Wednesday, February 29, 2012


According to legend (or history or science, depending on how you do this), when the extra days (dias nefastos -- or nemontemi) numbered five, then the Aztecs would have a fuego nuevo...

we have a leap year every four rather than waiting for the five to pile up.  And the only legend I have heard is about this being the day that women could/should propose ... I heard, again, this morning where that was true, which country... but now I can't remember.

In any case, I wonder, if the crazy feelings people have been describing to me lately don't have something to do with this dia nefasto we are experiencing today...

Try to embrace the uncertainty.

fuego nuevo foto from here.
calendario from here.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


I have drafts ... at least four ... but none are finished.

And it's snowing and I haven't finished any of my work for today or the rest of the week.

So, here is a picture and some stories.  Enjoy

Been to about half of these sights.
Dog trouble for Ellen ... how do these dog stories fit into her image? I am particularly interested in the "take it down" order given that this was Ellen's strategy to get on O...hmmm...
RIP Jan Berenstain, you and Stan gave us a lovely bear family to love -- that will endure.

Monday, February 27, 2012

just because...

(Casey Christie, Bakersfield Californian / February 4, 2012)
Get ready to deal with super cuteness, here it is: the kit foxes will always have Bakersfield!  They are super cute, but this story also demonstrates that what's not good for us is certainly not good for them.

Here's a totally unrelated story about non-citizen veterans who are being threatened with deportation.  My favorite part of the story is when the others who were already deported join the protest on the other side of the border. I am picturing it.

I am sorry that this place is in jeopardy, but I wish it weren't closing down because I would be putting it on my list of stops for the next time I drive home ... I was trying to figure out when that would be ... and I just don't know....

I enjoyed reading this one... posting in its entirety because the links to these always "break"

Writer's Family Tree Shows Immigration's Human Side

Winthrop Quigley /Albuquerque Journal WriterStaff/Published:  2/21/12 
 I'm the first to admit it. I have a really stupid name. There is a reason, of course.
The Quigleys originate in County Mayo, in the west of Ireland. Quigley is an anglicized version of a Gaelic name. My branch of the family seems to have arrived in the United States, as so many Irish did, in the 1840s. I assume they immigrated legally, but I really don't know.
The Irish owned less than 5 percent of the land in Ireland at that time. The rest was held by English landlords and absentee owners. That made the Irish some of the most impoverished people on earth. Their diet consisted of potatoes and little else, because potatoes could be grown in marginal soil and are high in calories.
A blight devastated Irish potato production in 1845. Crop failures continued until 1852.
About a million Irish died of starvation and disease. Desperate people began emigrating from Ireland in enormous numbers. Between 1840 and 1880, the population of Ireland declined from 10 million to 5 million. Almost 3 million immigrants arrived in the United States from Ireland between 1846 and 1900.
The immigrants were mostly Catholic, they had no money and little education, they were willing to take any work they could find, and they spoke Gaelic or strangely accented English. The women became domestics in the homes of wealthy Americans. The men wanted land to farm, but that took capital they didn't have, so they mined coal, worked in factories, built railroads. Children worked alongside their parents.
The Irish constituted about 25 percent of Boston's population in the early 20th century, about the time my father and his two brothers were born. The immigrants and their descendants had helped elect a couple of Irish American mayors, but most of the wealth remained in the hands of white Anglo Saxon Protestants, and the Irish generally stayed in their ghettos.
My uncle was born near Boston in 1913. His parents named him John Winthrop, after another immigrant. John Winthrop was a wealthy Puritan lawyer in England, a founder of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and the leader who first described the colony as a city on a hill. Winthrop was speaking theologically, but his concept has become one of the foundational principles of the country -- that the United States should show people everywhere what they can aspire to become.
Whether my uncle got his name because his parents had great ambitions for him or because they wanted to impress their Yankee neighbors, I do not know. He dropped John early on and was always known as Winthrop. I was named Winthrop, not John, in his honor. My grandparents' hopes for my uncle were realized. He got an Ivy League education and became an executive with a New York based mining company.
It's just another immigrant story, one of millions in this country.
My father in law has an even better story. Stavros was a shepherd in Greece. The house where he was born was a pile of stones shoved against a hillside. It was heated with a fire built in the middle of the dirt floor. The floor was sloped so the animals could take shelter downhill from where the family slept. The water came from the stream at the bottom of the hill.
When Stavros turned 12 years old, about the same time my uncle was born, his parents gave him a quarter, a boat ticket and the address of a family who had immigrated to New York from their village some years earlier. They told him to send money home so they could ship the rest of the kids to America. Stavros landed at Ellis Island, entered the country legally and found his former neighbors.
His first job in New York was washing dishes in a restaurant kitchen. Eventually, Stavros owned his own restaurants, in North Dakota, of all places, and he sent enough money home to bring two of his brothers over from Greece.
I've been thinking a lot about immigrants over the past several weeks, as our Legislature wrestled with the question of continuing to issue driver's licenses to people who are in this country illegally. I know I should try to hone some economically cogent argument on one side of the issue or the other, but I can't. Whenever I try, I think of my grandparents and Stavros and all the other immigrants and children of immigrants I know.
I think of my Leadership New Mexico classmate, Farok, who emigrated from Malaysia and became an executive with Washington TRU Solutions.
I think of Jesus, who went to university in Mexico for a year until the money ran out. He runs a stable for 20 horses in the Rio Grande Valley and never takes a day off unless it is to help out on his family's ranch near Chihuahua. The stable's owner emigrated from Wales.
I think of Suny, whose family fled Vietnam after the war. She's a dental hygienist.
Most of us know some variation of these stories from our own family lore.
I get that at its most thoughtful the immigration debate is about fairness, rule of law and national security. I just can't separate humanity from policy when it comes to immigration. With so many lives at stake, I hope our state and federal leaders can't either.
UpFront is a daily front page news and opinion column. Comment directly to Winthrop Quigley at
This article appeared on page A1 of the Albuquerque Journal

