How Extraordinary the Ordinary Person is…

I watched CBS Sunday Morning today. Along with items about passwords and significant historical events, the show included an interview with Gay Talese.  Mr. Talese is in his 80s. He wrote and is still writing articles that make one think. During his interview, he said this: “How extraordinary the ordinary person is if you know them well.” Wow. That statement made me pause.

How many ordinary people do I know who have proved themselves to be extraordinary to me because I am close to them? Hundreds? More, maybe. How about you? Who do you know who is extraordinary? Do others recognize that in them? What about you? Do you consider yourself ordinary? Do you have others who see extraordinariness in you? What makes you extraordinary? Do you allow those who are close to you to realize your specialness? Do you refute it when someone compliments you or finds something you’ve said or done extraordinary?

I don’t really know the answers…but I’m certainly thinking on them. I know that I meet people who think I’m better/smarter/wiser than I think I am myself. And, I suppose that I honor and respect some who I believe are extraordinary who might not think of themselves in that way. Yet, the quote Mr. Talese noted says that we are ALL extraordinary when we scratch the surface, when we delve deeper than the superficial, when we care and learn and delight in getting to know that person beyond the casual.

I like that idea. And yet, if we are all extraordinary beneath the surface, does that mean that none of is extraordinary at all?  That extraordinariness is commonplace? How paradoxical.

It’s about time…

Well, I finally did it.  I resurrected by blog site!  It has been ignored, hacked, scammed, and sullied.  And, I haven’t done a thing for more than a year! It’s time…and beyond.  Not here to be creative or to share anything of value today. It’s Super Bowl Sunday, and I’ve been at my computer deleting more than 1800 registered users who probably shouldn’t have been on my site.  Unfortunately, in my batch deleting, I probably deleted many of you who were legally registered.  If so, I apologize.  I just hope that you can see what’s there and be ready for me to start blogging again.  To make matters even scarier–I had 10 admins! Only two of us were authorized.  So, I’m going to write this short piece and see how it goes.  Then, I’ll write more in a few days to test it further.  I might even write about something that really matters.  Stay tuned…I’m ready to start sharing again.  Thanks for hanging on.

Blessings Always,

Linda

Feelin’ pretty good!

Along with starting my new job and finalizing my old one, I fought a cold/bronchitis for most of May. First, I had one of those coughs that really didn’t worry me at first; I figured a steady dose of Nyquil would take care of it. After two weeks, I gave up and went to the doctor.  She said I had a nasty bronchial infection bordering on pneumonia and sent me home with drugs and an order to get sleep.  Of course, the sleep part had been tough without the prescriptions because I seemed to cough all night long.  Luckily, the drugs did their job and I slept and got well…or so I thought.  A few days after the drugs were completed and I started feeling good, I got a nasty sore throat with a fever. Of course, I got both late Thursday, and had something important to do on Friday, so I took OTC drugs to bring down my fever, sucked on cough/throat drops, and pushed through.

By Monday, the fever had stopped, but my head felt sore all over, headachy, stuffed up, and overall miserable. This time, I wasted no time getting my butt (and head) to the doctor.  Instead of anything bronchial (my lungs were clear), I had a nasty sinus infection. (Notice that all my ailments are nasty….)  That was why I had the headache and my face felt like it was going to explode.  At least the sore throat was on the mend.  Again, new drugs. Better sleep, no headache.  And guess what?  Today I feel GREAT!  I think I’m back to being myself.  Now realize that I, even at my wizened and cured age (cured as in fine whiskey or really strong cheese), seldom get sick!  I think it’s my great and powerful Scottish genes.  For an old fart with bad knees, I’m otherwise almost always chugging along.

