January 30, 2014


"What can you write about "rare"?" she asked.


"Yes, you know 'rare' blue diamonds, rare ahi tuna!"

"Rare!Like, I love my steaks rare?"

"Somewhat mundane, but, yes, like that!"

"I'll give it a try!"

It's a rare day that I do not sit and read at least one or two of the books I have open somewhere in the house.
Rarely do I go outside naked though not as rare as you would think!

   From bedroom to pool,
 skipping sky-clad is rare
   The water calling,
 because my body is bare!

It is a rare corner in town that doesn't sport a person baring a cardboard sign that announces the need for money for gas, diapers, food, etc.  It is the rare person who doesn't give you the wtf-eye-roll when offered a hamburger instead of cold cash.

Bigfoot sightings are rare but I think I'd like to meet one of those rare creatures. (two rare's in the same sentence! yeah, baby!)

It is rare for me to sleep all night without waking to write a thought down or pick up a book and finish a chapter.

It is not rare to see my grandchildren smile and beam with delight.

A mother who would not give her life for her children is rare, though, sadly, it does happen.

The pledge, 'until death do us part' is rarely kept. 

Is it rare for an innocent person to be sent to prison?

Are Chevy Corvairs rare? Is it true that finding a Chevy Corvair that hasn't fishtailed or drifted is quite rare?"

Corvair rhymes with rare.....is that cheating?

Locating an individual who doesn't like ice cream cones or buttered corn on the cob is unbelievably rare.

Leaving the house without a trace of dog hair on my clothing is, indeed, rare.

When sitting in front of the keyboard pondering sentences which contain the word 'rare' my mind is like a locked bank vault.

I can make this rare guarantee. When I publish this post about the word 'rare', and walk away from the black leather chair, my thoughts will be bombarded with sentences and phrases containing the word 'rare'!

If only she had suggested a word that had a sing-song ring. Some word with at least two syllables would have been nice, maybe even three or four.

Like: Capacity or violet or profound (oh, I like profound). If it had to be a single syllable, what would be wrong with true or love or cheese? Even fourth, blue or breeze! 

My submission was short and to the point...which for me is quite rare. I simply said,

"Finding good chocolate chip cookie is quite rare.
Though, rarer still, is to find a bad snickerdoodle!"

January 28, 2014

Hiking, Like Time, Is A Matter Of Perspective

Every November, my husband and I travel to Ashland, Oregon to photograph Lithia Park color and the wood ducks.  We walk the park, the streets, visit our old friend Northwest Nature Shop on Oak.

Last November we pulled up into the park just after dawn and discovered several, no more than several; we discovered many film production trucks and crews packing up. One truck was loading racks and racks of clothing (costumes?)

Someone asked us if we were part of the crew after we set up our cameras and tripods.  We just missed Reese Witherspoon and the director, Jean-Marc Vallee.  Cheryl Stayed's solo journey up the Pacific Crest Trail was being filmed. Ashland is one of the many towns along the trail that hikers mail packages to themselves with cash and supplies. They usually take the opportunity to shower, sleep in a bed and eat something other than trail mix while they're in town.

Inspired, I read Wild,  Cheryl Strayed's book.  The tome tickles my imagination about backpacking in the wilderness. How awesome it would be to head into nature and become a part of it.  I reminded my wayward imagination that we (imagination and I) don't even walk the whole river trail and that is a paved trail. Can you imagine me shlupping 50 pounds of survival gear and food on my back?

As soon as I finished Wild, I downloaded Walk In The Wild, the book written by Bill Bryson about his adventures on the Appalachian Trail.
Pacific Crest Trail

 It is amazing to read the two versions of the two longest treks in the U.S. In some ways they are related. Two people with an idea, ill prepared, out of shape, over estimating the hardships of trail life.

Strayed is in a lost place in her life, searching for something to fill the emptyspace in her heart. Bryson is just looking for an adventure. Neither one of them trained for the hike, neither had ever backpacked prior to hitting the trail.

Both were cautious about the thought of bears and mountain lions. Strayed bought the "loudest whistle in the world" to scare off the denizens of the forest, Bryson scoffed at the idea of a whistle so purchased a small knife, cue the ferocious denizen guffaws.

On the trail, Cheryl used the whistle and the bear lumbered off. In the middle of a dark night, Bryson pulled his knife out. I am sure the bear could have used the little blade to pick his teeth after his yummy feast of dirty, sweaty human.

As I read the second book, I couldn't help but compare the two perspectives. Strayed talks about blisters, raw skin, deep relationships being built along the way. Bryson is funny, speaks of meeting others but I never get the feeling of true connection with anyone.
Appalachian Trail

Were these journals from the perspective a women's need for connection, of belonging and a man's need for autonomy and how he is perceived from the outside? Or, were they simply just the style of two people, different in many ways, linked by the same need to walk?

Both accounts inspire the reader to walk along side the author, to take a closer look at our precious  wilderness areas and to walk. So, I shall end this woolgathering, put my shoes on and check with Rex to see if he would like to accompany me (who am I kidding, he's already at the door).

See you on the River Trail. Now, where is my whistle?

January 27, 2014

Further Up the Numinous Trail

 Loving the book our Book Club chose, The Intention Experiment, by Lynne McTaggart. It is filled with science. It discusses time and quantum physics and solar flares and experiments by world class scientists, engineers and physicists. Right up my alley because it contains just enough woo-woo (metaphysics) for me mixed with the hardcore science.!  Can't wait until we get to share our findings and feelings!

Lyn has come up with her suggestions for the next read. Very enticing.

The first suggestion is also the one she promoted at the first meeting. I believe that I will read it whether it makes the Book Club cut or not.  It is Mrs. Satan by Jill Johnston. No, this is not the biography of the Garden-of-Eden Adam's ex-wife, Lilith.  Good thing the bible hadn't been written yet because Adam apparently was the first person to divorce. Man, that was one potent apple!

Mrs. Satan is a biography of Victoria Woodhull, the first women to run for president of the United States and the first woman to open a bank on Wall Street. From the title of this tome you may rightly assume that our patriarchal culture did not take kindly to Ms. Woodhull's independence nor her lofty ambitions.

 A book of vignettes is another of Lyn's choices. It is titled Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything by Phil Bolsta., describing life-changing epiphanies, sacred moments and spiritual awakenings. The book includes many celebrated spiritual leaders including Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, Neal Donald Walsh; powerful medicine women including Christine Northrup and Rachel Naomi Remen.

I know that we have all had those compelling moments that have impacted our lives or our beliefs.
What magic juncture or twinkle in time changed your life?

Agenda for a New Economy by David Korten is Lyn's third suggestion. We are all aware of our shattered economy. Everyone I know was affected in one way or another. Korten's second edition of Agenda describes the how and why of the destruction of America's economy and what efforts are being made to glue it back together.

Three books I never knew existed ~ "Hello, Nice to meet you. I am looking forward to getting to know you."

You can see now why Lyn was one of the women invited to join us. She is not only intelligent but also wise. She is 100% invested in life. Lyn drove her motorcycle off of Buckhorn Summit about six years ago and flew several hundred feet down the cliff. Luckily, her motorcycle got caught up in a tree and didn't follow her down the hill. When she didn't show up with the rest of the bikers at a rest stop just east of the Camden House.  It took over 8 hours to find the spot where Lyn went over and another hour of two of rescue efforts to lift her out of the canyon.

Lyn's mission in life seems to be to make this world a better place through education, awareness and being the strong yet gentle woman that she is. Lyn is Lyn, barely any of her Brooklyn accent left but enough to know she's not from around here! She lives in the mountains with her two dogs and cat. She is, indeed, a mountain woman, living naturally, abstaining from carnivorous consumption. Her carbon foot print may be minimal but she has made a giant imprint on the lives around her, including mine.

Lyn, you're swell! I love you.

January 23, 2014

Book Club

Four good friends and I have decided to join together two evenings a month and call it a Book Club!

Call me blessed but the group could not be more wonderful. We are a good mix of crones, diversified in our beliefs and lifestyles, yet honoring each others' choices and beliefs. It promises to be a dynamic blend of thoughts and ideas.

In our first "organizational" meeting, we decided that we would focus on non-fiction books including biographies, memoires, history, metaphysical subjects  and possibly historical fiction. All non-fiction books are fair game.

Prior to each meeting, we will email the others a list of 3 books as suggestions for our next read. Granting us the opportunity to review the books and maybe sample a page or two on Amazon.
This suggestion really excites me. Not only will I be able to discuss a book with intelligent women but I will also be presented with 12 new books every two weeks. Twelve books I may not have been aware of.  It's a whole new world opening up to me!

We made two rules, which, with this group really wasn't necessary, but we felt should be spoken out loud anyway.

1. When you walk in the door, Show Up! Be present, be yourself, bring all you are to the table!

2. The meeting place is a safe haven. All will be respected, free from condescension, judgement or intimidation.

I ordered my first book from Amazon.com and it is going to be here any moment. I am chomping at the bit here; highlighters, post-it notes and sharpened #2 pencils at the ready.

Color me excited!

January 20, 2014

When I Say NO!

What does it mean to "honor" someone?

Dictionary.com informs us that honor is a noun, a verb and an adjective! 

What is Honor, the noun? It is "honesty, fairness, or integrity in one's beliefs and actions: a man of honor."  It goes on to higher distinctions but for today's post, that's all the noun we need!

Verb "honor" is all over the map, from a simple show of respect to on-your-knees worship, as in a Supreme Being or Johnny Depp!

I'm going to whittle it down to the basic; simply "show a courteous regard for " which Dictionary.com lists as definition # 17.

"to show a courteous regard for"

Seems pretty clear and simple.

To show a courteous regard for......

How do we do that in the real world?

One of the things taught to young girls and women as a tool of self-worth and for self-protection is to always be aware of the people around you. Do those people regard you with honor, do they display respect for you? Do they regard others with honor and respect?

The book Gift of Fear describes a story about a young woman carrying her groceries up the stairs to her apartment. A stranger approached her, he was also climbing the stairs. He put his hands out and told her he would carry a bag for her. She said "No."  He showed a total disregard for her by insisting, and she finally relented. She didn't want to be rude or hurt his feelings. He eventually raped her.

She said "No."

He insisted on having his way.

She capitulated in spite of his total disregard for her and her word. He was the one who displayed discourteous behavior, yet she was the one who didn't want to be rude, so, as we good girls are taught to do, she folded.

I know that this example was pretty extreme. I could have kept it to a spoiled adolescent who wants to attend a sleep-over and Mom says, "No!"  Adolescent says, "Yes!" and "Why" and keeps it up until Mom buckles under the pressure or insists the child go to her room.

When we make a decision and give voice to it, yet another person ignores it and persists in having  their way does that show honor? Is that a courteous regard for us or our feelings? Is that someone we should be in a relationship with? 

If I buckle under the pressure of "not being nice" instead of holding to my convictions and I get hurt again, is that wound not my own fault? Is it "not nice" to hold people to simple respectful expectations?

If I've hurt someone, broke a trust or crossed a line, what consequences can I expect?  

Adjective:pertaining to or noting honor.

Noun: missing
Verb:  missing
Adjective: missing

How does Dictionary.com define "friend"? "...a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard."  "Personal Regard."  Seems to me there should be a little "honor" in that phrase.

January 11, 2014

Where Do I Know You From?

My friend, Diane and I sat eating birthday cake last night. As we nibbled ( or wolfed, depending on what side of the forks you were on) we discussed various subjects.

I like her a lot. She shares the same sense of humor that I have, though I am much further north of irreverent than she is!

The fiance of my niece entered the space.  Diane whispered that she had seen him in Home Depot or Lowes last week, knew that she knew him but couldn't place him without my niece standing next to him. Being a little on the shy side, she hesitated to approach him but he looked up and greeted her.

"Diane, Happy New Year!  How are you?"

"I'm doing good, how are you?"

"Just shopping for supplies to attack the "to do" list Chris gave me for Christmas!"

Ah, she though, it's Dennis!  They had a pleasant conversation and than continued on their way.

We live in a fairly small town so one runs across quite a few faces that are familiar but out-of-context the name that goes along with the face might elude one.  Sometimes this is caused by a blip in the occipital lobe. Other times it is a mild form of prosopagnosia; you don't recognize the face because the facial expression you usually associate with the face differs from the expression you are witnessing at the moment. Or, simply, the face is not where it belongs in your personal reality.

You spot the receptionist from the dentist's office at the mall and she is smiling. Her typical disdain because she is aware that you don't floss as well as you should is not apparent.  Obviously, she doesn't recognize you either without your  expression of anxiety.

You're at Jack In The Box,  the cashier from Walgreens is smiling, eating a Western Double Bacon Cheeseburger. She isn't stressed because there isn't a line 10-deep and no response to her call for assistance. 

Maybe you are in the waiting room at the Smog Check shop and your brother-in-law's sister-in-law's cousin's mom is behind the counter, smiling! Who knew that could happen?

Or maybe it's your mailman and the face if familiar but you can't see his knees because he is wearing jeans and a black Metal Mulisha sweatshirt with skulls, not his typical benign blue shirt and those cute blue wool bermuda shorts. Could be your OB/GYN and you're having difficulty placing his face without your knees framing it!

Diane commented that, while she is hesitant to ask some one, "Where do I know you from?" many folk often look at her and ask "Do I know you?"

That happens to me often, too, but I have a pretty good gift for faces and names. Diane might tap her chin and try to think of where the familiar face might fit in her life but I can usually remember their birth date, blood pressure, weight and the medications I called in for them to Target or if they usually ran a pretty high balance due.

Diane is nice. I can be nice, but being retired and sometimes a tad bit bored, I have to create my own entertainment, part of the irreverent gene, I suppose!

Over lemonade and lemon cake, my friend and I discussed how to answer that question in the future.


Potential Answers:

1. "Group therapy in rehab, don't you remember me?" ( this one works well if you pull the sleeves of your sweater down past your wrists as if hiding track lines or hold one nostril closed with a finger and sniff lightly with the open nostril )

2. "Shh, we're supposed to be anonymous, remember?"

3. "OMG, how can you forget me? I will never forget that dance you did on the bar. Did you ever find your bra?"

4. "Oh, you wouldn't remember me, I was in the jury at your trial. I bet you looked cute in those orange jumpsuits!"

5. "Weren't you the lady standing behind me when airport security insisted that my breasts were too firm and I needed to be strip searched?  Sorry about hitting you, I just started swinging!"

6. "Wow, you do look familiar. Were you at Attica? I've only been out a week though I still say I didn't kill that guy?"

7.  "Yeah, Man. You're that Dude from the Mother Ship, right?"

I'm betting Diane will be hesitate before she goes out in public with me again.


January 09, 2014

Call Me "Slow"!

The NFL is almost over for the year. After SuperBowl, winter is just winter.

Long, cold days. Bringing in wood to feed the hungry stove. Bundled up and reading. Bundled up and writing or just bundled up and shivering.

I was thinking about something that I could do to start out the new year and get myself unbundled!

Last week my granddaughter, Katie, shared her excitement over a book she is currently reading.  She is thirteen and I can't tell you how exciting it was to see her holding the book open, her legs draped over the arm of the big leather chair, her head resting on a pillow, consuming page after page.

I asked her about the book. Her face burst into what I can only call " jubilant exuberance"! She talked about the book for an easy 10 minutes. The protagonist is a young girl, probably about 13, too! Then she explained the different classifications of characters.

The discussion continued, not just about the book but how the different aspects of the characters showed up in life or could change a life. It was fun!

I decided that I want to start a monthly book club. How fun it would be to share what Katie and I had shared with my peers!

This morning, after chores, writing, showering and bundling, I picked up the Ipad and googled "how to start a book club?"

Tons of information. I went from site to site, making notes, jotting down ideas of my own.

Then I came upon Oprah's website. Not only does the site give you an outline of "How to" but the last page or two lists discussion questions.

I could have smacked myself in the forehead with the Ipad...hard!

Writing my book, I have researched character building, psychology, narrative forces, point-of-view specification....dang me if I hadn't studied it all. With an AA in Communication Arts, I was pretty sure I had covered all the bases.

Today, as I read the Oprah suggestions for discussions, I had one of her "Aha" moments!  What an epiphany to post those questions next to my work space!  Post those questions on my refrigerator door and on the mirror in the bathroom.

Why not ask my characters these questions? Why not visualize book club members  asking these questions about my book?

I am so excited about this flash of insight! My plan is to get into pajama bottoms and a sweatshirt,  make myself comfortable on this chair in front of this monitor and not come up for air until at least Monday or Tuesday. I'll ask my husband to make excuses for me for Friday night and Sunday afternoon's social engagements. I'll have to cancel my meeting on Monday morning and I swear, first thing Tuesday morning, I will shower....

Discussion questions.....Bring it on!

January 07, 2014

What Is Going On?

I jumped out of bed this morning. Cleaned the kitchen, vacuumed family and living rooms, swept the hard wood floors, tossed out aging leftovers from fridge. A quick pat on the back and shower!

By 10:30, I was ready to sit at the computer and write for two hours. My promise is to write at least 10 paragraphs a day. That quickly grew to two hours which, at times,  becomes 6 or 8 hours when I am in the zone!

Writing: Done!

Ah, now, some leisure reading!

I filled a tall glass with green tea, lit a couple of candles.  Put a tea candle in the oil burner with a drop or two of eucalyptus/lemon essential oil. My Nook is fully charged, phone turned off!

I keep several blankets and quilts in each room for cuddling up. I also have two blankets for the dogs to curl up on.

Being a cool day, I put a quilt into the dryer to warm it up. After 5 minutes the quilt was ready for me, my book and my chair.

Goose bumps raced up my arms....guilt free reading, wrapped in thick warm quilt. Maybe hours and hours of it! I better run and go pee first so my glorious time is not interrupted later.

I returned to the family room in less than two minutes.

My warm quilt is on the Dad-chair and Thor and Kona, our two Pit Bulls are curled up, nesting in it's warmth. The burgundy dog blanket is barely on my chair, mostly on the floor....cold!

Rex, our Border Collie, is, curled up on the end of the couch with eyes peeking up at me as if saying, "It wasn't me!"  Kona is snoring but Thor has one eye watching me. When I put my hands on my hips, Thor closes his eye!

Now we might suppose someone else is in the house and switched blankets. Nope, all other adults are at work.

Did the two blue-nose babies drag my quilt off my chair and over to the big chair?
Did the border collie move the blanket to get the boys in trouble?(he isn't very fond of them)
Is it time for that commitment hearing my daughter is always talking about?

Maybe...just maybe...I won't read so much Koontz ....I''ll try a Stephanie Plum detective book this afternoon!