Archive for the ‘personal’ Category

First, allow me to introduce the Cuties:


The gray streak would be Attilla the Cute; the darker cat-shaped blot is Tamercutie.  The names will be explained in due course, and are subject to change. (more…)

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Had what is probably the second peak experience of the trip this afternoon.  The first was Carlsbad Caverns, which I never finished posting pictures of even on FB.  Will post today’s pictures here with a few comments in between, but mostly—just look at the pictures.

First, to give credit where credit is due, the tour company is Swamp Adventures.  If you ever make it to New Orleans, I totally recommend them.  They offer 10-person airboat tours and 6-person tours; I took the latter, and am glad I did.  There were only 4 of us on the boat, and because of that, and the rain last night, the guide. . .


(I think his name is Jerry, but I’m not sure.  Bad at names, you know.  But I’ll call him Jerry anyway.  He has the most lovely Cajun accent.  I wanted to go have a beer with him afterwards, but didn’t quite have the nerve to propose it.)

Anyway, Jerry decided to take us off into little a little “trail” he said he’d only done maybe 5 times since October.  For whatever reason, the territory he took us into was just beautiful—close to as surreal as Carlsbad.

First a few pics of the avenues. . .





Those were a bit tricky to get, as the boat was going quite fast down those avenues, and I had to hold my hat on.  But he slowed way down to make the turns, and that gave me the chance to snap a few.

Here are some deeper in to his small trails:




Those give a flavor of the beauty of the place, but as with Carlsbad Caverns, you really have to experience it for real.

Jerry asked us at the beginning what we wanted to see, and of course we all said “alligators”.  Up to that point, I had only seen two—one in Texas, and one at Palmetto.  Now I’ve seen way more—I lost count after about 6.  The smaller ones are quite pretty.  We saw a lot of them from a couple of feet long to maybe four feet long, but they were quick and I didn’t get many pictures of them.  This first one you’ll have to look hard to spot.  Look for the head near the center of the photo.


Here are a couple of one a bit easier to see.




Jerry said the open-mouth pose is for expelling gasses–alligator burping, I guess.

The bigger ones get more lethargic and less pretty, but are of course more exciting to see.




Those last two Jerry obviously knows well—he knew right where to go to find them.  A male and a female.  He tossed the female some chunks of fish–of which she deigned to eat one, the one that literally hit her on the snout.

He also knows this next one well—he called her Madame Robicheaux, and he took us right to her at the beginning of the tour.  I think he’d spotted her earlier in the day.



Soon after turning into the smaller “trail”, he stopped and hooted a bit, explaining he was calling his “buddy”, an owl he has known since it was a baby.  As proof, he showed us a picture of a baby owl.  And by darn, the owl came.


There’s no doubt it was responding to Jerry’s calls.  It watched us for several minutes, from more than one tree, and it followed us quite a ways after we resumed the tour.  Jerry has named it, but of course I forgot the name.  He says it’s a barred owl—I wouldn’t know, but would take his word for it.






If I had the money, I’d go do this a couple more times—my only complaint about the experience was that it was too short, I want more.

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Finally, a project actually completed (put a threshold between living room and sunroom floors).

Before . . .


And after. . .


A small project, in the sense of skill or creativity required, but not so much in terms of steps and time.

1. Trim excess curly vinyl from sunroom floor (did this before the “before”). (more…)

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Why me?

I’ve been thinking about this one for a long time now, and finally decided that today is the day to write it down.

I’ve seen it said, in various places, that people only ask “Why me?” when bad things happen.  I stand as living proof that that is not true*.   (more…)

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Headed over to the coast yesterday for a quick walk on the beach, then into town for the farmer’s market.  But when I got to my favorite walking beach, I turned right instead of left as I usually do, and then I just kept going.  By the time I made it back to the car and into town, the farmer’s market was pretty much over.

But it was worth it.  The walk was beautiful.  First I had to go down and check out the cliffs, right?  Which were a ways down there.


If you look carefully at the middle of the white patch of sand in the middle of the picture, you’ll see an odd-looking bit of driftwood sticking up.  More on that later.

The cliffs just got better and better as I got closer to them.  See for yourself. (more…)

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I’ve been feeling the uprooting more in the past couple of weeks of packing and preparing to move.  I should have expected this–at one point, I suddenly remembered that one of the things that is true about me is I don’t do change well.  I used to mutter to myself over the irony of that fact, given how much change there was in my life beginning with college, pretty much all of it chosen by me (e.g., I went to Antioch College, which because of its co-op program involved moving every 3-6 months).  But somewhere in the past 15 years, I’d forgotten that, so I hadn’t been expecting the feelings that have been cropping up.  I’m  down to the last week, so little rootlets are coming out and breaking off every day now.  People keep asking me if I’m excited, and I fob them off with “the move is overwhelming, so not yet”–which is certainly partly true.  But right now, my feelings seem to be coming more from the uprooting than from anticipation of future pleasures.  I’ve done plenty of that in the past few years–anticipating being retired got me through some hard weeks on the job–but right now?  Now that the job is done and the actual move is on me?  It’s all about the uprooting.

You can’t hug a house

I have always personified inanimate objects, and now I’m doing it to my house.  I want it to be taken care of, I want it to feel appreciated.  It’s been good to me over the years–there were many days when I walked in at the end of the day, closed the door behind me, and immediately felt that I had entered my “safe zone”, my refuge.  My stress level would drop at least ten points.  Now, I want it to feel my gratitude.  But you can’t hug a house–though I occasionally hug a wall, or pat the house or deck.  I’m extremely glad I got the deck and yard taken care of earlier, so I can at least feel like I’m leaving it in reasonably good shape.  I signed it away on Wednesday–and when I got home it still felt like a refuge.  “Hi, house.”

