Thursday, February 26, 2015

"Roya!" in downtown livermore.. raves (me!) sandra, tvgp

i just finished typing a passionate review on trip advisor, i think it was.. but then you have to -sign up- in order to publish..

you know i already vowed never to create another username and password for as long as i live..

so, let me just make my point here:

"Spectacular! Delicious! Magnificent!"

my date let (me!) choose where to eat, so "Roya!" was my top choice...

i had visited there last month for the first time.. lunch. sat outside on a gorgeous day.. salmon, shrimp kabob with brown sauce, red wine..   however they prepared that salmon.. best ever! texture, flavor..  and that sauce drizzled over..   heaven.

tonight we sat inside.. got to take in the art, photography, mosaics, decor..   plus the meal was delicious again and the service most hospitable and gracious..    he had the chicken kabob, i had to order an encore of that salmon..   -damn.. its just so good..

pardon me..   but darn does not capture..

anyway..  little something i learned while inquiring about the pbotography

of course i was curious who took the photographs..  maybe someone who owned or worked at the restaurant..  but no, -turns out they were just purchased..

but the one of the village.. tucked in the mountains.. the view!

and it was explained to me.. the poor people live at the top, the rich on the bottom.

-you know i've written about that here..  how it is the exact and polar opposite..  the best views go to the rich..   period.   and i think, if im remembering correctly..  i pointed out that..

well,  any rich people with great views here.. if you mentioned that maybe some low income properties should also be made available..

a low income person as a neighbor of someone with a great view from their mansion..

well, they'd have their attorneys paying another layer of attorneys to stop even the suggestion from floating around in public places.

i do not know this, as a fact.  ive not actually interviewed any rich people on the subject

what i have done is watch several exciting episodes of city council meetings, and what i do know from watching those..

if it weren't absolutely required and mandated by law that we include low income housing in our city

-we would have no low income housing at all; period again.

but it is the law.. and so we have some...  but not next door to rich people with mansions and great views..

the great views for low income people will come only from 'high-density' properties.  /my very favorite euphemism for apartments.

anyway.. i must interrupt with an inconvenient truth:

even if you are living out of your car here in pleasanton..

its still amazing living, -relatively speaking.

back to the photograph at Roya's..

the reason the poor people in the villages live at the top with the great views..  and the rich people live at the bottom..

is because "there is NO WATER!".   so, people at the top have to hike back and forth, hunting, gathering, and carrying...

did i not just blog about how i am swimming in blessings everyday even though i don't have two dimes to rub together...


so there you have it.  a different kind of restaurant review by (me!) sandra, tvgp.

A Case for Poetry. -to (alexandra petri!) from (me!) sandra, tvgp

i'm about to be serious here.  i can be entertaining.. and im responding directly to your highly entertaining article, "is poetry dead?"    -but i am quite serious when i say

"God determines the life or death of poetry; not people."

what happens. -what seems to happen, is that people get very confused in capitalist societies..

confused by monetary systems; confused by supply and demand; confused by popularity; social media; public opinion..

and they tend to think that one dictates the life or death of the other.

it does not.

it might in fact dictate whether poetry is published or not; how well it is or is not distributed and shared; whether or not it is publicly
glorified or mocked..

but poets..   people who are born with an instinct to write poetry

-it is a certain   -small-   /relatively speaking,

percentage of the human population which does not answer to and is not dictated by, capitalism; supply and demand; popularity, monetization, celebrity endorsement, praise or criticism.. fads or trends, Etc.

-because i live inside all of these man-made systems mentioned  above..  I too, at one, and for a long time


it was my responsibility somehow to popularize the genre

and so I smiled Inside, as a panelist who helped select my city's two current teen poet laureates

as I listened to candidate after candidate explain how they intended to make poetry ...  more accessible.. more popular.. 

I may have even made the same claim during my Interviews to become the current poet laureate..

sometimes it is heartfelt; sometimes you just know what they need and want to hear..

in any case..  Poetry is far from dead; but any desire I once had  to popularize it certainly is.

-sour grapes?   I would argue not.

I would rather lean in the direction of recognizing that  -as we are only a small percentage of the human population..

us poets,

it makes us even more valuable!  More blessed! More lucky..

novelists..  Dime a dozen, as the saying goes..
fiction writers, journalists, academia, trade...

reach out your hand at any writers conference and touch the shoulder of the person next to you..

But poets!    -a select and small breed if you will..

Perhaps not even attending such conferences..

Because THE INSTINCT to write poetry..

it does not require a conference,
A permission slip,
applause, validation..

it only requires the human host to listen and honor..

and I think it is worth repeating here

the birth of a poem happened first.  that is, someone spoke and ,wrote in a certain way, distinct from other forms,  AND THEN! It got a label, a name:

Poem. poetry. Poet.

further..  Patterns happened FIRST!  and then were labeled and categorized; not the other way around.

it is worth contemplating the ORIGINS of poetry. 

today..we give the structure/form first,  -and then ask students to squeeze their words inside a given format..

that is why I make a distinction between what I call

Organic poetry vs. Imposed.

organic..  = No one asked you to write one, it is not for a class, or grade, it may or may not ever be shared publicly..   But it has been written by someone who honored the Instinct; the rare and beautiful Instinct.

Imposed of course =  you've been asked..  By a teacher, a friend,  it is a responsibility, an obligation..  And you might enjoy the responsibility, the obligation, the results..  But imposed poetry does not exist without an external request of some sort..

organic poetry exists no matter what.  answers to an internal instinct..   

You   -random reader-  may never have exposure to it..

I'm quite convinced the worlds greatest poems are not available on the Internet, or at your local bookstore..

and yet,  -I know they exist.   and in our capitalist society we make quite a big deal of whether things are popular and monetizable.. 

and we equate value with..

But oh!  The rare, wonderful, exquisite sensation of feeling a poem coming on...    -when no one asked!!

the rare, wonderful and exquisite sensation of honoring that feeling..

and speaking..

Or writing the words down...   organizing and playing with.. or, oh! when they come out perfect  and require no play or editing at all!


only a small percentage of humans who are first gifted with the  instinct and then who dare to honor it..

only they get to know and experience this...  

this...      this...!

and same, by the way, for people who never write but only read and find themselves RESPONDING to poetry.

grab 12 people and show them all the same poem.

if you RESPOND...  that too! is a rare, wonderful, exquisite internal sensation; a gift.

a gift in and of itself which also does not require prior permission or applause or validation; experience that independent of...


contemplate the origins of poetry. look at the history. Check the graphs and stats..   while it fluctuates some, trending up and down..

there has always been
And will always be

poets and poetry.  Has no one else already noticed how God does not conform humans to capitalism?   he is so stubborn isn't he.

I mean, do you think if starting today, write now,  -there was never a poem published again,

that nor would there be a poet born?   God does not play by those rules..

  It is my belief, that poets have always been and will always be,

a small percentage of the human population.

and when we look at the shelves in any given library

and there are hundreds of rows of other types of writing

and only a few shelves of poetry.

it has more to do with..

Well, the best analogy might be..

perfect diamonds at a jewelry bazaar.

we are not dead. we are rare, and therefore;

highly valuable.

..for the Washington Post... by (me!) sandra, tvgp

/i repeat..

i have a glitch in my brain which prevents me from writing anything that is not true.   -can you imagine such an infliction?!

what i learned over time, though, is that it doesn't seem to matter whether it is true~true; or literally true.   -what a relief!!

so, shortly in advance of an interview i was dreading, i did this exercise:   (see picture)

-because i just knew! the question was coming.