Saturday, February 25, 2012


Here is the last installment on Steve Lopez's father. 

May he rest in peace.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Self Care, part 762

I can't say that I finally really gave into the sickness, but I did go to the doctor -- and finally get some medicine that might help. MIGHT.

I did not go to one class this week ... though I did do most of the work for all of them...

But, I did go to work every day, and that might have been my least smart move.  Mostly, the folks at work don't care if I am running myself into the ground... and technically I am here for my classes not for work.

That's as far as I got, though, in terms of taking it easy and taking care of myself.

Read these two incredibly strong ladies while I was RESTING Thursday afternoon ... I am trying to let their stories sink in ... and trying to find the strength to really HEAR what they are saying about taking care of oneself.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Poetry Thursday ... finding commonality

Ok... so technically, not a poem either, but I only knew it as a poem when I fell in love with it.

I was talking (rapturously) about F. Scott Fitzgerald and Hemingway the other day ... in a way I haven't talked about literature in a very long time ... and so, this came to mind. It is in fact the epigram for a favorite Hemingway...I am thinking I might find in my past the leisure reading for this summer.  The original is here.
No man is an iland,
Intire of it selfe;
Every man is a peece of the Continent,
A part of the maine;
If a clod bee washed away by the sea,
Europe is the lesse,
As well as if a Promontorie were.
As well as if a Mannor of thy friends
Or of thine own were;
Any mans death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in Mankinde;
And therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee. 
John Donne
Meditation 17
These famous words by John Donne were not originally written as a poem - the passage is taken from the 1624 Meditation 17, from Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions and is prose. The words of the original passage are as follows:

Devotions upon Emergent Occasions
"No man is an iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee...." 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

family stories on making choices

I was just talking the other day about how little attention the good work of hospice is given.   I forgot that Steve Lopez has been doing a series on death and dying -- and the choices that families have to make.  In essence, he has been sharing his family's story, but he has also been talking to professionals and other families as well.  These articles are often hard to read -- I can only imagine how hard it was to write.  In any case, the latest installment as he waits with his siblings and mom at his dad's side for death to take him.

Here's another well done story on the decisions families have to make. In this case, families and close knit communities have to decide on whether or not to let the fracking happen in their backyards, literally.  The reporter, Neela Banerjee, does a fantastic job of portraying all of the sides -- though there is some special care with the 16-year-old who dreams of being a dairy farmer.  Well worth the read!

One more that I have to share in its entirety because the link won't last:  about families, or what is left of them, having to decide to leave their homes in order to live.  These are dangerous and complicated times -- or have they always been?

Asylum Seeker Lost 6 Relatives to Violence 

ABQnews Staff/Albuquerque Journal/Published: Feb 8, 2012

U.S. immigration authorities have granted political asylum to Saul Reyes Salazar, who has had six members of his family of Mexican activists die from violence in that country, the El Paso Times reported.Reyes Salazar was granted asylum by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services three weeks ago, but he waited to announce the action until Tuesday the first anniversary of the kidnapping of one of his sisters, Maria Magdalena, who was found dead several days later, the Times said.
"Now that we have this documentation, we're going to re establish our lives, look for a new future, open a bakery," Reyes Salazar told the Times by phone from California on Tuesday. "But we're not going to forget our siblings' fight for human rights in Mexico. We will not stop seeking peace and justice in Mexico so others don't have to go through what we have."
Reyes Salazar is the most recent Mexican activist to receive political asylum, the Times said.
In the past four months, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has granted asylum to Mexican journalist Alejandro Hernandez Pacheco, activist Cipriana Jurado and slain activist Marisela Escobedo's daughter in law Monica Arias, the paper reported.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

you know you've had a fever...

...when you realize that you paid the wrong credit card company this month ...

I guess you also know that your schedule does not leave room for breathing or thinking.

Usually, I check my accounts daily.  In fact, I did check it the other day ... and the other credit card company sent me a message that I had a credit on the account.  I was too sick, still, or too busy for it to register that it was the wrong credit card talking to me.

All is not lost ... the back up credit card is now ready to use, should I have an emergency, like needing a brain transplant.  The credit is being transferred back to my bank account ... and unaccountably, I happen to have the extra cash in my savings account to actually pay the credit card I owed in the first place.

That credit card was sweet enough to reverse the late fee that was already assessed to my account.

That was the end to my long ass boot camp Monday ... Tuesday's gotta be better, right?

At least the weather people are telling me that it won't snow on my trip to Gallup.

I hope you all have a lovely Tuesday... I am planning on keeping my head above water.

Monday, February 20, 2012


I went to Best Buy Saturday evening to buy a router and a coffee maker ... things that I needed immediately, otherwise, I would have ordered them online ... the experience was less than pleasant.  I try to avoid such big box stores precisely because I have NEVER had a pleasant experience in one. I find them too big, too hard to navigate and their staff less than helpful -- unless you express a desire in buying something outrageously expensive.  I guess I don't really know that they would be helpful in that instance from personal experience, but I do know some people who have bought big ticket items and had pleasant things to say about the customer service.

I am inclined at this moment to call it customer dis-service... My friend suggested I write the company a little note, so I did.

I don't imagine that they will respond... and/or if they do that they will do anything to make me want to venture back into their store.

Please note that the title of this post is bitter, so it should not be expected to be more than a rant.

Here is what I sent them, I will let you know what they respond, if they respond.

I remembered last night why I don't usually shop in your store -- the utter lack of customer service.
Let me draw you a picture.  There is a person stationed at the door -- apparently not to be helpful.  I asked him where I could find a router -- perhaps I should have been less specific.  He pointed me to the home theater section.  I thought it odd, but he works there, and is stationed right at the door -- theoretically he wouldn't just make something up.

I asked because I didn't want to wander around the store. I had two items to get and not a lot of time ... if I could have waited, I would have ordered them online from some other company.

I went back to the home theater area, and there were no routers.  There were seemingly 20 people on the floor, wearing blue shirts, designating that they work at Best Buy, so I tried to get some help from one.  Two young men were taking down a display ... that is they were not helping any other customers.  They knew where the routers were, but were too involved in taking down the display to want to show me where they were.  One pointed vaguely towards another section of the store, in the direction from which I had come.  I insisted that he be more precise and he moved ten steps and pointed again.  I explained that I wanted precise directions because I had already been sent to the wrong part of the store. He pointed. I gave up and tried to follow the pointing finger.   
I found the routers, but the one that I had seen online for $29.99 seemed to be $32.99 in the store. I picked it up and tried to get some help from someone in the GeekSquad.  I think perhaps the name should be subtitled: condescension is us.  Every question I asked received the most condescending and unhelpful response.  I figured out at long last that he had NO familiarity with the website or with any stock Best Buy carries that is not top of the line as he told me over and over that the unit I was asking about was basic, cheap and insignificant.  At no time did he ask me what I needed said router for in order to help me decide if this cheap, basic and insignificant router might be the one that would be most useful.  It is, by the way, not that anyone in the GeekSquad would care.  
As I write this, I sincerely hope that you care because in an economic recession where jobs and extra money for gadgets are scarce, one would hope that customer service might IMPROVE.  However, this was not my experience last night. 
I had one more item that I needed on an emergency basis, read I must buy it from a brick and mortar store.  I found it, on my own, I wasn't going to risk being sent on another tour of the store. 
When I returned to the check out, there were ten customers waiting and ONE checker -- this despite the fact that there were a sea of blue shirts standing around the store.
I made the mistake of asking the strategically placed unhelpful yellow-shirted young man why there weren't more checkers available.  He groused at me that someone (he named him) was on his way up.  I looked back and yes there was s young man walking slowly towards the piles of people waiting to check out. 
There was a flurry of moving around and more checkers arrived, but the priority was NEVER being of use to the customers.  The young man who walked slowly up to the register checked out one person and then had to switch registers (?!) and this caused customers to AGAIN have to switch aisles in order to spend money at your store.
I have never encountered an entire store of unhelpful salespeople who seem to detest the notion that they have to interact with people as much as those in your store on Hotel Circle in Albuquerque, NM. 
Please tell me that you do not train your employees to be this disdainful of paying customers.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

