“Each day comes bearing it’s own gift. Untie the ribbons.” (BAH)

imagesThat was the writing prompt today in the journal class.  I don’t like to be reminded I should be happy, grateful . . .  I blame it on college – being surrounded by barefoot “flower children”, wearing tie-dye,  flowers stuck in flowing hair, singing about love (not to mention “practicing” it) while I was working 30 hours a week to pay for my education.  Did I mention I went to The University of California at Berkeley . . . ?

Berkeley was a foreign country across the world from the Arizona high school I had attended: Girls were allowed to wear pants to school one day a year – rodeo day; The only drug I knew about was aspirin; Acid was hydrochloric; If you went barefoot the bottom of your feet would be seared from the 124 degree summer heat and; “Love” was “necking” at the drive-in theatre. (It was aptly called “necking” as all the action took place from the neck up). 

I was out of my element in college.  I watched, listened, standing on the outside looking in and had no clue I was observing a cultural phenomena.  All my time and energy went to financial and academic survival.

Decades later hearing positive sayings, aphorisms, slogans my brain reels itself emotionally back to college when I was in survival mode – working, studying, envious of those who untied their ribbons and freely, spontaneously savored the gifts of each day of their lives.

Today I drive a VW Beetle with a peace sign on the side . . . go figure

DSCN2183

A peak into my world – Hit and Miss

"Here she goes . . .again"

Bob the Blobfish: “Here she goes . . .again”

Important background information

I remember the first time I was called “Ma’am”. It was spewed out by a 15-year-old bag bog at the supermarket. I was barely into my 30’s.

Stay with me

 This morning I had a heart halter monitor “installed” (Nothing serious – just trying to titrate off of anti-arrhythmia medication which necessitates 24 hour monitoring just in case my heart protests)  It’s always a bit sobering when I have anything heart related.  It reminds me that while I’m aging on the outside for the world to see my insides are wrinkling too.  On my way back I stopped at Costco for lunch.

Be patient it will all make sense

I often go to Costco for lunch or dinner (for those of you in other parts of the world – it’s a warehouse store where the smallest quantities are packaged for a family of 20).  I  feast on food samples being handed out to market products.  

The best times for dining are Saturdays and Sundays where the aisles are replete with men and women, wearing white things over their hair, dishing out miniscule samples of food.  It is a leisurely meal because it takes time going back for seconds and thirds without looking conspicuous.

Today there was a new product – energy bars. Energy is something I can always use so I stopped to eat.  The samples were being served by a very friendly, manipulative young man.   He was youthfully cute wearing a white thing over his hair .

He informatively explained, “WE only use the best ingredients.”  WE don’t use additives”, “OUR bars have low sodium  . . . ”  If I hadn’t been around the aisle a few times (figuratively and literally) I would have thought he owned the company or at least was a major imagesstockholder.

He encouraged me to try all the three flavors and sample as much as I wished.  What’a treat not having to sneak back for second and third helpings.  Instead of reeling down the aisles looking for the next food cart I lingered at the table slowly savoring each sample – very tasty. I read the label – good ingredients. Checked how many bars a package – good price.  I threw a box into my cart.  “Thank you, Miss”, he called out. The “MISS” ricocheted off my psyche just as the MA’AM had done decades earlier.

images-1I’m seriously thinking of going back to help him fine-tune how he markets to MATURE women.  This is what I’m going to tell him: Call women “Miss” from  20 to 50. Those are the ages when we desperately care and love the recognition that we still look youthful;  Call women 50 years and older Ma’am.  This is when WE crave respect, know how we look and NEED ENERGY to care.

If this helps him sell more energy bars I may ask for a cut.

I TOLD you if you stuck with me it would make sense.

Betty Blobfish: "Growing old is not for the faint of heart"

Betty Blobfish: “Growing old is not for the faint of heart”

 

New Findings! The Sun Revolves around the Earth . . .

(Parenthetically speaking: Human beings as we know them today maybe wired to their cells but their batteries are dead).

1 In 4 Americans Thinks The Sun Goes Around The Earth, Survey Says
by SCOTT NEUMAN

th
A quarter of Americans surveyed could not correctly answer that the Earth revolves around the sun and not the other way around, (100% of those surveyed read the National Inquirer for  science information) according to a report out Friday from the National Science Foundation.”

“The survey of 2,200 people in the United States was conducted by the NSF in 2012 and released on Friday at an annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Chicago.”

“To the question “Does the Earth go around the Sun, or does the Sun go around the Earth,” 26 percent of those surveyed answered incorrectly.” (ah, this explains why men don’t like to ask for directions when they are lost)

“In the same survey, just 39 percent answered correctly (true) that “The universe began with a huge explosion” and only 48 percent said “Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals”.  (Human beings as we know them today will end with a huge implosion)

Just over half understood that antibiotics are not effective against viruses. (The 50% that didn’t understand thought Anti Biotics was a rock band)

If you want to see how American’s understand fared against the China and Europe you’ll have to read the rest of the article because I’ve just lost my faith in human beings as we know them today and I’ve got to go find it . http://www.npr.org/

Winter Wonderlands by Ida & Freddie

Dear Best Friend, Ida, Human Being.

Thank you for sending me these pictures you took.  I’m sending you pictures I took.  Your pictures are very beautiful but you are right . . . It’s good I live in the West.

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT

The East

ice storm_-7

The West

2013-11-24 11.14.12The West

ice storm_The East

20131128_103201The West

ice storm_-8The East

ice storm_-2Dog Walking, The East

20131128_104209Human Walking, The West

ice storm_

I would make territory on this tree (when it’s spring)

Turkey Time is Haiku Time

Heartfelt Thanksgiving:

Thankful I’m not a turkey

I can’t  sing or dance 

Have a deeeeeeeeeelicious vegetarian Thanksgiving!

P.S.  Since my last post, Leo of Haiku-Heights has undecided to stop Haiku-Heights and redecided to continue!   (Don’t comment on my prose – it’s poetic license!)

Bonjour Haiku Heights

another new beginning!

No adieu for you

Four For 4-Love Flags

Pictures from The HeART of Spirituality & Creativity

Love flags representing the 4 kinds of love*

The first is the love that flows from God to man . . .  Through this love the world of being receives life. . . This love is the origin of all the love in the world of creation.”

Rachael, Hole in the middle =

Rachael

“The second is the love that flows from man to God. This is faith, attraction to the Divine. . . .This love is the origin of all philanthropy.”

Carol, #2 = #3 =

Carol, 

“The third is the love of God towards the Self or Identity of God This is the transfiguration of His Beauty, the reflection of Himself in the mirror of His creation. . . . . . .Through one ray of this love all other loves exists.”

Katie, the elements from the first two combined

Katie

“The fourth is the love of man for man.  The love which exists between the hears of believers is prompted by the ideal of the unity of spirits. . . ..This love will bring the realization of true accord, the foundation of real unity.”

Carol, Katie, Rachel The love for man flags to give to each other.

Carol, Katie, Rachel
The love for man flags were exchanged with each other

 

Katie, 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 -

Katie,
1 – Love that flows from God to man
2 – Love that flows from man to God
3 – Love of God towards the self
4 – Love of man for man

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Carol

1 – Love that flows from God to man
2 – Love that flows from man to God
3 – Love of God towards the self
4 – Love of man for man

Rachel 1 - 2- 3 -

Rachel

1 – Love that flows from God to man
2 – Love that flows from man to God
3 – Love of man for man

*From The Divine Art of Living, Baha’i Publishing, Wilmette, Illinois, 2006

Check out MORE Flags made on Week #1 – click here!:

Purple:  Truth'Pink:  Beauty - intertwined flame Green: birth & goodness by Jo Anne

Purple: Truth ‘Pink: Beauty – intertwined flame
Green: birth & goodness
by Jo Anne

Green: Plants & Life Orange: Monarch Butterfly Purple: Goodness, sparkly & shiney

Green: Plants & Life
Orange: Monarch Butterfly
Purple: Goodness, sparkly & shiny

Billy, Ricky, Rick, Rick, Duffy, Karen . . . & me

Ok guyz, stick with me and you’ll see the connections (what can I say?  It’s how my brain works).

In response to Freddie’s sorta-limerick post my Brother Rick sent his own limerick:

Dogs are incredibly likeable creatures
with many commendable features.
They sniff and they lick
and rarely get sick
whether named Freddie or Duffy* or Peaches

(couldn’t find a name to rhyme with features), Rick

Duffy, when Duffy was Duffy

*Duffy, when Duffy was Duffy who never changes and is always cute.

