Monthly Archives: August 2010

Three-day Summer

The heat and clear skies that arrived on Sunday and hit its stride with the 95F high on Tuesday was gone by this evening when I drove from the warmth and light of San Jose straight into the fog bank that signaled my exit off Highway 1. By the end of the exit, I had headlights on and wipers slapping steadily against the heavy mist on the windshield. Ah, summer in Santa Cruz. It was short but sweet.

Shedding the Shed

A while back, I complained (on Facebook, I think) about the condition of the yard across the street, where my redneck neighbors live. One of the things I listed was that they had a shed that was built to fit into the back of the guy’s pickup truck when it came time for them to pull up stakes and move on. How do I know that? Because he proudly told me that fact in the course of a conversation about something at some point in time.

Well, the time has come for moving on, they’ve bought a place in Oregon, and so the shed has to go. But he isn’t taking it with him, he sold it on Craigslist over the weekend.

As you can see by the photo, the guy was right, it is a pretty portable shed.  It probably would have fit just fine in the bed of his pickup truck, except that now he has a shiny new Toyota pickup (am I the only one that finds it funny that a conservative redneck kind of guy buys a Toyota and not a Ford or GM pickup?) and the shed might ruin the paint job.

Good thing he’s got a trailer he built out of spare parts. It was just the right size for the shed.

What my hairdresser knows for sure…

Shana’s been cutting my hair for a couple of years now, and together, we’re taking the journey to grow it out and let the natural color show. After years (okay, decades) of dyeing it various colors, I decided last fall that it was time to see how much silver (okay, gray) was really there. Turns out there was more silver than any other color and I’m liking how it looks. Every 7-8 weeks, I go see Shana for a trim, to shape the mane as it grows out. And every visit since February, she’s commented on how I look overall, as I have been slowly but steadily paring down the pounds that piled on in the last 15 years. I’m now down to the weight I was when I moved back to California 10 years ago, after a two-decade stint on the East Coast. I’m not finished with the weight-loss project but I’m currently 25 pounds less than I used to be and that’s a good milestone to celebrate.

Today, when I went in to get Shana to rein in the silvery chaos that is my hair, she flat-out told me to get some new jeans and dump the baggy look. “It’s time,” she said. I knew she was right because I could pull the jeans off without unzipping them. But then, these were my safe jeans; they fit me when little else in my closet did. They were, yes, my fat jeans. And it was time for them to go. I went to Kohls, the store of choice for cheap name-brand jeans, and tried on pair after pair. Those were too tight, these were too long, that pair didn’t fit right. I finally settled on a pair of Lee jeans that were 2 sizes smaller than the fat jeans; I probably could have gone down 3 sizes but that pair was a bit tight and I probably need to go down another 5 pounds before they really fit. Next month…

The fat jeans are now gone, banished to the Goodwill truck this afternoon, before I could change my mind and rescue them from the pile of too-big clothes that I had been storing in a big plastic bag. Goodbye, fat jeans, thanks for being there but I don’t need you any more. I’ve got a new pair of favorite jeans, ones that fit who I am now. And that’s a very good feeling.

Peace in a picture

Another long day at work in a week of long days. Instead of escaping for home at 5PM, I had one more meeting and didn’t get out of the building until 6:30PM. I drove home and changed into my running clothes to get at least a mile in, keeping the summer streak alive. On the way out the door, I grabbed the camera because I could tell it was pretty close to sunset, the way the light was hitting the tops of the trees across the street from my house. I made it down to the beach in time to catch the last bit of sunset and the dusky sky in transition from bright summer’s day to midnight hues. Peace.

Dive, Dive, Dive

Another evening run, another 10 minute-stop to watch the pelicans gliding above the sardine pool, then hovering before they dive straight down to get their dinner.

It’s an amazing thing to watch and even harder to catch with a camera, at least the little one I run with. (It is kind of hard to run with a DSLR, that body is way too big for holding in one hand.) I took a couple dozen shots tonight and liked this one the best because it’s the first time I’ve ever caught a pelly as he was stretched out in dive position just above the surface of the water. It shows how flexible they are, first to hover in mid-air and be able to look down and spot the prey, then transform themselves into speeding bullets with pin-point accuracy.

Did you know pelicans have air sacs just beneath their skin that help them surface quickly after a dive. Yes, they do! And they can sight a fish in water from 50 feet high or more. Amazing bird, the pelican!

Polka Dot

At work, they make it easy to recycle and hard to trash something. At your desk, you get a Recycle plastic can and a smaller Compost plastic can. In the kitchen, you get Recycle and Compost bins. In some kitchens, you also get a Trash can, but not in all the kitchens, for some reason. Conference rooms, guaranteed, get the trifecta: Compost, Recycle, and Trash.

So today, when I needed a trash can because power bar wrappers are not compostable or recyclable, I happened to be in a kitchen that didn’t have a Trash can. But since all conference rooms do, I headed out in search of an unused conference room. That alone is usually a thankless task, since the company is overly enamoured of meetings, meetings, bloody meetings (to quote an old John Cleese training film on how to make meetings not so bloody).

Lucky for me, it was just before lunchtime (the sacred hour of 12 Noon to 1PM, when people are loath to schedule meetings) and the Polka Dot conference room was open. So I threw away my wrapper and took a quick photo of the room’s most outstanding decoration: two red polka dot dresses.

Given the decor, I bet this conference room is the last one booked on the floor. Me, I’d book it just to annoy everyone who had to live with the dresses for an hour. It might even make the meeting go faster because people would want to escape from the dots. That’s it, the Polka Dot conference room is now #1 on my  list for meetings.

Paddling by a Pelican

Today was a very good day. The sun finally broke through the marine layer before noon, inspiring me to forgo a long run in favor of a long kayak paddle on Elkhorn Slough.

There were lots of creatures on and in the water today, from a single white pelican (today’s photo) to otters and sea nettle jellyfish, from loons to egrets. I had a relaxing couple of hours paddling around and taking photographs, letting the wind and tide carry me home.

More photos from the paddle are on my flikr site.