Dreams

 Dreams

The stained glass

picture that is my dream,

shatters to thin, gossamer

shards as I as reach

up from sleep

grabbing at them, trying

to keep the picture in tack.

Too late, they dissolve,

sugar candy in my hands

and slip back into that shadow world

that is the nether

regions of my mind.

Bubbling just below the surface,

just out of reach

the images entice me,

tantalizingly close.

I turn to look and they

wash away,

chalk pictures in the rain.

Paper Heart

PAPER HEART                                                                                                                              

I take out the paper,

red, pink and silver.

I lay out the best, small scissors and                                                           

freshest glue.

I carefully fold the colored paper

into two neat halves and slowly cut

the  paper heart.

And then another and another.

With the glue,

I place them together, delicately.

I create the perfect, beautiful

paper heart.

I hold this to you and you take it

and tear out a small hole

in the middle.

You hand it back to me

and smile – sweetly. 

I am left with a tear in the middle

of my beautiful, beautiful, heart.                      

They Don’t Take the Train

They are old,

they are young,

they are middle.

They dress in all grey colors;

neither black nor white,

just faded shades of

everything.

They sit in the train station

and watch TV or sleep;

they don’t take the train.

The trains come and go

on every hour and  the half.

The people dump out in gabbling gobs then,

get sucked back in through

clanging metal doors.

The men sit and stare;

happy couples run and grab each other,

then say teary farewells.

Teens, in groups, walk arm in arm,

 chattering parakeets.

The men sit with stony expressions.

People drink coffee and eat ice cream.

The stores open and close,

the people go home.

The men sit;

they don’t take the train.

How much do Mexican nationals spend in Arizona?

LINDA VALDEZ

Are Mexicans still spending millions of dollars a day in Arizona? We’ll soon find out

Opinion: Arizona leaves money on the table when it comes to tourism from Mexico – we just don’t know how much. A new study will fix that.

Linda Valdez

The Republic | azcentral.com

View Comments

There’s gold along Arizona’s southern border and it should be more aggressively mined to benefit you and your family.

But you don’t hear much about it.

What you hear is the bad stuff about Arizona’s border with Mexico. (And, yes, there are problems.)

But let’s face it: The average Arizonan has little to gain from the relentlessly negative political hyperbole about the border.

Mexican shoppers help you

On the other hand, you and your family have a great deal to gain from increasing the number of legal Mexican shoppers to our state.

That’s the border story you don’t hear. But should.

Gov. Doug Ducey – who has done his share to feed the Trump administration’s big, bad border frenzy – is going to help tell that story by updating a 2008 study into how much Mexican shoppers spend in our state.

There’s gold in that spending.

How many millions? We don’t know

How much? We don’t know.

We do know the contribution of Mexican shoppers to our economy was significant a decade ago.

The 2008 report done by the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management found Mexican visitors spent more than $7.3 million a day in Arizona stores, restaurants, hotels and other businesses.

That money supports businesses and jobs, as well as producing sales tax to help fund basic state and local services – like your child’s school.

It supports schools and local services

The 2008 study found legal Mexican visitors represented “a staggering 48.62 percent of the total taxable sales in Santa Cruz County.”

Keep in mind: The 24 million visa-holding Mexican travelers who came here that year far exceeded the number of people who crossed the border illegally in any year.

You didn’t hear much about those legal border crossers, which is a real shame.

Arizona didn’t do much to treat them like valued customers, which is a lost opportunity.

Dissing our customers wasn’t smart

In 2010 – after years of ugly rhetoric about the dangers of the border – GOP Gov. Jan Brewer signed a xenophobic anti-immigrant law that resulted in boycotts, lost conventions and bad press.

It also inspired deep resentment in Mexico.

Despite it all, Mexicans continue to visit

recent study for the Office of Tourism found that in 2017, tourists who stayed overnight in our state spent $22.7 billion in Arizona. Two-thirds of the foreign tourists were from Mexico, according to reporting by The Republic’s Russ Wiles.

We don’t know how many more Mexicans would have come if we’d been nicer. We do know that neighboring border states – and Nevada – were courting Mexican travelers while we were making rude gestures.

