Monthly Archives: April 2014

More Cambodian rules at the Wat

The Wat is where the monks practice Buddhist traditions and I’m learning about the rules of behavior at the Wat. Women must never touch a monk, and no one should show affection in public…no goodbye hugs.

Give monks the right of way and bow your head slightly as they pass. Passing items to a monk, you use two hands and bow. Don’t talk over someone’s head and never throw things to people. Do not leave books on the floor and do not sit on a desk or table.

Monks should always be positioned higher than lay people. If a monk is seated, you must sit first before starting a conversation.

There are more, but now I’m looking at teaching ideas. It is requested that I take photos of my family and where I live and surrounding areas with me. I think, since most of my photos are in storage, I’ll ask my family for photos and I can get post cards of the Monterey area.  I need to purchase some educational tools, and one of those will be a book of paper dolls so I can help the students to  name body parts and clothing.

It’s all starting to look like fun and I’m getting excited to get started.

There is still a lot to do here, however.

Lunch today honors an incredible woman

The Executive Director of the Arts Council of Monterey County, Paulette Lynch, has served in that capacity for ten years. The staff celebrated her ten successful years at lunch today.

Paulette is quietly powerful with new ideas and a way to make things happen. She is an expert at delegating work and is always positive. I’ve never heard a negative word out of her.

The biggest thing I’ve  learned from her is all about how to approach competition. That used to scare me until I met Paulette. She has a firm believe that she puts into practice every day, and that is, instead of competing with agencies who are doing the same thing, partner with them instead.This way, more people can be reached.  She wants to reach more people, especially children, and underserved areas with more art programs.

Arts are the answer is the logo, and I believe, now , that I’ve seen that in action, it holds a lot of truth.

Got the material for Cambodia

The material for the Cambodian experience arrived and I studied the first few pages.  It tells me what I’m to do when I first arrive in Phnom Penh, and one item is to get a visa for a one month stay in Cambodia.

I’m not to ever be without my passport on my person, keep a small amount of money hidden under my clothing and it is not allowed for me to ride on a motorbike.

Only start out with no more that $100 at a time. ATM’s are available at 4.5% fee.  Dollars are used in most places, and change is given in Cambodian coins.

Shoes are taken off inside every house, don’t touch people on the head, don’t point your shoes at anyone, and eat with a fork and spoon, except for chopstick which are used for noodles.

There are vaccinations that are encouraged to get but are not the law. I must carry my medical prescription when I have medicines with me.

Use Deet, to ward off mosquitos that can lead to Dengue fever.

I’ve learned in my reading that Cambodian’s are extremely welcoming and friendly and that I’ll be a celebrity of sorts.

I will get time to spend in Phnom Penh and tours to the ocean beaches are arranged for a group that I’ll be part of.

I’m going a few days earlier than expected so I can get over jet lag and used to the heat before I embark on the program.

There’s more in the folder I’ve received and I’ll go through more of it later.







Wanting to learn Cambodian

I bought a DVD to learn the Cambodian language and I’m disappointed. There’s no English to understand what in the heck they are saying. A book was suppose to come with it, but think “the book’ is imbedded in the DVD. So frustrating. It’s hard to view the DVD, it skips around. Wish I could find a person who speaks the language and who could give me a few lessons on pronunciation. The local Monterey Insti. of Foreign Lang doesn’t have anyone who speaks the language; it’s not one they offer.

However, with mucho money, they could find someone for me. That is out of the question. I only want a few lessons not a whole class. Guess I’ll just have to wait until I get there and use pantomime like I usually do. I’m quite the international pantomime expert (in my own mind).

On the DVD there are drills that you’re supposed to repeat, but without knowing what you’re trying to say, why bother? What if I think I’m learning to say, ‘how is your wife?’ and instead I’m really saying, “your mustache is falling off of your face?”

Or, ‘good morning’ I think I’m saying, and I really learned to say, ‘you look sick today?”

Oh, Lordy, this is going to be a challenge; eating with chopsticks and trying to talk to Monks in Cambodian.








Michael/grandma bragging rights

Hi Folks!!!

Here I am, a grandmother with bragging privileges.

Michael Crocker graduates soon from Luther College and will set up a video business. He needs equipment to get started and his professor suggested a way for him to make some money. He has the skills to video edit, or put photos together in a creative keepsake, and other skills related to video production.

So, if you have any projects you can think of that would help him reach his goal of $3,000 I would grandly appreciate it. Donations are also welcomed.

It’s tough on graduates these days, with college debt upon graduating but wanting to get on with life and use newly acquired  skills.

Michael worked throughout his four years of college making videos for college events and helped a friend with his non-profit organization.

Michael’s on his way to continue through life as a productive citizen, and I’m so proud of him.


My friend

Jo Stuart, “Butterfly in the City” died this week in San Jose, Costa Rica.

She was the first person I met in Costa Rica when I moved there, who became my friend. I still see her sitting at a table outside a coffee shop, near the theater waiting for me. I would wear blue so she would know me, but she seemed to see me right away. I told her that i always thought it would be fun to meet someone wearing the wrong color the first time just to see what would happen.

