Posted in cystic fibrosis, NODAPL, psychology, self improvement, social commentary

Happy New Year No Fear

Once again I must apologize to my poor neglected bloggie. It’s been two months since I last posted. Sounds like a 12 Step meeting, doesn’t it? ¬†My name is Sue and I am an artist-writer-psychic intuitive-blogger and all around passive-aggressive rabble-rouser who enjoys retreating. ūüôā

No need to recap the ridiculous drama of recent elections in the US. I’m so sorry that we have to deal with more corruption and slanderous whackadoodle energy out there. It’s totally forked up but as a spiritual type writer, my focus is on continuing to TRY and walk the talk and conquer my challenges. “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” – Susan Jeffers

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So dear kindred spirits and fellow bloggers, it’s onward into the new year with no fear. ¬†I’m here to support YOU on your creative journey.¬†As my gift to you I’m sharing some family pics and original photographs of some of my recent favorite memories. Am missing a few family members who were unable to travel because of work schedules, but here goes:

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Christmas 2016 with some of the family-we’re totally rainbow people. We come in all colors of the heart.

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Concert Five Blind Boys of Alabama with octogenarian powerhouse, Jimmy Carter

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Our granddaughter’s annual holiday big canvas painting

As you know I’m into causes. Please join me in contributing your no fear energy into a cause in 2017. I support and stand with #NODAPL¬†¬†as they¬†refuse to wilt in the face of the greed monsters who simply do not consider the devastating consequences of oil spills and water contamination. ACTION relieves anxiety.

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                                                     Original art * Nature Heals* acrylic

As always, we’re supporting and praying for a cure for cystic fibrosis, because our granddaughter is fighting it. I love this photo of her playing the clarinet. GO CF’ers! ¬†Stay strong!

 

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Playing an instrument helps children learn teamwork, discover talent, develop social skills, increase confidence, and increase eye-hand coordination.  Express yourself!

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Exploring Sedona

Much love and appreciation to you all-back to working on the memoir.

                                the work shed window

                                                   Old California

Journal prompt: write about fear. What helps you face your fears? See yourself as a spiritual guide, relative, or teacher who takes you by the hand and walks with you as you challenge yourself. What would your guide say to you? Don’t hold back. Use images to add to your journal entry. What feelings come over you as you write about fear? Where does fear live within your body? If fear (and money) were no option, what would you DO?

Posted in social commentary, Uncategorized

America’s Weapons Crisis

Don’t tell me about

boom or epic

or at the end of the day

or stunning

kick-ass bad ass or other adolescent mainstream phrases

Right?

Or trending

or viral.

The peppered words

said over and over

are useless

as a toxic landfill.

For some reason

change is slow

because protocol and insanity

have access to weapons.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in social commentary, stream of consciousness writing, Writing for healing

Flint’s Watery Disaster

Here’s a link to how you can ¬†help¬†the residents of Flint.

 

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Oh if walls could talk, leaden paint chips
and
toxic oxidation

left to crack

and seep into

emblazoned genetic mutations,
chewing up neurons, ganglia,
and transmitters
making crazy, jagged children
whose mothers and fathers
must plead
for an answer.
Just wait. We have to prove you are being poisoned with further talk

and testing,

by crowding the icy air with our jargoned policy.
Just wait
a little longer,
we have a golf game to play

and a red carpet to stroll.
The suits sit
in boardrooms
in muffled sarcasm,

the ghosts of the land baron’s

scented bath water

reeks of parsimonious waste.
You go drink the water, sir.
You sit in the bathtub, sir.
You, who knew
in 2004
that the empire
is stained with lies and monster’s breath.
Your sleep may be haunted
by the eyes of the innocent.
There is no place to hide,
and if walls could talk,
the leaden paint chips and droppings
drifting in the water
will drip
into
the cellular structure
of apathy’s mistress.

 

Copyright © 2016 by Susan E. Rowland

Journal prompt: What do you think of  the water contamination in Flint, Michigan? Have you ever been exposed to toxic chemicals? Do you have any stories about environmental disasters? What are your thoughts? Write a letter or a short science fiction story to future generations describing what is going on with chemical contamination today.

 

 

 

 

Posted in self improvement, social commentary, stream of consciousness writing, Writing for healing

The Help and My Story-Musings on the Coming New Year

Some new year musings. It’s long one.

