Sunday, October 21, 2018


I dreamed last night I was crossing the Atlantic on the SS America. This was a voyage I really took as a newly wed in 1964 to join my Army musician husband in Germany.

My father had driven me to New York, made sure I was in my cabin, found a German woman to be my friend. She had moved to Miami with the intention of staying in the U.S., married an Army Sargent who was deployed to Germany. She was less than happy about going "home."

My father also arranged for my place at the dining table making sure there were other young people at the table where I would take all my meals. They were four-star restaurant quality.

I was taking his dream trip.

The trip was a week out of time. Despite being third class, the meals were wonderful and the entertainment on-going: movies, dances, games, library. I quickly made friends including the German woman who seems so much more sophisticated than I was.

Before boarding the ship, I had been over protected never being allowed into Boston, less than 12 miles away. Quite a contrast, especially since I would have to make my way from Le Havre, France to Stuttgart, Germany on my own without language skills. Exciting though.

I remember Dieter, also returning to Germany, pouring out his love for another passenger Kathy, the wife of an Army lieutenant also stationed in Germany. They shared a stateroom. He wanted her to leave her husband after we docked. I wish I knew what happened. Kathy acted very much like a spoiled brat in complaints about things that at their worst were luxurious.

The Twist, the Stroll were among the dances we did several times. One night the ship hit a wave and the drummer and his drums went sliding across the room. Some of us fell. It was a rough night until we found calmer waters. I tried not to think about the Titanic.

At the dances an older woman, traveling alone, got drunk every night and had to be helped to her cabin. I wish I knew more about her life and was it hard to be with so many young people with their lives before them.

We let passengers off in Ireland. Locals came aboard selling Irish knit sweaters. The next stop was the U.K. then across the channel where we disembarked for a train to carry us to Paris and my new life as a wife.

When ever I see a movie about an ocean cruise, I smile. With such a sheltered upbringing, it was an experience I never thought I would have. Most of my life turned out to be experiences I wanted to have but never dreamed possible.

Photo: S.S. America, the first cruise ship where the interiors were designed by women. Built in 1940 it was turned into a war ship in WWII. Sold and resold. It ran aground in 1994 and broke in two.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Small changes

I read Small Changes by Marge Piercy when it first came out in the 1990s.

The description of different women's lives, their relationships with men and what it is like to be a woman in the working world dominated by men rang frighteningly true.

I wanted to reread it to see how much had changed. Or had I changed?

I remember trying to read Atlas Shrugged at 15, 20 and 24. The first time I couldn't get into it, the second time, I thought it was wonderful and the final reading I saw it as claptrap. I only wish some of our alleged leaders could see through it.

On this reading of Small Changes, I saw much that was still relevant. The scenes of Cambridge was like going back to my years living in the region. The personalities of the characters still rang true, although I had less patience with some of them not to see wrongs sooner, but that was through the filter of my maturing and society changing slightly.

Perhaps, where I saw the least change was in the workplace where the power structure is usually male.

Having become a published writer since since then, I wanted to edit some of it. There was a bit too many conversations espousing the author's philosophy which did not negate the philosophy itself.

When I look at the position of and attitudes toward women in society today, I saw more technological progress than changes for women...small or otherwise.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Abortion is forever

After working on Coat Hangers and Knitting Needles, for a year it was published in late winter. The copies went to my daughter in the States. She sent them out to Supreme Court Justices and any legislator fighting to make abortion illegal.

Only when I returned to Geneva in late September, did I get a chance to hold in my hands the copies we sent to my home there. There is always a bit of shock when I see what I wrote published. Feeling the paper is different than reading the book on screen.

I started to read it. What struck me was the inevitability of abortion. In one chapter I had written how one hospital in Arizona had performed about 300 abortions annually before Roe v. Wade. The woman needed to be certified as having their life in danger. That could mean psychologically as well as physically.

It doesn't take too much imagination to believe that the doctors had to stretch the truth.

