Friday, November 30, 2012

SILVER BULLETS more memories for (me!) sandra, tvgp

i have to work at remembering the better memories. the 1st two to surface are

1) it was your apartment i was on my way to when some predator in a hooded jacket stuck a pistol to my head

2) i was living with/married to you during my very bizarre food disorder habit -and i remember you coming home and catching me

and you seemed so ashamed and disgusted by me.. the way you said, "you have a disease!"

and in fairness to everyone.. no one even knew about PTSD at that time.. but i learned a great deal about it as time went on

now i feel like an expert.

and since being in touch with sue~sue.. (thanks be to God!) i've been down memory lane, in both directions, several times now

but do you know there is a whole chunk of my memory missing. -there are so many things, if you say a certain name, or give me some type of trigger, i can recall with great detail

but the memory of sue~sue living in the same apartment complex when we were first married.

-it is totally gone.

i've tried every which way to remember that.. but it was during that time, my whole brain was consumed with -everyone just leave -go away

clear the room. i must be alone.

so i can sit down with my bag of hostess treats.

my brain was consumed with finding the time to get to the hostess discount bakery

consumed with what disguise i should wear

what excuse i would give the ladies at the register, if they inquired about my daily bulk purchases

what excuse i would give the police, and you, if i got in a car accident on the way to or from the discount bakery -how would i explain all this junk food?

consumed with anxiety for wanting to be alone

consumed with worry someone would catch me...

but what a peace -numbing peace- i knew each time i sat and ritualistically unwrapped my hostess something.. chew, chew, chew

let it liquify -spit it in the cup.

fill up the cup.

go to the sink -dump it down the disposal.

wish i could go down the disposal with it.

go back to the chair.. unwrap, chew, spit some more.

did you know i ended up with 20 cavitites?

and for years.. many, many years

when i would accidentally catch a glimpse of my own laughter in the mirror... and i could see my whole mouth lined in silver..

well, it just triggered every ugly memory i have about my life.

-so, when the new technology.. products came out

and i learned you could get white fillings to replace your silver ones...

well, thank you to my 2nd husband and his dental insurance coverage. i had that done.

and it is hard to describe how significantly that contributed to my healing.

but i just love, love, love, not ever having to see that silver in my mouth anymore.

it made me think, on a deeper level

about how some cosmetic surgeons.. they can repair a woman's face after domestic abuse

and how.. its not as easy as 1, 2, 3

because there is a part of the woman who struggles with deservedness

and it took me a while -to justify in my own mind, whether i deserved to have my cavities replaced

this vain, cosmetic thing.

-someone else's money.

but i am so, so, glad i did it. it really worked as a way to lift my self-esteem.

but my God

when i total it up... the money, the time, the energy -everything

from the onset of this bizarre eating disorder -to the many, many dentists appointments to have the original cavities filled

to the cosmetic change.. and all those visits. -terrible waste of precious time.


did you know that today

here in the tri valley, for example. -if a woman has the great misfortune of being a rape victim

she can go to our local hospital, where there are nurses/doctors specifically trained to care for her.. specifically trained to provide her exam in a way that respects her traumatic state and at the same time, collects crucial information regarding her health, and evidence necessary for the police

and in addition to the trained nurses and doctors

there are volunteers from the tri valley haven -sexual assault response team volunteers-

who will come and just be by the victim for support.. just be there, holding her hand, while she endures what she must

and she'll receive a care-bag with a teddy bear, and blanket.. care items, and literature which can educate her, and her family/loved ones, about what to expect

and they are available by phone 24/7, if she has any needs at all

and they will accompany her during police interviews, court hearings.. constant loving, compassionate, support

and i don't know how many doctors implement this yet

but they do have/know about medicines which can prevent the onset of post traumatic stress disorder

-these kinds of things would have been very helpful when i was 6, 16, 17...

but today just leave me with grand appreciation they exists at all, for victims today.

a lot of people have worked (do work) hard behind the scenes to make all these services available.

and in addition to God, my family/friends..

i will use this upcoming thanksgiving to pray on my gratitude for the wonderful people who make these compassionate services possible

and thank God in advance for all the people who are currently working on reducing/stoping violence in our world.

MOUTH FULL OF SILVER by (me!) sandra, tvgp

the thing that stands out, is dr. allen's face. the way he looked at me, and i could cry just thinking about it

he'd been my dentist for many years, and i'm not sure on this, but i believe i went from infancy to age 18 with a total of 3 or 4 cavities; maybe less

and i knew in advance it wasn't going to be good, i knew it wasn't going to be good, because my mouth felt so awful. my teeth ached everyday and when i jogged or ran short distances, it felt like they might all fall out; not normal for 19 years of age

dr. allen was -who knows- in his 40's at the time. everyone's favorite dentist.. gregarious, funny, full of personality. up until this day he had always joked and innocently flirted with me

and on this day, BEFORE he xrayed my mouth, he said something like, "when i saw your name in the appointment book.. made it a good day to come to work. see how i dressed up for you"

and then he'd laugh because he was wearing the same white coat he always wore. "you're my favorite patient, sandy"

and i thought maybe i really was, if for no other reason than i laughed so easily and readily at his every joke. -and don't you know how awful it is

how awful it is to let down the people you've come to love. i could hear him from the other room,

"my God!, what happen?!? -what happen?!?" -and then he reentered the room where i sat, reclined in terror

"what happen sandy? ... you have 20 cavities! 20!!"

and the only excuse i could improv at the time was, "i quit smoking.. switched to lifesavers and gum. i've been chewing gum non-stop"

i did know he might be checking me for signs of anorexia/bulimia.. but i also knew i showed absolutely no signs.. no signs of making myself vomit, no signs of dramatic weight loss or gain. no scratches inside my mouth on my gums, no bulging, strained eyes

"sandy," he told me, with such a look of disappointment, bewilderment, shock, confusion, "even if you chewed 12 packs of sugar gum a day it would not result in 20 cavities, this doesn't make sense"

but i stuck to my story and made several appointments; having 2 or 3 cavities filled at a time, until all 20 teeth were embarrassed with silver.

and he was not out to humiliate me, so each time i returned we skipped any conversation about how this happened and stuck with light-hearted jokes.

"you might want to start smoking again," he said once, -and i think that helped me to laugh again.

how i ended up with 20 cavities in one year, is a difficult story to share. they are memories i'm very careful about visiting, and what has triggered this out of me at 2:43 a.m. post historical inauguration day is anybody's guess

but i honor these things as they come

told out of the greater context of my life, this will sound crazy/sad/gross, but, put into context, as is true with almost every human life; it all makes sense.

how i ended up with 20 cavities in one year involves spending hundreds of dollars at the local hostess discount bakery

everyday, $3 to $5 dollars on cupcakes, donuts, candybars. at the regular grocery store $3-$5 might not yield much, but at the local hostess discount bakery, and especially if you hit the "day old" discount bin

i could walk out with a brown bag overflowing with junk. -hours worth of junk food.

i went several times a week to the local hostess discount bakery store. -i made up stories in my mind, of how the gray haired ladies at the register explained my ongoing purchases amongst themselves

they never asked me. but in case they ever did, i had it all planned out that i would say i bought and resold the junk food to the high school kids for extra income.

and even though they never asked, and even though i had a good story up my sleeves, still i became quite self-conscious about making so many trips, so many purchases at this local hostess discount bakery store

so i started to wear disguises. husband's shirt, hat, sunglasses one day; school girl dress and sunglasses the next day; sweats, sunglasses and even a changed voice at the register the next.

but i knew they knew, and they knew they knew, but, just like with dr. allen, everyone seemed to know not to ask or talk about it.

i'd always panic on my drive home. terrified i'd get in a car accident, and have to explain the brown bags filled with junk food to the police officers and my husband

it was an exhausting effort to keep this all secret, but i did. my entire life was consumed with planning my disguises and trips to the bakery, hiding the junk food, -and then waiting, impatiently, for time alone.

always waiting for friends and family to LEAVE. for my husband to LEAVE for work. always preoccupied with finding ways and time to be alone with my big bags of junk food.

