Penny Palace

Penny Palace

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Miracle or Skillful Surgery?

Sparky, Norman, Dundee

Three weeks ago Norman (Dachshund) had his eyeball yanked out by Dundee (other Dog).  It was a Day of Surprises.  The emergency vet was able to salvage the eye globe, but said that dogs rarely ever regain any use of an eye after such damages. 

If you know even the slightest bit about the Penny Palace, you know that it is built on love, joy, and COINcidences.  It is much more than concrete, lumber, drywall, etc.  It is a Special Place.  In this past year, house guests have experienced physical, emotional and even spiritual healing as a result of their time here.

Perhaps Norman is one more soul who has benefited by the positive energy at the Penny Palace.  Every night for the past three weeks, when we are in pajamas and ready to doze off, I have massaged Norman’s face, and head -- especially around his eye area. Each night I have asked for his healing while tenderly holding his head and envisioning a white light pouring into him.  I have also asked the Penny Angels to FIND Norman’s eyesight in addition to finding their daily coins.  I also “bargained” with the Angels saying, “If you Find Norman’s eyesight, it will make for a Really Good Story.  You know I would share that Good News with the Penny Pal Readers”.

It looks like the Angels have found Norman’s Vision!  He is able to see through the damaged eye!  Of course he can’t read an eye chart and tell us if he’s got 20/20 vision (not likely), but he sees my finger moving or carrots flying through the air on their way to his mouth!  The vet was very surprised and pleased. 

Norman Says: “Tanks to all dem hoomans wid sent der gud thots.  De Angels herd U and I felt yor love.” 

Is this a ‘miracle’?  The result of excellent surgery?  COINcidence?  Or merely luck and the laws of probability?  What do YOU Think?

BELIEVE ..... and Happy Holidays!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Cutting the Clutter

Here is the follow up on the “Inspired Idea” from Friday’s Blog on one of the two electrical projects -- I now have remotely activated lighting in the garage.  Cost:  Under $20 in basic materials, plus labor.

This morning when I opened the kitchen knife drawer I was frustrated by the Clutter I saw. So I asked the Universe/Source for assistance in Obtaining Results.  It was neither an important or urgent project.

I went on line and did some brief investigating to see what was readily available (off the shelf) for knife drawer organizers.  There were numerous styles ranging in size, materials and cost.  Most of them seemed to hold fancy, larger knives - and only 10-15.  There were 30 knives tossed in my drawer.  Somehow they have accumulated over the years. (Some probably should be considered disposables).  Grrr ...that meant the job would likely require a custom-made organizer or some other really creative solution.

Later in the morning I went out to the garage.  Figured for the smaller knives I could at least grab one of those 99¢ plastic trays which were laying around in the garage.  I washed the container and put it in the drawer.  Hmmm… the longer knives actually fit if the blades were extended through the slats of the container.  Wow!  And that held the larger knives upright.

Back to the garage for a second bin (I only had two of those).  That worked for the smaller knives.  And a third narrow white bin would hold the miscellaneous knives.  Amazing!  All 30 knives organized in 30 minutes and for free!  (or $3 worth of repurposed containers).  That helped to Cut the Clutter.  Thank You Organizing Angels.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Obtaining Results

For the past few days Doc and I have been mulling over two lighting/electrical projects at the Penny Palace and how to best obtain the results we desire.  We obtained a quote from one electrician - for over $2,000! 

Last night while driving home, I asked the Universe for assistance on this issue. When I arrived home, our son Stephen was here and he and Doc had some great (meaning creative and inexpensive) ideas.

Today Doc and I planned to visit Home Depot and look for supplies as well as "Talk to someone there about this".  I told Doc that timing was important.  If we arrived too late on a Friday, there might not be someone to assist us.  

