Monday, April 30, 2018

A Good Walk Spoiled

My father learned to play golf the year I went to the first grade in Phoenix.  He had caddied as a kid and always wanted to play.  So he did.  He watched televised golf, a wonderful excuse for a good long afternoon nap.  I remember seeing the tournaments at Pebble Beach.  It is a spectacular location.  There is also a major classic car show held at Pebble Beach each year.  Given the opportunity to see the area, I did. 

For a mere $10.25 you get a map and permission to drive the 17 mile scenic tour of Pebble Beach.  It is spectacular and worth it.  I will post some pictures from the drive soon.  The drive ends at the clubhouse for the Pebble Beach links course.  Of course there are retail opportunities.  I walked down to the 18th green, took a few pictures including one of the local's daily driver.  

I haven't played golf since high school.  When I moved from Florida in 1995 I sold my clubs.  Now I can take a good walk, and not be bothered by those pesky little balls and hard to make holes. 

Do you play? 

Sunday, April 29, 2018

POST 2000 - Driving Questions

A Porsche turning left on Castro Street in San Francisco, with an empty passenger seat.  

1: How old were you when you got your first drivers' license? 
2: Can you drive a car with a manual transmission? 
3: Have you ever owned a car without air conditioning? 
4: Have you ever driven a truck larger than a pick-up truck? 
5: If he pulled over, would you hop in the passenger seat? 

My answers: 
1: How old were you when you got your first drivers' license?   16 my father insisted that I do so. 
2: Can you drive a car with a manual transmission?  Yes, I learned in a 1965 Ford Pickup with a three speed manual. 
3: Have you ever owned a car without air conditioning? Yes, I bought it for my first spouse to drive when we were married.   
4: Have you ever driven a truck larger than a pick-up truck?  Yes, I even shifted the multi speed rear axle. 
5: If he pulled over, would you hop in the passenger seat?  Probably not, my mother told me to never ride with a stranger (Uber and Lift creep me out.) 

Your answers in the comments below?   

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Weird Weather

It has been a very strange weather year here in DC.  We had more snow on one day in March, than the rest of the winter combined (4-inches in one day.) It has been unseasonably cold through April.  A couple of weeks ago we had two days in the low 80's, then back near freezing.  

I am looking forward to sunny warm, spring days, the kind that bring out the big bunnies.

How is the weather in your area this spring?  

Friday, April 27, 2018

WIndow Seats part 2

Ah, a window seat I can easily see out of.  I got lucky, the seat next to me was empty, plenty of space to stretch out.  Empty seats are increasingly rare.  The airlines cut capacity, they are filling the seats, airlines are consistently making money for the first time in decades.  

The second image was taken on approach to DCA at night, just as the plane came out of the bottom of the cloud layer.  Great fun. 

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Window Seats

For years, I always choose aisle seats, on the left side of the airplane, as far forward as possible.  I like window seats, I like the view, but I am a large person (okay fat) and I can lean into the aisle but I can't lean out the window.  Recently I have taken a window seat a few times.  I do enjoy the views. 

I have two pet peeves on window seats. 
1: People who sit in the window seat, and close the shade.  I like to look out the window, even if I am not sitting next to it.  I take pride in NEVER having been airsick, part of that is being able to fix my gaze on points in the distance, harder to do when the shade is closed. 
2: Windows you can't see out of, if you are more than 5'2" tall.  This was a new 737 - 800 and I can't see without craning my neck.  On the connecting flight I was on a small regional jet with a nice window higher up on the wall and easy to see out of. 

What is your pet peeve about flying? 

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

A Very Good Day

I was in Lexington Kentucky recently.  We have owned a house there since 1995 when Jay started teaching at the University.  He is retiring from teaching the end of the year, so we are getting the house ready to sell.  Part of that is paring down the accumulation of stuff.  When we moved there from Florida, we moved almost everything the two of us owned. Hence the house is our lifetime accumulation of stuff.  The condo near DC, is 1/3rd smaller than the house, and it has a lot of stuff already in it.  So we need to get rid of a lot.  

