Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Looking back

What can one say about the year 2008 aside from it being a definite year of new beginnings! And with new beginnings, they can be quite tumultuous as well as thrilling.

The year started with both my work and income being cut in half due to the financial market, yet with sudden opportunities to explore a multitude of options for a new career that would be both rewarding and satisfying. So in January I began attending an accelerated course in massage therapy while maintaining my remaining paralegal accounts. This was both challenging as well as exciting as I had not been in a classroom setting in forever.

Amira was still attending pre-school but her days had turned to full-time. She was advancing educationally as well as coming out of her shell a little bit and really interacting with the other kids. She had actually become a team-leader of sorts when it came to clean up time----or maybe to the other children she was a task-master because she made sure everything was put away neat and tidy as the teachers had requested.

At then end of February I graduated from massage school and was now out beating the streets to find work. I was hired to work at a day spa down the street from my house immediately which quickly I discovered was not conducive to my work habits, so opted to keep searching for the “right” fit. Thankfully I still had my paralegal accounts and was able to be more selective in my search for work. In late May I was hired with a massage clinic which focuses only on massage, which really boded well with me, and I’ve been there ever since. At the end of August I had finally made the decision to end my paralegal work to pursue massage full-time and have never regretted the decision. To some this may seem like a crazy choice or decision, however, for me personally I feel like I'm finally doing what I'm suppose to be doing......helping people heal. For it's not just physical healing, but it's emotional and spiritual healing as well, and what an honor to be in such a position.

In mid August, Amira’s application was submitted to the California Montessori Program for a lottery draw to attend kindergarten, and much to our excitement her name was drawn. The beauty of this program is it’s a private school education within the California public school system so there is no tuition for attendance, just parent participation throughout the school year. So, off to kindergarten Amira went and has been loving it everyday.

In mid September we experienced one of the greatest losses one can ever imagine; we lost my mom. Again with it being a year of new beginnings, this was yet another new beginning for our family. We now have to learn how to live without her physical presence with us everyday. For me she was my best friend, cheerleader, confidant, strength, and support system. Certainly to try and learn how to live without such an important role in your life is challenging at best. I miss the sound of her laughter, which was so infectious as well as her enthusiasm when she’d get really excited over something. However, I have no doubt she’s still around us, and continuing to cheer and support us from afar.

As we near the end of another year and reflect back, we realize there is so much to be thankful for. We have great family/friends, great health, and wonderful memories to last a lifetime. Now as we look forward may the seeds of new beginnings, which were planted and now sprouting, be nurtured with passion and an abundance of love throughout the New Year.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas 2008

Christmas was different this year; it felt so surreal. Nonetheless, it was nice to be with family.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


I’m not certain if one truly realizes how much time they spend doing something repeatedly on a daily basis until they are no longer able to repeat such an act.

I, for one, had not realized how much time I devoted to being online even though my daily work now does not allow me the freedom to be online like it once did until I was forced to be offline for a period of time. My computer caught a virus forcing me to be down for a spell and I was actually surprised I went to withdrawals. However as if not to panic I was still able to check my emails via my cell phone, but due to the slowness and awkwardness of doing so I even found myself not devoting as much time as possible. Although there did feel like some sort of security knowing I could still be “connected” even though I wasn’t really. Moreover, once the initial shock of being forced offline set in I realized how much more freedom I had to do other things.

Probably the thing I missed the most was during those sleeplessness nights I didn’t have my friend, “online connection”, available for my distraction, but with time even that seemed to not feel as bad as the initial days.

I would be lying if I didn’t say I was so delighted to have my pc back to reconnect again, but I hope I can curtail my dependency a bit. ;-)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Last Friday when I dropped Amira off at school, I asked her teacher if she needed any assitance later that afternoon and she said, "sure". As a side note, part of Amira's attendance to this school parents are required to "volunteer" 20 hours per school year per child attending.

So thinking perhaps I'd be reading to the kids or helping with coloring assignments or something relatively simple, I was shockingly surprised when the teacher informed me that I'd be assisting the kids with making Latkes as one of their job assignments. Eeeeeeeeeeck! What the heck is Latke? Once I figured out what they were and how to prepare them, the kids and I had a great time preparing them. It's so fun to watch these kids grate potatoes, measure ingredients, mix ingredients and cleanup after all is said and done.
Part of their education is learning about different cultures and how they celebrate various holidays.

1 pound potatoes
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil
Accompaniments: sour cream and applesauce

Preheat oven to 250°F.

Peel potatoes and coarsely grate by hand, transferring to a large bowl of cold water as grated. Soak potatoes 1 to 2 minutes after last batch is added to water, then drain well in a colander.

