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

Monday, August 25, 2014


Probably a record.

After 42 years, I've filed for divorce.  My future Ex is not a bad man.  Simply profoundly disrespectful.  And it's taken me most of my life - but especially the last four years - to embrace myself.

I am worthy of more.

My attorney, after completing the paperwork, looked at me and said, "You really are at peace with this."

I am.

But there is a profound sadness.

I wanted ever after.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Year 23

Always an adventure in middle school.

Meetings and trainings this week through Tuesday, then kids on Wednesday.  Rumor has it our school is full to turning students away.  That's good, certainly flattering, but it sure makes it crowded and the paperload overwhelming.  I haven't seen my class lists yet, but am guessing a full load of 175 students in five sections.

It's been an amazing summer.

I worked 12-14 hour days to get my house and yards into shape for my kids to come for a summer visit.  It was so fantastic.

I started by clearing out my studio area and remaking it into a master suite.  With all drawers emptied my son, daughter-in-law and grandson (not quite three) could unpack and make themselves at home for the month of their stay.  I can't even communicate what it meant to have that happy little giggle erupt down the hall, not to mention hearing the alphabet song belted (in tune and in rhythm, thank you) at random times throughout the day.  "NNNOP"! 

The day after the Japan group arrived, my younger son surprised them.  I flew him out and his best friend picked him up at LAX and brought him home for the happy reunion and first meeting with his nephew.  He's been chomping at the bit for three years to be an Uncle, and made the most of the experience.

We visited most of the parks our city has to offer.  Certainly, they have lovely parks in Japan, but they don't seem to favor large expanses of grass (at least, not in my family's nearby neighborhood) and so this group had a blast running and hiding behind trees and playing with bubbles.

I raise Monarchs and we had over a dozen to release during their stay.  My grandson was impressed, although those butterflies got a bit of a rollercoaster take off toss.

Through the tunnel into fantasy.

Happily, they let me take them to the Southern California Disney resort.  Our visit got off to a bit of a slow start.  For the first time EVER - in 56 years - the service at the cafĂ© where we ate breakfast was slow and not as gracious as we've come to expect.  Then, after a ride on the Autopia, our party got separated with instructions to meet at the Jamboree.  My mom and I made it there with great excitement over the opportunity to show my grandson the games, musician (he loves to dance), trick roper, coloring tables and - most of all - the characters that hang out there, only to find the area converted into a concert venue to promote ABC's show about Nashville music.  While I tried to track the kids down (some castmember sent them to Critter Country to the Country Bear Jamboree, which has been closed for over a decade) my mom sat in her wheelchair outside the closed gate and listened to the Nashville sound coming from rehearsal.  When I made it back to her, she declared that she wanted out of there FAST.  Coincidentally (or not, as I don't believe in coincidence) my younger son moved to Nashville to get into the music scene only to learn that he, too, dislikes the Nashville sound.

Our day picked up after Dole Whips in the Golden Horseshoe Theater, then a trek over to California Adventure and the favorite stop of the day, CARS LAND.  The baby was fascinated to meet his favorites, "Lining N'Keen" and "Mater N'Keen".  After a fine meal at Flo's V8 we headed back in time for the parade and the All American College Band.

A fine visit after all.

Lining N'keen
We enjoyed a couple of family reunions and the kids took a three-day chunk to visit my DIL's family in the South Bay area, then the next week another three days for a road trip up to Monterey and the Aquarium.  They also spent a LOT of time shopping for clothes.  They were thrilled at the inexpensive clothes for the baby, but even more so for the clothes they found for my son.  At 6'4, size 14 shoe, it is difficult (impossible?) for him to find everything he needs in Japan.  He was delighted to find dress shirts that fit, tee-shirts that fit, SOCKS that fit and five pair of shoes.  He even found a suit for $100 at our outlet mall that fit and was delighted.  They all found shoes.

As our visit headed into the last week, my son had the genius idea of nightly runs to chase the sunset.  The first night we started at our local Metrolink station where we waited for a train to pass.  My grandson is very familiar with Japanese commuter trains as they live across the street from the tracks.  But where he lives there is a fence and several feet of vacant land between you and the trains.  At the Metrolink station there is no fence, and the trains is only about five feet from the parking lot.  He was thrilled to see the train in the distance, full of smiles as it got closer but those big brown eyes were huge when that huge train actually roared by.

Camarillo horse sculpture at the train station.
Then we pulled out of the lot and headed west, ending up at the last offramp out of town to watch our first captured sunset.

The next night we decided to head to the beach and pulled into the little beach park next to Mugu Rock.  We were disappointed that a fog bank blocked the sun, but not disappointed in the beauty of the spot.

My son loves pelicans, especially the way they fly in formation, so was thrilled when we ended up almost at eye level as they made their way down the twilight coast.


The next night we did not go chasing.  They had started to pack so we stayed home.  I sat at the computer for a while and heard my daughter-in-law tell my grandson, "Go tell Grandma PINK!"  Down the hall he rushed, calling,  "Grandma, PINK."  I looked out my window, which faces south, and realized we were being treated to our occasional all pink sunset.  All pink in that the sky is pink in all direction, pink reflects off the walls and fences and if pink had a fragrance, you could take deep pink breaths of it since the very air around you seems pink.

They were headed to the back - which faces west - to enjoy this spectacle, but I diverted them to the front to get the whole effect.

One more night we did head west again at twilight to the large park at the edge of our little airport.  My grandson enjoyed running in the grass while we waited to see the show.

Before they left we made one last trek to the state beach at Sycamore Canyon.  It was a tourist poster day, with the tide roaring in to amuse us by snatching towels from visitors who either did not understand our high tides or who were not paying attention.

Visiting sea lion.  There were three.  On the way to the airport the next day, my son asked his son, "What is one thing you remember from our visit."  And my grandson - not quite three - replied, "I saw a sea lion."  Cool.





Ambivalence.  A glorious time in overwhelming beauty.  A touch of melancholy at our last afternoon visit together.

The next day I took them to the airport and once they were ticketed I said my good-byes and escaped.  I had promised myself a good cry in the car in the parking lot, but it was so crowded and so many people needing to park that I just forced myself to calm down and made my way home.  Fortunately, I got to see this.

Clouds make me happy.  The sea is a comfort.  And to be able to see the islands is a rare treat.

Before my summer break ended, my mom said that she wanted to treat my sister to a Disneyland trip and I was happy to be the chauffeur.  It was an all-around fine day, but there was one episode that gave us all the giggles.

Over the years one of our favorite locations at Disneyland has been the Golden Horseshoe Theater in Frontierland.  One of the few places to cool down in air-conditioned comfort, it used to house a wonderful act called Billy Hill and the Hillbillies and we made it a point to go see them at least once during every stay.  Disneyland closed their show (which I will never understand since they packed the place) and has tried a number of replacements.  We were there for a singer/piano duo.   The singer came down off the stage for part of his set and after a couple of verses, zeroed in on my mother.

Lucky Jim : What's your name, darlin'?
Mom: Becey
Lucky Jim: BT?
Mom: Yeah
Lucky Jim sings, then asks Mom to name a town.
Mom: Simi Valley
Lucky Jim sings, incorporating Simi Valley as Debi finally manages to get camera out and pointed in their direction.

After their encounter, Jim returns to the stage.

Debi: It was smart of you to give him an alias, Mom. 
Sister: Yeah, never give them your real name, you Stud Magnet!

Later we sat at the curb across from the train station in Town Square for the Soundsational parade.  Now it was Captain Hook who zeroed in on Mom, treating her to a kiss on the hand.  My sister and I were in hysterics. 

Stud magnet indeed.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Aw, Robin.


By all accounts this comedic genius was also a kind, gentle, generous soul.


I did a little project once and made note that Robin Williams and I were born in the same year.

And here I am, grateful for the pain and struggles of the last four years that have brought me to a place where I know - at 63 - that one of best parts of my life is just beginning.


All around the world are millions of people who - like me - wish we could have met this man, wrapped him in our arms and tried to make him understand how well loved he was.

Sadly, it wouldn't have helped.  Depression is just that hideous.  It doesn't let you hear, feel those messages of love.


Life is too short.  Too many holes in our hearts to fill, and not all of them in our control.