Posted by: roughwighting | February 7, 2014

I Want My Nap! few weeks ago my man and I take two of our son’s three little boys for four hours of fun, fun, fun with PaPa and Pammy.

We drive the 45-mintues to pick them up, making plans along the way: walk in the park, an hour in the new playground near our house, a swim at the local pool, maybe we’d even have time to bake cookies!

After car seats are maneuvered into the back seat, the 3-year-old and 4-year-old grandsons are strapped in, and we make the noisy ride back to our place amidst:

When are we getting there?” “Where’s Henry the dog?” “Can we sit on Henry?” How does a dog get arthritis?”  “What IS arthritis?” “Can I have a drink?” “I’m hungry!” “How much longer?”

When we arrive, the 4-year-old plops himself on the lounge chair in our deck overlooking the Bay, puts his hand behind his head, and exclaims, “What a view! I’m going to sit here allll day.”

The 3-year-old has found the puzzles I store in the kids’ closet and throws the pieces of all three, together, across the living room floor.puzzle, nap, grandkids

“Man-to-man coverage,” my guy suggests. He takes the puzzle tot, I take the “unmovable boy” who now has found the bookcase in the hallway and asks, to my delight, “Read this one, Pammy!”

Six books later, the 4-year-old insists he wants to read all day.

Llama Llam time to share, grandkids, reading, books“Let’s go to the playground,” I suggest.

“No! I want Llama Llama Time to Share again!”

In the meantime, Henry the dog has a puzzle piece in his ear, and the man-to-man defense is weakening.

We squeeze in a 15-minute trip to the pool and a few bites of peanut butter and jelly, but it’s close to nap time, when we promised the munchkins’ parents we’d bring them home.

The 4-year-old begs, “can’t we stay and reeeeeaaaaaaaadddddddddd?”

The 3-year-old insists: “I want my mommy!”

So we hustle to the car and begin the ride back.

Five minutes into the drive a sound as loud as 20 chalk pieces screeching on a board emits from the back seat. My guy and I jump so high our heads hit the car roof.

“What’s the matter?” I ask, turning around to check on the distressed 3-year-old.

I WANT MY NAAAPPPPP!” he screams.

Huh. I thought parents begged children to nap, not the other way around.

The 4-year-old consoles his brother: “It’s okay, you can nap in the car.”

NOOO!” his younger brother retorts. “I need my MOMMY, then I can NAP!”

A tense ride ensues, with a strangled sound coming from the 3-year-old’s side every so often: “Naaaaaappppppp!!!”

In a record 39.5 minutes, we deliver our charming grandchildren to their relieved parents.

“You’re late!” our son exclaims.

As I unbuckle the blonde-haired, sweet-as a-snowball 3-year-old from his seat, he strokes my face lightly.

“Pammy?” he says softly.


“I love you.”

Ah, I’m a good grandmother, I sigh to myself, until the little one continues: “But I’m not coming to your house ever again.”

Defeated, I give him a light kiss with a chuckle and hand him off to his mother for a long afternoon’s nap.

On the way home, my guy drives over the speed limit. I gaze at him quizzically.

“I need my nap, NOW,” he exclaims.

Which only proves that little boys never truly grow up.

nap, grandchildren, grandparents

Hmmm, is it nap time?

Posted by: roughwighting | January 31, 2014

Guiding our Genes

artists born or madeA writer once said, “Journeys, like artists, are born and not made.” (Lawrence Durrell)genes

Really? Are we born into who we are? I know we contain these things called genes, which help us become who we are – the tall gene or the short one; blue-eyed or the brown-eyed gene; the one for a dimple in the cheek or high cheekbones; a gene tendency to grow up lean, or fat.

But are we also comprised of a gene to be an artist or a stockbroker, a train conductor or an engineer?

And then I remember Tory.Guide Dog for the Blind, genes

Tory was my family’s first dog – a golden retriever bred by the Guide Dogs to be a perfect animal to guide and protect the blind. The right height, weight, disposition: sweet, docile, loving, yet with a streak of strength and stubbornness.

In fact, Tory was so perfect, the Guide Dogs organization used her as a breeder (of other perfect dogs), and we became her adopted parents, taking care of her until time to do her duty and produce offspring. Once her litter was born and nursed, Tory came back home with us.

For us, Tory was a perfect family dog. She never met a human she didn’t love.

However, she disliked just about every dog or cat who crossed her path. People oohed and ahh’d when Tory and I walked the lovely Bay path, but if another leashed dog came along, my sweet dog would snarl tightly and lead me firmly away from the unsavory beast.

A mere inconvenience for us as dog owners.

