Thursday, August 31, 2006

September 1

We did it.

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.....


I usually start my blogs with the title. This one is untitled. Maybe that will BE the title "untitled". Usually I have my blog half written in my head before I start putting words down. So the title is my hook.... my opening line.

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 #1: Oh my God... I think she IS dying. Someone needs to give her a hamburger!

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.

Daughter smirks.

Mother is happy that the uberskinny Nicole Ritchie looks like death on a cracker and her demographic finds her repulsive.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Have I mentioned how much I hate the phone. Email. Email is good. Texting is good. Phone is bad.

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

Reluctant Rock Star

Last night was the big kickoff ice cream social/party for the Elementary School. Normy and Kaitlyn didn't feel the need to go. Heck, *I* didn't feel the need to go. But Emma did.

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 and Kaelin walking towards school.

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

Blue? Green?

I waffle between blue and green as being my "favorite color". Of course if you look at that photo above you wouldn't need to ask!

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.


The funny thing with perspective is you can't have it without having another viewpoint.

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

Feels like Fall?

Today I wore jeans. Jeans with sandles. (those cute black ones with just a bit of heel....comfier than they look...) My top was long sleeve. Linen... but long sleeve.

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

If it's Summer, it's Tahoe

When I was a kid my Aunt Aud and Uncle Ray owned a house in Tahoe. Just as you come down the summit into Meyers, there is a golf course on the right. Their house was on that golf course. Well, the HOUSE is still there. But they sold it many years ago.

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.

I will.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

How to BE an idiot....

Stand up in front of a governing body and state, for the record, that would stand for all time.....

"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.

How Not To Be An Idiot

First. Get your facts right. Cause nothing guts your argument than having the supervisor you just ripped into, correct you on a basic fact. When you base your opinion and argument on an incorrect assumption, you not only have to re-evaluate your position, but you look like an ass. Or raving lunatic. Take your pick.

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.

....just sayin'.