Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Well, that was interesting

For this post to make sense I need to give you a little back story. Point 1: Gus is now 9 years old and Llelo is 5. During walks Gus tends to dawdle, follow along, and be the pokey little puppy. Llelo is much more energetic, always at the extreme front of the leash, trying to drag us along faster. Point 2: As a New Christmakahstice gift Rachel gave me a fitbit. It's a nifty little thing, kind of like a pedometer on steroids. It's got an altimeter so it can measure the number of flights of stairs you have climbed in addition to steps. It also estimates number of calories burned and you can measure your sleep efficiency, too! And for those not in the know New Christmakahstice is a mash up of New Years, Christmas, Chanukah, and Solstice. ;) Point 3: It's a dark, rainy, winter evening in the Pacific Northwets (started as a typo, but somehow seems appropriate!).

I've been wearing my fitbit daily since I got it. It's really cool. And today after I got off the bus this morning I took the stairs up to the office, fitbit read 11 flights for the day so far and I hadn't even gotten to my desk yet! I've been wanting to get Llelo on a proper walk for a while now. After our potty walk I decided to drop Gus back in the house while Llelo and I went walking. I managed to grab my reflective vest as we scooted out the door. Llelo was stoked, fast walkies, awesome!!!

We got down to the main street and headed north up to the stop sign and then another right up the hill. I hate hills, they piss off my knees and I huff and puff my way up. Turns out this hill was a little steeper than I'd realized but we kept on going. At one point, maybe a third of the way up the hill, I pulled out my phone to look at a map. It occurred to me I wasn't very familiar with the neighborhoods behind the new condo so I wanted to look at the map and get my bearings. My goal was to do a big loop around, I'd work towards my 10k steps per day and Llelo would get some exercise.

We finally make it to the top of the hill, the very, very steep hill. Still need to pass a few streets before we can take our right turn. Well, there are no sidewalks at the top of the hill. And there really aren't any streetlights, either. We cross the street to be able to walk towards on coming traffic. I am so glad I am wearing my reflector vest, but I'm still nervous given the speeds the cars are going. We plod along and come to the sharp right turn. I'm a bit spooked, there is no shoulder, no sidewalk, no lights, and plenty of fast moving traffic. We make the turn and continue southbound until we make it to the stop sign, then turn left. Once I realize we are about to head down another sizable hill I decide to scrap the mission and head us home the way we came. Of course, by then it's started to rain, not really hard, but definitely steady. Back through the hellish corner only this time there were dogs barking at us, yay! Then back down the hill. Finally, back into the world of sidewalks and streetlights! My knees are screeming 'WTF are you thinking, first you make me go up the hill, now down?!? Surely you are joking!' Finally we reach the bottom of the hill and then it's only a few blocks back to the condo.

After drying a very damp Llelo off I take stock of my own situation. Jeans soaked through, sopping hair, sweated through my t-shirt. Jacket under rain shell very wet, too, I think not having the hood up added to that one. Sneaks soaked because I took a short cut across some grass at the very start. Then I pulled up gmaps to see how many miles we'd traveled, must have been at least 4 or 5, at least. Well, gmaps said it was about 2.5 miles round trip! Really?!? That's it??? The fitbit confirmed it, though. Sigh. The part that blew my mind was number of flights of stairs: 58!!! Tells you how steep that frickin' hill was! Holy cow!

I've now had a shower and got warm dry clothes on. Llelo is sacked out on the couch. And Gus is laying next to my chair, still a bit miffed that he was left behind. I think it's been a good exercise day and it's now time for supper!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

I MUA 2012 Pt 2

That last one was feeling very long so I decided to stop there and finish up with a Pt 2.

I headed back to Seattle completely drained, exhausted, and emotionally raw. And it seems to return to not one, but two dogs sick with colitis! I was a bit of a basket case when I left for Boulder. Thanks so much to Marcus for taking care of the dogs while I was gone. They were so happy to see me when I got home again, but also really, really stressed. It didn't take long for them both to start in with the dire rear and womiting, both bloody of course. Thankfully, some bland diet and flagyl brought them back to rights within a day or so.

I think the most disturbing feeling regarding the loss of my big brother is that I am now completely alone. I don't like it. The mother passed in 2007, far too young. But I still have my brother, I'm not alone in the world, it's ok, I can handle this. But now he's gone, too, and I cannot wrap my head around just how alone I feel. There is no one else who experienced what I did growing up. The weird little quirky things we did as a family, nobody else gets them. When I meow at someone they just look at me oddly. When we felt like something should be said, but didn't really have anything to say we'd meow and then the other person would meow back. I don't have anyone to meow to anymore and that makes me very sad.

I know I have many wonderful friends and the SIL and her parents. But it's just not the same. I really, really appreciate all my family by choice, Mark & Nancy, Maria & her family, Marcus. I don't know what I would do without them. I also have all my outrigger ohana, they are da best! But there is something different about the people who knew you when, when you were a crying infant, when you lost your first tooth, when they teased you and pulled your pig tails, when they didn't come out and say they needed to approve of your dates but you knew that's what they needed to do. Someone else who remembered that Nemo liked to bat around twist ties and would leave them in the cat food dish when he was done with them and the one christmas morning when he'd left a red one and a green one in the dish. Or the night Rose got onto the kitchen counter and into the bag of catnip, had herself a little party or rather a big party, and emptied her bladder on the stove! Or that Dante liked to curl up in the downstairs bathroom sink and nap and get a drink from the slowly leaking tap. Or that I learned to walk pulling myself up on Helga, the german shepard.

I miss my mom. I miss my brother. And although I feel alone right now, I know I am not really alone. I have my dogs, I have my friends and their families. And they won't let me feel alone, not for too long anyway.

So, now it's time to i mua, to progress, go forward. I need to take that first step forward and continue with my life. I have so very much living to do! I have so many plans for 2012. It's going to be a good year.

I MUA 2012 Pt 1

It's the first day of 2012. Here's to hoping it's a vastly different year than 2011. Talk about a bipolar year, wow. I bought my first home, a condo in Bothell. Yup, I live in the suburbs now. But it's pretty cool to own my own place. And it's huge, relatively, it's 2 bed, 2 bath, full sized washer/dryer. I have a garage, a carport, and what I'm calling a lanai (the grill & chill zone). A big improvement over the 550 sq ft of my last apartment. The neighborhood is much nicer than the hood-adjacent apartment on Lake City Way. I do miss some of my former neighbors, but I'm meeting folks in the new community. I also have the added bonus of living only 15 minutes away from Mark & Nancy, it means I get to see their little girls way more often.

Prior to move in I had a painter come in an do the living room, hallway and both bedrooms. Yesterday I started to paint the front bathroom. It's looking pretty awesome so far, still have to do the contrast wall but that should go quickly. Then next to the kitchen and master bathroom. I shall set a goal of having all the painting completed by end of January. Fingers crossed.

At our annual Seattle Outrigger Canoe Club meeting I was voted in a club president. I'm still feeling a little overwhelmed about that. I know I'll do fine, but filling Sabine's shoes will be no easy feat. I'm more than a little sad to see her step down and ultimately move to another club. I know it will be a wonderful move for her, being with her honey, racing together, and they are a wonderful group of people, but I'll still miss her here in Seattle.

Towards the end of October I had the biggest shock of the year. My brother passed away unexpectedly. He'd gotten the flu and as will most illnesses it traveled to his lungs. He'd had a history of asthma from the time he was a toddler. I'd spoken to him on Saturday night after the completion of Sukkot, I could hear he had the chills so I cut the conversation a bit short. The shock of the phone call from my sister in law (SIL) Wednesday morning telling me he was gone was almost more than I could handle. It can't be real, it just can't. I rushed out to Colorado and help SIL with the funeral preparations. I can honestly say I now have way too much experience in coordinating orthodox Jewish funerals, sigh.

The morning of the funeral, that Friday, dawned bright and clear and cold. It was a really beautiful morning, too beautiful for the task at hand. At 28 degrees, the temperature helped temper the beauty of the day. At the cemetery I was surprised by how many lives my brother touched. There were at least a dozen rabbis in attendance from all flavors of congregations and many of his masonic brethren and co-workers were there as well. Rabbi Yossi, his friend from rabbi school back in New Jersey, both helped to prepare him for burial and guided the service. He is a very good friend and I thank him for all he did for us.

Back at the house I decided to attack the sun room. It was still filled with boxes and boxes of things from The Mother's house. My poor brother was such a gentle, sensitive soul he couldn't bear to go through all those memories without being overcome with grief. How different from my own perception of going through the boxes, I would see it as a kind of treasure hunt, "ooh I remember when she got this, she enjoyed it so." I wish he could have seen it that way. Anyway, I couldn't ask SIL to go through my memories, my memories of my mother, so I tasked myself with going through all of it before I headed back to Seattle. What a job it was! Thank goodness her mother was able to help me with it, I couldn't have done it without her. Working like there was no tomorrow we managed to get through better than half of the sunroom creating three piles: 1) trash, 2) donate, 3) keep (by far the smallest pile). We were expecting folks to arrive on Sunday to help move stuff to donation, take down the sukkah, and move the wood pile so I was particularly driven to have everything gone through before they arrived. I ended up calling my buddy Fisch to help with the final push on Sat. We got through everything in an hour with him, he is so great, I really value his friendship.

On Sunday many of the Masonic brothers and Chabad folks arrived and set to the tasks at hand! The sukkah came down and was put away. With the storm the day before my brother passed a couple of the guys had chain saws and were able to cut wood to fit into the wood stove before re-piling it nearer the back door. We set up a bucket brigade to transfer donation stuff out to the waiting pick up truck. Four full loads to donation and five to trash! Then we moved boxes from the garage into the now empty sunroom so SIL could go through them at her leisure. Wow! It was all completed within 2.5 hours! Amazing!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Dog Frolicing Video

I've taken lots of outrigger video and had a great time editing posting them online. My brother asked me if I ever planned to shoot anything other than outrigger. Here it is:

My regular dog park buddy is Marcus and his two corgi, Henry (black headed tri-color) and Katherine (red & white). My next door neighbors dog came along, too. Lucy is a lab mix and sports that styling red jacket. Our other corgi pals Linda and her corgi, Cody, and Leslie and her two corgi, Edgar & Wyatt, arrived as we were headed out. By that time I'd put the camera away and didn't think to get some vid of them. The early arrivals were already pretty pooped out so there wasn't the level of play there normally is with Cody, Edgar, and Wyatt. Next time, there's always next time.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

GoPro Video Camera

Have I ever mentioned how awesome my brother is? My sister in law, too. This year for my birthday they gifted me with a GoPro Wrist Hero camera. Fully rigged it weighs just under 5 oz. Has a waterproof housing and audio capabilities. I am now forced to learn how to use iMovie on my mac! There are worse things to have to do in life.

I tried to video the outrigger race yesterday but was having some technical difficulties with the media card. I'll have that worked out for the next one. Enjoy these for now and expect to see more in the future.

My very first video, you can see my torso, Jasen, Lisa, and Doug M.

My second video, Stan has the boat with the red deck, and later in the video you can see Doug M and Sabine headed towards me. I still need to work on getting a more level set up on the rear iako or learning how to level the video in post production.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Introducing Hiwa

I've been without cat love in my life for about 2.5 years now. Dog love is different than cat love, not better, not worse, just different. I have some friends that regularly rescue cats and dogs. Last summer I went to their house to meet a kitty that needed a home. I wasn't ready to take anyone home yet, but she was a very cute little girl. Last weekend I finally decided I was ready to bring a cat into my life. Llelo has been wanting one for quite some time, now.

Sabine & LeAnn had been feeding this black cat since at least last summer and had seen him around the neighborhood for awhile before that. He started out with a bed and food on their from stoop and attacking their other cats at any opportunity. That meant he'd never be able to move in with the others, 4 cats and 3 dogs. As winter progressed he was given a bed in their finished basement. He showed that he was quite cuddly and loved being petted.

They arrived with all his l
uggage around noon on Saturday, litter box, food, catnip socks, and laundry basket bed. He found all kinds of great places to hide and I spent a fair amount of time on hands and knees pulling him out from under furniture. When I insisted he sit in my lap he was quite cuddly. Sabine & LeAnn hung out for over an hour making sure he was going to be ok. They had some concern given his length of time being an outdoor cat.

Over the course of the evening I decided to call him Hiwa (pronounced hee-vah), which means choice, jet black (entirely black, as pigs offered to
the gods, and of a desireable blackness) in Hawaiian. His eyes are a vivid yellow and his coat is short, very dense, and plush.

So, now there are three critters in the house. We are still adjusting and getting used to the change in dynamics but things are going well. More stories to come...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Cinema Paradiso

I watched Cinema Paradiso last night. I know it came out in 1988, but I'd just never made time to see it. I'm glad I finally did. It was a delightful, sentimental movie. IMDB listed the tagline: 'A celebration of youth, friendship, and the everlasting magic of the movies.' I guess when it was first released it wasn't favorably reviewed by the critics, it was too sentimental. When it was shown at Cannes it got rave reviews for it's sentimentality, winning the Grand Prize of the Jury and was also nominated for the Golden Palm. It went on to win the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar for 1990.

It begins with the main character learning of passing of a dear old friend, whom he hadn't seen for 30 years. It brings up old memories, the film ends up being mostly flashbacks to Toto's childhood. At first I was a little hung up on it being a movie about people watching movies, but then I let go and got swept up into the story. I was pleasantly surprised by the ending. I laughed, I cried, I am glad I finally Cinema Paradiso. If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend it.