December 24, 2013


Christmas Eve today. Headed out to deliver some gifts, buy some asparagus and baby red potatoes.
Not going to lie to you, not excited about getting on the road on Christmas Eve, but I have a nice bottle of Merlot to calm my nerves when I get back home.

Tomorrow we will gather at my oldest son's home to celebrate the holiday....oops....excuse celebrate Christmas (Note to word police: sorry, sorry, sorry, really, sorry).

On the 30th, my other son and his family will arrive for a visit. He will be here for a couple of days but it never seems long enough to really talk and share and just be.

I think about family. Last week some of the family sat in a hospital room while our husband, dad, brother, son, grandfather was in open heart surgery; there was a bunch of us. Several generations. Tomorrow there will be almost 5 generations at my son's house, yes, we have one growing in mama's belly.

When I think about the wonderful bunch sitting in the hospital and the group gathering tomorrow, adding the group to gather for the changing of the New Year, my heart expands way beyond the walls of my chest, even beyond the walls of this room and beyond the walls of this house.

If you were an observer, you might look at the group, listen to their conversations and wonder, "what the hell are these people doing together!"  If nothing else, we are a diversified bunch.

Tattoos, Master's Degrees, Triatholon athletes, Kung Fu students, students of gymnastics, singers, musicians, dancers, gimps, pierced tongue and pierced ears, even a pierced belly button or two. Christians of every level~even borderline pagans and an agnostic.  Cat lovers, dog lovers, cat dislikers, snake owners, tarantula owners, gigglers and grumps, cup-half-full and cup-half-empty, cup-runneth-overs.  Some Republican, some Democrats, some liberal, some conservative and a couple of moderates. Engineers to Nightclub bouncers, public and private sectors, retail to academia. Managers, Coaches, Artists. Veterans and Pacifists. Typically, we have no fence sitters. Everyone has an opinion and each opinion is welcome. (well, mostly. Sometimes we get uppity but that's life). At different times of our lives we have all spun cartwheels or dragged knuckles, again, part of life.

Dysfunctional at times, at odds at times, but always loving each other.

The outside observer might look around and think to themselves that these people do not fit!

The individuals may not fit perfectly in the puzzle that is called our family but there is one thing I know for sure. We belong, we ALL BELONG, because we are a family. In the end, isn't that what matters? Belonging, be a part of the whole. Acceptance, Validation and Love.

I am so happy you are all part of my life.

On this Christmas Eve, I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and Blessings without end.

Dang, I wish I had more to say right now. I really, really do not want to go out in the traffic or into any stores filled with people who are filled with the spirit of Christmas. Did that yesterday and some of those people were just a little bit scary! Wish me luck!

December 22, 2013


Spent a couple of days in the hospital keeping watch with family while my brother prepared for emergency arterial bypass surgery. (He went through with flying colors and is already home! Pioneer stock!)

His sons were there, our mother, father and sister and, of course, his wife.  While brother is in surgery the whole family sat in the waiting room, watching the 49er's football game.  My brother's wife sat mostly in silent prayer or reading, the rest of us talked and watched the game.

Now, imagine this: the television is on,  Mother, Father and both nephews are very hard of hearing (can you spell deaf?') My sister and I realized about half hour into the sitting and waiting that six of us were having 4 different conversations but all thought it was the same conversation.

It went something like this.

"Grandma, how have you been feeling since your stroke?"

"Thank you, I bought it at Penny's but I'm not sure this is a good color for me!"

"That's good!"

"I left it in the car, but thank you anyway, I'm fine!"

"Go! Go! Go!"



"Frank Gore ran it in for six points!"

"No, I think that was Vernon Davis"

"Yeah, Adam said she wants to major in animal husbandry, she'll be a lot closer to us at Davis."

"They shaved him, you mean his chest?"

"I'm fine, honey, I got lots of rest last night."

My sister and I just watched and giggled and every now and then Sis would throw in something totally random....yes, even more random then what was already going on!"

"Why do giraffes have purple tongues?"

Prompting a response, "yeah, Keapernick is so much better than Young!"

Then there was was the Dance-off between my 85 year old mother and my little sister, and the singing, "Go Grandma, Go Grandma, Go Grandma..."

The room had it's fair share of what's and huh's but it was a room filled with love, crazy love, but still LOVE!

December 19, 2013


There is a place for everything in this house.

A drawer for the scissors and scotch tape, push pins, batteries, etc.

A file that the "to be paid" goes into.

A spot for rags for cleaning.

A shelf for keys, a drawer for matches.

Decree from the Post-Menopausal Woman of the House: Put it Back!!!! Now!!!

1....2....3....4...5...when I get to 10 the packing tape better be on the third shelf in the laundry room (WHERE IT BELONGS)....6... 

Yesterday....not the Beatles version!

Yesterday, I wrote about a meltdown I had the day before. In the meltdown I sorta trashed poor 2013.

I've been on the warpath against 2013 for a big part of it. Wrongly.

I am not saying it wasn't a tough year for our whole family. It was a year of trauma, drama and serious situations and conditions. I am not making excuses for losing it on Tuesday nor am I apologizing for it but, when you come right down to it, 2013 proved our family to be strong, resilient and one tight group of supportive, loving people (if not slightly dysfunctional).

I started some pretty intense therapy in the beginning in the year with the best therapist in the world. Just in time, she helped ground me.

My mother did have a stroke last year and it was damn scary but she has not only survived the stroke, she is better than ever.

My grandson and his girlfriend had a miscarriage but are expecting again and she is 12 weeks healthy.

Dad was diagnosed with a scary condition. Several more tests and procedures and he is completely out of the woods.

My brother had an emergency coronary artery bypass, four way, and the next day he was up, second day he was walking, eating solids and going home tomorrow, better than ever.

It's been tough for a couple of other family members in one way or another but we are one resilient family. We will reach that light at the end of the tunnel and we will outshine it....really, we will.

What did I learn from 2013? More than I can ever explain.

Remember when Oprah gave her whole audience new cars and she was yelling, "You get a new car and You get a new car and You get a new car.....".

I'm feeling a little bit like one of those sitting in that audience, jumping with joy. Screw the car though, I get a NEW YEAR and you get a NEW YEAR and you get a NEW YEAR and in the words of my therapist, I am a "Kick Ass Warrior"!  2013 confirmed it. 

Our family is filled with Kick Ass Warriors. We not only made it through this year, we have risen to each challenge and kicked its ass!  There are a couple of challenges still looming but compared to the Stroke, Miscarriage, Cancer, Coronary Artery Disease, they are like a fly on a bear's back...!

All in all, 2013, thank you for the challenges. You honed us. We rose and are continuing to rise to the occasion.

December 18, 2013

Every now and then....

...a person just needs to take a deep breath and scream WTF!

But this was a WTF Year and I thought I was doing a good job of maintaining.

Jobs got done, everyone in family is on the mend, extended family has had some trauma but things are falling into place, outlook is good.  I'm talking BIG stuff, too.

Yesterday, my friend came by to check on things. How's brother? How's mom and dad? What's happening with sister? How about brother-in-law.  We were sipping tea and just talking.

She looked around the room, "Aren't you going to decorate for Christmas?"

I kind of laughed. "I haven't even done any gift shopping yet either, but I have 10 days."

She shook her head and said, "No, just seven."

"Isn't this the 15th?"

"No," she answered. "Today is the 17th! A week until Christmas!"

I started crying  (WTF) and I couldn't stop! Can you believe that?  Strokes, Coronary Artery Bypasses, Colon Cancer, Borderline Homelessness....big ticket items and the simple statement,
"ONE WEEK UNTIL CHRISTMAS!" drops me to my knees. I literally couldn't stop crying!

Big decision ahead of me...72 hour hold in the closest mental ward or conversion to Jehovah Witnesses who don't celebrate Christmas!!

Anyone out there know of a mental ward that serves margaritas?

December 11, 2013

Sold My Piano!

If there is truly an after life, will I be judged evil and committed to Hell forever for selling a member of the family? Last week I sold my piano and the young woman who bought it took it away today.

Bethany, the young missionary who has just returned from China, came in and gave me a big hug. She promised to cherish my Art Deco, Story and Clark beauty.  She is getting it tuned immediately. I saw her lovingly stroke the cherry wood, claiming the piano as her own. When she played it, the music was heavenly.

