Showing posts from April, 2017

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That time I wanted to pass myself off as Joyce Carol Oates #TBT

I submitted my first piece of writing when I was seventeen, a story about my first job, working at the employee cafeteria at General Telephone where my mother was a dispatcher. Rolling the 20# white bond backed by a sheet of thin blue carbon paper into my Smith Corona, I typed it out slowly, carefully, on a piece of erasable paper—and mailed it off to Cosmopolitan along with a cover letter. Not just to any editor at Cosmo, by the way, I sent it directly to Helen Gurley Brown. 

The piece itself, meant to be comical, was full of clumsy attempts at self-effacing humor.  I strived for a similar tone in the cover letter I addressed to Brown, completely clueless that the high powered editor in chief wasn’t the one reading unsolicited manuscripts. After I signed off I added the following PS. I could have said I was Joyce Carol Oates. What I thought that would accomplish I can’t imagine. That an unsatisfactory submission would get published because of a lame joke? 

No surprise, in the SASE I’d …

Above Ground on the London Underground—Day 66: Next week I'll keep you posted from London

If it's Friday we're back in London, taking a virtual walking tour ‘above ground’ on the London Underground. Think of me as an armchair traveler, using my Tube guide & my fitbit® device, my goal is to walk 10,000 steps a day roughly following along the Underground route, reporting back here on Fridays with my findings. We're currently following the  District Line. Here are the previous days. One last post before I fly off to London (and beyond) for real. This is Day 66.

Next week at this time, my husband and I will be walking the real streets of London. We like to walk, measuring our Fitbit steps but we could hop on the District line at the Aldgate East stop in Whitechapel and take a ten minute tube ride to the BlackFriars Station. From there, an 8 minute walk gets us to the Old Bailey. The Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand are close by.

When one hears Whitechapel and the Old Bailey, it’s only natural to think about crime and punishment. Jack the Ripper and all sorts…

British Isles Friday: Counting Down to Our Trip to London and Beyond

That’s me cringing behind my big brother at Trafalgar Square. 
Eek! What’s happening to me? Every Friday for the past year and a bit I’ve writing a series of posts under the Above Ground on the London Underground heading. Week in, week out. I’ve written over sixty posts, long, extensive, thoroughly-researched posts that take ages to put together, in an effort to deliver a virtual travel series in which I cover sights and sounds at the stops along the tracks of the London Underground. But this week I forgot. I just forgot. It skipped my mind. Friday came and went and it never occurred to me that I should be writing a post to contribute to Joy Weese Moll’s British Isles Friday meme.

Is it a sign of the Alzheimer’s that took my mother marking its hold on me, letting me know what lies in my own future? Or is it simply the case of an over-worked mind, a mind so happily preoccupied with all the planning and decision-making that comes with taking a real trip to London that there’s just no room…

Above Ground on the London Underground: Day 1, Flight of Fantasy

Updated April 14, 2017
The closer I get to taking our trip to England—and a few other European Vacation spots—the harder it is to keep posting my virtual, make-believe, imaginary, walk in London! For this week’s British Isles Friday, I’m taking you back to the beginning again, to see where I started which was at Heathrow. Funniest thing? For our real trip, we’re flying into Gatwick! You know what I like to say—life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans. Just a little over two weeks and a few days until we get there for real. I can’t promise to write as much as I’m want to do—probably a relief for some of you—but I hope to post lots and lots of pictures. Cheers! 

Welcome to Day 1 of my virtual walking tour of the London Underground system. After earning Fitbit’s London Underground badgefor walking the equivalent of the Underground’s 250 mile length, I got the bright idea of walking the real one. Er, not exactly the real one: I’ll be spending my Fridays on an imaginary 10,0…

An Undying Love ... [Memoir]

Hollywood Sign & Palm Trees by Tom Brown

I wrote this piece when we lived in a little house on a hill in a West Los Angeles neighborhood. On a clear day we could see the Hollywood sign from our backyard; from the front yard, if you craned your neck 50 feet to the west, you might see the ocean. It’s a true story, an Easter story, about an old couple who lived next door, and their undying love.

Undying Love The coleus under Bob and Helen’s front porch window are looking a little scraggly, nothing but tall leggy stems bending in their bed of dry cracked earth. I think how the gardener wouldn’t let them go like that if Bob hadn’t been so sick. If he’d been up and around, those plants would be standing tall, their leaves firm and perky, the ground blanketed with a soft, moist layer of mulch. Well tended, that was the best way to describe Bob’s garden, and come to think of it, Bob too. I try to remember if I even saw the gardener this past Wednesday, his usual day to come mow and blow. Afte…

Dreaming of France: Mama's Got a Brand New Bag

Our passports. His from the USA. Mine from the UK. In the background, the new bag I bought for the trip.
Less than a month until we head across the pond. We’re beginning our 25th anniversary trip with a week in London and then we’re heading across the channel to Paris. I’ve double checked that our passports are up to date, we’ve booked our London lodgings and we’ve almost narrowed down which lightweight luggage to buy for the trip. I’ve bought a brand new bag to sling across my body. It’s large enough for my phone (camera), a small brush, lipstick (even though my hubby prefers me without) a little tube of sunscreen, a bottle of water, passport, moolah etc without weighing me down. 

(Note to self:remember to ask our son if he can give us a lift to the airport, or do we need to book a Lyft?

And we’ve finally pre-booked our Chunnel tickets on EuroStar. Fly or take the train, it took us ages to decide. Frankly, we were surprised to learn how inexpensive flying could be and from what we hear…