Eleven years on.

Never forget.

I’ve had an eerie experience this morning.  Monte went to the marina last night for some repairs to the jib, and spent the night on the boat.  So I’m up drinking coffee and watching the morning news by myself.  The very same kind of morning I was having 11 years ago today — when I watched a plane fly into the World Trade Center.

At about a quarter to 8AM, central time, it all started.   I recall the evolving emotions I felt …disbelief, anger, uncertainty and confusion throughout the rest of the day as events unfolded.  I went to work that day, but everyone was glued to their web browser or TV monitors.  And then came the prolonged feeling of what can only be described as grief, as I watched the aftermath of the attack play out on television over the following days and weeks.  I did not experience personal loss of family or friends in the attack, but I believe all Americans were mourning the loss, together, of an attack directed at all of us.

Since then, life has moved on for me, bringing both joy and loss.  But in reflecting on that day 11 years ago, it’s startling to realize how quickly the time has flown by.   And, it’s embarrassing to note that I let too many of my days be filled with meaningless concerns and busy work.

So, on this day I pause to remember those that lost their lives, those that sacrificed their lives for others, the family and friends that experienced inconsolable loss, the feeling of national unity that today seems unattainable, and the responsibility we all must bear to live each day of our lives to the fullest.

Perseids raft-up.

1st raftup with Nirvana in the books.

It’s Sunday night, and the end of another great weekend.  Yesterday my cousin Devitt and Aunt Joanne came over for a breakfast visit with Monte, Julie and I.  Monte made french omelettes, Julia Child style.  And we tried our hand at a potato recipe that we got from Devitt:

Browned Breakfast Potatoes

Large cast iron skillet
8 oz bacon, cut into 1-2″ pieces
3 large potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2″ cubes
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt & pepper

Cook bacon, onions and garlic in large cast iron skillet until browned.  Discard bacon fat from pan.  Add potatoes, salt & pepper.  Cook another 10 minutes or so over medium heat on the stovetop.  Then place skillet, uncovered, in 425 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Lower temperature to 350 and cook for another 10 minutes.
Serve and savor!

Afterwards, Julie headed home to study up for the last final exam of Summer session (good luck!), and we packed for the lake.

We planned to raft-up with friends overnight to watch the Perseids meteor shower.  We made it to the cove by about 5pm and set our first anchor on the new boat.  It was a good set.  We were soon joined by Joe on Prelude, Rory & Greg on Sapphire, Nick, Laurene & Morgan on Kalliopi, and Kurt & Kevin on Dancer.  Everyone was tied up by the time the golden hour was upon us.  The shot above is of the 5 boats, stern to the sunset.  Nirvana is in the middle.

After dinner and stories from the day, everyone grabbed a cushion and laid on the bow of their boats to watch for meteors.  It wasn’t a knock-out show, but we did get to see some good ones.   The night was peppered with random shouts of “There’s one!” every 10 or 15 minutes.

This morning everyone floated for a while and then people started peeling off at about noon.  I’m pleased to report that we got the anchor up with little problem.  I am loving the electric windlass to bring up the chain and anchor!

Monte and I sailed ALL afternoon.  The breezes started out sluggish but filled in to some great wind that we haven’t seen in a long time on the lake.   At about 3:30 we dropped sail and picked up Devitt at Arky cove to take him out for a sail.   He did great, taking the helm as Monte and I worked the lines.  We dropped him off back at the park around 5:30 and headed back to the marina.

By the time we got home several hours later we were pleasantly exhausted.

I can’t wait to get out there again.   Friday soon come!

Life in the woods.

Thoreau’s view — 165 years later.

As I was driving past Concord on the way to my hotel on Tuesday night, I saw signs for Walden Pond.  THE Walden Pond.  You know, Henry David Thoreau’s Walden Pond, from his 1854 book Walden.  I remember reading that book back in high school, over 30 years ago.    It made a deep impression upon me at the time, but I haven’t thought about it again since then.   Thoreau decided to live in the woods and did so for over 2 years, from 1845-1847.  He later wrote the book from his notes and observations from the time he lived simply amongst nature.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived”  – Henry David Thoreau

I really wanted to see Walden Pond for myself.  So, after my last meeting today, I drove there before closing time and took a walk.  It was interesting to see how close the pond is to town, and actually in his book he says that even back in the 1840’s the lot where he built his 1 room cabin was only about 1 mile away from neighboring farms.

There’s a walking trail around the lake, about a 1 3/4 mile loop.   The pond is now a state park and when I arrived it was packed with people sunning on the banks and swimming in the lake.  A little bit more bustling than when Thoreau lived here.

I walked to the site of his cabin.  It’s not there anymore, but the foundation is marked, and there is a huge pile of rocks next to where it stood.  A pile that visitors have been adding to over the years – one rock at a time.   I placed my rock atop the pile before I left.

The picture above is a view from the edge of the pond closest to where his cabin stood – about 100 feet behind me.   I like that I accidentally captured the gibbous moon in the top left corner.

