An Homage to Mani’s Bakery, Here in LA

As some of you know and many of you don’t, Ray and I do not eat white refined sugar. We haven’t since the early 1980s, with the exception of a few slip-ups on my part a few years back. (Ray never slips when it comes to white sugar, much to his credit.) We eat instead…

Gardening with Rachael

Today, Rachael and I worked in our little postage stamp sized garden. We already have a few strawberry plants, a jalapeño pepper plant, some parsley, and some yams growing from shoots we started in the kitchen. Today we added several different lettuces, green onions, three tomato plants and a chocolate green pepper plant. (Ray picked…

Missing My Brother George on the Anniversary of his Death

On Sunday while I was in virtual church (who knew that would ever be a thing?), I was listening as our priest read the names that are written in our parish’s chantry book, where people are prayed for on the anniversary of their deaths. While sitting there, I heard my brother’s name read – George…

Congratulations to Sweet Lona, New Brown Graduate!

I am proud to announce that one of my closest students, Lona Tehrani, graduated today Magna Cum Laude from Brown University. Lona and I have become very good friends over these past five years since we met when she was a senior in high school. We’ve spent lots of hours together on college entrance essays…

A Lesson I’ve Had to Learn Over and Over and Over

I have had to learn the hard way – meaning, I’ve had to make this mistake many times with three different daughters – before I understood a basic truth in life: Nobody wants you to tell them the truth (if it’s negative) when asked, “How do I look?” My girls still bring up my multiple “wrong”…

What’s On My Writing Desk

Right now, I can look over and see a variety of items off to my right here on my writing table. I see John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath, Pam Houston’s Waltzing the Cat, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. There is also a three inch thick edition of Bartlett’s Roget’s Thesaurus, the…

The Grapes of Wrath & Writing Advice from John Steinbeck

The chimes of the grandfather clock just announced it is three-quarters through the 8 o’clock hour. I have been working all day long, making up for some of those relaxed days in Mexico last week. I will be keeping this writing to exactly 20 minutes, including the photo and the posting. Ray asked me not…

A Time When I Was the Target of Discrimination

I wrote this piece in response to the prompt: Have you ever experienced prejudice? When I was at the University of Utah, I was in a special program called Free Curriculum for my junior and senior years. This program had only 26 students and was offered through the psychology department. The program was experimental and…

Heading back to LA on Amtrak

We walked across the Mexican border. Everyone wore masks. We then took a trolley to the Amtrak station in San Diego and are now almost to LA. This is our first time for this adventure. Overall, quite easy. Once in LA, we’ll take the subway to Hollywood and Highland then make the trek to where…

Perec, “Constraints” in Writing and a Sample Flash Fiction Story

Daughter Rachael is getting a Master’s degree in English Literature from Loyola Marymount University here in Los Angeles. She periodically shares with me information that she is learning along the way. One such bit of sharing is about a French author, Georges Perec, who was known for his “constrained” writing. He wrote novels, screenplays, documentaries…