You've entered Melodyland, where perception is slightly skewed, potential is limitless and imaginary people live happily ever after

Monday, December 19, 2011

December 18, 2011 Too Weird To Believe

Here we are set up in the Mission Bay RV park.  If there were not freeways on two sides of the park it would be quieter.

ADVENTURE ALERT:  In our search for a more permanent place for the Darrel to stay, we shopped on line, on the street and in the newspapers.  Since San Diego is virtually a snowbird retreat, a lot like Florida in some respects, prices for furnished anything run from $2600 per month to $3800 per month (and up, of course).  So after sticker shock wore off and unacceptable alternatives were eliminated, I pulled out the newspapers again and started over.  We saw an ad which we thought probably had an error in it.  It basically said "executive rental, artist cottage, RV storage, mountain top views," and listed a price at about a third of the previous ones we'd considered.  However, it was located 40 minutes north of San Diego.  That's 40 minutes in hideous commuter traffic similar to Atlanta's I75.  We thought something too good to be true would at least be an adventure for the frustrated, so called the phone number included in the ad.  Remembering the last three calls we'd made to local places had never been responded to, we left a message.  A half hour later a British woman called us back.  There were no errors in the ad, she was very matter of fact, saying the views were indescribable and the place was adorable.  Right.

So we drove north 40 minutes.  As soon as we got off the I15 and asked the GPS to tell us where to go and it refused, we almost called the whole thing off.  But bless the Iphone.  We asked it for directions, got them, though the trip at that point became more about curiosity than practicality.  Up the mountains we went, through grape vinyards, citrus orchards and avacado groves, a series of ten road changes.  We were falling in love with the land on the way...always a critical issue with us.

So.  We found the place somehow.  It presented itself as a lone mountaintop with an American Indian great white wall sculpture surrounding a modest looking home.  Several outbuildings appeared to the sides: garage, covered parking pad, separate studio, all dotted this way and that between the giant boulders and chapparal.  Then we noticed the gardens, both vegetable and indigenous flowers and trees spread in every direction.  The view was indeed spectacular.  How do you describe the best of California hills, covered in sage, cactus, Eucalyptus trees, scrub oaks, acacias, olive trees, pepper trees?  How do you describe 200 mile views to San Gorgonio and San Bernardino from hills we'd ridden horses over 35 years ago to reconstruct the padres' trail north from Mexico?  And entire 360 degree 200 mile view to and over hills and beyond?  Well, that's where we'd landed.

So we knocked on the door.  A 5 ft. tall British lady answered the door.  She looked at us like we were long lost friends just returned after a ten year trip to chaos.  Then she gave us a smile that lit up the mountain, quite like she'd been waiting for us.  Not some people who answered an ad, but just us.   Well, the Darrel fell in love immediately and I was grateful the lady was 84 so I could at least have a chance of keeping him.  But wait...this gets better.

She showed us the grounds first--all eight acres of it.  And the Darrel was hooked.  Of course it helped a deer came up to talk to us, and a couple of hawks flew by on their endless hunt.  Next thing I knew, the superfluous studio--actually a charming art studio with a bedroom and 360 degree mountain views built like Fort Knox, was toured and the Darrel was negotiating the length of time of our stay.  How did it become one year?  I looked at him, his eyes glazed over and said, "what?" very quietly so as not to disturb whatever was happening.

He turned to me and said, "I've always been an eagle, flying in my dreams.  This is an opportunity to actually fly."  Whatever that meant.
I had become just a bystander.

We're now the proud renters of paradise on a mountaintop for a year.  Details of how we're going to do this will follow after I figure them out.

Friday, December 16, 2011

December 16, 2011 Moondoggie Day


Down at the Ocean Beach Pier, the surf wasn't really up, but the tide was coming in, so a row of five breakers was enough to attract about fifteen diehard surfers, even if the temperature was under 50 degrees with a water temp of 55.  Those guys keep track of the tides so they know when they can cop a ride.

