Archive | January 2018

54 Things

1517264052506-1522098042At my age you might have thought birthdays wouldn’t be very important.  Not so.  I love my birthday week.  Yup – a whole week.

People ask you what you want for your birthday the way they ask how you are.  You are supposed to say fine – not tell them how you really are.  For the birthday question, I’m not sure what you’re supposed to say.  People say “nothing or not much or I have everything I want.”

I am not one of those people.

So in case you were considering asking – and even if you weren’t – I made a list of 54 things I would like for my 54th birthday.

A new president,  A new government, a whole-house humidifier, easy open packages that are easy to open, and tea with my old aunt JC.

A magic spell allowing dogs to live forever, a California abalone pearl, a wheelbarrow in a free bookstore, and enough food for everybody. All the time.

Lunch with my high school biology teacher, Mr. Perpich.  Mr. Perpich rocks.

For my border collie Mark and I to get out of novice class have fun this sheepdog trial season.

A home for every dog, lilacs that bloom longer than a week, a published novel, grandchildren (not to be delivered before march), and an MP3 player with songs already loaded – from my head.

One of those dinner where you can invite 12 people living or dead.

The concert version of one of those dinners were you can invite 12 people living or dead.  Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Waylon Jenning, John Denver, Prince, Cat Stevens, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jim Morrison, James Taylor, Wendy Waldman, Bonnie Raitt, Van Morrison, Jimmy Buffett,….Ok.  I know I’m over and I could keep going.  What does it say about me that most of them are gone?

Northern lights.

A second published novel, Leonard Peltiers freedom, 4 healthy 2018 lambs (girls please), and a garden that weeds itself.

Someone who can clean my house without actually having to come to my house.

World peace and a brown sugar cupcake with salted caramel butter cream frosting from Grace and Shelleys.

Elimination of the phrase “reach out”. I think this is actually possible given the “me too” movement.


A pony for every kid, the cure for cancer, time travel back to May of 2006, and a week of flat water for paddleboarding.

A mirror or glasses that shows you what a person really looks like.  On the inside.

For every single person to have a chance to stand at the edge of the ocean.

A visit with Alicia (bestie from Ohio), a tri colored border collie named Charlotte, the solution to global warming, and front row seats to James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt.

A flash mob singing Joy to the World.  The bullfrog one.

More time travel – Santa Cruz California the summer I was 17.

Coffee with Eddy (Spanish brother) and his wife Carla, a dog for every home, and free ice cream on Sundays.  Served by Willy Nelson.

A train trip with my mom.

The chance to snorkel with humpback whales and hike the Dingle Way in Ireland.

A roof over everybody’s head.  And let’s build that wall.  Around the redwoods.  And Glacier National Park.

A road trip without a destination.

Another trip around the sun.

Feeding People


Anyone who knows me knows I like to feed people.

Except for Rollo who thinks I sometimes take food to friend’s homes in case I get hungry while I’m there. Valid point.

It’s more than that though.  I like feeding friends, but I also want to feed people I don’t know.

I could donate to food shelf or something similar but I want to do it myself.  I want to make the food and I want to SERVE it to somebody.

Sing it to me Bobby D!

I don’t think service is always about food and I think Bob agrees with me.  Maybe your presence is service.  Trust is service.  If you can’t cook maybe listening, forgiveness or compassion would work.  Gratitude. Simple kindness.

I like food so I mostly stick with that – hoping I’ll get to join in for a bite?

I tried a project a few years back. I wanted to surprise random people – strangers – with food…but it gets weird. People get embarrassed – or afraid or something and sometimes those people is me. Maybe I overthought it.

How would I know who needs or wants to be fed or helped?

Can’t decide by appearance.   If so, I would be the one getting handed a warm blanket, a pair of socks (wool please) and a cup of soup! I might look a tad homeless at times.  What with my uncombed hair, dirty clothes, and that one pair of crocs.  They are two different colors.  I lost leftie kayaking in the river and then rightie kayaking in the ocean. The survivors were perfectly good shoes.  Why not wear them? Seriously. People stop me to point out I have two different shoes on.  Thanks folks.

Anyhoo.  Back to the issue.  How do you know who needs something?  They probably aren’t going to tell you.

The other problem is what if you make a mistake?  True stories here.

Rollo and I stopped for some guys that were out of gas on a freeway ramp.  We drove them to the station and filled up their gas can for them.  We felt like pretty good citizens. We decided to have lunch at that same exit stop.  45 minutes later guess who we passed “out of gas” again a few miles down the freeway?

My mom gave a lady standing on the side of the road some cash.  Tried to chat her up and asked how she had gotten herself in such a spot.  Said lady replied she just bought a brand new car and wanted help with the payments.

What if someone uses cash you give them for drugs?  or smokes? or ? What if they refuse your food? How do you know?

I dunno. You don’t. I decided to just go for it. Take a chance.

A few Christmases ago I baked up some cookies and put them in cute little Santa bags.  My sister and I took them to the Mall of America intending to give them to total strangers…

…who thought we were trying to poison them.  I guess.  Some ran away like we were trying to get them to join our cult and drink the magic Kool-Aid.  Some took the cookies Minnesota-nice-polite-like and hurried off (probably to the nearest trash can) looking over their shoulder at us.

I haven’t tried serving anybody again until last week.  I struck up a conversation with a young mom ahead of me in line at an Asian food place.  The typical.  “Have you been here? No, you? No.  Hope you enjoy.  Have a nice day. ”

I got up to the cashier and young mom had bought my lunch.  I did glance down to see if my shoes matched. And then I was SO grateful. The cashier, however, was somewhat confused.

The sesame chicken was way overdone and dry and you could have chipped a tooth on the wontons, but it was the best lunch I’ve eaten in a long time.  I’d been served.  I caught her eye and waved.  Her smile was bigger than mine.  Could it feel so good to give that I’d served her too?

After crunching my way through the wontons, my lunch partner spotted a young man she knew in the same food line.  She went over to talk to him. My chance to test the theory.   I snuck up to the register. “Pssst I want to pay it forward” The cashier was now totally mystified but I didn’t have time to explain the whole book/movie thing.

I paid and made a get away – around the corner a bit so we could watch.  Hungry lunch guy spun around looking for whoever paid for his pork fried rice and egg rolls and wontons (careful kid) and kung pao chicken and hot and sour soup.  The look on his face was amazing.  Better than having my own lunch paid for. Service squared?

C’mon people.

I don’t have a message. I have no Kool-Aid.  I don’t want to hug you. I just want to hand you a homemade cookie or a ham and cheese sandwich or buy you a cup of coffee.  Or so really crispy wontons.

Take them. Take a chance. Serve somebody.