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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Louisiana has a high percentage of people born in the state still living there.

My question is this: do people stay because they can’t get filé, boudin & andouille sausage elsewhere OR does the lack of available cultural food stem from the fact that nobody has left LA to buy it?

I did find some Tony’s at the Grove Market in PG, but no filé.

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Psychic Radio

Sometimes my iTunes is better than a Hallmark card; it plays the exact right song at the exact right moment.

This morning, it was Guy Clark singing a version of Townes Van Zandt’s To Live is to Fly. I’d downloaded Clark’s entire Old Friends album and hadn’t yet heard this song.

It came on in Prunedale and I listened all the way to Gilroy.

We all got holes to fill

Them holes are all that’s real
Some fall on you like a storm
Sometimes you dig your own
But choice is yours to make
And time is yours to take
Some dive into the sea
Some toil upon the stone
To live is to fly
Low and high
So shake the dust off of your wings
And the sleep out of your eyes
So shake the dust off of your wings
And the tears out of your eye
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Scientist at Sea

I spent the past week on the USS Princeton as part of the Navy’s Scientist to Sea program and my photo will be on the next Imposter Syndrome poster.


I bought these sunglasses at a gas station in 1987, but lost them. 

My cohort on this trip were actual rocket scientists and 20 years younger than me, i.e. very intimidating. But, they turned out to be super nice with a sense of humor and boatloads of curiousity.

We explored every nook and cranny of the ship (except for the top secret parts) and I learned so much that I’m still unpacking it in my brain.

One of my main purposes for participating in this program was to see how my students live, and I am so grateful for the opportunity.  The young men and women who have volunteered for service are amazing. They sacrifice so much of their personal lives for the greater good.

It’s heartwarming.

It’s heartbreaking.

It’s humbling. 

Too often in our efforts to constantly improve, we focus on the negatives. We lose sight of all the good things around us.

Tomorrow is Veteran’s Day and we have the opportunity to honor something positive about our country,  the service and sacrifice of our military and their families.

veterans day

For those who missed their child’s first steps, made friends and lost them as they moved every 2 years, slept on the ground and ate cold meals, all so I could sleep safely at night. I salute you.

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The buckle on my lap belt is facing the wrong way.

I have to fix it. If I don’t, then I’m pretty sure we’ll have an incident (I’m flying out of Monterey, so incidents are expected), and I will be trapped in a burning/sinking/Langolier-devouring plane because my seatbelt won’t release.

The Monterey airport has the reverse Hotel California curse. I can leave, but never return.

Even though my group is last to board, I have time to reverse the buckle on the strap and save everyone from destruction.

Well, from airplane related destruction. People travel their own paths and some folks are probably going to self-destruct.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Perfect location for a Langolier vacation.

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Operational Security. It’s important that some people who know some things not tell some people that they know them.

This defensive training runs counter to most government training where transparency is encouraged and expected.

It can get confusing, so the best strategy is to say nothing at all.

Lyrics credit: Keith Whitley

Which is hard.

Until you get 3 Facebook friend requests in 3 days from phishing accounts and realize that maintaining privacy standards are a serious concern.

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Disco Duck & Sysco Chicken

Last night was the campus Navy Ball celebrating 244 years since the creation of the US Navy.

The other branches also have balls, but I’m gonna have to build up my tolerance to dress uniform exposure. Too much finery might cause fainting.

Or maybe the lightheadedness is attributable to the Spanx undergarment constricting the vital flow of blood and air, but not other fluids as the damn thing was crotchless. Who knew?

We got a flask as a party favor! I’m gonna fill it with bourbon and bring to the office as part of my earthquake disaster/faculty meeting prep kit.

I expected rubber banquet chicken, but had an excellent salmon florentine paired with a local wine.

The program did not disappoint. The emcee was none other than my buddy CAPT Ed “Tick” McCabe who shared my first flight out to Monterey– aka the “near-death experience.”

Our keynote speaker was Captain Paul X. Rinn, USN (ret), who was the commanding offer of a ship that struck a mine in the Straits of Hormuz.

For every horror story seen on the news, for every act of meanness, I believe that there are just as many, if not more, stories of heroism and kindness that go untold.

Tune in to the good. See the light. Be the light.

Namaste, y’all.

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