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

Monday, May 28, 2012

My Blog Memorial Day 5/18/2012 A Humbling Sight

Today, Memorial Day, 2012, we knew that the Boy Scouts of America, the Cub Scouts of America, and the Eagle Scouts would place individual flags on the graves of all the gravesites at Ft. Rosecrans, so we decided to visit.

The photo shows what it looks like to have over 100,000 gravesites marked with an American Flag.  The flags will come down on Tuesday, so it's just a once-per-year opportunity to see them.  Very a very humbling sight.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My blog for today, 5/23/2012 Back Home Safe

Darrel got a treat today when he looked up to see the USS Carl Vinson pulling into San Diego Harbor with all the sailors dressed in their white uniforms standing along the perimeter railing.  Since part of his job is to photograph progress on the cemetery irrigation system, he always has his camera with him.  The usual morning fog made it difficult to get a very clear picture, but you can just see the San Diego skyline in the background.  A pretty spectacular view.  It makes me proud to see something like this in person--I wish I'd been standing there with him. 

This second picture is closer up but is still difficult to see the sailors lining the deck of this massive ship.
From theSan Diego Union Tribune Newspaper today:
"After back to back deployments and two years of missed Christmases, Valentines and Mother's Days, the sailors of the aircraft carrier, Carl Vinson, returned to San Diego Wednesday morning for a good long rest.
The carrier pulled up to its North Island Navel Air Station pier just before 11 a.m., ending a six month tour that included launching jets for patrols over Afghanistan and working in the Persian Gulf during tense relations with Iran."

My blog for 5/23/2012 The Presidio of California

Next we drove on further south about fifteen miles to Old Town San Diego so we could see again the Presidio of San Diego. "Presidio" means "Garrison Place," and originally was the first location a mission was placed on the west coast, in 1749 by Spanish Missionaries led by Father Junipero Serra. It was built as a fort at that time, to protect the citizens when San Diego was later established. The name "San Diego" in literal translation means "Saint James." Serra was responsible for twenty-one missions being established along the California coastline from Mexico to Oregon.

Today's Presidio Park stands nobly above Old Town San Diego, high on a hill where it can be seen from the ocean and the harbor. However, today's representative was built long after the original settlement was in ruins, by a philanthropic man by the name of Marston, who, over time, purchased the properties surrounding the site. He established trees and shrubs, grasses and ponds before turning it over to the city of San Diego in 1929. The building he built to commemorate the hallowed location now houses a museum dedicated to the preservation of history.

Where California got its name.
Note: In the 1500's a Spaniard named de Montalvo wrote exciting adventure stories about an island inhabited by Amazon warrior maidens. His fictional island was named "California" because its queen was named "Califia."  When the Spanish explorers arrived in the 1600's, they used the fictional name from de Montalvo's story as a reference point, thinking Baja was an island.  They wrote "California" on their maps after the name supplied by Montalvo.  In actuality, the location was Baja California, a peninsula that runs south into Mexico below the mainland we now know as the state of California, USA.  

Monday, May 21, 2012

My Blog for 5/20/2012 The Jewel

Today we drove forty miles southwest to La Jolla (Spanish for "The Jewel," and pronounced "La Hoya") which is a very exclusive (read expensive) area on the coastline of San Diego.  Because the land jumps right up from the Pacific Ocean to about 800 feet in this area, when you get up on the hills, the views of the coastline on the west and of San Diego Harbor way southeast are spectacular.  It's a 360 degree view that usually only hawks and airplanes have.  Our goal was the top of Mt. Soledad (Spanish for "solitude")

This is a little hill of no special historical significance but contention.  In 1913 the people of LaJolla built a 22-ft. tall wooden cross on Mt. Soledad's crest.  Since that one fell down and the next one was burned by the KKK and the third one blew down, they finally erected a concrete and steel version and surrounded it with a sturdy iron fence.  Along the line it was owned by our government and made into a military monument with marble stone walls depicting military personnel over the years from WWI.  Today, individuals may purchase a marble stone with a military person's picture, statistics and service dates for the round sum of $1800.00.  This stone will be added to the walls as best it fits.  The individual doesn't even have to be deceased!   Meanwhile, the 2% of the population who are hate groups have consistently campaigned to have the cross removed which has cluttered up the legal system for about fifty years.  Maybe God has had something to say about that, since the cross still stands, go figure.  It's a lovely, peaceful memorial spot, now attached to a tiny park where a person can go to see the best of the coastline in Southern California, and admire the engraved faces of all those good looking people who have defended our country over the years. 

Those American faces we've been privileged to have represent our country have a permanent privileged view of an American wonder. 

Photos by Darrel Scott

Thursday, May 17, 2012

My blog for 5/17/2012 The Leprechaun's Garden

The Garden of Eden, where we live, is home to every flower I've ever seen or heard about.

The leprechaun who owns the place is Muriel, wife of the famous teacher and artist, Clay Walker (unfortunately deceased).  Muriel herself is a retired real estate broker (go figure) who bought the eight acre mountaintop 35 years ago for their personal residence.  The Darrel and I live in what once was Clay's art studio, next to the main house.  Anyway, Muriel plants whatever she wants to plant, regardless of what's supposed to grow and what is not.  So annuals come back every year, bulbs grow next to cactus, golden poppies grow next to hibiscus and jonquils.  I've learned to not question the roses and jasmine sharing a hillside.

