12 April 2007

down in the valley.

I have a friend whose birthday is in January. Maybe it's residual frustration from having a birthday so near to the winter holidays, and hence, having her birthday folded in with the likes of New Year's and Christmas, rather than the separate entity most people experience. Maybe now that she's an adult, she's making up for all those lost and forgotten birthdays. Whatever the reason, January, to all her close distant friendly acquaintances, has become Januar-ME, wherein every weekend celebrates her with her own chosen activity. It tends to be a bit over the top, but it's amusing nonetheless.

With my 31st just around the corner, I'm having a similar sort of month, a sort of I-pril.

I suppose it started right around St. Patty's Day, that wonderful day of indulgence and debauchery. Maybe there was something in the air, something that told it was time to make a change that would make me feel a ton better: I gave my 2 week's notice at the restaurant. My rationale was that 1.) I'd started to really dread going there, and 2.) if I quit that very night, my last night would coincide with the beginning of spring break, allowing for a full 5 days of freedom. So I gave my notice, and immediately felt a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. It felt like the best decision I'd made in forever. I struggled through my remaining shifts for the next 2 weeks, and then I was free!

My original plan for spring break was to head to Baja for some camping, but confusion over current border-crossing requirements left me uncertain and, not wanting to arrive at the border (6ish hours drive from here) only to be turned away, I chose to head further inland instead, toward cold and snow and mountains and forest. I decided to head to Yosemite.

There were several reasons I wanted to leave the restaurant, the largest of these was the feeling of being overwhelmed. I'm somewhere between introvert and extrovert. Obviously, time spent at the restaurant is extrovert time, and my time away from the restaurant didn't feel like enough introvert time to recharge for the extrovert time, basically creating an unpleasant vortex in my life. So I left the restaurant, largely, to find more time for myself. Strangely, this hasn't really been the case.

When I left for Yosemite, I was entertaining ideas of a quiet campground, an isolated site near a melodic brook, lots of time for reflection, peaceful nights fireside. Yosemite wasn't quite the place for this. Much of the park is still closed due to residual snow, so visitors are confined to the Valley for sightseeing and camping. Because they fill up most nights, reservations are necessary in the campgrounds. The point of utmost ridiculousness was on the morning I planned to leave. The first night I stayed in the park, my neighbors, Joe and Ted from Pittsburgh, PA came over to introduce themselves.

Ted, me, Joe near Lower Yosemite Falls.
I ended up spending my evenings at their campfire, and a day hiking with them. The last morning I woke up to find my keys locked in my car. Everyone I'd met stepped in to help, and at one point I stepped back to soak it all in: Joe and Ted; my other neighbors Karen and Dora, plus pooch Taylor; and the fantastically boisterous couple in the dually truck and fifth wheel camper, plus toddler, plus pooch, who'd reserved my site that night, all gathered in my campsite, around my car, trying to break in. A park ranger joined us for a few minutes, and later the tow truck driver (who actually did break in). I had to find some humor in it, because really, it doesn't get much more ridiculous than going out to find some solitude and ending up with 7-9 random near strangers in your campsite on a sunny Wednesday morn in Yosemite. I drove out of the park and actually did find some solitude that day, both on the road and later, in a quiet little campground near Paso Robles.

Now that I'm home and not working, I do feel I've got more time, but I've also started dating someone, and that also takes up a bit of time. It does balance out for the most part, now that I don't have to go to the restaurant. And obviously dating someone is a bit more enjoyable than going to work. It's nice to have time to focus on what I want to do, rather than rushing around. I'm making an effort to ride my bike more often, and reading more, taking more naps, enjoying myself. The feeling of guilt sneaks in periodically, like I should be working, but I figure there's more than enough time for that. Once I-pril's done.

no knut is good knut.

Did anyone ever watch the Great Space Coaster?

There was a segment on the program called "The Gary Gnu Show," the opening line of which was always "No g-news is good g-news." I seem to remember watching this show most mornings during my years-long daily captivity at this or that home-based childcare provider, though I can't remember the name of the specific provider (Bev, Arlene? It's hard to determine so many years later.). The memory of the show popped into my head yesterday when I realized the name (Knut) of the adorable baby polar bear I've been enamored of for the past 18 hours is actually pronounced ka-newt, rather than the silent-k pronunciation I'd assumed correct.

I'm not sure why the Dallas theme song opens the video (really, none of the songs seem to fit), but hold out for the unbelievably adorable shot of baby bear yawning at the beginning of the second song ("He's so fine" by the Chiffons.).

And just because I love Steven Colbert, I had to include his thoughts on the matter:

So the Gary Gnu reference is actually kind of fitting, in the eyes of the activists. And while zoos tend to bother me a bit, especially when you see something so imposing and restless as a polar bear stuck in one, there is some good that comes of it (ie awareness, education). And plus, seriously, this is the cutest damn thing I've seen in forever. Looking at pictures of Knut are like taking happy pills.

And everyone could use a happy pill every now and then.