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ha-ha wall

I read looking out, not in. I don’t need to see me in books.  I read to know. Know new ideas, new places, new people. I read because I am curious about the world around me, the people in it, the things they do.

As a kid I read from one end of Cabrini’s lower school library to the next. Then went on to the Burbank Public Library on Glenoaks Blvd, shelf by shelf, stack by stack. With four years at Alemany I plowed through the entire library as well as the University of Chicago’s Five Year Reading Plan.

I read about living in Alaska without the basics, about supervillians like Fu Manchu and great detectives like Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. I read lives of the Saints and stories about spies and those who fought and died in resisting the oppression of Germany in WWII.  I read Edgar Rice Burroughs and John D MacDonald. I read history, short stories, long novels, novellas, comic books, chapter books. Name it, if a book came into our house I read it!

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My dad was the most organized person I knew.  I learned early on what being organized meant.  To dad it wasn’t ‘go clean your room.’  It was ‘make your bed, pick up your toys, put your clothes in the hamper’.


In grad school at Pepperdine  I first learned the PERT or Performance Evaluation Review Technique.  This was when those whiz-kids at GM and Ford matriculated into government work and started apply this technique to war in the Johnson Administration.

Ugh! Still Steps! 

There are some great definitions of PERT but for me, it was identifying what takes the most work and what can be done while doing that project, or what was needed to get to that project.

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Is there picture showing more tenacity than that of a dog with a bone?  Our Irish terrier pup,  with wolf teeth and paws that remind me of Sendak’s Where The Wild Things Are monsters, can take a ten inch bone and reduce it to nothingness in less than one day…when she wants to.  And yes, this is her ‘natural’ look, a bit of a bed head in Brindle Blue, forty pounds, long body, five inches off the ground with a bark like a Newfoundland with one hundred less pounds.

Tenacity: The property or character of being tenacious, in any sense. Some may say,  Never say Never!

Never say Never was one of my Mom’s favorite rejoinders when I would swear I would never again do….whatever I did on that particular day.  She would usually follow it up with, “Or you will end up living in Texas.”  My mom’s view of Texas comes from the time my parents  moved from Baltimore to LA in the late 1940s traveling by car. Somehow, on the trip, they drove through Houston. Mom claimed that the mosquitoes were the size of small birds.  We will not go into what General Sheridan said about Texas and hell.

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Cleaning out is a process. First, ID the item to be donated, then  put it in a closet or another room–out of sight, out of mind. Wait a couple of weeks, then revisit.  Maybe deciding, ‘nah, I’ll keep it’ or ‘okay’, and move to to a box.  Wait awhile and if nothing,  move it, boxed, to the garage.

I recently did this with my books.  Giving away books is traumatic! But admittedly my books were, in some places, three deep on the shelves. It was time.

So first I went through all the shelves, out came reference books, writing books, children’s books, history books, spy books, non-fiction, graphic novels,  fantasy books, science fiction books.  All piled in the corner of my study.

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Setting the Table

One of my jobs as a kid in a family of five was to set the table. And it was a job I actually liked. A placemat for each of us. Fork to the left. Knife and spoon to the right. Napkin under the fork. And when it was done there was a symmetry and orderliness across the table that appealed to me.

I still set the table for each meal.  Cloth placemats. Cutlery in the right places. Napkins. It’s more than what appealed to me as a kid. I understand Mom was civilizing us, preparing us, more knowing how to dine, not just eat.

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