Monday, July 26, 2021

Another Year (looking back - looking forward)

                                                Happy Birthday 

Grateful! The first word that comes to my mind on this day is Grateful!  Grateful for the gift of life. None it is said are given to know the day or hour of our death, and so just to have lived this long and to have seen the fabulous technical, medical, and intellectual progress this world has made in my lifetime, gives me a feeling of joy in our collective accomplishments.  Grateful to have been given enough time to realize that courage, loyalty, generosity, and love, are the real important things in life.
  I watched my Dad die at the age of 61, my uncles in their 60s and 70s. Almost ALL of my "friends" are dead of Agent Orange or Cancer or just stupid behavior.  I often wondered how old I would get and asked God to give me long life so that I could finally get my life together!  In my late 20s I met my sweet Vera, and it was as if God had said, "Now I set you on the right path".  
  Today I become an octogenarian!  Hah!  I don't even know what that is supposed to mean.  I feel the same as I did in my 20s.  Crazy as it sounds I feel as though I could still play football and ski my pants off.  Of course my body tells me differently, especially when I have to get down on the ground and then get up.  OOF!   I am grateful for Aqua Aerobics and walking to keep me moving.  I am grateful for my hobby/passion, Ceramics.  Making things out of dirt has open the doors to friendships, travel, mental growth, and a general direction for life.  I have my own studio in my home, including a slab roller, a new kiln, and a fine new potters wheel.  I teach seniors how to make pretty things and watch many of them grow with their interests.  
  The future is bright with our children and grandchildren leading the way.  It is wonderful to think how we can be of help to them in the future.  If I was asked to give advice at this time it would be, "If you want to be a leader, get moving" and, "Never slow down, something may just catch up with you", and finally, "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got".

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

A New President - A New Peace?

  Fear, anger hate are all hard wired and sit inside us like ticking time bombs. So why don't we all go running through the streets with flaming torches and pitchforks?  The fuel that feeds these emotions comes from what I call the " empowered leader".  This leader given voice by extreme radio broadcasters and some evangelical preachers, is free to feed the "big lie" to simple needy people who will follow forever if their fears, anger and hate are not addressed.  

I wrote these words before the tragic and disgraceful attempt to overthrow a legally cast and counted election, and the peaceful transfer of power as outlined in the Constitution, and that is so sacred to this country.  Those who were fed lies by their champion and empowered leader sought to take over Congress by violent and life threatening means, including kidnapping and murder.  Some carrying bombs, nooses, and clubs.  

Some of those misled people have been apprehended but those that led and planned the atrocity in Washington, have not and probably will never be held accountable.  Soon we will turn the page that closed one chapter and begins a new one.  What a great opportunity we have for change!

We are not there yet, but some day, the people of this country will begin to remember that We are better than we were.  We must begin to listen to the voices of those to whom we disagree.  We must avoid the flames of discord, we need to  give VOICE to those who feel they have none, and then we must LISTEN.

This is the challenge we must all take up.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

"Count yourself lucky if you live in exciting times"


  The Chinese have said, “that you should count yourself lucky if you live in exciting times.”  Hah! A lot they know.  2020 has been a year of incredible variation, a roller coaster of events political, medical astronomical and .... we ain't done yet!  Needless to say, when hundreds of thousands of Americans and people all over the world are struck down and some (way to many) die from viral infection, that it takes number one in the events of this year.  We have seen the Corona Virus (Covid-19) grow in this country from 19 in June to over 200 thousand in November. (54,805,521 cases in the world today.)   

 This is an election year, the normal, peaceful, exchange of ideas leading to the election and peaceful transition of leaders in a democratic republic, the United States of America.  What a joke!  The election of Donald Trump in 2016 was led begun by bullying and mean spirited attacks by Trump on his opponent, Hillary Clinton, on  national TV and in the digital and the Right Wing media. 

   What ensued was a series of over hundred national embarrassments, including having to pay his mistress (a porn star) compensation so that she would not testify against him in court.  He embarrassed the people of the U.S. with foreign confrontations and general incompetence, not seen in the White House in modern history.   The normal checks and balances directed in the Constitution disappeared in a flash.  

  The Executive Branch lead by Mr. Trump hired cronies and incompetents to lead cabinet and departments as long as they were loyal to the President.  The House and Senate were united as the Legislative branch of HIS government.  The Supreme Court was hanging on by a thread to maintain an impartial Judicial Branch.  It seemed as though we had gone from a democracy to an Oligarchy in the blink of an eye.  Lucky for us the House achieved  a Democratic majority in the mid-term elections.  Still the Senate dominated by a Republican Majority and a Speaker, Mitch McConnell, so enamored by Mr. Trump that no policy suggested by the Democrats, could clear the Senate and become law.  That included even laws that would provide health care for those in need during a worldwide pandemic.  

  Every time one of the President's appointees made a statement or appeared to disagree with him, he had him fired!  The President filled one after another National Judges with those that would bring his followers closer.  This group of national supporters numbered in the millions and threatened a civil ideological war.  Trump even suggested that the U.S. buy Greenland! (A surprise to the citizens and leaders of that country)  He called countries he disagreed with "shit holes" and even pushed the Prime Minister of Montenegro so that he could have a better spot for a photo shoot.  

   Then the bottom fell out!  The last warrior in the Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, died.  It seemed that the rights won by women, people of color and the Gay community would be erased in the next session of the court.  A Trump appointee was a true wing nut and it seemed all was lost.  

Sunday, July 19, 2020

His Life, How I see it

Yesterday my Dad would have been 120 years old!

     My dad was an immigrant from Spain. He and my uncle came to America in 1914 through Ellis Island and worked as laborers on Hwy 1 (the old Boston Post Road).  He settled in California and soon saw enough similarities with the climate of the Glendale foothills that he moved his family there.  
     To say that I have respect for him would be an understatement.  He was the kind of man who held the respect of other men and the envy of their wives.  He was a solid man, who gave his word and never failed to keep it.  He never made things difficult for me, his way was to let every bump in the road become a learning experience.  He was my safety net and my guide. 

     My birthday is exactly one week from his.  I will be, God willing, "four score" years!  At this point, I have lived 20 years longer than he did.  He did hard labor (I never did) and he was a smoker, (I never smoked).  He lived through a civil war in Spain but caught the Influenza, the so called "Spanish" flu although it originated on a military base in the USA.  He loved his family in Spain and visited them with his family.  It was not easy to afford but he took my mother and I to Spain for a summer.  He loved to grow things and was never happier than when he, with a cigarette hanging from his lips and his pats rolled up to his knees, was out in the mud tenting to his garden.  
     He represents many others who came to this country to start a new life.  He spoke a broken English but made sure that I learned an eloquent sort of English so that speech would never be the stumbling block to me as it had been to him.  He worked to earn his way, paid his taxes, eventually became an American citizen and for all, was a contributing member of the American society. He was all this in the midst of a society that demeaned his kind, tolerated him as an immigrant, and refused him an equal place in a country that he had happily helped to build.
     He was an example of a disappearing type of man.  Protective of his family, a stalwart of society, a "no nonsense" man with a great smile.  In short, a great dad.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Beware the Ides of March....2020

   OK, this is March 30, 2020 and the 15th day of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Yes that's right a world wide deadly virus that has us all huddled in fear.  A virus that originates in an animal (some say bats) and ingested by some people, (ugh) has been passed from person to person all over the world. 
   One of the effects of increased and some say improved transportation has allowed a bug to travel to every country in the world!  Overnight the people of the world have been quarantined or urged to maintain  "safe distancing" protocols in order to keep from being infected or from infecting others. There is no vaccine or magical cure that can stop it, hospitals fill up and there are not enough "ventilators" to ease the breathing of the sick.   Children are told to stay indoors, grandparents are isolated from their families.  The world looks like a scene out of a dystopian movie where all the streets are empty and all the shelves in the markets are bare.  People are so afraid that they hoard things like toilet paper and bottled water.  Hand sanitizers are a thing of the past and eggs are a premium.  The stock market didn't just drop, it disappeared.  In what seems like in just a moment, the world has been turned upside down.
    The issues of the day have all gone away!  There are no other issues on the nightly news, or the talk shows on TV.  All college and professional sports have been stopped, even the Olympics of this summer have optimistically been postponed until NEXT YEAR!   All talk of political elections, rival politics, and national conflicts have faded in the light of this greater threat. 
    What is clear is that when people have to stop driving, stop gathering together, stop going to work, and are forced to just turn off the industrial main switch, the world seems to get better!  The skies are clear, the air is clean, the freeways are empty!  There is less crime, world leaders are actually talking to one another in helpful ways, and the ozone layer is being repaired!  If ever there was a proof of Global Warming or that the Earth is actually a living thing and that we are killing it, it is now!  It is like God said "THAT'S ENOUGH!"  "WASH YOUR HANDS, GO TO YOUR ROOM AND THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU HAVE DONE!" 
    It all happened so fast that it seemed like a higher power just turned off the switch.  So here we are, clinging to any kind of communications device we can in order to maintain our humanity.  We will get past this as we have survived pandemics of the past.  Let's just hope that we can learn our lesson and emerge smarter and more appreciative than when we were SENT TO OUR ROOMS. 

Thursday, December 28, 2017


   If selling your home is new to you and you have lived in that home for more than four decades this blog might be interesting to you.  

   We started this journey back in July when we two old "Boomer and Pre Boomer" love children decided to "pull the trigger" and sell the house that we had raised our three children in.  They have already moved as far away from us as their budgets could manage and being all boys, they never come back or call.  We had waited for the market to regain its former levels after 2008 and now we were convinced that we could recoup the "nest egg" investment that we had planned when we bought the house.  Unfortunately, we missed the buyers that usually come to Claremont in the summer to find good schools and great activities in a wonderful and quaint little town in a rural area near Los Angeles.  
    What ensues after that is a chapter out of a Steven King novel.  We had not anticipated the agony of moving!  The actual moving of furniture, so easy with three big boys to help, became a thing of nightly tossing and turning and then came the pain.  Sciatic nerves, Carpal Tunnel, Groin Pull, and the bruises.....Oy Vey!  Our plan was to move some of our possessions into storage and then just roam this great country in our motor home.  We packed and sorted and had yard sales.  We agonized over what to keep and what to give/throw away.  At one point we could not find ANYONE to take an antique executive desk (that I loved) and so we just took it to the dump and I watched them break it into pieces.  We found homes for chairs, and lamps, we sold our upright grand piano. (it had hand carving and was concert quality. The buyer took if for her kids and painted it white!)  I have learned way to much about online "yard sales" and people who promise to come and pick up things and then never show up or call or anything...... (One guy wanted to buy a Torque wrench and called to say he was on his way, only to call back later and say that he had been confused with the Clermont in San Diego and the Claremont in Los Angeles.)  
    Living in a home that has been gutted and emptied of all your possession’s means that things that had become part of your life, almost friends, are gone, and you are alone.  We live in about 700 square feet of a 2300 square foot house.  We have our bed, a TV, kitchen (that we use seldom) a couch and a desk.  THAT’S IT!  On a positive note it is the first time I have had a clean garage.
    If it wasn’t for the support and constant love of my sweetie and loyalty and acceptance of our puppy, we would not be able to do this.  We constantly have to clean and straighten up the house for potential buyers, and Realtor Open Houses.  There is the multitude of house repairs after the “Inspectors” come through and then there are the buyers that think that they are entitled to anything they want and are just evil about it. We have had (at this point) two buyers that “fell out” of escrow for one reason or another.  One of them after getting a price reduction asked for a huge allowance to do remodeling and then would not believe the evidence of the repairs we had done. 

    It is now December, after Christmas.  We have to give a big THANK YOU to our church for the festivities and fellowship, and to our son and his girlfriend for including us into their holiday family get together.  It wasn’t the big tree in the living room with the lights and the gifts, it wasn’t the warm fire and kids playing, it wasn’t Vera’s grand feast of wonderful food, but it was Christmas and we each other and God and we  are happy.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Starting out - Along the way #1

Selling the house we have lived in for 40 years!  House just got to big and had to much equity to just keep living in it.  So, we place our future in the Everlasting Hands and step out!  
Saying goodbye to our old kitchen, packing and storing.