Tuesday, August 22, 2017

It's Only Going To Get Worse...

I sometimes get backaches or sciatica that can last for days and I pop ibuprofen or naproxen and sometimes that takes the edge off. As I am pushing 70 (cannot believe I just said that) I expect a few aches and pains here and there.

It seems especially prevalent when I am sitting for long periods. For example on a long drive of more than a couple of hours I can get very uncomfortable...and I blame it on horrid car seats. 

So when I saw this ad in a Costco catalog I thought wow that car seat looks like the most comfortable car seat one could possibly find. 

But it looked so gigantic in the photograph that I thought if we got two of them they would never fit in the Volkswagen Tiguan. Besides Leon wouldn't want to switch out the VW seats. 

Even though I decided it would be totally impractical to replace the seats in the Volkswagen, I set aside the Costco catalog with the page open to the advertisement so that I could show Leon just for kicks, what I thought we could get to make riding and driving more comfortable. 

So the other evening we're sitting in the living room watching the evening news. I was thoroughly bored with the White House idiot staring at the eclipse and I was thinking how stupid of him to disregard the warnings about wearing protective eyewear. He probably considered it to be fake news... 

I noticed the Costco catalog on the end table and picked it up. 

I was about to hand the catalog to Leon and he immediately said "Oh, so you were looking at Murphy beds?" 

I said, "No, as a matter fact I was looking at the car seat."

"Why were you looking at that? That's a child's car seat."

"You're kidding right?" I asked incredulously. "I thought it was a replacement seat for the car."

"No, honey, it's a child's car seat."

"But it looks so huge in the photo. I was wondering how two of them were going to ever fit in the car."

The absurdity hit me. And then I started to laugh. 

"No wonder."

"What?" he asked.

"I was really puzzled by the description. It says installs within 60 seconds. And I'm thinking there's no way you're going to install a replacement car seat in 60 seconds." 

The absurdity hit me again and by now I was laughing uncontrollably.

"I don't believe you didn't know that was a child car seat," Leon says again. "What were you thinking?"

"Well I thought it was like a massage chair, with adjustments and stereo speakers and all, to relieve the pain of sitting on long rides." I could hardly get the words out, I was laughing so hard and feeling so stupid at the same time.

Leon had a good laugh as well, and his only remark after that was, "It's only gonna get worse isn't it?"

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Monday, August 14, 2017

In Memoriam and an Edited Re-Post of On 45's Refusal To Call Domestic Terrorism What It Is

I've only now (August 14, at 5:15 pm), had a chance to update this post since learning the name of the young woman killed in the Charlottesville terrorist attack.

The nation mourns the loss of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who on Saturday was murdered by a person who was obsessed with a hateful ideology. Our thoughts also go out to the 19 others injured in the attack. 

Let us not forget the two state troopers who were killed when their helicopter, which had been assisting with the police response to the rally, crashed outside the city later in the day. 

All for an event that, but for hatred and bigotry, might never have happened.

45's prepared remarks are always written by staff members (who try to make him sound human and sincere) and he reads them as if he never saw the words. Written statements from him are always insincere (or should I say lies).  Even then, he didn't denounce the hate groups, the white supremacists and Nazis responsible for reprehensible violence in Charlottesville on Saturday and name them as he insisted other terrorists be named.


It is the off-the-cuff, thoughts-out-loud, spontaneous remarks (e.g. referring to the bigotry and hatred and violence "on many sides" - a phrase that was clearly not in the prepared statement - that always reveal his truly despicable nature. 

With those few words he negates the entire speech he had just made and simultaneously throws meat to his ravenous white supremacist and Nazi supporters without whom he would not be where he is - and he knows it. 

He has no values, ethics or ideology beyond power and money and is willing to use any group or ideology, no matter how evil, to his advantage to get and keep both.

I also can not help but to wonder what #45 would have said, what his outrage would have looked like, had the terrorist been a Muslim/Islamist.He is so far beyond anything words can describe, and we know how often words have been used to try...nothing comes close. 

I am sickened.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

On 45's Refusal To Call Domestic Terrorism What It Is

45's prepared remarks are always written by staff member (who try to make him sound human and sincere) and he reads them as if he never saw the words. Written statements from him are always insincere (or should I say lies).  Even then, he didn't denounce the hate groups, the white supremacists and Nazis responsible for reprehensible violence in Charlottesville on Saturday and name them as he insisted other terrorists be named.

It is the off-the-cuff, thoughts-out-loud, spontaneous remarks (e.g. referring to the bigotry and hatred and violence "on many sides" - a phrase that was clearly not in the prepared statement - that always reveal his truly despicable nature.

With those few words he negates the entire speech he had just made and simultaneously throws meat to his ravenous white supremacist and Nazi supporters without whom he would not be where he is - and he knows it.