more on self care...and other odds and ends

I wasn't the only one thinking of how to take care of yourself...check out this blog.

The DailyOM shared this gem with me yesterday, but I just opened it today.  Here's a piece I particularly liked:
When we find ourselves up against that frozen barrier of thinking we cannot handle our situation, we may find that the kindest choice is to love ourselves and our resistance too. We can simply accept that we are overwhelmed, exhausted, and stretched, and we can offer ourselves loving kindness and compassion. If we can extend to ourselves the unconditional warmth of a mother’s love, before we know it, the ice will begin to break.
 This was a hard story to read, but I super appreciated the way this woman has lived up to her vow ... after sifting through the professor's belongings last year and seeing how his wife left him, I have been wondering what commitment should look like. 

I have to share this story in its entirety because I don't know how long the link will survive ... this is the kind of story that movies are made of -- though, the end of the story is not yet known:

Making the Family Connection

Joline Gutierrez Krueger /Albuquerque Journal/Published:February 2012 In December, J. Michael Blair, 67, told his story what he knew of it about how as a toddler he was abandoned in a random car in Gallup in 1945 and adopted by parents who thought better of sharing this significant detail with him.
A family friend disclosed the secret to Blair when he was in his 40s, shaking everything he thought he had known about himself. As promised, he waited until his adoptive parents' deaths before searching for his birth parents, who had left him with little more than blank spaces and a silver bracelet with the name "Elija" engraved on it.
Virginia Buckmelter, a 61 year old Albuquerque woman, read that story at the urging of her sister, who had seen the photo of Blair as a toddler in the Journal and thought it was Buckmelter.
"I didn't see the resemblance, but she insisted Mike's picture was me," she said.
It was not the photo that prompted her to write me, but Blair's story. She knew that story. Because it was also her story.
Buckmelter had always known she was adopted, scooped up and saved by her adopted parents from a vehicle on a Gallup roadside.
Or so she had been told.
I put her in touch with Blair, who lives near Astoria, Ore., with his wife, Brenda.
Buckmelter and Blair say they felt an instant connection, as if they had known each other for years.
They began speaking by phone almost daily. Their conversations inspired Buckmelter to have her own adoption files opened. She and Blair also decided to submit to a DNA siblingship test.
And this, folks, is where the story takes a curious turn.
"I've never had a case like this," said Ann House of New Mexico Adoption Search, who had suggested Blair contact me after her records investigation turned up nearly nothing. "I've done some 1,500 cases over the last 25 years, and nothing compares to this one."
According to the DNA analysis performed last month by Genetic Testing Laboratories in Las Cruces, there's a more than 70 percent chance that Blair and Buckmelter are half siblings.
"It was like wow, holy cow," Buckmelter said. "I use the word 'overwhelmed' a lot. And 'happy.' "
Blair prefers the word "great."
The surprises were not over.
Through her adoption records, Buckmelter learned that the story she had shared with Blair of being a baby abandoned in a Gallup car, the story she had believed for years, the story that had ultimately brought her together with the brother she had never known, was simply untrue.
Records show she was not abandoned in a car but turned over to her adoptive parents in July 1950 when she was 2 weeks old with the consent of her birth parents and the assistance of a Gallup minister.
Her birth father was Paul Meador, a tall, fidgety man with unspecified "psychological problems" from Pomona, Calif., who played drums at a local nightclub.
Her mother, who is never named in the records, was about 19, a singer in the band intent on giving up her baby quickly. She had been adopted herself.
Buckmelter's records held another surprise: There were more siblings.
The records list an 11 month old girl, Meador's child from a previous marriage, who was residing with the Meadors in a Gallup motel named Constants Court. An additional child from that previous marriage was given up for adoption, likely in California.
Mrs. Meador had also previously given birth to a girl who was being raised by Mrs. Meador's adopted parents in Long Beach, Calif.
With House's guidance, Buckmelter and Blair started digging for more information about their unexpected ancestry (it is not yet known which parent is common to both Buckmelter and Blair).
Through their efforts, they have learned that Mrs. Meador, the singer in Gallup, was Serelda Jeannette King, a young woman with an apparent fondness for sailors, getting pregnant then getting rid of her babies. Had she given birth to Mike, she would have been about 15.
She was married at least three times to a young Navy seaman named William D. Bryan in 1947; then to Paul, also a Navy seaman; then to Benny B. Benjamin in 1965. According to records, she moved often.
Serelda's first child on record was Natalie, the child believed to have been raised by Serelda's adoptive mother, Pearl King, and her husband in California.
Then came Rebecca, born in the fall of 1947.
Sometime in 1948 or 1949, another child was born.
Buckmelter came next in 1950.
Serelda kept none of them.
The one she did keep, it appears, was her last child, Paula Dee Meador, born in September 1951. Paula at different times used the last names of Lowder or Jabbora. She bore at least two sons, but as her mother and mother's mother before her, gave up both. She died last September.
Blair and Buckmelter do not know what happened to Serelda, or whether she is still alive.
Paul Meador had several marriages as well: Dorothy Mae Nero in 1947; then Serelda; then Billie Darlene Beaudoin in 1957; and a woman named Jessie Miles in 1967.
Meador died in 2000 and was buried in Walterville, Ore., not far from where Blair grew up with his adoptive parents.
"There's a lot of coincidences like that," Blair said. "Our paths have crossed several times."
The most serendipitous and fortuitous, of course, is when Blair met Buckmelter. They are brother and sister now, family, friends, connected in a way they had only imagined.
"When you are adopted, you fantasize about the kind of people you came from," Buckmelter said. "I think personally we got kind of lucky."
To which Blair added: "Very, very lucky."

UpFront is a daily front page news and opinion column. Comment directly to Joline Gutierrez Krueger at 823 3603, jkrueger@ or follow her on Twitter @jolinegkg. Go to www. to submit a letter to the editor.
This article appeared on page A1 of the Albuquerque Journal

Friday, February 17, 2012

Self Care

We (as in people) should come with magic care and feeding instructions. Magic in the sense that when you open said instructions, magically they would pertain to your particular needs at the given moment.

Alas, we do not.

So we do our best to care and feed ourselves (and others) with the knowledge we have - be it intuition, trial/error, or other.

Sometimes we succeed and others not so much.

For the past year, I have been attending to my heart and soul by writing myself love letters. At other times, I have practiced mantras in the mirror; set goals and rewarded myself for reaching them; developed personal metta statements and recited them as needed; read with care the DailyOm.

And so much more...

Yet, I feel at times that I am back where I started... or two steps behind.

DailyOm said this sometime in the past, but I only read it today:
"Quelling your urge to rush will enable you to witness yourself learning, changing, and becoming stronger. There is so much to see and do in between the events and processes that we deem definitive. If you are patient enough to take pleasure in your existence's unfolding, the journey from one pinnacle to the next will seem to take no time at all."
 I am trying to hear it, accept it and assimilate it.

Here is a story about faith and sacrifice and community.  And HOPE, since we all need a little hope.  Happy Friday...

[photo credits:  me, fancy camera, clouds in Grants, 2011; church in Santa Fe, May 2011 -- unrelated to the story but pretty.]

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Poetry Thursday

An old favorite...
It Was a Beauty That I Saw

It was a beauty that I saw,
So pure, so perfect, as the frame
Of all the universe was lame
To that one figure, could I draw
Or give least line of it a law.
A skein of silk without a knot,
A fair march made without a halt,
A curious form without a fault,
A printed book without a blot:
All beauty, and without a spot!

Ben Jonson

[Photo credits: me, fancy camera, outside my back door, 2011]

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ratios and Demographics

Am I crazy or is it true that more men than women come to the sb to do work, alone?

Students don't comprise this subset. So there are often women alone and in groups at sb. But the "do work not at the office" crowd seems to be overwhelmingly male.

Why should that be the case? Or is it just this sb and just that one day?

I don't have the energy to write more ... Gallup was fun on Tuesday, but it snowed pretty continuously from 10am, and I got on the road in what felt like driving snow... and 60 miles later it turned into hail before it turned to rain before it cleared up.

So, I am exhausted...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

For V Day

For a while, I have been thinking about how our consciousness has shifted when it comes to unrequited love/lust/attraction and the actions it may cause.

For instance, let's consider the word stalker. Remember when someone who monitored your movements in order to "casually" run into you somewhere or leave a note on your car was an admirer. Now, he or she is a stalker. Technically, of course, the person may be considered a stalker, but we didn't ALWAYS think that was creepy. It could be cute. It could be annoying. But we didn't necessarily fear for our lives when someone left us an overly friendly note.

Is there no room for the secret admirer?

To be sure there are stalkers and there always were stalkers. In part our romantic view of the phenomenon is what caused law enforcement to be so slow to act in too many cases, thus, perhaps causing the pendulum to swing in the opposite direction.

On my long rides to Gallup, I listen to the iPod and I have time to ponder the lyrics of songs. It is fascinating just how many songs could be construed as STALKER SONGS. I am putting just a few in here to ruin your Valentine's Day -- or to help you feel righteously vindicated for not celebrating the Hallmark holiday.

Here's another ... what's most interesting to me is that they are all sweet, loving and then there is some piece of them that turns toward objectionable. I find this in most love songs... perhaps it is just the bitterness taking over. But pretty melodies cannot hide the STALKER tendencies in some of these songs.

What do you think?? [I mean besides the odd not matching actions with sound of the last video -- but it is eerily creepy, so it fits, too.]

Happy Valentine's Day

Monday, February 13, 2012

crooning in heaven

I was sitting in a packed coffee house Saturday evening, waiting for a friend to read from her latest poetry, when I overheard a woman say, "Whitney Houston died."

I was sure that I had misheard her ... after all, there were so many people in that place and so much noise as people milled around.

When I got in the car, I scanned the radio to see if anyone was playing Whitney songs ... you know, the tribute set is the surest sign of a singer's passing.

I found one song, not a favorite, but I had to get out of the car before I could hear anyone confirm or deny.

I thought immediately of my little sister who loves Whitney the way that I love Sade.

Truth be told, though, 1985 was my year of Whitney and Sade. I think I wore out copies of both their cassettes (yes, cassettes) while I was in Spain.

On my iPod now, near the end of the play list, right before Etta James, are my all time favorite Whitney songs.

I have to be in just the right mood, whether hurt or nostalgic or brave or vulnerable... there are any number of cases when one just needs to hear a Whitney Houston song.  [My friend, Gerard, will excuse me if I still love me some Whitney even though she didn't write her own songs.] 

I keep them at the end because I don't always have the strength for them... Having them at the end means I can get to them when I need to, but they won't spring up before I can muster the proper amount of emotional strength.

So, here is my tribute set.  May she rest in peace.  May her family find solace in the promise of that peace.

Remember when we held on ...

I may never recover from that cold November day...

Probably best not to count the tear drops...

this one will always break my heart

It's really hard to choose one all time favorite, but I am going to have to go with this one:

Friday, February 10, 2012

tired, time, trashed

I was explaining to a friend tonight what my schedule has been like for the past five weeks; how that contributed to my being so sick for the past 10 days ... yes, 10 fucking days; and also explaining why I haven't called to thank her for the super thoughtful birthday gift that she sent so that it would arrive exactly on my birthday.

The final analysis of that conversation ... I don't have time.  I am taking a moment, just now, to have a glass of wine, and a piece of cheese, and some crackers that my TJ crush recommended... but, really, there are at least four projects I should be working on.

I am tired... and I have no time to be tired, or to get rest, frankly...

I just don't have time.

I might get some, but, as I talked with my friend, we worked through when I might have time, and it was June...

If I had time ... I would take some time to think about how I feel and write like this.  Or I would try to...

I wish that the folks whose blogs I read were not going through these tough times, but I still admire their ability to share how they feel.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Quote Thursday

I don't have time to find a poem so I am swiping, I mean sharing, a quote from the passion journal. It feels like just the right amount of sincerity and irony for the day. Hope you like it ...and can visualize Alice's quizzical look.

"Be who you are,"
said the Duchess to Alice,
"or, if you would like
it put more simply,
never try to be what
you might have been
or could have been
other than what
you should have been."

Lewis Carroll

Photo credits: me, fancy camera, Santa Fe, May 2011... unrelated to post, but pretty?

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

seen at sb

picture this:

about 4
scraggly blond hair
green shirt
tights but no pants
cowboy boots

... now that's living...

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

mish mash and swiss cheese

I am still recovering from the terrible cold that tried to ruin my birthday ... there were other actors in the mix trying to make my life hell, but let's just stick with the cold as the biggest culprit.

Here are a few tidbits I am thinking about ...

1) thinking about reading this book. If you want to know more, check out this interview.  If you still need convincing, read an excerpt here.

2) I am just not sure how replacing the entire staff while continuing to pay the original staff will help the parents feel like the district cares... it just makes the district seem oddly reactionary since they never seemed to notice the problem before... ??

3) this is what I am thinking about when I should be reading... actually, I have yet to get behind on my reading or writing assignments, teeny tiny pat on the back.

4) if you have never listened in on the barbershop (Tell Me More), then you should... I love these guys.

Not sure how I am going to get to all the blog writing I have to do this week... stay tuned.

Monday, February 06, 2012

A Great Lady

There are times when you say, I don't want to live in a world without so-and-so.  For me, those times are few and far between.  Partly because I enjoy most people.  That is, I am able to find even annoying people entertaining. Also, it is because I often meet people who I know briefly but come to admire quickly.  I don't necessarily know the world with or without them in it ... so, I enjoy their presence and the gifts their presence brings without attachment.

Then there are people whose spirit inspires me to believe that the world is a different (better) place because they are in it.

A couple of weeks ago, one of those people left this world.  She was, indeed, a great lady.

There was something comforting about knowing that she was in this world -- that I knew her, and that her light could be shared by others.

I was attached to Betty in a series of ways ... I went to middle school with her granddaughter ... and her son married one of my cousins.  He has been part of my life for so long that I don't really remember when he wasn't my cousin.  As a result of these two connections, I knew her daughter and other grandchildren as well as my second cousins and now their children.  She and her husband also attended the same church as my family.  We were often at the same mass, and even then, it was comforting to look over and see Jim and Betty in their regular pew on the Virgin Mary side of the church.

I didn't know then that she wasn't Catholic but went to mass with her husband because it was an important part of his religious experience.  You could see and feel the love between them ... and when he passed, I worried so much about her.  But, she was such a strong woman, her love just went on without him being here.  It is some solace to know that they are together again ... though we are left without them.

I see parts of her (and Jim) in my cousin's husband (her son) and their children... it is not surprising that one of her legacies would be that she left the world with little glittering pieces of her soul in the persons of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Her family (it's hard for me not to consider myself part of it) wrote a beautiful remembrance for her.  I am sorry to be so far away that I couldn't be at the celebration of her life ... it was not for lack of love or appreciation for her.  I am only sorry that I hadn't seen her in so long. I am sure my belief that she knew that my love for her never wavered. And... I was a recipient of her lovely thank you cards as mentioned below... treasures.

Here's what they wrote.

Betty June McGarry (1924 - 2012)

How do you write the story of a life? How is it possible to put into words the minutes, the seasons, the years? How do we capture the friendships we forged, the hands we held, the late-night kitchen conversations, the side-splitting laughter, the sunrise we'll never forget? When the end comes, those who remain do their best to put into words the essence of that life. But our words are usually hopelessly inadequate to the task - especially when the person being written about lived the kind of life that Betty June McGarry did.
Betty June "Nana" McGarry was born June 9, 1924, in Adel, Iowa, to Edith Dole (Andrews) and Dewey Beason. Two years later the Beasons moved to California and Betty's brother Richard ("Dickie") was born. Over the next dozen years the family moved more than 20 times as Dewey looked for work during the Great Depression, finally settling down long enough for Betty June to attend Ventura High School, from which she was graduated in 1942.

While World War Two raged in Europe, mutual friends set Betty up on a blind date with James ("Jim") McGarry, who was out of the Army on a medical discharge. Betty and Jim spent the night dancing and that, as they say, was that. They fell madly in love and married 1946. A year later daughter Julie (Callahan) was born, followed in 1952 by son Michael. The McGarry's lived in Oxnard for more than 60 years, raising their family and watching that family grow and expand over the years to include not only their own children but six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

They attended St. Anthony's and Santa Clara churches and were active members of Elks Lodge 1443, where Jim was Exalted Ruler from 1996 to 1997. Betty June will be remembered for many things, but the love and devotion she had for her family is chief among them.

She had the unique ability to make everyone in her life feel as if they were her very best friend and she championed the dreams of her loved ones as fiercely as if they were her own. Betty had an infectious curiosity about the world around her and never stopped learning, even going back to finish her college degree at the age of 58. She played gin with a vengeance and was a ruthless cheat (those who played cards with her learned to never let her keep score). She caught a 500-pound marlin off the coast of Baja. She laughed deeply and often. She was passionate about travel and was happy to drop anything, anytime, to take a trip just about anywhere.

Before the car accident that ultimately claimed her life, she was planning a trip to Israel and had even joined a gym to ensure she would be ready for the physical rigors of the trip. Even at age 87 there was no slowing her down. In fact the only thing she ever slowed down for was giving thanks. In this ever-hurried world of instant gratification, Betty never ceased to take a moment to write thank-you notes. She sent thank you cards for gifts, for visits, for dinners.

She sent thank you cards for big gestures and small kindnesses. If you knew her longer than five minutes, there was a high probability that a thank you note would be on its way soon. And yet it is we who are thankful. We are thankful for her indomitable spirit, for her grace, for her sense of humor, for the passion with which she lived her life. And we are so very thankful to have been able to call her mother, Nana and Nana Betty. Betty June McGarry is survived by her daughter, Julie; son, Michael and daughter-in-law Margie; grandchildren, Patrick (Kelly), Dawn, Alison, Silvina (Gilberto), James, Joseph; and great-grandchildren, Connor, Chase, Chet, George, Christian, Mercer and Hudson.

In lieu of flowers, a donation in Betty's honor may be made to your favorite youth organization or church.

Friday, February 03, 2012

California Dreaming

By now, my dreaming will have become reality.

And if the weather people are accurately predicting then I am in for beach weather. [They vacillate between 70s and overcast and 60s and sunny -- either can be beach weather if you are in the right frame of mind.]

I miss living in SoCal in February the most ... when it is not raining that is. Gorgeous weather, strawberries ripening - cold every else.

May your weekend be sunny.

---------UPDATE (Thursday evening)
Once again the universe has decided to throw me a curve ball.  So, instead of already being in sunny California when you read this, I will still be in COLD Albuquerque with my fingers crossed that nothing else stops me from getting out of here...

I am dreadfully close to believing that what I should do is not HOPE or say aloud what I want because then the universe says, no, no, no...

I recognize that in the grand scheme of things being sick, working from 6am to 7pm on your birthday with no breaks, and having your flight canceled are not the worst things in the world... but, I also don't have the energy to pull from this shitty day any life lesson.

I am tired and sick and the fever is back and Phil saw his shadow, so six more weeks of winter... and it feels like I can't catch a break ... ugh.

[Photo credit: me, fancy camera ... a gloomy June day that didn't dampen these folks and their beach day ... I am counting on 70+ degree weather and SUN... but will be happy with 70+ and overcast! From the train: June/July 2010]

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Porque es mi cumpleanos...

Este regalito para mi; seguro ya lo he compartido alguna vez, pero el jueves de la poesia no siempre cae en el cumple -- es mi dia... guste o no te guste... pero como no te puede gustar Pablo Neruda?

No te amo como si fueras rosa de sal, topacio
o flecha de claveles que propagan el fuego:
te amo como se aman ciertas cosas oscuras,
secretamente, entre la sombra y el alma.
Te amo como la planta que no florece y lleva
dentro de sí, escondida, la luz de aquellas flores,
y gracias a tu amor vive oscuro en mi cuerpo
el apretado aroma que ascendió de la tierra.
Te amo sin saber cómo, ni cuándo, ni de dónde,
te amo directamente sin problemas ni orgullo:
así te amo porque no sé amar de otra manera,
sino así de este modo en que no soy ni eres,
tan cerca que tu mano sobre mi pecho es mía,
tan cerca que se cierran tus ojos con mi sueño.
El original -- espero que no sea estropeado por los accentos. Abajo una traduccion...

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way
in which there is no I or you
so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand
so intimate that when you fall asleep it is my eyes that close

Original de esta pagina...
y traduccion de esta pagina.
[Photo credits: me, fancy camera, summer 2010 -- above from the train, a beach, below, Mount Shasta from the road]

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mom

Here are a bunch of pictures of my mom ... and us ... sort of in chronological order.
These are all photos before I was part of my mom's world
And I am ... and we are all celebrating our birthdays together.

With her latest pride and joy ... my mom loves babies...

And one more with me to round it out ... oh, and my dad and little sis...
It took me a long time to figure out how to be compassionate with my mom and love her just the way she is... but it was worth the journey.

Happy Birthday, Mom...