how sweet the scent of peace!

You know when you’re facing a challenging situation? And it’s got you down or angry or confused or all of the above.

And the resolution’s unknown or unclear or out of reach, adding to the weightiness of the situation.

And then something inside pops. Like a bulb goes off. All the contemplations, reflections and ponderings suddenly come together, like bones realigning in a chiropractic treatment.

And the situation’s resolved because you’ve found the answer or it found you or you found each other. You’ve arrived at it and just like that the challenging situation is no longer a challenge.

You’re awash with clarity and relief and restored to center and balance and peace.

Then and only then you think: “I passed the test.” Even though in the midst of the challenging situation you weren’t thinking “test” or that you were being tested.

I had my aha! moment this morning. She entered through the back door. I didn’t see or hear her coming. What relief and sense of achievement toward inner peace!

I’ve been having domestic issues. They include the landlord coming to my apartment a couple weeks ago to inform me that the lease bans burning incense.

The smoke from a stick in my apartment had wafted into the hallway and was bothering a passing resident with respiratory issue, I was told.

I immediately quit the incense.

I adopted an oil diffuser as an alternative — where water in a small bowl scented with essential oil is heated, releasing the fragrance. It’s smokeless and leaves no residue on walls, ceilings or carpet; it resembles this:

Because I know people and how unsafe and irrational they can be, in my seeming paranoia, I took the extreme precaution of pseudo-hotboxing my studio while using the diffuser by placing a rolled-up towel along the narrow crack beneath the door.

By the looks of it, you’d think I was in there tokin’ a doobie when in reality it was just a simple diffuser from the dollar store!


Last night I came home to a note slid under the door stating that there have been complaints about burning incense and scented candles. Consider this the second and final warning.

I’ve not been burning incense or scented candles.

I put my morning coffee on the back burner — speaking of burning! — and went to the manager’s office first thing to discuss.

In short, I assured him I’d taken immediate heed of his previous incense warning and not burned it since, neither was I burning scented candles.

The only possible source of scent was the diffuser. Since he didn’t know what one is, I had him pull up an image online toward allaying his excessive concern that by its design it leaves no residue on walls, ceilings or carpet it.

He didn’t believe me.

He also didn’t believe that my studio was not the source of a scent he detected yesterday that he’s convinced is my incense.

I wasn’t home and my diffuser wasn’t burning.

The landlord, while a nice enough fellow, is not the room’s brightest bulb, leading to an exchange increasingly heated, emotional and irrational. He wasn’t listening to logic, reason or intelligence.

I threw in the towel. Not that rolled-up towel by the door. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I said there would be no more diffuser use. I’m packing it up and the oils.

It’s not worth the grief it’s bringing to the passerby residents — four, including himself, he ticked off with his fingers — who are disturbed by the negligible, truly, scent.

It’s not worth the grief that it’s bringing me.

It’s not worth the aggravation. It’s not worth my enduring and conforming to excessive nitpicking complaining and intolerance from fellow residents and landlord.

It’s not worth my testing out drop by drop how many drops in a diffuser are acceptable until someone complains. Is it 3, 4, 1?

I know people and I know someone will find fault, someone will display intolerance, someone will go to the manager and complain that passing my door triggered a respiratory attack with only 1 drop of oil.

Or as likely the manager, with sinus issues, himself will complain.

It’s not worth the pettiness and nitpicking. It’s not worth the battle, even with right and reason and community tolerance on my side.

It’s just not.

I let it all go.

When I told the landlord that the diffuser is gone, packed up, it’s finished, I meant it. Not from a petty or angry or self-punitive or self-victimizing or passive-aggressive place.

I meant it from a place of peace.

I want to be the one who brings peace to my self and to the residents. I don’t want to be the cause of trouble and aggravation.

In a time of irrational and unreasonable conflict, I chose peace because I need it and because I want the residents to have it.

As someone so accustomed to warfare (childhood environment) and battling matters out to the bloody if not fatal end, I almost didn’t recognize this inner peacemaker who suddenly appeared on the stage!

A genuine and sincere peacemaker.

As I made my exit up the steep stairs of the landlord’s office, his various argumentative and accusatory and statements trailing me, I went in peace.

Their untruths neither hurt me nor pierced my shield of peace. That’s when I knew I’d passed the test — a test I was unaware I’d been given and was undergoing.

Reckon it happens like that more than we think. That in this Classroom of Life that if Spirit hands us a test saying: “This is a biggie, see if you can pass it,” we’ll freeze or wither in defeat before it’s begun or in our intimidation or fear of making mistakes or failure not even try — the latter especially holding true for me.

Sometimes it’s best just to take the test with one eye closed. Or both. Then when you wake up to the notification that you’ve passed, your day is made and you’ve grown just a little more!

No more diffuser. No more towel rolled up at the door. No more worrying about attacks and complaints from the landlord or residents about a barely-detectable scent of lemongrass and eucalyptus.

I will not be the bearer or creator of discord. I passed my test. I choose peace.



la pasta รจ molto perplessi

Don’t call me Paola. Or Palmiro.

I wasn’t Italian in my last lifetime.

Or many lifetimes preceding.

I say that partly because as a foodie and good cook, my culinary instincts, persuasions and palate don’t go there.

Lord knows I deeply appreciate and understand the crafting and cooking an Italian pours into a giant pot of tomato sauce on the stove all day, the simmering and tweaking until it’s primo perfecto!

As for the ingredients, flavor profiles and palettes and finer crafting of Italian cuisine, I’m a bambino in the woods.

Take pasta.

Eyeballing or grabbing handfuls of dry pasta as a gauge to feed one or 10 is wasted on me. I’ve got to read the box or go online just to do that basic.

Ditto with boiling. There are so many contradicting opinions out there on simply adding oil to the pasta water! Add it. Here’s why. Don’t add it. Here’s why.

And since my guts-knowing and wise MamaMia! is effectively nonexistent, I’ve sadly got to seek and consider opinions of others with skills far greater than my own in the rudiments of cooking Italian.

Fortunately, I’m willing to learn!

That said, I’m an intuitive and instinctual cook and had a hankering for pasta for the potluck yesterday.


Not so fast!

First: I’ve no large pot to cook pasta.

I own exactly two pots.

One’s a small saucepan. Useful for boiling a couple eggs or in my case water for the morning coffee since I don’t own a kettle.

The other’s your standard skillet.

Not exactly pasta goods.

In my highly-honed McGyver think-outside-the-box nature — I can’t boil a proper pot of pasta but I can get myself out of any pickle with few resources — my mind went: aha!

My Aroma rice cooker/slow cooker/steamer!

My multitalented and only piece of kitchen equipment outside the two aforementioned pans from Costco just purchased for those very reasons — 1: it’s Costco and Costco = quality and 2. multipurpose. I hate having stuff — The Stuff You Own Owns You — and my internal minimalist Ms. McGyver’s ever drawn to one tool with multiple uses.

So my Aroma rice cooker took care of boiling the water for the pound of rotini pasta.

True, it was maxed out at 3 quarts. At the end of boiling, I needed to repeatedly sponge off the water emitted from the steam release that was collecting on top of the lid.

But hey, it’s a learning experience, cut me some slack! I’ve never used a rice cooker/crockpot to boil water for pasta before! Rice I get, pasta not so much, never mind in a crockpot!

With the fundamentals of boiling water for pasta addressed, the rest was downhill.

The grated Parmesan-Romano cheese, too from Costco.

Not that crap in the green can. Which I’ll never again use. Even as a soul with no recent past lives as an Italian and after having tasted the real stuff, I totally get that the “Parmesan” in the green Kraft can is crap and not worth your dimes

The butter and olive oil.

Note: I don’t do margarine. If you’re gonna cook, make it real. Genuine. Authentic. Margarine has no place in cooking or consuming.

Fresh chives.

The pasta’s cooked.

Oh yeah, another thing I don’t own: a strainer. You got pasta, you gotta drain. Fortunately my multitalented Aroma cooker again comes to the rescue. The steamer tray’s perfect for straining!

When it comes to the seemingly simplest task of cooking pasta, I adhere to online guidance of folks with far more Italian in their blood and energy field than I. Specifically this lady, Ms. Lidia, whose Italian-ness is far far superior to my own!:

I didn’t add oil to the pasta water, only (sea) salt. I also used the highly-recommended pasta water in the sauce.

In my saucepan, I add 1-1/2 cups of pasta water to about 6 tablespoons of butter, a couple garlic cloves, a splash of oil oil and nearly a cup of diced fresh chives that I cut with scissors.

In goes that sauce into the drained pasta in the Aroma crockpot. Stir.

Then the grated Parmesan-Romano cheese. (Bears repeating, not the crap from the green can!) About 1-1/2 cups ’cause I wanted a strong cheese and chives combo.

Now, as I’ve made clear, I’m not Italian by blood, instinct or past lives. Neither am I an Italian trapped in a Western body.

I cannot complain about the result. It’s a very simple, basic, tasty, pleasing pasta indeed. Note that fresh herbs make all the difference in any cooking.

Ditto input from an authority in the cuisine so graze to this lil’ lady:

Finally, my Chivin’ Pasta accented with fresh chives:

Chivin' Parmesan Pasta

Chivin’ Parmesan Pasta

Pretty jivin’ for this io non sono italiano!

Shopping up — errr, in — a storm in Seligman

“HALLO!” effusively.
“Are you open?”
“Yes. I’ve got a calculator, half a brain, fingers and eyes.”

That’s the cheerful joking cash man at the cash register in RoadRunner Cafe darkened by a power outage at 10:45 in the morning on this Saturday (Sept. 27).

