The Theory Of Three

It seems I am obsessing once again. My last post about a family member is still bugging me. I get obsessed the way some people get fleas, it itches and itches, and never seems to go away, unless of course something new happens for me to obsess over.

My mother always said that everything comes in threes. If there was a plane crash you can bet she was waiting for two more. We are Catholic, and Irish so there is the legend of St. Patrick and the shamrocks that represent the Holy Trinity. There is the rule of thirds in photography and art. If you are a collector then you know that three makes a collection. If you are a driver’s ed student there is of course the dreaded three-point turn. I started thinking about this today as I was driving through a parking lot. What triggered my thoughts were the people crossing through the lot as I stopped to let them pass, and how this can be related to people in our every day lives.

There is the apologetic one. You know, the person who scurries as fast as possible as if apologizing for getting in your way, head down, quick steps, glancing nervously sideways to make sure you haven’t changed your mind and are going to plow them down any moment. Then there are those I consider “normal”. They appreciate that you’ve stopped, they give a quick smile and a wave, and continue on their way. Finally there are those that act superior. They step in front of your vehicle nose in air, refuse to look your way, and stroll leisurely (sometimes on an angle!) in front of your car, as if they are the most important person in the world and you are an inconvenience in their day. I began to think that maybe people come in threes as well. There are of course existing socioeconomic groupings, Rich, middle-class, and poor, but I think in general the rule of thirds can be applied to many of us. There are the life of the party people, friendly, out-going individuals, who seem to fit in everywhere, former cheer leaders, high school quarterback types, they ooze charisma, and when you stand next to the finer examples of them you feel horribly inadequate. (I say finer examples, because aside from the rule of thirds, there also exists a sliding scale, some people are on the bottom of their group, some are on the top.) Then there are what I shall refer to as the “Norms”. Regular people who try to live their best life, they are friendly, nice, will go out of their way to help in any way they can, feel more comfortable in a small group, and don’t enjoy all the attention. Applying my sliding scale once again, there are people in every group that bear traits from another. Finally, there are the people I will refer to as the “Eeyores”, you know Winnie the Pooh’s com padre. Nothing is ever good enough, everyone is out to get them, cheat them, they never get a break, think everyone else has it better, I could go on, but I’m sure you may know an Eeyore, and understand what I’m talking about.

Back to my obsessive point. Religion. It can be a wonderful mysterious loving thing. It can also be an excuse for doing the wrong things. My three people rule again. There are people like me. I have my beliefs, I live what I hope is a life that includes doing good things for others, and caring for others needs. Loving my family, my friends, trying to be a good member of humanity at large, but not feeling the need to shout what I feel and believe off the rooftops, or to force what I believe on others. I am a firm believer in “to each his own.” No one knows what is going on behind the closed doors of another house. No one knows what resides in the hidden parts of the individual hearts and minds of others. I say, “Do not judge, less thee be judged.” Returning to the family member who made the remark about Dan going to hell for not accepting Jesus as his Lord and Savior, I have a question. (Not for him in particular but to the universe at large.) What if say you were born into a family that practices Judaism? Are you wrong for believing what you were taught and raised up in? Are your parents and ancestors liars? The answer is an unequivocal no. What if you were born in one of those South American tribes that are deep within a jungle and never heard of Jesus? Anyone? Locked out of heaven because you didn’t get the memo? My husband asked his brother at the time if a man who harmed a child, someone who did a horrible thing, but who accepted Jesus was going to heaven? He said, “Yes.” ( I say again here, for that man who is guilty of harming a child? Hate what you did, I can be angry, I can have intolerance for the act, but not my place to judge. I don’t know where you came from, I don’t know if you are mentally ill, or if you were a tortured child yourself. God will decide.) But Dan, Dan who stops to help old people in grocery store parking lots, who can’t pass a homeless person without giving them whatever he can, or buying them a sandwich, Dan who is a great and loyal husband, a very loving and giving father, he’s going to hell. That would be my number two kind of religious person. The kind that hold themselves above others because they believe. They wield their faith like a hammer ready to pound it down in judgement against others. I envy the faith that some people have. Mine tends to be a little shaky at times, but what I don’t agree with is the superiority complex that sometimes is part of the package. There are amongst that group some who spit fire about God and the bible, but then would deny aid to those in need. Senator______(fill in the blank). Finally, the worst in my book. (And that would just be in my book, my personal opinion, trying not to judge, but sometimes….) The religious zealot who uses the words of their God, whomever that God should be, to twist them in to a crusade of harming others in God’s name. I’m not judging here, I’m right, you’re wrong. We are all God’s creatures, even the ones who don’t believe exactly like you do. Not your place to decide who gets to stay and who needs to go. Stop hurting people, stop killing children, stop claiming to be acting in the name of God when you do horrendous things. No God, I mean no God at all, wants us to hurt one another. Religion and faith are about peace and love. I have mentioned these wise words before, they come from my dad (and as always must have a soccer reference. I’m paraphrasing here), “It doesn’t matter what color jersey you are wearing, as long as you play the game.” He was talking about faith and spirituality, and I’m with him. I don’t care who you believe in or how, that is up to you. I believe in a loving God, a forgiving God, a God who knows what is in your heart and in mine. What I do care about is when people hurt each other no matter what the weapon of choice, a sharp tongue can make a deeper cut sometimes than a sharp sword, remember that.


Putting An End To Hatred

Before I say anything I want to say that I am not above reproach.  I make mistakes, I hurt people (though never intentionally), I say thoughtless things without thinking, in other words I am human. I am also angry this morning. We have a family member who has upset me. I will only say that he knows who he is. I am taking him to task publicly because I know there are others out there like him. He doesn’t agree with the political beliefs held by our family. That is his right and his privilege, as it is our right and our privilege to feel what we feel and believe. Yet this individual believes it is somehow justified to call my husband names, to spew hatred, to try to demean those beliefs that my husband holds dear. By the way, he calls himself a Christian. The Christ I know and believe in is a man of love, of charity, of kindness, of self-sacrifice for his human brother and sister. I am amazed that someone would call himself a believer, a follower, and find it acceptable to attack his family member in such a manner. You know who you are. I am ashamed for you. The vile and inappropriate remarks that have been leveled verbally, via email, and by text are deplorable.  I am asking you to stop, I am asking you to remember your faith, I am asking you to show your family member some respect. I have sent a text to this person this morning because I picked up my husband’s phone to call my elderly father, and I saw the message that was sent to Dan. My husband is a good, decent, loving, hardworking man. He is kind and compassionate. This person also told my husband a few years ago that he is condemned to hell because he hasn’t chosen Jesus as his Lord and Savior. I have news for you, not your call. While my husband is not a man of faith he lives his life in a manner that God would want.  I am asking, no I am telling you, and everyone like you who thinks it is OK to present yourself to the world as a Christian, but to privately express yourself in a less than Christ-like way, that you so don’t get it. Maybe you need to reread that bible of yours. Hatred doesn’t work, judgement doesn’t work, the only thing that works, the only things that matter in this life are love, compassion, faith, and family. If you wish to continue to be part of mine you will stop. I don’t want another word of hatred to cross my door. You are someone who my husband respected and admired, he was mistaken. I will no longer allow you to hurt the person who means the most to me in this world. As I told you via text this morning, he is not “stupid”, he chose me.

If you are not my family member, but any of this rings a bell, think about it. Examine your own behavior. As I said above, I am not above reproach. I simply feel that there are those who are mistaken in their beliefs, I also believe it is not my place to judge them. I do not hate them, I don’t demean them, I don’t stoop to inexcusably childish name calling. I try to live my life caring for those I love, but also caring for the less fortunate. I am asking everyone who reads this to remember the season, remember what it is about, remember that you shouldn’t treat someone else in a manner that you would not want to be treated. I will also say that even if you are not a Christian there is the way that Jesus asked us to live our lives. There are ways in many religions that speak to the core of who we all should be, loving, kind, compassionate, and caring human beings. It is the way we should all live, believers or not.