We had several delays, but finally made it to Home Depot.  As we approached the ENTRY door, an energetic couple was EXITING  (wrong door for leaving).  I was surprised.  Then I realized who it was ... Professor  Smith.  He is the Director of the LIGHTING Program at our university!!  He teaches the students and runs training seminars for vendors and installers in the lighting industry.  He is an expert in that field!!!  So, of course, we asked his recommendations for our project.  Another example of MANIFESTING!!!!  COINcidence?

Just keep asking the Universe for Answers. "HOW can XYZ be accomplished?"

Friday, July 12, 2013

Tax Agent or Angel?

Last month Doc and I received a “love letter” from the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB).  They told us our reported taxes for 2012 were underpaid by several thousand dollars and we needed to make immediate payment.

We checked our numbers and knew that our calculations were correct, yet they did not match the numbers the FTB was using.  Our Tax Accountant wrote an official letter stating that we did not agree.  We sent that letter along with appropriate documents.

Yesterday we received a secondary “love letter” from the FTB saying we owed the initial amount plus interest, plus penalties!   Yikes.  Doc was fairly aggravated.  This morning Doc awoke saying the first thing he was going to do was to phone the FTB.  I was surprised at that.  Usually I need to “pester” Doc numerous times for him to take such actions.  Or, often I get impatient waiting for him to do things, so I take over. This morning Doc got on the phone at 8 a.m.  He was a man on a mission!

Doc called the FTB six times getting the message that they were “experiencing an unusually high volume of calls, please call back at a later time”.  I could see Doc’s level of frustration rising with each call.  Finally on the 7th call he got through, but was told it would be approximately 14 minutes on hold until he could speak with a Tax Agent.  I had visions of those cartoon characters where the level of red rises higher and higher as the anger or frustration levels rise.

I had a 10 a.m. appointment, so I wished Doc well, kissed him goodbye and left while he was hanging on hold.  A few miles from the house I realized that I was fearing the dreaded FTB Agent and encounter.  So I adjusted my attitude and actions.  Out loud I said, “Please provide Doc patience and wisdom as he deals with this.  If there are any Divine Beings within earshot of me right now who were former Tax Agents or Tax Attorneys, please feel free to hop in and help out.  Please deal lovingly with the Agent.  Thanks!”

Doc phoned me as I was parking my pickup.  He said, “Done!  All cleared up!  8 minutes and it is finished!”  We had been somewhat expecting to “do battle” especially when finding out that the Tax Agent had never received our letter and supporting documents.  Doc began explaining things to her, but before he was able to say much, she was way ahead of him and spotted the glitch!  The error was on their side and we will soon get a letter saying all is OK.

Thank You Tax Angel. What a valuable lesson on expectations and overcoming fears.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Shopping Spree

Today I went on that Shopping Spree I threatened yesterday.  I stopped at Lowe’s for some electrical wire staples and one other item.  The store has bins and bins of items right in the main traffic aisles.  They are hoping to lure you into “impulse buying”.  I succumbed.  There was this attractive neon green screwdriver I just could not resist.  It’s not like I needed a new screwdriver, but this one was so shiny and new.  Also most of my drivers are of fixed average length.  This one has a shaft for both average AND stubby length!  (I had needed the stubby feature earlier this week). There are 11 different bits and they are stored in the handle!  And it was under $10.  What more could any gal want?  This is much better than a new pair of shoes.

Plus I found a penny at check out when paying for it.

Monday, June 10, 2013

More than Words

When you are speaking with someone are you hearing their words or their meaning?
Are you really understanding what they are trying to convey to you?

This morning as Doc and I were in the bathroom preparing for the day, we had two humorous moments.

At one point Doc said, “I’m glad you are built like a rhinoceros versus a gazelle”.  Some women may have taken that as a rude comment and thought: “I’m heavy, ugly, fat, unappealing, etc. to him.”  That could result in negative feelings about themselves. 

Instead, I laughed saying “Thank You Sweetheart, I’ll be your Rhino”.  I KNEW his meaning versus hearing his words.  What he was meaning was, “You are built like me.  We fit together well  You are solid.  I can count on you.  You don’t care about the latest fashions and trends.  Your strength is what matters.”

Then I said, “But I am still heartbroken over Sasha’s Trip being cancelled. Perhaps today I will do what some women do. Perhaps I should go shopping. Buy some new clothes and some 4” high heeled shoes.”  Doc replied, “You might get really hurt if you dared to do that”! Some women might hear those words as a threat.  That there might be serious consequences for spending money on a wild shopping spree.  I burst out laughing saying, “You are correct!  I can barely walk in flat shoes, let alone high heeled shoes!”  Just the mental image of me trying to walk in high heels had both of us laughing.  I would be Doc’s little Rhino in High Heels! 

Lesson for today:  It’s More than Words.
Strive to understand the Deeper Meaning of what your ears are hearing.

Thursday, June 6, 2013


Sunday during their interview and filming, the research team asked how I chose what to write about and what to omit.  I replied that in the days of Consecutive Penny Finding it was pretty easy.  I could write about the coins found each day and any attached messages.  After that point, additional ‘good news’ stories would come up and I would be so full of joy, I would write and share those with others. 

Today I will take a different tactic. I will write about the CRAP in the day.
Warning: This message may contain “offensive content”.

=    Sasha had his interview at 10 p.m. last night our time.  I checked email every few minutes from midnight through this morning awaiting his results.  No sleep.  Grumpy Crap.
=    A worker came to the house to fix a problem at the very same time Sasha was trying to call me with his interview debrief.  Ironically the work was in the Guest Room where Sasha is to have stayed. Frustrating Crap.
=    The installer could not fix the problem. More Crap
=    One dog peed on the Master Bedroom floor.  Wet Crap.
=    Sasha said his visa request had been denied (Details on Sasha’s Journey) .  Super Duper Big Time Heartbreaking Crap
=    Our rental management company said the renters had moved out leaving nearly $4,000 of fix up work to be done.  Costly Crap
=    Doc pointed out a stain on a curtain and when I went to wash it out, the rod failed and needed repair work.  Cheap Crap
=    Doc went outside to water his vegetables and came back into the house with dog poop on his shoes.  Very Smelly Crap
=    By noon I had a headache from all of the above, lack of sleep, and lack of food.  Painful Crap
=    This afternoon I had to get away from the house and computer for a little while.  The door lock on my truck would not open as I tried to get out of the vehicle leaving me momentarily trapped.  Old Crap

And there is more, but you get the gist of the day.  Other than helping me to vent my frustrations, re-hashing the CRAP does not help a whole lot of other people.  So why do that?

Instead: Let’s look at “How Can it get Better Than This?”  
(In today’s case there is huge potential for that).

I have a good, solid foundation upon which to construct a new and better day tomorrow.
=    Doc is a wonderful husband who has been totally supportive of this Sasha project and was up with me most of the night
=    I am healthy
=    I am caretaker of a beautiful home
=    Our two sons are intelligent, healthy, loving, self-sufficient men with wonderful spouses, homes and children
=    I have friends who are ready to assist me in whatever ways they can - from offering prayers and hugs, to punching out the Embassy Officer!  LOL
=    Sasha and I have met some really great new people as a result of this Journey
=    My heart is at peace knowing that I have done my best with all of my projects

The list of things for which to be grateful is endless.

Today’s Lesson: Forget the Crap and Just be Grateful!

Note:  Yesterday I found an incredibly shiny new penny dated 2013.  Sure to be a good year still ahead …

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Lights, Camera, Action

This morning (yes, a Sunday morning), Attorney Kenneth White called to confirm some details for his letter of support for Sasha.  More about that on the  Sasha Journey Blogsite.  So many people are pulling together for this effort. It is inspiring!

After that, the USC University Research Team arrived and conducted their interviews and filming for two hours.  It made me consider some of the factors, reasons, risks, etc. about writing Penny Tales for all those years and now for the Tales from the Penny Palace.  How does a person scientifically explain “Nudgings”? 

