Monday, January 31, 2011

Sizzling Vegetables

Here is a picture from tonight's dinner, vegetable soup. There is celery, carrots, potatoes, onion and green garlic sauteeing away in the pan waiting for broth.

Very tasty dinner tonight.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Black Bean Burgers

I got a food processor for Christmas last month and used it today to make my first batch of Black Bean Burgers of the new year.  Here is my recipe for my favorite vegan burger substitute.



Black Bean Burgers
Makes 12
Ingredients
2 cans black beans (16oz each) (1/4 cup reserved)
2 whole carrots
1 small apple
¾ cup salsa
2 or 3 cups oats
¼ bread crumbs
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 Tbsp cumin
2 Tbsp oregano
1 Tbsp onion powder
5 cloves garlic
1 cup reconstituted couscous
¼ cup corn


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2.With the grating blade on the food processor, grate the carrots and apples.
3. Switch to the regular blade.  Add black beans, salsa, garlic, couscous, bread crumbs and spices.  Pulse until mixed.
4. Add most of the oats slowly, pulse to mix.  (Reserve ¼ cup oats)
5. Pour mixture into a large bowl.  Fold in reserved black bean and oats along with the corn until evenly mixed.  Let rest for 15 minutes.
6. Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, scoop out mixture and shape into a patty.  Place onto a baking sheet lined with foil, sprayed with cooking spray.
7. Cook for 20 minutes, flip, then cook for another 20 minutes.

These burgers are now ready to be grilled or pan fried.  Leftovers freeze very well.



Sitting here...

Thinking about, nothing.

Isn't Sunday great?

:)

Bill

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Pic of the Day: The Blake Griffin Show!

Jeney, Apryl and I are at the LA Clippers game, watching Blake Griffin destroy the Charlotte Bobcats. This is what Clippers Basketball has been missing for years!
A big thank you to Nelly from the Clippers office. Be a part of the fun with tickets as cheap as $9!! Go to http://www.TemeculaCalendar.com and click on 'Hot Links' for info.
Bill

Who Knew

You took my hand, you showed me how. You promised me you'd be around. That's right. I took your words and I believed in everything you said to me. Uh huh, that's right. If someone said, "Three years  from now you'd be long gone." I'd stand up and punch them out 'cause they're all wrong.  I know better, you said forever and ever. Who knew.  Remember when we were such fools and so convinced and just  too cool. Oh no no no. I wish I could touch you again. I wish I could still call you friend.  I'd give anything.  When someone said, "Count your blessings now, before they're long gone." I guess I  just didn't know how. I was all wrong; they knew better.  Still, you said forever and ever. Who knew.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Pic of the Day: Doc's DeLorean time machine, BTTF awesome!

Words do not describe how awesome it was to see the real DeLorean from Back To The Future. It was as if Marty Mc Fly was about to be chased by crazed terrorists.
Fortunately for me and my family, we were in Murrieta and very safe.
I have no idea why this was in front of Pick Up Stix and the T-Mobile store in, but I'm glad it was. It was like a free trip to Universal Studios circa 1995. A surreal end to an crazy week of highs and lows.

Bill

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Midweek Magic

Every Wednesday night, Carl the magician entertains the masses only at Applebees Murrieta. I am totally a magic skeptic, but want to give credit where credit is due.  Carl is one of the best magicians  I have ever seen, live or on tv. I have watched people be rendered speechless by Carl over and over.  If you truly want to be astonished, go visit Applebees Murrieta on a Wednesday night.  I promise  you, you won't be disappointed.

It is incredible how good this tastes!

Enchilada Pie. So very tasty, be sure to ask Jeney for the recipe if you think it looks good! Jeney@fullvalue.us is the best way to contact her and ask her to post it here for you.
I had a productive day, you will begin to see the results of my work soon around my websites. Very neat things in the works. No Excuses, just solving problems and making progress.
Bill

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Be 'tween' here and there

Ahh, the 'tween' parent life. My little girl is 10 and some days she looks like a kid and other days she looks like a teenager.
It is mind numbing, how fast your kids grow up.
In this particular picture she looks fiercely independent and perfectly 'be tween here and there'.
I enjoy these days, they are a blast.
Bill

I Watched the State of the Union Address

So yeah, I watched the State of the Union address tonight.  President Obama spoke a lot about cutting spending, but then also spending funds on the behalf of the future.  I understand what he is saying, and it will be incredibly hard to do.  I hope that in the wake of the Tuscon shooting, legislators can finally put aside their differences and come to some compromises.