THEN I received the following e-mail from my high school classmate Karen:

“Okay Judy…I can’t resist playing a role in this Memories-on-Parade.  I happen to have pictures of BOTH of your secret loves…..tho not so very recent.  Bill Nelson in 4th grade and Ricky Clarke in 5th”. I went to Madison #2 and later Monte Vista “feeder” elementary schools to Camelback.  I still have a bunch class pictures from both…and therefore I am qualified to get into the middle of this fun.  See attached Smile  I’ll stay anonymous, Karen Howard L. ”

(ANONYMOUS!!!!- sorry Karen,  it’s the internet!  You are now an accomplice to my public confessions. I won’t publish your current last name to protect you a BIT).

Ricky - when it was RickY, 5th grade

Rick, when Rick was Ricky and I thought he was cute.
5th grade

Alas, Rick is no longer cute . . . he’s handsome.  Evidently I was prescient at a young age. (link)

Billy, when it was BillY 4th grade
Bill, when Bill was Billy
4th grade (now that is cute)

Link:

Past loves are incredibly lovable creatures

with many commendable features.

While making me spin

they grimace & grin 

whether named Billy or Ricky or Peaches.

(couldn’t find a male name to rhyme with features)

See! I told you it would all come together full circle & make sense to you . . . or . . . not . . .

 

IF – an open letter to Rick Clarke, My FIRST secret crush

Links to back stories so you are not as confused as “SOME people: 50th High School Reunion and My Secret Jealousies

______________________

I received this e-mail titled “My mega disappointment” this morning:

“Dear Little Miss Manners.  All of these decades I have lived with the illusion that I, Rick Clarke, was your secret crush. Now I have been outed in public that it was Billy Nelson, not I.  Oh what shall I do?”

Dear Rick,
IF you had been to the reunion AND read THE PROGRAM THAT EVERYONE IN ATTENDANCE RECEIVED you would know what I wrote: “Secret CrushES – (I would never have admitted it then) Bill Nelson’s falsetto and sense of humor, Rick(y) Clarke – cute, tall and kind“.

Rudyard*, not Rick Clarke

Rudyard*, not Rick**

IF you had been to the reunion YOU WOULD HAVE HEARD Mike Bewley read (with a wry smile) the afore-mentioned program, using the microphone  booming out for all to hear  emphasizing “RICK CLARKE TALL, CUTE & KIND and BILL . . . having a sense of humor . . .)

If you had been to the reunion YOU would have heard me ask YOU and Bill to come to the podium where I would declare, IN PUBLIC, my undying secret crush on YOU SINCE GRADE SCHOOL . . . and Bill.

Devastated to hear Rick Clarke was not at the reunion

Devastated to hear Rick was not at the reunion

If you had been at the reunion you would have seen me look longingly around the room, waiting for you to rush to the podium, but hearing instead an anonymous voice call out “Rick’s not here.”  Being the consummate professional, I continued, never showing my hurt and disappointment that again I wasn’t even important enough to you to come to the reunion to see me.

If you had been to the reunion YOU would have seen how EMBARRASSED BILL was, possibly indicating he never crushed me back and was disturbed by the thought that I, instead of Kay Wester adored him . . . further devastating my fragile psyche, and denying me the fall back position of focusing on YOU.

(Charlotte too declared her secret crush to be Bill thank goodness she never told him in high school or I would have been COMPLETELY devastated to watch BOTH a secret crush and a secret jealousy be boyfriend and girlfriend and get married and attend the reunion as husband and wife further wounding me for the rest of the time I have here on Earth).

If you had been to the reunion YOU would know that since you spurned me FIRST, and scarred me for a lifetime I have ever more been too frightened to tell anyone I had a crush on them, thus denying me the REMOTE pleasure and knowledge, that it might have been humanly possible for any male, much less Bill,  to crush me back . . . instead of them always yearning after Kay Wester and Charlotte Mills.

If you had been to the reunion YOU would know that I adored you FIRST since GRADE SCHOOL before I ever met Bill Nelson.  But because you spurned me I had to turned my sights to Bill since he AT LEAST spent time with me in High School whereas you completely ignored me.  (I admit though that Bill damaged me more than you since he kept my hope up longer by spending time with me).

If you had been to the reunion and had taken the time to come and SEE ME YOU would not be wallowing in self-pity, hurt feelings and otherwise unbecoming behavior for a grown MAN, which you were not when I had my crush on you.

And so, my dearest Rick,

Please be comforted to know YOU will always be in my heart

as the FIRST to ignore me.

_____________________________________

Rudyard, not Rick

Rudyard, not Rick**

*True Story, in addition to the above TRUE story:

When I was in grade school (with Ricky Clark) I had Rudyard Kipling’s poem IF in a frame hanging in my bedroom.  Haven’t a clue how I got it but NOW (thanks to Rick) I realize it was to portend things to come:

Here’s the last stanza which use to read over and over trying to understand how it applied to me.  (true)

“If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, (yup, all the way until senior year in college)
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch, (yup, still common)
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, (Rick Clarke and Bill Nelson – probably Kay and Charlotte too)
If all men count with you, but none too much: (NOW that’s the truth, I never got TOO much from Bill or Rick)
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run (been running toward forgiveness for 60 YEARS)
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!” (Maybe that’s why I’m so confused . . .)
Rudyard Kipling

_______________________________________________

Full Disclosure & Disclaimer AGAIN . . .:

  • I did have a framed poem IF, by Kipling on my bedroom wall and pondered it.
  • Names have STILL NOT been changed as NO one, any longer, is innocent.
  • Small details may not be 100% accurate as research indicates that time can affect memory and the reunion was (can’t remember how many) days ago.
  • And FINALLY Still! No apologies to anyone I might have offended.

**P.S.  Rick, I can NOT find one picture of you to post to PROVE I had great taste, even at such a young age, and you were indeed CUTE and TALL.  IF you are still cute and tall please send me a picture.

Rudyard, not cute

Rudyard, not cute

 

50th High School reunion: My Secret Jealousies – not so secret now

In addition to confessing I had a major crush on Bill Nelson,

I admitted I had been secretly jealous of Kay Wester and Charlotte Mills.

Kay

Kay

 

Camelback, Charlotte

Charlotte

Charlotte and Kay were beautiful, smart, talented and accomplished. Both were leads in school plays (I always had a character bit part).  AND they were coordinated and agile to boot! – Kay was a cheerleader, Charlotte on the  Pom Pom team.  (I had 3 left feet – you can still count them – no rhythm and would have died before I wore an outfit in public that showed any part of my body above the knee).   

To add insult to my self-inflected injury I really liked them both.  Kay was one of my best friends.

Serendipitously, I just read a research article  on envy“By measuring the electrical activity of cheek muscles, the researchers show that people smile more when someone they envy experiences misfortune or discomfort . . . researchers found that people are actually biologically responsive to taking pleasure in the pain of others, a reaction known as “Schadenfreude.”  

At the reunion I was hoping that perhaps I could take a bit of pleasure finding out that after 50 years they were no longer beautiful, smart, talented and accomplished.  Drats!  Denied of Schadenfreude!

Our Town: Me as Professer Willard, Kay had the lead!

Our Town: Me as Professor Willard, Kay had the lead

They now have ADDED 50 years worth of more beauty,  intelligence, talent and accomplishment.  Thankfully,  they didn’t get out on the dance floor at the reunion, leaving me at least with the fantasy that they are no longer agile, coordinated and have finally lost their rhythm,  like me.

*    *   *

“One hour’s reflection is preferable to seventy years of pious worship”  (Guess I need to start reflecting again –  for my next 70 years)Baha’u’llah, Baha’i faith

50th High School Reunion, Hits & Misses

“It is good to laugh. Laughter is spiritual relaxation.” Baha’i  

Prologue

I received a short questionnaire for publication in the Camelback High School, class of 1963 reunion book.  For “memories” I wrote: “Secret crushes (I would never have admitted it then) Bill Nelson . . . “

Bill was (and I assume, still is) charismatic, smart, sang beautifully and had a wonderful sense of humor. I ADORED Bill. 

