Wednesday, August 22, 2012


When facing your own mortality you are likely to have some surprisingly clear insights, if you can relax and release fear of the unknown, which is exactly right around the corner or so it seems. Lately I've thought about the fact that I've lived my life like a waitress in an all night diner. I'm 100 % positive I'll end up dropping dead right in front of the washer & dryer or at the kitchen sink.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Manzanita Ranch

When I was younger, I had a recurring dream I was traveling back to Manzanita Ranch. The road was very long and I wasn't sure what direction to go in to get there. I kept getting lost and there were no familiar landmarks. After a long, long time, I finally got there and walked down the hill towards the ranch house; that's where I would stay, in one of the rooms. There was a new structure on the property that looked like a fire look-out, and Brad wasn't with me.. it's been so long since I've had that dream that, although it was very detailed, I can only vaguely recall it now.

When someone told me in 2009 how much my husband's Yahoo shares were worth, my next thought was, I could buy Manzanita Ranch. That thought changed my world.

In fact, if I recovered Brad's Yahoo investments alone, I could completely refurbish the entire ranch and turn it back into a very special, fully functioning, self-sustaining healing retreat, which is what it's always been, in one form or another. So I decided to put more effort into my investigative research, because the thought of being able to own and manage this special ranch gave me a great hope...and a reason to consider living, even without Brad, who was my heart. Here's my Manzanita Ranch song.

Brad and I at the ranch in 1971
A popular album that summer was this one. 

Brad 1972

1999 Below

Our last Photo together, taken in 2005 right after we found out he had throat cancer.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Entertaining Angels

Hebrews 13:2. "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."

I had a yard sale on the front lawn of  our apartment building in Los Angeles, before I left Southern California in 2008. On the morning of the first day, a man came by and stopped to talk. He was an ordinary looking man, not rich, not poor, nothing stood out about him. He said he was in charge of that entire area, that he knew everything that went on there, and that even when a prostitute died, he was the first one to know about it. I didn't know what to think of that, but he seemed rational and pleasant, and sincere. 

Before he left, he told me this story about a friend of his.. her husband had died, and his family, her in-laws, had embezzled everything he owned, leaving the woman in dire straits. She had to support her disabled brother by working two jobs, one as a maid in a large hotel. It took her years of hardship and endurance to recover her property, but eventually she did, and lo & behold, she was the owner of the fine hotel she worked as a maid at. In closing, he said "I'll tell you what I told her. Keep Going." 

I think of his advice often, when I'm so tired and overwhelmed I question whether I can go on. And I consider how perfect that advice was.. Not "hang on" which implies something to hang on to, but "Keep Going" which is more like what you'd tell a man in the desert who doesn't know there is a well over a few more sand hills if he can just keep going, one foot in front of the other. Perfect advice. 

I have a new lump on the left side just above the collarbone area, and it hurts a little on that side when I swallow. Doesn't seem good. I can't afford the things I need and I'm really tired of the struggle to get through each day, each week, each month. I'm alone most of the time. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Some more Hope

I'm still pondering on what hope is and haven't come up with a concrete assessment. Obviously it's not tangible, so it's related to something other than physical reality. A feeling. Sometimes when I look at my flowers blooming in their little pots I feel a sense of something that might be called hope.

18 months ago, I went to see Madam Ruby; Chico Icon & Palm Reader extraordinaire. Madam Ruby is a Chico rite of passage whose words you don't forget unless you're a fool. (who has no hope) Before I moved back to Los Angeles to live with and then marry Brad I of course consulted Madam Ruby. At the end of that reading her advice was "don't trust anyone." (anyone in Los Angeles after I moved there) I thought she must have my palm mixed up with someone else's palm and at the time I sure didn't have a clue why she'd say that. Funny how that worked out.

Anyway, my last Madam Ruby consult was just as mysterious except that now, 12 years later, I'm following her pretty well. Sometimes when I'm fresh out of positive thinking tactics, divine inspiration, and supporting facts, I like to recall Madam Ruby stating calmly "you're going to live through this." She also said I would be doing some writing in the future and then she laughed, leaned forward and gave my hand a little squeeze and said "you got it girl" (I started my other strange but true blog a few months later.) Of course I did ask her whether I'd ever recover my stolen community property and she said "there'll be some money, but don't do it for that reason." She was very adamant about that. So I whined a little and said, well I'd love to do some writing but I'd prefer to do it somewhere other than a park bench, is it going to take very long? yep, a while, she said, get comfortable.  Crap. They say God's timing is perfect, but meanwhile back here on planet earth things were getting a little hazardous.

So now it's 18 hazardous months later. I've lost muscle mass and don't recognize my normally sturdy body. My left arm is swollen, my right arm is emaciated, and my breast is truly an interesting specimen. I need to make sure my drivers license no longer says "donor." seems like I thought that was a good idea some decade past. My friends, acquaintances, and even family are now divided into three camps: those that think I'm insane and don't want to be involved, those that know I'm not and don't want to be involved, and those that know I'm broke, and don't want to be involved.

I hope the brad blog was what I was supposed to write, seemed like the records threw themselves in front of me but it was a lot of information to organize. Don't know what good it might do but felt compelled to write it, and even though it's far from complete and contains more than a couple of references to my fervent desire to see certain people roast in hell and so forth, hey I'm rating it a "pretty good" job.  Hopefully, good enough. Parts of it were written in a laundromat using their free wifi. I have a pic of that laundromat as a memento. Another Chico icon: The Mat.

Hope. That's what Madam Ruby gave me.