Monthly Archives: September 2010

Turning a corner

Both literally and emotionally today, as it turns out…

I had one of those days where nothing goes right. Forgot I had an early meeting, so not enough time for a run before work, then horrible traffic, people who missed meetings, rescheduled meetings, and so on all day at work. By the time I got out of there, I was stressed out, had a wicked headache, and was so tired. Got on the freeway to go home and, yep, more traffic. Rather unexpected at 6:30PM, it’s usually smooth sailing at that time of evening.

Slogged home, feeling sorry for myself most of the way. I was already thinking about blowing off the daily run and snuggling onto the couch with something sweet and chocolate. All I had to do was turn left as I got off the freeway and the grocery store was right there. I knew I was going to do it. I couldn’t resist. I deserved it, that was the refrain in my head.

I got to my off-ramp and realized I had a choice. I could go left, buy the chocolate stuff, and comfort myself for the crappy day. Or I could go right, go for a run, and have a dinner of crab meat and pasta.

This was it. The moment. I’ve read about it, that moment of awareness BEFORE you binge, before you blow it, before you make the emotional choice. But I never really felt it before. Today, I FELT IT. I had a choice at that traffic light: right or left. I could do the safe old thing or I could choose something different.

I chose right. I only ran a mile but it made me feel better. The crab/pasta dinner was better for me that a boatload of sweets. And now, I’m not beating myself up for not running and eating bad food. At the end of a crappy day, I made a choice that made me feel better. I turned the right corner.

Pelican stare-down

To end the three-day weekend in style, I loaded up the kayak and headed down to Elkhorn Slough with the Nikon DSLR in its waterproof bag. If it’s not too windy out, then it works to take the good (read: expensive) camera paddling and bring it out once I’m in the back channels where there’s less chop and wind. I was hoping to get a few photographs as the tide came up but overall, the birds were somewhere else, except for a few skittish sandpipers and a very aloof blue heron who didn’t like the paddling paparazzi.

I headed back to the dock as the fog rolled in since I was starting to get a little cold and it was getting round about dinner time. Then I saw the pelican flying low over the water. Nothing skims the surface of the water like a pelican. As I was tracking him, frustrated at how far away he was from me, I realized there was another pelican between us, grooming on the left bank of the channel about 30 yards away.

I slowly paddled closer, then let the kayak drift down on him as I focused and shot as many images as I could. You never know what you’re going to get with a pelican – the dead-on stare of disdain, the “I’m going to ignore you” grooming, or the flight that signals the end of the photo session. I got a few stares and some ignoring-you positioning, although he mostly held his ground as my kayak moved slowly closer to him. Finally, after a dozen shots, he decided he’d had enough and took off, landing on the right bank.I let him go. He had posed enough for one day.

When I got home, I couldn’t wait to see if any of the shots had turned out as good as they looked in the viewfinder. This photo is the one that stood out from the rest. There’s nothing like the world-weary look of a pelican staring down yet another camera-toting paddler.

September flowers

Opened the window blinds onto the patio today and realized how completely empty and boring it is to look out there. I made a note to do something with it, but then forgot about it until I parked at OSH, going to pick up a new cable for the TV. There, right in front of the store, were racks and racks of flowers, all 25% off. And so many purple-y ones. How could I resist?

I already had a lot of different pots, so I picked out some flowers, a couple bags of potting soil, and headed to the counter. Whoops, forgot what I came for originally, the cable thing. Quick trip back to the wiring aisle, the back to the checkout stand.

Got home and instead of taking a bit of a nap on the couch, I ended up potting all the flowers because I couldn’t wait to see how they would look on the patio. I like it so far, although I might try to stack them a little more to get different heights as they grow. But for now, the little patio is a lot better looking than it was this morning.

Foggy Flats

This isn’t a promising start to the three-day weekend here in Aptos Flats, too close to the bay to escape the fog that rolled in sometime last night. This photo was taken at 7PM, but it could have been 8AM or Noon or 3PM – it all looked the same today: grey and sunless. Sigh. I sure hope it blows away at least one day this weekend.

This blog post is about as exciting as the fog, isn’t it? Well, it’s Friday at the end of a loooong work week so I’m about out of words and thoughts at this point. Time for a bad movie, dinner, and a glass of wine.

Sunset view

It’s been one of those weeks, with today being “one of those days” when getting out of bed was just the first in a long series of things that could have gone the other way and that other way would have been preferable to the way it did go. We’re in pre-beta mode on my project and setting up the beta site has been a test of wills, luck, and fortitude. What was supposed to be done by end of day Monday is still not done as of end of day Wednesday (or “EOD Wed” as people write it). Classic situation of “one step forward, two steps back” or at least it feels that way.

After escaping from the office and fighting surprisingly heavy traffic for a 7PM drive home, I took a right instead of straight off the road home to spend a few minutes on the cliff overlooking my home beaches, Rio Del Mar and Seacliff. It was almost sunset, the air was cooling down, and the colors of the sky, the sound of the surf, relaxed me in a way nothing else can. I love where I live.