Monthly Archives: October 2019


Firefighters, Fire, Flames, Outside

I missed two days of work in two weeks because of fires. Sat in hours of traffic.

Mind you, we were fortunate to not be directly affected. Yet freeway closures and being downwind of smoke, plus school closures and the officials urging everyone to stay home if possible, leave the roads to fire crews, all that kept me home.   

I’m not complaining. We were mildly inconvenienced, while some people lost everything.

Every year, same story.

Correction, every year is getting worse.

I’ve lived in California for twenty-seven years, the last fifteen in the same valley, and don’t remember anything this big. Fire after fire after fire. Then more fires.  

We can go on debating cause and remedy; but let’s face it, things are changing.

Can we agree to that without controversy?  Things are changing, and not for the better.

As one social-media friend put it, our planet is sick and showing terrible symptoms.

Blue, Watercolor, Watercolour, Painting

I love my California.

The state took me in as one of its own twenty-seven years back. The mild weather, opportunities, diversity, and so on, agreed with me like ice cream on warm apple pie or tomato juice and vodka. Particularly after having lived in severely cold climate and near-zero opportunity zone.

My heart belongs here. Even when I visit family in Europe. Even after I fall back into European customs, like seeing old places, speaking the old language with friends and family. There is a disconnect in that once familiar activity.

I feel more Californian than anything else.

Any disaster, anywhere in the world, breaks my heart. Seeing it up close, on such a large scale, being in the middle of it, surrounded by it, suffocated by it … yeah, it’s challenging to say the least.

Which makes wanting to see the treating of symptoms my social-media friend mentioned all the more important.

It’s what we do for love, isn’t it? Want to see the ill get treatment. Get well. For them and for us. 

Image credit: Pixabay

Outside the Norm


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Enough with the constant norms — Unknown

We recently watched A Breath Away, a French film with subtitles. On Hulu, I think, although you might find it elsewhere.

Took some convincing, though.

The first reaction in my house was, Oh, no, let’s look for an American movie – or something in English. Easier that way, right? Even if some British accents sound as good as a foreign language. But, still, it’s English.

I said, Let’s give it a try, and before long we were sucked into the story.

Image result for A Breath Away, movie

I love watching foreign films. But I grew up on foreign cinema with or without subtitles. When no captions were available, I’d just imagine what might be going on, based on actions and emotions portrayed. I’d catch a word here and there, and try to fill the gaps. Not a bad way to learn a new language, for sure.

But my film-watching companions prefer English.

Which is fine.

Yet, we really enjoyed A Breath Away, despite our initial squabble. Nothing Oscar worthy and that took nothing away.  In the contrary. It was something different.

Something challenging, outside the tired, old norm.  And it felt good.

Done anything outside the norm recently that felt good?

Credit: Pixabay, Google Images

A Story in Quotes

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Quotes are my favorite means of encapsulating powerful ideas. Offering a snapshot into someone’s story. As writers, we are drawn to quotes, aren’t we?

Here are some that offer a tinny snapshot into the life of a towering figure.

 Elijah Cummings

 “I want justice, oceans of it. I want fairness, rivers of it. That’s what I want.”

 “I was in special ed, but I felt like I was a caged bird. I felt like I could do better,” Cummings told a a group of special-ed students. “I made sure I mastered my special-ed lessons. I made sure I listened to my teacher. I made sure I did my  homework.”

“Who do you think you are?” when being challenged on his career aspirations.

“Words that pain me to this day.”

“When I became a lawyer, no one asked me if I had spent some time in special ed. All they wanted was a good lawyer.”

“The same little boys that bullied me, the same ones that beat me up, they became my clients.”

On politics:

“When you’ve got integrity, you just do what you know is right.” 

 And when paraphrasing some of his favorites:

“The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.”


Image: pixabay