Beautiful June Saturday @ Sutro

I had nothing to do today (Saturday), and being a person born of low energy I took advantage. I stayed up in to the wee hours of Friday night/morning watching TV and reading and napping off and on. Went to sleep about 15 minutes til 6 a.m. this Saturday. Woke up around 11 a.m. and slowly uncoiled, ate cereal and part of a huge mango with coffee on the side.

I put on clothes and brushed at my mop of hair on the outside chance that someone might drop by; though, I was not expecting anyone as I already knew what my son and his partner were doing and the one friend I’ve made here in San Francisco was preparing for her boyfriend’s arrival from India two days from now. I read, watched TV and napped (heaven). But, by around 2:30 pm I began to feel too unproductive and not really wanting to tackle the wash that accumulated over the past two weeks, I decided to walk down to my beloved Sutro beach area to get some much needed exercise and to enjoy this lovely, June, sunshine-filled day.

My tummy was starting to remind me that I’d eaten very little today, so I thought as an added incentive, I might drop in at the Cliff House for an appetizer and a drink. Oh, my soul, what a wonderfully, delightful place I have come to inhabit. The coolest breeze off the ocean kept the sun from beaming down too hot, and the fresh smells of newly growing plants and lovely blooming trees and birds wafting across on the waves of the wind made me feel like I was floating rather than walking the six blocks or so down to the Cliff House.

The tide was at a spot I had never witnessed before. The closest Seal Rock to the beach was half surrounded by dry looking beach sand. I had never seen it without water all around every inch of it. People were walking out to the rock even with children. I stood on the sea wall and watched in fascination because I had seen people stranded on the rock before and wondered how in the world they had managed to get through the rough water to the rock without being pounded against it. And, how in the world had they managed to climb up on that rock which had to be slick with algae and poop from the seals and birds. I have never seen a seal there but have been told they do come. Now it was all perfectly clear. At certain times of tide the rock is accessible from the beach on dry land! Who knew.

I spent a few minutes worrying for the safety of the folks down below as I have witnessed rescues by the fire department and park patrols and even once seen the aftermath of a drowning. There are signs everywhere warning that people are drowned here by being knocked off the cliffs and rocks.

Realizing that there was little I could do more than the signs to tell the people that they needed to be very careful, I wandered on to the Cliff House and was seated near a window so I could see the rock just as the tide began its slow incursion of the rock and beach one more time. It is easy now to see how folks get lured into being swept away by the water. It is really tricky. Here comes a big swell, and I think, “Man, that wave will top the rock.” It doesn’t. It simply brushes against the rock gently and rolls off the to the side beginning to fill in the sandy areas around the rock. This happens time and time again. Just as I am starting to believe that I must have imagined seeing the waves climb that rock many times, there it is! A wave that seemed really small and weak meets another coming the opposite direction and then another from another direction and the wind picks up a tad. Suddenly, just as they all reach the rock, small weak fingers of waves come together and crash against the stone sending a wave to the top and wash across to the opposite side. Now you know. Stay off the Seal Rocks.

My meal of crab cakes, cup of chowder and a citrus rum drink was topped off by coffee. Dinner taken care of, I wandered off to enjoy the beach, the huge Bonsais Pines and the day. God made such a lovely place here. I can’t help but pray and thank him every time I experience it. I also take a time to remember back to the visionary men and women who have created and preserved this place for so long. I think of Mr. Sutro as I walk past the two majestic concrete lion sentries that guard the entrance into Sutro Park where used to stand his mansion. And, I thank God for him too. Because he planted these pines and imported plants that clung to the sand dunes and cliffs in a grim determination to survive the ravages of the winds off the Pacific Ocean and hold on to the precious soil that tried to escape back into the water storm after storm. These pines have held on through earthquakes, fires and everything nature could throw at them to become the beautiful guardians they are now. I still suck in my breath when I look across the way and see them.

Bless the folks in San Francisco who have managed to keep this area free from encroaching commercialism. There is just the right amount of places to stay, live and buy a meal and a cup of coffee. I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention the volunteers who every year replenish the plants and put down soil guards to cling to the cliffs long enough to let the seedlings grow.

I am so blessed to have experienced this restful Saturday in the Sutro.

Ta ta San Fran

Have You Ever Pondered What 10 to the 20th Power Meant?

I know, I know, I wonder about weird stuff. But that is because I have no formal education and therefore I find myself reading about things that most folks considered at an earlier stage of their lives.

Now back to what 10 to the 20th power means; well, it can mean different things depending upon your meaning. Goggle it and you may be amazed. In America it means 20 zeros following the number 10. Or, a hundred billion billion. That just happens to be the number of photons per second that a typical one-hundred -watt bulb emits. Are you impressed? I was; but was more impressed and pleased with myself that when I wrote down the number of zeros I thought would be involved in 10 to the 20th power I got it right. At least in America given the context I was in, I got it right.

