Friday, November 27, 2015


I've been horrified to hear of protesters outside of Mosques and Islamic centers in our country, confronting worshippers a they leave services.  Some of these protesters are openly carrying guns.  If Christians in this country were being treated in this way, there would be a major outcry from good people, and the loony fringe right.  As is, this was not on the national news.  Found on the internet.

We have a large and very visible Islamic Center a few blocks from our home.  Though I doubt, in this largely white, liberal, educated, upper income, college town, to see protests of this sort.  I do, however, want to offer my support and solidarity with the center during these crazy phobic times.  I went to their website to get information, and came across the rules for behavior during prayers.  What I find hilarious, and universal, is that people have to be instructed to NOT text during prayers.  And that people ought to silence their phones.

And, the kicker, no farting and please keep  your stinky lunch bag outside.  And oh, if you haven't bathed for awhile, please do. 
People are endlessly fascinating.  Happy Friday, all.  Let's stand up for our brothers and sisters who are bullied and threatened anywhere in the United States of America.

(Bold and italics mine)

All individuals should keep quiet and avoid unnecessary talk in the musallah (prayer
area) to avoid disturbing other individuals who are praying or listening to a speaker.

Conversations should be conducted outside the musalla

Please do not text during Khutbah.

Muslims are reminded to pay particular attention to avoid talking during the Friday khutba. Remember that talking during the khutba may void the reward of the Friday prayer.

Individuals must always turn their cell phone to vibrate, silent, or off while in the musalla

Children must be kept under parents control and supervision at all times.

Abstain from everything that may soil the masjid or induce bad smell in the Masjid or cause pain to anyone.

When you see anyone doing something wrong, ask him/her not to do so, quietly 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Monday Musings

I'm lucky.  I have some amazing friends.  Smart people, good people, creative people, artistic people, good cooks & bad cooks, animal lovers and nature enthusiasts.  Teachers, nurses, doctors, musicians, therapists, low tech/high tech types, watchers of birds and watchers of clouds.

As annoying as Facebook can be, the platform has also brought some great folks into my sphere.  Mostly through real-time friends, but some show up on their own and exist only (until I meet them) on the internet.  On Facebook I belong to a cooking group and a couple of photography groups.  I get great ideas from both.  It's fun to share your passion with others.  Before FB (you remember that, don't you?) I met some pretty spectacular people through blogging.  My blogging buddies have been with me through the ups and downs, and it helped me to share my circumstances, no matter what they were.

I have been counting my blessings in these difficult times, and friends are among my greatest blessings.  I have friends that I've known for a very long time, and others (like my Sacramento gang) that welcomed me to my new home 5 years ago and gave me a fun social network to be a part of.  When the news du jour becomes depressing (and when does it not?) I let my peeps remind me that are plenty, plenty I tell you, of great people in this world.

Our newest friend, Andrash, from Kauai.
Make no mistake, I've lost friendships, too.  Misunderstandings, incompatibility, lack of interest or sincerity.  Sometimes I wonder if I should attempt a reconciliation, but when I think back about why we are no longer friends, it usually reassures me to leave things where they are.  It's only my codependent, control freak self calling.  I think I left  her at the bus stop two stops back.  Hopefully I've ditched her for good.

When the world seems so overcome with sadness, it's my friends I turn to.  And I count my husband along with them, of course.  His presence has calmed me and comforted me through many a challenge.  His humor makes me laugh.  Every. Damn. Day.

So, when this ol' world starts getting you down (thank you, Carole King), find some blessings to count.   Hopefully they have names.  And big hearts.  Gutsy out loud laughs.  Kindness.  Brilliance. And shoulders to lean on.

Friday, November 20, 2015


Friends, what a week we've had, yes?  I'm trying to balance staying informed with staying sane.  It's quite a trick.  Back from some heavenly days on the island of Kauai.  We stepped off the plane into the chill that is now central California.  I love autumn: the turning leaves and crisp air and white light.  But Jaysus, who ordered up Thanksgiving for next week?  Seriously.  Time is going at warp speed.

This was an unusal week of doctor visits: dentist for a deep cleaning behind my last molar, dermatogolgist for a little cryotherapy on my dark spots, and my GP for a pain I've had in my right arm for at least 2 months now.  I can't go out in sunlight for a week because of the cryo, can't eat food easily for my injured mouth, and there is no help in sight for arm and shoulder pain that is just getting more intense by the day.

Bright spot: got my flu shot.  Husband got his flu shot.  Small things in the giant picture, I know, but I take the positive wherever and whenever I can.

Some call it resilience.  I call it essential.  In dark days, it's what allows me to move forward with hope.  In Paris, strangers are hugging strangers (Muslims, no less!) in their grief and hope.  It's been a beautiful sight to behold. 

I hope you choose love and compassion this weekend. It feels so good.

Friday, November 13, 2015


Peace. Love. Kindness.
What the world needs now.

A sad Friday indeed.

And surreal. We heard about the Paris attacks while lounging by the pool in Kauai.  I had a glass of wine, followed by an afternoon wine headache. Nothing a couple of aspirin couldn't fix.
Had to turn off the news and get off Facebook.

Wishing you peace.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Monday Musings

Several people we met in Cuba are returning soon to attend the opening of Peter Turnley's retrospective exhibit in Havana.  I would love to join their company, but, alas, we are headed out on our own for a week.  I find that as their trip gets closer, I am becoming quite nostalgic about my time in Cuba.  And missing my friends, who are an exceptional group of people.

Eight months have passed since our trip, and I am still processing the experience.  We saw so much, learned to improve our craft, practice our Spanish speaking skills, met lovely locals every day who seem to care about us and celebrated that we were visiting their country.  A gracious population, for sure.  They didn't laugh at my broken Spanish.  Being an Abuela (grandmother), I found common ground with all the Abuelas that I met, and an instant bond was formed.  Nuestros nietos (our grandchildren), we could go on and on about them.  They are our pride and joy.  They are the future.

Someday we hope to return to Cuba, to explore some of the other ancient towns, and the countryside.  If you haven't seen the slideshow of photos taken from the air in Cuba, you must.  Spectacular landscapes.

from "Unseen Cuba"

Vaya con Dios, mis amigos.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Monday Musings

Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.
--Mary Oliver

Yellow Cottage, Part 2

I have a dear friend who I met in my Creative Writing class my freshman year in college.  I sent the poem to her for her comments and edits ...