11 May 2015

  What a beautiful sounds you sing. Your songs started my summer to a great start. Sitting up there on the branch you cheered me up as you chirped away. You took away my isolation and gave new strength for the months ahead. You seemed to say what are you going to do this summer? what are you going to do when you get home.I answered the first thing that seemed in my mind and said I will do alot of excersizing to get in shape and I will do some gardening when I get home. So I stopped at the store and the man said do you want a shopping cart. I said no , but then he said its for all the things you will get. So I saw a shopping cart and began to fill it up. I bought a cedar bird feeder and some finch food, some clippers for the bushes and trees, some ice cream letuce and spinach, and some perty" flowers for the front flower bed. I am feeling good now about the begging of my summer, thank you Raven, thank you .

24 March 2015

making some noise in town

Supervisors look to revive homeless shelter efforts

County leaders set out to buy land in Fullerton and Santa Ana for shelters within the last two years. But, amid outcry from residents, the Fullerton City Council refused to allow a shelter to open there.......
the Commission to End Homelessenss is recommending the new approach in hopes of addressing the public outcry that ended efforts in Fullerton and Santa Ana.They want to spend the other $2.1 million to move more homeless people and families into permanent housing.

23 March 2015

The blind lady who flirted with danger.

Shelley was a lonely blind girl I met at the tracks. She  began to see romance in the form of train engineers. I encouraged her to go after her dreams. She would stand by the tracks every day trying to determine where the engineer in the train was sitting by the bell on engine. At first the engineers didn't understand that she was not there trying to get on the train. Sometimes people would try to get her back or help her on the train but she finally met several engineers of whom glen became her infatution. I would joke with her saying things like " is it going to be the glen miller show tonight?" She eventually moved to Texas but kept tabs on him. In march of 2015 a few weeks ago he succomed to fatal injuries from a head on collision of a truck sitting on the tracks.This is some of her writings from 2010 as she liked to write. I am the guy in the story who has the birthday dinner with her at the spagetti factory.

Copyright © 2010 Shelley J Alongi
Published on the World Wide Web by "www.storymania.com"

It has been a good week. I’ve seen the engineer. I learned part of his story. I’ve obeyed the man’s advice and been rewarded. I’m the happiest girl in the world. I’ve seen my number one engineer.

Friday January 15 is a nippy day. This seems to be a theme throughout the preceding weeks, cold, sunshine, clouds, no rain. Rain comes next week; lots of it; rain that keeps me inside my office working and only seeing Glen twice. That should make writing about it easier. We’ll see. Friday though turns out to be one of those days that just signals something or nothing. Maybe it’s just because I get information out of Glen that I already knew but that didn’t come from the horse’s mouth that I think this is such a great day. It’s not life shattering information really, just tidbits. Before that all happens I put down my yellow railroad bag on the patio and go to the café to order hot tea, partly to help with my cold and partly just because I am beginning to like it. Hot tea is a way for me to remember that all is right with the world; life is good. Silver rails stretch out in the cold, refreshing evening, people run to and fro looking for late trains, on time trains, they purchase tickets from the two Metrolink machines located on either side of the pedestrian bridge or the two windows in the historic train station, snap pictures with digital cameras, text, talk on their cell phones, read the local newspaper The Orange County Register or any other assortment of local magazines, sleep, wave at engineers, gawk at trains. We’re all here for some reason; there is a motivation that drives each of us to watch the trains or take them.

Today I’m not taking any trains. I’m here to watch and meet one. I’ll take one on Monday, three in fact, but today I sit with the afternoon group; they talk about next week. They won’t be there if it’s raining, they say. The forecasters are predicting lots of rain; I’m skeptical. It turns out that they are right, but today I’m scrunched into the corner where the two sides of the fence meet, my back to the rails and the freight trains.

“I just got a call from your boss. She said she wants you back at work.”

Andy the Metrolink agent stands on the other side of the fence. He’s here early today.