A new study is coming – at last

What’s more, this broad study of tourism did not capture day trippers from Mexico or people who stayed in private homes, so it most likely under-represents the contribution of Mexicans to Arizona’s tourism economy.

We need an update of the 2008 study for that – and at long last, Ducey’s Office of Tourism is getting ready to do it.

Scott Dunn, director of communications at the tourism office, says a request for proposals for a new Mexico visitor study should go out in September.

 “The more data we have, the better we can grow the Mexican market . . . our largest source of international travelers,” says Dunn.

Here’s what the study needs to do

He says it will be a “comprehensive study of the Mexican market,” but adds that it is too early in the process to say exactly what it will cover.

There are a few important things to consider when when designing a new study.

  • A new study of Mexican tourism has to look at day trippers who shop in border cities. The recent, broader tourism study looked only those who stayed overnight.
  • The study should also build on information from a 2015 report for the Maricopa Association of Governments that said expanding the border crossing zone statewide could to increase the overall number of Mexican tourists and “generate up to $181 million in additional estimated spending and 2,179 additional jobs … ” Currently, visa-holders who have passed all legal requirements to travel in the United States still need a secondary permit to travel more than 75 miles into Arizona – effectively limiting their shopping to Tucson.

Give Gov. Ducey some credit

Unlike Brewer, Ducey has worked the Mexican market to Arizona’s advantage.

Under his administration, Arizona opened a trade office in Mexico City, assigned liaisons to encourage trade and worked with Mexican elected officials to build relationships. He even touted Mexico as Arizona’s top trading partner.

That trade relationship accounts for $2.4 billion a month in commodity flows to Mexico through Arizona’s ports of entry, according to July Arizona-Mexico Economic Indicators prepared by Eller. But that’s down from $2.9 billion in March 2017.

We still need a cheerleader

Our economic relationship with Mexico requires attention – just like any other relationship. Arizonans need to understand that.

Yet Arizonans continue to hear more about the problems at the border than about the great economic benefit and opportunity the Mexican border represents.

That needs to change.

The overdue update to a decade-old study of Mexican shoppers is a good sign.

But we also need to hear more from our elected officials about the gold mine on our southern border.

Reach Valdez at linda.valdez@arizonarepublic.com.

Biggest Regrets in Life

As the year 2021 starts to wind down, it becomes time to reassess the year and maybe our lives. So much has happened in the last year and a half with Covid. Much of it bad (social isolation, losing friends and family members), some good (connecting with more and more people by Zoom.) It is time to think: I am getting what I want out of life? Am I happy? What can I do now and in the near future to bring my life more in alignment with what it should be? If nothing else, Covid has been a reminder to each of us that things happen and we might not have as much time on this planet as we thought. cew

Oct 18, 2012, 02:40pm  Forbes Magazine

The 25 Biggest Regrets In Life. What Are Yours?

Eric Jackson

Contributor

I write about technology and media

Fork in Road

We are all busy. Life happens. There’s always something to distract us from getting around to certain things we know we should do.

Soccer practice.  Work. Home renovations. Getting that next big promotion.

And with the explosion of always-on smartphones and tablets delivering a fire hose of urgent emails, not to mention Twitter and Facebook (FB), in recent years, things have only gotten busier.

In the backs of our minds, we know we’re neglecting some stuff we should do. But we never get around to it.

Then, something happens.  A good friend or loved one – maybe close to us in age – drops dead unexpectedly.  We begin to think about what our biggest regrets would be if we were suddenly sitting on our death bed.

Here is a list of the 25 biggest ones we’ll probably have.

The question is, are you going to change anything this afternoon or tomorrow in light of this list?  Or are you going to go back to your busy life?

Death in HR – Conclusion

Death in HR – Conclusion

Brother Huang stood up. “I think Chi Li has had enough for right now. She will go back to meditation. Mr. Sam, if I could speak to you further at my office.” Huang turned away and walked with the girl back into the meditation building.

Sam walked back to the brother’s office and saw the young man again inside.

“He wants me to wait.” The young man nodded and went back to work.

In a few minutes, Brother Huang returned to his office. He sighed and poured himself another cup of tea. He waved the tea pot at Sam who declined.

Huang plopped himself down on his chair.

“Ah, as you can see, Mr. Sam, Chi Li has been very traumatized. It is going to take some time. She will need medical help.”

“Yes, but you have done so much for her here.”

The old man nodded. “Yes, we have, we have. But. . . there is more.” He touched a finger lightly to his forehead. “You understand, that we cannot quite touch.”

Sam nodded.

“You will have the mother contact us, yes? And we will talk.” He handed Sam a business card of his own. Then, reached behind him and pulled out a couple of brochures. “And should you, Mr. Sam, wish to come and study meditation with us some time, you would be welcome.”

“I would be honored, Brother Huang.”

They both got up and bowed to one another. Sam stuck the card and brochures in his satchel and let himself out.

                                                            ###

Brother Huang watched as the big American left, his arms akimbo on his hips. He sighed and turned back to his office.

“Did you tell the American about the fox?” his younger co-worker asked him. “How she came here as an injured fox and then turned back into a woman?” His thin eyebrows were up.

Huang sighed again and shook his head. “No, he would never believe me.  Never.”

                                                                       ###

Back home in Tranquility, California, Sam was in Kristie’s kitchen pouring himself a cup of coffee.

“The whole thing is fantastic, Sam. Unbelievable!”

He nodded to her and sipped from his cup.

“How did you know? How did you ever know to look for her there, in all of the out of way places?”

“It started with the grandmother really and the little Buddha shrine in the apartment. The grandmother told me the whole family was Buddhist and practicing Buddhist, not just lip service. Vivian, or Vi, had completely turned her back on the whole thing. Rejected it completely.”

Kristie sat at the kitchen table and listened, transfixed.

“But then when I went to her apartment, I found the same little shrine, just stuck in a dusty corner. That’s when a little idea came to me.”

“But to walk there, on foot. And, how did she know where to go? She had never even been to the place.”

“Ah, that’s where you’re wrong. She had been there before. When she was a kid and her father was still alive. She used to go with them and the grandmother too. They would go for weekend retreats to do meditation. But, then the father died, the mother didn’t drive much, the grandmother not at all and they forgot about the place.”

“But she didn’t and after all those years. Amazing.”

Sam nodded his head and tamped his mustache down a bit.

“So now what?”

 “Well, the mother is at Green Veil, going to spend a little time getting reacquainted, kind of thing. Then, she will encourage Vi to give up the fancy apartment and get some therapy.”

“Ah, the job at Hi-Tech?”

“Ah, yes. Hi-Tech. Quite a place that. Don’t think Vi will be going back to Hi-Tech.”

“What makes you say that?”

“Let’s say a little fox whispered in my ear.”

“Oh, Sam. I never know when to take you seriously or not.”

He grinned at her.

“Hey, dinner’s on me. I got paid.”

“I’m in. Our favorite place?”

“Our favorite place – steaks, baked potatoes and with any luck, apple pie.”

“Sam, you’re a pig.”

“Yup.”

                                                            ###

That night a big, harvest moon hung in the sky. Moonlight twinkled on the leaves of the plantings around The Green Veil Monastery.

Quietly, a window opened, and a lone figure crawled out and then crouched on the wet grass. The figure, tall but very thin, moved into some bushes and there was a faint rustling sound. Another figure came out of the bushes, but this time it wasn’t human. It was a red fox with a thick, bushy tail. The fox sniffed the air a minute. Then, looking around, almost with stealth, the fox scampered across the grass and ran into some green undergrowth.

The bright moonlight continued to fall on the silent, green landscape.

                                                               ###

Some months later:

In downtown San Francisco the lights shone brightly in the big hotel and loud music could be heard out to the sidewalk. Inside, multi-colored balloons danced at the ceiling and a huge Hi-Tech, Corporation sign hung in silver letters on one wall. Happy Holiday Event! was proudly displayed on the sandwich sign at the front door. The maitre’d checked off names from a guest list. A large crowd, dressed in their finest, were milling about, eating canapes and sipping drinks from an open-bar.

CEO, Dan Cole and Jeremy Bright, Head of HR, stood together at the side of the festivities. They both looked dapper in black tux’s and matching bow ties. Jeremy held a crystal champagne flute and Dan, a cut-glass tumbler of scotch.

“Good turn out,” commented Dan.