She laughed at that, and she laughed a lot. The online newspaper, was launched just before I left the U.S. to live  near Heredia. I saw Jo’s column and sent her a message. She agreed to meet with me and gave me directions from the bus stop to the coffee shop. She gave me lots of help and encouragement in the beginning of my time in Costa Rica…it was a lonely time for me, and she knew that.

Later, I also wrote once in awhile for that paper and also began a writer’s club, which Jo had joined along with other people. I stayed in touch with Jo, mostly through her column, but once in awhile, I’d send a little note, or something I thought she’d enjoy. She always encouraged me with the book I wrote, “Two Close to the Sun” – a Dutch boy becomes a man during WWII.

Jo, to help with her finances, made chocolate sauce that was delicious. It was packaged in a little jar with her photo and logo.

Jo did something very nice for me. She introduced me to the man who owned a wonderful artist colony in the mountains. The colony was low on guests and so the one writer who was there, wouldn’t be alone, he allowed me to stay there one month for free. He even allowed my two cats to live there with me.

We had a once a month gathering that was open to the public, where each guest was featured with either their artwork on display or an opportunity to read from their writing.

Jo congratulated me after she had heard from the owner of the colony that I had read and it went over very well with the audience. She took every opportunity to be a good friend and encourager.

One time she called me to tell me she had met a man through her column who wanted to meet both of us, so she made an appointment with him and we were to meet at the same coffee shop. I laughed and told her I sure hoped he wasn’t an axe murderer.

We both had to laugh when he stood us up, and neither of us heard from him again.

Jo was active in spite of a heart condition; she acted in the community theater, was president of the Democratic Club, belonged to the Newcomer’s club, the woman’s club and kept up with her friendships.

Her columns were always a joy to read.

I’ll miss her.

A Table Affair

A Table Affair was the theme today at the Pebble Beach Lodge. It was a fund raiser for animal rescue. There was a room with lots of tables- probably around fifty, I’d estimate. All had themes that were followed in dish ware, glass ware, etc.

The table done by First Night Monterey featured sea critters hanging from the chandelier and were on the table, as well. There ware glass chargers, a glass dish on top of that and another glass star fish shaped dish on top of that, which together put you in mind of a jelly fish.  Scattered all over the table was white sand and sea shells of all kinds, sea glass bits and pebbles, galoretable 2table 3.

The hanging critters were all made from plastic containers constructed by special education students mentored by a high school engineering club. People just couldn’t seem to get enough of what they saw in the ‘critters”. Very creative, most folks observed.

It is a creative atmosphere when it’s calm, which is nearly never.


Marilyn Monroe and myself

Marilyn Monroe was the first Queen of the Artichoke festival in Castroville many years ago. She was a starlet and in the beginning of her movie career.

Now, years later, Castroville still  thrives on artichoke business; artichokes are canned, pickled, leaves slathered in butter and scraped off with your teeth and more.  But my favorites are fried hearts. They are put into a batter and deep fried. So delicious. I get some most every time I go up north to visit my family in Santa Cruz,  Half Moon Bay and Aromas. Castroville, is a tiny bit off the main freeway if you want to stay on highway one, but it’s not far and worth it for the artichoke treats.

My next big event for recruiting volunteers is the Artichoke Festival that will be held in the Monterey Fairgrounds for three days in May. I’ll need around 15 hard working folks, but that number isn’t difficult.

Now back to Marilyn Monroe: remember the movie, the Seven Year Itch? The same year Marilyn Monroe died, was the same year I played that role on the Tracy Community Little Theater stage.  She became a star and I became a lover of artichokes.

Good friends

My good friend, and traveling companion has invited me to stay at her place in Vallecito, Colorado throughout August, when I return from Cambodia. At some point, she’ll be gone and then I’ll house/pet sit.

I haven’t seen her new house since leaving Vallecito, but know it’s a beauty that sits high on a hill in the rockies. Our house was at 8,000 feet so hers is higher still. In case you don’t know Vallecito, it is north east of Durango, Colorado, near the Southern Ute Indian tribe and the four corners area of the U.S.

So looks like Wyoming may be after the August time in Vallecito. What I do when I return from Cambodia will be in the works as time gets closer.

I’m still in the process of working through the AmeriCorps, Albany University, Global service corps, etc to find out how the stipend is released to Albany.

But it will happen!


Justified anger

I cannot go into the details, but I was righteously angry today. It always come with regret a few minutes later, however, this was needed.

Sometimes you have to wake someone up.  Someone who has been a bully far too long. I think I scared the person and myself, as well. I left early and bought myself some chocolate.

There have been other times in my life where anger took a turn.

One time in Holland, I got so mad at my husband that I took off walking and walked all the way to the heart of town, and when I wanted to catch a bus back home, they had stopped running and I found that I had no money, anyway.  I walked back. It was a long walk getting to town but walking back seemed longer. My husband didn’t say anything, but, “did you have a good day?” He was supposed to stay mad! We ended up laughing. I didn’t buy anything that day because I left in such a hurry, I didn’t take any money. If I remember right, I stayed in the library most of the time.

That was around the same time the woman below us in the apartment started throwing dishes at her husband in the back yard. The shards of dishes were in their courtyard for weeks before she finally picked them up. I can only hope her dishes broke for a righteous reason.

But when is expressed anger okay?