Thursday, August 26, 2010

It seems to me that our annual family vacation to Cape Cod gets shorter and shorter as the years go by. We look forward to it all for a year and puff it is gone. They definitely are shorter than the week+ that we would spend when the kids were little. Now it is 3-4 days squeezed in between the end of the kids summer jobs and school and that includes the 4-5 hours of travel which really chops it down to just 2 days there.

And this year it rained........and rained..........and rained. From the point that we left the garage here to the the time we crossed the bridge off the cape, it rained. It slowed some so that we could walk a bit on the beach and could catch a quick picnic with sandwiches from our favorite deli, but the rest was pretty much a wash out

Puddles and rain drops seem to be the norm and on a shopping trip to Christmas Tree shops I replaced all the umbrellas with new one, so that we could stay moderately dry.

But it was, as usual, fun to be away with the family. From "singing in the rain" as we trotted down the lanes in Provincetown twirling our umbrellas or joining in on a chorus of, "the sun will come out tomorrow" with strangers in the streets and word games while waiting, board games in the evening and just ordinary fun. That is what family is about.

We had the chance to connect with new friends and long time friends but not enough to connect with others, and we caught a mid day movie. For me there was little opportunity for a short run in the rain along a flat trail, as the early riser in the pack. What a change to not deal with hills.

Not much time at the beach other than a couple of short walks. The chance to take some pictures including this family photo. ;-)

I still have some more vacation time at home, for starting the fall chores and just chillin' a bit and more family adventures in between getting ready for school next week.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Amazing what a 9 mile run will do for you. I feel great, my head is clearer and my anger abated. Endorphins are wonderful. If it weren't for the potential injury of overuse, I could easily see me doing this every day just for the high.
We all have varying degrees of stress that we function under (or not) and I am by no means exempt. There is work stress and there is home stress and even with these distinctions, there is a further one of crisis versus non crisis. How I handle it has changed greatly over the years and for the past few years running has been a healthy way for me to manage this. It clears my head somewhat, burns off some of the built up adrenalin and at least adds some endorphins to the mix. And I am training myself to stay away from food, aka feeding the stress. Who says you can't teach an old dog.

In the work environment I am a relatively cool (in the sense of moderating, calm, measured). I am one of those people who has a long fuse and can sit with a person or people and sort out muck and negotiate through disharmony. But then there are times that it just comes at me and I find myself at a loss and it eats at me emotionally and physically.

Yesterday was such an event. Of course, I can't write specifics, but let me leave it at that is about managing people and their response to reflective, balanced, honest, objective assessment of behavior. A response that is a torrent of distortion, accusation, deflection and being do surgical in presenting situations, that truth can be found, where in the entirety there is none. It is rare that such a response brings me to the point of literally shaking with rage (and it had been a few hours since I'd had caffeine) and knowing professionally that a response from me (especially from a place of rage) would be counterproductive. Even after a mile power walk and handing this off to a coworker to validate by response, the shaking was gone but the anger is still there.......even the next morning.

I like managing people, most of the time. I have the temperament for it, I have been told by people that I am excellent at helping them through tough patches and very supportive and then periodically you run up against someone with whom no matter what you do it is not enough and it is not the right thing. They want you to fix their problem not help them fix it (as they are clueless as to how to) and if you don't know how to fix it, you are at fault. In this situation, I will acknowledge receipt and nothing more.

It is these experiences that make me want to throw my hands up and walk away, though practically that is not possible. Good thing it is vacation and I see a 5 mile run in my future this morning.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Reflections,,,,after a dunking

A couple of free hours this morning and the inspiration to take out the kayak. It has been so hectic that this is the first time this year, so the bugs and cobwebs needed to be vacated. Placing it in the water I felt so out of practice and as I put one foot in and got ready to push off, just as I had done dozens of times before, the boat tipped and in I went. Drenched and looking at 4+ inches of sluggy water in the kayak and standing in a foot of silt. Most everything was tied down so nothing was lost and fortunate my camera and phone were in plastic bags.

In the 3 years I have had the kayak and launched it more time than I can count, this is the first time I had ever gotten wet, and of course their were 2 people standing by offering help and suggesting how to I might successfully get in. How embarrassing.

So after draining the water out the plug and sopping most of the rest with my now soggy towels, I head down river. It was then also that I remembered that that I should have taken a picture of the mess, but back then I wasn't thinking that way.

As I was paddling, I kept noticing how much more I was seeing looking across the water, rather than up on the shore.

The reflections in the water were vivid and the picture above perfectly joined with the one below. The water was a mirror.

The top and the bottom became one picture.

It was so quiet and the water so smooth that I found I could get up closer to animals than usual. I was about 10 feet away from this heron as he decided I had come close enough.

The turtle sunning out on the rock let me pass before diving in. He was back on the rock when I came back, watching me with caution but knowing he could dive in quicker than I could get to him.

The banks were lines with yellow daisies and purple millfoil.

When the air was perfectly still there was not a ripple.

Monet is one of my favorite artists and this shot and the ripples of the image seemed to have a similar feeling, even if it is upside down.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Someone I know who is several years younger than me was just diagnosed with Lymphocytic Leukemia; a friend who thought cancer was completely in gone years ago finds a lump; a coworker, also younger than me, is a candidate for a pacemaker; a close family member is looking at potential foot surgery; 120 people at the local hospital just lost their jobs, my daughter come back from a trip a speaks of witnessing poverty in the midst of vast wealth and of how some of her friend here can't grasp of life changing such witnessing is.

I just finished a 4 mile run, am getting ready for an afternoon of biking with my son and an evening at Tanglewood.

There is so much that I can't control and can't change and in comparison with what others face, my issues and problems seem pretty insignificant. I can be mindful and appreciate the gifts I have and recognize them as gifts.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

"Isn't it fun that the cars stop when you are in the cross walk?"

Coming out of the library in the center of our little town, I overheard a mom saying to her son, as the family walked down the sidewalk, "Isn't it fun that the cars stop when you are in the cross walk?"

It made me smile as I too walked down to Main Street and as I approached the road and stepped into the crosswalk, the cars on both sides stopped. I did my half wave of acknowledgment and proceeded.

I think I was at first caught by the word "fun" in this comment then by the reality of the observation. We aren't a theme park with artificial behavior and sets though this town is more touristy than many due to its many cultural attractions. I often wonder what these tourists think we are as "locals". We are for the most part just like them I came from the library picking up a couple of books and a new book on CD for my commute. I was doing routine errands.

The second part of my thoughts was this person's actual observation. It is state law that cars stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk and the local cops do at times enforce it as do the citizens. Out of state cars that are oblivious, even thought there is a sandwich board sign at the crosswalk saying to stop, will get a comment or shout. It also is just a courtesy. something we practice and something we expect from visitors.

My daughter just came back from a week in Pennsylvania with a youth group and in the city, the chaperones reminded them that the rules aren't the same and cars don''t necessarily stop for anyone.

The flip side are tourists who think this is a theme park and will just walk right out into the street also oblivious that this is a thoroughfare or people who will walk down the middle of some of the streets where shops are. It's a small town with perhaps a slower pace but really, you can't be stupid. Though as I drive through downtown, it is now intuitive and what we teach out teenage drives, to watch the road but also the walkers approaching the road.

So, I am glad if that family is having fun here. Just be safe, be courteous and if you are eating at some of the local restaurants, leave good tips for my kids.