Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Sky…  San Diego is known to San Diegans as a perfect place to live.  I am one of those who think the people who live here are on to something important… something more significant to the health and mental well being of everybody than the beautiful beaches and rocky shorelines. We have placid weather… smooth peaceful skies. We have come to the close of the month of May and everybody here knows about May Gray. British would say May Grey.  We are beginning the month of June and we can expect June Gloom. These two months with their “bland” climates in our region are gifts. I’m ready to admit that occasionally I wish for a stormy day, or at least a story period for even one day.  Instead we get weather that is generally cool with an overcast sky.  Sometimes the sky is clear, but mostly there is the smooth overcast of high fog or clouds. What I wish for is a real storm with flashing lightening and roaring thunder, but then I am reminded that not everybody in San Diego lives in a safe, secure, dry place.  I remember the homeless people of our area.  I picture in my mind’s eye the streets in Southeast San Diego that are lined with the makeshift homes of hundreds of people.  Some people sleep without even a tent.  Some people sleep close to a building or under a bridge.  Some people have made shelters of pieces of found material.  It is when I remember those people that I am glad we don’t have roaring, violent storms. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Sung Dynasty in China was a time when ceramic art reached a high level of development.  When we lived in Southeast Asia, we managed to get some good pieces.  Most of the ceramics we managed to get in Malaysia and in Singapore were from later dynasties; but according to an expert at Singapore University, the vase in this picture is from very early in the Sung Dynasty.  The Time period for the Sung Dynasty is 960 to 1276, so that means this ceramic pot was probably made around a thousand years ago.  Wow!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Surfing at Imperial Beach on Memorial Day...  Perfect day... This was one of those days when the experience of others made me wish I had learned to do it when I was younger, but I was glad the experience wasn't forced on me today.  My perch on the pier seemed exactly right for me.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

A vase from China... I was sitting in our living room and looking at it and wondering about its history.  We have another vase exactly like it.  I'm wondering if they were made on the same day.  Each vase has four sides, and each side is a different scene... flowers and insects.  We bought these vases 50 years ago in Singapore.


Saturday, May 27, 2017

California... Southern California... A couple of days ago I read about the Ski Areas of California having a bumper year for that industry because of the record snow fall in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The world there will be white with green around the edges for a long time.   This morning's paper included a picture of a wild fire not for from where I live. We are reminded that the world burns, too. I was reminded that California is a place that can be as green as Ireland for part of the year, that part which includes plenty of rain; and it is also a place where deserts seem to spring up overnight.  For the past month I have watched a transformation taking place at the place where I turn off Interstate 805 to get to our community.  For months I kept thinking I should stop and take photographs of the beautiful tall green grass growing near the roadway.  Now I have waited too long.  The green grass has turned into the dry grass of summer.  I stopped today to get pictures and decided that this small patch of California is what all the people who grew up in the Great Central Valley think of when they live far away and think back on their homeland. Someone seeing the pictures now that summer is here won't remember the green of winter and spring.  When I lived in Southeast Asia where everything is green all year, I longed to see the summer beige of California.  Now that I live in Southern California, I long to see the green of that other time of the year. Change is good. Life is good.

Friday, May 26, 2017

This morning I was going with my friend Jim Fudge around the place where we live, and I came across a piece of paper that I picked up thinking it was a worthless piece of junk.  I was going to throw it away, but instead of worthless junk, it was a menu from an eating place on University Avenue that I’ve never visited.  The title of the place is unassuming: “San Diego’s Finest Donuts & Deli." On my way to the trash barrel, I opened it and decided a couple of things: 1. I am going to stop by that place the next time I’m in the neighborhood, and 2. I got an idea for today’s BLOG writing based on what I’ve learned from the little menu.  

The importance of choices:  The first thing I learned from the menu is the importance of not wasting anything.  The little menu is a piece of plain white paper (8 1/2 inches by11 inches)… of a weight that is whatever is just heavier than I get for my printer at a stationery store. The menu is tri-folded with six places for menu items… and all the menu items give information in large bold print, just the kind of information that urges anybody who looks at it to want something: The first Signature Sandwiches with prices from  “The Strike Out" (with Black Forest Ham, Roast Beef, Oven Roasted Turkey, and provolone Cheese) for $9.95 down to Bacon, Lettuce and yes, Tomato for $7.95. A note at the bottom of that column gives the information that invites the reader to *For $1.00 add your choice of: Bacon, Avocado, extra cheese or extra meat of any sandwich.

The middle panel of information is a great lot of information in easy to read large, bold print that describes how you can “Build Your Own” sandwich for $6.95.  The third panel describes the Breakfast menu with the information that for $1.00 you may substitute meat for anything you’ve ordered.  The reverse side of the trifold gives clear information for Catering and Custom Cakes, Weddings and more!

The third panel, which becomes the menu when folded properly, gives vital information: the name of the establishment with address phone number and email address…  I’m going to stop by there someday soon because I like choices… and I especially like this place already…

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Today's Big Event was Nina's 16th Birthday.  Wow!  The birthday cake was made by her Mother Tiffany.  Nina has grown into a beautiful young woman from those years when she was a beautiful, smart little girl.  She is more than beautiful and talented.  She is extraordinary.  It will be great fun to watch her grow through the remainder of high school and then through college and then to whatever she wants to do.  Wow!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

After supper I realized I hadn't taken my photographs for today, so I aimed my iPhone at the bookcases and got the familiar "stuff" that surrounds me as I think and write.  I took two more pictures of two other bookcases, so this will be one of these Blog days that I will come back to over and over.  If you know Nina Johnson, you will find at least two photographs of her in the Blog pictures.  Tomorrow Nina will be sixteen years old.  Wow!  Where has time gone.  Other pictures of other important friends and family are there too.  