There are multiple people doing the same job in the government.  On one hand you say we need to protect jobs; on the other hand we need to cut unnecessary spending.  In that one situation you have to basically become a hypocrite, and a person would be naive to think that is the only place we have unnecessary spending.

The general feel for the speech was the need to address the budget and specifically the insane deficit our country is in.  The public opinion after the speech is positive.  Lets take this positivity and run with it.  Lets build a new, better country.  Lets be the generation that future generations thank, not lament.  Here is your chance for "change" America, lets grab it!

Monday, January 24, 2011

It's Complicated

It seems that whenever life is going along with relatively few major bumps, then you run into some multi-path intersection.  I don't want to go into great detail, but life is complicated.

I had a kindergartener tell me today that she wished she was already a grown up.  I asked her why she would want to be all grown up and she told me so she could do what ever she wanted.  If only it was so simple to just be able to do what you wanted.  Now I am all for a challenge.  However, a challenge is different than struggling or being faced with traumatic loss, both of which have come as no stranger to me in the last few years.

I guess I just have a lot of things on my mind lately.  It is time to take stock of what I have, what I want, and what I need.  Time to pursue things that excite me and bring happiness; and time to cut loose the things bringing me down and stressing me out.  Life it too short to be miserable.  If you are not enjoying yourself, you are not living life to the fullest.  It is time to start living.

Life and Baseball

I grew up loving baseball. I so very badly wanted to play in the big leagues. I could picture myself in Dodger Blue throwing a perfect game and being the only pitcher with a .300 batting avg AND 20 home runs a season.

Lofty goals and dreams.

Somewhere along the way I never made that a reality, although it wasn't as if I didn't try. I still like to catch a game or two a year, I plan on a spring training weekend in Arizona this year to get a jump start on the season.

So, in the spirit of baseball season coming up; I will attempt to equate my day thus far with a baseball analogy:

"When life throws you curve balls, you hit it out of the park;
When you get hit by the pitch, it takes a few moments to catch your breath."

As for right now, I am still attempting to catch my breath.

Bill

Sunday, January 23, 2011

In all seriousness...

... I am usually not one to jabber one about my infinite love for my wife, she knows it and thats whats important. However in the spirit of this entire website concept we challenged ourselves to write about each other tonight. This is what came out, I hope she likes it.

A poem for Jeney

Love,
Hugs;
Kisses,
now,
then,
and forever.

Exceptional.
Stunning.
Caring.
now,
then,
and forever.

Smile!
Song!
Strength!
now,
then,
and forever.

My Best Friend

It is days like today where I am so glad to have met my best friend and husband, Bill.  We spent the whole day together hanging out; doing some property management work, some DJ service work and grocery shopping.  We also test drove a 2011 VW Jetta SE.  It was funny, we got back in our car to drive away and we both said we didn't like the car.

When we got home tonight I made dinner, homemade mac and cheese and roasted veggies.  I was kinda upset because I didn't think dinner was going to turn out very good.  Bill gave me a hug and told me it was going to be great and not to worry, it smelled amazing.  Dinner did turn out good, he was right (and I am not afraid to put that in print).  I love you.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

1/21/2011 - A terrific Live at The Merc

Friday night started a new chapter for the Full Value Entertainment family.

Our new sound guy Adrian started his first show without the help of Capitan Tuesday, who moved today, to Alabama. We had a packed house, with a few notable guests in attendance. We had the two hottest local teen bands on stage.

And we kicked butt!

Adrian came thru with serious professionalism, and the sound was great. The bands, My Last Revelation and opening act Fly By Night played perfect sets and the crowd loved it.

I am a happy man.

