Saturday, November 29, 2008

Dr. Laura's Advice on Child Rearing

I can remember sitting in my fifth grade class and my teacher, Mrs. Katz, asking the class, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" She then gave us time to think over our answer. After a few minutes, she went around the classroom to stand up and tell everyone about our ambitious futures.

Shyly and slowly each fifth grade student of Mrs. Katz's Bayview Glen Public School class, took their turn and said professions to her like "I want to be a doctor when I grow up or I want to be a fireman." And then came my turn. I stood up by my desk and said loudly to the class "When I grow up, I would like to be a child psychologist." The students laughed as they had no idea what that was. Well, I had no idea on how to even spell psychologist.

So even at the age of ten, I knew that I wanted to work with children and families. There was just something deep inside me that knew. Plus I wished when I was a child that a child psychologist would come into my home and make life better for my brother and me.

I went to college and got my degree in child and family studies. I then trained and worked for the state of California as a behavioral specialist. However, what prepared me the most to become a social worker, were my childhood experiences being in a family with two family members living with mental illness. What prepared me to become a social worker was from my experiences in my childhood with mental illness, my schooling plus my field experience. With that said, nothing prepares you for when a parent looks you in the eye and asks you if you have only known their child for 2 months then what makes you the expert on their child. That's when you have to work on building trust and respect.

I did have an extreme case, while working at the child and family agency, with a twelve year old boy. He had been suspended from his junior high school numerous times, had beaten up his younger brother, was very rude to his parents and at twelve years old was still wetting the bed. (The fact that he was wetting the bed told me that he had some deeper psychological issues inside of him and was crying out for help.)

His parents contacted our agency and asked for a young counselor (I was 24 at the time) to come and work with "David" at his home and at school. They asked for a younger counselor so I could still relate to him and he still could relate to me. Yet his mother still said to me "So how many children do you have?" When I answered none so far, she wanted to know how I could be of help since I didn't have any children.

After I had visited "David" parents and his younger brother's home it seemed that things were a lot worse then had been reported. I had found out that "David's" parents were fighting all the time, his father had just lost his job, "David" was about to be expelled from school and the only thing that "David" truly cared about was watching WWF wrestling. He would race home and turn on the TV without doing his homework and chores. Then he would play with his wrestling ring and figurines.

What would you do to help this child and his parents? My behavioral specialty background told me that he needed to care about life again and be rewarded with positive and negative reinforcement. I spoke this over with my mentor at the family agency and her advice was that "David" needed tough love. I first spoke to his parents separately and suggested that "David" needed a harsher approach. Boy did "David" hate me for awhile.

First thing that I did was limit his WWF wrestling TV watching until he had behaved well enough to gain back the privilege of watching again. We stripped his room of TV, video games, books, toys and only his bed and clothes were left. Then I suggested a rewards sticker chart. When "David" was kind to his parents and brother he would get a sticker. When he wasn't he would have to sit in his room for a period of time with nothing to do. Over time "David" really started to take pride in his achievements and every time he accomplished a task, like no longer wetting the bed, he would earn something back for his room like his video games and toys. Over a four month period "David" earned all of the things for his room and turned his life around.

After seeing all of his hard work, my own reward to him was to take him to the movies to see The Scorpion King starring The Rock (a wrestler). "David" was so happy. He did stay in school and although he still had some other difficulties he graduated from high school and is able to hold down a job.

Please check out my favorite red weasels blog and friend La Belette Rouge. Weasel this post is for you. It just so happens that La Belette Rouge now lives in the same city that I use to be a social worker in. I love her blog, the way she writes and how she sees the world!

My advice to anyone about child rearing is that every child needs to feel that their voice can be heard. We all want children to become productive members of our society and every child can do this with love and support. I think it could have been very easy to discard "David" as a lost cause, but instead we all fought back.

Tell me your thoughts on how you might have handled "David" if you had been his social worker? Do you have any questions or topics you would like me to cover regarding child development.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Our Love Story: Who pays for dinner?

