Friday, October 31, 2008

Prayer for Goodwill

It's truly scary when my friend's Obama sign is ripped from her yard night after night. Why? It's just a sign speaking one household's opinion. Isn't that what the US and freedom of speech allows and respects?

This morning so many of the blogs I read are discussing fear mongering and viciousness with regard to the election. One blog writer told about her friend who is volunteering in the Obama campaign in Littleton, Colorado. Here is part of a letter this volunteer Laurie Adams wrote to friends:

I am writing this to you now because, in the midst of one of the most vicious political weeks I’ve experienced, I hope everyone can still feel a little of what this election should be about, and is about, among the people who are working for and voting for an Obama/Biden ticket. Out here in highly Republican Jefferson County, it is easy for me to feel overwhelmed at this point by the cynicism and negativity, the racism, and lies that are informing a lot of people’s decisions.
People’s yard signs get stolen each night, a woman told me to “go away . . . he is an evil, evil man.” College educated people admit, “but what if he really does have ties to Al Qaida?” I don’t know what it feels like other places, but I’m afraid that things are getting overwhelmingly bitter and mean (and potentially dangerous). And so I am also asking you to take some time each day for the next 6 days to offer a prayer or some silent intention, a chant, a song, or whatever you have, for this country, for this world, and for everyone to stay SANE, to stay calm, to have open hearts and courage. I want to feel the power of caring love is stronger out there than the power of fear and self-interest. Please.

Won't you please join me in a prayer of goodwill for our country and for the supreme good intentions of both candidates?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Birthday Pictures

Who is this man with such a gorgeous family? Could he be my son?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Happy Birthday, My Son

Raleigh, who is 31 today, and his beautiful wife Jenny!


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

WHEW! What a Week

Life got over full last week, so none of the blog posts that I wrote in my head ever got posted. Fortunately my granddaugthers were busy blogging and chronicled reports about some of my activities.

Anna Mae wrote about homeschool for the pre-schoolers at her house on her blog Sunrise. We were working on the letter "C" as in "cupcakes for cousins."

Taylor wrote about the American history project we've been working on at her house. You can see her creativity in the sample she posted on her blog, June Special.

Also, Anna Mae discovered gmail chat last week, and so she and I did a lot of instant messaging in the evening. We are planning our trip to Arizona next week to see my Aunt Jean, and we were discussing our route which she was checking out on Google Earth and our hotels which I was reserving on Expedia.

My work at the college has gotten easier but also more intense. I have 25 students in various stages of learning disabilities assessment, and so I work solid from the minute I get to the college until I leave each Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday. I have a goal to complete all of these assessments before my contract ends in December. It's ambitious but possible, and it sure would help DSPS get back on their feet if I could accomplish this.

Cindy is equally busy, and I tried to help her a little last week. She is doing a huge job at a bunch of pharmacies, setting up gift card displays, so on Wednesday after work at the college, I went to Angels Camp to help with one of those. I had helped the week before, so she didn't have to train me, making the work pretty efficient. I also helped her work on a gift for her nephew's 18th birthday. She puts together photo albums for her nieces and nephews for this landmark birthday. It's a big project but well worth it watching the kids get their albums and enjoy looking at their life thus far in pictures. We celebrated nephew Rex this weekend with a trip to the casino Saturday night followed by a birthday gathering with cake on Sunday. (Cindy was a winner at the Casino which made us both happy.)

Wednesday was also my writing group day. We had a great meeting as always. Some of us are preparing to do NaNoWriMo in November. This will be my second year, and I'm still not sure which of two "books" I want to work on. Guess I'll just see what comes out of my fingers on Saturday at our kick-off Write In.

Thursdays I leave the college early to go get Huck and Nell at Waldorf. I got there a half hour early last week, so I could visit with my friend Trish who has 8th grade twins at the school. We rarely get to visit but realized this was one way to fit in a quick chat. We sat under a tree and talked as fast as we could.

I managed to fit in one yoga class on Friday which was without a doubt a highlight in my week. The Yoga Loft is my stress saver and I adore my teacher, Cherie. My body is so grateful for her guidance.

Friday was also "Meet the Author" at the College. I got all worried that no one would show up but the turn-out was wonderful--about 33 people. I was nervous at the start and did a lot of stuttering, but it smoothed out as I got warmed up and the crowd asked great questions following the reading. The Democrat had a nice article in the Weekender, and low and behold my picture was in Monday's paper too as Teresa Chebuhar, the editor, came to the event and took photographs for the section called Weekend in Pictures. Nice publicity all around.

And I feel full of hope that Barak Obama will be our next President. I am not watching the news as I dislike all the negative stuff, but I've discovered some heartwarming and encouraging pieces in my blog reading. Two of them gave me a rush of satisfaction along with the desire to jump and dance! YES! Here they are if you want to feel good:

First, Donna Brazile is simply inspiring in I'm not going to the back of the bus!

Second, watch this lovely video answering the question Who is Barak Obama? I watched it 3 times, grinning, grinning, grinning. I see this man as MY President!

This week is as full as last, but I'm going to try to post small bits more frequently. Stay tuned!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Belated Blog Action Day

I have never been politically active. My mom and dad always kept their voting decisions confidential and I generally follow that practice too. I don't display bumper stickers or wear political pins. However, I always vote, having NEVER missed an election since I turned 21(even the tiny ones with only one local issue on the ballot).

When my candidate or issue loses, my practice is to find small ways to work at a grassroots level to facilitate change or support conscientious and ethical behavior. For instance, I recycle as best I can; I try to choose "green" action whenever I can. I never let the water run while I'm doing dishes or brushing my teeth. With regard to controversial issues like abortion, I look for ways to facilitate wise decision making, and I donate to my daughter-in-law's annual walk for local pregnancy agency. Economically, I've turned a big corner and work consistently to live within my means and eliminate previous credit debt. I know I could be doing much more in many ways, but I try to not beat myself up for only making small steps in the direction of living and acting responsibly.

And sometimes I accidentally do something that feels very good. Last week, I got an email message from Code Pink about a single mom, Jocelyn Voltaire, in New York state who lost her eldest son in Iraq and who was also unable to keep up with skyrocketing mortgage payments so she about to lose her home.

This amazing video clip by American News Project describes Jocelyn's plight.

Her story was so compelling that the chance to help seemed like a no brainer. Plus I was inspired by my daughter-in-law Jenny's blog post Coats, Coats, and more Coats.

I donated $25 immediately to help Jocelyn Voltaire.

Apparently, in less than 2 hours with the assistance of the Internet, Code Pink raised enough money to save Jocelyn's home. It felt so exciting to be a tiny piece of a bold statement.
While our government has taken billions of our tax dollars to bail out the wealthy, a bunch of Americans came together to bail out a desperate mother.

Now, I'm looking for other small ways to help. And so, of course, I was immediately offered a suggestion in the form of Blog Action day which was a day dedicated to talking about poverty on blogs across the world. I actually missed the day, for it happened on Oct 15, but I know it's not too late to address the topic. In fact with the economy flopping all around me, any day is a good day to consider ways to do something.

Check out this list of 88 Ways to Do Something About Poverty Right Now. I'm going to choose a few to do right away! Won't you join me?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Cold . . . Tired

Die hard theater-goers at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival must be willing to deal with weather if they are to watch productions in the outdoor Elizabethan theater. In the summer that might mean baking heat, but in October it is sure to mean cold and possibly wind, rain, or sleet. Rain and cold were the offerings on the night we saw "Comedy of Errors." In this picture, I am sitting bundled next to an unknown fellow who had fortified himself against the elements. The actors on the stage never missed a beat in the rain, which at one point was torrential, and the audience clapped and hollered in deep appreciation of their commitment to the "show must go on!!" The next two nights there was no rain though it was bitterly cold for "Othello" and "Our Town" (I know that's not Shakespeare, but OSF produces plays other than Shakespeare).

Did I mention that I traveled with a group of students who were for the most part in their early 20s? Well they have terrific stamina and stay up very late. On the last night, we came home and deconstructed the production of "Our Town" while eating homemade ginger caked slathered with chocolate pudding, compliments of Brandon, who is a chef at the City Hotel. Sometime during the course of the evening I had a mentioned a game we played when I was kid: SARDINES.

It's the reverse of hide-and-go-seek and it's played in the dark. One person hides and all the rest of the players hunt for this person. When they find him/her, they quietly snuggle up against the person until everyone has located the hider and all are smashed together in whatever space the person has hidden. At 1am when six of us headed for bed, the others started a game of SARDINES. Needless to say there was little sleep for us amidst the hilarity the engulfed our cottage as folks fell down the spiral staircase, tripped over ottomons, and knocked pictures off the wall. Nothing got broken and by 3am there were, mercifully, sleeping bodies every where.

But wait! We had to be out of the cottage by 9:30, packed to go home, and ready for a two-hour backstage tour. After that we had to drive 8 hours to get back to the college. Everyone was giddy with fatigue. On the drive home, we played "I spy" and told jokes on the walkie-talkies that connected our two vans as we sailed down Highway 5. I was so proud to be the one who solved a walkie-talkie mystery story from clues bandied back and forth between the vans!

Fatigue, however, was overwhelming. At one rest stop, Kevin, the driver of one of the vans, stumbled from the driver's seat onto a divider and promptly fell asleep in the middle of the day lilies while the rest of us used the restrooms and bought sustenance from various nearby food places.

Did I have fun. In a word: YES!! (And I've been sleeping for 2 days)

Monday, October 13, 2008


Today, I got "fired" from one of my freelance jobs. Truth be told, I should be fired by all of my employers for negligence, irresponsibility, and tardiness.

The real issue is not having my priorities well defined and consequentially over-extending myself with WAY too many commitments. My friends and family know this well about me, but I never seem to learn.

Last week, I dropped EVERYTHING and headed off to Ashland for five days at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. When I arrived for the early morning departurel last Wednesday, the friend who had extended the invitation hugged me and said, "Patricia, who always says YES!"

WHOA!! That would be me!

So I had this marvelous, cram-packed, sleepless, fired-up adventure in theater-land and came home to an early morning IM session with an editor who gently explained that she had reassigned a project I was working on to another writer.

Hey, I get it! I can't have it ALL. Why would I think differently????

As I told this editor: "Maybe I can work for you when I'm 70 and have more time. NOT!"

This little anecdote falls thematically under the message embedded in "Our Town," the last play we saw while in Ashland. I'll report more about that play and my trip during the week. But right now, I have to get ready to go, go, go . . . it's homeschool today, and after that I promised to cook dinner for Cindy and her mom and dad who are here helping her with a job (because I was unavailable) . . .

What does all this say about priorities??? I'll let you know when I figure it out.

Hope Cindy doesn't fire me in the meantime!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Happy Anniversary Twilightme

One year ago on October 9, 2007, I started this blog with a post called Shakespeare TaDum, describing what I'd learned during a trip to Ashland OR at the Shakespeare Festival.

Amazingly, yesterday I was offered a free trip to Ashland exactly one year after writing that description. I had decided that this year that I couldn't afford the annual trip offered by the college, but I guess the universe has something else in mind, for I happened to be in exactly the right place at the right time yesterday to receive this offer.

I made a few phone calls to rearrange my plans for the next few days and last night I packed to take off for 5 days. I'll be seeing three Shakespeare plays, "Othello," "Midsummer Night's Dream," and "Comedy of Errors" plus two additional contemporary plays: "Our Town" and "View from the Bridge." (There is a sixth play that I'll miss because I have a date for a radio interview about my book on Thursday afternoon.) Also included in the trip is an actor's workshop, conversations with actors, a lecture on design, and a backstage tour. It's a cram- packed 5 days that was simply incredible last year.

To top it off, I've arragned to have coffee with a cyber friend and fellow author who lives in Ashland. I've never met her face-to-face, but I've read two of her books and she's given me great assistance with suggestions for book promotion. Now we meet . . .

I just printed the blog post from last year to read on the bus on the way to Ashland. I remember the post included creative goals that I hoped to accomplish following the trip and in response to all that I had learned. It will be fun to read the post and reflect on last year's trip and how I anticipated stimulating my creative life.

Happy Anniversary Twilightme!

Monday, October 6, 2008


Michael is taking on bigger and bigger jobs now that he's got his contractor's license. I don't think I sent out a big HURRAH when he passed his test a few weeks back, so a belated CONGRATULATIONS, Michael

His new gig: Digging trenches all over the county.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Open House

Andrea and her office mate Katherine held an open house at their downtown Sonora space this weekend.

Climbing the steep stairs to a suite of offices above Hammond Shoe Store, I wondered what this space would look like. Cindy and I followed the sound of children's laughter and adult conversation. We found chairs set up in the hallway along with a table of goodies (chocolate covered strawberries and strangely spiraled slices of raw beets to name a few).

A quick turn at this point in the hall takes visitors into their office where amazing light flows through casement windows that open onto Courthouse Park. The light is yellow-green from the leafy boughs of trees and mingles wonderfully with the decor of the room which centers around a colorfully upholstered chair. A big cushy couch and an interesting array of artwork make the first room quite inviting. Add a small table for kids' play and a book case with baskets of art supplies and toys and you've got a perfect setting for pre-natal visits with Andrea.

Katherine's massage table sits in the center of the second room. Gauzy fabric drapes from the ceiling and once again the light in the room would coax ease and relaxation out of even the most uptight. A small closet houses a cute little sink. Both rooms have pictures of children and family which made the small children sprawling on the floor amidst grown-up chatter a clear statement about how these women combine family and work.

We planned on staying for 15-20 minutes, but the setting was so inviting we lingered for over an hour. I'm sure Andrea & Katherine will having thriving practices in this space, gifting the community with their gentle expertise.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


A few weeks ago my grand-daughter Anna Mae, who is 11, asked me why I called my blog Twilightme. I explained to her that metaphorically, I was in the twilight years of my life and my blog was about the things I'm doing during those years. She's been learning about metaphor in her writing class at Little Red Schoolhouse, so she totally got what I was saying.

Imagine my surprise and delight when she sent me an email last night announcing the launch of her BLOG called Sunrise. Welcome to blogland Anna Mae.

Friday, October 3, 2008

15 Years

Michael and Jennie Lou celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary on October 2, 2008!

What I remember about their wedding day was waking up to their friends sleeping everywhere-- on the deck and all across the house on floors and couches. The day dawned unseasonably warm-- in the mid 90s, not unlike Oct 2 this year.

If I remember correctly, JL had spent the night at the yurt so she could have quiet contemplative time before the wedding while Michael stayed at our place amidst the social bedlam. Their friends had been cooking in our kitchen for two days, making delicious contributions for the pot-luck reception AND a gorgeous layered vegan carrot wedding cake.

At the church, my memory is mostly blurred by tears of happiness. I do remember that Michael's mom and I lit the unity candle and Raymond and I walked JL down the aisle. I remember the lovely dried flowers and apples decorating the pews, and JL and Michael kneeling before Father Ryan during the wedding mass. I remember that Culley drove in that morning from Santa Cruz and Raleigh rang the bell at St. Joseph's to announce the marriage.

At the reception, I remember Allen being the wedding "manager," making sure folks parked well on Linda Du's gravel road and driveway, that the food was arranged on tables on the covered car port, that the toast happened at the right time, and the musicians kept the music going. I remember the canopies all over Linda's lawn and my little sister taking care of my dad who wore plaid pants and was pretty shakey but smiling and joking. I remember that Mackenzie caught the bouquet.

I remember after the wedding, my friend Carol and I spent a very long time sorting through the garbage, dipping our hands into a mess of discarded cake and dripping punch cups to pull out the recyclable materials that had been mixed in with other garbage. We laughed and laughed as we worked, giggling about the marriage symbolism in digging through garbage for the recycling.

After 15 years, Michael and JL undoubtedly are conscious of huge amounts of recycled love amidst the discards of each day of married life. Congratulations dear ones!