Thursday, June 30, 2016

From Daily OM...

Sometimes the DailyOm just knows what is going on ... here is one we can all remember... or try to.

When offering comfort to somebody, their only real need is to have you be in the present moment with them.

Sometimes it is difficult to see someone we love struggling, in pain, or hurting. When this happens, we might feel like we need to be proactive and do something to ease their troubles. While others may want our help, it is important to keep in mind that we need to be sensitive to what they truly want in the moment, since it can be all too easy to get carried away and say or do more than is really needed. Allowing ourselves to let go and simply exist in the present with another person may actually provide a greater amount of comfort and support than we could ever imagine.

Perhaps we can think back to a time when we were upset and needed a kind word, hug, or listening ear from someone else. As we remember these times, we might think of the gestures of kindness that were the most healing. It may have been gentle words such as “I care about you,” or the soothing presence of someone holding us and not expecting anything that were the most consoling. When we are able to go back to these times it becomes easier for us to keep in mind that giving advice or saying more than is really necessary is not always reassuring. What is truly comforting for another is not having someone try to fix them or their problems, but to just be there for them. Should we begin to feel the urge arise to offer advice or repair a situation, we can take a few deep breaths, let the impulse pass, and bring our attention back to the present. Even though we may want to do more, we do not have to do anything other than this to be a good friend.

The more we are attuned to what our loved ones are feeling, the more capable we are of truly giving what is best for them in their hour of need. Keeping things simple helps us give the part of ourselves that is capable of the greatest amount of compassion—open ears and an understanding heart. 

printable version here

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


Scenes from a day out with the Tias.
Since it was one of my Tias birthday...and the other Tias just happened to be be in town. I took them to the Chumash casino for the day ... well, we got a late start because I had to work.  And then we stopped in Solvang -- where we had Mexican food at a restaurant called La Sirenita.  I know... ironic, but that's California for you.  And it was super tasty.  They had secret super hot salsa in the back which they shared... and the Tias were pleased.  It was tasty.
After only a few hours at the casino, we went to another restaurant where we decided to eat tapas style.  And everything was awesome.  The restaurant is owned by my sister's former housemate.  The restaurant was packed, so happy he is successful!

After wanting a good dessert, this one hit the spot... flourless chocolate cake which was more like a mousse.  More than tasty!

Monday, June 27, 2016

laugh or cry ....

So, there are days (sadly too many days lately) when I am not sure whether I should laugh or cry.

Sometimes I do both.

Just as a for instance, I give you this.

I went for a run today (hooray), and I was feeling particularly accomplished having made it three whole miles.

I rounded the corner and saw my father's truck still in front of the house.  He had told me he was about to leave when I set out.  When I saw his face, I knew there was something wrong.

He said a guy had come to the house and told my dad that his iphone was in our house.

I can feel my eyebrow raise in response even as I type it.

I knew that my dad had fallen for the scam, whatever it was, and was now really feeling like there was something terribly wrong.

Before we get too far, I will say, so far, it is ok... no one is hurt, nothing was taken, just bruised egos.

The long and the short is that the guy tried to do something with my dad's phone ... not quite sure.  The only thing I could find amiss was that the personal hotspot was turned on and some wild password entered.

After consulting GOOGLE, the police and a good friend who knows much more than I do about anything technological, I backed up the phone, wiped it and restored it with a back up ... after I wiped that hotspot password out of the phone.

I scolded my father about giving out personal information, guided him through a more prudent decision making process when faced with this kind of situation, and finally asked him, why would he believe this person.

The look on his face at the end of this nearly drove me to tears.  He looked scared and confused and teary-eyed when he said, "I don't know."

When I explained the danger of giving out information and potentially letting in people with these kinds of stories, he looked at me, woefully, and said, "I think that guy is working for the FBI or the CIA."

I did not laugh.

But I really wanted to ... and then I wanted to cry again.

He was very serious.  I expected a chuckle... but he was serious.

He was also over his fear... on to the next adventure secure in the belief that I could fix any problem.  Wait, where is my magic wand?

All of it made me want to cry ... but I didn't have the time or the emotional energy to be sad.  So, I laughed... especially at the FBI/CIA connection.

Mondays are hard sometimes...

