February 28, 2014


My sister posted a picture of a bench over looking a beach this morning on Facebook. The caption on the picture read "If you could sit on this bench and chat for one hour with any person, past or present,  who would it be?"

The responses were many and interesting. I found the imagining of such an opportunity extremely delightful.

Ah, the thought of sitting above the ocean talking with anyone....I could smell the ocean, the beach, the sea grass. Then I realized that whoever was coming should bring a warm wrap, the ocean breeze was just a little chilly. Knowing my companion and I would be enshrouded in the same blanket means we would have to be sharing a close space. On the FB comment I hadn't thought the whole picture through. Now, knowing and feeling so much more about the event, I think I would chose to share that bench with my granddaughter Katie. We rarely have the opportunity to visit without lots of people and chaos around us. I could wrap my arms around her, we could sit close, we could share thoughts, possibly, even secrets.

Photo Courtesy of http://www.boston.com
That marvelous event inspired me to seek out other possibilities.  Many, many years ago I spent some really wonderful time with my niece, Naomi. She was just a little one and we had a great time telling stories, riding elevators and running down long hallways. I've spent more time with her over the years but we've always had lots of family or friends involved. She is a young woman now, so she is always, always, on the go.  I would like to spend an hour (at least) with her but not on the bench above the beach. My choice would be to grab a pizza and find an old row boat to spread out in, to chat and eat pizza. Share dreams and stories, maybe even make up some stories. She could tell me about the films and documentaries she is envisioning in her future. I would try and visualize them and see their success.

Photo Courtesy of http://www.puebla-mexico.com
Don Miguel Ruiz, a Toltec master, is  another of my desired people to converse with. Of course, for this conversation, we would need to be seated on one of the steps of the ancient pyramids in Cacaxtala-Xochitecat, Mexico. I would ask him about dreaming and Nagual wisdom. We would wear large, floppy sea grass hats and painted huaraches. My black jaguar would leave the jungle and join us on the ancient stones. After our conversation, Ruiz would invite me to be one of his apprentices. Jaguar and I would return to the jungle together, sit at the bottom of a immense tule tree. We will talk of the days when we share a single spirit and seek knowledge in the spirit world.

Photo Courtesy of http://jill-abeautifullife.blogspot.com
Sitting in a circle around a fire pit , a fire snapping and crackling the scent of burning mesquite and pine, my company of choice would be the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers.  They would talk of humanity and Mother Earth, of their lives and their cultures. I would sit and listen and learn. I would look into the eyes of these wise elder women and imagine a world filled with peace. I would envision a world where every woman's child would be honored and respected no matter what the age of that child. Whether you be a newborn or a 99 year old man, you are someone's child.

When conversing with my sister, the very best location is a deserted island in the Carribean. We will smell like Shea butter and coconut oil and not one SPF in view, our guardian angels will be filtering out the sun's UV rays. It won't actually be completely isolated for, every now and then, a kind, generous man with gentle hands and soft voice would bring us two masterful margaritas, reapply copious amounts of shea butter and coconut cream to our bodies and tell us sweet stories. Sometimes he would bring fresh slivers of pineapple, crab and prawns cooked to perfection with a small assortment of dips and melted butter. Sometimes, he would just sit with us, feeding my sister little pieces of rich chocolate and whisper to her that he will make my next drink a double so that I will sleep and they can be alone on the beach. I will sleep and dream of mermaids and dolphins.

I want to meet with Barbara Ann Brennan. For that meeting we will need a dimly lit room with at least one wall that is painted white. We will talk of aura's and energy; of physics and healing.

There is the exchange I long for with Deepak Chopra that can happen anywhere, as far as I am concerned, as long as we don't have to sit criss-cross-apple-sauce on the floor.

I'd like to talk with Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh. I think that conversation should be at 40,000 feet. We would be sitting in the cockpit of an Airbus A380. Of course, they could settle amongst themselves who shall sit in the co-pilot's seat and who shall assume the Captain's seat. I would ask them about their thoughts of flying solo above the clouds, what were their thoughts, their feelings. Did they experience fear and anxiety or was it sheer joy and gratitude of being able to just soar.