Bill

A Nice Lazy Saturday

Today was just a lazy kind of day.  I slept in this morning, which was nice.  I guess I needed the sleep.  Then I rode along with Bill while he showed some properties in Hemet.  And then we were able to treat our daughter Apryl to Red Robin for having brought home a fantastic progress report yesterday.  The best part about the Red Robin trip was that everything was right the first time.  Big props to Jenn our waitress for dealing with our insanely customized burgers and giving us great service!

Red robin, yum.

Took Apryl to Red Robin at the Temecula Mall. She earned this treat for her good grades and positive attitude the last few weeks.

Had the good fortune of having Jennifer, who is the sister of my friend Jarrod Dulaney, as my server. She was very patient with our vegetarian order, taking great effort to get the order correct.
As tasty as Red Robin can be, often they mess up my order. Of course they always make up for the mistakes they make with a free desert or something; however sometimes, when in a hurry you just want it right the first time.

That is what this article is about, good service. As a business owner the best thing you can do is make sure your customers are satisfied, the first time. In encourage my employees to take time and do the job right so we don't have to do the job twice.

I am sure the line cooks at Red Robin Temecula appreciate Jennifer taking the time to get our order correct, as did I.

Bill

Friday, January 21, 2011

Thank Goodness For Friday Night

I had one of the worst days at work so far this school year. A lot of thoughts have crossed my mind and I am glad I don't have to deal with any of it until monday morning. So thank goodness for tonight! Good music, nice people and the ability to drink some beers!

And Temecula upstages Murrieta again...

The new car dealership sign in Temecula.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Old Friends.

I have recently written about the departure of friends as they find work outside of the Temecula / Menifee area. Fortunately for me, one old friend has recently resurfaced.

Jason Clarke: friend, former music collaborator, travel and hiking buddie and all around character recently stopped by en route to Mexico to blog and photograph.

In this picture, Jason is playing his fathers Peavey guitar in front of a matching Peavey amp. Jason used these in a band we had in 1998 for about 3 weeks. He left them at my house after jamming one day and I have had the pleasure of using them for years. They have seen use both in live shows and on our Keenwild CD's; 'The Yuppie Anthem' was recorded using this guitar.

When Jason was hanging out last weekend he had told me that he had recently developed a stronger relationship with his Dad as they both matured. I have also had the good fortune of this with my own father recently. Its great to see old friends, even better to see they are doing well and are happy. Had to snap this picture, it was like a complete circle had happened; from then till now. Better and smarter now, learning from then. I do hope Mr Clarke gets the opportunity to see this pic. I hope he enjoys it.

Nothing brings people together like music.

Bill

The Season of the Idol is Upon Us

Season 10 of American Idol is now underway, tonight having been night two of the big season premiere.  There are a lot of changes this year with the biggest and most notable one being the judges.  Randy Jackson is the only judge from the originals left after last season's exodus of Simon, Kara and Ellen and Paula's departure the year before.

New to the chairs at the table are two highly recognizable and extremely talented superstars, Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez.  After three hours of audition footage I am still holding my judgement on the new judges, but I am convinced it will at least be interesting.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

With Challenges There Are Rewards

The official title for the program where I work is the Student Enrichment Extended Day, or S.E.E.D program.  This is before and after school child care provided right at the school site.  At the school site where I work, I have students from grades Kindergarten all the way up to 8th.  Most days this provides a challenge.  Trying to find something that will appeal to that range of ages is near impossible.

Yesterday was an especially rough day with lots of bickering amongst the kids.  I went home irritated and frustrated.  I knew that I had to revolutionize the way things were set up and I started thinking.  Most of the problems had to do with cliques and negative attitudes.  I decided to give my 5 middle school kids the responsibility of leading 4 or 5 of the elementary school kids in a group.

The splitting up of groups was insanely difficult.  Trying to make it fair and even while also separating siblings AND kids I knew to have difficulties working together was tedious.  Not everyone was happy.  But as the day wore on, I saw shy kids coming out of their shell and sharing ideas.  I watched as past troublemakers took leadership roles and created amazing artwork with their groups.  And at the end of the day, I heard kids telling their parents about the cool mascot they picked or the awesome poster they made for their team.

Most days are challenging, but the rewards are so worth it.

