Sunday, April 29, 2007

Local Freeway Collapses

A section of freeway collapsed early this morning in Oakland about 30 miles from me. Apparently, an inexperienced tanker driver was driving too fast in the middle of night, crashed onto a guard rail and his tanker truck exploded thus melting the freeway causing it to collapse. I had to drive to Oakland today and I was worried that it would affect my commute. Luckily, it didn't, but it will next week when I head across the Golden Gate. I feel sorry for the 250,000 commuters tomorrow who use this freeway. Our Govenator has declared free rides tomorrow on all public transportation in the region.

To read more about this in the news, go to...

- AV

Friday, April 27, 2007

Great-Grandma Goes to College

Wow, look at this great-grandmother go! I love reading stories like this when people do not feel hindered by their age.

(Click on the picture for the full story.)

When I was growing up, my grandmother babysat me at her place while my parents were at work. She was in pretty good health being in her mid-70's, but other than reading the newspaper, visiting friends in her apartment building, or walking down to her local mom & pop store to do her grocery shopping, she was not very active and spent most of her time sitting in her chair and nodding off. It was very sad!

At that young age, I vowed that when I grow old, I would not fall into this trap of being inactive just because of age. As long as I'm in good health, I believe I WON'T be too old to learn, too old to join a club, too old to travel, too old to write book, too old to blog, ...etc. and the list goes on and on.

So, good going Nola! Congratulations on your upcoming graduation & breaking the record for being the oldest college graduate. Graduating with your granddaughter will be so sweet!

- AV

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Took the Day Off

I took the day off to catch up on some work at home. Crazy huh? Work is just interfering with my personal life. Hahaha!

Brought my dog to the vet and saw these hamsters for sale. Tried to get my rat terrier to look at these cute critters, but he was too traumatized after the vet. Just kidding, he just had a blood test so the vet would allow me to buy heartworm medication for him.

My annual camera club photo exhibition is next week so I had to mat all my pictures for the show. I have been so busy in the last year or so that I haven't been able to attend many club field trips to take the artsy-fartsy pictures. Oh well, I'll just show what I have. I won't expect any ribbons this year, but I'll let you know how it turns out.

- AV

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Wednesday Hero

This Weeks Soldier Was Suggested By Sunny Kay

Col. Cyril Richard
Col. Cyril Richard "Rick" Rescorla
68 years old from New York City, New York
16th Air Assault Brigade, Parachute Regiment (England)
Platoon Leader of 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) (U.S.)
September 11, 2001

Col. Rick Rescorla is a multiple time hero. In 1957 he enlisted in the British Army and began training as a paratrooper with The Parachute Regiment of the 16th Air Assault Brigade. He went on to serve with an intelligence unit in Cyprus, a paramilitary police inspector in the Northern Rhodesia Police (now the Zambia Police Service). When his military career ended in England he joined the Metropolitan Police Service in London. But he found the paperwork too boring and quite at the behest of a friend who encouraged him to join the United State Army. Which he did.

In 1963, Rescorla enlisted, with his friend, in the United States Army. After he completed basic training he attended officer training school and was assigned as a platoon leader in the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile).

He was shipped to Vietnam and participated in the Battle of la Drang. While in Vietnam, he was given the nickname "Hard Core" by his men for his bravery in battle.

In 1968, Resorla became a U.S. citizen and continued his service in the Army Reserves until 1990 when he retired. In 1985 he joined a financial services firm, located in the World Trade Center, as security director.

In 1993, when the WTC was bombed, Rescorla was instrumental in evacuating people from the building. Afterwards, he enacted a policy in which all employees of the firm practiced evacuation drills every three months.

September 11, 2001. Rick Rescorla was supposed to be on vacation getting ready for his daughters wedding. Instead he was at work covering a shift for one of his deputies so that he could go on vacation. When American Airlines Flight 11 hit Tower 1, Rescorla ignored officials advice to stay put and opted instead to put his evacuation drills to use. While evacuating the 3,800 employees of his firm in Towers 2 and 5 he kept reminding them "be proud to be an American ...everyone will be talking about you tomorrow" and sang God Bless America over his bullhorn. When Flight 175 struck Tower 2, Rescorla had already evacuated most of the employees from his firm as well as many others from other floors. He then went back in, despite being told he needed to evacuate himself. The last known words anyone heard him say were, "As soon as I make sure everyone else is out". Tower 2 collapsed with Rick Rescorla last seen heading to the 10th floor looking for more people to help.

As a result of his actions that day, all but six employees of his firm made it out alive. One of those being him and three others being his deputies who followed him into Tower 2, Wesley Mercer, Jorge Velazquez, and Godwin Forde.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. If you would like to participate in honoring the brave men and women who serve this great country, you can find out how by going here.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Feel the Love

Last Friday, our HR rep sent out an email to everyone in the office telling us we will be celebrating employee birthdays that land in April. Her email was sent around 10:30am for a noon "party". On Fridays, employees usually go out for lunch so hardly anyone was in the office. When noon rolled around, the HR rep hung up the birthday sign, left some Costco warehouse cookies on the table of the break room, and then left for her own lunch.

I really felt sorry for anyone who had an April birthday because no one cares and the half-hearted attempt of trying to set up a "party" was really done in poor taste.

So, don't you just feel the love at my workplace?

- AV

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Wednesday Hero

This Weeks Soldier Was Submitted By Anna

Chief Mast Sgt. John Gebhardt
Chief Master Sgt. John Gebhardt
Superintendent of the 22nd Wing Medical Group at McConnell Air Force Base

Have you heard of Chief Master Sgt. John Gebhardt? Maybe you have and maybe you haven't. CMSgt. Hebhardt gain some notoriety recently. Not for an action that he took on the battlefield, but rather for a picture(not shown because it is graphic) that was taken of him.

In 2006, CMSgt. John Gebhardt was photographed holding a little Iraqi girl that had been injured. Her family had been attacked by insurgents. Both of her parents were killed, along with many of her siblings, and she had been shot in the head and left for dead. But she was tougher than that. She was brought to Balad Air Base Hospital where she was operated on and ultimately saved. As you can imagine, it was an extremely hard time for this little girl. Her recovery was hellish. But when CMSgt. Gebhardt would hold her, she seemed to be comforted. He spent many nights sleeping in a chair with her in his arms. The picture wast taken by a fellow airman while CMSgt. Gebhardt and the little girl were napping. Said CMSgt. Gebhardt, "I'm sure that probably just gave her some inner peace that she could reach."

On a side note. This is why I started doing these Wednesday Hero posts. Because of people like Chief Master Sgt. John Gebhardt. It's soldiers like him that make me proud of our military.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. If you would like to participate in honoring the brave men and women who serve this great country, you can find out how by going here.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Weekend symphony

As you can tell from the pictures, we spent Sunday at a pops concert, but unfortunately it was over 100 miles from home. We decided to bring our dog along on the long drive. He's a nosy dog so he loves looking out the window at the passing scenery. We dropped him off at a newly opened doggy daycare called Camp Bow Wow while we attended the concert. He loved the place and the owners were exceptionally friendly. Too bad we live so far away; otherwise, we would bring him back more often.

- AV

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Feet washing

To me, the feet is not one of my favorite parts of the body to look at. A few days ago, I spotted a gym member washing her feet in the public sink. There were plenty of showers she could've used, but no, she would rather lift her leg 3 feet off the ground and stick it into the sink. What's up with that?

- AV

*Image above borrowed from

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Happy Anniversary to Me

I don't usually toot my own horn, but it's my 11th wedding anniversary today. I totally forgot about it until my husband (yes, husband) reminded me this morning. It was on his PDA; otherwise, he would not have remembered either. Wow, time sure has flown!

I remember getting married at the San Diego city hall, but before I knew it, the ceremony was over and I immediately wondered to myself what have I done! No, not that I regretted marrying him, but I just did something that would affect the rest of my life. It was a BIG & SCARY the time!

Was this considered "cold feet", but after the fact?!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Wednesday Hero

This Weeks Solider Was Summited By Lt. Schneider

SSgt. Keith
SSgt. Keith "Matt" Maupin
24 years old from Batavia, Ohio
Army Reserves 724th Transportation Company
MIA Since April 9, 2004

Strength, perseverance and determination is how you would describe the family of SSgt. Keith Maupin. Because even though their son has been missing now for almost three years, his parents still haven't given up hope that he's still alive. Said his father, Keith Maupin, "I'm saying it ain't over till the fat lady sings and when she sings, I'm going to choke her. That's what I say. They're going to find Matt." His mother, Carolyn, was quoted as saying, "We're to keep our hope up. And praying until they can prove to us 100 percent either way. And that's what I'm going to do. And I realize we only have a 50/50 chance here, but I'm not going the low road. I'm going the high road"

SSGt. Maupin, who was PFC. Maupin when he was capture and has since received two promotions, was reported MIA when his fuel convoy came under attack near the Baghdad International Airport. Along with Maupin was Sgt. Elmer Krause and seven employees of U.S. contractor Kellogg, Brown & Root. All of whom were either rescued or escaped. Seven days later, on April 16, Al-Jazeera aired a video tape of Maupin in which he was forced to admit that he was went to Iraq unwillingly. Then on June 28, 2004, Al-Jazerra reported that PFC. Maupin had been executed by a group calling themselves Persistent Power Against the Enemies of God and the Prophet. But no concrete proof has surfaced either way.

His parents have created a website called Yellow Ribbon Support Center if you would like to check it out. And while most in the media have forgotten Keith Maupin, Wednesday Hero hasn't.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. If you would like to participate in honoring the brave men and women who serve this great country, you can find out how by going here.

New breakfast mascot

Have you seen this new Jack in the Box ad? It appears they are now selling breakfast all day long. I think this is a first for a fast food restaurant.

My favorite meal of the day is breakfast, but by looking at their hideous mascot, I think I'll go elsewhere.

- AV

Monday, April 09, 2007

Visiting Google

I had the fortune of visiting the Google headquarters on Sunday after a friend invited me to take a short tour. I still think it would be a cool place to work if they ever hire me. I heard rumors that they only want to hire employees fresh out of college who are single, filled with enthusiasm, and willing to work hard. Although, I'm over 40 and not single, I'm still enthusiastic and a hardworker.

I heard a news report this morning that some Google employees are leaving after they made their fortune on company stock and others are just burnt out and not having fun. Working at Google and not having fun? Sounds like an oxymoron. I would love to get a chance to find out first hand. HeeHee!

I didn't know I would be going anywhere special when I left home so I apologize for the poor quality pictures through my camera phone. Although I think you can still see the plastic pink flamingos on the dinosaur sculpture, the foosball table, the volleyball court, ...etc. These employees must really enjoy their workplace to come in on a Sunday to play. I wished I had taken a picture of employees doing their laundry on site.

- AV

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Wikipedia says "daydreaming is a fantasy that a person has while awake, often about spontaneous and fanciful thoughts not connected to the person's immediate situation".

On your way to work, have you ever thought about purposely missing your exit off of the freeway or the entrance to your workplace parking lot and instead driving off somewhere to have fun or never return back to your job? I had these fantasies for years, but never really acted on them. Maybe because I'm too dutiful.

Well, as my job becomes more frustrating and the weather becomes warmer, these fantasies are surfacing again. Maybe some day I'll be writing about my adventures in this blog.

- AV

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Incident at local museum

Since my friend moved to Oregon a few weeks ago, she asked me to help her pick up the unsold photographs she had on display at the local museum. I had been trying to get a hold of the museum's PR guy for the last 6 weeks to arrange a date and time to pick them up. He never returned any of my emails or voicemails. Luckily, when I dropped by this past Saturday the PR guy was present because the museum was holding a "Family Arts Day" to display artwork created by students at the local schools.

However, the PR guy had the nerves to blame me for NOT CONTACTING HIM FIRST BEFORE COMING OVER. I did tell him I tried to reach him unsuccessfully several times, but he still insisted that it was my fault. I was pissed, but there was no point in arguing with him any longer. I remained professional about it and just picked up my friend's stuff and left.

- AV