Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Two years ago today I lost my beloved black cat, Kiki. It seemed like all of the sudden she became lethargic, couldn't keep down any food or water, and became listless within a few days. I took her to the Veterinarian and had to leave her for a few hours so they could take tests and examine her thoroughly. When I returned I could not believe what the doctor told me.

"Her kidneys are failing and you need to put her to sleep." she said.

"Her kidneys are failing from what? I started to panic.

“Her age maybe? She is almost eleven years old and in cat years that’s….”

I cut her off, “In cat years? She was perfectly fine a week ago!”

I was devastated and torn with having to make such a final decision. Instead, I chose to take her home for the night and get another opinion the next day because I didn’t believe she was that sick. It happened so fast.

Kiki didn’t hide like I have seen other animals do when they were sick. She wanted me to hold her, so I did, and spent the night on the bathroom floor with her. She wasn’t hungry and wouldn’t take any food, but she was terribly thirsty. I held a small bowl of water to her mouth because she was so weak and couldn’t hold her head up. She lapped up almost all of the water and then wiggled out of my lap and threw up every drop she had just taken in. She looked up at me and then slowly wandered back to the blanket I had put down for her. I noticed that her hind legs were wobbling and she could barely walk.

By morning Kiki was worse and her hind legs were almost paralyzed. I called the Veterinarian and took her in. I spent my last moments with her hugging her and telling her that I was sorry I had to make such a retched decision and hoped that she understood, then I handed her over to the doctor.

I didn’t realize it at the time that only a few months earlier I lost my other cat, Felix, to the same symptoms. The only difference was that the Veterinarian recommended exploratory surgery because he kept throwing up and wouldn’t eat, and, he was terribly thirsty. A week later, during the second suggested operation, the Veterinarian called me and said there was nothing further that could be done and said it would be best to not bring him out of the anesthesia.

Unfortunately, there’s more. Less than a month after Kiki died, our dog, Oscar, came down with the same symptoms and had to be put to sleep.

Three pets, all the same age, had to be put to sleep because of the same symptoms and diagnosed with unknown causes.

Both cats were fed the special diet cat food that was recalled after their passing. Sadly, my dear Oscar had a bad habit of eating the cat’s food when no one was looking.

I didn’t realize that I was feeding my pets poisoned food until months after their deaths.

I'm so sorry.

I miss you guys so much.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Supporting the HANDMADE Industry

JP Cabin Studio at Etsy.com
PHOTO IMAGES & NOTECARDS from the Portfolio of
Just Perfect! Studio

Monday, December 01, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

NaNoWriMo Update - Six more Days!

My, my…my words! I have reached the 30 thousand-word count and I am going to reward this milestone with a trip to See’s Candy Store. I figure with all of the sitting-in-front-of-the-computer I have done and the expansion of my derri√®re because of it, I will be able to just walk into See’s, inhale a few whiffs, and then immediately leave so I will not be tempted to actually put a piece of chocolate in my mouth and take the chance of gaining any further weight for the sedentary month of November.

Oh the bliss of actually reaching the 50 thousand word goal! Some NaNo-ers have already exceeded the target word count and a few are way beyond the goal. Editing is not part of the game, yet. Just "write the words and the novel will come" is the mantra. As my plot has been altered several times, and the characters’ names have been changed over and over again so my friends and relatives will not be able to recognize each other, I am anxious to read what I have written since the first of November and see if I actually have a theme, or a plot, or if I even have something worthy that can be reduced into a short plausible story some day. We will see on the 30th of November won’t we?

Write on!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Be Still, Listen and Learn

With the devastating state of the world economy, a frightfully unsteady stock market, unending wars that are erupting and displacing thousands of people from a life they are accustomed to… impoverished or otherwise…a solution or even hope of recovery from the mess that we are in seems impossible. The negative news is overwhelming and mind-boggling.

What can we do to assist in this endeavor to turn things around when we feel so helpless and distressed ourselves? Do we even know where to begin?

As positive as I have tried to be, I found myself in the midst of this gloomy gloom recently when my Grandkids came over for a visit. Yes, I was down and out about the stock market, higher food prices and the fact that we would probably have to work well into our nineties before we could even think about retiring, but, I didn’t realize the impact I had on the Grandkids until one of them, age five, asked me if she could make my bed.

“Why do you want to make my bed?” I was embarrassed to inquire.

She calmly reminded me, “Because Grandma, you told us that the first thing we should do when we get up in the morning is to make our beds and the day will be a good one.”

That put me in my place.

I started making excuses as to exactly why my bed wasn’t made, offered to assist her in taking on this chore, handed her a five dollar bill and told her she could have my convertible when she was sixteen, and then continued to go on in an attempt to mask my embarrassment of laziness, lethargy, or whatever the problem was that I was trying so hard to cover up. (Cover up…not trying to be Freudian here.) I was truly thrown for a loop by the honesty of this little five year old.

In the first place, the reason I preached to my Grandchildren to make their beds when they got up in the morning was because of something I observed years ago when visiting my aged Grandparents.

One morning I observed my eighty-five year old Grandfather take care of my Grandmother who was failing mentally and physically. He was well aware that her time was limited.

When Grandma woke up he would help her get dressed and take her to the living room to her usual place on the sofa, bring her a cup of tea in her favourite teacup, comb her unruly hair out of her eyes, kiss her on cheek, and then he would make her bed.

Keeping the pain to himself, he struggled with his arthritic legs as he went back and forth on either side of the double bed, pulling the sheet and blankets up to the top of the mattress, then carefully folding them back one-fourth of the way while smoothing out all of the wrinkles that his old blue eyes could manage to find. He then unfolded Grandma’s cherished silk bedspread across the bed and neatly tucked her pillows under the top of the spread. With an arduous effort he picked up the three small decorative pillows that were set on the chair the night before, and carefully placed them against the headboard, patting the pillows as if fluffing them would make the situation brighter.

As I stood at the door and watched this man do something that at the time I felt was unnecessary, I thought to my self, what difference does it make if the bed is made or not? No one is going to see it and the door to the bedroom is always kept shut anyway.

I asked him, “Why don’t you let me make the bed and you can have your cup of coffee with Grandma?”

He simply said, “If I stop making the bed then I know I have given up.”

I totally understood what he was saying. Even the smallest positive task can keep a heart beating in the right direction.

I was ashamed that I had forgotten about this little lesson of faith and hope in times of adversity. I gave my Granddaughter a hug.

We have to be positive about the outcome of these difficult times. We must make our own beds and keep our own lives as tidy as possible and we must not judge others. No one is going to see that your bed is made but you and your curious relatives. But, there is always a good chance that someone else will benefit from your “good day”.

Well, it’s a start.

Monday, November 10, 2008


I missed Blog Action Day on October 15th but still want to support any effort that I can to help end world hunger. Please visit this list of organizations who are actively working to end hunger and poverty around the world. More than 11,800 bloggers are making their voices heard in support of the fight against poverty.

We are so fortunate to not have to think about where our next meal is coming from. Give it serious thought the next time you say, "I'm starving, what's for dinner?"

Kiva - loans that change lives

Thursday, November 06, 2008

NaNoWriMo Update

Day 6. Surprisingly I’m keeping up with my 1667, more or less, words per day and have managed to change the plot, the characters, and the location of my story around three times already. I just keep writing and dig myself deeper into the characters lives, feeling the pain of the trials I assign them, dreading the headache in the morning from the pint of tequila they've guzzled during the night because of the tension and fear that bestows them, and pray that I will have mercy on their souls when I choose to add murder to my plot.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Witch Tree Revisited

I find you
just before
you are still
and you still look
quite mean
all you need
is a black hat
and a rickety broom
‘cuz you're scary
screaming all
that doom
so I’ll check
on you often
now that I
know where
you are
and bring you
some cheer
I don’t live
very far..
maybe in Spring
when the
wild flowers
your plight
will be solved
and I will
finally learn
why your ranting
and raving
goes on
for so long..
or maybe
you are warning
us all with
a song?
to slow down
on the mountain
‘cuz you’re tired
of seeing,
the loss and
of each
human being,
that the mountain
because it’s
bigger than we…
I think that’s
what’s happening
oh my dear sad, Witch Tree.

