“V” for Vindictive

 for vindictive: ‘disposed or inclined to revenge.’

Seems now we even glamorize this lose-lose human trait. With a television show titled and focusing on revenge as well as thirty two states still having the death penalty , the human tendency toward an eye for an eye still looms strong.

Every time a worker acts in a retributive manner toward another employee, every little boy who kicks his friend for perceived injustice, every husband who rants at his wife because of jealousy or other frustrations, every country who bombs a neighbor to get even for past wrongs—all play at the dangerous game of revenge. Being vindictive is not only ugly, it is all around destructive. Lose, lose, lose.

Seek understanding, choose forgiveness and there is hope of win, win, win.

Gandhi succeeded in mobilizing the Indian people both spiritually and politically as he became the revolutionary innovator of militant non-violence. India became the motherland of large-scale civil disobedience, not through what many would agree to have been rightful revenge against the occupying British and their violent enforcement of subjugation, but through the same radical idea great men over the millennium have touted: non-violent love.

image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“There are many causes I would die for. There is not a single cause I would kill for.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

“Nonviolence is a weapon of the strong.”
― Mahatma GandhiThe Words of Gandhi

“Liberty and democracy become unholy when their hands are dyed red with innocent blood.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

“At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

“Christ furnished the spirit and motivation while Gandhi furnished the method.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

“Violence is not only impractical but immoral.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

“You have learnt how it was said: ‘Eye for eye and tooth for tooth.’ But I say to you, Offer the wicked man no resistance. If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; if a man takes you to law and would have your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone orders you to go one mile, go two miles with him.” – Mt. 5.38-41

“Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; grant pardon, and you will be pardoned.” – Lk 6.27

There is no logic in death as a penalty for death. It is vindictive revenge. It does not bring the dead back to life. It generates more suffering where there is already great suffering. We seem to forget that any deadly crime has many victims on both sides of the knife or gun.

Ah, but revenge and the vindictive do not serve logic. They are a burning cauldron of anger and fear.

image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

They are made of the same stuff as murder. Murder by any name results in ending lives, even if it is under the umbrella of ‘justice’. Not unlike the illogic of suicide: a permanent solution to a temporary problem. There is no logic in it.

It takes great courage to love. It takes great courage to forgive, not for the sake of the perpetrator, but so the offended can move on.

Is there justice in taking another woman’s child from her because her child killed? Once the murderer is gone, it is only those left behind who agonize and grieve. Dying is too easy for the lethal criminal. The murderer is forever silenced by death with no chance to grieve his crime and punishment, no chance to truly ‘pay’ through years of thought about what he did. Is it not also an unjust burden, an unearned penalty on the family and loved ones of the murderer—just as the original murder was unjust to the murdered’s family?

And so it goes–revenge, retribution, an eye for an eye, blood feud, meeting evil with evil, generations on end. Darkness creates more darkness. Exponential tragedy.

Posted in A-Z Blog Challenge, Loss, Opinion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“U” for Urban Gardening

Last year, after going to my local Farmers Market, I decided it would be fun and healthy to begin a raised bed garden in my backyard. Up until then, my yard was landscaped with drought tolerant succulents and plants. Those plants remain; a great way to appease the drought and still provide beauty.

images by C. London

images by C. London

There was a bare spot up against my back wall as well as some ground cover on the side of my house where a raised bed planter(s) could find a welcome home. My local library held a free workshop about building a raised bed garden from a kit–composite boards that look like wood, a bottom liner and “L” brackets holding the corners. Upon further consideration, I decided to go with cinder blocks. Heavy—yes. Sturdy? Definitely. With the added benefit of openings in each brick that could house insect pest repelling flowers as well as butterfly attracting ones—and more.

With the help of the muscular descendants of Californian Gods, I got the ‘frame’/ border set up. Bags and bags of pea gravel on the bottom for drainage, garden soil depth to nurse new fragile roots, a slow-soaker irrigation hose and voila—

Last year’s produce was heavy on tomatoes and zucchini–two hard-to-kill contenders for a beginning garden. Sweet corn was kinda sad and short. Perhaps not enough Miracle Grow/manure and/or depth for corn stalk roots. Though I had two amazing sunflowers that soared high above the rest.


