Has Letter Writing Become Equivalent to Carving in Stone?


At the crossroads of the world–let’s call it Vienna–any place now is considered a crossroad if people from all over the world congregate there.

Number One and I   were enjoying the perks of frequently traveling and staying in the same hotel–loyalty pays.  In the Executive lounge on the 8th floor of the Hilton, overlooking the Blue Danube, we were reminiscing with friends about our college days and how we communicated with each other and our families.

Whenever friends get together, we love to reminisce and take pictures.  So, our friend asked the couple at the table across from us to take our picture.    As people often do when they travel, we started a conversion.  Travelers are not afraid to speak to strangers because at this point everyone is a stranger.

We learned that this lovely couple was living in Australia, the mother was from the Ukraine and the father was a Russian  Jew with thick white hair like Einstein.   They had their teenage daughter with them, who was born in Germany and is now Australian.

At one point in the conversation we spoke about writing letters to our families and that the mail took two weeks usually for a return response, sometimes longer.  The young mother’s jaw dropped.  “You actually wrote letters?” she asked. Continue reading

Best Way to Drum Up Some Business

Easter Egg Hunt

Two of our granddaughters were visiting for Easter, so we decided to take them to the Carlsbad Egg Scramble. This was new for us because our kids only looked for eggs in our back yard. Number One had as much fun hiding them as the kids did finding them.

Egg Scramble is a very appropriate name. The eggs were strewn all over the field and the children just had to run fast and pick up as many as they could. My granddaughter had been well trained–I think she did this before–because she was very fast and filled her bucket in seconds. She must have picked up 25 eggs and each egg was filled with candy. The eggs had been donated by a local business.


The dentists in Carlsbad have a sweet, business savvy.    By the way, our eggs were filled with coins.

Mind Over My Aching Body

My mind believes it is 25 years old.

However, my body KNOWS it is 40 years older than that!

Today, the sun was shining and it was in the 60’s and I wanted to see Munich.  I’ve always loved to walk around a city.

So…today I decided to walk to the Englischer Garten which according to the concierge was about 3 kilometers from the hotel.


Englischer Garten
Munich, Germany


Okay, three kilometers is a little more than a mile and a half.  I walk a mile and a half often so that will be easy peesy for me

I walked and walked and walked and walked, hoping I would cross the Ludwig Bridge and I would  walk along the river and head to the garden.

I walked and walked and walked some more. I carried the map, but I couldn’t find the streets on the map–nor could I find a bridge or a river.

I did find a beautiful tree lined path and I marveled at the old architecture of the city.  But, after an hour of walking–I realized I had walked a lot more than a mile and a half.   So, I conceded defeat and turned around. (And for those who know me, it takes a lot to concede defeat.

Continue reading

How Do You Operate This?


California’s severe drought lasted about 5 years. In 2015, the state was the driest it had ever been in 500 years.


There was a total of 38 inches of rain in those five years combined. That is an average of a little more than 6 inches
a year. The average yearly rainfall should be 23 inches. As you can see, we had a problem.


This year we have been blessed with lots and lots and lots of rain. The snow packs are 170% of normal. Dams are threatening to break because of the excess water in the reservoirs. Yesterday we had two inches of rain in one day!!!!

Remember, this is Southern California and it doesn’t rain in Southern California. Well, it did this year!




No, this is how you open it!

We have not used umbrellas in six years. We have forgotten how to open them. Some children probably have never seen one.

Yes, we need to re-learn how to open the umbrella. It took some time. I knew there was supposed to be a button somewhere to open it, but I had to turn the umbrella around twice to find it.

Ok, it opens easily.

But, how do I close it?  Wait, it takes more pressure to close it than I remembered. I drag it into Continue reading

I Found My Peeps

How far back does culture affect your life?

As a family, living in rural Wisconsin, meals were never something we rushed through.
No one was in a huge hurry to get up from the table and start whatever they needed to do. It wasn’t because we were lazy, it was because we enjoyed sitting and having a conversation while the food started to digest. We knew the table would be cleaned up, but it wasn’t urgent.

We Are All Immigrants

My paternal grandfather came from Germany, and my paternal grandmother came from Norway as a very young child. My maternal grandparents are a mixture of German, Norwegian and Danish.

My Peeps  (For the non-Hollywood types peeps means people)

We in dined in Munich with our German friends last night. They lingered after they were finished eating! One even commented that in Germany one must linger over dinner. Yipppeeeeee! I found my peeps!

Not Just Us

Now I know it just wasn’t my family that lingered. This is a custom or part of the German culture that was passed on to me.

Conflict of Cultures

My husbands culture is to finish the meal quickly and clean up the dishes before–god forbid–the sauce dries on the plates.

As you may have noticed, that is a major difference in our cultures. It is not just the American culture versus the Egyptian culture, it is also the Egyptian culture versus the German ancestral customs that I never realized were so much a part of me.

Clash of Cultures–How do we solve this?

I have found a very simple solution. My husband jumps up from the table and starts washing the dishes. I linger long enough until it looks like he is almost done and then I get up to “help.” If it is so important that it gets cleaned up right away–go for it. I will not stop you.

But don’t even think about stopping me from lingering.

When Do You Pack Them Up?

Is there a protocol for this?

I’ve been retired for 18 months. That’s long enough to have two babies, but it is long enough to wait before I pack up my business suits?
Is there a magic formula the states when we can pack up our career life? No, I am not regretting my retirement. I am writing this blog from Munich, Germany and this is the second country I visited since the year began, and it is only January 16. So no–you can work–and I can travel.

