February 04, 2016

Plowing Through

Great blog that I've recently discovered, Plowing Through Life,  is written by Martha.

I just found out that her house is up for sale. Wondering why she is selling, where she is going, what she and her 'most amazing man in the world' are going to do, made me wonder about the rest of us.

Say you were given one period of time (your call) to move somewhere, live in whatever, be whatever and do whatever, what would you choose?

The veins in my head are throbbing because there are so many choices, so many scenarios. So, because it's my game, I get to make a couple of rules.
1.  You have to have the same body you have today....though you can make changes over the time, i.e. lose weight, have a nose job or get bigger boobs...liposuction if you want.
2.  If you are going to a foreign land, let's assume you speak the language (especially if you are going as a CIA spy disguised as the neighborhood librarian).
3.  Hmm, enough rules....let's play!

I would live at the end of this road in West Virginia:
Photo Courtesy of Visit South

My little farm would be in the valley but my little drive way would be just a little longer:

Photo Courtesy of DesignM.Ag

 My garden would be totally organic and weed free (c'mon, this is a fantasy, let me have it weed-free)

Photo Courtesy of Country Living

Now I did say we had to keep our own body, so we're going to have to imagine olive skin, slightly whiter hair, and yes, a little more fluffy (the body, not the hair)! "Larger breasts on the perky side," she said, humbly! p.s. Imagination or not, I would not wear a white top to work in the garden unless it was for a photo-op with Country Living Magazine!

I would have a wonderful art studio, in which I would spend hours and hours of each day with clay, with paint, with stucco and gesso and a fully functional high speed PC to write books and stories to my heart's content:

Photo Courtesy of Picket Fence Art Studio

Each day there would also be time for working in the garden and stalking beautiful views to photograph:

Photo Courtesy....oh, that's mine!

Frank would be retired, so we would have plenty of time to plant, snap shots, read and, uh, some other stuff.

Did I mention that there is a wonderful library in the house, horses in the pasture (of which I would actually ride) and a huge stack of firewood that magically keeps re-stocking itself.

I think I could take about 20 or 30 years of that kind of living.

What would you do? Do you want more action? Want to be a superhero with special powers?

Ta Da!

I did it! I got the Christmas decorations down before Valentines Day!

Don't ask about the large containers sitting on the dining room table, "Nothing to see here, move on!"

Christmas lights are still on the house gutters. Frank's job, since I am deathly afraid of heights but I did get the yard lights pulled up. Frank is back to 10 hour days, six days a week at work, so lights might be up until Easter or, I just might try to conquer my fear cowardly-ways, pull out the 14 foot ladder and have a go at it myself. (Been nice knowing you all if I tumble off.)

Sun is shining today....for the moment. May have to take my granddaughter out for a walk after we record a couple of songs on some new App she discovered yesterday. We are going to lip-sink some tunes and try to be funny yet cool. Being cool? It might be easier for me to climb the ladder! She knows the lyrics to every single song and I know the last word of every other sentence in a third of the songs. Yup, I am definitely Cool-challenged.

So, Thursday's chores. Laundry, ran out of jeans and it's way too cold for capris and way way to embarrassing for 15 year old granddaughter too be seen with Nana in baggy sweats! Too bad Manhattan  Bagel doesn't have a drive thru....damn them!

Okay, laundry, lip-sink, Dutch Bros (coffee/me, strawberry-vanilla Rebel/her), bagels, and then maybe a walk. Hmm, maybe a walk tomorrow and Netflix marathon today.

I feel a conference coming on!

February 02, 2016

Question of the Month

Tossing It Out
A Life Examined

February, again. Imbolc and Irish Saints, Groundhog meteorologists, Cupids shooting unsuspecting souls through the heart and record sales for Hallmark and Costco flowers!

The Question of the Month for this glorious shortened version of a month from both A Life Examined and Tossing It Out is (drum roll)

       "When Have You Lost Or Found Love?"

This one is tough, because I don't know that I ever went searching for it. Love always seemed to find me.

My very first boyfriend was a neighbor. He lived around the corner and I would watch him and his twin brother walk passed my house on their way home from their high school. I was in middle school. Phyllis, the girl across the street had a mad crush on him. We both thought he looked a lot like Richard Chamberlain (Dr. Kildare of the 60's).

His mother came to our house one afternoon and introduced herself to my mother and they became good friends as they shared a love for Jose Greco, Flamenco, education and were both Catholics.

We had a costume party a couple of years later and invited him, his brother and a sister. He saw me slow dancing with a sailor and got a little jealous. Which was kind of funny, since the sailor was another girl in a sailor costume. (Man, she danced good!) So he and I started dating. We broke up because he desperately wanted to be a priest when he 'grew up'! Not a lot of potential for a long term romantic relationship. He never did become a priest. We met in 1963 and he is still one of my best friends.

On the first day back to school from Christmas vacation, I was standing by my locker with a couple of girl friends. A tall guy, blonde hair, green-green eyes wearing Levis and a brown and beige cardigan came walking down the hall towards us. I looked up and said, "Oh my God, I'm going to marry that guy!"  I knew it with everything in me. My friends laughed.

He was a new transfer Junior and the only locker left was in the freshman bank of lockers. My last name started with a Y. I was the last freshman. He ended up with the locker right above mine. We were married four years later. We had three beautiful children. I loved him with all my heart. He was funny, intelligent, adventurous but he forgot that one is supposed to stop dating when one gets married. I eventually tired of his propensity for speed dating and we separated.

Several years later, I was giving a tour at Shasta Dam. A big shadow passed over us and someone yelled "Look Up!"  It was Frank, flying a hang glider above us. Later, he came in to introduce himself. He was very nice. He would come back now and then. When he was alone, he was nice. When he had company, he was an ass!  It got so that when I would see him coming, I would tell the other guides (Information Specialists) that I was going into the office, "Call me when that jerk leaves!"

President Reagan had me and a couple of thousand more people fired later that year. I went back to nursing.

At a health fair in the mall, I looked up from the booth our company was hosting and saw a man in full color and everything else was in black and white. I noticed he was looking back at me though he quickly looked away. I could feel him looking but he continued to turn his head if I looked up. But I was staring at him too. I knew him from somewhere. I also knew enough to know that if someone shows up in full color and the rest of the world goes monochromatic, PAY ATTENTION!

He disappeared from the line he was standing in. I was sad. Then he showed up at our booth. While he was signing up for a hematocrit  test, I walked over.

"Hi, You might have notice that I was looking at you while you were in line over there. I know I know you from somewhere. I noticed that you were looking back at me."

"No, I wasn't!" was his response.

"Fuck ya, then." I said and started to walk back to my post.

He ran around the booth, "I was, I was, I was looking back."

"Well, look, I don't like games, so have a good day."

He apologized. We talked. We tried to discern where we knew each other from. We had crossed paths many times. I worked at the hospital when he was a fireman and EMT. We probably had passed each other in the ER or the halls.  His sister ran a BBQ place in the Pine Street School. He hung out there quite a bit and so did I. We both loved to dance and spent many Fridays or Saturdays at Doc's on the hill. There were several other synchronicities, just wasn't time, I guess. We found out how we knew each other.

"Hey, your the lady in the dam tower with pink eye!"

He asked me out. I told him he didn't want to date me. "I have three kids. Everywhere I go, the kids go and they usually each have a friend."

"I'm the oldest of 10, kids don't bother me."

We went out for a pizza and have been married almost 32 years!

Married at Shasta Dam, where we met the first time!

Love seems to find me and shout in my ear, "Hey You, pay attention!"

Love lost, yes, I have had that too. Learned the lessons it came to teach and moved on. Like Paulo Coelho says, "You don't drown by falling in the river but by staying submerged in it." I choose to swim to shore, lay in the sun until I'm dry (some times it might take longer than other times) and then get back on the journey.

February 01, 2016

Married to the Mister

Everyone knows my husband; everyone. He has run the only camera store in town for over 28 years. He is on commercials, teaches photo classes, does photo walks, and does what seems like a million presentations to most of the clubs in town. He also volunteers his photography to lots of non-profits and together we photograph a couple of weddings a year. He's also very handsome and that doesn't hurt the popularity one bit!

When we go out to eat, inevitably, someone from another table will come over to us, sit at the table after a curt nod to me, face Frank and say, "Hi Frank, I'm having problems with my new Canon Rebel." or "I couldn't get the exposure right when I shot some pictures of the snow in Lassen. What am I doing wrong."

Bye-bye romantic dinner!

Walking down the Promenade, someone will spot him from across the way and come running. "Frank, I was just going to see you! Can you tell me....."

In the mall, "Hey, Frank...."

At church a tiny woman in her late 80's or early 90's tugged on his sleeve on the way up to communion, "Young man, are you going to be at the store today, I've got some old pictures I need restored!"