From the conversations abounding, you’d think we’re in Frankfurt! We American English speakers are outnumbered by the Germans 5 to 1. Five years of studying German in my youth leaves me highly recognizing the sounds and words. Many many ears of not using the language leaves me stumped in what they’re saying.

The entire state of Arizona’s in the red today, so Tim the motel clerk tells me. Red as in storm warnings. Major rains and winds have already flooded out Kingman to the west in a state highly prone to flooding and road closures. I’ve another 1-1/2 hours to travel to Prescott through both flat and hilly high desert. When it rains here, it rains torrentially. A 10-second run to cover of a car or store is all it takes to get drenched.

I called off my planned half-day exploration of Seligman โ€” but not my morning coffee! I ducked into the RoadRunner between rain bullets. Took my Americano to my seat at the cafe bar with a great view of the action โ€” i.e., a horde of German tourists shopping and sipping โ€” and not 5 minutes later, boom! Blackout Punctuated by couple of dying flickers that arouse an ahhhhh of anticipation from the crowd.

Alas, it was not to be.

The entire town’s down. Happens with the hard rains here. Residents reset their clocks often! It’s all good.

The Germans eventually filtered their way out the door to who can say where! After all, every shop, restaurant and motel is powerless. The cash register man keeps a cheerful and watchful eye on those present while monitoring those coming and going in a shop full of Road 66 memorabilia, knickknacks cards, jewelry and snacks. The doors are still open for business, cash only. He jots all sales onto a pad for entering into the register when the power’s back up.

Germans filter back in, seemingly content to browse. There’s an eyeful that’s for sure so passing time in a little town in the high desert wetted by rain isn’t at all hard.

The cheerful cash register man strolls the large shop with a flashlight, using it presumably to keep a relaxed eye on things as well as spotlight items of interested to browsers. “This handbag,” he says, pulling one from the shelf and presenting it to a lady, “is perfect for carrying a handgun.” He illustrates by sliding his hand into the concealed pocket and invites her to do likewise. “Ohhhh, really?!??” exclaims the woman in her German accent.

I guess they don’t have concealed weapons bags in Germany but in the open-carry and state of Arizona, who fiercely loves the Constitution and the Second Amendment, such bags are common.

In worse neighborhoods, a blackened shop would be an invitation for theft. In fact, most likely wouldn’t endeavor to keep their doors open.

Here, it’s otherwise. Seligman’s a cool little town rooted in historical Route 66. People come from all over the world โ€” particularly Germany evidently ๐Ÿ™‚ โ€” specifically for Route 66 tours and they bring a thriving business to this Wild West town once heavily engaged in mining and the railroad. The motels alone are worthy of a post with their classic Americana fronts, small rooms and little beds are just in 1950s films. If James Dean sauntered out of a room, it wouldn’t surprise ya a bit. Conceptually speaking, of course. ๐Ÿ™‚

The RoadRunner staff and Germans are very chill about the outage, now 30 minutes and growing. The showers are paused and the skies remain blanketed with thick gray clouds that promise another downpour at any moment.

A while ago, a German man came up to me and in broken English better than some Americans speak asked “how long ago this?” “About 20 minutes ago.” “How long does it last? It comes back on now?” The anticipation in his voice is audible. “You never know in Arizona. It happens a lot with hard rain.”

A hard rain and a soft congenial mood make for a fine Saturday in Seligman!

What a power outage looks like in a cafe. Never would guess it’s about high noon wouldya?

Lights out! at noon at the RoadRunner

Lights out! at noon at the RoadRunner

And in the gift shop:

Somewhere's in there is a cashier assisting shoppers with a flashlight

Somewhere’s in there is a cashier assisting shoppers with a flashlight

But a handful of many eclectic wall pieces for sale:

art for many moods

art for many moods

Think that fella there in the lower left displays the best attitude to the blackout:

hahahahah ... ommmmmmmmmm

hahahahah … ommmmmmmmmm

a springy home that’s a sight to see

Time flies when you’re having fun.

And sometimes when you’re just sitting at your laptop in a friend’s house.

Or simply an altogether different environment from the usual or familiar.

Seems like yesterday when I arrived at Bill’s place here in southern California, stumbling in late, fried and frazzled from a 3-hour logjam in the desert followed by California’s evening commute.

A mere 38 hours ago it was.

Since, and through this visit, I’ve been uncharacteristically disinclined to get in the car and go anywhere.

I’m happy simply being at their dining room table (since they got rid of their kitchen table) with my laptop while their lives go on around me.

Bill going to work, Bill returning from work.
Bill and Carleen culling dinner from an array of leftovers.
Bill and Carleen talking about their day, dropping names, planning activities.
Carleen going with her son (19) to the passport office and then lunch.
Carleen running errands. Going to yoga class. Returning from yoga class.
Their youngest son coming in, hugging both parents, chatting, then turning around and leaving.
Rat terriers Max and Bonnie playing ruff rough ‘n’ tumble, mouthing and chasing each other through the house.

With two college-age sons and their buddies, their own friends, two lively dogs, there’s rarely a dull moment. Or enduring quiet one. In fact, I’ve suggested he put wooden lettering across the front of his house reading Bill’s Community Place.

I love my old college friend and I love being here for these very reasons. A lively, engaged and highly-interactive family dynamic is wholly foreign and unfamiliar. (as a comparison, mine’s best described as isolating, dark, warfare environment.)

I learn simply by being here and I leave enriched by the experience. By observing, I learn about a different way of interacting within the family, one friendly and invested in one another’s well-being. One of communication where people listen to one another and invite others’ opinions, thoughts and viewpoints. One where the kids willingly share about their lives and too the parents.

One of laughter, levity and affectionate teasings. There’s affection and concerns for one another’s health and life choices. There’s actual hugging that happens! Whoa!!

In simplest terms, it’s family where the left hand knows what the right hand’s doing.

By no means do I mean to paint a picture that it’s the Beaver Cleaver household free of conflicts and issues! They have theirs like we all do. They “simply” navigate them quite differently than both my family did and I do. Less embedded in controls, rage and toxicities, more flawy and expressive — so it seems to this outsider.

Delightful’s a good word to summarize my visits.

Whatever the scene at the time, I’m delighted to be in their home, exposed to and learning from that wholly different dynamic. Delighted that amid busy schedules we’re able to carve out a few days for friendship and fellowship.

Delighted to be in a home so lively, a home where even in the quiet moments, something’s about to spring forth again soon. It’s a springy {poing! poing! poing!} home.

Tomorrow a visit all too quick to pass comes to a close. No extended chatty goodbyes alongside the car this time, he’ll be at work by the time I hit the trail back to Arizona. Though too short, a visit at Bill’s is the pause that refreshes. Who’d a-thunk that all this lively activity and continual comings-and-goings could invigorate rather than drain?!!

big rig, big heat, big backup, big headache

Some 40 years of driving and I’ve never seen anything like it.

Four lanes of cars and big rigs that populate Interstate 10 through southern California stretch beyond what the eye can see. A woman in an SUV in the next lane pops up through the sunroof and turns eastward and westward to capture pictures and then presumably returns to the air-conditioned cabin.

In this desert heat of 105 (40.5 C), you need to keep cool. And hydrated.

It’s the coattails of high noon in a desert punctuated by mountains, cacti and critters unseen by us here on the road. The sun is glaringly and nakedly obvious in the sky cloudless and blue.

I won’t be pulling into a mini-mart to replenish my water bottle any time soon and neither will any of thousands of vehicular drivers and occupants. None of us is going anywhere soon โ€” or fast. Unknown miles ahead is an accident that’s caused a backup of unknown length and duration.

“Massive” is one descriptor. Four lanes of cars immobilized. Big trucks parked front to end on the right shoulder waiting it out along with the autos that’ve filled up the infrequent rest stops along the interstate.

“Slow” is another. We advance at a stop-and-go clip of 1 mile an hour. Drive 10 feet. Stop. Wait. Drive 15. Stop. Wait 12 minutes. Drive 20. (We’re speeding now!) Stop. Wait 9.

The afternoon sun is hot hot hot, like the road and heat generated from asphalt, metal and engines. You could probably fry an egg on a hood. By the speed and sight of things, we’re here for a while. A snack doesn’t sound half bad. I drink from a half-filled bottle of water judiciously and am kept cooled by a light breeze from the car’s air-conditioning. I’m grateful for both.

And I’m grateful for the two radio stations that can be picked up thanks to strong signals from Phoenix and Los Angeles; I happen to be smack between ’em on a major interstate.

Another blessing: a cell phone signal. As a traveler, I can attest to Verizon’s coverage being the best. This enables me to text my old college friend Bill to tell him I’m running late. Not a little late but a freakin’ 3 hours late! It’s unfortunate that our visit is a short two or three evenings of dinners and conversation. It’ll be bedtime by the time I inch through this backup and the California evening commute ahead. Bye-bye to my travel planned to avoid that (as much as possible)!

To top it off, I’ve got a migraine since awakening. As any migraineur can attest, getting through a day is a terrific challenge. The aspirins and homeopathic remedy popped through the day bring no relief. A massive traffic halt in the desert in an afternoon is a tough environment with a migraine. No dark rooms with a cool fan or washcloth here!

I contemplate the timing of a trip intended for relaxing and respite and release. Ironic to find myself instead stuck on a highway in a desert on a scorchy afternoon. I dig into my internal backpack for tools. I don’t have to dig far. Traveling really brings out my activist contemplator / contemplating activist, clears away debris and spotlights issues and/or changes sought โ€” much like that desert sun above us.

I’m ticked off about the delay, which brings with it the California commute I’d timed my travels to avoid, because they’re draining away valued time with a longtime college friend, and his family, whom I rarely see.