Mopping up is hard to do (sung to the tune of “Breaking up is hard to do”)

I’ve been in the mopping up stage for a few days now, and that last 10%?  Takes as much time and attention as at least 40% of the big stuff.  Not as physically taxing, but mentally–and emotionally–it’s right up there.  The sorting is pretty much done (though I very annoyingly keep running across things that still need to go to Goodwill or the dump), but now the decisions are about what to pack together, and what to pack them in.  So it’s still work to be done earlier in the day, when I still have operating brain cells left.  And I still run across things that pull me back to the past (in mostly good ways) that I’d forgotten about, or thought I’d lost.

Also, the mopping-up phase may require actual mopping up.  I just prepped the washer and dryer for the move, and the washer hoses managed to get quite a bit of water on the floor in spite of my best efforts.

So–this will be my last post from this house.  The next one will be posted from Oregon, some time in the next few weeks.  Once I feel settled.  And I don’t know how long that will take, because the next two weeks are very unsettled, involving loading, driving a 20′ truck about 650 miles, unloading, turning in the U-haul, driving up to Portland to visit a van conversion place, driving back to CA to deliver my brother back to his home–and then I don’t know exactly what yet.  So.  There it is.

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CJ has been keeping a close eye on me lately– (more…)

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See this empty space?


That represents real progress–stuff was there that hadn’t been touched in 15 years. Now sorted and properly disposed of.

Following picture shows the mess left to be dealt with. (more…)

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Mika’s abrupt demise, and the cold I caught immediately after, threw me into a bit of a tailspin as far as blogging is concerned. There were all kinds of things I had intended to write about, but the change in my interior psyche brought that to a sudden halt. I’ve been wanting to get the blog going again, but I can’t go back and write about all the things I had originally intended, so I’ve decided just to jump to the present and write about today’s morning walk.


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One of the things I intended to do this semester to to resume walking in places I’ve neglected the last few years.  Once the semester got under way, that didn’t happen–but today I decided to head out into an area I haven’t been to in several years, partly because to even get out to that area is now a serious walk on it’s own, because of the ways they’ve been shutting down access to the land and because of the development: (more…)

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Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. —Buddha

This is often-seen advice and generally considered to be wisdom.  And I agree there is something to it, in the sense at least that one can fritter one’s life away dreaming of past or future, and that seems a waste.  But it’s one of those half-truths that are only complete when put together with their opposites.  Like “out of sight, out of mind” and “absence makes the heart grow fonder.”  In this case we’d need at least two other aphorisms, one about the blessing of memory, and one along the lines of “anticipation is half the fun” to express a complete truth.

But right now I want to talk about the effect of pre-retirement (and contemplating packing and moving).   (more…)

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Even though I’m not really done yet–in fact, one of the biggest things of ending any semester has yet to be done, posting grades–people have been hosting events for our* retirement.  Yesterday, a party, nothing even mildly official, just a couple of colleagues who are also friends who wanted to help us celebrate; today the department event**.  Each was perfect in its own way.  Well, the party was perfect–the department event was about as nice as it could have been, I’m not sure such events can be quite perfect for socially uncomfortable people like me.  Nice things were said, toasts were made (with sparkling water,  you can’t buy alcohol with dept. funds, we are squeaky clean about such things), gifts were given. (more…)

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I was actually going to just post photos on FB, but FB has apparently revised how one does that, and I didn’t understand the old way all that well, and this time once I got into the process  they just abandoned me there–no way forward, no way back, that I could figure out.  So I closed the page, and here I am.

I got into reading my old blog posts a few weeks back, and that convinced me I want to continue blogging–it was a nice way to reminisce.  I’ve been mulling over different things I could write about–blogging, for instance, or the in-between state of being almost-retired, and maybe soon I will do one of those.  But for now, I just want to post my pics and talk about them. (more…)

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So I’ve been up here a week now, and my energy level seems to correlate remarkably well with the weather. Which makes today a moderately lazy day–it’s cloudy, but not rainy, though it was misting heavily earlier this morning.

Not all my days have been lazy, and I have the evidence to prove it. (more…)

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For the sake of some kind of completeness, I’ll continue on from where I left off–packing and loading to head north. After all the main cargo was loaded, I still had to pack up what I figured I’d need for the summer, and get it in there, while still leaving room for the dogs. Packing for the entire summer, thinking about all the different things I plan/hope to do, and what I’ll want to have with me for each of them–more than my brain actually enjoyed (and it has turned out I did a lousy job–I forgot more than the usual number of things, some moderately vital.) Here’s the pile of stuff I ended up with:


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Spent the day yesterday loading up the van.  First, I took everything out to the driveway–and realized I actually needed more stuff to fill up the shed.  It needed to be full so that the doors wouldn’t collapse down and break off during the trip.  So I looked around for boxes that were already packed that could simply be stashed into storage in the Oregon house. (more…)

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So last week I had the concept of how to load the shed in the van; this weekend is the story of how it actually got done.

First, I needed to put stuff under the bookcase, so it would be supported to hold a load on top of it, and so I wouldn’t be wasting all that space.  This was a mini-saga of its own, but I’ll cut it short.

It first required getting some more boxes packed, (more…)

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Baby steps

Decided to begin loading the van–there’s a lot of work to do, so it makes sense to begin chipping away at it. (more…)

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I’ve had a good weekend.  Starting with Friday, really. (more…)

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House reality

Mostly I really enjoyed my time in the Oregon house, and God wot it relaxed me. Even though, or maybe because, I was so active and worked so hard, physically. But some of the hard realities are definitely sinking in. (more…)

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