Year: 2003

The Bay Bridge around…

The Bay Bridge around sunrise.

We were due to arrive in San Francisco Bay at 4:30am and sail under the Golden Gate at 4:45 but it was foggy that night and there was a chance we wouldn’t be able to see anything. I set the alarm anyway and at exactly 4:45 I could see just the lights and one tower from our balcony.

‘Oooo ooooo get up get up quick, look out here quick quick.’ They dragged their weary bodies out to the balcony, saw the lights and one tower and immediately fell back to sleep. But they did see it, really.

At least it was…

At least it was Sunday and the usual Mogul Hordes of school groups were not around. There were however some kids and their families with plenty of pitiful whining and parents threatening if you don’t cool it right-this-second we’ll never Ever take you out of the house again Ever so cut it out now.

And a bit more….

And a bit more. I have been here countless times before and still I am already entirely ga-ga. Isn’t that Moro Rock out there?

That afternoon I enjoyed…

That afternoon I enjoyed a few hours at Gideon’s birthday. It was so hot out in Northridge that L*I*terally I could feel my body temperature rising so dangerously I feared my blood would boil up through the pours of my skin.

Steven is really struggling with his health which of course is a challange for Celina too and with actually no end in sight. Think encouraging thoughts for them.

At the entrance to…

At the entrance to Wild Animal Park we find their patriarch and symbol. The guides told us a long story of his history at the park – something about maybe the first of his kind to breed in captivity and he fathered 50 of this rarest rhino, or something…

I Made it… …

I Made it… I got to the top, I couldn’t &^%$ be-Lieve it and I butt-walked most of the way down.

Leigh made it too. Huffing less, ok, but she’s way waaaay younger. If you want to go, go now, go as young as you are Now. You don’t want to be one day older.

The christening of their…

The christening of their dream to sail the world in amazement and wonder and peace and joy.

Alex got this idea from something he read that christenings, (or is it re-christenings?), must be performed by a female virgin. Now where, he asks himself, can I possibly find such a woman? These three girls, 10, 8 and 3 – perhaps the only female virgins he knows…

This statue was meant…

This statue was meant to represent what the missions were meant to represent to the people who were already there when the missionaries built the missions. Notice the ‘father’ and ‘son’ imagery. Get it, get it.

Did we have an…

Did we have an adventure or What?!?

Now we begin a very Very long day for anyone and imagine being 9 or 5. First we’ve got the quick! quick! 4:45 wake-up call. Then we have to do immigration at 7, then we get off at 9:30, get the bags, get the bus, stand in line to check the bags, stand in line for security, stand in line for snacks, get on the plane and arrive in LA around 2.

Their further adventures (a missing camera, my sister bringing a knife through airport security (oh yeah, a knife)) are stories for others to tell.

And yes, we did, we had one A-One fab adventure!

And in contrast there…

And in contrast there was this one lively family with five kids aged about 5, 7, 9, 11 and 13. The five year old had the whole group enthralled over his joyful and enthusiastically acted out telling of a sabre toothed tiger story he had read recently. They actually clapped for him! Nice siblings!!

I would take a…

I would take a picture and then get in the car and move a bit up the road and pass this guy. Then he would pass me. Then I would pass him and we did this several times until finely I just took his picture because it was like we were on this trail together even though his effort expressed total commitment and my effort was my usual dilettantish self.

Over for dinner at…

Over for dinner at D&A’s place then a walk down to The Boulevard for gelato. Darryl made a tofu stroganoff that was so entirely delicious, really, it is true, it was as-good-as-any and you-won’t-miss-the-meat, and that’s going a mile or two!

And see those teeeeeny…

And see those teeeeeny little people under the trees? Feeling high?

The Maya began primary development at Chichen Itza around 600AD (although there is evidence of some building as early as 300AD), and left for unkonwn reasons in the 9th century. Chichen Itza was resettled in the late 10th century, then invaded by the Toltecs, then came the Itzas and then abandonded again, mysteriosly, in the 14th century.

The story of the site then is very complicated, layered as it is by all the different eras of occupancy and by overlaying constructions.

This guy was six…

This guy was six feet tall and weighed 1,400 pounds. He was a middle sized sloth, related to today’s armadillo, and they figure he ate a lot of grass. The sign didn’t mention that toe nail…

One of these days I should practice with the tripod. I wouldn’t have had to flash, (eventhough this is ‘slow sync’ because normal flash produced nasty results,) and then maybe I wouldn’t have got that showdow.

At Mom’s to give…

At Mom’s to give her her reflexology treatment. Lona and Hartley happened to be around too and Windy, poor heart, had just been to the dentist for multiple teeth treatments. ‘Ahhh, uh oh, ummm, I think we have to take care of that other tooth while we’re in here…’. Windy, smiling weakly, replies ‘More Gas’.

See all those dozens…

See all those dozens of amazingly colorful butterflies? You had to watch out or you’d sit down on one by mistake. You don’t see them in this picture? Me either. That’s because I took about a dozen shots in here and got exactly zero recognizable butterflies.

