Spring, Where Art Thou?

Time flies when … you’re doing things.  Even when Spring only pretends to arrive.  Update:

  1. The wonderful world of the hospital has been interesting.  After years of working toward an integrated model between the finance and clinical areas of revenue-cycle management, the hospital made several substantial changes to the organizational structure that substantially shifts the game board in my division.  How this will play out over the coming months will be fascinating to watch.
  2. Speaking of the hospital, our ethics committee (of which I am secretary) has been active.  I coordinated a two-day site visit by a clinical bioethicist last week, an experience that was quite useful.  Things are moving, but where they will settle, I cannot yet predict.
  3. In addition to karate, I also study escrima, a very unstructured style of martial arts originating in the Philippines.  The style emphasizes stick fighting, knife fighting and defense, and open-hand disarms and joint/tissue destruction techniques.  Escrima has taught by one of the senior black belts for several years, but it’s only been in the last few months that he’s prepared a formal curriculum and ranking system.  At my dojo, because of the fluidity of the discipline, escrima is a catch-all for a variety of "other" blended martial-arts instruction, including some aikido and freestyle sparring.  Very useful.  Anyway, we had our very first test yesterday, a sorting that allowed us to place in a rank wherever we happened to have some competence.  Only four of us tested, however.  Of the 10 ranks (yellow, green, and brown "belts" with two stripes for each), I placed as a yellow belt with one stripe, meaning I’ve got about two years to go before "black belt" testing (which is merely an outward symbol of having achieved mastery of the techniques most commonly associated with escrima practice worldwide).  Although it’s helpful to have a rough curriculum, I appreciate the unstructured nature of the class and the way it’s taught, and I look forward to continuing to study escrima.
  4. Easter has come and gone.  I ended up quite busy for Holy Week.  For Passion Sunday, I participated in the Gospel proclamation at my parish on Saturday, and then served as the master of ceremonies for the bishop’s televised Mass on Sunday morning.  On Tuesday, I assisted with preparation for the Chrism Mass at the cathedral.  On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, I did my usual parish master-of-ceremonies work.  Holy Week and Easter are liturgically powerful celebrations, but the take a lot of prep by the people who coordinate them.  I’m happy that the heavy lifting is over.
  5. I’m glad that my little nephew Kyler takes after me, brains-wise.  🙂
  6. Next weekend marks Dr. Jon’s birthday, so in celebration, Tony and I trekked to Southfield for dinner.  Or so we thought.  Since Jon doesn’t "do" birthdays, but he did provide Tony with his new contact lenses, we decided instead that we were celebrating the gift of sight for T-Bone.  Delightfully, Emilie’s parents participated in the festivities — they were a blast.  We had a couple of pizzas delivered and consumed alcohol at a copious rate.  Good times.  And the best news — the newlyweds appear thrilled at the plan Tony and I concocted, to fly them to Las Vegas in September for their anniversary and do a one-year renewal of vows in a little white wedding chapel.
  7. The new business is going well.  I seem to perhaps, maybe, possibly, have a new client in the modeling industry.  Fascinating fellow to work with.
  8. I got a call last week for a reference for Duane.  He is interviewing for a tenure-track faculty position at a small college.  I had the opportunity to briefly catch up with him — he thinks his chances are good.  I hope he gets the job — he deserves it.
  9. I almost bought a boat last week.  There was a 31′ cutter for sale in Massachusetts for the princely sum of $300.  The funny thing is, the boat was one of those "marina seized the title" things, and the vessel itself — apart from easily fixed cosmetic damage to the starboard upper hull — was in perfectly serviceable condition.  I called the marina and was in the process of arranging for a viewing, only to learn that another sales person at the marina had just sold it.  Ugh.  How perfect would it have been to have found a seaworthy vessel at such a price? 
  10. On the subject of boating [810 update!] … the almost-purchase of the aforementioned cutter prompted some additional thinking about my strategy.  My plan has become a bit more refined; instead of buying a boat and sailing into the open ocean, I’m going to purchase a more modest hull first — in the 26-to-34 foot range — and cut my teeth for a year or so on the Great Lakes, perhaps touring Lake Superior for a season.  After that, in the same relatively modest boat, I will do the "circuit" — Lake Michigan to the Illinois River, to the Mighty Mississippi, to the Gulf of Mexico.  From the Gulf to Florida and a season in the Caribbean, followed by a return to Lake Michigan via a voyage up the U.S. Atlantic seaboard to the St. Laurence and into the Great Lakes.  This will definitively settle the question of whether I can actually handle a vessel at sea and all of the secondary questions attendant to that issue, while ranking up sea hours in a relatively safe and easy-to-sail environment.  If that works, only then would I search for a larger vessel (of at least 40′) more suited to open-ocean passage making.

All for now.

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