December 31, 2008

Top 5 moments of 2008

2008 was a year filled with ups and downs, but all in all I got through it and had some memorable moments. Here are my top 5:

#5 = Getting a new job

#4 = Our 2-week Hawaii trip in Maui and Oahu

#3 = Participating in a relay triathlon (even after finding out I was pregnant just a few days before)

#2 = Our first anniversary


The #1 greatest moment of 2008:


The day I found out I was pregnant. It will be the most important day of 2008 and the greatest moment of my life. I feel so blessed to experience the miracle of life and so thankful for everything. The reactions of family and friends has been so wonderful. I am fortunate to have loving and kind people in my life and their support has been so amazing. Each day is a blessing.


What am I most looking forward to in 2009:

Baby Bear's arrival! I can't wait to see what he/she looks like! Papa Bear (formerly known as Mr. Bear) and I are so excited for the arrival of Baby Bear in 2009. It will definitely be an exciting new year filled with happiness (and anxiousness I am sure). It has already been an adventure to say the least (you can read more about the goings on during my pregnancy in my Baby Bear blog). I am looking forward to 2009. Bring it on!

December 28, 2008

Holiday treats

We had a really nice, low key Christmas. I kept well within my budget on Christmas gifts and I am quite proud of myself. Homemade gifts were a great way to stay within budget. I made Red Velvet Truffles and cookies and wrapped them up. Everyone seems to love the Red Velvet Truffles!



December 24, 2008

Holiday traditions

For as long as I can remember my family has always celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve. We would stay up until midnight and open our presents at midnight. It was a nice little tradition as a kid. As an adult it seemed to work out well, so that we could celebrate Christmas day with Mr. Bear's side of the family (though we would be quite tired).

Our Christmas Eve celebration rotates among my aunts and uncles homes, this year my parents are hosting and decided to change things around. Instead of our Christmas Eve tradition, we are celebrating on Christmas Day with a Christmas luncheon. I guess it is nice that we won't have to stay up so late, but now we have more places to travel on Christmas Day . I'm a little bummed out about the change of tradition; it is a change from what I have come to enjoy since I was a little girl. All that matters is that I can see my parents and my lola on Christmas. That is what Christmas is truly about: spending time with family.

Anyways in keeping of tradition, I let Chase Monster open his present on Christmas Eve:

December 22, 2008

Happy Hanukkah

Last night was the first night of Hanukkah. I remember the first time I celebrated Hanukkah. My freshman year of college, my college roommate was Jewish and Hanukkah started before finals began. We had a menorah and lit a candle for each night. It was such a nice way for my college roommate to share her traditions with me.

Mr. Bear's cousins are half Jewish and the first holiday that I spent with them, Christmas day coincided with part of the Hanukkah celebration. It was nice to celebrate both holidays together.

To my friends who celebrate this special holiday: Happy Hanukkah!!

December 21, 2008

So much to think about

We are finally moving forward with the remodel on our home. We had put the remodel on hold for a while now, but with Baby Bear on the way it is time to get back in gear so that we can get in the house. So now we have a lot of decision to make with the house. Much of Mr. Bear's original plans have been changed due to budget and time (we want to get into the house before Baby Bear makes an appearance), so we have been thinking about a lot of things and trying to make practical decisions. For example, with the floors: we originally wanted hard wood mahogany floors. Mr. Bear had picked out this gorgeous set of hard wood floors. Well, it is a bit expensive and it is quite possible that a baby/toddler/child will not be so nice to the floors. Not the most practical choice at this time.

Right now, in addition to doing research on infant seats and strollers, I am also doing some research on washer and dryers. So much to consider: top loaders vs. front loaders, capacity, steam washers. There are so many different brands and a lot to think about. I am thinking Baby Bear will produce more need for washing than I already have, so I will have to choose wisely. Any recommendations or advice?

December 17, 2008

One year

It is hard to believe that one year has passed since Tricia was taken from us. I remember that day clearly as it was yesterday.

Tricia was really sick and we knew she would be passing at any moment. She had been moved from the hospital to a hospice to help manage her pain. Each day we visited her at the hospice, as we knew it was just a matter of time before she was taken from us. It had been just 2 weeks prior that Mr. Bear received a call that his sister (technically step-sister, but she was his sister just as his step-father is as much his father as his biological father) had a brain seizure. The day of December 16, 2007, we made hand prints of Tricia with our hand prints. It was a nice little exercise that one of the grieving counselors did with the whole family. It helped to have a piece of her to have with us.

That evening, we went back to the beach house we had rented near the hospice. (It was nice to to have a house to stay in rather than sleeping in hotel rooms, as we had done for several days. All of us stayed at the house and later during the week it was nice to have friends come and stay as they visited.) We made dinner and relaxed by the fire. It was a Sunday night and we had all had a long day. Mr. Bear and I went up to the room to sleep. I remember that it was a very light sleep, it seemed as if I was partially awake listening to every sound in the house. Then a knock came to our door and I immediately sat up and my mother-in-law came in and told us that she was gone. It was just after midnight and they had just received a call from the hospice. It was December 17, 2007 and Tricia passed away from breast cancer of the brain. Everyone in the house was up and made their way downstairs into the kitchen. There was sadness and relief that she was no longer suffering. We consoled each other and decided that there was no reason for everyone to head over to the hospice. The important phone calls were made but the rest would be made during the day. Mr. Bear and his cousin went over to the hospice to make sure things were taken care of and the rest of the house tried to go back to bed and get some rest; we all had a busy day ahead of us to plan the funeral.

The morning led to a beautiful day; the sun was shining and the weather was cool. It was peaceful and serene as if Tricia had ordered that for us. We were staying at a wonderful house on the beach and the beach had a calming effect on us all; it was therapeutic for us. I remember sitting on the patio staring at the waves crash.

For the first time in my life I was asked to write a eulogy. I never thought I would spend the holiday season writing a eulogy. I wrote her eulogy in the midst of the serene backdrop that Tricia provide for me. I have written many things; I have written a dissertation and a thesis and many papers and chapters over the years. But nothing as difficult and as meaningful as this short eulogy for my sister-in-law.

We had much to think about. Fortunately, many calls had been made prior to this day in preparation. But I still think you are never ready even knowing that she was sick and this was really happening. There was so much to do. The church and the funeral home, getting the eulogy in the paper, flowers and food for the reception afterward, deciding on music and readings for the mass, looking for pictures. In many ways, like planning a wedding (which I had done earlier in the year) in a span of a few days. But being busy and planning gave us something to do. It gave us something else to focus on rather than the pain we felt in our hearts.

That emptiness and pain is still there. I really don't expect it to go away. There will always be an emptiness and pain; I just think the magnitude of it will change over time. I am especially sad that Baby Bear will never know her; will never know her vibrant firecracker personality that matched her vibrant red hair; will never know her beautiful smile. I am honored that I had that short time to know her and I will share her pictures with Baby Bear and I know that Mr. Bear will share his memories as well.

Tricia, we miss you and we love you!!

December 15, 2008

It's the most busiest time of the year!

I love the holiday season. Holiday decorations, Christmas trees and lights, baking, and enjoying the company of family and friends is something I love and look forward to. Last year was a rough holiday season. This year has been better, there is still sadness associated with this time of year as we approach the anniversary of Trisha's passing (it will be one year on Wednesday).

Inevitably this time of the year is an extremely busy one both personally and professionally. There is so much to do with the holiday shopping, baking, and decorating (which I love) and there is all the end of the year tasks to take care of at work (don't love so much). Being pregnant makes it a little more difficult to balance all that I want to do and have to do during this busy time of year. I get tired much more easily and need more rest than I usually require. I have always been the type of person to go, go, go; much like the energizer bunny. This year, I am more like a turtle; I find myself going much slower and having to take my time to rest in between tasks. It is not a bad thing, just requires more planning on my my end.

Even though it is a busy, busy time of the year. I still enjoy the holiday season.

December 12, 2008

Wow, I won!!!

I follow a great blog on my Google reader, Money Saving Mom. Crystal gives great deals, coupons, and sales on her blog. I have benefited from her blog in many ways. Recently, she had a giveaway for a $500 Home Depot gift card. I don't enter many giveaways, but this one really struck me. We could definitely use $500 to go toward our home remodel, especially with Baby Bear on the way. So I entered her giveaway, I figured I had nothing to lose. I didn't think I would win, but I received an email from Crystal this morning and I WON!!! I can't believe it. Thank you Crystal!!!

December 9, 2008

O Christmas Tree!

Mr. Bear came home today with a small Christmas Tree!! He is absolutely the best!! I wasn't sure if we should get a Christmas tree just because our place is small. But he totally got us one. It is a small tree and it is perfect. I love it! I love the holidays and being able to decorate. I am so excited. It is a little bare, I have to go and get our ornaments out of storage. I can't wait to decorate the tree!! I love how it fills our apartment with such a wonderful smell.

This is actually our first tree as a married couple. Last year, was a difficult holidays. We never had the time to get a tree or decorate or really enjoy this season. Instead we were watching my sister-in-law die and planning a funeral. This Christmas will be difficult without Tricia. I miss her and I wish she was here to share it with us.

December 7, 2008

Gas Prices, Wow

I remember it was not too long ago when people were up in arms about gas prices. I was not thrilled with it but dealt with the gas prices. I am fortunate in that I have a very short commute to work. So short that I was able to ride my bike to work up until the daylight savings time change. When the time change occurred it was too dark to ride my bike home from work in the afternoons. (No, getting pregnant did not stop me from riding my bike to work. It was actually exercise and I wish I could still do it). Mr. Bear and I felt it was not safe for me to ride my bike in the dark even with a light.

Today, I had to fill up my gas tank and it was $1.82 for premium gas! Under $2. Wow. I was shocked. Since I have a short commute, I don't fill my gas tank very much. So it has been a while since I went to the pump and this was definitely a pleasant surprise especially now that I drive my big old Chevy Suburban. I wonder how long this will last but it is nice for now.

December 3, 2008

Today's favorite snack

I love Trader Joe's. It is one of my favorite places to go grocery shopping. They have great prices on dairy and have some great food items. Today my favorite TJ treat is Joe Joe's. Maybe because I am pregnant or maybe because they are just awesome. I just ate a bunch of them and they were sooooo good. It was some chocolate, candy cane, yummy goodness. Mmmmm.

December 1, 2008

The news is out!

I haven't been blogging too much lately and I have several excuses. Well, the usual is that I have been swamped at work. But I have also had some great news that I have been keeping silent about on this blog. I have been dying to share the news and now the news is out!

I'm gonna be a mama bear! Mr. Bear and I are excited as can be. I am nearing the end of my first trimester and it is now out in the open. I am doing well. If you want to hear about my adventures so far, check out my pregnancy blog, Adventures with Baby Bear.

November 27, 2008

Gobble Gobble

Wishing you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

I am sure looking forward to turkey, mmmmm. I am also looking forward to being with family.

November 24, 2008

Turkey Shoot

They had a Turkey shoot at work yesterday. My co-worker was curious and so I agreed to check it out with her. It was actually kind of fun. I had never been to the ROTC part of campus and had no idea that we had a rifle range. I actually got to shoot with a .22 caliber pistol. I have never held a real gun in my life.