We were both very involved in student government, spent a lot of time concocting skits and pranks for school assemblies, planning school activities . . . like dances.   He rarely, maybe never, asked me to dance at the dances (almost no boy did but that’s another post) so the closest I came to physical contact was when he threw me over his shoulder in a comedy skit for a school assembly – physical pain,  emotional nirvana.

Looking back, I was popular in high school.  Just not “popular” in the way girls wanted to be . . . Bill treated me like a good FRIEND – damn! – and having NO clue how to flirt or give ANY cues I was “available” I treated him the same – damn!

Thus lies the back story for what I now share about my 50th high school reunion. OH What a Night!

Here are highlights:

Our eyes lock across the crowded room. 1,000 of the 500 students in my Camelback High graduating class, recede to the perimeters. (Perhaps my glaucoma is worse than I was told). My heart beats faster and faster (my pacemaker kicks in) and as the air is sucked out of the room, my stomach sucks in (I didn’t have to wear a “support garment” after all).

SAM_0906_2

Bill & Me – stupefied onlookers, Kay (Wester) and Charlotte (Mills)

THERE HE IS, Bill Nelson, my high school secret crush! The boy I worshipped secretly from afar for 4 years. If only I had been “man enough” to tell him in high school, if only he had been a “man” . . . we run toward each other in slow motion (my joint pain vanishes – maybe it’s the slow motion?) “Bill, Bill, Bill,” I murmur as we hug . . . passionately. “Why didn’t you ever ask me out? Why didn’t you love me back?”  But in this moment in time there is no need for words, touch tells me we are destined to be together.

“Judy, this is my wife, . . ..” My heart stops, my pacemaker paces (miracle of modern medicine) my stomach drops to the floor (it’s a good thing, after all, I’m wearing a “support garment”). I squint (it’s hard to see in the dimly lit room without my glasses). Mrs-Bill-Nelson smiles broadly and reaches out. I’m not sure if she said something gracious or not since the audible sound of catching my breath reverberates throughout my skull. “Pleased to meet you”, I mumble.

Miraculously from the podium, I hear my name: “When Judy talked in class I listened. She was so smart, so astute, so genuine, so wise, so kind, so loving, so compassionate . . .  (I think he forgot beautiful BUT, no matter, his memory probably isn’t what it used to be). He goes on and on for what seems like a lifetime.

Mike Bewley, the M.C. of the night, successful lawyer . . . my thoughts racing now as fast as my pace maker can pace: He MUST be successful because he collects modern art (I LOVE modern art); FREE legal counsel (my client’s records have just been subpoenaed); He’s filled out rather nicely; handsome; debonair; I LOVE his self-deprecating humor combined with an air of confident authority.

I can’t feel the ground as I walk in slow motion towards Mike, away from what’s-her-name-Mrs-Bill-Nelson. A hush stills the air. All eyes are on me, watching with bated breath. My heart pounding, pounding in my chest (Good that I remembered to pack my cardiologists phone number with my blood pressure monitor) My heart beats faster and faster (my pacemaker kicks in again) as the air is sucked out of the room and my stomach returns from the

Mike & Me

Mike & Me

floor).

We share the podium and the microphone, Mike Bewley and I, as if we are one.  Looking into each other’s eyes he flashes a PERFECT smile silently acknowledging the forever bond we share – both of us wearing braces all 4 years of high school. He continues, on and on and on . . . passionately, unabashedly declaring his worship of me OUTLOUD to all in the room. Our classmates smile knowingly.

DSCN5220

My prize . . . of the night

“Judy, you have won a prize”! Mike announces, his voice booming. “Just go to the gift table behind me and pick any package you want”. I choose the smallest package. It will fit in my luggage. (A magnifying glass . . . I can use another one.)

As my 50th reunion is coming to an end I turn to leave. A tall, imposing, yet gentle, man blocks my way. “Judy, it’s Terry. Stop! Don’t go! I have to see you before you leave.” I look up into his eyes . . . soft, kind. Who is this man? My misty eyes blindly searching for his name tag . . . Terry? Terry? Terry? I can feel my brain searching, searching its data banks. Terry, Terry, Terry . . . my head still swimming with the pain of unrequited love.

Of course! TERRY Gardner, retired dentist: Smart, successful, (enough money to be retired); the man who took time to write ME a PERSONAL invitation – It was obvious he had painstakingly searched through all the year books to find MY pictures; to write a PERSONAL invitation desperately hoping I would attend the reunion. With laser focus my mind retrieves the picture of Terry on the invitation – Terry, flashing a big grin sitting on a motorcycle – a combination of power, strength, adventure (I don’t think he was wearing any gang insignia).

“Judy, I read your post about receiving my invitation and shared it with my wife. She thought it was funny”.  I

Terry & What's-her-name-Mrs-Terry-Gardner. I SWEAR SHE was NOT in the original picture he sent ME.

Terry & What’s-her-name-Mrs-Terry-Gardner. I could SWEAR SHE was NOT in the original picture he sent ME.

don’t remember anything about a wife . . . He’s definitely a biker . . . probably not an adulterer . . .

Epilogue

I pick up my luggage when I arrive at the Orange County airport terminal. My husband is waiting for me at the curb. He smiles when he sees me. “I missed you. How was the reunion”?

“It’s was ok: Hardly anyone danced; the food was so-so; I ate one of each kind of dessert but they weren’t as good as I hoped.”

“Are you glad you went?” he asks without waiting for reply, “We didn’t have a chance to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary before you left. What would you like to do?”

I’m so confused. I hope it isn’t a sign of aging . . .

Full Disclosure & Disclaimer:

  • Names have NOT been changed as NO one, any longer, is innocent.
  • Small details may not be 100% accurate as research indicates that time can affect memory and the reunion was 4 days ago.
  • Parenthetical remarks are fully documented and on file.
  • No apologies to anyone I might have offended – I’m approaching 70 and too tired to care . . . anymore . . .

P.S. Sending my unabashedly public love to ALL my classmates of 1963

click here for my High School Reunion post #1

The Wild West

Wasn’t able to post from Phoenix, Arizona while I was there for my 50th high school reunion – couldn’t get internet access.

I stayed with a wonderful high school friend, Sharon and her husband Norris.  They have an incredible house in Cave Creek.  Here are a few pictures of  their neighborhood!  (Except for the first picture from the plane and the last picture of the Mouse)

DSCN5062

Flying into Phoenix

 

DSCN5077

Architecture

DSCN5198

Holes in saguaro cactus where Cactus Wrens nest.

The Arizona-Desert Museum: The saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) is one of the defining plants of the Sonoran Desert. These plants are large, tree-like columnar cacti that develop branches (or arms) as they age, although some never grow arms. These arms generally bend upward and can number over 25. Saguaro are covered with protective spines, white flowers in the late spring, and red fruit in summer.

DSCN5087Range

You find this cactus in southern Arizona and western Sonora, Mexico. At the northern portion of their range they are more plentiful on the warmer south facing slopes. A few stray plants can also be found in southeast California.

Life Span

With the right growing conditions, it is estimated that saguaros can live to be as much as 150-200 years old.DSCN5209

Size

Saguaro are very slow growing cactus. A 10 year old plant might only be 1.5 inches tall. Saguaro can grow to be between 40-60 feet tall (12-18m). When rain is plentiful and the saguaro is fully hydrated it can weigh between 3200-4800 pounds.

Extra Fun-facts

  • The saguaro is the largest cactus in the United States.
  • Most of the saguaro roots are only 4-6 inches deep and radiate out as far from the plant as it is tall. There is one deep root, or tap-root that extends down into the ground more than 2 feet.
  • After the saguaro dies its woody ribs can be used to build roofs, fences, and parts of furniture. The holes that birds nested in or “saguaro boots” can be found among the dead saguaro. Native Americans used these as water containers long before the canteen was available.


DSCN5191 DSCN5214

Extra Fun-facts:

  • In Arizona you can carry a gun, concealed or open, without a permit!
  • Grasshopper mice are being studied about how they turn off pain pathways when being stung by scorpions. The  mouse is immune to scorpion venom and eats them like sirloin steak treats.
  • The first day I was there Sharon told me to keep a light on in the guest bathroom JUST IN CASE a scorpion decides to come in for a drink of water in the night.  (Next time I go I’m bringing a Grasshopper mouse with me) 
Grasshopper Mouse with his dinner snack

Grasshopper Mouse with his dinner snack

Come Fly with Me!!