“Yep,” replied Jeremy, “good year.”

They both sipped their respective drinks.

“People seem to be having a good time,” Jeremy opined.

“They should, for all the damn money this thing cost,” Dan said grudgingly.

“Too bad Vi couldn’t make it back for the party,” Jeremy looked at Dan. “I hear she has really changed. Gone all Buddhist or some such thing.”

“Pah,” Dan grunted. “Yeah, too bad.” He turned and smiled at Jeremy.

They clinked glasses together.

“Don’t I just know it, don’t I just know,” Jeremy smiled back. They both laughed and turned back to the party.

                                                           The End

Read more of Courtney’s writing in:
https://sites.google.com/view/webbywritercom/page-5?authuser=0

Death in HR – IX

Death in HR – Part IX

(Sam Reynolds, PI, has been hot on the trail of Vi Lee, HR Manager at Hi-Tech Industries. Vi had disappeared suddenly. He has just gotten done interviewing staff at Hi-Tech).

“That would be very helpful, Ms. Wells. Thanks for your time.” Sam got up to leave.

“Oh, and, in the event she is found and comes back. What are the chances of her getting her old job back, or any job with the company for that matter?”

“Not a snowball’s chance in Hell, Mr. Reynolds. Not a snowball’s chance.” Robin smiled thinly and led him to the door.

                                                            ###

Sam had a key to Vi’s apartment the mother had given to him. Later, he drove over there and let himself in.

He spent time wandering around the ultramodern two-bedroom, two bath place. Finally, he sank down in the living room and was just quiet and absorbed the atmosphere. The apartment was high up in the complex and very quiet.

He kept looking around and saw a little glimmer of gold.

Getting up, he went over to a corner desk with an old computer and computer screen.

“Probably the last year’s model,” he laughed grimly. He pushed it aside and looked behind.

There sat a small, fat smiling Buddha decorated with cheap gold paint. Very out of keeping with the rest of the apartment. He fingered the little bowl at the bottom and could see it was an offering bowl like the one at the grandmother’s place. Water had dried on the bottom of the bowl.

Sam was thoughtful.

He pulled out his cell phone and got reception. He called Kristie.

“Hey, how’s my best girl? Of course, I miss you. I would be a complete fool not to… No, fine… You got your computer thing handy? Right. I want you to look something up for me. Monasteries… No, monasteries, Northern California. …No, that’s what I said. …Yeah, call me back, please later. I’ll be in the hotel. ..Love you… Yeah, bye.”

He disconnected the call and stared out into space.

                                                            ###

Later in his hotel room, Kristie called back. He grabbed pen and paper and got busy writing down information.

“Okay, got it sweet. Thanks for this. Should be home by the end of the week.”

“Love you too.”

“No, I think this may be the ticket. Yeah, okay. Bye.”

Sam hung up the phone and looked at his notes. He got up and went over to the satchel he took with him on jobs. He pulled out a large paper map and spread it on the bed.

Looking at the notes, he got out a sharpie and made dots on the map. Three dots. Looking at the map legend on the bottom he put guesstimations of the distance from San Francisco. Finally, studying the map, he eyed one in particular and circled it.

He tapped the dot with his finger several times. “Yup,” he said aloud. “Yup.”

The next day, Sam got up and checked that the recent picture of Vivian Lee was in his satchel. He went downstairs to the lobby and got on the hotel computer. He did a map search first and then printed the map.

He loaded the address into his cell phone and checked out. He might be coming back but he didn’t think so. By 8:30 am he was getting gas in the truck and heading out of the city to the foothills above the Silicon Valley.

An hour later, Sam was driving up the curlicue back road amidst greenery and trees. It was hard to believe he had just been in the big city an hour before. He had to go up and down the road several times before he was able to spot the small sign.

Green Veil Monastery the sign read. He turned in and went up the rutted road. He stopped when he got to some buildings, stopped the truck and stepped out.

He wandered around a bit before a young man, shaved head, wearing a grey tunic came out to greet him. Sam stated his business.

“Follow me,” the young man told Sam in a high-pitched voice.

Sam followed, and they went into one of the smaller buildings. There was a little office there and a sofa for guests. Sam sat. The young man disappeared into the back and he could hear low voices.