Let this be my first opportunity to report that it was a nasty hot day and it was Sweaty in there. It was hothotHot outside and inside, you’ve got hot and water and that makes hot and humid = SWEATY.

(I have given myself permission for three comments in total with resepct to the relentless heat to be followed by comments along the lines of ‘why Me? why is it always Me?’. One down.)

Like the picture above,…

Like the picture above, taken by me myself from The Top of El Castillo, Grupo de las Mil Columnas, (Group of the Thousand Columns) is another of the restorations at the site. Notice it’s Flat out there and the buildings are all very far apart.

LP: ‘The lost Mayan cities continue to be discovered even today – more than a century after scientists and adventurers began a concerted effort to find them. The reason is simple: Most of the lost cities remain buried beneath jungle, and the territory ruled by the ancient Maya was vast, extending from the Yucatan Peninsula and the bordering Mexican states of Tabasco and Chiapas south through Guatemala and Belize, and into northwestern El Salvador and Honduras.’

The gift shop at…

The gift shop at Mission San Juan Capistrano.

It was odd, the items in the gift shop being Navajo turquoise jewelry and Zuni pots and made-in-China plastic lamps with saints and roses. ‘What’s with this?’ I asked the attendant. ‘Oh’ she said, without lowering her voice and without the least hesitation, ‘the Indians around here were really lazy and didn’t make much of anything.’ Whooo. Now There was one mighty PC-Incorrect gal!

Lona holding the lamp…

Lona holding the lamp carved by Hartley himself as a lad, treasured by Lona and now preparations are underway to pass this heirloom on to Trevor’s family. Ahhh.

Michael sent this picture…

Michael sent this picture of his house. I had to put it here. It’s so grown-up. Like a tv family.

Dad should have a pipe and a smart briefcase the kids gave him last year for Christmas and the slightly bedraggled look of the academic and Mom should be leaving the house dressed all snappy for the monthly meeting of the Women’s Guild at church where she heads up the charity fund.

Not one word of this applies to Michael and Linda…

Detail from Tzompantli -…

Detail from Tzompantli – the Toltec ‘Temple of the Skulls’.

LP: ‘You can’t mistake it because the T-shaped platform is festooned with carved skulls and eagles tearing open the chests of men to eat their hearts. In ancient days this platform held the heads of sacrificial victims.’

This little panorama program…

This little panorama program is so very very cool. I just took these pictures so I could play with it. Now I want to go out and panorama everything even though it isn’t too suited to this web site. Hummm, maybe I could have a whole ‘chapter’ with just big panoramas and that wouldn’t mess up the story pages. Hummm.

We were sitting on a bench in the mission, finishing up our visit with a little deep breathing, doing that light meditation, I Am Alive thing. The weather was specTacular in the California Dreamin’ kind of way which was a perfect accent to the theme of our outing.

It seems that Sandy’s…

It seems that Sandy’s painting project has got me all wound up about taking pictures of cute little houses.

All the colors are…

All the colors are muted, the woods are rich and pure, the polished marble and concrete are simple, clean and of seemingly high quality materials and the workmanship is admirable.

We spent time trying to identify the classically necessary components of a cathedral. We could guess on the crossword puzzle parts – the apse and the nave but where were the Stations of the Cross? Down in the basement, as it turns out

This guy is giving…

This guy is giving all the saPHari truck riders a welcome aboard lecture. We learned the difference between horns and antlers, we promised not to annoy the animals, we heard about the parks mission to protect and restore endangered species.

We also heard an extended and fervent rap about rhino horns. This issue of killing rhinos for their horns just drives these guys NUTS. The horns, they told us on more than five occasions, have no medicinal properties whatsoever. They have no magic, no Nothing. Rhino horns are nothing more than densely packed hair and finger nails.

So if you want an aphrodisiac or a cure for cancer, eat your hair, bite your nails, just don’t kill the rhinos.

This they call the…

This they call the Principal Ball Court as seven others are already found in Chichen Itza alone. The game must have evolved over time because some stories say the players could not use their hands and yet the carvings here indicate the players used bats. The object is clear though, get the ball through the hole.

It was a very big deal – ball courts are in every city throughout the empire, and the game had serious religious overtones. The players were prist-like honored citizens still you really Really wanted to win. Because indications are the losers ended up as sacrificial victims themselves, their heads up on the pile at the Temple of the Skulls.

The sister, the friend,…

The sister, the friend, the thrilled mother, the College Graduate, the cousin, the brother. This large and happy fellowship went on to a festive lunch in Berkeley and I headed across the bay to meet Nancy.

An outing at the…

An outing at the Getty. And I forgot to check for extra batteries. And my batteries died about here. What was I thinking? Not, obviously.

And ‘The Restaurant’, Dee-Lish.

NoNOoo having just seen…

NoNOoo having just seen Winged Migration. Amaaazing amazing work. (I’m going to copy out one of those incisively well-worded reviews by a Professional writer.)

The Grove has finished becoming itself – the CityWalk of the city. The stores are a bit more upscale and the boomboom crowds a bit less overwhelming but still, there it is, the Disnification of street life.

We went to see…

We went to see the Bill Viola show. Bill Viola is a really rather amazing artist who makes art with video as his medium. He’s been around for years, apparently but I’d never seen his work before, never heard of him actually.

This picture (Nancy’s) is kinda how I felt walking out. Only without all that horror.

And you know, Modern Art and all. All the reviews are pages and pages long. I would have been better served to have read them before going. But the combination of the vision and the technology is a knock out. The incredible, lust-worthy flat screen displays, the intensity, clairty, three-dimentional-ness of the images made me gasp every time I caught a glimpse of a new picture.

Marija and Brian at…

Marija and Brian at their annual Christmas Eve dinner party. All your good old friends and all the Rosie’s you can tamp down. You can start eating when you get there and if you pace yourself carefully you can maybe manage a whole cow.

Here it is Monday…

Here it is Monday morning and I can’t get myself to leave the house until I do up Sunday’s pictures – like Sunday isn’t over yet and life can’t go on. I never considered myself obsessive but this is getting weird!

When you get your…

When you get your ticket for the truck you also get a spiral bound ‘home made’ seeming booklet put together by the staff themselves, with a great representative shot of all the animals and a loving rap about them. Everything I forget I will copy out of this book and pretend like I remember.

But what are These!?!

Dale and Joann -…

Dale and Joann – I made then sit still for this. That white thing between their heads is a rose. A nice idea at the time but now I’m thinking it needs to get gone.

Isn’t she Fabulous?…

Isn’t she Fabulous?

Now I Really have to upgrade my camera. I want a bigger lens so I can take sharp pictures in low light. Nancy can take pictures in low light. I want to take pictures in low light too! Me too. Not fair. CanI?CanI?Please!

Those of my acquaintance…

Those of my acquaintance who were available and willing to come out on a Sunday afternoon to sit in the heat and sun on wooden benches and watch a production (full-length I should add…) of King Lear. Andrew, Christopher, Brian, Merlyn, Hilda, Nancy, Roger, Burt, Charlene, Alex, Carol, Darryl, Angela.

In Josh and Kelly’s…

In Josh and Kelly’s apartment. It was all so San Fran-funk I almost said back-in-the-day. I didn’t, but I could have, I didn’t promise Them anything…

The pre-show entertainment. …

The pre-show entertainment. This location is killer-fab-o-cool and the group that makes it all happen do it for love. It’s a highlight. It makes you glad to be alive. It makes you know how privledged and blessed we are to have such opportunity. Wow, I should go more often!

We took a slow…

We took a slow stroll over to the Disney Concert Hall, under construction but almost done. Between this building, the construction in the street, the refurbishments of the Music Center and who knows what-all else the air was Thick with dust and we just had to split.

The environments in the…

The environments in the park are divided into four parts, East Africa, South Africa, Eurasian Plains and Asian Waterhole. This guy, the Cape Buffalo lives in both East and South Africa so they have some in both parts of the park.

My streched out hand would not cover his nose.

I never actually met…

I never actually met this kid so I don’t know his name or who among the guests were his parents but seeing him standing there for many minutes, long enough to chase up the camera and frame the shot, all I could think then and now is ‘golden boy’.

Note the stairs. …

Note the stairs. Note how all the buildings are so far apart. We walked up and down and up and down and up and around and around and down. My good-sense shreaking, my legs, begging for mercy.

It’s like I brought…

It’s like I brought her along as a model.

She was with a three-car party of Spanish speakers from Great-Grandma to babes in arms. As we huffed our way up the stairs (notice I arrived second…) I got to listen to many conversations between them all.

You could guess how it worked – the older ones spoke only in Spanish and were answered in Spanish, the middle aged parents sprinkled some English words in when speaking to the younger ones (like they couldn’t remember a Spanish equivalent), the teens sprinkled some Spanish words in when they were talking to each other and the ones under teenage basically spoke English except to the very oldest.

It was a perfect small novella in cultural acquisition.

After the play we…

After the play we went to dinner at the ever so New Age you are what you eat Inn of the Seventh Ray, where we could eat food that was high on the esoteric vibration scale. Really.

They had a separate menu of ‘live food’ meaning vegan preparations mostly. After the waiter’s comment about ‘live food’ I missed his next several sentences, my mind trying to process how it was they could be serving ‘live food’ before the concept became clear. On the regular menu the dishes were listed in order of the food’s placement on the esoteric vibration scale. Tofu, number one. Roast lamb, so last.

It really was very beautiful – the location, the table service and decor, the wait staff – all very well done. But if you want to raise the level of your esoteric vibrations, expect to pay up!

One last parting shot….

One last parting shot.

We then enjoyed a Whole Foods dinner and a lovely visit with Roger and Sandy. Around 10:30pm L&J went to spend the night in a hotel at the Long Beach airport so they could more easily catch their 7am standby flight – which they made, and A Grand Time Was Had By All.

Just color turned into…

Just color turned into b&w… actually, a tri-tone and a desaturated color background, and then a brush filter and some level adjustment and who knows what all else.

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