Apricot jam

Once a year if I’m lucky I settle down long enough to make apricot jam… not just any apricot jam, but my Julie’s jam. Losing our loved ones is probably one of the hardest lessons we have on earth. And while time has healed my broken heart enough to carry on, I can on any given day cry thinking of my dear friend. I wouldn’t even venture to change that. My way of thinking, tears are merely a measure of how much I enjoyed my friend. They come with the territory.
Julie made pretty much the best apricot jam around. And now, thanks to her, so do I. Her recipe, much like she lived her life, cuts no corners. She would spend three to four hours, stirring the apricots to cook them down. The whole process takes the better part of a day, and every minute spent is rewarded two-fold.
Jam day now feels like I’m spending the day with Julie. I reminisce with her all during the day. We watch a few good movies as I stir for hours. This year we watched a couple of cute Amazon Prime movies with Diane Keaton. Julie left me her copper jam-making pot, so inevitably I send pictures to her sons to let them know it’s apricot jam day. And if I’m lucky, we end up laughing for an hour on the phone, just like I would have done with Julie had I been cooking with her. Life continues to delight me as it teaches me that the threads that weave throughout any family tapestry pass down through the generations.
I thank heaven for angels disguised as friends, for copper jam pots, for apricot trees and for children left to carry on such a beautiful legacy.

Empty Nest Syndrome

This spring has truly been a treat, especially after all the rains. My plants and trees have unabashedly flaunted their beauty at every turn.  And for the first time in our five years living in Cool, we have successfully had birds nest in our two birdhouses, otherwise known as the Blue Mountain Villas.

In our first two years, the birds did nest, but predators turned the happy event into a sad massacre. A few years back Rick cleaned out the houses and put them on metal poles out in the back. The first spring after we worked on the houses, it was probably just too soon with too much of our human scent remaining on the houses. But this year, we had a sell-out, with both of the villas reserved for the spring, one with bluebirds and the other with swallows.

Having never really experienced living with birds in this way, I found myself falling madly in love with these little families. Once I could hear the chirping and knew for certain that little creatures did in fact reside in our bird houses, it became a love affair. I spent a good deal of time each day watching out for the houses and their inhabitants, studying the parents in their endless efforts to feed their babies and warding off any predators, which many times included me. My constant vigilance caused them some discomfort, but in time they came to trust that I was not a threat. Toward the end, they would allow me to sit only yards away and enter the nest to feed their babies, what a gift.

For a few weeks, the parents would come and go with food, and all you could hear was chirping. But in the last week or ten days, the baby birds would actually show their faces in the hole of the bird house, waiting for their parents to bring their food. You could see their beaks open wide as the parent flew to the house to feed them. (If you look closely, you can see this in the post picture.)

But my favorite by far, was watching the baby bird in the opening waiting for the food, sometimes for five or ten minutes. I fell in love with that cute little face peaking out the hole and sometimes getting brave enough to venture even an inch more, taking in their surroundings, gaining the courage to one day fly the coup.

That day came a few days ago. And I have to say, I feel so sad that I can’t stand on my deck to see that little face anymore. I wished so much that I had a camera that could capture the face from my deck like my binoculars could, but I didn’t. I will next year. But for this year, I will have to rely on my memory to remember those sweet little eyes.

This experience has lifted me and also saddened me temporarily. And it has taught me first hand the definition behind “empty nesters syndrome,” and where the term probably originated.

We have the capacity to connect with an infinite number of God’s creatures on this planet, such a blessing. We must always know that our days are numbered, and enjoy each one to the fullest, whether we are lovin’ a bird, a neighbor, a friend, a child, a parent, a spouse or significant other.

Here’s to my little swallows wherever they may be.


Having spent many years working in the landscaping business I have done a fair amount of thinking about the lessons I can learn from nature. Guidance is ever present just waiting for me to take notice, thank goodness she is patient with me. Most times I am moving at lightning speed not stopping long enough to pay close attention. And when I do, damn, I have to vow to myself to do it more often. This weekend I put aside everything but my garden. I spent both days playing in the dirt and enjoying spring in our tiny oasis. Treasures were everywhere, just waiting for my attention. Spring is an amazing time, reminding me of what is also awakening in my body after the long winter.

