Thursday, September 30, 2010

Too close encounter

It’s not that I dislike skateboarding, or even skateboarders for that matter. It’s just that I do NOT want to hurt or kill anybody. I don’t want my husband, my teenage sons, my neighbors or friends killing or hurting anybody, either. But something terrible COULD happen to one of those downhill skaters if something isn’t done to stop them.

He's going the speed limit?
Yesterday, driving up Temple Hills Drive around 5pm, I had just come around the hairpin turn and was continuing up the hill. Right past Cerritos Drive, 2 downhill skaters came screaming around the corner. No joke, I’m sure they must have been going about 50 mph. They were going so fast, that when they passed me, the wheels of their skateboards made a sickeningly weird whizzing sound as they went by. Luckily, I was not distracted, and was driving fairly slowly, because one of the boys then swerved into my lane, right in front of me! He then reached for his buddy’s hand to help pull him back to the other side of the double yellow lines. His friend could not grab hold, but somehow he veered back into his own lane. I was able to stop and wait until they got back under control, but with a car right behind me and a car following the two downhillers at a very close distance, the whole event had me pretty rattled. There are so many things that could have gone wrong. In that split second, there could have been many lives that might have been changed. Forever.

So, this brings up several questions in the case of an accident where one of these kids are hurt, or, I hate to even say it, killed. Am I, as the driver liable, even though there is nothing that I could have done differently? Is the city liable if they vote not to place a ban on downhill skating? And, these parents who allow and even encourage their kids to fly down our hills, do they know how unsafe it really is?

Not a good decision.
I mean they are kids, and kids don’t always have the ability to make rational decisions. Do the parents of the kids I had my encounter with yesterday know how close a call their sons just had? And, after the recent win at the last traffic and circulation meeting, are these kids feeling overly confident, even emboldened?

I truly believe that we have got to place a ban and/or firm restrictions on downhill skateboarding. The combination of cars and these kids traveling on the same streets at the same time just doesn’t work. It’s not about depriving the kids of their fun, it’s about protecting, and keeping our kids safe.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The heat is on...

It's been hot. Really hot. After such a crappy summer of drizzle and fog, I'm just not used this heat! I feel like the Wicked Witch of the West on the Wizard of Oz after she gets water thrown onto her. "I'm melting, melting! Oh, what a world, what a world!"

"I'm melting...!" 
Anyways, the one good thing about this heat, is cooling off at the beach in the evenings. The hottest day this week by far was Monday. We had scorching temperatures of over 100 degrees! It was said to be the hottest day in Laguna Beach on record. So, after Mr. R. got home from work, I packed up some sandwiches and salads, and we went to the beach to cool down. Ahhh, it was just what we needed! And, we weren't the only ones with such a brainy idea. There were more people on the beach at that time of day than I had ever seen! We sat and talked with friends, ate some cold food, and literally tried to chill-out.

Sunset paddlers

With the water temp at almost 70, so many people were frolicking in the water. Being a warm water junky, for only the second time this year, I jumped in too! And even though it was a work/school day, everyone lingered long after dusk, not wanting to go back to their overheated homes.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My life in a muumuu

Living in a beach community is lovely and everything, but lately I haven't been fitting into my bikini. Believe it or not, this is a huge issue! Can you imagine my shock when I stepped on the scale this morning, to find that I have gained more pounds?! What the heck is going on?! I mean I exercise, I eat healthily, and I still gain weight? I'm getting so fed up with this crap!

So this weekend is supposed to be gorgeous. We've had such a crummy summer, it would be so great to go to the beach, and not be completely mortified to be in a bathing suit. But no. And the thing that kills me, is that it's the same 5-10 lbs that I gain and lose. I just can't seem to figure out how to really take off the extra baggage, and leave it off for good.

Ok, I know you're judging me on my shallow superficialness. But in this town, where everyone prances their skinny little butts around on surfboards, stand up paddle boards, and in all sorts of other prancing events, it really becomes bigger than I can handle! I mean, you try to keep up with these perfectly perfect A-types! It's not easy!

Anyways, after my devastating weigh-in this morning, I dragged myself out to the militant, but free yoga class at Heisler Park. I actually really like the class, and used to go all the time. It's a pretty hard work out, and usually about halfway through it, I begin to wonder what the heck I'm doing there. But it's outside, and close the beach, so when you're upside down in some weird contortion or another, sweating your butt off, you actually can hear the waves crashing on the shore. Now, that's a nice touch. And I really like to support Carl, our yoga instructor. He collects donations, and sends all of the money he raises to the Tara Abbey in Nepal. Pretty amazing guy, huh?
Reach for the sky
Well, I guess I really have to start kicking my own butt if I'm serious about this little problem I have. And if I keep eating right, hiking, and going to Carl's yoga class, and keep working out, not just my body, but mind too. Maybe it will help my silly, melodramatic bikini fears. Until then, there are always muumuus, right?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Deerly beloved

I am a complete nature geek. I remember years ago, when we visited Costa Rica, after we would come back from hikes, all of the locals around you wanted to know what animals you had seen out in the forest. It really impressed me that, while living there and seeing those gorgeous butterflies, sloths, and monkeys all of the time, they still got excited about the nature that surrounds them, and are equally excited when visitors get to share it with them.

And thanks to my dog, Buddy, and all of our long walks together, I get to witness some pretty cool nature around here, too. Just today, while walking on a quiet street on one of my many routes, we were startled when a mid-sized, beautiful but scruffy doe crashed out of a side yard about 25 feet from where we were. She bounded down the hill, and when she got to the street, she bounced almost Tigger-like toward the other side of the street. With side yard gates locked all around her, she had a difficult time figuring out how to get back to the surrounding open space. Finally, squeezing between some little trees, she made her escape.