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. Take mixed ingredients and shape into the size of pancakes, then add to a heated 12-inch nonstick skillet with 1/4 cup oil on moderately high temperature and heat until hot but not smoking. Reduce heat to moderate and cook until undersides are browned, about 5 minutes. Turn latkes over and cook until undersides are browned, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to paper towels to drain and season with salt. Add more oil to skillet as needed. Keep latkes warm on a wire rack set in a shallow baking pan in oven.

Serve immediately with or without sour cream or applesauce.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Amira and Grandpa Bonding Time

On Sundays I work which then gives Amira and Grandpa bonding time as he's the one that watches her for me.

Grandpa seems to always be clever and thinking of something for the two of them to do during their time together. Sometimes it's a picnic to the park. Other times it's working out in his gym together. Or perhaps their latest hobby is hunting gophers.

Recently my dad's neighborhood has been infested with gophers which are ruining the neighborhood yards with trenches and holes everywhere from their little explorations. Actually I'm not really sure the purpose of the gopher aside from lawn wreckage, and apparently the neighborhood feels the same way. So, my dad has been doing research on how to outs'd the pesty gopher and has tried a number of attempts to no avail. However his latest plot seems to be working. He and Amira are setting traps throughout the yard capturing these rascals. Below find some photos of Amira's proud captures.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Way Overdo

For the last few days Amira and I have been staying at my dad's for the Thanksgiving holiday and will be heading back up there today for a couple of more days. While there, we ran across Amira's first day of "big kid" school pictures. I had used my dad's digital camera since mine was broken and we finally got around to sending the photos to myself, which now in turn I'll share with all of you. :-)

Then my dear friend MixedUpMe shared with me something that she does for her stepdaughter every year on the first day of school. She would have her make a sign reflecting the grade she was going into and then snap her picture holding the sign to later put in a scrapbook for her.

Thinking this was a wonderful idea and now the end of the first day of school, I quickly found something to make a sign the next morning (2nd day of big kid school) and had Amira hold the sign up for a snapshot moment......of course it's all blurry but who cares it was captured on the second day of school.......LOL Next year, hopefully, we'll be better prepared. :-)

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thanksgiving Feast

Yesterday was Amira's class Thanksgiving Feast, and what fun it was to be a part of their activity.

Part of their class assignment was actually preparing food for the feast, as well as creating pilgrim hats for a parade around the school. :-)

Once the kids put on their pilgrim hats they marched outside and lined up until the other kindergarten class could join them. After a few moments the other class appeared dressed like Native American Indians banging drums. It was so cute to see the two groups intermingle and parade throughout the entire school singing a song that goes like this:

Five fat turkeys are weeeeeeeeeeee,
We spent all night in a treeeeeeeeee,
When the cook came around,
we couldn't be found!
So that's why we're here you seeeeeeeeeeeee!

After the parade we returned to the classroom where the children were assigned stations to finish the preparation of the Thanksgiving Feast.

I was assigned to the sweet potato station and what a hoot that was to see the kids totally enjoying smashing the sweet potatoes.

Following the preparation of the food was the task of taking everything out back to the picnic tables and dressing the table for the feast. The kids seemed to enjoy decorating and setting the table and did so in such an organized fashion. Considering we were right next to the playground with toys tempting to take them away from their assignments, they remained steadfast on their tasks.

Probably the most interesting part of this entire feast was the fact that it was vegetarian-----meaning no turkey. Can you believe that!!!!! That seems so un-American......LOL However, apparently it was decided upon to make it a vegetarian feasts because one of the teacher assistants is a vegan, so they were honoring her.

Friday, November 14, 2008


The word coexist in of itself sounds so lovely and wonderful and yet seems to be one of the most difficult things for us humans to accomplish on this planet. Why is that?

I've heard and read so many things indicating how different the east and the west are from one another, yet I never seem to see any definitives on this subject matter….more vague than concrete. Moreover, it seems whenever there is an expounding on this subject matter its more about the differences rather than the similarities. I wonder, just wonder, if we discussed and shared our similarities if we wouldn’t discover how much we are alike rather than not.

Part of the equation that seems to be so finely intertwined and at times difficult to tell the difference is cultural upbringing and religious teachings, and I think this causes confusion.

For the sake of discussion, please share what you feel are the similarities based on your experience or knowledge between the east and the west.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Cherokee Parable

An old Cherokee was teaching his grandson about life.

"A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy. "It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. This same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween 2008

Well holding true to how most of this year has progressed along----strangely unpredictable---we spent Halloween with a mixture of events.

The day started our dreary and slightly wet but did not detour Amira's kindergarten group from attending a school field trip to Fog Willow Farm which is a pumpkin patch. Aside from feeling like we were driving to the end of the earth, it was a beautiful drive in farm country.

