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November 17-20, 2023

Dear Family, Friends, and Diary,

Ten days after getting off the plane from Germany, we were settling into normal home activities. The first of these are to fix technology that had suffered in our absence. Marianne's email was somehow causing us to be blocked at the email & website server. A dozen messages with far-distant tech support MAY have fixed the problem, but it's hard to tell for certain. The Tesla needed some new wiring to clear an alarm about the passenger seat. Sprinklers in front need rearrangement after being torn up by the city's project to replace sidewalks. Sprinklers on the side have deteriorated to the point that we need to spend thousands to replace almost everything. Year-end bills are flowing in.

We should have stayed on the road.

Saturday, November 18th, was a busy one, starting with me getting out of bed at 3:00am to watch the second test launch of SpaceX's Starship, the largest rocket ever launched. Since jet lag was still preventing me from sleeping in, getting up was less of a difficulty than one might imagine.

four shotsTim and My go-to YouTube channel for watching rocket launches is Tim Dodd's Everyday Astronaut and for this South Texas launch, the channel had a wide array of cameras. Tim and his co-host provided background and commentary for hours before the 5:00 am (Pacific Time) launch window, during the three minute flight, and for hours afterwards. The channel's technology and Dodd's knowledge and enthusiasm made this as exciting as the old NASA moon launches of my youth.

(If you have good headphones, watch and listen to Everyday Astronaut's show with the "trackers", the camera operators that followed the spaceship's flight. As an engineer, and a photographer, I can only be amazed.)

AmyRenNext on our Saturday agenda was the first of the Christmas season art shows that pop up around Fresno. Local artists always hope this will be the year folks choose to buy real, locally-made, original, art pieces. We hope they are right.

The 2023 Glass and Clay show was held outdoors, in a drizzle, but artists and customers were cheerful. Marianne's main goal was to stop by and show support for friends Amy and Ren, both remarkable ceramicists. Next Saturday it will be Marianne's turn.

Our biggest event of the day was a shared neighborhood birthday celebration. One street over, Dorothy Jones was almost 103 and, on Cambridge, our buddy Vern was days away from his 95th birthday. Dorothy's daughter had organized an amazing show, starting with the Fresno High School band playing at Dorothy's house, then marching around the block to big white tents set up at Vern's house.

signband playedband

There, friends and neighbors listened to Vern sing, Dorothy tell funny stories, and local politicians expound on the wisdom of our seniors. US Congressman Jim Costa, just off a plane from Washington, was warm and friendly, having first met Vern decades ago when Costa was fresh out of Fresno State.

Vern Dorothy jazz singer Dorothy
Costa supervisor plaque

cheerscakeAfter speeches, the gathered friends and neighbors toasted our senior neighbors and cut into the waiting cakes.

This was truly a wonderful reminder to us that we live in a special place, with special people.

Even if we don't have Europe's churches, castles, and squares.


Stay tuned,

John and Marianne