Saturday, August 23, 2008

AMAZING MOM/MESSY HOUSE by (me!) sandra, ttgp

i cleaned my kitchen and my refrigerator today. and it is far less than i hoped, but more than i accomplished yesterday

and when cleaning becomes so difficult, i remember the drugs i took after my baby boy was born.. legal, prescribed, drugs that accomplished two amazing things 1) helped me lose weight 2) helped me clean the house

like, spotless!

and if i could take those drugs everyday (this is the problem you see.. you start thinking like that.. drugs everyday) i'd be skinny with a spotless house and fit write in with today's standards for house wife and mother of the year.

and i'd still be married probably, because when i took those drugs, the counters looked bran new, the vacuum stripes in the carpet ~ the envy of professionals ~ bills paid! papers organized! and laundry..

not only was my laundry sorted, separated, washed, dried.. it was folded, hung, and put away according to season and color and size!

i was skinny AND amazingly productive! -but then, the drugs started to lose their power-

one didn't do it. needed one and a half. then two. and i could see i was headed for disaster.

but God they were effective! i remember waking up, taking care of morning routines for my two little ones, playing for a little while, getting them fed, dressed, in a safe place to play, and hang out..

and then needing to rest. like, -that was it- i was tired already. but there was so much more to do.. i needed non-stop energy for two kids, ALL DAY, AND a husband, AND a house

and knowing that, i would just lay there... just lay on the bed... lay on the bed, in the bed, unless i was specifically needed to address a cry, change a diaper or prepare a snack

until i took one of those magical pills! ~ wah lah ~

she pops out of bed, prepares three meals, cleans counters, pushes the kids in the swing, takes three phone calls, vacumms with one hand, holds child in the other, recites nursery rhymes..

i did it all PLUS helped my neighbors.

but the pills started losing their potency, and my blood pressure was at -near death- when i tried to get my prescription refilled

death or divorce? death or divorce?

i really had to think about it for a while. i could not -COULD NOT- get even half the things accomplished without the pills that i could with them

it is an energy, i learned through this experience, that cannot be self-manufactured no matter how well you eat or exercise. it can ONLY be achieved through pharmaceuticals.

and i can see why drugs are so prevalent and so dangerous here in this community; in this day and age

because the expectations placed on both men and women are way outside realistic.

once i was able to lower my expectations and place them closer to a drug-free reality... to accept and celebrate what little i did accomplish each day

i really came to a place of personal happiness and acceptance. when i stopped trying to meet the unrealistic expectations of others

when i shifted my priorities away from super-wife, super-mom, super crafter

away from super anything. (they'll have to settle for amazing).

and i think, every now again, how even though my blood pressure registered near death when i went asking for a refill prescription, i still wanted more.

your brain gets highjacked that way..

and so i'm VERY GRATEFUL my doctor denied me. "you're gonna make me go find something in the streets?" i asked him, all pissed off and scared to death

and i half thought about that too... even though my blood pressure registered near death, there were a few moments (hours?) i thought, if he doesn't refill my prescription i'll go find some guy on the corner who will!

but, thank God, i came to my senses; slowly.

and i'm alive as a result i think. i'm not skinny. i don't have a sparklin' house. i'm divorced. i don't get nearly as much done

but God am i a hell of a lot happier AND healthier living life at my own pace and my natural weight.


these past couple days.. i can't describe how stifled/stumped i feel... how painfully, drastically, UNmotivated..

and it's not like it's hard labor or anything. it's all so doable.. squirt here, wipe there, sort here, organize there, dust there, vacuum here, laundry, dishes, papers, papers, papers, bills..

but i just look and want to cry sometimes. want someone else to come do it. i've done it one thousand million times, and it takes 12 hours and it lasts 10 fucking minutes.

that's why i love to write i think.

oh! to go back and see it's still there, my story, just as i left it.. something that lasts.

anyway.. i look at the mess i have ahead, and often whisper out loud, - need those drugs! i'd have this place cleaned up in no time! -

but what good is a clean house if mom's dead?

and so i just do a little.. just a little somethin'... like the dishes, cleaning out the refrigerator


and i open the door to my clean refrigerator several times to admire my own work and sing my own praises

and then treat myself to more reading...

my favortie reward.

and you know what i love about books? i love that when you sit down, with a book in your lap, and a drink to your side,

and you open to the page saved by your lovely book mark (or folded page)

the only thing you see on that page is WORDS of the story, by the author.

