Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Only Six Months to Go

In May 2010, my sojourn as the only female in this testosterone laden family will draw to a close.  My fortunate middle son, Alex, has chosen a lovely girl, Laura Winterhalter, with whom to share his life.  I could not be happier.  She is a dream - thoughtful, caring, bright.  They've known each other for about five years - met in college when both were studying to be firefighters.  She is now working as a paramedic and both recently took a written exam for the San Francisco Fire Department.  They already bought their first home and adopted a granddog for me, a pitbull, against my protests.  I argued about that particular breed and, for every article I sent, they sent an article refuting my protests.  Taffy, the year-old female they rescued from the Yolo County animal shelter is a shy, sweet dog who has captured my heart.  When I am in Sacramento to see them, she even snuggles with me at night!

Laura and my son, Alex

This is my first "granddog", Taffy...not at all a ferocious pitbull

Recently, Laura went shopping for her wedding dress and invited me to go along with her mom and maid of honor on the shopping expedition.  "Since you have three boys, I'm not sure you will have that opportunity."  I was so touched and honored to be included and, just like her mother, my eyes were filled with tears as she tried on gown after gown, looking radiant and beautiful in each one.

 Mandy ( left ), maid of honor, and Laura, as we celebrate successful dress shopping

Me with Christine, Laura's mother - we hit it off right from the start - she is a nurse, too

I have two other sons so there is even a possibility that I might acquire two more daughters-in-law to help even out the unbalanced male to female ratio in our  household.  If the other boys choose as well as Alex did, our family has got it made!

My other granddog, Bucky

 My oldest son, Shawn Smith....38, with no marriage prospects yet!!!

Jeremy, my soon-to-be 25-year-old. before and after his haircut
He also has a lovely girlfriend!!


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Give In

Give In

Give in? Who says?
Hold fast to what is right!
Treasure those ideals.
Don't give up without a fight.

There are always those who try,
To take the easy route,
But I will still maintain,
That's not what life's about.

Don't give in to deceit,
To betrayal of your friends,
Remain true to yourself -
No need to make amends!

Sometimes it takes an effort,
To stay on the right path,
Especially if some we know,
Are venting so much wrath.

Give in? Not this girl!
I love a good crusade.
And I truly do believe,
A difference can be made.

Carmen Henesy

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

Monday, September 28, 2009

Romantic Nights

Romantic Nights

It matters not the setting,
Be there sparkling stars or rain,
Ginger ale in paper cups,
Or vintage French champagne.

We can don black tie and finery,
Or wear country western gear,
What makes a night romantic,
Is the fact that you are here!

We may waltz to violins,
Or jitterbug till feet are sore,
Or simply watch a late night movie,
It's time together we adore.

We love hot dogs at a ballpark,
Or gourmet fare in gay Paree,
Any spot can be romantic,
If it's part of you and me!

Carmen Henesy
Copyright © 2009 Carmen Henesy. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho

When I visited Bangkok twelve years ago, one of the highlights of my trip was the day I spent at Wat Pho.  It holds more than 1000 Buddhas, some from the former capitals of Thailand.  The massive reclining Buddha is the most impressive, in my opinion, gold plated, and 46 meters long and 15 meters high.  I spent some time in contemplation after walking with the faithful, and tourists, around the Buddha, before visiting the other treasures at Wat Pho.  After returning to my hotel, I penned this poem.

The Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho 

What is that you contemplate
As the crowds go passing through?
You lie in gilded splendor,
With nothing else to do.

Is there meaning to your dreamy face.
Could it be nirvana near?
Can you hear the faithful praying,
As they bow before you here?

Though you lie alone, Wat Pho is filled,
With Buddhas large and small,
A thousand other figures here,
So you are not alone at all.

Your surroundings are exotic,
Chedi graceful and serene,
A vast temple of great beauty,
A never forgotten scene.

Carmen Henesy

Copyright ©  1997 Carmen Henesy
     All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


I wrote this poem awhile back when I was attending a wedding
that was constantly interrupted by ringing cell phones, including
that of the bride groom!!!

Cell Phones

Cell phones are most prolific,
They ring out everywhere,
In ring tones that are hideous,
Making people stop and glare.

People chat quite mindlessly,
In all sorts of public places,
About all sorts of private things,
With no shame upon their faces.

A suspenseful moment at a play,
May have a ringing phone intrude,
When a thoughtless theater goer,
Is mannerless and rude!

The wedding vows are finished,
It's time for rings and things,
But from the groom's tuxedo pocket,
His blasted cell phone rings!

It seems before we buy one,
It be required that we get,
At least a basic training course,
In cell phone etiquette!

Carmen Henesy

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

Visits to Japan

In December of 2005, my friend, Sherry and I wanted to go to Tokyo. Our friend, fabulous jazz singer, Sony Holland ( check out to hear some of her incredible songs ), was doing a three month gig at the New York Bar at the Park Hyatt in Tokyo and we wanted to go see her. We decided that we would consider it if the airfares hit $500 round trip from San Francisco and Minneapolis and, when that happened, we bought our tickets and then started working on hotels for a five night stay. Having heard that Tokyo accomodations are outrageously high, we were on the telephone and at the computers in our respective cities.

"Carmen," Sherry says to me, "Do you think this is a mistake? I'm on the Northwest site and I see a twin room at the Hilton in Shinjuku for $3.00 a night,"

"You've got to be a kidding! Of course, it's an error...but, if you've got your credit card out, get it FAST!" So she booked it and it came back confirmed.

By then, I'm on the site and I've scrolled down a bit. "Hey, Sherry. I see a queen room, on the concierge level, with full breakfast in the mornings and cocktails and hor d'oeuvres in the evening for $5.00 a night. I'm booking that for me." That also came back confirmed. Sherry then changed her reservation to the concierge level.

Figuring there was no way on God's green earth we would ever get these Hilton rooms at this rate, we left for Tokyo with a list of back up hotels. On arrival, in the hotel lobby, we were directed to the 35th floor for check in at the concierge level. We each paid apporximately $30.00 for a fabulous room, with a huge American and Japanese breakfast, with extensive choices, evening cocktails - open bar - and bountiful gourmet appetizers each evening for our stay in Tokyo. My only regret was that we hadn't booked our trip for two weeks!! Pity the programmer who made these input errors. I wondered if the entire hotel was staying for such great prices during their Christmas shopping spree in Tokyo!

Since Sherry and I are both forensic nurses and founding members of the International Association of Forensic Nurses, I had written to our organization to see if there were members in Tokyo who might want to join us for lunch one day. To our amazement, a group of about ten - several doctors and nurses, from all over Japan, came to Tokyo to meet with us. They hosted us to an incredible kaiseki and shabu shabu meal, then, afterwards, out came computers, tape recorders, and cameras as they interviewed us about forensic nursing and sexual assault programs, which they hoped to start in Japan. That was the beginning of close friendships, indeed, international sisters in Japan, for Sherry and myself.

Within a couple of months, I received an article they had written, with photos of us, for a Japanese nursing journal, indeed an honor.

A few months later, Dr. Izumi Takaese, and three of my Japanese nursing colleagues, Nanako Yoneyama, Naomi Kanou and Shizuko Murayama, visited me in San Francisco for five days and I was able to show them all the child and adult sexual assault programs in the Bay area.

Two years later, Sherry and I, and a forensic pathologist colleague, were invited back to Japan, to speak in several locations, as guests of our hosts, in the trip of a lifetime. Japan now has implemented its own sexual assault treatment programs. It is so amazing how things work out in this world of ours. Those four professional colleagues are now "forever friends", even if our paths are not destined to cross again!

Tsukigi Fish Market

I had heard so much about Tsukiji Fish Market, reputedly the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world, I definitely had this on my list of "must see" places.  While in Tokyo, we went every night to the New York Bar at 8PM and stayed for both of Sony's sets, finishing up at midnight, then we'd visit with her for awhile before heading back to the Hilton.  Since Sherry is not an early morning person, we decided to just stay up for our 4:30AM arrival at Tsukiji which was like Grand Central Station at that time.  I've never seen such bedlam and so many different kinds of fish!  By 7AM, we were the only customers at a little restaurant, dining on the freshest of sashimi and drinking sake, nodding and smiling at the sushi chef who, of course, spoke not a word of English but who appeared delighted that we were there and trying such a variety of fish!

I don't know what kind of crab this is but I do know I would
be out of the water VERY quickly if it happened to swim near me!
Of course, I enlarged it here but it is quite BIG. If anyone knows the
name, please help me out!

This fellow has lost most of his body already to early shoppers

Sensoji Temple in the Asakusa district of Tokyo 

According to legend, in 628, two brothers were fishing and pulled in a statue of Kannon, the goddess of Mercy, out of the Sumida River.  They put it back but she kept returning to them.  Sensoji was built as a shrine for her.  The statue is housed here but is not seen by the public.  This Buddhist temple is the oldest in Tokyo and there is also a Shinto shrine here. 

Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate) at the entrance to the temple

I thought this was a lovely shot showing the pagoda in the background.

Pretty progressive - and not easily missed - fire hydrant

The high tech toilets in Japan were amazing...
seat warmers, some had music to diffuse sounds of passing

Breakfast at the Royal Oak Hotel in Shiga

Sushi at the Royal Oak Hotel in Shiga

Elegant dessert presentation

Rokuon-ji Temple, Kyoto, Japan

Kinaku ( Golden Pavilion ), World Heritage Site, Kyoto, Japan

Island at Temple Gardens

Lunch at the Osaka Hotel

Osaka Castle, Osaka, Japan

Great rice makes great sake, Akita, Japan

Tatsuko, Lake Tazawa-ka, Akita, Japan
The deepest lake in Japan

Shrine at Lake Tazawa-ka, Akita, Japan

Thursday, September 24, 2009


As I get ready, just a week from today, to leave for Europe, this time in the luxury of business class, I am thinking about a poem I wrote, back in 1997.  It is called "Travel Thoughts" and I had much inspiration for that verse.  I was on a twelve day southeast Asia cruise which was absolutely wonderful, touching on Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei and ending up in Singapore.  We saw so much beauty, sampled exotic cuisines, watched intricate dances performed by artists wearing exquisite traditional dress, visited holy temples and mosques, and learned a little bit about ourselves.

Brunei Darussalam is a sultanate, a very prosperous country, that is not normally a cruise ship destination.  It is an Islamic country with a high standard of living.  

The day before we docked there and, indeed that morning, announcements had been made on the ship that women should be appropriately dressed ( ie, not wearing halter tops or with bare shoulders or in short shorts ).  We were also requested not to wear yellow, the color of the sultan.

I was amazed to see how many people totally disregarded that request!  Another thing that dismayed me throughout the cruise was overhearing public comments made about the lack of air conditioning in taxis and small local restaurants or general complaints that "things are just not up to American - or British - standards."  I would hang my head in shame.

Travel Thoughts

As we travel about our shrinking globe,
Let us take the time to see,
This earth's most precious resource -
People like you and me.

Though we speak myriad languages,
And may dress in a different style -
A common bond unites us all,
The ability to share a smile.

As we pack for each new adventure,
Let's leave bias and prejudice behind,
Treating others as we'd like to be treated,
Remembering to respect all mankind.

We must pause to see the beauty,
In even the smallest things -
In the smiling eyes of a native child,
In the bright hue of butterfly wings.

Let us take good will as we journey,
No matter how near or how far,
And rejoice in the cultural differences,
That make each of us who we are.

Try to be less hasty to criticize,
As hither and yon we roam,
For if we're always finding fault,
What's the point of leaving home?

To be able to travel is truly a gift,
So be grateful as each journey ends,
For all we have seen and learned on the way,
For the joy of new found friends.

May we share our planet's beauty,
With the utmost respect and care
Leaving nature and all whom we meet,
Better for our having been there.

Carmen Henesy

Copyright (c) 1997 by Carmen Henesy
All rights reserved. 


A couple of years ago, a friend referred me to, a writing website.  I have enjoyed it, partly because one also has to rate submissions by fellow writers and it is a stimulus to  write on topics you might not necessarily have chosen otherwise.  One such topic was on dating services - I have never used one and, since I'm now into my sixth decade, I find it highly unlikely that I ever will. I did write this verse, however.  REMEMBER, it is purely fiction.  Any resemblance to me is purely coincidental!

Blind Dates

For years, I haven't had a date,
Nor has it felt dismaying,
My friends are always nagging,
"Time's running out," they're saying.

I think my life is very full,
I travel, read, and write,
And never feel I'm lonely,
When I go to bed at night.

But just to humor all my friends,
I joined a dating service,
And several times a week, I got,
All gussied up and nervous!

I met all sorts of different men,
None got a second date,
I'm sure they felt the same as me,
I'm not
their perfect mate!

Carmen Henesy

                            Copyright © 2007 Carmen Henesy.                            
All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Birthday Scenes from Last Year's Trip to Italy and Croatia

Last year, about this time, I went to Italy with two friends, for my 64th birthday celebration.  We had a wonderful two weeks abroad, starting with our short stay at a delightful small hotel, the Napoleon in Rome, twelve days on the Legend of the Seas, and a grand finale in Rome.  Highlights of the cruise were an overnight in Livorno, Italy where we got to visit both Florence and spent another day in a quick trip to Pisa and Lucca, driven by a terrific Ricardo from Radiotaxi 24 Ore.  We also visited Split and Dubrovnik, Croatia, my first times in those cities. 

Travel is such a joy to me.  I always encounter wonderful people and my heart explodes with warmth to nourish me for years to come.

With my lovely birthday flowers and champagne from the Hotel Napoleon

The Coliseum which was near our hotel

Vatican Statue, body parts intact

Cheers from the Champagne Bar on the Legend of the Seas

Beautiful Portofino, Italy

Flowered Portofino balconies

The famed Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Cathedral in Pisa

Lucca, Italy, birthplace of Puccini

Deserted Lucca square

The Promenade, Split, Croatia

My lunch in Split, Croatia - scrumptious grilled squid, fresh from the sea

Laundry day in Split, Croatia

Old Town, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Hillside homes, Taormina, Sicily

Taormina marzipan shop - still there ten years later!

Beautiful building in Venice, Italy

Canal view

Canals everywhere!

Thank heavens for the wine - The Gondolier Restaurant was most disappointing!

A beautiful mask shop near St. Mark's Square,Venice, Italy

Exquisite building on the Grand Canal

Laundry day in Venice