Monthly Archives: May 2014

Is day-to-day business more complicated?

Insurance. I had a feeling I’d better call the insurance company since my premium went up from $47 a month to over $200.

I couldn’t explain whyI called because it was just from a feeling that I should.

The woman at the insurance company helped me out a bit, and told me that I must fill out some paper work every year in order to receive a lesser amount.

Some kind of benefit. So she sent the insurance information to me by email, but I didn’t see where I was to fill anything out to send back. So I contacted a senior help organization and by email someone tried to understand what it was I needed. That didn’t help, so I guess, I’ll need to find time to call back the first person and see if she/he can help me.

Everything gets more complicated as I get older, or is it that I’m older and it seem complicated? I really do not remember insurance being so hard to understand.

The times we live in,I guess.

Cops down in Soledad

I feel so sad. Three cops were stabbed in Soledad, and a grandmother and grandfather, when a teenaged boy attacked them.

I know one of the cops and his wife fairly well. The other two, I haven’t heard their names yet.

One Sgt. I knew sent me a message on Facebook so I knew it wasn’t him, before I learned who the cop was that is seriously injured. I just cannot imagine what unhappiness would lead a young boy to stab his grandparents.

The cops were called and screaming was heard in the house, but the door was locked so the cops broke it down and when inside they found the grandparents bleeding and then the Sgt. was stabbed.

I never realized how much I liked the guys and gals who are the police from both towns I reported for, but I am really sad and pray for their quick recovery.

Meanwhile, I heard from my grandson who is graduating from college and got an award for his work as captain of the basketball team and other good works, as well.

He was the first student to receive the award that was named after a college coach who died during this school year.

I’m proud of him and all the grandkids, as well.



Back to old stompin’ grounds

In the town of Gonzales, where I was a reporter, I first went to Rinconcito restaurant for my favorite Huevos Rancheros, and talked with two Gonzales cops. Good people! And also met a man who remembers me from Soledad, when I took photos of his sons getting awards at the Soledad City Council meeting.

Then on to the community church, where I saw many familiar people, I consider friends. Many mentioned reading my book, Too Close to the Sun” a Dutch boy becomes a man during WWII.  By the way, it’s been republished and still available on


Plein Art, history and ice cream

My friend, and co-worker,Klara and I took a mini-tour to see the 21st annual art festival and plain air competition. We had a little booklet that showed where artists would be painting. They all had a given amount of time, and had to be in to the city park in Carmel with their paintings to be judged.

There were several places that we went to, but didn’t find an artist painting, so we continued on and finally saw a man painting near Asilimar Beach in Pacific Grove. We stopped and spoke with him about his painting of the ocean. Turns out he is a cop from Arizona and has only been painting for two years. He showed us his paintings that were in his car. They were beautiful.

From there we went on the the Point Pinos Lighthouse and also saw no artists. But we did take a tour of the light house museum, where three lovely docents gave us some interesting history of the lighthouse.

Then, we had a great lunch in Carmel which is near the Sunset center where we work. And there, in the nearby park, were many artists with their work on display and a few outstanding bronze sculptures, as well.

A good day ended in Salinas at Klara’s home with her husband and twin boys, and some ice cream.

More….from the booklet, What is Plein Air? “Plein Air refers to a style of painting that became popular in the mid-19th century and was advocated by the French impressionists such as Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Plein Air painting is done outdoors in one sitting and the subject is the scene before the artist. The invention of tube paint and the box easel that carries peanuts and brushes and folds to be easily transported, led to the popularity of the art form.”

Never too old to learn

We’re never too old to look at something in another way.

I did that today at the ‘Engaging in Diversity Conversations” sponsored by the Nonprofit Alliance of Monterey.

Dr. Chene Swart of South Africa travels the world with her message of “Narrative leadership practices.” We were in groups of six people with lessons for each group to talk about and then share.

I don’t want to go into all the detail, but two items stuck with me: One of those were to have one person speak while two other listened without judging, assuming, advising or applauding. Instead we were to be curious, ask questions that we didn’t know, use the language of the story teller and be open to learn transcendence.

One woman came from Mexico with her parents at the age of two and then soon afterwards,she was sent back to Mexico to be raised by her grandmother. Then when she became nine years old, she was sent back to California. Then for many years she was back and forth.

She told us while in Mexico, she was different than the others, because her language sounded different, and because she also lived in the U.S., Mexican children considered her rich. But when in the U.S. she was a poor Mexican with farm labor parents. She learned what it was like to be different in two cultures, which has given her a better understanding of the folks she works with.

It was difficult for me not to applaud how she overcame being different it two cultures.

The entire morning was based on listening to the other person for their story for understanding, which brings me to the other item I learned; “it’s not the person who is the problem, it’s the problem that’s the problem.

When the right and and the left hand are together

Going over all of my preparedness for Cambodia, I thought I was finished and then I got the email.

You must buy this  travel insurance or else! What the heck is this about? I purchased insurance before I could continue toward the next steps: signing up with the embassy, and other mountains of paper work. So I contacted the University who is sponsoring this event. It gets confusing because, while I’m registered with one agency, that agency requires that I go through the University.

I called and was told I had to take their insurance, but if not, then I must submit a waiver. They sent me the waiver by email and I tried to print it out. The ink ran out so I got more ink at Walgreens, printed out the paper work and submitted the paper work for the insurance for which I was required and it cost $249!

I replied that I would send all the required paper work in and mentioned how much I had paid.

“If we find that the insurance you have paid is qualified, then we will waive the insurance we requirement and reimburse you for the insurance.

The added note stated this all must be finished within a month of your travel time. Well, then when I began this process back in Sept. why wasn’t I told then?

Rant, rant, rant,

That is very nice of them, however, but I can help but wonder why one agency doesn’t know what the other agency requires.

Oh, well, so far, I’m taking care of everything; I’ve even packed most of my belongings for the storage unit, and I’m setting aside the things I need to take with me.



Reading between the lines/ending one post

Yesterday was strange. I was ready for the usual day at First Night’s office, when I sent a text that I would be there at 11 instead of 10, and a text  came back from the director that she didn’t have time to ; and it stopped there.

I wrote back asking if I should or should not come in: no comment came back. SoI’m assuming that my time is over in that office (hope so) and that I should continue on for the next six weeks at the Arts Council office which is what I’d like to do. My leader at AmeriCorps suggested I offer that suggestion to First Night, but first ask the Arts Council director if that is okay with her.

So this is how it has turned out so far. Yes, to the Arts Council’s office, and still no comment from First Night.

It’s tough being in limbo. But reading between the lines, I think I know the outcome. By the way, reading between the lines is where you’ll find the real story – so I’ve learned from begin a reporter.


making mistakes

Don’t you just love it when you go back to your writing and find some silly, stupid mistakes? I seem to make more mistakes as the day gets long,  the sun goes down and the moon comes up.

I saw yesterday that I spelled board, bored and bases, basses.

The other day, a friend on Facebook mentioned that now is the time to do something that is challenging; something that would give you chills just thinking about it. Maybe, even something that would scare you.

I answered back that, I live that way. She answered back that she wishes she could be me.

Now that’s interesting isn’t it? I told her that I make mistakes, I flub up all the time, but I just go do what I want to do anyway.

I’m realizing, at my age, my life has been exactly like that, but I never thought about it before. Scared? Hmmm, do it anyway. Making mistakes isn’t the worst thing to happen. Admit it then go on.


Take me out to the ball game

10334242_10203006592240151_8471289130283114574_nSon Larry, daughter-in-law Sue, and her mother, Betsy and I traveled up to Modesto to watch my grandson,Bobby play ball.

They won!

It was fun to watch Bobby walk nonchalantly up to the mound and then get into the baseball warrior’s stance and hit the ball out there! His strategy was not to hit it out of the ballpark, although I’ve seen him do that, but to hit it to allow guys on bases run in to home.

Golly, I’m behind the times with baseball. I had quite a time trying to see where the ball was going and who was catching it…or missing it.

I took lots of photos and wore a turquoise hat, which got the attention of the promoters. All of a sudden I saw myself up on the screen and someone looking at me with a microphone.

“We’ve seen you taking photos, and wearing that big hat, and having a good time, so here we want you to have this.”

I thank him and barely got the words out, “I’m Bobby’s Oma,” but it was too late. He and the camera man were gone.

What a fun day; I had Bobby autograph the ball, took photos of him getting ready to board the A’s bus and then he said good bye to all of us, his cousins, aunt and uncle and his darling, cutie pie girlfriend Lindsey.  IMG_1021 IMG_1046 IMG_1040

Big trees and a nerdy waiter

The big redwood trees at Henry Cowell state park near Felton, was the destination today. The beautiful trees that escaped the lumber business way back in time are magnificent. I would look up to the tops of the trees and watch the limbs wave in the breeze, framed by the blue sky.

The smell of the trees, the ground  – a natural compost of leaves, bark, and pine needles made me realize that I’m missing out on the joy of being outdoors.

Ron and I walked the trail and we would stop now and then and rest on redwood benches. It was a beautiful day in the most beautiful place. It put me into a peaceful frame of mind, and happy to share the time with Ron.

I marvel at how he knows the ins and outs of Santa Cruz county, and know I missed a lot while my boys were young. Looking back it seems I was mostly at work, and not too much into the unusual surroundings of the area.

We then went to an outdoor restaurant and had fun with the nerdy waiter.

“Hello my good friends. And what may I do for you today?”

After everything we asked, his answer was always, “I can do that, my good friends.”

We were his “good friends” throughout the dinner all the way to the bill.