How Well Can You Really KNOW Someone?

CARMEL VALLEY – A wife and mother eluded the law for 32 years, but now has been jailed for escaping a Detroit prison in 1976.

She has been known as Marie Walsh, wife of Alan Walsh. But the U.S. Marshal’s Service arrested her Thursday as Susan Lefevre, sentenced in 1975 to 10 to 20 years in prison for conspiracy and violation of drug laws. ….CONTINUE READING Wife, mother, prison escapee arrested after 32 years BY Pauline Repard UNION- TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER –>

I’ve been thinking about this a lot since I heard this story on the news last night. I can’t imagine how her family must feel, discovering that the woman they knew as partner, spouse, mom was not who they thought she was.

Then I started to think about the people in my life. I like to think the best of people. I like to think most people will do the right thing when confronted with a moral dilemma. At least for the big things. I like to think I’m a pretty good judge of character… but then you have a delusional, paranoid (former) co-worker who makes wacked out accusations or a friend who turns on you… and you start to wonder.

I had a friend once. We were really tight for a while. BFFs you know. (it’s a girl thing). We were both writers. We talked almost daily on the phone. We walked Torrey Pines Hill a couple times a week– The Hill of Truth we called it, huffing and puffing our man troubles, sweating out our writers blocks, commiserating on the world in general for the mile up that steep hill. She had some success with her writing– a one-act play that was picked up for production at South Coast Rep, and also for a very off-Broadway theater in New York. I even went to the Big Apple with her to see the play. I was going through some tough times and she was a great friend.

Then she was going through some tough times financially and my life was looking up. I was getting back on my emotional feet. She needed money and fast. She was on the verge of being evicted so I helped her get a job at my place of employment. Then the balance of power shifted.

Every time I emailed an article to her or sent over some other bit of information she acted like I was insulting her intelligence or telling her how to do her job. All I was really doing was sharing information– because things change quickly on the internet and its good to keep informed (I would have welcomed any articles she wanted to share).

She didn’t see it that way. The relationship went bad.

It got so bad that I hated coming to work– until the day she announced she had given notice when I had to restrain myself from doing the happy dance. Our friendship didn’t last.

I haven’t even seen her, anywhere, in a very long time. I’m not even sure if she is still writing– I never see her at workshops or at any writerly events around town. In a strange way I miss her (not the drama, the friendship and even the walks up that damn hill). I do hope she is doing well.

WordPress vs. Blogger

I had my blog on blogger for a long time. Blogger is good. WordPress I like better. I won’t go into all the details for the switcheroo, but suffice it to say that in the transition time here things are gonna look a little messy. Oh well. It’s not like this site if the New York Times or anything!

If anyone has any CSS tips they want to share, or Blogger to WordPress moving tips to share, let me know!

Too Many Funerals, Not Enough Weddings!

My dear dear friend Ralph lost his mom last week, and I went out to Chicago (I use the term loosely as his parents had retired to a town called Huntley, which Ralph tells me is the Algonquin word for “way the fuck out there”). Ralph has not lost his sense of humor.

It’s hard to lose a parent at any time. As we age, it means there is no longer a layer of a generation separating us from being elderly ourselves, or separating us from death. It’s a little shocking to look around and all of the sudden realize you are, in essence, the head of the family. I saw this with Ralph this week past. His father, elderly and defeated, his mother now gone and Ralph as oldest son stepped up to his new position as de facto head of the family with grace and strength.

Patricia M Walton was a loving wife and mother and a doting grandmother. Never one to dwell on the past, she looked to the future with strength and optimism. She always looked on the bright side, had a positive outlook, and kept smiling right up to the very end.

In 1958 Pat married Ralph S Walton and became a mother first on August 12, 1964 when Ralph V was born and on April 22, 1969 when Patrick was born. On July 12, 1997 she became a mother again when Eva Venus joined the family upon marrying Patrick. “Pat” became “Grandma Pat” when Ryan was born on January 24, 2002 and again on April 17, 2008 when Elizabeth was born.

Pat worked for several companies, including Garcy Corporation, NBC, Continental Bank, and American National Bank, from which she retired in 1994. When not keeping the rest of the family in line she could be found gardening, reading, working crossword puzzles, watching over the neighborhood children, and feeding birds, squirrels, and various stray animals. The world was Pat’s family and it is a better place for it.

In keeping with Pat’s focus on the future, we are comforted in the fact that she lives on in everyone she has touched. She is still with us in spirit, just not in body.

My heart went out to him as I was able to welcome him into a club I wish I did not even know existed, The Motherless. Sure, when you’re forty-something it sounds overly dramatic but no matter the disfunction(s) of our families, no matter our age, we love our parents and grieve them.

Now… if someone would just get married! It would be way more fun to get together for a wedding and not another funeral.

Finally notes from the Writing Marathon…finally

This was from a prompt from Judy Reeves, “I discovered….”

Words on a table

I discovered more about myself than about my mother. I discovered that I carry parts of my my mother in me and not just my father. I discovered that it is not all genetic and the parts that are environmental can be changed.. I discovered a longing for adventure inside my soul. I discovered a need to nest too.

I discovered regret on the table right next to grace, down the way from milkweed. I discovered I DO like to write in groups and I WILL miss my tribe mates.

I don’t know what the prompt was for this snippet, but Saturday, the day of the marathon, was the day after the paddle out for Colin Wagschal and he was on my mind.
RIP Colin Wagschal

A broken surfboard, the name Colin Wagshal written with a thick black felt tip marker– a Sharpie maybe– more permanent than the young surfer. Pictures printed out and taped to the fiberglass prove Colin was here. The lilies, birds of paradise and baby’s breath prove that he no longer is.

and the final prompt: The Present Moment

My eyes are starting to blur and I feel my shoulders inching closer to my ears. My fingers are cold. My ears are cold so I put my hood up. Maybe it will help me keep all the great ideas from escaping. Or maybe it will just keep my ears warm.

How do I write the moment and live it at the same time?

I am writing on the last line of this page, and so I turn the page and continue. A cool, no make that cold breeze comes in through the open window and Steve is happy.

I want to take all the pencils home and recycle the plastic bottles that lay strewn and empty on the table. Judy calls time and we are done.

SO thanks to everyone who contributed… together we raised over 13 THOUSAND dollars for San Diego Writers, Ink. Your official thank yous are coming soon.

It’s not about cancer

If you don’t know who Randy Pausch is, you should. Dr. Pausch is a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, and he has three to six months to live. And LIVE he will…. This video, “The Last Lecture” is well worth watching even though it is over an hour long. Get comfy, pull up a chair grab a coffee and listen.

Randy Pausch’s PhD means he knows a lot about computer science and virtual reality, but this lecture demonstrates that he knows a lot about living life and how to achieve your dreams as well. Key points that resonated with me:

The importance of People Who Help Us: family, friends, collegues, bosses. We can’t achieve success alone.
Having lost my mother at an early age, and having a father who was absent in a lot of ways taught me early on to do things myself. I’ve been spending the last few years unlearning some of that. It’s not only OK to ask for help, but sometimes, to really be successful, it takes more than one person, and when you have a team of talented, dedicated people working together you can make a difference in the world.

How people perceive you can limit your ability to succeed.
Like it or not, Perception is reality as any good marketeer will tell you!

Do the right thing and good things have a way of happening.
This is a hard piece of advice, especially when you look around and see people that seem to be successful by cheating or lying, and it looks so easy to do it that way.

Be good at something.
This is another one that’s challenging. Sometimes it takes a long time to figure out what you’re good at.

Get a feedback loop and listen to it.
This is one of my favorites, I call it a personal mantra. My current mantra is “Live Like There is No Tomorrow” which to me means living life to its fullest, being prepared to take advantage of opportunities, and asking for help if I need it.

What’s your personal mantra? Who do you find inspirational? and if you have a minute, say a prayer for Randy Pausch and his family… especially his three children.

Dear Anonymous,

Just a little heads up. I will no longer be accepting comments from you. It’s not that I don’t appreciate civil discourse. But “civil” is in fact the operative word here.  Merriam Webster’s online defines “civil” as synonymous with “polite,” “courteous,” “gallant” and “chivalrous” or “observant of the forms required by good breeding.”  You would know these words if you spent more time at and less time on my blog.  Calling me a liar, a fraud, a latte liberal and a fat slob serves only to contribute to the divisiveness prevalent in our society and to show you for the uncouth, uneducated coward that you are.

You make a lot of patronizing references to “people like you” and “the likes of you” as if you know me. You know nothing about me. And I know nothing about you. Maybe you just got fired. Maybe you just lost your best friend, or your spouse walked out on you. Whatever. Too bad. Taking your anger, your frustration and your own feelings of inadequacy out on me won’t solve your problems.

You consider my blog nothing more than me “spewing trendy blabber,” that I have no original thought and I say nothing relevant.  You would know. You are apparently now an expert in my blog.  I can see by the visitor logs that you have spent hours reading and have in fact gone back and read nearly every post I’ve written since July of 2004.  Sadly then, by your own admission, you have wasted a lot of your own time.

You write that as a marketing guru “anything that is written by the likes of….[me]…. can be considered as having a hidden motivation.”  So, I’m sure you won’t mind; I am drawing the line here.  I will reject all of your comments from now on.

And I know who you are. You are not as anonymous as you think.  Every time you leave a comment you also leave your IP address.  I know you are in San Marcos. I know you are connecting via Cox Communications.  I know your name.  Continue your harassment and I will pursue legal means available to me to the fullest extent allowable.

And while I’m drawing lines I will no longer accept Anonymous comments from anyone. If you don’t put your name or email or link to YOUR website on your comment, I won’t publish you on MY blog. That is the beauty of having my own blog. It is my space to play, and I make all the rules.

To the rest of my readers, if you agree with Anonymous, that my blog is irrelevant trendy blabber, then move on.  There are some 10 billion other websites out there. Or make your own blog where you are free to opine until the cows come home.

The Power of Words

“My favorite poem, my — my favorite poet was Aeschylus,” Robert Kennedy said, “and he once wrote:

Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget
falls drop by drop upon the heart,
until, in our own despair,
against our will,
comes wisdom
through the awful grace of God.

“What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love, and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.”

You can read the full text of the speech here.

Or listen to the story from Morning Edition, today, forty years after Martin Luther King Jr was shot.