Thursday, August 30, 2012

ONE PICTURE. PROMISE to STEVE MARTIN from (me!) shopgirl

My Steve Martin here! In Pleasanton...

THAT DAMN SQUIDMANN! from (me!) SHE queen of the cyber universe

"yeah... i woke up like this... said to myself. that damn squidmann. HE MUTED ME AGAIN! disenabled comments.. I KNOW! the nerve, huh.. but gets worse.. no post, no quiz, no answers today. just a mystery.. MUTED AND CONFUSED.. i can usually turn to him for all the answers.. now look. i mean that. now. look. go look... what the hell does that mean? he's not even speaking to me in english anymore.. yeah. and call me back when you figure it out.. i'll have someone hand me the phone."

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

ANYWAY, by sandra, ttgp

i wrote this a couple years ago. just ran across it, tucked inside a book. inspired by the beloved poem "anyway" by kent keith. a poem found taped to the walls of Mother Teresa's children's home in Calucutta.

if you eat lots of chocolate, you may gain a little weight and even risk a cavity.
~eat sweets anyway!

if you drink wine as you listen to the beat of a great live band, you might talk too much and make a fool of yourself on the dance floor.
~ drink and dance anyway!

if you fall in love, the intense blissful emotions will eventually subside, mature or completely disappear.
~fall in love anyway!

if you allow yourself to laugh out loud from the bottom of your belly, you might snort or even pee your pants in public.
~double over laughing anyway!

if you have children, you are guaranteed to experience worry and guilt. you will find yourself underqualified for the awesome responsibility; undeserving of the love and rewards and unable to influence or predict what the future has in store.
~be the best parent you can be anyway!

if you spend time, energy and money pursuing hobbies and dreams that do not promise fame or fortune, you risk family and friends coming over to a messy house and you will be accused of being selfish.
~devote time to your passions anyway!

if you splurge on something beyond your financial capabilities, you risk debt and the reputation of being impulsive.
~buy something extra special anyway!

if you experiment with a new look, a new style, a new attitude, people will stare and may not accept the new you.
~reinvent yourself anyway!

if you pray out loud and share your spiritual beliefs with others, you will offend some percentage of the people who know you.
~let God Shine in you and through you anyway!

if you reach for the stars you risk setbacks and failures
~let the sky be the limit anyway!

THE FACEBOOK~GUESTBOOK IDEA by (me!) wine goddess @ ruby hill


published on 5/23/11 -lucky number there, see....

and for some reason.. link not working (?)


JON STEWART MEET TARYN KAY by (me!) writeousmom

it's too soon to tell what my daughter might become. a fashion designer, a writer, the second female mayor of pleasanton, or the first female president of the united states

but neither will i rule out that she might become her generations jon stewart

please join us in the bedroom, where last night, we happened across a very heated city council meeting on our local tv channel 30

my kind of prime time tv!

now, i don't spend much time on local politics (obviously, or we wouldn't have all the problems that we do, write), so i just did my best to briefly explain to my daughter what all the fuss was about:

in short..

pleasanton is required -by law- to create some more affordable housing (synonyms for affordable housing = high density housing, and/or low income housing, and/or apartments, and/or rentals, and/or "you know, those people")

and my first point was to explain, that without a mandate by law, a large percentage of pleasanton residence would probably not vote to do such a thing of their own free will,

and that's too long a story, so let's keep movin..

apparently, the big debate now is over where these affordable housing units will be developed. -and there is a large group of residents, "already carrying over 40% of the burden " -of low income housing, so.. DO NOT ADD ANY MORE HERE

everyone seems to agree, as do i, that affordable housing should be spread equally throughout the city, and not concertrated in one area

only, as i'm sure you've probably guessed, no one wants affordable housing next to them . low income people don't seem to want other low income people for neighbors because... i'm not sure why exactly, but i do know why the -what shall we call them... financially secure, home owners don't want low income shelter renters next to them .. property value.

and i did go into just a brief *schpeil about the very high importance some pleasanton residence place on "property value" -because its been my experience that very little importance is placed on people value in comparison; like none..

i said, "honey, i know some people that don't care whether a mass murderer moves in next door to them, just as long as their moving in doesn't negatively effect the resale value of their property -and, if that mass murderer can INCREASE the value of their property... open arms, welcome to our neighborhood

on the other hand, honey, if they didn't know mother teresa (and, even if they did), they'd turn down a saint, if it meant a reduction in the resale value of their home

i wish i was exaggerating


then you know i had to go into one about home owners associations; confess my prejudices.. but i'll spare you that soapbox too..


let me just cut here to the comedy...

the other thing that concerns a certain percentage of pleasanton residence is -aesthetics.

very important to keep things pretty...

how pretty you ask?

well, there is a percentage of residence who are appalled by the idea that anyone might be able to see "high density housing units" from the freeway, when you drive past, or into, or as you exit, -pleasanton-

and at first my daughter just had to confirm with me what she was hearin'

"yes.. you got it, honey..," i said, "he wants to make sure no one will see apartments from the freeway..."

well, she went write into one of her routines...

sat up straight, and pretended to be driving a car, with children in the back seat

"oh my God! children... cover your eyes! cover your eyes! there's... there's... apartments!"

and then she pretended to be crying... all upset at the damage this would cause.

and what could i do but laugh 'til i cried, and encourage her to keep going...


so, next i explained how grateful i am to God, to john.. that her and her brother are being raised here, -in such a beautiful place, with such a wonderful school district, etc.

and i have to acknowledge the differences between this city and the city i grew up in.. the difference in safety, aesthetics, schools, activities, on and on and on..


when i observe certain behaviors... and i overhear certain conversations...

i just think to myself

the societal "burden" of low income housing units, vs. the societal "burden" of the arrogance, superiority and entirely misplaced value system i see with a percentage of the wealthy residence here...

it's worth taking a closer look at

what does and does not contribute to the overall beauty, health & well being of our communties.



gave my daughter a homework assignment: tape and watch at least 3 episodes of jon stewart's, the daily show

-comedians are liberated in a way governments can never enjoy

and can reach people, open eyes and ears -help people laugh at their own insanity

and inspire the change

we need laws to enforce.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


so every now and again my kids and i will have face-making contests. who can make the silliest face, who can make the most surprised face, who can make the scariest face

and every time we compete for the scariest face

"i win!"

"mommy... stop it! stop it! you win! don't make that face anymore, you're freaking me out" they say.

and there is something so fun about that.

"ewww... you look like a man..."

and now i have another great picture to send should any male creature ask for one.

...oh, i can't wait...

PROUD TO BE ON THE LOSING TEAM!! By (me!) Sandra, tvgp

Now, this proved to be a bit of a dilemma for me: nice person. More importantly, nice female person starting a new business on her own. So, -woman entrepreneur. Automatically I want to congratulate and support her and help spread the word. Until, that is, I learn she's in the "beauty" industry. Has some computer programs that can auto adjust your photos so you look... Well, amazing! And with all the photos we take or have taken of ourselves.. Isn't this appealing. Your profile picture can look.. Well, nothing like you actually look like in person. -and I thought to myself.. There is no way I'm going to do ANYTHING that contributes to losing another entire generation of females to preoccupations with looks & vanity. Not consciously.. I cant do it. We've lost too many already. and I know I'm on the losing team. I know the number of self-conscious females who'd do whatever it takes and pay whatever it costs to look a certain way.. If not in real life, at least in pictures, as compared to self-confident, take me as I am types is about.. I don't know.. 2500 to 1. And my handsome prince is write.. It's a billion dollar industry, "you have to acclimate.". Even still.. I can't do it. Not knowing what I know. Not seeing what I've seen. Not experiencing what I've experienced. I've never been so proud to be on a losing team. I have no desire to switch sides so I can... Not really win, but.. Fall victim. Being on the losing team is winning for someone like me... I have a little personal/secret mantra of sorts I whisper to myself when I think I might be crossing the invisible cultural line between caring about myself enough to look/feel/be my best and falling victim to mass media's chronic MUST look a certain way shock and awe campaign.. "do not feed the bears.". -that's what I remind myself.. And listen.. No one is more aware of the enormous pressure, so forgive me here if I'm critizing YOU.. I do understand if you fell victim/surrendered... But, on every occasion I see for example.. Breast implants.. I think to myself.. She fed the bears. Cosmetic surgeries.. You've fed the bears. When I witnessed a high school girl pay big extra money to have her senior portrait photoshopped as if it were cosmetic surgery.. Literally having her nose, cheeks, etc. Altered.. Thanksgiving feast for the bears. I cannot contribute to the maddness. So, I'm a little torn as you can imagine.. We need women entrepreneurs for sure.. I just wish our focus could be on growing confidence not insecurities. With love, (but no support) a proud non-customer of your services.

Monday, August 27, 2012

THANKS MOM!! from (me!) your #1 daughter

in an earlier post, i mentioned how my mom has this superpower.. this amazing and unnatural ability to hear (even whispers from great distances); retain (for years.. sometimes years!); and make manifest just about any desire her children and/or grandchildren happen to mention in mere passing

so for example.. her granddaughter happen to point at a hooded jacket from abercrombie in a magazine and say i like that, and next thing you know, grandma has gone all the way to san francisco (because local stores didn't carry it), and guess what her granddaughter unwrapped for christmas...

and her grandson mentioned liking the san francisco 49ers.... and her other grandson legos.. and her other granddaughter, puppies and dolls...

and these personal likes mentioned in conversations do not go in one ear and out the other.. they go in.. they go in a secret ear tunnel, connected to the heart, i think.. and there's a sticky landing storage place in there somewhere... and they stay there, sometimes for days, sometimes for months, sometimes for years! (but sometimes -if you're at the mall, for example.. only seconds/minutes... however long it takes her to snatch up the top you just admired and pay for it at the register) -but the point is.. they stay there until she can make them somehow manifest

and here is another example of her superpower at work, because on our way to cache creek recently (which was making manifest one of my sister's likes.. seeing the rock band night ranger live), my sister and i were sitting in the back. rick, my mom's husband, was driving, my mom was in the front driver side passenger seat

and i mentioned -to my sister- (not even directly to my mom, i must point out), that i liked this bumper sticker that was on a car passing by.. that i've always wanted one.. wasn't quite sure where you get them... -and my sister said, "mention it to mom, it will be on your doorstep"

and guess what

arrived in my mailbox, like -within the week!

you're the best mom! thank you so much! -and now, with my website in pretty white mirror font on the back window (thank you $ to my late grandma harrison/work by savage signs here in pleasanton... only $40 by the way..) , and this beautiful/wonderful new bumber sticker (which is a magnet actually)

my hybrid feels complete.

have i mentioned how much i love robin williams?

okay, and this is kinda funny.. because yesterday my daughter and i were watching robin williams on inside the actors studio, and my daughter said, "how cool would that be.. to have robin willians as your dad!"

and i said, "i'm workin' on that honey..."

and she cracked up. "he's divorced now," i told her (which is true), "and he's just had a heart surgery, (also true) -and i think i'm the perfect person to help him feel better, don't you?"

and she just smiled.
and maybe -on my own, such a dream is out of reach. BUT

i have a mom with superpowers... which makes anything seem possible.

3RD GRADE REPORT CARD (mine!) sandra, ttgp

let's see.. i could clean the house, finish frame orders or C! take a picture of my 3rd grade "pupil progress report" and post a new blog.
Sandra has taken a great deal of interest in creative writing and oral expression. She has shown leadership qualities and organization abilities with language skills.
-I. Ryan
but wait.. there's more!
Sandy has gotten rather careless, her numerals are not always legible and she is making more errors than previously. Perhaps her mind is not on her work. I'm sure she is capable of better work.
-Miss Treinan (?)
i'll have you know i was president of student council my 6th grade year
then graduated high school early to become a traveling gypsy!

TRUTH & LIES IN LITERATURE for (me!) Sandra, tvgp

I'm not going to be too hard on myself here.. Because I can't even really count the amount of writers who are praised as being, "the best of our time!" -or the amount of novels that are "must reads!". You have to have a highly developed filter these days to cut through the ever evolving marketing/promotions/commercial selling techniques practiced by the publishing industry. *#*#*# So, It turns out there'S another literary genious the whole world knows about, except me. /5 kazillion books sold in 22 million different languages. *#*#*# Until now, that is. Spotted some of his quotes on Had to read more... Read more... Had to read more! Will in fact be stopping by the library this very day to get some of his books. *#*#* But I'm very confused. Because I did some quick research and how? Is it that Stephen vizinczey has never sat at the big round oak table with my Charlie rose? -someone needs to address this oversight immediately!

TULLY'S CORNER: MEET LILY and then JAN & LARRY BROWN by (me!) sandra kay, writeousmom

here is the unedited version of this story which published in the pleasanton patch 5/23/11.


Meet Lily and then Jan & Larry Brown
by sandra kay AKA: WriteousMom

Thursday morning was particularly gorgeous climate wise, and so without knowing who I would randomly interview, I knew on my drive over my “who” would be outside, so I could soak up some awesome sunshine.

Ah.. lovely lady with the cute dog..

I’ve mentioned this before, but Pleasanton is like the dog capital of California -I like to tell people “It’s mandatory. No dog. No live in Pleasanton..” -but of course, I don’t own one. I mostly observe them from a distance.

And in this case, a very short distance, because I invited myself write over to their table. What a cutie! Lily is her name. She is a bienheim colored Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

If you read about them, (and I’ve provided a link for your convenience), you’ll learn they come in only 4 colors: bienheim, tri, ruby and black n’ tan. Lily, it turns out, has two male siblings she shares her home with, one tri-colored and the other ruby. They were being groomed and would be picked up later. I quickly imagined Lily returning home to her brothers, and in dog speak, sayin’ something like, “well, don’t you both look handsome, but guess who got her picture in the Pleasanton Patch boys... !”

Actually, she didn’t have a sassy personality at all; very great natured.

And by the way, I’m writing this story, true to how communication takes place for dog owners here in Pleasanton -dog(s) always get introduced first; name then breed; then disposition; then a few pictures, mention of awards, cute stories from the morning walk, etc. –and owners, if they introduce themselves to each other at all; always after dog introductions, never before; and first name only, unless you ask

which I did. So since I’ve honored dog/people etiquette, by introducing you to Lily first, now I am most happy to introduce you to her proud owner: the beautiful Jan Brown from Livermore. She’s hangin’ out at Tully’s because she is a little early for a beauty treatment at Heavenly Day Spa..

But wait.. whose this?

Well, I must introduce him too then, because her husband just joined us: Larry Brown.

And now I have to -have to!- turn this story into a Tully’s Corner/How They Met hybrid, because as we all got to talkin’, and I learned their love story..

too good to pass up! Let us shift then to HOW THEY MET:

They’ve been married 31 years now, so put yourself in around, -whatever year that is when you subtract 31, from 2011 and subtract another year or two to count pre-marriage dating

late 70’s, early 80’s

Jan is divorced, with two young daughters. Larry is divorced with two young sons. Jan is working as a front office and chair side assistant for a dentist in Livermore. Dr. McFarlane. He’s retired now, but enjoyed a successful practice and had an excellent reputation -which included being known for his faith. “The Mormon Dentist” colloquially speaking.

So one day, Larry goes in for his 6 month check up. /And don’t we love him already for being so proactive. I only go when something hurts.

Anyway, Larry goes in for his well-check, which includes some routine x-rays and crosses paths with Jan before seeing Dr. McMormon…

Has his appointment. Schedules his next one (because he’s that kind of guy), and goes home with a nice, clean, healthy smile.

But meanwhile! Back in the office, turns out Dr McFarlane~McMormon is also, like, Dr. McMatch-Maker

He realizes his divorced male patient with two young sons -that just left- would be a perfect match for his divorced female assistant with two young daughters, so he masterminds a way to get Larry back in the office, and runs his idea past Jan

Next thing you know, Larry is getting a very important, life changing phone call that went something like this:

“Hi Larry, this is Jan from Dr. McMarlane’s office… I’m afraid your x-rays didn’t turn out and we’ll need you to come back for some retakes..”

Larry being the responsible proactive man he is, takes the bait hook, floss and sinker.

I’m projecting here for sure, but I’m guessing on the day of Larry’s return, Jan dressed up just a little bit, accessorized, put on a little extra lipstick, maybe; leaned in a little closer when she shoved those yucky cardboard/film things in his mouth

No matter.. it worked! When Jan left the room to look at the fake x-rays, (which, “we didn’t charge for” she is very careful to point out), Dr Mc Match-Maker enters the room to talk in more detail with Larry. Told him how wonderful Jan was.. how he thought they would be great together. He gave Larry Jan’s telephone number and the appointment was over shortly after that.

We need more dentist like this, don’t we.

So Larry, he describes himself as a “drinkin’ smokin’” man at the time, and he thinks because Dr McFarlane is Mormon, so is Jan, and why would she want anything to do with him, but calls her anyway. He was on the tail end of a luke-warm long distant relationship anyway, and so why not, write…

Jan was not Mormon, she described herself as just a seeker at the time, and Larry had been raised Catholic, but was not practicing, as they say

Those are a few of the things they learned about each other on their first date at the Livermore Station, which was an old train station converted into a restaurant.

They did fall in love, blended their families, her two girls, 5 and 7 years old; his two boys, 11 and 13 years old at the time, and have been married, now, as I mentioned, 31 years.

That’s beautiful all by itself, but made even more so, when I learned that in 1999, both Jan and Larry were invited by friends to the non-denominational, Calvery Chapel of Livermore.

Together, they re-dedicated their lives to the Lord, and were both baptized, and have been members ever since.

“That’s the reason we are still together,” Jan said, “God is our glue.”


and delighted to share that jan & larry, brought their daughter jill to ruby hill winery the next day.. wonderful visit! /and they were of course included in ruby hill's facebook~guestbook

"thank you!" -you are the best! i love your story!

love, ~sandra

SPARKS FLY FROM MY FINGERTIPS.. (me!) sandra, tvgp

happened across a commercial for dragon naturally speaking software for your pc.
-talk to your computer and watch the words appear on your monitor.

and so inspired to share again... "my stories, they don't come out my mouth. my stories come out my hands."

it's equal parts frustrating and fascinating. -but if i had to verbally dictate my thoughts, my short stories..

this blog -with over 1,300 posts now, would not exist.

internally, it seems i'm wired in such a way that thoughts skip my mouth.. travel from my brain down my arms, into my hands, out my fingers

"..raven hair and ruby lips
sparks fly from my finger tips
echoed voices in the night
She's a restless spirit on an endless flight

witchy woman... i've got the moon in my i~i~i~ i's...."

Sunday, August 26, 2012

BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND! (Stephen covey!)

Ah, -had the recent experience of reading a Stephen covey quote at work.. Mentioned to a co-worker that I had met him..have a personally inscribed book: 7 habits of highly effective people. It is one of the books that helped me get through college. I kept a picture of a person wearing a graduation cap and gown on my wall... " begin with the end in mind". Eventually earned my b.a. In mass comm, so.. Safe to say his advice was helpful. But I didn't limit his advice to my academic or professional life. Honey.. I brought it write in my bedroom too; applied it to my sex life: begin with the end in mind. "go for a tie! Tie and you win!" So anyway.. I didn't share all that with my co-worker, it just kind of floated through my mind. My co-worker had never heard of Stephen covey or the 7 habits book.. So I hopped on Wikipedia to show a picture.. Was shocked to learn he died last month. Feel grateful I had a chance to meet him.. To read his leadership books.. And not sure.. But it seems like he once gave a presentation at stoneridge (?). In any case.. Another beautiful legacy. "thank you Stephen covey and God bless..."

Saturday, August 25, 2012

THE JOYCE MEYER I KNOW by (me!) Sandra, tvgp

I will reveal toward the end my purpose for writing about Joyce Meyer again. But do stick with me.. We know that I don't actually KNOW Joyce Meyer.. Ive never had an in person conversation.. A dinner... Been her neighbor or friend.. I did see her in person at the book signing which I reposted about recently.. But other than that, how I've come to know and respect and admire Joyce Meyer is by watching her around a half hour each morning, 5 times a week, for several years.. By LISTENING to her for a half hour each day, 5 times a week, for several years.. Now, there is a small chance she is a fraud.. But, based on what I've heard, read, seen.. I think not. I BELIEVE she has had the life she claims she's had.. Let me pull out some of the stories again: born into a severely dysfunctional Family.. Her abusive alcoholic father raping her over 200 times.. Her mother doing nothing to stop it.. Her early childhood one of perpetual fear, anger, manipulation. No exposure to peace or love or joy.. Not allowed to play sports or attend church.. Her father controlling her morning, noon and night. And yet.. Some calling at a young age.. She sneaks to church and brings her young cousins to "get saved" at around age 8 or 9.. To her great disappointment, the pastor doesn't have an altar call.. Determined to get saved she goes to the pastor, dragging her cousins with her, and has to ask.. She describes the devil as deceiving her into believing she wasn't saved when she cheats during a hide n seek game.. But learns better as time goes by. Stays in prayer during her horrific childhood.. Realizes there is nothing she can do at the time to change her circumstances but! Has the insight and determination to "do something great one day!" (be great). -when she finally gets out of the house.. Marries the first man that shows her attention.. He turns out to be a womanizer, alcoholic/drug addict and petty thief. Exactly the type of men women with zero self esteem seem to attract... And during this time, Joyce herself does some stealing.. Taking money from her employer. TWO CRUCIAL MOVES HERE START TO TRANSFORM HER LIFE: she divorces. She meets Dave. (her husband now for 40+ years.. A devoted Christian.) Dave had been praying for love in his life, and specifically for someone who " needed help". -has no idea what he'd be getting himself into... And it's choppy here.. But Joyce has a desire to minister.. Growing desire.. A definite calling, but her ambition is greater than her actual readiness.. She starts by leading home bible study groups.. And describes herself as wearing short-shorts and smoking cigarettes while she does.. In the background.. They are growing their family.. Adding children.. They have 4 in total and are struggling financially..and Joyce is running the household with the only tools she has from her own dysfunctional upbringing.. Control, manipulation, anger, upset.. She describes dave's stability day in and day out as being the greatest living testimony and helping her to learn how to stop manipulating/controlling. Her moods unable to control his... She was miserable so she wanted him miserable.. But Dave rose above the trap. And by the way... This is all taking place over years not weeks or months... Decades! Simultaneously.. Joyce remains ambitious about being a great minister but faces MANY obstacles.. People opposed to women in church leadership, jealous people, threatened people.. And she is kicked out of her church and loses all her friends. -rejection on top of rejection on top of rejection.. And yet continues on.. At some point her and Dave travel by van.. Sharing the good news here, and the good news there.. And eventually have some radio programs, then some tv.. And there is a story in here somewhere about Joyce receiving a message from God to "go east, west, south and north". -and not fully knowing what that meant, she went to east Missouri, west Missouri,north Missouri, etc. -but we later find out God plans were slightly larger weren't they.. As she ends up ultimately with a world wide, not state wide ministry. I skip here to some of the spiritual confessions/lessons she experiences along the way: overcoming the shame of her childhood. Becoming strong enough to divorce instead of settle for another abusive relationship, facing/overcoming rejection, honoring her calling over her circumstances, taking a chance on love a second time, gradually moving away from control/anger/manipulation as ways of functioning in the world and toward peace, joy, love.. Fun! She somewhere returns to the employer she once stole from, confesses and returns the money! And some really amazing things happen also.. Like fast forward many years and God asks her to take care of her father in his elderly years.. She does! And forgives him! And he apologizes for the first time.. Is baptized and accepts Jesus shortly before he dies.. She has also forgiven and takes care of her elderly mother.. We learn also, Joyce has a brother.. Who never fully recovered from their traumatic childhood, and who lost his life to drug addiction. Let me get you to pay attention here.. One child loses his life to drug addiction.. The other goes on to have a world wide ministry! Now, I have no statistics for you on how many conferences Joyce has hosted over the past THIRTY PLUS YEARS.. How many bible study classes she has taught.. How many hours she Has spent preparing for the classes and conferences.. How many dream and hope centers she has opened around the world, no statistics on exactly how many hungry children she has helped feed, or sick people she has helped heal, or emotionally hurting people she has helped recover... How many people she has introduced to the love of God, the love of many books she has written and how long it took her, But if you could graph it and see it... How many hours of her life she has devoted and continues to devote to helping people around the world. If you could see her like I do... Honest, candid, ambitious, determined, gracious, evolved, generous, kind; healed. And you listened to her.. And you see how she spends literally no time critiquing others but gives us all permission and invitation to " go to school" on her mistakes... I just can't say enough good things about her. The lessons are real.. How to become un-miserable; to learn to "enjoy everyday life" -to spread love.. Pursue peace.. Overcome rejection.. Learn humility, confess sins, seek/accept/provide forgiveness, honor who God made you to be and not manipulate or fake anything, how God can turn your mess into a message, your test into a testimony, -how not to pray for the easy life.. But know that life is hard.. And " we are anointed for hard". -how, her own life is a great example that " there is no pit so deep God can't get you out of it". -she spreads HOPE. I could go on and on... But I will stop there.. I will stop there and tell you.. That after watching Joyce Meyer for a half hour everyday, 5 days a week, for several years, that the Joyce Meyer I read about in Wikipedia and the Joyce Meyer I have come to know are two different people. At least you can read what they want you to think of her... And it is jot who I've come to know. In fact, it is another lesson she speaks on.. Not being attached to your reputation. People will think what they want to think, but that does not make you who you are. You have to know yourself -solid- in Christ.. Otherwise you'll spend your life chasing flies with a flyswatter. That said,... Written and acknowledged.. When it comes to money earned by successful preachers... We have Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen who both say God wants us financially blessed.. So we can bless others ( and they both do bless countless others). And then we have Rick Warren. -please see his talk.. Where he went from tithing 10% and living off of 90% to tithing 90% and living off of 10% after the global success of his living with purpose book. That! Has got to make God smile. Amen!

Friday, August 24, 2012


i asked my nephew, "you have a good time on the treasure hunt?"

"yes," he said, "except one thing"

what was that?"

"i hated the picture taking part."

"but," i said with a fading smile, "that was my favoite part!"

and then i looked at the picture album one more time, and spotted a few clues of my own:

GOD'S PERFECT TIMING for (us!) his beautiful children

now that worked out quite nicely didn't it. met michelle czeszynski and purchased her treasure hunt in historical pleasanton on thursday,

and that friday, the very next day: no school.

and not only was there no school, but it was a gorgeous day! so, what's a mom to do with her son, nephew, daughter and daughter's friend on a gorgeous, no-school, friday afternoon?

of course!

we went first to blackhawk for lunch, because there is no better place to be on gorgeous days, than driving down tassahara, with the rolling hills graduating toward their upcoming, breath-taking green

the calm, curvy, country road, with so many cows, horses, birds and trees to i-spy along the way

and then

that landscaping i've come to cherish at blackhawk plaza.. the fountains, waterfalls, lake-ish waters, the ducks, the swans.. the happy people sprinkled all around

instant mood elevator

hamburger and fries food enhancer

joy spot.

and after lunch we window shopped around a little.. and hit doodlebug to purchase the kid-friendly gift we would exchange at the end of our upcoming historical pleasanton treasure hunt.

by vote, we decided on this fun see-through bouncy ball which had a bunch of tiny rainbow plastic balls inside, and then signed our names all around it with a sharpie pen

and the girls.. they could have stayed shopping all day. but the boys...

and so i promised we would come back and stay longer when it was just the girls, and gathered them all up and headed back down tassahara toward pleasanton to begin the treasure hunt

first stop: alviso adobe. -and i had been there with my kids for a picnic & monopoly game some time ago, but the buildings were closed

great treat to find the whole place open on this day, so we could go inside and really see where the cows were kept, where the ranchhands stayed, the original meadowlark dairy

and i have a confession here

because, if it weren't for michelle's book -the hunt- we maybe would have stayed longer in each building, at the park in general. but the kids were really anxious, determined to find their clues and keep going

and so i also realized, that if it weren't for michelle's book, we would not be here at all, and so i didn't complain about their pace

i took several pictures and thoroughly -so completely- enjoyed myself.

and we didn't go exactly in order for the balance of the clues, but we did hit them all:

kottinger's barn -where the owner ( a spiritually gifted clairvoyant ) shared some stories, and introduced luca, her dog.. the kids LOVED visiting/petting luca. and adored how when terry hit the chime, luca would howl~sing. and i lucked out with some home-made, fresh-baked apple-bread being passed around -and-

took several more pictures. ( i'll spare you throughout, by only posting a select few)

the pleasanton hotel -where my children told their cousin and friend, all about the haunted hotel.. the lady murdered... "we don't have to go inside do we mommy?"

and they didn't, because the clue is on the outside of the building (that's why we are still alive to share this story, you see) -and-

i took several more pictures.

gay nineties -where my kids shared more stories about the ghosts, the underground tunnels

and i took one or two more pictures.

the johnston building.. where my daughter hopped out of the car to verify the clue they had all guessed correctly on their own

the presbyterian church... -where they found another clue and mommy took one or three more pictures

kolln hardware... where the boys finally, at last, got to write in the clue because "we haven't gotten to do one thing.. the girls are doing all the writing!"

main & spring... where the girls wrote in another clue, and i took a couple pictures -and we enjoyed running into family friends, kerri, noah, madeline, and getting in a quick visit

the museum.. decorated so fabulously for halloween.. and where my daughter purchased the pleasanton ghost stories dvd which kept her and jack awake from fear for three nights in a row a couple years back, but which today, she claims to her friend, cristina, "must be seen!" -because "it is so scary!" and then a few seconds later, "it is not that scary"

and where i took a couple pictures. and "look!" the girls each drew me a card/picture.

the train depot.. our almost grand finally -where all four kids were quite burnt out on me taking pictures, but "this is charles huff's building" and so all agreed to pose one more time.

and then we gathered back in the car..

and the boys cried, "the girls are doing everything again! they are finding all the clues.. we haven't gotten to do anything!"

and the girls ignored the boys

and i tried to get the girls to include the boys somehow

but really,

the girls did their thing anyway, with the boys fighting to look over their shoulders

and they de-coded the final puzzle, using all the clues from the hunt:

62 = o

32 = 5

1 = 6


until, with less than one third complete, they all guessed the answer.

" _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ !"

and so we went there to find the treasure chest. sign the log book.

and mommy took only 2 or 3 more pictures i promise

and we exchanged the see~through bouncy ball with the colorful plastic balls inside for...

/and how they worked this out among themselves i have no idea

but for a small, blue, rubber frog

and then the girls (with boys watching enthusiastically) decided to see how far they could stretch the little blue rubber frog before it...

s legs came off

then the boys complained

but i just laughed

gathered my four beautiful, smart, mamarazzi~tolerant, treasure hunters and treated them to frozen yogurt with all the fixin's at yolatea for our successful treasure hunt adventure celebration.

and where -i swear- i did not take one picture.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


today i am filled with sadness and love for the men, women and children in new york and across the globe.


one of many ways we can contribute to world peace is by sharing love, peace and freedom, and not by spreading fear, pain and suffering.

on too many occasions i have heard something of this nature regarding attacks on the men, women and children that make up america: "that's just a tiny piece of what our country knows! we live with war everyday. we suffer everyday! you don't even know yet what it is like to suffer!"

and the blatant desire there is to make damn sure the men, women and children of america know the pain, suffering, terror others experience.

and in these conversations it is my tendency to take that thinking down to micro-level and use the example of two families living next to each other anywhere on earth, instead of two countries at war with each other.

so in home A, you have the mom, dad, and their two children. and in this home the parents severely abuse their children both emotionally and physically. the children in this home live in fear everyday. they are afraid to wake up, afraid to go to sleep. their lives are miserable.

in home B, you have the mom, dad, and their two children. and in this home the parents love and cherish their children. the parents support their children, guide them, celebrate their accomplishments and comfort them through setbacks, disappointments and failures. in this house, the children look forward to bedtime stories, and wake up to a healthy breakfast. their lives are peaceful.

question one: do you refer to the children in home B as spoiled?

question two: if you were in charge, what would be most important to you? to place the children from the healthier, more peaceful home inside the home where the parents are abusive so they can KNOW pain and oppression, suffering and misery?


remove the abused children from their very unhealthy environment and place them inside the home where they are safe and cared for properly; where they can KNOW PEACE AND LOVE?

if i had it my way, i would be much more interested in people knowing and experiencing peace and love. i think we should try and elevate one another, lift each other up, not make sure everyone has a practical taste of misery and suffering.

i would much rather all men, women and children experience democracy, not oppression.

one of the contributing problems, as i see it, is that people don't think or talk or communicate on a micro-level. viewing everything from a very comfortable, misleading distance; removing all thought of individual men, women and children/families/communties/human faces from their lenses, and instead viewing the earth as some kind of football field and countries as teams.

war is not a game. war is not a sport. when we label and refer in communication to countries as teams, "israel" vs. "iran" vs. "america" vs. "north korea" ...this feeds into a win/lose mentality which doesn't serve anyone, and it also produces sick fans and ignorant spectators, who cheer for or against a country based exclusively on geography and/or media hype, with no regard or understanding for the individual men, women and children who populate any given country. this way of communicating does not unite, but divides.

what we need in order to move toward and contribute to world peace is a magnifying glass, not a television screen. handshakes, not propaganda magazines. we need to see the beauty in a variety of colorful faces, not color-coded maps. we need to ask and listen and respond, not assume, talk and ignore.

we need to stand up against any individual, in any country who inflicts pain and suffering on others, and shine the light on any and all individuals, in any and every country, that extend kindness to others. and the thing is, there is no country where the entire population is evil, and no country where the entire population is kind.

but where on earth you can find the majority of people kind, loving and free.. those places should serve as models for how we can eventually spread peace and love and eliminate violence, hate and oppression.

and it seems such a simple thing, but actually every act of kindness is significant on a global scale.

"WHAT WAS HIS NAME AGAIN?" by (me!) Sandra, tvgp

This post is for anyone whose heart has been mutilated by someone they love. I bring you VERY GOOD NEWS!! Because in a recent effort to comfort someone else currently in pain, I recalled my own similar situation, from ... Several years ago... And I'll be damned if I could not remember his name!?! ...can you hear me? The same person who mutilated my heart, who left me crying in an ocean of tears, who I thought permanently damaged my heart and soul, the same one who caused me to vomit poetry on paper after paper.. Who nearly caused me to give up on all men and all romantic relationships..for ever! The satonic, diabolical evil male creature that introduced me personally to the darkest levels of hell. That one! Who once seemed etched in my psyche for life... Him! Honey... I am here to testify, that if you fast forward a number of years.. You won't even be able to remember his name! God bless.. God bless..God bless... Hallelujah and amen!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"THANK YOU PLEASANTON TOASTMASTERS!" from (me!) sandra, tvgp

my daughter ran across this pin during a recent spring cleaning day

handed it to me with a smile. "isn't this your toastmaster pin?" she asked

"i worked damn hard for that little pin!" i told her

and i meant it.

i'm convinced in fact, that no one in the history of toastmasters international has worked harder than me to earn that "T" lapel pin, -which is about the size of a thumbtack, but can only be earned and worn if you've given TEN!

count 'em with me, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10! speeches in front of your toastmaster peers.

this is no small task for anyone, but was a herculean task for me. -and even if you take for granted, the entire reason toastmasters exists is because the fear of pubic speaking is so real and widespread

the word fear to describe my circumstance is as pathetic as using the word wave to describe a tsunami

i was debilitatingly terror-fied. phobic. traumatized.

and that's the thing - i was traumatized - literally. had been traumatized not once but more than once over the years, and whereas during elementary school, as the president of student council i was at ease on stage giving speeches, by the time life got a hold of me, introduced me up close and personal to all things evil

well, thank God i made it through, but one of the consequences, if you will, one of the injuries from the brain and soul damage, was that i had completely lost my ability to speak in public without my hands shaking uncontrollably, without sweat dripping from every pore, without my voice quivering, without my knees knocking -sometimes to the point of tears.

it was not only an experience of utter dread psychologically, public speaking, it was a physical try-atholon getting my body and brain to cooperate with one another

and i'm not joking and only slightly exaggerating when i say i put in 80+ hours practice to give 3-5 minute speeches. but the thing is

the thing is, i did do it. i can't remember HOW i met john, only that i did - i can't remember his last name, but see his face well on my mind's mini movie pixel screen, -and i have a picture of us together in yosemite (yosemite is where i hear God the clearest)

anyway.. his mention of toastmasters was my first time learning about the organization, and i ended up looking it up, finding and joining, the pleasanton toastmasters

somewhere inside me was just enough anger/frustration over losing this ability, that i was motivated to try and regain it

and retrospectively, having joined in 1995, i can say with great confidence and gratitude, that the very reason i was able to stick with it and give 10 speeches and earn my ctm pin, was because the PEOPLE, the founders, (frank, dan, .. some memory loss here) and my fellow toastmaster peers, were some of the best, most compassionate, supportive, kind, encouraging people one could ever hope to surround themselves with

and i can't say the result, all these years later, is that i ever jump with enthusiasm and excitement toward an opportunity for public speaking

but i did grow from total phobic, with shakey body/voice/hands, to giving speeches at my college, sitting on panels to discuss given topics, appearing on television to talk about my mag time frames, appearing on local tv30 to talk about blogs and books, talking to larger audiences to teach arts/crafts workshops, participating in various open mic events in literary circles, standing in front of 500 people at the bankhead theatre as a cast member of the vagina monologues

(and write here i feel myself re-telling my own story with a healing/optimistic/grateful heart)

AND all of that seemed quite impossible prior to joining the pleasanton toastmasters. (so thank you again!) -which i learned about by first meeting john (last name?) -so thank you! again too

i just finished rewatching a vhs video tape of my very first toastmaster speech. -makes me cry.

i want to have icvdm edit it/get it up, available on my blog somehow. my outfit has a certain entertainment value..

but the speech i wrote and gave has a great deal of personal value. your first speech is to be about yourself. i told about myself indirectly, through talking about my family members

talked about how my mom found a $20 in the produce section at safeway.. waited some 45 minutes in the store trying to find the person who may have lost it, so she could return it to its writeful owner, and shared how i share my mom's conscience

talked about getting laid off from work (no $ in savings), and how i called my dad, and my dad said, "you are not the 1st person to be laid off, you are not the last. take yourself out for a really nice steak dinner, and then tomorrow.. start looking for a job" -and how i share my dad's pragmatism

talked about my brother, larry, dressing up like gene simmons from kiss, shooting fire flames from his mouth with a hanger, matches, hairspray.. his wild imagination.. and how he went from singing with a pretend mic and air guitar in his bedroom, to forming/lead singing in a rock n' roll band, and performing for some 15 years at local clubs. -and how i don't share my brother's singing voice, but i do share his imagination

then instead of talking about my sister, i shared (by memory!) a poem i had written for her for her 26th birthday.. it is a mushy/gushy, sweet and sentimental, rhyming and entirely sincere poem, and then i closed by saying, that with my sister, "i share everything"

so that was my big wrap up, upon introducing myself for my 1st toastmasters speech:

i share my mother's conscience, i share my father's pragmatism, i share my brother's imagination, and with my sister, i share everything"

remains true to this day.

and with my sister's bday approaching quickly, i have it in my mind that i'd like to re-write that poem and present it again for her 40th birthday bash at casa orozco's

but not by memory. and not as a toast. -just tucked inside a handmade birthday card.

EMS Movie reviews by (me!) Sandra, tvgp

Friends with kids: too boring to finish watching but fan of Kristen wiig. "300": loved it. De Nadia, border crossing: outstanding.

BEAUTIFUL FISH a poem from the archives by (me!) sandra, tvgp

quite possibly, this is the only poem i've written that i also have memorized.


beautiful fish/title poem from my collection.

beautiful fish
swimming in the sea
such a beautiful fish
swimming next to me

beautiful fish
'til the fisherman got her
threw her back in
quicker than he caught her

beautiful fish
thrown back in the sea
swam 'round in circles
feeling ugly

"i'm an ugly fish
thrown back in the sea
i took his bait
but he didn't want me!"

hey beautiful fish
returned to the sea
can you take out a moment
explain something to me

why do you feel ugly
being tossed back in
but pretty on the hook
of a fisherman?

beautiful fish
what you're sayin' to me
is you'd rather be eaten
than swimmin' next to me

beautiful fish
if you let his bait flatter
you'll be cut. cleaned and cooked
in his wife's homemade batter

oh my beautiful fish
returned to the sea

you're still a beautiful fish to me.

Monday, August 20, 2012

WE ALL HAVE OUR STUFF! DON'T WE, by (me!) Sandra, tvgp

We all have our stuff... Series of ongoing challenges in the sidecar of our life-mobile. And recently I was feeling just a tad overwhelmed by my personal set of challenges... I was driving along and thinkin' to myself, like, my God.. Is there EVER a time when it ALL just goes away and you can sail free for a little while! This is exhausting! -and write about the time I thought that... When it ALL goes away.. I glanced to my left and my eyes landed write on a cemetery. "oh. Yes. Of course. There IS a time when it all just goes away...". And it's not the first time I've made the realization, but apparently it was time to review the facts again: the stuff of life; you Can't have one without the other. Never seems to be a shortage of new shit I have to deal with... The very mastering of one situation seems to give birth to another.. Meditating today on Matthew 6:34. Each day has enough trouble of its own... And whichever passage talks about "be anxious for nothing.." Amen.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

SELF PORTRAIT REVISED by (me!) sandra, ttgp

oh! i messed up again! first it was the spelling of perry (parry). now it's the ending. i've already sent it out to a million people. i will not re-send it out to a million people, but must fix it here before i ... i don't know.. before i do something i shouldn't

i'm every woman ever born

i'm blessed. i'm loved. i'm cursed.

my quest: the soul of the fisher king

i want the soul of the fisher king

i must have the soul of the fisher king!

i'm gonna fuck that fucking fisher king!

~that oughta quench his thirst.

there. i feel much better. you?

SELF PORTRAIT by (me!) sandra, ttgp

i am rudy. pistol pete.

but mostly fisher king

i am maya, pi & braddock.

a giant redwood tree.

i am million dollar baby

but parry through and through

i am mother goose & gilbert

a me of many you's.

stella luna, owen meany

every child in silence screaming

i am every poet ever born

awake, but always dreaming.

i'm eleanor

i'm roosevelt

i'm jefferson on tuesday

rogers in a gypsy skirt

-love everyone that moves me.

i'm seabiscuit

the shop girl

charlie rose

and sunday morning

i'm every artist ever born

creating without warning

i'm every woman ever born

i'm blessed. i'm loved. i'm cursed.

but i am mostly fisher king

-here to quench your thirst.


Organic vs. Inflicted editing. I Mentioned this again in comments recently. And I explained that inflicted editing is predictable and accurate, while organic editing is Mysterious and beautiful. But I did not explain what they mean. Inflicted editing is exactly that..inflicted upon you. Some parent, or teacher, or editor comes along and with a red pen or the like, they add this, take away that, cross that, dot this, switch that up there, move that word down there, etc. And then hand you back your writing with instructions on how to correct it. Organic editing.. Is exactly that. It takes places naturally; organically. You write your heart out... Let it all spill out at will, with no concern for grammar, spelling, indentations, no concern for audience... You answer to your soul and your instincts exclusively. Perhaps hours, maybe days, maybe months or even years.. You write on the same topic again... And naturally the story will start to kind of edit itself. And I have blogged about this before and it is well documented in my own writings here. Supports my statement that all human editors pale in comparison to father time. Inflicted editing shows up everywhere in mass media, and it starts to have a very formulaic feel to it even when the author and topic change. And where you find a more signature voice in the writing.. Unique in presentation vs. Generic; you can bet the writer has personally revisited the topic, the story, of their own accord, fueled by a genuine writers instinct for understanding, processing and communicating the essence of their experience. Seems more applicable to nonfiction than other genres, but is true for all writing/writers. I suppose the obvious analogy is nature. The city public park, all groomed and mowed and manicured; maintained with sprinklers... Vs. A hike you might take in the wilderness... Where you are immediately reminded, that without human intervention, without sprinklers, lawn mowers, cement paths, tree trimmers, etc. An undeniable beauty and mysterious organic grooming, pruning, takes place on its own. The only thing you have to give it to time.


struck me in such a wonderful, powerful way... how the text inside the current bankhead theatre magazine, showcasing our upcoming performance of the vagina monologues, lined up with the words inside my "contribute" cd on my vision board: when opened it reads: i want to help victims of violent crimes. i want to help stop the violence.

and by volunteering for the tri-valley haven, by participating in the vagina monologues which raises money for the tri-valley haven... i am meeting this goal of mine: contributing, helping.

toward peace.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

GREATEST LAUGH IN PAST WEEKS for (me!) sandra, tvgp

*** please picture (me!), entirely innocent, (me!), sitting down in the business center at the hotel. the -public- business center, where i had a businessman to my left, and another one to my write. and i sat down at the computer for just a real quick peek at to see if he commented on my comment. and what fungus had to say.. and there i am.. type in the url, hit enter, and BAM! BIG ACCESS DENIED screen pops up for everyone to see.. OMG! totally looks like i'm tryin' to look at porn or something.. i mean really. my face turns all red. i look at the man to my left; the man to my write.. to see if they, you know.. noticed. and i blushed and then just started crackin' up... since i've never had this problem when i borrow the computers at the library.. well, must be that registers as art/literature in that environment; but in a hotel... you nasty bloggerman you.. and what does that say about (me!) if i'm reading it., i looked at the businessman to my left.. said, "hey.. can i borrow your computer.."

EMS GRATITUDE PHOTOS for (me!) sandra, tvgp

EMS = external memory storage. (AKA, blog).

THANK YOU JANE HIRSHFIELD from (me!) sandra, ttgp


i was first introduced to jane hirshfield at a wine n' words event hosted by connie post in livermore, last year i believe (or the year before?)

in contrast to billy collins, her poetry was quite serious

-reaching some of the same places in our souls, but from a very different angle. and i remember (somewhat) the style of her reading. i long to create a name for it. it has a very specific pattern to it, and i hear many, many, many poets at open mic events read their work in this same pattern. -as if it is the pattern-

it is as distinct as any music genre, and when i show up reading in my own pattern; a different pattern.. i attract the attention of any odd ball. -doesn't she know the rules?-

and i'll be damned if after listening to some 20 people read in that same pattern, if i didn't accidentally adopt it during one or two lines of my own poem -oh no! it's happening to me too!-

i had to work at it some, to maintain my original rhythms -that hirshfield pattern so contagious; resonate; seeping into my unconscious

in any case, i remember falling in admiration. -some of her poetry over my head and beyond my life experience; some of it awakening; some of it drilling holes through brick walls

i stood in line to ask her a couple questions. explained this was my first introduction to her work. thought i picked up a microexpression that read -how could you not know me?- made a silent personal vow that when i reach her status as a poet, i'll never expect everyone to already know me

but in truth, i think everyone else at the event did already know her, love her, own her books, long for the new one; autographed.

and despite her elevated presentation, distinct scholarly style, and despite every other person during open mic mimicking that hirshfield pattern during their readings

i still got up -and by memory- shared my poem: beautiful fish.

and how can i explain how interruptive this was? a short little rhyming poem after all those ivy league-ish thoughts were arranged just so

- just so - they dare not rhyme. apparently out of fashion.

i must break here to discuss my thoughts on that: rhyming vs. non-rhyming poetry. one any more valid than the other?

it is my experience that my thoughts sometimes come to me in rhyme. the first few lines, already rhyming and yielding a specific pattern. i honor it.

other times my thoughts come non-rhyming -but with poetic melody. i honor it. tell the story, write the poem according to how those first few lines are received.

on the occasions i've tried to make non-rhyming thoughts rhyme, or rhyming thoughts un-rhyme; the results are hideous. so for me, the validity, the integrity of a poem has nothing to do with whether it rhymes or doesn't; only with how well original thoughts are received and honored. i cannot attach my incoming thoughts to fads or styles when it comes to poetry.

writing poetry according to templates of meter, rhyme or form: forcing words inside specific patterns: fun as an exercise i suppose, but how did these templates and patterns emerge?

because at one time, they came organically to a poet. -that is my criteria- to honor what comes organically; to unwrap, play with, refine and complete each gift of idea presented to me.

it is the only adequate expression of gratitude for ideas: to make them manifest.

back to jane hirshfield. she was the keynote speaker at the recent pleasanton poetry, prose and art festival and she was wonderful ~spectacular~ brilliant in every way. with every word.

she began by apologizing for reading her speech, not having it memorized

"i have the memory of a fruit fly," she explained, and everyone smiled and laughed.

and so with the aid of notes she spoke to all of us. touched all of us. moved all of us. elevated each and every one of us. inspired us for our journey of workshops ahead

i have no copy of her speech. made no recording. and like her, have the memory of a fruit fly

so i cannot retype here the quotes i wish i could. what she said that made me cry. what she said that made me laugh. what she said that helped me believe in myself again

i am reminded of the truth of the saying "people will not remember what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel"

she helped me feel like a poet. like a real poet despite the blank spots on my life resume; perhaps exactly because of the blank spots on my resume

she validated the poet, the writer, the artist intrinsic in all of us (because insecurity is intrinsic as well)

i appreciated every word -felt contrary to a few-

she provided great evidence that contests were bad for poets. -and i think we all know competition has triple homicide potential

mind, body and soul.

but i've changed my mind about that over the past 4 years as reflections chair at the elementary school. what i've learned is that some children will not participate if their is a competition involved. other children will not participate unless their is a competition involved.

my goal as reflections chair is to involve as many children as possible. by nature, i think art should be created because it is a gift and a joy in and of itself. by nature, i put emphasis on the art "show" aspect of the event, and not the "contest"

but i've put my attention on what motivates. what motivates?

for some artists, being alive and able is motivation enough

for some (many), being given a time, date, place & purpose motivates (without this/nothing)

for others, competition motivates (without this/nothing).

and because this is true, i am not critical of competitions. what seems more important, is putting the write artists, in the write environment

and i'm fond of the pta's art reflections program because it covers the spectrum: it provides a date, time, place & purpose, it is a gallery show, it includes a competition.

jane hirshfield went on to say, despite her thoughts on the issue, it's almost impossible to become a published poet without winning a contest of somesort.

and i add on here it was such a joy to watch the winners of the pleasanton poetry, prose and art festival be recognized and win their awards. winners including a 2nd grade girl i know from my children's school, and one of my neighbors too. -the smiles! -the excitement! -the proud parent moments!

poets being the sensitive people we are, wish of course, that we could have winners without losers

poets being the intelligent people we are, know we already do.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

IT FEELS LIKE MY AUNT TINA WAS HERE by (me!) sandra, ttgp

this is how it happened; what it felt like:

i was alone, watching movies.. had watched and quite enjoyed, and was deeply moved by god grew tired of us, then was watching, feast of love; excellent movie also

some 5/8 into the movie there is a scene where a young boy catches a football, falls to the ground and everyone rushes to his aid... realizes he is not breathing... tries to resuscitate.. gets him in a car, because waiting for an ambulance is out of the question..

and write about here, i feel...

i feel

my aunt tina? is it my aunt tina? i think so. i think so!

so i run and get my journal and a pen..

write the date/time/place/circumstances. notice and document an aluminum taste in my mouth (a symptom she once experienced and was treated for? maybe..)

write: aunt tina -are you visiting me?


and what do you want me to know -

write in front of you

write in front of you

write in front of you

and i searched in front of me... what!?!? what was there?!? a tv, a dresser, junk and clutter, my word frame, a blank wall behind the tv... what? what is write in front of me? -and then it hits me

what was write in front of me, was that scene where the boy catches the football, falls, FALLS and dies..

i write: you didn't commit suicide?

no (underlined several times).

you fell?

i fell.

and then i write: i'm so sorry aunt tina - i thought you were very unhappy - i was wrong. please forgive me. i miss you. i love you - you were always the light

i will share this.


and i shared what happened. first i called my dad, because tina was his sister. and once something like this happens, you start to make connections, see things, in every direction..

like when i called my dad, he was on his way to a play. -a play. and my aunt tina was VERY BIG into the theatre, as an actress, a director, set designer.. i don't know the entire scope of her theatrical career, but it started with plays in highschool, and as an adult, she was a director i believe with the palo alto theatre.. and seems to me, she did children's theatre too.

so i ask my dad... have you ever felt visited by anyone, you know, like your dad or sisters..

and he said, no. he said he has experienced dejavu, and had some premonitions, but never a visit from a loved one who has passed on.. i've felt influenced.. he said


okay then, i said, " i just felt very influenced by aunt tina... and then i went on to tell him what happened. he said, honey no one will ever know.. the doctors said she had enough pills in her to take her life, but the official autopsy report says drowning.

and here's the thing..

i've never doubted it was suicide. ever. i knew she was unhappy. had a broken heart. on top of a broken heart. a failed art/business adventure. little hope, based on life to date, that things would turn around... she was tired. numbing the pain with alcohol and drugs. -and very late in the game, reports of bi-polar disorder.

she had every write to be tired! the woman lived more fully in her short life, than most people do -or would, if you gave them three shots at it. she was an adventurer! always saving enough money from one waitressing job to check out another part of the world

and her dreams.. to climb certain mountains.. to travel the world.. to see africa..

they all came true. she did it! -and to list the obstacles she faced along the way!-

oh! i wanted in the worst way... in the worst way to be the keeper of her journals; but there were none. lots of pictures; no journals.

my aunt tina was gorgeous! gorgeous, fun, so alive, and ultra creative! part hippie, part gypsy, part actress, part seductress, part world traveler, and 100% free funky spirit.

she almost never married. but oh! the boyfriends...

when she did marry.. it was not until.. ( i need to check w/my dad): her 40's? -and what a catch everyone thought her husband was: the ever-so-handsome, ever-so-charming: steve.

millionaire steve..

i only met him ... twice.. once at a beach blanket babylon (hey.. there's babylon again) performance in san francisco we all went to for -what? i can't remember... and we were in the ladies restroom, i remember my aunt tina all smiles... i'm in love ... she told me. -and i had no doubt she meant it.

then i met steve again at my grandpa's funeral. and God i wish i could say there was something off about him.. wish i could say i had my suspicions, but the truth is, i had none.

no one did.

so it came as quite a shock to everyone -tina- hurt the most, when learning that mr ever so handsome, ever so charming millionaire steve was not exactly a self made man

he was a thief! stealing from elderly people at a retirement/senior center.. and PLUS he stole all my aunts money too that she had saved up to go to africa

all her hard earned money. who knows how many jobs, how many hours... and GONE..

lost her husband. lost her money. had to start from scratch.

steve went to jail. tina went on with life. -and do you know what..

she started saving AGAIN... and some time later ( i don't know how many years ) she met a new love, and they ended up traveling the whole world together! -she got herself to africa anyway

i love that about my aunt tina.

but her world traveling companion would end up falling in love with another -and broken heart again.

you know that saying

that one i don't believe, but hear all the time: God doesn't give you more than you can handle.

i've kinda always known it's bullshit.

"really," i say... let's take a look at the suicide statistics... see those numbers. life was more than they could handle."

people don't respond to my truth with much enthusiasm, so sometimes i just think it, and let them feel whatever comfort that lie provides them. i've been comforted by many lies over the years; i understand.

and speaking of comfortable lies - i must here share aunt tina part two:

because shortly after this visit from my aunt tina, i'm on the phone with my brother.. and we are talking about my experience with aunt tina, and spiritual encounters, and remote viewing, and premonitions, and all things connected to that theme

and while i'm on the phone with him, i'm searchin... searching at the same time i'm listening to him talk.. for this book i know i have called, limitless mind

looking everywhere for it... taking out and putting back so many books on my shelves, in drawers, in baskets.. can't find the damn thing anywhere

and out of all the books i look at, touch, put back, i pull only ONE out and put it to the side to reread. it was embraced by the light.. a book i read many, many years ago, about a near death experience, the afterlife, jesus..

i never did find limitless mind, which is another premonition story in itself..

but i hang up the phone w/my brother, and when i open embraced by the light -guess what-

tucked inside is a letter written by my grandma (my dad's mom) and it's about TINA!

and so call that a coincidence if you like... but even still; pretty damn awesome coincidence.

and when i describe part two to my dad, i said, it just feels peaceful and good. the other experience during the movie.. that felt urgent.. and now this just feels good.

and it was after the first experience that i went and got out the two hats i have that my aunt tina handmade. wore one for a couple hours and felt as if i was hangin' out with her spirit.

as far as that feeling of urgency.. i wonder now.. i'm curious.. because my grandma was hospitalized recently. she did not break a hip as they first cautioned, but she is older, weaker, and it is a vulnerable time for her

and so i wonder.. if my aunt tina wants grandma to know (to think?) that she did not commit suicide. she fell. and if she wants her to have that information write now.


and i did reread embraced by light. was -what?- interested. interested to see which lines i had highlighted during my first read so many years ago

and then realized.. this book seems filled with much of the same bullshit sentiment as that one line: God never gives you more than you can handle

i want to say i believe the author. i believe the author had the experiences she reports having

and i fully believe her intent is a noble one.

but i gagged in certain places like pg 68: a person may have chosen to die, for example, by stepping into the street and being hit by a drunk driver. this seems terrible to us, but within the pure knowledge of God, his spirit knew that this was actually saving this driver more grief later. the driver may have been drunk again a week later and hit a group of teenagers, maiming them or causing greater pain and misery than was necessary, but he was prevented because he was spending time in jail for hitting the person who had already completed his purpose on earth. in the eternal perspective, unnecessary pain was spared for the young people, and a growing experience may have begun for the driver.

and that reads quite lovely... but my mind goes to the holocaust... to genocides, every war..

so tens of millions of people are violently murdered (having already completed their purpose on earth) to prevent gazillions of people from being even more violently murdered? -and growing may begin for the hitler's of this world?

i can't get the eternal perspecitve to work, but acknowledge here, i'm not God.

and then, i found in embraced by the light, several references to the secret

the law of attraction. -and this sentiment really is in HUNDREDS OF BOOKS! expressed in different ways with different words

pg 58: because our thoughts can affect this eternal energy, they are the source of creation. all creation begins in the mind. it must be thought first.

pg 71:, or we can create a trampoline of happiness and attainment. our thoughts have tremendous power.

pg 61: ... by believing that we are capable of doing so, we can.

pg 67: we can recharge our own spirits through serving others, having faith in God, and simply opening ourselves to positive energy through positive thoughts. we control it.


and you know what..

i'm clueless. i don't pretend to know, to understand..

i don't know if my aunt tina paid me a visit from the spirit world. i don't know if there even is a spirit world

i believe in God.. but i don't know God..

i have faith.. but i also have practical life experiences that require practical solutions

and other life experiences where only prayer & meditation seem to help.

and i do steer by starlight

and i do experience miracles and magic

and when i review everything... every. thing. the one consistent truth for me as an individual

is that when i listen to and follow my heart; blessings follow.

my heart seems to know truth -truth is God- God is truth?

oh no! here we go again...