Monthly Archives: June 2009

Going to Prison and Escaping the Heat

Jimmy and I have both lived in California our whole lives, always within a couple of miles of San Fransisco but never managing to check out Alcatraz. Well, that had to change. We finally went yesterday, and had a great time. We had to plan it a few weeks ago and order the tickets ahead of time, because even tho it was on a weekday – they sell out. In fact when we got there, the next tour that they could sell tickets to was for Wednesday. Yep, this is a very popular destination. As an added bonus, the temp was in the 70’s, a far cry from the 105 we left at home!

You start out by taking a short 10 min boat ride out to the island.

Leah and Grandma Linda

Leah and Grandma Linda

Leah LOVED the ride over

Leah LOVED the ride over

View of the City

View of the City

There it is!

There it is!

I'd like to think that is the original sign, but...

I'd like to think that is the original sign, but...

DSCN0404

Not exactly a 5 star hotel

We got out and walked around for a while or should I specify HIKED up 90 degree angles and over boulders, dodging seagulls protecting their babies and trying to hold steady with the 65 mph winds. It was pretty treacherous. I guess it added to the basic fact that this was once a PRISON!  After about 10 ft, Leah was done walking and after getting no sympathy from me sweet talked dad into carrying her! He’s such a wimp when it comes to his girls.

Lazy girl on dad's shoulders and Jared w/ the backpack

Lazy girl on dad's shoulders and Jared w/ the backpack

There were some gorgeous views:

One of the momma birds taking a break from traumatizing the tourists

One of the momma birds taking a break from traumatizing the tourists

Then we were able to finally take the audio tour. I was surprised that it even kept Leah entertained and she followed thru nicely. Jared was completely enthralled with the stories and descriptions and it flowed wonderfully.

Tourists inside the cell block wearing those stylish headphones. It's a shock that more of them dont get stolen! They are HOT.

Tourists inside the cell block wearing those stylish headphones. It's a shock that more of them don't get stolen! They are HOT.

Jimmy and the kids, still wearing those smokin' headsets.

Jimmy and the kids, still wearing those smokin' headsets.

Now, there is a legend in Jimmy’s family that his grandmothers cousins (I think that’s the relation) are two of the men who escaped from Alcatraz and were never seen or heard from again. The Anglin Brothers, John and Clarence. So it was exciting to hear the story of how they did it.

We're so proud to be related to 'celebrities'!

We're so proud to be related to 'celebrities'!

After our tour we hung out at Pier 39 and grabbed some lunch (sooooo yummy). My mom wanted to get this picture: (apparently she hasn’t gotten ENOUGH of the 24/7 Michael Jackson!)

Can't get away from MJ

Can't get away from MJ

After some ice cream and enjoying the weather a bit longer, we headed back. I was especially happy to NOT be at work when we passed this:

Fire in the Altamont

Fire in the Altamont

I have no idea how big it ended up, but it’s always a good thing to NOT be in dispatch when you see that! LOL

Yep, so we had a wonderful weekend. Jared continued to share his fascination in Alcatraz and wanted to watch every movie ever made about it. (Should I be concerned that my 11 year old son is this obsessed with a prison?!?!) I thought it would be a good idea to rent The Rock with Sean Connery and Nicolas Cage. Apparently I had forgotten how violent it was! Oops. Oh well, we watched it with him anyways and it was pretty cool to watch a movie that was filmed right where we were walking just a few hours before.

I go back to work tomorrow, but only for two days! Whoo-hoo! Then, with the exception of a couple of days here and there, I have the majority of July OFF! I can’t wait. 🙂

6 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

The blurred lines within family

  So, yesterday an incident was brought to my attention that occurred a few weeks ago. Leah told us that an older (11 years old), male cousin slapped her one day while Leah, Jared, this cousin and his sister were playing. Leah was brought to the grandma, calmed down, and went back to playing. Jimmy and I were sitting there getting more and more upset while Leah was telling us this story, so SHE in turn got confused and started crying. It was quite heartbreaking.

   So here’s the thing, after all was said and done, what it comes down to is the fact that parents raise their children differently. This is your right as a parent, how you choose to raise your child. So in this incident – two completely different parenting methods clashed, literally and figuratively. Even tho this is Jimmys family, it is his extended family. So, of course there are bound to be some differences. I can understand and respect parenting differences, even (shockingly) in this case. After talking to the family, they also understand and respect our case.

   Here’s the thing, they have raised their children to physically fend for themselves, sisters needed to learn that if her brothers got physical with her, then she just needs to toughen up and fight back. This boy is a child of one of the brothers. This boy has a sister 18 months younger than him. This boy gets into physical fights with his sister all of the time and she fights back. When they get together with my kids, they are like siblings, so even tho it was WRONG that he slapped his 5 year old female cousin, I can understand where he would just fall into the habit that he has been raised with and not thinking anything of it.

   The difference obviously is the fact that we raise our children that hitting is NOT allowed and Jared knows that he is NEVER EVER to hit his sister or ANY female. Yeah, Leah knows not to hit her brother too, but the point is really driven home the fact that men do not hit women. Period. Jimmy and I were both raised that way and so of course we force the issue that Jared shall never touch a woman out of anger and Leah will never allow a man to physically hurt her.

   I won’t go into all of the things I am angry and hurt about with this situation, I’m sure you all can imagine. Instead I will take the time to mention that there was some good that came out of this. A boy hurt my daughter, and she was able to tell us about it and we were able to drive the point home that NO MAN shall physically hurt her – no matter WHO he is. That even tho he is a cousin and part of the family, mom and dad will NOT put up with that kind of behavior and we WILL deal with it. The message was given to the family that even tho this boy is allowed to get physical with his sister, he is NOT allowed to touch Leah again.

   We love our family and this was a not a malicious act, so we will get through this with some strong lessons learned.

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

RIP, Calorie Counting and I Miss my Son

      First of all….WOW WOW WOW about Michael Jackson! We were at work with CNN or MSNBC on (God forbid we attempt to watch FOX in here!) and so we saw the news from the time they announced his transport to the hospital to the moment that his death was announced. It was crazy. And very sad. I know that Farrah Fawcett also passed away yesterday, but Michael Jackson’s death had more of an effect on me (as with most people.) Plus, she’s been on her death bed for months – so not much of a shock with her.But Micheal?! WOW! At least I am getting some of his kick-ass songs on radio stations that normally wouldn’t touch his music with a 10 foot pole. Also, I was REALLY hoping to see him perform at least one more time (NOT live, but some YouTube or whatever) but he probably would have kicked the bucket on stage resulting in mass hysteria and riots calling for the impeachment of the president because I am SURE the American Government will be to blame.  So, yeah – RIP Michael.

       In addition to missing MJ (well, not really missing him, but good lead to my next subject) I am missing my son. 😦 He was picked up by some cousins on Tuesday afternoon for just an overnighter at that cousins great-grandma and grandpas house. They live in the mountains with land and a bunk house for the boys to sleep in, a stream, BB guns, etc AKA an 11 year old boys version of Heaven. Well, he calls me that night to tell me that he wasn’t coming home until FRIDAY (today). So, I have missed him bunches. Mostly because the trash is overflowing and the dishwasher needs to be emptied. I actually had a dream the night before last that Jimmy and I had created a clone Jared!! WTF?! Seriously…somebody must have slipped something in my cereal (dinner) to be having a nightmare like THAT! But, I obviously miss him and can’t wait to see him tonight.

     In other news (can’t think of a better lead) my husband is getting serious about weight loss and has started counting calories. He is doing WONDERFULLY! He has done this before and couldn’t believe how good he felt and how much weight he lost. He dropped the habit with the holidays and completely regrets it. His goal is to lose 25 lbs by his birthday (in two months because he is a man and can lose that kinda weight). I know that even 10 lbs will make a huge difference in how he feels and how he looks. I’m excited for him. 🙂

     *I  personnally do not have much to report since I’ve been at work and will continue to be at work until Saturday night, afterwords I will promptly slip into a coma so I can be semi-human for a visit with my grandparents on Sunday. Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Summer

I don’t know if it’s horrible or wonderful how much I love the kids being out of school. I love summer! I love how my days off are now my own. We get up whenever we want, eat whenever we want, go wherever we want, etc. I revert back to childhood when my kids are out of school for the summer.

As you may or may not know, I have been working a lot this month. So, it’s important to me to fill my days off with doing something with my kids. I’ve been looking for places close to home and inexpensive and I think I’ve done rather well. Yesterday we checked out the Bass Pro Shop for the first time (it’s been 15 miles away from me for about a year!) That place is insane, in fact Jared said he was surprised they didn’t require an admission fee! Later I took Leah to a park that had a little water structure, that wore her out pretty good. Today I took them to a local trail near a river that I used to go to all of the time. Free and Fun!

Jared and Leah on the path to the river

Jared and Leah on the path to the river

Jared and I (Leah did a pretty good job taking the pic)

Jared and I (Leah did a pretty good job taking the pic)

Our new friend

Our new friend

 

After our ‘hike’ we grabbed a bite to eat and headed home to relax. Jared was soon picked up by some cousins to spend a few days in the mountains. Leah, Jimmy and I went swimming over at our cousin Tim’s house.

DSCN0378

We didn’t have Leahs life jacket at the house, so we just went without it thinking that she would just hang out on the steps. Well, that got a little boring for her…so, she decided to LEARN HOW TO SWIM! This may not be a big deal for some parents with 5 year olds, but since she’s usually attached to some sort of floatation device, this was BIG for us. 🙂 The position Jimmy was in caused some lines to the left from the sunlight, I apologize for the distraction…

Warning: The blinding whiteness of my skin may actually cause vision damage. Also, I promise I am wearing a bikini top – I have no idea why it appears as if I am topless (Jimmy would BE so lucky!)

~~Wednesday, June 24: I have removed the offending video 🙂 It was just too distracting with my apparent nekkid whiteness! But, I promise you – Leah kicked ass in her swimming abilities.

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

A Letter to my Dad. Happy Father’s Day

Dad and baby I

Dear Dad,

      Well, the saying is  true ‘You don’t know what you have until it’s gone’.

      So very true.

       We didn’t start out close. You fulfilled your fatherly duties as best you could with the disadvantage of being the ‘every other weekend dad’ by the time I was 3. My earliest memories were of the many different places that you lived…ranging from hotel rooms to a trailer home in an orchard to a 3 bedroom house that was rented with a roommate whom I rarely saw. As much as you hated cities and interaction with a lot of people, you sacrificed by settling in Stockton to remain near me. I understand and appreciate what that took for you. Thank you.

       In the beginning you were good about planning fun (inexpensive) activities for us to do during our visits. Miniature golf – which you took very seriously. I don’t think people actually keep score anymore! LOL But you were wonderfully patient with me. You took me to the little zoo and amusement park and let me go on any and all of the rides. My favorite was the roller coaster they had and I could never have the patience that you had by letting me go on that again and again and again….you would just kick back, smoke your cigarettes and smile when I passed by. You even taught me how to play poker. I believe I was no older than 6 by the time I learned how to properly shuffle a deck of cards and we would play for hours with your coffee can full of pennies to bet with. That was fun.

       scan0005

      By the time I hit my tweens and teens, you obviously didn’t know what to do with me. We kinda skated thru those years, both of us struggling with trying to re-define our relationship that no longer worked as it did when I was 5. As most teens I was very selfish and self centered, my relationship with you was not a priority at that time. So we eventually stopped the scheduled visits and settled on calls and visits on special occasions.

        One thing I could never deny was your support. No matter what I did, you were always there for me and supported whatever decision that I made. As a parent now, I can understand how disappointing it would be to have your 18 year old daughter, working at Burger King get pregnant before finishing any college and not able to support herself. But I never got any feelings of disapproval or disappointment from you. I know now that your main concern was my health and happiness. After I gave birth on December 31st 1997 (ending a very rough year for everyone in the family) you immediately formed a relationship with Jared and helped me get my first apartment. You were financially struggling (as you always were) but you had no hesitation in loaning me the money to get me on my feet. It was a good investment. Thank you.

        On my wedding day, I was as cool as a cucumber. I had no hesitation or fears. Everyone kept asking me if I was nervous or if I needed a tissue. Nope. I was good. I was happy. I took your arm right before walking down the aisle towards my future, you turned and looked at me with tears in your eyes ‘You are so beautiful’. THAT was when I lost it! Thanks a lot – totally bawling! I am surprised my husband-to-be didn’t run past his best man out the side door away from his psycho, bawling bride. But he didn’t and you gained a son that day. A son that loved you with all of his heart.

Dad and I wedding

         Days went by, months went by, years went by….work/kids/responsibilities, etc. We continued our occasional visits and weekly phone calls. You were there, you would always be there. Until, spring 2006 I got a phone call from you. Voice shaking you asked me to sit down. “The cancer is back….tumor in neck….tests….pain……don’t worry Stephanie.” I know now that you were crying because it was killing you to upset me. Within 2 weeks you were living with me. Oh, I know it started out as a temporary stay to help you because your hands were so weak you couldn’t open doors or hold utensils, but it soon became permanent. We struggled those weeks. You, who craved alone time and quietness was now in the middle of a very lively chaotic household. I know how frustrated you got, but after a while, we were able to develop a system that worked for all of us.

          Those summer and fall months were filled with doctor appointments after doctor appointments, neck surgery, radiation, research. I continued working while taking care of you, so I was pretty robotic in those months, all the while thinking we were working towards a solution of getting you better. We were able to grasp wonderful moments of connection. We started out as slightly closer than strangers then you became one of my best friends. You were the first person I thought of when something funny happened. Your opinion was always needed and valued when I was faced with a dilemma. You were an extension of who I was that year. Everything I did revolved around how it would affect you. Our roles had changed and as hard as that was for you, I know you bragged about me to people…calling me a Momma Bear. 🙂

           You held on through the holidays and Jareds birthday before letting go on January 6th, 2007. I just wanted one more day with you. Just one more day. I kept saying that over and over thru the tears. Just one more day. Of course, that was very selfish of me because by that time, you were in non-stop pain relieved by only overdosing levels of pain meds. It was time, even tho I was not ready.

          Dad, not a day goes by that I don’t think of you. There is always something funny that comes up or something in the paper that makes me want to share/vent/laugh with you. You understood me and after those intense months of connecting, I understand myself better. Thank you for being you. Thank you for everything. You have helped shape the woman I am today and I am proud of where I came from.

          So, on this Fathers Day – I refuse to experience the sadness of not having you with me, but to celebrate the joy of the memories of who you were and who you continue to be in my heart. I love you. I love you so very much. Thank you.

11 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Super…women

I. Am. Not. Superwoman.

Whew! *brushes hand across brow*

It is true. I’m not. On paper, I look kick-ass. Happily married mother of two beautiful, healthy, happy children. Working full-time in the public safety industry. Completed 1/2 marathon. Room mom. Chef. Taxi driver. Well, you women get the idea.

WARNING: If you would prefer to keep me at Idol *slash* Hero status, please refrain from reading any more.

The truth is, I take shortcuts every single day. I have a cleaning lady who comes twice a month, I have been known to delegate room mom duties, I shove things out of sight into closets, I put movies on for Leah so I can take a nap or read, I have eaten cereal for dinner, I wear hats to avoid doing my hair. Most human women will completely understand exactly where I’m coming from.

I am loving more and more hearing women admit that they are not perfect. For a while there, society had (and still does) put so much pressure on women. Actually, it was probably women themselves who put the pressure on….society just advertised it. Hey – it’s very profitable! ‘Get you 12 seated $75,ooo SUV for you carpool duties!’ ‘Sign up at your local gym for Mommy and Me Yoga and Pole Dancing!’ ‘Get your very own personalized 27 part solid gold food processor!’ 

I’m not quite sure if we are growing out of the need for perfection, or just since I’ve chosen to slack off, I’m only associating myself with fellow slackers? I don’t know, but I am liking it. I am happy, my family is happy. We are good.

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Disconnected

OK, I hate this. I hate this so much. I am back at work and even though I was busy on both of my days off, I don’t actually feel like I accomplished anything. I was constantly 2 minutes away from calling a doctor about my neck, but knowing that I didn’t have 1-2 hours to spare just to have them prescribe more pain meds. So, with feeling tired and drained, and being in pain….I didn’t feel like I was able to reconnect with my family the way I need prior to going back to work. This seriously depresses me. Driving into work today, I had an overwhelming feeling of emptiness. Nothing serious, but I know it’s because I was not refilled of time with my family.

I am a pretty independent woman who craves alone time, so it’s unusual to know that lack of contact with my family leaves me feeling not myself. I feel lost and discombobulated (omg – that looks misspelled! But I checked it, it’s right) I feel like I can’t talk and I am not even comfortable writing right now. I feel bad because I’m not able to contribute to the morning chatter with my co-workers as much as I usually do. When asked ‘What’s wrong?’ its frustrating to not be able to say. It easy to say ‘Oh, I’m tired’ or ‘I don’t feel good’ but how to you explain what’s going on with me right now? The only positive thing is that I was able to get a massage last night, so I am not in near as much pain as yesterday.

I know this will pass, it’s only a week. How the hell do I expect to survive empty nest syndrome?!

*I am done with ‘boo-hoo’ posts….next one will be happy! I promise. 🙂

 

**THIS: http://tinyurl.com/kv97fw made me smile.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized