Monthly Archives: October 2013

Technology is begging me

At the Greenfield Harvest Festival business office, I did a bit of everything, beginning with fluffing up paper flowers for the stage on Sunday, and also painted some medallions that will be given to the runners before the event begins.

Then I made up some fancy ribbons that will be used for the car show. They were previously used for another event and were left over, so I had to  update them for Sunday’s event.

A woman volunteer who proved to be an expert on the computer, typed all the volunteers into a data base, and then I worked with her to place the volunteers, hopefully where they said they would like to work.

Excel is the program used for the data base, and while I assume I’m the last person to learn how to use it, I did manage to learn a bit,however, I was delighted to have the volunteer do most of the work while I watched. But you know,  a person learns best by just getting into it. I really thought this job would have me out speaking to people and hosting events, but turns out that technology is used everywhere, and there’s no getting out of it.

So, I’m learning..

I’m on a tech learning curve

If I can learn to fly a plane, I can learn this: my mantra for all the new technology that I have avoided but now need to learn for the job.

I thought today was the 15th, so when I discovered it was the 16th and I was a day late to turn in my AmeriCorps hours and notes on how I spent my time, I was scared about what I needed to do. I needed help.

One of the coworkers, and an AmeriCorps leader, chastised me for being late, saying that if I had been earlier, I could have been helped. Now what do I do?

I wanted to be paid, but we have this new complicated system for turning in the hours we work; isn’t that just like the government? Make the paper work long and tedious just to justify our being given a job.

I’m hearing over and over that we are volunteers with stipends, it’s not a job. Well, it sure seems like a job to me, as there is a lot of work to do, and paper work is a big part of it.

Well, some kind soul volunteered to help me get started, and then she left for a meeting, and I had a question before I could continue on. But one other coworker and a wonderfully understanding young lady, said she’d help me. I had to find her first. I finally got it done, so I will be paid. Yea!

I’m working this Saturday and Sunday to help make the Greenfield Harvest Festival a success.


My friend went home and my son and I watched sea life

My friend, and old flying buddy left to go back to Alaska this morning. It has been a fun week, seeing her again after many years. We both left Colorado around the same time, and we both have had adventures since then. Her adventures continue to happen as she lives near ice and snow and works with helicopters.

Yesterday, while she went on her own to Big Sur again, I drove up to Santa Cruz, and spent the afternoon with my son, Ronnie. We had a nice lunch around 2 p.m. when we were the only folks in the restaurant. Then we sat in the car on the cliffs watching pelicans and other birds fly in harmony. Beautiful.

We also saw  spurts of water  in the air from whales a few miles out in the water. Sail boats were moored close enough to watch the show.

Lovely day, and now I miss my friend.


California is awesome

It was a beautiful day…drove down to Big Sur and showed Donel the best of California. We got to Nepenthe in the fog; couldn’t see anything from the top of the restaurant, but that didn’t thwart Donel’s fun.

Coming from Alaska, Donel is used to the fog and even likes it. I found a kindred spirit in her. I like the fog, as well. Then after a spell we continued on down the coast and stopped at Henry Miller Library. That’s an amazing place in itself; there are books to purchase, a place to sit outdoors to watch movies, and a place for a variety of entertainment including music, lectures and poetry reading.

We drove into the grounds of the Big Sur Inn, looking around the old cabins for gnomes hidden close to trees. That is a place I must return and spend a night in one of the cabins.

We ended our day on the beautiful seventeen mile drive. The sun was out and the seals on the rock were noisy and joyfully diving into the water. It looked and sounded like a party.

So if that wasn’t enough of a day, we spent the evening watching Gravity in the Pacific Grove Theatre.

I’m proud of California.


Donel, my young friend and I went to the wharf last night in Monterey. It was busy as usual, but the people were not as busy as the seals. They barked and barked back and forth between a barge and a rock wall on the other side of the wharf.

We walked around until we found the barge of sleeping seals with one wide awake with its head straight up calling for something. I felt sorry for it, until I realize the seals who hang out on the wharf are spoiled with tourists feeding them.

When we walked back a man pointed out a little face below the plank but between the fence and the walkway. It was a baby raccoon watching folks. Where that little guy lives is a mystery, as there was only water under him and people up above.

But everything has a place to nest it seems

While Donel visits, she takes me to work and then explores a bit on her own. She walked all over Carmel and then we met for lunch, and she walked some more and then picked me up in the car and we went to dinner at Cannery Row.

Now about Donel: She was 15 when she first took flying lessons, and I, at 40 years older, took ground school at the same time in Durango, Colorado. We shared the same patient instructor, Arngrim, from the Faroe Islands. He had his hands full with the likes of us. But we didn’t stop. Donel soloed at 16 and I soloed at 56. We made it to the end, while all the men in the ground school didn’t finish.

Donel now lives in Alaska and works for a helicopter company, and neither of us fly anymore. I just can’t afford it, and besides that, I may not pass the medical.

Donel didn’t pass the medical either but before getting grounded she graduated from an aeronautical college.

