Sunday, September 30

An Exciting Time

"I got to tell you, I'm fairly excited to see what you are capable of. I mean if Morpheus is right and all. We're not supposed to talk about any of that but if you are, well then this is an exciting time." The Matrix
As September reaches its autumn and October rolls in, we have a pastor at church and I had to send him my favorite congratulatory quote. Our church has in its origins been and has even now the potential to be such a light and he seems just the shepherd for the remnant of a 'rag-tag fugitive fleet'. Pastor Dale - alter ego Earnhardt, Jr. ;-) - comes cup overflowing with determination, and intuitivity that smacks of spiritual discernment, and people skills, among what appears to be an array of talents - doesn't seem he buries them in the ground either.

We've met with him a few times and the congregation embraced him along with, of his family, his wife Connie and daughter Grace today - it was a great time of fellowship after the service. I'm excited for our church about the Lord's leading. For me, I'm so glad to have taken the red pill.

This I recall to my mind,
therefore have I hope.
It is of the LORD's mercies
that we are not consumed,
because his compassions fail not.
They are new every morning:
great is thy faithfulness.

Lamentations 3

old things are passed away;
behold, all things are become new

2 Corinthians 5

Saturday, September 29

Hawaii Two-OO7

The Norman's in paradise -- We had a wonderful anniversary vacation in Oahu. We saw a lot of the island, a lot of each other, and we also saw our friends the Hays. We left early Thursday and arrived in Hawaii around 11, being donned with the (thank you Annie!) Pleasant Holidays greeting of a lai. Dollar upgraded our vehicle, since they were out of compact cars, to a red ford mustang convertible and in it we were off to our week-long home.

We could have stayed in the Waikiki "spouting water" area in the hustle and bustle of tourism, but we were remote with a private beach residing in the western Waianae Valley with the locals in Makaha. We gained a greater appreciation of Hawaiian life there. Out of our front door lay lush green mountains and shores of Ocean and out our lanai was the private beach and a horizon of sunset waters and moonlight nights.

We spent one day traveling over to the east side to Kailua and Lanikai beaches. We went across the Pali Highway stopping at the Nu`uana lookout to see an expanse of Oahu's shores and the preceding valley. The view was breathtaking and the winds breezily restyling my hair. I caught a glimspe of the revered sea turtles. Kailua was so lovely and calm, we enjoyed the waters for much of the day.

We took a drive up Farrington Highway north to Kamehameha through the middle of the island to the North Shore over to beaches. We took time to look at the Dole Plantation which has an amazing maze, made a stop in Haie'iwa (Baywatch filming location), and spent a couple of hours to walk through the Audobon Center mauka to the Waimea Falls (a Jurassic filming location) and traversed all the way to James Campbell's National Wildlife Refuge which was closed due to the mating season. Some other films using Oahu locations are Lost, Hawaii 5-0, Jurassic Park, Fantasy Island, Wind Talkers, Baywatch, and Pearl Harbor.

We also went across Likelike Highway, parallel to the Pali, and went up the Kamehameha all the way past the Mormon area of Laie and the Polynesian Cultural Center. Likelike Highway had tunnels (Wilson) like the Pali (Nu`uanu Pali). We ventured south beyond Sandy Beach and the Maiona Blow Hole over to Hanauma Bay. Sandy Beach is sandy! In one breeze I was stung by the tiny pellets! The surf was rough too. Red flagged no swimming signs lined the shore where surfers took on the waves.

We then ventured north to see sights such as Kane'ohe Bay and the Chinaman's Hat, the Kualoa cattle ranch (Jurassic Park and Lost filming location), Sea Life Park; the beaches of Kahana, Punalu'u and Hau'ula, Sunset (filming of 50 1st Dates), Heeia State Park and the Crouching Lion town of Ka'a'awa. We reconnected with the 99 to Kunio to return to our place. We passed a lovely chapel where a couple was getting married. When we had left Waimae falls a wedding was beginning there, and when we returned to our place a wedding had just taken place on the beach.

We drove through Honolulu and Waikiki to take the challengingly arduous climb in the hot sun to Leahi (Diamond Head) Crater where again there was a great expanse of Hawaii's beauty before us. The husband remarked how it appeared that the texture of Oahu's mountains and hillsides were sculpted by mighty finger strokes. The handout explains our trail was a ".8 mile climb one way 560 feet from the crater floor". It involves uneven and steep dirt terrain of numerous switchbacks, sets of steep stairways, and a long grade of tunnel. Leahi, once used by the military, had lookouts built into it that we had to climb through to complete our trip to the top.

