You Take Home With You Wherever You Go


Happy Father’s Day to all the great father’s!

Originally posted on Boomers...Broken down or Blissful? :

ImageBefore the Boomer blog I had one called “Life After Locust Valley.”  It was mostly truth with a little fiction thrown in for spice.  Then I got to a point where I couldn’t fictionalize certain things and the truth was a bit too real, albeit thirty years old, so I stopped writing.  The Boomer blog came about when one of my neighbors from The Knolls “found me,” through my e-mail address and flooded my present with past memories.  Our cul-de-sac contained fifteen or so homes and was built in 1960.  The land had been part of the Carver Estate on Ryefield Road. Image   In fact, the house next door to ours was the original carriage house, and both the house and barn remained next door to ours.  Image   Several houses were still under construction but others had already been sold and families like ours were living there when we moved…

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Serendipity ~ due nella splendida Bellagio

Originally posted on Boomers...Broken down or Blissful? :


Eating Italian food reminds me of a trip to Italy.  Jay is an amazing cook.  His sauce aka gravy is A plus.  Reminded me of a trip to Italy.  Now I’d love to share our time in Bellagio.  We’d taken the train from Florence to Venice ~ I’ll return back to Venice another time ~ and upon leaving, rented a car to drive to the lakes, eventually winding up back in Milan.  We had no reservations, no place to be and no one to see.   The Italian lakes are amazing ~ we started by visiting Sirmione on Lake Garda.   We found a small hotel near The Sirmione castle on Lake Garda.  Between the 13th and 14th centuries, the village of Sirmione was a border town situated between the land owned by the Della Scala dynasty of Verona and the property of the lords of Milan.  The Sirmione castle is the most significant example…

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The definition of devotion ~ love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person, activity or cause.

I’ll start with love.  I have been fortunate in this life to have experienced an abundance of it.  Some did not end well, but it was love.  Some did not last forever, but it was love.  Some left behind better memories than others, but it was love.  I will start with the blessing of unconditional love.  My first.My mother.   She loved me dearly and completely throughout her life.   Emmy and JammieThat gift helped form my psyche and my soul and although I lost her while we were each far, far too young, I know her unconditional love was one of my life’s greatest blessings.  Occasions I was far too young to remember, immortalized in old pictures, remind me of the feelings I have to this day whenever I think of Emmy.  Safe.  Loved.Christmas Eve

Many people know that a person’s character and personality is largely established by the time they are very young. The traits that will define that individual throughout his or her life can be clearly identified when he or she is as little as 7 years old. In a new investigation, scientists show that, by the time they start going to school, children already exhibit the personality traits that will remain with them throughout their lives. This was clearly established in a new paper, written by experts at the University of California in Riverside (UCR), LiveScience reports.

“We remain recognizably the same person. This speaks to the importance of understanding personality because it does follow us wherever we go across time and contexts,” says UCR PhD candidate Christopher Nave, who was also the author of the new investigation. The scientist used information on about 2,400 ethnically diverse schoolchildren, which he collected from the conclusions of a study conducted in the 1960. Full details of the work will be published in an upcoming issue of the esteemed medical journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

All the children in the old study were in grades 1 through 6, the expert says. The UCR research group looked at personality ratings that teachers had given to 144 of the test subjects. Now, 40 years after the original study, these individuals were tracked down and then interviewed. The experts looked for modifications in four major personality traits, and namely verbal fluency, adaptability to new situations, self-humbling behavior, and impulsiveness.

The researchers learned that children who had proven to be talkative from an early age were very likely to become highly intelligent individuals later on in life. They were capable of speaking fluently, and exhibited a tendency to try and control situations. Conversely, first graders who scored lower in verbal fluency while in school tended to seek more advice from others, and general trigger awkward interpersonal situations.

“Life events still influence our behaviors, yet we must acknowledge the power of personality in understanding future behavior as well.” Additional studies should “help us understand how personality is related to behavior as well as examine the extent to which we may be able to change our personality,” the team leader concludes.

