Conversational Speed Bump

As I sit here with a sore throat, sneezing so hard I think I’ve rearranged some brain cells, I wonder how I even got sick since I still mask up in public. I’ve tested twice for Covid and it’s been negative both times, so that’s something to be grateful for. All I want to do is to curl up with a mug of spicy ginger tea and a cozy blanket.

My virus-type thing came on pretty rapidly after THIS experience. Maybe the Universe is helping me stay home and safely away from toxic people…

Photo by Michael Anthony on Pexels.com

There’s one specific car that flies down my street every morning, Monday through Friday, hurtling itself over the speed bumps/humps and barely – if at all – bothering to slow down for the stop sign before turning right and into the elementary school parking lot.

After randomly witnessing this occur over several days, I walked to the school and snapped a pic of the car in the parking lot.

I entered the Admin building and asked the school secretary to please take a look at the photo and explained that I’m sure this was an employee and it would be a good idea to caution this person that she was speeding and please slow down on our street as it’s not a freeway, even if she’s late for work.

I never imagined the vitriol I would soon receive.

First of all, the secretary curtly informed me that anything outside the parking lot wasn’t her business and I should go to the police. While she thought that statement would deter me, along with her frosty dismissive attitude, she clearly didn’t know with whom she was dealing.

I said slowly, enunciating carefully, “I came here as a courtesy, hoping that all staff would be reminded to drive carefully, legally, and responsibly around the neighborhood as it’s a known ongoing problem, and what you’re suggesting is that I should just go to the police?”

“Well, there are fifty cars out there, you can’t expect me to figure out who owns that car! How do I know if it’s even an employee! That’s not my job!”

I responded, “Oh, but yes, I surely DO expect you to do your due diligence, especially since you’re looking at a photo with the license plate. And I don’t understand why you’re not concerned or being helpful. This person is driving in a reckless manner.”

I will tell you that I spoke in a calm but firm voice, having been in that office dozens of times as a parent, which is why I know the lay of the land, so to speak.

I reiterated, “So what I hear you say is that you WANT me to go to the police and you are refusing to address this issue, simply and internally?”

She looked at me and said, “Where did you say this was? At the roundabout?”

Geez, I hate these kinds of encounters so much, but I persevered. I took a breath before continuing. “So far, I’ve explained to you three times that this car flies over the speed bumps on the street before the stop sign.” (And I actually pointed in that direction, which she could see through the doors.)

Her next words made me chuckle. So predictable for people like that.

“STOP YELLING AT ME! You’re being rude! I don’t have to be treated this way!”

I calmly informed her that I hadn’t raised my voice but that we neighbors do not appreciate staff using our street like a freeway and if she’d prefer that I give the vehicle info to the police, I’d be happy to do so as I had made the effort to come into the office as a consideration to avoid involving the police, which seemed entirely unnecessary.

In the old days, I would have been so angry that I would have met her vitriolic negative energy with a shit ton of my own. Trust me, I could raise the threat level to DEFCON 2 (next step to nuclear war) in a heartbeat.

In the OLD DAYS, smoke would have poured out of my ears and nose like a dragon, but this kinder and gentler version of me didn’t respond further. I walked home, shaking my head. Life lessons learned.

I was honestly surprised by her attitude. In my naïveté, I thought she’d thank me for bringing the matter to her attention and she’d inform the principal to review safety protocol for driving in our community, to respect the neighborhood, and to assure me that my concerns were important and would be properly addressed.

I was wrong.

So my next call will be to the police which was definitely avoidable. Once again I’m reminded of one of the reasons I HATED teaching elementary school.

(Another time I’ll recount the tale of the high school assistant principal who DARED to target my 4.8 GPA child for a crime he didn’t commit. Let’s just say that after I was done with him, he had another job. Mama bears don’t have an off switch when it comes to protecting their young, right?)

World Vegan Day | November 1

“Every time we eat, we have the power to radically transform the world we live in.” Ed Winters

 From the amazing and dedicated Earthling Ed:

“Happy #WorldVeganDay everyone. I hope that you can take five minutes today to tune into my new short film which will be live on my YouTube at 6pm (GMT).

It would mean the world to me if you watched the film and shared it with someone in your life who still consumes dairy products. World Vegan Day would be a wonderful day for them to make the change.

Thank you so much for your support as always, I’m so proud of this project and incredibly honoured to have worked with so many kind and talented people on it.”

Earthling Ed (Ed Winters) is a vegan educator, best-selling author, public speaker, and content creator, widely known for his viral debates, speeches, and video essays.

In 2018 Ed announced the opening of Unity Diner, a non-profit vegan restaurant in London where all of the profits go directly back into helping animals.

He was a guest lecturer at Harvard University in 2019 and 2020.

In 2020, Ed founded Surge Sanctuary, a forever home to abused and unwanted animals on an 18 acre site in England. The sanctuary is currently home to more than one hundred rescued animals.
Learn more about him and being vegan at https://earthlinged.org/

Happy Halloween!

This is the time when the veil is thin…

What is the Thinning Veil?

Between our world and the spirit world, there is something known as liminal space. The word liminal stems from the Latin “limen,” meaning “threshold.” Liminal space denotes a time and space between the physical world and the spirit world. This is what we call the Veil, and from the end of October through the beginning of November, the days surrounding Halloween and Samhain, (pronounced ‘sow-en’) that veil is at its thinnest, making it the most natural time to connect with Spirit.

Veils are also thinnest in places where ecosystems and elements (Earth, Water, Air, or Fire) meet. This includes sites like waterfalls (Earth and Water) and volcanoes (inner Fire and outer Earth). There are places in the world where the veil is perpetually thin, making it easier to connect with the spirit world year-round. Generally speaking, the larger the space, the thinner the veil can be, but not always. Larger areas where the veil is lifted or even non-existent are known as vortices. Some of these places may sound familiar – Sedona in Arizona, Ayers Rock in Australia, and Stonehenge in England – just to name a few. Also, where ley lines (a grid of the planet’s magnetic fields) cross, it seems to denote places on earth where the veil is thinnest, Stonehenge being one of them.

To the ancient Celts, Samhain signified the last harvest and the beginning of a New Year. It is the space in time between summer and winter, the time of the harvest. Although we celebrate both Halloween and Samhain in the days between October and November, you may start to feel the veil thinning as early as September. After all, September is Virgo season, the sign of the Harvest Maiden.

This is the optimal time to connect with spirit, to speak to our ancestors, and those that have crossed over.

There are not only places but spaces in time where your own personal veil is lifted, allowing you to connect with the spirit world: when alone or having a quiet moment, when you’re in your own element (near Fire, Water, etc.), and for some, while running, swimming, or even in the moments between awake and asleep or vice versa.

The time of day can also help you feel a lifted veil – dawn and/or dusk – the lineal space between night and day. At all of these moments, your intuition can be heightened, and your connections will come easier.

Have a happy #vegan Halloween and Samhain!

(Curated from California Psychics blog/photo credit to http://www.facebook.com/PermanentlyVegan/)

Don’t Miss This! San Diego International Film Festival October 19-23

As I slowly emerge from the last two years, in my more melodramatic moments, I feel it’s akin to crawling out of a cave, eyes blinkblinkblinking against the light after being stuck for months in the dark.

The vagaries of life are such that one day I’m reseeding my lawn completely demolished by my wild bunnies (most likely a futile exercise); the next day I’m interviewing Tonya Mantooth, CEO of the San Diego International Film Festival.

Does the name Tonya Mantooth ring a bell for you? It did for me, and I followed a twisty windy Google research path to satisfy my curiosity.

A while back I wrote a post about my journey through the side effects of my Covid vaccine which included being enamored once again with the TV show Emergency! and its lovely cast, including Julie London, Bobby Troup, Kevin Tighe, AND Randolph Mantooth. Could it have been a coincidence with that unusual name? Well, it wasn’t. Tonya is his sister!

Long ago when I had visions of being somehow involved in the film biz, I used to write for the Theater Arts Guild newsletter and knew all of the talent agents in town. In that other lifetime I acted in a few things and was a production coordinator for a while, too…

Back to present day reality…

-The 21st Annual San Diego International Film Festival includes the return of in-person Opening Night Film Premiere & Reception, the Night of the Stars Tribute, Culinary Cinema, plus more parties. Looking for something memorable to do in San Diego? This is IT, a definite must attend event and there are plenty of films for every cinephile. Check out their website: https://sdfilmfest.com/

Honestly, where else can you meet meet filmmakers and actors, participate in dialogues and ask questions?

-I learned that not only will there be a screening of (MGK) Machine Gun Kelly’s film, Taurus, but he will be there IN PERSON to accept an award from CEO Mantooth. (I confess that I didn’t really know who he was, but a few of my younger demographic friends asked about him and were extremely thrilled to learn they could see him up close and personal.)

