Monthly Archives: February 2014

Walking on the beach

The Marina beach was beautiful today. It’s only a 5 minute drive from my condo. I don’t know why I don’t go there more often. Today, even I, a non surfer, could see it would be a great day to surf. The waves broke high.

When you park your car, you have to walk down a fairly steep hill to get to the beach, but it’s worth it. Hardly anyone was there this morning, and I found a stump to sit on. I also walked for awhile along the shore and felt really good when I came back. There’s something about being in the fresh air, listening to the waves break that clears your head. We get so busy with day-to-day life it’s good sometimes to get outdoors and away from too much thinking.


People pleasers vs. strategy

My roommate and I are both people pleasers and we discussed how hard that is sometimes to be responsible for your work, but not getting positive feedback.

That kind of treatment can almost destroy me until I talk myself out of it. I always do. She says the same thing. We’re wondering how some folks remain calm during hectic times or during events, while others get stressed out.

I get stressed because I want to please and if it’s something I’m not familiar with,  I feel scared that it won’t please those I want to please.

If I could just concentrate on doing a good job, I’d be better off. I tell myself this all the time.

One of my bosses is a stressful person and takes her stress out on others, while the other one is always calm. I asked the calm one how she remained so calm and her reply was that is was just strategy. Interesting.

Happy Valentine’s Day

bright pink flowers

Doing what I love

It was nice that on my son, Larry’s birthday, today, I got to do a few things that I love to do.

The day began when I called him and wished him a happy birthday. I love that big guy!

Then I got the shock of my life when I spoke to my jazz-drumming son, who told me he sold his drum set. This is the guy who is 47 years old and has been drumming since he was 9! He’s taking up the trumpet now. Knowing him, in spite of his illness, he will persevere until he learns it well enough to play in front of people.

Then I spoke to a staff member of the Monterey Jazz Festival, because I will be getting volunteers lined up for the Next Generation Jazz Festival. The Next Generation are kids from over the U.S. who have been chosen to play in this jazz honor band. It is an honor to be asked to play in this. My son did play in it many years ago.

I contacted a staff member of the Jazz Festival, who I know from when I was a reporter covering the festival for many years for the newspapers. He was actually on his first day of work when we met. This was back in 2005. He always remembers that day, as I do, as well. But now my role has changed. Recruiting is the game now.

Then tonight I went to a gallery show at the Peace Center in Seaside that  features four artists; three of them I knew; one from when I covered her  art class at a school for the newspaper. This article of several years ago has been used for the Arts Council’s marketing efforts.

The other artist was an 80 hour volunteer for the Champion of the Arts event. She worked with children and created little booklets of children’s artwork to give out to the attendees at the Champion of the Arts event. One other artist I met  at another time when she exhibited her photography at a different gallery.

One more artist, a very nice man who does paintings of jazz artists,  explained that what he exhibited were actually prints from his artwork that got ruined in a garage storage from dampness. Oh, how these artists do struggle to create art and to find a way to sell them and make some money. But when they all get ruined it must be devastating. He confirmed that he almost cried when he saw his ruined originals.

Well tomorrow is valentines day and I hope everyone finds love. It doesn’t have to be chocolate and flowers for me, however that would sure be nice, but a smile from anyone will make my day.


Attentive audience this morning

Everyone in AmeriCorps in our branch, is charged with what is called, the culture bag. We have a time set aside where we discuss our lives with the rest of the group, and this morning was my turn.

Of course I’m probably 50 or so more years older than they are, as I often find myself. I don’t have an answer why I’m always involved in something that draws a younger person.

Anyway, on the outside of my bag was a photo on my mother and dad on their wedding day, and then a photo of my brother, Jack and myself. On the other side of the bag were my sons, daughter’s -in-law, grandsons and granddaughter.

Then I had one side with the advertisement for La Boheme, the opera I saw in Iceland that was sung in Italian and showed up on a screen in Icelandic. Also on that side is a ship in Scheveningen, an area where Will and I lived in Holland. I donated all of Wills’ father’s navy papers to that ship,which is now a museum.

Also scribbled on the bag were the plays I have been in: I was the girl in “The Seven Year Itch”, “Picnic”, and danced in “Paint Your Wagon” and “Guys and Dolls”.  I didn’t include all of them, just the key parts here.

Inside the bag was the t-shirt my flight instructor drew on when I accomplished my first solo, the current book I’m reading by Tom Brokaw, some knitted socks from the Island of Papa Westray in the Orkney Islands, and the certificate that awarded me by taking the shortest booked flight in the world. It took one minute and thirty seconds to take off and land at the next island in the Orkneys.

The bag also held my own book, “Too Close to the Sun” a Dutch boy becomes  man during WWII.

Many of the large photos of my yearlong journey and two painterly pictures were included in the bag.

I added a photo of a huge, bright red Rhodochrosite stone photo that was mined in an Alma, Colorado mine. Alma is my middle name, I told them, and it is where my grandparents met.Alma,Colorado is the highest city  in elevation on the northern hemisphere.

I also told them that I was born with the first name, spelled, Laurene, but I changed it myself at the age of seven to Laureen. The reason for this is because I was told that my name was a combination of Laurence and Aileen. Then, why, did they change that to ene at the end, was my question to myself? So when I went to school in the second grade, I simply began spelling it een. on the end. The teacher discussed this with my mother, and my mother discussed it with me, and I simply told her she must have made a mistake. “I guess you’re right,” she said. And it’s been spelled that way for nearly 70 years.

The audience was attentive, and I think a bit relieved that I didn’t cover  all of the 76 years of my life.

young man

This is a second note regarding the young man who said if he doesn’t hear from a list of billionaires by Saturday he’ll end his life.

I had second thoughts about the legitimacy of this, but I have spoken to him for a very long time and if he’s acting, he’s very good at it.

However, long ago, I served on a suicide prevent call in agency as a board member,  and the psychiatrist in that agency said all claims of suicide should be taken seriously.

So that is why I got involved.



Drained from trying to talk someone out of suicide

It’s been almost three hours that I talked through Facebook to a 34 year old man from Morocco who said that he would commit suicide on Facebook. I got wind of this from a posting of someone else on my page.

So I friended the young man and began talking with him. It’s sad how depressed he is and he doesn’t seem to know a way out of his situation. While I spoke with him he was also talking with a doctor. I was hoping it was a psychiatrist.

He called me an angel.

He needs help.

He finally got tired and said he wanted to sleep. It was about 3 a.m. in Morocco when he signed off.

I thought he had calmed down a lot, and I was feeling pretty good, then I got the last message that he planned on carrying out his suicide tomorrow.

Please, if you believe, pray for this young man. He seems so intelligent and a good person. He’s overwhelmed with work, taking care of his sick father,and he himself,has a health issue.

I, too, am tired now.

Paper work

It seems that with computer work, we tend to use more paper than when we only used typewriters and carbon within the sheets. Now, we write and print out lots more things.

I wonder how many people who read this even know about carbon paper, and how about white out? It is much easier now to write and discover mistakes and make changes than the old way.

It has taken away the frustration on how to create a perfect, error-free page, but now the frustration is knowing how to understand and communicate with the computer.

Well, I had lots of paper work to do this weekend, and I nearly got it all done before my Feb. 11th midnight deadline.



Busy week coming up

This weekend I worked at putting my cultural bag together for AmeriCorps. What is that, you ask? It’s a bag that is covered on the outside with photos or however you want to decorate it in a way that explains who you are.

Every Wednesday one of the workers takes their turn to give a culture bag demonstration. It serves to help other team members know more about us.

So on the outside of my bag, for my turn this Wednesday,  is a close up of my mother on her wedding day, and a nice looking photo  of my dad sitting on a dock. He looks so handsome, so 20’s movie star. My mother’s photo is beautiful, as well. There is a photo of my brother, me and my dad.

On another side of the culture bag is my family today; my sons, and grandsons and granddaughter and two of the best daughters-in-law one could have. On another side are the pictures of what I like; opera, theater (and with scribbles of some theater parts I’ve held) and my love of art, with a picture of “The Boating Party”, one of my favorites. There are other items on the other side of the bag.

Inside the bag is my t-shirt that my flight instructor drew on after my first solo flight. And there are many photos of my yearlong journey, the camera I took with me and some pastels. The pastels are representative of my newest hobby; painting my photos.

Also in the bag will be my rhodochrosite stone ring and a photo of a large stone mined from the Sweet Home Mine in Alma,Colorado. I will explain to the group that my middle name came from that town where my grandparents met. It is the highest elevated city in Northern Hemisphere.

Monday is a lunch where the staff and board members of the Arts Council get together to discuss the event; it’s success and what could be changed, and what worked.

I’m so happy to have recruited a man who will work with me on getting up to speed with my record keeping of the volunteers. It’s a complicated process required by AmeriCorps and just one part of the piles of paper work we’re asked to do.

It’s going to be busy and it actually started today. I have lots of paper work to get started on…so I will be prepared for the week.

Get the creative juices flowing

The place where I work two days out of the week has the most creative looking arts and crafts that you just have to want to get busy and create something. There are huge fish made from plastic items, large puppets that are carried on sticks, objects hanging down from the ceiling, posters, paintings, and lots of work in progress.

It’s a colorful place to work and the people I come across are the same.