In a few minutes the younger man came out, left and a much older man appeared.

“Hello, I am brother Huang. How many I assist you?” The man bowed. He was dressed in the traditional monk’s tunic.

Sam got up and bowed also. He had the photo of Vi Lee ready and handed it over to brother Huang.

“I am Sam Reynolds and I have been hired by the mother of Vivian Lee to find her. I believe she is here.”

Brother Huang took the photo and studied it for a full minute. He handed it back to Sam. “Please come with me.” He turned and walked back into a small office. Sam followed.

The brother sat in a small chair behind a desk and gestured for Sam to sit.

“May I offer you some tea?” he waved to a little glass pot on the side with hot amber liquid inside. A soft flowery scene floated through the room.

Sam nodded yes. The brother got up and poured the liquid into two small ceramic cups without handles. He handed one to Sam.

“The young woman you are talking about, Chi Li, renamed here, came to us a few months ago. She had taken a bad fall, hit her head and was scratched, bruised and dehydrated. We took her in and nursed her back to health.”

Sam nodded and sipped the tea. It had a satisfying, delicate taste. “So, she is back to normal you are saying.”

“Well,” Bother Huang smiled and gave the slightest shrug.  

With that shaved head he reminds me a little of that Buddha statute I keep seeing,

Sam thought.

“Physically, yes she is back to normal. But, there are some other problems.”

“Problems?”

“She still doesn’t seem to really remember who she is or where she is from. That is why we have not sent her back.”

“Can’t remember?”

“She remembers certain things, snatches of memories. But there are . . . gaps.” Brother Huang smiled again.

“Can I see her? Talk to her?”

“Yes, of course. But you have to understand. I can’t have you take her away, we do not really know who you are. Just this little business card. . .” He eyed the card Sam had given him. “It is not really proof, you understand.”

“Certainly, certainly. You have to be careful. I could be anyone.”

The brother nodded beatifically.

“But the mother has been through a lot too. I need to talk to the girl some to be sure this is the daughter. They thought she was dead. Just so to not raise false hopes. You understand.”

“False hopes. Mr. Reynolds, the world is made up of false hopes. But, still, let us go to where they are having morning meditation and you can see for yourself.”

They got up and Sam followed the brother out and across the compound to the largest building. It had a pointed Asian style roof done in curved blue tiles. The corners of the building curved up in little points to the sky. Vivid primary colors painted the outside of the building.

They both took off their shoes and entered. A small group of people were kneeling in front of another brother and doing a repetition sing-song chant. Brother Huang pointed, and Sam saw one figure among the others.

It was a woman he could tell that, but with the shaved head and the loose grey uniform, it was difficult to tell. The chanting stopped. The man in the front looked at Brother Huang who made a small gesture with his hand. The man nodded and went over to the woman and whispered.

She got up and turned around and walked over to him. Sam had a funny Deja-vu feeling. The eyes were the same but, wow, the rest of it.

It was Vivian Lee, he was sure of it. The face was too much the same. But the head was shaved, and she was wearing a bulky grey tunic and loose grey trousers. There were white socks on her feet and she had lost weight.

Bother Huang put a hand on her shoulder and spoke softly “Let us go outside.”

They sat outside on a couple of benches and the brother told her who Sam was and why he was there. She listened with wide eyes.

God, she looks so young. It’s really hard to imagine all those really horrible things people have said about her, Sam was thinking as the brother spoke.

“Chi Li, I think it is?” Sam started. The girl nodded.

“Do you remember anything? Anything at all?”

“I remember bits of things. A big tall building, lots of people. I used to work there I think. A woman, maybe my mother. A lot is fuzzy.”

Sam nodded. He pulled out the photo from his satchel and handed it to her.

“I believe this is you.” He handed it to her.

She took the picture and stared at it several moments. Then, a tear appeared and rolled down her cheek. She wiped it away and nodded.

The brother stood up. “I think Chi Li has had enough for right now. She will go back to meditation. Mr. Sam, if I could speak to you further at my office.” Huang turned away and walked with the girl back into the meditation building.

The conclusion arrives in Part X.

Read more of Courtney’s writing in:
https://sites.google.com/view/webbywritercom/page-5?authuser=0