Sunday, October 23, 2011

October 13, 2011

lower back pain = 4, pinch nerve in thumb pain = 5, pre-menopause symptoms = 6, lupus symptoms/pain = 7, allergies = 9+ ... I want a f-ing medal for kicking a$$ in 6am spin class this morning!!!

Ode to a higer power

Written on a slow afternoon just before Saturday:
Ode to the Higher Power

Oh please Higher Power of all things big and small
I have a special request regarding a certain game of college football
On this Saturday, this upcoming Saturday
... A rivalry game will be played
Not cross town, nor inner state
It’s a rivalry that is far too great
It began in 1926 and,
some say,
it may even be the greatest intersectional rivalry of them all

You see, Higher Power, The University of Southern California’s Trojans are traveling to South Bend this week

and …. we …. NEED …. a win

A Jeweled Shillelagh is the winner’s prize
But the real gain is pride

Oh please Higher Power … please
If not for USC then do it for me
I can’t tell you why
at least not in public
and maybe not at all
but I need this win to make certain things right
it could change the past … at last!

Oh please Higher Power, give Barkley consistency
His pass completion ratio must change
He needs to be good enough to win big games
And this could be the biggest
And after last year’s loss
And UCLA coming up in a few weeks
And the Bowl suspension over soon
He needs this double U too

Thank You!

there was a time when i considered law school ...

there was a time when i considered law school ...

by Julie Silber on Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at 6:04pm

Hi Fred,

I appreciate your apologies. However, I believe your recollection of the accident is far from what happened. I understand that I was not there, but I do have input from 5 people who were. Indeed, 4 of those involved were teenagers ... teenagers with exceptional attention to details and memories despite being shook-up. I also understand that your memory and that of your passengers may have been impaired at the time. Here are the details:

1) There are no Stop signs on Sunset Blvd. from PCH to downtown Los Angeles, including the corner of Sunset Blvd. and Bel Air Rd./So. Beverly Glen Blvd. where the accident occurred. That's a fact. The light was red. No one takes turns at a red light.

Here's a google maps link:

2) Lin F+++r was first in line at the light (I gave him your number and he's going to call you). My daughter was second. You came-up third.

3) After the accident, you all pulled over to the right shoulder on Sunset Blvd. across the Bel Air Rd./So. Beverly Glen Blvd. intersection going west bound on Sunset Blvd. There was no need to wave on traffic and no one did.

4) The photos taken by the passengers in my car show the damage to your friend's car. The extent of damage to your friend's car could not have happened only going 3-4 miles per hour and a physics equation could easily show that.

5) As far as the damage to my car is concerned, you may be an expert at assessing car damage, especially at 1:30ish AM on a poorly lit street, with impaired judgment - I am not and that's why I took the car to the body shop recommended to me by the Honda dealer where I just bough the car. He pointed out to me in daylight the damage to the back of the car as well as showed me that the front bumper is buckled just behind the license plate holder, where it hit the tow thing on the back of Lin's Yukon. You have all his information. Feel free to give him a call.

You should have called the cops, made an accident report and exchanged the proper information. I have no problem with doing all that now. My ex-sister-in-law is an LAPD officer with the valley traffic division and I'm sure she can point us in the right direction as it seems that was not done early Saturday morning ... at your insistence.

One last thing, I have not asked you to cover the cost of a rental car while my car is getting fixed, which your insurance would cover. I may not need one, but if I do, I think that would be only fair.

Do the right thing. Next time you may not be so lucky as to convince a teenager not to call the police.

I look forward to hearing from you.



Didn't Write Much in 2010

Goodbye 2010 … the year of transition. It started so unhealthy and ended so superbly. So many subtle transformations took place that were not very visible all at once, but amounted to a great year of change. Some of it a bit scary and worrisome and some of it so unbelievably good that I have no doubt that the rest of my life will be better for it.

I started to write this on Friday, December 31, 2010, but had to put it aside when the afternoon was consumed waiting for the Auto Club in the parking lot at Jerry’s Deli in Encino. An 88-year-old man mistook the accelerator for his break pedal and drove over 2 concrete parking blocks and hit Gabriela’s little blue bug head-on sending it 5 feet backwards, bleeding oil and radiator fluid. It could mean a goodbye to Cedric, the blue beetle. We will know more tomorrow.

I gained a client and lost two and gained a job and lost a job. 2010 saw my income slowing wither to about half of what it was at the beginning of the year while the expenses for school increased – budget cuts being passed onto the student and all. And the cost of getting into college!! I honestly don’t know how some people do it. My father is in awe of what I was able to accomplish this year with fewer resources. “Smoke and mirrors”, he says. Smoke and mirrors and being extremely resourceful and gifted with excel spreadsheets and managing cash flow and finding hidden money. A gift my clients benefit from daily which I am sure helped me gain the increase in responsibility and year-end Bonus at RingTales … ever need to laugh while work-stuff crashes down around you? Work at a cartoon animation studio. I really love working there.

