Feminists Marching Again, Here’s the History

Feminist Netflix picWatch the Netflix documentary Feminists: What Were They Thinking? for the five decade her/story of why women marched in the first place, and how very important it is now. It’s time to march again. On January 19, 2019, we’re going to flood the streets of Washington, D.C., and cities across the globe. The #WomensWave is coming, and we’re sweeping the world forward with us.

womens consc groups ad
The 2017 Women’s March inspired hundreds of women to run, millions more to vote, and dozens to win elected office. The 2019 Women’s March marks two years of resistance to the Trump presidency, two years of training new activists, and two years of building power. And this time, we’re coming back with an agenda. If you want to find a local group to join https://www.womensmarch.com/2019/ ; if you can’t be there, this excellent inspiring documentary will get our daughters and granddaughters and great-granddaughters to embrace this powerful message for equality that we haven’t fully gotten yet.Mother Crone feminists

DISIDERATA … a historic poem for starting a New Yeafr

90345e6ed362b30852979734de3e7baf“Desiderata” (Latin: “desired things”) is a 1927 prose poem by American writer Max Ehrmann. Largely unknown in the author’s lifetime, its use in devotional and spoken-word recordings in 1971 and 1972 called it to the attention of the world.

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

… (look up full poem) here is the end:

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Make this season ‘virtual,’ & it can still be ‘Merry’!

Mday Gch Future FamilyHere’s a true story I write two decades ago …

Happy Holidays from Pat …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VIRTUAL CHRISTMAS
In A Miracle Under the Tree: Real Stories of Hope, Faith and the True Meaning of Christmas © Harlequin 2012
By Pat Hanson www.invisiblegrandparent.com
Facebook.com/Stillness My Final Frontier & Invisible Grandparent

I prefer Halloween to Christmas. You have an excuse for putting on a mask, can dress up any way you’d like, and pretend. Soon after, when retailers start luring us with Christmas decorations, muz-ac everywhere plays carols and television repeats all those soppy movies … I get depressed. Some Christmases are more difficult than others, but one that could have been a catastrophe, transformed forever how our family celebrates December 25th.

In 1996, the day before the office Christmas party, my boss called me in to his office and gave me 30 days notice. Since summer, I’d been the sole support of my husband and teenage stepson, after his plumbing business tanked. Credit cards at their limit, stretched by one income instead of two to cover the expenses of three; we’d done no Christmas shopping and hadn’t even bought a tree. I didn’t know how I would be able to numb myself with holiday cheer and forget the reality of my financial situation. Tears ran down my cheek on the way home as the announcer proclaimed six shopping days left and the shrill voices of the Chipmunks sang ‘Christmas, Christmas time is here, time to sing, time for cheer.’

Somehow that week, out of the depths of my despair, I got an idea. We’d have a ‘Virtual Christmas.’ We’d each find and wrap up pictures of five gifts we would have been thoughtful and generous enough to buy, had there been money to put into circulation! And central to this plan was that one of the virtual gifts had to be intangible, like a quality within you’d like the other to have.

Three days before Christmas I hid the stockings and we decorated our ficus plant with lights. We each looked through catalogues, magazines and our hearts to choose five replica presents for one another, and place them under the ‘tree.’

In addition to the gifts of not only the car, the driver’s license, the baggy sweatshirt and pants, and guitar lessons I’d give to my stepson; was a fifth gift of “confidence in his own talent” that I wrote on a certificate for a course in entrepreneurship for teenagers, so he could market the artistic skill so evident in his cartoons.

He really got into it. He gave me concert tickets to Sting and Gloria Estefan, a color printer for my computer, and some Laurel Burch earrings all wrapped in comics from the Sunday paper. This teenager’s conceptual gift to his stepmom was a sign that said ‘No Speed Limit!’

Besides a white Porsche, Larry gifted me with a vacation in Hawaii, a new PowerBook, a set of Cutco knives, and a stud from the pages of Playgirl (for the few times our batteries are out of synch, he wrote). His conceptual gift to me on a 3×5 card: I give you the magic sword to conquer your Boogie Man, permission to be gentle with yourself, and license to proceed full steam ahead with realization of your writing dreams!

For my beloved, I wrapped up the picture of a nose-hair tweezers from the Hammecker Schlemmer catalogue. He’d get a car too, a Dodge Viper like the one we saw the weekend we met, plus a leather jacket, more memory for his computer and a video camera so he could practice at his dream career: film maker. For his virtual gift I inscribed words on a magnifying glass that mirrored utter and absolute belief in himself and the unlimited power of his creativity. On Christmas morning, looking at his face as he stared out at the sunrise with tears in his eyes, I silently sent him that missing one percent of faith that would help us all actualize our dreams.

The virtual Christmas presents worked. It’s amazing how a concept once put in the mind, can manifest. One year later we’d moved and my stepson was registered for a course on Art Presentation at the local community college. My husband was finishing the college degree he’d left 31 years prior. His belief in himself prompted a mid-life career shift to multi-media instructional technology. I’d successfully hoisted that sword to my writing fears, was studying screenwriting and had published some freelance non-fiction.

The three of us found a way to give and love without a word about costs and returns. I offer it now fifteen years later, with an economy in even deeper trouble than it was back then. May our model help your family help yours feel the spirit that is embodied in the mysterious figure who’s birthday we sometimes forget in the rush to shop those few weeks at the end of every year. May it help you feel the love, warmth and present moment with each other on December 25th and all days.

I would virtually gift us a view of the human condition that goes beyond one’s worth being determined by work, by your j-o-b. I’d bless us with divine insight as to how the preciousness of each moment must be cherished. I’d gift us all with the capacity to see the abundance around us everywhere. I’d have us each yell ‘thank you!’ as I do every day from Route One of that wide Monterey Bay, or from wherever we are, for the gift of sight alone.

My conceptual Virtual Gift this year would show us how serving others (there are always those in more need) is a two way street. Giving in some way, to some source no matter how small, can start a mobius strip of return. I’d wrap up the concept that love and forgiveness matter, and little else does. How hugs are more important than deadlines. How breathing deeply and sitting still is more essential than driving fast or shopping or even eating a lot.
It is the power of positive intention that counts.

Make your holidays this season ‘virtual’ and they can still be ‘merry’!

BETTER THAN ON BROADWAY: Watch Bruce Springsteen free on Netflix!

Bruce, the “man,” just finished a sold out six-week solo performance in New York city’s Springsteen on Broadway. Those who were able to get tickets for hundreds of dollars had to squint from their seats to see that jaw, that face, and hear that voice melodically put his powerful message before them. But thanks to Netflix and closed captions you can now have a front row seat. It may be word for word from his deeply evocative memoir, Born to Run, but we viewers cannot detect the teleprompter as two hours of his spoken word moves us through his life.Springsteen on Broadway

He traces early childhood through his days leading bar bands in Asbury Park, New Jersey. “My Hometown” is an ode to his hometown of Freehold, while “My Father’s House” and “The Wish” (a sweet song about his mother that debuted at his 1990 acoustic shows). Both of his parents are remembered faults and all, in loving but clear-eyed detail. I was particularly moved when he returns to Freehold and finds nothing left of a favorite tree but the stump. Much of the play focuses on his own mortality and vulnerability.

This isn’t a Broadway musical, nor a concert, or even a typical one man show. I found it a history lesson and a truly spiritual experience I will choose to repeat. Springsteen on Broadway is a fresh, powerful artistic achievement in its own right – from a star who’s close to his 70th birthday, confronting his past and putting it all into a new and unique context. He doesn’t confront the state of our current politics directly, but he says “Martin Luther King said the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice. I think that’s true. I believe that it is true. I believe that what we’re seeing now is just a bad chapter in the ongoing battle for the soul of the nation.”
Whatever page we are on in history, I am grateful this man, as I did, escaped his New Jersey roots and made himself into the icon he undoubtedly is. GO!

A SAD MANIFESTATION OF IMPERMANENCE -November 9, 2018

4UHoc9JZVv9DH-Z2sEsHZK6x5Bi57gxCszB8yMCbTTlURdSJk1szBKDA_WPo5FO9dYeboQ=s128I am playing the Phil Collins song “Another Day in Paradise” … as I write this. There is no way to know how many of 30,000 heeded the evacuation calls only to discover that there is no town they lived in to return to. My prayers go out to all affected. All we have is now, quite literally is a manifestation of the Buddhist concept of impermanence. I lived at 1269 Storybook Lane in Paradise zip 95969 for 12 years. The implication for us all is to think twice as often as we can in gratitude for the good we do have. Praise god, though you might want to damn him/her. There must be reason for this frightening devastation.

Oh think twice, ’cause it’s another day for you and me in paradise
Oh think twice, it’s just another day for you,
You and me in paradise, think about it
Oh Lord, is there nothing more anybody can do
Oh…

HOUSE OF CARDS BACK FOR IT’S FINAL SEASON … could any of it ever be true?

House_of_Cards_season_6Yes, and my husband and I needing our sleep at our age, have binge watched on Netflix all but three of its nightmare producing final eight episodes. No coincidence this award winning series was released during election week. Robin White as executive producer works with a stellar writing team that differs for each dark episode that bring more speculation and elusive truths to her character. Now President Claire Underwood, she continues her use of power in twists and turns of backstory and double-agenting that explore characters and situations from each past season. It opens with images of the burial of now dead Francis Underwood, (supposedly of a heart attack in their shared bed), and reviews theories to how he might’ve died. Not to be a spoiler I will leave out my take on how I looked for any semblance of love past or present in Claire’s face frozen with cold conflict.
I am glad Netflix gives you the opportunity to stop and start, so you can review the characters she unearths, Doug Stamper among them. If you’ve seen the other seasons, start now on season 6. If not, with lots of time and a strong heart, go back to the beginning.

Jane Fonda Still Pushing Forward

September 25, 2018

One of my s/heroes has just released her history (her/story) as an HBO film: JANE FONDA IN FIVE ACTS. No accident this coincides with my continued writing of my own memoir In Search of a Significant Equal. There are so many similarities to my own life that parallel Jane’s 1985 autobiography My Life So Far. The director Susan Lacy obtained archives of footage that none of her fans nor her enemies, and she made many, have ever seen that illuminate this still beautiful, still political activist at 80.

She admits how her life had been defined by the men she loved, married and had children with, not her remarkable artistry and career as a three-time Oscar winning actor. Watching recent clips with interviews of visits to past homes, Roger Vadim’s in Paris, Tom Hayden’s wanderings across the U.S, and Ted Turner’s ranch in Montana, one vividly sees how these men have aged and Jane appears not to have with self-admitted plastic surgery.

This film triggered many of my own memories. I remember one of my first feminist girlfriends giving me a lecture on how male-identified I was. I’ve actually been in the Emma Willard private school in Troy, New York her parents shipped their headstrong teenager to. I led exercise groups to The Jane Fonda Workout for years a part of a federally funded health program I initiated that had many of her health guru concepts in it. I too visited my father’s cemetery, hoping to get or send a message concerning his passing at 44. Jane uncovered the technical cause for her mother’s suicide when she was 12, by obtaining records from the institution she’d been moved to.

Enough details on the evolution of this woman who the New York Times says is still pushing forward. See the movie. Her focus now is on grass roots organizing to get the vote out in the next election she considers the most important one ever. “We have to stand together against a common enemy, which is people that only care about money and power and don’t give a hoot about the average Americans.”

It’s Grandparents Day …

Mday Gch Future Familysierra Claire Oct 2017Here is how Hillside Church in Atlanta celebrated it in a daily meditation. Whether you can be with your descendants or not, send them vibrations of love and empowerment.

Friday, September 7, 2018

I AM GRATEFUL FOR GRANDPARENTS

Grandparents shower love that is almost beyond words. Simply put, they reveal the face of God in a grand way. In their highest expression, grandpar­ents show up as wisdom, nurturing, uncondition­al love, and acceptance. As a soft place to lay one’s head. Let us collectively give thanks for these grand beings of love.

Thank you for the life you passed on. For the leg­acy you keep alive. And for the wisdom you share at just the right time. Thank you for knowing the right words to say in challenging times. For your lessons and your listening ear.

Thank you for agreeing with your grandchildren when parents are wrong. And for reminding grand­children that when they grow up, they will be able to see a broader perspective. Thank you for being a grand expression of love and compassion. Thank you, Order, in me, through me, as me, around me, through the Christ within. And so it is.

Children’s children are the crowns of old men;
and the glory of children is their fathers.
Proverbs 17:6

Daily Thoughts from the Hill
Copyright: Hillside International Truth Center, Inc.
Bishop Dr. Barbara L. King – Founder Minister/World Spiritual Leader

Shameless Self-Promotion

Header: New Book & Free Gifts

Dear Reader :
My latest book is now available! I am sharing a limited offer with you for doing me the favor of writing a registered review. My memoir, In Search of Stillness: My Final Frontier published by Balboa Press, a division of Hay House, Inc., details with candor and humor my five-decade search for that elusive concept: peace of mind.
Since Amazon only values a ‘registered review’ from a confirmed book buyer that is not a friend of the author, here’s what to do: First, buy In Search of Stillness from Amazon. Second, write and post a review and do not mention you know me. Then, email your Amazon receipt to me at pathansonphd@gmail.com and I will gladly send these bonuses to you.
1) an audio recording of my short story If the Tubs Could Talk that aired on NPR,
2) a laminate-able copy of key points from In Search of Stillness, and
3) a free digital copy of Invisible Grandparenting: Leave a Legacy of Love Whether You Can Be There or Not (IG) © 2013, å 2015. Sadly, family separation continues to grow in America.,
I thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

P.S. If you are in the area please come to my book launch & signing Saturday, September 15th at 4pm in THE LAB, the Henry Miller Library, 3728 The Barnyard Suite G-23 in Carmel.

May John McCain’s Funeral Unite US All

Unite USI like funerals better than weddings because the odds of success (i.e. being in a better place permanently) are greater, and participants generally speak only well of the deceased. Today’s ceremony in Washington D.C.’s National Cathedral was spectacular! They say perfection is an illusion, but this meticulously planned event was the best one I’ve attended in my 73 years. It was both a history lesson and a deeply felt reminder of spirituality for me both musically and biblically.
It brought tears many times, especially as I saw his widow’s own at the magnificent heartfelt solo of “Danny Boy,” Mrs McCainhis daughter Meghain McCain’s eloquent passage on America’s greatness, and as I witnessed the diversity and youth of choir members from the Glee Club of the Naval Academy, Choirs National Cathedralnot to overlook the other gospel singers. All of this gave me hope, acronym for ‘Hold Only Positive Expectations,’ for future election cycles. May the red and blue unite and an invisible flag of lavender unite us all. From now on.

W IS FOR WELCOME: A Celebration of America’s Diversity

This an important book from a friend and prolific local author … support it and him, we need this message now.

Thank you again for your support for our “Dump Trump” book on Kickstarter during the 2016 election. It’s been a LONG two years, but I wanted you know that I continue to try to use my writing platform to make a difference. I’ve written more than three-dozen books for people of all ages, and I’m proud of each of them — but especially when they make a much-needed statement. This time around, the message is less on-the-nose, but… unfortunately, equally necessary…

So I’m excited to announce my latest rhyming alphabet picture book from Sleeping Bear Press:

W IS FOR WELCOME: A Celebration of America’s Diversity.

I’ve been describing it as an alphabet book in rhyme… right on time. A book celebrating the courage and achievements of immigrants shouldn’t have to be some sort of statement in 2018. Alas…

The 26 poems (for young readers) and sidebars (for older students) explore our immigrant nation — the history (E is for Ellis Island), challenges (R is for refugees) contributions (S is for service), people (Hamilton, Muir, Einstein, Albright), process (N is for naturalization), and promise (F is for freedom). And the illustrations come from more than a dozen different artists, each with his or her own immigrant ancestry.
My hope is that this book enlightens young readers while engrossing them. I humbly believe it should be in every school, library and home. Please consider making it part of yours. Or perhaps you can send it to someone who SHOULD read it. It’s available wherever books are sold. For a signed copy ($20 including shipping), feel free to contact me directly.

Also, if you know of a school that brings in guest authors, by all means let them know about me (see my programs under “school visits” at bradherzog.com). In fact, here’s a short book trailer that I produced with the help of a 4th grade class in my hometown. The point is this: We all come from somewhere else.

“We read to know we are not alone.” — C.S. Lewis

-Brad Herzog

Poetry for Estranged Parents & Grandparents

A MISSING CHILD – JESSICA VALDEZ

 

A missing child I never knew

a broken heart could keep on breaking.

You keep on sending your love, but no one’s there to take it.

Rivers of tears keep a steady flow…

But no one’s there to know.

You who I want to see…

All of what I think and feel, it’s you I want here with me.

Not a day goes by without wishing for a hug, a kiss, a laugh, a cry…

For soothing hurts, tucking you into bed, or just a simple touch.

Not a night goes by I don’t miss you so …. much !

Or my heart doesn’t break just a lil’ bit more.

Shards turned to ice constantly falling to the floor.

I don’t believe in god, but still I pray.

That somehow someday You’ll be back in my life

 

Glorious Women Never Age (???)

CedarMomMy husband’s 88 year old mother, is a tiny wisp of a thing, 78 pounds, sparkling eyes, smooth skin, mind clear as a tack. Her daily highlight is a dose of John Stewart followed by the PBS News Hour. She definitely is a glorious woman; that is when she isn’t having an arrhythmia as she does 3-5 times a month, or when her numb fingers can’t slide the on-button to her pad that she reads current best sellers on with a font of 110!

We all age, though Christiane Northrup, M.D. on her PBS Special doesn’t look as if she has. We watched it last week and Grandma loved it. As I fixed her dinner because her near blindness from wet macular degeneration, and her near deafness have kept her from cooking, Grandma asked me to get her something smiled and said with tongue in cheek, “but we glorious women don’t age.” She thanks us for every meal and realizes what went into the plate that magically appears in front of her on the Formica table she sits at most of her days. I am here to give my live-in brother-in-law a much-needed break, and monitor her breathing during the heart-pounding spells that haunt her.

Thank you Dr. Northrup, (age not listed in Wikipedia), in your high heels, tight fitting cap-sleeved dress and smooth skin & silken silver hair for the excellent 7 points you gave covering everything from osteoporosis to meditation. I love your positive thoughts and language. A Ph.D. health educator, 20+ years ago I used Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom as one of the texts in my Women’s Health classes. To this day her approach to aging is a welcome relief to the fear-based television and magazine ads for pharmaceuticals and surgery that are far too common.

We all age … what we need is a way to get used to it, because going out from this planet is far more difficult than the nine months of pregnancy and the few hours of labor it took to come in. So grandma Maxine, rest well during the 10-12 hours your heart beats out of tune for a short while, I thank you for the love that created and reared your first-born son, my “significant equal’ and husband of 21 years.

A Good Way to Celebrate Mother’s Day even for the Estranged

Just letting you know about “My Mother’s Keeper”—play at the Cherry now thru May 27. It deals directly with the topic of grandparenting—great humor and many heartfelt moments! Sun. 2pm matinee plus Fri & Sat. 7:30.

I’m going to the 2pm Sunday the 13th Mother’s Day, get your tickets and I’ll see you there:

My Mother’s Keeper, a play written by Jane Press and directed by Robin McKee, moves fluidly back and forth between 1914 and the present. Taking place within the memories of four generations of women in a show business family. Looking through the lens of the mother-daughter relationship dynamic. My Mother’s Keeper is an examination of our matriarchal inheritance, with all its inherent – and inherited – blessings and curses. It is a moving, sometimes very funny, sometimes disturbing, ultimately healing work.

My Mother’s Keeper opens at the Carl Cherry Center for the Arts, Carmel, on April 27th, and will run May 27th, 2018. Showtimes are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30PM, and Sundays at 2:00PM, There will be two performances on Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 18th), at 2:00PM and 7:30PM. Tickets are $20, $18 for groups of ten or more, and are available online at ticketguys.com or by calling (831) 233-1941.

TALKING WITH KIDS ABOUT GENDER

I am proud to direct you to my newest article in GRANDmagazine.com
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/grand/20180506/index.php#/3 – be sure to look to the top of THE TABLE OF CONTENTS for a great image of talking with kids about gender and click the read more for some suggestions on the
next page. Electronic reading takes some nimble skills but it’s worth it.

What Would Martin Luther King Say?