I love the internet because I can ask Google any stupid question I want, and no one has to know I ever asked. Google kindly sends me all types of answers which I have overtime learned to filter down to what I consider trusted sources. Some of those sources involve websites that are put there for teachers and students (really young students and very old teachers sometimes). Those are lovely sites and supply me with all kinds of answers that my hungry mind craves to know about for some unknown, unfathomable reason. Incidentally, the internet also contains fabulous dictionaries in many languages that are unbelievably helpful.

For instance, should a student of a foreign language want to, they could do their homework using such dictionaries that transfer English into French or vice versa. They must use caution since languages don’t always easily convert and keep the context or syntax straight. A savvy student would have little problem overcoming this issue.

Yep, even while writing on this blog I keep Meirriam – Webster On-line dictionary open in another tab so I can check the spelling or meaning of a word I just typed in — such as unfathomable which I was inclined to spell with a ph rather than an f. Also, I clicked on the audio and got the perfectly speaking Dude to pronounce it for me just in case I’d been saying it wrong–which from time to time turns out to be the case. In the instance of unfathomable the spelling was more troublesome than pronouncement except that it is a tongue twister. Try saying it really fast three times. It gets easier with practice.

Finding out that one of the on-line dictionaries pronounced words for me was a heavenly discovery aided by a friend who told me about that feature which I freely pass on to any dear reader who doesn’t already know of it. Then another great hint: My eldest son gave me the tip about opening another tab so you can switch back and forth without losing either place you want to keep open. Funny, I had worked on computers so many years and knew I could do that with windows in programs, but never knew about using open tabs while working on the internet! Gracious hint; productive hint. Thank you dear one for sharing that hint with me.

My son was also the one that told me how to insert a spine label into the back of a three-ring notebook. Did you know that if you bend the binder backwards and THEN slip in the label that it will go in soooo much easier. I had struggled off and on with this problem for years in the office. He solved the problem by sharing that one little hint. I bet if I’d Goggled it………. Well, maybe not……. how would you word the question? But, if you could word it right, I have no doubt the answer is out there in the ether (sorry if I’ve used ether word wrong) I just don’t have the energy to look it up. I will later.) somewhere.

Then I must go on to state that having spell checks installed in almost any text processing program must be something God Sent. It must be. How else can you explain such a freeing, ability-enhancing feature made available and so easily accessible to mankind. Still, with all those aids, invariably I will get careless, lazy or just to hurried and will find errors regardless of all the guardrails provided me.

If you should find errors, don’t mention to me unless you have already looked up the correction!

Ta Ta San Francisco

Share the Pain….Share the Gain….Share the Punishment

Just heard about something that Brandeis University near Boston has done: Called “Share the Pain”

This means that instead of making massive layoffs (especially in the lowest paying jobs at the University), the tenured faculty decided that they would vote to “Share the Pain” and take a pay cut, and if 30% of that group decided to do it–they would. Surprisingly 36% accepted the pay cuts. Don’t remember how many lower paying jobs were saved but it amounted to $300,000 + in money so significant number of low paying jobs were saved.

That’s what I call a good social conscience. A small company that makes musical instruments was thinking they might have massive layoffs as school districts (who comprised much of their market) were cutting music programs because of funding struggles. The CEO decided instead to ask workers if they might consider working fewer hours. They voted to do it, and jobs were saved. Wow! Makes me feel good!

Then there is that retired Executive working as a CEO for AGI for $1/yr to bring the company out of the ashes. I remember when Lee Iaccoca did that at Chrysler. This guy has since asked many of the Exec’s who received bonuses to give them back as it had so outraged the U.S. public. Those from the US mostly decided to give back as it seemed as if the Congress would take them back through income taxes if they didn’t’ ; however, the Executives who worked for AGI in foreign countries refused.

Now, I don’t know whether the guy getting paid $1/yr is getting kickbacks from the bonuses or not–I hope not. I do suspect some in the Congress are paid off because why else would they managed to slip the bonuses through by hiding wording and convincing other congressman (so the other congressmen said) that they simply couldn’t give them enough time to read it. I don’t think I would have voted for it if I couldn’t be given time to read it. Would you sign a contract under those conditions…I think not. The only thing I do that way is the computer agreements on each of the web pages I access…oops! Does that mean I would have done it just as they did? Aghhh!

Well, I hope Obama is not getting something out of it.

Point is, we don’t ever know who the real bad guys are. They hide very well. We are only aware that when the majority are suffering someone at the top is getting incredibly rich–and I am sick of it.

Let us give Congress and the President a choice either take a year’s salary at $1/yr or take a 10% pay cut to show you “feel our pain.” If they refuse, we will be forced to outsource their positions due to lack of funds to run the country. We can then hire politicians from India or China who really understand how to make money and will do it for a whole lot less.

