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May 25, 2017

I’m just beginning to unwind from our whirl wind trip to Massachusetts. We visited many friends and family over a six day trip. Weather was very nice. We had a great trip. I even saw a thunder and lightning storm. Luckily I didn’t have to go out and drive in the storm. Don’t see that very much out west here.

Many of our friends said to us “Welcome Home”. But here’s the thing. I have spent most of my life living in Mass., including 36 years in Billerica. We have been living in San Pedro now for almost 5 years. Mass. doesn’t feel like home anymore. San Pedro is our home now and it feels like home to me.

Will we ever move back? Don’t know. Probably not. I don’t like moving. We’ll be back again next May.

LAX Sucks

May 23, 2017

LAX is one huge airport. We arrived home last night after a long non stop flight from Boston. The service was great on Delta and the flight was pretty much on time. Smooth sailing all the way until we got to LAX. That’s when thing went south. 

Our Boeing 737 pulls up to the gate. Seat belt sign goes off and everyone rises to gather their belongings. And then we wait. There was no gate agent to operate the jetway. So finally after 5-10 minutes, the jetway is moved into place and everyone proceeds to exit the aircraft. So were at gate 21 in terminal 2. So I think to myself, this is pretty good, not a long walk to baggage claim. 

So we get on the escalator down to baggage claim. Sign says our luggage will be on carousel 5. There is no carousel 5 in terminal 2. There are carousels 1-4. Carousel 5 we learned is a way down the road in terminal 3. Not good. My legs and feet are killing me. About half way there, we meet some of the people that were on our flight heading back towards terminal 2. So we do an about face and head back to the carousels in terminal 2. They tell us our luggage will not be on carousel 5 but on one of the carousels in terminal 2. So eventually we find our luggage coming down the chute on carousel 2. No notice, no signage.

So with luggage in hand we head out to the street to look for where our shuttle to our parking lot would be. There were signs for rental cars, hotels, etc. but nothing about parking shuttles. We see one of our shuttles fly by, but we were to far away to flag him down, That happened one more time. Feet and legs are getting worse.So eventually we find a small sign that states that parking shuttles are up stairs on the departure concourse. So up the escalator we go. Finally we got on a bus for “Wally Park” only to find out that “Wally Park” and “Wally Park Express” are two different parking lots and shuttles. “Wally Park Express” (which we were looking for) picks up down stairs. ARGGGGG!!!! Nice driver agreed to take us to WPE. I think maybe he was fearing for his life if he didn’t take us. So he took us to our car and he helped us load our luggage into the Jeep.

So we got into the Jeep and settled up with the cashier. Then off we went heading for the 405. We stopped at an In-n-Out burger joint to pick up a hamburger for Paula and a double-double for me. Man it was good to get into my old Jeep. It’s well broken in and comfortable. I was much relieved to turn in the rental Ford Expedition. More about that later. It’s good to be home.

Harold’s Slides – Deep Dive #2

March 17, 2017

I was back to scanning my father-in-law Harold’s slide collection. A few weeks ago I finally purchased a scanner for 35mm slides. The current batch is from 1977 and 1978. I can tell that because the slides got imprinted with the month and year that they were processed. There are boxes and boxes of slides tucked away in the store room down on Gaffey Street. I took one box that has 10 slide trays. Each slide tray has about 100 slides. Today I did about 200 slides. They cover a bunch of activities and events. There was a trip to Hawaii, a trip to Yosemite National Park (I think for a Park Service reunion). A wedding for someone named David. [Paula sez he was one of Harold’s students]. Still don’t know who the bride is. Nice looking couple but I don’t have a clue who they are.

So here goes:

Yosemite

Hawaii

Nice Sunsets:

Cornerstone Pictures LA Harbor Lodge

Looks like I’m going to be doing this for a while.

  Mary

March 13, 2017

Time for an update. On Sunday afternoon Mary and I are sitting at our dining room table. Paula is out walking around the neighborhood. 

So Mary is reading the Sunday newspaper. She sees a full page for the show called “Shen Yun“. Shen Yun is a Chinese music and dance production that tours every year throughout the USA. 

Seeing as our daughter in law is from Taiwan, we tend to be aware of Chinese cultural stuff. So we had taken Mary to see a production about three years ago in downtown LA. It’s a quality production and worth going to see it. But I don’t feel the need to do it again.

So Mary says to me, I’d like to go see this. I then told her that it wasn’t going to happen. I explained to her that we went to see it three years ago with you. Do you remember? Of course not.

I try to explain to her that the production is downtown LA at the Dorothy Chandler pavilion and parking is difficult. Even with her HP placard, there would be a lot of walking and lots of steps.  She doesn’t handle walking long distances well. And it is especially difficult for her at night when the way forward is not any too clear.

So I tell her that prices range from $70-$200 per person. The cheap seats are in the balcony and she certainly wouldn’t be able to navigate to that locale. I told her not going to happen. Not on my watch. As it stands right now, she has to sit and rest while walking to the elevator which is about 20 yards.

At this point she breaks down and starts to sob. I try to tell her that until you can manage the little stuff you can’t do the big stuff. Mary has a habit of canceling at the last minute if she is feeling dizzy (which is most all of the time). So it would be high likelihood that we wouldn’t go and get stuck with cost of three tickets to the show.

One of the really nasty things about dementia is that steals away a lifetime of memories. Much as we try to show her pictures of her. They do little good to remind her of what she once was. Very sad.

I guess the crying and sobbing was her thoughts on her current situation. I.e. Going downhill. We try to push her some to get up out of bed and do things but the call of the bed is very strong. As time goes by, she is doing less and less. This month she will not be going to the Assistance League luncheon. She used to always go and get her hair done before. Now, it doesn’t happen.

