Gift of the Magi

I’ve traded boudin for Big Sur.

Boudin is delicious!

There are pros and cons to every decision, and if it seems to be too good to be true– it probably is.

I love living in California. Every day is suffused with spectacular beauty and incomparable scenery.

Path to Asilomar Beach. Photo credit: Me.

The weather is temperate and usually on varies by only 10 degrees a day.

Summer fruit. Photo credit: Me

There’s fresh fruit, artisinal cheese, and handmade salami at the farmers’ market. Best of all there are no damn mosquitoes.

Monterey is Eden in Steinbeck’s work and there’s no question that it earned this moniker.

But just like the Gift of the Magi, I had to make a trade. And what I traded is living close to my family.

Facebook and Facetime and airplanes shorten that distance, but….

But, there’s a price for paradise.

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Here’s to you, Cupertino

I’ve lived in Monterey for 7 1/2 months. My mother-in-law, Gayle, suffered from Alzheimer’s and thought I lived in Cupertino, which is just down the road.

She and Wally had lived in Cupertino and she loved the mountains and the ocean. And was so glad I liked Cupertino.

She was always glad. Always in a good mood. Always pleasant. Always willing to help with the kids when Mark and I were busy.

We had a great visit this Christmas. All her boys were in and she was really present. Really aware.

My heart is broken right now that I won’t spend any more Christmases with Gayle. That my kids lost their grandmother. That Nacho will go unpetted.

But I am glad for Gayle. She has missed Wally so much. They were a matched pair and it seemed that she was always trying to find him. Find her missing piece.

I like to think that now they’re together, in his new convertible, riding down California highway 1. On the way to Cupertino.

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Here’s to you, Cupertino

I’ve lived in Monterey for 7 1/2 months. My mother-in-law, Gayle, suffered from Alzheimer’s and thought I lived in Cupertino, which is just down the road.

She and Wally had lived in Cupertino and she loved the mountains and the ocean. And was so glad I liked Cupertino.

She was always glad. Always in a good mood. Always pleasant. Always willing to help with the kids when Mark and I were busy.

We had a great visit this Christmas. All her boys were in and she was really present. Really aware.

My heart is broken right now that I won’t spend any more Christmases with Gayle. That my kids lost their grandmother. That Nacho will go unpetted.

But I am glad for Gayle. She has missed Wally so much. They were a matched pair and it seemed that she was always trying to find him. Find her missing piece.

I like to think that now they’re together, in his new convertible, riding down California highway 1. On the way to Cupertino.

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Infinite Temperature

Last night I went to a physics lecture hosted by the Monterey Institute for Research in Astronomy (MIRA).

Was There A Single Big Bang? is the title of the presentation given by Dr. Brian G. Keating of UC San Diego.

Research telescope in Antarctica

Some part of this viewing equipment has to be cooled to near absolute zero (I guess it helps to be located in the Earth’s deepfreezer) in order to detect light emissions from the beginning of the universe, at which time something with infinite density and infinite temperature became finite.

From what I gather (because he said it a couple of times), there is no model in physics or mathematics by which the infinite becomes finite.

Cool physics image from the internet related to temperature. Apparently once things get so cold (colder than Absolute Zero), they warm up?

As if that weren’t problemmatic enough, there’s space dust everywhere in the cosmos, distorting wavelengths and mucking up nearly Nobel results.

The dust is so problemmatic that Planck’s constant is off by a magnitude of 7.

In short order this is what I learned:

  1. There are lots of theories about the universe and none of them can be proven or disproven. We may in fact be in The Matrix (he didn’t say that, but he also didn’t not say it, so it could be true.)
  2. People who attend these lectures want to make sure the other people attending the lectures know just how smart they are by asking asinine questions at the end. I did so enjoy the suggestion made by the Poetry lady who noted that our scientist need only redefine universe, and then, Voila! Problem solved.
  3. After spending a week on a Navy ship in warm, calm waters, there’s no way I’d take one to Antartica. Not for love or money.
  4. The beginning of the universe is not necessarily the beginning of time, which is probably the coolest thing I learned.
Posted in California, Education, End of the World, Monterey, Navy, technology, weather, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pacheco Pass

Even though I’m from north Louisiana (about 140 feet above sea level), I’m familiar with the term pass (as it relates to roads and not grades).

Pacheco Pass (Source: Wikipedia)

This weekend I drove up to Modesto in the Central Valley and took the Pacheco Pass.

I’d barely noticed the hills when I rode up with my friend a month or so ago, so wasn’t too concerned.

Until I was.

My lane had a big dip in it, which caused a brief moment of panic.

And by brief, I mean brief in the sense that the universe is a gazillion years old and the 40 minutes it took me to get back to flat ground is just a blink of a cosmic eye.

This pass is through the Diablo mountains. Coincidence? I think not.

https://www.dangerousroads.org/haunted-roads/4358-pacheco-pass.html

It’s haunted. The damn road is haunted. There’s a book about it.

Available on Amazon for the curious.

Maybe I’m sensitive to the energetic residue of the numerous fatal crashes on the road.

Maybe I’m a flatlander who’s unsettled by the nearness of cliffs and the ease with which a person hurtling down a mountain at 65 mph might find herself offroading into a canyon.

Maybe I’m unnerved by sketchy roads and distracted drivers.

And maybe, just maybe, it’s all of the above.

Don’t worry Mom. I made it back. In one piece.

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Efficiency 2020

Pass percentage completion. Accuracy. Life’s a number’s game.

Moneyball.

Life’s also a game of moving parts. Sometimes we swing and miss.

At this advanced stage, I don’t have too many more player reset buttons. To get the most from the remaining experience, I need to be efficient.

Step 1: Prioritize. What do I want to maximize?

Health? Wealth? Family?

Step 2: Develop a plan or routine that implements those priorities.

Step 3: Eliminate behaviors and habits that are counter-productive to my goals.

This last part is the hard part. I’m hopeful that framing the decisions as beneficial to me (instead of puniative, restrictive, etc…) that changes will be easier to make.

When I get to the end, turn in the kids, and cash in my life insurance, I don’t want to have wasted a single minute.

Efficiency 2020.

Maximize Life.

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Breakers at Dawn

Left, Pebble Beach. Right, Rocky Shores.

Mornings are full of decisions. Do I wear the shoes that hurt my feet or the ones that hurt my knees?

Pack a lunch or eat at the snack shack?

These mundane choices help keep me grounded. Present.

Which is necessary when I’m taking a walk and dawn breaks over the Pacific Ocean.

Asilomar Dunes, Pacific Grove, CA. December 11, 2019

At least once a day, I’m overwhelmed by the notion that I live in California.

Sometimes it’s the vampire fog drifting in sheets through the Del Monte Forest.

Sometimes it’s the sapphire blue of Monterey Bay on a sunny day.

Sometimes it’s the snow-capped mountains after my first winter storm.

Always and everywhere around me, I see the beauty that inspires authors (Steinbeck & Henry Miller), painters (plein air), and golfers.

And it stones me to my soul.

Stones me just like going home.

And it stones me.

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