Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Overcast and Gloomy in Clairemont

When I awoke at 6:30am, I saw that this day was starting out with gray skies.  Around 7:30am, I ventured out to morning Mass honoring the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  As I started the car, the windshield was covered with little droplets, which I felt as I left the building.  The windshield wipers did their job, but as I drove I realized that I had to continually use them.  Strange for San Diego in August.  As I reached the Mother of Confidence Church, in LaJolla, it was actually raining.  Again, in August?  WOW.

We often have gray clouds early in the morning, but it burns off around 9 or 10 am.  Not this morning.  The temperature remained cool for the whole day.  I chose to skip the pool.

Later in the afternoon, took a walk to Starbucks about one block away.  Haven't been there often, but when I have occasion to go in, I find the people, of all ages, quietly working on their computers. Some seem like students working together.  Older customers might be reading while they enjoy their coffee.  This Starbucks was the reason I pursued a home in this area.  Not because of the store, but the people I saw inside.  I reckoned that if this environment was calm and inviting, the neighborhood might be as well.  After a year of living in Clairemont, I found this to be true.

This cloudy day resulted in accomplishing laundry chores, knitting, etc.  No matter what the situation, what matters is how you use it.  Tomorrow, back to the pool.


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Perhaps by Catherine Hall (on Kindle and the Nook) 

The Book of Micah by Catherine Hall (on Kindle and the Nook) 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Gratitude

I've been suffering from 'writer's block' for some time now.  A friend complained to me last week that when she checked my blog, the posting was old.  I decided to do something about it. When I saw the date of my last posting, I was shocked.  So much time had passed.  But, with my Words with Friends, photography, volunteer knitting of baby beanies for a local hospital, 2 - 3 mile daily walks, checking Facebook, Twitter and my emails, etc....what to do....what to do.

I decided that I could think about all the things I take for granted and those things for which I should be grateful.  I'm always verbally thanking the good Lord for all my blessings, but haven't put it in writing in a while.

When I complained about something a number of years ago, a friend said, "You should be thankful that you got out of bed this morning."  I immediately thought of his massive heart attack.  That statement jolted me into changing my perspective, that is, until I began to take it for granted all over again.  We do many things unconsciously until we're unable for whatever reason.  I guess that's just human nature.  We should be thankful we can see, talk, walk, and generally use all our senses.

This past May I traveled to New York for my grandson's graduation from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts.  Even though it was rainy in Worcester with the cold temperature of 46 degrees, and I had not brought a coat, I was certainly grateful for the opportunity to attend.   My visit seemed to whoosh by me.  While I was in New York, my son-in-law pointed out the baby Robins nesting in behind their basketball backboard.


Being short of stature, this was the best photo I could get.  The baby robins were calling to their mother.  I suspect they were hungry.  However, a short time later, there she was sitting in the nest.

Brings me back to being thankful.  Thankful is a state of mind.  It's a choice.  Instead of concentrating on wants and perceived or real needs, it's best to think about our current situation and choose to dwell on what is good about it.  It's work, I will admit.  Frustration does rear its ugly head, but the practice of expressing gratitude is fruitful.  At least, I'm back to writing.  I still have a host of things I want to accomplish as well as a host of things I'd like to have.  I believe that there's nothing wrong with that as long as I maintain a balanced perspective. Thanks for letting me share.


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Perhaps by Catherine Hall (on Kindle and the Nook) 

The Book of Micah by Catherine Hall (on Kindle and the Nook) 







Thursday, January 5, 2017

Here and There


Scenes of Colorado




 


In November, I took a trip to spend Thanksgiving with our Colorado family who live near Denver.  I was surprised to find that the family did not live near the mountains.  The housing developments seem to have been planned with ponds and trails, enabling residents to enjoy the outdoors.  Every morning, and on some afternoons, I took long walks to take photos and get the overall feel of the area.  The walks were very pleasant.  Since it was colder than I, a resident of Southern California, was accustomed to, I bundled up with 'underalls', a long sleeve sweater, a puffy vest and a pashima shawl to cover my head.  I noticed that a number of walkers wore shorts.   As I walked past two people in shorts. I heard them discussing how unusually warm the weather was.  My attire must have looked ridiculous.

One day, I saw a hawk sitting atop a fir tree, but it was too far away for me to get a decent photo.  I'm including the photo of it flying away because I thought it was interesting.  Visiting the family was very enjoyable and Colorado is a beautiful place to visit.  I didn't know Denver had its own ocean in the sky, though.  Notice the whale in the pictures below.  I was as surprised as you might be.












