Sunday, November 1, 2009

Crossing Paths With Maria Shriver

Okay, well, not exactly “crossing paths.” But she was in the building. I saw her myself on the life-size TV screen and I have to say, her hair was spectacular. But even if I hadn’t seen her famous visage, I would have known she was there because this was Maria’s fourth annual Women’s Conference in Long Beach. Fourteen thousand women, over 1200 vendors and speakers so famous only their first names were needed below their larger-than-life headshots. Warren. Madeline. Caroline. Martha (Beck, not Stewart), Kate, Ashton et al. And, of course, Arnold.

Actually I did cross paths with Arnold. Well, if I’d had a path, he would have crossed it. I was standing stock still behind 3L Publishing’s book table—just close enough to see a blue-suit river of testosterone going by with Arnold’s head bobbing in the midst like a beaming buoy. Close, but no Irish Crème cigarillo.

I admire people not because they’re famous, but because they use their status to make a positive impact on the world. People like Maria Shiver, whose path I would enjoy literally crossing one day and perhaps even stopping for a chat.

But the most important path I crossed this week wasn’t someone famous. It was my own. Two days after the grueling trade show workout (I’m sure I burned calories just from lifting my smile so much), I traveled to the Radisson Hotel in Dublin to speak to a lively and lovely group of women led by Sahar Kordahi. It’s called “The Bright Side of Life,” and there I intersected with my own shadowy self. She’s the part of me that has spent a lifetime (albeit intermittently) of speaking in public and successfully making an ordeal out of it each and every time. Here’s the synopsis: neurosis, nerves and notes followed by relief and critical rumination. Last year, I decided that I would either stop speaking in public or find a way to do it with terrorizing myself and those I love.

I’ve had some modest successes this year, but Dublin was the test: a new 45-minute talk on a topic that is as close to my heart as a topic can get without causing arrhythmia. “Beyond Change: Radical Trust in Your Own Transformation.” Obviously, I was my own poster child. In the name of peace, I prepared for the talk differently (mostly lying in bed then making notes on a huge tableau on the wall); letting go of memorizing or using notes; adopting a new pace of speaking; and staying in my body and breathing whenever anticipation turned to fear. And the Universe, in a show of support, sent me a new method of remembering the flow of a talk.

It worked! I did something I’ve done all my life differently. I think that’s just what transformation is. And I also think we’ve all bought the bit that transformation is just for houses, hairstyles and bodies. But no. It’s for us. It’s our life-size experience of radical change!

What are you ready to do differently? What are you ready to transform?

Keeping it Grand,

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Where Is Grandma Today? Gettin' a Bra Job!

Hello Friends and Fans!

Did you think by the title that this would be some embarrassing fitting room scenario where Grandma just had to blog the fact that she finally found her true size?

Nothing that private. This is Grandma out in the middle of a networking event, slopped silly with bras because they were there...and so was she! Thus answering the ever-present question of ... "Where Is Grandma Today?"

The more accurate answer would be "at an eWomen event at the Sterling Hotel in downtown Sacramento." But what fun is that? Better to dive into two bins of bras, load up on 'em and smile while others stare and snicker. Now that's blogworthy.

And so is the cause behind the bras. It's called, "Bravo" -- Sacramento eWomen's contribution to a program called "Bosom Buddy Bra Recycling" that supplies gently used bras to women in shelters. Locally, the St Francis Women's Shelter and Mary's House will benefit. Turns out lots of clothes are donated, but no upper undies.

If you live in the Sacramento area you can drop off your bras at The Sterling Hotel at 1300 "H" Street or the White Orchid salon at 2118 "P" Street during the month of October. And if you don't have any, you can knock on your neighbor's door and ask if they want to donate their used bras. It's sure to be voted the neighborhood's most original conversation starter.

Keepin' it Grand,


Monday, October 12, 2009

Where Is Grandma Today? Up on the Roof Top!

Dear Family, Friends and Fans--

This is why blogs require photos!

