Six years later

It’s been six years since that Wednesday afternoon on the second floor of the Stockton courthouse. I’d been reporting on a weird murder case for more than two years, and it was all coming to a head, with the suspect testifying in his own defense. And then, in seconds, he nearly killed the judge before he was shot to death. I wrote about it for the local newspaper, just as I had written about the entire case. But there are so many other little things that I could not write about anywhere — some because I swore sources to anonymity and some because nobody would understand.

Six years later, I just sat here — also on a Wednesday — and wrote a paragraph trying to vaguely outline some of the things I could not write about. And then I deleted the paragraph, because it would make no sense. I don’t mind talking about the experience, and I’ve kept a couple college classes and a Rotary club riveted when I gave speeches about it. (I miss those kinds of things, actually.) And sometimes I tell people a bit more of the stuff I can’t say publicly, though always protecting the people I swore to secrecy. But what I still can’t put into words is WHY I still think of March 4 every year as the day approaches, and WHY I still spot and hate Chrysler 300 cars, and WHY I still have a lot of indignation toward some people involved in the case. Yesterday I got out the 19-page report issued by the District Attorney’s office many months later, and I can’t explain WHY I still haven’t read it, other than to skim it and see my name in a footnote.

I do know that the incident made me begin thinking, “Life is short; live it.” Three months after the courtroom attack, I witnessed a horrific car wreck that killed a couple, and I later met their family members. The mantra kept repeating itself. It took another year before I finally made drastic changes to escape from the unhappy rut that had become my life. But it all started at 2:10 p.m. on March 4, 2009. That much I do know.

—-

Here, in its entirety, is my first-person account of that day. (I also wrote a main news story on the events in the courtroom. This was from my own view.)

Crime reporter becomes witness to a deadly courthouse shooting

Posted: Wednesday, March 4, 2009 10:00 pm

I heard gunshots. Someone in a seat near me said, “Get down!”

I clutched my white laptop computer to my chest and found myself crouching on the floor.

This wasn’t supposed to be happening in a Stockton courtroom.

Normally the squeaking court chairs are the loudest things in the room, but this time I never noticed.

I’d heard gunshots, close, distinct.

The defendant I’d watched periodically in court for the past two years was dead.

The judge he’d attacked was alive.

I’ve written about countless shootings before. Now I had witnessed one, maybe 30 feet way.

The whole murder case had been a bit surreal even before the suspect lunged, before the shots were fired.

David Paradiso was 27 on that day in 2006 when he and a young woman named Eileen Pelt were riding in the back seat of his mother’s car in Lodi. Suddenly he shoved a large knife through her neck.

He told his mother to keep driving, and she did.

A couple hours later, he ditched the victim’s body. His mom went to police, and they caught up, which triggered a high-speed chase before he was stopped.

I learned of the killing the next morning. I would ultimately drive through pouring rain to various places in Roseville and Grass Valley, finding friends and family members of the victim.

The case wound its way through the court system. Wednesday morning saw me driving in light rain to another day of Paradiso’s murder trial.

He’d testified in his own defense the previous day but hadn’t finished, and I wanted to hear his reasoning on some things.

The morning was uneventful. I sat in the second-floor courtroom with my laptop on my knees, listening to a doctor talk about methamphetamine, which Paradiso had consumed at various times during his 29 years.

Around 2 p.m., after the lunch break, it was time for Paradiso to return to the witness stand to face the prosecutor.

I’d noticed today that Paradiso, compact with short brown hair, wasn’t wearing a suit jacket and tie, as he did when he testified the previous day.

Instead, he wore a blue and white striped long-sleeved shirt, with the top button open.

Because of various court rulings over the years, defendants don’t wear shackles and jail clothing because it could make the jurors think he’s guilty. Instead, prisoners wear a leg brace that keeps them from running.

When it was his turn to testify, he stood and paused briefly, looking down at a pair of wireless reading glasses he’d worn a couple times during trial. He picked them up, then left them at the defense table.

