Happy Constitution Day and Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad.

The Greeks
The Greeks and my mother holding my brother, just before immigrating to the U.S.

September 17, 2013

My parents were children during WWII.  My father was born in Greece and remembered the worst.  My mother was born in Canada on the very day the Nazis marched into Poland. My paternal grandparents, with four young children in tow, managed to escape the civil war in Greece when my father was 13.  Their intent was to immigrate to the United States but there was a document snafu in Athens.  They were lucky to be able to board a ship to Canada.  This was to be temporary though as my grandfather had already lived in San Francisco.  I’m murky on the details but, he may have already been a U.S. citizen.   As a young man he’d owned a small candy store in San Francisco.  He also worked on the railroad and served in the United States Army as an interpreter.   He went back to Greece to marry my Yia Yia but his heart never left the United States.  It was the land of opportunity and the home of the free.

On this date in 1955 my parents wed in Canada.  The following year my older brother was born.  Two years later the entire family finally immigrated to the United States.  They came to California specifically because the San Francisco Bay area reminded my grandfather of Greece (the old country).   That is how they always referred to Greece, “the old country.”  The United States was their country.  My parents were very young and overcame many hurdles to both marry and become United States citizens   At the time, a sponsor was required.  My grandfather’s uncle was a Superior court judge in San Francisco and he sponsored them.   I don’t know the exact timeline but they soon began the process to become Naturalized citizens.   I recall the stories of how they had to study for the citizenship exam.  One of the requirements was that they read the constitution.  I believe they were tested on it as well.  They passed with flying colors.  I don’t have the photos of them on that day but they exist.  I recall their suits, the carnation on my father’s lapel, my mother’s young, beautiful smile.   Throughout their lives they carried the title of “United States citizen” proudly.  Several years after they were naturalized I was born and with my birth the first born American citizen arrived.

I heard it from the time I was a child.  We were lucky.  America was the greatest country in the world.  It was instilled in all of us.  My parents were the most patriotic people I’ve ever known.   I remember them debating the sample ballots very carefully.  Researching, vetting, discussing.  The polls were at my elementary school.  I recall watching them walk hand in hand every single Election Day to vote.  The flag was always flown on appropriate holidays and I believe they had the same flag all of their lives.   I don’t recall it being discussed that they were married on Constitution Day.  I’m fairly certain they did not realize it was such while they were Canadian citizens but, anything is possible.

On this constitution day I honor my parents as I strive to do every day.    I owe everything I’ve become to them.  It is not a small matter that it is in honor of their memory that we stay in the state they chose.   I choose to stay in California.  I do what I can to fight for my beloved state, their beloved state.    I can quite vividly picture them cheering me on from Heaven.  Sometimes, though less frequently lately, they are next to me in my dreams.  Not talking, just watching.  The quiet, no problem,  bookworm middle child turned out to be the feisty one!  Happy constitution day America and happy anniversary mom and dad.    I know that despite the turmoil in their precious state and country, they rest in peace.  I know they worry not about me for I am their daughter; their  first born citizen of the greatest country on earth.

Addendum : I was taught that a writer should never apologize for her work and I shan’t but I must say that this is imperfect.  Some specifics may be slightly inaccurate and I’d love to get this down perfectly.  My parents died young and many stories died with them. This is my recollection of events.  My parents loved us all equally but differently.   They didn’t have a favorite.  I know that my parents would be particularly proud of my elder brother lately as am I.  He’s been reading the constitution and the founding father’s writings.  But, that’s not my story to tell further without his permission.   For tonight, I’ll just get this down while it is still Constitution day (it is in California),  and perhaps edit it later.  Thank you all for reading it.  My parents would love that I wrote it, imperfect though it is.

“Thank You For Donating.” Sarah Murnaghan and My Eerie Tale.

This morning we get the word that Sarah Murnaghan, the 10 year old who has been in the press lately, is getting her lung transplant. While this is good news for Sarah, I always remember that someone died in order for such a transplant and my thoughts are with that family also. This situation reminds me of an eerie incident that occurred a few years back at, of all places, the grocery store. It was profound and not something I shall ever forget. Today is the first time I’ve publicly discussed it. It’s as good a day as any.

