Friday, November 30, 2012

Gorgeous Wind

Weather is a big topic everywhere.  It colors moods.  Melts spirits.  Freezes joints and blood.  Yesterday I was standing on blustery bus stop corners as a child.  Wind seems to be stand out weather for me.  

As as little girl of 4, I went down to the garage-basement of our San Francisco house.  I'd lay down on the cement floor and listen to the wind blow through the garage.  It whistled and pounded at the garage front and whooshed out the back door.  Occasionally wind whisked leaves and small pebbles along with its heavy breath and they would tumble against the door with dry crackles and a rattle.  I felt like a giant was blowing right at me in the garage.

Today a large storm is blowing through Northern California.  I woke up to the trees being whipped around my bedroom window.  The giant's breath was all around and bending everything to it's will.  I like it!  I once walked into a store and it had a quote painted on it's wall about wind.  I don't recall the exact wording.  And, I apologize to all those who have real experience with hurricanes, this is not to make light of your losses.  But, this paraphrase so expresses how I feel about wind:

When the hurricane wind blows, stand on a hilltop and get rockstar hair

Wind energizes me.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

More About the Way

No walking through snow - but girls had to wear dresses, no pants to school, church, and any other more formal place.  As a little girl, I remember wearing petticoats - kind of fluffy slips that made a skirt stand out.  Then we had white socks that folded over.  If it was an occasion, the socks had lace on the edge.  They had to be really really white.  If you were messy and they got a little smudgy with playground dirt they became play clothes.  Everything was starched and ironed.  There were degrees of starch.  I was not privy to the starch formulas, but I think they were added to the wash.  I do remember that heavy starch on Daddy’s dress white shirts was a bad thing.  He was very uncomfortable.

I know that in Scotland men wear kilts, but those are heavy woolen things that have pleats of thick fabric.  I mostly wore cotton print dresses that really didn’t have much thickness.  Morning winter winds were the bane of my existence.  They would fly along the street, whirl around my legs, create goosebumps, and then for good measure flip my dress up.  Mostly this happened when I was standing in line at the bus stop (previous post) along with 8 - 9 other kids from my street. Flipped up dresses lead to teasing taunts from the boys.  That was followed by a game of “you can’t catch me” as I would try to bean the offending boy for his jeers.  I was not fond of being an 8 year old Marilyn Monroe.  

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Morning Prayer

Yesterday I flailed around for something to write about and found inspiration in another’s post.  It hit the mark for me.  This morning when I sat down at my computer, there on my bulletin board, right in the middle, is a printout I made and it says COURAGE.  I knew I need courage, I made a large colored poster for myself and yet I “forgot” my self talk.  

Maybe that is why it is a good practice to start the morning with prayer.  To whatever higher power you believe in, prayer is a thanksgiving for all you have.  By starting when the day is fresh, before it is cluttered with to dos and oughts and shoulds, we have an opportunity to give thanks for the little insights we do get.  This can be a way to build those traits we want to grow - like my courage - drop by drop.

This morning I am grateful that I get to enjoy another day.  I’m grateful that I have strong family and friends to walk with me along the path.  I am grateful that I get to stumble across small signs - like my own courage sign - as guideposts as to where I should go.  Thank you

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Today I saw a quote from Henri Matisse "Creativity Takes Courage" and it was a much more positive spin than how I've always felt.  I felt that you need to overcome fear to create.  Better to develop a positive trait like courage than to try and overcome a negative one like fear.

So much of my life I've played safe because of fear.  I wonder where I would be or what I would have accomplished if I had chased courage instead.  I'm going to start now.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Way it Was

Eye roll, this is the way it was, I walked six miles through the snow to get to school each day . . . no, not really.  But that is the "way it was" stories I was brought up with, even though I grew up in California.  

For me the way it was, is that I took a bus to school and it took about an hour.  This was not bussing for integration bussing - this was bussing for an education bussing.  I lived in a semi-rural area and if you wanted an education, you got on a bus that went all around the area picking up kids.  

When bussing for integration happened, I was in high school and I remember reading the stories in Time magazine.  I really couldn't understand "what's the big deal" with bussing.  The stories always emphasized how long the kids would need to be on the bus.  It usually was much shorter than I was on the bus.  To me it seemed a one way issue - want an education - get on the bus.

Women had three main career paths, when I was young - teacher, secretary, nurse.  If you didn't find these attractive, you could work at becoming a wife and mother, although no one described this as a career.  That is the way it was.  

