Twas the days before Christmas and all through the hotel
The Roses, Tutnauers, Karofskys, Greenbergs and Siegels did dwell
We flew south on a mission, the goal was to meet
To mark sixty years, a fantasitical feat
We planned a sweet party, just the family few
And another with cocktails and more people we knew
And around these events that we set in advance
Was the beach and the courts and rehearsing our dance
So to honor this visit we had this past time,
I've included some photos to go with this rhyme
First in the series is tennis and pool
And a slow moving turtle that was mightly cool
And some pictures of faces, that look quite the same
You can tell my three children are from the same name
And there's me and my daughter, in dresses so fine
Captured in poses that prove she is mine.
I've some photos of some of the speeches that spoke
About my sweet parents as true awesome folk.
And included below are some candids and such
That bring forth the love that we feel oh so much
And then there's the dancing, it went on all night
Along with some singing that sounded just right.
So I hope you enjoy all these pictures below
That we took way down south, far away from the snow. (thank goodness!!)
I am a lover of writing. Even when I was a little girl. Poems and prose. Short stories and longer sagas. Words buzz around inside my head and I am like the beekeeper, tending them. A constant in my life as I grew - first to teenage years, then young adult, then married and mother and on. Some of my writings still sit half finished. Once on paper and those now new in my document file on my computer.
I have four chapters of a novel. A screenplay that saw light once for a few weeks and then was turned away. A short play that was produced in a small theater with a small cast. I have ideas that seem good at the time but are not really. Yet still I keep them for that one sentence gem that I know I will use some other time.
I have written love poems and heartaches. I have honored my children in words that escaped raw and full of love and pride from my very core, blessed with the gift of being their mother. And I have written farewell notes on store bought cards, wishing well and fare do well as tears did well up in my eyes.
But over these last few years, since after the screenplay but before this weekly writing blog, I have not really written much. Perhaps the notes to my children or husband or family. Or a few lines that could be a poem if I had let it grow up. But I did not write on a consistent basis and I think there was a hole there that I did not know was there till I started writing consistently each week.
I have now been writing my Monday morning writing – that started as a Sunday morning writing – for two years now. December 21, 2014 was my first entry. A weekly diary. One hundred and five writings, including this one. Some read like a distant overview of my day. Many are about my dog. And a lot are deeply thought reflections on how I feel and what I think and who I am.
I write every week. Usually when I first wake up. But my mind works all day, every day, and so when thoughts pop in I often record them in the notes app on my phone so I don’t lose them. Most mornings, when I begin to write, those recorded musing seem always to relate, one to the other.
The more I write the better I am as a writer. My mind needs the practice of a constant flow. This allows me to be honest and I rarely second guess the words. A change here or there, a word replaced or a reordering of words strung together to better capture the beat of a sentence or the nuance of tone. But overall, what I put down first is usually what stays.
The ideas, however, sometimes challenge me and need to settle in my mind for many days before they will let me release them. And so, while often I begin my Monday morning writing with a new thought in that moment of setting fingers to keyboard, I also have a number of writings swirling in the caldron that is my mind. Still in smoke and whisper form till one day the brew is ready and the words lift out just right and become a Monday morning writing.
It is a grounding into the creativity that nourishes me. That flow of words that erupt out of me sometimes or must be cajoled to the surface, they are my voice. Whether an easy rhythm of images and imagination or the extracting of thoughts pulled one at a time, my writing is my soul and heart playing hangman with my mind.
When I started writing I did not know that these morning musings are necessary and good. That I had forgotten something about myself. That I am a writer. My words are strong. The images are clear. What I write resonates within me and then out of me to you and I am blessed with these thoughts that I share.
Coyote Proofing My Pup
We are leash-walkers these days. We don't have to be where we walk. I am blessed to live in an amazing place out in the east end of Ojai, above an orange grove. And the lovely orange grove owner person is gracious and has welcomed my brilliant and smart and gorgeous and always perfect Doberman onto his land for walks and sniffs and explorations of many kinds.
These were leashless walks up till recently because it is private land and away from cars and bikes and people and other dogs and so safe for us to be untethered from each other.
And so each, early morning and often a few times during the day and most likely in the early evening, too, my dog and I ventured out from my home above the land, separete though together, and made our way down our steep drive and into the sweet smelling orange trees and the beauty of the grove.
Often we were not alone.
