Sunday, July 25, 2010

Things I have learned in San Diego

This is not an exhaustive list and I'm sure there are many things I've forgotten, but I thought I would record for posterity a list of things I've learned in San Diego.

Each year (except for 2008--just lazy I suspect) Leo and I make a list of goals. Many of those goals and some extra's I have accomplished while living the last couple of years in SoCal.

In no apparent order, here's what I've learned:

  • Spanish (I've always wanted to learn this but when your husband/significant other/etc speaks it as a first language it always gives you the boost to learn it. Most Americans don't speak another language (neither do most Brits--a benefit of having your language the universal language) and while this is unfortunate, most Americans simply don't have anyone to practice with. For example, while I think learning Spanish has changed my life, if it weren't for my husband, I wouldn't be assed with Spanish. Who would I practice with? As it is, Leo switches back to English before I do. I would like to learn German, but who am I going to talk with? Maybe I can infiltrate some Amish community in Ohio.....
  • Self-confidence in public speaking. This comes from Toastmasters--a wonderful organization that I just can't say enough about.
  • A business Master's degree (in Management and Leadership thank you very much)
  • How to make stained glass. See entry here about the stained glass mafia I encountered.
  • More of a world view. California is a very diverse place and I met a lot of people from all over the globe (I also taught English as a Second Language for a year and this may have contributed). Even though I had lived in Atlanta, Philly and Boston (all big cities) I met more people from Europe/Asia/etc in CA than I had previously.
  • To value myself more. I've always been of the type (unfortunately) to downplay my achievements, skills, etc. Because my boss and I are so close, she let me in on the hiring process for my replacement. I vetted resumes and was in on the interview process. I learned so much during this time. I saw how other people sold themselves and talked big and I need to do more of that. I also saw how much people bullshitted....
  • Big Brothers/Big Sisters. A great organization and I'm so happy I got involved in it!
  • That hillbillies exist everywhere. I used to think that hillbillies were an East Coast thing until we went to our office Christmas party 2 years ago. The receptionist and her husband brought a cooler of beer that they kept guard over the whole night. Everyone else had brought a bottle of wine to share but they were like eagles over that Budweiser. They also wore blue jeans and sweats while everyone else was dressed up. As soon as we left, Leo was like, "That''s the CA version of a redneck" and he was right.
  • That it's ok to be different. In other cities I've lived in, the people who look different are the weirdos. Here in SoCal, the people who look normal are the weirdos. And there's nothing wrong with that.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Dog Attack!

I got off work last Thursday and decided to take my dog for a walk. I had seen what I thought was a stray running up and down the street (he looked really dirty and junkyard dogish) but figured I would call animal control if he was still there after I got back from my walk.

I put the retractable collar on Maude and walked outside. She ran about 7 feet in front of me and I turned around to lock the door. That's when I heard Maude wimpering and crying. I turn around and see junkyard dog on top of my dog attacking her.

I ran over, cocked back my leg and gave that dog one hell of a kick (unfortunately I was only wearing flip-flops, one of which flew off and hit the wall of the house), I was screaming as loud as I could and trying to hit the dog in the face with the hard rubber part of the leash.

My dad's a veterinarian and I remembered him saying most people get bitten in dog fights because they try to grab the dogs by the collars to pull them apart. So I knew I should kick the dog in the face.

Thank God it worked and the dog let Maude, who was frightened out of her wits at this point, alone but it bared it's teeth at me and looked like it was going to attack me.

I was still swinging the leash around and screaming at it, so it must have thought better than to attack the crazy lady because it left.

I grabbed Maude, afraid the dog was going to come back, and got to my door only to discover I had locked it. I managed to get it unlocked and got Lil' M inside. She seemed ok and didn't seem hurt, just shell-shocked.

I went outside and my across-the-street neighbor came over, said she saw the whole thing and that the dog is always loose and that as soon as it saw Maude, it made a "beeline" for her to attack her.

The neighbor told me whose dog it was and I went over to confront that person (who shall now and forever after be referred to as ghetto neighbor). I shouldn't have gone over as angry as I was, but I was really shaken up about it.

She wouldn't come out at first, but when she did she basically told me she didn't care and wasn't going to do anything about it (did I mention she is super ghetto?).

Since we're in military housing, I called the property manager's office and told them what happened. They're really concerned, especially since she lives across the street from the playground, and asked me to get the names and addresses of my 2 neighbors who saw the attack so they can get their witness statements.

The next day, I get a call from the property manager saying that ghetto neighbor's (GN) statement is completely different from mine but that the witnesses are backing up my story.

GN said that I was walking my dog past her house and that she and her son were out on the lawn with their dog who was on a leash and that the 2 dogs sniffed each other and that was it.

I asked the property manager if GN had described my dog since she has never seen it because the attack happened on my property, out of her view.

GN described my dog as a 20-pound beige dog. Lil' M is a 14-pound black and white Chihuahua mix. There is absolutely no way the woman has seen my dog before.

What a liar! When I told my immediate neighbors about it, they said GN's house is so dirty that the property manager makes official visits once a week to make sure they are cleaning. It's so dirty that GN got rats (which meant their 2 immediate neighbors got rats too).

What a ridiculous saga.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Elusive Philly Bread Squeezing Bandit

I have no idea why I was thinking about this guy the other week but there really was a Philly Bread Squeezing Bandit.

His reign of terror lasted for over 3 years! I was living in Philly at the time and it really was hilarious. Anyway, I found this old article and ended up crying because I was laughing so hard.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Bread Squeezer 'Kneads' Help, Judge Rules

Judge Tells Convicted Bread Squeezer to Seek Treatment

A Pennsylvania man convicted of pinching and crushing hundreds of dollars worth of baked goods in local supermarkets must seek psychological help or risk going to jail, a judge ruled today.

Prosecutors claimed Samuel Feldman, 37, was on a three-year bread-squeezing spree at a series of stores in Lower Makefield, Pa., routinely poking holes in cookie wrappers and loaves of bread, rendering them unsellable.

Feldman could have faced possible probation and up to a $1,000 fine, but it looks like he squeezed by without punishment. Judge David Heckler postponed sentencing indefinitely today.

He suggested Feldman see a psychologist for evaluation of what the judge said was a compulsive behavioral problem.

Heckler said could have sentenced Feldman to jail time, but said he would not impose punishment as long as Feldman got whatever kind of treatment a health care professional deemed necessary.

A Bucks County jury had reached a split verdict after six hours of deliberations Thursday, finding Feldman guilty of damaging cookies but not bread.

The judge reversed the decision, however, and convicted Feldman of two counts of criminal mischief for damaging bread and cookies worth less than $1,000.

Caught Bread-Handed

A surveillance videotape introduced as evidence showed Feldman manhandling the baked goods on several occasions at a Lower Makefield Giant Food supermarket, which suffered $8,000 in damage to its bread and cookies over three years.

Feldman’s lawyer, Ellis Klein, said his client was only testing the bread for freshness when he was caught on film, and that he wasn’t responsible for the previous bakery assaults at the store.

“Touching multiple loaves of bread does not mean that you’re damaging. Their whole case is based on an assumption that he’s acting weird, therefore, he must be the guy who did it,” he said.

Feldman, who was arrested in January, originally had been charged with all the baked goods damage at Giant Foods, including 175 bags of bagels, 227 bags of potato dinner rolls, and more than 3,000 bags of sliced bread.

Defense attorneys had argued that since police didn’t fingerprint the goods, they couldn’t prove Feldman was responsible.

Feldman, a salesman, relocated from Lower Makefield, Pa., to Las Vegas this summer.

Residents had wondered about the mysterious attacks on rye, wheat and other loaves since 1997, when the first sqeezings were reported.

Before installing its video surveillance system, Giant Food hired extra security personnel to stand guard over the targeted aisle.

But their suspect continued to elude them, striking nearly every day. “He was pretty good at it,” said store manager Jay Zeltt back in June. “Very quick.”

“There’s plenty of people laughing about it now,” Zeltt said. “But at the time it was going on, it was a very serious situation.”

“If it was one store, it’s one thing. But, then, when you’ve got five stores and you’re having the same problem, it counts up to a lot of money,” said cookie distributor Bob Krause.

Feldman’s problems are apparently not over yet, however. Owners of a Yardley supermarket are suing him for damaging thousands of dollars worth of bread at their store. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The benefits of not having children....

First of all, let me say this is not a rant about children nor am I anti-children. Some people are made to have children, God bless them, and some people aren't.

It's just such a sensitive issue to everyone but me I think.

My childless friends here always complain that they get asked a million questions by people who have children and they feel that even though they are successful, they are downgraded because they don't have children.

Then the women who have children often say they feel they lost out career-wise because of children.

This issue came up today at my work because (to spare you the details) we had a disciplinary hearing for a receptionist who has verbally assaulted everyone in our small office, including me this past Friday and I refused to take it (this isn't the first time she's freaked out on me).

Anyway, her only comeback of why she attacked me was that I'm a "chatterbox" and that she doesn't want to hear me talk to my work friends about how much fat is in veggie burgers, where we are getting our next haircut and where I'm planning a trip next.

I've been blessed to have a job that has flexible hours and a generous vacation policy, so I've been traveling a lot more than normal.

But, I also know I've been able to travel precisely because I don't have children.

Children are freakin' expensive and they take all your time. They become your first priority, while is the way it should be. Maybe I'm selfish but there's so much out there I still want to do and see. I want to know how to do everything.

I want to always keep learning and don't want to have to talk about diaper changes and teething (although in all fairness, I think I've subsumed this maternal instinct into talking about my dog and what she's up to throughout the day..)

I feel sorry/shocked when my friends (both single and married) tell me they are questioned for their decisions whether it's to have kids or get married.

Nobody really asks/harasses me with these questions although I was a little bit salty when my aunt by marriage told me I got married "later in life" because I waited until I was 30 and completely sure rather than marrying my 24-year old boyfriend, quitting my career and popping out kids like her daughter did.

But only a little salty.....besides, I'm off to Panama, Chile, and Argentina in 2 months. Oh yea, and Toledo, Ohio (which my husband just informed me that Betty White in the new sitcom "Hot in Cleveland" refers to as the Paris of Ohio!)