Another friend moves away from Temecula

Tonight I will be having a few beers with a good friend and long time employee, Capitan Tuesday. In the last 6 months, I have had 3 of my 4 best friends move out of the area, Tuesday is soon to be #3. It is kind of odd to think about trying to make new friends, seeing as how one of my best friends, Jeff, who moved last week, Ive known since I was 15.

The good part is I still have my beautiful wife Jeney and awesome daughter Apryl.

That helps, but still, I will miss The Capitan. Tuesday has been a fiercely loyal employee, having worked for us since December of 2006 at Cloud 9 Coffee, The Cart at the Temecula Library, The CRC concert series, The Merc and being stage manager for the 2007-2009 Temecula Music Fest's.

Aside from being a good employee, he has been a good friend. I credit him in helping me survive a summer alone when Jeney's father died and she stayed in Kansas for 2 months. He also has helped me move into a new place and has always been there when I needed a pal to have a beer with. Good times indeed.

Cheers to you Capitan Tuesday, you're fired!

:)

OK, you're re-hired, as always.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Taking the Appropriate Steps

At the beginning of the year I started wearing a pedometer, or step counter.  It is suggested that you take 10,000 steps per day for good health.  In my job I am always standing, so I thought I would be getting over the recommended mark no problem.  Not the case.  On a regular day I will walk between 4500 and 9500 steps according to the pedometer.

Today on our lunch break, Bill and I went for a walk around our neighborhood.  Not only can I tell that I got more exercise, but the pedometer doesn't lie.

Part of the No Excuses New Year is finally losing weight and keeping it off.  This is a multi layered effort.  I need to get moving more, eat better and have a more healthy outlook on life. Being a vegetarian already I have an advantage.  Maybe I will try being vegan for a while.

My fortune is fortunate

Thank you Pick Up Stix Murrieta for a fun, random fortune.

The meal was actually tasty as well!

Bill

Monday, January 17, 2011

Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Matt and Vanessa Bronson


Yesterday, January 16th, 2011, Bill, Apryl and I  had the great pleasure of witnessing our good friend Vanessa marry her best friend.  Congrats you two!  I am immensely happy for you and your family!

Tasty potatoes for dinner!

We are on a money conservation mission, so we are pre-baking our potatoes for a variety of dishes we are having this week. Tonight is potato-lentil burritos. Ill post about the veggie pot pie Jeney makes this week, most excellent!
Bill

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Universal Trap: What an epic show!

As you might (or might not) have noticed, I did not post a blog last night. Bad me, sorry. I was at an epic music event at The Merc, listening to some of the finest talent the valley has to offer - Universal Trap.

Universal Trap is Ian Williamson - vocals ; Greg Lopez - guitar, vocals ; Tim Raether - bass, vocals ; Kyle Tormey - keyboards ; Eric Tormey - drums. This is a band that has crafted a strong original sound, taking cues from the best bands from the 70's and 90's while certainly not being a 'cover band'.

The band plays original material written by a variety of the band members, and the presentation of the live music is dynamic with rich vocal harmony and brilliant jazzy influences; while still occasionally bringing a full on 'Black Sabbath' style rock sound for a couple of songs.

I could write about the intricacies of the songs and all that typical BS, but i'll just give you the goods: a link to the bands facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Universal-Trap/108552262496648

Now that you have listened to the band, you can read more about the live show here: http://upbeatdownstroke.blogspot.com/2011/01/universal-trap-live-at-merc-114.html?spref=tw

And since you have enjoyed listening to the music and reading about Universal Trap's live show, you can SEE them on January 26 in San Diego with Marcy Playgroundhttp://eventful.com/sandiego/events/marcy-playground-universal-trap-save-amos-somed-/E0-001-036053114-2

Board'z Grill Review Update

A while back I wrote a review of Board'z Grill for the Full Value Review.  This has been one of our family's favorite casual restaurants for years now.  Our daughter loves the Board'z style Mac and Cheeze and their roasted red potatoes are fantastic.  One of my personal favorite menu items was the Spicy Black Bean Burger.

I went to Board'z last night because I had a craving for that black bean burger.  I usually make my own at home, but it is time consuming to make and I was short on time.  I walked in stoked to have a great dinner before going to the Merc for our Friday night concert series.  When I got to the counter I ordered and was told that the company they got the burgers from had stopped making them and they were out.

