Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Left Behind...  This very healthy lizard has been left behind at the old apartment.  I am sorely tempted to find a place for him at the new apartment, but I'd better not interrupt what seems to be for it a happy life on the back porch where we lived for a long time.  I've begun to clean the space and he was living behind a large wooden plinth which has to be moved.  I'll check tomorrow to see if it is still on the porch.  The shrub with red flowers is flourishing nearby.  I have always liked the flowering tree. Perhaps the lizard likes it, too; but the protection that I removed may cause it to look for another place at another part of the building.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Gone to the Dogs... Today Margaret and I had the privilege of keeping the Davids' two little dogs.  They came just before eight o'clock this morning and stayed past the dinner hour.  They were delightful... sleeping, exploring, walking around the buildings.  Tommie liked the tree that flowers at the East end of our courtyard.  Cookie liked being outside and free.  They were a good diversion.  I only thought of the political absurdities for the first time today late in the afternoon when I thought how much like people these two dogs are, only better.  I looked at Tommie just now and asked what he thinks of the President-elect, and his expression was one of those, "What in the world are you talking about," so I let the subject drop.  He's a very smart dog.

Monday, November 28, 2016

I went to a meeting this evening at which the speaker was the former Head of Fuller Theological Seminary whose job it was to address the tensions surrounding the 2016 election and to suggest ways that people who voted for opposing candidates could get along during and after the election with kindness, gentility, and civility.  Before the lecture I wrote a question that I thought I might ask at a question-answer session. I didn’t ask my question.   My question involved the most unsettling aspect of the election cycle… the rhetoric and behaviors of a candidate from the political nominating conventions up to the day of voting.  It was, and still is, difficult to know how active, serious Christians can rationalize support for any political candidate when he or she blatantly demonstrates behaviors that are considered to be immoral in the context of Christianity or of any other of the world’s major religions. 

The speaker of the evening is an author, teacher, and generally an expert on the subject of civil behavior. Representing the Church, the lecturer did what the church does best.  He avoided offending people who made the terrible mistake of voting for and affirming a woefully inadequate candidate for the most important and powerful office in our country.  He made people who voted for Donald Trump for President feel as if they had not done anything wrong, and he made those who didn’t vote for the winner feel as if it is their responsibility to find a way to get along peacefully with those whose candidate won the election.

The speaker was very effective.  He is undoubtedly a good man.  He didn’t say which of the candidates got his vote. He did what he was called to the meeting to do

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Watching the rain storms come in to the San Diego Area…  What we see looking West from our apartment is so different from what we saw looking out of our apartment above Mission Valley.  The sky there was only what we could see from stooping low to the floor at the windows facing south.  We had to go outside to face West, and the sky there was a small patch of clouds or clear sky.  Here the sky is a dome… a big wide dome. I am aware here of storm coming in from the West.  I can see the rain out there a long way off.  Today and yesterday the city disappeared and several minutes later rain came to the part of National City where we live. What one sees from where one lives determines what one thinks of the world.  What I see from where I sit in the house that is home becomes quickly a metaphor for the way the world is for me. I must remind myself that just because I can’t see the tents and sleeping bags clustered on the streets when I look at the San Diego skyline doesn’t mean the homeless don’t exist there.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Big News in National City… Winter has come… rain and cooler weather.

Big News in the World…  Donald Trump is the next President of the United States, after all his talk of making America great again by “draining the swamp,” getting the old guard of leaders out of Washington; and as he announces his appointment of a group of very wealthy citizens to move with him into Washington, Trump is sounding and looking more and more like an autocrat who can easily turn into a dictator.  There is at least a bit of irony in the focus on Cuba with the death of Fidel Castro, a man who successfully lead his nation to establish a Communist regime in a land only ninety miles from the U.S. mainland.  As a citizen of the U.S. who has spent four years living outside my homeland and who has traveled all over the world, the death of Castro reminds me that most of my adult life has been lived with an image of Castro looming large over me and over my country. Castro was someone who lived by his socialist ideology always.  He was a dictator who talked tough, who strutted and posed as a tough man in front of the world’s cameras. The man in American politics who looks and sounds most like Castro is the new President-elect, Donald Trump. Donald Trump is positioned on a political line at the opposite end of the line that has had Castro on the other end.  Castro was a dictator.  Trump talks like one, but the system won’t allow him to be one here.

I am one of that large group of U.S. citizens saddened by the election, but I am not dismayed to the point of hoping the new President will fail.  I remember too well President Obama’s beginning of his first term when the Republican members of the Senate said openly that they would make sure the President didn’t succeed.  I am not disillusioned with American democracy.  The election of Donald Trump to the highest office in the world, proves to me that the system under which we live and have our freedom is truly a democracy.  Ours is  democracy that allows even an inadequate citizen to be elected to high office, but after election the elected individual must live according to the laws of the land.  Not all laws are fair.  Not all laws benefit all citizens equally.  All laws, however, must operate under a constitution that protects all citizens, a constitution that was written with the hope and trust that ultimately all citizens are free and protected by laws that are established to guide and monitor our citizenship.  One of the reasons I call myself a Democrat is that I fervently believe all citizens should have health care and education and the other benefits of our democracy whether or not they can individually afford to pay for them.   

