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Sunday, January 25, 2015

How far is too far?

A lifetime ago I wrote exclusively about politics, very strident, very opinionated.  I was very loose with facts in order to prove my point.  Funny, I was able to see all the mistakes and weaknesses of my "foes" but I never saw the ones on my side.  Their leaders were useless, out of touch and actually evil.  My leaders? Forward thinking, honest and trustworthy.  I never thought I hurt anyone because the response from readers was so positive.  People loved what I wrote.  And then one day I ran into a friend of mine who happened to be a member of the opposite party.  He looked at me and said very slowly..."you are very.....political."  His words just hung there, like a gym sock on a curtain rod (totally stole that) I knew exactly what he was referring to, and I realized immediately how hurtful I had been.

I had gone too far.

I realized that politics is subjective and worse it is often run on emotion.  There is a big difference between being lighthearted and light minded, and when I started to look at both sides, really look at both sides my point of view changed.  I saw that hypocrisy drives the political bus. One side screams in pain over tactics they employed when their crowd was in power....I guess amnesia was riding on that bus to.

Right now we have the equivalent of a rancorous family dinner with all the organization of a food fight.  Democrats fling accusations that republicans want poor people to remain poor, women to remain barefoot and pregnant and hungry children should stay hungry.  And don't forget Republicans would like babies to have gun permits.  To flick the mashed potatoes back in this food fight the democrats are being served up as anti-Israel and not caring if Iran has the bomb.  Democrats are so anti war that they will let prisoners out of Gitmo under any circumstance, give them a one way ticket to Falujah where they receive a hero's welcome and immediately go back to the front lines of Al Qaeda.  In this fight, Democrats don't care about the Arab problem because President Obama is a Muslim and those are his people.  With democratic rule our military is weak, our debt is skyrocketing, and we have impossible rules from small business to environmental problems.  Republicans are the party of hate, they hate homosexuals, women and Marni the Instagram dog.  Democrats just want to tax you to death (and after death) spend your money on a $300 million dollar blimp and give Facebook a $250 million dollar tax refund.  Republicans are hailed as the party of "NO!"  Yet their Republican held congress passed more bills than any other congress had.  But none of those bills were even voted on in a Harry Reid Senate.  President Obama pushed through a health bill that made insurance affordable to a great, great many people.  But because it had to be paid for somewhere, many middle class folks got hikes in their premiums to a place they had never seen before.  Some people see it in a monthly bill so it hurts...others don't see it because their employers absorb the extra cost.  But someone will have to pay for that, so the widgets being made at the factory are now more expensive.  If you are not able to breathe in the next 20 years, or if your home is under water due to glaciers melting, well find a Republican and thank them.

People who are pro choice view pro lifers as getting in the way of freedoms...a woman's freedom to choose.  But should it be ok to abort a baby because its a boy and not a girl?  Just like there are speed limits on a road couldn't abortion limits be a good idea?  Speed limits don't keep you from driving just keep you a bit safer.

Gun Control.....oh how I hate the word control, no matter where it is used.  But the problem with the anti-gun crowd is they don't like the people who like guns.  Think about that....they don't like the people who like guns.  And to the Republican backed NRA, is a waiting period to buy a gun such a bad thing?  Why don't we trade?  A waiting period for the gun crowd, and a waiting period for the abortion crowd.  They could have just a few days to think about it.

"We are supposed to fix our problems, government is not supposed to create them for us."

Both parties are expert at putting a bill together for something wonderful, then inserting something in the bill the other side would never pass.  AND THEY KNOW EXACTLY WHAT THEY ARE DOING!  Then they go to the press and say "See!  See!  We try to govern but they won't cooperate"  When in fact both sides make governing impossible.  It's all staged to make the other side look unreasonable.
I would like to ask most folks to admit the news they listen to is biased.  Fox is slanted right, MSNBC is slanted left.  We watch to buoy up our position, not for critical thinking.  Some will bring the opposite viewpoint in for a more interesting debate, but Rachel? Nope, Sean? Nope, Megan? Nope, Ed? Nope.  For instance this morning I heard the president's trip to Saudi Arabia for the King's funeral described two ways.  The Right leaning network said President Obama changed his mind and decided to go to the King's funeral instead of the planned Biden led group.  He didn't want  another "Paris" like firestorm.  The left leaning network reported President Obama was cutting his trip to India short to attend the funeral.  One side reports the news and adds an opinion, the other side reports the news and adds an opinion.  Not very honest is it?   We watch "our news" just like I read the football bleacher report from the University of Texas.  It's always slanted toward the Longhorns, weaknesses are hidden, strengths are heralded and anyone who disagrees is an idiot.  Hook e'm!

Every time I see something on Facebook that is politically incendiary I "hide" it.  I am able to avoid  disliking the person who posted it, or taking it personally.  I wrote a lot of opposition papers in college...lots of them. I have learned how to bolster almost any argument.  It's easy...use enough truth to make it plausible, mix in some threats and emotion and you really have something.  I am suggesting we think about the stories we share.  Words are powerful, if it is written down people have a tendency to believe it.  Fact check your articles to the best of your ability and then if you still think it's worth passing around, well, go ahead.

People that I am friendly with I have written some ghastly things about conservatives...they are all this or all that.  And people I am friendly with have written some ghastly things about liberals.  They would be the first person to be appalled at hearing a racist is this different?  
We have even discussed anti-bullying laws, don't you feel bullied sometimes when someone attacks your opinion?  Remember that the next time you suggest a liberal isn't patriotic or a conservative hates women.

Most people are center right or center left and want as much government as it takes to keep the water running and bad guys off the streets.  

We are supposed to fix our problems, government is not supposed to create them for us.

I want a leader to stand up and say America is a great place and we not only have room for all opinions, but we must have all opinions.  If your stand is a good one it will stand up to scrutiny.