I hugged future honey and "Chloe" at the gate and I was happy to see them both. I sat in my wheelchair while trying to convince them that my leg was much better. He brought the car round and Chloe waited with me to keep me company. I was sitting in the front seat next to honey and Chloe was in the back.

Throughout the car ride, we caught up and talked about funny memories. If felt like no time had passed. I found myself gazing out of the window and thinking back to when Honey and I were just friends.

We gave each other so many mixed messages during our friendship that it was like a year of being in a relationship without really knowing it. I felt so comfortable around him, but we came from such different backgrounds, experiences, religions etc.

And then there was the time that future Honey took me out a date. A date... an actual date that he had planned. The only problem was that I wasn't ready for us to date.

Future Honey asked me to dinner and I didn't think this was anything out of the ordinary. During work, we used to go out all the time to lunch and coffee. I was still dating someone else and he was seeing other girls.

That night, he picked me up and took me to his friends' Italian restaurant in the city. I remember, that he acted nervous And then it had occurred to me, that this was a date. At this time I didn't want to be more then friends with him.

His friend's restaurant was so nice. The walls were decorated with scenes of Italy, with intimate booths, candles on the table and faux vineyard grapes hanging from the ceiling. It had charm and was very quaint. As we walked through the restaurant doors, the cooks all waved to my future Honey and the owner's son came over to say hi and welcomed us. Honey was beaming from ear to ear. We sat down at a quiet booth and ordered some Chianti. He ordered me my favorite dish and made sure that we had Tiramisu for dessert.

We had finished dinner, when I realized that the check hadn't come. When I asked Honey about it, he told me that the bill had already been take care him.

He started to tell me that we should start dating ...each other. I was screaming inside my head "I'm not ready yet." At the end of this perfectly thoughtful, romantic and perfect date... I told him that I wanted us to stay as friends.

On our awkward drive home, I asked him if he had told any of our friends about dinner. He picked up the phone and called one of our co-workers and told her that he tried to take me out, but we were still just friends.

He then drove me home. I walked up into my apartment to find my two housemates home. They asked me how my night had gone.

I told them that I think Honey and I had just broken up.

"But your not dating?' asked my roommates.

"Yes, but he tried to take me out and I wasn't ready so we fake broke up."We started dating about about 6 months after this night. What a story? Have you ever had such a huge misunderstanding?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cable Car Confessions: The Little Boy and his Rockstar

Ding ding all aboard. "Next stop Powell Street Chinatown. Tickets please show me your tickets please." These sounds are very familiar to San Francisco tourists and locals. What is the one thing that you have to do when you come and visit San Francisco? Ride the cable car. What we don't hear about are the stories from the cable car drivers. I can't imagine what they see and hear everyday. This is their job. They ride in the fog, sun, rain, and in traffic jams. Here is one of their stories.

Do you remember when you were a small child and some adults seemed like royalty to you? I can remember looking up to all of my teachers. Every word rang true to my young and impressionable mind. I really didn't question my teachers until I got into high school?

I also remember looking up to airline pilots. To me pilots were like rock stars. I asked the stewardess almost every time that we flew if I could go to the cockpit and meet the pilots. When we were allowed to meet the pilots they were so big to me and in uniform. I always wondered to myself if the pilots made airplane noises to themselves as they flew like we did when we flew our airplanes. After visiting the cockpits (which children are not allowed to do anymore) the co-pilot would give me a sticker in the shape of small wings which I placed on my shirt and wore proudly throughout the flight to show everyone that I had been to the cockpit.

A couple of weeks ago, on my commute to work, I witnessed what it must be like for a child to look up to a cable car driver. Cable car drivers must be so intimidating to children. They are usually huge men (you have to be to pull the two large levers and press the huge pedals at every block for hours each day) that wear uniforms and yell out to the cable car for tickets and about upcoming stops. They will also sternly let you know if you are standing in the wrong place or if you have purchased the wrong ticket.

