P – Plunger







I don’t care WHAT YOU THINK, but…



I am NOT a plunger!

Here I am lying on my physical therapist’s table in pain waiting for her to work her wonders on my body.  After all I am Humpty Dumpty and various parts of me decide to go on vacation because they feel they are over-worked.  The bursitis in both of my hips is driving me nuts as I can’t sleep at night because I can’t find a comfortable position for sleeping.

The doctor has ordered ultrasound as I’m too chicken to have him inject one of those enormous needles into both of my hips.  Before the therapist leaves the room she explains that she has a new technique she wants to try on me instead of the ultrasound equipment, if I’m willing. Sure, I make a great Guinea Pig.

So I wait patiently, filled with curiosity, as to what in the world this NEW technique the therapist plans to use on me.  At last she opens the door, walks in, and is holding a plunger?  Do my eyes deceive me?  Heck, do I even dare ask what the heck she plans to do with this plunger?  The therapist approaches the table to lean over me to show me the plunger handle that is labeled, “I am NOT a plunger.” Also, around the rubber base edge of the plunger it states “I am Not a plunger.” My therapist looks at me with a straight face and says “This is NOT a plunger.”

She explains that she plans to use the “Not a plunger” on both of my hips, to draw the bursitis out of my hips.  With this I burst into laughter with a “Yah-RIGHT!”  I now have tears running down my cheeks due to my hysterical laughter. This must be a joke… right?   At this my therapist instructs me to turn on my side.  I manage to do this without falling off the table with my belly laugh.  She quietly says, “Laughter is good for you” and with that she rolls up my shorts and works away like we would on any clogged drain.  Only this isn’t a clogged drain, at least not literally.  There is a lot of crap in my system, but she isn’t even working on that end.


After a few significant plunges on my hip she instructs me to turn over and she attacks my other hip with the “I’m NOT a plunger.”  Sadly, since the “I’m NOT a plunger” isn’t a plunger, it was unsuccessful and pulling all the crap out of my system via my hips.  Hmmm, maybe she should have tried the other end.






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O – Osprey


The Osprey often confused with the Bald Eagle eats mostly fish consequently you will find them living near oceans, bays, rivers, and other water ways.  An Osprey’s other names include Fish Eagle, Sea Hawk, River Hawk, or Fish Hawk.  This large bird is usually about 24 inches in height with a 71 inch wing span.



When we moved into our home here on Miller Bay in Poulsbo, we are surrounded with woods. There’s even a gully with a stream running in back of the house.  The gully houses a variety of vegetation and trees… Maple, Cedar, Alder, and Fir.   The Cedar and Fir trees compete with Seattle’s Spaceneedle for height.  The exciting part is that at the tip top of the Fir tree is an enormous Osprey nest.  The nest, from afar, appears to be a space ship that crashed into the tree.  So NOW I do have a “spaceneedle” behind my house.

Osprey2Dear, do you see a camera in our nest?





In the Spring when the Osprey return from their trip south to warmer climes, I can hear the babies squawking for food.  Shortly afterward, one of the parents takes off for their fishing trip along the bay.

At times, as I sit at my desk to enjoy the view of the bay, I will see a streak, like Superman dashing to the rescue.  Only suddenly there is a SPLASH of water and the Osprey emerges with a salmon.  Then later in the season when the salmon are spawning, they jump out of the bay like popcorn.  Heck, as far as the Osprey is concerned the fish jumping are as good as popcorn as this gigantic bird takes his pick of the fish flying up to meet him!  I can even hear the bird screech “DINNER TIME!”  The babies anxiously await!

Osprey catching fish



We periodically have power struggles over the fish as an Osprey attacks an Eagle attempting to knock the fish from the Eagle’s talons, only to send the Eagle crashing into the bay.  Did you know that an Eagle can do the backstroke?

Ospreys are magnificent birds.  It is a joy to watch them swoop from the heights of their nest straight down toward the water only to screech to a halt as they grab a fish and zoom back to feed their babies.

The babies have a distinctive cry, especially when they are hungry, just as any child does… “MOMMY FEED ME!!”

Osprey inspiration

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N – Names



“It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.”   W.C. Fields

“Any child can tell you that the sole purpose of a middle name is so he can tell when he is really in trouble.”  Dennis Frakes

“A name pronounced is the recognition of the individual to whom it belongs.  He who can pronounce my name aright, he can call me, and is entitled to my love and service.”   Henry David Thoreau


What’s in a name?  What does your name mean?  Why did you receive your name… is it a family name or did someone open a book and say “THAT name looks good!”  What does your name say about you… or does it?

As a child, I asked my mom where my name came from and she told me that she and dad found my name on a Welsh map, after all my dad’s family is from Wales.  The problem is that I can’t find any town in Wales named Gwynn.  Have you ever tried to pronounce Welsh words?  All through school, teachers would look at my name, stutter, and attempt to sound out my name.  They had never seen a name without a vowel in it, let alone a Welsh name.  Then years later when I took Latin I learned about “feminine” and “masculine” words and endings for names.  It turns out my name is spelled the Welsh masculine way.  It is too bad no one gave mom and dad that information! I receive correspondence to Mr. Gwynn constantly.

But I am lucky if my worst problem is that people can’t pronounce or spell my name.  I still laugh as I wonder WHY parents give children some of these crazy names.  Years ago, while working for a bank, one of my customers was named Olive Pit.  I had the worst time not cracking up when I saw her.  Then when I worked for a Title Company, I had to review the documents for Harry Butz.  I had to make sure the documents had his “ass” covered for his home loan.  Tell me… WHY do parents do these things to their children?

Finally, I have a lovely little granddaughter whose initials spell “BRP!”  Some day she is going to rip a good one for her parents!  I’ll say… I TOLD YOU SO!!



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M – Moving



“When I was a kid my parents moved a lot, but I always found them.”  Rodney Dangerfield

“The problem with mistakes is they’re so temporary.  You can make one today and then, tomorrow, some people will already have forgotten about it.”  Ritu Ghatourey

Moving in one trip

Fourteen years ago in 2001 my husband and I decided to move from my long-time Kirkland home across the Puget Sound to Silverdale on the Kitsap Peninsula. We did lots of packing and had movers come in and pack up the remainder of the furniture in our house.  On my king-sized bed I had a colorful and interesting spread made in Australia.  I love unique colors and designs especially in greens, teals, and corals— the main colors of this spread.  So moving day arrived, everything was packed up and we headed across the Sound to our new home.

The next day, the movers arrived and unloaded everything… boxes, boxes, more boxes, and furniture.  I quickly put our master bed together and pulled out the linen for the bed.  I found everything but the bed-skirt for my beloved bedspread.  Oh well… I’ll find it later when everything is unpacked.  Finally, a week later with everything put away, I still could not find the bed-skirt.  What in the world had happened to it?  I finally decided that the movers had goofed and kept it for wrapping around someone else’s breakable items.  I was devastated as I felt I could not put the bedspread on without its’ matching skirt.  So I pulled the spread off and packed it away to use on the guest bed, as it is smaller.

Ten years later… I never did find the skirt for my bedspread.

Fast forward… 10 years as we decided that we needed to downsize.  Our home was too big and the yard was way too much work so we put the house up For Sale and decided to move again.  Of course we needed to get rid of extra furniture and miscellaneous sheets, blankets, kitchen goods, etc. that we never use.  My husband piled everything in the trunk of my car and sent me off to Goodwill.  When I arrived at Goodwill, the worker was gracious in helping me unload.  He pulled out a big, old suitcase that my husband had stored in the attic, but it had something in it.  He opened up the suitcase and THERE was the bed-skirt that I had been missing all these years.  I broke into tears.  I was in so much shock I stupidly let the man take the bed-skirt away. My husband, in our move from Kirkland to Silverdale had never bothered to open up the suitcase.  He simply stashed it in our attic storage area to never be seen again.

Only my husband would never wonder why an empty suitcase could gain weight before he stashed it away!





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L – Long Lost Letter


“What a lot we lost when we stopped writing letters.  You can’t reread a phone call.”  Liz Carpenter

“A strange volume of real life in the daily packet of the postman.  Eternal love and instant payment!”  Douglas Jerrold

 “A letter always seemed to me like immortality because it is the mind alone without corporeal friend.”  Emily Dickinson




In going through family albums or boxes have you ever run across a long lost letter or family memento that means the world to you?  The letter instantly warps you back into time as if the years had not passed.  You stand there looking around to see that nothing has changed.  The surroundings are the same, as are the people… but no one sees you.

Recently, I had this experience by going through my brother’s pictures, that I have kept all these years after his death, I found a letter that is now 60 years old. I suspect it was a note written to my mother by our beloved neighbor, who described a situation involving my brother.  Attached to the note was a picture of our neighbor on her 84th birthday.  Amazingly she lived to be 104 years old.  My brother and I loved our neighbors as if they were grandparents.  We called them Aunt Lida and Uncle Jim.

Sadly there is no date on the letter, but it reads:

“My husband had been blind for many years, and our very close neighbors had two little children whom we grew to love as fondly as if they were out own.

One morning, Jimmy, not quite four years old, returned from Sunday school.  Coming into our house before going home asked Aunt Lida, ‘where is Uncle Jim?’

‘He is in the bedroom, Jimmy.’  I answered.

Walking briskly into the room, I heard him fairly shout, ‘Do you know WHAT, Uncle Jim!  The teacher said Jesus made the blind man see.  He just made mud out of dirt with spit, and put it on his eyes.  Why don’t you try it, Uncle Jim?”

I can still envision Aunt Lida chuckling at my brother’s solution to Uncle Jim’s blindness.

This letter may be “long and lost” but my memory of the love of these dear people still remains.








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K – Kathmandu



Map of Nepal






Kathmandu, Nepal hid my brother, Jim, for three months in approximately 1991.  My brother, then a Buddhist monk, accompanied his Hawaiian Lama and the Dalai Lama around India distributing funds.

Quote about Nepal

From the time my brother was extremely young, his one desire in life had been to grow up to be a Japanese Boy Scout.  He was intrigued with the Asian cultures.  As Jim aged his interest in Asian cultures and religion grew until he became a Buddhist monk living at the Honolulu Ashram.  Jim’s gift was learning and speaking foreign languages as he spoke: French, Spanish, English, Russian, and Tibetan plus some German and Dutch.  Because of Jim’s capability to speak and read Tibetan Jim was invited by the Hawaiian Lama to accompany him to India to distribute funds to the monks in the temples.  Ecstatic, my brother accepted the invitation.  Here was his opportunity to experience the Asian culture, practice his Buddhism, and meet the Dalai Lama.

Picture of Kathmandu

Jim’s experience in India was mind-blowing as he learned that he hated the caste system.  The monks lived in lovely clean temples, where the nuns lived in corrugated metal huts with dirt floors.  The nuns stayed vigilant to keep the cobras out of their dwellings. Jim experienced living in the filth first hand as the Gulf War was taking place and the people in India hated Americans. Since my brother was light-skinned, blue-eyed, and red haired, the monks dyed my brother’s red hair and beard, black.  Then they darkened Jim’s skin.  Since Jim was blue-eyed, people considered Jim Nigerian. Then the monks took my brother to Kathmandu and hid him out in the squalor there for three months.  Eventually, the monks figured a way to sneak Jim out of the country and back to Hawaii.



After my brother’s experience with life within the Buddhist religion and caste system, he turned in his robes as soon as he returned and left the Buddhist religion.  Sadly, while in Kathmandu my brother picked up three unknown (to the American Medical Association) parasites.  By the time doctors determined what was wrong with my brother, the parasites had made “Swiss-cheese” of his organs.  Due to Jim’s additional illnesses, he was told he was going to die.  The question was how long could his body fight off the illnesses.  Approximately two years later, my brother dropped into a coma and passed away three days prior to his 42nd birthday.  Due to his wishes his ashes have been spread in Tibet, Hawaii, and here in the states.

Living in Kathmandu definitely was a unique and life altering decision for my brother.

Nepal quote





(For more information about this subject go to my Family Section on this blog and read my story “Acceptance.”)


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J – Journey


“Something suggesting travel or passage from one place to another…like from childhood through adolescence to maturity”    Peter Marin

“Lose yourself to find yourself.  Some of the most important journeys we can make are the ones that, in purely physical terms, don’t lead anywhere in particular.” Lyn Webster Wilde


When people talk of a journey instantaneously our minds visualize a trip to Europe, Hawaii, or some exotic place.  Heck, I always dreamed of taking a photojournalism journey around the United States to the small, out-of-the-way hometowns like on the old television show Route 66.  I love history and seeing real, everyday life of the people on the streets.  But there are other forms of journeys such as growing up or experiencing traumatic events in life and “getting through” them.  Plus, there is the journey of a married relationship and walking hand-in-hand through the trials and tribulations of everyday life without killing one another.  But to me one of the more critical journeys is the one we take in learning who we are as individuals.

Now, I’m curious. How did you choose to get through your life?  What choices did you make, and were they the right ones for you?  Actually, did YOU make the choices for your life or were they made for you? What mistakes did you make? If we had a “REDO” button, would you hit it?  I know my journey was down a long, windy road covered with a lot of potholes.  Did I happen to see you on that road at one time?

Unfortunately there are no “guide” books for parents in order for them to successfully guide us through the process of growing up.  Also, often a child has their own idea of how they want to grow up and it doesn’t match the parent’s visions.  Too often a parent will say “it is MY WAY or the highway!”   Unfortunately “MY WAY” may not match what the child loves, their abilities, and their personality style. When there are misunderstandings or contradictory viewpoints about who a child should become sometimes that child ends up in a “black hole” until they can take a firm grasp of their own life and re-route their journey.  

Having seen the inside of that “black hole” myself, I have volunteered for a variety of schools and organizations that work to help kids find a direction that works for them.  There are a lot of kids out there who need support.

Now that I’m opening up to the world, I’m blooming, and drawing more people into my life.  Sadly, it might be better late than never, but it does feel wonderful.  In this case, my journey was a very long windy road. However, now I’ve found the end of the rainbow… my friends are my “pot of gold.”



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I – Internal Communications


“Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after.”   Anne Morrow Lindberg

“The more elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate.”  Joseph Priestley

Internal Communications



Years ago, as a volunteer in the Public Information Office of the local school district that my kids attended, I was asked to create an Internal Communications Audit.  This was a hot topic for me as I too wanted to know if the teachers, staff, and administrators knew all about the 26 programs their district offered to help kids.  Having never created a survey for an audit I worked at creating questions. Then I submitted my survey to all of the teachers, staff, and administrators in the district.  What we learned from the survey is that everyone worked so hard at their job that they were not familiar with the other options in the district. No one even knew the requirements for all these programs. They forgot to communicate with one another. This was eye opening to the district, but a benefit to the children.  Communications were about to change for the better.

Then years later, while working for a Title company in the real estate industry, they learned a hard lesson about internal communications. This company had two major departments that dealt specifically with one national lender.  One department helped this national lender and other national lenders relocate their clients into the state of Washington.  The other department for this Title Company helped relocate homeowners out of the state of Washington. How hard is that… “Are you moving into Washington or OUT of Washington?”  One problem— the various escrow offices around the greater Seattle area did not realize the difference between the two departments, consequently when the lender’s clients contacted the escrow office, they were more often than not sent to the wrong department. Humorus2

Have you been transferred from person to person within a company becoming angrier and angrier?  Well, this happened over and over again to the clients.  I frequently would end up with a VERY angry client that needed another department, so I resolved their problem and connected them to the correct department as I dealt with the people moving into the state.  I made sure my clients were satisfied. Because many clients were transferred to the wrong office within our company, the complaints about our company became so horrific that our largest client found another more competent Title company. The lack of internal communications impacted the service we were supposed to provide for our clients, as it put our company out of business.

Sadly, corporate America forgets how essential internal communications is to their business.  It is important that employees within a company learn about the various aspects of other departments… not just their own department.  Internal communications and customer service go hand-in-hand.

Too many companies ignore this fact. Internal communications is critical to EVERY organization… take time to learn the aspects of other positions within your company.  Your customers will thank you.

Internal communications and bickering


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H – Humor


“Humor:  The ability to laugh at any mistake you survive.”   Jerry Tucker

“This is not an easy time for humorists because the government is far funnier than we are.”   Art Buchwald

“We don’t stop laughing because we grow old.  We grow old because we stop laughing.”  Unknown


My bubbly, independent, creative granddaughter, Sienna, at two and a half years old and learning to talk sometimes parroted what others said. One problem — sometimes she didn’t understand the meaning of what she was saying. She also didn’t understand the concept of what she attempted to say. So we learned some very interesting facts from her. One day while at daycare, she was playing on a climbing toy.  Her father, after work, had come to pick her up to take her home. Sienna was excited to see her dad and was in a hurry to reach him for her hug. Yet even though Sienna was quite close to the ground, she managed to slip and fall backwards, literally doing a small flip ending up on her back.  When her father extended his arms to pick her up off the ground, Sienna reached up for her dad and exclaimed, “Daddy, I brok’d my eyebrows!”  I still laugh.

Pretend to be normal

Humor often is looking at the mistakes in our life to appreciate our uniqueness.  I have a route I walk for my physical therapy.  I start out at the Poulsbo marina walking along the waterfront and boardwalk that hugs the town’s cliffs.  I then travel up a short flight of stairs to head down through town back to the marina, where I start over again.  I generally walk this route five times per day.  One day as I was headed down to the marina for the fifth time, a group of people ventured up from the docks.  As they saw me, one man came over to me stating, “Mame if you are lost, your boat is down at the end of the dock.”  Laughing, I pumped my arm saying, “YES! My boat FINALLY came in!”  We all laughed as I continued on my walk.

Humor is needed in our lives as it helps us keep a healthy perspective about life.  When the dark clouds arrive, a good laugh often will brighten the day.  Keep your sense of humor.  You will be amazed how you benefit from it.



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G – Growth


“We can’t be afraid of change.  You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea.  Holding onto something that is good for you now, may be the very reason why you don’t have something better.”  C. Joybell C. 

“People spend too much time finding other people to blame, too much energy finding excuses for not being what they are capable of being, and not enough energy putting themselves on the line, growing out of the past, and getting on with their lives.”  J. Michael Straczynski

“I believe in process.  I believe in four seasons.  I believe that winter’s tough, but spring’s coming.  I believe that there’s a growing season.  And I think that you realize that in life, you grow.  You get better.”  Steve Southerland

More growth 

Growth!  How do you see the changes you have made?  What were your first impressions of yourself?  Were you shy and hid behind your mom’s skirts when friends and family came near?  Or did you want to take on the whole world at once… BRING IT ON!  Were your first images impacted by your parents’ comments or situations in your life?  Did you spend the rest of your life hiding under a blanket or did you charge out of your home looking to escape perceived notions about you?  Were you the “good” child, or the “wild” child?

The number one question of the day is “Did you remain the same?”  What about life helped you grow?  Did you wake up one morning and decide to change?  Did life throw a curve-ball at you so you lost your job or went through a divorce?  When you fell in “your hole” how did you figure out how to climb out?  Did you learn to walk down a different street so you didn’t fall in that hole again?  Did you have cheerleaders at your side cheering you on or giving you a boost up?  Or maybe you had to build your own ladder or learn to rock-climb in order to escape from the hole.  Were you Proactive or Passive?  Did you assert yourself into life or did you let life “happen” and become a victim?

Most importantly; when you emerged from the hole were you wearing a smile?  Did you pat yourself on the back or run around complaining that someone pushed you?  We have so many decisions to make about life, but if you have ever planted a garden from seedlings you know that if you add enough fertilizer and water that when Spring arrives you will have a healthy garden.  It takes that fertilizer to help us become the strong individuals that we become.

To grow… the choice is ours and no one else’s!

 Growth too

 This is a bit late to add, but considering my post is regarding “growth” I thought a laugh might be appropriate too.  I just received this from a friend.   ENJOY



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