Modern Day Vermeer

This moody flickering light really caught my eyes by surprise when I quickly passed by the hallway to do something – and the plate of peeled potatoes gave it a nice look too.  In the Old Dutch masters paintings, by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Leyden, people from the Dutch and Flemish past ate herring, bread, carrots, potatoes, cream…and can we imagine that if they were to cook today it might look something like this?

Having just two pieces of furniture feels so clean.  As if someone might say, “What is this, don’t you want furniture?” then I might say, “Don’t you like it?”  Bare walls gives a museum quality look and the only piece of art work is a plate of potatoes!








Summertime, loss, I can’t believe that this is it. I don’t believe it happened, and I have to carry the secret to my grave. The fact that I have this big secret is a problem itself.

But I have standards, oh well, maybe this won some karma points, who knows, who knows?

On a happier note, when asking for turkey topping, the counter guy said, I’ll get a fresh one.

Three minutes later, he marched out with a 20 lb. turkey on a plate.


But I am very thirsty.  My heart is still not sure what it should feel. I should be grateful that I’m not harmed.  Walking head high is still possible.  But there is a a tremendous amount of loss like this life is just a dream.

In my gut of guts, it is not over!

And I don’t care what anyone thinks I am going to speak my mind without any reservations directly because who is ever going to be this truthful about something delicate and brilliant?

photo 4



What a secret.

Into the inner thoughts of people from 19 to 105.  Through the ages, the changes, the challenges, and finally the humbleness.  But I can’t decide what I’m seeing in old age is humbleness or defeat.

I live in temporary exile in a city running w 20 year olds, who don’t look at people (they just like ook at their phones), who are uniformly dressed in hipster skinny jeans and expensive but purposefully cheap-looking sneakers, who are going to the next sushi joint, or the next It Thing.  In this city, men have become effeminate, and women have become masculine…Or maybe I’m just stuck in the Medieval Age known as someone who is middle aged.

Inside my office, there is a whole different world.  I have seen is this, that starting from the age 60, there is more humility – starting by the way that they let you sit down first.  They wait at the chair, they let you sit down, and  then they take a seat.  It’s beautiful.  It’s courtly.  It’s stylistic.  They phone is never on.  They take cues more instinctively.  I have been working and hearing incredible stories, ranging from hand-to-hand combat with the Japanese, to the skipper who fell out of a boat into the ocean and was rescued and by a fellow naval officer who pulled him out of the water and onto the boat, to the paratroopers who jumped out of airplanes landing on the beach for the war.  It is unreal and surreal and most of the time what I see and hear feel so much like a French movie.  But today I met my match.  A secret, a delightful secret.

We talked about all sorts of pains, ankle pain, foot pain, L shoulder pain, R thumb pain, knee pain, elbow pain, knee pain, foot pain…and I ordered enough x rays that would light up all of him but what can we do?

I need to measure your scars.  And I need to look at your shoulders.

“Oh well, I might as well as undress,” as he took off his shirt, as the requests for measuring the next scar ascended from abdomen to the chest up to the shoulder.  There were just too many scars to be checked.

As he undressed his shirt and the abdominal binder truss I was typing on the computer and didn’t pay attention.  But what came off had to be put back on. We had to put everything back on. It was a comedic moment. He and I tried to put back on him the tress – a super body armor type of belt that went around his waist. Darn it. I pulled and pull ed to try to to close the truss.  But I couldn’t get it back on.  He pulled and pulled, to try to close the truss around his waist but his hands were shaking with arthritic hands. We were comical people at that moment of concentrating on nothing but putting the truss back on, and it was seen straight out of a French movie. I thought about calling for the nurse but I didn’t want to because I knew my friends would be able to this with no problem and I didn’t want to get help but more I importantly, given how much effort he was giving to the task I didn’t want to think that we would fail. It looked like we could do this. Like a tug of war, we finally put it back on, and it was…lopsided. But it would do. When he gets home his neighbor would help him put on the truss. His daughter wanted me to look inside his ear, because he had gotten water in it. He waved against it looking very annoyed, as if to say, “Don’t fuss.” He didn’t want his daughter to be in the room when we were talking.

I asked him, maybe out of the blue.  So.  What do you do everyday?

