Monday, August 28, 2006

Rose Bowl - Commercials - and a five-day cruise

I'm happy to say that my mom's health has been great. We've been blessed in that area lately. She is turning 85 in a month and we are planning a really big party for her. Here is a picture of her on her 80th birthday party. She's playing badminton. In the second photo, she's just driven my little red convertible, shortly after I got it (1999?)

<----- That's my mom -- she was born in Pasadena so we always refer to her as the little old lady from Pasadena.

Speaking of Pasadena, I've been invited by Jim Kusserow, Porterville Panther Band director, to join the band for the Rose Bowl parade on January 1 in Pasadena. That is so exciting! What an honor! I'll be covering the band's activities from Dec. 29 through Jan. 1 -- writing for the Porterville Recorder.

I've been pretty busy lately. I thought I would have a lot of free time to work on my WIP once my children were back in school, but nothing could be further from the truth -- I am busier than ever. I feel like a taxi service but that's ok - that's my choice and I am not complaining, just explaining.

My days start early. Two children start school at 7 a.m., one at 8:30 and one at 11 a.m. -- in the afternoon, I play taxi again - at 2 p.m., 2:30, 3:20, 4:30 and 5:30. (one child comes home and then returns for sports) -- On Tuesdays, I add more taxi rounds at 6 and 8:30 p.m. (to and from band practice)and Friday nights - to and from the football games. And, of course, there are at least two tennis matches a week that I attend. (I try to make every single one of them - including out of town.) Thank goodness softball season does not conflict right now. That's a whole other ballgame.

I've been busy writing and working too. I work two to three hours every day at a medical office and then write for newspapers on a regular basis. Today I received seven new assignments that are due soon. Thursday and Friday I will be recording several more commercials for the Bakersfield Californian newspaper - in English and Spanish for radio and (this time) for television too! I am very excited about it. I have never done a television commercial for them.

I enjoy recording radio commercials. That's always so cool to do. And the first time I heard the commercial on the radio, I screamed. It is so odd hearing your own voice on the radio. You can't help but smile. :)

In the meantime, I'm off to see my uncle again. He's dying of cancer in Los Angeles and I promised to take my mom on Wednesday.

But finally I will have some time to work on my novel next week. I'm taking off (alone - with no children) for a five-day cruise to Catalina Island, San Diego and Ensenada On Labor Day with my sister Becky, her daughter-in-law and my sweet grand-nephew (age 1?)

I plan to write - write - write, and I'm really looking forward to a little R and R.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Harley Davidson ride

Even with lack of sleep, I've been doing ok and working. In fact, I had stories in three different newspapers this week.

One story was fun -- the class of 1956 was digging up their time capsule and I was there to cover the event. But, it was not there. Bummer. Still, I enjoyed covering the story. (My class of 76 time capsule was also missing)

Another story had to do with a Harley Davidson group having a poker run to raise money for our local sheriff's K9 units. I wrote the pre story and now they want me to cover the actual event.

It's a cool story. BUT -- it gets better. I was invited to ride along (they promised me I wouldn't fall off) at the event -- 120 miles.

Can you imagine? I'm actually not a big motorcycle fan but the thought is intriguing. I may not do the entire ride. They have several stops along the way and I may just take a leg of it.
It sounds scary. I mean, you can't really make a promise like that ("we have some great drivers. we promise you won't fall off.") An accident is an accident. Still, these guys drive these things all the time.

If you had the chance, would you do it? I told them I'd let them know by Friday.

It is times like this that I really love my job. I can't believe I get paid to do things like this. :)

Sleepless in Visalia - again

Well, it's happening again. No sleep. The last four days have been really bad. I wake up at 1 a.m. and stay awake till 4 - 5 a.m. -- jumping at every little sound, my heart racing up to 110 beats per minute. I sleep less than three hours a night and then work all day.

During the day, I'm fine.

I thought it was due to a combination of things -- the high school reunion, my mother, (she had another fall yesterday and banged her head on the sidewalk) my kids, a dying uncle, an aunt who died two days ago and my work. I kept thinking once things settled down, things would be better.

But, today it started crossing over to my day. Usually, my symptoms disappear during the day.
So, I decided enough was enough and I made an appointment with a doctor.

Spider Identified - I think

A few posts ago, I posted a picture of a spider found in our home. It was huge (by my standards)

Matt D. suggested I check out whats that bug dot com -- I did. As much as I dislike bugs, I was fascinated by the site.

I didn't find my spider but I did query in my question and photo and they found it for me.

My spider looks identical (same mark on back) to a Huntsman Spider. The first one is mine. The other spider has two rows of the markings but I saw several pics of spiders with only one row.
Either way, this spider was a bit too fuzzy and too large for my liking. (think baby tarantula)

Now - my question is: How the heck did it get here?
I have been reading that they are from Australia.
Thank you, Matt, for your help in identifying it.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Sorry seems to be the hardest words ... not really

I have been listening to the Mel Gibson incident a lot lately and to be honest -- I don't understand why people can not accept an apology any more.

I realize that what he did was wrong. He realizes it. He apologized.

“I acted like a person completely out of control when I was arrested and said things that I do not believe to be true and which are despicable,” the actor-director said without elaborating. (AP story)

Actually, he's apologized more than once.

But I guess that wasn't enough. Now I hear that the Jewish community is not accepting his apology and they want him to do some service work and speaking engagements.

My question is - why?

Why is it NOT enough? Do they feel he is not sincere?

I think what gets to me is that people no longer know how to accept an apology. It's like, "Ok, yea, I forgive you....IF...." and then the list begins.

Jesus forgave unconditionally. Why can't people do the same?

High School Reunion

My 30th high school reunion is this weekend and I've been really busy with some reunion things lately-- but finally it's all come together. Our last meeting (I hope) was last night and come Saturday -- I'll be having fun.

So why am I so nervous about it? I go through this every five years..... I'm getting more and more excited with each passing day but also starting to get more and more nervous....

I know the main thing is to visit with classmates and have fun -- but still...... why am I nervous about this? It's not like I don't know anyone. I've been on the 10, 15, 20, 25 and now 30 year committees. You would think I wouldn't react like this.......

But do you know what is sad? We have so many classmates missing. We had 325 graduates in our class -- but addresses now for about 150 of them. And, only 75 or so are coming to the reunion.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Honorable funeral

I was 17 when my father died. It was only the second funeral I had ever attended.
Now, it seems like I've attended one a week for the past few weeks.

Last week, I attended a most awesome funeral. It was very sad - a police officer died (off duty, struck by a drunk driver) The representation at the funeral was just amazing. As a member of the press, I hung out with all of the press people and took lots of pictures.

There were three blocks of police and sheriff cars and motorcycles.

I am always amazed at all of the officers who come out to support each other -- car after car after car and all of those police motorcycles -- wow! To see that kind of procession is something else.

The policman was also a member of a motorcycle club, and of course, they all came out too.

The previous week, a dear man died. (my sister's grandfather in law) The man was a saint and we had the privilege of having him over several times, at Christmas and Thanksgiving.

I am not Catholic, but sitting there in that pew, with the choir singing -- I felt so much peace.

It was truly a beautiful service.

My parents were very strange when it came to other religions. Maybe that is why I am so open and respect the beliefs of all others -- I don't care what religion they are. I can still love them. When I was 13, a very dear friend died. He was not my boyfriend because I was not allowed to date, but I was so in love with him. I begged my parents to let me go to his funeral. But because he was Catholic, they said no. (I finally visited his grave two years ago for the first time)
Anyway - the service I attended was uplifting. I loved it.

Then this week, I attended the funeral of the father of a dear friend. I am sorry to say I did not really know the man, but wish I did. He was quite a person!

When we got home from the funeral, I found out my uncle is not doing well and he is asking to see my mother. I will be driving her tomorrow (Thursday) to see him in the Los Angeles area -- and I hope we make it in time.