It also does not take too much imagination to think of all the hospitals across the U.S. who did the same.

Although I am long past the age that I might be faced with the idea of having to consider an abortion, I want women to have the right to decide for themselves.

It sickens me when I see committees made up of men, studying women's health issues and then legislating them. The unawareness of those that want to stop legal abortions of the realities around the issue is just plain frightening for the lives of hundreds of women faced with unwanted pregnancy.

No one should say abortion is a good thing, but sometimes it is a best choice out of many bad ones. Abortion will never be stopped, I tell people when I send them the book, anymore than Prohibition put a stop to drinking or the making of alcohol. Women with means will go where it is legal. Women without will submit to anything or do it themselves and once again hospitals across the country will have to reopen those 20+ beds they kept filled for women dying from the illegal abortions.

For anyone wanting a copy of the book, send me a comment.

Monday, October 15, 2018


During the excruciating heat this summer in Argelès, I fantasized rain pounding on the roof. It just didn't happen for more than a few minutes a couple of times.

Then we go home to Geneva, and there are major storms. The river in the photos is usually so dry that our dog Sherlock considers it a path where he can run freely on the yellowed, dead grass.

I missed it.

I love bad weather--not all the time--but enough to enjoy being home, a cup of tea, books, computer, sweats.

Even going out and having the wind whip my face makes me feel so alive unlike on a hot day when moving at all sucks my energy like an industrial vacuum cleaner.

Unfortunately, this storm left six dead. That is the down side of bad weather. And when I say bad weather, I am NOT referring to things like Hurricane Michael. I am talking ordinary bad weather, heavy rain, cold, snow.

Here in Geneva it is a beautiful day. Blue sky. Temperatures require a sweater or light jacket. The leaves are beginning to turn.

Hopefully in the winter, out patio and garden will have snow. Sherlock thinks of it as white sand and digs and digs. Maybe we can make a snowman or another snow rabbit as we did last time. And hopefully when the snow stops, we have the same beautiful blue sky we have today.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Sleeping around

 Seehof du Lac, Weggis, Switzerland

 My husband sleeps around. With each new bed he takes a photo to put on Facebook. One year there were over 20 photos posted.

I’m not jealous. He travels a lot. Many times I am with him. We stay in hotels, B&Bs and sometimes with friends which allows us to catch up with our lives.

My preference is usually B&Bs because they are unique and it is fun to discover their artwork, furniture, etc.

Hotels in general, (and I’ve stayed in everything from no star to five star) can be anonymous. Often the colors or decor are discordant. They do, however, have the advantage of things like shampoo, robes, etc.) Mostly, even the best are forgettable. 

 Schoolhouse Hotel in Dublin.

My husband does amazing things in finding the unusual such as the converted schoolhouse in Dublin with each room named for an Irish writer.

In Neuchatel we were in a converted armourie. The window looked out on a waterfall. The beams went back centuries. There was a small living area with books. 

But the one where we just spent two nights while researching Swiss aviation was probably the prettiest I’ve ever seen. It felt like a well-coordinated master bedroom in soft blues and yellows. The view from our balcony included the lake and Alps.
Although this was a research trip, it doubled as Xth honeymoon because in our marriage almost everyday is a honeymoon. 

Our beautiful bedroom.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

expat vs. immigrant

I've called myself a repat: I'm an American expat except I moved to Europe with the idea of staying, took Swiss citizenship and then renounced my American nationality because of FATCA.

My husband pointed out to me that when one changes countries with the goal of living in the new country permanently they are immigrants.

Having also lived short times in Ireland, Scotland and a longer period in Germany, I've taken part of their cultures into my genes.

Despite the renunciation there is part of me that will always be New England Yankee, but after almost three decades of living in Switzerland, part of me feels Swiss and there's a part of my heart that is in France. I suppose if you asked me I would have to say I consider myself an international, with three countries that have made me me.

I owe a great deal to all three countries.

