Friday, May 29, 2009

in the dash

Nellie Aquino Dec. 25th, 1914 - March 30, 2003
Joseph Aquino ? - 1986
Ada Coughlan 1913-1995
Myles Coughlan 1889 - ?

Me June 15, 1981 -

I saw an obituary yesterday for a woman who passed away at just shy of 97. Right below her smiling picture, it said that the dash that separated the dates of her birth and death could never sum up the whole of the life she lived between those two days in time.


I had NEVER thought about it that way. Any daily newspaper or history book is filed with the summation of a life with a XXXX - XXXX that we read without a second thought.

In the list of my grandparents there is only one who's dates I know clearly. Of the four, I met three, clearly remember two, and dearly miss one.

Grandma Nellie's birthday is cemented in my mind because we ALWAYS had (have) big family Christmases together and we NEVER missed her birthday celebration. We still celebrate it now every year with a birthday cake for Mama/Grandma/GreatMum on Christmas. My Grandmother came from Switzerland, survived a disease that should have crippled her at the age of nine. There was no choice then; she had to get better or miss the ship to America. My grandmother would go on to marry the dishwasher at the restaurant where she worked. He was an immigrant from the Phillipines. In the 1930's when they got married, it was illegal for an interracial couple to get married in California. I suppose they could have just as easily given up, but they persevered and did it anyways in another state, despite the police harrasment whenever they walked down the street, despite the prejudice they both faced, despite all the things that could have prevented them from going against the system. There's so much more to her dash that I could write on and on about. She was quiet at times, but don't underestimate a woman who raised six children. She had spunk and tenacity. I like to think I got some of mine from her.

Grandma Ada - she died right around a holiday when I was about 12 or 13; it was Christmas I think. I can still remember her voice but I couldn't begin to guess what her birthday was. I do know this: when she was a few years younger than I am now, she got pregnant with my dad and married my dad's dad. Twelve years later, my dad's dad died and Grandma Ada was left alone with two children to raise. She wasn't a great mother; from what I've heard she wasn't even a good mother at times, but she did love her children. Looking at her life through my eyes, I can't imagine the hurt she experienced in her life right up into her 80's when she fell that Christmas morning.

Grandpa Joe - really he's just "Grandpa" since he was the only one of the two I ever met. I have just a few memories of him and a lot of tales that I've heard from all my aunts and uncles. He died when I was 5 but I can still remember visiting them and sitting on the top of the couch cusions right behind him, combing his white thinning hair straight up and laughing! He would just sit there quietly and let me give him a full headed mohawk. He used to sneak and give me one of those strawberry candies in the strawberry printed wrapper from the stash he kept in his bedroom. This of course was despite his full blown diabetes; which is supected to have finally done him in. He used to collect all his pennies and put them in big plastic jars with screw on tops. He gave me one of those once. I remember carrying it out of the house at 5 years old thinking that it weighed more than I did! Those are the only two memories I have of him. To see him in pictures is like looking at the most familiar stranger I've ever laid eyes on. To look at him and then look at me, you would never think we share the same blood line, but he is MY grandpa and that's good enough for me.

Grandpa Myles - I really feel strange calling him Grandpa. I never knew him. I never even had a chance. I don't know much about him other than he was born 2 centuries back. Not 200 years ago, but his birthdate fell in the 1800's! He was nearly 50 when my dad was born, and my dad was nearly 40 when I was. I know that Myles was from Bantry Cork, Ireland and he died from pnemonia in the hospital after a car accident that happened when him and my father were walking across the street from the grocery store. That's all I know, but you know what? That's ok too, because despite that, it was the in between, the dash, that he became an eternal part of my family history.

So you see, it's not the dates that matter. It's the dash. I'm in my dash now. If you're reading this, then so are you. It's never too late or too early to make something spectacular out of that little line.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Waterwings optional

I just read this quote in the Austin, TX city guide.

"Travel is more than just A to B. It should feed your soul."

Well, I want to go to Texas reeeeal bad, y'all; and when I go, I want to go floatin' on an innertube down the Guadalupe River. Kinda lii-yke this:

I'm just a simple girl with simple requests. All I need is a rope to tie off my floatin' water cooler full of American beer and a few hundred neighbors decked out in cowboy hats and lifejackets. Waterwings optional of course.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Smalltown, USA

Being in the service of others is hard work. There are just people out there you don't give a damn to work for or represent. Thank God for patriotism and a sense of duty because everyone really should have a chance.