This place was so well organized and structured. My hat off to the owner and their employees because it was so efficient and amazingly operated. It was the last day of the season tours and I'm sure after thousands of screaming, high strung kids from all over they were ready for it to be the last day; however, their professionalism never led onto their possible exhaustion.

They had stations set up to teach the kids about farm life. We first visited a station where the kids were able to bundle hay. Then we were off to a tiny petting zoo where they could feed goats hay. Followed by selecting our own pumpkin, then onto a hay ride around the farm. After the hay ride, we went to an area where the kids could milk a simulated cow (now that was funny, but for liability reasons I understand why they did it), then to see some cows, a miniature horse, chickens, baby bunnies and an Alpaca. Lastly we had a picnic under some old oak trees. One of the best parts of the whole trip was the rainy weather held off long enough for us to enjoy the wonderful day.

Following the field trip, Amira had a doctor's appointment for her 'kindergarten' check up, which consisted of weighing her, measuring her height, listening to her lungs and asking a series of questions along with dreaded immunization shots, which I don't necessarily agree with but because the school requires them to keep your kid in school we had to do it. Well actually you can enroll your child in school without their immunization; however, should their ever been a breakout of anything then your child is immediately sent home even if they are not the cause of the breakout.

During the physical examination part, Amira told me that she liked doctors, but after the injection lady injected her 5 times through nearly inaudible words she uttered that she didn’t like doctors. Of course, I had to explain that this was a requirement of her school for her to attend there and that the doctors do not intend to hurt people but rather help them to remain healthy. However, it doesn’t matter what you tell someone whose just received 5 shots, they just want to cry and be mad. So, she cried because it didn’t feel good, and I cried because she didn’t feel good.

After leaving the doctor’s office we returned home to get ready to go to my brother’s house for the evening. We were not only celebrating Halloween but his birthday as well.

When we arrived at his house there was a Tinkerbell sighting.

And as unusual as this year has been the trick or treaters were no different. Usually there are hundreds of kids that come through the neighborhood gathering candy, but this year there were only a handful of kids that were out. Makes me wonder if the below capture doesn’t truly depict the Halloween season for this year.

All in all it was a good day with the exception of now dealing with Amira having a low-grade fever due to the immunization shots. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Last Sunday Amira went to my brother and sister-in-law's while I worked. While there, they took her and my nephew, Anthony, out to get a pumpkin to carve. It was a big tradition in our home growing up to get a pumpkin, carve a fun face into it, stick a candle inside, light it, and sit it on the front porch for all to see. Probably the best part of carving the pumpkin as a kid was using a big spoon to scoop all the goo out of the pumpkin before we carved it's face.

Here's Amira's pumpkin.

We'll be going to my brother's tonight for the big Trick or Treat fest. Amira and I'll stay at their house and pass out candy to all the trick or treaters that stop by, while my brother takes Anthony and his friends to gather a million pounds of candy from the neighborhood.

Amira is excited to dress up in her Tinkerbell costume Grandma and Grandpa got her for her birthday, while Mr. Anthony on the other hand, who is 12 thinks it's uncool to dress up. However, he and so many other kids have no shame in going door to door to gather candy. :-) For those that choose not to dress up, what they don't understand is half the fun of people buying candy and passing it out is seeing the kids in their creative costumes. We'll see what happens tonight. :-)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


A couple of weeks ago Amira and I went to Borders bookstore as one of my dear friend's, Taliya, was performing there. She's a singer/songwriter and was promoting her latest album. She has an absolutely incredible voice and is extremely talented. One of her many talents includes performing one of the songs she wrote in 15 different languages. She has been been awarded the Guinness World Record for recording her single "Flower Child" in the ‘Most Languages on an Album by an Original Artist’. At the concert she performed "Flower Child" using all 15 different languages at one time in a medley format with snipets of each languages. Admittedly this probably impressed me more than singing the song 15 times in 15 different languages, for how on earth must someone's brain be processing singing one song using all 15 different languages at once......impressive is all I have to say.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Picture says a thousand words

This one, however, says
"Hi, I'm Amira and I go to big kid school."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

This and That

Wow, I had not realized how long it had been since last posting. More importantly I wonder what on earth I could have been doing to distract me. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm~

Anyway, one of my cousins came out last week to spend time with us and we had a wonderful time. One day we spent in San Francisco and the remainder of the time was pretty much just spent together enjoying one another's company. He was a great support to all of us and very understanding of our moment-to-moment breakdowns we'd occasional experience.

My father is doing remarkably well and trying to keep his life structured and busy with things to do, but he's not denying himself those moments when tears come.

