Friday, February 16, 2007

Pictures From My Two Homes

Brownies Cafe is a little restaurant about 5 blocks away from the house where I grew up in Yuma, AZ. When I was 10 years old, I started delivering newspapers for the Yuma Daily Sun. The newspaper business soon became a family affair, and my sister and I would often walk to this cafe after finishing our Sunday morning paper rounds to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and a wonderful pancake breakfast. Other mornings we would go straight home and enjoy the world's very best hot cocoa, that our mother often had waiting for us upon our return at about 5:30am on those cold (sometimes literally freezing) desert mornings.

The outer window of Brownies Cafe, just about as home town as you can get.

The counter at Brownies.
Those of you who had the pleasure of eating breakfast on some early morning with me at Bill's Family Restaurant in Augusta, GA will now appreciate why I liked the place so much. It reminded me very much of good times at home.

Inside view of Brownies Cafe, complete
with prints of famous icons of popular culture.

The EZ Shop - where I used to hang out as a 10-13 year old. I was friends with a few of the cashiers that worked there (or at least that was my 10-year-old impression). The guy that was managing the store in those days became my choir teacher at the local Christian school 6 years later. He led our choir to a state-wide championship at a choral competition. I've never heard any group of people sound better than we did under his leadership. Looking back, it seems a little bit odd that I was hanging out during the evenings in a liquor store. They used to have video games (when video game machines stood taller than an adult and looked more like Atari than Nintendo). I played Pac-man, Asteroids, Space Invaders, Dig-Dug, and Joust for the very first time in this store, for a quarter per game. Eventually, the jet simulators and 2 person race-car games would cost 50 cents per person per round, which seemed absolutely ridiculous at the time.
Who in their right mind would pay 50 cents for a video game?

Mr. G's Restaurant was the place where all of the too cool for school rebels would go to ditch during junior-high. They were often leaning against the wall smoking as the rest of us walked to school on those early mornings over 20 years ago.

The actual restaurant itself...

David's Market on Avenue B in Yuma. My sister and I used to walk to this store from my dad's apartment when I was about 9 years old and she was about 6.

Here is a picture of some oil wells somewhere in California taken on the drive down to Yuma.

This is a telephone repair truck from 1929. The owner pulled in next to me at the gas station on a day early in February. He let me take a lot of pictures of it and they turned out pretty well.

The truck had electronic ignition, and a very basic set of gauges. Here you can see everything.

A great friend was there for me this month when I needed one. We went out during the day to hike around on the beautiful Fort
Ord land. We saw a great horned owl, a barn owl, and we found two coyote dens with tracks all around them. I discovered an oil beetle / blister beetle (it is called both) in the entrance of one of the coyote dens. We decided that this area would be really cool to see at night, and we knew that there would be a full moon out, so we decided to go back after dark. During the night we heard saw-whet owls and the male and female of possibly a soon to be mating pair of great horned owls. We also heard the coyotes howling out to each other from all directions a couple of different times. It was an unforgettable experience. This picture of the moon (again from my cell phone) was taken as we walked towards the basin where we would camp out for a few hours.

You can't tell who this is, but this is a picture of a wonderful, "new-
ish" friend of mine, standing on an outcropping of rocks on the beach not far from Carmel. There are several other friends of ours on the rocks there as well but they can't be seen in this picture.

The Dar Williams Concert in Santa Cruz was amazing and inspirational. This picture was taken when everyone held up their cell phones (instead of their lighters) during one of her songs. I was waiting the whole time to hear her sing "When I Was A Boy" and it was the last song that she performed. This was a great night with great friends.

The flip chart page that I used when teaching a class to people who had never learned any Arabic before. The object was for me to teach them some words and help them to create a few different kinds of sentences that required knowledge of a grammatical concept. This lesson could only last 7 minutes. In 5 minutes all of the students were able to create sentences using these words, and they also knew how to vowel the words correctly based on where those words were placed in the sentences. I had to teach this class without speaking any English. It was fun, and it was a real challenge, and it worked!