Here comes Moondoggie, slogging through the sand carrying his board.  He's maybe six feet tall, weighs about 165 and may be 20 years old.  He's wearing his wetsuit half pulled up, board tucked under his arm.  They don't use the big boards any more from what I've seen. He stands there looking at the other surfers bobbing around on the swells way out toward the end of the pier, talking about the "big one."

Moondoggie stands on the cold cold beach half naked.  Then he sticks his arms into the air over his head like he's praying to the surf gods, and screams an announcement of his presence.  He holds them up for a few seconds before looking around, grabbing the dangling wetsuit and slithering into it.  When it's zipped up he grabs his board and heads toward the sea.  Walking partway into the surf he suddenly screams again.  Reckon he's discovered the Pacific isn't very warm?

He dives through an oncoming smallish breaker, tosses his head on the other side and slips onto his board, paddling on out to the end of the breakers.  After buddy bobbing, watching a couple other surfers grab a wave, go for a little ride and paddle back, our boy, Moondoggie, picks one and paddles for it, jumps up on the board and glides toward shore.

When the wave plays out, he simply stands up in the shallow water and walks a ways before shoving the board through the next soupy wave.  He looks resigned to getting a ride from whatever the sea has to offer this day.

Friday, December 9, 2011

December 9, 2011 GPS Hell Pecan Pie Heaven

Last night we took an interesting route to go see a cousin.  Our GPS is a retarded little piece of work, however it did get us there against all odds.

I figured we'd order in pizza and sit around on the floor and have a little "catch up" session.  But the cordial cousin made a fabulous dinner she called Eggplant Parmesan.  It was actually Eggplant Lasagna, one step from heavenly carb paradise.  I've actually never eaten decent eggplant and didn't know it could be disguised so wonderfully.  I did know that if it could be done, she'd be the one to do it.  I'm not eating for three days though, because she also made her Pecan Pie, which is famous throughout the family.  Sadly, I've not tasted that pie for about ten years because I don't get out here much at the right times.  I never felt good about calling that cousin and saying, "Hey, I'm coming over for you to make me a pie."

I did ask if I could live there.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

December 7, 2011 Balboa Park & pictures

Today we went up to Balboa Park, which is attached to the zoo but a totally different atmosphere.  Balboa Park, named after the Spanish explorer, was conceived in 1915 for its debut World Exposition in San Diego.  At a time before WWI, WWII and the great depression, and around the time the Panama Canal was completed after so many years of construction, we were fresh out of wars.  To celebrate the world transportation not having to go through the treacherous waters below South America, a World Exposition was agreed to by key countries everywhere.  The amazing buildings still exists and are used for massive cultural advancement--all public buildings for theater, art, music.  The Panama Canal was used as an excuse to attract more countries to show off the neo-classical architecture of their choice.  Today it is like a city of cultural buildings.

This first building is a redwood lattice botanical building for growing exotic plants from all over the world.  The reflecting pond in front was originally about two feet deep.  During World War I it was deepened so new sailors could learn how to swim.  During WWII there was a hospital in the buildings on the grounds for the military, and the pond was deepened once more to be used as therapy for injuried servicemen.

Grr, my computer won't print any more of the pictures I wanted to post.  Will have to try again later.
Anyway, the park has thirty gardens, buildings housing museums, art, science centers, railway information and of course the famous zoo.  I can't find any statistics in my paperwork but would guess there are about 600 acres included in this park which is right in the middle of residential downtown San Diego.  Pretty amazing.

Inside the Botanical Gardens looks a lot like Opryland.

One of the typical buildings.  This one houses the symphony and San Diego Dance Company.
This one is across the street from the above building.  It houses an art museum from pre-1900.

December 6, 2011 Koala Morning

Went back to the zoo to see what we missed the first time.  We really didn't see it all this time either, but were smarter in our approach, making use of the bus system to get us to previous missed animals.  I'm only going to put the Koalas and apes in here because those were our primary goal(s).
This is a baby.  I guess he didn't know he was supposed to be napping during the day.  All the adults were sleeping.

