Lighting Up the Flower Way

There  is something very, very special about fresh flowers!



I certainly love fresh flowers, the fragrance just oozes and the colors are so alive and vibrant, they almost do not look real, but they are super real.

Everyone stops by the desk to ….  oh and ah, she’s the special one today!   Anyone who does not like flowers or who is jealous of someone receiving flowers is just too droll for this world.  The act of sending fresh flowers is one of the most romantic and thoughtful things a person can do for another, and it does not matter how often or how rare, it is an act of giving that is in this cruel world, an outstanding act of love and kindness.


Flowers say I love you!


Flowers say, I care about you enough to prove my love to you!


Kissing is pretty special, and flowers are just that, a faraway kiss.


When I think of the flowers I have received in my life I am taken back to vivid memories and smells I have enjoyed over and over again, in my mind.


Flowers, a fresh bouquet of love, are always a surprise and always a most welcome treat.

Beautiful, lovely roses, lilies, sunflowers, gladiolas ….. a gift of flowers is a gift from the heart.











Is such an in between age, not quite an adult and not a little girl anymore, or is that an old way of thinking of age? Aren’t we all every age we have ever been, in small vestiges of our past? Isn’t a seven-year old little one hiding in the shadows, longing for one more piggy back ride, or hug from Mom? And what about that in between age of seventeen, a girl becoming a woman, but not experienced enough to keep from getting hurt?

A Summer born girl graduates from high school at seventeen, ready to assume her own life either by going away to college, getting married far too young, leaving home for a wandering trip around the World or like myself, all three?  Desiring a lifetime of experiences in one year, and wanting to hurry up and become a woman too soon, is the predicament of many girls just out of high school.  In my case I wanted everything, right now.  And I got some of all of  that too.

What about that last year in high school? After a tumultuous lead up to Senior year, in the late 60s and ‘trying’ everything there was to try, for my senior year I settled down, buckled down, I wanted to graduate with my class but the previous year and a half I had not gone to school much, having been a wild child and fleeing to the Bay Area as often as every weekend, and much of each week, my school work was left by the wayside. If I was to graduate I would have to finish two years of work in one.  I did with Scholastic honours and a 4.0.

And what about my feelings? Oh my feelings.  Much of the time I was mixed up and confused, but clear-headed enough to understand I had a goal and to stick to it, luckily earlier in high school I had amassed many extra credits and so in a way it was the perfect scenario for me to go nuts in my Junior year.  I did not get to travel abroad the way I wanted to, but in a way living as a peace-loving hippie thru much of high school was like being in another country, because suburbia was just not ready for me.

What about boys?  Well, that’s another subject. From the time I was 14 I’d had serious boyfriends, Dave Ramsey was the first, I was in ninth grade and he was a junior.  He asked me to go steady at our nighttime St. Patrick’s Day Parade we used to have in Sacramento, he’d pushed me up against a brick wall and kissed me hard on the mouth, making me gasp for air then whispered into my face, “Be my girl, I want you to wear my ring.” It was 1966, and I wore a beehive hairdo and miniskirts and I was thrilled an older boy wanted me to be his. We often went to church dances together and he was the first boy who put his whole thick, searching tongue far into my mouth and I had NO idea what the hell was happening. Talk about a baby, sheesh!

So we became boyfriend and girlfriend, I rode on the back of his Honda 90, and when he tried to teach me to drive it, I flipped it over into tall dead grass and the exhaust landed on the inside of my inner lower leg, ouch.  I carried that oval skin burn for years.  He asked me to go to the Junior Prom, I was so happy. My Mom and I shopped and found the perfect lace over linen empire gown with a thin yellow ribbon around the bust.  I got heels dyed to match and Mom gave me a rabbit stole that Easter, so I was a picture in white.  We doubled with my friend Linda and Dave’s  best friend Bob Cowan, who were the same age difference as Linda and I.  First we went to a little Italian restaurant and I had my first Veal Parm, and then to the lovely Prom at Scottish Rite Temple, with the theme of the new Righteous Brothers song called Cherish.  We danced and enjoyed each other and kissed.  We kissed constantly, but never anything else. Our sweet love story was very 1966.  After the prom we went bowling, which was always a fun diversion and more in the way of our thing.  I’m sure those rented shoes looked sweet with my prom gown. And we topped off our fun night with breakfast at midnight.  I still remember it as the only perfect date I ever really had in my life.  I broke up with Dave a few months later, he was so very old-fashioned and he didn’t like the same music as I did either, he was a 40-year-old man trapped in a 16 year olds body.   Of course I was a virgin.

