Wednesday, December 28, 2011


I’m not really sure what to call this blog. I considered Finding Family, but it reminded me too much of Finding Nemo. I considered The Prodigals, but how am I to say if the loved ones I have located are the prodigals or I am the prodigal. More likely it’s me… So, let’s just call it Lost and Found. It doesn’t really capture my feelings, but it’s the best I can do.

I must admit that some of my reconnections are due to Facebook. I know that many people have found old friends through the Social network sites. They have their upsides and downsides; but, overall, I think they are positive. At least they have been for me.

There are 6 people that I have been especially close to and have (in one way or another) lost contact with over the years. Close friends, those that are really considered family and those that are really a part of who I am.


The first that made her way back into my life is my dear friend and ex-roommate, Carla Clark. Carla has been so special to me and every birthday, she is especially on my mind as our birthdays are 2 days apart. We used to spend every waking moment together, but as we married and moved away, we lost touch. I remember when we would have an evening of “Champagne and Cookies”. I’d play piano and we’d sing and laugh and cry. What’s great about Carla is not just her absolutely beautiful spirit, but the fact that she always encourages. Not just me, but everyone she meets. Carla is one of those people, like the others I will talk about in this blog, that no matter how long we’ve been apart, when we reconnect, it’s like no time at all has passed. I love her and am so happy that we are once again in each other’s lives.


Joe was pretty much my best friend from 9th grade until my late 20’s. We’ve shared so much over the years. He will email me and say “remember the time?” and I will smile and send him a note back with the same question. I am so fortunate that I love his wife, too. Patti and I had an instant connection when we met. She is funny, beautiful and intelligent. She would have been my friend even had we met without Joe around. When I needed a friend, I would turn to Joe and he was ALWAYS there. I still feel that way about Joe and Patti. We may be 2,500 miles apart, but if we needed each other, we would find a way to be there. I had lost touch with Joe for several years. My mom, however, heard from him quite frequently and would fill me in on what was happening in his life. I “reconnected” with them through Facebook and am so happy I did. It’s like a piece of me that was lost has returned.


Coleen is another that I’ve found through Facebook. Actually, I think she found me. I didn’t know her new last name and was unable to locate her, although I tried. She found me, though. A close friend always will. Coleen and I are so much alike. We are both musicians and would spend hours playing the piano and singing. We even put on shows at Dad’s church in Anaheim. Coleen is also a friend that, when we reconnected, it was like no time had passed. She has helped encourage me during my recent health difficulties and I have tried to do the same for her when her sweet daughter had to undergo serious surgery. She has endured so much over the recent years, including the loss of her beautiful daughter-in-law, who was killed in action overseas. She continues to maintain that positive attitude that is so essential in surviving this world. It makes me smile just to think of her and the times we continue to share.


A very, very important part of my life has been with my “big sister”, Darlene Christy. Darlene always stayed in touch with my folks, but I had lost touch as I married and ended up moving so far away. Darlene was my Dad’s secretary at our church in Portland, Oregon. I was about 6, I guess, when we first met. She was single and immediately became a close part of our family. When I was about 10, we moved to California. Eventually Darlene moved down to Long Beach. She was the big sister I never had. She would let me stay with her at her apartment on occasion. I remember one time in particular that we put on Fats Domino and Chubby Checker records and danced the twist in her living room until our sides hurt. We would fall onto the couch laughing and then get up and start again! She was also never far from my thoughts, but it wasn’t until this past year or two that we began communicating more frequently. Such a joy to have her back in my life!

The next 2 that I have “found” are actually due to the efforts of my sweet husband, Charlie. He knows how long I looked for these guys and he was able to find both of them just after Thanksgiving. I can’t express how happy I am that he was able to succeed at what I had been unable to do for so many years. The parts these two men have played in my life are totally different, but both very special to me.


Peter was my boss at WED, the design arm of the Disney Company. He was the VP of Project Management Support and I was his Executive Assistant. Peter was immediately less a boss and more a friend. He taught me so much about how to navigate in the murky waters of Corporate America. He also encouraged me in many areas and we laughed a great deal. (I’m starting to notice just how important laughter has been, and continues to be in my life.) When I was engaged to Charlie, Peter threw me a Wedding Shower at the office. Not many people can say that their boss, the VP, did something like that.

Peter left WED for a position at Universal Studios in LA. I tried working for the President of WED, but really didn’t like it, so Peter hired me as his assistant at Universal. We had a blast there, too. We used to drive down to the sound stages and watch filming. He is so creative, it amazes me. He also shared his home life with us. When we moved to Virginia, we lost touch. It’s VERY hard to find someone named Peter Alexander via Google. Not a unique name. After moving to Florida to build, open and run Universal Studios Theme Park there, he started his own company. Charlie happened upon it while doing one of his Theme Park searches on the internet. Peter’s company is called The Totally Fun Company. Perfect name. Describes his company and how I always felt about him. We’ve reconnected and will keep in touch now, I’m sure.


Last, but definitely not least, is someone that will delight my entire family. I’m using this blog to let them know about this special person that Charlie has found for us. He is definitely my brother in every way that counts and has never been far from my thoughts for the many years we have been apart. Rodney Noble was a young man with a voice like an angel. He came into our lives so many years ago and became such an integral part of our family that I cannot even remember when he wasn’t there. During one of his searches, Charlie happened upon another old email address for Rodney on the internet. We sent emails, but did not hold out any hope that we would succeed in finding him, or even that it was the right Rodney Noble. The absolute BEST Christmas present I received this year, was a response from Rodney on Christmas Day! We had found our brother! Rodney has had some tough years and we had not communicated in any way for about 15 or more. You can only imagine how long our emails are to each other. We have so much to say after so long apart.

Rodney has been with us in the good times and in several difficult times. He always has been encouraging, supportive and always loving and positive. When I think about those long years when he must have felt he was alone, I want to hug him close and remind him that he has always been loved, just out of touch. Now that he is back in our lives, I know we won’t let him go.

In all of the difficult times that I’ve had over the past few years, the highlights have been finding these people who are near and dear to me that helped get me through. I see some similarities in the personalities of these dear friends: positive, encouraging, loving and the sharing of laughter. I guess if I can share anything with my readers it is to remind you to be the type of person that others would miss terribly if you were not in their lives. Be positive. Be encouraging. Be loving. Share the gift of laughter with everyone you meet. As I’ve mentioned in other blogs, remember that others will have different thoughts, beliefs, passions than you may have. This does not mean that you should be critical, judgmental or negative toward them. Embrace the world with love. You’ll be the one who benefits.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


LANGUAGE WARNING: The following post contains exactly one word (used twice) which may offend, but if you look at it in context, you will see that it is not simply included to shock or offend, but it just happens to be the correct word for that scenario.

I, like so many other entirely weird people in this world of ours, enjoy, among my other annual celebrations of Christmas, seeking out and watching as many different versions of Dickens’ Christmas Carol as I can. There are venerable favorites, like those starring Reginald Owen and Alistair Sim, more family-friendly interpretations featuring Kermit the Frog and Mickey Mouse, and some less mainstream versions which are particular favorites of my family, such as the 1999 made-for-TV version with Patrick Stewart and the musical Scrooge starring Albert Finney. I could go on to explain the vast appeal of this story over the decades and expound on my personal feelings about it…but I’m not gonna. Instead, I’m going to talk about something which is important to the understanding of Scrooge’s story, but which is largely misunderstood by contemporary audiences:

The meaning of the word “Humbug.”

It does not, as many people believe, simply mean “nonsense.” Nonsense has too nice a connotation to do the word justice. Lewis Carroll and Dr. Seuss dealt in nonsense. That’s too playful a word for Ebenezer Scrooge.

Besides Scrooge, one of the most well-known users of this now-defunct word was P. T. Barnum, the great American showman who used the word to describe the…less-than-entirely-truthful descriptions of the performers and attractions he would present to his gullib—I mean, “eager” audiences.

By way of an example: He once sold a cartload of white salmon with the slogan, “Guaranteed never to go pink,” which is actually pretty clever.

The word was also commonly employed by the great magician Harry Houdini who, in the latter part of his all-too-brief life, dedicated his time and talents to debunking frauds and charlatans, such as those who held phony séances and claimed they could communicate with the dead. Practices of this sort were referred to as “humbug” and they angered Houdini to no end. When comic magicians Penn & Teller created a TV series in which they, following in their hero’s footstep, go around debunking frauds, hypocrites, phonies and other assorted liars, they originally wanted to call it “Humbug.” They chose instead a word which is more common in contemporary language, but which conveyed the same basic idea:


You see, when Ebenezer calls Christmas “humbug,” he isn’t merely saying that Christmas is stupid or a waste of time…I mean, he is saying that, but that’s not all he’s saying. Because in Scrooge’s mind, not only is Christmas a stupid waste of time, but everyone else in the world is fully aware of the fact, but that they simply pretend that Christmas is something more meaningful and important in order to get something for nothing or to avoid work and responsibility. To Scrooge, that’s all life is: Work, responsibility, and the accumulation of wealth. And he believes that to be common knowledge which people simply ignore and disguise with false sincerity in order to get away with throwing a party for no reason.

No villain thinks they’re a villain, someone cleverer than I once said, and that is true of Scrooge. When he looks at himself, he doesn’t see the squeezing, wrenching, grasping, clutching, covetous old sinner that Dickens describes. He sees a hard-working, pious, honest man. The only truly honest man in London since the death of Mr. Marley.

So, to sum up, when Fred comes into the counting house and says “Merry Christmas, uncle. God save you!” and Scrooge says, “Christmas? Bah! Humbug!” he is not only dismissing the importance and the meaning of Christmas, but also calling his nephew a liar and putting those who wish to celebrate this joyous season on the same level as con artists who trick people in mourning into thinking they can talk to their dead relatives again for a nominal fee. This is why Fred is so shocked when he hears the word: “Christmas a humbug? You can’t mean that, Uncle, I am sure.”

After all, wouldn’t you be a little shocked if your elderly uncle announced casually that Christmas was bullshit?...well, maybe not, but it's still a great way to ruin a family dinner. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Best Christmas Ever

We’ve had some “good” Christmases and some “rough” Christmases. I know just about everyone has experienced this as well. It seems like it was more important that there were gifts galore when the kids were young. So we would buy the gifts; which just made the tough times even tougher. As I remember it, though, gifts never really made good times better. (Yeah, I almost said “gooder”, but knew my kids would never forgive me!)

I’m happy that the family has grown and I don’t just mean in years. As most of you are aware, Charlie and I are extremely proud of our offspring. All three are intelligent, funny, well-educated, loving, kind, gentle and tough. They are in their mid- to late-twenties, but they have not stopped learning and seeking their understanding of the truth.

This year is probably going to be the toughest we’ve had financially in a long, long time; but, that is not going to ruin the holidays. Not in my house!

I don’t know how many of you have been on Short Term Disability. Receiving only 60% of your pay – before taxes – is ridiculous. I can certainly understand why people return to work before they are truly able. Survival is tough in this economy in the best of circumstances. Having such a large chunk of your income stop at the same time as you are physically and mentally incapable of dealing with the stress of the situation…well, you know what I’m saying.

This blog is going to be much shorter than usual. I just want to say that I believe that the circumstances that prevent you from giving gifts to your loved ones often make the Christmas Season better than the ones when you are able to give gifts. It puts more value on what Family is all about. Not just the love that you feel for one another, but the understanding and support.

I am so blessed. Time shared together is, in my opinion, the best gift of all. This year I get to have Charlie, Lauren, Templeton and Dashiell with me. There have been Christmases when all of us haven’t even been in the same country. Those were the toughest. Hopefully, I will also be able to spend some time with my brother, Tom; his wife, Michelle; and their amazing kids, Dylan, Brenna and Macklyn.

This Christmas Season surround yourself with those you love and stop worrying about where you’ll get the money to buy gifts. You will not only find that you have less stress in your life, but you will find that it is the most wonderful and rewarding Christmas ever!