Scotland Remembered

Edinburgh, Stirling and Urquhart castles

Beauty in all things down to tapestry tassels.

Glasgow Acropolis, history laid to rest

Tales of bravery, lives cut short, headstones attest

Merchant City, bustling with tourist and native alike

Traffic moves like a blood through veins; be it by car, tram or bike

Aberdeen, Fort William, Aviemore;

These highland towns I truly adore

Perth, Kelvingrove Park, Lanark

You have all left your mark

In my heart, in my soul you’ll always be

The best of my memories, the best of me.

I have left your lovely lands to return to my home

But I miss you deeply, you’re my reason to roam.

Oatcakes, tea and skies as far as the eye can see

Bring back the happiest in my memory;

Dunblane, John o’ Groats and the Isle of Skye,

my soul breathes out a heartfelt sigh

Calming, soothing beauty makes me smile

A journey through this beautiful land does please;

your wild beauty, star-filled skies and crashing seas

Make my heart wish to return again

To the land that I loved when this adventure did first begin.

You’ll always be in my heart, Scotland my dear

I will return someday, never fear.

When I’m sad or lonely or think life’s too much to bear

I’ll return to you, to heal my heart and to repair

my battle-weary soul that has fought for so long

and bow to a power that can’t go wrong

My love of the land, the people and all I know

Scotland, my love, my dream and home to my soul.

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Food Circus, Dad and Veterans Day

Whenever I was in trouble, or in need of a heart-to-heart discussion (need as defined by my father) it was known without saying it that said discussion would take place where all Important Discussions should take place and that would be Food Circus. Now, to the uninformed, this may conjure up images of people selecting their meal by pointing to whatever cage held whatever type of dinner. This is in fact incorrect. Nor is it an “End of Life” circus where performing animals are the main course. Food Circus was a collection of International Restaurants (think American International) that included German, Italian, Filipino (Anna Banana’s) and a Hof Brau (not the same as the German restaurant) and a gift shop that made transfer t-shirts that said cute things like “Kiss Me I’m Irish” or “Mom and Dad went to California and all I got was this stupid T-shirt” type of stuff. A florist, a gourmet grocery store, (Corti Brothers) a watch repair shop, a donut shop, awesome candy store (Snook’s Candies, now in Folsom, on Sutter Street). Last, but not least was Jumbo’s Coffee Shop.
Our family would go there after church on Sunday for donuts and coffee (orange juice for the little ones). When I was in my Rebel Without A Clue days, I worked with Dad on a business venture and we would take breaks at Food Circus (or Food Zoo as Big Brother #3 renamed it) because of course my dad smoked and back in the 1970’s you could smoke wherever you damn well pleased. So it was cup of coffee, 3 cigarettes, a refill cup, then 3-4 more smokes. Needless to say, Dad got 110% out of me those days. I was wired for sound and all he had to do was give me direction and turn me loose. That was the beginning of my love affair with cigarettes, coffee and going fast, in general. Food Circus is now The Marketplace at Arden Fair mall and has a very nice restaurant, movie theaters, a couple of chain-type restaurants and looks nothing like it did then. But I can just close my eyes and I can be there again, sitting across the table from my dad, listening to his day and comprehending about 10% of what he said and filling in the blanks by reading his face, his body language and listening to his tone. I can smell the strange yet familiar scent of all those restaurants, the burning coffee left on the warmer too long, the cigarette smoke blending with the men’s cologne and the ladies’ perfumes, vying for attention. That was where I received my education, the gifts that my father bestowed upon me, little pearls of wisdom lost on a teenager so certain her parents were irrelevant and knew nothing about Life as she knew it. I’m grateful every day that I grew out of that phase and spoke at great length with my father later in life. My father outlived Food Circus and we moved our talks to different places, but those days will always stay with me and I will treasure them for the gift they were.
My father served in the Air Force and I believe that his life wouldn’t be what it was without the life experience and education he received while serving. This Veterans Day I would like to give thanks to those who fought for us, before many of us were even born, so that we could enjoy simple yet profoundly precious moments like those I had with my father. Thank you is not enough; I don’t know if there is anything that words can say to express the depth of my gratitude, but words are all I have, so thank you. All of you.

Summer Brain

“Do I look like a shallow Summer girl to you?’ She tossed her silver hair, offended. ‘I’m a Winter Court royal. I kill silly Summer flowerlets with frost when I yawn.” 
― Vicki KeireDarkness in the Blood

I came across this quote today and felt a small smile upon my face as I read it. Not that I want to kill silly Summer flowerlets (I don’t even know what/who they are) with frost when I yawn (if I could even do that) but more that I could kill the heat that has descended upon Northern California like a free preview of Hades, with increasing temps on the way. I would love to be able to breathe frost onto the burning eyes and sweaty brows, cooling them and calming the spirit within. I suppose I would have to be careful to not bestow the unwanted gift of frostbite on anyone, but as the temps hit the triple digits, it might actually be a welcome change.

At any rate, back to my post – every summer, my sleep cycle gets put into a tailspin. Whether from the longer, hotter days or the heat of said days or my brain deciding that YOU KNOW – WE COULD JUST STAY UP ALL NIGHT! IT WOULD BE SO FUN!! Not so much when I have to be at work, mostly functional and certainly not face down on my desk, drooling artistically on the payroll sheets.

Which brings me to my 2 a.m. wake up this morning. Usually my cat will wake me up well before my alarm, but this morning it was all The Brain. The Brain on Summer. Like a 2 year old with ADD and sugar sensitivities that has just managed to eat a 5 lb. bag of sugar and miss her meds, she’s out of the gate like a shot. Time for coffee!! You don’t need to sleep anymore, just get up and think of all the stuff we can get done before it gets hot. Seriously, we could get a lot of stuff done! Wal-Mart doesn’t even open for another 4 hours and oddly, everyone in my apartment complex is still asleep, so it’s probably not a good time for some serious Deep Cleaning, but I’m certain I can think of something to do for the next 4 hours, right? Right. Summer Brain wins, no surprise there. I make the coffee, grab my wildly entertaining and totally cool new iPad mini and sit on the couch, looking at different apps; apps to fall asleep, stay asleep, learn while asleep, forget while asleep, chart how much I sleep. I immerse myself in the study of sleep, but do not actually return to sleep. Very educational and informative. Summer Brain is just like a kid with an all-day pass to Disneyland, parent-free. From apps we go to Google, where I ask endless questions that aren’t really important, relevant or even helpful. Just those silly questions that children under the age of 5 ask constantly and people with Summer Brain and an iPad mini and hours to kill. Here are just a few that I’m willing to share with you – What makes boogers green or white or yellow? Why do bees sting once and die but wasps just don’t quit? Could the Twinkie defense apply to Summer Brain? Is there a Summer Brain defense? Google Summer Brain…Google heat-induced brain tumor (just for fun) think of writing post and wisely decide to not. You get the idea. The hours flew by and needless to say, I made it to work on time, although I didn’t pack any food for breakfast or lunch. I also never totally lost the feeling of sleepwalking through the day, but I’m pretty certain I’m going to download an app to help me go back to sleep if Summer Brain decides to do an encore performance tomorrow morning.