The picture below is one that I took looking up as I was standing in the spot that would have been right outside the front door of his cabin.

Very beautiful.

This is a quote from the park brochure:

“…my friends ask what I will do when I get there.  Will it not be employment enough to watch the progress of the seasons?”  – Henry David Thoreau

You got that right, Henry.

I’ll have to dig up a copy of Walden to re-read, for old time’s sake.

Surfdancing.

I love this pic.

When I got my Mac, I realized that it could only open the windows filesystem on my old USB backup drive in read-only mode.  Not great for doing backups.  I’ll need to reformat it to use it.  But I’ve been procrastinating, because i’m going to have to sort through what’s on there to see what to keep and what to get rid of.  So this week I took the first step – I copied most of what was on the backup drive to my mac to prepare to reformat the USB drive.

Consequently, the next time I opened Picasa, it found ALL the photos that I had just copied and loaded them into its library, which took a while.  But, once it finished, it makes for very easy viewing of many years of pictures.  So, I’ve been spending a lot of time this morning browsing through photos I’ve taken that I haven’t looked at for years.

When I got to this one I thought I’d share it with you.   This is a photo that I took when my sister, Colleen, and her son, Jacob, were visiting about 4 years ago.  We drove down to Port Aransas for the weekend, and stayed a place right on the Gulf-side of the beach.   This is a picture of Colleen and Jacob jumping together in the surf.   I used some piece of software, can’t remember what, to create a water-color effect — oh, and I edited out the oil rig on the horizon :(.  I later printed this and framed it for her.

I guess it’s kind of appropriate, too, because this is Mother’s Day weekend, and she’s a great mom.

I have to smile every time I look at this pic.

Walk with me.

Not my walking shoes.

I had a long day of meetings today.  Tomorrow evening I fly back home – always the best part of a business trip.

I didn’t take my camera with me this morning, so by the time I got back to the hotel it was dark, I was tired, had little material to work with, and was searching for inspiration for a blog post.  During my daily catch-up on blogs I read a post on the wordpress blog itself from last week.  It was an announcement for the 2nd annual WorldWide WordPress 5K, on Sunday, April 29th.  The WWWP5K is a virtual 5K, originally conceived by the employees at Automattic, the company behind WordPress, to get their geographically-dispersed fellow employees to run or walk a 5K “together,” each in their own locations.  They invited the entire blogging community to join them and to blog about it.   Last year I did.   And I plan to again this year.

Thanks WordPress for a fun idea, and for providing me with the inspiration for a photo for today.  I didn’t bring my running shoes on this trip, so these will have to do.

Mark your calendars, and walk with me!

Tuesday. Tax day. Traveling. And a troll.

Troll doll.

At the party, over the weekend, several little kids were there… all about 2 years old.  Monte brought out a box of toy trains and track that they played with at the picnic table on the patio.  I think these were toys that he had as a kid.  In the box was an old troll doll. Remember these guys?    I couldn’t resist….

To those fellow-procrastinators out there…. get those tax returns in today!

I’m off to New York for the week.  Ta-ta!

Good Saturday.

Yet another volunteer

Today was beautiful.  Hit Home Depot.   Worked outside in the yard.  Got my new flowers planted.  Fertilized the lawn out back and watered it in.  Hoping a lawn will spring up any day now.  Dug out a dead yaupon holly and replaced it with a new one.  Grocery shopping.  Filled the bird feeders.  Some indoor cleaning.  Reversed the ceiling fans – it’s officially spring now.   (In case you were wondering:  counter-clockwise for summer, clockwise for winter, as you look at the fan from below).  Some work-work.  Cooked a couple of yummy steaks.  Watched Darjeeling Limited with Monte.  Fell asleep on the couch.  Just yer average Saturday.  Waiting for the Easter bunny to show.

…Out like a lamb.

Mopac sunset.

Wow, the last day of the month already!  March is a beautiful month, here in Austin.  Everything pops to life.  I’m always sad to see it go.

We had a very busy day today, on monte’s first day of retirement 🙂

We hit the backyard early…mowing and raking and de-thatching and weeding.   Tomorrow we will hopefully get fertilizer down to help nurse the lawn along.

At the end of the day, we headed to a friend’s house for dinner.  As we were driving down Mopac, a huge, shiny sunset was teasing me with glimpses of it between buildings as we passed.   I took about 10 shots, and finally got a good one!  Or, at least one without any buildings or cars in it.   Not bad for going 65 miles an hour, through the car window.

Good-bye March!  See you next year.

First raft-up of the year.

Raft-up!

It’s that time of the year.  This weekend was the first raft-up of 2012.  And it was a doozie!  We had 14 boats, 31 people and 2 dogs.  I don’t have a picture of all the boats, but I took this one of 12 of them as we were coming in to tie up, and Joe arrived later.

