Friday, December 20, 2013

Fog City

Well I've done it. I've self-published a book. You know over 25 years ago, I thought I'd make a conscious effort to write and collect letters. Not everyone knew I was saving mine. But I had a willing group of family and friends, who still appreciated written communication. It was a time, before everyone was so easily connected by their digital devices. Now we can video share on FaceTime, ichat, send notes and photos, on Facebook or email, making the need for letter writing a bit old fashioned and unnecessary. Anyway having saved 7 years worth, the technology has made it free and easy to put it all together. There are plenty of sites to browse, but I chose lulu. They give you the step by step process for formatting your document. Once that's complete, they can digitally produce your product at will. I love it. Who knew after 20 years of thumbing through the pages, and wondering, will they ever see the light of day, badda bing badda boom! Take a look and send lulu your dough. This URL doesn't seem to be live, but if you click comments, I've pasted it, and it's working. You can also highlight it, copy and paste, for easy access.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Fog City

I wanted to acknowledge family members, and Mid-Westerners in general, a hearty lot indeed, after the devastation reeked recently, by a swarm of tornadoes, tearing through Washington Illinois, specifically. Luckily my Aunt Rose was spared the heart wrenching destruction, so many of her neighbors were not.  I sometimes feel the relief agencies, i.e. government of all levels, the media, have a tendency to down play local, down home disasters, in direct contrast to other disasters around the globe. This life changing occurrence, certainly was short lived on the national consciousness, but I'm sure those affected didn't care. They don't sit around waiting for distant help, they get busy. They come together, a unified front, and everyone pitches in. They accept, without pity, their situation and figure the best remedy for all. Inclusion not exclusion. Children learn the finer qualities of the human spirit, watching their parents perform admirably. I appreciate this characteristic!

 A hearty thank you to my cousin Matt Raher, and Megan Raher for news updates and photos like these.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Fog City

I was meandering through iPhoto, which I rather like doing, because we have thousands of photos, depicting family members and experiences. Many get passed over for being unremarkable. In any event they are stored on the computer. Periodically I'll wade in and delete as many irrelevant photos as I can manage. I do get waylaid more often than not by my mesmerizing granddaughter, Ashby. She shuns, for the most part, posing for pictures, although she acquiesces, when family pics are required. I'm always taken aback when I see her frozen in time, with expressions, or actions, suggesting an entire universe behind those absorbing eyes. She never fails to draw me in. I try to imagine what she is imagining. The wonder I see, is wonderful to me, and reminds me the film of callousness I've nurtured over a lifetime, is useless. Enjoy!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Fog City

Mortality. Something you never think of in the throes of youth. But that's what we have birthdays for. When you're young and trying to make heads or tails of things, the future seems endless, and setbacks and possibilities are daily occurrences. If your lucky, you'll find a tolerable job, or even better, do what you like and get paid for it. Maybe even find someone and create a family and a world. Again your consciousness is constantly in the now. Time. Age. One day the chaos, the duty, have all moved outward from your world, the world you created, the notions, the ideas your identity is built on. Well I shared this dilemma recently with my little brother, an old reference to a time when he was smaller than me. Both our families are grown. It was his 59th birthday. I'm 65. We sat talking over lunch, about being our grand parents age, yet still seeing the world through youthful eyes. We realized the end was much nearer than we cared to admit, and the prospect of new journeys, were appropriately pipe dreams. Hope was finding contentment in no regrets. And we laughed. If there was one bonding ingredient in our relationship, it was the ability to laugh, loud and heartily at life and it's paradoxes. We will forge on, flaws and misgivings, simply because people are depending on our laughs!

Fog City

Since I'm trying to catch up and make my blog current, here's more. I'm staring. Staring is part of my quest for calm, and my expansive view provided by wall to ceiling windows, helps immeasurably. The sun's lower, winter, trajectory creates long shadows. Long shadows, for me, trigger waves of nostalgia. Nostalgia for what? Certainly not a fractured youth, and all the missteps and wrong turns. But more a nostalgia for a sensibility, a vision, a day dream, a moment when you transcend the now, and soar. I was reminded recently of a transcendent sense which overwhelmed me some 40 years ago. I arrived in San Francisco, a self appointed dharma bum, and stumbled into Vesuvio's. Needless to say it was a revelation. I immersed myself. Wallowing in the open dialogue of artists and poets, transformed me, and I had found my mental center, in this salon society. I had cause to revisit such a sensibility a couple of weeks ago, as Vesuvio's was celebrating 65 years as an institution of

avant garde' intellectualism. I no longer frequent, with regularity, this haven, that nurtured and fostered my evolving thought process, but being there for this anniversary stirred more than a few grand memories.

Fog City

Fall is upon us, of course here in San Francisco, the seasons vary ever so subtlety. Also the time has been altered by an hour, which used to be a concern, but now it's just another bump in the road. It doesn't affect me one way or another. My pursuit of maximizing my solitude, and fortifying my calmness is hardly impacted by time. Let it flow. It is my intent though, to chronicle some of what happens in the course of that unceasing flow, and frankly the people and experiences in my life only work to embellish positively, my journey. These ideas, thoughts and observations, I'd like to highlight with some corroborating photos. So first, a few heart warmers of my granddaughter Reese.

I wish the photos would populate side by side, and probably do, if I only knew how. Like me she loves pasta, and I should also wear a bib when I eat it.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Fog City

I keep thinking, and this goes on and on, about buying a tire pump for my bicycle, at the hardware store. But I don't. My alter ego seems to think I need to live longer, impress the multitude, and lose weight, or at least the midriff causing me anxiety. And riding a bike is suppose to be an ingredient, one of several, which will help. But here I sit in an ever deteriorating 65 year old body, screaming why bother. Now days exercise just induces nagging pain in my back, leg joints, lungs and leaves me depressed knowing I'm incapable of, what once came so easily. I'm considering joining the Y, so I can use the elliptical machine, the stationary bike, and treadmills, but that takes a mental commitment, which I know I would squander, and then feel guilty about the monthly fees. You see I've calculated most scenarios, and have for a long time, but now the reality of physical age has become a major factor. Too bad. Recovery time is longer, diet and nutrition are much stricter, just trying to stay in some kind of shape needs radical reform. But what, am I willing to try, and do I even care. Today I went lawn bowling, which is hardly aerobic, even though motion is required. A rather high degree of skill is necessary to compete, and the social interaction is nothing but positive, so in the larger scheme of things, I consider this activity worthwhile. It certainly doesn't reduce my waistline, but it makes me feel good. What more can I ask.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Fog City

Summer is here. You wouldn't believe it, but we've experienced an extended heat wave. Of course here, close to the ocean, the temperature was simply perfect. 75 degrees. But inland, especially where Cassidy lives, in Walnut Creek, the days were over 100 degrees, lasting longer than a week. He and Lauren hosted a low key 4th of July celebration. Cassidy grilled hamburgers, which we ate closer to noon, to avoid the heat of the day. Brendan and Elise shared in the festivities, adding their usual humor to the proceedings. Lauren created a fruit salad in the image of our American flag. Impressive! Ashby the apple of our collective eye, turned 3 the day before on the 3rd. She wasn't at all concerned about hearing Happy Birthday being sung to her, or for that matter, being in the limelight. Her real achievement, which she did enjoy sharing, was finally going potty in the toilet. A true milestone. It was a fine day indeed. I'm very grateful for my family! Enjoy a few photos.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Fog City

What can I say. We were quite inspired after our close encounter with the "Blues Broads." Driving back across the Bridge, the City was sparkling like a jewel in the night, and we realized we hadn't seen the digital light show, streaming down each cable of the Bridge. The best vantage to see such spectacular art is Pier 7. A work of art itself, lined with old style street lamps, benches facing each way, an uneven boardwalk, and views to die for. We walked half way down the Pier, and sat marveling at the light show, both on the Bridge, and the beautiful skyline.
Although a bit dark and amateurish, I think you can grasp a little of what we were seeing and feeling!
Christine walking down Pier 7, as you can see we had this wonder to ourselves!

The digital light show, moves both vertically and horizontally, creating moving abstractions.

A perfect place for reflection, no pun intended.

