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


Save Scooby

What the heck? I have taken a 9 month break from publishing a post.  Perhaps like birth but  without the  adorable baby at the end.  (So many drafts. I just wasn’t willing to share) Today I feel amazing.  Today I created beautiful things.  Today I am brave.  

Today I want to tell you about the lie.  Or maybe it’s the truth as I see it.

This past 9 months I have been having the time of my life.  My beautiful daughter married the man of her dreams, a loved one survived leukemia to remission, the world seems amazing and perfect. Life is so good.

Then a horrible imaginary sound invaded my universe. Like a BOOM! One of my loved ones became severely depressed and there was NOTHING I could do about it.  I’m going to rename this person Scooby-Doo because everyone loves Scooby-Doo.

ISN’T IT HARD to imagine a depressed Scooby? ……..Exactly.

Why does it happen to such a wonderful person?  Scooby is so loved, so funny, so happy.  Scooby makes EVERYBODY feel good. How could SCOOBY be depressed?

Scooby’s brain lies to him.  Scooby’s brain is full of a cornucopia of chemicals that create an alternate reality.  If you love Scoob you are having a hard time accepting his state of mind.  Picture Scooby Doo putting a gun in his mouth.  Impossible!  True.

Scooby is great at covering up.  Only those who check in daily know.  I am one of those.  I am so ANGRY at those who don’t check in. Scooby lied to his loved ones. He said all is well so they don’t know.

Hey Shaggy, Save Scoob!   If you read this & think you know who Scooby Doo is you are right.  Call. Text. Show you care.  It’s f’n life or death.

P.S. Scooby Doo I Love You

Shells & Mexican Politics

Once and a while we stumble on a small business & just fall in love with it.  Rocky Point Rodeo Drive has a of of shops that hold very similar tourist items. We weren’t expecting something different or new.  Creating curios from shells has been a long standing tradition even when this road was simply sand and shacks. I had my own tradition of buying one particular older woman’s shell creations but when they upgraded the road a few years ago, her store disappeared.  Now we have created a new tradition as once we met Salvador.Way at the west end of the street on the north side we found a shop owned by a delightful couple. Salvador is showing the secure backing his wife uses on her designs.Some of the shells are local, some are purchased, but all the work is hers.He explained they live behind the shop and TODAY  he was watching the shop and the kids while his wife was at a political luncheon for women.Salvador’s pride in his wife’s work & her participation in the luncheon was delightful. We  learned a lot about this couple in a short time from his story. They are part of the old traditions, and they are shaping in the future of their town.   This is such a terrific mom and pop business. Please stop in the next time you are in Rocky Point. I know  we always will.

Going To The Dogs

Excited for Prime day and I was ready.  I had my item all picked out.   The first one sold out in minutes and the remainder well…Apparently the site has been crashing all day.  You are redirected to these adorable pictures of  dogs delivering the bad news.  Meet some of the dogs of Amazon!

Dear Liver

Dear Liver, I feel so betrayed.   I have been focused on eating properly and proud of exercising routinely.    I was prepared for the doctor to say something like “woo-hoo great job”.  Instead we had the talk.  Since my doctor is much younger than I am  he says things like “it comes with age”.  Really little boy?  Does it? Child, I am fully age aware every morning as I get out of bed as  it sounds like popping bubble wrap and  feels like various bones are breaking.  Just when one gets used to a new wrinkle, silver starts showing up in the hair. Get used to that and an old knee injury turns chronic on what is now the last ski run one will ever take. So now organs are rebelling?  Great. It’s not Dr. Babyface’s fault. He’s only trying to help.  As a matter of fact he spent a lot of time investigating happened.  Here’s what we found and the reason I feel betrayed.

The past 6 months I  eliminated  many unhealthy foods. I completely cut out  Diet Coke, drink less alcohol, less red meat, cut out processed foods etc. Imagine my shock when I am suddenly in a dangerous range. The young doctor saw the look of horror on my face and started the investigation. “What’s changed in the last 6 months?”  It turns out in my quest to be healthy that smoothies made with a low calorie almond milk contain over 2 grams of the worst kind of fat!  In another twist, the organic/non GMO/Omega 3 bread also low calorie contained another gram. So  my healthy smoothie-a-day was trying to kill me.  I don’t like taking prescription drugs so he gave me 3 months to bring it back down on my own.  He graciously said “you did it before so maybe you can do it again but the obstacles are genetics and age”. Challenge accepted.

I often wonder if I had a time machine, I would  go back and tell my young self to take better care of this body.  The answer is no. I wouldn’t miss a minute; not one mogul flying down a mountain, not one wipe-out, not one vodka, not one all night party, not one tamale, not one prime rib… I would tell my young self just do it.   It was all worth it.  As the jaded young doctor says, “it comes with age” anyway right? Perhaps my attitude is how I ended up here. Truthfully this time products labeled healthy were poisonous.   At least now I have more ammunition to fight the inevitable  with everything I have.   So dear liver, you are on notice for the next 3 months. The great experiment begins.

Note from Dr. Babyface:  Look for monounsaturated fats  in all nut milks such as Silk Unsweetened Almond Milk- (click on Nutrition facts ) It shows 30 calories, no saturated fats.  Great right?  Wrong.

Note from Me: Damn it now I have to give up chips and salsa.  (Stay tuned for solar cooked sweet potato and beet chips)



Grad Night – Hey Mister…

I recently attended a high school graduation and what an entertaining evening.  REALLY.  I’m not kidding.  Okay so here’s what happened. G & I arrived about 10 minutes early to packed stands.  We took the first two openings we saw, row 2 on the 30 yard line farthest from the stage.  (There were also chairs set up on the field for people with tickets).  Soon “Never-met-a-stranger-G”   was entertaining our section of the bleachers.  A family with 4 of the most well behaved children I have ever seen were right in front of us and the kids immediately started interacting.  What happened next was entirely G’s fault as he encouraged the kids per usual.

Kid 1; “Hey Mister, Where did you get that hat?” G-“Mexico”.  Kid 2 ( adorable girl 5 years old) “You mean real Mexico?”

Kid 3; (Middle girl trying to get in on older brother and younger sister’s action) “Mister, Why are your boots so pointy?”  *All 4 kids, their parents,  and an old man left of  G look down at his feet*  G-“That’s so I can kill the bugs in corners.”  Now, I could see the emotions pass over their face, ‘should I laugh or am I going to get in trouble if I laugh?’ He smiles, they laugh. Old man next to G: “What did he say?” His wife: “He kills bugs. BUGS”.  Old man looks back down at G’s boots visibly irritated.

At this point I have to interject that  the procession of 367 seniors had begun through a gauntlet of parents on the field (you know, the ones with tickets). They lined up in 2 lines for the grads to pass through all the while taking pictures. At times, in their zeal, they completely blocked the progress.  Three songs played…then started over again. Therefore our banter wasn’t making us miss any action on the field.  Plus we were on the second row and a gaggle of people with balloons & signs were still streaming in trying to find seats blocking any idea of a view. Okay. Back to the conversation;

Kid 1:  “Mister, (pause…looks up while he is thinking ) You’re reeeallly old”.  Kid 3 (Middle Girl not to be outdone) “You’re older than my grandpa!”  To which G replies-“I AM OLDER THAN YOUR GRANDPA.”  *Parents nervously laughing*

Mom of the  inquisitive kids: “How old are you?” G answers-“73”     ALL FOUR KIDS EXCLAIM “WOW!”.   (Kid 2-, the adorable 5 year old covers her eyes).

Old man to the left of G (not their grandpa): “What did he say?” His Wife shouts: “He’s seventy-three” (people behind him laugh and nod at G)

Mom of 4 inquisitive kids: “I thought you were in your fifties!  You look young”. Old man (who I think is not yet even close to 73 but looks older than G)  shakes his head, GETS UP, MOTIONS TO HIS WIFE & THEY LEAVE!

Preteen Girl on my right who has been listening: “Are you in love with him?” (which I think is kind of a weird out of the blue question but hey, we ARE the entertainment during this turtle walk the grads are doing so I answer) “Well yes, we have been together 25 years”  Teenage girl:  “Woah. That’s quite an accomplishment!” to which the surrounding couples above her chuckle too.  We are all sitting in the bleachers to celebrate accomplishments so I roll with it.  The mood around us remains festive, total strangers striking up oddly personal conversations all thanks to my G.

For the rest of the night our section enjoyed the celebration together.  We all shared a belly laugh  when unbeknownst to the owner of a huge bundle of balloons, a wind had blown  the balloons to engulf a man walking past in the opposite direction. The poor man was trapped in a sea of blue, gold and black.  The trapped man  panicked, struggled, batted and swam his way out of the mess.  What WE saw were balloons,  elbows, balloons, knees, man twisting around, more balloons. What we HEARD was Squeaky squeaky squeak “Sorry dude” just as the balloons finally set the captive free. They just kept going walking  away in opposite directions like it never happened.

We all listened to the same speeches together and a collective wave rippled through the bleachers from over 30 year old onlookers as we questioned why so many speeches by the top graduates referenced TV Shows as inspirational. One recounted episodes and praised  the accomplishments of a fictional character as if she was presenting that character an award. The only other quote was taken from Cardi B.   Not one literary quote in ANY of the speeches.  None.  No standards like Walt Whitman, or Mark Twain.   Perhaps my time as a lover of books is old fashioned now.  I’m the old woman in the stands thinking  “kids these days…do they know how fascinating  it is that   Harper Lee is still relevant?” Perhaps the student speech givers knew that their peers understood why the quote from Cardi B was special, and why Kim Possible or Ron Stoppable is inspirational even if I wasn’t in on it.

Every speech from the  hall of fame inductees to teachers to students  had some reference to the support received from the community. Whether it was from fellow students, family, teachers, or the community itself, all of them called out each other for kindness and support they received.  I found that so comforting and somewhat unique in the political rhetoric speeches have become today’s norm. Perhaps that is the epicenter of  this school’s success. A community celebrating each other’s accomplishments.

This diverse school had  nearly 5 million dollars worth of scholarships, so many awards to the senior class including awards in academic decathlons, a 92% rate of continuing education from this class alone, national awards in things like ROTC, and even in Fashion.  These were opportunities we didn’t even have “in my day”.  It came as a surprise to me that the biggest cheer of the night was for the principal like he was some kind of rock star.   What a great time to be a graduate.  Perhaps the biggest accomplishment of the school is exactly that, making us all wish we were one of them.

Two and a half hours later many families had already duck-walked in front of us out of the stands as soon as their grad received a diploma.  I KNEW their student had received a diploma because 3 foot  pictures of their grad were produced, screams, horns & booming confetti cannons shot over us all as the names were announced.   The confetti cannons were such a hit with our new  friends that, for a while at least, the children  were occupied with collecting. “I get red, you get blue…” Those of us in our little section stayed to the end. Together.  We helped each other gather belongings, amble out of the bleachers and bid goodbye like we were long lost friends.  Kids gave hugs to G, hands were shaken, good luck offered.

We looked for my nephew who we were there to celebrate and met the family off to the side of the common area, out near the vending machines.   He was number three Senior in his class and remained humble and grateful for the support from his parents, brother, aunts,  uncles and cousin who were present and gathered in a circle around him taking pictures in terrible lighting.   Oh and score! We got out of our parking space onto the street like the parking gods were watching.     Yep we REALLY had a blast at this graduation.

Lorelei:  (aka kid 2 -five year old adorable girl ): “Hey Mister, are you gonna come to my graduation?”  G- “Yes I am so you better work very hard.” Lorelei: “Okay I will.” and runs to her dad.  

See you in 2031 Lorelei. 

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