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

After another day at Paradise Village, it was good to have a visit from our neighbors Bill and Ruth. I was about to say old neighbors, but I remembered that we moved from a "regular" part of San Diego where there are people of all ages living in peace with each other to this place where we now live where everybody who lives here is over the age of 55 (I don't actually know anybody who is as young as that) with at least one resident a lively 102 years old.  Now when Ruth and Margaret reach the age of 102, they won't mind being called "old" friends.  Of course, Bill and I don't mind being called "old" friends now.  

Monday, May 22, 2017

The San Diego Academy, a private school, sits next door to Paradise Village.  Today Margaret and I went for a walk around the area, and being out in the neighborhood with the school and trees and the two o'clock sun making shadows and real houses where real people live comforts me.  The children running and playing and yelling reassures me that the future will come.  I particularly like Harrison Drive, one of streets that belongs to our neighborhood.  The Hibiscus tree on that street is in full bloom.  Around on Second Street East a row of palm trees prove this is San Diego County.  We came back to the common area where the Crown Island Jazz Band was setting up for a three o'clock concert.  Wow!  Life is good.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Yesterday I wrote about the Jacaranda trees blooming in San Diego, so today after Margaret and I had been to a San Diego Symphony Orchestra concert, we walked back to the car and I noticed that Fifth
Avenue was lined with Jacaranda trees in full bloom.  I thought how great it is to live in a place where trees bloom where they can be seen by everybody.  Near where I parked the car a Hibiscus Tree was blooming.  Wow! Hibiscus Tree... Beautiful.

About the symphony:  Charles Dutoit conducted the orchestra...  Truly amazing conductor... He conducted the large orchestra the way a single musician plays an instrument.  The first piece was short but very beautiful: The Overture to Prometheus; followed by a Mozart violin concerto with a soloist; and after the intermission a piece of music that maybe is my favorite of all times: Igor Stravinsky Petrushka... complex but Dutoit had the orchestra and the audience in his hand.  Wonderful!  The last piece was a Ravel piece.  Also wonderful.  Life is good.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Jacaranda Trees are in full bloom in the San Diego area.  Every April, May and even June, these amazing, blue trees awaken all of us in the area where I live.  The encyclopedia describes the Jacaranda as native to tropical and subtropical regions of Mexico, Central America, South America, Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica and the Bahamas.  It has been planted wherever the temperature doesn’t drop below freezing, so along the southern fringes of the U.S.A. the trees are popular… and they are especially popular in the part of Southern California where freezing doesn’t happen.  Because the plants are drought tolerant, the trees can tolerate the long periods with almost no rainfall.  The trees thrive in the communities of the region where I live because landscaping in our area requires watering during the dry periods.  

Friday, May 19, 2017

Margaret and I went back to the San Diego Museum of Art today when we heard that the Richard Deacon sculptures (and other works of art) will be held over until September.  The Piece above is entitled "Like a Bird," and like birds Margaret and I will get back to the museum to see again and again these wonderful pieces of art.  Deacon is English, and this is the first exhibition of his work at a major U.S museum.  Go to Balboa Park to see this exhibition. Although Deacon is a printer and a sculptor with a variety of materials, the works in this exhibition that grab my attention are made of bent wood.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Thursday again... and today was a volunteer day at MOPA.  On my way back to the car from the museum, I got these pictures. The fountain that invites but forbids playing is enchanting.  A little fountain running down like stair steps into a pool that is backed by a plain concrete wall always gets my attention.  Not far from where I parked the car the last big wind brought down a Eucalyptus Tree. It was a beauty standing tall once, now lying on the ground it still commands my attention.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

We are coming to the end of the high blooming season for bird of paradise flowers.  This plant likes cooler weather, and while we aren't having now and we won't have really hot weather, the winter coolness is slipping away.  Earlier this week the temperature was in the low 60s midday, and tomorrow and for the next several days we will have temperatures in the low 70s.  So today was a good day to slip out and take a picture (another picture) of my favorite flower and the namesake of the valley where we live.  Paradise Valley is a good name for this part of National City.

The trunk of a taller bird of paradise plant that produces a blue flower is definitely dull compared to other plants in the area.  Even Palm trees are much more attractive than this plant.  I'm not sure of the name, so I won't make an attempt to identify it.

I like to think of the predicament of the President of the United States in terms of what it seemed to be and what it eventually turned out to be.  There are still a few people who are hanging onto a hope that the colorful bird of paradise flower is a good representation of the man who lives in the White House.  If I were less political in my thinking I would feel sorry for him, and perhaps I could respond to his declaration this morning at the Coast Guard Academy commencement that he is being treated worse than any other president of U.S. history.  He hasn't read American history or he would find reasons to be glad he is not Richard Nixon or... or... or...  There have been presidents whose terms have been served through far worse times than these which we are experiencing now.

Anyway, we are now saddled with a president who is seen by most of the people I know as someone who is not normal, someone whose personal identity is more important to him than the welfare of the country he represents.  We will get through this tough time, and we must be able to talk with each other without expecting those on "the other side" to change their basic political beliefs.  Democrats and Republicans must communicate with each other, however unpleasant the idea of cooperation and compromise may seem to the partisans of both sides.  One of the best things about being Americans is that we tend to value each other as individuals first.  We think of others as Americans first, as fellow country persons, as people for whom we wish the greatest welfare regardless of their party or their religion or any of the other human "conditions" we consider in our thinking about each other.  The man who is now the president has another way of seeing himself and another way of seeing other people.  He seems unable to change.  We must keep reminding ourselves that we can get through these tough times.