September 02, 2015

God Says

There is a sentiment shared in our world when bad things happen to good people. We often say to each other, "God never gives you more than you can handle."

Two weeks ago, my son told me he was going to put a sign on his desk at work that read:

"God Never Gives You More Than You Can Handle
God Must Think I'm A Real Bad Ass!"


I'm getting that tattooed on my body somewhere I can see it every day. I'm thinking God thinks our family is filled with Bad-Ass Survivors.

It's like we've been hit by a crap load of stuff and though it's been over a short period of time, it feels as if 'fit hit the shan' all at once and it hit hard.

My dad was hospitalized with a severe case of Sepsis. If you know anything about sepsis, 87 year olds usually don't fare well with it. It was scary. Mom's reaction to it was scary. 

While Dad was hospitalized an uncle of my ex died in San Jose, a very dear man who had always treated me kindly. I truly loved him and am still good friends with his daughter.

Yesterday, my niece, who is 3 months pregnant, had an ultra sound to measure baby's progress. The baby is not alive. She was told to expect a miscarriage at any time. 

Also, yesterday morning, my mother's sister passed away. Talking to cousins and aunts and uncle this morning was immensely sad, especially when my father was in the hospital at the same time and is home safe and sound, better than ever.  

My brother just sent a note that the best English teacher in the world, Mr. Bill Tarr, passed away. My friend's father was admitted to the hospital last night and not expected to walk out.

The list goes on with other major/minor items that would bore me to death let alone you readers, but surmise it to say, God thinks we can handle a lot!

Now, all things added up and as dark as it seems, our family is still extremely blessed. Everyone I talked to today exuded love. We are there for each other. We are strong. We have shoulders to lean on. 

Sidenote:

A Chaplain at the hospital my dad was in came into the room to check on Dad on his last night there. My sister and I were sitting in the room. and had been there most of the four days he was hospitalized. 

The Chaplain greeted Dad by his name and expressed his joy that Dad was being discharged in the morning. Dad thanked him and then started to introduce 'his two daughters' to the Chaplain.  The Chaplain's smile grew wide and he said, "I've met your daughters and they are not well behaved!"

All I can say is that Bad Asses don't have to behave!

August 22, 2015

Understanding Or Not


Perspective. A very interesting word. My go-to friend, Dictionary.com, lists the top four definitions in spatial terms. For the purposes of this post we are going to jump right over the physical aspects and jump into the reasoning/reflective definitions. They are:

"5. the state of one's ideas, the facts known to one, etc., in having a meaningful interrelationship:

[example] You have to live here a few years to see local conditions in perspective.
6. the faculty of seeing all the relevant data in a meaningful relationship:

[example] Your data is admirably detailed but it lacks perspective.
7. a mental view or prospect:

[example] ...the dismal perspective of terminally ill patients."

Dictionary.com ( Hi, again, friend) defines the adjective aspect of 'understanding' as characterized by: "understanding (the noun); prompted by, based on, or demonstrating comprehension, intelligence, discernment, empathy, or the like: [example]  an understanding attitude."

Recently a friend was telling me about a CD presentation he was listening to. He found the core idea extremely compelling. It describes how people are gravely divided in viewpoints and profoundly unwilling to listen to 'the other side' of the picture. According to the speaker on the CD, those people holding differing sides of so many issues are unwilling to look at things from different perspectives, not just with the fear of having their opinions changed but a bitter rejection of even trying to attempt understanding the other side. This includes major issues such as religion, social concerns, political party stances right down to minor topics such as buttock enhancement.

My friend and I discussed what a peaceful world this would be if people were open to listening to how other people feel about any specific subject. My friend was very positive about the wonderful changes this practice could bring to the world. We both agreed that many conversations end up as arguments because so many people are so focused on defending their own beliefs or viewpoints that we don't hear the other person's words, let alone understand their meaning.