I came across a thought that I wanted to share. With my new book coming, “Lessons of a Wayward Yogini,” (I know, I have to plug it) I seem to be hyper sensitive to lessons these days.

In the first few months of moving to Cool four and a half years ago, one of my landscaping clients had a red maple tree in her yard that was not thriving. I had put it in a few years earlier, and no matter how much I coaxed that tree or how many fertilizers I applied, it just was not happy. I told my client I would swap it out and put another tree in its place. When we dug the tree out, I brought it to my new home. It was worth trying to save.

This weekend as I stood beneath the same tree only a few years later, I admired its beauty and marveled at the growth. It is at least twice the size, if not three times. The tiny maple blossoms fluttered as the wind rustled through the tender spring leaves, putting on an incredible show. I took time to watch and study her dance.

I spent the remainder of the day thinking about the basic premise of this tree living in an environment that was not nourishing it, for whatever reasons. The tree simply was failing to survive, a slow progression, but one that in the end would have ended in the tree’s demise. These few years later in an environment that was providing what it needed, it had become a strong tree. And if she was a woman, I would just have to say she knows the power of her beauty and she flaunts it every time the breeze blows.

Across the garden a bit later in the day, I was still wondering, how different are we humans, really? If we spend too much time in an environment that isn’t nourishing our soul, we too begin to fade.

This maple tree serves as a reminder that with the proper nutrients and sunlight, enough water, and some tender loving care, it is possible to change and reverse a negative course.

I believe humans are no different.  It’s hard though to make major changes in our lives if we find we are not happy in a relationship or in our careers.  And with that said, it’s important to note that the tree went into major shock. You can’t dig up a plant and shove the root ball into a garbage bag, without the tree looking pretty grim for some time. Same could be said of humans. Any major life altering changes definitely put our systems into shock. But we too have the same recuperative powers as nature, maybe even more so. After the transplant, so to speak, our mind and body become strong again, and if we have moved on to a life that has the requirements we need, we then have the power to one day sway in the breeze as beautifully as my little maple tree.

Some might say the hardest part is knowing what will make you happy in life. I disagree. I think the hardest part is facing what isn’t making you happy and moving away from it, and accepting that for a while we will feel like we have dug up our roots and shoved them into a garbage bag. Life is nothing if not about our choices.


I’ve been giving spring a lot of thought the last few weeks, since my book, “Lessons of a Wayward Yogini” is scheduled to be released this spring. My editor, Dennis, www.5editorial.com gave me grief about not putting quotes around the title of my book in a recent post, so he will be thrilled that I’ve corrected this. And I might make major points since I’m also sharing his link. Even though I’m paying him as my editor/publisher, I’m trying everything in my power to encourage him to send along some of his BBQ. He seems to be a jack of all trades, or in this case, a Dennis of all trades, and I’ve heard he makes a pretty mean BBQ.

Back to spring… is there anything better than a bud on your plants as they awaken ever so slowly in early spring? I can’t help myself, I run out to my yard almost every day when the plants are filled with their tiny buds just to peak at them and marvel at their new growth that will in short order be something of delicate beauty. Against all odds, winters filled with freezing temperatures and snow at times, their tiny shoots nevertheless find their way from their dormant state to once again greet a new dawn, a new season.

I feel like a kid at Christmas, those buds are like presents wrapped under the tree. There is such a feeling of anticipation in the air, as well as such a sweet fragrance. It lifts me inches off the ground as I walk through my garden, if only in my mind. The scent definitely encourages a deep yogini breath, and brings a smile to my face and a contentment deep in my soul.

Spring to me, is the promise of rejuvenation, of another season, a second chance (or in some cases a third chance if we are speaking about the deer eating the plants in my yard for two seasons in a row, until we developed deer fencing 4.0.) And even the word spring, its synonyms are leap, jump, bound and vault… obviously a time of year with great potential for advancing all that needs advancing or healing.

I think we humans are no different, we need a new beginning every year or so, to rise up and bloom again. Our earth offers all that we need by way of nature and our fellow humans. It’s up to us to embrace the energy and support that surrounds us on any given day. Without that connection, it can be somewhat easy to feel alone, even when we are anything but.

I’m dedicating this post to a few of my friends who are a bit under the weather. If you have to be ill, I can’t think of a better time of the year to do it.

Here’s to spring… Namaste

United hearts

I’ve talked about our friends, Janet and Lalo before.  I like to refer to them as a couple of posers, angels trying to pass as humans.  They are simple people who love the earth and its inhabitants, are not extravagant, just kind caring people who do some pretty damn nice things for others … often.

Lalo has been creating mosaics for years.  Lalo spent his life teaching, and one of his early mosaics was for the school district he was teaching at in Fresno.  They still proudly display it today.  Over the years he has created more mosaics than he can probably count, for friends and loved ones.

In the last few years, Lalo was able to retire.  One might ask, what does a retired angel do with his time?  Well, the answer is, he does more mosaics, of course.  But what I love is that he’s branched out.  A  few years back he started creating amazingly beautiful mosaics for wineries, without being asked, or paid.  If Janet and Lalo enjoyed visiting a winery over time, he would just show up one day with this mosaic masterpiece that seriously, if the winery were to commission an artist to create anything even remotely as nice, would be extremely costly.

Instead of anyone asking or even understanding what he does, Lalo just moseys into the winery in his unassuming way, presenting the owner with his magnificent creation.  Really?  How many people would do that?  When we heard about one of his first ones, we came along for the unveiling.  I kept thinking to myself …  if I was the owner of this winery, I would be blown away.  Lucky day … jackpot.

That day, I decided that I wanted to do my part to create a buzz. I want his work to be known as “A Lalo Sanchez,”  but preferably before the artist dies.  I’ve been joking with him since, and told him one day I would post about him.  Of course, the mere mention makes him shake his head and look away with a giggle … you know those angels, they won’t take much credit.

I have been waiting for the right story, and last weekend my mind finally began the process of putting together this post.  Once again we were graced with a visit from Janet and Lalo.  Since it was so cold out (this angel doesn’t like the cold) we decided to do more inside work than outside, so Lalo brought along his current mosaic project, a surprise for an old friend who likes to race.  We set up camp on our kitchen table, each of us taking a side to work on, and for the better part of two days we worked to complete the mosaic.

It’s been a long time since I did a craft.  I sewed and stitched and quilted for years and always found the process of creating enormously enjoyable and therapeutic.  These days my artwork happens in my garden and on my computer, and I equally love that, but there’s something about creating a work of art with your hands, something that takes shape as you continue to painstakingly work at it, right before your eyes … just the thought of it makes me breathe deep and shake my head.  It’s so satisfying and I think just damn good for your soul.

What I found interesting as the weekend progressed, was the number of minutes that would pass between anyone needing to speak.  Four people sitting intimately around a small wooden table not uttering a word for 20 minutes at a time, that’s interesting to me.

Studies have found that when humans sing or chant together, their heartbeats synchronize.  Think about that … to me, it’s just such a confirmation that we are all so connected in more ways than we will ever know, and that we communicate not only through our words, but maybe even more so through our bodies, our energies and our minds.

I was contemplating that when we sat so quietly piecing tiles together, wondering if our combined energy was hovering somewhere just over our heads, uniting in the magnificence that can only be described as love, creating not only something of beauty, but something that would continue into the world bringing perhaps a harmony or a positive energy.  And at that moment, I understood just how important Lalo’s work is, all of those numerous Lalo Sanchez’s that are starting to add up  around the state.

To date, the  lucky wineries include Tobin James in Paso Robles, Bodega de Edgar in Paso Robles, Klinker Brick in Lodi, Idle Hour in Oakhurst, and Ziveli in Fresno.

One of his latest major projects was for the Fresno Fire Department.  They used the mosaic to help solicit donations.  And his newest project, he will be working on something for the Shriners in the hopes that it can raise funds for such a great charitable organization.

I hope to get my hands back on some tiles again soon, but in the meantime I will be just as thankful when my fingers find themselves on my keyboard.

If you happen to be at any of the above wineries, you might want to ask to see their Lalo Sanchez, and make sure to emphasize his name if you think of it.


