That’s what I do. At least I try to remember that breathing is fundamental. The nurses and receptionists on the phone actually issue a mandate, “Breathe Cyndi”. So, I listen, and I do what they say. I have always been good about doing what people say. Generally, I don’t put up a fuss. I defer to the judgement of others in every situation. Not entirely a wise practice. I can not have people steering me in the wrong direction. No questionable choices, please. But I concede there is good advice out there. Like when I am about to blow a fuse. I call the number to book an appointment. I am put on hold for a long 6 minutes. Too long for me. When I explain what I am feeling, the receptionist books the appointment and adds, “Breathe Cyndi”. I guess there is some universal truth to this.

Okay, so I am willing to do as they recommend. Breathing is fundamental, after all. One shouldn’t have to think about it. Right? Sound advice. I breathe deep while I drive, always attuned to the potential for disaster on the roads. I breathe before I go on stage. I have actually been told, “Breathe Cyndi”, by a dance teacher as she watched me move across the floor holding my breath the entire time. I held my breath the years I spent growing up in a dysfunctional home. Too much bellowing and grief. I held my breath counting to 49 while working with difficult teenagers. I am through with holding my breath. Now I breathe.


That’s what I feel while driving to the Mimi’s closest to my workplace.DSCN1086 For the unintiated, Mimi’s is one of the finest dining experiences. I discovered Mimi’s way back in the 80s when my sister recommended we stop there. This was Orange County and I was on a visit from out of state. Of course, let’s eat! I now frequent the Mimi’s in Dublin, California, just a hop-skip-and-a jump from where I work in Pleasanton. Two nights a week, I use the surface streets to get there. Freeway is INSANE at the 6:00 evening hour in the Bay Area. It takes me a full 20 minutes to get across 5 miles of town. But, it is so worth it. I am met by some of the most friendly wait staff. I always take a stool at the bar. Not because I want to be near the liquor (I don’t drink) but because I need to be right where the action is. I am curious about the busy staff. They come and go, mixing drinks, shaking that, pouring beer. Love this place! Perhaps the best part? When my French onion soup and muffin arrive. Sublime.

They all know my name. The friendly folk at Mimi’s Dublin, California. They hand me the remote because the TV is right in front of me and they know I loathe sports on television. I change the channel to a “flip” show — you know, the kind that promotes what it is to buy a $135,000 home, flip it and sell it for $213,000. I am going to get in on that venture as soon as I finish my soup.

Sad postscript.  Mimi’s of Dublin is gone.  On my last visit the dear waitstaff informed me that the restaurant was being bought out by another outfit.  Owing to poor performance, this store had to close.  I asked what type of establishment was to take its place.  The answer came back, a sports bar.  WHAT THE F***!!  We don’t have enough of those?!  What a travesty.  I was crestfallen.  Sad day.

What’s In A Name?


For one thing, fourteen letters could be in a name.  A first name.  As a teacher of Spanish to a 99.9% Indian population, I have faced a real challenge in my pronunciation acumen.  I love these students. They are fun, responsive and curious.  The youngest is 5 1/2 and the oldest is 10.  I have five “batches” (the term serves as the school euphemism for classes) of students.  They are all unique and they all bring something to the group dynamic.

However, they also bring their names.  All fourteen letters.  The only anomaly to the entire scheme of things is represented by the two third graders Jason & Christopher. Clearly, names as American as baseball…not to be confused with cricket. Christopher and Jason I am indebted to your parents for your names.  I commend you for bringing me names I can pronounce without effort.  I apologize that I may be misunderstood, that there is something wrong with the names held by the majority of students in this setting. Nothing wrong. But, really, I have had to initiate a novel way of addressing my students.  I began to look to one boy and offer, “Young man…”  To a girl, “Young lady…”  With this approach in place I have been spared agonizing over the fourteen-letter name.  I hate to butcher a person’s name.  This technique of mine seemed to satisfy as the kids giggle whenever Sra. Wright (my name being considerably easier than theirs) speaks to each valuable member of the group.  They are valuable.  I love working with them.  Some things just beg to be simplified.  No one has complained.

Just so long as they don’t resort to addressing me as, “Old lady”.