Commuting Is Not For Sissies..

In just a couple of weeks I will be marking my 8th year of living in Los Angeles.
And for that entire time I have worked in the same area of the City, which is across town from where we live, so yes, I commute to work everyday.

At first I only took the freeways since I did not know any other way around LA back then. And anyone who has read my blog for very long knows how much I hate the freeways, so after a couple of months of freeway driving, with Patrick's help I found a new way to work.....surface streets!! Even though it would be ideal if I worked on the same side of town that I lived on, I don't, so I just go with it. As someone told me a long time ago, you have to deal with things in life as they are, not as you wished they were.

For the most part I really don't mind my drive, it is 14 miles one way and usually takes me an hour each way. Since I am on surface streets, each day I get to drive through some really nice areas of LA. In that short 14 miles I pass through Lincoln Height, Chinatown, Echo Park Silverlake,West Hollywood and end up in Beverly Hills.
Some of these areas are part of the older parts of Los Angeles and so the neighborhoods I get to see everyday have some beautiful old homes and I am finding in my studies of LA, there is so much history in these areas.

But I must tell those of you who have no idea what it is like to commute to work... commuting is not for sissies!! Take this past Friday for instance. I had
just started my drive home that Friday afternoon and I could already tell the traffic was not going to be too bad.I had just turned on Melrose Ave, which makes up 5 miles of my drive and had only gone a few blocks when all the sudden the traffic in front of me started slowing down.Usually I drive with my windows down because I prefer the outside air to AC. Just as I was coming up to the traffic I started hear this sound that I can honestly say I will never forget. I was a cross between a scream and a loud sorrowful moan. It is really had to describe it but it literally gave me chills, and I did not even know what it was yet. I kept looking around trying to see what direction it was coming from. There were people crossing the intersection just up ahead and they kept looking back over their shoulder and when they got to the other side of the street they just stood on the corner and looked back in the direction they had come from. Then suddenly the car in front of me pulled up enough I could get a look at what everyone was looking at...and I found the source of the sound I kept hearing...it was a woman lying face down in the street....she and her bike had been hit by an SUV...her bike had been broken in two and the front part was laying close to the middle of the intersection and the back part was laying at least 8 feet in the other direction. It really was a horrible thing to see and what made it even more horrible was...NO ONE was trying to help her!! Every one was just standing there or sitting in their cars looking at her laying there in the street but none of them was trying to see about her. I could not
believe it. The way the cars were parked on my right and how slowly the traffic was moving at that point there was no where for me to park my car. By the time I did
reach the side street where I could pull out of traffic, the police and an ambulance pulled up. At least someone had called the police! The entire weekend,the image of the woman laying in the street and the sound she was making would not leave my mind. And the fact that no one was helping her made it even worse to me.

Now fast forward a couple of days to yesterday, Monday. After a really fun weekend
I had just dropped the nephew off at the High School, it was the first day of school, and I had started heading for work. I had reached the Lincoln Heights part of my journey and traffic was busy but moving along really nice. On this part of my commute,the traffic is 2 lanes both ways winding through an old neighborhood of homes and store front businesses. The light up head turned red so both the lanes
going my direction started slowing down. As we started stopping I could see
I was going to be in the middle of an intersection with the road I was on and a side street so I stopped just before I got to the intersection so I would not be blocking it. To my right there was a woman in a large black car waiting on the side street to
make a turn onto the street I was on. Since I had stopped she had plenty of room
to come from the side street into the traffic.She pulled out where she was directly in front of my car(I was in the right lane)and I could tell she needed to go
in the opposite direction as we were going so she would be turning left into the
traffic going in the opposite direction. She had taken so long to do what she needed to do that the light had turned green and my traffic was starting to move again, except she was blocking my lane. And all the sudden like I was sitting there watching a 3D movie, she hit the gas and plowed into the car that had just passed me on my left that was going the same direction as I was. He never saw her, she was in a large car and he was driving a smaller car. He was traveling probably 25 miles
an hours or so and she slammed into him right beind his rear passenger door. When she hit him,his car immediately swerved to the right and hit the car that had been traveling in front of me before we stopped at the light, his car pushed her car aside andhe kept going and slammed into one of the store front businesses.I sat there and truly could not believe what I had just witnessed. The lady in the black car ended up across the street blocking traffic that was coming toward us. There were literally car parts everywhere, large car parts!! I immediately pulled on the
side street and got out to make sure everyone was ok. People who had been standing
there waiting to cross at the light was already running toward the guy she had hit and the lady he had struck before the hit the store front. As I ran toward the intersection,the first thing I noticed was that the traffic was not stopping. People were driving right through the intersection, swerving to miss the car that was blocking everything and they were driving over all the parts of the cars that
were laying in the street like they were not even there.