He has no values, ethics or ideology beyond power and money and is willing to use any group or ideology, no matter how evil, to his advantage to get and keep both.

He is so far beyond anything words can describe, and we know how often words have been used to try...nothing comes close.

I am sickened.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Breaking Silence

I haven't posted anything political for some time, but that's not to say I don't have a few thoughts:

Perhaps McCain's recent stay in the hospital, receiving top-notch health care paid for by Congress' premium health insurance plan made him consider what others, with lesser means, would have done in similar circumstances. And, sadly, his terminal diagnosis may have put him in a position of "nothing to lose" by his maverick vote. I'm not sure he's had any real enlightenment however.

As for all the anti-LGBT shenanigans by various players in, near and dear to this abominable administration: we (LGBT folks) knew it was coming.

Those who downplayed the ability and will of the Republican party to destroy all the civil rights gains made by women, LGBTs, blacks and immigrants obviously had their collective head in the sand.

Those of us who fought the war and won our rights will do so again if need be. Unfortunately the young ones among us have taken too much for granted and, being used to having things provided without their expending any effort, may be in for a rude awakening when they are asked to participate in regaining their own liberation.

I, for one, have been somewhat surprised at the tenacity of this group of White House bozos to remain relatively untouched by their own foibles and illegitimacy.

And by the slowness of their supporters to catch on. But then, I probably give people more credit for common sense than they deserve.

I watch as "all the best people" are fired, resign, or cannibalize one another without any lasting consequence, perhaps because all things are newsworthy for about twenty minutes and fade away as if they had never happened by the following Monday.

Honestly, I am surprised that the whole administration is taking so long to spontaneously combust.

And a part of me fears what will happen when it it does.

Talk about Mike Pence. He is the devil waiting in the background and boy, will he smile diabolically

as he takes the presidential oath. That is when, I fear, the incompetent court jesters will be replaced by storm troopers with a plan.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Some Disjointed Thoughts About A Short Vacation in California


I've been a bit depressed since we returned from California where we spent a few days on the beaches around San Diego. I think the realization that this is the closest ocean beach to where we live in New Mexico and that it is a two day drive that includes overnight stays and tedious boring hours driving through desert and endless vistas, all contributed to my depression. We have a good life here in New Mexico and a quiet peaceful lake to sit beside and swim in, but I cannot drive an hour from here to Long Island Sound or two hours to Rhode Island ocean beaches, spend a nice day, stop for fried clams on the way home and sleep in my own bed that same night.

The beach always draws me. And by beach I mean the OCEAN, SALT WATER, SURF and SAND. It must be in my blood or psyche. 

So when Leon was finally able to get a week off, we figured we could make it to the West Coast for a little R&R, even though it would take two days to get there and two days to get back. We left on a Monday afternoon after Leon got out of work early. We stopped to see friends in Tucson for a day then drove the second leg of the trip to Encinitas, a town I'd never been to before.

I picked Encinitas on a whim and a hunch. 

A neighbor who used to live in California mentioned that Moonlight Beach was very nice. As I wanted to be near a beach and I didn't want to stay in San Diego - too much city - I looked at the map and Encinitas/Moonlight Beach was close enough to San Diego so that if we wanted to do any sight-seeing there we could. And it was close enough to Black's Beach which was on the top of our list.

Besides, Encinitas has a nice ring to it.

Our hotel was a Days Inn. Now, one would think a Days Inn would be a lower priced accommodation. And I guess it was. But all things being relative, the price of EVERYTHING on the coast is inflated. The very small room with a queen bed, a small table with two chairs, a TV, a fridge, and the typical Days Inn bath facilities would go for $75 a night elsewhere, but not here. Quite a bit more. But what the hell, it is within walking distance to Moonlight Beach and as they say: "You only live once," and "You can't take it with you." 

Not sure where they got "Moonlight" from as we didn't get back there after dark to see the moon.

But here are a few photos of Moonlight Beach. (click to enlarge).







Moonlight Beach is a State Beach among the multi-million dollar homes of Encinitas. Owned by people who would probably never stay at a Days Inn and would think nothing of paying five times what we paid for a night in their lovely, not so quaint, little town. 



I was fascinated by the chiaroscuro pattern of the sand as it washed around the stones on the beach. I love beach stones, the sand, the waves, the water and the way it washes endlessly upon the shore. A cheap thrill.





We were also within walking distance of Pizza. Which was handy. And tasty.

Coastal California: Multi-million dollar homes are everywhere. A quick check on realtor.com shows "affordable" 600 sq. ft. manufactured homes in Encinitas, some with $1,500 per month land lease fees. Driving around the coastal neighborhoods will most often show homes around $900,000 and more properties in the 1.4 to 4.7 million and up. Yes millions. 

