December 28, 2017

A Little Giggle

Yesterday was my dad's 89th birthday. We celebrated by going to DMV to renew his license.

He studied hard for his test and passed! He usually doesn't drive. My sister, the Guy or I drive him around but I think his ego just needed to know that there was a valid driver's license in his wallet.

We didn't have an appointment, so the wait was typical of DMV.

While he was taking the test, my mom and I were sitting in the waiting area. Two young men were sitting across from us. They both spoke a little Spanglish; a little Spanish mixed in with English.  They each had their cell phone out and it looked like they were checking out hot cars. No, not stolen cars, just cool cars which look hot! Oh hell, you know what I mean.

Anyway, they keep nudging each other to check out the next car and the next. One would say, "Mira!" The other one would nod or make a comment in a little bit of both languages.

There must have been an exceptional Chevy on the older guys phone (I'm thinking '69 Impala, but that's just me).  The older guy holds out his phone, "Mira!"

The younger guy grins, nodding his head and said something like, "Rojo caramelo, Spanish-Spanish-Spanish bad-ass!"

I laughed so hard I almost wet my pants.  Of all the things not to say in Spanish!  Don't you just love young men?


Photo courtesy of Janis Ian

Do you love Pandora? Any genre of music one's soul desires!  Today is 70's tunes because it's time to clean house and nothing inspires sorting, organizing and tossing things out like a little Donna Summers, Kool and the Gang, KC and the Sunshine Band, and, of course, Michael Jackson.

Bumping with the broom, Funky Chicken with the mop; it's a little hard folding laundry while doing the YMCA, but like the old saying goes, "Dance like no one is watching!"

Warning! Do not try the Hustle while emptying the dishwasher...fricken' shins!

Okay, caught my breathe again, back to cleaning...

America- Tin Man

One of those days that needs to be accompanied with good tunes.

What were you doing when you first heard Tin Man or America?

What is your favorite song by America?

If you ask me, America has always been great!       

December 23, 2017

La Befana

Long before Santa Claus flew through the sky in his shiny sleigh and eight wondrous reindeer it was a woman who flew on her broom, entering houses through chimneys to leave special goodies in the children's stockings.

A chimney was her only access, as all the houses were long houses of thick walls; no windows; no doors. Entry was made by climbing a ladder and entering the home through the roof. Then, to keep the inhabitants safe, the ladder was drawn up.
La Befana

La Befana is a loving woman. She is a good woman.

She has a broom.

We turned her image into a sinister icon...oh no.....a woman on a broom. Run, hide or burn her.

But, when Santa was created, they kept the cool idea about delivering gifts to good little boys and girls. Of course, the flying part is going to have to stay, too, because how else can all the children be reached in one evening, but not a broom! What then? A sleigh and reindeer?

Both links on images can take you to the story of La Befana. Both sites tell the story better than I can;.

I collect Santas. I have some incredibly beautiful dudes. Hand carved wood, cloth bodies and velvet robes, modern and old Saint Nicks!

Sitting on the sofa yesterday, admiring my guys, it dawned on me...Where was La Befana? How could I not have at least one beautiful, glorious flying woman on her magic broom and bag full of toys for the precious children?

I need her before Christmas. I need to tell her story to my granddaughters. If our culture doesn't accept a God that looks like my girls, then we sure as hell can have a Santa that looks like them!

So, on Christmas Eve don't forget to hang the stockings, leave milk and cookies for Santa and cheesecake and a glass of Cianti for La Befana!

The Christmas Witch

December 22, 2017

Death of Our Dreams

Photo courtesy of Paulo Coelho Facebook

Paulo Coelho's blog is one of my favorites.

Today he writes 'The 3 Symptoms of Killing Our Dreams'!

I think it is worth the read.

The Guy

Every person in town knows my husband or, at least, recognizes him.

The Guy

He is in the store commercials on television. His voice is on the radio. He teaches photography classes at the store and location classes. He makes presentations at local venues and for local clubs. He also judges photography entries for 4 county fairs and a couple of local clubs. He has been the face of the store for 28 years.

As you can imagine, we never have a 'quiet, romantic dinner' without someone coming over to talk. We never take a long walk on the river trail without someone tapping him on the shoulder. We can't go to the Mall, or Rite Aide of Lowes.

Hell, we couldn't even go to Idaho without someone walking up to talk to him about a problem they are having with their camera, flash, focus, or just to ask him what lens/camera/flash/filter would be best!

We have stopped for burgers two counties away and the server called him by his name.

I forbid him go with me to my doctor visits because I end up sitting on the exam table while Frank leans on one wall, arms across his chest; doctor (including my surgeon and my anesthesiologist and nurses in the hospital) mirroring Frank's stance against the opposite wall, while they discuss cameras/photography/flashes, etc.

Many call him by his name, but most just grab him by his shirt or arm and say,  "You're the Guy! I have a question!"  OR  "Hey, Crown-Guy, I'm headed to ___________ in the __________. What would be the best settings/filters/ lens to take with me?"