*See the previous post of "Oh Witch Tree", July 13, 2008

Saturday, October 11, 2008


See Jeff's progress in the IRONMAN World Champion Triatholon in Kona, Hawaii.  Mahalo.

Sunday, October 05, 2008


National Novel Writing Month is almost here (27 more days!). I have no idea what I'll write about this year but I assure you it will have lots of words in it, involve some kind of secret and possibly be related to Kevin Bacon. I feel more disciplined this year, energetic, and full of cyber enthusiasm to accomplish the task at hand of arranging 50, 000 words in a sequential rhythmic order of storytelling alongside thousands of faceless writers in the ethereal world. Can it get any more exciting?

Join me in the madness!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paul Newman

My mother is in her eighties and it has become habit to tell the stories of her youth as she reconciles and reflects on her life. It’s ironic that she just told me about one of her childhood memories a few short months ago. As she is recalling this minute event in an almost monotone youthful voice, I can see her reliving the moment as her memory brings her back to 1938:

“Mom and dad had some very good friends, Lucille and Charles. They had a beautiful little cottage in Shaker Heights. We spent a lot of time there, a few weeks at a time when my parents had a vacation. It was sixty miles away from where we lived in Ohio. Lucille’s younger sister and I used to play together. I can’t remember her name…I’m having a bad time with names tonight…but we were good friends and used to play all the time when we visited. One day we went to the school play ground and this boy came up to us and started talking to my friend. She called him Sonny. They knew each other well because he was her next-door neighbor. He had the most beautiful blue eyes I had ever seen. They were so striking and matched his gentle manner. They were something else. I was twelve years old, he was thirteen, and that is one memory that has been with me all of my life. I will never forget those gentle eyes.”

Of course she found out later on that it was Paul Newman who was in that play ground and gave her a memorable moment to reflect on throughout her life, of the goodness and magnificence to come from the icon that he was.

One of the Greatest Class Acts has left a huge Hole in the Wall, and we will deeply miss his presence.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Just Have to Say it...

Happy Birthday Robert Redford!


Sunday, August 17, 2008

40 Years Later

Once upon a time there was a very young Princess and a handsome, kind of older Prince. They fell in love the first time their eyes met and decided to get married, have a castle full of beautiful children, and live happily ever after, surrounded by loving relatives, wonderful friends, and blissful moments.

I don’t think so. That kind of story belongs to Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in a Nora Ephron movie. Our story doesn’t even make the Fairy Tale section in the back corner of a rundown library. We had rough beginnings, terrible middles and life still keeps handing us challenging moments.

If we didn’t experience all those trials and tribulations of marriage, children, ex’s, in-laws, family, religion, unpaid bills, late charges, paycheck to paycheck years, arguments, addictions, failures, losses, births, deaths, betrayals and all of the other hardships of life we would not have learned the lessons that, I believe, we are here to learn.

The one constant through all of our trying experiences is that we started out as friends and we remain goods friends. We have shared all of the emotions of life, together, and we have survived and learned that no matter what is handed to us we can manage as long as we have the one thing that most people forget about…respect. That, my dear, is why we are still married. Okay, that and the fact that you have the best set of legs I’ve ever seen in my whole life!

I have always said, “Life is definitely not the Donna Reed show.” And it certainly has not been for us. But, we have learned a lot and have come a long way. Now, anger does not have to be explosive, fear and worries are calmed down with a talk in the quiet room, guilt and jealousy are no longer necessary. We have learned the true meaning of family, and friends, and that most of “the other stuff” can be solved with a pound of See’s candy. Okay, two bites of See’s candy.Besides all this, it has given me plenty of characters and situations to write about for which I am ever so grateful.

Thank you for taking this journey with me.

I love you still, Wifey

…to be continued…

Monday, August 04, 2008

San Clemente Serenity

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. Everyone’s heard of that. But, when you can’t drink the lemonade because it’s way too sour, you need to have a back up.

One solution that works for me is to take a look at something that is bigger than life itself. It’s all around us. Like a lake, a sprawling desert, a sunset, a mountain, the Milky Way, or the ocean. Hold up your problem to the ocean’s horizon and say, “How insignificant is this?”

There is so much more to life than our 10% brain waves can ever imagine, and the magnitude of all that water could care less about “Why your sister isn’t talking to you…again.” Grab a surfboard, a raft, or just roll up your pant legs and get your feet wet. Take a ride up a mountain pass and leave your worries under one of the massive rocks that make a mountain magnificent. Listen to the quiet of the desert just before dawn and let your anger fade into the serene silence or let it blow away with a tumbleweed.

There’s always a solution to any given problem. We will all experience similar situations during our lives. That’s what we’re here for. We just have to take the time to realize how trite most of those problems really are and learn how to handle the big ones.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Photography has always been my passion. My Great Aunt Lucille let me play with a Brownie camera when I stayed with her during the summer months as a child. To me, the box with the funny looking glass hole was intriguing to play with.

I pretended to take pictures for the photo album on my Aunt's coffee table, then I would draw a picture of a tree on a piece of paper, add some flowers, and tell her I took a picture with the brown box.
I hope she was amused.

My first camera was a Polaroid “Swinger” instant camera that I got for Christmas in the 1960's. I took that Swinger to the first Doors concert in San Diego when the Doors were just beginning as a group and not even on the charts. I still have those few black and white pictures somewhere. Yea right, I know exactly where they are.

I always have a camera or two with me and continue to take candid moments of life. Thanks to the digital age, I am now in photo heaven.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Dana Point Harbor

A walk at the Harbor 
is nothing
short of fantastic, 
especially when
the moon is full 
and the two resident 
Tall Ships hauntingly 
creak with the 
rippling tide, 
silhouetting the 
darkening skyline 
with soft reflections 
of Harbor lights 
dancing across 
the waters.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Oh Witch Tree

oh witch tree
dear witch tree
I saw you
last year
surrounded by
and haunting
the deer..
your hair
was askew
with rat tails
and wind
your troubled
arms flailing
as though
you were pinned
to the ground
by your skirt
you just
could not move..
I stood there
and watched
things did not
so I left you
as you screamed
and you scared..
all God’s creatures
no one
was spared
of your rath
and injustice
down the hill..
I can see you
and raving there
for reasons
that are not quite
apparent to me
I hope I can
find you
oh witch tree

The Witch Tree off of Hiway 18 by Waterman Road, on the way to Lake Arrowhead.
Let me know if you find it again...

Friday, July 11, 2008


I climbed to the
top of the hill
where the gazebo
overlooks the valley
to take a picture
of the billowing clouds
hanging over
the Saddleback
when I noticed a
thistle weed in
the view finder
and inched closer
to the subject...
a perfect composition
I carefully aimed
the lens on
the purple
part of this prickly wonder
and stopped
in mid focus
to a familiar sound
of my youth
when my brothers and I
would scower the
canyons for pollywogs
and small tumbleweeds
until someone
yelled out..

this was
the best photo
I could manage
before I ran.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

July 6, 2008

it's been

two years..

are you

watching me


Monday, June 23, 2008

June 8, 1992 - On the Beach


If ever a time to mourn be here
Tis now, alas, today

I fear,

My youth be gone, a weary trail,

of hopes and dreams
that near all fail.

Careless moments, still so clear

Wasted, wonted
all on fear.
The past renewed in dreams de jour

corrected, perfected


Waste not another day go by

Get up and live

and do not cry,

Of times gone by your weary head

Count ye blessings

now, instead.

Midlife is ne'er a time to cry

Get on with it

before you die.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


a spurious cry
of despair
and pain
with blame
and fault,
born of greed
and speculation
without warrant
of trial
or counsel
only to break
the bond
of trust
once again.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


fall from the blossom
to the ground
and rest beside the seed
of its womb
to nourish
and strive
in the sand
for another life
of splender
and breath
surviving only
for the sake of beauty
and truth
and fragrance
of a flower.