Little driver grew up to be a sailor man

Jarvis Jennings
Jarvis Jennings, Jr. — all of 2 in 1915

I have been working on some art projects and came across this completely charming photograph of my Popa! Wonder if Grammy knew her son would grow up to become a 6’6″ tall pilot and sailor…

"Grammy" La Vaera Jennings

Jarvis Jennings' crop duster

4th of July Banner

Happy Independence Day!

Freedom Banner

I have friends, and  friends with adult children, serving (or who have served) in the Army, the Air Force, and the Merchant Marines, a daughter of my own with a boyfriend about to join the Marines, a buddy from work headed to the National Guard, an uncle who served in the Army, a grandfather and an ex who served in the Navy, and I once dated a man who had served in the Coast Guard.

They served in World War II, Vietnam, Desert Storm and Desert Shield.

This piece was inspired by veterans I know, a Terri O video, and  I was thinking about the women who wait at home. My grandma reflected on WWII, “Five o’clock was the worst time, watching other husbands come home to their wives and not knowing where at sea mine was.”

In this modern age, of e-mails, the distance quite so large and women and men wait at home for their loved ones.

Thanks, Jarvis, Bruce, Rose, Ryan, Seth, Ron, John, Christopher, Kyle, Bill, Chris, Jeff, Sanja, Nina, and Martin. To Robert and Jason – Good luck!

This Freedom Banner is a project you can make in about an hour with items at hand.

If you want to find the Belle Dames Francaise paper I used, close up pictures, etc. check out the ICE Queen Zine.

There Was A Dragon on the Way Home from Vegas

I have made the trip from Pine to Vegas 4 times in the past 2 months. I am not complaining, because it is great to see my daughter, but for those of you who have taken the 40 and the 93 you know it is a long stretch, even singing along to music.

There are however, interesting things along the way:

I passed a red SUV with a fluffy grey cat peering out the passenger window with an I am not amused expression on his little smushed in face. Think of the cat that does the fancy feast commercials, only grey.

There was a field of some kind of purple flowers. Alfalfa maybe? That was April. It was fry for the May trips but there were cows across the road in a field. All white ones. In other fields along the way wer brown and black ones. There were golden brown horses running in the sun the latter trip in May.

Seligman is the half-way point and Delgadillo’s  Snow Cap is a favorite stop to order an ice cream and be harassed by the server behind the counter.

High point in April: watching Andi smash her cone in Robert’s face back in April. He’s a nice guy and now knows that letting Andi get ice cream on his nose earns him brownie points. Always a nice thing for a boyfriend to have in reserve.

Aren’t they cute?!

There’s a dragon eating a flower on 93 just before the turn for South Cove. Maybe it flew in for the summer because I had not noticed it on any previous trips the past few years. Too cute not to stop for a pic. This is the only one I could get without the store’s propane tank in the background.

One more planned trip to go in June! I am so proud of Andi and excited to watch her get her diploma from the Canyon Springs Leadership and Law Academy. If her journeys in life take her past dragons, I hope they will be ready to eat her cupcakes (she’s headed to Le Cordon Bleu).

Snap Out of the Doldrums

We all get melancholy sometimes. It’s been opined that even cowgirls get the blues. Each of us has sometime indicated our general pessimism with the world by saying “blah.” I am not going to talk about full-blown depression, just that general malaise we call the doldrums.

And how a body can, as Cher’s character told Nicholas Cage’s character in Moonstruck: “Snap out of it.”

tales of a lifetimeAuthor Sara ban Brethnaugh suggests: if you can do nothing else to drag yourself forward in life, keep a gratefulness journal. Write down 5 things every day when you wake that you are grateful for. Maybe it is merely that your car runs or that you got out of bed (instead of laying there under the covers with the doldrums.)

What 5 things are you grateful for this minute?

“Just Do It!”

Don’t think. Just follow the Nike marketing gurus’ advice.

You know you need to.

You know you have to.

So just do it!

I know that when I stop procrastinating, I will feel better; that some endorphins of accomplishment will be released when whatever it is, gets done.

