Monthly Archives: February 2014

Can of worms/five grateful mentions

Well, I may have just ruined my credibility on Facebook. I mentioned that my glasses are scratched, and I needed a pair of new ones and I asked where I could find them cheaply. I opened up a can of U.S. health-care worms.

Anyway, I wanted to mention how grateful a person I am to live in abundance. Abundance doesn’t always mean money. I’m learning it means, family, friends, and creative outlet.

At the conference last week, the speaker, a dynamic woman, who reminded me of a young Goldie Hawn, suggested we make a list of five things we’re grateful for every night before going to sleep. I have been doing that for years, but I think it makes more of a personal importance if done on paper with a pen.

So here’s mine for yesterday: I had a lovely hour at a coffee house with an awesome volunteer who is helping me keep track of my high value volunteers.

I had the whole office at First Night to myself and it was quiet. I got a lot done.

I talked to my son Ronnie who is having a great time with learning the trumpet.

I left my cashmere sweater/jacket – the $250 one that I got at a thrift shop a year ago for $25, and the coffee shop found it and called me. I picked it up.

I had dinner at a very cozy restaurant and met the owner who is from Venezuela, and was nice talking with him and hearing about how he came to the U.S. It was through a lottery. He has worked his way from waiting tables, washing dishes, cooking and now he owns a restaurant.

There: those are my five.


Little over three weeks until show time

I have about three and one half weeks to recruit about 50+ volunteers for the Next Generation Jazz Festival, and I have five so far.

But today, I made hundreds of calls and sent emails out to former volunteers, and got some good leads.

The soldiers who volunteer from time to time, are ready to help out, as I found out most of them enjoy the work, but they, too, just like high school students, need volunteer hours.

I talked with one soldier today, and found out he’ll be at Ft. Carson, Colorado close to the time I’ll be in Colorado, but we’ll both be busy doing our individual activities.

I had most of the office by myself today, and the quiet was wonderful. Tomorrow I go to another office and recruit volunteers for other events, but not as many.

I’m going to have breakfast with one of the volunteers before heading to the Carmel office. She is a woman, close to my age who specializes in immigration law. I want to hear all about that.


Policing the police

It’s sad.

Several police, including the police chief in King City were arrested and hauled away, complete with mug shots and handcuffs.

I knew some of them, and I know many more cops in the news beat I had. Now, I was a firm non-loving piggy person before I got to know policemen/policewomen  before the news reporting job.

I was fortunate to get to know them as human beings, not perfect, but with the same temptations as anyone. I also rode around with them and saw first hand how hard they work, and how they are always ‘on’, ready for whatever happens on their night beat.

I also experienced the touching Christmas party all the South County law enforcers, including the prison wardens and workers, that was created for the children and families of need. They raised funds from their own population to gift hundreds of children, and treat the children and their families to Christmas dinner.

I just hope the cops who are in trouble will get a fair trial. And if they are found guilty, I hope other cops learn from their mistakes.



Gremlin’s hide inside my computer

Something strange always happens in technology, at least that’s what seems to happen to me.

I was using the same email for many individuals with the same message, however. I would change each one to personalize it a little bit.  All of a sudden, I couldn’t find it anywhere, and when I thought I found it, it was blue print not black.

How that happened is beyond my tech skill. I must have hit something and made it change or, a gremlin really does reside inside the computer.



Honoring the constitution

I was called to honor the constitution by showing up early yesterday for jury duty. I arrived at the Salinas Railroad Station where you can catch a ride on Amtrak. It would be fun to do that some day, maybe go to Portland or thereabouts.

But I was among several others waiting for the shuttle bus that would take us to the court house, where we met with hundreds of other folks waiting to honor the constitution.

A high fashion, model-looking woman wearing her black hair pulled back in a neat bun, a dress-for-sucess suit and pearls greeted us. She is a judge.

She had a list of potential questions the hundreds of sleepy folks might have asked and she answered all of them.

Then two hours went buy. I read Dickens in my ebook while waiting. Soon I was called to a court room, and another hour went by. Then I was asked to take a seat at the jury bench. The young handsome, male  judge, gave us instructions, told us how honored we were to be there, and how grateful he and the two attorneys were to have us there as potential jurors. The man, for whom the trial would be about, sat there with his attorney wearing a white shirt and dark suit.

The questions seemed pretty easy of all of us, and I told them about being a news reporter and now an AmeriCorps worker and agreed that it would be my pleasure  to be honest and unbiased.

Others were more verbal, some even a bit argumentative. As the day went on, and some were excused, while others in the room were asked up to the jury bench, I eventually got excused. I wasn’t certain why, until I searched online how jurors are chosen. It said that lawyers lie about how they want folks to be unbiased, to know in their heart that the person on trial is innocent until proven guilty, but what they want is just the opposite.

They want to see the body language, and the words reflect how they might favor their side.  It seemed to me, the more someone tried to get out of serving on the jury, it actually worked to insure them a seat instead.

I was relieved to be excused, for three to four days from recruiting volunteers would put me back and make it more difficult than it already is.

Taking care of the world in a worldly world

The CSUMB AmeriCorps group caravanned down to the campus of Cal Poly to take in two days on how to create change; change in many venues.

The opening evening, there was an inspirational speaker who motivated the larger group into thinking big, thinking positive, and taking steps to create the life we want.

Of course, I was the oldest in the crowd, and really had to smile when what she said was directed to those twenty years olds and younger. But it’s always good to reinforce positive thinking. I try,  but often backslide, so it’s always good to hear a positive reinforcement.

On the way back the next day we stopped at the Madonna Inn where everything is pink and opulent. The decor coincides with the book I’m reading. It’s all about flamboyant Liberace and his love of extravagance.

So, the weekend was about how to be good to ourselves, each other, the universe and ends with opulence and extravagance. What a world.



Slurping noodles for practice

The new restaurant in Marina is a cozy place and in a very short time it got very popular. It’s a Viet Nam restaurant and the food is reasonable in price and the food is also very delicious. But the noodles were hard for me to pick up with chopsticks.

I think I managed those okay about 40 years ago, but it’s like starting over again.

The waiter and a waitress, both tried to help me learn how to hold them and I thought I had the expertise until the bowl of noodle soup was brought to my table.

I tried, but couldn’t keep the noodles between the sticks. After awhile I tried the spoon, but same problem. I’d try to get the noodle up to my lips fast enough to slurp them before they slipped off the spoon.

Finally, the waitress gave me a fork. She could see that I wasn’t accomplishing getting dinner where it was supposed to be…in my mouth and not on my blouse, chin, cheeks, neck and down my arms.

I need to learn this as I’ll soon be in a country with only chopsticks.

Seeing colors

It’s getting exciting. I’m talking about what’s going to happen after the Cambodian experience. My friend and I are making plans when I arrive in Denver in mid-August.

She has asked me to stay in Vallecito for as long as I want, so I’m looking forward to be in the mountains in the fall…the most beautiful time of the year in Colorado.

Fall always reminds me about the years we lived in Vallecito, high in the mountains northeast of Durango. We volunteered to host two Welch men who were touring with a Welch choir.

We picked them up in Durango and drove them to our home, and that evening we took them to the Buffalo Gap, a cowboy hang out, where they drank beer and sang. Cowboys came in and dropped their jaws when they heard the sounds coming from our two guests, and some more singers who were hosts of other folks in nearby homes.

We happened to also be hosting a trio of Germans during the same weekend. Well needless to say, they all got drunk, and the next morning, one of the Welsh guys came into the kitchen for coffee.

I took him and his cup of coffee out to the back yard, where the trees around the river and in our yard were showing their red, orange, green, brown, burgundy leafy colors.

“Oh, my gawd, this is so beautiful, I gawt a lump in me throat.” He later told me that what he saw that morning impressed him, like no other natural scene he had ever seen.

I can’t wait to see the colors.



I started the recruitment for the Next Generation Jazz Festival. This event features some young jazz musicians that just blow you away with their talent. They come from all over the country and the world to get some experience and learn from the older professional jazz musicians.

Many great musicians started right here at this festival. My son Ron and his high school jazz band got to participate in this event and in the larger venue, The Monterey Jazz Festival, as well.

I naively asked one of the staff members how one could get on the board of the Monterey Jazz Festival and was told it’s only offered to rich people. Yea, well, I guess that’s why Clint Eastwood is there, as he has been for many years.

It would be a dream to be asked to sit on that board. Can you imagine? I asked if there were scholarships. Ha, that got a big laugh.

Well, anyway, my job for the next month and one half, is to line up folks to help the musicians to get where they’re supposed to be, and to help with the public, telling them where they should go for various musical offerings.

We will have some soldiers from the Defense Language Institute there to volunteer. These soldiers have proven to be hard working people, and a lot of fun, too!



Absolutely official now

I got the ticket to Phnom Phen, where I’ll begin my latest adventure. I’m going to Wat Khmer to learn about Buddhism and to teach English to Monks.

It’s been a long, very long, very detailed paper work ordeal to get this, and good thing I started early. I cannot fathom what it would be like to do this at the last minute.

I’d be a crazy person.

So, I begin the journey in San Francisco with a layover in Seoul, Korea, and then to Phnom Phen where I’ll be for a few days acclimating to the climate and jet lag. And another week in Phnom Phen for orientation into the next step.

I’ll be taken to the place where I’ll live for the rest of the 4 weeks.

When I return, I asked the folks preparing the itinerary if I could return to Denver. No problem, however, I’ll need to change planes in San Francisco. How funny it that?

In Denver, I’ll visit with my niece and get over jet lag. Lori told me I could ‘vegetate there’ for awhile. Then, hopefully, either my friend Marilyn, who you may remember, met me in Berlin last year, will pick me up and take me to Vallecito where I lived for several years.

Then after some time, I’ll return back to California, to figure out what do to in my life after all that. I want to find a cheap place to live so I won’t need to work and so I can put together the yearlong journey and the Cambodian experience into another book. I also have many other stories I want to write.

Somehow, it’s just too much to work all day and then come home and work some more on a computer.

So any suggestions would be appreciated.