50 Days to 50 Years: Day 16, A spacious Saturday and the Weiland’s Summer Soiree

16 07 2016

“Time and space – time to be alone, space to move about – these may well become the great scarcities of tomorrow”  — Edwin Way Teale

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The late Mr. Teale must have envisioned my life, as space of time and place are very scarce indeed. So it was good to have a Saturday with no busy agenda—space of time at least; nothing we can do about the physical space at present. So I spent the morning snuggling with my Panda Bubba, knoshing on black seedless grapes, and sipping coffee.

Then it was off to the San Fernando Valley, for Dave and Meegan Weiland’s annual Summer Soirée in Northridge. We have only missed one or two of the Weiland’s parties in the 8 years we have known them; now that we no longer attend the Congregational Church of Northridge, it was a great opportunity to see our old friends from the church!

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Last year’s 2014 Weiland Summer Soiree. Meegan had an accident and broke her finger, but the party still went on! They are such troopers.

Dave and Meegan have been throwing their party for over 20 years, and have a wealth of friends and relatives from across the spectrum of their lives. The usual suspects were there, starting with Rosie, who always does a phenomenal job on the grill! We brought some seasoned chicken to share, and she crisped it up and cooked it to perfection, along with the burgers, hot dogs, and other grill favorites!

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Another Weiland friend (L), Grillmaster Rosie (C), and Vicki Schmidt (R)

Our friend Vicki Schmidt was also hanging out, and enjoying some adult time. Vicki has a special needs son, so any time she can find to be with her friends is a blessing, and it is always a blessing to have her present. Our good friend Bob McNelis was also there, so we had a double dose of fun; and other current and former CCNers like Janette Knudson; Chris, Yumi, and Viggo Mahan; Bruce and Anne Dimock; Fin and Vincent Ortega; Larry, Shirley, Jennifer, and Alison Oya; Pam Davis; Lynette Thompson; and Beckie Cummins.

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Not a Weiland Summer Soiree, but Dave was with us, so it counts!

It was a lower key party than prior years, and we didn’t bring the Bubbas and Bubbette along this time, which everyone was surprised by! That is how hospitable Dave and Meegan are: they love animals, and have been gracious to allow our dogs to be in attendance. During those years when we lived at a place where leaving the dogs at home was a problem, it was a blessing and a help to be able to bring them along.

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2011 Weiland’s Summer Soiree with our sweet Shadow Bubba, who crossed the rainbow bridge later that year.

We hung out way later than we intended, but were so enjoying the lovely hospitality of the Weilands and seeing friends we had not seen in a while.

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I guess when space is given, time takes on a different dimension.





50 Days to 50 Years: Day 17, Craft Burgers at Morrison with Bob McNelis

15 07 2016

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.” – C.S. Lewis

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You’ve heard the phrase, “The family that prays together stays together.” Well I believe, “The friends that sing together become lifelong friends.”

Lynn and I met Bob as part of the worship team at the Congregational Church of Northridge, and we all sang together the better part of the 8 years that we attended. Bob is a mellifluous tenor that I loved harmonizing with. He has an equally delightful laugh; and as you can see, we do that a lot when we get together, and it always serves to brighten my day.

Bob is a gem of a human being. Mostly raised in the South, he has the sensibilities of a southern gentleman. He also has a deeply compassionate heart, and truly cares for people. In a multitude of ways, he has been a true friend to Lynn and me.

Bob is also a talented actor. Brent Spiner, “Data” of Star Trek The Next Generation  is his doppelganger. If Brent’s name was still household, he could probably milk it, especially in this age of social media… but that’s not Bob’s style.

Bob is also a gifted conversationalist. We talk about everything from politics, to pop culture, to books, psychology, to film and television. He is a genuine listener, who truly looks for insight and ideas from others, not just ways to refute your opinion if he feels it is wrong. This makes him a pleasant presence to be around, especially with more bombastic types.

So of course, there could be no way that I could celebrate the people who have shaped and transformed my life without including Bob. And in his always-game-for-an-adventure fashion, he came along for the ride.

Morrison is a fairly new local haunt in Atwater Village, and I just love it. Not only is the food the bomb diggy, but the drinks are top shelf. They have a $6.00 Happy Hour which I have frequented more than a few times; so it seemed the perfect place to spend a Friday afternoon.

For the second day in a row I ordered a Classic Burger with all the fixings (eggs and all), and we shared Cheese Fries with Bacon Jam (Hello!). And it wouldn’t be a visit to Morrison without ordering my favorite Moscow Mule. Bob ordered a Filet Mignon Burger and a diet coke. All types of ironies with that one, but we’ll leave it at that.

We decided to split a Key Lime Pie for dessert. I was expecting a sliver of green with some lime slices and whipped cream. So glad I was disappointed! What we got was a gastronomical delight: a cheesecake consistency surrounded by whipped cream and drizzled with caramel, with a side of vanilla ice cream with a sprig of mint. Morrison now has the reputation not only for great drinks, but great desserts!

Bob started attending another church around the same time we moved on to Montrose, so we don’t see each other as often. But he always reaches out to us and continues to stay in touch. There are so many people who simply allow the drift to happen once the social unit that first formed the friendship is gone.

I appreciate that he honors us as his friends and continues to include us in his life. Thank you, Bob for being a valuable part of our survival.

 

 





50 Days to 50 Years: Day 18, Hill Street Cafe-La Canada-Flintridge with Ginger Wonderling

14 07 2016

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” — Mae West

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Day 18 of 50 Days to 50 Years included a truly tasty lunch at the Hill Street Cafe in La Canada-Flintridge with Ginger Wonderling. I had tried the Hill Street Cafe on Glenoaks in Burbank and found it wanting. But Ginger is a fellow Chicagoan, and knows good food; so when she said the La Canada-Flintridge location had the best burgers in town, I took her word for it. I was not disappointed!

Like Roz Clifton, Ginger is an exceptionally smart and savvy lady Ham (we’re called YLs), who I met through the San Fernando Valley Amateur Radio Club. She was president of the club for a number of years, and stays active on many of the nets. She also works Stage 13 of Baker to Vegas, along with several other SFVARC Hams and spouses. We have great fun keeping the communication flowing during our wild night in the Pahrump desert.

After years as an accountant with 20th Century Fox, she was able to retire and is loving it, taking road trips with her friends, and traveling back to Chicago to visit her kids and grandkids.

I adore Ginger’s moxie and spirit—and as a fellow Leo (we share the same birthday), I relate to her straightforwardness and decisiveness. Ginger doesn’t mince words, and is not a dawdler—she sets a course and goes towards it with great precision. She’s a good example to follow as I move toward mid life.

But about that food: I had a savory Popeye Burger, Rare (is there any other way?), that included Spinach, Mushrooms, and Cheddar, accompanied by some slammin’ Garlic Fries. Ginger had a Bacon Burger, not so rare, and regular fries. Needless to say, I completely devoured mine, and Ginger did a great job of putting a dent in hers.

In between bites, we caught up on life. She has another cross-country adventure planned, and as a road tripper myself, I enjoyed hearing her routes and tips, as well as her recommendations on places to stay.

Ginger used to make jewelry, and she gave me a pre-birthday gift of a beautiful orange bracelet and earrings, because she noted that I looked so great in orange. It was incredibly thoughtful, and I am looking for the perfect outfit to wear it with.20160714_142752





50 Days to 50 Years: Day 19, Hope for the next Generation

13 07 2016

“We’re hiring. Get off that protest line and put an application in. And we’ll put you in your neighborhood, and we will help you resolve some of the problems you’re protesting about.” — Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown

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I do not have any children of my own, but I do have grand nieces and nephews; and I mourn for the world we are making for them. Just looking at our two presidential choices lets you know that we lack integrous leaders who can speak to the tragedies we have been facing, and offer an example for our children to look toward.

Like cream, Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown has risen to the top. With the recent murders of four Dallas police officers, his handling of the ongoing situation, as well as his honest and forthright assessment of the role of police in society, and being a black man in uniform has been refreshing, transforming, and has set a much needed tone in the conversation of police brutality and urban violence.

A New York Times article said, “He was hurting, self-effacing and, as he put it, a little fried. At a news conference on Monday, he spoke about the crisis facing law enforcement, his experience as a black man in Texas, guns and division, and what kept him going — ‘God’s grace and his sweet, tender mercies, just to be quite honest with you.'”

Another refreshing thing: someone who speaks of God and actually means it.

I believe Chief Brown will be a voice in these days of unrest. My prayer is that more leaders like him begin to rise; our nation, and the next generation, desperately needs them.





50 Days to 50 Years: Day 20, Prayer for the World

12 07 2016

“Prayer is not an old woman’s idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

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Found this in a friend’s feed, and it is so powerful. From America to Israel to France, the world has not been a stable, safe or happy place. I do not have words, but I do have prayers; and prayer is what will fuel sound action and proper change. Gandhi knew, many others need to learn; perhaps these times are part of the object lesson.





50 Days to 50 Years: Day 21, The Montrose Church Women’s Coffee at Casa de Clovis

11 07 2016

“This is the power of gathering: it inspires us,
delightfully, to be more hopeful, more joyful,
more thoughtful: in a word, more alive.” — Alice Waters

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Day 21 of 50 Days to 50 Years was another lovely monthly gathering of the Women’s Coffee. This time around we had the pleasure of meeting at the gorgeous home of Clovis in La Canada.

Clovis’ home is lovingly laid out, and you can feel the history and wealth of years coming through the walls. The highlight of her home is the patio with its picturesque landscaping. It feels as though you have stepped out of time!

It was great to see all the usual faces: Jana, Sandy, the Carolyns, Farideh, Becky, and Barbie. I met Anita at the very first Women’s Coffee I attended back in April, and she was as bright and funny as I remembered. Sylvia had returned after a brief absence from the coffees, so it was a pleasure meeting her for the first time.

As usual, the fare was scrumptious—no Vons or Ralph’s bakery among this bunch! Sandy even made Chai donuts from scratch; very delicate, the perfect compliment to coffee, and the other goodies.

Two hours later, the sugar high and coffee buzz was long gone, but the joy of gathering, the feeling of support, and the bond of community remained. This is a great way to start a week, and a defining blessing to lead off my 50 years.





50 Days to 50 Years: Day 22, Talking Careers and Reinvention with Markell Morris

10 07 2016

“Become aware what is in you. Announce it, pronounce it,
produce it and give birth to it.” — Meister Eckhart

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The magic of Twitter. I try to tell those who are searching for work or looking to transition to a different career to get on this social media platform, and start engaging. The 140-character limitation not only sharpens your communication skills, but it refines your voice, and allows people to get past the noise and the memes. Yes, like any social media platform, there are fools, and junk, and people who only wish to waste your time. Some of the nice features on Twitter are the mute and block functions, and the ability to filter using hashtags—so you only see the information you want to see.

Which leads me to one of my Twitter contacts and how a simple tweet turned into a meet up and a future workshop on social media and careers! I first met Markell Morris through my work with CareerCamp Intl (see my asthegirlturns.com website for more info on that). At that time, she was a career counselor with UCLA, and she was a Tuesdays with Transitioners speaker back in 2010. Since then, we have kept up with each other peripherally on Twitter, and she is working on growing her own career coaching business.

Fast forward to 2016, and my recent work with Elizabeth House. Markell saw my tweet about the seminar I was doing that Saturday, and replied to it, asking whether it was a webinar format.

 

From this interaction, we arranged to meet each other and talk about this concept in greater detail. We met at Portos in Downey, and it was a productive and delicious time—love Portos’ food! We are now planning “How to Get Work to Come to You”, a webinar series on using social media and technology to not just look for work, but let those interested in hiring discover and hire you for that work.

From this single meeting, to my work at Communities Digital News, to other opportunities, I can testify to the benefit of allowing yourself to be active on social media in order to position yourself for work. There is a strategy and a manner in which you have to go about this, but it can be successfully done. Once Markell and I have the bones in place, I will be promoting the seminar so that people can learn these strategies and let the work they want find them.

Love serendipity, love networking with like minds, and really love Twitter.