Shenanigans; The Beginning

I started desert and  accidentally meandered my way through fifty plus years.  I say accidentally because not much of it was planned. This is a place where I can share my love of this desert I call home, nature, travels, family and a few shenanigans along the way.  I’m glad you stopped by and welcome.

I started desert and  accidentally meandered my way through fifty plus years.  I say accidentally because not much of it was planned. This is a place where I can share my love of this desert I call home, nature, travels, family and a few shenanigans along the way.  I’m glad you stopped by and welcome.


A Different Kind Of Day

I tried to convince myself it’s just another day,

….but on this very special day someone pulled hard on a thread

from the Tapestry Of My Life;

… and unraveled their strands of COLOR to change their part in it to gray.

….all the way back to the beginning of time. 1

 ….and then just like that

my heart broke.

It’s a different kind of pain to realize your truth is yours alone.

It’s a different kind of fear to feel the prejudice you didn’t know existed.

The three who love me most tried,

….but I locked myself away to heal my δoul

Then I rewrote a lifetime of memories to protect my δpirit

Filling back in the colors as I dared…

….and sat alone realizing that coloring twisted memories is like finding a rainbow in the dark.

….and I let fall the different kind of tears.


How To Wear A Hat

G & I sat at a booth all day displaying the wood from Desert Winds Gallery.  The best part is meeting and talking to  people.

G has a style that hasn’t changed for the 25 years I have known him- Wranglers, T-shirt, Boots, Cowboy hat. I am so used to it I don’t realize his attire is unusual to some.

One of the browsing customers had a conversation with him that went like this:

Man in a pink shirt, scruffy goatee- “My wife I do competitive line dancing and she wants me to wear a cowboy hat like that but I don’t know how.”

G- “You put it on your head.”

Me- Shake my head (There’s nobody quicker).



Out Of The Darkness -Put On Your Red Boots And Dance The Futterwacken

Social Media is suddenly sending me notices to join  Out Of The Darkness  walk against suicide.  I know y’all  mean well but I am not sure about a walk. I recently had a conversation to find help for my friend Scooby who was in the grip of depression.  The person I called (for continuity let’s just call him Shaggy) dropped EVERYTHING and rushed to Scooby’s side and stayed.  God Bless you Shaggy & Scooby. shaggy and scoobFor me it all  brought back a flood of memories and some serious fear.  I’ve been here before Shaggy & Scoob and I’m ready to share it now.  It happened many years ago…

I still freshly feel the horror of that day. I realize that sometimes when I’m down the rabbit hole that I have to remember events of my own story to answer the riddle my lying  brain has come up with of how to climb out.

My Grandparents lived next door and I loved hanging around my larger than life Grandpa V.  I remember his booming voice, jokes, and laughter all around him. Most of all I remember his kindness to a skinny straggly little girl.  My favorite time was summer when he would emerge from his house in red cowboy boots, yellow and brown plaid shorts, pale white legs, big ol’ rotund white belly and a giant straw cowboy hat (cocked a little to the side like Bonanza).  Sometimes the shorts were green and purple for Variety.  He had a shiny gold tooth in front that I thought was wonderful and the coolest thing I had ever seen that  HE HAD A GOLD TOOTH!

Grandpa always tried his hardest to make me laugh, especially when I had just taken a drink of milk.  He would peek out of the corner of his eye and wait.  Just as I took a big swig, the joke would come, and so would the milk out of my nose.  More often than not the joke was over my head but for some reason I laughed hysterically.  It was our thing. He taught me how to spit “correctly” giving me a target each time.  He taught me how to  whistle different pitches using a licked blade of grass placed between my thumbs.  We spent a lot of time in his backyard picking just the right blade-not too thin, not too dry.grandpa and daughter

My Dad and Grandpa shared flying small airplanes as a business and a hobby. Saturday mornings were reserved for my brother and I to go “up” with my Dad. I looked forward to those rides even though I got motion sick every single time. Grandpa was often hanging out at that tiny local airport telling  jokes to the pilots and mechanics in a little tiny cafe. Laughter would roll out the door of the cafe on an air conditioned cloud of cigarette smoke with a hint of the smell of  Sanka. I was always pretty sure it was he who had told another joke. Grandpa  would see us heading for the hangar and come walking over with a smirk and a frosty bottle of strawberry soda for me to drink saying  “It’ll taste better comin’ up” Wink- gold-tooth-flash. airportThe whole family and most of my parent’s friends knew how to fly so pilots often held meetings at our house. I was typically underfoot but Grandpa would always get down to eye level to talk to me in a room full of standing-smoking men, like I was important.  Sometimes he would stay inside his own house for weeks though.  The grandchildren  were very seriously warned to be very quiet playing around his house.  I always wondered why and wanted to go get him to find whistle grass.

One morning I was lying in bed before the sun came up, waiting and listening for the world to awaken. I was not allowed out of bed until a certain time because I had a bad habit of forgetting to be quiet and waking everyone.  Breaking the silence that morning was a loud pop, and then the phone rang.  Dad and I met head on running into the front room,  and to avoid collision I slid to a stop on the shiny waxed linoleum floor flipping over the arm and landing in Dad’s big leather chair.  He beat me to the phone, I heard screaming through the earpiece, Dad yelled something to my mom while the flimsy brass phone stand snagged on the phone cord and crashed to the ground in one motion as he ran out the front door.  I tried to catch him while the world went SiDEwaYs. I found myself standing in the doorway of a bedroom in the house next door. Grandpa had shot himself in the chest while in bed. (Blank/fuzzy memory this part).  Dad hollered over his shoulder for me to “GET OUT! TELL MOM TO COME!”  then ordered me to take my little brother over to my older sister’s house and “do not let him see”.  My sister also lived next door but on the other side.  I vividly remember how loud my heart beat was as the world slowed way down; Ambulance can’t find us… siren wailing -closer/farther/closer/farther as it went down several dead end streets with the same name as ours… my Uncle Jim is here!…the neighbors are spilling out into their yards in the pale dawn… I think I see Mom walking beside my inconsolable Grandma… tummy ache like the down side of a roller coaster… my sister pulling the shades darkening her front room… Peeking out anyway… Sheriff car!  They’re talking to grandma alone…WHERE’S MY DAD? 

My brother clung  to me in the darkness while  my sister left us to “go see what was happening” Brother wanted to go too.  I  try to keep my little brother  there like I was told, …he’s yelling at me,  punching and kicking me to let him go see… I don’t let go…I hug him tight while he trembled and sobbed and windmill hit me. I took his punches over and over, until his fit drew random patches of red blotches his face and he started wheezing and lay on my shoulder, all quiet now.  The ambulance wailed to life and  took Grandpa away. We were allowed home… get dressed…no breakfast please… “NO I don’t want to go to school!”  “There’s nothing you can do here…”  Uncontrollable shaking, stomach flipping…. all the way to school.

I sat robot-like in class obsessively thinking about the look on my little brother’s face when we dropped him off at his school (which was about a mile from mine).  He had shadowed me all morning and when he was clingy like that I usually didn’t leave him.  The only consolation was that he loved his teacher dearly and thought the moon rose and set by her beauty and kindness.  I can see my thoughts of  that day in class as clearly as  if it scrolled in front of me written in  proper white chalk cursive on a faded  green chalkboard. “My brother needs me, Dad said to watch him, how can I get to him, I could walk to his school, why am I here? …the clock is too slow, the clock is too loud, the ticking hurts my head,  is Grandpa going to die? This isn’t where I should be, I need to go…Where is my DAD?” Over and over it went until it all became static while my teacher droned on.

Sign language was big in our 5th grade class among  the cool girls and I so badly wanted to be in their group.  Girls would finger-spell behind the teacher’s back across the room. It was so much more effective than passing notes that might be intercepted by the sharp eye of Mrs. T. I was slow at forming the finger words, but I could read it like lightening. I kept that a secret because only the “it” girls were the supposed to be quick and they took pride in practicing daily with each other.

Through my foggy mechanical stare I accidentally learned from a fast fingered across-the-room conversation the identity of a boy that the new girl liked.  Colette had recently been added to our class and came with cute clothes and shiny black shoes. She had a perfect hair flip and was instantly popular (even her name was beautiful).  She was so clean, like a shiny princess.  I wanted to be like her.  I always started the morning off clean but somehow it always went wrong. I always ended up the color of dirt.  Usually there was  a scabbed or tow,  one knee sock that wouldn’t stay up, scuffed brown shoes, stringy hair,  too big or too small hand-me-down dress from an 8 yr  older sister.   Later at recess a buzz of girls were all around Colette  trying to guess the identity of the boy. (Of course the boys were huddled nearby waiting for the news). Who would be the prince?  The buzzing grew louder and louder.  Bumbling along kicking up dust planning my escape and forgetting all social rules I blurted out the answer.  Not only did I produce the name of the boy (slow motion all eyes on me-mouths dropped), I also gave up the two girls who “told” me.  I had been able to read their secret language and committed the worst 5th grade girl social sin of all time.

War on me was declared from one of the finger-spellers and within minutes a circle formed around us as we stood toe to toe.  She was taller and was DEMANDING to know how I knew and that SHE didn’t tell me.   I was trapped inside the now boy-girl circle and trapped inside brain full of static. I froze.  I don’t remember much about the fight or remember the blows, just the smell of the children scrubbed clean that morning now sweaty from play, the choking dust as my face hit the dirt, and I oddly remember  noticing  a wide variety of shoes. Someone yelled “TEACHER!” but I didn’t run, just watched those shoes scramble away.

I was hauled up from the ground and pulled to the front office with Mrs. T’s crushing grip on my skinny little arm.  Kids from other grades pressed up against the windows watching the walk of shame.  I hid my involuntary tears that spilled down dirty cheeks letting my hair fall in my face as she scolded, drug, and shook me.  The distinctive front office smell  that only schools seem to have whooshed by as the heavy door swung out. It must have snapped me out of it a little. Suddenly I was braver than myself. I demanded that they let me walk over to the my brother’s school.  “LET ME GO!” I yelled as I wriggled out of her brown spotted hand-vice and point sharp red fingernails.  I hated her and hated her click-y shoe heels even more.

The sideways pity glances of the beehive haired ladies who looked up from their desks made me wonder how much they knew.  Adult whispers, beehive lady phone calls mixed with the tap-tap-tap of typewriters, & very soon someone was talking on the phone to my brother’s Beloved Teacher… Mrs. T snapped at me “Now see, he’s FINE, behaving better than YOU young lady!” as she spun on her click- shoe heels and swayed her giant hips smashed into a strained girdle out the door.  I spent an hour or three in the nurse’s office until the school nurse had to leave for the day. Perhaps to make sure I didn’t run, she escorted me all the way back to class.  I was humiliated as 5th graders were usually allowed to walk back on their own. I re-entered a room of kids who wouldn’t make eye contact. They looked up as the door opened then snapped their eye’s front as fast as possible. Whether it was my newly established status as a pariah or the kids were told about Grandpa I will never know.  I was glad they weren’t staring. I wanted to be invisible One boy from my church who sat behind me asked if I was okay.  I wrinkled my face and angrily shout-whispered  “yesss!”  He put his hand on my shoulder and left it there for a very, very long time.  I realize now, in the social structure of  70’s 5th grade boy-girl rules, how very brave his kind gesture of friendship was and I will never forget it R.

Grandpa didn’t die.  He came way too close.  My Dad managed to do just the right thing to stop the bleeding. Another 1/8th of an inch they said, bullet in the heart sac they said. He was reading the Bible all night before it happened they said. Died once on the table they said. Shock treatments they said. Long road ahead they said.

We visited him as a family once in a very white, eye stinging ammonia smelling room.  The booming voice and laughter was gone.  He stared right through me.  (I’m here Grandpa!).  I remember longing to see that shiny gold tooth and noticed that his hair was combed wrong.  I wished I had a glass of milk to drink to remind him that he was funny.  He was sitting directly in front of me and yet I was still looking for him.  We children never visited there again but much later when he was in a different very plastic/orange place.  I  remember the world around him being hushed. Hussssshhhhhhed.   It felt like he forgot me, but somehow even at my young age I realized he forgotten himself because something scary took him. IT WAS The Jabberwocky.

I was never ashamed of any of it really. I was proud of him. Proud he fought to live, proud our family stayed united and whole.  I was even prouder of my Dad who more than usual seemed to hold up the entire world.  Our world and his father’s world too.

Grandpa came home as if none of it had happened.  He looked the same but now something behind his eyes that I had never seen.  I don’t remember the red cowboy boots after that, although I want to believe he wore them under his long pants.  Sometimes I thought that looked lost and wished I could lead him back, but I didn’t know how.  I felt scared to trust myself to love him ever again.  Sometimes he just looked at me sadly.  It was okay I reasoned, at least he saw me.  Gently he worked his way back to my life.  I liked his new self, but I have to say missed all that noise that used to be all around him.  I was afraid of the quiet.  Hussshhhhhh  Whosssshhhh. I’m grateful that 48 years later they know so much more how to help us.

Everyone that was there that day has their own version of what happened.   Like all events of terror we lived through it together but under our own circumstance.  Each of us remembers where we were, what we did, and what we took from the experience.  We rarely speak of it.  It wasn’t until his funeral many years later that I learned that after the accident ( I still call it an accident) he started supplying food and clothing to several families.  He had also talked at great lengths to the pastor of his church about what he saw when he “died” and asked it never be shared. All Grandpa would tell us was that he was told had more to do & “There wasn’t much time”.