Maybe I just want someone to stand up and lead us.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


The movie Selma is important for many reasons.  For one, Selma uncovered what evil looked like in America.  Human beings hell bent on denying other human beings the right to vote.  People so blinded by prejudice they could not see the obvious unfairness of their acts.  It was finally time to change wrongs for good.  But the fact that the person who ran the entire country wanted the voting rights bills passed is important to me.   It gave me comfort that not every white person in power was determined to keep black people from voting.  So why did the filmmaker feel the need to make Lyndon Johnson such a force against voting rights when he was, in fact, so determined to make it happen?  Why did she infer LBJ ordered the FBI to investigate Dr. King?  The director felt making LBJ a sympathetic character would result in him being the great white Savior.  In my opinion, nothing could have been further from the truth.  Martin Luther King Jr. was the heart and soul of the civil rights movement, no one else.  There are certain facts associated with Selma and the entire civil rights movement that are simply beyond my comprehension.  Law enforcement being ordered to beat defenseless men and women is small next to the fact that these same men and women came back to march in Selma again, and then again.  That is a testament to the capacity and limits a human beings will go to seek freedom.  In this case the freedom to vote.  Without Martin Luther King it would not have happened in the compelling and inspiring way it did.  I watched him give "The Dream" speech on Television...I was only 8 years old but he touched something in my soul I will never forgot.  I knew he was telling the truth, and I raised my children to judge people on the content of their character and not the color of their skin.  One generation in my family went from not being able to drink from the same water fountain to being best friends.  Dr. Martin Luther King was the central character in this story, in comparison no other leader even comes close.  It wasn't necessary to make LBJ small to heighten Dr. King.  Martin Luther King was the giant in this story.  He changed the lives of disenfranchised people everywhere, and he did it with leadership, love and fairness. As much as he could have, he never appeared to hate anyone.  He is an American hero for all Americans.  

Although the climate of my generation made it easier for me to be "color blind" my father had the seed.  He told me about the time his Platoon was moved by train from San Diego to Jacksonville Florida.  It was 1952 and the Marines were "cautiously" desegregated.  They all rode together until the New Mexico/Texas border then the black marines were forced to go to the back of the train.  In a show of solidarity these men who had trained together, lived together and could all die together went to the back of the train together.  My dad, raised by segregationists....knew what was right.  He didn't think it was a big deal...but it was.  And it is the reason I know things will continue to get better and better.  I have been chastised by some because I feel we have come such a long way.  There is still so much unfairness they tell me.  Of course there is...and it is heartbreaking to me.  

But this is my reality.  

This is a picture of my daughter when she was homecoming queen.  When I was growing up this would never have happened.  

I believe things are better...I hope things are better...and I know you have to hope and you have to believe before anything substantial can occur. 

Here are 3 articles you can read that may help formulate your own opinion

By Lois Alter Mark Movie Review on Boomeon "Selma"

By Ann Hornaday Film Fact Checking is here to stay

By Joseph A. Califano Jr. who was President Lyndon Johnson's top assistant for domestic affairs from 1965 to 1969

Thursday, January 15, 2015

What are you afraid of?

What are you afraid of?

Take a moment and ponder your fears....don't be afraid.  I am not talking about the typical stuff, heights, edges, snakes, the scale and libertarians.  I mean real things that go bump in the night.

Like being afraid you will run out of money...that you cannot provide for your needs.  So you pay bills at the last possible second, sometimes even late because you are afraid to send out the money.  You certainly don't pay a bill are afraid something might happen.  You don't spend money to fix something in your house or your car or your mouth because you are afraid to spend the money...the problem exacerbates and the money to fix it quadruples.  You ignore the phone because you are afraid of what bill collectors will say.  Awful, awful fear.

If money is not your fear, great, but look at the pattern.  Fear runs in the same pattern.  Fear is the same for us all.  It does take different shapes, different themes...but it follows the same pattern.

Until you face it, and begin to have faith.

I know that some of you will dismiss this immediately as a religious reference, and actually it is for me.  But no matter what you believe in faith dismisses fear.

Do you need faith in yourself?  Face it.....

I always wondered what the heck that meant, face your fears.  Then something happened the other day that was my waterloo moment.  I am weary of the same problem cropping up over and over again.  It became obvious to me I haven't learned how to be fearless in the face of this problem.  Being fearless is a pretty great attribute...but I am afraid to be fearless.  I have an empty cup of faith.

From the amazing Corrie Ten Boom

What happens when you let go and just leap off the cliff?  I have written about this is in the past, but nothing has changed for me.  I am still stuck on the edge.....holding on for dear life.....unable to just jump off.

Fear keeps us from trying so many things.  Fear keeps us safe, like some kind of creepy Stockholm syndrome.  Safe, but the captor is a harsh taskmaster...taking from us our peace.

What are you afraid of?  And is it worth your peace?  Wouldn't you really like a miracle?

Saturday, January 10, 2015

From Ann Hansen who wants you to know this might make you mad

I am blessed to know a great many amazing people in this world.  Ann Hansen has always intrigued me and frankly her life is worth noting.  She has always been a fierce supporter of her adopted country, Israel, and although not Jewish she never wavers in her love for the country or the people. 

I know that what I am about to say will probably upset some people, but I am furious about all these "ye suis Charlie" marches, etc. Three attacks were made this week in France, and possibly a fourth. The first was made against the Charlie office, but the other two were made against Jewish targets. The second attack, in which a French policewoman was killed, was also against a Jewish target. The terrorist was in a traffic accident on his way to commit "slaughter" (his words) against a Jewish elementary school. This was the same terrorist who then attacked the Jewish supermarket, in which 4 French Jews were killed by him. He was a friend of the brothers who committed the attack on Charlie, and was in contact with them during their respective sieges.
Of the 17 victims of the French attacks, 5 were Jewish, including one of the Charlie cartoonists. Ironically, his parents had left France in the 1930s to escape anti-Jewish violence.
My anger had two sources. One is that so much of the Western world still refuses to acknowledge a very real threat and therefore take necessary precautions to minimalize it. The world is outraged about an attack on the press, but how many have reported the numerous attacks against Christian schools and churches in Nigeria the past week in which several HUNDRED innocents have been killed? How many reported the suicide bombing the same day in Nigeria which killed more than a hundred? The bomber was a girl aged 10 or 11. This is a new technique employed by Boko Horam - kidnap girls and allow them to choose between rape or suicide bombing.
My greatest anger, though, is that the Western world is so ready to assemble and mourn the attack on a magazine - a symbol of Western values - yet remain absolutely silent about attacks on Jews. Do any of those Suis Charlie signs include any mention of the Jewish victims or Jewish targets? 
Where was world outrage a few months ago when The Jewish Museum in Belgium was attacked a few months ago and 3 Jews were murdered? Where was French or world outrage last year when a Jewish school in France was attacked and Jewish children were killed? Where was world outrage last month when a Jewish baby was killed last month in Jerusalem when a terrorist deliberately ran over her mother, who was standing at a train stop?
It feels good to stand up for what you believe, and joining candle vigils and holding placards helps us to feel like we are doing something constructive, but when "solidarity" turns into a way to put our heads in the sand this attitude is dangerous.

The gatherings I have seen in the news show people holding pens in honor of the victims and theoretically the principles.  Almost a third of those victims were Jewish.  Two of the three targets this week were Jewish.  But did one single person in those gatherings hold a Star of David?

Friday, January 9, 2015

A Cautionary Tale

Three years ago we had the most unsettling Saturday afternoon.  I underscore three years ago because some kind of statute of emotional limitations has run a course.   Although my husband looks like an extra from the Sopranos it was still a surprise to receive a collect phone call from the North Las Vegas City Jail.  Our little family prides itself on being collectively boring and law abiding so this turn of events was a jolt.  When the Italian left to do errands there didn't seem to be a possibility of incarceration....but then who outside of criminals see jail coming?

It was Saturday, that is important because the weekends are a bit more problematic for breaking folks out of jail.  That fact is simply layered on top of this being the same weekend my younger daughter brought her boyfriend home from college to meet the family.

Oh my....

So here is how it went down.....the Italian had finally finished repairing his beloved 20 year old truck.  It had been in the garage for months without registration, insurance or plates, so he was taking it to be smogged and registered. During it's long season of in-operation we had taken it off our insurance and turned in the plates.  As I said we are law abiding folks so I was careful to add it back to our insurance the day before he was going to do everything.  Since the DMV is near Deseret Industries (the goodwill kind of operation we support) he loaded the back of the truck with bags of clothing and other things to donate.  I waved good bye and went to work in the yard.  Our plans were to meet up later in the day with everyone and have dinner so we could sit and stare at the new boyfriend.  Then our plans changed.

After working in the yard for several hours I came back in the house to see several messages (10) on the phone.  Before I could listen to the messages the phone rang.

"Will you accept a collect call from the North Las Vegas Jail?"

There was only one person I knew going to North Las Vegas that day, and his named ended in a vowel.  In certain parts of the world that makes you an instant suspect, like being blond makes you dumb and being an attorney makes you the brunt of every joke. For the record the Italian really is a puppy dog of a person, appearances aside.  After I accepted the call he explained he was pulled over for making a lane change without putting on his blinker.  So not only was he guilty of that egregious error, but the truck wasn't registered, he didn't have the proof of insurance card (which we did have, but hadn't put it in the glove box) and they said he had an outstanding warrant for a ticket he didn't pay.  Just getting one of those things cleared up would have kept him out of jail, but it was Saturday and they couldn't (or wouldn't) get the insurance company on the phone.  The ticket in question had been paid through an attorney friend but no one told him it was paid late, so a warrant had been placed.  Trouble on trouble

He told me there were 3 police cars involved, he was taken out of his beloved 20 year old truck, handcuffed and put in the back of the police car.  No windows were even cracked, and it was hot outside! He explained he would be needing his diabetes medicine soon, but it was their mission to get this criminal to jail.  When we finally spoke he had been there for 2 hours.  The only thing they had told him was for someone to call the jail and follow the prompts on how to get him out.  My first reaction was to go completely cold.  Most of my brain stopped working with only the panic part fully functioning .  For the record the panic part of your brain is not the best part to rely on in a situation like this.  Perhaps if you are being chased by a bear...but not so much when you need to make sense.  I cannot recall who I contacted first but I know it was an attorney....I am friends with roughly 10,000 attorneys.  It is well known you shouldn't leave your home without an attorney, and never was that more true than this day.  Starting with numbers in my phone I just went down the list, deputy district attorney?  Not available.  Another deputy district attorney?  What jail is he in?  North Las Vegas?  I don't know any judges there.  A criminal attorney, a zoning attorney, a personal injury attorney, a bankruptcy attorney even the attorney for a hospital, no one knew what to do or who to contact on a Saturday, especially in North Las Vegas.  With all this bad news, I assumed my friend who is a district court judge couldn't help either.  Besides, I couldn't get her on the phone.....weekends.

The promptings on the phone to the jail said it would be 3 hours before they started processing him.  Three hours?  My oldest son and daughter got in the car with me for the ride to North Las Vegas.
All during this time my younger daughter, the one home from college for the weekend with her new boyfriend, were attending the Rebel basketball game.  She was calling to find out where to meet for dinner.  Exactly what should I tell her?  I couldn't tell her about jail, bail and epic fail, so I just said, "You know we haven't really decided where to eat yet." That would buy an hour...what to do after that was anyone's bet.

After being in line at the jail forever they informed me I needed to give them $1600.00 (yikes) The beloved truck was at an impound lot at a location they wouldn't disclose.  I am not sure why I didn't qualify for that bit of information, but they did tell me it would be $200 a day. Thank goodness a branch of my bank was still open because I couldn't get that much money from the ATM.  And the jail doesn't take anything but cold, hard cash.  For an instance I wished I had been a bank robber.

Jail is a complicated place.

Now we just had to wait in a large room with the rest of the families of the unfortunate incarcerated.  I spoke with the Italian one more time to assure him we were doing everything we could to get him out.  He told me he had been given a sandwich, and they took his belt, shoelaces, watch and ring.

My daughter called again, and I had no idea what to tell her, so my son took the phone and said, "Dad's in jail." I don't know how there conversation went, but Trey said they were handling it and not to worry.   Still it wasn't clear how long this was going to take, and no one was willing to tell me anything.  Everyone with authority was behind locked doors, you had to press buzzers to get anyones attention.  When you did get someones attention they wouldn't tell you anything helpful.  The automated phone calls were just that, automated, nothing interactive.  To say it was the most frustrating experience I had encountered would be an understatement.  I am used to information, problem solving and solutions, and this was a classic example of, "you cannot get there from here."

Finally a wonderful friend of my husband's, an actual Italian criminal attorney, called me back. He told me not to worry, it would work out.  He didn't know any judges in North Las Vegas, but just keep doing what we were doing and eventually he would get out that night.  We made some typical ethnic jokes about this situation and laughing released some tension. Now we had been there for hours, and the Italian had been in jail hours before that, and we were facing hours beyond that. Just when discouragement started to set in again, my friend, the District Court Judge, called back.  She had been to a cheerleading competition (remember it was Saturday?) and couldn't hear her phone.  She let me know that District Court Judges supersede any jurisdiction and it didn't matter the Italian was in North Las Vegas jail. After one phone call from her the folks at the jail informed me the Italian would be released within the hour.  "Just go out to your car and wait."  I think I cried.

We waited about a half hour when he came out to the car, and of course he brought a friend he had made in jail.  My husband has always found himself with those he refers to as, "the least of them."  To my knowledge he has never turned his back on anyone in need.  He worked at a hotel and casino in downtown Las Vegas for 25 years, always with the least of them, so it didn't surprise me he would bring someone from jail with him.  We loaned him our phone, the Italian gave him some money, a hug and off we went.

Now onto damage control with the new boyfriend and my younger daughter.  Nope...there is no way to fix this one, it will just have to be a story for the ages....

Remember when dad went to jail?

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Just a thought.....

A wonderful writer, speaker, philosopher and church leader Jeffrey Holland once wrote about this universal problem that hits all of us.  He said doubt, discouragement, and despair blocks our growth, dampens our spirits, diminishes our hope and leaves us vulnerable to other troubles.  His words from March of1980...
"I speak of doubt-especially self-doubt-, of discouragement, and of despair.  In doing so I don't wish to suggest that there aren't plenty of things in the world to be troubled by.  In our lives, individually and collectively, there surely are serious threats to our happiness.  I watch an early morning news broadcast while I shave and then read a daily newspaper.  That is enough to ruin anyone's day and by then it is only 6:30 in the morning.  Iran, Afghanistan, inflation, energy, jogging, mass murders, kidnapping, unemployment, floods. With all of this waiting for us we are tempted, as W.C Fields once said, to "smile first thing in the morning and get it over with."

We come back to choice...choice of how we view everything.  

Here is a distinction F.Scott Fitzgerald once made, that "trouble has no necessary connection with discouragement-discouragement has a germ of its own" (The Crack-Up 1945)

As my friend Valerie continues to tell me, "Events are neutral" Hard to believe but so, so true.  We get to choose how we react, we really are the captain of our ships.

From his talk "For times of Trouble" Jeffrey Holland wrote of a story I love.  "Thomas Edison devoted ten years and all of his money to developing the nicks-alkaline storage battery at a time when he was almost penniless.  Through that period of time, his record and film production was supporting the storage battery effort.  

Then one night the terrifying cry of fire echoed through the film plant.  Spontaneous combustion had ignited some chemicals.  Within moments all of the packing compounds, celluloid for records, film, and other flammable goods had gone up with a roar.  Fire companies from eight towns arrived, but the fire and heat were so intense and the water pressure so low that the fire hoses had no effect.  Edison was sixty-seven years old-no age to begin anew.  His son Charles was frantic, wondering if he were safe, if his spirits were broken, and how would he handle a crisis such as this at his age.  Charles saw his father running toward him.  He spoke first.
He said, "Where is your mother? Go get her. Tell her to get her friends.  They'll never see another fire like this as long as they live!"  At 5:30 the next morning, with the fire barely under control, he called his employees together and announced, "We're rebuilding."  One man was told to lease all the machine shops in the area, another to obtain a wrecking crane from the Erie Railroad Company.  Then, almost as an afterthought, he added, "Oh by the way, anybody know where we can get some money?" (paraphrased from Charles Edison, "my most unforgettable character," Reader's Digest December 1961, pp. 175-77)
Virtually everything you now recognize as a Thomas Edison contribution to your life came after that disaster.  A disaster I think I would have not recovered from.


Remember, "Trouble has no necessary connection with discouragement-discouragement has a germ of its own."

Why didn't Thomas Edison quit?  What is it about some people that they never quit?  I believe William Shakespeare said it best (doesn't he always?) Remember, dear Brutus, "The not in our stars, but in ourselves"

Happy New Year....

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Bill Cosby - The aftermath

So it seems my "little blog that could" caused quite a bit of commotion a few weeks ago.  I wrote the story, the very true story, of an experience with (here is the link) Bill Cosby.  To say I wasn't prepared for the reaction would be an understatement.  When I saw how many people were reading my blog I was sad....all I could think of was, "so this is how you get people to read your blog, report some kind of a train wreck."  I was hoping folks would read my blog for sage advice and pithy rejoinders.

First, my Facebook page blew seemed every friend I had read it and every one of them commented.  Bless their hearts, everyone believed me.  That was a relief, even though I really didn't care if anyone believed me, it was still nice.  It was sobering when women started privately contacting me with their stories.  Some about Cosby, but not all.  Some who had an experience like mine they wanted to share.  We formed a sisterhood and it felt good to connect.  I knew how they felt and they appreciated what I like to call, "a safe place to fall".  It was a place of trust and acceptance.

Bill Cosby is hardly alone in using power as a tool to get what he wanted, assuming he could act any way he wanted because he was, after all, Bill Cosby.  I was fortunate that Wendy was with me, and blessed even more that she was extremely convincing and unshakeable.  A lot of the women who wrote to me didn't have that...

During the last few weeks we have read the Rolling Stone article about the rape at the University of Virginia fraternity which turned out to be fabrication.  As much as I hate men who use power incorrectly I despise women who do.  The reason the term, "crying rape" is the same as "crying wolf" is because of women like the one in the article and the one who wrote it.  The author found the same thing I did, folks respond to scandal and sensationalism.  In this case I don't know where the real story is, but credibility is lost. Bill Cosby's attorneys are going to point to that article as proof women "make these things up"  Rolling Stone and the author should have some serious consequences...they have impacted the lives of real rape victims everywhere.

My blog was picked up by (here) Norm Clark from the Las Vegas Review Journal.  I spoke with him because he is a well known columnist with a good reputation and came highly recommend by my friend Amy Ayoub.  The best part of our conversation was he admired my writing and he used my blog almost verbatim in his column.  Several television stations called wanting me to go on the air to discuss the story, also a couple of magazines. I was pretty clear when I told them, "I have said everything I need to say, there is nothing to add."  One was truly persistent, but after a while we agreed I was right.  When Norm's column came out I heard from even more women.  There were some funny stories of old time Vegas sugar daddies, and more sad stories.
Last week I received a letter in the mail from a woman who told me a Bill Cosby story she had only told her husband about.  It was very similar to mine....she was still embarrassed after all these years.

Amy told me not to read the comments in the newspaper.  Was she ever right...unfortunately my husband had to read them.  He came to me and said, "They aren't so bad, see? This one says you are only half butt ugly.   Really?  None of the trolls in the newspaper upset me, but one person left a comment on my blog that did.  It was from "anonymous" saying that it was the Salem Witch trials, and how could anyone believe me if I hadn't been vetted.

Vet away baby...I know what happened.

And a comment from someone I thought was my friend castigating me for writing about something Cosby probably doesn't even remember.  Really?  Who cares if he remembers?  I do.

So the blog about Bill Cosby had considerable more viewership than the blog I just wrote on Mustangs in Cold Creek, but given a choice I would much rather write about beautiful Mustangs than dirty dogs.

So Bill Cosby I am finished, your bad behavior is now erased from my memory.  No matter what happens from here I am finished. I hope the rest of the women receive closure also.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Short Trip To Cold Creek

I kept looking for the Lone Ranger

A few weeks ago my husband and I went about 45 miles away to Indian Springs Nevada for a speaking engagement.  On the way back we explored a small community called Cold Creek.  Just a group of homes in the foothills of the Spring Mountain Range.  What we didn't expect was to see were wild mustangs everywhere.

They are just walking down the road...a mare and her twins

In the desert there really isn't much to graze on, but they found something to eat.
They all traveled in herds, this was the largest one.  All together we saw 7 herds..
The Alpha Male....He just looked like he was in charge.  Funny how leadership has the same look no matter the species.
 He was just, well, regal.

 This was the funniest one.  He just walked up to the car and seemed to want to ask a question.  "Have you seen my hat?"

 So they just meandered down the road.....

 The foals were always in between the horses, never by themselves.

 Here is the hood....I know most people find this desolate and charm free.  But I have found beauty in the desert.

It's amazing how far you can see, especially since we aren't even issued clouds.  Just one sunny day after another...

Can't you just imagine the incredible sea that must have once been here?  Or maybe a glacier came through a million years ago...whatever occured it is an interesting place.  Where only the most resillent reside.

Friday, November 28, 2014

A Daring New Experiment

Dear Holidays...
Due to too much eating, exhaustion, and a new pesky habit of the"half empty syndrome" I woke up....icky.  So I am trying a daring new experiment...full on gratitude.  Before life hits me upside the head with reality I am going to blast this day with gratitude.  It seems the optimistic attitude of youth bailed at about age 50....I have been struggling and by the way, winning, to gain it back.

The other day I wrote a blog on what I was thankful for...I felt good for hours.  Why pound your thumb with a hammer when there is a better way?

I am thankful the blog I worked on for 2 hours yesterday before turkey hours vanished.  I actually pressed publish and it disappeared.  In retrospect I was saved by the muse who knew it was not the message I wanted to send.  I am so grateful it didn't send, it would have been a mistake.

I am thankful and thrilled for my friend Marcia Kester Doyle has her new book on Amazon today.  For a writer this is the day!  The day crop comes in, the atom splits, the super bowl is won, the baby is delivered...this is a happy, happy day.  I am over the moon for her.  I know her family is loving every second of this with her which makes it all the more fun!!

I am thankful the holidays are ahead of me, and happy to pull out all my decorations which are sweet memories for all of us to enjoy.

Thankful for a husband who still loves me and randomly does things like this to start out the day for us...

I am thankful to Ann Cannon for answering an email of mine a million years ago.  I gushed over her column to such  degree she would have been justified in getting a restraining order.  She is funny, articulate, poignant and wise....and so is her writing.  We were pen pals for over 10 years before an actual meeting.  Through all that time she encouraged me to write, and because of that encouragement I have been writing.

So thankful for Valerie Dimick who showed me where to find hope and guided me through a very difficult time with skill and determination.  I use the tools she gave me every day and life is so much better.

I am thankful for new friends who are not only gifted writers but have become confidants and love to Carol Cassara and Carol Graham who have given me much needed confidence.  Not only helping with my writing, but with my business also.

I am thankful for a random post from blogging friend Cathy Chester.  A Facebook group of women bloggers accepted a challenge to post every day in November.  When I missed a day due to work, I asked if I should stop posting.  I thought it was sort of like a spelling bee, if you miss you have to sit down.  She wrote back and said, "No, this challenge is for you, keep writing."  She had no idea what message she was giving me, which was permission to write.  Without knowing, she unlocked something very deep inside of me.  Years and years ago my parents had discouraged my writing because they were afraid I wouldn't get a "real job".  I let them sentence my writing to silence.  For a long, long time I heard their voices instead of the muse as I tried to write.  Words wouldn't come, I needed permission to write and Cathy unknowingly gave it to me.  We never know the influence we are on other people do we?

I am thankful for my children, I never thought growing up I would have children. Being an only child and I never saw myself as a mother.  It has been the delight of my life. They are incredible people!!

I am thankful for Christmas music, lights and decorations.  I love every single bit of it!

This is going to be an incredible holiday, because I choose that.

I choose happy...lets all choose happy.  K?

Monday, November 24, 2014


Gratitude is the most amazing thing, it helps us step outside our aches and pains, our rants and fits to maybe look at the things in life that just keep us going.

I neglect to notice.

We all know that I love my husband and children with a white hot passion that never ebbs only flows...

I am grateful for the gift of friendships...I have the best friends in the world. No matter where I go I find new people to love, from my gifted writing friends to the sweet elderly women in the temple I love them all!  I have friends from childhood, friends from my older children's childhood and friends from my younger children's childhood.  They laughed with me, cried with me and hugged me when I thought raising children would do me in!!  And those friends who cried with me when we sent them off to missions and college.  I have friends from casinos, church, catering, neighbors and a wrong number at Christmas time.

I don't have many hobbies, just my books and my plants, but I love them both...if I need a boost in life I go to a bookstore or a nursery.  I am grateful for authors who write amazing books for me to read.  And a big shout out to Heavenly Father for His 4th day antics.  (the fourth day is the day He created plants )

I am grateful for the doctor who operated on my daughter Ashleigh so she can move about without pain. I am grateful to the pilots who will bring my son Mikey home to us on Wednesday.  I am grateful to Kacy for loaning Emma his car so she could drive home safely tomorrow.  I am grateful for interesting topics Trey and I can dissect. And I am grateful to Raymond for never wanting to give up, but to keep striving to achieve his dreams.

I am grateful for my beliefs.  They give me strength, answer my questions, and make me better than I would be.  They have grown over the years, sort of like Aslan in Narnia, he got bigger....

I am grateful for peace.  You know that is the only emotion that cannot be counterfeited?  Peace is what I strive for each day, some days I am good at it, some days not so much.  But I am always searching for peace.

And finally I am grateful for my is the greatest pillow, squishy in just the right places.  Every night I thank my heavenly father for a comfortable bed and a squishy pillow.

And now it is time to embrace my squishy pillow and thank my Heavenly Father one more time for the wonderful life He has given to me.  In his words, "I knew where I planted you and it has brought forth much fruit"  I love His garden metaphors..

Goodnight dear friends, thank you for reading!!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

I Didn't Go Alone - A Story about Bill Cosby

Lately there has been a swirl of press around Bill Cosby and his alleged raping of women.  The response from fans have been everything from total bewilderment to shock, outrage and disbelief.  I understand their reactions, after all we watched him as an amazing father on a break through television show in the 80's. He sold jello for heavens sake and in interviews or in his act he always spoke with love and reverence about his wife Camille.  What's not to believe? He was seemingly a family man who prized education and laughter.  To not believe the charges that have been levied against him is understandable.  Maybe even's all a "he said, she said" kind of thing, right?  And what good does it do to dredge it all up now?

I felt the same way most of you did about Bill Cosby, but that was a long, long time ago.

I have blogged about my early twenties before, it was all dancing and tennis and not much else.  I worked nights at one tennis club and spent most of my days at Caesar's Palace where I hit with guests, picked up balls after lessons and washed courts.  Not very glamorous, but it was when tennis was the thing to do and Caesars was the place to be.  The guests and vip's I played with were captains of industry, athletes, actors, and comedians.  One of those tennis playing guests was Bill Cosby.  He starred at the Hilton and played tennis around town.   We played several times and he took a great interest in me.  I was young and his interest seemed "dad like".  I thought he just enjoyed playing tennis and needed someone to hit with while he was in town.

That's what I thought...I thought he was his public persona.  This was before his actual Cosby show when he was the quintessential dad, but he was still Bill Cosby the funny guy, certainly not dangerous.  He even joined me on the indoor courts at the Tropicana where I played tennis every Mondays with a friend.  To me it was all about tennis, having fun playing tennis.  I certainly didn't think he was dangerous.  Underscore, he never acted dangerous.

Then one night my girlfriend Wendy, Cosby and I went out.  When we got back to the Hilton he asked if I wanted to see his hotel room.  I was interested to see what that particular penthouse looked like, Elvis got married there!  Besides Cosby was harmless.  Thinking she would like to see it also I asked Wendy to go with us.  She was the DJ at the disco of the Hilton and for 20 minutes every hour she would play music and then the live band took over for 40 minutes.  After a brief tour of his penthouse things changed dramatically and quickly.  He made it clear in a very aggressive way what his intentions were.  He chillingly said to me, "I   will   have   you."  Those words are imprinted on my brain along with the evil I felt.  My first thought was immediate, "No you will not."  Then shock took over, and when words wouldn't come a paralyzing feeling did.  Wendy started talking very fast, she was explaining that she had to get back to work, she would surely be missed and how would we all explain that, and I was going with her.  Wendy never left me, for that one instinctive act of love and protection I will never be able to thank her enough.  It is a blur how we left or what force propelled us out of there, but we were safe.  I had no idea that he drugged his victims until I read the stories of late, and I have no way of knowing what would have happened if Wendy had not been there.  What I do know is his words were an assault to me never to be forgotten.  And the betrayal of friendship was staggering.

I still saw Cosby in passing after that although we never played tennis again.  He acted as though nothing had occurred.  A case can easily be made that I was foolish and starstruck, and I never should have gone to his room, agreed...But nothing I was foolish of warranted the treatment I received.

As I saw him on television so broadly loved and so completely opposite of that one horrible night, I thought there must have been something wrong with me.   I have learned over the years that is a typical reaction to abusive behavior.  If you wonder why no one came forward before now, I imagine that is why.  Who would have ever believed he was like that?  Think about it, how many of us can say that about a boss?  A date?  A teacher?  A coach?  We have to provide our sisters a safe place to fall.  A place where they will be believed and shame and no guilt.  Maybe the more we shine a light on abusive behavior the less it will occur.  In the mean time we must teach as much protection as possible.

Never go alone.....casual dating, parties or walking home.

Please, don't go alone.

And one more time, thank you Wendy...

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Coyote Beautiful

Our neighborhood is changing...lots of new homes being built.  And while I am happy for the new folks who will be joining us I am going to miss the things that have made this neighborhood so interesting.  We have coveys of quail and an Owl, roadrunners that come and go, but always checking in when they come back, once coming right in the house!  Since we have lived here we have seen foxes and bighorn sheep, snakes and tarantulas.

Out of all the animals I have seen here the coyote is still my favorite.  I feel like they are a real representation of the wild west...and up to now our neighborhood has felt that way.

Imagine our surprise when we saw a coyote running down Egan Crest....

He stopped at the stop sign, looked both ways, and then turned right on Tropical. He was really moving fast, but well under the speed limit.

We are happy to report that the coyotes in our area are law abiding, upstanding citizens.

Friday, November 21, 2014

My Life From the Bleachers

I accepted a challenge to blog everyday in November, I did that because I usually have to be forced to do anything.  Except eat...eating seems to be the one thing I never forget to do.  I don't even have to be hungry.  Back to blogging every day.  Well, I missed a day, but a dear fellow blogger told me not to worry, keep going and remember this is just for us.  Made sense and was strangely liberating.  Then this week my daughter had surgery and I missed 3 days.  I couldn't get my iPad to work in the hospital so I thought, wait this is for me.  Pressure disappeared and I resurfaced today.

But I have nothing to say....

What do writers do when they have nothing to write about?

Well they reminiscence.  Trying to find anything to write about

They argue with anyone....trying to find anything to write about

They stare into space

They wish they had a better writing room

They read things they have written before and realize they have written crap before so writing crap now is not so bad.

They think about Wayne Dyer who creates a book jacket before he creates the book, props it up, lights a candle and starts to write.  Could someone create a book jacket for me?

This is what is next to my computer.  A solar generated queen who waves when she has been sufficiently shined on.

I like the Queen, there aren't enough people like her in the world.  Regal, focused, loyal, and protective.  I also loved Helen Mirren as the queen....

as a matter of fact I love Helen Mirren.

So this is what writers write about when they have nothing to write about....a statue on their desk.

No worries, no pressure, the muse will return.  Tomorrow is another day.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Unless you need Demerol

So tomorrow is the big day we have been waiting for.  My daughter is having back surgery and we can't wait.  That seems counterintuitive except for the fact she has been in horrible pain for over 2 months.  She has a herniated disk and they have said it is the easiest back surgery there is.  Today the PA said she was a surgeons dream because she is thin and in great shape.  Part of that great shape is why she is having back surgery.  She is a runner, a cross-fitter, and an ex gymnast.  It all comes together for an injury.  When the doctor told her that the lifestyle she led caused the problems she just shrugged...she wouldn't have changed anything.  So now she won't be able to do certain things, but full activity is actually 6 weeks away.

I think that is a miracle.  Someone with this injury or problem 100 years ago would have just stayed in bed.  or 75 years ago.  50 years ago they had surgery but it was, she has a 98% chance of being just like she was before.

Unless she needs demerol.  The PA said there is a shortage of demerol so she has to have percoset.  That's not much of a problem, percoset is stronger, higher chance of addiction....but why a shortage of demerol?  I asked the PA was happened.  Did a pharmaceutical company stop making it, or didn't make enough?  Have we, as a country, been in more pain lately?

Obamacare.  That was his answer.  The government thinks we use too much demerol so they put limits on how much pharmaceutical companies could make.   I don't know how you feel but I know some government workers...lots of them, and I do not want them, or anyone else in government cubicles making drug decisions for me.  Because if they do, I will be in pain.

They are taking our demerol!!

So with all the stuff about Jonathan Gruber and his claim we are too stupid and now less demerol...our lives are simply in shambles.   When I first heard the Gruber thing I realized he got it wrong.  They knew the American people were too smart, not too stupid....lets be clear.  They knew if they told the truth about it we would howl more than we did.  It's all a mess....

A friend of mine has Obamacare.  It works, they have health insurance but its not very good insurance.  They have a HMO type plan which was all they could afford and as you know with HMO's, they are very limited in where they can go and what doctors they can see.  When she wanted a second opinion on a surgery that was recommended there was no place to go.  The first doctor wanted to do a full knee replacement on her torn meniscus.  Who would do a full knee replacement without a second opinion for a torn meniscus?  He told her he had done 50.  50?  You want to go to someone who has done 5000...with a small amount of investigation she found out he wasn't even an orthopedic doctor, he is a bone cancer doctor.  Since her plan only has one orthopedic group the chances the second doctor will disagree with the first doctor are pretty low.  My friend only pays $136 a month, and that includes her husband.  They have a very low income so they qualify for a subsidy.  The subsidy is $900.  A subsidy is another word for government assistance.  If they had a higher income they would be paying $1036.....she was very embarrassed to tell me how much the government assistance is.  Before Obamacare they were paying $1100 which was about to bankrupt them.  So this is a perfect example of something had to happen to fix health insurance....but this solution seems horribly flawed.  They have health insurance but not much health care.  She hasn't gotten her knee fixed because she doesn't feel she needs a full knew replacement.  And she doesn't trust the doctor to do it anyway.

And to top it all off, we are running out of Demerol.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

James Taylor, Stevie Nicks and Me

I am a child of the 70's....We were all over the place the children of the 60's were too serious for us.  It was clear we cared, but we didn't blow things up.  And one other thing we didn't really know what kind of music we liked.......We were musically schizophrenic, there was hard rock, odd rock, slow music, loud music, but all of it was wonderful early 70's taste was devoted to Jethro Tull, Rare Earth and James Taylor. My parents had lived through the Monkees, the Beach Boys and of course the Rolling Stones...and there were others....and all of the music had a story.

The summer before I graduated from high school I visited lots of colleges trying to decide which one could reject me first.  I heard "Maggie May" by Rod Stewart every ten minutes on the radio.  Today every time I hear Maggie May I go right back to that summer when everything was in front of me.  

During the race to become homecoming Queen my senior year, the local radio station dedicated a song to me for luck every time I hear the song called "Sweet City Woman" by the Stampeders, I remember a wonderful Saturday afternoon at a great football game, and my yellow dress with shoes dyed to match. I didn't win, but it didn't really matter. I go back to that afternoon every time I hear...
"I can see your face, I can hear your voice, I can almost touch you
Swee-ee-eet, sweet city woman
Oh, my banjo and me, we got a feel for singin', yeah, yeah,"

And then of course that catchy refrain....sung about a thousand times, it doesn't matter how corny it is, I love it, I am 17 again....with yellow shoes dyed to match.
"Bon c'est bon, bon bon c'est bon, bon,"  
(That is awful..but I still love

And then of course there was Fleetwood Mac...I imagined I was Stevie Nicks and sang Landslide, my favorite song...The fact I couldn't sing and didn't have a drug problem seemed to be deal breakers. One concert I attended was at the Aladdin she came out on stage in this amazing long black dress that she simply floated in, she was beautiful....and her voice was perfect. She went through some hard, hard times...but today that seems to be behind her.

I thought for sure Glen Frey from the Eagles was going to ask me out. And he would have if only our paths crossed. But they didn't and he didn't.... Witchy Woman was my favorite song and I sang along at the top of my lungs...but when I got older and really listened to the words I was a little surprised.....I do remember having no idea why "she drove herself to madness with a silver spoon...".  I recently saw the Eagles with some friends and no one could get the smiles off our faces. We all were in a time machine...

"Mama told me not to come" by Three Dog Night was my anthem.  Patti and I climbed on a table to sing along with War. Didn't they sing Cisco Kid too?  I knew all the words to "American Pie" by Don McClean, and I stun friends with my ability to sing the many years later.  High School graduation was a Rare Earth concert..."I just want to celebrate!" Remember that?  

But do you know what makes me the happiest today is that Carole King and James Taylor have decided to get old.  Just look at this picture...two old friends, still with a lot of talent....being who they are. This picture makes me feel good...I know James Taylor had a lot of things to over come, but he did it, and I am so glad he did.  There are lots of stars of music who died young, some tragically, many sacrificed marriages and were estranged from their children.  Their very glamorous lives were not quite as amazing as I thought.

I am glad my life worked out the way they did. I wouldn't change a thing. Every bad decision I made helped me be stronger, and wiser. Every sad thing that happened every bumbling dumb thing I did......All of it made me better. All of our experiences are for our good, if we chose to look at them that way. And I do. I get to walk through life with the same person I started out with. That's the greatest miracle of my life. Thanks Ray-Ray. Congrats on 35 great years.

There is a great quote that says, "It is at the end of a man's life that he realizes how important the decisions were that he made at the beginning of his life."

I was never going to be a singer, or an actress, a great tennis player or Barbara Walters......I have a very small life, but it is an important one. So I don't look with envy at Stevie, or wonder if Glen is going to call...I think of that young girl looking at colleges listening to Maggie May and I know she would be happy for how things have worked out. Small lives are important lives...

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The funniest thing.....

A man who lived in Cleveland Ohio was a true Browns fan.  He wrote his own obituary and when he died his family had it published in the paper.

"As part of my funeral I would like 6 Cleveland Brown football players to be my pallbearers, that way the Browns can let me down one last time."

Now that's funny......

While we are on the subject I would like my tombstone to read,

"I told you I was sick."

And in lieu of a barbaric funeral just put me in a hefty bag for Tuesday pick up.

I think that takes care of my will......

So funny.....

A man who lived in Cleveland Ohio was a true Browns fan.  He wrote his obituary and when he died it was published in the paper.

"As part of my funeral I would like 6 Cleveland Brown football players to be my pallbearers, that way the Browns can let me down one last time."

Now that's funny......

While we are on the subject I would like my tombstone to read,

"I told you I was sick."

And in lieu of a barbaric funeral just put me in a hefty bag for Tuesday pick up.

I think that takes care of my will......

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Rapper and the MRI

From Earlier this year......

Ain't life a kick?  It astounds me the twists and turns it takes.

For instance my rapper friend.


It was last christmas and I received a text...just a simple greeting, "Merry Christmas"  I didn't recognize the number but I responded back, "Merry Christmas, I hope Santa was good to you."  The texter sounded a bit sad and wrote
something like his music was going better not great, and hoped 2014 would be a better year.  Money was bad, no gigs.....So I told him to expect miracles and they would happen and didn't think another thing about it.  He sent another text on New Years, just sweet "gangsta" love.  A month later a new text telling me all the places he performed in, the record contract he signed and when his record would "drop".

Then he said, "Thank you Yoshi, you have been such a good friend.  Everything you said would happen did...thank you, I believe in miracles!"

uh oh......

I felt so guilty I came clean immediately.  I explained I wasn't Yoshi but was very excited for his success and that I meant everything I said about miracles.  I told him I loved hearing about his career and music (how else would I ever know about rappers?)  He was so confused, but then he just said,

"It's all good, who is this anyway?"

I told him I was just a random wrong number that must have been put in his life to remind him miracles occur.  Since then he has sent the link to his concert, showed me the jacket cover for his record and shared his girlfriend problems.  He believes in miracles....and all I did was wish someone a Merry Christmas.....

Which brings me to last Friday when I finally went in for my MRI.  Did I tell you I hurt my knee?  How could you miss that information, I suffer by committee.  If I am in pain everyone is in pain with me.  My threshold for pain is right about here......want to guess how high my hand is above the ground?

The most adorable woman is my MRI master.  Her name is Carla and I liked her immediately.  She explained the procedure and gave me some great earphones.  I requested Billy Joel, she didn't even blink and said she would do her best.  The next 20 minutes sailed by as I rocked out to Billy Joel, Three Dog Night, James Taylor and Fleetwood Mac in my MRI machine!  Fabulous.
When it was over I asked her a million questions about MRI's and  how she came to be the Jedi Master of the radiology department.  Evidently the machine costs 3 million dollars and it takes a long time to learn everything.  The MRI I received was a level 3 so they will be able to tell all my secrets from that scan.  I so hope whatever is wrong with my knee will be easy to fix.  Carla asked me how I hurt my knee and I am embarrassed that I do not have a fun story.  It just hurt, and then it hurt a little more and then a little more and when it got to "Oh s**t" I decided to go to the doctor...she said that was probable a good barometer for seeking medical help.  When you get to "oh s**t" you should go the doctor.

The best part of the whole adventure was after I changed and came back to get a picture with Carla and her magical machine.  We traded some life stories and she told me about a business she had recently started in her spare time.  The total purpose was to make as much money as she could to help her family...especially her mother.  They were financially struggling and she just wanted to help them.  This woman, this adorable woman, was doing everything she could to help other people all the time.  Carla said her favorite thing was buying pancakes at McDonald's in the morning and then buying breakfast for the car behind her!  We found out tons about each other in about 5 minutes, chatted as though we were long lost friends and exchanged phone numbers.  

I left there a better person for having spent time with her.  Inspired to live life better, and grateful to have met her.  

Thanks, life...that one is on you.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Not a lot of words, Wednesday....

I live in the desert, it is a hard place to make things beautiful....being from Texas I don't like not having years ago we made a deal with our yard.....actually we made a deal with the University that they could use our front yard and we would basically do what they told us to do. We had put in a Wetlands.......the first residential constructed wetlands in Nevada....and so our yard was a great fit for wild experiments. They simply wanted us to not use pesticides, and not to augment the soil. We had to see what would really grow here. So they brought in experimental plants and we dug the holes, Sometimes having to jackhammer to make the holes big enough. This ground is hard and rocky.....a true challenge. My front porch.....
And so now the flower show starts.....all of these pictures are of the front yard. I just wanted you to see the colors, and the possibilities of drought tolerant plants.

This is the most beautiful plant, the flowers look like wisteria, but of course, it isn' does freeze, but all four of mine came back, after a lot of time.....most everything starts greening up in April, this one and the bougainvilleas didn't really start going until June. It does pay to be patient.
Verbena is always a must
You can't see this very well, but this is an African Sumac that volunteered in this place, so my husband bent it way over and tied it down to train it to watch over the wetlands....
the Cannas are what we have in the wetlands right now, we took out all the cattails and the curly willow. Too invasive. I which we had hundreds of different kinds and colors of cannas, but maybe some time.
Another African Sumac, they volunteer everywhere because we mulch the entire front of our yard. In fact so much volunteers that I plant and replant all the time.

The original African the trunks on these treesSee the purple? It is called purple heart and I got it out of a woman's yard I had admired. She just handed it to me and now I have it all over. In the bottom of my pots, in the yard, in water, in the wetlands, everywhere.
This is my favorite bougainvillea, it grows up around the mailbox, the mail man hates it, but I don't have the heart to cut it. It comes back every year.
And here it is again....
I love it....
purple heart and creeping myrtle.....I got the creeping myrtle from a friend, and now it is also everywhere.
Russian sage (smells heavenly) and purple ruella growing inside of it. They were both volunteers.....
Next to the purple buddies is California fuchsia, which absolutely takes over......and the start of the pumpkin story...

Last year we went to Sacramento with the Holley's and we went o every farmers market there was. my husband got several gourds and pumpkins and harvested the is what he did with them.......
They are everywhere
all across the front of the yard.....

Is this wild? It goes right across the steps in front of our house.....and there are so many pumpkins and gourds.....just crazy....I wanted to share the fall in the desert....our imagination and a shovel....