He said, “What can I do?  Not much.” He was meticulously dressed, still with pride, w belt, with a pale shirt, with nice slacks, and a pair of moccasins.  He had been a sheep and cattle rancher but he’s Basque with light complexions. He sat very straight. He looked more like a retired judge.  “I’ll tell, you, it’s sad. I’m 90. It’s like I’m waiting to die. Not much there is I can do at this age, with this body, and with this dumb mind.” He looked at me as if I was the person giving him the death sentence or maybe even death itself.  It made me feel responsible to lift that heaviness.

I said, “But…but, there’s got to be something…no?”  He looked at me like I was not understanding him.

I couldn’t think of anything to say.  But all of the sudden a good idea came. “Hey!  WHAT ABOUT A ‘LADY FRIEND’?” I asked very, very tentatively.

He said, “I’d love to have a lady friend.”


His wife passed away 4 years ago, and now he’s by himself.  I said, “You might find a nice young lady, someone who is still young at heart, like you?”  He lit up like a boy.  Such delight.  Such spontaneous embarrassment in having a stranger talking about something so outrageous.

He said, “My friends tell me, Ben, you got a gardener, and you got a cleaning person.  You got a daughter to bring you food everyday.  All you need is a cook and a bed partner.”

I said, “Well, I couldn’t agree more with your friend.  Maybe you will find a lady friend, I don’t see why not.  There is nothing in your body that is stopping you from enjoying life a little.”

He asked me to keep him in mind if I come across any nice ‘young lady’ in her 80’s.  I wish I had a rolodex of ladies in their 80’s.  In that moment, he made me feel wonderful, hopeful, and just joyous about life.  On the way out, I checked his ear like his daughter asked me, and when we were rolling the wheelchair out of the room, he said almost in a whisper, “Don’t forget!”  I said, “Sir, would I forget something like this???”  “But!”  I raised a finger.  If you beat me to it, will you drop me a note?  It’s our open secret.”

Oh, silly me.  What a romantic story.  It makes me wonder what chances we have everyday. All our lives, we are told what to do, to live inside a box, not to make too much waves, living for other people and caring for their concerns, in his case, for his daughter’s concerns even though he is now 90. People in the tabloids seem to do what they want to do and create a new reality for them. In any event who says that our voice shouldn’t be the loudest voice?


Amazon Fresh is amazing!

Sunday morning 7:54AM – grocery shopping done for the week!


Amazon Fresh delivers whatever you want, fresh seafood, produce, bread, lomi-lomi sashimi salad, flowers…

Then magically on Sunday morning, the Amazon truck and the nice man appear and deliver the groceries to my door.  He even refused a tip – “It’s not necessary, ma’am.”

We have some grocery stores in America that will fly any piece of fruit from anywhere in the world but pretend that it’s from humble soil from ma and pa’s down the road by putting a modest looking farm stand sign next to it on display.  We can get blueberries at any time of the year but sometimes the blueberries have flown on airplanes from hundreds and thousands of miles.

Oh little blueberry, why must you travel thousands of miles, so I can eat you? 

What is this perverse need to eat you now when you’re not in seasons and then later in the year, I will eat so many of you that I will be sick of you?

I’ve eaten a piece of fish that cost $26, and a slice of watermelon that cost $9 – because I didn’t read the price sticker. But with Amazon Fresh groceries are clearly listed as price per unit and price per weight. My grocery bill is much more reasonable. Sometimes we just want to go back to the way it was before, that is, to eat whatever comes out of the soil and eat simply, not with a lot of flavoring or preparation fanfare. Jada Smith once said, “I eat for nourishment, not for pleasure.” That is speaking from a place of freedom, discipline, and ultimately, reward.

Steve Jobs used to fast to achieve a sense of ecstasy….

Did you know that Steve Jobs is going to be on a stamp?  Not that that has anything to do with Amazon Fresh or blueberries eating.


Decades later – angels from the sky

Cleaning out, downsizing, house cleaning..

For some things, it takes a long time for them to reveal their significance, meanings, lasting importance.

I found an email written by one 24 year old, counseling another 26 year olds, against the entire establishment.

Some people, they mean so little at the time, but in almost 20 years, the significance of what they they have had in your life is immense.

Who are these angels, who appear at opportune times.  Who are these angels, that come and go.  In 20 years later, as you look at their writings – you are looking at helpers from the universe.

My 24 year old friend who wrote these words, which ring truer now than ever, to me.

I told him, that the entire staff was wrong.  Only my 24 year old friend believed me.  My friend was the only person who supported me.  Through that realization, I feel like crying now, thinking how incredible it was for a 24 yo to counsel a 26 yo in wisdom that goes beyond time.

“In other words, without strong indications, only the briefest trials w the lowest does can be responsibly indicated.  Now, to be honest, I don’t know if he has delusions since I have not personally spoken w him.  However, if in your judgment, he does not, then please voice this opine in the strongest possible terms.

I hope I am not horrifying you.  I am glad that you feel that the attending is someone you can trust and respect.  Please do trust your judgement, however, and be aware that these people are capable of making mistakes as well.  Also be aware of the real potential for irreversible outcomes here.

I know the boards are coming up for you.  Good luck w them.  I know the boards are one hell of a lot of work.  On the other hand, though, they are pretty much the only way that you can pull everything together for the wards.

Good luck with it.

Take care of yourself now”


Willows, California – where to buy antiques around San Francisco

Come back to France with me.

That’s what she said, within 10 minutes when we met.

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I was so delighted by her spontaneity, my kindred soul.  Boldness has magic and power, as Goethe said.  But in my mind, I thought.  Yes.  Sure!  I can just drop everything and fly on KLM and land in Charles De Gaulle, and go spend a merry 2 weeks in France.  Oh, ride the train at Gare du Nord!

Eat croissant every morning! Go around Paris with a master photographer! Gare du Nord to London’s St. Pancreas – oh, a person could ride that ride over and over again and never get over the splendor of the grand train stations of Europe.

But work beckons.  Instead, I said, “Corey. Come to San Francisco, for dinner. Can you?  Will you?” as she and I crossed the small street, party hopping to go from the party at Gathering to the party at the Co-op…from one crowd to another.

It took me 2 hours to make it out of the beast of the city where I live for now. Finally making it on to I-5, towards SACRAMENTO, the key to my future, I saw nothing but corn-fields or miles and miles, where the speed limit was 70.  The moon was so bright. 

Until coming upon to this little town, called Willows.  One main street.  One little church.

So quiet.

Just one of those really endearing little towns in America that I love.

Christmas. Friends, neighbors, cousins, fans, family…

Meeting Corey again.

Her family…her mom…Mrs. Amaro…suddenly came out of no where, with such a sense of humor, offered a bed for the sojourner to stay for the night…”Corey told me you’re driving back, we have a bed for you?”

It is magic.

That someone would blog everyday, faithfully, for 7+years, and that her readers would read her writing and spirit everyday, thousands of readers everyday….



Holly Myers
Dolores Amaro
211 W Sycamore Street
Willows, CA, 95988

Phone: 530-934-3664
Fax: 530-934-3664

She’s coming to town! She’s coming to town!

It saddens me a little to think all those years in my 20’s and 30’s that I could have experienced the pleasure of being a woman but I did not know. Romance is something that comes together with a whole bunch of things.  For the first time in my life, I feel like a woman, not a chick, not a girlfriend, not a young lady, not a gal pal, not a significant other, not a wife, not a mistress. It’s very hard to describe what it is, but it is…a responsibility, and it’s fun!

Romance is brie and baguette, football and Catholic mass.  It is driving over Half Moon Bay every morning at dawn.  It is having a cowboy starting to play a harmonica.  And who can forget that little girl in the red lady-bug rain boots mimicking my movements in my office.  What else?

Oh, it is that Fateful Night.

Romance is red shoes, and almond scent.  What people may not consider romantic, I do!

Telling the valet attendant, a young man, that he shouldn’t work so hard, is romantic.  “You need to find time, how about getting a girlfriend, Esteban!  Get a few girfriends!”  He laughed.  I can’t believe I’m encouraging a young man to get a few girlfriends.

But the year is to end with romance.  Corey Amaro is coming to town!!!! Corey is a woman who along with thousands of her daily readers of her blog who appreciate joie de vivre.  I am so thrilled to see her again after 5 years when I last saw her in Provence.  Romance has a way of not being planned.  The stars have aligned.  Corey is going to be in Willows, California, and it is only 2 hours away from where I am tonight.  How can one not love French food, French lingerie, French attitude about dressing, French handwritten love letters and legal documents from 1700’s…

A key from the Court.  A rusted, old fashioned Key.

The French kiss.

I have fallen in love w gray, off white, off gray, white, and silver.

The French know.


In honor of Corey Amaro

December 21st,

6 to 8 pm

211 W Sycamore Street
Willows, CA, 95988

Phone: 530-934-3664

I’m on my knees

Thanksgiving.  I am grateful for, among other things, my three mothers.  My Ma, my biologic mother, is my real mother who’s unfailing and my most steadfast supporter who has done the best as a mother as she knew how. She reversed the effects of alcoholism in 3 generations and raised children who are addiction free.

Then there is my ‘mother’ in Georgetown, who is a southern lady, who told me, “I’m your mother in DC and I will keep you clearheaded when it gets hard.”

And then, there is the one that everyone calls Mother.  She’s my friend’s mom and Mother makes food that just feed my soul. Today, Mother made stuffing, turkey, sweet potato, collard greens, mac and cheese, and it’s 10PM and I’m still eating the home cooking leftovers. She told the story of her grandmother, whom everyone also called Mother.

When Mother was alive and when you called Mother w any kind of trouble, she’d hear the first sentence or just enough before immediately saying, “I am on my knees.”  Click.  She would say nothing more, waste no time, hang up the phone. And she would be on her knees praying.

“Mother, I think my wrist is broken.”

“I am on my knees.”  Click.

I am on my knees praying tonight, for myself, but especially for the plight of 3 unrelated children. The youngest one, 5 years old, Elijah, snuggled up and parked himself in my arms and I didn’t want to let him go.  The middle one, 6 years old, my niece YY, shouted “GuGu” and I should have stopped the unimportant small talks and taken her in my arms. The oldest one, a 10 year old, is a child who is probably going so much.  I wish joy upon these children but most of all, I wish they’ll listen to their inner voices and their higher selves and know that no matter what the external chatters and circumstances created by the adults, they are wise, resilient, precious and blissful beings that are forever, always, and have existed before time and will exist till all of time.


The other day I was thinking just before lifting up the blankets to get into bed:

“Hilary Clinton could not be happier than me at this very moment right now!”

I don’t know why suddenly I felt the compulsion of comparing myself to Hilary Clinton!  Image

Then I inserted the names of some other high profile women who have much much more than I have, just as a test, and the sentence was true.

My secretary Pat is possibly is the only person who is consistently happier than most people that I know, and because of her I think that just like height, intelligence, longevity, happiness is a quality that some people are born with, or more gifted in.  I am infected by her enthusiasm for all the activities that she reports: “I’m going to see my grandson coaching his first volleyball game today!” Or, she is going to the rodeo this weekend, ordering KFC fried chicken and then getting into bed, making a big glass of Pepsi “w ice and lemons from her trees,” telling her husband to make more crab rolls, bringing salsa that her neighbors made, making fall baskets and thanksgiving cards, etc. etc. It seems to me that Pat NEVER runs out of reports. She is quite literally, the most happy person that I know, either that or she enjoys every activity that she comes up with. I like to sneak up and stand next to her for breaks throughout the day. The other day she said, “I’d like to show you something, when you have a moment, at your leisure.  Please.”

She made a stack of cards over the weekend, and told me to pick one to send it a friend who would appreciate it.  The one that I picked out read:

Happy Thanksgiving

We can’t be together

Wish we could,

To hug you now

Would feel so good!

The problem is, I don’t have any friends who would appreciate such a “mushy” card. Maybe Hilary Clinton would appreciate a card, but I think she might call the secret service first.  Though, I think Bill Clinton would send something like this, as he’s known to tell his friends, including male ones like Bill Richardson and all the people that he appointed to posts such as the CIA or Pentagon, “I love you.” I wonder who is happier, Bill Clinton, or Pat? It’s a tie.

It’s nuts what people think about and concern themselves with when no one’s looking.


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