Monday, November 21, 2022




Finished constructing another meal, she hands her husband

a corrugated lunch pail and thermos as he returns dutifully to work.

With a goodbye kiss, the opened door announces today's weather.

Morning chores accomplished; she sits for intermission.


Window-filtered rays of sunrise cast a halo on her worn-out, wiry hair.

She rests her elbow on the sinewy woodgrain of the old cherry table

oozing memories, revealing stains, and underneath, forgotten bubblegum

from three generations of family sprouting into the next.


Auburn highlights whisper of her youth.

The leathered cracks that score her lip-line tell of bittersweet realities,

wind, and the sorrow she’s weathered in the high desert

with mosaic Joshua Trees that seem to wave as tumbleweeds roll by.


Between rising ribbons in a spectral of steam,

she peers over her white, porcelain coffee cup,

angles her head sidelong and shakes a cancer-stick loose.

Then she picks up her silver lighter and spins a flame with the snap of a finger.


Takes one, lengthy drag from her long, slender Pall Mall, sets it in the ashtray

among crinkled, lipstick-stained cigarette butts to be forgotten

She seizes the newspaper to dissect it

and folds the page that remains to her proclivity.


She turns to scan a cluttered counter for a #2 pencil.

Her tool of choice retrieved,

she flicks its eraser beads into the bed of cigarette butts

and checks to ensure the graphite is sharpened to a fine point.


Concentration fierce on her brow until that a-ha moment

is meticulously scribbled onto her crossword puzzle

while her cigarette lingers, smoldering relentlessly

into a train of ashes held together and bent as if sculpted in Play-dough.


Reminders of the war, misplaced possibilities, and unknown consequences

no longer haze her consciousness, not now, anyway.

Peeking over the rim of her glasses, the champion looks up, smiles,

and cheerfully says, “Good morning, Honey Girl.”


Smoke still climbing from the heavy, leaded glass ashtray

the embers advance while the nicotine cloud lingers tenaciously.

Eventually, the fire gives up and succumbs, as did she. 

Her blaze of aspirations, not designed to be wasted as they were.




#poetry #grandmother #Granny #FamilyLove #BettyLeach

Friday, October 26, 2018


The mirthful, carefree child and slender young girl
I once was,
still is

She lives within me now,
beneath the layers of flesh and bone and life.
The child no longer frolics,
still dreams

Years of sorrowful wisdom entrenched the heart 
with each emerging love and devastating loss,
optimistically embraced in naiveté,
jumped in nonetheless
still loves                                                                                                                                                                               
The child that took carefully collected flowers
then proudly offered up, desperate for Mommy's approval
told to, "Get those weeds out of the house!"
is overjoyed with wildflowers offered by her own children
still appreciates 

The daughter abandoned and rejected by her fathers-four,
at ages 1, 11, 15, and  29, broken
Is there something wrong with me or all of those he’s?
Still crushed 
The sister who at 11, was forced apart
from her two-year-old brother and six-year-old sister
mourns the moments we'll never capture,
reflects on an almost empty time capsule
still aches
The granddaughter who brought joy to her grandparents,
got more than she gave in their ways of family gatherings,
gumption, sapience, astuteness, traditions, and their love
still wishes    
she’d listened more, stayed longer, arrived earlier

The outgoing, talkative friend, always up for fun and adventure,
listens, celebrates your triumphs, a non-judgmental shoulder 
with empathy to spare, will laugh, cry, and sing with you, any time
still loyal     
The untrained mother who loves her sons with a depth and breadth
of immensity beyond anything she could imagine,                  
worries what, if any phobias she imparted,
or if she made them ready enough for the world
wonders if they'll ever realize that their lives saved hers                  
still tries

The woman who couldn’t trust or dare not believe in a man’s love,
fell in love with a patient one
Her demons of abandonment heaped upon his shoulders 
still fears

Even though she knows she is loved in a marriage
endured over 25 years of joy and frustration, of promises made,
betrayed, the downs, and ups of grinding struggles, passionately bound 
still his

The writer who fails to effectively articulate overwhelming feelings
that cascade upon her
begin to engulf her, threaten to drown her soul
Her carefree spirit
still rises

The mirthful, carefree child and slender young girl I once was
still is
She lives within me now,
beneath the layers of flesh and bone and life

~Deb Galarza

This draft 2018/10/25

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Great Uncle Bet's Grand Tour

My grandfather's younger brother, my Great Uncle Bet, remarried late in life. He and his new wife, Marianne, who were both in their seventies, stopped by my house one day as they passed through town. I often overheard the grownups in my family complain, his first wife was a nightmare and made his life Hell, but that's all I remember about her. I do remember on our visits to my grandpa’s family farm in, Pontiac, Illinois, Uncle Bet always looking sort of sad most of the time, but not on this day, on this day, Uncle Bet was beaming.

Uncle Bet's real name was, Marion, but I only ever heard him called, "Bet." I don't know where or why the nickname came about. I suppose I should ask one of my aunts before that information dies off, like the answers to so many other unasked questions.

Uncle Bet had a brand new, top-of the-line, grand tour bike that he and Marianne were riding across the county. They stopped by my house for a few hours on their way through California. In hindsight, I wish I had offered to let them stay the night, but it honestly didn't cross my mind, until now.

Sitting in my living room, Uncle Bet regaled me, a now ex-boyfriend, and my mom’s sister, with some of the highlights of their adventure so far. He was a sweet man, kind, and thoughtful.  I sat, and thought, how cool is that, for my Great Uncle to be on such an epic adventure, at his age? I was both impressed and surprised. 

Suddenly, Marianne was out, cold. She slumped, collapsed on the arm of a big, overstuffed chair. Uncle Bet, seeing the alarm on my face said, "Don't worry, Marianne has narcolepsy."

"What? What is narcolepsy?"

Uncle Bet proceeded to tell us of this neurological disorder that causes excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS). It’s characterized by persistent sleepiness, regardless of the amount of sleep one gets at night.   He told us to think of it as a, “sleep attack”, where an overwhelming sense of sleepiness comes on quickly without warning. 

Immediately, what was already a fascinating scene for me, was amped, exponentially.

“How are you two traveling across the country on a motorcycle?” My thoughts being of a floppy body, throwing off your balance if that body isn’t leaning into the curves with you.

“I keep Marianne belted to me, arms, legs, and torso. She’s light enough, and the bike 
heavy enough, I don’t have any problems controlling my bike, no matter where we are. I can feel her go limp so, I know when and how to compensate.”

Marianne perked up abruptly, like a robot with a switch turn on, as if nothing strange had happened.

Uncle Bet continued, “I’ve dreamed of doing this road trip my entire life. Marianne was willing to take the risks and come along for the ride, so here we are!” A huge smile spread across his kind face, they squeezed hands, his eyes twinkled.

I was mesmerized. Here was this man, whom I’d always admired, on what I considered, a brave and epic journey. I hoped I could always be so fearless.

That was the last time I saw or heard from Uncle Bet. I wish I could tell him what an impression he made on my life.


Janis: Little Girl Blue
Biographical Documentary 

I just finished watching a biographical documentary about Janis Joplin, who, to me, has always been somewhat esoteric. 
She died before I was 8 years old, long before rebellion and rock-n-roll entered my vocabulary. She was largely overlooked by my generation and misunderstood by others but MAN, what a powerhouse! 
Janis Joplin delivered her soul on stage in fierce, raw intensity. Caution, if you have a heart and feel things.

Produced by Alex Gibney, Amy J. Berg, Jeffrey Jampol, Katherine LeBlon
Executive producers, Michael Kantor, Susan Lacy, Noah C. Haeussner, Stacey Offman, Michael Raimondi. 
Co-producers, Jayne Goldsmith, Jonathan McHugh, Regina Scully, Diana Lady Dougan.
In conjunction with:  PBS, Content Media Corporation, Disarming Films, Jigsaw Productions., Thirteen Productions, American Masters production in association w/Sony Music Entertainment and Union Entertainment Group

Thursday, March 8, 2018

                                   More Thomas Fire Fallout

What rights do tenants have who are being asked to leave an undamaged rental property after the Thomas Fire in California, presumably so the landlord can re-rent to charge more? What is to stop a landlord from evicting current renters so they can turn around and move in a FEMA voucher holder or anyone else at a substantially higher monthly rental rate? 

There should be at least a 6 month to 1 year moratorium on evictions and rent increases without cause following a natural disaster that leads to a housing shortage.

Rent has increased by $500 to $1500 in Ventura County since the Thomas Fire.
20 months ago a single family home could be rented from $1500 to $1700 on the low end, $1800 - $2100 median, and $2200 - $2800 on the high end for a 3 bedroom/2 bath house.

Those same properties are now renting from $2000 - $2400 on the low end, $2500-$2750 median and $2800 - $3500 on the high end! 

Is it just me or have FEMA vouchers created a feeding frenzy for greedy property owners looking for a government guarantee that isn't HUD? There is no question that property owners are taking advantage of the fact that 700 plus families in Ventura County are homeless.

The thing is, FEMA aid and insurance are available for people who lost their homes in the fire. What about those of us who didn't lose their homes to fire damage but are being evicted so landlords can rent properties at higher rates or to personal friends and family whose homes were lost? Who protects us? We're screwed without any help or insurance because we can't prove that is what landlords are doing and landlords aren't required to state reasons for evicting people.

 After living here for 24 months, with a $2000 monthly rent, we were given notice on January 31, 2018 that we need to be out in 60 days, by March 31, 2018. No explanation, nothing. When I asked, "Why?" the landlord said he's selling the property. There is no record of a sale. We doubt he even wants to sell given the fact he started a business on the (ranch) property just last year and invested quite a bit into seven greenhouses. 

We think he wants us out to repair damage on the house that we were not responsible for on the roof and the foundation due to a long standing plumbing problem, a broken pipe under the house that went undetected although we complained about water pressure and lack of hot water for months. Instead of sending a qualified plumber, he sent incompetent, cheap labor, a handyman who missed the problem altogether.  Of course, the landlord wouldn't want to tell us that. It’s also possible that he wants us out so he can move someone else in at higher rates.

We live in a small town where my husband was raised and where we have been raising our two kids, now attending local colleges. I came here in 8th grade and set down roots. We don’t want to move to a different city. We love it here. We've always been here. It's our town.

Every single day since we were notified that we have to move, we check every possible source for available 3 bedroom rentals in town for the 4 of us and our dog and there are none! When a rental does come up, it is either snatched up right away, doesn't allow pets, or is too small without a fenced yard for the dog. 

Not only that but some property managers take applications for more than a month even if the property is already available. There is an application fee of $35 -$45 per tenant, 18 years or older. Every one of us has to submit one for each property. That amounts to $140 to $180 a pop every time we apply for a rental! We can't come up with a first plus deposit for $5,000 to $6,000 and pay those application fees to property managers every time. If we apply for two properties it will cost us approximately $300 to $400. That's a huge chunk out of our budget with no guarantee of acceptance. Who keeps property managers honest? Seriously, how long does it take to make up their minds? How many applications does it take? It doesn't cost that much to run someone's credit. On top of that, every property we apply for results in a credit check which slowly chips away at our credit ratings. We can't win.

We just qualified for a $500,000 VA loan but the houses that were $450,000 just 6 months ago are now listing at $530,000+ and we don't have enough time to wait for escrow  to close even if we are lucky enough to find a house we like that we can  actually afford.

The stress and emotional strain do not compare to that of people who lost everything in the fire but we have to deal with the fallout and it’s nerve wracking! We have less than 20 days to be out and still no place to live!

What laws protect us? If there aren't any laws protecting us, how can we be treated fairly?

~Renter's Rant, Deb

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Election Day 2016

To state the obvious, Tuesday's election is pivotal. We are all responsible for voting our conscious and I'm of the frame of mind, you have no grounds to complain if you don't exercise your right to vote.

~ * ~

I do not agree with everyone's opinions but I respect the people I know and the fact you have your own values and reasons for making the choices you make based on your beliefs and life experience even though I do not now, nor will I ever respect Donald Trump. I'm perplexed and stunned that anyone could think he is Presidential material.

_____ ~ * ~ _____

I'm not a party hardliner neither Republican nor Democrat, I am an independent voter. I vote for the people who support the issues that I consider most important and who I believe to be the best person reasonably qualified and in this case realistically within reach of the job.

_____________ ~ * ~ ____________

I am passionate about everyone’s right to clean air, clean water, and a decent education and I happen to believe the science behind climate change and mankind’s contribution to it and the demise of polar ice caps. I tend to side with the Pentagon about climate change being a concern to national security. I firmly believe it is unjust for anyone to profit at the expense of someone else’s health and well being even though we all contribute to this spinning wheel inadvertently.

~ * ~

Aside from profiting through his own agenda, I don’t think Trump gives a rat’s ass about any of it and I believe his Presidency would be a major setback in the progress we have made thus far to combat these issues. All of the money in the world cannot fix the damage that our continued rape and misuse of global resources will cause. None of the other issues will matter if we pollute ourselves to early extinction.

~ * ~

I don't want Trump to win, not only because of these issues but also because I believe he is disingenuous at the core and any man that says it’s okay to grab a woman’s, “Pu$$y” because, “When you’re a celebrity, you can . . .” and then laughs it off claiming it’s every man’s locker room talk has no business representing any country! The men in my family, including my sons are decent human beings and would never, under any circumstances do such a disgusting thing. I like to think that any civilized man who has ever loved or respected a woman would not think Trump with his self proclaimed entitlement to grope women and break laws should be President of the United States.

_______ ~ * ~ ______


~ * ~

I'm not convinced that Facebook is the place for politics but decided to get involved because I thought it too important to idly stand by and watch people *mindlessly derail one candidate with propaganda and praise a disingenuous, misogynistic, foul mouthed billionaire who, on National television during a Presidential Debate, bragged about, then later denied he said he is smarter than the rest of us because HE learned how to manipulate the system through a loophole by filing bankruptcy. Basically he left honest taxpayers who would go to prison over such a thing, holding the bill. He may say what some people want to hear but I don't believe he cares about the middle class. I think he wants to employ people he owes and his pals and I think he wants to save on taxes for himself and his rich buddies.

_______________ ~ * ~ _________________

I say *'mindlessly' based on the parade of things people posted without bothering to read the stories behind the headlines or checking the facts or sources behind their claims and leaving comments on headlines without reading the stories thus basically not knowing what in the heck they or the rest of us were talking about.

_______________ ~ * ~ ___________________

I apologize for the length of this rant but it was written on the fly. Had I taken time to edit, it would not have been posted before Tuesday.
~Deb                                                                                                                                                         Please watch, Before the Flood, before you vote for the idiot who thinks climate change is a Chinese hoax.