Monday, February 29, 2016


"The greatest meeting of land and water in the world"
        Francis McComas  20th century water colorist
  More from majestic Big Sur below.

   New Jersey Governor Christie's endorsement of Trump speaks not only to Christie's skill at playing kiss up, it also signals how the Republican Party is likely to circle around the improbable candidate.
    Speculation abounds; what does Christie seek? Vice President? Attorney General? Who from the Republican establishment will follow next? When? A strong showing on Super Tuesday raises the likelihood of more ring kissing.
     It is also likely Cruz and Rubio and/or affiliated PACs will begin to dump on Trump with everything they can find that would damage him and his reputation. That flack might weaken but not kill his improbable charge but would remain "out there" for the fall general election. So traditional Republicans, the mainstream variety, continue to find themselves in a trick box

   If I had directed the Oscar telecast emcee Chris Rock would have shown up in white face. My friend Jim suggested Rock walk an elephant on stage, park it there through the entire evening and say nothing about it. What Rock said and how he did it made points but the issue is not going way.
   It is clear to frequent readers I oppose discrimination of any sort. However there is a lot more to the current fever in Oscarland than race, sexism, ageism and fairness.
    At the core is our complicity in making the award show  a strong cultural pillar. Professional craft and guild awards have been turned into a near spiritual horizon event. Shame on us. Sure I love film too but after all is said and they done they are merely entertainments produced by an industry. The film industry is about one thing, money. It's business first and last. That the Oscars have become such a cultural icon complete with weeks of breathless lead up coverage about who will win and who will wear what and etc. is just more business. No diseases are cured, no wars are ended, no children are educated, no poor are fed.
    If we are inclined to make a big deal about awards then our media blitz machine could be dialed to the Nobel Awards. That's real serious and even earth changing stuff. Or we could focus on the Pulitzers, not "based on a true story" as in Hollywood parlance, but recognition for excellence in telling real for sure true stories.
    I know, we are a celebrity worshiping culture and we love our buzz and gossip and speculation-but really, they are only awards given to mostly to the rich and famous.
    I see a lot of film and as I posted previously I saw performances by African American actors I thought  deserving of nomination, but I am not an Academy member. That's the point. These professional awards, given by a private academy, are not supposed to be about equality, freedom, civil rights, or any thing of value or social justice. It's a private club giving awards chosen by their members. 
    The Academy is mostly white and male. The film industry is like most business in the world, mostly run by men. Film makers are in the business to earn profit. That good films, independent films, meaningful films ever get made is amazing. Giving thought to equality, fairness or even balance is not something studio bosses or investors even think about. 
    There are no government dollars involved so in truth the only influence advocates for greater diversity have is public opinion and deciding not to spend to see films. I agree there is a social justice morality here, but the Academy is a private club giving out awards in a voting process that is suspect to begin with. Studios budget to campaign for the Oscar. There is also the "politics" of the studios.
     A documentary I produced, wrote and directed won a national Emmy. I'm proud of that and while a panel of professional journalists and broadcasters were the judges, in the last analysis even that Emmy is simply a professional award given by a private organization. 
     Maybe we could just put these things into a proper perspective and pull them down from the Olympian heights from where we as a culture have placed them. Perspective might be helpful.
     I'd bet you the industry would continue to make films-and billions of dollars-if the Oscars were expunged from our memory and from the public conscience.
     In all of the trappings of this years telecast there were two realities of note. Spotlight being selected as film of the year is further affirmation of investigative reporting in general, the Boston Globe's investigation in particular and hope for all victims of Priest sexual abuse. Lady Gaga's performance of Til it Happens to You, surrounded by dozens of victims of sexual attack, was poignant, important and of more significance than most of the awards. And it was "true life" courage as well.


    See you down the trail.

