Category: Aspiration

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A 2017 Reflection

While so many people, put off the the Presidential election, particularly out here in culturally crazed California, looked upon 2017 with dismay (or even disgust), I started out with hopeful, reminiscent mind. Two thousand seventeen marked 40 years from 1977, which was one of the most signficant in my life; a year of firsts and transitions.

That year, in order of events, I: passed the FCC exam that would let me go on the radio; graduated high school; turned 18; moved away from home; started college; and worked as a deejay on the campus radio station. There were many milestones, all marking the path to adulthood and greater independence. 

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‘Obstacles are Opportunities’

The new year ushers in a fresh, personal motto—an amalgamation of 2017’s slogan, “Everything is an opportunity“, older “Change the rules”, and another (“Why not?”) that I used for decades.

“Obstacles are opportunities” comes from an off-the-cuff, but well-meant, late-year text message response to my daughter. She struggled with something, to which I encouraged: “obstacles are an opportunity”. Then I thought to myself: “Oh, I like that. I shouldn’t forget that”. 

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The Great Gift Mom Gave to Me

On this first Christmas without mom, who passed away nearly five months ago, there is little pause for reflection. Flu symptoms started on December 20; today is the first in five where fever dropped below 37.8 degrees Celsius (100 F); 38.9 C (102 F) was frequent. My core body temp tends to be below normal (36.1 C; 97 F), which (I hope) explains why low-grade fevers are so debilitating. I let the blog auto-post several entries to my “Cats of University Heights” series, which is one reason there are so many uninterrupted.

There is little sentimental about this December 25. My wife finally succumbed to the flu by Christmas Eve; we steered our daughter away from the quarantine household. She is in Northern California with a friend’s family, and looks like she feels out of place, too. We’re here, as is her bag of presents, and she celebrates without mom and dad but with the loss of two grandparents. My father-in-law passed away Jan. 11, 2017. He already was in desperate decline last Christmas Day; I can’t imagine the dire circumstance if Anne and I were this bedridden then, when he needed so much assistance. 

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Guess Who Won’t Attend San Diego Comic-Con 2018?

On any other morning, with tree cutters trimming palms right outside my office window, I would dash about the apartment complex parking lot with camera in hand shooting photos and videos. It’s an event! One well-worth documenting. Trimmers arrived at (cough, cough) 7 a.m. to do the whack job. But my focus was shaving and bathing, preparing for San Diego Comic-Con 2018 Open Registration and perhaps my last chance to snag a pass for next year’s gathering.

Comic-Con emails eligible participants a registration code, which must be activated on the website between 8 and 9 a.m. The process of randomly choosing people starts promptly at nine o’clock. My luck ran out during early reg, as it did vying both opportunities for this year’s Con. I attended Sunday, on a last-minute chance, and felt humbly fortunate for that. As you can guess from the title, I couldn’t purchase a pass.

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Nature’s Drones

The sign beats any holiday decoration. In a city where there are three seasons—early, mid, and late summer—flutterbies are welcome year `round. I have seen a fair number of Monarchs and the Cabbage variety this month. Even on this last day.

The sign adorns a lovely house, with manicured-plant yard and occasionally playing kids, at North and Monroe Avenues here in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood. 

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My Best Office Ever

The workspace in our new apartment is something for me to be immensely grateful for this Thanksgiving. While the smaller of two bedrooms, one benefit is larger: The expansive window that looks out onto the street. Hehe, the cats and I share the view, which is on the same side of the building as our living room wrap-arounds. The dimensions offer better usable area than the larger room from our old flat.

The Featured Image, captured at 5:27 p.m. PST yesterday, using Leica Q, shows the view from the doorway. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/2.8, ISO 2000, 1/60 sec, 28mm.  My vintage Guerciotti bike, held upright by Saris “The Boss” stand, is in the foreground. Looking straight down from the roadster to the wall is the Casabelle Mail Center, which I purchased from Pier 1 Imports in late-Spring 2009 for use as my primary writing place. I now mostly use the handsome piece for storage and as pseudo-standup desk. 

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The Home We Leave Behind

Our old apartment is up for rent—and for lots less than I expected: $1,750, which is just 15 bucks more than our raised rent had we signed a new lease from first of this month. On the last day, November 8, 2017, while waiting for final inspection and to hand over the keys, I took some quick pics using iPhone X—for the Wilcox scapbook, so to speak, and to document the condition in which we left the flat.

We moved into the place on Oct. 15, 2007, sight unseen. We relocated to San Diego to enable my now deceased father-in-law to remain living independently. He found the second-floor apartment, on the next block from where he lived, during its complete renovation. On the promise of everything being new, we took the chance that benefit would be enough—and it was. We lived at 4514 Cleveland Ave., Apt 9, for 10 years. 

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What’s the Story, Morning Glory?

Park Blvd. divides University Heights East and West—for reasons that make no sense to me. This San Diego community is about 12,000 people living in an area around 1.132 square miles. My hometown, Caribou, Maine, is residence to a little less than 8,000 folks in a city spanning 79.3 miles. Oh, Hell, I fuss. But you get the point?

Yesterday, as I walked West to East, down Monroe Ave. towards our recently rented apartment, a beautiful cluster of morning glories demanded that I stop with iPhone 7 Plus and honor them with a portrait. I shot the Featured Image—an auto-generated HDR composite—at 12:13 p.m. PDT. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 20, 1/474 sec, 3.99mm. 

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SDCC 2018 Returning Registration Failure!

Until San Diego Comic-Con 2017, I took attendance for granted. From 2009-14, I obtained a (deserved) press pass, and when later it wasn’t reverified, I luckily bought full-event passes for 2015 and 2016. But this year my luck ran out during early and open registrations—as it did this morning for next summer’s Con. One other opportunity will come next Spring.

Unexpectedly, Saturday of SDCC 2017, I was able to obtain a legit pass for Day Four—not to explain how. I knew one benefit could be opportunity to participate in 2018 advance registration, as I did this morning. Last year, the session ended with my disappointment. Today, I feel grateful to have participated at all. 

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Graduating from the Schoolhouse

On Oct. 15, 2007, our family of three relocated to San Diego from the metro-Washington, D.C. area. Looking back at my blog posts from a decade ago, I see very little writing about the move and regret not recording the poignant personal history. It’s not a mistake to be repeated. My wife and I will soon change residences—and while the move is nowhere near as dramatic as the last, this missive you read begins the chronicle of our next adventure.

Strangely, or not, the decision to leave the current apartment is fallout from our failed home-buying effort—for the property we call the Schoolhouse (and affectionately, at one time). Anne and I learned enough to know that we aren’t ready to own, certainly not in overly-priced Southern California. As such, staying put for another year looked likeliest option; we have, or had, until October 20 to sign another year’s lease for our second-floor rental of 10 years. 

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Radio Remembrances

Before the Internet, I listened to shortwave broadcasts for news and cultural information. There was something thrilling about catching radio programs from Australia, Austria, Canada, Cuba, Ecuador, Germany, Russia, or United Kingdom, among many other countries—hearing local perspectives about all things current or past.

Among the big broadcasters, whose programs I could regularly listen to, BBC and Radio Canada International were favorites. I also found Radio Cuba and HCJB to be engaging, and they were easily received from any of our Washington, DC suburban residences, including the last one of nearly a decade.