We have discussed several options and Jay decided to hold an open give away for friends.  We have sorted, and identified what we plan to move.  The rest of it will need to go.  We invited friends to go through and take anything they wanted.  I was extremely pleased, a car full of books found new homes (books can be hard to give away.)  Most of the collectable glass that we don't want to move, found new a loving homes.  Nearly all of the silver-plate that I never intend to clean / use again found new homes.  Some of the art work, even my Cher - "excuses won't lift up your ass," framed poster found new homes.  

We have collected, curated this collection over three decades.  It was a joy, to see it bring joy to others.   The money is not important, seeing things go to good homes, and bring joy to others is the payback.  

When we have moved what we want, we will turn what is left over to and estate liquidator.  From that we will get a small check, but not the joy of watching the collection bring happiness to others.  

It was a long and busy day.  I spent 5 plus hours on my feet, running up and down the stairs more times than I can count. In the end it was a very good day - capped off by a nice dinner.  

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Yes, it really looks like that

My experience with the ocean coastline is mostly in Florida and the southeast USA, places where the land gently slopes down to the surf.  The highest point in Florida is only 345 feet above sea level and that is a hill miles from the ocean.  Last month I spent a couple of days driving the California coast, south from San Francisco to Pebble Beach.  Here the hills come right down to the ocean, the cliffs above are taller than the highest point in Florida.  

It is spectacular, yes, it really looks like that. 

Have you seen cliffs along the ocean? 

Monday, April 23, 2018

Just Do It!

When was the last time I took a risk?  When was the last time I did something outside of my comfort zone? At the end of it all, we regret most what we had the chance to do, and didn't do, than the things we did.  

Be bold, be brave, and live the adventure.  Just do it! 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Magic Moments

I try not to be the creepy old guy with the camera, taking pictures of the young guys on the skateboards or bikes.  But I am fascinated with capturing the magic moments, the board and rider in mid air, he landed the jump and rolled off.  I never did anything like that, I was a bit of a clutz.

So a Sunday Five on Magic Moments. 

1: When was the last time a scenic view took your breath away? 
2: When was the last time you bumped into someone famous? 
3: What was the last sound that made you stop and listen? 
4: When was the last time you found yourself dancing? 
5: Which is more important, the number of year in your life, the amount of life in your years? 

My Answers:
1: When was the last time a scenic view took your breath away? Cliffs overlooking the Pacific in California last month - I will post pictures soon. 
2: When was the last time you bumped into someone famous? 
Last month at baggage drop at the airport, I looked up, and all I could say was, "good afternoon Senator!"  Bill Nelson from Florida was ahead of me in the line, I think he enjoyed being recognized. 
3: What was the last sound that made you stop and listen? 
The surf rattling rocks against one another on the pacific coast. 
4: When was the last time you found yourself dancing? 
One afternoon last week, I had finished a big project in my office, with music playing the background and stood up and found my body moving to the music (good thing I keep my office door closed.) 
5: Which is more important, the number of year in your life, the amount of life in your years? Life in my years - moments of experiencing the magic. 

Your answers? 

Saturday, April 21, 2018

When My Ship Comes In

When my ship comes in I would like to travel a bit more.  I want to rent an apartment for a month and live like a local in Italy, and France.  I want to go meet face-to-face a few bloggers (- trust me I am not a stalker.) I would love to go back to Germany and enjoy the factory delivery experience again (though with the few miles I drive my car will easily last another 20 years - by then I will be so old.) I want to watch the sun set in Key West, and rise of Athens.  I need to go back to Hawaii, now that I can walk with greater ease, and see more of the wonders.  There are a handful of charities that inspire me, I support them now, when my ship comes in I'd be even more generous.  

In many ways my ship has come in.  
I am in reasonably good health.  I don't worry about keeping a roof over my head, good food on the table, I have access to clean water, I have enough clothes to last a lifetime.  I am loved. I have friends.  I am able to make a difference in the lives of others.  

I stay in my comfort zone, seldom glimpsing the places in the world where many people lack the basics that I already have.  Why should I worry about my ship coming in, it already has.  

Has your ship come in?    

Friday, April 20, 2018

Symbol of the City

New York has the Empire State Building, Paris the Eiffel Tower, London has Big Ben, Washington DC has the Washington Monument - the Capital - the asylum at 1600 Pennsylvania  Avenue.  San Francisco has the Golden Gate Bridge.  The color of the bridge does not stand out in this picture, but the shape of bridge is iconic.  

