Cambria notes

Whitewater Inn, Cambria, CA

Some random thoughts:

  • Gray Monday and all day Tuesday. Sun came out after 10:00 this morning.
  • Lots of people here for a mid-October midweek. Not packed, but lots of people.
  • The Whitewater Inn and Cambria are very familiar feel like home. It’s been three years since our last visit: October 2008. Feels that way nonetheless.
  • Intestines decided to clean out this morning. That happens when you finally give yourself a chance to relax. Sorry. TMI.
  • Phone in the room rang at 8:00 a.m. this morning, causing a brief panic. Must have been a misdialed number. No voicemail on home phone, Terry’s cell, or mine. Besides, there’s not even anyone at the front desk to route a call to our room a that hour. Someone misdialing room-to-room, I suppose.
  • Couple on the boardwalk feeding peanuts to the ground squirrels and birds and then leaving the shells. It took every bit of self-restraint I had in me not to say something. Unfortunately rangers are sparse to nonexistent on this stretch of coast parkland. Terry said she could feel me fuming.
  • I love the local shopkeepers. The fellow at the local wine shop yesterday was totally irreverent but knew his wines well. The woman at the tea shop today was pleasant and friendly. Judging by the pictures on the wall, she is a big fan Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, popularly but incorrectly called Princess Kate. She (the tea shop proprietor, not Princess Kate) served us a marvelous homemade creamy lentil soup and introduced us to two new teas: Irish Blend and Scottish Blend. We bought a box to the latter, a strong, hearty blend,  to enjoy at home on a cold, slow-paced Saturday morning.

We always love coming to Cambria.

Sacred Music Friday: God So Loved the World

The Choir of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, singing John Stainer’s arrangement of John 3:16-17, God So Loved the World, courtesy of Unapologetically Episcopalian.

blog note: Terry and I are taking off on vacation. We’ll spend a couple of days in Southern California with my Dad and brother & sister-in-law, and then head up to one of our favorite places on the California coast, Cambria. I will not be publishing on my regular blog schedule, but if a thought strikes me I’ll post something. Given that I’m paying more attention to writing than photography these days, and the fact that Terry will be taking advantage of the relatively flat boardwalk at Cambria to continue to train for the 3-Day, giving me some time to myself, you may well hear from me. In any case, we’ll return to our regular schedule with Sacred Music Friday on 21 October.

how not to win back customers

The other Sunday I was getting ready for church. I had just gotten out of the shower and the phone rang. “This can’t be good,” I thought, it being 9:15 on a Sunday morning. I dashed over to the phone as Terry was still asleep. I assumed it had to be either my dad or Terry’s sister. I looked at the caller ID display and it read “DIRECTV.”

You’ve got to be kidding me! You’ll recall that we dropped DirecTV in favor of cable some months back, not because we were unhappy with the television service we were receiving, but because our DSL Internet was excruciatingly slow and we decided to switch to cable for the faster speed, knowing that the only way to get a reasonable rate was to get the TV service as well. DirecTV has been trying to get us back ever since.

I picked up the cordless handset, pressed the On button, and without waiting for the agent on the other end to say anything, very nearly shouted, “It’s nine o’clock on a Sunday morning for God’s sake!” I then immediately pressed the Off button.

If DirecTV had any hope of getting us back as customers that about took care of it.

mail order

I was at Costco the other day, and the Cameron Hughes rep was there in the wine department. Terry and I have been big fans of CH since we discovered it a few years ago. They buy lots of premium wine the winery wants to get rid of and bottle it with just a lot number (Lot 128, for example), the grapes in the wine (Chardonnay, etc.), and the location (Napa Valley, Monterey County, or whatever). They don’t reveal the name of the original winery. By doing this they can sell a $30 bottle of wine for twelve or fifteen dollars.

I told the rep how much we enjoyed their wine and said we purchased by mail order. I realized the term “mail order” somewhat dates me. There is no mail involved. I order online through their Web site, and they ship via FedEx Ground.

