Jun 30, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me

Its my birthday. 32 years ago, at some odd hour of the day or night, I made my escape from the womb that I had been planning for the previous nine months (give or take a few weeks I'm sure). Since that day I have generally made an effort to make sure this day is spend exactly how I want it. Its my day, after all.

So this morning I had grand plans of sleeping in. With Ben in the house, sleeping in might happen, it might not. So I gave it a shot. Ben got to stay up nice and late, which seemed like a good preemptive move in order to get him to sleep in as well. Sadly though, Ben was up at 7 am, before Delia even left for work. So I got to sleep in until about 9, which really isn't that bad.

We palled around the house this morning, got ourselves cleaned up and went to Borders. Ben has had his eyes on a dinosaur encyclopedia and I myself wanted to go buy Phillip Pullman's "The Golden Compass." If you haven't seen the movie, I highly suggest you do. It was excellent, far better than I anticipated. So Delia and I decided we clearly needed the books, as there is obviously a lot of story the movie can't tell in the time allotted. I don't know that I will get time to read today, but you never know.

Now Ben and I are planning a walk to the zoo and into the woods. Hopefully we can track down a few salamanders in the process. Salamander hunting is one of our favorite things to do.

Tonight? It is our little tradition that the other half of this contractual obligation we call marriage takes the celebrating half to dinner. My choice? The Lost Coast Brewery. This is one of my favorite restaurants. I won't say that the food here is amazing, but its always good, and the atmosphere is excellent. Dennis and Shelly will be joining us for dinner, and its always nice to have their company.

For now, though, I need to get going. Its time for a little walking.

Jun 28, 2008

A rather gloomy haze, and a little lite at the end of the tunnel

A rather gloomy haze has settled over a lot of California. Northern California has been hit particularly hard by the wildfires. As a result, there is a lot of smoke, everywhere. In the mid-west the flooding is out of control, and the price of gas is sky rocketing.

With all of these things, people seem to be caught up in the idea that things are really "That Bad." So I was thinking today, "What about my life is that bad?"
  1. I have home. I suppose to some people this is not that big of a deal. After all, a large chunk of Americans own their homes. Why should I be any different? Well, to begin with, I was horribly irresponsible until very recently (more on this transformation later). So I own a home. Actually, "we" own home. and we love it (except for the neighbors across the street, we could live without them. but I guess no neighborhood is perfect, right?).
  2. I have a pretty decent job. And job security is not a problem for me. I have a supervisory position, I make decent money, and I am generally well respected (at least I like to believe so, if I didn't I might have to kill myself). So I can pay my bills, I afford a few toys, and I can do the things I want to (I guess that sounds selfish, but that's not how it is meant)
  3. I have a wonderful wife. Ok, this may sound sappy, but who cares really? This is my little bit of input on life. Delia has turned my life around. I guess that makes it sound like I was an alcoholic bum addicted to smack, and the introduction of my wife to my life was something akin to a 12 step program topped off with a strict regimen of "Yes Dears." But in truth, she is a patient woman who puts up with my antics and still manages to help not make an arse of myself on a regular basis.
  4. I have a son who thinks I am practically immortal. What 8 year old doesn't think his dad is perfect? Need I say more? I think not.
  5. I have a great circle of friends who all do their best to make sure we all don't get into too much trouble. And that, in and of itself something to write home about.

So there it is, some of the things that tell me, Things are not that bad. There are people who are need, there are people out there losing their lives, and it costs about $100 bucks to fill my gas tank. And still, I think things aren't that bad.

There is always a bright side to things.

Jun 26, 2008

A camping trip worth remembering.

All the anticipation paid off.

We left Mckinleyville at about 0800 hours. At the time, it was three adults and two boys (James was in Redding already with his aunt and uncle). So Dean, Tim, Ben, Tyler and I set off on out adventure. The trip over was uneventful, it was the Trinity River Valley. Its a beautiful drive at all times of the year, and this time of the year was no exception. We arrived at the Oak Bottom Campground around noon. We checked in and headed for our camp site.

Here is where we hit a snag. The camp site, which we reserved, is on the lake so we can moore the Dean's boat. The problem is that it is on a 8% grade (I don't really know if it was 8%, but it was really steep, that I do know). I wish I had taken a picture of the thing, but to give an example: the pic nick table there is on such a slope, one end had to be on cinder blocks to make it level. Ben took a small header off the thing at one point. Also, there wasn't enough room for our tent, which is quite large. So, we tried to squeeze it in. After spending a good chunk of the day there we quickly learned tat this site would not work for the next four days. So we made sucked it up and made do for the night, then requested a new campsite the next day.

Monday morning rolled around rather early. We made breakfast, requested a new site, then headed for the Redding water slide park. Its not horribly big. There are actually only 5 slides for adults and bigger kids, but we got our money's worth. We spent all day there, breaking only for lunch. We came home, moved our campsite, and settled in for the evening. That night we cooked chicken over the campfire and roasted marshmallows for smores afterwards. After the kids went to bed Dean and Tim and I would stay up playing domino's every night. Tyler learned to play dominos while we were there. He was able to stay up late one night and play some bones with the guys. He had a good time. And for us, it was a nice way to spend the evening after the kids went to sleep.

Tuesday we we spent a lot of time on the lake, but the fires (which were started by a lightning storm the day before we left) were clogging the whole are with smoke. So eventually we headed in and drove to a small park on the outskirts of Redding that is a water park (a free one too). Water cannons, sprinklers of all shapes and sizes, and a water volcano that went off every 10 minutes. The kids had a blast there.

We went back to camp, ate beans and weenies, and roasted more smores. We even invited the kids over from the next camp site. W had a good time.

Wednesday we went to the swim beach, let the kids swim around for a while, then made our way back to camp to make sure we all got a chance to shower. Sadly, the showers there are in poor shape. The only one that worked was the ADA stall, which had the nozzle at about my navel. So the kids showered easy enough, but the adults had to shower on their knees. We decided to head down to the local store and gal there told us they planned on shutting down 299 (our only easy road home) and that we should head out right then if we planned on making it home. So we broke camp in record time and off we went.

We didn't miss a whole lot by leaving early, it was only about 12 hours early. So we got home, took the kids for some pizza, and here we are now. It was a good trip. We had a good time, and I think the boys were absolutely wrecked every night we were there. I guess that means we were doing something right.

What follows is a little photo documentation, courtesy of Dean, of our camping trip.

As always, thanks for tuning in.

Jun 18, 2008

A belated entry....

My sister's latest post has made me realize that I have failed as a son in making sure there is acknowledgment of certain father figures in my life. I don't mean to plagiarize, I simply aim to make sure those two people in life are recognized for who they are.

So to begin:

My father, Craig.

I have started this paragraph over and over now, and it is simply seems impossible for me to put to words what it is about my father that I find to be important, that I respect, that I admire and that I love.

So I guess I'll simply put it this way: When I was younger I actually enjoyed the time I spent with my father (as opposed to some of my cohorts of the same age bracket), my friends (who were just afore mentioned) liked hanging out with my father (which I always appreciated but always found to be a little strange), my father in even some of the most stressful situations always seemed to have a level head, he is one of the most compassionate and caring people I have ever met.

All of these things lead me to believe in one simple fact: Were I to aspire to be like my father I think I would be about as a good a person as I could be.

Dad, thanks for being an example to me.

My father-in-law, Gill.

About 5 years ago I started dating Delia. And after a few tumultuous relationships this one seemed pretty solid. And indeed it was. 5 years later, she and I are happily married. Gill, her father, has always been accepting of me and my son, something for which I will always be grateful. One day, I stopped by the house in Dixon because I was in town. I had Ben in tow and we were making an un-announced visit. The door opened and I was warmly greeted and welcomed in. When I apologized for stopping by announced, I was told that I am family, and there is never a need to call before coming over. The house is always open to family. Its plain and simple that they love me like a son, and I thank them for that.

Gill, thanks for making me a part of the family, and I'm happy to be able to call you Dad.

Jun 16, 2008

The 2008 Oyster Festival

Arcata, Ca. Really, I don't have a lot to say about this little town. Its really a beautiful little city. Sadly though, it is mired neck deep in local politics that are, umm... for the birds. Imagine a city full of Berkley Hippies that haven't showered in about 6 months, and you would imagine Arcata.

Now, having said my two cents about the things I don't like about Arcata, let me share with you what I do like about the place. Well, one of the things anyway.

