A place for family and friends to see what I'm up to. Visitors welcome here.

Hail Guest, we ask not what thou art.
If Friend, we greet thee, hand and heart.
If Stranger, such no longer be.
If Foe, our love will conquer thee.
-Old Welsh Door Verse

Friday, March 29, 2013


with a touch of hyperbole.

My horoscope for 2013 said that the first half of my year would suck, but the second half would be awesome, almost magical.

 Really looking forward to the magic about now.
John Green - my students turned me on to him.  There may be a crush.
Things are better.  I am better.

This morning I am very much looking forward to another trip down the coast to Roger's Gardens, this time with my SIL.  Always good times.  This is the third year for this spring field trip for plants, then to Newport Fashion Island for lunch at Andrew Weil's restaurant (that I can never remember the name of but the food is great) and this time across the parking lot to Barnes and Nobel so I can pick up a copy of one of John Green's books.

Driving down the coast, so wishing it wasn't foggy, but welcome to SoCA beaches in the spring.

Better get ready.  Going to be a great day. 

P.S.  I love this one best, John Green.  Thanks!  Read you later.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

well. wow.

I had some really bad news today and realized that I have never actually cried out loud.  Until today.  Lots of silent tears rolling down my face or smothered into my pillow.  But today was the first day I sobbed.  Out loud.

And I came home from work and straight to my facebook community.  We are pretty much united in our hopes for the end of Prop 8 following today's SCOTUS hearing.  Better would be something more far-ranging, but the end of H8 would be a start.

And I started grazing the net, and thought again of the I AM Sunday Morning Coffee Talks.  And on a whim, did a youtube search.

And look what I found.

Of the five talks, this was my favorite.  Darkness and Light.  And our introduction to In-Q.

I needed this today.  And it was provided.

Never too many tears for gratitude.

P.S.  If you watch it all the way through, you'll see me in the audience.  If you know what I look like.  Heeheehee.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

IN-Q "Whistle"

When I am reaching the end of my life and have the opportunity to look back on the highs and lows, the lights and shadows, the five days I spent with a roomful of incredible energy called the I AM Coffee Talks in Venice, CA, will be among the most special memories.  Tom Shadyac and Nicolle Pritchett brought together the most amazing people, including In-Q.  This was one of my favorites.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


I'm a Cancer.

On the cusp with Gemini.  By nine hours and thirty-two minutes.

I'm just learning what that means.  Really interesting how "right on" all the information is for me.  Most of the time.

I have a friend who is REALLY into astrology and I started learning about it so that we would have something more to talk about (like we ever have a problem finding stuff to talk about).  He recommended a particular website, and I downloaded the "short" report.  Like I said, it was mostly right on, and most of it I didn't mind reading.  But I had to laugh when I read the "warnings" part of the report.  Apparently, Cancerians are prone to nurturing, and we must be "careful not to be too clingy."


There have been some people in my life who objected to my nurturing tendencies, but my garden doesn't seem to mind.  As long as I don't water too much.

Went to a Robert Marzano training this morning and found myself with the gift of four whole hours that I wasn't expecting.  I packed for the weekend, ran a couple of errands, washed some dishes.  And took a walk through the garden.

I LOVE this time of year.  Everything falls to sleep in the late fall.  The hydrangeas are bare, the goldfinches hanging out in Puerto Vallarta sipping tiny birdy Margaritas.  I start checking in late February, but things are pretty quiet.  And then, on a gorgeous day like today when I can't stand being inside anymore, I head out and can practically hear everything singing optimistic little songs of welcome.

Some myseries to share tonight.  Well, not to me.  I bought two gorgeous begonias last summer.  One that put on a spectacular show of maroon leaves and bright orange-red, fuchsia-like blooms was called 'Bonfire.'  I did not know it from my past life as president of the local branch of the American Begonia Society (ahhh... didn't know that, did you?  The stories I could tell.)  Anyway, it "died" come the fall, and yet the "stem" that remained behind seemed healthy.  So I left it alone and kept it watered, wondering if it was actually related to the tuberous begonias.  Sure enough, I almost squeeeeee-d when I saw that it is putting out new growth.  A close look at its sister (that was not so big last year) showed that she is also putting out new growth.

Aren't they a lovely couple?  Apparently I planted a Gerbera daisy on top of the scilla bulbs last summer.  I thought the scilla was dead because I didn't see it last year.  I think he has a new leaf on life (yuk yuk) because of the his new girlfriend.  Romance is in bloom in the Spring.

