Tag Archives: creative writing

Frozen in Time



Right now we are all frozen in time, waiting for normalcy to return. We busy ourselves in our homes, some starting projects, some working remotely others entertaining children and try to keep the worry at bay.  I have started walking.  At first I just walked around the neighborhood, up and down every street, the couple of streets that have a small hill, taking in the view.  Then I started looking for different views, appreciating the variety of vantage points I have access to being on top of a mountain.

A view of rolling clouds with the threat of rain.

I look out at the quiet valley; I can see the streets with so few cars and the houses buttoned up tight.  In my neighborhood there is a sweet little park, I like to think of as a meditation spot, with a trickling fountain.  It is a calm place and offers another view of the distance.

A peaceful view.

This time, I begin to look for the little things along my walk.  I look for the art in the front yards, along the homes, the charming little yard statues.  I find that there is a lot of self expression here.


There are the hopes for peace and tranquility. The happy expression of joy.  The reminder to go within and find our own inner peace and joy.  The calming presence of self-reflection during a time of uncertainty all around us.




There are signs of hope under the watchful, eyes of peaceful saints.


These two, one resting by a tree and one providing a small bird with a drink of water, implore us to steady our resolve and to take stalk in all that we do have.

Gratitude and acceptance.




    There are playful gnomes watching our gardens.

These two are offering words of wisdom, “this is the beginning of a new day….when tomorrow comes, today will be gone forever.”  Take time to appreciate this day, this time, in whatever form it takes






There are animals.









                           This one is real!


This is Topanga, so of course we have a flying pig!


This guy is stoic but I am sure he would like to fly if he could.

There are a few children.


The offering of water, the offering of what we have to give from the place that we are now.


The important thing is to remember that we might feel alone, but we are not alone.

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Filed under creative writing, Life thoughts, Walking

Looking for Signs of Hope

I went on a walk this afternoon to look for signs hope during this time of uncertainty. Just getting out of the house, the isolation, and the feeling that I exist in a world of one, was my motivation.  Plus, trying to get to those 10,000 steps. It is not hard to find beauty in the determination of the flowers to bloom and display their unique colors, shapes and beauty leading up to Spring.  A simple walk can lead to so many discoveries.  My little neighborhood is filled with beauty, so when I walked out of my house looking for signs of hope, I was lucky enough to find all of these signs of the natural beauty in our world.  It gave me a little hope on a somewhat sad and stressful day.

This beautiful view of the valley, the mountains and peeks of snow in the far right.


Here is a wide view with even more snow tipped mountains.

This little flower was peeking out in a succulent patch.

This is my favorite flowering bush, the Echium (Pride of Madeira)

The succulents are showing their happiness after days of rain.

A red rose stretching up, beginning to open.

These calla lilies are so beautiful and lush. It’s rare to see so many together.

There are so many daisies!

These soft, billowy clouds floating by against a turquoise sky.

The first sign of Spring and a spot for happy bees (zoom in).


Back home and the jasmine is in bloom sending its sweet scent around my house.

Ahhhh, the view from my porch never gets old.

Lavender at home. The scent, the wisps, more happy bees!

Tiny blooms sending out shoots.

Everything is blooming!

Forever roses, climbing, blooming, reaching across the arbor.

The sage is growing so tall!

These beauties on my porch are reaching for the sun.

My first poppy! It’s barely opened, but it is the first this Spring.




Filed under flowers, Life thoughts


Today is another rainy day and my energy is on simmer.  I woke up with my list of good intentions, managed to get a lot done, but when the soft drizzle turned to heavy droplets, loud enough to make sounds on the window panes, my resolve began to diminish. 
I am sitting at the kitchen table with my thoughts and cup of tea, slowly sinking ginger snaps into their hot bath, I feel content to stare out the window, through the trees at the little valley below and watch the clouds swollen gray with evaporated ponds, lakes and tears.
Sometimes it is nice to take a melancholy moment to relax and meditate on the sound of rain on the roof, the Kit-Kat Clock ticking regularly, its eyes taking in the solitude on the quite house, the hum of appliances and the occasional swoosh of the heat coming on, regulating the temperature and wrapping me with warm air.
Tapping turns to pounding and the landscape is drenched once again. Little clouds dance in the distance, tiptoeing across the peaks of the distant mountains leaving just enough space for me to peak at the sunlit light-blue sky,  just out of reach.
Pensive thoughts and the possibility of procrastination are suddenly lit by a burst of sunlight and the optimistic rainbow that sets itself down completely, stretching from one end of the Valley to the other, showing off the entire color spectrum.  Offering light.

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Filed under Life thoughts, Rain, writing

Walking the Lake

IMG_0144It was a good idea to meet up with my friend and her dog to walk the lake today.  The weather was perfect, crisp, slightly warm from the weak winter sun and the winds hadn’t picked up yet.  We walked briskly, catching up and keeping up with her dog Pink.  Ellen and I have been friends since we were 13 and that’s saying a lot.  A lot of time and water under the bridge.  We have been in and out of contact and manage to stay connected somehow.  We chat and observe the people, old immigrants, young children still on winter break, men fishing or playing with remote-controlled boats on the lake.  We pass the different areas; the playground, the bridge crossing the tumbling water, the bird-filled trees that sound like an aviary as we pass underneath and the benches inhabited by people reading, talking, resting and daydreaming.  We see children frolicking as they run from the large geese and tease the smaller birds with crumbs.  We hear people speaking many languages.  What is that?  Russian, Spanish, Italian?  There is a melding pot of people all out for a day in January, starting the New Year with a stroll, a walk hand-in-hand, in workout gear, new sneakers, old walking shoes and jackets, with arms pumping and quick breaths, with hands holding canes to steady plump bodies breathing slowly.  For this hour, we walk in this moment in time.  Old friends sharing, enjoying the beauty that exists within a busy city.



Filed under Life thoughts, Walking

Quick Write

Ah, the quick write assignment.  I would say it fits into my schedule, but it is Friday and the assignment was posted on Tuesday, school work trumps again.  The assignment is to write about  favorite place, so here goes:
I am lucky because one of my favorite places just happens to be minutes from my house and the place I go to most days.  It is Topanga Canyon, the little mountain community where I have spent the last 18 years, but really had traveled to for years before that. 
I began going through Topanga on my way to the beach so summer memories are some of my favorite.  Then, in my late teens and early adult years, I frequented The Corral to hear music and enjoy the hippie days made famous in the Canyon.  I had friends up in the Canyon and since I’ve been part of the community via the school, have made some of my closest friends in those who make the Canyon their home.
It is hard to imagine that a 7 mile drive from home can transport me to a place filled with the promise of calm, tranquility and scent of sage and lavender.  Topanga is that place.  It is quiet unless you consider the bird’s chirps disruptive. There are often times when my students and I take a listening walk, picking out sounds like the wind rustling through the sycamore trees, a jet flying high overhead, children’s shouts on the playground and dogs barking.  Being able to really hear these sounds and the infusion of quiet is the gift of the mountains.
The colors change with the seasons though there are more shades of green that one can imagine.  Flowers poke out with poppy orange, sage silver and soothing lavender bringing bursts of color infusing the green.  The shadows move about during the day highlighting different corners of the canyon and the sun’s rays catch the water sparkling in the creek, of dripping down a granite boulder.
Today I noticed the smell of pine wafting up the stairs as we returned from a trip to the library.  I had a surge of memories from Yosemite, the Sierras and Yellowstone, that smell reminded me of so many camping trips, waking in the morning to the pines and sitting around a campfire at night surrounded by a circle of trees.  There are other smells traveling through the Canyon, but besides the trees, my favorite is the hint of the ocean that travels up the “S” curves towards the center of the town.  Knowing that the ocean lies a meer 10 minutes west is a comforting thought.  Where else can you go that offers the best of these worlds?
The feeling of peace comes with the breeze, the mist in the morning, the sage scented hills and the quiet.  It is said that there exists a spirituality in the mountains, the Tongva tribe of Native Americans lived in the Canyon for years before being relocated by the Spanish to the San Fernando Mission.  The artifacts and burial grounds provide a spiritual undertone that I feel there.  Meditation comes easily there and many of my good writing ideas pop into my head on my short morning commute. 
Topanga is the place I feel is as close to home as I can imagine.


Filed under Life thoughts

Finding Time

I am going to summer camp!  Well, virtual summer camp in the form of a writer’s camp called Teachers Write!  The camp started today with quick writes, lessons and an assignment entitled “How do you find time to write?”  That is perfect for me because other than deliberating about what to write, I am constantly fighting time to set up a writing practice.  This first assignment is filled with good ideas about finding the time to start a writing practice even starting with as few as 15 minutes.  I read the post with more intent this time having found a place to write-my new living room perched in the tree house of a house I am currently living in.  The light, the view and the different seating options make this the perfect writing room.  The assignment is to create a summer writing schedule and a school year writing schedule.  This is the first time that I’ve been in a writing group that was completely made up of teachers and I am excited to get the ideas to keep a writing practice going throughout the year.  The first task is to cut something out of my day to create the needed time.  That is a easy for me, cutting out 1 hour of TV per night will give me plenty of get started with my writing. The next part of the assignment, telling my family, won’t be too hard since all are aware of my desire to write.  In the summer I can write during the morning, but when I am teaching, it will have to be when I get home in the afternoon or evening. So, with this new found time, I am hoping my muse will arrive and inspire me.

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Filed under creative writing, Life thoughts, writing


     Welcome to my new blog theme! It has been ages since I have written and I am jumping back into the saddle, keyboard in hand.  The past months have been filled with letting go and moving on and now that things are settling in,  I am finally ready to start thinking and feeling again instead of just going through the motions of making things happen and keeping things going.
     I was ready for a change here too so I explored the WordPress themes and am trying this one out.  Please let me know what you think!  Comments are encouraged.   I am sitting here in my new writing space, a room with a view.  Right now I just see night-time shadows and lights twinkling in the distance but the comforting sounds of the occasional owl or airplane interrupting the otherwise silence of the night is a welcome change from the previous more populated location of our former home.  The newness is everywhere and the settling in work is constant, but I am at peace here and the hills are great to come back to.  I am just getting my feet wet tonight and I hope you are all still out there to read what I write and give me your opinions and feedback.


Filed under change, creative writing, Life thoughts


I went to the Topanga Film Festival this morning to see the documentary Happy and I started thinking about happiness, the concept, the reality and the possibilities. I have been following The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin for about a year now and enjoy the daily quotes and reflections, but I wondered,  how can I spread happiness, encourage happiness and find areas in my life to insert happiness? 

Encouraging signs are popping up everywhere, for example, my husband was given the book Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert awhile ago and it was mentioned in the movie today,  and this quote that showed up today on Facebook from Weight Watchers:

                                “Life has no remote. You have to get up and change it yourself!”

So I know what I can do to make myself happy: 

incorporate a healthy lifestyle into my daily life,



allow creativity to be a priority

spend time with my family

connect with my close friends

practice kindness and tolerance

Now I want to expand by giving more happiness:

sharing what I have to give

helping worthy causes

creating more happiness in my home

creating more happiness in my classroom

It is a commitment, but also a choice, to surround oneself with happiness.  It is a road I am choosing to walk.

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Filed under choice, Family, Focus, Life thoughts

Create 2011

Dreams and a Plan 2011

My New Year’s Day tradition is to create a collage visualization of my hopes, dreams and plans for the New Year and so this afternoon I sat down at the kitchen table with my husband and youngest daughter (who is 19)  and spent a pleasant couple of hours scanning magazines for inspirational words and photos.  My 2011 collage has a theme:  Create.  That is also the word that popped into my head during a Winter Solstice meditation with Diana Lang two weeks ago.  I take it to mean that I can create the life I want, and it doubles as inspiration to create art and the written word.  My plan has three categories:

1.  Create health & peace of mind

2. Create and maintain relationships

3.  Create art

I will create a more healthy lifestyle by developing the habit of exercise at Equinox and Curves and integrating it into my daily life.  I have chosen the 10,000 Steps walking program and I have my spiffy new pedometer to track my daily steps.  I have realized that if I walk (either on the treadmill or an extended walk with Charlie, my dog) for an hour, I can rack up the steps fairly easily.  I am also committing to yoga at least twice a week.  This also helps with creating peace of mind, but is definitely a good strength training routine as well.  I will continue with resistance training to help build bone strength.  The big news is my recent re-acquaintance with Weight Watchers.  I am attending weekly meetings and making daily use of eTools to track my food. I have come to the conclusion that tracking creates the discipline I need to succeed.  I am proud to say that In the past month I have really become mindful of the food I eat and am excited with the 5 lb. weight loss!

Charlie, my walking buddy, on the way home from his bath. Note the cute scarf?

I will create peace of mind by tracking my spending and saving habits too, and will continue my money education and devotion to becoming money-wise.  By tracking my habits on mint.com I will have a realistic visual of where my money is going and how I can gain control even in these tough economic times, taking into account  furlough days and the cutbacks imposed on education by lack of State funding.

I am open to creating new friendships and devoted to maintaining those I have.  I will continue to nurture the friends and family I am blessed to have in my life presently and appreciate these relationships.  I am taking a positive path to relationships and plan to focus on positive aspects of relationships while attempting to eliminate gossip and other negative habits that are detrimental to honest friendships.  I will practice patience, support and giving.

I will create art by focusing on my writing through my classes in the UCLA Writers Program, this blog, a daily 2-minute journal and various writing experiences.  I will expand my creative experiences through any art form that becomes available and will be open to opportunities to  express myself through music, art and crafts.

This is my new nifty 2-minute timer.

2011 is a blank slate, a new beginning and a chance to “Embrace the art of living.”  My vision is clear and my plan is in place.  Feel free to share your plan for the New Year!  May it be a truly happy year for us all.


Filed under Life thoughts, New Year's

Needing Less

Going gray.

Lately I have found that I am needing less.  It began with letting go of little luxuries or what I had previously considered luxuries and necessary rituals; long nails perfectly manicured, colored and highlighted hair, weekly shopping trips.  I had thought I needed these things to make me beautiful, to make me feel good about myself and to feel young, but I began shedding this fallacy last spring when I took a Victory Gardening class through UC Davis Extension.  Long nails just don’t fit with organic gardening and seemed a little anti-natural.  I had begun growing my hair out the summer before my mother died and she had said, “You are going to look stunning!”  That boosted my confidence and now  makes me remember her salt and pepper hair and her dignity.

This was the beginning-superficial looks, but I have moved on to material possessions and entertainment.  I feel good letting possessions go and it is almost a challenge to see what I can eliminate next, keeping only the items that are beautiful, have a use or are a memory.  I am finding new ways to entertain myself that don’t cost money but provide enjoyment.  Reading, writing, sitting in the yard watching birds, especially our resident doves, walking and catching up with friends provide endless opportunities for self-improvement, self-reflection and rejuvenation.

I have also found new interests that cost a bit, but the pay-off is huge. I have started the UCLA Extension Writer’s Program as a challenge to improve my writing, to meet other writers and to enjoy the instruction of highly qualified writing teachers.  I have rededicated myself to walking and exercise, I have begun a meditation practice to find inner calm and peace.

Needing less does not mean having less.  It means wanting more and finding it within.


Filed under change, Life thoughts