Today I have to work for awhile and I’m going to send her on to the Monterey Aquarium.




Thinking positively

It was an experiment that taught me how often we think negatively. I decided last night just before I fell asleep, that the next day (today) I would think only positive thoughts and say only positive things, no matter what happens.

My plan included if I had a negative thought, I’d substitute it with an imaginary favorite flower – a Colorado Columbine.

I was surprised at how often a negative thought comes up, and if the flowers were real, I’d have a whole basket full of them. It did help, however, because now I know it is possible to control my thinking. No one can do it for me; I must learn to do it myself.

And the challenge that awaits me during a work day, taught me that my positive attitude actually changes peoples’ attitude toward me….it disarms folks.

So there you have it: a simple challenge



Our carpeted bowling alley now has a friend or two


Son Brad, and daughter-in-law Debby, drove all the way down from Half Moon Bay to help me and my roommate, Regina, get the tall bookcase out of the storage unit.

They did a great job with that and a few other items. (I’m not going to mention the unmentionables, but you may remember that I have a lot of a certain item and more of those make me feel rich and I found a suitcase of some clothing and 9 more of those unmentionables. That makes 49!).

I purchased a black sofa bed because I’ll have a friend visiting from Alaska soon and another one from Colorado in November. They would need a place to sleep. Now we have several paintings, a sofa bed and a black bookshelf, with no books. Regina has boxes of them in Chicago and I couldn’t see the point of bringing in my books from storage just to place on the shelves.

So far, our decor is minimalist. I do have a very large basket that sits on top of the bookcase. It seemed lonely in the storage unit so Brad talked me into bringing it along. It is a large basket that I made from the reeds in our Colorado back yard.

Buddy, the fat cat, who is in heaven used to love to sit in it.



Mingling in a Montandon party

Pat Montandon invited me to a Christmas Party that she threw for about 200 friends (or more) at the Marines Memorial Club back in the 70s.

Her parties had the most interesting people in attendance. Well, of course, I was there! I knew three people as acquaintances, otherwise I was on my own to mix and mingle.  One of the persons I knew was the Santa Cruz Symphony conductor whose name is lost to the recesses of my memory.I don’t recall many of the people there, but I do remember meeting and speaking with Diane Feinstein and observing that she was petit and pretty.

I didn’t have quite the same problem getting to this party as I did to the first party in Pat’s pent house on Russian Hill. In fact I was so early that I spent some time across the street in an art gallery. I had a feeling the salesman could tell I probably wouldn’t be buying a $1,000 painting that day; and that was not expensive compared to others in the gallery.

Limousines began arriving and it was time to walk across the street for the party was about to begin.

The second Christmas party, held at the St. Frances Yacht Club, had important names of people I can better remember. This was the party I crashed. Well, not really, for I got my nerve up and called Pat, asking if I was invited, that I didn’t get the invitation. She said the party had gotten so big that names had to be dropped, but I certainly could attend. She told me the youngster who picked up the phone when I called was her son.

Looking back on what I did clearly isn’t something I’d do today. I’ve grown up socially. But the gracious person she was/is, treated me very kindly, and placed me at a table with the usual interesting folks.

She introduced every single person at every table and there were many tables, believe me. The gentleman I sat next to was so polite and nice and had a deep voice and friendly eyes, was introduced as a former woman physical education teacher now a man. Back in the late 70s that was a bit more unusual than in todays’ social climate. I remember a woman judge sitting to the other side of me.

This party, in 1978, was just days after Supervisor Dan White assassinated Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone. So the luncheon got off to a somber start, but picked up as food and wine was delivered to the tables.

It was during this party that I spoke for a while with Eldridge Cleaver, Bill Graham (the rock promoter) and Dr. Rollo May, among others that I no longer remember. I told Bill Graham that I had a son who played the drums and how did he think I should support his desire to become a professional? “Tell him to quit,” was his advice.

Eldridge Cleaver and I spoke a bit about fashion, after he first assured himself that I was not a news reporter.(Little did he know that he was talking to a future news reporter). Cleaver had just made some news about his belief that to beat his wife was his right, in order to discipline her. We exchanged phone numbers. Later, one of my sons told me that a few days earlier a man by the name of Eldridge called and he forgot to tell me. That was probably my saving grace because when I learned what his fashions were about, I wouldn’t have wanted to get involved.

I found Shirley Radl, author of Mother’s Day is Over, in the crowd. I met at the first Christmas party, and she became someone I kept as a casual friend for a few years after. She was quiet and shy, and because of that, with her understanding of shyness, she went on to author a book about that subject. We shared a taxi to the train station and I don’t remember where I got off the train, but I believe I had a car parked somewhere by a bus station near the train station. I do remember it wasn’t as difficult as the first time.

So, these are the memories of my time mingling with San Francisco folks and they are good memories, for which I have been ever grateful to Pat.

Thinking back now, I think there was another party in between, but where that took place is lost. Too much life in between to remember!















Green Horn arrives on Green Street

Pat Montandon asked me to write about the round table luncheon I was invited to: This is the long version, the short version is on my Facebook page.

Green Horn arrives on Green Street

In the 70s, while living in Hippysville, I launched a business called Self Enhancement.

During those days, it was not hip to be aware of the image you project, but what the heck, I pursued it anyway. And not only that, I needed to provide for my sons.

So, while my mind was in Hippysville, my image was becoming ‘acceptable’ to a different mindset than what I found in Hippysville, (other wise known as Santa Cruz).

I gave talks, taught classes at five different junior colleges, worked with individuals on choosing the best color for that person’s skin tone, produced fashion shows, wrote columns and even had a television talk show in Santa Cruz.

During this time, which, off and on, continued until the late 80s, I had a bit of a following, and it was at the peak of this time, I contacted the well-known and well-connected Pat Montandon. She lived on the Green Street you see on the headline here and I was the Green Horn; ambitious, but didn’t really quite have a grasp on self-promotion.

Pat kindly answered my letter about how our lives were connected through similarities and advised me that in life we must, “take the bull by the horns”, and get what we want out of life.

She also followed the letter up a few weeks later with an invitation to her home on Russian Hill in San Francisco.

The invitation was engraved and came with a tissue paper cover. I was impressed.

Transportation issues during those days made me use all the creativity I could muster to get there.  My car was not working, but buses were, so beginning at dawn, I boarded a Greyhound in Santa Cruz, and from there, it took other means of travel, and I don’t remember how I got to San Francisco. However, I landed on a busy street. Where I was, was another mystery, so I saw two men getting into a pickup and I asked them how to get to Russian Hill.

“Oh, come on, get it, we’ll take you there.” The driver, a grumpy, arrogant man said. The other man said nothing.

I told them I needed to find 999 Green Street where a woman by the name of Pat Montandon lives.

“You know her?” Grumpy asked

“Well, I have an invitation to her place.”

“Well then, let me tell you who I am,” Grumpy said. Then went on to tell me that he was a head of some big hotel in the maintenance division.

I was appropriately impressed (I needed the ride) and the other man was quiet, but I caught a side-glance of him rolling his eyes at the bosses comment.

I arrived and walked into the lobby. I asked a man how to get to Pat’s apartment.



“You go to the elevator and push PH.” He pointed to the elevator. Now what does PH balance have to do with finding Pat’s apartment I asked myself?

“I don’t know how to do that,” the Green Horn said.

“Yes you do. Just go into the elevator, find PH and push it.”

“Okay,” Green Horn answered meekly, realizing that meant pent house. I was late. I was nervous. You think funny when you’re nervous.

A woman greeted me and ushered me into the room.

I saw five women seated at a round table.  The only women I remember were Marcia Brandwynne (a television personality), a very tall and beautiful woman named China and Pat. There were two others.

Pat was known (and still is) for her themed round table luncheons, which were, as she once said, (not her exact words) opportunities for herself and others to learn how other people make their way through life.

Pat asked us to name the one person in our lives who influenced us the most. Right away, I thought of my mother, just before she said, “You don’t have to feel obligated to name your mother.”

But when it was my turn, I told how my mother always taught me to face my fears. “When you walk on a dark street, instead of being afraid, tell yourself with every step, “God is with me. God is with me. God is with me.”

After the lunch and discussion, we were treated to the stunning view of the city from the pent house windows. I felt small and large at the same time.

Most gracious hostess, Pat Montandon, gave me a day to remember.

How I got back to Santa Cruz from San Francisco is lost in memory; for those days were turbulent and most challenging. It wasn’t easy.

But I remembered what to say with each step, thanks to my mother.

Later, Pat invited me to two big Christmas parties. I’ll tell you about those tomorrow.





Learning to ask for help

I woke up at 3:30 a.m. thinking about what lies ahead of me when I go back to work on Monday. The AmeriCorps training helped bolster my confidence, a bit, but still it seems overwhelming at this point.

My job is to find lots and lots of volunteers for the Greenfield Harvest Festival and put them in various positions during the day long event. Here’s what all happens on the annual event for around 5,000 people:

Free pony rides, free petting zoo, a 5/k and 1/k run, parade, various bands performing throughout the day, arts and craft booths for children, a pumpkin patch for carving pumpkins, photo booth for free portraits, face painting booth, food and other vendors, and a registration booth, and that’s all I can think of right now.

And while I’m getting volunteers for this, there are other events going on in other cities, and they all need volunteers, as well. Coming up the day before the Festival, is the Champions Breakfast. This is a breakfast fund raiser for the folks who have been named Art Champions. The Art Champions will be honored in January, and volunteers are needed for that, too.

Yes, I feel overwhelmed, but I’m confident that I will get it done.

There are many new learning opportunities for me, such as the Excel computer system to track volunteers.  I never, in my wildest dreams ever thought I’d need to know this, but lo and behold, it faces me.

It’s amazing to be placed in a situation that challenges what has always been my biggest avoidance; and that is asking for help. But here I am, placed in a position that requires asking for help, because that is what lining up volunteers amounts to.