More than one person has called it disloyal.

I do wonder why land, which existed as long as the planet has to be marked off as a country which demands heart, soul and sometimes body in loyalty. Just looking at how the borders of Europe changed over the centuries how arbitrary the idea of "country" is.

Granted some land masses are occupied by people who treat it and each other better than others. If we are lucky we can live in one of those places.

One of the best thought out discourses on nationality identity was posted by the Nomad Capitalist. Even if you never travel, it makes for interesting listening.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018


Merriman Webster defines unicorn as "a mythical, usually white animal generally depicted with the body and head of a horse with long flowing mane and tail and a single often spiraled horn in the middle of the forehead."
My husband is a unicorn.

No he doesn't have four-feet and a horn.

Being out of the US for so long there are new names and phrases that crop up such as Snowflake that I am hearing for the first time in a different application than I previously knew.

One of those is I unicorn yesterday which I came across on Facebook yesterday.

A working woman was complaining that the household was her responsibility. If she asked her husband to do something, he would, but he would never notice anything himself. She was tired of the responsibility.

A robust response followed from husbands who would do nothing to comments, on working vs. stay-at-home women, to those that would do something when asked.

There were a few husbands who assumed responsibility for routine chores without being asked and considered it part of living in the house. They were called unicorns.

I am married to one of those unicorns. He is not a myth. Sometimes he notices things I've missed and vice versa. He is as quick to mop the floor if not quicker than I am. It is more a case of -- I see something that needs doing so I do it -- than anything else.

Our house stays moderately clean and in order.

I love my unicorn.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Rest Stops

I love French autoroute rest stops and not just the ones with restaurants. The aires are frequent, usually clean with places for kids to play and picnic areas. I compare it to the highway in New York where all rest areas were closed. Fortunately trees were available.

Friday, October 05, 2018


I often walked under the Vincent Royal railroad bridge and was touched by the photo of the young man who died at 16 years and 23 days. "Pourquoi?" Why. it asked.

Admittedly, I didn't think much about it until walked into a memorial garden when out on a walk with Sherlock. On a bench was a sign dedicated to Vinc, and "we will never forget all the moments lived here."

I wondered if it were the same Vinc.

As we walked down a street, I noticed for the first time that there were faded newspaper articles, protected by plastic covers. They were dated August 2011 and told of the death of Vincent Royall by a train.

The father met with train officials trying to get crossings made safer.

Although suicide was mentioned, it wasn't an official ruling.

Someone lived in the house. I could hear voices and even if Vincent died seven years ago, it would have been improper to knock and ask even one of the many questions. That there were two memorials and seven-year-old news clippings were still posted, told me that time had not washed away the grief of losing a child.

Two days before, I'd been on a historic tour of the village. That type of tour told of battles and buildings. The story of Vincent had become a mini-tour, more personal. Although there have been thousands of personal losses in the village from the 10th century, they have been washed away by time.

This one is still present in the bridge, the park and old newspaper articles.

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Food is love

Food is love-- It's Karrie making roasted figs, goats cheese and nuts on toast for all her friends after a tour of the village.

Food is love--It is Rick making Sunday breakfast and making the plate be photographic pretty as well as adding new tastes.

Food is love was my grandmother making cupcakes and chocolate sauce for us as a surprise.

Food is love when making something special for a friend, lover or family.

Food is love when we make sure that our family gets all the necessary nutrients.

Food is love when it is a treat (popcorn, ice cream, crevettes, fois gras, salmon, cashews) while watching a DVD or special program together

Of course there are the times when food is a getting something, anything on the table after a too-long day at work. In a way that is love because the effort to do something when we want to do something else demonstrates a caring, even through gritted teeth.

Food is love when the child says for the xth time, "I don't like that" in an ear-hurting whine and the child is forgiven.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

I'm tired.

It doesn't matter if you're democrat or republican. Neither party deserves to have a capital letter.

