May 31, 2004

DAY THREE

"Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man."
~Rabindranath Tagore

The weekend flew by.
We kept forgetting to bring the camera.
All the little perfect moments will be are unrecorded, except by the heart.

Most of Sunday, was spent at the close-by Mulligan Family Fun Center, starting out with a rousing game of Miniature Golf.
Zoe couldn't seem to get enough of the go carts.
Mira was pretty good at piloting a paddle-boat.

We tried to keep them steer them toward the more active outside activities before going into the arcade and enduring the ear splitting noise.

After buying individual tickets for each activity, we learned that we could have bought a $10:00 wrist band for each girl which would entitle them to do almost everything they wanted. Pete went in to ask. Apparently we should have been told. So, for $20:00 they gave us the two bands and returned the extra money we has spent. Very cool. Never hurts to ask!

Eventually Pete's cell rang.
Mike and Michele had arrived at our house.
We returned custody of the girls to their parents.

Conclusion:
There is nothing like being with children to uplift one's spirits.
Their freshness is contagious. Their simple wisdom, inspiring.
A child is 'joy' personified.
It is wonderful being a grandparent.
Almost as wonderful as being a MOM!

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May 30, 2004

DAY TWO

SUNDAY:
Today was the kind of day that brings people to LA.
It was gorgeous. Perfect weather.
Warm, breezy.
We went to the beach.

The girls played. Gathered seaweed and shells.
We spotted dolphins frolicking in the water. Honestly, we did.

Earlier in the day, after breakfast, Zoe and Mira decided to wash down the playhouse. They asked for soap and brushes, I gave them a small bottle of Basic H and two long handled scrub brushers. They went to work. Not only was the house diligently cleaned from roof to floor, but so was all the furniture inside.

I watched them happily chatting away as they worked while I cleaned up inside. I thought it ironic that they were having so much fun at this job. Especially after a phone call I had received two nights before from Mike and Zoe.

When I picked up the phone, Mike asked if he was 8 years old that he had to start washing the dishes. I wasn't sure. I'm pretty sure that he was that age when he started making his bed. I think that had something to do with a Cub Scout badge.

So I told him that I wasn't sure. I know that the boys had to be big enough to reach the sink to do the dishes. In the background I could hear the girl's voices. Michele sounded matter of fact, Mira sounded happy, but the voice from Zoe sounded anything but... I heard her saying something like "No, I am too young!" Zoe is eight.

Mike told me to talk to Zoe. I think he wanted me to tell Zoe that she is old enough to do the dishes. Zoe came on the line. She sounded wounded. She wanted me to tell her it wasn't so. She said: "Nana, I am too young to do dishes."

I said something like ""don"t worry, Mommy and Daddy will know when the time is right." I'm pretty sure Mike was kidding, but I'm not sure.

What is it about having to do something over choosing to do something that makes such a difference?

But back to the day�

After the house and its belongings were spic and span, wet clothes were changed for dry ones. The girls put on their bathing suits. We had planned to both play miniature golf and go to the beach that day. When the girls realized that we meant to play golf before the beach they had a hurried conference. They came back to us to tell us that they only wanted to do one thing that day. And, that was to go to the beach. We agreed and we were off.

As I said earlier, it was a perfect day for it. Once there, the girls ran ahead and picked out the perfect spot for the blanket. We settled down and they ran down to the ocean. Pete followed to keep watch. I sat further up, and watched, keeping an eye on our belongings and having towels ready as needed.

Zoe immediately went to work gathering a great pile of seaweed. She quickly made friends with other children who joined in the endeavor. The pile grew quite large.

After a time and much effort, she realized that her mountain of kelp was threatened by the incoming tide. With the help of the others, it was moved further up on the sand, away from the encroaching waves. Inevitably however, before we left the whole thing was reclaimed by the sea. A lesson in impermanence.

Before I made friends with another watchful woman, I experienced some moments of melancholy. How I longed for the days I would easily swim out beyond the waves. Then, turn over onto my back, and simply float, buoyant on the salty water.

Instead, I sat there, slathered in sun block, under umbrellas, to further protect me from the burning rays. At 63 I am older now. The body can change with age and experiences, yet the desires of youth can last a lifetime.
..........

Oh, and by the way ... Mira remembered the sticky-hands.

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May 29, 2004

DAY ONE

We have the girls for the weekend, so Michael and Michele can have some alone time. They arrived after noon today. It is almost bedtime. Mira and Zoe tell us that Mom and Dad let them stay up till nine thirty on weekends. I am not sure that is true, but we will probably let them stay up to close to that time anyway. It is already 8:15. We got home a little bit ago from a full day.

First we went to see Shrek 2 at a local theater. M & M had actually taken them to see this movie last Saturday at a the beautiful Arclight Theater in Hollywood. But since we hadn't yet seen it, we told the girls that we would like to go. We were pretty sure that the girls would be up to seeing it again. They were. It is GOOD. Nana Judi gives Shrek 2 two big thumbs up. In fact, I loved it and would definitely pay to see it again.

Conceding to the pleas of our little princesses, we then drove down to the ocean. We were just going to stay at the strand and look down at it, since we said we would take them to the beach tomorrow. Once there, the girls soon had their shoes off and were quickly moving down the ramp. Like good grandparents, we followed. Of course, by then we had committed to go down near the water. The girls convinced us that they only wanted to get their feet wet. Sure.

Since we drove down to the beach directly after the movie, and we hadn’t stopped home to get bathing suits or towels, the girls were warned not to get anything but their feet wet. They agreed. Pete made sure that pant legs were rolled up. We had forgotten how easy it was for two little girls to conveniently forget what they chose. When our boys were little we called this tendency 'Laggard's Ear'.

It wasn’t long before they were soaked, but since we had already decided to be indulgent this weekend, we just sighed. The weather was mild, and it wasn’t too late, so we weren’t terribly concerned. We rationalized that don’t live too far from the ocean. It is a quick drive home.

After a while, we gave the girls the two minute sign. Ten minutes later, the four of us started back up to the car. Pete went ahead to prepare the car for wet girls. Thank goodness, I always carry an old cotton bedspread for impromptu picnics, a small lap blanket and an assortment of shopping bags in the back of the car. Always be prepared, I say.

At the shower provided by the City of Torrance, the girls washed the extra sand off near the ramp and the three of us made our way up to the car. By the time we got there, Pete had covered the seats with bags, the bedspread was ready, and the lap blanket ready to use as a tent. One by one the girls stripped off their sopping clothes, were covered in blankets and were buckled into the car which had been warmed by the sun while we were down by the water.

A few minutes later we were home. The car was driven into the garage, and the garage door was quickly closed, the girls rapidly scooted upstairs to the shower.

As soon as the sand and salt had been washed off, the girls dried and dressed, tangles bushed from hair with the ‘good brush’ we took off again. Our next stop was The Soup Plantation for dinner. Zoe had been telling us she wanted to eat there all day.

After dinner, we stopped for bread on the way home. When I didn’t give the girls 25 cents to get something out of a machine, Mira dissolved into tears. All the way home, this sad child kept telling me that I had said “yes” when we walked into the store. I was sure I hadn’t, but didn’t want to argue. With tears running down from her big sad eyes, Mira informed me that Zoe didn’t like to see her crying. She then informed me that the toy only cost 25 cents, she had 25 cents at home, and that it didn’t have to be scanned or anything.

We were sympathetic, but unwilling to go back to the store. Soon Mira made a new plan. Her big serious eyes seemed even bigger when she said that “tomorrow we should go back to that store to get the ‘sticky hand’” that she wanted to buy. I said that I didn’t realize that it was a ‘sticky hand’ in the machine.

At 9:36 the girls were in bed and are now asleep. Before succumbing to slumber, the sticky hand was brought up again. I told Mira that I was not promising that we would go back to the store to get it because we had a busy day planned for tomorrow. She said that she understood, but somehow I doubt that there will be any convenient forgetting about this.


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May 27, 2004

...........TEN YEARS!..........

It's Mike and Michele's Tenth Anniversary today!

HAPPY TENTH M & M!

It seems like yesterday.

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May 23, 2004

BY THE WAY...

If you haven't yet seen "In America" yet, do it soon.
You will be glad you did.
Matt recommended this movie to me some time ago.
I shouldn't have waited so long!

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YOU NEVER KNOW...

Before I went to bed the other night,
i checked some favorite websites.
Following links from a comment section,
I came upon this story.
Hope you like it.

TALKING WITH GOD
-anonymous

A little boy wanted to meet God.

He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with a bag of potato chips and a six-pack of root beer and started his journey.

When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old woman. She was sitting in the park, just staring at some pigeons.

The boy sat down next to her and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old lady looked hungry, so he offered her some chips. She gratefully accepted it and smiled at him.

Her smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered her a root beer. Again, she smiled at him. The boy was delighted! They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word.

As twilight approached, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave; but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old woman, and gave her a hug. She gave him her biggest smile ever.

When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, "What did you do today that made you so happy?" He replied, "I had lunch with God." But before his mother could respond, he added, "You know what? She's got the most beautiful smile I've ever seen!"

Meanwhile, the old woman, also radiant with joy, returned to her home. Her son was stunned by the look of peace on her face and he asked, "Mother, what did you do today that made you so happy?" She replied, "I ate potato chips in the park with God."

However, before her son responded, she added, "You know, he's much younger than I expected."
................

Have lunch with God........bring chips.

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HOPE

There is a Light in the world.
Amidst the chaos.
Beyond the darkness.
The light is getting brighter.
Wait and see.

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May 22, 2004

When in Doubt, Tell the Truth. -Mark Twain

Today I told the truth to the Only One who could really help.
She Did!
Let's see what unfolds....

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May 17, 2004

IT'S A SMALL WORLD

A friend told me that she happened upon website she really liked. She told me that she got lost in the pages for a while. She apparently found this blog, September Morn, by searching for information about Lucille's restaurant for a friend.

The odd thing was ... that in following the posts by the blogger, who calls herself, Author Unknown, my friend realized that one of the posts was about someone we both know.

This kind of thing never fails to amaze me.
How many people in the world are now blogging?

ONE OF THE 'Ah' MOMENTS.
I don't like being in this place.

To go on with the story ... I was interested in looking at the website, so my friend sent me the link. I took a look. I like it too. The painting, September Morn by Paul Emile Chabas is one of my favorites. However, something other than the post I was looking for caught my eye. It was part of a quotation by Marianne Williamson.

Here is the quote:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us."

Why does that frighten us? For me, it is the power which generates the light that can be scary. There is the fear that we are more powerful than we want to be. That if we do not control the power within, we could wreak havoc on the universe.

That is why we must be mindful of thought, word and deed. Sometimes I am afraid of my own thoughts. Because, sometimes I have the most horrible thoughts. And, they scare me.

Talk about a big ego! :-/


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May 14, 2004

LOOSING SIGHT

It is understandable why they have regular calls to prayer in some places. It is so easy to get up caught up in the world … to focus on the insubstantial elements of existence. It takes true commitment to put aside the busyness of life and go within.

Most of the time, we are blind.
I’m not seeing too well these days.

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May 11, 2004

SHAME ON YOU, MR INHOFE!

So … I come downstairs.
Pete has the TV tuned to KCET, our local public television station. On the news hour there is coverage of the Senate hearings regarding the Abu Ghraib prison atrocities. I hear Major General Antonio Taguba blame the problem on 'failure of leadership from the brigade commander down'.

Then, Republican Senator from Oklahoma, James Inhofe, makes a comment. This senator said he was "outraged by the outrage."

With a president who lied to us to take us to war...
and whose minions labeled as 'traitors', those who questioned,
with senators like this...
is it any wonder so many around the world fear and hate us?

Tell them that Americans are better than this.
Tell them we are starting to understand.
Let's begin a new course.

Fire Bush!
And any who think like the Oklahoma senator.
They are bad for America.

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WALKING THROUGH THE VALLEY

I got into bed last night and realized that once again i was about to retire without taking the time to meditate. If Pete hadn't already fallen asleep, i would have turned on the the tube to watch some mindless TV until my eyes finally closed.

Again, that 'Still Small Voice' reminded me to meditate.
The ego-mind fought it, the same way I seem to fight sleep.
I wanted to 'do something.
There's always so much to do.
I'm very inventive in finding things that 'need doing'.

Even though the hour was late,
I couldn't seem to lie still without the TV.
I'm thinking; This is insane! What's wrong with me?

I jumped out of bed, found a pad and pen, and wrote out these words:

I want to go inward but I keep finding things to do.
What am I afraid of?

These words made me want to laugh.
Then, I wanted to get up and post what I’d just written.

The small voice said
"NO ONE CAN DO IT FOR YOU! Try! Try!"

I propped up some pillows, sat up,
and began the prayer we say to lead us into a meditative state.

My busy mind increased its chatter...
And, turned up the volume.

Flying outward
Here. There.

Things to do.
Guilt.
Self Doubt.
FEAR.

I kept trying;
determinedly repeating call.
Repeating prayers.

"May all beings be happy.
May all beings be peaceful.
May all beings be blissful."

"Thou art the Father.
Thou art the Mother.
Thou art Friend and Companion.
Lead us from the unreal to the Real.
Lead us from ignorance to Light..."

Trying to remember to breathe.

All the time I’m thinking;
This is so hard.
Why, after all these years, should it be this hard?
What's happened?
What's different?

Fear.
I'm unsettled!
But everyone's unsettled these days.

There's more.
I'm still not sure what it is.

I think I have to start again.
At the beginning...
Like a loving parent,
I have to keep reminding the child within that she is loved
...that she is worth loving.

The old lessons.
Start with Step One.
I love you because...

I know it all starts with the Self.
And, I know i can't do it alone.
I'm offering it.

I'll let you know how it goes.

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May 10, 2004

"An eye for an eye and the whole world goes blind."
- Mohandas K. Gandhi

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LET’S WAGE PEACE!

Like most Americans, I was horrified by the news revealed last week about the mistreatment of detainees held in Iraq. Friday night, a spiritual sister mentioned that she was checking my website to see what I might say about this. All I can think of to say is…
FORGIVE US.

Whether we like it or not, those who perpetuated these terrible acts are our representatives. We pay their salaries. We elected the people who sent them. Most of us believed the lies. Some didn't care.

In conversations with friends and relatives who hold differing political views, I have often shared that I thought it was important to learn why there is so much hatred of the U.S. around the world. This often led to strong disagreements.

Many have believed that those who hate us are simply jealous and hate freedom and democracy. The line our president continues to spout.

My question is: Do you still believe these lies? If anyone out there doesn’t realize by now that there are reasons for all the anger, I don’t know what to say.

Every act of cruelty brings about a reaction of fear and anger. With every act of vengeance, more hatred is born, more terrorists are created.

Did those responsible truly believe that this could be kept secret? Did they think in any way that this could be justified? How can we say we are better?

I have heard the rationale is that by mistreating one prisoner, we may be able to save ten, a hundred, or maybe thousands of innocent people. When will we learn that hatred grows more hatred, vengeance creates more vengeance and hurt brings more hurt?

We must turn our hearts from this awful course. One by one, we must turn toward peace. The “sister” who brought this up Friday night told me she was saying our mantra for all those involved, including those who are responsible for these terrible acts. She had remembered what all Perfect Masters have told us over the ages. The only way to bring about peace is to Practice Love.

We must start with ourselves. So, as I sit down tonight, I will remember to put the victimizers as well as the victims in my heart and wish them all Peace.

When Googling “Peace is Possible” I found a site that shows a good "i-movie" and you can hear the words of one of my favorite hymns: Let There Be Peace on Earth. It takes a moment for it to start so be patient. When you hear this song, I hope the words will help you take a moment to pray, meditate or send wishes of Peace to and for everyone. All of us can become Instruments of Peace … whatever we believe.

In reality, we cannot be separated from one another other. We all come from the same source. We are created of the One! When we learn this lesson, we will start walking together on a greater journey that we can imagine!

Let There Be Peace on Earth

Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on earth
The peace that was meant to be.

With God as our father
Brothers all are we.
Let me walk with my brother
In perfect harmony.

Let peace begin with me
Let this be the moment now.
With every step i take
Let this be my solemn vow.

To take each moment
And live each moment
With peace eternally.
Let there be peace on earth,
And let it begin with me.

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May 9, 2004

TO THAT SPECIAL SOMEONE...

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!
Thanks for being in our lives.

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MOTHER'S DAY

Today I got a call from Matt. Even though he is so far away, it doesn't usually seem that we are apart. It always uplifts me to hear his voice.

Today, we had a long conversation, interupted from time to time, by something happening on either end. Matt told me to go to the computer and look at the message he sent me. I did. Look here to see what he sent.

Way Cool! This is just what I asked for. The day so far has been wonderful. More later.

The rest of the day. Live and Learn.

This afternoon we drove to South Pasadena. Micheal had made reservations at a favorite restaurant. Before we left for dinner, I learned that Mira can read! She actually read all the words written on a card that we gave Michele. I was surprised. At that point, Michele suggested that Mira take me into her bedroom and read to Nana. Mira read me the Dr. Seuss' book "Hop On Pop". Very cool!

Zoe told me that she is studying about the "times". She is learning about time and the times tables. They are up to the elevens. She is about to pass me, as I am forgetting some of the few math facts I had mastered.

I noticed that Zoe looked very tall. We only saw them last weekend, so I was a bit surprised. Then I noticed that her shoes sported heals. Michele said that Zoe was wearing her fancy 'wedding shoes'. Taking this into account, Zoe still looked like she had grown some in the last week.

Later, Mike was talking about a show that he and Michele watched when they could. I think it takes place in the last century. Michele told me that the only problem with the program is that every other sentence contained a certain vile profanity, which I thought has only been around for a relatively short time.

Since language is always changing, I thought that this particular combination of words was a fairly new invention. On the way home, Pete and I were talking about it.

He insisted that the same profanity was used when he was in school. I never heard this kind of talk then. Pete said I lived a different reality as him. In truth, there was language that most women never heard. Now everyone is subjected to it. I don't know if this contributes to equality.

People often tell me that "Change is good."
I say although Change is Inevitable, sometimes it is bad.
At least from our human perspective.

Sorry, but I can't repeat the words here. But, I am sure you have heard them.


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May 5, 2004

ETERNAL SUNSHINE

Last Sunday we saw Charlie Kaufman's
The Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind.
Today, a friend asked me today what I thought.

I'm not sure.

There is nothing I can pinpoint ... nothing wrong with the film.
Interesting premise and story.
Good cast,
Good acting, (Jim Carrey was terrific.)
Wonderful cinematography.

But I left feeling unsatisfied, down, like something was missing.
What was it really about?

Was it that, even with all pain, love is worth it?
Or that every experience holds value?
Was it that you cannot have happiness without sadness?
Or, that we have karmic connections with certain people?
Did Charlie Kaufman have something to say?

The film seemed dark..
I felt let down. I didn't enjoy it.
I'm not sure I learned anything.
I guess it was good.

But, I don't think I'd watch it again.
I'm just not sure.

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DID YOU KNOW?

"You know that the bubble of air usually in the big end of a hard boiled egg? I always thought cooking created it. But an expert says, No it's where a chick, if chick there be, draws its first breath of air, which it needs to get physical enough to break out of the shell."

-From: Best of L.M. Boyd.

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WHY DO THEY DO THAT?

Pete and I both like Indian Food. We like curries. Because I have to limit salt, I have found that by using Indian spices you can have a full flavored dish without a lot of salt. This is good. So, I have been making way more curries these days.

I regularly use Whole Foods brand "Muchi Curry Powder" and The Spice Hunter's Garam Masala. Each has it’s own unique flavor. For years I used Spice Islands Curry Powder. It contained many varied spices to give the desired taste. I was running out, so I bought some more.

This time I decided to make Beef Curry after buying some beautiful looking beef already cut in small cubes for curry at Marukai Market, a Japanese store in Torrance.

This time I decided to use the Spice Islands. Wrong choice! They have changed it. The old bottle listed these ingredients: Cumin, Coriander, Fenugreek, Ginger, Tumeric, Dill Seed, Black Pepper, Mace, Cardamom, & Cloves.

The new bottle listed only two ingredients. They are Tumeric (as color). & Red Pepper. If I had wanted Red Pepper, I would have bought Red Pepper!

In examining the bottle, I found that the Spice Islands brand has been taken over by the Tone Brothers. Rip off!

Does anyone out there know of a good full flavored Curry Powder?


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May 1, 2004

ASLEEP

Once in a while we have to dance in the dream.
If only to pay attention.

I guess we need the darkness to appreciate the Light.
Glad to feel the sunshine again.

..........
TODAY

We saw a fascinating exhibit called Inventing Race at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

We were lucky enough to arrive just after a docent had begun a guided tour. If you get a chance, it's well worth the visit. Especially, if you too are fascinated by the our tendency to stratify people by how they look. We seem to be very inventive in attempting classifying our differences.

I heard about this exhibit on PBS and it caught my attention. My BA from UCLA is in Anthropology with a minor in Sociology. Never used any of this, but remain interested. Funny what we humans do to make ourselves feel superior..
......

Later, we drove over to M & M's house. Confused as usual, I didn't remember that LACMA is not in Exposition Park. So, I told Mike that since we would be so close, we would stop by after the exhibit. Thank God, Pete always seems to know where we are going. If I had been driving, we would have been very disappointed to end up at the wrong museum.

We got to Mike & Michele's just at the right time. We were given a terrific dinner ... homemade pasta, smoked brisket, and wonderful green beans. Topped off with popsicles and Licorice Ice Cream. I promised myself last time that I wouldn't eat this great tasting desert again. Stuff happens after you eat this stuff. I now sport a black tongue. I won't mention the rest.

The girls, as usual, were as wonderful as ever.
Good Day.
........
GOOD NEWS


1. Len's back.
He shared a poem.
Did you know that yesterday was "Poem on your blog" day?

2. Researchers have stepped closer to finding effective treatments for Lung Cancer. Exciting studies are showing success in treating a certain type of Lung Cancer, even after metastasis. I heard that 1 in 7 lung cancer patients have a form of the disease which is treatable with the drug Iressa.

3. Shakespeare by the Sea will stay at Point Fermin Park in San Pedro. Things looked dismal for a while when city budget cuts were forcing the city to discontinue the practice of waving fees to nonprofit groups. This years schedule begins Thursday, June 17th. The players will be performing at other area parks as well. Look Here:

4. Yesterday, the Soyus space capsule touched down safely bringing a Russian, an American and a Dutchman back from the international space station. We are still exploring.

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