Tsunami – Feb 27, 2010

It was 6:30 am and I had just tuned into the weather channel.  Austyn, Brian and Liam along with Brian’s sister Amy were flying into LA and driving up for 5 days.  Jeff and I had been checking the weather channel for up-dates.  Driving in the rain in California is almost as bad as driving in a snow storm in Wisconsin.  Across the bottom of the screen was a red warning signal with the words TSUNAMI.

Tsunami?, I thought, where is there a Tsunami.  As the words passed in the red box I recognized the city of Santa Barbara.  It was expected to reach there at 12:31.  Santa Barbara, California? We are only an hour north of there. As I continued to watch the warning, the anchor began talking about the earthquake in Chile.  As the morning progressed it was made very clear that this earth quake, the 5th largest recorded had changed the world. And yes, it had created a Tsunami that could have an effect on the entire Pacific Coast.

I want to watch it, I thought. We headed to the beach around 12:20; standing on the cliffs overlooking the beach we waiting in anticipation for whatever this was that we were going to see. During the morning I had learned much about tsunamis. This force that traveled not on the top of the water, but actually along the ocean floor, could travel 500 miles an hour. In shallow or confined areas such as harbors this force could suck out all the water and replace it with a force of water that could due damage. After watching for several minutes, we realized that we were not going to see anything breathe taking.

An hour and a half later we returned and our breath was taken away. The tide was so far out the beach looked three times its normal size. If we had wanted to we could have actually walked out to the end of the pier, not one the pier but on the sand below.  The end of pier was usually where you stood and watched the surfer beneath you.  The end of the pier typically felt like the middle of the ocean. A force so huge had literally drain our beach, it was amazing to watch.

That evening after the arrival of our kids we headed back to the beach for dinner and a walk.  All seemed normal, people out on the pier, surfers on the water and families walking along the sand. As Austyn and I walked away she commented; “It’s been quite a day.” “Yes”, I said, “An earthquake, a tsunami, a plane ride into LA, BBQ at Mo’s, and a walk on the pier…it’s all in a day here in Pismo Beach.”


I lay in bed this morning glancing at the clock, 5:15. Fully rested, I tried to recall what time it was that I had fallen asleep. Not sure why, but for some odd reason it is important to my brain to know how many hours of sleep I have achieved.  It seems to be an unconscious ritual for me each morning.  Five hours is not so good, seven is sufficient and on the rare occasion that the equation equals more then eight I feel as if I’ve won the gold.

Earlier this year, which wasn’t that long ago since it is the end of February, it was thought that I had acquired asthma.  In my desperate search to learn about this disease, I came upon a book titled; Asthma-Free Naturally.  The author simplified the breathing process, explained the lung function and gave breathing exercises to help the reader control their breathing. By controlling one’s breath one has more control on Asthma.

This process made sense to me.  I immediately began to practice controlling my breathing and in doing so I began to notice very positive side effects. Energy level increased, food cravings decreased, weight loss increased and I found that I was sleeping sounder. The author had suggested that once your breathing is well controlled the patient may realize that they are requiring less amount of sleep at night, as little as six hours a night and will be fully rested. It was 5:15 and I was fully rested, ready to take on the day. Unfortunately there was still an hour or so of darkness which hindered my ability to take on too much so my mind began to consider deep, probing questions; what is the difference between AFFECT and EFFECT?

Sitting in my dark living room with only the light of the fireplace and my computer, I went to my favorite resource website; www.dictionary.com and this is what I found:

Affect1 and effect, each both noun and verb, share the sense of “influence,” and because of their similarity in pronunciation are sometimes confused in writing. As a verb affect1 means “to act on” or “to move” (His words affected the crowd so deeply that many wept). The verb effect means “to bring about, accomplish”: Her administration effected radical changes. The noun effect means “result, consequence”: the serious effects of the oil spill.

Isn’t “to act on” or “to move” the same as “to bring about, accomplish”?

It is now 6:21 and there are hints of a beautiful sunrise. It’s time to put on a sweater and take the dog for a walk. I’ll consider these two words all day, try to understand the differences and perhaps use them in a sentence. As I walk today I will continue to practice my breathing and recite my list of things in which I am so grateful.  Today I will add one more to the list; today I am grateful for spell check (I’ve got the feeling I’ll never figure out if I am affective or effective?).

The Coffee Bean

There are rare times in our lives that one stumbles upon a new passion.  In 1988 I was hired as the general manager for a cafe’.  It was my first experience in the coffee world. I was introduced to the world of espresso. The large brass espresso machine caught everyone’s attention. The brass eagle that sat atop and the brass steam wands that seemed to flow out the sides. There were no buttons that automated the process. It was all about timing, skill and patience with each beverage. In 1988 espresso and lattes were still pure; espresso and steamed milk with an occasional shot of vanilla.

Far above the thrill of operating that magnificent piece of equipment was the passion I found when I was exposed to the craft of roasting coffee. I immediately fell in love with the large burlap bags that lined my store, the royal blue Probat roaster that sat in the corner and the brass coffee canisters that lined the walls. Coffee roasting was part of my everyday routine.  On days that we roasted a bit too long, the Charlotte Fire Department also became part of our daily routine.

I was taught the basics of the three main growing regions in the world. The differences each region creates in the body, acidity and flavors of the coffee bean; the obvious differences in size from the large Kenya bean to the uniqueness of the peaberry. Coffee tastings was a huge part of my job description and I grew in my knowledge.  I was able to blind taste most coffees and know from what region they were grown.

Since 1988 I have had the privilege to work for a verity of coffee companies. The world of espresso has changed. The original espresso and latte have turned into 600 calorie beverages that can be served hot, iced or frozen.  What remains the same…the coffee bean.  Today it was decided that I have developed an allergic reaction to the oils and/or molds that exist on roasted coffee beans. I now have to be passionate about this little bean from a distance.

This little bean that 20 plus years ago took my breath away…literally takes my breath away.

Werewolves Outside

Yet another phone conversation with Chase.  This time I was only listening to Jeff’s side of the conversation…

There are what outside your window?


There are 12 werewolves out there.

Did Raun see them?

He did.

No they won’t hurt you.

Werewolves aren’t real, they are only in movies.

No, I don’t think they are going to come in.

Let’s talk about something else.  What did you do today?

…Oh, we are back on werewolves again.