My Dad was a great proponent of "using your brain."  Since I happened to have one, he expected me to use it - he never told me about the problems women had trying to break out of the expected.  I did well in school and thought that was the key to being able to succeed.  I didn't know about glass ceilings or that women could only do three things.  

My first clue should have been when I was offered a scholarship at the Coast Guard Academy.  I sent the application back and was rejected - at the time they were only taking men.  My scholarship was because they liked my brains and thought Cydneys were men.  I didn't know to fight injustices like this.  Actually, truth be told, the brochures they sent me extolled the great tradition at the Coast Guard Academy of jumping off a cliff into the Atlantic Ocean.  Growing up in California, I believed all oceans were very VERY cold!!  I did want to go to college for free - I didn't want to jump into a cold ocean.  That is the way it was.

Writing has always been like painting to me.  In high school I was on the newspaper and really enjoyed writing to deadline.  I liked finding new hooks.  I liked investigating stories.  My aunt was a former journalist and journalism instructor at San Francisco City College.  I felt like I was following in her footsteps.  I wanted to be editor of the Hoofbeats.  I worked really hard.  I was crushed when our instructor/advisor called me into her office and told me that I couldn't be editor because I was a girl.  That is the way it was.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

It feels like skidding out

When I was 15 1/2 my mom and dad took me to the local college parking lot and taught me to drive a standard transmission car.  How they survived my whiplash take offs and gear changes is testament to their great patience and love.  For most of my adult life, I drove standard transmission cars.  I was really proud of my ability to shift smoothly, to hold a car on a hill with just the clutch and break, to get through an intersection faster than the other cars with automatic transmission - even if they were great big power beasts.

Today I found a new conveyance to learn to drive - it's only been 45 years since the last lesson - I took a fork lift for a spin.  It was really weird - I felt like I was skidding out in the rear end.  Forklifts have back turn wheels and big forks in the front.  I need to find a big college parking lot and practice - again.  I wonder if God could lend me my dad - he was a great teacher and I need a little love.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Creating my own church

Not truly belonging has always been my cross to bear.  I've decided that perhaps, it's not such a bad thing.  There is no checklist of goodness.  After all, it is written that he who is without sin should cast the first stone.  I'm not saying there is no sin - but I can't believe that one wakes up and has committed a zillion sins before even getting out of bed.  I like the masses that emphasize the more positive sides of faith.  I get really antsy when I'm at a service that goes on and on about sin. 

I think that the world is beautiful and friendly.  I think God intends us to appreciate his gifts and that we honor him when we find his world good.  

I'm a religious mutt.  I'm a baptized Roman Catholic, but I have some issues.  I believe in one holy apostolic church, I believe in the father, the son and the holy spirit, I believe, but . . . . I have this little issue.  I have a hard time believing there is so much sin.  I don't do guilt as religion.  That kind of makes  me an odd Catholic.

So, I've decided that I'm going to take what I need and leave the rest - in AA speak.  I like the pomp and circumstance of a mass.  It is reassuring.  I like the saints - it's nice to know that there are great examples of goodness attained on earth.  I wish priests and other religious had more well rounded lives.  I think everyone needs human connection - they should be allowed to marry and have families, it they wish.  As I work more on the form of my church, I'll let you know.  - Oh, stained glass windows DEFINITELY belong in my church!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Highs & lows

Yesterday was high - sort of and today is low - sort of. It's odd how good feelings can be torpedoed by small things.  It was such a nice day yesterday.  A fun run, good food being prepped, my grandkids over and helping out, my son and daughter expected.  Eight seats at the table - all expected to be filled.  Then my phone started making text message beeps - no daughter - headache. Son's friend went elsewhere.  Another was delayed at someone else's dinner.  From 8 to 5 and just as the expected family and friends faded from the table, as I removed each place setting, my mood sank a bit.

A beautiful day today.  An easy day of work - a mixed blessing.  I'd rather be slammed, but it was nice to cruise through the deliveries.  Went to the post office to pick up the mail.  There were many account payments and one bank envelope.  My mood was so high with the payments.  Then, I ripped open the bank letter and discovered someone had put a stop payment on a $4,000 check - ACK!!!  From high to low in the rip of an envelope.  No reason, not able to reach the customer - sigh . . . . 

We work hard.  Our mark up is small.  We put in lots of hours.  I'm having a hard time seeing the sunny side of this.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

I'm thankful!

To be alive in this wonderful world - 

To be a part of this kind community - 

To see the such interesting things - and not have to fill this basket!

Thank you!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pots of gold

Thanksgiving is the warmest, kindest holiday of the year.  All you need is a warm heart and a bit of gratitude and you've got a great day.  You don't have spend tons of money.  You don't have to be a great cook.  