I was at the checkout counter at Trader Joe’s grocery store and paid with my debit card. The chatty cashier asked for my driver’s license as identification and then said “thank you for donating.” I was perplexed. “Huh”? I asked. He repeated himself: “Thank you for donating, for being an organ donor.” I had never even realized that yup, there it is. A pink dot on my California driver’s license that quite simply says “donor.” It shook me up a bit and I responded “well, hopefully not anytime soon.” He said “it’s the most unselfish gift you will ever give.” Still shaken, I nodded and off I went. No one before or since has ever commented on this pink dot or the fact that I am registered as an organ donor.

I’m in my car driving home. I’m a careful driver. Uber cautious I’ve been told. I’m always on the lookout for the “other guy.” I check my mirrors, side, other side, rear view, repeat. It’s served me well. I’ve gotten out of many possible accidents by practicing defensive driving. My father taught me this. Even if you are the best driver in the world, you have to look out for the idiots. Always have an “out” planned in your head. I do. I always do. I know where every car is and have some sort of escape plan in the event I have to make a quick move. This day was the one time I did not have that opt out plan. I am driving home practicing defensive tactics yet still unnerved and distracted by the cashier’s unusual comments. Near my home there is a ICE office. Ever since the murder of Border patrol agent Robert Rojas near the San Diego/Mexican border I’ve made it a practice to look up at the flags and say a quick prayer for him. This day was no exception.

In the nano second that it took to look at the flags and quickly look back at my driver’s side mirror I was in mortal danger. A female driver was veering quickly from the left lane into my lane near the curb and her car was headed straight for mine. No time to otherwise evade, I instinctively drove up the curb onto the sidewalk and braked in the middle of the bushes. Luckily there was no one on the sidewalk because I had broken my “always” rule. Luck or God or both were abundantly on my side that day. She wound up bouncing off the curb, back to the center of the road and was off on her ( I think, very drunken) way. Had I not driven onto the sidewalk, she surely would have smashed into my driver’s side door at about 50 miles per hour. I shudder to think what may have happened. I got off that curb, turned a corner, parked and sobbed. I thought then and still maintain that I cheated death that day. No, the cashier’s comments did not help the situation (and certainly distracted me), but my instinctive driving skills are what may have saved my life. Since then when I want to pay respects to the fallen I pull into the border patrol parking lot, park and say my prayer. Live and learn. Key word is live.

I did live but I well could have perished that day. Had I died it would have been tragic. Too young. Another innocent person taken by a drunk (at least reckless) driver. But, my organs would likely have been donated. Part of me would have lived on and saved or prolonged another life. Perhaps several lives. The thought comforts me. Since the news of Sarah Murnaghan broke I’ve been advocating one thing. Please consider being an organ donor. Similar to writing one’s will, it’s not a pleasant proposition; facing our own mortality. But we are mere mortals. Once done, I had pretty much forgotten about it (but for the oddly timed “thank you” from the cashier). We want to take government out of our health care, out of our lives. We have to start somewhere and it’s not by petitioning the head of HHRS. There are so many things that appear to be out of our hands lately but this we can do. Here we can make a difference. Again, I repeat an oft used phrase of mine; walk the talk. At the very least, have the talk.

What is really at the heart of the matter is a severe shortage of organ donors. Unsavory though it may sound it is a supply and demand problem.  According to one source “The demand for organs in the United States far outpaces the supply. There are currently 75,650 active candidates (meaning they are medically suitable for a transplant) waiting for organs in the United States. But 18 people die every day, on average, waiting for an organ transplant. In 2012, there were only about 14,000 organ donors (deceased and live donations). Organ donations from deceased donors resulted in the procurement of 28,600 organs that led to 24,560 transplants.”

I realize that sometimes religion, family preferences, ethics, or simply the unpleasant aspect of the conversation all factor into this shortage. It is not my intent to talk you into something you feel strongly against. Rather, it’s my desire to urge you to have a chat with yourself, with God, with whomever. Until we have this discussion and take action this problem will continue. I urge you to strongly consider becoming an organ donor and register yourself as such. Ensure that your status is known. Depending on your state, it may be noted on your driver’s license. If not, you may wish to wear a bracelet, have a card in your wallet and, very importantly, it must be in your living will. Additionally you must ensure that your D.N.R. is written in a manner that does not conflict with your organ donor status. Without getting too far into the weeds, it is often necessary to keep the donor on life support in order to preserve the organs. Finally, your designated durable power of medial attorney must be on board. The legalities can be complex but, even after registering as a donor, your family can stop the process. I’ll leave it up to you to do your research on this. Suffice to say, there can be glitches and people can change your decision. Make sure this does not happen. The life you save may be that of a 10 year old child like Sarah. The lives you save will be as the cashier said “the most unselfish gift you ever give.” Because each state handles the registration of organ donations differently I urge you to search “how to become an organ donor.” Or, ask your physician or attorney for assistance. I am ever so grateful that I did not die on the road that day but I know that if I had, my husband would be comforted in the knowledge that my heart or lungs or eyes or possibly all, found new life in a needy, perhaps dying individual. I know this to be true because I’ve ensured that it is. It started with a conversation and I walked the talk.

