A peaceful soul…

Here’s another TRUE Crazy Lori Story!

 

A monk walked up to me on Friday night, holding out a book…

 

internet image edited via picmonkey.com

 

…and he said “Hi, I’m a monk from a local monastery. I want to invite you to read this book on peace. (pause) But you already look like a peaceful soul.”

I replied,  “Thanks. I am rather peaceful.”

And with that he walked away.

 

He will keep in perfect peace all those who trust in him, whose thoughts turn often to the Lord!  Isaiah 26:3

 

I’m telling you people – I cannot make these things up!

At least we can laugh about it now…

One of my favorite childhood memories used to be the “most embarrassing moment” story I’d keep in my pocket… you know, for that random opportunity when a near-stranger would ask…

Well… it goes like this…

tent trailer

I believe I was about 14 years old.

Our family was on one of our many camping trips… the four of us were practically experts at the family camping trip.  Dad and Mom would sleep in the tent trailer, while my little brother and I would sleep in a tent just outside.  Sometimes during the summer, because school was out, we’d all head to the coast (a 20 minute drive) for a week-long camping trip.  Dad would still drive into town during the day for work… but it gave us something to do and a change of scenery.  Thank you, Morro Bay… for being the host of some of the best memories of my childhood!

We simply loved it!  Super thick sleeping bags, and extra blankets to layer underneath us, and over the rocky ground… and warm pjs and many sets of socks… well, we were set!

It was a child’s paradise… playing in trees, riding our bikes, searching the shores for seashells, adventuring, playing, laughing, bonding with my brother… oh yeah, and the time I got lost in the woods near our Sequoia National Park camp site (when I was 5!)…. yeah, that happened.

Camping felt like a second home to me.  Dirt didn’t bother me.  Waking early in the morning and hearing the crunching of the leaves outside the tent… we knew it was the birds or squirrels looking for food.  Hearing the early morning sounds of families waking up and people making coffee on their propane stoves, or over the fire… all too familiar sounds.  Carrying my towel and a change of clothes to the community bathroom/shower in the center of camp, wearing my favorite flip-flops, and walking back to the camp site with wet hair… it’s just how camping life looked.

On this fateful occasion we were camping near the Columbia River Gorge … there were sage-colored fields of dandelions and creeks filled with interesting pebbles.  Running through the rolling hills, tumbling in the knee-high grass… it was my freedom.

It was the last morning of “camp”… and we had some food leftovers to heat up and enjoy before we headed home.  Dad got out the vintage travel chest, it was dented and orange and locked with a brass arm on a hinge.  As we cooked and prepared, Dad started loading up that chest with equipment and other items that we didn’t need for breakfast.  The orange chest sat on the seat of the picnic table, as if it were the 5th member of our family.

Other families were stirring… again, the familiar sounds of morning at camp.  People shuffling off to the showers, families in cars heading off for their daily adventures, kids on bikes, couples out for their morning stroll….  the regular morning hum of activity.

Mom set to warming up a little bit of everything… we had the 2-burner Coleman propane stove on one end of the table.  I recall the smell of bacon and sausage and scrambled eggs.  And in the other skillet Mom started on the last batch of pancakes.  We each got busy with our normal jobs… one of us setting the table with plates, cups and silverware… another one of us putting out the syrup, orange juice, milk, etc.    That table was loaded high with leftovers from the ice chest!  It was the feast of all feasts!

Mom moved the plates of cooked food to the middle of the table while I sat down next to the orange chest and my little brother sat down across from me.   Dad put a clean pot of water on one of the burners so that we would have warm water to do our dishes by.  Mom and Dad sat across from each other.  And then Mom noticed two things…  we needed napkins and someone needed to wash his hands before eating.   ::: boys!:::

My brother got up first to wash his hands.  And my Dad stood to get the napkins.  At that point the weight of the half-packed orange chest, Mom and myself on one bench, on one side of the table (and NOTHING on the bench on the other side of the table)… well, it was just too much to handle!  The table, including Mom and I, fell backwards onto the soil with the contents of the entire table sliding off the surface and landing squarely on top of us!

My Dad, trapped between the bench and the upset table, simply stood there.. my mom and I staring up at him, after wiping our eyes of the scrambled breakfast that was now no longer our breakfast, started yelling…  as you can imagine.

The whole camp ground stopped.  Even the squirrels quit searching the ground momentarily…

Dad eventually helped Mom up… and I scampered to my feet.  And we stood there, for quite a long time… just looking at the mess, slowly starting to wipe off breakfast. 

And the rest is history… but only after taking another shower in the community bathroom … at least we can laugh about it now.

Saved by the Bell – another “crazy Lori story”

If you’re interested in reading more of these crazy stories (that my brother says only “happens to my sister”)  click on the tag “crazy Lori story”… there’s plenty to keep you occupied during a lunch break or while waiting in line somewhere.

Watching the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics this week has reminded me of my time living and working in frigid Geneva, Switzerland (in the later winter/early spring of 1999).   It was one of the coldest, stormiest winters in Geneva in decades (from what I understand).  Yay!  Who decided to send the California Girl to Geneva?!  Brilliant!

A friend of our family heard I was going to be in Switzerland at the same time her nephew, who was studying to be a chef, was going to be in Switzerland.  She gave me the number to Luigi’s flat and I called it over and over again, hoping he’d pick up.  The message on his voice mail was spoken in a language I didn’t know.  So I felt that leaving a message might be time wasted.  In fact, I wasn’t sure we’d be able to converse once I DID reach him…. you see, I’m your typical American.  I pretty much only know one language (and can conversationally understand parts of a few of the latin languages… but I certainly can’t verbalize my response in that language, except for a word here or there).

So, as the story goes… after many attempts to reach Luigi … I finally did.  And he told me to call him by his middle name, Ignacio.  Actually, he wanted me to call him “Nacho”, short for Ignacio.  OK, very good.  I know how to say “Nacho”.

Eventually we met up at the train station, with a few of his other chef student friends.  And then we started making plans for some weekend trips.  (Thankfully he spoke enough English!)

One of those weekend trips took me to the Cote d’Azur, the French Riviera, where Nacho and I enjoyed a meal sitting at a table in the sand in Nice, France.  It was Valentine’s Day.  It was warm… it SOUNDS so romantic.  But we were just friends.  There was no romance between the two of us… (note to self:  take your husband back to this location someday!)  There WAS however great food, fun memories made, and another story for my wacky little world.

However, this is not what this post is about.

This blog is about my first (and last) attempt at snowboarding.

I was not prepared.  AT ALL!  I planned to rent a snowboard.  I was not wearing the proper gear (jeans are NOT a good option for snow sports, noted!).  Go ahead, laugh away.  It gets better!  And we were in a blizzard… remember, a really bad blizzard.

So bad of a blizzard that I couldn’t read the signage from the lift… and didn’t hop off the ski lift when I was supposed to.  In fact, I hopped off at the WRONG run and was now on a black diamond run (or worse).  I had no idea what that meant.  At first.   And then I quickly figured it out.

So, for a quick recap… 1) I’ve never snow boarded, 2) I’ve only skied 2 or 3 times in my life, 3) I’m dressed in jeans and an oversize jacket that is way too big for me, 4) I have no idea what I’m getting myself into…

And it gets better… the slope is obviously way too steep for me and the others I was with took off (not aware of my predicaments).  I soon lost them.  Or rather, they soon lost me…

And here’s where it gets good…  I fell {duh!} and the coping on the snowboard broke.  And so I struggled… for at least an hour… to walk down the black diamond hill, snow board under arm, in my soaking wet jeans.

About half way down the mountain I started to wonder where/how I was going to find the chef students.  And then I realized I was completely lost.  And then I realized they had my i.d., my passport, and my money in one of their backpacks.

And in the distance I heard a church bell ring, another 15 mins had passed (yes, it rang on the quarter-hour).  And I remember hearing it ring when we parked the car in town.  We were close to the church when we parked.  So, I knew I could at least wait until the church bell rang again and try to find the car… hoping the chef students wouldn’t leave without me.

To be honest with you, I was hoping that one of the chef students was at least worried about me?!  I mean, really…

Soaked and frozen, I trudged through town, listening for the church bell… and there it was again!  I was closer.   So I moved in that direction… and then I sat down on the curb to wait for it again, trembling.  And feeling very alone in a stunningly beautiful french village in the Alps.

By the next ring of the church bell I could walk around the corner and down a block or two to find the car, where I sat on the curb again.  In the pub next to the church (ironic, no?!) were my chef friends, sitting in the window seat…. all snug and warm and sipping on hot beverages… waiting for me.   THANKFULLY!

I am so grateful for that church bell… and those chef students who waited for me.  We had many more adventures together … but not as crazy as this one, thankfully.

ready for another crazy lori story?!

You’ve probably read through some of the other ‘crazy lori stories’… it’s true what my brother says, “These things only happen to my Sister!”

Here is the most recent…

I left for work early this morning… and was driving across the 56 freeway. This is a short 7 mile freeway, that runs east/west, connecting the 2 major freeways (I-5 / I-15) which go north/south through Southern California. At this time of the morning there are typically very few people on the road… and I typically set my cruise control at a level slightly over the speed limit. (To say anymore about the speed at which I was travelling might implicate me… so I will not admit it in this public forum. ahem…)

Note to other drivers… while driving it is a good habit to watch your rear-view mirrors for cars speeding up on you … I was this morning.  And what I witnessed still has me shaking…

I saw a rather large vehicle (even though it was dark outside I could tell it was a tall vehicle and had BIG lights) … but it wasn’t the size of the vehicle that caught my attention.  It was the fact that this large of a vehicle was weaving in / out of traffic and going MUCH faster than I was.  This large vehicle was shortening the gap between the two of us at a very high rate of speed.

As it was approaching I wondered if it was an ambulance due to the tall profile…

But when it whizzed passed me I could see it was a work van of some sort, a grey/silver Ford Econoline with a work rack on top (and it was lifted) … I’d guess the driver was bearing down on 100 mph… still swerving in and out of the cars in the 2 lanes of traffic.  He was moving so fast I couldn’t even move to the right to get out of the fast lane.   He passed me on the right and swerved back over in front of me with just enough time to slam on his brakes to avoid the next car directly in front of me/him.

This isn’t the worst of it…

NEXT… I see a much smaller car behind him by a few car lengths… but driving much faster and much more erratic.

I was going to stay put right where I was for this one too… these drivers are racing?!  Is it road rage?

And he didn’t slow down!  Just kept swerving back and forth between cars…

And then it happened… this small four-door sedan drove BETWEEN me and the car next to me… yes, he/she was straddling the middle of the road and driving between us!!!!

What did I do next?

Well, I bet you can guess.  I shakily called 911 to report 2 dangerous drivers…

Of course I did!  I knew I was not in danger (but rather shaken) … but who knows what damage they might cause in front of me or to any of the other drivers on the road.  The 911 operator answered immediately (THANK YOU!) and I provided what little details I had of these vehicles … the second vehicle flew by so fast that I didn’t even see what color it was!

I reported what happened, my location and what I could provide.  But we were fast approaching the I-5 freeway and they would have to either go north or south…  They were so far ahead of me at that point that I couldn’t see which way they went.

Until…

Until… I got to my exit and I saw the silver work van at the light in front of me turning right…  (unfortunately there was no sign of the little dare-devil sedan-driver).

So then what did I do?  Well, of course I called 911 again to report his location… and of course I followed him!  (Of course I did!)

But he was going so fast at that point that I lost him again.

So, I decided to turn around in the shopping center parking lot about a mile up the road …  and who was sitting in the McDonald’s drive through?!

You guessed it!  The silver work van!!!

And what did I do next?!  Yes, I called 911 again… I parked in front of the McDonald’s and promptly provided them with the driver’s description and his license plate number.

I don’t know what the authorities are going to do with this info… but I’d really like it if they at least warned this guy!

I’m glad I’m safe and sound… and I’m glad there was no accident from the reckless driving…

Take away from this?  Hanging out with Lori could put you in harm’s way… and yes, I’m a snitch when others are putting my life in danger… deal with it!  (And I say that in the kindest way…)

drama on the side of the road…

Pulling from the memory banks today… going back to around 1998, I think.  At least I remember which car I was driving at that time and where I was driving to.  So that helps me pinpoint a date.

 

I was driving home from work… down the “main drag” in town, around 4:30 pm.  Centre City Parkway is the original highway that used to go through town before the Hwy 395 was laid down.  It’s a divided “highway”, two lanes in each direction… between the lanes is a large grassy median planted with trees and shrubs of varying sizes.  There are several stop lights along this “highway” and it tends to get a bit backed up when people are getting off of work.

As I slowed to approach the stop light I noticed a white 2-door hatchback parked on the shoulder.  The car was rocking back and forth and I could see a struggle was taking place inside the car.  As I slowly passed the car I saw a man in the driver’s seat, reaching across to the passenger seat and struggling with a woman.

Without thinking, but internally knowing it was the right thing to do (to get involved) I immediately whipped a U-turn at the light and another U-turn over the grassy median.  As I pulled up behind the white car I remember thinking to myself “Everyone else is driving right by this?!  No one else is stopping to intervene?!”

And this is the part of the story where my mom freaks out, every time…

I parked my car.  Walked up to the driver’s side door… and as I got closer I could see the man in the driver’s seat had his hands around the throat of the woman in the passenger’s seat.    As I opened the driver’s door I noticed there was a little girl in the backseat, witnessing all of this drama, crying and looking very scared.

Yanking on the driver’s door handle I was YELLING at him to stop.  Thankfully this caught him by surprise and he let go of the woman’s throat long enough for her to hop out of the car and start running.  (Thankfully he didn’t pull a gun on me.  This is the part my mom is the most thankful for, I believe.)   He turned around to look at me and got out of the car.  She hopped over a fence to get farther away from this villain.  He started to chase her.

I picked up the girl from the back seat and held on to her and told her I was going to stay with her until help arrived.  I asked her what was happening and all I can remember her saying to me is “He was choking my mommy!”   I asked if he was her dad.  No.  She said he was her mom’s boyfriend.  I wanted to chase him down and kick him a few times, just to let him see how it felt.

Eventually, someone else pulled over to the shoulder and luckily had a cell phone and had called 911.  Turns out she was a social worker!   She took care of the little girl while I provided my report to the Police when they arrived.  The victimized woman eventually returned… once she saw the police had arrived.  The cops told me they couldn’t necessarily do anything about the man unless the victim pressed charges.  I pleaded with the woman to protect herself and her daughter and press charges against the man.

Unfortunately she did not press charges that day… instead they got back in their car and went home together.  Who knows what happened to their relationship and more importantly to that woman and her daughter.  Who knows if she ever found the courage to press charges against this villain.  If my actions encouraged her to do so, I would be honored to know so.

To this day I pray for her, still trying to remember her name… and wondering if she and her daughter are safe.   And every now and then I picture the scared look on his face when someone finally stood up to him … he was just another scared, lonely man…

Happy to be alive…

I’m once again recalling one of those “crazy lori stories”… this one happened about nine years ago, I believe.

At that time I had a roommate, Debbie.  It was mid-afternoon on a cool Fall day (I believe).  I believe it was Fall or Spring… reason?  All of the windows and front door were thrown open to let the beauty come inside.  So it must have been a perfect day…

Such a perfect day that I was napping on the couch in the living room.  Debbie was in her room, I believe she was enjoying a nap as well…

There we were.  It was a beautiful day.  Naps were in order… and all of a sudden I jolted awake to a helicopter hovering.  Cop cars coming to a screeching halt in front of the house… and from my vantage point on the couch, looking towards the front door I see a police officer walking down my sidewalk, passed the front door towards the back yard.  I jumped up to check out was crazy action was taking place in my back yard… and I saw a police officer peaking over my fence towards my neighbors’ yards, with his right hand on his holster.

As I rubbed the sleep from my eyes I noticed there was a void where where there used to be a branch from my neighbor’s avocado tree hanging over the fence… it looked like the branch had been pulled down/over on the other side of the fence. 

I got the officer’s attention and quickly and quietly pointed out change in foliage fullness.  (Is that a technical term?!)  He peered over the fence … and apparently found their suspect hiding on my neighbor’s property.

What did this suspect do?  Great question…

If I’m remembering it correctly:  He had been stalking his girlfriend a few blocks away by standing outside one of her windows… with a machete.  She called the cops.  He ran… with a machete.   He ran up our street, into our alley, down my sidewalk (right passed my open front door) and hopped over the fence… with a machete.  The cops found him hiding… with a machete.

I am SOOOOOOO grateful that he ran PASSED the front door while I was sleeping instead of up my stairs and into the house.  So, so, so grateful.  So grateful that our local officers found him and did their jobs that day!

And for the record, that’s the last time I took a nap on the couch with the front door open…

STOP!!!

Here’s another one for ya… these things only happen to me.  While this happened about 10 years ago I just had to share.

My drive to work in the morning used to involve driving a road that followed along a body of water, on the side of a mountain… it is  1-lane in each direction.  Then you would descend off the mountain and into one of the most beautiful areas in San Diego…. Rancho Santa Fe.  This part of town is also known to be one of the most expensive zip codes to live in.

This morning it was light outside as I drove to work at 5:45 am.  And I had recently found a new back road that would allow me to pass up some of the morning traffic.  It was a residential street… again 1 lane in each direction.  And it quickly became apparent that I wasn’t moving fast enough for the little 4-door behind me.  Because all of a sudden this little car veered around me, into the oncoming traffic lane and the driver stepped on it.  (Note:  if you’ve ever driven in a car with me you know I’m not a SLOW driver.  So, what was he thinking?!)  Stay with me here… this is where it gets interesting.

As he passed me I looked ahead to see a car coming towards him in his lane and in turn I slowed down to help him get back over into the correct lane… it’s the least I could do to avoid an accident.  The car passing me obviously sped up… and made the move to get back over into the correct lane.  But what happened next is similar to what you see in movies.

As he swerved back into the lane, about 50 yards in front of me, it was apparent he was losing control of the car.  He swerved, and then corrected his steering and then corrected again… and then lost control.  The car turned sideways, sliding on the pavement…

I started to slow and reached for my cell phone.  There was obviously going to be an accident.  I should call the authorities.

…and then right before my eyes the carf FLIPPED, side over side… bouncing down the road…

As the dust started to settle and I could see that the car came to rest on the passengers’ side doors, with the top of the car leaning against the front gate/brick walls of a nice stately mansions.  There was considerable damage to the property…

And what do you think happened next?!  The three individuals climbed throught the door windows (front and back) on the driver’s side of the car and started to run away from the accident.

Yes, you read that correctly…

 While on the phone w/ the 911 dispatcher I went into action… I started running  after the punks (in my work shoes, skirt and all) and yelled at them to STOP!!!  I kept chasing them and yelling “STOP!!!” at the top of my lungs.  (The 911 dispatcher eventually asked me to stop yelling in her ear.  Oops!)  I must have an authoritative yell… because I’m happy to report that all 3 of the punks turned around and started walking back toward the damaged car!!! 

Here it was … 6 am in Rancho Santa Fe and I stood on the side of the road, talking to 911 on my cell phone, giving these punks the stink eye and thinking to myself “Did they really just stop and turn around and come back to the scene of the crime?!   They might regret that when U.S. Customs comes to pick them up.”

My work here is done…

(For the inquiring minds… I do not believe anyone was home at the property that was damaged as no one came out to look at the damage to their property.  So I felt obligated to wait it out at the scene of the accident to find out what was going to happen to the punks.  After pressing the Sheriff as to their status he asked for their ids.  The punks, of the day laborer variety, were hauled by Immigration.  The gate/wall was eventually fixed … a much bigger, nicer fence this time.)

Waiting for the green light…

I’m recounting this over 10 years later… but it’s one of those events that stuck with me.   Yet another “crazy Lori story”…

It happened in 1991.  There I was, downtown San Diego.  I was with some fellow high school seniors attending a job fair, I think.  Or was it a college fair?  I don’t remember.  We drove 30 miles from our high school to attend an event related to our future…. and that’s when I saw my past flash before my eyes.

We were walking back from our destination (or was it TO our destination?)… it doesn’t matter.   We were standing at the corner of a busy intersection, waiting for the green/pedestrian light so we could cross the street.  And before our ears could register the sound of the crash we saw it happen right before our eyes. 

A tow truck clipped a utility truck and came to a halt, which in turn caused the minivan to smash into the back of a large vehicle.  The sliding down on the passenger side of the minivan suddenly popped off the hinge and launched into the air.  The door started a spiral towards us, eventually sliding along the pavement in our direction.

We found ourselves  doing what we could to jump up and back to avoid the impact of the large piece of metal and padding and fabric that was getting ready to do some major damage to our lower extremities.  

Once the door came to a halt (6 inches in front of us) we looked at each other… and then noticed there were at least 6 stunned children and 1 flustered mom/driver in that minivan.  We jumped into action to check on the screaming kids and to ask the mom if she was ok.  Everyone was fine physically, but a bit distraught (to say the least). 

I don’t remember what happened after that… but it was just another reminder that you just don’t know what could happen while you stand there waiting for a green light…

Crazy Lori Stories

Over the years I have accumulated a number of Crazy Lori Stories… or as my brother calls them “It-would-only-happen-to-MY-sister story”.  These are the types of things that JUST HAPPEN.

So after many years of collecting these crazy stories I am finding that I need to put them here on my blog… so I will be adding some old stories here and tagging them as “Crazy Lori Story”.  I hope you enjoy reading them just as much as I have revelled in reliving them over the years.

Disclaimer:  This random stuff happens quite often when I’m around.  Know me , hang around me and love me at your own risk.

My life flashed before my eyes…

It happened several weeks ago. The day was August 28, 2010…

Heading south on the 15 freeway, on the way to day #2 of a ridiculously fun weekend with a great group of girlfriends! It was early on Saturday morning… and there were few people on the freeway. I was in “still-waking-up” mode, sipping on my iced coffee and probably singing along to some tunes. My SUV was “flying” down the freeway (however I will not admit to my speed on the grounds that it might incriminate me).

And then … the truck in front of me changed lanes.

::: we’re going to take it in slow motion from here :::

As the driver hit a bump in the road the ladder in the back of his truck popped up off the rack and was airborne! I heard a crash, a scrape and the sound of metal crunching against metal.

And the driver kept going… no brake lights… no nothing (yes, the driver was a “HE” – how do I know?! because he was clueless of the problem happening behind him!)…

Still parallel to the ground, the ladder flew into the front grate of a work truck in the lane to my right… I had just passed the truck next to me, so it was slightly behind my right bumper.

It all happened so fast, but it looked like the ladder flipped, and then got run over by the truck. Immediately the driver hit the brakes and veered off to the shoulder of the freeway. How he didn’t hit someone else in the process was a miracle… thankfully few people were on the road so early in the morning.

In my mind, as I replayed what had just happened, I watched that ladder fly by my passenger window. It dawned on me that IF it had flown out while that truck was still directly in front of me it would have hit my vehicle at a higher elevation than it hit the truck next to/behind me. Could it have potentially gone through my front windshield?!

Thankfully, there are only a few times in my life that my livelihood has flashed before my eyes. But everytime that “flash” happens, well… I thank the Lord on High for not taking me home to Him yet. (Not that I’d complain if He did… selfish me just wants to stick around here a bit longer.)

I love my life. I love my work (on most days). I love my husband (except when he … well, enough said). I love how I’m finally meeting some of the goals I’ve had for a long, long time.

When it comes down to it, while I believe I would “be ready” when that day comes … this was yet another reminder that my days are numbered (as if the time the door flew off the minivan while I was waiting to cross a busy intersection downtown San Diego wasn’t enough… or the time I stopped on the side of the road to stop a man trying to choke his girlfriend, to death… or the time… well, you get the idea).

Am I living how I’m supposed to live? Will I leave behind the legacy meant for my life? What else does God intend for this life before He calls me to His side?