Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve

I have no plans for tonight.  At first, I thought I might go over to American Sushi House, about two miles away, for dinner.  The family that owns it, from Korea, have become friends, but I don't much feel like going alone - and I have a couple of Netflix movies - so I think I'll just stay put.  I've enjoyed just reading blogs today, with all their wonderful New Year's messages of hope and renewal.  I've only heard from a couple of family members and friends so it is really nice to feel the warmth from my blogging world.  I just visited the blog of Karen at Keeping Secrets

(  ) and thought her post was so visually beautifully and uplifting.  You might want to check it out.

It's already dark here and, in parts of the world, the New Year has already debuted.  I just pray that everyone celebrates safely and sanely.  We don't need any tragedies to mar the beginning of a new decade.  

Blessings to our world.  If we all join forces, we may manage to embrace each other in peace and understanding.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Lunch at the Hotel Osaka ( Japan )

At the New Year

Well, I, for one, am not sorry to see this year draw to a close.  I have been on an emotional roller coaster since the dawn of last year, fighting San Francisco City Hall and Mayor Gavin Newsome and the massive budget cuts to the Department of Public Health. There was a subsequent loss of many services to the indigent poor, especially to the elderly and children of the city and, of course, hundreds of dedicated workers, many with years of service, such as myself ( 21 years as a forensic nurse ) joined the ranks of the unemployed. 

Trying to make do, on a half time pension in the Bay area, has been a nightmare.  While the four nurses in my agency covered around the clock, our benefits were only paid on twenty hours per week.  We were given  a per diem, higher rate of pay on the other hours, but did not receive benefits.  Twenty years ago that did not seem so bad but retirement, at that time, seemed far in the future.  Goodness, how the years flew by!  Nursing always appeared to be one of those secure jobs where you were safe from layoffs and the whims of the budget.  Social workers and therapists lost their jobs but nurses did not.  Suddenly, all that has changed, even in the acute care setting which is most alarming.  Fewer nurses are having to care for more seriously ill patients, without the assistance of qualified licensed vocational nurses and adequately trained staff.  Patient care will suffer and fewer nurses will choose to enter the profession.  It is a no win situation.  I look back on forty years in the profession and think sadly of the changes I see. 

So, farewell, 2009!  I am putting it all behind me, with prayers that things get better for all in the New Year.  I hope this world doesn't spin out of control and I pray that someone will see that peace is the answer.  Children should live in a world free of bombs and hatred.

Don't be remiss in saying, "I love you."  People need to know that when they are with you.  The words ring hollow when you utter them at someone's death bed.  Hug your children, encourage them, laugh with them, cry with them.  Give praise where it is due.  Lead by example.  Try to leave this world a better place when you depart. 

For all my family and cherished friends of a lifetime, I thank you for all your love and nurturing, especially during this past difficult year.  For all the new blogging friends I've met since mid-September, I can't believe how much I've gained from you in so short a time.  It has been quite a whirlwind and you have helped me maintain my sanity in the past ten months.  Thank you so much. 

Here goes another poem.

At The New Year

It doesn't seem quite possible.
A year has gone so fast,
As time is running out for me,
I try to make them last!

I guess it's true, that saying,
Time and tide don't wait,
But it wouldn't bother me,
If they would hesitate.

Are we in a better place,
Than last year at this time?
War still rages all around,
And we're overrun with crime!

I hope this world grows friendlier,
Starting, first, at home,
Then we must carry that spirit,
Wherever else we roam.

Keep your resolutions simple,
Things that add joy to your life,
Little changes often help,
Eliminate some strife.

As 2010 makes its debut,
I wish you the best of years,
My love to all of you and yours,
I raise my glass in cheers!

Carmen Henesy

Copyright (c) 2009 by Carmen Henesy
All rights reserved.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Homeless

I don't know if homelessness is much of a problem in the areas where you live but, increasingly,
the numbers continue to rise in San Francisco.  Partly due to a temperate climate with winter temperatures that seldom fall down to freezing, people flee west when blizzards begin to pound the eastern seaboard.

The National Alliance for Homelessness announced, earlier this year, that, because of the
recession, there will be an estimated 1.5 million people made homeless during the next two
years.  To me, those are terrifying numbers.  We are not talking about the chronic homeless -
those who suffer with mental health issues or addiction and have been on the streets for a year -
but I am talking about the "new" homeless.  These are people, many of them with college
degrees, who held good jobs that have ended because of the recession, who never would have
expected to find themselves in this type of situation. 

