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Welcome to the Sonoma County Gazette ARCHIVE of PAST EDITIONS. Our NEW WEBSITE is up and running, so GazExtra is serving as your path to archived articles. Thanks for being part of our Sonoma County community...stay in touch...e-mail me - VESTA

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Got Love? The POWER of LOVE!

Below is a collection of essays, poems, fond memories...all the elements of love. I'll be adding material that didn't fit into the print edition and - if you have something you want to add - please send it along to me at We have a lot of LOVE to spread around...'cause it FEELS GOOD! Several of our monthly columnists took the LOVE theme and added their unique perspectives - check it out!

Is it Love?
The Rule of 2 ½ Years

By Vesta Copestakes
If there’s a Universal Question all lovers want to know at the start of a romantic relationship it’s … is this “Real Love”? Bottom line…you don’t know yet. The old phrase, “Only time will tell,” is so very true, and that’s what the Rule of 2 ½ Years is all about….time.

In the Beginning…
Just falling in love puts everyone on their best behavior. You feel so good that bad moods slip away, there’s joy in your heart and sunshine at your back. This is not the “real” you and it’s also not your lover’s true self either. Each of you are in a state of enhanced you – the person you could ideally be if life didn’t have a million responsibilities.

This idealized you is why we love to be in love. It feels good, yes, but it also shows us our very best selves. If we could only stay this way through our everyday lives with all those ups and downs. But we don’t.

Which is one of the reasons why extending this enhanced state as long as possible is a really good thing. Just the joy of anticipation makes you feel excited about life. The flutter of compliments and appreciation boosts your self-esteem. “You’re so beautiful…I love being with you…let’s do (…) together, we both enjoy (…) so much, etc. etc.” Finding common ground is a total delight. We’ve found someone with whom we can share life. Wow!

Don’t get too real too fast. See what you can do to hold on to this feeling. It’s good for both of you. But don’t make any major decisions in this state – like living together – getting married – or getting pregnant. The relationship isn’t “real” yet.

Getting to Know You…
This one actually takes time. Once life starts returning to a state of “normal,” like going to work, paying bills, doing the laundry, returning to spending time with the other people in your lives, etc., you pull away from the enmeshed bond – but with the addition of this wonderful person. It’s almost like the fog clearing, letting in both sunshine and rain. This is when that cute little habit of his/hers can either stay cute or become annoying.

The time frame can be anywhere from two weeks to six months depending upon the kind of person you are. Some people literally fall head over heals, believe this is THE one – soul mate, the whole bit. Others take their time walking slowly into a relationship with great caution. No matter which kind of person you are, it still takes time to really get to know someone.

Why 2 ½ Years?
Because this is how long it takes for life to throw enough ups and downs, conflicts and conflict resolutions, etc. into the relationship so that you learn how you are together when you are at odds, when life throws you to the ground, when you are hurt and angry.

Does your mate support you with kindness or walk away and let you handle things yourself? Does your mate lash out in anger and hurt you with actions and words or do you agree to disagree. I could go on – but you get the idea. Time tells you how the two of you handle conflict and how you come out the other side.

If you come out feeling better than when you went in – your home. If you come out diminished in any way –bow out gently and with respect because you’re not home yet. And that’s the bottom line. Mutual respect lives hand in heart with mutual love. You’ll recognize it by the peace in your heart.

Experienced at This?
You’re mature - have been in love before and fallen to the ground in heartbreak. Do not despair! Love IS around the corner if you are open to the concept.

Whether you are new at love or have been in the soap opera of serial monogamy, there’s one basic rule that happy by yourself FIRST and you will be a better partner. Expecting someone to fill the holes in your heart is asking too much of anyone. You’ll suck the life out of them and won’t recognize the dear person once they are used up.

The phrase I used when I was determined to spend the rest of my life alone so I wouldn’t have to go through THAT again - was - the only reason I will be in a relationship is if it’s an enhancement of my already happy life. Well whataya know - here I am - eight years later with my partner who makes me feel comfortable, loved, accepted for who I am, bumps and all, and puts a laugh in my heart. I’m home.

I wish you all the same delight!

