Pues Yo Llamé A Tu Psiquiatra; Hace Mucho Que No Lo Ves

And I called your psychiatrist; you have not seen him in a while.

A psychiatrist will take his know-how to dispense meds. Multiple meds. One pill to regulate mood swings, and another to offset the effect of the mood regulator because the mood regulator has impacted the thyroid gland which now needs to be regulated. Got that? Then there’s the sleep medication. Without this there would be no sleep. Ever spent days and days in sleep-deprivation mode? A person can be host to all manner of delusion and other signs of compromised sleep patterns and impaired equilibrium.

The dutiful people that we are we march ourselves to the doctor. Well, that is unless you are willing to go off meds and suffer the consequences…plentiful as they are. Lab will take your blood, six vials of it. Results will arrive at your doctor’s office and he will relay the outcome. And perhaps he will adjust your dosage. Up or down. My doctor likes to remind me that one of my meds leads to weight gain. Not if I don’t take it.

This is the reason people see their psychiatrists. Be diligent. Do it. Or not. There are stories of those who self-medicate with various substance abuse. It seems there are those who think they are under control. False control.

Y voy a llamar a mi psiquiatra en un ratito.

The Worst Hard Time

The title of a book I finished some months back. It deals with the accounting of the dust bowl era, the 1930s. I happen to have a husband who was born in Oklahoma. You can express your sympathies now…just kidding, honey. I have spent a few years “kidding” my husband about the destitute folks in and around Oklahoma (a small part of Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado, and Texas) as their world was coming apart. Actually, the makings of the dust bowl intiated in the late 1800s. Many factors conspired to bring it all to full bloom.

I have wagged my finger at my husband all the while chastising his compatriots because they blew it. They created their own demise. Poor farming practices and the godforsaken, unrelenting wind. I know that weather patterns change over time, but I also know what it is to be in that scheme of things. Nine years of knowledge.

Dust bowl went like this. Land stripped of everything. Trees, shrubs, crops and native grass — eventually, the bison left the area and when they left there was no meat to be had. That old nag didn’t even have enough meat on her bones. This was an agrarian society, so, crops were fundamental. Gotta eat. The book mentions just how dire things became. Cracks in houses had newspapers stuffed in them. Horrendous black clouds of dust dotted the landscape. School was cancelled. Dust pneumonia claimed the lives of babies, women and men. They choked on and coughed up black phlegm. Tumbleweeds were pulverized and seasoned with salt — and eaten. People committed suicide.

These conditions did not subside until around 1939. Seven long years of hell.

I question, where is God when these things happen? And I recommend you read this book. It won’t answer the question, but it did serve to educate me.

There are some places where one should not live. Not unless you like futility.

The Mightier Pen

I think the proverbial pen is mightier than the sword. I don’t care for violence, real or imagined. I have never been able to brag about my physical strength…I don’t have it. Brauny types always impress me. Muscle beach in Venice CA. Jack LaLanne. Iconic symbols of braun.

Unfortunately, if I had predestined myself to coming from physical strength I would not have come from my bio-family as they proved what it is to be passed over for such a thing. No athletes in my family. However, words seemed to come fairly easily from within the unit. Wordsmiths do exist there.

Writing is cathartic and it remains my favorite method of communication. Phones are a bother. Bad connections & missed calls. Back in letter-writing days, stationary, cards, envelopes, stamps and pens were the means by which I sent news, birthday & baby congratulations, asked for advice, and made pen-pal friends. Technology has robbed us, in a way. So infrequently does someone write letters. One does not write an email, one composes it. To write is to suggest effort. To email is to suggest immediate gratification. I don’t argue against email, I do it, but it doesn’t take place on gorgeous stationary placed in a matching envelope. I still have remnants.

I can keep running a journal, otherwise known as a blog. I take a peek at the blog posts of others. There is nothing mightier than leveling an adversary or conveying appreciation to someone by using the written word. And I concede, a word is better than no word.



106 degrees. I will go with 98 degrees as well. 89 degrees is perilously close to no swim time. I like it hot…blistering hot. I love swim time. My life growing up in Southern California was replete with opportunities to swim. Our family did not have a swimming pool in the backyard. Instead, I was invited to join in the pool fun at the homes of a couple of neighbors. Ate it up.

When I wasn’t enjoying myself in somebody’s pool, I was at the beach. Seal Beach, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, wherever our bikes could travel, or on rare occasion, when a girlfriend had a car to take us there. Hot sand, baby oil, towels, and we were set. Surf shack nachos, quite the delicacy. A very good friend of mine, Tina, had her own bicycle which matched mine. For one entire summer, each week, she and I rode bikes from our Garden Grove neighborhood to Seal Beach, eight miles, one way. We hit the streets at 9:00 a.m. And didn’t return home till 5:00 p.m. Scorched, burnt sienna red, we repeated this routine until Labor Day. My face was so dark when the yearbook pictures were taken, I was nearly unrecognizable. So, I had options. The pools or the beach. I guess a pool is just more convenient. No bicycling.

I come full circle. Now, I do not frequent the beach. Too far inland for that. But, oh! What a shift of good fortune! I have enjoyed our backyard pool for 20 summers now.  It is a 1970 pool. That’s about the same time my neighbors were putting pools in their yards back in Garden Grove.

We have extended invitations to our neighbors to join us in our pool. They have taken us up on the offer. After all, it is 106 degrees.

Did you know that swimming is considered the all-around best form of exercise? No jarring impact to the knees. Buoyed by the water, we are free to move in any number  of strokes for healthy exercise. Having water available to me for at least 5 months at poolside is the definition of summer contentment. My oldest son and I represent the strong swimmers in the family. We compete diving and swimming to the opposite end…he wins. My 22-month old grandson is making the water a friendly place as his dad holds him close for comfort. Whatever the summer high may be, we treat ourselves. Poolside.

Fabric, Thread & Scizzors

I asked the question of my high school students. Does anybody sew anymore? I didn’t expect an answer in the affirmative. One student out of sixteen was on board.

My mom provided the role model. She was an excellent role model in many areas. One in which she excelled was as a seamstress. She had sown clothing for my sister and I all throughout our childhood. I took up the mantle during my teen years. I sewed different pieces and took great joy in knowing no other girl on campus wore what I was wearing. Custom-made items exclusively mine. It set me apart.

I hold four boxes of patterns from Simplicity and McCall’s. These served as the guide by which my sewing skills were honed. Dating back to the very early 70s. I never took a formal sewing class. My treatment of sewing was an evolution. I just sat down to the sewing machine, threaded the needle — as I had seen my mom do countless times — and began to stitch. A few misses here and there (with sufficient success to become confident) and I held a new garment, handmade, with characteristics unlike anything off the rack at JCPenney, Sears, or Macy’s.

I entreat a generation of young girls as I pass the baton.  You just might find a gratifying, lifetime hobby in pursuing the fine art of creating clothes for yourself and others. Of course, it doesn’t stop there. I have gone on to fashion pillow slipcovers, placemats, and a variety of gifts crafted at my sewing machine. The machine itself? Mine is a hand-me-down from, that’s right, my mom. It is identified as a Belvedere. It rests in a cabinet that has four legs. At the moment it has a space in my laundry room and it lies dormant. The last piece I put together was a costume I constructed for a dance number. I have since retired from sewing. However, that hasn’t changed my regard for the machine that brought me so much pleasure (and a few tears of frustration) over a 35-year run. And to repeat myself, did I look sharp on that high school campus!

My sewing machine needs oil, and a thorough cleaning. I have offered it to my daughter-in-law. She happens to possess abundant talent in the arts and crafts arena and my son has assured me that when they buy their first house, they will move my machine into it. Happy sewing!



Wen, by Chaz Dean

Many years ago I met a black woman who was on the same promotions team I was on. She wore her hair in corn rows. Curiosity compelled me to approach her and ask how she washed her hair. I didn’t expect this. “I wash my hair with conditioner.” What? “You wash your hair with conditioner?” “Yes. Shampoo is bad for your hair. It dries up your hair.” Tell me again how this works?

This woman went on to explain that surfactants in traditional shampoo serve to damage your hair. This sounded very strange to me. I had never heard such a thing. It seems that surfactants are not only responsible for damaging your hair, they are responsible for all the lather that comes from washing hair with the traditional method. Wen products do not produce lather. It does take an open mind. We have grown up with sudsy shampoo. No more. Not if you want the best for your hair. I do.

This exchange occurred some eleven years ago. Alternatives to regular shampoo had never come up. Until eleven years ago. Not too long after my conversation with her, I was exposed — by virtue of a T.V. infomercial, which I typically ignore — to the concept of washing one’s hair with a cleansing conditioner. Wen, was on T.V. Chaz Dean is the hair stylist, developer/inventor of a line of products promoting healthy hair. I know you can not believe everything you hear. You actually have to try it to believe.

I am a believer. For nearly twelve years I have consistently ordered a customized kit from Wen.  There are knock-offs to his product line, but I stick with Wen. My hair is 62 years old and it will, of course, continue to age over time, and I have to treat it royally if I still want hair on my head over the course of the next twelve years…and, beyond. I highly endorse Wen. My hair is in better shape now than it was pre-Wen. Wen is a gem.


A Groaner

A man in a fancy restaurant noticed the gorgeous woman sitting at the next table. Suddenly, she sneezed, causing her glass eye to pop out and fly toward him. The man caught it mid-air.

“I’m so sorry,” the woman said as she popped her eye back in. “Let me buy you dinner.”

After charming dinner conversation, the woman offered to drive the man home.

The man was flattered. “You are the perfect woman. Are you this nice to every guy you meet?”

“No,” she responded. “You just happened to catch my eye!”


do so many, apparently oblivious drivers, park their cars so poorly?

Some years back, when the Mini Cooper (pre hit-and-run) I was driving sat comfortably in its super market parking lot space, someone (kin to moron) parked their ginormous pick up truck with 7 inches (I carry a tape measure) between the front grill of the truck and the back of my car. Now, everybody knows how tiny a Cooper is. But, not so tiny that Mr. Pick Up was justified in leaving me only 7 inches to navigate my four bags of groceries into the back. So, after I shimmied my bags into the car, I left a note under his wiper blade. No foul language, just a mild reprimand in my best passive aggressive style.

A couple years ago, a short, round lady came waddling out of Starbucks. Prior to that, my morning lab tests, so I had arrived and parked my car in a space adjacent to lots and lots of other spaces. In other words, I was the sole occupant among dozens and dozens of empty spaces. All the aisles of spaces were vacant. Emerging from my brief stop-over to Barnes & Noble, I saw that Ms. Short-Round had parked far too close to my car. And, double-ugly, she had crossed over the white lines at an angle. I shook my head repeatedly as she approached. Arriving at our two cars I had to explain to her that she parked too close to my car preventing me from entering through the driver’s side.  Not until she had driven off could I enter my car.

And, sadly, it doesn’t end there. Just tonight we went out to eat. My husband was driving and I spied two spaces, away from all the other cars, and I made sure he parked there. Argh! Forty-five minutes later, we’ve finished dinner only to discover that the “Explorer” camped next to us left zero room for us to open the passenger door. Explore this. When you park your vehicle, be considerate. Leave ample room.

When I suspect that I have maneuvered into a space and my car tires are encroaching on the white lines, I re-park until I am straight. Takes a minute or two.

One Among 66

That is what I was. For two of my high school years my life revolved around my membership in drill team. At tryouts the first year, nervous energy worked in my favor as I made the cut and I felt honored, rewarded, and completely filled with joy. Two of my top tier friends and a host of second tier friends made the cut as well.

High school years can be fraught with anxiety and the scourge of all teens, low self-esteem. I was continually searching for those places where high school would speak to me and leave me feeling comfortable. It really is something of a hunt…and I found the treasure.

Our drill team advisor was a tiny woman who also served as P.E. teacher. Heidi. She was cute, funny, and she really liked me. Owing, maybe, to the fact that we were the same height. Short. The structure of the drill team was comprised of a student captain, a student co-captain, and a very young mascot.  I recall she was 5 years old. All of us wore the same outfit. Pacifica High School Mariners. So, the outfits had that sailor flavor going. In these outfits we marched in parades and football games and competitions. The most important and prestigious competition was known as Chaffey. It was a Southern California big-time event. We did not win top prize. Nevertheless, I ate up the marching and performing.

My second year in drill team corresponded with my senior year. Tryouts were a given because we were never assured of a spot on the team.  We had to work for it. After the round of tryouts were complete, Heidi took me and a friend to look at the results.  The girls successfully completing tryouts numbered 66. Out of the 66, I ranked 4th. Only the girls who went on to become captain & co-captain, and my best friend, were ranked higher than me. Not too shabby.

PHS you are missed. Heidi, you were instrumental in shaping my teenage world. Thank you.

Pick A Car, Any Car

If you are traveling through the downtown area of Walnut Creek, CA, as I do once a week, you will no doubt become familiar with the array of automobile dealerships bearing exotic names. Just ahead of me is Lamborghini which sits beside Maserati not to be outdone by Alfa Romeo a few doors down. Further down the street I drive I see Jaguar. What is the message? This suburb in the Bay Area oozes wealth (see, Meters).  Too, it could be that once someone invests in one of these cars, their wealth is drained. I don’t know, this assumed wealth has never existed in my experience.

I do play with the idea that, on one trip to Walnut Creek, I will pull into the Lamborghini (rhymes with linguini) lot (do they even call them “lots”) or perhaps Alfa Romeo — can’t go wrong with Italians, love their spaghetti (spaghetti originated in China — but China doesn’t produce any cool cars). And I will see to a test drive. Just so long as Bubba (see, 5 Hits) doesn’t appear in my rear-view mirror.

Yep. There are plenty of opportunities to throw $$$$ at any of the cars you find being offered in downtown Walnut Creek. A plethora of pricey wheels.

My VW. It doesn’t scream wealth. But, at least my payments are not in the stratosphere.

A Lamborghini can start at around $200,000.00.