In my heart I know it is going to a good home and down the road when finances are better I will buy another one. (or steal one, as long as I am probably headed to hell anyway!)

Funny, when making music with an instrument a minor miracle occurs. The wood and metal and strings transform from an inanimate object into an almost sentient being. I am using the word "almost" because the soundness of my sanity is already under suspicion and I don't want to add any fuel to the fire! (Shh, "they" are watching!)

With my piano, actually any piano that has ever lived under my roof, and my guitars, I believe that a part of my spirit and soul travels from my heart, down my arms, through my finger fingertips and infuses the instrument with a life and soul of it's own. This piano was especially enriched. Each of my grandchildren have sat at it making music since they were babies!

My grandson sits to play Ozzie Osbourne's "Crazy Train" and other bits and pieces of rock tunes. Two of my granddaughters have written their own songs with this piano. One granddaughter has actually written lyrics for her songs and they are good!  My dad has played the Boogie Woogie on it, he also plays Chopin's Polonaise and the Hamm's beer song!  My niece taught my granddaughter's a song and they play it every time they pass by the piano. Everybody in the family plays Beethoven's Fur Elise and various little ditties. I loved all those moments.

Piano, I will miss you! Don't worry about me; I'm Catholic, I will confess the sin of selling a beautiful family member and may only get a couple of eons of Purgatory. Knowing you and sharing those memories was worth it.

December 05, 2013

National Priorities

Just read a headline: "Michelle Obama presents the White House Christmas decorations". A staff of 83 people decorated the rooms and the first 24 trees. The 25th tree is upstairs and the Obama family will decorate it themselves.

Our national economic crisis has had us cutting funds for school lunches and breakfasts for hungry children, medical care for sick children, medications for seniors, shelter for 1,600,000+ homeless children in the U.S., etc. Why do we need 25 Christmas trees in the White House?

This is not a personal attack on the Obamas.I like them. I, for the most part, have respected their attempts to draw attention to important issues. Over the years, other First Ladies have also presented beautiful, over the top decorations and huge gingerbread models of the White House. It is a precedent that has been set over the years and continues. Our Annual National Monument to Decadence!

This is a serious question. Why millions of dollars would be spent to decorate the White House for 30 days out of the year when those dollars could help so many people? What is wrong with a big, beautiful tree in the entry and a very nice tree for the family in the private quarters?

It hurts my heart that our priorities seem so upside down.

December 03, 2013


Stumble Upon referred the article "10 Mind-Blowing Theories That Will Change Your Perception of theWorld."  The following paragraph was part of #10, a definition of a philosophical theory called phenomenalism.

"... Phenomenalist philosophers believe that objects only exist as a phenomenon of consciousness. So, your laptop is only here while you are aware of [it], and believe in its existence, but when you turn away from it, it ceases to exist until you or someone else interacts with it. There is no existence without perception. This is the root of phenomenalism."

Is that not cool?  Those scientists must have gotten some really good acid in the '60's because that is some deep stuff!

Philosophy excites me. Nothing I enjoy more than a conversation or book about philosophy! A new-to-me theory is like a fine wine or really good bourbon; you check the clarity, look for the "legs", taste and body. I couldn't restrain myself. I needed to test it myself. (No, if my best friend jumped off a cliff I wouldn't try it too and I resent the question) Luckily, I just happen to have a laptop available to test this theory.

The keyboard on my Toshiba laptop stopped functioning two months ago. Not all of it, only the a, e, n, space and enter! I tired quickly of using the screen keyboard, tapping away, one letter at a time. So the laptop has been sitting on the hearth for two months...not the same exact spot, but within an inch of the space I abandoned it to. I assure you I have had no perceptions of it for those two months.

I discovered Phenomenalism today while sitting at the PC in my bedroom.  Jumping with joy and excitement,  I closed my eyes and swore to all that is holy that I did not believe in the Toshiba.

"I don't believe. I don't believe. I don't believe." I so didn't believe it existed that I almost forgot what it was that didn't exist!  (previous line best read when not consuming alcoholic beverages).

Rising from the chair, I tip-toed down the hall, not wanting to scare anything not existing into existence! I stopped right at the corner of the family room. The house was as quiet as a  meadow in the country when snow is gently falling.

Slowly, barely moving, I peeked around the edge of the wall. The couch was there. I was clearly aware of my perceptions of the recliner, followed by table and lamp, finally there was the "Dad" chair...I believe in them ( I don't know if they were there when I was down the hall in my bedroom but they had popped back into existence just in time to be perceived). The brown pillow and fluffy blanket were on the arm of the dad chair. Moving my eyes slowly to the left, I spotted the fireplace screen, the bricks....and.....the Toshiba, right there where I put it two months ago!

My experiment was not a complete waste of time though! I discovered that I have a profound belief  in dust! Who knew?

November 25, 2013

Profoundly Superficial

From my previous post you can probably tell that this isn't a good day for me. It has been a rapid decline since last Monday....almost near the bottom!

I talked to my sister, she's on the slide with me, though she must have greased her butt because she's just a tad bit ahead of me on the WTF scale of downward slides.

So I decided to lighten things up. A person does not live by slide alone!. Gonna grab the sides of the slide put on the brakes and take a little Profoundly Superficial detour. 
Mandala by Toni Tona

I borrowed some of James Lipton's questions from Inside the Actor's Studio. I am not an actor but I am an artist. Artists are just as screwed up as actors so what the hell!

1. What is your favorite word? Phosphatidylcholine

2. What is your least favorite word? stupid

3. What sound or noise do you love? granddaughters laughing

4. What sound or noise do you hate? I dislike traffic, parent's yelling putting kids down, bullying

5. What is your favorite curse word? My favorite word (because I have grandchildren and am trying to shed the truck-drive part of me) has been dang gum! I use it for surprise and for cursing but every now and then an f-bomb rips loose (this morning there was total anarchy in the cursing area of my mind and a convoy of f-bombs escaped.)

I found these questions on Brene Brown's blog and thought, as long as I am being profoundly superficial, I would try them.

1. A song/band/type of music you’d risk wreck and injury to turn off when it comes on the radio? The opening theme for the Rush Limbaugh Show.

2. Favorite show on television? Weekend Favorite Show: Super Soul Sunday on OWN / Weekday Favorite Show: Survivor ( I divided that to show depth of character...well, depth of something!)

3. Favorite movie? Swiss Family Robinson or Enchanted April

4. What are you grateful for today? My sister, I love her and don't know what life would be like without her.

5. If you could have anything put on a t-shirt what would it be? Be Nice or Shut The Fuck Up!

6. Favorite meal? Medium rare steak, grilled vegetables with rosemary, garlic bread and a really good Zin.  (or white bread, baloney and potato chips ).

7. A talent you wish you had? Putting bad guys in jars with a tap of my wand would be nice but I really, really wish I could carry a tune.

8. Favorite song/band? My very favorite song is Where I Go by Natalie Merchant and close follow- up is Digame or Forever Love by Anna Nalick.

9. What’s on your nightstand?  Lamp, about 7 books holding about 43 bookmarks and some dog eared pages, a handmade bowl with my favorite earrings and pendants, four or five crystals and a lot of dust....guess I should go clean it up.

10. What’s something about you that would surprise us? I think I am going to pack my bags, books and crystals, Mitch's ashes and my dog. Take Mitch to the ocean which he loved. Then find  a little house in the Marble Mountains for me and Rex. 

To Facebook or Not to Facebook?

Several years ago, during a heavy duty stretch of stress, I made the decision not to watch the news, read the news, listen to the news (including Talk Radio) for 90 days.

Some acquaintances told me it was irresponsible but I assured them that if something really vital came up or the world was ending that I was sure someone would let me know.

At the end of two weeks I was a new person. Incredible change in stress level. After 90 days I returned to watching televised news only if it is local or if there is something big national or international. If there is a global-type or national trauma, I will watch the first 10 minutes (maybe half an hour at most). I will not watch anything Diane Sawyer reports as I believe she should be narrating As the Drama Turns or The Young and the Pretentious. She can make a Campbell Soup commercial sound like the big bad wolf just ate the last little piggy and he's coming after you, in fact, he's at your door!

Once the "experts" are called in, the report is being repeated or people are "estimating" this and that, I click back to HGTV. I am sure the "corrected" details will be on tomorrow's newspapers and I will read what I need to, if I need to.

During the Pointing Fingers Fest of the last political race, Facebook got pretty nasty.  Some family members (in-law not blood) "unfriended" me because I didn't agree with their political views.  I have to say that I actually unfriended my husband's uncle.  I love a good debate. I do. Name calling and bullying is just unacceptable.

In the past two months it has gotten harder and harder to get on FB and check out what family and friends are up to.

Please know that I am very much aware of the cruelty done to babies, children, women, puppies, dogs. My heart breaks for all of them.  I don't want to disparage the pain and malice that is done to anyone. But, each day, picture after picture and story after story appear on my homepage. I have three dogs living at my house. I don't have cats because two of the dogs don't respect cats.  I would donate to animal shelters but I barely make my mortgage every month. I have sponsored family in fund raising events for their local animal shelter. I do donate to One Safe Place and Child Abuse Prevention and when I do we eat potatoes for a week.

How about if you warn us that the picture coming up is going to make us vomit with it's grisly details?  What if you only post one a day instead of 8 or 9?  What if you check the age and source of the pictures of abused babies or missing girls and brutalized puppies and dogs? Last week four people posted the same Missing Girl picture. She was 16. The picture was 4 years old, they found her body 3 years ago.  When you don't check dates, when you don't do your homework than people stop seeing them. Then the picture and information of the girl that was taken this morning gets passed over.

Be responsible. Be accountable.

Studies have been done...oh, screw the studies....I can't handle it anymore. My heart knows the evil that is out there and there is only so much one can do. Please, stop shoving it in our faces.

Another thorn in my side..."If you love Jesus...." If you believe in God...." "If you believe that Christ is your savior" you will share this picture".  Did I miss catechism the day they taught the 11th Commandment?  Thou shalt honor all pictures of the Lord, thy God and passeth them on.

Isn't there somewhere in the bible where Jesus says that prayer should be a private affair devoid of public display: "And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners [and on Facebook], that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you they have received their reward.  But when you pray, go into your room (or closet.) and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret..."  (Matthew 6:5-6 RSV).

Maybe I will just go over the friends list. Make sure that I get Notifications from my kids, kids-in-law and grandchildren, sister and brother and call it good.

p.s. friends, don't come over today. I'm in one of those moods! If you do come over, bring armor and bourbon!

November 14, 2013

Christmas Shopping.....again?

Didn't we just do this?

Can I just get a couple of catalogs and circle what I would give you if I had the bucks?

The economy is still in the tank here in Pottersville, if you know what I mean. Medical insurance premiums ($1389 per month) and medical bills ($5000 deductible each) have pretty much wiped us out over the past two years.

This year our budget is a little thin, about $35 to purchase gifts for 7 grandchildren and my mom and dad. I'm seriously thinking about buying a goat for a family in Africa in my grandchildren's names and calling it good!

Christmas really is one of my favorite times of the year but, frankly, I am really looking forward to the New Year! This year has been a hard one for the whole family. Mom had a stroke in April, Dad was diagnosed with colon cancer in September and my grandson's girlfriend had a miscarriage this summer. The list goes on but that's enough to make my point. Everyone is doing great now but the scars are there.

Don't get me wrong. Some good things happened this year too, but all in all, I am ready to tuck this year into the history books and move on.

My husband and I usually watch the New Year's Ball drop in New York on the television at 9 p.m. here in California. Then we give each other a big Happy-New-Year-kiss and hit the sack! 

This year, we have different plans.

In the movie Practical Magic, the women form a coven of witches, hold a Circle and turn the "bad juju" into dust. Then they sweep it out the door. That's my intention on how to help  the demise of 2013.

This year, I am going to be prepared.  We are staying up to greet the West Coast New Year. When that last minute of 2013 arrives and the countdown begins, I am going to throw the doors open, grab my broom ( actually, it's a Swiffer but that's a minor technicality ). I am going to sweep every bit of 2013 out the door.

10 - 9 - stroke, stroke, 8 - 7 - 6 - stroke, stroke - 5 - 4 - don't forget under the table - 3 - get the corners - 2 - throw the broom down -1!

Lift a glass of Cherry Moonshine and greet the New Year....Welcome 2014!....Make your self at home.

November 11, 2013

Off The Record

Last night there were a couple of shows on OWN that were focused on the history of Black people in America. One was an interview of the director, Lee Daniels, and actors, Forrest Whitaker and David Oyeloyo, from the movie The Butler.  The next show was an interview of Tyler Perry followed by an interview of Spike Lee.  All very interesting. I discovered that I could relate to Spike Lee, which, to be honest, surprised me.  I liked him.

While the interviews and discussions were going on several things were said that hit a nerve. Not a totally random nerve or one of those scientific-job nerves. It wasn't an autonomic nerve that keeps those parts we don't think about operating, lungs, stomach, intestines. Not a peripheral nerve or central nerve, you know, the north and south lanes to and from spinal cord and brain.

This was more of a cranial nerve but not the ones that connect your literal sense organs to your brain; eyes, ears, nose and mouth. Maybe I should call it a cranium nerve. A nerve that starts off with a flash of discomfort or disgust and grows and throbs until it is raw. One of those nerves that just won't shut up, some times it yells and some times it whispers, but it is there and not going anywhere.

Please believe me when I say I don't, in any way, want to demean the Black experience in America. This is not my intention. I guess you could say I just want to paint a bigger picture.

At one point in the conversation, I believe it might have been in the Butler-movie interviews, someone said: "It is part of our story in America" to which someone else responded, "It is America's story!"  (not a direct quote, I am lucky to remember what I said last night let alone people sitting in the tube talking between commercials).

I truly don't know where to start, which reminds me of a quote from the move Princess Bride. Indigo Montoya wants to catch a character up to what the situation is. He says, "Let me, there is too much, let me sum up!"  (best read with a hispanic accent).

About 500 years ago some STD infested Europeans "discovered" the Americas, stepped off the ships and basically said, "Let the slaughter begin!"

Every history book talks about how this white guy discovered this bay, that river, some huge canyon or some mighty peak.  Most of those rivers, bays, peaks, lakes, etc. are named for the white men who "discovered" them.

We rarely mention, if at all, that there were millions of indigenous folk who were living on the banks of the bays, rivers and lakes, the edges of the canyons and the slopes of the mountain peaks.  Oh, and many had been living there for thousands of years.

Some of those native "Americans" were my ancestors.  We have Navajo nation, Apache nation and some tribe from the far north eastern America according to my grandfather, but I never found out the name of the nation, let alone the tribe.  I also have a great-great-great-great-and-some-more-greats grandfather who came with Cortez to Mexico in the 1500's. Estaban de la Vaca, which through the years has been shortened to Baca.  Ol' Grandpa Estaban did not return to Europe but remained in Mexico, married and started a family, a large part of which migrated to the New Mexico territory area. Some family members where awarded huge Spanish land grants.

On the other side of my family, there were ancestors who immigrated from Spain in the 1700's and were given Spanish Land Grants in the New Mexico territory.  This family has the Apache lineage entangled with it but also a little French, a little German, a little Mexican and that mysterious north-eastern tribe of Native Americans. A large part of my family came from Europe, Spain, France, Ireland but they intermingled with "them"....married indigenous people. 

When the United States proposed to make New Mexico a state, the people of New Mexico were against it, mostly the people with land grants. Land was precious to them, they grew their own crops, raised cattle and sheep. Life was hard but life was good. They were independent.

The United States promised (first hint that something is up) that all land grants would be honored. It was called the Treaty of Hildago. We the people of the United States honor your......oops, the Santa Fe courthouse mysteriously burns down one night......Sorry, can't honor your land grants and we will not recognize the grants in your possession. All the "recorded" grants burned up with the courthouse. So, grants were taken away. Land confiscated. Promises broken.  I haven't looked up the word "treaty" but I'm that the United States government is under the assumption that the words "treaty" and "promise" have something to do with sodomy.

Some people got to keep a couple of acres, not enough to range your sheep or your cattle, not enough to grow food for your family. Too bad, so sad. Many of my ancestors went from land owners to share croppers and tenants, lost their homes, lost their herds. Never, ever, though, did they lose their strong work ethic.

My family moved to larger towns, got jobs, became dependent on others for their paychecks.

When the Great Depression hit, jobs became scarce. Thousands of "white" men were jobless. The United States passed a new ugliness. It was called the Mexican Repatriation Act.  Much like the Nazis, American police and soldiers loaded men, women and children of hispanic lineage (more than a 2 million) into trucks, cattle cars and box cars in trains and dumped them south of the Mexico border. Many were taken from their homes in the middle of the night. At least 60% of them were U.S. citizens, that would be about 1, 200,000.  Many of those people didn't even speak Spanish. 

Suprisingly, the families that were "repatriated" were families whose fathers and husbands had good jobs. Jobs that the unemployed white men could now take.  Many of the "Mexicans" who were dumped were born in the U.S. Many families had been here for generations. Sometimes only the husband and father was taken, never to be heard from again.

My grandfather was a hard worker. He was a supervisor on a large farm in Colorado. The owner of the ranch warned Grandpa that the government was coming for him, my grandmother and my mother (who was 2 years old). Grandpa, Grandma and my mother were all born in the U.S. Grandma and Grandpa in New Mexico, my mom in Colorado.  Grandpa smuggled his family to Denver, changed his name for a couple of years and lived with my great-grandparents until the repatriation activities had calmed down.

I believe the anthem for this movement was "Save the Real Jobs for Real Americans!" (Can I just say here that it was Herbert Hoover who signed the Act...a Republican)

What year in school did we study this little tidbit of U.S. History....oh, yeah...never!

 God Bless America, the land of the free!

Speaking of free people, the Mexican Repatriation Act and the experience it presented to our government in the reticent round-up of millions is credited with making the internment of millions of Japanese during WWII so easy.  Spooky, huh? 

Do you ever wonder who's next?

Another great-great immigrated from Ireland in the early 1800's. He was pretty smart and realized that Irish were not exactly welcome on the East Coast of the U.S. (was it the Catholicism that offended the powers-that-be) so his family eventually ended up in the southern states. My grandfather was born in Mississippi, moved to Tennessee and eventually moved on to New Mexico, where he met my grandmother.

My husband and I took a trip to Fort Jones and Etna in Northern California last week. I fell in love with the area. The Marble Mountains ( a range of mountains in the Klamath Mountains) are beautiful. I informed my husband that we are going to move to Etna or nearby. I started investigating properties, history, weather. Everything I can get my hands on.

In the research I discovered that Mt. Shasta was first discovered by ____________ __________ and was named after him for a short period and then discovered by _____________ and called __________ for awhile and then discovered by, on and on, white man after white man.  Then the articles go on to talk about the Native American tribes who lived in the area, for 400 years, for 700 years and maybe as much as 7000 years. Some even lived on the slopes of the yet, undiscovered, Mt. Shasta.  They didn't even know it hadn't been discovered.

Native Americans were promised much. Their children were made to march hundreds of miles in snow, without food or water, to reservations "granted to them" for the exchange of their life styles and their homes. We've made heroes of soldiers that slaughtered thousands of the indigenous people of America simply because they were in the way of progress.

The handcuffs above were used on Native American children when they were kidnapped by U.S. soldiers. Taken from their families and jailed in American schools. They were punished and beaten for speaking their native language.

I can go on. But I just want to say that Black Americans have had a bad ride, but they are not alone. Irish, Jews, Asians, Mexicans, Native Americans, have all had to fight for the right to be considered citizens of this country and to be treated as such. In many cases we are still fighting the fight.

Today is Veteran's Day in America. I honor all the men and women who have served our nation, who have been our six. I have to tell you though, there are those soldiers, who rode their horses while shooting at innocent Native American women and children, there are those soldiers who loaded up Hispanic families into box cars and enclosed trucks, those soldiers who rode their horses as they watched women and children, the old and the infirm, march to reservations with broken hearts and broken promises. There are those soldiers that I cannot be proud of, there are those times and those thoughts, that make it difficult being proud of our nation at times.

November 03, 2013

Boundaries ~ Yours and Mine

Therapy is a wonderful tool. My therapist is a shining light and she has helped me in soooooo many ways.

She has helped me to set limits and boundaries. She has helped me to recognize my values, to honor my values and stand up for what I believe in.  She has also pointed out that while I make a concerted effort to respect and honor other people's boundaries, I have made very little effort in standing up for my own values.At times I have let people piss on my boundaries, trample my feelings and ridicule my beliefs. If I call them out and tell them that disrespect for my boundaries is unacceptable, some have immediately apologized, some have thought about it a day or two and come back to discuss it with me and some have basically kicked me in the shin.  Big girl here, bruises heal.

My therapist has helped empower me to stand up for my values, myself and for those that I love. There is nothing wrong with drawing a line.

There have been people in my life whose boundaries are very tight and well guarded. Cross their lines and you better duck or run because they live life "Locked and Loaded"! Yet, they seem to have no limits at all when it comes to how they treat or talk to others.

In the past year (thank you therapy, medication and insight) I have learned to draw the line.  It has been very difficult but I think I'm getting there.

"Free World. Feel What You May!" I have my values. I will stand strong to support those values. If you don't like them or respect them, that is okay. It is a free world.

The good news is I'm not jumping through any one's hoops but my own!

If I don't have exactly the same religion that you do, I'm okay with that.

If I don't have exactly the same political views as you do, I'm okay with that.

If I don't have the same values that you do, I'm okay with that.

If you are not okay with any of the above, I'm okay with that, too.

November 01, 2013

Found A Stash

#nablopomo is a BlogHer challenge to write something daily on your blog. they give you prompts and everything!  Cool, huh!

I would definitely take the challenge but I have promised myself (and all the gods and goddesses that care about that sort of thing) that I would write at least two hours a day on my book.  In my "old" procrastination days (who are we kidding) I would have taken the challenge just to avoid working on the book.  You see I have Authority Issues, even when the authority is my own mind!

Several of my blog buddies did post interesting thoughts about today's prompt: "If you found a million dollars cash this morning and had to spend it all before evening, what would you do with it?"

First I would run to my room to take a shower and change clothes because I know I would have pee'd my pants.

Before I was even dry, I would call each of my kids and ask them to call their mortgage companies for payoff totals. I would get our payoff total and, viola! We would be mortgage-less!

I am pretty sure that that covers a big chunk out of the million dollars but I would still have some small change left.

Next I would tell my grandson to go find a new car, something with a rear-end that would make drifting difficult and could easily carry two large dogs.

I would buy round trip tickets for my niece to Aukland, New Zealand, send a money order to pay her tuition for the school she wants and then pay for six months on a nice little three bedroom house near the college.  (I would, of course, purchase tickets for my sister, my husband and myself to go and visit my niece).

All long as I have the airlines on the phone I would also purchase tickets for my husband and I to Spain, Italy, Belize, Costa Rica.

I would purchase two cars for my oldest granddaughter who is just learning to drive.  First car would
be a 2000 Chevy Suburban. After two years of no accidents or traffic citations, she can have the keys to the shiny, new VW Bug she wants so desperately.

Next, I would reserve and pay for a large lodge near Yellowstone for a week and flights for the whole family.  I would also reserve a large lodge near Zion National Park and tickets for the whole family. I would make sure the two trips weren't consecutive weeks so we still like each other after the trips.  I would reserve bikes, quads, and order several boxes of steaks to be delivered to lodges.

I think I would have just enough left for a couple of $1000 gift cards to Dutch Bros coffee house (1 for me, 1 for my daughter-in-law) and a $1000 gift card for Starbucks for my daughter.

Do I have time left or money? If so, I would buy some silk pajamas and a really, really good bra!

October 29, 2013

Some Things Are Sacred

When we were kids, our family would head Into the mountains for day trips or weekend camping. I'm talking Rocky Mountains, so the drives were marvelous, the scenes bigger than big, especially in the eyes of small children.

We moved to California as older kids, still not middle school age. We packed everything we owned into a small U-haul trailer and drove; over the Rockies, through the Great Salt Lake Desert, the uninspiring blandness of Nevada, the Sierras, theCentral Valley of California and finally, the Bay Area.

Once settled in California, our family continued our weekend trips. We visited beaches, mountains, rivers, cities and missions.

Throughout all our drives we had a great family tradition.  Some mothers would be appalled but it was sacred to us.

While we traveled we never pulled into a drive-thru for fries and burgers. We carried our own feast! We made the Young Family Sacred Sandwich!   White bread (preferably Wonder Bread), bologna and potato chips.  Oh em gee, they were the best. We loved them. We were never allowed those sacred sandwiches at home but on the open road we sang, we laughed and we feasted!

My husband and I are photographers and October is our special "snap-a-thousand pictures" month. We live for October.  We drive everywhere, cameras, lenses, filters, we pack it all.

Last week as we scouted the mountains west of Redding, I remembered the joy I experienced on those rides as a kid. I was tiring of bananas, soda and spice drops (be careful here, fair warning).

I asked my husband to stop at a little store and purchase those golden ingredients.

He returned with Wonder Bread, bologna and Corn chips!  Really!

Have you ever wanted to row a raft through Colorado River rapids but ended up sitting on a curb with your bare feet in the runoff from your lawn sprinklers?


October 28, 2013

Something's Watching!

Sunday was a beautiful day. The sun was glorious. It's the end of October.  Knowing the aspens in Lassen National Park would be shed of their bright leaves; stunning in white against the deep blue of the mountain sky, I jumped into the car with husband, cameras and my I-Pad.

The drive was simply gorgeous.

Sunday afternoons in Shasta County has 80% of the population screaming at  their televisions...Go Football!  My plan had actually been to stay in pajamas, watching a game or two myself. The day had other plan!

We made the drive To Lassen Park in record time.  There  were only three other cars on the road not counting ours us; two going in the opposite direction.

In the park, we head for Devastation Area. Once there, a short hike down the south side of the hill next to the parking lot will take you to a lovely cluster of Aspens.

The wind was cranking; gusts almost knocking me over.  I don't usually shoot with a tripod so after a half hour of incredibly blurry shots of Mother Nature, I called it quits.  Die-Hard-Tripod-Sportin'-Husband continues hunting for the perfect picture.

I climb back into the welcome warmth of our car, clicked on the IPad and begin reading one of my 800+ books.

Our little Malibu was facing Mt. Lassen's peak. It was the only car in the parking lot.The sun gently warming the interior. I was alone. Cozy, indeed.

I begin to read a Terry Pratchett novel, one of his Discworld series.  After a chapter or so, my neck started to get that not-quite-an-itch itch. You know, the one where you could swear you are not alone and the "one" making you "not-alone" is watching you.  I looked around.

Just me, mountain, rocks, ash and trees. Tried to shake off the heebie-jeebie bumps on my neck. I continued to read.  My neck whispered to my scalp, a bad habit the two of them have, being neighbors as they are. My scalp starts to get that prickly feel, hinting that we might possibly have company.

Honestly, I tend to listen to Scalp just a tad but more than Neck.

I look around again, a little deeper into the shadows this time. I start the engine and ease the window on the passenger side up, just in case a hungry mountain lion tries to squeeze in.  Another quick peek around....nothing....back to the book.

A couple of pages later my toes are shouting to me the way only toes can!  I am not alone.

I listen to Toes, they have never been wrong.

Supremely failing to appear nonchalant, just short of a 360-exorcist type my head swivels, scanning the surroundings. No one.

Okay, a couple of little birds and a squirrel but my toes have never been bothered by birds or bushy-tails.  A couple of not-so-nice grumbles about my die-hard photographer husband's continued search for photographic excellence escape my lips.  Doors locked, window zipped all the way up, I try to focus on the book.

Oh, Oh!  Neck, scalp and toes! Goose-bump City!

Jumping out of my seat, I see it!  I am being watched! Right there in my IPad is the transgressor's reflection! It is staring right back at me! Green, like an ogre and at least 60 feet tall, it is humongous; as big around as my car!  A behemoth Douglas fir has silently, gently been sneaking up to my car.

I don't often use the word frantic, but, as I frantically turn my head (what the hell) I realize that the heuristic tree is not alone. She has several Lodgepole Pines and a Cedar with her. The howling wind has blown away all trace of their tracks from the thick ash covering the ground.

I love trees but my tolerance for sneakiness is, basically, non-existant!

I threw the car door open. (Well, I opened the door and the wind yanked it away from me but don't tell the trees.)

I jumped out of the car; feet apart, hands on hips!

"What is the meaning of this?" I yell to be heard above the wind.

Who would have guessed that such sneaky timber could be so shy?

Mute! Nothing!

"There will be no more of this tip-toeing around, do you understand? You scared the begeezus out of me!" It is hard to howl harder than the wind at the 6000 foot elevation but I believe those delinquent trees heard me.The hung their heads in shame, even though it was in the same direction as the wind, I am sure it was more shame than moving air that caused the droop.

I lift a foot to return to warmth of the car, their heads droop again, in impeccable unison. I tried to get into my little Malibu three more times; three more perfectly timed head drops. If trees were known for choreography, I would advise this group to catch the next lumber truck to Radio City Music Hall in New York City.They were good.

I reach into the car to shut down the IPad and the heads bobbed again, real low. I am well aware that trees, even evergreens, do not have knuckles, nor do they employ knuckles, but I could swear that I saw them do some knuckle dragging in that moment. Hmm!There seems to be a hint of sadness in their little droop, bob and drag dance.

My neck whispered a little message to my scalp. My ears, being large for my head and very efficient, picked up bits and pieces. My toes confirmed what I thought I heard.

"Do you want me to read to you?" I asked the swaying, droopy trees.

It could be a gust or two of wind but I swear they were jumping for joy, except that their roots never left the ground. I can understand that, as I've had a knee replacement and I, too, can jump for joy without my feet leaving the ground!

Really, you can't blame them. There is nothing like a good story and I bet they don't get read to a lot high up on that mountain. I don't imagine that squirrels, bears or mountain lions read much, not out loud anyway.  I'm not sure about Bigfoot's literary competence and that is a mystery I am willing to let remain a mystery.

I perched myself on one of the picnic tables after the trees promised to let me know if any of the aforementioned species should come up from behind me or for that matter, behind them.

"Except for the squirrels!" I said.

"Rabies!" said one of the trees in back (or could have been a Bigfoot), so I agreed that they should warn me about the squirrels, too.

The trees gathered around to protect me from the wind and I caught them up on what was happening in the story. Luckily, I was only two chapters in. I read. They listened. I believe the Cedar fell asleep.  There was a slight rumble from the back row.  I was hoping it was snoring and not the volcano waking up. The others listened intently. A giant Ponderosa  joined our group after he made me promise not to skip any pages.

In spite of the noise cause by a group of motorcycles zooming by made it necessary to repeat a paragraph, all in all, it was a very pleasant experience. The trees had problems with the words "artificial" and "Epicurean". There was a little philosophical banter regarding the definition of "artificial" but with a little prompting, we returned to the book.

The sun was starting to set. I knew it was fast approaching time to head home.

The park will be closed soon fir the winter, snow and all, but I promised to return in the spring with a book about Redwoods, maybe a story or two about enchanted forests (they love biographies). They absolutely didn't want any stories about Milkwood, apparently a dark, scary forest in Norse mythology. The Douglas fir said it would give her nightmares. She's not fond of science fiction.

Frank returned. I introduced him to the trees but, as they are known to be, they became shy. They really don't like to talk to strangers.

We drove off to take pictures of the mountain in the glow of the sunset. I waved goodbye to my new friends and they waved back.

October 27, 2013

Not Just A little Bit

I've been so thrilled for the past two weeks. The readership of this blog has soared.

One of my posts received 686 views, another 728 and the latest one on Trust had 128 views! 

Comments were still few but at least I was being read....

I love to write, it's almost an addiction. The writing is prime but it also feels so good to be read.

Well, color me stupid!

I haven't made the time lately to check the "big picture" of stats.  Today, I ventured past "Overview" and looked at "Traffic Sources".....excuse me while I puke.....! Shouldn't I feel better after spilling my guts?

I clicked on one of the referring sources.....PORN!  I clicked on one of the referring URLs.....More PORN!


I want to pressure wash my blog, right after I get out of the shower.

Do I make my blog invite only?

Do I sent a note to the NSA that it was by accident that I opened those two sick sites?

Do I close the blog and call it a nice run?

October 19, 2013

Trust is my friend.

To be quite honest before the internet, I always carried a dictionary and a thesaurus (in my little bag of pencils and pastels). Here next to me is my mostest, bestest book ever, an Etymology Dictionary. 

I am putting all these tools to work today!

For about 24 hours the concept of "trust" has been battering my brain.  How does one build trust and when it's stretched, or gone, does it ever return or does it keep one foot out the door. Maybe it comes all the way back in but finds a little room in your heart with an open window for a fast escape.

Is there such a thing as unconditional trust? 