Sadly, the number of families experiencing homelessness has increased. San Francisco has the highest per capita rate of homelessness -- nearly 1 for every 100 residents -- of any major U.S. city.  As many as 40% of San Francisco's homeless population is part of a homeless family.  Needless to say, there are not enough resources in the city to accomodate the needs of this many people.  Hamilton Family Center is one of the largest providers of shelter, eviction prevention assistance, rapid rehousing, youth programming, and support services to homeless families in San Francisco.

Today, as I was driving in the city, I saw so many homeless people, more so than usual, it seemed.  I felt so sad, wondering what sort of Christmas they might have had.  While I don't usually give money to people asking for handouts on the street, I do keep bottled water in my car and boxes of trail mix and protein bars to give out.  Having lost my job in February, with a huge drop in income with my retirement, I know how quickly one's financial status can plummet. 
I am just grateful I had a half time retirement income and social security to collect.  It isn't enough to pay my rent if my housemates leave but I'll just have to find a cheaper place to live then.  Hopefully, I won't have to be homeless.

For those of us who can, please make a donation to your local homeless shelters.  So many of them have lost funding and have limited resources.  Some of them need donations such as food, blankets, and toiletries.

When I came home tonight, I found a poem I wrote a couple of years ago.  Here it is

 The Homeless

I pray that I will never be,
Oblivious to those distraught,
That I will never pass them by, 
Without a glance or thought.

I see the tattered homeless,
Who have no food to eat,
Problems seem insurmountable,
To those mired in defeat.

I do not know the circumstance,
That led them to this fate,
Yet I'm aware it's possible,
We all could reach this state.

I'm saddest most at children,
Who haven't any toys,
Huddled with homeless parents,
They lack all the childhood joys.

We can help in different ways,
By trying to ease the pain,
Making sure we treat the homeless,
With empathy, not disdain.

Carmen Henesy

Copyright (c) 2007 by Carmen Henesy
All rights reserved. 

Monday, December 28, 2009

Margie Baker

I am constantly reminded about how lucky I am to live in the San Francisco area.  Margie Baker is one of those reasons.  She is one of the incredible entertainers I've met through my friendship with Shota Osabe, one of the best jazz pianists around.  

Since his arrival in San Francisco in 1968, Shota has played with greats such as Liza Minnelli, Bob Hope and Dizzy Gillespi and many of our Bay area stars.  I first met him when he played for my favorite jazz diva, Sony Holland.  He accompanied her to Tokyo for her three month gig at the New York Bar at the Park Hyatt ( a real plus since he is Japanese and a native speaker! ).  Shota has two CDs of his own:  Happy Coat and Happy Count.

At any rate, Shota plays and does arrangements for a number of artists.  Margie Baker is one of them.  I first went to see her when Shota played keyboards for her at a San Francisco restaurant and jazz club called Shanghai 1930.  I fell in love with Margie, a delightful African American woman, over seventy, retired from the San Francisco school district with a doctorate in education!  Margie, originally from a small town in Texas, was born in poverty.  She moved here when her mother came to be a riveter during World War II building Navy ships.  Margie finished high school at fifteen, then went to UC Berkeley on a scholarship.  She finished up at San Francisco State and went to school nights for her masters and PhD.  

Margie always sang but she didn't begin singing professionally until 1973.  When a guitarist friend coaxed her out of the audience to sing at  Henri's Room at the San Francisco Hilton, she was immediately hired by Baron and Conrad Hilton who were in the audience.  She sang at Hiltons for the next twenty years.

Currently she sings at several San Francisco area locales, including Burlingame's Hyatt Regency where she performs at Sunday brunch.  That's where I saw her today.  I join the "family" table off to the side where the musicians gather during their breaks and delight in being able to chat with Margie and Shota.  Also, it is wonderful to be so close when this amazing lady belts out a sultry blues number, or sings a sexy samba, or gets the joint jumping with, "When the Saints 
Go Marching In."  

I usually forego the $38.00 brunch and just get a latte and have a couple of hours of wonderful
music to begin my Sunday.  One song I especially like that Margie sings is "I Want a Pig Foot
and a Bottle of Beer."  That one appears on her CD, "Margie Baker and Friends Live at Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society." 