It was 2:03 p.m. when Paradiso went to the witness stand, which is about three feet from the judge’s right-hand side.

His testimony the previous day had been in a monotone. He hadn’t denied killing Pelt, instead saying he was paranoid and that she’d made some sort of threat.

But this time, when the prosecutor asked why he killed the young woman, Paradiso had a different response:

“‘Cause she deserved it.”

Pelt’s family members, sitting behind me, gasped. They didn’t get any calmer when Paradiso made an derogatory comment about the victim, either.

But it was his mother, Debra Paradiso, who was the loudest. When she testified earlier in the trial, adjustments had to be made to the microphone so she could be heard. This time, everyone heard her.

She shouted that her son hadn’t wanted to testify.

A bailiff told her to leave, and she began to, while sobbing and still yelling. A bailiff spoke into his shoulder radio calling for back-up. A sergeant was soon standing in the doorway.

Judge Cinda Fox told the jurors to leave with a bailiff for a recess.

Then I heard a Paradiso family friend shouted, “No, David, stop!”

There, at the witness stand, Paradiso was no longer sitting.

He was standing.

Even as I write this some nine hours later, it feels as though my mind was a camera with a slow shutter. At one moment, Paradiso was standing with arms at his sides.

In the next moment, he was standing behind and over the judge, his right arm around her as if to stab her. Though I would be asked many times if I saw something in his hand, I still don’t know.

Something very wrong was happening in the courtroom, and my brain almost didn’t want to process it.

I knew people were near him, and I saw Detective Eric Bradley’s bald head.

Bradley, an Air Force veteran, is more than six feet tall. After working the crime and courts beat for more than six years, I recognize Lodi cops, and Bradley is no exception.

When I heard three shots ring out, I didn’t see a gun but I knew Bradley was the shooter.

I think a bailiff was right there, but something about Bradley’s arm position told me he was the one.

My mind was trying to catch up. When Paradiso had stood, some part of my brain said that he’d be stopped. When he went for the judge, I still thought it wouldn’t really happen.

I knew the shots were real. I was sure they were from Bradley’s gun. And I didn’t see how Paradiso could get hold of a gun.

But when someone near me said “Get down!” and I saw people ducking, I thought it might not be over.

Could more shots be coming? Could Paradiso, with his very lengthy criminal record that included assaulting officers, keep going?

That’s how I found myself crouching by my seat.

It was only for a moment, and I was still trying to see what had happened, but at that point in time, the survival instinct had beaten out my innate curiosity.

Then someone was telling me to get out. I managed to grab my purse and was still holding tightly to my laptop. I still couldn’t see the judge.

Out in the hallway, officers were pouring out of nearby doorways with guns drawn. A bailiff soon yelled “Code 4,” meaning “all clear.”

I knew then that Paradiso was dead.

Paramedics rushed in, along with a host of other officers, both uniformed and in plain clothes.

Then I heard an officer saying, “She’s asking for her mother.”

Judge Fox’s mother had been watching the trial, and I somehow knew that was who the officer meant.

In other words, the judge was alive.

The crime scene was soon widened, as the courthouse was locked down. The judge was wheeled out on a stretcher, alert and talking. A juror followed, also alert, and I would later learn that he’d had chest pains.

In the midst of the chaos, I’d called my editor’s cell phone. He answered, and I don’t think he was expecting to hear me begin blurting things like, “The defendant attacked the judge. Shots fired. Paradiso. The judge is Cinda Fox.”

Then I found myself on the other end of where most reporters operate: Attorneys were asking me what had happened. I’m usually pestering them about cases, but now I was doing the talking.

My cell phone was buzzing with text messages. An attorney on another floor wanted to know if I was OK. A friend of mine was upstairs and had felt the floor shake from the gunshots.

They knew what courtroom I was in, and they didn’t know where I was or what had happened. It sometimes took me a while to reply, and now I realize that it was probably a bit agonizing to wait for my response letting them know I was OK.