I enjoy the approach of the new year but I don’t make resolutions. Instead I focus on “wannas,” not to be mistaken for “wannabe.” I don’t wannabe anyone other than myself. My take on most of what others’ opinions might be, at least right now in my life, is-who cares? I know who I am, I know what I do and what I don’t do.

And of course I care, but at a certain age alignment with universal values becomes more important than what the neighbors think of your lawn or lack of it. And I’m sure when it comes to trying to sell my own work I’ll have to tone it down…somewhat. When in Rome….

What brought all this about?

It is the topic of self-respect and the quest for becoming a better person…and my personal goal until I take my last breath. Jesse and I haven’t watched the popular movies about “The Help” and all that. I am the “Help” and have always been the “Help” even though I come from a background where we were more than comfortable. When I was working in a bookstore some dude came in, took a look at me and said “Is this the new help?” I kid you not. One of my former bosses used to introduce me as “This is Sue, she works for me.” Yes. I did. And that is how you are supposed to act when you work for them. You play the role, you know the role, and you sure as heck learn a lot about people. ¬†I’ve never been the doctor, lawyer, ¬†or chief group; I’ve always been in the support system category. Sometimes I get a little twinge of something, maybe it is envy, but in my heart of hearts I don’t envy anyone. I worked for 30 plus years for low wages-not that it means anything. Maybe I wasn’t smart enough to land higher paying jobs. I’ll reveal more in my book. ¬†I did what I could, when I could. I found a niche and I stayed. What anyone else does is up to them. I would advise young folks to go for the highest paying career you can get, without going into debt. And travel the world. How else can we learn about others? You are no less or no more than another person on this earth. Ever. Nobody is “above” you. They might have a more prestigious title, have more money, more influence, more power, better looks…but they are not above you. They go out just as they came in, same as you.

I guess you would say I’ve always been a free spirit with a strong alliance for justice. Now let’s move on.

My point is I don’t need to go live in a Zen Center to find myself and to pare back on luxuries to create an atmosphere of humility or humbleness. I did that for many years, while washing CLOTH diapers in a ‘shit bucket” with gloves on, the old way. We didn’t have plastic diapers.The shit bucket was always used for diapers, nothing else. People don’t know how to clean nowadays. People don’t deal with shit. Mothers and fathers just clean their babies (hopefully) then they roll it up and throw it in the garbage so that it all ends up in a crap-laden land fill.

Back to my tough lifestyle story–so, once the diapers were rinsed, I water poured the gray water onto a separate compost pile that was carefully kept away from the regular garden compost. You had to heap topsoil or dirt onto the pile the cover it with hay and a bit of lime, ¬†for decomposition. You leave that alone for at least six months. Enticing isn’t it?

Then I would transfer the damp rinsed diapers in a plastic bag. When we would go to town once a week, I would throw them in the regular washing machine ( luxury!) at the laundromat.

I did that with two children because we lived way out in the country, back up in the mountains where we didn’t have electricity and indoor plumbing. I hauled water and chopped wood. I worked at the log jams and did stream clearance, the women working right along with the men. I cut firewood with a chain saw to earn extra money. I was strong, never worried about “weight.” We didn’t have luxuries and I never really missed them at the time. What I missed was having a life without arguing, without verbal abuse, without condemnation. If you are in an abusive relationship, get out. As quickly as you can, just get out.

I got out and later on I met a good man.

I just remember a few paragraphs in Louis Armstrong’s autobiography. I think he was talking about this grandmother who took in washing for a living. In fact, most of her customers were ladies of the night. He shared her sunny outlook on life and the fact that she NEVER envied anyone, nor did she disparage her lot in life. She was the ultimate “Pollyanna” before the genre of positive thinking ever got started.
Norman Vincent Peale was one of the first known Anglo positive thinkers. But you KNOW Anglo people did not originate all this oozy gooey feel good stuff. Not to say everything boils down to race, but lack of awareness is truly a great “sin.” It is white privilege not to be aware, now, it is a class privilege not to be aware. Most people are hard-working and optimistic, but they are fed up. And it is not about political correctness. PC matters, Black Lives Matter, Native American lives matter, and protocol matters. Respect matters. ¬†That is why I am voting Bernie Sanders. Until Clinton addresses GMO foods (think cancer and tumors) fracking (think pollution, toxic drinking water, and skin ulcers), and class disparity, I am not supporting her. I wanted to believe that a woman could be in the White House. But something just isn’t right at this point.

It’s going to be depressing not having Obama in the White House. I don’t know about you, but Jesse and I cried when we was elected both times. We sat on the couch in the living room….and nobody called. Finally I called my soul sister, Velma Sue, because she always understands me. Jesse and I were shocked. WHERE were all our friends? NOBODY called. ¬†We wept for the historical breakthrough, for the victory, for the battle and all the lives that had been lost, and are being lost by injustice. But, I’m getting off track.

As we know mainstream American culture and ideology has its ROOTS from ‘other’ ethnicities and populations-originating with Native American, African, Caribbean Islanders, Asian, Alaskan, Hawaiian, Hispanic, European, Portuguese and so on. We might have a tough time melting in the melting pot of the US, but we are certainly all going to melt if we don’t change our dependence on fossil fuels, and our insistence on fouling, destroying, and decimating our lovely home-the Earth.

Here are two things I’ve been mulling over for the New Year:

1) I wanna change some things & of course I want to change myself. Since Christmas I did a bunch of leg lifts and counter push ups. Here’s how you do Sue’s push ups. Stand at any counter in the house, straighten your arms, lean in, bending elbows and then push back. IE, It is a standing push up. Do at least 10 pushes. I am on a mission to love my body more. Am out for a walk daily and I’m doing more minutes on the treadmill. One day at a time, as the saying goes.

2) I wanna use LESS plastic. Even when we are conscious about healthy eating we still end up bringing in plastic to the house. I still use bubble wrap in my book business because it is light and doesn’t make the shipping weight increase. Somehow, slowly I am going to decrease the use of plastic in my life. Cheers!

Journal prompt: did you make any New Year’s resolutions? What do you want to do this year? Or do you feel resolutions are a bunch of hooey?

 

Posted in racism, social commentary, Writing for healing

Shiny Legs and All

So you want to share something on FB. Then you scroll down and you have to look at bodies at the end of the article. All the time. There are ads for stuff having to do with bodies. Bodies, bodies, bodies. Lose weight. Lift your butt. Get a tan. (But don’t be too dark.) Get rid of sagging skin. Lose unwanted hair. Wrinkles. Under-arm flab. Bikini lines. Hair, again. Weight again. Gross drawings or pictures about bodies. More bodies. More about flab. More about wrinkles. More about a better sex life. Most of the ads are directed at women. You scroll more on FB and log off in disgust after looking at jokes about B-words and bodies juxtaposed with shiny photos of flowers and pumpkins. Autumn leaves and wars.

Once in a while there is a cure for baldness. Hmmm, hmmm. New and improved! A man is the target too, but never, never as much as you.

Then you flip on the TV for a talk show dialogue on racism and you hear a woman call another woman “some ho.” You hit the button on the remote and watch a 300 lb man flip over a quiet African-American girl at a school desk and heave her onto the floor. As your heart breaks again, you have to listen to a conservative rant against everyone who might care about others, her lips smacking in disgust at the ignorance of those who might rally for better pay and accountability.

You watch and observe. You look at how the women are dressed. Bulging cleavage is the norm. Don’t get me wrong, but please what is the point you are trying to prove?

On the news, on every talk show, women are sitting there with their bare legs glistening for the camera. No lines, no veins, no bulges, no sagging. All tight and crossed and perfect. You want to show off your “assets” and your power, I suppose. Fine, fine, expose, expose but no man is looking at your mind on these shows.

No flab, no gab. It’s an honor, you say. But as the observing mouse in the corner, the message is clear. It is not your mind or words, they want to hear. So keep on working, firming and toning. In the end, what I see is still the men who direct. The men who know everything. The men who present. The men who control, the men who patrol. No, I don’t dislike the warrior gender. They can’t sit there with glistening legs. They are tied up in ties all tight to their necks, with stiff shirts and collars, they are endangered as players.

Every single show presents women with glistening legs. Message: women are still sex objects and nobody will listen to you if you don’t have bare legs, perfect legs all the way up to your hips.