Why can’t those guys in Washington drop their pension for life after only one term of service and begin buying their own 401K and draw social security upon retirement just like the normal citizen.

Why can’t Congress drop their expensive medical insurance and begin using Medicare like the seniors have to do.

I bet Social Security would come out of the red immediately! What do you think…would we suddenly get real cost of living increases for Social Security? I bet Medicare would shape up and be a really good insurance plan that paid for prescription medicine without even running out before the year was over.

Another thing: Congress should pass a law that it is illegal for them to vote on their own raises. That should be put on the ballot right under the names running for the office. And, they should all have term limits just like the President.

While I’m on this roll, I’d like to see that any congressman convicted of fraud or any illegal act would not only be kicked out of office, but would lose all their pension and retirement. Are you aware that even when they go to jail they still qualify for life long benefits and retirement just for serving one term in the house or senate. What jailbird stuck that onto the bottom of some long-winded piece of legislation? Talk about ear mark; that qualifies as more than an ear mark and it smells like the hind end of something.

Yes, many would leave the congress if all of the above went into effect. Wahoo!! We need to get rid of those career bureaucrats anyway. I reject the idea that dishonest politicians are better because they understand the way Washington really works. Maybe if Washington didn’t work that way, we would be better off.

I also reject the idea that we need to keep those people in the financial companies that know how to make the companies and banks work because I have a better cost-saving idea:

Let us pass a law that says that if an average high school graduate can’t understand a financial arrangement; then it can’t be considered legally binding. And, those guys making an annual salary of million and more (plus perks, stock options and bonuses) would not be needed. We would then have companies and banks we could understand and really invest our money in without losing it.

Let us pass a law that says congress can only pass one law at a time. That no law will be legally binding unless it can be read and understood by the average high school student. Let this law also ensure that the congress must be in their seats and voting every time a law is passed unless they bring a note from their doctor. So what if fewer laws were passed. At least we would know what was in them.

Congressmen and Senators insist that they must tack things onto bills so they can achieve a compromise on some issues. I say to hell with compromise. Learn how to work together just like we all have to do in the work world.  Work it out and move forward or face unemployment.

On another note: Let us pass a law that everyone…EVERYONE….who works for the government in any capacity (Federal, State, County, City) even those in clerical or cleaning positions….but especially politicians, must be sworn in using these words:

I recognize that I work for the PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY.. or THE PEOPLE OF THIS STATE…..OR COUNTY, OR CITY. And that this is a sacred trust that when violated  will result in criminal charges being brought against me and forfeiture of any pension and retirement due me through this employment.

Don’t you like the sounds of that?

Well, I feel so much better having vented. Why don’t you leave me a comment and vent back.

Maybe I will walk in  Sutro Park down to the Ocean so I can relax and feel at peace.

Ta, Ta San Francisco

Blue Skies; Sparkly Night

Living near the ocean, Sutro Park and the Presidio, in the early afternoons I often watch this huge bird hovering over the trees that are the Bonsais of the Sutro. He never moves a muscle, rides the waves of the air currents and stiff winds off the ocean like a kite managing to stay in one spot as if held in place by an invisible string. I wonder what he’s thinking? Is he surveying the majestic view of nature below him, or is he looking for dinner. He never dives downward so I like to think that he is enjoying the view.

The histories that are all around here record that much of what we see is not natural to this place. The ocean, cliffs, weather and sky are of course. But, the trees, grass cover and flowers were imported by humans dreaming of how to make this place even more lovely. Dreaming of how to protect the gentle nature of the cliffs from erosion. The trails, steps down the cliff, ocean view outlooks, restaurants and statues are placed here by humans dreaming and brought to reality by effort. Their dream makes it easier for us to feast eyes and pallets with little effort.

Histories record how those dreams were often obliterated by natural disasters and nightmares of humans brought to reality. I wonder if that huge, hovering bird has lived through many eons? Does he remember the Sutro Baths before they became just a footprint of a dream? How I’d loved to have seen its heyday. Does he recall the Sutro mansion and adjoining edifices before they became lovely ruins where romantics stroll to be married? Maybe he hovers over the present scene to enjoy it to its fullest before it becomes a footprint? I wonder.

I know how he feels. When I sleep I dream I am floating above it too. Drinking it in, smelling it all, loving it as it stands now in its beauty before it becomes a footprint. I love those footprints inside footprints that note times past, and I revel in improvements to dreams that tend to include more of the masses than those that went before. I wish that I’d grown up here. What a place for a child to roam and thrive! I am grateful to be here now in San Francisco, transplanted just like the trees and flowers.

Ta Ta for now San Francisco.

I am going to lie in my comfy bed, with screenless windows cracked to let in the cool ocean breeze and dream of floating above the huge Bonsais surveying the footprints and beauty below me like the hovering bird. But, lo tomorrow I’ll be flying with my bird’s eye camera to record the these places while they remain. Oh, happiness is now.

Magical San Francisco

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