  There are so many benches and seats and places I would like to share a conversation with my husband. Possibly sitting on a warm rock near a mountain stream; huddled tight in a duck blind waiting to photograph the next unsuspecting owl or hawk. Sitting on the hood of the car watching the sunset as we inspect every single little dot in the sky with our binoculars to discover if the dot is sporting a tail so that we can yell, "I see it, the Comet!" Sitting in the car on a long drive or a short drive, sipping soda's and nibbling on ChexMix (Traditional or Bold). Rebuilding the campfire after rising from our tent on a cool mountain morning, laughing at each others' bedhead style! Or maybe just spooned in bed, watching the weather report before we click the TV off for the night.We would dream of holding hands and staring out the window of the space station watching the stars and earth rise.

While there are many, many other talks I dream off and plan for, my final one for today's post is a private conversation with myself. 

I prefer my turquoise, green and white quilt in a mountain meadow. The sun twinkling between the branches of the tall pine I have chosen to shade my little private space. I have a crunchy pear, an Arizona Green Tea and possibly an Almond Joy (depends on how soon my next dr. appt is). I will have my little bag handmade by a friend from drapes from the 1930's. The soft, rich bag will be filled with my pencils, pastels, my journal and good pen. Two good books, one non-fiction and one yummy fiction. I will have my camera but it will probably still be in the car with my phone. I will lay on my back,watch the clouds build and dissipate. I'll watch the pine branches bobbing in the breeze. I will listen to the birds and study the auras of nearby flora and fauna.I may study my own aura of my hands and finger tips. I will be still and feel the heartbeat of Earth through my quilt and my blouse. I will be filled with joy and gratitude for all there is and maybe drift away to dream of other days, other conversations.

February 25, 2014

I Love Surprises

Do you like surprises? Not like the envelope holding the note from the IRS that states you are being audited or the neighbor knocking at the door to tell you your parking brake gave out and your "76 pickup truck just rolled into his 2013 Camry.

I mean surprise visits from people you love. There is a knock at the door, you answer it and yay, it's your parents. You give them big hugs and send God a big heap of gratitude that this is the first day in 12 that you are wearing clothes instead of jammies, you don't smell like Vicks and you actually combed your hair and put on some mascara! Oh, yeah, and you actually had a pot of coffee brewing and the pink package of stuff Dad likes to put in his coffee.

I mean the kind of surprise when you give your mom and dad a hug goodbye several hours later, check the mail, walk in the house and there is a knock at the door. You open it and your brother who just had open heart surgery two months ago is standing there! (By the way, that was a four hour drive by yourself and I will be calling your doctor!) We had a great visit and I just happened to have another pot of coffee brewing (decaf).

Do you like the surprise, when out of nowhere, your husband looks across the table and says, "Have I told you today, I love you?"

Do you like the kind of surprise when your son and daughter-in-law show up at the door with a gallon of the "good" ice cream and homemade hot fudge and it's still warm? And believe me when I tell you, my daughter-in-law makes the best, the very best hot fudge! Bar None!

Do you like the kind of surprise when you walk out to your car and find that all the bird poop that was on the roof and trunk has disappeared and the only other person home is your grandson but you thought he had been in his room playing xbox all morning?

What about the surprise where you are sitting in the living room trying to read but your mind keeps drifting to "what am I going to make for dinner" and all of a sudden the most delicious smell reaches you from the kitchen. Surprise, your grandson is cooking dinner! Even bigger surprise, it is damn delicious!

I like surprises. I like cards out of nowhere, hugs out of nowhere, steaks out of nowhere. I like bird poop gone to who-knows-where.

I mostly like surprises when my teeth have been brushed, my face washed and my hair combed but if none of that has happened it doesn't get in the way of my enjoyment or gratitude.

Just a warning though; I'm not real fond of surprises between midnight and 5 a.m. I say this for your protection, not mine!

February 24, 2014

Baby Steps

Tried and tried to write an up beat, positive post today.

Wrote about the blossoms on the pear tree, the birds, the sun shining and the blue sky.

Talked about green grass and fresh air.

It went a little like type, type, type.....deleeeeeeeeeeeete.
Type, type, correct, type, type......deleeeeeeeeeete!
Type, deep sigh, type, type, type.....deleeeeeeeeeeete!

But, my cough is much better....lungs not trying to escape anymore.

Head doesn't hurt as bad, I don't get the brain slamming into the skull pain because the cough has settled down.

I can actually move my eyes without stabbing pain in my temples...that's a good thing, right?

Put make-up on and used a blow dryer on my hair....first time in 2 weeks.

I suppose my attitude will follow shortly, seems its still down in the funk, keeping company with fatigue.

Tomorrow...baby steps...first...a nap....yeah....that's it....a nap!
Photo Courtesy of Napping Guide

Or, maybe, I'll crawl out to the car, drive to Dutch Bros and get myself a hot Kicker. In an hour I will be filled with faux energy and my favorite mood enhancer. True, is will be chemical induced but dang gum, I am done with this knuckle-dranging funk and Vicks just isn't doing it for me!

To Do List:
Check Makeup
Dutch Bros
Call Mom and tell her I didn't die
(she was pretty sure I was going to!)

February 18, 2014

Concrete Wall

Whoa!   Did anyone see that truck!!!

Yeah, it's an old expression but it is so accurate in this case.

It was a BIG truck, the cab was probably matte black with dirty black frosted windows.  The trailer most likely a throbbing neon green; open sides like that of your typical livestock haulers, complete with you-know-what clinging to the sides.

The open sides oozed viruses and really bad cold germs. The back of the truck probably even had a sign that read:

Breathe Deep
Enough For Everyone!

It hit me and it hit me hard.

Have you ever been so sick you were afraid you were going to die and afraid you weren't going to die? Everything hurts; muscles, throat, head, teeth and hair. 

Good news, I'd bet that my core is getting a great workout with the coughing. I can probably lift a small Buick with my abdominal muscles.  A couple more days of hacking I could not only lift the Buick but I'd be able to flip it!

Bad news, head hurts too bad to read...proof that Satan invented colds and flu as torture. Laying in bed with nothing to do but sneeze, hack and speed race to the closest bathroom and the sight of a page with typed words heads you back to that bathroom, especially since you just tried drinking that chicken soup with the tiny noodles. Is it just me or do those little pieces of pasta spell out WTF and YOU'LL BE ZORRY?

Going to hit the hot shower one more time, deep breathe the steam to clear the pipes and cook my skin. 

p.s. thank you, God, for Vicks! It doesn't do much good for the illness but it sure keeps family away! 
p.p.s. please, forgive me for whatever happens to the next person that says, "damn, you don't look so good!"

February 06, 2014

Just Desserts!

You've probably read about all the changes in Kodak in the past two years. Kodak, our old friend, filled our homes with "Kodak Moments" and Paul Simon crooned his famous song, Kodachrome!

For years you couldn't look at the back of a photo that didn't have the name "Kodak" printed diagonally claiming the paper, matte, glossy or satin!

Kodak is over 132 years old; it's assets worth well over $5 billion. Most of those assets were patents. Patents for technology discovered, invented, created by their employees. Scientists, Engineers, Chemists and Technology geeks.

At one time Kodak employeed 145,000! In 2003 the business laid off over 47,000 employees, including some of the people who made the company it's wealth.

As the company was on the brink of bankruptcy, filled a Chapter 11 in early 2012, CEO, Antonio Perez said "...one of things it will do is streamline its structure!" Yup, another 1000 people laid off.  Eventually, bankruptcy protection was granted by the courts with Kodak still employing approximately 17,000. At the end of the process, less than 8,000 were still employed. Kodak kept the patents but shed itself of the people who had engineered it's wealth.

These patents were the meat of the company, again, worth more than $5 billion! The patents had to be auctioned off to save the business and the stock holders.

Big giants in the technology world, especially digital world (Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, gathered into two groups. After a short bidding, a final amount was offered and Kodak refused it. Appalled that the groups were trying to "steal" their patents. In spite of the patents being worth more than $5 billion, the company owed more than $6 billion.

The court ordered the company to sell those patents. But wait, the original offered had been withdrawn. The two factions of major players joined ranks. Now only one "entity" wanted the patents and they were only willing to pay just a tad over $500,000 for all those patents.

Oh, did you know that Mr. Perez's income from Kodak was $5,718,190 in 2010, other officers were being paid in the general area of $1,100,000 annually.

In 2012, in the middle of bankruptcy protection the courts gave Kodak (Perez, who also sat on the Board of Directors and had prioritized Chief Officers salaries) permission to terminate health and welfare benefits to thousand of it's retirees. Maybe this was necessary because the failing business had just handed out $13.5 million in bonuses to who? Executives, the ones who were already being paid a million dollars a year (give or take a hundred thousand here and there). Sadly, Perez's salary in 2012, after cutting benefits to retiree's and issuing bonuses was a paltry $3.46 million. (Can you hear the violins? A moment of silence for Mr. Perez's reduction in income).

$5 billion dollars worth of patents sold for less than a penny per dollar of value! Sounds like Just Desserts to me.

Oh, yes. The common stock was cancelled, leaving stockholders empty handed. New stock has been issued to the debt holders, Wallmart, Best Buy, etc.

An article in the Southeast Missiourian newspaper states, "You can feel the spirit of George Eastman in Antonio Perez's office." http://www.semissourian.com/story/2001667.html

Really? I had always thought of Eastman as a innovative and giving man. He was well known for his philanthropic ideals and his refusal to gain publicity from his donations. He founded a dental clinic, donated a huge amount to a dental clinic in England and worked diligently to promote health and wellness for his employees. He promoted education with substantial amounts..

The article goes on to say that a large portrait of Eastman hangs near the entrance of the office. I wonder if it cries. I wonder, too, if Perez can feel Eastman's eyes following him as he walks through the space.

Mr. Eastman suffered from a debilitating spinal disease and ended his own life. He left a note reading, "To My Friends, My work here is done. Why wait? GE". 

I wonder, if Mr. Eastman were alive today to witness the lack of character and integrity in his company if he would shoot himself again.

February 05, 2014


My husband has Wednesday's off. Wednesday is Our day.

We sleep in, usually only to 8:30 because it is always (and I mean ALWAYS) at least one phone call from work by 8:30 that is some emergency that can't wait until 9:00 let alone Thursday. He actually will receive no less than 3 phone calls from work, so technically, it really isn't Our day, as in him and me, but  Our day, as in him, me and the crew where he works.

Dang, sorry about the rant....don't know how that happened! My intention was to relate a wonder-filled moment in the day.

Every Wednesday we try to make it all about us, sharing time, sharing an activity, having a conversation that is deeper than, "How was your day?" and "That was a good dinner!"

We will load up the cameras and lenses and filters, try really hard to remember at least one tripod; not always successful. Some days we head off to Movies 8 for a matinee.  Only $1 each and that, my friends, fills Frank with unending joy!

Today we went to the movies. Sci-Fi, not one of my favorite genre's but he has graciously accompanied me to some seriously deep, think-about-it movies lately, so I figured one little aliens-attacking-the-world-and-losing-badly film wouldn't hurt.

We settle in, he with his popcorn, me with a soda. There are the fight scenes, the laser guns blasting, explosions, huge ships in space, death, you know, the usual science fiction faire.

The camera pans out from the space ship. We can still see little flares of laser blasts. The camera pans out further. The curved horizon of the big blue marble enters stage right.

The space battleship becomes a small speck as Earth fills the scene. The blue oceans, the bodies of land, the waves and spirals of clouds.

My heart leaped from the passive observer mode to the nurturing mother channel. I wanted to reach out and cradle our planet in my arms. It felt as if Earth was a small, lost child in need of love. My eyes filled with tears!

Yes! Me, crying in the middle of a science fiction movie!  My heart torn like a mother who's baby had just been pulled from her grasp.

I have been known as a hippie-peace-freak and have been labeled bohemian many, many times. Yes, I do hug trees but only the ones that need hugging. You know I care about the environment because I always recycle the aluminum cans and plastic bottles!  And (gently tapping my chin as I try to think of anything else I do to help the planet)...uh....that's about it. No, wait, I don't litter and I am against whale hunting and killing baby seals...in a passive kind of way. 

Shame on me!

The earth, the water, the air; they spoke to me today. They need love. They need support. They are crying out for our awareness...I heard the cries today.

You can count on me, Earth, I heard you. Thank you for taking such good care of me. Now it is my turn to take care of you

February 03, 2014

Mother-In-Law....Monster in the Shadows!

It's true. I have laughed at mother-in-law jokes for most of my life. I can also admit that there are some M.I.L.'s that are scary, pretty darn scary from some of the stories I've heard. I never thought I would be one of those kind!

I've had two mothers-in-law myself, yeah, that's right, I am divorced and remarried. My first mother-in-law was kind of scary before I married her son. She wasn't evil or mean, she just wanted to protect her son and me from making mistakes. We were very young.  Turns out her son had a little bit of a history and she meant well.

I saw the light in her eyes when we announced our engagement and after her son and I were married she was pretty awesome. If there was any problem with her at all, it was the day she almost rubbed the skin off my arm when I was in labor with my youngest. My contractions were about every three minutes and I was refusing to go to the hospital until birth was imminent. My mom-in-law held my hand with one of her hands and worried a long red streak down my arm with her other hand.  We left her house to salvage what we could of my skin.

When a surprise shower was planned by extended family, mom-in-law called me on the sly, to warn me, so that I could take care of Mt. Fold-More, the huge pile of laundry on the couch, pick-up the 2, 165 toys off the living room floor and maybe wash the four million sticky fingerprints off the coffee table and front window.

Mom-in-law-One was my ally. Even after the divorce, I took the kids to see her whenever we were in Santa Cruz.  We always enjoyed our visit. She visited the kids and me several times, too. Sadly, she has passed and I miss her.

Mom-in-law Two. Now, we started off a little rocky. I was divorced with 3 kids and she is big-time Catholic! Not good. She also had asked her son to tune up her van about 3 months prior to our meeting. The new spark plugs were even sitting on her shelf...waiting.  Her son tuned my car on our second date! The points stacked up regularly that she and I were not going to be close!

This coming May she will have been my Mom-in-law-Two for 30 years and a good friend. She is outspoken, but so am I. She has her convictions and so do I. She is a cup-half-empty kind of person and I am a cup-runneth-over kind of gal. She gets me and I get her. Most important of all, she loves her son and she (mostly) thinks I am good for him. Honestly, she probably wishes I would cook his breakfast every morning and have dinner ready when he gets home but she knows and I know that he's a big boy. If he is hungry in the morning, he knows the eggs are in the fridge and the oatmeal is in the pantry! She prays for her kids every night and do you know what? I'm one of the kids! I love her very much and I know that she cares for me. She also thinks I'm funny and I like that!

Now, I am a mom-in-law, have been for 24 years. Somehow, I feel as if I went from being a nice lady to being a monster.  I love my kids, two sons and a daughter. I want them to be happy. They have married three pretty remarkable people and it sure does appear that they are happy with their choices.

I am not in competition with the kids-in-law for my kids love or attention. I know my kids love me. I know if I needed them, they would be there. I have no intention or desire to cull the stock or to try to make someone look bad. I try everyday to make people feel good about themselves. Honestly, I just want our family to be together and love one another.

I am not the perfect mother-in-law nor the perfect mom, though I'm pretty close to the perfect wife, except for the breakfast thing! I've made some pretty big mistakes, honest mistakes, I swear my intention is never, ever, ever to try to cause pain. I'm just a woman trying my hardest to get it right.

No one has to prove themselves to me, if my sons love you or my daughter loves you then you are part of this family. I trust my kids, they are intelligent, loving, giving people. If they bring you in to the fold then you are in the fold. You belong, you are a part of the whole, you are on the freak-show poster with the rest of us!

Part of being a family, however, is a big responsibility, especially in how we treat each other. I would never tolerate my grandchildren raising their voices to each other or to me. We don't say things like stupid or dummy in this house and we don't treat each other like idiots.

So when ever I say something, whatever it is, I expect the same respect that I give. Constant one-upping is unacceptable and intensely hurtful. It is a terrible example to set for the younger kids and they notice it. They comment about it and a couple of times they have even apologized to me for someone else's blatant disrespect.

My husband has a beautiful glass Galileo Thermometer. It is glorious, especially when it's been dusted. The bulbs are all relatively the same size, unlike the people in our family.  Depending on the temperature, the colorful bulbs float at different levels, but not because one is more important than the other. Our family is much like the Galileo Thermometer, glorious, colorful, sometimes dusty, sometimes shiny but always, always beautiful. From time to time one or more of the colorful (though not relatively the same size) bulbs will rise to the top. It may be life successes or music, dancing, cooking, running, kung fu or just telling a joke that causes the bulbs to be at the top but they don't get to the top by standing on someone's head or pushing someone down. When we rise, I expect the others to hold them up not pull them down.

I am a Mother-In-Law. Let me love you!

February 01, 2014

Hopscotch and stuff

Do you remember hopscotch? What a great game that was. Hopping, jumping, leaping.

Stepping on lines and totally denying it while your competition could prove it by the scuff in the chalk line or the scattered dust in the line of dirt.

I really was pretty good at it, helped to have these long legs and a sense of competitiveness that had no end.

I also had the advantage of a lucky marker.  My dad worked for the telephone company.  He had given me a princess telephone key chain. Best marker ever!  The little blue princess phone gave  it just enough weight to fly where directed, not too much weight to bypass the 7 square, landing in the 10.  The chain added a little drag so once hitting the appropriate square it was not likely to bounce off into some other square or even out of the hopscotch lines altogether.

Some kids had rocks, bad idea because they bounced. My friend Layal once wound a rubber band around and around and around the pointy end of a feather. We thought it was a good idea but found out that rubber bounces, even when not shaped like a ball.  My father gave Layal a pink princess telephone key chain despite my head shaking behind Layal until I thought I was going to pass out or vomit. It evened up the tossing part of the game but luckily, I was about 4 inches taller than Layal so I could still jump five squares and land on one foot.

Layal was shorter than I was but she started to develop breasts long before I did. Those changes in her body really helped my hopscotch statistics. When a person runs, jumps the 1 square and has to launch to the seven square, landing on your left foot, it takes a lot of balance, concentration and a whole lot of arm waving not to buckle under the pressure and land on your tush or slide on your nose past the 10 square. Already height-challenged, Layal found it impossible to make those moves holding her hands firmly against her chest so none of the boys would see any jiggling that might disrupt the seriousness of the game. 

I thankfully remained flat-chested until my hopscotch years were over and my winning record remained untarnished. We had moved and no one in the new neighborhood had any interest in hopscotch. My reputation must have proceeded me.

It was still two years before I noticed my body even contemplating breasts and a year of contemplating before the first bump appeared. I didn't know if it was a mosquito bite or an actual boob. No itching so I checked the other side, yup, a matching bump. I must have been that last girl on the Boob-Fairy's route because she her supply of boob-stuff was severely lacking.

My new hobby was climbing trees to sit in them for hours and read.  Those little, tiny bumps on my chest were in no way an impediment to climbing trees and high up in the leafy branches, no one was bound to notice them. Hell, standing in front of me, a person would more likely scream, thinking a spider had crawled under my shirt than to inquire incredulously, "Is that a boob?"

The question was, how long could I stay up those trees and what happens if I have to pee or I finish my book and need another?  Could I stay up there until my breasts were done rising, like the bread dough on Grandma's counter?