Tea for Ten (and tasty shoe leather too)

Kathy, Julie, me, reflective pond

“Anyone celebrating a special occasion?” our tour guide, John, asked.

Kathy, Julie, and I~ along with seven others (people we didn’t know) ~huddled together at the entry to the Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix.

After a long silence, one of the ladies in our tour group of ten said, “It’s a good day to be alive.”

“That’s a good reason to celebrate,” Kathy said.

“Every day I wake up and I’m alive, I celebrate,” said the lady, who we later learned goes by the name of Georgia and is 80 years old. read more

My Sadness, My Joy: How My Life Is Affected In Ways I Never Imagined

Tears came to her eyes. I had just asked Alejandra* in my limited Spanish, “Dónde está bebé?” The question seemed to crush her spirit like a giant vice squeezing every ounce of joy she had mustered. Pain and sorrow and heartache flowed from her facial expression. She spoke quietly in Spanish to my interpreter. Oh I wish I could remember the interpreter’s name. But his name escapes me right now. I do remember his words stated very bluntly to me and in plain English. “The baby died.”

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7 1/2 Important Things to Remember (a must for a happy life)

If you ever see cashiers waiting for you like this, run because you are in the Twilight Zone.

1.      The shortest line at any major store means the cashier has a problem with the current transaction. This goes for the express line too. The cashier has called the manager for help, but you won’t get out of there until you’re 104. The manager doesn’t hear her employee’s call for assistance. She’s somewhere upstairs wearing ear plugs, munching on donuts, and reading People magazine.

This Arizona home doesn’t have gravel or lawn. They have chosen the paver-stone yard, which is definitely a step up from colorful gravel.

2.      The grass is not always greener on the other side. At least not in Arizona. That’s because everyone has gravel for lawns. For Arizonans, the gravel is pinker on the other side. Or whiter, or redder, or rainbow, jewel-like. But it doesn’t matter what color someone’s gravel might be because like you, the people with prettier gravel on the other side deal with the same problems you deal with –it’s just they deal with it while standing in their lovely yard viewing your less-than colorful, eye-popping gravel. read more

Just a Moment…I Have a Phone Call

“Put that phone down, Mama. Your food is getting cold. What are you? Twelve-years-old?”

I glanced up from my phone and noticed our server holding a coffee pot and flashing a rosy-cheeked smile. Apparently, she had just called me out on my phone usage while dining in her café.

I gave her one of my taken aback “I-can’t-believe-you-just-said-that” looks.

First off, I have never had anyone call me ‘Mama’ other than the person who is supposed to call me Mama and he calls me Mom.

Once our server caught on that she might have offended me, she said, “Oh, I say that all the time to my best friends. I just don’t want your food to get cold.” read more

Who Needs An Academy Award When You Have the Fireplace Mantle?

“Hey Mom, could I have this copy of the Woodinville Weekly?”

My son, (whom I’ll call Slash for the purpose of respecting his requested privacy), lived at home during some of the years I wrote for our community newspaper in Woodinville, Washington.

He had never before asked to keep any of the copies of the newspaper, and I felt pleased he wanted to have a copy to treasure. I wondered what articles in the paper I had written that prompted his desire to save it.

Pondering this further, I decided to go ask which of my articles did he like so much. read more