Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Season Missed

This winter has been unusual. For the first time in a long time I am a bit anxious to see what the future will bring. The weather has been generous and mostly moderate up until now.The rest of the country has been buried in snow, Napa has experienced what might be considered an El Nina year. Santa Ana winds blew up from the south keeping a wonderful high pressure system in tact up until a few weeks ago. The high pressure system that hung out in February eventually dissipated, and these past few weeks have brought in a steady stream of delayed winter storms. March came in like a lion, and is going out the same way.

I didn't intend for this to turn into a weather report, but I started writing this blog weeks ago and things just flow. I wanted to write about the security I felt when working a full time job last Fall, and now I am concerned if I will ever be working a full-time job again. God is my strength, and I am relying on God to keep me safe and secure as I enter these first few months of my 60th year..Job or no job.

I've stayed busy checking the job posts on Craigs List, and submit resumes and cover letters with a degree of hope.Other than this, I paint and draw to keep from dwelling on the negative.The evenings have been filled with AA meetings and fellowship.My diet has been restricted now that I no longer enjoy the bountiful benefit of eating my lunches at the CIA. Losing that job has hurt more though, because of the friends I no longer get to see every day. Winter has officially ended, and the tourist season gets going again after Mother’s day, and continues right on through till Halloween. I will miss all the action at the Concierge Desk. ( Oh well. )

This past year has been one of disasters, both personally and "naturally". A large quake and Tsunami hit Japan and many other parts of the globe have been affected. Nuclear reactors have been spilling toxic fumes and radiation into the environment.War is continuing to sweep the Middle east, and financial markets have suffered worldwide due to a seemingly endless oil crisis that has caused rampant inflation.Who knew that this is where we were headed? Many fear that the world is on the brink of collapse.

This is only part of the story. More is being revealed to us on a daily basis.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Green Thang

Today is St. Patty's day and I have passed out quite a few "Shamrocks" to my friends here. I am wearing a green sweater just in case someone gets the idea of pinching me. Hmmm... maybe that's not such a bad thing depending on who is doing it. But Hey, I ain't no Blarney Stone, so don't get any ideas about slobbering your wet lips all over my face.Nuff said.

The picture above is my interpretation of "Devil's Well Falls" from the Archer Taylor Reserve. Its a pretty muddy watercolor that I tweaked just enough to make presentable here on my blog. Some landscapes just don't have the same "feel" If you know what I mean. Comparing this work to the one I did of "Russian Gulch" is like night and day. I had a lot of interest in doing that one for sure.This one was a chore.

Lately, I have been having trouble staying motivated to do my art projects. I don't know why specifically, but it usually blows over in a day or two.Inspiration moves quickly. Like the saying, " Easy come,easy go" that is how it is for me.

Right now, there are a group of Mexican Stone Masons who are building a fountain area and patio next door at the Golden Haven Spa. I hear the "tink, tink, tink" of chisels and stone cutting equipment all day long. It is making me feel challenged to create something long lasting and relevant. This is what they have been doing...

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Weather Aboveground

Japan has suffered a major earthquake and tsunami. Mother earth is punishing us with what seems like continual catastrophic events.This winter has been unusual. For the first time in a long time I am not anxious to see it go. The weather has been generous and mostly moderate, whereas the rest of the country has been buried in snow or has been flooding after a record number of storms have pounded three quarters of the country.

Napa has enjoyed what might be considered an El Nina year. Santa Ana winds blew up from the south keeping a wonderful high pressure system in tact a few weeks ago. This has prevented storms that usually move down from the Pacific Northwest to continue moving across to Southeast states like Colorado, Wyoming and Utah.

I didn't intend for this to turn into a weather report. but my friend Eric has informed me the the Pacific Northwest with all it’s rain has been getting quite redundant. I’ve been enjoying the rain.I suspect I am in a minority. The picture above is of my friends Dieter and Harrison. This was from the hike we took yesterday from Mt. St. Helena to Calistoga. Innocent enough, but one can see the ominous clouds rolling in from the west.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The New Ipad

Okay, so I took the plunge. I drank the kool aid . Whatever. This thing is really sweet. I am sitting her in St. Helena after a meeting enjoying the ease at which I can do a simple log entry and listen to music, video chat with my brother in Chicago, play a game, check out the web, etc. Etc. ...and it's so much fun!

On a much more serious note, Japan was hit with a major quake today and their are Tsunami warnings for Hawaii and the west coast of the U.S. My prayers go out to the people of Japan.

As I write this, it is Monday and already and SO MUCH has occurred both personally and globally, that it is hard to keep up with it all. Saturday was my grandnephew’s second birthday and it was great being with my relatives and their friends down in Napa. My nephew always does a good job of having a party, and it usually goes off without a hitch.Little Mica has a host of friends and cousins who helped him share this momentous occasion.

Yesterday, I hiked from Robert Louis Stevenson State Park through the Palisades into Calistoga with my friends Harrison and Dieter. The hike took around six hours. We started at 9:45 AM and ended in Calistoga close to 4PM. I am getting in better shape every week I go out. It is already Lent, so I am giving up bread and milk products to augment my diet. I hope to lose around thirty pounds this year. My ideal weight is 155 lbs. and I am currently 185 lbs. Time to get crackin’ !

Sunday, March 06, 2011

March comes in ...

It’s Sunday and the weather is wet and rainy.Perfect for a marathoner, because it will keep you nice and cool when you are well into the race.Around five hundred to a thousand people showed up for this race that was scheduled to go off at 7am.

Joan Benoit Samuelson , who won the First women’s Olympic Marathon event in a time of 2:22:19 in 1984 was the spokesperson who was invited to greet the runners at the start. Her hair is greying, but she still has a striking presence and great physique for a woman well into her fifties.She has been and still is an inspiration to many runners… both men and women.

You wouldn’t find me in the lineup with plans to run the race this year. The last time I had participated was in 1995 and I had jumped into it on a lark. Not surprisingly, I covered the distance in 5:21:24 and was just happy to stop.

In my best shape, I had completed the Oakland Marathon in 1984 in 2:50:14 which is one of my major accomplishments in life.I have missed running in the past few years, but have taken to hiking which still gives me somewhat of an aerobic workout depending on the pace I keep. The endorphins are still there to be had.

The video below shows the start of the race. The siren is a little annoying, but you can see the excitement in the faces of the runners. Joan Benoit is the last runner to go by as I pan the camera ( she is the one in purple ).