The gratitude challenge

My Facebook friend, Dorothy Sander, invited me to take the five-day gratitude challenge and I accepted. That means for each of five days I need to post three things I'm grateful for and invite three people to join the challenge. This was a real challenge for me because I don't normally think about my life in terms of gratitude - especially in a list. I've thought of benefits and gifts that have come my way. I also very much appreciate my family and friends who have stuck with me through some extremely tough times. So it's not as though I'm ungrateful. I just found it hard to put the words down. Even so, I have completed my list of fifteen. Three went up on my Facebook timeline yesterday, three went up today, and I will post the rest in the next three days. My Grateful List  For being with my godson Hugo and his brother Oscar and their mum and grandmum this morning. We got to show 4-year old Oscar the paleontology exhibit at the Page Museum and the La Brea Tar Pits. What a … [Read more...]

Some old stories

In 2012 and 2013 I contributed to a website called Storylane. It inspired me to write very short pieces about a variety of subjects. Unfortunately, Storylane no longer exists, but packrat that I am I saved every piece I submitted. Here's a few: How I Got My First Job Out of College I graduated from UCLA with a degree in English and had no idea what I would do professionally after getting it. I had wanted to work as a journalist and actually completed all the course work for a degree in journalism at the University of Wisconsin. But family illness caused me to transfer to UCLA for my senior year, and UCLA didn't offer a BA degree in journalism. So I was stuck in a city I didn't know, and hardly knowing anyone in it. I tried valiantly and unsuccessfully early on to get a writing job and then gave up. It was 1962. Not a lot of jobs for women writers in those days, especially in Los Angeles. Then someone suggested I try the growing aerospace business in southern California. And I … [Read more...]

My novel is now with beta readers

As of this afternoon I took the leap. I  sent off copies of my novel in progress - actually Revision Three - to five beta readers. It is both an exciting and scary step. Now I plan to wait. I won't make any changes to the book until I've heard back from everyone - hopefully around July 15. In the meantime, I'll catch up on my blogging, write a few poems, maybe put together a poetry chapbook, and perhaps enter a poetry contest or two. I can also spend more time at my hometown beach. Really, the options for a writer are endless. After all beta reader feedback is in: I'll review the comments and criticisms I'll make changes as appropriate and turn them into Revision Four I'll seek out another group of beta readers to critique that revision I'll again review the comments and criticisms once I get their feedback I'll again make changes as appropriate and turn them Revision five And the last step before I make any decisions about publishing: Hire a professional editor to … [Read more...]

Mike Garcia asks: what in life is most important to you?

Mike Garcia and his team have been taking care of our garden in Manhattan Beach for several years. He's always been an advocate for drip irrigation, and with the drought situation here in southern California, my husband and finally decided to have it installed. Mike says drip irrigation uses 60 percent less water than a traditional sprinkler system. I can see the savings already. We see no residual water from miss-aimed sprinklers on our driveway anymore. As we've worked with Mike and I've gotten to know him better, I more and more like his philosophy of protecting the our planet, our bodies and our minds. I've thrilled to share his words on those subjects here on Choices today.  Light Overcomes Darkness By Mike Garcia Life is the most precious of gifts.   When we break it down, what in life is most important?  It depends on who is being asked.  Some may say making a living, which means making money.  Some may say relationships or health.  And of course, there is no reason to judg … [Read more...]

New photos taken with my cell phone

Keith Alan Hamilton, poet and photographer and creator of The Hamilton Gallery, came to visit from the Boston area a couple of weekends ago, and we toured him around some of our favorite places. Poems to accompany these photos will be posted soon. Manhattan Beach Marina del Rey The Music Center and Disney Hall                         The Getty … [Read more...]

Introducing Sonia Marsh

I met face to face with Sonia Marsh for the first time yesterday after a long virtual friendship and a lot of win-win networking. She is the author of the newly released memoir Freeways to Flip-Flops (available at in both paperback and Kindle, as well as Barnes and Noble) and the Gutsy Livingblog. I posted my gutsy story there in June, and I'm pleased to say, I won for the gutsiest story of the month. Please go over to Gutsy Livingto receive a special gift. Just scroll down and look for the red starfish. So Sonia and I talked nonstop mostly about how to go about the business of selling a book. We shared websites, conference information, how to get on panel discussions, what organizations we belong to. I urged her to join our Greater Los Angeles Writers Society. Although Sonia lives in Orange County, GLAWS has members who come to meetings and events all the way from Arizona. Yesterday's highlight was meeting with one of the proprietors of my local indie … [Read more...]


Whenever puffs of clouds are high in the sky I think of Georgia O'Keefe. While this morning's clouds against a true blue sky aren't really like Georgia's painted ones, they are just as beautiful. July 19, 2012 - Manhattan Beach, CA     Georgia O'Keefe's Clouds … [Read more...]

Yesterday’s beauty

Seven-thirty in the morning - after the rain - Manhattan Beach … [Read more...]

Family photos

I was practically obsessive about taking family photos especially toward the end of Paul's life. Like I had some sort of premonition. Unfortunately we don't have a lot of early ones without my mother in them. She never wanted to be left out, and she always stood right up front and center. This first here was at the time of Paul's graduation from grade school. The last was just a few months before he died. I am so fortunate to have this many. (Scroll down, there's a poem at the end.) First Trophy So after all the dishes are washed and put away and she checks her emails one last time before closing her computer down, she comes across an old photo, a little crumpled and faded of her boy at age five, her first-born son. His blonde hair cut like an upside-down cereal bowl around his face, his dark blue eyes twinkling, his wide smile showing a gap where his two front teeth should be, he proudly holds up his first soccer trophy to the camera. And … [Read more...]

A perfect day for a walk on the beach

I usually take a big long walk to the beach on Sunday mornings, but now that it's lighter at six o'clock, I decided a walk this morning would be a nice change from the monotony of the gym. And I wasn't disappointed. As the sun began to appear I could see for blocks up the beach and all the way to Catalina. The bike path looking toward the Manhattan Beach pier Hey, Catalina's out for a change I could even see the strings of lights atop the pier round house … [Read more...]

Heat wave reprieve

Today is the hottest day we've had this year, and it's way beyond the end of summer. Though I'm staying inside our well-insulated house and keeping quite cool, I still can't help longing for a nice long walk along the ocean. As a substitute I've picked out a few photos I took of our beautiful Manhattan Beach shoreline this past year, and I plan to revisit it tomorrow morning before the sun comes up. View of the pier from The Strand The rocks at the north end On The Strand before full light Ready for the game … [Read more...]

Manhattan Beach September 11 Memorial

I had often wondered how our September 11 Memorial beams came to us. Our local paper, The Beach Reporter, solved the mystery for me this week. The article says Manhattan Beach resident, Jeff Neu, received the contract to recycle the steel from the World Trade Center, and he donated two red beams from the collapsed towers to the Manhattan Beach Fire Department. The memorial on the corner of Fifteenth Street and Valley Drive, in front of the fire department, was designed by Scott Yanofsky of the Terra Firma Group and dedicated on September 11, 2007. Yanofsky designed the placement of the beams to mirror the placement of the towers as they stood at the World Trade Center. A memorial ceremony is planned for tomorrow, September 11, 2011, at 8 am at the memorial site. Since I live just a few blocks away, on Valley Drive, I'll be there. Please join if you can. The Manhattan Beach September 11 Memorial Launching A Landmark I live in a land of landmarks the Hollywood sign, the … [Read more...]

Broken foot update

Today is five months and one day since Bob fell down a dark stairway in a Sutter Creek, California bed and breakfast and broke his foot. Those of you who follow my blog know the story surgery two weeks later to pin the three broken metatarsal bones together because of all the ligament damage, months of his riding around on a scooter-like vehicle called a RollerAid, walking for weeks after that wearing the Boot, and months of physical therapy. Plus until he could get rid of the boot I was his chauffeur. Believe me, none of it was a pleasant experience. So here's an update. He is walking very well wearing New Balance extra wide shoes though his foot is still red and swollen. He does foot exercises and soaks his foot in ice water twice a day, he works out at the gym twice a week with a personal trainer and once on his own, and he has begun to walk for about thirty minutes each day. I wish I could say that his exercise program is pain free, but that is not so yet. He's thinking … [Read more...]

A gray morning

Just as "Morning Has Broken" began to play on my iPod, the sun started to show through from behind the clouds. The end of the Manhattan Beach Pier Looking east up Manhattan Beach Boulevard from the end of the pier … [Read more...]

The wonder of "room air"

It's been quite a week. From Bob's first day home until today we've been on a roller coaster ride. He was very weak at first and experienced shortness of breath just walking on his crutches from his bed to the bathroom a few feet away. But by the time he went to his cardiologist on Tuesday, his second day home, he was like another person with it, no shortness of breath, and moving quite agilely on either his walker or crutches. And when his doc concluded, after an EKG, chest x-rays, and a controlled test of Bob breathing room air, that Bob no longer needed oxygen, Bob's attitude and mood changed in a flash. By the time we got home he was ready to go back to using his scooter to avoid the wrist and underarm discomfort he felt with the crutches. No more worry over oxygen tubing gave him the confidence. We both began to feel so confident about his health and mood that we talked again about attending a family wedding in San Diego a two-hour drive away this weekend. But we would go … [Read more...]

Last stone for NaSmaStoMo

Jan 31: I walked just one block toward the ocean this morning, and the salt air and sunshine told me just how glorious a day this is going to be. … [Read more...]

Small Stones seven through thirteen

Jan 7: I'm going through each page of my manuscript combing every line for my editor's neatly printed turquoise blue pen marks. Jan 8: We sit crushed together on hard folding-chair seats, gobbling down every word our writing gurus say. Jan 9: The little babies converse across the booth seat as we eat at the Corner Bakery this morning. Jan 10: I watch the tiny leaves sway in the yard next door under a gray, gloom. Jan 11: One loud jolt, then a short rumbling shake. Yes, a small earthquake but I don't worry. (And I lived to write about it.) Jan 12: The waves roll in lazily; their whitecaps barely able to touch the shore. Jan 13: A starling family hops around a small garden near the beach, their dark metallic feathers etched with gold specks. … [Read more...]

First small stones

North end of Manhattan Beach NaSmaStoMo entries for days one through three: Jan 1: The puffy white jet streams intersect the morning's clear blue sky, belying those dire predictions of rain. Jan 2: The bubbles dance on my cement pool's surface, waiting for the birds to drink. Jan 3: My little Buddhas in green, gold, silver, and stone, greet me with laughter, success, and good health. They watch me closely as I write. … [Read more...]