I went to the parade yesterday. I only go every so often now since I was a kid when we went all the time. It was a tradition - wake up early, have pancake breakfast at the church down the street, and watch the parade go down Main Street. It still has that small town feel and some of the same floats as it did 20 years ago, but you see it with a whole different set of eyes when you're an adult. Hokey as some of it is, I couldn't help but feel that there was something just undeniably American about it.

Want a friend? Be a friend.

What do I want to say in this blog? Everything. I don't even know where to start with all this, but I'll give it a shot.

This one's been weighing on my mind a lot lately. Weighing might not even be an accurate description - festering is more to the core of the matter. I've been wondering, what is the cost of friendship? Is it a matter of dollars? A matter of loyalty? Both? Well, I don't have a definitive answer for that other than it seems to be a matter of worth one way or the other. Worth the time, worth the phone call just because, worth the late night bottle of wine when you and your boyfriend break up, worth the present in the mail just 'cause...basically when it comes down to it, its just plain and simple worth the effort. I can pretty easily categorize the real friends from the friends of "convenience" based aloen on the theory of who takes the time and effort to contact me without any pretext.

Funny, you can be a great friend for a long time and during the course of that friendship, you can slough off all the little things that seem to bother you, but when they start to mount and you can't get them off your chest, those little things become the big things and the big things are the friendship deal breakers. One person always having to make the call or send the email is a little-big thing.

I've always said that honesty is the best policy and with such a policy, I've lost a lot of "friends". By "friends" I mean people who blow smoke up my ass and want to be uber-friendly only when they need something from me. Or even greater is the people who say that they love my friendship and my cut-to-the-chase approach with life, until, it applies to them. Yes, yes...when that happens, I know, I know, I'm the bad guy and the "you were supposed to be my friend!" friend. Well...when you're acting like an ass and I apply the same thing that you admire about me to YOU, how does that make me the bad guy? Because I didn't kiss yours ass blindly in the name of being best buds? Guess what? I realize I'm not God or anyone's judge, but I do have a high expectation of my friends to be decent people and act accordingly. How great of a friend am I to sit idly by and let you make an ass out of yourself and a fool out of me?

Don't get me wrong. There are a small handful of friends who are on the same honest page with me and those are the ones who I have known through thick and thin. As for the rest, they say the best rise to the top, but I'm going to choose to see that as the fattiest rise to the top and they are the ones who ultimatley just stick on you and weigh you down until you you run them off!!!

Uuuugggghhh!!!! Ok, well it felt a little bit better to get that one off my chest.

Friday, May 22, 2009


The only life worth living is the one that you're passionate about - Glee


Seriously. I know, I know. My body is trying to tell me to slow down, but really, does it have to feel like I snuffed aerosol roofies everytime I lay down on the couch? This like the 4th time this has happened this week. I literally cannot control my body, move when the phone rings, turn the music off when it starts to blast through the house...I swear, someone put roofies in my couch.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Here I was yesterday thinking that I must have an incredible knack to just piss people off and wondering if I felt bad about that or not. Well, I don't. I've come to realize that I can get pretty nasty if I get pushed hard enough, but for the most part I've just decided that everyone can whatever with their life, but I've just to stopped playing the fake games that everyone else plays. I'm sick of blowing smoke and kissing ass so that I just don't rock the boat. How fitting that the 70-something, 4'10", petite grandma would send me this. She knows. She's the sweetest thing you'll ever meet but she's had the same policy since long before I was on this Earth.


When I stand up for myself and my beliefs,
They call me a

When I stand up for those I love,
They call me a

When I speak my mind, think my own thoughts
Or do things my own way, they call me a bitch.

Being a bitch
Means I won't compromise what's in my heart.
It means I live my life MY way.
It means I won't allow anyone to step on me.

When I refuse to
Tolerate injustice and speak against it,
I am defined as a Bitch.

The same thing happens when I take time for myself instead of being everyone's maid, or when I act a little selfish.

