Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Yesterday at Walmart

I saw a man strike his wife in the arm with his cane yesterday. It was disturbing to say the least.

I was waiting in the oil change area for the young man to get the details on my car and an older couple (late 60's-early 70's, I'd guess) were standing about 20 feet away. He arrived in one vehicle, she in another. He hit an orange cone with his cane, which got our attention in the first place. They had some words with each other as I continued to look their way.

Then, he raised his cane in the air and I gasped and yelled out, "No, no no!" He hesitated, not taking his eyes off of her and then SMACK. He hit her in the arm. She yelped and started to cry. We stood there in shock. The young employee walked over to his supervisor and explained what happened. I continued to be frozen, watching to make sure he wouldn't do it again. I couldn't believe what I just saw. I asked the young man when he came back if we should do something. He wasn't sure. As the man started to walk towards his car, I grabbed a pen and piece of paper from my car and jotted down the license plate number. For some reason, I was hesitant to call the police.

After he left, we walked over to the lady and I asked her if I should call the police. She insisted that I didn't. We asked if she was okay. She was crying and said she was fine. My stomach was a pit and my heart was broken. The employee finished getting my car information and I told him that I would be back in an hour, that I was walking down to the gym.

As I started to walk away, I had to hold back tears. I was so upset. I had to call the police. I made the call, gave them the information and continued my walk to the gym, kicking myself for not calling immediately after the incident. Just a few minutes after the call, I saw a police officer speeding towards Walmart, he even put his lights on to get through a red light.

When I arrived at the gym, my phone rang. It was the police department again. They wanted some more information. After being on hold for 10 minutes, I told them I left the paper with the license plate number in my car at Walmart but they were more than welcome to retrieve it. I felt relieved that I had done everything I could possibly to do help this woman.

My workout wasn't like I had planned due to being very distracted so I just ran/walked for 20 minutes before walking back to get my car. My friend Melissa called me (I sent her a text about this, her husband is in LE) and I felt so much better after verbalizing what had happened to another person.

Once I arrived at Walmart to get my car, an employee (not the one who helped me) asked if the police got in touch with me and I said yes. I asked if they got the paper out of my car but he said he didn't think so and they can't authorize anyone to go into vehicles that are in their care. That was a bit of a let down and I considered calling them back to see if I could give them the number but the employee said the lady had talked to the police and said she didn't want to do anything-her husband was crazy and it wasn't a big deal.

I was so sad. Sad for that woman who no doubt has had this happen to her before. Sad for their kids who might know their father beats their mother and sad for myself and those other people who had to watch that happen.

I'm very glad that I called the police. It was my first time calling for something other than loud music being played or a fire I spotted on the freeway. In the future, I won't hesitate to call if something like this happens in front of me again. I hope that guy gets what is coming to him.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Today, I run.

I miss running. There, I said it. I get like this every now and again. I run and run and run, all the while realizing how much I have a love/hate relationship with running. The fresh air, the open road, the hurts-so-good pain is even with the slowness in which I run, the pain at the end, the not so ideal weather conditions. When I was running regularly, I would actually say out loud, while I ran, "I HATE RUNNING."

And now I miss it. I've been tossing around the idea of quitting the gym (that phrase will always make me think of Friends). Our gym is really small with just cardio machines and weights. I'm too lazy to use weights regularly so I spend an hour on the bike or the elliptical (sometimes the treadmill) and then go home. For the most part, I go 5 times a week but it really isn't worth the money. If I ran outside and use the weight rack my husband is planning on buying, I'd be set-for free.

The winter months may present a challenge but I think I need to push myself to find creative ways to exercise without a gym membership. Workout dvd's or exercises that I find on Pinterest can provide a substitute.

Friday morning, I completed a 3 mile run/walk. 4 minutes run, 2 minutes walk. Today I am going to drop my car off to get the oil changed and either run to the gym and workout or simply run around the neighborhood. I want to get my running legs back in gear.

No matter how much I say I hate running, being able to walk out the door and just GO is a freeing feeling. And I miss it!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

File It Away.....and Move On.

Tonight, my family is gathering at a local pizza restaurant to have dinner with my Aunt and Uncle who are in town from the Pacific Northwest. My uncle received his brain cancer diagnosis last fall and while initially he was improving, the long term outlook isn't great.

These two have embraced life this receiving this news. They have traveled to Hawaii and Mexico to relax on the beach. They took a trip to New York City to watch a Broadway show. My uncle has competed in multiple 10K (and more!) races. He runs daily.

My mom told me that while talking to my aunt recently, she said that her husband of over 30 years didn't recognize her for a moment. He insisted that it wasn't her that he was looking at.

The reality of this is so much more real than anyone knows. Especially when they remain active, traveling, running and living a full life together.

This weekend, my uncle is going to run across the Golden Gate Bridge. My dad and his family grew up in Marin County so the GG Bridge isn't new to them but in the "bucket list" portion of his life, the bridge has new meaning.

I've never been one to downsize the suffering of one person because others are suffering worse fates. We all have our issues, our struggles, our bad days. We are allowed to complain about the price of gas or a bad run of luck in life. But while doing that, I think it is important to slow down and take inventory of your attitude about life. Is the world out to get you and you look to seek revenge or do things happen and you file them away and move on?

My aunt and uncle have filed brain cancer away and moved on. They are making the most of their lives together while they can. I admire them so deeply, I can't find words to express how proud I am of them.

When life gets you down, file it away....and move on. Make the most of your situation. Look on the bright side of things. It can be amazing how beautiful life can be if you see the bigger picture on a daily basis.

p.s.-I've started a new infertility focused blog. It is called "Empty Ute, Full Heart." I'd love for you to visit.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Girly Things

When I walked into my sister's house on Sunday, I heard a familiar voice beckoning me upstairs.

"AU BOB! Come upstairs!" She demands. I listen.

I turned the corner into the master bedroom and saw three ladies (two little, one grown) sitting on the floor with smiles on their faces. It was pedicure time!

Diana was getting her toe nails trimmed (which doesn't seem like her favorite part) and Amy was asking for a coat of sparkle polish on top of her newly painted pink nails. I was given the duty to apply the sparkle. Painting such little toes? I wasn't sure how I would do.

I held those little (well, 4 year old little) feet in my hands and painted away, unconvinced that Amy The Go Get 'Em Girl would be unable to sit still long enough for them to dry. Seconds after finishing the job and me holding her feet on the ground hoping she would understand to sit still, she was turned around and proclaiming "they are dry mom!" Not so much. The paint was smeared and another lesson of "oh well, that is what happens" was learned.

I'm sure boys are great and all but ever since my sister learned she was pregnant both the first and second times, I know we all had our fingers crossed for girls. We are a girl family and those 10 minutes on the floor, painting toe nails and giggling together make me think "does life get any better than this?"

Monday, July 22, 2013

Dreams of City Livin'

I live in a small town. 16,000 people. 8 stop lights with 6 of those along the same street (and 1 on the Walmart property). It is quiet, peaceful and a good place for young families.

My sister lives in the next town over. It is bigger. More shopping, more space, more stop lights.

If you continue on the freeway going west, you will come across the town where we grew up. Once "small", it is now a booming urban/suburban area where crime is growing (sad) and capitalism is increasing (yay!). My in-laws live there as do many friends and their parents. It is where we (me, my sister and my husband) went to middle school and high school. It holds a lot of memories for us.

I've written before about how I am so lucky to live a short drive (or ferry or BART ride) away from San Francisco. We were just there yesterday for a SF Giants game. While we intended to take the ferry, it sold out 5 minutes before departure so we hopped in the car and drove 20 minutes to the nearest BART station. We were in San Francisco* in 40 minutes.

For the most part, The City is dead on Sundays. Sure, the Ferry Building is busy and on a Giants home game day, black and orange fill the streets but the financial district is quiet and a lot of stores are closed. We walked down Beale to the Embarcadero, turned right and headed towards the ballpark (the best in the MLB if you ask me).

As I looked around at the tall buildings, the fancy condos and people sitting outside at street cafes, enjoying Sunday brunch, I couldn't help but long for city living. The hustle and bustle of city life is fascinating to me. The activities and adventures that are just outside your door are appealing. And with San Francisco being one of the most beautiful places in the world, it is hard not to get envious of those who live there!

Not the prettiest view but I was too lazy, tired and in need of a potty break to take pictures of more appealing locations.

And then I read blogs of people who live in NYC and that envy really kicks in. Oh how I would LOVE to live in New York City for just 6 months. I would ride my bike to Central Park and have picnics every day. I would take the subway up and down from Midtown to Downtown just for the heck of it. I would go to Brooklyn because, well, why not? I've never been there! Is there anything cooler than living in New York City? Perhaps it is a bit trendy to think that right now but I don't care. My West Coast-self really finds the East Coast/NYC life exciting.

Do big city people envy us small town folks? Probably not. The smell of cow manure in the morning and roosters waking us up isn't an enviable situation.

*Please do not call it "San Fran" "Frisco" or any other variation. It is San Francisco or The City. That is all.

Thursday, July 18, 2013


I haven't written about my dad's recovery from a stroke since March.

I'm happy to report that he is doing very well. Aside from the fact that he has lost of ton of weight (amazing what giving up fast food can do!), he reports that he doesn't need to use his cane when he walks around his house. His left arm still isn't "waking up" but he is finding ways to manage his life without the complete use of that limb. He goes to the gym for personal training a couple of times a week and due to a communication error a few weeks ago, managed to walk all the way home from the gym by himself-that's 1.4 miles people!

He still isn't driving, although I know he hopes he can someday. It has been just over 8 months since his stroke which isn't very long in the scheme of things. He is in good health which is the most important thing right now.

The biggest moment of the past few months was his decision to retire. His plan was to retire in the next year anyways but being unable to drive he realized that this is just the right time. My dad is a teacher and has been for 29 years. He taught at-risk youth who were placed in community day schools due to their inability to function properly in traditional schools for a variety of reasons. He ended his teaching career back where he started, at juvenile hall.

My dad was a great teacher. People joke that they become a teacher for 3 reasons: June, July and August. But not many people decide to teach the at-risk population of youth. It takes a special person to do that job. I'm sure not every student loved my dad but sometimes he would see students out and about in the community and they always called out his name and wanted to say hello.

I hate to toot my own horn but I think I am pretty good at my job. My favorite part of my daily work is working with youth, building relationships and watching that relationship turn into something positive for the students I come in contact with. Just like I have his calf muscle structure, I believe that my ability to work so well with youth comes from my dad's genes.

Not only am I proud of my dad's spirit during his recovery, I'm proud of the work he has done over the past 30 years to help educate troubled kids. Being a teacher can be a thankless job and when you are working with the at-risk population, it can be nearly 100% thankless but my dad loved teaching-it is what he was meant to do. He passed on his love of education to me and for that, I am so grateful.

My dad's retirement might not look like he thought it would but in time, through hard work and determination, I think he will be right where he pictured himself during his golden years-on a beach in Hawaii or Spain!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Our 4th

The way we celebrate the 4th of July feels like a snapshot of what America should be.

My husband and brother-in-law having a water fight

One of 3 sets of fireworks being set off in our cul-de-sac

My sister, husband and brother-in-law playing catch in the street while Amy stands by drinking water. Diana and her new friend (our neighbor) were doing cartwheels to my left.

Diana pulling a Matrix move out of her pocket while she sprays Uncle Chris with water

It was over 100 degrees for much of the day but that didn't stop our entire family (12 of us) from sitting in the driveway watching the kids play and enjoying time together.

White chocolate covered oreos with red and blue sprinkles. Quite a success!

Finally, Amy get to experience fireworks. Her thoughts? "Okay, I like fireworks."

Well said!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Favorite Day: Fourth of July

When I told my husband that the Fourth of July is my favorite holiday, he scoffed.

"Ummm, I don't think so. There is no way you love any holiday more than Christmas."

That might be true. I added the disclaimer that the Fourth of July is my favorite first half of the year holiday. He was okay with that.

See. All spirited out!

Why is Fourth of July awesome? Parades! Food! Family! Hotter than hell heat! More food and of course, FIREWORKS! 

My husband, King of Blowing Stuff Up, sent me a tragic text this morning. 

"I don't think I want to do fireworks this year." When I relayed this message to a friend, she responded "Why does he hate America?" I replied with the Chinese flag emoji and declared that he is a Communist. 

After a little urging, I convinced him to indeed blow some stuff up, just a smaller amount than previous years which makes me (and our checkbook) happy. 

I really do love the 4th. Our neighbors all hang out together in a driveway and chat. There is just something about that day, where *most* people are off work and have plans for fun family and friend activities for the day. I dress in my Old Navy Patriotic shirt and set the DVR to record the Boston Pops and fireworks displays in NYC and Washington DC.

The 4th is fun. And for an "'MMMMERICA!" person like me, I love it even more because I can say with complete honesty that I thank my lucky stars to be born in this country. We aren't perfect. We have flaws but when I hear tales of other places and the freedom that they lack, I kiss the ground I walk on. I'm not ashamed of my patriotism and I'm not ashamed to shout from the rooftops that I am proud to be an American. 

I hope everyone has a fun and safe 4th of July!