Thursday, February 25, 2016


     This post offers a few scenes for those of you who are winter weary. We hope the color, green and sunny scenes bolster you through what remains of that cold gray or worse.
     Our morale booster follows below.
      It is a hard call, privacy vs investigative reach, but Apple is correct is denying access or a back door into personal information on phones or other devices.
      Privacy is under attack just in the way we live with technology and marketing. The Snowden and Wiki leaks disclosures detail how government is and can snoop. People often forget how willingly they open their lives to surveillance and manipulation via social media, on-line commerce and other transactions.
      We appreciate how difficult is the task of those who work to provide security. Intelligence and law enforcement are challenged by increasingly sophisticated adversaries and the capacity of modern communications. Still we cannot concede an inch of our right to privacy even if it makes investigation, prosecution or intelligence gathering easier. 
      We discovered the excessive reach in the Patriot Act, an emotional response to 9/11. If we give up expectations of privacy and personal rights the bad guys begin to win. It is an objective of terrorists to force democratic governments to behave like fascists or repressive regimes. When that happens we loose.
       Despite the difficulty a democratic republic must value individual rights and liberties. There are many other reasons beyond the philosophical rightness, not the least of which is human incompetence which can and has infected government agencies. There is also the fact that even with good intentions, governments can be used and manipulated by administrations and regimes with less than honorable intentions. Two names to help make that case-Richard Nixon and Watergate cover up. There is also Dick Cheney and his corrupt manipulation in energy and war business. If other less than honorable or zealot driven governments had what the government is pushing Apple for, then what happens to the freedoms we say make us different than dictators, strongmen or others like Stalin, Hitler, Putin, Assad, Isis, and etc.?
       Freedom means just that. Nothing less. 

      Hang in there, spring is on the way.
     It's unclear how the Tennessee matter will resolve in the courts but football thuggism and sexual assault continue to plague us. In this most recent case a Tennessee player came to the aid of a rape victim. She had been attacked by two of the man's team mates. Later the good Samaritan was attacked and injured by team mates and when he complained to his coach Butch Jones, Jones berated the man and said "he betrayed his team."
     There is ample documentation of how players are coddled, how aberrant behavior is overlooked, how educational standards are ignored so a football player can compete. It starts in public schools, continues in some colleges and we have all seen how many NFL players are involved in criminal activity, assaults and domestic battery.
     When coaches like Butch Jones are around it's no wonder.
     Coming soon, up the coast.

     See you down the trail.

Monday, February 22, 2016


Barrels with a view
Paso Robles West Side 
February Color
Political Scraps
    Regardless of the politics, you've got to feel sorry for Jeb Bush. Those who know say he's a lot smarter, classier and more capable than his brother, but he just never caught on in this year of political anger and bombast. 
     As the improbable Trump parade continues Ohio's Kasich remains the adult in the crowd.  Cruz is an extremist. If you call him a nut case I won't disagree. Rubio is the hope for many, especially the less right wing or those wearing evangelical blinders. The knock on Rubio is John Kennedy and Barack Obama- another young man from the Senate who could benefit from more vintage time.  Others see his youth as a plus.  Kasich has been on the Hill, knows the way around legislation and Washington including the military and has been a governor. He's got a more pedigreed resume.
     Sanders tenacity and the abiding loyalty of his supporters can't make up for lack of super delegates and numbers, but seems bound to keep the Democratic race interesting in the immediate future.
     Clinton has a generation gap issue and trouble with likability. Her negative numbers could be harmful in the general election.
     Barack Obama should put forth a nominee to fill the Scalia  vacancy and the Senate Judiciary Committee and full Senate should consider the nomination. That is the Constitutional way. The Thurmond Rule being sited now is complete garbage. Strom Thurmond, a bigot and racist, used the tactic against Lyndon Johnson when the fellow Democrat nominated Jewish Abe Fortas, already on the Supreme Court, to be Chief Justice. It was a political tactic and has no value. The Constitution speaks for itself-as the late Justice Scalia would say.
     Mitch McConnell should check into a cryogenic tube or should be volunteered to be the first man on mars!
    Chef Jose' Dahan of the late but remarkable Cafe et Voila now does special dinners including this grand evening at Sinor-LaVallee Winery in Avila Beach. 
   The evening started with a sparkling brut rose' from Alsace. 
 The appetizer: Ratatouille, seafood bisque, duck pate' with cornichon and shrimp in mustard sauce.
  Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc
Salad: Baby wild arugula, orange, haricots verts, fennel and goat cheese in olive oil and citrus .
Entrees: Roasted rack of lamb with wild mushroom risotto and ratatouille Nicoise with garlic, herbs and Syrah reduction
  Sautéed sea bass with braised baby bok choy and fingerling persillees' topped with a creamy ginger drizzle. 
Desert trio: Citrus and Ginger creme brûlée, bread pudding with bourbon creme Anglaise, chocolate raspberry tart
  The Wines of the evening were all Jose's choice and were French-unusual in California Wine country-but we heard no complaints.

See you down the trail.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Living After Your Own Fashion-A Henry Miller Primer and Beware of the Yellow Dirt

      Wind from the Pacific drives the rain and blows it across the grazing slopes, hard onto decks, pounding it into the rocky bluffs and the sand at the shore. It blows a Henry Miller February Rain and loosens pensive jottings like a current of thought reaching from nights long ago along Big Sur, Ragged Point, San Simeon and Cambria gathered now in a timeless eddy.
      Miller, the experimental, category busting and banned  author arrived in Big Sur in a February wind-pushed rain like the event that soaks the world beyond the window behind my computer screen, down the jagged coast highway from his point of arrival. Miller observed that poet Robinson Jeffers sang of this region and before him Jack London drew inspiration. 
      Comparable to regions of the Mediterranean or the Scottish coast, with a climate and vibe of its own, it captivates thinkers and form breakers. First citizens saw their ancients, moderns sense spirits, artists and writers are inspired and naturalists are awed where mountains, sea and forest commune. Miller wrote of these things in telling of the  people he met and the influence of this place on them.
       I've been slow reading and absorbing his 1957 work
Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch. Since the late 60's I have taken emotional, spiritual and creative sustenance from Big Sur and the central coast. Big Sur was the power that brought us here to live. It is the place that renews and nurses life's fraying. And so Miller's tome is a bit of an inner echo. I see evidence in our village of this special natural-psycho-bio clime.
       In his neighbors he found "Ideal material for the making of community." He wrote they may have "arrived from different paths, each with their own purpose and one as different from the other as marbles from dice." In Cambria,  rich in history and independence, we too see our "characters." Living here induces an authenticity. The people Miller saw were "all somewhat peculiar" or "naturals." 
      "Each and everyone of them fed up with the scheme of things and determined to free themselves of the treadmill, lead their own lives...None of them demanding anything more fantastic of life than the right to live after their own fashion."
      To append Miller, I wonder if life itself cannot cast you on waves that wash you onto your own shore of desiring to live after your own fashion. But I'm stuck on knowing why some take a trail where others stick to the highway. I was struck by this as I read Bruce Taylor's blog wherein he pondered how he transformed from the kid in his high school graduation photo to "the old pirate" in the more recent photo.
        These characters are around us whether in our urban climes or on a rocky coast or forest. Perhaps that pirate, artist, bohemian, rascal or whatever lurks within and needs only the slightest invitation to come alive, a place, a group or a friend. 
    The Jimmy Seals and Dash Crofts tune from the 1970's came to mind when we returned to find our home coated in yellow dirt.

    Simply a brush against an object and clothing was painted.
  Pine trees had candled and then a wind did its bidding. A neighbor said it was such that a "yellow out" blinded the ridge line. She said it was impossible to see the mountains or  anything beyond a couple of feet.
   And so now our long desired rain can wash us, too.

   See you down the trail.


Monday, February 15, 2016


    The man behind me poked me in the back and said
"So you're from Indianapolis huh?"
     "You know Indianapolis is very famous in this town."
     "Is that right?" I said, expecting a comment about the Indianapolis 500.
      "Yea. We've got an oncologist out here who sends his worst patients to Indianapolis, because it'll be the longest year in their life."
       And that is how I met Phil Allen 14 years ago. We were prospecting a post retirement move to Cambria and that chance meeting led a great friendship. In fact Phil and Nan became our California "mentors" helpful in countless ways as we awaited retirement, decided on making the move, purchased a home and then beginning the life changing odyssey. 
       Early on Phil invited Lana and me to join him and Ed Simonsen on Saturday mornings for coffee and crepes at Lilly's. Ed, 90 at the time, ran the Drop In Tennis play. He and Phil convinced this longtime basketball player to take up a new sport. Phil loaned me a racquet and kept after me to take up the game. He invited this rank novice into play in his regularly scheduled foursomes and thus my love affair with the game began.  
        As Phil rounded 80 his game began to slow and a chronic back problem began to take its toll. Before he finally hung it up he'd limp onto the court and if the shot was anywhere within reach he'd slap a backhand or snap a forehand at you, or at your feet, or toward the alley. He loved tennis and years later when hobbled by other health issues he'd remind those of us playing how lucky we were.
        "Even a bad game of tennis is a great day."
        He also loved jokes, cigars and friends. On that first chance meeting he invited us back to his house for coffee. I noticed a cigar in the ashtray on his deck overlooking the Pacific. That led to an invitation to join the "prayer group" a group of his buddies who'd gather on Wednesday and Sunday afternoons for a cup of coffee, tell jokes and enjoy a cigar. Not everyone smoked a cigar, but Phil did so with relish. The "prayer group" was religious about enjoying life, inquiring about the well being of friends and even pausing for a prayerful moment when someone was having trouble. Nan called it "Smoke and Joke," in fact a more appropriate name. There'd be days I couldn't make it and Phil would remind me I needed to get "my priorities straight." For more than 20 years that circle of friends added to the zest for life he enjoyed. And from time to time a few "younger guys" like me, were invited in. We called ourselves the youth movement, but Phil, Reg, John and Paul were young at heart.
         Phil used to say "It doesn't get any better than this" and he'd flash his thumbs up signature. It could be on a deck with the old boys, or having coffee with the tennis crowd or relishing a meal out.
          We used to joke about Phil's endless supply of jokes. He always took pride in saying he "could tell his jokes in any crowd," and for the most part that was true. One night a few years ago he went to an open mic night at the Lodge and between musical acts trotted out some of his best stuff in a short stand up routine.
        Phil was a lot more than a jester. He was a brilliant mind with a great curiosity forever recommending history books or documentaries. He had worked for an engineering company and had a grasp of technology and numbers that was off the chart. Some of his greatest understanding of math was the stock market. He'd begun investing when he was 12 or 13 and a newspaper boy. Phil retired before most people, giving him some 30 years in our village. When Phil spoke, people listened. I guess there was a time when he applied his knowledge to horse racing. In the last years he of spoke about wanting to get back for a day at the track.
        He was a great pie maker and analytical about the taste of the fruit and the need for a lack of need for sugar. He had a penchant for rhubarb saying the Midwest variety was superior to California's. There was a particular kind of apple or a specific type of lemon he needed before making his pies.
        The last few years have been tough but in many ways illuminating. Phil's back required extensive surgery and rehabilitation. A stroke robbed the strength of his right leg. He still harbored a hope he could get back to tennis, but that was not to be. He still got to coffee, the prayer group, though he had to forgo his beloved cigar. He enjoyed dinner with friends. He hated the idea of using a walker and undertook a regime of practice so he could walk with just a cane.  
       Many of us marveled at his determination and he was rightfully proud. It scared the heck out of us, but he'd park the walker or the cane and walk around to show us his improvement and seemed to be moving that right leg and foot by the force of will power. Then a few months ago when we were enjoying one of our early rains, Phil, with walker snuck out on to his sloped driveway to wash his car. A mid 80's man, with a walker on a steep angle, washing his car in a cold rain.
       "I saved 10 dollars" he said a couple of weeks later after recovering. Guys used to kid him about changing his own oil, something he gave up only a few years ago.   
        Phil was a philanthropist and many groups have benefited. He was a straight spoken guy. You knew in a moment where you stood with him and he pulled no punches.  He went to the leader of a group he thought was ruining the organization. He told him he was "racing a bus down hill with no breaks and he needed to go." He even offered to help the guy leave.
        He had a zest for life and an enthusiasm that was exemplary. Despite the recent medical adversities he enjoyed the gusto of being alive.
        Phil departed this world on Valentine's Day. Lana and I were fortunate to spend time with him the evening before and he reacted with delight when Lana mentioned she was baking him a loaf of bread.
        We were more fortunate to have been befriended by Phil all those years ago. The "Prayer Group," Lilly's and Cambria will seem emptier. We will miss him.
        As those of us of the boomer generation continue coming into our senior years, a rascal like Phil is a great example of living fully to the last breath and always appreciating the blessings of family, friends and a good laugh.
         Phil, we saw this coming. Guess we should have gotten you a ticket to Indianapolis.

    True to the unpredictability of political outcomes, the battle over the Supreme Court nomination is likely to have surprising impact.
     The President should put forth a nomination and the Senate should consider it.  
      How all of that plays out will begin to wash into the Presidential campaign. If the GOP in the Senate under the obstructionist McConnell hold fast on their opposition it could begin to erode their majority and wouldn't that be interesting.
       Who the President puts forward will put all candidates into a position of reacting.  Not even Aaron Sorkin can write scripts like this.

     See you down the trail.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


     Faster is not always better. At least that's true in a couple of human endeavors. A delightful colleague from Chicago was giving me dining trips for a weekend Lana and I were headed for in the Windy City. Delmarie had a couple of suggestions and then added, "I like to dine the way I like to make love, slowly."
       It appears some of us like our vote counting that way too. My old media colleague, Bruce Taylor, aka Catalyst in the Blogosphere, posted a great piece on his anger about how quickly the networks predicted the winner in New Hampshire. More than taking the fun out of watching, it bespeaks other difficulties.
       Full disclosure: As a field reporter, anchorman, senior analyst and the executive of news operations I valued almost as much as accuracy being first with reaction and predicting an outcome on election night. 
       Election night in a news division is an adrenaline pumping adventure that one must live through to fully understand and to savor. The first priority is always the consumer, but as Taylor and others argue that may have changed.
        Consider this. The average sound bite in the 1968 Presidential campaign was 40 some seconds. 20 years later it became the sentence of the day. i.e. "Read my lips. No new taxes." Now we mine social media in ''bits."  Maybe the majority of people want to know only who won, so, it follows, reading the projection is all they need. But like a fine meal or love making we may be missing a lot if we are not intentional, paying attention and deliberate. Nuance requires the time of finesse.
        Early on we'd hire political operatives who would set key or test precincts where previous patterns and outcome were measured. Once we had results from our key precincts we had data to analyse and if we chose to do so we could "predict" the outcome. Our political coverage director, Kevin Finch, now a Washington and Lee professor knew his stuff and brought in the best of the "the back room" experts.  
         Eventually numbers crunching extended to exit polling and then came algorithmic analysis. Now we live in the Nate Silver era when we "know" with some certainty who is going to win, even before the polls open. That is as fast as it can get, but is it helpful?
         It's my theory that since Theodore White wrote the Making Of the President political journalism has taken a path that obsesses on "inside baseball", the drama of campaigns and the constant addiction to the latest numbers. Of course the knowledge and technology is helpful and not unimportant, but it should not be the primary focus. There are two reasons that cause it to be that way.
         Campaign organizations are now part of the commercial business of elections-staff, technology, communication, media, advertising, polling, wardrobe, logistics and more. Back in 1991 Alan Ehrenhalt provided a prescient insight into all of this in his The United States of Ambition. Politics is a profession. That leads to the inevitable Government is a business, but that's a bone for another day. Politicians, their staff and activities are a commercial venture selling one product and always raising money.
         Reason # 2-Too many of the campaign press corp seem more impressed with their own ideas than with the candidates. With the hours of time to fill the news organizations default to yacking analysts and poll data in minutia. Many of those who are opining are relatively inexperienced.  One night Al Hunt was on with a couple of young experts who began talking about Reagan's campaign. Hunt, a newspaper veteran including  Washington bureau chief at the Wall Street Journal, shot in-'were you born then?" They had not and of course Hunt remembered Reagan, even as a pitchman for 20 Mule Team Borax. The point is way too many of the yacking heads have little qualifying experience other than  ambition. Old media relied on experience.
       The variety of debate formats this years is probably more about television ratings than true and earnest debate. The coverage is superficial on substance but Superbowl deep on numbers and who is going to win.
       Back to Taylor's suggestion that exit polling be forbidden.
No one should tell a network what they can or can't do. Probably impossible to ban exit polls despite how many people think like Taylor, so more than likely they are here. However network news executives could delay their use. They are not likely too because in their fevered world getting a prediction on the air before the competition probably charges up and may even satisfy their libidos. But they should practice "safe numbers."  
        If there are millions who may watch to see who wins, telling people at the top of the program, even those still waiting in line to vote, who won isn't smart. It's even foolish programming. It's like an invitation to turn off the coverage and go back to Tweeting. It's like starting the Superbowl with an announcement of who wins. OK, that's impossible isn't it? Well wait until humans carry communication chips or until our DNA has been edited. In that age even exit polls will seem like good old fashioned stuff. In the meantime we should take time to ponder the wisdom of taking it a little slower. 

    See you down the trail.

Monday, February 8, 2016


     Old school sportswriters, before modern media, often wrote with the wisdom of sages and the language of poets. Modern America has a couple of contemporary tableau that are living personifications of traditional vs brash modern.
      The presidential sweepstakes offers contrast. The Democratic debates have been deep on substance, policy and agendas. Despite what a voter may think of the Clinton or Sanders philosophy, as a viewer you are treated to thoughtful articulation. The Republican debates have been "slice and dice" sessions with candidates attacking each other, often on less than substantial matters. Bombast and bravado have been the headlines, maybe inevitable when three of the leading candidates are Trump, Carson and Cruz, outsiders at best. Trump and Carson have no political experience and Cruz is detested by his own colleagues in the Senate and in the GOP. To this blogger's point of view, Ohio's Kasich has taken the traditional route and also the high ground. Florida's Bush has tried to play it that way, with questionable affect. In demeanor only, those two Governors have shown the class and capacity to be a President. They have shown intelligence.
       Maybe the biggest window came in the biggest American party-the secular spectacular. As the nation nurses Super Bowl hangover, the 50th edition wrote a legacy headline-Peyton Manning, supported by the earnest hard work of a smashing defensive unit rides off into the sun set in one of American sport's greatest fairy tale endings. Probably the hardest working/studying if not the most intelligent quarterback ever ends an all time record setting career with the biggest victory in the sport. Experts are quick to list Manning as one of the best 5 players ever. For those of us who know, support or cheer Manning, this is a glory moment.
        An Indianapolis sportswriter opined last week how the home of the Colts, where Manning led the team to a Superbowl, was for Super Sunday, a suburb of Denver. People love Manning, almost everywhere, and there is good reason.
       His brilliance at reading defense, and his physical skills will indeed be legend in the game. But there is more about Peyton and the run up coverage about him and his challenger quarterback Cam Newton is a classic example.            Newton is an extraordinary athlete. He is handsome, powerful, charismatic and in his own words representative of the new kind of super athlete who is taking over the game. Like many in modern America, Newton struggles with proper grammar, but he is still an articulate young man and personifies the kind of brashness and pride that is so rampant today. He is a football version of Donald Trump, though with more measurable skills. Peyton is old school.
       Manning is and has always been, humble and quick to give praise to his teammates, coaches and others. He told the pregame show he simply wanted to be remembered as a guy who was liked by his teammates and remembered for being a good team player. No doubt, ever.  He's the oldest Quarterback to play in the Superbowl, so he is old school, but there is something enduring about humility in a game of millionaires, swagger and bling.  Something rewarding too about a team that can win by defense--the hard, hard, agonizing work of grinding away. It is telling that Manning, who earlier in his career could run and could sail passes with the precision of a laser, but as a hurt, hobbled and aching old veteran could lead an offense and willingly cede the gridiron stage to the defense to let them control the pace of a game.
     Modern America likes flash and sizzle and selfies, the sort of thrill that an offensive game provides. Peyton used to be that way, as Cam Newton is now. But traditional ways require sacrifice, hard work and doing what it takes, even in the age of selfies and touchdown dances.  Selflessness wins over selfies.
       Had Peyton and the Broncos lost, you know he would have faced the media, answered their inquires, no matter how much he hurt. Cam Newton says he is a great fan of the game, and I don't doubt that. But I hope he is also a student. His post game behavior and his pre game "superman" swagger show that as good as he is, as promising as his future there are some old school lessons he should learn.
        Peyton Manning did it by hard work, very hard work, discipline and intelligence. Defensive hard work pays dividends. America should be paying attention.

        See you down the trail.

Friday, February 5, 2016


       This west coast lays in the eastern US and the sun's descent drops not towards Hawaii and Japan, but toward the US mid-west.
        After being acclimated to the far western edge of the US, things seems different here. Silly of me I suppose, but I considered drive ways and garage doors as being for the use of cars.  Not sure how this Naples Florida arrangement works. Carefully I presume.
       I've been spoiled by village life in our enclave on the true west coast. We too have our share of senior drivers-of which I am one-and we drive in varying degrees of caution, or erratic dashes, but there is a variance here-volume and a healthy, or unhealthy as it may be, mixture of younger and/or aggressive drivers. Aggressive drivers in volume, working their way through the slower and perhaps erratic others makes for an adventure I'm content to do sparingly. Our dear daughter sounds like a parent, as her parents are about to venture out to play in traffic.  
    "This is season. We have heavily medicated drivers who are just back in town and it's crazy.  No, I mean it is really crazy."  
     Our daughter is wise, bless her heart. This is like LA at half the lanes, at 40 miles and hour but with that hybrid brew of medicated seniors, just back in town for season and the already ticked off locals who probably harbor mad max fantasies of rolling right over them.
      So back to daughters quiet enclave, to enjoy a quiet walk and to privately cherish the ability to shower without turning off the water between soaping and soaking. We can even let the water run until it gets hot. And brushing teeth with water running and not feeling guilty.  Changes in attitudes.
      Even if the sun doesn't set on water!

       See you down the trail.

Monday, February 1, 2016


     Here's a scene in which we have all played a role. The baggage wait.
      Where to stand, where to look, check the phone, eye the others wondering if some nefarious sort might get to your bag before you. It's all made more dramatic by a long flight, sleep deprivation, wondering if the rental car will be ready, where's the shuttle to the lot and why haven't the bags arrived yet ?           Why don't they test or train Public Address announcers before turning them loose? Little things-speak clearly, don't eat the microphone-speak slowly, especially if English is not your first language and don't sound so bored. Also, it might be nice to cue them into those gag names, still in play. And by the way, why haven't those bags arrived yet?
     We've come a distance to celebrate our eldest daughter's first child and to get acquainted with that delicate and sweet little bundle of joy who warms our hearts into membership in the grands club.
       Such innocence and purity. I can watch her endlessly as she stretches arms and legs, opening tiny little fingers, pursing dainty lips, hoping mom is somewhere in range. Little moves in a big world.  She is still gaining vision so her eyes labor to focus and to begin to make sense of this strange new surrounding. What extraordinary mystery this must be. I whisper to her that it's like the big wake up, or so I assume and tell her that it will all eventually make sense. Unspoken and in the back of my mind is the time when she reaches an age and looks at this big world and her human co-inhabitants and wonder why human ways sometimes don't make sense.
       But all of that is a sea of time and wonder away. Now each second is a time of learning, discovery and an opportunity to experience love and caring. She is lucky, she has a loving mommy, aunt and a couple of grand parents. She has a comfortable home in a safe neighborhood in a land that is at peace. Clean water and air, schools and doctors are available to her. So many children are not so fortunate. 
     And so this sweet child will awaken to her blessings, day by day and her granddad will ponder the wondrous mysteries of such a life and the stretching of time.  Our daughters expanded my sense time a few years ago. My granddaughter just hit the warp drive into hyper time.
      See you down the trail.