Wednesday, September 24, 2014


I have been pondering how to inspire people to do better than they think that they can.  This is a tough one for me.  I have come to realize that when I think I am doing a horrible job, which is most of the time because my bar is apparently exceedingly high, other people think I am doing great job, different location of that bar.  When I see people who la-di-dah through work, I have a hard time first understanding it and then second, how to address it.
I can theoretically understand that not everyone is motivated to do the best job that they can and that their motivations lie else where, but in reality I have a hard time getting to it.  I even try to frame the situation with my own short comings--for example, my weight and falling off the ole diet wagon or not even the diet wagon but doing things that actively sabotage myself.  But somehow, I can't translate that.  Somehow, my parents managed to raise three workaholic kids.  We all take great pride in our work,  we all try to do our best with our abilities.  We may not always be the best but there is great effort there.
Managing the human resources is the hardest part of the job, trying to motivate people whose interests lie elsewhere than the job is equally challenging.  This is something that I struggle with.  I would love to be inspirational leader No. 1 but I don't know how to get there.  So I struggle one with what feels like blindfolded and try to mitigate some of my negative characteristics in the process.
Oh, if everyone were just like me.  But, I know that if it were so, then it would be a very sad world.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fall Has Arrived

Today is the beginning of Fall--my favorite season.  The only problem is that it doesn't exactly feel like Fall outside.  It feels more like summer has returned after couple of days of respite from the heat.
I am hoping that we have a cool Fall this years, but I believe that it might just be a pipe dream.
Earlier this year in April, I went on a hike at Deukmejian with my Sunday morning hiking partner.  Usually we do a loop that for the most part is exposed but on the advise of my friend's partner we took an alternate trail in search of waterfalls that were still flowing after the winter run off.  On the trail, I spotted this feather and leaf.  For whatever reason, I am fascinated by ground litter.  Here, I was struck by the variety of colors, the band on the feather, the darker edges of the red leaf.  On this warm first day of fall, I conjured up this image of a memorable cool day.
 The day started with an early morning mist--something we call a marine layer here and we felt transported from Southern California. My hiking partner commented that she was reminded of growing up in upstate New York.  
 I was transfixed. Everything seemed lush, green and beautiful.  It was hard to believe that we are in the midst of a severe drought.  I loved how all the flowers were wearing droplets.  Here is flowering Yerba Santa.  I love Yerba Santa because its pale fuzzy leaves hold great curative powers.  And its delicate purple flowers add a pop of color to the landscape.

On the way back down the trail, we ran into this little guy.  I love to see rabbits just before Easter.     Way back when, either my first or second year at college, I saw a rabbit in the evening as I walked on Campus on Good Friday.  Since I had never seen a rabbit on the campus before or in fact since, I took it as a good omen.  Since then, I feel a certain sense of joy when I see rabbits around Easter.  And this guy just took his time posing, nibbling, posing--allowing me to get a couple of good shots.  It was magical. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Ready for a New Season

Mostly what I miss living in Southern California is seasons that I understand.  Cool days bookended by hot days well into October are incomprehensible to me.  In Hawaii, I was  attune to the seasonal changes moving throughout the year in logical intervals.  Cool, wet springs followed by warmer humid summers.  By the end of September the humidity would abate leaving crystal touches of the fall.  Winters cooler that spring with more rain.  Generally the most unpleasant, unpredictable season on the islands.  
Here we have had our hottest summer weather at a time when the rest of the county and pretty much the rest of the Northern Hemisphere are unpacking sweaters and jackets.  Trees are beginning to turn and drop their leaves.  Pumpkins make an appearance and don't appear out of place.  Instead, my power goes out last Sunday because everyone was running their air-conditioning all day.  And I rarely turn my A/C on, for heaven's sake.
I am waiting for cooler weather, pulling out the sweatshirts and pulling on sweatpants.  It's not that I want snow, but weather that doesn't leave me drained would be nice.  I can't wait to walk around the Huntington and not yearn for the cooled buildings.
I miss Japan at this time of the year.  It is perfect, the trees turning, the humidity finally lowered.  Some of my best trips were during this time of year.  Sandan Kyo, Akiyoshidai, Kyoto.  Hikes and walks, clear crisp days that make you feel alive.  The changing leaves to mark another year drawing up to wind down in shortened days and lengthened nights. The crispness gradually turning into nipping and then biting cold before relinquishing its hold to the coming Spring.
Here, I feel discombobulated with the weather.  Summer that spits and stutters until it catches sometime in August.  Winter is a mercurial pest, packing punches one week and high tailing it the next.