Even when I had a knee replacement, the anesthesiologist came in, introduced himself to me, looked up and saw Frank and commenced with a long speech about an idea he had for some photo project.

Eventually, most interruptions end up being a shortened class of Photography 101, so the questioner's significant other gets tired of waiting and will come over.

Then the introductions. "Darling" or "Sweetie" or "Duncan" this is Frank  and this is his wife....uh...." and I fill in the blank with. "I'm Toni! Nice to meet you."

I am always "...and his wife!"  Always.

Sunday I made two presentations at two different churches in the north state. I can't tell you how weird it was (and pleasant) to have the priest introduce us with a "so please welcome Toni and her husband Frank!

So cool to be a real person and not an accessory!

Be Careful

As the old saying goes, "Be careful of what you wish for."

For years and years, I have recited a daily prayer, at all times of day and night.

"May my lips share Your words.
May my hands do Your work.
May my heart share Your love."

It appears someone was listening and now my cup "runneth over"!

I am a cradle Catholic, but like many, my inner anarchist revolted, and I stopped practicing Catholicism in my early 20's for many years. I had my babies baptized but didn't raise them in the faith. I wanted them to know there is something bigger than us, call it God, or Source or All There Is but I wanted them to come to their own conclusions about religion and spirituality, which they all eventually did.

In the meantime, I studied world religions and metaphysics. The more I studied the more I found the  mysticism of Catholicism to ring true. My husband is a true-blue Catholic, lock-stock and barrel. I, on the other hand, am a Catholic with a mission and a big dose of insurgent. As you have probably read in earlier posts, I have some BIG problems with the Bible and what I believe to be a built-in patriarchal bigotry but there is a beauty in the ritual, the mystery and the spirit of my Faith. I also know that it is easier to change something from the inside than from the outside.

A friend approached me several months ago to help him develop a program for Godparents to build and nurture a relationship with their Godchildren. In our faith, we Baptize babies soon after birth. Parents choose a woman and a man to be the Godparents; someone who will help the parents raise the children with a reverence for life and God (I find it difficult to use the word God because there are so many definitions, good and bad, loving and harsh. Just know that I am not talking about a dude with a long beard and white robe, sitting on a throne in the clouds, demanding to be worshiped!). Our research showed that most Godparents last saw their Godchild at the Baptismal font...a little like a newly elected president attending the Inauguration and never showing up at the White House to do what he (or she) was elected to do.

We conducted several surveys, did our research, created a vision and proposal. We have presented it to several priests, a beloved nun and many Catholics and non-Catholics, all with great acceptance.

The program would be focused on Catholic relationships first, just for ease of introduction. We are proposing (eventually) that parents chose a mentor for each child, no matter what the faith, to help celebrate the child, to teach the child about love, about seeking spirituality, and mostly, to help  the child know that they are important and loved.

Children need so much more attention and guidance. Did you know that 47% of babies born today are born to single mothers. Tell me they don't need a little assistance with raising a child. Kids are so disenfranchised, we have teen suicides at incredible rates, substance abuse, homeless youth...and on and on.  Kids need to know that they are important, that they belong and that they are loved.

We launched the program yesterday, after several weeks of crazy-pace research, writing, editing, graphic design and printing. My friend made two presentations after Mass at two churches and I made two presentations at two churches.

As I was pulling my hair out one morning about 3 a.m., making still-more-changes, I begin to think, "Why am I doing this? I am 65. Shouldn't I just be putzing around in the garden and playing Bridge with my days."

 (I mean other than the fact that our two pit bull pups totally destroyed the garden and I don't know how to play Bridge...but bring on the Pinochle and Gin and I am in!)

Then the voice in my head (don't laugh, you know you have one too!) said,
"May my lips share Your words.
May my hands do Your work.
My my heart share Your love."

Dang, foiled again by my own prayers!

So, be careful of what you pray for, you just might get it.

January 29, 2016

Another One!

Jefferson Airplane/Starship was such a major part of my life. I remember very few occasions that didn't have Red Octopus playing in the background. There was also Joni Mitchell, Jim Croce, John Denver, Queen, Fleetwood Mac...but our stereo could handle 5 LP's at once. Guaranteed a Airplane or Starship was one of them.

January is almost over and maybe the harvest of major players in the music world will calm for awhile but I will miss the talent of Paul Kentner.

There is one hell of a good band being created in the after-life. Let me know when tickets go on sale!

Off Season Tomatoes Are Good For Something!

Note To Self:  Next Republican Debate attend in person. It is too damn difficult wiping rotten tomatoes off of flat screen TV. (p.s. but your aim is improving, good job).

January 26, 2016


Damn! I can't stand it when life gets in the way of blogging!

I swear, I'll be back.

January 19, 2016

What Takes Your Breath Away?

Breathing! It is automatic. Our body just does it but not without a little assist from our emotions or state of being.

My mom was really stressed a couple of days ago. So stressed that her breathing became very rapid and shallow. The longer her breathing was controlled by her anxiety, the less oxygen she had available which caused an inability to focus which caused more stress which caused quicker and shallower respiration.

When she was prompted to breathe slow and deep, she calmed down and relaxed. Then she would start to think about all the things that were troubling her and the cycle would start all over again.

Yesterday, I discovered there were eleven messages on my Iphone. I turned off notifications one day while the baby was asleep and (20 lashes) I never looked or turned it back on.

There were two calls from a dear friend from high school. He called last week to tell me he was in Intensive Care at a hospital; his COPD out of control. Maybe I should say his COPD had taken control and he was having a great deal of trouble breathing. He called again yesterday while I was at my folk's house; no cell service out in the boodocks so didn't get his call.

When I got home, all the calls made to me during the day came in. Phone was vibrating like it was the end of the world. I checked messages. He is still in ICU. We talked for 4 minutes and he had to stop to put O2 mask on twice during the call. He called to wish me happy birthday but could barely speak.

My mom's breathe was lost by stress and anxiety. My friend, Mike's breathe was lost by 40 years of smoking.

On the flip side, some of us lose our breath by the sight of the ocean, or a newborn baby, or a purple/orange sunrise.

I lose my breath in high places. Probably from the scream that releases all the air and then I can't get any air back in my lungs until I step way, way, way, way, way from the edge. I lose my breath from some of the magical things of life. Rocky Mountains, mountain rivers and brooks, poppies that turn a whole field orange, the sight of a mother nursing her child with love in her eyes, a father playing with his kids.
My lungs stay perfectly still, holding the inhale or exhale, when a butterfly or dragonfly lands on my hand or arm.

What takes your breath away? Is it anxiety, a lifetime of bad habits or is it wonder and beauty? Maybe it is a little bit of both?

January 16, 2016

Under The Dust

 A visitor to this blog informed me that the links to 'follow' my blog were missing. What the....
I checked and sure enough, they were gone. Scratching my head, I wondered if maybe I had awakened in the middle of the night in a state of paranoia or maybe an overwhelming desire for anonymity. Could be, I have often not had both oars in the water, if you know what I mean!

While uploading the links, I checked in with a couple of my other blogs...mostly dusted the poor things off.  Now, proving that my elevator doesn't go all the way to the top at times, I have a blog titled "Observations From The Edge".  I do not suffer from multiple personalities but at a workshop many years ago, we were instructed to search for different aspects of our personalities, flesh them out and write about them.  OFTE is the blog that developed from that exercise. I love it but it disturbs my husband to no end, I think it scares the boogers out of him that I might indeed, be On  The Edge!

Anyway....while dusting off and fine tuning a couple of things I realized that on some of my blogs I used the name Adrianne, which is my confirmation name. Again, what was I thinking. I did discover this post which brought back a dream that was so lucid, that I felt myself back in the dream as I read.

I want to share it with Wandering and Wondering.

Observations From The Edge  October 2014

"Wow! What a dream I had this morning. I could feel the texture of the coat I was wearing, the breeze on my face. People's eyes could be read. Interesting selection of people to join me for such a lucid dream, too.

Three, no four, major players in the dream.

One person, who has a habit of "not showing up" was in the dream and, surprise, did not show up!

Person-two, I found her stuffed bunny, gave it back to her. We chatted and danced while we waited for Person-one to not show up. She (Person-two) left on the school bus and took her bunny with her, both seemed very happy to be reunited!

Person-three, was headed to the laundromat, but eyes told me that maybe later.....

Person-four - What are you doing in my dreams? I've never seen you here before; welcome! You look good at the head of the table! Your leadership skills are becoming very impressive!

I was wearing my pretty royal blue coat with the fur collar that I lost 45 years ago. All this time I thought it was stolen but I just left it in the land of dreams. What other items might be waiting there for me to rediscover?  It would be nice if my skate key is there. I don't have the skates anymore but I sure liked that skate key. It would look good on a 30" silver chain surrounded with Kyanite and Iolite beads.

The restaurant where I was having lunch with friends was built with thick redwood beams  and boards. Windows wrapped around three sides of the dining room. I could smell the vegetables roasted in rosemary and the ravioli (I'm pretty sure I brought the ravioli with me from watching Master Chef Canada last night. I could taste it too and all I have to say is "YUM"!)

I do hope my subconscious noted the location of the restaurant; the ambiance was remarkable and the black currant balsamic vinaigrette was literally out-of-this-world! I'm going to start sleeping with a  mason jar just in case I go back.

If I die in my sleep, know that some uptight dream-realm official wouldn't let me transfer dimensions with a mason jar full of salad dressing and I chose to stay with that divine nectar of the gods!

I found a folding laundry basket, returned it to Person-three, returned to the curb to wait!  I looked down the street and knew that Person-one was always going to not-show-up. I unbuttoned my coat, put my hands in my skirt pockets and started walking in the direction of home. I made the choice not to wait but to show up for myself.

The walk felt good, the pace was brisk, even in an elegant pair of heels! I was smiling. The air brushed my face as I walked and as I woke, I could still feel the breeze on my skin and I was still smiling.

Now, if you'll excuse me. My teapot is whistling and I have fresh ginger to peel and chop. The crew is waiting for me by the pool. We are going to repair the net on the pool sweep and draw straws to see who is going to sweep up the mess of crushed sand dollars in the entry, family room and living room floors.

I learned two lessons in the last 24 hours. I can show up for myself." AND

You can build a fence out of steel or iron. It can be twelve feet tall or reach the sky. Signs threatening trespassers can be every six feet or every six inches. Sooner or later though, you are bound to leave the gate open.

What life lessons have you learned lately awake or in a dream?

January 15, 2016

Snape...Snape...Severus Snape

Cancer is definitely on a roll this month, taking some of our best.

The passing of David Bowie and Alan Rickman just floored so many of us to tears or, at the very least, knuckle dragging sadness.

Bowie's portrayal of the Goblin King in Labyrinth raised goose flesh. He really did scare me, enough so that I couldn't watch the entire movie.

Alan Rickman is the only actor I could have imagined who could have brought Severus Snape to life in the Harry Potter series. There was a sensuality to his darkness that was hard to resist. He did do a bad-to-the-bone Hans Gruber in Die Hard, too.

Watching movies with truly scary villains is not my cup of tea, I'm not a scared-of-the-dark kind of person but I am scared of the dark when someone dark and scary is in there with me!

Darth Vadar was a bad guy and James Earl Jones' voice was perfection for that role.

Could anyone but Jack Nicholson break through the door and do Jack Torrance's "Herrrrrrrrrre's Johnny!"?

Ricardo Montalban did a believable bad-ass Kahn, 'my old friend' in Star Trek. Not scarry just mean.

Burgess Meredith' Penguin and Margaret Hamilton's Wicked Witch of the West were pure genius. I believed the characters 100 percent.

Though he never uttered a word, I would have to say the bad guy who frightened me right down to the core was James Arness, in the 1951 black and white movie, The Thing! (see my spine shiver just at the thought of it).

Who are some of your favorite bad guys and villains? Do you like them slathered in make-up or disguised as a normal human? Do you like extraterrestrials, sociopaths, psychopaths or metaphysical manifestations? Who visits you in your nightmares?

January 13, 2016

Dang Gum

Headed up the canyon today to make a presentation in Mt. Shasta. Snow predicted for Mt. Shasta and area with possible thunder storms on the way back. Possible ice on the road.

Can I stay home?

Great day for staying in with a good chick flick, soup, and a little Emmett's in my coffee. Screw the coffee. Good movie, soup and a nice hefty glass of Emmett's!

So, I just get an email that the person I'm headed up to the land of ice and snow is going to dress up; slacks, nice shirt, sweater and nice shoes! Here I sit in levis, two sweaters and a knit snood cap.

Yes. I'm blogging. It's called thinking, or re-thinking. Our with the jeans and boots. Can't wear brown boots with any of my dress pants except for one pair of tan which are very, very thin for Shasta County summer weather in the 100's.

Thirty-seven minutes to find something which makes me look sharp and won't cause me to bite my tongue off from shivering while making presentation.

This better be worth it!