What iconic city symbol do wish to go see? 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Where Would I Wear Them

I went window shopping in San Francisco.  Window shopping is all I want to spend (though I did buy a great pair of fat man jeans at the Levis Tailor Shop - that really fit.) I am always amazed at the things you see.  The fur trimmed loafers above for example.  They look neat, not very durable, and what would I wear them for? 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Cha-Cha Heels

I took the streetcar out to the Castro one evening in SF.  It is still a fun and amazing place.  I ran across these in a little variety store on Castro Street.  Dawn French recently posted on Facebook that she admired the elegant ladies would could strut around on six-inch heels all day and hardly break a sweat.  If you are more likely to trip and fall over your flip-flops,  she is your soul sister.  I agree.  I never have understood how anyone could walk in these instruments of torture.  

I came of age in the late 1970's, I remember wearing platform shoes.  A 3/4 inch base and a 2 inch heel, my father thought it was the end of the earth, my mother simply said, kids will be kids and wear things that shock their parents.  I was not disappointed when platform shoes drifted out of style.  After that it was boots and Adidas for a decade.  

Did you wear platform shoes? 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

That Reminds Me

About 30 years ago, the sea lions showed up at Pier 39 in San Francisco.  After failed and futile attempts to get them to move on, the pier was converted to floating platforms, perfect for sunning Sea lions.  This reminds me, the outdoor pool here at the Condo will be opening in 5 weeks.  I am as ready for swimsuit season as most of the sea lions.  

Are you ready for swimsuit season? 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Public Art

This was in a plaza outside the Court House in Oakland, CA.  A nice touch of color in what might otherwise be a lot or brick and stone.  We need art in public places. Art distracts our minds from the everyday routine.  Art inspires us.  Art need not be stiff or formal or stuffy.  It is meant to be enjoyed.  If it brings joy to life, it is art.  I need more red in my life. 

What brought Joy to your life today? 

Sunday, April 15, 2018

The San Francisco Treat

Riding the cable-cars in San Francisco is both great fun and an efficient way to get across town.  My hotel was just a block from the Powell Street Cable Car stop.  The cable car goes across the city to Fisherman's Wharf in almost a straight line, and up and over a killer hill.  I bought a one week "Muni" pass, allowing unlimited bus, street car and cable car rides.  With cable car rides at $7 each way, the Muni passport is a great value - you can download their app, buy the pass online and just show the ticket on your phone (it was the first time I did that and it worked great.) I hopped on the cable cars three times and rode more street cars and busses than I can count.  

The most coveted seats are on the outside, even better is standing on the outside, hanging into traffic. I did both.  The cars run on a cable under the street.  The cable moves continuously, and the cars control forward movement by grabbing onto and letting go of the moving cable.  I have been out early in the morning, when the cables were just starting to move, it is a magical time, the sound is quiet amazing of the cables moving under the tracks.  

Speaking of sounds, how many of you have a certain advertising jingle rattling around in your head?  A San Francisco Treat indeed. 

Saturday, April 14, 2018


There is a craft market across from the Ferry Terminal in San Francisco. At first I thought it was a weekend event, but it seemed to be there all week.  I bought a ring made from a quarter from the year I was born, and the artist sized it while I watched.  Down the way was a display of hand made knit-wear.  Made by local knitters.  So bright and colorful and do local.  Pigs and Pink Pussy Hats, reflecting the local politics and arts of the place. 

This year's mid term elections are critically important. Every House seat and 1/3 of the Senate will be up for election.  We can change the course of the country, if we vote for candidates who are willing to stand up to the idiot in chief, to say no to the NRA, to stop the insanity of cutting taxes and going on a spending spree, to starting trade wars where everyone looses.  Vote, talk to like minded people, get them to support candidates and vote.  We can turn this thing around.  

Am I being too political? 

Friday, April 13, 2018

Oh My That Was Good

No big secret, I will eat just about anything.  There are a few things I really only enjoy if they are the best of the best, steaks are one of those things.  I don't like tough chewy steaks.  Most restaurants fail to deliver a steak the way I like it.  In the last few years, I have finally learned how to cook a great steak - usually a filet, searing it in a very hot cast-iron grill pan and finishing it to a nice medium - medium - rare in a very hot oven.  I don't mind if it bleeds a little. Add a nice loaded-baked potato and I am in heaven.  Add a Hendrix Dry Martini and I even happier.  