I'm tired of all the sanctimonious politicians who spout words for one situation that supports their party's immediate goal then changes them as soon as contrary words meet the needs of their party.

I'm tired of the words "American people" falling from sanctimonious politician lips? Do they have an idea what it is like to be a family of four living on under $50,000 a year. They have high salaries and benefits for life but deny others the basics.

I'm tired of symbols such as the flag and pledge. I care about what is behind it.

I'm tired of war, endless war. I don't want my grand nephews to be cannon fodder to protect the corporations. I don't want any young man to be lied to his death and promises of how much the country is grateful. Words mean nothing. Actions mean everything.

I'm tired of the amount of money politicians have seemed to garner that would be impossible to get from their salaries.

I'm tired of politicians who put the needs of corporations ahead of the people.

I'm tired of politicians who don't know what they are talking about because they've never done the research.

I'm tired of labeling, that any idea is besmirched because the opposite party proposed it.

I'm tired of the ignorance of the voters from both parties. One just has to read the many Facebook posts or tweets to realize that they don't know what they are talking about in many cases. Someone said ignorance can be corrected, stupidity is forever. I don't believe they are stupid.

I'm tired of people who don't look outside the US borders and brag about their tunnel vision.

I'm tired to the rudeness, the name calling and the rudeness to those that disagree.

I'm tired, just plain tired of it all.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

The tour

 Part of the original city walls. 
There had been a house built into it, 
but the owner had left it to the town 
so that the walls could be revealed.

Twelve Anglophones traipsed after Jean-Marc, the Argelès-sur-mer historian, as he highlighted the villages history going back to a mention in a monk's will from 1,000.

The name for the village came from the word for clay, which was converted into bricks, a major industry for the 300 residents in the Middle Ages.

There were tales of pirates and battles between brothers to rule the area. From one of the original towers, the defenders of the village constructed a catapult. Engineering talent was not one of their strong suits and the stone balls fell on their own troops below.

How many times have I walked by that building and not noticed the stone blocks. Jean-Marc touched them, explaining that it shows the building originated 1300 or earlier because after then, the stone was replaced with rocks in new construction.

Walking in Argelès, I am always aware of the people who lived here before me. The Ave Maria in Latin is carved in the stone plaque in the village church, also constructed in the 1300s. And there's a neighboring house which has the year of construction over its door, 14??, the last two numbers not all that clear.

This was the sixth time I've taken the tour, the fifth in English. Jean-Marc worries about his English, but over the years, I have seen how he has improved. Some of the facts, I'd forgotten. Some were new.

When Jean-Marc talked about the power plays and the need for money by those at the top, the need for trade is not that different from today. Instead of things like cars and electronics, trade was iron, cloth and wine.

"The wine wasn't very good after a short time." Jean-Marc made a face. All was not lost. The vinters learned to add spices and sugar to improve the taste. Innovation is not just a 20th and 21st phenomena.

As we were standing in front to the street that once was blocked by one of the three city gates, Jean-Marc explained the hygienic problems of windows and chamber pots. Only when tourists which began to visit the nearby beach in the late 19th century, did the village leaders remove the sewerage backed up wall and gate.

Matt, the owner of l'Hostalet, the hotel rode his bike by the group. "After your tour come to the hotel for coffee," he invited the group.

By now we were 14 people sitting around the table in the dining room in front of the marble fireplace.

Our friend Karrie arrived bearing plates and plates of roasted figs, goat cheese and nuts on toasts.

1800 years can create a lot of history even in a small geographical area. But history alone could not explain the feelings of good will and impromptu warmth of the group of people not the generosity of the l'Hostalet.

Rick will have a dueling post at

Monday, October 01, 2018

Men vs. women

More than once as I walked down the street with only a male nearby, I would feel fear. At the same time I felt sorry for the man, who probably was a really nice guy. He had no idea he was creating a sense of fear just by being a man.