I have actually been teasingly calling him 'The Guy" for years, but recently someone asked me if I was Mrs. Guy! Really!

I have decided to start calling him The Guy, always!

Let it be known, that all references to my husband in this blog will henceforth be "The Guy"!

The Guy

The Guy

P.S I love you, The-Guy!

December 21, 2017

Done Enough For Now!

Worked on the final details of the bathroom today. I'm so happy with it, I could light some candles and take a bath!

Cabinets are a dark gray, walls a lighter gray, and trim is white.

After the new year, we will replace the counter top and faucets, but, for now, I'm pretty happy with the results. Side note: Frank. the faucets I want are on my Amazon wish list!

Okay, I bet you are all saying, "Hey, Toni! The mirrors are uneven!"

Yes, I know. That is exactly what I said to Frank when he hung them back on the wall. (Except I didn't call him Toni!)

He advised me that we have two three-year-olds in the family. A grandson and a great-granddaughter. They need to be able to see themselves in the mirror, especially when washing their hands or brushing their teeth or playing in the water!

"So bring the high one down!" I did ask politely, really, I did!.

He, again, advised me that we have very tall people in our family who like to see their whole face and head, not just their chins! Who knew that was a problem!

Frank is exactly 6 feet tall. He could only see to the bridge of his nose in the lower mirror. My daughter is 6 foot, my sons are 6' 2" and 6' 5 1/2" inches. A couple of my granddaughters are right on the edge of 6 feet.

Frank was right...dang, I hate that!

We decided to leave them the way the are but will be stenciling directions near the arrows.

I just need to cut the stencils and get 'er done.

The curtains are an old, old hand crocheted tablecloth. Hanging are a couple of glimmery bags filled with sea glass, shells and magic. The sun shining through makes them glow just a little.

Can you see the magic?

I love my new bathroom. Mostly!

After the first of the year, I plan on knocking out the wall surrounding the bathtub, and extending the shower head to a height that doesn't cause severe back pain when my kids or grandchildren visit. I hate that they have to bend over to get there heads wet! After the new wall board goes up my plan is to tile the wall all the way to the ceiling.

Now, someone said something about it being Christmas, so I guess I should go wrap some gifts. First, I want to see how the paint chips I picked up at Sherwin Williams look in our bedroom! I'm thinking a light gray and navy! What do you think?

Blessed Yule

Winter Solstice...we've made it! Another cycle.

The first official day of winter is much like a huge, carved magic door for me. As it opens on this long night, it invites us to the season of respite and recovery. It is inviting our spirits to withdraw from the outside world to enjoy and relish in our inner world.  In spite of the next two weeks of parties and hectic running around and loving chaos, the invitation is still there as the Times Square ball drops.

Time for bundling up in a big arm chair, wrapped in a cozy quilt, tea and book at hand.

Time for planning, flipping through catalogs and ordering seeds.

Time to spend entire days in pajamas, heavy socks over Vaseline slathered feet!

Time for inviting friends over for long chats over tea and fresh bread, but only the friends that don't mind your pajamas and the pile of books spread across the coffee table and beside your favorite chair.

Time for the smell of soups, stews and homemade bread.

Time for contemplation.

Blessed Yule, my friends.

December 19, 2017


I woke up this morning and there are four new age spots on my face. Big Ones. Overnight!

I had one little one for about ten years and overnight 4 show up.

Googled 'age spots' after I tried scrubbing them off (thinking they just might be dirt from scrubbing bathroom and painting).

Of course, we all know that all that sunbathing we did when we were younger catches up with us, but I was shocked to read that age spots can be caused by STRESS!  (f-bomb, f-bomb, f-bomb).  A couple of sites read that stress causes inflammation and decreases the skin's ability to heal. Might explain my increased knee pain and my shoulder taking a couple of steps backward in the pain department.

Sunday was one of those 'hell days' with my mom. She is losing it pretty quick and not is a nice way. My husband, sister and I are doing what we can to protect my dad but it's an uphill battle. With every emergency, it is a 45 minute drive of fear and anxiety to get to them. Dad wants to move up here but Mom won't budge!

You can't fight (or even talk) with crazy. 

So, good friends, what is a good concealer? It looks like I'm going to be needing a lot of it?

December 18, 2017


"Why, why, why," one would probably ask!

Why in the middle of all the chaos would a sane person decide to paint their bathroom?

"Frankly, Scarlett...," no wait, I don't think that quote is appropriate here, though it was the first one to pop into my head.

Maybe, because there is so much to be worried about and to try to figure out that I really, really, really want something to pop up that I don't "give a damn" about!

Yes, I am painting my bathroom! Cabinets, walls, door and window sill. In the middle of all this 'stuff''!

Several years ago, I painted an ocean bottom scene on the wall above the counter. One of my granddaughters wanted to help. She painted a lovely little mermaid (Millie) who has been swimming behind one of the mirrors. I didn't have the heart to paint over her. She will swim behind the mirrors as long as I live in this house!

Painted by Alaina!

I have paint in my hair, broke three nails and almost fell off of the toilet while cutting in the top of the wall and I am loving it! Nothing like working hard, sweating, climbing up and down, slipping on plastic, and adding more dabs to my painting clothes.

There are many choices we have for self-medicating. I could get drunk, get stoned, eat a pizza and cheesecake and a fried baloney sandwich or I can be creative.

Creative works for me! Pandora in the background, brush in hand, truly beats banging one's head against the wall, besides, I didn't have any baloney!

It's quite the mess right now, but pictures will follow (right after I clean it up and make myself a gin & tonic!).

December 13, 2017

Rays of Sunshine!

Sometimes, we need someone, anyone, to tell us 'it's going to be okay'!

Yesterday, was a day. Not only did you, my blog-friends, reassure me but I also received a gift from my daughter who lives in Massachusetts. She knows the dynamics of the present implosion our family finds ourselves in, which makes her gift that much more meaningful.

I love my cup and am going to keep it at my side, at least the photos of it and the idea of it!

Thank you, my beautiful Nicoley!

December 12, 2017

Connection Failed

Christmas? Making a list and checking it twice...NOT!

Do you think I can get away with a really pretty watercolor painting (copied 15 times) that simply states:  
Coming in January
Your Christmas Gift!

Maybe I'll just buy the whole family tickets to Jumanji and matching socks!

Somehow a real disconnect has occurred in my life. Makes me sad and extremely disappointed in myself.

Until the age of 9, I lived in Colorado, surrounded by a huge , loving family. Grandparents, Great-Uncles and Aunts, Aunts and Uncles, and Cousins...oh man, the cousins!

We spent weekends with grandparents or cousins. We were the family that had great family picnics at City Park, playing softball and chowing down on the best fried chicken and potato salad in the world...IN THE WORLD! We would caravan to campgrounds in the Rockies and set up a little town of tents. There were guitars and singing, jokes, lots and lots of love and laughter.

At 9 years old, Dad, Mom, brother and sister packed it all up and moved to California. We grew up with only occasional visits from the elderly people in our family. We were four states away as health failed them. All grandparents, as well as, the great-aunts and great uncles, and most of the aunts and uncles are gone. We attended funerals but not bedside vigils. I don't remember my parents struggling with healthcare decisions for their parents.  

As an adult, I worked in the health care field. Started in acute care but ended up as Public Relations Director and Field Supervisor for a skilled nursing facility and a home health private division nursing agency.

I truly believed I was in touch with our patients and residents, family members, too. I helped families in crisis make decisions and choices between home nursing or convalescent centers. I helped with end-of-life decisions. I believed I was good at it. I could read family members and know who could handle what. 

I held many a hand, or stroked a head, as patients without family passed, sometimes in the earliest hours of the day or late night. I loved them all.  It was hard work but rewarding, and I loved it. I thought I had a solid handle on the aging process. I thought I was helping, providing comfort and somehow easing the stresses.

My parents are now both 89, failing in health and in an ugly, emotional crisis. Hell, the whole family seems to be tumbling into the rabbit hole!  

While in the middle of this family implosion of frailties and emotions, I have discovered that I don't know anything.  There is a bottomless depth of emotion when it is your own parents. There is no clocking-out and going home.  If you do happen to be home, you lay awake, staring at the ceiling, waiting for the phone to ring.  Hell, I can't even have a drink because it is a 45 minute drive to the folks house and I need to get to them, not end up in the back of a police cruiser (though, at times, I have wished for exactly that).  When one family member yells 'Uncle" and bails because it is too hard, biting our lips, we pick up the pieces he dropped on the way out.

I owe a huge apology to all those family members, patients and residents. I am sincerely sorry for not recognizing the depth of your pain, frustration, stress, love, worry, and the seemingly thousands of emotions that lodge in one's brain during crisis and make themselves at home.  

I am so sorry!

December 11, 2017

Wanted: Faithkeeper

"In the Native American tradition, one member of the tribe assumes the role of "Faithkeeper." This person's role is to remain at peace, centered in spiritual vision, no matter what events befall the tribe. Even if everyone else in the tribe slips into pain, fear, or disention, the Faithkeeper is the one person the tribe can rely on as a lifeline to the Presence. This is our role now. There is a place within all of us that is always connected to our higher being. That is the place to go to now. Your greatest contribution is your clarity, sense of purpose and vision" ~ Alan Cohen

Big moves in our family right now. Parents are in crisis. Big changes for all of us. My sister, husband and myself are doing all we can... but we sure could use a Faithkeeper! 

Really, really want to go to that 'place within' but someone keeps knocking on the door.

Copyright: Mandala by Toni Tona

December 02, 2017


Do you remember in your college Ethics class the description of "Just War"?  It is defined as "a war that is deemed to be morally or theologically justifiable."

How does the GOP morally justify their new tax plan, their war on the middle class of America and national deficit?

The good news is, these 'christians' (note the lower case spelling) also have the biblical quote that states "... it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

Lucifer is smiling this morning!   He done collected himself some souls!