Thursday, May 26, 2011

Alphabe Thursday - "F" Is For Friends - May 26, 2011

I've been doing so much thinking in the last few weeks.  Since my "official"
termination of employment with the city and county of San Francisco as of
April 2009, I've been quite depressed.  The massive budget cuts to the
Department of Public Health continue and it seems that worldwide, so many
people are having to make major adjustments to calamities and changes in their
lifestyles.  I look at the horrible tornadoes in Alabama and Missouri where, in
the blink of an eye, entire neighborhoods have been completely obliterated.
Japan is slowly beginning to clean up and to start the long road to recovery from
their horrible earthquake and tsunami.

When one is faced with this sort of thing, disaster, loss of income, aging, and
other myriad challenges in life, I've found that what truly matters is the vast
wealth we have that isn't deposited in a bank vault.  It is the love and support
we get from friends.  I've been reminded of that in two short but, very precious,
visits with dear nursing colleagues in less than one week's time.  Both were
such special times for me and lifted my spirits immeasurably. 

Last week, my friend and forensic mentor, was visiting in Santa Cruz and I went
down for the day.  Sherry Arndt and Sandra Goldstein, at the time I first knew
them, were the educators of most of the sexual assault nurse examiners in the
state of California.   My group from the San Francisco Rape Treatment Center
called them the "SANE mothers".  Occasionally, we referred to them as the
"insane mothers". 

I was very sad when Sherry moved back to Minnesota, fearing we would never
see each other again.  Well, we saw each other often, traveling about the world
together and meeting often at conferences

Our Santa Cruz visit last week revolved around a good bit of eating and drinking
nice wine ( what's new? ).  We headed out for lunch at a nice Mexican spot, Palapa.
It was a lovely day, a little cool but nice and sunny.

This was the view from the window beside our table.  What a lovely Bird of

We all ordered  a margarita, then came a variety of meal orders.  I opted for a spicy
soup and a ceviche.  Robert and Carolyn had a chili relleno platter and Sherry had 
a beautiful seafood salad.

Chili relleno platter

Seafood salad


Carolyn and Sherry

Robert and me

We left Palapa, moaning about being so full, we'd never be able to eat again.  Of
course, at 6PM, we were off to meet our other friend and colleague, Sandra Goldstein,
at the Crow's Nest for another hearty meal and to see the weekly sailboat races. 

What a pretty restaurant that was, with its nautical decor,situated right on the water,
by the lighthouse! 

We had a window table, perfectly situated so we could see the sailboats as they set
out for the races, though once they rounded the bend, they were no long visible to us.
It was a beautiful sight, though, watching them depart and seeing them head back in
as the sun was beginning to set!

Of course, while all that was going on, we found that we actually were hungry again
and we devoured our meals, caught up on all the goings on, and drank wonderful
California wine.

Yummy coastal artichoke with shrimp!

I think this fish was petrale sole and it was fabulous.

My prime rib, very rare, just the way I like it!

On Tuesday of this week, I had a wonderful treat in the form of a visit from
Merle Endo, another friend and forensic nurse colleague, now retired, from Hilo,
Hawaii.  I hadn't seen her in several years since Sherry and I did a cruise from
Ensenada, Mexico to Hawaii.   We were docked for a day in Hilo and Merle
picked us up at the port and took us all over her part of the island.  She is the
epitome of the "aloha spirit".  I was so thrilled to be able to spend the day here with
her in San Francisco, in the midst of her visit with relatives in the San Jose area.

I picked Merle up at the Millbrae train station at 7:30AM and our day started with
breakfast in San Francisco where we had huevos rancheros.  We then did a bit of
sightseeing and stopped here and there to indulge our mutual love of photography.

Of course, no visit to San Francisco would be complete without a drive down
Lombard Street's winding curves.  This little section, know as "the crookedest
street in the world" is always filled with tourists, driving down or walking the

It is always so difficult to park in San Francisco.  We were so lucky to find spots,
thanks to my handicapped placard. I didn't have to use my walker very much
since we usually were very close to the spots we wanted to see.

I took Merle to this beautiful residence ( more like a mansion ) on Jackson Street.  I
discovered it several weeks ago, with a huge mass of roses and flowers in bloom.  It
was still lovely when we were there and we took dozens of pictures.  It looked like
an impressionist painting!

When we finally had enough of photographing flowers, we visited the Palace of Fine
Arts and stopped at the Presidio Lookout.  We ended our day with a brief visit at the
cable car turnaround, then headed to Pacific for a late lunch at Nick's ( I wanted
Merle to have their wonderful Dungeness crab sandwich on sourdough bread with
tomato and avocado ) with eggplant fries.  Yummy! 

I am still in a glow, from the visits with such good friends this past couple of weeks.
I need a bit of reminding about how rich I really am, in the things that really matter.
I've been trying for the past 24 hours to post the "f" Alphabe but blogger hasn't been
cooperating at all...but better late than never.

Also, I thought I would add a poem I wrote some time ago which is included in
my poetry book, "Life's Journey" - available on

It is called, "Forever Friends" and, of course, my beloved friends were the inspiration.

Forever Friends
In the course of every lifetime,
There are some who come to be,
The special kind of forever friends,
Who endure for eternity.

They may come along at any time
In our youth or in later years,
Once there, they remain beside us,
Through the laughter and the tears.

They may live around the corner
Or ten thousand miles away,
But distance makes no difference,
These are friends who are here to stay.

We might see them every single day,
Or spend years too far apart,
Either way, they're always with us
For they are held within our heart.

You're cherished as a "forever friend",
And you know you'll always be,
You've helped enrich my life so much,
And you mean the world to me.

Carmen Henesy
Copyright (c) 2000 by Carmen Henesy
All rights reserved. 

I am participating in Jenny Matlock's Alphabe Thursday!
Check out the site and join in the fun!


  1. How nice to see all these photos and one of your poems included in Life's Journey. I'm sure the Palace of Fine Arts must be delightul, but nothing can beat those amazing dishes, yum!

  2. They may live around the corner
    Or ten thousand miles away,
    But distance makes no difference,
    These are friends who are here to stay.

    So I must be one of them.

  3. Great poem as always... I love it :)

  4. I'm happy that you've been able to spend such a wonderful time with your friends. Like is better when shared with others. I enjoyed your photos too. Such fabulous sights!

  5. lovely images!!!

    re your query on my post, the flamingos acquire the colour after eating the algae they gorge on.. juveniles are gray, the young ones are white and then they become pink.

  6. A beautiful post, Carmen, especially your poem. I share two things in common with you, I've been unemployed since September 2010 and in a state of depression ever since. Hang in there. You have wonderful friends, rely on them. I've been doing the same thing too. By the way, the cover of your poetry book is a familiar picture for me. I'm from Indonesia, although not from Bali. I love its title. Life is a journey. Have a wonderful weekend.

  7. Stunning photography, Carmen! It's lovely to see your friends and all the beautiful places you've been with them.

    At last I understand where RNSANE comes from! :)

  8. Carmen, I agree that this is a stunning collection of photos! Your words are equally stunning, and have captured the essence of friendship.

    I was late with my Thursday offering, but it is up now. Please check it out!

  9. time spent with friends is always inspiring Carmen, and yeah, I agree with you, they are part of our wealth.

    very beautiful set of photos, I get hungry with the foods, the flower shots are spectacular, and love all the pictures with you and your friend.

    and thanks for sharing your beautiful poem.

  10. Josep -
    We did eat a lot. With those four meals and several bottles of wine, I gained the five pounds I lost. Jeremy, who moved out a couple of months ago, tells me I have to weigh in the morning and he won't come to see his mama again till I've lost the five pounds and, each time he'll visit, I have to lose another five pounds. I don't think I'll be seeing much of him!

  11. rainfield61 -
    Though you are MANY miles away in Malaysia and we have never seen each other face to face, you are, indeed, one of those very special friends. I wish that, someday, we could meet - though I'm not sure I could hike up Ceruk Token ( did I get
    that right? ) with you!

    Muza-chan -
    I am so happy you like my "Forever Friends" poem. I have given it, as a gift, to a great number of my friends who are such treasures to me.

    steviewren -
    It was so good seeing these friends. In the past, I always got together with my nursing buddies at our annual conferences but, sadly, in the three years since the job ended, I've not been able to afford these. It does my heart good when they come to the San Francisco area and I can see them.

  12. magiceye -
    I guess I could have looked up the information about the flamingo! For these birds, growing older makes them more beautiful!! I loved learning this bit of trivia and I appreciate the feedback. I've never seen them in great numbers as you do in India.

    Olive Tree -
    Thank you so much for visiting my blog. I was in Indonesia ( three ports ) in 1997 on a Royal Caribbean cruise. It was so beautiful. We were in Surabaya and one other port I can't recall and we ovenighted in Bali, arriving early in the morning and sailing the next evening. The dance troupe came on board and performed for us. They were exquisitely beautiful and I even wrote a poem, "The Balinese Dancer" which appears in my
    poetry book, I was so impressed with their grace and beauty.

    I am sorry, too, you lost your job. At 66, as an RN for 45 years and in that forensic nurse position for 21, I was totally devasted. My income went down $100,000 a year and, trying to survive in the San Francisco area on a net of $39,000 ( after taxes this year ) is nearly impossible. I know there are so many far worse off than me, though, so I do count my blessings.

  13. Sheila @ A Postcard a Day -
    SANE stands for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner and RN, of course is registered nurse. It was so much my identity, my CA license plate was
    "RNSANE" - when I got a handicapped license, I could no longer keep my vanity plate. The police ( we worked very closely with law enforcement always told us it meant we were insane!

    Judie -
    I was - and still am - having trouble with Blogger. I don't know what's going on in the blogsphere. I'll check out your Alphabe today!

  14. What a wonderful post! Friends - yes, so very important in life!

  15. I like to see you are surrounded by live colours and great friends. Light for you!!


    Barcelona Daily Photo

  16. Wow, what gorgeous pictures--totally breathtaking!! Wishing you a wonderful weekend, my friend!

  17. Very nice post, so well expressed feelings. Thanks for sharing a poem from your book.

  18. I'm also giving up my last little job at the end of July. Mixed feelings. Will miss the colleagues and the children but I'm looking forward to being able to do what I want to do, without rushing.

    You always show me so many lovely meals (and I'm trying to slim)and you take us on such lovely tours.

    We haven't any news of the clearing up in Japan over here. It would be good to hear some positive news.
    The tornadoes in USA are so terrible. Beyond belief. How frightening must that be, with nowhere to run to?
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  19. yes F is for Friends
    nice post

  20. Carmen, such a lovely post. It's always wonderful to spend time with like minded spirits enjoying the good things life has to offer.

    My favorite picture is the one of you in the rose-flowered jacket. So lovely!

    Thanks for sharing these fabulous, joyous visits with us!

    It was fun tagging along.