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Friday, July 11, 2003

Since I obviously don't have enough to obsess about, I'm now losing sleep over the drive to Shasta Lake next Tuesday. Here I am, still trying to get all the paperwork done so I can be gone from my job for a week, still not sure what I'm taking or whether I can fit it all into one big black canvas bag, and ¡zas! New worries.

As I try to picture the drive in my mind, I find myself mentally missing all the right exits. (I said I was a good driver, not that I had a good sense of direction.) This morning I woke up wondering what route I'm going to take to get from the west side of Santa Rosa to the east side. I'm pretty sure I'm going to take Stony Point to the Rohnert Park Expressway, then take the Expressway to Petaluma Hill Road. I know how to get to Napa from there, but I keep forgetting how to get to I-80 East from Napa. That's the first turnoff I plan to miss and have to circle back toward.

I-80 to 5 to 505. All very straightforward, unless you miss the signs or get in the wrong lane or zone out completely because of all the pretty colors from the early morning sun shining directly into your eyes. Then two or three hundred miles due north (and at this point, what's another hundred miles?) through Redding to the lake.

Then comes the hard part. I know which marina I'm aiming for, and I basically (more or less) know how to get there. But I'm not sure, and when doubt creeps in, every exit I pass seems like the one I should have taken. The map in my head is pretty imprecise, as if a five-year-old drew it with one of those giant kindergarten pencils. (They still have those, right? And the paper with the imbedded wood grain?)

In the deepest, darkest part of my mind, where my self-confidence lies huddled and shuddering, I know this will all work out. I'll get there. That isn't even what has me worried. (It isn't? Then what's all this about missing exits?)

The one dilemma that haunts me is what time to leave Tuesday morning. As you might know, I'm not a morning person. At. All. But I don't necessarily want to be driving through the hottest part of Northern California during the hottest part of the day at the hottest time of the year. Seems like it might get a little hot, even in an air-conditioned car.

So either I try to force myself to get up at five or six in the morning to get an early start, or I set out at a more "reasonable" time (by my own definition) and drive through the heat, only to have to disrupt the midday plans of whoever is assigned to pick me up at the dock once I get there.

I know. It's a problem a lot of people would like to have. You can't have it though, because it's mine.

10 July 03

Only a hummingbird would let me get this close.

I did solve one problem today. I bought a phone card, so I don't have to carry a pocketful of quarters. I'll still have to find a phone, but at least I can stop and let the folks on the houseboat know when I'm getting close to the lake. That also helps me in another way. It means I don't have to know today what time I'm going to be there Tuesday. It lets me put off the departure time decision until the last minute, or maybe a couple of hours later than that.

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It's the annual recruitment drive, and while I'm overwhelmed by the response so far, there's still work to be done! Duties are light, responsibilities are minimal, and the chance of being called to active duty is slim. (The Martians seem to be friendly, and we're taking them at their word. Resistance will be necessary only if the rumor that they're here to steal all our chocolate turns out to be true.) So sign up now. (Extra bonus: an announcement delivered to your inbox whenever this site is updated, and a special note when I return from vacation. Assuming I do return, of course.)

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Pumped
"'Purple,' I'd guess for no good reason. 'Of course!' she'd chirp, as if it were the most natural thing in the world for me to be reading her mind. Or, just as likely, 'Of course not! Pink, naturally!'"

Two years ago: Crossed Wires
"My self-control when it comes to ill-mannered louts isn't usually fully engaged when I'm half asleep."

Three years ago: Medic Alert
"The worst part of all this was how difficult it was to breathe. It was as if I was sucking knives into my throat with every breath."

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