Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Thursday, December 14, 2006
So each day must have things done.
Yesterday was mostly unproductive on my part. Normy and the girls did get the tree decorated and all the interior lights up. I will put my snowmen on the mantel sometime today. I will be baking the cookies I didn't bake yesterday after I'm done blogging.
Why was I a slug? I think I have a pretty good excuse. I put a bad guy in jail yesterday morning.
I was just running over to the scrapbook store behind the house to get some colored paper to run through the printer so I can print up the recipe cards for these cookies cause I'm baking them for a cookie exchange and the recipe is part of the exchange. It was to take me MAYBE 15 minutes.... even allowing for time to chat with my neighbor who works there. I left about 9:45. I got home at about 12:45. Considerably longer than I had planned. Add in the adreneline dump that I had and I was wiped out.
As I entered the traffic circle on my street, I noticed what appeared to some idjit driving with most of his body out of his car. As I thought it was entirely possible that Darwin would be in action and this idiot would fall out of his car, I looked to see if any more cars were entering the circle.
I saw what appeared to be a woman lying in the street. Cars were pulling over. I saw one man jump out of his truck and run towards her. I KNEW that idjit had something to do with it and I took off after him. At this point I could see he wasn't IN the car, but ON the car. Sitting, with legs outside, on the window 'sill' of the driver's side. They continued south for a bit and I grabbed my cell phone and called 911, pulled a receipt out of my console and the pen I keep there just in case. The car stopped and I stopped behind it. I left plenty of room to maneuver if I needed to. He walked around the back and stood there saying SOMETHING to me. I don't know what. Don't care either. At that point another car pulled up and the woman in the car said "Are you getting that plate?! Hey I know you!" and then she flipped a U-turn and took off. By this time the guy was in the car and they were driving away. I took off after them. I wanted to be able to give the 911 operator a location. After a few turns I lost them in the residential area of curvy streets.
When I got to EGPD (after first getting CHP) I gave the plate and I heard her say to someone in the room "NO. This one is a WITNESS." I was reporting a "possible hit and run... I don't know what happened exactly". Then I returned to the scene.
Those who had stopped had gotten her out of the street and she was on the grass on the side of the road. She wasn't moving when I first saw her, but as I got closer she started moving around. By the time I got to her she wanted to get up. She was frantic. She didn't know what had happened. She wanted to know where her daughter was. I was able to get her name and her daughter's name from her. She couldn't remember how old her daughter was. Two? Three? She couldn't remember for sure. She asked over and over and over again what had happened. I didn't know. I was starting to figure it out from what the others were saying. My neighbor around the corner was there and was the woman in the other car. We figured it out pretty quickly once we could think a second. She and I were the only ones that got a good look at that guy.
I tried to hold the young woman still. She told me her name was Carrie. I didn't know how badly she was hurt. She had some very bad 'road rash' on the side of her face and on her hands. I could tell she had a concussion from her inability to process and remember that she was hurt. I told her she had fallen down and just needed to be still and she would be just fine.
Paramedics arrived and apparently thought I knew what had happened. They asked me all the questions. I had precious few answers. But told them she couldn't remember the answers to her questions for more than about 15 seconds.
A EGPD officer arrived shortly thereafter and was shocked that there were so many witnesses. My neighbor and I told her we had the license plate of the car. She said "Yea, we know who he is." Oh. OK. Apparently it was helpful that I got that license plate reported quickly.
She called for more officers to interview the witnesses. I believe their were 7 of us. At least 7. That man in the truck I saw in the beginning. It ends up he's just 24 and was driving in the opposite direction. He saw Carrie and that guy in a heated argument and turned around to see if she needed help. Another woman was rolling down her window to ask the same question. Another woman saw him hit her. Another saw him get her in a headlock and they all saw him throw her into the street. Throw her hard enough to take the skin off the side of her face and the palms on her hands. In my non-medical opinion, she looked to have 2nd degree type burns. He threw her right in front of the young man's truck. He nearly hit her.
All who stopped had seen the assault. Most were on their way somewhere. My neighbor had a plane to catch. The young man was the only one, besides me, who really didn't have to be somewhere. He was on his way home from work. We were all interviewed. They finally got to me and took my receipt for new house keys (see the garage door posts... the girls needed keys since the garage door wouldn't open for them) with my license plate scribblings. It is now evidence.
The officer that interviewed me asked me to describe the man I saw. I gave my best guess on height based on his relationship to the car. His race was not clear. He struck me as not particularly Caucasian, but maybe Hispanic.... but really possibly more like some sort of combination. His hair wasn't LONG....but not short. Rather shaggy. He didn't have a beard or a goatee.... but he wasn't clean shaven either. He was wearing a sweatshirt... probably a hoodie. I think. Probably...yea. Brownish...gray. I think kind of a heathered brown. Couldn't tell ya about his pants. I wanted to say "jeans" but I have no clear recollection of his pants. Except that he was wearing pants as I was not under the impression he was pants-less.
The officer asked me if I could identify the man I saw.
Absolutely. He stood there for a extraordinarily long time under the circumstances. Someone obviously unclear on the concept of getting away unidentified.
My neighbor and I met two officers at a local coffee house so we could leave our personal vehicles there while the took us to where they were holding the suspect. A "show up" as it is called. In separate cars, sitting in the backseat (I was given the option of the front seat, but it would be harder for the suspect to see me if I was in the back), I was to see if I could identify him as "the guy".
As soon as he got out of the police car he was in, I knew it was him. He was wearing a black t-shirt and his hair was different. Buzzed. But it was him. The second I said "that's him", the officer I was with put the car in reverse and got me out of there.
When we got back to the coffee house, my neighbor and I made the same observation. "His hair was shaggier." We used the same word, even. Shaggy.
I fully expect to be called to testify if there is a trial. Which is fine. I have no problem with that.
I am very proud of my neighbors. The people who live and work and shop in this neighborhood. They stopped. They tried to help. At least two of them were willing to intervene on behalf of a young woman in trouble. I wish I had gotten the name of that young man. His parents should be proud.
And now I must do yesterday's and today's To Do's.
I think I'm gonna need a full pot of coffee today.
If I'm gonna be able to get my car out of aforementioned garage.
Yep. Damn if that door ain't heavy..... And boy am I glad I've been weight training.
How long it's gonna take for the garage door people who put a sticker on our garage door to come out to fix the spring on the garage door.
Wednesday. Only one full day without an operating garage door. Excellent. Especially considering the inclement weather.
Why a large explosion of metal didn't cause anyone except me & Kait to wonder what the hell that noise was.
How much a new monster spring on a garage door is gonna cost.
How much having someone come and install said spring on said garage door is gonna cost.
$99 for parts AND labor. Again with the "excellent".
How much more room is on my To Do list.
See next entry.....
Monday, December 11, 2006
Is that big spring necessary for the garage door to work AT ALL?
If I'm gonna be able to get my car out of aforementioned garage.
How long it's gonna take for the garage door people who put a sticker on our garage door to come out to fix the spring on the garage door.
Why a large explosion of metal didn't cause anyone except me & Kait to wonder what the hell that noise was.
How much a new monster spring on a garage door is gonna cost.
How much having someone come and install said spring on said garage door is gonna cost.
How much more room is on my To Do list.
2. The last book I read was: "Read" implies finished. Can't remember last finished... Started Wicked a while ago. Haven't finished it and it's been so long I have to start over.
3. The last book I bought was: Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama
4. The last cd I bought was: Don't buy CD's.
5. Another CD I wanted but didn't buy is: Still don't buy CD's.
6. Right now, I'm wearing: Jeans, turtleneck, Danskos, proper undergarments.
7. The last gift I bought was: I can't POST that....
8. The last time I laughed heartily and loudly: Today. Reading a thread on ScrapShare. It cracked me right up.... but it's location humor so I won't bother directing you to the thread cause you had to be there.
9. My favorite holiday ornament is: Hmmm... so many to choose from. Maybe my Santa head. It certainly has a special place in my heart.....
10. My house smells like: Right now, nothing. Soon: Del Taco.
11. The first thing on my to-do list tomorrow is: Go to gym. Take kids to school. Figure out what else on the list to tackle.
12. If I could sit on Santa's lap and believe that he'd bring me whatever toy I wished for, I'd ask for: MacBook Pro 17".
13. If I could holiday shop in ONE store, all expenses paid, I'd shop at: I have to go with Amazon. Amazon has EVERYTHING.
14. If an angel alighted on my doorstep today and said, "I'm here to grant a Christmas wish," I'd wish for: Peace. In every way.....
15. When I see a bell ringer while out shopping, I: am tempted to tell them that I'd pay them to stop that infernal ringing.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Everyone, employer related, now knows that Norm will be leaving his company shortly. They also know that he will be joining the company that out bid (or underbid, depending on how you look at that) his company for the job they have been doing for the past 4+ years.
The Big Boss will make these next 2 weeks as miserable as she possibly can, of this I am sure. So far, so good. She found out yesterday morning and as of this writing, he has not heard from her. But there is a big meeting on Monday......
My boss said "Maybe she's glad to see him go." Maybe. But I rather doubt it. Sure.... she's been wanting to fire him every 6 months or so. But he works cheap and does a good job and makes her look good. He's also a couple months short of 10 years and she's supposed to retain long term employees. Orders from higher up. On the downside, no company logo toaster oven for us. Gosh. Darn. You know....as a reward for reaching 10 years with the company....
I am of the opinion that when she starts snarking at him he needs to look her in the eye and simply say "Hey... it was an offer I couldn't refuse. They offered me more money and the client asked for me by name. More money AND appreciation. How could I possibly say no?" Since she had been exceedingly stingy with both. Example: (not that I'm bitter, cause that would make it worse.) Norm saved the client several million dollars. As an "atta boy" Big Boss gave him a $25 gift card to a restaurant that both requires more than $25 for a single meal AND is not located in our town. Millions of dollars saved and here... take a bit off your dinner bill.
Maybe he ought to include it in a "It was swell working for you Big Boss" card.
Ironically, the Home Office people have been effusive in their praise. He actually saved them about $20K the other day. They LOVE him. His supervisor is sad and disappointed that he is leaving.
So who is this new company? Norm will now be working for a start up company. It's small. Very. Very. Small. They go by the ever so clever name of Norm Daley, Inc. He will contract with them for his services. Another company will pay the Inc. We have drawn a picture so we can keep track of who is paying whom. But yes.... He is now self-employed. His contract is for one year. He may become a regular employee at the end of that year. He might not. A bridge to be crossed at that time.
It will be a new adventure.... We feel good about this. Eliminating the soul sucking boss is the best part of all.
Monday, December 04, 2006
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
And Rumsfeld tendered his resignation hours after the almost final results are in (the Senate balance is yet to be determined at this writing). It's early afternoon in Washington DC the day after the election and a successor has been named. I can only conclude they were prepared for these results. I'm not sure what to make of that. It is, at the very least, interesting.
Back to local politics.....
In 2000 the people decided that the area of Sacramento County known as "Elk Grove" ought to become their own city. In 2000 there were 60,000 - odd people in that area. Now there are 130,000 or so. Fastest growing city in the country we are. Back in 2000 we elected 5 people to the City Council. They have all been re-elected once.
Four years ago a civil campaign was run by all. Right up until the Saturday before election day when nasty mailers were delivered on behalf of an incumbant. His opponant had no time to answer the charges. It was that day that he forever lost my vote. I wasn't going to vote for him then anyway. I was going to vote for his opponant because I had been pleased with his work on another elected body and thought he was a better choice.
Two years ago when the other 'half' of the council (we have a 2 - 3 split...) was up for re-election, it was nasty. I blame Dan Briggs. He stooped down and picked up the mud his feet were mired in and started throwing it. The other three followed. Unfortunately, the other three were re-elected because there were so many others on the ballot and they split the vote. I don't really consider 30%-40% of the vote a "win", but it was the highest percentage and so they "won".
Yesterday Dan Briggs only got 30% of the vote. I don't know much about the guy who won (and who I voted for). But other than "funded by developers", I never heard anything that caused me to have any second thoughts. And in many ways, it wasn't a vote FOR but a vote against. I am more inclined to vote for Arnold Schwartzenegger than Dan Briggs....
In two years the other three will be up for re-election. They should be worried about keeping their seats. I think they grossly underestimated how angry the community is over a single vote. It might not seem like a big deal, but it was symptomatic over how out of touch those five people had become in the short time they have been a city council. The Elk Grove Auto Mall simply does not need a big electronic sign on the freeway to advertise their presence. What they NEED is better public relations. They can do that by insisting that their dealers be more responsive to the customer. (we didn't buy our new VW there when we were told they didn't want to look for the car we wanted for us. Ok then......) (and we are not alone) But after a hefty "donation" to the city, the sign was approved. Most citizen think that all those cars lined up along the freeway says "cars are sold here". But apparently we were mistaken.
Politics are more local than the politicians like to think. We bear grudges. A single error can be unforgiveable. Repeated errors, hubris and arrogance will be remembered. We think we have a short attention span. We often do on surprisingly important ideas. But repetition will eventually get through our collective thick skulls. Admittedly that sets the politicos up for a fall. We don't hold them accountable for the first 'bad acts'. Then we slam them when we finally get fed up.
Which is why all politics are local. Because it doesn't matter if it's a stupid electronic sign at the city limits or a war on the other side of the world. Screw up enough, we'll remember at the polls and make changes here to make changes there. We might hate the idea of a gaudy sign being the first impression of our city. Or maybe we've buried too many of our young people fighting a war in the desert. But it all comes down to how it affects the "me". The "us". When we have to avert our eyes from the glare of the sign in the night or sit with a friend who's daughter just came home in a flag draped casket....
They think it isn't personal.
They are wrong.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
So here's today's thinking exercise:
Connect THIS dot, with THIS one, and THIS one, and THIS one (which I like to call: Keith can count, Tony cannot).
And then watch this and wonder how stupid the current administration thinks you are...
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Which means the Apple warehouse put them on a FedEx truck. To go to an airport. To fly to Memphis. To be put on a truck to go to the FedEx Hub. To be sorted at the FedEx hub. To be put on another truck. To go to the Memphis airport. To fly to an airport. To be put on a FedEx truck. To be delivered to my house.
That's a LONG trip to get to my house.
7 miles from the Apple Warehouse.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
It cracks us up, the grownups around here.
Emma didn't see why we thought it was funny. So I explained. I told her it's funny to parents because it happens to us all. the. time. Our children are telling us Important Things but it's really not much of anything but we feel obligated to listen anyway.
I could tell she still didn't get it.
Then we went to JoAnn's for Halloween paraphanalia. Only one register open and it was a return without a receipt. There was a Young Girl about age 3 with Mom With No Receipt. Young Girl zeroed in on Emma as her target.
Emma was polite and made the right noises. "uh huh. oh. uh huh." I really didn't pay attention. I'm waiting. to. pay.
We get in the car and Emma says "Now I know what you meant about little kids who talk to you and don't really say anything."
She UNDERSTANDS now. She didn't say anything about stopping this habit herself...
Monday, October 16, 2006
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
There are tar pits out there much like those that tricked those ice age animals. They are just as deceiving. They disguise themselves as a place to soothe the soul. To find comfort and nourishment. In reality, they are a tar pit.
I have encountered, rather suddenly, a series of tar pits. Not for me, but for others. At first I thought they were just wallowing in self pity and martyrdom. I rolled my eyes in disgust. I passed them off with a "what the f-ever". But I realize now that they have encountered a tar pit.
Sadly, these tar pits are just as deadly as those 25,000 years ago in what is now Los Angeles. They have found places that appear to comfort and soothe, but in reality are literally sucking the life out of them.
Some of them arrive at the tar pit with the same need, some different. Well, I suppose they all have the same need. They each have a different genesis. But they gather together, huddle close and confirm their wounds one to another. They dwell. They rehash. They commiserate.
I understand it's natural to "be" in that bad place for a time. It's how we cope and process. Nor can I impose an arbitrary time limit on someone else's angst. But when they gather together and reinforce the angst and keep ripping at the scab. It never heals. It never forms the tough scar tissue that, while always with you, allows you to move on.
Each one of us has scars that have shaped who we are. Usually we become stronger people. Sometimes we become less able to cope. I have watched those who are able to face adversity and tragedy and grow stronger. I have watched those who are given adversity and become jello. I want to take the jello people and shake them. Not to watch them jiggle, but to shake some sense into them.
Getting stuck is a death sentence for them as sure as it was for the Mastadon and Shasta Ground Sloth. But instead of being attacked by Dire Wolves, they are prey to their souls. They are more likely to get sick. Stress breeds illness. Being stuck in a stressful situation wears on the body as well as the soul. Sometimes people literally die of a broken heart.
I wonder if I am doing them a favor by facilitating the wallowing. Where is the line between being supportive and picking the scab? I try to take to take my lead from the person in question. But I wonder if that is the right course of action. Is there a time to say "Snap out of it!" ??
I haven't had Great Tragedy occur to me in my life. I have, however, had events in my life that I could still be stuck in like the bubbling asphalt in downtown Los Angeles (it's really asphalt, not actual tar). I have moved on and have been asked HOW I could. How could I cope? I've always said "I had no choice." because I always felt I actually had no choice. Life went on and so must I. It never occurred to me until fairly recently I could choose to stay in that place. I never could see what the point of being stuck would be, exactly. Why would I want to stay in that bad place? It made no sense. Move on and get it over with.
I still don't understand. What IS the point? I have wondered this for some time. Usually when passing one of those roadside memorials. There are two near my home. One of them was the tragic death of a teen who was riding his bike on a dangerous road to do so. A tragic convergence resulted in his death. Often the memorial would be augmented by an admonishment that "speed kills". I often think, "more to the point, riding one's bike on a high speed road is dangerous to your health and life." The other one was a young man who no doubt never thought he could die on his motorcycle and didn't think about it when he turned left right into the path of an oncoming car. When I see that memorial I think of the poor schmo that was driving that car and how arrogant motorcycle riders often are. I don't think the families that placed these memorials intended for me to have those thoughts. But I do. I am positive that the effort they put into maintaining these memorials would be better spent on something truly honoring their lost sons. Safety education for one.
Is the point of being stuck to honor the memory of "the event" (whether that event was a death or some other major event)? If I can remember and be reminded when I dare to start to forget how wronged I was, do I honor that painful memory? What purpose is served? Is it simply attention? Are we that starved for attention in this ever increasingly busy society that the only way we can garner attention is by Keeping The Memory Alive? Is negative attention truly better than no attention?
We must remember Kaitlyn's heart surgery. I've been campaigning to remember every 2 years instead of every year. I got permission to remember every 18 months. I tend to procrastinate and push it to 2 years anyway. (it's ok mom. every one is better than the last.)
Most days I don't remember my own surgeries. About a week ago I was reminded of one of the side effects of my treatments. It's starting to look like I'm gonna have to go to the doctor. I'm gonna procrastinate until next week. Hopefully it will just get better. But dammitjanet, I doubt it. It's been a damn week. I'd go ahead and call the doctor now but we have plans for the weekend and I don't wanna mess that up. But my main coping skill is ignore it, not remember it. Meanwhile, I just take small bites and maybe this will help with the weight loss plan.
I have no personal need to remember. I have no personal need to rehash and re-examine. I don't want to join a support group. Really. I don't. I just want to deal and move on and get it behind me.
Maybe that isn't healthy either. But I know that I'd rather do that then die a slow death in the tar pits.
Saturday, October 07, 2006
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
I'm sick sick.
I have slept away the past two days. I MUST go up to the school and plug in my computer so Emma can run her Keynote presentation on Nancy Drew - The Eskimo's Secret through the school TV system. So I shall have to bathe even.
Hopefully I will be able to do BOTH of those things, bathe and go sit at the school and click the computer, without passing out. I expect to sleep the rest of the afternoon.
This isn't good. I have to work AND coordinate a wedding rehearsal Friday. AND leave town Friday - Monday (with a quick trip to coordinate the wedding on Saturday) so there is laundry that must be done and scrapbooking stuff to gather together.
Tomorrow I have a hair appointment. And Kaitlyn's Powder Puff Football game.
I hate being sick. I just don't have time.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
We moved at usual pace on this project. Which means it took us 4 months to finally get a new car. In the intervening time, I noticed that Kaitlyn's head rested on the back window when she sat in the backseat. Emma's head didn't. Yet.
We decided that having Kaitlyn's skull as a roll bar was probably a bad idea. So we started exploring other options.
Renee Wo chose a Jetta as her new car several months earlier. I sat in her front seat. I sat in her backseat (which has a shocking amount of room). I looked in her cavernous trunk. I cringed at the thought of how much more a Jetta would be over a New Beetle.
So I "Built A VW" on the website and was shocked to see a $1500 difference. That was it?? I was expecting $5000 more, minimum. More like $10,000 more, really.
Well, well, well......
So we went on our quest for The Car I Want. It isn't out there. There was one in the color I wanted, but with options I did not. More to the point... a navigation system that would annoy the living daylights out of me every time I got in the car. The salesman said "the woman will tell you where to go!". Hmph. *I* am the woman that tells me where to go. I have an intuitive sense of direction and can read a map. I may be misplaced every once in a long while, but I can always find my way back to the freeway. Even without a map. Plus, I drive to Elk Grove and sometimes to Laguna (just the other side of the freeway, technically also Elk Grove for you non-locals). And if I'm going somewhere I am unfamiliar with.... MapQuest before I go and a stop at AAA for a map.... I'm good.
I need four wheels with tires on my car. They don't need to be bigger and fancier. So I felt no need to pay for either the nav system OR the spiffier wheels. Elk Grove Volkswagen felt no need to take those things off the price.
Alrighty then. Thanks, but no thanks. They were unhappy with us. They had to go fetch this car for us. We gave them a day to change their mind. Then we asked about other colors. Gunther didn't feel the need to help us anymore.
Alrighty then. Norm and I got online and started making inquiries. He was working Niello. I was working Hammer Lane and Roseville.
Roseville got right back to me and asked for more details than the online form really allowed for. I told her what I wanted, what I did.not.want. and my color preferences. Hammer Lane simply said "sorry we don't have any like that on our lot".
Roseville was happy to work with us and get us the one we wanted. The offered us a great deal on an '06, in red, but without the options we DID want. The '07 with the options we wanted was really out of our price range. We sat at Taco Bell and discussed how we might be able to make that work. Then we asked about the '06's with our options (but located on other dealer's lots). That was the happy medium we were looking for.
Friday we made the deal. Saturday they traded one on their lot for our car and we picked it up. We looked at the sticker that had been in the window.
Renee Wo's car? She bought from Hammer Lane, but they had to get it from Roseville.
Ours? We bought it from Roseville, but it came from Hammer Lane. I don't know why they told me they didn't have one on their lot........
I have to read the book to figure out all the buttons:
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Thursday, August 31, 2006
August 2006 officially had exactly ZERO 100 degree days.
If we make it to Monday, we'll have gotten all the way through The State Fair without 100 degrees as well. Figures we didn't go to The State Fair this year.
August has alternated between feeling like an early fall and saying "Ah HA.... there's the missing Spring of '06!" I have had to take my Loratadine for my hay fever. In AUGUST.
September will bring The Busy Season. It will start early this year. We have tickets for Sunday's Game 3 of the WNBA finals. Next weekend is the Harvest of Hope dinner. Which ends up being an all day thing for those of us working to put on the charity dinner benefitting the the Food Bank. Followed by an all day meeting on behalf of the finance committee for Northern California/Nevada conference of our denomination and our church's Progressive Dinner. There is a school dance and an all night youth event with church in the mix too. Girl Scouts and Job's Daughters starts up again. I have to work a church wedding and go to Turlock to meet up with friends the first weekend of October. October brings someone's 30th class reunion. We aren't mentioning who cause then y'all will know I'm married to an old man. October begins the Social Season. Holiday parties of one sort or another (from costume to formal) will occupy nearly every weekend. Kaitlyn's installation is the day after Christmas and EVERYTHING must be done still. NOTHING got done over the summer.