Coyotes also love the orange grove and hide within the trees. I felt them watching us. During our frequent wanderings through the citrus landscape I was always on the lookout in case a solo canine - so alike yet so different from my sweet dog - would come upon us or beckon from a distance for my dog to venture near.
And often times I would see them, too. Sometimes from that beckoning distance but also quite close up. They are fearless. And interested in us. Well, in my dog, really, but we're a bonded so I'm including myself, too.
Once, about a year ago, we had a serious run-in with this different kind of pup. I wrote about it here. A female coyote came nose to nose with my sweet and innocent dog. She was pretending to play but really she was sent by her pack to lure my dog back up into the hills. It was quite scary, and you would think would have been the moment that I realized it was time to attach my dog to myself in more than just that deep love and spirit connected way. But still I insisted on walking through the grove leashless.
There is something so good about the rhythm of walking this way. It's the way that my pup goes off on her own but not too far away. And how she always doubles back around to reconnect, or stops just shy of moving out of view to look back and make sure that I am still coming along with her. It's how I know that if I call her name she will come running back to me. Because she loves me and needs me and is attached to me even without being leashed. And this makes me so proud of her. And fills me with such joy when, after reclaiming me with a nudge against my hand or a momentary pause so I can love her up a bit, she will venture off again. She knows she is safe because she trusts that I keep her safe.
And this is why we have become leashwalkers even here, in this place where leashlessness is allowed.
Because lately, the coyotes are here all the time. Not just in the early morning dawn or late afternoon when I expect them to be near. They are wandering the grove and the field right next door and the hills above my home in the middle of the day, too. With the sun bright and the air warm and full, they walk along the same paths we do. Sometimes they hide between the trees just watching us.
Other times they follow at a distance. And then, just the other day, a coyote invited my dog for a run across the field. And she, who always comes when called, did not return for almost five minutes.
I ordered a long leash on line.
I also purchased an extra bright flashlight.
It being winter now, our early morning walks often start before the sun; we need a light to mark our way.
And I bought this marine signal horn thing that I read was loud and would scare the coyotes away. I have not used it yet. I love the quiet of my morning grove experience. But I have this now, if ever I feel that I need it.
I am finding, as I get used to walking in this physically attached way, this it is ok. My pup is a good leash walker here in this place where she is used to being able to explore on her own. She has adapted the skills that she learned for when we are out in the world and settled them into her time here in the grove, too.
And I have adapted, too. Using the length of the leash to nurture her movements. Giving length when she wanders ahead and looping the leash gently around my hand once she stops to allow me to catch up. We are in a different dance now. A new kind of rhythm.
A safe way of walking.
And if all else fails, I have my trusty, ferocious tiger mittens to scare the coyotes away.
These Things That Make Me Laugh
There are sometimes those things, with no real reason at all, that get me laughing. That deep, pure and unencumbered laugh that is filled with joy in the beauty of the funny. With no agenda, no second thought, no worry whether what knocks on my funnybone is appropriate or not. Just that lovely and deep laugh and then the smile and often outloud chuckle that happens each time I, again, think of the thing that made me laugh in the first place.
I thought I'd share some of these with you today.
This one: I love this one. I laugh out loud every time I read this.
I mean, really. This is funny.
And how about puns. I love puns. I especially love these. And especially, especially love number 9 though they are all really funny so I have to share all of them. I laugh everytime I read these. And I have read them so many times:
1. Two vultures board an airplane, each carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at them and says, "I'm sorry, gentlemen, only only one carrion allowed per passenger."
2. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. The one turns to the other and says, "Dam! ... "
3. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can't have your kayak and heat it too.
4. Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says, "I've lost my electron." The other says, "Are you sure?" The first replies "Yes, I'm positive."
5. Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root canal? He wanted to transcend dental medication.
6. A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour, the manager came out of the office and asked them to disperse. 'But why?" they asked, as they moved off. "Because", he said, "I can't stand chess nuts boasting in an open foyer."
7. A woman has twins and gives them up for adoption One of them goes to a family in Egypt and is named "Ahmal." The other goes to a family in Spain; they name him "Juan." Years later, Juan sends a picture of himself to his birth mother. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband that she wishes she also had a picture of Ahmal. Her husband responds, "They're twins! If you've seen Juan, you've seen Ahmal."
8. These friars were behind on their belfry payments, so they opened up a small florist shop to raise funds. Since everyone liked to buy flowers from the men of God, a rival florist across town thought the competition was unfair. He asked the good fathers to close down, but they would not. He went back and begged the friars to close. They ignored him. So, the rival florist hired Hugh MacTaggart, the roughest and most vicious thug in town to "persuade" them to close. Hugh beat up the friars and trashed their store, saying he'd be back if they didn't close up shop. Terrified, they did so, thereby proving that Hugh, and only Hugh, can prevent florist friars.
9. Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him ...(Oh, man, this is so bad, it's good)... A super calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.
10. And finally, there was the person who sent ten different puns to his friends, with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did.
And then there are those funny jokes that I can repeat like a gazillion times, even to myself and will still laugh. Even when I am alone. This is one of my favorite:
A woman was sipping on a glass of wine, while sitting on the patio with her husband, and she says, "I love you so much, I don't know how I could ever live without you...: Her husband asks, "Is that you or the wine talking?" She answered, "Actually, it's me...talking to the wine."
And we can't forget those awesome sayings, proverbs, words of wisdom and true funnies that show up on coffee mugs. And, in keeping with my obsession with my dog in particular but certainly with those perfect fourlegged and sweet and furry and full of love canines that I prefer over all else, there is this:
There is my favorite lawyer joke ever: What's the difference between a lawyer and a lobster? One's a scum sucking bottom dweller and the other's a shellfish. Funny, right?
And there's the brilliant Washington Post Mensa International where you change a few letters of a word and come up with a new meaning. The same words have been around for years, this is obviously not a yearly competition. But that doens't mean it's not funny:
The Washington Post's Mensa invitational asked readers to take
any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing
one letter, and supply a new definition. Here are the winners:
1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject
financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.
2. Ignoranus : A person who's both stupid and an asshole.
3. Intaxication : Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you
realize it was your money to start with.
4. Reintarnation : Coming back to life as a hillbilly.
5. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright
ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign
of breaking down in the near future.
6. Foreploy : Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of
7. Giraffiti : Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.
8. Sarchasm : The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person
who doesn't get it.
9. Inoculatte : To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
10. Osteopornosis : A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)
11. Karmageddon : It's like, when everybody is sending off all these
really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like,
a serious bummer.
12. Decafalon (n.): The gruelling event of getting through the day
consuming only things that are good for you.
13. Glibido : All talk and no action.
14. Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they
come at you rapidly.
15. Arachnoleptic Fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've
accidentally walked through a spider web.
16. Beelzebug (n.) : Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your
bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.
17. Caterpallor ( n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the
fruit you're eating.
The Washington Post also asked readers supply alternate meanings
for common words. And the winners are:
1. Coffee , n. The person upon whom one coughs.
2. Flabbergasted , adj. Appalled by discovering how much weight one has
3. Abdicate , v. To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
4. Esplanade , v.. To attempt an explanation while drunk.
5. Willy-nilly , adj. Impotent.
6. Negligent , adj. Absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a
7. Lymph , v. To walk with a lisp.
8. Gargoyle , n. Olive-flavored mouthwash.
9. Flatulence , n. Emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been
run over by a steamroller.
10. Balderdash , n. A rapidly receding hairline.
11. Testicle , n. A humorous question on an exam.
12. Rectitude , n. The formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.
13. Pokemon , n.. A Rastafarian proctologist.
14. Oyster , n. A person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.
15. Frisbeetarianism , n. The belief that, after death, the soul flies up
onto the roof and gets stuck there.
16. Circumvent , n. An opening in the front of jockey shorts worn by
And, in closing, there is the recent photograph I took during a daily, early morning walk in the orange grove below my home. Nava, my brilliant and perfect and smart and amazing doberman puppy usually walks leashless. This is because I love to see her run free, plus I do not love holding a leash. But lately we have been leashed up together because the grove is full of early morning coyotes. Full and healthy, and unafraid, they follow us at a distance. I can feel them even when I can't see them. So can my dog. This is not the funny part. The funny part is this photograph where I captured a huge male (the photograph does not do him justice) confirming that....everybody poops:
Alright, there you go. Some funnies to take with you on your day today. Perhaps I made you laugh. I hope I at least made you smile. Maybe with a bit of a low chuckle and a nod of the head in that oh yes, this is funny kind of way. Please feel free to share back some funnies of your own!! And have a beautiful day today!
Mother, Wife, Friend, Sister, Daughter, Dancer, Rower, Runner, Dog and Cat lover.