In other news, we have found a couple of friends (one from church, one of my Lodge brothers) willing to come stay with Mary while Paula and I go to a movie. Truly a God send. And, flight reservations have been made and paid for our annual trip to Boston in May. We have requested care givers from a local agency for the week that we will be gone. We so look forward to this trip to get back east to see many of our East coast friends. 

TTFN

Joe

Deep Dive

March 8, 2017

I just finished scanning about 300 slides that I brought home from the storage locker. I finally got a small scanner for slides. Paula’s Dad, Harold took tons of slide over the course of his life time. Until now, I had no way of scanning, let alone viewing any of the slides.

This batch was in a shoe box. Some were loose, some were in boxes received from the film processor. Some of the slides were dated. Most weren’t. So we have slides from 1952-1954, 1968 and 1979. How the 1979 got in the box is beyond me.

The scanner writes the image to a SD card. Once I completed the scan, I copy the images to my computer. Once done, I throw out the original slide.

Many of the slides are from wilderness areas like Mt Lassen. There are some slides from a parade in the 50’s, maybe Long Beach.

Here are some samples:

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Paula and Mary c. 1968

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Parade c 1958

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Paula on horseback c 1958

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Paula and me, Christmas 1979

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Paula c 1954

Here is a sample of some of the better wilderness pictures (Lassen, Joshua Tree).

Santa Ana’s

February 1, 2017

This a story about a weather pattern in Southern California called the Santa Ana winds. This story is primarily for my readers who don’t live in the greater Los Angeles area. This is when the winds are blowing out of the east north-east. This happens when there is a high pressure system parked over Washington State or Oregon. In a high pressure system, the winds blow clockwise around the system (in the northern hemisphere).

That means for the folks in our neck of the woods, the winds are blowing out of the East Northeast over the Mojave Desert.  The Mojave is between LA and Las Vegas. When this happens in the summer it can be brutally hot and windy.

When it happens this time of the year, it means the rain stops and we get clear dry winds. Temps the last couple of days have been the low 70’s.

The winds also blow all of the smog out to sea. That means visibility is greatly improved. One can see the mountains east and north of LA. The picture above is the view from our Masonic Lodge in San Pedro. If you look closely, you can see the snow capped mountains.

Oh one more thing, we’ve been getting a lot of rain lately out here. That means all of the brown grass has turned into green grass. Green is beautiful!

Hearst Castle

October 11, 2016

William Randolph Hearst was an American newspaper publisher born in 1863 and died in 1951. Mr Hearst built the nation’s largest newspaper chain. In 1919 he began work on what is now known as the Hearst Castle near San Simeon, CA on California’s central coast. The castle was designed from 1919 to 1947 by Julia Morgan of San Francisco. The castle was under construction right up until he died in 1951.

2016-10-07-12-07-39The estate covers 250,000 acres. The main house “Casa Grande'” sits on a hill at 1600′ in the Santa Lucia range and about 5 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. The castle is about 200 miles from San Francisco and 200 miles from Los Angeles. Mr Hearst has been quoted as saying:

I would like to build something upon the hill at San Simeon. I get tired of going up there and camping in tents. I’m getting a little too old for that. I’d like to get something that would be a little more comfortable.

The property is managed by the California State Parks and is open for public tours. Tours can be reserved on their website. When I was arranging our tour, I found out that they had “Accessible” tours for folks who might have difficulty with the many steps around the main mansion. I opted for this because of my difficulty climbing steep steps. Indeed, a customer service agent called me a few days after I made the reservation and asked whether I had any special needs (ie. wheel chair). I told him no wheel chair would be needed. What great service!

We rode in a golf cart up to a back entrance and Paula and I, plus two others had a pretty much private tour. One parks outside a visitor center and board a bus that takes you across many switchbacks as you climb to the castle. They had some chairs set aside for us along the tour if we get tired. Very thoughtful.

So back in the day, guests would take an overnight train either from LA or San Francisco to San Luis Obispo where Mr Hearst’s staff would pick them up at the train station and ride to the estate. Mr. Hearst also built an airstrip not far from the castle. Apparently, an invitation to the castle was very much in demand.2016-10-07-10-47-58

Among the many guests include the Marx Brothers, Greta Garbo, Charlie Chaplin, Winston Churchill, Clark Gable, James Stewart and Bob Hope.

Here’s a picture of the famous Neptune Pool. Unfortunately, the pool is under construction to retrofit the tiling. Click here to see a picture taken before the pool was drained for reconstruction.

Our tour started with the main kitchen. The kitchen was state of the art for the 1930’s. It had a real refrigerator. It kind of looks like an ice box, but you can tell by the compressor on top that it’s a refrigerator. Hearst had his own private power plant on his property. Here a few pictures of the kitchen.

After the kitchen comes the main dining room. Guests were expected to attend the formal dinner in the evening.  Mr Hearst would sit at the middle of the table. He would sit people that he thought would be interesting to him close to him. If Mr Hearst found a guest to be not interesting, they would be shifted down to the end of the table.

The size of the rooms were designed to allow the art works to fit. In the dining room, there were tapestries on both walls.

After dinner, films were shown in the movie theater. The guests had to wait for an hour (often grumbling about waiting). The delay was to allow the kitchen and wait staff to finish their work and join Mr Hearst in the theater.

What mansion would be without a room for games. There a billiards room and card table rooms.

 

Statues? They’ve got statues. Too many to show. Here are a few.

Finally, the tour ends at the indoor pool. The water is so calm, that you almost don’t see it. The reflection is incredible. There are two tennis courts on the roof of the indoor pool.

That’s about it. Exit through the gift shop. All of the pictures were taken with my iPhone 6 plus.