because your friends it can wait

MAJOR pet peeve of mine….MAJOR…guaranteed to set my teeth to grind and mutter an expletive or two…perhaps more…MAJOR pet peeve of mine is distracted driving.





We all see it. Perhaps some of us are guilty of it. Certain family members and friends I am looking at you. Lady at the school drop off yesterday morning I tapped my horn at you. Redneck Bubba in the pickup truck driving up 99, I glared at you when I changed lanes to pass you and you were in the fast lane. Lady in the ‘cedes sitting at the GREEN light this morning, yes, I was yelling at you.




As I write this, one of my daughters is preparing to attend a memorial service.

It can wait.

For those who might be keeping score, this will be the second funeral for a friend that she must attend within the last three months. Yes, she agrees that this is two more funerals for people in their 20s too many for her to be attending. Today she will be saying goodbye to a friend who died three days before his 25th birthday.

It can wait.

Her friend was a father, a fiancé, a hard working business owner. He was a good friend to many and someone not afraid to show kindness to anyone and everyone.

It can wait.

My daughter’s friend died while working, traveling in a car with a business partner. The car he was traveling in was T-boned by a pickup truck driver….a distracted driver.

It can wait.

So today a gentle giant of a young man is dead. His little girl will grow up without her daddy. The love of his life is no longer planning a wedding but is preparing to bury her love. Parents, siblings, friends and business partners are saying goodbye to a much loved and respected human being who has inspired all to live like him.

It can wait.

I look at one of the many pictures my daughter posted in remembrance of her friend and all I can think as I see these bright, shiny, happy young faces is so much promise of so much life to live…so much life to live.

People, put the god damn phone away.

It can wait.

play it again: overheard under the Big Top #99

Because it was fourteen years ago which means we have children who have no clue whatsoever what the date September 11 means to so many people even if life goes on and sometimes they ask why.

Originally published September 9, 2011

While watching, as a family, a 9-11 ten years later piece on tonight’s evening news:

Daniel: Why is everyone so sad on the news?

Mom: Well, everyone is remembering a terrible, scary day that happened ten years ago.

Daniel: What happened?

Mom: I’m not really sure why but there were some people who hated everything about the United States and one day they decided to attack our country. On the day that they attacked us almost 3,000 people in the United States died that day.

Daniel: (eyes widen) Wow! That is terrible. Was it scary?

Mom: Yes. Yes it was. It was a very scary day that day. It was also a very sad day. A very scary and sad day that we all stop and remember every year because so many people were killed that day.

Daniel: Did we catch those mean people?

Mom: We’ve tried. Our country went to war because of the attacks that day. We still are at war…for better or for worse…We caught some of them.

Daniel: Good!

Mom: Yes, but now is a time to remember the people who died that day. There were so many people who were going home or going to work or going off on an adventure who had no idea that there were people who were at the same moment planning to kill them and planning to hurt the United States. Now is the time to stop and remember every single person who was killed that day. They are why people are sad and why people are talking about that day right now.

Daniel: (hugs me)

This is the very first conversation I have had with my son, who was born five months to the day after September 11, 2001.

How are you talking to your children about the attacks on September 11 and the aftermath?


I love social media. I really do. What a great way to keep up and stay in touch with everyone who circumnavigates in and outside of my family circle. I see babies, first day of school pictures, vacations and adventures galore and I celebrate (like) them all. But with the good and great comes the bitter, tragic and sad because we do share it all on social media…and I mourn with you all then too. It’s social. It’s media. I celebrate it all…except, you know when it hits too close to home.

Our dear Uncle Bill passed away this last Sunday night.

I found out on Facebook.

It’s okay.

Actually, no, it’s not.

But I get it because it’s part of the social that is social media.

A family friend posted on our cousin’s wall expressing her sorrow, love and condolences, as we often do when someone we know and admire and love dies and from there it took off as others shared their own thoughts, sorrow and love…all before family can take the time to make sure that all of the family knows. So while on my break at work Sunday night, I scroll through my Facebook newsfeed and discover that our dear Uncle Bill had died that night.