NO POP UP ADDS COME BOUNCING OUT, no scroll of words is distracting you at the bottom of the page, no commercials are fighting for your attention, no little forms are falling out left and write, like they do from magazines. no dancing, animated, anythings! books are heaven...

just relevant words, by the author, on a beautiful page. that's it.

and i finished barack obama's book today. the upshot, is that my respect and admiration has only deepened. i have him on a pedestal i believe he has earned, and at the same time, know that he is human, flawed, and evolving.

and he made his announcement today for vp: biden.

and here is the only thing i know of biden: that over the years, i've channel surfed and landed occasionally on political shows of one kind or another

and very often the politician i land on, and listen to, will say something so stupid, in my opinion, and in under 10 minutes of watching/listening, that i have no choice but to change the channel and as fast as i can

but - on the occasions i channel surfed, and accidentally landed on biden - i could always watch for more than ten minutes

how'd this normal, reasonable man sneak through the cracks? i'd wonder

and that's all i know, but i have an appetite now to learn more, and think we may in fact have a dream team in our american hands.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

LETTING GO (little summer vacation story) by (me!) sandra, ttgp

"let me know if you want to go to sea world or the zoo or anything," my dad said, "i can get discount tickets, save you some money"

"i'm gonna save even more money by not going at all," i said, "but thank you"

-because, sometimes..

sometimes a day at the beach is all you want or need.

THANK YOU here to our cousins/family in yorba linda for all their awesome company and hospitality

excellent to share the experience of pageant of the masters together. it is THE ONLY WAY to share the experience by the way..

you can't share it through words or pictures. you must be in the audience to understand.

in the outside ampitheatre, under the stars on a beautiful night.

surrounded by gorgeous mountains, or should i say, ~the laguna hills~ on all sides.

full live orchestra setting the mood, while skip conover's voice provides all the intriguing,

entertaining, educational narration for each piece of "living" art.

it was the 75th anniversary for pageant of the masters this year, with

ALL THE WORLD'S A STAGE as the celebratory theme.

last time i attended my son could fit in the sink at the hotel for his baths, and my daugthter was pretty little too. i sat in the bleacher seats with one child on each knee.. and i knew they were too young to understand.. too young to make it through the entire show.. but even to see some of the show..

even if we last only 15 minutes, i told myself, it will be worth it. i wanted to see it again, and I wanted to be the one to introduce my children to this magic; to this "most creative thing i've ever seen!" i wanted to watch them watch it.

and it will always stand out in my otherwise poor memory, how they each sat so still. my daughter on my write knee, my son on my left. they had been so restless and wiggly in the car on the drive over.. snipping at one another like siblings trapped on long road trips do..

but there, at the pageant of the masters, outside under the stars, people all around and the curtain opening to reveal such breathtaking art.. paintings, sculptures that


well, they were as mesmerized as i was.

"do your children always behave so well," someone asked me. "yes" i lied with a big smile.

and the other thing that will always stand out in my otherwise poor memory, is just how poor my memory was about pageant of the masters..

because in my mind, the way i remembered it and described it to my toddler children was that ALL THE PEOPLE MOVE.. all the time. "it looks like a 2 dimensional painting...

like this one... (point to painting on the hotel wall).. only BIGGER. much bigger! they recreate a painting on the stage

but then.. just when you think you're looking at a great big masterpiece.. a 2 dimensional painting ~just like this one~ like this one (pointing again to painting on the wall in hotel room)

IT'S NOT! a person in the painting just pops out and walks off the stage! a real person!

it's the greatest magic show on earth!" i promised them. "imagine write now," i said (pointing to a person in the painting on the hotel wall)

imagine if that person just all of the sudden popped out of this painting and sat down with us...

that's what i'm taking you to see" i told them.

but the reality.. the reality was that even though every giant recreated masterpiece of art from around the world was in fact, "living" art, with one or more of the people in the art piece alive and breathing but posed and painted and camauflaged to appear as if they were the 2 dimensional painting

the reality was that only in a select few (out of very many) did the painted person actually move and reveal the secret magic to the audience.

and the embarrassing thing to me now is this... i remember learning that lesson when i brought my children as toddlers.."oh! it's just in a few that they move.. oh! they show you the how-we-do-this only once.."

but i forgot AGAIN. because that's what stands out.. how suddenly.. a still masterpiece

-awe inspiring enough in its masterful recreation -

suddenly comes to life with the shift of an elbow, or the blink of an eye, or a deep breath, or an actual walking write out of the painting and off the stage!

unbelievable. it remains the most creative thing i've ever seen!

anyway.. as well behaved toddlers, my children made it all the way to intermission that year, and i was so overjoyed they lasted that long, it did not break my heart at all (not very much) to leave before the last supper.

because that's always the close of the show -for 75 years now- leonardo da vinci's, the last supper.

and this year.. this spectacular year.. they nearly made the whole show. it does run pretty late.. starting at 8:30, which is our normal bedtime, and running to after 10:30pm. i saw eye lids getting heavy and heads falling forward after the first hour. and my cousins, who joined us, and have two little ones themselves.. their laps were filled and shoulders pillows after the first act too, but we all agreed to stay for act two.

and my favorite this year was in act two: the lost shoe, 1945, stevan dohanos

(all rights reserved:

it's just so magical and wonderful in every way. i want the whole wide world to see it.

and after that great visit, and great time in yorba linda, we headed to san diego to visit great- grandma. get her the heck out of that hospital room and outdoors where there's some fresh air and sunshine. we picnicked together out by the rose gardens, chit-chatted and shared stories for a while; stories, hugs and kisses

and we made a new friend out of her hospital roommate too. they both lucked out that way.

-two patients to a room.. so personality and compatibilty really matter. she was reading saul bellow, collected stories.. gave me such testimony i have it on order from towne center books..

then met with more family/friends in pb (that's pacific beach for tourists); hung out at the beach.. i read, journaled, took pictures from the best seat at the beach; my portable backpack chair

and watched my children for hours on the swing, in the sand

remembering my own youth in little random bits and pieces.

synchronized swinging with my brother.. locking legs.. getting tangled, dizzy.. flying high, letting loose

letting go

and landing.

"again?" "again!"

and again.

thank you God for our cherished visits,

joyful and safe travels ~amen.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

TO THE TOP OF PLEASANTON RIDGE! by (me!) sandra, ttgp

i tend to exercise much like i clean. not at all for a long time, then; gangbusters.

this helps explain why, having not taken a walk since 1873, i decided yesterday i'd hike the pleasanton ridge.

i've been wanting to do this for a long time, because it's been such a long time since i've done it. and i tried interesting my children in joining me, which helps explain why i hiked alone.

but i wanted to return. i wanted to return to that picnic table at the top of that one hill..

sit down, tired, exhausted; but at the top. and let the view be my reward.

and so i drove, drove along foothill, pretending when i opened the sunroof of my saturn hybrid that i was actually pressing a button which would lower the entire top of my audi convertible, and i smiled at the trees. i did pick the perfect morning.. perfect climate.. perfect day

and i pulled in the dusty parking lot, joining several others who'd arrived before me, with their dogs, or bikes, or running shoes. and water bottle, keys, camera in bag; i began.

my first stop was the entry gate, where i spent a good 3 minutes jiggling the metal bars trying to figure out how it opened. up and over? no. down and then left? no. reach my hand through and twist? no. and i could feel the pleasanton ridge veterans in the parking lot watching me, smiling. let's see how long it takes her and i could feel myself turning white to pink, so without turning around and asking anyone, i just kept trying until, "oohhh! it just slides to the write.. simple simon.. i've got it.. rookie's got it"

and then; i began.

my next stop was the first patch of shade i could find. there i took several deep breaths and a gulp of water. i don't remember it being so steep. has part of the mountain fallen away since i was here last? and then, having survived the first 5 minutes, i commited myself to hiking to the top.

to the top! to the pic~a~nic table!

around two or three steep bends, i stopped again for water, and was rewarded with a spectacularly wide vista of rolling hills ~golden brown~ under a clear blue sky, artistically framed by the light of a loving sun. so peaceful, vast and still, but with a bizarre border on the bottom of tiny cars racing by

i hiked some more wondering if the entire journey was uphill. passed a dad and his two sons on their way down the hill towards the parking lot, "am i one tenth of the way there?" i asked.

"depends on how far you want to go," the dad said.

and i did not say anything out loud in return. -how could i? took all my breath to ask my original question. but i thought to myself, why, i want to go to the top of course! and continued on.

i was passed up by several joggers, dog walkers, bikers and centenarians with hiking canes, but did not let this dispirit me. i remained commited all the way to the first brown marker stake, which, much like the scarecrow, pointed in more than one direction:

sycamore hike? oak hill? ridge line? and write about now is when it occured to me, that i should have grabbed a mat. (oh, now that's a freudian typo isn't it) i mean, a map.

in my mind, my poor retarded memory mind, the pleasanton ridge had only one hike. from the bottom, along one obvious and well traveled, windy, mostly flat and only sometimes steep, trail, to the top, where there is a bronze picnic table waiting, and a glorious golden view. so,

now what?

i had no coin in my bag to flip. and sycamore sounded appealing, but for reasons i'm unaware, i followed oak, the oak trail. and i was just sure this would take me to the top, one small step at a time.

and every metaphor, cliche, every thing ever said, thought, written and shared about success, about getting to the top.. replayed in my mind as i treked up my mountain. from it's not the destination it's the journey.. to, blah, blah, begins with one step... to, if at first you don't succeed,

take a picture. so that's what i did. it's not a picture from the top, it's a picture from the side. because i felt as if at least i had accomplished something by making it from the pleasanton view, to the sunol view, (or is that livermore? san jose? castro valley?) and i wanted to remember. i wanted evidence.

i hiked on through several more gradual turns, and was treated to scary sounds in the bushes.. sometimes it was just birds hoping from branch to branch. sometimes it was giant jack rabbits. sometimes monsters. and then, "oh! look deer"

and i passed an old, old, abandoned, haunted, wood something along the way too.. a house? barn? i don't know what it was, but it was very broken, very dark, very creepy. i laughed at the do not enter sign hammered on the side -no worries there- i wouldn't enter if there was open suitcase full of money

and near it.. just past it.. what? positioned in the dug out ground, some dark and scary combination of wood planks and curly, old tree branches headed in every direction. the dangerous double dare entry into a secret underground collection of skeletons and failed cia experiments

and by this time i was starting to realize a few things..

i started to realize i would need to hike back whatever distance i hiked forward. and i started to realize this was not the way to the picnic table. i started to realize i was all alone. i started to realize i forgot to trim my toenails and my shoes were too small. i started to realize this was not my brightest idea..

but what if? what if i'm just three gradual bends away... what if the picnic table IS just up and around three more gentle bends

this is after all, the story of my life. so many times, too many times, i'm lost. driving in circles, circles, and heading south... south, west, east

shortly thereafter learning that had i gone one block -just one block- north. i could have saved myself twelve years.

so i continued up and around until reaching another marker stake in the ground. and i did let this dispirit me. i was by this time near a beautiful residential home. a ranch, i guess. and what an odd sight to see tucked in the midst of all this nature and wilderness. who would live here? why?

and i let my imagination fill in the blanks in many different ways, while i sipped some more water, checked my phone for the time, and decided to turn around and get started in on the 45 minute+ return to the parking lot; at the bottom.

i was passed by a truck shortly after.. coming from the ranch ... and i let my imagination fill in many blanks again..

and i tried to find a short cut back by asking a jogger, but true to my broken compass.. this shortcut added 20 minutes.

eventually though,

eventually, i made my way back. and captured this picture along the way to include with my collection. i've not decided what to title it yet. but i like how the heart is leaning, it's edges curling; how you can peek through the nearly perfect circle hole in it; how, that twig.. how it does not so much look like it is piercing the heart, but reaching in to wake it; tickling it softly, gently

then, having hiked for over 90 minutes, i celebrated at redcoats downtown with a mimosa, fruit and raisin bread. it was not the bronze picnic table at the top, but just as good; just as good.

in fact, delicious.

Friday, August 01, 2008

DEAR IGNORANT PEOPLE, by (me!) sandra, ttgp

i wish to help educate any ignorant people under the false impression that blogging is only for writer's who can't publish.

this is as riduculous to me as thinking that eating is only for people who can't cook.

the list of published bloggers is a long one.

visit here:

your welcome.

FURTHER MORE i wish to help educate any ignorant people who think writing is only for people who plan to publish.

this is as ludicrous as thinking people should only exercise if they plan on becoming personal trainers or professional athletes.

google, "health benefits of writing"

you're welcome too.

love, ~s.

ANY WRITER WHO IS A WRITER HAS A BLOG by (me!) sandra, ttgp


writing is like 50,000 times more important than publishing. and blogs are a magnet for writers. an empty canvas, with enormous and irresistible creative possibility.

on the occasions i have met and asked fellow writers "do you have a blog?" i think, oh.. now that's a silly question isn't it. what writer would not have a blog? the question answers itself.

rather, i've learned to ask, "what is the name of your blog." because i know any writer that is a writer has a blog.

and i can spot a writer's creative process position in under three posts. i have had the understanding, a clear understanding for some time now, but i've lacked a good vocabulary for it, until..

until i watched mike myers interviewed by james lipton on inside the actor's studio. and during his interview, he is quoting who? we don't know, but he repeats this, about the evolution of the artist; the process of change:

that you go from, unconsciously incompetent, to consciously incompetent, to consciously competent to unconsciously competent

and travel through this cycle in all of your creative endeavors. a brilliant summation, if i've ever heard one!

he also pointed out, that the unconsciously incompetent, will be quick to judge and criticize the consciously incompetent. it is part of the reason he likes to work things out creatively, in private, and then perform (always reworking/revising/improving)

and on the occasions i hear incompetents judging, criticizing, belittling in any way, me or my fellow bloggers.. i am quick to realize, anyone doing so, is incompetent to begin with and cannot be taken seriously or to heart. artists understand artists, and are generally compassionate and supportive. this is the key! you can only express compassion and understanding for a process you yourself have experienced and understand -any harsh criticism and/or marginalizing of bloggers that surfaces tends to come from people entirely lacking, but secretly longing for the creative experiences and evolution artist's enjoy.

and that evolution was communicated by mike myers in still another, even briefer way. again the source is not known, but the quote is this:

" what's impossible becomes hard, what's hard becomes easy, what's easy becomes beautiful.

i know this to be true.

and i found it fascinating, that mike myers said, "all of my characters have had a life on stage before in the movies"

that is it! -blogs are for writers, as the stage is for mike's movie characters. a place to experiment, test the waters, test the audience, test ideas. live.

it is where a writer is free to pour everything out on the page; everything. and then, for those with publishing ambitions, like myself, to filter out what is unimportant and let only that which is easy and beautiful earn it's way on to the pages of a published work.

i say to anyone and everyone who inquires about my blog, "the writing, on my part, is mandatory; the reading on your part is voluntary" -and feel grateful to anyone who voluntarily stops by, but am at all times aware

the creative process -itself- is not dependent on an audience. in fact, for some, an audience is interruptive. truth falls under the influence of popular opinion, or judgement. moves away from silence and toward applause; away from purpose and towards marketability, and the result of that..

the result of that can be seen everywhere. everywhere things are the same. formulas are born under the influence of an audience, and originality is homeless again.

so at all times i am posting or reading blogs, i am aware something much more important is going on for all of us

we are in various stages of the creative process. the thing always to keep in mind is this,

it is a process, not an event (borrowed from christiane northrup). you do not go from unconsciously incompetent to consciously competent skipping any steps.

the impossible does not become easy, before being hard.

i know this to be true, but not without arguement and exceptions.

i see the world is populated with some who are born geniuses. out of the womb, and onto the piano, composing

but even in these rare, remarkable, mysterious cases, their competence lacks life experience; feeling/emotion.

i see two groups forming: born genius; evolving and evolving genius; born.

the artist born genius, cannot yield masterpiece works, until some life has been experienced. and the artist with life experience, cannot yield masterpiece works, until their genius evolves through the creative process and is born. easy and beautiful.

what blogs have done, is made the creative process for writers transparent and available to readers. take a look and read.

read a born genius evolving. read an evolving genius, born

it is as exciting as watching the birth, maturity, evolution and enlightenment of any human being.

it is not always easy, but very often, beautiful. thank you mike myers. love, ~s.

and i will return to write in the future, a post on writing just because (and not for publication).