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

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Taking Some Time Off....

My sister is flying in this Saturday and will be staying with me for one whole week...7 wonderful, glorious days.  My husband is going to Mexico for his annual trip with his friends and sons, so she and I will have the house to ourselves and be on our own, spontaneous time schedule doing whatever pops into our imaginations.

I will most likely post pictures of some of the things we do...but I will post them on my other blog, Mystical Journeys

See you again in about a week....

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Mom Won't Let Me Sit In The Living Room Naked...

It is way too hot... I cannot blog, I cannot even think from this freaking heat!  Mom has no air conditioning and she won't allow me to sit naked in the living room, in front of the fan!  I don't know why not... How did I stand it when I used to live here?

I took a nap yesterday and woke up in a puddle of sweat!

Some where between my daughter's couch and Mom's couch, I got a heck of a kink on the left side of my neck...I think I need to wait until my return to Nevada tomorrow before doing any serious blogging...

More later... when I am cooler and my neck is better...

Monday, September 20, 2010

GOT THE CALL at 4:03 AM!!!!!

It is 7am and I am getting ready to load the car and take Izzy to the Vet for boarding, then on my way to CALI...need to talk to my oldest daughter, as she is who I will stay with while my youngest daughter is in the hospital, then will stay with my Mom when my daughter goes back home...

I am SO EXCITED and have major nervous stomach for my baby, who is having her first baby!!

More you guys!!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

The 50's... The Land That Made Me, Me...

My Mom sent this to me and it is so great, I had to share it with all of you....

Long ago and far away,
In a land that time forgot,
Before the days of Dylan,
Or the dawn of Camelot.

There lived a race of innocents,
And they were you and me,
Long ago and far away
In the Land That Made Me Me.

Oh, there was truth and goodness
In that land where we were born,
Where navels were for oranges,
And Peyton Place was porn.

For Ike was in the White House,
And Hoss was on TV,
And God was in His heaven
In the Land That Made Me Me.

We learned to gut a muffler,
We washed our hair at dawn,
We spread our crinolines to dry
In circles on the lawn.

And they could hear us coming
All the way to Tennessee,
All starched and sprayed and rumbling
in the Land That Made Me Me.

We longed for love and romance,
And waited for the prince,
And Eddie Fisher married Liz,
And no one's seen him since.

We danced to "Little Darlin',"
And sang to "Stagger Lee"
And cried for Buddy Holly
In the Land That Made Me Me.

Only girls wore earrings then,
And three was one too many,
And only boys wore flat-top cuts,
Except for Jean McKinney.

And only in our wildest dreams
Did we expect to see
A boy named George, with lipstick
In the Land That Made Me Me.

We fell for Frankie Avalon,
Annette was oh, so nice,
And when they made a movie,
They never made it twice.

We didn't have a Star Trek Five,
Or Psycho Two and Three,
Or Rocky-Rambo Twenty
In the Land That Made Me Me.

Miss Kitty had a heart of gold,
And Chester had a limp,
And Reagan was a Democrat
Whose co-star was a chimp.

We had a Mr Wizard,
But not a Mr T,
And Oprah couldn't talk yet
In the Land That Made Me Me.

We had our share of heroes,
We never thought they'd go,
At least not Bobby Darin,
Or Marilyn Monroe.

For youth was still eternal,
And life was yet to be,
And Elvis was forever,
In the Land That Made Me Me.

We'd never seen the rock band
That was Grateful to be Dead,
And Airplanes weren't named Jefferson,
And Zeppelins were not Led.

And Beatles lived in gardens then,
And Monkees in a tree,
Madonna was a virgin
In the Land That Made Me Me.

We'd never heard of Microwaves,
Or telephones in cars,
And babies might be bottle-fed,
But they weren't grown in jars.

And pumping iron got wrinkles out,
And "gay" meant fancy-free,
And dorms were never coed
In the Land That Made Me Me.

We hadn't seen enough of jets
To talk about the lag,
And microchips were what was left at
The bottom of the bag.

And Hardware was a box of nails,
And bytes came from a flea,
And rocket ships were fiction
In the Land That Made Me Me.

Buicks came with portholes,
And side shows came with freaks,
And bathing suits came big enough
To cover both your cheeks.

And Coke came just in bottles,
And skirts below the knee,
And Castro came to power
near the Land That Made Me Me.

We had no Crest with Fluoride,
We had no Hill Street Blues,
We all wore superstructure bras
Designed by Howard Hughes.

We had no patterned pantyhose
Or Lipton herbal tea
Or prime-time ads for condoms
In the Land That Made Me Me.

There were no golden arches,
No Perriers to chill,
And fish were not called Wanda,
And cats were not called Bill.

And middle-aged was thirty-five
And old was forty-three,
And ancient were our parents
In the Land That Made Me Me.

But all things have a season,
Or so we've heard them say,
And now instead of Maybelline
We swear by Retin-A.

And they send us invitations
To join AARP,
We've come a long way, baby,
From the Land That Made Me Me.

So now we face a brave new world
In slightly larger jeans,
And wonder why they're using
Smaller print in magazines.

And we tell our children's children
of the way it used to be,
Long ago, and far away
In the Land That Made Me Me.

--Author unknown

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Unofficial Pool For When The Grandson Will Arrive...

We are having an unofficial pool to guess when the grandson will arrive... (she was due on the 14th)

My husband thinks this weekend
Mom thinks the 17th
I think tomorrow
My sister thinks the 21st

The doctor will induce if she has not had him by the 24th...

I have Jury Duty the 29th, which I will have to reschedule if she waits til the 24th...

My daughter called and told me she thinks the time will be 2:48...only she is not sure whether the time is AM or PM!  She doing a lot of walking, attempting to get things started...

What do you think?  Any guesses?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Never Give Up...

I wrote on my blog of my experience on September 11, 2001, yesterday. I visited several other blogs and after reading DJan's post at Eye On The Edge, she asked the question,  "If you feel so moved, I wonder what happened in your life on that day, and ask if you would be willing to share it. And your sense of the direction of our country: do you see any light at the end of this long tunnel?"

I was carried away with my response and when I tried to post it, it blocked me, because I had written more than amount of characters allowed.  So the following are my thoughts...

I can only speak from my personal perspective. We have seen our life savings take a huge hit. My husband continues to work strictly for financial reasons.The banking job he used to enjoy lending money to new businesses has turned into one he hates, because the bank no longer lends money to anyone.  He lost his former position and is now in charge of all the bad loans from all the four of their branches, which are now consolidated into one bank.

The housing market is so bad, we are stuck in Nevada, unable to sell our home unless we give it away, so we can move back to California to live closer to the majority of our family and friends. Housing is still expensive there, at least the areas we want to move. Taxes and cost of living are higher there too.

We have done our best in raising our children.  We have faith they will succeed as they aspire to follow the American Dream. We want to live closer to help and support them. We want to see them and hold them more. As things are now, we do have concerns about the fate of the world our grand children will inherit...

We know of so many personally and within our community, who have lost their homes, their jobs, their savings. We see and hear of families who must live in the drainage tunnels under the city of Las Vegas. We see children and grand children living in the small homes of our 55+ community, with their parents and grand parents, because they have no place left to go... 

So many things are weighting down this country. In some ways, I don't want to know, because the more I find out, the more discouraged and depressed I become. Yet, the better part of me, wants to have hope. Hope, our country and the world, will rise to the challenge and overcome. Our history shows it is what we do. I want to believe it will get better.

I make up my mind to be positive, to come from a place of love, to treat others the way I want to be treated. I genuinely care about my fellow human beings and at the age of 63, I find the older I become, the world seems to grow smaller. I do my best to lend a hand to anyone who needs it. I offer a smile to anyone who walks toward me or is around me. I don't work so I can drive back and forth to California to see my loved ones more. I reach out in the blog sphere to other's lives, listening and commenting. I care deeply for our country and for all countries. We are ALL in this world together.

I dislike competition. There always has to be a "Winner" and a "Loser". In school when we had to play sports, when we won, I could not enjoy the victory because I felt bad for those who did not win.

I think the competitive spirit is a part of the problem. Some people let the power of being the best, delude them. They become greedy and need more... Power is as addictive as heroin. Many people cannot handle it. People become selfish and only think of what is best for them and screw the "other guy"..

I wish more people would want to do their best, just out of wanting to put forth their personal best and to help others. I wish people felt better about themselves, so they did not need an others opinion to believe it.

I hate War; but what are we to do when we, as a country, a nation, were attacked? Clean up the mess and move on like nothing happened? Forgive and forget?

If we look at our world, like a collective family, and someone crashes a plane into our home, killing our loved ones, and we discover it was on purpose...what do we do?

If a gang of thugs invade your neighborhood, killing neighbors and friends randomly, stealing, destroying every one's property, would you stand idly by? Would you leave it to someone else? Or would you band together and fight against the injustice? Some times we have to fight for what is right, no matter what the cost.

Our human instincts want revenge. Our pain is too severe to be comforted with religion...but we have to believe in a power higher than ourselves, or we will have chaos. As a collective family, we have to pull together to recover from grief and difficult times.  In grief, our faith helps us to know our loved ones are in a better place. Everyone struggles, but the burden is lighter, when shared with others who care. Laws are made to protect individuals, but ultimately, for the greater good.
Our rules and laws are certainly not perfect. There are flaws in anything mad made...but we can never just give up. We must persevere!

I don't understand hate. Children's innocence is universal. Children have to be taught to hate. Hatred will destroy the world.

I have no doubt those terrorists love their children and families...but "their God" comes before anything else. As some of us do as well. How many religious fanatics, have we each known, who forced the FEAR OF GOD onto their children, making them just the opposite?  Monsters come in many colors and nationalities.

A child molester does not just become one, they are taught the unthinkable by experiencing horrific,and heinous torture and abuse at a critical time in their early life. I call that evil.

I find it difficult to believe how a child grows up comfortable in taking anothers life. That child has to be taught to kill or taught to hate, brainwashed if you will, to follow an others warped thinking.

I think parenting is one of the most important jobs on this planet. There should be more classes in grade schools and high schools. How a child is raised, is the seed that dwells in the mind of every adult. The upbringing and attitudes branch out to touch and affect every living animal or human they meet. If we don't like or believe in ourselves, how can we stand effectively among others and make a difference? How can we set examples? How can we lead?  How can we care? How can we know and feel our purpose?

I can only deal and do my best with my family, friends, people I met, and care about those in this world with me. I live and let live.  I do my best not to be caught up with petty, gossiping, pot stirring folks. I concentrate on our life, our neighborhood, our community, our children, grand children, parents, siblings and friends. Just staying on top of what is going on in our family, fills up my life. When a disaster strikes some where in the world, we care, we contribute in some way. We have learned through 9/11, how one heinous act can affect so many people, nationalities, businesses, our finances, the housing market, cities, countries, and nations.

We ARE all in this world together...and it is high time we pull together and do what we have to do, to never give up to make it right.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Day Our World Changed Forever...

Today I put the flag out, to fly in remembrance...
Vivid memories flood my brain.
The day our world changed forever...
Horror watching the attack.
The shock.
The Towers explode.
Grey smoke billowing.
The collapse.
The devastation.
All those people.
The anguish of so many families...
The children
The parents
The grandparents
The grandchildren
The sisters
The brothers
The sons
The daughters
The Fathers
The Mothers
The cousins
The neighbors
The coworkers
The businesses
The Pentagon
The citizens aboard United flight 93
The tragic, senseless loss.
The worldwide grief and sadness.
The bravery.
The pride.
The collective linking of hearts.
The vow to never forget...


Friday, September 10, 2010

Kiwifruit Relish From Downunder...

Mark Rothko -  Black, Brown - 1957

 ***** ( I found one of Mark Rothko's paintings to post here, but not sure if it is the one she posted, because all her photographs were deleted with her blog.******

First, I was only going to post her recipe for Kiwifruit Relish (which sounded so scrumptious), but then I decided to put the rest of her post with it...

"I've never understood Rothko but visiting the Art Gallery yesterday evening, I realised how well brown and grey work together. I pulled out all my grey stuff and started matching it up with brown and managed to recreate a rustic fifties look that is just about perfect for the time of year.

With DH and the family away, I've spent the last two evenings sitting by the fire with the animals, reading Elizabeth Longford's Wellington, The Years of the Sword, and knitting - no radio, no television, no noise, just contemplative peace and quiet. Oh and I also made some Kiwifruit Relish.

I found this gem in a second hand book shop. If you can get a copy, you're in for a treat; a very well written account of Wellington's battles. Elizabeth Longford was a great great (?) niece of Wellington through marriage and had access to family papers. The last part of the book describes the Battle of Waterloo, fought June 18, 1815.

*** ( Picture deleted with blog)****

Old phone found at the market and gleefully purchased.

I went to pick up the family from the airport late this afternoon and while hanging around waiting for their flight, spotted a big notice stuck on to a wall, and given that there was little else to do, I read it:

"We take jokes about safety seriously. You will be prosecuted."

I wondered, for a short second, if this itself was a joke. Legislate humour? Oh yeah, good one.

The world is completely bonkers but I also don't really understand why people think it is funny to joke they are carrying a bomb. Such a shame that it's something that even exists as an issue. There's a fine line between security and infringement of rights.

(DH assures me that those notices have been up for years and years, but I've not spotted one before - probably been in too much of a rush to see them, or they're obscured by crowds, or something.)

Which is all a bit too much for a busy weekend to come. This is kiwifruit relish is delicious. Would you like the recipe? "


2 onions, chopped

2 apples, peeled and chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/2 cup raisins

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup malt vinegar

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

500 gms kiwifruit, peeled and chopped (approx. 17 1/2 oz)

Put onions, apples, garlic, raisins, sugar, vinegar, ginger, allspice and cloves into a pan (preferably non stick). Boil gently for about 30 minutes or until mixture is soft and thickened. Add kiwifruit. Continue cooking for a further 20 minutes or until chutney is thick and jam-like. Pack into sterilised jars. Makes 2 x 350 ml jars. (standard jam jars)

P.S. The title for the post is a quote from Wendell Berry but I don't know which of his poems it's from. If you recognise it, please let me know. ♥"

My time has been eaten by the days.

June 18, 2010 at 8:50 pm
Categories: art, books, family, grumbles, history, recipes

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Mint Chocolate Bars

Here is another of Penny's recipes...yum, sounds good!

Mint Chocolate Bars

1 cup melted butter

½ cup cocoa powder

2 cups sugar

4 eggs beaten

1 tsp. vanilla

½ tsp. salt

1 ½ cups sifted flour

For Mint Frosting

½ cup butter softened

2 Tbsp. milk

2 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp. peppermint extract

green food colouring

For Chocolate Topping

½ cup butter

1 ½ cup good semi sweet chocolate chips

1. Melt butter in the microwave. In a large bowl add melted butter and cocoa. Whisk together until smooth. (This is important as cocoa can be lumpy)

2. Add whisked eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt to the cocoa mixture. Whisk until smooth.

3. Measure flour and sift into brownie mixture. Stir in by hand. Don't over mix.

4. Spray a 22cm x 32 cm (9" x 13" ) pan with cooking spray, or line it with baking paper. Pour mixture into pan and smooth out.

5. Cook in a 180 º C (350º ) oven for 25-28 minutes… depending on how you like them.

6. Cool for a few minutes then place bars into freezer for 20 minutes.

7. Make mint layer: mix together all the ingredients using a mixer.

8. Frost smoothly and place in the freezer for 20 more minutes. Don’t skimp on the freezer time. If the brownies are too warm, the topping just melts the mint layer and you have a mess. If the brownies have been in the freezer for too long, the topping sets really quickly and it’s hard to get it smooth.

9. While brownies are in the freezer make the chocolate topping. Place chocolate chips and butter in the microwave for 1 minute. Be careful not to overheat. It won’t look melted but once whisked it is. Pour melted chocolate topping over the brownies and working quickly spread it evenly over the brownies with a spatula.

10. Place brownies in the freezer for another 20 minutes until topping is set. Cut into bars.

June 12, 2010 at 12:48 pm
Categories: cooking, recipes, weekend

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fast Carrot Soup Recipe...

Penny also posted some recipes so I thought I would share some of them...

Fast carrot soup.

May 1, 2010 at 3:57 pm
Categories: recipes

The season of soups is upon us and this is a good, fast, easy weekend lunch soup. Serve it with toast or whatever you like.

1 dessertspoon butter

1 medium onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

4 rashers bacon, chopped

2 1/ 2 cups (about 4 large) carrots, chopped or sliced

big handful chopped parsley

2 chicken stock cubes

pinch salt

dash Worcestershire sauce

shake black pepper

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

4 – 5 cups water

1 can tomatoes and herbs

Melt butter and sauté onion, garlic, and bacon for three or four minutes. Add everything else except the tomatoes, and simmer until carrots are cooked. Stir in the can of tomatoes and heat through.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Here is another of Penny's poems...


May 15, 2010 at 7:50 pm
Categories: Uncategorized

life is art


how you see it

may be a bit different than those around you


some days

it will even be dramatically different


that's okay



if looking left

when everyone else is looking right

feels good to you



look left


when they all look up

look down


different is good
~Penny Westwood~

The Two Of Us...

In this post of Penny's, she talks of her relationship with her "Mum" and the "Girls Day Out" they planned together...

I cannot even imagine, what her Mother, brother, sisters, cousins, husband and daughters are feeling now...

If she is like me, her busy life made those precious times with her Mom, even more special...especially since her Mom moved to be closer to Penny and her family, as Penny was the only child, out of her five children, to remain in New South Wales...

The two of us.

June 21, 2010 at 11:20 am
Categories: animals, family, travel, weekend

"Once a month, my mother and I have a Girls’ Day Out. When I was a child, my grandmother, mother, and assorted aunts and older cousins would “tart themselves up”, to quote a younger male cousin, pile into an old Studebaker or Chevrolet (or two or three) and disappear for the day.

These outings were planned well in advance; the date set, the tables in the tea rooms booked, shopping lists organised, and arrangements made to meet old friends (who were then included in the proceedings).
 My mother’s family were sheep farmers. They weren’t isolated in the way that outback farming families were, and still are, because “Town” was only 45 miles (72 km’s) away from my grandparents’ farm and a similar distance for other relatives who were farming in the district. But the older relatives had grown up in a time when the roads were unsealed, pot-holed, muddy if not impassable in wet winter weather, and transport was unreliable. My grandmother and her sisters were young girls when the first cars appeared in the district and they could remember buggies and horses, bullocks and drays.

So a trip to Town was a planned event, and not undertaken lightly. Supplies for the farm, and things like large sacks of flour, were purchased by the menfolk on their days; the women had other requirements.

My brother, sisters, cousins, and I were not included in these outings until we were in our teens. Most of us were “townies” and staying on farms for the school holidays was a big adventure, so not being included didn’t bother us at all. We had our own adventures; catching small fish in the creeks, making bows from willow branches (bows that never worked properly, although we persisted), digging China holes, getting underfoot at shearing time, and getting sunburnt.
 Over time, relatives died, farms were sold, relatives moved to other countries or other states, and lifestyles changed with the times too. My mother was one of eight children and is the last still living; she is 87 now and is feeling her years. She lives a long way from familiar surroundings, moving several years ago to a nearby and larger town to be close to the only one of her five children to still live in New South Wales.
 Mum says that I was her most rebellious child, the one that gave her more than a few sleepless nights. Of course, I don’t remember it that way; my recollection is that she was too strict. I do remember one incident though, when someone had an argument with her and accused her of having “lost her marbles”. I bought a big glass jar, filled it with marbles, put a note on it that read, “Now no one can say you’ve lost your marbles”, and gave it to her as a joke. She was not amused, in fact the joke upset her enough to ground me for two weeks.
 A Day Out means a lot to her; the event is planned, but not as a shopping day, Mum spent most of her adult life in a city and that has no appeal. So we pour over maps, decide on a long rural scenic drive, preferably one that takes us through a town or village with a good café and facilities suitable for an older person, and have a Girls’ Day Out, just the two of us.
 I feel that there’s a certain irony in this."

** The comments below, were captions below her photographs, which were deleted when her blog was closed. **

"This weekend our drive took us west to an area known as Cabonne Country."

"Yellow leaves still hanging on to these poplars."

"The town of Obley is no more - a former gold mining town with just a few remaining ruins. If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you can see a kookaburra on a branch in the mid top. (Corrugated galvanised iron was invented in the 1820's. I didn't know that until I looked it up because I was surprised to see some in the ruins of an 1850's town.)"

"Red berries give a corrugated iron shed a point of difference."

"Beside the still water."

"Afternoon tea at a café in Orange with a blazing fire – very welcome on a chilly day."

"Some of the locals."

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Printed Word...

I was explaining to one of my blogging friends about why I am posting Penny's posts...the only way I can express it best, is to say, I follow my instincts.  I have learned I have good ones.  I feel compelled to post them, so as long as I feel it, I will do it, and I hope I do not freak anyone out or turn anyone off...I would care as much if (God forbid) something would happen to one of you...

For me, we all, do form a unique sacred circle...we do get to know one another intimately by the personal stories we share.  I personally, think it is beautiful and rewarding.

This is the last post written by Penny Westwood, the day she had the accident.  The car accident was in the morning, and this post was obviously automatically set to post later in the day at 5:31pm, which is when she was lying unconscious in a coma in the hospital.

The printed word.

August 17, 2010 at 5:31 pm
Categories: grumbles, opinion

"Few pleasures can match waking to the sound of a few hundred pages of printed paper landing on the front porch. The making of breakfast and coffee, the dividing up the sections, arguing over one opinion or another. Sharing the morning paper is a simple joy. And even though I love how the internet has democratised how we receive our news, there is something so satisfying and tactile about large sheets of news print.

This household subscribes to The Australian which like most newspapers has much of its content online. Having news online means competition for readership is global. The advantage of this means I can catch up with other, favourite papers whenever I want to. But my morning commute as well as weekend pleasure, is all about the cup of coffee and the paper.

The vagaries of the economy and the development of new technologies has affected sales of newspapers. If some cease to remain viable, this will be a tragic loss for those concerned with sustaining and promoting a well-informed and engaged public. And I really do hope the news continues to be printed. I cannot imagine being at a café, on the bus, in the garden on a sunny day, or at the kitchen table and needing a computer to read the latest news. And for mere coins, the paper is one of the best bargains around."
I tried going online to The Australian to see if I could find any mention of an obituary or her accident, death notice or anything...I could not find one word about her...

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Spring Is Coming...

I don't know why I feel so occupied with Penny Westwood...maybe she is whispering to me, urging me to post the words she wrote, since her blog was taken away, too soon, from her many friends...Luckily, there were several of her posts, which I subscribed to, I had not deleted.  As I said, I have some of her posts, but the photographs automatically were deleted along with her blog. I found several of our emails as well.  I will keep them for awhile...

She wrote this the day before her accident...

Spring is coming....

August 16, 2010 at 5:27 pm
Categories: birds, flowers, garden, seasons

"It's the sort of fine sunny morning when one senses that warmer times are just over the hill and frolicking behind the trees. There are clear blue skies beyond the windows and several happy Grey Butcherbirds dancing about and hoo-eeing uproariously at their own jokes. A Crimson Rosella is singing a jubilant spring song, but he is much too far away to capture even with my telephoto lens. I can see his splash of brilliant red though, at the top of a liquid amber tree one street away.

This morning, I can feel springtime light and warmth returning. The early sun is shining like butterscotch through the leaves of the plants in the south facing dining room, and out in the garden, a light breeze is moving elegantly curled daffodils about with enthusiasm.

Just in the last day or two, new leaves have appeared on the trees and there are minuscule rosy buds on many of the shrubs in the garden. Hallelujah. . ."

Friday, September 3, 2010

Celebrating The Temporary...Answer Me This...

I find myself contemplating Penny's sudden death. Not to be morbid or weird, but she really touched me. I can't help thinking of her, as she was a loving mother/wife with three teenage handicapped.  One never wants to die before one's children.  Her "Mum" is in her 80's, as is mine, and I think of their monthly "Girls Day Outs" they will no longer have.  No doubt, she will step in and help with her grand daughters...

Years ago, in the 70's, I read a book entitled, CELEBRATE THE TEMPORARY by Clyde Reid.  Basically he promotes living in the now...celebrating the temporary. "To rid ourselves of "self-afflicted bondage."  Celebrating life, means contemplating death, which makes life much sweeter.  He writes about really tasting one's food, really taking in the scenery and people around you and to not dwell in the past or rush too quickly into the future; because each day we wake up, is the only time we have for this one day...we need to make the most of it.

Penny used to ride the computer train to and from work. I think they had one car.  For her to be driving, she had to be going some where special, possibly with her camera to take pictures for her blog, to the village coffee shop she used to frequent, or to shop for interesting textiles to work with. Penny really seemed to celebrate her days.

I have been re-reading our emails and her posts I had subscribed to.  I can no longer view her wonderful photographs, because they are deleted along with her blog.  I have emailed some of the bloggers who also knew her by following her blog...several have left comments on my blog or email.  We all seem to have this common thread which weaves through our lives and ties us all together...the love of the written word, to write,  and to express ourselves.

 A month before her accident, she wrote the following...

Answer me this...

July 15, 2010 at 2:48 pm
Categories: lifestyle, opinion

"Is blogging the pastime of the privileged? Like the luxury of learning to read in the Middle Ages or the time to sit and paint during the Renaissance? (And by 'privileged', I do mean pretty much all of us lucky enough to be toiling away here in first-world countries.) Because as I scroll through (well-written) blogs about various people's lives, their struggles and fears, their kids, their gardens, their ideas and their photos, it occurs to me that it is.

Because it's self-indulgent, isn't it? It can be borderline narcissistic, as social and personal media platforms like Facebook and Flickr can be. We want to record, record, record. In a society ever more inundated with images, words, and graphics, in which it's become harder and harder to hear through all the noise, we shout: Look at me! Look at my life! Look at my garden! The world gets smaller and smaller and we struggle and squirm in an effort not to be squeezed out by the sheer amount of information, headlines, photos, and anecdotes.

Not everyone has the luxury of this daily, weekly, or bi-weekly self-indulgence. But that doesn't make it a bad thing. Because not everyone has the inclination, either. And someone needs to: if statistics of blog readership can be trusted, we evidently crave that peppering of philosophy and psychology in our daily grind, that reflection of our lives, that finger on the pulse point of what we do each day: the mothering and the working, the discord and the perfectly rising bread. I know I speak for myself when I say we want that depth to the ordinary. The current under the surface.

We want someone, somewhere to be monitoring it all. Confirming our fears. Echoing our opinions. Have you ever marvelled at all those postage stamp-sized glimpses of random people's lives? All those snippets of gardens and kitchens, cropped family portraits and slivers of trees or cloud? It's stunning. And inspiring. And crowded. It makes you want to hold hands with these people and throw an elbow for some breathing space both at the same time. It might as well be me. You. Your neighbour with the cooking blog. Your kid's English teacher with the poetry site.

We're self-obsessed, sure. But the musings and the over-analysing of, well, everything has always been left to the ones with time (even if that time is in short supply). Or more accurately, the ones rushing to schedule a post amid the chaos of family and working life. The ones with the burning need to document.

We think we know why we record, write, photograph and share this cyber-space with one another the world over, but if we know why we write, then why do we read? Why are we drawn to our favourite blogs day after day? What do we gain?

As far as I’m concerned, this place and all that goes with it (reading, commenting, discussing), has become a substantive conversation. And though it has really only taken on an important place in my life in the last several months, it has in a very big and important way. It doesn’t surprise me, I like what I do here: thinking and sharing and discussing. I don’t know why I didn’t discover it earlier except that it's probably because I didn’t have the right inspiration.

And that’s what has happened: a renewed desire to discuss issues, to think and write about life, and the things that make me happy and unhappy. Perhaps a self-indulgent luxury, but one I needed.

However, it does puzzle me why I’ve found this here and not in my real world (how I hate that painfully inadequate way of differentiating the two). I know that the connections I make here aren’t real. I worry about even saying that and don’t want to offend, because they truly feel real but I’m very aware that they are tenuous. The time we spend with one another is different, enriched and concentrated. We learn things that some of us choose not to share with others in our life. But why?

Blogging is without borders, real or figurative. We can choose who to connect with in a different way than perhaps we can in our real lives. It’s easier to surround ourselves with like-minded thinkers because we can simply turn off those that aren’t. And we all need to write or record, so we all get what this is about. Do you suppose that’s what makes the difference? And by virtue of our ability to do that, does it make it less real or more real? I’m not sure. I’ll continue think about these things as I write here and read other blogs. And I’ll hope it is real because it matters to me and I don’t want to lose it. "     ~Penny Westlake~
I want to believe, instinctively, she chose to blog, to put herself out there, maybe because some where in her subconscious, a higher power was preparing her, nudging her to follow those deep inner dreams... To bring those thoughts to the surface and allow it to blossom. She reached out and was heard from all over the world. I am glad we were there for her. We read her words and heard her voice. We related to her and remember she was here...

 I know I do...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Diving Into The Unknown...

I just finished reading SHADOW DIVERS by Robert Kurston. Fascinating page turner and vicarious thrill ride, diving with those divers 230 feet under the ocean...something I would NEVER do in my real life...The writing was so captivating and so well written. I wonder if I could have the discipline to write to fruition and get my book published...

Diving deep
into the unknown
following a need
which cannot be denied.
The adventure
of discovery
the fear
of failure
of the outcome,
willing to dive
again and again
to seek and find...
as the need to breathe,
is the need to express
to find my true self
is to search my soul
 learning and growing..
Knowing others
better than myself
is not the path
of self discovery.
Hanging on
for dear life
to this life line
as my hands
pull me deeper
 and deeper
into this quest...
blues of isolation
greens of growing
toward the light
of knowledge
from those
with more experience.
Fighting the kelp
 of self doubt
twisting me
clutching at me...
rays of light
piercing the depths
like shards of a broken mirror
remind me
to close my eyes
and trust my instincts
hand over hand
on my life line
will be my salvation.
The darkness of fear
will blind my vision
 and mute my voice.
what can be seen
is far too deceiving...
the demons and darkness
will take over my life
if I allow it.
drowning me
 in the worst possible death
to not give
myself the chance.
Facing the fears
 doing it anyway
builds character
 inner strength.
is so elusive;
slipping too often
from my grasping hands.
I must persevere..
It is the key
to this treasure
opening my way
to make it safely
 back to the surface...
The irony
is the exploration,
single minded pursuit,
not to quit
is the only way
to capture
to find the portal
of feeling
the warmth
of the sun
on my face...
and to know,
I did it.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sudden Tragedy...Loss Of A Friend...

As some of you may know, Penny Westwood at Penny's Word (which has been deleted) was in a car accident, August 17, 2010.  She lived in a small town of New South Wales. She was driving and swerved to avoid a speeding car driving too fast, around a curve and on the wrong side of the road.  Her car left the road and slammed into a tree.  She was severely injured.  The doctors put her into an induced coma.  She became conscious, and then had a relapse.  Tragically, she died August 26, 2010 in the hospital of a cerebral hemorrhage.  Her funeral some time today, in the afternoon. She was only 59 years of age...

Several days ago, I had gone to her blog to check for updates and discovered it had been deleted.  It gave me a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach, but I hoped either her husband Doug, or one of her three teens, may have done it by accident...

I had emailed her Gmail account asking how she was.  Today, I received an email from her husband Doug, who shared about her death.  When I replied, that email had been deleted as well.  I cannot imagine the grief and loss they have to be feeling now...

I read her blog last March.  I had read one of her poems and was so touched, I asked if I might have her permission to post it.  She graciously allowed me to.  At the end of my post today, I will re post her poem.

I had been corresponding with her only five months, but in that short span of time, through her writing and photographs, I felt she was a kind, gentle, loving woman who loved her family, her little town, animals and nature.  She was a regular visitor with her comments.  I will miss her.

Here is her poem:

Just sayin’.

When in doubt, leap. One needs a little courage to live.
Miracles happen so often they become commonplace.

It’s easier to draw a straight line than to straighten a crooked one.
How come it’s always the narrow path that considers itself superior?

If you paint a black picture, the picture will be black.
Boredom is the price one pays for not enjoying everything.

Getting lost is part of getting there.
There’s something braver than dying for the truth – living without it.

Lessons are learned, not taught.
When your burden gets too heavy, you learn how to carry it.

The little girl riding her bicycle. Never once did she wonder: “Is this worthwhile?”
The sea will wash away our footprints but not the fact we made them.

Experiences for which there are no words get along fine without them.
Reasons are invented, not found.

No river could flow if it had to know its destination first.

~Penny Westlake~

Rest in peace, dear friend...