The first person I got to was the kid driving the car that had ended up in the store front. He had gotten out of his car and was trying to talk on his cell phone. He was not speaking English but he did when I started talking to him. You could tell he was in shock. I looked him over good and made sure he was not bleeding or hurt. He told me he was ok. I then headed over to the lady who had been driving the car in front of me. She was shaken up but fine. The lady who had cause the accidentwas standing next to her car with a group of people and she appeared to be ok too. I stood there and looked around and thought how amazing things had changedfor us who were sitting in traffic on our way to work that morning. In just a brief instant, everything changed.Thankfully, this time,it was the carsthat were messed up.

Everyday Patrick and I both commute to work, in different directions. Everyday when
we both get home safely I always say a little prayer of thanksgiving that we both made it home ok. For those of you who live close to where you work, be thankful and don't take it for granted.For the rest of who who commute everyday,be careful. And all those who do commute,I am sure you will agree with me that commuting is not of sissies!!



We Have a Football Player In The House!!!!....

Growing up in Southeast Texas, High School football games were not simply something you attended, they were a part of your life!! Second only to deer season, High School football season is a MAJOR part of the year for the whole town, not just for people who have kids on the team. There are Friday afternoon pep rallies before every game. Half the town will pack up and go the away games,and you sure better get their early if you want to sit in the stands to watch a home game.

I attended school in Silsbee, Texas, Home of the TIGER football team. We even had a large replica of a Tiger getting reading to leap that was mounted on a platform with wheels so it could be moved up and down the sideline when Silsbee made a touchdown.
I have so many great memories of attending football games with my Mom and Dad and little brother. I am serious when I tell you the WHOLE town turned out for the game on Friday night. During my JR year in High School, we were district champions and when we played the semifinal State game in a town a couple of hours away...all the stores closed early..I mean every single store in downtown Silsbee, close at 3pm so everyone could be at the game.

I was really surprised to find out how different it was here in California. Out here, unless you have a kid on the team or are friends with someone who has a kid on the team, you probably never think about going to a game. For a couple of years I did attend the home games for a town close to Palm Springs. I had a close friend at work,Kathy, who was a single Mom and she had 2 great kids. The youngest was Brian.
Since I hung out with them quiet often, Brian and I got to be buddies. Since there was not a Dad around, he and I really bonded and did a ton of stuff together. Me being Gay was not a big deal to him at all. So when he got into High School he asked me if I would go to football games with him, I was pretty surprised but of course I said yes. So every home game there we were, and we both had a blast. Never once did I embarrass him by cheering for the wrong team!! After a while I had not only Brian to go with but about 5 or 6 of his school friends whose Dads would not come with them to the games. I had my own little entourage! The thing that was really wonderful
to me was,all of his friends knew I was Gay and it was not a big deal to any of them, no more than I had brown hair and wore glasses. To them, I was their friend Jaymes and we all had a blast on Friday night when we all attended their football game and then went out for ice cream after the game. It really gave me hope for a brighter future for these guys.

Now fast forward a few years, now I live here in good old Los Angeles and we have a
football player in the house!! The nephew is playing on the Jr Varsity football
team at his High School, Woodrow Wilson. He is living his dream... he has said he was going to play High School football since he was in Elementary School and here he is on the Jr Varsity team.

Since last March or April, he has practiced every afternoon after school. Every weekday during the Summer he was at practice from 3-6pm and never missed a practice.
Now that school has started he is a practice every afternoon till about 7pm.
I am so proud of him, we all are. I pick him up everyday after on my home from work and for me that is a great thing.

So today he had his first game. Patrick and I dropped him off at the High School around 1pm so he could ride the bus over with the team. Since the game was not until 4pm, we had some time to kill. So at 4pm there we were, Patrick, Miss Anna (patrick's mom)and the niece and Patrick's sister all ready to cheer for the team.

Now I need to stop for a second and explain something to you. Like I said before,
in my hometown, we are the Fighting Tigers...here at this school....they are the Mules. Mules...I asked Patrick who would name their High School football team the Mules? So I guess I have gone from a Fighting Tiger....to a Mule. I have been practicing but I have not been able to shout " GO MULES" at a game yet...I am trying
but it may take me a little time on this one...

So the first game was really exciting and his team did really well...I was surprised how well the team really worked together.. I was jumping and down
and shouting and having a blast, almost like I was back in Texas at a Tiger game.
The nephew is # 77, he was a starter for the first game and even recovered a
fumble! We are very proud. They actually won their first game, 26 to 6.
We are very very proud of our very own in house football player..our own
little Mule!!!



Quick Trip To Vegas

Now one of the little joys in life that PKL and I enjoy from time to time is going to Las Vegas. Now mind you, we are not heavy gamblers, you could say we are not much of gamblers at all, but we sure do enjoy just being in Vegas!! For the first several years we have been together we would manage to make it there 2 or 3 times year, sometimes we would catch a show at one of the Hotels or just go for the weekend and shop and eat and hang out. But for the last couple of years, with times being what they are, I have not been able to make the trip. PKL has gone a time or two with some of his kin folk, but it has been awhile for me. Since summer is quickly coming to an end and the Niece and Nephew will be heading back to school in a couple of weeks, we decided a quick trip to Vegas was in order. So we packed up the whole family and headed down Interstate Hwy 15 to "LAS VEGAS".

