Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Me, I have to go back to the pool this Thursday afternoon to finish my pool qualification. Then, if luck holds, we are trying again this coming weekend. Bridgette and Nate are coming in from Phoenix, and they will join me Saturday at the beach. Hopefully, we will all complete our first round of dives. And Sunday, Greg and Ric will join the three of us, and we will all be heading out to the Coronado Islands for three deeper water dives. Wish us all luck!
Greg and Ric, with instructor Chris and fellow student Daniel, getting last minute direction before entering the water.
Friday, January 27, 2006
Back to the pool I went this afternoon, and once again the sinuses refused to play nice. I am still congested, which means no way to clear during the diving. No clearing means no pool qualification today, and no pool qual today means no ocean diving this Sunday. It sucks to be me right now.
I will take care of myself this weekend – early nights to bed, eat right, lots of vitamins and fresh fruit – and hopefully I can get to the pool one night next week to finish the qualification. If so, we can plan an ocean dive for the next weekend, Feb 4th and 5th. It is no real big deal to put it off, and a head cold is what it is. It’s frustrating to fall behind, but Ric and Greg will be able to come out with me again next weekend for my dives, so that will be cool. In the grand scheme of things, this is nothing to worry about. I will be PADI certified soon enough.
Cross fingers for a full recovery from this cold this week!
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Besides Tim, I have spent years searching for Chris Brandt. I knew enough about him to start a search, but not enough current information to find him. It had been a very frustrating experience. Enter Timmy again. Yesterday he tracked down Chris' Mom in Sharon, Wisconsin. I called and spoke to her for a while, and she gave me Chris' cell phone number. Of course, it turns out that he lives in Vista, not 45 minutes from my house. And he works in downtown San Diego, not two miles from my office.
I caught up with Chris on the phone today, and it was so incredibly cool. I could write screen after screen about Chris as a friend, but I will sum it up this way: Chris Brandt was a true friend to me when I was most in need of one. He set a benchmark for friendship, and to this day I try to be the friend to others that he was to me. Yes, he was that important, and yes, he is that good of a person and a friend.
Alright. Enough of the emotional and maudlin. The point of this post is that I have found my friend, Chris. We are meeting Monday for lunch, and I have a strong feeling that I will be out of the office the rest of the afternoon. After all, we have fifteen years to catch up on. And the best part? Like Timmy, Chris is going to be back in my life to stay. And I believe Chris feels the same. It's funny, but today on the phone, he said, "I always knew we would cross paths again. It was just a matter of time."
Well, my friend, the time is now, and the times are good.
So last night was the written exam for the SCUBA class, and I am definitely glad that part is over. There were 50 questions, and it was comprehensive. It covered everything from hand signals to depth planning, decompression sickness to dive equipment, and buoyancy to ascending and descending procedures. Ric, Greg and I passed with no problem, and it is good to have that behind us. Now, I can focus on the two diving days this weekend.
Saturday, we are doing beach dives from La Jolla shores and Sunday we will be diving from the boat into the kelp beds. I am more worried about Saturday, since those are the “skills qualification” dives. Yikes. I just want to be through this part and on to the fun, completely recreational dives.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Sunday, January 22, 2006
Friday, January 20, 2006
We are back in the classroom next Tuesday, and in the pool Thursday. Not sure what other skills we will have to master, but it will definitely be interesting. Whatever it takes to get that PADI certification, so I can dive in Hawaii in May! Whoo-hoo!
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Friday, January 13, 2006
Thursday, January 12, 2006
- Friday at 11am, birthday kickoff lunch at The Local
- Friday at 2pm, Mom flies in from Houston
- Friday at 2:30pm, cake at the office
- Friday at 3pm, Nate and Tim fly in from Phoenix
- Friday... sometime, Andrea flies in from Atlanta
- Friday at 5pm, cocktails at Top of the Park
- Friday at 7:30pm, ice hockey with the San Diego Gulls
- Friday at 10:30pm, drinks and dancing at The Flame
- Saturday at 9am, breakfast with Mom
- Saturday at 12:30pm, bowling
- Saturday at 5:30pm, Karaoke/Game Night at home
- Sunday at 11am, Drag Gospel Brunch at Lips
- Sunday at 2pm, barbeque at The Hole
I know that is a lot to do for one weekend, but why the heck not? if my friends are up to it, and want to help me spend the weekend celebrating, who am I to say no?
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
I don't know the author of this quote, but I certainly believe they were right. As I prepare to say goodbye to 38 and hello to 39, I look back on an incredible year of experiences. Over the past 12 months, I have seen and done so many things:
• dragged friends across state lines to celebrate my birthday
• brought 20 friends on a Temecu-Luau wine tour
• made my first trip to Glamis for quad riding
• saw the flowers bloom in Death Valley
• broke my first bone (my wrist... ouch!)
