Picture taken by my friend Cyndi Leos....thank you Cyndi.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Update on Billie Jean James...

There were two articles in Friday and Thursday's papers.  No official identification yet, but her husband, Bill James did say he recognized her shoes.  He is sure it is his wife...

Apparently, he built a second home on their property to house all her stuff she collected.  She sounds like a very dedicated and colorful woman.  She love to frequent thrift stores and brought home countless treasures.  She had difficulty throwing anything away, so trash was mixed in with her collections and belongings.  The back bedroom, where she was found, was referred to as "a rabbit hole", by one of her friends.

The police and others who had been in the house, said the house was so cluttered and trash piled so high, mobility was a huge challenge, not to mention the stench, especially with this hot summer weather.  It is no wonder the smell and various chemicals from the trash breaking down, affected the noses of the dogs who were used twice in the home.  No mention was made if the dogs were cadaver dogs or not...

Billie Jean was a nature lover and hiked all over the world. She also volunteered to clean up our national parks. She cared very deeply for animals and endangered species.The day after she disappeared, both she and her husband were to leave for Molokai,Hawaii to volunteer monitoring endangered monk seals.  Something, she was looking forward and anxious to do.

She was a political activist and wore red, white and blue outfits marching in antiwar rallies to bring home the troops.  She was a humanitarian, traveling to New York after September 11, 2011 and also volunteered in New Orleans, helping the Red Cross after the disaster of hurricane Katrina.

She enjoyed music and art.  She played the guitar.  She loved to garden, and their property was full of native plants, she had planted over the forty years of living in their home.

She sounded like a wonderful woman.  Her friends started a facebook page to post their concerns when she first was missing.  She had many, many friends who cared about her deeply.

I did not know this woman personally, but the more I learn, the sadder this story is...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tragic News...

Four months ago, a 67 year old woman named Billie Jean James, disappeared from her home in Las Vegas, leaving all her possessions behind.  Her husband, also 67, Bill James, told the police she had a stroke a few months before her disappearance, but she was doing fine before her disappearance.

They had lived in their home for over forty years and still lived in a very rural desert area, near St. Rose Parkway and Las Vegas Blvd.  There were several searches for this woman, including friends and police on horse back. I was so touched by the story, I was tempted to join the search. With elderly parents, and she being only four years older than I, the story haunted me...

Periodically, I would check the Facebook page, launched by her friends who were searching for clues.  My Father has Alzheimer's, and the thought of her wandering aimlessly in the desert or lost in the crowded streets of Las Vegas, really upset me.

Today, while waiting for my eye appointment, the television news announced a body had been found in the back bedroom of Billie Jean's home, and it was believed to be her body.  Apparently, they were hoarders, and the house was so cluttered and foul smelling with trash and belongings, even two searches through the house with crime dogs, never found her....

The husband was playing dominoes with a seven year old girl, a neighbor, in this back bedroom.  Some how, he found the leg of his wife sticking out from under some of the things piled to the ceiling, in the back bedroom.  The little neighbor girl told the police, Mr. James was scared and told her to go home.  She told the officers she was sad, because Billie Jean was her best friend.

It is not my place to judge anyone, especially in the face of such tragedy, but some details of this news report really hoisted some red flags.  It struck me very odd, for a parent to allow a seven year old girl to play alone in a home of an older man.  Let alone, the fact his wife had disappeared and the condition of their home...

He did call the police immediately, but when interviewed, understandably, out of respect for his wife, did not give any details. It is still difficult to fathom, he did not search within the house for her...especially, if the house was in such chaos.

The police are definitely not speaking out until the full coroner's report to determine if, in fact, it is the body of Billie Jean James.  Obviously, they will do an autopsy to determine how she died.

Apparently, she was a collector of many things.  Hoarding, from what I understand, often begins after some kind of a tragic loss.  Billie lost her son twenty years ago, possibly his death, was the beginning of the hoarding.