I’m Just Tired

It was bound to happen, after weeks and weeks of disrespect, weeks and weeks of being treated like I don’t have a brain in my head, weeks and weeks of having realtors call and be rude to me on the phone, it had to happen. I made a realtor cry. I don’t necessarily feel good about it. In fact I’ve been feeling lousy since the woman left, but she crossed a line. I mentioned here the other day that it isn’t a good idea to make me mad. I guess she doesn’t read my blog. This realtor had called several weeks ago. She was very nice on the phone. I made it clear to her, as I do with all who call, that if I indeed decide to not sell my own house, the listing will go to my friend. This woman called again two weeks ago. She offered to host an open house for us as a “buyers” realtor. I was so suspicious of her motives that I contacted another friend who is a very successful realtor to ask her opinion. She thought it was unusual, but she said she didn’t see any reason not to. At the last-minute the realtor cancelled. A. Because she “forgot” it was her husband’s birthday. B. She “forgot” it was Halloween (even though she told me she had two young ones). We just figured she came to her senses. I didn’t expect to hear from her again. She called the other day and wanted to talk to Dan and I. Again I reiterated that my friend would be my realtor. She asked about my friend as I had mentioned she was out-of-town for a family emergency. I told her my friends dad had sadly passed. She offered her sympathies, and then made plans to come to my home tonight. When she came here this evening she asked to see my home. Every detail, every upgrade that I pointed out was dismissed. She came here with a price. She hadn’t even seen our home. As she sat with us showing us listing after listing of homes she was comparing us to, Dan asked about her motives. (The truth shall set you free.) She was here out of the “goodness of her heart”, well that and, “Just in case something happens between you and your friend. You never know what will happen.” Dan flat-out repeated again that she wasn’t getting our listing, that we love our friend, and he knew what she wanted. “No, of course not, I’m just saying you never know what will happen.” I could feel my leg begin to twitch. I was trying, I really was. I was hoping she would finish her pitch and get out. Then she gave us the price. Twenty four thousand dollars less than we are listed for. I’ve met this person before in Chicago. The realtor who had us list twenty thousand less so he could get a quick sale. I was beginning to think the same thing was happening again. I couldn’t stand another minute of it. I called her on her crap. I asked her why she would try to get our listing when we told her she couldn’t have it. I told her that if she had come as a buyers realtor, she of course wanted me to lower the price. She insisted that it wasn’t true. If she came to try to get us to list with her she was lowering the price for a quick sale. Dan stepped in and essentially told her to cut her losses. He told her in sales there is a moment when you know the deal is over. This was the moment. She didn’t quit. She was still insistent that she only wanted to help. I told her she lost me as soon as she said that sometimes things happen between friends, and maybe then we would think of her. I said, “You know my friend buried her dad today, and now you want me to say, “Oh, I’m sorry your dad passed away, but I met this nice lady…”. She claimed she didn’t know, that isn’t true. She had asked if my friend were back while we were in my garden, and I had told her he was buried today. She became indignant and said that only her mother and God know what is in her heart. Maybe I’m wrong, but I honestly don’t think so. I did tell her I understand this is her job and she is trying to make a living, but I also told her that I know my own heart, and that I wouldn’t hurt a friend. That’s not who I am. She gathered up her things, and pretty much ran out my door. I’m sorry it happened. I’m sorry she cried. I’m sorry that no one seems to believe me when I say no, or when I say I am loyal to my friend. I am tired of this. I just want to sell my house. If just one person put as much effort into finding someone to buy it as they do trying to convince me to give them the listing, they would be about ten thousand dollars richer by now. I will repeat for the tenth time. Not all realtors are bad. Not every realtor I’ve come across has been rude and disrespectful. Some have been lovely and understanding.  I don’t like losing my temper. I made a promise to myself a long time ago that life is too short to be mad. I should have just asked her to leave, it probably would have been the best thing for both of us.

Life Moves On

I have friend, she landed in Paris this morning. I have another who is burying her dad today. One friend facing probably one of the worst days of her life, and the other experiencing immense happiness. The world never stops. Sunday I went to a concert, but as we drove there I thought about the friend of mine who just that morning had lost her dad. I was reminded of when my mother died. I remember thinking about how in a single moment my life was changed forever, yet for the rest of the world outside my family life was continuing on as normal. I remember thinking, “How can this be? Shouldn’t everyone know that a beautiful person had just left this earth?”, but here I was on the way to a concert, my friend’s world changed forever, mine continuing on. It’s a strange place to be. You know your life will never be the same, but the people who see you on the street have no idea of the profound loss you’ve just experienced. For the friend that is burying her dad, actually her step-dad (you know those unsung heroes that step into a family and make all the difference in the world?), I am sure she is in a similar place to where I was. I think I have posted this poem before, or at the very least mentioned it. I heard it in the movie Four Weddings and A Funeral and it stuck with me since:


It’s been seven years since I lost my mom. When my friend sent a text to let me know her dad had passed I cried. I cried for her loss, but also for my own. Reopening a wound a little. I still wonder about the world that continues on without my mom. I still ache to her voice, to wrap my arms around her, to give her one more kiss. Monday was a little cold here. I grabbed a scarf from my drawer, it was my mother’s. It still smelled of smoke, hairspray, and of her perfume. I haven’t washed it in all the time I’ve had it, and I never will. It carries traces of her and if that is all I can have I will treasure it forever.

To my friend in Paris. I love Paris, I hope you will love it as much as I did. Treasure that you are there with someone you love, I hope you have thousands of beautiful memories.

To my friend who is burying her dad. I think I’ve told you more than once, my mom knew how much I loved her. In some small way that helps. Your dad knew you loved him. He knows you are a fine and good woman. Dark skies ahead, but time truly helps, focus on the good stuff, the love, the laughter, even the stuff that annoyed the heck out of you. It’s life, it’s moving on, it will continue to move on, it will be a little emptier, but he will live on in your heart and mind. He has left this world with the gift of your love and the love of your family, and in return has left some love of his own. Prayers are with you all today.


Before I end this post a word about stepfathers. My husband is one, and I couldn’t have asked for a better one. Like my friends dad he made sure that my daughter knew he loved her. Most stepfathers love all of their children, not just the ones that are “blood” relatives. Stepfathers usually end up in the movies as creepy guys who are up to no good, when in everyday life they are men made of something special. It isn’t easy to step into a family, and when your stepchild loves you immensely it means you have done something really right. When your stepchild refers to you as “Dad” it means you have crossed the boundary of blood lines and brought something wonderful into the life of someone else. I’m not forgetting the step-moms either. My daughter has a really terrific one named Valerie, who is one of the finest women I know, and my very dear friend. I couldn’t have asked for a better influence in Jessica’s life.

Life will move on. Stop breathe, appreciate, offer gratitude, and most of all love. I never want someone I know to leave this earth not knowing what they mean to me.

She Speaks

After a year of blogging every single day, and then a couple of times a week, it might seem like I am running out of things to say. That isn’t true of course, although I am much less of a “talker” than most. I am comfortable in my own silence (and even more comfortable in the silence of some others…) The truth is that things haven’t changed. Our life is still on hold as we try to sell our home. At the risk of offending some very dear friends (who happen to be decent human beings and realtors), I will say that we are beginning to feel a bit like shark bait for the local realtors. We continue to have people contact us about our home, always starting out as if they have a possible buyer, ask lots of questions and then go for the kill. When I explained to a caller the other day that I had a realtor in line, a best friend in line for the sale of our home should we decide to go that route, she began to badger me on the whys and hows of why in her opinion, “That just doesn’t work.” I explained that my dear friend is away for family medical reasons. I explained that I had already made the promise to my friend that the listing would be hers. I explained about a bad realtor experience back in Chicago that made me wary. None of that mattered. She simply ignored everything I said and told me that I needed to have an “open mind” when her boss came to preview my property. I was losing my temper (which is never, ever a good thing for the person on the other end of it), I was trying to be as pleasant as possible, but I could feel my blood pressure begin to rise. If this particular caller had her way I would be greeting my returning friend with, “Sorry your family member was gravely ill, by the way our friendship of nine years means nothing, and I’m giving someone else my house to list.” I actually thanked this person for her professionalism (which she wasn’t), but I find myself in a very awkward position. I want to tell these people exactly what I think of them and their “ethics”, but if I do that I risk alienating them even farther. I just don’t understand. Why is my need to sell my own house such a bad thing? We are offering compensation to the buyer’s realtor. We don’t expect these people to work for nothing, but not a single realtor in the area has brought a client to our home. One realtor went as far as telling us that we weren’t worth his time. Since when is a paycheck of nearly ten thousand dollars not worth someones time? We aren’t against someone earning a living, but we are people who had very little income for sixteen months and need to keep as much of our money as we can for ourselves. I’m angry and frustrated. I want and need to move ahead with our life, but I am also as stubborn as they come. So I will sit in my beautiful home with my heels dug in and wait for the buyer to find us without any help from anyone else, because ten thousand dollars is definitely worth my time.

Breathe….now I feel better.

Art! There hasn’t been a piece every day. There have been fairies and other things. I will share the photo from my altered art piece from my daughter’s birthday. (She may kill me for it, but if you don’t think she was one of the cutest toddlers ever…) This was the cover on one of thirty gifts I sent her. A small cigar box that contained a little tiny set of pages where I wrote out the story of her birth. One thing that the last year and a half has taught me is that “things” don’t matter. People matter, memories matter, spirituality matters. The things that mean the most are the things that cannot be held in our hands, but only in our hearts and minds. Happy Birthday Jessica.

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An Update From The World Of Uncertainty

It’s been one week since I pledged to start another year-long art project. You may be wondering where all the art is. Some of it is in a box, actually boxes, on their merry way to New York in time (hopefully) for my daughter’s birthday on Tuesday. It’s a big one for her, and for me as well. She is turning thirty. (Sorry Jessica, I know you look seventeen, I’m letting the cat out of the bag.) It has only been a week since I turned fifty-five. It honestly didn’t bother me a bit. What does horrify me is the fact that I am about to be the mother of a thirty year old, because I’m not that old! It will also be a first for us. Jessica and her husband, John, moved to New York in June. It will be the first time in thirty years that I won’t be with my daughter for her birthday. That’s a tough one, so I did what any completely insane mother would do…I sent her thirty presents. Some are homemade (the previously mentioned art), some are silly, some are meant to share with John. I was broke when his birthday came around in August, so I wanted to wish him a little belated birthday. I can’t share and ruin the surprise, so….Tuesday.

I am also at the beginning of the holiday show season. You know what that means, if you come in my house you are guaranteed to leave looking like you’ve just left Tinkerbell’s house. Glitter, glitter everywhere! Which brings me to another subject, my house. We had our fifth week of open house. I am attempting to keep the glitter at bay by working outside, but glitter is the infectious disease of craft supplies. It spreads despite all containment efforts. Every time I walked in the house today there was a sparkly dusting in my wake. There isn’t too much I can do, I need to work, I have a show next week. As for the house…it’s still ours. We actually thought that we had some people interested yesterday, but it failed to materialize. I find myself waffling between being happy that I’m not leaving my house yet, and anxious to move on. It feels like our life is on hold for the moment. I keep waiting for things to get better, or at least different. Believe me I know there are so many people who are far worse off, I am grateful for what we have, but I am a bit of a control freak. We are now into seventeen months of drastic life changing circumstances, I think any normal human being would begin to become a bit frustrated. I long for normalcy, or whatever “normal” will turn out to be once the dust has settled.

As for tonight, I am tired, discouraged, impatient, and a little anxious. I am also hopeful. I had a moment a few days ago when a feeling that everything would be OK came over me. I have no explanation, I only know it changed my mood and mindset tremendously, and for that I am particularly grateful.

It rained Friday and for a bit on Saturday. We need it here in Southern California, but it gave us much more than water, we had incredible clouds yesterday, and spectacular color. Of course I had to capture some of it. I have no paintings or drawings to share yet, but a little bit of God’s handiwork instead. Plenty of inspiration for painting, and more than enough beauty to make me happy just to be alive.911 crop



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Past Midnight

Happy Birthday to me today. Dan and I have a longtime affectionate argument about age. He is four months older than me, or one hundred twenty-five days (not that I’m counting). He will refer to us in age in some conversation, and I will immediately remind him that while he was out on the town (at four months old), I was still in utero awaiting my introduction to the world. Yesterday he said I was fifty-five, I said, “After midnight.” It’s past midnight, actually its five-thirty in the morning so it is official. I’m sort of old. I say sort of because apparently the rest of the world doesn’t know me. I am not in the least bit “old”, I may have some wrinkles, and definitely fifty-five year old knees, but I’d say in attitude I’m somewhere around thirty-five. I’ve been getting a lot of AARP stuff for years now, but my favorite mail is from funeral homes. It goes something like, “Hey now! You’re getting closer to death by the second. Don’t leave your loved ones in a lurch. Plan ahead.” I know I’m no spring chicken, but I’d like to think I have another decade or two. For those of you who are of the gloom and doom persuasion, yes, I realize I could get hit by a car tomorrow, I’m just not planning on it. I also received a reminder a few weeks back from our car insurance company. They wanted to let me know that life insurance rates would go sky-high as soon as I turned fifty-five. I called yesterday…it wasn’t midnight yet. That process was interesting. They are very happy to have you call them, they are very happy to sell you insurance, but then begins the inquisition. A questionnaire about my medical history. It seems that they need to know everything that has ever occurred to me medically. Now at fifty-four (remember it wasn’t midnight yet) a lot, and I mean a lot of stuff has gone on in my life. What I really enjoyed was the section where they asked if I’d ever had any X-rays. Seriously? Who hasn’t, oh the Amish (not to offend, but I’m sure they don’t read my blog anyway). I started filling out the X-ray section, which includes normal X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, ultrasounds, and so on. I have had two children, had a miscarriage, fallen down a flight of stairs on my hip, six knee surgeries, broken fingers, and…I could bore you with more medical details, because I am after all old now, and isn’t that what old people do? I won’t, I will remember my thirty-five year old mindset and stop. I called them back. I spoke to a very nice young man. Do they really need every X-ray ever? He was stumped. I have to call back Monday (I guess the inquisitor gets weekends off). I get it if they want to rule out something that will cost them, but if they insure me it will cost them in the end anyway, it’s not like I’m immortal or something. (Of course if my plan to rule the universe doesn’t happen soon I may have to figure that one out.) Rule out the biggies for the moment, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, but why make me relive some rather painful personal moments? Does it really matter that I was anemic when I was nineteen? Or that I was depressed for a while after my mom died, wouldn’t they be too? That I miscarried? What does any of that have to do with life insurance? Who needs to read the gory details of my five decades? Does the fact that I broke my index finger mean I could push the wrong elevator button and plunge to my death? Or will they use the fact that I snapped my ACL hanging a kitchen curtain as a reason for non-payment when I fall off a counter to my demise in my new home hanging new curtains?  I feel like the odds are stacked against me before I even begin. Maybe I should have signed up for life insurance at birth before my total lack of coordination was evident. I guess if I die too soon they will have to pay too soon. I have to say, I’m with them. I hope they make lots of money from me, but meanwhile a little privacy please. (Happy Sunday to all of you, but I feel better now. I needed to rant to someone.)

On to what really matters…

I’ve created a new ad for today’s post. It looks like this:


Last seen several months ago on this blog

Wearing coats of many colors.

Mediums of all kinds.

Subject matter varied upon mood of the artist.

If you have any information please contact the artist and ask “What’s up?”

I started this blog to force myself to create every day. Along the way the original purpose was usurped by my life heading off the deep end. I need to find it again. My art is my life’s saving grace. It has always been the thing that got me through. It hasn’t been a good year and a half for Dan and I. We are grateful for what we have. We talked last night about how close we came to losing everything. We didn’t, and we are stronger than ever, but I have been letting a very important part of myself slip away once again. I need to create. It is as important in my life as food is. I need that artistic nourishment, and I have been living on crumbs. My birthday, start of a new year in my life, an arbitrary benchmark of time passing, but today it becomes my new “start line”, my new 365 day project. Today I will be spending the day with Dan, so I will post a piece from last year. New work begins tomorrow.

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The Pieces Of Me

I have often mentioned here on these pages that I like to think about where people come from, the who’s and why’s of the person they have become. I find it interesting that so many influences affect the people we are, like a thousand piece jigsaw puzzle that never ends, always adding pieces. We continue to evolve due to experiences we have, and by the people we associate with. I’m sure there may have been a moment in many people’s lives where their mother said something along the lines of, “You are the people you are with.” There may be some truth to that. I know that when I see a quality in another person that I like I try to emulate that behavior, and of course when I find a personality trait distasteful I look at myself to make sure that I’m not unknowingly acting the same way. As usual I am off on a physiological rant of sorts, which is never my intention, but I guess part of who I am. My first magazine subscription as a child was Highlights. My favorite parts? The “Hidden Objects” puzzle, and “Goofus and Gallant.” I’m a puzzle doer, love them, I can’t purchase a jigsaw puzzle. If I dare buy a puzzle I can kiss my day, and sometimes my night (all night), and possibly some of the next day off. I have to finish them obsessively. Goofus and Gallant? I think that might just be a little part of my immense sense of right and wrong. I have very little gray area in my life. My next subscription, at about age fifteen was Physiology Today. Even at that young age I was fascinated by the human mind. Just a few of the pieces that make up me.

Then there is Monty Hall. If you are too young to remember, Monty was the host of Let’s Make A Deal. Wayne Brady hosts the show now. When I was five it was my favorite show. My mother once told me that she had a hard time getting me to go to kindergarten because I didn’t want to leave my show. I think I may have loved the mystery of it. (See? Influences. I’m also a Nancy Drew Mysteries girl) I loved the reveal of what was in the boxes and behind the curtain. My sisters and I would pretend to be Carol Merrill, Monty’s sidekick model, we had the hand gesturing down to a science. My favorite part of the show was the end. Monty would travel through the audience and ask people for odd items, and if they had the safety-pin, or Buffalo nickel, etc…they were rewarded with cash. Influences once again. Like most women I carry a purse. My purse is an ode to Monty. I have safety pins, bandages, toothpicks, rubber bands, the list is tremendous. I think somewhere in my developing mind Monty was there urging me to always be prepared. I bring this up because of a situation that occurred over the weekend. I got a text message from my son Brian, it said that he had lost his glasses and did we happen to have a spare pair? Not only to I carry a purse, I also have a bag, let’s call it my Let’s Make A Deal bag. It contains all the stuff that my purse is too small to hold. (Trust me, I have a big purse) We were out in the car when the message came to my phone. Did I have glasses? Yes, six pairs. They were in my LMAD bag. We immediately drove to the winery where he works to drop off a pair. I believe this makes me eligible for “Mother of the Year”, who else can arrive with an assortment of eye wear at a moment’s notice? A Let’s Make A Deal girl, that’s who.

I do try to let the people in my life that I am grateful to know it. There are countless people who have been in my life that have contributed to the person I am, some I have of course known, but so many more that were in my life for a fleeting moment.  Susan Dey on the Partridge Family who I really wanted to be, because she seemed so cool, and I just wasn’t.  Princess Caroline of Monaco for being a princess with brown hair and brown eyes. Mrs. Weclew (I’m sure I’ve spelled her name wrong), she was my third grade teacher. The first to recognize that I had artistic talent. She was a lovely woman who would put her arms around the very shy little girl who became me, because I would cry when I had to stand in front of the chalkboard where everyone could see me. Iris Guerrero, the new girl when I was in 7th grade and had no friends. She didn’t know I was the kid everyone made fun of. She taught me to open my mouth and speak up for myself. Johnetta Jackson. My parents moved in the middle of my 7th grade year. It was my turn to be the new girl in eighth grade. Johnetta saw me the first day, she didn’t know me, didn’t know I was a terrified and shy girl,  she put her arm around me and began to introduce me to people. Turned out to be a good year, probably the best of my entire school career. I would love to thank her for that. There is of course my wonderful husband who has made me feel loved and secure every single day, believe me it makes a difference. Believe it or not my kids as well. Jessica heads out into the world so fearless. I love her energy, her intelligence, her creativity, and her kind heart. She makes me want to try new things. My son Brian, like his dad one of the smartest people I know, which is amazing because he hated school. Funny, charming, with a big warm heart (despite his efforts to look nonchalant). Brian was my sidekick for a long time. Jessica is older, and Dan traveled a lot. There’s something about Brian that makes me want to make him proud of me. I hope he is.

I could of course go on and on. Think about it. Who in their own way, in a single moment or with a single act, be it a moment of kindness or of something unpleasant, made an impression that shaped the person you are. Do we get to say, “Thank you.” or ,”You’ve hurt me.”, do we even recognize it in that second? Maybe all we can do is to try not to spread the unpleasantness, and maybe all we can do is be grateful for the good, thank them in ours minds and hearts, and try to be the kind of person that makes a difference in the life of someone else.

I Need Some Sleep

I’ll just bet you’re saying to yourself, “Didn’t we already hear from her today?” You would be right, just a few short hours ago in fact. Don’t blame me, blame the inconsiderate motorcyclist who felt the need to rev his engine repeatedly shortly after I fell asleep.  I am not a good sleeper, not now, not ever. This isn’t some new problem that has descended upon me during the joys of menopause, no, this is a life-long issue that has plagued me from birth. I believe I may have mentioned it once or twice. That is my ability to convince my mother that I was ill by pretending to be asleep.  If I slept it meant I either had the flu, or I was about to have the flu. I hear tales of those who have some magical ability called “sleeping in.” Not me, not ever. When my son was born I was in labor for two days and two nights. Eight pounds, nine ounces, no anesthesia, and an hour later, I was wide awake calling friends and family as Dan slept soundly in my hospital bed. (Who could blame him? He was up all night.)  I have gone days without sleeping more than a few hours until I hit a wall, and then I sleep, but never enough to catch up. I rarely sleep through the night. Imagine my frustration when an inconsiderate neighbor decides it time to replay a scene from Sons Of Anarchy at eleven o’clock at night. I unfortunately don’t do falling back to sleep very well either (thus the act II of today’s writing). If I sleep for even a short time, like a cat nap (an expression I must say I have never understood. I have three cats and they sleep all day), I am then awake for the foreseeable future. It does not make for a pleasant day the next day. I walk around in a near constant state of headache, graze my kitchen cabinets, and accomplish barely anything. What I would like to do right now in deference to my earlier blog, is face the culprit of my stolen slumber and explain just how much his inconsiderate behavior has already ruined my day that has yet to begin. Better yet, I would like to stand at his bedside with a metal pot and spoon and play a tune or two just as he has fallen asleep. (Did I mention that I get crabby when someone wakes me?) So here I sit near midnight hoping that at some point I will feel tired enough to sleep again. Meanwhile let me share some of my wonderful television viewing prospects:

Most Terrifying Places  in America, because who wouldn’t want to watch this right before bed?

Gator Boys…not saying a word

Animal Fight Night. This where you can see animals turn on their own. If I wanted to see that I would just watch the news.

The Unexplained Files. This one has a story about hairless, hunchbacked, blue-eyed dogs attacking cattle. Could this sound any creepier?

Nightmare Next Door.  The story of a child’s murder. I fail to see why this is necessary.

The Haunted.  I mean who doesn’t long for a good nightmare?

Duck Dynasty. Do you think they know the Gator Boys?

American Horror Story: Freak Show.  Clowns and horror, where could they possibly go wrong?

Zombie Strippers. Suffice it to say that the only horror in this is the acting.

There is of course one of the “Die Hard” movies on, because isn’t there always a “Die Hard” movie on?

There are also the usual variety of infomercials, most praying on the insecurities of the menopausal women who are sitting up with night sweats. There is one that asks, “Have a Turkey Neck?” And I can apparently “Slim (my) Your Belly-No Dieting.” Someone who wants to give us girls “3 Free Body Shapers!”, which I won’t need because all I really need is the “Brazil Butt Lift.” While I work on my butt I can either purchase from Proactive, Beautiful You, or I can have a “Sexy Face at Any Age.” She isn’t on my screen as of yet, but I’d put money on it that Cindy Crawford is lurking in the corners looking beautiful and “ageless” just so I can feel bad about myself. Of course I can always, “Throw Out Your Makeup!  All I need to do is airbrush my face. (I wonder if it comes with that fan I’ve been wanting to blow my hair back just like Julia Roberts?)

Then there is sex. Hey guys! “Prostate Problems? Get Relief Fast!” (I know it isn’t funny, but I’m glad that there is at least one product aimed at the one insecurity most men have.)

There is “Sexy Adult Toy Shopping.” This one is actually quite entertaining. Two women discussing vibrators like they’re at a Tupperware party, and its on not one, but THREE channels! They must be very popular.

Sex and Menopause…Lovemaking Secrets!…Orgasm Inc.  What’s a girl to choose?

“Taboo”   This episode is “Strange Love”, uncommon relationships. Not looking, not looking, I’m sure there is an “eww” factor involved.

I can also Stop (my) Your Anxiety and Depression. Ironic. I think middle of the night television is giving me anxiety and depression.

If I wait about a half hour I can learn to Whiten Teeth At Home!, or buy a product that promises “More Sex, Less Stress”, and (I kid you not) “Breaking Bald” Ha! One more to prey on the sleepless guys in the crowd.

Gene Simmons Family Jewels is on….oh wait, I did mention not wanting nightmares, right?

Lots of religious programming, not my thing….

If I could only find something to help me sleep….Key Capitol Hill Hearings might help…I’ve got it! DOGTV

Yes, you read right, DOGTV, channel 354 on Directv. Right now we are in the middle of an episode of “Night Time”, Getting your Dog to Sleep: Ensuring a Good-night’s Rest for your pooch. And in fifteen minutes beginning at one a.m., we have “Night Time, Images, sounds and music to create a relaxed and peaceful night environment for your dog. Now if only my name were “Fifi” or “Fido”…

Maybe I need to start my own channel. Something for insomniacs, something to lull me to sleep with pleasant dreams…I’ve got it! The “Bob” channel, all Redford, all the time. Maybe I could find some computer whiz to morph me into the leading lady roles, now there’s a reason to fall asleep and dream…

P.S. You do know I love my husband (and in reality, Bob’s no Dan)

I think I can sleep now…



Last week I was at the doctor to get some blood test results. I had a conversation with my doc about my aging father and his inability to seem to filter things he says to people. My doctor explained that there is a part of our brain, a filter of sorts, in the frontal lobe. As we age it begins to “thin” out. This is apparently why people who are elderly say just about anything that comes to mind, at least that’s what I got out of it. Several years ago a friend of ours said that because he was over fifty he felt entitled to tell people off, something I guess he felt he earned. I bring all of this up because I am quite frankly worried for my children. They’re fine, its their having to deal with me that I’m worried about. Have you ever looked at your mother or father and said, “I’ll never be like that.”, and then you start seeing your parents in yourself? Certain turns of a phrase, or mannerisms that just come out of nowhere. You find yourself aghast at something that just came out of your mouth, something you swore you’d never say. I already have filter issues. Ask anyone who knows me, I’m very confrontational. I have no problem whatsoever telling someone exactly what I think. It doesn’t always go over very well. I’m not mean about it or anything (at least most of the time), but I don’t think that holding things in does anything but build resentment. Over time resentment becomes like picking at a scab (I know, gross comparison, but I have a point), if you aren’t honest in your feelings, particularly with those who are close to you, you pick and pick in your mind at what upset you until it’s an open wound again. Now the wound that was maybe just a little scratch has become something that might require a stitch or two.  The little upset that would have been solved with an “I’m sorry”, has become a major infraction. (Never good in a relationship) I want to live in a world where when someone upsets me I say, “You’ve….”, and they say, “Oh, I’m sorry.” I’m not letting myself off the hook either. If I have angered someone, hurt their feeling, been unintentionally thoughtless, I want to know. I want to say, “I’m sorry.” For now I am in control. I don’t say anything inappropriate,  and when I make fun of people I make sure that they don’t hear me. (Don’t judge, you know you do it too.)

Now after that long explanation of how my world should work…. I’m afraid that my kids may have their hands full with their filter-less mother. I promise them here and now on this page that I will try to retain as much frontal lobe filter as possible, but the fact is that I can’t make any promises. I may have to apologize here and now for all the embarrassment in their futures, but guess what?  I’ve dealt with my Dad, my sisters have as well. We all love him terribly, but we have all had our “Dad” moments, where you “Shh!”, or in a rather exasperated and pleading tone say, “Dad, be quiet. They can hear you.”  I guess it’s just something we will all have to suffer through, unless of course there becomes a scientific breakthrough in frontal lobe fattening. (Honestly, I can’t imagine myself to allow anything fattening anywhere near me, well, unless it’s chocolate) In the meanwhile, if you run into me be assured that I am really, really nice, but if you happen to say or do the wrong thing…