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Sunday, August 24, 2003

Home Sweet Home

Just settling in after an enjoyable vacation in Southern California. It achieved the ends that a good vacation is supposed to. I’m tanned, refreshed, and reconnected with spouse. To top it off, home looks good on coming back. Son Jonathan did a nice job of caretaking. Gracias, Jon.

Also had some pleasant moments: a huge Edward Weston exhibit at the Huntington; a brief visit with the great "blawger," Denise Howell, at her lovely home in Newport Beach; some premier beach-bumming and nightime street-strolling in San Diego; a visit with my wife’s cousin and her family in LA; my first-ever visit to the awesome Getty Center; and a stopover in one of the prettiest towns on the planet, Santa Barbara.

The best part of all was being able to stroll the warm, happening streets at night and dining al fresco in areas like Pasadena Old Town, the Gaslamp District of San Diego; San Diego Old Town; Santa Monica Promenade; State Street Santa Barbara; Downtown San Luis Obispo.

If you’ve ever spent a summer in San Francisco, you know how starved we are for warm summer evenings. You’re lucky to get three or four nights a year where you can go out in shirtsleeves. Some people actually claim to like the fog. Jill and I ain’t among’em, that’s for sure. After forty years in this area, I still can’t get used to it. Whenever I go back East or down South in the summer, I’m almost moved to tears when I can drive the streets at night with my car windows down, or sit outside in a T-shirt and drink a beer, or stroll with the crowds in the streets.

Hats off to those Southern California towns for restoring the rundown areas that used to blight their landscape, and transforming them into a vibrant ambience. San Francisco, while admittedly a world-class city, is totally behind the curve when it comes to this kind of renovation.

Years ago, when I first came here, it used to be called “The City That Knows How.” Haven’t heard that claim in a long time—not since the city’s been hijacked by the radical left and the fervor of political correctness. Although I normally consider myself a leftward-leaning person, when I contemplate the inept government of this left-governed place, it gives me pause. We have the dirtiest streets and the most homeless on the streets of any city in the country. Yes the night climate may suck, but even if it were nice, you wouldn’t want to do much strolling around these trash-strewn, urine-spotted streets.

Would we live here if leaving didn’t mean abandoning our source of livelihood? It’s hard to say. The many pleasures of the place probably trump the disadvantages. Despite my bitching, it’s great to be home. But I’m sure going to miss those warm nights and broad beaches. What I won’t miss is the crowded freeways. Unbelievable! How do people live with it? I’m staying put.

Post-script: Denise looks great! She reports a trouble-free pregnancy so far.

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