Maybe it’s just an old phrase that has stuck around for lack of a better one. How recently have you talked about dialing a number and how long has it been since you’ve actually put your finger into the dial on a rotary phone?

Language is odd. It can be right there with the culture (“there’s an app for that”) while at the same time it can lag behind.

those two days

I sometimes think about how out-of-the ordinary things are so often grouped in bunches in our lives. That certainly was the case for me last week.

You may have heard about the disgruntled cement plant employee who shot ten co-workers Wednesday morning, killing three, and then drove across town, abandoned his car, injured a woman in a carjack attempt in the Hewlett-Packard Cupertino parking lot, and then hid out in the neighborhood across the street for more than 24 hours until he was finally located and killed after apparently threatening police.

That is the site where I work. They put the site on lockdown from the time of the attempted carjacking until Wednesday just before noon, when they evacuated and closed it. It remained closed until 6:00 a.m. Friday morning.

While I rarely go into the office, I had planned to be in that Wednesday for my monthly appointment with my spiritual director nearby. The weather forecast had called for heavy rain, however, and it being the first serious rain of the season I really didn’t want to deal with the commute. I rescheduled my appointment with my spiritual director. On Wednesday morning the rain had already gone through, but by that time my appointment was already moved out a week.

Whew! Guess there’re Someone looking out for me.

Then on Thursday we learned of the death of Steve Jobs. Now I’ve always been a PC kind of guy, though I’ve had my iPod for a number of years. Just recently I’ve become an iPad user, and I have to say I am hooked. And in any case I’m a long-time Silicon Valley denizen and fully appreciate how much influence he had not only on that culture, but on computing and consumer habits throughout the world. Jobs wasn’t perfect (thanks to Mike Todd for that), but he was a visionary who had a huge impact on the world we live in. Given my recent experience with my (not quite) Android phone, I’m also going the iPhone route myself when I can upgrade in November. We will miss Steve Jobs.

Another surprise on Thursday. We walked into a restaurant where we hadn’t been to for ages and found our friend Mam working there. She had worked at the Thai restaurant here until they could no longer afford her, when she moved to Gilroy’s storied local café. We went there one time and learned she had quit, but couldn’t find out where she went. Now we know. It’s pretty amazing to be greeted like a long lost relative. But we’ve always liked her, and certainly will be back.

Then on Thursday night the light in the stairwell burned out. Now that might not sound like a big deal, but it was. That is the original bulb that was in there when we bought the house new fourteen years ago in May 1997. It is very high up above the stairs, and we didn’t know how we were going to change it when it did go out. Shortly after moving in we had bought a telescoping pole with some attachments for light bulbs. We’d never had the occasion to use it until now. We discovered on Friday using the tool that the process was much simpler than we’d anticipated. Glad for that!

As I said, for reasons I don’t understand unusual things somehow come grouped together.


Yesterday was special.

When I learned that Bishop Mary’s visitation to St. John the Divine would be October 9 I immediately asked Father Phil if I could join the church that day. His response was that absolutely I could.

He said I could either be received into membership or reaffirm my vows. I thought it would be good to do the latter. That in fact worked out very well.

There were three of us yesterday, Robert & Joe and me. Robert and Joe are a gay couple who have been at St. John’s for about the same length of time as I have. In fact we both visited for the first time on the same Sunday at the end of May last year. The difference was that Robert and Joe stayed, while I finished up my obligations at Good Shepherd and returned in September.

Yesterday Robert was confirmed, Joe was received into membership, and I reaffirmed my vows. Bishop Mary laid her hands on me, made the sign of the cross on my forehead, and spoke the blessing for reaffirmation. She is a powerful woman in whom the Holy Spirit is strong.

I felt that something that was before incomplete was now complete. It is good.

Sacred Music Friday: Kol Nidre

To all of my Jewish friends, may your fast be an easy one.