and when at last i was alone; the swishing ritual began:

the largest plastic cup in the house in my lap. the bag of junk food by my side. and one by one, cupcake by cupcake, candybar by candybar, donut by donut

i chewed but never swallowed. would take bites, and swish the food in my mouth until it liquified and then spit it out into a giant plastic cup. when the cup was full, i'd walk over to the sink, pour it down the garbage disposal, go back to my seat and start again

until every last junk food was gone. then i'd take all the garbage, and walk blocks away to place the wrappers and brown bag where no one would find it; in someone else's garbage can.

a bizarre ritual indeed. -a non-addictive addiction- because my whole life revolved around the shopping, the hiding, waiting to be alone, the swishing, the hiding and the waiting again

to be alone. do it again.

there was something so calming, numbing about this swishing ritual. a trance i entered.

my shame grew with every trip to the bakery; every swishing ceremony; every time i hid the wrappers. my shame grew so large that when i'd go to the sink to pour the liquified contents down the garbage disposal, i'd stay there a moment trying to figure out how i could go down with it

wanted to just climb in the garbage disposal, turn the switch, and disappear.

but instead i swished some more.

and i will never forget getting caught by my husband. -how he left for work.. and i got straight to swishing.. the big bag of junk food to the side of the chair, the giant plastic cup in my lap, my hands unwrapping a six pack of donuts

and in walks my husband. -pretending he forgot his keys. -or wallet. i can't remember.

but i do remember his face. the shock.

"what are you doing?!?" -and not with compassion, not with compassion

but with embarrassment, shame, humiliation, disappointment, anger, he tells me

"you have a disease!"

and he didn't want anyone to know about my disease. -and that's when i knew all the shame i felt was justified.

i was a monster. an ugly monster with a disease. an ugly monster with a disease and 20 cavities.

and i felt that way for a long, long, long, time.

it would be years before i saw this with compassionate eyes.. before i said to myself, before i realized, before i let in

that perhaps my swishing ritual was not a disease, but a symptom. -a strange symptom of post traumatic stress disorder

because when i put it in context.. when i repeat in my mind: kidnap/rape; alcoholic step father; gangs; kidnap/rape; robbery; kidnap/rape -the violence, the guns, the life or death tragedies back to back to back

and allow myself to process the multiple traumas i survived. it makes perfect sense to me, anyway,

that i might try and escape and anesthetize myself any way that worked.

and once i let that in.. once i had the ability to see my behavior with compassion and not shame, a tiny little piece of my self-esteem returned. -a pebble. -a grain of sand.

a mouth full of silver and a grain of sand.

which as it turns out, -gave me something to work with.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"..NOT EVEN JESUS WAS RAPED!". By (me!) Sandra, tvgp

This is a new post, inspired by the re-release of the older post about the peanut butter and my sister... Because that one starts out with me confessing my longing to describe just how every synonym for traumatic here... PTSD is. that triggered the memory of my longing to describe just how every synonym for evil here... Rape is. Like, nothing I ever hear people say about it, or read about it.. Including myself, by the way... No one ever seems to capture the level of severity. How deep the trauma... But I feel like I came closer when I was watchin' a tv show.. In fact, a church tv program.. And the host of the tv show, she was talking to three or four guests who had each survived a traumatic event of one kind or woman had lost her son from a gang related gun fight... And the host talked about how Holy Mother Mary lost her son Jesus to murderers... And another Guest had been severly bullied.. And the host talked about how Jesus was mocked and bullied.. And another guest suffered from a betrayal... And the host talked about how Jesus had been betrayed. On and on... And she explained, the host did, how there is nothing we can suffer that Jesus didn't suffer first... And I went up to the tv and with a whole body full of self-contained rage, i said, "oh yeah? Well, let me tell you something mrs church lady... NOT EVEN JESUS WAS RAPED!"

THE PEANUT BUTTER STORY by (me!) sandra, tvgp

part of the longing in me is born from wanting people to somehow understand just how severe, how devastating, debilitating, traumatic, destructive, life-altering & paralyzing post traumtic stress disorder is

and i know in advance, unless you experience trauma/crisis that brings it on; you'll never really know

and so, of course, i don't want one single person to know.

and i love the quote (which i'll research later) which says something about -if you really want to know what war is like, then when you're sitting in the theatre to watch a war film

you'd need enemies to come out of nowhere and start shooting out in the audience.

i've said it before. i'm repeating myself i know. -you can't know. you are lucky if you don't know.

i don't want you to know.

but i can't resist sharing this: about the peanut butter & my sister. -because if you let this sink in...

it helps my cause. -so:

for all the time we grew up in hayward together during our childhood, our peanut butter was kept in the pantry.

and for all the time we were roommates, as young women, before getting married -we kept our peanut butter in the pantry

and for all the time we lived separately -married moms. we each kept our peanut butter in the pantry

so for over THIRTY FIVE years easy - the peanut butter was kept in the pantry.

but -now both divorced, when i moved in with her and we became roommates again,

the peanut butter was no longer kept in the pantry.

it is kept in the refrigerator.

the reason for this, i'm told, -because i was not there, is because one morning my sister woke and found a whole bunch of creepy, crawly, highly disgusting ants crawling all in and out and around the peanut butter.

to prevent this kind of thing from ever! happening again -peanut butter goes in the refrigerator; period.

so let that sink in: one incident of creepy/crawly ants -gross, but not poisonous;

ugly but not life-threatening; running around a jar, not her skin.

this one incident over-rode over thirty five years of experience not having ants crawl in the peanut butter and has permanently changed her habit/behavior/decision when it comes to storing peanut butter.

and we all have our pantries. and we all have our peanut butter. and we all have our ants. and we all have our refrigerators.

but there's something about taking this story in & sharing it, that helps me validate just how


well, i still don't have words.

Thoughts on gun control. By (me!) Sandra, tvgp

It's come up more than once in conversations. I've had more than one person ask me where I stand on gun control... And I suppose it seems kinda strange with having such fixed opinions on other big issues like abortion and gay marriage, etc., that I don't have a strong one on this issue.. Truth is, I haven't read much on it... And if I ve learned nothing else over the years, I've learned this... The mass media produced obvious answer is not always the correct one; nor is it not. -how fascinating things become when you really start to hear all the given for and against arguments on a given hot topic... If you can actually hear them; and you know what I mean... Sometimes you've already locked in an opinion and there is no hearing the other side(s). But the other thing is.. Nor do I have any desire to hear all the sides on this issue... Or any desire to do research.. Or learn more... I've handed this one over to God and the rest of the public... Perhaps PTSD prevents me from wanting to revisit in length and detail any gun related topic. I won't spend much time on it, and in fact, close here with this: I'm both for and against. I've shot targets for fun.. My past includes owning and operating. I've had a gun pointed at my face and shoved in my temple. OBVIOUSLY the world would be a better place without violent, evil and/or mentally unstable people using guns.. But I've been protected by them also... So there you have it: where I stand... I'm against gun use by violent, evil and/or mentally unstable people... I'm for guns for protection and self defense... And hobby (target) and hunting (for food not sport). And I know in my heart.. The problem is with people, culture.. It's societal; gun violence is a symptom; not the disease. You can and should have restrictions, laws, etc. When it comes to manufacturing and sales and ownership... But prevention needs to go much deeper. All the attention is on preventing the wrong person from owning, or stealing a gun... The attention needs to go all the way to preventing the wrong from taking root inside a person to begin with... And that leads me to repeat my greatest concern for our time... Technology out evolving humans at an embarrassing rate... The two idiots on their smart phones... We need Abe Lincoln for our human trafficking times.. And we need the problem solving and innovating equivalent of gates, zuckerberg, jobs and bezos, etc addressing cultural issues with the passion and determination and competitiveness and ingenuity we see with technology... In fact.. We do see a great deal of innovation, determination , etc in healthcare.. But it is still in the physical arena.. For the physical body; our flesh and bones.. Oh! The medications and surgeries and cures they have available today! ... More technological advances... While our spiritual advances are where? ...hearts and souls and spirits... Imagine a whole society of happy, healthy, loving, funny, compassionate people... And many of today's problems then take care of themselves. And allow me to throw in here... I think Joyce Meyer is doing this great and challenging work... Do we celebrate her the way we do a Steve jobs? Or zuckerberg? ... And lastly.. I just wonder how many people are even paying attention or care about this problem? How many people notice? How terribly technology is out pacing humans when it comes to evolution. By a 100 to 1

THE SPIDER SCREAM by (me!) sandra, tvgp

so, july, i moved in with my sister

and i'm very grateful for her help... for her company. her friendship/support.... etc.

i've mentioned before, we were roommates for some 8+ years before accidentally falling in love and getting temporarily married

so we know each other well

we know, for example, that we each have PTSD symptoms still; to this day.

mainly hypervigilance and startle response.

in layman terms, that means we jump easily at the slightest surprise sound

and dare i say, my sister's startle response is triggered even easier than my own.

-if a baloon pops at a birthday party happening 3 houses down the street

she'll jump.

we do not criticize or judge each other harshly -we just know and understand and respect each other's sensitivity

so from the first day i moved in..

we have expressed this understanding about each other several times

if i am coming up the stairs, for example, and i think she cannot hear me.. rather than just scare the shit out of her with my surprise appearance

i holler out from the bottom stair.. "just me.. on my way up"

and if she is turning a corner, and knows i haven't heard, and i'm not expecting her

she will always give me fair warning.. "just me.. i'm coming around the corner"

we have a sister/roommate code. it is nothing we had to sit down and discuss or make rules for

it happened quite naturally. out of love and respect and understanding.

this brings me then to the spider scream.

-and this is also a true story.

not too long ago, i was taking a shower. -people who know me, know i have a slight spider phobia

so, of course! what do i see -but a spider.

in the shower. -running toward me.

to my utter and complete surprise, i do not scream write away.

instead.. my brain did a little thinking dance. a very fast thinking dance

i know that my sister, niece and nephew are downstairs..

... but i don't want them to think i fell down and broke a limb

i don't want them to think someone is breaking in through the bathroom window...

i need a way... a way to scream and get help.. but without misleading them as to the severity..

it's just a spider

just a spider

and out of my mouth.. without consciously planning it:

"I YI! YI! YI! YI! YI,! YI! YI! YI! YI! YI! YI!" like an indian warrior (i-y~eye.. i y~eye)

and sure enough, my sister came running

so quickly, easily.. she filled a cup with water and washed that spider down the drain.

"thank you! thank you! you are my hero!"

-and i took the rest of my shower in peace and confidence and gratitude.

after i dressed again, i went down and talked some more about it to my niece and nephew

"that's my new spider scream," i said with a smile.

"so, if i scream like this: ( loud, panicked scream ) -that means i fell and might of broke something

and if i scream like this: (louder, more panicked scream) -that means someone is breaking in.

but if i scream like this: (i-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-!) -that; is my spider scream. -it's just a spider scream"

-and the whole thing was so fascinating to me.. how my brain reacted; so primal.

this spontaneous spider scream. it made me wonder about indian chants..

and secret verbal codes

war communications.. and how lucky i am, to have a sister and family that understands.

Thoughts on faith and love and marriage. By (me!) Sandra, tvgp

K, follow me on this one: I know there is absolutely no correlation between marriage and love and commitment. Marriage does not guarantee the other two. You can be married and not in love or committed, and you can be in love without being married, etc. But I myself am divorced TWO AND A HALF TIMES..half being the long term relationship where we got engaged but never actually married. And my handsome prince is divorced once... So what does marriage = exactly? For someone like me it makes no sense at all... For someone like my handsome prince marriage means -you really love the other person- and not getting married means you don't -really- love the other person then. And, well,...I really love my handsome prince but I don't want to get married. During the drive to school this morning I was talking about it to my son and nephew... "I feel myself falling under the pressure... Under mario's influence... He wants to get married but I don't and I think he might be winning" I told them. And then after I dropped them off and was getting ready for work, I laid down on my bed and prayed. I said, clear and specific to Jesus, "I DO NOT WANT TO BE MARRIED." and then.. "but! I want my handsome prince to know I really love him; with my whole heart.". ...and guess what God said to me...!... To (me!)... God said, "How do you know I really love you?" ..and the biggest smile came across my face... And I stood up and I answered back in prayer, "by faith!". And then God said, "then so shall he know; by faith.". -and I've never felt so loved and understood as I did in that moment. "thank you Jesus!.. I really love you too!". .... Amen....

THREE MORE THINGS by me! sandra, tvgp

ONE: these days.. cameras everywhere.. i'm certain i'm being taped at my worst without my permission or knowledge, but every once in a while, i think

"oh! i hope you got that..."

because there are lots of moments i don't have a camera or video, but wish like heck i did

and the other night is a prime example. if i had this on camera i'd be watching it write now.. posting it on youtube and sending it to all my friends and family and total strangers around the world

because there we were, the three of us.. my son, daughter and myself, all snuggling on the pull- out-of-the-couch bed, watching something on tv.. (which was only on when they were here)

and some suspicious noise escapes my daughter's body

and my son, with a little giggle, says to his sister, "eewwww, what was that?! did you just fart?"

and my daughter, with a little giggle of her own, says to her brother, "NO! -that was my throat."

and i, with a giggle they've both given me, said, "eeewwww! you farted out of your throat -that's gross!"

and then they were gone. from slight, embarrassed giggle to full blown out laughter.

and so i added on

"taryn.. my God honey.. go brush your teeth"

and then their full blown out hard, loud laughter went to the next level.. which is when they laugh so hard you can't hear them anymore..

you can only watch them double over, grab at their stomachs and wipe tears from their eyes.

"mommy... stop it! you're making me cry!" jack said, once he could breathe

and i nearly had to apply cpr to my daughter she was laughing so hard, but

"i don't know...

mouth to mouth isn't sounding too good write now"

and that made a great thing worse, and we must have belly laughed together for 15 minutes straight.

and i want to remember it for always. -because love is the miracle; and laughter is the magic.

i believe.


TWO: i'm at the very, ultra-crowded stoneridge mall at macy's making a christmas gift purchase and sliding my card and typing in my supposedly secret pin number

which anyone standing within 5 feet can easily see

and i get that uneasy feeling. just a few too many people.. just a few too many, "excuse me" bumps from passersby

and so i take my ziplock bag.. which has my license, bank card, cash, social security number, blood type and diary.. out of my handmade moni-bag and place it in my jacket pocket.

and what a great intuitive idea that turned out to be because by the time i got to the next store, and next counter for a purchase

my purse was G-O-N-E -gone.

i could not believe my luck. they got an empty handmade bag. i had all my loot.

and i pictured the scene on my drive home... a group of thugs all putting their collective steals for the day in a pile.. only one guy says, "this bag was empty"

and they say, "yeah, write.." and don't believe him.. don't trust him.. and a big fight ensues

so merry christmas to me! and bah humbug to you!

but now i'll have to place a new order for one from monique dear..

who i would have seen/ordered from had we had our good neighbor's boutique this year, darn it..

"need a new moni~bag!"

THREE: -can't remember #3.


i've mentioned it before, but it is worth mentioning again

how wonderful blogger serves as my very own personal external memory storage!

my son is reading island of the blue dolphins now.. he likes it.

i remember his sister didn't like it so much... and she said something funny... or wrote something funny

but no chance i could remember on my own.

"have no fear! your blog is here!"

and so i went to the dashboard, typed blue dolphin in the search bar, and like magic!

there it was. the line my daughter wrote to cover tracks with her teacher, and remain true to herself at the same time

"island of the blue dolphins stood out from other books" /see. i'm laughing all over again, and otherwise i would have forgot.

everyone oughta have a blog. then you can eliminate those silly memory vitamin things..

what are they called?

EDITOR N' CHIEF (my daughter!)

i'm sure i did the exact same thing, but with far less savvy

i sat, as any proud mom would, on the toilet this morning reading my daughter's 4th grade writing portfolio. she wrote well about her field trip to coyote hills, "...after lunch i knew we had an advancer ahead of us. We hiked an enormous hill! Once we got up there I knew it was worth it. I could see so far, because we were very high. We were so high I could see all the way across the bay! I also got to see the Dumbarton Bridge, San Mateo Bridge, and the Santa Cruz mountains. There were a lot of land forms in the bay. The Hike to the Stars was very fun!"

she wrote brilliantly, i thought, in her piece titled: Layers of the Earth, which was typed. and then, how beautiful she writes in cursive for her sacramento essay; five handwritten pages with great detail, realistic dialogue and authentic emotion

her report on the history of softball! -excellent in every way.

it's when i read her paper titled A Special Way of Life, that i got to coughing uncontrollably.

-allergic reaction to bullshit.

now, i need to tell you, that my daughter absolutely hated this book. dreaded the turn of every page. slunk like a invertebrate at the mere sight of the cover. and from my sympathetic cheerleading post as her mom.. it seemed to me too, that this homework assignment, this one book, was lasting three years.

so didn't i just choke on my own bittersweet breath when i read, "Island of the Blue Dolphins was a book filled with adventure. Karana was very careful about the things she did, but still very brave. She called the island: Island of the Blue Dolphins.

and i think my daughter is a genius. when i re-read this paper, i see she wrote everything expected and required of her from character description, to setting, to plot and genre identification without ever leading on about how she really felt as the reader.

In the book Karana showed a lot of bravery. For example, she watches the sea elephants fight, tried to catch a devilfish, and goes through a big, black cave.

but laugh, and laugh, i do, everytime i read her closing statement:

To me, Island of the Blue Dolphins stood out from other books.

~what a diplomat.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Can't explain it -just know it's true. By (me!) Sandra, tvgp

If /in several cases when... A male co-worker mentions he's been to a strip club or topless bar... I can be like... Really? What was that experience like? But if my handsome prince did the exact same thing: divorce! And we are not even married. -why is that? And more to my infinite curiosities... How? Where? Is the biological/psychological/emotional care-switch inside my being? I'm fascinated... If Jesus will forgive my language... Where is that I-give a shit/I don't give a shit switch/mechanism? Thing... And very quick before I must go: repeat Joyce Meyers husband's response to her saying, "don't you think that woman was pretty?". He said: "I don't notice other women... You're my girl". And I said out loud to the tv and God... " that man fell straight from heaven itself!". -and different women have different sensitivities, etc and vice versa, but falling under the "know thyself" category... I know what I need.. And it's not the type of man who can or will go to a strip club or anything within that same genre... Instructions to my handsome prince: remind me you love me everyday. Tell me I'm beautiful everyday exactly as I am. Pretend not to notice other women. /and he thinks I'm so complicated...; I'm easy. -that doesn't sound write... But you know what i mean.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Things I wish I'd said ..departing Seattle. By none other than (me!) Sandra, tvgp

Diehard fans only... Disconnected stories and thoughts from a place of the most beautifully overwhelmed: /and know in advance how pissed off I am this thing won't space my thoughts the way I want... But what the hell, They're all squished together this time around anyway. PARAGRAPH SPACE HERE: you know how you are supposed to put earplugs in or read a book or open a laptop on the airplane if you don't want to get stuck next
 to some person that just won't shut up. How that's just about the politess way to say thanks but no thanks to a conversation with a stranger on a plane... Well, that old let me take my kindle out trick sure didn't work for John from England sitting in 8C on Alaska airlines this morning... I'm not sure what they put in my coffee at the Seattle airport but no kindle in the amazon world could stop me from makin' friends with my airplane seat neighbor. -John from England... Transplanted to Washington... And you know me by now... I'm no good at small talk but great with the BIG QUESTIONS... we talked God.. And/or the lack thereof... And about photography.. Traveling.. World violence... Childhoods... Marriage.. And I had to whip out my camera and do a little show and tell about my upcoming website: ... Here's where I can blog again and say the things I'd wished I'd said in the actual moment.. 'cuz I was showin' John from England a heart I-spied here, and a heart I-spied there... Here a heart... There a heart... Everywhere a heart, etc. And when I got to the one I found in the bubbles in my coffee from Petes in Pleasanton... He said,"you're looking for them".     
 -now, I have to break down the tone in that comment for you... The indication was... I was forcing it. Do you know what I mean? What he meant? -I do see hearts everywhere I go... But other people... Well, anyway.. It does happen sometimes.. Sometimes those hearts in my environment are so obvious and conspicuous and perfectly shaped even a blind man could point to it... And sometimes... There's a little work and imagination involved. A specific angle and distance... And perspective... And timing... And receptiveness... So, when John from England said, "you're looking". I knew what he meant... The subtext... And it is much more gratifying to find.. To notice... To reveal Vs. To project... But as I thought about that more... You know what I wish I would have said? I wish I woulda said, "well, haven't you ever looked too hard for love before?" PARAGRAPH BREAK HERE: I'm in the process of...processing. A most surprising, amazing, awesome family visit with my handsome prince to see my dad and family in Seattle... thank you Jesus for pictures!! We packed a lot in in a short time... I'm genuinely overwhelmed and I'm not writing just for pleasure write now... I'm writing so I don't crack.. PARAGRAPH BREAK HERE: in all my life... In all my schooling, in all my tv, interview, biography watching and reading... Never have I cried when President Lincoln died. Until yesterday... When I saw Lincoln... At the Lincoln... And I just don't know how anyone can watch that movie and not replace the word slavery with trafficking... And in fact, I saw a poster on the wall for a movie about human trafficking coming out soon... And when I saw that poster -for this upcoming movie I know nothing -nothing!- about... I sure did wonder to myself... Is this a genuine documentary which is intended to help victims.. Help STOP the crime... Or is this a secretly veiled how-to movie length video... Sexual assault and suicide fall in the same category here... There is a real art to covering the subject matter without exploiting... Without increasing the crimes you wish to prevent. Mass media Attention is both mandatory to prevent and necessary to spread... You must be very careful... And then I had to wonder... Cuz that seems like all I can sometimes do... Can the exact same movie do both? Prevent the crime/spread the crime... Is the result with the viewer? The moviemaker? And if you knew how much I've experienced and have on my mind vs. What will leak out here on my blog you would hand deliver me some sleeping aids... PARAGRAPH BREAK HERE: Oh, my feelings got hurt recently... And I keep trying to remember EXACTLY the words Dave meyers said back to his wife when she was so hurtful and mean to him... It was something about how.. Something like, " good thing I don't let you determine my self worth for me". And I think one of the most important lessons of my entire life to date has been that: to know my self worth according to God and Jesus... Not man. And when I say not man... I mean that sooo literally. It's taken a hundred years it feels like to build up a half of cup's worth of self esteem and even longer than that to unhate the male species... And just when I think maybe I graduated... I'm back fillin out applications for a campus that will have me... PARAGRAPH BREAK HERE: I will never stop reading the bible or going to church... But outside of those truths, here's another one... You know how there are physical laws... Laws of physics, etc. Well, I want to guarantee you this: -all you atheists and agnostics and -Doubters and seekers and those with unrooted faith... There are spiritual laws equal to and in fact superior to physical laws... More tried and true.. More consistent... As undisbutable... But infinite! Among these spiritual laws is this : God is love. Many of the spiritual laws -I'm sorry... ALL of the spiritual laws are true for HUMANITY -not just given religions... That is in fact what makes a spiritual LAW, -law. All spiritual laws are applicable to all of humanity. There is no segregation, preference, superior, inferior anybody or any religion... LOVE for example... Love is the greatest example.. Must you be a Christian? Muslim? College graduate? Wealthy person? Dying? Noble? ... Put anything here... LOVE is applicable for all of humanity. Now, I know from my own spiritual meditations and lessons and studies... Well, I know where I'm at... Only another follower/student will understand ... But if you could see a spiritual school the way we can see elementary - middle school - high school through college, etc. -and what lessons you need as a pre-requisite in order to get to the next level... Well I'm currently studying this: perfect love casts out all fears. I will be on this lesson for some unknown amount of time... But I cannot proceed without a deep, deeply rooted understanding of this truth; this SPIRITUAL LAW. I love you! And close with a huge "thank you!" to my family in Seattle... And my handsome prince... I will have to capture those awesome memories in photographs... Amen!

Monday, November 19, 2012


yeah, and so i sent an email to squidmann  (i approved that hyperlink).

and he was like,   wha? wha? wha?    -he didn't know they were there either!  that's because they don't show on every computer type..  only some.   but THEY ARE THERE!   computer generated hyperlinks by  -who?


in the body of blogs...  in the body of comments...


here is some of my evidence;  pictures worth of a thousand kidnapped words...

