Limp In. Smile Out.

October 20, 2016


I saw this billboard the other day as I was driving along I-80. Looks like hip replacements are trending!

And speaking of which, Kaiser called me today (not Sutter Health) and we scheduled the surgery for my hip replacement. Mark your calendars, friends, it will be January 10, 2017!

Well, at least I’ll mark mine.

I have to say, I am REALLY looking forward to this. By the time the surgery comes around, it will have been nearly exactly TWO YEARS since the so-called flare up that was the sure indication my hip had crossed a line into symptomatic osteoarthritis.

That’s two years of a very nagging pain that at times has severely interfered with mobility and activities.

In some ways, I wish I’d accepted Dr. Haight’s initial arthritis diagnosis (in February of 2015 ). But I simply did not believe it. Instead I spent the better part of two years trying to fix it through alternative therapies..anything but the nuclear option (surgery). That included physical therapy/training with Hideshi, physical therapy with Scott the Kaiser PT, regular massage therapy with Kellie, acupuncture and cupping with Brian Dempsey, cryotherapy, over the counter anti-inflammatories (ibuprofen, glucosamine, something Dempsey gave me), various anti-inflammatory diets, the ol’ raisins & gin concoction (thanks, Robin!), ice & heat of course, cortisone injections (2)… and then hoped for a Steadman Clinic stem cell procedure, but that was a no go. I think that about covers it.. and nothing really solved the problem.

Additionally, in the two years since I hurt it, I’ve gained quite a bit of weight and lost a lot of my baseline fitness/strength. In addition, I’ve got mechanical issues up and down the chain… a recurring back issue, now this frozen shoulder thing. I can’t help think that any deviation in our basic mechanics manifests in some kind of misalignment elsewhere. And so it goes.

You can’t say that quality of life was not affected.. it was. I limp and hurt and am discouraged a lot. And I definitely missed out on a lot of good hikes.

On the other hand, I’m mostly glad I tried everything I could. I learned a lot. I will certainly recognize the signs when my left hip starts to go (only a matter of time), and will know to proceed right away to the stem cell option…

Anyway, now with a date certain, I can execute my get in shape and drop some weight plan with a little more intention. Knowing there’s a clear block of time I’m working with, for some reason, helps.

So yeah… I’m totally ready. And excited to get back to life.

Hil Yes

October 19, 2016

Tonight… third and final debate.

I, like the entire country, am so relieved these debates are behind us. I truly found them stressful. He’s been such a wild card and so beyond standard decorum you just didn’t know what to expect. Through it all, she handled herself with dignity, strength and self-respect, but I still had a hard time watching him abuse her. His demeaning bully tactics–the name calling, the interrupting, the stalking (at the second debate)–were chilling and ugly. He has no place in the public eye. I shudder to think how young people perceive his behavior. Do young men find his behavior admirable, something to model? Do young women think they deserve to be talked to like this? His complete lack of basic decency and civility is appalling.

But now.. the debates are over: we don’t have to pretend anymore that this is a normal campaign for the presidency. Hillary and the Donald do not have to appear on the same stage any more.

We can coast to November 8 now, and just ignore his [sure to continue] silliness.

Deep, deep, relieved breath.


Speaking of the debate stage, here is a supreme boo boo of a camera setting that accidentally resulted in a pretty cool image:


Darlene, Sharon and I watched together while drinking champagne and eating sausage.. among other things. It was mildly cathartic, certainly fun.

It seems the overwhelming consensus is that Hillary won, again. All she has to do in the last weeks of this campaign is run out the clock; her lead is substantial and he’s doing nothing to turn things around for himself. She did in this final debate what she’s done in others–presented her policy positions, repeated details of her experience and credentials, pointed out his shortcomings, stayed calm.

He did none of that. I personally thought his tactic this time of railing on her vulnerabilities was effective, even as he lied and lied. I thought he landed numerous wounding punches. But the analysis afterward seized on his dramatic and eyebrow-raising comments, most notably his sly, teasing and irresponsible statement about not accepting the outcome of the election.

Unless he walks that back, that statement’s going to be front and center for days, if not weeks, if not historically.

Such a doofus.


So Hillary….  our next president. I have these two favorite photos… been wanting to post them for awhile. They are useful in demonstrating her strengths and his weaknesses.

She has a passion for public service, which came across last night, as it has in all debates. She has a long, long record of working in the public sector and always in the public’s interest. A brilliant honor student at Wellesley and Yale, she had the chops and choice to do anything, but she chose to devote her life to public service

Once in the trenches, always in the trenches:


When it comes to a real and demonstrated commitment to public service, she runs circles around anybody, but especially the self-serving, personal empire building Donald, who cares about one thing only: his name in lights.

She is also the most qualified candidate ever to run for president. Period. Which also came across last night, as in all debates. Her understanding of how government works in combination with her experience in a variety of roles is completely unparalleled. In addition to a thick CV of academic achievements and honors and an insanely impressive employment/public service record, she served as First Lady of Arkansas, First Lady, Senator, Secretary of State. She knows her stuff. As a wonk, her poring over policy briefings never ends. She lives and breathes it.

This, and her preparation showed again last night. And really.. isn’t that exactly what you want from a leader? Someone who comes to the table completely informed, someone who has not only the interest but the sheer capacity for taking in great gobs of information, has the ability to process it, can make reasoned decisions, and can present her arguments cogently and persuasively? I’ve watched West Wing, I’ve watched House of Cards. This is no place for someone who has no patience for minutia.

My favorite photo of the non-glam side of politics.


But the Donald…. he’s the opposite of policy wonk. He has no interest, no curiosity, no capacity for the details of the job. He had no patience for preparation. He boasted about this before each and every debate. Instead of doing his homework, he opted to continue with his large stadium rallies, his favorite stage, where he was bathed in adoration. This is all he’s ever wanted from the job.

He is the most ill-equipped individual ever to seek office, let alone the presidency. No dues paid. No patience for the minutia. No time served in any trench whatsoever. He claims this as a plus, and on some levels I understand the argument: an outsider sees things differently. An outsider is not beholden to a process that many see as flawed. But I don’t see it that way. Politics is all about process, compromise, relationship building, and common ground; and I’ll take her depth of experience in government over his brash, corporate, dictatorial style any day.

So, again, sigh, his lack of preparation and lack of knowledge was in full view on the debate stage: he ran out of things to say long before his two minutes were up on any given policy question.

There has never been a person less suited or less equipped to be a government leader.

Blah blah. No need to even go here anymore.

In fact… so many have voted already, and he’s so far behind in the polls, and, he’s lost his last chance for a national stage on which to make his case, that the race for presidency over. Definitively over. The only battle now is for the Senate and a productive number of House seats.

No need to fret anymore.



Baseball Revisited

October 18, 2016

Notable deja vu text of the day: “I can’t, I have practice,” said Peter, when I suggested we have a phone conversation this early evening.

Practice refers to baseball; the team is the UCSD club baseball team.


Now, this baseball thing has been an interesting road. Let me go back….

When Peter ended his Davis baseball career last June, the question of whether he’d play again (competitively) was an open one. At times, he seemed eager to play again, and at other times he seemed more inclined to prioritize his studies. One thing was clear, he wanted no input from us.

For most of the summer, he was expecting to attend UC Santa Cruz. He and Solly talked about playing club together, we presume, but nothing was certain. When he found out he’d gotten into UCSD, the conversations–again, we presume–continued, but this time with Ray.

When it was time to pack, he opted not to take any baseball paraphernalia. He got a bit testy when I suggested he take stuff just in case. He acquiesced to taking a glove, but made what was clearly an important distinction: he would not pack it together with his other belongings… it had to sit, uncommitted, on the back seat.

We didn’t say anything.

When it came time to unload the car, the glove stayed behind, and remained in the car for the next four days.

We didn’t say anything.

It wasn’t until the last moments before Jim and I were heading back to Davis, that, in a sudden spontaneous move, Peter leaned into the car and swiped his glove off the backseat.

Jim and I looked at each other with raised eyebrows, but didn’t say anything.

For the next couple weeks, no mention was made of club ball, but Peter did say that he and Ray were playing some catch here and there.  A couple weeks ago, we learned that Peter and Ray were participating in a surprisingly lengthy (1-2 weeks) tryout. A couple days after these tryouts started, Peter asked us to send a box of baseball clothes. A few days after that, he needed medical information for some insurance forms. We learned that the final stage of the tryouts was to pitch in a game weekend before last, which he did, and apparently did well enough to make the cut. He mentioned this pretty nonchalantly. This past weekend, he traveled with the team to Las Vegas for a big tournament. The Tritons won their first three games. Ray pitched and won a complete game! Peter started in the fourth and final game, the championship game and went 5 1/3 innings. They lost that game, and he said he didn’t pitch his best, but it was a lot of fun. We are visiting him this coming weekend and we learned tonight that there may be a home game against USC. He said he’s enjoying playing on the team and likes the guys.

Can you believe that paragraph ^^ ?  Wow!

Now, I love baseball. I love Peter playing baseball and I love to watch him play. But I was also totally fine with him not playing in college. I thought it would be wonderful for him to have a community of friends, especially a bunch of baseball guys, especially in a nerdy, sciency place like UCSD, and have a ready way to keep active and fit… but I was also okay if he was done with baseball. It was totally up to him.

Duh. He’s a college guy now. An adult college guy who is ready to make his own decision.

But hey! He decided on baseball. At least for the fall season. I’m thrilled for him and I just hope it’s worthwhile and full of friends. He should do it–if he wants–as long as it’s fun.

Here’s a pic… a screen shot of the UCSD Club Baseball Facebook page… as much as I could get in a single screen shot. There’s a bit of a write-up of last week’s double header against the University of San Diego Toreros. Peter’s name is mentioned a couple times:


How about that!!





Memiest of the Memes

October 17, 2016

This is probably my favorite meme over weeks and weeks of very clever, cleverly smart, smartly funny memes. Lately, there has been a firehose of memes… you know, this being election season… an election season in which, well, you know, there is just a lot to meme about.

And this meme isn’t even about the target of some of my most favorite election memes. It’s just a fun, funny memy meme:





Good Job, Mom

October 16, 2016

I went on a creative journey today.

My ever-talented friend Lorilyn facilitated a workshop called, “Empty Nest? Wondering What’s Next?: A painting workshop to Imagine the Next Chapter of Your Life.”

It’s a workshop she lead as part of her certification in the intentional creativity program, a program offered through an organization called Cosmic Cowgirls. Longer story, but the important thing is we got to be trial subjects–her guinea princesses–so it was a good deal all around.

The workshop is best described in Lorilyn’s words:

  • I’m delighted you’ll be joining me on a creative journey to help you move beyond the story that’s been centered on raising a family and find a new story for your life now that your kid/s have left home.
  • You’ll gain insights and tools to help you navigate this transition. You’ll experience an approach called intentional creativity, and have a chance to explore new possibilities through ritual, reflection, painting, writing, and sharing.
  • We’ll be painting and writing, but it won’t be a painting or writing class. No experience in either is needed. So relax!

The journey actually began last night with a three-hour prep session, followed by today’s all-day session.

Last night, we began with an overview, a red yard ritual, followed by a reading, and then LL facilitated a fascinating guided imagery exercise.

When done well, guided imagery is like dreaming while awake. You go where prompted, but the imagery that presents itself is all your own.  For example, during the mediation, I saw a very sunny, warm and delicate alpine meadow surrounded by strong, towering redwoods. There was also a woman in levi’s and a white long-sleeved shirt, rolled halfway up her forearms.


She prompted with a light touch.. it was definitely my subconscious at work. Much of it made sense, and some of it was a bit baffling. At least initially.

We each shared what came up for us and tried to make some sense of it. We were asked to distill our thoughts into a single theme or question.  Mine was “where will my heart lead me,” referring to life after child-raising.

This question has to do with my desire to make a distinction between where my brain (specifically my left brain) might take me, and where my heart (or perhaps right brain) might take me in this new phase of life. I am the consummate left brainer–an organized planner of a structured life filled with routines and tasks. I love my tidy boxes. Sometimes I value organizational tidiness and routine over risk and the unknown. Maybe more than sometimes. As my world changes, I am interested in getting in touch with my less structured self and be guided instead (or at least in addition!) by my heart, by my passions.

Sounds pretty awesome, huh?

We wrote our questions in charcoal across the canvas.

We were then to create our “portal”.. our first foray into actually painting. Our job was to convey on canvas what came up for us during the guided imagery session. Perhaps not literally, but in a way that suggested the energy of our journey thus far. We were only to use three colors, and were to paint right over our charcoal scrawl.

This was a bit of a stretch for the tentative artist in me. But hey, I’m the one who said I wanted to let go of my brain and instead by guided by my heart… so I just let her rip. I basically ended up using yellow, green and a bit of brown to paint an abstract version of a meadow surrounded by a few clumsy trees. I completely forewent the levi-clad woman…. because my literal mind just couldn’t figure out how to transcribe her in art form. And denim blue was beyond my three colors.

Here is a shot of our makeshift studio and you can see the start of my painting on the far easel… this was before I added the clumsy trees:


Anyway… that was our 3-hour introduction.

It wasn’t until driving home last night that I realized what that woman was all about. She represents a confident, capable, strong person. A badass, basically. I realize that after being a mom for 18 years, I’m not sure who I am anymore outside that role. I was a pretty good mom (thank goodness for excellent dads), but now who and how am I?

So yay! I now have a bunch of questions to ponder: 1) What — what am I going to do with myself, my time, my energies now that my kiddo is on his own? 2) Who — who’s showing up to deal with that very big what… and is she up to the task/s, whatever it/they is/are? 3) How — I do have confidence that my left brain will be totally on the job,  but I also want to make sure my right brain’s involved. 4) Where — where will my heart lead me?

Lotta overlapping question marks, but good stuff came up last night, ya?

Today, we just had to paint all that!

To get us our hearts stirring, we started with a bit of a ritual. We’d been asked to bring symbols of our life as a mom and symbols of what we wanted in our next phase of life to place upon an altar. I brought these:


That’s a label from my favorite maternity shirt (that I wore for years, until it fell apart), a baseball (which symbolized our supporting role in Peter’s life), my beloved Buddha rock that I got in Nepal (symbol of my desire to explore a more spiritual life), and a heart rock (obvious symbol of love and compassion).

The creation of a painting, according to Cosmic Cowgirl’s intentional creativity approach, is a 13-step process. It’s possible we did two of those steps last night, not quite sure, but today was all about proceeding through the remaining steps until we had a completed work of … art … or until we had a completed representation of our current state of being (complete with dreams, affirmations and lots of others stuff). There was a pattern to this process: LL would read something, or pose a question, or introduce an idea or a technique, or whatever, and we would journal our thoughts. Then we’d proceed to the canvas to add those elements to our painting.  There was a framework, but the implementation was all ours.

For better or for worse.

Here is an early version of my painting (we might be in about the fourth or fifth stage here) …


Let me explain: We start with a pretty prescribed template of a face, which we’d placed right over our initial “portal.” Believe me, it was very crude at the beginning, sort of Picasso-esque, so this is a lot of refinement. I can actually draw faces pretty well, but I started with an abstract and tried to bring it to life. Awkward, but fine… it’s more about process than art, per se. Anyway, at this point, I’m starting to develop an idea… that I want to light up my right brain and quiet down my left brain… thus the light and dark on the face, and the open/closed eyes. I went kinda literal on the woman, rather than a warrior princess type, made her sort of a self portrait… which…. I might have been better off staying kind of abstract… but I have left brain issues.

Then came this idea of opening my eyes (and right brain/heart) to my passions (nature, for example) and turn down the volume on my structure and tidy self side (boxes). Literal, I realize, but there you go.

I also added a symbol of my life as a child-raising mom… baseball stitches within my heart. Yep. That’s what I did.

Looks like I disappeared the river at this point. Sure I had a reason.


Somewhere toward the end, after glazing (a washing away process) and other more subtle embellishments, I added a symbol of my desire to connect more deeply to a higher spirit… that would be the Nepalese symbol for the Buddha, which I placed over my head.

Many painting and journaling steps later, we’d gotten to the end of our thirteen steps. I think my final touches were to add lipstick and remove an errant hair.


And there you have it. My wishes for my next phase in life: to be guided by gentle wisdom and a graceful spirit; to live life with peace and contentment; a mind open to passion; and a heart full of love.

I titled it, “Good Job, Mom,” but if I’d thought about it more, I might have chosen a title that reflected more the gift of parenting my precious son, the thrill of my continuing role as his mom, and the privilege of transitioning to new stage with eyes and heart wide open.

But Good Job, Mom works okay, I guess.

At the end of the workshop, we were tasked with reading a letter that the subject of our painting might write to us (which meant we had to write that, of course). Basically, she conveyed those themes and reminded me that I’m safe, loved, nurtured. And funny. I liked that (actually, she said whimsical and fun, but close enough). She also reminded me that I have a great life.

Here we are.. have you ever seen so much color!


It was an affirming and worthwhile way to spend a rainy day.  Thanks Lorilyn!







House Concerts

October 15, 2016

Forever, it seems, I’ve been on the mailing list for Bill Wagman’s house concerts in Davis, and until last night, had never gone to one.

At the recommendation of a music friend (Jeff), Jim and I decided to go last night to hear a guy named Rick Shea (hails from Covina, of all places).

Not a lot to say about this, except I liked the intimate setting (about forty people), liked seeing a few people we knew there, liked having a glass of wine (even cheap, even in a plastic cup), and loved the music.

There was even an opening act… Peter and Gabby, “The Good Intentions” from Liverpool, England, believe it or not:


Rick played a few songs with them…


…before he took the stage alone:


(As you can see, I experimented with a few different filters… the lighting was low, so nothing really came out…)

And I liked him so much, I bought a CD (of course… never met a folk singer I didn’t like):


I’d NEVER have had him sign it, but Gabby put a pen in my hand and said in her thick english accent, “Go on, he’d love to autograph it for you.”  So I did, and he did. It felt utterly silly, but there ya go.

House concerts.




La Note

October 14, 2016

It was breakfast with Elliot in Berkeley day–always right up there in the category of fun times reconnecting with valued buddies.

Lots conspired to make it a non-routine get together–a huge storm that was expected to slam into the west coast (it did, but it was manageable); the traffic that goes with the first big storm of the season (we each experienced accident-induced slow downs on our respective commutes); Rick and Ann’s was closed for construction (wha…??); parking was hard to come by at our chosen Shattuck Ave. alternative (and I futzed and futzed and futzed with my parking meter while trying to hold onto my very unwieldy umbrella); the line to get into La Note was out the door with a forty minute wait (in aforementioned rain)….

BUT… by the time we were in a sheltered part of the line, and especially by the time we were eventually seated, everything was its usual great.

We’d eaten at La Note before, but it had been years. We’ve come to appreciate routine.. and eating each time at the same place–Rick and Ann’s, across from the famed Claremont Hotel–was just one less thing to figure out (it’s hard enough finding workable dates for our 2-3 times/year brunches!).

Breakfast was EXCELLENT… brioche with a lavender honey spread, omelet with emanthaler cheese and ham, tomatoes a la provencale, and cafe au lait (the place is country french). Elliot had a fancy pancake with a raspberry spiral atop, a pile of bacon, scrambled eggs and toast.

Here’s the place:


We might have to go back there next time.