last week and four years ago today


So last week my son in law was kind of a very big deal…

Because attending night school and then graduating with honors while working a full time job and, with your lovely bride, raising and caring for your 2 year old and 6 year old daughters is absolutely, positively a very big deal.

And this picture perfect family moment would not have happened last week were it not for this picture perfect moment that happened four years ago today.

Happy Anniversary Hollie and Ben!

And because I for one never, ever tire of the magic of that wonderful wedding…and I am a giver…

surrounded yet alone as the world goes on


I’m still here. Don’t be afraid. I promise I’m here and hanging on…barely, but hanging on. And meanwhile, the world does go on as it should…even when it seems to be a big shit storm happening like it has this past week in the news.

I forced myself to go to a small gathering the other day and pretty much as soon as I got there I thought to myself that it was a big mistake. It’s was not because of anything or anyone there. Not at all. It was me. It was the oppressive black cloud that lately has become all the more dark and oppressive in my heart and my mind. Sitting there surrounded by acquaintances, celebrating good things, I forced a smile on my face and the occasional laugh while thinking the whole time of that quote from World’s Greatest Dad that everyone is sharing all over social media because Robin Williams and depression and suicide.

I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone.
~Robin Williams as Lance Clayton in World’s Greatest Dad

My life, my world, my reality, my story right now. There’s so much more going on in the world around me that I should be worried about, that I should care about, that I should want to try to understand and to change:

  • The “serious” homeless problem in Manteca especially the scourge in Library Park…yes, the same Library Park where the homeless actually helped Abby and her friend to clean up in and around the gazebo before Hollie and Ben were married there four years ago.
  • The fact that there isn’t a homeless problem in the town of Ripon, just 7 miles south of us if I am to believe a local reporter’s opinion. Never mind there isn’t a problem because those who are homeless know that the police will pretty much chase them out… I learned that the last time my brother, the one who is homeless, visited here. It was amazing how he knew through “networking” where one could go and where one should never go…courtesies or no.. Ripon was on the don’t go there list.
  • Two recent drive-by shootings, one in the middle of the day literally in front of a friend’s home in the “good” part of our city and police won’t comment on whether or not they are gang-related or even related to each other.
  • Michael Brown and Ferguson and the police and race relations and who is affected and who is not and white privilege.

Don’t forget Gaza and the Ukraine and the Ebola outbreak…

Is it any wonder no one else is as depressed and nearly panicked as I am right now?

The homeless problem here in Manteca is indeed a real thing. It’s real pretty much everywhere else…except Ripon. I’m not so sure if it as serious as what I have witnessed in San Francisco or San Jose or Chicago or New York. I do know that there seems to be a lot of assumptions made…drugs, crime, danger to us good citizens who have a roof over our heads and no longer feel comfortable to use the restroom in Library Park or walk along the Tidewater Bikeway or hang out at the Historical Plaza at Spreckels Park. Some of that is real but then I recall the 5 homeless men who offered to my daughter and friend to pick up in and around the gazebo and then remained sitting quietly in the background as witnesses while we celebrated Hollie and Ben’s wedding. I think of my brother and his friends who regarded their lifestyle as adventure traveling from job to job, town to town, state to state. Listening to friends discuss how serious this is here in Manteca and how awful they all are in plain site, I can’t help but think this is a problem that won’t be solved anytime soon especially with this perspective.

The same is probably true with regards to Ferguson. I tried to follow the story this week when I had the energy beyond just getting up. I’ll be honest, I don’t understand. How can I really? I am a white woman raised in a white privileged world…yes even growing up on Food Stamps and Welfare living in a single wide in a trashy trailer park I still enjoyed a certain amount of white privilege. I can try to sympathize with what has been happening in Missouri this week but I won’t understand. It’s not my world. It’s not my reality…just as being homeless is not. That point was driven home in a big way this morning reading what a friend shared on Facebook of his experiences 30 years ago as a young, educated, hard-working BLACK man being pulled over while driving his nice car TWELVE times and handcuffed SIX times with no probable cause. Being the positive, thoughtful man that he is, he continued to share that he would like to think that things have improved over the years but it hasn’t…perhaps it is worse…perhaps it will get even more worse.

I just can not imagine.

Nor can I understand the way that this reality has affected brilliant people like Karen.

