Fun on the ferry

I’ve commuted to work all sorts of ways: trains, automobiles, trams, buses, bikes subways and on foot.  Though the bike is still the top choice for me due to its reliability, flexibility, health benefits, etc., my new favorite is riding the ferry between Oakland and San Francisco.

It’s always been my favorite part of any trip.  I’ve crossed New York Harbor to Governors Island for a concert, ferried over Baia de Todos os Santos in Salvador, Brazil, and one of my best-loved crossings, passing through the Gulf Islands on BC Ferries.

A longer commute deserves a bigger boat.

It’s not the fastest way to travel, but it’s the most civilized.  The water is calming and the scenery is stunning.  Fellow passengers feel more free to chat with each other, on the San Francisco Bay Ferry you can sip a wine on your way home at the end of the work day (too bad, Canadians), and if you’re lucky maybe there will be live music and free snacks like there was today.  That beats sitting in traffic or a smelly BART train any day.

It’s nothing new. Before all of the bridges were completed in the 20th century, hundreds of ferries day crossed the San Francisco Bay every day.  One went all the way to Sacramento, others carried trains, and even some served a sea plane service in the middle of the bay.

And I just found out there is a new ferry service set to start running from Alameda and Oakland to South San Francisco in June.  Now if we could only have more ferries between Oakland and San Francisco.



Back to work

After more than half a year of doing my own thing, I’m giving agency life another go.  Starting next week, I’ll be back working in public relations full-time.

During my time freelancing, I always kept my options open, and an opportunity came up that seems like it will be a good fit.

Do I feel any trepidation? Truthfully, I still feel a mild sting due to my experiences at the last agency, so my my biggest concern is that we all work together well at the new place.  But I hope to take my many lessons from my past work life and apply them to the new job.

Will it be hard going back to a regular work routine?  A little, but I did spend a lot of time in the past eight months exploring my skills in writing, public relations, marketing and branding.  I also got to spend plenty of time with my pup, play capoeira a lot, study Portuguese and travel to Brazil, Canada, New York, Big Sur and Mendocino.

I’ll squeeze the last bits of free time that I have this weekend and take advantage of the ample sunshine and warmth, for Monday, it’s a new job and the beginning of a new story.

Wish me luck!


Look where you are going, people!

Last month’s fatal crash between a cyclist and a pedestrian got people fired up again about the ongoing issue of bicycle safety in the city. From what I’ve read so far, it appears the cyclist was completely reckless, only concerned he would make it through the light.  But for what?  So he wouldn’t be late to work? Or he wanted to be home sooner? His motive isn’t clear yet, but what we know is that a man died because someone didn’t want to wait his turn.

Breaking the law to get somewhere faster, though, is something that almost everyone is guilty of at one point or another. Have you ever jaywalked so you didn’t have to walk all the way to the crosswalk up the street? Rolled through a stop sign while driving because it didn’t appear anyone else was at the intersection? Cycled on a sidewalk to avoid hectic traffic?

When you rush to get to work or a meeting or to drop your kids off at school, be it by bike, car, or on foot, you increase the risk of running into someone because you are too preoccupied with getting where you are going on time. And the irony is that when you are careless and run into someone, instead of being on time, you will be even more late, or not make it to your destination at all.

The issue is that we need to start paying more attention to others around us, no matter what form of transportation that we use.  Your actions do affect others. Get off your cell phone, slow down the pace a little, and look around.  As they say, the life you may be saving is your own.


My happy place

There are a few places in the world where I always feel content.  The Timm Ranch in Winters, CA is one of them.

View from the living room

Each spring and fall I look forward to the parties at the ranch.  It’s a great group of down-to-earth, intelligent folks who come together to eat lamb, drink wine and spend the day relaxing in a quintessentially Californian setting. There’s no pretension, no posturing, just lots of potluck dishes to share, dogs to pet, and guitars to be played.

Picnic under the oaks

And I really don’t need anything else.

Where’s your “happy” place?



Does it have to be that tough?

People pay money to experts who will give them recommendations for their life, be it relationships, career, or what have you.  I have a feeling if I ever asked one of these people what I should do for a career, public relations wouldn’t have been the first response.  But I’ve seldom done things that come easily to me or make sense, at least not at first.

I admit there is a part of me that is lazy as all get out. When things get too tough, I want to sit on the couch and watch movies from morning to night and eat delivery Thai food. But there’s also a part of me that craves the stimulation of a challenge. Therefore, I don’t feel satisfied until I accomplish the task at hand.

For example, public relations is full of high-energy extroverts, but I am a low-key introvert.  Then again, I feel a real sense of accomplishment when I can communicate with people in a meaningful way. That means I have to be patient and take time to listen to and understand my audience, and then figure out the best way to get my message across. When the process works, it’s so satisfying.

Also, I started training capoeira later in life, so it’s harder to get my body to successfully perform the movements. But I train as much as possible. with periods of rest in between.  I could be doing something gentler on my body, like Zumba, but I love how capoeira makes me feel, and I am seeing some progress.

So, sometimes to get to the top of a steep hill, I run straight up instead of walking up a gentle switch back. That just makes the rest at the top of the hill all the more enjoyable.