Visit the Dumb Blonde's Amazon Page HERE

                                                                            
                             dumb blonde           

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? " Mary Oliver

       New on Dumb Blonde:
A LITTLE GUIDE FOR BIG GIRLS:  A FAST TRACK TO DO-OVERS
How you can change the way you think  about men, women, power,  self-esteem....in a New York minute.  This is  a powerful tool for explosive change.                          Check it out        HERE
               

                Here are a few essays from my
upcoming book:  Dumb Blonde Dishes Dirt and Discourses.
These slice of life stories are coming soon to a digital reader near you.
  • why rock star Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue faked his New York Times bestseller, The Heroin Diaries
  • why men really like big breasts.
  • what's the murder mystery that Stanford University doesn't want to talk about?
    Did the president of Stanford really murder Jane Stanford?
  • how you can be happy about being sick
  • why someone would spill the beans on a corrupt judge and make her number one in Google


 
Am I Crazy?   Why.....Is This Site Called Dumb Blonde?

  
                              
                           

From Motley Crue to Stanford University, to lost mothers, and a brand new Guide for A Good Life,  Dumb Blonde is IN with her essays for the slightly curious intellectual with a sense of humor.





   DUMB BLONDE is busy on her new book -

    Dumb Blonde Dishes Dirt and Discourses
                               
                               
                 
Meanwhile she brings you a peek at what she's writing



             New! ......  
MAKING EYE CANDY ;
                                ROCK STAR ANGST

                         

click HERE for  THE Microclimates of My Soul
click HERE for   A Matter of Sperm

               1. Cooking the Cosmic Books

               2. Evolution, Big Breasts and the Pursuit of Happiness

               3. Napping With the Koalas

               4. My Neurons Make Me Do It

               5. Nikki Sixx and The Methadone Diaries

               6. Who Killed Jane Stanford?
 
               7. Under the Rock A Goddess Grows

               8. Where is My Support Group?
  
                                       9.  Shelter From the Norm
   
                                      
10. The Collaborative Law God and Code Condom

                                      11. A Long Walk for a Lost Mother
   
                                      12. The Alchemy of Failure
                                     
                                      13. Design-A-Kid
more, more, more...


NEW  NEW NEW.................

                                               



                                                         MAKING EYE CANDY

She's seven and she lives in Pink Land.  That's  cotton candy little girl Pink Land. 

They say what determines if a little girl lives in Pink Land is her mother.  Some girls haven't got a clue what Pink Land is because Mom doesn't give a damn about it.   Mom, you can let her visit Pink Land but you have to get her out.  The price of living in Pink Land is high.

In Pink Land,  the land of fluff and cute,  girls learn bodies are for adorning, primping, preening, objectifying and sexualizing.  Little girl Pink Land doesn't stay that way.  It morphs into a deeper pink of silk thongs and black lace.  By the time she is ten, she's there.

If you think pink, and she thinks pink, and she worries if her butt is fat at seven, she might be giving blow jobs by twelve.  Think there is no connection?  Play connect a dots and you get there: "Oh, you are so cute in that outfit.  Oh, look, this looks so good on you.  Your hair is beautiful, let's get your nails done." And when she wants to be wanted, what does she have to give?  Not much except her body, which is all she knows. Her personality subsumed under years of lip gloss and blush, she gives what she has been trained to use.

When you think pink and sexualize her, do not be surprised when she follows your cue.  Underneath the "isn't she cute?" of adoring mothers is a budding hottie. Hips askew, hand behind head, and carrying a designer purse, she's learning how to use her body and get rewarded. Hair fixation of mothers leads to hair fixation of daughter. Designer duds may look great, but a whining bitchy 12 year old who has to shop at Target is not.  "I will NOT shop there. It's gross. I'll die."

Slap.

Mom doesn't know where the bitch came from. She grew in the process called self-objectification that describes a girl who sees herself through other's eyes and seeks outside validation. Unable to give it to herself she is validated when a boy wants what she has to give.

The American Psychological Association recently issued a report called The Sexualization of American Girls and the findings are disturbing. Strongly disturbing. The result of the social, cultural and parental emphasis on looks is not minor: low self-esteem, eating disorders, and depression. The rate of completed suicides of teen girls has never been higher.

The antidote is clear: social connections, community connections, athletics, and academics.  Girls who are into sports learn to use their bodies to be powerful. They are less depressed and have higher grades.

Think before you pink.  Dead is not cute.



Behind the Scenes: Rock Star Angst and Accusations

(Nikki Sixx wanted time out when Donna was pregnant.  He got it.  When Donna found out time out meant 'girls, girls, girls', she insisted he go to rehab. While there he sent her letters describing his fears,  his pain, and what he needed from her. The betrayal was ignored.  While he was surrounded by therapists and support groups Donna was home alone with a newborn. No support group for her - instead she was expected to be supportive for Nikki who left a folder on his computer with all the emails from all the girls he slept with while Donna was pregnant.)

Nikki thinks Donna slept with Tommy Lee.  He calls him Star Fucker Boy in a letter he wrote to her.  He says he could not accept it if she slept with him.  This is both projection and misogyny.  In Nikki's world, if you have a body and one of the opposite sex is near you, and is young enough, you have sex with it.  Bodies come and bodies go. You fuck them while they are there.

That's Nikki's world, not Donna's.  She had just given birth a few months earlier when he wrote those words.  It wasn't Donna who was sleeping around - but Nikki assumes that if she is in the same room with Tommy she will have sex.  That's what Nikki would do, so she became the object of his projection and  accuses her of doing what he would.

She also become the victim of misogyny.  He wants her to accept and forgive the drugs, the women, the heartache.  His women, his flings - "Donna will understand."

Why?  Why does Donna have to be the compliant, understanding, never complaining wife of the real star fucker?  Because that's the job as rock star wife according to the world of Nikki.

When Nikki  goes to Cottonwood for rehab she hurts.  When Nikki has an affair, the world knows about it first.  Her  pregnancy was a scary time with her husband gone.  Now he is gone again and though the words sound sincere, they are the same ones,  coming back yet again - the ones he uses when he wants forgiveness.  Donna is afraid of the source of his words because he brings them out to woo and seduce and then they disappear again, locked in a vault and opened only when needed.

Nikki accuses Donna of  not caring what happens to him.  He wants her to focus on his recovery.  She's home with the kids so he can recover.

But  when does she get to recover?  Where do she go?

If Nikki wants recovery only on his terms, recovery has failure built-in.







                                     1.    Cooking the Cosmic Books

A woman  was complaining to her therapist  how badly her husband treated her and how he left her for someone else.  She  wondered why,  if he was such a bad person,  he was so happy.

And the therapist replied:  "The Universe will take care of your  husband's shortcomings...... He will get his sooner or later because there is a perfect accounting system in the Universe."

Really?  I'd like to see the books of that accounting system.

The universe is not a karmic justice generator.   If there is an accounting system someone is cooking the books because lots of jerks walk around doing bad things and are content, perhaps even happy.

Learning to live in a world where jerks are happy is possible.  Enjoy the cosmic joke and find a new punch line.



     -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



                       2.    EVOLUTION,  BIG BREASTS,  and THE PURSUIT of HAPPINESS


BIG BREASTS.  Evolutionary psychology has achieved cult status.

 It  defines everything from the alpha male, finite resources and hunter gatherer perspective.   It’s easy to throw everything into the ‘evolution made me do it’ pile, and so currently in vogue to do so. 


The latest entry in the evolutionary psychology cult is an explanation of why men like big breasts. Apparently it is because old big breasts sag and young ones don’t.  Thus, the alpha male who wants a young woman doesn’t have to disturb any brain cells to think, “Do I want this one?”   He can simply look, and his brain cells kick in alerting him to the high level cognitive thinking process of, “Hmm, perky ones there...ok, she’s mine.” 

And this way of thinking has thus evolved into a chain called Hooter's.


Explaining happiness.   For this we turn to Daniel Nettle of Oxford University who tells us,  "Evolution hasn't set us up for the attainment of happiness, only its pursuit."  Apparently this makes sense because only those who survived in the distant genetic past were those dissatisfied with the way things were and who set about pursuing happiness, giving rise to  the "pursuit of happiness" gene which eventually became part of the gene pool.

Be happy, die young?  If we are genetically programmed to always pursue happiness, why can’t someone use that as a legal defense for drinking or smoking crack?   That would give rise to the latest expert witness: The  Pursuit of Happiness Psychologist.

This ends my case that what we really have is Devolution Psychology.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------





                     
                         3.  NAPPING WITH THE KOALAS

This isn't about koalas.   It isn't even about napping.  It is about pain, persistence, hope, optimism and future orientation. 

It's also about no more Pollyanna placebo, mindfulness meditation and spiritual savior  agendas for the sick.  It's about taking it up a notch from the feel good to the real good.

Finding myself in the Albuquerque Zoo one day during my Albuquerque year,  my pain reached enormous levels.  At the koala's home, there was a large bench on the visitor side of the enclosure.  I told my then 10 year old son I was going to lie down for a while.  Only in a prone position did the chronic muscle spasms in my neck find relief. 

These were no ordinary stiff neck muscles, no, these were ones that caused massage therapists to tell me not to return. These muscles were  so tonic one doctor called them  bands of steel,  and another blurted out, I'd kill myself if I was you.

I soldiered on for about eight years, through therapy after therapy, doctors, mud baths, creams, potions and lotions. But never a pain pill. (I would do that differently now.) I researched so much I could talk about the role of dopamine in relaxing muscles, calcium channels, and knew all about trigger point therapy.  I had books, consultants, exercises.  Still the pain persisted.

One night when the pain had moved to my shoulders, it was so bad I could not lift my arms.  I began to wonder why I had no solution and to make myself feel better I would think  along the lines of,  "Every problem has a solution, I haven't found this one yet."

I wasn't a complainer. Most people knew I had the neck problem, but they knew it because I described it, not because I complained about it.  I was getting tired of it and thinking of it in terms of an unsolved problem was revving me back up to persevere some more for an answer.

I was also getting tired of being told to meditate or go for yet another massage. Massage made it worse. If that sounds counterintuitive,  I understand.  But an hour after a massage it was like my muscles were on fire. I suspect inflammatory cytokines were being released, but I don't know. 

And then one day, in an area I had researched before, but for some reason had not fully explored, I had my answer. I was reading a medical book at Stanford.  It led me to some ideas  and I raced  home and got on the computer. Sure enough, with a little bit more poking around I had my answer.  I don't even remember the name of the syndrome any more - Gordon's maybe.  And the cure? Thyroid pills.

To try it out, I ordered thyroid pills from overseas. Armour Thyroid. 1 mg.

They arrived. I began my treatment, test, hypotheses, and voile! Five days later my muscles started softening. I was driving the car and entering a roadway where I had to turn my neck sharply to see other cars entering. I usually turned my whole body. This time, I turned my neck. And six years later, I am still ok.  One time I ran out of thyroid.  Five days later the muscles spasmed  up. The agony had returned. I knew my answer was right. By this time I had seen a doctor who upped me to 3 mg and congratulated me on my diagnosis.

Now, I have tinnitus.  It's random, but when it is there, I don't like it. I've done a lot of research: zinc, ginkgo, Chinese herbs, xanax.  Sometimes the xanax works. Then the silence is beautiful. Sometimes it doesn't and I shrug my shoulders and say, "Every problem has a solution and I haven't found this one yet."

Last week I was at Kepler's, a bookstore in Menlo Park, CA, near my home, and I perused a book on neuroplasticity. And there it was - a hint, a clue..there is an answer to stopping the noise.  It lies in the auditory cortex and someone is working on it. I am curious,  I look for clues, my life is full of problems with solutions I haven't found yet. Every problem  has a solution and until I get tired of living, I will keep on looking.  

Koalas like eucalyptus leaves. I liked napping with the koalas. It was meditation and massage in one and better than either done the usual way.

"I'm just a cockeyed optimist and I'm stuck like a dope with this thing called Hope 
and I can't get it out of my Heart…." - South Pacific



              

             -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------




                                         4.  My Neurons Make Me Do It!

People ask if I am afraid of writing about the ethical lapses of a  judge in Texas with ties to the Bush family or her cohorts that manipulate the system to their advantage.  Or do I worry about writing an unflattering piece about  an L.A.  divorce attorney who could teach Houdini a trick or two?   Do I worry about making fun of Palo Alto lawyers who teach ethics and turn around and share private client emails with one another throwing ethics out the window?  Or sending proof of fraud of an attorney to his peers?

 Of course not.  This isn't the stuff in life to worry about.  I worry about why my low carb diet isn't working this time and why hiking and biking aren't the easy ways to lose weight they used to be and why children have to die in wars.

My brain isn't wired to worry about what will happen if I unmask certain truths.  Let the chips fall where they may.   A made up story told to me long ago and a chance to uncover  the truth  began a neural pathway  that determined future action.  I was nine or ten when I couldn't stand not knowing her one more minute and I grabbed my birth certificate and walked for two miles to introduce myself to my birthmother. 

I didn't like the made up story and hidden truths and I especially didn't like being told it didn't matter who she was or where I came from.  Of course it mattered, and I was curious.  Everybody else had a birth story, but not me.  So I took my information and went to find my mother.   I didn't find a mother at that house, but this was the beginning of a quest for information that is second nature to me now.  The psychological imperatives that fueled a journey like this creates a neural pathway that lights up when I hear: "No, you can't say that, know that or do that."

Oh, fiddle de dee I say to all of that.   Jeffrey Kaufman, by the time you told people you were going to have your client pin a crime on me and have him get off scot free, you met your match...your lies and my neural pathway intersected and you had a bar complaint, a press release, an ebook, a website and a letter to the President of the California  Bar all telling the story of what you tried to do.   Diane Snyder, if you think I made up the story of your attempt to run over a process server why haven't I seen a cease and desist instead of whining to the judge, "they don't like me on the internet"?    Former Judge Susan Rankin when you refused to let expert witnesses testify to help a mother, you too ran up against my neural pathway that lights up with deceit, untruth, hidden truths, and attempts to remake reality.  John Zervopolous who "might" give custody to an abuser, Gail Inman who was told of abuse by a child and decided not to report it,  Judge Marilea Lewis who also lets an abuser have custody and only recuses herself when a picture of her with her lover is about to be identified in open court - oh, you have all run up against my neural pathway.

As time goes by and I place my  earliest unmasking of a story in context with others,  I see it boil down to an engine of injustice propelling so many quests.  Little feelings morphing into big ones that say, "This isn't right. I have to do something about it.  Why doesn't someone say something?" And then you figure it out, "someone" is you.

When they tell me, "you can't say that", and say it again and again and again, I smile and said,  "Of course I can.  I always do. I have to."

If you find yourself in my writings and you find me unmasking a story, a lie, a need for glory at someone's expense, a use of power to get your way, don't blame the messenger - my neurons made me do it.


     
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


                                         5.  Nikki Sixx and The Methadone Diaries



Go behind the scenes of a marriage of a man who uses words to shape reality and find a destructive divorce. You might also find a best selling memoir created out of thin air.

Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue hired one of L.A.'s champion divorce lawyers to assist in his no holds barred destruction of not one, but two wives,  in divorce court.  I was there when the lies flew from his mouth accusing his wife of being a high priced call girl and making sure the press was there.  That her father was there was unimportant to him.  What purpose those lies? A win in divorce court at a kid's expense. Who needs her father's lies about her mom in the media?

Where he destroys, his wife must build, where he fabricates she pierces the veil of his fabricated reality.



Best Selling Lie

Nikki  destroyed whatever it is that holds a married life together.  With betrayals there was no trust;  with lies, the bridges holding them together fell apart;  like dominoes the marriage fell one day, one lie, at a time. When the infrastructure of a life is gone a collapse is inevitable.

With every needle he stuck in his arm and with every need he fulfilled at Donna's expense, Nikki orchestrated the end.  The battering, the abuse, Nikki's  women, the control, the money Nikki spent on clothes he never wore, the drugs he used like candy, and the secrets he tried to hide through litigation.


Nikki is no stranger to manipulating words.  He uses that talent for creating block busting Motley Crue lyrics and it's his bread and butter.  But I listened to him in court use words to  lie about Donna.  He wasn't believable, it was an act, but  since he'd invited the press his lies traveled the blogosphere with a weight an aging rock star can carry to his adoring fans.  I wasn't surprised his attorney was one of L.A.'s infamous pit bull,  foul mouthed whores of the court also using words to intimidate Donna.  He walked up to her outside the courtroom, and in front of her father, Gary Fishbein said, "I don't know what fucking games you are playing."  But Gary should know -  he is a master game player.

Looking for love in all the wrong places, Nikki created a best selling book, called it The Heroin Diaries and pretended these were journal entries from his heroin days.  Only they weren't.  They were fabricated on the fly to make the book a best seller.  The ultimate high was a national best seller and like any addict he needed the fix of not only a trophy wife,  a band that wouldn't quit,  but a spot on The New York Times Best Selling List.  Maybe he could rewrite it and call it Methadone Fix: How I Faked The Heroin Diaries.

Rehab is a multi billion dollar industry that sometimes helps, sometimes not.  It comes prepackaged with a lingo all its own with those in it regurgitating 'healing' words from brochures and handouts from higher power spouting therapists. Nikki went to rehab and learned more ways to use words to prove he can manipulate those around him: evaluators, therapists, lawyers, judges. He's good.

I don't dislike Nikki's never ending media love affair, or the adoring fans who see what they want in him, but if there's going to be a best seller chronicling a trip  to hell and back, let Donna write it. I'd rather know how anyone can go from Baywatch babe to raising Nikki's kids to homeschooling mom and successfully representing herself in court against all odds and come up smiling.  I like winners - those winners that happen because you write your own success by living it, not by faking it.

The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side.  Hunter S. Thompson

     -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                                    6.   WHO KILLED JANE STANFORD?



Everybody wants their kids to go to Stanford but nobody cares about the murder of the woman who founded the University.   It's a cold case  turned frozen tundra.  I suppose Stanford University's lukewarm reception to  The Mysterious Death of Jane Stanford (Stanford University Press, 2003) by Stanford physician Robert W.P. Cutler was to be expected.

But I didn't.  I read the review of Cutler's book and thought, "This will be big news."  I should have thought, "This will be big cover-up."   Stanford took the path of least resistance and ignored the tale of murder  hoping it would fade away.  There were a few official murmurs about her death but they took the form of "We like to look at the good she did."  Fair enough.

Jane Stanford did a lot of good. She and Leland wanted the best for their son.  They hired private tutors and took him on world tours.  From all accounts Leland Jr.  was an inquisitive, intelligent and kind young man with a deep love of learning.  Jane was a good mother;  Leland a good father.  When Leland Jr. died at fifteen the Stanfords used their enormous wealth to start a university in honor and memory of their son.   It couldn't have been easy for Jane in the time after Leland Jr.'s death.   She was drowning in diamonds and sorrow and it probably crossed her mind that she would trade all the diamonds to have her son back.  It is said she had over 60 diamond rings and that some of her jewels had belonged to Queen Isabella of Spain.  The Stanfords were the hedge funds of their day.  But they lost their only child.

Nothing was easy for Jane in the years to come.  Her husband died as the university was being built.   And just as Stanford was thriving with its beautiful new buildings,  the 1906 earthquake came and shook them down.  Jane persevered and crafted the embryo of the first class institution Stanford was to become.  She watched over its creation from building design to instructors.  She was strict in who she wanted to teach there; her standards were high.

So picture this: a strong woman with a lot of money,  determined to see things done her way.  After all it was her vision, her money, and her tragedy that spawned Stanford University.  Fast forward over 100 years and we find Jane being painted as a balls busting bitch in the local Palo Alto newspaper.  On March 22, 2008 the Palo Alto Daily News ran a piece calling her autocratic, the dowager empress , and commented that people were terrified of her.   By the time the article stated, "She engaged in policy making, setting academic standards, and even venturing into personnel matters." one might forget that she was the President of the Board of Trustees and had hired its President, David Starr Jordan,  and that her high standards are why  "The Farm" didn't revert to the farm.

Jane died of strychnine poisoning  on February 28, 1905 at the Moana Hotel in Waikiki after an earlier attempted poisoning only the month before.  Who killed her and why?  There is compelling evidence that we might want to look at the then President of Stanford, David Starr Jordan.  Although it isn't exactly a PR coup for Stanford to have a former President of Stanford  implicated in the murder of one of the two founders of the University, Stanford also isn't overwhelming me with its compassion for the woman some call "the mother of Stanford." She sold her jewels to fund the university.  What did your mom do with hers?  Let's give some credit here and not throw her murder into the dustbin of history.

 The strychnine was in a bottle of bicarbonate of soda brought with her to Hawaii.  She did not use the bicarbonate until the evening of the 28th leaving one to suspect it could have been tainted in California.  The medical examiner held an inquest and found the cause of death to be poison.  David Starr Jordan said it was bad food. The doctors called to help her saw spasms and rigidity suggestive of poisoning.   Jordan hired his own doctor and paid him $15,000 and he, though in California at the time of death, decided it was not poison. In his book, medical doctor Cutler makes a convincing case for poison, pointing to Jordan's hand in it.

David Starr Jordan didn't get along with Jane.  She was too controlling for his tastes.  He wanted her to keep out of  Stanford affairs.  He was also a  eugenicist.  One of Stanford's alums wrote a letter to the editor of The Alumni Magazine after the book was reviewed and proposed a theory.   Quoting Margaret Quigley from Political Research Associates:

Plans of eugenic murder, although not commonplace, did on occasion creep into the writings of eugenicists who were not seen as extremists. David Starr Jordan, for example, then president of Stanford University, wrote in 1911, "Dr. Amos G. Warner has well said that the 'true function of charity is to restore to usefulness those who are temporarily unfit, and to allow those unfit from heredity to become extinct with as little pain as possible.' Sooner or later the last duty will not be less important or pressing than the first."

Go Jordan!  You pre-empted the Nazis and the Nobel Sperm Bank.  It's a good thing Stanford named the Psychology building after you.  There's a lot to be learned from you.

Jane, you are not forgotten.   Sit vis vobiscum





     -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------




                       7.  Under the Rock, A Goddess Grows



and she said to me:   Why am I... always hiding under a rock? What do you say about a born writer... not in fact doing anything literary with it.  Living and dying unaccomplished and unknown... living only day by day, without plans, without a future orientation, I'm just floatin' along and the current carries me sort of unresisting, a person with a rich interior life but I don't know, something's missing, I make no mark somehow. I guess it really all does come back to a version of voicelessness, of just sort of living with that off and on for as long as I can remember myself. It's amazing to me how other people assert themselves in life and ON life, assert themselves, and I . . . mostly . . . don't. ......So that getting very quiet, getting very small, trying to blend into the wall... crawling under a rock, became my habitual modus operandi.

Who the hell is she talking about?  You think you know someone and then you realize you don't.  She wrote a book and thousands of people saw it on my website.   She wrote of corruption, courage and love.  She gave us a hero's journey with long bus rides, taxis to strange ports, defiance of demons, analyzed the letter and the spirit of the law and with laser like vision uncovered and explored and explained corruption of institution and the human spirit.  This was not a quiet voice. It was a loud  and strong voice and it became part of my DNA as I uploaded page after page and read her story and trembled from its force and strength. "How did she do this? How did she get so strong? Could I have done the same?"

When I read her book I wrote:... listen carefully, for Ema's voice thunders through this book with truth and power and refusal to accept the silencing.  She embraces pain and demands justice. This is a hero's journey: a heart motivated fury, outrage tempered with wisdom and this book is a gift to all of us.

If she thinks she is voiceless, what do I hear?  If she thinks she left no mark, why am I changed?  What current is she riding that brings her to the shores were books are written without effort? 

And when her voice is not thundering, it whispers in delicate tones, "Come see what I see, I find beauty and I will show you".  Listen as she takes us home with her and shares her visions with words we mortals only yearn to have:

I never lose the awareness that this winter represents my valedictory season in the lovely house with the view.
 

The weather has cooperated by bringing the winter rains early.  Below the house, the terraced hillsides and the fields are every shade of green.  The dog dives ecstatically into the long grass of the vacant lot beside our house, and emerges with her black-and-gold  snout covered in raindrops and dew.
 

Usually the peak month for green is February, but this year the color has come two months early and is lasting.  The palm tree is weighted with golden date clusters.  The oak and avocado groves still wear their burnished foliage.  The pecan grove has lost its leaves, but the slim white branches are lovely against the verdure.
 

On occasion, an unseasonably hot day's breeze will carry the fragrance of the first wild flowers.  It's as if autumn, winter and spring have conspired to display themselves simultaneously, as in a fashion spectacle of vividly colored, soft-textured, perfumed fabrics.  



 
If this is what lies hidden under a rock where she lives -  then under a rock, in a faraway place - a literary goddess, a natural brunette, grows  enchantingly beautiful with her siren songs.  And her day to day living is richer by far than any five year plan could ever be.  Eat your heart out,
The Art of the Deal, for this is the Art of Living.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                                   8.   Where Is My Support Group?

I am looking for a support group for my life.  Procrastination before anything is my motto.
That means breakfast at noon, cleaning the Mac's keyboard before I write,  deciding
that sun on a February afternoon is too good to miss and since I'm out I need to stop at
Peet's or Starbucks.  I haven't finished the San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal or
The  NY Times so how can I possibly write in case I have missed an important piece of trivia?
Then there is the L.A. Times online,
Google and cnn sitting there with  more. More blogs,
more news, more information.

The good news is I am never bored.

I need a support group not only for procrastination.  And those who answer emails from people asking for help who don't want to pay?  How about checking stats all day long - look, 500 people  on my
website by noon.  Then I have to find out what city they are in. Maybe now it is time for
another coffee and let's sell a domain name and I haven't talked to my kid in college for 24
hours and maybe DNA tests have come down in price and before I die I can find out what
bullets I dodged.

I have my listservs to read and disagree with.  Email to be checked every ten minutes.
Stocks to watch. The top of the fridge probably is dusty. Am I out of creme de menthe?

It's a good thing I found $70.00 in a drawer because I haven't made any money all day
and now I can go out for coffee again and not feel guilty.

I'm still looking for my support group.  Silicon Valley mid life blond on the 'net seeks help.
Bring Ritalin and coffee, hold the Prozac.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


                                               9.  Shelter From the Norm

Woodside Town Council, Ron Romines, and Ethics

"Are you tired of ethical misconduct in the legal profession?

Are you tired of  lawyers who lie?"

I wrote that so many years ago, I forgot about it; but I recently found out a father's rights group links to it.  Sometimes they like me because I call for oversight.

I also found on there a quote I still like:

Mark Perlmutter, attorney and author, Why Lawyers (And the Rest
of Us) Lie             

                "...one of the systemic influences on lying in the legal
                system is that lying is a norm. It's an insidious
                development. We lawyers start by justifying it in
                circumstances in which 'everybody does it'. Then, once
                on the slippery slope of justification, we find it
                easy to rationalize lying in more and more
                circumstances. Eventually, it becomes so commonplace
                that we're now unconscious of it."


"...lying is a norm."   Oh please, give me shelter from the norm.

 Cutting to the chase:  attorney Ron Romines, Mayor of Woodside, CA  represented my ex husband in a post trial, post appeal collaborative law disaster. There is a bar complaint pending for various ethical violations.

Engage your mirror neurons and come along with me for a ride on one of those ethical violations. Your spouse has hired an attorney at $350.00 per hour, two hour meeting each time. You pay for two attorneys at this price. Both attorneys engage you in a process based on honesty, transparency, and full disclosure. Should one of the clients fail in any of these,  they are thrown out of the process.  The attorneys are not expected to engage in deception and the emphasis is not on their actions.

But this process has no oversight.  Behind closed doors there is no court reporter. No digital recorder. No technology:  we move backwards in time. While earning their $350.00+ an hour, the attorneys take turns being stenographers. They are multitasking while representing a client. These handwritten notes are typed up by a secretary and this becomes the "official record".   Should you not rebut each and every mistake,  they use your words against you. But I digress. There is no oversight.

In any situation devoid of oversight, corruption creeps in.

From the office of Attorney Ron Romines to  Attorney Michael Lowy:


Michael,

There is a series of emails that I am forwarding to you pursuant to Ron's discussion with you before he left on vacation. There are 9 emails.

Laura,
Assistant to Ron Romines

Attorney-client privilege has a such high place in law that breaking it by sharing client emails with opposing counsel is reason for disbarment.

If a lawyer cares so little about following the law, about breaking ethics violations, can this same lawyer really be the model for the citizens of Woodside?

 Woodside prides itself on its woodsy, horsy, small town with big bucks, cozy, we're all friends atmosphere.  Oh a few tiffs over bike riding, parked cars and Steve Jobs, but it is a tight knit community.  Just like the collaborative law community.  And do they police themselves? They do not.

Coverups may not seem so important in small town, have a venture capitalist over for Sunday brunch kinda town, but that's the point.  Corruption anywhere, whether in the academic air of Stanford University and cancer cures withheld so spouse will not benefit,  or Philip Zimbardo's prison experiment, or a small meeting room with a very small amount of money at stake, but two monstrously evil attorneys, harming the clients paying them.

Do you think "monstrously evil" is over the top?  Ask:  Is there "baby evil?"

Walk on the slippery slope, and it doesn't matter.  Baby evil turns into monster evil.

Would you hire an attorney that lies about you?

Would you hire Ron Romines who wrote an email to opposing counsel agreeing to an ethics violation that harmed the collaborative people he promised to help? And then lie about it?