Our targets were paper turkeys. They gave us 9 shots and I didn't do too bad, at least I don't think the paper turkey suffered too much. Out of 9 shots, 6 of them actually made it somewhere on the paper. I didn't win a prize, but I gave it a shot (a shot, get it, hahaha.)



November 23, 2008

Ocho Ocho

Yesterday, we celebrated my lola's 88th birthday. My lola is so full of life you would never think that she was 88 years old. She was running around telling people that she was ocho ocho (ocho is the number 8 in Tagalog. It is also in Spanish too). In the Philippines there is a song and dance called the ocho ocho and when ever she told people she was ocho ocho, she would do the moves to the dance.

Here is the ocho ocho:



Picture an 88 year old woman shaking her butt and dancing the ocho ocho. It was great!! You gotta love her. It was just awesome. My lola is awesome. I hope that I am like her when I come to be ocho ocho!

November 20, 2008

Happy 88th Birthday Lola!!



Today is my grandmother's 88th birthday. (Lola means grandmother in Tagalog/Filipino). My lola is such a beautiful and wonderful woman and I am so fortunate to have her in my life. She looks the same as when she first immigrated to the U.S., which was back when I was around 4 years old. I hope to age as gracefully as she has. My lola helped to raise my brother and me, she was always there for me for as long as I can remember. Her strength, beauty, and love always shone through with everything that she did. She was always someone I admired and looked up to. Today she turns 88 and she is still going strong. She is just an amazing woman and I would be lucky to be half the woman that she is.

Happy Birthday Lola!! I love you! Thank you for everything, you have helped to make me in to the woman I am today and I thank you for being such a wonderful role model. Mahal kita!

November 18, 2008

I walked

Sunday, I walked for Autism. With the fires that took over Southern California, we were a little concerned that about the walk and the air quality. We received an email on Saturday that the walk would go on as scheduled. Mr. Bear and I drove down to Anaheim stadium early Sunday morning. As we were driving down the 57 fwy, we passed the Brea area and the smoke through that area was extremely thick. The sun could not be seen through the smoke at all. It was pretty eerie. But as we drove several miles past that area, the skies were clear blue and absolutely beautiful. There was no trace of smoke or ash. It was amazing the stark contrast a few miles made.

When we arrived, we found the rest of our team at Anaheim Stadium. Mr. Bear did not walk, he came to lend moral support and hang out with a few of the guys who came to lend moral support as well. Their definition of moral support was tailgating in the parking lot. But none the less they were very supportive.

The walk itself went well. We walked around the stadium and then into the stadium on around the field. It was pretty cool to walk on the actual field. My friend's brother who has autism especially loved being able to walk on the field of Angels stadium. He is a huge Angels fan and he said it was a dream come true. The excitement and smile on his face made it all worth it.

The walk was a bit disorganized, no one knew how many lap around the stadium we supposed to walk. We asked volunteers and no one seemed to know. We walked 3 laps because that seemed to be about 5k/3 miles. No matter what we had a good time and our team did a nice job of raising some money. I believe we met our team goal of $1,000.

The bad thing was that it took us 2 hours to get home because they had closed a part of the fwy due to the fire. But it was worth it for a great cause.

Thank you to everyone who supported me!! I deeply appreciate your support.

November 15, 2008

Fires!

There are so many fires in So. Cal. There are fires everywhere. I have a few friends who have homes close to the Yorba Linda fire and the Chino Hills fire. They are safe right now and their home is safe so far. I hope it stays that way.

This all hits very close to home for me. In 2003, a fire was very, very close to my home and my mother-in-law's home. We were fortunate but the fires were extremely close. We were under mandatory evacuation. It was a frightening experience so I understand what many of these people are feeling. We decided to stay but I had the car packed and I was ready to grab Chase Monster and Su-Su (my orange tabby who is no longer with us) and go. Mr. Bear stayed up the street at his mom's house putting out spot fires; her home was much closer to the fire and if it got anywhere near her home, he would have to come down to my house in order to get out, so we had a plan. If I felt the need I could have left. It really made a difference to stay and put out spot fires; the embers would fly onto the property and putting those out helped to prevent the loss of their home. Several neighbors' homes were lost and the firefighters were busy and could not put out individual home fires. The fires were so close, you could see it. The next day it looked like a war zone, with ashes all over the ground and the streets so empty. It was very eerie and took some time to clean up.

I hope everyone is safe and I wish strength to all our brave firefighters who are all working so hard. I hope the weather cooperates and containment happens very soon. My thoughts and prayers are with all the people who are effected by the fires today.

* Note: I do not advocate that people stay when there is a mandatory evacuation. It was a personal, family decision we made with the knowledge of where the fires were and the risks. We were far enough from the fire yet knew that the winds could bring the fire closer to us with embers flying in the air.

November 13, 2008

The Big ShakeOut

Today is the The Great Southern California ShakeOut Drill to prepare for "the big one." We are participating in this at work. At work, I am on one of the emergency response teams. You never know when something will happen, whether it be a natural disaster or a shooting or any other emergency. We need to be prepared for an emergency.

Living in Southern California, I am acutely aware that we are due for "the big one," a really big earthquake. In fact according to Lucy Jones (the seismologist at Caltech) we are 40 years overdue! We experienced an earthquake over the summer, but the "the big one" is predicted to be a 7.8 magnitude, which is 5000 times larger than the 5.4 magnitude that we experienced in July. It is not about if but when it will actually happen. It is expected that utilities to be down for about 6 months, freeways to be closed, a loss of communication (we experienced a loss cell phone reception from the last earthquake), 2,000 deaths, 50,000 injuries, $200 billion in damage and other losses, and severe, long-lasting disruption. This really makes you think about the reality of this.