In early December, my friend, Marge, invited me to accompany her on her trip to see her long-time friends near Phoenix, Arizona.  The ride was fun for me.  The last time I drove through Arizona was about 15 years ago.  I was grateful to have the opportunity to see the state again.   The expansive vista reminded me that the United States still has a lot of open land.  The picture below of the rolling hills, or dunes, was a sight to see.  As we passed them, I spotted riders on top of one of the hills just starting their descent.







The next day, we spent the afternoon visiting with Marge's very gracious friends near Phoenix. After a wonderful lunch and conversation, we were already planning a trip to Scottsdale.  I had hoped to connect with a good friend from New York, who now lives in Mesa the next day, but unfortunately I could not reach her.  With such short notice, that's the chance I took.

When we reached Scottsdale, we went directly to the mall.  I remarked to Marge, "They have a Dillard's."  I thought they were just a Texas store, but drove past one in Denver.  So that I could experience a visit to the store, off we went through what I considered a gigantic mall until we reached Dillards.  Their "Christmas" section was not easy to find, but we succeeded.

Then, off to the outside of the mall, to see what we could see.  As we walked along a side street with very interesting restaurants, we reached a beautiful sculpture of 'pony express' riders near the Marshall Way Bridge.  The name of the sculpture was  "Passing the Legacy" by Herb Mignery.  
Female Bronzed Cowbird

     
After crossing the bridge, we discovered Scottsdale's 'Old Town.'  There were a number of the Cowbirds in the trees like the one shown at right. This section of town was much more interesting to me, but we had walked for a long time. 

Perhaps, a future trip? 



View from Marshall Way Bridge


As we left Arizona the next day, we stopped at Gila Bend.  My daughters stopped there while driving through on a recent trip.  They returned with two beautiful yard sculptures. The store is shown below.  When we stopped, I took a picture of a restaurant near there.  The name, "Space Age", as well as the design was interesting, but maybe at another time.








I enjoyed my travels and am now hunkering down for the winter.


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Please feel free to share a comment

Perhaps by Catherine Hall (on Kindle and the Nook) 

The Book of Micah by Catherine Hall (on Kindle and the Nook) 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Busy, Busy Fall

I've been very busy this Fall, moving to another section of San Diego in late September, as well as keeping up with the election of Donald J. Trump as the next President of the United States.  In October, I flew to New York for the baptism of our first great-grandchild....a boy.  My visit to New York was a blur.... busy, busy, busy.  But there were memorable moments, as well.  My friend, Katie, and I were able to meet at MP Taverna Irvington for brunch.  My Metro North trip from Beacon to Irvington was interesting ro put it mildly.  Metro North connects Poughkeepsie NY and Grand Central Station in New York City with stops in smaller communities on the way.  When I got on the train, I discovered that that it was becoming an express to Grand Central at Peekskill.  So I disembarked at Peekskill, and waited for the next train.  A man approached me on the platform asking about the next train.  I don't recall his question, but we both shared that we had old cell phones that could not provide information on the train schedules.  So, I told him what I was advised by the conductor on the previous train, and that was, "a train was right behind that would take me to Irvington."  After a ten minute wait, I got on thinking it would take me to Irvington.  Alas, I had to get off at Croton-Harmon station.  The next train took me Tarrytown, as it didn't stop at Irvington.  As I walked through the train looking for the conductor, a man asked me if this was the train to New York.  As I looked at him, I realized he was the same person with whom I conversed on the Peekskill platform.  We both had a good laugh. I don't recall ever having to take three trains to reach what would have been a forty-five minute drive.  Oh well, bad planning on my part. 

However, the brunch at MP Taverna was great.  I enjoyed Scallops with cauliflower, dried cherry, brown butter.  It was delicious and the elongated train trip was worth it.  Of course, it's always great to visit with my friend, Katie.

The next weekend, I went with my daughter, her husband and my granddaughter to Boston.  First, we stopped in Worcester to pick up their eldest son who will graduate in June.  Then, off to the heart of Boston,  to visit his brother. 

 After touring the college, we walked the neighborhood before enjoying our lunch at Stephanie's On Newbury.  My selection was the Red Hat Corned Beef Hash.  The serving was very generous.  After the family completed their delicious meal, we walked along the Charles River to the Hatch Shell, where the Boston Pops gives a concert on July 4.
Hatch Shell







We returned to the "Public Garden" As we walked, we found Mother Goose and her ducklings.  It seemed to be a very popular spot.  We actually had to wait our turn just to take a photo.  As we crossed the park and entered the Boston Common, we came upon a huge group of people of all ages, with children dressed in their Halloween costumes, enjoying the Pumpkin Festival.  Boston seems to hold events of many kinds for their residents and visitors.



I had more travels following this, but I'll share about them in my next post.



Perhaps by Catherine Hall (on Kindle and the Nook) 

The Book of Micah by Catherine Hall (on Kindle and the Nook) 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Day, in the United States, is set aside to encourage us to reflect on the blessings we enjoy.  From rich to poor, most center on this call to get together with family and/or friends to express a collective thankful spirit. Of course, it's something we should reflect on often, but our busy lives interfere with it. 


My thoughts are a litany of blessings for which I'm thankful.  I'm very thankful for my family and friends, who are so good to me. I'm thankful for good health and a lovely, peaceful place to lay my head at night.

I'm thankful that I live in a country that still allows freedom of speech, worship, and the right to choose how we live our lives.

This year I'll be spending Thanksgiving Day with my Colorado family.   I look forward to sharing some photographs of this beautiful state with you soon.



May every reader be blessed in a special way this season of Thanksgiving.

Perhaps by Catherine Hall (on Kindle and the Nook) 

The Book of Micah by Catherine Hall (on Kindle and the Nook) 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

September 11, 2001 - Importance of keeping US control of Internet

On September 11, 2001, I worked in the mid-town area of New York City.  After the World Trade was hit by planes, I couldn't use the phone.  No Blackberry, no phone....no communication.  Since my field was Internet Security, my next thought was to attempt to contact my son in Los Angeles via email.  I didn't know his email address at work, so I tried several configurations of an email address.  One of them worked.

If I had not had the freedom to use the Internet to contact my family, they would not have known that my daughter and I were alive.  They thought I still worked in the World Trade Center.  Actually, my daughter was working 500 paces from the South Tower.

This is why I believe that the President Obama's move to give away 'control of the Internet' to any other country is a very bad move.  Read  http://www.wnd.com/2016/08/new-pushback-over-obamas-internet-giveaway/

As I was purging some old files, I found the following.  Only names and personal information have been removed.  Note:  Some memories are so important, you just can't throw them away.



Sent:     Tuesday, September 11, 2001 8:19am
Subject:  RE:  T**** and I are OK!
Importance:  High

C****,
I hope this is your e-mail address.   T**** called me.  She worked a block from World Trade.  She is in a co-worker’s (T. K.) apartment at 23rd and 2nd.  I told her to stay there unless she’s evacuated.  T**’s address is *******.  Just in case, his phone number is 654*******.
My building is in lock-down.   A friend, S****, from Merrill Lynch called me to say I should go to her house on First Ave.  S****’s home phone is 212*******.  All transportation has been shut down so I guess I’ll be in this building unless something else happens.

Will contact you, hopefully tonight.

Love,
Mom

**********************************************************************************

Sent:     Tuesday, September 11, 2001 9:24 am
Subject:  RE:  T**** and I are OK!

Thank God for e-mail…. Love, Mom

**********************************************************************************

Sent:     Tuesday, September 11, 2001 10:18 am
Subject:  RE:  T**** and I are OK!

A*****,
Subject:  T**** and I are OK!
Importance:   High

I can’t use long-distance and can’t get out of NYC.  Please call your sisters and let them know T**** and I are ok. 

T**** left me a phone message after everything happened.  She is very shaken up.  She told me she was going home.  I don’t know how since I hear that Manhattan has been closed.
Love,
Mom

**********************************************************************************

Sent:     Tuesday, September 11, 2001  11:58 am

From:  C****

Thanks for the message!  I’m very relieved you are both OK!  E-mail data as necessary.
Love,
C****

*********************************************************************************

Sent:     Tuesday, September 11, 2001 12:36 pm

From: C****

The phone number for T****’s friend is wrong.  Do you have another?  I called B**** and B**** and told them you two are O.K. and may stay with friends in the city.
Love,
C****

*********************************************************************************

Sent:     Tuesday, September 11, 2001  12:53 pm
Subject:  RE:  T**** and I are OK!

C****,

I just spoke with her (646*******)  Droves of people are walking the streets.  My company has offered me a hotel room.  I’m waiting to hear.  If I get it T**** will stay with me. T**** is worried that Dad doesn’t know she’s all right.  Please let him know.

Love,
Mom

**********************************************************************************

Sent:     Tuesday, September 11, 2001  12:56 pm
Subject:  RE:  T**** and I are OK!