I don't kow if it's true but I understand the eucalyptus leaves Koalas eat makes them intoxicated which is why they are so mellow all the time.  Not like my brother in law when he eats Eucalyptus leaves.
This incredible lady was the only one who wanted to talk to us.  She is 14 years old.
My new best friend.  We had quite a chat.

Here she is, a little closer up so you can see her makeup better.

Monday, December 5, 2011

December 6, 2011 Heresy

Yesterday, Sunday, we were invited to go meet my step brother and sister at the Sechuan Casino over East San Diego toward the desert.  It was located, naturally, on the Sechuan reservation.  Actually, I had thought that Sechuan was a Chinese name, but I was wrong. 

So instead of going to church we went to play the slots.  How bad is that?  I kept expecting God to take the place out while we were there--was glad nobody needs us any longer, just in case.

It was a huge building in the neo-Indian architecture style of hogan teepees or something.  Very dramatic and landscaped to the nines with desert trees lining the drive into the place which was out in the middle of nowhere East of Jamul.  Incongruously, lighted deers made of bundles of sticks were stocked along the entrance trees as well.  And inside the casino were monster Christmas Trees, decorated with every imaginable light, ribbon and glass ball.  It looked beautifully artificial.  I looked around for God but didn't see him--he must have been behind the cash machines.

My last foray into a casino was in Reno, Nevada, which never pretended to be holy, or family fun either for that matter (like Las Vegas).
That was back in the olden days a few years ago when the machines were full of happy little bundles of cherries and blue logos that said "Winner" on them.  You could put your nickel in the slot and pull the handle.  Gambling?  Of course, but it was a mini game.  In the electronic world, about twentyfive  pictures of Hawaiian dancers and big words dot the face of the screens.  No money is involved.  No way to see if or how much you win or lose because it's not money after it goes into the machine--it's now "points".  The machines take only paper money in any denomination.  And it's a button you push to "play".  Penny machines take 30 at a time.  Is that a penny machine?  It seems like 30 cents to me.  Oh yeah, it's 30 points.  No wonder I like the quarter machines.

I looked all over the copious rooms (50 of them?) for cherries and "Winner" logos.  I guess they shipped all of those to the Bahamas.

I didn't feel much like I was playing.  The blonde part of my brain was confused but didn't care.  The rest of my brain was confused but did care.  Uncomfortable.  If the blackjack tables hadn't been $5 tables I would have gone on over there.  I'm a cheapskate and only play $2 tables.

I know I lost $40 because my money pocket was empty when we left.  I'm not sure how I did that.  Maybe I'll go back on a Wednesday.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Hola Amigos!  (That's Mexican for "Hello Friends").  I'm getting back into California mode with my Spanish. 
Today we went to La Jolla (means Beautiful) which is up the coast about five miles.  We went there to see the hang gliders take off over the sea.  It's an awesome sight to see  guys take off running at the top of  a 400 ft. cliff and jump off holding a parachute looking thing so they can sail up and down the beach below.

This guy just jumped

We were standing on the edge of the cliff and this guy drifted by beyond the cliff, gave us a thumbs up.
They drop down after they jump, which made me get a knot in my throat.

This is what it looks like right after they jump over.
Here you can see a couple drifting north with the beach below.

This cliff had a mobile home that used nothing but solar power to run its shop and lunch counter.  It's located on the campus of Scripps Institute of Oceanography, but the school is way off from the desolate bald area where they do the hang gliding.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Dec. 1, 2011 It's A Zoo Out There

This handsome fellow sat high above us on a rock.  We were diminished to the flavor of the week in his imagination.
An African Leopard, he never told us his name.  The San Diego Zoo is the one that sets the standards for the rest of the zoos in the world.

We weren't sure if this guy wanted out or just a snack.  He was a Cappuchin Monkey, but I'm not sure if somebody I used to know was imprisioned in that monkey.
Just look a this lady's beautiful eyes.  The Darrel captured them in detail in this photograph.  He does a marvelous job with his new camera.

Darrel got this one of the wildest animals in the park...his brother and moi.

Here we are together in the zoo, just like we are in real life.