30 December 2010

Be the Change: Three Cups of Tea

About a year ago, a friend of mine threw down a challenge: start a non-profit by the time he was 35. He had some funding, but wanted me to come up with an idea and run with it.

This idea is somewhat paralyzing for me...there is so much I'd like to do, but I am not exactly sure in what way. Volunteering, paying it forward, etc. has always been a big part of my life; I started volunteering at about 16 and haven't really stopped, from joining the community service fraternity in college to being on the executive board of directors for a prominent local non-profit. While I have worked hard throughout my life, I know I was lucky to be born into the situation I was, and had excellent role models in my parents, who do a lot of good without ever asking for recognition or thanks -- it is very important for me to help give back and participate in making the world a better place.

To help inspire me more, my friend recommended that I read Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson. And I am so grateful he did, because this book is not only inspirational, it is has changed my perspective on life (which may sound melodramatic, but thems the truths).

Greg is one person who was able to help many. Through a truly grass roots effort, he worked tirelessly to fix a problem he saw. He lived in his car, using his money instead to rent time at the local copy shop to write letters, and buy postage to send them. When he finally hit pay dirt, he was able to use fairly minimal funds to build something that will make a huge difference to current and future generations.

One person. Being the change he wanted to see.

It makes me think, if every one of us did just one thing, once a week/month/year, to be that change... what could we accomplish. If we concentrated our efforts, what greatness we could achieve. To me, Three Cups of Tea is something we can all do, and is my rebuttal when people say to me, "well, that's nice that you do that, but I don't have time and don't really think my effort will make any difference to anyone*."

As I move into 2011, this has been weighing heavily on my mind. When something significant happens in your life, you tend to reevaluate things...am I on the right path? Am I doing what I enjoy and makes me feel like I am doing something relevant?

I am starting to wrap up my last year on the board of directors, and looking for my next focus. In my current role, I have helped make a difference in the lives of at least 6,000 high school girls, at least that's my hope, and I have loved (almost) every minute of it. I want to be able to continue this, maybe with a different demographic.

If this past year has taught me anything, it is that we don't know what is around the corner, so it is important to just DO, and not think too much. Hearing about so much of what my parents have done, things I didn't know about prior to my dad passing, is really inspirational to me...I always wondered where my brother & I got this bug, and now I know.

So there is my challenge, my resolution, my hope for 2011: to continue to make a difference, and continue to strive to be the change I'd like to see in this world. There is so much opportunity, and just one person can make a ginormous difference.

*caveat: I don't hear this from many, or any, of my friends. I have an AMAZING group of friends, many of whom are involved in their own associations, and all of whom make an effort to get to each others' fundraising events, volunteer days, etc. This is something for which I feel truly blessed.

12 December 2010

Brava! Brava!: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

So often, movies make a mockery of a good book. They try to cram too much into two hours, attempting to hit every plot point that the book presented, failing to make the movie very deep or interesting.

Last night I finally got around to watching The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I loved this book, so was pretty excited to watch the movie. Seeing as it's in Swedish, I had to be in the right frame of mind to sit and watch and read the subtitles. The book was a quick moving, plot-tastic piece of literature. It was really fun to read, but there was a lot packed into those 300 or so pages!

I must say...the movie hit all the right points. It didn't get everything in the book, but it didn't need to. As the movie unfolded, I was excited to see what they chose to follow, and what they chose to ignore. They chose to ignore some storylines that were pretty big in the book, but not pivotal to the main plot. I think there were a few things that made a little more sense since I read the book, but you definitely didn't need the background to get it.

I am not going to give away any big points, that wouldn't do the movie any justice or be fair, but it was pretty awesome. The look of the main character was pretty close to what was presented in the book...something that would be awfully hard to do, and something I think the American movie casting already got wrong (I just can't imagine the woman cast looking at all boyish, but I guess we'll see).

I am super interested in seeing the American movie now, because I wonder if it will choose to stay faithful to the book or the Swedish movie. If it's the book...we may be in trouble, as American movies tend to try to cram everything in (especially any sex), and that really isn't so much the point of this movie.

25 November 2010

Gobble Gobble

There is so much to give thanks for this year. A very happy Thanksgiving to all of you.

May it be full of fun, food, and a serious lack of slaps :-).

23 November 2010

Love This: A Bird's Song

I just heard this song for the first time, and wow, found it so awesome. A little sentimental, sure, but quite lovely.

Ignore the graphic...it's the best thing I could find on the youtubes!

15 November 2010

Kick Some @ss

Your body was made for so much more than being looked at, deprived of food, and enjoyed by others. Your body was made for kicking some ass. - Jezebel Article, 15 Nov 2010

I'll admit it...I haven't been feeling so great about my body lately. Thanks to the events of the last few months, I'm carrying some extra weight -- the grief baby, as I am calling it -- and generally am not motivated to do much, though I'm trying.

So this article was very timely for me. I need to remember to celebrate my body. My ticker is still ticking. My legs are still carrying me. My brain is still functioning (well, mostly!). I had similar feelings after my grandma passed away...I found myself complaining about my body, and then remembered...it's still functioning. Regardless of what I do to it, I wake up every morning, am able to get out of bed and go on with my day, however I please.

So I say thank you...thank you dear body for giving me these strong legs to help me keep walking through the last few months, arms to reach out when I need help, and a heart that will keep on beating, even while it mends itself.

27 October 2010

Scary Things

So far, I have liked pretty much everything about Boston. Sure, sports games are on late, and I couldn't imagine driving here, but overall, it's pretty damn fantastic.

Except for:

1. Revolving Doors. I get that they are eco-green or whatever. The fact is, they scare the bejeebus out of me. I mean, completely. Did I get stuck in one as a child? Knowing my brother, this is a real possibility. But...why do they have to put big signs on the non-revolvers, so it looks like if you open them the emergency bells will sound, when, in fact, they will not.

2. Auto-toilets. These drive me irrationally crazy. They never seem to work well. I still have to touch the flush button have the time. And, unless they have auto-everything else (sink, soap dispenser, paper towel dispenser....), there is nothing more sanitary about it.

But the revolving doors...it's almost embarrassing.

26 October 2010

Boston in Fall

After 6+ months of not being more than 2 hours away from my home, the time finally came for me to hop on a plane and go far away.

I will admit to being a little stressed about this trip. Yes, I am stressed about everything these days, and one little thing can set me down a crazy path, but in this case it was somewhat justified. I am going straight from a work trip to a fun trip, and trying to cram it all (10 days) into a carry on suitcase. Gulp.

