We're getting tons of rain in California, and here in the valley that's a good thing, as long as we can keep some of it for later. They say a lot of it runs into the ocean. The local mountains got a huge dump of snow. Very happy to have a 3-day weekend, thanks to Martin Luther King Jr.
I just keep drawing Vincent for some reason. I think it's because he inspires so many of us in our pursuits of art. Who knows. He definitely had a part in my returning to drawing a few years ago. I would wander around in museums, aimlessly gawking here and there, until suddenly I'd find myself in a room with some of his paintings. I didn't want to leave. I could just stare at those paintings forever. There was something behind each one, a passion you just didn't see in so many other paintings. Every now and then I find another artist who captivates in a similar way. It's what drives us all, I think, to keep at it.
Down the street we have a Grocery Outlet, and I love to shop there. You can't always find what you're looking for, but there's always more than you'd expect. The best part is at the checkout. The checker always says something like, "You paid $42, and you saved $62." I guess they keep track of what every other store is selling their products for, because somehow they always know. You leave the store feeling like you've saved all this money, so I usually say, "That's great! I think I'll go out to eat with all the money I saved." They don't usually think that's very funny, but I say it anyway.
Just my reaction to hyper consumerism today...where the customer experiences frustration from having too many choices and ends up just going home and making his own coffee. When we lived in Germany, we would fly back to the States for visits and I remember standing in the cereal aisle, which seemed to go on for miles, paralyzed because there were just too many options. Of course, it was the same response I had encountering the yoghurt aisle or cheese aisle in a French grocery store. Americans love having options. Somehow it makes us feel like we are unique, when in fact we all just want some caffeine to wake us up.
A little scene today to remember my year in South Korea. It was 1987, my last year in the army. My weekends were spent traveling by train to as many villages and cities I could, wandering the streets and tasting the foods; developing a taste for travel that would stay with me the rest of my life. Korea was particularly important to me, as it is where my faith in God was renewed.
Christmas in Southern California feels very much like any other day of the year. The weather may drop down below the 80s and you may have to wear a windbreaker in the morning. The indoor activities are pretty much the same- playing board games, drinking egg nog, listening to traditional Christmas songs, and hanging out with family. It's the outdoor activities that are somewhat different. This year we had family from Sweden visiting, and they took a plunge in the swimming pool. Then we did a hike up to the Hollywood sign in our shorts. Good times, just different.
We spent our Christmas season in Southern California with family and saw this house in Los Angeles on our way after dropping off my daughter at the Los AngelesCounty Museum of Art, where her friend currently works. The traffic coming out of LA was typical, and we barely escaped a fender bender as the two cars in front of us collided. I am always very happy to return to the Central Valley, where things are much slower and the skies are darker at night. I do, however, enjoy seeing the architecture in LA, and we were fortunate that our phone map took us in a roundabout way back to the freeway, as it afforded us the opportunity to see some architecture we never would have known was there had we remained on Sunset Boulevard. There are truly some beautiful neighborhoods in Los Angeles, and I'm sure incredibly expensive to get into.
Fresno and Clovis are filled with good Mexican restaurants. I have not eaten at this particular one, but some day it would be good to try their huevos rancheros for breakfast. The restaurant was started in 1985 by Leoncio Garcia and his wife and can be found on Tollhouse Road, just east of Sunnyside Avenue.