Friday, January 29, 2010


Our Father in Heaven,
We come to You humbly, God before country. We thank you to live a in a land where this is allowed to be normal.

We thank You that we, people of many faiths, ethnic origins; from many levels of wealth and education are able to meet together, to listen and learn. We ask You to bless all who gather here. Reach into our deepest consciousness. Open our hearts. Help us to learn what is Your will; that we will dedicate our political efforts wisely.

Many of us are concerned. We are concerned that there are those who believe the state is Almighty. We pray for the knowledge, love and determination to meaningfully change wrong priorities.

Last night many of us watched and listened to the State of the Union address. Help us to use our perplexity with how some elected leaders in Washington DC are campaigning, when they should be governing.

Many of us would like to ask that President Barack Obama apologize to the Supreme Court. We believe he told a falsehood about a decision they made under the color of his authority- and if that is right, that is wrong.

We ask you help us find the words and the courage to persuade those who do not understand that when we disagree with them, it is not because we are not listening. Help us to demonstrate listening is an active process. We believe that we are governed by consent of the people. Grant us steadfastness, that we will not ever be bullied into submission.

We acknowledge our own shortcomings. When we confuse beautifully delivered words with truth, we shortchange the intellect you created is with. Teach us words and actions to dispel questions of our integrity and heart with dignity.

As this is my faith, I offer this prayer in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Invocation given the Diamond Bar Republican Women Federated
Jan 28, 2010

Copywrited Image by Gene Sasse

Yes, I wondered if this was the right venue to post this prayer on. When I re-read the two highlighted sentences.... this prayer was offered from my core principals. To only say it to people who largely agree with me, that denies the opportunity of a teaching moment.

I understand, I may not like what comes back in such a public forum. Have at it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Summitridge Park at dusk. The cares of the day sink behind the hills 0n the horizon. It is easy to contemplate the Glory of God, to count my blessings here.

To a family without a home, darkness falling is not so full of comfort.

I would like you to do yourself a favor. Click over to Inland Temporary Homes (ITH)

While national statistics show the average rate at which homeless families are able to transition successfully from shelter to permanent housing at a rate of 50-60%, ITH’s success rate consistently hovers at a near perfect 95%.

I would like to thank Gene Sasse for reminding me that we all have something to give. Even with the general state of journalism, a writer can write even when she has to guard her checkbook to stretch the balance between billable hours.

I'm not going to give you the exact place on the website Gene went live with for them earlier today to read how to give some time and get a free day at Disneyland. I want you to click through the site. Discover the instructions while you search through the Internet corridors where the tale is written. To find the secrets behind ITH's success in diverting families off the path that leads to being homeless.

There is nothing I could have been paid to do which would have brought the satisfaction of writing the text for their new web site. These sentences were a joy to write for CEO Leanne Drieberg and her crew

"Success isn’t something found at the end of a path. It is found along the journey. Every day. We succeed because our program teaches our clients to create their own opportunities with honor. To do what is expected for a more successful life."

Photo of mother with child by Gene Sasse. Used with permission.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Rambling between Rains

Last week, close to 9 inches of rain washed in to our consciousness why insurance companies are hesitant to cover second homes. If you aren't at home, you are less likely to be able to correct any systems before they fail.

We didn't flood. But it was startling to look up and see water lapping across the brick patio. So much rain pounded with so much intensity for so long that debris clogged recently checked drains.

So out in his raincoat, my husband, aka my hero, went out with hoe and turned the tide back away from us.

funny pictures of dogs with captions

Mr. Muddy isn't in my tub. He was found at the end of Oregon Sue's morning missive, which led to the discovery of a site filled with darling pet images ready to caption.

When it rains, California functions differently than most of the nation. We are more likely to stay at home. But friends sending images keep us from being locked down. Sandy in Beaumont, courtesy of Oregon Sue, sent this image of mountains thickly frosted with snow.

Trisha Bowler shares the glorious winter sky. It is just as majestic as when fire swept the hillsides, but the leap the heart makes at the site is from a different direction.

Mark Twain opined

“The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter.”

Last week, it was good to have laughter. In her hospital room, my husband shared with his mother this darling little You Tube clip Pigeon Impossible

Her giggling took me back to when dear friend Sharon Shepherd, who as cancer was stealing her from us, recommended Patch Adams: the Robin Williams movie about the healing properties of laughter.

All prayers go out to the people of Haiti- to the first responders and the families who support the efforts of the good people called to help in disaster. Until they can all laugh again, please consider a donation to Direct Relief International, Project Hope, Feed the Children or your favorite charity there. May God grant that from the unstable ground, Haiti may rise like Lazarus from the dead. will link you to pet pictures to caption.

The relief agencies are easily found on the web. Just copy and paste the name which
interests you. Prepared to be awed by what individuals in this greatest of nations are capable of organizing and donating.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


In Riverside, my husband was stuck in a hospital parking lot: hail knocking on the hood of his truck. In Seal Beach, Judy got something I didn't know anyone in California thought to set up:a robo call from the authorities notifying her to find shelter from a possible tornado.

In my protected little patch of earth I tend in Diamond Bar, wind usually only comes in from the west in gentle breaths. But today, a gale of wind drove the rain in a nearly horizontal plane from the northeast. Thunder rattled the nerves.

When it was all over, in the foothills of Alta Loma, photographer Gene Sasse caught the magic of a full rainbow. Look how his vision makes the power lines in the distance look like they are sheltered in a glass globe. Had he had pointed his camera lens further to the hill- the scene would have been set in a snow globe. Being half Irish... I wonder if there is a pot of gold on each end.

Dusk. Overhead, the azure sky glowed like gossamer with a spot light shining through. All around, darkly ominous clouds began to circle, closing in: I wonder if this is what those caught in the eye of a hurricane see. A nebulous of calm and beauty nearby surrounded by unknown danger. Looking back towards where I call home- this is the view as Gene saw it from his home vantage.

Images by Gene Sasse. Used with permission and gratitude.

To see more of Gene's work, please visit his site.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Taking Heart

I confess. I am a recovering political nerd. But when policy and passion overshadow the neo-science which assumes people are as reliable in reactions as checkerboard pieces, I fall ker-plunk off the wagon.

The Massachusetts race to fill the U.S Senate seat vacated by the late Edward M. "Teddy" Kennedy is political theater of the grandest scale. I don't have to have a crystal ball with a vision of tomorrow's results to be heartened by it.

Why? Because the underdog uttered something so rare in politics, it sliced through the smokey haze of backroom deals to give clarity not to what is, but what should be.

In the debate with Martha Coakley, when the moderator framed the representation to be decided tomorrow was to "fill Senator Kennedy's seat", opponent Scott Brown offered,“With all due respect, it’s not the Kennedy's’ seat. It’s not the Democrats’ seat. It’s the people’s seat.’’

So here I sit at my keyboard, a 2965.13 miles from where Brown is campaigning; A 45 hours 15 minute drive, and I am heartened by the fact that an election will take place tomorrow and what is most important already is . It is certain that the outcome of the election is not certain before votes are cast and counted.

The wreath pictured is a Willliams-Sonoma exclusive available only on the Internet.
"The perfect gift for your valentine or for Mother’s Day, our graceful, hand-made heart-shaped wreath of English lavender, pink larkspur, maidenhair fern, globe amaranth, integrifolia leaves, caspia and pepperberries is accented with two dark-pink preserved roses. Mounted on a natural twig base, it will retain its beauty for many months. Protect from weather. 14" x 16". "

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Zero In On Zornes

Milford Zornes started life with a tumbleweed existence. Born in Oklahoma in 1908, as a child Zornes moved to Idaho and California with his family. As a young man he hitchhiked across America: earning his fare to Europe partly by working the docks in New York. Back in California, his roots finally tapped into his calling: art. In 1927 he began to paint at the prestigious Otis Art Institute, then was mentored here in the San Gabriel Valley by the great Millard Sheets. Artistic acclaim came quickly when President Franklin D. Roosevelt hung a Zornes painting in the White House in 1933. "

In 2008, Milford Zornes died a centurion. His family selected the CCAA Museum of Art to house an annual exhibit, this year is open only until Valentine's Day.
However, if you can make it over to Rancho Cucamongo on the afternoon of January 24th, a special reception with a free gift is being held.

In conjunction with the exhibit, author/ photographer Gene Sasse published The Art of Milford Zornes: from Private Collections ( ISBN 978-0-9842797-0-8). While the book is currently available for purchase at the museum, at the reception, this book is included with your paid reservation.

A prolific and preeminent practitioner of California plein art, many of Zornes works are displayed under glass a challenge to photograph well. In Gene's book, the subtleties in color, hue and intensity, as well as the shading struck by the artist’s brush are more than accurate: they visually speak with respect for the artist’s intent.

The CCAA (Chaffey Community Art Association) Museum of Art is located in the historial J Filippi Winery, 12467 Baseline Road, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91739
is open Friday – Sunday 12 pm – 5 p Admission: free

The Zornes Reception is January 24, 2010 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. ($20.00 per person)
(909) 463-3733
or E-mail to reserve.

For more information on the Museum, hop over to

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Better to Be a Woman

Diamond Bar is having brag-worthy weather. The weather is the reason our ancestors immigrated to California and never left. The low last night was 48°F; the mercury steadying around 75°F at lunch time. A perfect day for an impromptu get together for wine or tea as we decided at the last moment.

A girlfriend came over for an afternoon visit. Her husband is freezing in some duck blind in Texas. Makes me glad I'm not a man. I would hate to think it enjoyable to fly half way round the country to spend my vacation getting up in the dark to shiver in some field, waiting to shoot my dinner; which I could cook only after the buckshot is picked out of the hand-plucked carcass.

Another day another wine. Not quite sure where I picked up the bottle of Veo Grande Chardonnay: but it is good enough for me to give up a Saturday evening to write you about it.

A quick search of the Internet and I am pleased this Chilean Chardonnay from the Chilean Colchagua will lessen the weight of the wallet less than $10/bottle.

Tasting Notes-
Hue: Golden blond, like Goldilocks' tresses.
Scent: Honeysuckle draped over a mossy terrace.
Taste: A touch acidic, like a tart apple with its skin on.

Today Veo Grande Chardonnay we enjoyed the wines with a light tray of vegetable snacks with my upgrade of standard Roasted Red Pepper Hummus. No need to measure- simply stirring in 3 ripe Roma tomatoes, chopped; a heaping spoonful of Pimiento peppers, chopped; and a couple good shakes of Lawry's Seasoned Pepper and Garlic Salt. Voila! This dip transforms from tasting "healthy" to something higher up the scrumptious scale.

This is the future menu it inspired. One which will make me look like I spent far more time and money. I picture this as perfect for the ultimate gal-pal get together.

Waldorf Salad,
Chicken Lo Mein Salad

About the salads- Call the Albertson's Deli to reserve theirs. Put your effort into the Quiche.
So to anyone who thinks women think guys have it better- Who would you rather be? The guy in the duck blind or me?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Be of Good Repair

The old dishwasher dying was the inspiration for this year's theme- "Be of Good Repair".

There. It is said. This year's resolution is not to collect more. Not to upgrade. Just to be of good repair.

What do I expect the outcome to be? The balm which creates serenity: sweet order.

Orderliness might not be so wonderful in and of itself. But orderliness is the good bone structure from which the joy of serendipity explodes in life's exclamation points. !!!!

What is the one tool needed to get there? One which can't be bought. Discipline.

From this lovely point in life- the one where I can now legally order off the senior menu- what wisdom I have gathered includes- to chase after happiness without a firm structure of serenity and order is a recipe for the joy to be short-lived and dearly missed when time moves quickly past that moment.

Dishwashers were researched. The replacement is on order. My hands look forward to being replaced by that mechanical device.

The first chore of the garden calendar is underway: pruning the roses. The reward: vases full of flowers to share with my mother.

Portrait by photographer Gene Sasse of Alta Loma, CA.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

In Color

Jamey Johnson sings, "You should've seen it in color."

The Diamond Bar sunset on New Year's Day is fine on film. But best in person.
If you are fortunate enough to be in Southern California when the Rose Bowl is on TV- 4th quarter, get thee out of thy chair and cast thine eyes towards the west. You will gaze at the gates of heaven and know there is a God .
Such beauty could not an accident. It could only be a gift given with unconditional love.
The best of what we do in our own gardens springs from our attempts to replicate the lessons of the original Designer and Creator.

I believe He wants us to start the 2010 New Year with friends.

Meet Rosa 'Brigadoon'. Glenda Bona introduced us to her as a commemorative gift when my husband's father passed to heaven.
Tall and sturdy, she stands as sentry next to where my husband parks when he comes home.

My newest flower friend is 'Easy Does it', the only 2010 AARS winner by Tom Carruth for
Weeks Roses. (One of the perks being a garden writer is how samples show up at the mailbox to preview. )
Normally, I would showcase it with one of Gene Sasse's elegant rose portraits- I will do that another time with a formal review of the plant. These are simply informal peeks to convey the joyful color and approachable spirit of 'Easy Does It. '
To all who visit here- My wish for you- is that 2010 will be spent in a garden full of color.