While I was in San Francisco I met up with Kent, Jay's dissertation advisor from Duke. Kent is always a pleasure.  I first met him in North Carolina before he retired, then at academic conferences, then in Chicago were he moved after he retired.  He and his wife were our tour guides in Greece for an amazing tour of the back roads and hard to get to sights.  His wife died a couple of years ago, and his daughter and her family moved to Oakland, and he moved along to be full time grandpa to his three grandchildren.  

I was thinking of something nice, and traditional and I saw this steak place.  In the same location for 110 years, they must do something right.  And they do, I couldn't have done better myself.  They even go the martini right. 

If you were taking someone special out to dinner, where would you go tonight? 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

I Am Not Surprised

Easter was a non-event for me, I was flying home from the left coast, and well Easter is largely a non-event for me anymore.  I do like Cadbury Creme Eggs, so I picked up a box.  I was checking the box to see where they were from and I see the line, "Partially produced with genetic engineering." 

Well that explains how they get the bunny to lay the chocolate egg with a creme filling.  


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Street Cars and Connections

When I was growing up, my father would say, "never run after a street car or woman, there will be another one along in a minute."  I didn't understand my mother's moans of exasperation when he said that, until a few years ago.  I think there was only one woman he ever chased after.  

When my father was a child growing up in the northern suburbs of Detroit, Detroit had street cars.  He told stories of hopping on for a nickel, grabbing a transfer and traveling 12-miles into downtown Detroit.  Seeing a movie for a quarter and riding home for another 5-cents.  GM offered to tear up and pave over the tracks, if the city would buy new buses, and the city took the deal.  The cars went off to the scrap yard, a few of them were sold to other lines around the world.  

San Francisco runs old fashioned street cars, two lines of them.  They have bought and restored old street cars from around the world.  I was riding this one recently, looked up and saw it was from Detroit, it could well be one that my father rode as a child.  It gave me an amazing sense of connection. 

Have you ridden a streetcar? 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Reflections on Being a Fisherman

I last went fishing in about 1978,  I got bored, and went across the harbor for lunch and never went back.  I was young and impatient, more interested in catching than fishing.  Fishing is more about time spent on or near the water.  Time spent trying to decide how to find and understand the fish.  What are the fish doing, where are they hanging out, what interests the fish.  People who fish take time to observe and understand the world around them.  Maybe, now that I am older, slower, more patient, more observant, I should try fishing again.  And people who fish, have the sweetest boats.  

Do you fish? 

Monday, April 09, 2018

The Future

What will Facebook look like in five years? 

I noticed this afternoon, that a friend has signed off of Facebook.  He described FB as a social experiment.  I have thought about bailing on FB, 95% of it is "sharing" of commercially produced content.  

Recently it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica gathered data on Facebook to target messages in the last election.  It is easy enough to read a public profile, they went beyond that posting quizzes and polls on FB and using the answers to create profiles on up to 50-million of FB users, so they could target political messages to FB users.  Yep, if you took one of those fun find out what famous person you are most like tests on FB, you were probably being profiled so targeted political messages could be shared with your FB account.  

People seem shocked by this - how silly.  Nothing you do online is PRIVATE. NOTHING!  Google scans my emails and uses that data to target advertising - no surprise.  When I post on Blogger, I am creating content for Google.  When you comment on my blog, Google and others are scanning your comments, connecting those back to your profile, and using that data to target advertising on blogger, on Facebook, on your local newspaper's website.  

I miss the good old days, when people posted pictures of their meals on FB, I miss the personal content.  We need more of it, or I will likely break that habit.  

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Sunday Five - Perspective

  1. Is the wind moving the sail? 
  2. Is the wind moving the boat? 
  3. Is the sail moving the boat? 
  4. Is the water helping or hindering the movement of the boat?
  5. Would you sooner be on the sail boat or the power boat? 
My answer: 
The sail is stationary, the wind is moving and pushing the boat through the water, the water slows the boats progress through the water.  That is all to complicated, I'd sooner be on the power boat. 

Discuss in the comments.  

