Y4 – Day 191 – Suggest

I have suggestions for aspiring writers I need to follow myself.

Like commitment to a schedule every day. Maybe a word, page or time limit. I could squeeze in two hours everyday. I could have a one page or 250 word count. Maybe ten minute prompts to warm me up for the120 minutes of uninterrupted, non-distracted appointment I just made with my creative, disciplined self.

Perhaps a ritual before attempting to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. Burn incense, utter a mantra, pray for ideas, take a 5 minute brisk walk or all of the above are just a few suggestions.

You know suggestions are just a gentle form of commands, right? Listen to self.


Y4 – Day 190 – Avila 2016 Tour

Last year, approximately same time in August, we headed for Avila Beach for the first time. We are on our way today, same hotel that offers hot chocolate croissants at breakfast and fresh from the oven, home made fruit pies with vanilla ice cream in the evening hotel, different room.

Last time we stayed on the first floor. Our suite had a kitchen, a huge outdoor patio, two fireplaces (one in the corner of the outdoor room with seating) and spa tub for two. Let’s see what this year brings. It is for couples only so it’s awesome for honeymooners, romantic getaways and empty nesting with their dog Cindi mini vacationers.

I am looking forward to the cooler weather by the beach. Hopefully, we will go shopping in the town of Morro Bay where I found the organic Japanese charcoal and walnut scrub last year. That stuff leaves your face and body smooth as velvet.

The picture below depicts a partial face of the teeny town from the beach. La Fonda Hotel is two blocks in. A short and scenic walk. This picture was taken at dawn. Do you see the older gentleman sitting at the top of the steps? The pigeons and the one lone seagull are perhaps expecting a nibble or crumb.

That same evening, the boardwalk was covered in food tents for the Saturday market/fair and live bands played while leashed dogs barked.  The pigeons and gulls had plenty to scavenge the next morning while everyone else was asleep with full tummies.DSC00365The following picture is Morro Bay at dusk. I tend to gravitate towards lower light levels and pictures of piers and sailboats. Notice the massive rock close into shore which gives this town its notoriety.

The coast of central and northern California never ceases to amaze in its raw, rugged beauty.


Y4 – Day 189 – Five Steps on How to Learn Anything

I lack discipline, that’s for sure. I am more of a passionate all day writer, painter, gardener, cook in spurts like a sprinter. But one thing is for sure, I know how to study, research and read everything there is about a subject. Learning it – is another thing.

There are five steps on how to learn anything.

  1. Immersion
  2. Guidance
  3. Practice
  4. Experience
  5. Teach it

And then when you learn and know more about what you teach, you can write a story about what you know.


Y4 – Day 188 – Balance Poem

Sometimes you just have to think, write or do something outside the box, far from your normal or comfortable bubble.

Find your hum, your equilibrium between rata – ta – ta-tat and zzzzzzzz.


Motion inside, activity between

The breathing room is created.

Routines held, agendas kept

The space and air is designed.

Noise and commotion,

Quiet and ease,

Yin finds Yang

Fire meets water.

The female raises the male,

Up elevates down,

Earth touches the sky

While east voyages west.

North above the south,

Hot calming the cold,

Left touches the right.

The heart lies in the center,

It’s a fulcrum, the middle ground.

The soul searches for home,

Radiating, entering,

Shining, inhaling

Energy, in and out.

The pulse seeks balance.

Symmetry causes peace.

Moderation brings bliss.

Life is measured in silence

Rising, flowing, continuing,

Till the final, the ultimate, the infinite,

Meditative and still repose.

Y4 – Day 187 – Do It

IMG_1993What dreams do you want to come true? What do you still need to prove to yourself? What do you need to start? What do you need to finish?

Knowing your journey is about joy and sharing, what gift or gifts do you choose to offer the world?

Hint: It is what you can’t get enough of. It’s the section you always end up in at the library or bookstore. It’s what you love to learn more about. It is that thing you do when you lose all sense of time. It’s the talent that makes you feel authentically you. In your heart of hearts, you know it is already there inside you, like an out of body experience. It’s what you loved to do when you were playing or dressing up as a child.

You are unique. You need to find your passion, your voice and your soul centered life mission. We all do or we will wither with it, questioning ourselves at the end of life. We will ponder and ask not what we regret doing but what we forgot or left undone.

How and when shall you begin? We have this minute, now. Now it is gone.

Go do your thing.



Y4 – Day 186 – Our California Pepper Tree

From the vantage point of our soon to be sixty-year-old California pepper tree, almost at the farthest point in our backyard, I sit under its shade and what I see, feel and hear captures my heart.

I feel the breeze whisk by. It makes the long, thin, weeping branches holding pink berry clusters sway and rustle as if they were beaded curtains swinging and swishing at the secret opening of an opium den in the exotic Far East of a James Hilton novel. The grass and weeds lean and bend at my feet and beyond, leading right up to the graphite colored edge of the slated patio.

I listen to the symphonic chattering of birds’ whistles and chirps. Feathers fly. Sibilant sounds pierce the air. Abandoned nests whisper in silence.

I hear the whir of commercial jets overhead. Without looking at the blue expanse, I can distinguish the roaring, steady stream of noise. There are the fueled planes and then there are the ones motored simply by propellers, arriving and departing via our local airport. I hear two or three mowers from neighboring lawns. A car passes by the upper street, north of us. I am at the center of it all as life passes and continues despite my presence under the foil of the California pepper tree.

Against the south fence, bordering our citrus grower, the leaves from non-descript, softwood trees shake, drop and fall. The California pepper flutters its fringed leaves. Here and there, it lets a single pink berry or thin, bladed leaf go. As it is released from the tree, the verdant leaves twirl as they spiral to the earth’s surface on their journey. The berries, on the other hand, even though they are as light as tears, drop straight down onto the dirt.

The Queen palms by the pool reach up to the heavens. They are languishing with fatigue by the lounge chairs. The young fronds circle in a pinwheel pattern around the flexible, giant stalk. . Heavy with sword shaped leaves, their weight creates a bend downward. It’s a fireworks display exploding in green.

The Hawaiian plumeria we planted as a stick is now a seven wide by seven-foot high island tree. Its dense, shiny, sea green foliage hides the fact there is a kitchen window behind it. The clusters of bursting flower petals are painted in magenta and bright, sunshine yellow. Their inner throats are streaked in a pale white when you look up close. From the distance and cover of my California pepper tree, they look like ruby gemstones, imported from Siam, now, Thailand, which are darker and deeper than India’s precious stones.

A hummingbird flits from east to west, searching. It sticks its long pointy beak into orange trumpet shaped blossoms on a shrub we never planted and don’t have the heart to dispose of. It stoically resurrected itself just a few months after our landscaping was complete, sixteen years ago.

Purple hearts cascade over the raised stucco planter on the left of the back of the house. The half circle is under a window and attached to the outside of our den wall. Teeny, lilac blooms announce their arrival by peeking out from deep inside elongated and furry leaves. The purple secretia grow like creeping ivy but they are eggplant colored. The lighter tone of the flowers brightens the aubergine hue like glitter sprinkled on a maroon background. Profuse and seemingly limitless, it’s random and wild.

The twin planter to the right has a myriad of color. The four o’clocks I planted from seed range from hot pink to fuchsia to bright purple to sunny yellow, milk white, poppy red and coral. Hidden under their eighteen inch heights are petunias that peek out in violet and lily-white. A ten-inch glass sphere sits atop its black iron stand in the center of the half moon. The shiny aqua globe turns purple, cobalt blue and Japanese beetle green, according to how the prism of light hits it. It anchors and celebrates the rainbow jubilee of the flora it reigns over.

One side so monochrome, the other side, varied and brilliant. Both have a haphazard, unrestrained and spontaneous texture. Like different parts of you vividly portrayed in two living beds of possibilities and outcomes. Both are bold, strong and refuse to be defined by any rules.

There’s a row of Iceberg roses all along the front side of the guesthouse showing signs of brown wilt on the tips of their petals. This indicates the snow-white flowers need to be snipped away from the clutches of their thorny branches. I love using my super sharp, Cutco pruners. When I was fifteen and staying with a friend on her acre of gardens in East Hampton, I learned to cut off the flowered stem at the start of a five-leafed nodule. This allows fresh growth to take hold and to move in a different direction. I remember we sunbathed nude in private inside her glowing courtyard. That summer away, I was nurtured and looked at life with novel eyes too.

Maybe later I will lop off roses, but, for now, I take this time, to bask and appreciate the natural beauty everywhere, beneath the soft, netting of my California pepper tree.

The view is alive and well. I write with abandon and glory about what’s right here before me, for as Dorothy says, There is no place like home.



Y4 – Day 185 – A Simple Read

Over the summer, I seem to read even less than you would think a bookaphile would during the hot, muggy, no school atmosphere. Maybe, that is precisely why I read less.

Ever since I can remember, June through August means vacation, wake up late time. September through Thanksgiving you give it all you got and then you slide right into holiday mode. Every new year, it takes me till February to get moving and focused once again and that probably lasts till end of April, middle of May.

So, approximately half the year, I feel productive. Or at least that is the way it feels.

This summer, I tackled and read a few fine books. I am about ten pages away from finishing Wild Mind by Natalie Goldberg. It is even better than her famous Writing Down the Bones, her first published book, that projected her into national fame. I can’t wait to curl up tonight and finish it. I will return to all my flagged pages right after and practice all her prompts.

I am two thirds through the inspirational book, 100 Ways to Simplify your Life by Joyce Meyer. I found this gem while browsing the Christian section of B and N. I was looking for a gift for a religious mom/friend. I found a  humorous book written by two Christian women on being overworked raising kids. I knew she would relish commiserating. I never look in this section for myself. The spine or something caught my attention and I originally was going to give it away but as I started perusing through the pages, I fell in love. It is truly a simple book and I need simple. It may not be easy, but I can keep it simple. Lots of handy advice in this fine, simple read.

I started reading another, two, new additional women authors: Melissa Michaels and Heather Sellers. Melissa, the decorator, has a blog named “The Inspired Room” and the book I am currently in the middle of is titled, Love the Home you Have, Simple Ways to Embrace your style, get organized and delight in where you are. The word, simple, seems to be a theme this season for me. It isn’t just a practical book, it is personal and wise, as well. I loved it so much, I bought two more of her books. I tend to get hooked on a writer and then proceed to march through everything they have ever written and their autobiography – never mind nowadays, I can like their FB page and follow them, if I knew how to use my Twitter account.

Heather, on the other hand, is a writer’s friend and teacher. She gracefully pushes you to write and how. Her book Chapter by Chapter came out after Page by Page but the Chapter book arrived at my doorstep first, so of course I dived right in, right away. I am working through her many exercises and flagging almost every page. I will be traversing kind of backwards when I jump into Page by Page but it is all good stuff to fill my insatiable desire and quest for academic nonfiction.

Whenever my computer is slow or I have to wait for something to pop up, I read On Writing Well by William Zinger. This is a classic, a must read on every writer’s blog list of the top ten and quite entertaining. I keep it in my office, not by my bed like most books I’m reading and so far I haven’t even made it past the Introduction. That is okay. I notice time and again, if I pick it up during a slow computer transition, the computer gets jealous and suddenly decides to upload whatever it is, that much quicker. William’s guide to writing nonfiction is clear, warm and dare I say it – SIMPLE!


Y4 – Day 184 – Petty

I am not talking about Tom Petty.

Have you ever noticed how you may get stuck in stubbornness over the silliest things?

When I contemplate: death, the meaning of life, the future of this planet, humans falling into the cliff of inhumanness, differences in culture and social norms, I tend to extinguish the petty thoughts of my ego mind, my own little issues and sink into a pool of self righteous indignation.

What really matters? What is your priority? As I get older, wiser but more set in my ways, perhaps, I narrow down what I want to focus on. At the same time, I widen my awareness on just about everything.

The truth behind the illusionary curtain is just a step away from madness. I join Van Gogh, Poe and Rodin when I see beyond light and travel straight into the darkness of being. In order to live in this world we have created, bury the head.

But, in the garden of muses, I roam and I am. Laughter, good humor and joy replace the dread. I wear the mantle lightly, now. I welcome the gift of gratitude. I save myself for the simple, not the petty. I hold on to nothing and nothing holds me back.


Y4 – Day 183 – Back to Normal?

My husband asked me when I would start blogging again. I guess I have been remiss.

I am so short sighted and anti authoritarian I will even rebel against my own rules, schedule I organized and lengthy commitments I pledged to myself ( that I sincerely meant at the time) for myself.

I have a million excuses. My laptop went to the Apple hospital. I had another daughter visit. I decided to clean house. I entertained leaving the state. I shopped, cooked and baked vegan goodies. I gardened. ETC….

Basically, I was in a writing slump. At exactly the same time I was supposed to sit down and get to it. I now know that about myself. The psychological noise tunnel in my head likes to play with me.

I believe showing up is half the battle.

It is time to shine even if no one else sees the glow coming from my heart, words and soul.