My usual morning stop to get onto the cable car is the Leavenworth street stop. One morning I had noticed a father taking his children to school. They were an Asian family and even though I have seen this family several times, I have never seen their mother with them. His oldest daughter is around 7 and his son is around 4 or 5. They both have very large backpacks on with cartoon decorations. The kind of over-sized backpacks that make you place wagers in your mind on when the child will topple over from the additional weight.

This morning, I saw my regular cable car driver "Jose" and tried to find a place to stand as the cable car was packed with locals and tourists. Usually you can find a seat or stand inside the car, but on this day we were packed in like sardines. I stood next to "Jose" and tried to stay out of the way of his driving.

The father and his children were sitting inside the cable car and his son was peering through the window to where I was standing.

"Jose" I said to the cable car driver. "I think you have a fan."

"Jose" looked through the glass to see a small child staring at him. "Yes, they always take the cable car to school and get off at Powell Street. I smile and try to talk to the little boy, but he gets very shy and doesn't seem to speak a lot of English.

So I start smiling at the little boy and waved to him to come and meet "Jose." He shyly looks at me and stayed where he is seated. So "Jose" and I smile at him again and made some funny faces at to make him laugh.

He didn't crack. Nothing not even a little smile.

Then the families Powell street stop came and it's time for them to get off of the cable car. The little boy says nothing to us as he passes everyone on the cable car and his father carried him off the cable car safely looking out for incoming traffic. "Jose" and I started talking to each other again when we heard a small voice yelling to us.

It was the little boy being carried by his father down the street smiling,yelling and waving to "Jose" all the way down Powell street to his school. This made both of our days. Stay tuned for the next Chapter of Cable Car Confessions #5: The Pick Up Artist

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Auntie C’s Tomato Bisque Soup Recipe

I grew up in an English household surrounded by English accents and a lot of sarcasm. Did I mention a lot of sarcasm? My Auntie C was no exception to the rule. What always separated her from the English family bunch was her emotional and warm heart. I always think of Auntie C fondly and as a motherly figure to me. Try to picture my Auntie C and imagine her as my short haired, sarcastic, emotional, "sweetie" Absolutely Fabulous auntie.

One of my fondest memories from when I was a child of my Auntie was when she took me on opening night to see the Swan Lake ballet. (I think I was 11) I had been dancing ballet for a couple of years and was loving it. Ballet was a wonderful outlet for me. I sat on the edge of my seat the entire night and held her hand. It was magical evening.

While I was growing up in Toronto and from the times I have visited almost every year after, Auntie C makes wonderful soup. There is never a kick to them, but there is a warmth of childhood every time I slurp at some of her soup from my spoon. Below is the recipe so you can share it with your loved ones. This is really easy dinner recipe on a budget.

Tomato Bisque Soup Recipe

½ cup butter/margarine
2 medium onions diced
¼ cup flour
1 28 oz tin of diced tomato
5 cups chicken broth
A Pinch celery seed
2 carrots sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
6 whole peppercorns
½ teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoon sweet vermouth (don’t fret if you don’t have it – you could throw a drop of sherry in)
Chopped parsley/dill

Over a medium saucepan heat and melt the butter, sautee onions in a separate cooking pan. Add the onions and add the flour to the large saucepan; stir in the tomatoes, the broth and the seasoning.

Simmer for approx 45 minutes. Serve Tomato Bisque Soup with a little chopped parsley or dill. This soup also freezes superbly!! I like to serve this soup with either a grilled cheese sandwich on the side (that recipe coming soon) or with some croutons.

I hope you enjoy this dinner recipe on a budget and can imagine Auntie C in her blue kitchen with her frog figurines, cooking for us. Leave me a comment and let me know what dish your Auntie made for you?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Our Love Story: Leaving on a Jet Plane

I booked my ticket home to San Francisco and I told my family I was leaving. It was hard for everyone. I had leaned on them for 5 months because of my two knee surgeries. Honey and I decided that he would pick me up from the SF airport.

Before I left L.A. I started to realize that we were in a relationship, and not just a friendship. Because of my injury and surgeries, I had to go to Physical Therapy about 4 times a week and continue to do exercises at home. I got to know my physical therapist and the other patients as we all supported each other. There was a man at PT 37, a retired Marine - who was in rehab for a shoulder surgery. We talked each time we were at an appointment together. One day he asked me out to coffee after our appointment and offered to drive me home.

I said yes to coffee and felt guilty the entire time. The truth of the matter is, I talked about my future Honey to the ex-Marine the entire time and about my decision to move back to San Francisco. I had a huge crush on my Honey. The ex-Marine asked me out again or if he could come and visit me in San Francisco.

I told him "Thank you, but no because I was involved with my future Honey". Retired marine man drove me home and that was the last time we saw each other.

At the airport....

Physically, I was very scared to travel by myself. I was weak and could only take a couple of steps on my own without crutches. I was humbled sitting in a wheelchair through airport security.

I kept thinking to myself that my future Honey would be at the San Francisco airport waiting for me. I just knew it would be OK.

I can do this!

Then my mind started to wander to what it would be like to see him. We had been through so much together over the last year and he had given me so much support.

I finally knew how I felt about him, but I had never fallen in love with a friend before. During the plane ride, I felt shy. Maybe he had changed his mind and didn't love me anymore as it had taken me so long to realize how I felt.

Should I kiss him or not kiss him when I saw him at the gate?

I told everyone who would listen to me on the plane that I was going home after 5 months of being away to tell my best guy friend that I was in love with him. (I am sure it was like Rachel on Friends when she was on the plane flying to London to stop Ross’ wedding)

Finally the plane landed. I could see the stewardess get the wheelchair ready for me. This was it...the moment that I had been waiting for had arrived.

I was wheeled off the plane. I was so excited to see him and my heart was beating so fast. Then I saw him standing at the bottom of the escalator. He had brought me a surprise. My girlfriend “Chloe” was with him. How could I kiss him now?

Friday, November 14, 2008

My Advice to You: from Me Dr. Laura

A wise person once said "Look at the glass half full." I totally agree with this and have lived my life by this motto. Here is some advice that I have learned and would like to share with you.

My Advice to You Is......

1) Always look at the glass as half full.
2) Pay yourself first!
3) Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night. (This is before you have kids.)
4) Keep an umbrella at your home, in your purse and at work in case of a freak rainstorm that the weatherman forgot to tell you about.
5) Go and see some live music often, close your eyes and feel your spirit.
6) Cook more at home and go out less in the week. This helps you eat better and save more.
7) Prenatal vitamins help you feel healthier and grow your nails and hair faster.
8) Try to travel to a new city or country every year. Have you ever been to Brazil?
9) Treat others the way you would want to be treated.
10) Call your family and friends almost every day.
11) Say what's on your mind daily and do not back pedal.
12) Smile at least ten times a day. (Sometimes my face hurts at night from all of my smiling.)
13) When you feel yourself getting into a heated argument count to ten in your head and then respond. (If you don't care about the other person respond right away without counting.)
14) Airborne cures my cold and lessens my symptoms.
15) Did you know that all of Canada is having a sale? 20% off of everything...oh wait just their dollar is down.
16) Wash your face twice in the evening. (The first wash is to get your makeup off and then the second wash is to get off the the leftover stuff.)
17) To let a child know that they can trust you: smile, look them in the eye, do not talk down to them and if possible get down to their level. Now that I think about it, this works with adults as well.
18) "Work like you don't need the money, love like you've never been hurt and dance like no one's watching."
19) Try to have at least two months of your salary saved up at all times.
20) Everything does happen for a reason!

I love the #18 phrase " Work like you don't need the money, Love like you've never been hurt and dance like no one's watching." To me this means let go and enjoy life. To try and appreciate every day and not sweat the small stuff. We all need the money, have been hurt by love before and when we dance tend to be afraid that someone won't like how we are moving.
What do you think would happen if we all followed this sentiment every single day?

Let me know if you agree with Dr. Laura's advice and send me the advice that you have learned. Which of the numbers do you agree most with? Which do you disagree with?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Cable Car Confessions: The Lonely Hearts Tale

Ding ding all aboard. "Next stop Powell Street Chinatown. Tickets please show me your tickets please." These sounds are very familiar to San Francisco tourists and locals. What is the one thing that you have to do when you come and visit San Francisco? Ride the cable car. What we don't hear about are the stories from the cable car drivers. I can't imagine what they see and hear everyday. This is their job. They ride in the fog, sun, rain, and in traffic jams. Here is one of their stories.

This is a lonely hearts tale confession. I was riding on the California cable car line to work one morning. On this morning the weather was very deceiving. The sun was out, but there was a chill in the air. The cable car drivers were wearing thick coats and encouraging the women to sit inside the car so the doors could be closed for warmth.

I noticed a woman get on the cable car at the Taylor Street stop. She looked to me like she was in her late twenties. She was wearing a black, full length coat and gloves. Her shoulder length blond hair was pulled back into a pony tail which helped show off her large, black sunglasses. I noticed that she didn't smile or really show expression throughout the ride. Even when a small child of about six walked by her on the cable car she continued to stay somber.

The cable car driver had noticed this too and he tried to cheer her up. At this time the cable car was passing the Omni-Hotel San Francisco which is in the heart of the financial district. The cable car driver said to the woman "I bet I can cheer you up".

"Oh thanks." she said while pulling up the collar on her coat to her face to protect her from the chill. "I'm OK, there's no need. I just found out that my boyfriend is cheating on me so I don't feel like being cheered up."

The cable car driver said. "Your too pretty to be sad or to be cheated on!"

Then the cable car slowed down at the Montgomery stop right in front of the Omni-Hotel. Three doormen were standing in front of the hotel, dressed in full uniform. Our cable car driver yelled out to the doormen. "Hi Johnny."

"Hey you." the doorman replied

"The cable car is stopped for 2 minutes at the light. I have someone for you to meet."

Johnny, the doorman, smiled and jumped onto our cable car and shook hands with our cable car driver.

"Johnny I want to introduce to you this lovely lady who's just been cheated on. Can you imagine anyone cheating on her?"

So the doorman went over to the sad woman, kissed her on the hand, stared straight into her eyes and said "I would never cheat on you!"

Then the woman smiled from ear to ear.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My Entry for the Proud Bookworm Award

Last week I was nominated for the Proud Bookworm award by poetica. Her blog is filled with beautiful poems and music. Thank you again and I proudly accept my award.

So, here is how the award works:

Pass it on to five other bloggers, and tell them to open the nearest book to page 46. Write out the fifth sentence on that page, and also the next two to five sentences...The CLOSEST BOOK, NOT YOUR FAVORITE, OR MOST INTELLECTUAL!!"

Well, the nearest book to me turned out to be Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. The back cover describes the book as: Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov's most famous and controversial novel, which tells the story of the aging Humbert. Humbert's obsessive, devouring, and doomed passion for the nymphet Dolores Haze.

I read this book years ago and for the record was very disturbed by it. I am pretty sure I didn't bring myself to finishing it.

Pg.46...hmmmm...where are you P.46?....oh there you are


She had been spiteful, if you please, at the age of one, when she used to throw her toys out of her crib so that her poor mother should keep picking them up, the villainous infant! Now at twelve, she was a regular pest, said Haze. All she wanted from life was to be one day a strutting and prancing baton twirler or a jitterbug. Her grades were poor, but she was better adjusted in her new school than in Pisky (Pisky was the Haze home town in the Middle West.)

I will pass the love on by nominating these four Bookwormers.....

Fancy Schmancy
It Is What It Is Sometimes
The Rest Is Still Unwritten
It's All About Me

Monday, November 10, 2008

Nana’s Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

I grew up with an English Grandmother who looked similar to Angela Lansbury and sounded just like Mary Poppins. Let me tell you, she makes the most amazing Shepherd's Pie! It's always so hearty and warm. When I am eating Shepherd's Pie it always makes me think of my childhood. I had Nana send me her recipe a couple of years ago and I added my own little twists to it to make it easier. I hope this is a great budget recipe for you. Try it out and let me know what you think.

* 9 potatoes - peeled and cubed (You can also use boxed masked potatoes from
Trader Joe’s which cuts down on time.)
* 2 dashes of paprika
* 1 1/2 pounds ground beef or ground turkey
* 1 (6 ounce) can tomato sauce or ketchup
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
* 1 dash of mustard
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
* 1 cup of finely chopped celery and carrots
* 1 cup of chopped onions
* 2 eggs
* 1 cup of bread crumbs (if you don't have bread crumbs you can use corn flakes)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Place the potatoes and water to cover in a large pot over high heat. Boil for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, brown the ground beef or turkey in a large skillet over medium high heat; drain excess fat.
3. To the ground beef, add the tomato sauce, parsley, Mustard to taste, salt, ground black pepper and carrots, celery and onions. In a separate small bowl, mix the eggs and bread crumbs with the beef/turkey.
4. Stir both bowls together well.
5. Place the mixture at the bottom of a deep glass pan and pack the mixture to the bottom of the pan. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Half way through the cooking mash up the mixture with a fork.
6. Drain the potatoes, mash and spread over the beef mixture keeping the beef mixture separate from the potato to make a pie. Sprinkle the potato top with paprika.
7. Place back into the oven and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 more minutes.

Enjoy and this should make leftovers as well!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

My Ode to my Lululemon Pants: How much do I love thee Lululemon Reversible Groove pants?

How much do I love thee Lululemon reversible groove pants? Let me count the ways.

1) I love how you are always waiting for me at home, ready to stretch with me and make me feel chic and comfortable.

2) I love that no matter what I do while wearing you, you bounce back and seem to ask me for more. I have worn you on planes, on a 13 mile walk for the AFSP , dressed up for work, to yoga, on the weekends while doing laundry, walking on the Ipanema beach in Brazil, Queen Street in Toronto and Union Street in San Francisco. (Boy do I shop around.)

3) You never seem to fade, lose shape or complain that I am wearing you too much.

4) I can throw you into my suitcase and you never get wrinkled.

5) You always seem to fit no matter how my body is feeling.

6) I am almost at the point where I love you more then my jeans.

7) The store offers free hemming so you always fit me just right.

8) You have matching tanks.

9) You seem to help me in my yoga practice. Breath in and fall into downward dog position and smile as my pants come with me and keep the sweat away from my body.

10) You make me popular with the cool kids. (Well I can hope can't I?)

So I love you in so ways. A pair of Lululemon pants will cost you around $80 but they are totally worth the money. If you treat them right then your pants can last years and years. Plus Lululemon has sales all the time. This brand is so popular in Toronto that everyone wears the clothing line during the weekend. Go and try a pair out and let me know what you think!

Friday, November 7, 2008

I've Been Nominated for the Proud Bookworm Award

I was nominated for the Proud Bookworm award by poetica. Thank you poetica it feels great "just to be nominated." To claim my (cross your fingers) award. I have to:

Poetica wrote on her site "Miss Kiss herself at Lipstick Diaries presented me with the coveted "Bookworm Award". This being my very first blog award, I was of course thrilled! Many thanks, my sweet =)

So, here is how the award works:

Pass it on to five other bloggers, and tell them to open the nearest book to page 46. Write out the fifth sentence on that page, and also the next two to five sentences...The CLOSEST BOOK, NOT YOUR FAVORITE, OR MOST INTELLECTUAL!!"

Stay tuned as I go and find the nearest book.

Our Love Story: Opposite Parent Reactions

My little brother who was eleven at the time decided to have a heart to heart talk with my future honey.

"Listen you love my sister don't you?" asked my 11 year old brother.
Honey replied trying to play cool "You know, we're just really good friends who look out for each other."
Little brother "Come on, admit it, we all know. Our whole family talks about you loving Lala."
Future honey still trying to play cool "That's funny...I don't know what else to tell you. You should talk to Laur about it."
"You have to tell her you love her so she can love you back. Can you do it soon so I can be an uncle and a brother-in-law really soon!"

Future honey was left blushing.

It was only 6 weeks later, that I decided to return back to San Francisco. My family had asked me to move back to L.A., I had lost my job and was still not back to normal in terms of mobility. There was still something deep inside that told me I needed to return to San Francisco.

One night in November, while I was driving in the canyons of L.A. honey called me to tell me some great news. He had been given a wonderful promotion and a raise at work. I was so proud of him.

“What did your parents say when you told them about your promotion?” I asked

He replied “I haven’t told them yet. You were the first person I called!"

This was a sign for me. It showed me that he wanted me to be the first to know and how important I was to him. I knew in my gut that I was falling in love.

That night,I decided to book my ticket home to San Francisco and tell my family that I was leaving. It was hard for everyone. I had leaned on them for 5 months, but we all felt safe that honey would there to take care of me.

The countdown to me leaving L.A for San Francisco was a short one. I booked my ticket for December 2nd. This was a Saturday and little did I know the biggest UCLA game was on that day and honey was/is a huge sports fan.

I looked forward to getting back to my life. My family and friends in L.A. had all taken great care of me.

The day finally came Saturday, December 2nd 2006 and my father drove me to the airport. As I was thinking about kissing my future honey at the airport when I saw him, my father said to me.

" Laura I have something that I need to say to you. I don't know if you will decide to be with future honey, but if it's not him then you deserve someone exactly like him." I had just been given my father's approval and with tears in my eyes I boarded the plane...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Congratulations to President Obama: To New Beginnings

I wanted to share with you my political experience of helping out as a volunteer for the Barack Obama Campaign for Change over this past weekend. I was called by a volunteer on my cell phone on Halloween eve. The volunteer asked if I would like to come to the phone bank headquarters to call voters in swing states. I found myself saying yes and volunteering honey to come along as well.

It felt just like a scene out of a movie. Saturday, November 1st was a very dark, rainy and stormy day in San Francisco, so we had to cab it over to the headquarters. We pulled up to the building to see Barack Obama campaign signs out front. We walked inside with another gentleman who said out loud, as we escaped from the rain, "That's right, you have true dedication to come out in the rain to help out like this." Then we walked inside to become apart of a headquarters in a campaign that we all believed in. I felt like I was doing something that I believed in, and maybe I could help, in a small way, to bringing about change.

We signed in and went to have an orientation with about 10 other volunteers. In the morning the phone bank was calling Florida, but during our shift we were calling Colorado. We were given a list of about 40 people to call to encourage them to vote on November 4th. Below is the example of the script that we used:

Script Hello, may I speak with _____? My name is _Laura_ and I'm a volunteer with Barack Obama's Campaign for Change. I'm calling to ask you about your plans for voting in this election. Do you plan on voting in person on Tuesday, or have you already voted?

(If They Say They Won't Vote:) Well I hope you change your mind- just imagine how great it will feel to be able to tell people that YOU voted for change by supporting the Barack Obama in 2008! In case you change your mind, you can vote on Tuesday and the polls are open until 7 p.m.

(If Already Voted) Thank you so much for voting in this historic election!
Some of the more memorable calls were:

1) A 90 year old, undecided woman who's dog was barking in the background. She kept calling me "honey."

Me: Do you think you'll be able to go out and vote on Tuesday?
Undecided: Yes, but I can't decide who to vote for.
Me: It's great that you are going. Can I ask what is keeping you as undecided?
Undecided: I'm stuck between two candidates.... Ralph Nader and Barack Obama
Me: How will you decide?
Undecided: Well I know Ralph Nader doesn't have a chance in hell of winning, but I thought I would help.

2) An 11 year old boy answered the phone.

Me: Can I talk to your father?
Boy: He is not at home
Me: Do you know if your parents have voted?
Boy: I don't know about that stuff

3) I had a couple of wives question who I was when I asked to talk to their husbands. :)

4) There was a teacher sitting next to us and she got off a call and seemed visibly upset.

Teacher: I just have to talk to someone about this call.
Me: Sure we can talk.
Teacher: Well I just spoke with this 19 year old girl who said she was voting for McCain because she believes in his fiscal policy. This scares me so much as I am a teacher that works my ass off.
Me: You know, people of that age tend to vote the same as their parents. Try to think about the other people on the phone that you did reach.

I found volunteering to be a great experience that I would do again. It's rare in this world to feel apart of something and to feel that you can help make a difference.

Congratulations President Barack Obama!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

One Vote

Election Day-2008 Presidential Campaign: Please Get Out There Today & Vote

Please go out and cast your vote today. It is the most important election of our time. Please go out and vote in this historic election.

No matter who is elected to become the next President of the United States, they have an unbelievably challenging job ahead of them to fix our economy, change the world view of us and bring change.

In 2001, I become a U.S citizen. I was so excited to complete the complicated two year process of being finger printed by the FBI, testing and finally I had a swearing in ceremony at the L.A. Staples Center (which was wonderful). I casted my first vote in the 2004 Presidential election. My first poll station was at a dark, seedy, motel/hotel in San Francisco and I voted with all walks of life.

I believed that my vote counted during my first election. I would still like to believe that every vote counts.

All of the world will be watching us today to welcome the change.

Please Vote!

Monday, November 3, 2008

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Sunday, November 2, 2008

Our Love Story: Light at the End of the Tunnel

Interracial dating, love and our relationship. Story continued: Slowly I did it taking small, stiff steps. I practiced for 45 minutes and was tired at the end. Before I end and rest honey showed me that I had to walk without the crutches all together so I would know that I could do it.
One, two, three......
I took my first weak steps. We were both so proud of me. Then future honey reached for me, hugged me and then kissed me awkwardly on the forehead. Looking back, I am glad he kissed my forehead, as I wasn’t ready for more. I was concentrating on getting better from my knee surgeries so I could return to my life in San Francisco. I was trying to return to him.

Around this time, honey had visited me several times in L.A. His parents, especially his mother started to show concern. Honey's parents and family are Hindu and come from a small town in southern India. They came to America after honey and his sister were born. They moved and still live in Northern California, own a Store that they have worked very hard for and his father also works for a large hospital.

Mothers always know don’t they? Honey's mother asked him why was he coming to L.A. to see me so often. She suggested that I was leaning on her son too much. That honey only felt loyal to me because I had helped him get a job. She questioned our friendship, his loyalties and my intentions.

I will talk more about the parent friction in upcoming chapters, but I wanted to let you know that we have had obstacles to overcome as well.

So here's a funny story that I would like to share with you. I have talked a lot about giving mixed messages during this time of our friendship to my future honey. I gave ALOT of mixed messages. Honey gave some as well.

Honey was staying at my father's house for the weekend. He had gone to UCLA for college so he still had a lot of close friends that lived in L.A. He was looking after me during the day and it was getting late when I suggested that he stay the night and could sleep in my little brother's room. (Mixed messages.) He agreed to stay, but had no luggage with him. Before we fell asleep I asked if he needed anything like a clean towel for the bathroom or a toothbrush. (Mixed messages.)

Honey said laughing "Well then that would mean me getting two different toothbrushes from two different girls in one weekend!"(Mixed messages)

My heart sank.

Nice Honey :)

Stay tuned for the next chapter. Interracial dating, love and our relationship: Chapter 3 Part 4 Meet The Parents Opposite Reactions