Doc stood in the wings and lovingly encouraged me as I was desperately seeking answers to the questions being asked of me.  I did manage to insert some lines which I hope will make it into the documentary film.  For instance: “It’s the Message, not the Money” when it comes to Penny Finding.

Towel Bars
After dealing with the attorney and then the research team, I was wiped out.  So Doc and I changed into work clothes and FINALLY hung towel holders in the Aussie Bathroom.  I had searched for weeks both on line and in the stores for one.  What I found was either inappropriate in style, dimensions, or practicality.  So this week I decided we would create our own.  I found two paper towel holders (because they were a good length) which we used as the bars.  Doc cut off the feet and then we screwed the bases into the wall cabinet. I just need now to paint the screw heads.  Little steps of progress.  I had hoped to have much more done at the Penny Palace before Sasha’s arrival, but instead the focus has been switched to just getting Sasha here!

And of course, the Penny Finding continues almost every day …
Six pennies at the first grocery store this evening and 2 dimes at the second store.

Today:   8 Coins            P(6), D(2)  = $0.26

May Coin Count:   149 Coins            P(105), N(3), D(20), Q(21) = $8.45
            That is double from April

Saturday, May 25, 2013


The first surprise was the dogs waking me at 6 a.m. to go outside.  It’s a Saturday and I wanted to sleep until 7!

The next surprise was much better.  A one-sentence email from Sasha: “Hi Tina! I have received the play book !!!”  More details of that on the Sasha Blogsite. That was a great start to the day.

The next great surprise was the arrival of son Brian to help Doc install a data and weather logging system.  Doc bought that unit six months ago and the box has been just sitting in his home office.  While I was inside the house frantically searching for a needed receipt, gathering supplies, checking emails, packing gear, and changing into clothes for the party, they were outside working on the system. 

I was very surprised when I walked out the door to load gear into my truck.  Doc and Brian had mounted a horrible looking 2x4 raw piece of lumber to the side of our beautiful arbor!  And it projected at least 4 ft. above the arbor!  I wistfully asked if perhaps they were joking and doing that to “pull my chain”.  They were not.  It was the easiest and most logical place to mount the pole.  I was supposed to be leaving for the Surprise Luncheon (which I had organized). I was torn!  I needed to be on time to the restaurant, yet I could NOT let those two guys continue with their installation in that location.  I needed their cooperation and understanding before I could leave!  They found a second location and began installing there.  That would be right in front of a window and hide my raccoon as well. Not aesthetically pleasing there either!  We finally settled on Location #3 and I was on my way to the Luncheon.

I stopped to pick up balloons for the Surprise 50th Birthday luncheon.  I was totally frazzled and the brain was on last minute details:  “Did I have the Special Menu?  What about all the gear for the park? etc.”  I hopped out of the truck and almost stepped on a penny. Surprise!  I had not even thought about coins today. It was if the Angels were saying, “Relax!  All will go well”.

I arrived at the restaurant, went over final details with the manager, then went to a nearby store to hide until JJ’s expected noon arrival.  Just moments before noon, my phone rang and my heart jumped. I was expecting JJ’s wife to say they were seated and ready.  Surprise!  Instead it was one of my renters saying that her kitchen faucet needed fixing ASAP.  I told her it would have to wait a few hours and I could not talk to her at that moment.

For the next 30 minutes I watched every car that came into that shopping center. Finally my friends arrived.  Whew!  Two restaurant hostesses assisted me by bringing in the balloons and taking a photo after I surprised JJ by acting as a waitress saying “Perhaps you would like to order from our special Birthday Menu?”  He was definitely surprised. 

There were numerous other minor surprises: 
=    Brian and Doc washing the 38 Chevy (it has collected dust for several years)
=    A new battery and test run of the car to get it ready for Sasha’s arrival (it has not moved in a year)
=    Doc’s brother calling to say it is time to sell their parents’ house.

Each day is such an exciting adventure (or compilation of several).  How could anyone say life is boring?  LOL

Monday, May 13, 2013

Thanks Lou?

A few weeks ago when Sasha was given the date of June 6, for his next interview, that date sounded familiar to me.  Took me a while to realize that was the date 5 years ago when my friend Lou passed away.  He and I had been friends since high school.  For the final month of his life, I was at his hospital bedside nearly every night after work.  I would then go home and email his family and friends (many of whom were out of state) about the occurrences of his day.  He was no longer able to speak which was agony for him since his PASSION was communication and film.

When I realized the COINcidence of the June 6 date, I “talked” to Lou.  He was a good persuader when he was on Earth, so I asked him if maybe he would assist on The Sasha Project from the Other side?  Maybe “speak” persuasively to the Embassy interviewing agent or something?

Last week I received an email from a Ph.D. Student at USC.  He and his professor are conducting research on “bloggers who update their blogs frequently and write about the occurrences of their everyday lives”.  They plan to work with 15-20 persons and had searched many blogsites, before coming across mine.  Also as part of this study, they are filming a documentary “to bring attention to the human, and relatable, side of our research…”  I emailed them asking for more details as well as sharing a few of my objectives for the two blogs.

Today Sonia called and said that the Human Interest part of the blog was just what she was seeking!  The next step was to schedule the film crew to come out to the Penny Palace.  After talking to her I wondered, “How/Why would a research team from USC be ‘lead’ to our blogsite out of the thousands of potential options?”  Then I remembered -- I had asked for Lou’s assistance from the other side!  He was extremely proud of earning his B.S. degree in the Film School at USC!  COINcidence?  Thanks Lou?!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Passion Project

What fuels YOUR Spirit?  What are you Passionate about? When you wake up each morning are you eager to greet the new day and spend at least a few moments of the day with your “Passion Project?” 

A Passion Project is something which keeps you so exhilarated that you almost don’t need sleep or food when you are immersed in it.  It’s similar when you are in love - the rest of the world fades away and life is Grand!

For Sasha, becoming proficient in the English language is one of his Passions.  (Read below). My Passion these past few years has been construction of the Penny Palace.  Prior to that, some Passion Projects were: raycing a solar-powered car across Australia’s Outback, creating memorable experiences for my engineering students, organizing a “final tour of friends” for someone who was dying, putting together a special honeymoon for a deserving couple, and numerous other adventures. 

What are YOUR Passion Projects?  Perhaps hiking the Grand Canyon, running a marathon, climbing a mountain, renovating an old home, decorating elaborate cakes, tending to a beautiful garden, coaching your kid’s sports team …  What makes your Spirit Soar?

Today Sasha wrote:

“…thanks to this project, I am totally immersed into English having a trigger, a drive to think in English, communicate actively and giving comments. You have made me using English as the second language, waking me up from the laziness life routine. … THANK YOU.  I would like to stay on the ‘journey’ regardless the outcome. The most important thing is to be active in life... I have been awakened, charged (infected) somehow with your energy."

Thought for Today: With YOUR Spirit charged, who, in turn, can YOU charge?

Monday, April 29, 2013

Act on FAITH

You all know about the building of the miraculous Penny Palace over the past 2-3 years.  Well in the past 6 months I have had a new “Project of Passion” to work on.  I call it the  "The Sasha Project”.

In a nutshell:  Nine years ago I went to Russia with my brother and his wife to adopt two boys.  Kept in touch with Sasha - our interpreter, driver and so much more.  (There are a whole bunch of miracle stories there).  It was always my dream to bring Sasha to the U.S. to visit our family.  So I began working on that dream a few months ago.  More details of the Sasha Story have just been posted for you.  The simple 2-week visit has now blossomed into 5+ weeks with 12 adoptive CA families who will be hosting Sasha!

Last week Sasha had to fly to Moscow to have his VISA interview at the U.S. Embassy.  Each applicant gets about 5 minutes to present his case.  The agent refused Sasha’s entry!  Sasha does not currently have a job, nothing in savings, and he lives in the family home (his mother is owner), so he owns no land.

Within 24 hours I had set an appointment with an immigration attorney.  He was wonderful with his insight, but said our chances were not real high.  He recommended that Sasha think long and hard about the time and cost to try a second time.  That night Sasha and I made the decision to “Go Forth!”  and “Believe”

For the past four days we have been scrambling. Pretty much working it round the clock (Sasha’s time zone is 11 hours ahead of mine).  There have been numerous glitches, hiccups, and delays.

This morning we FINALLY obtained our new interview date: June 6, 2013.  When Sasha gets his OK (notice that I did not say IF he gets approved), it will take a few days for processing, then a few days for courier mail, etc.  That ought to give me about 3 days to book the flights! 

That brings us to today’s story …

This morning I was in my stretching/exercise class.  At the end of each session, the instructor has us sit in a circle, tell about our experience in class, and then she shares a word for the day.

My report this morning: “I have zero idea what my body did because my mind was racing about 150 mph on the Sasha Project!”   The rest of the ladies gave more normal reports.

Right at the end, the “Nudging” said, “Go home and book Sasha’s flight!”  Huh?  Again, I sensed, “Go Book Sasha’s flight!”  My Engineering / German background argued: “The Embassy websites advises NOT to make travel arrangements because VISAs are not guaranteed”.  “No. This is NOT logical”.  The Nudging persisted again.

Within two minutes of that argument, the instructor said, “Today’s Message is FAITH. ACT on Faith!”  I burst out laughing and the other ladies wondered why?  I told them about how I had just been wrestling.  That gave me the opportunity to share about the Sasha Project!  The ladies all said they would all be adding their prayers to this project.  The Goodwill is Blossoming!

I went home to book Sasha’s flight. I had only a few moments because someone was expected at my house.  I was frantically working when my guest called to say she would be delayed by an hour!  Thank You Angels.

I did a search for flights.  My “ideal flight” would have Sasha flying in Sunday afternoon (thus avoiding downtown LA traffic) to join our family for a Father’s Day dinner.  The return flight would be after work hours on the planned Thursday in July,

I searched for flights from Moscow to LAX using my Frequent Flyer Miles.  Search #1 had ZERO results.  Search #2 had ZERO results.  I was getting discouraged.  I told the Angels that THEY were the ones who told me to do this.  What were they thinking?
Attempt #3:  Arrival flight 1:40 Sunday afternoon, Departure 9:10 pm.  I could not believe it!  And get this --  the arrival flight had one seat using only half the Frequent Flyer miles I was expecting!!!  Talk about AWESOME!!!!

I have booked the tickets, paid the various airport taxes, and have the Confirmation number!!!!  “ACT on FAITH!”

I can’t wait for Sasha to wake up and read this posting.  He will probably think he is dreaming…

The Sasha Project

In 2004 I accompanied my brother and his wife to Russia as they adopted two children.  It turned out to be quite helpful having 3 adults managing two active 2 year olds, navigating the transportation systems, completing documents, and overcoming all the other challenges which we encountered.

During my visit, I became acquainted with Alexander (Sasha) Romanov.  He was our driver, translator, shoulder to lean on and so much more.  He was a very helpful and humble man.  Sasha was working as a translator to earn a few extra dollars, but more importantly it gave him the opportunity to speak live with Americans and practice his English.  Sasha is passionate about learning the English language.

In the past 9 years Sasha and I have kept in touch periodically via emails.  He would sometimes ask for clarification on one of the American books he was reading or a phrase he had heard.  I was so inspired by his desire to learn.  My husband and I teach at the local university, so education is important to us.  It is exciting when you encounter a student who is on fire to learn (versus those who are there warming a chair).  It makes you desire to work with them and see them succeed!

For many years I had a quiet dream to bring Sasha to the US and immerse him in the language.  I didn’t figure I had the time or the resources to do that.  There were many other things demanding my attention.

At the end of last year I had an idea …
My husband and I had saved up our frequent flyer miles (from purchases made in constructing our retirement house) and were planning to use them on a trip to Australia to celebrate our retirements.  What if we used some of those miles to bring Sasha to CA?  I timidly asked my husband if he was willing to do that?  He agreed!

When I tentatively asked Sasha about visiting the US, he said that was merely a dream of his.  Persons like him do not just hop on a plane and go to America.  I probed further and asked him if there were any other adopting families he kept in contact with. (Christmas cards or emails?)  He mentioned 3 or 4.

Earlier this year I made phone calls to several families regarding a possible visit by Sasha. I was absolutely blown away by their responses and stories.  Each of them wanted to see Sasha again and to host him for a few days!  They spoke of how much Sasha had helped them while they were in Russia.  They wanted to thank him and have him share in the Joy of their now established families.  One lady even named her daughter after Sasha!

What initially began as a 2 or 3 week trip to visit me, has now mushroomed to include 12 families over a five week period!  One family (who now lives in Ireland) is scheduled to meet Sasha in San Francisco for dinner.  Sasha’s Itinerary has activities for each day including visits to the Space Shuttle, Queen Mary, the Getty Center, Home Depot, a California Mission, the Golden Gate Bridge, a 4th of July Parade, horseback riding, a drive along Route 66, a Giants baseball game on July 9th and so much more.

Since Sasha tutors 20 students in Basic English skills, we thought it would be a great way to promote Russian / US friendships.  We planned to set up a Blog where Sasha could share his experiences while in the U.S.

This is like one of those “Make A Wish” stories.  The Ripples of goodwill are reaching far and wide.  It is going to be such a positive journey for all the people involved.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Branching Out

Most of you know that the Penny Palace has lots of “items of interest”.  (Weird stuff).  In the past three months I have been working on the idea of creating a 9 ft. tall  Eucalyptus tree in the Australian-themed Guest Area.

A while back I did a favor for a friend and in a phone call she said “Thanks. Is there anything I can do for you?”  I sarcastically said, sure!  Find me a section of Eucalyptus cutting to make my tree”. She did!  It was gorgeous, but only 6 ft. long.

Then when another friend and I were walking she asked if there was anything I needed.  I jokingly replied, “Sure - a TEN ft. section of Eucalyptus tree”.  Within a day she had one for me!  WOW!

Doc, a neighbor and I spent a few hours yesterday creating the trunk.  Looks good.  We needed branches.  So I posted a WANTED ITEM this morning on  Within an hour Linda emailed and said I could cut branches off the tree behind her house!

Doc and I gathered an 8 ft. ladder, cutters, bow saw, bags, gloves and other gear.  As we were driving to Linda’s we noticed dozens and dozens of Eucalyptus trees along the streets and freeway. Most of the lower branches were at least 15 ft. above the ground.  Yikes!

We arrived at Linda’s and found several Eucalyptus trees with branches at heights we could reach. Whew!  Then I spotted a huge, very old and grand looking tree.  It had so much character.  It almost seemed to welcome me.  Lying at the base of this magnificent tree was a branch such as I was seeking!  The only tools needed to retrieve it were my fingers to pick it up!

ASK, then have FAITH!

Dinner on the Patio

Note:  This evening Doc and I ate dinner on the patio accompanied by the music of the running waterfall.  First time the two of us had a sit-down meal together out there. Wonderful!

Thursday, April 25, 2013


This afternoon I visited the local Post Office to investigate the options for getting our 3-ring notebook of documents from my house to Sasha in Russia within 2 weeks.  I was quoted the prices and it was suggested that I keep the weight under 4 lbs. and in a box with roughly certain dimensions.

My "conversation" on the way home (out loud) with the Angels was "It is 3 miles from this post office to home, with no stores between here and there.  I do not have time tomorrow to search for the right sized box.  Please provide the box for me on my way home right now."

I was "nudged" to go down a certain street of houses.  One of the neighbors had his garage door slightly rolled up and I could see his legs, so I stopped.  He asked why I was there?  I replied, "I was nudged to stop here for a box".  He looked around and found 2 or 3 boxes which were way too large.  Then he found a good sized box with much writing on it.  He cleverly cut the box, turned it inside out, taped it back together and handed it to me along with his blessing of the Sasha project.

Needless to say when I brought the box home, it 'fit like a glove' around the precious notebook.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Tonight I went to Trader Joe’s for some groceries.  We have a house guest and I figured it would be really nice to prepare one meal during his visit.  I bought assorted things including some pasta.  I realized Doc would not be happy if I didn’t have some meat with the pasta.  I planned to return to the deli area and get some Turkey Sausage, but I forgot.

As I was walking to my car, I realized I forgot to buy the Turkey Sausage.  Rats!  My thoughts: “I should go back and get that sausage.  I don’t want to.  I dread frying up meat.  I sure wish it came already prepared.” 

I put the bags of groceries in the car and was planning to go back in the store.  I left my cell phone in the car since I really only take it along to use in case of emergencies.  Something ‘nudged’ me to check the phone for messages.  There was one message!  It was my mom.  Her message:  “I’ve just sauteed a big batch of Turkey Sausage with some onions.  I can’t use all of it.  Would you like some?  If so, call me”.

I was absolutely amazed.  What are the odds of that happening?  That has never happened before.  Was it just COINcidence?.  My mom had been inspired to prepare the sausage earlier in the day before I even had my thought. Then I had a wish (mental request / signal).  Mom picked up on the signal and was “nudged” to call me and make her offer.  Or perhaps when I was shopping I picked up on her signal that she had prepared too much sausage and did not have any place to store it?

Food for Thought …

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Indoor Pond

This afternoon I was working on taxes at the oak table in the Grand Room.  I came to realize the house was unusually quiet.  The dogs and Doc were napping nearby, but none of them were snoring (as they usually do).  There were no sounds from TV, radio, air conditioner or any other devices.  Even the outside winds of the past few days were quiet.  It was almost an eerie quiet.

Then I heard the faintest of sounds.  I figured it was probably the gardeners or the sprinklers next door.  I didn’t think much of it and continued to focus on my work.  But there was “that nudging…”  The sound was so minimal, that I walked quietly and almost tiptoed to investigate it.  Eeks!  There was a pond of water on the Aussie bathroom floor and a spray of water coming from behind the toilet!  I like the TILE stream in that room just fine; I did NOT appreciate having a real one in there!

It’s been a few hours now with the water to the house shut off. I have called for a plumber and have told Doc he can pee on a tree outside until this matter is resolved.  Never a dull day here.

COINcidence that the house should have been so quiet allowing me to hear that faint noise?  Doc had asked me several times to go places and run errands with him this afternoon.  Each time I had refused saying merely that I did not feel like it and just really wanted to stay home today.  COINcidence?

Lesson:  Periodically turn off the “noise” around you so that the important, quiet “nudgings” can be heard.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Ampersand Lincoln Penny Print

Chaz DeSimone is a Graphic Artist and Typographer.  His Passion is the Ampersand Sign "&".  Chaz is the designer who gifted us with the wonderful Invitations to the Penny Palace Open House and Celebrations.  So many people commented on how 'perfectly' those invitations captured the many Celebrations Doc and I were wanting to share with each of you.

Chaz created a very special Ampersand print for the Penny Palace.  I have the Original in the Foyer of the Penny Palace.  Today in honor of Lincoln's Birthday, Chaz released that Prepare & Chance print to the public.  Anyone can print their own copy for free.

The story he wrote to go with this print was heartwarming.
Hope it brings you smiles as you reminisce about the past decade of this adventure.