Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mission Viejo

Funny little sign my co-workers constructed on my birthday.
At some point since my last post I turned 40. Yes go ahead, hit me with the whole "I'm so sorry," like one of my fav pilates clients did earlier this week. She was serious. That made it even better, but only because she's probably 20 years older than me and of course, I identified. But it is what it is, right? And you know what, it's pretty effing awesome.

Why? The list is very long but I'm happy to try: I have amazing friends both near and far who make my life richer each day; I have a spectacular family who not only supports me in my craziness but totally enables and encourages it; I have a new home that I am having a great time adapting to suit my tastes and the needs of my incredible dogs; and I have a really challenging yet very rewarding career with co-workers, peers and colleagues who help me grow and evolve each day. So when I say it that way I'm like, "Hell yes I'm 40 bitch, and I own it!"

I have lived just long enough to recognize patterns, and to grow intolerant of repeating the ones I find unhealthy. It is a struggle to correct some of them, but the blessing and grace is the recognition, and the mounting sense of urgency to make changes for a sustainable future. Sure I am flexible (always have been and, of course, I am a pilates junkie) which means I can still drop it down low and sweep the floor with it, but now I think more about my life as an "aging gay" and if I happen to live a long time, I don't want to be a burden to those who will assume responsibility for my care. I can see it now, "Watch out orderly, he might be 75 and delusional with a frightening face full of plastic surgery, but he has wicked lateral hip rotation and has been practicing 'Kill Bill' moves for a really long time."

So what do I want to accomplish in my 40th year? Since I've now failed at getting on a 40 Under 40 list, I think I'll just focus on finishing some commitments through 2011, working on my house, and taking some time to breathe, enjoy my life, and read some more books. I'm putting it in neutral and observing ... at least until my next big motivation.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Coral Snake

When I returned from a recent trip to the beach, I noticed the dogs were hyper-intent (and with one Jack Russell and one Australian Shepherd trust, this is saying alot) on something that was below the hot tub. The last time I had been around hunting so keen was years ago at the house in Little Rock, when Gizmo (another JRT) was yipping from his crate when I got home at lunch. I thought perhaps he was really needing to go but when I opened the door he leapt down 8 stairs, jumped on the patio door and, as soon as I opened it, pounced onto a tarp-covered pile of pea gravel beside the deck to flush out a huge king snake. It was at this moment I became a believer in the power of the canine snout. It is also a permanent reminder to look for the unexpected when your dogs be ackin' a fool, so I got a stick, just to be safe.

The dogs, of course, relented as soon as they saw the stick because they'd much rather let Daddy handle perplexing dilemmas. I suspected one of their bouncy balls was beneath the hot tub, so as soon as it became apparent there wasn't a varmint I needed to deal with, I stooped down for further inspection. Immediately I recoiled when I saw what appeared to be a coral snake. And by appeared I mean it was a remnant. A remnant right in front of the bouncy blue ball. I have never encountered a coral snake but, growing up in the country and being a full-on yard rat, I was always warned to keep my good eye out for the "red meets yellow bad for fellow" elapid. (Never mind the water moccasins, rattlesnakes, or copperheads ... just watch out for the coral snake.) I knew the snakes prefer underground/undercover locations, are fairly elusive, and aren't prone to strike since they're not a traditional viper and must stay attached to the prey in order for the venom to inject.

Still, I was a bit ooged out because, let's face it, my environment is ideal for a coral snake (obvz), and all I could think was "Did my dogs shred a coral snake and live to tell the story?" Apparently that's the case. I did make the mistake of telling my mother this story over the weekend and of course, this has moved all the way up to her #1 Worry List Item. In fact, it did inspire me to do a bit more research and while I certainly don't want to be flippant, I do think I'm probably OK. I have been doing a bit of gardening so am just remaining more aware and taking precautions like wearing appropriate clothing (OK, that's a lie, it's too hot) using my trusty stick (aka "hoe handle") to poke around before I get busy cultivating.

Here's the Wikipedia entry on coral snakes. I found it interesting, and always enjoy learning something new and confirming facts along the way. In fact, I think that's what should be the epitaph on my grave, "He was all about confirming facts."