My friend and I then moved the discussion to the way girls and women are devalued in our culture, and, yes, by using the word 'culture' I am including men and women. You see, the way it happens is, when women are raised in a society that devalues them, they don't value themselves or other women. Yes, we do get a little snarky with each other. We are often cruel to each other, we compete with each other and we judge each other....shame on us.

I made the statement that I believe that organized patriarchal religions systematically support and encourage society's oppression of women (and female children). The devaluing of women almost encourages abuse and rape as an entitlement to some men.

I didn't use those exact words but my open-minded friend jumped to the defense of his particular patriarchal religion. The conversation took a nose dive.

Whoa! Wait a minute! What happened to the idea of trying to understand another person's perspective?

What I learned from that conversation:

     1. Listening and understanding is a good idea but it should start with someone else.
     2. The bible does not diminish women nor support the continued inequality of women in spite of the words that describe woman as chattel, unclean, and demand their silence, especially in .
     3.  I am going to suffer serious consequences after death for my questioning and lack of participation in organized patriarchal religion, even though participating (in my opinion) constitutes silent approval of the offensive portrayal of women.
     4.  Watch the road and keep my thoughts to myself......"Cow!"

Just for the record, I would like to share a couple of quotes from the Bible. Not sure which edition of the bible but can I just interject that if The Word is so dang important, why are the 'words' different in so many of the hundreds of editions of Bibles?

Anyway:

"A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet."
Timothy 2:12


"Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says."
1 Corinthians 14:34
 
"....to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God."
Titus 2:5

If you find any of the scripture above offensive to  your moral code, by all means, please avoid Leviticus 12,  wherein women who have given birth to a daughter are twice as "unclean" as a woman who has given birth to a son. It goes on to demand that a woman who has been raped and resides in the countryside must marry her rapist! If a woman in the city is raped without crying out, the Bible demands her to be stoned to death. (p.s. when I was raped the monster put his hands around my throat and threatened to kill me if I didn't stop screaming. Either way, the woman loses.).

I love Jesus but will He send me to hell for thinking that the Bible is one of the most mysoginistic books in existence? 

Listening for understanding how another feels.....what a concept! When listening-for-understanding becomes the norm then maybe my friend and I can revisit the conversation.  Conversation in our relationship is "in the box" and there will be no stepping out of the box unless the box itself gets a little bigger through the general concensus of society, then our relationship may be able to stretch....maybe.

Until then our conversations will probably sound like:

"How you doing?"

"Good. How you doing? "

"Good."

"Want to talk about something meaningful?"

"Not for nothing!"

August 04, 2015

A Camping We Will Go

Photo by Toni Tona
Yeah, that's right!

California is on fire and hubby wants to go camping.

The PLAN: He gets off of work at 5:30, unless a customer comes in at 5:28 and a customer always comes in at 5:28! So, he will probably get off of work at 6. Come home (play with great-granddaughter because who can resist that smile? Besides, she makes him take her out to the pool and pick a kumquat for each of her little fists. She loves those kumquats, even the ones that make her shoulders shiver!) Then he will change clothes, make sure all the camera batteries, cards, tripods, etc are accounted for and functioning. An hour drive to the campground will put us there just about dusk.

I love setting up the tent at dusk, don't you?

Then tomorrow, before noon, we will break camp (he works on Thursday), hang around the mountains for awhile and head back to the valley before dinner (grandson is cooking chicken enchiladas Thursday evening and we don't want to miss out!).

My husband suggested this same plan for last week but somehow I dodged that bullet. I think I cried and sang a song about no room on my plate for one more thing.....he bought it!

Last night he suggested it again. You pray and pray and pray for your husband to be more spontaneous and you get mini-camping, hurry up and get there so you can get back!  No more praying, well, at least, my prayers will be much more specific.

Don't get me wrong. I love camping. I actually love, love, love camping. The mountains are the most fabulous venue in the world for refreshing the soul. I've just never been a fan of one-night-stands.

