March 24, 2011


IMGP4837, originally uploaded by casual clicks.

I think she looks like Elizabeth Taylor.

October 11, 2010

Who Are You?

This image was taken at sunset overlooking Tenaya Lake in Yosemite National Park.

I haven't written in months so thought I should update just to keep my mind from atrophying.

In my last post about meeting my niece, Sara, I joked about having two readers. Turns out I had 246 "page views" last month and 13 have actually left comments since I started this blog a long while ago.

Since I haven't yet figured out how to know who my readers are, if you are AJJ, or one of the 6 anonymous commenters, drop me a note and let me know who you are.


March 10, 2010


I'd like my two readers to meet the niece I never knew I had.

Though we have not met yet, Sara is a part of me and the Lowe family.

Sara is a wonderful young lady. She has a heart of gold and a lively spirit that brightens the darkest day. Her social conscience challenges injustice where ever it rears its ugly head. Her sense of humor and hugs melt life's worries away while her can-do attitude inspires. Quick to smile, faster to forgive, Sara is a young woman who is touching lives forever.

Raised by her mother, Sara entered my life when my wife, daughter and sister were nosing around trying to find a way to reach out to her on Facebook. I friended Sara with a heart felt message and she aswered everyone's wish by opening her heart to my family.

Notes back and forth have continued for just a few weeks and a welcoming gathering will take place very soon. I can hardly wait!

Welcome to the family, dear Sara.

Uncle Jeff


December 15, 2009


Big BOOS to the State of California for instituting a $6 day use parking fee at the new Baldwin Hills Overlook. This site is at the top of a hill that allows unparalleled views of the entire LA basin. There is a visitor's center that has never been open when I've been there and yet the enemy imposes a fee so one can walk up a little hill and see the city unfold before you. BOOOO!

Went there today and there were handprinted signs warning me to pay the fee. "Stop, fee parking only. Stop, have you paid your parking fee?"

Stop, State of California...these parks are what my taxes are supposed to pay for.


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August 05, 2009

Working Back Into Shape

It's been frustrating.

After walking marathon distance, then back-to-back uphill hikes, something happened to my left knee. Blew it out or some such thing. But it sure was painful and so I couldn't really push it so my walking and hiking was suspended.

But, in the last week, the knee has felt reliable and the pain and tenderness has healed. And so, I've slowly been testing its integrity by walking on the level and the last two days, up and down trails in Kenny Hahn State Recreation Area. It has held up just fine.

But that frustration comes from realizing how much stamina I've lost in 6 weeks. I had gotten to the point where I could do 5 miles up and down hills without a problem. Not today. Hahn kicked my ass. First day...easy trail. Day two...Ron's Trail...had to stop three times compared to zero before injury. Day three...Ridge Trail, City View Trail, and Fire Road...had to stop too many times to catch my breath. Shirt off. Got a good sweat going. Hot sun, High humidity.

But I still got my ass kicked.

And then I met John. Walking the level path around the old earthen reservoir. We exchanged hellos while we both pulled up signaling our mutual wish to chat. As are so many who walk at Hahn, he is diabetic and told me to make sure my sugar is level. Asked about my story. Yes, everyone at Hahn has a story.

And his advice rang true:

Take it easy.
Don't do too much.
You'll get back soon enough.
Watch your food.

Thanks, John. See you soon.

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July 01, 2009

"My" Gallery

All photos are framed and have been hung for display in my temporary "gallery" (see previous post). I'll spend tomorrow pricing and naming. I'll try to take pics and post them in the next few days.

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June 29, 2009

Don't Know If They'll Sell

My wonderful sister has helped me select 60 images and complementary frames to exhibit in a store display window and perhaps the store itself, though that isn't likely.

The deal? Shopping center owner thinks the empty store might look better with my photos in the windows and so I was asked to put a display together.

Only 24 will fit in the 6 large windows so I'd love for management to see all 60 and say I could open the store as a mini gallery of my images until they find a rent-paying tenant. That idea has a snowball's chance in hell of happening but that's the direction I'm hoping to move their thinking.

It's costing me $1300 to mount the 'exhibit' and I'm hoping to sell all of them...hahaha though I don't think that likely. But I gotta give it a shot. Free, some visibility, maybe make some connections...who knows.

Though it's only me sitting barefoot in an empty store framing away listening to my computer's iTunes, I put up OPEN signs in the windows and had some Italians visiting America come in and was pleased they actually marveled at many of the photos.

I need to start taking lira.


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June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson Didn't Beat It...Dead At 50

Michael Jackson finally found a way to get out of debt.

Big loss but he'll stand tall in music history.

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June 21, 2009

Father's Day

Just staying home for father's day. Scott and Lauren will be over to eat the chili and chicken tortilla soup I just made. They both go well with the fresh bolillos I just got at the local Mexican bakery. Eating in will be a lot more enjoyable than fighting a crowd somewhere and getting mediocre food.

I called my Dad earlier to wish him a happy day and to invite he and Ginger to eat with us. They probably won't since they go visit Ginger's bed-ridden daughter in the convalescent place everyday and are pooped out afterward.

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June 17, 2009


We celebrated my Dad's 86th birthday on Sunday. All his 4 living kids were there with our families. Ginger, his lady friend of many years also attended. Jim bbqd dogs and burgers per Dad's request. I burned a few special cds for atmosphere. Everyone had a good time.

At these family gatherings I can't avoid remembering my dear Mom and best friend/brother David, both of whom died within days of the other in 1988.

The family is blessed that Dad is still of right mind and body. He is active and vital mentally and physically. Sure he is slowing down a bit, moving a bit more slowly...cautiously...but, he's 86!

Dad is a man of his word and he has always said he will live to 104. So, Dad, here's to many more wonderful years ahead!!

Dad, of course, is my hero along with my is the case with most kids and their parents. Dad, a WWII war vet, a life spent trying to provide for his in day complaining...just doing his job as Dad.
His life and example are a testament which I try to honor every day but too often fail.

Congratulations, Dad. And, happy birthday!!

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June 14, 2009

Lakers Take Title. Still...Who Cares?

As the Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA championship a few minutes ago and idiots in the neighborhood start exploding hugely loud shells more even than on July4th, watch as fans lose any shred of civility they had as they start rioting around the city.

Late update: Just saw a public service announcement by the Laker coach a few of the Lakers appealing to the fans to show the world how Laker fans celebrate by doing so with dignity.


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June 09, 2009

Another Obese Guy

Seems this is the week for meeting obese people who need encouragement.

I met another one today, Mark. 6'2", 371 pounds, age 51. Walked past he and his pals moaning and groaning on a trail. He was stopped and hunched over gasping. We talked for 30 minutes about exercise and the weight loss battle. We shook hands and he thanked me profusely for the help. You go, Mark. Connect anytime.

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June 08, 2009

An Odd Day

Meet Preston. Preston and I met two weeks ago. I was walking hills and so was he...sort of. Hunched over, gasping for breath, I stopped and offered him a couple encouraging words.

An hour later we chatted for while longer....exchanged mini weight loss summaries, he took my number and I offered some concrete suggestions learned from my weight loss journey.

Got a call and plea for help before sunrise this morning from Preston. We set a time to meet at the place we both exercise. He was late but while I was waiting I met Cordelia. I don't have a photo of her but that will come.

Cordelia walked past me and we exchanged pleasantries and I commented on the notepad and pencil she was carrying. Ten minutes later. Preston still late. Cordelia
returns my way and approaches me asking if she can talk to me saying she is confused about some things. Though I'm trusting, I'm figuring scam in the works. Clothes, clean and current. Diamond or fake diamond necklace. Nail polish well chipped.

For the next 30 minutes Cordelia tells me stuff about her life...job, daughter, ex, mom, housing situation, a passion or two, interests. I listen and ask questions and make an observation here and there. I suggest she jot down a couple of the key points I'm guiding her to understand. She does. I see her mind working. Her eyes brighten. She asks for a card and I offer her my photo cards. She sees I'm a photographer and she brightens even more saying she just got a camera
and has always wanted to learn photography.

Preston arrives and I introduce him to Cordelia. She asks if she can contact me and I assure her that would be fine as she departs.