• graduated from college
• gave commencement speech to 10,000 people at Convention Center
• went skydiving (twice!)
• rafted the Kern River
• celebrated my 20th high school reunion
• been "found" by a long-lost favorite Marine buddy
• enjoyed San Diego harbor cruises
• rediscovered the joy of riding a bike
• reclaimed our backyard with a huge landscaping project
• discovered Eric Himan, an incredible singer/songwriter
• started blogging
• watched my Mother lose her home to a hurricane
• felt the strength of my friends as they rallied to support her
• started running 5k races
• spent Thanksgiving surrounded by family in Austin
• celebrated Ric's birthday in Vegas
• saw "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" (finally!)
• ice skated (twice!)
• attended my first professional football game
• bid farewell to new Marine buddies on their way to Iraq
It has been a very good year, indeed, and I thank all of my friends - old and new - that have made it what it was. I love you all, and I look forward to all that this next year has to hold.
Monday, January 9, 2006
Saturday, January 7, 2006
So what is missing? A flashy red banner that says "AP reports 38,000 people killed each month in Congo." If you know to look for the article, or you go to an international site like the London Free Press, you can find the details. Apparently, civil war in the country rages on, and these people are killed as a direct result of the fighting or, more commonly, dying from simple preventable diseases. There is no infrastructure in the country, so there is no healthcare. Nothing. If you cut yourself and it becomes infected, you are going to die. There are no doctors, no hospitals, and no medicine.
This is just the latest example of our news in this country turning itself into entertainment, instead of providing real-time, important information. While I feel for the families of the coal miners in West Virginia, I think the media completely turned that story into a spectacle. (Actually, I think the miners' families would agree.) Did we really need continual coverage, with reporters sticking microphones into every face that walked by asking, "how does it feel?" How the hell do you think it feels? Just tell me what is happening, without 24/7 coverage of breathy reporters trying to milk a tragic situation for everything they can.
And while the media's attention was focused exclusively on the coal miners, turning the lives of every worried and grieving family member and friend into a media circus, thousands more people died in the Congo. Remember? 38,000 people EVERY MONTH! But what do we care? They are "over there," wherever that may be. They are all black, poor, and indistinguishable from one another. They don't make good TV, and people won't sit and watch for hours if we keep showing them. Culture of Life? Yeah, right. Where are all the churches and pro-lifers when these people are dying? I'll tell you where they are. Too busy protesting an abortion clinic, fighting to keep gays from getting married, or worried about The Book of Daniel airing on NBC.
Should there be an afterlife, you can bet I will have plenty to answer for to God about the way I have lived my life. But I cannot imagine standing before God as a self-proclaimed born again Christian who ignored the suffering of the poor and imperiled among us. May God show them more mercy than they have shown their fellow human beings.
Wednesday, January 4, 2006
As anyone who knows me will attest, I have become the King of Evites. If there is something fun going on in this town, everyone counts on me to organize a group to go and do it. Currently, I have Evites out for seven different events for my birthday, the play Beautiful Thing, a 5k at Sea World, a wine tour in Temecula, a Roman fresco exhibit at the Museum of Art, a road trip to Phoenix for Gay Pride, a 50 mile bike ride in Mexico, a Spring Fling barbeque, and the musical Wicked coming to San Diego in August. Whew. So, I have all of these events planned, and it really is a great deal of coordinating to make them happen successfully. So why this blog entry? What do I mean by Friends and Other Difficulties?
Because with any large group of friends, there is going to be conflict. Specifically, I have two friends who were married and are now divorced, both with new partners. They are both mature adults who do not seek each other out but are not awkward when they are in the same place… like at my college graduation last summer. But they have partners who have their own issues with the ex-spouses, so I always have to balance my invitations. If I invite her, I don’t invite him, and vice-versa.
Another set of friends are now definitely NOT friends, after one betrayed the other. I understand that one friend made a huge mistake and really hurt the other one, but I also realize it is not about me. It is between them, and I am trying to stay out of it. But the same conflict arises when I am planning events. I would like both friends to be there, but they won’t go for it.
The Dear Abby solution, of course, is to just invite everyone I want and leave it to each person to decide to come or not. And while that sounds good in theory, the reality is that both sides of any conflict would opt to not come, leaving me without any of them at the gatherings and events I organize.
This is a constant source of frustration for me, in that I cannot find a way to resolve the issues between my friends and I constantly feel like I am in the middle. To be fair, my friends do not actively make me choose or mediate, but I am stuck, nonetheless. Harumph.
Tuesday, January 3, 2006
Ice skating? On the beach? You bet. Here we are outside the Hotel Del Coronado, ice skating along the sand and the surf. Only in San Diego...
The always spirited Sonya, trying to rally her Chargers to victory. Alas, the Broncos beat San Diego. It was great fun going to the game, though.