What Are We Without Our Memories?





Prize winning photo in Rick Steve’s photo contest!

In pondering this question I wish to ask my friends, but soon I realize I must answer it myself first. So here comes another ponder. First of all, my first thought in answering my own question is that without my memories, I would be perfect. I will have not have made any mistakes. Everyone in my life would be perfect, too.

I would perhaps have been a straight A+ student. Ha, my memories crash that idea. I would have had a perfectly perfect face, body, coloring, and I would have been the dancer I was meant to be. With no memories it can be true. If I have no memories, I can do things that delight me over an over again with no recollection that I have done them before.

In looking back, I have sacrificed many golden moments and have been hindered when I let my mind wander to what might have been and or what might come. Terror lives in what will be, not as much as what has been. Therefore, if there is no memory of either what has been or what is yet to come we will have no worries. How many of us have achieved not to worry? Raise your hands if you do not worry. I squint and see no hands.

Perhaps I would not worry about having a panic attack because I would not remember that I had any. I also would not remember anything I should panic over.If it should happen to descend upon me, it is what is in the present and will be gone for the future. Now in achieving this concept, I will be able to raise my hand. Do not hold your breath, any of you. I will not hold mine for you.

When something marvelous occurs, it to is here today and forever gone as you adopt living in the present.

If you do not dwell on past accomplishments or future responses,

you will work hard today and be in a realm of or a state of mastery.

In all of this conjuring up all of these memories vs. no memories, I come to realize that this is just an old tried and true concept. Living in the moment, living in the absolute present. Not dwelling on past failures and or accomplishments gives you the freedom to start your living in the present. You positively would not dream and plan for the future, but you would enjoy the moment you are living. You would be smiling because you will not be worrying about the future and or thinking about the past. You are living where your life is happening.

All of your past and your future are like illusions; they are not real and do not exist or live in an unsatisfactory life. You remain further and further into the present, which is merciful and kind.

As we age, the little by little of cognitive decline is a good and merciful status.

Now that is all said and done about living in the present and how good it is for you and me, I need my memories. All of them circle around constantly in a conscious or unconscious way and I need them to build my days. Yes, once in awhile for a bit of each day, I can consciously live in the moment and that to me becomes stagnant and I have to pull myself to the tasks at hand. I know you are going to think I am wishy-washy. Well, why not? What do you think? I probably deserve some slings and arrows. Hopefully you are not a good shot! Thanking you in advance.

Be Aware


My eyes have been opened and I am in awe of the process. The first eye opening process came from being very nearsighted.

I saw everything in magnifying glass dimensions. Everything was up close and personal. I was caught looking at another student’s paper during a test in the beginning of 4th grade. The teacher went ballistic on me. After her horrid diatribe, I had the wherewithal to tell her I could not see the board and I did not copy answers. I told her that I had my own answers, but I could not see the board, so I did have to copy the questions. This ended up after much hullabaloo with me seeing an optometrist and getting fitted for my first pair of GLASSES.  I thrived for the next segment of my life, but the nearsighted view of the world, put me into a self-centered arena. Being self-centered is where most people reside. You know what you see, you add what you hear, and you do what you do. For me, the self-centered existence has lingered for the longest time and been the most profound.

The next segment for me was the cocoon, the chrysalis, and the metamorphosis, which is “a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means.” This change was paramount to me. Becoming a nice, fairly well rounded, accomplished person, who has never stopped being nearsighted, is cherished.

Regarding the nearsightedness in human beings, I want you to know that what I love about myself is that I have been nearsighted all of my life and I love that view. Now that cataracts are just beginning to grow, some one of these days I will have to have cataract surgery. Then, you as well as I have to make a decision. Do you put in a nearsighted lens or a 20/20 lens, or wait until you are nearly blind with indecision. I want to be nearsighted. I can see the world in old dimensions. I can pick up the teeniest little bit of information and I can see the world, as a few others have been able to see it. How many of you can say you have seen the world under a microscope? You have no idea what you can see being nearsighted. It is like going around in your life here and there using a magnifying glass. That will/would be hard to give up wouldn’t you say?

Putting in a 20/20 vision lenses in my eyes to be used day and night, day in and day out, would cast my view in completely different vistas. I would not be able to go into my heretofore known world without help. So, I would be beholden to the nearness or handiness of a magnifying tool that my eyes have always done for me.

My friend C. says to get the 20/20 vision lens because when you are a really, really old lady, in a retirement or care facility, they will always be losing your glasses, so 20/20 will be helpful. Not having to look for your glasses everyday more than once or twice would be fantastic.

Heretofore, I have always been a nearsighted lifetime adventurer, a self centered one, and a morphed one will be a future decision, so I am going to, and hope you do, too, make the best of things as they are right NOW!



Too Old To Cut The Mustard: Really?


Medicare’s formulary is so restrictive. I even had to look up the word formulary to be certain I heard the pharmacist correctly. It is, an official list giving details of medicines that may not be prescribed to me if I am a person over the age of sixty-five, no matter the need. The age is the calculated risk. I may fall. That is all the doctors can say to defend themselves. This means to me that there is a list that is prescribed for me personally, without even seeing me, without studying my health needs, and the only consideration is that I am over 65. Also, you should know that I am grouped into a category with other men and women 65 and older that does not take into consideration my medical history, and my mental ability to use drugs according to the directions, and my ability to medicate myself.

All of the drugs that I have used most of my adult life to keep me upright have been taken away because perhaps I will fall. Damn right, if I cannot sustain myself, and you take away my sustaining recipe, I will fall. The only drug you have not banned for me is Levothyroxine, but you have decided to lower the dosage so much that I have to crawl on all fours to get up my stairs. How do I know this is your fault? I know because on my own, I raised the dose to my normal dosage for the past 25 years and 6 weeks later I am my old self in the energy category? Still I am considered a geriatric patient with no mind at all.

If I have repeated muscle spasms in my back, I will end up with a back attack if not careful. It happened and I spent 10 days in the hospital. I swore that would never happen again and it has not, due to my due diligence. I had muscle spasm pills and I made sure, with the assistance of these above stated pills, I never got in the back attack mode. The formulary has taken those pills away. I got them from an angel and have maintained good back heath so far and so good. Skirting the Medicare formulary is going to be life long as I see it.

If I had too much anxiety I would take 1/2 of a 5mg Valium and be on my way. No more. I get migraines less often now that I am older, but still they come. You took away my migraine meds because of its rebound effect and may cause dizziness. I counted on those pills to take away the horror and gloom of repeated headaches. I inherited them from my blessed grandmother D. Tell me why it was okay for the first 3/4ths of my life to get rebounds and dizziness and all of a sudden it is not. It is sickening to hear my doctor say that I cannot have my pills or he will get fined. Fined? What does that mean? Is that something like Big Brother is watching you? Sounds like a sham. Do I really want to give up my sacred pills and my sanctified life so you won’t get fined, Doc?

I don’t even need to think about it. Now that I really need my sleep, you took away the teeniest, tiniest pill on earth, Lorazepam. It is a mild anxiety drug with just enough power to put you to sleep. I have been without it for three scary nights. Did that little pill really take away the nightmares and the unearthing of the past foolishness and fears? I haven’t been this tormented in years. I terrify myself with telling myself things when in the past I have always be peacefully asleep. I feel burglarized and it is an inside job. I should have my continued opportunity at a good nights sleep, so, please, let me sleep. Give me back just one little teeny tiny pill. It seems that Medicare is saying under the table of course, you are “Too old to cut the mustard,” and so we will slowly and methodically cut you out of your heretofore life.

The last pill I had in my arsenal was a pain pill like everyone I know has stashed. Right? I think I can get an anti-inflammatory, but Advil is the same and no need to get my doctor fined over inflammations that mount as you hit the 65-year mark. I do not wish to be an advertisement for Advil and I think it has side effects, but what is an old lady on a restricted formulary to do?

Let me assure you that if I took one of each of the pills I mentioned everyday and perhaps together, that would be irresponsible and I might get dizzy, but I guarantee, that you as a person, should be prescribed on your need, your past judgments, and not a formulary developed by youngsters.

P.S. I just saw a movie that mirrored life, but set in the late 1800’s. Many of the characters were in their early 60’s. The actors got it right. They were hunched over, limping, coughing, had facial rashes, and died horrible painful deaths. I realized that we are living in a day and age of modern medicine, but when our society has a 65th birthday, they can’t enjoy its benefits because of something called Medicare and some words like restricted formularies.

Dear God, be kind.

Someone throw me some pills under the formulary fence and those that have, share!



The Fortune Cookie Saga


I need your help to understand my Fortune Cookie dilemma. Yes, I am writing about the Fortune cookies that are served as a dessert in most Chinese restaurants at the end of a succulent, you hope, meal. The Fortune cookie carries inside a piece of paper with words of wisdom, a prophecy, sometimes numbers people use as lottery winning numbers. There is always a rising delight as the meal heads towards the end and the anticipation of your fortune is to be read around the table. Each person reads his or her fortune; it is agreed upon and talked about giving each dinning participant a few moments in the spotlight.

My particular issue is that about twenty years ago I opened the Fortune cookie with great expectations. I immediately noticed the word doomed and hated to read on, so I tore it up, dropped it into my unfinished plate and have not opened another fortune cookie since, except for yesterday after lunch at a spectacular Chinese restaurant. I decided my actions were childish. I should woman up and open the glistening Fortune cookie. I struggled with the tightly wound wrapping. Cookie in hand, I broke it apart. Lo and behold, it was empty. Empty after all of these years.

One of the reasons I have not opened the Fortune cookies in so many years is because there is an individual who always grabs the cookies and says” This one is pointing to you and this one is pointing to so and so and this one is mine.” and so on until all of the cookies are passed out. I have voiced my opinion that each person should be allowed to pick his or her own. I still feel this would change the specifics. The negative dynamic has to stop!

My questions to you are: Why do you suppose after all of these years I would open an empty Fortune cookie? Is a Fortune cookie made for random use not at all credible? What is the real message here?

Here is my own Fortune cookie saying: “Do not aim for perfection. Do your best, and let it be.’

What is your Fortune Cookie saying?

Here are my winning lottery numbers: 30 1 22 38 40 14

They will win, I just don’t know when.

What are your winning lottery numbers?

Please share.

The Power of my Pilgrimage to Uman


It doesn’t matter how I got to Kiev and it doesn’t matter what I did there. What does matter is that I was on my way to Uman. Uman? Why would anyone travel 3 1/2 hours from Kiev through the agricultural countryside of the Ukraine, hour after hour in 99 degrees with 99% humidity in a car that sputtered, spouted and stalled every 40 to 45 minutes? I didn’t know why I was on this road, but I was. I had no real idea what to expect, except for the fact that I was on my way to Uman.

One night about a year ago I happened upon a website that told of a gravesite in Uman, Ukraine of Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav (April 4, 1772 – October 16, 1810), the great-grandson of the founder of Hasidism. I learned of the wisdom and the teaching of this Rebbe and how his teachings have carried on for two hundred years after his death.   Rebbe Nachman of Breslov promises that whoever comes to his gravesite and recites the Ten Psalms of the Tikkun K”lali and gives as little as one cent to charity, will be cleansed and protected.

I became convinced that I had a calling to go to this Rebbe’s grave to ask forgiveness for the remembrances of the prejudices towards me so many times in my life for being Jewish and be absolved from my unforgiving attitude towards temple life stemming from the fact that the Rabbi would not let me participate in the confirmation of all of the girls in my class. We had communal confirmations in those days at that temple, not the modern day Bat Mitzvahs. I was called to the Rabbi’s office, fearing the worst and knowing this was something out of the normal; I crept inside his office with great trepidations. I was well behaved and was a good tutor for the rest of the girls when they needed a push along the path to our confirmation. Bar Mitzvah was for the boys and we, all of the girls, twelve of us were dedicatedly happy to be the first confirmation class in our temple. All of us were just turning thirteen.

We studied in an upstairs room of the temple and became best friends. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, we would bounce up the stairs, anxious to hear from all of our friends. We were in a time of our lives of pure trust, pure love and innocence. We had little social acceptance in our outside lives, but inside those hallowed walls we were one with ourselves.

Our temple was not an orthodox temple but held to many of their rigid rules. Women and children were delegated to the upstairs, and they did not even think of wandering the ground level. We did have to enter the temple on the lower floor and descend to use the restrooms, we helped in the kitchen, but we never enjoyed the full breadth of the lower levels.

I dawdled getting to the Rabbi’s office. He was busy with someone else, so I waited. I began to feel very nervous and knew something was going to happen. I picked at my nails and scratched at my elbows; the tic in my face went on a rampage. He finally turned his attention to me and paused for what seemed like hours. I could tell he was composing his thoughts, organizing what and how he was going to say what he said. His brows closed together, he started a low groan, and I began to sweat. My mouth went dry, my glasses fogged and my heart began to beat rapidly in anticipation. The Rabbi looked at me with such distance, such conviction. He said in his very thick accent, “Well, Sheila, you will not be confirmed with the rest of the girls.”

“ What? Why not; what happened?”