We headed out Friday night after the Nephew got home from football practice. We always drive, never even really considered flying over. I am usually "The Driver" for such trips but this time PKL started out commanding the SUV. Now for those of you
who may not know it, I drive a small car, a Honda Fit, I can't tell you how much I love it. But for this trip we rented an SUV, turned out to be a Chevrolet Traverese,
really nice vehicle, but to me it was HUGE! We changed drivers in Baker and let me tell,for me it was like getting behind the well of an 18 wheeler. We made it into Vegas very early Saturday morning and once we were settled into our room, I was out
like a light.

Saturday was a really beautiful day, the weather was very cool for Vegas, in the upper 70s. We ventured out to the Las Vegas Outlet Mall for while, had lunch at
Makino (it is a gourmet sushi & seafood buffet...VERY tasty!) and then headed
back to our hotel. PKL's parents headed out to the casino for a bit, and he and the
kids decided to head to the pool. Me, I needed a nap, so I stayed behind, grabbed a short nap and enjoyed some quiet time reading my book. It was delightful!!

After dinner we headed to The Strip to walk around some and check out a couple of stores. We can not go to Vegas without going to the Coca Cola Store and the M&Ms
Thankfully they are right next to each other. We had a good time checking out the newly remodeled Coca Cola Store, but let me tell you, we had WAY too much fun
in the M&M store.

Afterwards we headed back our Hotel. The Parents went back to the Casino for bit and the rest of us retired to our room where we were all asleep in no time.

Sunday brought us another beautiful day, windier than the day before but really beautiful. We had the breakfast buffet at our hotel and I ate enough for at least 2 people. I always seem to do that at a buffet!!! PKL and I and the kids headed off
to one of our favorite places to visit, the Belliagio Hotel Atrum and also to check out the new City Center.

Of course the Atrium at Belliagio never ceases to amaze me. This time was no exception. It is so hard to realized every thing you see is made up of real plants and flowers. They change the designs with the seasons so we got to see the summer time exhibit. It was truly wonderful.

When we left tht Atrium, we headed over to the newest spot on The Strip, City Center. The last time I was in Vegas they were just starting to build it. It is made up of several Hotels and Condominium Complexes, Night Clubs, Art Museums and it also had its own shopping area called The Crystals, only VERY High End Shops. The entire
Center is really beautiful,but because of the economy,it is mostly empty. The one hotel that is finished and opened is Aria.

In the Crystals the one thing that really caught my attention was Mastro's Ocean Club. The dining area is enclosed in this beautiful wooden chamber that is suspended out in the open area of the Mall itself. To me it was beath taking to see it when we first entered the Mall.

After our visit to City Center we headed back to our Hotel for some pool time before we headed back to LA. Only problem was the Hotel's pool area had a sandy beach area and with the strong winds, we got more sand blasted than anything else.

After dinner we headed back to LA. Since the kids are still on summer break and PKL is on vacation, I was the only one who had to pull themselves out of bed the next day to face the real world.

Although it was a quick trip, we really had a fun time and hopefully before long PKL and I can make a trip back over there, just the two of us.



A Weird Kinda Scary Feeling.....

So I am minding my own business,driving to work last week when something catches my attention on a side street as I pass by....now here in LA when you are driving anywhere in the City, ALOT of stuff catches your eye, trust me! But I passed whatever it was rather fast because the traffic on Melrose was moving along really nicely that morning. But whatever it was I thought I saw left me with an weird kinda scary feeling for a few moments. I decided that I would try and remember to pay more attention the next morning to see what it was that I thought I saw.

Well the next day I did remember to take notice and when I came to that part of my
drive, I slowed down just a little and I when I saw it, I knew why it left me with a weird scary feeling....it was a clown, not any clown but this clown......


Now truthfully, clowns do not usually bother me. I know some people are actually afraid of any kind of clown, but I can usually take them or leave them. But ever
since Stephen King's "It" came out, there are certain kinds of clowns that give me
the creeps....well like this one. Just the expression on his face and he is staring out into the traffic, watching us as we go by. But that expression combined with the
words..."Children's Hospital"....REALLY gives me the creeps. I am sure it is an advertisement for a TV show that is either on or will be coming on soon. And you can bet your money on it that is one I will not be watching!!

All I can hope is that they will paint over it soon with a different advertisment
for a different new TV show...maybe something with kittens.


ps...when I stopped the next day to take the pictures...yep I left my motor
running and the car door open....you just can't trust some clowns.


Something I Need to Remember.....

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it about learning to dance in the rain.


And She Dances......

It was very late in the day on that warm July 4 afternoon. I had taken the train down to Union Station and walked across the steet to El Pueblo. Now for those of you who do not know, El Pueblo is where LA all started in 1781. The buildings there around the old town square is where it all started for LA. Now it is pretty much a tourist attraction, but I enjoy going down and watch the people who come and go through the center square.

By the time I got there all of the July 4th celebrations had long been over. The crowds were gone and a cool breeze had started blowing in. The place was pretty much deserted and it had a peaceful feeling to it. I walked around and found me a place to sit on the far side of the square. I was just going to sit there for awhile and enjoy the peacefulness until it was time for me to catch the train downtown to meet up with the nephew.