John Wayne Airport is only 15 – 20 – 30 or 60 minutes (depending on traffic) from my home.  I pay more for a ticket from JWA than if I flew out of Los Angeles International.  It’s worth every penny because I get more for my money. I want to share my ride with you.  Buckle up!

“Steep takeoffs land JWA on ‘scariest airports’ list”

“John Wayne Airport is known for one of America’s most stomach-churning takeoffs, an abrupt, steep ascent which can make passengers feel like they are blasting into space.”

“The take-offs fly over one of the wealthiest cities in the United States, Newport Beach.  Its mayor, Keith Curry, has stated that Newport was determined to reduce noise pollution. “We’ll do anything we can to reduce the impact.”  (My guess is he has never flown out of JWA.  He probably is chauffeured to Los Angeles International where he flies in a private jet)

Interviews and safety reports filed by pilots offer a glimpse into what sets John Wayne takeoffs apart.

“It starts on the runway, which is short compared to those at other Southern California airports. You hear the engines revving up before you start moving; that’s the pilot doing the airline equivalent of pushing the gas before easing off the brakes, to get a quicker start”.

“You feel the nose lifting up, and up, and up. Air carriers leave John Wayne at an angle of between 20 and 25 degrees, according to several accounts. That’s about twice as steep as the departure from other airports, often around 10 to 15 degrees”.

“The sharp departure gets air carriers higher, faster, over the homes below – and the airport noise sensors”. (the Newport Mayor smiles)

“Shortly after takeoff, you might feel a sudden sinking sensation. The pilot has just cut engine power by up to 15 percent, from the full blast of takeoff to the steady drive of the climb. The plane is still rising, just not as steeply as before – creating what retired commercial pilot Jim Dunlap called that momentary light-in-the-seat” feeling”.

.  . . . Your plane leaving John Wayne is still climbing at 15 degrees”.

“It will keep that up until it gets over the ocean (this is where the attendant TELLS you, that in the event of crashing into the beautiful blue waters of the Pacific, you need to dislodge the seat cushion and use it as a floatation device.  I’ve never seen that DEMONSTRATED from an actual seat where you have to stand on the cushion to get in or out.) and away from the noise sensors, or until it’s high enough not to set off a violation with them”.

“From there, the departure procedure, that the website airfarewatchdog.com compared to a missile launch, should feel like any other flight (with the exception of grown men crying and women praying)

 Orange County Register

John Wayne Rides Again!!

By DOUG IRVING / THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

50th High School Reunion – An Open Letter to Terry G.

Dear Terry G.,

Thank you for your invitation to our 50th high school reunion this coming weekend in Phoenix.  However . . .  I would have appreciated a warning notice that the invite was coming with an alert to be sitting down before I read it.    Your first sentence: “Oh my gosh . . . a half a century . . . just doesn’t seem possible!”  set off an eye twitch that has not subsided.

50 years!!!!!!!!  Half a century!!!!!     Terry, Terry, Terry, when we were in high school, people our current age were dead at worst or senile at best.  Please never lead off any invitation with a reference to centuries or decades.

To add to the assault you included my senior class picture.  Please don’t get me wrong – I appreciate your taking the time to scan pictures into your invite and I admire your creativity but honestly Terry my second eye started twitching.

Senior Picture

Senior Picture

WHO is that girl?   You must have air-brushed the wrinkles out, colored the hair?  I absolutely remember that is NOT how I looked.  I was much plainer looking . . . (no wonder I’m a psychotherapist)

You went the extra mile scanning the picture of the student body executive board into your invitation but . . .  when I saw it I got queasy. I had big crush on the President, Bill Nelson.  He never seemed interested in me so I never told anyone.  Unrequited love really hurts . . . (no wonder I have a heart arrhythmia.)

Judy, Senior, board Pic

You really went all out to include a list of all the honors & activities I was involved in. Wow!  I was really active(no wonder I’m always tired now).

However, Terry, it’s the very last entry in the list of accolades and activities that created outright nausea:

Miss “Senior Hambone”

I am looking forward to seeing you Terry.  It has been a very long time.  I’m glad you included your senior picture and your current picture on the invitation so I will recognize you.  You’ll have no trouble recognizing me.  I’ll be the one with both eyes twitching, periodically running to the bathroom.

judy

Oh, NOOOoooo What did they do to my Oreo!?


Twist, Lick, Dunk,

The world has indeed shrunk

Technology aside, here’s REAL proof the world is changing right before our very teeth!

Rethinking The Oreo For Chinese Consumers

by ROBERT SMITH

“If an Oreo isn’t round and black and white and crazy sweet, is it still an Oreo? What is the essence of Oreoness?”

“It turns out that if you didn’t grow up with Oreos and develop an emotional attachment to the cookie, it can be a weird-tasting little thing. And this started a whole process in the Chinese division of Kraft of rethinking what the essence of an Oreo really is.”

“Kraft changed the recipe and made the cookie more chocolatey. The cream less cloying.”

“They started to ask other provocative questions.”

“Why does an Oreo have to be black and white? Davis sent us an Oreo with green tea filling. Another had a bright orange center divided between mango and orange flavor.”

“And why should an Oreo be round? They developed Oreos shaped like straws. In China, you can buy a long rectangular Oreo wafer, the length of your index finger.”

“Impossible to twist apart, but Davis points out that it makes it easier to dunk in milk”

“What the Chinese team at Kraft figured out is that an Oreo is an experience. You pry it apart, scrape out the filling with your teeth and plop it into a glass of milk. Their shorthand for the concept: “Twist, Lick, Dunk.”‘

Read or hear the entire story at:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/01/27/145918343/rethinking-the-oreo-for-chinese-consumers?ft=1&f=100

Spontaneous Human Combustion: What you didn’t know you wanted to know!

Human Combustion

Very strange phenomena

 One way to know truth

Spontaneously

Rise from ashes Phoenix-like

Give skeptics the bird

“In December 1966, the body of 92-year-old Dr. J. Irvin­g Bentley was discovered in his Pennsylvania home by a meter reader. Actually, only part of Dr. Bentley’s leg and slippered foot were found. The rest of his body had been burned to ashes. A hole in the bathroom floor was the only evidence of the fire that had killed him; the rest of the house remained perfectly intact.

How could a man catch fire — with no apparent source of a spark or flame — and then burn so completely without igniting anything around him? Dr. Bentley’s case and several hundred others like it have been labeled “spontaneous human combustion” (SHC). Although he and other victims of the phenomenon burned almost completely, their surroundings, and even sometimes their clothes, remained virtually untouched.

Can humans spontaneously burst into flames? A lot of people think spontaneous human combustion is a real occurrence, but most scientists aren’t convinced.

What is Spontaneous Human Combustion?

Spontaneous combustion occurs when an object — in the case of spontaneous human combustion, a person — bursts into flame from a chemical reaction within, apparently without being ignited by an external heat source.

The first known account of spontaneous human combustion came from the Danish anatomist Thomas Bartholin in 1663, who described how a woman in Paris “went up in ashes and smoke” while she was sleeping. The straw mattress on which she slept was unmarred by the fire.

The hundreds of spontaneous human combustion accounts since that time have followed a similar pattern: The victim is almost completely consumed, usually inside his or her home. Coroners at the scene have sometimes noted a sweet, smoky smell in the room where the incident occurred.

What makes the charred bodies in the photos of spontaneous human combustion so peculiar is that the extremities often remain intact. Although the torso and head are charred beyond recognition, the hands, feet, and/or part of the legs may be unburned. Also, the room around the person shows little or no signs of a fire, aside from a greasy residue that is sometimes left on furniture and walls. In rare cases, the internal organs of a victim remain untouched while the outside of the body is charred.

Not all spontaneous human combustion victims simply burst into flames. Some develop strange burns on their body which have no obvious source, or emanate smoke from their body when no fire is present. And not every person who has caught fire has died — a small percentage of people have actually survived what has been called their spontaneous combustion.”

Was I right?

You REALLY didn’t know you wanted to know this!

or

You now regret knowing this?

or

You now regret knowing me?

(This is undoubted not the way I’ll go. I usually am cold and sleep year round with a comforter.) 

If you are interested in the theories behind SHC here are links for more information:

http://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/unexplained-phenomena/shc.htm

The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry:

http://www.csicop.org/si/show/not-so-spontaneous_human_combustion/

Aristotle and me

“Criticism is something we can avoid easily by

saying nothing, doing nothing and being nothing.”