As we chatted, Tonya was excited to share with me the addition She Said, the film adaptation of New York Times journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey’s 2019 book on their investigation into Harvey Weinstein. This is the story that helped launch the #MeToo movement and shattered decades of silence around the subject of sexual assault in Hollywood. Produced with Brad Pitt, it stars Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan.

I’ve become fascinated by women who follow their passion — like Tonya Mantooth. It’s inspiring and empowering, don’t you agree? I plan to interview her more fully after the festival, but for now, I encourage you to attend this amazing San Diego International Film Festival.

According to Tonya Mantooth, attending the SDFF is an opportunity to participate in shared humanity, to bridge the divide, not increase the divide.” Viewing a foreign film “offers a glimpse into other cultures” as well as how important it is to “connect with community” and “explore fresh perspectives.”

Here’s a brief bio of the Festival’s CEO, Tonya Mantooth:

A ten-time Regional Emmy award winner with over 60 International Telly and ADDY awards,Tonya began her career as an Executive Producer when she became Director of Acquistions for CRM Films.Tonya co-founded and was President of The Dakota Group, a highly regarded film and post-production company in Southern California.Tonya has produced National TV campaigns and award-winning documentaries for Fortune 500 companies.Tonya launched Mantooth Studios and expanded her production scope to Entertainment Projects. Under Mantooth Films, Tonya Executive Produced four feature films, including GRAVE SECRETS, which became the pilot for a Nickelodeon Series. In 2012, Tonya took over the San Diego International Film Festival with a vision to bring international cinema to San Diego and grow the San Diego International Film Festival into a significant contributor to San Diego’s economy. Today the San Diego International Film Festival has grown over 500%.The spectacular six-day Festival features 120+ film screenings, panels and a red carpet Celebrity Tribute honoring actors such as Annette Bening, Adrian Brody, Geena Davis, Lawrence Fishburne, Sir Patrick Stewart and countless others.Tonya is steadfast in her belief that the experience of film allows us explore issues of global impact, to create dialog, and ultimately to develop empathy and understanding in an increasingly diverse and complex world.(From the SDFF website)

Purify | Purity

It’s 6pm, perfect temp outside, all the windows and doors are open, and I’m listening to the joyful tunes of a mockingbird.

I think it must be looking for a mate on this beautiful autumn evening. https://enchantedseashells.com/2020/04/22/stars-meteors-and-mockingbirds-eine-kleine-nachtmusik/

The melody is extraordinarily pure; it brought to mind one of the Dalai Lama’s favorite mantras and mine, too: Om Mani Padme Hum.

I like the recitation of this mantra much better than the traditional way to commemorate Yom Kipper — Day of Atonement — to atone and repent for any personal sins and to resolve to be and do better in the new year by fasting along with other ascetic, restrictive behaviors.

In my opinion, working to be a better person should be a daily goal, not simply once a year to narcissistically flaunt one’s artificial moral righteousness to the world.

Did you know that you’re supposed to wear white on Yom Kippur? This is the clearest and most visible nod toward the idea of purity. By wearing white on Yom Kippur, you’re trying to appear truly angelic.

My mom thought that public displays of verbal flagellation for Yom Kippur were so hypocritical – one more reason why I was taught to question any type of authority.

Namaste…

Somber Anniversary: September 11, 2001

9/11

I won’t show photos of burning buildings, no video of towers collapsing; simply think about where you were on September 11, 2001.

Those lost are remembered on this anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

Who could forget that day?

It was just after 6am on the west coast. I had turned on the morning news and taken a sip of my first cup of cup of coffee when all hell broke loose.

In real time, I watched the World Trade Center’s South Tower burn at 9:03 a.m., moments after being struck by United Airlines Flight 175.

I put down my coffee and ran upstairs to wake up my then twenty-year-old son.

We didn’t know what was happening–if similar attacks were planned for anywhere else – but we watched the unfolding of tragedy after tragedy.

Never forget the loss of life at the Twin Towers or the Pentagon or Flight 93, which crashed into a field in Pennsylvania during an attempt by the passengers and crew to regain control.

We will never forget.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II died today at Balmoral, surrounded by her family.

She’s free now to join the love of her life, Prince Philip.

I loved to watch her interactions with her grandchildren, to see the genuine love in her eyes, and that’s how I’ll remember her.

Crickets | Philosophy

Update to my dining room cricket dilemma…I was in the bathroom last night, brushing my teeth, when I looked down and witnessed the offensively loud chirping cricket hop onto the rug right near my feet.