We took time to appreciate the Pearl Harbor area too - touring the somber USS Arizona, the 'Mighty Mo' and the Bowfin. The ship - the Nimitz - carrying the niece of our friends at home was docked there as well. They will be seeing her in San Diego this weekend. Our friend Darrick's ship - the Erie is currently in that area also. The Arizona tour gives you cards with the particulars on one who was lost on that infamous day. The husband had told me of an african-american cook that was quite the hero that infamous day. Oddly enough the lady sitting next to him on the boat that day had this seaman's card. She agreed to trade with me for Doris 'Dory' Miller. How kewl!

We caught up with Darrick and Jenn near the end of our trip. They just moved into their new home, in Ewa Bay. We walked from their house to the water's edge shop - the Barefoot Cafe - and spent the rest of the evening at their new place. They have a good life! It was great to be able to spend time with them.

When we weren't out and about on the road enjoying 99.5 'the jewel'. We were enjoying our own surroundings and made a few acquaintances of our own! It was not unusual to be flanked by sand crabs. Our beach was rough. Certainly not as tumultuous as Sandy Beach, the locals swam it in stride regardless. We, on the other hand, had to be more careful not to be swept away. We also shared the beach with the occasional fisherman, painter and walkers - even ball retrieving labradors.

Too soon we boarded another plane near noon Hawaii time and arrived home at midnight. It was a wonderful week; and while it is great to be home it was a precious blessing to have a time of peace and relaxation amidst the awesomely beautiful work of God's hands. It was a special anniversary celebration.

Tuesday, September 18

The 'Smith'sonian fake Anniversary

A revised Mr. & Mrs. Smith moment ...
Shelley Norman: Like Christmas, like our wedding, like the time you forgot to bring my anniversary present.
Reggie Norman: Your *fake* anniversary present.
Okay, that might be confusing - you need to know our story!

Anyway, I want to take this moment and tell the husband (I did!)
I love you; I love us! I love my life!

And in two days we'll be in Hawaii. Woohoo!

Closing Smith moments ...

Opening Lines:
John Smith: [at the marriage counselor's] OK, I'll go first. Um... Let me say, uh, we don't really need to be here. See, we've been married for five years.
Jane Smith: Six.
John Smith: [chastened] Five, six years.
I kind of said something like this when we were making the decision for a timeshare:
Jane Smith: There's nowhere I'd rather be than here with you.
My favorite line: told to Jane about when he first met her
John Smith: You looked like Christmas morning.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY (fake anniversary ;-) My Love!

Rth 1:16 And Ruth said, Do not entreat me to leave you, to turn back from following you. For where you go, I will go. And where you stay, I will stay. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.

Sunday, September 16

fair two remember

We went to the fair last year and had a great time. This year along with us was the oldest high school daughter, a perfect add to our outing. Despite incredible traffic we encountered on the way, long walks to the entrance and out again (without encountering trams), having been blessed by our benevolent friend once again, we had a eventful night at the fair.

We spent most of our time with rides, although we heard some karaoke singers (some who just shouldn't have sung). The young at heart went on roller coasters and things that go every which way but loose, flying (like hang gliding), slides, and such. The ace's son was a passenger as our daughter became speedlightninnnnnnnnnn in a go cart - pity the kid that tried to cut her off - and Jonathan drove the smaller cars thwarting the attempts to be passed as well.

There was a spectacular fireworks display too! Cotton candy, popcorn, churros, and hotdogs were consumed.

The fair was extremely crowded (attesting to its success) - we were squeezing our way from here to there. I'm pretty sure that at the stroke of midnight our younger children turned into pumpkins; but they were troopers!

But trooper of the night for me was the husband who not only maneuvered through horrible traffic, anticipated bathroom requirements, and he (and the Ace too) walked all around with aching knee and were the money bags, was the event photographer (he didn't even end up in any of the pictures), and got us home in the shortest order imaginable!

If we make it next year - let me just say one thing ... train! It pulls right up to the fair - no traffic, no parking involved! Our jaunt didn't go as I envisioned; what does? Here's to family and friends! Oh what a night!
Ain't we got them - good times!

in the traffic lane

Essentially I had to serve detention (traffic school). Nowadays many people could take care of this online, but I went 'old school' and so did many others. Still, I walked away having learned a thing or two and enjoying myself. While I attended a comedic traffic school, some of the comedy was provided by those in attendance. We had an unwitting (whether appropriate, pun unintended) young lady in all her nievete became one of the focal points of humor.

I particularly enjoyed a time of Jeopardy (which our team won leaving the opponent in the dust in the double jeopardy portion) and another team competition that we participated in.

