More beautiful words about Bob Sharples

Robert (Bob) Sharples z"l As we are about to celebrate Thanksgiving, it is with deep sadness that I share the news of the passing of Robert Sharples, z"l, beloved husband of Madeline, father of Benjamin (Marissa) Sharples, and Paul z'l, and Eric z'l. Bob and Madeline have been members of our community since the early days of CTJ in Manhattan Beach, and are cherished friends of many. Bob was a true renaissance man; an exceptional aerospace engineer and project manager at Northrup Gruman (TRW) for decades, an avid traveler and student of life.  He filled his 83 years with accomplishment, beauty, charm, and worthy achievement.  He expressed courage and faith in facing confounding illness over the past year, and seemed to be on the path to a full recovery and a return to his active life. Bob was an engaging and sincere conversationalist, and he brought wisdom and a smile to all encounters.  He will be dearly missed by his family, friends, and colleagues. His li … [Read more...]

Rest in peace, my darling

Our brilliant Renaissance man, Robert Edwin Sharples, died after a long illness this past Sunday, November 22, 2020. Born on February 4, 1937 in Ridgewood Queens New York, he was eighty-three years old. He moved to California in 1961 and became a resident of Manhattan Beach ten years later. Bob had a long career in aerospace as an engineering manager and proposal manager. He managed numerous very large proposals for Northrop Grumman/TRW, including James Webb, National Polar-Orbiting Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS), and Jupiter Icy-moons Orbiter (JIMO). The sum of the winning bids for the list of proposals he managed is nearly nine billion dollars. He also worked on the development of the US Air Force’s Minuteman III MIRV ballistic missile weapon system, serving as the Manager of Systems Engineering and Test for the Minuteman Program Office in charge of the testing of the weapon system. Other management work included the development of real-time software for the H … [Read more...]

Crazy about books? Meet LitNuts!

Choices is happy to introduce you to LitNuts. Here's what they are all about. For Readers So, LitNuts brings you books of short stories, essays, or poetry that many other newsletters refuse to include (because collections don’t sell as well as novels). LitNuts also features new releases and award-winning books that other newsletters exclude because of price. (Many newsletters feature ONLY ebooks priced at $2.99 or less, which is fine – but not all great books are $2.99 or less!). And authors, you'll be happy to hear that LitNuts founders Mike O’Mary and Kathleen Meyer handled publishing and marketing for an indie press for more than 10 years. This is important because that means they understand the challenge of getting your books in front of readers. For Authors LitNuts is an affordable vehicle that focuses on indie books and has engaged subscribers. Their goal is to help authors increase their book’s sales rank with online retailers, generate more reader reviews, and cre … [Read more...]

Introducing Margi Preus’ The Silver Box

Welcome to Margi Preus' WOW! Women on Writing tour of The Silver Box. You'll definitely want to add this wonderful middle grade fiction book to your reading list! Book Summary In the final Enchantment Lake mystery, Francie’s search for the truth about her mother—and herself—plunges her into danger during a North Woods winter.  When she wakes in her aunts’ cold cabin on the shore of Enchantment Lake, Francie remembers: everything about her life has changed. Or is about to. Or just might. Everything depends on the small, engraved silver box that she now possesses—if only she can follow its cryptic clues to the whereabouts of her missing mother and understand, finally, just maybe, the truth about who she really is. Francie, it turns out, has a lot to learn, and this time the lessons could be deadly. Her search for answers takes her and her best friends Raven and Jay as far afield as an abandoned ranch in Arizona and as close to home as a sketchy plant collector’s conservato … [Read more...]

A terrific voting poem

I took writing classes from Jack Grapes for many years. I wrote much of my memoir Leaving the Hall Light On there. And still I go to an occasional workshop or poetry refresher. Jack has always been my favorite writing instructor. And he is a wonderful writer and actor as well. I received the following poem in an email the other day and feel it's very much worth sharing with my readers here. It validates the importance of voting and now that we finally know the results, it confirms how voting is a  power we must not throw away. I voted. I hope all of you did too. Hopefully you feel as happy with the presidential election results as I do. Here's Jack. Lori and I voted yesterday. We got to our local polling place at 9am, an hour before they opened. That great art-deco building, the Saban Theater, on Wilshire Blvd. Got a parking spot directly in FRONT of the place. Sacre Bleau! We expected long lines. Except for the guy taping up voting directions and an American flag, … [Read more...]

