Feeling my Mortality

One of my students missed class last week.  A student missing class is not such an unusual event, except for her reason.

Her brother had a two-in-one surgery performed -- a knee replacement and carpal tunnel release.  He awoke from surgery already able to move his hand freely.  Two days later he took his first steps and felt no pain, and began physical therapy.  On his second day of physical therapy, he became dizzy and collapsed, likely due to some random bloot clot, and they were unable to revive him.

They always warn you of the potential hazards involved in "routine" surgery, but those incidences are so few and far between, they almost seem impossible.  And yet, it happened to someone in my network.

When tragedies such as this happen, I think of some near-misses I've had and wonder how it was that I was spared.  And I feel grateful for being given the opportunity to continue.


Mindless meanderings

I borrowed a book from a friend a few years ago. It's a book about Japanese Americans during WWII, and his wife is also Japanese American, so they thought I would enjoy the book, and I did... except I haven't seen them since! So I've had this book sitting in my bedroom in its little bag, gathering dust, and I haven't contacted them to return it because I forgot I had it for about a year, and I was too chicken to contact them at that point!

By coincidence, a mutual friend came online the other night on IM (who I also haven't seen in a few years), and he offered to return the book for me! So I arranged to meet him in Palo Alto last night for coffee after work. As usual, I tried cramming a bunch of small tasks in at the last minute, and left my office in a rush, leaving the lights on. As I drove out of the parking lot, I looked up and saw the interior of my office, and realized for the first time that the glass I thought was one-way... wasn't!

For the most part, this is okay, because I typically just sit in there typing anyway, and it's on the 4th floor of the building, so it's not like people walking by can just look in and see everything. Except there's only one locker room in the building that's shared by everyone, so I change in my office when I go jogging or ride the bike, and I tend to change close to the window, because I keep my shoes on the ledge and my clothes under the window so I can lay them out on the heating/air conditioning unit. Plus, it's been relatively dark outside this time of the year, so the lighting has been relatively brighter inside. I never closed the blinds before, because I thought the glass was one-way. And now I know pretty much anyone walking or driving by on the street, or the trail across the street, can see me if they look up. I'm such a dope! Who knows what else I've done while standing in the window... I could have been there picking my teeth or something.


Blasts from the Past

This week one of my former athletes and a former student contacted me out of the blue just to say hello. One was one of my pole vaulters at College of San Mateo, and the other took a basic computing class I taught through the SF Housing Authority. It meant a lot to me that they would take the time to do that, and I think it means even more given that I'm in somewhat of a deep blue funk with regard to my self esteem right now (I don't think you can tell that from my blog postings, but I've been struggling with that internally for several years now).

Anyway, this photo is back from that era, and features the two athletes who will forever be known as "my kids," because they just happened to be the first vaulters I ever coached, and I think I formed the strongest bond with them. I posted more photos from that time frame in my photo section, in case anyone is interested.


Birthday Weekend

I'm back from my long weekend! Actually, I've been back since Sunday evening, I just haven't had a chance to sit and be a schlub until now, because when I returned home I had work piled up waiting for me (okay it's still piled up).

Due to the untimely demise of my beloved Subaru wagon a few years ago, and the fact that I drive a Miata convertible now, I decided to forego the Tahoe trip and just head straight for Calistoga. Actually, my father insisted I drive his Pilot this weekend, but it's front wheel drive only and he doesn't have chains for it, so I couldn't have headed up to the mountains anyway. I took it just to make him happy, although I'm a menace in that oversized crackerbox!

I headed up late Friday morning. On the way, I received calls from my niece, sister and boss. Actually, I received one call from my niece, four from my boss on Friday, and four from my sister over the weekend. The four from my boss were all to sing Happy Birthday, each time with a different person -- the owner of the coffee shop we frequent, our patent counsel, our COO, and the other owner of the coffee shop. Oh, wait a minute, my boss also called to ask me where something was, so that would be five from him.

I checked into the Mount View Hotel, an early 1900's Mission revival style building, at about 1:45. Like other buildings of its era, it sports a lot of wonderful detail, but the climate control left something to be desired. The hallway to the room was COLD!!! The room was small, but clean, tastefully appointed and quiet. They bring fruit, pastry, juice and coffee to your room in the morning, and I have to admit it's nice not to have to dress for breakfast other than to throw on a robe to answer the door.

After checking into the hotel, I ran down the street for my appointment at the Lincoln Avenue Spa, where I did the body masque/facial/massage package. I had a mud bath several years ago, and did not enjoy it one bit, so I really wanted something different this time. With the body masque, you smear the mud all over your body and lie down on a steam table, rather than sitting in a tub of mud that countless others sat in before. The massage therapist, Lily, really laid into the monster knots under my shoulder blades and along my neck, and made a valiant effort to make them go away. I didn't have the heart to tell her that they're always there.

I have a new friend who joined me in Calistoga, and we visited a couple of wineries and a geyser. There were baby goats on the property around the geyser, and a couple were so young, their umbilical cords were still attached! You can see the red "string" hanging from underneath the little guy.

I headed back down toward home on Sunday afternoon, with a stop in Petaluma on the way to visit Fuller. He and another of his exes celebrated my birthday with me and we watched the Super Bowl together, as well. I have to admit I was a bit rude and did some work during the game. I don't have much opportunity to do prep work for the classes I teach during the week because of my day job, so I have to take advantage of small chunks of time here and there when I can.

This was one of my quietest birthdays, and one of the most enjoyable. I seem to appreciate the simple things much more these days.