So, did you know ...
In California you are required to report hitting a dog, horse (they are property), but not a cat.
It can be done to go to traffic school more than once in 18 months
It is as dangerous to drive tired as it is to drive drunk?
You don't have to have .08 to qualify for DUI; there's more criteria.
The cost of a DUI voilation (the impact from insurance, attorneys, mandatory classes, jail time, possible loss job, etc.); it should make one look at a drink a little differently.

See I learned something!

Yeah I was speeding, again.

Friday, September 14

Happy Anniversary to our Eldest!

Love Story

Where do I begin to tell the story
Of how great a love can be
The sweet love story that is older than the sea
The simple truth about the love she brings to me

Where do I start
With her first hello
She gave new meaning to this empty world of mine
They'll never be another love another time
She came into my life and made the living fine

She fills my heart
She fills my heart with very special things
Angel songs and wild imaginings
She fill my soul with so much love
That any where I go I'm never lonely
With her around who could be lonely
I reach for her hand
She's always there

How long does it last
Can love be measured by the hours in a day
I have no answers now
But this much I can say
I know I'll need her until the stars all burn away
And she'll be there

How long does it last
Can love be measured by the hours in a day
I have no answers now
But this much I can say
I know I'll need her until the stars all burn away
And she'll be there
They are celebrating their 4th anniversary! We're so glad they were brought together. Here's to crab platters and many more!

Tuesday, September 11

train of thought

My brother was on a train that had an accident today. He called, something we are not in the habit enough of doing, afterward, to tell me about it. The husband said someone at his job was also on that train - the last car. The brother said he had an E-ticket (and I don't mean electronic), first car-front row seat - a pick-up truck attempted to run the track. People in response attempted to jump off the train, which was then in no further harm. One lady broke her leg severely in doing so. Women were screaming beyond what the situation called for. The brother said however, the professional response was great; everyone was on their job, though there was one cop who was like "every one off the train NOW!"

The brother had a good humor about the whole thing so I believe his saying he's okay. I 'instant messaged' the sister about the incident and she ironically had the same sardonic wit. We surmised it is in the DNA (too much Heroes for me maybe?). How else could it be explained?

Metrolink Train Collides With Truck, Several People Injured
September 11, 2007, 10:01 AM PDT

Metrolink Train Collides With Truck, Several People Injured A crash between a rush-hour commuter train and a pickup truck north of downtown Los Angeles injured at least seven people.

The crash in Highland Park occurred just before 8 a.m.

The truck was pinned between the MTA train and a concrete pillar. The train crushed part of the truck bed.

The driver was briefly trapped but was conscious and alert when he was cut free and taken to a hospital.

About 50 people were on the train. Four passengers, the train's operator and a sheriff's deputy complained of neck and back pain.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Copyright © 2007, KTLA
I'm glad that the brother is okay in a time which seems to be under a cloud of such things (it is 9-11 after all) - reminding me somewhat of Sixth Sense, that God is watching over him, and that he called me. Love that guy!

Monday, September 10

Angel City HBCU Classic

Saturday we went to the Angel City HBCU Classic featuring NORTH CAROLINA A&T vs PRAIRIE VIEW A&M. One, the weather was great - nice and warm with a breeze. Two, we were blessed with some tickets, parking and everything.

We were in the L.A. Coliseum to see this event sponsored by Farmers Insurance. The event was also well represented by local radio - V100, KDAY and KJLH in the house!

The youngest and I took a walk around. There were booths with free stuff and shopping - food concessions like bean pie! We had great seats. The husband even ran into an old high school friend (no, not the mascot!) with whom we happened to sit in the same row. Too, he was quite the photographer at this event!

It was wonderful listening to the bands and watching the cheer and drill teams compete, and the football teams face off.

Wow - what a nice day! I'm looking forward to going again next year - I think it'll be a bigger event than ever!

Saturday, September 8

Where have i been all of my August - keys to serenity

Keyboards – I mentioned that – in addition to mine, husband now has a Yamaha YPG-225 no not the outboard motor. So, its hooked up so we can both play side by side silently or together or either/or. We acquired a nice selection of worship music and other favorites – I love songs from the 40s/50s and he also added some 70s. I find playing very relaxing. Dueling keyboards? Nope not us :-)

If all goes well we may have a Christmas lawn carols for the hood - now wouldn't that be something?

Practice! Practice! Practice!

