Saturday, December 28, 2013

Why Do They Have to Grow UP?

There are certain ages that are special and remind us why we have kids in the first place. But, why do they have to Grow UP?

They are so cute when they are babies, yet who wants a baby for too long.

When they become toddlers, they start to talk and walk and are so adorable. That is until they learn to yell and run.  Don't forget they learn to say "NO" at this age too.

Five to ten are such wonderful ages. They start to become somewhat self-sufficient. They still love their parents. They are fun to hang out with and yet don't require as much effort as when they were very young.  And, they love to learn.

Then they hit pre-puberty and puberty. This is when they turn into little he/she demons and you ask yourself -  "Remind me why did I have these things again?"

The teen years - 15-18. This is when they start to cocoon from a young child into adulthood. This is the age of my nephew now. He exhibits such wonderful beginnings of a nice young man. Of course, I don't have to live with him.

Even though I am enjoying seeing the young man emerge - I really miss the little boy that was.

Friday, December 20, 2013

My Most Prized Possessions

My most prized possessions aren't my car, jewelry, cell phone or things like that. My most prized possessions are things with an emotional attachment to them.

A book titled, Sisters, given to me by my sister.

A glass bowl given to me by my younger brother.

A housecoat that my son bought me years ago.

A piece I bought in Canon Beach, OR that has two small clay bells on it.

Some dishes that I don't use but cherish for various reasons.

A fancy decorated candlestick that my husband bought me one year for Christmas.

Scarves that belonged to a friend who recently passed away.

A roll-top desk given to me by people that I only slightly know, but who thought enough of me to have it and I treasure it daily.

My most prized possessions are things of real value to anyone but me.  The way prized possessions should be.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

For A Moment I Returned

Yesterday, I saw a glimpse of my former self. Someone I thought was long gone. For a moment she was there - I realized how much I missed her.

Yesterday, I saw a glimpse of my former self:

One who was not afraid...

One who did not live in the shadows...

On who gives without the worry...

Yesterday, I saw a glimpse of me – what I used to be. I hope that someday she returns again. No matter how brief.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sweet Promise

Like any drug - there is the Sweet Promise of blissful joy. Its siren song sings of heavenly delight. Each taste teases the tongue with pure ecstasy.

I CRAVE it's sweetness!

I need the heady high that comes with each delectable bite.

And, like any drug - there is a price to pay once the high goes away. A violent crash that leaves you weak and trembling. The long term effects that wear down your body and your mind. Years of abuse start to show as your body can no longer tolerate it. Its dependency is deep and strong.

Like any drug, or addiction, you want to kick it. You need to kick it, but its hold on you is overpowering and willful.

I am a sugar addict.

I want it.

I crave it.

But, I don't need it.

It is a raging battle to control the cravings, one that I lose often.

I tell myself that I enjoy it, but that is a LIE! The little rush I get isn't worth the damage it is doing to my body, or the crash I have when it finally wears off.

Like anything that is to good to be true - the Sweet Promise from this addiction is a illusion - A SCAM!

Expressing myself with the Sweet Promise of trying to kick a life time habit. Or, not!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

How Laundry Helps My Writing

My laundry, more specifically my dryer, and I have a special relationship. The serenity I find in doing such a simple mundane task allows my creative mind to emerge. While doing laundry I can push the outside world away, I can release my analytical brain from its duties, and I can let my mind wander.

It is during this creative outflow of time that I may solve plot issues, discover new characters, fix a scene, have a dialog with a character, or even create a new story. I dedicate my stories to my dryer because it is such a significant part of my writing. It is my release from the real world. It takes me to a place of play and creative outlet. It is my escape, at least temporarily, into a world of fantasy.

To my dryer - I dedicate this to you.

Time to go, my dryer is calling me...

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Where Can I Get A Job

Today's big news is all about the Government Shut Down.

Where can I get a job where I still get paid when not working? Where can I get a job where I can shut down everything just because I want to disagree with others? Where can I get a job where I don't have to do right by others? Where can I get a job where it is all about me and what I want, to hell with the rest of you?

