Sunday, December 30, 2007

Joshua Tree

For our end of year foray to Palm Springs we decided to leave a day early and explore Joshua Tree a little and do our own version of "photowalking". We had a blast, going to a part of the park called Pine City. We hiked for about 4 hours, climbing rocks, taking pictures and having our picnic lunch. It was a blast. We left the park and stopped for some refreshments at a little liquor store outside the park. As I stepped out of the vehicle an asian fellow walked up to me and said in heavily accented English, "you help" and handed me a cell phone. There was a guy on the other end who was trying to help him get to his hotel in 29 Palms. It's amazing, no matter where I am, people ask me for directions.....

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Another Year Older

I awoke this morning another year older and since my birthday is later in the year it serves a double purpose. It's a good time to look back on the entire year as a whole; reflect on my accomplishments and re-focus my energies on things I want to move forward on.

In 2007 I was able to lose weight, heal my injured shoulder without surgery, and get into better all around physical shape, dropping my cholesterol to acceptable levels and getting rid of the fatty liver disease. Amazing what exercise and diet will do for you. At work I was moving forward in a positive mode, making a difference with our customers and helping the management team make decisions. All of the good things in 2007 happened to me prior to Sept. 7th and then it all went to hell. Mitel and Inter-tel merged and life as myself and my co-workers knew it was literally decimated.

I'm going to spend 2008 re-focusing my efforts on creating a new niche at work and not allowing people to control my destiny. I will control my own financial, physical and emotional destiny. So look out world, there will be no more sulking over the things that were, the things that have changed and the losses that have happened. Only forward thinking and moving.

Dena and I had a wonderful road trip over the Labor Day weekend, exploring route 66 from Los Angeles to Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was so much fun allowing us to re-connect to each other and re-connect with our adventurous spirits. In 2008 we'll spend the month of February in Antarctica, Chile and Argentina. Let the exploring never end.

Monday, December 24, 2007

I Believe in Santa

I'm old, I know that. I see it every morning in the mirror, but there is a part of me that still believes in Santa Claus. Sometimes I'm Santa and sometimes someone else is. Santa Claus or good 'ole Saint Nick represents a spirit of giving that unfortunately only comes out at this time of year for some people. He also represents mystery and wonder for little kids who still believe and as they mature and start to question how Santa can visit 6 billion households in one night we see their free critical thinking skills develop. Santa can mean alot to people if we can just get past this very consumption based society that we live in.

For example, yesterday I went to the Grove wearing my new $ 5.99 Santa hat that is totally cool and fairly unique. I got comments from probably 30 people, smiles from about 50 more and one woman even came up and jingled my bells. Who could ask for more. It's a good feeling to put a smile on people's faces. Speaking of good feelings, Dena and I stopped by my "little sister's" foster care house yesterday and dropped off a present for her and for the house mother. I was wearing my Santa hat of course. We chatted for awhile and all of a sudden she ran down the stairs and hugged me. Well, I was surprised, pleasantly. It seems that her older sister also just received a Big Sister and she didn't bother to show up for her first meeting. Isn't that shitty. It's shitty that she would do that at all and even more shitty that she would do that on the first meeting when developing trust is vital and even more shitty that she'd do it the weekend before Christmas.

Readers, this holiday season, keep believing! I'm hanging a stocking tonight and you never know, Santa may fill it. Oh, and by the way, my mom still signs the gifts she sends, "from Santa". I love that.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

'Tis the Season....

To give. I love to give. I love to make people happy. It's fun and makes me feel good. Speaking of feel good I had my first meeting with my "little sister" yesterday. She's 14 and quite an intelligent, well read, well spoken young lady. We actually had quite a bit of fun going Christmas shopping for her foster mother and then we walked around Venice Beach. She'd never been down there before. We ran on the sand dunes, chatted and watched the wierdos walk by. Just another day in paradise. By the way, paradise, and I do mean Los Angeles, was 70, sunny and just lovely today. I bet all you people freezing your asses off up north and in the NorthEast are jealous. hehe

Dena and I saw 2 movies this weekend, I am Legend and No Country for Old Men. Both were "edge of your seat" types with I am Legend just being an incredibly tense movie. I needed a martini after that flick, my heart was pumping hard in my chest for the entire 2nd half. They spend the first half of the movie lulling you into complacency then turn on the after burners for the 2nd half. Both movies were well written, very well acted and thought provoking. In No Country for Old Men, the movie ended and the theatre was dead silent as the credits rolled. No one got up to leave, no one spoke, everyone just sat there. It was quite something.

I'll be off the air for a few days, we're off to Big Bear to do a Christmas thing with Dena's Jewish family. hehe I love diversity. The stockings will be hung by the hide-a-bed with care; in hopes that some Jewish saint would soon be there.....

By the way, want to spruce up your Christmas stocking? Try this website....

Thursday, December 20, 2007


I have been approved both criminally and personally for mentoring a foster care child. I met her for the first time on Tuesday and Saturday will be our first day together without the "foster care mother". We'll see how it goes, stay tuned.

I've been taking Vitamin B complex, Omega 3 fish oil, and some other herbs from Dr. Lippman and seem to be feeling much better even though this would normally be the time of month where I'm severely depressed. I forgot one day and started to feel crappy again, amazing what vitamins and herbs do, eh?

I HATE WORK. I hate all the up in the air crap, I hate that I was so positive about this company merger and it's turning out to be shit, I hate the disparate benefits between the two "new" divisions, I hate everything about it. I was embracing change, I was being positive, all things I normally am not. I was the merger cheerleader and then the proverbial straw broke this camel's back and now I've seen the light, and it's a train coming!

So that's the update......all wine and roses, eh

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Playing Hookie

Dena and I escaped yesterday from the drudgery called work and went off to the Happiest place on earth.....Disneyland. Disneyland was decked out in all it's holiday finery and oh what fun it was. We watched the holiday parade which was awesome. Dena watched me get very queasy on Space Mountain, a ride I haven't been on in years and apparently for very good reason. We also went on Indiana Jones and Star Tours, 2 more rides I haven't been on in probaby 10 years. I got a little queasy on those too. What a wimp, eh. Then, Dena felt very obligated to redeem herself in the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blaster ride where she scored a dismal 1800 points when we went last year. As you can see, she's improved, but still not enough to beat me!

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Every month about a week before my period I get what I can only describe to you are phenomenally depressed. My depression is so deep that it's interfering with life. I have these deep feelings of hopelessness. My life seems overwhelming during these times and I just want to crawl in bed, throw the covers over my head and remove myself from the world. I don't want to eat, I don't want to go out, I have trouble focusing and thinking and frankly, it's horrible. It's every month. I bet my male readers have either stopped reading or are really happy they are male. I would have to say that while this depression is deep and all encompassing I am aware that it's happening and have no thoughts of suicide. My logical brain is still out there during all this and trying to manage it. That's probably the frustrating part as logically I cannot wrap my mind around why this is happening. I have a good life, a great soul mate, a so-so job, etc so what do I have to be depressed about. Well, that's just it, there is no reason.

So, I've been to the gyno and I am not in peri-menopause despite what Oprah seems to think. I've done copious research on the Internet and it seems I have classic symptoms of severe PMDD (Premenstrual dysphoric disorder). There are multiple forms of treatment for this, but basically it's one of 2 ways, prescription anti-depressants or natural herbs and vitamins. So, I'm going to experiment on myself. I like doing that. I'm going to introduce Omega-3 supplements and vitamin B6 into my daily regimen and we'll see what happens. Now, this will have to be a long experiment as this lovely depression only occurs for 7 days before menses, and goes away as a day or so after bleeding ensues.

Wish me luck, and for my friends at Dr. Lippman's office---what do you think?

Monday, December 10, 2007

An Auspicious Day

Today is a day I have marked in my calendar since 2001. Today is the day I received INS approval for my permanent residency. A day I had been working towards for over 15 years and through attorney's for 6 years. It was a magical day to receive the email that all was approved and I would receive my green card in the mail shortly. It's actually pink, but hey, who cares. The magic green card that serves as a beacon of opportunity and hope for people all over the world. Or at least it used to. I wonder if that beacon is shining a little less brightly across the globe with the climate for immigrants getting icier in the United States.

Well, I don't take December 10th lightly, for sure. I raise my glass of Orange Juice this morning and toast myself for the patience that it took to get here and I toast my old boss and current friend Charlie Gentile who backed me up the entire way, paying for the adventure in bureaucratic red tape through his department. Something I'll never forget. My deepest heartfelt gratitude, thank you.

I know some of you were looking for a different kind of blog entry today but I have to tell you that sometimes life gets in the way. You'll just have to wait and you know who you are.....

Friday, December 07, 2007

Locavore -- 2007 Word of the Year!

Locavore [loh-kih-vohr] noun
n 1. A person who thinks globally and eats locally -- usually within a 100 mile radius n. 2. A gastronomical movement that shuns supermarket shopping in favor of farmer's markets or backyard gardens and argues that fresh and local produce packs more nutritional punch, tastes better and has less of an environmental impact. n. 3. The New Oxford American Dictionary's pick for word of the year.

So there.......

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Calmness is Shattered and the Calm is Gone

The elation of no dog shit on our front lawn lasted about 12 hours before our next door neighbor shattered the elusion of a peaceful holiday season. He asked us to move our new fence in 1 to 2' because it was on his property line. Now let me preface all of this by saying that the fence is just some cheapie green wire fence about 3' high that only cost us $ 100 to fence the entire yard. It is supposed to be temporary. When I went over to discuss this with him, as I had to go as smoke was literally coming from Dena's ears, he informed me that he was pouring a new driveway, wanted it wider and he needed to take back that 1' to 2'.

Well, first of all, he probably has a point, if you draw a line straight down from the backyard fence to the front parkway our front yard juts out approximately 12". I've not measured it however, I've committed to running a string line with him this weekend. Can't wait for that.....she says with deep sarcasm. It's extremely frustrating to be constantly bombarded with issues from him. Neighbors should be seen and not heard as far as I'm concerned. We've spent enough time and energy on this neighbor to last a lifetime. I suppose the old adage rings true: The grass is always greener.......

As an aside, if we really wanted to be snotty (and Dena does) the rule of "adverse possession" states that if we occupied disputed land that turned out to be on someone else's property for > 5 years then by adverse possession it becomes ours. That comes with all sorts of caveats of course, like we would have to pay the property taxes for that square footage, etc. I'm not sure that 12" of our side lawn that our neighbors for the past 12 years have driven over really matters that much. Our sprinkler headss are there and would have to move, of which I'm not to keen on paying for, so that's another battle.

Stay tuned

Monday, December 03, 2007

Calmness Descends Over the Land

As anyone who will listen to Dena and I know, we have an asshole neighbor with from anywhere from 2 to 4 Labradors who he let's run off leash and crap and play all over my lawn. He used to live 2 doors down and occasionally the dogs would leave nice big dumps all over our lawn and often he would throw their Kong's and Frisbees from his lawn over to ours. This of course did nothing to improve my grass nor did it allow me to keep the flowers alive under my palm tree. Usually it just pissed me off immensely. About a year ago he bought the house between us, to our dismay and 2 weeks ago he moved into it, selling the other.

Now, on a daily basis the dogs come outside, walk straight over to my lawn, piss and shit all over it and then go back inside. Normally he picks it up (sometimes right then, sometimes 24 hours later) but this leaves "shit scrapes" all over the lawn. Also, one dog has bad diarrhea so he misses most of that. So for 2 weeks, my lawn has smelled like shit. In early October my sister and her husband Ian were here visiting, Ian, witnessing the Frisbee affair with 3 labs running and tearing up my lawn he offered to go over and talk to the guy. Now Ian is a great guy, diplomatic and a true salesman and in hindsight I should have taken him up on it. But I didn't.

Throwing the shit in the guys lawn hasn't phased him and I'm not really the sort to put it in a paper bag, light it on fire and well, you know the story. That's just silly. And frankly, I just haven't been able to walk up to him and tell him to keep his dogs off my lawn. I guess I feel that nothing will change and that I probably couldn't keep my temper. So this weekend, Dena and I put a 3' high wire fence around the front yard. It's actually not too bad, only cost $ 100 and took about an hour to install. This morning, I'm proud to report that the 4 labs shit on their own lawn. I woke up to this news and I feel calm and happy. Amazing what $100 and a little passive aggressive behaviour will do for you.