This was quite a distance for a cricket to travel, but without really thinking about that (and I should have), I reached down, scooped him up with a page hastily torn out of a book, and dropped him in the toilet.

And flushed.

As the water was swirling and he “swam” away, I instantly thought that I had missed a valuable opportunity to have a chat with another species.

Why in the world did s/he visit me like that? Was it random or was there a message I was meant to hear?

I should have paused and taken a moment to put myself in that little cricket’s shoes (so to speak) and I now wonder what that action attempted to communicate or convey.

Instead, I lost a potential new friend and even more importantly, I acted in haste and without concern for his/her welfare.

Anyway, I’m really, REALLY sorry. Je regrette mes actions.

On the other hand, that was apparently the source of the late night chirps…

Arthur Schopenhauer said it best:

Through the Window: Red Shouldered Hawk

My kitchen window is an ever-changing movie screen.

Throughout the years, it’s been the best location to view all kinds of memorable events; observing the original Angel Boy in his sandbox, throwing balls for his Border Collie, skating with his friends on the half pipe while they ate the cookies and drank the smoothies I’d bring out to them, to the fresher 2.0 versions enjoying mango-black cherry ice cream cones and playing baseball in the garden or chasing butterflies, to birds and bunnies and coyotes and bobcats, (never forgetting the rats).

Today I saw a beautiful Red Shouldered Hawk perched on a low branch in the ash tree surveying the lawn for a late lunch.

Now I know where the feathery treasures come from. I’ve been finding them where I had first seen the rodents and I had a hunch they might be silent gifts–messages to communicate that my vermin problem is being taken care of, and I think I’m right!

Red Shouldered Hawks are about 17-24 inches tall and can live 15-20 years. So regal, so lovely, so important to the balance of nature. We need to protect them and their habitats, too.

I saw him fly away but wasn’t quick enough to focus the camera to capture the incredible wingspan.

Look Down! Baby Bird Alert!

When it cooled off slightly in late afternoon, I went out to the garden to water plants because it’s been SO HOT and everything is parched. We haven’t had rain in a long, long time.

I heard chirpy calls that sounded a bit distressful. How could I tell? I like to think that I can communicate with animals–whether or not that’s true, it does make me listen to them, and I feel that I can distinguish one sound from another, sort of like when you know why your baby is crying, whether it’s hungry or tired or frustrated…

At that precise moment that I heard those chirps, I was walking on my stone pathway and I looked down. There, camouflaged on a rock, I spied a tiny bird. If I hadn’t paid attention, I would have stepped on him/her!

I ran back on the deck to grab my phone, and he had hopped up on an exposed tree root.

I began to have a chat with this darling creature who appeared to be lost and a bit scared. I can understand why, because he’s definitely NOT supposed to be sitting on a gray rock exposed to all sorts of danger.

I brought over a small pan of fresh water and watched him hop around a little and flex his wings, so I surmised he had fallen out of a nest and wasn’t actually injured.

Again I became aware of lots of birds circling the area, yellow chirpy finches calling out to this little guy, so I knew it was a Lesser Goldfinch fledgling, a common bird in Southern California and one I often am lucky enough to see around here.

From the tree root he hopped onto a hanging succulent and finally made it all the way into a basin shaped planter on top of the tree stump. With his family encouraging him to join them and fly to safety, I thought it was best to give them all space and went in the house.

Later, just before dark, I checked and he was gone. As soon as I woke up this morning, I checked again and there’s no sign of him.

Fingers crossed, I’m hopeful that this was another happy ending at Casa de Enchanted Seashells.

I discovered a lovely poem by Mary Oliver:

Goldfinches

In the fields
we let them have-
in the fields
we don’t want yet-

where thistles rise
out of the marshlands of spring, and spring open-
each bud
a settlement of riches-

a coin of reddish fire-
the finches
wait for midsummer,
for the long days,

for the brass heat,
for the seeds to begin to form in the hardening thistles,
dazzling as the teeth of mice,
but black,

filling the face of every flower.
Then they drop from the sky.
A buttery gold,
they swing on the thistles, they gather

the silvery down, they carry it
in their finchy beaks
to the edges of the fields,
to the trees,

as though their minds were on fire
with the flower of one perfect idea-
and there they build their nests
and lay their pale-blue eggs,

every year,
and every year
the hatchlings wake in the swaying branches,
in the silver baskets,

and love the world.
Is it necessary to say any more?
Have you heard them singing in the wind, above the final fields?
Have you ever been so happy in your life?