At the same time men hurt women. I had no idea that a woman was being raped by seven men across the street from where I lived in Boston and was peacefully asleep in my dusty rose and blue bedroom.

Too many friends have admitted they were raped, sexually molested by their fathers, brothers, cousins or beaten by a lover, husband or boyfriend. So many it is almost ho hum, except it can never be ho hum.

At the woman's college where a friend worked, incoming Freshman were warned areas where they should never walk alone, day or night, including a beautiful park across from the campus. It was no idle warning.

What I found more telling was the list above. What women do to protect themselves and what men do. I did and do many of these things where applicable as routine.

I believe Dr. Ford. I see in Judge Kavanaugh, not the innocent man who passed me by in the street, but a swaggering male, the bully, like the many who've hit on me in the past.

Fortunately, I have only been harassed by men I've worked with. It never accelerated to violence although job loss was implied in one case.

I remember standing behind my male assistant, my hand on his shoulder as I read what he'd written on his computer screen. "Careful," he said, "I'll get you for sexual harassment." He was joking or at least I hoped he knew I had too much respect for him, his wife and his kids.

Some was innocence flirting, and the danger of movements like #metoo is that the normal exchanges between men and women will be curtailed. If fear of a sexual harassment charge was constant, my husband would have been afraid to speak to me at the conference where we met, and if he weren't I'd have been afraid to answer. Where is the line?

I have no idea how to teach boys to respect women having only a daughter. Had she been a boy I would have tried. It would be an uphill fight in a culture and was before there was a president who says "grab them by the pussy."

And boys do not have to be boys if it involves hurting a girl. Men do not have to be men if it involves threatening behavior toward women.

If men did not hurt women there would be no Cosbys, Weinsteins, Kavanaughs and uncountable others.

Wouldn't that be wonderful if women didn't need the self-protection list?

Sunday, September 30, 2018

A deal

My husband and I made a deal. I will start carrying my French number mobile and he will stop leaving dishes in the sink.

On the dishes: They make the kitchen messy, but leaving them in the sink means double the work. Once to put them there, once to put them in the dishwasher. No, I am not always efficiency crazy.

As for the phone: I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate it. It's heavy adding one more thing to my pocketbook (purse). I am in no danger someone will call me because only my husband will have the number and he better use it only in a life and death emergency, which is the way I will use it (after I've tried everything else).

I do not want to use it to check emails, Facebook, play games or any other app. I spend hours doing that on my computer or Kindle. When I'm away from it, I want to one million percent away from it.

When I am out of the house I DO NOT WANT TO BE CONNECTED TO THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD. If I am buried in the phone, I might not notice a beautiful flower, a mini drama being acted out near me, the color of the sky and what makes up 90% of the enjoyment I feel when I am out of the house. I certainly won't use it when I'm with people.

I made the deal. I will stick to it. The phone is already in my bag. We will need another deal to make me turn it on if I remember how.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Necco wafers

The Boston Globe reported that the Necco factory equipment was going to be sold off.

It was never my favorite candy, preferring anything chocolate such as Snickers of Three Musketeers.  Still every now and then, I would buy a roll ignoring the licorice for the lemon, orange or purple clove.

My memories of Necco are more when I worked for the Polaroid Credit Union in Central Square, Cambridge. The artist I worked closely with was located in Central Square and the walk took about the same time as backtracking to the Kendall Square T-Stop and waiting for the Red Line.

The smell of sugar baking from the Necco factory accompanied me on the walk. Inhaling was a pleasure.

There's a sadness at its demise. The company started in 1847 by Oliver Chase who had invented a wafer cutting machine. The name was Hub Wafers and were a favorite of Civil War soldiers. Likewise in WWII the U.S. government issued them to soldiers.

Chase's company merged with the New England Confectionery Company, and the name changed to Necco. It has been bought and resold many times over the decades.

Financial problems led to its latest sale. On my birthday of this  year, production stopped. Spangler Candy of Bryan, OH bought the brand name and will recreate the wafers sometime in November 2019.