But when it came time for her to breed a third litter, the Guide Dogs rejected her!

Yes, they fired Tory.


Because every single one of her puppies – 8 in her first litter and 9 in her second – disliked dogs and cats. And a Guide Dog who snarls at other dogs cannot be used as a loving companion to a blind person, because that loving dog could lead her person the wrong way, just to avoid a four-legged creature.

So, then, are we only how we arrive, genes intact? Are we born as artist or preacher, as anthropologist or philanthropist?

Are we born mean or nice?

apple pie, genesDo we snarl at strangers because our great-grandfather did, and do we bake the best apple pie this side of the Mississippi because of our great great great-aunt?

What do you think – can we guide our genes, or do they just guide us into who we are?

genes, dogs, Guide Dogs

Smart Tory learned new tricks every day…
thanks to my guy, or good genes?

Posted by: roughwighting | January 24, 2014

A Wintry Flight of Fancy

I wake my daughter at 7 a.m. and exclaim: “It’s snowing. We have to go for a walk!” I’m spending the weekend with her and her young family, who are hushed into dreams. But I can’t let her sleep and miss this fun.

A best friend would turn over in bed and fall back to sleep. But a daughter rises and brushes her teeth with her eyes closed, puts on her warmest woolens, and trudges out in the air-brushed world of a winter wonderland with her mother.

The air sparkles as the soft snow cascades onto the open land. We find the path that leads to the woods and listen to the crunch of our boots on new-fallen snow atop a hard crust from past storms. I laugh and skip through the white delight; my daughter grimaces and tells me I’m crazy. She’s not awake yet, but I know she’ll appreciate all of this soon.

snow, candy, winter

I stick out my tongue and taste the snow as if it’s candy. She shakes her head in disgust and walks on. I shut my mouth and decide to wait until her soul awakens and she thanks me for this time.

The air rushes through the pine trees that are iced like a wedding cake. The sound of the wind through the branches gives me brain massagea brain massage. I am so happy I think I’ll burst into song until I remember my pledge to keep quiet. But my daughter’s head snaps up, snow sticking to her surprised face.  Muffled hoof beats get louder and louder, until the source of it is upon us. 

“Whitey!” she exclaims. I stare at the two-winged horse in utter astonishment. When my daughter was young, I’d tuck her in bed with stories of a fairy wonderland, where the snow always fell like diamonds, where elves played hopscotch with snow imps, and where Whitey, the snow-white fairy horse, flew with the wind to find little girls to ride on her back.

I look upon this mirage with awe, but my daughter is not fazed. She’s always believed that Whitey exists.white-winged horse

“Ladies,” Whitey says in a soft female tone as she lowers her head, encouraging us both to slip on her back. I hold on to her stiff white mane, while my daughter circles her arms around my waist.

“Imagination is based on reality,” the horse’s feminine voice whispers toward me as we rise into the white polka dot sky. “Imagination is a free ride toward joy.”

I close my eyes and smile as I hear my daughter’s voice ring out: “Yippee!”

Posted by: roughwighting | January 17, 2014

Energy Magnetism

energy magnetismI’m your basic centered, normal, more ‘in there,’ than ‘out there’ woman.

That said, I’ve just had an amazing experience that seems unexplainable.

It began in yoga class (and for those of you non-yogis, don’t nod your head knowingly as if that makes me susceptible to ‘strangeness’).  Here in the left coast, at least, yoga is accepted as an important part of the exercise regimen of many: men, women, old, class, meditation, energy

So back to yoga class. I arrive after work, exhausted, ready to go home instead and plop on the couch while sipping on a class of wine.  But I make myself attend the hour-long yoga session, knowing that the plow, down dogs, and a warrior pose or two will probably help.

The yoga teacher takes one look at me and inquires, “Tough day?”

“I’m exhausted,” I admit.

“Perfect, since I planned on a more restorative practice today,” she responds.

Shavasana, yogaI almost clap in delight. Restorative yoga is relaxing, quiet, with some twists and stretches, but little energy demanded. My main worry is that I won’t fall asleep during Shavasana (also known as Corpse Pose).

Sure enough, I walk out of class an hour later, a new woman. Still tired, but in a restful way. I want to curl up at home on the deck and just commune with the hummingbirds.

But first I stop at the neighboring grocery store to buy some fish and veggies for dinner.

vegetables, grocery store, energy

As I approach the vegetable department, wondering if I should splurge on a baked potato instead of wild rice, an onion falls at my feet.

