Saturday, October 29, 2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

Most Quotable Friday

More quotables that I have plucked right off my Twitter timeline... Enjoy!

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.

The longer you keep your anger in, the greater the size of the eventual explosion.

I don't have an attitude problem, I have a personality you can't handle.

Obstacles are put in your way so that you can discover the magnitude of the strength you possess.

I am eagerly awaiting my next disappointment.

“If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.” ~ Stephen Covey

It's not easy taking my problems one at a time when they refuse to get in line.

As long as there are successes that still lie ahead, we should never be defined by the mistakes of our past.

When life seems to be spinning out of control, you just have to stop and ask yourself, "How much ice cream would Jesus eat?"

Believe, and do it until the end of the day.

So often we are depressed by what remains to be done and forget to be thankful for all that has been done.

Funny, I don't remember being absent-minded.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thursday Blurbs

1. In case no one noticed I was on vacation last weekend! Well, a virtual vacation anyway. My friend surprised me on Friday with a text that said "on my way to Vegas!" What? She didn't tell me she was going to Vegas. I wanted to go. So? I decided to go with her virtually. I had a blast! I sat by the pool and sipped cocktails, I went out to Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville, I... um. Well there was a bit of a blank for about 12 hours there, so I'm not sure exactly what I did after that. Whatever it was I'm sure it wasn't laundry, cleaning my kitchen or grocery shopping because those are things someone, who isn't in Vegas for the weekend, does.

2. I got the bill for my speeding ticket in the mail today and almost fainted. I did feel a little lightheaded, no joke. I got "speed trapped" a couple of weeks ago downtown on my way home from work. I was going 40 in a 25. I thought for sure it was going to be a $50-60 ticket. I was even prepared for $75. Anything more than that I didn't even think was possible. I opened up the mail this morning and it is a $244 fine! Omg. I don't have $244 for a f#*%&^ ticket! How can this city possibly be broke if they are handing out $244 citations? Even better? If I want to go to traffic school it is $287! What?

3. I went to the dentist on Monday. I love my hygienist, at least I think I do, but I only see her every six months so I always seem to forget two things about my semi annual visits. The first thing I forget is that she likes to talk. She is a constant chatter box who never leaves a moment's pause go without filling in the silence. And with me as a captive audience, why not? Today we she discussed the "hot" weather in Santa Cruz, how she went to the beach yesterday but couldn't get a parking spot and how she woke up at 5 am (because it was to hot and she doesn't have a/c). She spent the morning cooking beans and ham hocks. She threw in some peppers from her garden a little garlic and is "so good for you." Before she knew it she had missed the last mass of the day because she gets all messed up with the time when she wakes up that early. She is also having some work done on her roof. The roofers used the wrong size nails and were nailing through to her ceiling so they had to start using a smaller size nail. She talked about her Thanksgiving plans, her daughter, her sister (whose daughter had a baby last Thanksgiving), oh and the doctor there at the office just had a baby two months ago. He brought the baby in about a month ago but she didn't get to hold her because she was talking working. My head was about to explode from all this information she was force feeding me.

4. The other thing that I forgot about my hygienist is that she is a violent flosser. She grabs that floss and goes to town on my poor sensitive teeth and gums. It hurts more than the cleaning and the scraping. I have no idea what she was chatting about (probably her ex husband at that point) while she was flossing because I was focusing on the pain and if I could just make it through the next couple of minutes I could get up and rinse.  I'm going to suggest some calming music next time or maybe inquire about getting my gums numbed before the flossing. Ouch.

5. Alex (my oldest) has just read my Body Snatchers post and thinks I should post it on Facebook.  He thought it was good and was not offended (because it is the TRUTH) unlike his brother, Jacob. He already posted it on his Facebook page where all his friends could see.... LOL! Some of them even commented (on FB). Alex will not be suing me for publishing this post, unlike Jacob, who is apparently still offended. Sorry Boo Boo.

6. I was telling my friends and co-workers Victoria and Jennifer the story of my cats and I remembered that I had written a post, er, two posts (a two parter) years ago about their story. It is a really special story so I would like to share it (again) here: Part 1 and Part 2. Enjoy!

7. I apologize for being vague in my Writer's Workshop post yesterday about #22 (I have had my dog kidnapped) Some commenters were asking whether I got him back and the answer is YES! It was a long and involved story that took place (of all days) on Mother's Day a few months ago. For all the (very long winded) details of that day please click here (part 1), here (part 2), here (part 3) and here (part 4). Yes there are 4 parts. It really was a horrible, horrible day.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

22 Things I Have Done - Writer's Workshop

Mama’s Losin’ It

This week's Prompt:  1) Write about 22 things that you HAVE done.

I didn't choose last weeks prompt of 22 things I haven't done... because at my age that is kind of depressing. So this week I went all POSITIVE and made a list of 22 things I have done. I kind of impressed myself... but then again it just shows my age. Oh well... enjoy!

I am, gulp, 40-ish and I have:

1. Experienced the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat..
2. Been a step-parent and a step-grandparent.
3. Been to the top of the Empire State Building and seen a Broadway play.
4. Driven from Guadalajara, Mexico to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico... and back (with small kids).
5. Been at the bedside of a loved one when they took their last breath.
6. Body surfed in two different parts of the Pacific ocean.
7. Been to a Superbowl.
8. Been to a World Series.
9. Been to a World Cup Soccer match.
10. Been to a Stanley Cup Playoff Game.
11. Taught 2 people how to drive.
12. Laid both of my grandparents to rest at the National Cemetery of the Pacific at Punch Bowl in Hawaii.
13. Had a broken bone.
14. Water skied in Lake Havasu, Arizona.
15. Experienced the Loma Prieta Earthquake of 1989.
16. Saved someone's life.
17. Nursed someone after surgery.
18. Cried when someone broke my son's heart.
19. Ran in the Bay to Breakers (SF, CA)
20. Participated in, and finished, a mini triathalon.
21. Seen U2 in concert.
22. Had my dog kidnapped.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Goodwill Avocado Hunting

This is my neighbor "Dan's" avocado tree. Isn't it gorgeous? Not only is it huge, but the branches have grown over the years and many of them hang over onto our property. I could be wrong (I haven't researched any property laws) but I think, technically, if an avocado from this tree were to fall into our yard it would become "our" avocado. Right? I said right? Okay, that's what I thought.

This, on the other hand, is the stage of our avocado tree. It's not quite there yet. Okay, it's not even in the ground yet. We are trying, but this is about as far as we've been able to get. Being the impatient people that we are, we don't want to wait for 5-10 (20?) years to grow our own avocados when we practically have an orchard of them next door. Dan's tree has over a hundred avocados right now that are ripening to perfection  How many avocados can he possibly need or eat?
These are some of the branches that are hanging over the fence. One of them (below) is all the way over our roof. My husband believes we are entitled to not only these beautiful avocados but also some of the other ones that aren't "quite" on our side of the property line. So do I, of course, but the difference is that he doesn't want to just ask Dan if we can pick the avocados. It's like he equates it to asking directions, or some other "guy" thing that I just don't get. I'm sure Dan wouldn't mind. In fact I think he'd probably be proud that we had an interest in his avocados. I am absolutely positive that Dan would be more than happy that we wanted to take some for ourselves. But, no, we will not ask Dan if we can pick his avocados.

Instead my husband has decided to hunt for the avocados in cognito. This has presented several obstacles. One is that he has to wait for when Dan is not at home. Dan is a fireman... so his schedule is, er, irregular. Second, my husband has to be home at a time when Dan isn't at home.  My husband works two jobs, so his opportunities are few and far between. Also, you can't just pick the avocados before they are ready. You have to wait. But? If you wait to long, the birds or the squirrels may get to a ripe avocado first. It is a very difficult balance. When all the stars are aligned, Dan is not home and there is a ripe avocado ready to be plucked that hasn't been touched by an opportunistic squirrel or bird... then there presents a third obstacle. Dan's dog.

Dan's dog will bark and bark (and bark) every time my husband comes near the fence. Fortunately (despite how hubs feels about him), we also have a dog. And our dog? Has treats! A whole cupboard full of them. So, my husband will gather his hand made tool (an old basket he attached to what used to be a broom or shovel handle), his ladder and a pocketful of dog treats and set up for his avocado gathering.

It is a painstaking procedure, which I haven't seen for myself, but apparently he gets up on the ladder, reaches over the fence and tries to pry any avocados that are loose and ripe enough to come off their branch into (hopefully) the basket. He has been pretty successful so far and gotten a few avocados for our table. And? They are delicious. Smooth, creamy and with a hint of nutty after taste. So worth all the cloak and dagger. So. Worth. It.

Which? Leads me to my next endeavor. Limes. This (below, right) is where I walk the dog in my neighborhood. See that tree over on the right of the sidewalk?  No, a little further down... see, here (below, left)? That, is a lime tree.

 FYI: We have a lime tree in our back yard. A newly planted lime tree. That has no limes.

This lime tree? Has limes. Limes that are just sitting there. Branches sticking right out on the public sidewalk. I'm the public, aren't I? It doesn't even look like the people who live in this house even know they have a lime tree, that is ripe... with limes. So? Sometimes. When I'm walking the dog. I may (or may not) pluck one or two limes and slip them into my pocket. I mean? I don't know about the rest of you, but limes here, where I live, are currently two for a dollar. Fifty cents people. For a lime! That is criminal. I think I am justified. And if I'm not? Sue me. The limes are good. Although, maybe next time I walk by there I'll throw some quarters on the front porch, or just ask if I can have some!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

Most Quotable Friday

Twitterable Quotables from my Twitter Timeline... Happy Friday!

1. Sow seeds of doubt and expect insecurity. Sow seeds of hope and enjoy optimism.
Fruit Salad

2. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

3. “He who loses wealth loses much; he who loses a friend loses more; but he that loses courage loses all.” ~ Cervantes

4. Listen to your feelings; give them a voice, they are messengers from your heart for mending your broken spirit.

5. Acceptance is not about denying or hiding. It is about struggling, surrendering, and finally transforming through the power of grace.

6. “Extraordinary people live their lives backward. They create a future, and then they live into it.” ~ Unknown

7. “We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” ~ Charles R. Swindoll

8. You are where you are in life because of your thoughts.

9. You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time. But you can fool yourself anytime.

10. “It is not how big you are, it’s how big you play.” ~ Unknown

11. I no longer jump to conclusions because it hurts my back.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thursday Blurbs

1. There is nothing worse than getting up at 5:30am on Sunday morning, driving 40 miles to your son's soccer game only to have it be forfeited. Gah. Apparently our team's coach was in L.A. for the weekend and the person (part time coach and trainer) whom he entrusted the coaching duties to, totally flaked and decided not to be bothered with the early morning, out of town game, and didn't show up. Which would have been fine, there were plenty of people (who also made the early morning trek to watch their sons game) who could have stepped up and ran the game. Oh, but wait. We also had no player passes and we cannot play without those.

2. Fortunately I was able to come home and watch football on TV. Whoohoo! Game of the week Baby. The Niners outlasted and out-dueled the undefeated Detroit Lions. Great, exciting game and everything I hoped for. And, as an added bonus, the Raiders won their game too. They are looking very good as well.

3. Hahahahahahahaha.... this!
4. We had a meeting yesterday at work to resolve some communication issues we (our department) are having with another employee. This person is (as my coworker labeled her aptly among other colorful words) cantankerous. Just a miserable human being. But I have to tell you that I have found a new level of respect for this person because she must be damn good at her job. She must have a skill set above and beyond anyone in this region. During this meeting she went absolutely ape sh*t and wouldn't shut up. She talked over me, interrupted me, yelled at a VP, argued with the CEO and was completely contemptuous, vile and out of control. Yet? She still has a job. What is the lesson here? Besides being a spoiled and over-indulged child, she is (she must be) the most valuable employee this company has ever seen. They must pay her her own weight in gold. They are probably apologizing to her right now so that she doesn't resign. I love my job.

5. I see they finally found Gadhafi. 42 years of terror that man imposed on his own people. He was a bizarre one wasn't he?.

6. I'm such a geek but I can't wait for Breaking Dawn to come out. I'm a little perturbed that they are doing the whole two part thing like Harry Potter... but I guess they kind of have to if they want to follow everything in the book.

7. I seem to be scrambling here for things to blurb about so I'll just end it right here. Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Story Behind My Current Facebook Profile Pic - Writing Workshop

Mama’s Losin’ It

Mama Kat's Writing Workshop. This week's choice from the weekly prompts is:

4) Share the story behind your current Facebook and/or Twitter profile photo.

In support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month I was actually looking for a simple pink ribbon image to display as my Facebook profile picture for the month of October. However, I came across this image (above) and decided to steal borrow it instead. I think it is simple, yet very poignant and sums up my feelings about this disease in a nutshell.

Everything about cancer sucks. Being sick, hearing the diagnosis for the first time, the fear, the anger, the unknown, going through treatments, the hospitals, the doctor visits, and having your whole world come crashing down. It sucks for family and it sucks for friends. How dare this disease attack someone I care about? IT. SUCKS.

It seems we have all been touched by this disease in one way or another in our lives. We have lost dear friends, family members, neighbors, community members, co-workers or acquaintances. It affects the rich, the poor and everyone in between. We may know people that are battling it right now. We mourn those that fought the good fight and lost. We cheer for those that are kicking and have kicked it's ass. There is no deeper or darker loss and I don't think there is any sweeter victory, available to us in this lifetime, than beating cancer.

I lost my mom seven years ago to ovarian cancer. Yesterday would have been her 46th wedding anniversary. There are times, even now, when I think about calling her up and telling her something that I think she would find amusing. And then? I remember she is no longer with us. In those moments, when I realize I can't talk to her, I find myself having to catch my breath. It's like having little segments of losing her all over again. And yes, it sucks. I lost my grandmother over twenty years ago to lung cancer. It was long before I met my husband and long before I had children. However, as my children grew up I always wished she could have known them. She would have really enjoyed them. My oldest son is so much like her. They would have been best friends.

