Posts Tagged With: healing


DSC07746 (Copy)Women treasure their friendships and plant deep roots with each other. Lizz Emerson is one of the strongest women I know. Out of a job? No problem, I’ll have one tomorrow. From a non-opportunistic background, with no education, she raised her children, on her own, since they were little. One daughter has been a city supervisor and is now running for congress. Another has her own catering business in Sacramento. Both success oriented like mom.  Lizz, called me and said, I couldn’t make your birthday party, so its belated birthday party time. I’ll bring the food, what do you like? I told her I like vegetarian food and, voila. Let it be done.

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DSC07739 (Copy)Hor’s de ouevres.

DSC07743 (Copy)A Mexican casserole with fresh corn, and olives rolled in lasagna noodles.

DSC07744 (Copy)A Greek spinach and cheese casserole. She brought the food cooked, and placed cheese on top before we put it in the oven to warm-up.

DSC07741 (Copy)She brought all the condiments, a Greek salad and dessert, too. I didn’t get pictures of everything. Plus, her instructions were that she wanted every guest to go home with food.

DSC07745 (Copy)First to arrive was Jan Stewart, who also couldn’t attend my 75th. I like to describe Jan as an expert at pushing all the negatives away, forgetting them and making haste to see sunshine in everything and everyone. She practices esoteric healing and she practices love. Love thy neighbor, love thy neighbor’s dog, love all children, help everyone you can. I’m grateful to be in her sphere and have felt her love and helpfulness.

IMG_4853 (Copy)Karen Phillips is my housemate. She’s been with me for 10 years. Loyal, conscientious, she literally keeps the home fires burning.  I could not have chosen a rambling lifestyle without her. Gathering my mail, watering my plants, keeping my place looked after and occupied. You name it, she does it. An excellent cook, she feeds me when I’m busy. This picture was taken in 2010.

DSC07747 (Copy)Margo and Pam were the last to arrive. Pam Quyle, raised a son on her own with no support.  Pam is a potter and drives a big truck delivering clay all over the Bay Area, besides making pots. She has one day a week off and arrived straight from work. Harried and tired and said, POUR THE WINE.

Margo Osborn has a son, a grandchild, divorced and in her late 60’s and continues to work. I love talking to Margo because she has such a diverse background and speaks with ease on any subject. Both she and Pam are associated with the wine industry. Margo’s winery was sold and she is the only employee retained from the former staff. Lucky for them, she is the most popular wine advocate in the county, as in “everybody knows Margo.” She speaks several languages and has a magic way with people. She was in Italy during my birthday party.

We managed to discuss all subjects important to women with no men around, as in breasts, bras, sex, men, food, life, shoes, healing our wounded souls and bodies as we age. Not necessarily in that order.

DSC07750 (Copy)Pam took a picture of all of us.

DSC07755 (Copy)And, someone took a picture of she and I. We share so many experiences. Lizz making me go out on New Years the year my husband died. Pam’s 25 year old son taking his first steps on my deck. Karen and I learning together how to deal with her adversarial boss. Jan performing reiki and meditative healing when my spirits were low. From Margo flows hiking club, zumba, health, sharing and “yes, let’s do it.” Our roots are deep. Girlfriends. Sisters all. Happy Valentines day.

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DSC06862 (Copy)The Resource and Recovery Center for the Butte Fire is all but closed. School children are still dropped off at the center where they can get a snack and wait for their parents to pick them up when they get off work. When we pulled in, this is what greeted us.

DSC06863 (Copy)Two kids on the left are 5th graders, two on the right are 6th graders, enjoying some chips and dip. They told me they were building houses out of cardboard boxes.

DSC06866 (Copy)A bit crowded to be sure. One girl held the flap open while I took the picture.

DSC06867 (Copy)This is a two room house, they bragged.  I was impressed.

DSC06868 (Copy)The 5th graders invited me into their house.

DSC06869 (Copy)Roomy and cozy.

DSC06870 (Copy)They had each made a cardboard bed with a cardboard stuffed pillow and an extra piece of cardboard for padding. Well done. I could see the signs of healing in their smiling faces.DSC06871 (Copy)As we walked away from the kids, I saw a woman watching them and she was hanging back. I told her they were building houses. She said, “I’m so glad my son is building a house. He needs that right now.”  We both got a bit emotional. I could not have predicted how much this fire affected me from my house burning down when I was about the same age as these kids.

DSC06873 (Copy)At the back of the Center is a tent city.

DSC06872 (Copy)A huge truck with washing machines provides laundry. I didn’t see it yesterday, but did the day I had volunteered. A sign also announces the showers are available between 8 am to 8 pm, every day. There are portable toilets on the grounds as well. Not the way you choose to live, but a welcome necessity.

DSC06874 (Copy)Stacks of rice straw are available to burn victims to distribute on their land to help prevent erosion during the coming rains of winter

DSC06893 (Copy)We drove up toward Railroad Flat. Jim got a first hand look at the devastation. One property had a sign, Looters Will Be Shot. Since my son’s place was burglarized during the fire, I could understand their fears.

DSC06880 (Copy)This picture really got to me. It was obvious at this site that the owners had gone through the wreckage and pulled things out and stacked them in painful little piles; a reminder of my folks doing the same thing. I remember searching for my rosary I’d just gotten for Christmas. My mother fascinated and tearful over a jar of change she’d been saving where coins and glass were melted together.

DSC06900 (Copy)We were beyond Mountain Ranch and here the power lines in two or more places were still on the ground. You can see the line temporarily attached to a tree to keep it up off the road so cars could pass under. Most of the power poles themselves survived the fire. Jim was amazed that so many trees were still standing. He thought they would be flat on the ground. Of course, many standing will die and have to be removed. Trees with an X on them scheduled for removal. I only saw one large tree with an L on it for leave.  Then we visited the local VFW and quaffed a beer and washed away the imaginary ashes in our mouths.





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On Friday, Karen and I took Paul Moeller to see a movie, UNBROKEN, after the book by Laura Hillenbrand. I became familiar with the story of Louis Zamperini’s amazing life when my cousin Gary, from Chatsworth, met Zamperini, signing books in a book store. He said “…at age 94 the guy exuded energy and moved around like he was a young man.” He died July 2, 2014 at 97.

DSC06055 (Copy)I rarely go to movies, but I knew if I didn’t take time-out and go on the last day it showed in nearby Angels Camp, I’d probably never see it on the “big screen”.

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Paul is a similar character in ways. He can no longer drive, he’s had several strokes, he is impaired but he continues to haul wood, paint the deck, travel to Germany alone, since his wife died, whatever it takes to carry on. His attitude is always, positive, can do.

But fortitude beyond measure embodied Zamperini. It is the story of a kid who fought to grow up when attitudes against “Wops” , or any immigrant, was ugly. His hero brother encouraged him to get revenge by being successful. He did that by becoming a track star at his high school and going on to medal at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He enlisted in 1941 and showed himself, his fellow prisoners and through Hillenbrand’s book, the world, about enduring unspeakable torture. His is not only a story of torture, but survival, resilience, and redemption.

Hillenbrand felt she had to do justice to his and his fellow POW’s most searing memories. After the war, he drank, he was full of rage, shame and suffered flashbacks and constant nightmares. And, once again, he persevered, changed his life and became a virtuoso of optimism. He quit drinking, repaired his marriage and his life and went on to open a boys camp and become an inspiration to others. Hellenbrand got thousands of letters and emails from people saying the same thing. ‘I never understood my father, my husband or grandfather, what they went through. Why he was in so much pain, why he drank.’

Understanding and forgiveness heal. He wanted his suffering to be meaningful, and it was. The movie was about his survival and torture, and it was great to see it acted out, but read the book for the full story.

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I’ve always loved gardening, and the weather has been balmy and inviting. Finished the succulents and lined them up against the wall. These plants were in two over crowded containers when Karen and I started. She takes care of my plants when I travel, so I no longer do any planting without consulting her, first. She told me we’d have to put them under shelter for winter, so we decided on lightweight pots that aren’t too heavy to lift.

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I now have a worker who comes to help with the heavy lifting, but he tends to come when he feels like it. I’ve felt quite fit, so, I got the loppers and pruned the sucker growth around the second-growth oak trees in about five places. 

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His last two visits my helper was supposed to remov two small citrus trees for me. They got too big for the greenhouse. I moved them years ago. The lemon froze, the lime and orange didn’t flourish.  I took a  hand saw and cut them down. It was hard for me, but I know my upper body is still weak. Jim walks every day, I walk with him every other day, and my strength and endurance has improved in my legs and back. For months and months, I would try the exercises given me and I would “over do” it and be back in pain. Suddenly, I seem to have turned a corner since the accident and I can now walk a brisk mile without great pain. When it hurts, by the next morning, the pain is gone.

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Then I tackled a pretty big branch for my little hand saw and my shoulders and neck were telling me, “you’ll be sorry!”  This is stuff for fire control and needs to be done.  This morning, I’m not sore enough to complain. My simple yoga every other morning has kept me toned,  but not enough to build muscle.  Now I feel confident I can do the therapeutic exercises I’ve been given and resume muscle-building tasks. I’m amazed at how the body refuted my efforts at various exercises until it was ready to heal. Now, let me see how well I do at chopping all this stuff up today.

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Some mornings you wake up and you are brain-dead. I tried to write my Christmas letter and all I could focus on was the accident and the aftermath. A close friend lost her husband Thursday. And, another friend’s grandson was murdered by his own daughter’s murderer, the husband/father. A serial killer on our road? Hard to believe.

Suddenly, I felt like I had no good cheer to offer this morning.  Gotta get a grip! Plus, it vexes me that I don’t have access to pictures I took and stored with my Motor Home computer, and stuff on this computer is not available from the Motor Home unless I carry a heavy computer back and forth. They were uploaded to Picasa, but I can’t figure out how to get them burned to a disk from Picasa.

I pressed a friend to teach me how to put pictures in a Christmas letter, so maybe I’ll hear from him today.  Yesterday, I put up some of the Christmas lights and have a living room full of boxes to decorate for Christmas. Not a card sent. Maybe today will be more productive and spirited. Put on the carols, have some mulled wine…hey, it is time to get into the spirit of Christmas.

Today, I’ll just post a couple of old pictures I like.

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I love this one of my brother warming his pizza on an iron. He was demonstrating how he did things in his younger bachelor days.

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This painting from the Florence Griswold School intrigues me because it has that I’m taking a picture of you while you are aiming at me, effect.

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And, this pen and ink drawing of a woman who seems just a bit suspicious of the viewers  motives.

Art heals, but I let the wood stove fire go out to remove the ashes and now I’m chilled. Gotta get a cup of coffee.



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Since I’m dealing with medical problems, Jim sent me some healing dirt for my birthday. We’ve laughed and joked about how to use it while talking on the phone. It seems the early Native Americans at one time used to eat it. Now, people rub it on the spot that needs healing. I haven’t tried it yet, but I have nothing to lose, so today is the day. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, here is the website that explains how this particular dirt became healing dirt:

He is in New Mexico, still, and the dirt comes from El Santuario de Chimayo Shrine.

He also sent a bar of handmade lavender soap. The maker isn’t assigning it healing properties, but popular aroma therapists make many healing claims for lavender. I grow it and enjoy it in my yard and love the smell on my face and hands whether it heals or not.

The website for handmade soaps:

On the website is a link to Marie’s blog. And from there, a slideshow of her beautiful labels and a bit of history behind the choice of soaps she makes. I love the hippy soap labels. All are from photos of her paintings. Marie is located on “The High Road” where one weekend per year they hold a miles long “yard sale”.


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