You can’t post a decent article without 15 messages telling you you are not good enough. You can’t age. You can’t have wrinkles. You have to have perfect legs. You are never good enough.

TIME OUT to media backers, to campaigns, and hustlers. You’re wrong, so wrong.

I am good enough.

I have spoken.

You do not have to have shiny legs to be intelligent and respected.

For the greatest speaker on earth is a tree-with shaggy bark and gnarly roots.

Without her, you perish, shiny legs, fine suits, and apparel. As the goddess enters from behind the moon

she knows.

You are good enough.

 

Posted in blog challenge, poetry, social commentary

Sonnet for the Future-Mama’s Warning

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Day Ten, final prompt of Writing 201. How did we get to the end so fast? I will miss the class. I feel like I hardly got started with the material, but that’s the way it always is. That means there is more to do, more to write, paint, photograph, and create!¬†Hope you guys have a great weekend. (((hugs)))

 

Prompt: future

Form: sonnet

Device: chiasmus

 

If, in a moment, the future I could see

The earth’s children, healthy, well-tended and fed,

The loveliest flower would overcome all misery,

Garnering finely threaded futures, not futures of fine thread.

‚ÄėTis never for myself concerned am I;

Rather I am grievous over the suffering of mere innocents.

Who doth laugh in the face of tragic moments, look to the sky,

For your power is tendered by the trumpet’s lament.

You will stand with insatiable greed, your greed never filled,

Like Scrooge, the chains will rattle because you lacked righteous vision.

And let me add further concerns for the blood that has spilled:

If you forsake the elderly along with your insensitive base derision,

Only to please the need for more and greater gold, the madness of gain;

You will never rest wisely for lusting after profit, profit not, my friend,¬†from another’s pain.

 

Copyright ©2015 by Susan E. Rowland

 

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Posted in poetry, social commentary

A Ballad for Rosa Parks

Rough draft

    Day Six Writing 201

Prompt: A heroic, or a heroine-type personality using Ballad

Device: epistrophe

 

Dear children gather ‚Äėround and let me sing you a ballad

For certainly now’s the time to be saying,

She was born on the fourth of February 1913

And would help change the course of the world, oh sing praises,

      She would change the course of the world.

 

Now people would talk about the bus ride that day

When Rosa’s finely-done job served her rest,

A bullying bozo tried to push her around,

But she said no and changed the course of the world, oh sing praises,

      She would change the course of the world.

 

Now kids, don’t ever let the story be ill-related

About how Rosa Louise stood her ground,

When her last straw was tested, she looked the devil in the eye,

She said no and changed the course of the world, oh sing praises,

      She would change the course of the world.

 

Now let me say it out loud all my brothers and sisters

Lest the month of Black History quickly pass,

It’s time to sing the ballad of a lady who gave us courage

She would change the course of the world, oh sing praises,

     She would change the course of the world.

 

The important day was not something she’d  planned, my friends

Her personality was pious, devoted to others,

However when the brutality of Jim Crow could n’ere be avoided

She would change the course of the world, oh sing praises,

     She would change the course of the world.

 

So it is time for my ballad to come to an end, dear people

And should you travel to Alabama some day,

You might want to take a look at the sun on the streets,

She would change the course of the world, oh sing praises,

     She would change the course of the world.

 

© Copyright 2015 by Susan E. Rowland

 

 

 

Posted in social commentary, Writing for healing

Midterm Espresso

Just a spoof. Views expressed by the poet are not meant to be taken seriously.

 

******************************************************************************************

In the past, say the 1950’s or 60’s

Advertisers and politicians could not name the competition.

Colgate would not say Crest without threat of perdition.

Dems, GOPS, Independents held their tongues during such decades

While covert cronyism lurked in clandestine arcades.

 

Now words fly freely, blatant in the hallways

It’s a slay-fest of mudslinging, name-calling always.

Aligned with outright lies and slander,

They scheme and scam and then gerrymander.

 

One candidate against the other,

Brother against brother, a cousin, a mother,

The put-downs, the raging, the dissing and hissing,

Implications be damned,

Another one slammed,

It’s all part of the race,

This is the age of in your face.

 

Inferences and jokes in commercials cause adults to bully,

And children imitate behaviors like wheels on a pulley.

