoring the suffering even when the bananas, and apples and yellow leaves are the same isn’t an option.  

Thursday, September 15, 2016

This morning before the day got started, the sun lite up downtown San Diego; and from our windows looking west the world seemed at peace.  The Pacific Ocean was as peaceful as it is supposed to be.  Nothing could have been wrong anywhere in the world... it seemed to me in the comfort of home. But the truth of the turmoil and suffering in some parts of the world that I can't see from our windows or from our balcony soon came blaring in with the latest news.  Up close life seems good.

I'm writing this after watching Saving Private Ryan so I ask for understanding...

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

At the end of the day, I took out of my bookshelf the fall issue of Daedalus, the Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences… because it has been more than a decade since I’ve taught in a classroom, I had almost forgotten the importance of knowing how learning happens… throughout life.  The 1971 fall issue of Daedalus focused on early adolescence, ages 12 to sixteen.  A section entitled “The Adolescent as a Philosopher” of the issue was written by Lawrence Kohlberg and Carol Gilligan, two thinkers who talked and wrote about how learning happens.  I reread their section of the issue and I thought with some dread about the November election.  I thought about Donald Trump and his campaign for the presidency and my worries increased as I read Kohlberg’s and Gilligan’s conclusion that “almost 50 percent of American adults never reach adolescence in the cognitive sense.”  We should not be surprised that Trump is a hero to many Americans who believe he is saying something profound when he declares the he will make America great again. The man is saying nothing that requires clear operational reasoning to understand… and if it is true that almost 50 percent of Americans never reach adolescence in the cognitive sense, Trump can sing his song to that group of Americans who vote and can possibly win the election in November.  I’ll reread the piece tomorrow, and maybe I’ll be reassured that he can’t win. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Margaret and I went back to the old apartment where we lived for 20 years, and near the wall of the house I noticed this toad stool at the very end of its cycle of life.  I took the picture and then later as I was reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, I came across a quote the seemed appropriate for today...  "It is precisely the possibility of realizing a dream that makes life interesting."  Yes!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Things are beginning to come together in the new place.  Books are stuffed into book cases.  Familiar pieces from everywhere are installed on the shelves beside and in front of books... but always the books.  The books are the important pieces from an old, long life.  Another room with books on shelves completes the picture that helps me visualize this new place as home.  It feels like home. Feeling is important. Life is good.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

We moved… at just past 9am last Tuesday the truck and the movers came to our place in Linda Vista and they left the fourth floor apartment in National City at 6 p.m.  I can’t even guess when all the boxes will be empty. I took the picture below before the book boxes had all been emptied  As I type this note, I’m assuming the boxes of books are empty.  The book shelves are full.  The new apartment seems like home, so I can say we moved.  Margaret and I like the new place.  We have coffee in the morning on a nice balcony.  In one direction we see the downtown San Diego skyline.  We can also see the ocean when the marine layer doesn't obscure it.  Life is good.

Today I’ll have to go outside the apartment to post this Blog entry.  Tomorrow at the end of the day I anticipate that I’ll be able to post the Blog from the apartment. 

Today is 9/11.  It's a day of remembering. 

Monday, September 05, 2016

Margaret and I are moving to a new home.  One which is only twelve miles from the condominium which has been our home for the past twenty years.  Rather than actually say the obvious remarks about moving on, about how much we like the new place, about how much we like the apartment we are leaving, I'm just going to let the empty hummingbird's nest speak for me... for us. Our mobile phone numbers will stay the same.  When we get a new house phone, it will begin with a new area code. I'll post pictures of the new place soon.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

On the way back home from the San Diego airport, I stopped and took the photograph in today’s blog with my iPhone.  The time was approximately 5 am.  I had dropped off my neighbor Helen at Southwest Airlines.  She was going to Chicago then on to Baltimore.  I can’t let a chance pass to take a photograph, even at 5 o’clock in the morning.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

I remember the morning and the moment.  I went out for my morning run on Jackdaw Street, and the little fox trotted along across the street and ducked into an alley near that little old red house where Charles Lindberg lived while his plane was being finished in San Diego.  I decided to write a poem about the experience.  I found the verse this evening as I was getting ready to write my blog.  It will do.

Red Fox in the City

I saw a red fox this morning
in my neighborhood
like one of those on the backs of old photographs
tail straight back, running,
and I decided not to tell anyone,
because it was so delicious a sight
in the middle of the city.

Not everything has to be shared.
This was something I could keep for myself.
I wonder if I’d said,
“Look, there goes a fox,”
if someone had been with me?
I’d like to think I could have resisted
and tucked it away for me alone
to know and remember.

May 20, 1992

Thursday, September 01, 2016

I came across something today that I wrote in December of 1990 while I was still working.  Margaret and I had a house guest, a young Japanese boy who was spending a month at our school.  Tetsumasa was thrilled to be in America.  He was bright, and he wanted to know everything about being American.  I had met his parents in Tokyo, and their son was obviously their joy.They asked if it might be possible for him to come to spend a few weeks in our school.  I wrote in my journal about them, and I’ll print that verse here on the blog one day.

Tetsumasa Imai

“Come here.” he said as softly as he could make his voice actually work,
motioning and bowing slightly at the same time from the doorway of my study,
having forgotten that a simple please is all he needs to add when asking for a favor,
but he knows that there is something not quite right about his plea for help
so he keeps saying as I follow him, “Excuse me, excuse me, I don’t know how to say.”
The Japanese are a wonderfully curious breed among the people of the world.
An adversary would be a fool not to see the latent energy and power
surrounding like an aura the young man who smiles and nods and looks.

Tetsumasa Imai struggles with my language and he wrestles with his feelings
as he makes himself keep his shoes on his feet when he enters the house
and forces himself to stifle the impulse to bow as he passes me in the hallway.
He says, “I don’t like Japanese people. I prefer American people… and English.”
What he means, I think, is that he believes all Americans think of themselves as preferable,
and he wants to compliment and please me by saying he prefers mine to his own culture.
I don’t believe him, but I know he would not understand my rejection of his idea
if I tried to explain that it isn’t necessary for him to say he doesn’t like the Japanese
just to make the point that he is pleased to be with me and speak my language.

Sunday, December 30, 1990