I arrived here in the lovely city of Boston last Friday. Flew on a red eye...I am not quite sure why I always think those are a good idea. I try to remind myself I am not 24 anymore and can't function that well on no sleep, but I am a glutton for punishment, I guess.

I arrived to a crisp fall day, complete with leaves turning orange and falling around me. Off to a meeting in a nearby town, then back to the City and a quick crash. Oops....night one, gone!

And, let me just say...bravo Westin. The Heavenly Bed is indeed that, and this may be the quietest room in which I've ever stayed. The bathroom here is a little small (though it has the same granite as my home), but I can overlook that due to the humongous bed and lovely view. (and flat screen, HDTV!)

So...morning #1 got off to a slow start thanks to this comfy bed. I finally rolled out and took a run down the Charles. I guess this weekend is Head of the Charles, a huge race...while they didn't come all the way down to where I was running, I could see the many crew boats out there ready to race. It also explained the fifty bazillion people all over the place! The run was not one of my best. I am not used to the cold, for sure!

After that I walked around Back Bay for quite some time. What a cool place. Apart from the extreme crowds, and their extreme inability to walk any faster than very slow or walk less than 3 people across, this area is awesome. I am not a huge shopper, but spent the day perusing all the different shops I could find on this one street. There weren't a lot of chains, and there were a bunch of stores we don't have in SF. What a nice change of pace! There is also this very cool mall, across the street from my hotel, full of shops we don't have at home. And some we do, which was also good, as I had forgotten a few things (like anything to wear during the day while in Boston or NOLA). After a full day of walking, it was time for a beer and some ball.

I can't believe how late national sports start here on the East Coast. Last night's game didn't start until 8pm (which means, at a minimum, it wouldn't be over until 10pm, but in actuality didn't end until midnight). On a weekend this isn't the biggest deal, but imagine on a weeknight. Eek. Today's football didn't even air until 1pm. 1pm!!! Where is the laziness in that?! I'll take my rolling out of bed, doing a quick walk with the poochie, and rolling back onto the couch to watch ball all day.

Anyway, today was another lovely fall day in Boston...complete with a little rain. I walked up to Public Garden and Boston Commons. All this walking reminds me of what I love most about traveling -- just wandering and getting lost in where I am. It could not have come at a more perfect time in my life, when getting lost is the only thing that makes some sense.

If it weren't for the cold (Luca would hate the little booties he'd need to wear), I think I could get used to this place.

24 October 2010

Ok, Baseball Season, Enough Now

When did the baseball season go so late into the year? If this Series goes all 7 games, that means it won't end until November.

November? Growing up, it was always done by or on my cousin's birthday, in late October...

Now, as you know, I love baseball. Love. Adore. Unicorns and rainbows and all that jazz.

But this year, this year it just reminds me what's gone. I am hoping I can get back to a good
place with it, but, right now it just reminds me that the one person I talked to about baseball constantly is no longer accessible to me. That I can't just pick up the phone and talk to him about how not happy I am about the Giants making the World Series, and I can't hear him telling me I need to get over it and be happy a team from the Bay Area is on the team. The past few weeks I have gone to the phone several times to make that call, only to realize I can't.

So while all my friends are celebrating, and, I'm happy for them, these last few weeks have just made me incredibly sad. I can't wait for it all to be over.

17 October 2010

Following the Rules

One of the great things about living in San Francisco is the abundance of activities available to us for celebrations or just general fun.

Last night, I got to take advantage of one of those activities -- a boozy trolley car ride. This one was for my friend J's bday, and was themed "Hot Trolley Time Machine," with all of us ordered to dress as they did in the era of our choice. I am not huge on costumes, but here in SF, if you are going to do it, you have to do it as right as possible. I went as a 50s girl, with big flippy hair and saddle shoes. It was awesome that everyone was really into it, with costumes ranging from a gladiator to Snooki.

But what really cracked me up were the rules we were told before we got on the trolley, which included, but not limited to:
- Do not hand anyone off the trolley any drinks from the trolley
- Do not bring any booze from the bar onto the trolley
- Do not hang from/try any acrobatics on the hand straps
and, the best one...
- No peeing from the trolley

There were a bunch more, but these were particularly funny, because it meant that they have all happened enough times that they had to make it a formal rule that you CANNOT do these things. None of them surprise me, and I could see a few people I know doing one, if not all of these things...but, really? Like it wouldn't be common sense not to do them? It's illegal to carry a drink out of the bar...it's illegal to pee in public. It just made me laugh, for a good long while, that they had to make these formal rules and relate them to a bunch of 30+ year old adults!

(That's a pic of me while on the crawl. I had one simple goal: to make the Devo hat this one guy was wearing mine. Goal achieved...annie FTW)

12 October 2010


Postseason baseball...there is hardly a better time in sports.

No, my team didn't make it this year, but they gave a valiant effort towards the end (and early in the year), and hopefully they'll pull their heads out and content next year.

This weekend brings the team in the town I live -- the Giants -- vs. the team that I grew up loving -- the Phillies.

Yes, the Phillies.

This may seem strange...why would a girl out on the west coast love the Phillies? Why ever would she root for them (and I will be rooting FOR them, not just against the Giants. Sorry friends!)?

I don't think many people would believe this about the Phillies, but it is true. Growing up, my cousin LOVED Mike Schmidt. Because he was the oldest of our little crew, we often had to like what he liked, and, as such, all loved Schmit and his fabulous mustache, too. We wished the A's would play the Phillies just to see him -- remember, in those days there was none of this interleague play, only the World Series and maybe an exhibition pre-season game, and Candlestick was far and not easy to get to, so we couldn't go cheer him on versus the Giants.

At any rate, we always loved the Phillies. And, as such, that love extended to the city of Philidelphia, which...none of us had ever visited, and I would frankly have been surprised if we even really knew where it is located (age check: we were all probably under 10; doubtful that geography was a strength of ours). But, this didn't deter us one bit. No, instead...we had dreams, all based on the following: Mike Schmidt, the Phillies, Philadelphia, and baseball cards.

In short...our dream was to live in a trailer, which would be located by the baseball stadium, and make Mike Schmidt baseball cards. As we had families, we would just add on trailers, all which would connect to the main baseball card-making hub. See, we planned ahead!

The best part? At no time did our parents discourage us. They were seemingly on board with us living this dream, as long as they could have a nearby trailer as well. No problem!

So, you see, my childhood dreams all tie to the Phillies. Yes, we were all A's fans first and most, but, you just couldn't say no to the Schmidt 'stache.

