Friday, April 17, 2015

You Shall Know (me!) By Name(s)... sandra, tvgp

Dear Dear David Placek,  I woke with the list of names I've come up with playing in my mind again... there are more than I first realized..

SHEsaysWITHaSMILE (blog). (website).

Kissin' the Chocolate Blues. (Theater).

8 Shots of Ink. (documentary).

The Heart Seen (photography collection)

Diapers to Diapers. (exhibit).

Mover & Shakers (dance class).

Must Love Blogs. (Workshop).

Facebook~Guestbook (social media).

Beautiful Fish (poetry book).

Eat, Write & Exercise (CNF book).

Tully's Corner (feature column).

How They Met (feature column).

Mag Time Frames (art & craft).

Tri Valley Gypsy Poet (aka).

...then to consider the titles of each poem; titles to speeches/talks; essays; workshops; posts; photographs..

I'm thinkin' I might want to add that to my business card..

literary, mixed media & naming artist...

who knew?!     look forward to hearing from you soon,


-Sandra.  <------------   /my mom chose that one; but who came up with that name originally?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Take Away. -for (me!) sandra, tvgp

Coworker friend: "I saw tony Robbins too.. I loved him."

(Me!):  "the thing that stands out for me is how..   how my car was the only clunker in the parking lot..  there was nothing but expensive luxury cars..."

coworker friend:  "so, you realized these people know what they're doing.. "

(Me!):  "..that's so funny.. because that's not my take away at all.. I met people who could afford the tickets, drove expensive luxury cars.. and some who already had tickets to see him at a future event in Hawaii..   -my take away, - was like..  people! if you can afford to see him, afford those cars, and afford to go to Hawaii..

like,  -what do you even need this guy for?"

coworker friend:  "what I really learned that helped me, is how your brain will listen to what your body does.. so if you smile.. your brain will automatically respond and you'll feel happier..."

(Me!):   "if that works for you.. if you got results.. I would never argue with you.. do what gets results.  But that falls apart for me because I know many people who just wear a phony smile.. learn to wear a phony smile..  they don't become happier..  just phony."

and here, my coworker just kind of repeated "phony smile.  yeah I do hear what you're saying.."


it is my experience, observation.. that happiness, peace, contentment, joy..  etc.

-those are inside jobs.  Inside work, when it is successful..  shows naturally on the outside.

not an outside job, that naturally gets reflected on the inside.

I can summon up countless people I've met, encountered along the way who look beautiful, and smile big in public..

but behind the scenes.. in truth.. they are miserable.

-that's my personal experience..  but if you get positive results starting from the outside.. and come to learn it is having a positive impact on you inside..

I would never argue.  I'm after results.  I like actual results.  -find a path that works for you..

but find a path.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

PTSD -path to healing. by (me!) sandra, tvgp

I had the very recent experience of meeting a handsome young man who is.. Write now, in 2015, battling PTSD.  Our conversation was very brief.. I did not memorize/retain the specifics.. which branch of service, -marines?  how many tours/specifically where he is returning from.. 3 in Iraq? 1 in Afghanistan?   -those details did not stick.. what did stick, is that he is currently experiencing PTSD.  and the rest I will have to reask..  Jim Ott introduced us.  He is one of his students at Las Positas Jr. College.  -and Jim Ott had interviewed me many years ago for a newspaper article, and so knows, at least a portion, of the battle I had with PTSD.

I am intimately acquainted with this horrific disorder.

-even though I have a variety of other things/projects/responsibilities/events to plan for, etc.

I find that since meeting Francisco.. all of my brain real estate, so to speak, is consumed with working this out:

what do I have to say  -exactly-  about healing from PTSD?  my battle taking place in the 1980's...   90's...    vs. What they know now in 2015..

is what I learned even applicable now?  mine went

1. Undiagnosed.
2. Untreated.

Before PTSD was even a familiar term..

quite frankly, I did not know what the hell was wrong with me.

in our all too brief conversation, what I did share with Francisco is that..