I did it! Pat self on the back.

In keeping with the spirit of tennis shoes. On the nights I get home around 5:30, I go for a walk. Writing is a sedentary career and I need to MOVE.

A few nights ago the walk included a spontaneous glass of wine and much laughter with a neighbor Ray and I always plan to get together with… it was red wine, that means it’s healthy, right?!

Which brings me to my next source of forward momentum:  laughter. Reader’s Digest says it is the best medicine. George Carlin, may he rest in laughtetr, is my fave but I also  find Bill Cosby’s wise humor funny. Such as: your memory is in your behind. He knows this because when he gets up from his chair and goes into another room to look for something, once he gets to the room he forgets what he went for. However, if he goes back and sits down he will instantly remember.

See beating the doldrums is all about movement.

Newton’s first law of motion: A body in motion tends to stay in motion.

Your body can’t stay in motion unless you feed it good stuff and give your body the vitamins we seem to have bred out of our foods. I think it is Dr. Andrew Weil tells us that our bodies are made to consume, process and break-down real food. And real food includes lots of green leafy vegetables. Eat a salad

Another homile you can probably hear your mother say: God helps those who help themselves.

Whether or not you believe in God, it seems to be true. In my observance of life, if you are consistently striving towards a goal more opportunities get placed in your path than obstacles.

Unless you are Ghandi. Yet he said, “Action expresses priorities.” And believed, “An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.” He made the British Empire take notice. Too lofty a goal for me. I simply want to keep my business on the black side of the ledger.

Years ago the law firm I worked at in Century City sent me to a seminar. The woman teaching it (I tried sitting down and I still can’t recall her name) said that “Excellent” was an underused word. “An individual could only do the most excellent thing, make an excellent decision with the knowledge and resources at hand in that moment.” A little bit akin to an absolution of guilt, I think.

tales of a lifetimeIf your actions express your desires, if you are grateful for your life and the things in it, you cannot help but learn to escape the doldrums and move forward.

Wolves and Bread

Bread is an interesting word. You can spell it two ways and it has three or four meanings.

One day, a caveman said, “I’d like a little creature to sit on my lap and be a companion.”

tales of a lifetime

Thus, over centuries, with a wolf as a starting point, humans bred a variety of companions, some of which look like this pug.

Tales of a Lifetime

In the film Legally Blond, actress Reese Witherspoon carried Bruiser the Chihuahua around in a Louis Vuitton purse.  A Louis Vuitton dog carrier sells used for $1,475. That is a lot of bread.

I am the last person who can tell you how to grow bread—I go to my former-boss, Chris Smith for that advice—but I can tell you that the relationship of bread and money has deep cultural roots.

God cursed Adam when He expelled him from paradise, with: “You shall earn your bread with the sweat of your brow.” Tangentially, some folk consider a Bible verse a day part of their daily spiritual bread.

Archeologists date the invention of bread to 6,000 years ago. The process required the discover of edible grains of which there are only about a dozen in 1,000 plus several simultaneous inventions: a plow, to prepare the land for sowing; tools for grinding the wheat; and fire to bake the bread.

Grains used for bread were ground by hand between two stones, usually by a woman sitting on her knees for the comfort of her back. Water mills for grinding mass quantities of wheat were invented in Europe around the end of the 13th century. The miller bartered his mechanized labor for approximately 1/3 of the farmer’s wheat to be ground.

According to Alan Chapman on bread, and many other British money slang terms are: “… rooted in various London communities, which for different reasons liked to use language only known in their own circles, notably wholesale markets, street traders, crime and the underworld, the docks, taxi-cab driving, and the immigrant communities.

tales of a lifetime“From cockney rhyming slang, bread and honey = money, and which gave rise to the secondary rhyming slang ‘poppy’, from poppy red = bread. Bread meaning money is also linked with the expression ‘earning a crust’, which alludes to having enough money to pay for one’s daily bread.”

Yet you should be aware that with a little bread, and a mess of cabbage (aka folding money), you can purchase a meal that will probably include, you guessed it, bread. Cabbage and corned beef won’t be on the menu until March 17th.