Gone-viral child prodigies are held up like trophies,

Men in Congress take pictures of their private selfies.

After a gut wrenching episode and a high school shooting,

The air media  money-makers  have images of looting.

 

It’s all a jaunt to the bank by monsters in profit glory,

Their disguises grotesque and more than gory.

They sell a scathing punch below the belt,

With giggly wordporn, the raunch factor felt.

Trending or viral, nothing is sacred,

You made your money so lie in the bed.

 

Amendments 1 & 2 say it all, my dear friend,

You can shoot at anyone, anytime¬†‚Äėtil the bitter end.

To shock, to maim, to have not compromised,

Is the here and now in 2014, we are nevertheless wise.

 

Gomorrah meets Babylon meets Toledo.

We‚Äôre continuing to fight ‚Äėround the globe, advance the torpedo.

Another shock value host goes over the hill, a has-been,

Replaced by the ink factor moguls and your cousin in Austin.

 

There’s a funny going around Facebook

That if the President supported air,

That GOPS would stop breathing just about everywhere.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m  only the reporter,

I am a simple old-fashioned sport like brick and mortar.

 

The nurse who tested negative for Ebola had to fight two governors

And the talking heads were oh so impressed, did you hear?

The men were so jazzed, fancy attorneys, you know,

They loved her feminine power, they wanted her show.

They coveted her ratings, cherished her prize,

It wasn’t her health that mattered, just politics in their eyes.

 

Back to elections, to tatters and ratings;

The passive aggressive, gathering and baiting,

Did you know candidate X, Y, and Z are aligned with foreign haters?

They are made out to be as mean as swamp alligators.

We don’t want workers to make more money,

We want to despise them, their families, and even their honey.

 

Lock your doors, pull your children inside,

X, Y, and Z support equal pay for ladies,

Hiked wages will mean you’ll lose your own shady.

The fat cats don’t like this, there will be hell to pay,

If the little guy really matters, they’ll rue the day.

 

If you hit the remote, a channel with ‚Äúlearn‚ÄĚ in the title

Is flaunting polygamy, or swinging in leather while biting a bridle.

TV regales dysfunction  in high voltage drama

Lightning quick one-liners, and a felon-dating Mama.

Shut the curtains, don’t go outside to play,

The bogey man is inside your own house and won’t go away.

 

Thanksgiving is coming and we’re all about gratitude.

The ethics debate has been dumped with last year’s attitude,

Yet history repeats itself, ‚Äėtis true, very true,

Keep the faith, study the ballot, show up to vote,

Hope for the best and learn to cope.

 

*************************************************************************************

 

To be continued….

 

 

Copyright © 2014 by Susan E. Rowland

Posted in social commentary, Writing for healing

On Women in a Waiting Room

snob lady 2

Why are women so mean?

I walk into the skin care center, resolute. I am being the responsible adult, taking care of a suspicious spot near my collarbone. I have to protect my skin constantly, having had one spot show up as a squamous cell cancer. Caution and protocol rule my life. I quit tobacco years ago,  eat organic as much as possible, stay out of the sun from 10:00 to 3:00, and wear protective clothing.

I check in, fill out the update forms and wonder if the pen at the front desk has germs on it. There is no hand gel. I take a seat nearest the front desk, across from an elderly woman with permed auburn hair. She averts her eyes as I smile and say, ‚ÄúThis must be the in place. Everybody‚Äôs getting skin spots checked out.‚ÄĚ Silence. The lady scowls at me, adjusts her purse and rummages through it. No response. She detests me.¬†The five other women in the waiting room keep their gazes on magazines and phones. Deadpan nothing. Not a glance, not a smile, not a knowing look of camaraderie. I sit there a moment regarding Miss Sourpuss and the others.

Is it my breath?

I look over my  blandly sensible outfit looking for garish stains. No. Oh well, they hate me because they are women. They hate themselves. That’s what my husband would say. They are worried about cancer, so they won’t even give so much as a nod and a smile. Are things that bad? Nothing personal.

This is what I get for moving away from a small town where everybody knows your business and it takes an hour to get through the grocery store for all the greeting and chatting.

I flash back to a similar scene during¬†the wait for breast cancer screening. Nobody talks. All the ladies transition into wearing¬†white robes and are offered bottled water-in plastic. Aren‚Äôt plastic bottles supposed to be bad for you? When you make the appointment, they ask¬† about your religious preference with a syrupy “we’re here for you” spiel that changes when they take your payment.

I continue to sit and look at the ladies. That’s when I notice they are all trim, about the same size, a sensible 8 or 10, petite. I will never be that size-well maybe if I make it to age 95. No biggies. All Anglo. Small-breasted. Tight. They all look the same to me, except the older woman, because of the henna in her hair, which gives it a  coppery look.

The tighter they are, the meaner they are. I notice that at the gym. Severe. It’s like they’re afraid you are going to sneak out of the gym, steal their husband, or potential boyfriend (s), or girlfriend, and run away to the Bahamas with him. Even if you have gray hair, aren’t all tan and tone, you’re still a threat?

I adjust my position in my chair so my chichis, which, in my maturity, are now like watermelons and need to be comfortable. But hey, they’re mine and I still have them and I want to be a nice person in a waiting room.

Maybe the ladies are afraid I’m a talker. Or a stalker? What?

 I take out my Kindle and pretended to read.

Thoughts of a computer tech teacher at the community college cross my mind. I never met him, but my hubby had taken his classes and raved. The teacher, wheelchair bound, is morbidly obese, supposedly had¬† a near death experience, as well as an illness.¬†My husband doesn’t know what the health problem is. ¬†Men never ask those personal questions. BUT, (you were waiting for that, right?) he is one of the most proficient instructors in the city, in fact he runs the computers for ¬†technology for the city. His knowledge is Googlish.

Here’s the hook: He demands complete classroom etiquette. His rule is no gossip. No talking about other students, no words of contempt for other teachers, no bad cross talk. Ever. You start gossiping or bad-mouthing about someone or something and you’re out.

Upon hearing about the big guy, I’m astonished and cheer for joy. I listen to the hubby respectfully for over fifteen minutes because of the story.

Really? He really does that? No gossip? Wow. I LOVE that man!!!!

My thoughts are interrupted as the nurse calls my name and I complete the examination process. It isn’t cancer. They zap the spot. Thank you, thank you, thank you God. I’ll never judge mean people again.

When I leave the office, I notice the women talking to each other.

Journal prompt: Go to a public area and observe people. Write down everything you notice. If you don’t want to appear as if you are taking notes, pretend you are doing homework. Works every time. Since people are always on the phones, nobody notices anyway.

Discussion: Try observing people in¬†different locations. I used to listen to the men talking at the gym while I was waiting for my husband. They often left the outside door open to the locker room so I could easily hear their banter. I noticed that the men talk more ¬†easily than women, but if prompted women may want to get into conversations…but not¬†often.¬†¬†¬†My experience with women in a gym was truly amazing. The women were so mean,¬†it made me even more self-conscious than I already am, and then later, less interested in going at all.¬†I mean I’m not there to socialize, I get it. ¬†No excuses. Do you think appearance has any bearing on friendliness? Do you think geographic location has anything to do with eagerness to talk? What about gender? Do people gossip openly about others?

Would you rather be left alone in a public place or do you greet people?

copyright ©  2014 Susan E Rowland

 

Posted in social commentary

Five Reasons for a Media Fast

collage for media fast sept 14

 

Hello readers. Checking in to share my recent news and  say I missed you all. Your blogs are so crazy good-you keep me educated and entertained. You rock!

Since my last post I did a four-day media fast-no Facebook or  social media, no news, no internet searching, no TV.  She wipes her fevered brow.

The hardest part was withdrawing from my favorite TV shows, not social media as I’d anticipated. My shows¬†are taped so that I can sit back and breeze through them¬†at the end of the¬†exile. ¬†So what happened you ask? ¬†I read books, organized, and took care of business much more efficiently. I worked.

So here are some reasons why a media fast is important:

  • It‚Äôs easy to do
  • Relaxation is complete
  • You get stuff done
  • You go outside and exercise more often
  • Better sleep

And, I’m getting my writing accomplished.

On that cheery note, I bid you farewell and until later….

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Happy journaling or whatever it is that gives you joy.

Ciao!

(Lower photograph taken inside the historic Mendocino Hotel)