Wednesday, July 29, 2015
My Russian lessons are coming along. I'm learning to read "The Three Bears". It was written by Tolstoy, which I didn't know. Goldilocks was a Western literary addition. In the original story her character doesn't have a name, but is known as 'a little girl'. The father bear's name is Mikhail Ivanovich, the mama bear's name is Natasha Petrovna, and the baby bear is Mishutka.
The book I ordered from Amazon arrived today. I didn't know that the vendor was in Moscow. That explains why it took three weeks to get to me.
It's beautifully illustrated, but it's more like a pamphlet than a book. Nevertheless, it was worth the price to have it, and someday, Insha'Allah, I can read it to a little Russian child.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Monday, July 27, 2015
Mid-summer pictures. It's a work in progress.
I set the stones yesterday.
I'm not finished with the roof, but it's close. Finally.
As my father said, "The problem with owning a home is that no matter where you look, there's something you should be doing".
Friday, July 24, 2015
Thursday, July 23, 2015
PORTALS OF THE PAST
Portals of the Past is a monument at Lloyd Lake in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.
It is the portico--the last remnant-- of railroad tycoon A.N. Towne's mansion on Nob Hill, which was destroyed in the earthquake and fire of 1906.
Photographer Arnold Genthe captured the ruins of the city through this portal. The photograph became a symbol of the loss of an era.
As Abdu'l-Bahá walked along the shore during his visit in 1912--six years after the earthquake and fire--he remarked:
"The world and its condition will change to such a degree and the Bahá’í Cause will prevail to such an extent that nothing but a remnant — like these pillars — will remain of the previous order".
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
I came across an article about Soviet cartographers, and it happened to include a 1980 detail map of the neighborhood where I lived in San Francisco in 1970. The end of the Cold War was decades away
That's our place at the corner of 17 Улица и Cтанян (17th Street and Stanyan) !
I have difficulty reading Russian cursive in which all the park labels are written, but I can read most of the street names. That's Golden Gate Park and the Panhandle in the middle of the map. You can see Stow Lake, where we used to canoe on quiet and serene Sunday afternoons and paddle gracefully for hours.
Kezar Stadium is in the lower right corner of the park. I remember one afternoon when I was painting the bedroom walls, I could hear through the open window the cheers of the 49er fans at Kezar in the playoff game against the Cowboys, if I recall correctly. As the game progressed, the cheering became infrequent and muted. I knew the game was lost. Afterwards, I happened to be outside when the dispirited fans walked past my place on their trek to their parked cars.
Monday, July 20, 2015
Sunday, July 19, 2015
Friday, July 17, 2015
I visited the apartments I lived in 55 years ago, and I was surprised at how well they've aged.
From the street, they look just as they did a half a century ago.
The first difference I noticed was the low fence atop the concrete retaining wall. Civic codes were likely updated and required it. My choice would have been concrete bollards with stone veneer and wood panels to match the building siding between, tho..
I had a job sweeping the driveway when I was 13, so I noticed how spotless it was.
Our apartment was on the first floor. The annoying No Parking sign is new. The small, horizontal windows are bathroom windows. It was in our bathroom that two teenage boys, one of whom was wearing a spooky Halloween mask and wielding a butcher knife while the other produced eerie sound effects, terrorized their father in the shower just weeks after having seen Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho". It was surprising how good-naturedly he took the prank.
It was a studio apartment. Our furniture consisted of a picnic table, a bookcase made of boards and bricks, a small table and two aluminum cots for my father and brother. I slept on the floor in a sleeping bag.
Rather than high-rise buildings and a park, this view from the corner was once of Bellevue Junior High.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
This is the best image we had of the most distant planet on the 13th of July.
On the 14th, the view was much clearer.
'After a decade-long journey through our solar system, New Horizons made its closest approach to Pluto Tuesday, about 7,750 miles above the surface -- roughly the same distance from New York to Mumbai, India – making it the first-ever space mission to explore a world so far from Earth'. NASA
Pluto and it's moon Charon.
The New Horizons mission.