DEAR CHILDREN OF THE MOST HIGH GOD.. from (me!) sandra, tvgp

you are bound to hear "the big bang theory" referred to as fact in many conversations and articles and tv shows.  it is not.  let me provide my opinion as to just how fiction it is...   well, it is more a result of frustration than fiction..  what the big bang theory is  -is this: and it doesn't even truly quality as a theory..  it is more...  it is more..  what shall we call it?  it's not a false start exactly...  or! that's exactly what it is...  because all the greatest minds have done the math...  and done the math...  and done the math..  and not one of them can prove mathematically, this, so called.."big bang"  -oh, they can come close...   so close, in fact..  they can't stand it!  it is down write maddening!  ..and so, they tried again, the math..  with today's greatest minds and greatest calculators, and still! close.. and yet so far away...   finally, in a great surrender to their frustration... and because, in layman terms..  if they could just invent something write about there..  it would make everything else make sense..   so they invented the big bang and called it a theory /and that is a fact!..  so everything else would make sense.  and the irony here, of course, is that some claim God is an invention; born from the same need.   the big bang theory is a forced fake start...   because as cliche as it is...   you've gotta start somewhere  -write.   my understanding remains and deepens:  humans are incapable of comprehending infinity; something without beginning or end...  

Saturday, November 17, 2012

KASPERS MEMORIES TO GO! By (me!) writeousmom

As I was typing... /before being so intrudedly interrupted by a paying customer...


  -I just did a search on my own blog and it looks like even though I've told the story over and over to exhaustion "I've never blogged it!".

  I feel like I'm being rewarded by God himself for not repeating it verbally while we were there!

   God is merciful!


"So.. What was taryn? How old was she? ..she must of been around 3 years old..
 She was old enough to talk but still hadn't mastered gender distinction..

You know, she was just learning to identify a boy as a boy and a girl as a girl... with people in pictures, or family/friends coming over, and guessing the gender of characters on TV...

"is that a boy?" should would ask in the sweetest voice in the whole wide world...

 And I would either confirm or correct her

And we're not talkin about looking at any anatomy that would give it away... Just faces really... Fully clothed people... It comes so naturally for adults you forget how you learned it in the first place; -you forget that you had to..

So anyway..

 There we were, just the two of us in kaspers one day

It was the kaspers in Pleasanton off Santa Rita road

Rose.. Something plaza.. Across from longs


ROSE PAVILLION I think it is


There was a bit of a line. -cuz who doesn't love kaspers, write

And I had taryn up on my hip, carrying her the way any proud mom does.. Showing her off to the world.. Makin' conversation to help the time pass..

At some point I turned around a little so that we were facing the entry doors instead of the hotdog maker lady..

And write about that time a man walked in...

And taryn goes, "is that a boy?". And I said, real proud, "YES!".

  And not shortly after another mom, and she said, "is that a girl?". And just like I was holding Einstein herself, I said, "YES!"

And it wasn't long before she stopped asking me and started telling' me

"that's a boy!". Or "that's a girl!".

And you know, just like is still true today... She got herself straight A's..

Oh, we had the whole line of people in on it... And everyone sitting down and eating who was within earshot...

  Listening to my taryn play -name the sex- game as people came inside the kaspers..

And every time the whole crowd would look at who was comin in, then turn and look at my genius 3 year old,

You know, I think she wasn't even 3 yet, to be honest..

Probably 1 1/2 or so... Very advanced


.they would get real quiet and wait for her to say "that's a boy!". Or "that's a girl!".

 And then they would all cheer and call out atta-girls

100% accuracy

Businessmen, high school kid, Asian grandma, Mexican infant... The kid was a gender-observation prodigy


Well ...

The whole place got oddly quiet. 

People looked at the person comin in

Then back at taryn.

At taryn... Then the person comin' in...

I would not be exaggerating by too much to tell you that people actually stopped chewin' their food ...

Everyone just looked back n forth in silent suspence. -felt like even the people in the pictures hangin' on the wall were holdin' their breath..

Person comin' in might have been homeless for all any of us knew...

Hadn't seen a shower or bath for at least a week
At most, a month...

Dirty, old, baggy clothes..

Long, greasy gray hair stringing down from a hat that looked like it'd been run over in yesterday's traffic

And was that a purse? Or a backpack?

  And the beauty of my 1 1/2 year old gender observation prodigy was this: Not only was she too young to be so socially intelligent

But she was too young to be politically correct.

Real loud, in the most innocent game show contestant voice you've ever heard, she goes,


Well, I tell you.... The entire restaurant burst out laughing.. Spit their kasper dogs and root beer all over their neighbors clothes

I didn't know what to say...

But once I contained my own giggles, I just leaned in and whispered in her sweet little ear "I'm not sure myself, love bug. Your guess is as good as mine..."

"to kaspers memories with everything on it! -to go"

"NO! NO! NO! NOT THAT STORY AGAIN!" by (me!) Sandra, tvgp

One of things I have been working on to improve my relationship with my beloved children (and family, friends, co-workers, etc) is to not tell the same stories over and over again, even though it is human nature to respond in this manner...

Same stimuli = same story; add nauseum. WE ALL DO IT!

What makes me a better person than most is that I recognize this annoying tendency in myself and I'm working to change it.

 For example.. We all went kaspers hot dogs recently... And I know every time I've been there for the past ... Let's see... Taryn was around 3... She's almost ready to vote now, for some decade plus a few years.. Every. Single. Time. I walked into ANY kaspers hot dog place I would tell the "WHAT IS THAT?!" story from when taryn was around 3 years old...

 I would tell anybody I was with...

 And if I went in alone, I would tell the person who was making my hotdog... If they were too busy, I would tell the person next to me in line... If there wasn't anyone in line and the hotdog maker was busy.. I would just stand there with a big smile... Re-thinking how I would tell the story to someone that night.

The thing is... I cannot see a kaspers, eat a kaspers, drive past a kaspers or even hear about kaspers third hand without it triggering the same memory, and same story every time!

  Ah! ...but I can report my first success!

 Because there we were... The three of us... Me, and then my daughter -the main character in the story... The star! Whom, in fact is the very reason the story even exists.. And -her boyfriend-

  what better, more inspiring, most perfect audience could a writeousmom bursting with a story to share ask for? -if this I-pad allowed, or I knew code, the following would be in intalics so you could know I was thinking it: RESIST! RESIST! RESIST THE URGE! SHUT UP BRAIN! STAY LOCKED LIPS!

 and I tried with all my heart and all my mind to create a NEW memory that would override the past- retirement-age one..

 And my daughter and her boyfriend, toree.. Well it was so cute how they were dressed kinda matching.. Both in jeans, both in white hoodies... And they hadn't planned it. So I took a picture   -mamarazzi strikes again! 


 what makes a great photo doesn't necessarily make a great story;   /pretend italics here: time when I was here with my daughter and her boyfriend they were all matchy-matchy.. It was the cutest thing..."    SNOR. YAWN. "dont tell me," she would say all sarcastic, "you want your hot dog PLAIN.".

 But even though I was exploding inside to repeat our family famous "WHAT IS THAT?!" story so the lady making hotdogs and everyone in the entire establishment would know I like jalepenos on my kasper dogs... I. DID. NOT. UTTER. A. WORD.

  -EVEN! Under enormous pressure... Because at one point toree suggested he had never been to kaspers before. ALLOW ME TO REPEAT: toree had never been to kaspers before!

  -what that means translated... Is that chances were very high I had never shared the story that one-million-and tenth time to him! FRESH VIRGIN EARS! A perfect and legitimate invitation! -not only was every planet aligned but so were their moons and stars and suns!

  And still... I.did.not.utter.a.word.

   I'm about to congratulate myself... And/or there is a customer waiting.. And so I'm going to get back to work and return soon to finish this story about that story. Be write back.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


There is a long list of people and experiences I'm grateful for... But I want to highlight this one: how grateful I am that both of my children have had, and are having, -wonderful childhoods. It was one of my prayers from long ago... I meet so many people that didn't have (aren't having) a true childhood, a good childhood, for one reason or another.. Forced by a parents death, or war, or poverty, or alcoholism/addiction, or some set of ugly circumstances, into early adulthood... Forced to take on adult level responsibilities at very young ages... I think there is a universal feeling, desire, agreement... Hope: that kids be allowed to be kids. When I look through our family photo albums..there are a million "thank you Jesus!" moments...and not just the obvious ones from vacations... But so many simple ones.. Their smiles at a local park on swings.. Cartwheels on the grass... Lemonade stands... School room birthday parties, making art..dancing to the music channel on tv... Drawing on the sidewalk with colored chalk...swimming with friends.. Years they've been allowed to be kids.. And not preoccupied with heavy burdens or grand concerns or terrible fears.. Years they've lived with a sense of safety and security.. A place to call home.. A caring neighborhood... Wonderful schools and teachers.. it is a beautiful thing to witness. I pray it for the whole world... Kids allowed to be kids...

Monday, November 12, 2012



dancing around another computer glitch... the beautiful picture of bruce bennett with his wife..  its in my files, but wont upload in correct orientation..

but see if this hits you, the same way it hit me..

and i can't explain why sometimes i say my tatoo means conquer the world one man at a time with kindness, and sometimes i say it means courage, and sometimes i say, "i'm a rape survivor"

but time/place/person appropriateness i suppose...   a feeling i experience but can't describe..  its never pre-planned; just happens

in any case..  i told his wife, during a longer conversation we had in front of the museum on main in the hours before the parade began..

had learned about her husbands 3 tours in viet nam..   his reaction to the famous "can't count ships" comment during the recent presidential debates..  a great conversation..

and they asked about my tattoo..  and only because i said, "i'm a rape survivor" did i learn that, "I'm a rape survivor too!"   -and we high fived each other in a sister-survivor kind of way...    i think we share this in common with the veterans.. they have a certain brotherhood based solely on having a shared survivor experience; war

anyway..  she was 14.   and a rare, beautiful thing happened for her..   she contributes it with helping tremendously with her healing...   her dad immediately told her it was not her fault.   -powerful.

and you know what else was powerful..   how within the hour, when i was talking with veterans at the other end of main street  -i met a veteran (name?) who has lived in pleasanton for many, many years... but has never joined the VWF post...  he lives like walking distance from the veterans hall where they meet on saturday mornings..   why not? i asked him...   he wasn't sure...  he was a member of other clubs in distance places..  but he told me..   he never realized how many veterans lived here in pleasanton until he started wearing his hat.   -and he pointed to his cap that had embroidery identifying him as a  (navy?) man.   he told me, "once i started wearing this..   so many more people would tell me they were vets and started talking to me.."

and i looked up to heaven and whispered..  got the message.

i mean...  how else can people know?  identify each other in the brotherhood and sisterhood of survivorship..

i don't remember his name, and didn't get his picture...  but something tells me, he'll be at one of those upcoming saturday morning coffee/donut meetings at the veterans hall very soon..

and i know, from my visits..   a warm welcome awaits him.

RECYCLED WINE BOTTLE ART by (me!) for (kerry!)


but as i was tryin' to say...   when i found out my thank you post to kerry was hacked..  and half of it is gone..    here are the pictures:

is WORD RAPED too strong a term... by (me!) sandra, tvgp

wtf?   now to see hyperlinks in my posts here, in my comments at leonard's blog..  that we did not put in, but are somehow..  hacked in.. electronically  -for advertising purposes?   ugly, ugly, ugly... hideous  -outrageous..  far worse than spam mail, or junk/fake comments meant to advertise other sights... to have your actual words hijacked...  attacked... raped.    taken without asking, without permission..   i can't describe how ugly this is...  but i just tried    -now, hopefully, the same way they have created blocks for spam comments, there is some kind of block for these hyperlink word rapists out there...  i'll be investigating...

Friday, November 09, 2012

PUBLIC THANK YOU TO KERRY BURKE! from (me!) Sandra, tvgp


I am embarrassed to confess here that I have been meaning to create this thank you gift for OVER A YEAR! My handsome prince was like, " yeah.. Weren't you going to give her a bottle for Christmas last year?". /yes... And then when I didn't get it done.. For valentines... And when I still didn't get it done, for st Patrick's... Then ... Then Easter, then mother's day, etc. Etc. Thanks for rubbing it in. But! At last... In time for THANKSGIVING 2012! "it is done! And ready to give....". Long list of thank you's to this beautiful friend of mine...her friendship in general... Helping me get the wine goddess job at ruby hill, all the beautiful hand-me-down clothes and jewelry, helping with carpool/transportation with the kids, hostessing such delicious/wonderful get togethers at her home, including my son in their family activities... her words of encouragement, ongoing kindness.. For all these things I am very grateful! ..and I remember Kerry was so encouraging when I first started creating my recycled wine bottle art to sell @ ruby hill.. And I asked her then.. If I made one for you, what colors would you like? And she told me.. Black and white (zebra) with hot pink. I locked that in my imagination... For apparently 2 years (smiley face here). ..and.. I've had some ultra cool zebra paper in my stash for a loong time; just waiting... But guess what... When I pre-tested how it would hold up during the sanding process... BIG FAIL! Black ink

Thursday, November 01, 2012

OUR CHURCH, OUR GLUE by (me!) sandra, tvgp

the sooner i'm employed again, the better

and in my enthusiasm to work.. i nearly sacrificed what has become one of my personal favorite days of the week, and most valuable to our family and friends

yes i need $$

but! especially after last sunday.. when we all met at centerpointe.. my sister, my niece, my nephew.. my mom .. my handsome prince.. his daughters... me, my daughter, my son.. carol

and not everyone is there, every sunday.. but often enough

and my daughter's boyfriend may be joining us..

and there are so many beautiful faces of friends and family..

it is literally our centerpointe; this church. the one day and place we all gather to have our hearts and minds renewed; reminded; reinvigorated

and always beautiful music... and always a great message, great lesson from pastor mike for those of us in worship

and equally valuable messages, lessons for our children in their individual classes

the blessings of so many friendships..

and so often, we gather afterward, for lunch together.. and always i feel God smiling at us; on us; through us...

i am happy to work just about any hours, mon-sat, and even sunday late afternoon and evening. but i came to the conclusion i will not work sunday mornings and will always be at church to thank God for our blessings and to ask for help on our journey.


i feel very connected to the spirit world


few weeks back pastor mike described -as quoted from a different author/book.. something about two types of knowledge

i'll paraphrase: descriptive vs. experiential

he used the currently popular -indoor sky diving, as an example. it is a place you can safely experience what it might be like to sky dive; an indoor simulation...

and you can read about the experience on their website.. and you are knowledgeable about it, because you have read what it is like: that falls in the descriptive knowledge category

and then you can pay to go have the actual experience, and that falls in the experiential category

-you know from your personal experience.

for me, personally,

my knowledge of God, is far more experiential than descriptive. that is, i continue to read the bible.. and gain small amounts, here and there, about God through reading about him

but even without full knowledge of the bible

i experience God on a fairly regular basis. only other people who share this experience know what i'm talking about.. (although access is available to everyone seeking)

but we do know; God. and we do not doubt his existence or presence in the face of suffering... we know all things (including suffering) -can be used for the good for those who believe

i believe.


i'm aware of my personal growth and accomplishments -not in the worldly ways, but spiritual. and i am aware of what areas God is continuing to work on with me, through life experiences i encounter daily


the big life lessons.. are too much for me to document. much of my schooling goes on through personal prayer with God

but every once in a while, a tiny, delightful example of the God i've come to know, presents itself, and i share it out loud with my children

may seem silly at first, but -this is an example of the God i have come to know:

i went to park at a local basketball game. parking lot was very crowded. i wanted to park close because it was raining. the only spot available would have required me to parallel park; not a strength of mine, but i was willing to give it a go

cars are lining up behind me and my kids are asking me to just give up.. find a different spot

i'm like.. i think i can remember how to do this. ...

in truth.. i couldn't remember and failed on my first try...

but i was still willing to try again.. despite having to make a few people wait behind me...

next thing you know, the people who own the car in the front spot, show up and get inside and drive off, which made it perfectly easy for me to park because i no longer had to squeeze between two cars

i slid write in.

i said out loud.. "now that! is the God i've come to know" -even in my weaknesses.. i am not punished; i am helped.

now.. for each of us,.. there are strengths and weaknesses.. and there are weaknesses God will work with you on to become strengths.. through, sorry to say.. sometimes hard life experiences

but there are also weaknesses, God accepts.. would never dream of punishing you for.. ridiculing you for; nor will he try to change them; he just reaches out through people and circumstances to help you

so beautiful; so merciful; so loving and kind

you will never be required to be perfect; but you will be asked to do the best you can

hallelujah! & amen!


also.. paraphrasing, but on my mind.. pastor mike breaks down the story of the bible in 4 parts

the creation; the fall; the recreation; ... eternal life(?)

when he talks about the fall of man... adam/eve -doing the one thing they were told not to.. separating themselves from God by falling into temptation

the fall represents for me.. well, it serves as evidence of our free will. God could have easily created us to obey all his commandments

but God did not create robots. we choose.

and i could spend hours contemplating the awe factor of free will... i see evidence of it everywhere...

now.. this evidence does not eliminate forms of determinism.. -this exists also..

we have genetics, we have brain wiring, we have predispositions, we have culture, we have human bodies of flesh and bone

but we also have spirit; we also have free will. amazing.

i am constantly amazed.


and worth relistening to joel osteen speak about being fireproof.. this is my experience also.. that God won't always prevent the fire

he'll be with you as you enter the fire.. remain with you in the fire..

stand with open arms of love on the other side

helping you to become fireproof... not easily offended; not easily frightened; not easily intimidated... not easily presuaded to doubt, not easily tempted, etc, etc,

this ability to stand tall and strong and confident in the face of ... anything and anyone

and so that sums up my prayer requests.. yes, Dear God.. help me to become fireproof.

thank you! amen

OTIS SPUNKMEYER'S DC3 SKY TOURS great memories for (me! & the brazil's!)

yesterday, at ruby hill, i had the great pleasure of serving and talking to the brazil's , husband & wife -who mentioned in conversation, they had flown on otis spunkmeyer's dc3 for joe's birthday some 15 years ago
well, of course, this ignited a wonderful exchange of mutual great memories surrounding this sky tour experience. they in fact, mentioned that during their flight, the learning channel was filming a segment for "romantic places in the bay area" -i haven't been able to find it via google search, but.. would love to see it.
they also mentioned having a rare poster, that shows the dc3, with an otis spunkmeyer hostess... of course, i can't help but wonder if it might be a picture of karin carter... wouldn't that be somethin'. they promised to bring it in for me to see next visit to ruby hill. [and you know i'll get a picture of them with the poster]
they also mentioned enjoying the champagne on the flight so much, they subsequently went to the winery in sunol (castro valley?) that created and sold it... -couldn't help but laugh... " i gargled with that champagne!" /but i had no memory of the name or label...
and all that helps explain the following re-post from my blog archives:

***** *****
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
OTIS SPUNKMEYER DC3, come fly with (me!) sandra, tvgp

when i met sir robert wilkins at the pleasanton library during steven johnson's book reading and signing

he said about his position as a media escort, that it is "one of those obscure jobs that few people have ever heard of, but that everyone wants once they learn about it"

i want it. -which is funny, because i really don't like to drive so much, but.. for certain things, i'll do what i must. i have, after all, picked my ex-husband up from the oakland airport several times, and i'm still alive to blog about it. only, when i pick my ex-husband up (which is necessary because he is also the father of our children), he always hops in the driver seat and gets us all home safely.
so it gives me great laughs to picture myself picking up some famous author at the airport:

"hello! famous author person.. nice to meet you. i'm here to pick you up..

and i made it! isn't that great. and thank God!

and so, but, do you mind driving now? -getting us out of here. airports make me nervous.

-and then when we get back to my territory, we can switch, and you can be the passenger, okay.."

anyway.. it triggered a memory in me.. this coversation with bob (and notice here, that while driving might not be my greatest strength, i do make friends easily, because he just went from sir robert wilkins to bob write before your very eyes)

anyway.. it triggered a memory in me, this conversation with my new friend, bob
because i have had many different jobs over the years, but only one that i can think of that other people coveted.

every saturday i heard the same thing from almost every person:

"how do you land this job?" "can i take over for you?" "if you can't make it for any reason.. call me. i'm happy to step in for you" "what a lucky person you are!" "and YOU GET PAID for this?"

and i would always answer with a big smile.. "not bad for weekend work, huh"

because it really was an extra special, very rare opportunity that came my way: a chance to play flight hostess for otis spunkmeyer's dc3 sky tours over the bay area.

and now, i have to ready myself and leave for work..

but when i get back, i'll tell you all about it.


so where was i?

ah yes,

the way this went down, was that there were no uniforms and no real training to speak of. -you just show up dressed in whatever you see fit, welcome the guests, pour champagne and offer chocolate covered strawberries and fancy hors d'oeuvres to the passengers during the flight

and the flight! was incredible!

some hour or so up and over oakland, san francisco, berkeley, circling back to see pleasanton, livermore, san jose (?), and then back to san leandro -but- all at about (14000 feet?) so the views were spectacular from every window.

and the dc3 itself: a real vintage beauty: former wwII plane all refurbished for tourist,

but maintaining its historic look and feel.

sometimes veterans would come with their spouses and family, dressed in their old military uniforms with such nostalgia etched in their expressions and pouring from their conversations

i understood it to some degree, but in honesty, was too young at the time to fully process what this experience meant to them.

that, and i was preoccupied a bit with my own survival and concerns.

it was very important to me i was a great hostess. -i really wanted to do a stellar job. make sure everyone had a great time. -be invited to come back and hostess again.
and it all sounded so exciting. and i knew it was a special treat to land this job.
-and i was recommended by some friends, and so didn't want to let them down
and all this, -anxious energy- i suppose, combined with it being my first time on the job, and first time in a dc-3, and first time standing, walking, balancing, pouring champagne and carrying on delightful conversation at the same time i'm in flight

well, i started to feel a little nauseous.

then i started to feel a lot nauseaous.

and then i started to panic.

-because, if i were to say, throw up, on one of the passengers
i was thinkin' that might not fall kindly on the eyes and ears of the pilot, the passengers or my dear friends who suggested me for the job.

and so as pale but non-chalant as i could possibly be on this intimate (#) passenger airplane, i found my way to the restroom, locked myself inside, and as quiet as humanly possible

puked my guts out.

then i washed my face, finger-brushed my teeth, gargled champagne, touched up my lipstick, pinched my cheeks to bring back some color
and went back out with a reloaded plate of fresh chocolate covered strawberries.

if anyone heard or noticed, they never brought it to my attention. i chit-chatted with the passengers, took in the mini-stories of their lives, listened to them oooh and ahhh over the spectacular views -some of them reliving memories from their war days
refilled their champagne glasses with a smile
and before you knew it, we were real smooth landing on the runway with everyone applauding.

that's me in the picture with the very beloved captain
captain dale, i think it was. /it's been a long time.
and i might not remember his name, but i do remember he was a great pilot, and he tolerated my over-enthusiastic hostessing skills with a certain tempered wisdom.

and i remember also, his co-pilot, for a few of the flights. a GORGEOUS, SEXY, red-headed female co-pilot, and i can't recall her name either, but i do remember
spending a lot of time wondering what it would be like to be her.

anyway, i can't remember how many saturday afternoons i spent as hostess for the otis spunkmeyer dc3 sky tours

i just remember it being a great time. -and in addition to the veterans who would wear their old uniforms for the flight

i remember two other passenger stand-outs.

the first was a man who was celebrating his 40th birthday. his friends had blind-folded him earlier in the day. kept him blind-folded while sticking him in a limo without any hint as to where he was going or what he was doing
kept him blind-folded all the way to and inside the airport. kept him blind-folded even as we walked up the stairs and into the plane
"do you know where you are?" his friends asked him
"am i on a roller-coaster?" he wondered with a frightened laugh
and that's when they finally took off his blindfold, and he was so genuinely, completely, utterly surprised at what they had pulled off

the other stand outs, were couples and/or families who wanted to experience the flight, but not all together in case of a fatal accident
so half the family, or couple, would go one weekend, and the other half, the next time.
and everyone always made it back safely with exciting stories to share from their separate experiences.

and i'm often asked how i got that job; such a wonderful job

and i sure wish i could provide this post with a happy ending, but it takes a bit of a sad turn for me here

because the person who is responsible for providing me with this wonderful, rare, opportunity and these great memories

the gorgeous, kind and generous karin carter; she passed on into heaven july of 2007. -born the same year i was, 1966, but had her life cut short the same way my aunt susie did: skin cancer.

and just like my aunt susie, forced to say goodbye to a husband and two young children way too soon

but if you want to witness another way blogs have been used for the greater good of humanity, you need to see the beautiful, very loving, blog created to share, celebrate and remember karin's life:

and if you're curious how i knew karin to begin with.. it was because she was the girlfriend, (and later wife), of a college friend of mine, jeff, who worked for otis spunkmeyer
whose brother i dated -in fact, was briefly engaged to- but never married.
and we lost touch and took on separate lives as the years passed
but we have quite a history, all of us -which today i remember with tremendous sentiment, lots of love and deep gratitude

"to you karin! -thank you!-"

love, sandra
doesn't look like they do this anymore... can't find mention of it anywhere.

SWEETEST KID IN AMERICA says (me!) sandra, tvgp

so i was at the tri valley haven booth on saturday at the st patrick's day festival in dublin,

only.. it wasn't really the tri valley haven booth. rather, i discovered after looking around for 1 hour shy of eternity, that it was the dublin housing program booth

but not that either really

because what they did was combine 5-7 different social service/non-profit organizations inside one 10x10 area.

this allowed me to meet 5 very wonderful women, and learn more about several different social service programs, so i ended up grateful for the mislabled, but inherently gracious set-up.

i passed out i don't know how many fliers for the "great performance coming up at the bankhead theatre! -have you seen it... heard of it? the vagina monologues? oh, i hope you get a chance to see it... it is hilarious and wonderful"

and after about an hour and half of that, i needed some fuel, and so headed over to the food booth area. -and great walk over, because the festival was packed! the day was gorgeous! and there was such a great parade of children, families, friends, many dressed in various levels of st patrick attire, from a simple 4 leaf clover pin, to wild, giant green hats, mardi gras beads, green tie-dye shirts, with green polka-dot shorts, green socks... carrying green beer: you get the picture

all of it wonderful, but none of it comparing to the highlight of my day which was meeting who i can only describe as: the sweetest kid in america

if time, law and circumstance allowed, i would have adopted him on the spot, brought him home and we'd be too busy talking write now for me to even blog this

because first thing you must know, is that this young, handsome, 11 year old boy, had conversation skills superior to almost any adult male i've ever communicated with

he initiated what would be our 30-40 minute conversation by coming over to me and telling me that i reminded him of his aunt diane

"yeah.." i smiled, "well, i am an auntie.. my niece and nephew are here write now," i told him, "i love being an aunt... and my nephew is about your age. he's ten years old... are you about ten?"

and that's when he told me he was 11, and then took a seat on the grass near me in my backpack chair. he was finishing up a snowcone, and so asked me, "do you have a favorite flavor snow-cone?"

and i told him i liked coke flavor when it came to slurpies or slushies, but when it came to snow-cones, i liked to get rainbow flavor, "do you like to mix your flavors?" i asked him

and we communicated like this about so many topics... him asking a question, listening so politely to my answer, and then him sharing his thoughts and experiences, and then asking a new question

"do you have any fears?" he asked me

"oh! yes... i'm very scared of spiders and creepy crawly things.."

"you have a fear of bugs..."


and then he told me about the time he saw a wolf spider and used a great big thick book -bigger than the bible- to squish that spider, and then put more stuff on top of the thick book

and told me about how he was afraid of puppets for a while, but had a dream where someone showed him that puppets were nothing to be afraid of, and he woke up cured

and as we were talking, he was sippin' his melted snow-cone, and i was finishing up my 10" hot dog

and he would spill his melted snow-cone every now and then, tryin' to balance a comfortable sitting position on the grass and use the pole to lean against

and then he set everything down, and came over to me and reached in my left hand, "i'll take this to the trash for you" he said, and took the crumpled, balled up foil from my finished hot dog and walked it to the trash can nearby

do you know i didn't even realize i crumpled up that foil and had it sitting in my hand until he opened up my hand and pulled it out. it was so auto-pilot; unconscious, during our conversation

-such a thoughtful gesture! "thank you! josh"

and then we picked up talkin' write where we left off...

he told me about his visit to yellowstone, and i told him about my brother living in montana, driving distance from yellowstone

and we talked about school, and bullies, and the bible...

and then my cell phone buzzed, and i had to text respond -only the sun was makin' it difficult for me to see what i was tryin to type

next thing i know, josh is standing write next to me using his two hands to block the sun so i could see better

"thank you! josh... that is so helpful!"

and after i finished my task, and he took his seat again, i said

"josh... do you have great parents? know God, or belong to the boyscouts or something? -because you are so kind and thoughtful..."

and you don't even have to guess how graciously he responded... just smiling and moving on in our conversation. if i wasn't smilin', i was laughin.. listening, talking, talking, listening, and all the while whispering to Jesus a thank you for introducing me to this sweet, wonderful child, and tellin' him to feel free to populate the planet with more like him

just such a treat in every way.

it turns out that he was the grandchild of a woman in a booth just down from the one i was in... something to do with motorcycles. she was lovely too. confirmed, that just as josh said, i did remind her too, -and her husband -of josh's aunt diane.

and i couldn't resist telling her what an amazing, thoughtful boy josh was.. how much i appreciated his kind gestures, and what a conversationalist!

and when my shift was up and it was time to go...

was kinda hard to leave without taking him with me.

-thank you josh! for your wonderful company and how much water/sunshine you poured on the seeds of hope inside me


and twice at the festival i felt God's creative choreography at work:

since my booth was not labeled, tri valley haven... how would my sister, niece and nephew find me? -really there was no way, except to cross paths directly with one another

and so exactly -exactly!- as i returned from the food booths, there they were... got in a quick visit and they were off to enjoy the rides

and again, on my way out to my truck

exactly, -exactly!- at the gate area which divides parking lot from festival entrance, there were my friends sue-sue and christine, with their great dane, harley

and now here's the thing:

no dogs allowed

so they were just on the brink of realizing they could not enter the festival with harley -even on leash, and so were just shy of turning around

and i was just finishing my shift/heading for home

how perfect, that we met when/how we did... so that we could go together to tully's downtown, where harley was welcome, and get a fantastic in-person visit in, on such a beautiful day

these things are not lost on me, i tell ya...

i know God is behind the scenes... or should i say, above.

so TBTG! for saturday, march 13th, 2010 (see! my lucky numbers....)

R.I.P GENE ARTEMOW with love, from (me!) sandra, tvgp

Originally written/posted sometime in 2006 titled, MEET GENE.   repost inspired by his recent    death


R.I.P. Gene... Sure am gonna miss crossing paths with you.
this is my friend gene. he lives write near downtown, and i've passed him i don't know how many times now, since moving to this neighborhood 2 1/2 years ago,
i've had two or three conversations with him, in length, learning about his family, history, hobbies..
but mostly our relationship is an everyday exchange like this:
"hi gene, how you doin'?"
"hi sandy.. on your way to work?"
"have a good day"
"you too.."
and it's hard to put into words how pleasant and meaningful this is to me. how much i look forward to that relatively simple exchange. he is always so kind. always uses my name. -and, i think what i appreciate most of all.. he is always there.
he can always be spotted somewhere downtown.. somewhere near the coffee shops.
and as i walk to work, i make it a point to see which side he is sitting on, so i can walk on that side of the street and enjoy our friendly good-morning exchange.
and i've noticed.. well.. i attach easily to people. i attached easily to a couple of my co-workers at amelia's, who only weeks later.. left. found new jobs. -which i'll have to do too
and in life in general, sometimes there's just a little too much, easy come, easy go, for my taste.
and i'm not writing this to add pressure or guilt to my blogumnist friend, squidmann (but if you do that for me.. i wouldn't stop you:
i'm writing this just to share the point.. because for the past several years i've also woken up so looking forward to reading his posts
and in the absense of a new one, or even an old one today.. a best of..
i find myself with an even greater appreciation for my friend gene.