We’re off.

I’m sitting in the Houston airport , waiting for our flight to Quito, from where we’ll continue on to the Galapagos. This will be the last time that I have cell or wifi service for eleven days. After the initial “OMG” and hundreds of “what if” scenarios running through my head, spiraling into more and more unrealistic versions of reality (?), I realized this is exactly what I need. A forced vacation from always being connected.

I think it’s okay to check work email before going to bed at night (I’ll just answer that one email… And then two hours later I’m shutting off my computer…) and then find myself wondering why I wake up from anxiety ridden dreams about something I may or may not have forgotten to do.

I think it’s okay to set aside just an hour on a weekend morning to catch up on loose ends at work, and find myself wondering why I’m so hungry. Oh. It’s 4 in the afternoon.

Basically, I don’t have the self control to not check email or read up in work events (something for another post) if the technology is available to me.

This eleven day break will be good. I’ve downloaded 14 books to read (okay, maybe that’s a little ambitious) and look forward to being in nature, napping, and just hanging out with one of my dearest friends. Offline.

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Tracks of My Tears

There are three events where, without fail, I will cry:

  1. Weddings
  2. Graduations (particularly high school graduations, but I’ve been known to shed a tear or two at college ones as well)
  3. Pride

At each of these events, at some point, I’m overwhelmed by the hope and joy the occasion represents, and am so overcome by emotion that I burst into tears. I’m not a very pretty crier, either. More of a gasping for breath, red-nosed, blurry eyed crier. It usually doesn’t last very long, just a few minutes, and tends to surprise those who haven’t experienced it before.

Today was the Pride Parade in San Francisco. I met two dear long-time friends, and we sat on steps on Market Street which gave us a great view of not only the parade passing by, but also a tremendous vantage point for people watching. We watched floats from businesses (Safeway, Google), churches (Mission Bay Community Church, Episcopalians, Catholics (with a Santa Claus?)), causes (cage free animals, right to bear arms), and community groups (adoption agencies, alliances of LGBT groups from around the world). We observed young ones in rainbow tutus and beads walking by, as well as old ones in leather getups or naked. We relished the sunshine beating down on our bare shoulders (a rare occasion here in the city), clapping for and waving at parade participants. At one point we stood up, dancing to the music of Sylvester, Queen of Disco, and that’s when the tears started to flow. My companions immediately hugged me with reassurances that it would be okay, and all I could murmur through the sobs was, “I’m just so happy…”

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Feeling Accomplished

Do you ever have one of those moments when things just seem to fall into place? Tonight has been one of those nights for me.

Tomorrow I leave for North Carolina for a week. I’ll be participating in the Ramblin’ Rose triathlon on Sunday with a roommate from my UNC days. I’ve never participated in a triathlon before and I’m both excited and nervous. I’ve trained when I’ve been in town and viewed my travel time as my “rest weeks” (they just came really early, and perhaps a little often, in the process).

Generally speaking, before I leave on a trip, I’m slightly frantic. Which you wouldn’t think would be the case, because I travel a lot. You’d think I’d have it down by now.

Tonight feels different. My bag is packed, and it’s not even midnight (or 1 am or 2 am, as is normal). Everything fits nicely (with extra room, even!) into my carry on, including my bicycle helmet, running shoes, and swim gear. The house is clean and laundry is done. I made a salad for dinner and used all of the vegetables in the refrigerator (no food to throw away so it won’t spoil while I’m gone – one of the things I hate most about traveling for long periods of time). I completed my absentee voter ballot and mailed it. I’ve made my list of things to work on during the flight tomorrow.

This feels great.

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Bonjour, Paris!

I landed in Paris this morning and the first order of business was to walk to the local cafe and order a decaf cappuccino. This arrived, and I smiled – such beauty, such art, and with a tiny heart on top. Je t’aime!

The Most Perfect Cappuccino

Next stop, the bakery. Sara would order a pastry, and I would immediately say to the clerk, “Deux, s’il vous plait!” which made her smile. Right before paying, Sara ordered a baguette. The clerk waited for a moment, then said with a smile, “Deux?” We laughed and shook our head no. One baguette is plenty!

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Challenge Accepted

One of my co-workers, Justin, issued a challenge in March. Blog every day (including weekends) for the month of April. I accepted, excited to have that extra nudge to encourage me to write again. Today’s the last day of the challenge (though not the last day of my writing) so I wanted to take the time to reflect on the challenge.

  • Writing every day takes effort. There were a couple of nights that I was almost in bed (and one night when I was almost asleep) when I remembered that I had not posted for the day. I went to my computer, thought for a few minutes about what to write, then made the post. Had I skipped one day, it would have been easier to skip many days. Making sure that I wrote every day, no matter what, actually made it easier to stick with the challenge. (There’s probably a life lesson in there…)
  • Some days I either couldn’t think of a topic to write about. What I found helpful was to check out the Daily Post to see if that was something I was interested in writing about. If it was, voila! Post completed. If not, I read other blogs in my WordPress.com Reader and was often inspired by others’ posts.
  • I procrastinate. Almost all of my posts were published between 11 pm and midnight. I wanted for the entire day to unfold so that I could have a full day’s worth of memories to choose from to write about. If I started a post mid-day, I felt like I was cheating myself out of that choice.

I’ve really enjoyed the challenge of not only writing every day, but also reading my colleague’s posts as well. Here’s a roundup of who participated – enjoy!

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The Suit

For the past several years, I’ve been a season ticket holder to ACT. I usually buy tickets to 4 – 5 plays. I pick the plays from the short description listed in the pre-season flyer and  don’t do much more research than that. Without fail, every year there is one outstanding play, two to three that are okay to good, and one that is horrible. The outstanding one usually catches me by surprise; I couldn’t have predicted it would be outstanding from the description.

Tonight I saw the outstanding play of the season.

The Suit is a spectacular story and it was executed flawlessly. The audience is drawn in from the very beginning, when the narrator talks of smoking weed and drinking moonshine in the township of Sophiatown, and playfully offers to share his imaginary indulgences with audience members in the front row. The set is simple: a few chairs, a carpet, a table, some rolling clothing racks. The cast consists of three actors and three musicians. Mathilda, the lead, beautifully sings a few solos; during the rest of the play the music is artfully woven into, onto, and among the dialogue.

The story is gripping while exploring love, desires, friendship, betrayal, survival, racism, and punishment – all within 75 intense minutes. Motives are understated; characters are real. If you’re in the Bay Area, make your way to ACT. You’re in for a treat. You may even see me in the next row.

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PaperKarma. The name sounds delightful. And indeed it is. I first read about it in the pages of O Magazine. It’s  an app to stop unwanted paper mail. Junk mail (including unsolicited catalogs) is one of my pet peeves. I hate that paper was produced, paid to be shipped, and landed in a mailbox,  forlorn and unwanted. It’s an all around waste of resources.

PaperKarma allows you to snap a picture of your unwanted mail, and they contact the sender to request they stop sending you mail. Voila! It’s so simple. And it’s free.

Now, if I could get them to clean out my email inbox…

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