gi haller

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Back Home

I've just returned from spending a few days visiting with my sisters in Pebble Beach. I have yet to connect my house to cable, so the first few days after Katrina hit New Orleans, I had followed the news via the net. At my sister's home, I was able to see the televised pictures on a big screen. How tragic on so many many levels! One of my sisters has to watch her blood pressure, which is always aggrevated by the appearance of W on the screen, so she spent a good amount of time leaving the room to practice her breathing. The other sister, who is not prone to jump up and move quickly out of the room at the appearance of anyone, spent a lot of time saying, "Let's think positive thoughts". Sadly, I don't think we can think our way out of this one.
Since my return, I have been spending a lot of time on Craig's list trying to see if there are any connections that I can make for people with needs and people who want to help. I spent some time talking with a lady in Baton Rouge today, she is working at a Baptist Church and besides the items commonly listed, she said that they need bug spray, cortizone cream, fans, and reading glasses. I think it is pretty easy to tell who is real and who is playing a scam by the kinds of things that they need, so when someone posts "How Can I Help", I e-mail them and direct them to posts that express a real need. The thing that bothers me is that there is still so much disorganization. Bring Back James Witt and send Michael Brown packing!!!!!!! One of the best things that I have read about the lack of creditable response appeared on Brad DeLong's Blog (A MUST READ) If we elect people who don't think that a functioning government is very important, we should not be surprised when the government neglects to function. Simple! The Bush administration has been casting barbs at government run programs from day one........."privatization".........."Business can do it better".....FEMA has been passed over for Faith-Based programs and HLS.......Well........Government of, by and FOR the people, is not the same as Government of, by and for Big Business...and For the people means ALL PEOPLE! Wake up America! It's time to shock and awe these Republicans right out of office.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

I just want to get the local news

While the rest of the world seems to be experiencing far greater problems, thought you'd enjoy a sample of an Ojai problem:
From: Jeanne
Date: August 30, 2005 4:11:07 PM PDT
To: G Haller
Subject: Re:

Oh hi, Mr. Haller,
You are now a captive of our vortex....
Welcome to town.
;–) Jeanne

on 8/30/05 2:47 PM, G Haller at wrote:

Dear Jeanne,

Thank you for your prompt reply. I sincerely hope that you did not
take my note as a personal criticism. Clearly, I do not hold you
personally responsible for what the United States Post Office does
with our mail, and I don't believe that my note in anyway implies
that I do. Your response, however, does point out a certain
problem: If, as you state, the Ojai Valley News receives a high
volume of mail on any given day, it would seem sensible that the
postal workers would have a reasonably good idea of how to direct
mail to you. On the other hand, if for some governmental ruling,
they are unable to forward mail that is addressed to you via the
address listed in your paper, namely 408-A Bryant Circle, then I
think you should clarify this problem with the proper authorities.
It may be a simple matter of filling out a form that will forward all
mail addressed to 408-A Bryant Circle to P.O.Box 277, or it may be
that you need to have a proper mail receptacle at your given
address. Whatever the case, my note was intended to be helpful and
instructive. If I have had this problem, then surely others have had
it before me. Perhaps, this is an issue that needs some attention.
As per your instructions, I will presently readdress your letter and
hand deliver it to the Ojai Post Office.
Again, thank you for your prompt reply, and forgive me while I
decompress in my new life of retirement and get used to " Oh! that's

Yours sincerely,
Gi Haller

On Aug 30, 2005, at 8:39 AM, Jeanne wrote:

Dear Mr. Haller,

As much as I would like to have the power to do so, I cannot
control the
fact that the United States Post Office sends their mail to Oxnard
to be
cancelled. This does not happen, however, if the mail is dropped off
directly into the mail slot or over the counter in the Post Office%

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

School has started.......and I haven't

Sue and Jan came up to Ojai for a quick visit last week. I think the high-point of their trip was our visit to the Ojai Art Center and a stop by the old Ojai Fire Station, which is now the home of Frank Massarella. ......... Jan, ever the artist that she is, was busy gathering ideas, while Sue, the sharp-eyed shopper, was busy gathering gifts. Fortunately Frank was at work that day, and I think he enjoyed the enthusiasm of my guests as much as he enjoyed the business. There was a good exchange of ideas, and I think that I have convinced my old friends to return for the annual Artist's Open Studios. This is a nice weekend event that benefits the art programs of the Ojai schools........Update for all of you who are coming to visit: I have almost finished unpacking the boxes in the guest bedroom, and with a little help from some local musclemen, I should have a bed in there by the end of the week......Just know that I'm working on it!
Miss Perryman was also up to visit this past week. I was saddened to hear that she is not going to be returning to SWES this school year, but I was very pleased to hear that she has a wonderful new job and many exciting things happening in her life right now..... Her radiant smile (her braces are off!) made the fish jump right out of Lake Casitas. We had lunch on the lake and then took an unplanned tour of Ventura. We finished the day with iced coffee at the local (Not Starbucks!) coffee shop in Ojai..... There is always so much joy when Syvetril is around, and I hope that she will always feel welcomed to visit.
School started today for the children of Ojai. I over- heard some boys discussing their first day, "She has flowers all over the classroom; I think she's crazy.".........."My teachers is nuts for trees."............"It's only the first day and already I have homework!".......Sound familiar?......Good luck to all of you who are looking for those lightbulb ideas! Remember: Opportunity comes to the prepared mind.........Now is the time to prepare! ..........and I get to sleep in!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

A touch of Fall in the air

I don't know why, but when the temperature dropped a good fifteen degrees this week, my thoughts just naturally drifted back to getting ready for school. Not that the chaos of the house has improved that much........I'm really not ready to spring board in any direction.......and I certainly have enough to do around here.......but there it was.......that unmistakable tug.......The Ojai school bus has made a couple of practice runs past my house........just to punctuate the situation. Whew! It will be interesting to see what I actually manage to pull off with all of the extra time that is rolling my way with the Autumn leaves.

If you have been reading Eric's blog, you know that last week, I went to a meeting here in Ojai. There were some very nice people there. Idealists who are interested in putting the demos back in the democratic process. Peace Corps types.......Shades of Berkeley in the early 60's........Tomorrow night I am going to participate in a candle-light vigil in support of Cindy Sheehan. ( Check Eric's post for finding one near you.) I find myself drawn to support this lady because of the villification of her that is so obvious in the media. How dare they!!!!!! Here is a grieving mother, and while her tragedy cannot be undone, at the very least, everyone should respect her circumstances. Would it be so difficult for the president to have her brought onto the ranch privately and to just acknowledge her by name (I guess she was highly insulted that he didn't know her or her son's names when he met with her the first time), and to express to her his, and by extension, the nation's sadness at her lost.......All of you people who have those Crawford Connections, please ask them to reconsider this one. The longer they wait, the bigger the issue will become. The tactic of waiting and thereby making it a polical issue with an emotional face that can be easily countered with neo-con mental gymnastics is just too low. I feel so, so sorry for this woman, and I feel equally sorry for anyone who cannot share these feelings. Light a candle!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Happy B-day to Bret!!!!

It was a great birthday! thanks! and check out the meteor shower!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Great pictures of Ojai

Yesterday morning my neighbors, Eugene and Kathy joined me at the Marina Cafe on Lake Casitas for breakfast. ( I really have to get my camera up and running so that I can post some pictures here.) In a fifteen minute drive from my house, there is a huge reservoir, Lake Casitas. It is a bit different visually than other lakes because there isn't the usual green belt of aspens or pines surrounding it. There have been some imported palm tress placed around it in hopes of creating the feeling of an oasis, but for the most part, the eye goes from rapidly browning chaparral to blue-green water. the oasis attempt is lost......(Just google Lake Casitas after you read this)
There is something very strange about the rules of this place....... Because it is a reservoir, there is suppose to be no physical contact with the water. On the other hand, motor boats are permitted on "the lake"........ While I'm rather comforted by the fact that people are not swimming around in my drinking water, I am a bit more than disconcerted about boats spilling high octane waste into it......What do you think?... There was much to contemplate over our huevos rancheros as we watched the speed boats throwing up their tall rooster tails. ...Coincidently, this last week, Bret sent me some links about the purity, or, more often than not, the impurity of bottled drinking water.....This whole water thing took me back to that shocked moment of childhood, when my older brother, Snow, told me that there had been no new water created since the world began...Snow was a master of throwing odd bits of information out over the breakfast table........"So?", I had asked in such innocence.......Thereupon, he went through a long, long history of where the water sitting before me in the rescued jelly glass may have been before......Naturally, he peppered his story with names of the rich and famous and infamous to keep my attention: Washington, Ginger Rogers, Hitler, Alexander the Great, King Tut....There was just no end of possibilties of where that water may have been! ...........I was about six then, and drinking water from that point forward became an object of suspicion..................I guess it still is.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

It was altogether too close to a Tom Robbins kind of day........everything just a shade short of believable. And when that's your reality, it sort of pushes those testy time/space/and who are we questions to the fore. Without putting the spotlight on any of my neighbors or friends, because I can see where privacy issues might be an area of concern here, I'll just tell you that the day's stories include a dramactic retelling of a child's death due to a brown-recluse spider bite (Don't drop your levis on the floor in Ventura County and expect to put them on the next day without first carefully inspecting each fold......and watch your cowboy boots......and while this story is being told in graphic detail, the roses are frying in the sun and all of the old bites and stings are revisiting my body, and I know that this lady is never ever going to be able to go beyond the images in her mind unless people, like me, take a little bit of it.....but this probably happened 30 years ago, and while I don't know where to go with this, her husband rescues the moment by saying "That West Nile is pretty bad"....What a save!.....Out of the heat and down the road, lunch is in the barrio section of Northern Ventura where practically every building carries a story of death, violence, and lost dreams. "A guy went in there and just shot the owner of that restaurant"...."Lady jumped from a window over there"...... Vegetable burritos while kids on bicycles score from smoked-glass bmers and Pepsi trucks roll in and out of the Pepsi factory next to the trailer park......I hope that the woman with the baby carriage isn't going into the abandoned building with the corrugated tin roof, but she is....Ok.......I say......I can't change the world, but the world is really poking with a sharp stick today and the humorous aspect of it is playing shadow games. My friend Erica, sensing my concerns, tells me that the lady and baby are going to be ok and packs us off to the ocean and the circus of people getting ready for the county fair..............Then it is back to the heat of Ojai and up to the hills to feed the 4H project pigs.........Pigs are certainly a wonderful prank of creation!...The muddy oink at the end of the big bang. Tomorrow has already started.