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Showing posts from November, 2018

Life in Pictures

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Time to pull out the holiday decorations, go pick out a tree and get used to peppermint replacing everything pumpkin. My favorite holiday tradition is finally here too: sending and receiving Christmas cards. I know these annual exchanges are sometimes maligned as annoying and pretentious and antiquated in the age of online social media. But I look forward to hearing from old friends since I never joined Facebook and LinkedIn only keeps me connected to those still working. I joined Instagram in August 2017, a bit later than most and after the company was bought by Facebook (prescient, given Facebook is falling out of favor—and fast). Immediately a few friends found me and connected. Since then several dozen more have. I like that I can go through my feed and see every single post that day because it isn’t overwhelming. Some people want as many followers as possible. Not me. When I was homesick for San Diego, I checked my feed often to feel connected to the place. I loved th

A Breath of Fresh Air

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I spent half of this year unintentionally living in Oregon. That story is for another time. For now, let’s recall the high point of daily life then: the 30 to 45 minutes I ran in the morning. These runs happened just as the sun peeked over the gorgeous geological centerpiece of nearby Smith Rock State Park. More than once, they took place hours after I’d failed to fall asleep.  Sometimes I’d turn a corner and be gobsmacked by an incredible sunrise. More often, though, it was a gust of wintry wind. When I first tried to run, my legs and lungs rebelled. I barely made it 15 minutes before I was spent. I thought I was out of shape, but a nurse later told me I just hadn’t acclimated to the harsh temps and high desert elevation.  Even in late May and June, the outdoor thermometer registered in the mid-30s at dawn. It had been many years since I was forced to wear ear warmers and long sleeves beyond Memorial Day. I noticed snow covering a trio of volcanoes known as The Three Sist

Paradise Lost and Grandma Found

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Trees surrounding Bille Park in Paradise, pre-fire. In my last post , I mentioned my uncle had just passed. I didn’t mention where he died, which was in Paradise. Until this week, you may have never heard of this retirement community in the Sierra foothills ( although readers with excellent retention might ).  With all the other news this week—the mid-term elections; latest mass shooting; and LA fires—it’s possible you still don’t know about Paradise. A wildfire known as the Camp Fire because of its origin near Camp Creek broke out early Thursday. Intense, drying winds common this time of year helped sparks from a faulty transmission line forge a fire that quickly spread into nearby towns, the biggest of which was Paradise. My grandmother retired there about 30 years ago from New England. A lot of people retire here from other parts of California for the lower cost of living and because it’s pretty.  Was  pretty. What made it distinctive, especially to us relatives to the

The Football Pool

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For more than 40 years my dad and his brother, my Uncle Dick, ran a family football pool. They took this contest very seriously.  So seriously, that even if you were terminally ill or no longer on speaking terms, you sent in your picks.  My grandmother secretly feared that her sons' football pool actually was the genetic result of her late husband’s gambling addiction. Grandpa once literally bet the farm – and lost.  Still, the year that my husband and I won – and won big – she was the first to call and congratulate us. There were rules, and both Dad and Uncle Dick held everyone to them—especially their children. We got the odds from the same online source (after decades of using a national newspaper) and had to send in our picks in a certain format and by a certain time. My Dad kept an elaborate, handwritten spreadsheet on each player. My uncle kept his own to keep his brother honest.  There were opportunities if you were down a lot of games to make them up, or

Once in a Lifetime

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I read somewhere that everyone peaks in a career only once or twice in a lifetime. During that time you are your most creative, productive, influential and dependable self. You are in a near-constant state of flow, and your work has a positive impact on everyone around you—both in and outside the office. Some of us peak at our first job and then spend the next 30 or 40 years chasing the same dream. Others peak late in life, having tried on a range of roles before finding one with the best fit.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my career peaked around the same time I ran  marathons. I need movement to think, and long runs provided plenty of it. Marathon training also requires daily discipline and excellent time management when you are a full-time employee and full-time parent. Back then I mainly ran early mornings when everyone else was asleep. I always ran alone and without music, so I had plenty of time to talk to myself about issues, both personal and profession