At work, we are prepared and have been training to prepare for any disaster. I am prepared with what I need to do at work and I kind of hope to be at work when if something were to happen because of how prepared we are. Actually it is better for kids to be at school if an disaster were to take place, since schools are more prepared than many households. So, I really need to think about getting my home prepared and think about how I can communicate with my family, especially if communications are down (like it was with the Chino Hills earthquake this summer). This website has a lot of great resources for earthquake preparedness and this one has info on making your own preparedness kit. I really need to get a kit together. Southern Californians really need to be prepared. we are due for that big one at any time. BE PREPARED!

November 11, 2008

Autism

Last week I blogged about Walk Now for Autism. But with all the excitement of the elections, I am afraid that the important of the walk on Sunday was buried on my blog. I am walking on Sunday and it is for a very special reason.

When I was in college, I worked as a therapist for children with autism. I had the pleasure to work with several different children who were all special and wonderful in their own way. I enjoyed my work and any little progress that they made was an enormous success. I was the primary therapist for one special boy in particular, Paul Adam. It has been over 10 years since I have seen Paul Adam but my experiences with Paul Adam will always be a part of who I am.

Paul Adam and I made a lot of progress in the year that we worked together. My primary role as his behavioral therapist was to assist him in gaining appropriate social skills. He had the most amazing smile and was a very sweet boy. He was smart and made a lot of successes in our time together. I had to leave him when I moved from the area to go to graduate school. I will always remember Paul Adam and the successes he made through our work together. I think of him every now and then. He must be 16 or 17 by now and the last I had heard from the family, he had mainstreamed into a 1st grade class (that was 10 years ago or so). I hope that he was successful in that and that he has continued to make many more success over the years.

Though I no longer work as a behavioral therapist, as a psychologist I realize the crucial importance of research. Research to understand therapeutic techniques that are most effective to help children and adults with autism. It is because of this that I will walk on Sunday (if you have been following my blog, I would run if it was a run). I walk for Paul Adam and the other kids that I worked with in college, I walk for my friend's son who has autism, I walk for my friend's adult brother with autism, and I walk because I believe everyone with autism needs my support.

Please join me in my fight for a cure for autism. A small amount of even $5 or $10 makes a huge difference in the lives of the more than 1 million Americans living with autism today. I hope you consider supporting this important cause.

November 7, 2008

Have to work on Sunday!

Booo!! I just realized that where most people have a long weekend, I have a short one. I have to work on Sunday. So not fair!

I hope everyone else has a nice relaxing weekend.

November 5, 2008

This is crazy!

Seriously, Californians said yes to discrimination and eliminating the rights of people???? What??? I guess I just don't understand. I don't understand how this will be good for California, I don't understand. We took a total step backwards in California.

November 4, 2008

Change!!



Congratulations to our new president!! Barack Obama is our president-elect. What a wonderful and historic day!! I believe that the best person won and I believe that positive change is coming our way.

Barack Obama Logo

Rock the vote!

November 3, 2008

I will WALK FOR AUTISM



I am participating in Walk Now for Autism to help find a cure for autism. Autism is the second most common developmental disorder in the United States affecting one in every 150 children born today. Despite some promising discoveries, the cause of autism is unknown and a cure does not exist. Research is crucial. Every 20 minutes another child is diagnosed with autism. Not only must we find ways to improve the quality of life for children and adults with autism, but we also must find a cure, and soon.

Walk Now for Autism is our chance to make a difference in the fight against autism by raising money for autism research and heightening public awareness. Please join me in my fight to help fund essential research. I will be walking on November 16 and would like you to support those affected by autism. You can donate to Walk Now for Autism and join my team online through my webpage. Donations can also be mailed to Autism Speaks using the donation form located on my page or send me a check made out to Autism Speaks. My team name is Riverdavesplace.com; please note this on your check and the donation form.

Please join me in my fight against autism. Even a small amount of $5, $10, or whatever you feel most comfortable with makes a difference in the lives of the more than 1 million Americans living with autism today.

October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween



This was the pumpkin we carved last year! Can't wait for all the kiddos to come tonight.

October 30, 2008

Response to Anonymous Comment

I received an anonymous comment to my blog post from yesterday. I understand that people have different point of views and are free to comment in any way they feel. On the same note, I am allowed to post and write about my thoughts in any way I feel. We are fortunate in the United States to have freedom of speech and exchange ideas in many different ways. We have the right to disagree. This blog is a personal blog where I share my ideas and thoughts about what I think to be important. I don't talk politics very much but I do know what is important to me and have my own beliefs.

Everyone has different ideas and viewpoints and those ideas are meant to be respected. I respect the opinion of the commenter and that person has the right to be bothered by my post if they so feel bothered. They may not agree or be annoyed but I do personally believe that the issues that were outlined in the report card are very important issues and are important to me both as a woman and as a citizen of the United States. I also understand that not all people will agree with me. That is the beauty of human beings, we are all individuals and we are all different. I embrace those differences.

I do want to clarify one thing from your comment. You asked:
"Furthermore, since when did economist become specialist in such things? Isn't the specialty of economist supposed to be the economy?"
Actually economists are social scientists, like other social scientist (e.g., psychologists, sociologists) economists study a wide variety of issues; many issues that impact public policy. They apply economic theories and methodologies to answer important questions. In actuality, the items outlined in the report card are all public policy issues that have been studied by economists as well as other social scientists. As a psychologist, I find economic research to be very valuable and so yes they are specialists in "such things" and as a discipline look at issues beyond the economy. These things are a part of their discipline. Economist, much like psychologist, are stereotyped to be one thing when in fact their training provides them with the skills to do much more. Well-known economists have done research on child care, work and family issues, health care, employment, education, and much more. Many of the same issues that are important to voters.

While Anonymous commenter you might be annoyed by my post, I am not annoyed by your comment. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and commenting on my blog. While I do not agree with your comments, I do thank you for taking time to read my blog and share your comments.

October 29, 2008

Presidential Report Card

Recently, a group of economists released a report card evaluating the presidential candidates on 10 economic issues of importance to women. No matter who you support, it is a good idea to be informed. This report card is one way to compare the candidates on the important issues. Below is the report card according to the report.

REPORT CARD

McCain

Obama

Overall Grade

D

B

Health Care

C-

B-

Pay and Employment Equity

F

B

Retirement Security

D

B

Taxes

D

B-

Paid Time Off

D

B+

Child Care and Early Education

D

B

Poverty

D

B

Non-traditional Families

C-

B+

Domestic Violence

D

A

Reproductive Rights

F

A



This is pretty interesting and I am sure people will have their various comments on this report card. But it is important to realize, that this report was endorsed by more than 40 economists. Many of whom are well-know academics in their fields and who examine policy issues for a living. As an academic, myself, I find this to be a credible source. In the end, it is up to you to decide what is important to you. The full report can be found at http://www.epgwi.org.

October 27, 2008

It's only Monday!

It was such an exhausting day at work today. And it is only Monday. If this is any indication of the rest of the week. Yikes!

On the bright side, I am taking a mental health day on Friday.

Back to work!

October 24, 2008

October 21, 2008

Chinese Food

I love Chinese Food, especially really good Chinese Food. Actually, Mr. Bear and I had some yummy Chinese food for dinner just the other day. Well, today I came across this article from Newsweek. It lists the 7 unhealthy food choices at a Chinese restaurant.
  1. Fried Rice
  2. Lo Mein
  3. Chow fun
  4. Orange Beef
  5. Lemon Chicken
  6. General Tso's chicken
  7. BBQ spared ribs
These are some of my favorite Chinese dishes. This makes me very sad. Of course this is not to say that you should just stay away from Chinese food all together. It is all about moderation and making healthy choices. Stir fried dishes are often the better choice, as are vegetable dishes.

I can never give up fried rice altogether. I do know it can't be that great for you, it is fried and it is white rice but I love fried rice. Occasionally, when we do go out I will ask for steamed brown rice instead, but I do love fried rice. It is all about moderation and in moderation it will not totally ruin my healthy eating habits.

October 20, 2008

Oktoberfest: "Das Boot"

Friday night, Mr. Bear and I enjoyed Oktoberfest! We had bratwurst, drank beer, did the chicken dance, and had a great time with some great friends!



"Das Boot" Instead of a stein, Mr. Bear found Das Boot for his German beer. It was definitely an attention getter.



With all the beer this group drank, we created a beer cup tower! A lot of effort went into this creation.



October 16, 2008

No Food Bank in the largest county in the US

My friend decided to start a canned food drive and she will be delivering canned food to a local food bank every week. What a wonderful idea! She is so kind and wonderful to come up with such a great idea. Her idea prompted me to find out where the closest food bank was to me, so that I could donate some canned food in her honor. According to the California Association Food Banks, there are no food bank in San Bernardino County. That is just crazy!

San Bernardino County is not only the largest county in the state of California, it is the largest county in the United States! In fact, it is larger than 9 states! That just seems absolutely wrong that the largest county in the U.S. would not have a food bank. According to U.S. Census Bureau, 15.40% of the San Bernardino population were below the poverty line, that is higher than the state percentage (13.2%). So it is not like San Bernardino county doesn't have a need. I just think that is outrageous.

October 15, 2008

Getting back in the swing of things

Since the triathlon, I have been taking it pretty easy. I felt like I had been pushing my body so hard that I wanted to take the week to recuperate and rest. That's not to say that I did nothing at all last week. I rode my bike to work a few days and I took a couple of aerobics classes, so I wasn't a total couch potato. But it was nice to not push myself and feel that I must be training all the time.

I went for a run for the first time yesterday since the race and it felt great. I ran about 3-4 miles. It was a good run and felt good to be moving. I think I will be getting back on my schedule and mixing things up. Since I was training, I was primarily focusing on running as many miles as I could get in each week. I like to do a mix of different activities. It keeps things interesting and fun and now it doesn't seem like so much work. I will start getting back into my step classes and body works classes. I will continue to do yoga, because I absolutely love yoga. So I will mix it up more, to keep me motivated and give my body some new activities to do. I will continue to run. Because this non-runner has begun to really enjoy running. Amazing!!

I haven't decided on new goal or race yet. I would like to do another relay triathlon and I know a lot of the people that participated with me want to do another one too. So I am sure that will be in my future at some point. I would also love to do another 10K race. We'll have to see what is ahead. For now, the goal is to stay healthy, stay fit, keep in shape, and have fun.

October 11, 2008

You can't call me a spoiled princess anymore

I'll be the first to admit that I am spoiled. I am daddy's girl and daddy gave me pretty much everything I wanted. Then I got a job and got myself whatever I wanted. Then, I got married and have a husband who gives me what I want as well. I have so much in life and I am so thankful for everything I have. I have wonderful parents (my own and my in-laws), great friends, a job I enjoy (and a new one I am totally excited about starting), an awesome fat cat, and of course the best husband ever! As Mr. Bear says, I am such a princess sometimes.

My car lease is coming up at the end of the month and it is time to decide on what to do. There are many options: buy out the lease, buy a new car, lease a new car, or buy a used car. Since I am a married women, this is not a decision I will make alone but along side my husband. This is a decision we make for our little family. So we have been doing our research and looking at different options and trying to determine the best choice. With the state of the economy and the fact that we hope to have children soon, we needed to make a decision that was practical and economical.


My current vehicle is a 2006 BMW X5. I absolutely love my car, but this was not the most practical or economical choice. Being the spoiled princess I was, I wanted this car and so I got it. When I got it, I was a single woman with a new job and no major expenses. The economy was great and at the time it was a great choice for me and my lifestyle. Since then, I planned a wedding, moved, got married, planned a funeral, celebrated an anniversary, and many other things. Life has changed and so have my priorities. My priorities are our family. Though I absolutely love my car, it was time to make a decision that was in the best interest of us as a family unit for the future.

So today we purchase a used cargo van. Okay, you may think, why would I choose to drive a van of all things. Well, actually Mr. Bear will drive the van. It will become his work vehicle and I will drive his vehicle, a Chevy Suburban. It was a smart decision for our family. The payments and insurance on the van are way lower than my BMW (about half). So we can take the extra money and put it away in savings. With the state of the economy, it seemed like a smart idea to have money in savings and spend less. Plus, the van is a tool for Mr. Bear and his business, it will be used to for work and work brings in income. So, it was a good decision for us all around.

Plus, now that I will be driving a Suburban, I can practice to be a soccer mom. Mr. Bear always called the Suburban a soccer mom car, since many mom's in this area seem to drive Suburbans to haul kids and their stuff around town. Not a mom yet, but I am gearing up and getting ready.

October 7, 2008

Triathlon reflections

Now that I am rested, I can reflect a little bit more on the relay triathlon I completed yesterday. What an amazing experience. I set a personal record and as a team we ranked 3rd among mixed gender relay teams (6 teams total)! That is pretty awesome. I am pretty proud of us.

The best part was having all these people around to support each other and cheer each other on. We were there with 5 teams. Most of us novices who were just in it to have some fun and "tri" something different. Everyone was awesome and did a wonderful job. I don't think there was anyone who was upset or disappointed by the whole experience.

I loved that Mr. Bear was there to cheer me on and to document the experience by taking some photos. The rush at the finish line was just awesome. I sprinted to the very end and did my very best and I feel pretty proud of my accomplishment. I am hooked and I am ready for the next challenge! I feel good.

October 5, 2008

I did it!

I completed my first relay triathlon today! The weather was perfect about 70 degrees and it was absolutely awesome. My team did wonderful and my friends all did amazing jobs. My running buddy, TK, did the entire triathlon herself, she did the express version. I was very proud of her! It feels so great to have accomplished something like this. I may not have done the entire triathlon myself but I ran the 10K in a personal record time. I ran it in 1:11, which is better than I thought I would ever do. I feel great about my time!! My best friend and swimmer swam 1.5K in about 34 minutes and my cyclist rode 40K in about 1:12. We did well individually and as a team.

My Team:



Getting ready:



Look at the swimmers go:



Passing the baton (timing chip), transition I:



Passing the baton (timing chip), Transition II:



And off I go:



Here I coming; the home stretch:



We did it!!

October 3, 2008

A New Job!

I have been concerned with the state of my current job. With the budgetary issues at work, there was a possibility that my current position would be eliminated or downsized to a part-time position. Since I work with the budget, I understood that there was a possibility that my institute might fold in a few years unless we were able to find a means to sustain through endowments or donors. My boss and my former boss were trying to find some solutions to keep me by restructuring my position to piece together a full-time position by working in different departments. I knew I was secure until June 30th, the end of the academic and fiscal year.

On Tuesday, I got a call about a new position on campus. This new position was being created at in another institute on campus and they thought of me for the job. They wanted to see if I was interested. This new position is actually a better fit for me and a great new challenge. It involves more focus on research and the opportunities to work with a lot of different people on campus. Plus, I would get to let go of some of my administrative responsibilities (like dealing with budgets, yuck!). So of course I was interested. Yesterday, I got the call that the position was approved and that I was approved for the position if I wanted. Without hesitation, I told them wanted it. They want me to start quickly, like next month. They did talk with my current boss and to allow for a seamless transition, they agreed that I will work 50/50 in the new position and in my current position for the rest of the academic year. Come July 1st, I will transition solely into the new job. I am so glad we were able to work this out so that I can still stick to the commitments I have in my current position. This will give my current boss the time to find my replacement (which because of the budget issues will become a part-time position) and train them.

I am so utterly excited. This is such wonderful news and this new position provides a lot more job security for me. I am so fortunate to have such great support. My boss, my former boss, and my new boss are excited for this new career move. I think it is a good one, not only does it provide me with the job security I need, it will be a great challenge to utilize my skills and allow me to work with other people around campus. It is a great move all around. I can't wait to start.

October 2, 2008

October 1, 2008

My man is talented!!

I shared with you a few weeks ago some pictures of Mr. Bear's talent. I have a few more picture to share. He does the most amazing custom work.

Here is an entry way:




Here is a corner leading up to the ceiling:




Look at this ceiling:

September 30, 2008

Happy New Year! Happy Rosh Hashanah!

I don't know much about Rosh Hashanah, but my understanding is that this is a very important Holy Day. So I would like to wish my Jewish friends a Happy New Year on their very special Holy Day!

September 29, 2008

4 hours of vacuuming!

Saturday, was my cleaning day. Mostly, I needed to clean the floors. As I was vacuuming our small home, I noticed the the vacuum was actually spitting the dirt it picked up back out. So I stopped, turned off the vacuum, and took a look at the vacuum. I checked the vacuum bag and it was full. It was totally packed. So mystery solved. But I did not have any vacuum bags to replace the full bag and now I had a big pile of dirt on the carpet. Ugh!

So, I got my little sweeper but it wasn't working. I knew why it wasn't working, my long hair was caught in the rollers. So I decided that I would take it apart and clean out my hair to fix it. As I was attempting to be handy and fix the sweeper vacuum in the garage, my father-in-law walks in to see what I am up to. We finally take it apart and clean it up. But then we could not get it to work again after putting it back together. Ugh!