Hey there, deery
Sadly, this really made me think about how things have changed over the years for the animals that live in the Southern California open space. More and more houses are built, more fences are erected. The paths that deer, coyotes and other critters have been using for thousands of years are no longer accessible. Just last August there was a tragic story of a deer with one antler that ran into two separate stores in our downtown area, got out of that jam, only to crash into a car, then head straight for the ocean. Even though lifeguards tried to paddle him to safety, the poor guy just couldn't be saved.

The nature that surrounds us is there to behold. And even though our neighbors fences are getting higher, it's still a treat to look out over Laguna's preserved land, and delight in and share the nature that's there.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Moment to moment

The thing about moments, is that they are fleeting. That quiet feeling of bliss that you feel when you are really paying attention to those lovely details can end abruptly, sending you in another direction entirely.

I was walking my dog, Buddy, around the neighborhood the other day, it was a beautiful afternoon, cool but sunny, really a pretty day. I was taking it slow, not one of my usual power walks. I had already done a beach walk that day at Crystal Cove Beach,  which included a killer set of stairs. So, I was just trying to give Buddy a break, so he could take his time, smell all the smells he wanted to, and have a leisurely walk.

I was so engrossed in the momentary minutia, that I had completely forgotten about the rabid boxer dog that lives around the corner. We stroll past the boxer's house, not even thinking for one minute that anything could go wrong. I bet you know where this is going... The boxer, let's call him... um, Kujo, comes charging down his driveway with his little friend not far behind, both in attack mode. Of course Buddy pulls the leash, trying to lunge back at them, and for the second time in 2 weeks, I land on my butt in the middle of the street because of this crazy animal, trying desperately to hold onto Buddy's leash. I fell hard. It was complete mayhem. Dogs barking, teeth gnashing, and me shouting from the ground trying to quickly scramble to my feet.
Uh oh, I think he sees us...
Finally my dumbass neighbor comes out and tries to get a grip on his completely out of control, rabidly insane dogs. I brush myself off, and shout a few choice phrases after him, then I notice that my hand is covered in dog shit, because I was carrying Buddy's poop bag when I fell, and smeared it all over myself. Now, that's a moment to notice!

So, maybe I'll try a little harder to not be so caught up in the "moment" when I pass the house of Kujo. From now on, being fully present is on my list of priorities. Moments come and go, and I know that they're often beautiful, but knowing full well what may confront you is equally worthwhile. I really want to be completely aware, and on my toes the next time Kujo comes charging down his driveway. But wouldn't it be nice if my neighbor would just leash the dog so that I could continue along with my head in the clouds?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I'm having a moment

I don't know if it's my age, or my hormones, or what, but lately the little things in life are really getting to me. It's those tiny details that are making me take note, the small pleasures that really make me feel happy. Not that bigger pleasures are a bad thing either. It's just that small pleasures are maybe just a little more unexpected.

Listen up all you Kindle readers. Hot coffee in hand, taking that first sip while opening the Sunday paper, it's almost euphoric. Reading the newspaper anyways, puts me right over into that place of bliss. But the Sunday paper? I think it just might be an addiction.

I need an intervention!
This morning my sister called on the phone. She was visiting my dad and handed the phone over to him so we could talk, too. He's not easy to talk to, he's hard of hearing and can't always reply to your comments or questions, but just to hear his voice, is magical to me. He's my dad, and no matter how abstract he gets, his voice still has an emotional tug on me. He doesn't have a phone in his room, so the only time I get to talk to him is if someone who's visiting him calls me. And today was a good day. He knew who I was, he answered some questions, and even laughed at a joke that he made. It's not always that good.

Another thing, we planted a new garden in our backyard. It's still a little sparse, lots of the plants will have to fill in, but almost immediately, I noticed that the bees and hummingbirds had already found their favorite plants. How the heck do they do that? Amazing, no?

And, after the summer of gloom that we've just experienced here, any hint of sunshine on my face is almost like an answered prayer. Well, if I believed that prayers could be answered, I think it would be exactly like that. Heavenly.
She shines even brighter with a little
sunshine on her face.  
Hawks flying overhead, coyotes calls in the nighttime, the way the fog bank almost seems to breathe in and out, there are so many moments that make me quietly smile. It's the noticing. Little things are happening to us constantly. In the rush of the world around us, sometimes we don't always see and hear. But lately, I have been noticing. Those tiny details and small pleasures are adding up into something much bigger.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Say "cheese!"

Today is back to school day for my two kids. So, this morning, and for the rest of the school year, I get up early, start the coffee, and start the breakfast going. In honor of the first day, I make pancakes with strawberries and bananas, homemade whipped cream topped with real maple syrup. Got to get those boys a good breakfast, so they can be in top form for their first day of school! 

Didn't these kids have a good breakfast?
All is going well, timing is good, and within a half hour, they are out the door. It's a whirlwind! Then, I remember the camera. The first day of school picture is a must, plus, my oldest is a senior this year. His last first day of school pic to be taken by me. Grabbing the camera, I run after them, and convince them to get out of the car, and stand next to each other. Quickly, they want to get going, so I hurry, fumbling with the lense cap, now camera ready. Say "cheese!". The camera goes black. Out of battery. Are you kidding me? ARGGHHH!!! They hop in the car, and off they go. "Have a good day!" I call after them.
Damn camera.

Their mom had her camera battery charged!

Do you think I can get an after school picture once the battery is charged? I'm not going to lie, I'm kind of  heart broken right now...