I had not been sittig there very long at all when I saw them slowly start coming into the square. There were several Hispanic families making their way slowly to
the far side of the square from where I sat. A few of the men had guitars, they
were all in their late fifties and up I would say. They had not come in a group, but
it seemed like they had all just met up there in the square. As the sun was setting and the light breeze was blowing across the square, the men with the guitars started to play, soft slow melodies made their way across the square. You could hear the woman talking among them selves and the music,that was about all you heard. I sat
there and took it all in, feeling like I was easdropping on them.

I first notice her as she was making her way into El Pueblo and coming toward the
square. She had to be 80 years old if she were a day. An older Hispanic woman,
carring a bag of what looked like groceries in each hand. She was holding them
by the loops in the top of the bags and the bottom of the bags almost scraped the ground. She was walking with determination in her walk as if she were in a hurry and had some where she had to be.

She was wearing a dress like my Grandma use to wear alot, a one piece shift that
draped over her and hung straight down, no belt. She hurriedly made her way through
the square between me and the guitar players on the other side. She had almost made her way across the square when the men changed the song they were playing, which had been a lively one, to one that was like a slow waltz of a song. She stopped so
suddenly I thought she was going to fall and I started to jump up and help her if she did but she stopped and slowly turned toward the men, watching them as they played. Then she slowly started making her way back across the square until she stopped just a few feet away from the men. She stood there a few seconds and slowly
bent over and set the bags she was holding on the ground.

Then she slowly raised her arms to about shoulder level, and she started dancing.
With her arms raised she would twirl around as if she was dancing with a partner in a slow methodical way. She would sway from side to side and spin around slowly.
She kept in perfect time with the music, and then one of the men started singing
in Spanish, a beautiful melody. It was then I notice she had her eyes closed as she
danced and it was at that moment I realized that though her body was dancing in
front of us, in her mind she was remembering a time in her life long ago when she danced to this as a younger woman. Maybe in was with her boyfriend or maybe in was with
her husband when they were a young couple. It was something so beautiful to watch.
She continured dancing and the men continued to sing and play. Then the song slowly started coming to an end and she slowly lowered her arms and stopped dancing as the song ended. For a brief second or two she just stood there, then she slowly reached down and picked up the bags, she turned and made her way across the square in the direction she had been going and disappeared into the evening.

I was not sure what to do. I just sat there for a few minutes and took it all in. I had just been privelged to watch a very personal moment for this woman.
Things kept running through my mind, wondering about her, her life, who she had been dancing with as we watched. El Pueblo is filled with many spirits of people from
the past. They are all around us as we visit there. But I witnessed what I felt
was a very special event, an old woman dancing with one of those spirits of the past,
and for those brief few minutes, she was in both worlds.


When you walk out the door in the morning and see this in the sky......

....just go back inside, have another cup of coffee, and stay home. It's NOT going to be a good day.


Know what this is??

Camera with Flash!

ok I warned you some are kinda stupid!!!!


A friend of mine introduced me something new online, and it is called Tumbler. Now this is certainly not new online but it is new to me. For those of you who may not know what Tumbler is, it is where people can start their on kinda of blog and the ones I have been introduced to are primarily made up of pictures people have or have found on the web and post on their tumbler blog. Now there are thousands of these tumbler blogs with pictures of just about anything and everything you can imagine. I have a couple that I frequent regularly that have all kinds of funny things posted, some are kinda stupid but they really strike me as funny. So from time to time I am going to share some of these with you, hopefully you will find them funny too!! Enjoy!

Staycation 2010

Alas, as I am sitting here writing this, my week off from work is coming to an end.
Today is Thursday and of course tomorrow is Friday and then the weekend. While we usually calls such breaks from work a Vacation, I tell every one I am taking a Staycation, but I am staying at home and not traveling anywhere. I have gotten a couple of weird looks (but honestly, I am used to getting weird looks)when I would tell someone I was excited about my upcoming Staycation. This is not my first Staycation, o no, I use to take at least one week of Staycation a year when I was living in Palm Springs. You see, I usually used one week, or at least a few days, of my vacation each year to go to Texas to see my family. That would leave me with one or two weeks left over to do something with. Usually I would take a week and just stay home and enjoy doing things around the city. I mean,I lived in Palm Springs!, the vacation capitol of Southern California!!

So a couple of months ago I realized I have accumulated 3 weeks of vacation time and
in just a few more weeks I would start accumulating 3 more weeks. I usually do not take much time off from my job, maybe a Friday here and there and a few days when Patrick take his vacation. I also realized that I was really getting tired, not your everyday work tired, but a deep down inside draing kinda tired you get when you work with the public over any length of time. As much as I love working with people, and consider myself a real people person, they can really drain the energy out of you.
So in May I told my Docs I was going to take this week off, I gave them 2 whole months to get use to the idea that I would not be in the office this week. They still kinda panicked the last Friday when I told them goodbye and I would see them
on the 28th. I have not gotten any texts of phone call so I guess they are
doing ok while I am away, but I am not kidding myself, I know I will have plenty to
do on Monday when I get there!!

But this week has really been a nice one. Patrick worked all week so I basicly had
the week to myself, which is what I really needed. Except for a couple of Doctor's appt during the week, I had no plans. And I kinda cheat with my days, I count the weekends too, so I actually had 9 days off which sound better in my mind than I am taking 5 days off!

So in the next post or two I will be sharing some of the highlights of my Staycation
I can honestly tell you I would recommend this to anyone, I feel more rested than I have in a long time. The hardest things I have really had to deal with is, not using
my time off to get things done around the house. I promised myself I would use this
week to do things for me and would do the projects I need to do around the house after this week is over. So far I have kept that promise but let me tell you....it has not been easy. lol!


The Case Of The Disappearing House......

For as long as I can remember (and trust me that is a very long time), I have loved to read. And during my late elementary, early Jr High years, Nancy Drew was my hero.
I know, I should have been reading the Hardy Boys but to me, the were wimps. Nancy was the one with the balls, she was afraid of nothing and no one. I think I read every Nancy Drew mystery book that was published at the time. Little did I know that when I grew older, I would be living a mystery that would have been just the one for Nancy to solve!!!!

We live in the part of Los Angeles known as Hillside Village. And as you have probably guess, it is full of hills, large domed shaped hills. We happen to live at the bottom of our hill and there are two rows of houses above us. The road we live on actually curves its way between two of these hills and up and over the larger one to the right of us. Each hills is peppered with several homes, each hill that is except the one to the left of us. There are homes at the base of the hill,but on the top of this hill, there is only one house....or I should say , there was one house.

From our front porch we can look right across over the houses and see the top of the hill to our left. Driving home everyday from work, and when I am doing my daily walking, I pass by the drive way to the house on that hill. From time to time
I have seen the people who live in the house on the top of the hill,but they pretty much just keep to themselves. Every morning when I walk out on the porch and look around at the sun coming up over our neighborhood, I could look across and see the house and the cars sitting there on the top of the hill. it was a pretty large older home.

But just a few weeks ago, early one morning I walked outside on the porch as the sun was coming up, looked over .....and the house on top of the hill was gone!!!! Just gone, not there!! Expect for the old tress that surrounded the house, there was nothing there to suggest a house had ever been there!!

Now not much changes in our neighborhood. People move in and out of some of the homes that are for rent, but that is pretty much it. As far as I know we have never had a whole house disappear! I walked in and ask Patrick if he had noticed that
the house on the hill was gone and he was as surprised as I was. How long had it been gone and the most important question..where did it go?

Sound really carries on these hills. The guy across from us loves to have big parties from time to time and he LOVES to play his dico music loud (an have his revolving disco balls hanging from the trees in his yard) and the sound
bounces right off our hill. Sometimes we have to turn up the TV really loud because it sounds like the party is in our living room. A couple of weeks ago we were awaken at 3 Am by 6 gun shots, but not from our immediate neighborhood (thank goodness!) but from one of the other hills. So I figure if someone was tearing a house down, we would hear it, if some one blew up a house, we would hear it. So, what happened to the house on the hill? When I asked my next door neighbor (who has lived in his house for over 40 years and knows all our neighbors and can tell you the names of the people who lived in the house before the people who live there now)if he knew
what happened to the house, he did not realize its gone either!!!!!

And so, I guess for now we have to just live with the mystery. Will I look out
one morning and see it sitting there once again? Who knows, stranger things have
happened. But until we can find us a Nancy Drew to solve it, we will just have to live with The Case Of The Disappearing House!!!!!


It's The Times, They Are A Changing......

One of my favorite movies is "Hairspray" the 1988 version with the Drag Queen Divine in the role of Edna Turnblatt (not the new never version with John Travalota staring as Edna is not entertaining, I just prefer Divine!). There is one line in that movie that I have quoted many many times through the years, one that always makes me laugh. Edna is eating a big piece of pie and watching the news with her husband. On the news is a story about black teenagers trying to crash a party at an all white establishment. She turns to her husband and says "It's the times, they are a changing, pass me my diet pills will you dear"

I thought of this a couple of weeks ago when Patrick and I were taking the Niece and Nephew to Disneyland for the afternoon. We always have music playing when we are going anywhere in the car and sometimes some of us will sing to whatever song is playing. I was thinking of some of the trips I took with my family as I was growing up, especially my sister. A song would come on the radio while we were traveling along and we would always sing together with. Or sometimes we would just decide on a song and sing it acapella. Well this particular afternoon a song came on and we all immediately started singing, all four of us.....but it sure was not like any song I would have sang with my sister or my family as I was growing up...it was Lady Gaga's
Bad Romance....and the thing that surprised me the most....I knew just about every word!!! Yep it's the times, they are a changing.....

In case you have never had the opportunity to hear Lady Gaga's song or experience Gaga and only she can be...I thought I would share her Bad Romance video..and who knows...after you watch it a couple of times maybe you can join us on a little road trip sometimes and sing along with us!!! Just remember...never say never!!! LOL!

I LOVE me some Gaga!!


The Big #10.....Happy Anniversary To Us!

In any relationship there are big milestones along the way. Today is one for Patrick and I. today we celebrate our 10 year anniversary. Over the last few days we have been looking back at some of the things we have been through over these past 10 years. We have had so much fun and have shared in some heartaches too. The past 10 years have seen me move from Palm Springs to Los Angeles (something I would never have dreamed I would ever do), we have both had job changes, Patrick surprised me with a trip to Hawaii for my 50th birthday, we have made many trips to Vegas to "get away", Patrick's Grandmother passed away and the following year my Mom passed. We have seen many of our friends start their families and we have become "Uncles" to our friends kids numerous times. We have watched our niece and nephew both start school and progress to both Jr High and High School. We have celebrated our birthdays with weekend get-a-ways and Birthday parties. And in all the adventures we have had along the way these past 10 years, the one thing that has stayed the same and grown strong each day, is the love we both share for each other. I have to honestly say that I never knew I had the capacity in my heart to love someone as much as I do Patrick. And the love I have for him is echoed back to me in how much he loves me.
It has been an amazing 10 years for us both, and we can hardly wait to see what the next 10 holds for us.

To all of you who have shared this journey with us, Thank You from the bottom of our hearts for all the Love and Support you have given us. We love each and every one of you!!!!


Where Were You ?

Think back a little...do you know where you were and what you were doing 10 years ago today? I do. Today was a Thursday back 10 years ago. I was living in Palm Springs, California. I was working at my most favorite and most rewarding job of my career, I was the Medical Receptionist at the Desert Aids Project. I had been living in Palm Springs for over 13 years and had just celebrated my 47th birthday. Little did I know that the next day my life would be totally changed forever...I would meet Patrick, and my life would never been the same.



Happy Birthday to ME!!!

Yep, it's my birthday. This is the big number 57. I really have a hard time believing that I am 57, not sure what it is suppose to feel like, but I know I don't feel that old. O yeah, I have a few more aches and pains every once in a while, but on the inside, I am still in my late 20's, early 30's. The other day I took a quiz in a medical magazine at work, it is suppose to tell you what age you really are and not the age of the years you have been walking around on Mother Earth. After I answered all the questions and totaled my score...it say I am actually 27,hmm
I can accept that. (chuckle)

I am always surprised when someone asks me my age and I tell them, they always give me a wide eyed look and say "Really, I would have never guess you were in your 50s, I would have thought middle to late 40s", and I just smile.

My age has never been something that bothered me. What can ya do about it? I am just thankful that I am in good heath, have lots of people who love me and care about me and that I am fortunate to have found and married the man of my dreams, my soul mate.

Patrick and I are going to celebrate my special day today by going to the hospital to see the new born son of some of our close friends. Mr. Jayden was born yesterday and from the pictures we have seen so far, he is a very handsome young man.
Then we are going to go to Disneyland and ride our favorite rides and enjoy
this beautiful Southern California Day together. Patrick asked me what I wanted for my birthday and one of the things I asked for was a day together with him, just the two of us having some special alone time together, something we don't get allot of us in our busy worlds. So I know, no matter what else we do, its going to be
a really spectacular day!!

Happy Birthday to me, and I hope I get to spend many more years here with all of you guys, living life and having fun......



Like A Bear Coming Out Of Hibernation.....

I don't know about you but I am so glad that Winter is over and Spring is on it's way. Usually I enjoy the Seasons,but this Winter has been a little tuff for me.
Maybe it was because we had so many rainy days and many of the ones that were not rainy were dreary. I just don't do well when we have a few dreary days in a roll, seems to just drain the life out of me. These past few months have found me staying in doors way more than I normally do and going to sleep earlier. Last week I was
laying in bed reading some of my favor blogs on here and it hit me I have been like
an old bear hibernating in the Winter time....and I had to laugh. It is true!!
But now that the days are getting longer, thanks to Daylight Savings Time, (YEA!!!) I am feeling more energized and have already started making plans for some hikes on the coming weekends....so yea...I guess I am like an old bear coming out of hibernation, looking forward to the coming Spring and Summer days and getting out of my cave to explore the world around me and have some really fun adventures!!!!



I Can Hardky Wait Wat For This!..........

What A Lazy Weekend!,,,,,

I have to say I don't know the last time I had such a lazy weekend. Usually on a weekend were we don't have anything planned, I will come up with something for me to do or get involved in, but not this weekend, no sirree. Saturday was a perfect day to be lazy in,,,rain ALL day. I woke up early as usually and laid in bed and watched it rain outside through the window myside of the bed. I usually keep the blinds pulled up at night so I can lay in bed and see the stars. So Saturday I just laid in bed and watched the rain for awhile. After getting up and eating my Honey Nut Cheerios (honest..they are so good), I decided to go back to bed with my laptop and read some of the blogs I keep up with on here. It was the first time I have take the laptop back to bed with me, have to tell you, now I am so hooked! Patrick was up doing somethings in the office so after a bit,I got a little sleepy so I ended up taking nap #1 of the day. So for the rest our rainy Saturday I alternated between reading a book I have been trying to read (on California's first governor) and taking another nap or two. I don't remember the last time I was totally lazy all day on the weekend, or any other day, it was great!