If I just blogged away about how I went up on my friend's roof to paint,
no one who knows me would believe me. Especially my children.
For some reason, I've become physically bolder as I've grown older.
First it was snorkeling.
Then ziplining in the Hawaiian forest.
Even (finally) working out regularly.
Now rooftop activity.
Don't confirmed "indoor girls" become more so?
Is nothing predictable in this world?
It's not that I can explain it so much as I can surmise:
With the arrival of the 60's, (mine) I prefer to shock myself .
I prefer to keep my adult children off-kilter.                                   
I prefer to be "up on the rooftop" instead of just humming a few bars.

Some may say, "Oh, my! She'll do anything for a blog!" But it's not true. I'll do what I please to feel more alive than in any previous decade. Usually that's sitting inside writing my heart out. But today, it was
proclaiming my love of life from the rooftop.

Keeping it Grand,

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Where Is Grandma Today? Getting a Reverse Makeover!

Friends, Family and Followers--

Ready for my Reverse-Makeover? Part of the psychology behind any makeover is the classic "Before Picture" which offers you a person not only compromised by a lack of attractiveness, but who is clearly unhappy about it. She looks anywhere  from bored with herself and her untoward state (at best) or disgustedly resigned (at worst). No, you wouldn't want to have dinner with "Ms. Before" even if she was buying.

But "Ms. After" has not only been re-coiffed and re-dressed, but has undergone attittude shock therapy. She's ever so pleased with her rampant progress, not to mention her cool new clothes. She's gone from "not" to "hot" and she knows it. You want to have dinner with her even if you're buying!

I thought it was time for some reverse psychology.


Ms.Before -- Roots et. al                                             

Ms. After -- Sans roots and charm


I rest my case!
Keeping it grand,

Where Is Grandma Today? Visiting the Tooth Fairy!

Hello Friends, Family and Followers--

Remember the Dark Ages of dentistry? Hot smoking drills? Spitting, gritting and leftover grit? And the seriously scary dentist? But look at me now! I've lived long enough for life to transform the dentist into the Tooth Fairy. She doesn't leave fifty cents under my pillow, of course, but she's just as magical. Meet Dr. Gabrielle (See? Angelic!) Rasi who makes my once-feared visit to the dentist frequently cross the border from pleasant to pleasurable.

Dr. Gabby is the friendly girl-next-door, but with state-of-the-art digital equipment, heated, vibrating chairs, an affable staff and most of all, a big heart. When I self-published my first edition of "Who Are You Calling Grandma?" and sent out postcard announcements, she responded with undentistly enthusiam and bought five copies for her relatives. So I thought it only right to take her the complementary new edition created by 3L Publishing. Time for "Where Is Grandma Today?" photo op!

Hey, I got another bonus on this visit! Ginger, the hygenist (whose name fleetingly reminded me of Gingivitis until her congeniality put a cap on the association) looked into my mouth and said, "You have quite an investment here!" Wasn't that nice of her? I didn't even know I had any investments, much less where to find them!

A Grand Nod to All Who Make Our Lives Easier,


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Where Is Grandma Today? Sending Her Books Away!

Hello Friends, Family and Followers,

Do you know how long it's been since a cute guy carried my books for me? You might be guessing Grade School? Jr. High? Well, until yesterday you would have been right ... But not today!

Today Aaron showed up at my door for the express purpose of carrying my books for me ... all 672 of them! Ten boxes are going off to our national distributor, Book Masters, and two boxes to Long Beach, California for The Women's Conference hosted by Maria Shiver.

I hasten to add (but obviously not too quickly) that Aaron was accompanied by his wife, Malia--the new executive assistant for 3L Publishing. Such service!

And for the record, I do remember the last guy who carried my books for me. His name was Johnny Propst and he followed me home from Jr. High one day, asking to carry my books. So about halfway home, I thought it was the least I could do. We went steady for a few days until the novelty wore off. Let's hope this book-carrying event has a brighter future!~

To All Things Grand,


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Where Is Grandma Today? On the Ladder!

Dear Friends, Family and Followers--

Oh, how I wish it was a ladder to the heavens -- you know, one of those star-sprinkley Flavia moments where your dreams are right at your disembodied fingertips. But, alas, my ladder stopped just short of the roof. And I was hot, sweaty, and wielding either a putty knife or a paint brush. In a canvas hat. All day.

Yet my little introverted self ,who would rather be inside writing on her little introverted laptop, was not without inspiration! And here it is: I love rain! I crave rain! I adore it! But not when I know that it's seeping into the walls of my lovely no-longer-mobile home. And so, in order to enjoy the coming rain like a glass of mellow cabernet, I had to face the ladder.

Accompanied by my friends, Sandi and Johnnie, and armed with caulk guns, paint, putty, a drill and the neighbor's hammer--out we went to nail, screw, putty, paint and pound this grand old dame of a home back into her winter coat.

Despite the fact that we didn't get done (though Johnnie worked in the dark after his Panda dinner); despite the fact that the project flattened all of us into a senseless stupor; and despite the fact that we shorted out six living room outlets and a lamp with a single nail, it was a rewarding day. We laughed, worked, and played together, creating the kind of camaradie that unsavory projects do when done well by people who love each other.

And ... the next morning, it rained.
I sat alone on my screened-in porch with my coffee and my smile.
I have to was heavenly!

Keepin' it Grand,

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Where Is Grandma Today? Writing in the Forest!!

Hello Friends, Family and Followers!

Okay--so first of all, you're not falling for this "Today" thing right? "Where is Grandma Today?" is a great concept, but you're advised not to take it too literally. By the time I blog about something, it's usually the next day...or week. But hey, in cyberspace where you are, it's Today!

Secondly, I confess that I take poetic license with titles like "Writing in the Forest" because they sound roamantic (my bad typing just made a pun) and fit into the blog title bar. The real title would be "Where is Grandma Today? Staying at a Forest Service Cabin with Three Other Writer Friends Who Protect Her From the Mouse that Preferred the Cabin to the Forest." It's true. Everyone else got involved in successfully escorting the mouse back outside. I offered heartfelt support from the top bunk and later from the couch with my knees pulled up close to my chest.

I did, however, contribute to the project by regaling my friends with the story of the last time I was party to a mouse-in-cabin incident. My mother, my friend Cindy, and I were spending the weekend in a cabin when a mouse decided to make it a foursome. My mother and I hopped on the bed where cultured women belong while Cindy roamed the premises with a broom held over her head. (Yes, we had the audacity to laugh at our defender.) But then, whether you believe it or not (Cindy didn't) the mouse got right between her feet. The more we screamed, "It's right between your feet!!" the more she rolled her eyes and said, "I'm not falling for that!"

And now--because I'm a kind woman--I'm not going to elaborate about the time I ran from the bathroom screaming and with my underwear not yet returned to its proper position because a rodent was sharing the facilities. (Alas, the bathroom was right off the waiting room where my client was sitting.) "Oh," she said when I apologized for my behavior, "I just thought: there's Maridel expressing her feelings like she always encourages me to do!" Bad rodent. Good client.

Oh, and one more thing: I didn't actually do any writing at all. But I did read my writing to my writing friends which is just about the same thing, don't you think? It passes blog inspection.

Thanks Sue, Marsha and Candy for a fabulous beginning to our as-yet-untitled writer's group! I can't wait to see where all of you--and Grandma--go next!!

To All Things Grand,


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Where Is Grandma Today? Chattin' It Up With Triple A!

Is it true or is it not
That your mobile home
Was built on the lot?
Or is it the other way around?
It came intact
And was dropped on the ground?


In my search to minimize my monthly expenses I called AAA today to get a comparison quote on my homeowner's insurance. I spoke with a dearie who was full of strange queries.

"Do you live within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant?" asked she.

"I don't know," I confessed. How long is 1,000 feet?"

"Just go outside and look up and down the street and see if you spot one."

I looked, but alas no hydrant.

Oops! There's one now--smack dabby-do across the street.

No one who knows me well will be surprised, but you might be: in two years, I'd never noticed the squatty, unattractive and very yellow presence of a hydrant almost dead ahead.

Whew! Passed that test. (I'm sure the "beyond 1,000 feet people" don't get the Triple A nod.)

"Now, before we can go further," she said, "I need to know if your manufactured home was built on site or delivererd already built. "

Hmmm. Got me there.

Time for another walk outside. I looked around, hoping to see some recognizable evidence of the answer.

"How long have you lived there?" she asked

Evidently not long enough to know.

"Would someone at the office know?" she queried.

I hated to tell her, but the people who were in the office when our 29 year-old mobile home was put in place are no longer with us.

"Well," I said, hoping to say something that could be misconstrued as useful, "I might be able to find out from the previous owner because he's a manufactured home fix-it man."

"Oh good. Let me know because we can't insure the home unless...."

Okay. Now I put you to the manufactured home trivia test. Does AAA insure the home if a)it was built on site or b) if it was brought to our distinctly unmobile neighborhood already built?

Hit the comment button and tell me if you're so smart!

So where was Grandma today? Lookin' for hydrants, snooping around her own mobile home and chattin' it up with Lucinda from Triple A!

On the Grand Path of Life,


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Where Is Grandma Today? Playin' on KBOO!

Hello Friends, Family and Fans--

Where is Grandma Today? She's playin' on the radio show, Pathways, hosted by Paul O'Brien on KBOO radio in Portland-- but don't let this picture fool ya!

This lovely photo, taken by my second-born was snapped en route to the interview --which wasn't at the studio at all, but atop the gorgeous Avalon Hotel and Spa overlooking the river!

Which proves that you just never know where you'll end up when you go out into the wide, wide world to promote your book! (Now if I just could have stayed for a massage and a body wrap...)

So here's the link to my first radio interview. Enjoy!!

You can order "Who Are You Calling Grandma? True Confessions of a Baby Boomer's Passage" on

Keepin' it Grand,


Friday, August 21, 2009

Welcome to "Where Is Grandma Today? Oh, the Places You Will Go!

Welcome to "Where Is Grandma Today?" -- the blog that takes you along on the "Gramatically correct" as well as the "Gramatically incorrect" adventures of author Maridel Bowes. Continuing the irreverent, honest, "made you laugh" voice of my book, "Who Are You Calling Grandma? True Confessions of a Baby-Boomer's Passage," we'll visit the mindscapes, spiritscapes and landscapes of the Great Escapade of our ever-evolving selves! I promise to keep it both real and provocative three times a week. (Well, at least two.)

"Oh the Places You Will Go!" wrote Suess, the Dr. of Silly. It's the perfect declaration for anyone who just gave birth to a child. My own children have taken me deep into the alternate universes of high school basketball, drumming, rock bands, graphic arts and marital arts. Like Oprah, one thing I know for sure: without the birth of my second son, I never would have morphed into a midnight groupie at Old Ironsides Bar in downtown Sacramento . (And without the birth of my first son, I wouldn't be writing this blog.)

I feel the very same way about personal evolution. "Oh the Places You Will Go!" when you embark on a path that, just like a child--has two things: your genes and a life of its own.

So where is Grandma this week? Why, merging progeny with promo in Portland! On KBOO radio, I did my "published grandma" shtick while visiting my offspring and talking about my relationship to their offspring on the air!

Here I am now with Pathways co-host, Paul O'Brien, ready to launch into a half-hour interview about the new era of grandmotherhood and (of course) my book!

The show will air in Oregon on Sunday, August 30 at 8:30 a.m.

And On Sunday I'll be back with a new pic and a hot link to the show! Oh, the Places You Will Go -- with me!

On the Path of All Things Grand,