Make yourself at home. Put your feet up. Grab your favorite beverage and prepare to enjoy the reads.



The War on Cold

The cold war had begun. But the children didn't know what that meant, not really.

They thought the snow was part of it, the ice, the leggings, boots, mittens, mufflers and coats. All were needed to fight the cold war.

On New Years eve they were sent to bed early, too young to stay up that late, unheard of. Their parents the lucky ones, to sing farewell to the old year. They would be having fun, a party with drinks.

Was it the hangovers that started this tradition? Give the parents a break, the children out of the way? Or was it a vestige of the past carried forward with that feeling of nagging necessity that New Years was to be brought in by the little ones.

Elsa's mother wrapped her up, gave her the noisemakers from halloween, clackers and whistles, pot lids from the cupboard, put them all in a sack.

"This is what you do," she said. "to welcome in the New Year, to get rid of all the bad things from last year. Make as much noise as you can. Make a parade. Get some other kids. March up and down the sidewalks, but only up to the corner and back. Then, afterwards we can have cocoa to drink."

Elsa thought perhaps this is part of the cold war, to make it go away.

She felt warm inside as she went to Bobby's house. His mother understood. Elsa and Bobby clanged on the pot lids, heartily yelling, "Happy New Year!" in their little child voices as they marched up the sidewalk to Janet's house.

The parents knew. This is the way it is done. And it will help the headaches from celebrating the night before, time to make the bleary eyed peep out the window go away. A quiet house, the children playing outside. That's what they did when they were little.

More children joined them, "Happy New Year! Happy New Year!" marching up the street all the way to Frankie's house. His mother wouldn't let him come outside.

That was when the children turned around, heading back to their warm houses, their mothers and cocoa. That was when snow crept into the top of Elsa's boots and melted into her socks. Her breath crystalized into her muffler making her nose red.

The sky turned grey. The trees crackled.

Good bye, Tommy.

Happy New Year, Janet and Mary.

See you tomorrow, Dickie. Are you going to have Cocoa, too?

The snow began to fall. Elsa clanged the pot lids together one more time.

She didn't yell anymore. She had done her part to fight the cold war.

Elsa thought of hot cocoa and smiled.

Please respect my copyrighted story and contact me if you wish to use any part of it.
Thank you,
Elizabeth Munroz

(total word count for today: 808)


Dishwasher VS. Hand Wash

I think that the average dishwasher uses too much water and electrical energy. Until everyone has an energy saving dishwasher I'm putting my own energy into washing by hand. But, some say dishwashers sterilize dishes better than hand washing. The reality is that I don't have a dishwasher, so I must add here that I have not been very conscientious about thinking green until recently. One thing I do that sterilizes my dishes just fine... I use vinegar added to water to rinse my dishes.

I probably don't have enough information to determine if hand washing is entirely better than and electric dishwasher. But, in my present circumstances I want to work with what I've got.

I once contacted the author of a website promoting ecologically sound methods of living. I asked about this dish washing issue and his response was pretty judgmental and severe, in my opinion. He was totally against dishwashers, and didn't have much regard for the so called natural product I use to wash with. His comments also included the admonition that I wasn't doing any good if I didn't have pipes going outside into a container so that I could use the grey water for the garden. And, I must do this and that. Yada, yada, yada. It was very discouraging. I began to feel like a planet Earth leech! I didn't bother to write back and tell him I don't water my garden as I have mostly native plants and adaptables growing. I also don't have a traditional lawn with grass that needs weed and feed and mowing.

It's too bad that someone with a wealth of knowledge on the subject thinks only one way. Surely, it would be nice if we could all make a cleaner footprint. But, it is not realistic to think everyone can do it at once. Some must come to it one step at a time. Like me.

Since, I am not always well, I have a supply of paper plates and plastic cutlery. I have become much more judicious in using them. I keep wondering how much it harms the environment, but who to ask? How to determine one factor against another? One paper plate, one plastic fork vs, one regular plate and fork being washed with hot water and rinsed.

Of course, it would take a mathematician to weigh the odds of how many tree resources would be used up against the water, the filtering of it by a water utility company, the heating of the water, the disposal of the water, the filtering in a public waste water utility, the spoilage of water source such a plant would empty into. Since the paper can be recycled if it is clean, or it can return to the soil more naturally (I think) perhaps the paper plate is the better option.

On the other hand, the plastic is probably not a very good option. If recycled it has a saving grace, I suppose. I simply don't have enough information to go on with this. I understand there are paper forks and knifes, but haven't found them. I'd feel better about using them than the plastic.

So, I try to do without dishes and cutlery as much as possible, eating food that is carried in my hand, an apple instead of applesauce, for example. But, then I am faced with another dilemma. What if my food has just enough moistness that it needs to be held by a paper napkin. If I use cloth, then I will need to wash it at some point. What is the cost benefit ratio of washing cloth napkins vs paper napkins. In the long run do the paper napkins waste more ecologically than the cloth napkins?


Cat Vs. Foot... No Winner!

I just downloaded a couple hundred pictures from my camera. Most are now deleted, but there are several shots which go in succession, and this the one I chose to post to LOL cats.... You know, those "I can has cheezburger" cats. There must be a million of them floating around in cyberspace.

Though, I've created a few before, this is the one that finally made me laugh, even before I thought to caption it.

It's my kitty, Spyder, whose spontaneous reaction is priceless!

I hope you get a kick out of it, share it with your friends and help to vote it into popularity. Click on the picture to do so.

EW!!!               peepul paws iz gross!!
moar funny pictures


Aging Holiday

Another Christmas letter from my parents from before they died:

December 11, 2004
Dear Ones, All,

With the wonderful thanksgiving holiday behind us and the recent giving of thanks, we have been aware about how grateful we are that the Lord has seen fit to keep us together all these years, and to bring us to this new place we now reside. We have moved twice in the last year and finally settled in at our New Address, which is nearby to one of our granddaughters. We are fortunate that some of our great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren also live nearby.

Due to a “no pets” policy, our two Abyssinian cats have moved up north to live with our eldest daughter. We miss our furry family members, but they have taken up writing to us regularly to keep us informed. We enjoy their stories, and antics. What talented felines!

It certainly has been a year of changes and challenges as well as Blessings. Between moves this year, the youngest member of the family arrived, a boy, Alexander, born to our great grandson, Justin. Our grandson, Xavier, got married to Trisha and we celebrated 67 years of marriage. Due to continued changes in our health, our most recent move is to a full care facility, which we are still trying to get used to, has turned out to be a blessing in that we have very loving care.