But by 16 I wasn’t, because of course I had run off and gone to live in Haight Ashbury, so being a virgin was really considered out of step, my first time was no fun. The young man from San Pablo was much to big for me and we both made a mess of things. Golly how is this ever charming and fun the first time?   I doubt it rarely is, unless people actually wait until they are mature enough to know what the dickens they are messing with down there.

Free Love was in like flynt and basically people were humping like bunnies in any open cranny possible.  I joined in and well, it was a very  long time ago.  When I finally decided to go home, re-enter high school and attempt to finish all in a short time I had my work cut out for me, and it was not til the Spring just before graduation that I choose to have another boyfriend, Rick. We played music together, we were both 17 together for a time and we became very mad about each other. It had been about 9 months since my wild hippie time in San Francisco and Bezerkley, I was going to be able to graduate with the friends I had been going to school with since grade school.

Rick and I had a passionate love affair and we were caught more than once going at it.  There was the time we thought his parents would be gone all day and came home early, Rick shoved me in his clothes closet and I think I put on his knickers, when Barbara saw me she called my Mom and said she thought I needed birth control. Yikes. And there was the time my Mom was out of the house, but not long enough and poor Rick had to jump out the bathroom window into Mom’s rose bushes, scratching him up pretty good, because he was not yet fully dressed.

The biggest story of our young life though was the long weekend we spent house sitting in Grass Valley for my aunt at her lovely mountain home. OMG!  We got going and didn’t stop, and I counted 36 times we did it  (meaning he entered me).  That sounds like a lot, because that is a lot for about 40 hours of time together.  I was still 17.  Before I graduated he put a tiny diamond ring on my finger and we were engaged, I felt so grown-up accepting my diploma on the stage of Memorial Auditorium with that ring on my finger.  Our marriage lasted about 4 years.  We still play music together and now my first husband is named Sara and is transitioning.  So you never know what will happen in our Worlds.

And regarding feel our age, or the ages I have been, I still recall so much that I can picture myself at every year since about age 4.  I was all those ages of me, I am all those ages of me.  Seven year old Jilly, and seventeen year old Jill are alive and well and a part of me today.  I can no more divorce myself from those ages as I can forget how I felt at seventeen, laughing, playing, enjoying my body.  I did not love myself every moment of every day, the way I feel now, I am much more self-respecting and loving today.

I had body dismorphia issues that I had to overcome, I still have trouble with refined carbs who are not my friend, I know I have to stay away from wheat and refined sugars.   I have to stay out of my floating head syndrome and live in my whole body, feel my body, walk in my body. Otherwise I am in my head too much.  I do not have the energy I did at 17, but most days I feel about 25 so that’s acceptable.  The main thing is I do not relish those days when I feel 100+.  I am aiming for that sensuous, sneaky, full of fun age of seventeen anyway.  It was after all a very good year.











































Adrift Upon Following Seas, Part 2, The Awakening

Part 2, The Awakening

Georgie began to think, first of all she reminded herself to Remain Calm, her Father’s voice big in her mind and presence. “If I remain calm this situation will right itself”, she felt the truth in that thought. So now I must take stock, and she listed all the ways she was alright. “I am safe for the moment, there is no immediate danger, as long as he stays asleep”. She also realized her boat is heading westerly because she had come about and was now heading toward land somewhere, far in the distance, she could limp in, on this light breeze if need be, all she would have to do it remain calm, stay awake and be alert to any changes.

She located a garment to put on in case the weather turned cold or ugly and a water bottle so she could hydrate, she was too nervous to eat anything, so she could skip that for now. What about the mystery man below deck? Nothing she could do about him now, she would just stay aware of his presence until he either awoke or became a threat she would have to deal with him when that need arose. The sun was dipping lower in the sky now and she sailed right into its center, as if following a spectre of Hope.


She knew the Sun would guide her home, and she held onto the large ships wheel, she could tie herself to it, if need be and would awaken if something drastic happened perhaps, for now she was just going to close her eyes for a moment and rest for a minute, she was beyond exhausted all of a sudden and would just close her eyes …. for a moment …. just ….

Wind slapped against the mainsail, making a whipping sound and Georgie woke from a nap to see the sun nearly setting in the distance, she sat upright and breathed in the cooler air, she would need that jacket for sure now, there was spray coming off the bow straight at her face and the temperature had dropped at least 30 degrees, tonight it would get very cold, she could tell. George looked around. Was there any sign of land, anywhere? And she heard a noise come from below decks at the same time, it sounded like the man was awake and using the head. She braced herself for the unknown and said a small prayer, “God please, keep me safe and calm, I will do my best, with whatever your will is, amen.”

The footfalls on the steps were slow and George turned to see the blonde hair pop up above the hatch, she made eye contact immediately with the stranger and tightened her grip on a hoist lever, which would make an excellent weapon should the need arise. Blondie looked around and saw George as he  stumbled toward her with a very puzzled look on his very cute face. “Ahoy!” he cried, and she chuckled to herself, she could take this bozo in one quick thrust if need be, Georgie ascertained she was not the one who needed to be worried, this character was about as menacing as a cocker spaniel. “Ahoy yourself” she replied, a wry smile escaping her perfectly chiseled mouth. “What say you?” she asked. “Not much,” he extended his hand to shake hers and she barely touched her fingertips to his and said, “Sit down and tell me what is going on here.” He replied, “OK but you tell me,” he continued, “the last thing I remember, I was at Charley and Bob’s place, tying one on”. She knew exactly the bar he refered to, a small place on the tip of Key West, known as a pick up bar and a place to forget all of ones troubles.

She remembered, George had been drowning her sorrows at Charley and Bob’s joint too. She asked him his name, he answered, “Probably mud, since this morning, I was supposed to be starting a new job onboard the new Dutch cruise ship, Hopeful.  Looks like I lost that job now too.” “Look my name is Georgie, what is yours?”

He answered quickly, “I am Bryn, its Welsh”.


Just then a seagull swooped low over the bow and came to rest on a railing amidship. George looked around and spotted land, without thinking she announced, “Land ho!” to no one inparticular, she and her unwitting shipmate were headed back to land for sure now, they would be there by nightfall it appeared. George said to Bryn, “lets get ready to assume we can land nearby, I will need your help, can you handle the wheel while I make preparations?”
“Aye, aye Captain, I surely will”, Bryn replied and he confidently took the wheel as George began to put right the lovely ship, she could not wait to get off of, another odd day in the life of a wandering seabird, she would have another interesting tale to tell when they came ashore and made their way to whatever was the nearest watering hole they might find, with friendly faces and a well stocked, heavy handed bartender.

Oh, if only her Dad could see her now! Well, who knows, maybe he could!


Part 1 Adrift Upon Following Seas

Adrift Upon Following Seas


Or, how to right oneself in times of despair, loneliness and acts of god, as we must if we are to remain undeterred on a course of self-actualization and non-mononity, while waiting to grow up.  A task I have yet to master, when I thought,

“She found herself alone, onboard the yacht,  Following Seas, the miserable hot air bearing down on her freckled shoulders, cutting deep with heat, like a sharp steel blade.  “I must put on more sunscreen” she said aloud to no one, as if she was aware suddenly of the danger of too much sun.  The open hatch beckoned, a promise of a cooler place to rest. “Why am I so tired,”  she asked no one in particular.

Then she was fully awake and suddenly afraid, because she did not know where she was, or why she was adrift upon the sea in a yacht she did not recognize. Her name was Georgie Wilkins, George to her close friends. Georgiana to her parents back home on the island. Georgie was not unaccustomed to travel by private yacht, as a well-heeled young woman she had trained vigorously for life at sea in her junior year at Yale. She could handle a vessel this size,  35′ or so she suspected, that was not what frightened her.

She COULD NOT REMEMBER HOW SHE GOT ONBOARD! And there was no land sighting anywhere. She determined instantly she was on a northerly heading, about 8  knots, and increasing.  Chop was turning choppier and she knew what that meant alright.  She would have to tack and soon and figure out where in blazes she was, perhaps off Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard somewhere, but not close, because there was not even a seagull in sight.  What had her father always said?  “Georgiana! Stay calm — always stay calm — you cannot accomplish anything if you are resistant to calm thinking, so stay composed and everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING,  will be fine.”

Georgie could hear her father’s words like it was yesterday and she looked down and remembered her twelve year old hands as she  confidently piloted her first little cat off their reef in Newport.  “Stay calm” she said aloud to herself, and “everything will be alright.”  Georgie took a few deep, full gulps of fresh, hot salty air and felt the muscles in her neck relax and she let the warm air sink into her pores and relax her like a good medicinal massage.  She began to think out her plan to tack, to come about, to head into what she perceived would be slightly calmer waters, and she knew eventually the overhead noon sun would dip some direction or another, and that would indeed be west, and she could follow the sunset home to land and safety.   She just needed to stay calm.

And so Georgie used every skill she had ever learned from Yale down to Daddy’s best instructions and brought that big Beneteau about as the sun dipped almost imperceptively but ever so slightly a port, Georgie made haste to ease her back a bit and belayed the mainsail on a Westerly heading at now 6 knots. Georgie relaxed, because she knew she was heading toward land and would reach safe harbor before nightfall if the prevailing lighter winds were to be counted on.

Next she decided to take stock and try and figure out why she was even aboard this lovely vessel, let alone captaining her solo, apparently. Midship hatch was still open and she tentatively lowered herself into the richly wood paneled interior of this hand built beauty of a ship and she made her way toward the open door of the forecabin and gasped audibly, “OH MY GOD!” she exclaimed, she saw the still body of a young blonde man crumbled in a heap on the cabin bed. She felt his neck and found a strong pulse, maybe he was just asleep, she sighed in relief, who was he and why was he here? This whole situation was beginning to really bother her, she decided she really did need to report this matter to the Coast Guard, this was truly beyond her depth.

Georgie made a quick inspection of the rest of the cabin areas, including the galley and head and flew up the six steps to the deck and pilot house, where a marinephone should be secured. She was not surprised when she did not find a phone, but she once again felt frightened and she felt very alone. What in hell? What would she do now? Oh my god, help! That man is below deck, obviously in some sort of deep, drug induced sleep since he did  not stir a bit thru her screaming out loud, she felt suddenly responsible for the stranger, the Captain is in charge of everyone on board, but how did she become a captain and was he her actual crew?

She didn’t know what to think or what to do, was she into some nefarious scuttlebutt of a situation here? Her mind raced and her body tensed up again, losing all perception of her Father’s prudent  goal of staying calm.

George was in trouble and she knew it to be so.


Part 2 The Awakening


Silvery sea

Qualm as Self-Doubt

VAADHOO ISLAND, MALDIVES – UNDATED: Bioluminescence from glowing plankton in the tide line wash onto the beach, with stars above and a ships lights on the horizon in the Indian Ocean on Vaadhoo Island, Raa Atoll, Maldives. 

A GLOWING shore line looks more like a galax-sea than an Earth-sea. Taken in the Maldives this lit-up beach is brighter than the milky way thanks to the tiny creatures that live inside the sea water. Photographer, Doug Perrine.


Qualm is defined by google is “an uneasy feeling of doubt, worry, or fear, especially about one’s own conduct; a misgiving.”  Consequently, I read self-doubt.
Worrying, misgivings, self-doubt and fear give me the heebie geebies,so I consciously attempt and on a frequent basis, to turn OFF that self talk, that self-doubt that tries to rear its hideous head into my pretty life. Those negative thoughts are killers in my humble opinion. Actual killers of body, mind and soul, plus they make me completely miserable. If I am worrying about something I am creating two problems for myself, one is the actual worrying and the other is whatever it is I am worrying about, for instance take airline travel.
Flying has never been a favorite thing of mine to do, it is necessary though bcause I am not a homebody, I could spend the next 2 months worrying about my flights to Florida and Hawaii late in Summer, I could hem and haw and fret, letting fear take over and drown out my pleasure of anticipation and planning or I could decide to NOT focus on the negative and instead concentrate on enjoying my vacations once I get there, I can look up historical sights, restaurants, sightseeing, any swimming or places I can paint. Or I can wish I wasn’t going because I don’t love to fly. The choice is really mine to submit to the qualms of something that irritates me or to rise above the qualms and plan what things will make my uneasy flight worth it all.
Other qualms or self-doubts have to do with overcoming my own self-esteem issues and becoming a happier human, having had it both ways I enjoy happiness much more than feeling fear and loathing. It really seems like a no-brainer, but I know people who choose misery. They appear not to, they are victims of ‘circumstance’ or they are always unlucky. I think sometimes we make our own luck.
Take romance and ‘finding the one’. Libraries of books have been written about this subject. “OH! there are NO good men, they are all taken, or they are gay” or whatever excuse. I have never been single, I have been married for 24 years and I had several other long term relationships. Actually guys are easy. They are easy to find and easy to keep, usually. I have lost a few, but found reasonable substitutes later. They do not usually want to talk much, especially about their feelings or thoughts, they want to be fed well on occasion and they want hot, nasty sex in bed. Who doesn’t? I have lots of free time with girlfriends. I prefer talking to my girlfriends anyway.
So avoiding qualms is probably going to continue to be a preference for my life. I do not need anything more to cause problems that have not even happened yet, what a waste of time and energy. I have too much I want to do with the rest of my life to spend it creating situations just so I have something fresh to worry about or feel guilty about, if I make a mistake or do something I do not like, it is best to make amends quickly, either to myself or another human. Amend means to change, letting go of fears and qualms is conscious action I take to rid myself of dreaded worry. And I reap the benefits of being qualm free, tiny, shiny, or otherwise.

An acrylic I did a long time ago after going to Giverney, painting

helps me to remain free of qualms.

Grunts & Groans are Not Words

Oh my husband, my goodness.  He is very special at some things, being that he’s a chef, one of the best things he does is cook wonderfully.

Talking ….  not so much.

Curtis says he is “issued 500 words a day”, and he needs them all for work, apparently barking ala Gordon Ramsey, who yells at people in his kitchen.  Whoa!  For me, I do get the occasional word or ten from him, but its pretty rare.

This morning actually, he was driving me to work, he does that some times on his day off, because we don’t see each other often and its a way to connect.  I chatter away and he occasionally grunts or groans. Today was a red letter day, I got both grunts and groans, I was telling him about being off work on Thursday and why it is kind of a big deal and he grunted, then he groaned, so in essence I hit the jackpot!

As a female, I have been under that false impression that love equals words from a man, it is my own fault that I put so much value on the need for reflection or context when speaking to my husband.  He doesn’t pretend to make polite conversation whatsoever.  He is not a phony, he just is not interested in extraneous discourse and my compulsive need for it,  is truly misplaced.

So its a process for me of discovering what he is and is not willing to accomodate on.  I will probably let this go, its not worth a battle, nothing much is these days.  Today is more about enjoying a few moments of peace together and looking at the pretty sky.  Curt works too damn hard, he is exhausted and worrying about the next big thing that is coming up at work, it has become a huge burden and is taking a major toll on him.  In the past, he was never grumpy, and he is now, most days.

Anyway, if I can help by not pestering him for words he has no time for, then I am doing a tiny part of helping him get thru another long day.


Ching family in about 1998, Maui.







Love You Forever Mom

Mom and her sister, 1978

I was so fortunate to have a Mom who loved me fiercely and who I loved more than anyone on Earth.

Mom was there  99% of the time for me which is nearly perfect.  I was an awful teen (aren’t most?)  and she knew I was sorry before she died toooooo young at 51.

Isn’t she beautiful holding me?

She lost 6 babies before me and needed DES to complete 4 pregnancies with her 5 healthy babies.

Her she is with all of us. We were in La Jolla on this trip and had just been to Disney.

I love this pic, to me she radiates love, something several of her descendants inherited.

Three of Mom’s daughters and 2 of her grandaughters. I know she would be proud of every descendant. I hope they realize she gave us all life, and so much more.

Jack is in heaven with Mom now, and Dad too. I so wish we were all still together, oh god.

Mom had a wicked cool sense of humour, when we’d go to the zoo, to see monkeys or gorillas she would always say we were going to visit Uncle Harry. She meant it too.

Mom would’ve loved that a group of us went to Paris. She loved the idea of travel but didn’t get to do much, we’ve certainly made up for that.

Mom’s ancestors, arrived via covered wagon in 1850, the Hamrick’s of Jackson, CA. The woman Elizabeth Wisdom Rhoads Hamrick, is Mom’s grandmothers Mother.  Got that?

Some of us gathered in Hawaii for Richie’s wedding. We are mostly female, with husbands.

Mom’s grandaughter Brandy and great grandson Axel.

Richie is another of Marylou’s grandchildren.

Mom’s mother Lulu with all of us.  Lulu was funny, and wacky too.

I was lucky enough to be Carl’s Mom for eight years of love in Maui.

The sweetest boy ever who deserved the aloha so very much.

I wish all her grandkids had known my Mom, she was extraordinary, she loved baking, sewing, card playing, laughing, little theatre PTA style, helping people and most of all her family.

Marylou with three of her finest.

At Judi’s wedding we dedicated our song Second Hand Rose to her so she was part of the special day, so fun, just like Mom.

I just love this photo of Mom.

Me and Shot, guess I’m about 3.

Mom’s very smart and beautiful great grandaughter Lucy. I was fortunate to spend a lot of time with her as a toddler.

Mom and her beloved Mother in law.

Mom gave me so much and influenced my life, my love of baseball, the space race we watched together, her creativity, she could make anything and her positive attitude. She was the best picnic maker ever. And her pies, oh epic! She was a true Democrat too.

Mom and Dad at wedding reception, she was just 18.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!