Monthly Archives: July 2013

Kelly’s house

Hi folks! Moving on again.

I’m at Kelly’s house in San Jose. Kelly is the daughter of my friend, Marilyn, who lives in Felton. Kelly is going back to Japan where she was an English teacher for two years. She’ll be gone for two weeks.  Kelly is amazing. She is an accomplished musician, teacher, juggler – and even traveled with a circus for awhile. She was featured in a fashion show I produced one time in the Salinas Mall.

I have known Kelly since she was around ten years old and now I’m am astounded that she is the round number of 50. That’s how long I’ve known the family.

Kelly has a lovely home and a nice garden in the back yard. My job will be to make certain everything gets watered as described to me.  I’l also take her dog, Casey on walks twice a day. Kelly’s brother, Kenny lives nearby, so it’s not like I’ll be totally on my own here. I can call on him if needed.

So, I’m in San Jose, and afterwards, I’ll be in Santa Cruz for nearly a month. Then the job begins in Monterey.


…everyday people uplift my spirits

I left Ron’s place early this morning and will be overnight in Monterey. Tonight I’ll look at the apartments I may rent.

But, while waiting for the magic hour that I can get into the motel, I stopped to use my computer in a coffee shop. All the electric outlets were busy, but there was a larger table with one woman who just put her bag down.

“Are you here alone?”

“Yes, do you want the table?” She seemed willing to give it up.

“I’d like to share it with you.”

“Go right ahead.”

She wore long unkept hair, a baggy, dirty, white t-shirt, baggy dirty jeans, and a tired, worn, facial expression.  When she sat down I continued on with my computer project and when I was out of power, I closed the top down and began to speak with her.

We exchanged who our favorite artists are and spoke about what a pretty day it was, and other small talk. I could tell she seemed relieved to speak to someone who didn’t judge her.

“Well,” she smiled. “It was nice speaking to you, and I hope you have a good day.”

“I will, and likewise. I enjoyed it, too, and thanks for sharing the table.”

“I’m leaving now because I have to go to my AA meeting.”

“Good for you and good luck.”

Then, with more time on my hands, I went to Juice and Java in Pacific Grove where my writer’s club met and saw only one  free electric outlet, but one half of it was used by a teenager’s cell phone.

“Would you mind if I sat here and used that outlet?”

“No, not at all, I’m going to leave soon, anyway.”

When I came back to the table with my drink, the young man was very polite, and even told me he liked the top I was wearing. (It came from the Island of Vis, off of Croatia).

We spoke some and he even made certain that the computer plug worked in the outlet. He took his power cord out and said the phone was powered up enough.

He then asked me my name and told me his, and we shook hands.  A great teenager and good young man in the making.

What I’m saying is, I continue to believe that most people in the world are good.

Just give them a chance to be good.

Proud jazzy mama

Proud? You betcha. I accompanied my son, Ronnie to the Jazz Jam night at Bocci Cellar in Santa Cruz. It’s sponsored by the Santa Cruz Jazz Society and after the regular band plays, it is open for any musicians to step up and play.

Ronnie is a regular for this, and when it was time to ask for musicians, they asked Ron to step up to the drum set.

Ron introduced me to many well known Santa Cruz musicians, some, like Don McCaslin, who is a Santa Cruz institution greeted me with upmost respect and friendliness.

One musician said to me, when Ron introduced me as his mom, “You’re a lucky person.”  I almost cried.

Ron’s life isn’t always easy, but I have so much respect for how he perseveres to get what he wants. He has one more class to go in order to get his second AA degree, this one in music. The class will challenge him, as it would me, as well. It’s physics.

Santa Cruz musicians are superb. The piano player was the best I have heard. He was all over the keys,  instantly improvising, changing keys and rhythm. He was so good that when he took a break I asked him if I could look at those hands. “Are they real?” I asked.

“You’re so sweet,” he answered. He looks to be in his 60s and has played since he was four years old.

Then there was even a tap dancing women, who took her solo on the floor.

What a night!!!!

Painting ceramics

Ron and I went to a ceramic painting place and I chose a pitcher and he chose a candle holder to paint. We both got our paints and began the creative process. I tried to paint two bachelor button flowers and guess with a little imagination of those who’ll look at it, might see a bachelor button. But if not, who cares? It was the process that made it fun.

We’ll pick up the pieces on Tuesday after they have been glazed. Almost everything looks good after that.

On Tuesday, I’ll visit a lady who lives in a CSUMB apartment and see what they look like. It will be like the one I’ll rent. Then I’ll need to find two roommates. I hope to have good luck finding the perfect fit.




Visiting my son

I’m still in Santa Cruz, staying in my sons apartment, where he has welcomed me and gave up his bedroom. He sleeps on the couch in his living room where all of his musical instruments are located, his many music books, his music CD’s and, well you guessed it; it’s an apartment where music rules.

He also has a small TV that plays old video’s, and last night we watched Dick Tracy. That was fun and felt like I was inside a comic book.  The library sells old videos, which is where we got Dick Tracy and his long yellow coat. I’d like a Dick Tracy watch that I could use for a phone, and would never misplace it.

He borrows  from the library. Yesterday he came back to the apartment with a huge stack of CD’s and books on tape.

Sharing a small space with a son who has been living alone for decades takes patience from both of us. I want to help him learn how to cook healthy meals so he doesn’t run out of food at the end of the month.

So from two cookbooks he chose two recipes. The first one we used was a lentil stew, with spices and herbs used mostly in Indian recipes. The blend was absolutely perfect, and the meal was superb. Ron woke up in the middle of the night and finished it off!


Santa Cruz

I spent time with friend, Kelly in San Jose and saw the nice home and garden that I’ll be attending at the end of this month until Sept. 15th. Kelly is the daughter of my good friend, Marilyn, who’s house and gardens I took care of last month.

The area is a lovely old neighborhood in San Jose, with the old street lights with round bulbs attached to iron posts. Houses are from the 30s. It’s in the Willow Glenn neighborhood and a street with coffee shops, restaurants, unique shopping…all reminiscent  of days gone by. It’s going to be nice being in her home.

Now I’m in Santa Cruz at son, Ronnie’s apartment. I’m going to try and teach him how to eat well on less money. I’ve purchased some cookbooks from Amazon and they should be here today. If anyone has some great recipe’s that would be healthy, inexpensive and for one person, let me know.


New job news

My new job as volunteer coordinator for Monterey Arts Council officially begins on Sept. 9, however on Sept. 4 everyone is called in to sign papers and get finger printed. The main office is on the campus of CSUMB.

The position is a contract between the Arts Council and Americorps, so I will be officially hired by Americorps but directed by the Arts Council. I received a call yesterday from a woman who helps Americorps folks find housing and to get settled. She also answers questions, and I had many of those.

My job will last for ten months, and at that time I can re-up if I want and I can either stay where I am (if they want me) or move to another part of the U.S. So we’ll know how that goes at the end of my contract.

Meanwhile, I have a place to move into on the CSUMB campus and received a call from a young woman who needs a roommate, not in Sept. but right now. I am not able to abide by that until Sept., so I’m hoping she’ll find something until we can begin together. She will be working for the Girls and Boys club while I’m in the arts.

So, until then, life continues to keep me on the move.

Mistaken identify but milkshakes are real


I think this is Aunt Grace’s old house. But I’m not positive. We drove by it one night.

Trying not to overdue myself eating out for every meal, so today, I walked from my motel down to a convenience store where the workers were laughing and friendly with the customers. I purchased an egg salad sandwich made with white bread. I haven’t had white sliced bread for years, but I felt I had arrived inside old America. It’s not what you indulge in once in awhile that hurts you, but your daily habits. So white bread…you’re not so bad, for today.

But speaking of what hurts you if you eat it often, is this:  just now, I walked to Denny’s where I ate dinner last night, and for lunch today, it was a chocolate milk shake. Yum! The motel has wifi that must be paid for, so a few steps away, inside Denny’s….it’s free!

Why does a motel charge for wifi? I don’t understand that. Nearly everywhere I went even in third world countries, wifi is free. But, wifi with a chocolate milk shake teams up nicely.

Being in San Jose reminds me of my great Aunt Grace. She was my grandmother’s sister and I visited her one time at age 18. I traveled with a friend and her grandfather from Pasadena as far as a prison. I think now it may have been Soledad Prison. We were part of my friends’ grandfathers religious program for prisoners. We sat on the podium with him while he preached.

Then, from there, they dropped me off in San Jose, where all I had was an address of Aunt Grace. Back then, you could call the transportation company and ask what trams/buses would take you to your destination. So I found a pay phone  (remember those?) and got the correct route. The next thing I remember is staying with her in a house on South Third. She rented a room out to a man, who took me to a movie one night. I wore a red coat. Three days later Aunt Grace didn’t want me to leave, she wanted me to stay and so did the man. In fact the man wanted to marry me.  He was in his forties.

I left there and by bus went to San Francisco alone. It took my breath away when the bus turned the corner into San Francisco. I had very little money. But when I got out of the bus, I  wanted to see China Town. I asked a policeman how to get there and he pointed up the hill. Having little money has never thwarted me that much, so I looked for a souvenir I could afford. I bought a pencil with a bobbing head. It was about ten cents.

Then my plan would be to fly back to Pasadena, where I was attending school. I had saved up earlier for a one way ticket. My recollection in sketchy here, but I know I traveled by bus and sat next to a nice woman.  I told her that my father was a doctor and my mother a policewoman. She didn’t ask me why I didn’t have any money when I learned that the bus didn’t go all the way to the airport. She said she would be taking a taxi anyway and would be delighted if I joined her.

My telling her about my parents was an experiment I dreamed of doing and that was to make up an identity and give it to a stranger just for fun. I don’t think she bought it. I’ve never tried that again.









Power points

I made a power point presentation to a few of the Gonzales Rotary members who showed up for lunch. It was a small crowd, but nice just the same to see the regulars.

The City of Gonzales is small, but far ahead of even larger cities with their Gonzales Grows Green initiative, and many projects that take the bite off of the footprint, at least in this little town.

I left Half Moon Bay after three days caring for animals. But while in HMB I saw my son Brad, his wife, Debby and my grandson Brandon. They have been in my corner taking care of me whenever I’m there in the territory.

I am now in a motel in San Jose, putting the credit card to good use. That’s what it’s for, right? I will be going to a friends house here in a few days to learn what she wants me to do for her while she’s in Japan and i’m minding her house and dog. Then I’ll go to Santa Cruz and stay with my son Ron for a week or so…and then…more later. This is it for now.

Five animals and me

Abbey, the husky girl poodle is quiet and nice, Teddy, another poodle is a sweetheart, Rory, the four year old lasa poo is a cute, and jealous little, funny girl.

Then there is Jackson, dressed in a black and white outfit. A large and dignified big  cat. He and son, Brad became enamored with each other yesterday when he and Debby visited.

Then there’s Sasha the big calico, who is aloof and independent.  They are all fun to watch in their different personalities. I’ve learned that in spite of her size, Rory is the alfa dog.

However, the cats don’t let her rule over them.

I’ll be here until early tomorrow.