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What Makes You Hug Random Strangers?



I found out these two little golden books are what makes me grab random people at a yard sale in Stockton and hug them.

As a child my mother read me these two books and I remember loving them. They brought fond memories, and me being a book collector of sorts, I had always wanted to find them. The problem was that I did not know the names of them. I could only remember the pictures and the main subject. I was probably around 5 when she used to read them. To make a long story short, I was at a yard sale and saw a pile of ‘Little Golden Books’. I mentioned to the lady that I had been looking for a book about a rabbit that yawned and a little bee flew into its mouth. Then it had to whisper so as not to wake up the bee that was sleeping in its mouth. She then said, you mean The Whispering Rabbit? And low and behold she had it! Not only that, but she had the other book I had wanted too! I considered this a mini-miracle. A sign from the almighty. I do not play the lotto or I would have went out and bought a ticket that minute.

Yes, that is what made me grab her and give her a huge hug. From there, I also grabbed the lady standing and observing this spectacle, and gave her a hug too. People started to wait in line to hug me. At that point the yard sale lady was probably very sorry she only charged 0.25 per book.

What find would make you this excited at a yard sale? I mean enough to gasp, almost cry and then start hugging people? Just curious if I’m alone on this one? Ha!


The Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day


I usually try to be a glass is half full person but no matter how much I tried I could not stop thinking this entire week super sucked and I have poofy eyes to prove it. Until I was handed the drawing you see here. A friend’s daughter sent it with her Mom to give to me today at work. As soon as I saw it I cried, yes I was at my desk… at work. I know Taryn heard me sniffling. It’s not the first time, trust me.

Why did it make me cry? Because no gift can be greater than the love of a child. I had one of those rare moments of clarity and gratefulness. I am not ashamed to say those moments of awareness and self-realization often come from a 10-year-old little girl. Besides, who else thinks I am a beautiful, wonderful mermaid and remembers I love coffee? The timing could not have been better.  Zen does say, ‘everything is as it should be’.  (R.I.P. Zen)


I lost a friend today. This morning as Jamie and I held him, kissed him, and told him it was OK to leave, he slipped away. I did not want to let go even after he left. I wanted to stay and kiss his soft ears and tell him I was sorry I couldn’t save him, the way that he saved me. I didn’t rescue him, he rescued me and I am forever grateful my journey included him. I love you Zen and I hope I can be as strong and brave as you. Thank you for the constant laughter and most importantly, the lessons you taught me. I know baby, everything is as it should be.

Peace, love and dogs,


The Interrogation of Jerry J. Davis


The following is an interrogation of Jerry J. Davis, author, photographer, podcaster and overall groovy guy.


1. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?


I wanted to be a … lumberjack!

No, not really. At first I wanted to be a scientist. Then I wanted to be an electronics technician. Then I wanted to be a writer, followed in high school by the desire to go into photography.

Now I do a combination of all of them, kind of.

2. What inspired you to begin writing?
Reading things like the Hardy Boys mystery books, the Rick Brant Science Adventures (it was the literary form of Johnny Quest) and all the James Bond books. When I ran out I wanted there to be more, and so I started writing them myself — but with my own characters.  By the time I was 16 I was submitting short stories to Sci-Fi magazines.

3. When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Only recently, when I got an actual writing job — it legitimized all those years of it being a “hobby.”

4. What is your favorite genre and what are your favorite books/author?
I like a very specific types of fantasy and science fiction — something I think they term “Urban Fantasy” and “Social Science Fiction.” I’ll wander away from those genres but always seem to come back to them. They’re my core interests.

Favorite books include most of Chuck Palahniuk’s including Fight Club (I consider Palahniuk a dark urban fantasy writer, by the way), most of Philip K. Dick‘s books, and a lot of Tim Powers books including “On Stranger Tides” which Hollywood recently disassembled and reassembled as a Pirates of the Caribbean movie — surgically transplanting elements of the plot but not using the original characters.

5. What is the hardest part of writing a book? Hardest part of getting published?
To me, the hardest part of writing a book is finishing it. The hardest part about getting it published was knowing the right people in the right places to get your manuscript seriously considered. I lucked out with one, but now there’s no reason to play that game. Publishers can be by-passed and writers can connect directly to readers via things like the Kindle and Nook ebook readers.