Huh. Weird, since no one else is nearby.onion, energy, vegetable

After grabbing a spud, I walk past the potato shelf to retrieve the onion, but when I lightly place the brown bulb back on the shelf, another onion jumps out and totters to the floor.

onion, energy, vegetableI laugh, kind of, pick it up, and gently place it with the others.

But a third onion drops out of its space and falls, yup, directly in front of my feet.onion, energy, vegetable

Whoa, this is a pain.

I oh so slowly walk away from the misbehaving onions, and turn to my right to check out the greener (more friendly) vegetables. Two feet away from me, parsely, yoga, vegetableon the other side of the onion aisle, a bunch of parsley springs out of its snug space and drops to the floor.

NO ONE else is around.

I wonder if this is a candid camera moment. You know, suddenly a photographer and narrator pop out of the woodwork and shout, “Surprise! You’re on Reality TV!”

But no, I’m still alone, with the moving, jumping, laughing vegetables.

I rush away, noting a red pepper swaying with its ilk and, yup, falling as I run toward the seafood department.

“Salmon, now!” I whisper, whipping out my purse and finishing the deal before the lobsters, clams, and shrimp come after me.

Halfway to the car, I hear a thud on the blacktop and trip over something. The potato, stored in the bag with my fish, has somehow escaped the confines of my purse.

I run, not walk, back to the yoga studio. “Oh my god, what is happening?” I yell, yogic peace now dismantled.

After relating my story, the teacher just smiles.

“I told you that restorative yoga can expand your energy,” she explains peacefully.

Whaa? I don’t remember her saying that. I was too busy sighing while lying on the floor with my knees facing one way, my arms and shoulders the other.

“We are all energy. Right now you have a load of energy buzzing all around you, from your practice. The energy of other living things is just responding. Everything is gravitating toward you, reaching out, sort of like two magnets pulling together.”


energy, yoga, vegetables

My energy.

I suddenly feel powerful.

I have energy magnetism!!

And I LIKE it!

I leave the studio, feet barely touching the ground, holding my car keys tightly, wondering what I might next attract.

I know one thing – I’m going to keep on expanding my energy, but I might avoid the grocery store from now on after my restorative “workouts.”


Posted by: roughwighting | January 10, 2014

It’s Just Your Imagination!

imagination, writing, thinkingFlash!

Scientists are trying to understand the creative brain.

Hmmm, some people in my family have been trying to understand my brain for decades. My dad used to shake his head at me and intone, “It’s just your imagination, Pammy.”

He never knew how angry that statement made me. What did he mean, JUST my imagination? Did that mean it didn’t count?

But now, wonderfully, neuroscientists and psychologists are claiming that “imagination is the cornerstone of creativity.”

Unfortunately, back when I was growing up in the “olden” days, creativity wasn’t so highly touted. But now a neuroscientist and director of the Brain and Creativity Institute of the University of Southern California says, “having original ideas is a process, not a place (within the brain).”

The implication is that it takes a lot of brain to pull off imagination and creativity.dragons, imagination, creativity, writing

So my capability to see tiny, dragon-like lizards on top of maple trees that suddenly glow purple, is not “just” my imagination.

It’s genius!

Researchers are now determining that imagination is only possible with the use of (1) memory (yes, it’s good news that you remember the smell of your 7th grade science teacher’s hair spray) and (2) emotions.

Carousel, Shirley Jones, Gordon McRae, imagination, emotion

Falling in love, in “Carousel.”

Here’s one of my good (emotional) memories: my brother sneaks down to the basement where I’m watching an old movie on TV – “Carousel” with Shirley Jones, in which the love of her life is killed. Little brother taunts me because I’m sobbing at the end, but my dad defends me, saying, “The world would be a better place if all people had the imagination to feel other people’s pain and joy.”

Which brings me to another point researchers are discovering. Some people are inherently more creative and imaginative than others.

I always knew that. Now, perhaps others will view creativity and imagination as immensely special and as a talent to strive for, not ignore.

In fact, a Harvard University researcher noted: “the brain is a creativity machine. You just need to know how to manipulate your software to make it work.”

whale, imagination


Yes, that’s what I do at 5:30 a.m. when I gently wake up, neurons firing, the vivid dream world slowly fading away as I locate Geminia and Frederica, my two soul soothers/imaginators who sit invisibly within my eardrums.

“Did you notice the large whale swimming in the Bay this morning?” Geminia whispers as I begin my early morning walk.

seal, sealife, imagination, San Francisco BayI see a hiccup of a splash in the middle of the bay, and then a seal slaps up, barking an explanation: “That’s Hector. He gets lost all the time. He’s supposed to be in Hawaii by now!”

Ah, Pammy, there’s your imagination again….

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 399 other followers