We, Leon and I, wondered out loud, "where do people get their money?" What do they do to own 3 million dollar homes and pay the taxes, and buy Mercedes and BMWs and Lexus' and Teslas, and Range Rovers? And eat in very expensive restaurants and have perfectly manicured lawns and gardens and travel to exotic destinations and own designer pets?



Some live in clusters like this...probably California's version of "low income housing."


Cute, tiny beach "cottages"


Is the trade-off for living by the beach worth the inordinate amount of time one spends driving...or should I say, crawling along in traffic. All day, Every day. No one seems to be where they want to be. Everyone seems to be going somewhere other than where they were. At 6 to 16 miles per hour...on 12-lane highways they don't there very fast.

Just the sheer volume of gasoline needed to keep these cars moving is mind-boggling...and this is just a small corner of our country, and just a dot on our planet. What happens when we all run out of gas?

Seeing the endless traffic one has to ask: Doesn't anyone work? Do they all just drive around all day?There were a few people employed at the Botanical Gardens. But I don't have photos of them. Just some very stationary plants and flowers:







Of course my/our one objective in going to California was to go to the beach. We finally got to Black's Beach near La Jolla. The very remote, very beautiful, mostly gay, nude beach. We went twice and spent most of our last day there.
Getting to the beach requires a steep descent down a somewhat precarious path of loose dirt, rocks and makeshift stairs.








Once down at the beach, I sat on my towel.
I looked out at the ocean and waves, and breathing deeply, took in the salt air; 

I felt the sun on my shoulders and the soft, fine sand under my feet and toes;

I felt the ocean breeze caressing my naked body;

I listened to the sound of the waves crashing in regular but slightly uneven time;

I went into the water and felt the cool splash of waves baptizing me completely;

I tasted the wonderful saltiness of the Pacific and felt content.

I was a kid again all day.

Funny that I began thinking about death...my own death. 

And that if I could die naked on a summer day at the beach in the sun while listening to my beach music, I would die happy.

Some Black's Beach eye candy was a bonus.
 



Some miscellany:



We were told that Coronado Island was a must see. I was expecting something like Martha's Vineyard, off the coast of Cape Cod, not a suburb of San Diego. It was wall-to-wall (or shore-to-shore) traffic and people and residences and businesses and no where to park, even if we had wanted to. We were told we should kick back and have a cocktail at "the Del" but that was the last thing I wanted to do. I hate crowds.


I had to pee. Luckily we found the public beach, Leon dropped me off while I found the restroom. He drove around and made a u-turn and picked me up. 

At which point all I could say was "Get me off this island!"

I like sea gulls. These guys were near the fish market restaurant where we had dinner. A glorified Lenny and Joe's.



Some reflections on being home:
The harbor lights were shining
The moon was in its high
The captain said, thank God we're home!
We've drunk the barrels dry
The mizzen mast was shaken
And the lanterns all burned low
I'd never thought we'd make it
But we've twenty leagues to go
So blow you southern trades
And guide me safely to the shore
I'm never ever gonna sail
The seven seas no more

I know I'm gonna miss the sand in my hair
The roll of the tide and the salt in the air
Deep inside it's true
I'm a home lovin' man
Comin' on home to you
I know I'm gonna miss the wind in my eyes
The shimmer of light when the seagull flies
Although I've traveled far
I'm a home lovin' man
And home is where you are
The crowd upon the quayside
Their faces long and drawn
Are suddenly awakened
As we sail in on the dawn
The wives, the sons, the lovers
Who never gave up hope
All breathe a sigh together
As they reach to catch the rope
God bless you, southern trades
You got me safely back this time
Oh, you'll never have the need again
To save this soul of mine
I know I'm gonna miss the sand in my hair
The roll of the tide and the salt in the air
Deep inside it's true
I'm a home lovin' man
Comin' on home to you
I know I'm gonna miss the wind in my eyes
The shimmer of light when the seagull flies
Although I've traveled far
I'm a home lovin' man
And home is where you are
Yes, I know I'm gonna miss the sand in my hair
The roll of the tides and the salt in the air
Deep inside it's true
I'm a home lovin' man
Comin' on home to you
Written by Roger Frederick Cook, Roger John Reginald Greenaway, Tony Macaulay • Copyright © Universal Music Publishing Group

So we're home at the Lake. 

Leon and I are home at the lake. 

The lake in the dessert. 

Cochiti Lake. 

Where the dog can frolic and where I can sit by the water and feel the sun on my shoulders and listen to my beach music and go for a swim. 

I am learning to appreciate what is in our backyard (2 miles down the road) and to be thankful we have this little lake on the Rio Grande in the middle of the dessert. 

And being by the water in the summer sun, with a warm breeze I can feel like a kid all day. 

I may not die completely ocean-side happy, but happy well enough.






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