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Finding Inspiration

14 Oct

We are nearing the end of our stay in California. Two weeks to go and it’s homeward bound for Mexico. It’s been fun watching the twins grow and hang out with our grandson. 


Sara and Analise turn three months.

This week I thought I’d share what’s on my night table. There isn’t a lot of time for reading on grandma duty and yet somehow I’m in the middle of three books. Time to get cracking or I’ll be filling my suitcase with books. NOT!


My daughter’s book collection.

I’m on the third read of a little yet powerful book, FALLING UPWARD, A Spirituality For the Two Halves of Life by Richard Rohr. It was recommended by a friend who’s opinion and spiritual path I value and it has impacted my life significantly. Spirituality and aging, presented in a thoughtful and personal way. The bottom line, “it’s all about love.”


THE BOOK OF JOY with Douglas Abrams is our read aloud book before bed. Lisa and I usually select fiction to send us off into dreamland. The teaching and antics of the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu make us laugh out loud as well as inspire our lives. Being happy in the face of daily life, is it possible? These two amazing leaders walk the talk and shine a light on the path.


And yes, I’m reading three books at the same time, THE BOYS IN THE BOAT, Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown.


I guess the pattern here is pretty clear, inspiration. It would be so easy to be cynical rather than grateful in today’s world. What’s on your reading list? Comment, share, subscribe. Visit dos_tortas on Instagram for more…



Beholding The Art

22 Aug

Guest blog by Father Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation

When we look at art, we are usually quick to judge its value according to our own preferences based on style, color, size, location, and even country of origin! However, there is another invitation—one that goes beyond our likes and dislikes—and that is to simply “behold” it. Many of the apparitions in the Bible begin with “behold”—usually uttered as a command, an invitation, or perhaps a call to a different style of attention. In a sense, it is a giveaway that, in fact, we can and need to “switch gears” once in a while to be ready to perceive what is about to come at us…

From the house where we’re staying in Austin.
Our son.

Once we decide to behold, we are available for awe and wonder, to be present to what is, without the filter of our preferences or the false ledger of judging things as important or not important. A much broader, much deeper, and much wider field of perception opens up, becoming an alternative way of knowing and enjoying. The soul sees soul everywhere else too: “deep calls unto deep,” as the psalmist says (42:8). Center knows center, and this is called “love.”

I invite you to “behold” something today. In my experience, you will seldom be disappointed. Find a bit of ordinary beauty—a print, a sculpture, a photograph—in your home, online, or at a museum—and gaze at it until you see it as one instance of a manifestation of the eternal creativity of God. Allow your “beholding” to move the work of art beyond its mere “relative truth” and to reveal its inherent dignity, as it is, without your interference or your labels. It becomes an epiphany and the walls of your world begin to expand.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, Just This (CAC Publishing: 2017), 99–101.

The yard at a friend’s house.

I have written of the inspiration I receive from Father Richard Rohr. (Finding Inspiration). His daily posts this week are about appreciating art in our daily lives. I have been keeping an art journal during this trip to the US. It’s been fun and a different way to collect memories.

My friend Roberta.

It’s so easy to be critical of my art but I’m not going to go there. I’m enjoying a different way to chronicle my visit and invite Spirit into my life.


Your Life Has Meaning

4 Jul

I read those words this week by Father Richard Rohr, as part of his daily inspirational message. “Your life has meaning”. Some days it’s very hard for me to feel as if my life has had meaning, then I remember

Early 1990s. Weren’t we gorgeous?

I used to work for the City of Austin in the sexually transmitted disease clinic. I gave people the news that they had HIV or some other infection they picked up along the way. I interviewed them as to their sexual partners and who else needed to be tested to stem the spread. I jokingly called myself a sex detective. The official title was Disease Intervention Specialist.

Assured of anonymity, people still reluctantly gave over information. I frequently looked for contacts with very little to go on. No name, sketchy address, and sometimes not even that much. FYI, your neighbors will tell anyone your business, where you work, when you’ll be home, at least they did in the 90’s.

1996 Master’s of Education, University of Texas

I think the most amazing experience I had was finding a young girl. A guy came into the clinic with symptoms of gonorrhea or chlamydia, I don’t remember which. The problem is, men are way more likely to have symptoms (discharge, burning) and women can have a silent infection that is only uncovered in a routine physical.

He had gone to a party the previous Saturday with people he didn’t really know, in a part of town he wasn’t familiar with and had sex with a girl who’s name he couldn’t remember, Sara or Susan or something. Sigh. Finding her was a true needle in a haystack.

I asked him all the usual interview questions and was getting nowhere. He then remembered that she might have been a high school student in Georgetown, a community outside of Austin.


His information didn’t really narrow the field much. What to do? My memory is a bit sketchy on the details, but I got the idea to call the school nurse at Georgetown High School. Those were the days when schools had their own nurses. I told her who I was and the oh so familiar story of the Saturday night party. And much to my amazement, a student who fit the description had been in her office that morning complaining of burning in her nether region. Bingo, mission accomplished.

My creation on Procreate.

I rarely saw clients more than once. I tried to convince them to be safe, selective and sober. Looking for contacts, I thought nothing of walking into a crack house, homeless camp or neighborhood that most folk didn’t know existed. I tried to treat everyone with respect. I really loved my job and felt like I was doing work that made a difference.

Today, living in the jungle in Mexico, I have my memories. Soon we will be heading north to see children and grandchildren. Just maybe I have made a difference there as well.


Ciudad de México – Part Dos

19 Jul

In preparing for my layover in Mexico City, I searched Air B&B for someplace simple and near the airport. I found a small hostel and booked a room for the night. We have had a few experiences with hostels. In Turkey we met travelers from all over the world, a range of ages and in various states of jet lag. A hostel usually has kitchen privileges and breakfast provided. Rooms can be shared in bunk bed fashion with bathroom down the hall. I read the reviews, booked a private room for a few more pesos and was glad to have a reservation. I got a taxi at the airport when I landed and was off.

Aguascalientes #33

Aguascalientes #33

I arrived at an attractive entrance and offloaded my bags.

Stairs to upper rooms.

Stairs to upper rooms. Hostels are always funky yet interesting.

Everything appeared clean and bright. I was offered my choice of two rooms and selected the lower level to avoid climbing stairs to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. At that point things began to go downhill for me. The owner smoked in the common area. Not great, but not a deal breaker. I then noticed the strong smell of cleaning chemicals in my room. My asthmatic lungs began to resist. Not sure what to do, I left the room open to air out and headed to the Frieda Kalo Museum.

Brushes hung from the easel.

Brushes hung from the easel.

Inspiration for the studio we are building.

Inspiration for the studio we are building.

The entire visit to the museum is chronicled In Mexico City – Frieda Kalo Museum. The rain became heavy as I left the museum but I knew I wasn’t ready to return to the hostel. The taxi driver had told me that the surrounding neighborhood of Coyoacán had restaurants and arts and crafts vendors. That was all he needed to say for me to brave the elements and throw my jacket over my head.

Typical baskets of Central Mexico.

Typical baskets of Central Mexico.

I LOVE the surprises of turning down an alley and finding a huge colorful mercado full of people searching for dinner, shopping or getting out of the rain. The colors and fragrances from the many stalls made me a happy Torta.

Wouldn't you love to have this in your neighborhood?

Wouldn’t you love to have this in your neighborhood?

I wandered up and down the aisles, poking my head in the shops to ooo and ahhh.

Some stalls had organic produce.

Some stalls had organic produce.

I wish I had taken more pictures, but sometimes it is necessary to breathe in an experience without recording it. I found a food stall for dinner and reluctantly returned to the hostel as I was getting tired and still had a trip to California waiting the next day. The room was ok. I managed to sleep and make my early flight. I have made reservations for my return at another location. On Tuesday I return to Mexico. It’s been wonderful to visit my daughter and her family. It’s time to finish our house so that we can be here in the fall for the birth of our grandson. Besides, I miss my sweetheart Lisa.

Healdsburg, CA

Healdsburg, CA


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