Finally, cashiers: shut up. Thank me for my business, not my organ donation status. It’s a personal matter. Not something I wish to be thanked for or even reminded of. I was distracted that day. I am grateful to my father and to God that I still managed to get out of the situation and lived to tell the tale. Thank you for your time. Thank you for your prayers for Sarah and for whomever died to give her the (hopeful) gift of life. Most of all, thank you for having the conversation, for walking the talk and, thank you for your donation.

Dog Blog: Sugar Needs a Home. Update.

Hi! I'm Sugar!

UPDATE: June 11, 2013
Per Megan: “Sugar has been moved to a double wide kennel, new kennel number is 128. The staff is making every reasonable, available move they can.”

I’ve mentioned my friend and Scout’s trainer before. Her name is Megan and she’s amazing. I received this letter from her the other day regarding Sugar. I’m putting it out on social media in the hopes we can find her a home. Megan articulates it better than I can so am just posting her letter to me. Please help spread the word. The rescues in California are full and there are many dogs in need of help just now. Sugar is lucky to have Megan helping. Can we do this? Thank you!

Sugar Smiles!
Sugar getting some sugar from Megan!

Dear Teri:

I’m wondering if you might be able to help with a dog. I volunteer at the south county shelter in Bonita twice a week. Every time I go, I’ve been training and playing with a red Staffordshire Bull Terrier named Sugar! , and she has really stolen a piece of my heart! Sugar is one year old. She has been at the shelter since March 23rd and I started training with her April 11th. I am the only one who gets her out. Unfortunately 20-30 minutes twice a week is not enough and being at the shelter is stressful and is taking a toll on her mentally. One can only imagine being in a kennel 24/7 surrounded by barking dogs and loud noises with very limited social interaction. It would be so awesome for her to find a home!

Though she is short, she is solid and is about 55 lbs. She is already spayed. She knows sit and down, and is pretty good at coming when called. She loves chasing toys and being petted and she’ll curl up under my legs when I sit, and if I sit on the ground she’ll lay next to me. She’s good with other dogs, though her social skills are understandably a little rusty. Her one bad habit is jumping up, but it’s easy to manage and even with the limited amount of training I’ve put in she is a thousand times better. I’m big on manners and have taught her to sit for things so she’ll sit before you toss a toy, will sit to have her leash put on and taken off, and will sit before you open a door. With the jumping, she does not know “off” as I teach what to do (tell her “sit”) instead of telling dogs what not to do or correcting what they’ve already done. Sugar is really great on leash and I’ve worked hard in teaching her to not pull. Because her jumping does need a bit of work and she is a solid, muscular dog I recommend she not go into a home with kids under about 10 years old as she could easily knock them down. Also, any dog adopted from this shelter gets a free basic obedience class from me!

Sugar is at the County of San Diego Department of Animal Services, South Region
5821 Sweetwater Road
Bonita, CA 91902-2219
619-767-2675
She is in “Kennel 128, tag 746, ID# A1521915 .

If you can adopt Sugar or know someone who may be able to, please contact the above shelter. If you are interested in Sugar or have any questions, please contact Megan directly here : http://www.themannerlymutt.com/contact

Senator Rand Paul at The Reagan Library

Update.  Disregard everything in this post.  I’m a Rubio Girl!

I’m just linking to the video. I’ve watched the speech twice now and I was pleasantly startled several times. Mostly, I was caught off balance at how much he spoke to me, a native Californian and a conservative. Like many others I’ve had pre-conceived notions about self described libertarians. Imagine my surprise when I find myself nodding in the affirmative to many of the concepts Senator Paul discusses.