MLK Photo

In Toastmasters yesterday I was called on in Table Topics to answer in 1-2 minutes of extemporaneous speaking what MLK would think of the current political situation. Well I went into a tirade about our mentally unstable president whose impulsive tweets were racist (calling two countries ‘s***holes’ and saying we should immigrate more from countries like Norway), the hypocrisy that he has 16 reported accounts of sexual harassment against him and nothing’s been done, while dozens of other media and political figures have resigned, and how disappointed I was that the Republican party or any movement hasn’t taken him down. What I neglected to say was how thought-full MLK was, and how committed to non-violence he was. I did not ‘win’ the best table topics speaker, but many complimented me on being political in front of many officers and civilians at my club which meets in the Naval Post Graduate School. Do think carefully how you answer your grandchildren’s questions about the news they see and hear from reputable sources and some less so. Teach them the critical thinking they need to sort out lies from truth. It was PEACE that MLK is heralded for. Yes, he’d honor all non-violent paths to it.

 

A Blue Moon Burning Bowl Ceremony for 2017

Pat_Larry_card. 2017

A blue moon burning bowl ceremony for exiting 2017 and welcoming 2018. There have been two full moons in the month of December and in March of 2018 two more. A

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Another Invisible Birthday

Oct 24 2017 Birthday

Dear Annie,

Happy Birthday!!! Sixteen today!

I wonder about you so often, imagining how you’ve grown into an adult body, since I haven’t seen you since you were four. Sixteen is old enough to have a love interest. Whether it be a boyfriend or girlfriend, I hope he/she deserves you and doesn’t interfere with your studies or any sports you are participating in. At your age your mother was a champion, almost Olympic, volley ball player.

 

sierra Claire Oct 2017These beautiful babies are Sierra and Claire, your step sisters or do we call them cousins? Did you know you also have a 17-year old brother Carter? I hear from his mother Lily, and have visited their family in upstate New York about a dozen times over the years, but always as the invisible grandma. This year they have sold the house in NY and moved to South Carolina. No more winters for them. The other picture is of  2 ½ year old Ivan with his dad, your dad’s brother in Washington, D.C. Sierra’s mom tells me your biological dad cries remembering your birthday every year. Mason Ivan WHITE HOUSEcarter Tristan 17

 

Two years ago I bought a small orange flowering plant and said I’d nurture it in your name. I didn’t know at the time what a large and ever ascending shrub it would become. It’s tiny orange flowers are everywhere on California’s central coast. It has grown like wildfire (let’s say a prayer and send some money to all the folks who have lost their homes recently). Anyway it has gotten so tall from the bigger and bigger pots I kept moving it to, I may have to find a sunny spot just outside our back garden to let it thrive.

 

Please know that today I hope you will get enough light and love to grow to make a permanent contribution to the landscape of your life.

 

Love,  Invisible Grandma PAT

Our Souls at Night … Go!

I highly recommend a just out Netfllx movie starring Robert
Redford and Jane Fonda acting but not looking their age, 81 and 79 respectively. They exquisitely depict neighbors who make a quite radical agreement to transcend loneliness in a geographically gorgeous Colorado town. Robert Ebert gave it thumbs up applauding the humor which ‘avoids the creakiest of old age clichés. “Would you be interested in coming to my house to sleep with me?” Jane Fonda says, an inviting proposal to be sure—although, in this case, sleep is not a euphemism for, um, you know what. She later adds, “It’s about getting through the night.” She is lonely. He is lonely. Why not?
Not to spoil the story as their intimacy develops secrets emerge. Both are given the opportunity to grandparent a seven-year-old-grandson in ways they were unable to do with their adult but somewhat estranged children. Go!

www.rogerebert.com/reviews/our-souls-at-night-2017

A Fond Farewell to an Ageless Mentor: Louise Hay

This is from a dear friend whose newsletter you should sign up for: Ageless with Annette Check it out … photos to come soon.

The Passing of an Ageless Mentor

September 3, 2017

One of my mentors passed on the last day of August. She may have been one of yours too. Louise Hay was an amazing woman whose message of self-love and acceptance empowered millions. She was ninety-years-old and a perfect example of being ageless–not just for how long she lived, but how well she lived. She believed what we give out, we get back, and when we really love, accept and approve of ourselves exactly as we are, everything in life flows. This was her life’s work and there’s no doubt she left the world a more loving place.
Louise was a master at affirmations and in honor of her life and wisdom, I am sharing a dozen of her affirmations that have always rung true to me. I hope they also ring true to you. You can learn more about Louise Hay HERE.

Love & Longevity,

Ageless Wisdom from Louise Hay

Louise Hay may be best known for her book, “You Can Heal Your Life” (over 40 million copies sold and it was made into a movie). It is loaded with healing wisdom and positive affirmations. Here are a dozen of my favorites and you can find more of her affirmations HERE.

The point of power is always in the present moment.
As I say yes to life, life says yes to me.
We are all family, and the planet is our home.
My happy thoughts help create my healthy body.
I am healthy, whole, and complete.
Wellness is the natural state of my body. I am in perfect health.
I love every cell of my body.
I am in harmony with nature.
I choose to see clearly with the eyes of love.
Fear is only a thought, and a thought can be changed.
Life supports me in every possible way.
My day begins and ends with gratitude.

Annette Cain, The Longevity Lady™

Annette Cain is an award-winning author, endurance athlete, and certified personal trainer. Known as the Longevity Lady,™ Annette helps baby boomers age stronger so their bodies can keep up with their lives. Her ageless lifestyle products and programs provide an easy, balanced approach to becoming lean & limber and living younger longer. Annette is available for speaking engagements and personalized fitness & ageless lifestyle coaching. You can contact Annette by email at annette@agelesswithannette.com.

Send a Mother’s Day Card to YourSelf

Mday Gch Future FamilySend a Mother’s Day card to yourSelf … the one you’d love to see from any child, adult or institution that is keeping you from being close to those important young people you’d love to nourish more. Here are some from my Invisible/Alienated Grandparent Support Group I run for www.aga-fl.org.
Version 2

Version 2

Easter Week Wisdom

HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE

All I need to know
I learned from the Easter Bunny!

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Everyone needs a friend who is all ears.

There’s no such thing as too much candy.

All work and no play can make you a basket case.

A cute tail attracts a lot of attention.

Everyone is entitled to a bad hare day.

Let happy thoughts multiply like rabbits.

Some body parts should be floppy.

Keep your paws off of other people’s jelly beans.

Good things come in small, sugar coated packages.

The grass is always greener in someone else’s basket.

To show your true colors, you have to come out of the shell.

The best things in life are still sweet and gooey.

May the joy of the season fill your heart.

AND MAY GOD BLESS YOU!
Happy Easter!

Add Visible Grandchild #3 to my Gene Pool …

Ivan Love faceIMG_0336.JPGIMG_0333

It’s Not About Profits … It’s connections.

PrintRecently I’d been feeling depressed about how little returns there have been for the time, energy and money I’ve invested in getting my book INVISIBLE GRANDPARENTING “out there.” and how much more work there is to do to even get close to breaking even.

Then things like this happen. A woman who’d taken a workshop I’d given five years ago came up to me at a Gala I was attending.
“I knew I’d see you here,” she said as I remembered her name, “my invisible granddaughter recently looked me up, we’ve started writing letters and I’m going to see her next weekend!”
“Fantastic,” I said, “thank you for holding the possibility that might happen, likely your prayers in that direction helped.”
“And your book kept me sane by writing those letters that I never sent,” she said.
I wondered if I should tell Alienated Grandparents Anonymous (AGA) that has chapters in 50 states and 12 countries to add another reconciliation to the 80 they’ve facilitated in 3 ½ years.

Another couple came up to me smiling “There may be something to that ‘invisible grandparenting’ thing you write about,” they told me. “We’re exhausted, just come back from a weekend of babysitting our two and four-year-old grandkids and we’re so tired we can’t believe we ever did this 24/7. It rubs the fact in that we’re old! We can’t do this very often. Right now we’re resting in invisibility.”

Another set of grandparents just called to meet me who said they couldn’t wait for the monthly AGA support group I run at their church. They took me to dinner to tell me their story. After this grand-mom had driven 50+ miles each way twice a week to babysit a one and three-year-old so her 20-year-old step-daughter could work two days a week, they’d recently gotten an ultimatum from the son-in-law, a video game programmer in Silicon Valley with control issues for sure, that they could visit no longer. There were weird stories of not the grand-mom, but the son and daughter confining/strapping the kid to an upright position to sleep that was medically unnecessary after a certain point in time. Last Christmas Grand-dad had dressed up and even played Santa Claus. Now they’d been cut off completely from any contact. While I know there are two sides to every story and then the truth, I pointed them in the direction of help. I am not a professional counselor in this area of estrangement, nor do I want to be. They bought my book and told me God must be working through me to have identified and “branded” this painful phenomenon that happens far more often than we realize.

A $12 check came from Bookshop SantaCruz for 60% of my Audio Book arrived in yesterday’s mail, and Amazon royalties, though they range only from $7 to $70 a month, do get direct deposited every month, even though my social media work to drive traffic to my website or Facebook pages, is limited at best.

So I must be doing something right. And that said, I must make a BOOK PROMOTION PLAN. Clearly with this first book, one that ‘wrote me,’ that I never expected to write, promotion is not about profits. It’s all about the connections like these, and the love, the healing that does take place when people hear of my journey and are able to voice their own. Thank you god for getting me this far. You are manifesting my intention: My voice on the highest level, to do the greatest good, (for maximum reward and most fun I added later). It is happening.

Grace & Frankie a Hilarious yet Solemn Look at Aging

Grace & Frankie

I’ve loved this Amazon series since its beginning season in 2015. Silly yet serious stereotypical same sex stuff between men, and relationships that deepen as two newly ‘single’ women are thrown to live together in Malibu California. Beautiful Jane Fonda at 79 is playing straight business like Grace at 73, and hippie dippy Lily Tomlin is finally living her dream of being an artist. Ridiculous yet sublime issues with each other and their adult children illuminated in easy to binge watch ½ hour episodes that illuminate in a not unrealistic fashion, love as it seasons with time with adult children and potential new partners. Watch it from the beginning or tune into this 4th season, you will not be bored.

Write Yourself a Valentine

ValentineWrite yourself a Valentine! Yesterday in my Alienated Grandparents Anonymous (aga-fl.org) support group after updating each other on our “stories” we imagined and wrote a love letter to ourselves from the persons (adult children, grandkids) we felt the most estranged from, as if in the best of all possible worlds good had happened. It was very powerful, try it and keep thinking in terms of possibilities!

When is Enough, Enough? Rain & Snow I Mean

Is this wondrous rain the trees and plants need here in CA, enough? Roads are blocked here with mudslides and uprooted trees, and at China Peak/Shaver Lake where my son and wife and live and work managing 120 condos this is what it looks like.Snowed_In I’m blessed to live on the Central Coast where it always rains for the Pebble Beach Pro-Am; but the news says they can’t even get people to go up and work in the mountains, and my son works plowing till 3am. And his lovely pregnant wife and 2 1/2 year old daughter had no water or heat for 3 days. They barely got to the motel at China Peak. I honor them all for surviving this, and say isn’t this enough?

FROM INVISIBLE TO VISIBLE .. DELICOUS & EXHAUSTING

Ivan Love faceMy heart just melted looking into the wide brown eyes of my second-born’s eighteen month old and watched him smile each time I came close. His father said “he got those brown eyes from you Grandma. Did anyone in your family have his strawberry blonde hair?” My heart skipped a beat when I realized those golden locks came from my paternal grandmother “Ga Ga,” who told me in a dream that I would get to do the real thing.

 

I can count on my hands the times I’ve visited my first-born’s son who turns 17 in February adopted by the lovely teenage mom who created a new family for him. I’ve also been kept from seeing a granddaughter now 15 by another mother. Me Sierra 11_4_16 copyYet time can heal, his act cleaned up, my son has blessed me with a lovely wife and great mom to two-and-a-half year old Sierra with another one on the way!

I just got back from a Saturday morning trip to The Aquarium nearby. The average age of parent visitors was in their 20’s or 30’s, some pushing strollers, others like ours letting toddlers run from room to room, or window to window marveling as sea lions, giant turtles and sting rays swim past. As we grands and even great-grands sat on welcome benches my husband and I shook our heads “how’d we ever do it?”MasonIvan Aqu This in-person grandparenting is exhausting and delight-full.

 

Barbara Boxer in Person! The Art of Tough

Barbara Boxer 1_17_17 Sign educ Outrach PlParI saw Barbara Boxer Tuesday at a benefit for Planned Parenthood and 44th anniversary Roe/Wade … did you know that only 4% of what that org founded by Margaret Sanger a century ago does is abortions? Mainly is preventive health care for low income women. She urged all of us on different issues work together right now for Women’s Rights .. not just gender equality, or the environment. “It’s never too late” she admonished. Seeing today’s inauguration saddened me but we must learn THE ART OF TOUGH like her new memoir .. tomorrow’s history is not yet written. We want to design a safe sustainable world for our grandchildren.

LA LA LAND … A Valentine to Los Angeles and Love

I know why LA LA LAND walked away, no, ran away with so many of The Golden Globes Awards.
It was a musical with all of the elements of classic Ginger Rogers/Bing Crosby dancing, set in current time Los Angel-ese, with fantastic acting, costumes, cinematography and story line. It was a love story in which for a few sweet moments before The End was scripted across the screen, you didn’t know whether it was a comedy/drama or tragedy. It appeals to anyone 17 to 71.

It was about going after your dream and transcending the self-imposed eternal ‘I’m afraid I’m not good enough’ dialogue. And those voices spewed out from the projections of lovers who can see more clearly the other’s talents and the sabotage that could destroy those dreams from ever coming to fruition. Both 30 something Mia and Ryan Gosling loved each other so much they could only support that partner in their success, yet in bitter accusatory terms at the year point in lives, separation or commitment became an issue among other details. This movie made you love jazz, musicals and even Los Angeles, if you are not an LA aficionado.

And what does this have to do with Invisible Grandparenting? My son and daughter in law moved from LA last March where she had been an assistant to Geena Davis and lived in Glendale not far from the many scenes in this movie valentine to LA. I loved that my son now has an important job managing 120 condos not miles from the ski resort they had their beautiful wedding in. Bravo good dad and mom making a decision to get out of the traffic-filled rat race that LA can be.

But I don’t love that the only stimulation within 30 minutes of their gorgeous house is a local bar. My visible grandchild, two -year old Sierra knows the wood stove is ‘hot’ and loves to dance and shakes her booty to the music playing to the delight of patrons. But will her earliest memories be only ‘bar.’ At 8,500 feet there is no pre-school for socializing? How can my beautiful DIL raised in Glendale herself, be abler to parent without assistance in such a remote area? God bless their love for each other … that’ll keep their mid 30’s period full of it. LA LA Land had part of me thinking that being raised in LA wouldn’t be such a bad idea. But I bit my tongue, it’s their lives and choices; not mine.

What Got to Me Most at the Golden Globes?

I’ve decided to blog more about my values and opinions … visible and I’ve invisible grandparent that I am.

At times the facelifts, the boobs, and the see-through metal-lace gowns distracted me from the tenor of the beautiful poignant memory pieces for Debbi Reynolds & Carrie Fisher, and Meryl Streep’s astute political acceptance of her Lifetime Achievement Award. Nicole Kidman’s head and neck looked like a Kewpie doll not attached too well to her neck. Sylvester Stallone looked like he drank botox with dinner, and Viola Davis looked fantastic. Forgive me is plastic surgery not needed for African American skin. Annette Benning was stunning both in her Intro and clips from 20th Century Woman which I have to see!

I watch the Globes for a preview of films I must get to before the Oscars … and geez there were so many, La La Land surprisingly taking the lead. At least the outcome was based on popular vote, eh?

www.cnn.com/2017/01/08/entertainment/meryl-streep-golden-globes-speech/

A Baby Blessing for the New Year

Happy Holy 2017 and beyond. Now as we face the unknown, witness the welcome to the world’ we all should repeat for all we are passing the baton to. grand_jan2017This was printed in the Jan/Feb 2017 issue of Grandmagazine.com which is offering a free subscription for a limited time. Check it out.  It was done for both my visible grandchildren last year.

 

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More Important than ever: Wear Purple Today

After a shocking election in which the electoral system placed not the first woman in the White House, but a dangerously unstable man with a history of degrading not only women but races, religions and the environment; I am reminded of the blog I wrote as a letter to my grandchildren in Nov 2012. In it I pictured the map of red and blue states as it was then, and I’ll place the 2016 one in now. Today working for the common good, as exemplified when purple emerges as red and blue are mixed together is even more vital. Find some little way, like the woman who placed copies of the Maya Angelou book Mom and Me and You on the New York subway hoping people will pick it up instead of the one-sided media that helped create this “win.  Actress, U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador and real-life Hermione Granger, Emma Watson tweeted Wednesday afternoon that her first post-election step would be to take Maya Angelou books to the New York City subway.

“Then,” she added, “I am going to fight even harder for all the things I believe in.”  What little way can you place light somewhere instead of the disappointment fear for the future you may feel right now?

November 2012 – Dear Annie & Carter:

… Barack Obama quoted  John F. Kennedy’s “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”  “America’s never been about what can be done for us. It’s about what can be done by us together…” He ended with reminding us we “we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.”

Carter and Anne, we are so lucky to live in this country! I think we should all wear purple tomorrow to show the beautiful color that results when red and blue are mixed. Just think of all the good things that could happen if we set aside our differences and worked for the common good!

See http://www.nytimes.com/elections/results/pr  2016 for the difference!

 

“I love you, man.” Bromance in my face is O.K.

11 pic from beach 10-16Note: I performed this at an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute class to many laughs & nods. Comments appreciated.

“David may call, all right if we talk tonight? He needs to talk,” my husband asked.

 “Sure,” I said, “go ahead, and call your boyfriend. I’ll play with food. Dinner’ll take 45 minutes at least. Oh, and tell him getting together for a weekend is ok, but camping on Brokeback mountain in Wyoming is out of the question!”

Back before Larry and I met 22 years ago, I thought that if a dalliance or one night stand was discovered in a relationship; if it was just sex when away or drunk or something, I might be able to forgive and forget. But if my partner fell in love with someone, I’d be worried, that’d be different!”

“He’s really in love with that guy,” I said to a girl friend. “They call each other a few times a week, and as Men’s Breakthrough graduates, they set a timer for equal “sessions,” emoting their feelings pillow-pounding or tear-jerking style, a the ‘real’ source of their agitation, and close with a next step til the next call.”

“And he’s cute!” I said, “straight, fit, a divorced 50ish attorney from Marin county who’s been in and out of love with three different women who can’t commit. Even Larry calls it a soap opera.”

I have a friend on Cape Cod I call my “gay boyfriend” and sometimes ask Larry for time alone to talk to him. We Skype sometimes and he sends me texts too, but not as often as Larry gets them. My more politically correct friends tell me to lose the ‘gay’ label. But there’s something about it that implies that friendship, love if you want to call it that, is non-sexual yet intimate. As is Larry’s with not one but two “special friends.”  

“How would you feel when walked in to the annual Super Bowl party and witnessed your husband connect eye-to-eye and give one of his friends a close to sixty-second hug?” Wouldn’t you think it just a little odd?

Another woman at that party said. “Peter and Larry are all over each other,” At that point my husband was leaning back on the couch into Peter’s round belly surrounded by his strong arms and getting a neck massage.

“There’s even a name for it: bromance,” she went on. Sure enough, I looked it up on my i-phone and the term originated in 2005-6 and was “a relationship or friendship between two men that is extremely close but does not involve sex.”

Well that’s what it is for sure. I just came across a very touching video of how now deceased comedian Gary Shandler helped Conan O’Brien get through tough times, and how Conan actually fell in love with him.

“How’s your boyfriend?” I asked when Larry came back to the kitchen, while he chose  the perfect placemats and cloth napkins for the table.

“Fine, but lose that tone will ya?” Larry said. “You went to the Cape for your boyfriend’s son’s graduation. All we want to do is spend some time together.”

“Please notice that I even told you that date in October’d work for me.”

“You always come first, you know that don’t you?” he said pulling me in for an eye-to-eye forehead-to-forehead hug and kiss.

“I’d better be,” I said, pouring myself a glass of wine.

What’s really going on? Do I really have a problem with this that I’m not seeing? Is my feigned sarcasm frosting covering something insidious?

I don’t think so. For me right now, I am so sure of Larry’s love for me, it makes me feel that when you get to a truly unconditional love like this on it’s like Kahlil Gibran said it long ago: “let there be spaces in your togetherness.”

The intimacy, the in-to-me-you-see-ness of the love Larry and I share is unparalleled. It has spiraled ever upward since we met. And if I look back honestly, each of the connections in my previous major encounters, Even the ones I call mis-matches made in heaven, contributed to my development in some way.

I realize I actually like that he has someone other than me to dump his stuff on, to get a second opinion from. But when I overhear the animated laughter or how they say good-by to each other with an “I love you,” it’s not quite like the “lov’ you,” I’ve parroted with an invisible hand cupped behind my ear waiting to hear those words back.

Larry and I are “still crazy after all these years.” We’re actually excited to come home to each other, to listen to the highs and lows of our days. Some mornings when I wake and stumble sleepy-eyed into the kitchen for a hug I can feel our hearts through our furry bathrobes, knowing without a word how deeply glad we are to be in each other’s arms.

Last week on our sacred Sabbath Saturday morning sleep late, soul-filled sex-filled check he took my hands and misty-eyed said, “I can’t think of anyone in the world, or any place I’d rather be, than right here, right now with you!”

How good is that!  No bromance can match that.

================= FAST FORWARD

I met Larry’s lover. They just came back from that day we agreed they’d have together. They’d even sent me a picture of our favorite # reflecting relationships. 11. First thing David did was give me a big hug and thank me for their time together. Then he asked for an autographed copy of my book, saying he wanted to get to know me better.

“I share Larry with lots of people,” I said, “you’re just one of the top two.”

As they hugged goodbye they gave each other a short kiss on the lips with “ I love you” and I didn’t blink an eye.

 

Grandmother YourSelf today!

Comma’s save lives, chuckle chuckle. Today is the day for fond remembrances of all the good meals you may have had or heard about from your own ancestors … and to “Grandmother Yourself.” Take each day like it is a special birthday and give yourself special treats only an understanding grandmother could provide. Honor your Self with messages a loving grandparent would say or do for you right now. Virtually gift yourself. Find something you love to do and do it!

letseat-granma-commas-save-lives

SEPT 11th IS NATIONAL GRANDPARENTS DAY BUT SOME WILL MISS OUT

Annie Celeste 1 yrEach September some 70 million American grandparents celebrate National Grandparents’ Day, but countless numbers will not because they are alienated or estranged from their adult children and thus their grandkids. Ironically, the official flower of this holiday is the forget-me-not. None of us want to be forgotten, yet millions of grandchildren are being kept from a relationship that studies have shown could be of utmost important to them. A Brigham Young University study of over 400 5th graders found that “grandparents matter above and beyond parents . . . and can significantly affect the children’s academic, psychological, and social development.”

Just as having a child opens the door to a deeper level of love, grandparenting takes that even further. For those of us who don’t get to share our love with our grandchildren: yes, it hurts and yes, we can get help to heal the hole in our hearts. There are lots of ways we can begin to heal the separation and get help to move toward reconciliation. Alienated Grandparents Anonymous, Inc (www.aga-fl.org) that has chapters and support groups in 50 states and 12 countries, find a group of your own or start one. This website is rich with resources.

Dr. Joshua Coleman (psychologist and author of When Parents Hurt: Compassionate Strategies When You and Your Adult Child Don’t Get Along) offers Free Q & A sessions on Mondays and Advanced Webinars Tuesdays. Get on his mailing list for a wealth of resources on estranged grandparenting. www.drjoshuacoleman.com.

On Thursday September 8th at 5:30pm PDT – 7:30pm CDT – 8:30pm EDT, I will be hosting with Aaron Larsen of www.grandparentsacademy.com How to Leave A legacy of Love online and offline, an online training call about things invisible or estranged grandparents can do while other grandparents are celebrating. It can be accessed through your phone and/or web browser. Sign up in advance to claim your spot…  What you’ll hear…
• Social Media – How to use Facebook & other Digital sites on Grandparents Day.
• Letters of Healing – How to use writing as a healing process… including the “SSS” and SNS” letters.
• Special Surprises – We can’t tell you now but we think you’ll love them!

WARNING: Space is limited and LIVE training calls like this do tend to fill up fast…This one will be no exception. So claim your spot on the call @ http://grandparentsacademy.com/gday2016

First Woman President: About Time!

July 28, 2016

First Woman President: About TIME!

Dear Annie:

It’s sad that at 14 I have no idea how political your family is, or how your teachers are addressing this important election year, if at all. Did you watch any of the Democrat National Convention (DNC) on TV? I couldn’t bear to watch the Republican nominee’s fiasco last week; but I loved watching Hillary and her introduction by her beautiful daughter Chelsea. I remember her from when she was a child in the White House and had buck teeth and braids. Both invoked what I call ‘grandmother power’ to bring home the message that the time is ripe at last for a woman President of the United States. Hillary @ DNC

“I’m here as a proud American, a proud Democrat, a proud mother and tonight, in particular, a very, very proud daughter,” Chelsea said. She ended her speech with “I hope that my children will someday be as proud of me as I am of my mom. I am so grateful to be her daughter. I’m so grateful that she is Charlotte’s and Aiden’s grandmother. She makes me proud every single day.”

Hillary’s speech was packed full of actual plans for everything from affordable health care, to climate change, opposing unfair trade deals, expanding social security, access to education, preventing gun violence and equal pay in an economy that works for everyone not just those at the top.

Hillary invoked her mother and her Methodist upbringing with the slogan “Do all the good you can, for all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” Though her mother died a year ago, our future president Hillary still hears her voice urging her to keep working, keep fighting for right, no matter what.

Her final words were “Let’s build a better tomorrow for our beloved children.” May that happen with Hillary at the helm. I urge you to do everything you can to get people to VOTE so that in four years when you’re 18, you can re-elect this woman leader.

Love and hope, your invisible grandmother, PAT

Make Birthday’s Special No Matter What the Age

LarryinMercedes I got my ‘significant equal’ and husband of 22 years a card for his 67th birthday, not this beautiful car, it says ‘THE BEST IS YET TO COME” and inside reads “SERIOUSLY IT’S FUN GOING DOWNHILL!” Sage ‘aging positively’ health educator that I am, I couldn’t help but add “you and I will make it a great ride.” Thank you god! I bless the universe that brought us together at 45 and 49 and helped us surrender to the divine destiny and involuntary love that has gotten us this far in tact!
May all of you approach your birth-days with love for your selves first, then those close and far. Blessings!Bday Cake Larry 7_22_16

‘GRANDMOTHER YOURSELF’ WITH PEACE THIS MOTHER’S DAY

CedarMomThis is Maxine, my 89-year-old mother-in-law, at her second-born son’s fourth wedding this week. Probably three-fourths of those pictured on the rock are descendant from her gene pool. You can tell from all the faces how much love she’s passed on. I once asked her if she’d help me draw a family tree. She replied smiling “you won’t be able to do that, ours is a family forest!” Great grandma has four biological children, five grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren not counting 7+ children of her ex-daughter-in-laws. And get this: every year she remembers to send birthday cards to the three ex-daughter-in-laws, and me whose been lucky enough to have inherited this family for 22 years and counting.

WeddingGenePool

There are so many permutations and combinations of F-A-M-I-L-Y and ways people mother, nurture and matter to one another. All of us have cared for something, even if it’s a litter of kittens or puppies, a garden, or a human growing. We did the best we could in both difficult and good times. I ask each of you, especially those who may be estranged from adult children or even grandkids, to honor the process. To remember the grace that has brought you to this moment. And to model the acceptance that my mother-in-law has demonstrated over the years.

Last but not least, today of all days, remember to “grandmother yourself.” Think in possibilities and whisper in your own ear, what you’d like your grandma to say. None of us are getting any younger. Let’s remember that the holiday of mother’s day was founded for mourning mothers to remember their fallen soldier sons and work for peace – after the carnage of the Civil War. Think, act and BE peace today in all ways.GreatGrandmaMaxine'sGenePool

Boycott Beyonce!

April 26, 2016

Dear Annie:

As I was surfing the TV dials the other night I came across a new video-concert special by Beyonce called “Lemonade.” Now I’ve heard her music and liked some of it, but don’t watch music videos much and hadn’t seen more than fleeting images of her body. Well the first video opened with a song that sounded like a prayer and lots of images of angel-types with long Afro-dreads pushing up through stretchy robes. The words on the close-caption I need to use at my age, seemed spiritual in some way that I didn’t understand, but kind-of liked.Beyonce

But then, on song #2, Beyonce started ranting about her ex-husband (Jay-Z) who’d cheated on her, and she picked up a baseball bat and bounced her barely covered buxom breasts down a street, while she smashed the windows of not one, but dozens of cars! Now that is what I call gratuitous violence. Meaning un-necessary. Excessive. Awful. Not to mention illegal; I was hoping she’d get caught. And I wondered about the thousands of dollars it cost to make that video and how it could be better spent.

Neither your grandfather Larry or I wanted those kinds of images in our brain. So we the channel and deleted the recording. Now I wonder what you as a teenager would do, and what types of music and music videos you watch. I say boycott Beyonce, and don’t buy her music, or at least comment on social media somewhere how distasteful and harmful this could be making people, especially young ones, think this is ok!

What do you think?

Love, Grandma Pat

PS. I just heard that Lemonade is being promoted as a project about “every woman’s journey of self knowledge and healing,” and throughout the film, prominent title cards  follow the steps of grief: Intuition, Denial, Anger, Apathy, Emptiness, Accountability, Reformation, Forgiveness, Resurrection, Hope, Redemption. But my goodness, I couldn’t get past the initial images … let’s get to healing and forgiveness other ways!

 

 

Women on Dollar Bills … Finally

April 21, 2016

Dear Annie,

You’ve probably handled many dollar bills with George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson and other “founding fathers” of the great country we live on them. Well, finally women are going to be featured on the money we and everyone else who lives in or visits the U.S. handles.

Check out this link to history: www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/women-10-bill_us_5718f5fbe4b024dae4f14601?ir=Women&section=us_women&utm_hp_ref=women

I call it “herstory” because it was not till only recently that women’s important role in politics has been acknowledged or even honored. Oh how I hope that the teachers in your school are mentioning this, and do not leave out the different perspective we might give to issues like war, and funding for education and health care.

Only four more years till you can vote. Hopefully your choices will be a lot wider than the ones I grew up with.

Yours VERY sincerely,

Grandma Pat the Feminist

P.S. I am taking a class on Women in Politics and just saw a great PBS ‘Makers’ video. Vol 2 of 6 – Women in Politics. How I wish we could watch something like that together.

 

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Dear Fourteen Year Old Annie!

Annie Celeste 1 yrI have been remiss in writing and posting letters to you. Ten years have gone by since I last saw you and first started writing and saving letters. I just came across my favorite picture of you from when you were just one in my jewelry box. How sad that time and distance and the two new visible grandchildren my grown-up sons have given me, have let me push the memory of you aside. Yet I do think of you very often when something triggers a memory or makes me wish for a happy future for you. At your age you probably have a Facebook page, but something has been keeping me from asking to ‘friend’ you and letting you know that you have a grandma over here who is rooting for you. What is keeping me from doing that? I wonder.

How deep those eyes look! I wonder often what you look like now at 14 … likely a fully developed beautiful woman. Not like the plain acne-faced adolescent I was at that time 57 years ago. I try to forget how hard it was to look beyond all the pressures to look, dress, act and be “pretty.” I just read about a horrible practice boys are doing to get girls to send them pictures, even naked ones, on Instagram. I don’t even know what Instagram is or how to use it, but I hope this kind of “sexting” or “internet bullying” is something that you do not participate in, and/or encourage others not to. Hopefully you are into sports or music or something that you love, as your mom was in high school.

So Annie, here I am again praying for your health and happiness. Stay tuned.

Love your real tangible grandmother: PAT

Book Review Erica Jong’s: Fear of Dying

How did I not hear that Erica Jong’s 10th novel Fear of Dying has been out since September? In 1973 when I was 28 and single in New York City, her Fear of Flying was pivotal to my professional development as a sex educator, writer and more importantly my search for intimacy for four decades. Henry Miller requested she do a biography of him before he died! Back then my single and divorced girlfriends and I used it to validate our own ‘zipless fucks’ as we hunted that significant equal who we would get back from as much as we gave, and forgave ourselves for those connections however short that didn’t. Her unabashed sexual positivity revolutionized the way many women look at love marriage and sex. Isadora Wing her hardly disguised protagonist helped me fathom the depths of numerous “mis-matches made in heaven,” some that lasted for years, others a single night.

 

Now 71, I found myself disliking the novel’s narrator in Fear of Dying. Vanessa is a friend Isadora’s, a 60 something television actress with a billionaire husband 20 years her senior. He just survived an aneurism, healing slowly at first. She’s a television actress with a daughter and grandson. But for my tastes she was just too rich, too Jewish (forgive me), too horny, and too sex centered. During her husband’s early recovery she pursues ziplessfuck.com and even beds an old actor boyfriend but chickens out at the last moment. Me this once cutting edge radical feminist, hoped Erica had realized by now the shortcomings of our ‘if it feels good do it era.’ Witnessing her get through the death of her father and then her mother warmed my heart to her, and then as good character’s do, she arced, by the end finally realizing “I had needed sex so much I didn’t realize it was different from love.” Well, duh! She meets that former lover and his wife on a supremely high class trip to India and realizes ‘there was no longer any chemistry between us and our partners knew it.”

 

It is finally about death that Isadora aka Jong is most profound. “I’ve always believed ancestor worship is the oldest religion. Parental voices in our heads are the strongest prayers. The dead live within us. We keep them alive. They never die.” “It’s all about fear of dying,” she opens her speech to a conference, “we just keep making up different philosophies to deal with our fear. And it’s all so ridiculous because once we’re dead we are utterly fearless. Death is fearlessness. It is the anticipation of our dying that’s the problem.”

 

I loved what she said about writing quoting Thomas Mann, “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people. I knew Isadora wanted to be read, as we all want to be read. Words can defeat death. Most books turn to dust like most people – but a few of them remain – sometimes only in fragments. Never mind. Even those fragments can fly.” Thank you Erica for moving me to believe someone(s) will read and remember my very own words.

 

In summary she realizes as my memoir does: “When I was with Ash I was never lonely. That was what sex with strangers promised but could not deliver. I now thought I must’ve been crazy to seek intimacy there.” Well about time my friend Erica Jong. Now you sound your/our age.

 

 

It’s Time for Virtual Christmas Giving

Happy Holidays …

VIRTUAL CHRISTMAS by Pat Hanson, Ph.D.

© A Miracle Under the Tree: Real Stories of Hope, Faith and the True Meaning of Christmas – Harlequin 2012

 

I prefer Halloween to Christmas. You have an excuse for putting on a mask, can dress up any way you’d like, and pretend. Soon after, when retailers start luring us with Christmas decorations, muz-ac everywhere plays carols and television repeats all those soppy movies … I get depressed. Some Christmases are more difficult than others, but one that could have been a catastrophe, transformed forever how our family celebrates December 25th.

In 1996, the day before the office Christmas party, my boss called me in to his office and gave me 30 days notice. Since summer, I’d been the sole support of my husband and teenage stepson, after his plumbing business tanked. Credit cards at their limit, stretched by one income instead of two to cover the expenses of three; we’d done no Christmas shopping and hadn’t even bought a tree. I didn’t know how I would be able to numb myself with holiday cheer and forget the reality of my financial situation. Tears ran down my cheek on the way home as the announcer proclaimed six shopping days left and the shrill voices of the Chipmunks sang ‘Christmas, Christmas time is here, time to sing, time for cheer.’

Somehow that week, out of the depths of my despair, I got an idea. We’d have a ‘Virtual Christmas.’ We’d each find and wrap up pictures of five gifts we would have been thoughtful and generous enough to buy, had there been money to put into circulation! And central to this plan was that one of the virtual gifts had to be intangible, like a quality within you’d like the other to have.

XmasLights-on-plant_hanson_2Three days before Christmas I hid the stockings and we decorated our ficus plant with lights. We each looked through catalogues, magazines and our hearts to choose five replica presents for one another, and place them under the ‘tree.’ In addition to the gifts of not only the car, the driver’s license, the baggy sweatshirt and pants, and guitar lessons I’d give to my stepson; was a fifth gift of “confidence in his own talent” that I wrote on a certificate for a course in entrepreneurship for teenagers, so he could market the artistic skill so evident in his cartoons.

He really got into it. He gave me concert tickets to Sting and Gloria Estefan, a color printer for my computer, and some Laurel Burch earrings all wrapped in comics from the Sunday paper. This teenager’s conceptual gift to his stepmom was a sign that said ‘No Speed Limit!’ Besides a white Porsche, Larry gifted me with a vacation in Hawaii, a new PowerBook, a set of Cutco knives, and a stud from the pages of Playgirl (for the few times our batteries are out of synch, he wrote). His conceptual gift to me on a 3×5 card: I give you the magic sword to conquer your Boogie Man, permission to be gentle with yourself, and license to proceed full steam ahead with realization of your writing dreams!

 

For my beloved, I wrapped up the picture of a nose-hair tweezers from the Hammecker Schlemmer catalogue. He’d get a car too, a Dodge Viper like the one we saw the weekend we met, plus a leather jacket, more memory for his computer and a video camera so he could practice at his dream career: film maker. For his virtual gift I inscribed words on a magnifying glass that mirrored utter and absolute belief in himself and the unlimited power of his creativity. On Christmas morning, looking at his face as he stared out at the sunrise with tears in his eyes, I silently sent him that missing one percent of faith that would help us all actualize our dreams.

The virtual Christmas presents worked. It’s amazing how a concept once put in the mind, can manifest. One year later we’d moved and my stepson was registered for a course on Art Presentation at the local community college. My husband was finishing the college degree he’d left 31 years prior. His belief in himself prompted a mid-life career shift to multi-media instructional technology. I’d successfully hoisted that sword to my writing fears, was studying screenwriting and had published some freelance non-fiction.

The three of us found a way to give and love without a word about costs and returns. I offer it now fifteen years later, with an economy in even deeper trouble than it was back then. May our model help your family help yours feel the spirit that is embodied in the mysterious figure who’s birthday we sometimes forget in the rush to shop those few weeks at the end of every year. May it help you feel the love, warmth and present moment with each other on December 25th and all days.

I would virtually gift us a view of the human condition that goes beyond one’s worth being determined by work, by your j-o-b. I’d bless us with divine insight as to how the preciousness of each moment must be cherished. I’d gift us all with the capacity to see the abundance around us everywhere. I’d have us each yell ‘thank you!’ as I do every day from Route One of that wide Monterey Bay, or from wherever we are, for the gift of sight alone. My conceptual Virtual Gift this year would show us how serving others (there are always those in more need) is a two way street. Giving in some way, to some source no matter how small, can start a mobius strip of return. I’d wrap up the concept that love and forgiveness matter, and little else does. How hugs are more important than deadlines. How breathing deeply and sitting still is more essential than driving fast or shopping or even eating a lot.

It is the power of positive intention that counts. Make your holidays this season ‘virtual’ and they can still be ‘merry’!

Pat Hanson, Ph.D, www.invisiblegrandparent.com and www.leavealegacyoflovenow.com is a seasoned health educator, public speaker and author of Invisible Grandparenting: Leave a Legacy of Love Whether You Can Be There or Not. It reveals creative ways to handle separation, transform negative energy to forgiveness and pass on “what we know in our bones” to support the futures of all grandchildren. She lectures nationally on Aging Positively, and is a columnist for www,GRANDmagazine.com & Crone: Women Coming of Age (www.cronemagazine.com).

 

 

A Baby Blessing the World’s Children Need Now

VERY VISIBLE GRANDPARENTING – A Live Streamed Baby Blessing

Sunday I stood on the stage of our church facing 100 + people, their palms outstretched toward my son, his wife, 14 month Sierra and my husband and I holding a laminated picture of five month old Ivan who lives on the East coast. His parents were watching live via the internet. It was more than tears of joy I felt welling up. It was a deep honoring for all that all parents do and will do in the years to come. It was also a sigh remembering my own exhaustion and the sleepless nights that theses new moms and dads would have, and a knowing they will remember little and get beyond it as they get as old as we’ve become! FullSizeRender-BabyBlessing

Reverend Deborah Johnson’s Children’s Blessing (© 2005 – Inner Light Ministries, Santa Cruz, California) is beautiful in both its simplicity and the depth of its challenge. Before she involved the entire congregation, she read Kahlil Gibran’s On Children from The Prophet. As a former archer she reminded us to think about the bending that needs to be done before releasing any arrow from a bow, or child to its destiny. Then we parents and any support family and friends present circled Sierra and Ivan, and repeated this PARENTS’ PLEDGE.

We pledge to love, nurture and protect you.

We will invest in your future, but never at the expense of living today.

We will support your authenticity and model to you how to be in a healthy relationship.

We will encourage you to dream large and to partner with God in the fulfillment of those dreams.

We will listen to you, learn from you, laugh and play with you.

Our love is unconditional and we will be there for you always.

Thank you for the privilege of growing with you.

Next all children and teenagers present joined us on the altar, another twenty or so, while the entire congregation repeated after Rev D this COMMUNITY PLEDGE:

We, your spiritual community, pledge to create a world that makes it easy for you to be all that you are intended to be.

We will mind our minds, be careful of what we create, and give you the freedom to grow. We will wage peace, protect the planet, and leave its resources in better shape than we found it.

Welcome to the world. We make a place for you.

Then everyone repeated  this chant three times to the young ones:

Yes you can.

I believe in you.

I am never, ever, giving up on you.

 Gratitude that filled my heart as we parted and baby Sierra drove back to Los Angeles with her mom and dad, and thankfulness that my husband and I had weathered those storms-filled adolescences years ago, and now all was well. What a world it would be should everyone provide this kind of support to the children we are passing the bond to.

FYI: Kahlil Gibran

“On the Children” by Khalil Gibran

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

 

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

 

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;

For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

 

 

Happy Birthday Annie!

Oct 24 2015 plantOctober 24th and you are 14 years old. I have no idea what you look like as a young woman or how comfortable or happy you are with school, your friends, your sisters and family. Since all I can do right now is just imagine what kind of celebration you had, today in honor of you I bought this plant and put it in a big pot on our patio, not in the ground because the gophers would get it. I will water it carefully and watch its growth keeping your budding life in mind.

Love your still invisible grandma Pat who hopes someday you will look me up.

GRAND Magazine features we IGs – Submit Your Stories

I have been asked to be a regular columnist for GRAND Magazine that is celebrating its 11th birthday today. Please check out this lively informative magazine and log-in for your free subscription to this first issue; and by all means subscribe. I’m honored to be on their team. We are looking for Invisible Grandparents of all types (distance, custody issues, alienation or estrangement from adult children) to submit their stories on my new moderated website: www.leavealegacyoflovenow.com. Puh-lease do! No names or locations will be published just themes for support and practical advice.

Digital Edition
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Book Promotion: It May not be about Profits; It’s all About Connections

Dr. Pat Hanson – www.invisiblegradparent.com is a seasoned health and human sexuality educator, public speaker, workshop facilitator and writer residing on the Monterey Peninsula. Former co-chair of the Monterey/Santa Cruz chapter of The National Writers Union, she has emceed Open Mikes for Writers monthly for 15+ years. She lectures nationally on Aging Positively and is a columnist for the magazine: Crone: Women Coming of Age (www.cronemagazine.com) and http//www.GRANDMagazine.com. Her first book Invisible Grandparenting: Leave a Legacy of Love Whether You Can Be There or Not came out in November 2013, and the second edition and Audible.com version in June 2015. Since then she has been climbing the learning curve of book promotion in all of its forms.

Born of one woman’s quest to become part of the lives of two grandchildren she has been kept from seeing, Invisible Grandparenting provides a blueprint for ‘virtual grandparenting.’ In spite of millions who because of personality conflicts, custody issues, distance, or consequences of choices made long ago, have no way to pass on a legacy of values and memories to those who mean the most to them, this book has been difficult to promote. Come learn how she is still transcending self and industry-imposed obstacles to a successful media campaign.

Participants will hear the pluses and minuses of how she:

• Wrote an excellent non-fiction book proposal, marketed it to agents at BookExpo NYC, had an offer and still decided to publish independently;

• Overcame her own and family reactions to her sharing her story with ‘the world;’

• Reviewed and used over 27 ways to ‘get her voice heard out there;’

• Faced her fears of Facebook and other social media specifically for authors;

• Balanced her time between continued writing and book promotion;

• Entered contests; and

• Undertook the grueling but enlightening recording of her own audio book.

 

Time: 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
(Check-in begins at 1:30 p.m.)
Adults: $12 for adult CWC members
$17 for adult nonmembers
Students: $6 for student CWC members
$10 for student nonmembers
student fees waived for initial visit
(must be 14-22 years old with valid school ID)
Location: Four Points by Sheraton
5115 Hopyard Road
Pleasanton, CA 94566
Reservations: Required:
E-mail Linda Todd

A Fireworks Aficionado Prays for Peace on 4th of July

Fireworks by Pat Hanson (July 4, 2004)

We’re fireworks aficionados
My significant equal and I
‘saw the millennium spectacle in 1999
with half a million on Washington, DC’s mall
Marked the 4th of 2000
‘cross the river from Manhattan Island

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We revel in pop, crack, pound-your-heart outbursts
scintillating luminosity
Spiraling, star-trek beaming
dripping downward
melting into the oceans’ edge.

this time in San Diego harbor
raining stardust ash on a ga-zillion dollar aircraft carrier
named aptly for a dead president
an actor turned commander in chief
his wife Nancy of ‘just say no’ fame
they chose this metropolis of military seamen and fighting ships
year round sunshine
over fog and Fort Washington further north
to call home-base for this war machine

Why is it we wonder so?
Breathe collective sighs of awe
Simultaneously shout at the shock
Reel from the gunbursts
the cannonshots
knowing inside
we are safe
that this is pretend gun violence?

Is it a reminder
To stay in the moment
fixated on movie-screen space and no-time?
Forgetting during these twenty minute moving miracles
The dead soldiers
Grief wrecked families
Sacrifices made to keep us free?
As I walk through the smoke
Created by celestial skyscreens
I find myself praying
Harder than ever before

For Peace.
No more killing
For a world where we all remember
With kindness for all peoples
All places …
Because there’s only one of us here.

LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE “GOOD-DADS”

Every year in June we commemorate and honor the role those men seeded (literally) in our lives. All too often the other 364 days of the year, media harps on the minority of absentee, unavailable, deadbeat or even abusive fathers. But on this one day, and all days, we should remember to thank the ‘good dads’ who changed all those tiny diapers, got up at 3 a.m. to rock the colicky baby, taught us to ride a two-wheeler, sometimes working two-shifts and two-jobs to support his family. And YES, we need to remember the single moms who play dual roles in their children’s lives.
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On Sunday I went to the coolest “Fathers Day Blues Festival in the Forest” celebration held on the lawn of Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach. It was a $20 a person fundraiser for sponsored by Monterey Jazz Festival’s Monterey County All-Star Jazz band, a group of talented teenage musicians on their way to Washington, D.C. What a way for dads, moms and kids alike to bring a lawn chair and enjoy the crystal-blue skies, fantastic music, relax and have fun. They literally built a child’s paradise of lawn castles, hula-hoop ring tosses, croquet and jumping jack houses. My favorite was the 3-4’ high rolling balls that toddlers could climb inside and be guided down the greens by trained athletic student volunteers.

Refreshments of BBQ and local greens, wine for purchase sponsored by Ketel One, and even a raffle for a day in a Tesla … the next generation’s super-sportscar! May they make this an annual signature event drawing the crowds it deserves next year, and up the raffle fee to offer a full Tesla. I’m in!

June 14th, 2015 is the first Grandparent Alienation Awareness Day

I will be speaking at this FREE webinar. Please pass this notice on. Go to this link to sign up: http://www.grandparentsacademy.com/webinar

GrandparentsAcademy.com and GRAND USA present…2015 Banner-1

“Grandparent Alienation Awareness day – Creating a Legacy of Love” If you are a grandparent who has been alienated, or know someone who has, you won’t want to miss this FREE call! You will get a free mp3 if you cannot listen live. A portion of profits of the just out (!) AudioBook or paperbound  2015 edition of Invisible Grandparenting will go to Grand-USA.org.

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Tai Chi: Fake it Gracefully

Dear Annie and Carter:

 

If you’d met me in person … you’d probably say “my granny is always busy with so many exciting things to do every day,” or “sometimes it is hard to keep up with her,” or “she moves so fast it’s hard to believe she is seventy.” Well, the secret to my success is that I am a “closet quiet person.” What I mean is my favorite hours of the week, and the most peaceful are those I do TAI CHI.

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Tai chi is a series of v-e-r-y slow movements that originated in China. People all over the world do them everyday for both meditation and health reasons. I have been doing tai chi at least weekly since 1990 when I moved to Chico State. In Monterey my tai chi teacher Catherine Wenner gave her own names to the movements of TAI CHI CHIH like “ocean currents” or “sea waves” or “silent strength” or “daughter on the mountain.” She tells her students not to worry about performance, but to watch and “fake it gracefully.” I think that is a good way to learn anything.

 

She doesn’t teach any more but a dozen of us meet weekly on the top floor of a senior community in Monterey where I can actually look out the windows and see the coastline as I do the moves silently. Each time I speak words of gratitude for just that: being there taking care of my body this way. When we moved to the little town of Aromas ten miles inland, or community Grange, has tai chi two mornings a week. I just came from there and feel so relaxed and ready to start my week.

 

I hope somehow the Physical Education programs in your schools focus on some of these easy to do stress reducing things, and not just competitive sports.

 

Love your secretly slow and still busy Invisible Grandma, PAT

A Skype Baby Shower for a Visible Grandbaby still in the Oven

A SKYPE Baby Shower for my secondborn and his wife who opened presents … with live guests and gifts from as far as Michigan, Utah, New York and beautiful downtown Aromas,CA where I live. I am so grateful to that we are now able to do this in the twenty-teens. My gifts which I sent a few months ago were my standard Baby Books: Penelope Leach’s YOUR BABY AND CHILD from ONE to FIVE; Anne Lamott’s OPERATING INSTRUCTIONS; and BE PREPARED: A PRACTICAL HANDBOOK FOR NEW DADS … boy scout style.

I’ll add more pics later but forgot to ‘shoot’ my classic gift for the mom: lovely lingerie and a card reading: “Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, The heck with the baby, This is for you!”MasoncarlyShower 5-17_15

Proximity to a Growing Grandson’s Politics …. How’d that Happen?

Carter-Buck-2015

Carter was eighteen months old when everyone at our wedding in Big Sur commented what a sweet well-behaved beautiful child he was, and what a great job his mother Lily was doing of parenting with her new husband. That was 14 years ago. I can count on my hands the number of times I visited him in rural upstate New York. As he grew up the sweetness remained. He’d take me on a walk nearby a stream on his property, pointing out and naming the vegetation, even giving me seeds from his garden so I could plant them at home. As my book reports, he now knows my status as ‘biological grandparent’ and I send gift cards for REI or some such on birthdays and holidays.

 

One summer when he was about twelve, he invited me to go with him and Lily’s father ‘clay duck shooting.’ He was pretty good at hitting clay pods shot from a canon before they fell to the ground. I just congratulated him at this prowess and put visions of my own anti-gun values out of my head. He was being raised in redneck country, after all. But I’d little opportunity over the years to share my internal anxt, when my own sons went hunting with my ex, their father. It was o.k. because they always had to clean and eventually eat their take he’d tell me.  I pushed images of the movie Bambi and men in uniform crouching around corners, rifles ready to pop out of my mind.

 

About a year ago, Carter asked his mom for my Facebook address and asked me to befriend him. I did, but not a Facebook regular, I rarely post or search for notifications. In November I found this picture of a proud Carter with the head of a huge buck. His first day of hunting season he’d dropped what many an adult male “would kill” to bring home on the roof of their car! I gulped, and commented only “wow! I bet your grandpa was jealous,” or some such.

 

Yesterday I had another Facebook surprise. One of his most recent posts was a picture of a curly headed toddler in a parade, holding up a hand-made sign that read “Mr. President, Sir, Why don’t you want MY mom & Dad to Protect their 2 girls – like YOU protect your 2 girls – WITH GUNS? It listed a website MOM’s DEMAND ACTION and www.colddead hands. Needless to say I chose the route of doing nothing.

 

OMG and it got worse! The next was a photo from Conservative News Today of three large felled redwoods on a long flatbed truck. Spray painted on the tail of the trees was scrawled: “Don’t Worry …. I Hugged It First.” Horrified about the implications of all of this, I shut my machine down when I saw another video of  “Shark Attack on Grandma” that showed a shark breaking through and aquarium wall and scaring the shit out of passers by!

Enough!

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So how do grandparents, visible or not, reconcile differences in their own values and politics, whether it be about the environment or gun control, with those of their growing younger adults? I know kids have their own minds, but I sure wish I’d at least been able to be part of the dialogue.  I guess this is just another example of the values and opinions that don’t get shared over the years as children grow up. Lily, Carter’s mom wrote me this when she shared the picture. We are very proud that he is a hunter and we always eat everything he shoots. Hunting and fishing skills have been passed down generation after generation in our family and if people don’t like the idea, they’re the ones who will starve if anything ever really goes seriously wrong in our country.” 

 

Ya know? I agree with her.

MY MOTHERS DAY MESSAGE IS “YES …. and”

MY MOTHERS DAY MESSAGE IS: “YES AND”

A week ago I did standup comedy at our small community’s annual talent show on “Glorious Women Never Age?” And yesterday I took an improv comedy workshop with this amazing woman who just moved to my community. (forgive the photo I’ll fix it tomorrow). Pat+Northrop-042514-sml

learned what I’d’ve never guessed: the secret to Improv is supporting your partners both on stage and off by using the phrase “YES, and …” in all communications. It changes the metric of how ANYthing can happen and evolve. Jacqueline Kabat  (See bio below) read us the following about this, at the end of a hilarious and amazing day. We with estranged children, or invisible and alienated grandchildren need to know how to move on in the face of hurt and pain, and even the joys of reconciliation should that occur. This, in Jacqui’s words, Is my Mother’s Day message to all of us: female, male, parent or not.

Comedy Improv Can Save The World – By Jacqueline Kabatwww.jacquelinekabat.com

My intuition that tells me (often passionately) that comedy improv is one tool that can save the world. The most important words when doing comedy improv are “YES AND…” Applying these two words allows for compassionate conversation. The performers and the audience will feel the conversation lift.    

There are many ways to manage our angst and improv gives us space to do that. “YES AND” gently assists us from detaching from our uncomfortable struggles. For example, “YES that was tragic. AND maybe a greater dance of life is unfolding from this struggle.” We can even apply this on ourselves. “YES that happened. AND now I have the space to….”

There’s no resistance with “YES, AND…” The other person has nothing to push against. Everything seamlessly calms down and a conversation can flow. I see so many people willing, ready and hungry to grow and change. I feel it comes down to utter faith when we’re ready to take that leap into the unknown. The ride will happen. YES, we have no idea how it will play out. AND Improv is one tool that will make it go smoother.

I feel we are being called to heal ourselves. Heal our community. Heal our world.  Improv is an astonishing helpful way to allow that to happen. I’ve worked with a wide variety of communities including engineers, corporations, adults and teens with Asperger’s, at risk youth, and VERY Republican women. Communities evolved. Fast. Improv is a safe context to get a vibrant connected community together. With laughter. Anyone who says that laughter is not healing is exercising superiority and control. I bless them and walk away.

I use the word “safe” quite a bit. Let’s face it, you can’t change the world by freaking people out. Improv allows us to let go of certainty. And in a way that allows others to support us along this challenging journey. And we’re helping them. We come out of it. We land where we need to be knowing that we’re fundamentally changed. Then life starts working for us rather than against us.

ABOUT JACQUELINE KABAT
Jacqueline Kabat recently moved to a 3-acre ranch in Aromas on the stunning Central Coast of California after 17 years in New York City and Brooklyn. She has been involved in all aspects of stand-up comedy, comedy improvisation, and sketch writing since 1997. She has studied, written for and performed with Second City’s Ann Bowen and studied with Saturday Night Live’s Amy Poehler while with the Upright Citizens Brigades. She worked with Sex in the City’s Mario Cantone while warming up studio audiences at ABC Studios. Jacqueline has emcee’d and done stand-up comedy at popular New York clubs. Do check out her on Faceook & her website.

Currently she is offering comedy improv workshops at her ranch and sharing this little piece of heaven with other artists, teachers, and corporations who want to offer workshops and have a place to collaborate with the philosophers, the visionaries, the artists, and anyone who wants to improve the human condition. Jacqueline’s passion is building and being part of creative, compassionate, and conscious communities. Her philosophy is: Creativity + Nature + A Supportive Authentic Community = Magic.

 

This is what Visible Grandparenting Looks Like

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LIFE ITSELF … a Touching Memoir/Documentary of Roger Ebert

It took two evenings for my 88 year old grand-mother-in-law and I to watch Martin Scorsese’s brilliant documentary of the entire life and times about Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and film critic Roger Ebert. What an honor it was to sit with the woman who left Kansas when she was 15 in 1940, found herself in San Diego and married the man of her dreams who was then a machinist making planes for the war machine being built at that time, He was later drafted to the Philippines, before he returned and conceived their four children between 1949 and 1957. She’s seen almost an entire century unfold and change before her eyes. I the daughter-in-law, a bit too old to be a baby-boomer, at 70 whom some call an aging hippie, felt honored to witness this two-hour piece of history with her. I’m surprised this film didn’t win Best Documentary at the Academy Awards. A former college health educator, and hospice volunteer, the expanse and depth with which it showed both living and dying was amazing.

Not for the feeble hearted or the lazy-minded, LIFE ITSELF ends, as all of ours will, with Ebert’s wife and family “letting him go,” after years of giving him the extra-ordinary care, both at home and in-hospital that his extended throat cancer needed. His voice, whether activated by computer Stephen Hawking style, or in blogs he wrote till his last days, rang through loud and clear.

Two thumbs up! It’s on Amazon Prime … GO!

 

Glorious Women Never Age?

My husband’s 88 year old mother, is a tiny wisp of a thing, 78 pounds, sparkling eyes, smooth skin, mind clear as a tack. Her daily highlight is a dose of John Stewart followed by the PBS News Hour. She definitely is a glorious woman; that is when she isn’t having an arrhythmia as she does 3-5 times a month, or when her numb fingers can’t slide the on-button to her pad that she reads current best sellers on with a font of 110!

Maxine Apr2010We all age, though Christiane Northrup, M.D. on her PBS Special doesn’t look as if she has. We watched it last week and Grandma loved it. As I fixed her dinner because her near blindness from wet macular degeneration, and her near deafness have kept her from cooking, Grandma asked me to get her something smiled and said with tongue in cheek, “but we glorious women don’t age.” She thanks us for every meal and realizes what went into the plate that magically appears in front of her on the Formica table she sits at most of her days. I am here to give my live-in brother-in-law a much-needed break, and monitor her breathing during the heart-pounding spells that haunt her.

Thank you Dr. Northrup, (age not listed in Wikipedia), in your high heels, tight fitting cap-sleeved dress and smooth skin & silken silver hair for the excellent 7 points you gave covering everything from osteoporosis to meditation. I love your positive thoughts and language. A Ph.D. health educator, 20+ years ago I used Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom as one of the texts in my Women’s Health classes. To this day her approach to aging is a welcome relief to the fear-based television and magazine ads for pharmaceuticals and surgery that are far too common.

We all age … what we need is a way to get used to it, because going out from this planet is far more difficult than the nine months of pregnancy and the few hours of labor it took to come in. So grandma Maxine, rest well during the 10-12 hours your heart beats out of tune for a short while, I thank you for the love that created and reared your first-born son, my “significant equal’ and husband of 21 years.

 

COMMENTARY ON MY BOOK FROM WRITERS DIGEST

Judge’s Commentary* 22ND ANNUAL SELF PUBLISHED BOOK AWARDS :

Invisible Grandparenting is a valuable book on a topic that doesn’t get a lot of ink, but is part of many people’s lives. The author has the advantage of being in the situation herself, and knows the ins and outs, the pain and the pitfalls, of being an “invisible grandparent.” She uses her own experiences to give insight to the book, but she also is a doctor who can look at it with the subjective eye of a scholar. That combination helps to make this book the helpful guide that it is.

The book is not only a must for anyone in this situation, but an interesting read for those who aren’t. What it says about human behavior and our ability to understand those around us is worthwhile. Many readers, as well, will know someone in this situation and the book gives valuable insight. The tips, particularly writing a letter you never send, can help anyone deal with a tough situation. In the end, the lessons of tolerance, love and overcoming the hurt others may do to you, are dealt with here.

The writing is clear, skilled and confident. The cover and interior production of the book are also professional. The one production quibble is the font used in the Legacy of Letters and Life Lessons section. That many pages of an italic font can be tough to read, especially for readers with aging eyesight. Since those letters and other documents are in their own section, an it is clear what they are, a more traditional font would be a better choice.

Overall, a well-written and much needed book that would be at home on the bookshelf of any store.

Dear Annie : You have a new sister!

January 5, 2015

Dear Annie …

I finally had the nerve to look you up on Facebook. At first I couldn’t find any with your combination of names; I guess that at 13 you may not have started that addictive game that some people get into constantly. That made me feel good. I did however find a family photo of you with your two sisters from August in Yosemite and then one goofing in front of a Christmas tree with your sisters. No, I did not ask to befriend your mom; I’m way not there yet. At this moment I have a knot in my stomach from just doing this.

There you are, alive and looking very happy and that is enough.

Love,

Invisible Grandma Pat … wondering if we will ever meet, if you have any recollection of me at all. But I am unwilling to open that can of worms (that might just be those juicy fruit candies) just yet.

P.S. Here is a picture of your new sister. Your biological dad got married in September 2013 at Shaver Lake on the top of the mountain where he and his wonderful bride worked and met. they live in LA now and this is Sierra! 3+ months old.

Sierra Dec 2014 in chair

Sad Angels

imagesThree days before Christmas and I haven’t done any shopping except for food, and nor do I intend to. This time it’s by choice, not circumstance. We’ve an Audi and a BMW in the driveway and we are not rushing to drive or fly anywhere. We can be right here at home with each other.  And we have our health! Yet there is a damp fog clinging to the windows now at 10:00 a.m. that mirrors shadows that are crossing my mind-screen and flit deep in my heart.

 

No coincidence our morning meditation from Mark Nepo in The Book of Awakening nis about opening the heart. “God breaks the heart again and again till it stays open. Hazrat Inayat Kahn. … (see p. 419). Nepo poetically cites the ways his heart opened breaking him wider, the way a flood carves the banks of a narrow stream the way lightning splits a tree, like hot water melting soap. He then suggests we center ourselves and concentrate on the part of your heart that is breaking open right now, easing the pain by breathing deep through it and … leaving your heart open and looking inside the break. The lesson is says he, in never closing again.

 

So what is deep inside my somewhat closed heart? I have had virtually no Christmases with my grandchildren, Carter is almost 15 and Annie, 13; nor will I see my son and his new baby girl of three months this holiday. No decorations or special annual food preparations to make. I will make some of my annual almond English toffee; yet this nothingness feels empty. Sad. Devoid of family which I know I do have all around.

 

However I am deep in relationship with my beyond significant equal of 20+ years! Not lonely at all, as my single sister Joan is at 65.  So why am I in this holiday limbo full of sadness? My Piscean energies pick up others. And not-fun is not my style. Make it go away! I repeat Sheryl Crow’s intonation on that.

 

So I journal this short void: sadness and anger around the huge shadow around Larry’s adult kids still mired in addiction. I push away wanting to look up Annie’s mom on Facebook, let go of Carter likely hardly remembering he has a biological grandmother in California, and wondering what he looks like as adolescent hormones kick in.

 

All there is, is now! Get off this Pity Pot, Pat!

 

Let’s lighten up the few tasks I have today with a little and rock n’roll from KPIG … get a package or two in the mail, decorate in some small way and read Jack Grapes book about Sad Angels, trying not to become one.

 

Sigh.

Leave a Legacy of Love, Now! FREE performance Nov 21st

PRESS RELEASE: For Calendars &/or a Feature – Questions: Pat Hanson, 831-601-9195 – phanson@csumb.edu

Terrific Trio at AARP 9_5_14

What: LEAVE A LEGACY OF LOVE, NOW! A pre-holiday Happy Hour Special of storytelling, music & inspiration

When: Friday, November 21st 4:30 p.m.

Where: Vista Lounge, 7th floor – Park Lane Senior Living , 200 Glenwood Circle, Monterey, CA 93940

How: Free and open to the public, space & parking limited. Arrive early.

 Join this terrific trio who presented at the 2014 AARP convention, and re-imagine your life and your gifts through a humorous interactive blend of storytelling, song and movement. Learn how to:

• Overcome obstacles with humor and grit;

• Trust the ageless wisdom of pets;

• Transform the heartbreak of separation into acceptance & hope; and

• Pass on what ‘we know in our bones’ will support the futures

of all children.

Vicki Hannah Lein, M.S., is a motivational speaker, author, singer/songwriter who choose optimism, resilience and vitality in the face of becoming legally blind @ 40.www.findthefunnyfaster.com

 Annette Cain, M.S., the Longevity Lady, will remind us how to live more fully by learning from our pets: Ageless Dogma—A Dog’s Life Guide to Staying Young. www.agelesswithannette.com

 Pat Hanson, Ph.D, author of Invisible Grandparenting will reveal ways to turn separation into acceptance & hope. www.invisiblegrandparent.com.

Book Signing & Free Gifts & Prizes ... help will be on hand for you to download free gifts from: http://www.leavealegacyoflovenow.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Promotion does not equal Profit … An Independent Author’s Taile

Promotion & Platform MAY NOT EQUAL PROFIT:

An Independent Author’s Tale (c) Pat Hanson, Ph.D

After the cases of my first book arrived, I held one misty-eyed in my hands. I’d done it. My four-decade dream of seeing my words in print had come true. When I first read Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying in 1973, and realized I’d had a zipless fuck on a train in Vienna before she coined the term, there were visions of dollar signs dancing in my head. I was already teaching Human Sexuality at the college level, and living my life like it was a bestseller. Those were my ‘Sex in the City’ years. Sex sells. I’d be rich and famous my twenty-something head said.

But alas, 40 years, sundry lovers between two failed marriages, two children and many day jobs later, my first published book wasn’t about sex, drugs or rock n’roll. This book, INVISIBLE GRANDPARENTING: the tale of how I dealt with separation from not one, but two grandchildren actually wrote me. I thought that with a niche market among 78 million baby boomers my healing journey would still sell.

After my first local book signing gala and sold about 30 books, my husband asked me for a favor. “Sure, what?” I said.

“You just delivered a baby, please! Don’t get pregnant any time soon.”

A few weeks later my therapist said the same thing. “Be forewarned,” she said one year out from her critically acclaimed book. “Promotion takes as much time, if not more effort, than getting that final product finished. Don’t start anything new.”

How right they were … and how the visions I’d had of retiring on a writing income were an illusion. Those authors who warned me not to give up my day job were right! Getting your book sold is expensive and exhausting. Out of your own pocket costs can border on the ridiculous.

I was invited to a Writers Festival in my hometown near Albany in upstate New York. For months before I set up a workshop on “Handling Separation and Leaving a Legacy of Love: Invisible Grandparenting” in a beautiful venue from 1-4 on and delivers 500,000 copies all over the Capitol region. I left books on consignment in two independent bookstores. I made it into on-line and print newspaper calendars. I sent an e-burst to 300 upstate and New Englanders on my I-contact database. Know how many showed up that sunny August afternoon? One! She being the contact I’d made through a new thought church there. She insisted I run the workshop for her and 11 invisible participants. I gave her my book of course.

At the Writers Festival a benefit for the local library (meaning authors donated their time and travel) of 35 people attending, 14 bought my book … close to 50%, not bad. But certainly not enough for the IRS to be happy about my writing off a round trip to New York.

So I decided to go for the big time … the REAL audience for my book about estranged grandparenting. I applied, with two others to present a twist on my title: LEAVE A LEGACY OF LOVE, NOW! on the Ideas@50+ Stage of the AARP convention, that promised a mere 10,000 folks might peruse the booth/exhibit we would set up and wander over to our 45 minute talk which made it to the short pull-out program.

However, once we got accepted for that stage we learned we had to PAY for that honor or find a big corporate sponsor. After six weeks of being turned down by corporations like VITA Hospice Care, and AARP’S United Health Care and having the LLC business data submitted by we three independent authors, not “vetted” until three years of W2’s from our publisher were finally approved, it was two weeks from show time. Something should have told me then that trade shows were costly ways to promote products like ours, but those visions of dollar signs were still dancing in my head.

Splitting the expenses was the only way to go. Our $800 to grace the stage would get us one hand-held microphone and one lavaliere one. Would we like two more so our terrific trio could perform in front of slides? $102 each.

Also, for a mere $1200 “they” “give” you a 9×10 red-curtained square of cement space for the exhibit hall booth, and a banner that reads # 2830, LEAVE A LEGACY OF LOVE, NOW! with the name of our finally found sponsor: Park Place Publications.

Would we like tables? Sure, but we had to “rent” 2 tables @ $102 each. And would we like to sit? Chairs were $82! “Thank you very much, we’ll bring our own,” we said, and rented a van to drive the 440 miles with our large Cost-co Photo Posters of our book covers that were a bargain at $79 each.

booth @ AARP The total of all the AARP rentals came to $587 before we found out we needed another small table for the “food” we heard would draw people in: candy for the ladies, nuts for men. On site that table cost us $140. And if we hadn’t carried our own boxes of books, tablecloths and materials from the underground parking lot at the opposite end of three-block long San Diego convention center, we could have hired union help @ $80 per 100 pounds!

 

Again, although one of us was legally blind, we three independent entrepreneurs did it ourselves. We each opened PayPal accounts and got those little gizmos that let you collect from credit cards on I-phones and pads. We needed CA Board of Equalization Sellers Licenses, but that was a breeze at $5. We’d better sell lots of books to even break even. Though we split our total costs three ways, travel and even a free hotel room for four nights courtesy Marriott, came over $3,900.

Opening day was exciting. Just before the crowds came in there was a countdown: 10, 9, 8 … and thousands of silver-blue-haired elders (hardly baby boomers) rushed in carrying their red ecologically correct shopping bags. We soon learned they were after the goodies: star shaped sunglasses that blinked, t-shirts and exercise balls if you danced with Silver Sneakers, free luggage tags, health record notebooks … my favorite being a protein bar after you walked through a 10-foot high balloon tunnel of a colon, that ended directly next to the bathroom.IMG_4407

That first day, one woman told me she hiked ten minutes from the AARP bookstore that held “Display Only” copies of my book, to get mine. As she told me her story of estranged grandparenting, I sighed, and realized it was all about connections like these. Each time I talk publically, someone comes up to me and says “I thought I was the only one,” hand to heart.

I should have read the writing on the wall earlier this summer. In spite of in-person pitches by the minister of one of the biggest New Thought churches in San Diego, only six people showed up for my workshop on “Healing Separation.” They loved it of course. Another ‘Virtual Center for Spiritual Living’ sent 300, and I sent 700 notices of a free on-line workshop of “Leave a Legacy of Love Whether You can be there or Not: Virtual Grandparenting.” Know how many turned on their computers that Saturday morning nation-wide? Nada. Zero.

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We gave out 200+ copies of flyers personally getting promises from folks they’d come to our talk at 4:30 Friday afternoon; but by then, guess how many seniors showed up? Sigh. Only two dozen! And the microphones we ordered had to compete with exercise groups on the next stage working out! There went the audio on the great video we were going to edit and put up on YouTube.

 

Dreams of dollar signs dropped quickly; we realized by the fourth day, after AARP’s highlight: being able to hear Kevin Spacey & Julia Louise Dreyfuss & Arianna Huffington from the first row, courtesy the cane of our disabled author; we realized it was ALL about the connections. Not the profit. How many books did I sell of the 300 I dragged down there? Seven. But I gave away four … and wished I’d handed out more free.

What did I learn? Trade shows like AARP are certainly not the place for independent authors to promote books. I was profoundly exhausted, but I’d had fun. This had been work, certainly not lucrative, but my intention that I’d set years ago in a spiritual workshop of “my voice, heard on the highest level, to do the greatest good, (for the maximum reward and the most fun I’d added later),” would be happening. No, it was already happening. Several media people who publish magazines for elders or line-up speakers for senior communities had given me their cards.

Perhaps selling books is not about the profit! Especially books about handling a difficult aspect of life. Getting people to read your words, and being affected by them, isn’t something you can measure.

So I “let go” of illusions of profit; but even now weeks later I cannot give up on my vision of getting my words out there. I will continue to promote Invisible Grandparenting in different ways closer to home. And sans the dollar signs glazing my eyes, maybe I’ll resurrect some of that sex stuff. Surely In Search of a Significant Equal tracing the labyrinth of choices I made before finding love late in life, twenty wonderful years ago, would sell, even to baby boomers.

Visible means VISIBLE these Days OMG! : The Sequel to Invisible Grandparenting

unnamed (2)Back in July I blogged of my apprehensions about being a REAL grandparent, and bringing anyone into this troubled world these days. I called the outdoor pool where I’d seen dozens of toddlers and parents doing the hokey-pokey with babes in arms: “breeder city.” I both was horrified and empathized at what these innocent young couples might witness in ten, fifteen, or twenty years as these babies became adolescents and young adults.

 

With a real grandchild on the way, in August I visited a friend at the Jersey Shore for a week while her grandkids ages 4 ½ to 7 were there with their friends. I wanted to observe and be “grandma in-training.” It helped wipe away some of the reluctance and anxt I was having about doing the real thing. For eight years I hadn’t seen a grand daughter now twelve for reasons out of my control. I’d shut down my heart and needed help opening it.

 

Most of that week, sans the screaming temper tantrums and power struggles between two almost seven-year-old “little women,” was fun, really fun. I became awed at the depth and creativity of kids’ minds. Their games helped me open my own. Both exhausted AND glad when that week was over, I was thrilled to drive to my next stop alone! Whew! How does my my 79 year old friend Adalyn keep helping out five days out of seven? Or Jenny her 46 year old New York City daughter do it, with two kids under 6 while maintaining her busy job as a director for the now international MOTH storytelling project?

 

But now weeks later, my first real visible grand daughter, Sierra Neva Jones, was born ten days ago, six pounds eleven ounces, all fingers and toes in tact. Her mom, who I love, had been calling me weekly after her doctor’s visits. Tall thin and Hollywood gorgeous, although eating well, she’d only gained ten pounds during the pregnancy, but it was all baby. Last Saturday I got ‘the text’ from my son at 8:30 a.m. that Nicole was in labor and they were leaving for the hospital. The next text at 1:30 she was 7.5 centimeters dilated and had an epidural. I guess the women’s health natural-birth thing we 70’s feminists pushed for is a little passé these days. I’d told her to tell her doctors “as long and as natural as possible,” but surely to take care of herself. It was then a long five hours, me pushing visions of complications and profit hungry doctors pushing C-sections out of my head. (They are 1 in 4 today.) My son called us with the news: vaginal delivery, 50 minutes of pushing which Nicole felt as movement not pain at the end. He’d cut the cord and they had two hours of holding her before nursing staff intervened.

 

Then within minutes I got a phone text marked MOV titled “Sierra’s first bath!” No kidding. Technology is changing grandparenting by making it visible, palpable from the start. I couldn’t believe my eyes! She’d been swaddled since birth, already breast fed, but I could sense the “What the f— are you doing to me? I was comfortable in there!” in her screams. She was cute as a button of course. My heart was beginning to open.

 

Not 48 hours later I got another 30 second e-mailed video, the header of which was: “Waking Sierra up for her feeding.” It showed a loving mother charming Sierra into opening her eyes and mouth by gently rubbing her tummy and talking sweetly. But my feminist women’s health educator head shook as I thought, “Waking a baby to feed? What the heck is that about?”

 

My dear grandma friend Adalyn had already written me this little ditty that I forwarded to new mom Nicole.

 

“Just last night got to see your wonderful news. Nearly 7 pounds is certainly not a lightweight but oh that little face looks SO tiny! I remember I’ve told many an about to be mother to “sleep when the baby sleeps!  Don’t try to do any housework or laundry, leave that for others.”  Every now and then a baby is born who sleeps a lot — but they don’t happen often enough!   I remember an article years back in the NY Times Sunday magazine section that was a pediatrician apologizing to his patients for pooh poohing their tales of life with a colicky baby. He wasn’t convinced they existed until he had one himself. I still remember with bliss and gratitude (to my mother) the first morning I could sleep in, after one of the kids was born. Was the best present of my life, other than the kids themselves.”

 

Nicole responded, “Yea, in the hospital and when we went to her first Dr. appointment three days later, they told us the same thing, we are to not let her go more than 3 hours between feedings so we have to wake her up to breastfeed.” She even told me a friend who’d delivered 500 miles away in Oakland was told the same thing … something about swaddling them after and making sure they never are hungry. I ran into another new grandma whose daughter-in-law three states away was told the same thing. I’m still a little shocked. Part of me thinks it’s sadistic brainwashing to keep mothers in their sleep-deprived-place; but I must look into the real reasons for this. Likely doctors are giving warnings that might prevent SIDS and later liability suits. Guess the times, they are a-changing!

 

Yesterday we got another 30-second video entitled “Sierra Hanging Out.” There aren’t words to describe how my heart opened as I witnessed my very own grandbaby, part of my gene pool, so much larger than a week ago, squirming around and smiling. Was I ever really that small, that unformed, that innocent? Was my son Graham? All adult growth in those first few cells, multiplying every day! Life is amazing. Miracle is the only word I can come up with, this VISIBLE baby whose mom is welcoming me to be part of her life is REAL. I’m in it for the long haul, like it or not, and like it is!

Waking Sierra to Feed copy

 

Still is Still Movin’

PrintSlow to wake this morning. 8:45 rolled around pretty quickly after the fresh fruit and yogurt breakfast my husband made for us. I read my Science of Mind Magazine meditation, and Marc Nepo’s daily treat of poetry and wisdom from The Book of Awakening; but my body wanted to go back to sleep. Yet something made me shower and get down to the Aromas Grange for tai chi. That form of moving, breathing and counting ever so slo-oh-ww-ly while I silently stretch and ground my body is my form of meditation. The type A Pat, the ever-spinning six plates me, few know is a closet quiet person. That my favorite moments come during the three times a week I move to taI chi in deep silence, would surprise most of my closest friends. And I’ve been doing it for more than 20 years. Amen. This is my spiritual practice.

 

Today all evidence points to the face that tai chi and meditation are important for long life, bone health, balance and even blood pressure. Arianna Huffington’s scintillating new memoir: THRIVE: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-being,, Wisdom and Wonder puts both the research and her gripping near death stress experience right before us. So, although at 69.5 I still need to challenge myself with a ‘to do’ list of things to be “up” for; the words Willie Nelson sings “Still is Still Movin’ to Me,” mean tai chi for me. Try it you might like it.

 

 

I am a REAL Grandparent: Sierra Neva Jones arrived!

 

Well folks … now I get to blog about “the real thang!” One year and one week from their wedding up at the ski resort where they met, my firstborn and his lovely bride Nicole gave birth to Sierra Neva … 6lbs 11 oz. STAY TUNED as I follow this new uncharted territory … fascinating. My heart is full!

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Interactive On-line Workshop: Leave a Legacy of Love Now – Sat 9_27 9amPDT 12EDT

My First Interactive Workshop… Next Saturday:VIRTUAL GRANDPARENTING – Sept. 27, 2014 – 9am-11am Pacific Time:

LEAVE A LEGACY OF LOVE, NOW!
A Virtual Grandparenting Workshop

Saturday, September 27, 2014
Noon till 2PM EDT
On-line: Go to http://yanavcsl.org and enter the Sanctuary

Registration: Voluntary $ Love offering

Questions: pat@invisiblegrandparent.com 831-601-9195

*Do you “know in your bones” what ideas, memories and values you’d like all young ones to know? … and how to pass them on?

*Do you get to see your grandkids as often as you like?

*Want to release negative energy about family circumstances beyond your control?

*Would you like to heal separation from anyone?

Dr. Pat Hanson author of Invisible Grandparenting: Leave a Legacy of Love Whether You Can Be There or Not will lead an interactive workshop on Saturday, September 27th from 9:00- 11:00a.m. PDT about healthy ways to deal with separation and the many ways to leave behind your very own legacy regardless of your grandparent status. Using letter writing as a primary tool, this workshop will create a safe space to work towards transforming negative energy and moving toward forgiveness.

           Facebook.com/invisiblegrandparent

Reluctant Real Grandparent

July 7th 2014 – Reluctant Real Grandparent – The Sequel to Invisible Grandparenting

 

My “daughter-in-law,” whose beautiful wedding to my firstborn son was the epilogue to my first book: Invisible Grandparenting, is now six months pregnant … with a girl! One would think that after all the pain of separation I’d worked so hard to heal since eight years ago when I was blocked from seeing my first grand-daughter, who is now almost 13 (!) I’d be thrilled. Excited. As in “can’t wait.” As in all those pre-grandparenting stories you see in mass media.

 

But truth be told, I’m in a dazed state that wanders between confusion, denial and anxiety about finally at 69.5 becoming a real grandmother, and having to develop a ‘healthy relationship’ with my son and his bride, and then of course my grandkid(s). My second born is engaged and it’s likely to soon be happening again.

 

Yesterday at the YWCA in Santee I swam laps next to an Olympic size kiddie pool the size of my entire 810 sq. ft. apartment. It had a fountain spurting up the center platform that was a climbing zoo. I watched all the children scream and yell in delight, but I found myself shaking my head in disbelief that in a few short years I would become one of the seniors beaming and handing towels to their toddler charges.

 

In the shallow end of the lap pool, a circle of dads and moms holding infants under two in “family swim” sang out loud. “Put your right foot in, pull your right foot out, do the hokey-pokey and turn yourself about.” Cute right? However, my inner voice whispered to me that this gym was “breeder city,” with a tone resembling disgust. I had to pray to bless these brave young men and women, and mask my horror at the surprises these enterprising humans may encounter as their kids grow up and out beyond them.

 

Parenting, the scope of which is infinite, is the hardest thing you’ll ever do intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. Or that I ever did at least. My husband and I have been to hell and back with things we’d never anticipated when loving our babies in those early days of our previous marriages. Three out of the four kids between us have not spent a day in college, have been in and out of various addictions, and have cost us and the social services system thousands of dollars and years of hopes dashed and misery. Two of them have gifted us with unplanned grandkids that we hardly see. Yes, we realize we did the best we could at the time. But it is difficult to ‘rise above’ and not beat oneself up with guilt: the gift that keeps on giving. I fervently pray the innocent young parents at the pool, do not have to suffer as we did.
These days as I notice the stressed out multi-tasking pace with which parents handle work and the details of making a home; as I see toddlers using smart phones and i-pads from seats in supermarket carts, I’m overwhelmed at the speed with which pre-schoolers absorb information. Do the electronic games these tiny children are absorbed in, teach anything educational at all? I shudder at ads on television for violent video battles full of explosions and destruction. Thirty years ago I used to occupy my kids at my feet with building blocks, and puzzles. Do they exist any more?

 

In the locker room as I watch mothers and grandmothers interact with children that look like little people, cookie-cutters of themselves, I force myself to smile, and realize in not too long this could be me. Not could, would, … will. OMG!

 

So my peers, it is with humility and yes “hope,” that I will journal this sequel that describes my path from invisible grandparenting to the real thing. I hope I can squelch these fears and stop them by using every affirmation, visualization and prayer technique I’ve learned in the three decades since I had little ones.

 

And maybe, just maybe, part of the in-person grandparenting I get to do will be not be as frightening as it feels today, but fun!

 

 

+++++++++++

 

Great Grandma Sitting

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“They should send GW over there to Iraq right now to see the mess he created,” my 88 year mother-in-law said, squinting at the 6:00 news, turning up the volume, waiting for the 7-8:00 p.m. version filtered through her favorite newscaster: John Stewart on The Comedy Channel.”

 

I’ve been doing ‘Omama-care’ for ten days giving Larry’s’ brother some respite and it’s been a piece of cake. Water a few plants, dust where the surfaces haven’t seen light, cook dinner and pour wine while she watches the local news of shootings and police chases, neighborhoods gone, high rise multi-plexes and crime moving in to the once rural San Diego El Cahon and Lakeside she emigrated to from Kansas in 1953 @ 16.

 

My mother-in-law is sharp as a tack, but going blind. Macular degeneration beyond treatment, she wanders her home pretty safely with thick glasses, the left eyepiece a circular magnifying glass. She reads, comics first, in the (Republican) San Diego Tribune every morning with a magnifying glass. My job is to bring it in, so her feeble steps don’t slip on macadamia nuts that drizzle the driveway. Later in the day she’ll hobble on her walker to place hardback bestselling books or The Sunday New York Times, or The New Yorker under a Microfiche machine. Body slowing, mind not. Praise god

 

I’m blessed to have this in-person one on one time with the mother who gave all her children, especially my husband her firstborn, such an active mind and large ability to love.

Let me stop now and say goodbye … take a picture of her 78 pound bird self, and wish her Salud!: GoodHealth … for as long as she can.

 

It’s so fascinating to ask questions and hear stories about relatives I never knew I had. When I volunteered to draw a family tree she said, “You’ll never be able to do it; ours is not a family tree … it’s is a forest!” she said excitedly, remembering the names of the wives and grandchildren her second-born son had a by both genetics and three marriages, giving her1 11 bbiological grandkids, untold number of extended family ones, and now two great grandchildren. But come up with a visual resembling a sociogram or tree-chart. Impossible … the forest is overgrown with underbrush.

 

Acceptance is Maxine’s, middle name … it is beneath the unspoken, the silence, that is deafening in the calm in this home. That’s why I love her as I do, though each visit I AM ready to go home to my own HUSband, the son she created just for me. Thank you god.

Book Awarded at Los Angeles Book Festival Contest

Invisible Grandparenting, my first book, won its first award: an Honorable Mention in the non-fiction category in an independent authors and film-makers contest! It means I got to go to Los Angeles, pick up a plaque, and pitch my book for one minute (that’s a trick) before other award winners and hopefully agents at the historic Roosevelt Hotel. Not quite a red carpet but I’m honored! I can put gold stickers (which I purchase) on future copies. Here’s to more!

Holidays are Hard on Invisible Grandparents

I’m very lucky this year to be celebrating what I call Gratitude Day, with turkey and all the trimmings modeled after the New Jersey ‘Loud Family’ I grew up in. Eight of us at my sister’s in Santa Barbara … first time all the descendents of my mother are in one place.
May those of you with yearnings to be with absent or estranged family members of any age, find a veritable slew of things right around you to be greatful for! And I spelled that wrong on purpose. We are all full of great things.
DO please, get the book or e-book from Kindle, and let me and all my readers know what you think. First reactions are making me realize how important this work of building community is. Thank you for joining us.

Creaking bones? Aging Positively? Moi?


3:40 p.m. I am lying naked covered in a paper gown on a table in my doctor’s office, glad I had an I-phone to do e-mail while Agnieska Lech, M.D. took 20+ minutes to get to me.

At 68, courtesy Medicare and United Health Care supplemental (hall-ey-loo-ya!), it was time for my annual ‘women’s health exam,’ thus the knees up, speculum inserted, pinch: two seconds of pain before she withdraws something cold and then puts a gloved finger up my anus.

Nah, nothing to be concerned about. Been through this so many times before, it brought back memories of IUD’s being inserted, pregnancies being checked monthly, vaginal infections being treated long ago in my single and still searching days.

Dr. Lech, hometown Prague, her high cheekbones, and piercing spectacled eyes walked in, and in her Polish accent apologized for the delay said, “this shouldn’t be anything for you; you told me last time how you used to teach women in your classes to use speculums and mirrors to examine their own vaginas, nothing I’d ever heard about.”

Smiling I responded, “guess news of the women’s health movement didn’t make it to Czechoslovakia,” I said “Where were you in the seventies? Never heard of the book Our Bodies and Our Selves? It’s still in print today, and there is a whole edition on menopause.”

Then I looked at her beautiful clear skin and did the math; she was probably not even born
In the seventies, or if so she was just a toddler.

Oy vey … how did I get this old? A retired by budget cuts health educator I just turned si-sixty eight! I’m in my 69th year … and I make money now running workshops on AGING POSITIVELY … re-framing fears about inevitable vagaries of aging and looking for something good to come of them. I even did a stand-up comedy speech for Toastmasters that won at three contest levels with the same title; admittedly honestly groaning at my own health challenges about positively aging.

So when I told my husband this morning of the two tiny polyps Dr. Lech discovered near the rim of my anus (at 5:00 and 7:00) that ‘could be sent to a colo-rectal surgeon to be biopsied, but she’d wait till the results of an HPV virus came back’ … I had to swallow some fear, or feel it and go on with the rest of my day anyway.

And then there are my creaking bones. Seriously creaking, to the point that after two weeks of tossing 40 years of paper teaching files into a total of 18 recycle bins, and moving untold numbers of boxes even with paid help; I woke up one morning and almost found my legs collapsing underneath me. Pain was something I have a very high threshold for, I had two kids in two and a half hours of labor each … so this was a new and frightening experience. Two trips to the chiropractor and the purchase of my first cane, oh god do I feel like an old lady!, and things are a lot better, but oy!

Rather than hooking into the fear that I awoke with this morning, when I told my husband of the anxieties that these two health challenges were keeping me awake in the middle of the night with, feeling a bit fraudulent about my new chosen speaking career, my husband asked me “What would Pat do/say? Pat the Aging Positively workshop leader?”

“Oh, I guess she would fight fear with knowledge, and get as much good information as possible ‘cause most fear comes from ignorance.”

“That’s good, what else?” ‘

“She’d take care of herself and rest a bit, this move was hell, then she’d look around her to find all the things she was grateful for, all the wonderful good ways her body has served her up until now and find other things to focus on.

“Now you’re talking,” my not unconcerned husband said pulling me over for a kiss.

The other thing Pat would do is the ‘don’t go there’ trick. Not voicing or imaging the worst fears … like thinking about my 76 year old friend Adalyn when her legs collapsed under her discovered she had MS, or thinking maybe I have a fracture and this osteoporosis thing I’ve refused treatment for has kicked in, and this pain and lack of balance will never go away.

No! Change and shift your thinking Pat. Change your life.

Part of what scares me about this aging thing; is that I’ve worked so hard all my life. I am type A to the max. Now when I find I actually MUST move more slowly, and am ready to do just that, I am afraid I won’t be able to do all the good things other people do when they re-tire, like travel which requires a lot of walking. Yet perhaps that is why I continue on my health educating shtick … to tell younger and older audiences: do what you can to prevent or minimize these vageries … NOW!

Time. Take the time to be fully present in the ‘nows’ you have NOW, Pat. That’s not just a Buddhist ploy they tell you when they teach you to meditate … there is no suffering in that fully present moment. You’ve been given a lot more of them, so enjoy them!!!

Never forget that toilet paper metaphor “Life is like a roll of toilet paper, the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes!”

My book is on Amazon today!

Oh my god! To paraphrase a few clichés “there are no accidents, no coincidences.” I just got notice that the book I’ve been working on for five years (!), just went up on Amazon.com today.
October 24th. It’s Annie’s birthday. Annie, the source of my grief, my hopes, my prayers and the recipient of the legacy of letters in Invisible Grandparenting. I haven’t seen her in eight years. I have no idea what she looks like. Pre-pubescent, still a little girl or an early blooming young woman? I trust she is doing well in school, has a cadre of peers who treat her well, but adolescents can be so mean at that age. All I can do, as the book details, is continue to “hold the high watch” for her, and let go of any negative feelings that might still be in the way of putting out the vibration of love for her, and for all grandkids whether they get to play and learn from their elders or not.

Here is a link to a video on You-Tube of a dramatic monologue I performed in Santa Cruz this spring. It’ll give you an idea of what you’ll read when you order the book. In spite of the separation, it has a happy ending. Enjoy, and please pass this on to your friends. It’s a “good read.” Please review it for me on Amazon if you can.

Pat Hanson INVISIBLE GRANDPARENTING

It’s Gratitude Week – Thank you’s are Important

November 21, 2012

Dear Carter and Anne:

I’ll bet the smells of pies being baked; turkey roasting are filling your homes. Instead of Thanksgiving Day I call this “Gratitude Week.” I make a point of writing or calling people to thank them for things big or little they have done this year that helped me. I just wrote an e-mail to Great Western to tell them how helpful one of their tellers was when I lost my debit card. I also filled a survey out from Staples, mentioning how helpful one of the copy managers was when she matched a price she overheard me calling a another store about, and saved me abut $50.00! I think all year long we too often forget to do this.

I remember how I used to make your grandfather Brad sign thank you notes to his grandmother for Christmas gifts even before he could write. Then he’d write his own on little cards. As he and grandma got older she’d send money on birthdays; but I’d have to bug Brad to at least call and thank her. She’s not the nicest person to talk to, but what’s a few minutes? Once Grandma Wilkin got so ornery about thank you notes, that if she didn’t get one, she’d not send him something the following year.

But beyond handwritten notes and sharing our appreciations to others, most importantly we need to thank the universe, or god, or whatever force we believe is behind things, for the good in our lives. Sometimes when things are awful and we’re in a bad mood and nothing seems to be going right in our own lives; we have to pinch ourselves and find something to be glad for. Every day we have to look at our own lives, realize how lucky we are to be safe and sound and healthy, and find something to be grateful for. Today for me it’s the sun that has just broken through a rainy day and it’s 61 degrees outside in November! Today I am not in the cold Northeast, or a victim of a hurricane that flooded my house, or without heat or water. Today I am alive and well. Thank you god!

What is it this year, or this minute, that you are most thankful for? Have fun with all the Thanksgiving festivities, and perhaps think about thanking the turkey for sacrificing it’s life to become your delicious dinner.

Fondly,

Grandma Pat

THE ELECTION’S OVER … Let’s wear purple!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012!

Dear Anne & Carter:

Where I live, people climb up on the sand dunes on Route One and write messages in ice plant every day. Usually it’s love notes, or Happy Birthday Joe!’ type of things; but yesterday’s read: BAROCK THE VOTE! And Thank Goodness he did!! I make no bones about being a lifelong Democrat: the people’s party, in comparison to Republicans who seem more to be about business and money.

I can now put my ‘Women for Obama’ button away with my flashing red white and blue beads and pin that reads Barack Obama 2008. I wonder if my mother still has the little rhinestone pin I had back in 1952 and 1956 that read ‘Adlai.’ Adlai Stevenson was a very smart man (a Democrat) who ran and lost twice against a very popular military golfer type: Dwight D. Eisenhower. His button read just ‘I Like Ike.’

All week I wore an Obama t-shirt I got for making phone calls for him in 2008. It says ‘ONE VOICE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD.’

IF ONE VOICE CAN CHANGE
A ROOM
THEN IT CAN CHANGE
A CITY
IF IT CAN CHANGE A CITY
THEN IT CAN CHANGE
A STATE
IF IT CAN CHANGE A STATE
THEN IT CAN CHANGE
A NATION
IF IT CAN CHANGE A NATION
THEN IT CAN CHANGE
THE WORLD

That’s may be a pretty hard concept for you to fully understand right now; but truly: every person young or old, small or large, dark-skinned or white, gay or straight, deserves to be heard, and yes to vote for people who will have the power to make decisions that will affect their lives.

Elections are a lot different now. Way TOO different if you ask me. Back then I walked neighborhoods knocking on doors with my father, and explaining the different ideas to people. Today I’m glad this election is over, because far too much money was spent on often nasty and bitter television ads, many of them lies. The most money ever spent on an election today’s Washington Post said. TWO BILLION DOLLARS: $2,000,000,000. I don’t even know if I got the zeroes right! That’s a disgrace … imagine what good that kind of money could do if it were spent on your schools, on health, welfare, roads and even emergency disaster relief.

I guess you were sleeping by the time our president gave another of his rousing speeches. The theme was about working together. The line that will go down in history like John F. Kennedy’s “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country” will be “America’s never been about what can be done for us. It’s about what can be done by us together…” He ended with reminding us we “we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.”

Carter and Anne, we are so lucky to live in this country! I think we should all wear purple tomorrow to show the beautiful color that results when red and blue are mixed. Just think of all the good things that could happen if we set aside our differences and worked for the common good!

I hope I am around to imagine or maybe even witness your growth, like we saw the President’s daughter’s Sasha and Malia on stage with him this year and four years ago. I am encouraged that might actually happen by something President Obama said about hope: “I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.”

Just think, perhaps in 2016 and 2020 I’ll be with you to celebrate the election of the first woman president! Pay attention in school, it’s important.

I love you.

Grandma Pat

Monthly Gatherings of Crones in Monterey

MONTHLY GATHERINGS OF CRONES
Continuing November 11th, 2012 2-4pm

Every 2nd Sunday: Nov 11th, Dec 9th, Jan 13th, Feb 10th, Mar 10th, April14th, etc.

Monterey Peace Resource Center
1364 Fremont Blvd Seaside, CA 93955
2$ Love Offering to Peace Center

Monthly gatherings of women of age, sharing stories, gifting us with workshops with their own special skills and enriching connections to ourselves, each other, and the world. Nov 11th: Slide Show of Crones Counsel in Salt Lake + Movement & Balance thru Laughter Yoga with Christina Farnsworth among other things.

Questions or sign up to lead a session:
Pat Hanson 831-601-9195.
phanson@csumb.edu

Happy 10th Birthday!

October 24, 2012

Dear Anne:

Happy Birthday! Wow … you have been growing up a full decade, ten years!
I can hardly imagine what you must look like, or what type of birthday party you and your very creative mother have planned. The last one I went to you were three. It was ninety degrees outside, held in a park, and the kids all waded in this tiny creek. You got a green and yellow ride-em tractor just your size. I wonder where that is now.

On your “brother’s” 11th birthday … did you know that your biological father gave me another grandchild who lives on the East coast in rolling farm country? I guess that makes him your brother, but maybe there’s another word.

Anyway, he knows he’s adopted now, and that I am his ‘real’ grandma, so I get to send presents. He has a dyslexia problem with reading, so I don’t send books anymore; but on his 11th birthday I sent him this I.O.U. card “Redeemable at an imaginary future date.”
It had an air view photo of the Monterey Peninsula and then snapshots of all the places within ten minutes of my home that I’d like to take him someday: kayaking in the Elkhorn Slough seeing sea otters close-up, the Aquarium, hiking in Big Sur, having lunch on the beach near Lovers Point in Pacific Grove. If I could send you a card like that, it would include all of the above, as well as some girly lunch at a fancy restaurant with a view of the ocean. I still remember the time my grandmother took me to The Top of the Sixes in a skyscraper in New York City for my 13th birthday. Hmmm … put that on your list of possibilities, I’d love to do the same for you.

So what are birthdays for really? They are a reminder of time. Time that is passing no matter how old you are, and how our lives and bodies change as we mature. I just recently went to a Joan Baez concert at Esalen on California’s coast. She is a world famous singer, songwriter, musician, and a prominent activist in the fields of human rights, peace, and environmental justice.

It was the 50th anniversary of when Joan drove across the country in a Corvair (a very old car they don’t make any more), with a boyfriend and a baby she had to feed on formula that she had to dilute because she was so poor. She helped found Esalen, a place where people from all over the world come to soak in natural hot springs and study in workshops with visionaries who have written books about just about everything. By now Joan Baez has released 30 million-seller albums, most with themes of “great social and political import like peace and love and god. Oh how I wish we could have conversations on these topics.

Joan Baez is 71, just 4 years older than me. And get this, her 99 and ½ year old mother was in the audience!! Can you catch the intensity in her eyes? Wow …. I don’t really want to live that long, but if I was in good health … had all the help I needed to get around, and a daughter or granddaughter to visit and see perform, heck, why not!

Enjoy your birthday. On my 30th one of my friends told me to “create your own birthday ritual or celebration.” She said not to wait for family or friends to surprise you … just choose some good things to do for yourself. I always get a massage, sometimes even at Esalen, and always have lunch with some special women friends. I’ll imagine what you will choose to do as you get older.

Love,

Invisible Grandma PAT

RED TENT CEREMONIES .. welcome to womanhood!

This is the latest letter to my invisible grand-daughter …

October 15, 2012

Dear Anne,

You’ll be ten years old on October 24th!
How I wish I could see how you are growing into a young woman, a “maiden” in the three phases of women’s lives: Maiden, Mother and Crone. The maiden is the stage of youthfulness, playfulness and innocence before your body announces with menstruation, (your first “period” or monthly bleeding that I’m sure your mother told you about), that you could move into the next phase of “mother.”

Then you get 40 years (sounds like a lot doesn’t it?) of the motherhood or pro-creative phase in which you can birth either children or your best work in the world. When you stop menstruation after menopause somewhere between 45 and 55; you get the honor of being called a “Crone.” That word comes from the Greek word meaning ‘crowned’ or ‘holy one’ or ‘wise elder woman,’ likes me at 67. It is the stage in a woman’s life when she stands in her own truth and power.

I just got home from a national gathering of 200 women called Crones Counsel in Salt Lake City. There we attended a RED TENT CEREMONY that prompted me to think of you. In ancient Hebrew times the red tent was a place women were sent when they were bleeding for ritual and rest, some men thinking they were ‘unclean’ at that time. The Counsel built these three beautiful tents with sparkling see-through veils. Groups of younger women were invited and we elders moved with them to each tent to listen and share with one another about the greatest tasks and challenges of each stage.

I was particularly moved at the MAIDEN tent when one young teenager, tears in her eyes, shared about guys having it so much easier than girls on looks and appearance. She told us that guys take pictures of girls and post them on a website called ratingmylooks.com, and rate them from 1-10 and make often nasty comments! How awful! How horrible that must make you feel, whether you got a 9 or 10 and were chased by boys for only your looks; or a 2-3 and were laughed at!

Anne, I hope that you learn to believe in your own inner beauty when you look in the mirror and at your girlfriends, and not let what others say about you affect you; but I know that won’t be easy.

Then I went to the MOTHERHOOD tent. A young woman of 22 with 7-month-old twins and a three year old at home who she loved very much, told us weeping that she was overwhelmed and didn’t think she ever was ‘enough’ for her babies! She wanted to know if we grandmother and great grandmother types had ever felt that way. We all assured her YES! And suggested ways she could ask for help when she needs it.

So Anne, I heard these RED TENT CEREMONIES are being held by and for women all over the world to bring women of all ages together. I am sorry I cannot bring you to one, yet. I still vision the day that maybe I will.

May your journey to woman hood be a smooth and glittering one, with lots of support from your “girl-friends” and women elders along the way. I love you.