Saturday, April 07, 2018

The Things You See

I spent a couple of days exploring the coast from San Francisco to Pebble Beach last weekend.  It was really amazing, and of the things you see. There were seals, sea lions, otters, and whales.  To spot the whales you watch for them to to surface to breath, blowing air and water out as they do, shortly before the whale tale breaks the surface.

I had parked the car and was walking over to take pictures.  I stood aside to let a small car pass by, it was driven by an older man, there was no face in the passenger seat.  As it rolled by, I notice a jeans clad ass sticking up in the air.  There was a passenger, she was on all fours, ass up in the air, long blond hair (could have been a whig.) Her head was in his lap, and going up and down.  About that point someone shouted "there she blows!"

Oh the things you see, and I didn't have my camera ready!

I have never done that in a car, any confessions?

Friday, April 06, 2018


I had breakfast with Fearsome Beard and his hubby one morning this week.  He is just as wonderful and genuine as you would expect from reading his blog.  (Sorry no one remembered to take a picture, it was early and the coffee had not kicked in yet.) I rambled on too much, that happens when Jay is at the other house for a few months.  (We are working on that, soon.) 

I started blogging as a guest blogger for a friend who was on vacation - hence I knew a blogger before I became one.  I remember the first time I told a co-worker I was meeting a blogger I had met online for dinner, she told me I was making bad choices, and she was sure I would be the next victim of an axe murderer.  I have now met a couple of dozen bloggers in person, and not a one of them has swung an axe at me - yet. All of them are well over 4-feet tall, all have been nice, several - including members of my commenting fan club -  have become close friends.  I only wish we were not separated by such great distances.  I'd have great fun telling my life story to a certain shrink out there.  

If you are in the DC area, and want to meet for breakfast, let me know.  

How many bloggers have you met in person? 

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Finding What We Are Looking For

I just finished reading a book by a man who spent 7 weeks in Italy, in search of the good life.  What struck me was that he found what he was looking for, and rejected everything that didn't match what he was looking for.  It was obvious in the text that this was what was happening.  

It makes me wonder, when I travel do I filter in what I want to see and hear, and filter out everything that does not fit my preconceived vision? Is that why I see the pretty of Rome and Paris - while others find them rude and impersonal, and I have a non-reaction to Amsterdam.  I don't know why I went there, I had no idea what to expect, I went the first time because it was part of a package deal with KLM, and the second time was to see if I had a wrong impression from the first time.  Maybe I didn't like it, because I had no idea what to like.  


Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Today is a Special Day - use the good stuff

A couple of years before I took the job in DC, I went to an estate sale in Kentucky one Saturday morning.  It was a fun diversion, we had a large house to accommodate the treasures I bought.  That morning the sale was the estate of a teacher.  Her car was in the driveway, meticulously taken care of, 10 years old, with only about 10,000 miles on it.  Her nephew was describing how she carefully planned trips so she wouldn't wear it out.  She lived her life like that.  In the dinning room was a set of  Noritake china, the top couple of plates unwrapped, the rest of the set still in the sealed wrappers from new.  I like pretty china, and I had the space, so I bid on the set, I bought the complete service for 8 for less than $30, about what each dinner plate cost new - and it was new - most of it had never been unwrapped.  When I moved to DC I brought it with me and made it my everyday china.  I have used it hard, everything in my kitchen runs in the dishwasher, the pattern is fading and washing away, a few pieces have broken.  I have enjoyed it.  What did she save it for? What was I going to save it for? The estate auction?                                                                                            
Everyday is a special day, unwrap and use the good stuff, you can't take it with you, enjoy it while you can.     

Monday, April 02, 2018

Dreaming of Rome

And a Saint in a glass box.

A week with bad or non-existent WiFi connections.  I finally have a working connection again!  Being fresh back from the road, I am looking forward to being home for a few weeks.  But I am always thinking of the next big trip.

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Happy Easter / April Fools Day

Well, Easter Sunday falls on April Fools Day this year.  This should be fun.  I am tempted to wear bunny ears and giving out empty plastic eggs.  

Hopefully you are all seated around Mom's dinning room table enjoying a nice family meal.  Don't forget to pull a nice prank or two.  

I am traveling cross country, returning from a week in northern California.  Maybe I should wear Bunny Ears on the plane?  Do you think TSA would find it funny?