Fog City

We recently were prompted to venture across the Bridge to Berkeley, for a night of classic and powerful Blues. These ladies, all legends in their own right, combined to remind us all, what good music is all about. They are known as "The Blues Broads," from left to right, Dorothy Morrison, Tracy Nelson, Angela Strehli and Annie Sampson, and can they wail.

Here we are having coffee and juice, at a sidewalk cafe, prior to the show. The entrance to UC Berkeley is across the street, and we watched the parade of gowned graduates marching in, for one of many graduations.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Fog City

Well faithful followers, if there are any, it's time to get something down on paper. My journey of life has flowed without interruption for an extended period. My only real concern is this old age paunch which has gotten slightly out of control. I attribute my inability to reverse the problem, to the inevitable age factor. Once I could jog calories into oblivion, but with joint pain, reduced stamina, and literally no motivation, my only recourse is to eat less. And we know that doesn't work. Oh, it works for awhile, but then a holiday (eating), a family gathering (eating), a pizza with my name on it (eating), all happen more frequently. I have my personal resolve, however diminishing, and I will prevail. Keep your fingers crossed.
We've recently returned from Palm Desert, and the home of Larry and Linda Brooks. It was the occasion of our annual golf tournament and food fest. What made it special this year was the sharing of new babies. There were babies everywhere. We met Neri and Adam's daughter Noa, Steven and Amanda's son Layton, Cassidy and Lauren's second daughter Reese, and the older toddlers, all around two years old, Isaiah, Lila and my sweetheart, Ashby! Whew! Luckily Larry has the space to accommodate such chaos, even a swimming pool to placate frayed nerves. Actually smiles were the attire for all participants, and everyone had a great time. I'll try to raise a couple of photos to represent our good time.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Fog City

I wanted to add this wonderful poem by the inspirational, William Butler Yeats. Probably one of the greatest love poets of any era. Please do listen and think of me or a special loved one because this human connection couldn't be finer!
I'd like this to be live, but I'm confused about how to do it. Colin Farrell recites this poem wonderfully, so I hope you get it.


Fog City

I finally had a chance last week to take the bus downtown, specifically skid row. There is a vacant hotel standing idly on the corner of 6th and Howard. It has been designated for demolition for new development. The interesting thing is for the past 16 years it has been a work of art. A virtual sculpture. There are, miraculously, chairs, TV's, refrigerators, beds, sofas, lamps, any and all types of furniture protruding from the windows on each floor. I've driven by hundreds of times, always marveling. Here are a few photos depicting this unique and doomed work of art.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Fog City

I was lawn bowling yesterday, on a warm San Francisco afternoon, and a friend asked when I was going to update my blog. I thought to myself, hhmmm, good question. This blog site has taken a relative back seat to all the other activities out there, in social media land. I also get the sense that no one actually visits here, which minimizes my motivation to keep it current. But I suppose someday my children will resurrect these postings out of sheer curiosity.

It's been a long 4 months since I last visited this space and it has occurred to me, one very special event has changed my life, and all of our family's lives. Reese Casey Raher was born on December 8th, and for you Catholics, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. In her short 3 months, she has grown chubbier, now laughs at the least prodding, and so far has a wonderful disposition. We were graced the past two weekends, having the little ones, Reese and Ashby, stay with us. It's such a joy to witness the speed of their mental development. Ashby is really smart, and has an imagination that is far beyond her nearly 3 years. She'll sit in her little rocking chair, watching the cars go by, and exclaim how they are lions and tigers. I better add a couple pictures at this point.

It seems the photos automatically insert themselves where paragraph breaks are. I found a couple more I like. One I especially like because Ashby has captured my expression, which is peacefully watching golf on TV. I've titled it "Zen and the Art of Golf Viewing." Anyway the girls have naturally become major players in my life. People, places, activities, I once considered so significant in my life, have in some cases just disappeared. Do I miss them, well not really. At my age, I'm a completely different person. Although I remember what once moved me, and cling to some aspects, like the music, the ideals, but I don't have to preach, or sell what I think is right. I can just observe the little ones get smarter and smarter, and rejoice. Maybe I had a little something to do with the family river as it grows and spreads like a delta. When I look into their eyes, I feel good that I passed this way.