Race Day

 

Tamara handed me my race number.

“Can I have that one?” I ask, pointing to number 8031.

“Uh, sure.”

“Thirty one is kind of my lucky number,” I say, a little embarrassed, feeling the need to explain.

The truth is, I’m anxious, and I feel like I need all the luck I can get because I’m about to begin a half-marathon, a 13.1 mile race, and my prior two half-marathons had ended in major injuries to my back and joints.

For those two races, I’d been training, running distances that at least approached 13.1 miles. Coming into this race, though, my running had been zilch. In fact, I couldn’t even remember the last time I’d “gone for a run.”  Read more

Review of Americamah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

How I rate it: 4 of 5 stars
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Plot Summary: A young Nigerian woman travels to America, discovers race and blackness, and navigates a wide range of deep experiences that are intense and demanding.

What I most appreciated: The author digs into the various experiences of Africa and of America and of the lived experience of what it means to be “black.” It truly feels like a privilege to read a narrative so well-crafted and yet also so deeply informative, something that the author conveys through the characters and the story.

An important novel? Very. The discussions of race are open and raw, difficult for the characters and for the reader, but very timely in this so-called “post-racial, America.” In addition to the deep discussions of race, the author manages to speak to 21st century people navigating their lives in global and multicultural societies. Takes you into both the intellectual and emotional element.

 

Read more

Do unto others

An article from The New York Times suggesting that self-compassion results in better health. Perhaps the reverse implication of the Golden Rule (“do unto others as you would have them do unto you”) is “do unto yourself as you would do unto others.”

Here are a few excerpts from the short article/blog (http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/28/go-easy-on-yourself-a-new-wave-of-research-urges/):

The research suggests that giving ourselves a break and accepting our imperfections may be the first step toward better health. Read more

Update from the sea

Tuesday
5/31/11

I am now in Alaska. Scratch that. I’ve been in Alaska for nearly a year now. What I meant to say is that I am now on a remote fishing island, working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. Whew! Quite a time it has been.

I arrived about 12 days ago. The crazy bush pilot who flew me out in the float plane dropped one of my bags in the water (i.e., the ocean) when he was unloading the luggage and said "Ooops" before getting on with his business. This particular bush pilot kind of had the personality of an ambulance driver, the kind of personality that chain smokes Mountain Dew and Red Bull. I don’t mean to stereotype ambulance drivers, or bush pilots for that matter, but I recently took a CPR course from an uber-hyper ambulance driver who was so amped up that he rattled off a story about how unhealthy coffee was, then he realized he was holding a Mountain Dew can in his right hand.

Again, I’ve got nothing against bush pilots. They do, after all, have short lifespans….so….I do wish him well…and my bag did dry out.

I’d been hoping to blog a bit more. We have internet access, but it is fairly limited, and just between you, me, and the trees, I don’t have much spare time. Still. I want to keep family and friends up to date on my summer activities. I miss everyone very much….you know who you are!

Much of the work thus far has been "shore work," meaning we have been doing things like mending nets and taking care of the one thousand and one things there are to do on a farm. I say "farm" because commercial fishing reminds me a good deal of a farm or ranch, where there are always things to do: repairs, maintenance, organization, etc. Always something.

We have also been out on the water. We glide around the ocean in these things called "skiffs." It’s early in the season, so we have to drop the anchors for each "set." A set is a the nets and lines that catch the fishies. The nets stretch out somewhere between 200 and 300 yards from the shore (I’m really generalizing here). And the nets are held in place by a complicated series of anchors and lines that keep it from going every which way.

It is really a beautiful little space in this world, and I am thoroughly enjoying the crisp air, the mountains around me, and the open sea….in any event, before I get all Herman Melville about life on the sea, I’ll wrap it up and wish y’all a good Memorial Day and a happy summer to come.