Category Archives: Random!

Deeper than the Deep Blue Sea

It’s been six months since I last posted: six months! Admittedly, I’ve felt some guilt about that. However, moving back into an actual life, as in, I am once again a “contributing member of society,” takes up a whole lot of time and energy. In any case, I’ll start with the big exciting news: as of March 31, my third book, Deeper than the Deep Blue Sea, is complete, and available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle!!! This crazy book (which I honestly love!) seems to have taken forever to finish, but, as with all labor (if the mothers I talk to are to believed) the end result makes it all worth while. Continue reading

Confession of a Failed Beekeeper

Okay I admit it. I hate beekeeping.

Don’t get me wrong, I love bees. I love to sit by their hives and breathe that warm honey-scent that permeates the air. I like it when they land on me; I consider myself bee-blessed. I love their cheerful buzzing, and their endearing clutziness. I don’t mind the work involved in separating the wax from the honey, straining the honey, or cooking down the wax Continue reading

Withholding Judgement versus Enjoying the Moment

Sarah crazy grin2Last night I went to an improve party. Improv is improvisation. In this setting, it’s games that require people to improvise their actions, reactions and behaviors in specific, ridiculous settings (the most famous popular improv example is the TV show, Whose Line Is It Anyway?) When done well it is irreverent, exceedingly silly, often somewhat obscene. Along with over half of the twenty some guests, I’d never participated in an improv event before, though I’ve been wanting to. Sitting near me was a man who sat leaning back in his chair, never laughing, seldom smiling. Of the entire group, he was the only person who looked like he wasn’t Continue reading

278: Restless like a Dog

The worst thing about injuring my leg is that I’m going stir crazy. No car, and the only other ways into town are taxi or walking down the insane hill, and once I got there I’d have to, you know, walk. Which I could do, but I know that what I really need to be doing is resting this leg for another day or two. I’ve finished three books since I fell on Friday. I’ve watched movies and tv shows. I’ve stalked facebook like an adolescent in lust. David has a life, and he’s continued living it (at my encouragement, grant you), so off he goes, leaving me doing my best not to prowl around the apartment like a hungry tiger in a small cage. Today he went off, leaving Baby behind with me. Continue reading

Day 35: Homemade Kombucha and more. . . .

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I know, I know, I’ve been writing about kombucha for a month now. I’ve tried a bunch of different brands and flavors. And I’ve had the scoby – the starter – for making my own for a couple of weeks. I finally got my shiny new 5 liter glass jar to make it in. So today is the day! I was afraid to make the tea right in the jar, because I’d read reviews about these big jars breaking when filled with boiling water. So using a (much!) smaller container, I made batch after batch of tea, pouring them one by one into the big jar. I made up a mixture of organic black tea and organic (what else?) ginger tea. Then I added the sugar, let it all come to room temperature, and, finally, introduced the scoby: Tea? Scoby. Scoby? Tea. That scoby slid into the tea like they were soul mates.
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Scoby, front and back.
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Of course, while the process did take a while, it’s not terribly satisfying because, like many of my One New Things, there’s no immediate gratification possible. My scoby needs a week to ten days – at least – to turn that tea into another scoby and a jar full of kombucha. So to minimize any feelings of letdown, I’ll report back on yesterday’s doings.
I’ve got a cup full of kefir that was drained to reach the consistency of yogurt. This is for a recipe that I intended to make for dinner tonight, but that’s been put off till tomorrow. It feels and tastes like yogurt, but with a little sharper sourness. And I’ve got a jar full of whey, which is mostly liquid with some debris at the bottom. It is surprisingly mellow in both smell and taste, warm and yeasty. I don’t know what I’m going to do with that; today got unexpectedly hectic, and I haven’t had time to do any research. And I’ve got stuff with the consistency of cream cheese. It is really sour, almost limey. Again, its future is uncertain. I think rosemary might mellow it nicely, but with what else? Any ideas? All in all, I’m quite pleased with that whole experiment.
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Have you done something new today?