The becoming of a book author

Some believe that our loved ones who have left this earth communicate with us through our dreams.  I’ve had a few dreams about my mom since her passing, most of them somewhat disturbing.  But last night, I had an amazing dream about her.  There was such a lovely connection between us… an honoring of what we had created together, a knowing that whatever we might have left undone, would wait for another time and place.  In the dream I was attending a gathering of women, and I had been asked to give a talk, and although the reason had to do with my upcoming book, the topic I was going to discuss was my mother.  I had prepared such nice things to say about my mom.

But she disappeared toward the end of the dream before I could give my speech, and as hard as I searched, she was nowhere to be found.  I felt no despair though, instead an understanding that out of sight was only pertinent to this lifetime.  From what I can recall, we spoke more through our eyes than our words.  And our union was clear and strong and there was no room for blame or sorrow.  Instead all that I felt was a strength and a calmness. 

And although I’ve been a bit emotional all day, I’ll take it because my dream left me feeling optimistic and safe. 

I’m heading into what I anticipate will be a somewhat difficult period finishing my book and getting it published.  I’ve said it before, and it bears repeating.  To reach a long sought-after goal is exciting, but at the same time a little daunting.  In my dreams, the book is a friggin’ bestseller, it’s all good.  There is something very safe about living in your dreams. 

But the reality is that publishing a book is without doubt baring your soft underbelly for all the world to see, especially when you’ve written about yourself and not some murder mystery or summer romance (although I’m sure the same feelings apply, it’s your creation on the line.)  And there will be people who don’t like the book, and a few friends who aren’t really all that interested in the book, and that all needs to be okay.  But who am I kidding if I try to tell myself that I will be completely fine with that.  I won’t … at first.  I will need to learn to leave any negativity in my wake, which I’m pretty sure will be a lesson I learn in baby steps.

With our goal of releasing the book this spring, February has arrived to wreak havoc with my sleep.  I wake up most nights now at about 3:30 a.m. with all of the what if’s and what still needs to be done racing through my mind. (No amount of melatonin is going to quiet this storm.)  Last night was no exception.  I tossed and turned and made mental lists until about 5:00 a.m.   And it was when I finally fell back to sleep that my mom arrived, I have no doubt, to remind me of her confidence in me.

I may have already told you this story, but when I was in fourth grade, I peed my pants in class.  Oh, my, way too old to do that.  But in my defense, my teacher was very strict and I was afraid of her. I waited much too long to get up to ask her to go to the bathroom.  Standing at her desk, asking permission (which of course she so easily granted… really?)  it was too late.  I stood frozen peeing right next to her desk (served her right for being so unapproachable.)

Perception is an interesting thing, many times what we believe about someone is not accurate.  Turns out The Bitch was actually very nice to me in my time of need.  She told me to go straight to the bathroom.  She cleaned up the floor as quickly as possible (at least in my mind, because of course I was already out the door.)  And she met me in the bathroom and told me to go on home as it was almost lunchtime.  I so clearly remember running home crying all the way.  And my mom surely gave me the nurturance and pep talk I so desperately needed, but at the end of lunch, I was going back to the playground, no ifs, ands or buts about it.  She armed me with her words, and sent me off crying all the way back to school.  But by God, everything she suggested I do, worked.  There was no real aftermath after the Great Pee of 4th Grade, thanks to my mom and the teacher who turned out not to be a bitch after all.

I am beyond grateful for my mom teaching me to walk into the storm, hold my head up high, know my strength, honor my truth and leave any negativity on the path behind me as I dance toward the light. 

And I am beyond grateful for her reminder last night, which I will tuck in my back pocket to take along on this journey of a lifetime, the publishing of my very first book. 

Yesterday I saw the first blossom on my magnolia tree out front.  Even though the storms are lining up on the horizon for the next few weeks, spring is following right behind them.  Here’s to the sweet smell of spring combined God willing with the sweet smell of success.


"Thank you, God … Thank you, God"

I mentioned in my last post that I would elaborate on the story about my mom and her infamous prayer, “Thank you, God … Thank you, God.”  Since I have no breadcrumbs handy to throw along the path I am constantly weaving through my blog, and being ADD, I will never be able to find my way back here any time soon, I figure I probably should tell it now.  It’s a cute story, and one of my memories of her that makes me smile (some of them can still cause a disturbance … think something in between I Love Lucy and Throw Mama from the Train, and you’re getting close.)
Gratitude has been on my mind this week anyway, so it will all tie in.
Yesterday I had another of my train rides down to San Francisco.  I realized as I began the journey, that I hadn’t actually done this yet in the winter.  It was a chilly 34 degrees as I walked toward the train in Auburn bundled in my winter duds (I know for some people reading this, you might consider this warm, but for us lightweight Californians from San Francisco, this is pretty cold.)
I was excited for the ride, but as I secured a seat that I thought would offer me solitude for at least an hour of the journey (not many people get on in Auburn, only gets busy around Sacramento) instead another commuter sits right across from me in an empty car.  (Really?  Isn’t there such a thing as train etiquette?)
Since I didn’t think he’d really understand if I asked him to move up a few rows, I gave up on visiting with Solitude on this trip.  But to my delight, my fellow commuter fell fast asleep immediately (we board the train at 6:30 a.m.)  Awww, Solitude found his way to me … Thank you, God … Thank you, God.
As we pulled out of the station, it was dark, and I could only navigate the journey with lights here and there, the courthouse as we rounded the first bend, and the city lights of Roseville far off in the distance.  I searched the darkness in an effort to recognize where we were, and for most of the initial 30 minutes it was a guess.  I began to contemplate how much this experience was mimicking life.  We find ourselves on the train heading for parts unknown in the dark for the most part, with only markers along the way helping us to feel secure.
What a journey we humans face … reason enough to always grant ourselves some slack when we aren’t doing as well as we’d like.
I was mesmerized peering out the window on my old adventure in a new light.  About fifteen minutes into the ride, the sun began to rise ever so slowly, painting an incredibly beautiful skyline for Solitude and I to enjoy ( luckily no train etiquette man slept through it all.)  The colors alone merited my gratitude, the numerous shades of pink and blue and yellow I found myself enjoying for the next hour.
The experience made me think about gratitude, that it was once again time to remind myself of how important gratitude is in keeping my heart both happy and healthy.  We humans have so much to be upset about, but we have an equal amount to celebrate.  Simple pleasures are highly underrated.
As the skyline was taking her third bow for the exquisite performance (something I really don’t care for is being a part of the audience of a play, all the curtain calls for extra bows, once is enough, I can clap louder if you want) I heard my mom’s voice, Thank you, God … Thank you, God, which reminded me to share the story.
My mom was not what one would call a religious woman (UNDERSTATEMENT!)
I will suffice it to say, she had a tough life.  And entering a church was possibly not something my mom did many times in her life.  Her childhood precluded much for her, but nonetheless she found her own belief, and it surely included God.  It just didn’t involve religion.
During the last year of my mom’s life, she was on hospice.  I can’t say enough about the care provided by those angels.  Over the year, Hospice sent out many loving nurses, but also a spiritual worker who would come to visit both my mom and I on a regular basis.  The first time she came, I sat back letting her interact with my mom …  holding my breath.  I half expected my mom to throw her out.  And while my mom allowed her to stay and visit, it was clear to me (maybe not the hospice worker) that she was on shaky ground.  But in time, they found a common ground, and my mom came to enjoy her visits.
Near the end of my mom’s life, this lovely woman arrived one day to pray with us.  Having come to understand my mom’s reluctance, she asked ever so politely if we could pray together, the three of us. My mom answered so sweetly, “oh sure.”  What my mom didn’t understand was that the hospice worker wanted to say the prayer (uh-oh).
As the hospice worked began to recite her prayer, I think maybe she got a line in before my mom interrupted her (my mom who is weak beyond weak finds her strength to interrupt and stop this woman’s prayer … that’s my mom.)
My mom rallies and says, “No, I will say my own prayer,” with a little bit of attitude, if I am honest.  Of course, the sweet hospice worker glances my way, welcoming my mom’s prayer.
The three of us holding hands, raise our hearts to the heavens, moments passing and finally my mom utters these words …
“Thank you, God  …   Thank you, God.”
I wish I had a recording of the prayer, because it’s all in the sound of her voice, the intonations.  The best I can do to describe her words is that you could hear her faith, her reluctance, her pain and her frustration all combined, the words thank you in a normal pitch, but such an emphasis on GOD, an almost guttural pronunciation of the G in God.
When my mom had chanted her prayer twice, the room fell silent.  Was this sweet hospice woman waiting for the rest of the prayer which would not be forthcoming?  I’m thinking she probably was.  But when enough time had lapsed that she knew my mom’s prayer was complete, she so graciously closed our time together.  She will never know how much those closing prayers meant to me and I’m guessing my mom as well … one of the reasons I love the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, because you just never know what you give to others.  And in the end, while we can dress up gratitude with many fancy words, thank you says it all.
As I began this post, I will finish this post … we are blind to our paths and equally blind to what we offer others.
I close by offering Namaste accompanied with my mom’s sweet prayer, Thank You, God … Thank you, God.

A good thing going

When I think about the saying “you’ve got a good thing going,” it brings to mind so many fond memories of people and experiences that were such a true pleasure.
Not trying to be negative, but as we all know, when you’ve got a good thing going, it’s only a matter of time until something comes along that changes the game, but for the duration, it sure is nice.
As a young girl, not to mention a young woman, I fought so hard against change, especially if I was truly enjoying whatever the experience was. As hard as I dug my heels in and waged war against my enemy change, in the end I had no control, sadly.
I smile as I think back to that young gal, so doggone emotional. I so easily fell in love with people, and places, and teachers, and coworkers, and you name it. If I’m honest, I would guess that my sad family experience as a child probably played a part. To be graced with experiences and people I truly loved being around, most likely meant more to me than the average person. And depending on how you look at life, that either made me lucky or not. I choose the notion that I was lucky.
I often say, getting older isn’t as bad as it’s cracked up to be, as there are some nice perks.  And one for me is, that I’ve come to a place where when I see the end of a good thing coming, I can embrace it without the melancholy of my youth.
The end of a good thing starts for me on the horizon, far off in the distance, but I recognize it for what it is these days, and I make my peace long before that cloud ever darkens my skies.  I try to remain mindful that the good thing ending was a gift and I remind myself to look forward to the next good thing which I probably will not see coming on the horizon.  It will just one day be a part of my life that I will at first blush not give much thought to, but that over time will become something quite special to me.
I once lived in a sweet 2-bedroom apartment with an office loft on the marina in Redwood City, California.  (And before I tell this story, it’s important to note that during the last recession we all faced where the market fell so drastically about ten years back, I found myself in a position that I needed to sell my home if I wanted to salvage what savings I did have. I felt so sad to sell my house, and I think that’s what makes this story worth the telling. We just never know what a sad ending can bring us if we just trust in a goodness that is ever waiting to greet us just down the track a ways.)
When we found ourselves needing to make the change, Rick and I decided that if we had to move from our home to an apartment, then by God, we were going to find something we loved.  We ended up moving to a Redwood City apartment, high ceilings with wall to floor windows overlooking the marina.  The masts would glide past our window on any given day, taking me away if only in my imagination.   The swimming pool was a junior size Olympic pool that also overlooked the marina, along with the beautiful architecture of the apartment buildings lined with palm trees.  When I swam there, I felt as though I was on vacation in the Riviera.  Most days I swam by myself.  I came to resent any other tenants swimming when I was there … funny.  I’d hold my breath waiting for their departure, and then I’d welcome my friend, solitude, and together we would swim like playful otters in the water, exercising to a point, but for the most part just playing and floating and stretching and dreaming.  Being a swimmer, I was in heaven.
When we had decided it was time to move on, I knew I’d never experience swimming quite like this again.  And to date, I have been right.  But it was okay to let go, because I knew I could stash away my beautiful swimming memories with the rest of my “good things going” memories, which I’m starting to believe help one become a happy senior citizen (I’ve been told I now can call myself this … I like wayward yogini better.) 
My latest “good thing going” which is literally going, is my dentist of the last ten years or so.  Let’s face it, visiting the dentist has to be on the top ten unfavorite activities for most humans.
Some years ago I met my dentist, Dr. Gary Thodas, in Karen Toro, my hair stylist’s salon.  He was a good friend to her, and was finishing up his haircut scheduled right before mine.  As I listened to their banter I got to thinking, I’d like a dentist like him.  And by the time he left, I had asked for his card, and the rest is history.  Ever since, I’ve actually enjoyed my dental visits.
I could try to put words to his personality, but I think what better describes him is that his Girl Friday has worked with him for 23 years.  And the rest of his staff has also been there for more years than they can count.  That says it all.
He retired this December.  When I was in for my cleaning in early December, Girl Friday could not hold back the tears as she told me that the “Doc” would be retiring at the end of the month.  And as I drove away, I too felt her loss.  Where would I find another dentist that likes to joke when my mouth is full of cotton balls and tubes and multiple fingers from numerous people and God knows what else, and who I love to shoot the shit with when all the drama in my mouth is over, and who also stashes a $20 bill in Girl Friday’s pocket as she leaves to join me for Martini Tuesday, telling her that the drinks are on him (not that he shouldn’t be sorry for that torture earlier, but how many dentists would be?)
This “Doc” has been doing some very nice things for I’m pretty sure a great many people over more years than he’d probably like to count … my definition of “a good thing going.”
Much like the loss of my beloved swimming pool, I close this chapter, cognizant of the blessing I’ve had, and the knowledge that most likely I will need to look elsewhere for the next “good thing going” and that it probably will not be my new dentist, but I’m confident that something or someone will be heading my way sometime soon.
And in my mother’s unforgettable words close to the end of her journey here on earth (well, probably it was the situation, her voice and intonation more than the words that made the words both funny and unforgettable, more later on that)  I say “Thank you, God, thank you, God” for the good thing I’ve had, and the good thing comin’ round the corner.
Namaste friends, and best to you, “Doc” in your new endeavors, wherever they may take you.  You will be missed.

I'm Back …

A few people of late have been asking where I’ve been. The answer is  I’ve been busy, quite busy finishing my … (wait for it) manuscript for the book that I will be publishing hopefully next spring!
I have learned such a great deal in a relatively short time about publishing a book.  And I just have to tell you that after dreaming about being a published author for more years than I can remember, the idea that I am actually going to do just that kind of blows my mind to tell you the truth.
I recently visited Barnes and Noble shopping for the holidays, and as I walked out, the idea struck me like a lightning bolt, that maybe next year at this time my book would be selling (dare I say) on one of their shelves?  Dream big or go home, right?  The idea caught me off guard though, and nearly bowled me over.  I left the store with probably a very strange look on my face which quickly faded replaced with a very wide smile.  I always say the journey is as much fun as the destination.  For now, I can dream big and see my book on the bestseller table as opposed to the marked down closing out section, and whether or not it ever even makes it into a Barnes and Noble store, for this moment in my mind’s eye, my book is sitting on the bestseller rack and it looks simply marvelous there.  And my thinking is this, happy is happy, whether it’s a dream or a reality.  Time spent happy is good for your soul, not to mention the actual heart muscle.
What I wanted to address in this post, is really not about publishing the book, I just had to tell you about it.  I’m sure I will have much more to say about that in coming posts.
No, this post is about blogging, and how much I’ve missed it.  This post is dedicated to my fellow writers/bloggers.
The other night I realized that I would finally have some time to post and I felt so doggone happy about it.  I felt like I was going to be visiting a dear old friend, and I couldn’t wait.  I actually stayed awake for hours that night thinking about what I wanted to say.  I couldn’t wait to share my realizations in the hopes that some of them might help my fellow bloggers.
When I first started blogging and someone would like something I wrote, I would do as the site encourages, go “see what they are doing.”  I started following one after another for about a week or two, but I realized quickly that if I followed everyone that liked my post, I’d soon have no time left for writing.   I stopped “seeing what they were up to,” and began to write in earnest.  I am so happy though that I did begin to follow a handful of bloggers as I’ve learned so much from them.  They’ve come to feel like co-harts and I can see the ebb and flow that we each go through, the difficulty coming up with new material to write about.
Spending time working on the book has made me realize what an amazing and truly rewarding experience blogging is.  Writing a chapter to a book can be a lonely experience, as there’s no immediate audience.  You can write for days and days or months and months and not one person will respond, nor will your chapter travel to different countries.  The connection with your readers, if it comes, will most likely be years down the road.  And I’m sure that’s wonderful in its own right, but I’ve come to understand that blogging is something pretty unique and wonderful.
The gifts that have been bestowed on me as a modern day writer are beyond what I ever could have imagined.  I can sit at my computer with the world’s music at my fingertips, my earphones sounding me as if I’m in a symphonic music hall, the internet a click away if I have a question or want to find the right word, or more importantly spell the word right.  I’m dating myself, but when I first started working, I typed on an IBM Selectric (those must be in some computer museum these days.)  It was something pretty amazing with the little ball that twirled around letting you type faster than ever before, and it even had a backup feature that let you correct your typos.  Whooaaaa!
As a blogger, when I have expressed my thoughts on the page to my satisfaction, I have the ability to send them out into the world … I have to repeat that … I can send my thoughts into the world never leaving my desk chair.  We take so much for granted these days.  But I just want to do my part to remind all of you bloggers about what an amazing gift we’ve been given.
And whether we post every day or every week or once a month or less, it truly isn’t a race, and there are no rules.  We are writers.  We thrive when we can express ourselves on the page.  We won’t always have something to say.  But when we do, we have a forum to deliver our thoughts, our prayers, our dreams and our stories.  I have learned following the few blogs that I do, that I don’t really care if someone lays low for a while.  I’m just happy when I see that there is a new post.  I love following Stuart M. Perkins’ Storyshucker.   I haven’t seen many posts as of late, but I can tell you this, when he does, I’ll be reading it because his posts always make me feel good.  And I will always smile when I see Paul S’s Pfeiffer Pfilms and Meg Movies posting yet another interesting take on Michelle and Meg.
This break I’ve taken has been eye opening for me in many ways.
My husband has been telling me for years, “honey, you are a writer.”  And I’d respond trying to convince myself that he was right, “yeah, I know.”  And then the little voice in my head followed, “well, not really.”  In my mind, unless I had a published book, I didn’t really deserve the title.
I’ve come to embrace and claim the right to call myself a writer these past few months, and I thought at first blush it was because I was working to publish my book.  But the other night while I tossed and turned drafting this post in my mind in the wee hours of the morning when I should have been sleeping, I came to understand that I will never again hesitate to think of myself as a writer.  And that is, in large part, because of this experience of blogging.
I hope to blog for years to come, regardless of how many books I may write.  Because blogging is nothing short of magical.  And I think often of something that my writing coach taught me a few years back … there will always be people out there waiting to hear from me, my voice … and from you, your voice.
Back soon with news of my book, and whatever else creeps into my dreams.

A book?

Time to catch up with my readers, with some exciting news.  My fellow bloggers will for sure appreciate this, I’m publishing my blog story.  I’ve hired an editor/publisher and my book will be hitting the stands in the spring of next year.  My book will consist of the story many of you have followed, plus new content.  Which sadly, is why I will be taking a break from posting until I have my manuscript completed.
This journey has been nothing short of amazing, and has changed my life in no small way.  I love blogging, and look forward to returning.  Sending my thoughts out to the universe and hearing back from all of you who respond, reminds me every day that we souls far and near are so connected, all drifting down the stream together, regardless of how different we may seem.
I will be back as soon as my manuscript is complete and I am free to continue my dialogue, plus of course, you will have to hear me ad nauseum plugging my upcoming book … come on, you gotta give me that.  Oh my, there will so much to chat about.
In the meantime, I will still be reading my fellow blogger’s posts, and sending positive thoughts to my readers who are not bloggers.
Continue pushing … remember life is short … pursue anything and everything until you hear your heartsong.
Postscript:   (sounds pretty official right?)  I waited so long to finally upload this post that I wrote about a month ago that I’m now done with my manuscript and will be posting again on my blog next week.  Can’t wait to catch up with all of you.