C****,
You may not be able to get T****.  The long distance is not working everywhere.
Love,
Mom

*********************************************************************************

Sent:     Tuesday, September 11, 2001  1:16 pm

From:  C****

I spoke with Dad.  He now knows you two are OK.  Aunt B is the only phone number I don’t have.  Hang in there.
In case you don’t know the first WTC building was hit by a 737, the second WTC building was hit by another 737 about 18 minutes later, the Pentagon was hit by a plane as well.  A fourth crashed outside Camp David.  So far, the airlines report 4 planes hijacked.  All airlines across the country are shut down and international flights diverted outside the country.  The first WTC building is pretty much destroyed, it collapsed a short while after the top half of the second building collapsed. 
We will figure out who is responsible and eventually get them for this.
I love you,
C****

********************************************************************************

Sent:     Tuesday, September 11, 2001 2:29 pm

From:  C****

Mom,
What is your work phone number?  I just called T**** at her friend’s and he said she had left to meet you.
C****

*********************************************************************************

Sent:     Tuesday, September 11, 2001  1:24 pm
Subject:  RE:  T**** and I are OK!

C****,
I spoke with Aunt B.  My company’s offer of a hotel room is fading fast.  No one wants to leave the rooms they have since they can’t travel anywhere.  I will either stay overnight in my office building or make my way down to the Sandy’s apartment on ****** St.  I told T**** if I get the room, she can come to me.  Otherwise, she has to stay where she is for now.

Metro North has opened up but one of the managers called me to say that there has been a threat to Grand Central as well.  Just waiting and praying for all the people.

Love,
Mom

********************************************************************************

Sent:     Tuesday, September 11, 2001  2:39 pm
Subject:   Re:  Sending love and prayers

Hi Mom,
I know it will be difficult to reach you by phone, but I thought I would send an email. It was good to find out that you and T**** are okay.  Hard to imagine that something like this can strike so close to home.
We are thinking of you and T****.  If you do happen to speak with her, please let he know that we send our love.
With love and prayers,
H****

********************************************************************************

Sent:     Tuesday, September 11, 2001 2:42 pm
Subject:   Re:  Sending love and prayers

Thanks, H****,
 T**** just arrived. We will attempt to get to Metro North.  Hopefully, we’ll get on a train.
Love,
Mom

**********************************************************************************

Sent:     September 13, 2001  5:05 pm
Subject:   Re:  Sending love and prayers

H****,
Sorry, I never get to speak with you.  However, it so special for me to hear from you when I needed it.
Love,
Mom

*********************************************************************************

Sent:     September 13, 2001  11:47 am
Subject:  Sending love and prayers

Good Morning.

C**** told me that you had gone back to work, and I couldn’t believe it!  How are you doing?  I would imagine that you are still in shock and slowly processing the events of this week.  Please be careful and feel free to call us at any time to talk with either C**** or with me.

Love,
H****
**********************************************************************************

Sent:     September 14, 2001  1:10 pm
Subject:  Sending love and prayers

Hi H****,

It’s a bit nerve-wracking.  Buildings are sporadically evacuated.   Not ours, though.  The mood everywhere is somber.  My train was only about 40% full this morning (not normal).

My safe-haven providers (S**** & husband) left a message for me at 6:00 am today.  They left the City for a few days.  S**** said that will all the sirens and emergency vehicles, they couldn’t get any sleep.  We had worked together at Merrill Lynch in one of the World Financial Center (World Trade) buildings. 

Just pray for the poor people who haven’t heard anything from their loved ones and the rescue workers.

Will talk again,
Love,
Mom
*********************************

If you agree that the Internet should remain under United States' control, contact Congress today.  I believe the schedule for relinquishing control is October 1, 2016.

************

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Perhaps by Catherine Hall (on Kindle and the Nook) 

The Book of Micah by Catherine Hall (on Kindle and the Nook) 

Sept 11 Remembered

The following is a personal account.  I've reprinted it several times on the anniversary of Sept.11, 2001.

No American civilian should ever have to experience the events of 9/11 on American soil. And, my experience of that day is in no way comparable to the heartache of the families of the victims. The following is just my personal recollection of that day.

As my train pulled into Grand Central Station that morning, I heard some buzz from other commuters. But, it was none of my business so I just got off the train and walked the underground tunnel to the Forty-fifth Street exit. As I walked up Madison Avenue, I saw a throng of people standing around a bank looking at a TV. As I tried to see that they were looking at, somehow I got the message that something happened at the World Trade Center. I remember looking in that direction, seeing smoke, and trying to use my phone, and then, trying my Blackberry. No signal. I proceeded north to my office on 52nd St. When I arrived, I saw that I had a message from my daughter who worked near the World Trade Center. However, I could not reach her since I had no phone service.

I proceeded to work. A short while later, I heard that there was a TV in Personnel. So, I went to that floor to see what was going on. After a few minutes, I squeezed into the room. The scene was incredulous. I decided that for me the best thing was to go back to work. Young people on my floor were just milling around. We were the IT (computer) department. They either had IT friends in those World Trade buildings or, like me, had previously worked there themselves. I tried to work, but at the back of my mind were all the tens of thousands of commuters who literally poured out of the ground from the PATH (a train from New Jersey). What happened to all those people? Many, many times I had walked through the underground shopping Plaza and the passage ways under those buildings as a shortcut to save time. Since my commute was 2 ½ hours each way from upstate New York, I was always running to be on time at work. In November 2000, a co-worker and good friend gave me a job lead that resulted in my leaving the World Trade Center and moving to 52nd Street. As an aside, I later heard that a very smart female executive of the Port of Authority ordered the trains diverted to the mid-town area of New York City, saving many lives. I thought of how I would take my lunch into one of the glassed-in areas of my building and look at the Towers. How magnificent they were. Of course, I was just looking at the lower floors. I thought the design was intriguing.

Later that morning, I finally heard from my daughter who was with her co-workers at an apartment in lower Manhattan. One of the workers just took his whole department to his home. I advised my daughter to stay right where she was with her co-workers unless they were evacuated. Then, I was contacted by a great friend from Merrill Lynch inviting me to stay the night at her place since the City was in "lock-down."

Being in Computer Security, I decided, since I had no phone, to try sending emails to get messages to my children. I thank the good Lord for the “Information Highway.” Being able to contact my family in an event such as this is why I feel so strongly that there should be no Government interference with the Internet. I emailed friends in San Diego requesting that they contact my family. My children thought I still worked in the World Trade Center. Exactly where I worked was not one of their concerns. I didn’t know my son’s work e-mail address, but decided to create the addresses in different ways. Surely, one of the emails would get through. Not knowing was going to happen next, I wrote to my son that his sister and I were OK. I gave him the address and phone number for the apartment where she was staying. Then, I gave him the phone number of the friend with whom I would be staying. Without being melodramatic, I thought this might be the last communication we could possibly have. It brings me to tears when I think of it.

Around noon, I went to the bank to get money since I couldn’t get home that night. The sea of people walking, shoulder to shoulder, north out of the City on both sidewalks of Park Avenue was at least five people deep. It was an amazing, yet fearful sight.

Around 1pm, my daughter, accompanied by a co-worker, walked the 30 blocks to be with me. Her hair was covered in ash. I got her in our “locked-down” building. When we reached my office, the phone rang. It was my son in Los Angeles. My daughter, wide-eyed and in shock, told him what happened….her words just spilling out. I tried to calm her down. Her only response to me was, “You weren’t there.”

Then, my daughter told me we just had to get out of the City. She kept pressing. As far as I knew, we couldn't go anywhere. I decided to leave and walk to Grand Central to see if any trains were moving. I never in my lifetime had been prepared for what I saw.

As we walked the now eerily empty Park Avenue south to the train station, we were met with men with megaphones ordering us where to go. We walked a sidewalk cordoned off with safety tape into what seemed like the only open entrance. Other than the sea of people in the great expanse of the center of the building, I don’t remember much except that my mind kept reeling, thinking that something else could happen at any moment. Before long, we were on a train leaving the City.

That evening, watching TV, I saw the real events I knew nothing about because I tried to work that day. I realized that I, being the kind of employee I was, would have returned to my desk in one of those buildings when the “All Clear” announcement was given.

My daughter and I were now safe, but what about those people who died. What about their families? Even today, my heart goes out to them

I realize that this is a sharp contrast to my usually light-hearted and hopefully informative blog. I will always remember my daughter walking 30 blocks to my uptown office, covered in ash from those collapsed buildings….wide-eyed and in shock, having seen death and destruction not many American civilians have ever seen. And, as I said in the beginning of this writing, no American citizen should ever have to experience the events of 9/11 on American soil and no one should ever forget.

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Perhaps by Catherine Hall (on Kindle and the Nook) 

The Book of Micah by Catherine Hall (on Kindle and the Nook)