“Just a Little Hope” – A Song by Len and Sam Leatherwood

This is a song that I co-wrote with my brother, Sam, a while back. I love it, primarily because of the chorus from which the title is taken. This is a song about how “just a little hope” can get you through tough times. It feels especially appropriate right now and brings me solace when…

Love, Color and A Bit of Surprise

I grew up with two strong black women who worked for our family, one from the time I was born until I was 8 and the other from when I was 8 until I was 19. Their names were Louise Love and Lorene Massey and they washed our clothes, cleaned our house, cooked our food,…

An Anniversary in the Midst of a Pandemic and Protests

Here is the maple sugar-sweetened hummingbird cake I made to commemorate Ray’s and my 40th wedding anniversary. We ate it with homemade honey-sweetened vanilla ice cream. This was after a relaxed meal of tortilla soup I made in my trusty Instant Pot. Our big event today besides all this cooking/eating was a trip to the…

The Comfort That Comes from Using My Hands

I have been up in Ojai today making slipcovers for our outdoor furniture. I am not a seamstress of any real merit, but I am capable of sewing a straight stitch on my old Brother sewing machine. I will say that I’m a better seamstress now than when I started, which, in truth, included another…

The Messiness of Change

I wrote this piece a while back, but it seems more relevant today than ever. We are in the midst of change in our society and the process is messy. However, change can bring good things and make life better for everyone. We just have to recognize that messiness is part of what happens when…

Thomas Tallis for Comfort Tonight

I am listening to Thomas Tallis’s “Lamentation” while I write tonight.  I often listen to this type of music when I need comfort and these days I feel a need for comfort. Thomas Tallis was a 16th-century English composer who was (and continues to be) revered for the beauty of his sacred choral music. Lamentation…

Congratulations to My Writing Student, Katia!

Hooray to Katia, who has been accepted to UCLA, UC-Berkeley, UC-Santa Barbara, UC-Davis and Loyola Marymount University. She will be attending UCLA. Katia’s essays are full of color and vivid images. Her writing helps the reader see, hear, taste, touch and smell whatever she is describing. She is very particular in her word choice to…

Congratulations to My Writing Student, Ethan Remez-Cott!

My writing student Ethan will soon be graduating from LA Count High School for the Arts and has been accepted at five schools, all for musical theater. Theses include: University of Miami, University of Arizona, Syracuse University, Boston Conservatory and Otterbein University in Ohio. He has committed to Boston Conservatory. Clearly, Ethan is very talented…

Luna and Grandma Story #3

Learning a Lesson in the Night Abby, the apple; Leslie, the lemon; and Brigitte, the banana all live in a fruit bowl in the kitchen of the Sand family. They live in a beach house in Estero Beach, Mexico, where they just moved. Coral, who is twelve-years-old, loves the ocean so much that her room…