Friday, September 7

A Hiro by any other name …

Another form of relaxation I’ve mentioned has been watching TV series DVDs – we’ve been catching up on Stargate SG-1 again and have now taken up a new one – Heroes. I didn’t know what to expect – figuring something along the lines of some heroic feat being featured every week. Wow – the show is a hit as R. Charles might say. We started it (a marathon of sorts) over the Labor holiday weekend and have been captivated. I particularly like all of the allusions superhero, sci-fi, and otherwise – the writer in me is quite pleased to now look for references to Star Trek, Superman, and the like. From IMDB, I’ve noticed a lot of the cast have cross paths on other shows ["Touched by an Angel", "Gilmore Girls", "The Guiding Light", "Days of Our Lives", "24", 7th Heaven", "Numb3rs", "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation", "ER"; among a quite extensive list] – possibly picked for someone having known them at a particular time and place. They have made very good character choices – the ones you lose you hate to see go – no one seems dispensible. A long ago "Dynasty" fan, I found that the Heroes character Mr. Bennet (Jack Coleman) was the young Steven Carrington back then – you can see it in his eyes! You’ll probably remember the little boy Micah from the delightfully mystical Lady in the Water. Anyway to say the least, Heroes is a pearl of a series! DVD sets for new seasons for Atlantis and Smallville are on the near horizon!

Thursday, September 6

Steptember is here! Oh where o where has my August gone!

to catch things up ...
  • I joined the Steptember challenge on America on the Move - taking the Oregon trail while the husband traverses the Pacific. You do 2 things - increase you average monthly steps by 2000 and decrease calories consumed by 100 daily. Began that the 4th.
  • I've met my first fitness goal - 177 pounds. Saw the doctor near the end of the month and my blood pressure was 122/80; I'm off those medz. woo hoo! Still working on the cholesterol though.
  • The youngest started third grade a month ago already; has already completed his first school sale campaign - thanks to all of you at the husband's job who always come through for him big time, mine, church and friends that supported him. He got all but the top 2 prizes (and the top one just wasn't going to happen anyway). He's thrilled! We've already 'been there and done that' Back to School night as well. He's doing really great in school too and has a wonderful teacher rather than military commander. He's testing well. We're proud of him as he works on focus focus focus! He was Student of the Week last week.
  • Speaking of the military, the giant laid on me that he has joined the armed forces - now a member of the U.S. navy - the plan: qualifying for Seals or being a MA; expecting to have basic training in November - Lord keep your hand upon him.
  • Planning to go to the Pomona fair again this year and to the Angel City Classic this weekend; the calendar is getting awfully full - I've got to go to traffic school before the vacation too.
  • The trip to Hawaii is a couple of weeks away - ooo wee aloha!
  • It'll be in celebration of our 8th anniversary - as we rushed to end up being the last to be married in the Old Orange County Courthouse. In August, celebrated the official marriage and in September we celebrate our wedding ceremony standing before God and man (friends and family close at hand). Sometimes things want to creep in and whisper its not as good as it has been. But I know where that talk comes from. God has been so good to us - blessed us with this child and our blended family and friends and purpose and the ability to stand hand in hand with a common vision sewn by a common faith.
  • We have non-dueling keyboards and have been enjoying quiet evenings at home with the music - very peaceful and relaxing - more on those later.
  • Congrats to the Holybees on the addition of Hezekiah to their family!
... And its my anniversary in blog too!

Wednesday, September 5

August things - Flash to back in the day

The husband took some Fridays off to have some of the one's I have off with me. I had to forego one week because, well, it turned out that the sister was in town, and it was going to be a good time to spend time with the brother and folx from where we grew up.

It seems that back in the day, people that moved to California migrated to areas with residents from nearby hometowns also lived– that was the way it was where we grew up – lots of the folx my parents hung out with were from similar Jersey areas – many still living now where we once lived.

At this time in space, the brother also lives in that area – so the sister made arrangements to spend time with him and folx we hadn’t seen for some time – some since mom had passed away and some even longer. It was great seeing the brother again (was beginning to think I'd never catch up with him)! And it was special too to see these people that knew me growing up and rehashing memories with the siblings and these folx. It was worth the drive in traffic both ways to spend the day to see the sister, the rarely seen eldest nephew, and the brother at last, and reminiscing with the family on days gone by.

August things - Bea Watson, Fontana and I will miss you!

She left us to be with the Lord the 12 of August

Bea Watson is home with the Lord. For the most part my experience with Fontana is Bea - full of heart and a ready smile. I’m happy she’s home, but she will be sorely missed. One of the articles I read referred to her as 'Mrs. Fontana" These Press Enterprise write-ups give light to who she was as well ...

