#18-In Protest

It’s been 4 years. I know my bucket list was meant to be a 1-year challenge, but all the same my list has always been a lifelong endeavor of sorts. I’ve made bucket lists since I was a child, really. My general curiosity of life has been a great source of entertainment for me (and my husband) and while 2014 is long gone, my desire to complete the list remains the same. Often when I finally get around to something on my list I stop to think… what was going on in that moment that motivated me to write the task down?

#18- Protest for something I believe in. And believe me, there has been an abundance of protesting going on in recent years. It started with the 99%. God bless you guys. Then there was the ‘Women in Black’ thing in Half Moon Bay that was held every week. The regular community board announcement invited all women to come to a heavily trafficked street corner dressed in black, to stand in silence “in solidarity.”  at the time I found it humorous, this blanketed statement of mourning. Then there was the port of Oakland protests, the police brutality protests, Black Lives Matter, All Live Matters, Presidential Campaigns, the Women’s March, …… more than i can even think of.

I really admire and have a deep respect for Protests. Whether I agree or not with the protest itself, the event stirs up a great appreciation for the freedoms we all have and the right to exercise it. How amazing and wonderful to have a voice.

I don’t really have a good excuse for why I never joined any of these protests, other than the typical reasons given. Time, location, childcare, etc.

But, this last July a situation came up that hit me personally on several levels and I honestly could not think of an excuse to not show up and Protest.

Ted Hickman, a Vice Mayor, an asshole down to the DNA in his bones and likely the son of the devil himself, wrote an opinion piece in a publication that circulates my hometown that was inflammatory, derogatory and downright hateful towards the LGBT community.  I have a lot of thoughts on this. For starters, I wasn’t in the slightest surprised. The man has been an awful excuse of a human for the two decades I’ve known him and when he was elected to office I gave up all hope that Dixon was a town with any sort of intelligence.

When I was ten years old, I was a witness to a disagreement he had with my mother at her workplace and watched as he raised his hand and struck her. It was the first time I saw a man assault a woman, and luckily, I was also wise enough to realize he didn’t deserve the existence God allowed him. Being it’s a small town, I regularly heard similar horror stories about him from others and my family just managed to keep their distance… somewhat.

His opinion pieces regularly were crass, tasteless, vengeful and evil. But despite all that, he was voted in to office and coincidently, I left town for good. I wasn’t much for local politics anyway, but sadly my younger brother has been, and was also elected to City Council alongside Hickman. And much to Hickman’s delight of course, as he has regularly harassed my brother, openly on Council and in his publication. Video even shows him striking my brother in the head during a council meeting, once again assaulting someone in my family.

But for whatever reason it was this most recent opinion piece that woke the sleeping giants of the LGBT community, and rightfully so. Amongst many of his accusations was that anyone who is LGBT doesn’t have a job, families, morals & ethic, etc. and not only is it all appalling but I have enough relatives and friends that make more money and pay more taxes and contribute a whole helluva lot more to society in one day than he has in his whole life. So, Fuck you Ted Hickman. I happily pranced my ass all the way down to Dixon so I could get myself a seat at his long-overdue and well-deserved Roast.

 

In reflection, the same action was taken against Ted as is typical within any and all politics: Nobody cared, nothing changed, people soon forgot. And it is with this, that I determined protests aren’t really for me. I continue to firmly believe that the only way to create positive change is to start with those you can directly affect around you.

 

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#95- Who wants to walk with Elias?

If you are part of the 95% of the population that rarely-to-never watches the WWE, you probably don’t understand the question about walking with Elias. In our home though, it’s a regular teaser, an intro to the night’s activities and the one liner printed in Natalie’s yearbook. It’s essentially, a happy family pastime in our home.

I didn’t set out with #95 on my list (attend a WWE match) as a way to indoctrinate my young and impressionable children. At the time, my kids were 6, 2 and 0 years old so the idea of bringing them into this cult was non existent really. But here we are, 4 years later, hosting PPV BBQ’s and trading cards.

Basically, two years ago we stumbled upon it during a family TV night. Natalie was enthralled, Blake was reminiscent, I was appalled and the two younger kids were asleep. We bantered, we laughed, we mocked, we reenacted. I often tease Blake that WWE is for men like the Daytime Soap Operas are for women.

Then I remembered it was on my bucket list to go to a show. So we decided to surprise the girls with tickets for Natalie’s 10th birthday and she was STOKED.

I have to say, I was truly surprised by what WWE is. I’ve come to see it as a bit of a unifying religion for the USA. I never saw a more diverse group of people show up for an event (granted, I didn’t go to the Women’s March). The theatrics put on by the WWE is award winning. The physical agility of the wrestlers is Olympics worthy. The give back to the community is praiseworthy. The patriotism and compassion for Americans is humbling.

How can I go and support “violence”? I’ve wrestled with this thought (pun intended). In some ways, because I believe it’s mostly -if not ENTIRELY- an act, I consider it like I would an action-mystery-horror movie. We pay money to go watch people kill each other, maim each other, assault each other on the big screen. This is just seeing it live, only in a much more lighthearted/humorous way and with a lot of passion behind it. I think as parents, we are largely responsible enough to let our kids on to the notion that it’s all theatrics. And once that’s established, it’s good old-fashion family entertainment.

#35- Signing Off

Today is Saturday, January 13th, 2018. I just did 7 full days without internet which has been #35 on my list since 2014.

There wasn’t really any rhyme or reason for why I went offline on January 6th at around 7 pm. It was impulsive, and at first a bit thrilling.  To be honest, I hadn’t sat down at a computer in weeks and more recently I found myself going a lot of places without my cell phone in tow.

I started to wonder where I was, internet-wise, in 2014 when I first made my list.  I concluded that I think I was online quite a bit in some ways… but mostly to Socialize. I used to live in the middle of nowhere, next to no one and with nothing in between. If I went outside my house (which I did a LOT of) I had zero internet. It was a half hour drive to the nearest wi-fi/cell/ping tower so looking back I had a bi-polar relationship with the online world. I’d go out and hike, beachwalk, explore, garden, visit neighbors and volunteer in the community for hours and hours and then when I got home I’d go online for hours and hours. Shopping, recipes, chatting with friends and family, blogging, you tubing and wikipedia.

Wikipedia is probably my biggest internet addiction. I don’t do Reddit, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, cafe mom, or anything like that. But I’m absolutely addicted to information.

The biggest challenge in the last 7 days was not anything more that refraining from Wikipedia-ing every question that popped in to mind.

I deleted all of my apps off my phone (and the ones I left on I just opted to not open as I didn’t want to hassle with redownloading anything and trying to remember passwords). but I did allow myself email, text, and my Sonos -surround sound music & speakers for our home.

I took notes on everything I wanted to look up and binge on. If I needed a phone number I found a hack through the Maps app that listed address & phone if I typed in the business.  At times I felt myself picking up my phone, almost like a smoker needing a cigarette in her hand, but during those times I resorted to looking through photos I had taken and editing/deleting them.  I did slip up and clicked on a link at one point that came to me via email, not realizing it was taking me online.

I’m attaching photos of…. what my home screen looked like, my internet history, and some snapshots of how we spent the week. Juicing, Breweries, Zoo life, painting.

 

But otherwise, this was incredibly easy. So much so that I think I’ll sign off again for a bit. Peace out!

#36 Bud.Weis.Er

Growing up in Fairfield, and also Dixon, it sometimes felt like half my friends had parents working for Anheuser Busch. Either there or the Military Base. I was always told the tours were a really cool experience but once I left the area I never found myself returning long enough to sign myself up.

A few years in to our marriage Blake & I started brewing our own beer. A laughable, small-scale (yet enjoyable) production but all the same, every time we brewed a batch and bottled it, I thought of the Budweiser factory and wondered what their insides looked like in comparison to our kitchen & garage.

I really thought 2014 would be the year, hence putting it on my list (#36- take a Budweiser Tour) but it was also the year I found out I was pregnant with Levi and I spent most of that year throwing up…. not to mention drinking -and appreciating- alcohol was far from my radar as a pregnant woman.

Enter 2016. Breweries had picked up interest in our economy around Sacramento, and in return, Blake & I had picked up our interest in Brewing again. We did several tours, several tastings, and while neither of us are huge Budweiser fans… the fact that it was an outstanding task on my bucket list nagged at me.

Anyway, we finally got around to it July of 2017 and it was in fact, a great experience. The tour guide was just that- a full time Anheuser Busch historian with a degree in Brewing (so I would think) and we learned so much about beer & beer production. We sampled beers that were brewed yet not legally sold in the U.S. (but shipped to other countries). We got our souvenirs. We made it a full day- date, and we would highly recommend it to anyone else.

Next!

#2- Ghost Town, Ghost Lake

Bodie & Mono Lake have been on my radar for pretty much ever. A few times in my early years of map questing things, I’d make a half hearted attempt to map out a road trip to see it. The route would tell me it was several hours through foreign and winding terrain, of which I never had a friend who was up for the adventure and I’d put it in the back of my mind of things to do… alongside the task of finding more adventurous friends.

Then Blake began his career with the state and on his list of potential places to work… Bodie showed up again. And then one of his good friends went to work there, and we were tantalized with the idea of staying on the premise and getting personalized tours, so this definitely peaked my interest. So much so that, it made #2 on my bucket list for 2014 (visit Bodie & Mono Lake).

Enter 2017. Blake & I were eager to keep our 3 wild ones entertained and at the same time feed our urge to explore. Seeing as we had so much great luck driving to Minnesota and then Texas…. Bodie & Mono Lake seems like pie.  Side note: Mono Lake was a sort of after thought, one I didn’t consider until exploring things to do for my list and saw all this amazing landscape photography of these other-worldly stalagmites rising up out of glass-like calm waters. Wow! Another planet, right here in California!…..Back to that in a minute.

So, off to Bodie we went.  The drive is beautiful, and doesn’t seem like it’s in California.  The towns are quaint, the weather was nice. We stayed at a really fun gold-rush-era themed Motel that was right near by and along a rushing river.  Everyone had their own cabins, though for a different rate you can sleep in a Covered Wagon and use an outhouse. Charming!

Bodie itself is a mind trip.  A winding gravel road off the highway for several miles before peaking & coming down the hill to see a full Ghost Town in every sense of the word. The silence is strange, especially with how many people are touring as well. No echos, as if the weight of the air is suffocating it all.

It’s stunning.

After touring Bodie (definitely an hour or more needed if you don’t do the group tour) we drove on up the highway to Mono Lake. Mono Lake, in our opinion, was a bust. First, the surrounding land looked dried out, pasty and barren. This was not a lake to picnic at- which we knew- nor is it a lake you even walk the dog around. It’s like God spilled water on concrete and then never bothered to clean it up. The Monstrous and colorful Stalagmites that jut from the water according to Photo-Magicians are actually no taller than the average person and are even more pasty and drab. I suppose on a good day with a glowing cloudy sunset one can have a different perspective, but we sure weren’t going to wait around for that. The lake itself has a pH level that is toxic so no one is fishing.

Essentially, this place is by no means an attraction, a destination, or a resource.  But the restaurant we ate at was amazing and all the nearby hotels looked cute & clean.  It’s a layover town for people looking to get to Yosemite, we learned.

Overall, seeing the Eastern side of the Sierras, and a whole new side of California was absolutely worth the drive. Bodie & Mono lake together are a great overnight destination get away and while I’m not in a hurry to go back… I would like to travel that road again.

#47- Sweet taste of revenge

I’ve had a bit of a dark secret that I’ve never confessed for the past 10 years. My pride, my ego, was hurt. I was confused, not sure how to process what had happened but here it is: My very first Marathon was in 2005, and it was the Big Sur Marathon.

I didn’t finish.

I’ve spent ten years contemplating what happened, and the truth is I had no idea what I was doing, how to train or how Marathons worked. I was 24, feeling cocky and independent and quietly ran around my college town thinking I could take on any running challenge.  There wasn’t really internet blogging and instagraming to show me what I was up against. About 10 miles in, my body surprised me and quit. I hobbled along for a few miles after that, trying to nurse a few cramps in my legs but the uphill battle proved too much. I got scooped up by the Pooper Scooper and later drove my sorry ass home.

I didn’t give up my running career, but I didn’t tell anyone what happened. I ran a few more marathons, easy ones, but none of them settled my score with Hurricane Point, and I pretty much knew I was going to need a do-over. Even in 2012 when I made my original list, I contemplated putting Big Sur on there, and again when I made my 2014 list… it nagged until I typed it out: #47- Run the Big Sur Marathon again.

I’ve blogged about Marathons before ( here ) so I figured, this time I’d highlight some thoughts that went through my head during the entire process, start to finish:

3:00 am- No one is forcing me to get up. This is a nice hotel. I haven’t even gotten to enjoy it. I could just stay on this pillow and no one would no any different.

