A Navajo concept to live by…

I’m back home in Tucson, following two weeks back east on magnificent Mt. Desert Island, Maine, and nearly a week in cool Minneapolis visiting my son and his beautiful family. We’re awaiting the birth of their daughter. Meanwhile, my super adorable and super verbal nearly three-year-old grandson delighted me nonstop.


Foss hanging out with the bunnies at the Minnesota State Fair

On my one day alone, strolling alone around the Minneapolis Institute of Art, I encountered a Navajo concept new to me. The experience awakened something. Never before had I felt the urge to create art.

        Hozho is a foundational concept in the Navajo world, encompassing ideas of                beauty, harmony, balance, order, grace, health, and happiness. It is a state of                being, thinking, and acting. Navajo artists embody hozho as they weave, and                textiles are imbued with and become works of hozho.



From a stunning exhibit of Navajo rugs at the Minneapolis Institute of Art



So intriguing, this is canvas, again at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

Art inspires me but words carry me everywhere.


On my 5 a.m. Lyft ride to the Minneapolis airport yesterday, my driver regaled me the entire way with her son’s paternity issues. He may be the father of four kids, but there was that time they found his girlfriend in bed with another man.

“Forget about your clothes,” she told the guy as he scurried naked past her, pulling his boxers up. “My son is coming after you with a hammer. Run!

“I made him get a paternity test,” she said.

In a way, I would have rather not heard this saga, but it stays with me. Part of my driver’s story portrayed her brother in the same position, fathering four kids, one of whom may not be his. My driver was sanguine about it all. “So what, he’s taken care of all four since birth so he’s their father.” (she may have felt more insistence about her son’s parental responsibility).


I’m so inspired by my son and daughter-in-law’s superb, joyful parenting.

Me, I’m a grandmother enchanted by balance, grace, health, and happiness wherever I  can find it. Hozho is a beautiful concept to live by.


Experiencing Hozho at the glorious, peaceful Rockefeller Gardens in Seal Harbor, Maine







Posted in Family Matters, Mount Desert Island/Maine, The Rest of the World | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nature sustains me in this troubled world

If you think our make-believe president cares about anything but the size of his crowd, think again. Today’s outrage is the travel rejection of two duly elected congresswomen for not making nice with Israel. Keeping out U.S. Reps Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar will not help bring peace to the region.

Meanwhile, we’re inundated with daily assaults to any Trump administration credibility, to America’s so-called values, to the future of our nation, to the planet. It’s hard to take.

When I got into a kerfuffle with a friend last night about Israeli policy, which totally inhibits West Bank Palestinians from living free lives, I forgot to tell a crucial story.

For years, arguments rage about a possible two-state solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. As associate editor of the Arizona Jewish Post for ten years, I listened to varying opinions.

Once a very nice Orthodox man in his 70s came into my office, a woven yarmulke attached to his hair with bobby pins. Somehow we started talking about Israel; he worried for its safety. I couldn’t keep my mouth shut and  said something like, “I worry for everyone’s safety. If Israel truly wants peace why do they continue to build settlements encroaching upon the West Bank?”

“Oh, everyone knows that expansion of the settlements isn’t the problem,” he said, to my utter disbelief.

“What?” I blurted, thinking maybe I heard wrong.

“That will all be taken care of once there’s an adequate peace agreement,” he said. How exactly, I don’t know. Would those Jewish settlers happily give up their homes and move elsewhere? Really?

I’m mad as hell and can’t take it anymore, so I headed to Sabino Canyon where natural beauty always sustains me.


Tucson’s magnificent Sabino Canyon

Tomorrow I’ll head to Mt. Desert Island, Maine, where I spent much of my adult life. The home of Acadia National Park, I’ll return to the North Atlantic, daily summer hikes, spectacular gardens, visits with dear friends,  and at least one Bloody Mary with a lobster claw garnish.

photo 1-2

I’ll post photos!







Posted in Fight wimpiness, For Love of History, Mount Desert Island/Maine, Nature Girl, Old friends, Politics, The Rest of the World | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Few Sabino Canyon Snippets

I’m an eavesdropper. I’m curious about other people’s conversations. You might say I’m nosy. Or I’m creative?

Early morning hike in Sabino Canyon, here’s what I heard:

“When I was young I always felt like Superman.”

“I go home, take a shower, and put on my little black sundress.”

“I need to get home and do a lot around the house. Donnie will be here in a few days.”

