Saturday, December 31, 2016

I know I've taken pictures of this spike red beauty growing on a wall of the building where I live, but
I'm seeing today what the rainy weather does to otherwise beautiful flowers.  The freshest flowers manage to keep their perkiness and vibrant color and shape when they first open, but those that were showy last week are drooping today.  Watching the rain come from the ocean is interesting, and noting what it does to make green greener is encouraging, but what it does these beautiful red flowers is a lesson that I'll not try to teach.

Friday, December 30, 2016

If you live in some other place besides Southern California a rainy day might not be much of a change from all the other days of the year, but in National City/San Diego this is special.  The weather forecast said the rain would begin around 8 am.  I watched the ocean from 7:30 am. and sure enough just before 8 I could see the rain beginning over by the Pacific.  Then I watched as it came closer and closer, and just after I took this picture, the rain began to come down thick and hard.  Wonderful!  

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Forty years ago Margret and I discovered the Chinese art of turning interesting stones into eggs.  The egg has obvious significance as a symbol of beginning life, and making eggs out of something like crystal rocks that allow you to look inside and imagine all sorts of things you convince yourself that you see there opens up a world you haven't discovered in Western culture.  I never get tired or bored just looking at this crystal egg.  It has been on our book shelves in Singapore, Washington, D.C., New Orleans, New Lebanon, and San Diego.  Tonight when I took it down from the shelf to make a picture, I looked into the egg and saw...  Well, you know I can't reveal what I saw, but IT was there.  When you come to our house, ask to see this egg.  I'll be interesting to know if  you see something that I haven't seen.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Watching the sunset at the pier in Imperial Beach... we wore jackets, but they weren't necessary.  It was warm today.  The temperature got to seventy two in our neighborhood.  The next couple of days will be warm, then a cooling trend in weather will bring rain Saturday and Sunday.  Nancy goes home tomorrow, so a sunset excursion seemed appropriate.  It's wonderful to have her home, and a little sad when she goes back to her home in Rockville, Maryland, but she comes back next month when Gary and Maria are here.  Gary will celebrate his 80th birthday.  

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Nancy is visiting from Maryland... Christmas is a good family time.  She and Margaret prepared dinner in the kitchen of our new home.  The horse is on a Chinese scroll hanging in our living room.  The scroll came into our family when Nancy was a very small child...  We lived in Singapore.

Monday, December 26, 2016

The Day After Christmas... Let sleeping dogs lie... Tommie and Cookie

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Day Family and Friends...

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve Family Gathering... Great Fun!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Looking West from our living room we watched the sunset... I went outside and got a picture of the bank of clouds from the day's storm out over the Pacific Ocean... from the balcony I got the picture of the sky in the far West over the ocean...  I'm thinking what a world it is that we live in.  We don't live in Trump Tower or anything like it, but home is wonderful.  I'm thinking that from this place in San Diego (actually National City) the world is beautiful and I see the ships of the U.S. Navy all in a row a couple of miles from where I sleep each night, and I wonder what in the world is happening, what does President-elect Trump see that makes him think he can bluster and threaten nuclear attacks on an enemy that would put all of us here in danger and throw the world into more troubled times than any of us can imagine.  Surely before he becomes president someone will finally get to him and take away his Twitter account and talk some sense into his head.  The world is far more complex than he seems to know.

Later tonight our region is going to get more cleansing rain.  I wish the cleansing could take place in our country... and in the world.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

This morning I listened to a weather report, not about the break in the drought in the Southwestern part of the USA, but about the warming temperatures at the very top of the planet Earth.  The North Pole forecast is for 50 degrees warmer than normal this week. For the second year in a row, the Arctic is warmer than it is supposed to be.  It’s raining today in San Diego.  The weather is the usual California perfect.  The high thermometer reading in my part of the world will be close to the 70 F. mark. So why am I worried and writing about the weather?  Is my concern today that I can’t see the Pacific Ocean or downtown San Diego from where I am sitting at my computer because we have rain today in our region?

My concern is that life is so good for those of us in the USA and in places on Earth like ours that we have huge clusters of citizens who prefer not to be concerned about global climate change. I am an old man of 81 years, and even if I live to be a hundred years old, if we all started to take seriously the problem of global climate change now, I probably won’t see the disastrous result of people refusing to believe that the Earth’s climate is warming and that the cause of the warming can be managed if we do the right things. Personally life for me probably will not change dramatically in the next 20 years, so my concern is not for myself but for others who share this planet with me.  

I was born in 1935.  The world’s population in 1930 was just over 2 billion people.  Today there are more than 7 billion of us.  The political administration coming to power next month is much less committed to doing something to control conditions that can be controlled through regulations than the Obama or the Bush administrations were willing to consider.  Some of the leaders of the Republican Party who are being put in charge of environmental agencies are either ignorant of truths that scientists are sharing with us, or they are politically afraid to acknowledge that climate change we are experiencing has something to do with the way people are managing the earth’s resources, particularly resources related to energy.  Some of the people who will be in charge of regulating industry and other factors in our country are clearly afraid to speak up and to take appropriate action.