Ex-Fontana Councilwoman Bea Watson dies

Former City Clerk and Councilwoman Bea Watson, a tireless community volunteer who organized the city's Christmas and Fontana Days parades, died Sunday and will be remembered in a funeral service Monday.

She was 83.

Mrs. Watson was elected to two terms as Fontana city clerk, completing her eight years in office in December. She also served one term as a city councilwoman, from 1992 to 1996, losing her re-election bid to Manuel Mancha by 68 votes....

Mrs. Watson's successor, City Clerk Tonia Lewis, said she would recruit friends and colleagues to help out with civic events. "It's hard to fill her shoes because she was so active in everything," Lewis said. "She didn't take no for an answer."...
One of Mrs. Watson's passions was the Fontana Historical Society, which was established in 1974 but in recent years needed an infusion of volunteers to replace its aging roster.

"She got me involved with the Historical Society because the society was failing for lack of membership. She hated to see things fail, so she would gather together people she knew who could handle those things," Lewis said. "We had no choice."

Mrs. Watson was active in several other local organizations and events, including the Fontana Woman's Club, the Fontana Exchange Club; American Legion Auxiliary, Post 772; and the Fontana Chamber of Commerce.

She served on committees to commemorate Fontana's 50th and 75th anniversary celebrations, and organized the city's annual Community Prayer Breakfast since 1990. She also was an active volunteer for the Fontana Days Festival, the annual summer celebration of the city's 1913 founding by A.B. Miller, and organized the city's annual Festival of Winter.

"The Christmas parade was her baby. She felt like she was doing it for the kids in Fontana," Lewis said.

Born July 1, 1924, in Ashtabula, Ohio, Mrs. Watson came West in 1944, living in San Bernardino before moving to Fontana. She attended San Bernardino Valley College and was a retired telephone company administrator with Pacific Bell.

Recalling Busy Bea

Fontana was a small, rough-edged steel town when Bea Watson moved there in 1960. By the time she departed on Aug. 5, it had grown to a city of 182,000 with sophisticated suburbs, a new freeway and big-city shopping centers.

Along the way, Watson served as an elected councilwoman and city clerk, Women's Club president and Historical Society officer, and organizer of the annual Fontana Days, Christmas parade and prayer breakfast.

As the city's unofficial mayor, goodwill ambassador and head cheerleader, she almost single-handedly got Fontana to retain its hometown feeling, even as it grew to the second most populous city in San Bernardino County.

I got to know Watson in the early 1990s when I was a reporter covering City Hall.

City officials can be impatient with the turnover in city-hall reporters every few years. They tire of breaking in newcomers they fear won't understand their cities.

But Bea Watson wasn't like that. With her kind, bespectacled eyes and grandmotherly smile, she greeted you as just the latest addition to the Fontana family.

She'd take you by the arm and steer you in the direction she thought you should go -- a signature Bea-Watson move.

At a memorial Monday at the First Assembly of God, Rep. Joe Baca, D-Rialto, described how Watson persuaded him to ride in the Fontana Days parades.

"She would wrap her arms around me and walk along with me," he said, and she wouldn't stop asking until he said yes. The remark brought laughter and nods of recognition from scores of dignitaries, clergy and residents paying their respects.

Watson was a tireless organizer and worker, earning the nickname Busy Bea, Baca said.

"In Heaven, she is organizing and getting the angels involved," he said. "And she'll probably ask God to be in the parade."

Until the 1990s, the city had sponsored Fontana Days. But after the recession hit, Watson took up the baton, recruiting volunteers and sponsors to keep the tradition going.

Former Police Chief Frank Scialdone, now a councilman, recalled that as her "assistant," he learned not to print the parade lineup until the morning of the parade, because Watson would keep adding entries.

She was happiest when 6,000 children were parading down Sierra Avenue amid floats, marching bands and equestrians. There was nothing she wouldn't do "for the kids."

You could tell your status by where Watson placed you in the parade, Mayor Mark Nuaimi told the gathering.

When they ran against each other for mayor in 1994, Nuaimi found himself behind the horses. As their rivalry softened over the years, he advanced toward the head of the parade.

Before becoming a volunteer, Watson was a career woman at a time when that was a rarity. She retired in 1982 after 36 years with Pacific Bell, where she helped develop the touch-tone dialing system, said her husband, Larry Watson.

Later, she turned her talents to community television, filming segments for KFON, the public-access channel, Larry Watson said. Before long, she was operating the cameras that televised council meetings. She was also instrumental in getting a performing arts center built.

Her loss will be felt dearly in Fontana for years to come.

Fitness Footnote

'the highs and lows of' my Weight Loss Journey