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Drove along Rezanof Drive this morning for a wet walk round Lake Gertrude at Fort Abercrombie. Still choked up with that cold Bill caught on the ferry and thoughtfully passed on to me.
100 yards before the turnoff, there’s a rubber boot in the middle of the road. What’s a rubber boot doing there – or is it a wellie, wellington, gumboot, or maybe (given this is Kodiak) an Alaskan Sneaker?
Wait a minute, that boot was there yesterday, in the exact same spot. What is this – a sign? a symbol? an omen? No-one missed it, didn’t come back to pick it up? Some sad person is hopping somewhere along on one foot in this lousy weather.
I get it, it belongs to a little girl whose Dad made her sit in the back of his dirty old pickup truck yesterday. Pouring rain, cold, wet, damp, water dripping off her nose. Pissed off, she removes a boot and tosses it off the rear. Who could blame her for being mad at the world. Why can’t she sit up nice and cozy with everyone else in the cab? Gets to the destination, Dad comes round the back of the truck. “What happened to your boot?” “I pitched it.” “Why?” “Coz.” What does that mean – you stupid kid. Take that. And that.” Wham. Hops into the house, crying.
Will this work for capturing odd moments for future writing projects? Only time will tell.

It’s been a while…

It’s been many months since I last posted on this blog. A hiatus for many reasons: failed retirement (went back to work); entranced by music (piano practice); didn’t make the time; etc.  Now, I have retired again.  After 4 years of part-time, then half-time, then full-time work with my favorite Juneau non-profit (REACH), I have done what I could in the work world. It’s time to enter my final years head on.

Last week we left Juneau around noon, Tuesday, on the ferry Kennecott and after stops in Yakutat, Whittier, and little Chenega Bay, arrived in Kodiak soon after dawn.  We are here for 10 days while I contemplate my navel, detach from REACH, and figure out what’s next.  As if on cue, an old passion has resurfaced.  To the piano practice, birdwatching, hiking, reading, and cooking magnets on my mental door, a new one has appeared.  Writing stories.

I remember November, 2007.  We began the month in Morro Bay, California, and finished it in Austen, Texas. During that time, sitting at my computer in sweet Clemmie, I accepted and completed the NaNoWriMo challenge. Wrote a 50,000 + novel in 24 days.  Yes I did.  Then I put it away, unread, unreviewed, unedited.  For almost 6 years.  Ten days ago I powered up the laptop, moved the cursor ’til I found the file, clicked off the electronic dust, and printed it out. 106 pages, by golly.  Gingerly, began to read it – could barely recall the plot, certainly not one thing about how it ended.  Surrprised to find it held my interest. This is reasonably well written, I thought. Got half way through it before we got on the ferry, and left the remainder to be finished when we get home next week.

I’m going to do more writing.  Not sure how, or where.  Stay tuned.

Be Vulnerable

Haven’t posted for a while for several reasons.  I made a fast trip to the UK in mid-March to spend a week staying with my niece, Margaret, and her family and from their spending days at the bedside of my dying brother.  Diagnosed with brain cancer just before Xmas, ’08, I visited him in Australia last spring. He returned to the UK just before Xmas, ’09, so as to spend his last weeks closer to “home.”

Also, a fall on some icy steps in mid-February left a colleague with a nasty concussion from which she is making a very slow recuperation. I picked up some work related projects while she has been out.  And pray for her full recovery.  Be thankful for each day – you never know when it might be your last, or at least the last of being the “you” that you now are.

And, piano has become a borderline obsession.  In fact the whole subject of music has grabbed my interest in a way that I would never have dreamed.  The morning routine has now settled in to accommodate this passion and secure its hold on my day, whether or not  a work day (Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and half of Thursdays.) Upon rising, there’s the immediate sit in the hot tub communing with my mountain (Mt. Juneau) and spruce trees (not to mention the heron roosting in its branches above the tub) followed by a sit in the living room with Bill, coffee, a few poems, and the newspaper. Then a bit of stretching, make the bed, get dressed, and head for the piano.  Daily practice is expanding its grip – and introducing to my life a great deal of satisfaction and pleasure at the (sometimes noticeable) progress.

Twittering (Continued)

Learning a lot about Twitter, and frustrated with the feeble Twitter-feed widget that’s available through WordPress.com (the free WordPress platform upon which this blog sitteth.)  Not willing to self host through WordPress.org – been there done that, learned that keeping WordPress updated is a royal pain in the tush.  So check out the Twitter feed in real time.

Twittering

Bound and determined to go (with some kicking and screaming) into the 21st century.  Studying social media marketing an hour a day. Quite mind blowing what’s happening and the rate of change thereof.

Following a few Twitterers and finding some really good information from sifting through the junk).  So – to be blatant about it – I too am looking for followers.  Asking self “Why am I doing this?”  Answers:

  • To learn how the social media works
  • To keep up with changing technology
  • It’s fun to be more in touch with old friends
  • One day I’ll finish one of the books I’m working on and will want to market it
  • I’m planning to do some social media stuff for two non-profits I’m involved with as (a) guinea pigs for my learning and as (b) marketing for them

WordPress now has a new poll function that I want to test, so here it is.

Advantages of Isolation

I’ve been thinking about why Juneau is so special – aside from the gorgeous scenery and immediate access to outdoor activity of all kinds.

I had put Juneau’s terrific sense of community and mind-blowing high level of cultural activities and involvement to the fact that it is small (30,000 souls) and roadless. If you want to go somewhere, it’s a major production involving cost and logistics associated with flying or taking the ferry.  So people stay put in a way that they don’t in places that are linked by major highways.

Laying in bed awake for a spell in the night (looking at the stars out the sliding glass doors through the branches of the spruce tree shading our deck) it dawned on me that, probably, the average commute for Juneau workers is not more than 15 minutes.  I, who walk to work, get to my place of (part-time) employment in just about that amount of time.  Likewise, the commute to the supermarket and everything else is minimal.

This means that, compared to dense urban areas where people spend up to 90 minutes or more at each end of the work day commuting to or from work, and then spend hours more each week visiting, shopping, and traveling to and from the other activities squeezed into their lives, people in Juneau have a lot more time on their hands.  They put it to good and creative use.

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