As I look back it’s apparent that one of the “outgrowths” of  my having a chronic condition is that I’ve become more and more outspoken.  It’s not a product of growing wisdom but rather of decreasing patience and/or just not giving a hoot.  

Whatever the reason it’s nice to think that Aristotle would approve.

Wikipedia: Aristotle quotes (Ancient Greek Philosopher, Scientist and Physician, 384 BC-322 BC)

“Aristotle was born in Stageira, Chalcidice, in 384 BC, Greece.

His father Nicomachus was the personal physician to King Amyntas of Macedon. Aristotle was trained and educated as a member of the aristocracy. gave lessons not only to King Alexander, but also to two other future kings: Ptolemy and Cassander.

In his Politics, Aristotle states that only one thing could justify monarchy, and that was if the virtue of the king and his family were greater than the virtue of the rest of the citizens put together.[7]

Aristotle not only studied almost every subject possible at the time, but made significant contributions to most of them. In physical science, Aristotle studied anatomy, astronomy, embryology, geography, geology, meteorology, physics and zoology. In philosophy, he wrote on aesthetics, ethics, government, metaphysics, politics, economics, psychology, rhetoric and theology. He also studied education, foreign customs, literature and poetry. His combined works constitute a virtual encyclopedia of Greek knowledge.

It has been suggested that Aristotle was probably the last person to know everything there was to be known in his own time.[10]

It’s ALL about ME! I am Fantastic! MeMeTastic Award!

I received the MeMetastic blog award from Maureen of the “MoMoTastic” Blog:

http://moisbloggingithink.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/memetastic.png&h=240

Now that I’ve received the award I must do a few things to prove I merit the award:

  1. Proudly display the award in a post.
  2. List 5 things about myself  and 4 of the 5 must be BOLD FACE LIES. (your readers must guess which one is the truth)
  3. Pass this prestigious award on, to 5 deserving bloggers.
Here are my 5 stories. You have to figure out which one and ONLY ONE is completely truthful.

1. When I turned 21 my Mother told me that I  was adopted and that my bio Mother was a famous Movie star who had me out of wed-lock and wasn’t allowed to keep me because she would not be able to get roles if the public knew she had a child.  My mother helped me blackmail my bio-movie-star mother for a lot of money.  We used the money wisely, buying a new house, new cars, new wardrobe, vacation cottage on the shore, 3 trips abroad, tummy tucks, and war bonds.  To this day I do not have to work – I work by choice – because I have enough money to live lavishly for the rest of my life.  My bio mother is so grateful that I never, to THIS day, divulged who she is that she now voluntarily supports me.  I am very grateful she gave me away.

2.  I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature.  I turned down a full scholarship to attend Yale as a Masters/Ph.D. candidate in Medieval Literature because I was young and stupid.  Now I’m old and stupid because I would do the same thing again because I find Chaucer boring and it snows in Connecticut. I have always regretted that I didn’t follow in my bio-Movie-Star Mother’s footsteps and study drama instead of English Literature so I could be a movie star. I could have been Meryl Streep.

3.  Following in my bio-Movie Star-Mother’s footsteps and 3-upping her, I have 3 illegitimate children who are now very famous.  I gave them away so they would have a better life than I could provide as a single, promiscuous mother.  My first child is a famous movie star who looks just like me and my bio-Movie Star Mother.  My second child is a famous opera singer who sings like a bird, just like me.  My third child is a famous physicist who thinks just like me.  They are very grateful I gave them away.

4.  Max is not my dog. Originally He was a fictitious marketing strategy. I borrowed him from our next door neighbor to take pictures of him when people  began to believe he was real.  I do not have any pets because I do not like to clean up their poop.   Max’s real name is Homer and not only is he illegitimate, he is illiterate.  All of the posts and comments from “Max” are written by a ghost writer named Rover.  I am ashamed to admit this but am also relieved that the truth is finally out.  And my neighbor can no longer blackmail me to support her with the money I get from my bio-movie-star Mother.

5. My bio-Movie-Star Mother set me up in show business in college hoping I wouldn’t blackmail her.  I started out as a go-go dancer and got gigs dancing GO-Go with the Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Moby Grape and at the first “Trips Festival” (produced by the famous Bill Graham) at the wharf in San Francisco.  There were three of us Go-Goes and we called ourselves Go-Go Unlimited. We advertised in a San Francisco paper and couldn’t figure out why we kept getting calls from men who wanted us to dance in their hotel rooms.  We decided to turn down the hotel room gigs because we wanted larger venues. We made $50 an hour each which was a lot of money in the 60’s.  I regret to this day that I didn’t continue dancing because I would be a lot thinner and in much better shape than I am now.

And NOW, TA DA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s your TURN.

1.  Guess which one is the only one that is completely truthful, well, maybe not COMPLETELY OR
2.  Guess which one I WISH was completely truthful   OR
3.  Guess which one is YOUR fantasy

Leave your guess in a comment.  In a few days I will make a new post, and reveal who is right.

And NOW, TA DA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!These are the 5 blogs (included in my favorites) I have chosen to pass on the award.  Guess WHY:

1.  These Bloggers are the best liars I know.
2.  These Bloggers are too truthful and need to learn how to fantasize
3.  These bloggers are bored and have nothing better to do

(You can visit the MeMetastic Hop to see  the list of recipients of this FANTASTIC award)

IS THIS AN HONOR . . . . or what?

Top Ten Ways: How to Get Through the Winter.

I can barely imagine what it is like to be “snow bound”.  Having spent all of my life (minus the first year) in the SouthWest I have no concept of living in a State of Snow.  One of my dearest friends Jann lives in Minnesota.  Jann has fibromyalgia yet she walks 2 hours every day, rain or snow. (Blizzards excluded)

This is for you Jann!


#10:  Schedule 15 minutes every day to be depressed and then Zumba the rest of the time.

#9.  Go to Brazil for a Bikini Wax

#8 Crank up the thermostat and go to bed with “Ben & Jerry Chunky Monkey”

#8  Stoke the furnace and go to bed with Ben

#7  If Ben Doesn’t work try the Monkey

#6 Fill the basement with sand and sit under an umbrella in a bikini (see #9, you’ve already had the wax)

#5  Be grateful.  It could be summer, 100 degrees with 90% humidity and you skipped #9

#4 Start training for the Iditarod.

#3  Make Snow Angels and become rich by selling them on Etsy (or e-bay)

#2 Run for Governor, become a Vice Presidential Candidate and get the hell out of the freezing weather

AND THE NUMBER ONE WAY TO GET THROUGH THE WINTER . . .

#1 MOVE TO SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA NOW!

The Land of MAX

In the Eye of the Beholder

A big part of my job as a psychotherapist is helping people see things from a different perspective.  When they come to me the perspective they are stuck in isn’t helping, working, it’s outdated or just plain wrong for the circumstance they are in.

Personally and professionally I know how hard it is to look at our own lives objectively.  For that matter it’s hard to look at other people’s lives objectively.  since our own experiences, beliefs, personalities and biases color the lens we look through.

Maybe it’s why I love psychology, creative expression and BLOGS – they all bring new perspectives to my world.

Take a look at this beautiful perspective of  the world we all share.

 

Incredible Pictures from ISS by NASA astronaut Wheelock

http://triggerpit.com/2010/11/22/incredible-pics-nasa-astronaut-wheelock/

Tutorial Time: 3 faces

If I look at the 3 faces in relationship to my fibromyalgia:  The left is when I’m fibro-fogged and one brain and the other aren’t fully communicating;  The middle is when I’m in pain and gritting my teeth but beginning to come together; the right is my face to the world when I’m feeling “blue”.

This was FUN!!! to do.  It’s quick and easy.
 Look at JudithWestefield.wordpress.com for the tutorial on how to do this yourself.

Later than I think!

Came across this picture o me at my 50th birthday party.  I got a wand, a crown and a boa!

“You work and work for years and years, you’re always on the go

You never take a minute off, too busy makin’ dough
Someday, you say, you’ll have your fun, when you’re a millionaire
Imagine all the fun you’ll have in your old rockin’ chair

Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think
Enjoy yourself, while you’re still in the pink
The years go by, as quickly as a wink
Enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think
You’re gonna take that ocean trip, no matter, come what may
You’ve got your reservations made, but you just can’t get away
Next year for sure, you’ll see the world, you’ll really get around
But how far can you travel when you’re six feet underground?”
Picture of me at my 65th birthday party.  I got a cane with a warning horn and a crossing sign!  Ouch.


“Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think
Enjoy yourself, while you’re still in the pink
The years go by, as quickly as a wink
Enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think”
Lyrics
Songwriters: Magidson, Herbert; Sigman, Carl;

Kitchen Sinks, a walk in the park and Mom


I have few memories of my childhood.  I do remember my Mom insisting the kitchen sink be scrubbed clean every evening after dinner.  I remember the smell of scouring powder when it was wet.
 
I remember my Mom planting sweet peas along the chicken wire fence in our back yard.  I no longer remember the smell of my Mom but I remember the smell of the sweet peas.

My husband Dave and I took a walk in the park behind our house today.  It’s small, hilly and the walking trail winds below and above houses.  The hills are beautiful, filled with wild yellow mustard, so tall you can’t see over them.

In the midst of the bright yellow was a large patch of purple – purple sweet peas.  Whether it was man or bird that decided a swath of purple would be just the right thing to compliment the yellow of the mustard it was a delightful surprise.

I picked a large bunch.  The brittle stems snapping easily with my fingers and carefully carried them and Mom the rest of our walk.

Mr H.

Rosemary Lee has fibromyalgia and a wonderful dog Mr. H.   
Rosemary and I both know that those with four legs are often more gracious, grateful and loving in times of pain than those of us with only two.
This is a post from Rosemary’s blog



Tonight is a pain night.


Funnily enough, it was a pretty good day. Now, this morning I was greeted with the ever-familiar muscle stiffness and pain but after a while it subsided into a dull ache that was manageable. Then tonight, all of a sudden, pain slammed me against the wall.

What the heck happened?

I have no fricking clue.

So, in order to take my mind off the pain in my hands and the rest of my body, I decided to type. 
I looked at Mr. H who is getting up in years. His little legs are starting to give out but the poor little guy remains his happy little self. He greets his pack with all the enthusiasm of his youth. Even though his little legs give out he still runs and he wags his tail with his whole body. 

Mr. H also never passes up the chance to go for a ride in the car. He loves a joyride and takes great pleasure in letting the air hit his face. Again, his legs will give out but he gets right up and stands so he can put his head out of the window to feel the breeze. 


Even though his age is getting to him he still eats with gusto and protects his “bone bag” from intruders. He lets nothing go to waste and doesn’t stress if he isn’t quite as trim as he used to be. He enjoys laying in the grass to keep cool. He stays quiet and gathers his thoughts and takes pleasure in the rest.

Mr. H is content. 

No matter what his body is doing to him he is satisfied that all his needs are met. He doesn’t focus on what he isn’t able to do he just does what he wants. If he needs to stop he does…….no complaining or whining. 

He accepts his limitations. 

I should be more like H.

(he doesn’t leave the house without his I.D.)

Pain & Pleasure, Processing

Pain

I posted the basic tutorial on how to do your own Pain & Pleasure Therapeutic Creative Journal entry on my other blog JudithWesterfieldFibromyalgia.com.  Since I’m doing two blogs and have limited time and energy I am splitting this entry between the blogs.  Please do check out http://JudithWesterfieldFibromyalgia.blogspot.com for the tutorial.

These pictures were done by a participant at the *TOSS training today.  And I’d like to show you how to begin to process Therapeutic Creative Expression to begin to uncover unconscious meanings and messages.

Even though these are pictures you created you can process them from your own perspective.  We all can project our own experiences onto other’s work.  I’ll provide the prompts — GIVE IT A TRY!

(In parenthesis are my own projections to give you an example of how I would process this picture as my own.)

Take a look at the two people in the middle:

  • What part of you is “behind your own pain and holding onto it“? (Example:  The part of me that holds onto my pain is the part that wants an excuse not to do certain things that I don’t like to do!)
  • I wonder why both are smiling?  (Example:  I put on a smile for others, even though I might not feel very well)
  • The girl in front looks less comfortable because her head is at an awkward angle. (I often am very fatigued and feel like I don’t want to keep my head up, much less my appearance)

I’m going to close for now — it’s been a long day since I got up at 7 am to make it to the TOSS training to give my presentation — and I’m fading.  Stay tuned for the PLEASURE picture which I’ll process next.

P.S.  Check out http://www.TOSSociety.org. A great organization that provides, FREE services (did I say FREE!!!), resources, medical research info and trials, Social Security Disability information, support groups, not to mention FREE services!, complimentary care for those with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) or have CHRONIC PAIN.
Phil & Cyndy La Pluma founded this wonderful non-profit and Director Rhona Jordan, http://www.rhonaimagery.com, an extraordinary Guided Imagery and Hypnosis Therapist, organized the training.

Mind, Body & Soul workshop

Had the first of three Three Therapeutic Creative Journaling – Expressing Spirituality & Faith workshops today.

Here’s my sample-in-progress and how I did it.

1.  Smeared paint all over the page.

2.  Intuitively, quickly picked a picture for “mind”  Ladies face + a bowl of noodles      that  I cut into the shape of a hat.

3.  Picked picture for body — it was a photo spread of famous people in weird costumes.  The body had Mick Jaggar’s head on it which I cut off.

4.  Picked picture for “soul”  — not sure what it was but it’s shiny, translucent, almost like a gem but not quite.

5.  Pasted them on the page and then doodled on top (the curly hair, purple eye shadow); cut out green mittens and pasted on top of the hands;  smeared purple paint on the edges of the “soul” picture to blend it into background; doodled with color on top of the “soul-gem”

Stay tuned for more as I continue my doodling and the unconscious messages of my journal pages begin to “reveal” themselves to me.

No Bones About It

Max on the Spot

Max has been complaining to me that since this Blog is dedicated to him he has been neglected, ignored and not properly appreciated.  He’s been very patient with me and my ramblings.

He’s very patient by nature – until it comes to his doggie treats.  Then he will sit and sub-vocalize (he forbids me to call it whining as that is not the image he wants you to have of him) until I get his rubber bone to stuff with puppy biscuits.

We have a nightly ritual.

He gets doggie biscuits stuffed in a rubber bone.  When the rubber bone is empty he plops it in my lap or on the floor in front of me and “sub-vocalize” until I fill it again.


I’m patient by nature — until it comes to my nightly treats.  Takes too long stuffing a rubber bone. I use a bowl.

God’s Grace

Starting a new Therapeutic Creative Journal group this Saturday.  Here’s my journal entry that led me to do that.

I’ve been doing journaling based on the book The Art of Extreme Self-Care by Cheryl Richardson with friends.

One of the exercises is to stand in front of a mirror, look into your own eyes and say “I love you”.  I was surprised that the exercise was easy.  In response to that exercise I did this collage picture and let it sit for a few weeks.

It looked a bit ominous to me and I didn’t really know what it was expressing -Frankly, I was a bit hesitant to find out!  One day the “poem” just came to me

I look into my eyes

There’s no surprise

Its God’s Grace

That I face.

Wonderful Women’s Creative Expression Therapeutic Weight Group

Me-To-Be-on’a-Stick

Just concluded the third and last week of the Therapeutic Creative Expression Group.  Our focus was on the neurochemistry of our “craving brains”, creating ideal models of how we want to feel and present ourselves, our triggers and saboteurs that lead us to making unhealthy choices and Therapeutic Journaling

A really wonderful group of intelligent, fun and caring women.

One of the three days we did a guided imagery exercise meeting You Inner Saboteur” the part of you that lures you into eating what isn’t necessarily needed for survival or thriving.  There was a Tornado, a Gift Box, Maggie the Magnet, Big Boy Bob, A chipmonk and A sack of flour, with wooden hands.  The owner and creator of “Midget” the Flour sack brought him with her to the last group!

Alicia and her “Saboteur”

Now that’s what I call creative!  I only hope that all the flour Alicia took out didn’t end up as cake, cookies and calories!

 

Most Marvelous Men

I have the honor of facilitating a men’s group.  We  meet once a week and I call them THE MOST MARVELOUS MEN’S group as each of the participants are marvelous.  Men who are willing to share thoughts, feelings and personal experiences.  Their motivation is not to eliminate pain, find a quick fix or respond to an ultimatum to “get help”.  These are men who come together because they are open to and dedicated to learning from each other, growing and making their life & relationships the best they can be.

Occasionally I introduce some creative expression.  Yes, they moan and groan and then humor me.  BUT I know (and they know I know)  they are open and willing to try new things and explore unconscious motivations and information.