I walk Preston around the 1/2 mile loop. He sweats profusely on level ground which is normal for his level of obesity. I confirm his doctor has completed an EKG and cleared him for walking.
We chat about weight loss, redirecting his life related to it, his bad knees and burning back, what methods he's already tried and failed at, and more.

He then introduces me to his pal, Rodell who is waiting for him back at the car. He's up for a field trip so I take him to Inglewood Park Cemetery for his next lesson on weight loss and related concepts. I ask to see Rodell walk since he had a muscle removed from his leg. He has a pronounced limp.

Next stop on the fieldtrip is to Trader Joe's where we walk the entire store stopping at many items where he learns how to read product information labels...looking for portion size, sodium, fat, calories, etc. He seems to get it. Rodell says he enjoyed walking around the store. That he felt good doing it. I told him that was his exercise for the day and only then did he realize that he had walked more than he had in a long time.

Returned to Kenny Hahn where I asked if I could take Preston's photo and blog about him. He said sure.

I hope he makes it. It will take him a few years. I offer to meet he and/or his wife anytime to give cooking/shopping tips. I've been there and am still on my journey but perhaps he can benefit from my experience. He's 5'8" 365. 18 months ago I was 6'4" 365 when the heart attack hit.

I hope he calls again...anytime.

You can do it, Preston.

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June 07, 2009

Proud Dad

I've always been proud of my kids but Lauren just graduated from university and celebrated by spending a week in San Francisco and a weekend with the bf going to concerts in San Diego. Scott just completed a 70 mile bike ride today and a 60 miler on Tuesday. Keep going, kids.
Love you! Dad

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June 04, 2009

Passing On Timidity

I try not to write about or reference in conversation, my brush with death 18 months ago, but it's a part of my life that I can't run from and it is making me a bit less shy related to my photography.

I always knew life was short, but in the last several months it seems my interest in many things has exploded...including being hyper-sensitive to time and wanting to do certain
I have also worked hard learning and practicing a relatively new craft, my photography.

Since I have actually started to sell a few photos and given many more away around the world, I am increasingly aware of many holes in my portfolio and what I am also now starting to think of as inventory. Those holes being: live model experience both clothed and unclothed (and variations on the term 'partially'), abstracts, image series, project studies, and studio knowledge.

To fill some of these holes it means throwing a bit of my shyness out the window and not resorting to casual shots grabbed from strangers here and there.

Since photographing people in natural light is of interest to me, I am now either letting people know that I take pics or I am asking people who interest my photographer's eye to let me photograph them. They could have something physical, a certain energy, vibe or spirit, an elder's life experience carved into their face...any variety of characteristics might catch my attention. They could be family, friends, people in my life or the lives of my family, strangers...makes no difference. I am starting to ask folks who have a certain "something" if they want to "model" for me.

Happily, (and perhaps to the dismay or shock of some around me), more and more people are saying yes. Some eagerly say yes with an "I'd LOVE to", or, "I DEFINITELY want to". Others eagerly agree after seeing some of my portraits on one of my websites When asking folks (not that they need it), I give them permission to decline kinda like 'no harm, no foul' in basketball, and so some say no. But that's ok.

As of this moment, I have six people who want to get together for photo shoots either right away or after finals or when their work schedule permits or they will be in my area.

But, I still most wish a certain someone would let me photograph her without sticking out her tongue. But that's ok too.

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Lakers...Who Cares!

As Laker frenzy starts to smother Los Angeles like a dense, Central Valley fog as the NBA finals begin, why should anyone really care about guys and an organization making 100s of millions of bucks for playing a game? Really!

If everyone boycotted exorbitantly priced leisure activities like the sports teams and entertained themselves for free by walking, or biking, or volunteering or in 100s of millions of other ways, society would benefit and common sense perspective might be regained.

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May 25, 2009


I finished walking the LA Marathon route yesterday. Took me 8.5 hours. I'm too cheap to pay the $100+ entry fee but still wanted to challenge myself and I really don't need the zoo
of activity. This was also my little protest against the marathon's commercialism and it being moved from cool weather March to hotter May.

I had only done 26.2 once before about a year ago so wasn't sure I could do it. Stepped off at 6:21 a.m. Nice and overcast which lasted to mile 13 when the sun and heat hit. I hit my first wall at 16 and then another at mile 23. My pace slowed from my normal 120 steps/minute to about 80. It was a very boring course.

I was surprised when a hummingbird came out of nowhere near a USC dorm and banged full speed into my chest. We said, hi, then he flew off. Surprised there were so few food aromas to distract a bit...smelled bbq and Korean a couple of times and that was it. Korean kid reeking garlic from his pores was the strongest smell and I wondered if he dates and figured the Korean girl probably reeks too so they'd be a wash.

A few homeless/drunks passed out face down in dirt or sidewalk. Sorry to the dead-like guy with his feet wrapped in rags who I had to step over...nothing I could do for him anyhow and had to keep the body moving.

A couple interesting signs...."burning desirables", "best deer antler company", "my child says daddy", "twin trees 1922" on the front of a little house but no trees in sight, "my child says daddy" on a storefront for a parenting org.

Took the train there and home. My wife cooked a great spaghetti dinner with corn-on-the-cob for dinner when I got home. Yum. I got encouraging texts and kind words during the marathon from my family. It made the distance go by faster. My son was on his way to go hiking from about 6-10,000 feet on Mt. Baldy. Amazing feat of his own!!! Way to go, Scott...inspiring to me the way he's lost weight and worked himself into shape in the last few years...hiking, wilderness training, rock climbing, biking!!! The kind of hero a dad needs. Someone to set the bar high for me to strive for.

Then at 8:30pm went to county hospital to sit with an alone friend with kidney problems. Got to bed about 3am.

Not to babble philosophical, doing the 26.2 is likely my way of pushing back and not wanting to admit I'm getting older. I'm hoping getting into shape will help delay aging a bit and maybe position my body to be better prepared to fight if another heart attack hits. I also have seen in others that decline really begins with one's loss of mobility.

Not at all sure, but I'm thinking about whether I can make it to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite with Scott sometime.

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May 23, 2009

A TIme For Yosemite

Headed up to Yosemite for 5 days with my wife and then I returned 2 days later by myself.

I had the chance to try some new photo taking techniques and to visit places I hadn't been before and to get in some hiking.

The photo at left is of Fern Spring which I've passed for years on the way out of the park. The barns are in a large meadow in an area called Foresta.

The photo at left is Bridalveil Fall. World famous since it is the first waterfall that people see as they exit the Wawona Tunnel and stop at tunnel view, another famous landmark.

This photo is unique in that Bridalveil was catching the sun perfectly to create a beautiful rainbow that started at the base and migrated toward the top of Bridalveil.

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Sis's Store

My wonderful sister, Julie, hosted an open house at her home accents and decor store. Rooms To Roam was always a buried dream that became reality just over a year ago.

Featuring some of my photos, wine tasting, a jewelry show and invited guests, everyone had a fun time!

I wish Julie every continued success. In the photo above are Julie and Alan and Judy, the shopping center manager (in green).

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Gonna Go For A Walk Now

Gonna go for a little walk tomorrow morning about 6. My anti-LA marathon...the day before since I didn't want to pay the $100 or whatever entry fee.

Though I've walked 26.2 miles once before, I want to see how far I can go again. After the last endurance test, I swore to myself never again. But, for now, I don't regret the thought. But tomorrow will likely be a different story.

Walking, especially distance walking, is a very solitary activity. I remember on an 8 mile training walk a few weeks ago, I was powering past stalled early morning traffic and total strangers in a car yelled, "Looking good". I was surprised how two words lifted me with a new burst of energy to make it the last mile.

Though I've told family and a few others and posted here and there my intentions and route link to the marathon site, I fully expect that no one will find me on the route, drive by and honk or yell an encouraging word. Hell, I can't even get anyone to drop me off at the starting point 20 minutes away. So, I'll catch the metro train and an hour later the challenge begins.
Oh well. Like I said. Solitary.

I'm walking to honor my wife and kids who I put through a kinda hell via my heart attack. I'm walking to honor my Dad and late Mom for being great parents! I'm walking to honor my late brother, David. No finer brother and friend will there be. I'm walking to honor my family...brothers and sister who support me in all I do. I'm walking for the children of the world who are powerless over their dire circumstances be it famine, war, disease, abuse, poverty...and the list doesn't end.

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April 21, 2009


I was honored that Chrissie allowed me to practice my portrait techniques with her at a photo shoot last week. Despite the chilly, windy weather, she did a great job! Thanks, Chrissie!

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Friendlier Folks

Between walking along the Strand in Manhattan Beach or Kenny Hahn Recreation Area, Hahn wins hands down.

April 03, 2009

Dad Time

I got to spend a few hours with my Dad today chatting and doing computer stuff with him.

Time together is precious and passes all too quickly.

He's 85 and still going mentally, socially and physically.

I'm hoping he passed on some of his longevity genes to me.

Photo: My Mom and Dad just a few years ago.

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April 01, 2009

Expanding Skills

I've joined the local LA Arboretum which allows admission to other local gardens. So in the last 10 days I've taken photo walks to the Arboretum, Descanso Gardens and the South Coast Arboretum with two goals in mind. One, scout shooting locations at each in case I happen upon someone who would like to model for me. I haven't really done many live model shoots and want to expand my skills in that area. Second, I'm building my skills and portfolio/archives at the same time and learning more about my capabilities and those of my camera.

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26.2 - One More Time?

The first and last time I walked 26.2, I vowed never to do it again. I had already proved to myself I could do it.

The urge is returning.

The LA Marathon is at the end of May. Organizers just posted the route online and though I've been doing lots of cardio hiking, I'm thinking of expanding my distance walking in the next 5 weeks.

Though in no way a game, I'm toying with the idea of walking the marathon route the Sunday before the real marathon...kinda an anti-marathon. I've walked that distance once and it was tough. But I did it.

So, back to walking 18 miles and then 20 and finally 26 miles until that early morning in late May when I'll traverse the streets of LA in my attempt to accomplish another personal more time.

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Hoooo...Hoo Hoo...Hoooo

I've gotten back on track with eating properly and exercising. I hike 4-5 miles up and down
hills at Kenny Hahn Recreation Area every morning starting about 6 a.m.

Since it's usually still dark, I can enjoy the quiet hush of the city which is just rising from slumber.
The owls are at their grandest with a long hoooooo two short hoos and then one more long hoooo.

Sometimes the fog blankets the ground and smothers any noise, except the owls. At the bottom of gullies where the go is thickest, the temperature drops about 10 degrees until I climb out.

In addition to the distance, my main goal is a heavy duty cardio workout....getting the heart pumping hard and sustained for a few minutes and then leveling out a bit so it can recover.

I hike various routes but always get three big hills in...Kick Butt Hill, The Executioner, Killer Hill,
or Grand Pain Grade. My goal is always to try and do each hill without stopping.

The wildflowers are so profuse and the trails often so narrow that the 6 foot tall growth creates a corridor for parts of my walk.

Everyone is pretty friendly thought there aren't many folks I come across before sunrise. But those I do all say hi. Not so much as a greeting but rather a kind of warning radar letting the person you pass know you are harmless.

I've come across Bob and Paul, two older guys 60 and 66. Nice guys who stop and chat a bit.
Willis is an 80 year man who shuffles along with his cane. And on the highest trail I once came across three old ladies 82, 84 and the 85 year old walking her little poodle and using her cane.

More later.

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March 07, 2009

P I X E L S: CA Governator Signs Overdue Budget - How To Stop It From Happening Again!

January 13, 2009

Choosing Sides

Who do you support? Which side are you on?

To try my hand at documentary photo taking, I attended both the pro Israel and pro Palestinian/Hamas rallies at the Federal building in Westwood, California over the weekend.

It was interesting to observe and compare both events but I wasn't expecting I'd have to declare which side I was on.

And yet, on Sunday a couple of hours before the Israeli rally was to begin and organizers were setting up, a lady approached me as I walked toward the Jewish encampment and asked,
"Which side are you on"?

Taken aback, I stated, "I'm on the side of photography and am here to take pictures having attended the pro Palestinian rally yesterday." What I really wanted to tell her was that in the United States, one has freedom of choice and freedom of staying neutral and freedom of speech and...well, you get the idea of all those Constitutional guarantees.

Upon hearing I was at the Palestinian rally, the nice lady said, "We might have problems today and we're being asked to determine sides". Interesting mission I thought. And seeing she didn't have time for a discussion, I provided logistical observations that might be helpful before she walked off to talk to the police who were finishing donuts, soda, coffee, chips and sandwiches before the action started in an hour.

It was obvious to me that the Los Angeles Police Department learned a lot from the Pro-Palestinian protest on Saturday. They adapted their tactics. One of the main strategies centered on keeping the two different factions separated on Sunday. I had thought that the pro Palestinian rally had been held the day before and Sunday was to be pretty much the exclusive time for the Jewish side to rally. I was wrong. I didn't know that the pro Palestinian folks had been given a permit to hold another rally side by side the pro Israeli rally.

Well, maybe the LAPD didn't learn all that much.

The PP folks had been a volatile, confrontational bunch and a few arrests were made. 50 cops on bikes, hundreds others, 16 mounted horse units, helicopters circling, streets shut down, LA Sheriff deputies engaged, etc. But they were pretty much alone with only about 20 Jewish folks mounting a small counter protest which the police easily contained.

At Sunday's Israeli/Palestinian combo rally, the LAPD kept the peace by creating a no-go-zone of about 50 feet between the groups with no way of getting to the opposition other than through the many police officers that were stationed in the NGZ behind yellow tape.

And, they started guiding people at the street corners and parking lots based on people's side.
It usually wasn't hard to tell who was whom. The flags and scarves are very different. But, what about those folks who fell into the not easily profiled category?

On a philosophical and good ole' American civil protections scale, the question was very disturbing and off the scale.

Of course, keeping the peace (which was the LAPD's main objective for the safety of all) was paramount. But, as a tall white guy with white hair and camera in hand and carrying no politically identifying items like a flag, who wanted to be on the side of photo journalism, how should I answer?

I didn't. I freely wandered between both sides walking way around the barricades to 'change sides' without being challenged.

And so we get into the controversial practice of racial, cultural, religious profiling in broader terms. But this practice made me stop and think.

Should I have told the authorities, if questioned, that I am an American with Scottish, Jewish roots who was born 4 miles away from the Federal building and that our country has something called the Constitution and Bill of Rights and that people have died to protect me and everyone from having to submit to being profiled in such a manner?

Of course, I had no real objection since the practical reality in dealing with the masses, both sides of whom are passionate and can be militant about their beliefs, was to keep the peace and separating people by compromising a civil right was the most effective way to accomplish their goal and keep everyone safe.

I'm all for keeping the peace. Sometimes.

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January 01, 2009

1 of 365 in 2009

A happy, healthy, prosperous and peaceful 2009 to you!

I kicked off the year by power walking along the beach in Manhattan Beach. Sure it was very late at night on new years but there are usually a ton of people out exercising...biking, jogging, walking. I only saw one other person during my entire walk. Kinda eerie.

Unrelated, my wife and I rode the metro, something we haven't done in years. We took the gold line to Pasadena and wandered around looking at the city hall, a couple of cool, activist churches, all the people gathering along Colorado Blvd to watch the Rose Parade. But the Soap Kitchen store was closed. Took a few good shots and will post later.

Will be making a big pot of chili using my late Mom's recipe. Will go to the local panaderia to get freshly baked bolillos for 20 cents each and will watch the Penn St / USC game.

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December 30, 2008

New Year Plans

As I approach the start of 2009, a couple of aimless thoughts wander through my mind.

I always overdue the food preparation for New Year's Eve and Day, especially since no one ever shows up to eat it. Everyone is out doing their own thing. And that is fine. Yes, I will make my late Mom's chili with fresh rolls and maybe some chicken to nibble on.

But, this year I am starting a new tradition. Since I always go to the Manhattan Beach Pier early Christmas morning, and since I've now thrived for just over a year since my attack, I will do what has gotten me back into shape...walking. And so, on New Year's Eve/Morn, I will be distance power-walking along the ocean-front Strand in Manhattan Beach when midnight strikes...maybe even walking on the pier as the new year starts.

You are welcome to join me.

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