Saturday, June 27, 2015

A Poke

Stuff your eyes with wonder, he said, live as if you'd drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It's more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.” 
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

A restaurant here in Eugene has a sports bar attached, and it is reasonable to have a television there—except now they have televisions in the main high-end portion of the restaurant. My girl friends and I asked why they installed televisions. The server said the customers prefer them.


If you go to a Sports bar with the intention of watching a game, okay. Watch the game, cheer, eat, drink, whoop it up. All those things. Otherwise why have a television in a restaurant?

Isn’t going out to eat a festive occasion? Isn’t it a time for conversation, a little wine, a few jokes, something to laugh about, if only the thrill of being together? And just think, someone else prepared the food, and will wash the dishes.

Watch people in restaurants. They are often talking on the phone. To whom? There is a person sitting across from them. Older couples sit silent, munching. They look up occasionally, and to their surprise, there is someone sitting across from them.  Business people are working on papers, snarfing food in a rush to get back to a job they hate.

I love young couples sitting across the table from each other holding hands—older people too. They still believe life is something to get excited about.

In Europe dinner is an occasion. In Italy up-scale restaurants have two sittings per night. There you can stay as long as you want. People eat, drink, have fun, and don’t get fat.


Maybe I missed my calling. I ought to be a restaurant owner, set up an eatery in an alleyway between two buildings, with outside tables, a ceiling of multi-colored umbrellas , strings of white lights, and no televisions.

Little boy Darling has a restaurant idea—a ghost restaurant, with lots of dry ice bubbling, and images projected on the fog. And what would he serve? I wonder.


“Life is one grand adventure, or it ought to be if we don’t fall asleep on each other.”—I think Ray Bradbury said this, I can’t find the source.

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Have You Ever Felt This Way?

Jack Canfield’s words are ringing in my head, “Oh What the Heck, Do it Anyway”

“I’m scared.”

“What the heck, do it anyway.”

But I’m not good, enough, talented enough, accurate enough, organized enough, you know the drill….”

“Oh what the heck, do it anyway.”

Have you ever felt this way?

I have a manuscript I've had in the works for over 20 years. Not continually of course. Once I won $50.00 for an excerpt of it, but that was for second place. I figured I could do better. Besides I didn’t have an ending, or enough words, or it wasn’t written well enough—all those things. Well it’s complete at 50,000 words. One publisher will take 50,000 words. Some want the “sweet zone” of 90,000.

“Oh what the heck, send it anyway.”

It’s a love story.

What are you trying to do but are afraid to put out there?

“Oh what the heck, do it anyway.”

I once read that we ought to have a dream bigger than we are. Walt Disney dreamed of Epcot Center, Disney World in Florida, but he never saw it.

Walt Disney went bankrupt more than once, and he heard “no” from virtually everybody that he spoke to when he first came up with the idea of Mickey Mouse. They thought his idea of a cartoon about a mouse was one of the dumbest things they had ever heard. In fact, when he went to banks to get funding for his first Walt Disney theme park, he was turned down and rejected by 302 bankers before someone finally believed in what he had to offer.

So where did he get the money?

Well, only ABC was willing to partner with him. Disney would produce a weekly family television program for ABC. In return, ABC would invest $500,000 in the creation of Disneyland and would own roughly 34% of the new enterprise. The weekly show would consist of an update on the construction of Disneyland and a short movie, all hosted by Walt Disney himself. Disney understood that the public would enjoy the show itself while also sitting through what would now be considered an hour-long commercial for Disneyland. The show went on to be known as “The Wonderful World of Color” and then “The Wonderful World of Disney.”

Also Disney convinced consumer product companies that if the public encountered their brands at Disneyland, they would associate those products with the fun they had during their visit. Some of the first companies to sponsor the park were Coca Cola, Swift, Frito-Lay, Pendleton, Gibson Greeting Cards, TWA, and Eastman Kodak. Originally, these companies owned shares in Disneyland, but once it started to turn a profit, Disney bought those shares back, until the only owners were the Disney Company and ABC.

If you go to Disneyland, however, you will still see those brands.

Gosh I think of # The Golden Horseshoe, and while eating a ham and cheese sandwich along with Fritos and a Coke we almost fell off our chairs while the duel of the deaf signer and the singer raged. The signer would up the speed and jokes while the poor signer for the deaf, almost fell over in exhaustion. 

Ta Da

Do the Thing You Fear and The Death of Fear is Certain

                                                         --Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, June 8, 2015


Bear and Little Boy Darling on the Green Trail of Bliss

I woke up this morning thinking of Bear, Daughter Dear’s perfect dog.

It occurred to me that while there was drama around Bear, he was unruffled.  A more steady peaceful and calm dog would be hard to find, maybe never. He was one of a kind, all 200 pounds of him.

Remember Bear? He was the one my husband stretched a kennel for so he could be transported to Hawaii with more comfort than the largest airline approved commercial kennel provided. From Oregon Continental Airlines took the modified kennel. In Hawaii Aloha airlines took it, but then upon leaving the Island, United Airlines would not take it. The kennel had been modified. It was not acceptable. They wouldn’t budge.

That was nine o’clock in the morning after we had white-knuckled it up and over the mountain because a tanker had turned over blocking the regular route from Hilo to Kona. We rushed into town, and there purchased the largest kennel we could find—lucky they had one. It was a tight fit, but Bear accepted it graciously. We missed the first plane. “Have him here at noon,” they said, “the plane will leave at two.”

The plane was delayed.  Bear was in lockup until 6 o’clock that evening in a kennel that fit him like a wet suit. He made it to L.A. by nine the next morning seemingly none the worse for wear. We were.

One day on the Island as we were walking in our back forty—really, it was the back five, a Doberman dog furiously barking rushed at us. Bear stood, a protective shield between the dog and one-year-old Baby Darling.  Dogs bowed to his calm demeanor. The neighbor rescued us from her dog and we never saw it again.

Newfoundlands are considered natural baby sitters. Nana in Peter Pan was a Newfoundland. But Newfoundlands are big, as was Bear, and people renting houses think a dog ought to be 30 pounds or less. (Little dogs can do far more damage—you figure.) We were rejected from a place we thought we had rented, and thus arrived in Eugene with no house. It turned out perfect, a property manager trusted us, accepted us, took our big dog, we love our house, and Bear has not harmed one square inch of it. He never chewed, scratched, and always asked to go outside. I said the main risk was tripping over him.

Six years ago Daughter Darling commuted from Eugene Oregon to Medford, a five hour drive. There she worked 40 hours in three days at a Domestic Violence shelter,  I didn’t worry because she had Bear with her.

Bear even died perfectly. He had gotten down, and with his weight we couldn’t lift him. He could no longer maneuver the two steps into the house, and so he spent the last few days in the yard. Daughter languished over whether to have him put to sleep. The appointment was for Tuesday, the Vet said she would come to the house. Bear died on Friday, peacefully in the yard—protecting Daughter Darling to the end.

And this morning he gave me the message that while drama, chaos, whatever is happening all around, it is not your’s. You can remain calm, like Bear. I probably won’t, but you get the idea.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Do You Hate Piñatas too?

You are blindfolded.

You swipe and hit nothing.

You figure out where the Piñata is, and give a mighty swing. The trouble is the game is rigged. Just when you swing, some sadistic person pulls the rope holding the Piñata. It jerks up out of your reach, and you hit air—again.

Finally some smart or macho or small child they feel sorry for is allowed to hit the Piñata.
It breaks—they are so tough they take quite a beating--there is a mad scramble for the candy. The aggressive kids grab the most, the timid ones get a measly amount. Sharks and guppies--again.

Wow. Isn’t this fun?

Is this to teach kids about life?

And what might those lessons be?

When my kids were young, and being in San Diego where Piñatas were abundant, we would often get one for a birthday. Usually I chose a cute animal, and my first born child wouldn’t let us break it. Instead, we performed a cesarean section. We would open a small hole in the belly, the candy would pour forth, the kids got the candy, and Viola' the Piñata lived to see another day.

It lived out its life as a bedroom decoration.

Well, see, there is a solution.

We can make our own rules.

Isn’t it about time?!

P.S. Okay okay, I love Piñatas, I just don't like hitting/breaking them. Look at that cute donkey face.

Monday, June 1, 2015

This is for The People Who Haven’t Given Up

This is for the people who still believe that the Universe conspires to do them good.

You are the ones who know we have problems, but as John Kennedy said, "Man's problems were created by man, and can therefore be solved by man." Did I quote him correctly? You get the gist.

You are the people who are not numbed by naysayers, by the doomsday ones, the media, television, periodicals, books on horrors. We have heard so many horrors they doesn’t shock us anymore. We can have endless hours of brain-numbing television. Do you watch some of those commercials? Cars that turn color, fly, suggest that they will improve your sex life, and your family life, yet, cars these days are boring, with few exceptions they all look alike. Talk about sizzle and no steak.

Oh yes and movie previews are so gross I forget what movie I came to see. “Can you amp it up a bit I ask sarcastically after I have endured ear-splitting sound, computer generated monsters, mechanical gear, space ships so complex you know that the special effects people are trying to out-do each other, and shootings, poundings. Amp it up. Be bigger, bolder, more shocking.

We can spend hours on video games that keep us addicted to movement and challenges that are not solving the situations outside our doors. A great amount of brain power here, but people feel stymied—they try to find jobs, they try to be entrepreneurs, they try to sell, to market, to create the life they want, and after awhile give up in frustration.

Are we supporting our arts? Are we supporting the scientists that are giving us a better day? Have you heard that with 3-D printing they can take a 3-D printer to third-world countries, and fabricate an artificial limb especially suited for that individual? Whoa. Let’s not sit around with our fingers up our noses.

We hear of space aliens, solar flares, vampires, chem-trails, and any number of conspiracies—don’t get me wrong I believe some of the conspiracies, we just can’t let them demoralize us into zombies, needing constant influx of food, drink, sodas, medications, anything to sooth the savage beast that threatens to take us over. You have heard the old joke, “Died at 35, buried at 85.” Don’t do that.

And stop dinking with our food! Turn your genetic engineering brilliance someplace else—like curing cancer. You are making us fat.

Okay, okay, I know I am preaching to the choir—no, I’m venting, and yes, I am motivated by the movie Tomorrowland. See it and decide that you are the ones that have not given up.

“Homo sapiens,” said Dr Who in The Ark in Space, “what an inventive, invincible species. It’s only a few million years since they crawled up out of the mud and learned to walk. Puny, defenseless bipeds. They’ve survived flood, famine and plague. They’ve survived cosmic wars and holocausts. And now, here they are, out among the stars, waiting to begin a new life. Ready to out sit eternity. They’re indomitable.”