I’ve always been a dog person.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Menagerie.”

Do you have animals in your life? If yes, what do they mean to you? If no, why have you opted not to?


Quote  —  Posted: April 27, 2015 in poker

Photos of Waldo Canyon fire I took a few years ago.




And something a little lighter.  I’m not a photographer Jim, I’m a writer.


In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Motion.”

Image  —  Posted: April 24, 2015 in poker
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Hot & Spicy & So Good

Posted: April 24, 2015 in poker

Evaluating Risk.  One of the best poker players I know is a former base jumper.  The guy has guts.  He might have a sensitive palate, I don’t know, but the point of this writing prompt, for me, isn’t about food.  It’s about being delicious.  It’s about taking chances.  It’s about doing what you love, no matter what the consequences. Or that’s what I’m making it about.  If you get in a hand with base jumper, and he has a shot at the money, he won’t back down.

Which brings me to Kris Kristofferson, who I had the chance to see in person at a little bar ten years ago where I could look at his lovely blue eyes and say hello.  My, oh, my.  Anyway, someone posted a video of him yesterday singing a Tom Petty song, “Won’t back down.”  It was sort of lovely & sad, like Cash’s song “Hurt.”  I adore Kristofferson, having been able to see him play up close at “Phantom Canyon” here in Colorado.  He was waiting for Steve Earle so they could play, and by god, while he was waiting he glanced over at me.


If there is anything to learn from playing poker, it is to DO WHAT YOU LOVE.  You can evaluate your options until the clock runs out, but most often it’s just better to go with your instinct. Your subconscious mind is already at work before you even look at the cards.  You’ve made guesses as to other peoples motivation, what their demeanor means, whether they feel strong or want to leave.

The same goes for food.  IF you think it’s made of undercooked cat, well all the spice in the world won’t save you.

And as with anything, tomorrow may never come.  A little risk? What the hell, you’re not jumping off a building.  As long as the cost isn’t more than you can lose.

My personal thoughts on food: It is better to have loved & lost than never to have loved.

Now Kris is an old guy, but he wrote so many beautiful songs.  Bobby McGee for one.
I happened to google the original video of “Won’t back down,” and there is Tom Petty with Ringo Starr & George Harrison.  Which makes sense as Petty & Harrison did the Traveling Wilburys together.  Ringo is my favorite Beatle. It all comes together.

As Ringo says, Peace & Love.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Ring of Fire.”
Ring of Fire: Do you love hot and spicy foods or do you avoid them for fear of what tomorrow might bring?

List: things i didn’t tell my mom

Posted: April 23, 2015 in poker
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Things I Should’ve Said To My Mom
1. I went to Russia & to Paris.   I’d been wanting to go for 20 years, and when I received a partial grant & scholarship I knew it was my one chance.  I didn’t tell her before I left because she would’ve been really worried.  I didn’t tell her when I came back because she would’ve disapproved that I spent the money.  I kept it a secret from her for six years, and then she died.  It was so beautiful.  I never talked to her about it.

2.  You were my Rosie-the-Riveter.  She square danced, built a cabin with my dad, raised sons, played piano, read books.  Really, all my friends loved her.  I should’ve told her more often.  When I was in my  twenties I barely called her.  When I had kids of my own I realized all she’d gone through with me and my brothers, and my dad who had gone senile.  We got a lot closer, but how lonely she must’ve been. Your strength became my strength.

3.  Your stories were excellent. One of my biggest regrets was saying to her “do you have to talk so much?”  My mom talked all the time.  Sometimes it was annoying.  It was selfish of me, as often she had no one to talk to.  Her stories were full of life, funny, interesting, detailed. When she grew up there wasn’t electricity. She could sort of morph one story into the next.  She was an expert at transitions.

4.  You were right.  She was right about the boy I lost my virginity to.  She guessed it.  She said she “didn’t trust him.”  I lied. She probably knew that. She was right about most things.

5. I took some beers from the fridge.  For a slumber party we had in high school. It was gross, we drank them warm. Part B. I later drank too much in college. I don’t think the two are related. Everyone drank.  I suppose that’s how you learn your limits.  You would’ve been embarrassed for me.  Sorry about that.

6.  Thank you for teaching me to play poker.  I should’ve thanked her for letting me stay up late at the cabin with my brothers playing Michigan poker, teaching me to fish, letting me watch The Twilight Zone & Star Trek when I was little, rocking me to sleep when I was sick with asthma and there was no medicine.  Thanks for sticking it out with my dad who was the sweetest man I’ve known.  Thank you for not squashing my creativity and allowing me to be a kid.  Thanks for the worry, I know you loved me.

7.  Goodbye.  I never had the chance to really say goodbye.  Even at the funeral, I was in shock to such an extent, I don’t remember touching your hand, though I know I did. I didn’t want to cry, which was a kind of tribute I made to you.  I counted roses to keep from crying and got through it with your British stiff upper lip.  Goodbye mom.

My mom unexpectedly died in 2007.  For a lot of very complicated reasons, mostly to do with my ex, my divorce, a lack of money and vacation time, I didn’t see her for almost six years before she died, though we Skyped regularly.


My (ever changing) Bucket list

WSOP ($1000 buy in) in Vegas
Kentucky derby
Kids  to Yellowstone & Mt. Rushmore.
Different trip:  Colorado, the Alfred Packer site. Lake City, CO.  Rock formations there
Hieroglyphs of hands.
Red Rocks concerts – all
Back to St Petersburg to Dostoevsky’s grave
Jim Morrison’s grave/Hunter S Thompsons grave
Oaxaca, day of the dead
Cherry blossoms on the D.C. Mall / the Lincoln monument
River rafting again.
Meet Bob Dylan  – favorite song “buckets of rain”
Do something for charity
Get one of my manuscripts published
Piano lessons
Purchasing power, or If-I-had-the-money list
buy cabin
buy cello for kiddo
send poker player Jack to the bluebird café in Nashville because we’ve written a great song together.
create college fund for kids
Looks like the model for the Rosie-the-Riveter poster died today.

Our lives are intertwined. Coincidence? http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/23/living/rosie-the-riveter-dies/

In Response to: “The Satisfaction of a List.”


Posted: April 22, 2015 in poker
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He said,  The top card of the deck is burned at the beginning of each betting round, so that if the card was marked, the players would not be able to cheat.

She said, I need more orange juice.  The man lit a cigarette.  She listened to Balalaika music in her head. He glanced at the copy of Doctor Zhivago on her desk.


She read a passage to him.  “They loved each other because everything around them willed it, the trees and the clouds and the sky over their heads and the earth under their feet.  Pasternak, Zhivago”

She picked up her empty Star Trek mug.  Leonard Nimoy seemed to be watching them.  The man ran his fingers across his temple and pressed his forehead.

She told him to leave. He went back to designing his board game.  She put lotion on her hands.  It smelled like gardenia.

She said, “Yesterday’s gone on down the river and you can’t get it back. Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry”

The man said, Yesterday is the burn card.

She read silently. “All that’s left is the bare, shivering human soul, stripped to the last shred, the naked force of the human psyche for which nothing has changed because it was always cold and shivering and reaching out to its nearest neighbor, as cold and lonely as itself.” Pasternak, Zhivago. 


Write 500 words on any topic you like. Now remove 250 of them without changing the essence of your post.
 “Slash and Burn.”

sunrise, sunset

Posted: April 21, 2015 in poker
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Never, ever have I been an early bird.  I’ve seen a few sunrises, but probably almost as many from staying up all night as from rising early in the morning.   I worked the graveyard shift for two years, so in retrospect, I may have seen more sunrises than many.

Poker is a game that is lovely to play outside on a sunny porch with little wind and a cold beer, or in a smoky room, late at night in the presence of cowboys.


In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Early Bird.”  Since I don’t make sunrises, here’s a sunset.  Not photoshopped.

“Polite Company.”

“It’s never a good idea to discuss religion or politics with people you don’t really know.” Agree or disagree?

The poker goddess would like us to live in a world where we can discuss anything in a reasonable fashion, where debate is encouraged, where ideas are freely bounced from one mind to another like a watercolor basketball dripping with fresh paint.

That being said, I live in Colorado Springs, Colorado, a town full of fundamentalist evangelical Christians, home of the New Life church (formerly run by anti-gay hypocrite Ted Haggard before his sexually scandalous downfall), Focus on the Family, and a couple hundred other tag-a-long Christian organizations.  It used to be, before Haggard lost his throne, that you couldn’t shake a stick without uncovering a burning bush, or drive down the street without seeing a religious fish bumper sticker.  It’s gotten a little better.

Now, I believe in god as well as the next woman, but I was raised CATHOLIC, which isn’t by any means a small demographic in America.   The philosophy is slightly different that with other Christian religions.  The church is sacred & holy, and we are supposed to do good works in the world.  (Though I haven’t been to church in a while, I think that my god understands this & would forgive me.  The god I believe in would also have slightly different opinions about women & birth control than the true Catholic god. Maybe I’m not a very good Catholic.) All of that being said, I’m pretty tolerant of other religions.  The world is a big place, and it can be a good place with loving people who want to help each other, even if they’re Protestant or Methodist or Jewish or Hindu, like my software co-worker & friend Bejoy.  (We’ve spent hours talking about India & Hinduism on the phone, and he is a good soul.) I find that many people in the U.S. confuse Hinduism with Islam or other religions.

So, if we look at the New Life church, which I’ve had occasion to visit, you have to make a choice on what you want to see: the good or the ugly.  The good part would be an active church with a lot of singing and community.  The ugly side would be the merchandising, the lack of tolerance for differences, the parade of the “less fortunate” that are brought out at the beginning of the service.  They say god is everywhere, but I felt more like I was at a high school pep rally than in the presence of God. I was really bothered by the lack of the sacred & holy thing.   There was a large screen and a lot of clapping. And stuff for sale.  CD’s and books and crosses.  It brought to mind a cross between a Church and shopping mall.  I don’t want to be put in the position to defend any religion, but the soup kitchen is run by the Catholics.  Do good works, that’s all.  Matthew 6:5-15

The other thing about my town, and it is one of the most beautiful towns, the mountains visible from almost everywhere, is the politics.  Almost everyone with an artsy creative side has moved to the west side, close to the mountains, as though they offer protection from the anti-Obama stickers and the still-after-all-these-years broadcasting booming barreling voice of Rush Limbaugh & the overbearing twisted Fox millionaire, Bill O’Reilly.  Apparently when he was in power, Dick Cheney ordered the TV’s at the air force bases to be set to Fox news.


I love my city, and it has gotten better, by that I mean seemingly more tolerant, but even as  I write this, I am filled with a little bit of  fear.  I may be offending my neighbors. But Free speech is in our constitution!  Beware offending the man with the cash in his hand.

I’ve sullied the poker blog with enough talk on these controversial topics.  They are definitely best avoided at the poker table, especially in tournaments where one sits for hours with strangers making pleasant small talk.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Polite Company.”

Quote  —  Posted: April 21, 2015 in poker
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