So, in memory of my late mother and grandmother... I proudly display the "cancer sucks" beanie baby image as my current Facebook profile picture.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Security Cameras

Both of my kids were accused of misdeeds at school this week. Two seperate incidences at two different schools. Both were absolved because of security camera footage. I'm still processing all of my thoughts and feelings concerning this. On the one hand, I don't like the fact that they were both falsely accused, brought into the office and that I was never contacted from either school. In one case my son was even interviewed by the police.  On the other hand, I do realize what the schools are up against. Kids are out of control and the school administrations are just trying to get to the bottom of all the bad behavior. I get it. It is what I find myself trying to do half the time in my own house.

The first incident happened at the high school. There were some kids throwing eggs and water balloons and unfortunately, a teacher got hit. Afterwards someone identified Alex on the camera footage and he was brought in to the office. he, of course, denied any involvement and they told him that they had him on tape. My son, the future lawyer, demanded that they show him the security tape in his presence.  After sitting there for nearly two class periods they finally tracked down the correct segment and showed it to him in front of the principal. After watching it closely it was obvious they had the wrong kid and that it wasn't my son. "I told you, it wasn't me. Can I go to class now." He told them in what I hope was a very stern tone of voice (I know it was when he re-told the story to me). The next day he was brought in again and was interviewd by the police. This time they were asking for his help to identify the people that were actually involved.

The second incident happened at the middle school. My 8th grader was walking down the stairs and he tripped over a back pack, fell and landed awkwardly as he tried to keep his balance. One of the assistant principals, "Mr. Doom," approached him and said "I saw what you did. How many times do I have to tell you not to jump down the stairs?"
"Um," Jacob said. "You've told me once."
"Once should be enough. Come with me to the office." Mr. Doom told him. Jacob tried to tell him that he tripped, but Mr. Doom isn't much of a listener.
When they got to the office Mr. Doom brought Jacob to the security monitors and told him that they were going to watch the security tape and asked him what should happen to him if the tape showed him jumping down the stairs. Jacob told him he could give him detention for the rest of the year.
"That isn't going to happen. Seriously, what should happen to you?"
"Fine," Jacob said. "Give me Friday school for the next three weeks."
"Are you sure?" Mr. Doom sneered (in my imagination he sneered).
"I'm sure," Jacob smiled sweetly (in my imagination he smiled sweetly)
They watched the video and just like Jacob said, he tripped over a backpack and fell down the last few stairs.
"I'm sorry Jacob. You can go." Mr. Doom said.

Since both of these incidents happened one right after another it got me thinking. And now?

I am SERIOUSLY considering installing security cameras inside my house. Imagine the possibilities. I could totally catch that "It Wasn't Me" guy, his twin "Not Me" or their buddy "I Don't Know."

Monday, October 17, 2011

It's The Thought That Counts

Although, sometimes it's not.

My son, well, both of them actually, is a smart-ass. He's 16 so don't be offended, please.

One of the ways he likes to drive me crazy is to take things, especially cliches, out of context.

"Alex, you haven't cleaned your room." I will say to him on any random day, because his room is never clean.

"I know," he'll say. "It's the thought that counts."

"Um? No, it's really not."

Or let's talk about his huge stack of laundry that he agreed to tackle on his own. "Alex, have you started your laundry? I need to start a load."


(Grrr.) "Why not?"

"It's the thought that counts." 

No, it really isn't.

There aren't many victories in my life these days so I sort of have to take them when I can get them. One of the ways I can find satisfaction in a good "win" is when I can make one of my kid's words come back to bite him. It's small and petty of me, but, like I said one of the only things I have left. Raising teenagers has left me without much pride.
"Did you get me anything from the store?" He asked me one day when his brother and I returned from the store and he noticed him eating some red vines.

"No." I said with my sweetest smile. "I did think about it though, and it's the thought that counts, right?"

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Friday, October 14, 2011

Most Quotable Friday

A Collection of tweets from my Twitter timeline...

1. You've got to get up every morning with determination if you’re going to go to bed with satisfaction.

2. Most people are only alive because it is illegal to shoot them.

3. It matters not whether you win or lose; what matters is whether I win or lose.

4. Alcohol doesn't solve any problems, but then again, neither does milk.

5. There are 6,775,235,741 people in the world. Why let one ruin your life?

6. If anyone can put the “i” in “Team” it’s Apple.

7. God put me on this Earth to accomplish a certain number of things. Right now, I am so far behind I will never die.

8. Don’t judge a book by its movie.

9. If you don’t have a sense of humor, then you might not have any sense at all.

10. “If you don’t know what you are doing wrong, you can never know what you are doing right.” ~ Chen Xinhua

11. Behind my smile is everything you'll never understand.