So...go Phillies!

25 September 2010

Pretty Boy

Some people think this is mean...but Luca likes to make me laugh, and this sure did.

I thought he would like to try on part of one of my Halloween costumes (yes, one of two costumes...in New Orleans we go big or go home)...a lovely pink tutu. I think, in fact, the first tutu I have ever owned.

He wasn't too happy, but kind of walked around in it while he was trying to shake it off. HILARIOUS. (well, to me at least) Don't worry, he got treats.


22 September 2010

Time Passes

It's been a month since my world was completely turned upside down. I'd like to think things are getting better -- I know someday they will -- but right now, that's just not happening...and with birthdays, holidays, and family events coming up...well, I imagine it's all just going to suck.

But I will say I've learned a lot over these last four weeks, not that I ever really wanted to...in talking with my friend who also had a terrible loss earlier this summer, I am finding that how I am feeling is not all that different from other people going through something similar.

Friends - I have the best friends. I really do.

Reaching out - The one thing that has really helped in coping with all this has been people reaching out to me. This was probably the biggest shock to me...I am pretty used to being quiet and alone. Whether it's a call, email, text, whatever...just hearing from people, without me reaching out to them, makes things feel a little better. And with that...there are people I wish I could reach out to, that I'd really like to talk to. But, really, I'm having a hard time with that. So hopefully I'll hear from them soon, but I can't express how much gratitude I have for all the support I've been given. Amazing, really.

Ask Me - This one surprised me, too. I need to talk. I need to tell people what a great and funny guy my dad was, and what happened to him. Some people are hesitant to ask how he passed away, I know I was in the past, too, but I've found that it helps immensely to let people know.

Tell Me - I want to hear stories about my dad. Many of my friends hadn't had the chance to meet my him, which makes me sad, they really would have liked him, but a few have said really nice things based on their experiences at his services. I am surprised, pleasantly, with how much these things help.

I have been really humbled, really, by all the support I've received over this past month, some from very surprising places. I am ever so grateful for all of it. I've learned so much, unfortunately the hard way, but it is one positive to come out of the experience. People have such a capacity to amaze...

(these beautiful flowers arrived at my work the other day, sent by my most awesome former teammates on the Boozehounds. It was such a sweet surprise, and...well...no words...)

19 September 2010

Boo: Tasting Fees

I am heading to Napa soon, and we wanted to do a little tasting before an event. In researching wineries, I have been appalled at the tasting fees. I can see perhaps justifying 5$ here and there, but many of the places have fees upwards of 20$! This is so ridiculous to me...

I consider myself very lucky to have grown up in the area I did, where I was close to beauty that others may never see in their lifetime -- the Bay, Yosemite, the Redwoods, vineyards... Each time I see these things, I am ever so grateful.

I love the wine country, and grew up visiting the area and various wineries...usually in the Russian River area, where I believe I first got served at around 15 by a particular place, but, still, throughout the Napa and Sonoma counties. Tasting has always been fun, and, when I was growing up, free.

Some waive the fee when you buy a bottle...but, still, the commercialization of the area is just out of control. I also understand the need for a winery to make money...really, I get it. But in the Napa area, you couple these ridiculous fees with complete snootiness of those pouring (and chintzy pours!), and where is the fun in that?

I have a bunch of wine that I have purchased simply because the tasting experience, and the memories that come with it, were so good. Maybe if they threw in a little food, the fees could be justified. But as it stands...I will take my business elsewhere, kind sir.

15 September 2010



This time of year -- the end of the baseball season -- was probably when I talked the most to my dad. I would usually get a random call in the middle of the day to talk about something that happened in a day game, or to chat about the night before, or to see if I saw that one catch that one guy made and didn't it remind me of the time that something happened in one of my brother's baseball games where I was keeping score (which I never did, but my dad remembered everything...steel trap of a mind).

Generally, we'd talk about the A's. And sometimes about the Giants...and when we did I had to remind him that I don't cheer for the Giants, and he would remind me that they are our closest national league team, and I should want them to do well. We would go back and forth on this a few times until one of us, usually me, realized neither of us was going to win.

So he would have loved the current pennant race going on right now. The Giants were on fire, and though they've slowed a bit, they still have a real chance of winning their division. The A's are playing great, too, and I know we would have discussed how they had an outside chance, but the A's stink and probably would choke. Then we'd argue again about how I hope the Giants choked, he wouldn't understand, and we'd then have to agree about how much we don't like the Red Sox.

It's hard to go through these few weeks without him to talk to...he is a big reason for my love of baseball.

So as we enter these next two weeks, the final two of the baseball season, I guess I'll do him the honor of NOT routing against the Giants. I am heading to the Giants/Dodgers game on Thursday, and...well, maybe I'll even give a clap or two when the Giants win, just for my dad.

11 September 2010

Get your Dance On

My friend Dan introduced me to this song during our River road trip a few weeks ago...

It cracks me up...I'm doing my finest doo-wop boogie.

And no, he wasn't trying to tell me something. He just thought it was funny, as do I.

**caution...strong language. Will make you want to shake your groove thang**

08 September 2010

Must Read: Zeitoun

Like many Americans (I'm assuming here), I haven't read too many first-hand accounts of Hurricane Katrina. I remember watching it on TV, seeing this city that I loved turn into an absolute state of chaos. Seeing the conference center I'd spent more than a week in turn into a den of human suffering. And beyond that, I knew that it had been mishandled by the government on all levels -- city, state, national -- and also by the people that had refused to leave.

This new book by Dave Eggers (one of my favorite authors) shed a whole new light on it for me. The back cover describes the tragedy as both natural and having something to do with terrorism. This confused me a bit...terrorism and Katrina? I hadn't heard that one before and was wondering how he'd weave it in.

Zeitoun is an American, born in the middle east. He and his family had a booming business in New Orleans, and he is as hard a worker as you've ever seen (in a way, his description reminded me of my dad, who I think would also have been bull-headed and not left his business in the path of an oncoming storm). His family leaves NOLA, while he stays behind.

While not wanting to spoil it, Zeitoun's story really shed light on the human element of Katrina, and the scary idea of martial law. Zeitoun and his friends were able to help many people that government officials would not, and then were suddenly suspected as terrorists due to the color of their skin, despite having official documentation. This was part of Katrina I didn't know...that it had gotten so out of control that even those who helped were treated like prisoners at Gitmo.

The writing is a little uneven, but it's a quick, important read. Katrina is one of the biggest national failures of recent history, one that I sincerely hope will not be repeated.