Today was such a beautiful sunny day, I started off my day (after my bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios) by cleaning up the interior of my car. Having all these rainy days sure makes it hard to vacuum the inside.After having lunch with Patrick's parents, we headed out to Glendale with the kids to see Avatar. I know we are late in seeing it but we just could not get us and the kids together at the same time to go. This will be the last weekend it is in the theaters since they will be moving it out to make way for 'Alice in Wonderland" with starts on Friday. I can not even begin to tell you what a beautiful movie it is. We saw it in 3D and it was amazing.
We decided to go to dinner after the movie (it is 3 hours long but does not seem like it) we headed to the Olive Garden, but the wait was over an hour long and we were all hungry so we went over the California Pizza Kitchen. We were really disappointed. We had not eaten at one in a while, they were busy but we got seated in a reasonable amount of time. We ordered and were told they were out of the bread they give you while you wait for your food and had been for about an hour. Now we were there at 6:30, I am just not understanding how a restaurant could run out of something they use all the time like bread. We were not the only ones who were annoyed by in from the sound of some of the people around us. We were really taken back when we got the bill and found out it cost us over $70 for the 4 of us to eat...pizza and pasta. So needless to say we won't be going back to California Pizza Kitchen any time soon. But over all we had a really great time out with the kids today.

So here I am now, getting ready to end my day and my lazy weekend, propped up in bed once again with my laptop. Yep..I was a slug this weekend...did not accomplish very much of nothing all weekend....and you know what..I am so loving it!! I just might have to this again soon!!!


ps....Can you believe it is the last day of February already???!! So I guess that means tomorrow we start a whole new month.....my favorite month of the whole year...March...My Birthday Month, YEAAAAAAAA!


Rainy Days

It's another rainy day here in LA today, but I should start out by letting you know, I love the rain.

In Southeast Texas where I grew up, you can actually smell the rain before it gets to you. You know it is going to rain because of the huge clouds that float high above you as they cross the skies, but the smell of the rain is what really gives it away.

I would stand at the front door and watch the rain come down, sometimes so hard you could not see the woods across the street. The ditches would fill up and overflow our street, sometimes coming right up to the edge of our house, covering our lawn.
Our house set up high enough that we were never in danger of flooding. And then,
it would all be over....leaving a beautiful smell in the air and a wonderful
silence, so quiet could stand on the porch and listen to the water as it drained away.

Once the rain was over we could go outside and play in the water. The ditches in front our house were actually not really deep, well at the least the one that ran along the front of our yard. But looking back I can remember standing on the edge
of the road looking down in that ditch and thinking how deep it was. The water was so clear running in the ditch you could see the bottom. My brother and I would
wade off in the ditch (yes barefoot) and play in the water that ran across our road and think
nothing of it, only laughing and having a great time. To this very day I can remember the feel of the cold water that was in that ditch as I stepped in. I can still feel the current against my legs as I waded in deeper.

Our yard was an acre of land big. On one side of the acre was the house and main yard and we refered to the other half simply as "the half acre". Even my nieces and nephews ,who also grew up around my Mom and Dad's house, refer to it still as
that. Sometimes when we would have a really big rainstorm, the water would overflow
from the ditches and cover a great deal of the half acre. Then the real fun would start. The water would flow across the grass and sometimes come up to our knees as we waded off in the water. We were never allowed to go any further than up to our knees. We would throw small sticks in the current and watch them float way or make small paper boats and sail them in the currents.
We would watch as groups of ants would float by on the current,sometimes large groups, we always thought they were crowded together on a floating stick or something. We would later learn that the ants we all balled up together so they could float like that. We did have to be careful because there were "critters" in the water with us sometimes. We would just about always see
crayfish and sometimes a snake or two swimming across the top of the water looking for a higher place to get to. Once after a really large rain we came across a type of eel out on the half acre at the edge of the water. It has come from a pond that was several acres across from where we lived and had floated over on the current of the run off. It was an amazing creature. Our "biggest" enemy when we played in the water was.....the snapping turtle. We were so afraid of them. It was a very rare thing to see one at anytime, but sometimes one come around. They were nasty looking turtles, their shells would look like some kind of armour and they had shart beak like noise, they were called snapping turtles for a reason, they had powerful jaws and could snap down on a stick and break it or it could do the same to your finger or toe
if you surprised them in the water. Sad thing is,I have not seen one in many many years now.

Throughout the rest of my life, I would always love the rain. Where ever I have lived through the years, my neighbors would always see me out walking in the rain in my sweatshirt and ball cap. Rainy days are always special for me.

Living in the Desert, rainy days were especially special because they came by so rarely. I learned early on the wonderful smell of a desert rain. If we had a really rainy winter, like the one we have had this year, that would mean we would have
a beautiful spring with all the desert flowers blooming in great abundance.

Since I moved into the City, I still enjoy my rainy days, but the smells are oh so different. I see the rains as a cleansing of everything here. The smell of wet asphalt was a new smell for me to see as a rain smell. But in the early morning
stillness of a rainy morning here in the City, I still enjoy the sound and the smell of cool rainy day.


ps..for those of you who may not know, I grew up in a rural area, the road in front of our house was a dirt road for many years of my life and we were the only house on the street. Our "neighborhood" was totally surrounded by woods. Nothing like a modern day neighborshood today.


A Festive Kinda Day......

Well today was a day for celebration in our household,we had two holidays for us that just happened to fall on the same day this year...Valentine's Day AND Chinese New Year, so needless to say, we did us some celebrating today!!

I have to tell ya. I LOVE Chinese New Year. It has much more meaning to it then the traditional New Year's celebrations the world does every year. Of course I celebrate the traditional New Year with the rest of the world, but over the past few years,
celebratig Chinese New Year has become really important to me.

Since I have become apart of a Chinese family, I have been introduced to allot that has to do with the Buddhist religion. Patrick's parents are Buddhist and of course we share in all the special days of the year with them. Being raised a Baptist, this is a whole new world for me, one that I enjoy very much.

So starting last night (Saturday) we started celebrating the New Year with a special dinner, which included not only our family but our BFF Timmy. Last night was his 16th time to join the Lee Family in celebrating Chinese New Year Eve.

This morning we got up early and had a special breakfast together and then headed out to the 2 Buddhist temples the Lees attend. This is the really special part for me.
It is there that we burn incense and offer up our individual prayers at the beginning of the year. For me, it is a very moving experience.

After were finished at the Temples, we headed out for lunch and then home. So after we got home, Patrick and I got to celebrate the "other" holiday that was happening today....Valentine's Day!! We exchanged our gifts and then we celebrated another tradition we like on Chinese New Year....taking naps!!!!!

The weather today was just perfect. I even managed to take a nice long walk in the afternoon. It was a really nice day....and tomorrow back to the grind for me...Patrick and the kids have the day off to celebrate President's Day!!!!!



Taking a Hike...in Eaton Canyon

Early last summer,Patrick informed me that he and some of his friends from where he works wanted to go on a hike and wanted me to go with them since I was about the only one of them that had ever done any hiking. I told him to decided where they wanted to go and we would see about the hiking trails in that area.He took one of my hiking books to work so they could look through it and when he came home that afternoon, he informed me that they wanted to go somewhere where there was a water fall. A waterfall?? I told him I had no idea where there would be a water fall at that time of the year and the fact that we were in the midst of a severe drought would also make it tough to find a waterfall. Well Patrick is not one to be so easily distracted from what he wants, so a couple of days later he informed me there was a water fall in Eaton Canyon and that is where they decided they wanted to go.
He had even found out where Eaton Canyon was and how we were to get there, I was really impressed!!

So early one Saturday morning, we all met up at Joseph and Cherry's house to take off for our hike. I had not met his co-workers at this point but I had heard alot about them from Patrick. There were Joseph and Cherry, Emily and Dennis (who had only recently met) and Patrick and I. So we set off in 2 cars for Eaton Canyon.

Eaton Canyon is located right outside Pasadena in Altadena, which is in the San Gabriel Mountains. It is really a beautiful place and the nature preserve covers around 190 acres. Because of the heat, we started out on our hike at around 8:30 and we were so glad we did. The hike from the parking lot to the waterfall is just over a mile one way. We had so much fun and saw some really beautiful scenery and we even got to see a real live inhabitant of the canyon in one of the streams we had to cross, a small snake who was keeping himself cool in the water. It is a pretty easy hike, so if you like to hike or think you might want to try...this is the hike for you. I did not know it at the time but there was alot of area history thattook place in the canyon,and there is a really nice Nature Center there to explain the history of the canyon.

We took our time and made it to the falls. There were a few people who made it ahead of us and it was peaceful and calm. A lady and her daughter were swimming in he pool at the bottom of the falls and I just had to take off my shoes and put my feet in the cold water. It was so nice! We hung out at the falls for a little while taking pictures and such. We were really enjoying the peacefulness of the place but decided we had better head back before it got too hot. We stared back and stopped in some shade to have a snack and drink some water and as we were doing this, about 30 Boy Scouts came by us heading for the falls, the peacefulness of the falls was not going to be peaceful much longer! We were so glad we made it there when we did. We made it back to the parking lot around 11:30. We stopped by the Nature Center to use the rest rooms and to cool off(it is air conditioned!) and see the exhibits they have there. We ended our hiking that day at a Chinese Restruant where I got to have one of my favs....Black Pepper Gravy Pork Chops...after that meal, we all headed homes for naps!!!

It was such a beautiful place in the Summer, I plan on going back in the Spring when everything is in bloom.....wanna go with me? Just let me know!


p.s. I case your interested: www.enca.org

Joseph and Cherry
Jaymes and Patrick
Dennis and Emily