That doesn’t mean you don’t need an editor, though.

6. How do you deal with rejection?
Develop an advanced system of self-denial. Kind of like an athlete telling himself he’s the best, no matter what anyone else says. You really can’t move forward without denial — otherwise if you listen to what other people say you’ll give up long before you ever “make it.”

You can never make it without simply moving forward. The only way to get better at writing is to KEEP WRITING. I cannot stress that enough.

7. What advice do you have for someone who wants to get published?
Find a good writer’s group who gives fair criticism, and if two or more people say the same thing during a critique, take it seriously. Work together with them to make all your stories — and theirs — the best they can be, then start submitting them to markets.

And also in this day and age, you have the option to go direct to your readers via e-publishing. The stigma once attached to that is fading in this new reality of eBooks outselling paper books. Old timers don’t want to admit or acknowledge it, but that’s the way the industry is going. Make the best of it, I say, but keep one foot in each camp — also continue to try for traditional publishing as well, as long as it’s still alive (which it may not be for long).

Just make sure you’ve gotten your prose as finely polished as it can be, and critiqued by someone you trust, before putting it “out there.”

8. If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?
Back in the late 1970’s I had this great idea about a park full of cloned dinosaurs breaking down, and they get loose and wreak havoc. I should have written it before Jurassic Park beat me to the punch.

Damn you Micheal Crichton!

9. How do you feel about the decline in bookstores and do you feel Americans are reading less?
Americans are reading more than ever before, they just don’t realize it. You can’t use the Internet without reading. Also there are more jobs for writers now than in any time before in history.

Thank you, Internet.

Bookstores will have to evolve and adapt or die. I see them becoming more like a Starbucks where people go and sit and talk, and then there’s either giant touch screens around or maybe bar-coded cards, or something like that, where you’ll push a button or scan a QR code and buy books that will deliver themselves to your ebook reader.

Also, I don’t believe paper books will ever die, they’ll just become high quality collectibles. So you’ll read your favorite author’s books on your ebook reader for $2.99 and love it so much you’ll end up with a $50 signed copy for your shelf. It’s already getting that way with the music industry.

10. What is one question you wish I’d asked and what is your answer?
Why shouldn’t people respect poetry more, and not dismiss it?

I’m often shocked by how vehemently some people react to poetry, and I mean in a negative way. It’s like you’ve asked them to eat spider soup, or drink rat gut beer.

I think poetry is terribly misunderstood by the majority of would-be readers — and also writers, I might add. All writers should write poetry, specifically structured poetry, because it teaches you how to say more with less, and how to make word pictures that are more vivid and immediate. That’s a skill that can improve any other type of creative writing. Sometimes if I’m having a hard time putting a scene together, I’ll outline it as a poem. That works for me like adding lighter fluid to a fire.

One can say that Twitter and text messaging is doing the same thing, but, not really. Not unless you’re using it to write poetry — which some people do. And I approve of that!


Jerry J. Davis is a writer and photographer in the Chicago area. During the day he’s a mild-mannered webmaster and digital marketing specialist who works for a large international corporation. At night, however, he lives in a small cottage at the edge of an enchanted forest preserve, and spends time dodging mosquitos and searching for the fabled Stonehenge made of old refrigerators which is rumored to be somewhere behind his porch.


More information about him than you’d ever want to know can be found at














I’m curious to know the opinions of others on this subject. As many of you know my beloved dog Zen has Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis) and was on death’s doorstep a couple of weeks ago.  Our hearts were breaking and as a last resort we called U C Davis. Thanks to the vigilant efforts of the doctors and top cardiologist there, he is still alive and has a chance of surviving this nightmare. Things would not have progressed this far and the disease would not have attacked his heart if he had been diagnosed properly.

Last weekend at the annual Doggie Dash, I met a woman who was very sympathetic to our plight. Her intentions were pure but I just don’t know if I agree or can do what she suggests. She is involved with various animal rescue groups and gave us the contact info for attorneys that are dog advocates and deal with issues like this all the time. She suggested that I sue for malpractice not only my local vet but also the animal hospital that gave him surgery for a herniated spleen (which we paid for) when it was not the problem at all. It was the VF that kept filling the heart sack with fluid causing the right side of his heart to fail.

Since this has been an ongoing illness for several months, I found that I have had to focus on not being resentful at the different doctors/specialists who have examined him. Like a parent with a sick child, I want to get angry and say ‘WHY did you not do other tests, WHY did you cut him open to remove his spleen and then realize his spleen was fine?  HOW could you not have realized it was Valley Fever sooner?’  I have put the heartbreaking questions aside because I know deep inside my core that EVERYONE who has been involved with Zen’s case, was both baffled and they gave their all to figure out what was wrong with him. The way the disease attacked him was unique and I know they truly cared and wanted to help. You can look into someone’s eyes and just know they are almost as desperate as you to save your ‘best friend’ or they probably would not have become a veterinarian in the first place.

The woman had seen my desperation to ‘Save Zen’, and when I declined the offer to sue, said, “I know you love him, don’t you want to fight for him? They will help you fight and get compensated.” I got choked up and so did she. When my eyes started to well with tears, hers did too, telling me that she had been through this experience. For a couple of hours I was angry again and felt it was justified anger. I thought, “Yeah, we should get compensated. We should sue the pants of someone. After all, don’t they have insurance to protect themselves from things like this? So it’s not really their money or family being hurt right?” But the truth is there is no compensation for this other than we want him alive and healthy.  After discussing my feelings with my husband, we both came to the same conclusion….. Not to sue.

Is this the right choice? I don’t know yet. I am still doing fundraisers through bake sales, an upcoming yard sale (which lots of loving people are donating items for), and donations by other dog lovers to help pay for his treatment.  Whether or not there is another surgery is still being decided. Whatever the case, we will do what is best for Zen.

I think that I just sleep better at night, 1): by knowing we have done everything we can to help save his life 2): by not letting resentment get to me and understanding that people are imperfect. They really did care and tried their best to figure out what was wrong with my dog’s ‘complicated case’.  And I want to teach my children that our emotional well-being is more important than the almighty dollar. Our family is grateful for the people who have contributed either emotionally or financially to helping Zen. I know when this is all said and done there will still be a hefty bill but not a penny was wasted and I don’t think Zen would want us to sue any of the people he met so far on this journey of ours (he told me so)

Zen is a teacher for us all.

I just want to know what others think about this. What would you do?

( Zen’s progress is updated regularly at: http://www.facebook.com/zenspeaks )

How Giving Is Selfish…..

Tonight was my scheduled night to talk to the teens at the shelter about poetry and writing.  I was completely exhausted when I got home from work. I had enough time to shove some food down my throat, change clothes, feed the dogs and get something together to talk with them about (which I ended up doing on the drive over).  After having an argument with myself in my head (me and the voices frequently battle it out) about cancelling tonight because it was a rough day, I headed out the door, determined to keep my commitment.

There has never failed to be a time when I have gone out there to talk to those kids, that I do not leave feeling like a freshly filled party balloon, lighter than air. Those kids are not there because they had nothing better to do, they are there because either someone abused them, neglected them or because they ran away. This is a temporary home for these kids. The point is, we have so much fun and when we are done, they are always happy and grateful. They tell me Thank You and I get a hug or two. I feel guilty that they think I’m being so nice. The truth is that they are helping me and I am the one that should be saying Thank You.

No matter how depressed I feel or what kind of crappy day I had, I feel elated before I leave! We laugh and share. Their big, knowing eyes look at me like ‘hey someone gets me’ and it is the best feeling in the world.

I get goose-bumps when one of them writes something that is so deep and so personal that I know there is no way that they did not just experience some kind of healing or letting go of something ugly. And they did it through their own writing.  It Rocks!

I’ll post some of their poems up from tonight.

Peace, Chrissy

Zen – My Six Thousand Dollar Dog

Zen is a dog I thought I was rescuing but in reality, he is the one that rescued me.  Synchronicity brought us together at a dark time in my life in which I was drowning.  Zen somehow reached his paw through the murky waters and pulled me out. Now his life is in danger and he needs help.

Zen has been diagnosed with Valley Fever and is dying. The Valley Fever has attacked his heart and the sack that surrounds his heart has filled with fluid. This fluid is putting pressure on his heart causing the heart to slow down and the blood is not pumping properly. It is killing him. He had surgery and the doctors drained 7 liters of fluid from this sack and from his stomach! He has had more taps into this sack but last night in the E.R., we were advised this time, even though the sonogram clearly shows fluid in heart sack, stomach and lungs, that they were not able to get the fluid out relieving the pressure on the heart. The drug Fluconazole is not working for him.

We have done everything in our power to figure out how to save him. A huge part of the problem is that Valley Fever is not common in Stockton so it has taken months to figure out that Valley Fever was the root cause. Numerous trips to the vet, tests and more tests, various drugs, holistic remedies, kinesiology, reiki, ER visits, vitamins and the list goes on. I have not sat down to calculate Zen’s expenses but I know it has gone well beyond $6,000.00. I will tell you that EVERY penny we have spent on Zen has been worth it.

The problem is that there are not any more pennies to spend. I sat here today trying not to be upset that it took so long to find out about the Valley Fever or being mad at myself for not making different medical choices.  As I sat with Zen something in me refused to believe he was going to die. I called Northern California Weimaraner Rescue (where Zen found us) and spoke with Dana. She immediately brought up UC Davis possibly having other options for saving Zen. Nor Cal Rescue paid for his exam and tests today at UC Davis! Amazing! My husband who is ever so patient and understanding with me and my small zoo, took him to Davis today and we finally have a glimmer of hope. We take him back on Friday and one of the top Doctors is going to be taking care of him. I am so grateful.
Besides assistance for from the rescue, a couple of incredible co-workers convinced me to start a SAVE ZEN FUND. (Remember ‘Save Ferris’? Well this is Save Zen 🙂 At first I refused because I am one of those stubborn people that do not generally ask for help. But just like a mother trying to save her child, I am desperate to save Zen. Between Save Zen on Facebook and doing a Bake Sale at work, Zen had $610.00 donated to his medical treatment and recovery! We are not out of the woods yet and have a long road ahead but I refuse to let this guy die.

If there is anyone interested in contributing to the save Zen fund, you can send any donation you wish to Paypal. The ID is ravensgift@gmail.com. If that is not possible then Zen would be grateful for kind, healing thoughts sent his way. He is not just a dog. He is an angel with fur and he is a part of our family. I refuse to not make every attempt to save him back.

Thank you for listening to just a little bit of Zen’s story.

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Kids In Flight!

The In Flight Open Mic and the In Flight Poetry Contest for kids 18 and under turned out even better than Kenya and I had hoped for with an inaugural event. There was quite a collection of ages and they all did an outstanding job.  Their faces glowed with excitement and I felt such tremendous joy, when even the shy ones conquered their fear and stepped up to the mic. TelePacific Communications (my employer) was generous enough to donate $50.00, $25.00 and $10.00 gift certificates for 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize winners in three separate age categories.  It never ceases to amaze me what lies behind the eyes of a child; their brilliant brains spinning emotions and curiosity into poetry.  I really don’t know if I can wait until next April to do another one! Here’s a couple pics of Kenya and I with some of the kids.

*for a list of the winners, look under the contest tab


Save this date: April 30th 2011.  2 things are going on.

1)  All day event on April 30th, ALL proceeds from either one of my books, Raven’s Brew or In the Face of Indigo, will go to Mary Graham Children’s Shelter. The proceeds will be used for the purpose of taking the kids on outings. This facility is committed to the protection and safe healing of children 0 -18. Due to recent budget cuts, they are very limited in the activities they are able to take the kids to. My goal is to raise enough for several different outings!


2)  April 30th is Open Mic for kids 18 and under at Barnes and Noble in Stockton, CA! Anyone in the area tell kids to come and show off! Grown-ups are not allowed to butt in at all! The Open Mic starts at 3pm.

Doggy Heaven?

I recently discovered Fort Funston, a doggy beach/park in San Francisco. I’m not sure who had more fun, us or the ‘furry children’.