Hawaii 2010

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Were we really walking the streets of New York two days ago?

When you return to your normal life you have a moment of surrealism when you think your vacation was a dream. We looked at some pictures tonight and we are watching Enchanted to see some familiar sights again, fun.

For all my life the city was such a blank place, a composite of move clips and and lots of misconceptions. The real thing is very real, and now that I have seen all sides of the city, however briefly, it is a part of me.

I will now always have a better understanding of the logistics of the twin towers, and all the work that has been done to turn that greatest tragedy into a fitting memorial to our resolve and our sorrow.

No Place Like Home

A five hour flight, a good nights rest, your own coffee maker, and memories to last a lifetime of the city that never sleeps. Spent time earlier downloading photos from two cameras and two smartphones and have over 1000 shots to remind us of our trip.

Something occurred in a conversation with a store owner that has me thinking. A sweet frenchman who has run a NYC gift shop across the street from the Madison Square Park was telling me that this area was overrun with meth and crack sales, prostitutes, and homeless people for many years and was now one of the most friendly areas in the city.

Somehow, there was cultural improvement that transformed the flatiron area into a vibrant living, child and pet friendly area of safe streets, bustling restaurants, new hotels, and very happy people. During our week nearby at the Nomad Hotel we saw and childrens concert, a park filled with new sculpture, and people enjoying the weather, their pets, and each other in a joyous experience of city life.

How did Juliani accomplish this, what set of changes took the low lifes underground and allowed hard working young people to fill the city. This occured as Pastor Tim Keller admitted the growth of his church was almost 2/3 people who were already Christians realizing the city was a place you could live and raise your family in safety.

Somehow, this visible reality was and will be a great encouragment to me.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Last Full Day

We took the Subway way up north where Brian lived when he first moved here and hiked to see the little lighthouse under the Great grey bridge which is a book Laura reads to her kids each year. We went back to Times Square to buy theatre tickets, home to rest and out for a night of delight.

We have seen Brian's world with his help this week and it really helped us to fall in love with what is good about the big city. The trees and grass and fine weather helped make it special. On the Subway this beautiful dark skinned beauty gave Brian a hug and told us one of the actresses in Newsies was her friend, turns out she was the lead female, and it made it more specia to see her sing and dance and act.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Sad sights and happy ones

In a city this big you see some people struggling. We see four or five homeless people beggin each day on the street. Someone placed a severely crippled women on a street cornooer to beg. Even sadder are the women who come on the subway and beg for diaper money or tell how they lost their job.

On the good side, this place seems safe for young women who are living and working here successfully. The streets are vibrant with people visiting and eating till late at night. We have really enjoyed Madison Square park, so funnel with pets and people.

The streets are so crowded, and on garbage nights they put bags and boxes and with all the construction scaffolding just walking a block is hazardous.

Restaurants are always full and eating out is a challenge. We had breakfast in a place with ten bar stools and two small tables, and it was a blast.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Day 4 City sights and art

We enjoyed a tour of Park Ave. that included the Empire
state Building, Grand Central Station and Radio City.
The Museam of Modern Art allowed me to see Monet, Picasso and Van Gogh originals. Very special.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

NYC Day 3 The American experience

We have been on the streets and waters of Manhatten and Brooklyn since 7:30 am till 9pm. Spent three hours at the 9/11 Museam which brought it all back and reminded me of the need to create the history for our younger generation like Shannon who was 2 when it occurred.

Big bucket list to visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Great visual and learning experience with the portable audio devices. In both cases I was reminded that history is messy. Was shocked to find out that women were not allowed at the dedication ceremony for the Lady Liberty, the suffragets boated around the island in protest.

Saw Brians apt in Brooklyn and ate dinner there and road the subway home wthout incident, a wonderful day with sunny skys and great memories.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Day 2 Central Park

The three hour time difference got us this morning and we struggled out to breakfast near eleven. Brian took us to the Museam of Natural History which wwas awesome, especially the collection of pre historic fossils, great t rex.

Central park was so green and pleasant and filled with people enjoying the sights, we walked and saw a lot in the park, then to the Gugganheim store and home as 7 pm. Feet hurt. Having trouble uploading pictures, please Facebook me to see some photos. I am amazed how diverse, how young, and how safe we feel here. Some sad homeless beggars, but not nearly as many characters as we expected. We had Shake Shack burgers for lunch which rank way up there on the best all time.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Neeew York City

Wow, what a morning we are having! We headed out for breakfast and walked down to Wall Street, well, actually took the subway for the first time, and then to the crowded 9/11 memorial site. Lines to buy tickets to the museum were enormous so we will try online. Saw so many breathtaking structures especially the new tower, the Empire State Building and Madison Square Garden. I am impressed with the youth, the feeling of constant activity, and the continual reconstruction that seems to be taking place on every corner. We found our Starbucks two blocks down. More later.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Michele Wie has come of age

I have always like this tall young athelete, and admire the work she had done to go from long hitter to disciplined winner. This adds to the enjoyment of a sport that many thought was in trouble with the invasion of foriegn golfers.

This is the last Hendricks stairway stair step picture for a while. I just saw a recent picture of the house where this picture was taken on Ceperly Ave. in Oneonta, felt weird seeing it modernized.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Busy pre vacation weekend

In a few years I went from the shortest to the tallest, which is how it works with boys and girls.

We enjoyed three days with Linda and Charlie, packing and planning, saying bye to our son Matt who is headed off for another adventure in work and travel.

Thinking about experiencing the reality of the city of Manhattan which has so much in my visual memory from news and movies and pictues, but so little of the sights and smells and sounds. Looking forward to it.

Always hoping more people with see the glory of God in the face of Christ and His generous grace.

This is a test of my phabulous phablet

My goal is to be able to update my blog without taking a heavy computer to Manhattan. I am typing this on my small Targus Bluetooth keyboard on my HTC One large phone. In order to do this I had to change the email address on my blog, and now to test uploading pictures from this phone to this blog.
Yes, it worked, will share Monday from NYC.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Vacation options observed

Linda began her long teaching career with a Mustang and a home on Pensacola Beach, they still live in Pensacola so traveling to see family and this great country has been a blast.

It is interesting to see how people retire. Where I live, the home is where we base our life, and depending on who you are, you have a number of ways to vacation. many have two homes, and two lives, here and there.

Many have some sort of mobile travel device. My Sis and hubby own a 5th wheel, and for ten years have seen America, used it as an extra bedroom for company, driven it to the local beach to change enviroments in their home town. We observe that maintaining and moving it is a lot of work, but rewarding, and occasionally pretty expensive, as the repairs they are making on this leg of their month long trip. Flat tires, A/C problems, all the issues of ownership on the road.

Some folks like us, go to vacation spots and rent rooms and cars, enjoying the local sights intensely but for a short duration. This is us, next week, in Manhattan, sightseeing by foot, bus and subway.

I have some friends who in a long retirement have moved through all these various options, the mountain cabin, the RV roaming and sitting in a space near family, the rented home in a cooler spot, and finally....just give me a recliner and a remote control.

Its all good.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Family Visit

L to R Don, Janet, Linda, Judy. Taken in Troy Alabama in 1962.

Enjoying my sister Linda and her Husband Charlie who are on a month long travel trailer trip. Dinner last evening at Joe's Real BBQ with our daughters family, and golf today with Charlie. We have been playing together for four decades, and long ago I helped him get started, today we tied. He plays weekly in retirement and enjoys the sport like I do.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Can I enjoy life knowing others are not?

Visiting Boca Raton years ago, ogeling the lifestyle of the south Florida wealthy.

To me, it is the price of worldwide connection, to know that the experience of daily life can be so good for you and so poor for others, and to have no real concrete reason why you are here and not there.

On flikr the other day, I saw a collection of pictures from the streets of India, and the poverty, and sickness, and deformity and filty conditions of vast numbers of people in that collection was jarring to my soul. My culture and life experience here are so different in every way, how can I enjoy this knowing that exits?

We ask that question about other religions and cultures, can you spiral upward? Can conditions for everyone get better? Is is only our system in this country that has raised the standard of living for many.

What about poverty and need in America? What about the desperate masses of women and children trying to come to America for help.

Its all pretty overwhelming if you think about it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Summer Trips

Here is an early marriage shot on a vacation back when we were young parents.

I enjoy talking to folks about their trips and hobbies. If I had a do over I would include becoming a Harley Rider. Those folks enjoy the smells and bumps of road travel and if they can avoid hitting an animal or being hit by a truck, it makes for a life of good friends and happy memories on our continental US.

A week from today we will be getting up to plan a day of sight seeing in NYC. It will include trying not to look like a total rube with my shoulder sling camera and wide eyed out of towner look. I am way past dressing cool and blending in.

We enjoy the people watching we do in New Orleans, so this will be that kind of experience, plus tall buildings, crowded streets, and parks and museums and bridges.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Monsoon Monday

We are Forest Gump!

Monsoon is a phenomenon involving humidity with increases the possibility of wind and rain. We are in a drought here in the desert southwest and I would love to see some rain during this summer's season.

As an anniversary of my date of commitment in the faith approaches I have been reflecting on the two sided journey my life has taken. I have lived in Arizona almost as long as I lived in the South. I am not native to either side of the country. I am always a transplant. My love of the south and my love of the west are now part of my life experience. Both have been learning experiences.

I once visited a junior high friend who lived in a long cabin less than a mile down the road from his childhood home. He became a respected local judge and never left home. I have no idea what that is like.

I think of the double sided faith tradition I have lived in, 20 years in the very traditional and very theologically rigid Presbyterian Church where all truth was discovered and codified and is now only being defended. And now twenty years of in-dependency where you have every flavor of the faith around you all the time.

Read an article that admitted that most pastors feel like failures because most of their experiences are frought with problems related to the huge societal and social changes that are affecting church survival and attendance, as well as church tension and stress. I guess I feel more like a survivor than a success, and that's OK because all the changes and loss of places and friends have allowed me to have a perspective on life that I value, and an understanding of my own purpose and God's purpose for me. Francis Sheaffer said it long ago in a booklet. "There are no little people and no little places".

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Remembering Dad

My father built transportation cubicles out of aluminum. Truck Bodies, a new light weight and malleable metal that has changed our world. This industry provided us a modest living, and moved us around the country while we were growing up.

It kept Dad busy, often traveling, and we all saw that he was doing the best he could. The 10 plus years of retirement on their social security provided more time for us to enjoy each other.

Dad loved sharing coffee with friends at local restaurants, eventually McDonalds became his morning haunt. He loved laughing at TV comedies, loved having something to do each day. He never understood my world, but deeply was moved when he saw me teach and lead.
He served in the war honorably, worked hard and long, stayed loving and faithful to mom, kept trying to earn money long after retirement with paper routes, and was a loving, quiet, pleasant friend to countless people. I remember Dad on Fathers Day.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Amazon Prime

Summer monsoon duststorm capture that is quite dramatic. She better get indoors quickly.

I hope my pleasant relationship with Amazon does not tip the scales of some free enterprise future, but it is just too darn easy to like the search and send capabilities of this huge middleman. I know it takes money from local stores, but we also have a huge Amazon supply business center here on the west side of town.

Prime is a yearly fee that give mailing cost benefits, free access to books and movies, and now free music. Very cool. Last night I
rewatched a small drama about loss and hope entitled "The Magic of Bell Isle" with Morgan Freeman. Such a lovely film.

Bought some walking shoes, Laura a book, and an order on file for our fridges water filter. They all arrived in two days. That is Amazon Prime. I like it.

Friday, June 13, 2014

An intown vacation in Scottsdale

We desert dwellers are blessed to have the winter vacation and conference mecca that is Scottsdale. Upscale dining, shopping, and more great golf coursed than you can shake your sticks at. And today our final day of the Dry Heat Tournament ended at Indian owned Talking Sticks Resort. The course was the most friendly of the week and I shot my best score, enjoyed Larrys buddies, cemented my inconsistent golf game to a chronic case of under achievemnt.

I think I enjoy a weekly round, but a week of golf is too tiring and exhausting. Life is good, but just not for me and a week of Golf.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

U.S. Open respect

I just like this picture from Kona Town overlooking the ocean. I could take that view daily for sure.

Well, now I know several things, that playing golf every day is hard physical work, even for old dudes in golf carts. Summer golf in the desert is popular, and keeping hydrated is mandatory. Yesterday our carts had powered misters on the roof that blew cooling mist in your face. Very nice.

I love the game, and realize that it is best enjoyed occasionally.

Plan to enjoy much of the Open in newly historic restored Pinehurst 2.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Resort Course Golf is Big Business in AZ

Well, three days in a row we have teed it up on some of the most beautiful sculptured land you could ever hope to see and enjoy. Monday was the Merriott at Desert Ridge. Heavily trapped, and very hard.

Tuesday was the Championship course at the Phoenix Tournament Players Club. Very lush, perfectly unique holes and a fun feel as you see classes of juniors learning the game, which is the future of the sport.

Today the Marriot Kierland, up and down huge hills and slopes, very fast greens and yet fair. I played my best today.

With Larrys group, part of the fun is lunch and the handing out of daily awards and progressive scoring for the final on Friday.

I am off tommorrow and back on Friday. I don't think I have the energy to do this often. but it is fun. Each course runs things differently, and yet very much professional in helping guys and girls have a good day of sport.

Monday, June 9, 2014

It's a dry heat Tournament

For the first time in my golfing years, I am playing several days in a row in a small friends gathering. Today we played The Faldo Course at Wildfire at the Desert Ridge Marriott Resort. The Ladies PGA tour was here earlier in the year. This 18 was filled with traps everywhere, and we all found them at many points. Not my best golf day but fun and good fellowship.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Extravagant Grace

A bumpy, red, caged TRex is someones idea or art?