I found this information fascinating, as in my case being “talkative” also lead to being “class clown,” as a defensive mechanism to thwart social awkwardness in junior high school.   But I also consider my sense of humor one of my best qualities.   Exhibiting a tendency to try and control situations?  Guilty as charged.Image

Highly intelligent?   My romantic proclivities might make that generalized assessment questionable.

Let’s just say I didn’t marry for the right reasons, did marry for the wrong reasons and had one heart-breaking draw.  In my forties I believed being single was my lot in life and was more than content with it.  I’d also gone into therapy and let’s just say I am living proof that mental health, or a reasonable facsimile thereof, can be purchased.  Just as my heart caught up with my mind with the realization that being alone and lonely really were two very different things fate stepped in.I accepted a job at a radio station in Los Angeles ~ KEARTH 101. KEARTH I’d been offered the job three times and turned it down.  As is often true, timing was truly everything.  Jay was aware of me before I became aware of him.  Not necessarily for the best of reasons as it seemed I bore a startling first glance resemblance to an ex-wife.  As he told me later, “her looks were not the problem,” but it added to a strange several first encounters between us.   We began to run into one another in the halls ~ literally.  I’d turn a corner and there he was.  We had a curious conversation about reading spiritual books in a jaccuzzi and began a pithy e-mail exchange.   Imagine his surprise when I told him my ex-husband had been one of the Four Preps?  Imagine my surprise when he produced a picture that bookended him and said ex-husband. husbands  We met for lunch and he said “what are you looking for?”  Given my past predilection for older men, I replied, “I’d like to date someone who was in my same decade.”  He smiled and said “you are now,” as we walked up to our cars parked next to one another on the crowded Beverly Hills street.   It was just that simple.  We waited almost a year to marry ~ I was convinced something this easy couldn’t possibly last.  We were amazingly compatible and had happy, good times together.   As I used to say, worst job ever but I got a great husband out of it.   Then there was that fork that happens to each and every one of us on the road of life when the good times take a detour.  Within six months cancer and a lost job came into our picture and although there were tears and sadness, there was also love.  Through the tough times a good relationship became a marriage forged in steel.   The good times returned, as did the hurdles, but what remains constant is the fact that I once again received unconditional love.  And was able to give it in return.J&J Sirmione

I guess it’s true that those early lessons remain imprinted on the soul, just waiting to be called upon during our lifetime.Favorite

This morning, a ten year old rescue golden retriever sits on my foot as I dry my hair because the “booms” at Camp Pendleton scare him.  I put down the hair dryer, pat his head and assure him all will be well.Riley & meOur Harley

Because the best unconditional love goes both ways.


Millennial Management

millennials-360Here are some broad descriptions about the generation known as Millennials: They’re narcissistic. They’re lazy. They’re coddled. They’re even a bit delusional.  They’re known as the “Me Me Me Generation.”

These are not just unfounded negative stereotypes about 80 million Americans born roughly between 1980 and 2000. They’re backed up by a decade of sociological research. The National Institutes of Health found that for people in their 20s, Narcissistic Personality Disorder is three times as high than the generation that’s 65 or older. In 1992, 80 percent of people under 23 wanted to one day have a job with greater responsibility; ten years later, 60 percent did. Millennials received so many participation trophies growing up that 40 percent of them think they should be promoted every two years – regardless of performance. They’re so hopeful about the future you might think they hadn’t heard of something called the Great Recession.

But that’s merely one way of looking at the largest and most important generation since the Baby Boomers. In a recent Time Magazinem Joel Stein — who has a few Millennial traits himself — examined the overwhelming negative data about Millennials and argues that rather than being inherently self-centered or overconfident, Millennials are just adapting quickly to a world undergoing rapid technological change. They’re optimistic, they’re confident and they’re pragmatic at a time when it can be difficult just to get by. Those aren’t bad qualities to have, even if it means they spend too much time on their phones.

I do not mean to malign an entire generation as I haven’t had extensive experience with Millennials.  I’m sure many do not fit the negative portions of the stereotype.  Yet I also never believed getting a trophy just for showing up would produce a generation of leaders, but rather those who believed they should lead just because they showed up.   So, imagine my surprise when I inadvertently found myself at the mercy of a Millennial Manager.