It was cheap little sweeper anyways, so in the trash it went. I went back in the house and there was still a pile of dirt on my floor. I stared at it for a while and decide to ignore it and take a shower. Well, when I got out of the shower and dressed, it was still there. I had hoped that it would magically disappear. So I got the dustbuster out and started to pick some of it up, but then the dustbuster died. It had been off the charger for the last few days and needed to be recharged. Ugh!

Finally, I got in my car and went to Target to get some vacuum bags. This is probably what I should have done hours ago. But I was stubborn. I should have sucked it up and I would have been done hours ago. I bought the vacuum bags, went back home, put a bag in the vacuum, and vacuumed away the dirt. Success! Or so I thought. Something told me to check the bag and when I did, the vacuum bag was not put all the way in and there was a mess. Ugh!

I put another bag in and tested to make sure I did it right and cleaned up the new carpet mess. After 3 vacuums, 3 vacuum bags, and 4 hours later, the rugs were finally cleaned. The sad thing is that we have hard wood floors and only 2 really large area rugs along with a couple of smaller area rugs. I never did get to moping the hard wood floors. After 4 hours of trying to vacuum those area rugs, I didn't care and was over cleaning any more floors.

September 27, 2008

A good man is hard to find

And I was lucky enough to have found one. The saying goes that women marry men who are like their fathers. My daddy is an intelligent, kind, and caring man. He is the best daddy ever and I am totally daddy's girl. Even as a married woman, I will always be daddy's girl. That is why when my daddy really wanted a Wii that it was so important for me to find it for him. My daddy and Mr. Bear have different personalities. However, my daddy is very conservative and reserved. Mr. Bear is outgoing and anything but conservative and reserved. However, Mr. Bear is an intelligent, kind, and caring man. So I found a man who shares the best qualities with my daddy.

The other day, Mr. Bear went for some beers after work at a local bar/restaurant. He noticed this group of elderly people (he said they were in their 80's or so) who were themselves having dinner and drinks and enjoying themselves. He liked the fact that they were enjoying themselves on a nice Friday afternoon, so he decided to pick up their tab. They came up to him and thanked him. It turned out they were from the local senior citizens center and every Friday evening, they all pick a place to go out to dinner. They were so thankful for him paying for their tab. They told him that they would put the money they would have used to pay for dinner back into the collection pool for their next dinner outing. Mr. Bear really enjoyed his interaction with them and he hopes to make it to his 80's and be able to go out and enjoy himself with friends.

I thought that was such a great story and it reminded me how wonderful and kind-hearted Mr. Bear really is. I love Mr. Bear and I love what a good person he truly is. I am lucky to have such a good man.

September 25, 2008

Mental Health Day

Yesterday, I took a mental health day. I have been so busy at work and training for the relay tri that I needed a day just to catch up with life. It would have been nice to rest and do absolutely nothing, but the reality was that I had a ton of errands to do and many things to take care of. I worked one weekend this month and I just never seemed to catch up from that day. Plus, sometimes the weekends are just not enough. I feel that I have been neglecting my blog. I hope that now that I am a little more caught up that I can get back into the groove.

Regardless of having to run errands, it was definitely a good day. I didn't have to really be accountable to anyone yesterday. It was nice not to be bogged down by work and to take care of things on my own schedule. I slept in and got to spend some time with the Chase Monster. Yes, it would have been nice to have the entire day to relax but knowing that I accomplished the many things that I had not been able to take care of in weeks was a nice feeling.

It is just after working all day, trying to fit in training and working out, and doing a few household chores, there is no time for anything else in the day and at the end of the day I am just too exhausted to do anything else. I think what I really need is a mental health week. Now that sounds like a great idea!

Back to reality and back to work I go.

September 23, 2008

In-laws!!

I got an email from my mother-in-law the other day. She just sent me an email to tell me she was thinking of me, missed me, and loved me. How awesome is that! I am so lucky to have a wonderful mother-in-law.

You often hear horror stories about evil mother-in-laws, in fact they have websites devoted to these stories. I have no horror stories. I love mine and she is so kind and generous to me. When you marry someone, you not only marry that person, you also marry into a family. I have been fortunate to marry into a wonderful family. They have been nothing but accepting and loving. They welcomed me into their family with open arms and were so happy to have me become a part of their family. How lucky am I?

I love my in-laws. I am very lucky that they love me too.

September 22, 2008

Let's talk politics

I am not a very political person. I never talk politics. But I do find this election to be very fascinating. How can one not find it anything but fascinating? No matter what happens it is a historical election. What I find most interesting is that the majority of the election coverage has focused on Obama vs. Palin. I think people (or the media) has forgotten that Sarah Palin is not running for president, she is John McCain's running mate, i.e., she is running for VP. Although if something were to happen to McCain, she is next up.

On NPR last week, they were reporting on the election and they gave reports on the campaign trail from each side. The first story was about Palin and the second story was about Obama. I receive Newsweek every week, I have seen front page photos featuring Obama and his race to the presidency and also front page photos of Palin and who she is and what she brings to the table. Interestingly when I googled, I found many websites that compare the qualifications of Obama and Palin.

So who is really running for president on the republican ticket? Because for this everyday American girl, it looks like the race to the White House is between Obama and Palin. Fortunately, I am a smart girl and I realize that Palin is not running for president. But if I had no clue about anything or was a total outside I would have very little idea who McCain was. Let alone the fact that he running for president.

McCain, who?

September 19, 2008

Taper down for a busy, busy bear

That is me lately, a very busy bear. I am very glad that today is Friday, I am so looking forward to a restful weekend.

