Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Memories of Venice

Skimming through my notebook, looking for something else, I came across a moment in time I recorded in Venice earlier this year. I'm sharing it with y'all, lightly edited.


April 12, 2017 

The sun through my eyelids, closed against the glare of light, but such a warm kiss on my cheeks; an old friend. While I might see the glow of my own blood through closed lids, when I open them I see the delicate veins of the leaves with sun at their back, shifting restlessly in the morning breeze off the water. I am not home, but I am at home with this sun on my face and this Venetian breeze playing through my hair.

The accordion-playing busker, who never fails to say buongiorno and then juts his chin towards his sparsely-coined case, smiles when I say good morning in passable Italian, but cares more about the coin I haven't given than my returned salutation. Another troop of school children moves through the neighborhood unseen, yet their shrieks and the cajoling of their dutiful teachers follows me as I wander down the calle to the sea.

A Christ in Stone serenely watches the tourists trundle by, his thorn-crowned gaze seeing all their befuddlement and questioning gazes without actually ever catching their eye. The puzzled workman, renovating the Christ's church, shakes his head at my slightly, hoists his lumber onto his orange clad shoulder, and moves off about his business, surely forgetting the American with paper and pen as soon as he's turned the corner.

The undulating waves of the canal draw me closer, mesmerizing with their heaving and calling to me with briny breezes and small stinging flecks of spray from a passing tug. The maze of seaweed holds lost little crabs, trapped in the labyrinth of stubbled leaves, riding the waves and looking for a way out of the moving forest.

Venice moves with tides, following her mistress the moon in a never ending dance of push and pull. "Come to me", she siren sings, "and go from me so you can return again, fresh and new with eyes wide open." This is what the moments in Venice whisper to me: that I will return again and again to her water-woven streets and her stones covered in moss. Nature persists in even the hardest of places, and Venice calls to me like no other place. I feel the ebb and flow more clearly here, where water meets earth, where fire meets air; the cycles of of recharging and expending energy ever present in my life. I feel pulled to rest, and then pulled out of rest. I feel soothed and stimulated and both are needed to bring to birth the stories in my head.









 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Missed-Adventures

I set a plan for my 40th year on this planet to include more adventures, and to see more of my people while having these adventures! This past weekend was one of these adventure days, and it could not have gone more wrong.

I've been kayaking twice in my life, both times in Hawaii with my very-boat-savvy husband. I had a great time on both occasions, but I felt like I relied very heavily on the husband's knowledge to get me through the tricky bits (ocean kayaking is both awesome and nerve wracking!). So I wanted to kayak on my own, or at least with someone who had a similar level of experience as me. So basically none.

Enter Kellie and her fantastic idea to do 40@40: our marvelous day of kayaking and oysters was born!

We launch our adventure from Kellie's house at omg-what-time-is-it?! o'clock. After a drive and chatting we arrive at our destination: Bluewater Kayak on Tomales Bay. It's gorgeous out. The wind is ruffling the water and the sky is a clear deep blue. We are so ready to go.

And then... we didn't. The weather that morning was changing rapidly, with stronger winds expected shortly. The experts at Bluewater decided to cancel all kayaking endevours due to safety concerns.

Safety?! We wanted adventure! Screw safety! ...And then we walked out to the end of the dock and felt the already-strong winds, and looked at the already-really-choppy water and went: Oh.

So we listened to the experts and didn't kayak as newbs in conditions that were dodgy.

Plan B! We headed down to Stinson Beach to have (second) breakfast and a glorious walk along the water. I'd never been before and it was completely pleased to wander the beach and watch silly doggies race from the water to their people and back again in doggy abandon.

After toodling around for a bit we got back in the car to head to the Hog Island Oyster Company, where we were going to gobble some delicious oysters and cocktails. Because cocktails.

As we approached the restaurant, we saw flashing lights on the road. Not a half mile before our destination, there had been a hillside collapse - a tree and most of a hill was in the road! We asked the cop if it was possible to get around somehow, and he jokingly said swim. And then relented and said there was another way around, back the way we came.

So off we trundled, following iffy directions and losing cell service for most of the drive. After a bit of urp-inducing winding roads, we stopped to asked a roadside veggie vendor if they had more detailed directions for us and maybe an estimate for how long it would take.

They were absolutely horrified at what the cop had told us and very firmly stated yes, you could get around via other highways, but it was going to take another 2 hours that way.

Our reservations were looming, not half an our away. We clearly were not going to make it.

Plan B #2! Fine! Tomales Bay had left us bereft of both kayaking AND oysters, so screw that! We're going to San Francisco and having amazing pizza. SO THERE!

