Bernadette was falling asleep in her chair, and when an insurance agent called on her to discuss her plan she said, “You aren’t my normal life insurance agent.”

He explained, “I regret to say that he died. I was asked to make sure that your wishes were carried out. My name is Alan.”

Bernadette said, “I thought insurance agents just took your money and gave it to your kids after you checked out.”

He told her, “The truth is that people only do what’s expected of them until it comes down to the wire. Then they say, “Hold on, there’s a hundred things I didn’t think about.” For instance, if I said you had one more day, what would you do?”

She admitted, “I don’t think one day would be enough.”

Alan said, “I have a small confession. Your ailing agent turned your case over to me because he could see that you wouldn’t be here much longer.”

She scolded him, “That’s a small confession? I’m asleep, right? Maybe I’ll put my life in order when I wake up.”

Alan replied, “Actually, dreaming is your natural state. When you wake up you’ll know that this could your last day, and it will probably be your busiest.”

Bernadette made a list, and Alan said when he returned, “You handled that so well that you’ve been given one more day. It won’t be as busy because you’ve done the important things. You might even have time to prepare the person who’ll inherit your energy.”

She asked, “Are you saying that each new day will be my last until I’ve done all I can, or that I’m ready to start living because of preparing to die? Hang on a minute; what was that about leaving my energy to somebody?”

Alan confided, “I wasn’t allowed to mention this before, but you can choose the person who’ll inherit your living energy. That’s the kind that changes things.”

Bernadette laughed with joy. “Wow… How much time do I have to decide that?”

He replied, “Think about who needs it most, or who would best use it.”

That was a hard decision. But after listing those who needed it most, Bernadette decided that her living energy should go to a lively great-grandson who could change the world.

Then she realized that her energy was being replenished because of her new insurance plan.






Recalling the pets that have enriched our livers brings to mind a neighbor’s parakeet that could say, “Look out, I’m an eagle!” A musician friend disciplined his Angel fish by giving them three seconds on a blotter.

When my son was three years old, our dachshund woke from a nap and tried to get out through the rungs on the side of a maple rocker. My son scolded him, “Bag-gog,” and the vet I phoned advised, “Grease him with Crisco.”

That worked, but Pagliacci headed for the fireplace to roll in the ashes and raced through the house to wipe the ashes against the walls.

Mickey laughed with delight repeating, “Bag-gog!” and I had to agree.

A few years later he introduced a hungry stray cat; “This is Snow White and she’s going to have seven dwarves.”

I said, “Not here,” but our outside cat sat back to let Snow White have his dinner. We kept one of Snow White’s kittens because he had Persian fur and blue eyes. Fluffy was stone-deaf and had the loudest meow in the world.

My daughter was resisting toilet-training, and I laughed when she gleefully announced, “Key-key go pee-pee in my potty-chair!”

She may the only toddler who was ever toilet-trained by a cat.

Years later a beloved Siamese was lost at the Grand Canyon, and my grown son said, “She chose the most beautiful place in the world to jump ship.”

Our last pet was a Snowshoe Siamese whose owner went to New York to get a job at the Trade Center. The kind neighbor who was feeding Sing called Greyfoot Rescue to find a loving home for him. We had to promise not to declaw him or let him go outside without being on a leash. The first time I held out a halter he walked into it and went to the front door.

The sight of a seventeen-pound cat walking on a leash astonished our neighbors and I informed them that Sing also sat on command and shook hands for treats.

We don’t have any pets now and I considered getting a canary, but I know they sing because they’re lonely.

The artists who create pottery and candles in our art studio bring their dogs and we’re a pet-friendly B and B.

My memories of pets we have known will never be forgotten.



The vital connection between Imagination and what happens…

Most people think of heath in physical terms, especially as they age. I think about how our immunity is affected by our attitude. That leads me to consider how dreams, faith and politics – everything that enters our minds – is correlated.

We are not limited by the physical elements that make us who and what we are.

Imagination can liberate us from what we believed, acted on, or experienced. It’s a safe way to become whatever we wish.

What is a proven fact and what is imagination? What is the sixth sense? Are there more than six senses? What is intuition?

We often say ‘my heart isn’t in it’ when we mean the brain can’t go along with it. Scientists suggest we may have a brain in our heart as well as other vital organs. Medical opinions have been reversed so often that we no longer know what is true and what is contrived. And if we try to use common sense, what is that?

The imagination is being sold short. That’s the heart of it. That’s what your brain will tell you if you start asking questions. Whatever we don’t use, we can lose, but most of our abilities are recoverable. Of all the gifts humans are born with, imagination is the least life-threatening. Exercised consciously, it provides sanity.

If a seed is healthy, something will grow: a plant or an animal, a human being, or an idea. This won’t get an argument unless one’s greatest pleasure is arguing. We can’t argue with imagination, because there’s nothing to prove.

Do you fear where your imagination can take you? Are you afraid you’ll get high or depressed? Both could occur, but as long as your reality is a breath away, you’ll be in control.

Therefore, set your imagination free to explore the possibilities. Choose a path to find yourself in a new place, being someone else. Then give your mind the freedom to delve deeper and deeper.

All that’s required is to understand the vast part imagination can play in your life: how your imagination can work for you instead of against you. When it begins to provide what is dear to your heart and vital for your brain, your reality will change.

I’m an advocate of writing memoirs because of how children appreciate that. Poetry and fiction are more liberating, and you can begin by writing for children. My kids call my passion my write right rite.



Lighting candles instead of blowing them out

I concluded that life was about being productive when I reached the age of reason, at about sixty. My son advised becoming an observer in my old age, and now I’m asking if life is about asking what it’s about.

My father remembered hearing someone suggest that sound-waves could travel through the air before radio was born. Then someone else asked if pictures could do the same…  I wonder if clairvoyance might work the same way. My favorite fictional character said, “Receiving information requires an empty mind.”

My novels were born of pure imagination, and I learned how to do research to rewrite them. I didn’t have a clue to how to be a mother until I had children, and they educated me.

School seems a waste of time because kids are graded on how many answers they remember. The Internet is an endless source of information, but misinformation tends to multiply, so verifying it takes time and effort.

Children who become aware of their natural gifts practice them because their inner desire takes command. Whereas quiet desperation is born of a need to earn a living instead of choosing how to live.

Sanity seems to depend on seeing the truth where insanity reigns. Senile dementia may result from the brain shutting down due to a dearth of creativity. If there’s no fuel for thought, the aging can only kill time.

My favorite character also said, “When Man learns everything there is to know, nature will save the Universe by finding a new path.”


Results from asking

Questions instead of looking for

Answers that could shut off the brain until

The truth will be overpowered by finding answers…

Thinking you have found the answer

Can lead to giving up the search

That will reveal the


You’ve got to delve, Charlie Brown

Getting a letter from someone who saw me on an ancient Laurence Welk show made me realize that music and writing a column for a local paper have taken priority over writing a blog.

That was compulsive when I was living with a bunch of old folks who talked mostly about the weather and their grandchildren. Now that I’m sharing a home with my youngest daughter, my life has changed, along with my daily needs.

I’m increasingly aware of becoming elderly at 92. Things I took for granted require far more effort and thought. My brain is more awake than it was when my kids were teenagers, and my dreams remind me that we’re in a fluctuating state of dreaming most of the time.

Everything that happens to us is interpreted according to our conditioning. Thinking is a different process as we age, and only moments of supreme awareness provide a glimpse of the truth. It takes the right question to see the obvious answer, and the most intelligent thing we can say is ‘I don’t know.’

I wonder how often I’ve repeated those words since I started writing fiction. My characters’ discoveries amaze me, but it’s getting harder to find names for all of them. My shelves are filled with novels that are getting shorter, and it still appears imperative to improve on them.

I found that playing my Celtic harp from a wheelchair minimizes the risk of balancing it on my shoulder and stuffing the back of the console piano with cushions cuts down the reverb. Watching reruns of Dick Van Dyke’s show balances the four-letter words today’s shows use to get laughs. Fortunately, ‘Young Sheldon’has no need for Charlie Douglas’s silly laugh machine, because the laughter is born of what comes naturally.

I stopped watching the nightly news when it looked like the world had lost its mind. My father believed that over-population was the cause of most of the problems, and the fact that the ice caps are melting verifies that what’s screwing up the atmosphere is too many people. Those who believe our major concern is the almighty Economy can’t see the weather changing.

It seems to me that education is also a dominant factor. When the critical goal is making a living, quiet desperation replaces imagination and creativity.

I agree with the theory that children only retain what they want and need to learn. If they never discover the talent that makes them different, how can they serve their purpose? I’ve met so many adults who believe that nothing sets them apart from ‘the average.’ How did they become average?

The best music students I had were home-schooled. Perhaps I should say ‘the fastest achievers’ because of how they were able to process information. Miracles were born of freeing the minds of those who were never taught that singing is a simple matter of stretching their vocal cords and breathing from the diaphragm.

My vocal cords and diaphragm have stopped taking orders from my brain, but years of exercising my corpus collosum to send information through my left and right brain allows me to create an alternate to today’s world.

I’ve learned that reality isn’t limited to what five senses tell us. ‘The whole picture’ eludes us because of translating everything according to our experience.

It’s nice to know that no matter what Man does, the earth will probably survive. Because nature is in control and we could evolve into a superior species that creates inventions that will lead to peace.

Then imagination will rule, and the economy will be as healthy as Mankind.

Questions are worth more than answers

I wonder how many ninety-year-olds ask themselves why they’re still here. Seventy was considered elderly in my teens. I believed productivity was the purpose of life after my children were grown.

I retired from live TV and wrote several fiction novels before I could write a short story. Then I began asking why I was still living. It was the wrong question.

I’m glad to say that after celebrating my ninetieth birthday at an Assisted Living Center and spending my ninety-first at a different ALF, I discovered that I wasn’t old enough.

Buying a home in Eureka a block away from a thousand-year-old grove of Sequoia trees was both a joy and a challenge. I was sailing high on freedom, but everything took twice as much effort as it had at ninety.

I remember calling my husband’s vacations ‘Double Martini’s’ because the kids stopped asking ‘when are we going to be there,’ to beg him to stop and eat  in the next town.

He bought a classy motor home when we were eighty to satisfy his need to barrel down the highway. I bought a grocery sack full of used-books to research novels that were born of pure imagination.

I found killing time a crime. A story called ‘To Kill with Kindness’ is about an alternative to a full security prison. An ecological genius who was found guilty of murdering his wife and partner is promised a new trial if he can prove that lifers can survive living on a deserted island in the South Pacific.

The theory is that inmates can make time serve them. I’m still researching that one in order to authenticate it. Acting as if I were a writer was worthwhile, and I was advised to submit my efforts when they ceased to embarrass me.

Now I encourage people to write their memoirs. They usually say their lives weren’t interesting enough, but I think their great-grandchildren would be fascinated. I recall saying a fond goodbye to the iceman when our icebox was replaced with a refrigerator. My husband sent tor a kit to assemble a computer and we saw the first astronaut’s landing on the moon.

The birth of the Internet suggested that anything is possible. Man may yet learn that the inability to communicate is what causes war.

It takes the right question to make the answer obvious.

Watching Walkers

Watching the activity in my front window includes people and dogs and joggers. Hummingbirds abound, and lambs graze on the hill across the street. Ravens are a riot racing through the trees, and finches descend on the lawn to hold meetings.

Many walkers focus their attention on the sidewalk a few feet ahead. Some talk on their phones and several are texting, which is a concern. It looks like most walkers are lost in their private thoughts.

I’m reminded of people who wait for others to finish speaking so they can share their thoughts. They’re probably victims of an education that programmed them with information they didn’t need or want to retain. Most schools are about memorizing and earning grades that allow students to go to college to earn a living.

Does that sound like a vicious circle? Just between you and me, I deliberately got suspended from high school and had to qualify for college in order to graduate. I scored high because I kept checking multiple-choice boxes when the answers were beyond me.

Years later I taught at a remarkable school where responding was the most important subject. The staff held dialogs instead of meetings. We sat in a circle to speak one at a time, usually about Intention. The kids were encouraged to explore their talents and they could ask, “Why do we need to learn this?”

I taught a Japanese exchange student to play the piano by using his knowledge of the do-re-mi system, (solfeggio), and his overnight popularity accelerated his desire to learn English.

Kids retain information according to their desires and needs. A lack of responsiveness can become habitual. Then they’re like walkers whose attention is on the sidewalk.

Some dogs heel, emulating their owners. Others stop to smell bushes where messages were left by social dogs. Puppies are all over the place until they’re trained to mind their manners or enjoy a degree of freedom. I love seeing dogs who have partners that respond to them.

Seeing friends consciously keeping step is a beautiful sight to behold. They have the power to change the world, because it’s all about relationships. More than peace depends on cooperation and understanding. The truth is, that’s the only way progress will be made.

It’s possible to change the world, but only one person at a time, and it pays to start with yourself.