Moving brought up all the memories of our past connections with family and friends as we came across letters and cards that we have saved over the years. We truly enjoy going over those old memories, and often think of all who have touched our lives. Let's not lose contact, and make new memories in sharing our lives by letter or phone call.

We hope and pray, as winter begins to welcome the Christmas season, that all is well with you and yours. We hope to hear from you soon.

God Bless You,      
Jim and Gennie


Christmas Past

I've come to the obvious conclusion that I am not in the Christmas spirit. I have a list of reasons why, which I will not bother to go into here. I decided the best thing to do, would be to find something in my own life that will trigger a spark. And I've found it. Both my parents have left this world but they have also left a wonderful legacy for all my family. Counting my parents, that is 5 generations, 32 living descendants, and many step grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren whom my parents loved).

To gain some perspective and change my "Bah, Humbug" attitude, I went through my files and found a letter, one of those annual letters that everyone sends in their Christmas cards, that was written by my parents in 2001.

December 10, 2001

Dear Ones All,

Warmest greetings and, good wishes to you and yours. Memories of holidays past are being woven into new gladness of the season today. We may not be able to communicate with you every day because of the distance that separates us, or maybe just the everyday busy-ness of life gets in the way. But, this makes no difference. Our thoughts and wishes are with you just the same. We are thinking of you today and want you to know that we think of you often and wish we could communicate more regularly.

This has been a year of many blessings. Jim has spent the year recuperating from his hip replacement surgery. He manages to be active and gets about well with the use of a cane. Our kids chipped in to buy an "Amigo Scooter" which Jim uses to ride over to local stores for running errands. Jim has been participating in a musical performance group called the Rhythm Review Band. Jim also sings in a choral group, which performs mostly for disabled or senior groups including our own apartment complex monthly meeting.

We were blessed with a new baby Great-granddaughter in April. She is Varsha's baby, and grandchild to our daughter, Suzan. Our son, David was out to visit us from New York, with his wife, Sharon, during September and stayed at our son, Roger’s house. Elizabeth, whose health is doing well, came down from Santa Cruz to visit at the same time. It was a blessing to have all our kids together with us, especially since the occurrences of 9/11 happened during the visit. They were quite a comfort to us and it was good to know our kids were all safe and well.

In August, we moved to a smaller apt in the same Senior complex building where we were last year, a mile from our son, Roger's home. We are still getting organized, settled in, and adjusted with our more cozy surroundings. Gen and our daughter, Suzan, went shopping and found good furnishings to make our new home more comfortable. Gennie has been healing from her stroke last fall. She has faced many challenges focusing on her recovery, improving her well-being, and working with trying to become more physically active. We have had various household helpers throughout the year to assist in Gennie's home care. Presently our step-grand daughter, Angela  is staying with us. As befits her name, she truly is an angel in disguise, and we consider ourselves blessed to have her with us. Due to the condition of Gennie's health, she prefers to spend her afternoons at home enjoying her quiet. It is still difficult for Gennie to get around due to the lost of her sight and ability to walk well, and it can sometimes be lonesome for her. So, please give her a call, (xxx)-xxx-xxxx or send a letter or card letting us know how you are as often as you can. Angela or Jim can read them to Gennie. It would be so nice to hear from you.

Our Christmas wishes for you:
(written by our daughter, Elizabeth)

May every good and perfect gift be yours this Christmas.

May your holidays be bright with surprise and delight.

May there be a perfect blending of all the good things this time of year brings.

May the wonderful blessings and warmth of the Christmas season fill your life and home with bliss.

May you experience bright and beautiful moments to remember with special gladness.

May your heart be filled with love and hope throughout the coming New Year.

May god's gift of love, the glory of Christ's birth, be your most treasured gift.

Peace be with you today, tomorrow and always.

God Bless You,
                                                                                       Jim and Gennie Deane

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Phillians 4:7



Have you ever wanted a doll for Christmas? 
A boy doll? A girl doll? A grown up doll? 
Doesn't matter?

How bad did you want it? Not at all? A little? A lot? 
What would you have done to have that doll? 
Be a good little girl? or Boy? 

What if you weren't entirely a good girl or boy? 
Would you still get the doll?

Alma - Teaser from Rodrigo Blaas on Vimeo.

Heh! Heh! Heh!


End of Racism and Women's Self Esteem

On Oprah today, she had guests Jay Z and Barbra Streisand.

It's interesting to me, how Jay z is an incredibly popular performer at 39 years old and quite the millionaire. We've come a long way in our culture. At my age, I remember Barbra Streisand as being the rising star and becoming the millionaire.

It's not like I haven't been exposed to rap. My son, in the 80's listened to it. Let me see now if I remember... M. C. Hammer something. Yes, I liked the beat and message.

Oprah and Jay Z discussed how rap seems to have done a great deal to help end racism. Not that it has ended, in my opinion, but we are on the way. I hope.

I recall when Rock n Roll came out, there were problems with some of the parents of my friends refusing to let their kids listen to it because of "where it came from". They meant that it derived from African-American culture. Back in those days the respectful word was "colored". I always thought of my crayola crayons at the time. Being from the city of Niagara Falls, I was raised, taught in school that not only there was no more slavery, but that there was no more racism. I was brought up by what was at the time, liberal parents, who had friends from the other side of town, but we never visited each other. I didn't think anything about it until seventh grade when Margaret, the only black girl in my class, invited everyone to her birthday party. I guess her family were hoping there wasn't any racism, too. I was the only white girl who showed up at the party. My parents were both at work and Mom, knowing I had a friend's party to attend, called a taxi to take me there. It never even occurred to me to mention Margaret's color. When the taxi driver and I arrived, he wouldn't let me out of the car because of the people who were standing on the porch to greet me. The owner of the taxi company knew my parents and told him to let me out. That was my first introduction to racism.

We've come a long way, but not far enough.

I liked seeing Jay Z's office, which he called his inner sanctum. Funny, that he said he never lets anyone in there, but here were the Oprah show cameras, and all of America, looking around his office. I reall liked what he said about inspiration and it makes me want to adopt similar. He has surrounded himself with art photos of people who inspire him. People who have succeeded in life, many of whom I admire tremendously.

I think I may have some others on my wall. Some famous authors, maybe. Some famous women, who can remind me a woman can do anything she wants. Eleanor Roosevelt, Mother Theresa, Queen Latifa, Hilary Clinton, Indira Ghandi, Whoopie Goldberg are a few who inspire me, and Oprah, too.

It was so much fun watching Jay Z teach Oprah how to Rap.

