Ensenada, Mexico

Here is a picture of the ocean where we are staying in Baja. The continuous roar of the waves is a lulling sound. The sky is gray, but the weather has been mild. We saw four dolphins jumping and playing in the waves for at least forty-five minutes this afternoon. This evening we drove about fifteen minutes to a Korean/Japanese restaurant where the Asian owner greeted us in Spanish. The food was delicious.

Now, as we lay in bed, I can hear those waves. What a sound! They are putting me to straight to sleep.

Rest well, my friends. I will check back in tomorrow.

Baja Bound

We are currently in our van with two of our three daughters, Gregorio, Luna and Nico (Rachael, Ariel and Ron couldn’t come). I just saw a sign that said 90 minutes to the border. We are outside of San Diego en route to Ensenada, Mexico where we will stay tonight with Gregorio ‘s mom and step-dad. We will be arriving very late, probably around 12:30, assuming our border crossing is uneventful.

Tomorrow, we plan to visit with Gregorio’s family in the morning before heading out to our air bnb, which is near the beach. We will spend tomorrow afternoon and all day Saturday at the beach before heading back to LA on Sunday. This is a joint celebration for Mother’s Day and Sarah’s birthday, which is Tuesday.

Luna and Nico are already sound asleep. I am sitting in the middle near Luna. Ray and Gregorio are up front and Sarah, Nico and Liz are in the back. The advantage of a fifteen passenger is there is lots of room.

I have had several busy days so knowing we have a weekend of pure vacation is very welcome. I’m glad Gregorio is driving since this is his stomping ground. He is just going home for another visit.

I will check in tomorrow when we have Internet. Until then, have a good relaxing Friday and weekend. Until then…

Long Day of Students and Writing

Today, I started at 10 am and worked for 2 hours with one student on his personal statement for a Master’s program in Oral Health, which will be the precursor to his dental school personal statement.  Then from 2 – 7, I worked with another student on a college term paper on police brutality. After that, I worked from 7 – 9 with a student on 15 medical school short-answer questions. (We have already finished his stellar personal statement.)  Now, I am sitting here, dead-tired and hungry.  I think I forgot to eat dinner somewhere in there.

Tomorrow, I have a writing group at 9, a student from 11-1 and another student from 1-3.  Then I’m going to throw a few clothes in a bag and jump in the van to go with Sarah, Gregorio, Liz, Luna and Nico to a beach house in Baja for a joint celebration of Mother’s Day and Sarah’s birthday.  The bad news is that Rachael and Ariel can’t join us since Rachael has a work commitment this weekend and Ariel needs to be here for his mother on Mother’s Day. Ron isn’t coming either since he also has his own Mother’s Day celebration to attend here in LA. I’m sorry everyone can’t come, but I certainly understand.  I just wish they could!

On that note, I am closing. I am one pooped pup tonight.  I am looking forward to a few days at the beach.  Somehow I think that will be just what the doctor ordered.

Have a good evening, my friends.  We’ll talk again soon.

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Bingo Night at St. Thomas the Apostle, Hollywood

Tonight, we had the first in a series of “fun” nights put on by what Ray called the “Ladies and Gentlemen’s Auxillary.”  We had a potluck, where everyone was encouraged to bring their favorite “funeral food,” meaning the dish that people bring to the family before a funeral and/or the food served at a funeral by a church auxiliary.  We had jello molds, corn dog casserole, cheesy potatoes, noodles and pork casserole, pasta salad, peach pot pies, cookies and cakes. It was fun.

Ray and Joseph organized this event and added lots of extras along the way.  They brought all sorts of silly/odd/funny gifts to give away, which included a bag of mothballs, a book of limericks (which could not be read out loud to a church crowd), St. Thomas coffee mugs, a cross made of shells, a bar of chocolate, a Betty Crocker cookbook, and on, and on, and on.  People swapped gifts they didn’t want and some gifts were left for future bingo games, like that shell cross.

I realized while sitting there that it’s been a while since we’ve done anything at church just for the pure fun of it. The Mass is beautiful, the homeless “Breakfast Club” satisfying, visiting with friends during coffee hour is pleasant, but tonight was just pure fun.

I won a Wonder Woman pin that I plan to give to granddaughter Luna.  I think she’ll like it.

Good job, Ray and Joseph! You two kept us laughing all evening as well. That made Bingo Night even more fun.

Some of the Bingo Merry Makers

group bingo night

Len, Vic, Mackenzie, Michael, Arthur

Len, Vic, Mack and Michael

Ray and Jospeh

Ray and Joseph

Spring Cleaning and Bees

Today we are up in Ojai.  We worked all day cleaning and clearing and now I’m exceedingly tired. I feel good about what we accomplished so it was worth the effort.  The weather was quite cooperative. Just around 75 all day with a nice ocean breeze.

I am headed to bed.  This is short, but sweet.  I am up again early tomorrow to finish up a few more bits of work before heading back to LA.

Ron showed me his bees that he recently bought for the orange grove.  I didn’t know that bees not only make honey, but also add to their population on a continual basis. Ron bought 10, 0000 bees and a thousand new bees are born every week.  Wow.  Very cool.  See the photos below.

On that note, I’ll say good night. Sleep well, my friends.  We’ll talk again tomorrow.

Len and Ron with the bees

Len and Ron with bees

One of the partitions that fit into the hive

bees

Repost: Childhood Refuges

Today has been a day of sleeping.  This is after several long days of work, one of which was 11 1/2 hours long with students.  I found this piece that I posted several years ago and decided it reflected accurately my need today for the refuge of a quiet room and several naps.  Refuges are not limited to childhood, after all.

I was a solitary little girl, who loved to nestle in the space between the Nandina bushes and the white picket fence in our backyard; bare toes digging into the loose North Texas black soil; bare arms serving as racetracks for doodlebugs in exploration. My dog, Bob, was my constant companion. He was middle-sized, black and loyal and I liked having his company out in those bushes. He was as happy out there as I was; often giving my dusty feet a quick lick with his pink tongue before settling down for a nap while I played.

I was a little girl who loved to climb trees, particularly the pecan tree right behind our house. I liked to pretend that the different limbs were different rooms in a house: one the living room, another the kitchen, another the bedroom. I would climb from limb to limb and pretend that I had friends visiting, usually my two imaginary friends: Tommy Wizzums and Heidi, and we would talk and eat and play games with each other while the hot Texas sun filtered through the green leaves. I can’t remember if these conversations were out loud, but I believe they surely were. I suppose my family could hear me out there chatting away, as if I had a whole slew of buddies up there with me. I suppose I did.

I was a little girl who favored the backs of closets and other small spaces. I loved my mother’s closet, where I could sit among my mother’s clothes and smell the scent of her perfume that lingered on her dresses. I like sitting in the semi-darkness with the door slightly cracked, where I could listen to the distant whir of the vacuum cleaner as our housekeeper, Lorene, worked nearby. I felt safe and secure in those small spaces. Free from the torment of my older brothers or the demands of my little one. I had my own little trouble-free space – a neutral zone – where I could take a break from growing up with five other siblings, four of whom still lived at home.

I was a little girl who would hole up in the living room when everyone else was upstairs watching television so that I could listen to favorite records on the turntable of the cabinet stereo. “Oh, Donna” by Richie Vallens, “Get a Job” by The Silhouettes and “Sixteen Tons” by Tennessee Ernie Ford. These were usually short sessions because one of my brothers would burst into the room and decide it was time to wrestle with me or chase me. But I remember enjoying those times, singing along with the music and having that big room all to myself.

I think of my childhood with these solitary moments because I was one of six kids and my privacy was something that I treasured. I loved my brothers who were still all home – my sister was already off to college when I was a 7 or 8 – but four brothers and all their friends did not make for a quiet house. I had to find refuge from so many people and those times were some of my favorites growing up.

I still love my quiet spaces. Not behind shrubs, up in trees, or in closets, but I do still listen to music and sing along. Also, I have the orange grove, which is a singular spot to go when in need of pure solitude. I love living among those trees and looking up at the stars on a clear night. I also always have my dogs up there with me, and they nestle at my feet just like Bob did when I was a kid.

I guess parts of us never grow up. I would say that is a good thing.

9533475-Little-girl-picking-flowers-under-a-beautiful-tree-in-spring-Stock-Photo

Happy to Announce: Presenter of Two Workshops at the 2018 “Stories from the Heart IX” Memoir Conference!

I am delighted to report that I  have been chosen to offer two workshops in the upcoming “Stories From the Heart IX” Memoir Conference in Austin, Texas on July 20 – 22, 2018.  I will be presenting one of the two Friday pre-conference workshops entitled, “How to Improve Your Writing and Get Published: Flash Fiction and Flash Memoir,” as well as giving a workshop during the conference called, “The How-To’s to Successful Blogging.”

This biennial conference is sponsored by Story Circle Network, which is a non-profit organization “dedicated to helping women share the stories of their lives through memoir, poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and drama, and to raising public awareness of the importance of women’s personal histories.”  I am the Coordinator foOnline Writing Classes Coordinator for Story Circle Network as well as an online teacher, and I am very proud to be part of this fine and inspiring organization.

If you are a woman and have a desire to get your thoughts, feelings, life events or fictional ideas down on paper, then consider attending this wonderful conference. The women are open, wise and wonderful and the workshops will provide down-to-earth writing information that not only informs but also inspires.  You will come away feeling nurtured and understood by a group of women who know all about the challenges of life.  I have attended this conference for the past several years and always leave feeling filled to the brim with caring and connection.

I would love to see you at both of my workshops!  That would be quite a treat for me, all on its own.

Here’s the link to the conference sign-up: http://www.storycircle.org/Conference/

 

When you
open
your heart,
you open your
mind.
—Beth Mende Conny
Story Circle Network The best and most
beautiful things in
this world cannot be
seen or even touched.
They must be felt
with the heart.
—Helen Keller

Flash Fiction, Memoir and Essay

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