I just cannot imagine.  This is such a tragic story, I just can't stop thinking about it...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Almost dark.
Not feeling
like walking the dog.
but, I did...

On the block
below us,
  our neighbor
whose husband
has cancer,
getting her mail.
Walking toward me
I asked how
he was...

was her reply....
he had
come home
the hospital.
He is
with her
for not
allowing him
to die
at home.

The doctors
found more tumors
in his head
and chest.
The tumors
in his head
give him headaches
 making him
unable to 
He mistakenly
 refused to
take his
which prevent
the headaches
and more tumors,



to his last


They came
from Chicago
to Nevada
for the
warmer weather.

He is a man
who does not know
how to slow down,
he is always busy
He trimmed
his arm,

He is

to her
her sadness
the reality
of losing
the man
the age
of 13...

my heart.
It was
hard not to cry
with her

She obviously
to talk.

I am
I was

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Friendship Song...

"A friend is someone
who knows the song
in your heart,
and can sing it
back to you
when you forget
the words."


Friday, August 20, 2010

The Train Of Life...

Some folks ride the train of life,
Looking out the rear,
Watching miles of life roll by,
And marking every year.

They sit in sad remembrance,
Of wasted days gone by,
And curse their life for what it was,
And hang their head and cry.

But I don’t concern myself with that,
I took a different vent,
I look forward to what life holds,
And not what has been spent.

So strap me to the engine,
As securely as I can be,
I want to be out on the front,
To see what I can see.

I want to feel the winds of change,
Blowing in my face,
I want to see what life unfolds,
As I move from place to place.

I want to see what’s coming up,
Not looking at the past,
Life’s too short for yesterdays,
It moves along too fast.

So if the ride gets bumpy,
While you are looking back,
Go up front, and you may find,
Your life has jumped the track.

It’s all right to remember,
That’s part of history,
But up front’s where it’s happening,
There’s so much mystery.

The enjoyment of living,
Is not where we have been,
It’s looking ever forward,
To another year and ten.

It’s searching all the byways,
Never should you refrain,
For if you want to live your life,
You gotta drive the train.

Written By: Praveen  or Marv Hardin
or unknown...
*** In my research, I found it published by the three I listed above...***

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Simple Kindness...

"Simple kindness to one's self
and all that lives,
is the most powerful
transformational force of all."

~ David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D~

I can really relate to this quote.  If someone is having a bad day, and goes out into their neighborhood, community, city, represents their state, or country, and is having a bad day; it can affect anyone and everyone in that person's path.

Have you ever had a bad day, walking down the street or into a store, and some random person
walks past you, makes eye contact and gives you a big smile?  Doesn't it lift you up?

It's like that axiom, "I takes one rotten apple to spoil the barrel".  When I used to work at the Federal Bankruptcy Court, right after we declared war on Iran, we had lay offs every December, just before Christmas.  Everyone was on edge and stressed out.  Some employees
were having heart attacks, stomach problems, and all kinds of stress related illnesses, myself included. 

I went to see my doctor, sure I had cancer from the symptoms I was having.  The doctor told me it was all stress.  "It's all in your attitude", she said.  "I can prescribe a pill, but you can help yourself by not worrying about anything you cannot control."  I thought about it and did my best to not participate in the "pot stirring" or "gossip".  I got permission to write positive quotes on an dry erase board where everyone did their filing.  I had so many co-workers tell me how much those quotes picked up their day....

It all starts with ourselves.  Like the comment Sandie made on this quote, "We are to love others as we love ourselves".  If we don't love ourselves, how can we love another, or show them any kindness?

Have you ever had a really horrible day, then saw a friend, who made you laugh and gave you a hug?  It doesn't take much and does not cost anything.  Simple kindness, goes a long way, for ourselves and others.  It can be truly transforming...

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Perfect Backyard...

If I won a million dollars, I would ask my Architect to build me a home around this backyard...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Reflections From My Past...

I have written in journals since the age of 16.  I have acquired quite a collection of journals through the years. I find it helpful to go back and read about my past, reflecting on people, friends, events, hopes, dreams, things I learned and experienced. Reading the details of my daily life can bring me back to that time and place and flood me with memories and measurements of my personal growth...

Volume 11:

It was August of 1983. I was 36 years old.  My first husband, (my daughters' Father), and I had just bought our first home with a lease with an option to buy. We were purchasing the 4 bedroom, two bath home in San Bernardino county, California for $69,000.  We would pay $550 a month lease, $350 a month would accumulate toward the down payment of $5200.00 by the end of one years time.  Our first and last months deposit was $1100 and our cleaning deposit was $1000.

We moved in with no stove or telephone because we could not afford it.  I cooked everything, including coffee and tea, in a crock pot or on our BBQ.  My only means of communication was writing letters.  We used our landlords home phone number for emergencies. We lived that way for almost four months before finally getting a land line and a used stove.

I did most of my shopping at thrift stores and yard sales, which included Christmas presents and our clothes. My oldest daughter was in first grade and my youngest in pre-school.  I had been in an auto accident in May and did not have a job.  I did child care and made gifts like magnets with quotes and bean bag animals to earn extra money. I was attempting to write a romance novel and submitting short stories to magazines.(Back then I believed I would, one day, earn money as a writer...I still believe I will.) I volunteered at the girl's school.

Things were so tight, we squeaked, but I was so happy and positive.  I felt like we were on an exciting adventure. My positive attitude has always been one of my best traits. We really were challenged financially, but we managed.  We made do.

I lost my Mom's mother and my Dad's Aunt, my Great Aunt during those first three months My brother S______, who was in the 82nd Airborne returned safely to Fort Bragg, after the invasion of Granada.  All this news was delivered in a note by our landlords who had received those emergency messages from my mother.

Fast forward twenty seven years.  I look in the mirror and am always surprised to see this older woman staring back at me.  I feel pretty much the same as I did all those years ago, but the aging process always surprises me.  I tell myself I am a grandma, and I am suppose to look like I do...

I tried to spin a hula hoop around my waist today, but it kept falling and hitting my legs on the way to the floor.  I used to be a GREAT hula hooper and could do it for hours.  I used to win contests with my hula hooping skills...What happened?  Did I forget how?  Or is it I no longer have a waist for the hoop to rotate around? I need to work on that...

Reading about my positive attitude in such adversity in my past, kind of kicked me in the booty as a wake up call.  I allow myself too many days of feeling sorry for myself and being down.  I realize much of it is due to missing my two daughters and my grandsons, the rest of my family and friends; but it is not an excuse.

The reality of our situation, is a definite possibility, with the economy and the housing market, we may have to stay put.  At least we have a place to live without any house payments. Once my husband retires, we can go to California and stay for as long as we like...

My hope is, the market and the economy will improve so we can move back to be closer to our family.  In the mean time, I want to polish up my attitude.  I know it will make a huge difference, on so many levels....

Friday, August 13, 2010

Recipes For Life...

"Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years.  We grow old by deserting our ideals.  Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul."  ~ Samuel Ullman ~

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


My sister sent me this email this morning.....

Cherokee Two Wolves Story

An elderly Cherokee Native American was teaching his grandchildren about life . .

He said to them, "A fight is going on inside me, it is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One wolf is evil---he is fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, competition, superiority, and ego.

The other is good ---he is joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.

This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too."

They thought about it for a minute, and then one child asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win, Grandfather?"

The Elder simply replied, "The one you feed."

Saturday, August 7, 2010


"That which you resist, stays."  ~ David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph. D.~

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Pride vs Humility...

" Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real."   ~ Thomas Merton ~

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Strengthening The Heart...

"The best exercise for strengthening the heart is reaching down and lifting people up."

~ Ernest Blevins ~