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

August 16, 2013

Got Your Six

"I've got your back!"

What does that mean to you?

When you ask someone to be your "six", what do you expect from them?

It seems to me that a wide spectrum exists on the definitions of these two cultural memes.

If you are in the army, it means, "no one is getting to you from behind!"  Quarterbacks, friends, business partners....everyone has their own definition and probably a time when they "have your back" and a time when you are on your own.  In the Board Room or Happy Hour, a business partner may hold fast to his allegiance, but you go home, store the briefcase, trade the suit for t-shirt and shorts and forget to walk the dog or take out the garbage!  "Dude, you are on your own!"

A player on the front line of offense can swear to his Quarterback, "I've got your back. man, no one is going to reach you!" But, honestly, that Green Bay Defensive End was BIG and he looked mean!

For some it means:
1. "If you fall down, I will help you back up!"
2. "You need to talk, I'm here!"
3, "No worries, your secret stays with me!"

Most important is that both parties have a clear understanding of what the other one means when those words are shared.

A blanket statement of "I've got your back" could include fine print that you were unaware of!

ADDENDUM 1: Unless Dad finds out and then you and your sorry ass are S.O.L
ADDENDUM 2: Unless I get a boyfriend and I'm busy.
ADDENDUM 3: Unless we aren't friends anymore and then I am telling the world.

Two people make an agreement. They promise to "watch each others backs". For one partner that might mean that you will be loyal, stand beside them when others hurt them, not make them define "hurt" but try to be compassionate for how they are feeling.

The other partner might think that it means "taking care of the BIG stuff", making sure the bills are paid, the oil is changed and your favorite shows get recorded if you're out for the night. defines loyalty as:
"1. faithfulness to commitments or obligations.
 2. faithful adherence to a sovereign, government, leader, cause, etc.
 3. an example or instance of faithfulness, adherence, or the like: a man with fierce loyalties."
The origin of the word, though, has more to do with legalities than affairs of the heart. In the 14th century you were "loyal" when you did everything in your power to be "faithful in carrying out legal obligations."  (I bet there were no women allowed on the definition committee on that day!)
If you promise to be someone's six, start with communication. If someone promises to be your "six", ask them what they mean. Do not ASS-U-ME to know what they mean. Don't get angry and, especially, don't allow yourself to be hurt, when you didn't know where they were going to draw the line Six/Not Six.  

An old friend, a very long time ago, advised me never to place my trust or my heart in another's care.
Always carry your own heart and trust in your own satchel, especially upon entering dark woods. Tell anyone who asks which satchel carries the gold, which bag carries the biscuits but under no circumstances show anyone the bag that keeps those vital jewels, your heart and trust. 

The good news is, I have someone in my life who "has my back!"  Now, I know what that includes and those items that are not included.  I know what to carry in my own pack and to carry it myself. 

Knowledge gives you strength. It fills you with courage.  You know what can be left behind without worry and what needs to be guarded and kept with you.

Vitally important. If you drop your satchel and the traveler behind you crushes it, do not be angry at the traveler. You were responsible for securing those precious items and your lack of awareness and attention is at fault. It is, after all, your heart.

August 14, 2013

Stage Left

Isn't it funny, how so many times the best stuff happens "off stage"?

My family has a history of being involved with theater. As kids, we participated in the San Jose Metropolitan Operetta Guild, in fact, my mother was one of the founders.

In high school, my siblings and most of our best friends participated in drama or music, or, quite frankly, were just Hams; talented Hams!

Of course, the production was always of primary purpose. I have to tell you though, the best, the funniest, the most dramatic situations, always happen off stage. Sometimes the action is a mere 6 inches out of the audience's sight but can cause tears in our eyes from the necessary but silent gut- wrenching laughter from observers and participants.

Now, my family didn't leave theatrics to the stage. Theatrics is in our DNA.  Each generation has it's "star"! Someone who is always ON!  My sister, Sherree, is always the one who makes us laugh, even to this day. Infamous for some sort of action just out of the sight of the majority of others in a room, an office or the street, she will make you laugh so hard you could and probably will pee. The best and funniest antics is always at a time when decorum or reverence is typically required. You, of course, look like an idiot or a person completely lacking in human dignity when you grab your crotch to hold the pee in and giggle while everyone around you is sniffling or kneeling or just plain staring!

She often breaks into song, complete with choreography; she would short sheet the Pope or the Queen of England is allowed a moment or two of unsupervised time.

My grandchildren have announced that Alaina is the Aunt-Sherree-of-their-generation!  She does not disappoint, she completely lives up to the title!

She is constantly singing, dancing or setting someone up!

In have 6 granddaughters. In the picture above, only 5 can be seen. I caught the picture of them watching stage left. When I turned the camera to record the action, Alaina was standing, innocently, just standing, staring off into the sky.  When I asked the girls what had Alaina been doing, the response was a timed chorus:

"Oh Nothing!"

I guess you've just got to be there. I'm glad they have an Auntie-Sherrio-type. Every generation needs one!

August 08, 2013

Just Because You Have A Camera?

Fuzzy is good for teddy bears and slippers but NOT wedding photos! Get a professional!
When my husband and I were married, just this side of the dark ages, we thought we would save some money, so we asked around for a family member to be our wedding photographer.

We found someone! His only redeeming quality? He owned a camera. Our wedding was gorgeous. The wedding ceremony, the incredible backdrop, the momentous ride to the reception and the reception were magic. Magic!

One of the most beautiful and divine moments in our lives and we have two photos worth enlarging and framing...YET, the quality of both photos are so bad, the largest we could print was a 5x7 and it is fuzzy...a little like a very bad Monet!

The photographer was from my husband's side of the family so we have 35 bad photos of his side of the family and two of my side of the family.

My personal recommendation! Serve hot dogs and hamburgers, let Auntie Mae bake the cake, but hire a professional photographer to memorialize YOUR day!

Engagement pictures for your "save the date" cards, maternity and newborn portraits, senior portraits; you need someone who knows what they are doing.

And not just any photographer...hire someone who will talk to you, learn your likes and dislikes, make you look your very best, someone who is an artist as well as a technician.

Call Nicole Chelonis Photography, you will be so happy you did, especially in 30 years, when you have something beautiful to look back on and reignite those glorious memories.

She excels in Children's Portraits. She has a real gift with capturing their real personalities.

Fell In Love...again!

Cruising through Facebook this morning, this picture popped out and spoke to me. Love at first sight.

I love women. There is an energy that exudes from most women that makes my cup runneth over.

I love men too, but, I find that most women hide the exuberance of their nature deep deep inside when men are around. When that happens, I believe men miss the truth of women, the spirit, the joy, the wholeness. When a woman hides the authenticity of her full self she is stunting the fullness of life. The world loses.

Rejoicing in my closest friends, including my sister, I have to admit we put it out there. Take it or leave it, this is who we are. Buckle up, it's going to be a bumpy ride!

Maybe that is why women gathering together is so glorious. We open up, we share our truth, we love one another for who we are and we call each other on our shit!  We laugh, we cry and we swear when swearing is called for. I don't know many women who spit...but we can if we wanted to!

This picture makes my heart rejoice. Even the cells in my body dance with memory of ages and ages of women; gathering berries and roots with their babies strapped to their backs. It reminds me of my grandmother's kitchen; our women's lost weekends; sitting in my sister's back yard on her Adirondack chairs.  Reminds me of finding the briefcase on the steps of the Muni in San Francisco and dancing with my cousins in Zion.  Reminds me of sharing a beer on the shore of Whiskeytown Lake with a dear friend. Reminds me of the day I slammed on the brakes on a hot day on Highway 299 with five other women in the car.  We ripped off our clothes and dove into the cool water; skinny- dipping right next to the Highway. It reminds me of the morning we drunken pagans slept-in on the floor of the Jacqueline's beautiful Victorian in San Francisco, while the more devout trudged on to church. It reminds me of singing the blues on the houseboat on Shasta until Sally's fingers bled.

It does, indeed, remind me of my sister, Sherree, and her dearest friends, who embody the spirit of this picture in so many ways, who love each other unconditionally.

The three beautiful women in this photo fill my heart with love and memories of days long past, kitchens long gone and many days and moments yet to be.

Being able to witness this moment with these three women is truly a blessing. Thank you, Ladies of Joy and Mirth, for the honor. To have shared my own moments with friends and sisters, aunts and cousins inspires my soul to dance.

p.s. For the few men who have joined us in these moments and jumped in with both feet, I applaud you.

August 03, 2013

Most Popular Words On The Telly

What would be your guess for the most used word or phrase on television?

I don't mean the inflammatory or contentious verbiage of Diane Sawyer and her ilk. You know, that string of melodramatic adverbs added to every action meant to ssssttttrrrrreeeeeeeettttcccchhh one's imagination to think and feel the most agitated or fearful or disgusted that one can feel. The question does not include the inflammatory adjectives used to describe the proper nouns the journalists (and I use that word loosely) seem to believe we want to know the most about, such as Lindsey Lohan, Charlie Sheen, Kate Middleton and Beyonce.

My question is much more mundane.

Every hour long program on television has about 20 minutes worth of advertisement.

In between the attorneys promoting unlimited potentials for lawsuits, there are those cheap adds, probably filmed in someone's garage. You know, the ones that show their product and how easy, efficient, effective, and essential it is.  Then they show you someone using the "other" product...after that person has apparently consumed a fifth of Jack Daniels because I know if you can't close a zip lock bag or put your sweaters in your closet then, sure as hell, you can't touch your nose or walk a straight line!

Then the announcer informs you how costly the indispensable merchandise should be! (Cue the volume) In spite of how valuable it is you don't have to pay this-99, or even that-99; you can purchase the wonder-product for only something-or-other-99 (plus shipping and handling).

"BUT WAIT, if you call in the next 2, 5 or 10 minutes you can blah blah blah blah for free, just pay the extra shipping and handling."

But wait, you may be a fan of one of the many reality tv shows that cranks up the suspense, music builds, the announcer asks you, the audience, what, who, where, whatever is going to happen. Who is getting tossed out on their tush? What happened when the contestant chose case number 12?  Who lost the most weight or performed the best Tango? We're waiting...we're waiting...we're waiting........."BUT FIRST, this message"...cut to commercial.

We have become a BUT culture! 

And thank god for that! Without the BUTs in our lives, when would we pee, let the dog out or pour that glass of wine?

Let's hear it for the BUTs!