I know the original formula has been changed. The wafers are said to be softer and no artificial colors and flavors are included.

Maybe in 2019 The American Store in Geneva will carry them, although if they don't it will not be a tragedy. I still prefer chocolate, only my tastes have advanced to Swiss Chocolate made locally and lovingly. But the memory of the burnt sugar smell on my walks from Kendal to Central Square, will always be there.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Carte grise

It should have been simple.

In early December our car was broken into. They took a pillow and the carte grise, (registration). Up until a short time ago, it would have been a simple matter to go to the Mairie (town hall) and within a few minutes depending on the line, we'd have had a new copy.

Not so fast.

The French government in its wisdom (not) decided to centralize the operation. The town halls only had a few days notice.

We were told we could apply on line, but that did not work. We were then told there were certain car dealers that could help.

For 40 Euros one filled in all the information and told us to wait.

We waited, waited, waited, waited, waited, waited.

We read in the newspaper that the system was backed up by about 300,000 applicants.

Then we decided to trade in our 1999 car for a newer model with four doors and air conditioning. We found the perfect model for us, and the car dealer, both a friend a friend and the person who sold us the original car, agreed to scrap the old car for us.

One problem.

Until we had the carte grise, he could not give us the right form to cancel the insurance.

The dealer asked for information.

Friday, some nine months after applying for the replacement it came in the mail. We took it to the car dealer, got the correct form for insurance cancellation and Monday walked it to our insurance agency.

I love our time in France.

I do not love its bureaucracy and its so-called technological improvements.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Food Fun

"It's a bird with an egg."

Daniel who was checking me out at my favorite green grocer rolled his eyes. He and I joke a lot. He mocks my French accent, rightly so, but always with a twinkle in his eye.

I told him you need to have fun in life and that includes food. I also said with all the alleged Christ photos in things like bread or mud, a bird is pretty simple to see.

I took the sweet potato home, careful not dislodge the egg from the stem. I looked for the goggly eyes given to me by a friend.

I'll take the photo to Daniel tomorrow.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Fading away

Old Soldiers never die, they just fade away," General Douglas MacArthur told congress after being fired by President Harry Truman.

I am beginning to feel that way about writers as some of my favorites are creeping into their 70s and 80s. And despite MacArthur some have died.

Last week, I remembered reading Small Changes by Marge Piercy, a writer I enjoyed. When the book came out in 1987, I loved it and I wanted to reread it from the perspective of all the social changes between 1987 and 2018. Or would it be like Atlas Shrugged, which at 15 couldn't get through, thought it was wonderful at 21 and at 35 saw it as pure crap.

I'd been jealous of Piercy, not for her success as a writer although I wouldn't have minded the same level of recognition, but because she was married to a writer. As a writer myself, I thought of the conversations about plots, characters, typos with a writer husband.

Little did I know back then in 2013 I, too, would marry a writer.  We have those conversations as well as those about Oxford commas.

I looked up Piercy's age. She is 82, six years my senior.

We've ordered the book.

Today someone sent me a poem by Judith Viorst, another writer I enjoyed a couple of decades age. She is 87.

Just in time for this blog I thought.

There are writers who I wish had written faster before they died. A book a month would have made me happy even though I know that is impossible (unless maybe you are James Patterson working with others).

Maeve Binchey, an Irish writer died at 73, three years younger than I am now. She was one whose books I picked up when they were still warm from the press.

I always wanted to sit down and have a cup of tea with her characters.

Marilyn French, whose feminist writings both fictional and non-fictional were a pleasure to read. From her I got the phrase "factory-fresh hymen" to describe how virgins were considered of higher value in the marriage market back in the fifties.

Margaret Atwood is 78, another writer whom I will read no matter what she writes.

Alice Walker was speaking on television last week. At 74 she is gray-haired. I like her politics, her fiction and I've replaced Horses Make a Landscape Look More Beautiful, collected poems, at least three times.

There are other writers, whom I will read whatever they write who are younger such as Lauren B. Davis and Barbara Kingsolver. They are both 63. I was in many critiquing sessions with Lauren before we were published and I can hear her voice in her stories. Neither seem ready to either fade or die.

I don't mean to imply I only read older feminist writers. I read male writers, historical and political tomes. I eat mysteries. And novelties like Alexander McCall Smith, who is 70. His 44 Scotland road series has come to an end. Sigh.

I just finished Amanda Hodgkinson's novel 22 Britannia Road. She clocks in as a young 53. That was her debut novel. I'm looking for her later works. I've just started the debut novel by Carolinn Hughes, Orchids and the Wasp which was mentioned in The New Yorker. I've no idea of her age.

I need a new cadre of writers where I can look forward to their next book. Unlike old soldiers, writers not only fade away they die. Fortunately their works live on.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Dog Thoughts

How does Sherlock (and other dogs) think?

I am sure some animal behaviorist has an answer. 

I know Sherlock thinks. His ball went under the bookcase. He couldn't dig it out.

What did he do next?

He went into the room where the wall backed the bookcase to see if he could get to it that way.

When that didn't work he asked for help. He has different barks for different needs.

Years ago we had a Japanese chin Vixen pup. She was on the bed when we gave her her first chew toy. She wasn't sure what to do with it.

We also had a German Shepherd, Nikki, who was on the rug at the end of the bed.

Vixen jumped down and looked at how Nikki was holding her chew, jumped back on the bed and copied her.

The same pup, when she had a corneal abrasion, woke her mistress in the middle of the night and led her downstairs and went directly to the stand where her eye medicine, which dulled the pain, was. She then jumped up on a nearby chair and tilted her head so she could be treated.

My German Shepherd Kimm, adored my mother-in-law. Whenever we said, "Let's go see Grams" she would run to the door. She reacted the same way if the tone was ordinary and buried in other conversation about what we were planning to do.

But how do animals think without the vocabulary? I know they pick up our words. When Sherlock hears the word "stay" as we are planning to go out, he'll jump up on the couch, sometimes with a sigh, sometimes with a good-I-can-have-a-nap attitude.

Wild animals however are not exposed to human vocabulary yet they have to think things out to survive.

I suppose I could go back to university to study this, but it might be easier just to do some Internet research. I told Sherlock this. He just turned over and went back to sleep. I doubt if he knows anything about universities. Maybe if I still lived in Boston and walked him on the grass of Harvard Medical School like I did my other dogs, he would associate a university with a place to sniff and relieve himself.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018


On the Esta form which I need to enter the US, one of the stupider questions I have to answer is
"have you ever been engaged in terrorist activities espionage or genocide." What terrorist in their right mind would ever say yes?

It requires a yes or no answer.

Another time entering the US I was asked if I had helped the Nazis in WWII. I was born in 1942 and lived outside Boston.

I also declared I'd never kidnapped a child.

I wonder about the mentality of the people who dream up these entrance requirements.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018


A friend who is a Trump supporter pointed out that Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Brett Kavanaugh of ripping off her clothes as part of an attack when they were high school, made donations to the Democratic Party.

The matter is confusing his nomination to the Supreme Court.

I wonder if my friend would negate the same claims if Ford were a Republican.

The reaction to male aggression is not a party issue.

I find it complicated.

If that is the only example of sexual misconduct in Kavanaugh's background, I would not be concerned. Drunk teenage boys are not known for their good sense. I write this as a leftist feminist. It doesn't make it right, but it happens.

If his misconduct was a regular thing much like Clarence Thomas, that is another issue entirely.

Ford in coming forward was putting herself on the line much like Anita Hill. Not a pretty picture.

I do not want to see Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court. I fear for Roe v. Wade. Should he be the swing vote to overturn it hospitals throughout the country would once again have 20-30 beds filled with women who've had botched abortion many of whom will die. Women with more resources will simply leave the country for a legal and safe abortion in Canada, England, etc.

I have a strong belief in the 14th amendment which is the one used to give women, both married and single the right to birth control and abortions. I don't want to go back to the days of coat hangers and knitting needles.

If, and it hasn't been brought up, he was a sexual predator beyond his high school stupidity, than he should not be nominated. Clarence Thomas should have been rejected for that reason.

Throughout my life men have been sexually inappropriate with me. I am not talking about rape or bodily injury just bad behavior leaving me uncomfortable.

I worked in a dry cleaner where the owner constantly told dirty jokes. In three years, only one was funny.

I've known men who are always making sexual innuendos. At best it is boring. In a work place there are power questions.

I never minded a compliment on my appearance as long it was not accompanied by a hand on my breast or ass. Acceptance and job security should never be tied. But Kavanaugh has not been accused of that,

There is supposed perjury committed by Kavanaugh. That strikes me as a reason to reject him not for a stupid act when he was in high school.

I wish Ford luck and commend her bravery for putting herself forward. She will be attacked for it.

Sunday, September 16, 2018


I am chuffed as the Brits would say. picked up my Oped piece "Abortions Can't be Stopped."

Much of my material came from the book I wrote, Coat Hangers and Knitting Needles. The book looks at abortion, especially in the U.S. prior to Roe v. Wade. I spent almost a year on the research and self-published. My daughter helped me mail it to all Supreme Court Justices and every opponent to legalized abortion.

It is available for sale at the lowest possible price. People are free to copy from it.

My objective was to show that throughout time, women found a way to abort a baby that they felt they couldn't have. No matter what laws are passed, nothing will change that. Prostitution has never been stopped by laws. Prohibition was a total failure.

Abortion is not a happy choice for an unwanted pregnancy, but often a woman feels it is her only one.

It is not a decision any person should make for another.

On Facebook there was a photo of a congressional committee on maternal health. The problem? Every member of the committee was male.

Friday, September 14, 2018


Sometimes I can be really dumb.

I have had breast cancer twice. The second time they lopped the breast off, which was fine with me. The damn thing wanted to kill me. I needed chemo and a special type of radiation which involved heating the area than zapping it.

Since then, I've had certain medication plus physio from time to time for the discomfort caused by missing lymph nodes.

None of this is a complaint. I am extremely lucky to be living in a time and place with wonderful, affordable medical care.

However, on my last check in Geneva, the doctor frowned at my ectograph. "We'll want to take a look at it in a few months. Nothing to worry about?"

Little did she know the words "nothing to worry about" is the same thing that says "worry, worry, worry."

I pictured myself being biopsied, back in bed, exhausted from chemo with Rick doing all the cooking (someone else cooking is not a bad thing but not for the reason of my total exhaustion from chemo).

Twice, I rose to the situation, making the best out of everything, while accepting the situation, sometimes joking, sometimes gathering the good things that happened to me as if I were picking wild flowers. Could I do it again?

I would have to, not just for me but for my husband. We would need to make the time count.

And the wig store serving bald cancer patients doesn't have white wigs. I would need to order one from the States.

As lovely as the nurses were who came to the house for my blood boosting shots, I would rather see them for a cup of tea at a café.

With these thoughts, I decided not to wait until my November check in Geneva but made an appointment in Argelès for the ectograph. Today was the day.

Dr. Christian listened to my explanation, squeezed cream on my right side and ran the wand over it.
"Nothing is there. Everything is okay," he said in French.

I told him I felt ten years younger. The Echo was cheaper than a face lift. I also told him that my imagination sometimes was over active."

He smiled. "Pour les femmes avec cancer du sein c'est classique."

I paid my 41 Euros, collected the film for my doctor in Geneva and left with my husband, relieved that we could continue with out plans for Madrid, Nova Scotia, Toronto, Geneva, Lucerne, etc.

I guess being dumb about somethings is classic.