I fell in love. It was short lived, but profound. I wished it to have lasted longer, but alas, I had to return Liz Kolar’s Cervelo road bike to her after she so graciously let me borrow it for a few months early in the year. I honestly never liked a bike more. Not even the precious LiteSpeed I sobbed over while selling late in 2009 to help pay for surgery.

And then came the affair with a Predator; Justin, thank you for letting me borrow and race the Malibu Tri on your bike! So fast! I wish I had been in shape enough to do it justice.

Love and loss with bikes in 2010. Ahhhh!

I managed to stick to my goal of worrying less and fixing the things that I can and being ok with the things that I can’t. Yay for me! However, I still have a half built butcher block kitchen thingie that really needs a-fixing that I cannot do. Any volunteers?

And some help un-sticking the window in my bathroom that was painted open would be appreciated too!!!

Ahh … another highlight: our apartment was painted and carpeted last April. First time in 12+ years! So nice to come home to fresh and new.

I lost weight, gained speed, endurance and strength, almost back to my pre-Juice Wireless self (side note: Juice Wireless was the horrible corporate start-up job that ruined my health and well being in 2007-2008 … such a long recovery!)

I helped raise much needed funds for the Samohi Aquatics program with a host of fund-raisers and coached some of the kids for an open water swim challenge. I get such a rush when I know I have made a positive difference. It is worth so much more than gold.

I became a triathlete for the third time when Anne and I chit-chatted our way through the Malibu Triathlon in September. People looked at us funny when we strolled past them discussing childcare and carpooling schedules for the coming week … it may not get us on the podium but that’s how we multi-tasking super women raced in 2010!!

There was the winter Olympics and the World Cup and Le Tour and a semi-dreadful USC football season that was made so much better because of Kouy and Ken and their tailgating clan! Thank you for including us!! Fight On!

I started to wear reading glasses and Gabriela jokingly nudges me every time there’s an AARP commercial on the TV. Oye vey.

I joined a committee of the Los Angeles Triathlon Club to foster and promote the sport to the under 18 crowd. Let’s see if I can put the past completely behind me, rise above the politics and greedy business practices that turned my stomach and turned me away and do something I have wanted to do in the sport and with the kids for so long. Deep breath and fingers crossed.

I managed to build and replenish both our wardrobes in the style and taste of our choosing. And why did this make the list? Clothes shopping important? Ever try to feel like a million bucks wearing a burlap sack? And yes, my child leans towards expensive stylish attire and I can’t really blame her. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree … smoke and mirrors, baby! Smoke and mirrors.

I organized a relay for the Optimist Endurance Swim from Manhattan Beach Pier to Santa Monica Pier. Go Team! Justin, Kevin, Frank, Ken, Kouy, Trish, Anne and me … and Gabriela who was our ever present cheer leader and photographer! Who is in for next year?

Just about every Tuesday morning, from before dawn until normal business hours, I have had the pleasure of getting to know Grace Laurel Rakunas over the course of her very first year in this world. I am not sure who benefitted more: Daddy Adam who got to get on his bike and ride or me. See you tomorrow morning, Grace! I can’t wait.

And I spent just about every Friday and then some helping Gabriela with researching and emailing and calling and coordinating and planning and paying for all those things needed to help your kid go to the college of her dreams. I can’t wait to see where she ends up. All her options are great.

G and I went on a road trip to the central coast over the summer, in-between work and water polo summer league. When we got to Hearst Castle, Gabriela took a deep breath and exclaimed, “I am home!” Opulence is her new favorite word.

I watched Gabriela learn a new sport this year, water polo, and her team go undefeated in their league. I've never had so much fun driving a van before!! Boy did that van rock! And I learned never go anywhere without a nail file.

Sometimes as parents, we cannot imagine that there is any more room in our hearts to feel more love and pride for our kids. I guess our hearts are meant to grow. Gabriela tackled so many mountains in 2010: physical, emotional and ginormous amounts of school work. She grew-up so much. She handled situations and challenges with such poise and maturity - most adults I know could never do what she did. She learned a lot about herself, gained confidence in the face of heartbreak and understanding when faced with teenage meanness the likes of which does not cease to shock me. She too ended the year positioned to make 2011 her year. One One!! I think my kid is simply awesome.

From tiny to tall, near and far … so many people made an impact on my life in 2010. A few relationships faded and a friendship may have been lost. But new people came into my life whom I adore and a few very special people resurfaced from the past making this transformative year beyond bearable with millions of special moments … moments, that combined, help heal a year that started broken and continued to see it end mended, full of hope and promise.

Love and thanks to you all!

Filling in the Gaps

Sue and Jimmy moved back in two weeks after they left. That was a very very hard adjustment to make.

G graduated from high school and is a freshman in college.

I have a real full-time job now in Investor Relations. No more coaching. No more part-time clients (well, still have one).

I'm going to paint the Bamboo Chinese Cabinet in the living room turquoise as part of a redecorating project.

I would like to race the Pasadena Half Marathon in January 2012, the Honu Half in June 2012 and the Georgia half in September 2012.

Following are a handful of entries dating between 2009 and now.

I was Googled

I met a guy at a bar a bit ago ... yeah, I met a guy in a bar ... and actually hit if off with him. Too soon to tell anything. But he did reveal to me last night that he Googled me and told me the kind of info he found. I was surprised about what he found out there ... and flattered too. You only Google people you like - first to make sure they are who they say they are and second to rule out serial killer, married and hiding it and all sorts of unsavory stuff. To get back to what he found ... well ... he found this: my blog, the blog I stopped updating because tax season in the year of 2009 was one of my busiest. And I never picked it back up because I had to give up my IMCA 2009 dreams when I suddenly needed emergency surgery to fix a rupture that caused nerve damage. And then I never picked it back up because I had to sell my bikes and training gear to help pay for the surgery. I never picked it back up because my recovery was long. I never picked it back up because I was no longer an athlete. I never picked it back up because I retreated and needed to figure out who I was if I wasn't and couldn't be an Ironman anymore.

I guess I had to meet a guy in a bar who Googled me to see if I was a serial killer and instead found my blog to find a part of myself again. I still don't have a bike .... but I've decided to pick it back up.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

An end to an era

I woke up this morning to birds singing and fresh air. The second time in nearly 11 years. The first was yesterday. Jimmy and Sue Taylor from downstairs moved back to some trailer park in Indiana on the family farm last Friday. After nearly 11 years of loud homicidal conversations starting at 4 am, the smoke from 2 x 2 packs a cigarettes a day wafting in through the bathroom cabinet and living room windows and the exhaust from the succession of Jimmy's clunkers filling our lives ... well, I can see rainbows and unicorns and pots of gold and fluffy clouds and clear skies and hear angels singing.

And oddly enough, we're going to miss them. Jimmy's bar fight stories were a hoot,
of course, only after living here a year or two when I realized they we're not going to kill us in our sleep because our baby sitter parked in the driveway for 10 minutes to drop my daughter off. Jimmy had a temper.

"I done did kill amman for touching my leather jacket back in Texas. Can't go through Texas anymore".

They were in their 50's or 60's and had lived in our apartment for 20 years until the Northridge
earthquake and then moved downstairs while repairs were done in our place. Jimmy said the stairs were killing him. He'd come and go from his apartment 5 times an hour to work on his car or his weekly garage sale of stuff he'd find in the alley. They lived in our building a total of 31 years. With rent control, they probably paid $400 a month for a 1 bedroom in a prime area of Santa Monica.

Jimmy and Sue would work the carnival when it was in town (St. Monica's and St. Anne's have a carnival every year) and sometimes drove far to work it for extra cash. They collected disability checks.

Sue had all her teeth removed about 5 years ago. I'd see her sometimes pan-handling out in front of the Post Office on Wilshire Blvd. The first week we moved in she came to my door asking for food and money. I knew I had to establish boundries from the get go and said "no". She never asked again. She had the maturity of a 12 year old, a good heart and never wore a bra. Her uniform was leggings and an oversized t-shirt with a cuddly animal pic on it. She loved hand-held video games and stuffed animals. And had for years been talking about taking my daughter to Universal Studios. That was never going to happen, but I was never going to say that - volleyball tournaments always messed up that plan ;)

Jimmy stopped during his hair black about 6 years ago. It was long and grey. He mostly wore jeans a t-shirt, leather jacket and boots. Occasionally, he'd wear short shorts from the 70's and let his very unfit physique hang out. You tried to avert your eyes, but it was like a train wreck and you always looked and then regretted it.

They used to complain about my daughter making too much noise. I always told them that I'd get her to stop dancing in her room when they stopped smoking. That usually shut them up for a bit. They mellowed over the years. Jimmy grew more and more gleeful when talking about moving back home. Santa Monica wasn't a good fit for them. He'd catch me getting in my car and would go on about how he fixed something or other on his car to be able to make that trek across country or that he was waiting for the next check or ...

I gave them a photo of us ... they asked me for it. An end to an era. It is truly amazing how nice it is not to wake to yelling and cussing and the tv blaring at all hours ... even if it was muffled by the floor.