It’s not that I don’t understand the basic tenets of libertarianism; I do. It’s just that there seem to be 50 shades of libertarians. All that aside, his shade speaks to me. He calls himself a “Libertarian, Conservative, Republican.” I like that. He’s not shirking from the Republican bit. Nor do I. He talks about how to win in California. He’s spot on. I may not be a political pro but I am an expert on my native state.

Mostly though, he speaks to me when he talks of “passion.” I had it. I was even known for it. I lost it somewhere around 2010 when the conservative sweep came to a screeching halt right around the Rocky Mountains. Passion. Rand Paul sparked a bit of it during his infamous filibuster and he sparked it again last night during this speech.

I still have questions. It’s early days. We don’t even know (for sure) if he’s running but, this speech put the Senator from Kentucky on my radar. I hope you’ll take some time and watch it.

Scout and Zebulon!

I knew I had a great veterinarian when he looked Scout dead in the eye and asked him excitedly “have you ever seen a kitty cat?” Scout had seen a kitty cat and was fairly oblivious to it but the cat was on the fence and stayed out of Scout’s way. So, until yesterday, Scout’s temperament around cats was pretty much unknown! Fast forward a few months and I’m searching for someone to Scout Sit when we leave town for a few days in June. My friend and Scout’s trainer, Megan, offered to watch him while we are away. Her only concern was how he would get along with her cats.

I was a bit worried also as several prominent websites note that Vizslas notoriously do not get along with cats. Yesterday was the test! The Marine and I had plans and Megan “Scout Sat” for us. We were having a lovely time when I received a text from Megan. I thought “Uh Oh” but no! It was the BEST text. A picture of Scout and Zebulon the cat lounging like BFF’s!

Scout and Zebulon!

By the way, that is one of Megan’s Siberian Huskies, Kaytu, hanging out in the background. If you’ve followed my Scout tales you will know that it is tough to keep Scout calm long enough to obtain a good photo never mind one of him hanging out with a CAT! Scout is 20 months old and though he’s a grown dog he is a typical Vizsla and as one website states they are “slow to mature.” In other words, they are wild and crazy puppies until they are about 4 years old.

Megan has the “touch” though. In fact, until she offered to watch Scout when we go on our little vacay, I was quite worried about where I would leave him. Another benefit of leaving Scout with Megan is that he will likely get some good training. Megan just cannot help herself. She’s a natural with animals.

To that end, I am linking her website here and giving her a huge shout out and recommend. Megan is not only a great friend but she’s an excellent dog trainer. Megan offers services that I’ve never seen in San Diego such as urban mushing. This is where she teaches owners to harness the dogs and have them pull them on their bikes. Or, in my case: this is where Megan harnesses Scout and one of her Huskies and has them pull HER on HER bike! If you live in San Diego County please check out Megan and The Mannerly Mutt. I have no hesitation in giving her a FOUR PAWS UP recommendation! Scout has had 3 trainers since we got him at 7 months of age but only Megan has lasted. Only Megan can get him to lie with a kitty cat. Call her!

Oh, p.s… There is no truth to the Rumor that we named Scout after Demi Moore’s daughter (of the same name). We dubbed him “Scout” based on a recommendation by my friend Kathy on twitter and I thought it was perfect! “To Kill a Mockingbird” is one of my favorite books and movies and the character “Scout” embodies everything that I had hoped for my puppy. That he be curious, happy, get along well with people and animals and always “Scout” around the corner for the next adventure. He has certainly lived up to his namesake. Interestingly, Zebulon the cat was named for Zebulon Pike and more specifically for Pike’s Peak in Colorado (from where Megan and her husband hail).

Finally, please note that Megan is a true patriot who is married to a service member and offers Military Discounts on all services. Please do give her a call and tell her that Scout sent you!

The Californy Hillbillies!

Must be sung to the tune of “The Beverly Hillbillies Theme Song, and with a twang.”

Come and listen to a story bout a man named Red
A self made man who rarely went to bed,
He worked so much he was always in a mood
His wife told him that lately he was rude!

Mean and such. From working much…

Well, next thing you know old Red’s a millionaire
The wise folk said “ Red move away from there!”
Said, Californy is the place you wanna flee
So they loaded up the truck and they moved to Tennessee

To a farm you know. In an S.U.V.

The state of Californy does want to try to bilk,
Red and folks that are his working ilk,
The only question left if you make a lot of dough
is where in America should the cap it al ists go?