One thing Oprah and Barbra Striesand talked about was being able to accept the praise, adoration, popularity. Barbra said she couldn't accept it at first, until she was able to accept herself. I don't know how that is done. I think I have accepted myself all these years, but I have a hard time accepting compliments from people. Even just acknowledgements of something I have completed on behalf of others. In therapy session recently my counselor said how young I looked for my age. (Now, doesn't everyone say that to older women?) It's not that I do not believe the sincerity of my counselor. It's that I find it hard to accept that they don't know the real me. They don't know all my faults. It doesn't matter if it is about my appearance or if it is something I have accomplished. Maybe I'm a bit of a perfectionist, like Barbra Streisand. To me, I don't look good enough. I don't feel I'm put together like others, or take care of myself, or care about my outer appearance, because I don't. I don't wear make up, don't get my hair done. I even cut my own. Do nothing to make myself look better. Just too much trouble for me. It's the same when helping other people. I don't feel like I do enough. I help cancer patients. Just because I do it, to me, is not enough. I fall beneath my goals of helping. So, when something thanks me, or praises me for what I've done. Again, I'm sure that is the honest feeling of others and I don't dismiss their praise which I think is like calling someone a liar. I do thank people for their kind words. And it is a kindness to me. But, I have a hard time giving myself credit. I've never been one to take a bow. (I used to perform.) It all seems normal, or less than normal. I really must work on this, I suppose.

Well, I've gotten off the subject of Barbra Streisand and Oprah. Haven't I?

Barbra performed, and her voice sounded just as beautiful as ever. She was promoting her new album, "Love is the Answer". I went to Amazon to take a look. It has two discs. As with many Amazon music choices, I could listen to some excerpts. Yes, her voice is still fantastic. Wish I had some money to buy it. Even downloading the MP3 version is more than I can afford.

I noticed when I Googled "Barbra Streisand"  +"Love is the Answer" the first choice that came up was several of her songs that you can listen to for free on LaLa.com, so if you're like me and working with a shortage of cash, you can still enjoy.


Most Awesome AVATAR!!!

After a nice meal at Subway, we went to the theater and watched AVATAR, a most outstanding movie! This picture doesn't do it justice. Increase it a hundred times in your mind to get the idea.

I recall when Star Wars came out, there was no doubt in my mind that it would become a big phenomena. Well, here we are again! Avatar will supersede Star Wars considerably. George Lucas is going to need to run very fast to catch up.

All you investors out there, find out who James Cameron is, what he did and how to invest in his future projects. This one is best movie by far! If I were younger I would be traveling whereever this guy is and offering my services for a job. I had made up my mind as a child I would grow up and go to work for Walt Disney and never did. So hears your chance. boys and girls. for an exciting career you would never want to give up. Damn, can't wait for the sequel. Can they use fat old broads in their movies? I think I will go back to see this for the next ten weeks so I can get all the dialog and sequences straight in my mind.

According to Wikipedia:

Avatar had been in development since 1994 by Cameron, who wrote a 114-page scriptment for the film.[7] Filming was supposed to take place after the completion of Titanic, and the film would have been released in 1999, but according to Cameron, "technology needed to catch up" with his vision of the film.[8][9] In early 2006, Cameron developed the script, the language, and the culture of Pandora.[10] He has stated that if Avatar is successful, two sequels to the film are planned.[11]

Also from Wikipedia, this describes exactly how I feel about this film:

Film critic Roger Ebert called the film "extraordinary" and gave it four stars out of four.[108] "Watching Avatar, I felt sort of the same as when I saw Star Wars in 1977. That was another movie I walked into with uncertain expectations," he said. "Avatar is not simply a sensational entertainment, although it is that. It's a technical breakthrough."[108]

WARNING! With large crowds seated hip to hip, elbow to elbow, be prepared for some discomfort. If the weather has been as cold as where I'm from dressing with sweaters and heavy coats may seem appropriate. No way. The amount of people crammed into the theatre with their winter clothing on will soon heat the room beyond summer temperatures. Oxygen will be low and you will struggle to catch a breeze. I actually fainted as we were leaving.

Other than that, Enjoy the film


Insomnia Cure

Last night I waited too long to take Melatonin. Tonight I took it a half hour ago. If this doesn’t work, then tomorrow I will take it earlier.

Developing My Daily Writing Habit

I realized today that among the daily messages and postings I send out into cyberspace is the mirror of my life, and the extended stories that go with them. I realized this is not procrastinating from writing, but honing it. In fact, part of my daily writing practice. In order for me to move forward from this spot, I’ve decided to copy paste excerpts of my daily “mundane” writing, and use them for ignition to light my writer’s fire. Instead of letting it fly off to cyberspace, I’ve kept parts of them to work on and enhance. Already have two stories brewing because of two messages.

A Writer's Secrets to Writing

A friend asked me what my secret was to daily writing. How I found the time to participate in the National Novel Writing Month.

My greatest secret to writing is that I live alone. I don't have the daily responsibilities and distractions that others may have. My significant other lives 50 miles over a small mountain range. My son lives a 2-3 hour drive, depending on weather and traffic over that same mountain. He lives in San Francisco. Both of them work about 12 hours a day. My daughter and all the descendants live in Lost Angeles region. My other family members live half way across the country, as distant in miles as we are in knowing each other. Long story there. I have little social life to speak of unless you count the internet, facebook and my favorite forums. I no longer know any of my childhood and school friends. Nearly all my high school sweethearts died in Viet Nam. I'm not kidding. My girlfriends from high school changed their names to marry. I've changed mine. Haven't found but a few on Classmates dot com. But we've grown so far apart, reconnecting have not been successful. I have few connections friends from my adulthood. Never living in any one place for more than a few years, my life has always been in upheaval. Peer groups have melted away. A rolling stone gathers no moss, is me. A rolling stone leaves all the other stones behind, wonders where they are, and why they aren't at the destination with her. Well, not anymore. I've finally figured that one out. Watching a small landslide demonstrates that rolling stones roll in different directions seldom settling together at one location

I have more doctors, clinics and hospitals listed in my address book and cellphone contacts, than I do friends. That says a lot. Last year, I finally joined the local Senior Center and began participating in a crochet/knitting group. I'm the youngest. I'm their "kid". But, it is nice to have human contact in the flesh who are not in the medical field. Well, who are not presently working in the medical field. Since the senior group meets at the local hospital, about half are retired nurses. Like me, I guess they can't stay away from the place. Go figure! Must be my karma!

I don't feel sorry for myself that things have turned out this way. After all, I made choices that brought me here. And, yes, life has given me some circumstances (challenges? opportunities?) I would not have chosen for myself.

Life unfolds like a garden. You plant what you want, you arrange things as you will, and weeds will still grow into your plans anyway. Then, it is up to the gardener/author to make new choices separate from the plans. Does one allow the weeds to take over? keep the garden sterile yet pretty? or allow for symbiosis?

Me? I'm one who grabs the dead flower heads and tosses the seeds willy nilly. (Not talking about the metaphorical garden anymore.) If they come up next year, fine. They give the weeds some competition, in my opinion, and keep me off my knees. Thank Heavens!

Living where I do, with summer water shortages, I try not to have unrealistic expectations putting plants in the soil that can't handle drought. Living coastal, they must also be able to thrive on a lot of night moisture from fog, which would mold plants not acclimated to the region. I barely garden anymore. It all seems to take care of itself, though my fussier neighbors might not agree. My baby pine trees, from the after Christmas sale of a few years ago, are now nearly as tall as the house. My mini Myer lemon tree is abundant. Oh, how I love lemon in my tea! And it is giving one of the pine trees some challenge for space. I do get out there occasionally, and trim some branches so they don't get too well acquainted.

Now that I've re-read what I've written, I realize my non-metaphorically gardening comments about myself, are metaphorical... for the way I write.

Throw the seeds.
Don't pamper the flowers.
Let the weeds and the seeds co-mingle.
Trim only slightly.
Don't water too much except by mist.
Let things happen naturally.

Yup... that's my writing style. It will be my downfall. I've got no left brain!
I wonder where it went? Oh, there it is... right over there.

As for writing daily... I do write daily. Just not an ordered garden, which should be my goal. You know what I mean? If I am actually going to create characters and orchestrate them into a story, then it's time for me to focus on that one thing... New Year's resolution, I say!


Photo Friday - Preparing for Christmas / or Seasonal celebrations.

The Christmas tree is up and decorated. 
Everything is in it's place. Everything is ready and waiting. 
We are now guarding the stocking for when Santa gets here.
He can fill it  up with catnip toys, jingle balls, tuna fish treats, and perhaps a mousie or two. 
What do you think?

Just a few more days left. No hurry, Santa. I will still be right here when you arrive!


Read for Free. What a Concept!!!

This is so awesome, I can't let it get away without telling everyone. If you like to read, and who doesn't? This is for you.

A friend of mine is a published Science Fiction writer. He's a philospher-physicist, too. Plus, He just published String Theory for Dummies.  Andrew Zimmerman-Jones is a multi-talented author. I'm so glad to know him.Today he sent me a link to a site that is giving away a sample reader for free. No, there are no strings attached. (no pun intended)

I already downloaded my copy and I'm happy as a pig loose in the corn field. Last night while thinking of my New Year's resolutions, one that offered itself to me was, Don't buy any more books until you finish the wall of them you already have! And here is the Universe, so to speak, telling me I'm right.

I don't have to pay money to read, I can read for free. What a gift! Eh?

In case you are curious who the authors may be, take a look at this:
Without any further to do, I quote from the site that Andrew sent me:

From high adventure to savvy business advice, youll find something special for the special someones on your holiday list — including you. You’re also welcome to share this free sampler with friends and family. Click here to download the In The Nick of Time! holiday sampler — and have the happiest of holidays!"

Now for the picture of the day... the happy pig running loose in the cornfield? She got away.

The boys are now out there searching for her.

They don't know she is back in her crib reading some really good stuff she just downloaded off the internet.

Hope those boys find the link, too!


Migraine and Insomnia

It's 3 o'clock in the morning! I'm an insomniac, and tonight (this morning) it is complicated by a migraine. I've taken all the medicine I could possibly take, that's safe to take, and some herbal tea, too. I'm awake. Head hurts. Laying here in the dark is not an option. All I will do is toss and turn. Some folks stay awake at night worrying or thinking of a million things. When I lay awake, my mind is a blank and I wish that counting sheep as my mother often suggested, would actually work to lull me to sleep.

Therefore I just turn on the light, get up and do something! In this case, all that is involved in getting up, is sitting up, as the laptop is right here with me. I find that if I at least stay in bed, my body keeps the sense of calm and not having to do anything. I play relaxing music to keep a mood of quiet peace, restfulness. But, sometimes those recordings for relaxation can be annoying. Right now, an acoustic guitar is brightly dancing behind the blog screen. So now to find something else.

I've got Peaceful Evening Sunset going now. This is one of those cheap five dollar ones created by an anonymous musician. Not bad. It has the annoying little crickets in the background, but at least they are not prominent. Whatever instrument that is, I find encouraging.That doesn't feel entirely like relaxing. Does it? To be encouraged by the instrument?

Encouraging:  giving courage, confidence or hope

In that case, I suppose that hope would fit the circumstances. I hope the migraine goes away, I hope the insomnia goes away. I don't have much confidence that my hopes will unfold. So perhaps I need courage, itself.

Courage: a quality of spirit that enables you to face danger or pain without showing fear

Oh, I don't know about that one! Would I say that the Peaceful Evening Sunset relaxation musical instrument enables me to face danger, or pain without showing fear. I don't think so. Then, why would I have said I find it encouraging. I will have to re-think this.

I do not feel confident. I do feel hopeful.

Ah Ha! "quality of spirit enables me to face danger or pain without showing fear"

I don't feel in any imminent danger unless it is the heartburn crawling up my throat.  However, if courage helps one to face pain without showing fear, then I think we have it! Well, actually, I don't have much in the way of fear regarding migraines and insomnia. I suppose I would if I needed to get up in three hours and drive to work. Now, that would be dangerous. But, I thankfully, will have the morning to make up for this loss.... I hope. There's that encouraging hope again! I hope no one calls me on the telephone too early. I hope I sleep. I hope the migraine goes... I already mentioned that. Didn't I?

I am definitely facing pain without showing fear. I'm just living with it, without fear, the same as I'm living with the cat sleeping at my feet. It's just there. The insomnia, the migraine, that is. Like the cat. It is just there. The migraine is the most "there" of the three. If I take more medicine, it will knock me out. I will sleep the morning away and wake up sometime after noon. I can't do that. I wont do that!

I have a steadfast rule to never sleep past noon. I used to do it in my twenties if I had stayed up too late with my friends on a fun Saturday night. I would sleep in until the afternoon sun burned a hole in my in the eyes demanding I awaken. Afternoon wake up calls from the sun, ( that same sun everyone loves so much) is not my idea of a good time. It's a day wasted, and a sleep hangover. Which is worse? A day wasted or insomnia? Very simple, the wasted day. Which is worse? a sleep hangover? or a night of productive insomnia! Or even unproductive insomnia counting sheep. I go with the insomnia. I have no fear of insomnia, a little dread of migraines, though.