I know - I could get a job with the government.

Never mind, I think I would be much happier having a job where I work for my paycheck, try to work well with others, do what is best for the business and it's customers and where is about all of us, not just a few.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Outside My Comfort Level

Believe it, or not, I am one of those people that worries about what others think. Because of this, I tend to be reserve in my actions. I shy away from anything that may get me noticed, or could potentially embarrass me. What this means - I take life to seriously.

The other day during Oyster Run, while photographing the Seattle Cossacks, one of the Cossacks asked if I would like to sit on a bike and have my photo taken. I immediately said no, that would mean getting my photo taken (which I hate), being the center of attention (which I am not always comfortable with), and could potentially mean embarrassment (not sure why). Their response to my NO, they laughed. They couldn't believe I would turn it down.

Then it hit me, what was I so afraid of. Big deal if I get my photo taken and big deal if everyone notices. I thought, what the hell and decided to let go, step outside my comfort zone and just enjoy myself. And, I did.

Expressing myself outside my comfort zone. At least this once.  :-0

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Wet and Loud

Each year our little town hosts an event that welcomes thousands of motorcyclist.  This year was a little wet and blustery, but that didn't stop them from coming. Not as many showed up due to the weather, but that didn't stop the ROAR! A bonus of this event is the amount of money it brings into town and the surrounding area.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Acceptance - Forgiveness

I recently read a saying that said sometimes like - you get to see the 'true colors' of people who say they care about you. These 'true colors' show up when life is hitting you the hardest. I have found this saying to be true and profound. During a recent low point in my life, friends disappeared, some slowly fading away. A family member abandoned me.

So, is it acceptance I need to perform? Or is it forgiveness?  No. What I really need to do is accept that I don't necessarily have to 'forgive', but I do need to let go and move on. That the energy, and emotions, I waste fretting and feeling angry is not worth the precious minutes I give towards these people.

What I need, is to accept and feel grateful, for those that are in my life and are there no matter what.

Expressing myself with letting go of the bad and feeling loved by the good.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Tradition - Please Don't Let It Become A Lost Art

Each year a Pacific Northwest tribe will host a week long event rich in tradition. Tribes from up and down the coast arrive by canoe - hence the name - Canoe Journey.  This year's event is hosted by the Quinault tribe.

Today, I watched as the Samish Indian Nation, welcomed the Lummi Nation.  I was fascinated by the whole ceremony. The canoes were greeted by members of the Samish tribe with drumming and a welcome speech. Canoes approached the beach going through a series of rituals.

As an outsider I didn't understand it, yet I found myself overwhelmed with emotion.

Then it hit me. Tradition, for most of us, was becoming a lost art. So many of us nowadays have forgotten long ago traditions and no longer pass them on. Our children have no real sense of history. Yet here was a group of people steeped in tradition, passing it on to the young people in their communities. Giving the young people a sense of pride enriched by these traditions.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

When Storms Hit

Life is complicated. Sometimes too damn complicated. Relationships, jobs, career choices, money, children, family, friends, health, which path to travel...

Storm after storm as blown me off course. I am not even close to where I thought I wanted to be at this age. But then again, maybe where I thought I wanted to be, is not where I am suppose to be?

See, I told you life is just too damn complicated.

But after a series of storms, I now long for calm seas.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

R.I.P Little Brother

I am the oldest of five children - four girls, and the youngest a boy. I remember the day our little brother was born, the excitement I felt, the anticipation of finally having a boy in a house full of girls. Not that I don't love my sisters, but for some reason I always wanted a brother. Frankly I would have preferred an older brother, but a baby brother would work just fine too. 

Well nothing in my short thirteen year life prepared me for actually living with a boy. He was nothing like us girls. He was more active, more wild, and noisy - not demure and quiet like us girls. We were raised to be ladylike and lived in a more quiet atmosphere, then he came along and changed all that. I can still remember changing his diaper for the first time, as soon as I removed his diaper (they were still cloth back then) he started to pee all over me. After that, I learned to change his diaper really fast. Life became fast with him around. Today he would be considered ADHD with an emphasis on the H. 

