Monday, October 31, 2016

I had thought, but I was wrong, that getting away from the juvenile’s/children’s halloween, meant leavening behind the pleasant absurdity of make-belief.  Paradise Village is a retirement home, a place where residents must be over the age of fifty-five.  The beauty is still here… but the holiday was going full steam ahead, and not a person even among the staff, was under the age of twenty-five... Halloween is alive and well here.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Sunsets are never the same, one day to the next.  They only seem to be the same to people who don't look carefully.  Some people say all flowers of a kind, like the Bird of Paradise blossoms that bloom at the back of the building where I live, are same.  They are very wrong to look so casually as beauty.  Yesterday, I took a picture of the sunset, and it was the same sunset that my friend Bill saw when he was walking at the beach with his wife; but from wherever it was seen in San Diego, it was a special event.  The colors and the arrangement of clouds all made the sunset what it was for everyone who saw it.  I saw it from the balcony of our apartment in National City.  Tonight I went out to see another sunset, and although it was a day after the sunset yesterday, some people might have looked at it and thought it was just another spectacular display, the same spectacular event that we see day after day from any high place facing West in this amazing city.  Of course, the sunsets are different, not just from day to day, but also from moment to moment.  The islands in the last picture belong to Mexico.  Life is good.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Not ugliness exactly, but plainness or ordinariness, the plants out of which the beautiful Bird of Paradise flower grows are spectacular in their lack of beauty.  I went back to see the Bird of Paradise plants where I took yesterday's and the previous day's pictures, and I hadn't remembered incorrectly.  They are drab. There must be a life lesson in these plants.  The flowers are surely extraordinary in any setting, but the gardener expects the beauty knowing how the original plant appears to be little more than plain grass.  YES!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Good work if you can get it.  Since yesterday afternoon when I took and then edited a few Bird of Paradise flowers at the back door of our new Home those flowers have been on my mind.  I went out to the same place this afternoon and was amaze all over again at the remarkable combinations of shapes and colors.  I found one with a bee yesterday, and again today there was a bee in what might have been the same flower.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The bird of paradise flower has become even more important to Margaret and to me because we live in paradise Valley in a retirement village called Paradise Village.  I was wondering today who this little bee was going after in a flower at the back entrance to the building that is our home.  Whatever it is he/she is after, I approve.  It's a good choice.

I rode into Balboa Park this afternoon on my bicycle.  I'll never tire of the big African tree in the big planter at the entrance to Laural Street Bridge...and I'll never get tired of parking my bicycle at the reflecting pond...and in the last picture, did you notice the old man playing the violin.  How can anybody grow tired of this beautiful place.

I went later to the University of San Diego's Joan Crock Center for Peace and Justice to hear the new Chaldean Archbishop from Irbil tell why it is important for Christians to use forgiveness as the place to begin with any people under any circumstances in trying to find peace.  Begin, he said, with people who are not like  you.  Good advice.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

13 DAYS UNTIL NOVEMBER 8...  I was sitting watching TV news after dinner tonight, and the subject of the day was the same as it was yesterday and exactly what we can expect tomorrow: the election of a person to be for at least four years the President of the United States of America. I am an old man, and I have been through these election cycles for decades, and this year has been different from all the others.  I find myself asking how we got to where we are as a nation... and I don't have a satisfactory answer to that question.  I am wondering what the subject of TV news will be on the 9th of November... and the 10th... and a month later on the 10th of December.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Late Tuesday night, the 25th of October, after a day of traveling back to San Diego from New York.  Nancy and I got up early this morning so we could join a small bunch of travellers, mostly Australians, as we came under the Verrazano Bridge.  It was a third time for me going under the bridge… once on the way out of New York Harbor at the beginning of a four-month round-the-world trip on the Cunard QE 2 in 2005.  The second time was coming into New York Harbor on the new Cunard Queen Mary which we took in Southhampton for the trip across the Atlantic to finish the four-month trip in 2005.  

This time was wonderful.  The pictures of the bridge were good, the pictures of the Lower End of the City were good, but the Statue of Liberty was too bright for the little camera I was using. It occurred to me as I looked at the pictures tonight that liberty is hard to capture and it’s brightness is dazzling, so I included the picture here anyway.  I thought about Donald Trump and how he and the people who are dazzled by him are missing the point of liberty and freedom.  It's definitely too bright for them. It's not too bright for my brother Jim and my Brother-in-Law Bill.  Sorry, Guys, we couldn't see you this time in NYC.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Newport, Rhode Island:  It is easy to see why early settlers decided this was a place where natives living here could be pushed back into the interior of the country.  It is also easy to see why wealthy people build fantastic summer palaces on the hillsides around the harbor.  It is easy to see why the Kennedy family settled here and became a sailing family.  It is easy to see how and why that family and other families of wealthy people would spend as much time here as possible.  

For even people who are not wealthy, Newport seen from the deck of a cruise ship is beautiful. America is a place where people who are not wealthy can see that beauty and can enjoy and can think of as theirs what the early settlers stole from the native Americans.  Important to  remember is that what we see and enjoy in this country once was home to people who were pushed out of the beauty and into harsher living conditions.  Undoubtedly what we see in this beautiful place from the deck of a cruise ship seems to us to be more beautiful than the reality of it is from wherever it is in the area people go about living their every-day lives.  Asi es la vida.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sunday at Sea… This has been a quiet day.  The sea was bouncy.  The wind was high.  Passengers on the Rotterdam sat and played and ate and slept and exercised and swam and, and, and…  

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Boston…  Coming into Boston harbor early this morning felt a little like coming home although I never had been on a boat in this place.  The streets are familiar.  I lived not far from Boston for four years once upon a time, but I didn’t spend many days in the city, but even the rain here today seemed familiar, the old buildings on the old streets seemed to belong to all the people walking or driving on them… they seemed to be my streets.  The autumn leaves belong to all of us.  The little park, perhaps the first in America,  on the same street as Paul Revere's house, belongs to all of us.  The old State House which is now a subway stop and was once the site of the Boston Massacre belongs to all of us.  This city which is the cradle of our great country belongs to all of us. 

Perhaps one of the most disconcerting things about elections this year is that the rhetoric expressed in speeches doesn’t seem to belong to any of us. I will be glad when this election day is behind us.  Perhaps the whole country will again belong to all of us.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Bar Harbor, Maine, United States of America…  Fog was as thick as Donald Trump’s thinking on this first day back in the States.  Nancy and Margaret stayed on the ship this morning, but I took a tender into the little town of Bar Harbor.  Perhaps I just wanted to touch ground in the good Old U.S.A . Whatever reason, I was glad to take pictures of the home country.  I mentioned yesterday that the last time I was in Bar Harbor, I ate lobster.  Lobster is the theme of this place.  I was especially glad to find a stack of boxes filled with big lobsters on the pier.  I got the picture I wanted.  I also got pictures of main street of this small town.. and pictures of the underside of the pier… and pictures of autumn leaves.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Haifax, Nova Scotia, is our last stop in Canada.  We’ll be back in the U.S. tomorrow.  Barr Harbor, Maine, is on our itinerary.  The last time I was in Barr Harbor, I ate lobster… wonderful, lobster.  I think I’ll do the same thing tomorrow.  The weather will be cool.  Today was ideal.  I watched the debate last night, and I am convinced that Hillary Clinton will be the next President of the United States. Watching Donald Trump maneuver his way through the next couple of weeks into obscurity will be agonizing and entertaining.