How I even found out I had.. PTSD.. was that I happened across a documentary, on PBS, I believe, about a war veteran.. (Vietnam?), who was describing his symptoms..

I was like, "that's what I do!". " I'm like that!"  "Oh my God.. I know exactly what you are talking about!"

and I listened VERY CLOSELY to every word of that interview..

I believe it marks the first time I ever heard that term: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

what amount of time passed I'm not sure, but.. next I remember being inside a book store..  down the spine of a blue book I saw those very words in white font: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. 

I pulled it from the shelf and started randomly reading a sentence here, flip page, a paragraph there..

and I mean I literally.. -literally!-  fell to the ground crying


"A match!!... a direct match!...".   and that marks the day I went from viewing myself as a complete freak to viewing myself as someone with SYMPTOMS of a thing that actually had a DIAGNOSIS.   and it was the first time my -behaviors- started to make sense.. took on a larger context..

So, the first thing I want Francisco to know is this:

PTSD is a type of living hell.   I can validate that.

it would be awesome if it didn't exist at all for sure,   -but that would also mean traumatic experiences themselves didn't exist, and as optimistic as I am; I'm not seeing that any time in the near future..

so, what I do want you to know, is that, it being 2015

1. PTSD is more familiar and therefore diagnosed more immediately.   -that's a great thing all by itself, because how can you heal from something when you don't even know what it is?

2. " they have medicine!!".   -I'm not currently in the loop or knowledgeable about what medicine, but just learning this makes me want to say "take it!!".   anything that helps... " do it!"

3.  the accumulative knowledge about PTSD  -should!-  help you heal, in a shorter amount of time, than those who went before..

and what I KNOW for SURE:   healing IS possible.  The hell you experience now.. is not for the rest of your life.  the hell you are experiencing now

"Its temporary!...  hang in there!!"

and before I close this post for today I just want to say that the number one!   #1!   -most important thing to do.. in front of every other thing you must do in order to heal:

SLEEP.   -without sleep, without a good nights rest; none of the other things you can do to heal are effective..   And SLEEPING well is one of the hardest things to do if you have PTSD..

So!   -whatever it takes..  medicine.  A huge meal.   tough exercise to wear you out.  A long hot bath..  Some combination of all of those..

Do it!   it is my profound experience that without good sleep.. Healing cannot take place; period.   -start there..

More later..   

"Thank you!" Francisco for your noble service!   everyday you are a step closer toward healing..

One day.. you will look back on this time..  and celebrate that you made it through..

Blessings!   ~sandra.   PTSD survivor.

P.s. I will come back here to discuss shows I've seen that to my personal experience.  -tell you to do the exact opposite of what you should do to heal..

in order to understand this.. We need Eric kandel..  You need to understand the. -life saving!- distinction between

Sensitization and habitualization...   /forgive my spelling..


ill just keep returning here as windows of time present themselves. -write what's on my mind; organize it later


SYMPTOM:  one of my symptoms:  -certain experiences are locked in my brain forever; others have faded.. but one of the stand outs is when the power went out in my neighborhood.

I mean to tell you.. quicker than you can blink.. I was in fetal position on the floor. -terrified.  -alone.  paralyzed by fear.

I could see the phone..  and how long it took I can't remember, but eventually I got to the phone and called my mom..

the power outage itself.. was caused by a car crashing into a poll somewhere in the area; but it would be some time before I learned this.

all I knew at the time, -and at the time, I lived alone

/may I stop to recommend that when you have PTSD, you should not live alone.  but there is also this strange.. perhaps another symptom.. which makes you always want to be alone.

anyway.. I was alone, it was night, and so, when the power did go out.. unlike if it had happened during the day.. my place went from lamp-lit to pitch black.   and as suddenly.. I hit the floor.

similar experiences have happened in recent years and I am happy to say.. I respond now like a normal person.  -but.. I sure will never forget that..

and it helps me graduate from a vague understanding to a deep knowing..when I hear about others..

I had a vet tell me that during one of their celebratory lunches.. in a room filled with military personnel.. that when they did a gun salute and blank fire.. one of the guests.. at the sound of the gun.. took off in terror running out of the building to save her life.. and had to be chased down by a couple others..

I don't vaguely understand that in a text book way; I utterly know that experience.



-traumatic experiences cannot be erased from memory; but can, and should be diluted.

my healing progressed at a much more rapid speed when I started to realize the truth above; when I set out with great intention to dilute..

repetition of thought is another symptom of PTSD.. it is my experience .. well, if I were to provide an analogy from a lay person perspective..

let's pack some damp sand in a box, level and several inches thick.

take a toothpick and draw in the sand a line which represents a specific thought.  repeat. Draw a line over that line, over and over again to represent the repetition of that thought.  The line area becomes deeper and deeper and deeper.

Now, draw a line in a new area to represent the breakthrough of a different thought. A new thought.  stop.

pour some water on the sand.. where does it naturally go?  -to the deepest line..  skimming the others.. A tiny bit everywhere else..

but it is my experience that repetitive thoughts attract themselves.. default in the brain to the most common, deep path..  the deeper that area is, as a result of the repetition; the more likely incoming  thoughts will automatically go there; -the most popular, deepest, most common, familiar path...

but.. go back to the level, damp sand.  draw lots of lines (pathways);  Draw them this way, and that way, several here, several there, repeat and make deep lines here, shallow lines there.. Etc.

pour water.  -where does it go?   -much more spread out, -yes!

no longer defaulting, or gravitating to that one deep line (path).

-so, I set out, to create, with great intention, new pathways in my brain.  So many new and different experiences; consciously -that it would slowly become impossible for my thoughts to keep repeating themselves..

I set out consciously to make sure these new experiences, which become new pathways in the brain..

were of a positive nature.  things I enjoyed...

that would be my healing homework assignment for current PTSD patients:

get away, and avoid at all cost, the retelling, remembering, repeating of your traumatic experience and go do and see things that bring you joy, peace, laughter..

this is not the same as repressing, or denying..or stuffing down..

It is proactively healing!

-after! after! after!   -after!   -you have created a plethora of new pathways.. 

then..  slowly, selectively.. revisit traumatic experiences to process them in a healthy way..

to try and process too early is highly counterproductive. In my opinion and experience it intensifies and prolongs your suffering.


the younger you are when a traumatic experience takes place.. the deeper the line in the sand.. because you have fewer pathways to begin with.. fewer lines to begin with..  

no matter the age though..  create new paths; new lines; make them pleasurable.  dilute! Dilute! dilute!


SYMPTOM:  when the police pulled a sketch drawing on paper from their briefcase..  I responded to the picture as if it was the actual predator.  -there is no need to be terrified of a piece of paper; or picture on a paper..  but the traumatized brain loses its ability to distinguish..  it is responding to the memory triggered; not the actual object itself.


when? I don't know.. but I once saw a program where the way they were treating PTSD in war veterans.. was to hook them up to a virtual reality screen in a helmet.. and in a safe environment.. play war scenes for the vet to view.. and meanwhile they were taking measurements of heart rate, etc.

I was up out of my seat, yelling at the people I saw on TV..

"What the fuck are you doing?!?".  " you will kill him!   you just set him back twelve years!?"

-because, to my personal experience.. Nothing could be more counterproductive.

and so, it was to my GREAT SURPRISE, that said vet reported that this technique did in fact help him heal.

I still.. write now..even with that (one) testimony (mascot?).   -highly recommend you do not sign up for that program..

in fact, even now, I think..   I wonder how many vets were not helped that we did not have access to on the TV show.  I doubt very seriously its 100% success rate..

and I am so opposed, that I think..  -if you did this.. and some of the vets got worse..  if it sent them to the depths of depression.. And months later  -or years.. they committed suicide.

-that was not suicide; that was murder.   Unintentional maybe.. But that was homicide.

-I try and imagine

If some scientists doctor types were like..

"OK.. Put this helmet on..   you are in a safe place.."

and then I watched as a violent gunman predator attacked and raped..

My God.  I can't think of anything more stupid.. I really can't.  -when you consider an already traumatized brain...

honest to God..

-let's give poison to the cancer patient..

- tell the man on the bridge there's nothing to live for..

-let's hand deliver an overdose to the clinically depressed..


my suspicion is that the mascot on the TV show..

he most likely didn't have a genuine form of PTSD to begin with..

if he did, -that would kill him.

-there is also such thing as a healthy, normal response to trauma.  No normal person goes happy go lucky skipping into the next day and adventure of life;

-there are consequences and there is processing to do mentally, emotionally, spiritually, etc.

I would say..  if you even let someone put a virtual reality helmet on you to reenact violence, trauma in a safe environment..

the willingness alone proves that you do not have PTSD to begin with.   Someone with PTSD would be like..

Stay the fuck away from me with that thing..

So if you are willing.. that would suggest to me.. You are merely having a natural, normal, healthy response to violence and trauma..

it can be overcome via desensitization techniques.

If however you have PTSD..

for you.. We need an entirely different plan.

/where is Eric kandel when I need him!?!

Monday, April 13, 2015

To Kathy Goode... yes, its (me!)

I received your comment which asked if I was sandy harrison from southgate elementary...  and if so, to email you..

only, guess what.. you forgot to leave your email..

will be wonderful to hear from you! I can quickly, easily pull up your sweet elementary school girl face on the silver screen in my memory...      blessings!   my contact Info:

SAVE THE DATE: The BIG Draw, Sat. May 9th, Downtown Pleasanton

I will be selling my mixed media art.. yes..    and also have contributed a haiku to Jill Vellinger to help raise funds for art in schools.  I love this program she spearheads!

Take A Seat.

A few select poets contribute haikus or short poems or stanzas within longer poems..

those poems are provided to local artists who creatively paint chairs.. and include the poem..

and then the chairs are auctioned to help raise awareness and funds for art programs in schools..  a win/win/win if I've ever seen one!

my contribution for 2015:

She Smiles and He Dares.
In~between the broken hearts
God's grout sparkles gold.

-cant wait to see what the artist does..   Of course its pretty obvious I'm trying to inspire a mosaic here...

but I will have this same haiku available on my mosaic wine bottle decor..   cards, etc.

hope to see you there!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Of Math & Men. by (me!) sandra, tvgp

I was thinkin', wonderin'..  in my 49+ years so far here on earth.. I wonder how many men I have encountered? If you add in person, with jobs, school, where I live.. TV, movies, commercials, books..

it is a quantitative and actual number but who would keep track; certainly not (me!).

what I do keep an unscientific, an unactual track of.. Is, of those men mentioned above..  how many I like, vs love vs respect..

and when it comes to men i respect

I'm pretty sure

that number is around...

(going back.. Going back... going back... 2001.. 1995...  1984... 1976.. 1969...)


KNOW (me!) BY NAME(S)... by (me!) sandra, tvgp..

Dear Dear David Placek,    I was watching CBS Sunday Morning just now, and think I heard..

yes.. I think I heard.. (Stop. Rewind. Playback.)

"You charge $100,000.00 to come up with brand NAMES?!?"

I certainly could use $100,000.00 ...   because at last glance I think I was sitting at about..   -.35    In my bank account. (There is no typo..  ). and zero in savings.   Now.. check this out: I saw my lucky number in this same segment.  /see prior post.  And! so, I had the knowledge some big money is headed my way..  but from who?   -no idea..

until!  until I rewatched the show..  and re-listened to them interview YOU..  Couldn't quite make out what they said your name was..

David placid? David classic?  so I researched by the name and city of your company..and... "Bingo!".    -bingo.. that's a great name isn't it..

anyway.. I clicked on careers.. perused the criteria/qualifications..

and.. Well, you might accidentally pass me over or ignore me all together based on your criteria, so allow (me!) to instead ...

drop a few names... /name drop..   a few of the names I've come up with.. On my very own! over the past very many years:


my website:    -great play on words don't you think?  -combines many things, many aspects in just a few catchy syllables: I am a writer.. I am  a Christian; highly spiritual, I am a very proud, very blessed mom..       occasionally people will mispronounce.. But that is the rare exception, not the rule.. Most times I receive compliments..  " great name!".  "Oh that's good.. That's fun.". " I really like that."

my Blog:    -its a little long, I admit that..  But it is very fitting!   more than a few people comment on how I am always smiling..  and a lot of what I write is serious, but I like to tackle serious subjects in a playful way.. Tongue n cheek, so to speak..   having endured my fair share of traumas.. im grateful for the ability to still smile.. Smile big.. Smile authentically...    Of course I am female.. So that's the SHE part of the name.. And girls and Womens issues are very important to (me!) And I sometimes make effort to speak on behalf of females in general..   So that's how I came up with that name.. And I do receive a variety of compliments on that name too..

I'm very proud of the name I came up with for the first piece I ever wrote for theater..  Check this out:

Kissin' the Chocolate Blues.

this was a stage play I wrote and co-starred in to say "thank you!" To my favorite poet, speaker, author, entertainer.. Dr Maya Angelou.. I performed it in February.(black history month). As an onstage valentine (think chocolate, romance. Hugs and kisses) .. and the content speaks to how people sing the blues.. That is, rising above the blues by the very singing of it..     I'm very proud of that name.. And also received many compliments..

just very recently.. I named the documentary I co-created for the city of pleasanton:

8 shots of ink.   -very proud of that name..   here I combined my position as the 8th poet laureate of pleasanton.. With -shots-  which has the double meaning of drink shots.. Fun! and medicinal shots.. Healing!  with the INK common to writers.. and tattoos..    I've also received many compliments on that name..

in august of 2015 I will celebrate 10 years of blogging!  And so I have also all this experience giving titles to essays, blog posts, poems, feature articles, etc. Etc.   Thousands!!

I named the class I taught at the pleasanton poetry, prose and art festival..  Also, fun play on words:  Must Love Blogs..    -received many compliments on that name..

My resume for coming up with names is pretty long.. and based on feedback: pretty cool, pretty catchy, and pretty funny..

the thing is..  while I have received lots and lots of compliments, what I have never received is

a dime.

for many years.. Based on my instincts and experience, passion, gifts and talent.. well, I always thought I would one day..

Some day!

make my living as a writer or artist.  My business card reads:

literary & mixed media artist.

but now!  based on seeing my lucky number on money! and on the special MONEY edition of CBS Sunday Morning

in which they interviewed YOU..  and which sent my mind on a "I named that!" Memory tour..

now I realize that..  I'm destined to make my living the way you do!  a namer.


Sandra Harrison Kay..

you shall know (me!) by my name(s).

Like.. tvgp for instance.. That stands for: Tri-Valley gypsy poet..

-for very obvious reasons...  and  I get a lot of compliments on that too.. but what I really need to get..  Is..


look forward to hearing from (you!)

Blessings!   xo$xo$xo$

"Im gonna be rich!!" .. (Me!) sandra, tvgp

Dad:  "is there anything you don't think is a sign?!"

(Me!):  "I'm tellin' ya.. That's a sign!  Look! Its my lucky number on the SPECIAL MONEY EDITION of CBS SUNDAY MORNING!  ..on the money itself!   I'm going to be able to pay you back all the money I owe you... I'm sure of it..!"

Dad: "sure honey.. whatever you say..  but you can't borrow anymore until you pay what you owe.. so let's hope that is a sign.."

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Favorite plant... for (me!) sandra, tvgp

Thursday, April 09, 2015