Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Whale watching (aka whale retching)

I planned weeks ago to go whale watching in Monterey on Monday 7th March 2005. It was something I had wanted to do since 1998. I somehow never managed it.

I love the ocean and spending time at the beach. I get an indescribable sense of joy when I see sea otters crunching crabs on their back and frolicking in the waters in and around Monterey Bay. I knew watching whales would be an experience of a lifetime, one I would never forget....

There were signs from battle worn seafarers .... I just didn't pay close attention.

So at 10 am yesterday we went. I had reservations and at the last minute I changed my mind. I wasn't going to go. Kevin said "oh go on, I've bought the ticket". I said " if I don't go, I'll regret it for the rest of my life". I couldn't let the boys go without me and miss out on the family experience now, could I?

I felt just dandy and said so. "We are only in the harbour", came the reply. "Oh" I said, not understanding the gravity of the remark.

Well, what a wretched time I had. I can't give you the details because they are just too gross for words. I knew it was a bad sign when the Captain directed our gaze to two black-footed albatrosses. This sighting was a rare thing.

Next came the announcement that the orca - the only predator of the grey whale - was out to play so the big whales would not be around. Oh yes, only the killer whale was there. I did see a sea otter momentarily. I commented on that sighting and Andrew said "I saw that too. It went down and didn't come up". That described me.

I was so sick I can't remember when I have ever felt so bad. I withdrew into a wretchedly dark place and caught a glimpse of the orca twice. That little black pointy thing on top to be precise. Oh my, what a day.

Today I found a friend. What an angel she was to me. She cleaned up after me and what a nasty job that was. I arrived home late last night and she called me to see how I was doing.

We laughed and joked and re-named whale watching whale retching. We agreed there should be a health and safety warning attached to it.

She tried to make me feel better by telling me I looked really well unlike the man who turned green. I'd been sitting in the wind and was element blasted. I wondered why people started up conversations next to me. I couldn't reply and just thought "Are these people mad? Can't they see I'm an immobilised corpse?" Anyway, be warned. Whale watching is not for those of a weak constitution or not on anti-sickness drugs.
If you're thinking of going whale-watching, you could save yourself 3 hours by watching the 15 seconds of video Kevin got inbetween his technicolour yawning:

Monday, March 07, 2005

"I am only one voice"

The Young People's Theater Co. in a quiet corner in San José kicked off its Spring Season on March 4th 2005 with a wonderful production of Peter Pan. There will be 19 shows over the next two weeks, with two main casts and three choruses. My two boys have been involved with YPT for three years and it has been a wonderful journey Christopher landed the role of Michael and Andrew was cast as a lost boy. It was quite funny on Friday because Andrew named his ever-elusive black karate shoe as the "lost shoe" as it fell off three times! It will be as secure as Peter's shadow after Wendy sewed it back on for the next show!

I invited Councillor Judy Chirco and the Management team of the Parks and Recreation Department in San José to attend, in my capacity as a spokesperson for the YPT parent support group and Advisory Board Member for District 9 in San José. Everyone except two replied to my e-mail and everyone except one intend to attend. The people unable to attend are numbers one and two in the hierarchy in the Parks and Recreational Services in San José.

The person who did not reply was sitting in front of me and was overheard saying "I am only one voice" when asked by a concerned parent about the future of the program. The same "one voice" put the program up for closure.

So, my question is this. What does it actually mean when someone says "I am only one voice" ? Does it imply impotence? Does it imply defeat, exasperation and an "it is out of my hands" abdication of responsibility? I wonder.

I am only one voice, but a voice that speaks to others. I have told hundreds of people about this place. I invite all my friends to the performances. I attend fund raising events. In short, I wholeheartedly support the program.

I spent last Saturday collecting signatures on a petition to have the program officially recognised by the City of San José and to oppose the closure. I collected 150+ at two shows alone. Here are some childrens' voices.

"One voice" can be effective, persuasive, negative or - worse - inaudible. When you are number three in the hierarchy of the management team at Parks and Recreational Services in San José it is not acceptable to be ineffective or inaudible.

This program means so much to so many people. The YPT Team at Kirk Community Center, under the direction of Carole-Ferris Greer deserves praise and official recognition for a job well done. The program has been there for 22 years. It is the only children's theater program in San José. It is magical. Please e-mail letters of support to ypt@epeus.com and visit the other blog to post supportive comments at http://yptsupport.blogspot.com