Car is packed. Food is packed. Clothes are only mostly packed because I am putting it off by blogging!

I could be gathering the camera equipment, make sure the batteries are charged, make sure the tripods get in the car. I could run to the store and get Frank a new pair sandals to replace the ones that snapped while he skipped slimy rocks in a creek at the foot of Castle Craggs trying to get that 'perfect' photo.

Oops, just got caught by the man himself. He came home to charge the batteries for the camera. Doesn't look like I'm going to be able to use the excuse of "working hard all day to get us packed at the last minute" to get out of a night hike or cooking dinner. 

Off we go, to sleep under the stars (on the rocks we didn't see in the twilight).

Someone call and remind me not to forget the cork screw!

August 01, 2015

A Confession

I am a liar.

I'm a really good liar!

My mom taught me how to lie. In fact, my mother taught me to live a lie. She also taught me how to drive, how to fry chicken, how to crochet, to sew and that I was extremely damaged. She taught me to be ashamed of the truth and hide the true-me.

Growing up, my dad taught me critical thinking and that I could be anything I wanted to be with some hard work and dedication. He also taught me how to shoot, fish, drive a stick-shift, that education was important, how to cook the world's best lasagna and beef stroganoff!  He taught me other stuff, too, and continues to teach me to this day but he could never counter my mom's lessons on my brokenness.

Many of you know about the events in my family's lives that I was instructed to lie about, to pretend never happened, and taught to be ashamed of.  Truth was rarely welcome in my childhood home, in fact, we were often convinced to hide the truth from our own father. One very significant day of shame was the time a distracted woman drove her car into our car ( twice), causing my extremely shy little sister to be transported to the hospital in an ambulance.  Her collar bone was broken, she'd just been in a pretty incredible car accident, and had to make the trip to the hospital with strangers while Mom stayed behind with the police

When we returned home from the hospital, Mom made my sister hide in her bedroom until our mother could gradually and gently 'break the news' to Dad that we had been in a an awful accident and that the car was wrecked (not to mention that my little sister was injured in more ways than just the fractured collar bone).. My dad was not violent. He was probably hurt that he wasn't called and told that we needed him. I'll ask him about that next time I see him.

Can you imagine the shame a 9 year old feels when she thinks she has to hide her injuries from her own father?  If that accident had happened while I was a mother, the first call I would make is to my child's father to ask him to meet my daughter at the hospital or ride in the ambulance with her if possible.

We learned to be afraid of the truth.

We learned that 'we' weren't enough.

In high school, I would come home and Mom would ask me about my day. She always seemed so disappointed that I was just a kid, going to school, learning, then returning home. Boring. Her kid wasn't popular. Of course, what could you expect from a defective child?  So I started making up stories that would make her laugh, or at least make her smile. I tried to make her like me with my stories.

I learned that simple stories were not enough. Stories needed expansion. My imagination is bigger than life and I can spin a good story.

Somehow that carried on for some time.  I buried the true-me.

I fell in love but was always too afraid to share the true-me with him. He asked me to marry him, having fallen in love with the not-me.

I was over-the-moon excited to show Mom and Dad my ring and tell them I was getting married. Mom's first comment was, "Did you tell him about what happened to you? He may not want you if he knows what happened?"

Really? He might not love me if he finds out that I am damaged goods because I was raped when I was 10?  Is that what she thought?  I told him. He wanted me any way. But I chose a man who couldn't be faithful. I knew it because he had cheated on me even before we were married but I loved him with all my heart. I also didn't believe that I deserved to be loved. After all, I was a broken person. He hurt me for years and I kept thinking, if I forgive him this time, he will see how much I love him. But he only looked at me like I was a chump. Not his fault, it was all mine. I taught him how to treat me.

After 13 years, we separated. Not because of the cheating (which broke my heart) but because he let my kids watch a gathering of his drug buddies as they cleaned out a brick of pot and cut up some cocaine to divide amongst themselves.