This season I have been harvesting bags and bags of cool weather New Zealand spinach and curly Kale. Super foods, both. One of the cinder block ‘nests’ holds basil, another mint, another garlic chives. Cilantro bolted quickly to seed, but was yummy on Mexican food while it lasted. Celery loves the ‘nests’ too.

DSCN4040Last year’s strawberry plants have sent runners/plants and they are happily producing the first red and juicy of the season. Petunias dance happily in the breeze–occupants of until-now empty cinderblock ‘nests’.

Even though it is going to take a few years to recoup the cost of the materials to build and fill the raised bed gardens, there will be years and years of produce to look forward to. My rotatable compost barrel is receptacle to our family plant-based leftovers and peelings–a promise to nurture future bounty.

Miss Kiki likes to help...

Miss Kiki likes to help…



What experience do you have with veggie gardening? What’s your favorite harvest?


Lemon grass (on the left) makes delicious tea



Look at that baby artichoke!

Look at that baby artichoke!

Posted in A-Z Blog Challenge, Gardening | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

“T” for Tan: The Big Lie

  is for Tan…

Picture healthy twenty somethings on the  seaside sand—playing a rousing game of beach volleyball. Girls in string bikinis, guys in board shorts. Their bronzed bodies glisten in the warm sunshine, every muscle defined as they rush to save the volleyball from touching the sand. Laugher and fun. Good times.

In the evening they attend campfire-on-the-beach parties, skin glowing from long hours in a carefree sun.

Look at this beautiful young woman…

For years, Glenna Kohl pursued a bronzed glow — by 22, she was battling the most lethal form of skin cancer.

I am not generally into shock to get your attention, but in the case of life and death—some people need to be shocked. When I was a twenty something, baby oil was the only thing anyone wore or knew to slather on when out in the sun. Even then our protective ozone layer was thinning—even though we did not realize it. Now the lack of natural protection from the harmful spectrums of the sun’s rays can be, and way to often IS lethal.

Those of you who follow my blog/facebook know that I went through and continue to be shocked by my diagnosis and ongoing treatment for multiple melanomas. Found early, it was excised during a rather long surgery and lengthy painful recovery. I continue to visit the dermatologist every three months and have had a further two surgeries to remove other suspicious pre-melanoma spots. I am at high risk—for life

I was that teenaged girl on the beach, doused in baby oil. But ‘only’ for a few short months during high school summer break. I have never since been a sun worshiper. College and adult life disallowed such foolishness. Too busy. I remained covered up and pale through my adult life—most of it lived in Northern California where beach volleyball nets are few.

No melanoma had ever touched my family. We are people of northern Europen dissent, which increases our risk of developing skin cancer, but even those of African dissent get it. Australia suffers from a downright epidemic of melanoma. You want to see shocking anti tanning commercials—watch TV in Australia.

How stunning actresses such as Julianne Moore are. Her flawless porcelain skin has a natural beauty that never begs a tan. You, my dear readers, are every bit as lovely wearing the skin colour mother nature gave you the day you were born. Cherish it. Protect it.

You don’t ever want to live through days, weeks, months of wondering if you will live or die because you suffered from the cultural delusion that ‘tan’ is the only sexy color or that YOU don’t need sunscreen or protective clothing because you ‘tan naturally’ or have been blessed with darker skin tone. YOU, my lovely, are at risk just by living in 2015.

Please be careful and love the way you were made….your glorious shade of you.


Posted in Aging, Cancer, Health | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

“S” for Sand in My Suit: Worst Places to Make Whoopie


 for sand…making whoopie

And I don’t mean Whoopie Goldberg ;)


A High Def WideScreen fly in shot—as the photographic drone touches the treetops and out across the sand, a couple, ala From Here to Eternity, come into view. As their bodies entangle in the receding waves, the shot widens to the golden setting sun, leaving to imagination what is culminating on the beach….