It took quite a while to walk from one end to the other.   Some of the boats’ lifelines couldn’t open, so it was a gymnastic feat crossing from boat to boat …with one hand free 🙂

Let me see if I can do roll call….left to right, we had Mark & Sarah on Serenade, Gray & Debbie on the blue hulled First, Bartlett’s parents’ Catalina, John & Claudia & 2 others on the brand new Solace, Tasha & Robert and Tony & Michelle (visiting for the weekend!) on Voodoo, Danny & Casey on the Beneteau 31, Rory & Greg on Sapphire, Camden & Terry on MoonRock, Kurt, Wally & Kevin on Dancer, John & Deanna on Caribbean Run, Mike on Allegro, Lori & Dave on Camelot, Monte & me on Cupholder, and last but not least, Joe on Prelude.  Whew!

As much fun as these are, we did have a rare, bad experience on our way to the cove.  Some <expletive> motorhead nearly crashed into us as we were under sail.  Coming within about 5 feet of us, and going about 30 miles an hour.  As they passed, they turned their boat, pushing up a wall of water that dumped into our cockpit, drenching both of us, and pouring water into the cabin, v-berth and lockers below.

Monte immediately got on the cell phone and called LCRA dispatch, gave them a description of the boat and their heading and … they pulled them over.   Goobers.   It could have been very bad.  I guess it’s good that we only got wet.

Anyway, we didn’t let that spoil our evening.

In true B-dock fashion, the party went on into the wee hours.  A good time was had by all.

It’s truly wonderful to have this bunch of people to play with.  Everyone really enjoys being out on the lake together.  We are very lucky.

My year.

Year of the dragon.

Today is Chinese New Year’s Day.   2012 is the Year of the Dragon.  The dragon symbolizes power and good fortune.  Of all the 12 Chinese zodiac animals, the dragon is the mythical one, and therefore the most powerful & mysterious.

I was born in a Year of the Dragon.   I am a dragon.   I hereby declare 2012 to be my year.

Happy New Year!

Deck the Halls: Check!

2011 tree.

Well, I ended up working all day yesterday, and most of today.   An “emergency” set of meetings came up out of the blue.   At least I didn’t have to travel to New York to attend in person.

One of my goals for this vacation is to get back on a normal sleep schedule.   I would really like it if the sleepy leg syndrome would stay away until at least after 9 or 10pm.   As it is, i’ve been falling asleep on the couch early in the evening and getting up at 1 or 2 to offically turn in.   This morning, I woke up on the couch about 1 AM.  Before I went to bed I checked my email and learned that my uncle in San Antonio, who’s been ill, passed away a few hours earlier.   Makes me very sad.   But I’m very glad that we had a visit with him recently.   On the other end of the happy/sad emotional spectrum, a friend’s first grandchild was born yesterday.   Life.  Happens.  We should enjoy every minute of it while we’re here.  And hug those important to us as often as possible.

I peeled myself off the phone at about 3PM and decided to finish decorating the tree.  This might actually conclude the hall-decking at our house.   If i get the tree decorated, a wreath on the door, a little manger put up, and the stockings hung, I feel like I’ve got most of the bases covered.

Celebrate every day.

Crepes!

Maybe it wasn’t the best idea to leave nearly 5 weeks of vacation for the end of the year, but that’s the way it turned out.   So, after a long-ish Thanksgiving vacation just a couple weeks ago, we are now both officially on vacation for the rest of the year!

To ring in the vacation season, I made crepes this morning.   They’re SO YUMMY!   If you now have a craving, you can find the recipe in this previous blog post.

I hope I can decompress a bit in the coming week or so.  But as much as work can seem to mess with my life and mindset, I really have nothing to complain about.

My mind this week is especially on family members that are experiencing real challenges.  My sister-in-law is in the hospital recovering from surgery to treat recently diagnosed breast cancer.  She is a strong woman, though, beating her first bout with cancer several years ago.   One of my uncles recently was diagnosed with cancer as well a few weeks ago, and is preparing for surgery.    Another uncle is dealing with long-term health issues as well.

So, today I’m sending thoughts and prayers their way, and starting this vacation acknowledging how very blessed I am — and celebrating with crepes.

Mar 7, 2011

Day #365!!!

Today’s post makes the 365th moment that I have shared with you.  This is a shot of one of the geraniums I planted yesterday that I took today during a break between conference calls.

I’m very pleased that I have stuck with this post-a-photo-per-day-for-a-year project.  There were some days that I found it difficult to see something worth sharing.   But I have to say that most days I looked forward to toting my camera around with me, and was usually pleased to find a moment that was either a photo that I liked or at least made for a nice story to share.

Wow, a year.   365 moments.   It goes by fast.

I look forward to keeping my blog going.  I don’t know that I will be posting something every day, but I am definitely looking forward to posting more moments worth sharing.

A colleague of mine passed away over the weekend after a fight with cancer.  He was only 51.

I can only hope that you all have many more years left on this earth to share with your friends and family.   But since we never know when our time will be up, we have to take the time to enjoy and be thankful for each and every day that we get to spend with them.   I have done that for a year.   And I hope to from here on out…