Photos for January Stones and April PAD 2012 property of M J Dills (exception 1/16)







Thursday, September 14, 2017

August Poetry Postcards 2017

August Poetry Postcards 2017




This year I've used a book of postcards that I found in a box of my mother's things. She passed away seven years ago and there are some papers I've still not had a chance to read through. I can't simply chuck them without knowing what they are, and believe I gave this little treasure book to her many years ago. We shared a love of dolls and these types of pictures. 
I imagine this being a small tribute to my parents and decided to write each postcard, as inspired, about my childhood. These words were given no forethought; I sometimes used the illustration for inspiration, or memories flowed onto the thin cardboard and flew off to their destinations around the world. There has been some slight editing. 

Hurricane Harvey happened in the midst of this so there are some contributions there and randomly placed. 

These are the works of fifteen excellent English illustrators; all images reproduced from The Blue Lantern Studio. 

The title of the book is first and then the artist’s name and birth and death dates. These cards were so old that many dates of death aren’t recorded here since they were still alive at the time.



      From The Rosie Posie Book 
      by Anne Anderson (1874-1930)

My mother could not stand 
the idea of 
“sleeping in,” 
for herself 
or anyone else. She dragged me,
literally, 
out of my bed on Saturday mornings
so I could get my chores done 
in time for my cartoons 
to come on TV. As an adult, 
she would phone me, and when I’d answer at 7 am, she would say 
“ARE YOU STILL IN BED?” 
To be able to sleep in 
was always 
a lifetime goal. I wish 
she could call me now 
and 
wake me up in the mornings. 
I still here.
I still want to sleep in.


From The Little Busy Bee Book 
by Anne Anderson(1874-1930) 

I was my mother’s 
little butterfly. A least – until 
I could walk, or 
perhaps run, which soon followed. Then 
I became more my mother’s 
little bulldog 
and she had to keep me on a leash.  
I would run away 
given the slightest opportunity. I spent my life 
trying to please her and I was overjoyed
when I knew I’d made the grade. 
For the most part, I was a disappointment.
I kept trying. 
As did she.
3.       



From The All Sorts of Stories Book 1911 
by H.J. Ford (1860 – 1941) 


Sometimes I had creepy dreams. 
So sleeping wasn’t always what I did at night. 
As a child, my ordinary day was filled with schemes; 
And how I might get those ideas to ignite. 
Bedtime I kept my thoughts alive, on fire; 
Warding off the darkness that lurked in my mind. 
Though it was rest my body desperately desired, 
That wasn’t how my psyche was designed. 
The boogeyman slept under my small corner bed; 
A ghost in the closet who hid in the day; 
The monsters that grew out of my head. 
It took 60 years to make them go away.



From The Orange Fairy Book 1906 
by H.J. Ford 


I collected an odd assortment of friends as a child.
My parents embraced them, every one.
Some were “brains” like me and some were completely wild.
Judgment wasn’t allowed in my home. Childhood was meant to be fun.

It wasn’t until Grade 7 when a somewhat clingy girl was exiled.
It seemed there was evidence incontrovertible
That made my mother uncomfortable with what appeared to be

Bed bugs.......

it seemed had most likely caused the red spots on the girls face

And though she was liked, 
the insects didn’t belong 
IN OUR PLACE.



          From The Story of the Rebellious Dolls c 1910 
by E. Stuart Hardy (Born 1870) 



Uncle Howard came to stay with my mother and father, (this was long before I was born) 
in their apartment on Boren Avenue. It was a one bedroom 
and there was little space for 
three people, two of them being honeymooners.... 
And my mother was a fastidious woman. 
Hard on her to accept this giant of a man who had been injured in the war that was still raging 
all over the world. 
“But he’s my uncle,” my father pleaded, yet reluctantly let the veteran leave. 
I grew up hearing about CRAZY UNCLE HOWARD, but my father loved him. 
I never forgot that.



