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



Santa Cruz Snow

Time flies when you're having fun, they say.  But snow flies when the wind blows and the temperatures drop below 32 degrees fahrenheit.

photo by Shmuel Thaler
Right now Santa Cruz is in a little bit of shock and not of the earthquake type. We are having freezing nights, and snow up in the Santa Cruz mountains and on highway 17.

It melts off during the day, though. This weather is expected to last a week. I can't say I'm disappointed.

After the Storm

From this vantage point atop the cliff overlooking the sea, I feast my eyes after having been incarcerated an eternity behind rain streaked windows.

I drink in the magnificent nurturing beauty before me.

Today the sea is so lovely and sweet and smooth.
No longer thrashing wildly. No longer hurling herself with abandon across the face of the cliff as she has been for... how many days and weeks now?

I can’t keep track.

One stormy moment thundered into the next until  it didn’t seem to matter whether a day, an hour, or moment was counted.

The sea is quiet, lulling me.

Soft waves draw back and forth massaging wet sand. I feel as though I could reach out and touch the edge of the shimmer, pull it across me and let the gentle sheets rest on my shoulders.

I would huddle down beneath her and sleep like a mermaid.

Angel Sarah McLaughlin and Death of a Loved One

You can play this video while reading:

My niece chose this song to play the first time I heard it.

Spend all your time waiting
for that second chance
for a break that would make it okay
there's always some reason
to feel not good enough
and it's hard at the end of the day

Her brother, my nephew, died,
and this was at his funeral.
Up to that point I was numb,
had no feelings one way or the other about anything.


I guess that's what shock does to ya.
But, there I was listening to the words.
It was like they were the only thing existing for the time I heard it.
As they sunk into my being something tore open and I sobbed uncontrollably.

I need some distraction
oh beautiful release
memories seep from my veins
let me be empty
oh and weightless then maybe
I'll find some peace tonight

Well, I was at a memorial service after all.
But, this was horrible.
Not a mourner’s weeping at all,
but out and out sobbing.
You know?
It was the kind where the snorting comes through.
I grabbed up my coat and put it up against my face to hold it back.
I felt ashamed, didn't want to ruin the sacredness of the moments
After all, there were others here who had more reason to cry than me.

In the arms of the angel
fly away from here
from this dark cold hotel room
and the endlessness that you feel
you are pulled from the wreckage
of your silent reverie
you're in the arms of the angel
may you find some comfort here

My sister, Raj's mother.
My Niece, Raj's sister.
My ex-brother in law, Raj's father.
Rishi, Raj's little brother.
Raj's little sister with the beautiful name
I can't remember.
Not to mention a myriad of relatives
from both sides of the family,
some arriving from the other side of the world
And so many friends who loved him, too.

So tired of the straight line
and everywhere you turn
there's vultures and thieves at your back
the storm keeps on twisting
you keep on building the lies
that you make up for all that you lack

He died years ago,
but tonight the song is haunting me.
And here I am with that deep,
deep pain in my heart for Raj.
Well, maybe not for Raj.
He's beyond the troubles of his life.
He left them behind.
Maybe, I'm holding that deep,
deep pain he once carried.
I guess we all do
until we are free to move on.
I’m not saying
to escape before our time.
But, we have to carry it until then.

it don't make no difference
escaping one last time
it's easier to believe
in this sweet madness oh
this glorious sadness that brings me to my knees

His father was from India.
Raj chose to follow the same religion.
He was close to the Goddess, Lakshmi.

I have his picture of her still on my wall.
I can't get rid of it,

it's a little piece of Raj here with me.
Symbolic of course.

I don't think he continued in that way.
After he died, my sister cried with joy
we found a letter where he expressed his Christian feelings.

In the arms of the angel
fly away from here
from this dark cold hotel room
and the endlessness that you feel

So maybe he has moved on to his next life.

Or maybe an angel
took him to heaven to be with Jesus.

All I know is that his life was too short.
He had a heart that was sweet as candy.

Yet he had to hide it
behind a tough exterior.

From what I could tell,
it was not who he liked to be.
But, somehow he needed to have it.

you are pulled from the wreckage
of your silent reverie
you're in the arms of the angel
may you find some comfort here

You know how when someone dies,
and someone says,
"He will never be forgotten."?
It's true.
Though I do not think of him every moment,
I can't forget him.

you're in the arms of the angel
may you find some comfort here

Once, he told me that when he was very little,
he was afraid at night.
So, while he was lying in bed waiting to go to sleep,
he would imagine a blue light surrounding him,
protecting him from
the things that made him feel afraid.
He imagined the blue light
in the shape of a pyramid.
He said he could imagine it so well
that he really felt like he was inside.
Then he felt he was safe, and warm
and could fall to sleep peacefully.
When he told me this
he was about eleven or twelve.
What an amazing gift for a child to have.
He used that technique for years.

I know how he died.
No one should be alone in the cold like that.
But, I like to think
he was surrounded by his warm glowing pyramid,
Unafraid, safe and warm and at peace.

Or perhaps he was in the arms of an angel.