Now, if Chapman’s explanations didn’t make complete sense to you—don’t red poppies symbolize blood?—chalk it up to the differences between American English and the Queen’s.

The reason that I like the word bread has little to do with wolves, miniature dogs, expensive purses, Bible verses, London, England, cabbage or even the duplicitous phrase, “buns in the oven.”

That said, I can’t make bread grow, but I can make it rise.

Bakeries around 5 p.m. are off limits to because the magical scent of bread baking had lured me like a fish since childhood.

My mom taught me to make bread: Crack and egg in a bowl and add about a cup of warm water, a packet of yeast, a couple pinches of salt, about 1/3 cup of sugar and two jiggers of oil. Mix it up and let it sit for 10 minutes and it looks like something you would not want to pay bread for. However, when you knead in three or so cups of flour, let the mixture rise until it is double, punch out the air bubbles, let it rise again, (roll out and cut if you want rolls)  then bake it, you get one of my favorite foods.

tales of a lifetimeNow I could ask you for your bread in exchange for my bread, but I think it’s better that I just shared the recipe.

Don’t forget to add some butter before you wolf it down!

Bring on the Bangles!

I crave unusual jewelry. Maybe it is not that the earrings, pendants, broaches and bracelets are so unusual, but that they are uniquely suited to my tastes.


For instance, Rowena Tank ‘s Lampwork bead charms from bracelets are made from recycled Merlot, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Kahlua bottles.

I’m not terribly “green,” (partly because the only recycling available in the rim Country is paper, dropped off at Wal-Mart or burned in the fireplace in winter) but I collected pretty bottles as a child and I like the idea of wearing part of them as jewelry rather than collecting dust on the shelf.


I also like Jonquil Juice’s red leather rose ring:


And how about Stuck on Art’s beaded bangles, including this great black and white number:


On the high-end of jewelry design are Chad and Melissa Overman.


Overman Designs, a fine jewelry store in Payson, Arizona, belongs to Chad and Melissa Overman. Chocolate pearls, strawberry gold, dazzling diamonds and turquoise so pure it looks surreal are just some of what you will find behind the counters. The Overmans are not only fabulous designers, they are thrilled to show you their wares. No hard sell here, just contagious enthusiasm.


Owning and wearing un unique handmade jewelry makes me feel pretty. Sing to me Elton John!

Get creative with Karma Cups

Bras, love ’em, hate ’em, gotta take them off the minute you get home?

What if you are running from home and a man who beat you with nothing but the clothes on your back? What if you were incarcerated and truly trying to turn your life around? What if you had to return to the job force on a shoestring budget?

It is rare that I complain about it being a man’s world, but when it comes to this aspect of bras, I just might.

You can go to Wal-Mart and buy a cheap, as my dad would have termed it, “over the shoulder boulder holder” for maybe $8 to $10.

But not if you are a double DD and want to be comfortably supported during the work day. Then the price easily doubles or triples.

Want to feel sexy? Lace and colored fabric cost you too.

While many have bought bras determined by a shoestring budget and diligently washed them on delicate and hung them to dry so the elastic would wear longer, how many of us have considered that when a woman leaves a DV situation or prison that one of society’s requirements is that you wear a bra?

The kind people hosting Karma Cups on September 29, 2009 have.

Karma Cups: An Uplifting Affair, is billed as a “Bra Vogue” event.

Creative participants can decorate a bra and enter it for $15. Additional entries are $8. The Grand Prize is $200.

The sponsors, National Advocacy and Training Network‘s Seeds program, Bosom Buddy Bra Recycling and Bravery Project Recycling are educating families in a fun way, collecting bras (bring a clean, fresh, new bra and get in for $5 at the door instead of $12), and raising money for their organizations. There will be music, food, vendors, silent auctions and raffles.

A “bra” way to spend an eventide.

Details: September 29, 2009 from 4 to 8 p.m. at Karma Cups, 1710 W. Southern Ave., Mesa, AZ, 85202. Click on Web links in article for more information, or type them into your browser: