Saturday, April 18, 2009

Pleasant Surprises

Susan Boyle burst on the scene as a pleasant surprise. Unapparent, unrecognized, less-than-young, yet possessing a secret: she had more that met the eye.

Until I wrote that sentence, I hadn't made the connection to another unapparent, unrecognized, past-his-prime person who burst on the scene: Jesus of Nazareth. His contemporaries said, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?"

Evidently the answer is "Yes."

This post began in my mind as a post on another recent pleasant surprise for me: Oceanside, California! And that's where I'm going now... or where I went... week before last.

In the coming days you'll see a number of coastal shots. They are all from a gem of a city in northern San Diego county, just 60 short miles south of where I live.

My wife and I traded into a timeshare just two blocks from the beach. I was hoping for the best, but expecting less. Two decades ago, my wife's cousin moved from Oceanside to Carlsbad (a neighboring town). This cousin informed me that Oceanside was, well, suspect in comparison to Carlsbad. I had stayed in Carlsbad before and it is a nice resort town.

Oceanside is a beach town: relaxed, a bit weathered, and under-rated!

We could hear and see the surf from several of our second story windows. Yes, we had to look through the telephone wires to see the surf, sunsets, joggers, walkers, and pier in the distance. The sunsets were juxtaposed against the infrastructure of our telephone age. I can live with that. It was beautiful.

The unit was a one bedroom, 850 square foot affair in a small gated complex called Aquamarine Villas. We used the jacuizi, the gas BBQs, and the pool. They had an internet station (not wireless yet), a pool table, air hockey and foosball games, plus an assortment of videos, books, games, and surf "toys."

All this was only an hour away! Who knew?

We hope to go back another time. It was close, quiet, charming, friendly, and slightly aged.

It was a pleasant surprise, like Susan Boyle... or even like the biggest surprise of all time -- Jesus of Nazareth. (He's the one who conquered death... Yes, on Easter. But that was so "last week.")

Some have suggested a bigger surprise is coming... the Second Coming of Jesus Christ!

(And you thought the jaws dropped when the saw and heard Susan Boyle! You ain't seen nothing yet.)

I wonder what else I've been missing? I'm on the look-out for more... pleasant surprises. How about you?

Happy Sunday!

Mission Accomplished!

Whew. That was a busy week.

I’ve been home a week from vacation, and I just put away the suitcases. Partly I was resting my back, which is about 95% better, but also it’s been a busy week at work.

I do my best to not bring work home with me, but there are some weeks, where it happens. This was one of those weeks.

We had a saying amongst the data processing managers that went like this, “In order for a project to succeed, someone has to bleed.” When deadlines approach, when crunch-time arrives, then it’s time to “Get ‘er done!” I had two of those days this week.

Whew. Mission Accomplished.

It remains to be seen if things quiet down sufficiently to blog more regularly, but I anticipate that it will.

After my recent vacation, I made a list of topics I want to write on. I still have that list!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still finding some time for rest, relaxation, and recreation, but work temporarily has encroached on my fun-time.

But I’ll be back! Just you wait.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Another Vial of Sand

I'm back from a week's vacation. I've been catching up on reading what my blogging friends have been up to. Now it's time to turn my attention back to my own blog.

Well, sort of. I'm borrowing from a post I did elsewhere, but want to share it here with my own set of readers. It starts with a picture:

Photo by Kathryn
for more of Kathryn's photography visit -

Over at Pictures, Poetry, and Prose the above captioned picture appeared along with this suggested prompt:

It was the sand of ______ that she would remember because...

Mixing fact, fiction, what-if, and some creative license, I came up with this:

The Other Vial of Sand...

Fifteen clear boxes of labeled sand. They were relegated to the family room shelf for display, clumsily inscribed in her husband’s bland printing. In her separate bedroom, she had her treasures, it wasn’t the gems, the jewelry, or the rings, but it was the small vial containing the sand of southern Utah that she would remember and treasure because of him… a different him.

They had met at college – a friend of a friend. Soon they were more than that, much more. The school year was ending, and she had convinced him to join her for a month-long, transcontinental road trip. He loved to drive; she had the car and her mother’s financial backing. His mom didn’t like the idea, but hers did.

His mom had moral problems with the arrangement, and worried about unplanned pregnancies.

Her mom appreciated the security that the young man would provide her daughter on the cross-country trip that would culminate at her son’s home in northern Florida.

The trip started out great. It was the best trip she’d ever take despite the lack of glamour.

They drove to the Grand Canyon, camped there for four days, and made a three-day hike into the canyon. Together they saw Phantom Ranch located on the river’s edge where they ate over-priced five-dollar peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Hiking out, they ventured off the main trail to Ribbon Falls. They drank in the beauty, and they showered together in the falls.

From the North Rim, the plan was to drive north through Kanab to Utah’s Zion and Bryce canyons before heading east. But on the way, they took an unplanned side trip to the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. It was nearly deserted, and they took advantage.

Salmon was her favorite color. This was what she would call her “salmon colored summer.”

The vial of soft, wind blown, pink coral sand that she kept in her jewelry box was like a magic lamp, providing a gateway to pleasant memories, to another time, to another place, and to another man.

Ahhh… that was the best part… a different man… the man of the salmon-colored summer, not the man of fifteen clear boxes of labeled sand.