Of course, there are times when momentarily a leader misunderstands the limits of his own leadership.  It seems now as if the man who has been elected to the office of president misunderstands some of the guidelines that have been established by laws of the land and he will probably be held back by those laws so our democracy will not only survive but will demonstrate that our Constitution was written by people who knew something about the limits of human beings who are given great power.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Jeremy is employed by NASA... His painting is inspired by some of what he sees/reads in his work.  It's always a pleasure to get a visit from Jeremy and Kombucha, his magnificient black cat.  Today Jeremy's Dad, Patrick came with him for a visit, and we drove down to the Imperial Beach Pier.  One of my favorite places to stop for a picture is the South Bay Salt Works plant.  Life is good!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving Dinner... We went to Patrick's and Elaine's house...  mid-afternoon... much too much to eat... Jeremy and Kombucha were there.  Helen was there.  David and David and Margaret and I rounded out the eight people at the table.  We enjoyed all the traditional Thanksgiving foods.  It' a good thing an eating holiday comes infrequently or I would soon weigh five hundred pounds.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Today we had autumn weather... San Diego autumn weather.  The temperature got up almost to 70 degrees, and people put on jackets and sweaters to go outside.  We are such a bunch of weaklings.  Cooler, wet weather is (maybe) coming this weekend.  The pictures today were taken from a balcony on the other side of our building looking East.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Thanksgiving Week:  This afternoon Margaret and I went to hear a guitar ensemble play familiar music.   A stage full of guitarists from Southwestern College filled the room with joyful sound.  The guitars played the parts that a string ensemble of a symphony orchestra would play... beautiful.  Music is a way of getting away from newscasts filled with video clips of past outrages and predictions of new outrages to come.  

Monday, November 21, 2016

Today winter has come to National City and San Diego.  We had rain in the morning and now the temperature at our place is 65 degrees. Margaret and I took a walk around the area.  I took pictures.   The first photograph is of our building.  Our apartment is the fourth balcony above the American flag on the first floor balcony.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

It's Sunday... and yesterday I persuaded Margaret to stop long enough for me to get a picture of her and the House of Botany.  She was telling me I should get a picture of a flower that neither of us knew.  This picture is a favorite because it contains my favorite building in San Diego and my favorite person.  The flower isn't bad either.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Balboa Park this morning:  a mime was in his place all dressed in gold clothing and mask and hat and I found myself wondering about his politics.  I wondered how strongly he feels about his political attitudes, and I wondered if I would be willing to demonstrate for a political idea to an extent that this man assumes every day...  a way of looking and way of being in order to make a few dollars in a day. Our country needs people who are willing to take a stand against foolishness, people who will stand by principals of fairness and inclusion.  I wonder what the next four years will be like in this country for people who have been unable to be included among those of us who are privileged, those of us who have acceptable race, religion, education, sexual identity, and all the other approved ways of being human. I watched this man and admired his willingness to try something as unusual as his mime act to get enough money to buy what he needs to get through the day and week and year.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Losing…  Riding on my bicycle I often see one shoe, often a good one, left on the side of the road, and I wonder what the shoe’s story is.  Who owned it?  Where is the other shoe?  Where is the person who wore the shoe, and how did he lose just one?  There are all kinds of stories possible, but the real story I will never know.  Today walking back to my car after my volunteer job at MOPA I came across a straw hat in Balboa Park. I wondered how the hat was lost and if the person who wore it was in a scuffle.  The hat has a story.  I wonder what it is.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

WATCHING CLOUDS in the West, I’m trying to figure out what an ordinary citizen of the United States can do to call attention to the likelihood that our country is heading into a national, perhaps an international, disaster unless the President-elect brings himself and his advisors into line with what the Constitution requires and what knowledgeable citizens know is appropriate preparation for his inauguration a few weeks from now.

First, Donald Trump has said that he is a businessman and that as a businessman, he owns or has business with several companies in our country and in other countries. He seems not to know that his business relationships must be changed now that he has been elected to serve as President of the United States.  We don’t know the details of his businesses and of his assets because he has declined to make public his tax returns as other candidates for President have done in other election years.  Other people who have been elected to the office have placed their assets in “blind trusts” before becoming President.  A blind trust would keep the beneficiaries of his assets from having knowledge of government activities that might work to the advantage of the President’s assets.  President Trump’s blind trust will obviously not be blind.  His decisions as President of the country will be made with those people in charge of his businesses knowing how the companies can take advantage of the President’s every decision.  Mr. Trump has said he will ignore what other Presidents have done and will expect the country to Trust him to keep his business and the country’s business completely separate from each other. To make the situation even worse, President-elect Trump has adult children who will not only run his businesses, but they are on his transition team with responsibility to select his Cabinet and staff his offices in the White House.  

The decisions he is making show that the President-elect is leaving himself and his family open to the charge that he will use his Presidency to benefit his family financially. Mr. Trump’s refusal to make the decision to release his tax returns and to completely separate his family and himself from his businesses will surely lead the country to a constitutional crisis.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Before the sun came up over the majestic mountains to the East of National City, the Super Moon headed into the marine layer of the Pacific Ocean at San Diego.  From National city I began watching the big moon at 5:30 am.  By 6:30 am it was getting so close to the cloud bank that I knew I had to get a picture then or lose the opportunity.  It disappeared ten minutes later, but I got the pictures here before it dropped behind the clouds.  Somewhere in a box I have a filter for just such a time at this, but I think the box is still at the old apartment.  So I got out my little Sony point-and-shoot camera and managed these photographs.  The Super Moon is happening three times in this century.  The first time was in 1948 when I was thirteen years old.   The next time will be the year 2034 when I will be 99 years old. Wow!  Life is good.

A super moon appears 14% larger than the full moon at its apogee.