Is this what you want as Mayor of small, bucolic Woodside?

Only if you justify it:

                "...one of the systemic influences on lying in the legal
                system is that lying is a norm. It's an insidious
                development. We lawyers start by justifying it in
                circumstances in which 'everybody does it'. Then, once
                on the slippery slope of justification, we find it
                easy to rationalize lying in more and more
                circumstances. Eventually, it becomes so commonplace
                that we're now unconscious of it."


Ron Romines as Mayor of Woodside and the citizens therein are no better than those who rationalize  "everybody does it."  From there, larger and larger lies become easier and easier to justify.

And one day, the monsters are running the town, the city and the country.

Crawford Texas is a small town with horses too.

"...lying is a norm."   Find me shelter from the norm.

The Town Council is the legislative body of the Town of Woodside, with all the regulatory and corporate powers provided under California  state law. The Town Council provides the policy direction that guides the operation of the Town, adopts ordinances and resolutions that constitute the legislative intent of the Town, and sets the Town's priorities through the adoption  of an annual budget and the provision of direction to the Town Manager. The Town Council represents the Town's residents  through these actions and through the conveyance of constituent  requests and concerns to the Town staff. The Town Council also appoints all members to all advisory committees, the  Planning Commission, and the Architectural and Site Review  Board.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


                                  
10.  The Collaborative Law God and Code Condom

I want to write about funny things.  I like funny and I like laughing.  However, as much as I try, as I wander down the highways and byways of this journey of my divorce (Hello Patrick;  hey there Kirby;  Roy - great to see you again; oops, there is John, don't want to take that turn) I realize there is nothing funny about being tired.  And sick. And hated.

Maybe though I will surprise us and find some humor here.

It isn't that I am not likeable, and it isn't that I don't try to be nice, but I make attorneys angry.

Jim told me attorney Jeffrey Kaufman hated me because I challenged him.  You bet, I did.  What do you say to a man who says he wants to hit you over the head with a 2x4?  "Hey sweetie,  do it again?"  I didn't have to tell him, Jeffrey has a Santa Claus size bag of 2x4's and he never ran out. I don't stand still as the board beckons.

I was abandoned  twice in this monster sized divorce. I should have seen it coming. My divorce attorneys have a manner of speaking: "Hi there, nice retainer, well, gotta go now." One even dropped me into the abyss while telling me he filed my brief in the appeals court. In fact, he had never begun writing it. The state Bar wasn't happy with that and sent him packing.


Having been dragged through both a trial and an appeal, Mr. 2x4 wasn't ready to end it yet.  He said, "Ann, let's mediate."  "Or collaborate." Aw, jeez, Jeffrey, that's what I  said years ago.  Was it the money that made you continue?  You entice clients with a small retainer and then egg them on, "You aren't going to let him do that to you, are you?" And out comes the checkbook.


I was warned about collaborative. Strongly, fiercely warned: don't go there, don't do it, you will never get out.  The attorneys who told me not to do it were familiar with my case - the husband who wears you out, buries you in motions, ignores requests to settle, and wants your attention: See, I have money to go on and on and you do not.

I listened to the warnings, but I was tired.  Six years of a divorce - court dates, trial, appeal. I won! I thought it was over. Listen carefully: nothing is ever over with someone who wants to keep it going. Unless you have stamina, money and a lawyer who doesn't mind leveling the playing field, you very well may die before the divorce is over.

In collaborative law four people sit around a table and discuss things.  Hovering over is the Collaborative God. You are in a box, breathing the fumes of the holy collaborator, using words like Orwell: "Ann, we don't speak of fraud, we talk of 'the troubling times.'  Read that again. The holy grail of collaborative speak is to replace truth with fiction, and pretend negatives don't exist.

However, should there be a negative, rest assured that "the team" is all on your side ready and eager to problem solve together.

 Or so goes the myth.  My team was different.  They helped my husband buy a house. We were there to get my judgment monies to me and instead he used it to buy a house. Oh, the collaborative god is laughing!

I'm still trying to figure that one out.

 Disclosure of investment opportunity? Oh, well, ignore that Ann.

Is this the funny part? The part that says that says to the collaborators: hey, I have an idea - let's collaborate,  we need to put the truth on the table and follow the rules you set up. 

The Collaborative God has other ideas like this one: Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Which translates to: "We don't have to follow the law. Isn't that great?"

The DaVinci code brings us a married Jesus with a French bloodline to this day. The Collaborative Code brings us a divorcing couple with IV Valium in their bloodline when they realize: I am unprotected from the forces of randomness if we can ignore the family code, bond with the one we like, ignore the facts and force some win-win.  I lost everything and here were these men trying to figure out how to give more to my ex-husband.

 If this is unprotected law, then give me Code Condom. Unprotected law is the biggest danger of collaborative.

We have a vengeful god here. He does not like the Family Code, it stands in the way of win-win;  a nice idea except when it isn't.

"Deep inside my heart I know I can't escape. Oh Mama, can this really be the end, to be stuck inside of Mobile with the Memphis blues again?"  Bob Dylan


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


                              11. 
A LONG WALK FOR A LOST MOTHER

If there was a cosmic lost and found I could have asked for my mother and father.  I was a little girl lost in the world of people with parents and somewhere two people were missing a little girl.  Surely there must be a way of connecting them, of making us all whole again.  I made a jingle about it:  Funny little family of three that was never to be.

 People used to ask if I was angry at them for giving me away at birth.  No, I always said, I am curious and I have many questions:   Who were they, what did they look like, where are they now, why did they give me away, do I have siblings, where were they born, what religion are they, what is their background, do they think of me?

Some people close their eyes and pray for help.  I would close my eyes and think of them but no images appeared. I had a cloud where the image should have been. That's how they felt to me: wispy images always floating away. I was as adrift as they and felt like I had no anchor and no foundation.

So I did what every ten or eleven year old does.  I stole my adoption file!  Oh, you want to know how a kid could do that, steal the original, not just what my parents had? How did she get her hands on legal papers available only to the lawyer? Never mind, that's my secret - I need one too.

It was me!  There I was, fully identified: Baby Blanton, illegitimate.  It mattered not a bit I was called illegitimate at the same time I went unnamed. (If it doesn't belong to you, you don't dare name it?) I had come from somewhere. There was a mother's name. A place she was born. An age. She had other children.I had siblings. My god, I was out of my mind with information overload. I took the file and all its papers and studied them late that night in my bedroom. They were more precious than gold. Me! Me! It was me! I had a beginning, just like everyone else.

Okay, maybe not like everyone else. Mine was a truncated beginning: "Hello baby, nice to see ya, time to go." Seven days the papers said and then, off I went to the land where people are chosen, not born. Father it said, was unknown.

At the time, flush with knowledge of a mother and siblings, it seemed less important to know my father then.  So, I did what any private detective, age eleven, would do. I found the last known address of Doris Blanton from the lawyer's notes and took the file (for proof of course) and walked to her house after school.

I remember it like it was yesterday. I knew as soon as I got there she wasn't there. And she wasn't. I later learned she had lived there, but moved after I was born. So then I did the next thing I could think of.  I started calling the Blantons in the phone book. I sure could have used the cosmic lost and found by this time. The phone book got me nowhere.

So I went on living and growing up and graduating college and getting married and having babies and then one day I said, "It's time to find my mother." And that afternoon I was on the phone with my half sister. But not my mother.

The time to find her had passed and so had she.  I missed her by nine months.   She died at age 52.

I looked for my father several years later. He too was gone, also in his 50's. I was his only child. 