I've been thinking of adding a new rule to my life: Thou shalt keep track of all insomnia on a calendar and keep track of actual hours slept. That way I can see if I ever catch up to the required 8 hours. If I don't sleep but five hours one night, do I make up for it another? A sleep calendar. Good idea.

Oh! What was that?

A yawn! That's a good sign. Oh, and another one! Very good sign!

Credit for this delightful creation goes to the artist, Jen, of Cat Art Cafe. She has other works of art posted on her site. Go take a look She also sells her beautiful work. You can find them in the form of magnets on E-bay. Since she does so many calico cats she has already captured my attention.

How not to become an author.

I wasn't planning on participating in the National Write a Novel month. Some friends of mine kept referring to NaNoWriMo. I kept wondering, what the heck is that? So I looked it up and I thought... I gotta, at least, try it.

I was feeling quite creative and had a really great character to develop... or so I thought. After about a week, I realized, how can I write about him and his thoughts, habits etc. in thirty days?. They say to write what you know. I know "her" pretty good, I think. But, him? Sorta. So, my creative ego deflated without the steam to keep it going! He was the fire, she was the pot of water, without the two... no steam. Ha!

Realistically, if one is to be serious about writing a "novel", one technically needs to have an outline and have the characters and scenes developed, etc etc. I'm not very well organized. So, getting back to left brain must be in the future for me if this thing is going to take off. New Years resolutions here I come!

Rather than just give up, after "he" disappeared from my consciousness, I decided to continue with what I have spent time developing... "her", the character loosely based on someone I know.

The rules of NaNoWriMo is that you complete 50,000 words... any 50,000 words. There are serious authors who use this opportunity to take all the work they've arranged throughout the year to put their story together. Forced fulfillment maybe? And a few have actually completed and published. Bravo!

So if one already has an outline, characters, scenes, etc. one can apply them towards their participation. At first I thought that would be cheating, but after reading some of the comments by others in their forum, I realized it was common. The whole point is committing to write daily and help the writer to grow. 1666 words a day meets the goal in one month. I figured it out that I could spend one hour a day at average typing speed. However, I forgot to include time for thinking! For the amount of time it takes to go with the creative flow and to go back and read over what you have so far! That takes hours. Good thing I had time available to play with this.

Even with my character, I had to do some major work getting the story to flow even after I dropped her male friend (or whatever he is going to be.friend, brother, lover, soul mate?) See? I didn't even have an identity label cut out for him!! What was I thinking? Well, of course, I wasn't thinking. I was creating! Like an artist who runs out of paint, I had too large a picture in mind!

The best thing I learned from this, is I have entirely too much junk coming into my daily emails which are superfluous and time wasting. Sure, it's fun to read what's on sale at fill in the blank dot com, and recieve Green Living tips, and recipes, and free coupons. but how important is it in the greater scheme of things? Not only was I cheating myself, I was cheating my family. I could be facebooking my grandkids! I had intended to sign up for those extraneous emails again, but I'm glad I haven't. The one that I've kept always gives me my evening smile, so that's staying. "I can has cheezburger, LOLcats" are my weakness.


Blizzard Moving

The blizzard had blinded us for so many miles, I felt, that night, as though I were in a dark frozen dream. We were all exhausted from the stress and strain of moving. Everyone in the family had helped load furniture and boxes onto the borrowed farm truck and our old run-down Studebaker.

My face was raw and chapped from sticking it out the window. This way I could yell at my mother when she drove too close to the edge of the raod. No heater, no defrost. I propped my numb feet on a box of pots and pans that rattled loudly whenever we hit a pothole. Each time the noise jolted me into alert wakefulness.

It was impossible to judge the conditions of these narrow country roads. Not daring to stop anywhere, we just kept going. My mother sat hunched, with fingers tightly clutched, over the steering wheel, peering vainly through the frosted windshield. She stuck her head out the window as often as I did to make sure she didn’t drive into a ditch.

Roger sat upright between us on the front seat drowsing lightly. At the age of eight he was no longer little enough to curl up to sleep. His long legs were splayed over the driveshaft-hump on the floor. Wendy, still a little butterball at six and a half was asleep on the floor, between the pots and pans and the bump. Her face rested on Roger’s knees. They reminded me of two played out puppies curled together, oblivious to the cold.

When we finally arrived at our new house, I wasn’t disappointed. My excitement grew when I saw, what appeared to me, a mansion rising out of the wild countryside. Adrenaline pumped my curiosity to explore. The snow had stopped blowing. It was just lightly floating down in clumps.

“We made it!” my mother breathed triumphantly. I could clearly see relief erasing the tension from her face.

“Hurray!” the kids yelled.

“I thought you guys were asleep.” I moaned.

“They should be!” admonished my mother. Then, turning to me, she said, “Take them upstairs and get them to bed. And...” she added, “you, go to bed, yourself.”

“Aww, Mom!” I whined. “Can’t I just look around a little bit, first?”

“It’s past midnight; please do what I asked.” She grabbed up the noise making box to haul off to the kitchen. “Besides, if you have so much energy, you can stay up and help unload!”

I didn’t need a second warning. “Okay, I’ll go to bed.” I conceded. “Come on, you two, let’s go find someplace to sleep.”

“I can put my own self to bed.” Roger muttered.

Entering a large hall leading to the staircase, the three of us “oohed and aahhed” at the beautiful woodwork of stairs and banister.

“This is rich people’s house’” my awestricken little sister cooed.

“Yeah.” Echoed Roger as we climbed the two flights to the next floor. We wanted so badly to explore our new home, but exhaustion overtook us. My father and old brother had leaned the mattresses against the wall, and had already left to go get another load. Roger claimed the room the mattresses were in and pushed the first one to the floor, grabbed a blanket from the box nearby. Wendy and I struggled with another mattress yanking, pulling, pushing and sliding it down the large hall to another room. Little did we know how cold that room would be. We slept in our winter coats with a blanket pulled tightly around us,

I laid awake staring at the bare windows as the frost turned to ice. It wasn't until the next day when my father pointed out that the radiator was turned off. If only we had known!


Today is My Son's Birthday

During my last pregnancy I sang songs to my belly as I rocked back and forth or danced about the room. If anyone had seen me, they would have laughed. I certainly did. I felt silly and giddy. But, I was also very serious about raising this child with more conscious purposefulness than with my last two. It had been 12 years since the birth of Therese, 13 since Laurie. Sometimes, when the baby kicked me, I would grab at my belly and press my hand against the protruding foot or elbow, and rub it, while talking like any mother smooching with her babe.