Friday, June 24, 2016

NRU in my dreams

still no time to read, but wish I could read these ... these are really old btw
Monica Lewinsky
Guy who created Mad Men talks about being a creative person and pitfalls
provocative title who knows if there is substance: Inside America's Auschwitz
Korean parents taking over their children's Tinder

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Poetry Thursday -- still Rumi

Do not worry 
if all the candles 
in the world 
flicker and die. 
We have 
the spark 
that starts 
the fire.
 ~ Rumi

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


This is post 2000 -- I don't have the emotional energy to make it a real post ... instead a few photos from my stay in Gilroy....

So you know, I actually published this post early on Wednesday (6/15/16) when I was wallowing in helplessness... hmmmmm

Monday, June 20, 2016


 I am learning to "talk" in hashtags... this one keeps me going in dark days

Friday, June 17, 2016

finding hope

Usually, on a Friday, I try to post some articles... but I just switched that super lean post to next Friday.

Right now it is nearly Thursday (6/16), and I have just finished a marathon day of listening to the Democratic filibuster (why doesn't it have two l's?) while I worked on several projects.

I am a news nerd, well, just nerd in general, so it is not surprising that given the opportunity, I might tune into just this kind of thing.  At various points in the 13 hours I watched/listened, I also listened to other shows.

But, I felt I needed to stay with Chris Murphy and his crew, not only out of solidarity for the cause, but because they were doing it right. I knew that the chamber they were standing in was empty but for those talking or waiting to talk.  I needed to be their witness.

Witnessing is so very important.

And this is a cause that pulls on my heart like many others do not.

I had nightmares, as a teacher, of having gun violence in my work place ... long before Columbine.

I remember the day Columbine happened.  For some reason, I was home from school that day, maybe it was our spring break.  It was the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, and that was bad enough.  But it was a school. And no matter the compassion I have for Dylan and Eric, my heart breaks for the survivors (including the families of the casualties).

Years later, I was colleagues with someone whose mother was the crisis liaison for the schools.  The story of what her mother went through was just as devastating all those years later when we spoke about it.

I marched with the Million Moms in DC.  But we couldn't, for some reason, sustain the effort.
Long before I knew what personal tragedy felt like, I was already mourning deeply the loss of people to this kind of massacre.

Each one of these tragedies tears at my soul in almost as deep a way as the loss of my siblings and my dear Sergio have.  It seems impossible that these people who I do not know, who I will never know, reach me at this level.  But, obviously, it is much bigger than just crazy empathy.

I won't lie... I feel as deeply for those who perpetrate these crimes.  Their need, their pain is more than palpable. But like the child molesters, no pain or injury can justify hurting others.

The bottom line is the pain/grief is almost crippling for me.
This time, I felt that same urge Chris Murphy did ... before the day had ended on Sunday, I reached out to two women I know only through my pseudonym on fb to start something.  We have already planned a strategy meeting for next week ... we have already started a fb page for organizing.

And then, this filibuster.

I think I learned more about hashtags today than I might need to know.  I might be a master hashtagger now... something I thought I would never truly understand.

Indirectly, this will help me with all the other work endeavors I undertake.

Then, one of those women suggested I tune in to CSPAN and Chris Murphy's filibuster.

I didn't get excited, just interested.

I felt the need to stay.

It wasn't until we were rounding the 12th hour together and I was working the hashtags as hard as I could that hope started to creep in.

Let's be clear, it doesn't feel good exactly... it just feels the tiniest bit lighter to have hope... being hopeless is like living at the bottom of the well.  I have pledged not to be there anymore for any length of time, let alone live there.  So, I needed hope. I craved hope.

And in the working of the hashtags and the finding community with people I don't know -- people I may not have very much in common with, I found hope.

And it is sustaining me tonight -- almost euphorically.

I already have a post for tomorrow, it is Poetry Thursday after all.

So, I may have to update this next week after we have the vote... it's ok if the GOP fucks up today (THURSDAY which is actually yesterday by the time this is posted) because if they do, then we will just mobilize to get them voted out.

I am contemplating what it means that this kind of work gives me hope.

I keep dropping the red cape, and it keeps flying back on to my shoulders.

Too tired and too late to really worry about this now... tomorrow is another day.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

poetry Thursday, choose love!

Don’t search for 
heaven and hell 
in the future. 
Both are now present. 
Whenever we manage 
to love without expectations, 
calculations, negotiations, 
we are indeed in heaven. 
Whenever we fight, hate, 
we are in hell.
~ Shams Tabrizi

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Poetry Thursday

view from my sister's resting place
Unable are the loved to die
For love is immortality
~Emily Dickinson

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

irons in the fire

When it rains, it pours.

For months, I have been answering adds about studios and apartments to no avail. I couldn't even get answers to my requests.

Then this month the whole scene exploded.  I saw four places.  Two were great, perfect.  But I didn't get the job, so then I didn't know what to do...

But, now there are two very viable possibilities that don't require me to share a bathroom with a stranger.  These are two houses that friends have either just bought or are in the process of buying.  Both great options, except one is in Oakland and the other in Eureka... quite a distance apart.

And I have applied to more jobs -- and taken on two more temporary gigs.

There are a lot of irons in the fire ... and when I finally get branded, not sure at all what it will look like.

Oh, and I am talking to a psychic today because I am feeling overwhelmed by the choices...

And here is a pretty flower:

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

On grieving

"Without a wise way to grieve, we can only soldier on, armored and unfeeling, but our hearts cannot learn and grow from the sorrows of the past." From Jack Kornfield's grief meditation

There are so many things I wish I had time to write at the moment.  These photos and those words from Jack will have to suffice.

Monday, June 06, 2016

NRU ed

children teach us
USC president takes to the classroom
John King and second chances
white folks teaching in the hood
unions get a reprieve
what black and latino parents want for their kids in school
six second teacher eval
gates foundation not so great at education 

um... still having a hard time reading through all the ed stuff, but I am still keeping tabs by saving the articles.

Some I have read, but I offer them here without editorial because I just don't have the emotional energy...

Saturday, June 04, 2016


Hmmm... blogger says I have had 77,777 pageviews. 

Who is reading?

I know a few people (personally and virtually) who read or have read this blog over the years.

But, I only *know* that lots of others check in here from time to time from all over the world.

If you read here regularly, please comment -- something other than a spam -- so I know who you are, why you read, if you come back on a regular basis...etc.

Friday, June 03, 2016


Met this beauty on the wine trail in Paso Robles.
We only made one stop.  It was obviously the right one.
This guy greeted us at the parting area.  He had been following another man who though flattered started to worry about how to get away.  So we started talking to the lovely peacock.
He was interested as well as interesting. 
And he walked all the way to the tasting room with us... all tasting rooms should have this kind of usher.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Poetry Thursday, on the road... as in about not actually on it

Although the road 
is never ending, 
take a step 
and keep walking, 
do not look fearfully 
into the distance.
On this path 
let the heart 
be your guide 
for your body 
is hesitant 
and full of fear.
~ Rumi

Wednesday, June 01, 2016


I have been looking for glimmers of hope as the situations and conditions around me continue to feel challenging at best and cruel and brutal at worst.

Let's see, the latest is that I didn't get the job.  I am not going to lie, I was ambivalent about the job.  It offered a kind of stability in terms of money and benefits, but it also felt very much like it could be a terrible idea.

I worried that I would fall back into the workaholic ... caped crusader like without too much effort.

Someday that might be a good idea, but right now it doesn't seem like it.

So, I feel very much like I am back at the starting line without much to show for the last six months, or even year.  It is not as bleak as all that ... I know.  I haven't really tried all the hard to get a job or figure out where to live.  I have been hoping that magically the right job and place would make itself known as I paged through job descriptions and apartment listings.

Now that work will begin in earnest -- the one where I actually make decisions and commitments, even if they are not long term.

In the interim, I find that I have come far enough in this journey not to care about a lot of stuff.  That sounds, and sometimes feels, a little dangerous.  But what it looks like is that might parents say ridiculous things (or do ridiculous things) and rather than engage said actions or pronouncements in a logical way (that can lead to frustration or anger), I laugh at the ridiculous.

I name it in my head - ridiculous.  I see the hilarity.  And I laugh... because there is nothing I can do about it, and if I were looking at it from the outside, I would see the comedy.

So, I stood outside the crazy and laughed at it.

And then I went here:

And while I was there, I planned a sleep over at this hotel for my 50th. Stay tuned...