Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Running for a Cause

This past Sunday was the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco. Women (and men) of all ages, all sizes, and all fitness levels converged on this beautiful City for a half or full marathon to benefit blood cancer research. The Team in Training members, who trained for months before the event, and were required to raise a significant amount of money to participate, numbered in the thousands. Many participants were survivors, or who were running to support or memorialize a loved one.

The sheer dedication of these women and men to their cause was awe-inspiring. For some, their goal was to complete the race for the first time, knowing that they have reached a milestone they previously thought impossible. For others, their participation was personal, out of love and support for friends and family that are, or have been, affected by a blood cancer. For many, the jaunt across the finish line is accompanied by overwhelming emotion, often resulting in a complete physical collapse. Even so, for all, this is powerful and emotionally charged event.

Working at the first aid station at mile 9, I watched a variety of people, mostly women, walk, run and shuffle by in their quest to complete the half or full marathon. Our station, staffed by a medical team of four, treated 90 patients in the space of three hours. Of those that we treated, I felt so powerfully that unwavering desire to complete the race no matter how their bodies held up. One particular runner was a woman that will stick in my mind for a long time.

She had fallen, twice, in the 9 miles before reaching us. Just being klutzy, she said. The contusion on the side of her face was huge, swollen to the size of half a golf ball. One of the knuckles on her left hand was conspicuously out of place; swollen, bruised, and with little mobility. Our team's doctor advised her to go for x-rays, and offered to call her an ambulance to transport her out of the course and to the hospital.

"No thank you," she said, "I am going to finish this race no matter what. I'll get it checked out when I'm done."

With that, and her signature on our release form, she jogged off towards the finish line.

Nothing could curb her fierce dedication toward completing her goal. Not even a broken hand.

I have no doubt she made it.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

"Thank You for Holding..."

"Your patience is appreciated. Your call will be answered in the order in which it was received."

I've been hearing this every 30 seconds for the last 10 minutes.

Any more, and I shall have to hurt someone.

I never thought I'd actually LONG for that crappy elevator music.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Work Fridge Fun

I was in the work refrigerator today, putting my brand-new apples in the drawer, when I smelled something funky. It was definitely fruit, but not fresh fruit. More like going-nasty fruit. I looked closer, into the back of the fridge, searching for the source of the stench.

There, wedged behind a spilled styrofoam container of bacon, unidentifiable meat and rice, was a bunch of grapes. All wilted, a few brown, some shriveled and black like raisins. No visible mold, but I'm sure that was coming. Gross.

My coworker, seeing my plight, took the offending semi-rotten fruit and put it in the trash bin. He and I both cleaned up the rice/meat mess. I mentioned that the fruit was gross, and that I was glad he touched it, because I didn't want to.

He said, "Are you kidding ? There are a few good grapes on that bunch !"

He then proceeded to take the bunch out of the trash, and eat two of the still-green, not-so-shriveled grapes.

"Tim !", I exclaimed, "That's nasty !"

"Yeah," he replied, "I guess I should wash them."

He then proceeded to run the bunch under some water, and continue eating.

I don't want my lunch anymore.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Never a Dull Moment

This is what I came home to yesterday after work.

This, and Mocha, with a guilty little look on her face.

Brat. :)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Worst Place to Be

The worst place to be this past weekend was on a BART train, enroute to Fleet Week in San Francisco, packed to absolute capacity, in a corner where an unnamed passenger passed gas in a silent-but-deadly fashion.

Good thing another passenger had some spray perfume to dilute the effects of this vicious attack on the rest of us innocent riders.

Baby Picture with a Twist

A friend of mine recently sent out this picture of her lovely baby to everyone in her contact list. What many people didn't realize is that there was a hidden message in the picture itself. Take a look !

Did you catch it ?

I thought this was a really cool method to announce that another little one is on the way. :) My friend even purchased the shirt online. Gotta love the Internet.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Love Them 'Rents

In preparation for my parents' visit from Canada, I made sure the environment was to their liking. I set up the futon in the spare room, moved my bathroom stuff to the hallway bathroom, and let them use my room with the larger bed. I stocked the fridge and cupboards with all the food that they typically enjoy, and picked up a nice bottle of Italian wine.

My mother, being the industrious type, likes to help out when she comes to visit. I never have to worry about loading the dishwasher or doing laundry. She actually enjoys doing these things, which is perfectly fine by me. However, sometimes she goes a little overboard.

She decided she wanted to do some laundry, and wash my stuff with some of theirs to fill the load. I woke up this morning to the sound of the washing machine running, and her informing me that she had put bleach on a few pairs of my underwear.

Sheesh. Thanks, Mom.

Also this morning, I found my wine rack relocated to on top of my fridge, populated with water bottles alongside my Ruffino. The case of Diet Mug Root Beer was moved to my pantry, stuffed in there with my canned goods and boxes of oatmeal. But for the life of me, I couldn't find my food scale, a tool that I often use in the preparation of meals.

"Mom, where's my food scale ?"

"Oh, I moved it. It's in your breadbox."

My food scale is in my breadbox.

Alrighty then.

Love ya, Mom. :)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Job Interview Etiquette

When attending a job interview, it is generally accepted that the interviewee is on his or her best behavior. You must present yourself in a professional way, and put your best foot forward to be considered for the position. Yesterday's interviewee, it seems, had never learned this lesson.

I asked him about his technical experience and knowledge, and he seemed quite good. Then I moved onto the teamwork questions. I like to ask people about interpersonal situations that they have encountered, and how they handled them. By doing this, I'm assessing how much of a "team player" someone is. A person can be the best technical person, but can have no teamwork skills; and hence, will not fit in with our cohesive group's culture. One of my scenarios that I like to give is this:

"You're in a meeting, and you and a coworker are having an argument about how a feature should be tested. After the meeting is over, your coworker comes to your cube, very upset. He tells you that you said something in the meeting that really upset him. You can see that he's very angry and agitated. What do you do ?"

This candidate said, deadpanning, "Sorry." Then shrugged his shoulders. We chuckled, and then I asked, "Is that it ?" His response...

"If he was really mad and acting like an idiot, I'd say..." <flipping the middle finger> "F&!# off !"

He didn't get the job.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Under the Influence

This past Sunday, we were driving north on I-880, not in any particular hurry, heading off to a birthday celebration. As we passed the exit that leads to the Great Mall, I saw a disturbing scene out of the corner of my eye. A motorcycle, on its side, at the crux of an off-ramp; its owner crumpled on the ground, 20 feet down the grassy embankment. No emergency vehicles were on scene yet. I pulled the car up and stopped.

An EMT student was on scene as well, and had already determined the rider's status. He was conscious, barely, with pain in his hip and head. His thin, plastic, non-DOT-approved helmet was scuffed. His jean jacket seemed unbreached. He was able to tell me his name. But when I asked him what day it was, he said "Monday". When I asked him his age, and where he was, he answered with nothing more of a groan. He was not in good shape.

When the Fire Department arrived, they searched his pockets for his ID.

Along with his wallet, they found a baggie.

With white powder inside.

Yikes. I'd say that may be a reason why he couldn't negotiate that curve.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Really ?

I was behind this truck at a stoplight. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to visually confirm the statement myself, but I'm absolutely certain it's true.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Public Service Announcement

To the very inebriated lady that stepped directly in the path of an oncoming car in the club district of downtown Palo Alto on Saturday night:

You are an idiot. You should be thankful that the driver was able to stop in time before running over your drunken ass. And, since he was a cop, in a marked police car, you should be thankful he yelled at you instead of giving you a ticket !

Sheesh. Better lay off the sake bombs next time, chica.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Self-Destruction Part II

Last week, I posted about a friend of mine who is in an abusive relationship with an alcoholic, by whom she is pregnant. Someone, an anonymous poster, lambasted me for appearing judgmental and cruel. I took down that post for that reason, and because the person in question may end up reading my blog at sometime. I don't want to betray her confidence, or make her feel that I wouldn't be there for her if she needed me. Therefore, that post is no longer available.

To whoever commented on that post, thank you. I didn't realize that I came across as judgmental. It is difficult for me to understand why any woman would stay with someone - and beg and plead for that person to come back - after he cheated on her, beat her up repeatedly, and endangered her and her unborn child. This person had a history of alcoholism, broke every promise he made to her, and routinely left her with bruises after his many drunken rages. Why anyone would go back to that, and beseech for more of the same, baffles me. So if expressing that was judgmental, then I'm sorry. I didn't mean for it to be.

But on the same token, I understand where she is coming from. She's a beautiful, funny woman with a quick wit and a hysterical sense of humor. She has so much to offer, but she doesn't believe she deserves anyone who will treat her with love and respect. She wants so desperately to have someone who will stay with her, that she will accept any type of bad behavior, including physical abuse, to avoid being alone. All my attempts to build her up, to compliment her, to express my caring for her and to convince her of her worth have failed. I encouraged her to go to counseling, which she is doing, but so far her opinion of herself has not changed. I feel helpless. Powerless. Sad.

I can't just hand her a sense of self-esteem. I can't make her believe that she is worthy of nothing less than respect. Nobody can stop her from continuing this pattern if that is truly what she feels she must do.

I know now that she is back with the man who beat her. He will hurt her again. He will hurt their child. And there's not a damned thing I can do to protect her from that.

I'll always be there for her when she needs a friend. I'll love her, support her, and be her shoulder to cry on. I'll never speak badly of this man, but instead, will just be there for her whenever she needs someone to talk to. I know that's all I can do, and perhaps, the best thing I can do for her. Unconditional support, without judgment. That's a promise.

So why, then, do I still feel like I've failed ?
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