It means I have the courage and strength to allow myself to be who I truly am and won't become anyone else's idea of what they think I "should" be.

I am outspoken, opinionated and determined..I want what I want and there is nothing wrong with that!
So try to stomp on me, just try to douse my inner flame, try to squash every ounce of beauty I hold within me.
You won't succeed..
If that makes me a bitch ,so be it. I embrace the title and am proud to bear it.

B - Babe
I - In
T - Total
C - Control of
H - Herself

B = Beautiful
I = Intelligent
T = Talented
C = Charming
H = Hell of a Woman

B = Beautiful
I = Individual
T = That
C = Can
H = Handle "anything"

Monday, May 18, 2009

WHAT was I thinking?

Really...what was I thinking when I didn't get tickets to Kenny Chesney's Carnival Tour this year?! I have tickets for Nickelback, P!nk, American Idol, and No Doubt...Aerosmith, Pearl Jam, and the Black Eyed Peas are all on the horizon, but there is a significant lack of country in my future. I've gone to see Kenny every summer for the last 3 years. He's one of the Summer Staples in my music world. Scratch that, he's just a staple in my music existence. As I laid on the rug in my living room with my spine stretched across the foam roller prescribed to me by physical therapy, I turned on GAC just in time to have the King of Country woo me through the pain. I don't think that swaying your hips and tapping your feet is something that you're supposed to do when you're stretching your spine, but I could't stop if I wanted to. That sound...that country meets island beat; it makes me happy. That's it. Plain and simple, it just makes me happy. His music makes me infinitely happy. I HAVE to go see him this summer. Live music is my church. It feeds my soul.

Ok, so it's church with Jello shots! Last year's concert at ATT park on the SF Bay was THE best day ever! No lie. The BEST day ever. I have never had a better time at a concert. There's nothing like a country concert tailgate to make great friends and memories. Somewhere in the hot asphault sea of lifted 4x4s and wranglers, a group of girls who just wanted to have fun, made a sign that said "What would you do for a jello shot?" and formed a parade that wound the parking lot in search of victims. Let the insanity ensue and the good times roll. Bonus, this was all before the concert even began. see, I must go again!!!

Ever suck a Jello shot off a shirtless cowboy laying on top of a ping pong table? Yeah, well it looks like this...

For all you non-country fans, I'll share this description of what his music does for me. I'm trying to convince my country-hatin', Floridian friend to go see him with me in Tampa in August.

Its not really like honky tonk country though...and he has fabulous lyrics!!! incredible lyrics. Ok...listen to what he has to say in Be As You Are, Better as a Memory, Beer in Mexico, Something Sexy About the Rain, You Save Me, Freedom... Some People Change makes me want to be a better person.

Some of his tunes make me all romatical...I love them. I want to cruise along the coastline in a convertible on a warm summer night listening to his tunes. It's not like humpy humperson music though...I don't want to get sand in my crack or nothing. I just want to like slow dance with a hot man on a pier somewhere. :)

Be like Nike

...and Just Do It! Right? Ok, so I was eating a glorious piece of Dove dark chocolate tonight at work and I always look forward to the special meaning printed on the wrappers. This was was mine tonight.

Duh! I was JUST sitting there wondering what it was that I was going to get my friend in Hawaii who's birthday I've known for 20 years and still manage to miss every year. That whole ship-it-across-the-pacific always manages to throw a kink in things. With my message from Dove and a call to 1-8oo-flowers later, I sent my bestest, longest lasting (known her since I was 8) friend surprise flowers that she'll get tomorrow! Who doesn't love flowers and bonus (!) that is something that I have NEVER gotten her in the course of our friendship. Those presents are getting fewer and farther between now. Score, thanks Dove. So this is what it's like to shop like a man, huh? How easy...

What else...well you know that bucket list that I always have roaming around in the back of my mind, that one item "learn to play the guitar". Yeah, I'm a few steps closer to checking that one off. I am surrounded by some great musicians here at work. My favorite redheaded cop is a great guitarist. Call it a few cases of Coronas later and I might even be a musican myself. Can you imagine such a thing? For all of my 20s I've been saying that some day I'll learn how to pick up a guitar and make it sing. Well, my day, you're not so wiley now, are ya? We're gonna be meeting here real soon.

Yeah, that's right. Just do it.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Lay flat to dry

Maybe I read waaay too much into stuff. Maybe not. Today at 2pm Pacific time I knocked over a big glass of water into a pile of pictures that I had recently pulled out to reminise over. These things have been in a plastic rubbermaid box for 8 years. Funny, as of just a few days ago I was supposed to be spending the exact time (5pm Eastern) catching up and having a drink with the exact person who was in all of those pictures. Strange?...fate? Weird. I don't know. It caught my attention though. Just all to conicidental. Maybe I'm just weird. Who knows...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Parental lawnchairs

It's Summer. Well not officially for over a month according the the calendar, but everyone knows that the thermometer is the deciding factor in the seasons. Summer has arrived full force with all 100+ degress in tow. On my way out the door for another social event filled day off, I caught my dad mid conversation talking to an old family friend. To "catch" my dad in coversation isn't saying much. You couldn't "miss" the hearing-impared bellow of my dad's voice if you tried. Believe me, as a 7+ year shift worker right now on graveyard, I try to miss his loud voice every chance I get. His 30+ years of construction work sans earplugs coupled with the fact that he's going to be 70 this year, means that everyone can hear him. All. The. Time.

I caught the tail end of a sentence today and it made me stop in the hallway to hear the rest of what he was saying. He was talking about me. Not unusal, but it was what he was saying. He was telling his friend of 30+ years that he's earned a new appreciation for me. Not that parents shouldn't be impressed with their kids, but you figure that by the time they make it to adulthood, parents just sit back in the parental lawn chairs of life and merely observe once their kids get past 25ish. Back to what he was was something like this, "that girl is always moving, travelling, in and out of the house, and working all kinds of hours. I know she's sharp and keeps busy, but I've gotten a new appreciation for her just recently. She's so invovled with the officer's union and the talks to keep officer's jobs with the city council. She explained an article in the paper to me the other day and she spoke so quicky and had so much data, I really was impressed with her. One of these days she is going to make a great political leader."


That's a big deal. I know my dad is proud of me and even told my boss during an award's ceremony that his biggest accomplishments in life were his children, but to hear it in casual conversation when he knew no one was listening, that was pretty damned cool. Although it's great to hear it when it comes, I don't live my life looking for praise. My dad and I have a rocky relationship. I suspect it's because we're so much alike.

I had another pretty remarkable compliment sent to me last week from my ex-boyfriend's mother. Her and I always got along and somewhere in my moving on and trying to mend a broken heart, we lost touch. Like most great mothers out there, she has a mother's love for her children which you cannot compare to any other. I have more recently come to appreciate what that really means with my mother and especially with watching my friend's who have their own children. It doesn't matter how old you are, you're always someone's baby. When I told her I was surprised that she even remembered me from 8 years ago, this is what she had to say:

I remember talking to you right after 9/11 when Travis was on his way up to NY to try to help out. I was really scared for him then, I knew he would put himself in harms way if he had to just so he could help out.
It was good to have you to talk to then because you understood exactly what I was afraid of.

They always say that nothing compares to a mother's love, so even being on the same playing field with how she felt that day was a big deal for me to read all these years later. I guess I appreciate her for knowing how much I really loved her son even if it seemed like he didn't.

Parents are just people too.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Listen to your heart

I'm on day 2 of 3 days off in a row with NO agenda, no travel plans, nothing. I went to the gym this morning, caught up on some tv, and took an nap. It's gone up 8 degrees since I've been asleep. It's not even noon yet...I want to do something great today. What?

