Quotes from some of my faves

I think you've read before that I like quotes. I collect them and I share them. Here are a few from some powerful women I admire - in no particular order. "I really want women to know their power, to value their experience. To understand that nothing has been more wholesome in the political process than the increased involvement of women." ~Nancy Pelosi   "Remember this in the darkest moments, when the work doesn’t seem worth it, and change seems just out of reach: out of our willingness to push through comes a tremendous power… Use it." ~Stacey Abrams     "I just hope that more people will ignore the fatalism of the argument that we are beyond repair. We are not beyond repair. We are never beyond repair." ~ Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez   "What's important for my daughter to know is that... if you are fortunate to have opportunity, it is your duty to make sure other people have those opportunities as well." ~Kamela Harris   "The problem that I th … [Read more...]

Ojai love

We spent this last weekend with our friends in Ojai. She and I met way back in 1961 when I first moved to Los Angeles. Ironically we were introduced by my ex-husband and his family. Though my first marriage broke apart, our friendship has lived on with increasing love all these years. I always say she was my first friend in LA. We drove up during the rain on Saturday and I was overwhelmed by the brilliant shades of greens in the landscape around us. Usually the land is dry and brown. But not this year because of all the rain we've had. We spent our time together eating and talking and talking and eating, walking around downtown Ojai, shopping for orchids at the Farmers' Market, and finally hugging and kissing goodbye Sunday afternoon. We are so fortunate to have long-time friends who we stay in touch with and who we have loved all these years. I also took a four-mile walk on Sunday morning on my own. You know me by now. I find a way to exercise every chance I get. Here are a … [Read more...]

Yes, seventy is fabulous!

I’ve been seeing in the news that “seventy is the new fabulous.” For example this article in the Los Angeles Times on February 5, names so many over seventy women who are still with it and productive and in a word, fabulous. Nancy Pelosi, Glenn Close, Judi Dench, Betty Buckley, Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, and Bette Midler to name a few. And we mustn’t leave out eighty-five-year-old Ruth Bader Ginsberg who is still on the Supreme Court bench even after recent cancer surgery. She is my all-time hero. That gets me to my success after the age of seventy. I had lunch with a cousin yesterday who congratulated me on writing a novel Papa's Shoes that will come out this spring by Aberdeen Bay publishers. Look what you did and at your age, she commented. Yes, that’s right. Though I don’t work a full-time job anymore I still work every day in my home office,  beginning to market my novel and writing my new memoir (coincidentally about healthy aging), blog posts, poems, and jou … [Read more...]

Posting for women’s empowerment

I've been a member of South Bay Cares almost since its inception - the day after Donald Trump was elected president. It is a local group with a goal to Educate. Empower. Engage, founded as a source of education and to be an arbiter of positive action so that members can be the change that we want to see in the world. I am now on its Board of Directors and serve as chair of its Woman's Empowerment Task Force. To help get our membership involved I post a quote every Thursday morning - usually by a woman - to inspire us to be and act powerful. Some weeks I will post a quote by a woman recently in the news; e.g., Michelle Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Kamala Harris, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Here are a few of my Thursday quotes. " I really want women to know their power, to value their experience. To understand that nothing has been more wholesome in the political process than the increased involvement of women." ~Nancy Pelosi “ Women are leading the movement in this country. I think … [Read more...]

I’m still taking hormones – are you?

I feel so vindicated after reading this article that I have to post it here verbatim. I started taking hormone replacement therapy in the mid 1990s while I was in my mid fifties, and I refused to go off of them as many of my friends did when the 2002 Women's Health Initiative final report came out. I cited my gorgeous and youthful aunt who then in her seventies said she still took hormones and had no intension of stopping. Fortunately I had a doctor who agreed with me. From the literature she read she felt there were some of the flaws in the findings of the WHI - especially the composition of the sample of women tested for its study. So here I am age seventy-eight, still taking hormones and feeling and looking more youthful than my age suggests. I had a checkup yesterday with my gynecologist who said all was perfect - especially my blood pressure - 112 over 61 (and I do not take any blood pressure medication and never have). She was happy to renew my hormone replacement therapy … [Read more...]

Welcome Jane Bertrand – hiker extraordinaire!

I thought I was pretty adventuresome when I hiked down and up the Grand Canyon at age seventy-six - a feat I had put first on my Bucket List nine years before. Well, Jane Bertrand's proclamation of wanting to reach the high point in every one of our fifty United States certainly beat me out. And I'm happy to say I was very glad to read  her memoir You Started What After 60?: Highpointing across America about her extraordinary accomplishment. Please welcome Jane during her WOW! Women on Writing virtual book tour.  Here Jane Bertrand traces her love of hiking back to Girl Scout Camp Natarswi, located at the foot of Katahdin in Maine, the Northern terminus for the Appalachian trail. ​ After attending college out-of-state, she would return annually for her two-week sacrosanct vacation in Maine.  Over the years she would continue to climb Katahdin, first with her sisters, later with her own children, and finally with adult friends who shared her love of the mountain. Yet not u … [Read more...]

More about the notorious Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Ruth Bader Ginsberg is so much in the news these days, it's time to mention her on Choices again. The Los Angeles Times reported this morning: "The latest in RBG fever: The first museum exhibition about the justice’s life and work, “Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” opening Friday at the Skirball Cultural Center." Ari Richter's "RBG Tattoo II" (2018) is on view at the Skirball Cultural Center as part of “Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg," opening Friday. (Courtesy Ari Richter and the Skirball Cultural Center) Why an exhibit now: the people at the Skirball feel "there’s an urgency now to her message, and the message of the exhibition, which is ‘work hard, stay the course, things will be difficult, but that doesn’t mean they’re hopeless.’" The exhibition, co-organized by Skirball associate curator Cate Thurston and the co-authors, Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik of the book Notorious RBG, marks the 25th anniversary of Bader Ginsburg … [Read more...]

My 60-year high school reunion already – oh my!

This weekend I’ll be attending my sixtieth New Trier High School reunion. Sixty years! Really! Amazing! And besides this excitement, four couples will stay together at a high school friend’s house. One of each of the couples were in the same class at New Trier, took a journalism class from Dr. Robert R. Boyle – still a long-time friend, and all worked on the school newspaper together. Since reuniting at our twenty-fifth reunion, these friends and their spouses and my husband and I have remained very close. We gather together at each other’s homes besides attending reunions together. Unfortunately, though, a couple of news team members are no longer with us, and one dear friend, who was the editor-in-chief of our paper, is too ill to travel. Events for the reunion start on Thursday night with a get together at the famed Hackney’s on Lake in Glenview IL. It’s a restaurant I used to love to go to with my family. Friday morning is golf – my husband will participate i … [Read more...]

Water disaster aftermath

I am very happy to say that we’ve been back in our house one day less than two weeks, and things are almost all back to order. Just a few stickies up in the kitchen to remind my contractor and his crew that they still have a little bit of work to do. A preview of our new kitchen My main concern since Servpro, the water and fire cleanup and restoration company, brought back our furniture and boxes of our possessions that they moved out while the demolition and restoration was going on, are the broken items and those pieces that at this point seem to be hopelessly lost. Right now as I sit at my desk in my writing room, the file folder stand that used to sit to my right is not there, the black scotch tape and stapler set that used to be on my left is missing, and the Relax the Back foot rest that was under my desk does not make sitting here more comfortable, since my feet don’t touch the floor without it. One of the broken items is a silver floor lamp that had been in my fam … [Read more...]

A favorite recipe

Here’s a change of pace. Enough of the writing stuff for moment. Instead I’d like to share a recipe I made for a dinner party of twelve last night. The event was scheduled to take place in our house but since we’re still not living there since our water damage, our dear friends offered their beautiful home and their always gorgeous table settings and flower arrangements. That left my husband and I, who were still considered the hosts, to organize the dinner. As hosts we were responsible for the main course, side dish, wines, and other libations. I was also responsible to give cooking assignments to the other couples who brought delicious appetizers, salad, and dessert. However, cooking my dishes in two strange kitchens was a challenge. I did some prep work in our temporary home’s kitchen, which lacked some essential equipment – measuring spoons and cups and a citrus squeezer. While I was out shopping for the needed ingredients for my recipes I bought those items too, knowing full … [Read more...]

What! An alcohol fast in September…

Whether it is scotch, chardonnay, even coconut liqueur, or my favorite red zinfandel, I’m going off all of it in September. About 30 years ago after too many celebrations in December leading up to the new year, my husband and I decided to take an alcohol fast in January. And believe me that wasn’t easy. We had both been used to a glass or two or wine every evening, so not reaching our for that fine crystal stem and pouring in a beautiful red liquid alcoholic substance into its bowl took a conscious effort. But after a few days we both liked the results – more clear headedness, less sleepiness during the day, better sleep at night, a nice cleansing feeling inside, and of course a great feeling of accomplishment when the month was over. After a few years of fasting in January I decided on a two times a year fast – every January and July, which often led me to ask myself if I would let go of alcohol all together. Though I never took that big step, I’ve kept up the alcohols fasts e … [Read more...]

More about our water damage

Part Two As planned, the water mitigation folks from Servpro arrived early Monday morning, June 25, with water testing devices in hand, which they scanned over all walls and floors to determine the extent of the damage. As they found damage, they marked the areas with dark blue masking tape. By the end of the day I saw dark blue masking tape in the kitchen, the hall backing up to the kitchen, parts of the dining room, and essentially the whole first floor, including Bob’s office, the laundry room, the bathroom, and my office. The only room not affected downstairs was the guest bedroom down at the end of the hall. That meant they would need to pack out all our stuff from our kitchen cabinets, the china closet that stood in the upstairs hall, and everything from the laundry, bathroom, and our two office closets downstairs - including removing our closet built-in cabinets and shelves. The next step was taking the affected walls and ceilings down to the studs and pulling up the r … [Read more...]

We had huge water damage at our house

Part One On June 22 2018, while my husband and I were out-of-town, I got word from our son Ben that there had been a “minor emergency” in our house. He had just heard from our cleaning lady, Elma, that water was pouring out of our bathroom ceiling like rainfall. In her words, it was a “total disaster.” I immediately called our go-to home contractor, and since this was a Friday afternoon, none of the staff was available. I was referred to a plumber who had worked at our house before. He too was out-of-town and unavailable. But he suggested I get the water turned off as soon as possible. My next thought was to contact our next-door neighbor, Ron (we call him Ron Next Door). Since his house has the same floor plan. I thought he’d know where to turn off the water at our house. Sure enough he did. Also, he could see from his yard that part of our outside wall was already wet from the leak. Thankfully, about an hour later Ron called me back. He was able to get his plumber to come … [Read more...]

A travel story in poems

Here is the travel story I submitted to the Facebook group, We Love Memoirs' travel story contest. Alas, it didn't win, but I thought I'd share it here anyway. ​It was fun to put together. Also, our African safari in the fall of 2013 was amazing. As usual when I travel, my goal is to write a poem a day. A Travel Story in Poems    Preparing to Go Even while I am on the elliptical reading my New Yorker I wonder: should I add more shirts? should I pick out some silver jewelry? do I need a pair of high heels? While my Pilates trainer says my form is excellent, I visualize the piles of shirts, pants, undies, jackets on the sofa, shoes scattered on the floor, and stuff bought especially for this Kenya and Tanzania trip: insect repellent, bite itch eraser, and a new camera with built in telescopic lens. Even while I do my last stretches I know I have more to do: put my toiletries in travel containers, get out my contact lens solutions, lay out my travel cl … [Read more...]

Writing through chaos

I've been writing small stones again. As the group admin says: Write just your thoughts and ideas and have fun. Post small poems and thoughts; please share and enjoy each others talents. Everyone is individual and that makes this page brilliant. I took a long break from this writing, but started back at it last month when the group page was called Mayday Mayflower. This month we're June Jubilation. Here's a few small stone thoughts from May: I’m almost finished with Revision Ten of my novel. And when I’m finished I will declare victory. Ten revisions are really quite enough. I’m sad about the death of Tom Wolfe. He was a brilliant journalist and author. Anybody not read The Right Stuff and The Bonfire of the Vanities? I’m in the edit poem mode, getting ready to submit. They say if we haven’t gotten 100 rejections in a year, we haven’t submitted enough. LOL  [note: I'm still not submitting enough!] I forgot to say the dinner I spent so much time on two days ago was a … [Read more...]

My hair woes

Strands of my hair accumulate on my bathroom counter, on the floor, on the window sill, in the sink, on my clothes, stuck on my toiletries bottles, and sometimes even in my toothbrush and in my mouth. But, it is most visible on my brush every time it touches my diminishing head of hair. Many years ago, while traveling in Europe I noticed my hair was shedding quite a bit. I went to the pharmacy in the town we were visiting, and the pharmacist recommended biotin. Biotin seemed to work then. It also helped grow and strengthen my finger nails. I’ve been taking that vitamin product ever since. Is stress the cause of hair shedding? Then about three years ago I noticed another bout of shedding hair. It looked like my brush had more hair on it after I dried it. I asked my dermatologist for advice, and her first question was: did I have a particularly stressful experience nine months before. My answer was a definite yes. She recommended women’s Rogaine 5% foam. She didn’t have much … [Read more...]

What else is happening in May?

This month is full of happenings, especially family ones. May 4 would have been my brother-in-law’s 79th birthday. Today would have been my dad’s 115th birthday though he only lived to be 72. They both died of cancer. Of course, next Sunday, May 13, is Mother’s Day, though I also commemorated Bereaved Mother’s Day yesterday, in memory of our son Paul who left us almost 19 years ago. And after that is my birthday on May 20, and Bob and my 48th anniversary on May 28. … [Read more...]

Can grief be contagious?

I met Martha Clark Scala at one of the first Esalen Institute workshops I took after our son died by suicide. And it was in that workshop where I found my voice in poetry. "Aftermath," the simple poem I wrote resonated such with Martha, that she wrote the following piece about her brother's death. The poem and the article both appeared first in the Summer 2001 issue of "We Need Not Walk Alone," published by The Compassionate Friends, an organization that provides friendship, understanding, and hope to those going through the natural grieving process. Martha and I have been friends ever since. I’m Not Contagious By Martha Clark Scala​ In the two or three weeks immediately following my brother Nick’s death, I received numerous calls, cards, plants, flowers, and offers of help. My loss sat on the front burner of many wonderful people’s stoves for about 21 days. I was in their thoughts, prayers, and blessings. Unfortunately, many issues and events vie for front-burner status … [Read more...]

Writing in the Dominican Republic

I met Lindsay de Feliz, author of What About Your Saucepans? and Life After My Saucepans, through a wonderful Facebook group called We Love Memoirs, and it was instant admiration. Her story is gutsy, heroic, and so, so different from my own that I had to share it with you. When I asked her to be a Choices guest she immediately said yes, and within a few days she sent me a story about her writing life in the Dominican Republic. My Writing Life in the Dominican Republic – Every Cloud has a Silver Lining by Lindsay de Feliz I was not a writer when I arrived in the Dominican Republic in 2001; I was a scuba diving instructor. I used to write a long email once a month to around 100 friends and family and often they would say you should write a book, but I didn’t think about it until I was shot in 2006 and was no longer able to work in diving. I was shot at 10.30 at night, and I remembered the first 15 minutes but then had no recollection of anything for around 6 hours, although I am told I … [Read more...]

Equal Means Equal invites you!

Please join the movement to finally ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. Attend the screening of Equal Means Equal, a documentary by Kamala Lopez, next Monday night in El Segundo California and find out how you can get involved.  Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, says: The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution designed to guarantee equal rights for all citizens regardless of sex; it seeks to end the legal distinctions between men and women in terms of divorce, property, employment, and other matters. The ERA was originally written by Alice Paul and Crystal Eastman. The amendment was introduced in Congress for the first time in 1921 and has prompted conversations about the meaning of equality for women and men. In the early history of the Equal Rights Amendment, middle-class women were largely supportive, while those speaking for the working class were often opposed, pointing out that employed women needed special protections regardin … [Read more...]