They  made a vision board for this year.  Here are three of them:


Each picked pictures spontaneously & intuitively, pasted them on the boards and added color.    I won’t say what was revealed during the processing but wanted you to see the wonderful visual graphics, and the creativity.

It’s really been a privilege to hear the male perspective of the world.  I’m not sure who has learned and grown more the Most Marvelous Men or me.

First Friday, April 2010

A wonderful Good Friday evening with fantastic women.  I hold an “Open Office” the first friday of the month.  Anyone can come and use all the supplies: Paint, stencils, markers, collage pictures. For those who are doing Therapeutic Creative Journal Pages and want help processing them I’m there to help.  We eat, create and laugh.  Since this was Easter week-end I painted plastic eggs with red paint (Greek Orthodox celebrate Easter with red eggs) for people to decorate.
P.S.  There are some “other” participants who refused to have their picture taken.  Probably because they didn’t want to be forever linked on the internet with these red eggs . . . .

True Confessions

In the PROCESS

I’m in the PROCESS of cleaning up/reorganizing my office/workspace.  Look carefully because this may be the last time you can see the top of the table and an empty shelf.

Confession:  The “reorganizing process” has been going on for years.  Just as I begin to get it straighten it unstraightens when I’m not looking.

Confession:  This is the CLEAN side — I’m too embarrassed to photograph the other side.

In all fairness there simply is not enough storage.

Confession:  I rarely throw thing away because I can always see the POTENTIAL as to what it could be used for.

Confession: My husband just walked in and said, I quote: “Judy your office just keeps getting worse not better.”  Luckily he was smiling . . .this time.

In all fairness I’m very busy and don’t have a lot of time for organization.

Confession:  Even if I had time I don’t like organizing.  I prefer unorganizing.  It’s much freer.

Such are the perils of Creativity to the MAX.

Therapeutic Weight Group & Me

It it weren't for my chocolate lips, I'd be a "Barbie"

I’ve been blessed with small wrists and ankles so I make sure that they are the main focus when I dress.  When I weigh in at the doctor’s office it doesn’t seem to matter how I dress. I should weigh 20 pounds less than I do for health reasons.

I’ve figured out my weight problem.  My mouth and my brain don’t listen to each other.  They both are in constant motion it seems.  And my brain can’t seem to get through to my mouth to take a rest.

I’ve been researching how to get them to communicate for the health of the greater good.  And decided it was time to share my research and offer a group to explore how we unconsciously sabotage ourselves.

You can read more about the group on the “Workshop, groups & retreat”  page.   We’ll do imagery, self-hypnosis, creative expression to uncover and reprogram what sabotages us unconsciously.  I’ll keep you posted on the 20 pounds!

P.S. If you want the rest of my weight story it’s on http://www.JudithWesterfieldFibroyalgia.blogspot.com

A Nudge from Mary Margaret

Portrait: Split Personality

I started these therapeutic collage pages months ago and it disappeared in my miles of piles.  I went back into and a few months and began to add color . . .

. . .it disappeared again into the piles.

Now, months later – a post from Mary Margaret who has fibromyalgia and has been inspired to start a portrait journal.  My own picture portrait came to mind.  Why have I not finished this?    As I process  my own process my first thoughts are:

  • I am reluctant to look more closely at myself.
  • I could come up with lots of “reasonable reasons” but the bottom line is I have not made the time. I rarely take time for myself!
  • It feels too difficult to do both sides at the same time. I often procrastinate on things I don’t like to do (paperwork!).  Perhaps I need to focus on one side (one thing) at a time instead of doing everything at once.

I wonder which pile I need to look

Upcycled or Repurposed?

My Mother  sewed beautifully and would take-in, let-out and redo the hand-me-downs from a wealthy cousin I never met. We would shop thrift stores for prom gowns and clothes for special occasions that she would redo.  Never bought anything at retail price until I was in my 20’s. Back then it was called economic necessity.  Fifty years later it is now called upcycled or repurposed “FASHION.”

This skirt barely fits around Max's waist!

I still can’t resist a bargain.  I go to the Cancer Society Thrift store to “donate”.  I found a brand-new brown, three-tiered velveteen skirt, size 2.  The waistband fit around one of my thighs.  If I could have gotten it over my hips it would have been classified as a mini-mini-skirt.  BUT it was 50% off of $6!

I dyed it burgundy, ripped out the zipper, sewed up the seam & put buttoms down the front. It’s now repurposed and upcycled into a poncho-cape.  I probably will never wear it but Mom would be proud.

Birthday Works of Art

One of my birthday treats was a trip to the Sherman Gardens in Corona del Mar -small but wonderful gardens.  It was like walking through an art gallery.

It was a spectacular day in February.  Warm, sunny with a cool breeze.  Here’s a sample of  what “California winter weather” grows in it’s garden gallery.

Painted by Man

Painted by God

Flower for Laurie

Roots & Rhizomes

My Birthday SEASON!

Laurie!

Laurie Miller – an incredible Hypnotherapist, President of the International Association of Hypnotherapy and one of my most dear friends gave me a 65th birthday party last night.

Although my birthDAY was several weeks ago it’s STILL my birthday SEASON.

Let me explain.  Many years ago a special friend, Bernice, and I decided that there didn’t seem to be many benefits to growing older.  We keep telling ourselves we are growing wiser but the grey hair, creaking bones and expanding waistlines seem to be more obvious than our wisdom.   We decided to celebrate one day for every year we are alive starting on our actual birthday.  Our birthday season was born!

My new walking cane, complete w/horn & panty hose

Finally a perk for growing old.  Every year one more day of celebration.  The only thing we didn’t factor in was that the longer the season grew the shorter our stamina to celebrate.

Laurie, outdid herself for me this year — I hope she was able to nap today — Greek food, a birthday pie and birthday brownies, flowers, candles, everyone got a henna tattoo, and everyone made me a birthday card!

"Look Ma, no hands-making-handmade-birthday-cards"

Showing off our Henna Tattos! Hey we may be old but we aren't dead!

Honie, Linda, Sherri, Laurie, the Birthday “GIRL”, Rene, Donna, Korean & Kathe

Laurie, The Whipped Cream Attack Queen

I hope Kathe, Donna, Honie, Sherri, Linda, Korean & Rene took naps too!

Wonderful Women’s Journal Covers

Wonderful Women!

Jennifer’s Journal cover

Spontaneously posed pictures of the participants in the Therapeutic Creative Journal Group:  (top row, L-R) Marilyn, Jennifer, Cindy, Valerie (bottom row) Theresa, Kris, Margo.

If you want to see their work up close check out http://www.JudithWesterfield.Ning.com.

This group is using 3-ring binders for journals and they did “process Painting” on the covers.  3-ring binders is one of my favorites for Portable Journals because you can do a page anywhere, anytime without carting around your journal.  Af you don’t like a page just take it out!

Tutorial: MaxAtine for your Valentine Sweetie

Just sent out a Valentine Edition of Max’s Newsletter the “MaxEzine” with a tutorial on making your own MaxEtine.  (Max doesn’t like it when I call him “SweetieDog”) Here’s how:

1.  Fold together 2 pieces of paper in 1/2.  Chew into heart shape creating 2 identical hearts.

2.  Spirt 2-3 colors of paint on heart. Using “maxed-out” credit card, randomly spread paint to cover.

3.  Wipe hands & card on 2-ply paper towel and squirt more paint on towel if needed.

4.  Wad up paper towel, wet and squeeze dry.  Let dry out completely and separate the 2 layers. Chew paper towel into pieces for the ruffle around the MaxEtine.

5.  Glue shredded pieces of paper towel around back of one heart like a ruffle.

6.  Glue second heart to back of first heart, sandwiching ruffle in between the two hearts.

7.  Write “I LOVE YOU” on front heart and any message you want on back heart!
8.  Decorate, if you want (I dotted glitter glue on my MaxEtine.

9.  Give to YOUR “Sweetie”.

Welcome from Max

Dear all my best friends,

Finally!  I’ve been waiting and waiting to welcome you to my new Blog.  As some of you already know I was rather upset with my Human for naming the fibromyalgia blog (www.JudithWesterfieldFibromyalgia.blogspot.com)  “Visions of the Invisible” instead of “CreativitytotheMax”.  To assuage my hurt feelings she let me have my own blog page.  Please visit me there!