See ya around the first of the year.....
But I have no hook. No opening line. No idea where this is going to go. I am a swirl and whirl. I have been since Friday.
What happened Friday? My 11 year old let us know over pizza that she felt sorry for a classmate. (I shall call her Jenny) Emma had been friends with Jenny for several years. She ended the friendship when Jenny bit her last winter. We thought 5th grade was a tad old to be biting when angry. We also thought it was a solid idea, ending the friendship. Obviously the child is troubled. Some minor bullying occurred afterwards. As the incident did not occur IN school, there were no in school repercussions. An uneasy truce was reached. Tenuous at best. Desks are apart in the classroom.
So Emma feels sorry for Jenny this day. I was only mildly interested. I figured Jenny had thrown up at school or split her pants. Mortifying in 6th grade to be sure. But not tragic or life altering.
"Her dad died suddenly last night."
WHAT?? Who said THAT? Well, the teacher told the class that Jenny's dad died suddenly the night (or maybe day) before and no one knows what happened. Ok... the teacher isn't prone to rumor mongering... Surely it must be true.
We saw her dad about a month ago at Back to School Night. He appeared healthy. Did he have an accident? Did he drop over dead from a heart attack? Wow. Norm and I were rocked back. Wow. Yes. We feel badly for Jenny too.
I went to bed that night and didn't sleep. Not because of the news, but just because. Norm stayed up and was watching the news. He comes in to see if I'm still asleep.... "There was a report on the news... a guy last name "Jones" was shot...." I gasped. I KNEW. I had half heard a report on the news on the radio after I did the school run that morning.
How do you tell your child that her classmate's father committed suicide by cop?
Of course I didn't. I just told her that Jenny's dad made a mistake and it resulted in him being shot by the police. I said how sad and unfortunate it was.
I asked Em if she knew Jenny's dad. She said she had seen him at school once and maybe he picked Jenny up from her Nana's house once. Emma had always been in the care and custody of her grandparents when she "went to Jenny's house". We had wondered where he was and were told he was living and working out of town. According to news reports, he was living courtesy of the State of California.
Of course that swept away the fog of mystery surrounding why Jenny would act out the way she did.
Jenny's family is angry. They blame the police. They will be forever angry. Emma knows that the police aren't bad people. She's friends with them. They are family friends. They've tucked her into bed. They've driven her places. They've fed her. They've slammed her with a water balloon (and she's fired back). She knows the police as good guys. God Bless that child.... She also knows that (and I quote) "they don't want to hurt people, they want to be nice to them, but sometimes they have to so they can keep other people safe."
I am seething. Jenny's dad knew what would happen when he acted the way he did. He knew the drill. He had done it before. He knew to do as instructed. He chose not to. He chose the easy way out. Emma wanted to go, so I took her to the funeral. I watched the grief fill the sanctuary. I watched Jenny and her younger brother. Her too young to get it brother was mostly just bored. Jenny is not. Jenny gets it. He left her to carry his burden. He added anger to her burden. He added a fear and distrust for the police.
His family is suffering. Our family has been affected. The family and friends of the officer involved are affected. The paramedics are affected. So many people carrying this around. Jenny's dad is the only one who is not suffering.
They spoke of how much he loved his wife and children. How he would lay down his life for them. Big whoopy shit. Live for them. Face your mistakes and deal with them like a grownup. And live for them.
Emma keeps coming up with things that Jenny will miss out on because her dad died. He won't walk her down the aisle..... Her children won't have him as a grandpa....
I got in bed with her last night and told her how proud I was of her at the funeral earlier in the day. She met Jenny in the lobby and gave her a hug and told her she was sorry about her dad. She hugged Jenny's grandparents and told them she was sorry. After sucking up a big breath of courage, she approached Jenny's mom and said she was sorry and gave her a hug too. (Jenny's mom was very visibly mourning and I could understand Emma's hesitation) She was able to do what many grownups cannot. Just be there for those who are grieving. In the dark she said it just made her think about how lucky she is to have the family she has. I thought it was an interesting way to put it. Not "How lucky I am to have my family alive"... how lucky she is to have the family she has.
Sometimes I look at that child and wonder where she came from. She might narrate her life as she walks through it, but she generally doesn't really SAY anything. She sits and absorbs and just doesn't react. When I told her how Jenny's dad died (sanitized) she just said "oh." No real reaction. But she's thinking.... the gears are turning. And when they finally mesh together, she says the most profound things.
I told her this week was going to be difficult and I was sorry that it was going to be hard for her. It would be hard to BE a friend to someone you don't want to be friends WITH. But that's what we are called to do because we want to follow Jesus. "No one said it was gonna be easy! Besides. It was hard for JESUS." Well.... yes. Yes it was....
I am angry that my 11 year old is having to confront the idea that a Dad could choose to confront the police knowing they would shoot him instead of facing his consequences like a grown up should. I am angry that my 11 year old had to compromise her personal space so she could reach out to someone who had hurt her. I am intensely proud of her for doing so. I am profoundly sad for the children of a man I only set eyes on once. I am resolved to the idea that they will be angry at the police forever. I am worried about how that will play out at school... a school with more than a few children of law enforcement in attendance.
Today, as Emma was serving as Line Leader, Jenny came up to her and said thank you for going to the funeral and gave her a hug.
I am hopeful that Jenny will see that forgiveness, kindness and compassion are possible. I pray that Jenny chooses hope.
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Young Man #2: She's so skinny her skin is just HANGING!
Young Man #1: That's not good.....
Daughter, age 14, looks at Mother. Mother looks at daughter.
Mother is happy that the uberskinny Nicole Ritchie looks like death on a cracker and her demographic finds her repulsive.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
I use to like the phone. But the phone has turned against me. People who have no right, moral or legal, to use my phone number use it incessently. I blame the Republicans. They seem to call A LOT. Usually it's the Governor. I wasn't a fan of the Governor when he was someone who ought HAVE fans. I'm even less of a fan now that he's Governor.
But the damn thing rings and rings and rings. I don't even flinch when it rings anymore. It's become the yahoo mail of phones. I give out the number willynilly cause I ain't gonna answer the thing. Those who REALLY need to get in touch will call my cell like a proper human. Or email like a smart human.
We got tired of the incessent calling and decided that Caller ID was for us. We're gonna see who's calling. Not that it's actually helped yet.
But we have phones. For people who hate the phone, we have PHONES.
Land line wise, you are never more than 6 steps from a phone. One in the kitchen, one in the family room (separated by maybe 20 feet). If you get distracted on your way from the kitchen to the family room, no worries, there is one in the living room.
Upstairs there is one in our bedroom, one in my workroom and one in Normy's office.
And of course we each have a cell phone.
Tell me.... is 10 phones for 4 people excessive???
....and I'm not EVEN counting the old rotary one that is supposed to be in the garage but hasn't gotten hooked up in the new house (that is pushing 7 years old) quite yet.
Friday, August 18, 2006
So with a warning that we would only be there for a LITTLE BIT because we had to go get stuff for dinner and then EAT dinner we went. I bought Emma her game pass and some food tickets. I decided what the heck and let her get ice cream after all (two nights of ice cream before dinner I thought was excessive, but really...who cares?)
There was a band. A real, honest-to-goodness band. The Crazy Chesters. Well known on the school circuit.... see... they are all teachers. And they play a lot of Elementary School gigs. One of the teachers in the band is Jay DeWald, who was Kaitlyn's choir teacher last year.
I called Normy and Kaitlyn and said... come on over, there's a band. And they are GOOD. Good rock and roll/motown. One of them said they play school appropriate music like R-E-S-P-E-C-T and Keep Your Hands To Yourself. We told Kaitlyn that Mr. DeWald would probably let her sing backup. "OH NO! That will NEVER HAPPEN."
Mom told her to "never say never".
The band took a break and Mr. DeWald came over to talk to us. He encouraged Kaitlyn to come play in the marching band this fall. Playing the glockenspeil. No problem....she'd pick it up quick, he was positive. (There is no choir next year...not enough sign ups....which is a blog for another day)
When they started playing "Johnny B. Goode" Mr. DeWald offered Kaitlyn the tambourine from the stage. She was horrified. She refused. Mom told her "just go!".
And she did. And she had FUN. (excuse the quality, all I had was my phone camera)
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Emma had something that needed to go into her backpack on her back. Kaelin helped by unzipping a pocket and putting the item inside for Emma.
Emma helped by holding her pants up like one might do when one is walking through a puddle. Except there was no puddle.
As soon as the backpack was rezipped, she let her pants dust the ground like they had all morning.
Saturday, August 12, 2006
I know that COLOR is my favorite. My favorite color is not white. Nor is it 'clear'. Our house abounds with color. Navy and mint green and yellow and periwinkle. Kaitlyn's cacophany of color in her room will be impossible to cover... if we ever want to.
When I was in high school I got a wild feather and painted my bedroom green. Two shades. It was a west facing bedroom and the yellow it was just made it feel hotter in the afternoons. Green made it feel cool.
Hunter green was the dominate color at our wedding.
But I am drawn to blue. The blue of Lake Tahoe. The blue of the morning sky as I watch the airplanes leave contrails on their way to points east. One of my hands down favorite paper colors for my scrapbooks is called "Sky". I have several packs of it because I never ever want to run out of it.
I surround myself with green. I am drawn to blue.
Recently I was in a conversation and like a bolt from the blue it occurred to me. They have no perspective. They have no yin to their yang. They have no light in their dark.
You've had it happen... walking into a building and you think "Oh MY. Is my ass REALLY that wide??" Usually what happens then is your perspective shifts and you realize it is the glass that is wonky and not your ass. Maybe you move and your image changes. Maybe some skinny little thing walks past and HER ass looks huge too. But without that different viewpoint, you would think that your ass doubled since this morning in your mirror.
Unfortunately, it's hard to get another viewpoint. Especially when the "it" is something you are close to. Friends are great for giving another viewpoint. They are outside looking in. Good friends don't hesitate to speak up and offer their different viewpoint.
The party in question during this 'a ha moment' conversation has cultivated isolationism. It served them well. But only for a while. When they ask for input, they get it from those within the circle. Yes men, so to speak. They have so ingrained a sense of us vs. them and demonized the 'them' to the point that loyalty requires no other viewpoint. YES! We LOVE this. Everyone we knows loves this! Except everyone they know doesn't know anything differet either.
To truly thrive as people we need to step back when things are going badly and ask... Do I need a different perspective? When those around you who confirm your view of the world, is shrinking into a tighter and tighter circle... it's time to ask "What has gone wrong?". Asking the tight circle will not give the insight and perspective needed. Ask those who left. Ask those who are joining "them" at an exponantial pace. Walk in the door of a 'them' and see what they are doing. Invite them to your table.
Gaining perspective can be difficult. It can be painful. Sometimes it requires eliminating something near and dear to you. You may find that the one person you thought would lead you to better things is the very person who is leading you into bankruptcy (be that financial, moral or emotional). Sometimes drastic change is needed. Sometimes it isn't the change you thought was needed.
Because sometimes.... it is the mirror at home that is inaccurate, not the one on the street.
Monday, August 07, 2006
The "Delta Breeze" was more like "Delta Gale". Since there is some nasty disease that dries and curls the leaves on the trees running rampent through town, the Delta Gale was stripping these dead leaves from the trees.
The Marine Layer that gives us the blessed cool air off the ocean and bay and takes us from 115 degrees two weeks ago to "we hope to break 80" today came all the way to my house. It might have made it to Martha's house. I don't know. I didn't make it to Martha's house so I have no idea. But low cold wet clouds made for a brisk morning. A 'wear a jacket' morning. I didn't wear a jacket cause I was going to the gym and I knew I wasn't gonna be chilly.
Later when I was out running errands and waiting at every stoplight on Elk Grove Blvd. it looked and felt like fall. It felt like October.
I am not ready for October. October starts the busy season. Middle of September, really. I got a little bit of panic going because of the optical illusion of Fall in August. I know that in a week it could be 100 degrees again. Shorts and a tank top will be way too many clothes. The air conditioning will be on all night. But for now.... the air has the snap of fall in the air. The windows are open and I didn't hesitate to "bake" bread (something between bake and heat up) for dinner tonight.
Friday, August 04, 2006
Nearly every summer, if not every summer, we would spend a week at that house. It wasn't a large house. Plenty of beds, but only one 'great room' and a relatively small kitchen and dining room. All meals were eaten around the one table. Sometimes the cousins would be there. See, Aunt Aud and Uncle Ray were actually my Great Aunt and Uncle. Aud and my grandmother were sisters. There were 12 in their generation. Eleven of whom lived to adulthood. My mom was an only child, but I have oodles of cousins. Cousins I don't even know. Heck... they could be living down the street for all I know....
So sometimes cousins would be present. It was extra special when the Texas cousins would be in residence too. Lori and I would spend all day outdoors....hiking about and hunting golf balls for Uncle Ray's collection, in coffee cans, in the basement. Which was more "really big crawl space" than traditional basement.
Sometimes that house would just be stuffed with people. There wasn't bickering or annoyance with the cozy quarters. Everyone had a bed and we didn't spend much time inside anyway. I think my immediate family went up there in the winter twice. Once before Aud and Ray moved there full time and once after they couldn't do winters anymore. For me, Lake Tahoe was always synonymous with summers. Most people equate it with winter. Skiing and all other winter sports are what makes Lake Tahoe famous. That and the clear blue water.
Our family didn't ski. When we went up in the winter, we got out sleds and made a couple of snowmen. But mostly we stayed in and enjoyed the beauty of the snow white golf course, undisturbed.
We live 2 hours from Lake Tahoe now. It's a day trip. Easy to go up in the morning and come back in the evening. But we don't. Not often. When we do, we wonder why we don't do this more often.
The first weekend of July found Normy and me in Tahoe. Zephyr Cove specifically. Again, we wondered why we stay in the hot smoggy valley instead of driving up the mountain to the cool clean air of Tahoe.
When I got out of the car the smell of summer washed over me. Ah.... THIS is the smell of summer. Most just smell the pines. But I've been other places with pine trees and it doesn't take me back in an instant to summer vacation on the golf course.
As soon as we unloaded our luggage in our room, I went immediately to the water's edge. Now that house on the golf course is FAR from the water. We had to pack up and drive to the beach to dip our toes in that melted snow. So the water wasn't the main memory for me. I grew up miles from the Pacific Ocean and so the "beach" of a lake was such a disappointment. Sand was course, waves were wimpy.
Now, however, I crawled over the rocks and listened to those wimpy waves against the rocks. I live far far too far away from the ocean now. I breathed the clear lake air into my lungs. Those pine trees are so kind to scrub away the nasties from the air for me. I was sure to bring my camera.... I took that photo up there from those rocks along the shore.
In my "money is irrelevent" ideal world, we would have a house in Lake Tahoe. We would be up there frequently. We would spend a week just being there. Doing a whole lot of nothing and enjoying every minute of it.
We live 2 hours from one of the Earth's greatest treasures. Lake Tahoe is on people's lists of "100 places to visit before I die". I take it for granted. It's just up the road. So close. So easy to access. I can go "later".
I'm still not fond of Tahoe in the winter. It's AWFULLY cold. And snowy. But the other three seasons? I should be there.
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
"Poor people shouldn't be allowed to vote for this measure because they won't understand and will vote the wrong way."
THAT is how to be an idiot.
In case you were wondering.
Second. Don't get up in front of a governing body and make ridiculous comparisons. I don't know about the rest of you, but when I choose my investments, I don't choose a gallon of milk. IF it lasts around my house for two weeks, it will be smelling up the place. So when you ask if you should invest in an arena or a gallon of milk, you are inviting people to say "you are an idiot". I get what you mean... but say what you mean. That would make you look less like an idiot and more like a reasonable person.
Third. Do not threaten a governing body with Mike Wallace knocking on their door. First off, Mike Wallace is retired. Second, do you REALLY think Sacramento is the first community to have a ballot measure to fund a sports arena? The answer is no. So it isn't news.
Fourth. To equate a quarter cent sales tax hike to Enron is.... well, idiotic. 'Nuff said there.
Fifth. The last I checked, having your own business and making money was known as "The American Dream". To deride those who have done that very thing makes you look jealous and bitter and petty. As well as an idiot.
Sixth. To whine about the lack of proper police and fire service in the area of a new arena and threaten not to support the sales tax increase unless fire and police services are increased (read: more hired) makes you shine as the union hack you are. All the taxes (sales, income and property) generated from a new arena and surrounding businesses would pay for new cops and firefighters. Not to mention all the cops hired by the arena for special events. Either as "moonlighters" or as directly contracted. It's what they do now. New arena, same staffing issues. It isn't like we're adding ANOTHER arena. We are REPLACING the existing one. Yea, the new one has to be covered. But here's a news flash: The old one won't. Just like the old Arco doesn't require a police presence anymore. Funny how that works. Failing to comprehend that very basic fact makes you look like an idiot.
Seventh. Do not yell when giving public comment. No one listens when the ranting starts. State your position clearly and calmly. People listen when you do. If you start yelling and threatening, you look like an idiot.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Today's sermon spoke of our need as humans to control God. We often do this through prayer. Those we pray for are the "in group". We are bargaining with God on behalf of an ill family member or a friend during hard times.
The "out group" are all those people we don't pray for.
Right now I know of someone who is being prayed for. The anthropologist in me watches this with great amusement. See.... this is a new "in group" person. There was someone else who caused this same kind of reaction in the same group of people. She was frequently prayed for and much sympathy for her situation was freely given. Her situation hasn't changed. She just isn't the one that's "in" anymore.
It could be argued with absolute logic and reason, that the prayers for this person haven't worked. Her situation is unimproved. Despite many prayers by many faithful people, her situation is not much different, if at all, than it was a year ago. Or two years ago. I suspect the same will be true for the new subject of great prayers as well.
How is it that prayer becomes a weapon. A divining rod of who is worthy and who is not. I am a lousy pray-er. When asked if I would like to lead the prayer, I decline. Not really... no thanks. I am told there are no bad prayers. Yea? You haven't heard mine. Cause sometimes my prayer goes along the lines of: Dear God, please give me the strength to not tell her to suck it up already and fix it. Thank you. Amen.
I am often asked to pray for This or That. I usually don't. I usually pray asking God to be with that person and give him/her strength. I don't like praying for healing..... if someone isn't healed, does that mean God said "no"? Does that mean God didn't listen? Does it mean God doesn't care?
When Pastor Carl gave his sermon today I could totally relate. I often feel that prayer and the request for prayers deliniate who is in and who is out. Who deserves favor from God and who does not. When public prayer is offered for one person and not for another who might be suffering more.... why? Why does one deserve prayers and another does not?
Several months ago (a year or more) frequent requests for prayers came to me for an ill child. Tragic, to be sure. Don't get me wrong. But one request came for another ill child. This woman was someone's child. She was an adult with children of her own. She was just as terminal.... and just as loved... as the preschooler that was prayed for more often and by more people. What made that child "in"? Why would she be more deserving of God's grace than the 20something year old young mother (and daughter and wife)?
Shouldn't we all be "in" with God?
Saturday, July 29, 2006
The kind of voting rights I'm talking about is the kind that is before the Sacramento Board of Supervisors on August 2. The right to vote on the aforementioned quarter cent sales tax. There is a lot of talk about whether or not the quarter cent sales tax and resulting arena is good for Sacramento. Something like 60 people spoke on the matter last week. From what I could gather from the news, half spoke in favor and half spoke against (no doubt by design...usually they have a one in favor, one against rule at such hearings).
I am considering going on Wednesday to speak on the Matter Before The Supervisors. To wit: To place the matter before the voters. One supervisor voted against. She is not my personal representative to the board, but I will remember her anyway. I don't take kindly to supervisors or council members saying "no, the people shall not vote".
I realize they make these decisions every day. And not every matter should come before the voters. Most of the stuff that does, shouldn't. It is how California got into the ungovernable mess we are in and will be in for a very long time to come. But there are things that should go before the voters. One of our city council members voted to NOT put a library bond measure on the ballot a few years ago. That was BEFORE his dirty re-election politics. He lost my vote on that one matter alone. Telling me that I did not have the right to vote to tax myself for a new library was a fatal mistake in my book. Sadly, the majority of Elk Grove citizens don't pay attention to what the City Council is doing. Again.... I digress.
We, the citizens of Sacramento County, have the right to vote on whether or not WE think it is worth another quarter of a cent on every dollar we spend. If Supervisor MacGlashan thinks it's a bad idea, she can vote no when she goes into her voting booth. It is her right. If enough people agree with her, then that will be that. If enough people disagree with her... well, her shopping decisions will be her own.
The next trick will be getting all those people who think it's a fine idea out to vote in November. It is always the trick.
Monday, July 24, 2006
It is even more difficult to teach them why they should...why they MUST... do such a thing when there is no tangible reward for them personally. Even the simple act of doing chores (see... you have a clean glass the next time you want something to drink because you loaded the dishwasher now) doesn't drive that point home very well. Doing homework today so one has the knowledge for the test at the end of the week is terribly abstract. We often resort to "because I said so". It works... but is the lesson learned?
For the second summer, Kaitlyn is far away from our home. Trusted to the care of good friends who will watch over her as if she were their own.... for she is. She is part of their families as their children are part of our ours. Our church family. She has terribly restrictive rules that will serve her well. We allow her to self-medicate when she feels the need for allergy medication. We do so because she needs to learn to be able to listen to her body and care for it. They do not allow her to do so because some might have issues with controlled substances so all substance are controlled. This chafes but lessons are learned. She must be taught how to use the power tools before she can use them. Again. Everyone who is using a power tool must have instruction even if they use them every day the rest of the year. This is the only way they can be sure no one goes uninstructed. "I KNOW...!" I know you know. Everyone knows. Except the new people. And you might have forgotten. The worst rule, hands down, for all of them is the No Cell Phone rule. They must be left at home.
Teens don't think outside themselves naturally. It is a time of self-centeredness. We all go through it. Some of us are fortunate enough to be taught to think outside ourselves ANYWAY. Others grow up to be the same self-centered teens in adult bodies. But that's a blog for another day.....
Last summer Kaitlyn put a new roof on a house (with her team) that needed it. It was a house far different from those Kaitlyn and her team live in. Fractionally smaller certainly. No granite counter tops. No SubZero appliances. No internet hookups. No wide screen TV's. No swimming pool in the backyard.
They stayed late the last day and finished their roof. They were within their rights to leave it for the next week's team to finish. They nearly missed dinner that last day in their quest to finish. But finish they did. They made their counselor's proud, the leadership proud and the family who owned the house happy. They also made their families proud of them. More importantly, they made themselves proud. We finished the roof. They worked hard. They worked long hours. On a roof in the summer. For someone else. Their decision to stay and finish that roof was a good one. A new team was expected the following week. But something happened. Illness or something. I don't remember now, but it meant that the worksite was shut down for the summer. The full time volunteers (they are there the entire summer) had to finish all the incomplete projects. But not that roof.
We won't know what Kaitlyn did this week until she gets home. The only communication we get is "they have arrived safely". No further communication is good because we would only hear if there was an emergency. No news is good news. We send communication to THEM... and they must sing and dance for their mail. So she might be roofing, she might be painting. She might be putting on a deck, repairing a porch or adding a wheelchair ramp. She will do what is needed and necessary. From what I am always told, she does so without complaint. She gives a full effort. She is careful and conscientious. This is, of course, far from our experience at home!
But we are still proud of her. She has mentioned that she won't be going to SSP next year. Summer school and summer homework is on her list next year. She has been spending and will be spending long hours working on summer homework that is due on August 11 in payment for missing a week at home. (Which I think is just wrong, but there it is) We shall see. I know that the thought of being out in the heat working on home improvement projects does not appeal to me in the least. Nor does it appeal to Emma. She asked if she "had to" go to SSP. I told her no.... she did not.
That won't absolve her from Service however. We will just have to find something a bit less sweaty for her.
Friday, July 21, 2006
Priority. Improve schools. GREAT idea. That always sounds good. How to do so? Usually it means "more money". Which also sounds like a good idea. But again, priorities. Sacramento City Unified School Board put "new building on prime real estate" as a priority over spending the money they had in classrooms. Elk Grove Unified, on the other hand, spends more of their allotment in the classroom. It doesn't matter if more money is raised if it is prioritized into the classroom.
Priority. Poor people and the homeless. I absolutely agree that the poor and homeless need services. We do a pretty good job of that in Sacramento County. We can do better, to be sure. But we DO have some solid services in place. So much so that we have a problem with the homeless from other places coming here because of these services. We cannot house all the homeless. Simply because some of them might be HOUSEless, but they are not HOMEless. Their home isn't a building but a camp along the river. There are those who have no desire to get sober and move off the river's edge. That's fine. We can still be sure medical care is provided, food is available and services are offered. There are those who would disagree with me, but I think a priority of our society should be to care for those who don't care enough about themselves. We cannot solve the problem, but we can manage it.
Priority. Affordable housing. This is tricky. Housing is a for profit business. And when the house is worth less than is owed, times are bad. "Affordable housing" has often become the ghetto. The problems of the facilities and the people that live there are myriad. There is no single solution and no amount of money will solve the problems. The will of each individual must be there. That can not be legislated, mandated or bought.
Priority. Fill the potholes. Guess what California and Sacramento County.... we pay for our potholes to be filled. Every time we buy a tank of gas and every time we make a purchase and pay our sales tax. The money is THERE. It has just been spent on NEW roads instead of repair of old roads. We keep building new communities needing wider main roads, new main roads, wider freeways, new freeways. Sacramento County is working to add a freeway/expressway between Highway 50 and Highway 99. It will take a tremendous amount of money. But it is agreed a new freeway in that area is a priority.
Currently our sales tax rate is 7.75%. So when I bought my Sacramento Bee yesterday I paid 54 cents. If the sales tax rate were to be raised to an even 8%, I would pay.... 54 cents. On a $1 purchase, the sales tax PAID will be the same. On a $2 purchase, it would be a penny more. Yes, I know those pennies add up. I might be bad at math, but I'm pretty good at arithmetic.
Priority. Raising the sales tax one quarter percent (to an even 8%) for the next 15 years. There will be much talk about the taxpayers financing "millionaire playboys" and their basketball team. The only problem with that is that it is, simply put, wrong.
Normy and I were trying to think of the basketball games we've been to. We remember going with the Australian Air Force. (not ALL of them, just those stationed here for a bit) That might have even been before the Maloofs owned the team. We have a vague recollection of going before that... but neither of us can clearly remember if it was another time or not. So maybe we've been to two basketball games. Why haven't we been to basketball games? Because basketball isn't our game. And we aren't really good with planning ahead. That's why movies are good. We decide right now to go catch a movie, we go, we get tickets, all is good. We've done that with River Cats too. One morning last summer I sent Normy an email and said "River Cats game at 11. Wanna go?" He took a vacation day and we went to the ballgame. Got there after the first pitch and got a ticket. The Kings would be sold out.
However, we have been to Arco Arena many times. I've been there for Paul McCartney twice. Garth Brooks. More Disney on Ice than I'd like to think about. Graduation. Someone told me recently that she wasn't going to go to Arco for a concert anymore. The acoustics are horrible. Well.... yea..... And it's expensive. Well.... yea..... But that's Paul McCartney or the Eagles. Cause Disney on Ice is affordable. And our floor Garth Brooks seats were less than our nose bleeder McCartney tickets.
So why should we spend $5/person/month (the projected amount) for a new arena? Because it will be the cornerstone of the railyard development. A new arena will be bigger. It will require more people to run it, on all levels. Restaurants will spring up nearby. The bonus to this quarter cent is that it will also fund other things. A portion of the sales tax will go to the cities that generated them in about 7 years. Seven years is a long time, but that's how we get back to vision and The Big Picture.
In seven years (2013) a new arena will have been open for three years. Emma will probably have her graduation at the new arena. Yea... Emma's graduation. That seems forever in the future and just around the corner all at the same time. In seven years we will have had 2 presidential elections. Seven years ago we were worrying about the Y2K bug. If we had done this THEN, we would have that sales tax money NOW. Money that could build a new library in Elk Grove. Or help with those annoying median weeds. It could be used to finish paving that last few blocks of Elk Grove Blvd that is determined to shake my car apart every time I drive over it. Right. Now.
The question that will be facing us in November, as a county, will be very simple. Do we have vision? Can we, the taxpayers, see The Big Picture? Can we set aside the narrow view that this all about Joe and Gavin (because it isn't) and understand that it takes money to make money. Funding the new arena will attract private investment in an area that is currently an ugly swath of land in the middle of Sacramento.
The money out of each person's pocket will be marginal. Some will feel it more than others. Some will pay more than others. Frankly, I don't buy the $70 t-shirts I see in stores anyway. So when I spend $5 on a new t-shirt I won't be putting as much into the bucket as those that have $70 to spend on a white t-shirt. Nor will I feel it as a family living closer to the edge. But unless we are growing, we are dying. We can complain about growth, but the fact is we need it. We need to attract more families and businesses. We do that with good facilities. A new arena now. Maybe a new theater (the live kind, not the movie kind) in the future. Children's museum? Children's theater? Maybe a new zoo. Perhaps a hotel (with a hefty hotel tax).
The Maloofs are putting their money in. They will get it back out over the next 30 years the guarantee the Kings and Monarchs to be in Sacramento. We will get it back too. Not only in the sales tax, but in the taxes and revenue generated by both the arena and the other 'attractions' that will be at the Old Railyard.
Vision. Do we have it?
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Why are we so quick to believe the lies? It doesn't matter if dozens of people, known and random, says the new hair do is wonderful! cute! ... what is heard and remembered every morning in the mirror is that jealous woman who said "what the hell did you do to your hair?".
I heard someone ask recently "How do get over caring what people think?" or something along those lines. She wasn't asking about the big things... like your children thinking you're a good mom... but the little things like "am I being judged for wearing grubbies in the garden?" Her question is a good one.... Why DO we care?
Why do we care about the opinion of someone who would think "look at her getting muddy in her grungies! How TACKY!" Martha Stewart can just shut the hell up. And I'm guessing that ol' Martha isn't camera ready when she's stirring the compost....
It is the lies that reverberate in our heads. Some friends of mine are working their way through the book The Artist's Way. I have the book too. One of the exercises was to list and then purge the "monsters" that told you that you weren't creative or artistic... at all, enough, the right way... whatever. One is to also list "Champions"... those that championed all things artistic that you produced. We listen to the monsters and dismiss the champions. The point of the exercise is to reverse that. Listen to the champions, dismiss the monsters.
The problem with lies is they are so good at masquerading as truth. Often, they have just enough truth to make them appear to be whole truth. Far too often they are told by someone who is trusted and would be in the position to speak the truth. Sometimes they are told in a vacuum... away from any one or any thing that would contradict the lie. Lies hide under rocks an leap forth unexpectedly from new sources.
Recently I have both been fed up with a particular lie (for all the usual reasons one would get fed up with a lie) and fascinated with this lie. As this lie resurfaced recently I was watching Court TV and half listening to the talking heads. One of them said, speaking of Andrea Yates, "does it matter if it was God or Satan that told her to kill her kids?" I thought how true a statement that is. Does it matter WHO tells the lie? If it is a lie, it has no validity no. matter. who. repeats it. The Lie resurfaced from another source. It was not shocking as I have always believed The Liar and The Repeater are in communication. It was surprising that The Repeater to the special effort it took to repeat the lie. I am also sure that because The Repeater said it, she felt it took on truth and authority.
No. It is still a lie.
The Liar and The Repeaters (there are more than one... without many Repeaters, lies die) find authority and truth in their own repetition. Pointing to The Lie as proof of The Truth. "The Lie said it, so it must be." and "The Liar said it, so it must be true. The Liar has always spoke truth." Yea. Until The Liar lied.
When I first heard The Lie, I thought it was a joke. The Liar SURELY did not say such a thing. That is ridiculous! Who would believe it! I giggled over The Lie because it was so outlandish. But The Lie took root and now has a life of it's own. I suspect I will be reminded of The Lie for many years to come.
I can, and have been sorely tempted to, offer a line by line rebuttal. But that is just fertilizer on the weed. I can only continue on as I always have. Being the same person I always have been. For it is not I that has changed. I continue to pray for The Liar. I continue to pray for The Repeaters. For unlike them, I have heard both The Lie and The Truth. I also know my own actions and words. The Repeaters don't have that privilege.
A couple of months ago I read an advice column that runs in our paper with a letter from someone who could have been The Liar. It wasn't... the circumstances were vastly different. But the story was, of course, only her point of view. I could absolutely understand why she felt hurt. Why she saw her friends the way she did. But I also heard her voiceless friends.
In the past I would have heard that one side and made a judgment on her friends. Now... I hear the other side. I can see that there is far FAR more to this story. Even if the written story was precisely accurate, there is a lie lurking in those words. A lie of omission perhaps, but a lie nonetheless.
I have never been one to believe what is said just because of who told it to me. I am even more wary now. I also am more sure of who The Repeaters are. People who not only should know better but who would be ever so quick to condemn others for doing the same. Respect for such folks is at an all time low, even as they look at me with increasing disdain. No worries.... judge me on the words of others if you wish. Your action as a Repeater speaks more to your character than of mine.
Such it is with lies. They catch up people who would never dream themselves in the middle of such pedestrian webs.
Fortunately, lies are pretty easily dealt with. Continuing being the person you are and proving that The Liar is indeed a liar is the best cure. It's a long process, but the most effective.
Guarding your heart? I still don't have an answer for that.
Friday, July 14, 2006
No matter.... we don't want their blonde, skinny butts hanging with us ANYWAY.
But we floated around the cement pond. We drank adult beverages. We ate (HA! Paris and Tara don't get to do THAT) steak and corn picked fresh that morning.... topped it off with homemade vanilla ice cream.
Good times..... Good times indeed.
....and this time we let the children and menfolk join us!
Saturday, July 08, 2006
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
I walked into the house and asked Kaitlyn to go hang Norm's shirts, fresh from the dry cleaners, "on the door upstairs".
Later I go upstairs to find both shirts neatly hung....
On the moulding around the door to our bedroom.
"You SAID "on the door"!"
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Then Kaitlyn said she need black pumps for Grand Bethel. Had to have black shoes with a back... not a strap. Pumps. Ok. Payless Shoe Source. Purveyors of the cheap black pump.
Busy busy day today. Lots of places to go. WHY no place opens before 10 around here, I don't know. I take that back. Some places DO. Like the car wash. I wonder when Payless Shoe Source opens...
Check online. I get the phone number.
I CALL the phone number. ONE ringy dingy. TWO ringy dingy...... TEN ringy dingy..... Only to be answered with that high pitched squeal of a fax machine.
I call the one across town. Same song, second verse.
Contact customer service with this suggestion:
It is just after 8am my time. I have a thousand errands to run today inI get the standard auto response about my email being important and someone will respond yada yada yada....
a short window of time. My daughter needs black pumps. When does Payless
Shoes open? I don't know. I called both stores near me and got a high
pitched whiney tone when it 'answered". A recording with store hours
would have been very helpful. If they are open when I'm out, I'll stop.
But now I can't time my route to be sure
Which they did. Tonight.
Uh huh. Until I read it.... But really... what should I expect from a grown woman still spelling her name that way....
Dear Valued Customer,Damn fine idea you have there Ashli. CALL the store..... Wish I woulda thought of it myself...
Thank you for contacting Payless ShoeSource.
Thank you for your message. Our operating hours vary depending on business needs and store locations. Please contact your local store for their hours.
To which I replied....
But a RECORDING at each store, with that information would be MUCH more helpful than getting an obnoxious noise that not only pierces my eardrum but makes me think I have the FAX line.
Just thought it would help you get more business.....letting people know when you were open so they didn't have to make a useless trip....
I left off the part about how it wasn't MY job that was gonna get flushed because no one knew when the store was open.
Methinks CEO Matt is gonna need more than new signs and paint to make a difference....
On her radio show recently, Dr. Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura which was posted on the Internet. It's funny, as well as informative.
Dear Dr. Laura:
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.
I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Law and how to follow them.
1. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
4. Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?
5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2. The passage clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?
6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?
7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?
8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev.19:27. How should they die?
9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two differentcrops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? - Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)
I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.
Your adoring fan,
James M. Kauffman, Ed.D.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Friday, June 09, 2006
Today was such a day for me.
Emma and I attended graduation for a special friend of ours. Jeannie graduated from the program at Jessie Baker School and will now go on to the adult program... continuing to build her life skills that started at Jessie Baker 16 years ago.
To thank their church family for all the love and support shown Jeannie through the years, Jeannie's parents took us out to lunch to a new restaurant in town, The Boulevard Bistro. It's a bit spendy for dinner and we just hadn't had the proper occasion to dine there yet. I asked those who had been there before if they thought the menu would be Emma-friendly. I was told they DID have a hamburger on the menu. Ok... we'll be fine.
But I talked to Emma first. After an initial thought that she'd rather just go home, some thinking about it, some more discussion... she decided that she did want to go. I explained that this was a NICE restaurant and the food might be rather fancy. Even a hamburger might be too fru-fru. I reminded her that this would be a place for her grown up manners and that if her food came and it was not to her liking, that she was not to make any sort of fuss... we could stop and get something on our way home...no worries. She agreed and we went.
We sat down at our white tablecloth covered table. After a moment of confusion as to where EXACTLY she was supposed to sit because "there's too much silverware, I can't tell." she promptly put her napkin in her lap. She considered the soup and salad selection. I asked that the soup was for the day.... and upon hearing "shrimp bisque" she said she would like a hamburger. The official name was "Cheddar Burger". She asked me if it would be ok if she just said "cheeseburger". I assured her that would be fine. She ordered using her grown up voice and was further confused when asked how she would like that cooked. I knew she was thinking "on a grill?". I just said "medium" for her and she was relieved to have that done.
We were sitting with two ladies from church. Both of whom Emma knows and who know Emma. Emma had a nice conversation with Patsy while I spoke with Eleanor. When bread arrived I gave her a piece. I had already explained what that funny looking knife was for and she promptly used her butter knife to butter her bread. After everyone had a 'round' of the bread, she asked if she could please have another slice. When given the go ahead, she took one slice and used the proper utensil again.
She didn't squirm. She spoke when spoken to. She didn't interrupt. She didn't use a loud voice. She didn't have to take a bathroom tour. She said please and thank you. She didn't slurp or spill her water.
When her cheeseburger arrived, she carefully spread ketchup on the bun and didn't make a mess. She ate her fries and burger with her hands (as is appropriate) and made liberal use of her napkin. She ate her entire lunch and did not ask if she could get dessert. As we were leaving, she thanked our hosts.
She was, simply, a delightful luncheon companion. And I was sure to tell her so. I was sure to tell her dad the same when we got home, within her earshot.
She was the only child there today. Jeannie's brother was the next youngest and he's 19? 20? Her behavior was far beyond her 10 years. She was as grownup as anyone else there today.
The bonus? "I had FUN too!" she told me when we got in the car.
Payoff. For both of us.