Grateful to Tim Keller for writing the Prodigal God several years ago. Finely crafted and contextually rooted message of the two sons parable in Luke 15.

Tried to get sympathy in my wallet search, don't deserve any.

Enjoy the day.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Reach and and touch a part of movie history

This afternoon we enjoyed our huge and wonderful Phoenix Museum of Art. They have a special exhibit of Hollywood famous movie costumes. The real things, not copies. Things like the motorcycle outfit that Arnold took from the biker in terminator, the real Darth Vadar suit, lots of movies you've seen or want to see. We spent over three hours including a walk through the permanent exibits. We always enjoy going there and learning about art and artists. No photos allowed.

We also notice how they are spending money to make it a better museum. They were remodeling a huge room and plastering partitions all over to create roomy galleries for future acquisitions.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Own it, improve it, maintain it.

Guest room shot.

I will not fib. We moved alot growing up and mostly rented. In the south we lived in very old parsonage homes in various states of repair. It was a personal dream for me to own a home. We got a late start, I was 40 when we bought our first home. We are close to owning our third home in the valley, seven in two of them, both of which were new builds, and eleven in this one. It was built in 89, the year we moved here, and we are the second owners.

We have recarpeted and tiled it, painted every room, survived two flooding accidents that caused major repairs, taken the popcorn off the ceilings, remodeled the kitchen and utility room, painted the exterior, treated for termites, and now are going to update our bathroom. Outside we have planted a huge shade tree, removed two huge messy trees, bricked and remodeled our from yard and entrance.

This is good, though painful, and we think smart to get done for our own enjoyment, the homes resale value, and something to be done before we retire. Melissa our daughter is working at her interior design skill with an experienced designer, so here we go.

Home renting in the winter works pretty good here and our goal is to possibly rent for a month or two and see new places at a leisurely pace. All Lord willing of course.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

June is not bursting out all over, and that's good

This was a tough year for Laura. I am glad we are not immediately jumping on a plane for vacation. We leave the last week of the month so Laura gets to relax, read a book, as she is doing today, and enjoy our home. We are usually away for Father's Day every year so this year it will be fun to be here longer.

I bought a new appliance recently, my mother loved kitchen gadgets. We used to laugh each time we went to visit wondering what new labor saving device she would had purchased this time. For years we ate bacon cooked in a U shape on her special timed bacon cooker. Well, in my dotage I also love applicances and added this Quisinart Egg Cooker to my arsenal....and along with our coffee maker and coffee grinder we are please with this brand. Talk about perfect boiled eggs, fast and easy, this cooks up to ten at a time. Do not attempt to touch it during steaming, he said painfully.

Where did you put it?

I am in the dog house with my wife.

I have been on a streak of misplacing things. Over the weekend I misplaced the new wallet I bought to replace the wallet I lost last month. While I was looking for the latest lost wallet I found the wallet I lost last month under all my dark sox in the sox box.

That was good because there were many items there I need, but now I have to find my latest lost wallet to get the replaced debit and credit cards and the new drivers license.

This is so frustrating.

Monday, June 2, 2014

True loves first kiss

Just thinking about how many movies have shared this theme in recent years after enjoying the retelling of the sleeping beauty story yesterday.

50 First Dates, an Adam Sandler movie with a sweet message. 'Theres nothing like a first kiss'

Enchanted, the musical where the sleeping beauty story is retold so well.

Frozen-no one falls in love at first sight.

Its corny, but as I type this on monday morning beside my movie date Laura, we are a 'love at first sight couple'. 'We are a I am going to marry that girl' I just took out couple. And we are 39 and 1/2 years toward being a couple for a full 40 years.

I believe in the power of true loves first kiss.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

I'll see your three Grahams and raise you two Shaeffers

I am longing to see the Napali coastline from the top one more time.

The amazing thing about reaching the second half of life is the perspective you gain from observation and experience. I just read along with 10 thousands other bargain hunters, a book that Francis Shaeffer just published...Why I am an atheist who believes in God.

It was very well written and just what I needed as we are roughly the same age. He makes the major point that although he does not and cannot share the worldview of his calvinist missionary parents, he does share their love and passion for life, love, purpose, and beauty, and continues to pray and worship God and support his children and grandchildren in honoring those same passions.

He spoke about their intellectual passion to help students, and their practical inclusion and acceptance of sinful lifestyles as they ministered to that young culture in the 70s. They were he said, larger than their own belief systems when love and ministry were concerned, and I appreciated that, coming from the rather judgmental side of the reformed family.

It is love, and goodness and beauty and music and watching life replicate through the generations that make it all worthwhile. And it is God who is the author and finisher of this faith and beauty, and I am convincedFranky knows that reality and mystery.