Friday, March 17, 2017

March Madness 101

If you landed on this page because you googled "March Madness 101" -- please note - you might as well go away right now - you won't learn a single thing here. I hardly know what it is myself, so there is no way I can tell you anything worthwhile.

So why am I writing about it? Because I was trying to figure it out. I, too, googled "March Madness 101" and all it got me were tips on brackets. (Like I know how that works.) I also googled "How long is March Madness?" -- mainly trying to figure out how long I have to stay away from someone who loves March Madness - in order to let the certain someone enjoy the games. Turns out it is April 3. APRIL???? Aye aye aye.

I remember now. I have another close friend who loved March Madness. We used to hang out a lot all the time - except when March came along. Then, he was like, "leave me alone - I don't want to do anything or go anywhere" So I knew, every year, he was off limits through the month of March.

Ok - back to the current. April 3? That's so far away. Superbowl is only one Sunday. World Series is only two weeks. This thing is 3-weeks long!

I guess I should be thankful - afterall, World Cup runs for 32 days.

It's ok. I love baseball. Come October, I am the same way. Go away. Leave me alone. I've got a game to catch.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

The Problem with Moving

In the past, I've had a problem with going through stored belongings. In other words, it would take me a long time to sift through my things. And by things - I am referring to paperwork and other stuff which I have no idea why it was not thrown out in the first place. Thing is - before I could throw it away, I wanted to sift through it. All of it. Until recently.

Now I am moving  and I am finding it easier and easier to just throw out stuff. Suddenly, I just don't care. I just want to finish moving. I don't care as much. I'm careful with things I am sentimental over, but everything else.....out it goes!

(Family: I said MY STUFF - I know some of you have accused me of throwing out mom's things, but I am specifically talking about my own stuff at my own home. I have not gone through mom's things yet.)

It's been interesting. I found like 12 bottles of White Linen (my signature perfume since graduating from high school) saved. For the most part they were empty except for a tiny bit of the scented concoction at the bottom of the bottle. I took a deep breath and threw them away. Then I had a change of heart and took out two of the thrown bottles and kept them - lol - because, well, they had more than "just a little bit" of perfume at the bottom of the bottle. Maybe I can figure out how to extract it. I actually went to Macys once to complain about not being able to take out or use the last of the perfume. I mean, why should I buy another bottle if I can make one full bottle by combining all the "left behind" perfume.

I must also have at least 50 bank boxes of papers - newspapers, kids' school papers, receipts, etc. But for some reason, I feel like I need to go through all of them before tossing them out. Unfortunately, many of them need to be shredded, so it's not as easy to throw those away.

Recently, (about three months now) I started watching "The Big Bang Theory" and love the show. (It's just silly. Plus I have actually learned a few things.) A few days ago, I watched the episode where Sheldon has Amy, his "girlfriend," drive him to a storage unit where he confesses to her he has a problem with throwing things out -- the unit has everything he has ever owned since he was born.

Ok, I'm not that bad - but I do have a lot of unnecessary stuff. I still have my college pom poms and megaphone, the newspapers bearing my first printed stories (Arrowhead Newspaper) and who knows what else.

I did pretty good when I started cleaning - getting a lot accomplished each day. Things have slowed down a bit - but just a bit. Suddenly, knowing what the final goal is, it's easier to throw out things.


"My world is changing, I'm rearranging.....I'm not the same one....see what the time's done...."

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

My world is changing.....I'm rearranging

Wow - it has been a long time since I've written anything on this blog. Unbelievable! I blame facebook.

I found my blog site again recently and started browsing around -- I honestly can't imagine how I managed my time back then ..... I did so much compared to today.
Thinking specifically of 2005-2008.  Unbelievable.

Well, to catch you up ...... I am still writing, but only for one newspaper. I shattered my arm a couple of years ago playing dodgeball and it required surgery. I never went back full time. I work weekends, holidays and special assignments.

My momma died a few months ago and it's been difficult for me. I rarely left her side for the last six months of her life, and was there till the end when she entered Hospice the final two months.
I now care for my handicapped sister - and it's quite challenging...

My three girls are doing great. One graduated from UC Santa Barbara, the other from UCLA. My Down Syndrome little girl almost died last year from Stephen Johnson Syndrome (I'll have to write about it) but is doing awesome now. She attends a special adult program which focuses on the arts and theater, and recently had a lead role in the Creative Center's "Christmas Carol."

Lots of changes recently but I won't get into any of that.

For now, I'll just quote these lines from "Where are you Christmas?"

"My world is changing, I'm rearranging......I'm not the same one....see what the time's done....."

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Jamaica 2015

Ever since I can remember, I have wanted to visit Jamaica. I knew I would go someday. That's how I am. If I want something bad enough, I make it happen. So I did. It just took a little longer to do so because I kept finding other places to visit and I kept putting Jamaica on a back burner. Until this year. And - it was everything I always dreamed it would be, plus more.

For one thing, there was a hurricane constantly in the horizon - Hello Danny! Hurricane Danny, that is.... but Carnival is so good at what it does, it managed to constantly stay ahead of it.

They just flipped our itinerary - starting with the furthest away (and closest to hurricane) port and working their way back - and away from the hurricane.

Anyway - Jamaica-- what I really wanted to see - and experience - were the waterfalls in Ocho Rios. I heard there were hundreds (ok, maybe dozens) of them along the mile-long river climb.

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to do this. Now I can cross it off my list. Jamaica was amazing. We hiked all the way down to the beach and then climbed 1,000 feet up through the river. And I did it! I did the entire climb. I am very proud of that.Unbelieveable. Dunns River Falls was amazing. But there was so much more.

I love watching track and field events (really almost all events) in the Olympics -- and Usain Bolt is one person who Jamaica is proud of, and rightfully so. We drove past William Knibb Memorial High School in Falmouth on our way to Ocho Rios. The bus guide talked quite a bit about the "fastest man in the world" belonging to Jamaica. It was very interesting hearing and learning all about him.

August 2015

I'll return soon to tell you all about my day.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

525,600 minutes - The Quarterback

525,600 minutes...... how do you measure, measure a year?

"In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee. In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife... In 525,600 minutes - how do you measure a year in the life? .... How about love? How about love? How about love? Measure in love. Seasons of love......... 525,600 minutes - how can you measure the life of a woman or man?"
(above lyrics are incomplete)

July 13, 2013 was an extremely painful day. It was the day Marisa cried uncontrollably after learning her favorite actor, one she had a huge crush on, and one whose sweet face could be seen on numerous posters across her bedroom walls, had died.That night, we all cried. I love Glee and I loved Finn too. The girls - Catherine and Jennifer - also cried. But no one cried more than Marisa.

"Why? Why?," she sobbed loudly and uncontrollably, to the point of falling down."I love him. I love him with all my heart."

It was painful to watch. All I could do was hold her. We cried together.
What do you say to something like that? Especially since the cause of death was a drug overdose. There was no consoling her.
Finally she looked up and said, "At least Finn didn't die. Just Cory." She was serious too.

Did she really not know the difference? Did she really not know it was the same person? Or was this her way of coping?

Tonight, Glee honored his memory with "The Quarterback" -- a heart-wrenching episode honoring his memory and one that helped Marisa, myself, and fans, with closure. The opening number "525,600 minutes" was touching.

How do you measure a life?

In one of my favorite books - The Fault in Our Stars - which I read recently, is a line I love: "Some infinities are bigger than other infinities."

Why couldn't Cory's life be one of the "bigger" infinities?

Suddenly, I am thinking of another life cut short. One of someone who was very special to me. One of a person I loved with all my heart -- my brother in law, Albert, who died in 2003. Oh, how I wish he had one of the latter infinities.

Albert and I were close. Very close. After I was left alone as a single mother with three small children, ages 1, 3 and 10, he became one of my best friends. A "free spirit" who came and went, he lived with me off and on for years and was always there for me - as a brother, nothing more. Nothing inappropriate.

An artist - Albert painted our windows - a Winnie the Pooh for Jennifer, Hello Kitty for Catherine, Brian from the Backstreet Boys for Marisa, and a white background with yellow butterflies for my bedroom window. I could never wash those windows and to this day, they still have the artwork on them.

My home's front windows still have a snow scene and snowman on a sled, little critters pulling him, on one window; and Bambi playing in a snowy meadow (that spring he added green grass to it) on another window.

When the girls said they wanted a tree house, he built them one in my grapefruit tree. I have climbed it many times over the years.

Albert was also my faithful, frequent companion to Oaks baseball games. Once, when I was without a car, he gave us rides to the game -- on his bicycle. First he took Catherine and Jennifer - Catherine sitting on the handlebars and Jennifer on his knee, one arm around her tiny body. I still am not sure how he steered the bike with just one hand. He dropped them off at the main gate, making sure they were all inside with baseball friends. He returned for Marisa and took her sitting on the handlebars. We only live down the street, so by the time he returned for me, I was almost there and we just walked the last few feet.

When I mentioned I wanted a baseball jersey I had bid on and won signed by the player who wore it, Albert took the jersey from me, snuck into the clubhouse (we were not even at a home game - we were in Bakersfield) and returned with it autographed. "Here you go," he said.

And I will always remember the night he confessed, "I think I am in love with Chatter." -- technically, it was not the mascot he loved, but the girl who wore the outfit. Heart warming memories.

In the fall, it was all about football - his main passion. It was Albert I caught Monday Night football games with on big screens while eating $1 tacos at the Lamp Liter Inn, or while enjoying sandwiches at The Depot.

He would take me dancing on Saturday nights to The Depot and bought me my first margarita.

He knew I loved Harrison Ford, so he accompanied me to the movies once -- even though, he admitted, "Six Days, Seven Nights" was not his type of movie and he would much rather be watching "Star Wars", which was on another screen. "You want to see it. That's all that matters."

Albert would occasionally babysit for me so that I could go with my friend Dennis to catch Porterville College basketball games. When the team made it to some championship-type games (can't remember what exactly - either Elite Eight or Final Four Championship - kind of games, it was Albert who drew on big white sheets - which I took to the games in Irvine (he also did it for me to take to Reedley and one for a COS game.) I remember also making it to Sacramento for a game but don't believe I took a sheet.

When Marisa graduated, he did the same thing for her..... drawing Marisa's image, with cap and gown, on a large sheet. He was an amazing artist.

Why couldn't Albert have more infinity minutes?

"You get me through Christmas, and I'll get you through New Year's," he would tell me each year.

He hated Christmas. I hated New Years. But that's a whole other story and I'm not going there tonight.

"Listen," he told me once, cupping my chin in his hand and forcing my tear-streaked face up so that I could see his face. "It may not be this year. It may not be next year. But one day -- maybe in December, maybe on New Years Day -- something wonderful is going to happen to you. You will know the moment it happens. And you are going to remember this day. You are going to remember me telling you this. "

Oh Albert, why did you have to go? You were too young.

525,600 minutes.
How do you measure the life of a woman or a man?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Two hearts, two families - now one

Two hearts, two lives, two families - now one.
Everything about Kristina and Gary Buckingham's wedding yesterday was beautiful. From the moment their children took the first steps down the aisle to the final dance - I could not stop smiling. This family is beautiful and blessed. I love them so much and it was an honor to be at their wedding.

It was held at Everygreen Island - a lusciously green wedding venue with pond, waterfalls, fountains, thick grass and hundreds of trees and plants -- and flying Monarch butterflies through the entire ceremony. Beautiful!

First down the aisle were the parents - the father of the groom, a recent widow, accompanied by a friend.
My sister Lily, - the mother of the bride - walked down the aisle on the arm of her handsome son, Daniel. Too precious!

 Then came the children of the groom and bride. I loved seeing them walk down the aisle before the wedding party walked down. "Marry You" played as five of their seven children walked in. First, gorgeous Sabrina, the eldest, on the arm of her boyfriend, Jordan. Followed by Rebekkah, Gary, Alyssa and baby Jacob. Aaron and Anthony walked in later.

"It's a beautiful day.....hey, baby......I think I want to marry you."

The bridal party entered next, couples and the little flower girl, Bella - cousin of the bride.

Just before the bride, Aaron walked down the aisle alone. He was holding a wooden plaque with "Here Comes the Bride" written across it.
If you looked to the front, Gary was down on one knee, with two arms outstretched, beckoning him forward. Precious! But it was what I saw next that almost literally took my breath away. I always love watching the groom as the bride walks in..... and seeing Gary - with so much love, I can not even describe it. It is something I will never forget. I turned to see what he was looking at and there she was - the most beautiful bride ever. My tears rolled down - happy tears, as Marisa calls them - as I watched Kristina walk towards the front; "A Thousand Years" playing as she walked towards the altar - towards Gary.

"Time stands still, beauty in all she is. I will be brave. I will not let anything take away what's standing in front of me. Every breath, every hour has come to this....."

Their own wedding vows, the kiss, and the fun fast-beat number as the bride and groom, and wedding party, walked and danced down the aisle after the ceremony -all different and cute.

The sweet bar, hors devours - stuffed mushrooms and stuffed jalapeno-bacon wraps, along with chips and salsa - and the dinner: smoked triptip, chicken, zucchini, scalloped potatoes, garlic bread and that amazing spinach and walnut and feta cheese salad in vinaigrette dressing was to die for! (But glad we didn't.)

The dance was so much fun! And Kristina asked the DJ to play one of my favorite dance numbers - that's right - "Play that Funky Music, White Boy!" -- I had to hit dance floor and James even got up and danced with me. Fun fun fun.

I loved being there yesterday. The ceremony, the bride and groom's children, my family, the butterflies, the flowers, the cake, the dinner, the dance - I loved it all.

I had so much fun and felt so much love. I love this family. (ok, I'm crying again)

Mr. and Mrs. Gary Buckingham - I adore and love you, your lives, your family! Thank you for letting me be a part of your special day.

If I can figure out how to add video clips - I'll add some, but so far, no such luck.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Must do before my 2013 birthday

Birthday "to do" list - must do before September 2013 ends
(Update: 9/28/13 - I managed to check off 8 of these - that's half of them - not bad.
Second Update:  I got to check a few more checked off in 2015/2016.)

2012 Birthday dinner at The River

I am a "list" person - I love lists. It's the way I stay organized. 
If I have a list, I can cross things off as I get them done. 
I have lists for everything - groceries, chores, things to do, things to try, song lists, project lists, book lists, assignment lists.... on and on it goes. I also have an "unrealistic but dream about it" list.
I am celebrating a new year of life - and as such - it's time for some new lists - what I would like to accomplish this year - professionally, personally, for fun and for family. 
I keep journals - so a lot of it is hand written in my journals. Last year's list included taking a helicopter ride - and I did it! Yep. A very happy birthday to me. Just for fun - I'm adding my 'simple and fun' list here. This is what I will do before my 2013 birthday:

1. Zipline - scheduled to do but it rained, so I get to pass it to the next year.
2. Drive a tractor - um.....ooops, friend offered his tractor but I was too busy.
3. Milk a cow - check! 
4. Ride a mechanical bull - um....nope, didn't do this one. I got scared.
5. Sleep under the stars - check!
6. Catch my second fish - check! 
7. Camp - still have never done this. 
8. Explore a cave - check!
9. Hike Montana de Oro - nope.
10. Spend a weekend in a cabin - check! (Finally - Camp Nelson - 7/16  and Dunsmuir - 716 )
11. Revisit Horse creek - check!
12. Stand under a waterfall - check! check! check! check! -- stood under several of them.
13. Ride a horse for the first time - not yet.
14. Take another cruise - check, check!  4 in 2014, 2 in 2015
15. Go rollerskating - went ice skating, close enough, so - check! 
16. Arizona - Grand Canyon, Sonora, Winslow, Bisbee, Douglas - research for my novel! - went, did research on a couple of them but not all those places  but close enough, so - check!

Not totally unrealistic. Can't wait to get started on my list. I am so ready to start marking these off.....