Completely thrown for a loop I looked up at the menu again and decided on a Veggie Tube.  "Tube" is the name for their burritos there, the veggie was full of tomatoes, sprouts, carrots, avocado and hash browns.  I subbed the sprouts for lettuce and thought, here goes nothing, I can try something new.

Unfortunately I was not enthused by my new choice.  The hash browns were just barely hot, not cooked nearly long enough.  The carrots were all clumped in one spot so that when you would take a bite, that's all you would get.  The Tube also comes without any sauce, which makes it rather dry.

I won't stop going to Board'z because there are no black bean burgers, but I am disappointed.  I certainly hope they get it back soon.  There are quite a few vegetarian options there for me to try still if they don't replace it though.  Hopefully there is something better than the tube.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Grateful...

...for everything I have and all the people that surround me.

And for good chocolate.

In all seriousness, sometimes there are no words.

So all I can do is:

:)

Life Doesn't Always Go As Planned

After a long day at work and a long week in general, Bill and I made the mistake of trying to make something new for dinner.  Needless to say it didn't go well and we are still hungry and maybe a little frustrated, but I realize life doesn't always go as planned.  There was nothing I could have done different to make it better, so instead of being angry about it all night, I am just going to move on from here.  I really have no excuse not to.

Today was Jerrad Klingensmith's memorial service

It was held at Mc Alan's Pub in Alta Loma California. It was awesome and a terrific celebration of his life with music, great stories and cold beer. He would have wanted just as it was; family, friends and good times.

RIP Kling

right, right.

Late Night Posting

It has been the longest day of the year so far.  I went to work this morning, but I took the afternoon off for a funeral.  I started out the year sure that I would go to a wedding before a funeral this year.  I was so confident because we are attending a wedding this Sunday the 16th.  Unfortunately, Bill's good friend Jerrad lost his battle to cancer on the 6th.

His funeral was the funnest funeral I have ever been to.  I know that sounds weird, but have you ever been to a funeral at a pub?  Jerrad's funeral was held at a pub in Rancho Cucamunga during happy hour.  From what I knew of Jerrad that is just how he wanted.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Girls Night In

Tonight Bill is at a school board meeting tonight so it is just me and Apryl.  Girls night in is so relaxing:  pajamas, pizza and a night on the couch with my little girl is just what I needed after a long day at work.  =)  I cherish these moments more than anything else.

Cooking Lunch, Prepping for a School Board Meeting

Here I am at home, cooking lunch. If I was any more hungry I would have ate the potatoes frozen, however I felt it was in my best interest to just go ahead and cook them. I have about 18 gazillion things going today, so I will make this post brief and to the point.

Today has already been an interesting day. As some of you might know, I work one of my jobs with my Dad, he is my 'boss'. The cool thing about him being in the office in the morning is that is the slowest time of the day. Now I can already see eyes rolling, 'really, you want to hang with your Dad, AT WORK no less?' is what you are thinking. The simple answer is yes.

My father an I had a somewhat difficult relationship when I was in my teens and early 20's. Fortunately time has mellowed both of us to the point we can sit and chat about politics, business, family and the most recent way the Lakers screwed up (even if they still win).

This has led me to appreciate my Father in a whole new way. I am grateful for the opportunity to sit and BS with him while he I still young and able to tell a bunch of cool old stories about the 60's, the Beatles, Vietnam and his time as a campaign manager for various Congressmen back in the 70's.

Moral of the story is: don't squander time with your family and friends. Life goes by at a break-neck pace and you certainly don't want regrets now do you?

Bill

Monday, January 10, 2011

Parent Education: Difficult and Disruptive Students

Difficult and Disruptive Students

January 20, 2011
90 Minute Live Teleconference
1 pm ET (12 pm CT, 11 am MT, 10 am PT)
Lorman Education Services

Last Chance to Register for This Exciting Event.
Live Teleconference - $99RegisterNow
Live Teleconference + CD - $168 Best Value!Register Now
 
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Teleconference Highlights View Complete Agenda
Students labeled as 'difficult' or 'disruptive' are often unsuccessful in school and may be poorly prepared to manage life as an adult, should they graduate. Additionally, they make life challenging for teachers and administrators. Left unchecked, they can consume school resources with little improvement, feel left out and unappreciated, and are at increased risk for unemployment, problems with the law, depression, and substance abuse. Knowing how to identify these students early on, understanding the nature of their problems, and implementing positive strategies can literally be a life-changing event for them. This audio conference will cover a range of empirically-supported, practical, state-of-the-art assessment and intervention strategies that can reduce the frequency and severity of these problems.
Key Agenda Points
  • Common Motivational Factors That Maintain Challenging Behaviors
  • Team-Based Approaches to Intervening in the Real World
  • Strategies to Reduce Disruptive Behavior
Faculty Detailed Faculty Information

Bruce M. Gale, Ph.D., BehaviorTech Solutions Inc. 

Credit Detailed Credit Information
  • NBCC
  • SCHOOL
  • SW
Additional credit may be available upon request. Only registered attendee will receive continuing education credit. 

Who Should Attend?
This audio conference is designed for teachers, special education teachers, counselors, principals, vice principals, social workers, school board members, parents and administrators. 
5 Easy Ways to Register:
Online:www.lorman.com
Phone:1-866-352-9539
E-mail:customerservice@lorman.com
Fax:1-715-833-3953
Mail:Lorman Education Services, Dept 5382, PO Box 2933, Milwaukee, WI 53201-2933
Please use this form (PDF document) when registering by fax or mail.
Seminar ID: 387168
Your priority code is: 1123-8118-99
Cancellations: Substitute registrants can be named at any time. A full refund, less a $20 service charge, will be given if notification is given six or more business days in advance. Notification of less than six business days will result in a credit that can be applied to any Lorman products or services. If you do not cancel or attend, you are responsible for the entire payment.
This teleconference will be recorded. Your registration constitutes your consent to such recording.

Lorman Education Services | 2510 Alpine Rd. | Eau Claire, WI | 54703

Happy Birthday Ryan

Happy 27th birthday baby brother.  I hope that where ever you are at, you can get some of Mom's homemade brownies with chocolate frosting.  I love you and I miss you everyday.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

GOVERNOR BROWN TO INTRODUCE BUDGET ON MONDAY IN SACRAMENTO

SACRAMENTO – Governor Jerry Brown will introduce his January budget proposal on Monday morning in Sacramento.

When: Monday, January 10, 2011 at 11:00 a.m.

Where: California State Capitol, Governor’s Press Room, Room 1190, Sacramento

Who: Governor Jerry Brown & Department of Finance Director Ana Matosantos 

Web Stream: The news conference will be streamed live at http://www.calchannel.com

The budget, in full, will be posted online shortly after the news conference begins at: http://www.ebudget.ca.gov.

Back to reality for me, challenge time!

Tonight marks the end of my part-time winter vacation. Apryl goes back to school in the morning, Jeney goes back to her full time hours as well. I will be back to early mornings and will begin my new 'routine'. My new 'routine' will consist of 3 days a week work outs, band practice and/or songwriting 2 days a week. I will also be continuing my recently adopted policy of less fried foods.

I view all of this as a challenge really. With goals set that are achievable, sharper focus and Jeney's help; this should be a very successful Spring.

Bill

A Trip Down Memory Lane

I can barely look at the computer right now! I spent most of today sorting through all of our photos and videos in our external hard drive. This mission came about after Bill found a few really good pictures on accident and then couldn't find other ones he wanted. Admittedly Bill is not the world's most organized person so he asked if I could help clean up the mess of the last 10 years.

After spending about 6 hours going through files I am only part of the way done. I can't even give you an estimate because I keep coming across more file that are buried inside folders everytime I open a new one. As frustrating as it is to keep finding more things, it has been so much fun looking at memories from the past decade. I got to watch a video from Thanksgiving at my parents house of my Dad, who passed away last summer. I also got to see pictures from when Apryl was just a little toddler.