Still, these three hours are opportunity to practice centering (as much as a migraine permits, that is!) and being in the moment without resistance.

Moments โ€” hours โ€” to take in the beauties of the desert, the brown rugged mountains slicing across a flat arid landscape punctuated by brush and cacti and critters unseen from our seats on the highway. It is peaceful in the desert. The harsh vast landscape reminds of the daringness, grit, drive and determination of early settlers and travelers to push onward toward other frontiers.

I’ll admit, being Zen in the desert is more easily accomplished than being Zen in a backup 10-15 miles long under the desert sun! But I work on it! I practice not what I knew to do, rather what I’m endeavoring to learn. Being there, present, calmly, without pushing, letting the situation be what it is, letting the disappointment about the shortened visit with my friend be, no fixes, no way to regain time lost, making the best of the time we have.

I feel compassion for the thousands in their autos and trucks โ€” those on the interstate as well as the area’s sole main byway feeding into it. It is hot, it is uncomfortable and it is hours on a highway with no alternatives or alternate routes.

An airport shuttle to my left, any passengers inside are definitely missing their flights. How many days and evenings and plans and activities and travels are changed? Is someone missing an important job interview or business appointment?

Would a baby be born in a car instead of a hospital? Would a celebration be missed or a funeral or a family dinner or a date or any one in a myriad of life activities?

How vast the number of individual courses changed greatly or minimally by a single accident. Like when a spider jars a web.

Some three hours later I arrive at the spot of that spider. A large truck is overturned, its metal sides shredded and burned by fire. Denizens of officials are gathered around like flies on fresh roadkill. A tall crane and two giant flatbeds stand ready for removal. The rubbernecking of we westbound travelers slows traffic not at all. After all, no one’s exceeded 5 mph for hours!

Beyond the accident, we’re all like horses outta the gate, resuming the posted speed of 70 and much above in many cases. Sadly, accidents, fatalities and closures are not uncommon on this interstate for its many speeders.

I’ve still the California commute and all its (renowned) aggressive, rude and tailgating drivers to contend with. I bear through, glad to be moving even at 20 mph โ€” better than 0! โ€” and relieved that earlier accidents have been cleared.

I arrive at Bill’s just before bedtime after a 10-hour drive that normally would’ve taken about six. It’s good to arrive, wearied and frazzled though I be. And to discover that for their own weird reasons, their dinner was delayed, enabling the three of us to sup late after all!

Then it was straight to bed for all of us! โ€” after reading the news. The 35-year-old California truck driver was traveling at 55 mph in the right lane. He became distracted when reaching for something in the passenger side, hit a guardrail, over-corrected, causing his truck and trailer with pesticides to overturn and burst into flame.

Miraculously, he was not injured. Also, there were no consequential accidents or injuries (which I attribute to sparse traffic of the early morning hour). The enormous delay was caused not by cleanup but many hours of California authorities enmeshed in political correctness, socialism and moves to circumvent lawsuits in a particularly litigious-happy state figuring out in their officialdom how to proceed.

At night some 14 hours later, the backup was just beginning to thin. At the same time, I was enjoying the last of a dinner conversation with old friend Bill and wife and through the exhaustion appreciating that road trip as extraordinary and memorable.

A bit spooked nonetheless, I reckon I’ll opt for another route upon returning to Arizona in a coupla days. When I’m back, I’ll turn around and head back out for a vacation from my vacation! Instead of venturing by car, I may rent a horse. Or a bike. A pair of skates. Or a paddleboat to take out onto a lake where my sole companions are fishes instead of thousands packed onto a desert strip for milesuponmiles like, uh, sardines.

Gratitude List (9-21-14)

As I sit here waiting, frustrated and aggravated as all get out waiting on my friend to let me know whether our visit is on — an out-of-state road trip scheduled to start tomorrow! — rather than let the aggravation sour my entire day, I thought it best to write a positive post.

And what better than a Gratitude List, which I confess I was remiss in penning yesterday.

Gratitude List (9-21-14)

1. Job at the radio station! I’ve said it before and it bears repeating: I love being there! I love being there whether or not I’m working.

2. Extra shift at the station. I worked my usual Saturday night yesterday; tonight I again received tonight’s extra shift for the second week in a row — one that I suspect, hope, anticipate will become standard as the fill-in is returned to his usual tasks.

3. My impending road trip. While I’m, yes, full-tilt aggravated and frustrated with my friend for not communicating when time and communication are of the essence, I’m excited at the prospect and promise of traveling. It’ll clear my head and balance my being. Will it fix all my problems? Hell no! However, travel — solo travel specifically — is as close to God as this girl gets.

4. Good beer and watering holes in Prescott. For a small town (pop. around 40,000), this town offers soooo much including in the ways and means of craft beer. There are fine establishments around that aren’t all hoity-toity. I like real and I like to keep it real, particularly in my beer and hangouts, be they in drink or coffee. Prescott does not fail to deliver.

