Sunday, September 25, 2016

Summer Vacay - Stop 3 - Part 1 No. Cal (the hosts with the mosts)

After an abbreviated visit to San Francisco, we continued our drive north to wine country, and arrived at Charlie's brother, Steve's (and his wife, Kathy's) home late Friday afternoon. These are the sights that met us...



Kathy is of Italian descent, and is the most amazing keeper of all things in and out of doors, including gardening, cooking, sewing and entertaining.


This is one portion of Kathy's basil garden which is larger and healthier than all of the gardens I've ever had in my entire life.


And these are the vineyards in their backyard...


I think if we lived here, our visits to the grocery store would be significantly truncated.


We were joined for dinner by Steve and Kathy's son, Andy.  Cousin Andy was a huge hit with the kids because he let them play on his iPhone and taught them all about Pokemon-Go.   Note: Henry's headband and wristbands were made by Aunt Kathy as one of many "Welcome!" gifts which stayed on him all weekend.


These KA-POW! BAM! bands gave him all kind of super-super powers, including the ability to jump really high and run very fast, and not get wet when he blazed through sprinklers.


When he let me borrow them for a couple minutes, I was amazed at how I, too, was suddenly graced with super speed and agility.  Bob and Weave! Duck and Run!  Not even Ricardo could catch me! 


Soon, the fog rolled in and as the sun set, the heat of the day faded to a perfectly cool evening. Made all the more perfect by a bonfire and 'smores.  


Because Aunt Kathy and Uncle Steve know how to do things right.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

rules for doing good

This past week, our sixth graders have been learning about the attacks on September 11.  Several conversations over the past few days have led to them trying to understand why it happened and how our country, and world, has changed as a result.   They still don't fully understand, because it's nearly impossible at 11-years old to get your mind around such evil and hatred.

It's been very difficult for them to comprehend the impact and sadness of that day - so this morning, we read this post that I wrote 10-years ago about one victim in particular which brought all of us to tears. Our thoughts today are with Perry Thompson's family - and all the loved ones of the 2,996 lives that were senselessly lost on that beautiful blue-sky day.

Our thoughts are also with the millions of people, around the world, whose lives have been displaced and are threatened each and every day by violence and fighting.

They are learning that the only way to defeat the bad, is with good.  So we also read these "Rules for Doing Good" by John Wesley, which were sent to me several years ago by my friend, Ronnie, and which hang above my desk:

Do all the good you can, 
In all the ways you can, 
To all the People you can, 
In every place you can, 
At all the times you can, 
As long as every you can. 


In other words: Be the light of kindness and love; and ignite the world with it.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Summer Vacay - Stop 2 - Part 2, Central Coast (the migration north)

The "plan" was that we would leave from our friends home early Thursday morning and drive north to the Monterey Bay Aquarium - arriving when the doors opened.  But our success of actually departing anywhere before noon is extremely low, particularly once we engage in a deep conversation about the anthropological evidence regarding Jesus and his very dark-skinned complexion.  What ramifications would it have on the world if it was proven that Jesus was black? Would or should it have any? And why?

Then we had another cup of tea and by the time we departed it was 12:15.


We took the beautiful Highway 1 up the coast, passing Heart Castle in San Simeon and the elephant seals of Piedras Blancas.


We're fascinated by animals of the ocean, especially marine mammals.  The lives that these particular animals live - the migratory routes that they take, the way they return to the exact same location each year, the 80% of their lives that they spend in water, the nearly 2,000 feet dives that they take, and the hazards - the sharks and whales. And we think we've got things tough.

Here were two young males, wrestling on shore.


Boys will be boys.


Who I imagine to be the mother elephant seal was on the beach barking at them, so they took their sparring match in to the water.


We also enjoyed watching the younger seals.  Like this one who by moving only her flipper and with eyes closed, was able to cover herself with warm sand.


This would be me if I was a seal.

If any one can bring back a tuna sandwich, that'd be great. 


We walked along the boardwalk, taking lots of pictures, contemplating the harsh lives of these animals, and feeling depleted by the ocean wind.


Who wants to jump in the ocean and swim from here to Alaska?

Anyone?  Anyone? 


Hopping back in to the warm cozy car, we continued our drive north.


We passed regions where helicopters were flying down to scoop up water to fight the fires raging to the east of us.


And we offered up prayers for the safety of the brave men and women who were risking their lives to put the terrible fires out that have been ravaging a severe drought stricken California for years.


Our destination Thursday evening was Charlie's sister, Susan, and her husband, Jeff's house - just south of San Francisco.  But there were several stops on our way there - to the children, it seemed that we were stopping every 20 minutes.


How could we help it?

Look at this view! 


And this road!  

Can you imagine the engineering, planning, and construction involved?!


We rolled in to the south bay of San Francisco at the same time as the fog.  None of the pictures that we took can quite capture the way that it billows up and over the hills like a blanket.


After a wonderful dinner and rest at Sue and Jeff's on Thursday night ... we continued our way north on Friday, through San Francisco.


We'd had plans to visit Alcatraz, but the reservations needed to be made months in advance. What is with all of this advance planning that is required these days?  And how can someone who thrives on spontaneity survive in this world?!

Instead of Alcatraz, we walked across the Golden Gate bridge and talked about Mark Twain and how "the coldest winter he ever spent, was a summer in San Francisco."


Once back in our car, we drove to Sausalito and walked / jumped along the bay.


We then stopped for lunch: chowder in a sour dough bowl because ... San Francisco.


It was a very good day.


Made all the better by children who thoroughly enjoyed being together.