On a clear day I can see the Pacific Ocean from where I live.  I don’t have to be brought to a place where a patch of coral reefs are dying to believe that it is happening.  We don’t have polar bears in our region, but I believe what earth scientists are telling us about what the loss of habitat for those creatures means to the health of the planet which is my home. I could go on with other scientists’ warnings about the damage we human beings are doing to our planet, but I’ve made the point that I am concerned and so should all people be concerned about the damage we are doing to our earth. One of the best gifts we can give to ourselves is to allow the message about climate change and global warming to inform us… to change us.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

What a day!  What an evening!  Nancy came from Maryland.  John, Lisa, Shae and Ava came from Atlanta.  Helen came from San Diego.  David came from North Park.  Margaret and Jerral came from National City.  We all joined Elaine, Patrick, and Michael at their home in Del Mar.  Holidays are good family times.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Since I attended a lecture at the San Diego Museum of Art last Friday I have been trying to decide what to do with information I have had for a very long time about one of the worst political monsters of all time, Adolf Hitler. Hitler was an artist.  He was actually pretty good at painting, especially water colors.  The painting I remember best is The Courtyard of the Old Residency in Munich. I am not an art historian or an artist or an art critic, but I find Hitler’s water colors to be at least interesting.  I wonder what he would have become if his application for admission to the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna had been successful. Even when he had become the monster that we all knew him to be in the thirties and forties, he always declared himself to be an artist. He is said to have explained that in his old age he wanted to return to being an artist. 

Mother Mary with the Holy Child Jesus Christ was painted in 1913.  It is hard to believe the man who was the mastermind of the holocaust, who declared that his goal was to make Germany great again, could have expressed tenderness when he thought of the child Jesus and his mother. I wrote yesterday in the BLOG that I am determined to give the newly elected Donald Trump the opportunity to show himself to be at least a responsible president. 

My thoughts then go to Adolf Hitler, and I ask myself if I would be one of those saying that there is some good in him, and I ask myself if I would be willing to let things work themselves out.  Would I be a patriot first… and then I find myself hoping I would be on the side of people like Bonhoeffer. 

Monday, December 19, 2016

GERMANY AND ANKARA TODAY:  The news tomorrow morning from Washington and New York and other great cities of the world will be about what happened today in Berlin and in Ankara. The President-elect's tweets will be quoted, and the man will be seen by the whole world as the shallow, self-serving person that he was, is now, and will continue to be for at least the next couple of months.  He doesn't act like a president of a major country. Having said what I believe to be true about Donald Trump, I must go on to say that he will be my President after he is sworn into office.

Donald Trump will get support from President Obama and his family during the transition period because they know their duty to the country demands it.  They are patriots.  The Obama family made a point of saying the Bush family helped to make the transition eight years ago a good experience for the new family moving into the White House. The Obama family will give the same kind of support to the Trumps because it is the right thing to do.  The Obama family will do the right thing.

I will look for ways to encourage friends and family to give the new President a chance to be  successful.  I will use this BLOG space to strengthen in every way I can the new President's beginning because he will be my President.  I won't give up my political views, but I will not deliberately try to pry him out of his office.  Donald Trump has an advantage that Barack Obama lacked.  He has a majority of elected leaders in the House of Representatives and in the Senate who will support him with approval that President Obama never got from them.  I won't forget that the Senate Majority Leader declared that he would not help President Obama become a successful president.  He stated that one of his goals was to keep the new President from success in office.  The Majority Leader of the House of Representatives declared that his efforts would not help the President, and the majority of the other congressmen and women of his party declared their approval of the Majority Leader's declarations of non-support for the President.  Even with deliberate opposition in the Congress, Barack Obama will go out of his two terms as President with dignity.  President Obama will go down in our history books as one of the greatest of the great presidents.

Donald Trump will need all the help we citizens can give to him, so I will try to keep my differences and disagreements with him and with his party as dignified in tone as President Obama has shown.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

David and I went to Balboa Park this afternoon...  I had the pleasure of listening and watching at the San Diego Museum of Art as he did his practice for the docent examination tour Monday. He makes me very proud.  The Park was full of people today.  The crowd is a reminder that today is just one week from Christmas Day.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Yesterday the rains came and the drought was broken in San Diego.  The sky was clear today and the air was wonderfully crisp.  Everything was beautiful, even the downtown skyline of the city of San Diego.  Balboa Park where I got the flower pictures for yesterday's BLOG was clear in the skyline north of downtown. To west the Pacific Ocean was clear with the largest of Mexico's Coronado Islands clearly nestled into its place in the blue Pacific.  Closer to shore the ships of the U.S. Navy were docked for refitting or repairs.  Hotels are close to Interstate 5.  In addition to the skyline of San Diego and the Silver Strand from Coronado to Imperial Beach, looking south we see Tijuana, Mexico, from our balcony.  National City is a magical place.