Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I know that Christmas was a few days ago but I've been busy the last couple of days and couldn't post any photos I took of Christmas Eve. And, before you know it, it will be New Year's Eve so I had better get on the ball.

Rudy looks so much nicer today than in this photo but I haven't taken a picture of him yet. He was groomed today and looks so white and fluffy. We sure have good luck picking out dogs. Rudy has turned out to be the best little guy so far. He is quiet, he sleeps a lot, he is happy to be with us...what could be better? Oh yeah...he gets along really well with Bodhi. They sleep together in the same crate at night.

I'm hoping that everyone is enjoying their time off, if you have time off. It sounds like some of the people I follow are having some really horrible weather. I hope that you all stay really safe. We are expecting some bad weather to roll in tonight and tomorrow...again! Maybe even snow.

Friday, December 24, 2010


Meet Rudy! We rescued Rudy today and I don't think that we could have given ourselves a better Christmas present than to save the life of some sweet, adorable dog. He was on the schedule "kill list" in San Diego and a wonderful woman named Laura who has a rescue operation saved him (and many more puppies too.)

Rudy was a little dirty and smelly but he slept on our laps the entire way home and hasn't been a problem yet. He only weighs 10 lbs. and is full-grown. We brought him home and bathed and brushed him and he is scheduled to be groomed professionally on Tuesday. As I type this, he has made himself comfortable in Bodhi's crate. Perhaps they will have a slumber party there tonight waiting for Santa. After all...Rudolph is already here waiting for Santa.

I named him Rudy for a couple of reasons. One was the most obvious: Rudolph because we got him on Christmas Eve. But the name Rudolph was also my grandfather's name so it means something special to me. Old R.C. would have approved I'm sure. I never referred to my grandfather as Rudy or R.C. or even Rudolph. To me he was Pop. Pop was a strict German descendant and a painting contractor by trade. The incredible thing is that I have just connected with one of my relatives (whom I have never met) who lives in Germany, named Gerhard. Gerhard has forwarded me genealogy papers for my family (along with photos) that go all the way back to the 1400's. I can't wait to delve into it further with him. I'm happy he can speak English...my German is really rusty.

So, from all of us here on the west coast in the Sierra Nevada Foothills of California, we wish you all a joyous and happy Christmas filled with family and friends. I'm sorry but I have un-hitched Rudy from the sleigh and he is staying right here with us!!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Tuesday I took a trip to Nevada City and as usual, had my camera with me. The windows at the stores were all decorated to reflect what the inside of the stores had to offer, which is appropriate. This Buddha sat outside the window and I loved how his heart was glowing with what appeared to be some sort of gold. Nevada City is located in The Gold Country. Instead of lotus flowers he was surrounded by poinsettias. I don't think that he minded.

A tea ceremony with offerings of nature in another window.

Pretty in pink.

The windows of J. J. Jackson displayed quite modern Christmas trees, don't you think?

Christmas to me is a time that we can reflect on what we are missing, what we need to improve, what we can do to help, and what we have to offer. It is a time to assess our possibilities.

I see metaphors to life in these windows. Not only do they reflect the inside but they also reflect the outside. They are mirrors of sorts. Transparent, yes, but still mirrors. Sometimes the image we see is a little blurred and not easy to make out but if we look harder we can see what is really there. It is not always crystal clear to us what we are supposed to do but if we arrange our window properly, display our best items for all the world to see, we have a better chance of getting along with the outer world. What can we measure and hold?

Like these windows we all have our own style. Some of us are a bit more flamboyant, some of us are subdued. The windows showcase a sampling of what we have inside of us. They are saying to the outside world: look at me... I have this I'd like to show you if you will just come inside and check me out. These windows entice, they grab your attention, they pique your curiosity.

These windows are composed of many parts that make up a whole (or complete) look. But these windows are just scratching the surface. There is so much more to see inside. Is it all about the material things that are placed in the windows or is there a deeper essence at the source? You be the judge.

These windows give me a chance to ponder things at a deeper level, to try and understand that I am a part of a whole. I am a window to the world. I read a great quote by Eric Butterworth that says: "...the you that transcends the body is a time-space parenthesis in the universal dimension of eternity." Isn't that a great way to look at us? A parenthesis in the universal dimension of eternity! What a remarkable statement.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


I'm late, it seems, at reading "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert. I have heard much about it, have seen it advertised as a movie, but just have not picked up the book and read it until now. And, I have just started reading it but I can already tell that I am going to love it.

I am not really religious; I consider myself more spiritual than religious. Elizabeth Gilbert writes on page 206: "your job...is to keep searching for the metaphors, rituals and teachers that will help you move ever closer to divinity. The Yogic scriptures say that God responds to the sacred prayers and efforts of human beings in any way whatsoever that mortals choose to worship--just so long as those prayers are sincere."

And here is the part that really stood out to me in Elizabeth's book on the same page: "A line from the Upanishads suggests "People follow different paths, straight or crooked, according to their temperament, depending on which they consider best, or most appropriate---and all reach You, just as rivers enter the ocean."

I am more interested in Peace on Earth and Good Will Toward Men. I don't believe that we can arrive at these two places by hating other religions, by killing other people for any reason, by not giving of ourselves wherever we can. I cannot believe that the Christ that we celebrate at this time of the year would approve of any of that. After all, he was born homeless, poor, and to an unmarried woman. I believe that he spent his life helping people that others shunned.

I wonder if I would recognize him if he was sitting in a cozy chair at Starbuck's this morning, trying to stay warm and dry, when I purchased my decaf mocha. I should have bought him cup of coffee and a piece of gingerbread. Would he have been offended if I did? Or would he have thanked me? Tomorrow, if he is still sitting in that chair, I will offer to buy him something. Good Will Toward Men.

Haven't we all heard the saying: Actions speak louder than words? The best way to "spread the news" is by letting our own light shine. This was the message today at my church service. Christmas puts a human face on God. I am happy to pass today's lesson on.

Friday, December 17, 2010


Meet Gilberto. Gilberto is the creation of Lynne Hoppe. Perhaps you might remember him from her posting if you follow her blog. Lynne is a very special person. You can see how touched by nature she is when you visit her blog and see her postings of her spirit trees and all the great "people" who come through to her and make themselves known on pages in books, pages on muslin journals, and even on sticks.

Gilberto was one of those "people" who came through and made himself known on a muslin journal page. I am the proud owner of Gilberto now and I have fallen in love with him. Actually, I fell in love with his photo before I even saw him "in person". What a great face...what a great nose...what a great guy! And I love his name...Gilberto!!!! (Pronounced Gil Bear Toe).

And, as a bonus...this lady (I don't know her name Lynne) was on the back of Gilberto. She is just as wonderful and will forever keep Gilberto company, sandwiched in between glass in a frame. I have made a photo copy of her so that I don't forget her face. Lynne has kindly signed the side of the page that she is on. I am such a lucky person to have these two among my art collection now.

Her eyes and nose with a small blemish above her nose. We are not all perfect, are we!

That wonderful mouth, nose and blemish.

Today is my 37th Wedding Anniversary. I can hardly believe that I have been married this long. I knew when I met B that it would be forever though. He was one of the only people in my entire life that ever made me feel safe and protected. He promised me when we met that he would always take care of me and he always has. He worked one job at Placer County for 30 years for me and my twins, commuting daily over 35 miles one way to his job. We were never without the essentials, were always warm and fed, and always knew we could count on him to take care of us.

When we first decided to get married we were living in Siskiyou County in a town called Ft. Jones. We lived in a 30 foot school bus! When we decided to get married we drove all night long through a snow storm from Mt. Shasta to Virginia City, cross country. Somewhere between Mt. Shasta and Lake Almanor on a two-lane road, we came across a tree that was down across the road. Snow was falling on our windshield and the roads were covered in white. There was no slamming on the brakes and avoiding this tree so we slowed as best we could and actually drove right over the tree. My car alignment was never the same from that point on every time I had to drive 60 MPH or higher. We ended up selling that car a few months later.

But, we arrived safely in Virgina City, went to the County Courthouse and applied for a marriage license. The secretary told us that the judge was down in the local bar having a beer; we would have to go find him there. B went inside; I stayed in the car waiting. A few moments later I saw B motioning toward me to come inside. "IN THERE?" I said. "YES"! So, we both walked inside of the Silver Queen Hotel where the judge asked us if we had our rings. NO. "Do you have witnesses?" No. "Well, I've got a couple of buddies here at the bar. They'll be your witnesses". So, we walked into the wedding chapel with a couple of witnesses pulled from the bar and said our vows. We've never regretted that decision yet. Oh sure...there have been moments where we have butted heads and had a few arguments but nothing has ever made us abandon each other. There were people that we knew that thought that our marriage would never last because we were so vocal (read yelling at each other occasionally...remember: we're both Taurus'---we lock horns quite often). But, we have always been there for each other and I imagine we always will be. We have become part of each other. We think alike, we sometimes even dress in the same colors without knowing, we both work hard and we have a dedication to our family and ourselves that is steadfast. To us, honesty and open communication are of the utmost importance although we are constantly working on our communication skills. That is important. We tell each other everything. We don't hold any secrets from each other. We know each other's worst aspects but still love each other. I expect to celebrate many more years with this man.

Lynne...thank you for Gilberto. He arrived for my anniversary and will be a constant reminder of where he came from (close to where we got married) and will make me smile every time I look at him. He's the best!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


On a recent Christmas shopping trip to Berkeley, California I visited a few of my favorite haunts and actually was able to do quite a bit of shopping for the holidays.

Berkeley is a really dog-friendly place so B and I were able to take Bodhi with us. At almost every storefront there is a dog dish place lovingly with water and sometimes food. I haven't noticed that so much here in the Foothills where we live except at the new Home Depot in Auburn. They allow people to bring their animals inside and shop with them. I have seen all sorts of animals there, including an older lady who brought her bird, complete with cage.

One of my favorite shops is The Gardener, located at 1836 4th Street. This place is a veritable feast for the eyes with every sort of sense taken into account. They have wonderful smelling things, some of which I purchased. There are beautiful books filled with gorgeous pictures to entertain and teach. You can find dishes of all sorts, beautiful purses and bags, scarves of every color, some of which were very expensive because they were completely hand-made.

I had an incredible time browsing and buying at these stores. I tried to be very thoughtful with my purchases, always thinking of what the person I was buying for loves to do. I overheard one shopper telling the clerk that this was going to be "Christmas lite". I agree. I have tried not to overspend this year and have actually made some of my gifts. After all, to me it isn't about the gifts that I give or receive. It is about what comes from the heart and what I am thinking about regarding that person. Love, gratitude, honesty, dreaming, thinking...I take these words with me when I am shopping.

Along the way I turned around to find a "knit-up" on a post next to the curb. I have been following the blog "Grrl + Dog" for quite some time and have been fascinated with what I see at her blog. Her profile states that: "grrl + dog is a one woman, one hound street art collaboration using fibre and art to connect community." Well, I now consider myself connected to her since I saw my first "knit-up" right there in Berkeley! You can find her link on my sidebar if you are interested in browsing through her blog. Go back, way back. to later posts to see what she is all about. I'm sure you will be impressed with her creativity. In her sidebar there is a link to a blog called: Pom Pom and Purl and a posting for Yarn Bombing on the Gold Coast. These knitters are everywhere! Before doing my blog I never would have known about any of this. I am always amazed at what I find. And most of all, for me, it is the connection, like she says, to community that I find really amazing. I wonder how many people walked right past this "knit-up" and didn't even notice it. And, for those people who did notice it, did they understand what it was all about? Or did they just chalk it up to "crazy Berkeley"? After all, when I grew up in the 60's, Berkeley was known as "Berserk-ly". Considering all that went on in that town, I guess it was aptly stated. It takes a few crazy-minded people (read creative) to shake things up. Berserk? I highly doubt it. Just "in their right minds"!!!

Are you left-brained (logical, sequential, rational, analytical, objective) or right-brained (random, intuitive, holistic, synthesizing, subjective)? I find I have a few of both traits but realize now that when I went to school my teachers did not address the whole-brained idea. I only found out when I went back to college later in life that calculation, reading, and analytical activities could be enhanced by bringing in patterning, visuals and movement. All my life I had felt that I wasn't smart in Math or Science. I always loved reading and even as far back as the First grade I was in the Advanced Reading Group...(Bluebirds?). I have always had a fondness for words and spelling. It took me going back to school to learn that I could achieve straight A's in those courses by being taught the way that I needed to learn. I wonder how different things would have been for me had I not felt stunted in those areas for such a long time?

My advice: never let someone Else's opinion of you define who you are, always be true to yourself, speak your mind (even if it gets you in trouble because if you don't you'll always be stunted), and lastly, always be honest with yourself and search out new ways to learn. My Math teacher was "not in her right mind" but she was able to work with me, who was!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Has anyone seen a man gathering up animals, two-by-two, and building a rather large boat (read ARK) anywhere? We have had so much rain here in the last couple of days that I am beginning to wonder. And I don't think that there is an end in sight for the next couple of days either.

I took this photo in Mendocino when we were there a few months ago. I love windows. They have a real appeal to me. I love what I see looking from the inside out and I love what I see looking from the outside in. Windows have a real metaphorical appeal to me also. What I see, what I am, what I do...I can always find the answer in a window.

I photograph windows everywhere I go. I never realized that before a few months ago though. I have been writing a book (it was prompted by NaNoWriMo) and I realized that there have always been windows that have figured prominently in my life. And then I realized that I also take photos of what I see INSIDE of windows when we are on vacations or on day trips. Think of that phrase: window shopping. How apt!

Enjoy your Wednesday everyone. If I don't get over to visit your blogs, it's because I have no internet. That's one disadvantage about having satellite for internet. I'm sure they can see me but I can't see them (or my blog).

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Luminous mind, bright devil

Luminous mind, bright devil
of absolute clusterings, of upright noon...:
here we are at last, alone, without loneliness,
far from the savage city's delirium.

Just as a pure line describes the dove's curve,
as the fire honors and nourishes peace,
so you and I made this heavenly outcome.
The mind and love live naked in this house.

Furious dreams, rivers of bitter certainty,
decisions harder than the dreams of a hammer
flowed into the lover's double cup,

until those twins were lifted into balance
on the scale: the mind and love, like two wings.
---So this transparency was built.

Pablo Neruda


34 years ago I gave birth to the most incredible girls. And the bonus was that they were identical twins.

When I first found out I was having twins at 6 months, I was a bit unsure of how I would handle it. I had visions up until then of holding a baby, nursing a baby, and sitting in a rocking chair cuddling for hours. How was this going to happen, I wondered? How was I going to manage. Well, the old saying goes you only get in life what you are capable of handling and when these two wonderful girls arrived, everything worked out just fine. We made it work. I nursed them both for 8 months too.

And today, they turned 34 years old. I can hardly believe it! Where did all the time go? In the photographs above you see them doing what they did best: sports and being with each other. They were always with each other and this photograph of them handing off the baton in a relay race in high school is exactly the way they are today. They help each other with everything. They are best friends to this day, live next door to each other, and even married brothers!

I am so thankful to have two loving daughters who have brought me so much love and joy. They are always there for me, through thick and thin. They support me, they love me, they never dessert me. Oh, we have had a few disagreements but we always talk it out and make up. Because we LOVE each other. That is what love is all about. Unconditional love. We are good friends, the three of us. We love to spend time with each other. And they have brought me even more joy with the birth of my granddaughter Natalie and the birth of my new grandchild this upcoming May. They are so close, in fact, that they both got pregnant the same month only 6 years later. April's due date is May 25th; Kimberly had Natalie 6 years ago on May 28th! What are the odds that they will have their babies on the same exact day?

Happy Birthday April and Kimberly. I love you and I look forward to spending many more years with the two of you. My life would not be complete without the two of you and your support.

Oh! And before I forget too: Happy Birthday to Suz who is also celebrating a birthday today! You, too, are loved and appreciated. I hope that you have a really incredible day filled with love and laughter and the warmth of your family and friends all around you. We will be thinking of you today when we blow out candles. We will make wishes for you and everyone that we care about.

Friday, December 10, 2010


Photo by Teri Mahl 2009

"Born, so they say, as a god and translated into bishop then patron saint, the jolly old elf we know as Santa Claus has survived multiple personalities in his long career as gift-giver emeritus. He has his own saint's day, December 6, which was derived from the feast sponsored in his honor by Greeks and Romans to whom he was embodied in the form of Poseidon, god of the sea. The Nicholas of St. Nick was transplanted from Asia Minor to Europe, and there he assumed a variety of guises, dispensing his gifts on his own day, on Christmas Eve, on New Year's , or, emulating the Wise Men, on Epiphany, January 6. To Americans during the colonial era, gift-giving was considered extravagant and a sin; there was no Santa back then. It was the famous poem written by Clement C. Moore--The Night Before Christmas--and cartoon by Thomas Nast that crystallized the image of Santa Claus we love today. His name, extrapolated from the Dutch Sinterklass, stuck to the chubby septuagenarian, and collections of Santas are based upon this benevolent bearded fellow bearing gifts."

(Taken from Country Living Country Christmas Copyright 1990 The Hearst Corporation Page 110)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Advice from a squirrel

Plan ahead
Stay active
Eat plenty of fiber
Spend time in the woods
Go out on a limb
It's OK to be a little nuts!

Again, from "Your True Nature" www.YourTrueNature.com 800-992-4769

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Be a jolly, happy soul * Spend time outdoors * Stay cool *

* It's okay to be a little bottom heavy * Avoid meltdowns *

* Be well-rounded * Live well, life is short

These words of wisdom were written on a postcard that I bought in Grass Valley over the weekend. They are put out by a company in Fort Collins, Colorado called "Your True Nature". At the edge of the card it says: Frame it, Share it, Keep it, Send it. So, I am sharing it with you!

Monday, December 6, 2010


These are images from one of our favorite stores in Grass Valley yesterday. The store is called The Wild Plum and it is filled with all sorts of woodsy items and glorious ornaments of all shapes and sizes. There were even fairy houses made out of wood bark, moss, and assorted mushroom items. The insides of these fairy houses were complete with small tables, chandeliers that were lit, miniature fireplaces, dishes, and anything that a small fairy would love and be comfortable with. This place is a feast for the eyes.

"Christmas is about discovering the light within, whether we call it Christ consciousness or Buddha nature; it's about light and enlightenment, waking up to our true nature."
From Sunday service at Unity of Auburn
Mark Schindler, Pastor

Other People's Flowers

I have been a fan of Crystal Neubauer and her art for quite some time. This is the second group of art I have purchased from her and I hope to purchase more in the future. There is something incredibly real about her art to me. You can visit her website at: www.otherpeoplesflowers.blogspot.com I think that you will be happy you did!

These pieces just spoke to me. First of all, I loved the images of the birds that she transferred on to the en caustic pieces. Each piece of art is filled with wonderful old paper words and images too. The words appealed and spoke to me for various reasons. This is first and foremost what appeals to me when I purchase art. The piece has to speak to me and these three pieces spoke volumes.

I once had a friend who is an artist herself (and a teacher of art) ask me if each piece that I have made always has a story. Absolutely I told her. When I create a piece of art the images tell a story as well as the colors I choose and the words that I use also. To me each piece HAS to tell a story. My story doesn't have to make itself known to all those who view my art but it ALWAYS tells a story to me. For me, that is the purpose. It isn't about making something "match". Color is an important component to what I create but not always the most important. I would say that what I try to say with what I create is the most important to me.

And, it has been awhile since I have been able to create my art. But my intention now is to begin again. I am setting aside time and money to create and learn more. I plan to take new classes in the upcoming year too (that is why I am setting aside money). There are so many artists out there willing to share their talents with us in the form of classes, writings, and even sales of their own art. I love to support other artists and have started collecting many things that I find here in Blogland. It is important to me; it is important to them; it is important! We need to support fellow artists in any way that we can. They pour their hearts out in their work. They invest lots of time away from family to create their art. They also invest lots of money of their own too (supplies, schooling, time [which is money], advertising, etc.).

If I were to say anything of encouragement to any of you who are reading this, I would say BUY ART! You can never go wrong with art. You might not know the artist's story but you can make the art read what YOU want it to say by making your own story about what it is saying to YOU! After all, it is all about perception, right?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Tim Hawkins- Old Rock Star Songs

I hope I am not really THIS old! I grew up with these groups and I am hoping that when I go see Eric Clapton in March, he is not singing songs like this!!!

Yes, Eric Clapton in March! I have never seen him live but love his music and he is coming here in March and we are already making plans with another couple to go "rock on". (I hope they don't think that it is weird to see a grey-haired lady there...I feel young at heart but the hair sometimes changes people's opinions of who I am...snap judgments I say!!!)

Thursday, December 2, 2010



I am half wood, half glass panes.
Freud would say that was a slip.
I am located at the front
and allow strangers to enter.
I am not placed at the side of the house
where editing of those who enter,
who are allowed to enter,
takes place.
I am transparent, reflecting views,
one-handled so that all know how to enter.
Those that knock will not be turned away.
My glass is well-lit and I am open for all to see
the true me.
I speak only truth because,
as you can see,
I have fragile glass in my middle,
glass that will allow only truth and light
to pass.
My glass can be broken though.
Should I move my door to the back?
I think not.
I am forever at the front.
(I am up-front).
I am painted a welcoming color.
My glass is clean.
I await your knock.

Go to Magpie Tales to see more submissions of poetry from Willow's weekly prompts.

Monday, November 29, 2010


While we were at the cemetery in Madera on Friday, I decided to take a walk around and look at the graves. I know it sounds like a sad or morbid thing to do but really, there are some wonderful stories to be drawn from the lives of some of the people who are buried. And most of them have to be written by the living, it seems, as what I found written on the headstones was not very enlightening.

Mary Searles and Emily Primmer are buried right next to each other. They both came from New York originally but are at rest here in Madera, California. Perhaps they were sisters who moved here together and lived to be 72 and 74. Emily lived until the year of the 1906 earthquake but there is nothing on these headstones to tell us which months they were born or died. We are left to our own imaginations to tell us about their lives.

Charlie Garner's headstone tells us a bit more. We are privy to when he was born and died and know that he lived only 55 short years. It looks as if he was a cellar master because that is written on his headstone but was he married? Did he have any children? Which winery was he a cellar master at? These are questions that arise for me as I wander the aisles of the cemetery.

I loved this person's name: Pinky. Not "short for" or anything. Just Pinky. But, again, no mention of her family, where she lived, what she did all her life, etc. She lived 73 years and there is no mention of how that 73 years was spent. Did she love to garden? Was she a wonderful cook? Maybe she liked to write short stories or poetry. With a name like Pinky I suspect whatever she did was quite "colorful" and done with a sense of humor.

Look at this headstone! This man fought in the Mexican war with the mounted infantry. He was 59 years old when he died. The Mexican war lasted from 1846-1848 in the wake of the U.S. annexation of Texas. So, John Pemberton was probably in his 20's when he served in this war. Notice there are no flowers at his grave. This is often the case at cemeteries. The people get buried there and then forgotten. I noticed lots of plastic flowers at graves which doesn't seem much better to me than nothing. There was one grave that someone had left a gorgeous orchid plant that I picked up and put back in the urn.

It looks as if the U.S. Government had relocated this husband and wife in 1971 but there was no mention of how old they were. It is nice that they were relocated and remembered but perhaps they were at Hidden Lake Site and it was an historical Indian burial site and sacred to them. I wonder.

This grave was marked as "unknown". Perhaps too degraded to determine sex, this person was moved and buried here with an unknown as a title. It seems so sad to me to live a life and then become known as "unknown". That is not really "knowing" someone is it! (Sorry about making your turn your head sideways. Google did not want to cooperate with me in this regard.)

Mr. and Mrs. Woo are buried next to each other. And, for those who can read their native language I'm sure there is much to be said about the two of them. All we know is the years of their births and deaths. No months; nothing in between those "dashes". We are at least given a photo to know what they looked like. I think that is a nice touch.

The De Leon's will be buried next to each other. Hipolito will be buried next to his wife Bernarda when he passes on. Until then, it looks as if her grave is visited by someone who cares enough to leave some flowers in remembrance. (Again, I apologize for the view.)

This grave site I found very interesting. It was a long, cement structure with small protrusions at the top. Below, you will see how these people were marked and remembered.

Not much information, right? No months, no days, no years, no names; only initials. We don't know if these were moved here, if this is their original burial sites, if they are mother, father, and children or husbands and wives. Perhaps it is two families because the last initials are both "S" and "B". And, absolutely no "dashes". To me, the life that we lead between the dashes is what is important. I read that someplace a few months ago. It struck me as quite a statement and one that so many of us don't take the time to think about. What will people say about us years later when they read our headstones? Will they remember the good things we did, the things that we loved while we were alive, the animals we shared our homes with, the jobs we did until we retired, the good food we cooked, the laughs we shared with others, the sadness we braved, and the life that we lead?

Writing is a way to leave something of "us" behind when we leave. We put down on paper (or computer discs or jump drives) our deepest thoughts, our loves, our proudest memories of our family and friends, and sometimes things that we are not so proud of. Sometimes we write things that we need to retract at a later date. Writing is a way of sharing part of us with others who do not know us. When people read our words they know what was important to us: it shows in our words.

I would encourage all of you to write what is in the deepest recesses of your minds and hearts for all to read; for all to read years after you are gone. Someone cannot know who you are unless you release those words that are trapped deep inside of you. If you don't write them all down (all the smallest details, the subtleties) they will be forever blank, as these graves and headstones are, left to those of us who travel to another town and just happen to visit the cemetery that you are buried at. I hope that I would be able to make a nice story for those of you who do not choose to leave the words and details behind. I would hope that someone would be able to "read" me and my life well too. After all: it is the way we live our life that we are remembered for. It is the life we lead between those dashes that is important.

As we were heading back on to the freeway, heading home, we were stopped at the last stop light before merging on to the freeway and this license plate is what caught my eye. How apropos for the afternoon.

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