Friday, February 27, 2015


A friend sent me this image, in response to my post on wage equity and equality for women.  I heartily agree with the sentiment.  But, as I said, I'm a trouble maker, so there you go.

One of my better moments (read: ill-behaved) was many years ago on a backpacking trip at Mt. Lassen.

K and I had been hiking all day, weary and happy, we set up camp next to a tranquil pond in the middle of the forest.  We spent the afternoon there, basking in the sun and the stillness.  An occasional crack of branches alerted us to splendid animal specimens passing through.

One crack, however, was wholly unwelcome.  A troop of Boy Scouts was coming through, whooping and hollering, pulling dead limbs off trees and generally disturbing the entire vibe of the environment.  Tearing a gigantic hole in the space-time continuum.  It became clear, from the sound of their voices across the pond that they had decided to set up camp there.  Oh. Dear. Gawd.

We groused, we fumed.  We talked about moving our camp.  Paradise lost.  Crap.

Moved to action, I quickly stripped myself naked, stood on the bank, and plunged into the pond making as much noise as I could.  Out I came, laughing and sputtering about how cold it was but - oh - how delicious!  K was laughing his head off.  And from across the pond came the sound of male grownup voices telling the scouts to move on, to find a better camp sight.  Little voices cried out, "There's a naked lady!"  Mission accomplished.

They moved on, their disturbance echoing throughout the forest as they marched on.  I came out of the water, flopped onto a towel at the shore, and congratulated myself on one of the most brilliant problem-solving techniques ever.

Here's to being a trouble-maker.  Have a great weekend.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Monday Musings

I was going to skip the Oscar's last night, in part because I am so disgusted about the lack of people of color in the nominees.  But I did watch, and I'm glad I did.  Patricia Arquette's impassioned plea for equal pay and equal rights for women in this country blew me away.  Like she said, women have been fighting for everyone else's rights, it's time to fight for ours.

In the early 1980s I was working at a photo lab as their custom color printer.  A coveted position.  Hard work demanding substantial expertise.  Lots of last minute 'RUSH' orders from commercial photographers who were trying to meet a deadline.  I was one of three women there, in a male-dominated environment.  I don't remember why or how I was tipped off that the women were all earning less than the men.  The women all had technical positions.  We were making less than the male staff who worked at the front desk taking orders and ringing up the cash register.  While there's nothing wrong about that work, it does not demand the kind of expertise the technical positions demanded.

So I got a burr under my saddle and started asking all the men if they would share what their salaries were.  I was astounded.  And then, I was in trouble.  I got called into the boss' office and told that I was a trouble maker and if I didn't stop this line of inquiry, I would lose my job.  The boss actually had the audacity to tell me I didn't need the money because I was married, and that I'd probably go off and get pregnant any way.  Women -- it seemed -- were just not a good investment.  (Oh, but they ARE a good investment - think of all the money you save by paying them lower wages.)

Patronizing, much?  From
Decades later, here we are, still getting paid less over our lifetimes.  And, the pay gap increases as we get older.  Just when we need the income most, it goes down.  Again.

Lesbians, women of color, and transgender people have it even worse.  Lesbian households earn less than gay male households.  Just think:  two lower paid individuals pooling resources compared to two higher earning households.  The gap between lesbian families and gay male families is staggering.

It makes me madder than hell.

What about Patricia Arquette is trending on twitter today?  Calls for equal pay? No.  What has captured people's imagination is the Jesus-like image of Jared Leno as he stands in the background while she speaks.

Christ on a Bike, people.

Friday, February 20, 2015


We've returned from a short trip to Monterey with my parents, to celebrate dad's 83rd birthday.  The highlight was our time at the aquarium.  It usually is. 

This is a photo of an exhibit to illustrate the trash the we put into our seas.  A horrible fact, but a strangely beautiful display.  Just look at that parfait glass.  You have heard, no doubt, of the giant islands of plastic in the Pacific Ocean.  We carelessly toss our garbage without a care in the world.  We pollute the planet we are dependent on for our lives. 

At the same time, there is terrible beauty made from our detritus. 

Contrast terrible man with exquisite man: same as it ever was.  On the one hand you have ocean garbage, on the other, you have, well, one hand.  Maurice Ravel was commissed to write a piano concerto for the left hand, by the Austrian pianist Paul Wittgenstein.

He lost his right arm in World War I.  And out of this terrible tragedy, comes this (wait for the piano...there is a marvelous build up):

And so, once again dear friends, we hold opposites in our trembling hands. If this old world is getting you down, in addition to going up on the roof (not for jumping purposes, mind you) you need only to listen to a masterpiece of human creativity, and have your soul restored.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Monday Musings

The great cure-all, the golden child, he has relieved my funk. A two night stay, which is a record since the lil' guy has a difficult time sleeping away from home and his routine. So happy to spend time with him, and yes, so exhausting an effort because he wakes up with the instant ON switch and goes all day non-stop, except for nap time.  Nap time is a blessing, and I used it to refresh and recharge while he slept peacefully.

His hair is getting long, and he likes to tie it up in a high pony tail.  It looks particularly adorable with his heart-shaped sunglasses.  He's doing the hostility thing with his mom these days, and I can only guess it's about separation and individuation--fancy words to describe growing up. And he can't resist being rough with the tiny chihuahua, despite our frequent reminders. He's generally a good natured kid, who, like all children, needs to be reigned in every now and then so he doesn't grow to be a complete Neanderthal man. His parents guide him as needed, and they really are quite good at it. They take his upsets in stride. They know he can be exhausting, they acknowledge that.

Nevertheless, no doubt he will wind up on a therapist's couch complaining about his childhood.  

I know so many people who are estranged from their families of origin.  Some take it in stride and do not worry about it.  It is what it is.  Others agonize over the rifts that continue.  My twenties were consumed with angst over my relationship (or lack of) with my parents.  My two sisters, who had children before I did, assured me that if I had a child I would look at my parents with more understanding, more compassion.  And it was true. 

Is there a statute of limitations when it comes to carrying a grudge in the family?  I suppose it depends on the offense.  Sometimes, often, we don't even know what we did to deserve the big freeze.  And the more we try to problem-solve, the worse it gets.  Amorphous accusations fill the air, the trash bin of all our hurts and perceived slights gets pulled out and dumped all over the Persian carpet. 

When do you walk away if the other person refuses to engage constructively?  As many of you older folks know, our BS button gets activated often these days.  Life is too short for this kind of grief.  I want to shout, "grow up!"  But I also know the sting of feeling hurt by someone in your family, and being the imperfect creatures we are, we often respond defensively and aggressively.  Tit for tat. 

That's what I'm musing about today....weird, huh?

Friday, February 13, 2015


Don't come around my house if want a sociable, friendly host.  I'm working on several days of little sleep, multiple blood sugar lows, and muddled thinking.  That's the week that was.  With that said, I can still find things that I'm grateful for:

  • I don't live in Boston.
  • I am not Brian Williams.
  • I'm not an aid worker in Syria.
  • My daughter, et al, are coming to visit today.  

I'll pull it together for them.  Grandson is apparently acting like a little sh*t to his mother lately.  He's even asking for his Bubbe (me).  I think just to spite her.  Damn but kids can be harsh.  Even at three years of age.  They have no self-censor button in their brain.  Kind of like a menopausal woman. 

It goes without saying, I have a patient and understanding husband.  And I endeavor to correct my thoughtless behavior when I am in his presence.  Yes, I have read my Harvel Hendrix.  He contends that for every nasty exchange, 5 loving exchanges are required to mend the rift.  I agree.  We need more kindness in this world.  Hope you give some this weekend.  Work with me, here.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Monday Musings

Sadly, the big rain, the Pineapple Express, the rain that was going to quench our dry earth, largely passed us by.  I know others in California who got plenty of rain -- too much -- but not us.  Saturday and today have been glorious spring like, sun-drenched days.

I am feeling utterly deflated.  Or perhaps I should say dessicated.  After errands today, I treated myself to a pedicure, had my toe nails painted a tropical color in anticipation of our trip to Miami and Havana next month.  The foot treatment left me yearning for a south seas zephyr.  A cold drink with an umbrella perched on the side.    Havana Bay, Cuban music, and sandals.


At least we got something.  The newly planted roses benefited, as did the wisteria, Mexican lime, garlic and myriad other greenies in the yard.  At least we had the newly installed gas line to our fireplace to keep us cozy when the rain was falling.

At least I am not Brian Williams.  (Sending love to you, brother.  Haters gonna hate.)

Four years of drought in California.  One wonders when it will end.  Things could get pretty gritty around here.  Farmers have pulled orchards and other crops because they simply don't have the water to grow them.  That's what California does, man, we grow food.  In a desert.  With lots of imported water.  Yes, one wonders.

Dust Bowl Refugee
Words and Music by Woody Guthrie

I'm a dust bowl refugee,
Just a dust bowl refugee,
From that dust bowl to the peach bowl,
Now that peach fuzz is a-killin' me.
'Cross the mountains to the sea,
Come the wife and kids and me.
It's a hot old dusty highway
For a dust bowl refugee.
Hard, it's always been that way,
Here today and on our way
Down that mountain, 'cross the desert,
Just a dust bowl refugee.
We are ramblers, so they say,
We are only here today,
Then we travel with the seasons,
We're the dust bowl refugees.
From the south land and the drought land,
Come the wife and kids and me,
And this old world is a hard world
For a dust bowl refugee.
Yes, we ramble and we roam
And the highway that's our home,
It's a never-ending highway
For a dust bowl refugee.
Yes, we wander and we work
In your crops and in your fruit,
Like the whirlwinds on the desert
That's the dust bowl refugees.
I'm a dust bowl refugee,
I'm a dust bowl refugee,
And I wonder will I always
Be a dust bowl refugee?

Saturday, February 7, 2015

TGIF - A Day Late and a Dollar Short

Antique Fair, Sacramento, Tara Crowley
Missed my usual TGIF post yesterday, but really, who cares?  Over the arc of history, my missives are but a speck in the universe.  And that's how it should be.  We are star-dust.

Watching a television show on Smithsonian Channel (great channel), hearing some guy talking about global warming.  If we don't make significant changes, we could lose the bulk of mammal species within the next 200 years.  I looked at my husband and commented that we could "live" with that.  If humans are such a scourge on the planet, maybe we ought to go.

But, on a more upbeat note, my husband, our friend Bob and I have been shooting at our local once a month antique fair for several months.  We each bring a very unique perspective to our shots.  Each very distinctive.  We are planning on self-publishing a book in the next couple of months about our antique fair wanderings.  We had a get together last week to take a look at our work, and to sort some basic ideas out.  It stretched my brain and got my creative juices flowing.  Everyone brought thoughtful comments to the table.  Some smart-ass ones as well.  Of course.

We're finally getting rain from the so-called Pineapple Express, and while it's not as much as we'd hoped for, it's still good.  We're popping over to friends' anniversary party; I'm making hot artichoke dip.  We're leaving for Cuba in a month, so I'm treasuring these low key days until then.

Hope you are enjoying this weekend, doing what you want to do and nothing else.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

California: the big ass state

California is a big ass state. 163,700 square miles. On  Thursday we drove back home, 203 miles in seven hours. We were on the highways and byways was not a straight shot and it was beautiful. Iconic California oak trees dripping with lichen  -- marshes, deep forests, open cattle grazing land, vineyards.
click to enlarge

The Arcata Marsh was spectacular, and we were there during an extremely low tide.  Herons, ducks, geese.  There were loud V shaped masses flying through the sky -- reminding me of the flying creatures in the Wizard of Oz.
Click to enlarge
Directly behind Humboldt State University is the Arcata Community Forest.  It is a land lost in time....I expected a large lumbering dinosaur to appear.  These trees are old.  There were notches in the trees, put there by loggers 150 years ago to aid in their work. 

One of the most wondrous things is the way the tree roots grow over fallen tree trunks.  Encircling the fallen giant, incorporating the horizontal wood in it's journey to grow upward toward the light.

On our last night there, we joined friends in Eureka for dinner.  We arrived early to watch the sunset over the bay.  It was glorious.  The evening's entertainment, the pre-dinner show, no cover charge. 

You Can Go Home Again

 I took a vacation in the first week of May.  I went back to my high school and college stomping grounds, still populated by many friends of...