A Quick Write Ramble

I am sitting with Oona. It is almost 8 pm. She is my last student of the day, which began at 8 am. I did have a few breaks. I made vegetable soup, cornbread and cookies during one of my breaks. I love vegetable soup. There’s something very satisfying about it, particularly in the fall. The weather is cooling. We are moving into real fall, I think, now after too much hot weather. I’m glad. I’m ready to pull out some sweaters and long pants after some seriously hot summer days.

What else? I have almost nothing to say of any merit. I have been working long hours. I have been sleeping when I’m not working. I don’t have lots of fun stories to tell right now. I am looking forward to not working so much. That is all basic and simple and rest will come in the next few weeks as the college essays all finish up and life settles back down.

Tomorrow I get to see my beloved little Luna. We are going out to visit for part of the day. I suspect I’ll get to see her Halloween costume, which will be a treat. Poor Rachael is sick. Unfortunately, she has triple exposure since she works with three little kids who, of course, are little incubators for every cold and virus floating around. She had a temperature today and reported she didn’t feel much better tonight. Hopefully, we can bring a little cheer when we visit tomorrow.

Ray is still recovering from his sinus infection he developed from the ragweed in Texas. He is still coughing a lot and also is dragging around clearly not feeling well. That doesn’t mean he has stopped working, but I did insist he only work from bed today. He needs the rest.

So, now Oona has gone and I am finished with students for the day. I still need to read the 20 minutes of writing from my students in my online class and comment on that writing. That is actually fun so I am not unhappy. Besides, this is Week 3 of a 4 week class, so this, too, will be ending soon.

It’s the last day of October tomorrow. Wow. I can’t believe we are almost into November. Where did the time go? I must say that time is speeding up and going faster and faster. A whirl of activity.

Good night, my friends. See you tomorrow for Halloween. I hope all is well in your lives.


Ojai Day

Today Ray and I got up early and headed for Ojai. We needed to get there for a meeting at 8:30 am with one of our land partners. The day was clear and chilly – 48 degrees when we arrived – but also lovely as the sun rose, birds flew and the air warmed.

We had our meeting, which was successful – hooray – and then we went to the local junk store where we were picking up a piece of old oak furniture that we had bought. While there, we bought a few other pieces since we are having a garage sale soon and these things will add more interest to the sale. Plus, one must never forget the admonition: “You can’t sell from an empty wagon.”

From there we ran to the bank, to the post office, had lunch, then got our hair cut. Yes, it was one of those days filled with necessary activities that make life run more smoothly.

We arrived back home in time for me to meet with one of my students for 2 hours. Another college essay completed. Yes!

And now, I am going to bed. We have had a long good day and now it’s time to rest.

Sleep well, my friends. I will see you again tomorrow.

Dawn, Ojai Arcade

Daily Progress, One Student at a Time

I have been sitting on this chair or standing near this table in my living room since 8 am when my first student arrived. I am not inclined to linger at this late hour and, therefore, will be writing only a brief blog this evening. I have, after all, being aiding in the writing process all day.

The good news is that Monique has a completed personal statement for a graduate program in Nutrition; Amir has a completed final draft of his law school personal statement; Linda has an almost completed final draft of her Cultural Autobiography paper for her graduate class in Social Work; Nina has a good beginning for her 2nd UC personal statement; Jonah has a completed book report for 7th grade English; Aaron has a first good round of new vocabulary words for AP Language, and Kayley has a strong “Why Tulane?” essay that lacks 10 minutes to finish before her early application due on November 15th. Also, my online students each have received their comments on today’s submissions for their “20 Minutes a Day for a Month” class.

A satisfying job and now it’s time to head upstairs for a warm bath and a soft bed.

Tomorrow we head to Ojai for the day. Ah, joy. A bit of a respite from sitting for one whole day. Can’t wait!

Sleep well, my friends.


Birdman – A Thought-Provoking Film

Ray and I went with our friend David a few nights back to see Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) starring Michael Keaton. I would highly recommend this film. It is quirky, but also deep, and requires a suspension of disbelief in more than one place over the course of the story. Jorge Luis Borges came to mind several times with his bent towards magic realism.

The movie also stars Naomi Watts, Edward Norton, Emma Stone and Zach Galifianakis. The acting is stellar; however, the storyline, which centers on a has-been action hero – Keaton – who is trying to write, direct and produce a Broadway play is what makes this film an exceptional experience. The main character confronts his past while trying to reshape his present and future life; other characters deal with their notion of truth and honesty before the film is over.

Do not walk into this film with an expectation of a reality-based story line. On the contrary, it is highly likely that you will emerge wondering what you just saw. However, there is no question that while this film pushes the boundaries of the real versus unreal, it also brings with it an appreciation of the complexities of life and the benefits of releasing oneself from a self-inflicted prison.

I would give this film an enthusiastic 5 stars.



Ray and Ragweed – It Ain’t Pretty

Ray is upstairs and I can hear him coughing and hacking away. This will be a short entry since I think my husband might appreciate my presence since he doesn’t feel well. The culprit: Texas ragweed. He just returned after five days in Texas and he is highly allergic. He took Flonase the whole time he was there to combat ragweed’s effects, but, alas, he is sick. This is no surprise. Ragweed is, in fact, one of the primary reasons we moved to LA from Texas. Ray was spending at least 4 months of every year miserable with allergic reactions to the stuff. Here he has none of these problems. Ironically, I’m the one with allergies here, mainly to roses.

So, I think I’ll go up and keep him company. Poor guy. It’s no fun to feel sick. Unfortunately, this stuff goes straight to his lungs and he coughs and coughs and coughs.

It might be a long night…


Flash Fiction: Seeing Red

I was shocked that he did it. Threw himself out of that window and landed with a thud on the pavement below as people with dogs walked by. He was dressed to go out that night, in a suit coat and red tie, and he had his cane in his hand even as he lay dead on the street. Did that cane somehow help him to keep his balance as his body floated down 12 stories?

I came to my window when I heard the commotion. I threw open the curtains when I recognized his face, though I was half naked. My husband asked from his chair in our bedroom what was happening. I couldn’t even form the words. I stood frozen, wondering why I hadn’t said what could have made the difference.

I couldn’t help but note that his face looked happy. Was that a smile, I saw? His perfect teeth shone in the glow of the street light. His arm was up, his hand open, as if he was waving a firm good-bye. I saw red everywhere I looked, as if his blood had soaked into the street and buildings and even the passersby. The only thing that glowed white was the church far off in the distance, as if his blood had not touched that establishment with its fenced grounds and tall bell tower.

A dog wandered up, sniffed the body, then turned away. No interest in investigating this new corpse that awaited the coroner’s pronouncement. People diverted their eyes as they passed by, choosing not to acknowledge that death waved at them from the pavement. I heard the moan of a siren and knew an ambulance was winding its way through the streets. A hearse was more appropriate, but hope was not to be scorned.

“Cover yourself!” my husband barked, not moving from his chair.

“What for? I am invisible. No one sees me anymore.”

My husband heaved himself up and came to the window. He gasped when he saw who it was. “Dear God. Who would have ever thought?”

“Certainly not I,” I lied.

My husband leaned back in his chair and sighed. “Poor chap. He confessed to me in the elevator just last week that he had at last found happiness.”

I watched as the ambulance drivers covered the body with a sheet. “Did he say why?”

“Love, I expect, but who knows? Maybe he’d had a run of good luck with the horses.”

I picked one dark rose from the nearby vase and dropped it down. “What a loss,” I muttered as I pulled the curtains shut. “What a loss, indeed.”


My Postage-Stamp Garden

A few days back, I got up bright and early and headed to Anawalt’s on Robertson in West Hollywood to buy herbs and vegetables for my fall garden. I came home with Italian parsley, curly parsley, cilantro, Italian oregano, beets, lettuce, swiss chard, romaine, sweet leaf, and strawberries. These plants went in alongside several hardy kale plants that have been producing all summer.

I love having fresh herbs and a few vegetables. It was so hot this summer that everything died out except the kale, rosemary and thyme. I am happy to have a new crop to look after and enjoy this fall. I have developed a love for my little garden and I’m glad it’s back in operation. It will not look impressive to any of your serious gardeners, but for me it’s pretty darn cool. I am coming to green-thumbdom later in life.

Here are a few pictures.










Italian Oregano

Italian oregano


My little garden

full garden