So, in addition to beginning my new position on 18 May, I had to be at work despite feeling poorly and that, I’m sure, prolonged and maybe exacerbated the infections.  Good news is that today I’m ready and able to tackle the world.  Good thing, too!  I still have one of my three STC presentations to finalize for the Summit that begins in two weeks! I also have to update my next UCSD class…it has to be ready for students by 22 June.  And, yet, I’m not worried.  I am one of those crazy people who operates at full strength when under pressure!  I think the pressure is about to explode, so I should have one helluva productive weekend!

Oh, yes, one other thing.  Yesterday was payday at SPAWAR.  I received my first payment as a government employee.  That’s always a relief when you realize the paperwork went through and payroll knows who you are. I still have a lot of other little things unresolved because my old govie records haven’t caught up with me.  Proof of my past employment is still archived somewhere in the bowels of the Office of Personnel Management, probably!  And, with the news this week of the big hack in their files, I imagine getting my old records found and sent to the local folks might not be a top priority.  Yet, as I said, I got paid.  Everything else will fall into place.

I’m still a little amazed at my good fortune.  I think it’s funny that so many of my peers are thinking about ending their careers and beginning retirement and here I am, starting a new job!  Some of us are just gluttons for punishment!  Actually, that’s not true.  I enjoy working. I enjoy the people I work with. And, I enjoy getting those nice paychecks.  And, because of that aforementioned healthy life, I just might keep doing this for some time to come.  Life is good, and I’m feelin’ pretty good about it.

The picture I posted looks like I feel today. It was taken by Cheryl in Santa Barbara a few months back.  I was definitely feeling good and was in a beautiful spot.  Lucky Me! Enjoy your life. It’s the only one you get! (that we know about…:-))

IMG_1921

April is being good to me…

What a month! First:  My suit settled!  Won’t get rich on my part of the settlement, but I’m definitely happy with the results.  It took me six decades to ever be involved in a lawsuit, and I hope I never have a reason to do so again.  The deposition was grueling and exhausting…but the mediation was actually boring, although extremely interesting.  I sat in a room with my two lawyers while the poor mediator kept bringing offers to us from the restaurant’s insurance company. We were there for almost 6 hours…but what seemed like an impossible gap between what my lawyers first asked for and what their lawyers first offered wound up in a decent spot. I’m so glad I didn’t have to go to court for an actual trial. My attorneys were great. They did a ton of work on my behalf (well, on theirs, too) and it paid off.  I have no issue with them getting 40%! The way it works is that we take the total amount, pay Medicare back all that it paid out on my behalf, pay for expenses, pay my attorneys, and then pay me. Whew. Done deal.  I’m a happy girl.

money_rose A little more than a week ago, I spent a few days in Las Vegas and saw Elton John at Caesar’s.  He’s still an incomparable performer.  Loved his show, his musicians, and his graphics/light show. We had good seats and enjoyed watching the people. Rod Stewart was actually in the audience!  He is also playing in Las Vegas…but I probably won’t go up to see him.

Life is rather nice these days. I’m enjoying having my house all to myself. And, I especially like all the changes Jeanne made while she was there. I think most of you know that I’m now the sole owner of my house…I decided to buy Jeanne’s half and stay there as long as I can.  Of course, the bank really owns it…but that’s the way of the world. Somehow, I feel differently about the place. Didn’t think it would matter, but it does. And it’s all good. Still, Jeanne’s improvements are delightful. My front yard is so much nicer than it had been; all the trim inside the house is bright and white; my patio furniture is newly painted; the ugly pine tree in the front yard is gone…and so many other things that I won’t bore you with the list.  Just believe me when I say I’m appreciative of all she did in a million different ways.

I know I’ve shared with all of you my crazy connection and love affair with my dopey dog, Blaze.  Well, it continues.  He gets more and more precious every day and brings me nothing but joy. I still don’t know how I deserved to share a home with him.  And, don’t forget little Charley…she might be small, but she’s mighty!  She can stop Blaze in his tracks..he’s 85 pounds and she’s 9 pounds…but he’s loathe to pass her in the hall or go around her to get through the doggy door.  I’m sure you’ve seen some of the YouTube videos of big dogs being bullied by cats…well, I believe it! Yet, at times, they do manage to connect a little.Blaze_Charley_bed_031813

Ok, that does it for me today.  I may have some other news to share soon…but I’ll just leave you with that teaser. Enjoy life. It’s the only one we know we’ve got.

March Magic

March Magic.  Kinda rolls off your tongue… I love alliteration! I really don’t have any magic to share, but I couldn’t think of a title and that came to me.  So, there you have it. Live with it.  🙂

Can you believe it? It was about 92 degrees in my yard today. 14 March. Ugh. Now, San Diego never gets much of a winter, but this year, we had less than usual. I wish we had had a bit more cold and a bit more rain. Nonetheless, I do feel blessed to live here–drought, fires, earthquakes, and all!

Most of you know that my friend Jeanne Holzmann and I own this house together.  When I returned to San Diego in 2004, Jeanne made the generous offer to help me buy a home. We did and we’ve been partners in it ever since. She lives in Roanoke, VA, and was involved in this property as an investment. Well, you know how that went…It’s still only worth about 90% of what we paid for it…and that’s after housing has made a recovery.

The news is that we decided to sever the partnership. I’m buying Jeanne out. At least, that’s the plan. We agreed on terms and I’m waiting on the refinance in my name only. Once that’s done, I’ll begin my payment arrangement and we’ll transfer the deed.  To be honest, the house looks better than it has in years. Jeanne worked on it a lot during her “snow bird” visit. She arrived here on 1 January and left the evening of 10 March. In that time, we had a tree removed, planted and designed a new front yard, got a new front door, painted all the trim in the house, fixed and painted lots of things, added mulch and plantings in various places, cleaned out the garage, partially cleaned out my office, decluttered a lot of things, and still managed to stay friends. Now, that was a feat!  I used the word “we,” but in reality, Jeanne did most of the work.  I’d come home from work and check around to see what had happened that day.  It was delightful and a bit unnerving, but now, in retrospect, I’m only delighted.

She was and is an important person in my life, and I’m grateful to her every day. I wouldn’t have this lovely home without her help and I can never pay her back for that. So, this March Magic is my public thank you to Jeanne. Friendship is a wonderful thing; I’m blessed that Jeanne is my friend. And if you need real magic, just think on how magical it is to have friends who are there for you.  Not just in March, but always.

Our house...soon to be mine!
Our house…soon to be mine!

Santa Barbara weekend travelogue…

It has been interesting to realize that I am actually thinking about blogging more these days than I usually do! Maybe it was the extra effort of Holidailies, maybe it’s just that I am feeling the need to reach out and share thoughts. Whatever it is, I’m blogging again and it’s only been about a week since my last endeavor!

And, what a week it’s been!  My BFF Cheryl Smith and I traveled to Santa Barbara on 16 Jan for a long weekend getaway. It was our Christmas present to each other. And, I think it’s going to be a new tradition! Much nicer way to spend a few hundred bucks than buying things that might or might not be wanted or needed! We stayed at a little place we found through Groupon called The Inn at East Beach. And, although at the start we were a little disappointed, we realized the disappointment was unfounded. The room was clean and pleasantly decorated. The owners were more than helpful about giving us ideas for our time there; they included a delightful, more-than-continental breakfast; and they were delightful people with great energy and charm. Add all that to the fact that we weren’t planning to be in the room all that much, the only issue we had was that it was way at the east end of the town (duh. “EAST Beach Inn”!) and required that we drive or take the electric shuttle most places that we wanted to see.

While there we rode a steam-powered, antique carousel; walked all the way to Stearn’s Wharf from the hotel (& back!); shopped all along State Street; went to the Santa Barbara Mission; drove out to the gorgeous east county around Cachuma Lake; wandered and shopped at the Santa Barbara Arts and Crafts Show along Cabrillo Blvd; and ate at some mighty fine restaurants! And, we did all of that from 2 pm Friday until about 12:30 pm Sunday!  Whew!!!

