Is It Really All Random? Headline Animator


I try to pinpoint words that when strung together, like beads in a necklace, express something with texture and richness; I hope for the occasional sparkle of a well placed gem. I frequently fail miserably. But on a good day, as with a candid photo, I unexpectedly capture a heartbeat, and it feels as if I've successfully seized fog with my hands.

Friday, May 25, 2012

In Eric's Memory

I know very little about Eric. 

He was an adult, youngest child of an elderly, youngest daughter. Adored by his family especially his widowed mom and his aunties. Described to me as talented, witty, tender, funny, and most of all, life-loving. His zeal for life so great, his positive attitude so infectious that he touched folks here in San Francisco. He traveled broadly always leaving friends in his wake. Eric's reach stretched from his native French Alps to the Bay Area. 

Though I never met him, I heard his family sob and felt their sorrow when he died in March of 2010. They stayed with him at a Paris hospital, his mom in his room until the end. They thought they were prepared to lose him and discovered they were far from it. 

The wound inflicted when Eric departed was significant enough that next week loved ones here and in France are joining forces in his memory. Four of them will participate in the AIDS LifeCycle.

Two members of Eric's family are arriving on May 30th. They will meet Bay Area friends for a bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise funds and awareness in the fight against HIV and AIDS. 7-days, 545 miles. Boom. 

I never met Eric. I can only assume because I know those he moved deeply that he was a special man. A man who has generated passion for this cause, this ride, and a commitment to raise thousands of sponsorship dollars.

If you’ve had the good fortune to know someone who inspired you to dig deep to be a better, larger, more committed individual, you know how seriously they take their pledge.

I ask you to consider sponsoring someone from Eric's devoted circle.

Joce and Delphine, a mother-daughter duo, represent Eric's family and homeland and come from Provence. They will travel 6,000 miles to be here and chose this time and this ride because Eric's birthday occurs during the journey.  

John and Bob are San Francisco residents who renew their commitment to this cause annually and know well the labor that lies ahead. They've been training for months and as of late regularly bike hundreds of miles each weekend, crossing the Golden Gate Bridge to cover the coastline and redwoods of Marin and Sonoma counties.

The links below will take you to their donation pages. There you will see the aggressive goals they've set for themselves in order to give life to others in Eric's memory.  

I thank you for considering this cause.

Bob Kovacs            Delphine Verney            Joce Verney           John Davis

Friday, May 18, 2012

Lucy & Ricky

Lucy and Ricky. Fred and Wilma. Rob and Laura. Bonnie and Clyde. They’ve been known by these iconic names.

They did their pas de deux on King Street and when we lived briefly in a hotel while seeking new digs, they were pretty good sports. Stayed as guests on Vannier Drive. Danced in a new yard and delighted Bestie. She liked their schtick so much that when we finally arrived in San Mateo she kept them for a while more. It was a long good-bye. Finally Bestie was ready and Fred and Wilma moved their show along.

Fallow in winter it’s some time in May when the sun’s just right. Time for them to come out and play. A melodic, "Ooooooh, Rob", and Laura's in another jam.

I'm not much for fence-sitting, you know, but there they linger. The only fence-sitters I tolerate. In fact, they're A-OK by me. Waiting, waiting. Their only decision is to stay put till next season.

In the midst of change I crave I’m comforted by their sameness. 

I planted them this morning. Impatiens and lobelia. Lucy was bored beyond words with her long, braided, ivy locks. They didn’t suit. She might look a bit like Butthead now but she wanted to switch it up. I obliged.

Ricky’s a bit worse for the wear (c'mon, with Lucy for 30 years?), he’s sporting a hairline fracture. A hit to the head. Not sure how much longer he’ll hang in. Gotta say, guy's sure got some staying power.

At least for this year, maybe the last or maybe not, we’re all together for lazy summer days, spruced up and lookin' fine for BBQs and baseball, fireworks, friends and family. 

Gracie and George. Ralph and Alice. Zeus and Hera.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me

Today I’m 60.

Whoops. Am I supposed to tell anyone?

You think you’re surprised? 

A few days ago if I’d kicked off at an age beginning with the number five it probably would have elicited a sentiment like, “What a shame. That’s young to go.”

Today if I step into the great beyond it’ll be more like, “She lived a good life.” Two days difference and my blue book value has dropped like a stone.


I feel pretty much the way I did at 50, and 40 (which by the way seem five and ten years ago respectively), except it’s no longer AARP chasing me down. Now social security wants to know when I’m going to retire so they can calculate my benefit. Medi-gap insurers seem to have a lot to say. My husband reminded me I can withdraw money from my IRA without penalty.

Yeah. My personal plastic surgery fund. Hangin' on to that.

One can’t pretend 60 is middle-aged. Not unless there’s an ancient medicine woman in the family tree.

I’ve outlived friends. Survived a husband by nearly 20 years. Celebrated a child’s 30th birthday. Seen kids have kids.

Been in love like a kid, a second time. Wasn't expecting that. What a great surprise.

Today I’m 60. A big number, you know? No foolin’ ‘round with that number and pretending it’s the ‘new 40’ or some such foolishness. It may be a new 60 but believe me it’s still 60.

The world moved quickly and so have I. Like the concussion of two bullet trains passing each other, that’s the racing of the last 20 years. How it happened I’m not fully certain.

But it did and I have all the stunning flowers to prove it. My favorite colors and specimens. And phone calls, text messages, emails, Facebook greetings, impromptu drop-ins, and most of all the biggest, glitteriest, lavender and pinkest, felt covered, ribbon festooned cards you’ve ever seen acknowledging my day. Card after card that has me stop and see myself through others’ eyes and I feel humbled to be held with such affection and regard. 

How fortunate, huh? Not only am I a number not every one is guaranteed but everyone I know has been part of the cheer.

If I weren’t busy blowing my nose and wiping my tears I might have a slightly better time. But I’m thinkin’ this is a perfect day to sit back, absorb, and decide what I’d like this not middle-aged-anymore life to look like. What’s in, what’s out. Where my boundaries are and where they should be. Recalibration time. It's time to be real picky about how I spend my time.

Since I've been celebrated in a way that no one day can contain I can go back to celebrating tomorrow and next week, too. 

Today you’ll find me kicking back, Kleenex wadded in my pocket, with more questions than answers at an age when I thought I’d have it licked. One question I had when this all began still lingers. Is it really all random? This much love raining down sure isn’t; on that one I’m clear.

For your information, while you're out there in your car, be careful. There’s a 60-year-old woman learning to drive a motor scooter. A surprise birthday motor scooter as a matter of fact. And even though some could say, “Oh, well, she’s lived a good life” (and they’d be right), I ain’t ready to bag it yet. For the foreseeable future the places I'm goin' are scooter accessible so till I have it down, watch out for me, huh? 

Yup. Today is happy birthday to me. Thanks, everyone, for making it so special. You all know who you are. I love you.