A Roxette remake is playing right now. Listen to your heart. Well, I want to go see the water, I'd go to the beach but I can't get there and back by my 6:30 pedicure appointment with my best friend. Actually want to go walk across the Golden Gate Bridge at night...can yo do that at night? Is there some kind of of suicidal prevention barrier up? I've never done it. I was going to a couple of weeks ago and I was too tired. I think that would be something great to do with today.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

my daily checklist


"If Today Was Your Last Day"

My best friend gave me the best advice
He said each day's a gift and not a given right
Leave no stone unturned, leave your fears behind
And try to take the path less traveled by
That first step you take is the longest stride

If today was your last day
And tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past
Donate every dime you have?
If today was your last day

Against the grain should be a way of life
What's worth the prize is always worth the fight
Every second counts 'cause there's no second try
So live like you'll never live it twice
Don't take the free ride in your own life

If today was your last day
And tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past
Donate every dime you have?
Would you call old friends you never see?
Reminisce old memories
Would you forgive your enemies?
Would you find that one you're dreamin' of?
Swear up and down to God above
That you finally fall in love
If today was your last day

If today was your last day
Would you make your mark by mending a broken heart?
You know it's never too late to shoot for the stars
Regardless of who you are
So do whatever it takes
'Cause you can't rewind a moment in this life
Let nothin' stand in your way
Cause the hands of time are never on your side

If today was your last day
And tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?

Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past
Donate every dime you have?
Would you call old friends you never see?
Reminisce old memories
Would you forgive your enemies?
Would you find that one you're dreamin' of?
Swear up and down to God above
That you finally fall in love
If today was your last day

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

let your ideas take flight

This is what we call conception...of an idea. I've had an image swirling around in my head for months now. I'm not a great artist, but I have a great creative idea of what I want to get done. I'm itching for some ink.

In search of...

Something is amiss...something in my universe just isn't right. I'm itching for something, but I don’t know what it is. A change of pace, a risk, a tattoo...something. I guess it's pretty strange for me to ask for a change of pace when my pace is always going, going, going but I think that maybe I'm always seeking, seeking, seeking. What am I trying to figure out?

This picture that I took in Miami recently just happens to go with my feeling about my little universe. I have tiny, little moments of clarity when it seems like I've broken even with things and I can cool my jets a little, but those are few and far between. Do I need a challenge? Do I need a direction? Do I need a boyfriend?...that certianly would stir the pot and give me something to try and figure out.

On the topic of boyfriends, an old one came up recently. Maybe that's what's shaking up my little world? Quite a few years have slipped by since I had any serious thought of him...seemed like it had been long enough to let it all go and see if he wanted to catch up for a drink, but that plan quickly fell through. Funny the things you remember when you dig into your past. I literally dug into a blueberry candle scented box full of my past last night. I'm more of a packrat than I care to admit - I had every little letter, picture, present, card, phone number, receipt from dinners out, ev-a-rah-thang! from what seems like a lifetime ago. Who was that girl? I recognize her hand writing and her sense of humor, but I have a hard time grasping the dizzing, diabetic-coma-inducing gushings on and on about how in love she was.

I guess I'm in some conundrum about figuring how I got from there to here and what it all means to me in the long run. I've been reflecting on a lot in the last few days. Enough to stir a ripple in my place in time right now.

I'm just babbling now to myself really...*sigh*. It's never what it seems, is it?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Good Morning Sunshine

Two night's ago, with time racing away from us while we sat curbside face planted in 3 of the biggest cocktail glasses I've ever seen, a plan started to formulate with me as the sober driver at the healm. I got about an inch into my drink and called it quits.

When we finally found an open parking garage in South Beach, the valet, in broken-English, said "5am? That's OK?" "Of Course! We won't probably be out past 3," we all said in unison. Little did we know.

It was 3:30 and we still had 2 shots and 1 large drink to go...literally to-go. It was 4am before we found our way to the water, and that left us just an hour to wander back and find the car at 5am. At 4:22, ankle deep in the Atlantic, it was a beautiful 77*, but it was time to get 4 drunk legs to find a way to follow my 2 sober ones back across quite a few blocks and alley ways to the parking lot.

With another 35 miles back to the hotel, it occured to me that the sun was coming up soon and it had been far too long since I sat back and enjoyed that sight early in the morning. Not to mention that I was going to be watching the sunrise on the East Coast after a great night out with one of my oldest friends and one of my newest friends.

The real bait was getting the drunk monkeys to stay out with me and the 4-some that the sunrise would make. Never fear, Dunkin' Donuts is here. Half a dozen later and 3 cups of coffee, we were wandering down the sand dunes to the surf.

I must have taken 150 pictures of the sun rising up above the water and splitting through the clouds...I couldn't put the camera down. It was like an early morning Sunday Sermon standing there caught up in the cresting of the waves and the orange glow on the blue water. You just can't miss moments like this.

Just about 4 hours later, I found myself watching the sun from 40,000 feet in the air thinking, "I saw this thing come out of the ocean and now I'm gonna follow it home and watch it set in my sky." I was literally racing the sunlight.

I've seen plenty of sunrises in my late night professional and social schedule, but there are a few that really stand out. This is definitely one of them.

Conversations with my 13 year old self

I sometimes wonder what a conversation would look like between the 13-year-old-me, the 19-year-old-me, and the me that is typing this question at almost 28. I hope that that little girl would trust me when I told her it's all going to be completley different when she gets older. I hope the 19-year-old-me would believe me when I tell her that her bravery will carry her farther in life than what's imprinted on her ticket.

I wonder if each of them would be proud to be the person that the older one turned out to be?

I worry that I don't learn from life's lessons and I don't put the right priorities straight in life, but then I think of what that 13-year-old-me used to think I would be at this age I am now. Although it's not what she pictured, I know it's exactly what it's supposed to be.

I guess when it come's to taking advantage of the opportunites to experience life and making my own path, I feel like I owe it to each of those girls to do right by them. Strange to talk about myself in the 3rd person, but it helps me wrap my mind around being true to myself.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A mama's day story

This is the last call of my 10 hour shift. Mind you it's 4am…

"Vacaville Police and Fire, this is Lauren."

"Hi, I have kind of a funny issue. My son found a baby possum earlier and he put it in a hamster cage outside so we could take it to the SPCA tomorrow. Now I have like 10 adult possums trying to break into my house. I guess the mom came back with a whole pack and they're trying to get the baby back. They're trying to get into the cage to get it and now they're banging at my door. They tried to attack me when I opened it. I can't get out of my house. What do I do?"

Well first off, don't ever mess with a mama!!!

Happy Mother's day!

Who farted?

Déjà Vu doesn’t even begin to cover it. I’ve been involved in more take-offs and landings in the last few weeks than I can count on two hands. I’m still trying to finish the same book I started a month ago and steadfastly listening to my favorite songs over and over on my ipod. I think I’m even wearing the same sweater and flops: my easy-on, easy-off, quasi-strip search, going to the security gate is like a bad date, traveling uniform. I know the drill by now. I can’t take complete credit for this next comedic account of what runs through my mind - Patti Digh wrote a story about the safety seat pocket cartoon characters and it got me to thinking during my never ending take off experiences. I stopped looking at the handy chart in the seat back pocket and watching the flight attendant safety dance charade years ago, but I do try and listen to them from time to time; especially since take off is during that electronics lockdown part of the flight and there’s nothing else of interest going on. This is how seriously I take my safety...

As the redheaded stewardess explained “in the event of a water evacuation, you may use your seat cusion as a flotaion device.” I laughed outloud. I know how many times my personal backside has been semi-comfortably plopped down in an airline seat over the course of my last 15 years of avid traveling, but I could never even being to grasp the exorbitant number of asses that have worn the leather of the seat cusions that I am supposed to carry to my watery grave. In Karma’s true form, right across from me is a white haired man, about 65 years old and about 6’5” wearing a bright red polo shirt and jogging shorts ensemble circa 1970’s tennis courts. John Mcenroe eat your heart out. Yes, there are approximately 45 inches of legs crammed into his seat and about 3 inches of shorts covering what remains. I noticed him in the terminial before he boarded, and thought “who the hell wears booty shorts on a plane?” Of course he’s my neighbor now, 'cause that’s what Karma does to me. It’s like that time when I was making fun of the midget on the beach in Waikiki and then he came over and asked me out on a date for “waaaaay after dinner.” That’s another story and I digress.

My point is legitimate. These seats are exposed to a lot of ass. In rawhide's case over there in 10D, its ass and a lot of hairy old leg. Really, now that I am finally paying attention to the safety instructions, all I could think of was I hope I don’t have to smell years worth of farts soaked into my seat cusion while I cling on to this pizza box sized pillow, dodging sharks in ocean and crying S.O.S. in hopes that the Coast Guard will drop a rescue diver out of the sky.

Welcome to the world inside my head...when the worst you come up with in the-life-or-death-plane-into-the-ocean scenario is your intolerance to rancid flatulence, you’re either really in tune with the universe or really in denial. I don’t know what is worse.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Don't call me Little Miss Muffett

Funny things happen when you work graveyard shift. This is one of them pulled straight from the email I sent to my co-workers before the end of the shift.

This thing was crawling on my phone monitor and then it stopped and looked right at me with its beady little eyes and then melissa hit it with a rolled up oriental trading company catalog and then we thought it died cause there were guts but then we saw it like 5 minutes later making webs up on the door monitor screen so she hit it again an it like aircoasted down to the counter and she had to hit it like 6 times to totally kill it. Seriously though, it looked at me.

For the record, I'm pretty resiliant when it comes to bugs and bug like things. I won't scream, run, throw up, rash up, or grab people. I won't act like a sissy woman and it pretty much nuts me up when other sissy women act like sissy women when there is both me and a bug in the general vicinity. Now jumping bugs and bug like things...oh no. Now that is a different topic. Things just shouldn't be jumping.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Life is a highway

Yesterday was a fabulous day! Not to be undone by the backwoods Deliverace tour of the Santa Rosa Hills and Bennett Valley or the 6-hour-side-of-the-2-lane-highway occupation somewhere in Napa and Marin counties, I started my afternoon in St. Helena in the drizziling grey afternoon and ended atop the 11-story Macy's in Union Square on a beautiful mid 60's breezeless night. It was literally a jump in the car and go! kind of day. I haven't really had a day that was free of an agenda in a long time. I feel like I'm always on a deadline to get somewhere. Oh, wait, I am.

My navigator and good friend, Kelly, kept me company all along the way, sang with me, talked a mess about the fool-acting people we both know, caught me up on her life, listened to my rants and raves, and just shared a great adventure with me. Blindly following my trusty GPS along the highways and backroads of Northern California proved to be an beautiful, unseen adventure that has literally been just in my backyard all this time. Somewhere on the way to visit my Aunt at Casa Whitaker atop the Santa Rosa Hills, we followed the purple line of my Garmin Nuvi and ended up smack dab in the middle of the mother of all closed road detours. About 15 hair-pin twisted miles prior to that point, we found ourselves on a 1-lane bridge in the misty fog covered trees. You don't have to be an avid sci-fi movie fan to appreciate the beauty and mysticalness (yeah, I don't think that's a word either) of blakets of fog. It's really a beautiful thing.

Looking up through the sunroof at the canopy of trees.

Even though I struggled to keep my eyes open on the drive home, I was really happy with my carefree, adventurous day. It was good for my psyche and my soul. I think I could use more of those. I'll have to put those up near the top of my agenda from here on out. "Life is a highway, I wanna ride it all night long...yeah, yeah, yeah."

Conspiracy theory

Seriously, it is all a conspiracy. Really? Hmm....

You can choose not to trust anyone in life but in that you loose a part of your human-ness. I don't have the time or the finger strength to get into the depth of what is actually behind this, but it's interesting that it all comes back around no matter how you slice it. Saying that you can never trust anyone is shirking your responsibility to being the owner of your own actions in life. Sure there are plenty of people who are to not be trusted, but the writing is usually on the wall with them. As far as the other select few, it has been my experience that there are people who will stick with you through thick and thin. Don't be fooled though...those are not the same people as the ones who excuse your vile and vicious behaviors just because you are "friends". I expect my friends to tell me when I am beyond reason and just simply wrong. That is a friend. That is someone you can trust. A friend like that is a good friend wether you talk to them once a day or once a year. Anyone else who blindly excuses your behavior without the forethough of what the consequences might bring, is blowing smoke up your ass. Really, if you want a friend like that, join a gang.

Since the beginning of time we have all decided that we are the other's judge, jury, and executioner when really we are none to judge. I have found that my good, true, lifetime friends have never judged me personally for my actions. It's one thing to judge the actions themselves, and quite another to judge the person. I say I believe in God and Karma when I say wholeheartedly that we all will be made to answer for our decisions. Don't get me wrong, I'm no saint when it comes to learning the hard way what it is to have and be a friend. I've crossed the line when it comes to openly judging people close to me but I am slowly learning my mistakes in that. It's a hard pill to swallow, but friendships constantly evolve, grow, and fade away with regularity but such is the course of life. Some friends are for a lifetime, some are just for a season. When I find myself reminiscing or regretting current and former friendships, I have to remind myself of that fact.

Really, in any relationship, there's always risk, but risk is part of reward. Like with lovers and old flames, with friendships you are better to have had it and lost it than to have never taken the risk at all. To have a good friend, you have to be a good friend and good friendships, like love, make the way of life easier and more enjoyable. I'll toast to that.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Walk the Walk

This is an email from a very close friend an co-worker about an event that will forever be in my heart. In the midst of this day, it became very clear to me that I was in the process of doing one of the greatest things I've ever done. I can try and write about what my experience was during this day, but she has said it better than I ever can. Her words are priceless and the pictures are worth a thousand words.

There are a few moments in our lives where we become the witnesses to the generosity of the human sprit and the will to do good; to give back with out the expectation of return and to feel and see the true joy that comes from giving. On Sunday April 26 your peers, your friends, co workers, neighbors whichever title held, walked a walk to the City of Oakland with the hope that their physical challenge and steps would bring some monetary and emotional support to the families of Oakland's Fallen Four. I have searched for the words to describe this event and these extraordinary people; who set aside their lives and families and with amazing grace and huge hearts embraced this opportunity to "Confidently Step Ahead".

Along the way we were met by people who wished us well, guided us with directions, cheered us on, offered words of support and thank you. There were lines of fire trucks and police cars who made our path safe and straight for miles and miles, each taking their turn at every city boundary. Each welcoming or sending us off with their huge smiles, warm hand shakes and a few tears, a gift I am sure most will have recorded on their hearts forever. Fire stations became havens for rest, stretching and replenishment of food and water. All of the people who cared for us along the way, made our food and provided us with everything needed to complete the walk were seamless and timeless - they were always available, always smiling and wonderful, a well of encouragement. 50 miles may seem an incredibly long way to most, to us at times as well. But those miles passed by with stories exchanged, friendships strengthening, new friends made. Tons of laughter and jokes. Beautiful scenery, a new adventure around every corner. While just in the heated 30 something mile of trekking a happy boisterous group of Vacaville Firefighters with their wives came pouring out of a local establishment, sharing hugs and high 5's, we laughed heart felt laughter!! It was a wonderful funny few minutes they continued to support us along the way in a similar fashion. It was needed! A mother and daughter who are from this county, were so touched by the event that they not only gave monetarily but followed the entire race from beginning to end, cheering us on. That is how they felt they could help. It was humbling, just when another step could not be taken, there was a gentle lift that carried your feet another few steps. There are endless stories.

At the end of the walk just at the city limit sign for Oakland, I glanced over my shoulder, to the faces of this team- gone were the signs of fatigue and concrete expressions of determination replaced by huge smiles, hands held tightly together, shoulders interlocked and emotions of joy and elation. I felt in my heart the presence those brave 4 walking above us on that brilliant Golden Beat. I know they were smiling down having protected our way, walking right along beside us and crossing right over the into the Oakland city limits-with all of us.

I thank you for reading this email. It has been on my heart to share with you a little something about your extraordinary partners and the legacy that they created that day.

Stay safe,

The Beginning @ Vacaville @ 0300 hours due east 50 miles of our target, Oakland.

Our neighbors in Blue Fairfield PD had their entire graveyard shift out in force to meet the team in the early morning hours.

Fairfield Dayshift ready to see us out of their city and onto the Bay Area.
Over the Bridge into Contra Costa County

Tending to the war wounds.

Marching through Pinole in the early afternoon.

On through Hercules...

El Cerrito was out in force, sponsored us and got us through their city safely, blocking streets and keeping traffic at a slow pace.

Stopping to meet with Contra Costa Fire...

San Pablo welcomed us with smiles

Richmond Fire stuck with us for a long time...

Oakland Fire Department leading the welcome parade

Berkley and Oakland walking us in...

Made it safe, sound 17 hours later through 15 cites and 3 counties to be forever touched by this day.

Raised over $12,000 for the families of the officers.

A highlight of a young career.