Some more draft (political) poems

Since election day is three days away I thought I'd post a few more of my draft political poems. Hopefully they'll make sure you get out to vote for my favorite: Mr. Joe Biden. How could anyone really want to vote for the other guy?   The last election stages Are going on: That election year ritual Of 60 Minutes interviews With the candidates Airs tonight Large venues have opened Their doors for early voting And poll watching and speculation As to who will win are going on full force. I fluctuate between confidence That my guy, Joe Biden, Will win, and win in a landslide, Considering the long lines Of early voters all over the country, And being scared Donald will somehow pull it off as a result of all his dirty tricks And paying off his base. Well, I don’t have much longer to wait Though they also say We probably won’t know on election night Maybe in the days and weeks thereafter.       Do people just pull them Off the … [Read more...]

Sepsis, a potentially deadly disease

In late August I wrote what I thought was the final report on my husband's two bouts of sepsis (blood infection). He was doing great - walking without anymore difficulty, eating well again, and even getting to the point of driving his car and going places on his own. Unfortunately, he had a third recurrence of sepsis that started on September 26 and he's been in the hospital ever since. The good news this time is that the doctors found the bacteria and the source of the infection. The bad news is it will take my husband much longer to recover than it did the first two times. In week four of his hospitalization he still is not walking, he needs to be fed through a tube in his nose, and his mental ability is still not back to normal. Because the risk of sepsis is higher in seniors, I thought I'd provide all my senior friends who read this website with some information about this potentially life-threatening disease. I certainly knew nothing about it until if affected my husband. … [Read more...]

Becoming a blogger the journaling way

I  have been a fervent journal writer for over thirty years and I love to hear about other's journaling experiences. Dr. Mona Balogh, also an avid journaler, writes little vignettes about her  patients in her new book, How to Stay Out of My Emergency Room. And she has written a post for Choices about how she turned her journal entries into a blog. Please welcome Dr. Mona Balogh. My Failed Online Bookstore Turned Me into a Blogger by Dr. Mona Balogh I began blogging when my children were little, and I had an online bookstore called “Oasis Family Bookstore.” I sold homeschool books and wrote about “Homeschooling Made Easi-er,” implying that homeschooling is not easy. After the store and website failed, I learned how not to sell books online. But I was able to convincingly write about how to homeschool a family, and even help others homeschool their own children. I also attended many homeschool groups, conferences, get-togethers, park days, and co-schooled, hired teachers and gratefull … [Read more...]

Some new draft poems

I've been writing a poem a day for several months. At first they were about anything  interesting out there. Now for the last four months or so I've chosen to write about things going on in the government, the so-called administration, and our current president. Here are a few samples - definitely still in draft form. What do you think? George Floyd's Legacy Yesterday George Floyd was eulogized By Reverend Al Sharpton. He said “Get your knee off our necks,” Sounding an alarm throughout our land. For hundreds of years we’ve had Our knees on the necks of black and brown People without let up, without pressure Of pain and arrest for doing so. Sharpton’s words hopefully will Bring our nation peace and free Us all from the white supremacy We have thought we were Entitled to. We aren’t. We are no Different from those we’re stepping on. And it’s time for us to act as if All our lives are equal. Thank you, Reverend Al Sharpton, For the power of your words. &nbs … [Read more...]

A writer’s home office

I firmly believe that a writer should have a special and private place to write. And in fact I've written about that subject many times - quoting Virginia Woolf and her adage that a writer have "a room of one's  own." See my previous post on this subject posted on February 4, 2018 here: A room of my own – revisited, which is heavy on the personal touches as described below. This post will walk you through what such a room needs in order to make your space usable, comfortable, and necessary to further your writing career. A Room of One’s Own: The Value of a Writer’s Home Office Writing is possibly the most flexible of professions. One only needs to tap into their creativity, and, of course, break out their writing toolkit — which in this day and age mostly consists of a computer. You can be anywhere in the world tapping away on your keyboard in the early hours of the morning. But if you’re serious about turning writing into a viable career, discipline is a must. What can re … [Read more...]

Remembering and honoring Ruth Bader Ginsberg

From The Daily KOS: "On Friday September 18, 2020, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a women's rights icon, died at 87. "Her storied 27-year tenure as the second woman justice on the U.S. Supreme Court followed a lifelong dedicationto advancing the rights of women. In particular, her work to protect, defend, and advance abortion rights and access saved the lives of countless individuals who were previously forced to seek unsafe abortion care. "Days before her death, Justice Ginsburg told her granddaughter, “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new President is installed.” "We must do everything we can to honor her wish, fight against a Trump nominee, and continue her legacy of fighting for women’s rights. "Justice Ginsburg leaves a lasting legacy for women's equality and reproductive rights. May her memory be a blessing and her trailblazing quest for justice a guiding light." RBG was my hero. Here are a few images I've collected of her. … [Read more...]

A September 11 story – redux

September is always a sad month for me - the anniversary of our son's death on September 23 and the anniversary of the World Trade Center tragedy on September 11. How fitting that the Flight 93 National Memorial's Tower of Voices was just finished by Paul Murdoch and a team at his Los Angeles firm, Paul Murdoch Architects. It marks the site in Western Pennsylvania where United Flight 93 struck the earth on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, killing everyone aboard. An architectural rendering for “The Tower of Voices,” designed by Paul Murdoch Architects, in collaboration with a team of engineers, acousticians and one composer. (bioLINIA / Paul Murdoch Architects ) The tower is outfitted with 40 aluminum chimes, one in honor of each passenger and crew member. *** Flight 93 came into focus in our California community shortly after the crash when my friend and jeweler was asked to repair and clean jewelry recovered from the crash site. Here is the story I wrote several years ago ab … [Read more...]

Writing advice from the experts

Some great quotes to get your started on your writing journey.   … [Read more...]

A final report – hopefully!

The last time I reported on my husband, Bob’s, health was July 31. At that time he was still in hospital for the second time in less than a month. I finally brought him home on August fifth, but I must say I didn’t see much improvement until late last week. He was sleeping a lot during the day and night, not eating much, and finding it very hard to get around even with his walker. It was very discouraging - such that I kept telling him I didn’t know how to take care of him. I did, however, keep feeding him. I would make him a smoothie first thing in the morning using Boost with twenty grams of protein, fresh fruit, yogurt, and some sorbet - all flavor coordinated. At first that was enough breakfast, but after a few days he asked for more food - like a couple of fried eggs, a piece of toast with cream cheese and jam on it, or some cheese and crackers. That was the first good sign. As a matter of fact, he started talking about what foods he’d like to eat later in the day. I didn … [Read more...]

VOTE Biden/Harris on November 3

A dear friend sent me an email this morning with the following information. Though he says these points are strictly his, I am in total agreement and decided to share them with my Choices readers. Though I don't get too political here, there are times when it's important to do so. Now is one of those times. We must VOTE and vote Trump out of office. Our democracy depends on it. On November 3, please vote for the Biden/Harris ticket. Here are my friend's words: The Biden/Harris team has now received the Democratic nomination. Now we all must evaluate whether Trump is qualified to stay as president for another four years. Here is my personal analysis of his ability to continue as President. TOPIC: COVID-19 Pandemic Trump said "It is what it is" in a recent interview with Axios. Our President said the Pandemic is under control and the death toll “is what it is." From the beginning of the battle against the virus Trump has declared that the Pandemic is under control and is going a … [Read more...]

Read Absolute. It is a wonderful poem!

I've been reading a poem-a-day in my email input box for years. And every once in a while I come across a poem that seems to take my breath away. The one I'm sharing with you today is that one for now. I hope you love it as much as I do. Congratulations Jacqueline Woodson for your wonderful poem. Absolute Jacqueline Woodson The summer I was ten a teenager named Kim butterflied my hair. Cornrows curling into braids  behind each ear. Everybody’s wearing this style now, Kim said. Who could try to tell me I wasn’t beautiful. The magic in something as once ordinary as hair that for too long  had not been good enough now winged and amazing  now connected  to a long line of crowns. Now connected to a long line of girls moving through Brooklyn with our heads held so high, our necks ached. You must  know this too – that feeling  of being so much more than you once believed yourself to be so much more than your too- … [Read more...]

Yup! A perfect read for these times

I'm so happy to brag that my historical novel, Papa's Shoes, received three five-star reviews in the last week. I hope you'll pick up the book and read it while you're at home during the coronavirus shut down. Then be so kind to write another five-star review. With huge thanks!!! Where I Got the Idea for Papa's Shoes While my husband was writing our family histories some twenty-five years ago, he interviewed some of the elders in our family and collected writings by others. I became very intrigued with what my aunt – my father’s sister – wrote about her life as a young girl when she was well into her eighties. That she wrote a whole page describing her friendship – as she called it – with a young gentile teacher named Merrill Faulk. He would pick her up at her family home and take her to school plays and concerts and then out for a bite afterward. She also wrote that her brother (my father) objected so strongly that he got the family to move to Chicago to get her away from this … [Read more...]

From good to bad overnight

I’m glad to say this month is over. It’s been an awful one. Of course this summer has been hard for all of us now that the coronavirus is reattacking us, but we’ve had other health issues in our home. Yesterday I had to call the paramedics to take my husband Bob to the hospital. His second time there this month. And yesterday’s episode was such a shock. Just the day before he was feeling pretty good. He was eating again, able to walk fine with his walker and go up and down the stairs all right, using his cane. And he even had an online conversation with his doctor who said he looked so well, he didn’t have to see him again until October. When I tried to get him up yesterday and get ready for an in-person doctor’s appointment, he lay there in bed for another hour dozing. I finally had to force him out of bed, and he did manage to get out and use his walker to get to the bathroom. He even gave himself a sponge bath. But afterward it was hard to get him to get dressed. I brought … [Read more...]

Please welcome adventurer, Rita Pomade

We are so happy to host Rita Pomade during her WOW! Women on Writing virtual book/blog tour. Rita is the author of the memoir, Seeker: A Sea Odyssey, the story of two people who meet in Mexico and fall in love.   And we thank Rita for writing this wonderful guest post: The Benefits of Spending Time Abroad When I was a child I refused to finish my porridge and was told to think of the starving children in China. I remember asking where China was and being told it was on the other side of the world. At five years old I started to dig my way there. I dug a hole so deep a board had to be placed over it. The next summer I returned to my hole, and shoveled until I hit water. My trip was aborted. The exploration of another culture would have to wait. As soon as I could afford it, I was off to Mexico. I stayed seven years. My foray into this foreign culture expanded me in every way possible. Its landscape was different from anything I’d known before, from its vast deserts … [Read more...]

More ten-minute poems

I'm still writing a poem every day and actually spending only ten minutes on them. My favorite subject these days is the seemingly coming downfall of our current president - Number 45. The polls, if they are right, sure show Joe Biden way ahead. And you'll see if you read my poems, I'll do everything possible to avoid using his name in them. Here are three: 1.He pulled another fast one. In the middle of the night, Asking the Supreme Court To cancel the Affordable Care Act And take away health insurance From 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions and total health coverage from 23 million Americans. It’s a mean, amoral, and insensitive act Smack in the midst of New COVID-19 cases and deaths Breaking all-time records in the U.S. in a single day. Notice how I refuse To even write down his name? 2. Last night our so-called president Held a rally at the Mt. Rushmore site In South Dakota, without adhering To social distancing and Mask wearing p … [Read more...]