Saturday, June 29, 2013


The annual Gay Pride parade is being held this weekend in San Francisco.  My daughter Ally is going to attend with one of her room mates who is a gay man from So Cal and has never gone to see the amazing spectacle that it is!

The crowd is expected to be about double what it has been in past years due to the Supreme Court ruling on  DOMA and Prop 8.  An even bigger celebration of pride and acceptance.

I admit that all the reporting and the stories, the new marriages, the excitement and feelings of acceptance I am hearing keep moving me to tears.  What wonders we can accomplish when we open our hearts and minds.  How many more things and people could be helped it if did it more often.


1.)  Texas Governor Rick Perry wouldn't know the democratic process if it bit him in the behind - which it sort of did this week.  What do we have to do in this country to get out elected representatives to realize that it is their job to represent the wishes of their electorate?? It's not their job to vote based on their personal beliefs.

The majority of Texans do not want restrictions to the current law and access for abortions.  It is a small majority - only 52% based on a May poll.  However, when asked if the person trusted or didn't trust Perry and the legislature to "make decisions" about women's health care; 57% said not.  

My question is:  Why do we keep electing these politicians who clearly do not represent the majority view in this country?  Why do we continue to allow them to vote with the money and/or their personal views?

2.)  I want a I Stand with Texas Women tee-shirt!  What a riveting display of solidarity that was!  Apparently Planned Parenthood made the shirts- hope they sell them as a fundraiser...

3.)  Thought I had published this on Friday - oh, well.  

4.)  My kids have been having a fun summer so far.  Ally just returned from the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas.  It is all electronic music and it runs for 3 days from 7pm to 5am each night! 
She was sleep deprived but had a good time.  I was glad she went with a bunch of guys who were watching out for her.

5.)  Zac travelled to Philadelphia to spend a week with his "womb mate" Maggie.  They spent a couple of days touring  New York City and made a pilgrimage to the Dogfish Head Brewery in Delaware.  Zac got to swim in the Atlantic Ocean.

They actually went to museums in addition to bars!

Thursday, June 27, 2013


This has been quite a week for our country.  I have so much to say but for now I would like to point out - especially in the wake of the shenanigans in Texas - that in California our Governor and Lt. Governor are true political heroes.

Mayor Newsom officiated the first same sex marriage in CA

Gavin Newsom was the Mayor of San Francisco in 2004 when he directed the city clerk to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples.  His political courage started California down the long road which came to an end with the Supreme Court decision this week.

When Prop 8 was passed and then overturned by the State Court, then State Attorney General Jerry Brown said the proposition should be overturned because it violated the U.S. Constitution.  His refusal to defend the proposition is the reason the decision by the Supreme Court leaves no room for opponents of gay marriage to appeal the case.  The decision by the Ninth Circuit will stand and marriages will resume soon.


Sunday, June 23, 2013


Mom, me and my sisters Polly and Nancy
That has been a busy week.  On Thursday we gathered to celebrate my mom's 80th birthday.  We just did a dinner and cake as later in the summer we are having a family gathering to celebrate both my parent's turning 80, their 60th anniversary, my aunt's 70th birthday and my 60th birthday - a whole bunch of milestones in one year.

Then Saturday I volunteered with my sister Nancy at a breast cancer walk and then in Sunday I got to visit with my good friend who was visiting from Seattle.  My friend is the one who funded my weight loss surgery and this is the first time we have seen each other since then  - 120 pounds later.  I am kicking myself because though I had my camera, I forgot to take a photo of us together.

Friday, June 21, 2013


The other day I sat down to write about my job and the pleasure I take in working with the women there.  I wandered off through a litany of my jobs in the last few years.  Probably because I woke up at 5 am and couldn't get back to sleep.  Blogging while sleepy makes for meandering thoughts.

When I told someone in my book group that I was hoping to get out of my last job and wanted to work with women again, she was skeptical.  I have met a lot of women who prefer to work for men.  I don't get it.  I have had the best experiences working with women and especially women in creative environments.  My last job was tolerable but tiring when it came to the sexist "jokes",  language, innuendo and the boys will be boys stuff.  Even that isn't what broke down my desire to remain.  There was a fundamental unfairness in the compensation offered and a negative attitude toward the employees by the owner.  He harped on any little problem and rarely acknowledged the positive.

In the jobs I have had in the past 9 years, the businesses owned and run by women have been the most "fair" when it comes to how employees were treated.  There was concern for the individual, appreciation was expressed for hard work and benefits were more generous.  And with those policies and attitudes came more success than in the last business I worked for.  Karma?  I don't know.  Just an observation that with happy, supported employees comes hard work and extra effort which contributes to the bottom line.