From The Twilight of the Gods 1911 
by Arthur Rackham 

When my cousin would 
come to stay with us, 
she flirted with all the boys in the 
neighborhood. I didn’t get it. I was 9 
when she was 12 and boys 
were not a priority 
in my life. She was 
cool. 
I was a “little sister” and my older brother, 
who was her age, had more 
in common with her, so 
typically 
I was ignored. She almost married
one of those boys and there 
were things that happened that I didn’t 
know about but 
really – I didn’t care. I found them to be 
just as annoying as 
they found me.



From The Stories of the Three Baby Bears Told c 1910 
by E. Stuart Hardy (Born 1870)


One time when I was about 6, we were huckleberry picking up in an area that was wooded but had natural meadows. My grandma, who never wore pants her entire life, had her skirt tied between her knees. Her two daughters (my mother and my aunt) were picking in a group and we children were down the hill. There were others picking, too; Betty was there, my mother’s best friend. I remember as if it was yesterday when they came tearing down the hill, their legs like cartoons, scissoring the air, my grandma holding hands between her girl, leaping. We thought it was bees but it was a bear.




From House Fairies 1925 
by Margaret W. Tarrant (1888 – 1959) 


I had my suspicions about 
the tooth fairy. 
I lost my first tooth while 
on vacation in S. Dakota. It was 
a hot July morning and 
I was hungry and wanted to bite 
into my large piece of toast, oozing 
with white butter, 
dripping with blood red jam. 
I was fussy and acting 
like a 6 year old. 
My mother’s cousin Inga 
turned me to her and asked 
to have a look in my mouth. She had dry flour 
on her fingertips; 
it was all a plan. She grabbed 
my tooth and yanked. 
Gone! 
I cried and 
she laughed and
I laughed, too. 
The tooth fairy found me halfway across the nation.



From The Child’s Book of Verse 1918 
by Margaret W. Tarrant (1888 – 1959) 

I said my “Now I lay me
 down to sleep” prayers
every night and always ended
with “God bless” – a long list of
people. Whoever heard
my prayers before tucking me in,
kissing me goodnight and
turning out the light, would
inevitably cut me short as I blessed the
pastor, his wife and children,
all the neighbors,
my father’s friends,
the car,
the kitty-kat,
dog,
the president.
I often lay awake far too long, staring out the window,
blessing the moon and the stars;
blades of grass;
my father’s garden
and the breakfast I would eat in the morning.


From Mrs. Mary Blaze 1885 
by Randolph Caldecott (1846 – 1886) 


I taught myself how to read.
My brother brought home his books, tossed them, and I picked them up.
I was 4; and he was 7, but only in 1st Grade, since he was held back for two years in Kindergarten.
I poured over the illustrations of Dick, Jane, and Sally; Spot, the dog; Puff, the cat; and Tim, the teddy bear (I had a particular fondness for Tim.) I would sit on the linoleum floor in our kitchen, while my mother prepared dinner.
I never learned to read phonetically.
SHOES
was the first word I able to memorize, relate to, and READ!
After that, they came in a flood and I graduated out of primers before I entered school.
I loved the library from a young age.
On the other hand, I was insanely bored in school and hated it,
my entire life.


From Jackanapes 1883 

by Randolph Caldecott (1846 - 1886) 


I was bullied. It began in kindergarten when big boys got to ride the trikes at recess and I never got a turn.
I never did get a turn. All year. By high school I had developed a personality that was molded by a decade of being made to feel inferior.
I wasn’t stupid. It turned out I had a very high IQ and
I considered suicide when the entire 7th grade found this out. I was mortified that something must have been innately wrong with me that could never be fixed.
I was smashed up against my locker by one girl who threatened to kill me.



From The Adventures of Borbee and the Wisp 1905 
by Florence K Upton (1873 – 1922)


 From the time I was about 2 
or 3 years old, I had 
a constant companion. My parents 
tolerated the presence 
of Timmy, 
my Imaginary Friend (now referred to as IF in the field of psychology). 
I went everywhere with Timmy. Sometimes 
I led and other times I followed. 
Timmy had a place at the table during meals, 
my parents sometimes sat on him, 
and once my father slammed Timmy’s hand in the car door, of which 
I became hysterical. “Jesus Christ,” 
my father said and opened the door 
to let Timmy in and grumbled that 
he needed to keep up. My parents were 
ordinary people. What made them 
so open-minded is a mystery. As an adult 
I asked my mother and 
she made it very clear 
that as a parent one must choose their battles, 
lest they lose all the time.


