Thursday, August 27, 2020

Just Between You and Me


 “Sing of good things, not bad.”*

—” Sing” by Joe Raposo, written for Sesame Street, performed by many.



* I’d quote the entire song if copyrights would allow. Songs are picky.  



Tell me PLEASE why this media slogan: “If it bleeds it Leads.”


This became a battle cry for newspapers back in the ’70s trying to up their ratings. Now, not only are we used to it, but writers, journalists, and pundits must up the ante to get our attention. As time goes by, adrenal hits need more potent thrills, shocks, controversy, to get the same shock value.


I must admit my adrenals like the log ride at Splash Mountain in Disneyland. It’s 10 on the terror scale of 10, said my 11-year-old Grandson when we visited the Park in January.


You sit in a log, used to be with your partner’s legs around you, now you have your own seat. You travel through calm waters, gentle music fills the air, suddenly, you stop. You look down. A 50-foot waterfall is raging beneath you, and you are looking straight down.


Holy Moley, I was scared out of my wits the first time I sat on that precipice—about 20 rides ago. (We used to live in Southern California, thus the frequent Disneyland visits.) Now I’m a veteran, but it still gives my adrenals a jolt. Amid screams, we are dropped over the edge and plunge into the water below. Drenched and laughing, we float among the strains of “Zippidy-do-da,” to the exit dock, and get out on noodle legs and say, “Let’s do that again.”


We like thrills, but the idea of slamming the world’s ills into our faces daily is not healthy.


We’re worn out.


Gone are the days of tuning into the media to find local and national issues.


Deborah Scani Psy D, says that if you are depressed, watching the news is a risky pursuit.


Sadly, once a glorious, needed, and respected profession, journalists, instead of getting to the story first, and getting the facts right, are now forced to look for the spectacular, the stirring, and the controversial.

FEAR is the teaser to get you to read the article or watch the presentation. Secondly, we watch or read with the HOPE that a solution will be forthcoming.


How often does that happen?


And why in the world, in a land that touts “Free Speech” are voices, news, articles being censored?


I’m really into this, for my daughter is a caregiver. Her client watches the news on the hour, or maybe continually. Daughter Dear tries to do something else during that time, but the lady will draw her in, “Come here. Will you look at that!”


Daughter Dear is worn out.


The lady remembers that there is a Virus/Danger “Out there,” but she doesn’t remember that she just watched it. (Poor dears—both of them)

Once upon a time—true story: I’ve written of this before, but I have new readers, so please forgive me if you’re read this before.


I was cursing up I-5 from San Jose, California, aiming for Oregon. Gabe, my Rottweiler, was asleep in the back seat, the radio was on. 

When I was in the San Francisco vicinity, I was startled by an “All Good News Radio Program.”


They had clips of motivational speakers followed by a story about a teacher who saw a kid in the playground do a good deed. She wrote out, “Good for you,” on a slip of paper, and gave it to the kid. The news soon spread about the “Good for you” slip of paper, and all the students wanted one.  


The teacher said that a piece of paper couldn’t blow across the playground without a kid running after it to pick it up.


I think the slips of paper graduated into tee-shirts.


We are good people, and we like being rewarded for our actions.


Happiness can spread.


Oh, speaking of good stuff, yesterday I saw that a chocolate factory in Switzerland had an explosion and covered the city in cocoa powder.


Got a good slogan for a tee-shirt?


I’ll print it and sell it.


If you would be so kind as to look into my store with its new name and new focus.


"On the road, on the trail, on the couch."






 Keep checking in I’m adding new products daily. (Take a peek at my "ribbit" sink strainer, too cute for words.)


(Can you believe I got Jewell's Happy Trails as a domain?) 



Jo, Joyce, Jewell



P.S. A shout out to a reader in the UK; (GPS tracker)


My mother should have had this tracking device when I was a kid, for I rode my horse into the forest, and she never knew where I was. She worried that I would take a fall and be lost. “Stay by the road,” she said. “Then,” I countered, “if I fell off, someone would run over me.” 


We both survived my horse forays.


This device can be used on cars (get a 40% reduction on Ins.,) dogs, cats, bicycles, motorcycles, humans. I should have had one attached to our propane tank that ran off.


Thanks, UK


*Bad?” I’ve heard if you are an aficionado of country songs, listen long enough and they will cure you or your ills.






Thursday, August 20, 2020

Mind-Body Connection

Go to the refrigerator.

