Monthly Archives: July 2016

A Pocket of Resistance: The Marine Layer

i often write about how the weather in the Southwest corner is impacted by the marine layer. Sometimes i praise it. More often than not, i complain about it causing “May Gray” and “June Gloom.”

Sometime in early July, it goes away.

If the truth be told, in spite of San Diego having the best weather in the world year round unless you like below freezing temperatures, snow for four months out of the year, or hot and humid days, one of its real attractions for me is the marine layer giving the Southwest corner an aura of the place being a real seaport town, not a paradise. When the marine layer rolls in at night, i can smell, feel the sea where i spent a significant part of my life; i remember other sea towns in far off places; and for brief moments, i am a mariner again.

But for most of my readers, the marine layer is an unknown. It’s hard to describe, hard to understand.

Friday during our weekly early morning round of golf, the sun came through around 10:00 a.m., or four bells to an old sailor. We had just finished the fourteenth hole when i looked up and saw the perfect example of the marine layer. It had receded from land and west off of Point Loma and was hovering waiting for the perfect July weather in the mid-70’s to give way to the evening cool and swoop back in to give us a gray evening.

Perhaps this might give you a better idea of my marine layer:

2016-07-08 09.41.48

A Pocket of Resistance: Home in the Southwest Corner

For all of those who might wonder, Maureen and i arrived home about an hour ago. We have unpacked. Maureen is doing a quick grocery run, and i fooling with this dagnabbit contraption before a serious nap.

We had an incredibly wonderful time with Alan and Maren Hicks in Sonoma. Our dinner last night with Bob Thiel and Peter  in Santa Barbara was, as it always is with Bob, a great dinner and a super reconnect.

More later, but a NORP is waiting.

This is either a chubby Van Gogh or a goofy old guy unpacking Maureen’s hat.

A Pocket of Resistance: Independence? Freedom?

i have just had a wonderful six days, including celebrating our 240th Independence Day. As Maureen sleeps in our motel room before we complete our journey from home to Sonoma and back, i find myself sitting here with an innumerable number of things i would like to write about but probably never will. The sad thing is all of these things make me sad.

Without going into specifics, what makes me most sad is most of my friends and damn near all of the people in this world cannot treat other people with respect because they are so focused on themselves, they have been duped into believing stupid things, they refuse to think, and they are too lazy to think deeply.

Wake up, world. Your primary job is to live well and treat other people well. Start caring and quit hating.

i want to explain but it will not resolve anything more than my thoughts here will have any impact.

Our forefathers did not create the Declaration of Independence or write and adopt the Constitution for personal gain. They wished to establish a country of freedom and equality. Even if they weren’t aware of the long-term global significance of freedom for everyone, that was their intent. They and many others after them have died or suffered greatly defending that right to be free.

Dressing up in our country’s flag or some sad replica of our flag’s parts (mostly against our flag’s code), shooting fireworks, having parades, gorging on food, getting drunk, or all other sorts of odd behavior has a feel-good aspect because people are trying to celebrate our independence.

But the real celebration should be respecting everyone else’s independence. We, meaning all of us who live in this wonderful 240-year old country to which all, and i mean all of us immigrated at one time or another, need to practice that.

That, my friends, is the way we should celebrates our independence.

A Pocket of Resistance: Sweetness

i have intended to post an annotated pictorial on yesterday’s parade in the Sonoma Plaza, but i am not sure if i will ever get to it. We hit the road this morning for  our drive back to the Southwest corner with a stop in Santa Barbara tonight and dinner with another close friend from Vanderbilt days.

But there was one photo of a parade moment that captured me. As the beautiful horses were doing their struts for a slew of Vaqueros, there was one near the rear who had checked out. His father, one could tell, was a caring man:

sleeping_vaquero (1)


A Pocket of Resistance: Sonoma: Tranquility

We are here.

In Sonoma.



We, or rather i chose to drive rather than fly this year. The trip for the Independence Day celebration in Sonoma Plaza, an impressive historic presence in itself, has become somewhat of a mini-tradition for us. i pushed for the drive because i like to drive. Even my power two-day drive to and from Austin in May was pleasant to me. i thought maybe this drive would be a good way to convince Maureen we could drive to places on a regular basis.

i’m not sure the latter will be accomplished.

101-GaviotaRestAreaDriving, in itself, was tougher, even though less than half the distance of the Texas trip. As i have written in my Democrat column for Tuesday, Los Angeles proved on this trip it remains the most awful place to drive over everywhere else i’ve driven (note: i did not drive in Italy, Korea, or Hong Kong). More surprising (although as an afterthought, i concluded it might have been the upcoming holiday weekend and should have been no surprise at all) was the traffic on Thursday. North of Los Angeles, it was not always heavy but always there. No cruise control. It was work, but the vistas along 101 were 101-hillsbreathtaking (the photos here were taken from the Wikipedia and “flicker” websites: i was too busy driving to take pictures). In spots like the one to the right i thought of Marlon Brando and Karl Malden riding the hills in “One-Eyed Jacks.”

This area of our country always captures me with its history, its ocean, and its sweeping land.  Rolling into and past Ventura and Pismo Beach is like passing by a Brigadoon by the sea. Where’s Gidget? It is an incredible drive to US-101_Vent_2get back to what used to be the real world. The lovers of Florida beaches and the farmers back home in Tennessee would gasp at the expansiveness.

It is a ride  to remember, to escape from the pressures of back home, for even the  retired (sic) have pressures the younger working folk will not understand.

The area outside of San Francisco is as equally magical, if not more so, than the city itself.

So we arrived in Sonoma, walked about a block to the Sebastiani reception area and sat on a rock wall while sharing a bottle of Viognier. Afterwards, we had a lovely dinner in the backyard, watched the stars and planets come out to populate the heavens almost to the degree they light up the sky at sea from a darkened ship.

i have told my daughters Sonoma is a magic place. It is. After all, we are just down the way from Jack London’s Valley of the Moon; we have driven into to Sausalito where John Steinbeck had his claim. It contains erudite folks and people of means; it is folks that earn minimum wage and have picnics rather than dine out, of farmers and workmen; it is artists, artisans, and laborers. It is a cut across the people of America.

2016-07-02 07.15.21This morning, i took my coffee back outside and sat in the cool of the morning haze next to the pear and apple trees, the Hicks’ garden boxes of squash and herbs. It was quiet and moist. i thought of an old gospel hymn. : “i walk in the garden alone / while the dew is still on the roses / and the voice i hear / falling on my ear / the son of god discloses.”


2016-07-02 07.27.47-3Of course, i forgot to bring a pullover knowing its gets cool here in the evenings. Alan, being the gracious host, offered me one of his pullovers. It is a heavy cotton pullover from the Hong Kong Yacht Club. There is no doubt i am in a magic place.