Congratulations to Alexa on her Acceptance to Penn!

I am happy to share that my writing student Alexa Nourafchan, a senior at Harvard-Westlake, received her acceptance letter today from University of Pennsylvania, where she will be entering the freshman class in the fall, 2017.  Alexa and I have a long history since I first learned of her existence when her mother announced she was pregnant with Alexa 17 years ago when her big sister Gabriella was a student in my 4th grade class at the Center for Early Education in West Hollywood.

I hadn’t seen Alexa since she was a baby bump until last August when she arrived at my front door, all grown up and ready to apply for college. However, I have been in touch with her family over the years, and helped her other big sister Lauren with her college applications just a few years back.

Alexa is a top student, executive editor of her high school yearbook, a singer in the Harvard-Westlake choir, and all-round wonderful girl. I have had the pleasure of getting to know her well while helping her with her college essays for Penn and several other colleges. She is not only smart, but kind and considerate. She will be an asset to Penn. I am happy the acceptance committee recognized that fact and has rewarded Alexa for her hard work.

So proud of you, Alexa. Congratulations, sweet girl.





Puzzling Through Chaucer’s Feminist Intention in the Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale

Well, I’d like to report that my student’s term paper is complete and I feel confident about the outcome.  That is not so far the case, though I feel confident that we WILL figure out the problems we are currently having and will adjust our body paragraphs just so to fit that refined premise.

These papers are like a jigsaw puzzle with lots of pieces spread all over the table, but no picture for guidance.  As pieces get put into place, slowly the image reveals itself.  At that point, new awareness enters and the process speeds up.  That is what we are aiming for early in the am.

Right now, I am going to bed.  Up at 6 am with a rested mind.

Trusting my subconscious will work out a few arguments while I sleep…

Here’s to intellectual curiosity.


The Wife of Bath, Chaucer and Me

The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and her Tale in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales is taking up a good deal of my time these last few days.  One of my beloved college students and I are actively taking on two literary critics in what her professor calls a “literary conversation” regarding the Wife of Bath’s feminism vs antifeminism. This is a eight to ten page paper that requires coming up with an original claim, bringing in two critics and then refuting their claims with evidence from the primary source material, aka The Canterbury Tales.  That may sound simple to some, but let me assure you that it ain’t all that simple. My student has done a great job of reading lots of secondary sources and coming up with great quotes. Our next task (which has been ongoing for the past several days) is to construct a cogent argument that makes use of the information we’ve learned through the research.  In other words, paring down everything that does not somehow refute the critics’ claims and/or strengthen our claims. Eliminating information that is not right on point can be tough, but it is necessary when constructing a paper that flows easily from one point to the next.  The truth is we stopped tonight because my eyes were starting to cross from fatigue.  I have been working all day with college essay kids. We will resume at 9:30 in the morning since the paper is due on Thursday.

I enjoy this process. Great for keeping the mind sharp and honing analytical skills.  Just not so good to try to do late at night after a long day’s work.

Heading around the block with the dogs.

Talk tomorrow.


Nico and Luna Visit

We had our grandbabies last night and for part of today.  I’m surprised that I am still awake at 9:52 pm since I am usually worn out by the time they leave.

This morning we got up early and worked on the Christmas tree.  Here are a few photos of that event.




Then we went to church.  My goodness, it’s been a while since I’ve had little ones in church. Luckily we sat on the back row so Nico, Luna and I could visit St. Damion’s chapel several times just so Nico could walk around.  It’s a little tough on an eleven month old to sit still during a high mass.


When we returned home, we ate lunch and then walked the movie, “Home.” Ray went sound asleep and I dozed as the kids watched this movie. I’ve already seen it at least four times, so I was content to rest, relax and allow my mind to drift.  When it was over, Luna turned to me and said, “I love that movie.”  Me too.

We headed out to the back garden after the film.  Luna has a little “room” which the plants surround and she calls it her house.  She played amid the bushes while Nico and I went from bush to bush, looking at and smelling the flowers.  Lovely.

Ray took them home around 5 since I had students arriving then.  I just finished with my last student and took the dogs around the block.  I couldn’t help but think that a trip around the block with the kids would’ve been a good idea too just to get them up and out.

Now I am going to bed.  This has been a full-enough day.

Good night to all.

Talk again tomorrow.

Back Home

After spending the last two days in Ontario at the LA Episcopal Diocese convention where we elected a bishop on the eighth ballot, I am now happily back home with grandbabies visiting for the night. Nothing makes me happier than having these little tykes around so all is well in that regard. As for the convention, it was my first and there were some contentious moments because we have some controversy within lthe diocese right now that has brought division, but overall it went remarkably well. The new Bishop won me over when he discussed the value of listening to one another so we can all feel heard. That is often much easier said than done; however, I can see the basic truth in his statement and am going to strive to listen a little better in my life.
Right now, I am heading to bed. The babies are aleep but they will wake early. I need to be rested.

At the LA Episcopal Convention Today Picking a New Bishop

I have spent the day at the LA Diocesan Convention in Ontario with several fellow St. Thomas the Apostle, Hollywood parishioners and clergy. We are voting on the next bishop for our diocese so this is an important time. We’ve had three ballots so far for the bishops and I am happy to say that my first choice, Father John Taylor, is so far pulling in the most votes. Still, there has to be a certain number of votes from the clergy as well as from lay people so there could be a few more ballots tomorrow.

I am reminded today of how lucky I am to have a church family like St. Thomas, the Apostle. What an intelligent, opinionated, loving and quick witted bunch! My life is so much richer because of this lovely quirky crowd.

Here we are at dinner tonight:


Flash Fiction, Memoir and Essay

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