All I know is that I leave the Hyatt on Sunday with a smile on my face, my toes tapping, ready to tackle just about anything, my aches and pains forgotten for a little while.  Thank you so much, Margie!  You are one hot tamale.

The delightful Margie Baker

Making music

Enjoying their work

Saturday, December 26, 2009


I wrote this poem earlier in the year as I sat at my kitchen table, after the loss of my job, feeling a bit lonely.  I thought back to places I'd lived in the past, before my move to California, especially in my days as a young Air Force wife.  Living in base housing was such fun since we all knew each other and, though we didn't have much money, we frequently shared evening meals together or went out on weekends and explored Boston and, as children began to arrive, we had the "senior" wives to offer advice and support. 

When we were transferred to Tampa, Florida, and bought our first house, it was a new place, again in a neighborhood of young Air Force families where we all knew each other.  As people began to be moved to other bases, it was heart wrenching to say goodbye. 

I had the most wonderful neighbors when I first came to the San Francisco area, Sue and David Gaebel and their two daughters, Mindy and Heather. They had the condominium right next door. Sue was a lifesaver for me, a single mom with a young son to raise.  We became fast friends and shared years of laughter and tears, lamenting over weight gain, my work issues, trying out new recipes.  When I underwent back surgery, she was always there for me.  I was absolutely heartbroken when they moved to San Jose.  Though it was only 50 miles south, I felt like they were headed to Siberia.  Then, when they decided to buy a home in North Carolina, my heart was broken.  While we have stayed in touch and have visited back and forth a couple of times, I miss them so much every day.

Since that time, I've not been close to any of my neighbors.  I'm not sure why.  Of course, during my 21 years as a forensic nurse, being at the hospital around the clock, didn't help much with my social life.  When I wasn't in on a case, I was trying to grab a few hours sleep or trying to spend some quality time with my boys.  My forensic nursing colleagues about the globe were the ones I considered my friends and, of course, I had my life long friends here and there and those I'd made as a nurse with San Francisco.  I didn't miss the absence of neighbors so much until now, jobless, and pretty much alone.  My local freinds are still around but they work during the day and have their own lives.  I used to be off traveling, sailing the seven seas, having a great time but, with this limited budget, I'm lucky to get on the Golden Gate ferry!

At any rate, I wanted to share this poem I wrote.  It's called "Neighbors."  I am most lucky to have my blogging neighbors!!


I don't live in a mansion,
Just an ordinary place,
The distance between houses,
Is a very little space.

Yet I hardly know the neighbor,
That I see most every day,
As we come and go about our lives,
Passing on the way.

We don't linger by the backyard fence,
On a lovely summer night,
Commiserating about our jobs,
As the stars begin to light.

We've never shared a cup of tea,
Or learned each others name,
And as I write and think of this,
I feel it's such a shame.
I once lived in a neighborhood,
I knew each person there.
We were like each other’s family,
Everyone seemed to care.

We looked out for each other,
In bad times and in good,
And even the smallest child ,
Had a sense of neighborhood.

Perhaps, I have to start with me,
If I'm wanting something more,
I'll take these homemade cookies now,
And visit the house next door!
Carmen Henesy

Copyright © 2009 Carmen Henesy. All Rights Reserved

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Day

Christmas Day

At last the wait is over,
Santa’s come and gone,
Children rose, filled with glee,
Shortly after dawn.

All that careful wrapping,
Took seconds to destroy,
As boys and girls thrilled,
To find that very special toy!

Families gathered close,
Around brightly lit trees,
Pausing now and then,
To give each other a squeeze!

People thronged to churches,
Filled with hearts of love,
Counting all their blessing,
From the good Lord above.

It was a day of feasting,
From morning until night,
The specialties brought forth,
Were a source of much delight.

As this day draws to an end,
I hope we hold most dear,
The loving feelings of goodwill,
Throughout the coming year!

Carmen Henesy

Copyright © 2009 Carmen Henesy. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Politically Correct Christmas

A Politically Correct Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas and Santa's a wreck...
How to live in a world that's politically correct?
His workers no longer would answer to "Elves",
"Vertically Challenged" they were calling themselves.
And labor conditions at the
North Pole,
were alleged by the union, to stifle the soul.

Four reindeer had vanished without much propriety,
released to the wilds, by the
Humane Society.
And equal employment had made it quite clear,
that Santa had better not use just reindeer.
So Dancer and Donner, Comet and Cupid,
were replaced with 4 pigs, and you know that looked stupid!

The runners had been removed from his beautiful sleigh,
because the ruts were deemed dangerous by the EPA,
And millions of people were calling the Cops,
when they heard sled noises upon their roof tops.
Second-hand smoke from his pipe, had his workers quite frightened,
and his fur trimmed red suit was called "unenlightened".

To show you the strangeness of today's ebbs and flows,
Rudolf was suing over unauthorized use of his nose.
He went to Geraldo, in front of the Nation,
demanding millions in over-due
workers compensation.

So...half of the reindeer were gone, and his wife
who suddenly said she'd had enough of this life,
joined a self help group, packed and left in a whiz,
demanding from now on that her title was Ms.

And as for gifts...why, he'd never had the notion
that making a choice could cause such commotion.
Nothing of leather, nothing of fur...
Which meant nothing for him or nothing for her.
Nothing to aim, Nothing to shoot,
Nothing that clamored or made lots of noise.
Nothing for just girls and nothing for just boys.
Nothing that claimed to be gender specific,
Nothing that's warlike or non-pacifistic.

No candy or sweets...they were bad for the tooth.
Nothing that seemed to embellish upon the truth.
And fairy tales...while not yet forbidden,
were like Ken and Barbie, better off hidden,
for they raised the hackles of those psychological,
who claimed the only good gift was one ecological.

No baseball, no football...someone might get hurt,
besides - playing sports exposed kids to dirt.
Dolls were said to be sexist and should be passe.
and Nintendo would rot your entire brain away.

So Santa just stood there, disheveled and perplexed,
he just couldn't figure out what to do next?
He tried to be merry he tried to be gay,
but you must have to be careful with that word today
His sack was quite empty, it was flat on the ground,
nothing fully acceptable was anywhere to be found.

Something special was needed, a gift that he might,
give to us all, without angering the left or the right.
A gift that would satisfy - with no indecision,
each group of people in every religion.
Every race, every hue,
everyone, everywhere...even you!
So here is that gift, it's price beyond worth...


I have no idea who wrote this - I wish I could claim credit for it!  I just received it in an email from a dear forensic nursing colleague in Puerto Rico.  I haven't seen her in such a long time since our paths usually cross at our forensic nursing conferences and, since my job loss, I wasn't able to go to our national conference in Atlanta in October.  I'm so fortunate my friends don't abandon me and stay in touch.  I thought  a little brevity might be in order this evening so I'm forwarding this poem on to you, my newest friends - and blessed am I to have you!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Child's Letter to Santa

A Child’s Letter To Santa

Dear Santa, it is almost time,
For your very stressful day,
To harness up your reindeer,
And to head out on your way!

I hope you’ll get a little rest,
And try to stop and pause,
For some precious quality time,
With dear, sweet Mrs. Claus!

I know the elves are working,
To get all done up right,
Avoiding any disappointment.
As you embark tomorrow night.

I wonder, in amazement,
How that sleigh holds all those toys,
Bringing thrills of such delight,
To a world of girls and boys.

Does your tummy ever ache,
From eating all the treats?
Left for you by the tree,
Milk, cookies and lots of sweets.

Will Rudolph and the reindeer,
Tire as they prance along?
Do you keep their spirits soaring,
With a merry Christmas song?

May moonbeams light your way
As your sleigh glides through the night,
Over shifting desert sands,
And snowdrifts shining white!

As children try to sleep,
And turn restlessly to and fro,
Is it their imagination,
Or do they hear a faint,”Ho,ho!”

Carmen Henesy

Copyright © 2009 Carmen Henesy. All Rights Reserved.

A Christmas Poem for Children

A Christmas Poem for Children

The snow has started falling,
And the angel’s on the tree,
There are cookies baking ,
For my sister and for me.

There’s a huge roaring fire,
To keep us cozy and warm,
And Grandpa and Grandma,
Arrived before the storm.

We had a festive dinner,
With lots of special treats,
Followed by desserts,
And once-a-year sweets.

Our house is full of cheer,
Bright bows and sprigs of pine,
Every room is glowing,
Resplendent and so fine.

Mama tells of Christmas customs,
In lands so far from home,
Some mysterious and exotic,
Where we hope some day to roam.

Papa reads the Christmas story,
Then we’ll soon be tucked away,
To dream of jolly Santa Claus,
For tomorrow is Christmas Day!

Carmen Henesy
Copyright © 2008 Carmen Henesy. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, December 21, 2009

I'm a Winner

Well, I had quite a surprise this afternoon!  I had a phone call from a Portland, OR company called HB Designs telling me I was a winner of a haiku contest for a HP - 1TB MediaSmart Server .  I don't remember how I even entered the contest in the first place and I wasn't totally sure what a "home server" was.  I do write poetry occasionally but haiku isn't my forte.  The advertisement about the home server said it was ideal for backing up files ( I still don't do this and I already had one computer crash so you would think I learned my lesson!  ).  What made an impact on me was that this server could accomodate all the computers in the family!  So I wrote my haiku - the instructions were to say why this server would  bring peace of mind to YOUR life or why I really wanted one.  Sadly, I don't even have a copy of the haiku.  It was written on their form and submitted.  I will have to wait until they post all the winning haikus on their site to see what I said!

I looked at the Best Buy website and these servers list at $549.99!  I hadn't backed up my computer yet because, since I lost my job of 21 years this past February, even buying an external hard drive was an expense I kept putting off.  Now, it looks like I can back up my desk top, lap top and mini computer and my boys can back up theirs!  Of course, it will take me awhile to read through the manual and figure everything out.  Please computers, no crashing until then!


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Gifts

Christmas Gifts

It happens every Yuletide,
The gifts that come my way,
Are often so outrageous,
My hands go up in great dismay!

I don't know who decided,
That, at my age of sixty-four,
A gift card for Victoria's Secret,
Was something I'd adore!

My grandchild watched, excited,
As I unwrapped his gift to me,
"Massacre" by 50 Cent,
Was not my hinted at CD.

My husband spends far too much,
On gifts I do not need,
There is always a jewelry item,
No matter how much I plead.

Sometimes I get a sweater,
In a color I'd never wear,
In a style more suited for a teen,
Which, on me, provokes a stare.

Some presents are not even,
Ones I could “re-gift”,
But thinking of recipients for them,
,Gives my spirits such a lift!

This year, I've said to loved ones,
Our gifts should be dinner out,
Enjoying a meal with each other,
Is the best gift of all, no doubt.

Carmen Henesy

Copyright © 2008 Carmen Henesy. All Rights Reserved.

( please note that the author has no husband or
grandchild nor has she ever received annual
expensive pieces of jewelry )

Il Divo - O Holy Night

Il Divo has long been one of my favorite recording groups.  These handsome young men, brought together by Simon Cowell, began recording together in early 2004.  This foursome consists of Carlos Marin, a well known Spanish baritone, two classically trained tenors,  Urs Buhler of Switzerland and David Miller of the United States, and Sebestien Izambard, a French pop singer.  

They have achieved amazing success, appearing on Oprah Winfrey early in their career, and then completed a six month tour of America, Australia and Europe.  They also accompanied Barbra Streisand for all 20 concerts of her North American tour in 2006.  Every album they have recorded has risen to the top of the charts in countries all over the world.

I was fortunate to see Il Divo perform in 2006 during their appearance in the San Francisco area and was thrilled to have seats in about the 25th row in the Concord Pavilion!  What incredible voices these men have and there was barely a sound in the audience.  

I love all of their albums but one of my favorites is their Christmas album.  I am including a link to 
a You Tube video of Il Divo singing one of my favorites, "Oh, Holy Night."

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Very Special Tree

A Very Special Tree

The sun was setting in the sky,
And snow loomed in the air,
People jammed the malls,
Or gathered for a posh affair.

Tree lots had meager choices,
There was not much that remained,
And even those selections,
Suffered from recent days it rained.

A rector from a parish church,
In the poorest part of town,
Came across a straggly fir,
The smallest one around.

Its branches were quite flimsy,
It was even slightly bent,
But its straggly little branches,
Gave off a fragrant scent.

Soon it stood next to the altar,
In the rector's tiny church,
Trimmed in antique ornaments,
On a gilded metal perch.

Waterford crystal lights,
From the rector's Irish past,
Gave the little tree such beauty,
That was totally unsurpassed.

A dazzling Christmas angel,
In spun silver, flecked with gold,
This magical little tree,
Became a treasure to behold.

No longer bent but ramrod straight,
It stood for all to see,
Its branches raised unto the Lord,
In praise, divine and heavenly.

Carmen Henesy

Copyright © 2008 Carmen Henesy. All Rights Reserved