It seemed like a great part time position ~ I applied on a whim and breezed through two interviews.  While no specifics were discussed I assumed ~ accckkk what’s that they say about  ass-uming ~ more would be revealed.  I was “conditionally” offered the position.   By another millennial almost-manager.  The background check was next.  Admittedly, one of the most complicated things about me are the many names I have used throughout the years.  Legally acquired, I might add, but they do require a few lines.  Once cleared of any past criminal actions I got my schedule.

Suffice it to say it was not as part time for the first two weeks as advertised but I was assured that was the “training.”  The spa was lovely.park-hyatt-aviara-resort

Quiet, zen-like, water features, soft music, lovely amenities.  I loved watching people come in stressed and leave as blissful marshmallows.  spa

The MM was leaving for her much needed four days off so I didn’t see much of her during my first week on the job.  There were a few red flags from my two co-workers about how hard they had been working and how much they both needed time off, too.  In fact, one was headed to San Francisco the next weekend and hoped I wouldn’t mind opening by myself.  Opening by myself?  Am I not the part time person here?  I definitely needed to have a conversation with the MM upon her return.

I had two days off.  On Day Two the MM returned to the Spa, rested and relaxed from her “much too short” mini vacay and called me.  I was taking my daily walk, breathing those negative ions.MLK Monday   How did I think my training was going?  I told her I thought fine but I did have some questions about my regular schedule.

“Regular schedule?” she responded “you have no regular schedule.  Other than working both weekend days.”

“Excuse me,” I replied.  “That’s not anything we ever discussed.”

“Well, you said you were flexible,” she shot back in more than a slightly miffed tone.

Let’s just say the conversation went downhill from there.

My next conversation was with Human Resources.  I have a feeling this Millennial Manager will be attending “Important Interview Components 101” training.

No hard feelings. Got some great samples.

Suffice it to say, I no longer work at the Spa.Happy Mime


Choices and Changes

Life is filled with them.  Every day.  Lately I choose to read a lot.  I learned to read when I was in Kindergarten.  My Mom was pregnant with my brother and was tired ~she was almost thirty five and, in hindsight, I think my brother was a “surprise.”  But the bonus for me was our next door neighbor, Mrs. Noone, was a retired school teacher.  I imagine Emmy negotiated the afternoon “visits” so she could take a nap, but her choice led to my vividly enjoying learning how to read.  Learning how to read so young led to my “skipping” first grade, which was not such a good choice.

When I was ten we moved to Locust Valley. LV sign It was March and I was in the middle of 6th grade.  It was all very different as I’d gone to a small private school with about fifteen kids in a class.  And we wore uniforms.  Not so in public school.  I was far too young to be entering junior high school in September, after turning eleven in July but that’s what I did, despite my teacher, Miss Weser’s plea to my father to hold me back to adjust to the change and not be the youngest in my class by far.  I desperately agreed with her but my father’s choice was “no.”  In Junior high we were “tracked.  Who thought that was a good choice?  I was put in 7-C.  Smartest kids were in “A” and “B” and took a language.  Kids in “C” “D” and “F” didn’t.  I swear there was really an “F.”  Being placed in 7-C left me with an unaware, yet indelible, imprint on my psyche.  If they thought I was a “C,” well then, that was good enough for me.  But that’s another story for another day.

To say I underperformed academically is an understatement and I suppose my choice, albeit subconsciously.  While I still loved to read it didn’t seem to extend to school books.  I’d torn through all the Nancy Drew Mysteries and the Bobbsey twins and moved into what they now call “tween lit.” I loved the Locust Valley library and considered my library card one of my treasures.  I also considered the Locust Valley library one of the coolest places ever.LV Library  From the downstairs bowling alley to the wonderful main study room with the fireplace.  I can still remember the smell of the books.  And the annoyance of the main librarian with me…often.  “Shhhhhhhhh, Janet” was another recurring theme during those years.  In high school I volunteered at the school library.  LVHSI filed cards and put back books properly.  Ah, the Dewey decimal system.  It was fun!

The joy of reading has been one of few constants during my life.  One of my favorite things to do on a weekend was browse the Barnes & Noble in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley.  I could spend hours and a small fortune.  When we moved to Seattle for a year I devoured books as often as the available and amazing macaroni and cheeses of the region.  When we left Mercer Island I also left big boxes of books at the local library.   Onto Marin for three years with the Corte Madera Barnes & Noble.  Upon our move back to LA moving those boxes of books ~ which by now were mostly paperbacks ~ did not make sense so I packed them up and sent them on to a dear friend in Houston.

Somewhere along the way I got a kindle but also got a real pain in my thumb from “clicking” to change pages.  I missed real pages.  I missed holding a book.  My friend in Houston asked why I didn’t frequent the library?   My answer was, “I go to the bookstore.”  Well, times changed and bookstores closed.  And then we moved…again.  This time to San Diego.   I decided it was time to return to my roots and the library.  Dove LibrarySome things never change.  A library, to me, is one of them.  But technology had taken the library to a new level.  Placing holds on books?   Discovering what’s new by my favorite authors and “ordering” the books.   My Sunday New York Times routine included taking the book reviews to the computer to look up what was up and coming and “reserve” my choices.   This methodology works well for the most part.  Until multiple “holds” become “yours” at the same time. books The tilt with reserving wonderful new books is you can not renew.  Imagine the excitement and angst when five arrive at the same time.  The desire to complete the reading assignments in such a timely manner can be overwhelming.  Not to mention the fines.  Prioritizing books under pressure leads to reading two or ~ gasp ~ possibly three books at a time.   Since not sleeping as well as I used to keeps me up at night, hours of reading is the reward.

Three months ago I found a Barnes and Noble and went back…just one more time.   Ha, I laugh.  Giving up buying books only works when you don’t go into a bookstore.  I’d find a book, write down the name and author and put them on my library list.  Except one or two that I didn’t think the library would have.  Then we went back again. I renewed my rewards card.  Hello, my name is Janet and I am a bookaholic.

books.1I admit the stack on the left are my current library books and the stack on the right is my ever growing pile of purchases waiting to be read.  But the “holds” just keep on coming.  And I can’t just ignore the new books, can I?  I’ll find myself number 89 on a list of holds and where will that lead?  A trip to Barnes and Noble?  You understand my problem, don’t you?  There is still that element of “instant gratification” that lives within me when a favorite author comes out with a new tome and I’m the 15th “hold.”  I have learned patience…an overrated virtue, if you ask me.

I made another choice.  I decided to volunteer at the library.  I went on the interview and was told  available options.  One sounded amazing so I went to the police department and was fingerprinted and told there would be a background check.  Wondering if they were looking for outstanding fines long overdue from my Locust Valley library days.  I never did return Peyton Place ~ the book I had just checked out when my car caught fire as I turned off the engine in the driveway on The Knolls.  Love those volunteer firemen who arrived within minutes from around the corner, but when they towed off the “hot comet,” I forgot the book was in the back seat never to be seen again. The things you think of as you’re being fingerprinted at a police station!

I passed ~ and was told to report to the library at 3PM one Thursday afternoon.  I was handed a list of books to find on the shelves and had twenty minutes to find twenty books.  I was unfamiliar with this part of the library.  As I started my search I recalled the days at LVHS when I’d spend a study hall putting books away or filing cards in the card catalog.  Things had changed.  No card file and as I took the cart and began my search I wondered if I was up to the challenge.  These shelves had shrunk.  They were much, much lower and my back was wondering if it was up to the challenge.  But I persevered and returned with my quota just in time to greet our guests.Dove library.1   The librarian and I went out into the courtyard to meet our special attendees.  There they were, on their best behavior, waiting to come inside and start.  The program I was assisting with is called “Paws to Read.”  Little children come and read to service dogs.  Can you even imagine how adorable this is? Duke

Things have come full circle.  The choices have changed but the symmetry remains.

My cell phone rang as I was picking up books the other day and the librarian said, “Shhhhhhh.”
My stack of books to read keeps growing.

That should be the worst problem I encounter in 2015.

May your year be filled with choices you enjoy and changes you choose!


Oh, I Love that Magic Water…Boston, You’re My Home – Standelles, “Dirty Water”, circa 1966

Originally posted on Boomers...Broken down or Blissful? :


Two Bunch Palms is a resort on the way to Palm Springs, in a small city called Desert Hot Springs, also known as the meth amphetamine capital of California.   I did not know this as I followed directions through a somewhat frightening stretch of desert.   The small resort had been around since the 1930’s and was reputed to be one of Al Capone’s hang-outs.  What interested me more was the reputed “magic water” in the natural mineral spa.

Having grown up surrounded by the luxurious greenery that is the East Coast, the desert has always seemed a bit stark.  The approach to Two Bunch was definitely stark…and scary.  There was a guard gate where they made sure you were on the list and approved to enter.   We checked in, found our oddly appointed room comfortable and headed for that water.  I sat under the hot waterfall and floated around on…

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Wherever You Go…There You Are

It’s Fall… 2014…I could say “how did that happen?” but as the days jettison into weeks and months we all know the answer.  It just does.  Cliches are true ~ time flies.  Yes, it does.  But there is magic in memories, both past and present.   Another cliche…life is a roller coaster.  Yes, it is.   The seemingly endless climbs, the sense of exhilaration as you sit poised at the top, knowing in the blink of an eye the bottom will drop out of your stomach as you race on your way to yet another climb.  Some days the ride is better than others.  That’s for sure.  But every day you wake up is the present.   A present…a gift to be savored or squandered. Our choice.

During my lifetime, I’ve spent far too much time worrying about things that never happened.  And then been smacked in the face with things I never considered.  So, today the moral of my story is  “what me, worry?” Worrying has done me no good whatsoever.  I choose to savor the sweet as it happens. bundt cake  I’ve been blessed with many great experiences and great people in my life along my journey.

I’ve lived in amazingly wonderful places.  A childhood spent among idyllic beauty.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA       Shu Swamp   LV Fire Department


I’ve experienced salt water in abundance, deeply breathing negative ions before I ever knew how much I needed them. stehli sign    more shu swamp

After many years in Los Angeles, in 2006 my husband and I moved to Seattle.  We’d never been to Seattle.  Seattle is beautiful.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Seattle is green.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I planted a backyard garden.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It rains a lot in Seattle but it doesn’t snow in Seattle. Until the winter we arrived. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There are wind storms in Seattle and trees fall on your house. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Twice. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  And the electricity goes out for six days.  In December.  On the sixth day I cried when I saw the light was on in the dryer.  Jay said he’d never seen me so excited about an appliance.  But then Spring comes along and those bulbs I planted in the fall actually bloom.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA    There is stunning sunshine.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And the Blue Angels flew over our house.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   We visited Victoria.  Butchart-Gardens-Victoria-Canada   Victoria.carriage

We spent countless hours at the Public Market.public market   Although I must be honest, I still don’t get the fish throwers.  Stock-Fish-Throw  But I will say fresh sockeye salmon was like no other.  And then…things changed.  More about that another time.  But there were worries…some sleepless nights…and then another new chapter.   The time I spent worrying was wasted.  It accomplished absolutely nothing.  Did I then learn the lesson of living in the present?  Of course not!  I am nothing if not a work in progress.  The only ~ and I mean only ~ thing I would change about this chapter is to take back the time I spent worrying.  It was a great adventure!  Seeing and doing things I’d never imagine I’d experience.  It was wonderful!!

But this is today…a ride in the car with dogs who won’t let us leave without them.   Ride with Mom   A walk along the Pacific  Beach office

Oh, and something we never did in Seattle.  A visit to Costco.  Hot dog   Lunch for two ~ $3.24 …. don’t judge!   Perhaps not the most memorable day ever.  But pretty darn wonderful!

Enjoy the day!  Remember, it’s a gift!