We drove over the Golden Gate, getting some of the best views of the bridge and the City I've seen in a long time. We ventured into North Beach to go to Tony's. Tony, a fellow East Bayer, apparently won the world championship of pizza in Italy, so you know it was going to be good.

And it was. I may have felt like exploding at the end, but I regret nothing. NOTHING I TELL YOU!

After a small side trip to a cheese shop (because CHEEEEEESE), we headed home from our day of missed-adventures.

I kinda think it was a test from the Universe to see how committed I am to this adventure idea. Because plans are well and good, but adventures very often take you to unexpected places, and how you cope with them basically defines if you had an adventure, or a shitty day. I prefer adventures, honestly.

I had an awesome day! I caught up with one of my oldest friends! I got to see new and marvelous parts of California I have never seen before! I got to eat damn good food! And I got to laugh about it all for most of the day.

So come on, Adventure: bring it.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

My Morning Routine

I think self-improvement is really important. I know I'm not perfect, and I have habits that aren't supporting the things I want to do. But I also am pretty skeptical when it comes to self-help gurus and the whole industry around it. It's hard to take some of it serious, it's hard not to feel stupid saying affirmations, it's hard not to want to improve myself. So I try to walk the line between the crazy out there woo-woo shit that I can't take seriously and the omg overboard brain-function dry as hell science that is telling me the woo-woo ain't so woo-woo. It's a weird line to walk.

But y'all. Fer serious. Morning routines have been the bane of my existence for the last couple of years!

I'm not what you would call a morning person. I'm also not what you would call a night owl either. Because? I like them both. BOTH. Do you see my dilemma? My perfect day would look something like: get up super early, while the world is waking up, and do my thing: work out, write some random brain things down, get prepped for the day ahead. Then by like 9am-ish I'd get into my day: work, lunch, bullshitting, more work. Then somewhere around 2 or 3pm, I would take a nap. A NAP! How glorious would that be? (And to be honest? Up until the nap part, this is basically my day...)

After my nap, which would last a lovely 2-3 hours, I would then get back into the rest of my day, make dinner, have some family time, and then while away the hours until midnight-1am, doing god knows what but it's my night time jam not my morning musings, so it's got a different feel and pace and is both delicious and savored and ... missing.

This part ain't my routine, after all.

I'm struggling to make the most of my days and nights lately. I have a gap between where I want to be and where I am, and I am trying to use routines to get me there: take my vitamins and meds at the same time each day, get my 20-30 minutes of exercise in every day, do some of that creative writing shit I keep dreaming about; you know, the good stuff!

But routines become traps for me, where I can set too many expectations for myself, and don't realistically gauge what I can get done in a given amount of time. I try to do too much, or I do too much of the wrong things. I'm not sure, but I keep tweaking.

Recently I read The Miracle Morning. I really can't recommend it for the writing (which is atrocious), but can recommend it for the ideas it talks about (with very poor word choices). I read it because I was looking for a framework for my mornings. So many people in the world say that how you start your morning sets the tone for the rest of the day, and now that I've spent some time working on this very thing? I believe they're right!

I just haven't quite gotten the balance between naval gazing and getting shit checked off my lists down. But I'm working on it.

My routine, because to not share would sort of be mean at this point, goes something like this lately:
  • 630am: up, pee, brush teeth
  • 615am: dress for workout and go do it!
  • 650am: breakfast and Duolingo (Italian! I'm 8% fluent! Whatever that means...)
  • 700am: writing time. Journal or work on a creative writing piece
  • 730am: shower, grooming, prep bag for work
  • 815am: take the husband to work, and then get myself to work
I'm trying to add meditation in because I do it haphazardly - and miss days, so somewhere in the routine there should be time for that, right? I suspect I will have to get up earlier to get it in there. Gah.

And then of course there's the nighttime routine, which is still not ready for prime time! Why? Because I rarely pay any attention to the routine! I stay up too late, or I get completely knackered and conk out at 7pm both of which throws the routines into chaos! Dogs and cats - living together! Mass hysteria!

But sometime this year, oh yes. There will be a nighttime ninja routine, and it too will be glorious and well balanced and possibly involve chocolate. Because chocolate.

Have you got a routine? What's it like? What's working, or not working for you? I learn best from other people and their experiences, so really... whatcha got?

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Slow Blogging

In starts and fits, I've thought about blogging. I've thought about the schedule I'd want to keep and the things I want to say, and the writing I'd like to share, and the silly photos of my ridiculously-not-perfect-but-mine life. I read other people's blogs, I think about what they say, I've read a million and one things on how to start a blog and get a following and on and on and on!

It's not me.

A million years ago (4?), I ran across this post, that sang to my heart in a way I hadn't heard before. Which then lead me to this post, which was the icing on the cake, and my own slow blog idea was born.

It's taken a while for the idea to take root, but I've come to accept that I don't want to blog every day. I don't want this to be my main form of writing. It's a viable option for many people, and I say power to them! But my first love is pen and paper. So blogging was never going to scratch the itch of what writing has always been for me: pen, paper, some delicious beverage, and me.

But I accept that I live in the digital age, and to be honest, the internet is where I spend a lot of time (a. lot.). I get paid cash monies to write about new fangled tech coming out of Silicon Valley! Me and tech and the internet are like ... well, OK, not BFFs, but, like, close. Real close. So I get that if I want people to read me (I do), I kinda need to make my stuff ... available.

And so my return to the blogosphere. ...Lawd I hate that word.

I got some stories to share. I got some poems to be ignored (I know how you do, internet. There are gawd awful poets out there weeping into their ethernet cables, I get you! But that ain't me...). I've got a comic book that I need to get published. I've got snippets and short scenes I might share to get some perspective on. But all in all, it's gonna be about once a week, with maybe some pictures thrown in for laughs. If I had a cat or dog, it would probably be of them, but I have a husband and sons, so their hilarity will have to suffice.

So slow, with deliberate intent, and hopefully it'll be worth the 3.6 minutes it takes you to read it.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

40@40

Unicorns are the best
My marvelous friend Kellie had a good idea for celebrating my 40th year of life: make it a year long thing! I'm glad I did decide to do this, since I've been sick and missed my own birthday party. Upside? I get to celebrate all year long, and take time between celebrations to savor such things!

So here's how I want to celebrate over the next year - my 40 Things During My 40th Year:
  1. Take pictures of me with my friends and family! So whenever I see you, expect to be roped into a selfie with me.
  2. Spend a weekend with that chick in North Carolina.
  3. Reconnect with that missing friend. It didn't go quite like I hoped, but it's done and I'm glad I know what's what.
  4. :::Personal Writing Goal:::
  5. Snow trip with friends! Tahoe? Yosemite?
  6. Hike in Muir Woods.
  7. Plan 11 more hikes - 1 for each month of the year!
  8. Go to the Obon Festival in San Jose's Japantown (Summer!)
  9. Weekend in LA with geeklove - Best and Weirdest here we come!
  10. Go on the Cheese Trail in Napa (cheeeeeeeese!)
  11. Take kayaking lessons.
  12. Take a scuba lesson (to see if I can...)
  13. Make shrunken heads for Halloween and hang them in the tree outside (black light!)
  14. Beach picnics and tide pooling this summer!
  15. Have rotating house-sprucing parties - work on friends houses together!
  16. Go on a San Jose Walking Tour and Scavenger Hunt! (Ok, and pub crawl too!?)
  17. Spend the afternoon alone in a museum, staring at the beauty and wonder of art.
  18. Hit up the Caffe Frascati comedy night a couple times - beer and laughs! Yay!
  19. Go to Dharma Punx on the reg.
  20. Restart my Tai Chi classes (swooooords!!)
  21. Card nights with friends - with playing cards! The ones with numbers on them!
  22. Monthly dinner parties to hang out and talk about things!
  23. Fire and Wine nights - friends over for fire pit and wine time! S'mores too?! OK!
  24. Run in the Color Run! (This year, or next, health permitting)
  25. Lake Tahoe summer trip - swimming!
  26. Have a Friends-giving in October or November (before holiday madness sets in)
  27. Go to local burlesque shows! Rowr!
  28. Go to a couple comedy shows! Patton!
  29. Drunken Rock Band Night - yay!
  30. Star gazing and meteor showers viewing!
  31. Take an archery class.
  32. Go bowling and get my average up!
  33. See three concerts this year.
  34. :::Personal Morning Routine Goal:::
  35. :::Personal Self-Accountability Goal:::
  36. Find and go to a writing group.
  37. Find a local place to volunteer on the reg (suggestions?) 
  38. Hit my goal weight of losing 60lbs. 25 down already!
  39. Take a Spanish immersion week at the Concordia Language Villages.
  40. :::Personal Relationship Goal:::
And ya know what's awesome? I feel great about 40. It's not a shitty number, it's not a terrible place to be, it's not even something I feel like hiding. I'm 40 y'all. That's awesome.