Every year we get together with Todd and company for a oyster grilling fest like no other. Last year thousands of oysters were grilled. This years, I believe, was no exception. So I have produced a small slide show in order to present my documentation of the event. I hope you all enjoy.

Jun 12, 2008

The summer kicks off with a bang.

This upcoming weekend is approaching quickly, and with it a growing sense impending excitement. This weekend is sort of a kick off for my entire summer. Here is the rundown as I see it:
  1. Arcata Bay Oyster Festival: An all day event at which I will be standing in front of a ginormous charcoal grill, grilling and shucking oysters. We work for Oyster Todd (we actually know his last name, but for a long time this was how we referred to him). In return for our services, we are compensated with good food, good company and an all around good time. Check out the Oyster Festival here.
  2. The Whiskeytown Lake Men’s Camping Trip: Dean, Tim and I are taking our sons camping to Whiskeytown lake. A five day trip filled with trout fishing, swimming, learning to use compasses and the general fun that goes with "roughing it." Ben is stoked about this trip, and really so am I. Its going to be a good time.
  3. This entry is purposefully left Top Secret. There is a special trip planned, but I fear Ben learning about it before its time, so I am opting to not go into real description here. I will, however, post more on this later.
  4. Ryan and Maya’s Wedding: My good friend Ryan and his fiancee Maya are getting married in late July. Ryan and I have been friends since middle school, and is the only person from my high school days that I still keep up with. Delia and I very much looking forward to this weekend.
So there you have it, the run down, as much as I can put it into writing. I’ll have plenty of pictures from the oyster fest, and I’ll be updating in a day or so.

Jun 6, 2008

Training Day: Revisited with a Smile

I have to say that my last post was, well, somewhat somewhat... somber? Well, it wasn't all doom and gloom the other day. In fact, there was some entertainment as well.

Normally I don't post pictures of me or my co-workers. But this day was a little different in that we were all casual and pictures seemed quite appropriate.

CPR and First Aid took the 4 hour block from 0800 to 1200. This portion of the class was fairly entertaining, and fortunately for me, my dear friend Brenda (who also happened to be my excellent training partner) had the where-with-all to bring her camera for the blessed training event.
Allow me to introduce my training Dumby.
He can be seen here wearing my beanie (in Canada, eh, they call this type of hat a Tuc, eh, but that's in Canada, eh, and we aren't in Canada, eh, so I call it a beanie). I can only assume that this Dumby was cold. I would assume he was cold because he is dead. As I have stated before, we don't do CPR on live subjects. So training Dumby was with me all day. We did chest compressions, rescue breathing and more chest compressions. He was a good sport throughout the day, and didn't complain once. Thanks for being there Dumby.

You can see here that it appears I have no idea what to do with Baby Dumby here. The truth is, well, I have never had to do CPR on an infant. And even though I hope to never have to, at least I know how. On a side note, I will say its nearly impossible to find a femoral pulse on an infant with a rubber leg. For those of you out there reading this, I recommend checking the pulse on a real baby. Its much more effective.

THIS JUST IN: In a freak training accident, multiple people were simultaneously impaled in the eyeball by pencils.
A Pacific North West Tree Octopus was rumored to be in the area, but at this time it can not be confirmed if the elusive sepholopod actually was involved in the bizarre accident. Fortunately, there was a large supply of Styrofoam cups and bandages on scene, and everyone recovered from their injuries by the lunch break.

So, as you can see, when a large group of us get together for training purposes, we have a decent time. And after the gloominess of my previous entry, I felt it important to add a little humor to the event.

Jun 3, 2008

Training, Unexpected Emotion and the Subject of Suicide.

Note: This entry contains some amount of very real emotion and the subject of suicide.

Today was a training day, specifically involving medical issues. From blood bourne pathogens to medications to mental health problems. We cover it all in an 4 hour period (the first four was CPR and First Aid).

I have had to do CPR once in my life. The thing about CPR is you don't perform it someone unless that person is dead. If a person is breathing, has a pulse, but is unconscious, then there is no need to perform CPR. If those things just mentioned are not present, then you have a whole different issue at hand.

I performed CPR because someone killed himself. Its not someone I knew very well, and the fact that I was there when he was found is simply coincidental to the fact that he killed himself. Having said that, I was responsible for performing chest compressions. At the time, it was 15 compressions and then 2 breaths (apparently it is now 30 compressions to 2 breaths).

I remember helping untie the knot that was around his neck.

I remember how easily it came undone, it was only the weight of his body that kept it tight around his neck.

I remember there was blood coming from his nose, a common effect from the blood in the head building up and having nowhere to go because of the noose.

I remember another person who there asking if I wanted a break from performing CPR, and I refused.

I remember, later, feeling ashamed at how I felt about the situation. The loss of life is tragic, in any event. Someone hurts from it. I, however, did not feel bad that this person was dead. He had made his own decision and that was his choice alone. I felt more ashamed because I didn't care he was dead.

Again, I really did not know this person. I barely knew he existed. But in the end, his decision left me with a lot of issues that needed sorting out. Why, after all, would someone do this? He must have known that, while it would immediately solve all of his problems, it would only create many more for one such as myself. And indeed it did. When a person commits suicide the only person it is easy for is the one who decided to do it. Family, friends, and people who just happen to be there are the ones left with the mess to clean up.

All this comes back to memory quite clearly today. There were videos that we watched that dealt with suicide, training videos that showed people of various mental condition. These videos didn't show anything graphic. They didn't show anything other than an example of the state some people get into that can lead to suicide. I have seen some of these videos before. I have never really been bothered by them.

Today, however, I felt a certain amount of apprehension just before the trainer pushed play. Perhaps, given the content of the video, my apprehension was misplaced. I'm not sure what I was expecting. Was there going to be scenes of gore and violence inflicted upon a person by that person himself? If that were the case I think I might have thought it to be a bit much. But it was nothing of the sort.

I'll never forget looking at the man's face, his eyes staring up at me. They were blank, and a little bloodshot (another effect of the noose around the neck). I knew, instantly, we would not be able to save this person. But we tried. It was only about 3 minutes before paramedics arrived. It was one of the fastest EMS responses I have ever seen. They took over for me and the one who was helping me. I remember my friend Dean, who got there about half way through, putting his hand on my shoulder and asking if I was going to be alright.

And why shouldn't I be? I did my part. I tried my best. But in the end, it wasn't enough. This man had made up his mind and followed through with his choice. There was nothing I could do about it. Shouldn't I be alright?

The question was raised, today in training, "Is suicide selfish?" In this particular instance I think it was. I hope his problems are solved, I guess. At the same time I find him to be a coward for not facing his own issues and leaving them to me.

These are things I haven't thought about in a coupe of years. Hopefully its another long period of time before I have to ever think about them again.

Jun 2, 2008

I really intended to sleep in.....

I have been dreaming of today for quite some time now. One day off in 10. So the idea of not getting up at 0500 was really appealing. Alas, this was not to be. Cody wanted to go fishing. And I could not say no.

So I was up at 0430 (earlier than a regular work day) and we were moving by 0500. When we go there it was a beautiful day, but windy. And the wind was cold and bit to the bone. So we fished for a few hours, land a few and decided it was just too cold. Here are some photos from the day.
Although it was cold, the sun was shining and it was a decent day. Hopefully this summer will be filled with days like this.

Jun 1, 2008

Just whistle while you work.....

Truthfully, I think if I were whistling, people around here would beat me up. Such is the environment here with my co-workers.

So life has been horribly busy. I work, in my opinion, way to stinking much. For the most part I am working 5 days a week, sometimes 6. Some people might not think that a 5 day a week work week is not too bad and I am a mamby-pamby. But when you factor in that I get up for work at 0440 and have to be here at at 0545, then I can't leave until 1800, that makes for a long day, so a 5 day work week becomes 61.25 hours. In my humble opinion, that makes for a long week.

So when I get off work, i am going back to the gym, so there is another hour and half that is gone, and by the time I get home its close to 1930. That leaves only a couple of hours to make dinner and try to relax. These are long days.

Tomorrow I have the day off. I have been looking forward to this day (this week Monday is my only day off that I have) all week. Then Cody called. There is a 1 and a half foot minus tide tomorrow, so we are headed out to Petrolia to do some rock picking and perch fishing. This, in and of itself, would not be a bad thing, but the low tide is at 0600. So I'll be setting my alarm for revelie at 0500. I had dreams of waking up, well, whenever the heck I felt like it. But alas, this is not to be.

So tomorrow should be a fine day, and I'll have more fish for the freezer, and I'll make more of an effort to check in.
Related Posts with Thumbnails