Before the kid was even walking it was obvious that he was going to be a handful and boy was he.  As soon as he learned to crawl, he also learned to climb out of his crib everyday. Us girls, would never have done that. And I am not sure I even remember him ever walking, it seems like he went straight to running. Us girls, never did that. By the time he was around three he started running away. I can guarantee that us girls never did that - well, at least not until our teens.

At first, running away was just to the neighbor's house. They had three little boys, the youngest was a year older than Kevin. Than Kevin, and his little gang, would ran away to the creek - a small little creek about 3 blocks from our house. We tried everything to keep him from running away, but as soon as your back was turned, even for a second, out the door he went - he was that fast. When even put a lock on the screen door, up real high, but he figured out how to crawl up to unlock it. This kid was bound and determined to explore the world outside of the house and it seemed that nothing would stop him. 

The final straw was a time he ran away (again) and we looked for hours.  The police found him (and his little gang) at the new Target store.  Now that may not sound like a big deal, but the Target store was at least five miles from our house. These little kids, ranging 3-8 years old, had to cross very busy, very big, city streets with major traffic, some were four lanes across.  To this day I am still amazed that they not only made it that far, but that they made it without even getting a scratch.  I don't quite remember what we did to break his little running away habit, but we did - at least for awhile.

I left home when my little brother was only four.  In those few short years that small little child ran away as often as he could and more times than I can count. What none of us knew then was that running away was going to become a part of his life.  That in one form or another he was always going to be running away. He led a short, and sometimes hard life, and sometimes his choice in dealing with life was to run away, maybe not always figuratively, sometimes just emotionally and mentally. Sometimes, I am sure, it was just his adventuresome nature. But maybe now he has finally found peace and will not longer feel the need to run away.

RIP Little Brother. 

expressing myself with grief, sadness and sweet memories.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

I Love Rob's Grandma

A friend is now the caregiver for his 101 year old grandma. The fact that this single young man takes on such a tremendous responsibility, makes him a very special person indeed.  

Photo by Rob Jones

He would post photos of Grandma on Facebook. Endearing, funny, charming, loving photos of Grandma.  Immediately he captured the hearts of his audience and we all fell in love with Grandma.

Sometimes on the weekends, he would post photos of what he fixed Grandma for breakfast.  Delicious meals with a side of meds. Everyone would tease him and tell him to open a restaurant and serve his food with a side of meds.

Recently he started a blog - 

One L Short of Normal

Life with my Centenarian Grandmother and other Randomness

I think that him, and his Grandma, have found their calling.  I enjoy reading about Norma. And the photos - well, they just make me love her that much more. But, what I really enjoy, is Rob's take on it all.  

Thank you Rob for sharing your Grandma with the rest of us.  And thank you for being such a special person.  We now know where your Grandma gets it from. 

Read more about these two wonderful people by visiting their blog.


This blog is an exploration and celebration of my time as caregiver for my (currently 101 year old) Grandmother.   The original publication of this site coincides with the second anniversary of my mother’s untimely death at the age of 62.  Grandma was living with Mom when she passed and moved in with me shortly after Mom’s funeral.  ”One L Short of Normal” is something I’ve always teased my Grandma about.  Her first name is Norma, and she’s a rare sort of person with a strange way of looking at things.  She’s always been this way, apparently even from a young age.  She is a strange and wonderful persistent old lady who is definitely one “L” short of “normal”.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Up Early with Kindred Spirits

Early morning sunrise, photographing the daffodil fields with kindred spirits.

The early morning was filled with enthusiasm and anticipation. Good spirits filled the air as everyone got busy. The chill slowly faded, as the warmth of photographing the surrounding beauty, took hold. Fog rolled through the valley, providing a veiled cover as first light appeared, giving us a muted view of the landscape.

Suddenly, the sun burst over the mountain range, sending flares of bright light and saturating the landscape in vivid color.

Camera shutters snapped in rapid succession, trying desperately to catch that brief moment.

The anticipation of sunrise was now being realized and enjoyed.