Invisible Grandma PAT

Pat Hanson Promotes Aging Positively!

The senior page in our local newspaper The Monterey County Herald wrote a grrreat piece on what I do and will continue to thanks to support like this and from all of you! A link to read the entire article is in the ABOUT ME section.

Jane Fonda as Invisible Grandparent!

Jane Fonda latest movie “Peace Love and Mis-Understanding,” made me cry: my criteria for a good movie. Aging hippie flower-child aptly named Jane Fonda, sporting a long curly grey streaked wig, is surprised by a visit to her Woodstock farm by her 40-something stuffy NYC attorney daughter (Catherine Keener) and her teenage children. For reasons soon to emerge, this estranged mother hasn’t spoken to or seen them in 20 years. I realized she is an invisible grandparent too!
Jane, aptly named Grace, lives in Woodstock and is the earth mother, spiritual guide to a lot of weirdo’s who show up throughout: naked men at breakfast, peace demonstrators, musicians, some of whom were of course former lovers, women drumming and chanting to the full-moon, etc.
INSERT PHOTO
While the character arcs were a bit swift: nerdy virgin teenage son gets his first kiss from a local barrista, his politically correct vegetarian daughter falls for the all-too-cute son of the local butcher and comes to realize killing for food can have a purpose; it’s Grace’s push for reconciliation of the mother/daughter conflict that led to the estrangement that got to me. The close-ups of Jane’s wrinkled face (she’s 74!) and the backstory shown in photo’s, as the unplugging of daughter Catherine’s stuffed feelings occurs, make the emotion palpable. Fittingly the public screening of grandson’s movie is titled ‘Love in Woodstock.’ Love is what’s been withheld, and love is what’s beneath everything: and even after all these years of hiding it, it can be fun, Go!

Happy Mother’s Day!

“Mother’s hold their children’s hands for a little while, but they hold their hearts forever” was the quote on the program in church this morning. I got misty-eyed as I do every week when the children come in to sit in front of the choir. Forget about wondering what my grandaughter looks like or whether she was getting any spiritual upbringing at all; I wondered, hoped and knew in my heart that all grandmother’s hold the love for their kids and grandkids involuntarily, deep in their hearts. Only  we Invisible Grandparents are challenged to do it to even greater levels!

My blessings to all of us out there invisible or not. May we all fill our waking moments with as much love, positivity and wonderful experiences as possible … and keep The Invisible String (as in Patricia Karst’s lovely book) alive!

Little Squeeze, Big Squeeze

BLOG – Little Squeeze/Big Squeeze  – April 22, 2012

The artist/author of a great book I’ve just been gifted, Erin, Lee Gafill, tells of a day she’d taken her six year old nephew for a walk on the beach and as they came back:

‘’We saw a lone seal slide out of a wave onto the beach and wiggle back into the surf again. Overhead five hawks twirled. We stood for a while and watched the seal moving in and out of the water, and watched the light hit the black rocks wet with spray and the dark clouds moving in.

‘Race you,’ William said as we turned to go, for real this time. He gave me a ten second lead but beat me back to where I’d left my shoes anyway. I’m sure he thought I was letting him win. Then he put his hand in mine and gave it a little squeeze.

This has been a year of the big squeeze for so many of us  – so many things have fallen apart and are (still) falling apart. But it is the little squeeze that will redeem everything, I think. A little hand reaching up to a big hand. A little trust, a lot of love, pancakes for breakfast, and Sunday night dinner with my family.”(p. 167 DRINKING FROM A COLD SPRING: A LITTLE BOOK OF HOPE © 2009 www.26LetterPress.com)

Well whether we have a little hand reaching up to squeeze ours in these ‘tremblin’ times,’ three years from when that was written, whether they be about the economy, personal loss, the peace that’s not on the planet yet, or what-ever; may we all imagine a squeeze that passes on “what in our bones we know to be true’ … to younger generations. They need to listen to our years of experience, which may not, but most likely has, led to more wisdom.  Onward, let’s begin to pass on the baton with more than a little bit of hope.

,

Happy Resurrection Day!

April 9, 2012

Dear Anne and Carter:

Yesterday was Easter, and my eyes teared up as they do most weeks, as I watched the children file into our ‘rockin’ Gospel church’ (www.innerlightministries.com). Not too many people had on ‘Easter bonnets’ as I did. But as that tune of a very old song went came to mind  “ … with all the frills upon it … dah-dah-duh-do-to … as we walk down the Ave-a-nue, Fifth Ave-nue … in the Easter … Pah-rade,” I remembered what a big annual holiday that was when I was your age. Every year my mother used to sew three matching Easter outfits for my sisters and I. Who knows where she got the matching hats.

And of course, the Easter bunny always came leaving huge baskets of marshmallow chickadees, jelly beans and chocolate bunnies. He (never she) had hidden all kinds of eggs that we had spent hours dyeing and decorating the weeks before. It was great fun, as was the family meal with cousins and aunts and uncles: usually ham and scalloped potatoes.

Yes, we knew that this holiday was about that famous figure Jesus Christ, who had been hung on a huge cross to die the Friday before, and mysteriously arose alive from behind a rock that blocked a cave, on Easter morning; but I didn’t really ‘get it’ back then.

Today I was just sad that I have absolutely no idea of whether or how either of you know ‘the true meaning of Easter,’ or even know what God is. Of course I want you to have the fun of the Easter egg hunts, and eat all the candy and ham and yams you like: but deep down I wonder if you are being raised with any sense of spirituality or religion. I guess I will have to just imagine that you are; and hope that you will come to understand this powerful force and come to your own understanding of the meaning of life, someday.

In my chosen ‘new thought’ religion, my minister prefers to call Easter “Resurrection Day.” After our now world famous Carnegie Hall Choir belted out a song written by her partner and choir director “Resurrect me lord … Heal me of my old ways, oh lord, Resurrect me, lord… heal me of my own ways.’ (www.valeriejoifiddmont.com) … Our minister went on to give us a new take on fundamental Christianity. She asked us to think of Easter as a time of renewal, a time not only when one widely followed healer ‘died for our sins to save us,’ but more of a time when we are reminded of that Christ presence within us. Renewal means we die to old habits keeping us from being all that we can be. Reverend Deborah told her audience of 500+ and hundreds of others that streamed it live on the internet, that the Easter story is a reminder that this spirit, the one that some call Jesus Christ, is within us and cannot be killed. It’s just waiting for its wonders to be revealed!

Anne and Carter, this is all too complex for me to explain to you right now, this way, in letters Please just know this Invisible Grandma is wishing she could be there year after year for celebrations of this kind. I send you unseen, all the love and guidance you will need as you grow up. I hope you don’t develop too many bad habits in need of resurrection.  As your invisible grandma I am following your path as you begin to understand and practice whatever religion you may choose (or not). Blessings to you.

Yes, I love you. And yes, I believe there is a god that loves you too!

Happy Easter! And Happy Resurrection Day.

Happy Birthday to Me! A-gain …

March 1st 2012 and I’m si …six … six-tee seven! How’d that happen? Here’s how, according to Mike Dooley in my favorite all time set of daily affirmations. Go to www.tut.com … I sent you.
PAT

PS If you want to see how I celebrate most years, I’ve added a peek at 9 years ago: 58 and My Best Birthday Ever in the ABOUT ME section on writing … and yes there’s been better’n that sensuous day since then.

3-1-12:

Happy Birrrrthday to Youuuu,
Happy Birrrrthday to Youuuu,
Happy Birrrrthday Dear Patricia,
Happy Birrrrthday to Youuuu!

A few years back, not so long ago, heaven and earth erupted into a major celebration with the news of your impending adventure into this very time and space. You see, someone like Patricia Hanson doesn’t come along all that often. In fact, there’s never been a single one like you, nor is there ever ANY possibility that another will come again. You’re an Angel among us. Someone, whose eyes see what no others will EVER see, whose ears hear what no others will EVER hear, and whose perspective and feelings will NEVER, ever be duplicated. Without YOU, the Universe, and ALL THAT IS, would be sadly less than it is.

Quite simply:

You’re the kind of person, Patricia,
Who’s hard to forget,
A one-in-a-million
To the people you’ve met.
Your friends are as varied
As the places you go,
And they all want to tell you
In case you don’t know:
That you make a big difference
In the lives that you touch,
By taking so little
And giving so much!

Patricia, you are so AWESOME! For your birthday, friends and angels from every corner of the Universe, including buddies you didn’t know you had, will be with you to wish you the HAPPIEST of days and an exciting new year in time and space. You won’t be alone!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Patricia!

Mike Dooley
Orlando, Florida, USA

PS – Patricia, this is going to be YOUR year!!

© TUT ®


Thoughts become things… choose the good ones! ®
© www.tut.com ®

Virtual Christmas Giving

Christmastime is hard on Invisible Grandparents, especially those of us who are experiencing hard times due to the economy. Please accept my story of Virtual Christmas Giving (Forthcoming in a Harlequin Press anthology 2012) of how our family transcended the commercialism of the holiday season as my gift to you. May your season be wonder-filled! Pat 12_7_11

VIRTUAL CHRISTMAS GIVING: A true story of Christmas 1996 and 2011
(c) Pat Hanson

I prefer Halloween to Christmas.  You have an excuse for putting on a mask, can dress up any way you’d like, and pretend.  Soon after, when retailers start luring us with Christmas decorations, muz-ac everywhere plays carols and television repeats all those soppy movies … I get depressed.  Some Christmases are more difficult than others, but one that could have been a catastrophe, transformed forever how our family celebrates December 25th.

In 1996, the day before the office Christmas party, my boss called me in to his office and gave me 30 days notice. Since summer, I’d been the sole support of my husband and teenage stepson, after his plumbing business tanked. Credit cards at their limit, stretched by one income instead of two to cover the expenses of three; we’d done no Christmas shopping and hadn’t even bought a tree.  I didn’t know how I would be able to numb myself with holiday cheer and forget the reality of my financial situation. Tears ran down my cheek on the way home as the announcer proclaimed six shopping days left and the shrill voices of the
Chipmunks sang ‘Christmas, Christmas time is here, time to sing, time for cheer.’

Somehow that week, out of the depths of my despair, I got an idea. We’d have a ‘Virtual Christmas.’  We’d each find and wrap up pictures of five gifts we would have been thoughtful and generous enough to buy, had there been money to put into circulation!  And central to this plan was that one of the virtual gifts had to be intangible, like a quality within you’d like the other to have.

Three days before Christmas I hid the stockings and we decorated our ficus plant with lights. We each looked through catalogues, magazines and our hearts to choose five replica presents for one another, and place them under the ‘tree.’ In addition to the gifts of not only the car, the driver’s license, the baggy sweatshirt and pants, and guitar lessons I’d give to my stepson; was a fifth gift of “confidence in his own talent” that I wrote on a certificate for a course in entrepreneurship for teenagers, so he could market the artistic skill so evident in his cartoons.  He really got into it. He gave me concert tickets to Sting and Gloria Estefan, a color printer for my computer, and some Laurel Burch earrings all wrapped in comics from the Sunday paper. This teenager’s conceptual gift to his stepmom was a sign that said ‘No Speed Limit!’
Besides a white Porsche, Larry gifted me with a vacation in Hawaii, a new PowerBook, a set of Cutco knives, and a stud from the pages of Playgirl (for the few times our batteries are out of synch, he wrote). His conceptual gift to me on a 3×5 card: I give you the magic sword to conquer your Boogie Man, permission to be gentle with yourself, and license to proceed full steam ahead with realization of your writing dreams! For my beloved, I wrapped up the picture of a nose-hair tweezers from the Hammecker Schlemmer catalogue. He’d get a car too, a Dodge Viper like the one we saw the weekend we met, plus a leather jacket, more memory for his computer and a video camera so he could practice at his dream career: film maker. For his virtual gift I inscribed words on a magnifying glass that mirrored utter and absolute belief in himself and the unlimited power
of his creativity.  On Christmas morning, looking at his face as he stared out at the sunrise with tears in his eyes, I silently sent him that missing one percent of faith that would help us all actualize our dreams.

The virtual Christmas presents worked. It’s amazing how a concept once put in the mind, can manifest.  One year later we’d moved and my stepson was registered for a course on Art Presentation at the local community college. My husband was finishing the college degree he’d left 31 years prior.  His belief in himself prompted a mid-life career shift to multi-media instructional technology. I’d successfully hoisted that sword to my writing fears, was studying screenwriting and had published some freelance non-fiction. The three of us found a way to love and give, and not worry about costs or returns.  I offer it now fifteen years later, with an economy in even deeper trouble than I was back then. May our model for  help your families, as it did ours, feel the spirit of giving that is embodied in
the mysterious figure who’s birthday we sometimes forget in the rush of those few weeks at the end of every  year. May it  help you feel the love, abundance and warmth of the present moment with each other on December 25th and all days.

This season one of the things I am most grateful for is that my 61-year-old husband and significant equal who received his 99th unemployment check last fall after that career in technology, is gainfully employed! We’ve practiced many a Virtual Christmas since then. The bubble of actual gift giving seems to have been permanently burst for us. Imagine: if more American families practiced Virtual Christmas, perhaps the travesty that trampled, killed and injured innocent Wal-Mart employees on that horrendous ‘Black Friday’ a few years ago might have been prevented.  Ours is a ridiculously consumptive society,especially when the real meaning of this holiday season is spiritual.

Now in ‘twenty-eleven’ with the highest rate of foreclosures in history upon us,
a still staggering national unemployment rate, major plant and retail closings, a still unstable stock market, gas prices out of control, and with escalating credit card debt the bankruptcy rate the highest in the five years; it is time for more of us to let go of the commercialism that underlies this holiday season. The Virtual conceptual gift I’d give everyone right now, would be a perspective that helps
him/her see the bigger picture.  We in dire financial straights need to realize this is not all about us. Guilt, the gift that keeps on giving, be gone! We need eyes that can see things in a way that helps us transcend our struggles to survive, with our heads held high.  Our individual consumer debt is but a small mirror of the twelve trillion dollar debt our own government amassed in the past ten years, (we owe China 8 billion dollars), a large part of it for wars most of the world agreed shouldn’t have happened.

I would virtually gift us a view of the human condition that goes beyond one’s worth being determined by work, by your j-o-b.  I’d bless us with divine insight as to how the preciousness of each moment must be cherished. I’d gift us all with the capacity to see the abundance around us everywhere. I’d have us each yell ‘thank you!’ as I do every day from Route One of that wide Monterey Bay, or from wherever we are, for the gift of sight alone. My conceptual Virtual Gift this year would show us how serving others (there are always those in more need) is a two way street. Giving in some way, to some source no matter how small, can start a mobius strip of return.

I’d wrap up the concept that love and forgiveness matter, and little else does. How hugs are more important than deadlines. How breathing deeply and sitting still is more essential than driving fast or shopping or even eating a lot. It is the power of positive intention that counts. Make your Holidays this season ‘virtual’
and they can still be ‘merry’!

What is this ITCHING about?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

At 66, ever grateful to have a doctor and visits that are paid for by Medicare, I’ve had a medical mystery for six months that neither my lovely, also sixty-something family practice doctor, nor my dermatologist can label anything but eczema (which means itch!), nor make go a-way.

My skin itches.  Sometimes tiny little red bites appear on my back where I can’t reach them, nor can my husband see them. At others, tiny patches resembling the blisters of poison oak appear: on my left foot, my right leg, my wrist, above my left elbow. Even my scalp itches some of the time. When I’m busy during the day I don’t notice, but night-time, bed-time, it’s worse.

I’ve done everything from folk remedies, to over the counter and prescription creams, soaked in baths of Epsom salts and  colloidal oatmeal  for close to six months to no avail. The symptoms get relieved temporarily, the rashes almost disappear, but I still see traces of them and feel them under my skin.  Allergic reaction to medications you say? First we dropped the Chinese herbs. No difference.  I’ve been on blood pressure medications for more than a year my doctor doesn’t want me to mess with.

Doctor’s aside, somehow, I have to search for the metaphor in this manifestation of mind/body symptoms.

Stress? Moi? Of course. Too much time on my hands, too little must-do-today-to-get-paid work for money? Hell of course. But I say it’s deeper than that. This bubbling under my skin that I feel, and can see in the mirror when I look close has got to be systemic. As in psychologically so.

“What am I just itching to get done?”

That’s an easy answer: not one, but three or four un-finished  books in the bowels of             this computer are just yearning to be shat out. Dozens of blogs written but still in my             computer and not up on my website for others to see, because of some weird fear of             exposure? That’s part of it.

“What is making  my skin crawl?”

Another war in the Middle East? Earthquakes & Tsunami’s? Another million fore-            closures this year? Budget cuts crippling education, health, and services for the poorwhile the rich get richer and control FOX media where the poor get their news? No wonder a “news fast,” i.e. refraining from reading, watching or listening to the  news is one of Andrew Weil’s steps in 8 Weeks to Optimum Health.

Bigger yet is my lifelong dream of “my voice being heard and seen in palpable terms”  before I die.  Yet now that I’m so close, and finally have the skills and the time I’ve been making choices about how I’m using my time that are not helping.

Writing is a solitary journey. And the quiet of solitude is my final frontier. Stillness, sought after and run from, rarely occurs in my life. Sitting at my window seat the other day, I cried for the wonder in being right there, right then. The poignancy of that moment that prompted those tears was partly because it had been so long since I’d sat down and been right there.

Yesterday my friend Suviro, in response to my anxt, used an old Stephen Levine trick to get me to focus on what’s important. “If you have 12 hours to live Pat, how would you want to spend them?”

My answer came easily: “Being with those I love. Just being with them.”

The 9 page resume and the books or words I leave behind, didn’t matter one iota. Yet she has the financial luxury to do beautiful art projects that express her beauty and creativity … I do not, I reminded her.

“Don’t let an adding machine be your epitaph,” she told me. “Be grateful for what you Do have and breathe. Focus. Don’t run ahead. Breathe. Does this all have to be done today? No? Sit then. Go be still and see what happens!”

It was then remembered some other questions thought of by my (also paid for by Medicare) talk therapist:

“Might you be crawling out of your skin?”

“What are you looking to shed, leave behind?

Perhaps a new me is emerging from the shell of those fragmented but wonderful experiences I’ve created all my life and want to share with the world. That new me is not likely to look or sound too much different, but I sure hope that inner peace I seek will become more palpable, even to me.

“Peace Pat … Calm Abiding,” is what my NY Jewish Buddhist Therapist wished me.

Calm Abiding.

CALM

ABIDING.

If not now when, if not me who?

A Dream: Who’s Baby?

Friday, February 18, 2011

I had long drawn out dream just before dawn this morning. I’d been walking the halls of a huge old mansion, opening doors and looking under tables and beds, on shelves for my ‘stuff’’ that I’d left somewhere. It took hours. I saw other people’s sleeping bags, suitcases, piles of books, but nothing that was mine, that had my name on it. I was wandering around quite desperate, when all of a sudden I was flat on my back on a bed or guerney.  A nurse put a newborn baby on my chest, as if I had been in labor and delivered it! I looked down at it’s tiny head, worried I wouldn’t now how to hold it, but I embraced him (I don’t know how but I knew it was a boy), with love.

As I sipped my morning coffee and glanced at the newspaper, I realized that today is Carter’s eleventh birthday! Perhaps it was Lily who was in labor that I hadn’t even felt. Nah, come on Pat. Most dream analyzers tell you to see yourself in every part of a dream. The lost luggage is your lost writings, nothing with your name on it, how obvious can you be? The baby that you don’t know how to care for? Your writing, quiet self.

Perhaps this is a sign to get on with the Invisible Grandparent book, the baby being that project which I’ve pushed out of mind for a couple of months, realizing how incomplete it is.

Time to make Carter’s birthday card & keep doing what you’re doing. Or do a little more, Pat.

See Letter to Carter “Eleven is Huge!”

Happy Birthday! 11 is Huge!

February 18, 2011

Dear Carter …  Happy Happy Birthday Ba-a-aby!

How great to talk to you on your birthday!  As you can see from the collage birthday card I mailed … the theme is “Eleven is Huge!” What I meant is that your teenage years are just around the corner, and your years as a ‘little kid’ are definitely behind you. I hope you had a great day February 18th.  I didn’t really know what to say, nor how to say who I was. You just know me as California Pat.

Your card is a certificate for a trip to California ‘redeemable’ at some future time and date, that your parents agree on. I highly suggest winter vacation. Right now in February as it only goes down to the 40’s at night, and I had a long beach-walk in the sun today. It was 55degrees outside. Great skiing in the mountains if we drive there when there isn’t a storm!

I’m glad you at least said you’d keep in mind my idea of giving your mom some sort of card or present on your birthdays, for all the ‘work’ she did bringing you into the world that day in 2000 and since. She’s been keeping me in touch with your progress I hear school’s better this year … whew! But I heard you’ve been having some “anger issues” with your 7 year old brother, that got so ‘bad’ that you got grounded and weren’t able to go to Baltimore with your Grandma. That must’ve felt AWFUL!

I am so sorry things got out of hand. I know how difficult it is sometimes especially for boys to get along, especially sharing a tiny bedroom … I sure hope there is some other way (pounding pillows? taking a long run or bike ride? Screaming it out in a dark closet somewhere safe?) that you can still express your feelings and get along.

So be WELL Carter, were we closer, I’d’ve loved to be there for one of the two parties I hear your amazing mom organized.

Love,

California ‘Grandma Pat’

Amplified!

I’ve been told by two ex-husbands and several friends that I have a ‘broken listener.’ What they were referring to was my uncanny but annoying ability to talk over them and finish their sentences while they were speaking.  This was a bad habit I developed growing up in a Saturday Night Live New Jersey ‘Loud Family.’ Anything to be heard.

That was years ago before I’d turned sixty and the delicate membranes in my eardrums started to wear out. Recently, whenever I tried to meditate, the sounds of silence were a cacophony of chimes ringing in my ears. I took the quiz in a four page ad in the paper and answered ‘YES’ to four or more questions like:

Do people seem to mumble or speak softer than they used to?

Do you sometimes miss key words in a sentence or frequently have to ask people to repeat themselves?

Do you often need to turn up the volume on the tv or radio? (Heck, I’d been using closed caption for years).

Do you find it difficult to hear the doorbell, the alarm clock, the timer on the stove ring?

It had escalated to the point that my screen writing teacher wrote me a note on a script once “Do yourself a favor Pat and get yourself a hearing aid.” I hadn’t gone to too many rock concerts or worn a walk-man and earbuds in my early years, but me, going deaf? How could that be?

Two years ago I took the “free” hearing test in that little metal cubicle next to  the pharmacy at CostCo and failed of course. Their hearing aids were ‘only’ $2500, and the one’s my friend’s without unemployed husbands had, cost $5-6000. Out of the question in these tough times.

Then I heard about The International Lions Club program ‘Ear of the Lion ’ http://www.md4lions.org/projects/earofthelion.html. I signed up immediately to qualify as low-income and send them a certified test paid for by my newest blessing: Medicare. Just last week my ears were fitted for an Otican/Agil state of the art hearing aid, that was recycled probably by some wise beneficiary or because someone else had traded up from the $6000 model to the newest one that is the world’s smallest wireless headset.  It connects to cell phones, land lines, computers, and Bluetooth. Yikes, what has this world come to? I have no desire to be that wired.

Today as I write this my fingers on the keys sound like a piano without the music. Yes, I no longer need close captioned for 90% of TV and movies and discussions in classrooms, and small groups are far clearer. But I can hear my husband next to me masticating oatmeal, forget it when it’s chips! My own chewing is a roar between my ears. The heater in our government issue house sounds like a windstorm, and I never noticed how often the refrigerator came on and off.

When I write a ball point pen sounds much better than a scratchy Roll-a-ball point as it moves on the page. As I walk across the rug in our bedroom, I notice that boards creak under my feet. I never once heard the baby in the apartment next door for 18 months, and now I can hear his mom singing the ‘open your mouth, and close your eyes …’ tune while feeding him. I took a walk on the beach and could almost hear the seagulls wings flapping, and the ocean really does roar.

Oh my god and my car! A 1998 Avalon, state of the art 12 years ago. sounds windy as heck, the tires rolling beneath its wheels amplified. It’s excellent stereo sounds like the symphony is in the next room, even with the volume at much lower level. This is a lot like the first time I got stoned!

Life amplified is amazing! But how much is too much? I now know what they mean when they talk about noise pollution. Perhaps much of the extraneous noise I’d tuned out as I aged was meant not to be heard. Like three screaming children running round and round the rows of vegetable in the supermarket. Like the woman tapping her plate with a fork at the next table during a delicious lunch overlooking the ocean at Ventana. I can’t imagine what it would be like to walk the streets of New York city.

My audiologist taught me how to turn the volume down and that helped.

When I come home everyday the first thing I usually do is take off my earrings. Now I can’t wait to get home, remove my hearing aid, and bless the quiet in my home.

I could go on and on, but you get the point: I’m very glad to be in control of the volume button. But I’m not so sure anymore that hearing loss is a bad thing. It may be one of the blessings of old age in this fast-paced society. Perhaps sitting with someone face to face to have a focused conversation is the way it’s supposed to be. Having the option to choose silence is becoming more and more attractive.

In conclusion, with so many wearing those i-pods everywhere, the only thing I can say is: if you have the money, invest in audiology!

Do I Need an Optarectomy?

What’s that? An operation that blocks someone from seeing the world through their own asshole. I need one right now.  Another word for that view might be depression. Depression, the kind-of want to stay in bed all day, covers piled high, and not DO anything.  The kind that makes your skin crawl and eyes tear to look at headlines of homicides and unemployed masses and the struggles of aging seniors, and know deep inside why Andrew Weil puts letting go of listening to the news on his list of top Seven Secrets to Good Health. Depression that pollutes past delusional dreams of publishing grandeur with the reality of doing just that, and a new-found humility and reticence to be so public about my life; combined with the not-knowing how to fictionalize it or anything. Creative non-fiction personal essay has been my genre.

Anti-dote? Not surgery, would that it could be that easy. Perhaps medication, but I’m reassessing whether that ‘better living through chemistry’ thing is for me. Meditation might help, if I practiced it regularly, or took another 10 day stint of Vipassana.

No, the true elixer is gratitude. Heartfelt surrender to the good in my life: the sunshine and 55 degree temperatures when the rest of the country is piled high with snow. Shouting ‘thank you!’ outloud when I walk on beaches like these within two miles of my house. Deep down appreciation for all the loves I’ve enjoyed and still have. Thankfulness that this aging body at almost 66 has only had a few natural symptoms of its decline: hearing loss that’s correctable, vision macularly degenerated but held at bay by advanced scientific injections paid for by Medicare and AARP’s United Health Care Supplemental. How bad is that?

Let go Pat. Continue to live your life as you love it. Fake it gracefully, temporarily if need be. That’s what you need, a gratitude list, not an operation! This too shall pass.

Existential Crisis Abated? Four’s a Charm?

Could four be the Charm!

After whining to my writing group about my existential writing crisis, I got home yesterday to this response to my 4th query to Untreed Reads Publishing. They get 50% of sales and help with cover, layout, proofreading and promotion. Could I be looking at a contract soon? Jury’s still out. I thanked her immensely and said I’d be patient. I’d better get on with those interviews and ‘let the book write me.’ There a few more chapters to complete. But oh, how a few hopeful words can change your mood!ba

Hi, Pat,

So nice to hear from you. How impressive—the synopsis of your story, your accomplishments, your media savvy, and your commitment and energy to your projects.

I am forwarding your email to Jay Hartman, our Editor-in-Chief, and resident editorial, literary, and technology GURU. He is the one who makes the final decisions on submissions.

We’ve had so many submissions that it is taking about 60 days (sometimes longer, sometimes shorter) for him to reply with a yay or nay. I’ll ask him to please move this up the list.

We’ll reply soon.

Thanks for remembering us and for exploring publishing with us!

K.D.

Existential Crisis #564

January 20, 2011

Existential Crisis # 564 in a lifetime of messages from the universe. Three rejections from the stellar book proposal for Invisible Grandparent that I worked so hard to ‘push out’ this spring. Three top selling East Coast based agents saying virtually the same thing.

Back in July, “you’ve got an extremely interesting background and the writing ability and marketing mindset to build an audience for this project and book,” but I pass until you continue ‘Going Public’ with your message of help, community-building, writing, and that you see what the range of stories, strategies, issues are and how you could be a leading voice, inspiration, healer, guide.”

Then in November: “Great concept, but I’m not seeing this as a commercially viable project so will step aside,” and just Monday: “a heart-wrenching tale and I agree is one shared by numerous other grandparents.  But I am very sorry to report that despite your good proposal about audience and marketing, I am not all confident about being able to SELL your book in this grim and quickly changing publishing market.”

That day the very next e-mail I got was one that spouts some surprizingly astute daily affirmations, and it read … “Persistence, Patricia, is not about knocking on one door… until the dang thing finally opens.

It’s about knocking on all of them.

Knock, knock –

The Universe  Daily Meditation: 1_17_11

Thoughts become things… choose the good ones! ®

© www.tut.com ®


Coincidence? I don’t think so. However, the truth is that recently I’ve gotten profoundly tired of knocking on doors. Of being ‘driven’ by delusions of grandeur that include fame and fortune and going on Oprah to promote ‘my way’ of healing a family secret that isn’t nearly ‘done yet.’  Last night I did a workshop on Crones Comedy for an audience of 16, not 300 as I had in the past, and my stand-up didn’t exactly ‘bomb,’ but the hugs and thank you’s I got afterwards, were for facilitating in small groups of three, ways we could all lighten up about the least funny things we face aging. That didn’t come from me, it came from them.

So what’s the existential crisis? Though I miss her, that manic Pat who has six plates spinning simultaneously has to go. That Pat doesn’t get to give full attention to anyone or anybody when she works that way. And money as a carrot is a sure way to make certain that the bottom falls out, as it has done with the economy in these past few years.

No, I think these rejections are a clarion call to a different way of writing for me. A different way of sharing my talents with the universe. Perhaps it’s doing more of what I do well: focusing on others and promoting them. Or perhaps a shift is happening in how I write and work with people. Perhaps I start with the not knowing. Staying in the uncertainty. Listening more to others. Doing less. Being still more. Yes, once again I get to admit that stillness is my final frontier.

I’ve done five interviews with other invisible grandparents, and each has informed me. Finding out how others handle and/or heal that separation has been instructive. Charlotte Kasl, herself a celebrated but certainly not ‘rich’ writer, was the most recent. She told me “I was on to something, but to continue the interviews, and “let the book write me.”

Wow, that’s something I’ve not thought of or done before. Up til now, I’ve declared myself a not-fiction writer, a compiler of personal essays with characters from my own life, that I’ve lived as if it were a screenplay. Perhaps stepping aside from me, a new form of working, of not do, will come into Being.

Stay tuned.

Destroy those demons of doubt! Focus on Love

Tuesday January 11th 2011

When I pulled myself out of our warm bed, shaking away dreams of Rensselaerville where some visionary/historic project was going on that I was not part of, I found Larry and gave him one of those fuzzy non-verbal bathrobe to bathrobe wordless first-thing-in-the-morning hugs. I honored him for getting up to the tingle of his i-phone at 6:05 a.m. This going back to work 8-5 at our age ain’t easy. In bed over oatmeal and coffee, I told him of my recent malaise, feeling weird, weak, not confident. His response? Besides the eye to eye forehead to forehead look of love, he said to change the focus; find something to feel good about.

Then we picked up the paper and noticed today is 1-11-11. Our love number. The concept of two whole individuals choosing to engage their energies for life, contributing to their powers together and apart, equals power to the eleventh degree: elevenfold. We first shared it in our wedding. Hand to my heart, I realized that’s the novel I should be writing, and doing wry stand-up about. Love! Ours in creative not-fiction form.

Onward Pat! Get your head out of the bucket of those all too familiar doubt and dismay demons. Write from your heart Larry said, don’t worry whether it’s too late or too … too … (you fill in the blanks) to make money. DO IT! And I just did and I feel better.

Stillness, My Final Fronteir ..still

Thursday January 5th 2011

After three days of writing an article on deadline for Crone, a new magazine on women of ‘age,’ brushing off exhaustion, I decided to start the New Year by keeping my resolution to NOT check e-mail til I’d written at least one blog or letter for Invisible Grandparent. That was 2 ½ hours ago.

Meanwhile, I couldn’t find my handwritten instructions as to how to put up a blog. So liking the silence, I found myself reading about meditation, and the difficulty of being still, and letting creativity flow from the voices one can find after numbing the Western monkey-mind chatter. Simple: just focus on the breath Pat, and ‘JUST’ let the thoughts come and go.

I sat upright on the carpeted stairs in the sunlight, reading about, not actually ‘doing’ meditation, and an hour passed. Though the numbers said I’d read about 20 pages, I think I fell asleep.

Ordinary Magic: Everyday Life as Spiritual Path a book given to me by a dear friend for Christmas, had an introduction that hit home. All of the big boy and girl authors: Thich Nhat Hanh, Ram Dass, Stephen Levine, Pema Chodron, Natalie Goldberg, Deena Metzger … said ‘all’ we need to do is find that ‘still small voice within.’  But when I do that, I can’t find it, all I hear is a cacophony of ringing in my ears! This time it put me to sleep.

Who am I kidding? It was years six years ago I challenged myself to Ten Days at Meditation Boot Camp and learned Vipassana at a Buddhist retreat. One of the hardest things I’ve ever done. And I was quite peaceful for a time afterwards. But keep it up? Not yet. Stillness may be my final frontier, still. May the illusive concept of peace of mind get closer and closer … now there’s a New Years Resolution that’s a bit more accurate for me.

Facebook isn’t always fun!

I spent about and hour wandering around Facebook, answering a message from someone I can’t even remember what about already, looking at some author profiles, specifically not checking my own or planning exactly what pictures and thoughts I’d like to put up there. Then I found myself checking the page for the mother of the 8 year old granddaughter I haven’t seen in four years because of her. Trust me, I did not ask to ‘friend her,’ to see her more extensive pages. It would’ve been too painful at this point. The photo of Anne with her two sisters on Halloween was enough to stop me in my tracks. It makes me cry right now … she’s tall and lanky, and was wearing her bright natural blonde hair in two pony tails on top of her head, had on a full mask, and a gray polyester grass skirt over her hips in a vampy skeleton costume. Cute, but certainly ‘no cigar’ for me.

Tears in my eyes, I wondered is what she thinks about. How school is for her. Do the words magic, or health, or god or love ever come out from those lips? If so what might she say? What’re her favorite things to do. Her least? What would she be teaching me about if I were to see her regularly?

The list goes on and on, but right now I give myself full permission to surrender to the separation, not quite ready to take steps to heal it, would that I could.

Sadness prevails. I hope ‘this too will pass.’



Don’t Forget Virtual Christmas Giving

December 13, 2010

Saturday as was looking for the Christmas lights we adorn the garage door with, I came across a big white bag that had a surprise inside it that made me cry. I don’t remember when I bought this beautiful doll at a yard sale, thinking I’d save it for Anne, thinking it looked like her, but it has to be more than four years ago.

Gulp, choke back the tears and the anger Pat. Turn them into only disappointment if you can’t make them go away … let it go. But heck I think, Christmas’s are hard for everyone. My sister just called choking back tears. She broke up with her boyfriend of 15 years almost two years ago. Alone for the holidays, is almost as nostalgic as home for the holidays. Especially to those who’ve lost some one … to illness, death or war. And unfortunately in our Consumptive Culture, Christmas is hard for those with limited incomes. The last two years with Larry unemployed, we had Virtual Christmases …. we literally gave no gifts to each other, not even the wrapped replica gifts I wrote about in 1996, we just gratefully spent the money our parents still had the wherewithal to send us, on a nice quiet dinner to ourselves, and probably things we needed, like shoes.

So to all of you out there in these ‘tremblin’ times,’ may peace of mind and good will fill your hearts. To the others who can afford fancy gifts, thank you for your thoughtfulness to those individuals and organizations that really need your charity.

Blessings of the season to us all.

Rapunsel … you go girl! See TANGLED!

Treat yourself to TANGLED this holiday season. In the theatre, in 3D if you can! It’s 98 minutes of pure scintillating visual fun!
Strongest gutsy-est female protagonist I’ve seen in a Disney movie yet! GO!  I loved the drama, the music and the most expressive animated animals and ruffians I’ve ever seen. Mr. Right, though he’s a dolt at first, isn’t bad either. Kindof reminded me of my firstborn son in his teenage years. Hand-some!

This 50th of Disney’s movies was about going for the light, holding your vision, and never giving up … based on love of course and healing separation. It made my cry: to be good for me a movie has to. As Rapunzel’s wicked mom acts out her fears to extremes, the mother/daughter struggle is handled well, is funny and hits home. Consider me your holiday experience guide. En-joy! PAT

Holidays are Hard for Invisible Grandparents

December 4, 2010

Dear Anne & Carter, no, actually this is for Suzie: Anne’s mother:

Holiday seasons are hard on invisible grandparents! Do you realize that?

Is there room for me, the biological grandmother of your firstborn, in that mind and memory of yours? Oh how I wish that were the case.

I am taking a class at my church, the rockin’ new thought inspirational InnerLightMinistries.com with its 85 member gospel choir in Santa Cruz, where every time I see the children come in, I tear up thinking of Anne. The course taught by Reverend Deborah Johnson herself, is on ‘Healing Family Relationships.’

We had to draw pictures of an issue we’d like healed, then one seeing that done, and write affirmations about the spiritual qualities it would take in me, to accomplish that. Then we had to affirm that for others involved. Here’s what I wrote and have been saying to myself for several weeks:

• I have the patience and acceptance that will help me fully BE with this situation.

• I forgive myself and all others that contribute to this separation.

• I let go of judgment and anger about Suzie, Brian and about myself as a parent.

That’s enough. I truly wish them for you also, what a Christmas gift it would be to reconcile with you. Brian has been back in my life, albeit peripherally, for two years. He walked in to a Thanksgiving in San Diego in 2008 with his brother who had just gotten back from Iraq and said “I’d’ve called mom, but I wanted to see the look on your face and give you a heart attack!”  Always the comic that boy, but I loved him then, and before and after. He’s living in the mountains and is a ski patrol in the winter, and tree cutter in summers. He sounds happy and healthy and can’t be doin’ what he was doing when you split, or he wouldn’t look and sound this good. His call this Thanksgiving was long and sweet. Praise the lord! Thank the goddess … or whatever you believe in.

I hope you are not going too crazy (or building up too much credit card debt) making Christmas wonderful for your three girls. There was an article in the paper today about a book on making your own Christmas gifts: (Make These Toys: 101 Clever Creations Using Everyday Items by Heather Swain) … if I had your address, that’s what I’d send.

Blessings to your entire family,

Invisible Grandma Pat

Let’s hear it for functional families!

Well I didn’t have to cook for three days straight, but I can count on one hand the times I got to sit down and breathe on Thanksgiving Day! The 2.8 year old great grandchild going on six, stole the show, as did his dad’s turkey egg roll appetizers.

I feel so lucky merely to have a family to report to and follow the aging process with. Especially an honestly loving one like Larry’s was. His dad died almost two years ago at 89. His 84 year old mom is a born-to-be-caretaker product of the 50’s, who still prefers to wash dishes in rubber gloves than use a dishwasher; but bless her. A sixty-one year marriage is something I don’t know how to do!

GrGrandma&bookLove and saying it out loud is the Kingsland’s middle name. Let’s hear it for Maxine whose unconditional acceptance of her children remained strong and visible through their variety of lifestyles and marriages. She’s exceptional. It’s hard to count what with all the step children that entered along the way; but she’s had four children, seven grandchildren, and now seven great grandchildren in her direct gene pool, not counting nine non-biological great grand-descendents. Larry’s mom still sends birthday cards with money in them to two of Larry’s brother’s ex-wives, and me Larry’s third wife of 16 years.

Thank you god, for finding me a functional family (well there were some drawbacks to always being ‘nice’ in L’s upbinging), to end my years connected to.

May the blessings of the season rain (or snow) down upon you all.

A Trans Siberian Orchestra gift to Myself!

I probably just destroyed a few more cells in my already damaged ear drums from a rock opera/light show like none I’ve ever seen. As a day after Thanksgiving treat for myself, when I heard they’d be in town only one day, I was able to get one ticket to the Trans Siberian Orchestra in San Diego Sports Arena.

OMG … twitter for Oh-My-God! My son gave me their Christmas Eve and Other Stories CD a few Christmases ago when he was away. I think it was Iraq even. I remember tears streaming down my face as I played it during a long drive home from somewhere, listening to the bellowing deep voice of the narrator talk about angels and orphans and a prince of peace coming down as a star from the night, all to a full orchestra and some of the most fantastic guitar I’ve ever heard. When I thanked him, he said he was just surfing the net and thought I’d like it. Was he ever right.

Well, the Christmas story was just the first third (!) of a rock opera extravaganza and light show that wrapped around to reach out and touch the entire crowd in the arena … plus mind boggling multi-screen videos, and even flaming fire torches from a stage that rose up right in front of the seat I’d managed to get, with the ‘hot’ violinist and guitarist not twenty feet away from me!

All I can say is thank-you god for their talent, the technology that made this possible, and my living long enough to have had this experience! GO my friends, GO!