Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Finding the groove

Life has a way of proceeding despite variations in habits and schedules.  Until last Saturday, when I shot the photo above while walking at Green Lake, I'd not been out walking in the morning for about a month.  That happens to me quite often after I am on the trying to catch up and re-balance the work, I neglect the physical.  That in turn causes me to go into a form of hibernation once I catch up.  And from that comes mental fog.

So I worked out with my trainer on Monday, and here's a shot from my walk on Tuesday at Green Lake. 

I'd just finished posting this photo from this morning's walk when I ran into Erin Taylor, my yoga teacher.   I'd not seen her for awhile because my crazy schedule has not lined up with her class times. 

Now that I'm out of the mental fog and paying attention to the physical, I'm going to see if I can find some new rhythms rather than just fall back into the same old groove.  It will be harder going into December -- I've got three social events on Saturday, for instance -- but I'll be in better shape for the Boston trip in early January.  In my desk calendar, I'm giving myself a stick on-star every time I actually roll out of bed and exercise in or out of the rain.

Working out in December in Seattle means that you have to be willing to use treadmills indoors to walk, or go to classes at odd hours, to keep your mojo working when it's raining.   I used to do this, getting up at 5:30am and going to the gym four mornings a week when I worked downtown.  So the deal I've made with myself is that I will walk outside when it's not raining, and I will go to the University Y when it is raining.  Go big or go home.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

What childhood event was seminal?

 At the Women Business Owners lunch today, a panel of three successful entrepreneurs were asked this last question:  "What childhood event do you regard as shaping the person you are today?"  I thought about the question driving back to the office and I think my answer lies in a trip that my father and I made together when I was about 12 years old, by bus to the University of Iowa.  It showed me just how very large the world was, and made me want to go places.  

Here's an excerpt describing the experience from August 19, 2007 of my blog, titled "Music makes the world go round."  I have slightly re-written and re-arranged the paragraphs so as to make clear the seminal event.

" My father played football at Iowa, on one of the great Big Ten teams of his day. Though the whole family traveled to Iowa City in our car a couple of times every football season, he once took just me and him 300 miles south on the bus for a homecoming game when I was about 12.  Herewith the seminal event.

In pre-game festivities, the Iowa Hawkeye Marching Band was introduced first.  For those who have never seen the band, or heard its remarkable brass and drum sections, here's a halftime performance photo.

You can also infer from the photo the size of the Iowa stadium (it holds 60,000+ people), and how very very large that would seem to an impressionable Irish Catholic kid who came from a town with a population of 1100.

That day, before the game started, over the loudspeakers came the words, "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame." I can to this day see the Notre Dame band in my mind's eye, with brass flashing, legs all perfectly aligned at 45 degrees, all columns perfect, rolling out with the Notre Dame Fight Song -- and in green uniforms! I turned to my father and said, "Dad, I don't know who to root for...."

Master of understatement, he looked at me and said "Do you want to come back?"

Old Capitol on Iowa's original campus, the heart of the school.
I made a decision right then and there that I would indeed come back, that I would one day be a University of Iowa student.  I wanted to make a difference in the world, and I learned how to do that at Iowa, with its international flavor, home not only of the Hawkeye Marching Band, but of the Iowa Writers Workshop, as well as thriving theater, music,  and art departments.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

28 years

Swedish Hospital Neonatal Unit, November 1984
James Searle was born 28 years ago this morning at 5:41am. 

He spent the first ten days of his life in the intensive care neonatal unit at Swedish Hospital, under the care of  devoted nurses and absolutely the finest and fiercest pediatrician I know, Dr. Gary Spector.  Pride and joy was mixed with high anxiety until we arrived at Christmas that year.   The photo below is taken a year later, and you can see what an open, curious and healthy child he has become.  He is still all of those things.

First Santa photo, December 1985.

Life was a series of amazing adventures for James as he went through elementary, middle and high school He was especially fortunate to have Terry Acena as principal and terrific teachers at Bryant Elementary; and Moc Escobedo ("Mr E.") as his band teacher at Eckstein Middle School.  Under Moc's guidance, he became a jazz trombone player, and went on to play bass trombone for Roosevelt's jazz band -- not every kid gets to play Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center four years in a row, but James did.  And he traveled with the band to locations in Mexico, China and Europe.  Because of a growing friendship with Weston Jandacka, he took up drawing, painting and photography as well.  He was truly an arts-focused kid all through high school.

SUNY Albany campus, 2010
James got to SUNY Albany by way of doing his undergraduate degree at The Evergreen College, where he got truly interested in literature and philosophy; and then took his master of arts degree at Carnegie Mellon.  The photos above and below were taken when we flew out to Albany to see him and the campus for his 26th birthday.

Today, he's a teaching assistant at the university, getting ready to take his oral examination for the PhD early next year.  He'll stay back East for the holidays to prepare intensely for that exam, but we'll see him early in January at the MLA Conference in Boston.

And I'm still his biggest fan.