"Yes!" i said with a smile.  "several times, in fact."


today's memory triggered via this route:

i had taped BookTV 2014 Miami Book Fair.  i watched with great delight, Richard blanco's presentation ..

i googled blanco..   poked around..    /innuendo is impossible to avoid..

i somehow landed on "is poetry dead?" by a very entertaining columnist named Alexandra. /dria? petri who writes...

...who -actually, really, truly writes

for the Washington Post.


read her. SHE is funny.

"Can poetry still change anything?!"

"Yes! it can!  Ms. Petri...".  I say with a smile,  " it changed my son's D into a C-

-just by attending family poetry night at his middle school."

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Spiritual Lesson # (fill in the blank) by (me!) sandra, tvgp


compare yourself to no one.  do your own, unique, individual, personal best.

and isn't that fascinating..  how we each have a magical, miraculous, mysterious way of


when we are in fact, doing our very best.

we know when we are; and when we are not...


can anyone ask you to exceed doing your very best?

let that stand then as your lesson.

Do not forget to factor in your whole day.

your very best, first thing in the morning, might be very different from your very best at 11pm...

Your very best when you are healthy, is quite different from your very best when you are I'll.

your very best, after receiving great news, might look very different from your very best after being hit with traumatic news..

but guess what

You do have a very best you can do and be in all circumstances

and even more important than that

~you have a way of knowing.


Swimming in Blessings... (Me!) sandra, tvgp

and probably (you!) too.

my topic is shortcut prayers to Jesus.  it is a huge blessing in and of itself having a shortcut prayer communication; feeling heard and understood without having to itemize details

we certainly enjoy the experience with close friends and family.  with just a look, we know..  a whole series of things the other person is thinking, feeling, -has been through..   what they might need, want..

we do not even ask for or require the details..  to explain the look of exhaustion, for example..     we can fill in the blanks:

rough morning
horrific traffic
conflict at work
bills in waiting

on, and on...

so certainly if we can enjoy this shortcut communication system with fellow humans it is easy to know an even more advanced version can be enjoyed with our God.

and thank God for that, -because if I took the time to itemize all my blessings?!    I would never leave the prayer position to get to work..

but I think them sometimes as I ready myself for a given day..

roll out of my bed. (Which I didn't have to invent; just purchase..)
Onto carpet (which I didn't have to make or invent...)
walk downstairs in a home (I didnt have to invent.. already existed.. inside a community somebody else developed..)
make coffee (but didnt have to pick beans.. figure out how.. inside an -automatic!- machine, somebody else created
-drink orange juice without needing a tree and to pick the fruit and squeeze it myself.. Pour it in a glass I didn't have to make.. Already existed..   /this goes on and on..  Toaster; refrigerator; electricity; washer/dryer; the clothes I wear; the car I drive; the business I work at; the gas station I visit; the grocery store; the doctors office; the TV... 

And! even when "i" create something..  it is on a canvas someone else manufactured; with paints, paper, scissors, glues, etc that someone else manufactured..

i mean, my entire daily highly convenient life is thank you to an incalculable number of other people, ideas, inventions, businesses, products, systems already in place

this phone I'm blogging on write now..   do you see how many blessings!?! the music on the radio inside my car I listen to with great joy..    -that's my whole part in it!  just listen and enjoy!  I didn't have to write the lyrics, make the music, create an instrument, make a radio system..

I go like,  -push of a finger-   amazing music at my fingertips.  I'm just blown away sometimes..

the paved roads, traffic signals, schools...   last nights very exciting basketball game!   -what was my part?  Pay for a ticket; Sit and enjoy...

there is my own body (mind, spirit, heart...); the books I read..

I have both my parents, my siblings, my children.. immediate family members, all here, alive, doing well; all loving, kind and true..

but if I really, truly, took the time to consciously recognize and itemize and detail every blessing..  well, I hope you can see that it would take...

forever.   so, I have a shortcut prayer to Jesus.  I say,

"Thank you for the blessings I swim in everyday"

he knows.   and I have shortcuts for praying for people who need healing..  Because, I mean really.   -talk about forever..