“They should have thought about that when they let me go,” I said. I put my name on the early release list today. They let me go at 1:30 PM. Next week on Friday they’re cutting the over time but for today they release me early. A huge freight train, I guess they’re all that way, stretching for half a mile or so and heading toward San Bernardino, westbound by the railroad compass since this is its destination. If the train were heading back toward Los angels it would be considered an eastbound train no matter the direction of the railroad tracks, i.e. north or south.

“Should I chase this guy?” I ask Andy, referring of course to the engineer.

“No!” he ejects. He’s one of my biggest teasers. He says he’s going to show up one day with a T shirt for me that says I heart Glen, the symbol of the heart referring to love, of course. He even says he has a song just for us; “Hey Mickey you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind hey Mickey.” You can insert the name Glen if you like. Everyone else does. This brings on some nostalgia and Andy looks up the lyrics on the Internet. They come from a 1984 song called “Hey Mickey” by the One Hit Wonder, Tony Basil. It’s a very frivolous song and doesn’t really apply in this situation, but everyone seems to get a kick out of it so I let them have their fun. It puts me in a nostalgic mood, though, that song, even if it is 26 years later. Sometimes I have these “wow has it been that many years?” moments. I guess it just shows that this adult adolescent railfan is really middle aged after all. It’s okay, really. My engineer must have many more of those moments than I do. I’m sure I’ll catch up someday.

The afternoon progresses and I make my way down the platform to see what’s going on; it’s the usual, people greet me as I pass them, the regulars all recognize me. Soon, I make my way back to the café and decide not to eat there, going to the Old Spaghetti Factory instead. Finishing my meal which costs just as much as I would have spent at the café, I find my usual spot between the Snapple refrigerator and the ice-cream and settle in for the wait for Glen’s train and the evening festivities.

Music blends in with the sounds of hamburgers cooking on the grill, the hissing of the liquid as it is released from the food, contacting the hot grill, producing the grease; Denis scrubs the grill, cleaning it thoroughly. It is a normal, quiet day at the station, moving along in the grand scheme of things as it usually does. Nothing interrupts it; nothing hinders its glorious progress toward completion.
After Garish catches her train, Dan, Larry, and others sit in the café I make my way to the other side of the track and wait. It’s gotten much easier to locate Glen’s train or any other train for that matter. Now Glen eases 608 to its marker, ringing that bell as far back as usual, or does he wait just a little bit further up the track today? The locomotive pulls those cars obediently into line, that 4400 HP engine coming toward me, smiling at me with its bell.

“What’s up?”

“Oh you know just watching the show.”

“Are you working tomorrow?” This question comes from me.

“No,” glen draws out emphatically.

“What? A vacation? It’s about time!”

“It’s about time,” he affirms quietly.

“I am going to work on a race truck,” he explains. It couldn’t’ just be because he wanted a day off could it? ‘what would railroading be like if there weren’t people like glen who insisted on being at work all the time. What would anything be like? It’s amazing to me that people complain constantly about their jobs, but they mostly show up I think. I remember last year calling out several more days than I liked but after a while there’s a rhythm and so one just shows up. On most days I don’t mind my job; some days I can’t stand it, but I always show up though I don’t have a record like Glen. Sometimes I find myself wanting to be like him; friendly and someone who shows up all the time. But tonight he says he’s taking a day off; maybe someone is actually showing up for work and he doesn’t have to work for them. He does have a plan apparently; he’s working on his race truck.

“Oh,” I say. “Yours?”

“My Son’s,” he says, confirming what Brian one of the Metrolink agents has told me earlier.

“What kind is it?”

“Right now it’s a Dodge Dakota. We’re going to turn it into a chivvy.”

“My sister’s husband owns a machine shop. It’s a job shop.”

This is the most personal information I’ve shared with this man. He knows where I work; he keeps reminding me of it. Later on he gives me some advice about it that makes me appreciate this relationship even more than I already do for whatever reason.

“Really?” he now says with interest. “Where at?”


“Do they race?”

“”No, but they have customers that do.”

“We might race at Irwin dale,” he says.

“this weekend?” I realize after I say this that he was working on the truck this weekend, not racing.


He doesn’t reprimand me for my misunderstanding.