When I am finished, Bill and I will be posting some of these on our respective Facebook pages. Lots of good pictures from our past performances as Keenwild will go on our websites for the band. And so many of these memories will be sent to friends and family for them to enjoy as well. I believe if you have something that will bring others happiness, do your best to share it.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

What a sad day for America & Tucson, Arizona

It was at Starbucks this morning. Standing in line, I was scoping out my UberTwtter app on my Blackberry when I saw tweets from people saying a Congresswoman had been shot in the head in Tucson Arizona. I was shocked and sure that it was a Twitter hoax. After checking cnn.com AND foxnews.com I was deeply saddened to find it was real; and that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was near death. Thank goodness as of this writing she was recovering.

Without going into the specifics of the event that I am sure you have read on news sites (read - http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0111/47244.html) - I am repulsed by this acts in a very personal way. As you might be aware, I have been involved in politics personally for years now. I was elected to the Romoland School Board in 2007 and was repulsed by the recent shooting in a Florida School Board meeting (read - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maFB5DgZ1pM). This shooting today only furthers my disgust.

I have had been to many functions just like this one. Often I have taken my wife and daughter to meet with congress members, state lawmakers, city councilpersons and to school district functions. Hearing today that a 9 year old girl was shot in front of the Safeway grocery store by this Jared Lee Lautner upset me greatly. This could have been me or my family, it could have been yours.

My thoughts and prayers are with the Congresswoman, her family and everyone else involved in this horrible act. We as a nation need to think about how we act and what we find tolerable as a society. This type of activity is not tolerable in a civilized society.

Hug your kids tonight,

Bill

Never Overlook the Underdogs

I have been a football fan my entire life. Every Sunday in the fall was dedicated to the sport in the Kingsbury house, and it has continued on throughout my adult life as well. My team did not make the playoffs this year, they were plighted with injuries, bad luck and a mid season coach firing. Being a Denver Bronco fan has made me a fan of the underdog.

Today was the day of the underdog in the post season football games. The Seattle Seahawks came out a little weak and found themselves down by 10 points, twice. But Pete Carroll and his quarterback, Matt Hasselbeck, turned the game around and beat the defending Superbowl champions, the New Orleans Saints. Seattle came into the playoffs with the worst record a team has ever had in the post season and were and 11 point underdog on the books.

Mark Sanchez came into todays game with a shoulder injury and a 3 point disadvantage in the odds. He was also going up against one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game, Peyton Manning. In the last 3 minutes of the game, the Jets, with a one point lead, gave the ball to Manning. He moved the ball down the field and put the Colts in position for the 50 yard field goal that put them ahead by two. With less the a minute left, the Jets took the ball right down the field where kicker Nick Folk scored the winning points.

Often in life people underestimate the underdog. It is human nature to feel complacent when you are holding the advantage. It is also human nature to fight even harder when you are down. That is where the two underdog teams had the advantage today, they wanted it more. I love rooting for the underdog, the win is so much more rewarding when it is fought with passion.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Happiness can be found everywhere, even today

Today is 'the' day.

Yesterday is also 'the' day. 

It seems that we often have dates during the year that hold particular significance to us. I now have back-to-back dates at the beginning of every January. The positive that I can take away from this is I still have almost a whole entire year in front of me to make my own, to sculpt into pure perfection.

No Excuses.

Remembering Ryan


On January 10th, 1984, I was given a new best friend. It was my little brother, Ryan James Kingsbury. Growing up in rural Kansas in the 80's we had a lot of time to fill with imagination. Ryan, Steve (our middle brother) and I spent hours running around our farm playing games, exploring, doing chores, and riding our bikes together. It was my job as a big sister to look after my little brothers, but it usually ended up with Ryan and I finding trouble to get us all into.

Ryan was extremely talented at finding trouble, a trait that would haunt him his whole short life. All through school he was the class clown and trouble maker. Even though he was exceedingly stubborn and opinionated, he had one of the biggest hearts around. When you were Ryan's friend, there wasn't a thing he wouldn't do for you or an obstacle he wouldn't help you through. Whether that meant taking sole blame for taking Dad's truck out with some friends, even though no one was of age to drive, and crashing it; finding time to hang out with a friend who really needed the company; or riding along to California with his sister when I moved because I was scared.