I don’t know what make Grandpa shoot himself that day but  when I feel my own  despair  and the static turns into darkness,  I think that I understand. I get help.

Possibly hereditary I find my own brain malfunctions and no matter how I resist, the depression takes over. I get a feeling that I am fading away, static gets so LOUD but only I can hear it!

‘I am here you cannot see, my shadow dances when I cannot be…me’.

I always thought what I felt was a lot like Alice on the other side of the looking glass and can’t get back.  The static gets louder, darker, the deeper part of the depression. It’s then I know I am falling backwards down the rabbit hole. Again.fallen down the rabit hole

It helps me to re-read Lewis Carol’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ or I watch the Tim Burton version.  Somehow that book allows  me to make sense of my brain when my own life goes wonky and sideways.  I stay away from Grandpa’s Bible on those days.

While free-falling down the rabbit hole I try to remember that what I am feeling is not real.  I  will never catch the white rabbit, (there is always so much to do and  no time to do it).  At night my thoughts race.  Thoughts that  become the most important things to accomplish of anyone in existence!  Ever!  My inability to solve even the simplest of  problems right then and there means to me that I am a failure… and then it starts all over again. I have chased that rabbit way too many nights. rabbit

I meander through the days and  obey all  the rules;  “drink me” and “eat me”.  I blindly follow along just like Alice did  even though those rules may make me too big or too small and not at all fitting in. I attend tea parties I don’t understand and observe a door mouse wanting to sleep all the time. I fully  get why.  As a kid that door mouse annoyed me sleeping through a party, interrupting, and no respect.  NOWdays am so jealous of his ability to nap through it all. Ha!

I have made friends with The Mad Hatter who constantly chatters inside my head with all his nonsense and riddles. They are my nonsense and riddles, forgetfulness, ego and fear.  He is my madness and I accept him/me for who we are.  After all   “all the best people are” at least a little crazy.   He is my best friend, I am afraid of him, and I am sorry for him and he is me all at once. bonkers

The hookah smoking caterpillar and I hang out with complete abandon and we are both full of apathy as I plan my escape.  He was a character that frightened me as a child.  How could someone be so uncaring when Alice obviously needed help to get through the forest!  Now  we party together and I understand the apathy about the third glass of wine. Although it feels so good,  I try not to hide out with Absalom very long.  I very much miss caring about things.              

The remainder of the journey is through the scary forest.  I am angry I have to continue. When I am angry or sad, the Red Queen is even angrier at me.  The Red Queen is a touchy subject for me.  The Red Queen reflect back at me from the people who don’t want to accept when I am in Wonderland.  The Red Queen snaps at me “Oh not again!”, “what’s wrong with you?”,  and “You’re insane” She makes demands of me. “Why don’t you just snap out of it”?   She is especially angry at me when I am at my worst.  How could I do this to her? and so forth.   She is the Red Queen after all.  I have made her so because she adores me.

Along comes the Cheshire cat who lives in my unconscious mind and keeps popping in and fading out with tidbits of wisdom leaving only a ghost of a smile. I really need what the Cheshire cat has to say but it isn’t ever clear.  He tells me that I have to be more “in the world” but won’t give me any tools to accomplish the task; just that faded smile of happier times.  I see the Cheshire Cat’s smile in my  pictures of the past. I can’t connect to myself anymore.  My favorite line in the Tim Burton film version is when Johnny Dep as the Mad Hatter  says “You’re not the same as before used to be much more… much-ier, you’ve lost your muchness.  It feels like a difficult and heavy task, me looking for my muchness.   I keep chasing that ghost smile. i am not myself you see

Help  comes from where you least expect it.  Friends meet me in the darkness sometimes when I am at my  worst.   They meet me at the Red Queen’s court.  They try to show me the way.  I will resist them & fight them  because I think they don’t know what it is like.  I am innocent, I believe that they are attacking me like the Red Queen’s minions. They don’t deserve my resistance.

Suddenly out of nowhere, the sparkly White Queen, pops in  with the answer to it all.  I didn’t ask her for help and don’t even think I want it, but she offers up the secret. Sometimes the White Queen is  just a song on the radio, sometimes it’s a scripture, or a prayer, or a friend. Beautiful but I don’t trust it.   The White Queen tells me the secret, that to get out of Wonderland the Jabberwocky must be slain by me alone. The Jabberwocky wants only to destroy everything in my World.  The trick is to find the courage and the way.  I don’t want to do it.  I pray, listen. sleep, avoid, and wait for a different solution, medication?.  The answers come when I quiet the creatures in my mind.

Those days when I am lost and meandering  through the scary forest I force myself to re-live my own story to find my way back.   I remember, even if I don’t want to believe it, that I have been here before. (They whisper this to Alice and she doesn’t believe it either.)  This time must be worse.  It isn’t.   That knowledge gives me courage through the fear to walk, no march,  right into the scary  forest, put on my armor, pick up the sword and fight.   I know I can’t get out  unless I do.

That visit in that sterile  hospital the day I was sitting with my unrecognizable Grandpa helps me recover.  I  find myself  looking in the mirror seeing the same thing in my eyes, (I see the same thing in your eyes Scooby. It’s okay we can win this war).  Some days I seem to be so far away, it’s like I am out of my body looking in from the other side.  It’s those times I  can’t seem get a grasp on what is real.  I tell myself  my brain is lying to me.  It’s then I know I must force myself to solve the Mad Hatter’s riddle.

I finally pull myself out by remembering. Remembering that “pop” that  day.  Remembering what was lost and how the world kept on going.  Remembering that  there are 5th grade girls to whom the most important secret in  life is about what boy they like, that there are 3rd grade boys who tremble and cry  but deal with it better than an older  sister, and that there are families needing food and clothing that I can provide if I stay.  I remember that  I must  look for them because there may not be much more time.

I solve the riddle by knowing there are people just waiting for me to wear my red boots with yellow and brown plaid shorts and make them snort milk out of their nose.

I KNOW how unfair it is that someone else has to hold up my world while I am away at Wonderland. I have to focus that  I am the only one who can slay the Jabberwocky.  I alone must kill the dragon creating the darkness in my mind.   I alone must befriend and forgive the Red Queen.  I will protect her from the Jabberwocky  and keep her from being so hurt. All so that she doesn’t think she has to  fight the off world for no reason  (and then just ends up face down in the dirt noticing shoes).   I solve the riddle by striving to climb out one step at a time.

So  it’s my own story that reminds me of what it can look like after-all if I don’t fight back.  The Story of Grandpa V.  and what ever happened to his red boots.  Because of him I know that those who love me trust me to stay who I am and not get lost in WonderlandIt’s because of him I know that not everyone sees  the other side of the mirror.  It’s for the people who trust me that I venture forward, head on  into the scary forest. For them I search for the ghost smile.  For them I don’t hang around the caterpillar very long.  For them I fight the darkness.  For them  I put on my armor, pick up the sword, and slay the Jabberwocky.

It is for all of this that in the end I put on my red boots and dance the Futterwacken with the Mad Hatter ….                                                                                                                                                      …..as a  celebration of LIFE.             


Alice asks the Hatter for the answer the riddle he gave her at the tea party: 

            Alice:  “Hatter, how IS a raven like a writing desk?”

           Mad Hatter: “I have absolutely no idea”


My Phone Is My Service Animal

Today’s workshop project is all about scraping out the inside of a Saguaro. Immersed in the project time becomes nonexistent. Suddenly my phone alerted with this

Panicked! My phone is trying to take care of me. Like a service animal (although I would prefer a monkey). What? Take a swim? Okay

Saguaro Rib table waits another day.

Police State

It was all over Social Media yesterday that police officers were asked to leave a Starbucks because a woman said she didn’t feel safe.  I was confused by her action (backed by Starbucks),  and then I started thinking of what might have been the rest of the story:

Woman: “I don’t feel safe with that Police Officer in here and my Crack Sales are down!” officer any drugsWoman: ” That Police Officer looked at me funny… Like he KNOWSsay agileWoman: “Yes Rolf, we are in a planning meeting here at Starbucks. We’re singing Edelweiss and So Long, Farwell at the show tonight, but you’re too busy to come right?” rolfSteven Seagal said: “It’s harder to be a police officer now than it used to be” but he also said this so….
steven segalOh sure, I’ve experienced the awkwardness of trying to look extra diligent and drive correctly when I see those markings along side me in traffic.  I move my hands to 10 & 2 and try to look natural as I stare straight ahead. 
pulloverBut like the majority of the outraged Citizens posting, re-posting, and vowing to boycott Starbucks for their actions I am upset at the judgement and hatred. I have a family member who is a Sheriff Deputy. He struggles trying to make sense of the evil he sees all the wile believing there is good in everyone. His talent is making a difference through love.  Most officers still serve even when someone (Beyonce) is outspoken against all policemen, no matter what.


I guess Starbucks has the right to refuse service to anyone they please.  I don’t buy drinks from Starbucks, but they were my go-to gift cards and I liked to slip a 5$ gift card in for thanks to nurses & helpers.  I doubt such a big company will even notice my absense.  Still I don’t support the decision to ask them to leave. The fact the police did leave leads me to believe they weren’t acting abusive.  We don’t know the real rest of the story.

Perhaps we just need more Fred Rogers in our lives,Mr rogerswith a dash  of Cartman: giphy


I Am….Grateful

This morning’s Gratitude Journal-   I am a lightning rod for healing energy… I am…on an enlightening journey. I am..so very grateful. SO GRATEFUL!

As seen in Ajo Arizona

My healing journey is far from over.  When I started over a year ago, many of the blogs/videos I found claimed if one simply followed their advice one would achieve great improvements over time.   I really couldn’t see how that was possible for me.  I’m sure it works for others but I am different.  My inner conversation was- “well I carry a lot of stress. I can’t help it if the outside influences increase my stress level.  Those people are probably smarter, richer,  have more willpower, funnier, more athletic, and obviously better than me so it’s probably easier for them.”

My Attitude

Psshht. Today I am grateful I didn’t listen to myself.  The proverbial “THEY’ were right and I managed to change my life in these ways;  I am stronger, I am kinder, I am joyful, I am healthy, I am thinner, my skin is better, my relationships are better, my life is happier, I have everything I need.  I am now as annoying to myself  as those who I  identified as “THEY”.  A year and a half ago I would have said (well actually did say) about the person I am today  “well she OBVIOUSLY doesn’t have  to (fill in the blank)…” What  excuses I gave myself.2018-11-25_12-21-03_366

Starting point.  My higher learning/self help journey started by accident. I wanted to be a bone marrow donor for a cherished person in my life who had Leukemia. I wanted to be ready when/if needed & was told that even if I wasn’t a match, it would better their chance to “move up the list”.  Believing I was healthy as can be I started with a routine physical and my  doctor shockingly telling me how unhealthy  I was.

While the doctor was tapping away on the exam room computer prescribing various cholesterol lowering, blood pressure & insulin regulating drugs du jour, I said “Stop. I don’t want to take a statin, I’m healthy! I drink smoothies! I walk a mile a day! I gave up Diet Coke!” Image result for stop sign clip art free I need to insert here that giving up Diet Coke  <(click here to see official ingredient list) January 1, 2018 was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It contains a highly addictive amino acid to me- Phenylalanine   and was poison to my body.  Without it my body made great improvements.   Phenylalanine attaches to the pain  receptors of the brain creating a sense of euphoria and making it highly addictive. Diet Coke also destroys  bones which was the part of the body I was after. Anyhoo,  I was soooo stinkin’ proud of myself so you can imagine…Image result for pin bursting balloon

 The too f’n young doctor  and I  argued discussed my “healthy lifestyle” for a while; me defending my health choices, him telling me the horrors of what the numbers of the blood test predicts. How grateful I am that he took the time that morning.  I was the first patient of the day and our talk definitely put him off schedule.

Thanks Doc for the helping hand!

We settled on giving me 3 month chunks of time to obtain healthier numbers. So the self propelled healing journey began. Finding foods on the list that I liked, making up recipes. The “don’t call it a diet because diets come to an end” philosophy.  I knew this was a pivotal moment and my life would never be the same. I was either going to take medication and become another (ahem) middle aged woman controlled by the Pharmaco-mafia or I was going to do this. I  felt like I was hopping off the merry-go-round while it is still moving. This was it.  Three month check and my doctor’s face and excitement over the blood test was actually comical.  I was embarrassed by his reaction and attention.  I thought it wasn’t the big deal he was making it out to be.   Later I realized how frustrating it would be for him to give advise only to have the patient ignore him. Three months later, a complete physical 3 months after that and results continued to improve. Which brings us back to today. 2019-06-23_23-03-34_783

I put off the annual physical last month telling my doctor, “let’s postpone it for 3 weeks so I can detox from my vacation”.Image result for culinary dropout pretzel fondue We then had a discussion on how much I miss cheese. I tell him the only thing I wanted for my birthday last March was the Soft Pretzel & Provolone Fondue at Culinary Dropout  to which he says: “Union  Public House Pretzels with Ale House Fondue is even better”  then seeing the look on my face says “oops I guess I shouldn’t tell you that!”

I had given myself the green light to go ahead and eat delicious cultural food full of fat and drink plenty of  local wine in Italy & Greece. Which I did. … and I felt it… and I ignored it. I quickly realized how easy it is to simply take a pill for pain, digestion, allergy,  just so that I could continue to eat this way.

The saving grace was all the walking we did and a 25 lb backpack all of  which seemed offset doing permanent damage to the progress of the past year and a half.  2019-02-08_15-58-24_015

My quest hasn’t all been about nutrition and I am amazed the differences a simple gratitude journal, a brain exercise, encouraging video or a few minutes of meditation can do.  Release anger, forgive myself. What works for me might not work for others.  G has been working on natural pain management and has cut his use of medication to less than half. Our daughter and her husband have discovered natural remedies for some chronic physical issues.  So as a lightning bolt of healing energy I am joining the collective “THEY” to annoyingly spread natural healing and positive energy.  I found it so helpful.  To encourage all to  replace mindless TV, Netflix, Candy Crush with education. One show, one article, one YouTube video at a time.  Below are some of the resources my friends, family and I  have found helpful.  Add to my list- share what you find!

Inspiration & life after death: Dr Mary Neal  

Two more Neurosurgeons on natural healing, meditation and lifestyle: Dr Norman Shealy, MD, PHD.   Dr Joe Dispenza

Positive Growth:   Lisa Garr   and Shondra Rhymes “Year of Yes”

Brain Boost: Jim Kwik    Mind Valley

Yoga, Meditation, Enlightenment: Gaia.com

Productivity, Gratitude Journal: Alex Ikonn








Ghost Burglar Break-In

Technically it was the wee hours of the morning on July 5th but I still thought the loud crash at 2:07 A.M. was part of a random neighbor’s 4th of July home firework show.firework

As I registered the sound it occurred to me that what I heard was a loud THUMP followed glass breaking. G was already out of bed standing next to the door looking confused and adorable at the same time. We must have been a sight as I hunched down behind him, both of us scantly clad with bed head and slit eyes.  He doesn’t question that my position hiding behind him ensures he will encounter the bad guy first but I still fell kind of guilty.  Burglar RunningWe creep down the hall as graceful as cat burglars to the kitchen. It is at this time I suddenly realize if there IS an intruder we are barefoot and have no weapon.  My heart starts pounding but is soon relieved to see this:

Somehow a   blue vase has crashed to the ground. I am amp-ed up on adrenaline as grab a broom and start sweeping into the dustpan.  Still in the doorway and groggy, G is watching me……so I say “here, make yourself useful” and hand him the dustpan handle. img_7151

For SOME reason I get the giggles. Mostly because I realize I NEVER talk to him like that, and also because he does it on command.  Note to self, if one ever decides to order G about take a chance at 2:08 A.M.

“Where did the painting go!?” I exclaim.img_7153-1

We look around the kitchen and G replies “Ghosts” which is the first word he has said so far.  I keep sweeping and looking around for the painting.Cartoon Ghost

“Maybe it was stolen.” I say and then we look at each other and BURST OUT LAUGHING.  Perhaps I should explain our hysterics: 


The missing painting was created by me at a recent Wine and Paint party at a gallery.  To those who haven’t heard of Wine and Paint party here is the description: A group of friends attend a “class” hosted by a local gallery. Bring snacks & plenty of your favorite wine (oh, and an extra bottle to share with everyone else, wink).  The instructor takes her happy artists on a step by step journey to paint the exact same thing. Blue background, oval, another oval, (mine is looking like a green vagina at this stage), swipe some color, blob here, dot there…

Soon the wine kicks in and jokes about giving each other the  painting for Christmas and other such shenanigans ensue.We are amazed at the different versions we have created and notice someone (far right bottom row) paints it perfectly (DEBBIE) complete with glitter. Next step, sign our masterpieces with  sharpie and go  home.  Well ONE of us in the picture below (hint, the one with big earrings) looks a little TOO happy.  (Wine remember?)

Soooo- back to what is now 2:09 A.M., and the absurdity of someone breaking in to steal my paining  hits us hard. Giggling uncontrollably now while we look around, under, through for the painting.   Really though, where is it? WHERE IS IT?? G finally realizes it fell behind the desk trapped perfectly so that it doesn’t hit the ground which is quite anticlimactic to my wildly imagined scenarios.  I think the WALL JUST REJECTED MY ART

All is well again

So we hang it back up, turn off the light and head back to bed.  G is back asleep by 2:13 A.M. (How does he DO that?)  I however am now fully awake writing this post. Sigh.

Meanderings- Delos Island, Greece

I am still feeling inspired by all the wonder from our recent vacation.  One of my  favorite things was getting close enough to gently blow the dust from an ancient sculpture and  I imagine the same dust on an artist’s hands from over 3000 years ago.     To me it is the ultimate time machine.2019-06-18_02-43-15_000Looking at the partial pieces of sculpture, I also wonder if the artists got as triggered as I do  when accidentally breaking off a key piece of work. I imagine so but couldn’t it also be the alternate explanation to the missing arms/penises/noses of ancient statues?peniHow do they KNOW it was the uptight Christians knocking off penises? Could be just an artist that can’t get the penis exactly right, or perhaps the removal of appendages is like the selfie editing of today “Eww I look awful in this lighting, take it again on my good side”.  So MAYBE even a famous sculptor such as  Alcamenes had to edit his creation like this:      hermes and Alcamenes  Hlava Herma, Alkamenés, mramor, -5. st. We took a guided tour through the ruins and I was very pleased with the tiny yet loud archaeologist guide.  It always surprises me how many rude tourists seem to be missing out on the wonder of what we are experiencing. 2019-06-18_01-54-03_000For example; a man pushed by knocking us off of the narrow path to get to, well, just ahead of all of us I guess.  G: “It’s been here thousands of years, I don’t think it’s going anywhere” 2019-06-18_02-06-15_000Rocks that were stacked using no mortar outline walls that are still standing today. Guide: “If you see cement that’s where it has been repaired.”2019-06-18_01-58-35_000Arches that are are part of a water catchment system. Take a look at the keystones at the center of the arch in the picture below. Still as solid today as when the mason placed them there. 2019-06-18_01-51-18_000While the guide weaves tales of antiquity, G & I  place our hands  on the cool marble stones.   With my back and hands against the marble and my face toward the sun  I swear I can feel the vibration of a thousand voices heard from  those who passed this very window.  2019-06-18_01-56-05_000Delos is the birthplace of Apollo who is also known as the god of light. Using the huge  local mica deposit on the island the walls sparkled in all directions.  2019-06-18_01-30-22_000It’s not hard to imagine approaching from the sea, buildings shining in the sun, a row of roaring stone lions leading the way to bustling shops and palatial structures.lionsSomeone asks the guide who these people were located in the middle of a group of houses. The answer is they don’t know. Not royalty, possibly a rich merchant’s family.  They were obviously very fashionable. greece-delos-top-attractions-house-of-cleopatraWe end up with a lot of free time after the tour and before the ferry returns. We walk the fringes of the Island where nature has reclaimed her rightful place covering man’s structures that may be lesser known or simply ignored.2019-06-18_01-12-12_000I  even found a couple of pretty little snails stuck on a wall. These Delos Island snails are super strong.  I couldn’t pick it off the wall which was probably best anyway for the snail.2019-06-18_01-41-04_000We climb as high as we can and overlook the layout of the island.intro_dilosAnd visit the temple while we were up theregreece-delos-temple-of-isisWe venture down and dip our toes in the nearby sea. The water is cool and so clear.  It’s quiet except the soft waves. This  little part of the ocean was a crossroads for trade for thousands of years. This little part of the sea was a sole source of life.   2019-06-18_03-07-56_000Together in silence the two of us enjoy the complex history of this  place. 2019-06-18_02-19-40_000and  reflect on the phenomenon when these places are abandoned and left to ruin.  2019-06-18_02-17-55_000Together we whisper to each other and express our awe of human creativity 2019-06-18_03-03-55_000and the need to write it all down.2019-06-18_02-04-58_000This simple unique rock placement of the wall below  makes me so happy.2019-06-18_02-00-33_000.jpegMosaic flooring, frescoes, sculpture & pottery have been recovered and preserved in the museum.   2019-06-18_01-16-46_0002019-06-18_02-52-14_000


We are grateful for the opportunity to visit.

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The Best Museum I Had Never Heard Of.

We are staying with friends in Santa Marinella just outside Rome. Lucky for us they have a sense of adventure and love for UNESECO sites and lead us to the following adventure.

Mysterious Tarquina full of Etruscan surprises. We begin at the Necropoli. There are so many wonderfully preserved tombs here. Stunning rooms are carved into solid rock, including wide staircases descending to a small door entrance.

Part of the area dates to the 9-8th century BC. As time went on traditions changed, more and more elaborately decorated tombs appear. Many depict the Etruscan lifestyle. All are beautiful.

Above the surface there are yurt type structures. Of course over time these structures were buried beneath the earth and rediscovered by farming. Imagine the surprise of finding such treasure in your field!

After touring the Necropoli, our wonderful friends drove us to the town of Tarquina. The town retains a medieval charm. Meandering through the streets it is easy to imagine the sound of horse hooves clip-clop along the cobblestone roads.

On to the museum where the treasures are kept.

Fantastic pottery, carvings, weapons, and items used for daily life in the centuries BC are shown

This little museum rivals the more famous and a must see if you are able to break away from spectacular Rome and travel up to the area of Tarquina!

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Continue reading “The Best Museum I Had Never Heard Of.”

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