Pull out your produce drawer (called “the freshener,” although sometimes it’s “the rotter”). There among your produce, no matter what shape it’s in, you will find a wonderfully fresh, brilliant yellow lemon.

Take out the lemon and place it on the cutting board. Now cut the lemon in half.

Hold the half-lemon to your nose. Ah.

Stick out your tongue and lick it.

 What happened?

Did your saliva glands respond to the make-believe sour taste of the lemon?

That’s a mind-body connection.

We only talked about the lemon; we didn’t actually taste it. Remember Pavlov’s experiment with dogs? (Way back) He would ring a bell immediately before feeding them. After a few rings followed by feedings, the dogs would salivate simply upon hearing the bell ringing.

That’s a body-mind connection.

The fact that the body will respond to a suggestion is considered by some to be metaphysical. (Metaphysics simply means beyond physics. In other words, we don’t know the explanation yet—thus it is beyond the scope of physics.) Placebo’s work because the brain believes that the substance given them will help the body.  Metaphysical people try to use this fact consciously. That is to deliberately place a suggestion into the mind that something wonderful will come to them. The trouble is we’re smart enough to know we’re trying to fool ourselves.

The old gatekeeper of the brain says, “What?! You think you can be a rock star? Don’t be ridiculous. You a rock star? Ha. You aren’t talented enough, young enough, or good-looking enough.” (When did that stop some people? However, they probably had to get past their gatekeeper too.)

The gatekeeper tends to be a curmudgeon. You throw a suggestion toward the brain; the gatekeeper throws it out. 

Although some suggestions get in.


Other times it’s as though he has built a cement wall around your brain.

Sometimes we affirm that we can get that job, that raise, that house we want, that relationship we so desire, and it doesn’t happen. Why is that?

 “Ha.” It bounces off the wall. “You think you can do that? You want to be an artist? You don’t have the talent or ability. Artists starve. Get a real job.”

Remember the old cartoon of a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other? This is a perfect model. Not that I think there is an angel there or a devil; it merely states the point.  Conflicting thoughts are rallying for our attention. How in the world can we believe we can have what we want when the gatekeeper is screaming at us that we can’t?

We must find a way around the wall with its gatekeeper.

Meditate. Meditation calms the chaptering mind for a time, so some of the good thoughts can get in. Perhaps it puts the gatekeeper to sleep. 

Surround yourself with people who believe in you.

Bombard the gatekeeper with so many positive thoughts, he gets tired of resisting them and gives up the struggle.

Ask for more stuff.

Get happy. A tired, dejected, depressed mind will defeat you every time.

Write down all the reasons whatever you want won’t work and write “Bullshit,” beside each item.

Next, go through your list and turn all your negatives into positives.

This week I learned this: Over and over, I have heard that we ought to use the present tense when we affirm for something we want and write it as though it is already done.

I’m not offering pie in the sky. I know that some work is needed. If you want to be a pianist, practice.

However, affirm that you see yourself performing before a congregation, and you hear the applause, and you are grateful for the opportunity. You say, “Thank you.”

Somewhere I read this: before Luciano Pavarotti, the famed Italian operatic singer, had ever performed at the Hollywood Bowl, he rented it, or used it, I don’t know which, and stood on stage singing to an an audience of one—himself. He wanted to create a space where he could believe he could perform there, and, too, it allowed his body to become accustomed to that space.

 As a young man, Pavarotti’s father, knowing the limited possibilities of becoming a singer, reluctantly gave Pavarotti’s consent to study music. Dreamers are often met with resistance. That is one reason it is so hard for them to believe their dream is possible. Pavarotti beat the odds and became one of the world’s most acclaimed operatic singers, later to move into popular music. He and two others, “The Three Tenors” changed classical music forever.

I see the physical reason behind the idea of telling oneself that the thing you want is already here. Our bodies are used to hearing or saying “Thank you” after a deed is accomplished. We say “Thank you,” after someone gives us a compliment or offers food or good times.  We are grateful when something good happens to us. So, be grateful and say, “Thank you,” before it happens.

It will make a connection between the mind and the body.


I am now thinking of all the people who have told me they find value in what I have written. We’re having a cup of coffee together. We’re talking happy-talk. The cares of the world are far away. We’re noticing how the leaves of the Magnolia tree are fluttering like a wave of people at a sports event. The Pink Mandevilla alongside it is flourishing and spectacular.The ground cover is succulent, dotted with light sparking off the water droplets. The coffee is warm and slides down our throats, erasing all evidence of morning hoarseness. “What are you going to do today?” I ask.

“Anything I want,” you say.

                                           Pink Mandevilla. I'm keeping this baby watered.




Wednesday, August 12, 2020



My manifesto:

Find something to wonder about.

Find others to wonder with me.


I am fascinated by dust. 


Not the sort I scrub off the table every day, but the kind that was once sand and lived in the Sahara Desert.


This dust is responsible for much of our Oxygen.


Sound preposterous?


It does until you get the story. If you have seen this information, please forgive me, I find it so amazing, I have to share it.


I saw this information a while ago on the TV documentary One Strange Rock, narrated by Will Smith.


 One Strange Rock tells the story of how life survives and thrives on planet Earth, as told by eight astronauts from their unique perspective of being away from Earth (for about 1000 days).


A few days ago, I saw the dust story again on and the TV documentary, Connections.


Here’s the story: Once upon a time, the Sahara was an ocean. This ocean was so large the United States would fit into it. 


The ocean dried up, leaving behind sand, partially made up of an alga called diatoms. Diatoms are microscopic critters that live in glass houses—that is, their shells are made up of silica. You’ve heard of Diatomaceous Earth? It’s an extremely fine, highly nutritious form of sand. (Diatomaceous earth can help rid your dogs of fleas. Liberally dust their fur—the glass gums up the fleas chewing apparatus. I do not guarantee that you will have a flea-free dog, but you’ll have unhappy fleas. Fleas keep hatching, so you must treat the areas where they hatch as well.)


Back to the dust: The winds sweep across the Sahara, picking up this fine highly nutritious dust. The wind carries the dust over to the rain forest. There the rains wash it from the sky and onto the jungle floor.  

One fantastic thing is that the amount of dust that drops daily is almost the same amount of nutrients that the rain forest loses daily when the rain leaches it from the soil. 


The rain forest supplies a large amount of Oxygen, and viola’ there you have it, dust to O2.


There is also an advantage of the dust falling into the ocean. There it feeds the plankton that also supplies us with Oxygen. 


 Microscopic images of diatoms.

Light microscopes allow images 

from outside the diatom.

Electron microscopes image the inside.



Sometimes a dust cloud thwarts hurricanes prone to begin on the shores of Africa and travel across the ocean hitting the Caribbean islands and Florida. The tiny particles work like bullets in the hurricanes, breaking them up. Unfortunately, not all hurricanes are neutralized. However, many are.


(Deadly Red tides are another matter. They are caused by toxic algae and are created by adverse ocean conditions. I’m not talking about those.)


I am totally in awe of how the Earth tends to balance itself. 


I’m asking myself, does this information contribute to my blog, and to people’s lives?


I guess it goes back to my manifesto: Find something to wonder about. Find others to wonder with you.


I’m wondering, however, if there is a message here with the diatoms and dust, and the Earth--how it takes care of itself. And I want to emphasize that we don’t want to foul up this gentle ecosystem. Diatomaceous algae are found in most waterways. Throw chemicals into the water, and goodbye algae and most living creatures. 


Diatoms have found their way into medical research as possible cancer killers. You know that traditional Chemotherapy wreaks havoc with cancer cells. The trouble is, Chemotherapy also harms healthy cells. Scientists believe that, somehow, the little glasshouses can be used in Chemotherapy treatment targeting only unhealthy cells. (Don’t ask me how.)


There is also use for silica in Solar panels. 


If the dust from the Sahara can fertilize the rain forests, consider how Earth’s cycle can include us in its flow. 


That’s my lesson from the dust. There is a flow of goodness spreading throughout the Earth. If, somehow, we jumped on board and were a part of it all, think how much better everything would work.

I’m thinking of one of my favorite stories from Richard Bach’s book Illusions. I’ve repeated it often, but here it is again: One day a little river creature who had spent his life clinging to the rocks looks up and says. “The current knows where it is going. If I turn loose, I fill float with the current, for surely it knows where it is going.” Quotes mine, I’m paraphrasing.


The others clinging beside him say, “No, hold on, that current you so worship will dash you on the rocks.”


But the little creature believed, and did turn loose, and was at first dashed on the rocks, but pretty soon, he was lifted up and carried on the current.


And the ones downstream seeing him float past, said, “See, he flies. It’s a miracle.”


We can be miracles. Carry on,

I love you,




A little fun from my niece Amy’s Instagram: