Tuesday, October 30, 2012


true, we should have -by regular standards, relieved our mom from hosting the thanksgiving feast many years ago, but we have a very good excuse for waiting this long:

she cooks. we don't.

that said, i think the guilt started weighing on us so heavy over the past couple years, we finally stepped up to the plate this year: 2010. /and it should be marked in history.

the nice thing about hosting in 2010, is that there is so much food at the grocery store designed specifically for people like us: kitchen foreigners; alien to unprepared foods and those -mysterious appliances;

with all those buttons and knobs and strange circling coils.. racks and whatnot


perhaps we could call ours: thanksgiving in a box. -because, very well aware of my strengths (eating), and my weaknesses (cooking), i purchased the following:

instant garlic mash potatoes /just have daughter add milk, butter,
instant stuffing /just add water, butter
instant turkey gravy /just have sister heat in microwave
canned grean beans/mushroom soup/onions for the famous green bean caserole /just open, open, open...

and jenny 'o's oven ready whole turkey /just take out of freezer and put in oven

PLUS -prewashed (x3) spinach & spring greens salad /just transfer from container to salad bowl

and a variety of fresh toppings -all prepackaged/fresh/ready to eat: sliced almonds, dried cranberries, feta cheese, and a premade, vinagrette dressing

PLUS! -and my personal favorite, for the appetizer: brie cheese, with a homemade (but not by us) cranberry sauce, and the cutest heart shaped crackers

and instant flaky dinner rolls -from refrigerator to oven to table. unless, you accidentally put them in the freezer, in which case they go from freezer, to microwave to thaw, then to oven and then to table... /and ideally, you should remove them from the oven about 1-2 minutes sooner than we did


my sister busted out the china, and we lit a few candles.. had some beautiful fall decor thank you to our mom, and darling thanksgiving decorations thank you to our children, and way cute name plates by my niece, sarah

and then, we did do things slightly differently than our mom,

because for all the years she hosted the feast, you sat down at a table where the beautiful, moist, delicious turkey was the centerpiece, surrounded by all the equally delicious, slow-cooked from scratch side meals

at our house,

we ate, -how can i say? in shifts. all the instant/ready made side dishes first, and then about an hour later..

the turkey!

because apparently either the turkey was larger than the package read, or their was typo on the instructions, or.. our oven's 350 is not actually 350

i can't be sure

but, the important thing is, everyone did eventually eat turkey.

and even more important than that

our mom brought her homemade, awesome-delicous, pumpkin pies for dessert.

so there.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

"Jesus! I need a word from you today!" by (me!) sandra, tvgp

when joyce meyer imitates this behavior on stage at her conferences, you will hear almost the entire audience start laughing..  the laugh of familiarity.

she says, "Jesus! i need a word..."   and then closes her eyes, licks her finger, and starts flipping through the bible...   opens to a

random?  or God ordained/chosen passage? and opens her eyes and starts reading.

i see both sides.    i see, how, to a non-believer, the idea an invisible God is/could focus on one individual human being, and hone in on this human holding a bible, and help turn the page to a specific page, etc....    i see how for a non-believer this seems silly, and unimaginable..

i get it.

but then, there is another side..  because i have seen very skilled manipulative human beings direct and influence the decisions, behaviors, outcomes of other innocent human beings, in ways so calculated and yet subtle, the manipulated person has no idea they are not exercising free will...

and that is the work of a mere human being.

if you leap to the idea of a creator of the universe...   any being/spirit which could create an entire universe and every living thing in it...

why then..   when you fully consider the capabilities that requires....   then suddenly the idea of such a creator being able to hone in on one individual and direct that individual to a specific passage seems .... like... giving candy to a baby."  it takes it from unimaginable to "of course!"  a creator of the entire universe could do such a thing...  the silliness would be in thinking that the same entity that  created the entire universe could not...

i only have a poor analogy...   an architect of the world's largest building...  a doorknob, a key..

or better;  -the designer of cyberworld...   manipulating which sites/pages you have access to...

if these can be so easily manipulated by mere human beings...   ;imagine.


when i closed my eyes, licked my finger and flipped with my, Jesus, I need a word, prayer...

i landed here:  page 504.   The Future Glory of Zion

54  "Sing, barren woman,
you who never bore a child;
burst into song, shout for joy,
you who were never in labor;
because more are the children of the desolate
than of her who has a husband,"

says the Lord

"Enlarge the place of your tent,
stretch your tent curtains wide,
do not hold back;
lengthen your cords,
strengthen your stakes.
For you will spread out to the write and to
the left;
your descendants will dispossess nations
and settle in their desolate cities.

"Do not be afraid; you will not be put to
Do not fear disgrace; you will not be
You will forget the shame of your youth
and remember no more the reproach of
your widowhood.

For your Maker is your husband--
the Lord Almighty is his name--
the Holy One of Israel is your Redemmer;
he is called the God of all the earth.
The Lord will call you back
as if you were a wife deserted and
distressed in spirit--
a wife who married young,
only to be rejected," says your God.
"For a brief moment I abandoned you,
but with deep compassion I will bring you
In a surge of anger
I hid my face from you for a moment,
but with everlasting kindness
I will have compassion on you,"
says the Lord your redeemer.

"To me this is like the days of Noah,
when I swore that the waters of Noah
would never again cover the earth.
So now I have sworn not to be angry with
never to rebuke you again.
Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be
nor my covenant of peace be removed."
says the Lord, who has compassion on

"Afflicted city, lashed by storms and not
I will rebuild you with stones of
your foundations with lapis lazuli.
I will make your battlements of rubies,
your gates of sparkling jewels,
and all your walls of precious stones.
All your children will be taught by the Lord,
and great will be their peace.
In writeousness you will be established:
Tyranny will be far from you;
you will have nothing to fear.
Terror will be far removed;
it will not come near you.
If anyone does attack you, it will not be my
whoever attacks you will surrender to
"See, it is I who created the blacksmith
who fans the coals into flame
and forges a weapon fit for its work.
And it is I who have created the destroyer to
work havoc;
no weapon forged against you will
and you will refute every tongue that
accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the
and this is their vindication from me,"
declares the Lord.


to which i can only say, "Thank You Jesus!  and Amen!"

dear morgan freeman.. from (me!) sandra, tvgp

your question: did we invent God, or did God invent us (humanity)?

my answer:    -we did not invent ourselves, now, did we.

    humanity is an obvious masterpiece. for me, there is no question whether humanity was created with love and free will vs. randomly appeared from nothingness


spiritually speaking, here is a place i return again and again: first: the picture of starving children in a 3rd world country

and it is easy to look (from here in pleasanton, california) and say, "My God! if we could only get them shelter, an education, easy access to clean, healthy drinking water, a doctor, a dentist, etc. -if we could put into place, a democratic government, etc."

and then come here... to pleasanton, california.. and see children, adults, families with -every. thing: shelter, homes, schools/free public education, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, a democracy, air conditioning, cars/transportation, grocery stores with 100 different choices of everything from bread to toothpaste.. endless opportunities for recreation/entertainment, etc.

and with all of that... we still have so many lonely people, broken hearted people, relationship conflicts, emotional/physical abuse, domestic violence, cyber bullying, suicides, divorces, hate crimes, addictions, con artists, insecurities and emptiness...  -long list.

why? why, if a person has every material thing...and does not have to worry for shelter, water, food, education, etc. -do we still have so many neuorses on our hands?

and if you search out, good, healthy, loving, happy people, with healthy relationships, etc. -what are the common denominators?

-another place i return again, and again people worth studying: humanitarians. (remember them monument) -common denominators: survivors of great trauma/adversities who transcended their own pain/circumstances and went on to help/aid countless other fellow human beings.

may i point out here, that understanding THIS BEHAVIOR/THIS EVOLUTION, dear scientists.. is far more important and significant to the world than any other work that preoccupies you today.

imagine. everyone a humanitarian. imagine that world...

p.s. -because out of body experiences were also discussed -but out of body into the spiritual realm my out of body experience was not out of body into the spiritual realm, but out of my body, -still here. several feet away and to the left of my physical body, low to the ground, facing the ground, hovering; then popped back in

so i am a complete believer in our bodies as just containers..

*** also.. remain fascinated with our "observer brain" watched the scientist, Phd, lady w/the taroh (sp?) cards -and she spoke of our brains ability/default settings which magically, automatically connected/created stories from the images we see..

i know that to be true

the part that fascinates me, is when i heard her say, "i could watch my brain string these stories together.." this ability to observe our own behavior, observe the workings of our own minds, but not necessarily stop/change it...

what part of our brain observes -itself?


ALSO, continue to enjoy the distinction between believe and know...


i will never understand, how, so many scientists,  -who appreciate/understand the value of observation/evidence

can know about the incalculatable number of human beings who have improved their lives, and the lives of countless others, thank you to Jesus...

and/or God..

can know about the incalculatable number of personal testimonies across the globe and time..

and somehow ignore or dismiss that...

God is at work

it is impossible not to notice/experience that truth, for someone like me..

and how many others?      lets collect more data and gather the facts...

"FREEZE!" the new exotic spider dance by (me!) sandra, tvgp


and so i was doing laundry..

if you can possibly imagine

folding laundry. alone in the house, comcast music source station on, david gray providing a little background music to soothe the soul

singin' along, like.. "a moment.. a moment changes everything.."

all the clean warm clothes, (of every color, by the way, because, who gives a shit really) piled on one side of the couch. me standing near the middle.. reach over, grab a top, or towel, or whatever's next from the pile on the write, fold, fold, fold; stack in the pile i created on the left side of the couch

had a beautiful rhythm going..

then decided to add a dance move in.. do a little twirl between the foldings, and when i turned around..

"holy mother of our good God, Jesus! -what is that?"

took a few steps back.. "what are you!?"

took a few more steps back "do you move? -no, no, no, don't move.. even if you do!"

took one baby step in.. "are you alive? are you dead?"

three giant steps back

"my God.. you are like.. GIANT.. what the hell are you?"

whatever it was, it wasn't moving.. but it was obviously breathing, because there was some movement, very minute..

and i thought maybe my voice scared it as shitless as it scared me, and so it was in its own freeze state

..it's probably more scared of you, than you are of it..

that would be impossible. but nice try; nice try

and it's tricky growing old, side by side, with your phobias because, as you age, your vision declines, you see.. you see with less certainty. less ability to define the edges of things..

so, the only way i could really determine from what continent on earth, this giant exotic, poisonous, deadly creature came from was to get closer.

so i took two more baby steps in.. "don't you move!"

and that's write about when my knees locked me in position, as they always do, when faced with giant, black, 12-legged creepy crawly heavy breathing unidentifiable creatures from the black spitoon

"are you a beetle?!"

he had, what appeared to be a shiny black, winged-shell covering, with a split down the middle

similar in design, i thought, to a ladybug.. only much, MUCH BIGGER UGLIER AND MORE THREATENING

"oh my God! oh my God.. can you fly?!?"

four giant steps backwards

"what the hell are you?! identify yourself to me at once! NEVERMIND, NEVERMIND, NEVERMIND..."

and it came to me, that if i only would flip my reading glasses, which were positioned on my head like a hairband, down, upon my face,

well, this would allow me to get a better look at the deadly assassin

and it flashed in my imagination.. at lightning bolt speed, and in lightning bolt style

exactly how much larger and clearer i would get to see the 16-legged, venom-spitting, skin tormenting, creature sent to murder me if i -MAGNIFIED him with my reading glasses and so,

that's write about when i bolted out the front door, -wearing my traditional fashion-forward mixed-matched polka dot pajama bottoms, disneyland hoodie, tucked under my thick, red, snuggly, doggie-print robe, with my feet bare, (plus unpainted toenails!), unwashed face, unbrushed teeth, unbrushed hair, etc. etc. etc.,

and so mention here, one of the silver-linings, if you will, or, should i say, the fruits of the phobias..

because nothing cures vanity quicker than an irrational fear

so i stood helpless near the sidewalk and searched to the write.. nothing. no one. not a soul to hear my cry.. or see my desperation

i looked to the left..

"SHARON!!!" -hallelujah! thank you Jesus!

there she was, like Mother Mary herself, taking her dog, chester for a life-saving walk down the street; fated as my heroes

"hey.. sharon, -listen, can you help me out.. maybe.. come take a look at this thing by my couch.. i can't see well, i don't know what the hell it is.. i have a spider phobia.. i can't figure out what it is, my knees keep buckling.."

and bless her heart, she came write in, brave and strong and wonderful and true..

chester on leash, for back-up protection...

i pointed to it from about 10 feet away.. "over there, that big black thing" she hesitantly moved closer..

"i can't tell what it is either"

"do you think it's a beetle of some sort?" i asked her

"go get me a paper towel," she said

"you're willing to get that close?" i said in complete shock, "you can just... pick it up? that's amazing to me.."

"i'll just use this magazine" she told me. and reached for a magazine to scoop up whatever this thing was..

she squirmed a little when she made contact, and i jumped in the air

"what is it? what is it? what is it?"

i backed myself up against the closest wall

-then her tone changed, and i knew in an instant, my worry was for naught..

"do you know what this is?" she half laughed, "a piece of foil"

"are you kidding me?"

and sure enough.. it was a crumpled up piece of black foil from a stick of wrigley's 5 "react" gum packs.

it stimulated my senses all write.. [reference there to their marketing campaign ]

and so, with my own two bare hands, i picked the crumpled black foil up from the magazine sharon scooped it up on,

and just to make triple sure, crumpled it up some more.. squished it, and pinched it, and squeezed it super tight in my hand

and then tossed it, carefree, into the trash can.

i thanked sharon and chester for saving my life

and went back to dancing, and singing and folding clothes

"... come on, come on, come on, come on....when a moment... when a moment changes everything.. "

CENTERPOINTE TESTIMONY the final draft, as shared by (me!) sandra, tvgp

there were a few different incarnations -but this is the final draft as shared by me, sunday, nov 21st, 2010 at centerpointe presbyterian

-and wanna know what i heard Jesus whisper to me on my way home:

"sandra, honey, you wrote the speech, you practiced the speech, you showed up and you gave the speech. that's a 3+ from me"


I am sharing my testimony because I want to publically thank God for making a new creature out of me.

let me start by telling you about a few traumas i've endured, and what a broken mess my life once was

at age 6, a masked man broke into our home during the night.. he kidnapped me from my bedroom -carried me through our house, out the back door, and then back into our garage where I was sexually violated, threatened, and then -thank you God- set free

the police were contacted immediately -did fingerprinting & interviews.. and in fact, did learn who the predator was... tracked him down, only to learn that he had already been murdered in a separate conflict.

so this was my introduction to evil... age 6: a masked man breaking into our house in the middle of the night...

my mom did an awesome job helping me navigate through my fears, and with the predator no longer alive.. this at least helped remove fears he would be back to attack me again, as he had threatened

so, it’s yucky, i know... but it would get worse before it got better

at age 16, a man who was not masked.. who in fact, appeared regular, kind, and interested in me.. who i shared almost everything in common with..

well, he in fact, turned out to be a serial date rapists.. telling lies left and right, entrapping females -as he did me. and long story short, he successfully manipulated me into visiting his apartment, which was vacant.. and which is where he raped me... threatened me.. and -thank God- eventually set me free

again, this was reported to the police immediately -turned out, he had been reported several times by others but never brought to court and prosecuted -the police already had his profile & picture in their wanted files

thank you to the support of friends & family & a great d.a. -we did prosecute, and this serial date rapist was sentenced to 20 years in prison -to be deported to his country of origin after he served his sentence, because he was in the u.s. illegally

and know here, it is locked in my brain, that predators –that evil –well, maybe it wears a mask and breaks into your house in the middle of the night, or maybe it wears no mask at all, but lies and manipulates behind a fake smile with fake stories
so, yucky again, i know, but it would still get worse, before it got better

about a year later -i was in a parking lot at the lakeside apartments in san leandro, and as i walking heard footsteps behind me... I turned around only to have a gun shoved in the side of my head

i was kidnapped at gunpoint... covered up/raped/threatened.. only seeing the face of the predator for about 1 second..

this serial rapist -the lakeside rapist- kidnapped and raped a whole string of women in & around san leandro, -murdering his last victim, but was never caught by police

so now.. maybe evil wears a mask and breaks into your house in the middle of the night. or maybe evil wears no mask at all, or maybe evil sneaks up behind you with a gun.

you will not be surprised then, if i tell you that in the aftermath of these traumas -in addition to the few I’m leaving out for the sake of time
my life was quite a big scary mess.

i suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for years... only, at the time, it was not a household word.. so my PTSD went undiagnosed & untreated

but i've always felt i have more in common with war veterans than my fellow mommy friends..

if you looked back on me during the aftermath of these traumas, you would see i mostly functioned -or rather, barely functioned, in one of two states:

1) fear
2) numbness

i smoked several packs of cigarettes a day... and had an eating disorder that lasted several years and resulted in my having over 20 cavities to fill..

i was chronically hypervigilant... falling into fetal position -frozen in fear, when faced with unexpected sounds, or changes of any kind

mess. mess. mess.

broken. broken. broken.

today, however... i can report with much gratitude to God, that i am a genuinely happy, healthy, joyful, playful, creative, peaceful, proud mom of two...

-my double portion- i like to call them... you know for rape victims, the taboos/stigma's leave us with a great deal of shame... it is a very unwarranted, entirely unjustified shame, but shame nonetheless

so i feel particularly fond of the bible passage isaiah 61:7 "instead of shame and dishonor you will enjoy a double portion of prosperity & everlasting joy will be yours" -i like to think of my daughter, and my son, as my double-portion.. my blessings.. my everlasting joy

and i'm also very fond of isaiah 61:3... because I feel i've been given a crown of beauty for my ashes.. joyous instead of mourning.. praised now, instead of shamed & isolated -planted for God's glory

that i have quite literally, been through the fire & am now reborn; i am a very new creature

i do not smoke -haven't for years. and while I don’t have the greatest eating habits, i am entirely free of any & all eating disorders...

i am relatively, but not completely, free of the phobias and PTSD that plagued me for decades

i did not know, during the heart of my suffering, that how peaceful, joyful, alive and free, i feel today, was even humanly possible

and have learned that in fact, it is not "humanly" possible -but that all things are made possible with God..

i'm living testimony of this biblical truth.

so -thank you God- for listening to my prayers -for working through my family, friends, to heal me.. to restore me -to make me a new creature

your promise is fulfilled in me:

romans 8:28 -we know that God causes everything -including suffering- to ultimately, work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

in regard to being someone who does love God, i want to close by sharing that while prayer was and has been a central part of my life for as far back as i can remember -I only began attending church regularly some 4 years ago, thank you to my sister and best friend Karin Montgomery. I went initially to support her, but the messages i heard from Pastor Mike and lessons i learned at what was then -Pleasanton Presbyterian, combined with the warmth and good feel of the people here -kept me returning Sunday after Sunday for more.

and it was not until this past February -Valentines Day, 2010, that I was baptized write here by Pastor Mike, at age 44, and officially, publically gave my heart to Jesus.

It seems the more I learn, the more I want to learn, and some months ago, I added on Monday night bible studies too, where i have met some of the most loving and caring people and bible mentors

i want you to know, i initially found the bible complicated my relationship with God vs. served it... because prayer seem so uncomplicated and direct

but i keep hanging in there

and i am slowing finding that my love for God grows deeper as my knowledge about God increases

in fact, that holds true for all of my loved ones

so, thank you! thank you for making Centerpointe a welcoming environment where i can learn and grow in my relationship with God. Where i can grow my knowledge and understanding of the bible. And Thank you for allowing me to share my story with you today

In Jesus Name, hallelujah & amen

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

JOHN MADDEN'S TRICKS N' TREATS for (us!) writeousmom & the kidlins

i got a call from my son, halloween morning, at around 7:30am

naturally, i was quite worried, because my son never calls me this early unless

a) he's really sick b) he's i~didn't~finish~my~homework sick

"hi tiger -good morning" i said with concern

"mommy... " (no cough)

"yes. whatz up?"

"well, i was just wonderin'"


"can you for sure pick me up at 6 tonight, because i heard that the first 30 kids to john madden's house might get a video game"

i have the sweetest child on earth. just listen to that voice.. that excitement.. that anticipation

"honey.. i think that might just be a rumor.. but i will pick you up at 6, and we will for sure go to john madden's house, -k-"

and with my most reassuring mommy voice, we chatted some more, said our goodbyes and went on about our days

some part of me knew it was a rumor.

but optimistic visions passed through my head.. of autographed Wii games getting dropped into giant pillow cases

and if there was any truth to it

i was gonna have my son, and nephew there as early as necessary. why i would camp out on his lawn if i had too

i would.. accidentally trip any ghosts n' goblins that stood in our way..

and i have to leave for work write now, so i'll have to finish this later


-it was just a rumor.
-but we did all go

a whole great big bunch of us,
friends, family, more friends of friends

and the madden family house was not only decorated to the nines with spooky things.. it was decorated to the nines with spooky people

awesome fun!

and when we got to the door

or rather the steps that lead to the door

on the patio were a couple of darling costumed young ladies passing out the biggest candybars our kids have ever seen

GIANT hersheys

and we listened in, as mommy's do, to make sure our little trick or treators said, "thank you!"

and ~surprise~ i took a couple pictures

and we were off to hit some more of the general neighborhood

but before, during and after, and write now, i remind people

how john madden is my hero too. but not for the same reason he is my son's hero

not for the same reason he is a hero in the sports world

he is my hero because he lives with his fear

he lives around his fear

he did not spend his life trying to conquer his fear

he got a bus.

you cannot imagine how much i love this about him. i mean, i just, love, love, love this about john madden

and i get jealous sometimes

because i think if i was a strong, big, tall, sportsman, football player type

people would not bother me about conquering my fears. they might just leave me alone. let me be.

and i wonder how many people have said to john madden

"you'll fly again in time...

"you can't let this fear of flying get the best of you...

"you are a conqueror

blah blah blah

in my imagination.. most people just left (just leave) john madden alone.

if he wants to travel by bus.. then by God, he travels by bus.

and this adjustment hasn't adversely affected john madden's career or success one bit

look at his life!

so let that be a lesson

that you don't have to conquer every single f'in fear or thing that bothers you

find your bus. live a great life.

Monday, October 22, 2012


yesterday marks the day. i'll let you decide whether i did the write thing or not. went down like this:

i pick my son up for his speech class and as we're driving along, he looks to me and says

well, he looks at me, with those big, round, gorgeous ocean blue eyes, -you must understand

he looks directly at me, and says, "mommy. i'm gonna ask you somethin' and i want the truth. truth. truth, okay."

and my mind traveled to a thousand different places at the same time i looked write back at him, and said,

"of course" /but not like, of course! more like, of course -know what i mean -because i have no idea what's about to come my way

so he looks directly in my eyes -that sweet 10 1/2 year old face, sprinkled with freckles and just hints of an almost sunburn from his recent days at the lake

and his darling baseball cap adding 10 pounds of charm to every ounce of his being

and all i know in this moment is whatever he wants the "truth, truth, truth" about must be very important to him, and so i listened with a reluctant, nervous but very open heart

"ask me"

and he says, "is there really a santa claus or do the parents put the presents under the tree? ...who delivers the presents?"

oh no, oh no, oh no.. it's the middle of summer! for goodness sake, i'm not prepared to answer this question write now... why are you springing this on me in july? i haven't even had my morning coffee yet

"well... there really is the spirit of santa claus" i say

"yeah, but who delivers the presents -tell me the truth! does santa claus deliver the presents to kids all around the world or do the parents do it, tell me the truth okay..."

"okay. the parents do deliver the presents but in the spirit of santa claus"

and if ever google earth could help me out by sharing secret video footage -wish everyone could see the way he looked away from me, stared out the windshield, his eyes wandering all around as he thought and processed the truth i had just shared with him for the first time

"you mean, all this time...." he says. and he is maybe going to smile, but maybe going to cry.

i rushed in,

"did you have some idea, some suspicion, that's why you're asking.. "

"no.." he says as he continues to digest this unnerving truth

i smiled with as much comfort and love and reassurance as i could, said, "you know, i found out when i was about the same age you are write now, you know how i found out?"

and he seemed very interested to know

i said, "well... i remember looking at the tags on all our presents, and the cursive "S" on the, Love, Santa part

well it looked suspiciously like...

and so i looked at some things my mom had written, and sure enough, the cursive "S" when she wrote, Love, Sharon

well they looked an awful lot alike, know what i mean. that cursive "S" for Santa vs. the cursive "S" for Sharon. i studied it. i compared it like a graphologist

and that's how i knew"

and thanks be to God, because by this time he really was smiling again. in a heart-broken but mending kind of way

so i continued.. and explained best i could on such short, entirely unprepared notice, that there is a spirit of santa claus; really. really!

"in fact, there really is a saint.. like one of God's saints.. that kind -a saint nick -nicholas- who gave gifts to the poor, to the needy, and he is the one we honor -we carry on that spirit as parents

and there's all kinds of information on the history... i'll get some for you okay"

and by this time, i was parking and we needed to go inside for the class -so i prayed a silent prayer, and he went his way, and i went mine

and privately called his dad...

"hey.. so jack asked me to tell him , the truth, truth, truth, about whether or not there is a santa claus.."

"you didn't tell him the truth did you?"

"well, yes.. he said, truth, truth, truth, with those big blue eyes of his.."

"oh, the world already bursts enough bubbles, why did you have to go and burst this one too?"

"he said, truth, truth, truth -with those eyes.. and, -and, he's nearly in the 5th grade.. so, well, i told him. i already told him, can't take it back, and i did tell him about the spirit of santa clause, and about saint nick -God's saint..."

and i could tell his was upset but the gig was up and the most important thing at this point, i thought, is that he knew about the conversation so everyone was on the same page

and later that afternoon i shared the conversation with my daughter -the whole thing, and she seemed to agree that by 5th grade, jack should know anyway

and she didn't know for sure, and couldn't describe how she herself found out, but explained to me, that, well, she just knew

"probably by the 2nd grade." she informs me.

and you know what... i knew she knew at an early age, and i always described her to my friends as "believing for my sake" -that's how perceptive & brilliant she is, and has been from inside my womb.

and with my son, and my daughter, i talked about how being santa claus at macy's was probably one of my dad's

"your grandpa's favorite things to do -so much fun. and fun watching all of you figure out as the years passed by, that macy's santa clause was really grandpa pez..."

and i think

this spirit of santa claus

should live on forever and ever, -amen.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


thank you comcast dvr! thank you sundance channel! couldn't do this without you. what a remarkable, wonderful, fascinating communication between two icons. i didn't write down any of dave's words, but i love him. and his communication with james lipton on inside the actors studio/on my top ten list.

but how could i not watch, rewatch with pen and paper to capture these very important, life affirming words from my hero, Dr. Maya Angelou

in regards to dave's comments about malcolm x and martin luther king jr. she says,

"...that's the wonderful thing about the icon. you continue to grow. and you develop COURAGE. the most important of all the virtues. because without COURAGE you can't practice any other virtue consistently. if you've seen and know the truth and have enough COURAGE to change your way of thinking -to say, 'hey everybody, you know what i said last week; i don't believe that anymore, a little child just straightened me out.' this was the mark of martin and malcolm."

AND THEN... in response to dave's comments about the racist times in which she lived, the 6 assassinations, he said, "how can you not be angry?" (or something close to that) and she said,
(and god i love this!...

"if you are not angry you're either a stone or too sick to be angry.

you should be angry. (dave says, but, what do you do...)

now mind you. there's a difference.

you must not be bit-ter.

let me show you why:

bitterness is like cancer;
it eats upon the host. it doesn't do anything to the object of it's displeasure.

so use that anger, yes!

you write it

you paint it

you dance it

you march it

you vote it

you do everything about it. you talk it. never stop talking it."

AND when dave asked her what she attributed her success to - when she was born in a place and time when success for someone like her was so out of the realm of possibility; even her travels, global, in a pre-globalized world... she said this:

i attribute my success to .."love.


love is a condition so powerful it may be that which holds the stars in the firmament.

it may be that which pulses and urges the blood in the veins


you have to have courage to love somebody.

because you risk everything. every. thing."

and about words, she said:

"i believe a word is a thing. it is nonvisible, audible for only the time it hangs in the air

but it goes into the upholstery, the rug, my hair, and finally into my body.

i believe words are things.

i live them."

Saturday, October 20, 2012

SHADY CHARACTERS by (me!) sandra, tvgp

i woke with this battle: nervous giggle break down story or the bank robbery story -and bank robbery won, so here we go:

and i'm hoping like heck sue-sue will share her side of this memory too. -help fill in some gaps (when was this anyway? what year?) anyway..

we pulled up in front of wells fargo in hayward, in sue-sue's hot, roarin' blue camero. and the way this particular wells fargo is set in the strip plaza, you can pull up and park, -directly- in front of the bank, in front of the huge double glass window entry doors, which we did

and just as we parked, and just before i got out of the car, two suspicious-looking young guys are heading in the bank, and i say something like,

"those sure are two shady lookin' characters" and then proceed inside the bank behind them. (yes, trust me.. i know)

and just as i step inside and stand in line (this, before atm machines existed)

those two shady lookin' characters pull out a couple guns and tell us "DON'T MOVE!"

and i remember thinkin': you won't have to ask me twice. -and standing very, very, very still.

like a statue still.

and the thing is, the postion i was froze-in, was a kind of kitty-korner position, which allowed me, through my peripheral vision, to see sue-sue through the giant glass window doors sitting in the drivers seat waiting for me

and i must emphasize that i could see sue-sue ONLY through my peripheral vision because there was not one chance in heaven or hell that i was actually going to turn my head to get a better look

because while one of the shady characters had taken a teller at gunpoint to the vault -the other shady character was standing only so many feet away from me with the gun pointed, like -write at me.

and he was shakin' a little

and maybe i'm makin' this up, because it's been so long, but i remember thinkin' a few things while i stood there like a statue

i remember thinkin' about an article in the paper.. a news story that had floated around from the near past, where a mentally deranged man had walked inside a mcdonald's restaurant and sprayed the place with bullets; just like that. -i didn't remember any details of the story.. who the man was.. how many people were killed..

all i could remember, and did remember, as i stood there like a statue and watched this bank robbers hand shake with the gun in it pointed directly at me -was, he's gonna spray

and maybe i'm makin' this up too, but seems to me, my brain went through a series of reactions that went something like this:

this is how i'm going to die (numb/shock)

THIS is how i'm going to die (how totally ridiculous and completely absurd! ... of all the ways to go.. come on!)

this IS how i'm going die (what a bummer.. family members/friends saying good-bye slide show in mind's eye)

and at some point my attention shifts towards my best friend in the whole wide world sitting in the driver seat. i can see her. i can't move my head and look, but i CAN see her

bye friend.

and then i can see that she is looking directly at me. not looking around letting time pass.. but really looking, then staring at me. and so i have my head facing forward but my eye's shifted enough to stare back at her -and i open my eyes real wide to give a signal

and my most vivid memory is actually of watching the expressions on sue-sue's face change, as she registers what is going on

like i can practically guess every thought from hmmm, that's odd.. to, that REALLY IS odd.. to, why isn't she moving -AT ALL?!- to, what the hell!? to, oh-my-God! the banks being robbed!!

and i could see she jumped out of her car when the realization hit her

and being the intelligent, streetwise, genius, shero, she was -she didn't try entering the bank, (which i sometimes picture myself doing had the situation been reversed.. going in.. "hey.. what's going on? are you okay?" -and that makes the bank robber pull the trigger..) -but rather she ran to pixie donuts, which was next door, and had them call the cops

and this story gets even more fun, because MEANWHILE

in the parking lot -somewhere- is my ex-boyfriend steve and his girlfriend joanne (who would become his wife -and i believe they are married to this day)

and steve was a rather intelligent, streetwise guy himself, and he knew write away that the bank had been robbed by the way these two guys hopped in their van -and so he chased them some

and he took down their license to give to the police.

now add all our eye-witness testimony, to sue-sue running to pixie donuts to call the police, to steve getting and giving the license number to the police once they arrived

PLUS the money from the bank with some kind of purple dye identification thing, i think it was,


so it kind of has a happy ending.

and the reason i say kind of, is because this would not be the only or last time i had a gun held to my head. a few years later it would get much worse. much worse than bank robbers, and much worse than having a gun held a few feet away

i'd later have one shoved in my temple and cocked -with a whole lotta anger behind the trigger.

but i'm alive to tell that story too. -so, there you have it.

SUE-SUE... what do you remember?

Friday, October 19, 2012

THE BOOK OF ESTHER & DOLLY PARTON as seen by (me!) sandra, tvgp

independent bible study. you're invited:

so i had a vague, very vague sense of that passage... as such a time as this...

and let me say before i go one word forward, i'm certain i'm not the first to make the point i'm about to make, but i can't resist making it

i google the portion of the passage i can remember (as seen above). -this leads me to ESTHER 4:14.

there are too many interpretation/types of bibles to retype the plethora of passages available. i select from then, only my daughter's bible -designed for teens. slightly advanced for where i'm at, but will work...

my whole search is inspired by the idea that i can somehow use this bible passage to relate to my own life

as in, -i was exactly born at such a time as this:

blogs. skype.

a canvas to write what i want and need to write. and a way to travel without actually traveling.

now of course i can't just read esther 4:14.. i have to read the whole book of esther so i can put it in context.

and, -uh oh! i'm liking and relating to this queen vashti way more than esther.

hmmm. -in my daughter's teen bible it reads: ESTHER -ONE TOUGH LADY. and then says this:

THE QUEEN SAVES THE DAY (queen of the blogosphere.. that's me!)
Esther is one of those made-for-tv stories. (-k- that applies...)

There's a king looking for love and a hot young lady who catches his eye out of dozens of women. (careful now.. because in 2010 i hope we've learned that capturing the attention of an authoritarian male creature is not where your value as a woman lies... do you hear me? )

The king digs her so much that he makes her queen. ( i have no comment here, only a question... about whether Esther digs the king?)


a plot is unveiled that will destroy the Jews, and the new queen (who happens to be Jewish) has to decide whether or not to step out and risk her life to save the lives of many others.

-now, i can relate a little here... as, you know.. queen of the blogosphere. -because i am risking much to share my truth with strangers. risk life to save many others, may be a bit too grand for me to claim

but there is risk involved. -and i do want to help many others by sharing my truths; unedited.

and, by the way, the whole point of these books, this bible, these passages, these life stories is to inspire US. YOU AND ME. in our daily lives write now..

so i try.

In this process she learns that God places us right where God wants us right when he wants us there.

-which for me translates to: God placing me write where God wants me, write when he wants me there.

So Esther risks it all and saves the day.

Yup- TV written all over it.

But there's more to the story than just that. Esther isn't a superhero the way we think of superheroes. She was just a regular person who was willing to let God use her in an amazing way. (and that light's all my bulbs, and rings all my bells: regular person being used by God. this is my desire)

That's why this story speaks to our lives. We're a lot like Esther (but i'm more like queen vashti) (well, maybe not the hot queen thing) in that God places us where he wants us to act in mighty ways. Could we be the generation to stop AIDS? Ethnic cleansing and wars? Homelessness and poverty? Esther is the story that reminds us nothing is impossible with God, even when God uses regular people like us!

i don't have the time to retype as much as i'd like..

of course! of course! i get the message, i get the story of esther, i get the brave accomplishments, i understand her as a she-roe, and admire everything about her...

but i'm so curious about this queen vashti. if "one tough lady" applies to anyone, it appropriately applies to her.

it is just so hard to read about the oppressive control of women by men in 487-465 B.C. -when you were born in 1966

i can hardly stomach it.

so when old mr. king xerxes demands his queen be brought before him wearing her royal crown so that the nobles & others can gaze upon her beauty

and she says "no"

well, now! "go queen vashti!" -she refused to come.

i love that part. she is like my she~roe, way before queen esther one.

it says, this made the king furious, and he burned with anger.

i mean, imagine...

and we know that vashti knew that when she dared to say no to the king he wasn't going to say anything like,

-"that's okay. maybe next time"". or... "please. it would really mean a lot to me if you would do this just one more time..." or, "oh.. are you already busy?"

skip/skip, and goes on to say, What must be done to queen vashti?

What penalty does the law provide for a queen who refuses to obey the king's orders, properly sent through his eunuchs?

-and i will abbreviate here, that it then says... why, she's dissed everyone from the king, to the nobles to the entire human population! if she can say no -that means, all women will start saying "no"

all hell will break loose on the planet!

so she was banished. of course.

and the king found a new queen. a yes queen.

now... i'm about to go waayyy out of the biblical box and compare dolly parton to esther.

yes. you read that correctly. dolly parton. esther.

here's why:

i believe after watching several interviews with dolly parton, that she said "yes" to many things women say "no" too, but because she realized this was perhaps THE ONLY WAY to serve the higher purpose she ultimately serves

she made certain sacrifices, choices, decisions in a male dominated world & industry to achieve the world wide influence/success she ultimately has acheived; and continues to achieve.

i think

based on only one quick read of the esther book in a bible made for teens

that, esther knew her painful "yes" & submission to what's his name, would ultimately save the lives of who knows how many

she is courageous. bold. amazing. beautiful. sacrificial. and a great strategists -as is our dolly parton.
-she took one for the team, as they say

so God bless her.

but far as inspiration goes, i can't let go of my admiration for queen vashti. would love to learn more about her, and what circumstances lead to her decision to say no to the king knowing full well the consequences of such an outrageous, forbidable, not to mention, illegal action
and personally,

i think, she ended up realizing -banishment was a far superior existence than living as what' his name's queen.

-and says also, -if you think your sister takes too long in the bathroom, just be glad she isn't esther. it took esther A YEAR of beauty treatments to get ready for the king.

so it's not so far: esther. dolly parton. they both surrendered to the beauty thing, so that they could save lots of lives


vashti empowered. esther saved & inspired.

we are better off today thank you to all of these women.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

HALF BROKE HORSE (me!) Sandra, tvgp

I am in direct sunlight and so cant see the computer screen well. 20th decision of the morning... Inside the coffee shop where there is shade but lots of people and noise or outside... Here. In the warmth and natural light of this beautiful Thursday morning sun. Not a tough decision. But dancing lessons... It keeps going through my mind, the way my handsome prince comes to life when salsa music is playing... The same way I come to life if you put on Michael Jackson... ABC BABY... Such a simple melody... 123 baby.. All you gotta do is repeat after me... K, so.. Yes I was a choreographer... I was pretty good at designing routines and telling other people how to dance; teaching. And yes I am comfortable at getting out on the dance floor.. Bustin' my own moves... But free style. So when my friend said I should catch on easily to salsa, I knew in my heart she was wrong... The same way people think my creative nature will carry over in the kitchen; cooking. It doesn't. Nor does my love for free dancing carry over into structured, he leads I follow type dancing. I'm more like a horse that needs to be broken... My nature is to dance wild and free... There have been many occasions over the years where a man will grab my hand and start wanting me to -follow. Try and swing me this way or that..my immediate thought is "let go of me! And get out of my way! I've got some dancing to do here" So, hopefully hp is like the salsa dance whisperer... Know what I mean? Because that's a lot like trying to put a saddle and reign on a wild one. I'm sure it will take some time and patience before he can enjoy the ride. -if I can even be tamed...

PSALM 139 for (you!) and (me!)

/I notice in the bible all the words aren't squished together... But anyway: You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue (or at my fingertips) you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your write hand will hold me fast. If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand-- When I awake, I am still with you. if only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty! They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you? I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies. Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

EXTERNAL MEMORY STORAGE CONT. by (me!) sandra, tvgp

his masterpiece delivered!  in praise of older women by stephen vizinczey.  i'm returning it to the library today.   -fascinating to read something which i know was quite scandalous in it's time (earliest copyright 1965), and is so tame by today's standards.  i used to think the pendulum - conservative to anything goes, would swing back and forth.. back and forth...  but, i'm sad to report, it just keeps swinging forth...    and i wish it would go back.   i can't quite acclimate to today's standards  (or lack thereof) when it comes to sex, and mass media.   i feel sad for my children... having to navigate through all this...   seems such a miracle when i meet young people who seem to be figuring it all out, despite the bombardment of mixed messages...  God bless 'em.   -and thank you, because you give me hope.


obviously outside of my normal genre... but i'm 100 pages into the first patient, by michael palmer.  -can't put it down!   it was left behind at the hotel...   thank you!


i am outside of myself proud of my daughter and her boyfriend today.   let's see if i can make this brief:  they were both voted into the top 10 for homecoming queen and king at their highschool...   from 10 it would go to top 3.    -i never participated in any such thing, so know very little about how this works...  apparently, you don't get voted on as "a couple"  (but you appear that way at the event...)   -one of the two of you, can win, and then someone entirely different...  so potential here for one person's boyfriend to end up winning along side someone else's girlfriend.. or vice versa... or 1/2 of a couple with a single person of the opposite gender...  in any case..  my daughter and her boyfriend agreed in advance, they would win together or not  at all.   -this to prevent awkward and unnessary feelings if say, he won, and so did his ex-girlfriend...  which became a possibility.  he was the first to tell me, "i wont accept unless she wins too.."   -that's a good young man!   but!  turns out, they called my daughter in..  she made the top 3...  she asked if her boyfriend made the list too...   apparently this cannot be revealed.   you either say yes (not knowing).. or no as an individual but you can't say yes, then change your mind.   and you can't say no, and then join back in...     -this seems incredibly awful and manipulative and unneccersary to me..   really.   it's just a title.  you get nothing...    but, and so..  my daughter..  sacrificed the joy that comes with making the top 3...  and with some frustration.. still demonstrated such maturity,  wisdom and solidarity by opting out.   "good for you! my love!  i am so proud!"    if you can know that at this young age, ...  put it into practice now,...  how much more important relationships, friendships, love, people are than fleeting titles...   

and so i shared them one of my favorite solidarity stories...  about the kid on the basketball team who had cancer and lost all his hair.. and how all his teammates shaved their heads so he wouldn't have to feel so awkward...    and at ages where vanity is so important..   they made their love for him more important than how they felt about how they looked...    these are the people i admire in the world.


proud of my daughter's boyfriend too... let me tell you..   they put the pressure on the kids these days..  you can't just ask a girl, or your girlfriend, to the homecoming dance...  you must be very creative..   they've started putting as much pressure on asking her to the dance, as you see put on men to propose for marriage.

well, i have mixed feelings, because i resent the pressure, but i am so proud of his creative, fun idea...  he coordinated with teachers, student friends, to take the stage after sophmore homecoming skits at the fairgrounds.  had two dozen roses in one hand, the microphone in the other...  surprised her by calling her up from the audience to the stage... asked her write there!  in front of everyone..    -and i got to watch a few seconds of it thank you to today's fancy phones with video recording devices..   how she walked up on stage..  gave him a hug...  /accidentally knocked his basecall cap off... which embarrassed her to no end..  but said, "yes"   -and all the kids cheered.      -well done!    great memories!

and so now, you can go enjoy the dance as your amazing selves!  king and queen in my book...  /in my blog! for sure..


October evening at six-thirty by (Sam Kennedy!)

came all the way to the pleasanton library, impatiently waited for local school kids to finish their homework, so i could get on this computer and retype sam's poem on a computer that would honor her line breaks and punctuation. "you cannot squish poetry i-pad people!" -and i don't know code, so can't fix it.. instead i come here: ***

October evening at six-thirty

The evening is perfumed
with lingering voices
and a fast, heavy chill.
The air is becoming cold, angular,
drying up the grapes on the vines
and night is coming over the horizon.
Under a canopy of stillness
we try to drink in the autumn.

We are caught in a seasonal limbo.
Tomorrow could bring a sour heat
and leave our shirts stained with sweat.
Soon, the nights will bring a barbed wind
that stings the cheeks, drys the lips.
But now, in the blur of
soft warmth and sharp cold,
you study my mouth in the orange glow of the streetlight.

Even now, the world is turning
us away from the sun,
from this seamless harmony
of this night.
This energy will wither in the raw winter---
in the milky-hot breath
 of sick school children,
in the frantic, desperate eyes
of those late christmas shoppers.
But now, the night is still,
the warmth and chill layered,
the hunger mingled with satisfaction.
We open our mouths and breathe it in.


 i love this! sensational.. it doesn't capture my own experience with october, but i can so easily understand and step into hers.. read this and feeeel it.


Sent to me by my beautiful co-worker friend, Priscilla: Matthew 10:16. "Look! I am sending you forth as sheep amidst wolves; therefore prove yourself cautious as serpents and yet innocent as doves.". Love that! What a mixed message Christians receive! Love people, but be cautious as a serpent... Innocent and cautious. Practice good yourself, while remaining aware not everyone around you is exercising the same... Any day is a great day to pray for the gift of discernment, yes.. ***. And I am re- reading psalm 139 and meditating on what feels like a great truth for me...that I am known inside and out.. Before my birth, after this earthLy life, in all circumstances; in advance.. Known and loved. And share here a most beautiful vision I had at church this past Sunday. pastor mike spoke on the power of words to hurt or heal... Did some wonderful comedic skits which captured how we all say things... Or these days, type and send things, we wish we could take back... And for me, it's rare I'm going to say or type something intentionally hurtful, malicious.. But, I do say things which reveal my insecurities and then I'm filled with regret... Sometimes because I'm just embarrassed I'm not as confident as I wish I was; or hope to appear. And sometimes, because I've learned how people will use your insecurities against you.. And not just enemies or jealous people.. Friends/family.. People who care. So, I'll say something revealing and then be like, damn! I just handed that person an ace to play against me! And within a few days or weeks.. It's is played against me. Trial and error... Learning when to keep my mouth shut. Anyway... All this leads to a most beautiful meditation... For a long time now, I have visualizations, I'll call -cast your cares. And in them, I handwrite my cares, one by one on sheets of paper, place them all on a silver platter and then hand the platter up to God. This allows me to go on about my day carefree even though I'm surrounded with issues and problems and struggles... Very effective! And so, on this past Sunday, when pastor mike spoke about words... And I thought about my regrets..in my visualization, A kind of necklace of individual metal letters, spelling, I N S E C U R I T Y appeared, and it cascaded itself on the silver platter and I handed the silver platter up to God... God took the I and the N and then handed the silver platter back to me. -what could I do but smile and say thank you. -confidence.. It is like water in a bathtub with a broken plug for me... In one moment, if you look.. I'm filled with it... But stick around and it kind of slowly leaks out... Too slow to notice immediately, but look again later... It's gone. The tub is empty. I need someone to turn on the faucet and fill me back up again. Someone to fix the plug... And I leap here to my ultimate spiritual goal. -peace and confidence 100% of everyday under every circumstance. To be in a place where no thing and no person and no crises, steals my peace or confidence. No thing said or written upsets or even interruptes my peace and confidence. Utter and complete trust in God and Gods plan for me. and so appreciated hearing this most valuable lesson again recently: do not allow yourself to be controlled by things you have no control over. oh! Applying this one... Living this out in day to day life... Mountain with a peace peak and magnificent view!

And they call this advanced communication... By (me!) Sandra, tvgp

Please forgive me Jesus and hp for my lack of gratitude... Because I couldn't have just typed that: please forgive me... Without this I -pad... But! This I pad! Which squishes all my words together! Which won't allow me to upload pictures in e-blogger! which overrides my word verify codes! And randomly capitalizes SQUIDMANN! Which makes it read like I'm yelling...and won't let me make my little i's <----- unless I add a ' and an s.... Well, it has got to go back to its writeful owner. I have to go to the library anyway.. To post my friends poem which demands specific line and paragraph breaks and to answer emails from friends -if they've even stayed my friends... Because another thing about this frickin I-pad is that it will let me read but not reply to my comcast emails! I want to type... "I'm not ignoring you; promise". -but where? There is no keypad once you hit reply...it is like having your mouth covered with duct tape. dear God do I miss my pc! But if you want the definition for devastating... Pour your heart out in a word document and upload some once in a lifetime photos.. And then watch them disappear before your very eyes...in a computer crash. Take it for repair... Entrust more heart felt words, more precious photos.. Watch them disappear AGAIN! ...I just long... Long, long, long to be up and running again on a trustworthy pc where I can easily store and upload my photos..and have what I write appear on my blog, or in my emails or word docs...AS I WROTE IT! With MY spacing, grammar, paragraph breaks, font Styles and sizes and colors...for this I come BOLDLY to the thrown and pray. -amen.

Friday, October 12, 2012


and so just re-posted a few blogs born from my time working there... my first "real" job post divorce, and after having not worked outside the home for several many years... save my mag time frames gig..

THINGS PEOPLE SAY captured by (me!) sandra, tvgp

overheard this one from a woman who walked in amelia's with friends.

"gosh.." she said, " i haven't been here since the last time i was here."

-i smiled. thought.. well, that's true for most of us, isn't it. then i wrote it down so i could share it with you.

THOUGHTS ON FRESH FLOWERS by (me!) sandra, tvgp

thoughts on fresh flowers:

i love them! need them. enjoy them. look foward every saturday morning to leaving the farmer's market with several bouquets of them. (only $3 each!)

recently talked gita into a fresh mixed bouquet every week for amelia's. i place each beautiful flower in a carefree arrangement, with joy, into a pretty white ceramic tea pot, and place them on the counter above the self-serve coffee area where everyone can benefit from their colorful, uplifting and very real beauty.

i'm not against, but do not respond with the same enthusiam to silk or fake flowers.

in my home, i keep fresh flowers in the bathroom, near my computer, and in my kitchen near the window.

i've done this -kept fresh flowers around- off and on, for i don't know how long, but have never felt, on any budget, healthy or restricted, that they were

i can hardly type the words!: a waste of money (gasp!/hold hand to heart)


the popular argument is a pathetic one: " they don't last." -like, how can you justify spending money on things that don't last..

EXCUSE ME? -haircuts don't last. meals don't last. beverages don't last. movies/popcorn don't last

life doesn't last. -if we apply that lame excuse across the board you can see how ridiculous it is. i mean, really

but we are experiencing hard economic times. everyone is more budget conscious than usual so let me break down the value of fresh flowers into a language certain men need to better understand:

they're worth it.

let's take the $3 fresh bouquet of mixed flowers purchased for display at amelia's.

these beautiful bouquets last a whole week! that's $3 divided by SEVEN days!

let's consider how many times each day, out of those 7 days, a passing glace at them results in an elevation of mood and spirit

i'm probably conservative here to say OVER 20 TIMES A DAY, 7 DAYS A WEEK! -and when they are in a public space, like amelia's

let's consider how many customers get to put their eyes on these pretty, fresh flowers and enjoy the benefit

that's X amount of people (where X = a lot), times 20+ times a day; times 7 days in a week!!

it breaks down to pennies on the flower!

i'm convinced you can't get more bang for your buck anywhere else.

plus.. i love the lady that sells me flowers at the farmer's market. how she wraps them in exciting/interesting to look at newspapers written in japanese . (newspapers don't last!) how my bouquets come with a hug and smile and a wish for a good day -these relationships surpass even the beauty of the flowers..

when you purchase fresh flowers YOU ARE BENEFITING countless people.. helping local businesses.. growers, gardeners, farmers, markets, vase makers.. me! the list is a long one

plus -just look how pretty they are! little miracles on a stem..

i can pretty much promise you that when i die my obituary will not read "in lieu of flowers..."

no way. -what is that?!

"in addition to flowers..." is more like it.

in addition to any fresh flowers you are more than welcome to bring or send.. sandra also wishes for you to donate to your favorite charities.

thank you and "amen!"

MEET MY SECRET HUSBAND (mine!) sandra, tvgp

not too many people know i'm married. but i am. secretly married to julio (that's him in the blue shirt). we only see each other on saturday's when i'm working at amelia's and he's working at the farmer's market. keeps things fresh, if you know what i mean.

"hi honey!" -this is how i'm greeted when he walks in. tells me how happy he is to see me.. and i am always so happy to see him too

"where's the ring i got you?" he asks

"oh, honey.. it was weighing my hand down.. can't work the register with that big rock on my hand. had to leave it at home.."

and we have much fun as a secretly married couple. and since i don't cook, and am lacking domestic ability in general, it does my heart good to know that, with a little help from antonio and alfredo at amelia's, i can still keep my husband fed and happy.

because since i am the one who hands him his delicous, hot breakfast.. sometimes even special delivering it to him at his booth, the association of me and great food sneaks in his unconscious you see..

and in addition to my secret husband, i have a not-so-secret favorite customer; joel. (secretly, my brother-in-law), julio's younger brother.

if you've seen a sweeter face anywhere let me know. -joel, his first few times in amelia's was very shy.. staying so close to his brother, finding security behind his legs; peeking out from the side to point out which chips he wanted for lunch

but those days are gone. now joel walks in amelia's like he owns the place.. brings his big smile and hot chocolate with whip cream order in all by himself and chats up a storm to our complete and total delight.

and i have more to write about saturday's at amelia's.. why it's my favorite day.. how much i look forward to seeing everyone.. how even when i can't remember names, i remember orders (veggie for that one.. no whip for this one.. little hint of vanilla for that one)

but i'm supposed to be there in four minutes and i'm still in my pajamas

so, here's some pictures:


great times list/2009: the inaugral mamapalooza festival in pleasanton at amelia's gourmet deli & bistro

no place i would have rather been. i mean, does it get better? the weather was gorgeous (at least for the 1st hour before the sun went down..), the turn out was wonderful, the food and drinks were delicious, and the entertainment...

unbeatable! so diverse/creative/fun! wish i had a better camera/a zoom lens/more pictures.. and i'm missing some names/pix from the open mic portion, but love what i got:

the classical indian dancing.. just spellbinding. so gorgeous to watch. colorful, dancing sculpture-moves to that beautiful indian music.. and the bells.. the costumes.. the signature/cultural head movements, feminine waist and graceful arm/hand rhythms. i just love it.

-and very fun, to read a few short stories from eat, write & exercise; grateful for the positive feedback/support i received from kids and adults


debra knox and the knoxabilly band! a huge hit! -not just great LIVE music/great band/great singing.. but the entertainment.. the humor.. the connection with the audience. i can't get over how diverse an artist debra knox is.. writer/director/teacher/rock n' roll queen/rockabilly star/ballads/actor/poet/artist.. honestly. stick her on any stage -standback- it's a guaranteed great time

PLUS -great open mic- with several of debra knox students showcasing their talents to the audience's delight

AND -all of the performances introduced and flowing one to the other, with humor, style and flair thank you to our emcee debbie b:

and it's another one of those thank the heavens nights for me, because, how lucky? how lucky to just walk down the street, in a magical town, to an ultra cool deli, with a great patio, and sit outside with friends/family/neighbors/unknown others on a beautiful spring night and enjoy such diverse entertainment for free..

"ENCORE!" is all i can say.

and "THANK YOU!" to amelia's owners, gita and vinit patel for hosting, debra knox for spearheading, to each and every performer for entertaining, to everyone who attended for supporting this event

look forward to mamapalooza/pleasanton 2010! "cheers!" ~s.


starting today! handmade mag time frames -valentines themed- at amelia's gourmet deli, downtown pleasanton

PLUS.. fine art (stunning! fine art) by local artists.

great gifts ~ captivating home decor

more details coming soon..


thank you amelia! vinith! antonio!

-they had such a busy lunch crowd.. then it settled down, and it being memorial day, at

2'0 clock they closed.

but bless their hearts.. they reopened for me. ~ served me up my favorite, favorite, vegetarian on their fresh, house-baked dutch crunch bread; made to order.. my special request.. what i call the lady-like version

let me describe.. you see.. and i'm sure there are plenty of women out there who will agree with me.. we want the delicious sandwich, we do. we want the fresh bread, all the fresh produce, the avocado, jack cheese, cucumbers, spinach, red peppers, sprouts, tomatoes, lettuce, onions

just.. less of it. before they got to know me.. before i specifically described my lady-like request, i think the sandwiches i ordered must of stood some 6" tall. -how is any self-conscious woman supposed to wrap her mouth around that a) without cracking her jaw and b) without drawing unnecessary attention from that good-looking man over there

i dont' mind opening my mouth wide.. but not that





not in public

if you know what i mean. i'm happy to pay full price for less ingredients when i can eat well without embarrassing myself. and so.. to sweet, wonderful amelia, and the very kind and accomadating antonio.. i say THANK YOU! because your deli sandwiches are the best i've ever tasted!

and, oh goodness, no.. i am not a vegetarian; don't be fooled. i just LOVE that sandwich. but i can testify for the blt's too. i give them the triple my! my! my!

and i think rachel ray would be pretty impressed, because i pay around $10... that's for a sandwich, drink, dessert & tip in the karma jar -BUT- it lasts two meals. look at that sandwich! even my special made lady like version is too much for one meal..

so i eat half sandwich, half brownie for lunch... half sandwich, half brownie for dinner.

AND i can't conclude this post without mentioning how welcome my kids are made to feel when they are with me at amelia's.. as if they were family

AND.. i just found out today, amelia's prepares picnics for our concerts in the park on fridays, which start this week i think.. ! ...

thanks again amelia! you're the best! http://www.ameliasdeli.com

~sandra kay, ttgp

p.s. -and just in case anyone is wondering what book i have with me in the picture, it is leonard stegmann's third book: a year on planet mercury. and it is very fun, smile, laugh-out-loud reading.. but if you don't have time to read the whole thing, just read page 276 25 times in a row like i have..

TO MY 21 YEAR OLD SELF from (me!) Sandra, tvgp

Inspired by Leonard stegmann's recent posting of a letter he wrote on his 21st birthday to his 30 year old self. *** Honey.. You still have a long hard road ahead. And I know you can't see the progress you're making yet, but you are making progress. And I know you often feel alone... Want to be left alone.. But you are not alone. You are surrounded by a family and small circle of true friends who love you; who are helping you through...one of the smartest things you'll do is stay in prayer... SWITCH. It's another one of those "missing scenes from my life story" -like the pepsi explosion blog post -where at the time(s) it would have been magnificent if I could have gotten the words to come out, but at the time all I could do was be polite and smile. -because how many times... When you are applying for a job, or to get into college.. How many times do you get all dressed up pretty and smart for an interview and feel the steam of that infamous question train speeding write toward you. The question I did dread, would dread, still dread! For the entirety of my God given life: "so, can you tell me a little bit about yourself?" And we all know what we are supposed to say... But just once... Just once, I wish I would have said "NO! -no. I cannot tell you 'a little'. -there is no polite way to sum this all up for your convenience or approval... I sit before you in this pretty dress and with my crooked smile a complete... Fuckin' and total wreck! I've been attacked from every angle! Just on my way here do you know what I was doing?! Do you!? I was memorizing the license plate of every suspicious car... And by the way.. Every car is now suspicious.. And the height, approximate weight, and facial hair, and tattoos of every suspicious person ... And by the way... Every fuckin person is now suspicious.. I do not know who, where or when I will have to identify the next rapist to the police. -if in fact, I'm even left alive to describe anything! Who will break into my home wearing a mask? I had that happen... Who will lie to my face, rape me and not even bother to hide their face? I had that happen... Who will pop out of fucking nowhere and put a gun to my head? I had that happen... There's ' a little' about myself for you... And here's 'a little more... (big smile) -see this smile... These beautiful teeth? Almost every single one of them has a big fat cavity from shoving junk food in my mouth... Swishing it all around and spitting it back out... FOR HOURS at a time.. Like a fuckin crazy person...I sit in a trance... For HOURS.. Unwrapping cupcakes and cookies and candy bars and shoving them in my mouth and swishing them all around and then spitting it all back in a cup... Hiding the wrappers in a trash can down the road.. Pathetically trying to Disguise myself every time I go back to the discount hostess store for more junk... Memorizing license plates and car colors and descriptions of males I pass by along my merry fuckin way... Oh, but of course I show up for school and work like a normal person... Put in my time just waiting for the opportunity to go be my real, damaged, fucked up self again... "have a nice day". "nice to see you" "have a lovely weekend everyone...". ...a little about myself... I should probably maybe mention the bullies at school, how i had to change schools, the abusive alcoholic step father, my parents divorce, the teen pregnancy, the running away, the grand theft auto arrest, the multiple suicide events.. Changing residents/addresses every year or so, leaving highschool at 15, the marriage, the divorce I'm going through write now... My slut season.. Affair with the college professor... -and then toss in a few reasons I might be qualified for the job... What makes me a great candidate... Why you should hire me. ...I WAS! President of student council my 6th grade year... .."and I'm a people person... Of course...". Letter to my 21 year old self... You hang on God's thread... So, hang on.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

WHY I CRIED ALL THE WAY HOME (me!) Sandra, tvgp

Forgive me my disorganized thoughts... I ache, having read my squid Anne blog this morning, to write a letter from almost 47 to my 21 year old self. -but became overwhelmed in just thinking it... Too much write now. And I'm in prayer, but honestly... October for me is not just a noun... It's an adjective: cold, dark, gloomy and I find myself dreading the short days and lack of sunshine the next season brings.. But every year I eventually acclimate... And lots of things I wish I had time to type about but cut here: how God knows the secret desires of our hearts... Of our hearts... Of our hearts... Of our HEARTS!... And are you guilty of this too? Identifying people by their traumas? " that's so n so... She had breast cancer..". " that's so n so, he just got out of jail for..". " that's so n so.. He just got his stomach stapled". " that's so n so.. Her husband left her..". -on and on... This seems true for the regular neighborhood folk, then even more true for public speakers who announce to their audience whatever their trial is or has been... So, you might say... "that's Joyce Meyer.. She was raped over 200 times by her father..". And while that is true... It is only a tiny, tiny fraction of her story.. " the world wide minister who has brought bazillions of people to God, saved countless lives, etc.". Well, for me.. And because I have spoken both privately and Publically about my trials/traumas... A part of me made peace with the fact that some people would be pointing at me and saying, " that's the girl that was kidnapped and raped three times..". But! And so, very soon I will launch a website, a new website... It will speak for itself, but it will include my ongoing collection of found heart photography... A collection ive been growing for a long time, and which is proving to inspire others.. It is the most exciting thing in the world to me to have people send me their found heart photos... But even more than send them to me... It was the way my beautiful co-worker friend, Priscilla, said to me "every time I see a heart I. - think - of you..". And in the moment, I held in all my emotions, just smiled and said thank you, But on my way home I just cried and cried from the deepest happiness... To be known not as the girl who was raped three times but the woman who started what will become..."the largest found heart collection in the entire world!". And it was as if God allowed me to rehear the secret hopes my own heart dared only to whisper...and I am filled with the knowledge that God has been with me every step of the way... All this time... And am confident, very confident God is doing exactly what he promises... Knowing the secret desires of our hearts... Our hearts! More and more hearts! Found hearts from people all around the world! Every race, religion, language... Universal symbol of love! And we will see, all see better... How we in fact, walk in love every day. We are... Surrounded. thank you Jesus! Amen and amen!