I believe I am finally allowing myself to feel the affects of my mom not being here. I finally felt it was safe to do so since my family seems to be doing well. Last Wednesday I was hoping to have a moment to myself to allow my tears to flow without Amira around, but unfortunately this was not the case. My father had been watching her throughout the day while I was at work and called me and asked me to get her when I finished work, as he had to do something. I had been hoping during the moment I got off work and the time I got to his house I could have had a moment to myself to let go, but it did not work this way. I went to get Amira and took her with me to the only place I could think to go and let down. I went to the cemetery. All the way there I just prayed for God to help me get through this moment and to help me with Amira as I didn't know what to do or say, I just knew I needed to be there. When we got to the cemetery Amira and I got out of the car and sat on a little curb close to where my mom rests. I never told Amira where she was or anything like that as I didn't want to disturb her thoughts. As we sat on the curb in silence I tilted my head down and just let the tears begin to fall freely. When the stream of tears began to slow I heard Amira ask me "where are we?” Then I heard the words come from my mouth but had no idea where they came from, "we are at a peaceful place that allows you to think and feel peaceful". She looked around at the beautiful garden scenery with all the trees, flowers, and grass and agreed it was nice.

During this moment of being here and speaking out I felt something very unnerving. I felt to a degree the veil of my existence had been lifted if just for a moment. For at the very moment the tears were uncontrollably releasing I heard myself say to my mom, "wow mom, now you see me for who I really am..........I can no longer hide myself from you. For although all these years I've put a mask of bravery and strength on in front of your physical form, I am no longer able to do that in front of your spiritual form". Although feeling somewhat ashamed of this sudden knowledge, there was also a sense of freedom associated with it. I no longer felt I had to hide who I really was to her. Hopefully she's the one person that will now understand me completely. The one that will realize I'm not always strong and the one that will know I don't always want to be alone dealing with my feelings. Of course I know God is the ultimate one that knows all of these things, however, there is something oddly comforting in knowing this about someone you've loved who has moved on......probably because we've actually seen them before, thouched them, smelt them.......all the senses that tells us they are real. Whatever "real" is......ok, ok enough philosophy.

We were only there in all actuality a very short time, so once loaded back into the car and driving off to my dad's, Amira announces she found a couple of really nice little rocks at the "peaceful place" and decided to take them to Grandpa's to show him.

Towards the end of the week, I discovered my brother who had been clean and sober for the last three years started using drugs again. This was so disheartening. I wanted to believe so badly that it was not true as he had done such a great turn around with his life, and his family was healing so beautifully, but the facts could not be ignored.

The feelings of resentment towards him arouse once again, along with the feelings of sorrow towards his family all re-awakened, and the feelings of protection towards my father once again in high alert. The feelings that still run through my veins over this is very disturbing and I know I must gain control over them, but I feel most distraught over the fact that we must now confront this head on rather than wait. I suppose there's a part of me that's angry over the fact that I just started to feel the numbness of my mom's loss melting away, thus allowing me to deal with them and now they have to once again be stuffed aside because of my brother. The only thing to do at this point is take it to prayer, which seems to always reveal the right way to deal with any situation, and have a meeting with my brother and his wife next week.

That poor family has been through so much that I truly hate to see them go backwards. I think going backwards is a comfortable way of dealing with a difficult situation because it's what's familiar and they know if works as a masks since they don't know what else to do. However, I hope they are open to suggestions of other solutions that will help them through these difficult times without negative side affects. As truly I would hate to see my brother lose his family, home or career as a result of going back to an old habit that nearly costs him all those things not long ago.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Current Economical Woes Simply Explained

I found this article this morning and absolutely resonated with it................for I think the media would love to send the entire world into a needless tailspin insighting fear to all, but then there's an article such as this that gives, what I believe, a simple explanation. Lets not let the media turn this recent economic struggle into yet another "Chicken Little" story. As far as I'm concerned, I don't believe the sky is falling, but rather shift back into a more realistic view.

All that money you've lost - where did it go?

NEW YORK (AP) - Trillions in stock market value - gone. Trillions in retirement savings - gone. A huge chunk of the money you paid for your house, the money you're saving for college, the money your boss needs to make payroll - gone, gone, gone.

Whether you're a stock broker or Joe Six-pack, if you have a 401(k), a mutual fund or a college savings plan, tumbling stock markets and sagging home prices mean you've lost a whole lot of the money that was right there on your account statements just a few months ago.

But if you no longer have that money, who does? The fat cats on Wall Street? Some oil baron in Saudi Arabia? The government of China?

Or is it just - gone?

If you're looking to track down your missing money - figure out who has it now, maybe ask to have it back - you might be disappointed to learn that is was never really money in the first place.

Robert Shiller, an economist at Yale, puts it bluntly: The notion that you lose a pile of money whenever the stock market tanks is a ``fallacy.'' He says the price of a stock has never been the same thing as money - it's simply the ``best guess'' of what the stock is worth.

``It's in people's minds,'' Shiller explains. ``We're just recording a measure of what people think the stock market is worth. What the people who are willing to trade today - who are very, very few people - are actually trading at. So we're just extrapolating that and thinking, well, maybe that's what everyone thinks it's worth.''

Shiller uses the example of an appraiser who values a house at $350,000, a week after saying it was worth $400,000.

``In a sense, $50,000 just disappeared when he said that,'' he said. ``But it's all in the mind.''

Though something, of course, is disappearing as markets and real estate values tumble. Even if a share of stock you own isn't a wad of bills in your wallet, even if the value of your home isn't something you can redeem at will, surely you can lose potential money - that is, the money that would be yours to spend if you sold your house or emptied out your mutual funds right now.

And if you're a few months away from retirement, or hoping to sell your house and buy a smaller one to help pay for your kid's college tuition, this ``potential money'' is something you're counting on to get by. For people who need cash and need it now, this is as real as money gets, whether or not it meets the technical definition of the word.

Still, you run into trouble when you think of that potential money as being the same thing as the cash in your purse or your checking account.

``That's a big mistake,'' says Dale Jorgenson, an economics professor at Harvard.

There's a key distinction here: While the money in your pocket is unlikely to just vanish into thin air, the money you could have had, if only you'd sold your house or drained your stock-heavy mutual funds a year ago, most certainly can.

``You can't enjoy the benefits of your 401(k) if it's disappeared,'' Jorgenson explains. ``If you had it all in financial stocks and they've all gone down by 80 percent - sorry! That is a permanent loss because those folks aren't coming back. We're gonna have a huge shrinkage in the financial sector.''

There was a time when nobody had to wonder what happened to the money they used to have. Until paper money was developed in China around the ninth century, money was something solid that had actual value - like a gold coin that was worth whatever that amount of gold was worth, according to Douglas Mudd, curator of the American Numismatic Association's Money Museum in Denver.

Back then, if the money you once had was suddenly gone, there was a simple reason - you spent it, someone stole it, you dropped it in a field somewhere, or maybe a tornado or some other disaster struck wherever you last put it down.

But these days, a lot of things that have monetary value can't be held in your hand.

If you choose, you can pour most of your money into stocks and track their value in real time on a computer screen, confident that you'll get good money for them when you decide to sell. And you won't be alone - staring at millions of computer screens are other investors who share your confidence that the value of their portfolios will hold up.

But that collective confidence, Jorgenson says, is gone. And when confidence is drained out of a financial system, a lot of investors will decide to sell at any price, and a big chunk of that money you thought your investments were worth simply goes away.

If you once thought your investment portfolio was as good as a suitcase full of twenties, you might suddenly suspect that it's not.

In the process, of course, you're losing wealth. But does that mean someone else must be gaining it? Does the world have some fixed amount of wealth that shifts between people, nations and institutions with the ebb and flow of the economy?

Jorgenson says no - the amount of wealth in the world ``simply decreases in a situation like this.'' And he cautions against assuming that your investment losses mean a gain for someone else - like wealthy stock speculators who try to make money by betting that the market will drop.

``Those folks in general have been losing their shirts at a prodigious rate,'' he said. ``They took a big risk and now they're suffering from the consequences.''

``Of course, they had a great life, as long as it lasted.''

Friday, October 10, 2008

Three Things

Three things in life that, once gone, never come back -

1. Time

2. Words

3. Opportunity

Three things in life that can destroy a person -

1. Anger

2. Pride


Three things in life that you should never lose-

1. Hope

2. Peace

3. Honesty

Three things in life that are most valuable -

1. Love

2. Family & Friends

3. Kindness

Three things in life that are never certain -

1. Fortune

2. Success

3. Dreams

Three things that make a person -

1. Commitment

2. Sincerity

3. Hard work

Monday, October 6, 2008

New Dollar after financial crunch..

The Treasury Department put out new dollar bill this morning ----

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Eid Mubarak

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Too numb to grieve


How does One describe the "feeling"

of being numb?
T'is an emotion
yet One feels none.

One feel not anger
nor love.
Not hurt
nor comfort.

One does not feel
the tears that stream
down emotion worn cheeks,
nor does One feel the passing
of time through endless weeks.

One cannot feel
the sunshine on
tender skin,
nor the biting of cold wind.

Frost does not prick
at One's heart
and One cannot tell the warmth
of love apart.

So how does One
"feel" numb?
And when One feels
nothing at all,
what has One become?


Oh so softly
Does my head ever spin,
With all these thoughts kept within.

The feeling that I find
The hardest to bare
Is this feeling of nothing
Just of body, flesh and hair.

I have no emotions,
No feelings,
No cares
I am just a body existing
A black hole if you will,
Where everything reflects off
I cannot even feel a single thrill.