I talked to people, I tried to update my poor editor, I answered my phone to hear a TV reporter on the other end.

Though I was fine, I soon realized my stomach was in knots – a feeling I’ve heard but never really understood until now. I haven’t been physically sick in at least 15 years (my running buddies think it’s unfair that I can eat anything before and during a run). I didn’t get sick this time either, but this was a weird sensation.

I knew, even before investigators confirmed it, that I’d be a witness they wanted to interview.

Reporters are the ones who ask questions, and they don’t want to compromise their own stories. But at the same time, I’ve talked to far too many family members who never get full answers because witnesses couldn’t be found.

I would want the same thing if the roles were reversed.

I didn’t have a lot of choice, anyway, and before too long I found myself in a conference room on the fifth floor of the courthouse, along with a fellow reporter and a handful of prosecutors who’d witnessed the shooting.

We waited. Water arrived, for which I was extremely grateful. (My water bottle, as well as my umbrella, are still in the sealed courtroom.) I told my editor that pizza had been mentioned, but I better not be waiting that long.

I was wrong. Pizza came, was eaten, and then more pizza came. I didn’t want to eat anything, but I did take another bottle of water.

Finally, at 7:25 p.m., three investigators took me to another room and recorded my statement about what I’d seen. I’ve seen enough trial testimony to know they want details, and they want me to describe things, rather than make motions with my hands.

They had me draw a diagram of the courtroom, despite my insistence that my mother is an artist while I most certainly am not.

After an hour and five minutes, they’d finally asked enough questions.

I was free to go.

By then, my car was locked in a Stockton parking garage. Someone finally got it open, and I began the 16-mile drive back to Lodi.

I found myself making sure my car doors were locked. I didn’t want to be near other cars on the dark highway. I knew I was just as safe as any other time, but my head was playing games with me.

Finally, I got back to Lodi, after a two-minute delay for a train.

I was home. I was fine. But my mind was still going at warp speed.

It still is.

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Tuesday Time-Waster: Running cartoon

My friend Marc recently texted me: “You inspired this one” with a link to this comic he drew. No, I’m not posting the picture here; you’ll have to click to follow the link. But it’s certainly worth five seconds of your time on a Tuesday.

That really did happen: I dropped my car off at the shop, got a ride to work, then ran a little more than seven miles back after work. The guys at the shop hadn’t believed I was being literal when I told them I would just “run back” in the evening. They also didn’t know what to make of the fact that a girl was dripping sweat all over the place while looking at the ESPN app on her phone to see the World Series score — before she asked if her car was fixed. For the record, the Boston Red Sox went on to win that night and my car was all better. A win all around.

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Tuesday Time-Waster: 3D sculpture video

It doesn’t matter if you’re interested (or can understand, unlike me) the math behind this video — it’s still really cool.

Here’s the site where I found it, and which explains some of the math behind it. Fibonaci’s Sequence for easy 11:11 a.m. reading, anyone??

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Tuesday Time-Waster: Animal group names

You probably know that the English language has a large number of words for groups of animals. It’s a “flock of sheep,” a “herd of cattle,” and the fun “murder of crows.” I tend to use the word “herd” for fun, because “a group of bicyclists” just isn’t as silly as “a herd of cyclists.”

However, did you know that there are many, many other words for animal groups? I present to you, courtesy of my friend Matt, this rather extensive list. I love the mental images of an “army of caterpillars” and a “mob of emus.” A “band of coyotes” sounds like a wayward musical act, and perhaps they should join forces with a “cast of falcons.” But the funny thing is that I don’t actually know some of the animals on this list, either. Until now, I never knew that “Look, there’s a fling of dunlins!” is a legitimate sentence.

And, one more thing before I stop rambling on like a word nerd: Follow that link up there and scroll to the bottom of the page, beneath the table. You’re welcome.

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Tuesday Time-Waster: Found sisters

Even though these stories hit me hard and personally every time, I’m a sucker for accounts of people who find long-lost family members. This one, about a man longing to see his triplet sisters, is no exception. “I looked for you in every crowd.”

And the ending, well, it just shows that you never know how long your life will last.

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Three dozen things

In early fall 2014, I was looking at my “goals” for the year and lamenting the fact that I would fail to meet most of them. I thought to myself, “Why didn’t I put some attainable/bucket list things on the list, like seeing more sites near where I live or taking an adult swimming lesson?” Something made me think of my friend Jen, who had done a bunch of “30 before 30″ things leading up to her 30th birthday. She got a tattoo, pierced her nose, etc — things that were attainable. My 2014 goal list had included things like “run 1,500 miles,” which I couldn’t do because I was injured.

So I opened the notes app on my phone and typed, “See Alcatraz at night.” Then: “Invest in the stock market.” And the third one was: “Take a swimming lesson.” They’re things I can actually do, and things I want to do (well, I dread the swimming one a bit, but it would be good for me). Then I got the idea to start this adventure in February, and I named the note “Three Dozen Things.”

Over the next few months, I kept adding to the list. I deleted and edited lines — “make kale chips” became “try three dozen new recipes,” which I later limited to “dinner recipes.” As weeks and months rolled by, my list lingered around 20 items and I began to think I was being too ambitious and should just scrap the whole thing. Then I came across a pre-Christmas sale that just so happened to be part of an item on my list: “Subscribe to Outside magazine and read every issue for a year.” The first issue would arrive right around the time my list would officially start. One minute and $10 later, I had committed to it.

And so, for the first time since I unlinked and revamped most of my website more than four years ago, I made a change. The new section, 36 Things, is right there in plain sight for all to see. Every line is waiting to see if I can accomplish it.

Because it’s always fun to look back and see how ridiculous I was, here are a few predictions as of February 2015. I suspect the hardest item on the list will be “Kick my snooze button habit.” I think “Try three dozen new dinner recipes” will make me curse when I realize an egg scramble and stir fry don’t count (since they’re not new), and “Cook a turkey” may involve the fire department. Either the turkey or “Eat in a nice restaurant by myself” will be the most awkward. “Knit a scarf” will probably invoke memories of childhood frustration. At some point, I’ll probably have to spend a chunk of time reading several back issues of Outside magazine all at once in order to catch up. The same will hopefully not be true with losing 15 pounds, or else I’ll be on a water-only diet next January. The century bike ride will hopefully be a little redemption from all of 2014′s unfinished business, the piano song memorization will probably be a struggle, and blood donation may ultimately wind up being the most meaningful — and 14 years overdue.

At any rate, here goes the adventure. As friends said last weekend when I told them about it, I might very well be insane.

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2014 goals reviewed

In January 2014, I posted 13 goals for the year. There was nothing special about the number — I just made the list and stopped when I was done. I posted recaps of the months, and watched as many of those goals went out the window. That’s OK, though some were definitely dream-shattering. I never got around to posting November and December’s summaries, I think because I hated the repetitive “nope, didn’t meet that goal” updates. I’m doing things differently this year, and that post will come next week. But for now, I decided to at least wrap up 2014.

1-3, and 5: Running-related goals that included meeting my marathon time, qualifying for the Boston Marathon, beating my half-marathon time and running 1,500 miles in the year. None of these things happened. For the first time since 2007, I did not log my running miles — because there was nothing to log. The IT band in my right leg (and apparently everything attached to it) gave up, and after it wouldn’t get better, I set out to try living my life without running. After all, I was never supposed to be able to run in the first place and I’ve had one injury after another, so I had always feared the day when I would no longer be able to run and clear my head. Well, it was a pretty miserable year, and I alienated people in the process. So, yeah, four goals unmet right there out of the gate. I did do some hiking and walking, though.

Hidden waterfall

Trail blazing on a cliffside

Hello, Golden Gate Bridge

Quack quack

4: Do a century bike ride: No, though I got up to 75 miles in one ride on my hybrid bike, so that’s not bad. Until this year, my longest ride had been 47 miles.

Seen on my ride

5: Bike at least 700 1,500 miles (increased the goal since I met it in July): Finally! A goal I met! I rode 177.57 miles in November and 158.62 in December. The grand total for the year was 2,128.23 miles. THAT makes me hopeful.

Also seen on my ride

7. Go to the gym at least 150 times this year: Nope, this didn’t happen. I went 11 times in November and eight times in December. The year’s total was 87. That comes out to about $5 per visit, which is much higher than I want it to be. I think it was definitely worth it for one spin teacher, but he is moving away so now I have to make it worth it on my own.

8. Read at least one book a month: I think I met this goal, but I’m a little fuzzy on the memories, unfortunately. This year I plan to use Goodreads.com more faithfully — and I only just learned that the app will scan the ISBN of the book so I can find the right version.

9. Cook dinner more often: I did meet this goal, though quantifying “more often” is rather difficult. In November I tried cooking several kinds of squash, and that was a success. I need to find more spaghetti squash ideas, because I really liked it — I’m not a fan of pasta on its own so this was a welcome change.

Tacos are easy -- and delicious

I did NOT make this burger that had ramen as a bun, but it needed to be included for posterity. I ate it in Phoenix with friends I first met online in 2000. Yay Internet!

10. Go to bed at 10 p.m.: This was a success. If you have an iPhone, I highly recommend using the “do not disturb” mode; mine goes into effect at 9:30 p.m. and was very helpful. Over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend, I woke up on my own at 3:40 a.m. two days in a row. One of those days I had been so productive while waiting for the sun to come up that I got out the vacuum — and then realized it was 5:30 a.m. on a holiday weekend, and I don’t really want to anger my polite neighbors.

11. Get down to XXX amount of pounds: I unintentionally did that in July. But then I gained the pounds back, so this was a failure. I have a couple ways to try making this happen (and stick) in 2015.

12. Blog an average of twice a week: Nope. And I’m not apologizing for it, because this is my website and I’m not paid for it.

13. Find a cheaper place to live: Haha, nope. This was actually in the works in 2014, but that didn’t happen. For now, I’m trying to just cut costs where possible. (Cable is one of those costs I want to eliminate. I could do it and use Netflix/Hulu/Amazon instead, but I want a way to see sporting events live.) I do live in a pretty place, I must say…

Sunrise

Sunset

So, that’s it for 2014. I met four of 13 goals, which is a 30.8 percent success rate. Good gracious, that’s terrible! Here’s to 2015 with more successes!

I’ll close with some other random photos, just to make this post a bit more cheerful.

Merry Christmas

Bridge love

Hair chop on December 31

Milestone for my car

Friends are good for the soul.

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CIM 2014 thoughts

Every single person who finishes a race has a story.

A few weeks ago, I saw thousands of stories at Ironman Arizona (another post is coming about one person in particular). Early yesterday morning, I had coffee with a friend who finished her first 5k. Then I went and worked at the California International Marathon finish line, where the 15-year-old women’s course record was broken by two minutes and the men’s winner shaved half a minute off his personal best time.

But the winners are just two people; I can promise that every one of the 9,000 runners who signed up for CIM had a reason they were trying to cross the finish line. I wish I could capture every single one of them — as well as the stories of those who cheered and waited outside on a December weekend morning. Even now, less than 24 hours after the race, I’m forgetting the stories of friends and strangers. But here are a few, in incomplete sentences, because that’s how the day felt as each person moved in and out of my life.

The man who finished in the 2:20s (that’s under six minutes per mile) and shouted for joy, followed by a man crying for “10 seconds, just 10!” The man who waited a minute for his friend to cross the finish line, held out his arms so his friend could jump into them, and then both collapsed because neither had enough blood in their heads to realize an exhausted runner could not catch another exhausted runner — but they laughed and were fine.