As Ryan grew up into a young man, he went from being the class clown to the life of the party. Everyone wanted to be where Ryan was. He was always smiling and laughing, usually because he just told a joke or had played a prank on someone. That was how you knew you were his friend, you were always included in his deviousness. Whether you were the target or the audience, he always made you feel loved. If you were ever loved by Ryan, you were always loved by Ryan. His loyalty to those he cared for was immeasurable. That may be why he had so many close friends both girls and boys.

One of Ryan's many loves was music. We would sit and listen to music for hours together just talking and hanging out. He loved classic rock like Tom Petty, The Doors and Jimmy Hendrix and new rock like Stone Temple Pilots and Smile Empty Soul. One of his favorite songs of all time, which was also his personal mantra, was George Thorogood's "Bad to the Bone." Everytime we went out somewhere with a jukebox, he would beg Mom for quarters so he could play "his" song.

The biggest love of Ryan's life, however, came in the form of a third generation Chevy Camaro. I am not into cars so I don't know the exact year (give me a break I am a girl), but I know it was an early 8o's model. This car was such a hunk of crap when he got it. He spent all of his free time fixing up his car, a job that he never got to finish. He did get to enjoy his car though. In 2002, he was in his last year of high school and his Camaro was looking so nice he stood proudly in front of his prized possession for quite a few of his senior pictures.

After High School Ryan went to North Central Kansas Technical College in Beloit, Ks where he made many more friends. But Ryan's heart was always in Dorrance. I tried to convince him to move to California to live with me because I missed him so much. I even took him along with me and my now husband and step daughter to South Carolina on vacation in August of 2003. When we got back to Kansas to drop him off, he told me he belonged in Kansas and he loved me, but he wasn't going to leave where he grew up. And he never did.

The day after Thanksgiving, just three months later, Ryan was in a single car accident. He was driving the car I had just given to my parents, a 2001 Chevy Cavalier, because he was in the middle of some work on his Camaro. He didn't come to a full stop at a stop sign and caught the sight of a local policeman. The policeman seeing the California plates on the car decided to pull him over. Ryan, being the troublemaker he was, thought he could just take a couple dirt roads and evade the police car. What Ryan forgot was that the car he was driving was quite a bit lighter than his Camaro and he took a corner too fast. He slid off the road and hit a limestone fence post, flipping him over multiple times into the field.

Fortunately, there was the policeman still behind him, or he could have died right there in that field. They called in the ambulance and he was eventually Life-Watch helicopter flown to a large hospital in Wichita, Ks. Ryan had cut his face very badly and had lost a lot of blood, but worst of all, he had broken his neck. With that injury came many complications, ultimately resulting in his death. On January 6th, 2004, something went wrong with Ryan's nerve receptors. The signals his body was getting was that he was cold. His temperature kept rising. The nurses and doctors were doing everything they could, ice baths, medications, anything, but nothing worked.

Shortly after midnight on January 7th, 2004, Ryan left this world to the tune of Silent Night. Our mother, father and brother were at his bedside singing him the lullaby Mom always sang to us when we were little. I was with him in spirit, still stuck in California, awaiting my 6am flight.

His funeral was held in Russell, Ks, the same town he was born in. The church was packed full of his friends and family, so much so the late comers had to stand outside. Ryan was laid to rest in the Dorrance cemetery, just down the street from the field we all played baseball on and a few blocks over from the elementary school we went to as kids. The grass is now covering the earth where he is buried, but the spot is marked by many tokens of love left by friends and family. These mementos are scattered all around the thick black granite monument adorned with the senior picture of Ryan and his Camaro.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A sad day; RIP Jerrad Klingensmith

My buddie Jerrad Klingensmith died today. I knew it was coming, he had a rare form of cancer, but it still sucks. He left behind a loving wife Trasi, two boys, one Drake is 13 months, the other Zane 13 years old. I became close friends with him during our 6 and 7th grade years in school, then I moved and we lost touch.

Years later we reconnected when his band 'Vinyl Prophets' played a show for me at The Merc. I am at a loss to say much more, so here is a picture of Jerrad, his little boy Drake and the little bear we gave Drake on his first birthday last month.

http://www.KlingForaCure.org for more information on cancer and the cause.

Sunset in SoCal




The clouds today throughout the Temecula valley were simply beautiful. I had No Excuse not to go and take some sunset pictures.