Xavier was born by Cesarean Section at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Beverly Hills, California when I was thirty-one years old. He was the child the doctors had told me I could never have. So, with a great exuberance I threw myself into motherhood, reading every available piece of information regarding infant care and child raising. I incorporated some of the new ideas I learned, and I let my creativity and intuition guide me otherwise.

I probably would have been considered a little unkind by the experts at times.  Perhaps judged as over stimulating my infant with the many bright pictures plastered on the walls of his nursery. These were not Winnie the Pooh and Mickey Mouse pictures. No, these were pages torn from National Geographic, or other magazines. Whatever grabbed my fancy ended up on those walls, and I changed them often, putting the old pictures in scrapbooks to share with my son, later.

Adorning his room were Japanese Kabuki dancers in grotesque masks, great detailed color photos of rare and beautiful flora and fauna of our planet, strange costumes and faces of people from other cultures, artwork of famous painters, incredibly intricate mosaic tile work from the Arab world, stained glass windows from French cathedrals, outer space depictions of planets and solar systems, maps of foreign countries, and overviews of architectural wonders. You name it, and it was probably on those walls.  Three or four mobiles floated from each corner of the ceiling and the piece de resistance, a full length mirror placed horizontally on the wall beside his crib, and another beside his changing table.  Perhaps it gave Xavier the illusion that he was never alone.  Perhaps he could gaze into it and see another, expanded version of his nursery and all the distracting things to look at.

I recall when he was about four years old when we lived in another place quite void of all this abundance of stimuli, I caught Xavier pantomiming in front  of a mirror.  When I asked him what he was doing, he answered, “I am dancing for my best friend! It was then, that I wondered about the wisdom of those strategically placed mirrors of his infancy.

Music was another thing I suppose I overindulged.  Every time I set my baby boy down for a nap I turned on a small tape recorder.  I played a lot of different music for him.  Mostly Classical, but often times, interspersed with traditional ethnic music with a Celtic or Hispanic flavor.  It mattered not to me that songs were sung in a foreign tongue.  What mattered to me was that he was exposed to beauty of all sorts.

Today is his birthday, he is 33 years old. I miss his being my little boy.


House a fire! Are you prepared?

Think fast! Your house just caught on fire. Where's the phone? Where's the kids? Where's warm clothes? Shoes? Where's the pets? Their cages? Flash lights in case electricity goes out? Laptop carrier? No time to rescue desktop, keepsakes. Where's car keys to sit in car until the firemen arrive?

Though I didn't have to think about kids, everything else had to be taken care of before I got out the door.

I will be better prepared next time. Those kitty cage doors are remaining open from now on. Not out in the garage, but in the spare room, where they will be easy to access.

Can't see sh*t to open them without flashlight. Lucky my cats were all in the same dark room and don't bite or scratch when I shove them in.

Forgot to mention where's purse in the above. ID and credit cards, VERY important!

Light in hallway exploded (for lack of a better word). One of those curly lights that are supposed to last 25 years. HA! It vibrated the light fixture. There was burst of light, and sparks fell on carpet.

If I hadn't been there, I hate to think what would have happened. I stomped out the sparks, but kept smelling something, so I called the non emergency fire number because I saw no flames or smoke. Didn't think it was emergency but didn't know why it happened and figured they would decide if it needed investigated.

So they came out and looked at the wiring through the ceiling with some kind of device and measured the temperature, which would have been higher than normal if there were a problem. Wiring was cool.

They explained the smell was probably from the fumes of the curly bulb. Great! I've inhaled mercury vapor???

Anyhow, before they arrived the fire operator told me to wait outside. I was in pj's, had to find clothes, had to gather cats. Damn! It was cold outside, raining, too, etc. etc.

Close call. Got to have a more efficient emergency exit strategy!!!

See my cats blog to read Bambi's side of the story.   She explains the circumstances so much better than I.


The Chrismouse Meme

The Chrismouse Meme

My friend, Jan, has challenged me to do a Chrismouse Meme. This is what she says, and I am following through.

"The Twelve days of Christmas have been celebrated since medieval times ~ traditionally beginning the day after Christmas Day (now known as Boxing Day) and ending with Twelfth Night.  And since the festive season is upon us ~ I thought it might be fun to do a Christmas meme!"  So without more ado:


  1. Copy the delightful Chrismouse picture to your post.

  2. Copy these rules and the explanation of the meme (above).

  3. Link the person who tagged you.

  4. List 12 things: either about Christmas present or memories about Christmas past (or a mixture of both)

  5. Tag as many or as few people as you like!

I tag: brian and Aaron and Adrienne (But I’ll understand if any of you feel Bah Humbug, or haven’t got time to waste,  or just simply can’t  be bothered! OK?) 

I wish more of my friends had blogs, but it seems they all prefer Facebook instead.

  1. I'm presently in the Bah Humbug stage, and have been for a few years! So, I apologize ahead of time for my "Blue Christmas" meme.

  2. I still send presents to family, usually books. We all love to read.

  3. Two years ago I gave all my Christmas decorations to my housekeeper, who has 5 children.

  4. I avoid going to stores from Thanksgiving until New Years. Don't like the crowds or the noise or music.

  5. I don't purposely listen to Christmas songs, and turn it off if they are being played on radio or TV.

  6. Okay, well, sometimes I will spend a day listening to Christmas songs, and singing along. The spirit has to strike me.

  7. Last year, I didn't send out Christmas cards, and gave away the large collection I had.

  8. I do send out Christmas e-cards. I think they are very nice ones from Jacquie Lawson's site.

  9. I have friends and a couple family members who are, for lack of a better word, Pagan, and practice Solstice rituals. I found them enjoyable for a while. But, they do them outside and my bones ache. I like summer Solstice better. My birthday.

  10. The year I decided to stop putting up Christmas trees is the year I won a tree and 200 dollars worth of Hallmark ornaments.

  11. One year, I was single with my six year old daughter. We were so poor, someone donated an artificial tree to us. We decorated it with the jewels from the Burger King paper crowns that they gave away that year. My daughter tells me now, some 35 years later, it was the best Christmas ever, though there were no toys.

  12. My son would circle everything in the catalog. I want this. I want that. then be so disappointed that we didn't get everything. He was older then, and had learned the truth about Santa a year or so before this. I made a deal with him. I would give him the full amount of money that we would normally spend on Christmas if he waited until New Years to spend it. He was wary at first. But, then so happy and excited that he could get double the toys after everything was on sale. This lasted until he grew up and left home, then one more year. I still give him a stocking with little boy toys. He seems to like that. My daughter likes socks in her stocking.

Photo Friday - Patterned View

Something I saw in the hardware store.

Florist shop warehouse ceiling. 

Pleated lamp shade while light is on.


Odd plastic lampshade from inside looking toward center


Beauty in the Mind of a Child

There is no one thing that stands out in my mind as more beautiful than any other.   All the beauty crowds around me like a room filled with bright little children.  “Me! Me!  Oh, please tell about me!”  They all clamor for my attention.  So, one at a time, I line them all up in chronological order and let them be remembered.

     At eighteen months, I recall the pretty blue enamel paint on my metal stroller-walker.  And the wild roller-coaster ride on which it took me, bumpety-bumping down two flights of stairs into the basement while my horrified mother and grandmother helplessly grasped, too late, at empty space, as I giggled past them.  I loved speed then, but not now, unless, of course, it is on a roller coaster.

Then, at two, the beauty of the Niagara River as it flowed past my backyard on Cayuga Island where Dicky Culp drowned as I watched his pretty pink face so quickly disappear under the water and downstream.  He didn’t even struggle.  I didn’t understand.
Wintertime, not being allowed outside, I remember watching as Jack Frost painted his delicate filigreed fern leaves on the windows when I was three.  No matter how hard I looked, I could never catch a glimpse of him, even though I could clearly see the palm fronds he created wondrously growing before my eyes.
Except for the lovely soft fur of Tabby, the cat and Cubby, our dog, I recall the world as a sad dark place for the next few years.  Then one spectacular day, spring dawned beckoning me to look outside my upstairs bedroom window. Suddenly the world was beautiful again, as I watched the First Robins frolic in my frosty front yard. Each passing day, they bustled about singing and crooning, carrying bits of dried grasses in their beaks until the completed nest cradled between the three thick main branches of the elm tree beside the road not twenty-five feet from my curiosity.  Budding in tiny lime greens, the leaves miraculously grew with the lengthening days, luxuriously covering every view of that robins’ nest except for mine.  I saw the babies thrust their necks and winced as they frantically screeched for Mama and Papa to feed them. Gazing, transfixed, I spent a lot of time kneeling in worship at my windowsill that spring, Until the day, Pinky, my tomcat, removed Mother Nature’s gift before I could even open my mouth to scream.  I guess Pinky saw another kind of beauty there. I loved Pinky enough to forgive him.


Beauty of Light and Dark

That summer I fell in love for the first time, with the big weeping willow across the street in the park.  Her arching boughs reached the ground enclosing me behind her leafy emerald skirts.  Hidden within the fortress of her shade, I played with my dolls, had tea parties with Maria, read “My Weekly Reader” books, and sometimes just talked with her.  She always smiled and lovingly responded to me.  She was my mother, my sister; my best friend all rolled into one.  And she made a great swing!  At thirteen, her thick trunk held me as I pressed my back onto her while necking with my first boyfriends.
    At fourteen we moved away from Niagara Falls to live at the mouth of the Eighteen-Mile creek on Lake Ontario. That was the summer I really learned to swim.  The water seemed so pristine and clear back then.  Holding my breath as long as I could, I lazily floated, face down, eyes open, to watch the movement of tiny creatures and the dancing reflections of sunlight and shadows glinting on the velvet sand beneath me.
    After that, another long period of dark gray sadness oppressed me, except for a few pleasant memories of heavy snowstorms blanketing the world in crystalline.  And a few hormonal stirrings that suddenly made beautiful, the muscles rippling beneath a boy’s shirt. Breathtaking!  My history grew so dark after this that beauty did not seem to exist. Except for the captivating deep warm brown of my first-born baby’s eyes and the tender pink rose petal luminescent quality of my second born. Was she an infant or a flower?


Beauty of Death

Then, most beautiful of all my experiences was death; incredible love inviting me, enticing me to join with it, and I did.  Being absorbed by the light was an indescribably ecstatic experience.  It took a long time after that to appreciate the mundane: life.

Somehow the bone cancer changed all that.  The exquisite torment of pain searing through my body altered my perception, into being more completely....................... I don’t know how to describe it.  There is no walking away from that kind of suffering, unless massive doses of barbiturates are given.

Morphine may be beautiful to others, but not to me.  I made the choice to live with pain instead of being uncontrollably psychotic.  Sometimes the pain became so severe that it carried me out, high above my body, floating in my own endorphin induced euphoria.

Entering the hospital in the dead cold winter, I spent seven months isolated from the world confined to bed, unable to move without someone else doing it for me. Two beautiful things saved my life, back then; one, my little brother brought me out of the brink with a gift of music.  Two, my little sister brought her healing hands to massage me until I was able to stand and walk again.

Returning home that summer, I rediscovered the world in a new way I’d never known before. Every tree, every leaf, every blade of grass, every dewdrop, every glint of sunlight, moonlight, every pebble strewn in the soft powdered dust of every pathway took upon a living presence.  Life had become gloriously majestic, holding incredible fascination for me. I felt as though I had previously led my life, like a Helen Keller and could now miraculously experience things from a new perspective. I was brand new. And the world was vibrantly alive.  Was it the bone cancer, the drugs, the near-death experience?  I didn’t know and I didn’t care.  I‘m sure it was distracting for my family and friends whenever I let out a whoop of appreciation for some wondrous sight, or suddenly pulled the car off the thruway to run into a field of wildflowers or wildly sob while making love.  But, I have mellowed out since then.

The black clouds of depression have returned to haunt me several times.  It has never entirely eclipsed my appreciation of beauty.  But, sometimes, it has quite heavily obscured it.   I have had several brushes with death.  I used to joke it was my companion.  I have died twice more. After the second death, I craved to die again and often had to deal with my suicidal tendencies wanting to be embraced in total beauty forever.  But, this last death experience 3 years ago taught me that the beauty is right here, right now, within me every moment and around me all the time.


Photo Friday - Incredible close up… can you guess what it is?

I had wanted one of these for a long time and in this color. A friend of mine, Jimmy, from the MHE group came to visit and saw my collection and so picked this one out for me. it was the right color to complete my collection.  

MHE, by the way, is Multiple Hereditary Exostoses (or Osteochondromas) This is a benign bone tumor condition which sometimes can transform into a malignant cancer called Chondrosarcoma. I have MHE as do other members of my family. Thank Heavens I am the only one that has had the cancer. I hope it stays this way. I have survived more than 40 years since diagnosed.

This is a close up. Can you guess what it is?

This is the same object, different view,  with a little color change benefit of Photoshop

Now can you guess what it is? 

This is the last hint


Revealing is below





The close up picture above is of the one in the middle.
The one on the left is actually a vase with pennies in it.
The one on the right is clear with Chinese writing on it saying Good Fortune, Long Life.
It sits on a square crystal. I have others not shown here.


Aftermath of Wild Fires

The more I have looked into the subject of the aftermath of wild fires, the more questions arose. As soon as I learned one answer, a response from another source would conflict with it for other reasons not previously considered.

What are the long-term affects on the ecology of the landscape?
If the insects and fauna have been decimated, will the plants grow too abundantly without wildlife to keep them from overproducing? Will this cause more tree diseases? Exactly what are the effects of the fire, smoke, ash and consequent winter rains upon organisms in the soil? Would it be wiser to replant only native plants? Wouldn't there be adaptable non-native species which would be more fire resistant than some of the chaparral plants that turn into ready kindling every hot dry summer? 

I discussed some of these nagging questions with my son-in-law, Scott. He was a soil specialist for the State and previous owner of one of the first organic landscaping businesses located in the Los Angeles area. He comments that fire has always been considered a natural characteristic component of the California ecosystem. Many plants and animals thrive or perish in its wake as a natural course in the scheme of things. Fires like these occurred long before the country was inhabited by humans. The dry season throughout the summer provides the right kindling. Thunderstorms producing lightning can ignite the kindling long before enough rain can soak the soil. Hence, the natural way of things is wildfires which used to burn themselves out.

In the aftermath of wild fires, the reproductive capabilities of rare plant species and the spread of invasive exotic plants are of particular concern, and it would be wiser, if possible, to replant all native plants. Yet, in the expanses of wild lands, spring plants and flowers are diverse after a fire and provide an abundant source of food which may help to replenish the range and numbers of various species. As caretakers of our lands, we must determine what is the best action to take in order to restore the land to healthy reproductivity.

Scott points out that some native plants naturally hold more moisture and are less likely to encourage fire to spread. Some naturally thrive due to the after-effects of fire such as soil enriched by ash or simply because enough has been burned away that there is now room for new plants to grow. Many non-native plants may have been destroyed,  and it is best not to attempt replacing them. As a previous student of fire science Scott assured me that the fire retardant dropped from airplanes onto the hillsides are not poisonous chemicals, but safe for the land and rich in nitrogen and potassium. Therefore, helpful to increasing verdant re-growth.

Scott also related an experience he had during one of the fires, which, if could be simulated, would make a lot of money for some insecticide company. He told me that the week before the fires, he had been treating one of his neighbor's properties for an infestation of whiteflies with an organic product that takes several applications over a period of weeks. Scott spent a great deal of time observing the fires in his own neighborhood before evacuation. He was struck by the incredible thickness of the smoke which permeated everything. After the fires subsided, he returned to make the follow-up application on the whiteflies, only to discover that they were completely gone, with no further signs of infestation. And there have been no recurrences since then. Scott came to the conclusion that the smoke was the cause of their demise. Now, if only we could bottle that pest cure!! Perhaps we just need to smoke them out!

I have come to the conclusion that it is a more complicated subject than can be answered with simplicity. It is a lot like Philosophy. All answers lead to other questions.

Note: the picture is of one of the large Redwood trees that grow in the vicinity. This one is only a couple hundred years old, yet it is large enough for a man to seem minuscule standing before it.


Fire Breaks and Ankle Break

I recall as a little girl, my father driving the car through forested Allegheny Mountains  on old, out-of-the-way firebreak roads. My mother questioned the wisdom of taking such mountaintop detours but I know she enjoyed the adventure as much as the rest of us. Crisscrossing the ridges, we crept along the brink overseeing vast valleys until the tracks grew too narrow to pass. Both fascinated and terrified, I clung to the edge of the open window and gazed down the steep inclines through the lush green treetops. Oak leaf mold, pine needles, moist soil and a thousand varieties of plants tantalized my nose as the gaping canyons threatened to swallow the car. Daddy knew those firebreak roads like the back of his hand. He had worked clearing them for payment of fifty cents a day (plus room and board at the camps) as a member of the CCC's (Civil Conservation Corps) in the post-depression era. He explained how summer dryness, human carelessness, or the whims of Mother Nature made the firebreak roads necessary. Not too long ago, I wondered if there were sufficient firebreaks being created today. Unfortunately, one of the biggest forest fires we had this summer was on acres and acres of land that had not been cleared in over sixty years.

As an adult, while living in the tree populated hills of Aptos in 1981, I recall one hot, dry evening a neighbor's very large, faulty propane tank exploded, shooting flames fifty feet to the tops of the Eucalyptus grove. Instantly, I grabbed my 2 year old son out of bed, ran to the edge of a six foot fence, lifted him over, and gently dropped him upright. Thank heavens he was wearing his red foot ‘jamas. Then, I vaulted over as the increasing roar of the flames urged me to fly. Anyone who knows me, is aware I do not have the physique of an athlete. I landed hard, and broke my ankle but the adrenaline kept me from realizing it until the next day, when I discovered I couldn’t walk.

Running while the flames screamed through the trees, I carried my son through the neighboring pasture, and down to the highway. I sat beside the road as the fire department arrived to put out the fire before the hillside became engulfed. That hair-raising event is stamped indelibly on my mind.

The next day we surveyed the burned trees, and I thought how sad that they were gone. Foolish me. What did I know? They were not as destroyed as they appeared. And now, years later, the average person would not recognize these trees as having survived. They have grown back strong as before. Research has shown that no matter how singed the trees, as long as the root system, and trunk are reasonably uninjured, they are likely to recover healthy again, in time.

This summer, south of me, what began as a "Controlled Burn" combined with the thick, desiccated undergrowth, high temperatures, and brisk winds quickly consumed acreage becoming a wildfire which engulfed and incinerated acres of trees, coastal scrub, and grasses. No longer a “controlled burn” this transformed much of the terrain that lasted several days. From the beginning, with expert assistance the fire was contained before it spread too far.

At the same time, Southern California's wildly unmanageable firestorms were not as easily controlled. I watched the news, distractedly wondering if all life in the Los Angeles Basin would be incinerated. Literally, full neighborhoods disappeared. Folks have suffered, most all have survived and are rebuilding their homes.

But, still I’m wondering, what plants, insects, birds,  and other wildlife were destroyed in the process? How well will the ecosystem recover? I once read a science fiction book entitled Earth Abides by George Rippy Stewart which extolled the virtues of Mother Nature's ability to survive, and thrive long after the human race had annihilated itself. (Some people survived too) In opposition to those who are proponents of the "we will take her with us" group, I am rooting for Mom.