I've posted some of my husband's photographs below.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My blog for May 16, 2012 -- An Irishman in the American War with Mexico

I never think about cemeteries as patriotic places...even military cemeteries.  It's so tragic that so many people have died in wars.  But sometimes I come across a memorial of a life that goes far beyond that one dimensional stone and makes me think.  Even knowing what they were doing, they literally gave their lives to their country.
This first stone is Patrick Dooley's.  They didn't know when he was born, but he died in 1910.  He retired from the army, so spent most of his life in service. He came from Ireland and was probably just a kid during the Civil War.  In fact, my husband the history buff says the Irish were drafted in New York to fight in that war because they were starving to death.

The second stone is a memorial for Albert Hunter, (and his wife) who marched 2000 miles from Iowa to San Diego in 1846-47 with his Battalion to fight in the war with Mexico.  I noted they both died in 1847 and of course don't know how they died.  It probably had something to do with the war.  I can't get my mind around walking 2000 miles in 1846 when the roads were questionable.  I suspect they had some transportation, but it was still a daunting task.

The next stone is a memorial for sixteen men who were killed in one battle of the war with Mexico.  These people were all moved to Ft. Rosecrans Military Cemetery in 1848,
after the cemetery was established.  

When the cemetery doesn't have actual bodies because they were lost, as happens when ships are sunk, sections of the cemetery are laid out with headstones. Those stones are placed closer together than would have actually been possible with caskets, so they look sort of miniaturized and have a low fence around them. To see all the stones with the same date of deaths on them is emotional.  The wall behind the big monument is a columbarium--a wall of cremated burials--sort of like a mausoleum.  I call them "spirit mailboxes."  You can see San Diego Harbor off in the distance, with the city of San Diego on the other side of the harbor.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

My blog for 5/12/2012 Mmmmm, Beep Beep.

Today I returned from Georgia after a seven day trip in time to have a little adventure.

Abby ran outside on one of her many walkabout trips to the great outdoors to find a quail squatting beside a pickleweed plant.  The quail looked at her and she looked back.  They didn't have much to say to each other, grew bored and parted.  In the Garden of Eden there is little fear if you aren't a rabbit.  Day predators are hawks, night ones are coyotes and owls.

While I was gone the Darrel entered the kingdom of the wildlife.  Two nights ago just at dark he heard a whole pack of coyotes screaming and fighting right outside the door.  They scream so loudly they sound like they're killing each other.   He was concerned about our landlady in the neighboring house, who tends to have no fear since she survived the London Blitz during World War II.  She might easily step into the middle of wild coyotes to save a rabbit from their jaws.  He opened the sliding glass door clapped his hands and yelled to run them off, though he couldn't see them in the dark.  It was too late for the rabbit victim.

Next morning, a two-foot tall roadrunner, came screaming through the patio where Darrel was standing waiting for the Abby to finish her walkabout.  It stopped, looked at him, went "beep beep," and took off in a cloud of dust.  He said he now understands why it can outrun Wile E Coyote.  He hadn't known roadrunners were so big or fast.  I suppose they'd have to be since their main prey is rattlesnakes.  They also like lizards, which is probably what it was after when Darrel found him.  This place is lizard heaven.

That day after work, Darrel came home, went in the house and remembered he'd left something in the car so stepped back outside to find a snake about to slither through the rock wall across the four foot porch.  The critter stopped to look at him.  It was solid black with bright yellow pinstripes.  It made a show of rattling a tail with no rattlers on it. Darrel thought it was too pretty to kill and it told him it wasn't poisonous.  When he looked it up on the internet he found it was a California King Snake.   Those guys kill rattlers, so we're glad to have him around.   

Thursday, May 3, 2012

My Blog for 5/3/2012 -- The Lineup

I've neglected my blog for too long, due to all the partying going on in my life.

Friday a week ago, we met with my father's family which is pretty abbreviated.  Interestingly, my four cousins from my father's only sister's marriage, never had children.  They were an AirForce family that traveled all over the world.  At issue is they were stationed in Las Vegas, Nevada during the testing period of the Atom Bomb.  In naive innocence, all the base turned out to watch the explosive testing that went on for so many years before the Abomb was harnessed and capsulated as a weapon of mass destruction.  So, for years, these little cousins stood in their backyard on the base and watched mushroom clouds created by uranium every couple of weeks.  As adults they all have serious physically problems.  It was a conscious decision to not send damaged DNA through to little children.  Most people never have to face a decision of this magnitude.

In any case, I hadn't seen one of the cousins for forty years, and over that time, two of the cousins and my uncle have died under strange illness situations.

This past weekend, a mini-reunion occurred at my brother-in-law's house.  Four of my husband's brothers came to it, and several of the cousins my kids grew up with, and their spouses.  We only had twelve people, but it seemed like fifty since everybody is so gregarious.  The comedians got "on stage" and we all laughed so hard our faces hurt.  At one time their lineup looked like the defensive line for the Green Bay Packers.  Now is not much different.