My SIL gave me a plant for Christmas.  Well, she gave me a lovely picture and a promise that it would be shipped at the right time of year for my location.  When it arrived it was a pot -o-sticks, but look at her now.  'Strawberry Vanilla' is taking her place in the Hydrangea Wall this year.  I'm hoping for a bloom or two, but don't really expect a big show until another year or two has passed.

I'm patient.

Both of my geum 'Totally Tangerine' are in bloom, now.  This is one of my favorite plants ever.  It will carry these gorgeous apricot-colored flower from now until the fall.  The leaves will stay beautiful year 'round.  I got mine from Annie's Annuals and will never tire of them.

To top it all off, the orange trees are in bloom.  There is simply no better fragrance (although the brugmansias on a warm summer night come in a close second.)

Yes, I'm feeling better.  Still pretty overwhelmed and, frankly, confused by life about now.  But nothing like the garden to help things settle into place.

All I need now to top off my happy energy levels is a night of good music.  I'm on my way out to Squashed Grapes to hear my son and his latest gathering of talented young jazz musicians do a night shift.  Great way to end a not-so-fantastice work week.  Not complaining.

Saturday, March 16, 2013


... and light.

So, when I get like this, I need reminding.  And I go reaching.  And tonight followed a day that could have ended one way.  But ended another.

I spent last night with my mom, and told her about a tough week.  She's the best sounding board.

Then it was time for writers' group, and I just couldn't play the prompt games today.  So I tucked into the other room with my pad and my pen and a dog snoring on the floor.  I wrote and I wrote it all, and got no comfort from it except to hear the prompts from the other room and realize that if I'd been there, I'd have probably been a snot-producing mess of tears and hiccups.  And so I kept writing for myself and not for the group.

I thought that maybe, when I got home, I could pull apart the eleven pages into something that I could make meaning from.  But at that point, the words simply reflected the chaos of my mind.

I had an anxiety attack.  At least, I think that's what it was.  I know that the stress this week was like artillary fire, and at one point Thursday night I couldn't breathe and wondered if I should go to the ER.  But it was a trip to the ER that landed me in the place where I had to take a day off for a silly test Wednesday.  So I elected for a hot shower and an early bedtime Thursday instead.

On Friday I reached.  My students were on day five of a project and knew what they were doing, so I tucked into my desk to grade their last assignment.  It's one of my favorite kinds of teaching days.  They're like a hive of happy bees, and the energy just hums through the classroom.  I answered questions and helped them do some problem solving, but for the most part I just marked papers and recorded grades.  About halfway through the first class I realized some music would be OK.  Turns out I don't have much music in the room, except for what I keep for lessons.  What I did have, though, were my back-up discs for the Disneyland 50th collection I bought in 2005.  I ended up reaching for an imaginary trip to my happy place and listened to my heartbeat steady and my lungs expand. 

I walked home, then packed the car for the trip to my Mom's.  We had dinner at my favorite restaurant, and talked.  This morning I woke early and did some embroidery on my quilt until it was time for writers'.  And after writers' then went back to my favorite restaurant.  I was tucked in for some good food and good people watching.  The foursome at the table directly to my right left, and two women were seated there.  I must learn to pay attention to that table, as the most amazing things have happened the last two times I've been there.  Last month I was seated at the same table, and someone sat in the chair directly in my line of sight who was almost an exact double of someone who was a friend for a while.  Tonight, again, I thought that one of the women who was seated as the same table looked familiar.

What a happy moment!  As I was leaving, I intruded on her dinner long enough to confirm that she was my friend - my best friend - from high school.  44 years.  The restaurant was very busy and they were needing my table, so I quickly passed over my card with my electronic identity and hope that she will contact me.

The Universe is always working for us.

After I got home I checked in on facebook, as I always do, and In-Q had posted something.  This time last year, Tom Shadyac was starting up his Coffee Talks in support of the message of his documentary, I AM.  I have watched it at least a dozen times, and attended all the coffee talks.  Tom introduced us to several amazing people (he is pretty amazing himself), but it was during the gathering when Tom spoke of Shadows and Light that he introduced us to poet In-Q.  Tom's message (or, at least what I perceived as his message and what I needed to be reminded of after this rough week) was that we need to FEEL the shadows because they help us to see the light.  I'm so lucky to have learned happiness over the last three years.  But the flip side is that while I feel happiness and joy often and well, when the shadows come they are deep and scary.

Anyway, I was grateful that Adam showed up when he did, and I followed into youtube to take advantage of his powerful energy and to hear again his powerful message.

I'm feeling better.  The goldfinches are back in the garden, and tomorrow I have a ticket for the Gay Men's Chorus concert at the First Congregational Church in Los Angeles.  Here's a clip of their stunning performance of "Bohemian Rhapsody" last year.  Yes, stunning is the right word.  Just wish there was a REAL way for you to feel that 10,000 pipe organ.

For now, the real world calls.  Gotta put in some laundry and pull the directions into LA so I don't get too lost tomorrow.

A new week next week, ending with a birthday trip to Disneyland for my mom on Saturday, and my spring break a week later.

Recovery in progress.  Attitude adjustment underway.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Believe it...

... or not.
There has been stitching progress.
I pulled out this quilt a few months ago and was working on it at Mom's.  She commented that she hoped she lived long enough to see it finished.  I had to admit she had a point.  It had been tucked away for a looonnngggg time.  So, I've been taking it to her house for our bi-monthly hang-out days.  I tuck into the rocker in the sunny window and take advantage of the great light to stitch away.  The progress this time was that I finished the vine in the orange band.  Dozens of teeny French Knots (two for each flower).  I know some stitchers tremble at the thought of French Knots, but I enjoy them and there's only one that didn't turn out quite right.  I'm trying to learn not to be OCD about this stuff, so am forcing myself not to take it out and re-do it.  (I have a feeling I will lose this battle, as my eye goes right to it every time.)
Now I get to work on the yellow band.  Yellow is not my favorite color, but I am fond of the little chickies and the bumble bees.  And the sun.  It will be good.  Then comes the green band with the French Knot caterpillars.  I'm looking forward to that row.

Stitcher S, one of my blog friends, posted a "challenge."  Kind of a true confessions encouraging us to fess up about old projects we've been ignoring.  I have a hard time ignoring a dare, so here are some of mine.

Firefly Faeries get the most work, but it's difficult to work on it, here.  I  really don't have a space or decent light.  I vowed to spend 30 minutes on it each night, then realized on the first night that it takes me nearly that long to get everything out and set up since I need magnifying lenses and full spectrum lamps and so on.  I'm thinking of taking a retreat to that rocker in the sunny corner this summer break to get some major work done on it.

Hollyhocks.  I started this one a few years ago, when I thought I would be building a home in northern Utah.  Property was paid for, green home design was paid for.  Then the economy tanked.  To be honest, I'm kind of grateful that I'm not up there, 800 miles from family, friends and favorite healing spaces.  But I was looking forward to hanging this in the guest room.

Margaret Sherry Christmas kitten.  I really do love the British cross stitch magazines, especially when they include darling charts like this.  When completed (and it's close) it will fit in a greeting card, hanging on a Christmas wreath.

Stitcher S asked for ideas of how to motivate ourselves.  I guess motivation isn't really a problem for me.  Energy, yes.  Time, definitely.  Stitching time comes from taking time away from something else like exercising or reading or writing or working.  I'm sure she and I would both love to be retired (or independently wealthy would be even better) so that we had all the time for all the fun to be had.

I also have finished pieces that I have never done anything with.  They've been in storage so long that the stains are appearing.  (For non-stitchy readers, as we stitch, oils from our skin collect on the fabrics and over the course of years the oils show up as stains.  The Christmas mice have been in storage 30 years or more, so...) I still think they're cute, though, and would really like to see them in something, even if just a pillow.

And finally, there are charts that I've already kitted up and would love time to work on.  For some reason I can't get the little snapdragon project out of my mind, so I need to pull out some fabric and get started on that.

Just what I need.  Another unfinished project.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Danny Kaye

Awwww, yeah.

I loved this man my whole life.

And never saw a single movie in a theater.  But, happily for me, they were popular on the Saturday morning movie channel.

My favorite ever is Merry Andrew, and I was thrilled to FINALLY find it on dvd last year.  A Song is Born is another one I loved.  But the one whose music influenced me most - and whose themes stuck with me for over fifty years, was The Five Pennies.

And so, still reaching for the silver in this week, I found new postings on You Tube of my favorite numbers from the movie.

This is how I refill a bag of Life Force.

Haven't gone on a dvd hunt for this one for a while.  Better give it another shot.

Sunday, March 03, 2013


I get that way

when loneliness crosses the line into hopelessness.  Which moves into "What's the point?" and "Who am I kidding?  Result, at this point anyway, is gaining back ten of the 82 pounds I had lost.  Really struggling to go deep and figure this out so I can find solutions and move forward again.

Had a great trip to Disneyland Monday.  Always like a transfusion of positive energy, and this trip was even better than most.

Then I came home.

Yesterday I got to go to a birthday party for one of my bestest friends.  It was wonderful to watch her enjoy this happy time.  The energy was pure love.

Before the party, though, I had read this:

Is there someone in your life who is constantly depressed, angry about the world, jealous, always in a bad mood, pessimistic, doubtful, power-hungry, mistrustful or manipulating?  I refer to these individuals as "psychic vampires" because they unconsciously drain your life force with their unrelentingly negative attitudes.  Most of them are not even aware that their energy extends beyond them and hurts others along their path.  They can leave you exhausted, depressed and debilitated." - James Van Praagh

I had to laugh.  Remember in Charlie Brown's Christmas special when Lucy is in her booth, reading off the phobias?  And she hits the one about being afraid of everything, and Charlie Brown shouts, "That's it!"  That's how I felt when I read this yesterday morning.  That's it!  My housemates fit that description, and walking through the door into this house feels like slamming into a wall.  It's a wall of negative energy.  I feel it in my gut, and I mistake it for hunger.  Well, it is hunger.  But food isn't going to fill this void.

So, I made a list.  It's a little list for now, but I hope to keep building it.  It's a list of things I know will suck me into a flow of positive energy and replenish my life force.  (Yeah, I know.  Sounds melodramatic to me, too, but since I seem to be living a soap opera, maybe that's appropriate.)

Music is at the top of the list.  Time in my garden.  Simple cross stitch projects (too hard, like the Firefly Faeries, aren't replenishing; too much like work).

Yesterday, after this ephiphany, I made sure to go plant some sweet pea plants I'd bought on Monday.  My usual routine is to wait until I've finished my "chores" before gifting myself with time doing what I love.  (So far I haven't found any Puritan ancestors, so where the hell did that trait come from?)  I have to change that.  I mean, often the plants I buy end up dried out and dead in the pots I brought them home in because that time I need never quite manifests itself magically into my week.   I must TAKE time to do the things that replenish and keep my recovery moving in the right direction.

I won't go back.

Anyway, I got the sweet peas in.  (They are so healthy.  They look happy.)   And some violas.  And watered the Fairy Garden (Dear Neighbor, I am not a cat person.  My Fairy Garden is not a litter box.  Keep your damn cat out.  Please.  Thank you.)

This morning was another downer.  Grading papers.  After putting HOURS into re-designing this unit and TELLING THE STUDENTS when we started exactly what the test would look like and what they needed to know for a C (three causes, three effects; a total of about twenty words to memorize), the majority are not only failing, they are insulting me by trying to bullshit their way through it.

It will take me all day to get through this torture  (feels like I've slit my life force veins doing this).  So I am breaking it up with short visits to the Life Force Replenishment Bank.  Here is what I found on a brief visit to the great outdoors, where there are beautiful clouds in the bright blue sky.

Dutchman's Pipe is covered with blooms.  Still haven't seen a Pipevine Swallowtail, which is why I planted it.  This isn't really their territory, although the maps include us.  Who knows?  Maybe the flowers will send a scent.

Apricot tulips.

The little Japanese Maple I bought (cheap) last year.  I didn't kill it.  Should be a beauty in about fifteen years.

Oh, joy!  My SIL ordered this hydrangea for me for Christmas and it was delivered to her, and from her to me, a couple of weeks ago.  Covered with hope.

Yummy.  Freesias are in bloom and they smell wonderful!  Pretty next to my new violas.

And there is the end of this break.  Time to go back into the trenches.  Planning on spending some time (once my progress reports grades are done) working on my time management challenges at work to try to avoid these marathon grading sessions that eat up my weekends from time to time.  I know the solution is to dig deeper for some end-of-the-day energy.  Just tacking on another 40 minutes a day at my desk would really help, but I usually find myself just dragging myself home.


Since I still don't have a car and have to walk the mile. 


In the snow.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Yeah, I guess...

(Do not worry for me, dears.  All feelings are better than none.)

Today was a happy bubble.

And then I came home.

And so I graded papers and let a friend facebook me out of eating the cookies and and the candy and the chocolate satin pie.

And I let Marc Shaiman and Maurice Jarre music me into a dopamine fog.

And I looked forward to a friend's 70th birthday party and wished I would get myself together so that I can be ready for my Masteryear in just over four more years.

And I counted them, those facebook friends all over the world who love me, even though there is nobody loving on me now.

And I remembered Monday, and how it felt to love on myself for a day.  And how the sun shone and the music played and the flowers danced and my spirit filled.

And then I came home, and used that happy energy to work the bubble into place to get through the week.


And now I will tuck myself into my little bed and Marc and Maurice will dope me off to sleep.  And maybe I'll dream of a place that is not so lonesome as tonight.