Sunday, September 28, 2008

Yes Joseph, that's the way!

Facing it, always facing it, that's the way to get through. Face it.
-Joseph Conrad

That Joseph Conrad, I wish I could have met him. He is right on. Have you read Lord Jim? If not you should it is the best book ever! It's like sitting down besides the fire leaning back and listening to Marlowe tell you a story. It is amazing. Of course some say Heart of Darkness is his best book, and it's really good too. But Lord Jim, it's short, kick back, and let Marlowe tell you a little story of the sea. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Rest in Peace - Dreams in Pieces

Thank you Papa, we'll miss you forever.

Hells Angels touched by a mentor - Matthew B. Stannard, SF Chronicle Staff Writer Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Mark "Papa" Guardado, 46, was killed Sept. 2 outside a Mission District bar. At the time, he was president of the Frisco Hells Angels, royalty of the outlaw biker realm. He was shot to death, police say, by Christopher Ablett, 37, of Modesto, a member of the rival Mongols Motorcycle Club, whose bad blood with the Hells Angels goes back in history. Ablett is still being sought. But there was little talk of the Mongols as the Hells Angels gathered to remember Guardado at a vigil Sunday night and funeral Monday morning; little more than a passing, irritated reference to a Sonoma County prosecutor who had charges pending against Guardado stemming from a bar fight and who called him a dangerous gang member with an assault conviction on his record.
Instead, those gathered remembered their Guardado, the friend or surrogate father, the man who many said bought them their first Harley-Davidson - or helped them get the job they needed to buy their own."To me, and everyone that knew him, he was the epitome of Hells Angels," said Richard Goldammer, who rode from his home in British Columbia to honor the man he called his mentor."He set an example for a lot of people, being straight up, honest and respectful to everyone," he said. "People form their own opinion about our club ... we are who we are. We stand in our own social circle."
It is a circle with many intersecting rings that pulled together in Daly City for what many hailed as an event of unprecedented scale.Well over 1,000 motorcyclists gathered at Duggan's Serra Mortuary for the two-day memorial: Hells Angels chapters from Alaska to Maine, from Rhode Island to Hawaii, and from overseas - Norway, Germany, England, Australia, Italy and more. And not just Hells Angels showed up. Duggan's parking lot hosted a collection of motorcycle clubs rarely seen outside events in Hollister or Sturgis, S.D., - the Mecca and Medina of biker culture. Top Hatters and Henchmen, Vampires and Devil Dolls, representatives of large groups and small, they all slapped leather-clad shoulders and shared tears and tales of Papa Guadardo, or just exchanged stories from the road.
Overall, despite the continuous rumble of motorcycles arriving and departing, the farewell to Guardado was as quiet and thoughtful as any funeral. Police expected and reported few incidents. A few beers and flasks were raised in the assemblage, but most drank water and soda or coffee as they waited and mourned.As the vigil began Sunday evening, mourners packed the main room at Duggan's and several smaller rooms, where they watched on closed circuit television. Huge, grizzled men wept as one of their number sang Willie Nelson's "Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground," accompanying himself on saxophone. An emotional pastor described Guardado as a friendly, supportive man, a good son, father, uncle and godfather whose independent streak began with a runaway attempt as a 5-year-old. He described Guardado's good acts - donning a Santa hat to take gifts to children in the hospital at Christmas, or to children whose fathers were in prison; taking food left over after club events to feed the homeless. "When you do right they never remember," the pastor said. "When you do wrong they never forget."
The vigil ended with Guardado's goddaughter singing Alicia Keys' "Prelude to a Kiss." "It's a long long way to heaven But I gotta get there Can you send me an angel to guide me?" The caravan escorting Guardado's coffin to Colma's Cypress Lawn Cemetery on Monday morning went by way of San Francisco's Mission District, a river of thunder that flowed through the urban canyons for more than an hour. The caravan didn't stop for signals; it set its own speed limit. Some onlookers waved, some took pictures, some pressed hands to ears and waited for the end. And for a brief period on Interstate 280, as police halted all other freeway traffic, the mourners took over the roads. They buried Papa not too far from where former Daly City Hells Angels President Harry "The Horse" Flamburis is buried with his motorcycle. The Frisco Hells Angels and a sea of red-and-white-clad others formed a close group around Guardado's grave. A few words were spoken as a biker on the outskirts cranked Metallica's somber ode "Nothing Else Matters." The ceremony over, the Angels picked up shovels and buried their leader. Then they returned to their motorcycles and roared away.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Teaching Sports

I never realized this but sports seem to be taught at school. We live in New England, but I am a Yankees fan. My daughter says she likes the Red Sox, so I bought her a t-shirt. She put it on for school today and said, “Mom, I’ve got my Yankees shield on!” What the heck is that? That is so funny. I didn’t teach her about the Red Sox at home, and if you know New England our sports fans are SERIOUS up here. I wonder if there is a class at school on this, or just the kids on the playground. Maybe they teach it on the bus! Funny stuff. I thought it was genetic. I guess the Yankees are out anyway, so Go Red Sox.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

For My Nana, I Love You

Did you ever wonder if things happen for a reason, or if we are guided from above? I wonder, I really do. Last weekend on our way fishing, I saw ahead a yard sale and pulled right in before the yard sale. This is unusual because normally I drive by a yard sale and then turn around, or drive by and return on my way back by after doing whatever I was doing. This one I saw some furniture out in a parking lot on the side of the road, thought yard sale and pulled over. This was such a wonderful yard sale. My Godson was looking for a table and chairs and I was charged with finding them. I found the table for $2. Good deal. Then I looked over and nearly lost my mind, although I had to act calmly or they may have raised the price. An old-fashioned croquet set with stand just like my Nana and Papa used to have at their cottage. I have been looking for a croquet set like that for over a year now. Believe it or not, they are over $100 on EBay and people are really looking for them. I entered three auctions during the last year for one and bailed out and $100 and they kept on going. That price doesn’t even included shipping. Last summer I searched all of the sporting good stores and no luck. My sister-in-law actually found a set at the toy store this summer and bought it for us, it is fun to play but wasn’t like the memory I was hoping to recreate. It is cheap and stows away in a little bag, nice but not the antique kind of artsy yet functional memory I wanted in my home. Here it was at this yard sale for $1. One dollar, my mind mentally blew. I sent my daughter for my purse out of the car and stood guard in front of it, so no one else should have it.

Then on the way to the car, I spied a box of games, “Oh what do you have here” I said and picked up the top game and underneath it was Rumikub, my Nana’s favorite game that I used to play with her, my mom and our whole family when I was little. We would sit on the back screened in porch at their cottage at the dining room table and play all night after supper. That game was also $1. The lady also gave us a cool hinged top box that serves as a bench and said she used to use it for her kids coats and hats and they sit on it to put on their boots. She also gave us an old lawn chair, which was great because we only had one fold up one and a kid’s one, so now my big girl has one like mine. Then they had a box of waffle ball bats and balls. They gave my girl a bat and ball too.

As we continued on to fishing, I couldn’t help but think that stopping at that yard sale and finding the croquet set I had so desperately wanted for so long and my favorite childhood game was a sign that my life is right where it needs to be, and I was supposed to stop at that yard sale and acquire those things. Those things were there waiting for me to drive by and pick them up, I really think so.

We played the croquet that day, and it looks great in my kitchen, like home. Tonight we played the Rumikub. Now I am not going to be odd and say I hear dead people, like that movie. But as we played we got to the end and in my head I could hear my Nana say my name, like only she did, and say, “Let me see your tiles, let me help you.” She had always helped me near the end of the game when she could see if was just taking and discarding tiles and not doing anything significant, because that is when the game gets hard. I remember her pink frosted long curved nails would move all of the tiles around on the table like it were nothing to get rid of my last one or two. She was a wiz at that game. I heard her tonight, maybe she was speaking in my head or maybe I was remembering very loudly. I don’t know, but even my child noticed my eyes suddenly well up with tears. When she asked me what was wrong, I just smiled at her, said her name and, “Let me see your tiles, let me help you.” I showed her how to re-arrange the tiles on the table so she could get rid of her last two tiles. She won her first game of Rumikub, and I won too I got to “hear” my Nana again, accent and all. Now I know for sure I am on the path I am supposed to be on in life, and I am getting guidance from above.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Don't forget to PLAY!

I didn’t run today, I didn’t walk today – Today I played! And I loved it. We are having residual rains from a hurricane now, it’s coming down 3 inches an hour. For exercise, I decided to take my daughter out and jump in the puddles. Hey, it’s September and still warm, and it wasn’t thundering and lightning, I think for the first time this summer. We had such a fun time, my girls said it was better than fishing. Better than fishing! Whoa that’s a compliment. We haven’t run and danced in the rain since spring. We also curled up in the front yard, soaked to the skin of course, and then “grew” up like flowers turning our faces to the rain trying to catch raindrops on our tongue. Today, I played, and it was fun just like it used to be. It was so funny to see people hiding under hood and umbrellas and running to their cars and front doors, it’s only water! We are supposed to remember to stop and smell the flowers, I think we all need to remember to stop and dance, jump, and run in the rain. I had to write a poem for my Creative Writing class, so I’ll share it with you. It’s not polished, just a first draft...
The dance was freedom, as we ran
touching hands through the rain. Our
spirits welded fast by love,dancing in
hope of keeping now forever,dancing
for our dreams of happy tomorrows,
together. On the black asphalt, covered
with silver sheets of rain, splashing through
the puddles, our laughter chased us
between raindrops, heaven dancing with us
unifying our souls, playing together, jubilantly.
Our faces turned to the sky, free to dance,
our souls both young as we run, jump, and play
in puddles of freedom and rivers of hope.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Just THROW it!

Well, I just had to share; I saw the most blatant example of yuppie capitalism ever. A lot of people bring their dogs to the river to run and swim. It’s funny too because all of the dogs are off leash and they are all well behaved. Hmmm are leash laws really helping? Anyway, I saw two of these Saturday and one of Sunday. You will not believe it. Tennis ball throwers! Seriously, it's a plastic stick with a scoop on the end for the ball. I’ll find a pic. To make sure the dogs get exercise and the humans don’t I guess. You never have to bend down. Sure tennis balls get a bit slimy from the dog, but come on, how about just throwing the ball. Have you ever seen these things? I am astounded at the stupidity, yet of course, I wish I’d invented it because people are really buying these things. They are twelve to fourteen dollars, holy moly. JUST THROW THE BALL PEOPLE!