“ It is my decision that the cut-off date for confirmation girls is August 31st, and your birthday is September 19th. That means you are not eligible.”

“ But Rabbi, I can speak and write Hebrew better than all of them. I help them. You can’t leave me out of the group.”

“ I can, I just did and you will have to come back for another year. You will be confirmed next year.”

It felt like bomb exploded inside of me. All of the venom I had felt brewing, boiling, fermenting, in me spewed out in a blast. I yelled my childish frustration, “I hate you. I hate this temple.”

I ran from that temple and ran all the way home with tears running and heart breaking. On the way home, I was talking with God, asking questions I wanted answered, answering them myself, screaming out obscenities, not really meaning any of it, but feeling quite powerful by the time I reached home. My parents were pillars in the temple, and I knew I had some pretty big explaining to do. I knew the Rabbi would spill all that I had said and give my parents an earful of their obscene daughter’s mouth and her unladylike manners. I didn’t care by then, because I was never going back into that temple, but I also knew that I would be the best Jewish person I could be on my own without a temple. I knew that I was not giving up being Jewish or Judaism, just the ways of this temple and the decision of this Rabbi.

I began to think in earnest about my journey to Rabbi Nachman’s grave and wondered would I ask the Rebbe, if my parents knew when they moved to that little town that I would be the only Jewish girl anyone had ever seen? Did they know when they put me into school that I would be target practice for future anti-Semites? They had many clubs when I got to high school. They had band, orchestra leadership, the chess club, the radio club, varsity baseball, varsity swimming, gymnastics, tennis, cross country, varsity football, the letterman, future engineers of America, future teachers of America, future medics, future hostesses of America, but the club with the most members was the future anti-Semites of America. No one from this club had their pictures taken for preservation in the annual book of memories and no one from this club even knew they were members. Did I have any good memories as I grew up Jewish, oh yes, but I more strongly remember the ones that hurt.

Last year I visited Auschwitz-Berkinau, this year, after going to Babi Yar in Kiev and standing on the rim of a ravine where tens of thousand of Jews had been shot and allowed to fall into a common grave, I began to feel foolish for my angst over the prejudices I felt growing up in my small California town. Our temple consisted of families from eight neighboring cities. I loved my temple because it was the only place in the outside world where I felt accepted, loved, respected and understood. The Rabbi’s decision not to allow me to be confirmed with my friends temporarily tangled my Jewish mind. I was the only Jewish girl in my elementary school; my brother was to enter three years later along with the Rosen boys. I feel guilty that I needed absolution from a Rebbe that has been dead for over 200 years for harboring the resentment towards the prejudiced treatment and inability to cleanse it from my being. I reached a decision that, I could give myself absolution and I did, but the experience planning for and traveling to Uman to visit Rebbe Nachman was a turning point and a stronghold for my Judaism.

I signed up with Youth Hostelling International for the tour to Uman. I explained that I am a senior citizen, not a youth and they said they were available to all travelers. Remember them when you need help traveling. They handled some the difficulties traveling to Uman with ease, grace and with great expertise. I was picked up at 7:30 a.m. The car would not start. After repeated tries, the engine turned over and we pulled out of an alleyway in downtown Kiev heading for the highway leading to Uman. Luckily the driver spoke English, but unluckily he did not know anything much about Uman except that we were to meet a guide in front of the gates to Sofia’s Park. After a lovely, long ride through agricultural lands we turned into a parking lot, which faced the gates leading to a fairyland park with cascades of lakes, sky-blue ponds, fountains, grottoes, antique sculptures, waterfalls and six miles of intense walking ahead of me. The guide approached by saying, “Welcome to the park voted the most beautiful in the universe.” I was anxious to get to Rabbi Nachman’s gravesite and asked why we were here in Sophia’s Park. The guide stated that this was included in the tour I had ordered. I learned something in the Ukraine and that is when you ask for something and when you get it, it is yours. You go with the program designed for you and usually there are no deviations. The walk in the park lasted six hours. The heat was oppressive and there was not another tourist in sight. When the tour ended I realized that the guide was right, Sophia Park is the most beautiful park in the universe, and although I was spent physically, and was astounded by the beauty, I was especially pleased to learn that Rabbi Nachman used to walk in this park when he lived in Uman.