Suddenly it’s time for him to go. I stand waving, blessing my engineer’s train, or is it him. Maybe they are the same. He pushes the throttle forward leaving me to contemplate all this new information, information that finally I’ve gotten from him and not a Metrolink agent. Remember months ago when I first came to the train station I wondered about the stories of the engineers. Now I’m starting to learn the story of one of them.
The Engineer Told Me Not to Do It

“I knew you’d be here,” Janice says as she walks into the café with bob and prepares to place his and her order at the counter. I haven’t been here very long, just long enough to not know what I want to eat. That afternoon I had a wonderful lunch at the Thai restaurant across the street from my house. I’ve gotten my nails done, signed my invoice for the paycheck from the transcripts, and now here I am waiting. Andy shows up.

“I wasn’t here yesterday,” I tell him.

:”What?” he can’t believe it. At the end of the week they all insist I’ll be here to see my number one engineer. I would be, except this Monday I was on a train to San Luis Obispo. It was a train ride, literally with a brief stop in San Luis Obispo for lunch and intriguing conversation with one former Amtrak employee who wishes me good luck with the engineer, tells me that Glen might think I’m picking up on him, buys me lunch, and talks philosophy with one of the outing organizers. He tries to talk philosophy with me but I’m not much of a philosopher. I’m into self analysis but I don’t analyze the world; just my corner of it. I suppose I’m self centered in that way, but at least I don’t waste time. In any case, here I am now standing on the platform waiting for Glen’s train, talking to Andy. He disappears down to see if Ricky is on the train.

“Hey! So you were in S L O yesterday?”

The engineer has pronounced the station code for San Luis Obispo. Yes I was in S L O. Reading it I’ve always pronounced it as SLO as in Slow. The engineer, my engineer said S L O. That must be the way to pronounce it. In fact on the train back from S L O, a guy in the café car pronounces it as SLO. I know better. The engineer said S L O.

“Yes I was,” I respond. “How did you know?”

There are two answers to this question. Either he got my text message or I told him on Friday and he really did hear me. I think when I was telling him that I was going to take a trip that he was listening to the radio and so he missed it. Now I’ll find out how he deduced that piece of juicy information.

“I got a text,” he said.

Ah, so Glen does get text messages he just doesn’t respond to them. He doesn’t really need to respond to them but once in a while especially on a day when I am not going to make his train I’ll sneak a text message off to him. I don’t have time for conversation during work, or on break, or on lunch so I may text a few people and make a phone call or two to businesses but since I’m in the beginning stages of finding out what my boundaries are with my new engineer friend I don’t overwhelm, I only make occasional forays. So far I haven’t been told to go away. It seems Glen likes everyone. He hasn’t drawn boundary lines for me, as in don’t call at this time or at all, so I make them. Many years ago a man I knew told me that men don’t usually draw boundaries, women do. He was talking about romance but I think the practice holds true in my own case anyway for all my relationships. Helping to raise four children who aren’t mine taught me the value of drawing those lines ad so to save my own sanity and my three month two minute relationship with my very first locomotive engineer, an occupation and person I find extremely interesting, I draw the lines.

:”Oh yes,” I say. “I told you that and said to have a nice Monday.”

“How was it there?” asks the experienced locomotive engineer.

“Wet and rainy,” I explain.

“Just like here,” he says.

I paid money for that; to see wet rain, fog, and to be delayed because track inspectors had to determine whether or not we still had safe conditions for running the train. We made it. Here I am standing and talking to Glen.

Glen isn’t kidding about it being wet and rainy. Monday through Friday brings almost continual drizzle, heavy down pours, thunder, lightening, hail in some places.

“It’s going to rain next week,” Glen tells me last week on a day I don’t recall.

He wasn’t kidding.

“I have to work all my hours this week,” I now tell him. “I have to pay the renter’s insurance.”

Glen’s demeanor changes. His vocal expressions change.

“You have to watch those e rs,” he says quietly.