06 September 2010

Summertime Rolls...

Thankfully...summertime has rolled right to a close.

The end of summer always brought mixed feelings for me. Often, I was ready to go back to school or do something. But Labor Day also meant take down weekend at the River, and saying goodbye to all our summer family.

This year it was particularly hard to say goodbye...for obvious reasons. We had so many people rallying around us from this special group -- from the services to taking down our camp to the party that got held in the campgrounds (which my dad would have HATED....but we loved) to feeding my brother & I incessantly -- leaving them was particularly hard. I skipped out on goodbyes...I was upset on Saturday night and not feeling well, and couldn't handle a dance. Pulled an Irish goodbye and headed home.

I must say, however, this summer at the River and life in general has been bittersweet. Aside from the events of the last week or so, which turned things upside down, this summer has been a weird one. It's been a complete roller coaster, and not necessarily the fun kind... Occasionally it was, but...I dunno. I am glad to see this summer end.

This summer did, however, bring this song to my head quite a bit. From about early July on, it's been in my head quite a bit (not sure if that's when I first heard it, or circumstances brought it to mind...regardless...{love}).

(and...if I knew the video featured so much of Dave, who is getting hotter and hotter the older he gets, I would have shared earlier!)

02 September 2010

I Choose Me

Happy 9.02.10!

(ok, yes, I am cheating and posting this a few days late)

Seriously, the happiest day I've had in a while. Why? Well, first, my friend and fellow Bev9er uberfan reposted this lovely picture (which, if I ever get my own campsite at the River, I will totally be importing this and spending my summers in it). It was the one thing that made me grin from ear-to-ear last week.

Then, this same friend and I mused about all the great things we learned from this most fabulous show....Lessons include:
- If he loves you, he'll wait for 6+ years, and even though he may cheat, he won't pressure you to have sex

- Even if you are 32, no one will ever question why you are hanging out with high school students.

- It's ok to call someone else a slut for sleeping with a bunch of guys, even if I have slept with all the same people.

- U4EA may make you do the nasty with someone, even if you've already said no

- Bringing an egg into a liquor store may get you directions to a rave

- Getting caught in a fire may be a gateway to experimenting in lesbianism.

- Do not trust people who just want to take the special electric car for a joy ride

And, my friend's life lesson: even the most sanctimonious stuck up bitches can get addicted to drugs.

And you should never, but never, make Ray Pruit mad.

In honor of this fantastic day, I wanted to present to you one of the best all-time moments...featuring DownwardSpiralDylan & once virgin now easy girl Donna Martin. But I couldn't find it. So instead, I will leave you with this great song by David "I may be white, but I'm not vanilla" Silver:

31 August 2010


A week has passed and I can't say it feels any better. If anything...now is the time when the thoughts really get to you because everyone is gone and life is supposed to get back to a new normal.

It's been particularly hard leaning on other people. I am not used to doing that...most of the time I am trying to take care of other people and helping them. I tend to internalize things more (because of this, I was recently called a cold City girl; hearing that from the person who said it pretty much broke my heart) and this is one thing I am not quite sure how to handle.

My friends have been awesome and told me I get til my birthday to be as messy as I need to be. Hopefully I can pull it together before then.

My dad's service was pretty awesome. There had to have been at least 500 people there...from what we heard, there were people standing on the steps outside of the church because there was no room in the entryway. At the end, my brother had the idea to have everyone sing "That's Amore," one of my dad's favorite songs. Everyone did sing, and...well, it was the coolest. I took a video, which may be less than classy at a funeral service but it was too awesome not to.

26 August 2010

This is the Sh*ts

It almost seems foolish to mourn men who died. Rather, we should thank God that such men lived."

RIP, Daddy.

This just sucks.

23 August 2010

Yes, please!!

The sun is finally out, and the heat turned up! Whoo-hoo...

Hopefully this means the start of our late summer (even though it is only supposed to be hot until Wednesday)...and with Labor Day coming soon, hopefully it means the end of what was a pretty crappy traditional summer for me.

Enjoy...the view from the treadmill at my gym!

18 August 2010

Day Trippin'

Supposedly, it is summertime. Apparently, those of us in SF and the immediate Bay Area have done something to offend Mother Nature, because not only has she not deemed it appropriate to wake up the sun much, she also hasn't turned the heat up past 60F...FOR OVER SIX WEEKS.

Now, you might say...Mark Twain once claimed, "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." You'd be right in that it is usually cool here in the summer (but not that Mark Twain said it...someone else did). And, every year we all kind of complain, but by August our whines are silenced and the weather turns up and we can wear skirts and dresses once in a while and not have to wear boots and tights with them. This year, however, has been more than riduculous.

What? Me? Upset? No...I really LOVE being doused in fog while walking my dog in the morning and wearing my winter jacket to work every day. In August.

So, it seems appropriate that on the weekends, we try to escape. I think we would do that normally, but it feels even more desperate now. With no sun and only cold, it is too easy to spend every night curled up in front of the heater (no kidding...many of my friends have been pumping theirs on full blast lately. In AUGUST.).

My fingers are crossed that the next few weekends will be warm up north at the River. In an effort to break out of the city and into nature (ahhh...nature...love), my friend and I are taking a little drive on Saturday to hopefully drink a little wine and hit the beach for a few hours. Will the sun touch us with its beautiful rays? We can only hope.

Same goes for the next two weekends...the next one, a group of friends and I are heading up (sans parents, I think, for possibly the first time ever in my life, not for the best of reasons, unfortunately. And, yes, I am an "adult"...amazing) for a weekend of beach and floating to the bridge (and perhaps some flip cup here & there), and then the final weekend, Labor Day, when I wasn't really planning on going up but certain circumstances have made my presence more necessary.

Three weekends at the River. I don't know that I've done that since I was a teenager. Hopefully, the earth will tilt on its axis enough to grace us with some sun!

14 August 2010


A few weeks ago, I participated in JP Morgan Chase's corporate challenge. It was a 3.5 mile challenge that took us down the Embarcadero and around the ballpark.

I meant to write about it then, but...you know me, I forget!

It came back to mind because I was talking about it to one of my friends last night about it, and she was mad at me that I did so well. Hee. (sorry, Lis, couldn't resist).

And do well I did! I started out running with a few coworkers, but they were a little too fast for me. Turns out, I was a little too fast for a few others. So I ran solo, which can be tough sometimes when you're trying to push yourself. I knew I was going at a fast clip, but felt like I was in the back of the pack. As I turned the corner to finish up on the pier, I tried to sprint but I had really nothing left.

It's no wonder...I had finished the race with an 8.56/mile average. Under 9 minutes a mile.

In the immortal words of Joey Russo...WHOA!

11 August 2010

Fingers Crossed: Moving Forward

Score one for love!!

Last week, the California Supreme Court ruled that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional.

I've talked about this issue before, and was really happy with the decision. I could talk about it ad naseum, but, I feel that this clip is more compelling and eloquent than I could be...

09 August 2010

El Fin: Boozehound Legacy

For many years, almost everyone around me heard me talking about this Sports Club thing that sucked up a good majority of my free time (usually in a really good way). Most of my friends played at some point, I was on the board for years and then ran it...until I didn't. And it was a great run, those 5 or 6 years.

Our team, the Boozehounds, is still going strong and carrying on our legacy. But it was really, really fun while it lasted (and I went out as a champion, so...can't get much better than that! [I won't say champion of what because it's a lil' embarrassing]).

31 July 2010

That's so 90s: Swingers

"And it's like I'm supposed to be all happy 'cause she's wearing a backpack, you know?"

To me, one of the more iconic movies of the 90s, and of my college years, is Swingers. Out in 1996, it ushered in a new era of bowling shirts, swing music, and people being so money they don't even know it. And, of course, something that hasn't died, even 14 years later...Vegas, baby, Vegas!

The backpack line, well, that one got me because we all had our little backpacks in the mid-90s, and really got me thinking about this movie. Forget shoulder purses, it was all about the little pack. There was even a song, "Little Black Backpack," immortalizing the trend. But, yeah, when Swingers hit, the trend was relatively new and we were all starting to learn to love it.

It's funny watching this movie now. Mikey has to call into his answering MACHINE, using a calling card to save money...no automated voicemail (it existed, but was pricey), no cell phones (they also existed, but very few people had them outside of their car), definitely no PDAs. The Internet barely existed outside of AOL, so no one in this movie has a computer. If anything, this movie demonstrates how different it is to communicate in 2010...

Some things haven't changed so much...the 2 (or 3) day rule, which may have actually been popularized by this movie. The not getting over being dumped. The struggle for a 20-something to find their place, their success in the world. Everyone in LA being in cars (which begs a question for me...if they are driving all over the place, without carpooling...do they not drink that much? Is it common to not get too drunk in SoCal because someone has to drive?). Boys sitting around playing video games, getting into real world fights when one beats the other in the fake world (though...the graphics in the games have gotten MUCH better!).

It's funny watching this movie now, and thinking how much it changed things in my little college world. We had parties where the guys were all in the bowling shirts and we girls tried to learn to swing dance. The music changed. And the way we talked totally changed. It was definitely a fun time!

I'll just go back to being the little bunny in the corner, and let someone else be the big bad bear.

*BTW...warning...googling "Swingers" to find images for this movie brings up some very, very disturbing stuff.

29 July 2010

Right vs. Wrong

Recently, some website called WikiLeaks leaked some confidential information about the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East.

While I think it is important that we know what is going on there -- the truth of it, not what the media or government wants us to think -- I am really conflicted over leaks like this. I don't know if they are real or not, or if there is some editing going on to spin this even further, but it's more the idea...

I may not agree with the conflict, or the amount our government continues to spend there on a conflict without end...but I don't think our need for truth should compromise the safety of the men and women who have risked their lives to defend my right to disagree. And I can't help but think that this type of thing does indeed do that. If tactical information gets out there, the "enemies" in this conflict could be one step ahead, and be waiting for our troops, putting them even more in harm's way (as well as civilians). And that's not ok.

Like I said, I don't agree with this conflict. I don't see an end and I don't see there is any way we can achieve anything there other than further death and ruin. However, I support our troops and want them to come home safely. And things like this...well, they throw safety out of the window....

26 July 2010

Personal Record!

I never thought I would get excited about running.

I know I "talked" about this recently, but the whole running thing still baffles me. But as I get more used to it, I get more goal-oriented about it (goals? me? shocking.)...

This past weekend was Wharf to Wharf, the super fun 10K we ran in last year, and loved so much we decided to make it an annual tradition. Once again, a group of us -- this year, we ultimately had 11 -- rented a house, loaded up the cars and the dogs, and headed down to Santa Cruz for the weekend. This year our house was a little more central, just a few blocks from downtown, and a little sunnier...rooftop access too!

After a fun weekend of playing, eating, and a little drinking...Sunday rolled around and it was time to run the race. I had tweaked my knee the weekend before, and wasn't too sure how it would hold up over the 6+ miles. I wanted to come in at under 10 minutes/mile....was a little nervous about it!

The gun sounded and Alisa & I jumped in right away. This was probably a mistake...it was so crowded it was hard to move around much. Our first mile was rather slow, largely thanks to the walkers who decided to place themselves right in the middle of the flow (and, in the 6min/mile pace group).

And, as an aside...this is just poor race etiquette. If you're going to walk, fine, but go to the back of the race. Or to the sides. But don't just walk, from the start line, when it is not necessary. Don't stop in the middle of the street without any concern for the pile up you may cause. Be cognizant of the other runners around you, many of whom have trained and went to the faster pace group because we actually wanted to run!

Whew, ok...we rounded up the first hill with some great speed that lasted throughout the race. The bands entertained us, and seriously, they are the best part of the race. Every few hundred yards there's a new band, and there are locals around dancing to these bands and cheering us on. So fun. they definitely helped us move on up the hills...and at the last mile, we were pacing at about 8 minutes/mile.

No wonder I felt like vomiting!

I felt awesome throughout the race, and think we could have paced a little faster if we had started a little further back of the pack....but overall, we came in at a tiny bit under 10min/mile, a PR for both Alisa and I and a great time overall. I was pretty pumped...my knees held up, we kicked @ss, and at the end I got to meet up with the Q's (who I hadn't seen since Amsterdam!) and have a beer or two!

Cannot wait until next year...goal time: under 1 hour.

17 July 2010

Too Much Noise?

Social networking...the most popular phrase of late adopters everywhere. The thing that is dominating most marketers worlds (some for many years, some more recently). If you can ascertain one thing from this new world...it's that it creates a lot of noise.

Blogs, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Yelp, FourSquare...just to name a few of the way people connect. Some people have their Facebook status connected with their LinkedIn status connected with their Twitter status. This seems so weird to me, yet, I think it is the new normal?