After a brief rest, we began our short journey to the gravesite. When our car arrived, immediately we heard Breslov songs blasting from speakers giving the center of this little town a festival feeling. The car was parked and within a short walking distance, I spot gates and armed guards. Is this Rebbe Nachman’s grave? Why such security? I feel safe. I didn’t know then about this village being the site of awful massacres of tens of thousands of Jews. In the late 1800’s, the Cossacks swept through Jewish settlements in the Pale, killing Jews, looting and destroying villages. I need not wonder anymore why there are armed guards. I was not allowed to enter the Synagogue that holds the grave of Rabbi Nacnman. I could not understand the full extent of what was happening, so I just held on to one of the bars of the gate guarding the gravesite and began to sob uncontrollably. I was sobbing for all of my petty dreams of being cleansed of my chains, sobbing because I had been denied my dream. I had traveled so far now to be denied, I am not used to being denied. A little old man began to speak to me in a friendly kind voice in a language I did not understand. He began ushering me softly to the side of the building. Nothing. “Nothing is here. Why are you doing this?” I asked. He just kept nodding and ushering me gently now towards the back of the building where more armed guards stood. He gave me a small coin and patted it into my hand. He opened my hand pointing to the coin several times. It was important to him that I realize he had put the coin in my hand. His warm hand was constantly moving me and guiding me on to his destination. He put something on my head and gained entrance for me to continue up the stairs on my own.

I climb the few stairs and enter a new dimension. Women. Everyone in this partitioned area is a woman. They hurried up to me, dried my tears and began to ask questions. When I answered in English, they called on one of the younger women to translate. They found out that I had traveled from California to be with them. They asked why I was wearing pants. I told them that I did not know and did not understand where I was going when I began this journey. Yes, I had completely forgotten about the orthodox rule of women being separated from the men during worship. They smiled and I was thunder struck by their beauty. Each smile sparkled like an orthodontic specialist had expertly crafted it. Each face was deeply chiseled with an artisan’s skill and the skin covering their chiseled bones was a deep rich color of the earth. They embraced me and held up the bank where I was to drop my charity. The guide and driver had locked my purse and camera in the trunk of the car and I was without money, or was I? I instantly remember the little old man giving me a coin. I fished it out of my pocket and it flickered and flashed as I put it into the box amid nods and sighs. Then, there was the reciting of the Ten Psalms of the Tikkun K”lali. I sat for long moments looking at the women lying across the shelf of the grave. As I know it now, there are two shelves coming together in a triangular manner, the Rebbe is buried beneath the triangular arch. One side services the men and the other side services the women.

Facing the shelf on the woman’s side and starting left to right, one woman had a folded wedding gown on the shelf under her hand and she was wailing and talking with the Rebbe. I could not begin to understand her words but her motions and her wailing led me to believe that something had gone terribly wrong with her wedding. The next woman had pictures of children, which she kept moving in a circular motion clockwise. She said something over each child and then moved the photo on as she spoke again about the picture placed at noon. Another woman was just standing there with her elbows on the shelf and her head in her hands. Several women were sitting towards the front actually eating what I would call chips. It looked like chips and dip to me, but I know it was just food I do not have words to describe. The pews were dotted with women of various ages and the children that were there never uttered a peep. When I stood to replace my book on the shelves, I heard loud speaking of words I did not understand until I heard California, loudly and clearly. All of the women moved aside from the shelf and my body was splayed out onto the Rebbe’s grave. I once again felt guilty for my petty problems with prejudice and was able to summon up the courage to apologize to those who have suffered the terrors and murders of their people, and I felt guilt for bemoaning the fact that I had been made to sit in the back of the classrooms and having been denied the wearing formal gowns of the Rainbow Girls and the robes of the Jobs Daughters. The girls who were members would come to school with photos of themselves in their magnificent gowns taken during ceremonies. I did so want to wear one of those gowns and be a part of those ceremonies even though I did not know what they preordained. Carol’s gown was aqua net and Winnie was so gifted that she made her own. They wore those gowns every week and seeing them hang in their closets, I would just melt with envy. The group leaders told me that I was not able to join Jobs daughters even though I had a proper Masonic relationship because they had no place for Jewish attendants. I do not believe that Rainbow Girls has a creed to ban Jewish members, but they did specify that you had to have faith in a Supreme Being. Although Rainbow is not a religious organization, in my hometown their Supreme Being was not one in the same with mine.

Dear God, I am sorry for not having stood up for myself and for not praying much earlier for all of those atrocities that others have suffered on this very spot. The women of Uman and the visitation at the place of Rabbi Nachman’s burial have given me answers to who I am, an inspiration and guidance to live and learn wisdom, plus gain a spiritual light to continue my search for a meaningful Jewish life and to preserve it for those who are yet to come.


