Back in 2010, I had the pleasure of watching and listening to a dear friend, Joe, perform a one-man show he had written himself … Pocho In The House.  In Joe’s story he reveals the various elements of being raised Mexican-American, providing me a better understanding of our contrasts and sameness.

Emphasizing the ways that our differences reveal our similarities, Pocho in the House opens a window on the human condition and gives us a chance to laugh, cry, and explore our common humanity.

Thanks to Santa Rosa Junior College, Joe will be returning to the North Bay for two FREE, PUBLIC performances of Pocho In The House on the Santa Rosa and Petaluma campuses.  You’ll laugh and you’ll cry!  You won’t regret it!



Mr. T’s Rite of Passage

As an individual returning to school in the “sunset” years of his life, on the morning of Saturday, May 24, Mr. T received an AS in Geospatial Technology.  Mind you, in the “sunrise” years of life, he earned an AS in Electronics Technology, so earning a degree wasn’t new.  What was new was his taking the opportunity to participate in the pomp and circumstance of formerly receiving a degree.  Mr. T, coworker Andy Goldstein, my coworker Anthony Wise, the daughter of coworker Lynn Parker, and over a 1,000 more were recognized by family and friends for their hard work and dedication, among the old oaks of Santa Rosa Junior College.

Mr. T spent the past six years studying, struggling through homework (even while vacationing in places like Oahu), an internship  with the City of Petaluma, being a dad and spouse, and being employed full-time.  He even had to take classes for which he received credit for many years ago as they were now “outdated”.

Congratulations, Honey!  Now, how about we take a vacation without homework!

As I began recording the announcement of Mr. T’s name and degree, my phone decided to overheat.  So, unfortunately, you miss observing him “hamming it up” on the stage … throwing kisses at the audience, etc.!

From Balboa to Old Town

Rumor had it there was a great breakfast joint about a quarter-mile up 5th Avenue, Hash House a Go-GoTwisted Farm Food, that served meals generous enough for two.  We’d seen it as we walked the half mile up to Huapango‘s several days earlier.  As I and Mr. T always love a good breakfast joint, we wandered on up the street Thursday morning to test the Hash House menu.

Once we’d ordered our meals – a task in itself as they options were quite interesting – we began noticing what others were eating and how LARGE the meals were!  As I took note of a waffle that was at least 12″ x 12″ and a pancake with at least a 12″ diameter, I was grateful I’d not ordered either of those.  However, our choices were still sufficiently large enough to take half back to our room and have for breakfast the next morning!  Worth a stop if you’re in the area.

After breakfast we wandered back over to Balboa Park to view the Desert garden and Botanical Building. The Desert Garden contains more than 1,300 plants, including succulents and drought-resistant plants from around the world, within its 2.5 acres. The peak blooming period is January through March; however, these plants are interesting at any time of year because of their unusual shapes. Thankfully, we discovered some lovely blooming going on in the cactus garden.

The view of the Botanical Building with the lily pond in the foreground is one of the most photographed scenes in Balboa Park. Built for the 1915-16 Exposition, along with the adjacent lily pond, the historic building is one of the largest lath structures in the world. The Botanical Building plantings include more than 2,100 permanent plants, featuring collections of cycads, ferns, orchids, other tropical plants, and palms. Unfortunately for us, we discovered the Botanical Building to be closed on Thursdays.  So, with sufficient time on our hands, we traveled up to Old Town San Diego.

They say Old Town San Diego is the birthplace of California, where the Europeans settled. If you enjoy reliving history, this is one of those points of interest to include on your list when visiting San Diego.  Old Town is a representation of what San Diego was in 1850, with over 17 historic points of interest, professional theatre, museums, artisans, galleries and shops, as well as live entertainment, mariachis, dancers, and period attire docents providing tours.

The Jewel of San Diego

On recommendation from “Mr. Gino”, Wednesday I took a short ride up I-5 then headed due west into La Jolla, the so-called “Jewel of San Diego.”  While there was significant quaint shopping to be enjoyed, I choose to spend my time along the coast line.  What a treasure to discover sea lions basking in the sun, a cove with a cave and finally to simply sit by the ocean to listen and watch the waves as well as the dolphins swim by.


A Harbor, an Island & a Feast

After tending to some personal business, we headed toward San Diego Harbor for a drive.  We briefly visited the Maritime Museum, consisting of several sailing ships, submarines, and steam-powered boats.  Due south was the USS Midway beside a park which hosted a memorial to Bob Hope (including hilarious audio of Bob sharing jokes with soldiers).

From here we were briefly derailed as we visually attempted to locate the correct route to take us over the Coronado bridge.  Of course, once we pulled out the GPS, we discovered we’d passed it earlier on.  Once over the bridge and on Coronado Island, we drove by Hotel del Coronado (a historic landmark and seaside resort built in 1888 that is supposedly haunted) and found parking along the beach, where we took some photos and video.

All that fresh ocean air stirred up our appetites, so off we went to the highly recommended (for food and views) Island Prime.  We were not disappointed!

Lawn Mowing – Ptown Style

goatsThis is how the high grass is maintained around the fine homes on the west side of Petaluma each year.  A few years ago I also had the fortune of observing them “chow down” at Rancho Obi Wan.

Might you consider giving up your lawn mower for a goat mower?  There are drawbacks and advantages. Goats can get to places normal mowers cannot get to, and animal mowing retards regrowth because the animals’ digestive systems sterilize the seeds. You also avoid the traditional fumes that come with gas-powered lawn mowers.  And they may very well add some humor to your day!

However, you would have to plan to protect any plants you do not wish to be eaten.  Hmmm, maybe I should consider a goat mowing rental business for my retirement … NOT!



A freeway runs through it

And a flight pattern runs over it.  What is it?  BALBOA PARK – the nation’s largest urban cultural park.  It is also home to 15 major museums, performing arts venues, beautiful gardens, AND the San Diego Zoo.  You would need several days to get visit all of it!

Mr. T and I entered the park from the west, walking over Hwy 163 and encountering our first museum: Museum of Man.  This museum is located beneath the ornate 200-foot California Tower, and is devoted to anthropology. With its Spanish colonial and mission style architecture, the landmark building was originally constructed for the 1915–16 Panama-California Exposition.

The banner announcing “Instruments of Torture” caught Mr T’s attention right away.  This exhibition featured implements cruelly engineered to inflict unbelievable pain and suffering. The exhibit explores why torture occurs, even in today’s world, and make you question, “Are people the real instruments of torture?” Unfortunately, no photos permitted of visiting exhibits.

Another visiting exhibit was “Empowerment of Women” which tells the stories of women artisans working  together in cooperatives creating folk art that provides income for their families, preserves their cultural heritage, heals the wounds of war and domestic abuse, improves education, and protects their environments.

The remainder of the Museum of Man explores anthropology, however they did have one additional “special” exhibit: “Beerology”.  Here wet we learned agriculture, cities, writing, and religion all have ties to ancient craft brewing!  And would you believe the Egyptian pyramids were built by slaves, but the workers were actually paid — in beer!  In fact, to build the Great Pyramid of Giza, workers were paid 231 million gallons of beer. That’s a lot of beer.  There were many stories and artifacts that revealed the links between beer and culture.

The next museum we visited was the Museum of Air & Space (a flight path runs directly over this museum to the San Diego airport). It houses a collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft from all over the world, including a working flying replica of Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, the actual Apollo 9 Command Module spacecraft and the only real GPS satellite on display in the world.

Stay tuned for more on Balboa Park, as we returned a few days later!


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