Nicole, the girl I know on Twitter and from her blog, who was seconds away from qualifying for the Boston Marathon when she collapsed mere yards from the finish line. I had seen her husband enter the finish area (he had run it so he gained entrance) and had a medal ready for her, but then she fell and could not get up. The crowds could see the clock, and they realized what it meant to run 26.2 miles and have only a few steps left. She kept fighting to get up, but she could not. Her husband ran back across the finish line, a race official followed, and they helped her across the line as a wheelchair arrived. She missed Boston by 27 seconds.

Michael Wardian, who ran the North Face 50-miler the previous day in crazy mud and hills, then ran CIM in 2:33. He crossed the finish line, greeted some race officials with a grin, then waited for a man who proceeded to break the master’s record. Then when the still-grinning Wardian finally reached us volunteers with the medals, he graciously put up with my “You’re awesome! I saw you break the treadmill half marathon in Pittsburgh!” babbling while I put a medal around his neck and got a sweaty high-five in return. (Only high-five of the day — it caught me off guard, actually.) I later saw on Twitter that he went hiking after the race.

My friend Tricia, who had never seen a race in her entire life but was working and had an all-access pass. She was a few steps away from the winners. She saw all the people in the medical tent. She was amazed and speechless.

One of the pacers who just finished Ironman Cozumel the previous weekend, third in her age group, and still ran a perfect race at CIM.

Jana, my friend who’s had so many ups and downs but finished the race just after a brief stop to hug her 1-year-old miracle of a baby.

Alisa, the friend of a friend who’s now my friend, because of the marvels of social media. She beat her time by more than an hour.

Chris, who set a new personal best five weeks ago, but then did it again yesterday by another five minutes — and qualifyied for Boston.

Leslie and Janet, who run race after race, as “Team Ish,” even when one of them isn’t there.

The man who had a massive banner made reading, “Crystal, will you marry me?” and attached it to PVC pipe so it towered over his head. He coordinated ahead of time with race officials and was allowed into the finish area when his girlfriend’s last update said she had crossed the 20-mile mark. He waited for her with what I can only describe as adorable hope and excitement as other finishers passed by him. One woman said, “Good luck!” Finally, his girlfriend appeared in the finish chute. She crossed the finish line — and didn’t see her boyfriend or his massive sign. Friends stopped her, she turned and shouted, “OH!” And we all laughed so hard at her complete shock. Her boyfriend got down on one knee, and she most definitely said yes.

The girl who did a cartwheel at the finish line.

The woman who collapsed but crawled across the finish line.

The ones who were so excited about qualifying for Boston. And the devastated ones who just missed it. (The thing is, I know they’ll try again. And again. Until they make it. And the victory will be that much sweeter.)

The blind runners who placed their trust in guides to lead them over the 26.2-mile course. The girl with a prosthetic leg who finished before thousands of other two-legged runners, as well as millions of other people who have never tried to run at all.

The fellow volunteer who just did her first Ironman in Arizona, so maybe we saw each other and didn’t know it. CIM was her first marathon in the 1990s. Twenty years older, her Ironman marathon time was faster than her stand-alone marathon time. She raised $15,000 for lymphoma research last year in honor of a family member, and she finds out this month if she gets a charity slot to the Ironman Kona World Championship. To get there, she’d have to raise $75,000 — “Oh, I can do that. It means that much to me,” she said.

And my friend Norman, who’s checked in on me countless times in recent months to make sure I’m OK. He’s also proven to be pretty consistent at thinking he’s going to run slower than he actually does. “I’m not trained; I had the race entry, so I might as well use it,” he kept saying. A PR (personal record) was not in his plan, so he was thinking sub-2:50. But stranger things have happened to all of us… At mile 20, I got his last alert, did the quick math, and said to my volunteer friend, “Um, yeah, he’s on PR pace.” At that point, I calculated around a 2:42 pace. But the big question: Would he slow down like he did in a marathon earlier this year (even though he won the race outright)? No, he did not — he sped up. He appeared as the clock hit 2:40, and my fellow volunteers moved over a bit as I started hollering. Yeah, that “not a PR” became a five-minute PR, qualifying him for the All-Army Marathon Team in the process. Sometimes amazing things happen when you just run.

There are so many more stories. I’ll want to come back and include them — and I may. But for now, I will just click the “Publish” button, because I wanted to write this while the images were fresh in my mind. I wanted to capture the bits of memories and emotions and feelings. I want to run.

Posted in Running | 5 Comments

Tuesday Time-Waster: Amazing quartet

Today’s time-waster is this fun video. If you can’t use the volume (after all, these posts are always at 11:11 a.m. PST, when we’re all at work), you’ll still get the idea. I suggest that you come back and watch it with volume, though.

This quartet, called Salut Salon, is based in Germany (Hamburg, to be exact, which stood out to me because I know someone who lives there). But they tour the world and have been to the U.S., so now they’ve been added to my never-ending unwritten bucket list.

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2014 goal check-in: October

October was uneventful and unsuccessful. I already know I’m only going to meet a couple of my goals for the year, so maybe I’m just already moving on to new things? I am actually cooking up something different for next year, and it will have its own section on this little website. That’s a few months away, though, so I hope to successfully update some things behind the scenes first. But here’s one part: I’m going to change the 4-year-old header up there. Okay, enough rambling about vague things; time to move on to the month’s goal progress.

1-3, and 5: Running-related goals. I’ve climbed back onto on yet ANOTHER IT band rehab wagon. And when my deductible resets in January, I’m going to try a different medical professional. There was, however, a fun hike with some girlfriends including Kristen and her baby girl:

Ramage Park (though one sign spelled it "Rampage," which sounds like a fun place to trail run)

4: Do a century bike ride: Nope. I had a confidence-killer of a ride. And I had some medication issues that made me fatigued. So the ride didn’t happen.

I did ride to the top of a hill.

5: Bike at least 700 1,500 miles (increased the goal since I met it in July): I only biked 99.72 miles in October. The year’s total: 1,792.04 miles.

"I'm scared to touch this bike that isn't mine and which retails for close to $10,000."

7. Go to the gym at least 150 times this year: Oh wow, I went to the gym once in October?! That means I’ve only gone 68 times all year. Oooops.

8. Read at least one book a month: I read “Sycamore Row” by John Grisham, which actually got back to the “good” Grisham genre (unlike “The Litigators” and some of his recent books). It helped that this book returned to the “A Time to Kill” setting, and focused again on small town lawyer Jake Brigance. It was fun to read a sequel, and this also meant that the characters were more developed than Grisham’s recent ones.

9. Cook dinner more often: There were a few more meals in here. I don’t think “throw random stuff into an omelette” counts, but hey, at least I cooked that stuff occasionally. Here are a few times that I remembered to take pictures:

Enchilada pasta stuff

Tacos

Beer bread

10. Go to bed at 10 p.m.: I did this most of the time. Hooray for medication fatigue? Well, except that I still couldn’t wake up early enough the next morning to go to the gym… (November spoiler alert: That situation has gotten better.)

11. Get down to XXX amount of pounds: Nope. I blame the trick-or-treaters who didn’t come to my door so I’ve had to eat all the Halloween candy I bought for them. Where did the kids go?!

12. Blog an average of twice a week: No. But that’s OK.

13. Find a cheaper place to live: No, and I’m not going to bother linking to the “a one-bedroom apartment costs $3,000 in San Francisco” articles I had considered.

That’s it, but now let’s have an unrelated random photo: the backpack this guy wore to a San Francisco Giants playoff game. (Did I mention that the Giants won the World Series?! YES THEY DID!! Hooray SPORTS!)

Turtle power?!

Oh, and one more…

The Bay Bridge

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