Who is this Johnny Come Lately Flower Child: ME?



First of all, you ask, what is a Johnny Come Lately Flower Child? In the late sixties in the San Francisco area of Haight-Ashbury, the epicenter of the Hippie culture, young people gathered and wore flowers or floral decorations symbolic of a movement gathering belonging to peace and love. Also, flower children were associated with “flower power” politics. Somewhere in the mix you had hippies, love beads, Summer of Love, a counterculture of the 1960’s, and earlier movements can be attributed to beatniks. Closer to what I may have been.  But an answer to a Johnny Come Lately like me is one who is too old in age, but held fast to the philosophies, poetry, writers and music of the times.

The answer stuns me. It makes me think about all of the philosophies floating around in those days. I was married with five children, a perfect husband who lent himself to the task and had a good wholesome job. This was the end of the 60’s to mid 70’s and there were now people who lived for psychedelic hallucinations, drug use, just flower trippers who backed into the trendy images of the youth culture. I was too young to be out of it and too old to be in it.  What is it? What was it? It was and still is a product of thought and sharing ideas of the big purple book “Be Here Now.” I personally never went past the social science stage, but enjoyed some of the relationships that came during the process. Drug use was prevalent, but we knew not to get into that stage, the psychedelic stage. We had responsibilities we cherished.

I remember a fellow I heretofore trusted for many years who asked me why I would not partake of the lines he had crafted.  I told him I didn’t want to and he was not satisfied with that answer. He stuck a finger full of cocaine in my mouth. Just a tiny bit made me realize that this would be something from which I would not escape whole.  I spit and chocked my way to the realization, NEVER AGAIN. So, I enjoyed the hippie heart, the cultural thoughts and ideas, the music and the dress up without any of the trappings besides as you can see, the look and the Johnny come lately heart.

Why write about this Johnny Come Lately mind set? I have learned more than if I were in a closed set of rules.  I learned how to identify the state of Metamorphosis and emerging as a butterfly.  Why did this matter?  What are the advantages?  At the time of Metamorphosis you experience the total feeling of fulfillment. You can build from there on past knowledge and fill in the rest with new visions. It is just the process it just happens.  It is up to you to realize it and take its value for your own use.

There are no accidents, no miracles.  Always looking for accidences, miracles, well, stop. Things just are. The minute you want power, you will not have it, but the minute you do not want power you will have more than you ever wanted.  How does this work Johnny Come Lately?   Once you understand the possibilities, you will get it. You are pretty much your own helper. Getting into reality is and was a good teacher.

Well then what is reality? Good old Wikipedia states:  “Reality is the state of things as they actually exist, rather than as they may appear or might be imagined.[1] In a wider definition, reality includes everything that is and has been, whether or not it is observable or comprehensible. A still more broad definition includes everything that has existed, exists, or will exist.”

But then, what about thought as a reality?  This is a bit more difficult to define. Do you want your thoughts to turn into your reality? I personally do not because that is the side I want to hide, stop, re-create. Some of those thoughts are such delusions, such figments, and such trash much of the time. My truth mixes with other thoughts and realities. Do you notice yours mix, too?

There was a great surge towards compassion at this Johnny Come Lately stage. Make a difference. Help someone or some ideology. This compassion movement still exists in the Hippie Flower child movement today in all of us who were there, in thought and actions, who are there, who want to be there in different costumes, and disguises of the present day.  We can recognize one another by listening and hearing the philosophy of those days gone by come out in so many aspects of our lives and thought. If you were not there and just realizing the truths of this movement, join us, we will teach you as much as we know and as much as we can remember. You will teach us your reality and a sharing and mixing of truths, as we know them will create and welcome a new whole existence. The seed was planted long enough ago to have lost the spirit, but it never died. It is still on a bridge waiting for us to join one again, to remember our union or to begin anew.


My Aunt Myrtle


What? You have never heard me speak of my Aunt Myrtle? How could I have even told you her name, because I did not know she existed until several years ago, when at a family reunion someone put her name on our family tree? Still we were not sure and no one ever spoke of her or gave a hint this person existed or was connected to our family. She is gone and everyone connected to her is gone, too.

Myrtle Levin was born to my grandmother and grandfather and lived just under three years. She was found buried at Salem Memorial Park and Garden with a beautiful aged gravestone stating she died May 10, 1910. Born February 16, 1907, Myrtle was the first child of Dora and Joseph, was a sister of yet to be born, Stanley, Martin, Merriam and Max and Aunt Myrtle to many of us.

After checking all of the vital records and finding that indeed Myrtle is ours, we discussed moving her to the Levin Family plot at 1051 El Camino Real, Coloma, CA 94014. Please visit when you can. With proof in hand and without even time to think, Myrtle was moved to a lovely little spot in the Levin Family plot. We were told that when Mrytle was disinterred, there was still a casket intact with little particles very much in existence. Our family wondered why she had never been moved to join the family, but found that she was buried in a children’s section, which was the way things were done then and in some cemeteries still done. Did the family feel it was better to leave things lie? Did we have the right to move her? Thank goodness it was done the moment both cemeteries heard the story and saw the proof. They took the case in hand and did a most genteel move to right what they deemed a wrong.


It must have been too painful to discuss Myrtle with later generations or were things like a child’s death a sacred secret. Did they think that by not talking about her they would ease or lessen the mourning of this child? Was the shock and disbelief so overwhelming that no words would ever come? Did they think that by being mum they could ease back to a normal life and leave the hurt of this unordered death behind?

Since I do not know and did not know of my Aunt Myrtle until a short time ago, I will have to create her from the part of her family I do know.  She was beautiful and had strength budding in her character. Mrytle was intelligent, kind, enterprising, respectful, active, very energetic, aware, balanced, appreciative, affectionate and authentic.  She had an outgoing personality. She was resourceful. She had dark hair and big brown eyes. She had a twinkle. Her body was shaped like a spirit, soft and delicate and she had an overpowering will. Myrtle rarely cried or whimpered; she got everything she needed by willing it to be. She left this earth, but not our hearts. Now her aged stone is shining in the sun with her family. Her truth is known.

Better Bend Your Butter


Better Bend Your Butter

I have to make a cake for a 70th birthday party tomorrow.  I was the baker of the cake at the 30th, 40th, the 50th, and the 60th, so I have a tradition to uphold.  I have all the ingredients laid out on the counter.  Usually, I just throw in whatever I want, neglecting to measure anything for fear of making a mess.  This time I have to painstakingly measure out each ingredient.  Each has its time to go into the bowl.  Not a minute before or after.  The main ingredient that needs the most special care is the butter.  You absolutely must have the butter at room temperature when you cream it.  I know that this for a fact.  If it is too cold the cake will be flat and will not crumb properly.  If it is too warm it lumps up and does not allow the cake to bake evenly.  The sides cook too rapidly causing the middle to bulge up into a peak.  If you are going to frost the cake you must expertly slice the bulge off making a smooth surface for frosting and layering.  If the butter is too cold it will break into pieces.  If the butter is exactly at room temperature you can bend it beautifully.  If you can bend your butter, you will have a well-crumbed cake.  Well-crumbed cakes are important.  Aren’t they?  I am telling you about bending your butter because my mother used to walk the floors of our home with an Emily Post’s book open to just the right page for everything we were doing.  She had special cookbooks that told you what to do each step of the way.  She had an oven door that gave the correct temperatures, the correct measurements and all of the things you needed to know when you cook.  I don’t know any of those things today and just put handfuls sometimes, or a palm full here, a palm full there, plus some sprinkles of things into a pot or bowl and it all comes out delicious.  Well usually, but there are those very few occasions when I bomb.  Now, my mother would never have allowed herself the leeway to fail.  Perfection was my mother’s motto.  It must have worked because after all she has the perfect daughter.  Oh sure. But seriously, my mother is the only person who could make chocolate chip cookies, brownies, cakes and anything else she made more than once come out exactly the way it had the first time.  I have her recipe file and I can tell you I have never, ever been able to make the dish, cake, cookie or brownie, made previously come out anything even like that former dish or baked goods. Here is to the perfectionist, bravo. Here is to all of  us who may be on the way, bravo to us, too.




What does consolation mean?  It means a source of comfort to someone who is upset or has been disappointed.  In this light, my mothers ring, the ring I now wear to honor her, is what I call her consolation ring because I believe it gave her comfort in her disappointment of not receiving the ring she thought was going to be hers.  In spelling out the details I may reveal too much and I would not want to do that at all.  So the ring she was to receive will remain a mystery, but the one she did received as her comfort, made her feel proud and important.

My mother was a woman of strong character in the respect that she would never hurt anyone, she would always smooth over the truth to make all things right. She loved openly, honestly, fiercely and was a true friend to everyone. When my father recognized my mother’s disappointment in the alternate ring giving, he wanted to consol her, but she wanted to console him even more.   She told him things that relieved his besieged mind and let him know that she had already won the prize. The prize in her mind was my father and all that he represented in her life. She told him that she was gloriously happy being his wife, having his children, living their lives together and there was not a ring in the world that could change her love for him and her happiness being with him. My mother never made trouble for anyone and she stayed constant and quiet about the events revolving around the ring. She said no more about it. She was convinced it was all over.

My father on the other hand, decided that my mother, since she was not offered the ring I have discussed, should have the ring of her choice. He made an appointment at Donovan & Seamans Jewelers in Beverly Hills, the finest jewelry store on the west coast at that time. At the initial ring meeting, my father had in attendance, the store’s top designer ready to work with my mother to design something especially for her and something that would express her ideas of what her ring would encompass. At the meetings hence, the designer and my mother worked together to produce the consolation ring, which now has become a symbol of my mother and father’s love and respect for each other.

Each diamond in the ring represented an idea my mother had and wanted the ring to convey.  I know my mother wanted something to represent eternity, something never-ending, and the ongoing relationship of a couple’s love and union. She wanted her ring to be a reminder of their commitment. She asked that there be an element of magical powers worked into the design, and she believed that it should be round with no beginning and no end showing wholeness and a completeness to her life. She wanted the ring to embody strength, health, and willingness in all things presented, plus she wanted the ring to show the esteem in which it was designed and given to the wearer. She insisted that her ring carry the power of protection and peace. She wanted the designing and the wearing of her consolation ring to symbolize love, unity and the bonding together of people on their journeys through life with an abundance of tranquility and harmony.

My mother’s consolation ring continues to divulge lessons and give inspirations that have caught my attention time and time again.  The lessons have changed my viewpoint on the life affirming secrets revealed as I gaze into the consolation ring.

This ring is all and more than my mother, my father and the designer hoped. When I am gone, I bequeath all that this ring is and can be to the new receiver with my love and the blessings of your predecessors.


After fifty-one years of married collecting, we have begun to give away some of the long saved acquisitions we have amassed. It is easy seeing bags of interview suits, of long ago fashions, of clothes with sizes belonging to another time and place bagged and headed for the charity shop, but to see the little antique treasures all boxed ready to go isn’t so bad if you think your kids will take them. Most items get passed over and no one wants them. I digress a bit, but found some handkerchiefs from generations and generations ago. So, I ironed them up and put them in envelopes and sent them to my descendants. Hope they enjoy the gift of antiquity…each got 5 or 6 absolutely gorgeous old time handkerchiefs, more beautiful and stitched beyond anything of today.

Are we moving, downsizing to go to a one-story house, no, just cleaning up before the real clean up, the real downsize, the real end.

Today was a lucky day. Our son came over and actually said yes to the boxed, never opened, never used punch bowl set. Oh happy day. He wanted to open the box and enjoy the beautiful set in our presence. When he opened the box and began to unpack it, nearly instantaneously, he realized something did not look right. He noticed a small hole drilled in the bottom of the bowl and upon further inspection he noticed a small, precisely drilled hole in each cup and on the ladle as well. The perpetrator left no surface untouched, or should I say hole free. This act of hate took a long time and a great amount of deliberation.

Before I discuss my take on this, let me tell you how we were able to figured out how we became in possession of such awfulness. Skip worked for a liquor distributor a long while ago, and when they would have sales meetings they would have perk parties. You would draw a number and when the number was called the gift was yours. We figured Skip’s number produced the boxed punch bowl set as the prize. The way we figured this out was because his old boss’s name was written on the bottom of the box.  Had we not been able to see a name, we would have been in the dark as to where, how and why we came to own this gift of horror and hate.

Was the boss such a horrible person, and what could he have done to promote this intensely and passionately hostile act?  Whoever perpetrated this had such deep emotional dislikes directed into each precisely drilled hole. Not one hole, two or three, but one into each piece to be used in the set. Thank goodness we were able to piece together the name and to whom this act was against or it would have plagued us forever. Free from the blame or the designation, we took the damaged punch bowl set to recycling so it can become some benefit in its new form. Hopefully in the melting down process and during the rebirth of this set, the new item will be infused with liberty, independence, affection, autonomy, self-determination, responsibility, trustworthiness accountability, most definitely love, and the right to live free from doubt and fear.  From the depth of hate, and hostility there is hope in renewal.

Previous Older Entries