On top of work, I am training for the relay triathlon. My running partner and I decided that with the triathlon about 2 weeks away that we are going to start to taper off on our training. I feel like I have been going and going and I am absolutely exhausted. We won't stop running, but taper off the miles and I will cross train to allow our bodies to recuperate and recover for the big day. Many training schedules include a taper period. It is a very important part of your training. Here is an article that talks more about the importance along with a little research to back it up. There are many resources that reinforce the need to taper before the big event. Although it may sound counter-intuitive it actually makes you stronger.

According to the research Runner's World cites:
"The primary aim of the taper should be to minimize accumulated fatigue, rather than to attain additional physiological adaptations or fitness gains."
So the next two weeks will be time to taper my training. And I think my body is definitely telling me this. My legs are sore and I am tired. I am not marathon training, but I am running more that I have ever in my life and I am so much more prepared for this that I have been for any other race I've participated in. I am ready and by tapering my training, I will be well rested and prepared for race day!! Wohoo!

September 17, 2008

Hanna for Secretary!!

My little cousin is running for school secretary and she asked me for advice on writing her speech. Too cute and I feel so honored that she would come to me for advice. Last year, she had a class project in which she had to interview an adult and she chose me. I hope that I was able to give her the advice she needs to write a great speech. I know most high school elections end up being a popularity contest and I don't know what her status is in school. I hope that she wins based on her own merit. She called me telling me that she had several points in her speech and asked me what I thought.

Her points:
  • Who she is?
  • What is a secretary?
  • Why vote for her?

Great points. It really gets at the basics for a speech. I helped her to flesh the points out a little more to give it more substance. I hope my advice was good. I guess we'll see in the next few weeks.

Vote Hanna for Secretary!!

September 13, 2008

The no longer elusive Wii

I found it!! I found a Wii! By chance I stopped by a Best Buy. I was on my way to Target and it was in the same shopping center. Low and behold, they not only had them in stock, but they had 4. Amazing! I had called a different Best Buy yesterday as well as several other local stores. All were out of Wii's. I figured this Best Buy would be out too, but I thought why not look since I was right there. I am so glad that I did. So, I immediately bought one and called me daddy. He was so excited that he came over to my house to pick it up. He too had been to a few places near his house today looking for one.

My parents rarely come to visit me, Mr. Bear and I usually go to visit them. They only live about 30-45 minutes away so they are not too far. My daddy was like a little boy. When he saw that it was indeed the Wii that he wanted, he had a big smile on his face. They stayed for a while and we went to dinner. It was nice to have some time with my parents. Thanks to Wii, I got to spend some quality time with my parents. Strange but true. I am glad I found it, the excitement and happiness it brought to my daddy was worth it all.

Thank you to everyone who left comments on how to find one.

September 12, 2008

The elusive Wii

Who knew that it would be so hard to find a video game console. My daddy came home from visiting my little brother in Seattle. While in Seattle, he discovered Wii. Now, my daddy really wants one and he can't seem to find it in his area. My daddy asked me to look online and call around in my area to see if it was available. My daddy never asks for anything and he has given me everything I have ever needed all my life. So for the first time my daddy actually wants something and I am determined to find a Wii console. I thought this would be a nice early Christmas/Birthday (his birthday is in December) gift for him. I've been searching online and it is sold out everywhere I look. There are a lot of Wii bundles for sale but my daddy just wants the console. I had no idea it would be so hard to find.

Anyone know where I can find a Wii console?

September 11, 2008

7 years ago



I will never forget where I was 7 years ago today. It was so unreal. Although I had the news on when it happened, I didn't register what was happening as real. It seemed like a movie. Unfortunately, it was not a movie; it really happened. Two airliners crashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and we were attacked.

We can't deny that and I will not forget. I didn't know anyone who was killed in the attacks, but this day still evokes emotions in me. Just driving to work and listening to NPR's reports about memorials happening at ground zero and around the country makes me tear up and emotional.

Today is a day to remember those who lost their lives and the heroes.



Photo Source

September 10, 2008

It's official!

We are registered for the triathlon. I registered my relay team today so there are no refunds and no turning back. Wohoo!! Scary and exciting at the same time.

T-minus 25 days



My triathlon is in 25 days!! I can't believe that it is less than a month away. I am so excited about it. My triathlon relay team is organized and ready to go, we have all been training and we are ready to do our part. I have been a running fool and I feel ready to do the 10K run portion of the relay. I am fortunate to live close to the actual race site so that I can training on the actual terrain and path that I will be racing on. I have been training there at least once a week with my running partner (she is doing the entire triathlon, I am so proud of her). I am not the fastest runner, but I can definitely finish (pending no injuries). This is all about having fun and I can't wait. I hope to beat my last 10K time. I am stronger and I have been running more, so I think it is possible.

Since I have also started cycling more, I have been looking into doing some duathlons next. There are a couple next year that I am looking into. My bike is currently in the shop, I am having road tires put on my mountain bike. I haven't really been riding my mountain bike on rough terrain, rather I have been riding it mainly on the roads during my commute. So I figured it would be best to get some road tires; the road tires should speed me up and cut my bike commute time. Plus, since I am looking into duathlons I want to get my bike ready. I am not ready to spend the money on a new road bike yet; I want to see if I can get by with my mountain bike for now. If I get more into it, I will then save up and invest in a road bike. I can't wait to get my bike back and try it out.

So, I am running and riding. Next is swimming lessons. I need to learn how to not drown, LOL. Then I can eventually attempt and entire triathlon on my own. It will happen, it is a goal I am working on. One step at a time. First running, then add the cycling, and then swimming will come. Who would have thought I would be athletic. I was never the athlete type. But I am working on it.

Photo Source: Microsoft.com