From The Vege-Man’s Revenge 1897 
by Florence K Upton (1873 – 1922) 

Daddy always had a garden. 
I never appreciated it 
until I asked him 
to come till and plant my first real garden 
with me.  I loved 
to be with him 
in his garden as a child, and 
would roll around in the 
dust and dirt 
between the rows, 
while he weeded and hoed. 
I picked peas while they were too young, 
pulled up baby carrots and 
washed them with the hose, 
eating their sweet earthy youth 
before it was ready. Sweet peas 
were strung at the end of each row 
and my father would pick a small bouquet 
and have me take them in to my mom, 
where she would put them 
in water and their fragrance 
filled our small kitchen.




From The Story of Snips c 1910 
by Anqusine MacGregor (1905 - )

School was dreadful.
I was always in trouble
and so often confused
as to the reason why.
My mother was exasperated.
My father was apathetic.
My teachers beat me.
I took swats in the principal’s office,
holding my skirt up so Mr. O’Dell
could smack my panties with his paddle.
I cried
and snot ran down my face
with nothing to clean it up with.
I ran home and was
marched back to school.

I want to go back and
find that little girl and
hold her in my arms and
not let any more hurt her.


From Nonsense Nonsense! 
1902 by Charles Robinson (1870 – 1939)  


I learned my first swear word from David T.
I went home saying FFFFF
and thought
it was something people
would find amusing.
David T
used to come to my house
and we’d paint our nails
and
my mother’s hats.
For some people it was confusing.
In 1964,
David T, my friend,
was found hanging
in his grandfather’s garage.
He could no longer
face the world.
He was 15 and
he was dead.
I still mourn
the loss David T,
who was relentlessly teased
by people I have not forgotten.
I truly understood his pitiful dread.



From Marigold Garden 1885 
by Kate Greenaway (1846 – 1901) 


I adored my mother.
She was beautiful.
I loved to go to Nordstrom with her
while she shopped for shoes.
(They sold only shoes then; I think the store was on 4th or 5th Avenue).)
They would bring her a standard ashtray
and place it in front of her. She would
tap out a cigarette and the clerk lit it for her,
as she pointed to the different styles of shoes
she’d like to try on.
Her favorites were De Liso heels.
The boxes would pile up
and be scattered everywhere.
Until her death at 89,
my mother kept her shoes in original boxes;
dozens and dozens and dozens of them.






From The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle 1905 
Beatrix Potter (1866 -1943)

I thought I would grow up and be famous and rich,
as all children do. For quite some time
I imagined Hayley Mills was a friend of mine
and we wrote letters to one another. I,
of course,
wrote all the letters
and pretended they were send from England
and Disneyland
and NY. For a long time
I kept this secret imaginary relationship
to myself but then,
one day,
so convinced it was real,
I blurted it out in a boastful moment. I already
considered myself special enough to do so.
It was a big mistake.


From Rumbo Rhymes 1911
by Walter Crane (1845 – 1915) 

I went through a very short period of time when I refused to eat meat.
I considered animals sentient beings (and I do believe they are)
but it so vexed my mother that she could not get me to eat.
I didn’t go about it properly because in the early 60’s there were few
who thought that carnivores were unacceptable and vile.
My father advised me to study Darwin and the Food Chain
and do my best to eat my mother’s cooking because
I was stuck with it for awhile. He told me I could
make those kinds of decisions s an adult.



From Undine 1909 
by Arthur Rackham (1867 – 1939)

I had no fear as a child and I didn’t know it was wrong for others to touch. Alarm was a feeling I became familiar with but somehow, somehow I blocked fear. My boldness was often my downfall. I was afraid of all the wrong things. Shame is a terrible thing for a child to bear and so hiding becomes the remedy. Disguise. Diversion. Distraction. If you don’t think about it yourself, then perhaps no one will know. No one will guess and you can keep the charade going for years. And years. And years.