Sunset beach couple

How romantic.


Imagine submerging your chaffed bottom into your hotel tub–wishing you had your hand-held shower sprayer from home, to get what amounts to mushy sand paper out of your nether regions. How romantic is that? If you have ever been tempted to make love on the beach, you know all to well….

How about on a romantic hillside high on a gorgeous purple haze mountain? Hmmm…snorkeling along a brilliant tropical reef, crystal clear waters just off Oahu? (Talk about nibbling’ fish.) In a snow hotel, Scandinavian midnight sun hung low in the sky?

Where have you chosen to become amorous–that you wish you hadn’t?

Posted in A-Z Blog Challenge, Blog Tour, Life, Love and Romance, Sex, Sex - Eroticism | Tagged , | 2 Comments

“R” is for Red Cars – L.A. Ruled the Public Transit World

Did you know that there was a time when Los Angeles’ public railway had more miles of track than even New York does today?

As Los Angeles tries to build up its public transit system, remaining red car track can

Pacific Electric Railroad Bridge (Torrance).jpg

still be seen. Here in the South Bay, a Red Car bridge lies dormant in the City of Torrance, its arches spanning Torrance Blvd on the east side of town, golden dry grass poking above the tracks. Now designated a U.S. historic landmark, it stands mocking our pitiful transit system and celebrating past glory days.

L.A. used to have a public transit system owned by Pacific Electric, putting to shame all other systems in the United States. At its height, LA had 99 hydro-electric “Red Cars” covering more than eleven hundred miles –Santa Ana to Balboa, downtown to Santa Monica, Long Beach, Pasadena, Ventura, San Bernardino and Riverside. To put that in perspective–today’s New York system covers 842 miles.

A real estate mogul, Henry Huntington, began the system in the early 1900’s to provide workers cheap transport from their jobs to the the hundreds of subdivisions Huntington built. (Yes, think “Huntington Beach”, “Huntington Library” ) File:Los Angeles Pacific Electric Railways (Red Cars).svg

Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Never meant to be comprehensive, but reaching to far flung areas, it eventually became easier for folks living in areas too far from a red line station, to drive.

With the huge costs of maintaining the system, rail to (less expensive) bus conversion began as early as 1925. The last of the Red Car lines closed in 1961. No public subsidies, new uncrowded freeways, more women entering the workforce, little awareness of petrol contributing to what we now call ‘smog’ and the introduction of air conditioned 45 seat buses–all were factors in contributing to the downfall of the system.File:First Red Car over to North Hollywood, December 16, 1911 (GWMC13).jpg

Dec 1911 Red Car Line to North Hollywood – Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

The urban legend blaming the car and gas companies as plotting to make LA reliant on cars, is just that—a myth. (Despite what was touted in the film Roger Rabbit.)

Perhaps the death blow was when Californians rejected a tax in 1926 that would have repaired the Red Cars. Dilapidated and put down as  “slums on wheels,” the Red Cars were soon replaced with bus routes and freeways.

Port of Los Angeles, San Pedro, resurrected operations starting on July 19th, 2003 with two new replica railcars carefully patterned after the 1909 Pacific Electric cars.File:Pacific Electric Replica 501 in San Pedro.jpg Two are presently in service; 1.5 mile long vintage trolley line connecting the world cruise centre with other attractions along the waterfront. Local newspaper, The Daily Breeze, reports that even this line may not survive past September 2015 as it is closed for remodeling the Ports’o Call area.

Today’s light rail is a pale shadow of the former glory seen in Red.


Posted in A-Z Blog Challenge, California | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

“Q” is for Quiet – A Noiseless Rant


Silence is golden. Quiet is quintessential. lol.

Never have truer words been spoken. My world is full of noise, so times when the TV is off, no music is blaring, no computer you tubes playing—heaven. ANd what is it about having to have the TV on ALL the time–with the sound on?

image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

But then I do live with three men…and three dogs. *arf!*

I honestly do not understand the modern draw to multi-noising.  Our hectic lifestyle often leads to the need to multi-task- do more than one thing at a time. But why do so many people feel the need to further confuse the overload with multiple sources of noise? Working at the computer with the television on and music piping through the mini speakers just makes me nuts. It’s aural clutter. How can anyone think straight with so much competing sound?

Lying in bed watching a you-tube vid with the TV on? I mean really?

Arrgh! Just thinking about it (let alone listening to it) makes the hairs on the back of  my neck stand on end.

When no one is home I gleefully turn of the TV, even the fan (yes–it hums) and revel in blissful silence. Mmmmm….quiet.

How do you feel about having multiple sources of noise? Do you have to have the TV on all the time? What gives?

image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

Posted in A-Z Blog Challenge, Blog Tour, Musings, Opinion | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

“P” for Possibilities

 for Possibility


The world lost a force for good when the late Dr Robert Schuller passed away. One of his uplifting and inspiring contributions?–Possibility thinking. Heavily influenced by his friend and mentor, Dr Norman Vincent Peal, Schuller nonetheless stood on a huge platform to spread his own version of the message–the Crystal Cathedral and its Hour Of Power.

Now before you judge – ‘Oh he was just a televangelist’ take a look at the very secular message encased in ‘Possibility’.

Dr Schuller knew all too well that we are often our own worst enemies, putting roadblocks of negative thinking in the path of life. He called these folks of the negative, ‘impossibility thinkers”

image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

Impossibility thinkers are people who make swift, sweeping passes over a proposed idea, scanning it with a sharp negative eye, looking only for the distasteful aspects. They look for reasons why something won’t work instead of visualizing ways in which it could work. So they are inclined to say “No” to a proposal, never giving the idea a fair hearing.
Impossibility thinkers are people who immediately, impulsively, instinctively, and impetuously react to any positive suggestion with a sweeping, unstudied, irresponsible assortment of reasons why it can’t be done, or why it is a bad idea, or how someone else tried it and failed, or (and this is usually their clinching argument) how much it will cost! They are people who suffer from a perilous mental malignancy I call the impossibility complex. They are problem imaginators, failure predictors, trouble visualizers, obstacle envisioners, exaggerated-cost estimators.” – Robert Schuller, Move Ahead with Possibility Thinking

Whereas, Schuller compared those with a positive bent as hummingbirds in the desert–scoping out even a singular luscious flower of which to avail themselves for the substance to go on.

When it comes down to brass tacks however, one must be realistic as to whether or not one has actual potential–realistic or latent possibility. So when you’re dreaming about your goal ask yourself whether you have done the work to prepare (realistic potential) or whether that is something still on your to-do lists (latent potential). Example: If you want to be a published author but have never written a short story, much less a novel, nor have you read about the process, joined professionally minded groups or attended any classes/conferences, you may well have latent potential. You may love the written word. You may have had some success in creative writing in college, but you have not sharpened the saw, as F. Scott Peck calls the power of readiness. Stephen King believes a writer needs to pen a million words before he or she has the experience to have found her voice and become proficient at the art and craft of professional writing.

image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

So, to use Dr Schuller’s example, you may be that hummingbird in the desert, but if you have not perfected your flying skills and navigational abilities, you may not yet have the realistic chance at finding and sipping from that desert flower.

It’s always in-season for goal-setting, so take a look at those lists and dreams, try to figure out which kinds of possibilities reveal themselves when you look at them a little closer. Don’t try to accomplish more than three to five things on the incremental list each day. You’ll just get frustrated. Look at those latent possibilities and see what intermittent steps you’ll need to take to manifest them; they’re the areas you’ll need the most work.  Shoring them up will help turn those lists – which are expressions of possibilities – into the actual.

Posted in A-Z Blog Challenge, Art/Artist, Blog Tour, life passion, Success | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“O” is for Ostentatious

 – Ostentatious:

‘characterized by or given to pretentious or conspicuous show in an attempt to impress others.’

“I know that a man who shows me his wealth is like the beggar who shows me his poverty; they are both looking for alms from me, the rich man for the alms of my envy, the poor man for the alms of my guilt.” (Quote – Ben Hecht)

Th human character flaw of conspicuous consumption is one of the toughest to understand. In a world with so much want, for someone to purposely spend money on something that is for the purpose of ‘show’ is painful.

In 1955 the 400 highest-earning Americans paid more than half their incomes in federal taxes, but these days that figure is less than a fifth.

In a highly unequal society the wealthy often feel obliged to engage in this “conspicuous consumption,” spending in highly visible ways to demonstrate their wealth.


My three dogs will snatch the toy d’jour from each other–not because it is intrinsically better than the dozen other toys, but because they do not want the other dogs to have it.

image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

But that is so …animal. Hmm…Guess what folks. We apparently are not that far out of the trees where ostentation is concerned.

But you say “There hasn’t been a time in American history when so many global cultures percolated into the mainstream, when there was so much tolerance for diverse ethnicities, lifestyles and the complex directions of the heart, when there was so little tolerance for disorder, domestic violence and prejudice.” That may be, but magnanimous displays toward employees evidently does not wash over often into the boardroom.

The elite we do have might well do to acknowledge that privilege imposes duties. But do wealthy people have an obligation to try to follow a code of restraint? No luxury cars for high school kids. No island jet set weekends. Maybe live a lifestyle that is more integrated into middle-class America than the one they can actually afford?

“Never gonna happen”

Whoa nellie. Enter C.E.O Dan Price of Seattle based Gravity Payments– Re-establishing the lines between public service and private enrichment. Pay your employees a living wage at, *gasp* the cost of your million dollar C.E.O. salary and a larger chunk of your corporate profits.

The owner of Gravity Payments, a credit card processor in Seattle, said he heard stories of how tough it was to make ends meet even on salaries that exceeded the federal minimum wage.

But wait…isn’t the definition of modern top execs to live conspicuously, arousing the envy of others in a blatant display of arrogance?

Not for Dan.  The purpose of wealth is to help others, not to show it off.

Soaring disparity between C.E.O.s and employees income? Dan Price, C.E.O. of Gravity Payments, is doing something about it–wages that make it possible for his employees to go after the American dream, buy a house and pay for their children’s education.


All the result of an article on happiness, research from a nobel prize winning psychologist, this C.E.O.  is actually doing something about the obscene disparity. Research showed that, for people who earn less than about $70,000, extra money makes a big difference in their lives.

In fact, the question may be not so much whether ostentatious consumption is evil, but

image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

whether the disproportionate acquisition of wealth is at the expense of others. Dan thinks so—it is at the expense of his employee’s emotional health.

Is ostentatious displays of wealth among an elite whose wealth has been growing for decades far faster than the overall, amount to rubbing salt into a wound? If your employees are struggling with rent increases and to afford child care–yes.

Will there be a whiplash of suddenly conscience-burdened C.E.O.s offering to lessen their salaries to seventy thousand a year? (The ‘happiness’ threshold) Or will the people once again storm the palaces? One can only hope.

Oh, that the #GravityEffect might go viral amongst the penthouse dwellers of the world. –Positive — the very wealthy encouraged to do something socially useful with their wealth (instead of spending it on solid gold shower heads) — secure their legacy by improving the world for generations to come. Pay their employees not just a living wage, but a thriving one. Emotional stability and happiness. Imagine.

Or are we forever to be like our canines — with a toy all the others want that we flaunt in their faces?

Posted in A-Z Blog Challenge, Blog Tour, Health, Integrity | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

“N” – Never Say Never

 Never say never…

“I’m never going to sell any books. I’m never going to make more than chump change from book sales.”

“I’ve been at this for ten years with no more than the occasional bottle of wine bought with my royalties”

image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

This, the frustrated complaint of so many authors, I could literally fill a book.

But why, you ask?

Maybe it is the tidal wave of books being released each and every day. Lost in the surf of words.

Maybe it is the shy nature of writers. We don’t tend to go into this solitary biz because we are extroverts.

Maybe it is the time suck of promotions. After all, we got into this gig to write, not to be Madison Avenue’s next darling. That is the purview of the extrovert.

I read an article recently posted to a rather famous writer’s blog telling authors they are too shy, too inconsistent, too humble, too artsy, too unclear. Well, duh. That is our nature. We do not want to beg people to read the words we’ve spent thousands of hours creating and polishing. We h-a-t-e asking for a sale.  Shouldn’t our words stand on their own?

Perhaps ‘author’ should be the next Disney princess. Eyes full of stars, she sings about her books flying off the shelves and Barnes and Noble, her dashing prince a literary agent salivating to pitch her next New York Times bestseller to New York–complete with rabid marketing team on board as secondary characters.

image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

“Oh princess Work-In-Progress, I’m am so happy you have graced us with your golden pen. Your novel does not even need the eyes of an editor–that is how magical your talent and tale.”

Prince Agent:

“I can show you the world
Shining, shimmering, splendid
Tell me, princess, now when did
You last let your heart decide?

I can open your eyes

Take you wonder by wonder
Over, sideways and under
On a magic carpet ride

 A whole new world
A new fantastic point of view
No one to tell us no or where to go
Or say we’re only dreaming…”


*jolted awake from alluring daydream*


Family and friends smile and wish you well. They do not, however, go to every indie bookstore within twenty miles of your home pitching you novel. If, and that is a hug “IF” they read your book, they do not tend to write a review. Too shy? Too inconsistent, too humble, too artsy, too unclear? Hmm..there is a theme here. Friends and family do not have the fire burning in their heart, nor the dream of Prince Agent filling their daydreams. Even if they have good intentions.

You, dear author, are pretty much on your own. So if you do not have the metal to go it alone, I hope you love writing for writing’s sake. And that is no small thing. Writing is cheaper than therapy and can take you away to lands, times and with people you could never hope to meet and visit –well, except perhaps in a book.

image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

Never say never…you just might fall in love with writing as a goal in an of itself.

Posted in A-Z Blog Challenge, Art/Artist, Authors, Blog Tour, Book Biz, Finding Your Passion, life passion, Promotions, Publishing Agents, Writer's Journey, Writing | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

“M” for Midlife Twenty: Why Don’t my Workouts Work Anymore?

 mid life twenty…

You can not possibly out exercise the modern diet–full stop.

Short blog, eh?

Given one week of label reading, you will discover the truth. Food companies have the bottom line in view–not our health. Taste testing research groups and sky high sales reward the food companies with fat pockets–while our bodies get bigger and sicker.

When is enough is enough? And why don’t trips to my bow flex and treadmill knock off that thickened middle?

image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

Middle age. And you thought it meant your chronological location in the middle of our projected life span. Not these day. It means that most of us are carrying an extra twenty pounds around our middles that were never there in high school. Hormones, slowing metabolism and sedentary lifestyles conspire to make it so.

But so do we. Our fork and food estimations are the devil.

Inflated portions at restaurants wash over to the family dinner table. We’ve grown (pun intended) to come to see larger dinner plates overflowing as ‘normal’. Given one week of measuring/’eyeballing’ portions to what is needed will open your eyes. Meat/protein should be the size of a deck of cards, veggies minimum of half the plate, an ounce of cheese–the size of one dice. Sound brutal?

image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

I won’t try to tell you it is not a bit tough–for one week. It takes some time for your stomach to ‘shrink’–to re-adjust to a portion size meant to sustain, not inflate.

Fit bit? The new electronic bracelet that counts steps and allows you to log your food instantaneously is a wonderful tool. But at the end of the day–it too is just a tool. It takes getting real with yourself–and sticking to it until it becomes second nature.


Do we sometimes fail? Undoubtedly. Get back on that portion horse. Life and weight is managed–not cured. Ride on…

Posted in A-Z Blog Challenge, Aging, Food, Health, Life | Tagged , , | 7 Comments