I love social media but Sunday night I hated social media.

It’s really crappy when you get really bad, sad news that way.

It happens.

It absolutely, positively sucks.

But if I was to learn anything from the man I have always called Uncle Bill it was to focus on what is important right here, right now…family…our family…his family.

His daughter Kimra shared:

the world lost another unsung hero. Our father Billy Yowell, lost his long battle with PLS and Parkinson’s disease. He was a great father who was always present in in his daughters’ lives. Never missing an event, he cheered loudest with each success and cried the hardest at each failure. He was a hard worker who believed that if you worked hard all things were possible. Quoting my cousin Mark “Bill was a giant of a man in my life. He seemed to define how a man should be masculine and strong but never too strong to show humor and especially love”.

So true. So very true.

Monday morning, after work, I sat down with Daniel and shared with him that Grandmom’s brother, Uncle Bill had died. The first thing he said was that his cousin, Amy, one of Bill’s daughters, and her husband, Randy, would need a hug from him because they must be very sad.

Oh Daniel!

Trying to understand, together Daniel and I talked about Uncle Bill and the kind of man he was. We talked about his patience, his kindness to everyone, his fairness and his amazing sense of humor.

I think that I want to be just like him.

You are, son! You are a giant just like our Uncle Bill.

Billy Ray Yowell
Nov. 14,1940 – Aug. 30, 2015
Billy will be deeply missed by those who were blessed to know him. He was born in Blytheville, Arkansas and raised in the Bay Area. He entered the U.S Air Force after high school. While stationed in San Diego, he met Carol Johnson and married in 1961. After his military service, he continued his career with the Ford Motor Corporation. Billy is survived by his wife Carol; daughters – Kimra, Tamra, and Amy; grandchildren – Drew, Tim, and Tracy; and sister Dorothy Brown.

more parenting in a land of monsters

It’s hard to believe that just six days ago this was shared on my Facebook timeline

Shared by family and friends living in the Santa Cruz-Monterey Bay area and soon posted by people literally everywhere and by news and media all over California as well as local and state police agencies. As it became viral, the search for this little girl who disappeared while playing in and around her apartment complex intensified. Even the FBI became involved in the investigation of 8 year old Madyson’s disappearance.

And I then recalled the little girl in my neck of the woods who vanished while skipping along the street where she lived.

Then literally 24 hours later, the most tragic of outcomes was realized.

The worst possible monstrous outcome.

Which led me to think back – way back – to another 8 year old and 15 year old sadistic monster. A young monster who beat, tortured, stabbed and eventually murdered little, pajama-clad Melvin Ancheta, ignoring the little boy’s pleas for his life offering all that he had – sixty cents. Twenty two years ago, people in Northern California were shocked over such violent cruelty as we held our own children closer to us. It was this case in particular that led to the tougher laws that will allow for Madyson’s killer to be tried as an adult. 

None of this will bring back little Madyson, nor help us understand just as we can never really understand anytime a murderous, senseless tragedy happens no matter how close to us or that we are removed from. Still, one can hope for, at the very least for justice for another child taken so violently while at play as happy, innocent children do. As a community mourns and parents hug their children even more, all we can hope for from this is justice for Madyson.

this moment

This moment.

So many feels right now as I capture this moment. I’m not the only one either.

This moment we can’t help but be even more thankful for. This moment we wish that we could have shared with more…side eye at some who might not have bothered to check and perhaps respond to text messages. This moment that just five months ago might not have been possible. This moment that will not be a possibility for a dear, old friend whom we have known for as long as we all have been much too young people having babies. This moment we shake our head in shock that someone we share so much history with is gone. This moment we wonder why his family and why not ours. This moment we cry and share our love because life is just too tenuous. This moment we pray for our dear friend, his amazing wife and his wonderful children.

This moment. This moment we give thanks. This moment we celebrate.