Thursday, April 19, 2012

Evidence of Adventures

Evidence of Adventures by suzipaw
Evidence of Adventures, a photo by suzipaw on Flickr.

This week has turned out to be a bit more, um, exciting than planned. I guess that's the nature of unplanned generally.

M's trip to southern California to see family and friends was cut short almost exactly between here and there. The motorcycle threw a rod or whatever bikes do to protest being revved at 80 mph down I5 for hours at a time, stranding M in the California heartland. He had to rent a truck (foreground of photo) to bring it home. We're both very sad. Bike prognosis is uncertain at a time when we should be contentedly anticipating exploration of a weekend as summer beckons from the edges of the hillsides and deep blue of the sky.

The house painting project has begun. We're in prelude stage: fixing up the exterior. I wasn't expecting it to be so severe, but apparently I'm the only one. In an unexpectedly pleasant glass-half-full scenario, the truck M rented to convey the bike will be pressed into service for a dump run and materials pick-up. So not all was lost there. Now we just have to choose the paint colors.

Earlier this week I had the dreaded procedure. It was...fine. A bit like a dream, I think back and wonder--were they really doing that to me? Thank goodness for modern chemistry producing amnesiacs and anesthetics. This was the last (for a while anyway) in a series of peers, pokes, prods, squeezes, scrapes, and sutures of my 50th year. I'm glad it's all over and even happier that my medical history remains unremarkable as one of the nurses at the endoscopy center noted. Bless medical professionals by the way. Everyone at the endo center was so matter-of-fact and did their best to make me comfortable and put me at my ease. As I waited for it to get underway, gazing at the gray walls never dappled by sunshine, overhearing the same questions repeated over and over through the curtains on either side of me, I was grateful that they treated me respectfully and as an individual. I suspect I'd feel my soul crushed in an environment like that if I had to be there day in and day out, even knowing that the work I was doing was potentially life saving.

Today I had another day of mentoring in the City. It was lovely. I hope I've helped them a little bit. I had dinner on the back deck, Roxy before me, relaxed but closely watching the yard. I love this time of year.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April National Poetry Month. I wrote a poem today, the first one in a long time save a fragment the other day that had tulips and clouds as major imagery. Here is today's:

You leave heading east
sun at your back
I know you feel your day
is just beginning
a traveler alone.

Alone I open the window
as if to catch the last
scent, the exhaust of missing.
You do this to me.
You surprise me with leavetaking
amputating the mope and longface
with your excitement.

I change the sheets
removing one small reminder
another scent of what we
shared last night.
I will make my own
nest when the sun
goes down. I close
the window, slide the curtain
rings rattling across the dark
space that divides us,
waiting to hear you come home.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Battle Sail Weekend

Hawaiian Chieftain by suzipaw
Hawaiian Chieftain, a photo by suzipaw on Flickr.

While we were up in Manchester a couple of weeks ago, I saw in the local paper that two tall ships would be in Bodega Bay, the Lady Washington and the Hawaiian Chieftain. M and I are unabashed fans of the Aubrey-Maturin and Hornblower books, so I visited the website for more info. How excited we both were that not only would there be tours, but that we could reserve for a "battle sail"! So that's what we did yesterday.

We took the bike out, which was handy. There was parking, but it was very crowded (I had heard at the gym the day before that kids were skipping school to see them--I think the fact that the Lady Washington was the vessel used in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie helped fan the fan flames). It was a beautiful day--not much of a swell, fairly clear skies, not too chilly, good visibility, and not too windy, which was good and bad. There was enough to actually do some real sailing without the engines, but we didn't maneuver too quickly. Though I think that was just as well. It was easier to see what the mostly volunteer crew was doing, how the mast and booms and sails and rigging worked, and also just enjoy the lovely day. The cannons made a fine loud boom--we saluted several other boats as well as the spectators lining the sea walls. The crew was very informal and playful, I'm sure Jack Aubrey would have been horrified. When another vessel hailed us, our captain replied with a "Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?" quip. An unexpected highlight was when a very small, white plane zipped between the tall ships, flying not much higher than the masts--I saw the pilot wave as he flew by. I took some movies with my phone that I'll try to edit and post soon.

Though the sail was just a few hours long, it really wiped me out. I got to bed early and had a hard time waking up today. I had entertained (not very seriously) thoughts of taking time off to volunteer as a hand (the crew was a least half women) but I don't think I'd last very long.

I was in San Francisco earlier in the week for our third show of the year. It went pretty well, but I think we'd all hope for more attendees. It was nice having an event in SF rather than Santa Clara. Much nearer, and I had some lovely food! Good pizza at Zero Zero and a second visit to Salt House. More long days, made a bit longer by my commitment to activity. I went to the hotel gym two mornings (I'm coming to the conclusion that hotel gyms just aren't very pleasant) and took an early walk another morning. San Franciscans are not early risers.

The week before the conference I had yet another evening event in the City. I had to drive down in a torrential downpour and I was glad not to be in the Cadillac, though I was white knuckling it all the way, even with Jane's help. It was my first formal speaking gig, at an event for women in tech. There were about 200 gals in the audience! It came about very suddenly and I had just enough time to prepare the five-minute talk, though it meant I worked on it all weekend. It went OK.

Frankly, it's a relief to have this first one over, and now I have a presentation that I can work on and take on the road. In other speaking related news, I was able to take part in a speaker training at the office on Thursday, and that really helped, though I have a lot of exercises I need to work on. My upward inflection, nose and eyes tracking together, and filler words, particularly "um," are bad, as the video illustrates. Also, I bobble my head quite a bit which undercuts my perceived authority--don't want to do that! The exercise for that is wearing a balled up pair of socks on your head and making sure they don't slip off--talk about undercutting authority! Anyway, I'm pretty excited and nervous about doing more speaking, but I truly believe that it will be very good for my career and for my self confidence generally. Wish I had worked to get over my fear of public speaking earlier!

In house hunting related news, we won't be able to schedule the painting til the end of the month. Meanwhile, interest rates are edging up and we're still not seeing any houses that we like. Gah. It's a little frustrating.

OK, time to pack my gym bag and head to bed.