Going Back?

I loved my job. But I am not going back. That job needs endless energy and even though I have a lot of energy, I don’t have nearly what is needed.
But giving up a symbol of your job, that identifies you as a professional woman, is concerning.

What is my career garb now?

I have a lot of careers going on all at once, I am a writer. I can write in my jammies, or if I want, I can dress up. I am a storyteller. Do storytellers wear suits? Nope–they are much more casual. I am a grandmother four times over. To be a grandmother, you have to wear hats at tea parties, jammies at slumber parties and an apron to protect whatever you are wearing when creating beautifully decorated cupcakes. But there is no place for a business suit.

I did it!

Yes, I packed them up. Classic suits can be worn for many years, and believe me, I had mine for quite a while. I packed them up and got them as far as the garage. I was going to give myself time before I took them to Goodwill, just in case I might suddenly need one of them. But, my husband solved the dilemma. He asked if the bags were going to Goodwill? I told him yes, but I didn’t think he was taking them at that moment!!! So, my suits are gone.

Well almost.

I did save one–just in case of an emergency.

Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden

A New Beginning

I am entering a truly new chapter and I am beginning at square one. Twenty, no, make that 5 years, ago if you told me that I would be pushing against tradition, I would not have believed you. Yes, I do what I want, but I am still a traditionalist.

I joined an order that has been around since the mid 15th century. At that time “ladies” would never dream of joining this order, but now it is popular for both genders.

What am I playing?


Watching it on TV brought tears of boredom to my eyes, so I never put it on my radar. But, to be fair, I have the same opinion of many sports. I like to play softball, but watching baseball is tortuously and agonizingly slow. It guess I am not a person who likes to sit on the sidelines. Does that sound familiar?

I am eating my words.

I am sorry I ever thought otherwise, but golf IS an exercise. It is a great core exercise, particularly when you hit five baskets of balls on the driving range. I think I might have to pick up yoga. It will help because in order to hold the club, you must push your backside out, bring your arms up with your right arm stuck to your waist, left arm straight and the bottom of the handle aimed at the ball while twisting your body and then shifting your weigh from one leg to the other–it feels like more of a yoga move or maybe better yet a contortionist created this sport.

We are taking lessons–they only way for educators to learn–with friends. After three lessons I can HIT the ball seven out of ten times. Sounds good, right? Well out of those 10 shots maybe one goes the direction that I want and half the distance I need. Well, I gotta start somewhere.

I have a new name for the sport. Gentlemen Odium Ladies’ Fairway. I looked it up, Odium means a general disgust towards someone because of their actions.

It feels good to be a member of this old order, even though the originators are turning over in their graves in horror.

Sunrise And A Rainbow–Is It A Good Omen?

Golden Glow

My eyes are closed, but I see a golden glow beyond my closed eyelids. My eyes peel open and the room seems to be gilded.

As we open the balcony door, brilliant hues sing their color like a chorus reaching a crescendo, as they paint the sky. The gold is streaked with soft rose and blues of royal, azure and turquoise. They sky is an ever changing canvas of different shades and tones of peach, tangerine, coral and a blush of pink.

We are mesmerized and awed by nature’s beauty as we are enveloped in a warm cocoon of color.

By its very nature, sunrise is fleeting, but the peace, contentment and awe endures for many a day.


Waking up to such beauty energizes you to start the day. I dressed in a hurry and scurried out the door to pick up some items at the store.

An Omen?

On my way back, not an hour had passed since the sunrise, and I thought I glimpsed a rainbow. Were my eyes playing tricks on me because there was no rain in sight and very few clouds? As I topped the hill, I realized my eyes were fine. I could see the two sides of the rainbow. One side was in the front of the house and the other was in the back of the house.

At that point I realized someone was sending us a message. There is so much beauty and goodness and we are surrounded by it every day, but maybe we are so wound up in what we need to do and what is happening in the world, that we don’t really see it.

I am going to see them as good omens for all of us.

Reality is Real World Nightmares

Not Into Politics

I am not a political animal. I have enough people around me who tackle politics not only in the US, but in many other countries. I hear their constant opinions. They do not argue, they just have opinions.


In truth, it does not upset me if a Republican or a Democrat wins. If they have the country’s best interest at heart, I know they will do their best and we will continue to be a strong country.

But this election was different, we were not voting Republican or Democrat. We were either voting for a woman or a host of TV reality show.

I have been up for quite some time now because I cannot sleep. The fact that I am writing at 5:30 A.M. should be proof of that. This is an hour I see only if we have an early flight. I am not a morning person!

I cannot sleep because I have nightmares. The last one was a doozy and it wasn’t the weird ones that you cannot explain. This one was clear. Our President Elect was angry at a comment another person said and he pulled out the football and was searching for the codes. I woke up–glad that this was NOT a reality nightmare.

And It Continues

Since it was four something in the morning, I had to get some more sleep so I flop over and close my eyes. My dreams are like movies because they continue after the break. In this part of the nightmare, we are watching the nukes fly west. I know that it is the end because we see a barrage of missiles coming our way. We are running, but there is no place to go. I try to scream, but I cannot make a sound. I wake up again, this time I am shaking. I refuse to go back to sleep. This is one movie I don’t want to see the end of.

Am I going to live in fear for the next four years?