Listening


Some may not appreciate this post, but I felt I needed to say something, just for my peace of mind.  It’s the season of politicians and sound bites, the candidates have been chosen and we the people are being inundated with conventions and platforms.  The candidates are not my issue here, but rather the constant barrage of opinions being thrust at anyone who opposes that individuals stance.  Not one candidate is really what I want.  If I agree with their fiscal plan, I disagree with their social plans.  If I agree with their social agenda, I disagree with their economics.  I don’t trust any of them, although I don’t believe any of them want to harm our country.  They are all planning to do what they think is right for the American people.

My problem is I see people talking and no one listening.  The candidates and their campaigns are there to win, so they go after the other team’s weaknesses.  Something said in a speech that gets taken out of context, etc.  But that’s typical and to be expected, as sad as that is.  Where I have an issue is with the American people themselves.  All of us have to choose (should we decide to vote, and if you don’t, that’s your right and prerogative) what topic of each platform is best for us as individuals.  Yet, that doesn’t give you the right to condemn someone else for selecting the opposing candidate.  We as Americans have the right to choose our leaders and representatives and we all have ideas and beliefs as to what is important to ourselves.  That doesn’t make those who believe the opposite necessarily wrong, just that they have different priorities and although we may feel those priorities are not “right”, those people still have the right to have them.

Some people will choose a candidate based on the economy, some on religious (or lack thereof) preference, some will choose based on some personal issues (abortion, gay rights, etc.) and I’m sure many will disagree, as we tend to do.  But we can all do this in a mature and respectful way.  Take the time to really listen to what people are saying and the context in which they say it.  Sometimes actively listening can be difficult when you’re passionate about something, but other people are passionate too.  This all comes down to tolerance and agreeing to disagree.  To embrace the beauty in our culture.  That is the right to disagree.  To disagree with your government, your family, your friends… the freedom to have your own opinion and express it as you wish.  What we all seem to forget is that with great power comes great responsibility and the freedom to say what we wish when we wish is a luxury many people in the world do not possess.

This is not to say that I want to hear hateful, awful things, I do not, but even hateful, awful people have the right to free speech.  They can say what they want as well.  But I choose to remember something my father once told me while watching the news.  They were reporting that the KKK had one of their speeches on the steps of the town hall.  They preached their hatred and bile and the crowds came to yell and oppose them.  There is something wonderful about watching people oppose hate.  When I turned to look at my dad, he was shaking his head, not because he agreed with the Klan, I knew that.  So I asked him why and he said, “That’s why they do it, because the crowds come and stand there.  What would happen if no one showed up to listen?”  That made me think.  He was right.  Without an audience, would these people show up?  I don’t think so.  The whole reason is to get on the news or appeal to the small minded followers looking to join, but without an audience, you lose power.  This seems contradictory to my previous statement, but sometimes the best way to deal with a hateful issue is to walk away.  Now, I don’t mean to tell people not educate themselves about all the issues and organizations out there, we all should pay more attention to those out there that mean us harm.

There will be many people we speak to about the upcoming election.  Some don’t want to talk about it at all and some do nothing but talk about it.  Some will be small minded and fearful and some will be venomous and intolerant, but we can only make decisions for ourselves and how we deal with those things and people around us.  In some cases listen and in others walk away… all I can do is respectfully ask that we all remember that we can agree to disagree and that our differences are what make us wonderful and unique.

Limbo…


Limbo, a place where we wait, waiting for life, change, stability… there are so many different limbos.  I’m in one right now, in the middle of a life transition, changing a very important relationship.  During the hottest time of the year, we are moving and reorganizing.  This change is not only physically taxing, but emotionally taxing.  The physical aspect of it is hard, exhausting at times and I’m tired and sore, but the emotional aspect of limbo is equally exhausting.  The physical clutter and instability leads to emotional clutter, and we as writers know, clutter can affect us.  Currently, this has put my writing on hold.  I’m sure that many of you can relate.

Lately, it seems like whenever I’m ready to stand up and dust myself off, I get hit again and knocked off balance and then I fall down.  Funny thing is, I’m still ok.  I’m tired, God knows I’m tired, but some days I have energy, only then it’s about direction.  Where do I focus this energy?  Do I want to focus it?  Do I just want to sit and play Sudoku for hours on end (it’s been the later for the last few months… don’t judge me ; )

However, in the last few weeks I’ve started a new writing partnership with a friend (I’m sure I’ll introduce him later), but we both have an issue channeling that energy lately.  He’s been through some rough times, especially in the last year with physical ailments and he’s tired too, but now, we are inspiring each other with our new project.  No, I haven’t put aside my other projects, I’m working on all of them (well, in my head at the moment).  The one thing we are doing… keeping each other accountable.  Sometimes that’s what we need.  If you can’t live up to your own guidelines, then live up to someone else’s.  I personally can’t stand to disappoint people who are depending on me; therefore, I can be held accountable.  Sometimes we need the push or the steady direction until we can find our way out of that limbo.  That disorganized, cluttered space we can end up in, be it in our homes or in our heads.

I would suggest we all look to our friends, family, mentors and peers when we need a hand up and out of the hole.  Stop digging and look for a way out.  More than likely when you reach up, someone will take your hand, funny enough, it may be the person you least expected…  and that could be a wonderful surprise.

Falling Down…


So, Saturday I head off to Hollywood to meet my girls for lunch as it is a dear friends birthday weekend and her request was lunch at Canter’s (for those who do not know, an amazing deli on Fairfax that has been there for like 70 years plus… my dad used to go there when he was a kid… still DELISH!!!, but I digress…) so we meet there and have a wonderful time.  On our way back to the valley, I ask my Bud (one of my Besties) want to stop for Fro Yo (Frozen yogurt for those not in the know), she says YES!! so we do.  All is going swimmingly. we get our Fro Yo to go have a lovely conversation with the Fro Yo girls) and we are off, happily chatting about our frozen treats, when I realize I have stepped wrong or my ankle has given out and … I am falling… and I do.  Bam!  I’m down.

My Bud comes over and see is I’m ok and begins to gather up the belongings I tossed on my way down (the yogurt was superbly packed and sustained no harm – Kudos to you, Fro Yo Girl), I managed to avoid serious harm, but didn’t twist quickly enough and land on my leg just below my knee, little rash and some numbness, but over all, I’m ok.  But wait, because now is when the real excitement begins… as I was falling, an elderly couple were quietly eating their Fro Yo, and as I began my descent, the woman SCREAMED… not yelled, screamed.  I was actually quite calm, a simple “Oh, shit…” and I was on my way.  So I, and everyone else, hear the scream and as I rolled over, the little old man, quite earnestly concerned hovered over me, trying to assess the situation.  The little old woman ran into the Fro Yo Store and got the Fro Yo girls.  I’m sitting up gathering my self together, explaining to the little old man that I’m fine, when out pops the Fro Yo Girls with phone in hand.  “Should I call 911?” she asks.  I respond.” Nooooooo, please dont’ call 911… really… I’m fine… I just fell down.  I do it a lot… I’m good.”  After several minutes, I convince all of them that I actually am fine and they disperse and my Bud looks down at me smiling.  I congratulate her for gathering all the spilled items from her “Bud Down” and we laugh, when around the corner comes these two guys… “Oh My God!! What happened are you all right?”  I explain I am fine and they take off… all the while I’m thinking… day late, dollar short, Dudes, but thanks for stopping.  My Bud helps me up and we are off.

Why tell this story?  Well, I was telling some friends a few days ago and although it is humorous, I realized that I have fallen quite a bit in my life.  Granted I’ve been around for a while, but I have probably fallen more than most.  So much so that I’m unusually good at it. I occasionally get bruised, but mostly I don’t.  Then I realized how often we fall in other ways.  Setbacks and procrastination and disappointment and losing and missing and all the ways we fall down.  We all do.  But, the most important thing is we get back up.  Just like falling down physically, we need to get back up and try again.  Move forward and get on with things.

For those of us who write, we may spend time away from the page.  We get distracted or the words won’t come or the characters are silent or the stress of life interferes, but we eventually sit down and get back to work.  We all need to do this with all aspects of our lives.  Getting back on track and pursuing what makes up happy, what makes us fulfilled, despite the “pain” or whatever else we are feeling.  Just make sure you get back up and walk it off and get back to business.  You’ll feel better once you do… and of course, if you encounter the lovely ladies we had, your Fro Yo will be intact to enjoy later that day!!

More Changes…


My life is all about change and my difficulty accepting it… don’t get me wrong, I’m so much better than I used to be, but I know I still have short comings.  I get stressed out sometimes when everything is in upheaval (like now, we’re getting a new fridge… organized chaos at the moment – how’s that for an oxymoron?)

First change, my job will be ending soon, the company I’ve worked for the last eight years was sold, so it’s take over time.  The new company seems fine, but their offices are too far to commute and gas prices being the way they are, well…  Don’t worry, it’s a good thing, I know this.  It’s a little scary, but I’ve got a plan… or two, so no worries about that.  After all, it’ll give me time to write, time to market my novel, time to travel… it’s all ok.

One of the most significant relationships of my life is also changing… not ending, but changing.  It’s also sad and scary, but I know it’s the right path for both of us.  I know that we’ll always be there for each other and that we’ll still hang out and share each other’s lives, just not in the same way.  I hope he knows how much he means to me and how I wouldn’t have changed a thing, that I would choose him all over again, even if I knew the outcome would lead to now.   Our love has changed, but it’s still there and now we have to change with it.

Late last year I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.  It was ok, because I was terrified I might have an enlarged heart.  You can’t fix an enlarged heart, but you can fix Type 2.  My diabetes was caused by my weight (which is… well, I’m a big girl).  An over abundance of cortisol due to excessive adipose tissue and eventually a tolerance to insulin, causing the pancreas to over produce the hormone until the body becomes so resistant that it just doesn’t produce it anymore… diabetes.  I caught mine early and although I was technically diabetic, I was still producing.  Good news, through diet and exercise and a great doctor who stayed on me and still does, I’ve reversed my diabetes.  I’m still on the long road to getting healthy, but I’m taking it day by day.  It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks, and this dog is no exception.  But again, I am trying and detirmined to shed the pounds and all that goes with it.

The most significant change was losing my dad last year.  My best friend, my mentor, my hero.  That one turned my world upside down, but like the Black Pearl, even when I was upside down, I eventually found myself upright again.  It’s hard to focus sometimes, but I’ve been working on some projects that are getting me back on track.

Change comes to us all and every moment I am learning to embrace it, no matter how painful or sad or frightening it might be.  It can only make me a better person, teach me more about myself and help me grow and learn.  Time here is short.  We all need to make it the best time we can… and embrace the change.

Back in Baja…One Year Later…


Dad 1Well, here I am back in Baja, just south of Ensenada in the beautiful country of Mexico.  I’m sitting in the same room and thinking about how it seems like only a moment ago I wrote a post called ” My Hero… My Dad…”  But it was a year ago… and many things have changed, as we would expect them too.  The obvious changes… although I miss my father every minute of every day, it doesn’t hurt as much as it used to… I do smile and laugh.  I wish he was here to talk to and laugh with, but I know he’s around.  I’m looking to the future and what it might hold… there’s my writing, not just here, but my novel (well, novels) and screenplays and stage plays.  I’m learning to write music too… so let’s add that to the mix.

Some friendships have changed, some stronger, some not so much.  I’ve made some new friends and they are pretty terrific.  Some friendships have just changed, but they are as strong as ever if not stronger.  My family relationships have all gotten so much stronger.  There really is nothing like a tragedy to bring people closer together.

I have a multitude of blessings.  People and memories to be thankful for… times that will be etched in my mind forever (knock on wood).  I’m healthier, happier and stronger, but the hole is still there.  I don’t think it will ever be filled, but I’m ok with that.  It belongs to my daddy… no one else.  He’s still my hero… still my best friend… so I smile as I pack up more of his stuff, cry when I hear music that reminds me how much I miss him and laugh as I remember all the wonderful times.

Baja will always be his place.  The place he loved and shared that love with anyone he could.  It’s the place I will one day share with my children, just like he shared it with me.  Ensenada, Estero and Cantu… the people, the culture, the food, the music.  There is no where like it on earth.  So, I’m here a year later.  It’s still beautiful, and I wish he were still here to share it with, but its still beautiful.

Finding the muse…


Sorry I’ve been away for a while, but I’ve been looking for that elusive goddess, thankfully I finally found her.  She was working with a talented director in Illinois.  I’ve been working on a script with him and it’s been essential for bringing me back into the writing fold.  All those ideas in my head, floating around like items in an anti-gravity chamber.  It’s then that I find it most difficult.  I need to organize and compartmentalize and it makes me nuts.  Then the added pressure of committing to a plot and of course, my 2nd novel post explains those pressures.  I think about writing everyday, but I dont’ always sit down and do it.

It’s funny when you fall away from the rituals and rhythms of writing… it isn’t easy to get back on that train.  I know it’s about commitment and treating my writing like a job, but it gets hard to balance everything.  Ok, so I’m whining… I hate whining, so I’m going to stop.

Bottom line, I’ve been working on this script and it’s been a savior, because it’s given me an opportunity to dip my feet in the water.  I’m getting more secure in the direction I want to take with my next novel and I get to keep writing because I’m working on this screenplay.  I can feel the goddess whispering in my ear, fueling my imagination and creative identity.

I’m also back and reviewing books, so that is going to be great.  She comes to me there as well and I can’t wait to see what amazing reads come my way.

Ok, well, I’m back now and I promise to be committed to my ramblings on a much more frequent schedule.  Look for my reviews and updates about any new musings.  And listen carefully, she might be whispering to you too.

Family…


Everyone has different experiences with family.  Mine… well, it’s been pretty amazing.  Despite a lot of drama and tears and fights and disappointments, we are closer and happier than we have ever been.  My family.

My family consists of a brother and sister I couldn’t live without.  A niece who makes me smile and reminds me what it is to be a teenager.  A mother who loves me even though she rarely understands me.  A father who was my best friend, an uncle who never didnt’ have time for me.  An aunt who often took the time out to make me feel special. My cousins (I only have two first cousins) who I adore and have become closer to with each passing year.  Their wonderful children who fill my heart and make me laugh.  A grandmother who taught me the real meaning of love and forgiveness and a grandfather who had the most gentle smile.  My other grandmother, who I learned was stronger than she thought and funny as hell.  Her mother, who was as tough as nails, and loved her family with equal fervor.  And I married a wonderful man who has one of the kindest loving hearts I have ever had the privilege of knowing.

I never knew my paternal grandmother and great-grandmother and my Papa died when I was five.  But I know them through the stories my mom and grandma and dad told me.  I could see them and hear them and feel them.  I remember by Uncle Woody when I was a kid, running around the living room with my cousins and me, just being silly.  Then later in high school, helping me with my physics homework, while everyday getting worse from the Parkinson’s that ravaged his body.  But he always had time for me.

This is the family I was raised with, the ones who have been with me from the beginning.  Sometimes they know me better than I know myself.  But over the last ten years, I’ve learned that family isn’t about DNA or blood,it’s about a bond.  A consistency.  It’s about loyalty.  Sharing hard times as well as good times.  I love these people more than air, but there is another part of my family.  Those friends who become family.  The ones who stay forever.  The ones who embed on your soul.

I have been luckier than most, but I suppose I tried harder than most.  I love to be around people and sometimes they suck, but sometimes I am rewarded beyond my wildest dreams.  I have some of the most amazing friends anyone could ever imagine.  They weren’t raised with me, we don’t share a bloodline, we grew up in different surroundings, and yet we are all connected.  By our laughter, by our dreams, by our love.

Sometimes the people we’re tied to genetically aren’t worth the time of day.  Sometimes they hurt us so badly that we can never go back.  That kind of betrayal is devastating and yes, that has happened to me too, but what I’m learning is that although I may never forget, or allow a bridge to be re-built, I can forgive and move on.  I’m letting go of my anger, but only because it hurts me.  I loved you once, so I can remember that and wish you the best.

I miss those members of my family who have gone on before me, but I carry them with me always.  I don’t get to see my cousins or siblings as often as I would like, but I talk to them all the time, or text, or email and I hold them in my heart.  My husband and I are ending our marriage this year, but we are still best friends and will always be there for one another, he is my family.  My friends are scattered around the country, but we do what we can to see one another or talk to one another when it’s possible.

The bond we have strong because we nurture it.  We build on it and support it.  I have an amazing family and I know how truly lucky I am.  For these are the people who fill my soul, raise my spirits, have my back and hold my heart.  This is my family… and they are extraordinary.

Amendment to previous post:

I said that I was betrayed, and I was, but I also said I wouldn’t allow a bridge to be built again.  I take that back.  It so happens that I’m embarking on a road to forgiveness.  Allowing a bridge to be built that will be based on trust , respect and honesty.  Hopefully, I’m not making a bad decision, but then again, it is my decision to make.  Hope does spring eternal… and life is too short to be angry.  So, I take it one step at a time… that’s all I can do. : )