Lickingly yours, LLLLLLLL

Max

"Purple Heart", Altered Book Journal Cover

"Fluffy Flowers", Altered Book Journal Cover

"Path", Journal cover

Third week of Therapeutic Journal Group.

Here are some of the covers of the Altered Book Journals.  Everyone went wild with creativity.

Today everyone processed a journal page with my help.  Next week all the participants will “process” their own journal page to uncover unconscious information and WISDOM!

Passion

Another very interesting discussion on PASSION in the Marvelous Men’s group I’m facilitating.
Here are just some of the ideas presented:
★ Passion involves intimacy, emotional connection
★ When you are passionate about something (or someone I might add) you get lost in the moment.
★ There are highs when there is a “reward” from your passion – the sense of “Im complete”
★ Passion and Purpose are connected
★ Pain and fear are part of pursuing your passion
★ Passion involves the “process” of doing – the “product” or outcome are not always known.
★ We can be passionate about the process and apply the process to many things.
★ Follow your heart, listen to yourself rather than measure your passion/success by others’ criteria.

There was so much more. If you have personal thoughts or experiences please share and I’ll share with the men.

Processing, Wonderful Woman Theresa.

Hi Judy!

Woman Falling Back, by Theresa DiCarli

“Here are 4 that I finished pasting down.  I have been contemplating the woman falling backwards.  The side borders are open.  The water may be my escape, my way out.  I think the fireworks behind my head are things that stress me out.  Pink and blue background colors may represent kids (students and my own).  I need to take time for myself.”

Thank you for offering this class.  I am having so much more fun than I ever expected!

Theresa is attending the Wonderful Woman Journaling group. She used her intuition to begin to put personal meaning into the journal collage pages she is creating.  I’m going to open up more possibilities so that all of you can see how my mind works when I process. (Could be a bit scary to see how my mind works so I’ll try to be circumspect!)

Processing Possibilities:

The woman falling back is upright in a VERY trusting, serene position (like the trust falls where you fall backwards into a group).

She might be falling, she could be leaning on an unobservable support, what she’s standing on may be tilted and she’s standing straight (like the crooked house in Disneyland.  What is your platform?

3 firework explosions:  What are the 3 major wonders, beautiful blasts, celebrations, stresses etc in your life that are BEHIND you that you don’t see?

The two largest are touching you, the smallest is the farthest from you?  OR the largest explosion could be crowning you, the next explosion is close to your heart.  All three are exactly the same shape, color – what are three things, relationships, activities, events that are the same except for size and where they have “touched” you?

Let us know more Theresa by posting a comment so everyone can learn!

Processing Val’s Journal Page Jumpstart

by Valerie Dambach

This is just for you Val and for all of you who want to learn how to process your own creative expression.

First and most importantly only YOU know what the meaning is.  I will give you some paths to explore.  You will KNOW what meaning is yours when you hear it OR in your case Val, when you SEE it!

Start with the obvious:  EYES

Placement: The large eye is looking “inward”.  It is not attached to a body: Perhaps it is the soul, the objective eye, the eye of the unconscious?  There is a paper towel (literally) underneath:  to catch tears, to keep it clean, to mask something?

The eye on the woman’s face is looking “outward”  and is a part of a whole face: The eye may be viewing outside circumstances in your world; taking in all the eyes of others and what they are seeing; looking away from the knowing of the “soul” eye, viewing the physical realities of your world?

The multiple eyes on the border are looking in many directions:  Seeing ALL circumstances, all issues, all possibilities; The eyes of everyone in your world watching and waiting; Different parts of you that know everything; Your mind  surrounded by objective reality.

The woman is smiling:  She likes what she sees, she likes what others see, she is putting on a smiling face to the world?

OK Val!  Now it’s your turn.  SEE what rings true and what doesn’t and comment here on the blog so everyone can share in your process.

Remember, what I’ve suggested are just jumpstarts.  You will KNOW when it doesn’t fit and when it rings true.

Wonderful Women’s Journal Group

Valerie D.

Held the 2nd Wonderful Woman’s Journal Group today and one Wonderful Valerie D. shared these pages she collaged. We haven’t processed them yet but Val noted there’s a path in almost every one. And as she created there was more “negative” (open/blank) space in the last few collages.
Take a look! They are so rich that you may see something that pertains to YOU.
P.S. If this link doesn’t display the collages go to http://www.JudithWesterfield.Wordpress.com

What is Therapeutic Creative Expression!?
If you are thinking “BUT I’M NOT CREATIVE. . .” this blog is for YOU
. You do NOT need to have any talent, experience nor artistic abilility to benefit from and do the EASY and FUN exercises I will share.

If you are creative . . .this blog is especially for YOU.  It’s not just about creativity. It combines creativity with processing your unconscious drives..

"Loving Kindness"

Here’s the THERAPEUTIC part:

Creative expression when done intuitively and spontaneously comes from the deep part of our own unconscious wisdom.
I will show you and teach you how to PROCESS your creative expression to uncover unconscious meanings and drives to help you feel better, do better and be better.

Reasearch has shown that creative expression like journaling, painting, sewing, knitting, drawing, etc lowers the stress response and enhances the immune system. Pretty amazing that one of the best medicines is yours for extremely little cost, 24 hours a day!

As an added bonus you will jump-start your own creativity. Try some of the exercises. What have you got to lose?!

Judith Westerfield

P.S. And I’ll post your exercises, tips and tricks that might help others!

Process Journal Cover, A MaxSnack

Max sniffed out my new homemade Process Journal. He found the modge=podged tissue ruffle verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry tasty!
Processing my cover: I spontaneously drew and colored the images. When I finished it became clear to me that the front face is my conscious self - sparkly lips - she speaks The face behind her is my unconscious self - sparkly eye - she knows.
Process Journaling uses our unconscious knowing to reveal itself through images, color, placement. And our conscious mind uses words to express that inner wisdom.
Process Journaling never ceases to amaze me!

Tutorial: Processing Creative Expression, Your signature

All creative expression comes from the essense of who you are.  Whether you are doodling, drawing, scribbling or painting great works of art the line, color, forms and shapes you use are like a “signature”. 

Your creative expression changes over time just as the signature of your actual name can change over time – remember when you first learned to write your name?  I bet your signature now is different than when you were a teen.

In my teens, 20’s and 30’s
The letters are close to how I was taught to “properly” write (those were the days when 1/2 hour a day was spent in school doing “penmanship”!)
I was still concerned about how people perceived me and wanting to do what was appropriate. (My “teen-age rebellion didn’t occur until my 40’s!)
My signature in my “mid years”
I wrote my full name probably reflecting a broadening view of who I am.  The capitol “J” is plainer, almost printed..  I’m not sure why the dot on the “i” in both names is so high.  My guess is that my imagination is often flying high and independent of the daily tasks that keep me grounded.  The “t” in Judith has a short cross and is connected to the stem while the “t”- cross in Westerfield is not connected and much longer. Verrrrrrrrrrrry interrrrrrrrrrrrrrresting.  I’ll need to tune into the possibility – I’m stuck on that one. 
 In the last 4 years or so

My signature has become more and more abreviated.  Just as I’ve let go more and more of physical things in my life and the need to accumulate, I’ve let  go of making certain letters in my name.  Just as physical appearance has become less and less important so too has the “look” of my signature.  As I write this I also realize that being on the “down slope” of my life that my signature is taking on a slight curve downward. And the “t” is looped! Much rounder.  Maybe I’m not as rigid as I once was?  Or maybe it reflects the fact that I am rounder (weight-wise)?  Probably both. . .

Take a look at your own signature.  You don’t have to be a graphologist to read your own signature.

Has your signature changed? How has it changed?  How have you changed? 

  • What’s the same, what’s different in how you respond to your life?
  • What are the similarities and differences between the change of your signature and your experience of life? 
  • Are the letters round?  Large, small, connected? Do you like soft shapes, hard edges. 
  • Are you shy, bold, understated? 
  • Do you like ornate decor, modern architecture?  

How does your signature reflect your personality and character traits.  Does your signature express qualities that you rarely express in public?

Don’t worry about what the “experts” say.  Just use your own intuition.  If stuck, just GUESS.  Your guesses will come from your unconscious own inner knowing. 

The more you notice, the clearer how you express yourself creatively.  Try it!  It’s fun, easy and fascinating. AND it will get you into the swing of things about how to interpret your creative expression.