Florida, Texas, Tennessee. Sit a spell. Put your feet up, have a beer. Ya’ll come back for a visit, hear?

FTR Radio & Smart Girl Politics Operation Helping Hand To Benefit Sandy Victims.

My Marine grew up in an idyllic little town called Highlands, New Jersey.  It’s his home town.  Most of his family has left but one sister still lives there.  A lovely little home down by the seashore, or it was.  Like many others my sister in law and her husband were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy.  The above video shows some of the havoc that was wreaked on Highlands. ( If you cannot tolerate the Springsteen music please mute it and just watch).  My focus is on Highlands since we have family there.  Obviously, there were many other areas in several states that were hit hard by this nasty hurricane.

The last update we had from sis was not great.  They still had no power and were waiting for their insurance company to get back to them.   They have done as much as they can on their own and the community has been pulling together to help but this is just an atrocious situation.  The insurers are either overwhelmed or not in any hurry (or both).  She and her husband have  “mudded” out their basement and lower floor and there was raw sewage which is an obvious health concern.  All appliances and anything that couldn’t be moved up are destroyed.  The interior of the home will have to be re-done as well.  They have pulled out the sheetrock and scrubbed as best they can.    Leaving their home is not an option as there have been incidences of looting on their Street.  They are seasoned in the way of Hurricanes and no one had to come to their aid but,  they will need help.  This is just a tiny bit of their account which is actually much worse.  The good news is they were not injured.  The bad news is that no help is coming any time soon.  Many that are employed missed much work and won’t be compensated for that time.  Even those with good insurance have significant deductibles and will likely see hefty premium increases.

I hope everyone will tune in today from 7-11 eastern for this radiothon.  As we know by now, these victims need help.  Government  help and/or insurance payments are  not coming quickly enough and we need to assist as much as we can.  It’s what we do!  I know the economy is bad but, please give what you can.  Those $10.00 donations add up quickly.  Thank you to everyone who is contributing to this effort and a special thank you to FTR Radio and Smart Girl Politics!  A super special thank you to Anna Little who went to check on my sister in law and was on the ground, helping victims right before the election. ( Highlands blew it on that one, but that’s for another day).   I hope you will tune in and take part in the radioathon but if you cannot,  please give what you can to the United Way Hurricane Sandy Recovery Fund The United Way is waiving all administrative expenses for this effort and all donations are tax deductible.  Additionally, if you like,  you can designate which State you wish your monies to go to.

Finally, a word about some responses I have been seeing on social media.  Most of you have been great, spreading the word and positive messages.  Some have unfortunately been nasty.  “Why are we helping blue states.”  “Governor Cuomo said everything is fine.” etc.   This is not about politics folks, this is about helping victims of a horrendous natural disaster. I’m a huge fan of snark when appropriate; this is not one of those times.  Please, set aside the snarky comments for another day.  In other words, either help or get out of my way.  This one is personal.  Now, let’s get out there and walk the talk.  I thank you, The Marine thanks you and his sister thanks you.

A Deployed Army Nurse Needs a Foster Home For Her Dog. Please Help~!

UPDATE: 6/9/13 It is with great sadness that Megan was told that Diesel has died. He was struck by a car and underwent surgery but he did not survive. Rest In Peace Diesel.

UPDATE:  2/7/13  Diesel is home with his Army Nurse Owner!  Diesel’s owner came home early from her deployment and I am pleased to announce that Diesel is back at home with her.  He never did leave Megan’s good care and it was a bitter sweet parting. Here are Megan and Diesel on KUSI news in San Diego just prior to his departure. Everyone at the dog park miss Diesel but we are happy that he’s home.

KUSI.com – KUSI News – San Diego CA – News, Weather, PPR

To close this chapter I’d like to recommend Megan.  She’s helped train Scout and is a wonderful dog trainer.  Check her out at www.theMannerlyMutt.com Thank you to all that helped to try to find Diesel an interim home.

UPDATE:  A Producer from KUSI News in San Diego saw this blog post and invited Megan and Diesel on the local news this morning.  Diesel (and Megan) were on their best behavior.  Below is a clip of that interview.  As of now, Diesel still needs a home.  As you can see he is a sweet, well mannered dog.  There are also photos of the Army Nurse and her adorable baby.  Let’s get this done, for her:

Diesel is a male boxer and is a year and 8 months old, and weighs about 70 lbs. He has an owner who is a single mom and is a nurse in the Army. She is currently deployed in Afghanistan. Her toddler-aged son is with her parents but they could not take Diesel. The owner will be returning in about 10 months. Diesel is her baby and she really cares about him. He gets along great with cats and kids, and also gets along great with most dogs but can be a bit too bouncy and energetic for some. He is very people-oriented, loves to play fetch, and he is potty trained and knows basic commands. Overall he has good manners and does not jump up, get into trash, or grab food off counters.  He is neutered.   He is smart and learns new things quickly. Daily play and running will be needed as he has a lot of energy. He walks great on leash without pulling and has also been doing “urban mushing” pulling a bike. Diesel has been with my friend Megan for  over 6 months but she must find him a new foster home preferably in the  San Diego area for the remainder of his owner’s deployment.  (Preferably San Diego but will consider elsewhere in Southern California).  The foster organization will cover expenses. To fill out an application, visit https://www.netpets.org/netp/fosterhome.php.   The very last box says “Personal information and comments” and there you should indicate you are interested in  ” Diesel, D0190428*2a112 ”  Finally, please contact his current foster mom at : meg.lundberg@gmail.com so she can ensure the foster entity is aware.  As you can see, they have no social media and are not really helping Megan find a new foster for Diesel.

Diesel is currently being fostered by my friend and Scout’s trainer Megan.  Megan is a military wife and has just started her own business and can no longer take care of Diesel due to time constraints.  She has had him for about 6 months and has done a great job training him.   Scout and Diesel play together on a regular basis.  I can attest to the fact that he is a nice dog and Megan has done a wonderful job with him.

Please help me help Megan help this deployed service member.  Freedom is not free.  Thank you all!

If you have any questions or if I can facilitate this in any way please tweet me at @hipEchik

In Loving Memory Of Andrew Breitbart. From “Hippychick”

By now you’ve likely read many stories penned by great authors about their adventures  with Andrew Breitbart.  This one is mine.  I’m no great author and I’ve been trying to write this since the day Andrew died but I’ve had writer’s block since California lost in the elections of 2010.  It’s thanks to Andrew that I am once again writing, something I have always loved to do.

My husband and I were invited to attend Troopathon last year by our friend Nick Popaditch.  He was one of the honored speakers at this yearly event which is sponsored by Move America Forward and is, as the name implies, a marathon to benefit the troops.  I really had no expectations but was excited to be with friends, help support the troops and to see the Richard M. Nixon library.  I’d never been to a presidential library before.  It was to be a day of many “firsts”.  We set off early in the morning which was a good thing.  It was to be a whirlwind day.  The date was June 20, 2011.

The day was surreal.  I knew by then that when hanging out with the Popaditch’s anything can happen.  We were introduced to many famous people and I finally met a lot of folks I had previously only known via twitter.  My head spun with all of the activity and excitement.   I wasn’t shy about introducing myself to anyone but I just couldn’t bring myself to walk up to Andrew and say “hey, I’m Teri” or some such thing.   Still, I eyed him all day.  A couple of times he caught my glances and I almost had the gumption but then he would roller blade off or be called back on camera or he’d be tweeting or, something would come up.   My friends laughed at me.  They offered to introduce me but I demurred.   It was Andrew Breitbart!  Yes, we followed one another on twitter and had exchanged tweets and even done battle together one night but, I just couldn’t do it!

After a long, hot day of non stop festivities, fund raising and meeting and greeting it was time for dinner.  The dinner is a story of its own and I will write about it another day.  Suffice to say it was incredible.  At some point during or maybe after this meal I got up to grab another cocktail.  I was headed back to the table when I heard someone yelling loudly: “Hippychick!”  I turned around and lo and behold Andrew Breitbart was running and leaping across the lawn towards me yelling “Hi Hippychick”!  (Yes running and leaping!  I have witnesses).   No time to be shy, I ran towards him and lept into his arms.  We hugged as if we were old friends.  I suspected but didn’t know until today how he came to know who I was.  Actually, it’s still not entirely clear.  Near as I can tell April Popaditch and Beth Hazen said to Andrew “Hey, there is someone here who wants to meet you”.  Apparently he asked who it was and they answered “HipEchik”.  He said “Hippychick is here? Where is she?”   They pointed to me and he took off running and calling my name.   I am still astounded that he wanted to meet me.

Anyway, we hugged and maybe kissed on the cheek.  From then on the conversation was non-stop.  I don’t even remember all of what we talked about but we chatted for a long while.  It was as if we were instantly old friends.  We talked about the troops, I know that.  I may have mentioned some of his wild antics and the dares he took in order to bring in donations that day.  We talked about California.  We just talked. Finally, he had to run, or I did but I knew we were all going out afterwards to have some cocktails and I invited him along.  His phone was buzzing.  He said “Yes! I’d love to come with you.  I have to take this but I’ll be back”.  I think he missed that call because this I recall distinctly.  I thanked him for all he did to help the troops.  I mentioned that this was an aspect of Andrew that not many knew.  How much he did to support the troops. He brushed off my compliments and then, he thanked me.  Andrew Breitbart said “thank you for all you do.”  I shrugged.  Oh shucks, I do nothing compared to what you do.   He insisted I take the compliment.  “No hippychick, you do a lot and I want you to know it doesn’t go un-noticed.”  I gulped back a tear, gave him another hug and a kiss and made him promise he would come back.  He was walking backwards, punching a number into his phone but he promised he’d come back to join us.  I never saw him again in person.  He didn’t make it for the cocktails with us and I think I made the gang wait awhile for him.

I’ve long lamented my choice of twitter username “hipEchik” but after that day I knew I’d never change it.  I was branded.  Andrew called me “hippychick” pronouncing it as in the old SoHo club classic. To this day I am unsure as to whether he knew my name is “Teri”.  I wasn’t so star struck as to say I’d never wash the cheek he kissed but the name, it stuck.  This was all after I had become his online friend but the two melded together.  Meeting him just sealed the deal that we had struck on twitter many times.  We were friends.   Andrew was a friend of mine.  I am not going to quantify it or distort it.  I only met him the one time but I knew long before this that I had his six, and he had mine as friends do.

I had tweeted with Andrew a few times prior and a few times after we met.  Not many. He started following me on twitter before I really knew who he was.  He never unfollowed and always answered me if I sent him a tweet.  Unlike so many of the BIG people, Andrew always responded.  No ego. He was my friend.   I remember New Year ’s Eve 2010; we were all online.  He was talking to many people.  I wanted to wish him a happy new year at midnight but did not want to butt in.  Polite me, I waited.  It must have been about 3:00 a.m. on New Years Day 2011 when I caught a tweet from Andrew to the effect that he was about to go to bed.  I said to him “Happy New Year Andrew, thanks for all that you do”.  He wished me a happy new year and I shall never forget this. He said, “You think this  past year was big wait until next year!”  I didn’t ask what he had in mind, knowing that he wouldn’t advertise. I couldn’t wait to see what would transpire!  Of course we all now know what he accomplished in 2011 but whatever plans he had that New Year’s Day are unknown to me.

Many have said how fearless Andrew was and it’s true.  I will add that his fearlessness was contagious.  I am known for not liking to do battle online with leftists.  I joke that “If I want to fight with a lefty I will walk outside my California home.”    One night during the height of the Occupy protests I was up late tweeting.  I caught a tweet of Andrew’s that had a ustream link to their coordinated efforts in Oakland and Los Angeles.  I became fearless.  I took on the OWS crowd and did it fearlessly.  Andrew was there.  I generally steer clear of people such as Keith Olbermann but he had tweeted out something to the effect that “the Marines had joined with Occupy”.  As the wife of a Marine veteran I am especially protective of Marines.  I didn’t want their names being used in such a manner.  I retweeted Olbermann and asked “got proof of this Keith?”.  He was not online at the time but I stayed up all night, with Andrew and did get to call Olbermann out when he finally responded.

I was protective of Andrew too.  When the Occupy crowd saw his tweets on the #OWS tag they said “Breitbart is watching”.  I tweeted Andrew “They see you Andrew”.  He replied “good”.   Now I was really in the mix of things and in my mind I was slaying those Occupy anarchists with my words.  They took up a chant “Fuck Andrew Breitbart”.  I tweeted this:  “The Occupy crowd is chanting Fuck Andrew Breitbart.  I didn’t realize Andrew worked on Wall Street”.  Andrew caught my tweet and re-tweeted it.  My tweetdeck almost exploded.  I stopped counting at 76 retweets and made coffee.  I was fearless.  I went looking for trouble.   I saw that someone had started an “Occupy Marines” twitter feed and I pulled it up and dissected their tweets.  I noticed someone in Occupy had sent that account this: “FYI, the Marines say Semper Fidelis, it means Always Faithful”.  The Occupy Marines feed retweeted it.  I went into full attack mode.  “Why would a group of Marines need to be told what Semper Fidelis means?  This is learned on day one of basic training. “.  I got no response.  It was about this time that Olbermann woke up.  He answered me.  “Yes, I have proof.  So and so was on my show about two weeks ago”.  I said, “So, you have ONE rogue Marine”.  No response.  I was looking for one.  I was looking for a fight.  I was fearless.  It was dawn and I noticed Andrew was offline.  I was still throwing punches.  How long had he been gone?  How long had I been on my own?  How long had I been fearless without Andrew?  I don’t know.   It didn’t matter.  His presence had given me courage.  The fact that I had met him a couple of months prior made us “In real Life” friends.  He was proudly added to my “people I know IRL twitter list”.  I was exhausted but couldn’t sleep.  I was proud of myself for taking on the leftists that night.  It felt good to have done battle with Andrew Breitbart.  It still does.

When I awoke and logged on March 1st It was Michelle Malkin’s tweet that I caught.  Andrew had died.  I sobbed and sobbed.  My friend had died.  All the conservatives on twitter stopped fighting one another and were consoling and telling Andrew stories.  The blogposts went up. The countless tributes.  I read as many as I could.  We turned our avatars into our pictures of and with Andrew.  Sadly, I have no photos of me and Andrew.  I think some were shot but I will have to track them down.  I had meant to write a blogpost right after Troopathon but, as I said I’ve had writer’s block.  Someone mentioned that it will take an army of thousands to replace Andrew Breitbart.  We started tagging tweets with #IamAndrewBreitbart.  I know that I am no Andrew Breitbart but I promise to be all that I can be.  My online “thing” if you will is to help conservatives get elected.  I shall be all the more diligent in those efforts.  I am posting this tonight, with all of its likely grammatical errors because I once could write.  I shall again.  I am writing.  I’d rather have Andrew back and still have writer’s block but as I finish this, a thousand other posts are running through my head.  I have to start one for Nick and one for Elizabeth. I should write about my dream last night.  I need to talk about how people should not give up on California.  Andrew would have liked that.  He never gave up on California and neither have I.  We were both native Californian’s and both conservative and we were friends.  It is in honor of and because of Andrew Breitbart that I post this.  May you rest in Peace my friend.  We will take it from here.

In Loving Memory of Andrew Breitbart

February 1st, 1969 – March 1st, 2012

Signed,
“Hippychick”

Maui digs!

There is much I want to write about our recent Maui trip but it shall have to keep for another day.  I have been writing all day and cannot focus.  One thing I do want to get out there is the place we called home for all but 3 days of our trip.

Our friend Ken owns this homey and inexpensive condo on the  north west side of Maui.  It is steps away from Napili bay.  Napili is great for swimming, snorkeling and sometimes boogy boarding.  But, I digress.

The condo is not the Ritz Carlton but we aren’t that kind of travelers.  Not in this economy anyway.  That is not to say that I don’t want to stay a few days at the Ritz but generally we just want a place to plop down  after a long day in the sea.  Ken’s place is the perfect place to do this.

The condo has all you need to feel at home.  We went in September and it was hot and humid with on again, off again tradewinds.  Generally the trades are your natural air conditioning on Maui.  This year, mother nature had turned the A. C.  off and the unit has no actual air conditioner.  That said, Ken has many fans which would generally be enough but it isn’t during the hot September days.  This is the only short coming of Ken’s place.  It’s hot!  But, when traveling to Maui, especially in September, expect to be hot .

It is stocked with all that the traveler, seasoned or otherwise might want or need.  It is strategically placed just steps from one of the best beaches on Maui (not swarmed with tourists ) and is, generally a great place to stay.

My post does not do this condo justice so please, peruse Ken’s website.  I will update this later because I am tired and struggling for words.  I promised Ken I would put this out, so here it is!

http://www.mauialohacondo.com/about.htm

Please tweet me @hipEchik if you have any questions.

Aloha!