Procrastination (But I Digress)

Monday, July 14, 2014


So yesterday, Matthew (the five year old) wanted me to play Chest with him.  I asked are you saying Chess?  And he said, Chest!  And I said, Chess?  Then I said to no one in particular, I'd spell it out, but you're five.  He pointed to a chess set and said emphatically: Chest!

No, I said, you are too young to play that game, and then I remembered that his Grandmother could beat Karl at Chess when she was five(or maybe younger).  Sure, I'll teach you how to play.

So we got out the board and lined up all the players.  I told Matthew (and now Madilyn who wandered over to see the new game) that the tallest piece was the King.  The king goes on his own color.  (Later Dad said it is the Queen on her own color and one of us was going to look that up, but I digress).  The next tallest was the Queen and she's the most powerful.  She goes next to the King.  On the sides, the players who look like castles are the guards on the edges called Rooks.  Next to them are the horses called Knights.  Next to the King and Queen are the advisors--the Bishops.  In front of everyone in the court are the rest of the people, the pawns, the soldiers.

So we had the board set up and I tried to explain the movement.  No one except the horses can jump over anyone else.  The rooks go in straight lines, but as many spaces as they want if there's no one blocking them.  The bishops go diagonally, again as far as they want if no one is blocking them.  The queen can go in a straight line or diagonally, she's the most powerful.

Madilyn is playing with the pieces and I keep returning them to their spots, but Matthew is hanging on my every word.

Everyone's job is to protect the king, I tell them.  The king can only move one space at a time, and without missing a beat, Matthew says, he's pretty old, isn't he.

Oh yeah, that's Adrienne's grandson alright.

I let the kids chose a player and then went thru that players choice of moves, but Madilyn lost interest quickly and Matthew really hated having any of his players sacrificed--even if it was for the greater good.  I directed a lot of carnage to bring the game to a quick conclusion, because we were late, but golly the King must be pretty old--awesome observation.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Knotts Berry Farm

Knotts Berry Farm

Took the five year old twins to Knotts on a Saturday in the summer. Look at that sentence. It is bad enough to go to a popular spot on a Saturday of all days, but add summer and that's a double whammy. Now make the beneficiaries extreme crabby and tantrum throwing candidates, and signing up for therapy is looking kind of reasonable; but I digress.

Adrienne had tickets for an event that I was attending in her place. Check in was at 7:30 am. I could have gone later and had planned to go later, but the twins woke up at 5:30 am, ready to go. We were the first car in the parking lot. We were the first people to check in. The park didn't open until 8am and it was my impression that the rides wouldn't open until 10. I was very happy my phone and iPad were fully charged, since I was sure there would be a lot of down time to occupy the little people who can run faster than me.

I needn't have worried. First they took pictures of me dancing to the very uplifting (and danceable) music that Knotts played at the front gate. Then the twins came up with game after game using their hats to amuse themselves. I marveled at their comradary and resourcefulness. However, I knew from experience that it was early in the day--the crabby was coming--it was only a matter of time.

The weather was so wonderful that early in the day--cloud cover, mild, lovely. I opted not to take the extra set of clothes, just socks, jackets, hats and sunscreen (and old iPad that weights a ton and phone, and a couple snacks--I felt very girl scout prepared all day as I went to my bag to solve every issue well, but I digress.). Madi had the beginning of a blister right away, so out came the socks.

When the park opened, I was worried that the kids would see the rides they couldn't go on for another two hours. We had been a hour early at legoland last year and that first hour waiting really soured the mood for the day. But I was pleasantly surprised that Camp Snoopy was up and running right away. The kids were in heaven running from ride to ride, although, Aunt Kathy was a bit put out that Madilyn was one inch too small to ride alone on some of them. (All day Madilyn tried to prove unsuccessfully that she was as tall as Matthew, poor baby.)

The heaven that was Camp Snoopy did have a dark side however. The twins were vigilantly on the look out for Snoopy and his friends--They wanted nothing to do with them--mortally frightened. When we went to breakfast (billed as breakfast with Snoopy), I had to physically drag them in and promise to body slam Snoopy if he came near them. I tried explaining that it was probably a very nice girl in the Snoopy costume and while I think their heads believed me, their gut shouted "Danger, danger Will Robinson".

After breakfast, we went on all the rides again. They loved, loved, loved the mud buggy pig pen ride--I think they went on that ride four times. I never need to go on the bus ride again--but the twins loved it. They were so excited in the planes and Madilyn loved the roller coaster, but Matthew, not so much. I loved the swings and it was so cute to see Charlie Brown upside down and the tree eat his kite as we went around. Altogether, the twins are the perfect age for Camp Snoopy and Camp Snoopy was just wonderful.

By 11 am, I was done, but the twins were not. The sun was out and it was getting hot, so I started the let's pick one more important thing to do (with, I'll admit, visions of a very early start home). Madilyn saw the stagecoach and that's what she wanted to do. Horses stink I told her, trying to discourage the idea. Nonono, the hint of a tantrum brewing said. Ok, let's go on the stinky ride. There was a long line. In the sun. Only six or seven people seemed to go on the stagecoach that had to go around the whole park. I offered it up to the souls in purgatory, and got out the sunscreen and iPad. Crabbiness not completely avoided, but it was certainly lessened.

About an hour later, just as we are about to be led into the final part of the line, Madilyn(who has told me repeatedly that she is afraid of heights) states emphatically that she wants to sit on top. Matthew crys, noooo, he wants to sit inside and commences sobbing. The line moves and we are randomly sent to the inside the stagecoach line. I make an effort to get seating on the top, because Matthew can be tickled out of crying, but you do not want to mess with a Madilyn meltdown, and the lady working the line, nicely, but firmly says, you are randomly assigned seats. Just as I am contemplating the thoroughly awful suggestion to appease Madilyn, that we will ride again, two ladies in line who have been assigned to sit on top offer to let the kids ride with them. Madilyn jumps over to their part of the line and commences to introduce herself and her brother. As an afterthought she says, and that's my aunt. I explain that Matthew wants to sit inside, as if there was any possibility he could be unglued from my side after a stranger spoke to him. So they offed a seat up top to the kids in the group behind us. Our group of about 12 (that stagecoach really did pack them in) rearranged itself so that all the kids (except Matthew) got to sit up top.

Now I was impressed all day by how helpful and really nice the staff was at Knotts, but for people who had stood in the same line for an hour in the sun to be so nice really warmed my heart.

The horses were plenty stinkie and I'd prefer to never go again, but I have to admit I was glad we went.

So my heart warmed self decided not to leave so early. I had never seen the ice capade show (zero personal interest), but it was something in the air conditioning to do, that would keep us occupied at Knotts that didn't involve waiting in line in the sun (or so I thought). We had about an hour and a half to kill before the show started, so I found some shade and offered lunch. Too early--no takers. However, Madilyn did find an ice cream place and that was a treat I had promised at some point. She would be the leader--don't run over me with the stroller she said. So damn cute. One scoop cost about six bucks and would have fed an army, so after I spent more money on two cones then I spend grudgingly on diet coke for a week, and tersely demanded cutting the portion they handed to a five year old in half, we retreated to the shade to eat ice cream. I had grabbed what I thought was a lot on napkins, but it proved woefully inadequate. Three fourths of each cone was thrown away, but Madilyn did make a valiant effort. When it was dripping down her arm and her hand was a sticky chocolate mess, she had to admit defeat. She tried to salvage as much as she could by licking her arm and hand, but the threat that her hand might touch me proved too great a risk and she was whisked off to the restroom for a thorough cleaning.

The iPad and phone and packed crackers kept us sane for the next hour and then they opened the line for the show. This is great, I thought, it's about 15 minutes til the show--they get us right in to be seated, it's a big theater, there's not that many people down here--score. The first warning sign was that the line was up hill. Pushing the twins (with all that fresh chocolate in them) was hard work. Second, it was really hot now. There was a cover over the line, so we weren't in the sun, but it was a tent cover and it was really hot. Then the line stopped. They weren't letting us in just yet. Then they wanted us "to fill all the spaces" in the line, so we were packed in tighter and tighter. Then I looked back and now there were a ton of people behind us. A TON. and we waited and waited. The kids were really crabby now as only over tired, over stimulated and over chocolate five year olds can be. In and out of the stroller they went, both of them wanting me to carry them--so not happening. It seemed to last for hours, but when we finally got inside, it had only been 15 minutes. So the listed start time is the time they open the doors, not the start of the show. The kids wanted to sit at the very back and it dawns on me (far too late) that they don't mind seeing Snoopy from far away but they really want to keep their distance. I'm already not a big ice skating fan--oh joy. Both kids wanted to sit on my lap and both were angling for a nap. A nap was sounding awesome to me as well, and I did close my eyes a few times.

However, the skating was amazing. It was such a tiny stage and there were really only about three or four accomplished skaters, but wow, did they bring it. The kids only were interested when Snoopy was out and Knotts was very clever to incorporate cartoons into the show and it was air conditioned and out of the sun--all excellent points to recommend it.

Refreshed, we decided to hit Camp Snoopy hard again and went on all their favorite rides again. Then we had a very nice late lunch, except Matthew didn't eat. There was no more dessert I was willing to offer after the ice cream lose, so I remembered he'd had a good breakfast and there was an apple in the car and I got over it. Now I had to figure out how to get them to the car. They were not going to want to leave. We did their last favorite ride and just as they geared up to go into full tantrum mode, I went to the one souvenir before we leave trick. Worked like a charm. In fact their souvenirs were so small and easily chosen, I almost bought them a Charlie Brown movie--almost--darn thing was expensive. I held the bag with the souvenirs tight as we made our way out of the park, carrots on a stick. Matthew's stomach hurt, code for pick me up. Madilyn's feet hurt, much less subtle code for pick me up. Aunt Kathy wanted to break the world record for how fast can we get to the car and it didn't hurt one bit that we had the first parking spot closest to the entrance, because we had been the first ones there.

The kids are asleep--holding their Snoopy dolls--just because they don't want to meet him in person, doesn't mean they don't love Snoopy. What an awesome day this was.

Thursday, January 02, 2014


So when I was about five or six, we have a picture of me surrounded with balloons.  I think I have a laundry basket on my head with a balloon in it.  When Gretchen lived in California, I remember that she made a point of filling the kids room with balloons for their birthday morning.  Erika posted on facebook last week that she filled Jackson's room with balloons until her fingers bled.  Last year, I was watching the twins overnight, so that their birthday morning would be at my house.  I bought lots and lots of balloons and after they went to bed, I worked and worked and worked at blowing up (I have a manual pump) balloons and tying them off.  I remember that it took longer than I thought it would and my fingers hurt a lot.  When I finished the first bag of 72 balloons I was done.  It didn't fill up the whole room and I was sorely disappointed, but the kids seemed to enjoy it and we played with balloons for weeks after that (much to my annoyance at not being able to get rid of them, since the kids seemed to enjoy them sooo much).  That first morning, Madilyn corralled all the balloons into the kitchen which made them seem like a lot more, since they filled up the kitchen completely.  The seed of the idea that more balloons were necessary was born.

This year, I invited Marisa and the kids to spend the night before their birthday at the house.  Their birthday in on New Years, so this was for New Years Eve.  Marisa had told them that they could stay up til midnight to ring in the new year.  I tried to remember just how long it took me to blow up the balloons last year, but sadly my memory is just not that good.  At 10 or so, we were still all awake and put in the movie Dispicable Me 2.  I love that movie.  At a little after 11 p.m., I noticed that they were all asleep, but I was watching the movie.  A little while later, Adrienne came out and we carried everyone off to bed (turning off the movie before I got to see the end, but I didn't want to watch it with no kids--silly Aunt Kathy).  I was exhausted and went to bed.  Good night old year.  At midnight someone in the neighborhood set off fireworks--a lot of them.  I was not awake to hear the police come and arrest them (but apparently that happened).

At 5 a.m. I awoke with  start--balloons!  Oh no.  That was the whole idea of inviting the kids to spend the night.  I had 144 balloons and they are early risers.  I was really tired, so I didn't move very quickly, but I was also very determined to blow up those balloons.  I moved six or so months ago and I'm still living in boxes.  I had gone through every single box looking for the balloon pump, only to find it in the bag in the kitchen with the plastic ware.  It is plastic--I'm not completely illogical.  I went to the Party City to get the best balloons.  I bought the last two bags of assorted colored balloons that they had.  After that my choices were a weird silver and gold (probably stocked for New Years parties).  So I was prepared.  I was a little apprehensive because Erika had posted that tying off the balloons had involved blood.  I don't like blood--not one little bit.  I do remember how much my fingers hurt, but I was positive there was no blood.  I'll be fine I assured myself.  So I blew up balloons.  It was hard to tie them off, but I just pushed through.  When I got to ten, I looked at the clock to see how I was doing for time.  It was 5:20.  Ten balloons in 20 minutes, the math made my head hurt so I shut it down and perservered.  After two more balloons, I had to go to the rest room and I took a break.  When I was washing my hands, ouch, I noticed a blister on my balloon tying finger.  It hurt and it looked bad.  The second finger needed for balloon tying did not look much better.  I got the brilliant idea to put bandaids on.  Why didn't I think of that before!

Now I mentioned before that all my stuff is still in boxes, so now I have to find bandaids.  I look in a few cupboards and Adrienne has these metalic looking bandaids in the cupboard.  They are very hard.  This will be great--that will protect my fingers and I will get to finish the balloons.  The first balloon is very hard to tie.  The metalic bandaids are digging into my fingers and it hurts too much.  I even try to tie the balloon with my left hand.  After about five minutes it works.  Great I think, I'll use my left hand.  The next balloon does not work with my left hand.  It doesn't work with the metalic bandaid hand.  I'm despretely looking around the house for some clever way to tie this damn balloon.  If you are counting I have blown up just 13 balloons and the fourteenth just will not be tied.  I let it go.  The metalic bandaids are digging into my fingers so I take them off and start searching my boxes for my flexible bandaids.  Right in the first place I look, there they are.  I am encouraged.  New bandaids are going to solve my problems.  I try another balloon and it hurts, but I did it.  I try another balloon.  Nope, it will not work.  I try the left hand again and after a lot of attempts I tie it off.  I perservere.  Now I have a cut above the bandaid.  That's it.  I must admit defeat.  It is already 6 a.m..  I leave the balloons and the pump out.  I figure the kids would probably have a lot of fun blowing up balloons too.  I look at the pathetic little pile of balloons.  I corrall them into a smaller space to make them look like a lot with chairs.  I'm exhausted and I go back to bed.

At 7 a.m., Madilyn climbs into bed with me and goes to sleep.  A little while later, I ask if she is awake and I look over and her eyes are open.  I ask her if she knows what day this is?  No, she says.  I tell her it is her birthday and she is five.  She puts up two fingers.  No, I say, and I put up my whole hand.  No, she says and she keeps holding up two fingers.  Here's where I attribute a whole lot more cunning and intelligence to the child.  I think that she wants to stay two, because their mother tells them that they have to eat four more bites if they want dessert because they are four.  If she says she's two, then it will only be two bites until dessert rather than the new inflated five.  Later, Marisa tells me that she told them they had to stay two, because she didn't want them to grow up.  Madilyn was trying to please mommy by staying two.

At 7:45, Matthew joins us and wants the ipad.  I turn on the Rose Parade.  Madi needs to go to the rest room.  We all go.  We're a team that way.  Walking back to the bedroom, I direct them to the living room to see the balloons.  I'm waiting for disappointment and I'm feeling guilty that I didn't come up with some clever solution.  THEY ARE THRILLED at the balloons and immediately take to bouncing them in the air.  Much later they discover the pump and the bag of balloons.  Too much fun.  They want me to tie the balloon that they pump, but I decline.  Marisa ties one or two.  I think Adrienne may have tied a few.  Matthew wants to make little baby balloons, but Mom doesn't want to trip on them, so a mimimum size is established.  I am encouraging them to blow them up really big and then let them go (no tying involved).  The bag started at 72.  By noon, they're all gone.  Such a great day.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Interesting Times

"May you live in interesting times" is running like a loop in my head--that song that plays over and over, except that sometimes I say it in my head very sarcastically, a sort of f**k me and sometimes I say it reverently, like wow, life is great!

So it looks like I haven't posted since December and sooo much has happened since then.  The Australian Open did not have Nadal and I found it harder to be as interested in the early rounds.  It improved in the later rounds, but I guess not enough to inspire me to write about.  Now they are playing at Indian Wells.  It is close enough that I could go, but far away enough that I don't.  A little is televised, but so far I only watched Nadal's first match.  He looks good, but I can't say that he looked great.  It was the early round, so there's not much reason to turn on the heat yet.  We'll see.  The Williams are not there, but on paper it looks like Sharapova will go deep.

I also went to the hospital for the first time in my life last month.  Emergency appendectomy.  Apparently 1 in 15 people have their appendix removed, so I guess it was my turn.  OR I had a really bad stomach ache and they thought, what the hell, let's see if this surgery does the trick.  In fairness to the excellent Doctor (but really what do I know) that I had in the ER, he seemed pretty confident that I had appendicitis even when I questioned his diagnosis.  Me questioning him was pretty funny--like arguing with a Judge.  What was I thinking, but I digress.

The hospital was really awful--not a bad hospital as hospitals go, just awful as even the best hospital would be.  I had my sisters there, which was great.  They handed me things that I couldn't reach and they were nice to the nurses that I just cursed at.  They went and got me things I needed and made me laugh, even though sometimes I could only do it on the inside because it hurt to laugh out loud (and I had a mean persona to keep up for the nurses).

My surgeon couldn't speak English very well and after the surgery he yelled at me for being "flabby"  I repeatedly asked what he meant and apparently my fat cells absorb the saline that he wanted me to pee out.  In frustration he said "Don't you ever walk?"  Very groggy after surgery and lying on the hospital bed hooked up to an IV, I said, "I'll get right on that."

So anyway, my sister and I made a pack (or rather I made her challenge me) to walk or run 500 miles this year.  I've been keeping track of my miles (which are nowhere close to hers) and I'm at 12 today.  I started counting walking at the mall during lunch, but only if I count more than 2,000 steps.  Yesterday was just 1,920, so it didn't count.  This morning was a bonafide mile on the treadmill, so I've made 12.  I did a little rough math (very rough) and I will need to walk two miles per day for just about the rest of the year to make 500.  I could promise myself to work my way up to three or four miles a day to make up for the slowness of my start, but lying to yourself is just pitiful.  And it takes at least 20 to 30 minutes to walk a mile, not to mention all the prepatory procrastination lead time.  It's only March, so I'm still hopeful, but just barely.  My appendix is gone, so maybe it is ok again to have flabby cells.  Probably not.

And then there is money.  My goals for this year were to walk more (working on it) and to become more fiscally responsible.  I worked out a very strict budget.  Austerity was going to be my new mantra.  No movies, cut down on eating out, only six books per month on Kindle (really I just can't get myself excited about a library--you'd think I could--I'm a college graduate, but I digress), drive less, no extras. 

And then I went to the emergency room.  Just walking in the door was $1,400.  Then I had not one, but two ultra sounds.  I got an IV-- pain medication and saline.  I saw a doctor and two doctors I never met saw my ultra sound films.  I listened to the lady across the hall scream while our nurse ignored her.  I saw a lady come in all hunched over and heard her discuss her gall bladder problem.  Then they told me that I had a gall bladder problem.  [Really the first thought I had was, are they contagious?  But I digress.]  They wanted to do gall blader surgery, but first needed a CT scan.  How much is that, I was coherant enough to ask.  This very small ER that I went to, luckily, was small enough that they could just ask the girl in billing.   She did up a bill for me with an estimate for the CT scan.  Just my portion of the bill so far (without the CT scan) was over $5,000 and it would be another $13,000 for the CT scan.  I'm doing some math in my head--I think that my insurance only covers 50% of costs of the out of network hospitals and I'm very far out of network, so that's over $10,000 and I haven't even had surgery yet.  I don't have $10,000.  I'm on an austerity budget already.  So after the Doctor at that hospital assured me that I did not have anything serious like appendisitis, we left that hospital and drove back to LA to go to a hospital that was in my network.  Another ER, two more doctors, a CT scan, a surgery team, admitted to the hospital, moved to ICU for two days, then three more days in a regular room and I was now paralyzed by monetary panic.  Luckily I had the thought that I could sell my Mobile home and move back to my house and then I would be able to pay all these bills and my austerity budget would be eased by only having one residence again.  I felt so much better.  I just can't tell you.

Then I started measuring in my head---where would everything go.  And then I got back to my mobile home--my home--my own, just mine, home.  Boo hoo.  I don't want to move.  But I am a very good martyr I reminded myself.  Yes I am.  May you live in interesting times--f**k me.

So I made myself call the broker to list my mobile home and started telling him about the problems with the shower and bathtub.  He was the broker who sold me the place and he is shocked, shocked I tell you that I have those problems.  He will fix those problems even if I don't end up selling he tells me.  Wow.  So his repair guy doesn't call, but a few weeks later shows up on my doorstep to check out the problems.  Bruce is my guy.  He can fix my shower and bathtub no problem.  I say, can we replace my shower--that's what I really want, but no one will do it because it is too difficult to remove.  Yes he can, he tells me.  I am encouraged.  I shop for shower inserts.  I measure.  I disconnect myself from thinking about how much this will cost and how I can possibly pay for it and remind myself (haha) that I just survived a burst appendix.  Just when grand visions of remodeling and staying in my mobile home come into reach, Bruce does not call back.  Then just when I'm about to go into the depths of dispair, Bruce does call back.  He can reglaze everything and they'll be as good as new.  How much, I ask.  He doesn't know. 

We are in day two of a three day job.  He's shown up for the first two days, so I'm encouraged, but he won't give me a price.  I peeked at the bathtub that looks finished and it looks great.  I'm either going to be forced to move because of money or its going to be soo much harder to move because the place is getting more perfect.  If only I could pick it up and take it to Glendale.  It is a mobile home...  I do have a large slab in the back yard...  But I digress into impossible territory.

And then there is work.  That's really why I haven't blogged in so long.  As you can tell I have lots to say, but so little time.  I am so busy at work that I don't know what fire to put out next.  People call and I address what they make me, because I just don't have enough hours in the day.  I called a client back at 7:30 p.m. on Monday and did an amendment right then and there, because I knew that I wouldn't get to it for weeks, maybe months if I didn't do it right away.  Today is the first day in months that I don't have a court hearing or deadline that must be done immediately.  That's not to say that I really have time to write this blog, but now that the hottest fires are out, serious procrastination has set in.  I need to make a list.  I need to do my taxes.  I need to do accountings.  I need to... Darn, I really do need to get back to work.

Just one more thought.  I think about that cave in France where hundreds of generations lived without ever leaving the cave and I am in awe of the interesting times that I live in.  Kathy, you've just survived a burst appendix, what are you going to do next:  I'm going to Disneyland!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Christmas (Again?)

I love Christmas.  I love Christmas caroles.  I love Christmas decorations.  Everything.  Every year I look forward to Christmas with giddy anticipation.  I distinctly recall last year on Christmas night going to bed and feeling disappointed that I would have to wait a whole year until it was Christmas again.  That feels like yesterday.  Last year went by in a fastforward flash.  For all of December, I have been surprised by the date.  How can it be December already.  I felt the same way for November and October--it just didn't feel like they could already be here.  I went on vacation in August and I felt like I missed the whole month.  It felt like it should be June when I was in Michigan and I was surprised that it was August.  May crept up on me--I remember wondering at the speed the year was passing by.

So the whole year I have been trying to figure out why time is going by sooo fast.  I don't belong to very many organizations anymore and maybe I am missing the mile stones that defined my life before.  I watch the twins just about every friday night into saturday these days.  When I have the kids over, my time is very full--no time to rest--if we are not running and going, we are watching a movie to go to sleep.  I really like the rugrat movies--the scary parts are not very scary and the dynamics between the characters keeps my interest while the poopie stuff delights the kids, but I digress.

I'm very busy at work.  That has to contribute to the speed of time.  The other day, I sat down to work on a brief right after lunch.  I was so engroused in the project that when someone poked their head in to ask me a question, I was shocked to see that it was 7 p.m.  And I have a very long commute whether I'm driving or taking the train.  On the train, I try to read my book (I've been reading series this year--first a romance series that had about 16 books to it--so wonderful to have a poliferation to read and now the Grafton alphabet books.  That is interesting--some of these were written in the 80's and 90's before cell phones.  It is really funny to hear the gyrations that Kinsey goes through to find a pay phone.  But I digress or maybe not.) 

Reading has been so much easier to do with my ipad and just ordering books online.  I always have a really good book to read and it is with me always. When Adam came for a visit last spring, he stayed in my room with my tv at the Glendale house.  I barely missed the tv, because I had my book.  I was almost happier to read than watch tv.  Tv is still the stronger habit and it gets turned on whenever I enter a room the tv is in.  There really is so little to watch however.  Except this year channel 13 played old episodes of "The Closer"  two episodes every Saturday night.  That has been an awesome way to unwind after taking the kids home on Saturday night.  And then there is Amazing Race on Sunday.  I never miss it.  I heard a quote about missing your fake friends on tv.  "Fake friends on tv."  I love my fake friends on tv.  I have to fast forward through "Burn Notice" though.  As much as I enjoy it, it got rather intense this year.  They have started reruns on channel 13.  I'm enjoying that. 

So kids, work, reading, tv, commute.  Time is going so very fast.  And then there is the 50 million years thing.  Dad told me that there was a cave in the south of France in which they found evidence of a population of people who lived in a cave for 50 million years.  50 million years divided by the average lifespan if we assume that puberty hit around 12 to 15 years old and the oldest people lived to be about 30.  That's almost 2 million generations of people who never thought to go outside.  Their cave was just fine.  All their needs were met in the cave.  For fifty million years.  I think have a boggled mind speeds up time.  It's just a theory.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

High Heels and A-Line Skirt

When Marisa was six and Melody was seven, I was their girl scout leader.  They were Brownies--adorable and cute and little.  I had to keep reminding myself that some were in first grade and couldn't read and write yet.  Anyway, Brownies didn't usually go on overnight camping trips, but older Brownies can and the other leaders in town needed more kids to make up the camping trip numbers, so I was strongly encouraged to get my kids ready for a summer camping trip. 

You don't just start out camping--you build up to it.  So first, at one meeting we looked outside of our meeting place (we went outside to play a game--the girls always liked red light, green light the best).  Then at another meeting we took a walk around the block (literally--there was a liquor store that I used as our pit stop to buy water and rest).  The next step was go on a hike.  I did a little research (asked two people) and found out that there was a trail above Brand park.  Brand park is right by my house, so car pooling wasn't necessary--we could just meet there.  Ha, simple.  But I thought (being a very responsible leader) that I should check the trail out to make sure that it was not too difficult for first and second graders (and as it turned out, me--much younger than I am today, but not exactly athletic by any stretch of the imagination or squinting of the eye).

At first, I had plenty of time, so I would tell myself, I'll check out the trail next weekend and then I never got around to it.  Then it was the week of and on Monday, Tuesday, Wendesday and Thursday, I thought, I'll do it tomorrow.  Finally it was Friday and the hike was the following morning.  I couldn't get out of work early, and it was getting late, so I didn't have time to go to change out of my work clothes which that day was a skirt suit (a-line skirt) and high heels.  [Yes, I actually used to wear high heels into work--at the time I thought of them as the attorney uniform.  I have evolved since then immensely, but I digress.]  As I parked the car, I was concerned that it was getting late and I worried that my dinner was going to be too late--did I really have enough time to hike up the mountain.  I didn't like to eat too late, which I did a lot, so you can understand my concern.  [Meanwhile, I weight a lot more today than I did then, so there you go--it was a good thing to worry about.]

At first I had trouble figuring out the entrance to the trail, but then I saw two guys start up the trail and I realized that was the entrance.  The two fellows looked like guys you would see at a bar--not the sort you ask for directions or necessarily want to follow up a mountain, but I kind of burned those bridges by waiting until the last possible day to check out the trail.  So I cursed my luck (or lack thereof) and at a reasonable distance, followed them up the trail.

At first the trail, while steep, had very wide wood planks that acted like stairs.  I was careful not to catch my spike heel in the boards and I had to walk sideways, but it was doable.  Some "stairs" were pretty high and my a-line skirt was not designed for hiking, but I reasoned that if I could climb the trail in high heels and a skirt, then first and second graders would be able to handle it, no problem.  So I'm climbing and climbing.  At one point there was a lot of errosion on the main part of the trail and I had to walk on the grass edge.  My heels sunk into the grass, so I kind of had to walk tippy toes on that part and it was pretty steep, but I made it ok.  Certainly the girls could do this.

After a little while I came to a clearing and I turned around and saw the most beautiful sunset that I had seen in ages.  I loved sunsets and I stopped and drank in the beauty.  Why hadn't I ever come here before--what a gorgeous sight up the hill, with the sun going down.  I just stood and watched as the realization washed over me...the sun is going down....I am up the hill....with pyscho beer belly high heels and an a-line skirt in the darkening twilight.

Yes, I was down that hill in no time flat--it was much faster down.  I had no idea that I was so skilled at running down a steep hill in high heels and an a-line skirt.

P.S.  The next morning the girls scampered up the trail, no problem--although at one point one little girl said, "gee, my daddy never lets us go on this part of the trail, because he says it is too dangerous."  I looked a little closer and realized that there was a very steep ridge next to the trail.  So like a crossing guard I raised out my arms like guard rails and yelled "single file" as we passed that area of the trail.  You miss stuff like that in the dark and what you think is bad luck is really extreme good luck (that I didn't fall off that mountain in my high heels and a-line skirt).  

Monday, October 29, 2012

California Propositions 2012

Well I have reviewed the materials, I've listened to public radio's analysis (of most of them) and I've seen a bunch of commercials, so I am ready to make my analysis of the current flood of propositions.

30 is a sales tax increase put forth by Governer Brown.  He's a dem.  A big one.  I like him a lot.  He's 70 years old and returns to State Government after years.  I have to admire his willingness to serve such a thankless job.  He wants to increase the sales tax.  I hate how high the sales tax is.  Everytime I buy something and it rings up so much more at the register, I grimis.  But I admire Brown's efforts and I want to support them.  The ads say that all of the money will go to education.  I don't believe it for a minute.  100% of the money from the lottery goes to education too, so the state just took the general funds that went to education in the same amount funded by the lottery to spend on other things.  That bait and switch is just not true.  On the other hand, if the revenues from the general fund continue to go down, the lottery money and this new increase can't be taken away from the schools, that works for me.  All in all--I hate new taxes, but I'm willing to give this to Brown because I want to support him.  I'm just going to get my Christmas shopping done this week instead of after the election.

31 is making the state budget an every two year event.  Somehow it takes money away from the state and gives it to the local governments.  I don't get this one.  Our current system is bad, but I need a better explanation as to how this will help. 

32 is hotly contested.  I see the most commercials for this one.  I understand that union members who disagree with the union endorsed candidate don't want their union dues to go for that candidate.  The California State Bar can no longer endorse candidates or issues with our dues, because some enterprising attorneys almost dismantled the state bar over the issue years ago.  On the other hand, I wholly support unions and the only way to keep them strong is to make sure they have a political voice.  I'm going to have to vote no on this one. 

33 is also a tricky one.  The commercials tout that good drivers will pay less for auto insurance.  I consider myself to be a very good driver (don't we all--so naturally the commercial hits a cord), but in fact I have made two insurance claims (I hit a pole--it came out of nowhere).  I saw just one commercial that said this is the same proposition that insurance companies tried to pass a few years back, which would make affordable car insurance very hard to find for new drivers and the poor.  I'm going to stick with the status quo on this one and vote no.

34 repeals the death penalty.  I don't know if I blogged about going to a death penalty phase trial as a field trip for my Introduction to Law class.  The defendant was the scum of the earth and I would gladly pull the plug on that guy.  However, I am firmly and without reservation opposed to the death penalty.  Saving 2 billion dollars is icing on the cake.

35 increases prison sentences for human trafficers and forces them to register as sex offenders.  Soroptomists is very committed to fighting human trafficing--it is a tragedy.  However, this law goes too far.  Registering as a sex offender is for child molesters that behavorial scientists tell us cannot be cured.  I don't think that the punishment fits the crime here.  More jail time.  Absolutely.  But register as sex offenders?  They've lost me.

36 third stike (in our current three strikes, life imprisionment) must be for a serious or violent offense.  I thought this was already the law, so this is a big Yes.

37 requires labeling on genetically altered foods.  The commercials against this are scientists who say, there's no evidence that genetically altered foods pose any risk to the consumer and the law has illogical exceptions.  I'm with science on this one and it will greatly increase the transactional costs for food--higher prices passed onto me.  No thanks.  I'm good with processed food--the less I know about how sausage is made, the better.

38 is a big, big, big tax increase on the weathly to fund schools in a big, big, big way.  Smaller classrooms, more arts and science, more money to community colleges.  I agree that we need to increase funding for schools.   But the tax increase on the wealthy person making more than 2 million dollars a year is $76,000.  That is a lot of money.  I don't think that I can in good conscience force a wealthy person to pay so much more, just for schools.  We know that their kids don't go to public schools.  I'd like to vote yes, but I will probably vote no.  It's just too much.

39  The commercials for it say that California corporations are not paying their taxes and are hiring people out of state.  In fact this looks a like they want to charge Amazon California sales tax based upon their sales to people in the state of California.  I don't know how the proponents think that is going to bring jobs into the state, but that's the claim.  I'd like us to have bigger revenues, but they are mixing in how the money will be spent.  I'm just not understanding this one, so that's a no.

40  a yes confirms the new redistricting (that has pit two awesome democrate candidates against each other, boo hoo) and a no rejects it, but lets the California Supreme Court decide.  Well it seems that this was proposed when the conservatives thought they wouldn't like the redistrict plan and now they do, so no one has written an opposition for this one.  The conservative California Supreme Court is not likely to do anything different is my take.  Yawn.

Los Angeles County has a few more measures on the ballot:

A should the county assessor be appointed rather than elected (since we have a county assessor in jail for taking bribes to lower property taxes in exchange for campaign contributions)

B  should adult film makers have a bunch of additional regulations.  The con argument makes a good point, if you make it harder to make films legally, then more films will be made illegally with no regulations at all. 

J  This measure increases transit funding.  The commercials for this one say that it will increase jobs.  The against statement says it is the same funding for the same projects that we already have, but that they want to extend the length of the tax increase and dedicated funds for 30 years as opposed to the current 5 years.  I have a very long commute and have started to take the train several days a week.  I think that the measure is misleading, but bottem line, I want to support transit.  I'm just selfish that way.

And of course Obama all the way!