One New Thing: Days 3 and 4

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Yesterday was a One New Thing bonus day. I got two new things, and neither one of them was the one I’d set out to do! My intention was to go exploring along Pleasanton Ridge and find a new place where Beth and I had never hiked before. But on our way, we stopped at the Mall. She’d gotten a present for Christmas, a lined shirt for things like gardening. A men’s large, it is unuseably huge on her. The giver said he’d gotten it at Macy’s (though he didn’t have the receipt), so off to Macy’s we went.

Ooooookay. This is definitely the first time I’ve tried to return something at a store it didn’t even come from! At least they could steer us in the right direction; it’s a JCPenney’s brand. But guess what: it’s not in the JCPenney’s database either. First time I ever tried to return an item that is so old it isn’t even in the database any more!


Now maybe technically this wasn’t my ONT, since Beth was the one trying to return this gift that apparently came from the back of someone’s closet. But what the heck, I’ll take it anyway. After all, I was there, questioning employees and sharing the humiliation!

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 But for you purists out there, I’ve got another ONT, even though I counted that one. We headed for an old hiking spot, saving a new one for another day. And while we were walking along, minding our own business, suddenly we saw something boinging on the path up ahead. A coyote was right there in front of us, catching himself a snack! I’ve never seen a wild coyote before!

In the interest of full disclosure, I have to tell you that I got the coyote pictures off the internet. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera with me (note to self: ALWAYS take your camera!). But the excitement, the pure thrill, was real enough. He watched us for a while, and we watched him for a longer while. We were all curious. Then he loped off in one direction, and we kept walking in the other. But we kept an eye on him as long as we could. We’ve read that there are aggressive coyotes in this area. This little beauty didn’t seem to be one of them. Now that is a great (and completely legitimate) ONT!


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There’s a great little coffee and juice place in downtown Pleasanton. I’ve heard that, if you take five gallon buckets to them, they’ll fill them up with all their luscious, organic plant-based waste and call you to come fetch them when they’re full. This is the sort of thing that I think is absolutely fantastic: free quality compost, there for the taking! And our garden can sure use it. But the fact is, this is exACTly the kind of thing I would really never do. It’s extremely uncomfortable for me, just walking into a place and asking for something, even if it’s their garbage. In the past, I would have thought about it, and I might have even told myself I was going to do it… someday. But no more! I am a new woman! I am a woman who does One New Thing EVERY DAY! And so today Beth and I loaded up our five gallon buckets and took them down to Juice&Java, and now we’ve got some really yummy compostables. Our garden will thank us, and, in return, we will thank our garden for the yummy produce it grows for us next summer.

I Dare Me – My Way

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This year has been… unexpected. All my big plans crashed with me off a ladder back in May, and while I am up and moving, those plans still lie in the good fertile ground by a fallen tree back in Ohio. But if I am honest, I must admit that derailment of big and glorious plans has been daily business for me for most of my adult life. In spite of my crazy creative self, I seem stuck – and have been – for decades.

Enter the book I Dare Me, by Lu Ann Cahn. At about the same age I am now, she was feeling the same way I am. She had a job she loved, a great marriage and a good relationship with her grown daughter (three things I haven’t got!). But she still felt stuck. She didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning. Life seemed to have no joy for her. Oh, yeah, I can relate! But then her daughter issued her an interesting challenge: do one new thing every day – for a year!

This is a great book, interesting and inspirational. And like No Plot? No Problem, by Chris Baty, it has inspired me to act. (Reading No Plot? No Problem led to my writing and publishing Left Turn at Cloud 9 last year.) My action? I am committed to doing one new thing every day of 2014.


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I may even try a chocolate covered grasshopper (my mom ate them as a kid in China, and she survived!).
My first New Thing, on January first, will be walking across the Golden Gate Bridge. And after that? Who knows? I’ve got all those books gathering dust on the shelves about road trips and great places in the wine country, easy bike trips, explorations in the East Bay, little known walks in San Francisco. I’ve always wanted to try Jambalaya, make Gumbo, maybe I’ll even try Tamales (I know someone with a good recipe. . .). I could fly a kite, join a drum circle, visit a “clothes optional” public bath, dye my hair blue. I might learn a magic trick, play golf, play frisbee golf. Maybe I’ll attempt to go a whole day without interrupting anyone! The possibilities are endless!
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I’ve been working on my list for several weeks now, as I’ve been reading the book. And I’ve been happy to learn about myself that I’m already pretty good at trying new things. Why, just this year I had major surgery for the first time, learned to walk on crutches, figured out the delicate points of getting around in a brace. I started a blog, and took videos with my fancy new phone. So I am an old hand at trying new things. And lots of Lu Ann’s firsts are old business for me, like tree climbing: I never grew out of that one. And hula hooping. But I’ve never taken a yoga class, and after a little more time, maybe my leg will be up to a belly dancing class. 

I’m going to be generous with myself; if I haven’t done it in 10 years or more, I’m calling it a New Thing. And there will be days when it might just be a drive around a new neighborhood. That’s okay, too. The point is to get off my rut and put on a beginner’s mind and shake up my tired old habits. The point is to open my eyes and remember that life is full of adventure and mystery, and I can live it every day. I just have to choose it.

So Much to be Thankful for!

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I overdid it yesterday (I won’t say how, exactly, but the picture might give you some idea), and today my leg is very stiff and sore. Add to that some issues in my very personal life, and today I was feeling a little bit down and lonely. It is a beautiful day, sunny and 60ish outside. A short walk should help me with both things, I decided. Furthermore, I would take my new phone, chosen because it has a fantastic camera, and maybe I’d see something worth taking a picture of.

Well, maybe one or two things. . . .


Have I mentioned how much I love living in California? I mean, honestly, after nine years, I still get surprised by the occasional palm tree.
Wait: did I say “occasional?” I took these pictures one minute away from home.

I wondered how many beautiful things I could capture in one block.
On bad days, I think California doesn’t have season changes. I think the colors are so much better back East.
And then there’s always the fruit. . .
It’s funny how much better I’m feeling. My leg isn’t so stiff… or maybe I just forgot about it. And that other stuff, um, huh? What other stuff? 

One short block. That’s how long my walk was. And in that block, I found so many things to be grateful for. I have a really nice new camera phone. The sun still shines. I am surrounded by beauty. From coast to coast, I have people who love me. 

What else matters?

1st Lesson from a (blissed out) friend

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This is my girl Terrie and her new husband Darren. Their wedding was the excuse for me going back home a million years ago in May. Since my two week vacation lasted almost five months, I had front row seating to their first newlywed months, and I learned a lot – A LOT – about relationships from them.

Terrie and I were sisters-in-law for twenty years, and then we traded that in and have been sisters-in-love for the past twelve, so you could say we’ve known each other for a while now. Believe me when I tell you, she never had that look on her face for the first twenty-five years of our acquaintance. But now? It’s her default expression. 

So I think maybe my girl’s got something to teach me about relationships. And maybe I’m (finally) ready to learn.


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It’s a no-brainer that she loves him. I mean, really? Just look at her. But the thing I saw over and over was how she loves him. That’s what I wanted to learn from her.

Now let me state here that Darren would never be the man for me, so I’m able to investigate their relationship without a shred of jealousy to inhibit my ability to learn. (No offense intended, Darren!) And this brings up the first, and maybe the biggest, lesson, because why wouldn’t Darren ever be the man for me (I mean, besides the fact that he is most definitely THE man for my beloved friend)? After all, he’s good looking, he’s fun and funny, he works hard yet leaves his work at work when he comes home at the end of the day. He’s a fantastic and eager cook, he cleans – often and well – and he’s been known to meet her at the door with a glass of wine, and dinner on the table. Apparently he’s also fantastic in other ways that shall remain unmentioned. So what’s not to love?


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Lesson #1) Sarah could learn to, um, not look for the downside. During what I judgmentally might view as Darren’s less-than-stellar moments, Terrie is completely relaxed, bright-eyed and calm. As far as I can tell, she isn’t judging her man at all. She is, in fact, enjoying him! I look at her, and what I think I’m seeing is completely unconditional love. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it before. It is awe-inspiring. 

Now I have been more the person who, at the tenderest of moments, is thinking about what he (whoever) could do, or change, that I might prefer. I am, by nature and by nurture, an editor, an improver. Women all over the known universe share this trait with me, and are sitting back and itching to twitch their men this way or that, a little or a lot. And as we focus on what we wish were different, we become absolutely unable to love what is. And so, another one bites the dust. 


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As a highly observant person, I notice something interesting. I notice that I tend to do this same thing in all of my relationships, not just with men I’m dating. I look at that other person, and instead of seeing how amazing they are, instead of seeing their endless list of wonderful attributes, I see the buttons straining across the tummy, this one response that wasn’t exactly what I would have preferred, the ten minutes late. And I don’t just notice: I dwell on it. Let me tell you, this is a very effective way to mess up not just romantic relationships, but friendships as well.

I say with great admiration for myself that I’ve come a long way in this area over the last few years. But hanging with Terrie all summer, watching her not only with Darren, and me, but with everyone she encountered, showed me that I’m far from the summit on this mountain. And seeing the great joy and contentment she lives with every day now, I’m inspired to keep right on climbing.


Getting through it

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When I was freshly forty and going through the end of my twenty year marriage, I was diagnosed with depression. It happened like this: I told my barely-still-husband something, he immediately called our counselor and told her, and she advised him to either get me on medication immediately or get me to a hospital. He told me what she said and I, determined not to go to the hospital, called my dependable family doctor, who agreed to see me right away. I told him I was depressed, he asked me a few basic questions and then wrote me a prescription, which I filled, and kept filling, for the next seven years.

Depression was nothing new for me, but being desperate enough to be willing to take medication, was (I now understand that I had been chronically clinically depressed since I was in grade school). However, once on it, I simply could not go back to the way things were before. They still weren’t great, but they were endurable.


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After seven years of antidepressants – never comfortable being dependent on drugs, but preferring it to the black hole – I found a book (or maybe it found me): Energy Medicine by Donna Eden. I began doing her five-minute daily routine, and within two weeks I was off, and have remained off, the drugs. I never get severe depression anymore, at least not like I did for so long. However, I still get the blues, and sometimes I’m in the sh** for days or even weeks at a time. Like, for example, now. 

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I’m finally home from Michigan. I cook in my own kitchen and sleep in my own bed. I’m back with my sister, Beth, at last. And I have My Chauffeur, the man I met last November, who stayed neatly on the back burner until late summer, when he moved himself very definitely right up to my very front burner. (And who also, I might add, has even turned up the heat just a tad.) 

But even with all of this, I am still me, and I still get the blues. I miss my physical therapy team. I miss the friends and the sister I reconnected with. I wander around the house, every step hurting, and I can’t seem to motivate myself to write, or to do the chores that hang over my head, or, you know, anything. This morning I decided that if I’m going to be a real person in this blog, I’d have to write even when I’m in the sh**. So here I am. Writing.


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One of the things I’ve learned to do when struggling is to remember happy times. That’s what all these pictures are about. I also look at other things that make me happy. Here’s a link to one:  http://www.wimp.com/movesmercury/ . I stole this from FaceBook. It’s a guy dancing, and the music is great, and it makes me smile all over my whole face. 

And here’s another one, an improvisation between Bobby McFerrin and Richard Bona. My heart sings with them in this incredible duet:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iimMKWF7SK0&list=RD02aE8b4VyY6ck 


Nothing lasts forever; everything is always changing. Happy times fade, sad times are forgotten, to be replaced by hope. I started this post after an increasingly tough week, struggling with my discouragement. But after looking through all my pictures, seeing how much joy I’ve had, I know I’ve got lots more ahead of me. Maybe even right now, in this minute, all by myself.