Maria V. Eyles welcomes you to
Eclectic Waves out of the Blue

Pismo Beach, California

Pismo Beach, California
Pismo Beach by jowatts on

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

No Fun Sunday

Copyright Maria V. Eyles 2014                               July 01, 2014         

No Fun Sunday

Maria Vidale-Eyles

The Pismo Beach Car Show is dismantling its tents and concessions at 6:30 Sunday evening. The bulging attraction, held yearly near Father’s Day, makes Coney Island in July seem bare and spacious. But the Pismo tourists and fair-goers, just two hours ago shoulder-to-shoulder, now trickle out singly, squalling children in tow.

Back near the Addie street lot, Raphael and I are the sole bodies to show up for my SOS Beach Clean-Up. Not a surprise, I sigh lightly. Like a friend quipped over his Starbucks latte, “Who would want to go do that, when they could stay here with friends, or go home and watch The Amazing Race, or otherwise have fun?”

Raffy and I descend the stairs behind the old Pierside, a 5-6 block walk on the boardwalk from where we parked. Sinking into the sand up to our ankles, our steps spew chutes of sand up our legs as we walk. The sand’s too talc-like to leave footprints: no proof of our presence here. No one caring about it either.

But we do. Some oddball things are fun for us OCD people, like cleaning up messes even if they get your back sore and your ire up.

If nothing else, the theater for this event is unsurpassed in beauty, yea even by whatever they want to show you digitally on an Amazing Race rerun. Here is living joy in color, light, sound, feel and smell...the lowering sun, highlighting the magical contours of beach and ocean, as if with a Waterman fountain pen. The cobalt breakers foaming rapturously ashore. The sea breeze cooling the skin and playing with one’s hair. The briny, vaguely shell-fishy scent. The mosaics of seaweed clumps resembling vegetables—carrots, onions, and kale. As your foot steps on the sea carrots, they explode with a satisfying pop. And, as a bonus, most of the tourists have left the beach.   

Of course, there is the diabolical side of the heavenly theater: the inevitable debris from “having fun” the American way: “Drop it on the ground and let someone else clean it up! After all, they pay someone to do that, don’t they?”

No, my friends. Ocean and beach clean-up depends not only on volunteers, or members of great organizations like Surfrider Foundation and Greenpeace, but upon every single living person who is not seriously disabled. As someone wisely said, no matter where you are on earth, you are still near an estuary to the ocean, where all the trash ends up.

Looking around, I’m feeling like the movie theater cleaning “crew” going down the rows after the main feature has ended. Plastic trash bags, doggy bags, and protective gloves flap out of my every pocket (though I am lacking a broom and dust pan). My hands fumble with dog leash, dog and trash picker. Like the movie usher, I even carry a flashlight in my pocket for when the light fades and everyone else has gone home.

As the breeze buffets my trash bag, I fill up most of it before I reach the strand: plastic bottles, bottle caps, plastic cups, plastic bags, spoons, and forks; Styrofoam plates and cups pecked into art by the seagulls, so all the tiny pieces, too; toys, pails, shovels, and sharp plastic shards of same; baby diapers (yeeew!); beer bottles, soda cans and straws; kites, netting, string, balloons, chapsticks, wipes, shoes, socks. Add a zillion cigarette butts which I have no time to remove while I’m alone.

By the time I reach the waterline, the tide is rambling in. I take out a second bag and decide to concentrate right there on the waterline. I’m dismayed at how many plastic bottles are already floating out to sea; how many plastic bags are already half buried under wet sand; how many plastic straws and bottle caps are already intertwined in the wet sea plants as if a part of nature now.

It’s getting later and I have to concentrate, so I let Raphael off the leash. He’s been on his best behavior, demonstrating his training by helping me or staying out of the way. Ecstatic to run free, he chases the gulls making his kangaroo-like hops. He checks into rest stops formed by abandoned sand castles where he seems to daydream. Yet he prances gracefully out of the way of the incoming waves hurtling toward us, ready to drench everything in their path.

Yes, who would want to come out and do this on a Sunday evening? Some kind of no-fun nutcase, I guess. What compels me to come out here? It is not anger; I could never do this in an angry spirit. It is the thought of those one million sea animals who die annually from ingesting plastic, of which our oceans are inundated. It’s the thought of a bottle cap going down the throat of an adorable baby seal, or seagull, or otter, or even some ugly fish, and strangling him. This thought keeps me awake at night. This thought also makes my job more painstaking because I try to pick up every tiny straw and bottle cap, even those half buried or hidden in the seaweed.

As I do this—concentrate on removing as much plastic as I can—my mind slowly stops grinding with worry over my own life and problems. I stop mentally berating the Pismo beachgoers for being slobs with no conscience. All annoyance ceases, and suddenly I gain a focus of attention, a spiritual awareness. With just myself, my dog, my picker, and this plastic, a new resonance invades me and I feel connected to all beings and all things.

And with that connection comes a flowering sense of gratitude. I fantasize that maybe, just maybe, I might be helping the beautiful ocean and the mysterious life it enfolds. Like me, it may live one more day. The feeling of serving and caring—whether it is true or not— sometimes allows this force field of peace to descend on me, that rare, loving peace that is not of this world.

Wet, dirty, sore, and alone but for Raphael, I slog back up the sand—much slower this time— dragging a heavy trash bag, two pails and the dog leash. The fog is rolling in with the twilight and the Technicolor beauty of a half hour ago has turned to black and white.

Unloading the trash, and re-leashing Raphael, I turn back and look at the Pacific Ocean. Its vehement beauty is undimmed by nightfall; I am overwhelmed by the gift of it.

Again, there are no footprints showing we had been on the beach, but a smile deep in my heart tells me there would have been three sets of footprints, not two.

And now: How glad I am to report to you that I had no fun on Sunday night.

The End

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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Embalmed in Plastic: You, Me and the Synthetic Sea

Embalmed in Plastic Pollution: You, Me and the Synthetic Sea

Maria V. Eyles

A seagull cocks his head toward a treasure glinting in the sand. His dive off the pier railing, though noiseless, alerts dozens of other gulls to materialize. They chase after him, circling, remonstrating with angry caws. Swarmed to the sand, the seagull rallies: he shoots straight up through the frenzied cyclone with the precious morsel gleaming from his beak. Darting under the pier and weaving through the columns,  he tries to elude his flying posse
The chase turns uglier. From my sandy perch, I begin to fear for this seagull’s life as his fellow gulls attack him, honing in scattershot, pecking furiously. What could be so delicious, so worth his life? A strip of surfperch? A crab leg? An open clam, French fries, a carcass of some kind?

Abruptly, he sheers off the pier again and soars above me. The fought-over food fragment still dangles from his beak and I gasp.

The food frenzy is not about food. It’s about a plastic zip-lock sandwich bag half-filled with dirt.

Bask in the Trash


Pre-sunset and twilight are the times my dog Raphael and I prefer to walk Pismo’s shoreline. Cool sea breezes and room to walk are the advantages of strolling well after the crowds have left the beach. One Sunday June evening after a huge weekend fiesta, I saw the revelers had left the beach alright—they had left it a plastic and trash waste dump.                     
Pismo Beach near sunset April 2013
Plastic  litter to the waterline; seagulls raiding
the styrofoam from trash cans
Photo by Maria V. Eyles

            Bad enough that the trash left a sordid blight on Pismo Beach, this despite the many aware beach-goers who are normally protective of our stunning environment.

Worse was the pain of seeing all the plastic and Styrofoam litter next to the waterline where the night’s high tide would suck it into the ocean. The thought of scenarios like the seagull’s above—of birds eating Styrofoam cups and plastic bags; of fish, seals and otters swallowing bottle caps or getting entangled in plastic netting, and dying miserably—all this impelled me to attempt to clean as many non-biodegradable products  as I could beyond sunset.

For this reason—the night’s tides washing over the shore and the plastic waste —I knew I could not wait until the beach clean-up crews arrived in the morning. My concern was (and is) the ocean. So that first evening I picked up some abandoned pails and started filling them with plastic debris along an 800 yard area of the shoreline. The filled sand pails were very heavy, and I had to drag them. It got dark, so I came back the next evening with a large garbage bag and a flashlight.

Raphael guards the last of many hauls that
second evening. Pails could not fit in bins.

Plastic removal from the strand is now my mini-mission in the name of protecting our beautiful ocean from more damage. For hundreds of years, as Jacques Cousteau lamented, the sea has been “the universal sewer.” In addition, for five or six decades now, due to (all of) our nonchalant trashing of beaches and coastlines, the seas have been reduced to lethal plastic gumbo.

And so I collect. Even Raphael senses my seriousness: either he runs ahead and shows me “plastic!” as I call out to him, or he digs a cool burrow in the sand and relaxes patiently while his mum does all the heavy lifting.

And heavy lifting it is. May through September, each evening along a few hundred yards, I can fill three or more tall kitchen bags so heavy they take a long time for me to drag up to the trash cans one by one. I long for help because I’d rather be recycling the plastics than stuffing them in our landfill, another nightmare-in-progress for future generations.

A quick list of plastic products I scavenge will give you an idea of what we are up against along a very short strip of Pismo Beach: plastic bottles, bottle caps, cups, lids, spoons, knives, forks, baby bottles, sippy cups, pails, shovels, molds (for making figures and castles), toys of all kinds, kites, netting, shoes, baby diapers, chairs, squeezy juice containers, candy and cigarette box wrappers, balloons, boogie boards, thongs, kiddy jewelry, flashlights, lighters, infinite plastic and Styrofoam containers, bags of all sizes (This is how I knew the gull’s sandwich bag was full of dirt or worse, because I pick up so many identical ones), and, finally, assorted unmentionable products for adults, some used.

Due to the latter and to dirty baby diapers, I now wear protective gloves as I clean up to prevent my coming down with those strange viruses and rashes.

Unplanned Plastichood: Forever times Eternity

Plastic in paradise is a lethal hazard not because the beach won’t look pretty for the next cavalcade of Pismo tourists. I (and several like me) do not clean up the beach: we pre-clean the ocean, with the prayer that it doesn’t suffocate and die in plastic stew.

The concern for all living creatures, including humans, is dire. Statistics vary but they get worse each time you look at them. Concerned scientists apparently agree that worldwide in one year, industrialized nations produce enough plastic to make one to three freights train to encircle the globe. The shocking photographs of the North Pacific Gyre, a plastic island nearly as large as the Continental US, are heart-breaking. That island was “built” from plastic trash that most often “accidentally” finds its way out to sea.

 For a local example, just last night I had to chase a Styrofoam cup as it was being sucked out by the tide. It took me ten minutes, and though it was well worth it, it would have taken the cup’s user less than a minute to properly dispose of it.

Nearly all of this plastic is non-biodegradable. Plastic and Styrofoam take longer than forever to break down. In other words, they don’t. Ever.

Man-made Manna Equals Death

Unfortunately for our oceans (and rivers and lakes), plastics are photodegradable but only to a degree. These plastics actually never degrade completely: they become microscopic plastic dust particles invisible to the naked eye. Two tragic facts about the plastic dust: As a plastic bottle, for example, photo degrades, it not only emits toxins but also attracts other toxins. Worse, the toxic plastic dust is often mistaken for plankton—and actually outnumbers plankton in several areas of the Pacific. So not only are our oceans and waterways being poisoned, so is all marine life, whose food chain begins with plankton.

Tragically, the marine food chain is ours too. The human food chain starts with plankton and grass.  All life on earth is seriously threatened by the plastic pile-up.

Even if the plastic microdust were not enough to stamp out life, marine animals are being mercilessly slaughtered by the presence of visible plastic. Referring to the North Pacific Gyre, or Plastic Continent, Matt Ransford, a writer for Popular Science, states in his article “Why Trashing the Oceans is More Dangerous than We Imagined”: 
Turtles mistake bags for jelly fish and birds mistake floating chips for prey. Animals have been discovered starved to death because the entire contents of their stomachs were plastic fragments.  

Fish Caught in N. Pacific Gyre; stomach contents plastic
Photo courtesy of Marcus Eriksen

Those of us who would never dream of harming a dog, cat or horse are unknowingly condemning perhaps dozens of marine animals to a cruel death by tossing away one plastic bottle and bottle cap. Animal lovers must be in the forefront in the fight for all of our survival.

One times 4 billion: worldwide plastic blight

Moreover, just the shards of one plastic sand pail—made from “PETE,” #1 of 7 grades of plastic, will live forever. Not only can these shards kill countless animals, they also leach antimony trioxide into the liquids, skin, and lungs in contact with it. Forever!

The number of these dagger-like shards I pick up in the summer on Pismo Beach is staggering, not to mention the plastic netting the pail set came in, netting which invariably gets shoved into the sand and abandoned there. When I see this, I have to wonder, who would want their toddler playing with anything so dangerous, a toy that not only leaches dangerous chemicals but also shatters with ease into little plastic switchblades and needles? And imagine what these shiny fragments would do to an adorable seal or sea otter’s belly.

Indeed, it takes seeing this pernicious plastic and consciously thinking about its deadly nature to combat the problem of our programmed bad habits.

Hawaii Beach 1, Plastic Pile-Up,
 photo courtesy of Anna Cummins and

Thus, one moment of thinking, “I’ll just leave this bottle (toy, candy wrapper, cup) in the sand this one time,” times one billion similar thinkers on the shores of China, Australia, the US, Canada,  or Central and South America equals one billion more plastic fragments. And if all billion thinkers think this way 4 times a year, you have 4 billion more bottles/fragments per year choking the life out of the oceans.

And when a dolphin mistakes that plastic for food then washes up on your shore; or when a lab technician puts your fish dinner under a microscope, you will know that the problem is neither remote nor invisible. It starts—and it can end—with people like you and me.

Planetary Survival Means Serious Self- and Other Education and Activism

I plead with you to familiarize yourself with the plastic waste tragedy. We've buried our heads in the sand so long that the sands of the Pacific coasts contain alarming amounts of polystyrene flakes and other plastic fragments.

Hawaii Beach 3, Plastic Chip Sand (Photo Courtesy of Anna Cummins,

The plastic problem affects all our waterways, including lakes and rivers, not to mention the landfills. The oceans, however, are extremely threatened. According to National Geographic, scientists recognize that our oceans produce at least 50% of the earth’s oxygen supply. When they die, we die. Yet we can pull back from the brink of self-destruction.

One way is to form or join local volunteer and/or community action groups if you are able. You and your family and friends are the best places to start. Local chapters of can help you find ways to act and educate on ocean preservation. Those who live inland can combat bad landfill practices as well as work to preserve our fresh water supplies.

Moreover, as stewards of our planet, we must all learn to take personal responsibility for the items we take onto a beach or into nature all the time. We should be sure to pack plastics and other trash out as carefully as we brought them in. Three nights ago, I saw a family pack up all their plastic toys and bottles—then, as an afterthought, their mom tossed the netting and a broken shovel into the sand and left. This is what she taught her children by modeling this behavior.

Author's Photo of Plastic litter woven into the seaweed reflux after
a February storm, months after crowds had left the beach.
The plastic returned with the high waves.

Let us instead teach others about the beauty of the sea and its wildlife, and its vital importance to personal and planetary life. Let us encourage our children to pack out their toys. That way when today’s toddlers bring their kids or grandchildren to Pismo Beach or any other beach, those yet unborn children actually might be able to swim, play and surf in living waters—instead of in a tragic replica of a giant bounce-house filled with toxic plastic debris and dust.

The dangers plastics pose to consumers are rampant. In self-defense, it is a good idea to educate oneself on the types. Baby bottles, for examples, are sometimes made from very noxious plastics that disrupt hormones and can cause brain wave or developmental problems. Manufacturers may not care about your baby, but they will listen seriously to the pitter-patter of informed adult feet running away from their products. An excellent list of common plastic types and their harmful possibilities is contained in the article “Be Plastic Aware—Dangers” by the LFT Group (see References below).

I beg the people of San Luis Obispo County and the City of Pismo Beach to become a part of the solution to toxic plastic waste that is killing our ocean.

Please consider volunteering to help with beach and ocean clean-ups, for a few random people cannot do this alone. There is too much trash, and some late afternoons we plastic grabbers must be elsewhere. Dedicated evening ocean clean-up should never stop because of that.

I make the following recommendations to the City of Pismo Beach:

The city has signs regarding doggy doo clean up and heavy fines for violators.Yet, unbagged doggy doo constitutes less than 4% of my pickings. Those signs must be working! So, now. Where are the signs for plastic bottles, Styrofoam cups, seventeen layers of plastics type baby diapers, and blankets’ full of meal containers and papers?  Signs don’t need to start off sounding threatening. But if they can direct attention to the plastic problem, that would truly help. In fairness, most people need to become aware of a problem before they become motivated to fix it.

Encourage ocean preservationist organizations to have talks and displays along the boardwalk.

Add more and larger trash bins, maybe in seaside pastels, that are more easily accessible to all beach-goers, including those closer to the water.

Consider adding a few more recycle bins on the beach itself.

Secure existing trash bins so that the shorebirds cannot shred and scatter the Styrofoam food containers inside them.  Conscientious people usually toss their containers into the trash cans. But what good does that do when the birds ravage them? These Styrofoam confetti bits scatter all over the beach and the strand, and are hard to see and sift out. If no one picks them up again, they will remain there in one form or another—yes—forever.

To go a bit further, might the city think about eliminating Styrofoam in restaurants or as packaging containers? Styrofoam contains one of the worst toxins, styrene, which is linked to cancers and a host of other medical problems. It’s a hard one, but it’s doable—after all, the county has successfully eliminated plastic shopping bags in stores. Many California cities and several counties have already eliminated Styrofoam packaging, including Laguna Beach and Santa Cruz. 

“People protect what they love,” said Cousteau. Do you love the beach? The ocean? Kayaking? Marine animals? Fishing?  Making bonfires? Surfing? The sound of the waves? Show your love! Come out and pick up some bottles. Join a beach clean-up group. Pester your city councils. Above all, self-educate and spread the word.

Awareness of plastic dangers could be as critical as your next breath. It definitely was for that poor seagull’s.

“It is a curious situation that the sea, from which life first arose, should now be threatened by the activities of one form of that life. But the sea, though changed in a sinister way, will continue to exist: the threat is rather to life itself.” –Rachel Carson

Coursey, Blair. “Plastic Waste—More Dangerous than Global Warming,” Ethical Corporation’s Magazine and Business Intelligence Resources.  
 LFT Group. “Be Plastic Aware—Dangers.”
Learn, Scott. “Seaside Activist Tracks Waves of ‘Microplastic’ Washed onto Oregon Beaches,” The Oregonian.
Ransford, Matt. “Why Trashing the Oceans is More Dangerous than We Imagined,” Popular Science.
Roach, John. “Source of Half Earth’s Oxygen Gets Little Credit,” National Geographic News.

PS TO MY READERS: The Comment function does not seem to work, so please feel free to contact me at my email,
All civilized comments will be answered. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

This Forever Christmas (21 Dec 2012: Not the End of the World)

This Forever Christmas 

Maria V. Eyles

An occupied country. A poor family, homeless, on a forced march. Oppressively high taxes—for the poor and laborers. Religious hypocrites and bullies. Cruel treatment of the weak; double standards prevailing. A government riddled with corruption and power abuse. Indifferent rich people, into their own pleasures and exemptions from the law. Rejection by the townspeople.

The night bitter cold. Comfort coming only from the presence and warmth of animals. Love coming only from sheep/goat herders, and from foreign astrologers of different cultures and skin colors.

A foreshadowing: The violent Slaughter of Innocents, of little children brutally killed for no apparent reason. Flight into the starlit desert, running for their dear, fragile lives. The people divided into bitterly opposing factions, all accusing the others of evil, of being unfit to live or to receive God’s grace.  Hatred darkens the world.

And then—An infant, “God Is With Us,” glowing in a feeding trough, tended by angels and saints:  Hope Eternal, Alight and Alive!


Blessings and Love, Forever. And Ever. Maria, JP, and Raphael
(21 Dec 2012: Not the End of the World)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

1-800-PetMeds Next Pet TV Star Contest

1-800-PetMeds Next Pet TV Star Contest

See Raphael in this contest! Voting Starts November 29th--Tell your friends!

                                                 Raphael, aka Snow-crab Legs

OR, enter your own adorable pet.   Also, If your have a better caption, let me know,  Maria 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Delivering My Change.Org Petition to Wells Fargo

Delivering My Change.Org Petition to Wells Fargo

Wednesday May 9th.  11:00 a.m. Arrived in San Luis Obispo with my friend Melanie, a veteran, and my service dog Raphael accompanying me. Parked in the lot of Wells Fargo Bank and Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, 665 Broad Street, San Luis Obispo, California 93401. Occupy SLO was conspicuously absent; perhaps they no longer exist. Down the street, two men were setting up a KSBY-TV camera. We approached these cameramen who then asked me for a short interview. I was more than happy to comply. 


Again they filmed the large, bound petition book I was carrying, and asked many questions about Change.Org. I told them how supportive Change.Org’s staff had been to me, but I re-emphasized that these opinions of Wells Fargo were my own, not those of Change.Org. I explained that Change.Org only provides a platform and voice for me and the thousands of others who signed up with them. Then KSBY-TV supposedly filmed us walking into the front doors of the bank, but instead filmed another woman walking into the side door. This weakened the spot on the local 6:00 news. Still, I was grateful for the coverage.


11:35 a.m. Melanie, Raphael and I entered Wells Fargo Bank. As we looked around for the staircase to the Home Mortgage Division on the second floor, a man in a suit politely approached us and asked if he could help us. I saw right away he was waiting for us. He introduced himself as Mark Corella, the district manager for the Central Coast Market. 


Ah, see there! I hadn’t known the Central Coast was a “market” for Wells Fargo. Silly me; I’d thought this was a geographic area.


Mr. Corella told me that he and the branch president, Mike Henson, had been waiting for us. Mr. Henson arrived and shook my hand. Both men escorted me and my companions upstairs where we were invited into a conference room to sit down and talk. On my way up the sweeping staircase, I observed that the building’s interior was round with a domed roof, along the Byzantine architectural style of cathedrals, temples, and mosques. A fitting sanctuary, I mused, for the altar of the almighty dollar.


Melanie noticed that the mortgage department, which took up the whole second floor, was bereft of customers that day. Interesting. Keeping the children out of the busy street?


Both men immediately expressed great sorrow at the fact that I had suffered so much at the hands of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, and begged to hear my story. Mr. Corella seemed especially sympathetic, and claimed he had “no idea” this was going on in his community until he saw the newscast on KSBY the night before.


(Scary, huh?)


To their credit, the men tried to make me feel welcome and comfortable. Before I launched into my story, I let them know that I was aware that Mr. Henson’s domain was generating new mortgages and not dealing with loan modifications. However, I softly chided them, this has been a sore issue: The ironically named “Home Preservation Department” is a warehouse of, I suspect, temporary, untrained employees without face-to-face presence. But I was here demanding  that the bank sit up and pay attention to this issue face-to-face, i.e., this issue of endless runarounds, bad faith, dual-tracking, lies.


They asked if they could look at the petition, and I told them, “Here! It’s yours. This is what I am presenting today.” They were quite astonished to see so many signatures from all around the country and, I pray, embarrassed. 

From about 11:45 to 12:30, I spoke, telling them every detail I could squeeze in, and how I was shafted by the bank at every turn. Both Corella and Henson appeared to listen attentively. I explained about how I had so far received good media attention, much of it from the almost 17K signatures. 


I recounted some examples of other people’s miserable experiences with Wells Fargo, and that many were horrific and morally repugnant (not to mention criminal, but this was not a tribunal. Yet.) I explained how the banks had created this economic downfall to begin with and had unleashed an American tragedy. These Wells Fargo representatives could hardly believe their ears because “we always try to help people and do the best for our customers—and our community right here in San Luis Obispo.” 


To this form of dangerous and willful ignorance, I suggested that first, they drive around and see the empty houses in their community; and second, they pay more attention to the walloping the WF Brand is getting on the Internet and in other media. “Oh, not just from me but from thousands of customers—and, uh, former customers,” I drawled sweetly.


Near the end, Mr. Henson asked what they could do to help me.


Someone suggested that he call the Executive offices in Des Moines to see if he could bring attention to this matter. At that I reeled off the names of people in that executive office I had spoken to in the past, and how they no longer answered my calls or returned my messages, at least as of March. Yes, even Ms. Dawn Nelson, from the Media Division, who chatted so amiably with me and insisted I reapply for a loan mod. Ms. Nelson recited all the perfect formulaic hogwash previously spewed at me, such as how she would “be there” for me and serve as my exclusive point of contact, and how she would help me with the new application, and so on.


Okay. Now let’s break and try out your psychic abilities: How many times since that call do you think Ms. Nelson talked to me or even returned my calls? Yes, by golly, zero times. How many times did I call leaving frustrated messages only to hear that Ms. Nelson was “out of the office” for weeks on end? Bingo! Yes, every time.


After this, Mr. Henson declared that I had ventured closer to the President’s Office than any of them ever had. I told them that was thanks to my enlisting the help of U.S. Congresswoman Lois Capps’ office.  As to my attempts to open a case with the OCC, that was a waste of time. The OCC, not surprisingly, did nothing but stick up for Wells Fargo and tell me that WF did not have to follow any regulations. No, those OCC “regulations” I was quoting, the OCC person told me, were really only guidelines, for did I not know that “the banks can do what they want?”


Do I know that. Ya think? That’s exactly what I’m fighting to change.


The meeting with Corella and Henson ended by Mr. Henson promising to contact the executive offices in Des Moines, send them the petition, and let them know they I had spoken with them, and as a result, they, Henson and Corella, wanted to try and help me succeed in obtaining this loan modification. Henson frankly admitted that it would probably do no good as he was “small fry,” but at least he was willing to try.


Back in the car, I asked Melanie’s opinion. Melanie is a U.S. Marine veteran with her feet squarely on the ground, so her opinion counts. 

“A game of Klingon Boggle would prove more productive," she sighed.  "Seems like the same dog-and-pony act from what you described before: they’re nice, they listen, they do absolutely nothing.”


“Then, while they have you on infinite hold, they send the foreclosure attorneys out. Don’t forget that step.”


“Even in there, I was worried that the nice guys in suits might just be shape-shifters and any minute would revert to their true form of cosmic gases.”


“Oh, Melanie. Don’t be so unkind. I’m sure Star Trek does not want to be associated with…such…deceptive practices.”


Friday May 14, 2012.  Not a word from Wells Fargo in SLO, a word like, “I phoned the executive offices in Des Moines but they will be closed for three months while renovations and remodeling take place. I’ll try back in early September.”


I couldn’t stand it, so I phoned Mark Corella, the more sympathetic one. He answered, but seemed very surprised to hear from me.

          “Uh..oh…Maria!” he exclaimed. “Uh, remember I said that mortgages were not my area? I gave your case to Mike Henson to take care of.”
          “Well, then let me speak to Mike, please.”
          “He’s not here.”
          “Aha. Where might he be?”
          “Well, he and his whole group are out of town. In a training session. Yes, they are all in Santa Barbara at a training session. I won’t see him till Monday morning or so.”
          “Can you at least tell him I called? Give him a message?”
          “Yes, sure. In fact I’ll call him right now on his cell phone. But—he probably won’t be able to get back to me. But I’ll try. I know before he left he did send some emails to the executive offices, but I don’t know any more."

A few hours later, Mr. Corella left a message on my home phone stating that he did indeed put that message on Henson’s cell phone.

Monday, May 14, 2012, 4:44 p.m. No word. No calls.  SUPPORTERS: You are WONDERFUL! Couldn’t do this without you. More updates soon!