Grandma Gertie always said there's not a savory dish that can't be made tastier by just a touch of tarragon.

Tsunami and Me

Tsunami and Me
too big to escape now....

Monday, June 14, 2021

Unsolicited Mail


I received this in my email today. I've pasted the message that accompanied it below. But I wonder how I get on some of the group emails I receive.

In a few days I'll write to the person who sent it and ask that I not be mailed such garbage again. Especially not with a prefatory note attached that said: "This is great! Please share it with your friends!!!!!" So, I'm sharing it. Even though it didn't say "Pretty please."

I know I've enjoyed White Privilege since birth. I have never been hassled walking toward my front doors in Maryland, Washington State or even California, simply because of the color of my skin. 
I have never been pulled over by the police and questioned because of the color of my skin.

I have never been stopped and searched when I lived in Arkansas, just because I was eating an ice cream cone outside a grocery store. But a lot of the Black adults and adolescents I worked with were.

I have never had graffiti sprayed on my house, with messages that said for me to go back where I came from, either. But the people who opened the first Mexican restaurant in Colville, WA, were when they moved to that little town.

After Pearl Harbor, nobody rounded up my family and sent them to Manzanar or another "relocation" camp.

I remember those who bought homes on the G.I. Bill all those decades ago post-WW II, when new housing communities built to accommodate those upwardly mobile families. And I remember those neighborhoods had CC&Rs that prohibited selling them to Jews and people of color who were veterans.

None of my ancestors were rounded up and sold as slaves. I've never been discriminated against as have friends of mine in South Africa who were not admitted to medical school because they had black skin.

White privilege? Yep. My card has saved me from enduring many of the indignities that others who hold these alleged valuable "Race Cards" face. 


I'm selling my white privilege card. It's over 70 years old but is in mint condition. It has never been used, not even one time. Reason for selling is that it hasn't done a damn thing for me! No free college, no free food, no free housing, no free anything, I actually had to go to work every day of my life while paying a boatload of taxes to carry those who chose not to work!  If you are interested, I prefer cash but would be willing to do and even trade for a Race Card which seems much more widely accepted and comes with countless benefits if you fit the profile!


Contact me on my Non-Obama, Non-Biden cell phone that I pay for every month..Serious buyers only.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Springing into Spring: Can I Go There NOW?

 Life slowly returns to semi-normality after our long hiatus. My AAUW (Anerican Association of University Women) Branch met this morning to discuss "Here, There and Everywhere," places we're looking forward to visiting. 

The Travel Discussion Group took the lead, addressing nearby places in Orange and Los Angeles County, then up and down the coast and finally...the whole wide world.

These are the useful websites we found to share with others:

Can I Go There NOW?


International Air Transport Association

Passport, Visa and Health Info

 Centers for Disease Control

International and Domestic Info

Cruise Planning

Me? I'd like to drive down the coast to Sherman Gardens in nearby Corona Del Mar before trying anything more adventurous.

Monday, April 5, 2021

I Must Admit It's Getting Better


I'm not sure what got you through this pandemic, but for me it's been Skype, Zoom, and Emails from friends all over the world. Though I hunkered inside most of the past year, I've been able to keep in contact with so many old friends. I didn't have to give up my book discussion groups or my Orange County Peace Corps connections. I even was able to reconnect with friends in my Colville, WA, branch of American Association of University Women and Colville library group and see their faces again, if only on my laptop screen.

But my heart still tells me I want to be in the real world, not the virtual world of this computer. It rang true again last night with I watched the Screen Actors Guild awards show, Facebook messaging with my actor friend in Miami, FL. We've been enjoying our ritual for years, during all the movie and television awards shows together. 

To see all our favorite actors sitting in their homes alone, no matter how elegantly some of them dressed, especially the women in their Easter-egg-colored gowns and of course, Dan Levy, changing his gorgeous outfits for every snippet, wasn't the same as seeing them all together at the Kodak Theater or other venue where awards ordinarily are distributed. It's not the same. Just as this field of wildflowers that I have on my Skype background isn't the same as being in the California desert and seeing them in person. 