The flowers in the field stretched to welcome the morning sun.  Soon the dew and the cold from the night would be warm and forgotten.

The welcome of a new day and the welcome of kindred spirits - a nice way to spend time.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Leave My Peaceful, Easy-Going Path Alone....

The path started out level, easy going, peaceful and fun.  But then someone, who shall remain nameless, decided that he needed to step in front of me on my nice little path, and put up a road block. This is all metaphorically speaking of course.

I belong to this wonderful little group/organization of people. I have been with them for over six years and I have enjoyed every minute. Then one day, out of nowhere, one of the members just up and decides he has a problem with me.  Actually it is a couple of them. They believe that I wronged them somehow, which I did not.

We are on the board together, have been for six years. He decided, out of the blue, to make some serious accusations against me, with no evidence to back it up.  Him, and the other nameless member, decided that it was time to push me out of the club.  Why are people like that? I can speculate about what their real motives are - and I would probably be pretty close to right, but what good what that do?  I just don't get people like that?

Luckily for me, the other board members took great offense to his accusations and proceeded to do a fantastic job of defending my honor. They say that when you are down, you find out who your true friends are, this couldn't have been more true with this group of people.  They really had my back.

Our little group meeting turned into a minor skirmish in a war zone. Shouting ensued, fingers were pointing, the accuser was flogged (not literally, just verbally). Proof was shown that his accusations were false.  The other members chastised him for his accusations, especially without any proof.  They could tell that he was just out to get me.  And yet, after all of that, he still did not apologize and worse, he didn't feel any remorse for what he said and did.  I just don't get it.  It floors me that someone can be like that.

The emotional upheaval I felt from the betrayal of this person, was a serious uphill climb for me.  But when I reached the top, I was greeted by something so wonderful, that the whole climb made it worth it.  I was greeted by a group of people that displayed such strong support for my honor and defended me with such skilled eloquence, that I will be eternally grateful to them.

May your little army of friends have your back.

Expressing myself with honorable gratitude to such wonderful people.  THANK YOU!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Communing with Nature

It was a nice sunny, almost warm day, so we decided to go for a little hike.

We stopped at a little spot to photograph the pond. What happened instead was nature grabbing my attention.

Nature was reminding me to stop and just enjoy the moment.

It was enjoyable to just watch the ducks as they paddled around, enjoying the sun and eating.

To watch eagles soaring from tree to tree.

To listen to the little creek babbling.

It was nature talking and I sat on a bench and just listened.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

When a Community Celebrates

For years, a little girl in our community went through treatment for Leukemia.  To celebrate her last treatment and her being cured from cancer, the Chief of  Police, and the town, threw her a parade.

                                                                                                         A community comes together to celebrate.

                  A community holds a parade.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Fun in the Sun

Fun in the sun. That phrase might make you think of a California beach - surfing, warm water, warm weather, the hot sun beating down on you.

That is not what, "fun in the sun" means here in the Pacific Northwest.  It mostly means that the sun is out. And that was what it was like on Saturday, February 2nd.

 It does not mean that it is warm - though it was a nice 50 degrees - and for us that is warm.

It doesn't mean going to the beach, though we might.  Unless it is an El Nino year and a super hot day, the water is freezing. The average water temperature around here is a cold 40-47 degrees.

Our 'fun in the sun' means it was  a sunny day. And a great day to have a  a paddle race in La Conner, WA.

Our 'fun in the sun' was a group of stand up paddles, rowing boats and kayaks - racing seven miles in the slough. Slugging their way through the currents. Paddling as fast as they can in as short amount of time as they can.

Seven miles of  constant pushing and pulling. Seven miles of paddling. Seven miles of standing (for some). Seven miles of heave ho.

Yes, that is what 'fun in the sun' means for those of us in the Pacific Northwest.

Saturday, January 26, 2013


I was asked to photograph the Skagit Symphony school concert. Each year the Skagit Symphony education committee organizes a concert for local elementary kids.  Over 1200 children participate. 

Buses pulled up to the curb unloading hundreds of children as they filed into McIntyre Hall.

 They filled the seats, excited with anticipation.

The Hall echoed as they clapped with enthusiasm.

For a brief time, the children were entertained and educated in Classical music.

Roupen talked about music and introduced the different instruments that make up the symphony.

Then the children in an orderly fashioned, lined up and proceeded to their buses. 

May all Generations be exposed to Good Music and remember to take time, 
like these children did, to appreciate the good things in life - Like Music!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Uncharged Territories

Uncharged Territories.  
Right vs Left 
 Logical vs creative.

Art is most powerful when it comes from our subconscious.  This is the time when the right brain is most active. That could be why our best ideas come to us when we are driving, half asleep, in the shower or daydreaming. Our left brain is on automatic, or in a relaxed state, allowing the right brain time to play.

With life being so hectic and stressed, it is difficult to put ourselves in a state of 'calm', to find our subconscious and let loose. Like all things, it takes PRACTICE!  The right brain has to be exercised like any other part of the body. 

While exercising the right brain, send the left brain away for quiet time. This quiet time allows the right brain to takeover. 

Forms of Exercise for the right brain.
  • Art is a form of exercise for the right brain. Creativity pushes the right brain into action which helps build its muscles. Like any muscle, the right brain will get weak if not used. 
  • Play  - Play games, play at art, play a musical instrument, play at sports.  Be like a child and  just play. Pull out the toys and play.
  • Do nothing - When you are doing nothing, or are bored, the right brain tends to venture forth.  This is probably why we doodle during boring meetings.
  • Daydream -   One of my personal favorites.  When daydreaming, a whole world is open to you.  Creativity flows, like a cool river. You can climb mountains with ease. Cross oceans in minutes. You are only limited by your imagination.
  • Dance -  Move the body - Move the mind.
  • Let your intuition takeover. Put the left side on hiatus and let the art flow.  
  • Visualize - Visual stimulation seen in paintings, drawings, photographs and more can stimulate the right brain. Visit art museums, go to artshows. Visually stimulate your right brain.
  • Feel it - Textile stimulation feeds the right brain.
  • Explore - Venture out of your comfort zone. Try a different medium or art. Take classes. Join groups.

When you exercise your right brain, you can increase it's function, the brains ability to expand creatively, to increase awareness, improve concentration and memory.

Learn to switch between the two sides, allowing them both to cooperate and help each other.  Using both sides of the brain makes you a well-rounded person.

If you are right-brain dominant, don’t forget to exercise your left brain.

A whole brain makes you a complete artist. 

The logical conclusion is to use both sides of your brain.   

The real power of art 
Is the ability to use both sides of the brain

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


She's Back....  Her name - Ego. She must have taken a temporary leave of absence during the holidays? But she came back the other day and she came back with a vengeance.  I liked it better when she wasn't here trying to usurp me, or scare everyone else away. She tends to be a bit overpowering and bossy sometimes - ok, she tends to be most of the time. And man, does she ever like to be the center of attention.  

I can't remember when she came to me originally? Or, when she took over? She was just there one day. I don't think it was suddenly? I think it was something that kind of grew over time? 

She is good at what she does. And she doesn't have a problem reminding me, or anyone else for that matter. But it would be nice sometimes if she would do it humbly, not arrogantly. It would be nice sometimes, if she would back off and let me, and others, have a chance to be in control, or have a say. 

I try, but sometimes I tend to forget until afterwards, not to feed her. She feeds off of control. She needs it. She craves it. The more she has, the stronger and more loud she becomes. Give her even the slightest control, or attention, and she stands up straight and lords over everyone. 

It is hard to tamper her down. To keep her in line. She is crafty and likes to lay low for awhile and then make sneak attacks. I don't always know when, or where, she is going to appear, she is just there suddenly - no warning. 

She's an ego. She needs to control. She wants to control. She is control. To send her away, or even get rid of her, would be like taking a small part of myself and causing it harm. Then what would I be without her? Would I be too timid? Would I let others run over me? Would I never get anything done? I need her, without her I might wither and die. But it would be nice if she would learn to share and to respect me. Maybe with time, her and I will learn to work well together. In the meantime, we will just battle on.