Saturday, October 27, 2007

My Neighbors

We live in a townhome, pretty nice, 3 bedrooms, 1500 sq ft, 2 car garage. You know that we got robbed when we first moved in. So that has made the experience less than perfect, regardless I have still liked the place. There's a pool for our small community, lots of beautiful landscaping, fruit trees, nice place to walk around with the dog.

The downside is the mass number of townhomes in such a small area. I think there's somewhere between 80-100 townhomes, each of them on a tenth of an acre or less, right on top of each other. Some are 2 bedroom, 1 car garage with a carport; some are 3 bedroom, 2 car garage. Because there are so many homes in such close proximity, there are tons of people living close.

From my patio or bedroom window I can hear lots of interesting, disgusting, and entertaining noises:

1. one neighbor goes out each morning and reads his newspaper, drinks his coffee and smokes his cigarettes on his patio. He's surrounded by a pomegranite tree, ficus, bogenvalia, and other plants. The humingbirds hang out on his patio. It's very nice.

2. there's a marine couple that lives in my adjoining townhome. A woman used to live there by herself - but she had to move to Colorado with her job and decided to rent it out. I've met the marine but not his wife. He's really a nice guy. They have 2 children, I've really only seen their daughter. She's about 3 yrs old. They have a dog and a cat. For the most part they are quiet, except he goes outside to smoke and when we're in bed and he opens the sliding glass door, it sounds like our door and I freak out. I can't tell you how many times I get up and just double check that it's not our house - because of the break-in. They've had a wild party once, the police came and they were all very drunk, talking loud and having fun. I wouldn't care except I couldn't sleep. If this was when I was living in Cincinnati, I could close my window and sleep because I'd be far enough away.

3. Next to me across a small walkway with bushes dividing the walkways, is another marine and his wife. I don't think they have kids. They do have a squaky bird of some kind, a cat and a big dog. The dog barks at us when we are coming in and out of our house. Sometimes the dog gets going and then Snicker reacts to him. I've never really talked to them; but I did overhear them saying stuff about us and our dog. Some stupid shit, really. But like our other neighbors they have had some wild, loud parties. So many that the police have been there multiple times. Last party I was concerned that these marines were talking loud and one of them was really pissed off. His buds were telling him to "put it away". I was worried that "IT" was a GUN. I mean, you never know, right??

4. There's some really nice people that live here that I've talked to - a guy named Otis, he has a pitbull that is a really nice dog. He lives up the street and we chat from time to time. There's another woman that has great yard sales, she's really nice. Then a couple doors up the street is an elderly lady, her daughter and granddaughter live with her. She's really nice, a little nosy, but that's ok, I feel like at she is looking out for all the rest of us!

5. One thing that I realized since I lived here is that HILLBILLIES live in California!! Honestly, I was very surprised. I mean, I'm from Cincinnati. It's right on the Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio borders. And when I say there are hillbillies here, I know what I'm talking about. I've seen enough of them. These people are loud, obnoxious, the dog is always running around, their front door is never closed, they have trash in their yard, their patio is full of crap - severe overflow of garbage from the inside of the house. They have a tons of kids that live in that house and the are always whining and crying. The youngest son is cute, but whines all the time. The next son is always in trouble - expelled from school for the entire 1st quarter. And the woman is crazy!!

6. I'm saving the best for last! directly behind me, there is a lady that I have to assume is a heavy smoker or was one most of her life. She lives with her daughter, some animals. I walk behind her house with the dog, she loves Padres baseball. In fact, it kind of reminds me of my own mother. I've never seen the woman, but boy do I hear her. She hacks, chokes, coughs, and makes some other throaty clearing sounds - like a life long smoker. I can hear her no matter where I am in the house or outside. But the worst time is at night when I lay down to sleep. OH MY GOD! It's so disgusting that it just about makes me throw up! Makes me sick to my stomach.

Lots of dogs barking, cats crapping in my backyard, birds squaking, kids running, grown-ups talking, phones dialing (yep, I can hear the tones of the keypad on someone's phone), cars running, bikes and skateboards flying up and down the driveway. I didn't think that living this close would bother me, but it really does.

Fortunately, we have plans to move back to Ohio at some point. Sooner than later, I hope. We will live on .5+ acres, lots of trees, a pool, hot tub, deck, nice big house, driveway, grass to cut, flowers to plant, snow to shovel, and I will love every bit of it! California is beautiful, don't get me wrong - I am sooooooooo glad that I had the opportunity to live here. I have enjoyed seeing it in person, being around the ocean and mountains every day. It's really nice. If I was 20 and just starting out, I would probably love it so much that I would never leave. But I'm not, I don't like crime, I don't like being on top of people all the time, I don't like the illegals that are on every corner.

My biggest question is about my dog...he already freezes when it gets in the 50's! Can you imagine what he's going to do with snow and rain and ice!!??!! hehe!!

Friday, October 26, 2007

San Diego Fires

This has been the CRAZIEST week EVER! I just can't describe the feeling of waking up on a Monday morning, getting ready for work, only to find out that you have to stay home, pack up your important papers, pictures and some clothes, so you can high tail out of the neighborhood and head to an evacuation center. One thing that I learned pretty quickly was not to panic, but to systematically gather our belongings and prepare to leave.

The biggest thing was all the time that was spent glued to the news coverage. Hoping like hell, TRUSTING the media! YIKES! That was very difficult. Meanwhile, in the middle of the fire, he had to go to dialysis on Monday and Wednesday. It was very freaky. I sat here, all packed, ready to go, planned to meet him at dialysis and then head to an evac center. Even the dog knew something was up and when he saw me pack up his food and blankets, he was ready to book out the door!

I was nervous, talked to some friends online, watched the media coverage, tried to stay on top of the areas where the fires were burning. At one point, the fire came within a few miles from our house and the mandatory evacuation center was within a mile. FREAKY!!

Then at one point on Tuesday, President Bush declared Southern California a "Natural Disaster Area". I sat here, still packed and waiting to see where the fire was coming in from and it sunk into me that I was living in a natural disaster area. Good God! That was something that I have NEVER experienced. Even during tornadoes and floods couldn't compare with fire. All I could think was all the fire lessons I got from my uncle, who was a fireman. I just kept trusting that the fire departments were working hard and keeping us safe.

By Tuesday afternoon, we had to get out of the house and just see what was going on beyond our front yard. So we drove to the Oceanside Harbor, walked around and saw people trying to be "normal". Those folks trying to be normal made me feel better. I felt like things would return soon to the "normal" state. I'd return to work, I'd pay bills, I'd continue to live my life, love my family and be normal! Ah, the idea of being normal, running errands, sitting in traffic, waiting for the train, going to the dry cleaners, mailing letters, cooking dinner.

I thought that it was alot like during 9/11. Disaster struck. People didn't know what to think. Watch lots of TV, depending on the media to get you through. That's exactly how I felt.

I thank God that none of my friends lost their homes, none were hurt, many were displaced, but got to return. The concern from my friends, the love that was outpouring is amazing.

And then, let's talk about how amazing the folks in San Diego were to each other. 10's of 1000's of people in evacuation centers, 10's of 1000's of people bringing food, blankets, pillows, toiletries, water, paper products, and everything that people needed. There were so many donations that the evac centers had to ask people to NOT bring donations! When have you ever heard of something like that? The outpouring was very touching. I was crying over the kindness of people. We didn't wait for the Federal Govt to step in a "save" us. We just saved ourselves. To me, that's the best part of living here in San Diego.

A couple of funny shelter stories:
1. one of the shelters by the coast had lots of elderly folks in it. A couple of the Chargers paid for everything for this shelter including a Chef who came in and cooked a gourmet breakfast and had Starbucks come in and serve coffee!
2. another shelter had lots of elderly folks in it and many of them had dogs. They put out a request for people to come down and walk their dogs and play with them so they could sleep for a while!!
3. volunteer Dr's and nurses poured out into the shelters to the extent that some were turned away because there was no more need.
4. teachers were volunteering to go to Qualcomm Stadium to help with everyone's kids - give them something to do, help fight boredom!!

After hearing all the positive stories about the shelters, I totally expected to hear that someone would be giving away massages or spa treatments!! And now they are trying to decide if the Chargers can play on Sunday or Monday. Let me tell you, if we are able to play an NFL game a week after the fires started there's nothing we can't do!! GO SAN DIEGO!!

The latest statistics that I am aware of:
over 375,000 acres burned
over 350,ooo families evacuated
the largest fire in San Diego County AND the State of California
1800 homes burned down so far
about 7 deaths, 19 injuries
bad air quality all week and into next week

God bless those affected by the fires! "EVERYONE"

Monday, October 22, 2007



More on the San Diego Fires

Disaster Area! Smokey, bad air to breath. Some areas no electric. Some with no natural gas. Animals trapped, houses destroyed, highways closed, schools closed, evacuations to schools, churches, community centers; fires consuming neighborhoods, big beautiful houses with gorgeous views, expensive. Trees, bushes, grass, everything is dry. Easy to catch on fire. So Sad!

Now Solano Beach has to be evacuated and that goes all the way to the coast! Imagine that! The coast!! No one thought it would ever go that far.

Looters are out, police are arresting people, it's CRAZY!

My neighborhood is safe so far. But I'm ready to leave if told to go. Some areas were only given a 2 minute warning to leave. The only thing I have to do is throw the dog food into the bag, grab our laundry basket from upstairs and pull the car out, grabbing a couple more boxes of pictures.

I pray, I pray. Please pray

San Diego County Fires

Hello everyone. It's a crazy day. San Diego County - 7 FIRES RIGHT NOW!! Over 250,000 people evacuated, houses burned down, large animals evacuated to 2 locations in the county, roads closed, fires burning. It's so sad. I hope they can get this under control, but as of this writing is 0% UNDER CONTROL.

The closest fire to my house is about 7 miles away. So, hopefully it will get contained and we'll be ok.

The Santa Ana winds will be kicking up for the next 3 days. It's going to be a long week and we might make it staying here today, but we could easily be evacuated any day this week. They are predicting that this fire will burn all the way to the ocean. We live about 7 miles east of the ocean, and it could easily zip past us. Phew!

It's a state of emergency, strong winds too much for the air fighters. It's so dry, low low low humidity. The whole place is a tinderbox - no rain in years, one spark will set off a fire easily. The county is smokey, firey, and scary. Phone calls for emergencies only. Wow, I've never experienced anything like this before.

This is the largest fire ever in this area. TV, radio, internet all good resources for help. I pray for all people in this area, for their safety.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


I have been so overwhelmed at work and believe I am caught up - or at least for the most part. I got good news this week, they have an open req to hire another Program Manager, so I will have some help with my accounts. It's a good thing because I was not affective being overworked. So today, I came home from work early, am working on the some process diagrams and hope to be ok at work tomorrow.

What do you do when you are behind or overwhelmed? How do you dig yourself out of the hole? I have a tough time once I get behind. Especially if the work is very detailed and requires a great deal of my time when 8 other clients are waiting in line and their work is piling up.

Happy day today! It's nice to feel good about your job.

Autumn in So Cal

It's beautiful weather - oh's southern's MOST always beautiful weather. But right now, it's perfect to me! Nice cool nights, warm sunny days. You just can't beat it. It stays this way for mostly 8 or 9 months a year. The other 3 to 4 months are either really hot or cooler and raining.

It's a good place to be and enjoy the outdoors.

Monday, October 08, 2007

So busy at work

Have you ever been so busy at work that you just can't get caught up? Well, that's where I am right now. No matter how hard and how much I do, I just can't recover from my vacation a few weeks ago. It's very frustrating because I had it under control before I left.

I could use some advice from you if you have organized your emails in such a way that you were able to get through all of them after a holiday. I have read and read them and still to no avail. I think the only choice I have is to delete them and start over - HAHA!! JUST KIDDING! Seriously, I could use some pointers from other project managers or managers that have over 500 unread emails!! What do you do to help ease the burden?

My other issue is that most of the emails require some sort of response or action on my part....eecckkkkk! THE LIFE OF A PROJECT MANAGER is not always the easiest life!

"Knowing others is intelligence,
knowing yourself is true wisdom."
-- Lao Tzu

Sunday, October 07, 2007

New Music On My Blog

Good morning!! I had some fun last night finding a new music player for my blog and for myspace. Check it out! It's a great addition and helps my blog be more of a destination - which will help me write in it more often :)

I hope you enjoy the tunes!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Our Dream

It's great to be in a loving relationship where we share the same dream. The Toltecs describe the Dream as our own reality. We make it what we want - sometimes it's a bad life full of misery and other times it's a wonderful life full of love and happiness. Since LOVE and HAPPINESS come from our hearts, we are responsible for which way our dream is going - good or bad.

Our dream comes with the dream to move back to Ohio, now that he's retired. Since we are both from there, we find it to be just as beautiful as people find California. I have to say, after living here for 2 years, my observations and viewpoints are still from an outsider point of view. I see people working 2 and 3 jobs just to pay for a stucco house and a "designer" car. It is definitely the land of "who can out do their neighbors". Which house has the best landscaping, the best car, the most stuff........Geez! Get a life! Not our dream!

click here to see more from the same photographer!

There was a song, when I was a teenager, by the Monkees (ok, don't laugh) called Pleasant Valley Sunday. They talked about all the track houses that look the same (just like in the pic), people washing their cars, cutting their grass - yes, believe it or not people in California USED TO cut their own grass!!!

I like where we live - compared to other places in No San Diego County. But look how close everyone lives - I can lie in bed at night and hear people coughing and one neighbor who has a smokers cough I hear her gagging all night long, I hear people dial their cordless phones - you know the "beep beep beep" of numbers? Yea, I can hear that. I hear the young mother next door yelling at her kids all day long while her marine husband is on base. No wonder they are sooo happy when dad gets home! I hear kids telling their parents good night. I mean it's ridiculous. It's never 100% quiet and it's never 100% dark here.

But we have our dream - our dream to live in Cincinnati again, to return to the place where our family and friends live. And it can't be soon enough for me. Don't get me wrong, it's been great living here, I love the ocean, the mountains, the weather - but the truth is friends are few and far between, I spend at least 12 hrs /day commuting and working. I wake up at 5am and have to go to bed around 9:30 or 10. It seems all I do is work, so we can just live.

And now that he's retired, he helps me so much. I don't have to do the grocery shopping or laundry or even clean the house. He does it so I can come home and spend time with him, and on the weekends, we can just do what we want to. That is soooooooooooooo nice! He even cooks dinner most nights. He and I are living our dream. It's great.

Our dream includes that hope to move back to the land of our roots. Here's an example of a dream house for us. Big yard, pool, hot tub, lots of green, privacy, no coughing neighbors right outside! I hope it happens soon!