Blood Love

By Nina Tepedino
It was 1982. It was my summer break from graduate school. It was my summer visit with my beautiful boy child. I was the visiting parent and he was seven years old. When it was our time to be together, we would often take a trip in my camper truck and travel off to our favorite nature spots...just the two of us. We were sharing and giving love to each other to make up for the long separations. Our bond would usually come alive quickly.

We would travel, sleep in a tent, cook outside, hike on the beach, meet some of my friends. We would be in this timeless capsule for as long as it lasted.

Spending time with his mother.....his real birth mother, I know put serious demands on his psyche and it wasn’t always easy for him to keep centered and comfortable in his little boy head. Both of us, abandoned from another life together, would let the joy really flow during our short ecstatic reunions.

On one of these occasions, we had hiked all day and stayed up quite late. We were packing up to leave early the next morning. from somewhere in the Sierras. Before I started up the truck, he hopped in, put on his seat belt and despite the early hour, cheerfully braced himself for a new day.

I turned to him and said, “You must be so very tired from the big day we had yesterday.”
He replied, “Oh, no, I feel ok. I am never too tired for loving!”

I was genuinely startled by his poetic expression. We exchanged a radiant look between each other. That happened almost twenty years ago.

Later, in that same year, my son was present at my graduation into the ministry. I was the last graduate to speak my ten minute homily. As I reached the closing, I looked down at my son from the pulpit. I broke away from my prepared text and told the gathered audience in the San Francisco Unitarian sanctuary, the story I have just told you. For a benediction and final blessing, I added, “I hope none of you will ever be too tired for loving.” My young son’s prophetic words were shared for all to carry away in their hearts.

What is Love?

Love is what remains after
It’s been used for the umpteenth time
Like an old rag, rinsed out, squeezed,
And still gets it clean

Love is the hard work
The long haul
Long after the spit and polish
No longer retains it’s shine

Love is present regardless
Of recognition or thank you
Love is a lifetime
No ego, no strings, no conditions

Love is so easy when all is good
When the shit hits the fan
Love is what stays the night
Like a lighthouse guides you to a safe port

Love is only superficially
About physical attraction, about frivolity and joy
>Love is what sticks, it is the glue
That can mend the broken shards of this world!
--- Barry Latham-Ponneck


We Miss You...LOVE

James I. Stevenson known as “The Wind Chime Man” for over 22 years on River Road passed on to the big jam session on Jan 6th in Hospice Care at Friends House in Santa Rosa.

James had many repeat customers and more and more customers would say, “ I came here as a child and now I want you to meet my children.” He always had a big smile for every one and often helped those in need with cash and gas. He kept a 5 gallon can of gas for those out of gas and would only accept refilling the can as payment.

Sometimes he would give credit to someone who was a wee bit short of getting just what they wanted and he was almost always repaid.

He loved waiting on people and setting up his elaborate display. People would tell him, “ I know winter is over when I see your beautiful colorful display.”
James moved to Santa Rosa in 1968 to be with his lady, Suzanne E. Roach, whom he met during Expo 67 in Montreal Canada.

Last summer he was unable to set up and sell as they were repairing the mountain across the street.

James had customers from all walks of life, judges, lawyers, working stiffs, tourists from around the world, and even returning important Bohemians.

Little known by most, James was an important jazz musician in Detroit, Las Vegas and ten years in New York City. He played string bass with many famous musicians and singers including Johnny Mathis, Chick Corea, Zoot Sims, Chico Hamilton, Archie Shepp, Tom Wayburn, and many more. He then learned the piano and had his own group “The Jazz Circle.”

James [Jimmy] Stevenson was recently included in book “The Jazz Loft Project” with a full page photo of him wildly playing the piano at his loft at 821 Sixth Avenue. The Lofts were “a scene” where internationally famous photographer W. Eugene Smith also had a loft and photographed and recorded the musicians that jammed there including Thelonious Monk, Roland Kirk, and Miles Davis.

James is mentioned over 20 times and was the youngest of the jazz players to be there regularly.
James is survived by his children, Beth Stevenson Bucanhan, James Christopher Stevenson, Sherry Roach, Jerry Roach. Zip Stevenson, Scott Stevenson, and Star Stevenson. He also has 11 brother and sisters and their spouses.

Any one wishing to make a memorial donation is requested to make it to or the charity of their choice.

Suzanne Roach

My Home, My Heart,
Are One and the Same.

By Susan Clark
I grew up on a 33 acre property shared with my parents, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, 5 cousins, and one grandma. There were 3 houses, a 100 year-old barn, a large chicken house, and plenty of elbow room in between. The property contained lots of hills and dales, thick forests, open meadows, sacred groves, mysterious ravines, a babbling brook, picturesque orchards, and a natural spring. The place was intersected with well-traveled footpaths, and gravel car and tractor trails. We had 3 kinds of apple trees, 3 kinds of cherry trees, peach tree, walnut tree, plum tree, almond tree, fig tree, and wild grapes. Over the course of the years we had dogs, cats, turtles, fish, pigs, horses, cows, and 10,000 chickens!

Spending ones childhood in such a place was the manifestation of the word ‘idyllic.’ My siblings and cousins and I had not a care in the world. To look back on it has always seemed like a lovely dream out of a fairy tale. Summer days were packed with adventure from dusk to dawn. Racing up and down the dirt roads on bicycles, building forts from apple boxes, swinging across the creek on the rope swing, forging trails through the woods, exploring the spooky attic in the barn, sitting high in a tree eating fruit until you were sick, collecting rocks, collecting eggs, riding horses, exploring the creek bed, climbing the water tower, flying kites, initiating clubs, pushing each other in the feed cart down the corridors of the chicken house, building tree forts, playing baseball, having rotten apple fights, staging contests, (such as: how many seedling cherries can you fit in your mouth at one time, and it didn’t count unless you spit out the seed. I think I still hold the record with 72!) sleeping in the woods and telling scary stories, sleeping in the tree house and telling scary stories, candling eggs, picking flowers, making tunnels and mazes in the tall weeds on our hands and knees, having water fights, climbing up inside the feed silo when it was empty, playing jump rope, hopscotch, and tetherball, wearing out the seat of our pants sliding down and off the edge of the roof of the outbuildings, riding the steer, (yes, we did.) It was never ending fun.

My love affair with this property never stopped, but it did slow down considerably in the 30 years after I grew up and moved away. In the years hence, another home was built here, and five years ago I was afforded the opportunity to occupy that home. I had always felt unduly blessed to have spent my childhood here, never had I imagined I would be so fortunate as to return! That is more than any one person deserves!

My family still owns all of the acreage, and my love has been renewed and enriched. My mother and my aunt are still here, an occasional cousin is here, and my brother is here. My daughter and my two sweet little grandchildren occupy grandma’s house, and now I get to share it all with my husband.

The property has rearranged itself of course. It is neglected and overgrown, but hauntingly beautiful. Thick vines hang from the trees, and there are hardly any open spaces left. It is almost like living in the rainforest! The cement walkways are all that remain of the chicken house, and strolling down them, thick with trees on either side is an otherworldly experience. The old barn still stands, now 130, and no longer safe upstairs. Nature is plentiful in all of its forms, animal, vegetable, and mineral. You could blindfold me and plant me anywhere, and when I opened my eyes, I would know exactly where I was. Rock collecting and tumbling, bird watching, photography, and hikes with the kids are now my pastimes. I can still barely contain my desire to be outside, exploring, always exploring. And now and then, I still find myself up in a tree, looking at my paradise from a new angle, and never forgetting to thank God for my good fortune.

Goat LOVE...Chiva the LOVE Goddess
Chiva was loved by many - a testament to the joys of connection.

It was easy to boast
About Chiva, our Goat
She was often seen
On Hwy 116
We loved her a lot
Her memory on the Hadley Estate will never be forgot
Standing on her surfboard, she never knew
How many smiles she grew
We miss you so much
Along with all the other hearts you touched
Goodbye, our sweet Chiva

READ “For the LOVE of Chocolate” the tale of David Gambill's marriage of two loves - in PEOPLE in the News category.

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