One of my closest companions confided to me this morning that the venerable Dr. Fauci predicts that by next year we'll actually be able to go unmasked to movie theater again. Some museums have actually reopened to limited masked patrons. 

Though I've been dining with that companion and others at outdoor restaurants for months now, this coming weekend I'm even going to sit inside a steakhouse with my son and daughter-in=law.

I'm beginning to appreciate more and more the convenience of where I live, close to friends, to supermarkets, to the post office to mail packages, without having to drive on icy winter roads. Had I not been here in my tiny shoebox senior living apartment, the isolation and my increasing unsteadiness because of balance issues connected with spinal stenosis would have made life unbearable.

I've been managing, instead. Maybe not thriving, but managing. I've learned how to change the background on my Skype and Zoom, which showcases me in settings more exotic than my bedroom. It's been a diversion to find ones that represent places I wish I were or places I once loved. The photo on the left I took from a window at the Orangerie in Paris in November, 2019, the last overseas trip I took.

I haven't written anything new for a while, but I've been involved as a reviewer on several Federal grant funding opportunities for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and other Health and Human Services brances, getting paid to sit in front of my computer and update my LCSW knowledge about best practices.

The Rose Center Theater outdoor concerts, Uncle Pete's patio dining just a mile from me, my library system that's supplied me with DVDs and books via curbside or "grab and go" have made it better. Looking ahead to brighter days makes it better. Sitting in my old glider rocker in the evening, reading or streaming another episode of whatever old series I missed the first time around, makes it better.

Being fully vaccinataed now and able to hug a few friends who also have been, gives me hope. As has escaping coming down ill with the Covid-19 virus. At my advanced age, I may have had a very low possibility of surviving that. 

The increasing availability of vaccines, no constant election campaigning, not planning my day around how to find toilet paper or hand sanitizer? Yep. It's getting better!

Here's how the Sargeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club band first told us all those years ago that it's getting better:

Monday, December 21, 2020

What are You Watching New Year's?

This is probably not the year to be crowding into public places to ring in the New Year. It was a bad year for meeting under the mistletoe. But not a bad year for reading and watching a lot of well-made movies, if even in my rocker instead of a theater.

So New Year's Eve? I am betting I'll be curled up on my rocker with a book. I may set aside a few hours to binge watch the final season of "Scott and Bailey." 

Thanks to Skype and Zoom, I'm not totally out of touch with friends. But I don't recall ever spending so much time inside alone during the holidays. At least I have the luxury of electricity, even though the three-way reading lamp I bought online last March finally defaulted on its first two settings last night. I also have my local library system which still allows curbside pickup for books. And I finally added Netflix Streaming so I can watch a lot of movies and TV series, such as past Masterpiece series on my computers. (I don't have a smart TV nor the expertise to figure out how to transfer to my "dumb" TV.) 

So here's what I've binged watched this year, having made a pact with my Emmy/SAG/Oscars watching partner, actress, playright, writer Joyce Ann Newman Scott. I've finished "The Crown," am on the final season of "Schitt's Creek," and just started season 4 of "Scott and Bailey." I'm going to begin the Ken Burns "Jazz" series this new year, thanks to moving it up in my old-fashioned Netflix DVD queue. 

Christmas night I plan to tune in to see the 2020 Christsmas special of "Call the Midwife," a series I've watched from the start. And I may want to be reminded of what's good in life, so will read another chapter of Universal Table's new essay collection, Goodness. My story, "Grandma Fang's Clowder of Kittens," is in this anthology.

My library book group is reading Never Let Me Go, by Nobel Prize winner, Kazuo Ishigiro and my AAUW book group is reading Marla Jo Fisher's Frumpy Mid-Life Mom. She's a local humor columnist for the Orange County Register.

On my bedside stand: 

Sisters, Daisy Johnson 

This Time Next Year, Jacqueline Winspear

The Great Pretender, Susana Cahalan
I wish you the happiest of New Year's! I think most everybody I know is eager to see Baby New Year kick out Year 2020.


Here's Kacey Musgraves to ask you the question, "What Are You Doing New Year's?"

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Three's a Charm


Three's a charm...and three anthologies that include my stories all showed up in my mail this past month. Though Friends had appeared on Kindle earlier, it now is out in paperback. It includes "Gail and the Special Sears Sale," which recounts my brush with the law when I had just started 10th grade.

A little earlier I'd received my copies of Impact, with the story of why I joined the US Peace Corps at the age of 50, followed by Goodness, with a remembrance of Fang, the kindest cat I've ever known.

Curiosity drove me to research where the expression "three's a charm" originated. I learned that the idiom is rooted in the ancient belief that the number three is magical, but the phrase dates back only to the early 1800s. A companion phrase is third time lucky, generally considered a British term. I'd heard before of lucky seven, but hadn't been certain of the magic of the three. Apparently, that doesn't hold up for clovers, where the 4-leaf ones are what you sesek.

Nonetheless, I'm delighted to have three new books to add to my anthology bookcase. Also, do you wanna guess what my friends will be getting this year for Christmas? If you guessed it's a book, you'd be fact, you can book on it!

What they won't get, and I won't either, is the charm bracelet you see below. I'd longed for one when I was in junior high, just about the time I met Gail, who went with me a couple of years later to that fateful Sears sale. I remember I finally bought an inexpenive dime store bracelet and collected two or three charms...but it wasn't ever what I'd envisisoned. Apparently, not worth keeping, either. I still have the jewelry from those days that was, my Quill and Scroll pin from junior high journalism and my Scian sorority medallion from high school.

But thinking about charms and bracelets to dangle them on, I led me to explore to see if they are still popular. I'm not certain I've seen anybody wearing one in a long while. 

Oh, yes. This bracelet certainly resembles the one I'd imagined owning all those decades ago when I was a tweener. Do you like it? Really love it the way my 12-year-old heart did? Well, you're in luck because  now it's on cybersale. Somebody who put a lot of effort into collecting those charms half a century ago no longer is so charmed...or her heirs aren't. I still am.

As much as I admire this bracelet though, these days I rarely wander out of my senior living apartment to go much of anyplace other than the grocery store. So I doubt I'd ever have much opportunity to wear it. Besides, I still love wearing the gold tennis bracelet that my late husband gave me. I wear only one bracelet at a time...I've never felt the need to be entirely covered in baubles, bangles and beads.

But if you're charmed, you could snap it up. The seller lists it as "a vintage circa 1970s 14kt yellow gold bracelet, originally priced at $4,995.00." During this cybersale, it's offered for $3,496.50, including free, that's right, free shipping.

Or, alternatively, you could buy a book. Maybe one with a story by me! They're all available now on Amazon.

Let me know what you decide. And I hope it makes you happy.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Here Kitty, Kitty, Good Kitty!

"Grandma Fang's Clowder of Kittens" has just been published in a new Wising Up Press anthology, Goodness. The anthology is edited by Charles D. Brockett and Heather Tosteson. It will be available for purchase on December 1 from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and from the publisher,

Per Wising Up Press:   Goodness is hard to define, but we know it when we see it. In action or inaction, that pause that isn't uncertain, that is more like a deep, steady breath, an existential embrace. It is easier to see goodness in others than in ourselves. But do we experience it as a choice or part of their essential nature? If a choice, what is the nature of the choice?  What other adjectives constellate around it? Strong? Independent? Loving? Astute? Generous? Sui generis? Trusting? Confident? Firm? Unequivocal? Kind?

Where have you seen goodness in play? How has it changed your own life, the actual choices you make or how you evaluate your choices? Is there a cascade effect? Or is it, in its specificity, always a one-off? What happens to us when we think about it, try to describe it, share our experiences of it with others?

 We hope you will find personal inspiration and resonance in this thoughtful and moving collection that discovers goodness in such difficult social realities as homelessness, imprisonment, and more intimate ones like illness, families, marriage, aging. We also hope these meditations on the often unexpected good in us and those around us can help us develop larger, much needed social conversations about our common good.

This year, 2020, has been filled with much misfortune, but goodness is still around, if you know where to look I found goodness in an aging cat! 

Here are the opening paragraphs from my story:

Fang appeared shortly after Thanksgiving in l965. My eight-year-old son, Steve, found her curled up in the patio, blanketed with purple jacaranda blossoms. He’d gone out with his telescope to look for Pisces, his favorite autumn constellation.

“Look, Mom. I nearly stepped on this cat on my way to the gate,” Steve said, cradling the calico tabby. “I saw its little white paw sticking out of the flowers. Then I heard it meow. It looks so tired.”

Our last feline guest disappeared several months earlier, so I agreed we could keep this latest stray. That’s how it was back then. Except for one neighbor with a purebred Siamese, people didn’t actually

More from the publishers: "Universal Table/Wising Up Press is an organization dedicated to exploring the complex challenges and lasting rewards of living up close and personal with pluralism in social, family, religious, and civic life, or, more simply, Finding the "We" in "Them," the "Us" in "You." Wising Up anthologies use literature by contemporary writers to approach various dimensions of pluralism because of the power of narrative to help us identify safely with others who may at first seem, by appearance or circumstances or culture, very different from us. The anthologies serve as an invitation to stand in that richer relation—empathic, musing, open to new meaning—with ourselves and with our neighbors."


Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Coming Up Roses



I won't go so far as to say that everything's coming up roses. It's been a harrowing year from day one. What happened on January 1? I singed my finger while lighting some holiday candles near my rocker, the ancient rocker where I read, watch TV and eat my meals from a TV tray. Yes, that very rocker. The match dropped on my chair and set the foam cushion afire. That set off my apartment's fire alarm. 

Fortunately, I was able to drag the smouldering cushion out on my balcony and smother the melting foam. The smoke didn't get into my building's hallway, so my own alarm quickly subsided. I have an old Air France blanket acting as a seat cover...making do.

I'd no sooner returned from a trip to Napa and Healdsburg, when the pandemic set in. Weeks elapsed when I could barely focus on watching a DVD or reading a book. Fortunately, again, I was saved by connecting with groups and friends via Zoom and Skype. So I hadn't completely isolated.

 By October the Rose Center Theater in my community began to state outdoor concerts in its patio garden, with audiences social distanced and masked. So I began to enjoy live music once more.

A number of area restaurants put up tents and awnings, so I could dine outside with a friend or my son and daughter-in-law.

"I must admit it's getting better," I hummed to myself. But, wait! I went to the supermarket on one of my usual $5 Fridays. Reaching for a packet of seasoning mix, I accidentally knocked over the container. I grabbed it as it fell, catching it right below my waist on my right side. Just as the guy down the aisle shouted "good catch," I felt a searing pain tear through my upper arm. I could hardly manage to load the groceries on to the cashier's counter and stuff them into my trunk. 

By the time I got home, my entire right bicep was beginning to ache. By evening it had started to bruise. The next morning I realized I might have ruptured a tendon. I waited a day to see if the bruising would subside, but it increased, despite the ice packs I'd applied.

 I messaged my primary care physician and she advised I go to the nearest urgent care. So I drove myself over, parked and walked toward the hospital entrance. Just before the crosswalk, I tripped on a piece of concrete that had been raised by a tree root, fell face first, broke my glasses, scraped my face, sprained my left ring finger, skinned my knees and traumatized my entire body.

Fortunately, I didn't suffer a cerebral hemmorhage or break a hip. The damage to my bicep might be permanent, but the fall didn't kill me.

The pandemic isn't going away anytime soon here in Southern California. Nonetheless, I'm focusing on counting my blessings. Though not everything is coming up roses, there's reason for me to celebrate. My Lakers won the NBA. My Dodgers won the World Series. Three books coming out containing my stories appear in the next several weeks. Sasee published a story about the days when I was a majorette. I'm enjoying Taco Tuesdays at a number of different outoor restaurants, while the weather still allows.

Yes, it's autumn, but some things are coming up roses!

And here's my November story: