Saturday, March 31, 2012


that I have been MIA for the last week or so. My sweet Uncle Cy, shown here on his 90th birthday back in 2009, passed away yesterday morning at the age of 92. We spent the last few years of his life getting to know each other, laughing and talking for hours in person and on the phone. He was always cheerful and had a lust for life. He was still driving his car and told me he was the happiest he ever was when he could get in his car and just go! He will be greatly missed in my life. He is the last remaining family member on my paternal side. All the stories that never got told left with him. Fortunately, he told me many when we talked. He loved me, my family, my new house, and so many other people. He would give you the shirt off his back and never think twice about it. If he liked you and you needed help, he was there for you!

Uncle Cy...I love you. I hope that when you make your transition and get to the place you are going, that my Dad will be there to meet you. It's been a long time since the two of you have seen each other (1957) but maybe time doesn't exist where you are. Thank you for loving me!

Monday, March 26, 2012


APRIL 8, 1948-----MARCH 7, 2012
Ken worked with my husband at the County for many years and retired from the County also. Today words were spoken in Ken's memory, telling stories of what a brilliant man he was, what an incredible father, grandfather, great-grandfather and husband he was, and also of his many talents. He loved wood-working, black powder guns, sailing, fishing, photography, and painting.

His paintings amazed me. These were a couple of copies that were offered to the public of what he had painted. He was self-taught and loved to paint in water-color. One person told the story of him coming to his horse ranch and photographing some of the old buildings on his property and the next time he saw Ken, Ken handed him a completed watercolor of that exact building. His paintings have such a mood to them and you can tell that someone who really was in touch with nature had painted them.

Ken was a loved person that will be greatly missed. We will forever see him in his cowboy hat and boots.

Bill and I were adding up all the people we have lost just since December 15th when my friend Mary passed away. As of today we have counted eight! I'm not sure if it is just our age or if something is happening to people that takes them in groups. I do know this: that if all eight of these people get to where they are going and they all end up in the same place, what an incredible time they will have because each person was spiritual, creative, talented, loving, and giving. It is hard to lose so many wonderful people in such a short amount of time. I've heard it said that the older we get the more we notice our "circle" of friends diminishing. I am grateful that while they were living that I was graced with knowing them. They enriched my life and I'm sure that of so many others too.

Remember Me

Remember me when the sunrise
awakens each new day...
And when a glorious sunset 
takes your breath away.

I'll be right beside you on a 
dark and stormy night...
A whisper in the wind,
A gentle guiding light.

Sunday, March 25, 2012



Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Saturdays for me are typically spent either working in my yard if the weather is nice or cleaning the house. I enjoy puttering around from room-to-room when I am cleaning and often get distracted by something that catches my eye and takes me off on a tangent. Last Saturday was no different. 

I found myself in the master bath and at one point I glanced over at the wall with my shelf and Mexican tin items. One was sent to me by a dear friend who blogs over at Secret Notebooks-Wild Pages. But what really caught my eye this particular day was that small whistle hanging from the towel rod, suspended by the original orange thread in which the gift was received years ago. And when I say years ago, I mean exactly that: probably a minimum of 30-40 years ago.
 Here is a close-up of that wonderful whistle, given to me by my late friend Mary. Mary made this whistle herself, strung it on this orange thread, and gifted it to me. It has been hanging either on this shelf or another one at my former home for that length of time. Gifts from friends are hard to put away. They mean something special to me even when they are the smallest of things. And sometimes the smaller the better.
 Seeing this whistle took me right back to Mary and what she represented to me. She was so creative and smart. She was sometimes quiet and unassuming but when you least expected it she would speak up and tell you exactly what was on her mind and even defend you if she knew you were right about something. And that happened more than once for me. She stood up for me and voiced her opinion regarding what she felt was a misunderstanding. I never expected this from her so when it happened it was always a pleasure to witness. It made me proud to hear her stand up for me.
 And seeing that small whistle made me look around my room at that moment and within a few feet I was able to find a few more wonderful gifts that she had graced me with when I knew her. I have always had them in a place that is close to my bedroom or bathroom because they meant so much to me; then and now. Now, even more because she is no longer with us but these items represent her spirit to me. She gave me this incense burner years ago also. I wish now that I would have written down someplace what year, what occasion, and if I knew where she purchased it or not. Often she would tell me the story behind the gift.
This small bear with the package of an arrow wrapped around its body and resting on its back was also something she gave to me. This was given to me way back in the '70's and was given to me when I moved to Siskiyou County to be with Bill. The bear symbol represents protection and with a fetish spirit bundle on his back he comes with extra protection. Even then Mary knew I would need extra protection and provided me with this "just in case". It has remained in a safe and sacred place since then. And even though in all that time since it was gifted to me I have only moved a few times, each time these gifts were carefully wrapped and displayed again at the new location.

Some gifts remain with us forever. And it is not because they are "things" that we just had to have, needed or even wanted. They were gifts. I looked up the word "gift" and some synonyms that really rang true for me were these: to empower, to endow with some power or faculty, and to invest. Mary did all of these for me in the time we were friends. And these gifts were just material objects that she handed me that represented what she, as a friend, already gave to me. I wish I could blow that whistle and call her back. Or that maybe I could give her a bear of her own with the spirit bundle tied on its back to provide her protection on her travels in her next adventure. But, when I burn incense in the burner she gave to me, it will send loving thoughts to her, wherever she might me. I think that me "finding" these gifts on Saturday reminded me of her once again and memories came flooding back. Perhaps that was what these gifts were given to me for: to endow me with memories of her. Whatever the reason, it is great knowing that she is always present with me in my thoughts. That is the gift that she truly gave to me: HERSELF.

Sunday, March 18, 2012






I title this Silent Sunday, only because when you wake up when there is snow on the ground, there is a silence that happens outside that is different from any other. It a "soft" sort of silence. And it's not just because you are not hearing vehicles driving on the roads; that still happens. For some reason when it snows, everyone who owns a four-wheel-drive vehicle decides to hit the road "just because". I guess it's fun to know that you can drive in the snow if you need to. Personally, when it snows I like to stay inside all cozy and warm by the fireplace.

Enjoy your Sunday. Here's hoping that you have some silence in your day too. I'll be sitting by the fireplace enjoying the day. I love living in a place that experiences all four seasons. There just in nothing like it.

Friday, March 16, 2012



Thursday, March 15, 2012


A few weeks ago, Patti Digh posted this photo of Iris Apfel on her blog: 3x3x365. Her blog is titled this because it is written by 3 friends who live in 3 different states and they each contribute a photo every day of the year. Patti Digh is the author of many books. She is a teacher and a motivator also. I receive emails from her with thoughts and positive affirmations. Incredible! But to get back to the reason of this post:

She posted a photo of Iris Apfel who is in her 80's now. I was intrigued by the photo of Iris and remember seeing her on a television show once. She is clearly distinguishable because of her style and her glasses. But this blog that Patti wrote got me to thinking more about her and her style in particular. I really admire her style. She clearly knows who she is and is happy with that. There are certain people in my life that I have seen that I am clearly drawn to because of their style or their way of accessorizing, either themselves or their homes. Iris is one of these women. I would hazard a guess that she has some art background and also with the little work that I have done with the Enneagrom I wouldn't doubt if she is a 4. But I digress.

Check out her wonderful jewelry!
I love the bracelets and jewelry she wears in this photo. She clearly is not afraid of color!
And these!

According to Wikipedia, Iris Apfel was born Iris Barrel in Astoria, Queens, New York, as an only child to Samual Barrel and his Russian-born wife, Sadye, who owned a fashion boutique. She studied art history at New York University and attended art school at University of Wisconsin (my suspicions confirmed). She worked for Women's Wear Daily and for interior designer Elinor Johnson and she was also an assistant to illustrator Robert Goodman. In 1948 she married Carl Apfel. She took part in several design restoration projects, including work at the White House for presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Nixon, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Reagan, and Clinton. She still consults and lectures about style and fashion.

Patti Digh was right in viewing Iris as a style icon and someone she would aspire to be like when she is in her 80's. I think that I wouldn't mind having half her style, either now or when I turn 80 either! Clearly Iris Apfel is one of those people that you have a hard time forgetting. I'm glad that Patti's blog post inspired me to do more research on Iris Apfel. I have an eye examination tomorrow. Maybe I'll start with new glasses!


I wait by the precipice.
Take refuge in 
 blackberry thicket.
Sit on branch
chirping loudly,
crying soulfully,
moaning woefully.
Willow weeps
on dung-covered mound;
fertile with possibilities.
I lunge forward.
Scheiden und Meiden
tut weh.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I am always interested in the art that I find at different places. At the Monterey Bay Aquarium, there is a section of art that is created from junk found in the environment. I love the fact that art can become a teaching tool for those who are not aware of environmental issues and it always saddens me when I hear of schools closing down art programs because of lack of funds. To me, art is just as important as mathematics or any other subject that gets "saved". What better way to showcase what is happening in our world than by a piece of art? It draws you in, is investigated, and sometimes there is someone out there that actually learns a thing or two from seeing it and reading the captions. I have written the captions here for you in case you are not able to enlarge the photos and read them for yourself.

"These plastic pieces were found in the stomach of a Laysan albatross chick on Midway Island".

"To The Depths" by Katherine Harvey, 2011
"Katherine Harvey uses waste material on a monumental scale. She creates massive sculptures from items like water bottles, packing material, and egg cartons to highlight the glut of plastic waste in our society. This installation urges us to keep our oceans plastic-free".
"Gyre", 2009
"If you look closely at this photo collage, you'll find toothbrushes, buttons, combs and other plastic items. Inspired by the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and Hokusai's woodcut The Great Wave off Kanagawa, Jordan's image uses 2.4 million pieces of plastic---the number of pounds of plastic estimated to enter the world's oceans every hour."
Close-up of some of the items.
"South African designer Heath Nash fashions lampshades, floor surfaces and other home decor from materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill. Hiss design line---Other People's Rubbish---creates useful objects, provides jobs for local craftspeople and raises awareness of the environment." 
Milkhandle Ball--2010 by Heath Nash

It seems like there is never a shortage of things to photograph. But I am always pleased when what I am photographing really means something. Artists have taken art off the canvas and incorporated new materials into their work. It is no longer just about painting and sculpture but encompasses every area one can imagine. This art has a personal expression and one that has new meaning and ideas. It allows the artist to make a personal statement by utilizing the best possible means. It is inclusive and conceptual, employing whatever means possible. "All art is experimental or it isn't art." (Gene Youngblood, US film and video critic)

Monday, March 12, 2012


Saturday we were invited down to the Monterey Bay Aquarium to visit an old friend that Bill and I went to High School with. We hadn't talked to him since then and thanks to Facebook, we were able to connect with him once again. We arrived before the crowds did because we were going to have a "behind the scenes tour" with Marvin doing what he has been doing as a volunteer at the Aquarium for the last 10 years.

 Marvin is a paraplegic. He lost the use of his legs in a motorcycle accident just a few blocks from his home. He has been volunteering as a diver at the Aquarium, where he helps to clean the tanks twice a month. He cannot do this alone. He is required to have two other divers in the tank with him while he is there. In this photo you can see the lift that was put in place to help him get his gear into the tank.  You can see him operating it here.

When Marvin was finished cleaning the tanks, we met him for lunch, along with his companion guide dog Yara and his wife Connie. It was the most incredible day and not only because of the wonderful visit to the Aquarium but mostly because we got to meet up with an old friend and talk about old times. It was as if only a few months had passed yet it  had been years.!

Marvin, his wife Connie, and Yara, his guide dog, are well-known at the Aquarium. All three of them wear volunteer badges and Yara picks up pieces of paper that he sees on the floor and hands them to Marvin. He is a helper in more ways that one. Thank you Marvin, Connie, and Yara for all that you do for the community that you live in. Thank you for not allowing any obstacles to hold you back from what you love. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to see what you do behind the scenes, where most people would not even be aware that you have a disability. Thank you for being an advocate for others who have disabilities too. Without your awareness, fortitude, and advocacy, things might not be at the level that they are now. We look forward to keeping in better touch now that we have found you again.  Facebook does have some advantages!!

According to Wikipedia, it is said that the word "Torah" is derived from "Yara" which then came to mean "to lead" or "guide". It can also mean "to teach". Marvin said to me that Yara is traditionally a female name but in this case the name was picked because it can also mean "guide" or "lead". At the breeder that Yara came from the dogs are given names starting from A and ending in Z.

Friday, March 9, 2012


I have always been one to pay attention to my dreams. Long ago I started keeping a dream journal because my dreams were so vivid, full of color and stories. Dreams are a way to work out things that happen in my daily life; they help me see things clearer most times, especially after writing them down and reviewing them a few days later.

Sometimes the dreams stay with me for days, haunting me occasionally throughout the days to follow with portions that pop up when I least expect it. But instantly, there is the recognition that a phrase or a word was in my dream. That, in my opinion, is the benefit of keeping the journal: I can go back and look at the word or the phrase (or the complete dream) that I wrote down when these things reappear.

This week, in the middle of the night, I woke up with the word "Vinyasa" floating around in my head. I immediately picked up my pencil (in the dark of night) and scribbled the word down on the paper that lays on the table next to my bed. It is amazing that in the dark of night I can see the words being written down on the paper as if the light was on. It's probably the only time that I don't worry about spelling because I don't always recognize these words, so I just jot them down as they sound in my head. They always lead me to an exact word, no matter how they are spelled.

I looked up the word "Vinyasa" because it sounded familiar to me but it is not a word that I use on a regular basis nor had I remembered hearing it in the recent past. It is a type of Yoga it turns out and the definition seems to be one that is of meaning to me; something that I should be paying attention to.

According to Wikipedia it refers to the alignment of movement and breath and is a method which turns static yoga postures into dynamic flow. The length of one exhale dictates the length of time spent transitioning between postures. In effect, attention is placed on the breath and the journey between postures rather than solely on achieving perfect body alignment in a pose, as is emphasized in Hatha Yoga.

The definition of Vinyasa seems to speak to life itself, the dynamic flow of life, transitioning between life here on earth and someplace beyond and the attention one should place on the breath and the journey while here on earth. It is important not to worry about achieving perfection, either in riches or physically but to enjoy the moment.

In light of all the people that have transitioned in my life in the past few months (we learned of two more yesterday...may they rest in peace) I feel that it is imperative that I pay the strictest attention to what my dreams are telling me. They come as teachers to me in the night. What do dreams mean to you? Do you pay attention to what is trying to come through to you? I once had a friend call me after years of not seeing each other because she had a dream about me. We have been in constant contact ever since. I have heard many descriptions of people who have been lead to write a book based on what has just "come through" to them. The messages are just waiting in the ether for us to grasp hold of I feel. Day dreams, night dreams...can one be distinguished from the other? Dream big!!!

Monday, March 5, 2012


At Starbuck's on Sunday this young woman was sitting, drinking her coffee outside in the sunshine and working on her laptop. I walked past her, noticed her tattoo, went inside and ordered my coffee and then came outside and asked her if I could take a photo of her tattoo. We began to chat briefly and she told me she looks in the mirror every day and remembers to read this and embrace it. What an incredible way to live your life. And the fact that she thinks about these words every day...that makes all the difference. The words are not just there for show, nor did she have them permanently placed on her back without thinking about them and possibly having them "go out of style" when she turns 80 and regret what she put there. These words can carry her through the rest of her life. One day at a time, one dream at a time. No time wasted.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


If I were an animal, living on the land or taken care of by humans, would I be questioning the "why" of this, the destruction of this, the "creator" of this? Or would I just go about chewing the grass, oblivious about what was about to hit me?

Maybe it is the fact that we have a brain that has evolved enough to feel compassion, to reason, to question things that happen to us and around us each day that gets us into "trouble".  I don't like the idea of this being a "test" or "someone out there" that would unleash this kind of power on any living thing.That doesn't make sense to me. Yes, I have many questions and I continue to ask.

(Photo content unknown. I received this in an email without credits).

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Trees grow in the forest near Gryfino, Poland---cause unknown

(Unknown origin of photo)

These trees have learned to bend for some unknown reason. They have chosen not to topple over but to resist the force that prompted them to bend in the same direction and carry on growing upward.  And do you notice that they all have bent in the same direction? The "happiness" of one tree is linked to that of the other trees.

Trees have been on my mind lately especially since the latest storm hit our area. Our previous home was built in a bit of a clearing at the top of a knoll, yet still there were trees all around us and in the 38 years that we lived there, slowly B removed trees from around the house; partly to use as fuel in the wood stove and partly because every time there was a huge wind, rain, or snow storm trees would topple, not bend. I never slept during these storms, always listening for that first "snapping" sound that is the precursor to the falling. It was no different for me here the last couple of nights.

The master bedroom sits in a corner of the house that is surrounded by tall pine trees. I don't have much experience with pine tree behavior since we didn't have very many of them at our previous home. We had everything else: madrone, oak, cedar, fir----yet the pines were very distant and in a cluster on the knoll to our north. And they never fell as far as I remember unless they were diseased. Yet these trees that cluster here around the master bedroom make me worry. And worry to me equates to sleep loss.

The weather seems to be in the news again this week. Tornadoes, high winds, snow melt in some areas causing mud slides, snowfall in other areas causing ice. As hard as Meteorologists try they can never actually predict what the weather is really going to do. And so I placed a pillow over my ears to muffle the sounds of the high winds whipping in the tops of the pine trees and as soon as I did that, I could fall asleep. It took the sound away from that place in my mind that makes me worry and allowed me to relax. Sometimes what you don't know won't hurt you. And that is the tact that I took. I sounds a little like the ostrich burying its head in the sand but really, I think it allowed me to bend. I didn't have to be so rigid and frightened. Just go with the flow as the saying goes.

In reflecting about the destructive behavior of the weather I am tempted to want to control it in some way, like the swaying pine trees here at my home. Yet, I know it is beyond anything that I can do. I can't control circumstances or other people (which was recently pointed out to me by my new neighbor) but I can train my mind to see clearly. It is the premise behind what I have been reading with my book group: mindfulness.
Mindfulness gives us the tools we need to help us be truly present. It allows us to find the gratitude in others that touch us.

I find similarities in the behavior of trees and relationships. In "Awakening Joy" James Baraz says that "Relationships can bring us so much joy, yet can so easily occasion anger, disappointment, sorrow and unhappiness. But as we've seen throughout this course, what is happening inside us is far more important than what is happening "our there". The trees that most of the year shade our house, provide protection for birds, and sway gently in the breeze can sometimes sway violently in the wind, drop branches on the ground, and sometimes fall because they could not bend. I am trying, at this point in my life, to learn to bend and to " with our [my] pain and sorrow when things don't go our [my] way or people disappoint us [me]."

And this from the Dalai Lama:  "It is important to understand how much your own happiness is linked to that of others. There is no individual happiness totally independent of others."