4:00 am- This bus ride is intentionally slow. Seriously. 1 hour to get 26 miles up hill? She’s driving slow on purpose. She’s making us feel every little hill, every little turn. This Bitch. Who the hell doe she think she is? She’s just jealous. And pissed off to work overtime.

4:15 am- Who’s this asshole running on the side of the road? What’s that? An “Ultra Runner”??? He’s running 26 miles TO THE START just to run the 26 miles TO THE FINISH?? Asshole. What an asshole.

5:00 am- This is the perfect spot for a terrorist attack. Look at us.  Sitting ducks. Where are the bomb sniffing dogs?? This is so stupid. Every. Single. One. Of. You. is stupid. Get your unattended bag away from me.

6:00 am- You all are stupid assholes. Why am I here? I wonder if I name drop, could one of these Park Rangers drop me off and I’ll start running halfway in?

6:45 am- I’m doing it! Let’s get this show started!!! I’m gonna dance all the way down the hill! Where’s the camera? I’m awesome.

Mile 3- What’s that noise? What’s that banging? Is that a pace-runner? Why are they banging on shit? Note to runners: If your shoe is going to squeak or your pockets are going to jingle, just quit now before someone kills you.

Mile 5- Men. What assholes. Look at them. They allllllll get to pee in the bushes, and I have to gamble my odds on a port-a-potty. Effff these guys. What was the pee-standing-up-cup called? Something something something Urination? I should have bought one of those. I need to pee.

Mile 8- So I’ve seen a man running barefoot, a man juggling balls,  a man running in a robe, a man with a HUGE sweat stain on his ass crack, and look here. The banging I kept hearing is a man who thinks dribbling a basketball for the entire marathon is a good idea. What an asshole.

Mile 9- If you’re going to pee on yourself, move to the side of the road and stay there. Asshole.

Mile 9.8- I got this. I’m awesome. This hill is NOTHING.

Mile 11- WTF. WTF. WTF. This is a legitimate hurricane. There goes my hat. Fuck it. I’m at the top! I’m awesome. This is amazing. This is insane. These winds MUST be 100 mph. I can’t even run straight. I might be blind.

Mile 13.1- Well, Kind of a slow time, but I’m feeling awesome! Let’s get this done!

Mile 16- Ehhhhhhh, still feeling good. Leg is knotting up. Why does this happen to me? Paramedics are watching me again. I’m ok. Gonna walk this out. Walk it out… walk it out… no big deal…. I only aim to finish…. ahhhhh crap.

Mile 20- Home stretch. I can do this. Even if I walk again I’ll finish. I can do this. We are all BFF’s here.

Mile 23- Where the FUCK is mile 24????

Mile 26- Sweet baby jesus, I hear the finish but I can’t see it.

Mile 26.2- Where are all my blood brothers at? I just got initiated. Why is this bitch smoking a cigarette after finishing a marathon? What an asshole.

 

 

 

 

 

 

#88- Seven Minutes of Silence

I listen a lot to Kids Place Live on SiriusXM.  If you haven’t figured out by now, I am neurotic when it comes to the crap my kids are exposed to so when in the car, we typically stick to Kids Place Live as it’s clean, appropriate and actually pretty hilarious to listen to. One of the more hysterical shows on KPL is Story Pirates story telling. I seriously think I love listening more than my kids do, because there is a lot of very subtle adult humor that children might not quickly pick up on.

Anyway, one thing I hear a lot on KPL is live tapings of musicians and performances and storytelling and it reminded me of when I was young and my mom would take us to Solano Community College for child-friendly entertainment. I loved going to the shows! Between listening to KPL and reminiscing about my own youth, I realized I needed to recreate similar happy moments for my kids. So, #88- Attend a live children’s show…

Story Pirates, Mondavi Center. YES! It worked out that my friend Erin came and brought her little guy and her mom. I swear I was literally on the floor laughing at times.  I was completely amazed by the Performers ability to do improv from the minds of very young kids- so much of what came out of the audiences’ mouth made no sense, but the Story Pirates went with what ever was shouted out and turned it into a theatrical MASTERPIECE. They used very little props, but it clearly looks like they raided a few thrift shops for the ensembles they did throw together. Besides that and their homemade sign advertisement, there isn’t much more to them.  The crowd was small (“intimate” as the professionals call it) but that meant more participation.

I’m hooked. Every time they are in town, I am dragging my kids to the show, and Erin agrees!  Who’s coming with us??