Food for the day can span the range from gourmet to kitsch and tradition to new.  My table will probably feature a bit of all.  My only hope is that everyone finds a nibble that they enjoy.  

Once, I tried that Martha Stewart - magazine perfect - holiday table.  I borrowed my mom's family china.  I polished silver.  I purchased glassware worthy of the settings.  I fretted over tablecloths, centerpieces, side dishes, seating arrangements.  Everything looked great and I think my family and guests had a nice time - except for the argument that broke out between two sister-in-laws - one from each side of the family.  

This was not my favorite Thanksgiving.  I learned that paper plates are just as fabulous as china.  What makes the dinner is a friendly and grateful heart. Be it hamburger or turkey - what makes the day is a warm heart.

My thanksgiving prayer - that all my friends and family new and old, near and far find warmth, love, acceptance, and grace in their day today, tomorrow and always.  I am grateful for your kind presence in my life.  I pray you know you are a cherished blessing. I am so thankful for you. Amen.
This rainbow appeared outside our plant yesterday.  It was huge!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Blooming - I hope

Most of my life I haven't paid much attention to my personal style.  I have never really knew how to find style.  I know what comfort is.  I know how to dress for work.  In between the two, I think style lives.  

Recently I found a great website/blog that has given me hope.  My ambition is to follow in the footsteps of these beautiful women.  My innate style is "old hippie."  But I think I can polish this into some Advanced Style like HERE. and be seedy no more.

Monday, November 19, 2012


I sat down to write about 2 hours ago.  I had a glimmer of a topic.  The phone started ringing.  The text messages started going off - I got way way off track. I have no idea what I was going to write about - those senior moments again.

I've been doing those online memory games - and it says my memory is getting better, but at times like this, I don't think so.  I think what my memory needs is just to slow life down.  If we could take things - one day - one hour - one minute at a time, my memory would come back.  If I could throw in a half day retreat - I'd probably not only get my memory, but maybe my mental health too.  Now, for a whole day off - I probably would drop 50 points on my high cholesterol, get over my insomnia lose those extra 20 lbs and become a practically perfect person - like Mary Poppins.  A truly worthy goal!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Photos of the mind.

This morning I walked just after the rain ended.  It was magical seeing the fresh washed world.  Fading rose canes arched across a fence and diamonds of rain drops followed each branch.  I stopped to take a picture with my cellphone.  I was reminded that some of the most amazing pictures in my life were only captured on the camera of my memory.  

I remember seeing trees gowned in crystal after a sudden hard frost when someone left their sprinklers on.  Backpacking in the Sierras we rounded a bend and a small perfect blue lake was surrounded my pink granite boulders and bright green pine trees.  I remember the look of wonder and trust in the eyes of my newborn.  All are vivid photos - but non captured on film.

Cellphones are miracles of capturing now - but memories are forever.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Climbing to achievement

Are we anointed or do we promote ourselves to pinnacles of being and achievement?  Most of my life I've waited around for someone to tell me I was able and good enough.  Now I wonder of those who do, achieve because they anoint them self with the desire to achieve.  For example, there are thousands of good football receivers.  There is one Jerry Rice.  Did Jerry Rice become a great receiver because he wanted to be great, or because a coach told him he could be great. 

If I want to be a great painter, I need to paint.  I need to learn about color.  I need to study the world around me and how the forms and colors flow.  The same if I want to be a singer, chef, gardener, or detective.  I need to look deep within myself.  I need to face down my fear of failure.  I need to feel the surge of creative power. I need to just go for it and believe in myself.

If I have the desire, the results will follow.  That is what I have come to believe.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

What if you give a party and no one comes

Some days are just so blech.  Even starting with the best of intentions, no one is pleased.  So dear internet, please understand that on days like that - like today - I know that I'm the only one here, but I do wish there was someone there.  I wish I was in dialogue instead of monologue.  I need a friend on days like today.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Savor little surprises

When I was in fourth grade, I always took a Mom made sack lunch to school.   It was almost always the same, a peanut butter sandwich on Wonder Bread, a piece of fruit, and something for desert.  Lucky would be a cookie or a brownie - unlucky would be some raisins.

I'll never forget the day I thought it was one of those unlucky ones. There at the bottom of my bag was that waxed paper pouch of raisins.  These were the days before plastic zip lock - waxed paper was the wrap of the day.  I was going to give the raisins a pass - but I was hungry and decided to give in and eat them.  I grabbed a couple - tossed them in my mouth and stopped in shock.

The warm smooth flavor of chocolate spread through my mouth, along with those tangy sweet raisins.  Mom mixed chocolate chips in with the raisins. JOY!  NOVELTY! FUN!  Oh happy day - all because of a few chocolate chips.  I even went home and thanked my mom for the lunch.

Everyday, there are little surprises that lead to joy - we just have to be willing to open what seems ordinary and savor the flavors of the day.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mean Mom

Most of my adult life, I have the icky task of being mean mom.  I am the rule setter and enforcer.  I don’t like it.  Why can’t the others set their own rules?  I first discovered this was my task when I had my first two year old.  The terrible two really start about 18 months when kids find that they want to wander but need boundaries.  If you don’t set some - they act out - a lot.  That’s the whole premise of that TV show about the nanny who fixes families.  Kids want rules.  Adults want rules.  AND they want someone to rail and rant against for making those rules.

I was reading a blog about saints - Ask Sister Mary Martha.  She was talking about mean saints - and she wrote the following:
St. Benedict was so strict with his rules that the other monks tried to kill him. A couple of times.  Ironic as his rules are based on balance, moderation and reasonableness. On top of that, the monks that tried to poison him (twice) had begged him to be their abbot and he had refused over and over again until he finally said yes.
Be careful what you wish for, monks, you might have a saint on your hands.
Perhaps you are confusing discipline with meanness, a common modern practice.

Maybe - just maybe - all Mean Moms are saints in disguise. . . .  just in case, I’m going to ask Santa for a little halo polish!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Life in 3D

My grandkids were off school today, so I ducked out of work for a couple of hours and took them to Wreck-It Ralph in 3D.  They are 4 and 11 and great fun.  I hadn't been to a 3D movie in years and years.  First off the glasses were much nicer than I remember - more like ugly sunglasses than the flimsy  paper ones I last used.  Then the effects were actually fun.  I often lost tract of the plot of the movie as I watched the effects.
I wonder how often that happens in every day life.  We lose track of the plot - or meaning - of our lives as we get lost in the dazzling special effects.  Warm family relationships are plot.  A big house is effect.  I don't want to get lost in the 3D of life and miss life.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Links to my sanity

A short list of some of the interesting things I wander to on the web:

Gratefulness dot org, is one of my go to sites for many reasons.  I can find inspiration, solace, remembrance, and peace all in these pages

Spirituality & Practice: Resources for Spiritual Journeys - a great resource for finding information about many paths - so much information

Everyday Zen

The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley - happiness documented by science!

The Contemplative Mind in Society - a really nice representation of Contemplative Practices

Everyone has a story that matters.  Here is a site collecting them all.  If you don't want to share your own story, maybe you know someone who's story you think is interesting.

The Unseen Sea - a beautiful time laspe video of San Francisco and the bay created by

An interesting collection of articles and information on Mindfulness

Saturday, November 10, 2012


The world wide web and I go way back to ARPNET.  I used to use a teletype terminal to log into MIT to chat with the sysop there when I was a bored teletype operator for a commodities company in San Francisco in the early 1970s.  I used to play a text adventure game on line where you go into the forest, find a cottage, enter the cottage, take the lamp and the key.  Then you go find a cave, light the lamp and start to explore.  You couldn’t save your game, so I had to hope for large lumps of time with no orders.  Playing sure did speed up my typing as I raced to complete the steps I knew so that I could adventure on.

Life is a bit like that old adventure game.  There are some steps that are so familiar that they become rote.  Sometimes I race through those steps so that I can get “to the good stuff;” the new and unknown.  Mindfullness suggests that we enjoy all the parts of our life, the familiar and unfamiliar both.  We should savor each day, each action, each person we encounter.  Just as the internet has evolved, so too has my life.  It is richer and fuller and for this I’m thankful.  

As I take the lamp. . . .

Friday, November 9, 2012

Staying Positive

Life seems to go along so much better when I stay in a positive frame of mind.  Each challenge that comes along isn’t directed at me personally - it is just a bump in the road.  When I don’t take it personally, I have a much easier time trying to find solutions.  

For example, today our ice machine decided to take a break.  We are in a new plant, so there are lots of adjustments to be made.  Learning how this ice machine works is one of them.  We need the ice to keep our product and orders very cold.  We put our orders in ice chests surrounded by ice.  This keeps the fish at its best.  We work on Saturdays, so we need ice!

We tried and tried to figure out what was going wrong.  We called a repairman, who said he’d be out between 2 - 4.  The repairman showed up at 4.  He didn’t know how our machine works, but looked it over.  While testing it, the machine started making ice again.  The really nice repairman said he didn’t do anything to make it work and he didn’t charge me any fee for coming out.  Now I’m sitting waiting for the ice bins to fill up before I go home.  

A long day - but I’ve got ice!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Man, I guess I'm really having senior overload lately.  I truly believe I wrote a post yesterday, but it's not there and I can't remember what it was about.  Could I have totally forgot Wednesday?  

Today I did a major pratfall.  I was breaking down boxes and stepped up on them to squash them down.  I jumped down off the pile, hit the wet slippery floor, my foot flew out, I landed on my butt and my other foot crashed into a wooden pallet.  I think I broke my big toe.  If you want to break something, that's not a bad thing to break.  I doctored myself on the internet.  

Elevate it, ice it, rest it.  Wait about 6 weeks - good as new.  Thank goodness for the internet - saved a $30 copay and several hours at the doctor.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

No Influence - so could we have a confluence?

No matter what happens in today's election, my vote has no influence on the out comes or in what will happen after the election.  What I'd really like as issues in the election are help for the homeless; care for the sick and disabled; mental health care; community centers that are magnets for the community and create great places to come together; no hungry Americans; good education for all and all ages; a society that celebrates all its citizens; for these things and more, I be happy to pay taxes.  The things I don't want to pay for are:  war and weapons.  That adds up to a healthy country - I think.  If we could come together in a confluence of desire for a healthy America, we'd all be happier I think.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Why can't religion be fun?

I just read a quote from Joanne Woodward
"sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades but to be married to a man who makes you laugh everyday, ah, now that's a real treat"

I would think the same would be true of religion.  OK, as I see it, religion is the practice of a formal relationship with the God source.  Being the source, God created fun, happiness and laughter too.  So, why when we go into churches and places like that we are so stoic and solemn?  I understand being reverent, but can't we be joyfully reverent?  Wouldn't it be so much easier to maintain a relationship and be married to a God who makes you laugh everyday?  Instead of counting our sins, couldn't we count our joys?  We could pledge to increase our goodness.  I would so enjoy a confession of blessings and gratitudes with a promise to go forth and do more - 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

I discriminate - lots

Privets are horrible, hateful plants.  They multiply everywhere.  They grow really tall and have nasty purple berries.  Birds love these berries - they eat them, poop nasty purple splotches all over my decks, car, pool, etc.  Worse yet, everywhere they poop forest of privet sprouts spring up.  I hate privets.

While pulling millions of little privet sprouts today, I was thinking about how liberal I am.  How I, unlike my conservative friends, have lots of tolerance for other's points of view.  All the while I'm really ticked at these privets.  Then I realized, there are lots of things I don't like (just like I hate privets).  I'm tolerant as long as it goes easily with the rest of my life and doesn't disturb my liberal view of life.

If the truth be told, I'm not fond of spending much time with conservatives talking politics.  I don't like people who cut in lines.  I'm very upset with self-centered people.  I harbor a secret belief that fat people should eat less and exercise more and am often surprised when they turn out to be rather smart.  The list could go on and on - but I'm tired of exposing my sad dirty laundry.  

The only bright side is that I discovered this problem while there is still time to work on it.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Effort, commitment, resourcefulness - NOT!

Young Cyd was a rather lazy girl - always looking for the easy way.  I was pretty good at doing my homework one class before it was due.  I did math in history, english in math, science in english, etc.  I hated house work and chores, and quickly discovered that by getting it done fast, it disapeared and left me more time for the things I wanted to do.  The interesting thing is that adults in my world praised me for this laziness - they thought I was being pro-active and industrial - when I was really racing through the required in pursuit of the fun.

Double goodness - time and praise - all arising from laziness.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Ants and bees

I read an article that suggested we could learn a lot about living in community by watching bees and ants.  At first I thought that might be a good idea - then I was upset.  Colony insects like ants and bees are born into one occupation that is needed for the success of the colony. They never get to explore different occupations or pastimes.  They never get to expand and grow.  I don't want to be an ant or a bee.  We need strong communities, but we need individuals too - I think.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I'm really a dog person, except . . .

There is an old white kitty that lives on my front porch.  He has several names - I call him "not my cat;" or white kitty.  He has a proper name, but I don't remember it.  White kitty was my neighbor's teen daughter's cat.  The teen grew up and moved away.  So did white kitty.  White kitty started hanging out on my front porch while some construction was going on at his house.  For the past 7 years, white kitty has been my "not my cat." I feed him.  I make him a warm bed in the winter.  I guess he is my cat.  No, I guess I'm his person.