He is right. I can’t put my name on that early release list. It’s funny but I never had problems not putting my name on that list till this year. The very reason I put it on the list is to come and talk to him. He tells me to watch that. Okay, I’ll watch it. He is right. He’s more than a smart engineer. He’s a smart man. He puts me in my place. I’ll let him.

He gets the highball. I step away from the train waving him off to the rest of his night. I’m a happy train fan. I won’t put my name on that early release list. The engineer told me not to do it.

Thursday while on a call I get an email from the resource desk at Disney asking me to call them when I’m off the phone. I finish my call and dial them. It seems they’re cutting over time for Friday would I like to work 9:30 to 6:30 an eight hour shift? No, I say emphatically. No, I’d like to keep my regular start time and work till 4:15, please. That’s fine, Lilly says and so it is official. I will go and see my love on the rails, my trains, but mostly the engineer who is my attachment to the trains. I am excited. My commitment not to put my name on that early release list has paid off. I like over time, I gladly work it, but lately perhaps because of the trains, perhaps because sometimes the system drives me crazy, I just want to get out of there. I’m learning, I’m coping, I’m getting a hold of the little tricks we all employ to get the job done so it’s getting easier to manipulate the system, ease the impatience of the guest or travel agent, but tonight I am ready. I am ready to go to the station. It has been a busy two days, sometimes a little slow, and sometimes out of control. I book several reservations with air, I learn, I work, I accomplish. But man will I be happy to get back to the station!

Wednesday at the height of our stormy weather I choose the rainiest hour to run errands. Working over time means getting two one hour lunches. This week they are not allowing us to waive our second lunch and work because phones permit us to take those second lunches. I decide to run errands, to get cat food and tooth paste and so at 4:15, as I pull out my umbrella and my jacket, I venture out into the poring rain to complete my tasks. I have no choice. I won’t get home in Time to make it to the store so I have to do it now and if I’m not going to put my name on the early release list I better just do it. Standing in the rain, the heavy, large drops pounding my umbrella I remember that the engineer toll me not to do it. He wasn’t saying I shouldn’t do it, he was just telling me to watch it and so I am because there’s no real reason for leaving early. All the house is in order. There is no family emergency. It’s just raining, I’ll go wherever I go and watch rain so why not work through the rain. If I’m getting too attached to the engineer, fine. Earlier at my first lunch I sneak off another text. “Hope you’re sleeping out of the rain” it says. I know he reads it. He probably just shakes his head and smiles. Who knows. I am comforted. And I am wet, but more comforted than wet. I’m prepared for our week of heavy rain, my jacket, a sweater, a hat, gloves, and an umbrella that gives up the ghost on Thursday. But never mind that now. It’s all good. I complete my errands and go back to my office.

Now sitting here at my desk I smile. I get to go see my number one engineer. I’ll take it.

Flirting with the Engineer
Friday, 5:00 PM can’t come fast enough. I don’t want to rush it, I just want it to be here. It is the busiest day for me and I am glad. The work keeps my mind off the passage of time. It passes and now at 5:00 here I am at the Santa Fe café eating ice-cream and drinking hot tea. No one comes down tonight; it is the end of the stormy weather for the week, but it still threatens rain and it is quite cold. Even the café is cold with both its doors open Later on they get closed, but now they are open. The tea and the ice-cream are great. A young woman comes and asks if she can sit with me. Sure she can, I say. She says she just got off the train and she’s waiting for her dad. She and her boyfriend just broke up, she says, listening to the Eagles sing “Hotel California.” She says that was their song. She doesn’t stay long, she’s off to meet her father and I’m alone again with the music and the cold and the tea. A call to Janice says she’s not coming down with bob today. I’m going to go on the bridge, I say, wait for Glen’s train there. The bridge will be the warmest spot, especially when the trains pass right under it sending their streams of warm air up to the waiting pedestrians or people taking pictures. On a cold night like tonight even with a sweater and jacket on that diesel-laden air feels good and then there’s always the power of the trains, the throbbing of those locomotives and the slipping and sliding of the cars squeaking and rumbling across the rails. I stand there now and make my way down the stairs to see my number one engineer.
The planter that holds the second palm tree is full of water from the recent storms. The air is damp, the ground free of standing water except that one place. Curt hails me from across the tracks. Today is his birthday. He shares a birthday with my father though my father is twenty-two years older than Curt. Curt turns 45 today. He says he’s going to go down to the other end of the platform and see Glen. Is Glen working? Of cause he is, unless something has happened to him. Now his train approaches and I walk up to it. I haven’t seen him for two days, wonder what he’ll say.

“Are you going to Flagstaff?”

The question comes from the cab window, my engineer surprises me with his question.

“What?” Ask him to repeat it.

“Are you going to Flagstaff?”

“What’s in Flagstaff?”

“Snow. Seven fee of it,” he says.

“No. Are you coming with me?”

So now am I flirting with the engineer? Sometimes, especially after his response, I wish I could see that face; he’s the only persons whose face I’ve ever wanted to see.

“I can’t,” he pronounces quietly and gently. “I have too much stuff to do.”

“ah, you’re just saying that.”

Okay if he’s going to tease me I’m going to give as good as I get. When it’s time to be serious we will, but now apparently it’s time to tease.

“Were you working today?”

Now here’s safe ground.

“Yes I was.”

“Did you e r?”

“I didn’t e r today. They cut the over time.”

“Oh,” breathes my engineer.

“I can’t e r,” I explain. “I’ll get in trouble with you!”

glen sighs a little.

“Alright,” he breathes, it’s that sweet, not sure how to take this, kind of a smile in his voice and shaking his head at once response.

Don’t worry Mr. Number One engineer. You told me not to-do it. I haven’t done it yet. I’m not playing my favorite game tonight. But I am talking to you and that’s the best part.

“have a good weekend,” Glen now says, pushing that throttle forward. I wave his train to his weekend.

Now I make my way across the bridge and stand with Curt waiting for the train. At least he didn’t tell me that 4 was on its way. I’m laughing. Glen is silly. Who in the world wants to go to Flagstaff? He’s just a tease. I told you he’d tease me again, just give him time.

Curt accompanies me on his birthday to the Spaghetti Factory where I eat a delicious meal for a reasonable price. I decide since I have to get up in the morning for work that it would be a good idea to leave on the 8:55 bus and so I am home by 9:30 pm, a half hour before Glen puts his keys in the door of his own place. I’m even asleep before he gets home, a rarity for me since 11:00 usually sees me finally turning out the lights.

Tonight I smile as I open my door and am greeted by my one social kitty.
It has been a good week. I’ve seen the engineer. I learned part of his story. I’ve obeyed the man’s advice and been rewarded. I’m the happiest girl in the world. I’ve seen my number one engineer. 

14 March 2015

why do people pretend?

some comments from the general public.....

Being happy is a socially accepted/wanted behavior. Being sad is socially unacceptable, people don't stay near sad people.
So, fearing to be alone/socially rejected (which is a common fear of depressed people), they fake happiness/joy/cheer. When this fear become depair, they overact.

The two faced people are two faced just because of  a reason that they are  actually different from what they want to be. Sometimes we see people who want to be nice and good to others and that's why they are just showing off that they are good and nice but in actual they are being jealous to others and often behaves in a negative way behind the back.

......IGNORE unless you need to punch 

14 February 2015

Cold, the absence of Heat....Evil the absence of God?

Does evil exist? 

The university professor challenged his students with this question. Did God create everything that exists? A student bravely replied, "Yes, he did!" 

"God created everything? The professor asked. 

"Yes sir", the student replied. 

The professor answered, "If God created everything, then God created evil since evil exists, and according to the principal that our works define who we are then God is evil". The student became quiet before such an answer. The professor was quite pleased with himself and boasted to the students that he had proven once more that the Christian faith was a myth. 

Another student raised his hand and said, "Can I ask you a question professor?" 

"Of course", replied the professor. 

The student stood up and asked, "Professor, does cold exist?" 

"What kind of question is this? Of course it exists. Have you never been cold?" The students snickered at the young man's question. 

The young man replied, "In fact sir, cold does not exist. According to the laws of physics, what we consider cold is in reality the absence of heat. Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (-460 degrees F) is the total absence of heat; all matter becomes inert and incapable of reaction at that temperature. Cold does not exist. We have created this word to describe how we feel if we have no heat." 

The student continued, "Professor, does darkness exist?" 

The professor responded, "Of course it does." 

The student replied, "Once again you are wrong sir, darkness does not exist either. Darkness is in reality the absence of light. Light we can study, but not darkness. In fact we can use Newton's prism to break white light into many colors and study the various wavelengths of each color. You cannot measure darkness. A simple ray of light can break into a world of darkness and illuminate it. How can you know how dark a certain space is? You measure the amount of light present. Isn't this correct? Darkness is a term used by man to describe what happens when there is no light present." 

Finally the young man asked the professor, "Sir, does evil exist?" 

Now uncertain, the professor responded, "Of course as I have already said. We see it every day. It is in the daily example of man's inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil." 

To this the student replied, "Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is not like faith, or love that exist just as does light and heat. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God's love present in his heart. It's like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light." 
Read more at http://www.snopes.com/religion/einstein.asp#bAIgC7p88saMlWQo.99

09 February 2015

The Space Between the Notes

The Space Between the Notes

Quarter-Rest copyI’ve been listening to one of my all-time favorite pieces – Nimrod (or “August 9 Adagio) from the Enigma variations by Elgar, conducted by Daniel Barenboim (see video here).   Barenboim takes the tempo slow, producing the most brilliant rendition I’ve ever heard.  It is lush, sweeping, and the moment it begins, the hair on my arms raise and I have goose bumps, and then I begin to weep.  Why does music do that?
I have learned over the years that what you do with the space between the notes is as important as what you do with the notes themselves.  That “push and pull” creates tension, movement and anticipation, which makes the music itself compelling.  I have found it an extraordinary difficult lesson to learn, using that “space.”  I tend to rush the tempo, so I have to work extra hard to allow myself to fall into that space and use it wisely to make my music compelling.  It is in that space that my audience will have an opportunity to respond to that emotion.
I’ve been thinking about this concept for a few weeks now and how it relates to my current journey.  It’s sort of where I’m at in my recovery – that “space between” where one just lets oneself HEAL.  My surgery is over, the cast is off, I’m in a splint and I can actually take a shower on my own.  But it is still a difficult spot to be.  I am impatient, and sometimes angry, and most of the time pretending that I am quite well, thank you very much.  But I am reminded again and again how important it is to just LET MYSELF HEAL.  It’s being in that “space between the notes,” the space that provides tension and anticipation.  That it is a good thing to just “be.”
Because I have some previous experience with this, I know that there is a reason to be here, now.  It is my time to rest, to catch up with myself, to let people help me.  I know that it will renew my compassion and provide some freedom in my otherwise rush rush world.
So I’m living in this space.  Full of anticipation and hope that once physical therapy begins, I will actually be a full participant in my recovery, not just an observer.   And that this too, shall pass.

06 February 2015


(song by Billy Joel)

If you search for tenderness 
it isn't hard to find. 
You can have the love you need to live. 
But if you look for truthfulness 
You might just as well be blind. 
It always seems to be so hard to give. 

Honesty is such a lonely word. 
Everyone is so untrue. 
Honesty is hardly ever heard. 
And mostly what I need from you. 

I can always find someone 
to say they sympathize. 
If I wear my heart out on my sleeve. 
But I don't want some pretty face 
to tell me pretty lies. 
All I want is someone to believe. 

Honesty is such a lonely word. 
Everyone is so untrue. 
Honesty is hardly ever heard. 
And mostly what I need from you. 

I can find a lover. 
I can find a friend. 
I can have security until the bitter end. 
Anyone can comfort me 
with promises again. 
I know, I know. 

When I'm deep inside of me 
don't be too concerned. 
I won't as for nothin' while I'm gone. 
But when I want sincerity 
tell me where else can I turn. 
Because you're the one I depend upon. 

Honesty is such a lonely word. 
Everyone is so untrue. 
Honesty is hardly ever heard. 
And mostly what I need from you