Oh so silently
Does my mind become,
A complete nothing,
For it is perfectly numb.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Paying Tribute

Yesterday was my mom's funeral. It was a picture perfect day. The weather was wonderful, the church we used for her service was nestled amongst beautiful oak trees, and the celebration of her life afterwards at our home was memorable.

Although feeling extremely numb and almost emotionless, it seems to have been beneficial as my dad asked me to speak on behalf of the family during my mom's funeral service. He did not want someone who didn't know her speaking about the woman she was to us.

One just never knows what's going to happen in a day that is going to cause them to stretch beyond their already seemingly stretched limits, and certainly yesterday was no exception.

Truly I know that when writing this tribute to her as well as sharing amongst a full congregation of people it was God's work because in hindsight when I go over it I don't know how it was accomplished without completely crumbling into a puddle of tears. Honestly, we serve a loving and merciful God who is guiding and carrying us through every aspect of life.

Please allow us to share with you a glimpse of my mom’s life.

She was born Linda Kathleen Seran, weighing 4 pounds, 2 ounces in Canton, Ohio. Her family migrated to southern California where they established their home in Reseda. She came from a small family and is survived by her mother, Oneita Lauretta Helzer, and her sister, Karen Lee Wilkinson.

She used to tell us she was her father’s son. She loved working on cars with her dad as well as going camping and fishing. She shared many memories of her youth with us; her special relationship with her sister as well as the closeness of her family.

She had a great affection for all animals, but really enjoyed dogs and horses.

When she was 20 years old, our dear friends, Bob and Judy, introduced she and my dad to one another, and there was an immediate connection between the two of them. They got married in a little chapel in Las Vegas, Nevada, which began her and my dad’s 45-year journey. They had two children, my brother, Clint, and me. She devoted her entire life to us as well as to my dad.

She raised and showed Alaskan Malamute dogs as well as American Quarter horses. She also enjoyed bowling and played on a league for quite a few years. As kids, Clint and I can remember countless times watching her and her friends bowl and then going back to one of her girlfriend’s home to play Yahtze for hours. All the while hearing her laugh and tell stories.

She was very social and opened her home to anyone and everyone. She was a stranger to no one and loved by all.

She was the type of person that was game to do anything. She seemed to fear nothing and was always open to any challenge. She especially liked the camping trips, the jeeping trips, the picnics in the park, the days we’d take a drive just for the sake of taking a drive, visiting the ocean as well as entertaining in her home. She also had a great affection for photography.

In 1976 we moved from southern California to northern California to a small town called Penryn where we as a family constructed our home and began establishing our roots.

She served as a FH leader, soccer team mom, baseball team mom, softball team manager, PTA room mother, as well as sideline cheerleader for all of our other events. In addition to serving these positions she also served as my dad’s supportive partner. His rock!

She worked at Target for 15 years and loved her job. She was a people person and would come home sharing countless tales of the people she had met throughout the day. She would light up when she spoke of the fun she had at work and the people she met, along with seeing people she knew.

Her home was open to everyone, and she was a “mom” to many aside from my brother and I. She always felt better when Clint and I and our friends were at her home rather than anywhere else. Over the years there were a number of people that lived with us and she treated them as if they were family. I think one of the ways she was able to keep her house so full was luring them with her chocolate chip cookies and her infamous chocolate chip cake.

She and dad did some traveling, and by far her favorite destinations were Alaska and Hawaii. One of the ways you could always tell if she really enjoyed going somewhere or seeing something was by the amount of pictures she took.

She was an extremely strong woman and never ever let any of her health issues keep her from living her life. She loved her life and told us often how lucky she was to have the life she had.

She had great stories and loved to share them. She loved to laugh and would get tickled to see others laugh as well.

She loved her grandkids, Anthony and Amira, dearly and her husband and children even more. She was our biggest fan.

She is the foundation to our family. She is what binds us. She never liked to have attention drawn to herself, and always assumed the “behind the scene role” allowing the rest of us to shine, BUT in reality it is because of HER that each and every one of you are here today to celebrate her life. Although she would be very humbled by this attention, she would be so grateful and thankful.

Although we mourn the loss of an incredibly dynamic woman, she would want us to live our lives as if it were our last, to love as if we’d never loved before, to laugh often, to expect nothing but be grateful for everything, and to remember to surround ourselves with our family and friends --- for she knew they were the most important part of living.

To my mom I say, "I love you so very much. May God bless you and may He give us strength to continue on without you physically being here with us.

To all of you I say, "Although her journey ends here, her memory will live on in each and everyone of you forever. Thank you for being a part of her journey, and thank you for being her today."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Shock and Sadness

It’s with the greatest of sadness that I share the loss of my mom.

Yesterday she and my dad had decided to get out of town and spend a little time in the mountains, which they loved to do throughout my life. They were thrilled as well as anxious about taking a little trip as it had been the first since mom’s severe heart attack in May of this year.

They stayed at a beautiful campground with a beautiful view of the Sierra Mountains and a soothing running river in the background.

They were thrilled to be outdoors, enjoying the fresh air, sunlight, sounds of the mountains and being together, along with Cruiser the little puppy.

According to my dad, the day could not have been more perfectly spent.

Turning in for the night my mom was overly excited at the thought of sleeping on a cot outside under the starts with her dog. Something she did countless times throughout her life. During the early morning hours mom woke up and decided to get into their 5th wheel trailer when she fell hitting her head. My dad of course rushed immediately to her aid. He could tell immediately it was not good because she was throwing up.

Thankfully they had cell service, so my dad called 9-1-1 and reported the situation. The lady on the phone told him a helicopter was on the way along with medical personnel but that in the meantime my dad would have to give my mom CPR and provided him with guided instructions until help arrived. Once help arrived they airlifted my mom to a well-known trauma hospital in Reno, Nevada, which took my dad about an hour to drive there from their campsite.

Once to the hospital after several test the neurologist said there was very little chance of survival due to the severe bleed her head had suffered. So much so that it had already caused her brain to swell and shift to one side of her brain.

My father called both my brother and I around 4 a.m. and gave us little information other than mom was not doing well, so we immediately began heading to Reno, which took us over two hours to get too.

Truly nothing in this life prepares you for death. We can rationalize it, we can explain it, we can experience it, but no matter how many times, we can never truly prepare for what we will feel or experience after it happens.

I can say my mom for all intensive purposes passed peacefully for she never regained consciousness after falling. Moreover, she was so blessed to pass doing something she truly loved, and it wasn't even as a result of any of her medical conditions. You just never know when your time here is up.

We as a family were so blessed to have this precious time with her as well because truly it was a miracle she lived through the heart attack in May.

Of course during times such as these we find ourselves reflecting on so many things and for me a couple of them is not telling people enough how much they mean to me or not taking more time to live outside of just working. It seems we are so engrossed in our everyday lives and enslaved to our jobs for the sake of financial survival that we forget to tell those we know how much we love them and how much they mean to us.

My mom does know how much we love her as we not only told her but we showed her as well. She is the foundation to our family, the glue that seems to bind us together, the focal point that draws us all near. What an extremely precious and dear woman. I love my mom so much.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Courtroom scene

A farmer named Clyde had a car accident. In court, the trucking company's fancy hot shot lawyer was questioning Clyde.

“Didn't you say, at the scene of the accident, 'I'm fine,'?” asked the lawyer.

Clyde responded, “Well, I'll tell you what happened. I had just loaded my favorite cow, Bessie, into the...”

“I didn't ask for any details”, the lawyer interrupted. “Just answer the question, please. Did you, or did you not say, at the scene of the accident, 'I'm fine!'?”

Clyde said, “Well, I had just got Bessie into the trailer and I was driving down the road....”

The lawyer interrupted again and said, “Your Honor, I am trying to establish the fact that, at the scene of the accident, this man told the Highway Patrolman on the scene that he was just fine. Now several weeks after the accident he is trying to fraudulently sue my client. Please tell him to simply answer the question.”

By this time, the Judge was fairly interested in Clyde's answer and said to the lawyer, “I'd like to hear what he has to say about his favorite cow, Bessie.”

Clyde thanked the Judge and proceeded. “Well, as I was saying, I had just loaded Bessie, my favorite cow, into the trailer and was driving her down the highway when this huge semi-truck and trailer ran the stop sign and smacked my truck right in the side. I was thrown into one ditch and Bessie was thrown into the other. I was hurting, real bad and didn't want to move. However, I could hear old Bessie moaning and groaning. I knew she was in terrible shape just by her groans. Shortly after the accident a Highway Patrolman came on the scene. He could hear Bessie moaning and groaning, so he went over to her. After he looked at her, and saw her fatal condition, he took out his gun and shot her between the eyes. Then the Patrolman came across the road, gun still in hand, looked at me, and said, 'How are you feeling?'”

“Now tell me, Judge, what the heck would you say?”

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Fountains

Last night my girlfriends and I took the kids to a new outdoor mall called The Fountains which is still in the process of opening. We wanted to see what all the buzz was about this place because apparently everyone that's been there seems to go on and on about this place.

So we took off to get Big Spoon Yogurt which is a self-serve frozen yogurt place that has every topping imaginable you can put on your frozen yogurt. Your yogurt is weighed and charged by the ounce. I think the excitement over this place is that fact that people get to serve themselves. For some reason humans just like to feel like they are somehow always in control......lol Anyway, it's a pretty tasty treat nonetheless.

After having our treat we made a way around the corner, we found a fire pit with nice comfy chairs around the perimeter of the pit.

Strolling along the sidewalk looking at all the stores that have opened we made our way to the center fountain. Now this fountain was impressive to all of us. We must have sat and watched it for an hour or so. It's interactive with music so the water show coming up from the center of the fountain is keeping beat with whatever music is playing. Although disappointingly it didn't play very many songs, BUT even when it wasn't playing music the fountain was still performing. It was lit up with all different colors and every so often mist would emerge and then float over the crowd of on-lookers. Amira and her friend, Michael, were having so much fun waving their hands up in the air trying to touch the water that I couldn't help but at one point to jump up and join them. :-)

Love spontaneous moments such as that one.

P.S. I will leave you with this video clip that someone recorded of the show.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

6 weeks , 6 months, 6 years . . .‏

Dating process:

6 weeks : I love U, I love U, I love U.
6 months : Of course I love U.
6 years : GOD, if I didn't love you, then why the hell did I propose?


Back from Work:

6 weeks : Honey, I'm home.
6 months : BACK!!
6 years : What did your mom cook for us today??



6 weeks : Honey, I really hope you liked the ring.
6 months : I bought you a painting; it would fit the motif in the living room.
6 years : Here's the money. Buy yourself something.


Phone Ringing:

6 weeks : Baby, somebody wants you on the phone.
6 months : Here, for you.
6 years : PHONE RINGING.



6 weeks : I never knew food could taste so good!
6 months : What are we having for dinner tonight?
6 years : AGAIN!!!!



6 weeks : Honey muffin, don't you worry, I'll never hold this against you.
6 months : Watch out! Don't do it again.
6 years : What's not to understand about what I just said??


New Dress:

6 weeks : Oh my God, you look like an angel in that dress.
6 months : You bought a new dress again?
6 years : How much did THAT cost me?


Planning for Vacations:

6 weeks : How do 2 weeks in Vienna or anywhere you please sound?
6 months : What's so bad about going to India on a charter plane?
6 years : Travel? What's so bad about staying home?



6 weeks : Baby, what would you like us to watch tonight?
6 months : I like this movie.
6 years : I'm going to watch ESPN, if you're not in the mood, go to bed, I can stay up by
myself . . .

Saturday, September 6, 2008

An ingenious example of speech and politics

An ingenious example of speech and politics occurred recently in the United Nations Assembly and made the world community smile.

A representative from Palestine began:

'Before beginning my talk I want to tell you something about Moses. When he struck the rock and it brought forth water, he thought, 'What a good opportunity to have a bath!'

He removed his clothes, put them aside on the rock and entered the water. When he got out and wanted to dress, his clothes had vanished. An Israeli had stolen them.'

The Israeli representative jumped up furiously and shouted, 'What are you talking about? The Israeli weren't there then.'

The Palestinian representative smiled and said, 'And now that we have made that clear, I will begin my speech.'

Thursday, September 4, 2008

For All You Chocolate Lovers

4 tablespoons cake flour (that's plain flour, not self-rising)

4 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons baking cocoa

1 egg

3 tablespoons milk

3 tablespoons oil

3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)

a small splash of vanilla essence

1 coffee mug

Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well
Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
Pour in the milk and oil and mix well.
Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla essence, and mix again.

Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts. The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed!

Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.EAT! (this can serve 2 if you want to feel slightly more virtuous).

And why is this the most dangerous cake recipe in the world?
Because now we are all only 5 minutes away from chocolate cake at any time of the day or night!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Kids talking

Two little kids are in a hospital, lying on stretchers next to each other outside the operating room---the first surgeries of the day.

The first kid leans over and asks, 'What are you in here for?'

The second kid says, 'I'm in here to get my tonsils out and I'm alittle nervous.

'The first kid says, 'You've got nothing to worry about. I had that done when I was four. They put you to sleep, and when you wake up they give you lots of Jell-O and Ice Cream. It's a breeze.'

The second kid then asks, 'What are you here for?

'The first! kid says, 'A circumcision'.

'Whoa!' the second kid replies. 'Good luck buddy. I had that done when I was born. Couldn't walk for a year.'

Monday, August 25, 2008

Dancing Queen

Amira and I went to an open house event for our friend, Fatima, who recently relocated her studio to a newer and nicer location. Of course the evening was filled with a variety of dancers from all over the globe, but below are photos of my favorite dancer.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Little Kid School Be Gone

FYI-Sometimes I get so freaking irritated with not knowing how to post it nearly drives me insane. I put together an entire post with pictures recapping Amira's "little kid" school days and bam---GONE. So here's another feable attempt.

On Amira's last day of "little kid" school her teachers took her dinnner and presented her with a photo album filled with wonderful memories of her days at Susie's Cottage and Pre-School.