Saturday, June 20, 2009


I have three grandchildren, two of them live in the same city we do and a third one lives in San Francisco. The San Franciscan barely knows how to swim, while the other two are already well on their way to being good swimmers. Since they are already out of school for the summer, I thought I'll go ahead and have our grandchild from San Francisco spend a few weeks with us and have him enrolled at a swimming school. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately (not to my wallet though), the swimming classes within a convenient distance from our place were all filled up already, so we (my wife and I) decided to hire a private swimming instructor to teach him how to swim at our community pool.

The arrangement worked wonder for him. The one-on-one instruction was all he needed and within 8 consecutive sessions of 30 minutes duration, he was able to swim freestyle, backstroke and butterfly for six laps with a little rest in between!

At the end of the school year, my granddaughter earned a 4.0 gpa. She was also an elected member of their student council during the year. Her parents rewarded her for her accomplishments with a cell phone and my wife and I decided to take her out to dinner at a restaurant of her choice. We wanted to give a message to the two boys that they need to play less and attend to their school works more LOL.

We have been to this restaurant before but she and the boys always get a kick out of watching the cook perform his cooking wizardly in the process of preparing our food.

It is not uncommon in California to see a Mexican cook in a Japanese restaurant, but if you are after authentic Japanese cuisine, it is best to settle for a Japanese cook, preferably one trained in Japan LOL.

My other grandchild loves sport and he enjoys playing baseball, soccer, touch football and basketball. Sometimes I worry about him getting hurt because playmates of his age are bigger and taller than him. However, the supervising adults always emphasize sportsmanship, clean play and routinely downgrade the importance of winning as the ultimate goal in team competition.

When a player gets hurt, the game is temporarily stop and the players of both teams in the field sit or hunker down until the play resumes.

Winning and losing teams high five each other after the conclusion of the game.

The parents and fans traditionally welcome their players with a human triumphal arch, win or lose. This is so different during my time in Pinas. Most of the time, the team sport we participated in was only basketball - our uniforms were ragtag or shirt on and off to differentiate team members. The emphasis was on winning by whatever means and rough plays were not only condoned but encouraged. Maybe I am just talking about my experiences and what I observed during my time. I hope things have changed from "who won, to how the game was played and enjoyed by every participants."

Monday, June 8, 2009

Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, Huntington Beach

Bolsa Chica ecological reserve represents a victory of the environmentalists over the relentless effort of the developers to turn this area into a housing and business complex. A lot of work is still needed to be done in this reserve but it is coming along fine. The day I visited, the migratory birds were probably still on their way in or they already packed their bags and left for their seasonal destinations LOL. It was also low tide, so I did not see any fishermen trying their luck in areas where fishing is permitted. I saw a few bird watchers armed with binoculars and cameras fitted with powerful telephoto lenses but I did not see any subject of interest for them to photograph, at least while I was there.

This is one of the two entrances to the reserve.

A couple of bird watchers with their camera mounted on a tripod ready for any action

Just beyond the wooden bridge, there used to be a lot of active oil wells but they have all been plugged off and abandoned except for a few. The oil deposit underneath (Huntington Beach oil field) is almost depleted now but with modern technology they are still able to wash off the oil clinging to the oil sands and extract them.