5. Robert Rosenberg for writing his book “Sleep Soundly Every Night, Feel Fantastic Every Day” and for his appearance at Peregrine bookstore yesterday. I went … because I had to. I couldn’t not go. My lifelong sleep disorders have risen markedly to soaring heights in the past two years (for reasons known) and to the point where if I didn’t start getting some REAL sleep and on a CONSISTENT basis, I was gonna become a lunatic danger to myself.

People DON’T understand the importance of sleep and the detrimental and destructive results of severe and ongoing sleep deprivation. That lack of understanding or acknowledgement delegitimizes the role and importance of sleep.

Not unless they’ve gone through it do they get it. I get it. I’ve lived it. I’m still living it, albeit not to the same intensity of 10 on a scale of 1-10.

Dr. Rosenberg’s presentation was so interesting and informative; though I’m hardly new to the subject, listening to a professional who has made sleep disorders his career was so informative and educational. I coulda asked 50 more questions on top of the 10 I asked! ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyways, what his presentation and book (that I bought and had autographed) did went beyond education. They legitimize the detrimental effects of short- and long-term sleep. They recognize what I’ve known and been saying for a long time about the importance of sleep and the consequences of its lack. I’ve felt like the lone voice in the woods with no one listening and no one hearing.

So thank you Dr. Rosenberg for giving voice to the reasons for and realities of sleep disorders and their consequences and to we who are brushed off, not heard or taken seriously by others. It is so appreciated.

Grrrrrrrr as in Aggrrrrrrrravating

Grrrrr. I love him, my friend Bill, but grrrrrrr.

In about 24 hours, I leave for a road trip and visit with this ol’ friend from our college days. He lives in California a full day’s drive from here. A day-and-a-half when including the California slog.

And I’m still waiting for confirmation on our schedule!

He knows I’m coming his way. Knows it’s a long drive from out of state. Knows this window of opportunity to travel is narrow.

As I know he’s a family guy who lives in a house that’s more like a community center than a family home of four! I know he gets caught up in the moment. I know he’s a procrastinator. The guy I knew in college is in many ways the guy I know now, some 40 years later.

Still. Grrrrrr. Aggravating.

I’ve done my part. I’ve emailed. Keep him abreast of my unfolding travel plans.

And here I sit, 24 hours from departure and I’m clueless whether I’m actually seeing him Tuesday or at all this week!

Bill’s not a grassroots backpacking traveler, neither a solo traveler, so when it comes to designing and arranging said, he can’t understand. Most people can’t. I get that. But I can’t chalk up this failure to communicate — or appreciate the needs and tasks on my plate — to his non-traveling personhood.

It’s who he is, an aspect of his character known to me since college. And it’s damn aggravating. Waiting, waiting, waiting on him. Waiting for word. Is it a yes for Tuesday? A no? I leave tomorrow. If I leave and find out in the middle of the desert halfway to California that “oops, it’s a no, sorry,” I’m gonna be pissed off.

I’m not asking for much. A quick timely check of your email since you know travel’s imminent. A quick timely yay or nay. That’s it. Done. Confirmation. Then I can proceed on my end doing things that need done on my end.

It’s not that Bill gives new meaning to “last minute,” rather “no minutes” — as in time expired. So damn aggravating.

As it stands, I don’t know whether I’m coming or going a day outside departure. Thank GOD I’m not trying to book a flight based on his communications. Always a silver lining somewheres.

What a Dope, Line 19 in the Lease!

By the looks of my apartment this morning, you’d think I’m toking up.


But the real reason is this:


That’s right. A diffuser. A simple contraption combining water scented with an essential oil heated by a tea light candle.

Here’s the story.

Incense is banned in the building. It’s actually written in the lease. I discovered this after unknowingly burning a stick of cheap incense that because it’s cheap releases a pervasive and marked strong scent.

Shortly thereafter, the landlord appeared at my door asking whether I’d been burning incense. Because I’m such an honest person and rotten liar, I answered yes. That’s when I learned that the lease bans burning incense. “Line 19, right above where you signed,” he told me.

He’s right, as I discovered when I reviewed my copy.

That same cursed Line 19 states that in addition to incense, there will be “no burning of candles anything {sic} that would create smoke damage to paint and carpet.”

Here’s where it gets Stupid. Plain Stupid.

No candles. Because evidently I’m too stupid, we’re all too stupid, to figure out that you do not set a flame close to a painted white wall.

Now, I’m no Stephen Hawking with an IQ of 200 but I do well for myself. I’m far, far from stupid. Was a straight-A student back in high school when education was education, not this liberal-designed socialist mind-control pablum of today. Was highly educated in universities. Scholarships and awards for academic and journalistic achievements.

Studied five languages to some degree or other, including our own. Have traveled the country and parts of the world (not enough) by myself. Lived and worked in a very foreign culture (Japan) for some 10 years. Negotiated and managed problems and had experiences that most people couldn’t dream of. Been through Hell in life and survived it with no help from anyone and am finding my way back to the Light step by step.

And I can’t fucking figure out how not to place a burning flame near a painted white wall? WTF?!

Stupid. I hate Stupid.

Back to the story.

Upon learning of the incense ban, which sadly meant no burning of sage either, I had to sadly pack up my supply (not all of it cheap incense by ANY means, most of it’s quality subtle Japanese incense) and seek an alternative. Scents in the home are important to me. They’re who I am and what I enjoy.

Enter the diffuser.

A perfect solution. No smoke. No risk of damaging walls or carpet unless a tea light is is unwedged from its tight container by mysterious and unreal laws of physics and sears the carpet and p.s. I’m bright enough o figure out how not to let that happen!

So why the towel at the door like I’m toking up and based on this Stupidity I’m gonna need to!

A. Scent. A subtle scent of lemongrass or eucalyptus or any other MIGHT be detected by a passing tenant. Granted, that’s paranoia mostly if not entirely on my part. But in life I cannot be too careful. Safety in numbers, they say. For me, that’s not been the case. Their numbers have made mincemeat of my innards. I could write story after story after story of how groups or “people in numbers” have gutted my life and/or very nearly me, especially in the places of work and home.

So I take no chances or, more precisely, I seek to armor myself from their attacks even when it means going into hiding and burying my light beneath a rock. People are dangerous.

B. The detection of even the subtlest waft of a scent by a resident could lead to a complaint to the landlord.

Because, you see, he told me during the “incense incident” that no only is incense banned but there’s a resident with “respiratory problems.” No idea what that really means. Point is, there’s someone among the some 19 living here with respiratory problems.

The odds of scents from any of our apartments triggering an asthma attack or whatever of a passing resident are slim to none. Still, this IS the New America and the New America is run by whiners, weaklings and opportunists licking their chops at lawsuits and big bucks for the most inane slight unimaginable.

End result: I’ve got to make sure that NO scent of an “incense nature” is detected by a passing landlord or potentially complaining resident.

3. And there’s this.

The lease reads no candles or anything that could damage walls or carpets. While a tea light in a diffuser has ZERO potential In My World of Intelligence, either the landlord (not the brightest bulb in the room) or building owner could be a stickler and point to that cursed line 19.

Somehow, the landlord or a resident might put 2 ‘n’ 2 together. As in detect a scent, realize it’s not burning incense and realize the source could only be a diffuser with an illegal candle!

True, the odds of that kind of detective work are pretty slim. But you cannot be too careful in this world of dangerous people!

And since I NEED no more problems in this apartment with the loud TV man and wrist-rapping on the incense and overall close proximity of neighbors that means problems could develop at any moment for the most insane or trivial matter, I take the precaution of a towel wedged under the door.

Because god forbid the landlord discovers I’m burning a tea light!!

Or the resident with the respiratory issue passes my door and {cough} detects a wave of a mild scent {cough cough} of eucalyptus — which ironically is healing for breathing issues — and reports me.

How will I explain to the landlord that I was burning the forbidden tea light candle SAFELY under a bowl containing 1/4 cup of water to bring a pleasing scent to the room since stick incense is not allowed?

Yeah, honest to god, that remote island far far from people and Stupidity somewheres in the Caribbean burns brightly evermore!

And oh yeah, like I said, no tokin’ happenin’ despite the “telltale towel.” After my first cuppa coffee, however, I did go straight to my preferred stress reliever, no towel at the door required:


The TV takes a turn {down}.

Once again, feels like the world’s moving faster than my speed of posting!

In headline news, there’s some relief with the Loud TV Man who though technically my neighbor has felt more like a roommate due to the intrusiveness of his blaring TV during the days to 3, 4 o’clock and beyond in the morning.

He’s turned down the volume.

When the lowered volume occurred one random day recently, I didn’t get excited or hopeful. It’d happened once before, you see, one day of comparative quiet in ongoing cacophony. At the time, I’d thought there’d been complaints from neighbors and that the “civilized” volume might continue.

It didn’t. Was a blip. The blaring resumed after that exceptional day.

So when it again occurred a few days ago, the TV at a reduced volume, that is, I understandably didn’t get my hopes up. My thought was: Wait and see. If it continues on a consistent daily basis, then indications are good that someone(s) complained, basically told him to shut the fucking TV down! {my words, not theirs}

The TV’s still audible. Don’t misunderstand. Peace is not reigning at { } Street!
It’s the difference between filling a neighborhood pocket with sound rather than a stadium. The TV’s still on waaaay more than it’s off. It’s almost always on when I get up. It’s sometimes on in the afternoon, almost always in the evenings and always at night into the wee hours.

But at least now the people in India can’t hear it.

It’s a weird thing about the TV, well, his I mean. A sort of toss-up between two annoyances/scenarios. One is a loud TV blaring in your face. The other’s a quieted TV, still audible, like Chinese torture. {drip drip drip inside your room, inside your head}. Which is easier to live with, bold loud in your face or Chinese tortuous drip drip drip? Which do you choose?

Now, I don’t want to overlook in this situation an element of such primal and primary importance that to fail to acknowledge would be an error and crime. That is the primal need for sleep that in the absence of a blaring TV is now possible and achievable.

I cannot emphasize or overstate that. I had a breakdown recently. I hit bottom. It was a breakdown rooted in years of sleep degradation and deprivation. It’s more complex and complicated than that alone but that’s a huuuuuuuge fundamental element and source of what ails me.

So when I moved into my own space — no roommates! — last month in part to escape the assaults, controls, loudness and more of Judy, imagine the shock /unpleasantness / disappointment, the intrusiveness of a blaring TV from a neighbor-turned-roommate in my space.

I have, thanks to the reduced volume, FINALLY been able to, first, go to bed at a reasonable hour {instead of being kept awake ’til 4 or 5 in the morning} and two, been able to sleep {since the sound’s no longer infiltrating through closed windows and thick drapes}.

What a world of difference sleep makes! Take it from someone who has journeyed through Sleep Hell. Sleep is like water. Without it, we shrivel up and die.

So once more for the record, let me state that I am so glad and grateful that the TV volume is reduced to a level where I can begin to sleep. (And by begin, I mean I’ve a long journey of recovery before I can claim restorative sound sleep on a consistent basis.)

I don’t and can’t know who complained about the TV, whether it was neighbors in my building or his or both, whether it was one person or half a dozen or more. All scenarios are possible.

To those unknown residents, I’d like to say thank you. Thank you thank you thank you! Thank you for speaking up, whether it was to him or the manager or both. Thank you thank you thank you for first recognizing that he was way overstepping boundaries with the TV volume and then communicating it to the person/s necessary. For personal reasons/issues, I didn’t engage and I thank you for doing so.

As a side note, I don’t presume this volume will continue. I can’t be certain complaints were made, only that it seems so based on three consecutive nights of reduced volume. I’ll take it, the quieter TV, and I’ll absolutely take the sleep it enables.

All that being said/written, I’m still really looking forward to my impending road trip across the spacious quiet deserts of southern Arizona & California and my visit with Bill and his brood next week. My residence, though quieted, is still not a place of peace or respite or healing that I need and wish it to be.

In this world, nothing quite brings me back to center like travel and the open highway in solitude. In five days and counting …

Gratitude List 2

Time for the day’s Gratitude List – (no. II, 9/16/14):

1. My impending road trip, jus’ me ‘n’ the Subaru crossing the vast open untamed spaces of southern Arizona and southeastern California, including Joshua Tree (as a pass-by), and visit with old college friend Bill and his brood in SoCal.

Having made this drive before, I’m anticipating the vast stretches of desert, the peace and solitude and everything else I love about solo travel. As a natural robust traveler, I’ve an untamed (there’s that word again!) penchant and passion for travel alone on the open unpopulated highways and byways.

When I made the drive in February, temps were pleasant, not scalding, and population of travelers low. September weather’s sure to be hotter; how that’ll affect traveler numbers is to be seen.

And looking forward to seeing Bill, his lovely wife, the two dogs and one or both or neither of their sons and their friends! Always a lively domestic scene at Bill’s place!

2. The roasted red pepper and tomato soup at Wildflower Bread cafe. Of all their soups, rotated daily, it’s my fav. Nourishing, tomato-sweet, warm. And the staff is always warm and friendly (plus know me as a regular). Wildflower is where I go for a pleasant atmosphere, comfort, self-nurturing and comfort food.

3. The intuitive who’s assisting me (and has been assisting me) through some really heavy stuff. I had no idea of how heavy it was until I hit bottom, fueled by two years of sleep deprivation, a couple days ago. Now that things are coming to the light of consciousness and awareness with her help, I feel a new focus and the calm after the storm. And a storm it was too — an internal hurricane, typhoon, tornado, volcano and flooding all in one!

4. Prescott. My town makes the list for the second day in a row.

5. Flower remedies. FES, Bach, the new (to me) Pacific Sea essences soon to arrive if they’ve not already.

6. Today’s interview with Deborah for a food-demo position inside Costco.

They had 200 applicants for one position — and a PT position at that (!) due to the ruination and regulations of Obamacare, aka ObamaNoCare. Meaning, most companies now offer only PT because they can’t afford the exorbitant costs of Obamacare designed to destroy capitalism and further socialism.

Of the 200, they drew up a pool of 20 for interviews. The demo boss and his team know me; also, he knows I worked with his same national employer prior in another state and he knows my former boss personally and that I’ve been seeking a foot in for about a year.

While that may be in my favor, by no means do I presume I’m secured a job. Fair is fair, in my rare playbook of life anyway, and if an offer’s made, I wish it to be on fair merit. Their process will take another week or so. In the meantime, I’m grateful for the interview and to be included in that select group.