To disclaim, I guess I am a rather early adopter. I have had a website/blog since about 1998 as a way to connect with my friends overseas. We used to have group IM sessions...me late at night, them early in the morning. In the early email/early new-media age, this was the way we stayed connected. I worked for an company where I had to have accounts on all these platforms and had to understand them. When I left, I only stayed on what I really liked (mainly, Facebook...W00T).

I recently had to start on the Twitter, just to learn more about it for my job. It's the new sweetheart, a way to marry the professional aspect of LinkedIn with the information pushing of Facebook, but you can still be rather anonymous. I held out as long as I could...

It was just too much noise.

Does anyone really care what I have to say that much? I doubt it, but it is an interesting experiment. I am seeing all these companies follow me, in hopes that I will in turn follow them and hopefully succumb to their wiley marketing ways. And while I am learning, really, it is tough to remember to follow something else, to update something else.

So how much is too much? Will something new and improved come along and replace Facebook? What is the next Twitter? Will the kiddos start using these things, and then us old folks have to follow?

I love new media, I really do. I love my iPhone. People may overshare, but there's also a weird connection that comes with knowing what's going on in people's lives. But, still, a huge part of me longs for the days where the most sophisticated thing was getting on three-way calling with your friend, and calling the person you like, just to check if they're home, and hang up when they answer...no *69 or caller ID.

14 July 2010

Got My New Shoes On

My REI obsession continues.This time, it is a shiny new pair of hiking boots. I don't think I have owned hiking boots since I was a day camp counselor, choosing usually to hike in my tennis shoes (or my old trail runners, but those got left in Costa Rica).

They are kind of boyish, but they are so far super comfy (I am trying them out, hiking around my house...maybe I'll climb on and off the table to test how they handle different movements and terrain).

Now I'm ready to hike. Who's with me?

(and yes, every time I get new shoes, I sing and dance:

nerdy...I don't care)

12 July 2010

Holy Crazy Town

I really need to know where they find these crazy biotches of The Real Housewives. I think they are supposed to be 30/40 year old women, but they act like the mean girls in high school, screaming and ish and nothing!

Highlights include,
- "Hello police? There has been an alteration..."
- "I was attacked, my hair was pulled out of my head..."
- and the best...getting all bent because someone accused the other's home of being in foreclosure.

This was all in the space of a few minutes, and it makes me wonder if these women will ever look back and cringe at their own antics? Do they have that much sense?

I know...this is lame, but it's summer and not much is on later night TV.

07 July 2010

Lack of Appeal

There are things that I just don't get...Crocs, mesh tops, ironic mustaches...and the appeal of Kristen Stewart.

First, a disclaimer...I have never seen any of the Twilight movies beyond the trailers they show incessantly on TV. I have no desire to see these movies. I don't know that I ever will. So...know that. Right now, as I write this, I am watching Adventureland, a movie that I really like, and where she plays the love interest.

But I have seen La Stewart in several other movies over the years, and, well, they can change her hair, they can change the name of her character...but they can't change the fact that she plays every part the same way: with the expression she is wearing in the picture above, and a disaffected attitude. Pretty much how she is on every red carpet, as well.

"I'm weird and awkward and going to pull my shoulders to my ears even though you all love me and I am a huge star."

Get over it, really. I have yet to see her show any range, or show any reason why all these guys in the movies would be in love with her. She barely smiles, which is too bad, because when she does, she's quite lovely.

There's really no point to this post, other than she bugs me in this movie and in the Twilight crap I can't seem to escape. I'm pulling for her to surprise us...but won't be shocked when that doesn't happen.

05 July 2010

I Need it Now

This is hilarious...I could totally imagine this conversation happening!

I want the bigger Gee Bees.

01 July 2010

And I was Running

If you had asked me -- as a kid, teen, young adult -- how I felt about running, I likely would have scrunched my face and responded with an, "ugh. I can't stand running."

As any of my coaches...I was the last one to finish a run, the first one to find an excuse to sit out, and often the one who would get behind and decision to skip it that day at practice.

I started running begrudgingly about 7 years ago. I lived next to the park, and it was easy to throw on my shoes and go for an early or post-work jog. I found myself complaining quite a bit (to myself), my knees hurting, my hips, really, whatever I could find that may hurt would start to hurt. Then my grandma got sick and couldn't walk, and I thought...my body is healthy and still moving despite my whining. I need to be better than this. And, so, I decided to run a half marathon.

Still didn't love it, but did it anyway. And I did a few more, for no real reason, and I kept jogging, though it wasn't my favorite thing.

So imagine my surprise when, the other day, I realized...I am a runner. I run a few times a week. I enter races FOR FUN. I log my miles, keep track and try to correct what may be hurting, and set (slight) goals.

But more than that, I feel gross if I don't run. I now actually NEED to run.

This is so weird to me, and as silly as this sounds, I still have a hard time getting my mind around it. Me, a runner? Running to something other than a beer or my couch? This really, truly, baffles me.

27 June 2010

Over the last two weeks...most San Franciscan's I know have come down with World Cup fever.

It happens pretty consistently every 4 years. We get up early to watch the games, be they the USA or other countries. We throw parties. We wear our colors with pride. Then the Cup ends, and we forget for another four years.

And each four years, we are reminded that Americans don't like soccer. That it will never catch on in the USA. That no one is interested. But I have to beg to differ.

For starters...our women's team is consistently one of the top in the world, if not the best. Why, yes, I realize "it's not the same," but soccer is hugely popular with women. I feel like everyone I knew played soccer as a kid...and the common belief is many girls continue to play while the guys go play sports where they may net more scholarships and money.

This is, however, changing. We are competing on the worldwide stage. We made it, again, to the World Cup; many world powerhouses did not. We made it out of the first round...16 other teams did not. We should amazing strength and poise when we were clearly screwed on goals, yellow cards, and calls. (as an aside...the officiating has been TERRIBLE this entire World Cup, and is making the case for some sort of replay being introduced)

The argument goes it will never be a big sport here. My question is...does it have to be? Basketball, football, baseball...the big three. Golf, NASCAR, Tennis; they are all kind of niche sports. Popular, but niche. (can you sit and watch a full golf tourney or NASCAR race?) I think it's ok if soccer stays kind of niche. I would like to see it getting a little more respect -- these players are running at almost top speed for 90+ minutes on a huge field with very few substitutions. This is not an easy task. This is not a wussy sport.

I think soccer has caught on in the USA; hopefully it will grow a bit in popularity so the professional leagues stay viable. But, much like other sports, its popularity will peak every 4 years with the World Cup, much like swimming and track does at the Olympics.

And, no, we don't call it football. We call it soccer. It is derived from "association football," and, according to Wikipedia, "The term soccer originated in England, first appearing in the 1880s as an Oxford "-er" abbreviation of the word 'association.'" A few other countries use soccer, as well. If you are a native American (as in, born/raised here, not tribal), and you call it football, you might as well have a sign tattooed on your forehead branding you a pretentious douchebag. It is lame.

16 June 2010

Visions of Costa Rica

I know it's been a while...yes, I know...a little birdie has been reminding me on a regular basis.

I wish I could say life has been stunningly interesting...it hasn't, but it sure has been fun!

At any rate...here's a little glimpse of what life was like in Costa Rica. Que horrible, no?

Create your own video slideshow at animoto.com.

17 April 2010

Adios Costa Rica

After two days of waking up to beautiful sun, today it is stormy and
overcast in manuel antonio. I think Costa Rica is sad to see us go,
but is trying to make it easier on us:-).

Thursday started with an early wake up call and travel to do a canopy
tour. This involved zip lines, rapelling, and a Tarzan swing. I, of
course, failed on the Tarzan swing. Swung over as was told, but didn't
go far enough and swung right back to the first platform. Oops. The
instructors, who enjoyed scaring us, yelled a bit, which freaked me
out more. Needless to say, I did not particularly like that station.

The rest was awesome, but a little slow as we had a dude with us who
was training to be an instructor and was not so great.

We got back and sun greeted us at the Bali House, so we took walks on
the beach and lounged around the rest of the day. Our amazing cook
showed up and presented an awesome meal of tacos, quesadillas, and
more. Yum.

Friday we had no official planned activities, but several of us went
to the national park down the road. At 7.30am, it was already in about
the 80s with severe humidity. So glad we left so early! Because of the
time we left, we also hit a particular part of the forest right in
time for the monkies breakfast. The little guys appeared out of no
where, it seemed, and played and ate, and stared at us. They got very
close, about a foot away...it was awesome!!

Upon return, it was another lazy day by the pool. I did make it down
to Quepos to check out the town (there wasn't too much there) before
parking on a raft on our pool until sundown. I'm thrilled that the
rain stayed away until late last night!

Today we'll head back up to San Jose to catch our flight home. Hard to
believe this week went by so quickly!!

14 April 2010

Lazy Daze

Upon arriving here to the Bali house, we decided to celebrate...we
celebrated so hard there were lots of bruises and many pics no one
remembers taking or being in. Even the rain couldn't dull the party.

But it did make for a painful Tuesday. I was up early thanks to the
birds and monkeys...headed to the pool and took a nap. A few hours
later the house started to wake up...most immediately took a nap by
the pool, too. Laura and I spent a few hours at the beach (and in the
water...it's SO WARM here; I've never been in ocean water so warm) and
eventually headed back upstairs.

The sun has not shown its face much on this trip. It's hot, for sure,
but cloudy and rainy. A few of us took a pre-dinner walk last night
and got back to the house moments before the rain started...it
continued all night and through this morning, with thunder &
lightening also making an appearance.

It probably worked out well for us in the end...today we went ATVing,
and what would have been dust was all mud. I made it through in one
piece, one putting my leg out once (ok, maybe twice) and getting in
trouble. While it was fun, it's not something I need to do again, I
don't think.

Now we're back for a quick dip in the pool, then off to the national
park nearby. I am hoping to see more animals...we are seeing tons of
monkeys, iguanas, lizards, crabs, and these big squirrel-looking
things with no tails. The monkeys, while very noisy, are very cute!

12 April 2010

Down the mountain

Yesterday was quite an awesome day. There was an early wake up call --
and a bit if a headache from the lava juice imbimbed the night before
-- but we all crawled onto the bus to head to our next adventure.

This had been one of my bigger fears -- rapelling down the side of a
mountain. The height, the lack of control...definitely one of the make
it or break it activities.

We took a bumpy ride up to the top of the mountain, and walked through
some fields full of termite nests until we arrived at the edge of the
waterfall and the beautiful rain forest.

The first rapel was pretty easy... Just about 30 feet down the craggy
fall. Then it was a rather rigourous hike to the next spot -- this
tour is definitely not for the out of shape. The second rapel was
about 100 feet...I was terrified when I stepped off the platform (the
"don't worry, we'll hold you" from our Tican guides wasn't that
reassuring as we outweighed them all)...but I made it off with
success! I was feeling pretty good on the 3rd fall, which was only
about 20 feet, and only slightly scared as we approached the final
rapel -- over 200 feet. It was also at that moment the rain started to
pour on down. It was awesome.

We're now in a bus headed to the southwest coast and our own house. We
are all excited to get there...both to see the house and get out of
this insanely driven bus!

10 April 2010

So Fun

Tonight we went on a volcano hike and then to some hot springs.

The hike was nice...we didn't see much beyond a racoon-like species native or something to Costa Rica. but post-hike, our guides...1. Gave us beer, then 2. brought us to see the awesome lava on the volcano...then 3. gave us more alcohol! It was awesome!

We then went to the hot springs...which had a water slide. It was like being on our own private Manteca awesomeness, but with drinks. It was so fun I can hardly believe it. We missed our bus ride back home, but the nice young man who had attended Cal Poly (yes, we tried to work him for some freebies), called us a cab or two and got us home.

Tomorrow we get up at the butt crack of dawn to go rappelling down the side of a mountain. Yes, I am a little nervous.

The Rough Life

It sure is rough, lounging all day by the pool, enduring a small rainstorm, and playing Mexican train all day....

Which is pretty much how we spent our whole day so far! I was up at the gym early...it is a really pretty facility, but hot as all get out. Even with air conditioning on, wow. Then it was down to breakfast, where the rest of our group started trickling in. The free breakfast at this hotel is by far better than I have ever seen (slightly better than Embassy Suites ;-) ) and we definitely enjoyed it.

And then? It was the pool.

We're heading out shortly to hike up the side of a volcano, then hit some hot sprints!

And dad, to answer any questions you may have...yes, I am wearing sunscreen, and yes, I am using my Spanish.

09 April 2010

Bienvenidos a Costa Rica!

We've arrived.

Today was mainly spent traveling...we left at 1.30am Friday morning, and after one very quick layover in San Salvador, arrived to San Jose, Costa Rica at about 9.30am. The first flight was a bit painful...I had a crying baby sitting next to me, and behind us, two men who decided a red-eye flight was the perfect time to have a very loud, very boring, five hour conversation. Needless to say, not much sleep was had on that flight!

Once we got to San Jose, we found the driver who would take us to our hotel near the Arenal Volcano, about 3 hours away. The 11 of us climbed into a bus with all our gear and started out on the ride, which was a lot smoother than all our guidebooks had led us to believe it would be! We stopped a few times, at a bank, restaurant, and McDonald's, and finally arrived at our beautiful hotel, Naraya.

This place is AMAZING. They greeted us with cool, fragrant washcloths and a delicious fruity beverage before taking us on a mini-tour of the property, complete with complimentary wine tasting. Soon, we were in our rooms, each of which has a gorgeous porch outfitted with a hammock, bathtub, chairs, and a stunning view of the Arenal Volcano. There is also an outdoor shower on the other side of the bungalow.

The moment we walked into our room we flopped on the beds and kind of forgot to get up to meet our group at the pool. Oops! But the nap felt oh-so-good! Then it was off to dinner, which started off in an...umm...interesting way. As Laura and I were walking over, we could hear singing. We look over and see a young man singing "Your Song," complete with his own words to a young women. We were witnessing a proposal! It was super high on the cheese and long-and-drawn out factor. He finally got down on one knee and she said yes. Sweet way to kick off vacation.

Dinner was amazing. I had a simple Tico dish of Casadas Tipicos, which is rice, beans, plantains, cheese and a salad...it was proof that simple can be better than anything else. We'll be having this dish quite a bit over the next week so I am pretty pumped.

Now it's off to bed...tomorrow we'll have a leisurely morning before heading for a volcano hike and visit to the hot springs.

And Tony, if you're reading, you'll appreciate this....they have the Magic Jack on their computers here at the hotel so guests can make free calls home. Brilliant!

Setting Sail

Dateline: 12.12am...just a few more minutes until we board the plane
for costa rica!! Just a few beers to make falling asleep on the flight
a little easier.

In just a few short hours, after a quick stop in San Salvador, we'll
be touching down in San Jose!

25 March 2010

So Fresh and so Clean Clean

I am kind of a messy person.

I am not dirty, but I have trouble with the whole neatness thing. It has taken me years to accept this, but...well, there it is. Anyone who knows me probably knows this...I had a very messy room as a kid, as a teen, as a college student...my desk at work often looks like a hurricane passed through, and my home often has little piles of stuff here and there. This is my norm, and within these constructs, I am super organized. I know where things are, I know which pile has what, and can usually find things in a timely manner (except keys...and my credit card). I do my best to keep this mess as neat as possible, an oxymoron, I know, but...

Since moving into my place, I have tried hard to keep things clean. This is often hard to do, with the little piles of magazines and what nots laying around, but I've done a fairly decent job. Thanks to my huge windows, dust accumulates quickly, and the wood floors are a color that constantly look dirty to me...no matter how much I clean them. And with the dog, well...things get dirtier at a quicker pace than I can handle. So finally I had to admit defeat, and call in reinforcements.

How I wish I had done this earlier in my life! This place feels like a gleaming castle (possibly the smallest castle ever, but so shiny). Even my soap bottles got cleaned, so gone is the little bit of suds accumulation that had existed on the side. The wood floors, for a day or so, shone with no trace of little paw prints. Even on days when I worked my hardest, using wood cleaner and the power mop my brother gave me, I couldn't get it so clean.

How does this relate to my messiness, you ask? Well, because I don't want this sparkle to go away, I have been more diligent than normal about trying to contain the little piles. (that sounds like such a gross word, doesn't it? Just me? Ok then...) Maybe this was the answer I've needed my whole life? The motivation to hang up my clothes right away? Maybe?

Or...as I look at little stack of shoes that is starting to accumulate, I am thinking perhaps maybe not...

16 March 2010

Lazy Dogs

For two weekends recently, I watched my friends' dog. He is a crazy little guy, who really, really likes to play.

He likes to play so much he climbed into bed with Luca for a nap, but couldn't help himself, and they started a little wrestling (get your minds out of the gutter...they're both boy dogs). But...both dogs were too tired to, you know, actually move from the bed.

13 March 2010

Jury Duty: The Joy!

I have always wanted to serve Jury Duty. Does this make me weird? I assume yes, but, something about the process has always fascinated me, and, also, if I, or someone I loved, needed to sit through a court case, I would want the opportunity to have a fair jury. So when I got called in December, I never even considered trying to shirk the duty.

I called in all week, like a good citizen...and then on Friday, my number got called. I headed down to the courthouse, feeling a little worse for wear after a holiday party the night before. I do have to say, it is not a bad way to go through the selection process! I was called into the selection room, and placed in the front row. The judge got to look at my smiling face the entire time, and I am convinced that this possibly-still-inebriated face is what made them want me on the jury.

The whole process was amazing to watch. They don't show this on TV, but people are asked to reveal A LOT about themselves; I knew about folks' backgrounds, their drug use, their relatives' arrest records...all sorts of skeletons. For a nosey person like me, this was great fun.

Unfortunately, the defense attorney was no Bobby Donnell. I tried to find a picture to better illustrate how ridiculous this guy was...he was probably close to 60, though he looked almost 70. He was about 5'4", wearing a suit meant for a man of about 6'. He had crazy hair, losing most on top but long on the sides, a big mustache...and a speech impediment. It was like he was directly out of central casting. Unfortunately, he was also a bad lawyer, or at least presented a bad defense. It was so hard to take him seriously in the first place, that when he did try to go to hardline questioning, it just...fell flat. All of this could have been easily overlooked if he had prepared a better case (even I, as an amateur attorney, trained well by my many viewings of The Practice, The Deep End, First Years, and Jesse Vasquez's cases on BH90210, knew a better angle for this case...).

At any rate, I was ultimately selected for the jury itself. I arrived that Monday morning, prepared to listen carefully, take notes, and wait for the big proclamations and "objections!" This did not happen. In fact, the case overall was rather boring. I was more fixated on the fact that, on her big billboard on which she presented the facts, the DA had misspelled several things. Yes, this is so me, I know, but it bugged the crap out of me and I couldn't stop staring.

The case lasted just 2 days in total, and not even full ones. But I felt like it was time well spent. And that I got really lucky to be put on such a quick case, and not one like my coworker is on, which is taking her out of work/life for over a month. And I am so glad I got to participate in this process. It is such a great story (in person, I can imitate the defense attorney, which just accentuates the surrealness of it all). It made me feel like such a good American ;-).