Friday, October 30, 2009

"...a series of rediculous attempts to be alive..."

It's interesting that I feel worse today, but today is the day I feel better. Um.... that sounded more real and less pseudo-profound in my head.

Backing up a little, I've caught a cold or flu. There is so much talk about H1N1 flu and how dangerous it is, especially to pregnant women, that I've been taking extra precautions to protect Tami from my germs. Actually, I've been a lot more careful not to get sick at work and bring it home for several months. Now that I am sick, I'm doing all I can under the circumstances to protect Tami and The Kid. From what I hear, pregnant women are very susceptible to colds and flus, regardless of weather it is H1N1 or not. So, I have to do all I can. I live on the couch now. That's the first big action. I've been living on the couch since I came home Wednesday feeling less than good. I haven't gone to work or ridden a motorcycle. What I have done is watch a lot of video over the internet. You see, in my effort to isolate my germs until they die, I live on the couch, avoid contact and close proximity with my wife (it is very difficult to go so long without a touch, kiss, or hug), avoid touching everything not on the couch, going into any other rooms, or sitting where Tami would sit. There is no TV in this room and the discomfort makes it difficult to read much, so I have discovered the wonders of internet video. Fascinating.

First, I found BBC America's Top Gear web site devoted to the popular show Top Gear that so many of my friends comment on. It's not part of my cable package so I had not seen it before Wednesday, but I found it on the internet. Awesome. It's a show where three guys in England are, for example, given 1,500 pounds to buy a Porsche and then they compete against each other on various tasks as their beat up old examples of cool cars fall apart. Quality entertainment. Who would have known one man on a couch could get through so many episodes so fast. Then, Don told me how I could mix it up a little with videos from Jay Leno's Garage. That's where Jay Leno shows off and talks about various vehicles that he has or gets his hands on. Some very cool stuff like a turbine powered car that he has had custom made and various exotic cars and motorcycles. Excellent. Still, a man's time on a couch stretches on so I remembered all this hubub about a website called I didn't know what it was about exactly but I knew it was an online free video source. Fantastic. I may be locking myself out of the TV room, but I've got plenty of video to help me pass the time. A box of kleenex and one and a half rolls of TP to substitute as kleenex later, I've watched two documentaries and several episodes of current comedy sitcom. My favorite discovery is a line or two from a show called Community.

I should say that I avoid watching new shows on television. I don't like to get hooked on shows because I don't like to spend too much time thinking about watching or actually watching them when I'm feeling good. I went through a faze of watching Scrubs, South Park, Simpsons, and Family Guy. I've gotten over all of them except Family Guy which I will still watch when I'm in front of the TV. But there is only one show left that I actively look forward to and will be sure to see each week, The Office. I love it. And, I would like to keep it at just one show. But life on the couch makes one venture out a bit, and I tried the show Community. It has been pretty darn entertaining. The gem of the day? This great line when one friend is trying to cheer up and talk down another friend who basically feels old and like he may be wasting his life away.. and he is on some unknown drug at the community college dia de los muertos party:

"And more importantly, you're dressed like a gladiator in a desk fort that you built during a bad trip. If life is just a series of ridiculous attempts to be alive, you're a hero to everything that's ever lived."

I love it! What a novel idea to define life, against all good logic, as an attempt to be alive through a series of rediculous attempts at living. Cheesy, funny, and as horribly extra cheesy as it may seem, motivational. And that got me to another horrible cheesy line from the movie Shawshank Redemption (I love that movie), I think it went something like "Get busy living, or get busy dieing." And that's it.

I feel worse today. My headache is worse. My sore throat is worse. My cough is worse. But I have turned that point psycholigically where I don't feel like wasting away on the couch anymore. I may feel like crap and I may be forced to once again tell my wife that I love her from five feet away when she gets home from work. But I feel like moving. And that feels good.

My plan? Start with a shower, try for a walk outside. If this doesn't clear up by tomorrow, I'm shoving TP in each nostril and going for a ride.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"You'll become an expert on it," she said, referring to types of baby poop.

Only a few days left in October and it continues to be eventful. I changed my first diaper! Sure, it was on a plastic doll, but I did it.

My sister was born on the second day of my Sophomore year in high school. And, I did watch her for a couple of hours on a few occasions. Turns out, I happened to know most of the words to Walk on the Ocean by Toad the Wet Sprocket and my sister just happened to like the song well enough to fall asleep to it. So, two minutes after parents walked out the door each time, I would start singing. Then, set Katrina down gently and wait for parents to come back, check on my lovely sister, and change her diaper if needed. Brilliant, really. But, I had already told this story to my wife so, she was wise to me. Figured I better learn to change a diaper. And that's not all I learned at the new parent class held at Kaiser. Apparently, we will become experts on baby poop. There are a lot of rashes and skin stuff that may appear and is perfectly normal for a new born. There are times when a parent should be concerned such as with fever. I'm glad we went to the class as it put a lot into perspective; things I had never considered before. As Tami said, she knew we would wash the baby, but she had not thought about how or considered that we should start gently with the eyes and work our way down and that we should only sponge bathe him until the umbilical stump falls off. Practical things we had not considered. Then there is the video we watched about colic. Wow, if our kid gets colicky and I survive the experience, I may have become a buddha.

Tami and I are still going to Birthing from Within pregnancy classes at Harmony and I am still enjoy them very much. At our last class, an exercise we did caused Tami to say "and I realized the baby is just happy." Wow. I've been thinking about that concept a lot lately. This kid has all he needs right now. He has the comforting embrace of Tami surrounding him, the melodic rhythm of her heart beat, the warmth and nutrition he needs, all the time he wants to rest and grow and move around. He's got it all in his nourishing world. He wants for nothing yet. And in less than two months from now, he'll want to get out and then he's in for quite an adventure. He'll have a life time to explore this Universe and never run out of aspects to discover, understand, or admire. This makes me smile. The Kid just hanging out happy right now. The Kid that will come out some day to explore this side, the outside, of Tami's gigantic belly. How cool.

Speaking of Tami, she has cut off her hair and donated it to Wigs for Kids. This organization makes wigs for children with cancer. The wigs are specially made not to fall off and to look natural when kids swim, or play, or do gymnastics. Turns out they have to hand tie each and every hair individually to a cap that is custom molded to match each child's head to meet the criteria. Impressive. I do believe that when the time comes, I'll donate my hair as well. The donated hair has to be 10 inches long, so I have some time.

The number of motorcycles in the family of friends has increased. Sam and Pat were given a Harley Dyna and Yamaha Rode Star (respectively) for their birthday last week. This freed up Pat's Yamaha V-Star and Don bought that from him. A whole bunch of fun bikes. So, off for a Sunday ride with friends. There were eight of us on seven bikes. I had never ridden with so many people before, though I had ridden with all of these friends in the past. Pat, Sam, and Don were on their new bikes. Nathan and Laurie took the Goldwing. Matt took his Goldwing. Eric was on his VFR and I borrowed Sam's KLR for the ride. I love that bike. It was my second motorcycle. I became friends with Riza whom I bought it from and we rode to Mexico soon after, me on the KLR and he on his BMW GS. I eventually sold it to Don to be his second bike and then bought it back after a time (it would have been my 5th bike had I not already owned it before). Since then, I sold it to Sam as his first bike. I still have first buy back option on this lovely motorcycle. Needles to say, it was a good day. Riding a favorite bike, hanging with good friends, enjoying the beautiful hills and Santa Cruz Mountains south of San Jose.

And then a stop in downtown Campbell to relax and admire the machines.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Kid's name- A little Closer

As Matt pointed out yesterday, our method of narrowing down the name list a little each day was basically a way for us to unintentionally sadden/anger every one who likes us in a slow and painful way as their suggested names fall off the list. So, we changed strategy and decided to narrow it down fast. Like ripping off a band-aid. There were a lot of good names. The difficulty lies in taking a bunch of good names and trying to figure out which name belongs to this particular child of ours. Not easy at all. Tami and I sat down today and worked on imagining our child with these names and did our best. We're all the way down to 20 names. We did modify a couple of the names slightly. Tami is, even as I type, talking to The Kid and calling him different names from the new list of 20. It's amusing. Thank you for so many great suggestions.

But before working on the name list, I fueled up on a spaghetti and meatball lunch (I should be able to eat spaghetti and meatballs every day this week- sweet!). Before that, I went on a great morning motorcycle ride with Sam, Nathan, and Pat up to Alice's Restaurant on Skyline. Cold foggy mornings in the coastal mountains make coffee taste better.

Alice's and the parking lot across the street are great places to ride to, eat, and look at bikes. It's a bit like a free motorcycle show every weekend. When I first bought my first bike (the 12 year anniversary is 6 months away), I rode to Alice's every Saturday, rain or shine. It was my way of learning to ride and my way of learning about bikes through asking questions from the experienced riders. I remember one day riding up on a Wednesday morning and seeing just three riders (most people would have been working) who were chatting and having a good time in the parking lot. I joined in and they were so fun. After a while I asked how the three of them managed to not have to be at work. They told me how they had gotten word the day before from a friend that they would be laid off at the Wednesday morning meeting. They worked together in San Francisco and occasionally rode together so they decided to ride to work and, after being laid off, go enjoy a ride. They certainly were enjoying themselves. You can meet a lot of good people with great outlooks on life up at Alice's.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Spaghetti Day

And Grandma said "Let there be spaghetti sauce" and there was, and Grandma knew that it was good. And Grandma said "It is not right for such delicious spaghetti sauce to be eaten alone, I shall make the greatest meatballs ever." And she did, and it was excellent. And grandma said, "I'll even add sausages and my magic cooking skills to this perfect sauce and these perfect meatballs and make it all so deliciously perfect that even my otherwise mostly vegetarian grandson will eat this every year for his birthday." And she did, and he does. Amen.

SOOOOOO GOOOOD! Again, the spaghetti and meatballs are everything I hoped for and worth every ounce of anticipation. Thank you Grandma. Delicious!

Friends and family that stopped by throughout the afternoon and evening to enjoy the deliciousness agree.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

First Birthing Class

We went to our first birthing class tonight. We are taking the Birthing from Within classes- who knew there were multiple philosophies to choose from for birthing classes? Turns out there is a lot more than just breathing. Tonight was a getting to know each other night with a little introduction to what the birthing process is like. Our class takes place at a great location called Harmony in Campbell, California where they offer birthing classes, yoga classes, meet the Douala nights, and every type of support and relaxation a pregnant woman could want. Even prenatal massage. In other rooms we heard mothering classes and yoga classes going on. The place has a good vibe.

Imagine a meditation room with cushions and candles and flowy curtains and everyone sitting on the floor with bare feet. That's what our class looks like. And it's comfortable and interesting. There are three couples and our instructor who is engaging and smiles often. Also, she's good at telling stories and giving examples: "when your four year old looks soulfully into your eyes.... and asks for a snack.... while you're on the toilet...." There is also a guy in the class named Joy and he smiles and laughs so often it's a bit contagious. His wife does the same. A good and interesting group of people.

At home, The Kid's room is beginning to look like a nursery. The crib (thanks Laurie, mom and dad), night stand and dresser (thanks grandma), firefly (thanks Katrina), Hawaii painting (thanks Phyllis), lavender stuffed dog and pillow (thanks Mitra), Jerry Rice autographed football (thanks Matt), room decor (thanks Stephanie), and much more (thanks 'much more' people) are all in. We have plenty more to add from the other room but I'd say we've done well for the day. It is exciting to see our son's room coming together and imagining him in this space. I think he'll like it.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Kid has a Name!

(The Kid has a name...
we just don't know it yet......)

Okay, the heading for this post is pretty miss leading. I know. Shameless ploy to get your attention. We have no idea what his name is. There are a lot of good names on the list to choose from (136 names) and we need to pick before The Kid learns English. Or Spanish, for that matter.

So, here is our plan to make this interesting. You may keep adding names until we choose The Name. In the mean time, we will begin forcing ourselves to narrow down the list every single day, beginning today, until The Name finds The Kid. Yes, every day, the list will narrow and you can open up the list to see the names we are still discussing. Tami and I are as excited as many of you to find out what his name is. We are looking for two names. Our current plan is to pick a first name, pick a middle name, his second middle name will be Tami's last name, and The Kid's last name will be my last name. So his name will be: Something Something C. S.

Thoughts Counting and Piling High

In the last couple of days, Tami has surprised me with an engraving in my wedding ring, flowers delivered to my work, and a home baked giant chocolate brownie with a candle in it. She is excellent; I'm enjoying all three.

An interesting thing about that candle. I take birthday wishes fairly seriously. In my mind, I word them like a lawyer's contract. I clarify and specify so that the powers that be in the universe, the cherubs of coincidence and fortune, will have no misunderstanding should my wish win the birthday lottery. This year, as soon as my contract was signed with an extinguished candle I realized that this was the first birthday candle wish I have ever used to benefit another.

Good luck son.

Also, a couple of days ago my friend Matt tells me he bought a new bike and I could take it for a few days. Suspecting nothing odd, I was pretty excited to take it out for a ride. This Honda RC51, a superb motorcycle, and I got along particularly well and we've had a lot of fun together (see pics from my last post). Little did I know that I was test riding my own birthday present. Yeah. Matt, Mitra, Nathan, and Laurie presented it to me today as my birthday gift. Wow........ Ssss-weet.

And when I got home with that big smile after riding the RC51, my smile got a little wider when I filled it with home made brownies. Good for breakfast AND for dinner! Yes, it was a very good day. Chocolaty & Motorcycly. Yummmm.

Chocolate, motorcycles, ocean, family, friends..... a grand October by any measure.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

It’s The Holy Month of October

There are several calendars that I am aware of and that affect me. There is the annual calendar, the fiscal calendar, the academic calendar. And then there is My Calendar, the Randy Calendar. The calendar by which I count the days of my life, by which I consider the experience of my days, and by which I examine my... examined life. My Calendar, like the Aztec calendar, has several special days of festival, ceremony, and celebration before the New Year begins. My special days begin October first and my new year occurs several days later. Then, I just keep on going and keep celebrating my birthday for the whole of October. It ends with everyone wearing costumes and giving little gifts of sweats to strangers. It's a good time.

I began this year’s festivities, Day One, by wearing all of my favorite comfortable brown and orange clothing. It was a good day, I started early, and I felt great. October is also orange and brown and comfortable. Interesting.

Day Two was a very special day in the month. There are two days in the Randy Calendar on which I do not work. The second of these is on the first convenient good-riding-weather work-day after the cold part of winter. The first, is an early October day, on or about my actual birthday. This year, this special all day event fell on October 2nd. On this special day of reflection, I make my annual pilgrimage to Java Junction coffee shop in Santa Cruz, California. There, I read, reflect on my life, consider my past and future, write out my reflection, read the previous year’s reflection, then go down the street to commune with the ocean. It is a special day of reverence for the experience that I am. A day to take it all in and place this time in relation to all of the rest of time. It is a day that adds the base note and the solemnity to my own true new year that follows and to my whole celebration of my self. It adds flavor and gives me time to enjoy the flavor. I love this particular ceremony and it is one of my favorite days every year.

Very soon is another special celebration day that I look forward to for weeks in advance called Grandma’s Spaghetti Day. YUMMMM!!!! This year it falls on October 10th, and I can hardly wait for it. Really, I think about it every day for weeks leading up to it.

Today, Day Three, has been excellent too. It’s pretty easy to accomplish this with a motorcycle where I live. In just a fifty mile winding ride through the hills on the way to the Sea you can enjoy so many types of gorgeous. Here are a few examples.

Trees along Hwy 35

Bend in the road on Alpine Rd.

The marshes near Pescadero

The Pacific Ocean

Have I mentioned that I love October?

I am now so close to the 33rd New Year of Randy. These have been good years and I have been fortunate. I have lived a life I would want to live; a vacation in the Universe that I would want to take. I have been given opportunities, challenges, advantages, and disadvantages that have made for an excellent experience. I’ve been lucky in family and in friendships. I’ve met neat people, been to cool places, seen beautiful sights, touched interesting things, and taken in superb smells.

Here is to the year that is soon upon Me. May it be another Wonder-Full experience.