From Flora’s Feast A Masque of Flowers 1889 
by Walter Crane (1845 – 1915)



Once I began reading,
the stream of consciousness began
with a vengeance. My parents read,
so a library was available
once I’d moved on
from Nancy Drew and the Bobbsey twins.
Two books stand out in my mind
as making as impression that was
indelible and undeniable.
“OF HUMAN BONDAGE”
by Somerset Maugham
took me on a thrilling ride
and opened my eyes
and ears
to HUMANITY.
Even though
“Captain Horatio Hornblower”
didn’t have quite the impact,
it did have lots of lessons and
was an easy read. My mother hesitated
allowing me to read this book at 13
due to the “N” word but I overlooked that
and it was a few more years
before I grasped the
depth and the hollowness
of this word.


From The Tale of Peter Rabbit 1901 
by Beatrix Potter (1866 – 1943)

I was never a big fan of
Beatrix Potter as a child.
I loved the illustrations
but the stories all seemed
 silly.
Yet,
Peter always held me
in his naughty thrall and
I was intrigued by
his boldness. His sisters,
on the other hand, were wimps
and probably didn’t have nearly
as much fun as Peter. As a child
I was probably a
mix of both – a very typical kid – nice
and troublesome. I know for certain
there were people
who thought I was an angel, and
others who considered me a
hellish little brat who
should be neither seen nor heard.
I named my first born Peter.
He is a Gemini;
born in June –
complete split of personality,
depending on company.





From The April Baby’s Book of Tunes 1900 
by Kate Greenaway (1846 – 1901)

When I was born in the small town 
of Enumclaw, Washington, the hospital 
was new and I was the 2nd baby born there. 
My grandfather came to the hospital and 
handed my mother a bouquet of 
September flowers, dahlias and roses, 
through an open window. A nurse took them a
nd told him he couldn’t come in with his cigar. 
He came in anyway, through the front door, 
which was just around the corner from the window. 
It was a small hospital. 
A nurse put the flowers in water 
and scolded him. 
He laughed and told her, in his Danish accent 
that she was a good woman. 
That was when I was born. 
My favorite photo of 
my grandpa and me is me on his knee, 
me holding my little African skinned doll, 
AmosSandra.




From The Black Cat Book 
by Charles Robinson (1870 – 1937)

The first cat I had in my life was
“Mittens” – we fondly called
her “Mitts” and she loved
my dad, even though she was
my cat.
I’m sure she loved my mother
equally,
as that was more often than
not, the hand that fed her.
I was 4 years old when we went to
John and Tess Howells’ farm
and I got to pick out this
tiny wee kitten,
out in the barn, from a couple of litters. All black,
she had 4 white feet.
She was too little yet to be weaned
so I didn’t get her until we came back from a trip to
Montana and S. Dakota.
I can still see her running to me
that day.
I picked her up and cuddled her
as I would for many years to come.
She lived until I was
22 years old.





This is not a postcard from the series.
29 August 2017 
2nd Day of Houston’s Hurricane Harvey.

Perhaps we shouldn’t have built all these levies and dams on Mother Earth. Maybe all this concrete that holds up streams of exhaust-spewing automobiles will someday collapse. Boom. Down. Gone. We have reconfigured the surface of our planet and now she is reacting. Dead dinosaurs providing compounds for greenhouses gas with the aid of combustion and mechanics.. We have created dustbowls and floods and melting glaciers and the extinction of hoards of animals. What will stop us?





From The Three Little Pigs 
by Frank Adams  (Active 1903 – 1944)


There was one neighbor we all disliked. Even my dad didn’t like her too much, though he was always kind to her. Mrs. Baum was not a happy person, my dad  told us and her husband was a jerk.  I think it was “First-Class Jerk.” But we could not help ourselves and she was the one whose doorbell we always rang and then ran away. She looked like an old pig to me but I got in a LOT of trouble for saying that. I remember once feeling bad for her when she came out on her porch and stood with her hands on her hips. We didn’t really have a reason to hate her.

26 From Peggy and Joan by Honor C. Appleton (1879 – 1951)
I watched my mother painstakingly hang wallpaper in my bedroom. I was about 4 years old. I recall the colorful little people holding hands and the darling little blue and pink cottages. I wasn’t sure why she was doing this and I guess most kids don’t really care what a room looks like, as long as they’re fed, loved, and get to eat popcorn with their dad and watch TV. Those were the things that mattered to me so when the babysitter let me have crayons at naptime and I colored all over the walls, I never really knew what all the fuss was about. My mother’s anger at the babysitter was beyond my comprehension.



From Josephine Goes Shopping 1926 
by Honor C. Appleton (1879 – 1951)

I had a happy childhood, as far as childhoods go.
I hated school and was taunted and bullied
 all the way from kindergarten until 12th grade.
But I had lovely times, too.
I had a great collection of dolls that I played with
 until I was probably 13 years old. I wrote poetry
and little stories, which my parents encouraged.
I was a terror on my bike and rode for miles.
I adored Brownies and Girl Scouts and my Dad
helped me earn a lot of my badges.
I performed and sang and danced.
I loved music and was surrounded by it.
I was a voracious reader and loved the library.
I enjoyed skiing and swimming and was allowed to go into the city (Seattle) when I was quite young.
I’m grateful for it all.




From Bobbity Flop 1912 
by Augustine MacGregor (1905 -)


My mother had an idea of what a little girl should look like and it was largely based on her favorite little girl.
Shirley Temple.
Besides ballet and dance classes, held above the bakery, where all I would think of was donuts and maple bars, my mother molded me by styling my hair.
Her first permanent solution was applied to my tender scalp when I was still sleeping in a baby crib. Curls. Galore. Until they fell out the next day and my mother claimed "it didn't take."
I believe I was one year old at the time.
My hair was tortured through the years until I took control of it myself and didn’t cut it from the age of 14 until I was about 25.



From the Pelican Chorus 
by L. Leslie Brooke (1862 – 1940)

I was a great singer. 
I always loved “I’m a little Teapot” best 
and my mother had me perform it 
for all who were 
willing to listen. 
By 3, I had a repertoire of songs, 
a couple in Danish, 
which I proudly belted out. 
The passion for singing never went away 
and although I was forced to play piano, 
I don’t regret that, and 
wish my mother had made me 
stick with it instead of 
taking up guitar. I was never really 
good at that but 
I faked it well enough to 
ave people tell me 
I was a great singer.

30 From Johnny Crow’s New Garden 1935 
by L. Leslie Brooke (1862 – 1940)


In the midst of our Poetry Fest was Harvey. This is my offering to Trilla in Houston:
Trilla, I received your card today and hope you are safe. I’m so sorry for what has happened to your beautiful city. I’m not even sure you’ll get this card. I certainly hope you do. The good that has come from this flood, this horrible frightening devastation, is the community coming together and most people recognizing we are all one people, we must know it is okay to lean on another and be pleased to carry our sisters and brothers on our backs. My hope for Houston comes to you, with healing and love.










Friday, July 7, 2017

It Was the Five Year Thing


It goes without saying that I’ve been away from my blog far too long. About the time I wrote the last one in mid-February, I was moving in a direction I would never have guessed I’d venture. I've been busy. The past year had been pretty tough in a lot of ways and I was tired of listening to myself gripe about it. Moaning and groaning not only annoys friends, it also doesn’t make the future unfold into rainbows and shiny happy people laughing. If you know what I mean. 

Last summer my daughter Olivia was looking for a Plan B; she didn’t know what she wanted but she recognized her opportunities in the dental field had narrowed down to either going back to school, which meant loans and a huge investment of time or moving on to something else and keeping dental in her side pocket. 

When she told me about Arbonne in August, I listened with half an ear. She bought into it lock, stock and two whirring Magic Bullets (small blenders that change lives.) I watched. I listened some, too but I was working on finishing an intense edit of a book and didn’t have time. She lassoed family and some friends onto a health kick, and some lost weight, others shed aches and pains and all of them raved. It took me some time. In December I acquiesced. I started on the 5th of the month and detoxed over the holidays, resisting temptation and losing a few pounds. 

By January 2nd I decided to go beyond 30 days. I felt so good. I began to give up afternoon naps and slept better at night. My cravings decreased and didn’t want to eat crap. In February I started working as a consultant, a laugh really. Me? A nutrition consultant? In March I began to use the skin care products. Today, seven months later, I've lost a total of 28 pounds. I don’t just look better; I feel really good. My skin is soft and has a lovely glow that I don’t think I’ve ever had. Spots and bumps have disappeared from my face. 

This photo is on my birthday September 18, 2016.

I can’t remember the first time I heard someone say “where will you be in five years if you do this? Where will you be in five years if you don’t?” That was the heads up that socked it to me. I look back to December, the changes, and the impact of the 5 year question is profound. I thank Olivia for not beating me over the head but showing me what I could do.

The main thing I've found changing for the better is my OUTLOOK. I've never been a negative person but I can easily fall into a trap of feeling sorry for myself. With the books I’m reading (On Fire by John O’Leary; Get Over Your Damn Self by Romi Neustadt; Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod) along with the Arbonne people I’ve been associating with… my attitude is coming around pretty much 180.
                                                                                     Me in May in Mexico

I have always wanted to give back. I probably hand out way too much money to street people and I have a hard time saying no to anyone, especially my grandkids. I want very much to do more. That’s one of the big reasons I’m working with Arbonne. I want to do things like this: Homeless girls join their first Girl Scout troop at Mary's Place. 

I want to share healthy living with everyone I know. I'm on a bit of a rave. I know it seems hard to give up alcohol, sugar and bagels with cream cheese for 30 days but if I can do it, anyone can. 

I'm also going to have an Airbnb again because when I was doing that, I met some splendid, wonderful people from all over the world.  

And, of course, my writing. I've published some poetry, including in an impressive anthology, and still working on publishing my books. 

These are my goals. 

Getting healthy is not hard. It is never too late. I have about ten more pounds to drop and doing it gradually. I still eat some of those things I used to go-to when I thought I was hungry, but I find I’m not all that interested in grilled cheese sandwiches and baked-potatoes-with-everything these days. 

I’ve kept journals my entire life and often jot down notes while driving, chatting on phone, daydreaming. The past few months I’ve added three things to my daily writing: “What I’m grateful for;” “What I’m committed to;” and “What I’m excited about.”  It’s fun to go back and see how they’ve turned out.  I’m grateful for feeling better than I thought I ever could and no longer having serious joint pain. I was committed to making District Manager with Arbonne by June; I got there by July! I love reading old notes and seeing how things turn out. I'm excited to keep up this lifestyle. 

At my age, all this….ha! 

Every day I’m a little more amazed. 

Thanks for reading...........

.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Life is Short



I didn’t have a valentine yesterday. I was married on Valentine’s Day 33 years ago but my life has changed drastically. Since that time, I've been single for one year less than I was legally wed, though our courtship started a few years prior to the day we tied the knot. We were inspired to make our relationship legal by a near death experience; mine. Life is short, we concurred, and we could never be sure that time was truly on our side. We grew fat and lazy in our complacency; we became comfortable in our ability to overcome first world problems. When disaster struck, we were as unprepared as waltzing partners on the ballroom floor of the Titanic. It took years for me to recover from the avalanche of shocks and revelations. I was often mistaken for a nurse because for over a year, I was an instinctive caregiver, learning more about the foibles of the human body than I’d ever cared to know about. But I rolled with the punches and I am good now. I live a solo life, involved in extended family, and with no desire to find a partner. That phase of my life is over. But it doesn't give me any more time than I was allowed before. I'm still running circles around myself.

Currently, I'm witnessing a dear friend go through similar motions as I did twenty years ago. Her husband’s illness is completely self-inflicted but the end results are similar. I can reach out and lend support but more than anything, I’m here, for venting, ranting, weeping, hugging, listening. I know the importance of having people shut up and simply BE THERE. Bottom line, that’s what friends really are for. It’s also nice to have someone to go with to movies, shopping at Nordstrom, and splitting a bottle of wine or two. 

However, I’ve found the most important part of a friend is his or her ears. And sometimes… shoulder. Many of us find that making time to lend an ear isn’t always easy. We all have busy lives, but to hear a friend say they’re too busy; don’t have enough time can be like a blunt needle in your side; it hurts. If we have time for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, we have time for a phone call, or a lunch date.

In the past year I've lost some friends and we all witnessed shocking deaths of famous people we admired and loved, many gone far too soon. Let’s make time for one another until the day comes when all we have left are memories.


Thanks for reading. 

..

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Puerto Vallarta - Never Enough Time




Ahhhh, Mexico. How does the song go? Many songs about Mexico and they are all about wanting to go.

Shopper's Paradise
Colorful Bracelets
Los Arcos

Two weeks is just not enough, but I did have a chance to see some of my good friends; missed some who are always too busy in high season, making enough money to get them through low season; met some very likeable dogs; got a chance to spend a day at the Botanical Gardens; and visited one place I’d never been, Litibu. Though I'd driven by Litibu, this was my first time stopping.

Music - Lots and lots of music

Two events for the benefit of the animals had some great music, company (familiar faces, some I hadn’t seen in over a decade), and great food (the SPCA event was catered entirely vegan.)

Mi casa es su casa
Got my taxes paid and hired José, our wonderful Mozo at the condo complex, to do some painting and repairs. The place is ready to rent now at approx $7000 pesos/month. 

Kitchen
Master Bedroom


My dear longtime friends Michael and Greg took me to lunch at El Patron, a place I highly recommend for food, service, and atmosphere; dedicated Mexican environment. So good to see old friends and catch up.

Guacamole at El Patron


June and I had as many tête-à-têtes as we could fit in, everywhere from the beach at Cuates y Cuetes to my neighborhood’s Lukumbe. I sadly didn’t get to see her granddaughter Luna, a precious baby girl with a big personality, according to photos and her doting grandmother. 

Iguana

Fit in one card game at the beach where Cassandra and I partnered up to whip Candace and Savannah in a round of Canasta. Candace got me back later. Attended a gathering of Women and Friends of Women, the same day a global march took place on January 21. Walked one day from the Sheraton to Zona Romantica.

Women's Gathering

One great day spent riding out to Sayulita with Candace Shaw. We had a lovely visit with Tracie Willis and saw the new work/second story addition to ChocoBanana. Then we trundled off down the back way towards Punta de Mita. Got off road and raised dust looking for the Litibu Grill. The waves at the beach were impressive, and we were told they’d been up to 18 feet the day before. Had more guacamole (I ate a lot this trip because when Twit calls for his stupid tariffs on Mexican goods, my avocado intake is going to be limited.) 

Litibu
Grilled Veggies at Litibu
More Guac - Litibu



Candace and I had a sweet little rescue with us, Odie, on his way to Vancouver that evening and his furever home. Candace needed copies of his papers and on a Sunday there were no copy shops open so we stopped in Bucerias at Casa Tranquila to see if the ladies had a copier we could borrow. Joann and Patricia are really good for the ego. I was overwhelmingly welcomed, hugged and helloed. I love those two, and they were able to accommodate our paper needs, as well.

Odie and Me
Odie on his way............



The Botanical Gardens with Kathy was a perfect day. We spent hours and trotted all over the grounds, making a special visit to the chapel, having lunch in the restaurant and taking copious photos of flowers and birds. Kathy’s attempt to film a flock of green parakeets with her phone camera kept us busy. 

Here's my Heart in Puerto Vallarta
View from the Chapel
Chapel at the Gardens
Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens


Got my teeth cleaned, at $500 pesos. That’s $24 US dollars. And just as good a job as you will get anywhere north of the border. Teeth-cleaning is done by the dentist, so you’re with a highly qualified person. Had a pedicure/manicure at Toya’s that took over an hour; you cannot find the likes of this service anywhere in Seattle, no matter how much you pay.

I’m grateful for help from Kathy Lowther, who was my voice getting some things done that would have been more complicated with my limited Spanish; Kathy was also a great nurse when my clingy cough persisted and very generous with her Bio-magnetism, which could have been the right amount of healing I needed; Lety Benitez, who is an invaluable amiga; Jamie Coates and Saskia Guel, who have taken care of important issues in my absence; Chantel for fixing my bracelet…I love it, Chantel, thank you!

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