The cosmic lost and found, where babies and mothers and fathers float like clouds , looking for one another, is only in my mind.  My adoption file is still with me but it is only paper. The promise it once held, was only half  filled. I have information but it's a wispy thing when compared to flesh and blood.

They tell me my father loved children. 

I wouldn't know.

     -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


                                          12.  THE ALCHEMY OF FAILURE

Problems, failures and disappointments, when put into the proper perspective, make alchemists of us all.

Failure is always with us; a constant.

Success, optimism, reframing, gratitude, resiliency - all of these exist because we fail or are failures and we need to know how to deal with them.  If the fact that life is a series of failures sounds depressing, I urge you to reframe that thought.

Resiliency is a major topic in positive psychology.  Something did not work out and we have to bounce back. Something failed - a process, a marriage, a trial, a child in school, a science experiment, a product design. Somewhere someone, or something, failed. Carefully crafted hopes are crushed, dreams broken, plans stopped.

We can become our own failure analysts, learning from the failures, and building stronger and wiser next time.
 
Where Will He Be 20 Years From Now?

Several years ago I rented a studio in back of the house to someone from England. He had a business plan, so he rented an office. This was Silicon Valley and new technology starts here, doesn't it?

His idea was a great one: a portable music device. But his idea depended on licensing music, individually. It couldn't be done.  Except, that it could, just not by him. He returned to England. Soon thereafter, the iPod hit the market.  It was his idea, but done by Steve Jobs. Is this man a failure? Oh, yes, he failed to build a prototype, think through all the problems, and he let his enthusiasm for the idea carry him all the way into a high rent office on University Ave before he was ready.

Will he succeed? Time will tell if he looks at this as, "Steve  Jobs and I came up with the same idea!" or, "I can't compete with a world full of people  like Steve Jobs." Identify yourself as one with brilliant ideas and learn from experience, or decide you can't make it because the competition is too fierce - the choice is where optimism meets failure. The intersection is where the future lies.
 

My Big Fat Life Failures

I am a bundle of failures.

My story is one failure after another.

"....yes I said yes I will Yes." - Molly Bloom, Ulysses

I put this quote out where I can read it. It reminds me to say yes to choices, intuition, kids, ourselves, to give permission for something, to make mistakes, to be a failure and to be a success. Yes to speaking my mind, having voice and giving it to others.  Yes, it says to me, I will do this, yes, there are risks, yes, I am a risk taker, yes I will go forth yes I will be hurt and yes I will be loved for the same thing I will be hated for. Yes, I am.  Yes.
 
No is for special occasions: "No, I am not a doormat. No, you may not abuse me, steal from me and lie about me." Yes, I mean that.

 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


                                    13.    DESIGN-A-KID

Designer kids on craigslist ad:

FAMILY FORMATION (palo alto)
Reply to: @craigslist
Date: 2007-08-08, 4:55AM PDT

We can assist you with a private, domestic adoption. Or if you need a
surrogate or egg donor, we would be pleased to assist you. Contact our
family formation firm so we can discuss how to best create your
family.


So now we have family formation firms for any situation.   Want designer clothes and a designer kid?  Why not. Prada and pregnancy is no big deal.  Not up to pregnancy? Rent a womb. No sperm?  They got sperm. They got eggs.

But should grown up Jordan or Jordanette want some background one day, problems abound.

Lying is the norm in design a family and design a kid options.  In adoption,  adoptive parents may be told the birth mother was a college grad and that she was the same religion as they - and neither fact is true. The birth father may be given a false but prestigious occupation.

Recently it has been discovered (and who is shocked?) that sperm donors lie (you think?).  They lie about their SAT scores and their parent's occupation and their medical history.  Sperm banks lie when confronted with 25 kids all suffering from the same genetic disease causing them to be afflicted with skin problems, then kidney dialysis. And they continue to sell the bad sperm. (It's called profit motive)

I have sperm donor applications from 25 years ago. All they asked for was name and address and age. Now there's background for you - John Doe, 123 Dorm, age 18.  But hey - someone who "really, really wanted a baby" got their wish. The selfish gene truly dominates.

Experiment on babies? This isn't news. It's business as usual. As long as someone who "really, really wants a baby" gets it, who cares about the human rights issue of the kid?  No one in the design a family industry.

Now we have genetic information so specialized we can order up a redhead with fast twitch fibers for running the distance. And when she wants to know, can I order up the parents I want, you have to explain, design-a-parent is still only a dream.

 

 
 
 
 








May 30

FENCES:

IIIIIIIIIIII

Hedges between, keep friendships green.
 Proverb

IIIIIIIIIIII

Love your neighbor but don't pull down your hedge.
Ben Franklin


                
                


                                        
                                            14.       My Neurons Make Me Do It

People ask if I am afraid of writing about the ethical lapses of a  judge in Texas with ties to the Bush family or her cohorts that manipulate the system to their advantage.  Or do I worry about writing an unflattering piece about  an L.A.  divorce attorney who could teach Houdini a trick or two?   Do I worry about making fun of Palo Alto lawyers who teach ethics and turn around and share private client emails with one another throwing ethics out the window?  Or sending proof of fraud of an attorney to his peers?

 Of course not.  This isn't the stuff in life to worry about.  I worry about why my low carb diet isn't working this time and why hiking and biking aren't the easy ways to lose weight they used to be and why children have to die in wars.

My brain isn't wired to worry about what will happen if I unmask certain truths.  Let the chips fall where they may.   A made up story told to me long ago and a chance to uncover  the truth  began a neural pathway  that determined future action.  I was nine or ten when I couldn't stand not knowing her one more minute and I grabbed my birth certificate and walked for two miles to introduce myself to my birthmother. 

I didn't like the made up story and hidden truths and I especially didn't like being told it didn't matter who she was or where I came from.  Of course it mattered, and I was curious.  Everybody else had a birth story, but not me.  So I took my information and went to find my mother.   I didn't find a mother at that house, but this was the beginning of a quest for information that is second nature to me now.  The psychological imperatives that fueled a journey like this creates a neural pathway that lights up when I hear: "No, you can't say that, know that or do that."

Oh, fiddle de dee I say to all of that.   Jeffrey Kaufman, by the time you told people you were going to have your client pin a crime on me and have him get off scot free, you met your match...your lies and my neural pathway intersected and you had a bar complaint, a press release, an ebook, a website and a letter to the President of the California  Bar all telling the story of what you tried to do.   Diane Snyder, if you think I made up the story of your attempt to run over a process server why haven't I seen a cease and desist instead of whining to the judge, "they don't like me on the internet"?    Former Judge Susan Rankin when you refused to let expert witnesses testify to help a mother, you too ran up against my neural pathway that lights up with deceit, untruth, hidden truths, and attempts to remake reality.  John Zervopolous who "might" give custody to an abuser, Gail Inman who was told of abuse by a child and decided not to report it,  Judge Marilea Lewis who also lets an abuser have custody and only recuses herself when a picture of her with her lover is about to be identified in open court - oh, you have all run up against my neural pathway.

As time goes by and I place my  earliest unmasking of a story in context with others,  I see it boil down to an engine of injustice propelling so many quests.  Little feelings morphing into big ones that say, "This isn't right. I have to do something about it.  Why doesn't someone say something?" And then you figure it out, "someone" is you.

When they tell me, "you can't say that", and say it again and again and again, I smile and said,  "Of course I can.  I always do. I have to."

If you find yourself in my writings and you find me unmasking a story, a lie, a need for glory at someone's expense, a use of power to get your way, don't blame the messenger - my neurons made me do it.

                                       
                                          15.            NIKKI SIXX and THE METHADONE DIARIES                                               

Go behind the scenes of a marriage of a man who uses words to shape reality and find a destructive divorce. You might also find a best selling memoir created out of thin air.

I watched Donna D'Errico, the actress best known for Baywatch,  pierce the veil of the reality her rocker husband created.  Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue hired one of L.A.'s champion divorce lawyers to assist in his no holds barred destruction of Donna in divorce court.  Now remaking her career  in several indie films with Andie McDowell and others, Donna is the antithesis of Nikki.  Where he destroys she builds, where he fabricates she defends with truth.

Donna gave up a lot of money in order to  take control of her  life.  If you know what it is like always being controlled you know the feeling of a life lived on your own terms.  Donna was finished with Nikki dictating the terms of everything.

Now she is free to  tell the story of her life:  the battering, the abuse, Nikki's  women, the control, the money Nikki spent on clothes he never wore, the drugs he used like candy, and the secrets he tried to hide through litigation.

Although Donna paid a high price for freedom, the price of not having it was way too high.

Best Selling Lie

Nikki  destroyed whatever it is that holds a married life together.  With betrayals there was no trust;  with lies, the bridges holding them together fell apart;  like dominoes the marriage and Donna's ability to cope fell apart.  When the infrastructure of a life is gone, a collapse is inevitable.

With every needle he stuck in his arm and with every need he fulfilled at Donna's expense, Nikki orchestrated the end.

He had multiple affairs while she was pregnant, he drank, he did drugs.  When Donna found the emails to the various women she was humiliated, hurt and very, very angry. Afraid of losing her,  Nikki went into rehab. He wrote to Donna every day talking about his journey through rehab, his pain, his needs, his life.  But Donna was left without a cocoon of her own to work her way through her needs and her pain. Rehab was all about Nikki - no doubt he needed it, but no one identified the other victim - Donna.

Donna said the pain inside of her was so strong and so big and overwhelming that she created a wall for his words to bounce off of, like Teflon.   She wanted to silence him because hearing nothing was better than hearing his hollow words birthed  from the recovery industry.

Rehab is a multi billion dollar industry that sometimes helps, sometimes not.  It comes prepackaged with a lingo all its own with those in it regurgitating 'healing' words from brochures and handouts from higher power spouting therapists.

Nikki is no stranger to manipulating words.  He uses that talent for creating block busting Motley Crue lyrics and its his bread and butter.  But I listened to him in court use words to  lie about Donna.  He wasn't believable, it was an act, but he'd invited the press that day and so his lies traveled the blogosphere with a weight an aging rock star can carry to his adoring fans.  I wasn't surprised his attorney was one of L.A.'s infamous pit bull, gutter living, foul mouthed whores of the court using words any way he could to intimidate Donna.  He walked up to her outside the courtroom, and in front of her father, Gary Fishbein said, "I don't know what fucking games you are playing."  But Gary, you are the master game player, Donna only holds the mirror up.  Reflections tell the truth.

Looking for love in all the wrong places, Nikki created a best selling book, called it The Heroin Diaries and pretended these were journal entries from his heroin days.  Only they weren't.  They were fabricated on the fly to make the book a best seller.  The ultimate high was a national best seller and like any addict he needed the fix of not only a trophy wife,  a band that wouldn't quit,  but a spot on The New York Times Best Selling List.  Maybe he could rewrite it and call it Methadone Fix: How I Faked The Heroin Diaries.

I don't dislike Nikki's never ending media love affair, or the adoring fans who see what they want in him, but if there's going to be a best seller chronicling a trip  to hell and back, let Donna write it. I'd rather know how anyone can go from Baywatch babe to raising Nikki's kids to homeschooling mom and successfully representing herself in court against all odds and come up smiling.  I like winners - those winners that happen because you write your own success by living it, not by faking it.

The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side.  Hunter S. Thompson






                                                 16.          WHO KILLED JANE STANFORD?



Everybody wants their kids to go to Stanford but nobody cares about the murder of the woman who founded the University.   It's a cold case  turned frozen tundra.  I suppose Stanford University's lukewarm reception to  The Mysterious Death of Jane Stanford (Stanford University Press, 2003) by Stanford physician Robert W.P. Cutler was to be expected.

But I didn't.  I read the review of Cutler's book and thought, "This will be big news."  I should have thought, "This will be big cover-up."   Stanford took the path of least resistance and ignored the tale of murder  hoping it would fade away.  There were a few official murmurs about her death but they took the form of "We like to look at the good she did."  Fair enough.

Jane Stanford did a lot of good. She and Leland wanted the best for their son.  They hired private tutors and took him on world tours.  From all accounts Leland Jr.  was an inquisitive, intelligent and kind young man with a deep love of learning.  Jane was a good mother;  Leland a good father.  When Leland Jr. died at fifteen the Stanfords used their enormous wealth to start a university in honor and memory of their son.   It couldn't have been easy for Jane in the time after Leland Jr.'s death.   She was drowning in diamonds and sorrow and it probably crossed her mind that she would trade all the diamonds to have her son back.  It is said she had over 60 diamond rings and that some of her jewels had belonged to Queen Isabella of Spain.  The Stanfords were the hedge funds of their day.  But they lost their only child.

Nothing was easy for Jane in the years to come.  Her husband died as the university was being built.   And just as Stanford was thriving with its beautiful new buildings,  the 1906 earthquake came and shook them down.  Jane persevered and crafted the embryo of the first class institution Stanford was to become.  She watched over its creation from building design to instructors.  She was strict in who she wanted to teach there; her standards were high.

So picture this: a strong woman with a lot of money,  determined to see things done her way.  After all it was her vision, her money, and her tragedy that spawned Stanford University.  Fast forward over 100 years and we find Jane being painted as a balls busting bitch in the local Palo Alto newspaper.  On March 22, 2008 the Palo Alto Daily News ran a piece calling her autocratic, the dowager empress , and commented that people were terrified of her.   By the time the article stated, "She engaged in policy making, setting academic standards, and even venturing into personnel matters." one might forget that she was the President of the Board of Trustees and had hired its President, David Starr Jordan,  and that her high standards are why  "The Farm" didn't revert to the farm.

Jane died of strychnine poisoning  on February 28, 1905 at the Moana Hotel in Waikiki after an earlier attempted poisoning only the month before.  Who killed her and why?  There is compelling evidence that we might want to look at the then President of Stanford, David Starr Jordan.  Although it isn't exactly a PR coup for Stanford to have a former President of Stanford  implicated in the murder of one of the two founders of the University, Stanford also isn't overwhelming me with its compassion for the woman some call "the mother of Stanford." She sold her jewels to fund the university.  What did your mom do with hers?  Let's give some credit here and not throw her murder into the dustbin of history.

 The strychnine was in a bottle of bicarbonate of soda brought with her to Hawaii.  She did not use the bicarbonate until the evening of the 28th leaving one to suspect it could have been tainted in California.  The medical examiner held an inquest and found the cause of death to be poison.  David Starr Jordan said it was bad food. The doctors called to help her saw spasms and rigidity suggestive of poisoning.   Jordan hired his own doctor and paid him $15,000 and he, though in California at the time of death, decided it was not poison. In his book, medical doctor Cutler makes a convincing case for poison, pointing to Jordan's hand in it.

David Starr Jordan didn't get along with Jane.  She was too controlling for his tastes.  He wanted her to keep out of  Stanford affairs.  He was also a  eugenicist.  One of Stanford's alums wrote a letter to the editor of The Alumni Magazine after the book was reviewed and proposed a theory.   Quoting Margaret Quigley from Political Research Associates:

Plans of eugenic murder, although not commonplace, did on occasion creep into the writings of eugenicists who were not seen as extremists. David Starr Jordan, for example, then president of Stanford University, wrote in 1911, "Dr. Amos G. Warner has well said that the 'true function of charity is to restore to usefulness those who are temporarily unfit, and to allow those unfit from heredity to become extinct with as little pain as possible.' Sooner or later the last duty will not be less important or pressing than the first."

Go Jordan!  You pre-empted the Nazis and the Nobel Sperm Bank.  It's a good thing Stanford named the Psychology building after you.  There's a lot to be learned from you.

Jane, you are not forgotten.  
Sit vis vobiscum







                                               17.      Under the Rock, A Goddess Grows



and she said to me:   Why am I... always hiding under a rock? What do you say about a born writer... not in fact doing anything literary with it.  Living and dying unaccomplished and unknown... living only day by day, without plans, without a future orientation, I'm just floatin' along and the current carries me sort of unresisting, a person with a rich interior life but I don't know, something's missing, I make no mark somehow. I guess it really all does come back to a version of voicelessness, of just sort of living with that off and on for as long as I can remember myself. It's amazing to me how other people assert themselves in life and ON life, assert themselves, and I . . . mostly . . . don't. ......So that getting very quiet, getting very small, trying to blend into the wall... crawling under a rock, became my habitual modus operandi.

Who the hell is she talking about?  You think you know someone and then you realize you don't.  She wrote a book and thousands of people saw it on my website.   She wrote of corruption, courage and love.  She gave us a hero's journey with long bus rides, taxis to strange ports, defiance of demons, analyzed the letter and the spirit of the law and with laser like vision uncovered and explored and explained corruption of institution and the human spirit.  This was not a quiet voice. It was a loud  and strong voice and it became part of my DNA as I uploaded page after page and read her story and trembled from its force and strength. "How did she do this? How did she get so strong? Could I have done the same?"

When I read her book I wrote:... listen carefully, for Ema's voice thunders through this book with truth and power and refusal to accept the silencing.  She embraces pain and demands justice. This is a hero's journey: a heart motivated fury, outrage tempered with wisdom and this book is a gift to all of us.

If she thinks she is voiceless, what do I hear?  If she thinks she left no mark, why am I changed?  What current is she riding that brings her to the shores were books are written without effort? 

And when her voice is not thundering, it whispers in delicate tones, "Come see what I see, I find beauty and I will show you".  Listen as she takes us home with her and shares her visions with words we mortals only yearn to have:

I never lose the awareness that this winter represents my valedictory season in the lovely
house with the view.
 

The weather has cooperated by bringing the winter rains early.  Below the house, the
 terraced hillsides and the fields are every shade of green.  The dog dives ecstatically into
the long grass of the vacant lot beside our house, and emerges with her black-and-gold
snout covered in raindrops and dew.
 

Usually the peak month for green is February, but this year the color has come two months
early and is lasting.  The palm tree is weighted with golden date clusters.  The oak and avocado
groves still wear their burnished foliage.  The pecan grove has lost its leaves, but the slim white
branches are lovely against the verdure.
 

On occasion, an unseasonably hot day's breeze will carry the fragrance of the first wild flowers.
 It's as if autumn, winter and spring have conspired to display themselves simultaneously, as in
a fashion spectacle of vividly colored, soft-textured, perfumed fabrics.
 



 
If this is what lies hidden under a rock where she lives -  then under a rock, in a faraway place - a literary goddess, a natural brunette, grows  enchantingly beautiful with her siren songs.  And her day to day living is richer by far than any five year plan could ever be.  Eat your heart out, The Art of the Deal, for this is the Art of Living.


                                      18.     Gratitude From Around the World: I am so Grateful



My hard drive is failing, causing me to back up, delete, move, organize and reread
many items on my computer. I use gmail but a lot of my online presence still has
another email address. I have been sorting through and rereading emails from
people who have written to me.

I am so lucky to have people that like to thank me, explain where I am wrong, tell
me they like me, and tell me I am nuts. I find feedback gratifying; it is when
people do not care enough to write that there is a problem.

Gratitude is used in positive psychology often. Maybe even seen by some as the cornerstone
- if you are full of gratitude, you will be happier. I don't doubt it. I trust that being
truly grateful for many things is better than being miserable about just as many. I am certainly
happier for the knowledge that I can flip a switch and go into grateful mode, and engage
it often.

Gratitude journals, though, aren't for me. And being grateful by comparison ('I am grateful
I have food while others starve') is really not me. I don't like comparisons - if you haven't
got the common sense to see and know a home is better than a street corner, I think we
haven't taught you very well in life so far.

Gratitude is above the comparison mode. It is recognition of change in yourself brought
on not by circumstance but by intent.

"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think
with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us." Albert Schweitzer

Thank you - from Zimbabwe to United Arab Emirates, to Paris and Egypt and Canada, and
the U.S, and all those from places I didn't mention - thank you for lighting the flame
within me with your words. I am so very grateful and my only regret is not sharing a meal
or a drink with all of you in friendship and companionship. We share the electrons and
oh, how grateful I am for that.










                                            
                                                       19.         And the Award Goes To........


Wouldn't it be great if life were like a game?  It wouldn't be hard to feel great if we were the star quarterback -  where we're always winning and the crowds are cheering us on, the coach is always proud of us and cheerleaders shout our name.   But we don't  have a life like this so we become our own cheerleaders and find the guts and glory within ourselves to keep on going whether we get the ball to the goal or not.

But this isn't always easy and many can't get there.  Some people can't make it out of bed in the morning when things don't go right,  some make a half-hearted attempt and wonder why they don't get what they want.  Some rise to the occasion once and never again.  But sometimes you meet that rare individual that is born with a gusto for life; who gets the dregs of a situation and wonders how many ways there are to figure out how to make it whole again.  This person doesn't always realize it but she speaks the language of success.  Her words propel her to things that others say can't be done.  Her vocabulary is studded with metaphors of winning and if ever she stumbles she doesn't worry, she does a mental juggling act and an automatic edit and rewrite kicks in.   Her audience forgets she isn't wealthy or well known because she doesn't care about that.  Her friends are her team, her struggle is a battle she will win, her "what if's" become strategy and what she doesn't know becomes a challenge not a problem.  Watching her in action is like watching the waves roll backward - you don't quite know what you are seeing and it is unexpected.

Far too many live without being transformational.  They have no power to change the people around them or circumstances.  They cede their powers and leave it up to fate.  There is a hesitancy about them and a sense the lights of their life are less electric than others.

But in a small apartment in Dallas lives a woman who not only stars in the game of life, she has cheerleaders and fans and she shows them how to live life grandly and big and grab it and find their lights and power.   She is visible and confident and fearless and we think, "If she can, we can."  And wherever you meet someone like that, hold on to her because forces of nature should not be tamed; the penalties are fearsome.  And you say, if Janay can dream it, we will be there for her.

Dumb Blond only has one Brunette Award.  I am happy to award this year's Brunette of the Year to a woman who can make judges weep and lawyers tremble, who punishes the bad and rewards the good with her enthusiasm.  For inspiring others to go on and star in their own games and helps them play the game of life as winners.

 
And most of all, because she is a resting place, a nesting place,  for a little girl who is on a journey home.  To  JBR,  the highest honor from the world of blonds: Brunette of the Year.