And, my favorite, a chunky youngish guy stops one of the old volunteer rangers:

“So I’m wondering if you can do anything about this — I’m a federal agent (lifts his t-shirt to show his badge) — I was hiking on the Phoneline trail and there was a very angry, rattling and hissing rattlesnake in the middle of the trail.”

A while later I saw him again. He asked me how to get to the visitors center. When he looked confused, then turned left, I called out, “No, straight ahead.” He must have been from DC.

Any snippets you’ve heard lately that make you wonder about humanity? Did anything you overheard spark an idea for a novel or a children’s book? Where did your imagination take you? Do you listen to other people’s conversations or try not to?

Yes, I’m curious.



Posted in Bopping Around Tucson, Nature Girl | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jimmy Carter, Kamala Harris, Marianne Williamson, and Impeachment: a few notes

Jimmy Carter tells it like it is. We have an illegitimate president, who smiles at Putin, mouthing his joke to not interfere in the 2020 presidential election.
This is disgusting. This president is a traitor. We need to start impeachment proceedings immediately.
Meanwhile…Kamala Harris wowed at the second Dem debate last night. I would love to see her debate the illegitimate president. I would love to see her intimidate the hell out of him.
I ‘m an Elizabeth Warren fan but am now closely watching Kamala, reading about her qualifications beyond being smart and a great storyteller.
No way would I support Marianne Williamson for president but she makes a valid point in a recent tweet:

Marianne Williamson

The main causes of mental illness in America are disconnection from tribe and community, disconnection from nature & disconnection from the arts. In other words, so many of us are sick because the society itself is sick. People are just reflecting back the insanity of our times. 

I agree with 538.com that trump’s support among Republicans doesn’t change no matter what outrageous things he says or does.
Would impeachment initiate a sympathy vote to Trump the way it did when President Bill Clinton was impeached in December 1998? I don’t think so. House Speaker Speaker Nancy Pelosi is worried about that. In my view it’s a different situation.
— Impeachment is our constitutionally designated process to warrant investigation of a sitting president and censure him. Trump would not be convicted (removed from office) in a Republican-led U.S. Senate trial.
— This illegitimate president must not get away with obstruction of justice and perjury, which he has participated in throughout his lying presidency.
–Thousands of Americans listen to TV sound bites. They’re too busy with their daily lives, trying to make a living, taking care of their kids, or they don’t care about politics. Many decent, law-abiding citizens don’t know about Trump’s myriad malfeasance, but if they hear evidence-based reporting on TV they may be persuaded to vote against him for a second term.
— Yes, I’m aware that many Americans will simply write off impeachment as a socialist, left-wing Democratic conspiracy against this illegitimate president. I still think impeachment is worth considering.
Perhaps honest Jimmy Carter will soon agree. Perhaps he already has.

Posted in Fight wimpiness, Journalism/Writing, Mental illness, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

One Man’s Quest to Save Us from Gloom

Jogging up Sabino Canyon a middle-aged African-American man wearing an MLK T-shirt calls out to me, “Hey kiddo, nice to see you today!”

“How are you doing?” I ask.

“Outstanding! Have I told you this one: Why did the raisin take a prune to the prom?”

“Nope, I haven’t heard it.”

“Because he couldn’t find a date.” We both giggle. Fist pump, and he continues jogging, “Good health and happiness to you!”

This smiling man stops to talk with everyone. People are glad to see him. Nearly every time I’m walking in Sabino Canyon, he’s there jogging.


How green is the desert…Sabino Canyon is always a joy to behold.

The world is a beautiful place, wrote Lawrence Ferlinghetti. He’s right. And the people are mostly beautiful, too.

If only world’s most powerful ones were more empathetic, less selfish, more compassionate, less consumed with money, and more willing to save our planet.



Posted in Bopping Around Tucson, Fight wimpiness, Nature Girl, Out West, Politics | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

A Comedy of Airlines: no to Air France; maybe to American Airlines

If you harbor concerns about your flight and are flying into London Heathrow, look for  troubleshooting agents in the left-hand corner before you approach the gates.

Magic — like walking through the brick wall to Hogwarts in Harry Potter books — may win the day for you, as it did for me.

American Airlines kept changing our flights to Madrid, then Bordeaux, France, the start of Claire & Sheila’s Excellent Adventure. Claire — a Maine friend of more than forty years — and I booked “reward” tickets more than a year ago.


Flying over Spain.. one of my favorite photos

On May 14, our meeting date in Madrid, long-made plans turned topsy-turvy. My flight arrived an hour early so I quickly texted Claire: “I’m running to get on your morning flight to Bordeaux!” Meanwhile, she texted me, “I missed the flight because of a workers’ strike. I’ll be on your 4:20 p.m. flight.” Searching for each other in the Madrid airport, which turned out to be way more complicated than expected, we finally met outside.

“Can you believe it, we’re finally starting our excellent adventure!” We laugh heartily.


We boarded a red double-decker tour bus to tour Madrid in a few hours, staying awake after long flights across the Atlantic.

Claire and I spent hours prior to the trip grumbling by phone about “Evil AA (American Airlines). “I’m so done with them!” we frequently told each other.

We tried to get on the same flight across the pond — Claire from Boston and me from Philly — but AA’s phone reps wouldn’t have it.

The only other thing we grumbled about  was the weirdly mispronouncing GPS that was supposed make driving around in France go smoothly.

“HA, I hate her,” I often pronounced, following GPS’s garbled directions over narrow, curvy mountain roads, trying to reach tiny villages only an hour away…

Our trip is now a rose-infused, shiny-leafed vineyard, bike-riding, two baguette plus Rose wine dream.

Still, it’s only right that I commend the ponytailed AA agent, who on June 4, persisted in changing my flight home to Tucson at London Heathrow, otherwise I would have waited for seven hours in Dallas (my least favorite airport, in tornado heaven).

“Smashing!” she announced, when she managed to get me on an earlier flight to Phoenix. Magic, indeed.

In flight when I woke from my four-hour nap, flight attendants were passing out GOURMET chocolate ice cream. What a lovely surprise. AA redeemed itself.

Air France: Printed on my May 24 boarding pass from Charles de Gaulle  to Florence was Gate 47. Two minutes before takeoff my name blasted over the PA calling me to Gate 54, where I met a nasty agent, yelling: “I’ve cancelled you from the flight! Yes, you weren’t here for boarding. ”

“What?? I didn’t hear any announcements about a gate change,” I replied.

“Well, we can’t do that because it’s too noisy.”

I finally boarded the flight after more arguing, already unhappy about paying AF 44 euros to check a small suitcase.

My June 3 return flight from Florence to Paris, was delayed for six hours due to “technical reasons.” Exhausted when passengers finally lined up, a French lawyer explained “Watching the grounded plane I didn’t witness any mechanical crews. Mon dieu, It’s a personnel problem. Air France does this all the time. They’re so unprofessional.”

On board, a so-called “flight attendant” dressed in jeans and a t-shirt wore a security pin. You can’t get a glass of water without paying. Finis, Air France!

Fellow/Sister adventurers, don’t let airport mishaps stop you! And, there’s always Turkish Airlines where the pilot addresses the “dear children” before takeoff.  There’s a menu welcoming you on your seat, which features better than edible food and a smashing chocolate mousse.










Posted in Fight wimpiness, The Rest of the World | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Garden of Women Writing in Tuscany

Burnt red tile rooftops in Florence, Italian voices wafting up from the overcrowded streets, and bathroom bidets remind me that I’m far from home.


Me and the big guy

No longer at the Tuscany Villa where we six women bonded — hailing from Washington State, Hawaii, Arizona, New York, New Mexico, LA, and New Orleans — we’re now in bustling  Florence. A flurry of roses, poppies, olive or cherry trees aren’t visible from my hotel window, I can tell you that.

But each of you is a distinctive blossom (I’m too tired to cleverly figure out which).

How can I adequately thank Sheila Bender for helping me to see the forest through the trees, and for her generous spirit? Probably by continuing to write my life. I have such admiration for her skillful gardening.

Lee — a daughter of Sicily — deems me an iris. With her quips, one-liners, and hearty laugh she would be a great stand-up comic. Whether or not she creates pandemonium with children’s stories, she’s committed to the best words.

Nancy — previously devoted to writing children’s nonfiction, she’s been brave to switch to poetry in the past five years, and to plant herself in our villa garden — despite her helicopter children’s protests.

Julie — a rose is a rose is a rose. Exuding calm and positivity, a master of onomatopoeia (or maybe synonyms?), she will finish her “Spacious Unknown” on the Italian coast. She inspires me with her adventurous and intuitive nature.

Lucille — precise, caring, and a talented professional, she’s solid and straightforward. I hope she finds the exact rose she’s looking for. She may be a New Yorker but she’s clearly not provincial.

Rhonda — no bullshit for her, strong and sturdy. She’s gone through a lot and will help others grow by telling her story, of which I have no doubt. Her sharp images have stayed with me.

May your writing flourish, wherever it takes root.


A secret garden in our Tuscany villa backyard








Posted in Fight wimpiness, Journalism/Writing, Nature Girl, The Rest of the World | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment