Sunday, September 25, 2011

Really fun weekend

We had a really fun weekend. Wow, and now I feel exhausted. I have been tired and lazy all day.
Friday night we had drinks with our friends Eric, Loesje and Esteban at The Trappist. After a few drinks we headed to Tamarindo for dinner. Everything we ate was amazing. And I had a really good white sangria.
Saturday night we hung with the same crowd and headed to Dolores Park in the city for movie night in the park and watched the cheesy Top Gun. Eric brought some awesome sandwiches and we all had a great time eating, drinking and watching that movie. Man, who knew how dumb it was. The lines are so lame. And those guys sure liked to hang around in their towels. Hmm.
Anyway, it was a fun time. And I am definitely not ready for that 5 a.m. alarm clock tomorrow morning. Bleh.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Giving to others

Curt and I met a guy on BART yesterday who is blind. He ended up sitting next to me and we had a great conversation.
He told me that he was about to get a guide dog. He will be heading to LA soon for a month-long training. I asked if he had been on a waiting list. He said he had been on one for about a year.
He was looking forward to getting the dog so he wouldn't have to rely on others and he could feel "normal," like he was before he was blind. He said he just wants to be able to walk down the street and feel like he did before.
Curt and I have donated to the Guide Dogs for the Blind before. But just once. After meeting that guy on BART I am ready to donate again.
As a human being I feel that it is my duty to donate money to others who are less fortunate than me. Curt and I don't have a house or children so we get hit pretty hard when it comes to taxes. Regardless, we want to help others.
Some of the regular charities we donate to are: Food Bank, Humane Society; women's shelters; Planned Parenthood; alma maters; charity gift cards; Brighter Beginnings; toy drives; Jr. Giants; food drives; KQED; most organizations our friends walk, run, bike or work to raise money for; etc. (If you look closely at the picture on the Jr. Giants linked I posted you can find Curt. He is on the left near a guy with a light green shirt and a dude whose head is turned.)
I also have recently started focusing my knitting on charity. Whether hats for the troops; scarves for college students who grew up in the foster system; tiny hats for preemies in the NICU (pictured above--I gave these to my mom who volunteers in the NICU); I knitted a hat for a high school friend's husband who was in Afghanistan and I am about to make another one for another husband; my friend Monica did the 3-day Susan G. Komen walk a couple of weeks ago, she asked me to knit her a scarf, I had enough time to knit two ...
I also run the food drive and toy drive at work around the holidays. I enjoy doing and encouraging others to donate as well.
I realize not everyone can afford to give monetarily. But there are so many ways to donate: your time, your talents. For me, it is hard right now to donate time. I really wish I could. But my monetary donations and knitting skills will have to do for now.
My mom is retired and probably volunteers close to 20 hours a week. She works in the NICU; food bank; soup kitchen; shelter (I believe for men to eat and shower and get some time off the street). I am probably missing something. I think she also does some sort of meal delivery as well.
It feels good to give to others. I am thankful I was raised by someone who feels that it is an important part of life. (Making sack lunches on Sundays after church for the soup kitchen really stuck.)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Celebrating Grandpa's 90 years

Featured in the collage above are: Grandpa; Ann; John; Alex; Alison; Tim; Emily; Ashley; Dad; Uncle Pat; Aunt Gen; Tony; Curt; and Marshall

This past weekend was truly amazing. The only negative was the heat. I was excited for the temperatures of 90ish. That is until I arrived. I have no idea how I survived 23 years in Tucson. And then later 3 1/2 years in Phoenix. That heat is wretched.
OK, get ready for my quick summary of the weekend ...
Curt and I arrived Friday night.
Saturday we had a late breakfast at The Arizona Inn with my mom and stepdad. Then it was time for errands: BevMo for drinks for my grandpa's 90th birthday party; Michaels for a frame for the collage I made for Grandpa with pics of all the grandkids, shown above; grocery for a few ingredients Dad needed for the meal; eegee's for my strawberry slushie (and one for Alex, too). We got back to Dad's to help with a few things, run another errand to get ice and corn tortillas, then get ready and head out about 2:15 to pick up the guest of honor for his 3 p.m. 90th birthday party.
Party was a success. It was fun. Grandpa was so appreciative. There was no family drama. Delicious food. Grandpa absolutely loved the collage of the grandkids younger and older with and without Grandpa. He got emotional over the collage and the card I created where all six of us grandkids signed. It was a fun party. It was so important that we did it.
After the party some of us headed to The Buffet for a drink. I have a tradition of taking my younger cousins there for a drink after they turn 21. All who joined us was: Of course Curt and myself, Fred (stepdad), cousins: Jackie, Emily and Alex and Emily's boyfriend, Adam. It was a good time. We bought a round of drinks with 2-3 more drinks and only spent 30 bucks. Gotta love The Buffet.
Sunday morning Dad made chorizo and eggs for breakfast. Emily and Adam joined Dad, Hilda, Curt, Alex and myself for breakfast. Then we hung around for a bit and chatted. Eventually Curt and I headed to my Mom's to fulfill family obligations on that side. My grandma came over for a visit along with my Uncle Mike and cousin Daniel. Mom had appetizers and drinks. It was a good visit. After the gang left we hung out for a bit and then the four of us headed to dinner: pizza and beer. After that Curt and I headed back to Dad's to relax for the rest of the evening.
This morning we headed to 4th Ave. for a little breakfast and coffee and then off to the airport to come home.
Here is a link to all the photos I took from the weekend.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What 09/11 means to me

My brother and me in front of the twin towers circa 1989.

Today many people are reflecting on 09/11 and how they were affected by it. I had no personal ties to any of those who died.
My dealings were different. Curt and I worked second shift at The Arizona Republic. We were asleep when the first tower was hit and asleep when both towers had fallen.
My mom waited until about 8:30 a.m. and then called us. She woke us up. Curt answered the phone and then handed the phone to me and turned on the TV. I was confused and didn't understand what my mom was saying. She was very upset and said something about planes and one crashed in Pennsylvania and she and my stepdad were supposed to fly to Pittsburgh later that week.
For the rest of the morning Curt and I just watched TV.
We eventually got ready and headed to work. Some of my co-workers had been called in to work on an EXTRA. The newsroom was buzzing. Anyone who had the day off was called in. We all worked long hours, worked on our days off and a team that normally put out one daily newspaper was putting out two for a week.
The Republic newsroom has a lot of TVs. They were usually on but without sound. That week was one of the few times we had the volume up.
I experienced 09/11 as an American, a citizen and a journalist. It was hard, sad, tiring, exhausting and tough. But I was proud of the products we produced every day, whether it was the daily paper or the Extra.
I remember a couple of days in someone made a joke--probably inappropriate (but journalists have a different sense of humor) and it all gave us the laugh we so needed. Later that night we went out for drinks. Also needed.
Curt and I flew to Missouri about a month after the 09/11 terrorist attacks. It was an interesting world being at airports with armed men.
I am OK with all the rules that are in place to keep us safe. Some may be a pain: taking your shoes off; going through scanners; long lines; liquid restrictions. But isn't our safety worth it?

09/11 has some other meanings/significance to me as well. On the first anniversary of 09/11 Curt proposed. He was working at a different paper at the time and got off work at about 5 a.m. He
came home and woke me as he figured I would want to watch the ceremonies. Curt seemed to be acting a little weird that morning. But I couldn't figure out what was going on. Eventually I told him I had to go back to bed as I knew work would be busy with anniversary coverage. Then he proposed. And I couldn't go back to sleep. I don't know why he picked that day. Maybe he just finally got the guts to do it.

In 2004, on 09/11 my nana died. She was briefly ill for a second time. When I was in high school Nana had an aneurysm explode in her brain. She, by some miracle, survived it, but she was never the same Nana.
Nana was at my wedding and looked beautiful and had a great time. I am grateful that she was there.
The following year she died from a heart thing. I saw her weeks before she died. And I talked to her the night before she died.
She is pictured to the right when she was much younger. She was a beauty--inside and out. She was probably one of the most genuine people I ever knew.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Fake shots and long weekend

For my readers who aren't on Facebook, here is a pic of Joey getting his fake shot. It got a lot of "likes" and comments on Facebook. It still cracks me up when I look at it.
Joey is still getting his fake shot every evening. And Curt is the one who seems to enjoy giving it.
Joey and I will visit Dr. Miller at the end of this month to see how Joey's sugar is doing and his kidney function as well.
We had a good weekend. All weekends should be 3-day weekends!
We had a loungy weekend. We had dinner last night with our new upstairs neighbors. They made dinner and invited us up. It was fun and delicious. I think we have made new friends.
Today after my yoga class Curt and I walked to brunch. On the way there I decided to call my mom's house because I knew the family would be over and I could talk to my grandma. (If you call her house she never answers the phone--so why bother calling, right?) I talked to my mom, grandma, one aunt, one uncle and two cousins!
I am excited to go home in a couple of weeks to celebrate my grandpa's 90th birthday (my dad's dad) and see lots of family.
OK, it is a little after 9 and time for bed.