Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The unthinkable

She was 8.  The last time she was seen she was doing what an 8 year-old should be doing, riding her scooter with her helmet on around the courtyard where she lived, waiting on her friend to come play.  A courtyard with surveillance cameras.

There's a photo, a little blurry, from that surveillance camera of her.  Helmet on to protect her if she should fall.  It didn't protect her...

This little 8 year old girl was reported missing Sunday.  According to the Police Chief she was last seen a little after 5pm.  At 6:08pm she was reported missing.  By 8pm the news was spreading the word and social media took it from there, spreading her photo far and wide.  That night and the next day people were canvassing, putting up flyer's, desperately looking for this little 8 year old girl -the police, the sheriff, the FBI, locals, friends, family.  The river, the beach, the woods, the neighborhood, the apartment complex it was searched over and over and over again.  Her disappearance soon made national headlines...or at least Yahoo news.  Where had this 8 year old gone?

On social media the comments started coming in - "She lives across the street from a homeless shelter", "has anyone checked the homeless shelter", "don't forget the homeless shelter".  The homeless shelter was searched.  She wasn't there.  (I was amazed at how quickly blame was placed on those who don't have a building they call home.  That type of reaction seems as wrong to me as racism.)

By 8pm last night, 24 hours later, the news was reporting again, this little 8 year old girl had been found, dead, in a recycling bin.  The person under arrest, a 15 year old boy who lived in the same apartment complex.  Someone she may have seen or known before.  The police are reporting that it seems she went willingly into an apartment with the boy.  The Police Chief at today's news conference, when asked, said "We don't know the exact time of death at this moment but my feeling is that she was dead before we got the call that she was missing."  I watched his face as he made that statement...there was a soul deep weariness there...the search had been lost even before it had begun.

She died at the hands of someone she probably knew.  Not someone from the homeless shelter across the street.  Not a stranger.  Not the unknown bad guy that we all fear but someone she probably knew.  The alleged bad guy is a neighbor.

Praying tonight for a Mom and a Dad and extended family who are dealing with the unthinkable.

Praying tonight for a Mom who watched her son be arrested for allegedly doing the unthinkable.

Praying for my community that is in mourning...that is angry...that has questions...that is stunned.

Praying for a boy who has been accused of the unthinkable. (That is admittedly more difficult than the other three prayers.)


The last photo of this little 8 year old girl is a blurry surveillance photo of her riding her scooter, helmet on her head. How I wish it could have protected her.

Praying tonight for Maddy.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


When I started this commuting thing, three+ years ago, I never really thought about how long I would be driving over the Big Hill.  It has gotten old. 

Now, I don't have the commute that some people do down in Southern California, where the road just washed out and now a 1 hour straight commute has become a 3 hour round-a-bout commute.  Or when going 10 miles down the road takes 50 minutes.  My commute is 35 miles, one way.  It can take an hour to an hour and 45 minutes, depending on the day or the time of year.   Yesterday it was 1 hour and 40 minutes.  There was an accident.  This morning it was 1 hour and 15 minutes...I missed the accident by 10 minutes.

On my computer at work, on my Kindle, on my cellphone I have the CHP traffic website and SIG alert bookmarked.  I check them before I leave work.  I check them before I leave home.  I check them while on the road when traffic stops and we sit and sit and sit. (Not while the car is in motion, and, yes, I still know it is illegal here in CA.)  More than once I have made different decisions about going straight home after work because of those websites. 

When Papa Bear was in the hospital, I started driving myself, instead of taking the commuter bus, to work every day.  Before that I was pretty much a regular bus rider.  I'm very irregular since.  I've needed the hour plus to myself each morning, preparing myself for the day and the hour plus on the way home to decompress.  I've gotten good at crying and driving.

I've gotten used to sitting in traffic. 

I know that the right lane, on the Big Hill, usually moves faster when we are in stop and go traffic and going down the hill. 

I can tell the people who are "city folk" and don't know how to drive the windy road of the Big Hill.  Here comes a curve...BRAAAAAKKKKKEEEE.  It's straight ZOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMM.

I know that those who weave through traffic are usually the cause of some of the traffic as those they cut off slam on their brakes. 

I also know those who weave and race through traffic are usually just two or three cars ahead of me at the light in town.

I know that when I am in a hurry, I make stupid decisions in the car.  I work really hard to not be a hurry. 

I know that there are more people traveling to work in the Big City who have to travel the Big Hill, which means there are more people employed and that is a good thing.  So I work on my patience and get up a little earlier or stay a little later and just go with the flow as best I can.

That doesn't mean that I don't get frustrated with those who won't move out of the left lane of traffic and let people who want to go faster pass them.

I know that the roads around work get super busy at 5pm and if I leave after 5pm, it's a guaranteed 20 minutes to go three blocks.  If I leave around 4:30pm it's not so bad. 

I've learned that no matter what direction I go after 5pm, it will take 20 minutes to get to the main freeway, no matter what.

I've also learned that in heavy traffic, people make up their own rules of the road...which pisses off this rules girl to no end!

After three years, the biggest thing I've learned in commuting is a huge appreciation for the Moms and Dads who commute everyday to their jobs.  Those who have children at home waiting for dinner or who need to do homework or have soccer practice or gymnastics or swimming or whatever it may be.  I get home and I don't usually have any responsibilities but to water the plants, feed the birds, eat dinner (and if Yo Momma is home she is most kind to have dinner ready) and get ready for the next day.  I'm in awe of the Moms and Dads who commute over an hour to work every day.  They are awesome.

That said, after three+ years the commute has gotten old.  I would not be sad to not have to commute anymore for work.  I would be very happy with a 10 minute commute again. Maybe one day it will happen.

Gotta go.  It's time for bed...I have an hour plus commute in the morning.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

This is grief

There are moments, say at a Baseball game when the bases are switched out after 3 innings, when the thought runs through my head, "When I get home I'll ask Dad why they do that."

Or I drive the Prius and look down to see that the MPG is at 52 and I think, "I need to take a picture and text it to Dad and prove that I can get good MPG in this car too."

Or every time I walk by his computer.

Or when I walk in the door at the Tahoe house.

Or when I really, really, really want to talk politics with him.

Or when I go to make a change on the laptop and find the icon that says "Dad's phone".

Or I really need a Dad hug.

Or when I fill the bird feeders because he isn't here to do it.

Or I see someone riding their bike on the road and for just a moment it looks like my Dad.

Or when someone looks at me and says "I thought about you and your Dad the other day."

These moments and so many more continue to tell the story of my walk with grief.  It's the daily reawakening to the reality of life without my Dad.  A year and a month hasn't lessened the pain.  A year hasn't healed the wound, though it's not quite as gaping and oozing as before.  The healing continues.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Today's truth

I keep starting posts and not finishing them.

I have things to say.

I start strong but I can't get through to the end, to the final thought or statement.

36 unfinished posts sit in my draft folder.

I have things to say...

I just can't find the energy, the creativity, the drive to finish my thoughts.

That is today's truth.