Captain’s Log 6,030
I got an email from last night’s dinner date asking to postpone. He has a serious sinus infection and needs to get well so he can get on a plane to Brazil in a few days. Having flown with a serious cold, I know how challenging that can be. So we have pushed it back to the end of June after he returns. I wish I could report on a cool dinner in the Gaslamp District of San Diego, but alas……
He’s a real urban guy and this is where he like to hang out. To be truthful, I avoid it for the most part. It’s crowded, usually packed with tourists drinking heavily, and it is beyond over-priced. The restaurants serve food festooned with twigs and drizzled sauces. I am not a drizzled sauces kind of girl.
20 years ago, this part of the city was cheap transient hotels, dive bars, tattoo parlors, and brothels (all catering to the navy boys in town). Now it’s trendy. But the “undesirable” elements are still there – only they have moved a few blocks away. The new public library (near the heart of the Gaslamp) becomes a tent city for the homeless after the library closes every night.
Serious issues that I feel our city doesn’t do enough to address.
This is what happens when the police roust homeless people from their encampments by local rivers. They have nowhere to go. It’s easier for them to stay on the streets rather than use shelters. Shelters force them to take all of their belongings with them every morning at 7:00. They cannot return again until 6:00 in the evening. Yes, they are given two hot meals and a place to sleep, but most say they are robbed and beaten during the night. I believe them. I have heard that story too many times from people in the system.
There are several homeless encampments very close to my house (and also Big Sister Mia). I have stumbled upon a few while geocaching. I stay away from those areas. The people who live there are fiercely protective of their territory and their possessions. I understand completely. There are also homeless encampments hidden in the canyons in Balboa Park where I work. I see this every single day. The police warn us when a new “urban camper” shows up who is dangerous. More than once I have had homeless guys ask to come into the museum to warm up when I open the building before dawn on early-morning news days. I feel like a shit when I ask them to leave, but I cannot have them doing that. They always want to sleep on the floor in the store. I usually get them a cup of coffee. At least a cup of coffee.
I do what I can. I always give people on the street money. Always. It is not my place to judge what they do with that money. They use it for whatever they need in the moment. Once they have the money, they make the choice. Not me. If I don’t agree with their choices, them I am a judgmental asshole. Since when do I have the right to decide what other people choose to do? I don’t.
Wow. That took a direction. One never knows.
Four years ago today I was planning my mother’s funeral. She died at 2:30 AM and by 9:00, we were at the funeral home going over all the plans. She had pre-arranged everything more than 15 years before she died, but most of what she wanted was no longer available. We basically started from scratch. My sister and I (and her kids) wandered around in a fog for several days. Since we had nowhere to really go except our motel in the next town, my high school pal (who used to run the funeral home) opened her house to us. She gave us food and a place to relax. She did this for two days, and I cannot tell you how grateful we are to her for her generosity and understanding. We could not have gone through it as well as we did without her. Her name is Jean Fisch, and she is one of my heroes.
I miss my mom. Losing your mom is the hardest thing in the world. We all know it has to happen someday, but we push that away as far as possible. We were prepared for mom’s death, but it was still devastating.
An early photo sent over recently from Jean Fisch. Our mothers were best friends. They were Ya Ya ladies. They met every day at the cafe for coffee and chit chat. They had sacred times together. I am so grateful these ladies had each other for all those years. We all learned from them.
I miss my mother. When I think about what I was doing 4 years ago with Jean’s son (who now runs the business), I cannot believe it actually happened. I also got the surprise of my life when my pal Terri Tinkel showed up with her husband, Dean. They drove all the way from Indiana to Iowa to attend my mom’s funeral. It’s having friends like Jean and Terri that illustrate how rich life can be if you give it a chance.
Blessings on this day of remembering and celebrating the good things life has to offer.