Sunday, December 09, 2012

Lil DJ.

She bounded into our house with blue painted toenails at 3 months of age arriving by jet from Denver and remained with us for her whole 15 years. DJ was a cute little dog with a dominant personality.
Bossing around her larger dog companions and being totally assertive to her human caretakers she made her presence known to all that came in contact with her.  In her prime she jogged the hills of Western MA like a race horse, then sitting on her throne of the Lazy Boy recliner.  At night she would race to her crate to sleep with the command "Ok DJ get in your box".
She had many pitfalls and quirks.  Like a cat though she had nine lives with a strong will to live.  Surviving several accidents in her youth, a chocolate poisoning in middle age she succumbed in November 2012 to a weakening of her cardiac system causing her to collapse- recover, collapse-recover, collapse- recover and then to breathe her last under the cloud of intentional anesthesia in an Oakland Veterinarians office.
Dj was a part of the heart of our lives
We all will never forget you.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Old Oakland Railroad Station

Had the wonderful opportunity to visit a brief opening to the public of this relic that dates back to the early days of the 20th century when people rode a railroad train across the country to bring them California forever not just a brief vacation. 
This building was referred to as the Ellis Island of West where so many folks transplanted themselves into the far west of this country.
Possessing historical beauty this terminal has gone to seed a bit.  Highlighting this was the requirement to sign a waiver before entering, implying that there was some structural risk inherent in this long ago abandoned terminal. 
Never felt like I was in danger but I would not be inside those marble halls during an earthquake. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Occupy Oakland CA

I have had a minor preoccupation with the Occupy Movement. As a social movement the odd pairing of both the young and the poor makes for and interesting phenomena.
Looking at the crowd in Ogawa Plaza one sees an odd mix of young political types hangin with the homeless who have migrated there for the safety and additional shelter this encampment has provided.
As these two fringes blend it seems to create a community that has never existed before and perhaps a greater understanding of America today.
Where young people who are burdened with a lower prospect of job opportunities and exorbitant student loans payments are paired with the underclass suffering from an insurmountable amount of poverty.
If this movement continues to grow where it will bring us is anyones guess but I am watching from the street and drawing my own conclusions.

Friday, July 29, 2011


It is always a great time when I can take two weeks off from work and spend it traveling to a place I have never been before. This time we took advantage of our relocation to the West Coast and headed North. Flying to Seattle, renting a car to make the journey. Exploring much of the urban streets on foot as well hiking the trails of the verdant woodlands proved to be a fine experience.

Soaking in the warm BC mineral waters of Harrison Hot Springs was most therepeutic and invorigating. No doubt I wish I could recreate that silk like liquid in my own tub as since returning to this old house I have new aches and pains after completing a chore of staining a decorative wall structure. For that unfortunately Ibuprofen and arnica will have to do.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Urban Chickens

It looks as if we have finally have made the transition from rural to urban farmer. We left our ten acre farm in Western MA to a weedy strip of backyard in Oakland CA. Perplexed as to how we will be able to a limited degree maintain the illusion of self sufficiency, we transformed this dusty path to a pretty decent chicken coop.
We now have a dozen birds who will in the coming months hopefully mature into a nice flock of laying hens.
It brings great peace and joy to let them out in the cool misty mornings of the East Bay as it connects me once again to nature, reminding me once again that all things are possible.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Burial at Sea

May 1 2011 will be a day remembered as the day it was announced that the man who apparently masterminded and ordered the attack on the World Trade Center in NYC ten years ago was killed by the US Military where he was living deep inside Pakistan.
Coincidentally May 1 (1945) is also the same day it was announced that the German dictator Adolph Hitler was also no longer among the living.
Some people serve as political symbols and when they are killed it brings a huge degree of satisfaction. When these larger than life characters are finally brought down it gives us an opportunity to take great joy in their demise. We see this occuring throughout history.
Bin Laden's death of course does not lay to rest the terror that may still us in the future but it does allow the people of US to feel they have gotten revenge for the attack that changed our country forever.
Is this an end of era? Most likely not, but it does make many Americans feel better. If one can feel good about someones death then this is a good news day.

Monday, March 21, 2011

There But For Fortune.

It had been a long time since I have seen his face, heard his voice closely listening to the words.
A long time indeed. Although I lived through the events the distance between the decades have faded the memory but the footage in this film brought them back albeit with diminished clarity.
I seem to remember the demonstration/celebratiion n Central Park when the last of troops returned from Indochina. I was there but man that was a long time ago.
Most of people in the theatre here in Berkeley CA had grey hair, not greying hair but the real thing; full on Granpa hair. We were here though, whisked in by the energy to witness once again those melodies, songs, and chords of fame.
Besides the film this Saturday evening showing was an epic moment for me because my admission for this film was the first time I used the senior discount. I was in good company.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Just Kids

It seems like I always have been a Patti Smith fan. Even before the Filmore, CBGB's or College.
I have forever been a sucker for sentimental charismatic Rock and Roll performers.
I think it began at Palisades Park, during one of the free shows that I went to with my parents on some Summer Sunday afternoons.
I remember it was Mothers Day and Bobby Vinton sang "Roses are Red My Love" and then he walked around the audience and gave all the Mothers a red rose. My mother was really touched and my Dad was beaming. It left a strong impression on my young psyche and I am left forever spellbound by a performer who can hold you in the palm of their hand the moment they walk on stage.
Patti never fails to spend a moment or two peering into the audience, checking us all out. She has a smile on her face that says I am so glad to be here and I would not want to be anywhere else than fronting this rock and roll band on this stage at this moment. That is why most everyone is spellbound riveted during her shows.
I know because to be honest I have seen here countless times. Most recently it was at Golden Gate Park in SF where she gave me chills during her rendition of the Rolling Stones Classic "Playing with Fire"
In going through my record collection I found this early 45 and somehow I don't remember how I got her to autograph it. So cool. Brings back so many dark memories of days gone by.


Saturday, December 04, 2010

Community gestures

In the neighborhood where I live one homeowner is establishing a shrub that offers passerbys the opportunity to express themself.

He supplies cardboard, manila labels with strings attached (no pun intended). Even a pen is available.He asks people to write down what they are grateful for & attach the card to the tree.

Occasionally he prunes the bush removing older posts, making room for recent proclamations.

In reviewing them many are quite touching most expressing gratitude for having someone to share life with.

In days of internet communication so prevelent this simple way of self expression for all to see is such a natural throwback to simpler times. I am grateful to have this shrine down the street from me.

Monday, October 11, 2010


We started out on a casual early morning stroll along the shaded redwood trails in the Oakland Hills with the dogs. After an unplanned turn we wound up following a dry stream along a well maintained directionless trail. Verdant dark forest turned to desert after hiking switchbacks up the fairly steep ridge.
Eventually we reached Chabot and then back to Waterloo where it all began, three hot hours later. Temp in the Subaru thermometer read 82F in the partial shade.
My only regret is not eating any breakfast.
So much better than sitting in an office.