Years later, he made a joke to our daughter, that every 13 years I go a little crazy.  I sometimes lay in bed and wonder what would have happened if my daughter had responded, "No, actually, Dad. Every 13 years she gets tired of the bull shit and walks away from it."

Over the years, I have told family stories, sometimes adding side-notes to  make the old stories more interesting, more entertaining. Now my family makes jokes about how I can spin a tail. Sometimes, I just forget the exact way things happened, so in the re-telling of an event I get the dialogue wrong or the order of things mixed up.

I've stopped spinning yarns. I try to keep my creative imagination to my writing. Over the past couple of years, I've discovered that I have become the butt of some pretty hurtful jokes.  That's okay. People say what they are going to say.

What I can say now, is that I am releasing the True-me. Bringing her out to the light and giving her a little love.  Yeah, she's got some wounds but she is not broken.  The True-me loves unconditionally. The True-me prays for those who have hurt me; I pray that the pain that causes them to strike out will heal.

The True-me loves my mother and father and knows that they did their best. The True-me is a wise, loving, nurturing woman who has some weaknesses and some challenges. I'm working on them.

The True-me has been released and she is not going back into the shadows.....ever!

The True-me is actually about half an inch taller than the Not-me and I like that.












July 25, 2015

Life's Little Graces

Woke up and I'm still mostly human! Frankly, that's a good thing. I don't think a Buick could have had as many rewards and as much fun as I had yesterday.

First thing, yesterday morning, I had a wonderfully lucid dream. If automobile's dream I am positive it is not with such clarity!

I popped out of bed, showered, dressed and headed out the door to pick up Manhattan Bagels for  a batch of granddaughters over-nighting at one of their houses.

Headed to the cream cheese, I find out that our intervention from the previous day worked. We actually talked our 40+ friend into.....wait.....I'm not sure that the phrase "talked into" is appropriate here. There may be more appropriate descriptions...."convinced", 'backed into a corner" maybe even "threatened"....You pick the phrase....but the heroin using mother of the 2 month old baby was admitted to a drug rehab yesterday morning. Thirty day black out period, no outside contact and then a 60 day program with occasional visitors allowed. (Please, Divine Power, let this rehab 'take').

Sometimes it pays to be an outspoken woman standing up for those that can't stand up for themselves.

Then, on to my daughter's house to play with the girls! Oh my gosh, what a time. We re-dyed a couple of heads (side note: if you color your hair (especially with kool aid, do not followup the day at a water park, the astounding amounts of chlorine in the water does a real-job on the vividness of the color). 

The new colors are awesome. We have a blue that is intense; a red that Cindy Lauper would envy and another blended divine blue in front to a deep dark  ocean bottom blue in the back. 

The temptation to join in and do even a little strip of color was overwhelming.  I have to admit, I came home to contemplate my ability to 'own it' if I did, indeed, do 'the deed'!...Still thinking! 

Said goodbye to Katie last night. blue hair and all. She caught a flight home, the rest of us are truly feeling the loss. Katie is a real sweetie-pie and she will be missed immensely. 

Time to just sit back and consider how truly lucky I am to be a grandmother and not a Buick...or even a Mini-Cooper!



July 23, 2015

"God, Don't Teach Me Nothing Today!"

Have you heard of the Cascadia Subduction Zone? Apparently, the biggest, most powerful (therefore threatening) zones of the Pacific Ring of Fire. The devastating earthquake is predicted to kill 11,000 which is miniscule compared to the damage to human life and nature that the following tsunami will cause. The average time between shakes is approximately every 298 years or so. We have passed the average by some 75 years.

Not too minimize the projected natural disaster but I'm feeling a little like the Juan de Fuca plate, or at least the rupture zone. The pressure is slowly building and the throbbing veins in my forehead are casting shadows on my cheeks.

If you have been following my blog you are most likely familiar with some of the family pressures we are dealing with. The last two days we have discovered that the an acquaintance with a two month old baby is shooting heroin.

We had a heavy duty intervention yesterday. My sis and I are all "What about the baby?"  Friends of the addict are all about "What about our friend?"

To make a long story short (I know, too late) the conversation was basically.

"Call CPS."

"We're going to tell her she just needs to call (insert our local ineffectual rehab)."

"What about the baby."

"But we can't desert our friend. She's already lost one baby!"

Voices raising."So you're telling me your willing to see another baby lost so you don't hurt your friends feelings!"

"But you don't know what she's been through!"

"YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT THAT POOR BABY IS GOING THROUGH!" (ew, that was not my inside voice!)

Eventually, conversation came to an end. The grandma has baby and will keep it until 'friend' gets help, rehab and counseling.

Between you and me, I'm looking up the number for CPS and giving them a call.  (Or, maybe I should ask my sister what the number is because she has probably already looked it up this morning).

After the 'intervention' we return to the teenage-grandchildren/grown-children debacle. You know that 'I-thought-you-thought thing that goes on when all the messages get passed between the teens and the adults are doing the I-dont-know shoulder shrug! That problem resolved, we get home at 9:30 p.m. and it's our night for cooking dinner....Pop Tarts anyone?

A couple of minutes after we eat (yes, I like my Pop Tarts un-toasted) begins a texting conversation regarding two of my granddaughters dying their hair blue today; one did a kool-aid bath dye yesterday. Conversation continued until my thumb cramped up on me at 10:30.

As I was laying in bed; my energy account over withdrawn x 3 weeks, I rested my head on my husband's shoulder.

"I'm tired of being a human," I whined, "I want to be a Buick!"

His response? "What year?"

Nothing like uncontrolled laughter to recharge one's energy account!

But, God, let me be today! Don't teach me nothing new!


Uncontrolled laughter courtesy of Frank Tona

July 19, 2015

Head Up...Shoulders Back


Many of you have lost your parents. Some were lost in an instant; one minute they are there and the next they are gone.  Some of you, like our family, are accompanying our folks on a slow, but inevitable, decline.

We've had our fair share of warnings. Heart attacks, stroke, cancer, arterial bypasses, tremors, falls and off and on forgetfulness due to stress. It doesn't make it any easier.

Dad has always been one of the most robust men I have ever known. He also has always had and continues to have one of the quickest wits in the world. To watch his steps become so guarded, to witness his struggles to get up and down breaks my heart. But the part that hurts the most is watching his heart break that he can't climb up and down the bank of the river in the back of his yard; that he feels he can't maintain his beautiful park-like acre.

We had a great work party at the folk's home. Four generations of family showed up to clip, chop and pull the "overwhelming" out of their beautiful yard. Since then, Dad works in the yard several hours a day. One might think he just putters but he works hard. Some might say he works hard for an 87 year old man but he works hard for a man. Mom is out there, right beside him, working to keep the place inviting and serene.

They love their yard and have always had a great pride-of-ownership ethic. Now that the family work party has taken the "where-do-we-start" aspect out of the mix, Mom and Dad can see the individual projects that need their attention.

Mom had Dad rip out a whole wall of ivy (thank you, Frank, for digging out the roots) and now Mom is replacing her half-wall with a bit of custom lattice work. Dad dug out a tree trunk that was at least 3 feet across and 3 feet high. The more they work in the yard, the stronger they seem to get. Dad is steadily building up his stamina.

Its been a battle but thank God our parents taught us persistence and determination. We kids have finally convinced  them to let us help. We drive them to doctors visits; interpret doctor-ese for them. We often make calls to various entities to clear up miscommunications. Little stuff for us but big stuff for Mom and Dad.

Early this week my sister drove them to an annual physical exam (where all was pronounced well!). They did some grocery shopping, went to a see a barber and completed a couple of other tasks that needed to be done. Stress free because they didn't have to drive.

Last night, my husband changed the filter on their well, then we sat down for a great dinner. After our meal, Dad and Frank headed out to look at the Chipper, which hasn't run in five years. Mom and I visited inside where the air conditioning protected us from the 100+ heat outside.

I could hear my father's and husband's voices in the back yard as Mom and I talked. Couldn't make out the words but the conversation was steady. Suddenly, the sound of a small engine starts, runs for a second or two, then stalls. Their voices got a little louder and were filled with excitement. A minute or two later and the motor starts up and its purring.

Two sweaty guys walk into the house a short time later, chests out, arms held just slightly away from their bodies like the body builders on those late night Bowflex commercials.  They did it. The chipper is running. Mom and Dad are excited to chip the mountain of bark and tree from the side of the yard.

Those two happy men joined our conversation with a cold soda. Success is sweet.

As we talked, Dad made a simple statement, several times, which warmed my heart.

"I can feel the stress leaving my body!" he said. "Its just dropping away!"

Mom and Dad are truly the most self-reliant people I know. They are do-it-yourself-ers from way back and its been hard for them to ask for help or to accept it. This week they finally discovered that letting their children help them is a gift they are giving us. A small return for all they have done for us.

They taught us to work hard. They taught us that it was good to take pride in our accomplishments but jump back in and work some more. They taught us the importance of education, not just formal education but that self-education was a life-long task (and duty).

Dad even joked that he remembered me changing out the carburetor in my old Plymouth Satellite while teaching my oldest son and his friend how to do it. My husband reminded him that I also changed the clutch's master cylinder in my younger son's Toyota and the brakes in our old Mazda.

I reminded them that I knew I could do all those things because my dad had taught me that I could do anything I set my mind to and he taught me that since day one! It also helps that my husband is a mechanic and has taught me lots and that I rebuilt my first motorcycle engine on the floor of my living room when I was eighteen.

We talked some of Dad's days with the telephone company. Thirty-five plus years. He was always the man that the foreman wanted to lead the team. When it was a tough job for Lockheed or Moffett Field, NACA (forerunner to NASA), Ames Labs, our dad was the one the companies wanted.

He was often pressured to accept a promotion to foreman or manager and he consistently declined the promotions, usually adding that he wanted to 'work for a living, not watch others work!"

Mom is one of the most intelligent women I ever met. She skipped 2nd grade and 7th grade, graduated by the time she was 16. She was a lead teller in Crocker Bank in San Francisco by the time she was 17 and one of the first women to work at IBM9when computers were the size of large buildings!).

My mom and dad are a blessing to me. Each time I visit them I learn to appreciate them more and more.  I love you both very much.

p.s. Dad, I promise, I'm still trying hard not to talk like a truck driver!






July 17, 2015

The Magic Number!

141! One hundred, forty-one!

That's how many visits my blog had yesterday. Awesome!

Of course, June and July have so few posts because June and July have been filled with events, events, events. Kind of a crazy summer so far but a good kind of crazy.

My calendar is still full (Mike, I swear, I will read your chapter today....or tomorrow!). 

I promise to try to be more consistent.

Good stuff to write about too because my cup runneth over!!!

July 08, 2015

Damn

It's hot!

Why do I live here?

Can't move to Oregon since they passed the "tax your mileage" act. Can't move to Washington because I need more sunshine than Washington offers. Nevada.....uh, no! Arizona....from the pan into the fire. New Mexico...just a different fire. Colorado....too many relatives.


If you need me, I'll be in the pool, contemplating a move to Montana.

July 05, 2015

Abominations!

The King James version of the bible states, "Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you." Leviticus 11:12

I don't see anyone picketing outside the crab shack with signs reading, "Crabs Cakes are a sin!"
or "Crabs Today...What next? Calamari?"

For a woman to wear jeans is an abomination for it states in Deuteronomy 22:5 (King James again) "The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man...for all that do so are an abomination unto the Lord thy God."  Do you see any "REPENT" signs in front of Levi Strauss or Wranglers? Don't even get me started on those sinful Blazers or T-shirts? 

I wonder how many Christians read Stephen King books against the advice of Proverbs, Chapter 6, "a heart that deviseth wicked imaginations" is also an abomination! Oh yeah, "he that soweth discord among brethren" are an abomination too. 

What is really sad is that according to Proverbs a "proud look" is an equal abomination as the "hands that shed innocent blood"!

It is sinful for a woman to go into the temple (attend church) when she is menstruating or for 40 days after she has given birth.....the bible says she is dirty...okay, it says 'unclean' but doesn't that mean dirty? Funny, I've never seen any sign posted in a church entrance warning unclean women to stay away.

The bible instructs us not to name a baby for 40 days after birth because the poor child has traveled through a vagina and needs that length of time to exorcise the evilness it may have picked up during the journey. How many Christians are standing outside the maternity ward at your local hospital screaming at new mothers to keep the baby anonymous for a month or so? 

There are many versions of the bible. Catholics have the original bible but in the 1400's (or there-abouts) Protestants changed some words and eliminated 7 books from their version to support their revision of what Christianity means. Then they accused the Catholics of adding the books to scripture.

The Protestants have a practice called "sola scriptura" which means "the Bible alone". They stand on the pillar of belief that nothing can be added to or taken away from God's Word yet they violated their own preaching.Could that, per chance, be an abomination?

Oh, yeah, does anyone remember the part in the Bible that warns, "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." Matthew 7 1-5

There is a little quote from James 4:11-12 that reads, "Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?"

John 8:7 is one of my favorites. "Let him who is without sin among you to be the first to throw a stone at her."

The Bible is not a cafe menu, as I recall from years of Catechism. If one proclaims to  lead their life according to "God's Word" then you can't pick and choose which words pertain to you, which pertain to others and which ones to toss aside.

p.s. In America, we also have a great piece of literature. It is called the Constitution. You should read it, especially if you haven't read it since 8th grade. Equal rights, can you imagine?

June 19, 2015

Hey Frank!

Last evening my husband was tending his business booth at the county fair. He asked me to tag along.
I haven't been to the fair in over 25 years. Being raised in the San Francisco bay area, I attended the Santa Clara County Fair every year. This county fair is a mosquito on a bear's back in comparison. It makes me a little sad.

My husband is a pretty pleasant fellow, so I thought I'd go: I could check out the quilts, the booths and the sheep. After I arrived I realized that it would have been a perfect opportunity to do some long exposure shots of the ferris wheels and other flashing lights in the dark of night. (dang!)

After walking around, nodding at strangers and seeing two or three friends, I returned to Frank's booth.  Settled in on a chair at the back, I observed an incredible evening.  It appears that every fifth person in Shasta County knows my husband!

Two or three people would wander past the booth, looking at the slide show of fantastic photos taken by local photographers. Almost every forth or fifth person would spot my husband from the booth across the aisle or maybe from a couple of booths away.

"Hey, Frank!"
 
"Frank! Good to see you!"

"Hey Frank! How the hell are you?"

"Frank, I've been meaning to come in and see you!"

"Frank, my dad and uncle used to haul moonshine back in the old days and I have a great picture of them. Do you do restorations?"

"Frank, loved your class!"

"Frank, I messed the settings up on my camera...."

"Frank, did you get in that (fill in the blank)
               Nikon D5500;   Nikon D3200;   Olympus TG-4;  that little waterproof camera, those binoculars, that lense I ordered, Canon Powershot, etc.

"Frank! How's the family?"

"Frank, I was out at your tree during that last lightening storm. Where were you!"

"Well, if it isn't Frankie! Are you still out there?"  (didn't know if that was in regards to living in the country, working at the shop, flying hang gliders or just "out there"!

"We missed you at this year's Butterfly shoot, Frank!"

"Frank, I've got 4 memory cards with 1600 pictures. Can you make me a CD?"

This went on for four hours!  Of course, there were people who walked up to him who said, "Hey, aren't you the guy on that commercial?" There were actually people who didn't know him but had a question about exposures, apertures, point and shoots, tripods, memory cards, even film.

He welcomed them with that great smile of his, introduced himself, then answered all their questions. Damn, that man knows a lot of stuff!

By the time the strangers left, they were on first name terms with the old guy.

"Thanks, Frank, I'll see you at the store!"

Next year at the fair, they will probably join the long line of "Hey, Frank"s!

While walking back to the car after the fair, holding hands, he stopped me and pointed to the two bright lights in the sky!

"That's Jupiter and Venus. They are getting closer and closer to each other every night. By the end of June they will appear so close to each other that you will be able to hold your wedding ring up and see both in the little circle!"

Is there anything this man doesn't know!!!!


June 15, 2015

Whiskeytown Hike

The temps shot from hot to hotter yesterday. Three digits by 11 a.m.

I was peacefully splayed out on the bed under the ceiling fan contemplating a dive into the pool.

My husband, bless his heart, comes in to suggest a drive to get out of the house.

OUT OF THE HOUSE!  Is he crazy? It is 76 inside these walls and a hellish 106 outside. I wouldn't even consider jogging out to the car to retrieve the who-done-it book I have invested hours in and the murderer is just about to be outed!

Being the cooperative wife that I am (and after a short burst from the uncooperative wife side of me) I agreed to take a ride.  A RIDE!  Anyone see the words hike in the short phrase 'a ride'?

We drove out to Whiskeytown Lake to check out the Dry Creek Group Campground for a future family camp trip.

Every parking lot, every little turn out on the side of the roads, every spot of beach or rocks close to shore were taken up with cars, people, floaties of all types and coolers. And the cars were lining up behind us.

We hadn't read the newspaper yet, leaving it in it's little blue plastic wrap on the bed. I imagined the headlines must have read "MANDATORY EVACUATION OF REDDING,"  Sub headline reveals that Whiskeytown Lake to be temporary evacuation site!

We drove around the lake, past all the inviting blue water filled with swimmers, splashers. sail boats and kayaks. Did we stop to dive in? No, we kept driving.

At the Dry Creek Group Campground entrance is a long locked metal gate! Past the gate is a nice, dry, sunny trail...all down hill!  Doesn't 'down hill' mean there will be 'up hill' involved if we listen to the psycho-babble of my bat-shit crazy husband that we should venture out of the comfort of the car's AC to hike down to the campgrounds?

Again, cooperative wife smiles and agrees how much fun it would be to walk the dusty hot trail. (I am definitely having a talk with that part of me today!)

I open the car door. Who left the oven on?  Fry eggs on the side walk? Hell, we could make a pizza on any rock of our choice!

So we walk, Sun, dust, heat....it was a very nice hike. We walked hand-in-hand down the trail accompanied by the song of a bird who, apparently, loves the heat.  We saw both campgrounds and the big sign half a mile down the road that warns (in red capitol letters) REGISTERED CAMPERS ONLY.

We hike down....nice. We hike back up....nice.  I never even had to pause to rest my new-ish knee or my old-ish body!  My hubby mentions several times that he is concerned for me.

"Want to sit on a rock or rest?"

Nope, I just keep walking, though I do stick to the left side of the road which occasionally offers a little shade; about as often as Leap Years offers a February 29th!

We get to car, which is now hotter than the outside air.  My husband is blown away by how quickly we made it up the trail. He suggests we take our pulses....ever the fan of competition!

His pulse:  96
My pulse: 81

I win!!!!!!

p.s. "Now get me back to my house and my pool!"