Appreciation and Gratefulness

Oakland is a neighboring city not too far from San Francisco. It is a city plagued with endless violence. Two days ago, an armed security guard at an auto part store was shot dead. There were loads of comments on the news article. One particular one that stood out the most to me was a man asking "what kind of place do you live in when you need an armed security guard for an auto parts store and even he got killed?" On the same day, a 60-year-old man was killed in a hit-and-run collision. 15 minutes later, another man was killed in another hit-and-run collision which police suspects is related to the initial hit-and-run of the 60-year-old man. These kinds of violence are so common in Oakland. The city counsel has been working for years to make Oakland a safer city but to no avail. Oakland also has a hard time hiring police officers because even they get killed in drive-by shootings. Oakland police officers are paid much higher than other cities but that kind of money still don't attract people to apply.

There are too many gangs, drugs, and poverty in Oakland. I guess kids growing up in poverty and gangs become so numbed by their environment that they don't have much regard for a brighter future. It's talked and debated about that you are the product of your environment. The argument has always been that the poor people struggle for survival hence they resort to any means necessary to survive. They have little or no education nor job experience; therefore, they are economically disadvantaged, and because of this, they simply don't have a better chance in life. An ex-coworker of mine thinks that it is because Oakland has mostly black people living there which is the main reason why politicians don't care to do much to alleviate the problems plaguing the city. Whatever the root cause of the problem is, it is just sad, so sad that people have no regard for another human being, that they have to resort to violence to solve whatever issues they have.

I was walking home yesterday and I noticed the moon was visible at 4:30pm. The tiny white speck high above in the sky is the moon.

By the time I was near my house, the sun was setting. I live near the ocean. If you look at the picture closely, the far end is the ocean. I thought how beautiful the scenery was and how grateful I am to have what I have in life. I hope you all take time to appreciate how precious life is and to be thankful for what you have because there are so many out there that are suffering and enduring so much pain and hardship.

What a Pleasant Surprise

This Christmas, my mom volunteers at our local elderly self-help center. She teaches elderlies how to make little puppy Christmas theme ornaments and decorations. The funny thing is I never knew my mom has this creative side. I know that she used to learn flower arrangements when she was a teenager before she jumped to the medical field. Big shift in career choice. I wish I can transition like that. Anyhow, so my mom came over to my house and gave my two girls the pups that she made. She made some ornaments for us to hang on our Christmas tree...

Then she handed her grand kids these adorable puppies in baskets and sleighs:

Notice that the two puppies in the baskets are the same color. It's because pink is my girls favorite color. I was surprised to find out that my mom can make these things. I don't have the knack for sewing or anything artsy. And I suppose this is her way of giving her grand kids "puppies" for Christmas since she knows that they've been dying for a pet dog.

'Tis the Season

We went Christmas shopping yesterday and it was raining on and off. The sky was this dark in the afternoon:

As a matter of fact, that was how everyday looked like last week for us. When we got inside the mall, my little girl said she was hungry so we went to the food court to eat first. I wish I could have recorded what was happening at the table right in front, to my right, and behind me. Now this all happened during my 20 minutes of eating. Let's start with the table in front of me. There were two little girls, probably 4 and 6 years old play fighting on the floor. The parents were just talking to each other and the girls were rolling on the floor and wrestling. It was an accident waiting to happen. Their legs were extended out to the aisle. If people walking were not careful, they could of easily stepped on or tripped on the girls legs. The play ended with one of the girls' hitting her head on the floor and the mom shouted at them to stop. A couple of minutes later, I heard a loud cry from a baby. I turned around and saw a mom struggling to calm the baby down. A minute later, I heard a loud bang. The baby had somehow kicked the food tray and it fell onto the floor. Luckily the lady had someone with her to help her clean up the mess. When that was over, just as I was getting ready to leave, a little boy was twirling around and guess where he fell over? Right onto me. I tried to stop his fall but couldn't grab him fast enough. He banged his head on the table and fell on my lap. I asked if he was ok, poor kid looked startled. His father beckoned him to come back to the table and he obediently complied.

After our interesting lunch, we headed to Nordstorm to check out some shoes. Ladies, what do you think of these high heels?

I can't wear heels this high. I'd fall flat on my face. They're painful and not good for the feet or back. See the things some women would wear in the name of beauty and fashion? I have friends who love to wear high heels and when they take off their shoes, their feet look deformed. They all say it hurts but they like their shoes.

Right in the middle of the mall, people were taking pictures with Santa Claus. My phone camera didn't capture the setting too nicely.

My girls are camera shy in the public. They didn't want to take pictures with Santa. We finished our Christmas shopping yesterday. Finally!

If Money Was No Object...


I read on the news yesterday that now, for $18,000 USD, you can choose the gender of your baby. With science and technology advancing quite rapidly from ideas to reality, I don't think it would be long before we have the capability to create our own ideal children. Think of it as this: we are moving closer to being able to choose the eye color, hair color, height, skin tone, and gender of an unborn child. The original medical idea behind this is to eliminate hereditary defective genes, genes that cause diseases such as breast cancer and Tay-Sachs.

If money was no object to you, would you tamper with nature and choose the gender of your baby?

Image credit

Shopping for Backyard Decor

The rain finally came on Sunday afternoon. We need rain, alot of it. We have been in a drought for sometime now, not a severe drought but the situation is bad enough for city officials to raise our water rate to get people to start conserving. As a matter of fact, a friend of mine in her mid 60s, told me the drought was so bad a few years back that certain cities told their residents to stop watering their lawns and backyards. Doing so will result in a hefty fine. I think it's common sense though, don't you think, that when there is a water shortage, you help conserve water by not watering your backyard?

Yesterday, I went to check out some decors for my backyard with my sister. It was cold and brisky after the rain but I really need to do some walking exercise. We went to several different stores before coming to Silvestri Company Garden Ornaments. We were walking around looking at some beautiful fountains, statues, and lemon trees when my sister asked me wasn't it strange that the place seemed empty, no customers-no employees. I looked around and told her maybe we were the only customers. Here's some of the things we saw:

Everything on display outside was too big for my backyard. To give you a good perspective of how small my yard is, the Triceratop dinosaur statue will take up half of my yard. My sister and I decided to check the showroom inside and when we walked to the front door, it was locked. All the lights were off. There was no one inside. We walked around the courtyard and saw no workers. It was an awkward moment because the gate of the business would have been locked if it was closed. We walked to the other side of the courtyard and saw someone getting off the delivery truck. The delivery guy said the place was closed. You know, the funny thing is, the place was supposed to close at 5pm and it was only 4:20pm when my sister and I were there. I guess it was too cold and the workers decided to leave early. What a bummer for us though.

Rescue Gone Bad

Ok, another week has passed and we are approaching closer to saying good bye to 2009. A friend sent me these pictures. Hope you all have a good weekend. Enjoy!

The Cutest Puppy

Did anyone find any great holiday savings deals on Cyber Monday? I didn't. I checked out many online stores and didn't find anything great to buy. There was so much hype about all the great savings retailers were going to offer yesterday. I gave up by noon and being that it was so nice outside, I took my little girl out to eat lunch and enjoy the beautiful, yet unusual, November weather. After lunch, we walked around and I saw a DVD rental store and decided to check it out. The store was beautifully decorated inside.
My daughter screamed "fishy!" a minute into my browsing the DVDs collections. Well, what a surprise - the store sells fishes, puppies, water fountains, aquariums, and rents DVDs.

My little girl was so excited. She asked right away if she could have a pet and the answer, of course, was a no. We walked around and saw the cutest puppy:

By this time, my daughter was in heaven. She wanted the puppy. I wanted the puppy. It was the cutest dog I have ever seen. The pup costs $899 and it was the sale price too. That's just a tad too expensive! The nagging thought of my girls not old enough to take care of the pup and flash thoughts of my parents' two dogs made me realized right then I didn't want to take up the responsibility. Right next to the pup's stall was a another puppy stall:

My daughter wasn't interested in the other dogs, she walked back to the first one. We walked around to look at the fishes. She wanted the puppy and I told her I'll get her a pet fish. She exclaimed, "A fish is not a pet"! These two fishes are huge. I don't like big fishes. It's hard to discard them when they die.

I had her pick from this pond:

After going back and forth and several rounds of looking at fishes, my daughter said she didn't want her fish, she only wanted the puppy. The good thing about my little one is when I tell her I will think about it and I will come back to buy whatever she asks for, she doesn't throw a tantrum. She said good bye to the pup before we left the store.

After thinking it through for a day, I told my little one that when she's older, she can have a dog but not now. She was sad but got over it by the end of the day. Pheww...I'm glad she took it well!