I have so many shortcut prayers for huge things, that I almost need another shortcut prayer to capture all my shortcut prayers..

and in fact I do.   It goes like this:

"Jesus. Amen."

by the way..  there is a popular saying people use to describe financial poverty.  It applies to (me!)

"i do not have two dimes i can rub together..."

/write now.

but i am in fact, swimming in blessings.  -it is not make-believe; it is true.

"Thank you Jesus!".  -amen.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Oh No! Here SHE goes again... (Me!) sandra, tvgp

Side note:  Anne brought it back to my attention yesterday that I didnt have a purse.   Do you know I stopped even thinking about it..  I just don't bring a purse with me anywhere anymore...

-there was a couple tough days..  and then.. I acclimated.   now it seems as natural to be without one as it once was (and for many decades) to always have one.

that transition took place pretty quick i'd say.   i love traveling light..

what else might we learn from..  those male creatures...

"Thank you! Dad, Chris..". from (me!) sandra, tvgp

and! for the new lamp i will eventually purchase...    /true story here that the current lamp.. its pull string broke.   "-no problem though," i told my dad, "if you just reach up inside and under the lamp shade you can just twist the bulb thing to turn it off or on..."

and do you know i never even, on my own, considered for even 3 seconds, that i should replace the lamp and get a new one..

i mean, it still works... -write.

with love & gratitude..   xoxo

"Thank You Anne!" from (me!) sandra, tvgp

Monday, February 23, 2015

Shakespeare of the 21st century? -are you kidding (me!) sandra, tvgp

Let me revisit my personal acquaintance with Shakespeare:

1.  Never have enjoyed reading Shakespeare...  have tried on more than one occasion.. Especially! after learning the profound effect his writings had on my sheroe: Dr Maya Angelou..

still. -no pleasure..

But! Can and do watch  -with intense interest and great joy!-   people who talk passionately ABOUT Shakespeare..

and in any given month of the year I can talk with people who

1. find Shakespeare boring.
2. find Shakespeare amazing.

-so, all that said and acknowledged

everyone is a shakespeare; aren't they.   I've yet to meet any artist beloved by the entire population..

and why, how, when, how deeply, how long any given person does or does not respond to a story, or film, or music or any art of any kind..     -who is turned on; who is turned off:

is as much a mystery as curiosity itself.

EVOLUTION of a SCIENTIST by (me!) sandra, tvgp

ape:  everything is matter.
human:  everything does matter.

I'm sure I'm not the first to say it; so let it serve as validation then; having reached the same conclusion independent of...

Sunday, February 22, 2015

treasure! hand designed by (molly!) for (me!) -writeousmom..

"Thank you!" Love...  /birthday gift per my daughters request to a co-worker friend for something green and with a heart..    i love it!   Xoxo

The Theory of Everything.. to (me!) sandra, tvgp

my God.. I loved this movie.


and I repeat what is worth repeating:

dear beloved scientist friends,

it is ridiculous to try and reduce God into a simplified mathetical equation


to entirely leave God out of ANY equation is an error of even greater arrogance.

so sincerely,   and with love,    ~sandra, tvgp.

Treasure! To (me!) sandra, tvgp

topping the charts of my way cool list..  -this journal's cover is a painting by Carla Graci ... which resulted from classes she took from Nancy Eddinger!   ..and then to have it personalized with WriteousMom...   "Thank you!".    I love it!  -I'm keeping my daily affirmation prayers in there..

my imagination today when I looked at my own handwriting..

well, I thought of someone.. A graphologist projecting in his analysis:  ".. you can see on this day she was struggling with.. (Variable here)

-when in actuality.. Yesterday I was sitting at a table.. And today I balanced the journal on my legs..

".. That by the way.." /I say with a smile..  "Effects ones penmanship also..."

Very special jewelry to (me!) Sandra, tvgp

...sparkly blue earrings handmade by NATALIE..  Her designs are available for sale at the Berry Patch in Downtown Pleasanton...   "Beautiful!".   Xoxo

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Public "Thank you!" To my co-worker friends from (me!) Sandra, tvgp

I repeat what is worth repeating:   -I hit the lottery when it comes to coworkers!   I was reminded last night at a potluck dinner, slash, apples to apples game night hosted by Tatiana..   

what a diverse group we are in race, religion, age, life experience, etc.  But what harmony we work together and socialize in..

I feel very lucky; very blessed!   ..for the magnificent meal! Which included my first encounter with Venezuelan ...

/let the white girl practice...

"Rrrrrr.  A!   puz".      <------  something like that. 

made from scratch and stuffed with.. Delicious chicken and/or pork.. Handmade green sauce.. Handmade cheese sauce.. Avacado..    what else did I put in there?   -not sure.. But I loved and devoured..

As I did Anne's masterpiece chicken.. (Name?) Dish.. Which may I add was delivered in beautiful pottery she herself created!

and there were salads, and fancy beverages, pina colodas..  and an edible fruit bouquet..  (God Bless Julia!)

partially in honor of Megan.. who is ... Well, I refuse to acknowledge, so I just say..  Will be working less hours with us..

and then there is Partricia..    Mark my words here: future real estate mogul..   

and.. There was the void from two absences..  Unable to attend..but!  Exactly why we will schedule another

the more the merrier!

and .. Anyone who knows me even a little knows that the kitchen is not my area of expertise; or even mutual acquaintance..

so I am grateful here that everyone was a good sport about my  "hand crafted and made from scratch chocolate raspberry cake..

which I personally picked out

and purchased

from a rare, local speciality gourmet bakery aisle




You are the best!  Each one of you!  " thank you!".  Let's do it again soon...

Thoughts on lent.. By (me!) Sandra, tvgp

-such a variety of things by a variety of people are 'fasted' during lent:   some giving up chocolate, some soda, some alcohol, some red meats, some social media, some technology..

but more important  -much more important than the what.. is the why.   -the goal; Intention; motivation, purpose..

is it to,  A. Increase your recognition of your own blessings; things you might otherwise take for granted; via sacrifice?  B. demonstrate a commitment to God; your faith via sacrifice?  C. increase your spirit of generosity via giving to others what you otherwise keep for yourself? D. Use 'fasting' as a type of prayer.. looking for deeper connection?

It gets blurred sometimes.. The distinction between New Years Resolutions and fasting for lent; I hear many overlapping goals toward self improvement

But I have come to favor this definition of fasting most of all:

Isaiah 58: 6- 14.  True Fasting: loose the chains of injustice...

In Jesus name,  -amen.

Friday, February 20, 2015

mixed media in progress.. by (me!) sandra, tvgp

Mixed media in progress.. by (me!) sandra, tvgp

Interpreting our internal experiences. By (me!) Sandra, tvgp

-there has to be something very specific, biologically, going on inside each of us that allows..well

1.  that causes certain feelings..
2.  only identifiable by some kind of matching mechanism within our biology
3. And then this ability to experience and interpret and identify KNOW.


I have a saying I use very frequently when I invite friends and family.. To church, for example

I say, "you are always invited; never obligated."

-and I mean it, when I say it.   (How do I know I mean it?)

-more importantly..  When a person feels obligated to do something vs. feeling genuinely enthusiastic..

what is going on inside the body/the mind that allows the person to identify/understand the distinction?

-we must have some type of very specific..  Like, lock/unlock combinations..that take place inside us

7, 3, 6, 2 = obligated
9, 3, 10, 5 = sincere desire

-how else could we possibly know? what we feel...

so.. I just land at being very, highly, curious about.. If we could see feelings via fmri, the way we see bones via xrays..

what do they look like?

potluck...handmade from scratch /just not by (me!) sandra, tvgp