Whale Sighting at Torrey Pines State Beach

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Off the top left about 7-10 seconds in, there is something that leaps up out of the water – this is most likely a gray whale as that is what we usually have cruising along our coast line though I thought this was rather late in the season (clearly I could be wrong about that!)

I first spotted it while turning onto the coast highway from driving into work and immediately I saw a large splash down and knew it was more than a pelican diving or a dolphin playing. When I saw the breach two more times I made the decision to pull over and join the many other drivers who had done the same. I was part of a line of folks holding up our cell phone hoping to capture the action even as a shaky, distant view. The next video the whale is breaching JUST as I started a fresh file (I was trying to keep them under 2 minutes long). So you’ll see it already out right from the start and then splashing down. What amazed me is that the people running/walking along the shore NEVER saw it. I suspect that being right on the surf line meant that even the rather anemic wave action blocked their view. The whale was cruising north from La Jolla towards Del Mar, and once he passed that lifeguard tower he settled down a bit and just came up for air, but stayed on the shallow line there. He wasn’t all that big – as I saw his entire back graze the top of the water he was maybe only 2-3 times the length of a standard dolphin. So I’m guessing it was a juvenile gray coming up from the birthing waters down south along Mexico.

It sure was a fun way to start the morning!

May 26th – My writing writing writing motivation

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But first….

The *plan* today was to lounge as usual during Uppers, then run on the 56 trail avoiding the extreme hills for a change, then shower, then start writing, then eventually head over E & R’s place for afternoon working and dinner.

That latter bit didn’t quite happen, but I did have a really really enjoyable run. I used to whine about the rolling hills on the trail, but after three straight weeks now of running the ass kicking hills around my block, those gentle hills finally do seem – gentle! I didn’t want to overdo it since we have a longer run workout tomorrow but I did run for 3.3 miles over 35 minutes and honestly felt fantastic the whole time. I enjoyed the smell of the chaparral, the bird songs and even getting to see some of the little songsters as well as many butterflies. There was a lot of activity in general on the trail including a little girl being led around on one of the local horses that board along the trail.

After the usual post running routine and a few chores, I sat down to write.

OK, so why am I embarking on this writing and web business development journey? Is it just for money?

Well, since in the last 9 months I’ve made a grand total of $400 on it – no, not entirely! Is there a damn good chance of more money than that? Absolutely!

But that’s not everything. I have never in my life been about money for the sake of money only. If so, I would have gone on to get my MBA or my CPA license.

No, I truly truly LOVE what I do at NU. And I have found out since working with Eve, that I also really really LOVE this writing thing!

OK, so technically it is copy writing that I am doing along with (so far) a how to manual.

But I am also learning. And I have always loved learning. It’s why I read so much. Mostly online of course, but still doing the best I can to read magazines and books.

Do I *want* this to replace my day job? Not at all – at least not yet! I need and love my day job for what it is: financial security, benefits, retirement accounts, an awesome work environment and something completely different from writing. It’s like I get to use both sides of my brain nearly equally through the day. Balance. Love it!

Since I do have a means to support myself already, (and so does Eve), we are not desperate to start something and screw it all up. We can take our time and go through the proper steps and make mistakes and learn from them and it isn’t life or death.

Given all those reasons why I am enjoying this, I was actually not terribly disappointed when it became clear as the day unfolded that the girls would not be able to meet tonight. I started in on a new version of the ebook at 11am and I didn’t stop until 7pm. There are 9 chapters, 8 needed to be completely re-written or replaced and I am plowed through 6 of them today. I stopped at 7 because I could feel myself getting tired of the topic which means I would start cutting corners and I don’t want to do that. No, I’ll let this sit.

Tomorrow will probably be an off day from pergola topics. Got the message that the upgrade is going along as planned so I will need to get into NU at noon. We are running at 6:30. I’ll be at NU for 3-4 hours. I really really need to buy groceries. If we meet at all it will be on the topic of other business sites. It’s a three day weekend so I’ll pick this up Monday and probably finish it and even still have time to sit in the sun.

Enough rambling – lord, I’ve writing a bazillion thousand hundred words today! Have some not unexpected beautiful lavender flowers:

 

May 25th – Losing Steam

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Uh oh – I guess I should be impressed that I maintained my motivation to write in here every day for this long!

I was literally in bed before I remembered tonight.

Can you blame me? It’s Friday. It’s been an intense week. I left work after FINALLY training with my co-worker on her tasks about as late as we possibly could today. If anything at all goes wrong in this upgrade process this weekend and we cannot start testing until after 2pm Sunday, then I have to cover two systems. That’s fine – but I haven’t worked on a daily basis in the Asset Management side in several years and I really needed a refresher. I’ll be fine, but let’s all of us out there in internet land cross our fingers for a smooth process ok?

Meanwhile, after spending every night this week heading out *somewhere* I was just thrilled to get home and not have to go anywhere.

The problem is that I did have to write. Just studying the first module of the web business design class has reinforced to me how much the site AND the ebook need upgrades. To my dear friend who amusingly pointed out that having the read the word “pergola” in every other sentence was jarring – I agree! Thankfully the focus on heavily laden keyword articles for SEO placement is falling away. Now I get to write for CONTENT, simply placing the keywords in more naturally occurring places. I was fighting that all along so this will be much easier. But, it also means yet more re-writing. Argh!

So after a rather disappointing Bistro Meal package dinner of shrimp risotto, I got down to the business of improving the business. Two new website articles and the first chapter of the ebook are revamped and I’ve got the new chapter titles and approximate order of them assigned.

After all that I watched the season finale of Glee 🙂 Needed the total focus shift. I still love that show. It’s more of a guilty pleasure now and other’s have fallen off the trendy bandwagon (especially since some episodes did sink into silliness), but I still laugh and cry and smile and sing along with the songs. Kurt’s dad doing “Put a Ring On It”? Utterly, perfectly, touching and hysterical. Love those two characters and their interactions.

Anyhow – a moment of beauty – no pictures today. That would have meant I prepared! But, as I was typing away in the blissful silence of the house because all other occupants were gone…well THAT was a moment of beauty for sure. Then off in s distant corner of the room I heard a faint sound that is even more fabulous than silence.

It was Chip. Drinking water.

I could hear his kidneys continuing to heal with each exquisite lap of liquid.

Dream on my friends!

May 24th – The Storm Begins

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You know how I said yesterday that it was the calm before the storm at work?

Yeah well, the storm rolled in today SO here’s what you get before I head out for another dinner meeting on job/career #2:

Yes, I did run. 3 miles! I could have run 4-5 but I had to get ready to go to that darn work thing. Hrmph!

Good thing I ran too because there was a baby shower at work and with cookies n cream ice cream AND warm gooey chocolate chocolate chip cookies. Ahem.

Hush up.

Unexpected Beauty entry – I am currently way too happy to see a certain cat eat wet food. He used to hate it. Now, it’s like instinct has kicked in and he loves it. Phew! Thought I would capture him chowing down and got lucky enough instead to capture a classic kitty move

Sluuuuurp!

May 23rd – Gastronomical Beauty!

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A blissfully uneventful day at work. That will change tomorrow as we now have less than 48 hours to the software upgrade changeover. It felt like the calm before the storm today really.

I was able to listen to the audio version of the entire module of lessons that I had read yesterday. A great way to present the information in another format and allow for some more slivers of knowledge to soak in. They did too! I took lots of notes as they would say something that triggered a dusty brain cell to shake itself off and go “Hey! You! This applies to the pergola site!” Heh. Yes, my brain is a nag.

Hush up.

The evening though, was somewhat momentous. It was the LAST class that 26 had to take in his DUI probation program. We had finished the regular Wednesday classes back in early Feb, but then there was this ONE lingering Education Series class that had to be taken in a particular order and it finally came back around again tonight. Now, he just has to settle up a small fee, turn in some AA meeting or NA meeting signatures and meet the counselor for a exit meeting on 6/2. This has been literally YEARS in the making and I swear I almost want to throw a party like it’s graduation day when he’s done. He kinda deserves it because, while the reason there have been fits and starts and delays in this whole process were largely his own – we both also agreed that it felt like this place was NOT invested in helping him succeed. It’s run out of the state college system and it’s supposed to be a rehab type process which you THINK would mean they look better if they successfully graduate people out of it. Yet there was just a ton of incompetence and mixed up messages and unclear instructions given.

I’ve made the best of the whole thing over the last year since he got back full force into the classes right as I started dabbling in this web business. So, I could sit in the nearby Starbucks and write which was actually nice since I focused better there than I would at home. Tonight’s class was a longer one though and I have gotten so good at writing while sipping a Naked Juice and watching the crowd ebb and flow in the store that I was done with my planned article in an hour. With still another hour + to go I decided I needed dinner. Usually I just eat something light when we get home, but tonight that would have meant eating after 8pm and I didn’t want to wait that long. Also, it was jam packed and I was at center table with no outlet in reach and the sun was in my eyes and it was cold in there! IOW – whine whine whine and oh, was there a *better* place that I could be? Perhaps.

It was 6:30, I was hungry and I still have my birthday gift card. Therefore I was able to treat myself to a little slice of unplanned, unexpected gastronomical beauty:

Yes, that IS what a hamburger is ALL about!

Yes, I *am* running again tomorrow morning, why do you ask?

🙂

May 22 – Beauty in many forms

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SongSparrow0

SongSparrow1

This morning I was greeted on my run with the songs you can hear above. Over and over the Song Sparrows in the neighborhood were singin’ about the day getting started (and, I am sure, yapping about this crazy human huffin’ & puffin’ as she jogged past them!)

Here’s what they look like so you can picture them: (I didn’t see them, or take any photos. I was, after all, running!)

As hard as it is to get my Not Even CLOSE To A Morning Person ass out the door (took 15 minutes of internal debate to make it happen), I am always glad when I do. I love being out there in the morning. It’s quiet – so I can hear the birds instead of listening to cars whizz by. No one is mowing their lawn, no kids are in the park playing yet. The temperature is perfect this time of year. No wind, a little moisture from the overnight clouds, no hot sun, just cool comfortable running weather. It also just smells better. Probably the lack of exhaust belching cars again, but I swear I smelled the sweet scent of jasmine in one spot and sweat peas in another that I hadn’t noticed on the same route on Sunday.

My only complaint which will exist as long as I live here are the hills. Kick ass hills. Every damn route I take over 2.5 miles long that involves me just running out the front door vs driving somewhere means at least two 4/10 mile long uphill battles and one more about half that. And are they ever battles! What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? RIGHT?!  ‘Cause I am gonna get mighty strong doing this shit :->

A quick catch up on yesterday. Eve & Renee and I met for dinner and to brainstorm *seriously* about where we are taking these websites we are creating. Renee is involved now because she is determined to get into fitness coaching. Eve and I needed to solidify what, exactly we are doing with all this. We renewed our own commitment towards the long haul together on this with the intention of being a consulting team for future clients. But first, we need to prove we can do what we want to teach so that means getting a few different types of online business sites up and running profitably (including one to support Renee’s endeavor). We are taking a 5 month online course on the topic which really has us both amped up & excited about our prospects.

Also, what inspired me to look for unexpected moments of beauty yesterday was this site in my rear view mirror as I drove in to work:

Jaguar XK

Doesn’t it look like the car is smiling at you? It sure made me smile and then it reminded me of an Unexpected Beauty meme that I participated in a few years ago. Seemed like as good a week as any to bring it back around.

Oh hey – did you notice the new blog style? If you view this in a Reader probably not, but I did have some fun picking out something a little more spring-y simple and fun.

Had our first Varsity Football parent meeting tonight. Yep – Varsity! How did that happen? They started up with Spring Football – no pads or hitting – it’s essentially two hand touch. But, the skills players like 15 get to start running routes and plays and getting their timing together with their quarterbacks. We are not stressing about academic eligibility as much since we confirmed that his AP History class DOES count a grade higher as long as he has at least a C. We didn’t notice that rule last semester since he had a D ;-> But, he has a pretty solid C which he will most likely keep so he’s already over the thresh hold for fall sports as long as none of the existing grades falter.

And now I need to get back to reading this course module. One thing I’ve learned – I need to close the laptop in order to read and comprehend anything. I’m probably going to have to go over the material 2-3 times for it to sink into these old brain cells. Read it through once. Read it again taking notes and then listen to the audio version just to be sure I don’t miss anything. I’m pretty sure I smelled smoke as I dove into it earlier…yes, my brain is on FI-Yah!

Buzz buzz!

The best Valentines Day compliment ever!

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Google doodle screen cap for Valentines Day 2012

I know, I know, you are dying to know how the 5k went after all that build up. So, to dispense with that – Alex finished in 22:40, I finished in 33:16 – we both thought the last hill was hell – however, I actually kept running (albeit more slowly) up the whole thing whereas is he did some walking to catch his breath.  His time was still barely a minute more than the flat race though he didn’t meet his goal since there was a flipping track team from up north that entered it and blew away his age group (unfair I say!). I beat my goal by nearly 2 full minutes and frankly I think I could have gone faster the first 2 miles to build up a bigger cushion for that last hill. I know I had more in me.

Anyhoo – forget that – here’s my cool Valentines Day story:

We all know it’s awesome to get greetings and love from friends and family on V-day. Sweet Prince and I rarely celebrate the day much though he does always write me a poem which I do treasure. But otherwise we don’t go all out for the event. But sure, it’s quite nice to see everyone spreading love and heart shaped images on Facebook and Twitter and all over the social world wide web. It’s cool that someone bakes cookies here at work. But, what’s even MORE cool is what happened in a meeting just now. A faculty member who I see about once or twice a year joined the meeting late. She works up in LA so had to drive down and was stuck in traffic. We’ve been in these joint budget planning meetings every year for 5 years now but it really is the only time we see each other. She sits down and says “Well, can you catch me up on introductions? I don’t think I know everyone.” I was a little bemused because looking around the table I figured she knew all of us. The gentleman conducting the meeting must have been too because he said “Oh, we didn’t do introductions because we’ve all met before, but OK.” She then pointed to me and said “But I don’t know this young lady.” I think they then all said my name nearly in unison (also still somewhat in confused). She then looked at me again and said “Wait, seriously?! My gosh! You look so much younger and so beautiful, I am shocked! Really? How do you get younger every year?!” Now, I know in writing that may seem backhanded, but I tell you, it was not – she was literally gushing at me about how good I look!!! I don’t blush…I really don’t…but at that moment – I *totally* blushed!! It was so unexpected and so genuine and adorable and…well….probably one of the most spontaneous & sincere compliments I’ve heard in a long time.

Best Valentines Day Compliment Ever!