It’s all part of this “burden” of white privilege that really isn’t a burden for me or my daughters or my son unless I don’t school myself and my family about it and its reality that is our reality and not the reality of people of color in the ghetto and in the “good” neighborhoods. We must become aware of how racial privilege and our unconscious bias perpetuates a system of injustice. No, I don’t pretend to understand completely now. I can’t imagine that I ever will because I am not a black man or a black woman or a woman who has given birth to a mixed race baby or a mother raising a black child. But I do know that my eyes were opened a little bit more and I listened a little bit harder.

ask the pro


Planning a wedding? Need to know all that you need to know about flower girl duties? You’ve got to ask a pro.

Hazel Faye is that pro having flower girl-ed at her Mommy and Daddy’s wedding.

and for her mommy’s life-long bestest friend where she not only tossed those petals like nobody’s business but also offered the sagest of advice for the bride.

But you better hurry because her wedding calendar is filling up fast as she tries on flower girl dresses for the next wedding that she’ll be in.

Have no fear, beautiful bride to be, she’s got this.

good things this week


It’s been a pretty good week, you know. It has been. As long as I ignore the pain in my left foot, which I believe is never going to go away and will keep me from wearing pretty shoes forever unless I WANT to walk like a hobbled, old woman.

I don’t want to.

But yeah, ignoring my left foot, it has been a pretty good week here under the Big Top.

There’s the delivery of next month’s Norditropin. What can I say? Having dealt with not so great service from durable medical supply companies in the past so far I am very happy with the pharmaceutical company that delivers Daniel’s meds and other supplies.

Picking up Hazel from kindergarten and sharing lunch with her is REALLY good. So are the fried egg sandwiches she insists I make for her. I don’t know what they do to her in that kindergarten class but she will eat said fried egg sandwich, a bag of chips, a cup of yogurt,sliced fresh veggies and fruit, two glasses of pink lemonade and she is STILL hungry.

Discovering just how delicious beer steamed potatoes arewith freshly ground Himalayan pink salt…my new obsession.

Having fun at Jodie’s last Back to School night. I warned y’all that this is going to be a year of lasts for her. Here’s one. More to come. I promise. You might have to hold me from time to time. Thanks.

Learning that a picture I took is now part of an awesome display at the Philip S. Raine roadside rest area on Highway 99 south of Tulare that depicts life in the Central Valley of California. Yes, I gave permission and receive photo credit. I just didn’t know that the project was completed. Hmmm…perhaps a road trip? If any of you just happen to be on CA 99 near Tipton feel free to stop and get a picture of you and my picture…please.

I cleaned my desk…sort of. It still is cluttered because I have too much stuff going on all around my desk but at least it is somewhat organized and on display. Yes my people, this is where the brilliance slightly-better-than-mediocrity happens. If only my blogging area looked like Jenny, The Bloggess’ does…just imagine the kick-ass writing I would accomplish! It could happen…okay, maybe not. Still I want to go to there and try to write and cuddle with Hunter S. Tomcat and Ferris Mewler. Remember that one time where I cornered Jenny in a bathroom and told her how her stories of Ferris made me smile and miss my then recently deceased bitch-kitty, Ginger? I’m thinking I will never, ever get anywhere near Hunter, Ferris or Jenny’s blogging space. I don’t blame her at all either.

Oh and three years ago today, these two gorgeous people promised to love, honor and cherish to infinity and beyond. Happy Anniversary Hollie and Ben! It really was a great wedding.

So yeah, the last week of August has been a good week with good things.

What left foot?

Oh yeah, that left foot.

her mother’s daughter


Early on in their relationship, I told Ben if he ever wondered what Hollie was like when she was a little girl he should look to Hazel. Of course Hazel was just a toddler back then…a truly adorable, very strong-willed, confident, look-at-me kind of toddler…just like her mother was back when she was two. And as she has grown, Hazel has pretty much mirrored her mother…at age three…age four…and now age five.

OMG! Just thinking about some of her latest adventures, this kid is so much her mama at this age when she was the bossy, Miss-Know-It-All “leader” that she was!

She even has her mother’s smirk down pat.

That smirk! The smirk that drove me CRAZY! The smirk that truly made me wonder if I was doing anything right. The smirk that I grew to love so much because it belonged to probably the most confident, self-assured person I have ever known…or perhaps the kid with the BEST poker face ever! I had to admire it because I possess perhaps the worst poker face.

Don’t worry too much Hollie and Ben. After all, Hazel is her mother’s daughter. That confident, know-it-all swagger will get her pretty far…as long as you continue to nurture her the way that you both do. That swagger, that’s hiding a helluva lot of self-doubt and fear. Of course I’m speaking from experience, you know,  raising a child just like her.

Just try to keep up kids. Your daughter will be fine. After all, she is her mother’s daughter.