Monthly Archives

July 2019

My Summer Vacation

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This year I really, truly had a summer vacation.  The old fashioned, family kind thanks to a fortunate confluence of events.

First, a friend offered me a cat-sitting job at her lovely home with a back balcony overlooking the Russian River in Healdsburg, Sonoma County, CA.  I took that job, asked my friend if I could invite the cousins who always host me in Florida and she said yes.  They took me up on that invitation and voila, a vacation was born!

Eric, Jennie, Katie, and Julia came for 4 out of the 10 days I was there, so I focused on doing the work I planned to do in my lovely hide-a-way prior to their arrival and gave myself the 4 days of family vacation immersion with the least amount of guilt I’ll ever allow myself to have.

Among our activities were going to the Charles M. Schulz museum, which I didn’t know about but was excited for as I’ve always been a big Peanuts fan.   

We met Eric’s friend from college and played Bocci ball at a winery.  We ate Wicked Slush.  Twice. We wandered the town. We canoed in the Russian River. And we saw Yesterday.  

It was mellow, it was fun, interesting conversations all around, and a good feeling being around people – despite my isolationist tendencies.  Especially important to the vibe was the fact that we were not on their turf or mine.  All we could do was explore and create each day’s adventures together!

Things That Make Me Happy Part 4 – The Squeegee

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Every once in a while I feel compelled to write about something that just simply makes me happy.  Today I share my thoughts on The Squeegee

There is a thrill I feel when I go to a gas station and there is a good squeegee waiting for me.  It’s an amazing little tool and having the right tool is often the only way to get the job done well.

The motion of doing it and watching the water disappear is soothing to me and I feel satisfaction in seeing the clean, clear glass.

I live in many lovely homes while dog sitting and now use squeegees in glass showers, saving so much time and energy in doing the wax on/wax off cleaning motion.  The squeegee makes keeping it nice fun.

My love of the squeegee actually goest back to 1986 when I spent time on a kibbutz in Israel.  The floor of the kitchen and dining hall were designed so instead of mopping, you would pour the water onto the floor and squeegee it out the door.  I don’t have pictures, but the memory is vivid.

Long live the squeegee!

A Punny Story

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Having been in a creative career most of my adult life, I know how long the process can be and how much end products generally differ from the starting vision.  Drafts of blogs I’ve been composing in my head for weeks or months always come out strikingly different once my fingers start flying over the keys.  Sometimes I watch in amazement as these other thoughts I didn’t know I had just seem to form on paper.  Recently this phenomenon happened in a simple, clear way that  while I was working on a simple art project I conceived of years ago.

I have an affinity for being “punny, ” much to the dismay of those who must spent time with me.   About 4 years ago I thought it would be funny to get an old weathered board and just paint “I’m bored” on it.  A board is saying it’s bored, get it? The picture in my head was a piece was a piece of weathered white board like it had been part of a fence.

The idea has never left my mind but for whatever reasons I never did it.  When I saw a board I liked in a friends driveway, the project was finally underway.  It wasn’t white though, so I had to think about things for a while.  I drove around with it for weeks before getting myself to storage to pull out my paints and painting tools and found a place to set it all up.  During this time a smaller brown board caught my eye.  It wasn’t the rough kind of wood I wanted, but I said to myself “Ruth, you really should try this out before you paint the board you spent 4 years looking for. You should do a practice one.” I agreed with myself.

I tried painting it white and but it wasn’t working for me – at least not on that kind of wood so I had fun with paint and then when I went to write my funny, punny words, I suddenly thought “would it be funnier if I did the accurate b-o-a-r-d spelling and the pun is made in the head, not thrown in your face.” And so I did.  All who I’ve shown it to or told about it agree that is punnier.

What fascinates me is the spontaneity of the change, given that I’d never thought about doing that before.  And that I immediately committed to try.  I wonder if I’d done it a year ago would it have come out different?  Was the wait necessary for my brain to make the shift?  I wasn’t ready to create this masterpiece?  I have no answers but am in awe of the creative process, whatever it is.  And the painting does make me happy – because it’s funny.

Talking About Dawnel DeRubeis

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When I started volunteering with the Greater LA chapter of the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention, I found an incredibly diverse group of people from all walks of life, occupations, and backgrounds.  Like with survivors everywhere, the details of our stories varied drastically, but the distinct pain and problems suicide loss brings united us. I told the chapter director I wanted to jump right in and do any and everything to help.  She told me about another volunteer who said the same thing and was already doing it – Dawnel DeRubeis.

When I met her, Dawnel had just been crowned Mrs. Hollywood 2016 with a platform of mental health and suicide prevention stemming from her own struggles and attempt, as well as the loss of her grandmother to suicide.  She was the emcee of the first AFSP Out of the Darkness community walk when I was on the chapter board so we chit chatted and became friendly. When I heard her explain what brought her to volunteering for AFSP, my mouth feel open because her words were my words – from looking for volunteer to try and avoid falling into a depression to finding our life purpose and making it a mission. 

Since then our friendship has grown and she has made a huge impact in the Santa Clarita area of LA, with her tireless work to bring educational programs to the community.  In Spring 2019 she chaired the first ever Out of the Darkness Campus Walk at the College of the Canyons there. Dawnel also fulfilled her pageant dream of winning Mrs. California 2017, allowing her a large stage for her mental health platform.  

I aspire to be as effective as Dawnel in spreading the word and see her as an inspirational role model.  Dawnel DeRubeis is a beauty queen inside and out!  Check out her Talking About Suicide Loss With segment here.