If you are one of those brave few who know unconditional trust, may your trust remain unbroken. defines trust as a noun meaning "reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence...confident expectation of something; hope...a person on whom or thing on which one relies...the condition of one to whom something has been entrusted".

Trust is also an adjective, a legal element, which we are going to ignore today, because, quite frankly, my blog, my rules!

Moving on, "trust" becomes a verb. Words are really quite diversified when you think about it. "To rely upon or have confidence in someone or something; to believe."

Apparently the word "trust" first shows up around 1200, developing from the Old Norse word "traust" which meant "confidence".  

Makes you wonder what words were used to define trust prior to the 1200's?  Obviously, I can't imagine that humanity would have made it that far without trust and confidence.

Maybe, prior to 1199 A.D., when a brave soul headed into the dark of the forest, turned to see her friends behind her with thumbs up! Meaning, "hey, we've got your back"? Or maybe back then, thumbs up meant "hope you don't get eaten" or "we have confidence you won't get eaten but just in case you do, we'll wait here!"

Later in the 13th century those Old Norse dudes evolved the word into a verb, treysta, which meant  "to trust".  

Having a problem here with the "Old Norse" part of this whole deal.  Am I mistaken or is Old Norse 
just a polite way of describing the marauding, raping Vikings who were too old to participate in boys-night-out?

Sometime in the mid-1600's, two "ee"'s were added to the word trust to describe someone who had legal responsibility for another person's property. My book does not give any certain ethnicity or culture credit for this evolution of trust.  I bet my bottom dollar that it was some English man whose widowed sister just inherited a large estate, a forest full of deer and a small fortune. It may be those two little "ee"'s that prompted the concept of trust to take a nosedive.

In 1855, or so it appears, it became necessary to have another kind of trustee.  This one was a convict or prisoner who was known for displaying good conduct while incarcerated or participating in the Bond-Servant program. Heaven forbid someone mistake one trustee for the other, so the ee's were dropped and a y added. TaDa, Trusty. (doesn't say much for Boy Robin or other superhero sidekicks, does it?)

I would imagine the accent is on different syllables when distinguishing one from the other. Trust-EE or TRUST-y.

Is there a trust scale? You know, 1 to 10 or maybe, even, a rainbow-chart? Is that where the phrase true-blue came from? (Trust me, I will be looking that up!) May I also add that blue is only slightly higher than middle level trust, so when a friend tells you they are true-blue, keep an eye on them!

If there is a scale, what level should certain relationships maintain? 

Will the sun rise tomorrow? I'd give that a 10 or the bluest blue in my trust scales. Will I be there to see it rise? Hmm, I guess that's a 5; I just don't know. (ROY G BIV) My being here tomorrow is a green on the rainbow scale of trust. Maybe more towards the blue hues and a 5.5 because I am, after all, fairly healthy.

 Maybe the scale trust rises and falls depending on subject. I trust my granddaughters not to take my car for a spin even though the keys are very accessible (10-Violet). Same girls and accessible Oreos. Probability of cookies being in pantry in morning?  Orange? Yellow? 2?

How important is trust in a relationship?  Are there different types of trust that count more than others?  If you catch someone in a lie and call them on it, are you the bad guy? Maybe the other person "trusted" you to not notice or stay quiet. "Damn the boat rockers!"

So that brings us to "Honesty"! My buddy,, says, "uprightness and fairness, truthfulness, sincerity, or frankness. freedom from deceit or fraud" BUT...

...Etymology suggests the use of the word "honesty" begin in the early 13th century from French meaning "splendid, honor elegance"...uh...really? In the 14th century honesty evolved to mean "propriety of good behavior, good manners, virginity". 

(not going to say it....can't make me!)

It appears throughout most recent history, honesty had more to do with the appearance of being honorable than actually being truthful.  (Example: Congress, Senate, President, L.A. Police Department).

Okay, I get it. Honesty is about appearances. So trust must be about having confidence in how another presents himself or herself.  

Sixty-two frickin' years wasted on false expectations! What a Fool!

October 01, 2013

Look It Up




My vice of choice, well, not really by choice,  more like vice by birth. I inherited it.

I can't seem to shake it. It's like fly paper. The harder I try to shake it off the more you get on you.

Okay, to be honest, I really haven't tried to shake it. Not even on the day I got married, been married 4 times but only two husbands. Married the first guy twice..what was I thinking! Married the second guy twice, too, but our last ceremony was a recommittal (, could I run with that one!)  At the ring part of the ceremony, with husband two, when the pastor asks, "What tokens do you have to show?" My husband and I look up at each other with love in our eyes and whisper to each other, "Tokens? Tokens? We don't got to show you no stinkin' tokens!"

(I just love him. For a good catholic boy he is pretty irreverent himself at times!  My husband, not the pastor!)

My sister got a tattoo this year. She and my grandson are Tatt-Buddies and got matching Mustang tattoos. (Fords, WTF! Mustang Sally and Mustang Sal! "Leave the gun, take the cannoli!")

I want a tat, too! (oops, slipped out!) I want a tattoo buddy like my sister but I'm having a hard time deciding on a meaningful tat. No Body wants to get a tat that doesn't mean something to them, at least, it seems pretty stupid to suffer the pain, scabbing and pay big bucks for it if there is no significance to it, don't you think?

I want it on my lower back, I believe the kids call that a tramp-stamp, but what do they know? They don't even talk to each other without using their thumbs and then it's all LOL, ROVLMAO, IDK, CYBL, TY,  etc. In a hundred years we will have lost our vocal chords but will be able to lift Dodge Rams with our thumbs!

So, back to my tat woes. I can't decide between the word PEACE in subtle rainbow shades or a menacing Glock with the words "Lock and Load" in a curly, frilly font. None of my friends want to be tat-buddies with me and that makes me sad. Of course, I am completely relieved because I don't like pain and I'll throw up if I drink enough to make it not hurt and I don't like throwing up either.

Ah, that's another problem I have, I digress! I'm post menopausal, digressing is a symptom, it snuck up on me. Back to the elephant in the room: irreverence.

I get in trouble because a person can be telling me something really serious but my face betrays me! Unbeknownst to me, it breaks out in a smile. Honestly, the compassion is there but the irreverence factor kicks in and takes over facial expression and body language.

For instance, a friend of mine had their car stolen from the Quizno's parking lot on Little Eureka Way. They locked it but it was hot so they left the windows open!  Seventeen irreverent (but classic) thoughts come into my mind, you know "two cans short of a case" kind of thoughts. I mean, who leaves a car parked on Little Eureka Way, let alone with windows down. I know it's Redding and the temperature was 3 digits high, but still, hit a drive thru and keep your car!

My mother-in-law has diverticulitis but every time she tells me about her symptoms the irreverence gene whispers things like, "Wow, that's pretty shitty!"

I call the irreverent part of me "Bill", I imagine him in worn levi's, white t-shirt and a pack of cigarettes rolled up in one sleeve of the t-shirt. He doesn't smoke because I would have to kill him and that probably wouldn't be good.  Who would take out the trash or clean the bathrooms? None of the rest of us in here want to be responsible for that shit....oops, see, smile....and I'm dead serious.

Is there a rehab for irreverent people?  Irreverence Annonymous?  "Hi, my name is Toni and I'm irreverent!"

I'm afraid of life without irreverence, to be quite frank. Without irreverence, I might get a case of relevance! Pertinence without impertinence, what kind of world would that be? If I lost my irreverence, people might take me serious and that's not a good creek to be up, with or without a paddle!

Besides, I don't really have a problem. I can stop being irrelevant any time I want!

Really don't have time for rehab anyway, I'm packing for a trip up De Nile river; need to take crocodile wrestling lessons, buy a pith helmet and some straw sandles so I can "walk like an egyptian".  I better get them cheap, too, because I don't want to be e-gypt!

September 29, 2013

No More War of Art

Was watching Super Soul Sunday this morning. Great program on Sunday mornings showcasing critical thinkers, motivators and people who speak from the soul.

Today's show presented The War Of Art author Steven Pressfield. 

He has a theory about resistance. Maybe I should capitalize it; RESTISTANCE because he says it's big.

He states that every dream has a shadow, Much like the pepper tree he and Oprah were sitting under. To get to your dream  or your goal, your individual Art, (the pepper tree) one must get through the shadow of resistance.

He compares it to St. George slaying the dragon. 

I am very familiar with this shadow. Procrastination...doubt....fear....laziness are some of my less desirable companions in the shadows of my dreams.

I have promised to write 10 paragraphs a day towards a book I am writing. I found that it was easy to write more than 10 paragraphs daily so I upped the minimum to two hours of writing each day. I am pretty good about it most days but there are those days where it seems the shadow around the keyboard is very thick and murky; getting through it is almost impossible. Not that I try (being honest here!).

When Pressfiled mentioned St George slaying the dragon I was thinking how much time I spend slaying the dragon. I can be in the living room thinking I need to go back to the compute and write but then I see that the rugs need vacuuming.  Then I think, time to write; "oh look, the vacuuming has raised dust, I need to polish the furniture. Okay, okay, I'll write as soon as Rex (Border Collie) and I return from a walk.

On the other hand...when my goal is to exercise and take Rex for a walk, I remember that the dishwasher needs to be emptied or how nice it would be to sit in with my feet in the shady side of the pool and read.

Hey, I live in Redding; we live for shade when it is 110 outside.

What if we skip St. George and his over exuberance of manly testosterone and desire for slaying and mayhem and approach the shadow with St. Martha in mind. She befriended the dragon, they became pals.

Tomorrow, when 9:00 a.m. rolls around and I'm rinsing out my raisin bran bowl, stirring my tea, I'll be thinking I need to crank up Word and get back to the book. As I head back down the hall and the Shadow Dragon of Procrastination steps out of the closet, I am going to wrap an arm around her shoulders, let her sip some of tea and invite her to sit next to me while I type. I'll even propose that if she has any ideas about plot or sentence structure she should speak up.  I'll promise any idea will be considered, unless the idea includes leaving the seat in front of the computer until at least 11:00 a.m.

I might even ask her if she would like the name Shadow, which I think isn't so bad for a dragon.

Illustration courtesy of Deviant Art

Brene Brown Quote

"Every time someone watches Jersey Shore a book commits suicide!"

Haven't ever seen Jersey Shore but I've heard about it and seen pictures of Snooky and can imagine whole libraries bombing themselves up with each episode.

Photo Courtesy of Ignorance

September 27, 2013

Random Thoughts

Courtesy of
How did the smoke get to my bedroom ceiling fan, all the way at the other end of the house, when I burned the green beans .....OR.....were the fans really dirty and I never noticed? 

The City of Redding has parking meters on every street downtown but we don't have enough police officers to read the meters any more because of cuts backs. The only time you can get a parking ticket is if you haven't donated your nickel the one day of the month that someone comes by to collect the coins. Parking downtown is just a less lethal form of Russian Roulette.

Captain Crunch Cereal....WTF?

If I bought an old in Chrysler, Plymouth or Buick....and put a small, 4 cylinder engine in it, could I still get the protection of all that steel and good gas mileage or would a small engine be unable to move the behemoth?

If I go with Plymouth, do I have to have a Mopar ignition?

Why are Conservatives and Fundamentalists so proud of being narrow-minded?  Can you be a Conservative or Fundamentalist and be claustrophobic or are they cozy is tight spaces? Why do they want to pull you in to such close quarters?

In English, inanimate objects such as boats, cars, planes, etc. are referred to in feminine pronouns, so why were all the high powered, fast cars in the 60's and early 70's called "muscle cars"?  What muscles were they referring to?  My recollection was that "fast girl" wasn't a compliment in those days.

Why is it if one person makes a statement of a political or religious nature (especially on FB or Twitter), people jump on to blame, point fingers and contradict the statement with a regularity of 27 to 1?

In the same vein; when in a conversation, when a person makes a statement why do so many people  argue the statement and very, very few will ask, "Why do you think that?" or "What makes you feel that way?"

When in life does a human being decide they know everything or, at the very least, everything they know is the absolute gospel truth?  I can see a two year old and a fifteen year old insisting that they are 100% certain that the world is as they see it and closing their mind to any other lines of thought but what about intelligent adults?   Am I venturing into the oxymoron world?

Imagine you are attending a yard sale and trying to barter a large piece of furniture down from $60 to $30. Part of your argument is that you can't afford more than $30 because you don't have more. Imagine that the nice lady, playing the vendor, feels sorry for you and agrees to $30, would you hand her a $100 bill and ask her if she has change?  Would that person be considered having cojones or brain damage?

Why does the urge to do heavy cleaning always rise up like a monster as soon as you have applied fingernail polish?

Why is it that after the heavy cleaning there seems no time to repair fingernails and/or polish for at least a week?

Why, when a puppy chews up one of your shoes and comes back for more, he never comes back for the partner but attacks a completely new pair?

Why, does someone you really want to visit with, holding two large Dutch Bros coffee ring your doorbell the day you decide to lay in bed and read until 10 a.m.? So when you answer the door your hair is not combed, teeth not brushed and the blouse you threw on is inside-out, ?

Why does your friend not tell you that your shirt is inside-out and that your hair looks like you slept plugged into your Chevy truck's battery? Would a true friend tell you that you looked like hell or would she not notice at all because she loves you for you?

Finally, when you are awake early, you've showered, combed your hair, brushed your teeth, polished your nails and then remembered to wash the ceiling fan in your bedroom, no one comes to your door and you have to get in the car and get your own damned coffee?

September 14, 2013


Cancer is ugly.

My grandson lost his loving, supportive step-dad to it.

Dear friends have succumbed to it while other friends and family have fought the fight or are fighting it now.

I know that when I got a recent call, and was told that someone I dearly love has cancer,  I was totally paralyzed. I sat dazed, afraid and crying.

All that happened is that I heard someone HAS it. I wasn't the one receiving the diagnosis.

What happens to the person being told?  How do they continue to breathe? Do the words, "you have cancer" paralyze you? Do you want to reach across the desk, slap the doctor and call him LIAR!

To protect those close to you from the fear, do you ease the pain for them with a little white lie, "it's just pre-cancerous!"  Do you tell them the truth?

If you tell them the truth, does it make it too real for you.  Can you sit in denial as long as you don't verbalize it.

To state "I have cancer" must overwhelm one's heart and soul. To tell someone you love, knowing  your announcement is going to cause them pain, again, must overwhelm.

When the additional tests come back and the "all clear" is given, do you fully rejoice or is there a part of you that sits in doubt? Do you feel like the viewer in a dark theater; the protagonist inching down a dark hallway, expecting that any moment the villain will leap out?

I love you. I wish I could wrap you in my arms and protect you, not that you would allow that, but just the same.

Don't go anywhere. Stay here. We need you. Please.

August 29, 2013

What Has Happened To Us?

VMA's. The Video Music Awards.  I heard someone say yesterday that the "VMA's are like the Emmy's on Meth".

My husband and I went to the mountains to photograph the incredible clouds and vistas. When we came home we were busy cropping and tweaking the pics we got.

Little did we know that we were missing the Event of the Month!  Apparently, another one of the Disney girls is rebelling over her "good girl" image and made some raunchy move while dressed like one of the hookers on the corner of Market and Ellis.

Our world is full of major Headline-Making news. Syria, Rowanda, Montana, Mid-West Drought! What gets headlines?  Brittany, Lindsay and now, Miley.

You might ask "why do these spoiled little rich girls acting out get so much attention?"'s managing editor, Meredith Artley,  authorized the article about VMA's pole dance without the pole to be the lead story, placed in the same position she gave the devastating 9-11 headlines and the tragic Boston Marathon events.  Why? Because people want to see it, read it, suck it up like a strawberry-banana smoothie.

Sipping their coffee at Starbucks with their smart-phones, "Oh My God! That's disgusting! Is there more?" Click, click, click. had millions, MILLIONS, of views which mean big bucks for them. They take those numbers to the advertisers, "We can sell your cars because we had this many views on our site; people will see your ads!"

She put the carrot out there and a bunch of bunnies took the bait.  Then Ms. Artley calls her viewers "idiots!"

Actually, I don't blame her. We are idiots. Remember Jerry Springer's show? If it was being produced today it would probably be entitled, "The Real Housewives of Springview Trailer Park".  Oh, the drama. 

Today we have so many shows that are pure, unadulterated crap. We promote name-calling, back-stabbing and trashing thy neighbor and trashing thy neighbor's wife. We show our teens and youngsters that the important stuff in our culture is who's in rehab, who's back in rehab, who should be in rehab and what are they wearing. We teach our children that integrity is totally inessential.

We teach them that people who shop at Walmart are fat, ignorant pigs.
We teach them that if you aren't wearing a Name brand, you are nothing, p.s. can't get name brands at Walmart.
We teach them if you are bigger than a size 3 you are ugly and disposable. In fact size 3 is pushing it!
We teach them to start their sentences with statements such as, "Look, Bitch..."
We teach our kids that if they want attention take drugs, take off your clothes, act out!

Do you want a better world? It is up to us to make it better. That means, of course, that when the evening news starts of with Lindsay showing up for court in her Calvin Klein jeans accessorized with a leather Michael Kors satchel, change the channel or turn the television off. When GMA announces that Justin just raced through another residetial area at 115 miles per hour, go for a walk. When or Yahoo headline another barely post-adolescent does something stupid, DO NOT click on the link.

Let's show Ford, Chevy, Volvo, Proctor Gamble, Johnson and Johnson, ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN that we are not idiots. We are not little robots that can be led down the "buy-this-highway".

Stand up for yourself. Claim your humanity and put away the sheep's clothing!

(I know I sound snarky, but this really pisses me off.)

Ms. Artley, bite me!


August 26, 2013

Be Gone!

Spam! What a pain.

Most days it is filled with so much yuck, I have a strong desire to shower or at the very least, wash my hands after I have scanned it before sending it into Delete-Forever-Ville.

I haven't checked it for 3 days. Spam box runneth over; 286 bits of trash!

My eyes scanned the "who" column to insure that I don't launch something important into obscurity. One "sender" catches my eye.

"Erase Your Mortgage"  What a thought. While the hook did not tempt this fish, the message remaining unopened, I can't tell you that the idea of no mortgage didn't run away with my focus.

Can you imagine? No Mortgage.  Not paying some bank $842 dollars in interest while only $73 is applied to the principle. Talk about Home Ownership Nirvana!

As ideas usually do, I floated with it for awhile.  If I could erase anything in the world, what would it be?

I'm talking personal here. Not all those things everyone desires (well, except for the boys in the Pentagon and war toy manufacturers). Let's assume we all want there to be world peace, no hunger, no domestic violence or child abuse, bigotry out the door, unemployment gone and everyone, Everyone, treats animals with care.

Have you ever thought about what you would erase, personally, from your life?  I would, instantly, erase some poundage from various parts of my body. My giant eraser wouldn't hesitate even a moment to erase that brown spot on my left cheek, though I do like the couple of wrinkles around my eyes.  I would erase calories from cheesecake and lasagna. I would erase cholesterol from big fat medium rare steaks and carcinogens from hot dogs roasted until they are black.

Oh, Oh, and bacon, I would erase everything about bacon that my Dr says is bad for you.  I would erase the mileage between my family members, not that I want all of them on my front porch but it would be excellent if we all lived withing 5 or 10 minutes of each other.

I would erase my dislike for chocolate. Everyone but me is head-over-heels for it. I don't get it. I would probably erase my love for a nice glass of wine at the end of the day....uh, no, never mind, I would erase that I even thought that!

(see the writer brushing the little bits of eraser dust to the left, away from her cool glass of Reisling)

I would erase the oil stain on my brother's drive way which is visible from Google Earth. I would erase the pool two doors down that is filled with cloudy green stuff (sorry frogs and skeeters!)

What would you erase? Make it personal. In fact, as long as we have stepped into this dimension of unreality, what else would you change?

Tail-gaters! People who wait until they are 10 feet from the intersection to signal their turn?  People who chew gum with their mouth wide open?  I would fix the strap on my copper sandles, I loved those shoes!

Oh, yeah, I would erase the dog hair from the seats in my car and make it that my lovely Rex never shedded in the car or the house! Can you imagine the trail of dog hair when we take our walks?

I would change Mondays. I would have us wake up on Tuesday, brush our foreheads in relief and sigh, "Wow! Dodged another one!"

Get your magic hat out and think about what you want different. What you want erased.

Be careful, though. Don't try to erase bad memories. Those moments taught you something and you sure as hell don't want to have to learn those lessons again.

August 24, 2013

Anxiety 101

Do you know any of those people who have something really serious going on, usually health issues, but they don't want to worry you, so they make light of it.

They tell you a little bit, just a little bit, of what the doctor told them. Make a joke about it and then move on...

Later in the conversation they ask you a question. Seemingly innocent. What does______________ mean?  You explain it to them. You get a little nervous.

Later in the conversation they ask you a bigger question. Still seemingly innocent. What happens in an ___________?  You get a little more nervous.

You ask a question back and get not-too-much, if you know what I mean.

Later in the conversation, looks are exchanged, someone starts to cry and leaves the room.

You feel like you're a Rubbernecker. You're being directed to move on, "nothing to see here, folks." You don't want to be invasive. You give them a hug goodbye and on the way home you are imagining the worst, at least you think it's the worst.

You get home, you look up some of the stuff and then you really start to worry because your imagination never got to the worst according to Internet University.  You pace. You yell at your husband. You yell at the dog.  You worry a little more. You worry a lot more. Then you take a xanax and tell yourself you are going to call them in the morning and demand some answers. Screw Invasive. Right to Privacy is out the window!

Do you know any of those people?

Yeah, me, too!

August 21, 2013

Hey, I'm Magic!!!

While surfing this morning...and you know I mean the internet because it's the week after Shark Week!
Anybody going in the water this week is pure nutso!

So, while reading this blog and that blog, I find a reference to Rebelle Society. I am completely aware that if one wants to keep people on their website, one should only make references to other sites but should never post a link.  Gotta make an exception for this one. Posts on Rebelle Society can inspire the soul to soar. Reading it makes me feel like dancing naked in the moonlight...oh, did that last moon, you know!

One of the Blog Posts is entitled "7 Traits of Magical People".

Having read it, twice, my belief that I am magic has been confirmed. I am a magical people!!!

First trait: "You Know You're Magic"

Hells yeah, I'm magic. I've known about being magic for years. I know a lot of magical people, too. I bet some of them don't know they are magical, but I know they are.

Second Trait: "Synchronicities Happen For You...A Lot"

My middle name is Synchronicity!  Every day, all day, magical synchronicities.  Synchronicity is so rampant in my day-to-day life that I couldn't avoid them even hiding in a closet all day. Curled up with my shoes on the little white bench in my closet, thinking about how much my legs hurt from the lack of circulation, a book would fall off the top shelf, hitting me on the head; "Meditate The Pain Away"  or "Closet Organization For Dummies."

Third Trait: "You Are Sensitive To Seasons and Lunar Cycles"

Really? Didn't I just tell you about dancing naked in the light of the Blue Moon?

Fourth Trait: "You Have Very Vivid Dreams"

Had a dream last night that I was reading my Kobo in the middle of the night and finished the book. Woke up, realized it was a dream, grabbed my Kobo and finished the book! I liked my dream ending better!  I just might write the author and advise her to republish the book with the new, more exciting and surprise ending!

I fly, capeless. I dream in color. I visit loved ones who have passed. Sometimes I think my day is more a dream than my dreams! Mostly, I laugh so loud in my dreams that I wake myself up and I'm still laughing.

Fifth Trait:  "When I Fall In Love It's Psychedelic"

Met my husband at a health fair in the mall. He was standing in line at another booth. Everyone was in black and white and he was in Technicolor! 'Nuff said!

Sixth Trait:  "You Have An Abundance of Prana"

Prana, that would be creative energy. Have you been to my house?  If anything stands still long enough, I will paint it, plaster it or make it into something else. I even let the toddlers finger paint the baby once!

The site uses the phrase, "seized with the need"!  I have a lot of need cups and they all runneth over!

Seventh Trait: "You Love To Spread The Magic Around"

If I could, I would buy the Burrito Food Truck on the corner of Hilltop and Dana. I would paint it in bright, saturated colors. I would paint the sun rising over the mountains on the right side and the night sky with stars and moon twinkling on the left side, dragons in front and a unicorn on the back.  On the roof I would paint a little helipad with a note for the CHP helicopter pilot; "C'mon Down For Some Magic!"

I would sell magic wands and spell books but mostly, I would give away little purple satchels with sparkly ties and inside each satchel would be a note:

You don't need someone to tell you that you are magic, 
You already are!

Photo Courtesy of Nicole Chelonis Photography