As you probably have guessed, we drove up in Lucille (my red Lincoln MKX). The roughly 200-mi trip up there took more than 4 hours driving the I-5 all the way. Los Angeles was true to its hype. Stop and go almost all along the midpoint of the city. Our drive home took much longer, but it wasn’t due to traffic! Cher and I had the idea of taking the long, SLOW, way down the coast along the beach cities and I guess the Universe had other ideas: To get to Highway 1 (also known as Pacific Coast Highway or PCH), one needs to drive the 101 out of Santa Barbara to Oxnard, then cut over to the coast. Well, the PCH was closed at a spot called Los Posas, or so the signs on 101 said. So, we drove a few miles south of Los Posas, and began winding through an area called Camarillo to the coast near Pt. Mugu. It was all agriculture and one beautiful campus for California State University–Channel Islands. Heck, I didn’t even know CSU had a campus called Channel Islands! Well, we drove several miles through acres of not-so-aromatic fields until we got close to the PCH only to discover that we had wound back north and were detoured because the PCH was closed! We wound up returning to the 101 exactly where we had left it.  Sigh. So, we continued driving south on the 101 for a while longer.

Cheryl looked at a PAPER MAP (! yes, we had one available), and picked a road that would take us to the PCH a bit further south, just about at Thousand Oaks.  That road had several names, including Decker Highway and California State Route 23. Well, despite providing us with a roadside vendor who sold us a flat of the most delicious, fresh-picked strawberries I’d tasted in a long, long, time, the trip was harrowing. In fact, if you go to the site I’ve linked, you’ll see these words: “extreme caution is advisable, especially as the road nears PCH. It is a notoriously dangerous road, and the rusted chassis of cars that have gone over the side can still be seen.”  Nonetheless, Lucille performed marvelously and although my shoulders and neck are still holding some of the anxiety I felt while driving it, the road was phenomenally interesting! We saw mansions and ranches, hovels and shacks, canyons and cliffs, and some of the prettiest views of the Pacific as I’ve ever seen. I am amazed that people live along that road! They have to risk their lives just driving to the grocery store for a carton of milk!  For, although houses were sprinkled along most of the route that wasn’t too treacherous, we saw no sign of commercial buildings, stores, or businesses of any kind.

OK. We’re finally at the coast and we’re starving! So, I call my dear friend De Murr, who used to live in Thousand Oaks and travel to the coast every day (she took a much easier drive through the coastal mountains–we probably should have called her before taking CA-23!), to get her recommendation for a lunch place.  She provided us with directions to Paradise Cove Beach Café in Malibu. It was a delightful respite from the drive. We waited about 40 minutes for a table, but the people-watching and bloody marys helped! We had a great lunch of shrimp appetizer and a swordfish sandwich (we shared both) while watching people preen and seagulls fight outside our window. (Don’t worry: our bloody marys were long absorbed and worn off before we got back in the car!)

From Malibu, we drove the PCH down to Venice Beach to see the colorful people and the colorful sunset at the beach. One fun moment was driving past a large mural of Jim Morrison while The Doors were coincidentally playing “Roadhouse Blues” on the radio! Soon after that, I asked Cheryl to drive: I was worn out.  And, at about the same time, we decided that driving along the beach route after dark wasn’t quite what we had in mind. We found the I-90, which took us to the San Diego Freeway (I-405), which turned into the  I-5 in Orange County to get home at about 6:30 pm Sunday.

What a trip! Sure am glad I gave myself Monday to recover before returning to work. One of the best Christmas presents I’ve ever had.

I hope you check some of the links I’ve put into this LONG post, but in case you don’t, I’ll leave you with a visual:  Til next time!

Venice Beach mural of Jim Morrison
Venice Beach mural of Jim Morrison

Big Changes to my Little Abode

It’s the 13th of January and along with being my brother Bob’s birthday (Happy Birthday, Brother Bob!), it’s the 12th day of having Jeanne living with me in our house.  WOW! What a whirlwind! Since the 2nd of January, we (most of it Jeanne) have done the following things in and around my house:

  1. Landscaper came out to give estimate on completely redesigning the front yard to be more water-wise.
  2. Renovation Realty come out to evaluate what we could do to the house to get more out of it when we sell.
  3. Foundation inspectors came out to see if our foundation was OK (it WAS! Whew!).
  4. Tree guy came out to evaluate how sick my star pine was…found out it was sickly, so we then had it removed…even ground out the stump! (It was 70+ feet tall!) (See the two pictures I added–one of a healthy tree; one of my poor tree.)
  5. Cleaned out garage and took LOTs of stuff to Goodwill.
  6. Cleaned out file drawers in my office to make room for new papers to be filed.
  7. Cleaned out Jeanne’s closet.
  8. Cleaned out lower section of my hutch (napkins, table cloths, etc.).
  9. Moved some furniture items here and there to use space better. (Jeanne is NOT the clutterer that I am and I’m managing to get through a lot of stuff with her help!)

10.   Spoke to Eduardo, my current gardener, about what he could do to help us redesign the front yard. (Jeanne has some great ideas and we can do much without high cost of #1 above.)

11.   Visited a local nursery for planting ideas.

12.   Visited Home Depot and bought a bunch of stuff for planting and reconfiguring front yard.

13.   Painter came out to estimate job of painting all indoor trim (windows, doors, baseboards). He begins work on the 26th.

14.  New front door gets installed tomorrow (15th).

I never know what will await me when I get home from work.  Some of the changes are definitely needed; some I am fighting; but all in all, I’m pretty sure the results will be worth the pain. I’ll keep you informed with pictures along the way!  I am the world’s champion procrastinator. And, some of Jeanne’s suggestions just don’t work for me.  But, we’re working it all out.  In the long run, I know the changes will be good.  Stay tuned.  More to come!  She will be my roomie until March 11!

healthy star pine

my poor, sickly star pine

Another dimension…

So, it was a few days before Christmas and I was at my little haircut place, talking to my hair stylist.  I’ve been going to the same place for years, and my stylist (another Linda) is wonderful and her haircuts are quite inexpensive! I brought Linda a small gift for Christmas, but she declined, telling me that MR. SATELLITE had told her to not accept any gifts this year. Now, Linda is Vietnamese, and she speaks with a strong accent. She’s thin as a wisp, and quite beautiful…and I had always thought she was Buddhist. However, this MR. SATELLITE thing was new.  So, as we chatted during my cut/color, I found out a few more things–including that MR. SATELLITE had a few messages for me! Of course, I pooh-poohed the predictions silently and offered her some half-hearted comments such as, “Wow, that sounds so Interesting!”

Weird thing is this: in the last week or so, several things have happened which might lead to the exact predictions MR. SATELLITE made for me!  (Can’t share any details yet…but I will if/when the time is right!)

I’ve searched the web and tried to see if MR. SATELLITE is a psychic, or if he’s some sort of spin off of some cult-like religion.  All I get are ads for satellite companies and links to astrological sites. So, if any of you has ever heard of MR. SATELLITE, or have any other ideas on how I can find out more, I’d love to hear from you.

For the time being, I’m just going along for the ride!  I keep hearing the Twilight Zone theme in my head. Satellite

Stealing from Mary’s Stealing!

girl-sketch

So, Mary Wise (Bozoette), had her first Sunday Stealing, and this is my first stealing from hers!  Some of these questions are TOUGH! And, unfortunately, my answers aren’t very happy for the most part!  But, they do tell a tale of my past year. Makes me realize I have to make some major changes for 2015!!!

1.What one event, big or small, are you going to tell your grandchildren about?

(Since I don’t have any grandchildren, do I have to pick?)  Nothing about 2014 was incredibly phenomenal…although I had a lot of nice things happen. Nonetheless, I think events from other years would make up the stories I would tell my grandchildren.

2.If you had to describe your 2014 in 3 words, what would they be?

Frustrating. Comfortable. Stagnant.

3.What new things did you discover about yourself?

That I could be as bored & frustrated with myself as I was…and that I didn’t do much to fix it.  I’m glad it’s over. This year has begun better already!

4.What single achievement are you most proud of?

Continuing to be available to friends and students who reach out to me.  (I seem to be able to dole out advice better than I take it.)

5.What was the best news you received?

That my brother finally had healthcare coverage and was applying for long-overdue disability!

6.What was your favorite place that you visited in 2014?

Idyllwild, CA & Tucson, AZ

7.Which of your personal qualities turned out to be the most helpful this year?

Listening and compassion.

8.Who was your number one go-to person that you could always rely on?

No question: Cheryl.

9.Which new skills did you learn?

Dang. It’s hard to teach an old gal new tricks…none come to mind.

10.What, or who, are you most thankful for?

My kid, even when she makes me crazy.

11.If someone wrote a book about your life in 2014, what kind of genre would it be? A comedy, love story, drama, film noir or something else?

My 2014 would be a self-help documentary…kinda boring, but filled with challenges and life lessons.

12.What was the most important lesson you learned in 2014?

Keep forgiving myself for the stupid things I do. (on ongoing process)

13.Which mental block(s) did you overcome?

Not sure that I have…

14.What 5 people did you most enjoy spending time with?

Cheryl, Barbara, Judy GS, & 2 Connies

15.What was your biggest break-through moment career-wise?

Allowing myself to accept and believe praise. (this one is actually getting easier as I get older!)

16.How did your relationship to your family evolve?

Again, not sure if it did. I don’t have much family–a brother and a daughter. Relationships with both had highs and lows.  Don’t think they were different or more evolved than the year before.

17.What book or movie affected your life in a profound way?

None that I recall.

18.What was your favorite compliment that you received this year?

A couple of emails from students of long ago thanking me for recent changes in their jobs/careers that they attribute to something I helped them learn or understand. I love getting these unexpected bits of light in my mail!

19.What little things did you most enjoy during your day-to-day life?

Being with my dog…walking him; bathing him; playing with him.  Also, recognizing that I am wise old crone of our work team. Many of my colleagues look to me for counsel on many things.

20.What cool things did you create this year?

New presentation on Information Design for STC audience.

21.What was your most common mental state this year (e.g., excited, curious, stressed)?

Although content for the most part, I was frustrated with myself for several bad habits that seemed to weigh me down.

22.Was there anything you did for the very first time in your life this year?

Worked with my attorneys on the suit against the restaurant where I fell late in 2013. (not exactly a positive thing…but it was the first time in my life I’ve been involved in a suit.)

23.What was your favorite moment spent with your friends?

Long weekend in San Clemente with four of my BFFs–trip to Tucson with Cheryl was also a top runner!

24.What major goal did you lay the foundations for?

DECLUTTERING!

25.Which worries turned out to be completely unnecessary?

None come to mind because I try not to worry…don’t give it much energy. Sometimes, I think I should worry more!

Holidailie 18: Hope for 2015

Vision joy Holidailies Didn’t want to miss writing my blog on this, the ULTIMATE day of 2014. So, since I’m hopeful for the future, I thought I’d share one of my favorite Emily Dickinson poems… I especially like the first stanza.  It doesn’t hurt that it takes some of the burden off me, either.  I don’t have to think up anything interesting to say!  So, until next year:

HAPPIEST OF HAPPY NEW YEARs TO EVERYONE!!! I wish you joy, prosperity, and love…always.

 

By Emily Dickinson 1830–1886 Emily Dickinson

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
***
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –
 ***
I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.
***
Source: The Poems of Emily Dickinson Edited by R. W. Franklin (Harvard University Press, 1999)