The exception was the hotel.  The manager was thin skinned and overworked so her management was uneven.  She had a great assistant manager who is the main reason I stayed so long.  The owners of the company were the big problem.  They are multi-millionaires who were incredibly cheap when it came to employees.  They were known to say they hated having employees (they are primarily involved with real estate investments and built the hotel for reasons unexplained.)  They paid just over minimum wage and I was amazed to find out shortly before I left that no one had had a raise in over 4 years. 

When I left  a couple of long time employees said something along the lines of "all the good ones leave."   That does seem to be the way it works.  Turnover is a pretty strong indication that there is something wrong not with the employees but with management.  But as often happens, those who create the problem tend to blame others rather than recognising their part.

The man I worked for last was talking with one of his insurance agents and their conversation turned to finding good employees.  The insurance guy said  "We don't have an unemployment problem in this country, we have a lot of unemployable people who don't really want to work."  My old boss took up that statement as his new complaint.  I pointed out that I had seen ads from insurance companies when I was job hunting and they wanted all kinds of skills and experience, even sometimes a license yet offered no more than $10.00 an hour in pay.  Do they really think that is going to attract qualified applicants? 

Getting a job in a tough economy is important, but what is the point of a job that doesn't pay enough to cover even the most austere expenses?  (Remember, we live in one of the most expensive areas of the country - maybe $10.00 an hour is a living wage in other parts of the US, but not in the San Francisco area...) 

Blaming employees for the cost of doing business; downsizing, reducing benefits and pay, not offering sick
days or vacation time, etc. are short sighted and short term fixes which rarely, if ever, positively affect the bottom line of a business. And clearly, we have all seen the death of good customer service, the long wait to get through to a live person when we call, had to search for an employee when we are shopping and need assistance and the long check out lines in stores. 

Now that the economy is starting to recover, it would be a great idea for businesses to invest in hiring, training and generously supporting some good customer service employees again.  We would all benefit.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


In the past 9 years since I went from stay at  home mom to working I have had 6 jobs.  It seems like a lot to me since I am not really a job hopper.

The first job was with a small web based retail company and I was there for 5 years.  I loved the job and was devastated when I was forced out of it by the combination of a manipulative co-worker and weak business owner.  It still haunts me.

One job was very short lived, only 6 months. An old friend was made the manager of a local office of the finance company she worked for and after I had been at my first job for just over a year with no medical benefits and low pay,  she strongly recruited me even though I told her I didn't think I was a good fit. The pay was really good and the benefits were huge, but I was right and left to go back to the my first job where I was a good fit, had been missed and the owner added medical benefits as an inducement.

Shortly after I left the small business the economy took a dive and it took me a long time to find another job. I worked with my husband in his law practice but that was affected by the economy, too and I needed to get out there again so I took to applying for pretty much any job and ended up at the boutique hotel.  Basically I enjoyed it, I liked the 3-11 shift as it gave me lot's of time to blog and get stuff done and I had lot's of time to read while I was working.

My hours also allowed me the opportunity to go into business with my sister.  She wanted to increase the home staging work she was doing in addition to her work as an interior designer.  We did that together for about a year but her life just got too busy with her children and we stopped pursuing that work.

Tom grew lonely with me gone in the evenings and it was very clear that I could stay at the hotel a long time but with no opportunities to improve my pay or position or change my working hours, so I began to apply for other jobs yet again.

Which took me to the office manager job.  I knew going in  that the guy who owned the business was "a character" and for the most part I dealt with him and his boundary issues.  I didn't mind the all boys, construction worker, roughness of the environment.  I did mind that I was bored and had little to do most of the time and the busy work had run out and the days were so slooow, also that the owner was getting more bizarre and financial promises were not kept.  So I threw my hat in the ring again.

My current job is great.  I enjoy the women I work with they are professional and smart and the environment is stressful but supportive. No finger pointing or lectures over mistakes, just straight forward problem solving and move on.  I went from half my day being down time to feeling guilty for leaving my desk for a 30 minute lunch.  The days fly by. (And I learned I need that 30 minutes away from my desk to re-group!)

One of the business owners is in her 30's with 2 little kids and as hectic as her life is she said she can't imagine not working as I did for 16 years.  The older woman I work with has been employed throughout her life and doesn't show any inclination to retire.

I can't say that I want to work.  I would prefer to be home, pursue my hobbies, have time to hang out with my sisters and go to the gym and get my house clean and keep it that way.  I would like to have the freedom I had looked forward to once the kids were gone and my life was no longer tied to their schedules and needs.

But that isn't the way life has gone.  In support of Tom's dream of practicing law, my trajectory was steered in a different direction.  All kinds of forces have entered the picture over time and who knows what might be the next thing to send me off!

Thursday, June 13, 2013


1.)  An update on the woman who was killed riding her bike in my town.  The driver reportedly passed the
car in front of him which had slowed down due to the couple on their bikes, found there was an oncoming car in the lane, swerved to right to get back in his lane and hit the couple.  No word to whether he knew they were there.  He has stopped cooperating with the police.

The 18 year old driver was recently boasting on Twitter about "beating" a speeding ticket on the same road - speed limit is 35, he brags he was going 85.  One can only imagine that his rich parents helped him out of that and other infractions he is said to have racked up.  Perhaps if someone in his life had given him consequences for his actions, that woman would be alive and playing with her grandchildren today.

2.)  Keep positive vibes out there for my son who has an interview for a position at UC Berkeley!  A great job and the benefit of reduced fees for a graduate degree at the university.

3.)  We have a nest with baby doves in the jasmine arbor outside our patio door.  I found an egg shell from a hatchling this weekend and can now hear the chirping of at least 1 baby coming from the nest.  The parents are very unhappy when I am in the yard and especially when I am grilling nearby. But so far they have chattered at me but not attacked!

4.)  I am torn about the hoopla over phone records being collected by the government.  On the one hand I hate even the appearance of intrusion by our government.  We are supposed to be better than that. 

On the other hand I think corporations know much too much about me and they actually use and sell the information in ways the government certainly doesn't.  They are, after all, the ones who supplied all the phone records in the first place.

That Google "reads" my e-mail and search information to determine what ads to put on my home page and sells the info to Facebook which now posts ads in my timeline is much more bothersome to me.

5.)  Can you believe we are halfway through June already?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Two times this week I heard gay men talking about the lack of role models when they were growing up in a closeted society.  Their desire to see others like themselves living their lives and solving their problems is so natural.  We all look to those around us for clues on behavior, ethics and, well, role modeling.

What stuck me, too, is that by keeping themselves secreted, it wasn't only other LGBT people who lost the opportunity to learn and grow by their example, it was all of us.  After all, it has been proven that prejudice and negativity fall away when people are exposed to those who are different.  As more LGBT people live their lives in the open, raise families and participate in the community; the community has, in turn, embraced them and supported them.

My son educated me to the fact that the reason gay men, in particular, were thought to be promiscuous had more to do with the fact that society didn't accept them coupled up, so their option was to have secretive sexual encounters. The secrecy and lacking the option for open, intimate relationships led to lives where promiscuity was just the way it was done.  Ultimately and unfortunately, it also led to the spread of HIV/AIDS.  Bringing those issues, rights and lives into the light has resulted in our society becoming educated and accepting of our differences and aware of our similarities.  With that acceptance, the spread of the virus has decreased.

I can't say how I formed my attitudes about the LGBT community.  I don't recall my parents discussing it.  None of the gay kids or teachers in my high school were open - but that was 40 years ago!

One of the first times I actually became aware of my feelings were when my kids asked me about 2 men holding hands.  I said there was nothing wrong with people loving each other - no matter what kind of couple they were.  I was proud of the way I answered that question then and really proud of my continued growth and education since. I guess I managed to grow up along with society though I am sometimes saddened by how far we still have to go to become equals.

Monday, June 10, 2013


I wasn't going to post about bike riding this week - we didn't go out due to temperatures that had reached the high 80's by 10 am on Saturday and strong winds on Sunday.  On Sunday night I got an e-mail asking if we were okay and a link to a news article about a Pleasanton couple in their late 50's riding their bikes when they were struck and knocked off the road.  The woman died at the scene. The driver of the car which hit the bike riders is 18 years old. 

It wasn't us, but it certainly could have been though we do not ride on that road due to the lack of bike lanes and because people speed there.   It is a narrow, winding sort of "country" road with high end developments on both sides of the street. But we certainly have seen our share of distracted and careless drivers when we are on our bikes.

I think some people just are not educated about sharing the road with bikes.  When we enter the left turn
lanes it freaks people out. I guess they think we are supposed to act like pedestrians and walk our bikes in the cross walk at each intersection.  Also people have a hard time  if we are in the bike lane and they want to turn right.  In our area there are broken lines which indicate where cars should turn right, but rather than slowing  to turn behind us, drivers frequently speed up and then cut us off by turning in front of us. 

The law in CA is this:

When to Take the Traffic Lane

Many roads do not have designated bicycle traffic lanes, so bicyclists share the traffic lane to the left of the white line. If there is no shoulder or bicycle lane and the traffic lane is narrow, ride closer to the center of the lane. This will prevent motorists from passing you when there is not enough room. You should also use the traffic lane when you are traveling at the same speed as the traffic around you. This will keep you out of motorists’ blind spots and reduce conflicts with right-turning traffic.

Motorists Passing Bicyclists
Be patient when passing a bicyclist. Slow down and pass only when it is safe. Do not squeeze the bicyclist off the road. If road conditions and space permit, allow clearance of at least three feet when passing a bicyclist.

People in cars get mad that they might have to slow down for a moment to let a bicycle pass or turn or get across a road.  Usually it is a matter of a few seconds - and if it is longer or a cyclist has to take the road for safety - get over it!  It's part of being on the road. 

I know some people on bicycles are jerks and don't follow the traffic laws.  I am sorry for that.  It really shouldn't give anyone the attitude that all of us on bikes should be fair game which seems to be the attitude of many people who were commenting about the news article.

The facts of the particular accident aren't reported yet.  Some people who know the 18 year old driver have commented that he known to speed around town.  If that's the cause, I hope he is prosecuted. In any case it is a tragedy all around.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


For the last 3 weeks I have had one or both my "local" kids home for  weekends and  longer.  I am amazed how little time I end up with for blogging, reading blogs, etc with them around!  Now they are like grownup company and we spend a lot of time hanging out and talking. When they go out with their friends, it tends to be late in the evening when I am getting my doze on.

Nothing to do with the post - just liked this...

I just got back from San Francisco after returning Ally to her apartment.  We made a contribution to the economy while she was home for 12 days and Tom asked me please to stop shopping.  I did make one more run through the grocery store to fill her frig.  She got straight A's last semester and starts summer school on Monday - it was the least I could do for such a stellar student!

I am so behind on all my reading and hope to catch up in the next week.  Not only am I behind on my favorite blogs but I haven't followed Tom & Lorenzo or any of my  news shows or sites.  I am so out of the loop.

 Fortunately, I'm also feeling so much better - the trees or whatever it was finished spewing pollen and I am nearly back to normal.  Sleeping well and generally breathing better.  So lucky that it is only a few weeks of misery for me - so may people suffer much longer.

I even have some blogging subjects in mind - so I guess I am getting my groove back all the way around.  Just in time for summer to start.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


The holiday weekend was a bust for bike riding due to strong winds so we took time off the bikes and explored a new gym we may join.

Tom and Zac all geared up.

This Saturday Zac was in town to help Tom clean out all the old sports equipment from the garage.  (Since he helps manage 2 after school programs in Salinas, he has been wanting to get that stuff out of our garage and into the hands of  kids who would actually use it.)

So we three set off early Saturday to get a ride in before the promised mid-90's heat descended.  It was nice and cool when we set off for Danville on the Iron Hourse Trail and his youthful exuberence kept us going at a high pace.  We hit the market stalls hard since I had two guys with paneers to fill with fresh produce, then turned back to Pleasanton.  We could feel that the heat was coming on fast - even though it was only about 10am.

We kept up a good pace on the way back and stopped at the BART station in Pleasanton to get some ice added to our now warm water bottles before the last 4 or so miles home.  As we were getting back on our bikes I begain to feel dizzy and was seeing spots.  I am not prone to the vapors - so I was kind of embarrassed.  But would have been more embarrassed if I keeled over on the road!

I had plenty of water sloshing around in my stomach and had eaten several samples of fruit and had a
handful of almonds at the market so I didn't think I needed a sugary drink - for some reason I thought what I needed was something salty, and Fritos seemed just the thing.  We sat in the shade for about 10 minutes and we munched the Fritos and I felt restored and made the ride home with no problem.

We were home by 11:30 and it was already 88 degrees - so I guess I can blame the heat.  I looked around on the internet for answers and it does seem that the salt was a good plan.  So I will consider that when I pack a snack - that is if I ride in the heat again!

Monday, June 3, 2013


I finally decided that the reason I have been so tired is in part due to seasonal allergies.  There is something
in our area which pollinates in May that gets to me.  This year it has been unusually hot and windy, so I have been exceptionally affected by the pollens.  I have been taking Claritin and some other allergy OTC's but I probably waited too long to start.  Got to get ahead of the sniffles to work best.

Where we live there are "micro climates" and though I work less than 5 miles from home, I am much more stuffy and sneezy at work.  At home I love to leave the doors open to let fresh jasmine scented air circulate through the house, but I stopped doing that on the worst days in order to keep the pollens outside.

I read that allergies are worse around the country due to climate change - it has caused Spring to start earlier and the warm seasons to last longer into the fall.  This is most true in the northern states which in the past had shorter Spring and Summer seasons.  Tree pollens start in Spring and then we move into grass and weed pollens as the season goes on.  So it's a tree that is causing my misery.

I read that eating yogurt is supposed to help allergies.  I eat some every day - so perhaps it could be worse?  I am hoping that the usual time frame of May for whatever it is that bothers me will stay true this year and that allergy season is pretty much over for me.

I look forward to having more energy, better sleep and using fewer tissues.