Disclaimer- I do not believe in Heaven or an afterlife. My formal religion, assigned at birth, alludes to it ambiguously, but I think the idea of Heaven is horse poop. Do note, I appreciate the history of my familial religious culture, but I don’t buy into it verbatim. Also, I only ever viewed three episodes of “The Good Place.” Okay Four. But they were non-consecutive, and I was mostly looking at Facebook on my phone.

There’s Heaven and then there’s Earth. One is unproven and one is tangible. Dudes you’re walking on it. And you need a one-way ticket with a severe purchase-price to get into the other.

 You’ve got the “here and now” and you better make something of your life, imho, because this is probably the only chance you get to strike the piñata. Now if something else exists, I’m pretty sure that I’ll be swept up in the wave. If it’s based on good and evil acts, as many would believe, I haven’t killed anyone or lied on a reality show and I loaded groceries into a car for an old lady once, so I feel confident about my brownie points.

If there is a creator, I was endowed with the skeptic gene, by said creator, so I won’t be punished for questioning its existence. She might even find that entertaining. (Yup SHE. That’s another essay).  I don’t live my life waiting to die, to be rewarded later and I really don’t understand anyone who does. But you do you. Just don’t drag me down with you, sinner.

BUT I have a few questions for those who harbor so much belief and faith in something so intrinsic to their existence that they still cannot explain or prove. And pointing to the bible won’t cut it. It’s a book, written by a few dudes. That’s it. No more. No less. If God wrote it, I dare say it would have been updated by now with a few more modern non-binary prophets, an online website and a Social Media account. Seriously. Reach is supposed to be important in God’s line of work. Why not take advantage of technology and marketing? And I’m not talking about those Super Bowl commercials. I’m looking for the real deal from the supposed original source.

But for you die-hard believers, talk to me. I have wondered, what is the hierarchy of Heaven? If it is so important to your core belief system, then you must have spent some time thinking about the nitty gritty of it too. I mean I’m not even in on the game, and I wrote an essay about it.

(Side bar. I was encouraged to go to different religious services and bible studies with my friends of other denominations. It was part of my education. I do remember however, being absolutely shocked by my 14-year-old friend C. after we left her church bible study one day. She looked at me and said enthusiastically, “I can’t wait to die! Heaven is going to be great!” I was stunned. I did not return to bible study. My father was amused).

Is said Heaven comprised of body-less souls that fly around somehow not bumping into each other? Or are the souls afforded a body of some sort so they can identify each other? If you get a body, at what age is it? I mean if you live a long, healthy life are you going to look like you are 94 forever in Heaven? That doesn’t sound like a reward.

 Do you get to pick your favorite age? That could be awkward if a married couple tries to reunite, and they don’t pick the same decade… Do people who died as children, get to finally be adults? Do you live and grow and change in Heaven? What’s the purpose then, if you live a few short years on earth and then spend eternity reflecting on those years? If you can’t profit from your new wisdom and you can’t effectively share it with your relatives and friends who have not yet died, what is the ever-loving point?  Do you tune into earth like we watch TV? Is it entertainment? Is it important anymore?

Is there infrastructure in Heaven? Are there roads and highways and little houses? Do poor humans become rich angels? Do the rich humans grovel on the streets of Heaven or Hell whichever one they wind up in? Is it wrong to be rich if you earned it fair and square? Are you bad if you don’t share your wealth?

Do you sit in a special Union Station in the clouds waiting to grab a new body on a Heaven to Earth ski lift- like transit and return to terra firma? What is the blooming point if you didn’t learn anything from living the first time? Are we on one big merry-go-round, because that makes even less sense to me. Are we all alone, living parallel lives, experiencing deaths and then our individual “here afters” or are we like certain religions believe, each master of our own planet eventually?

Is our family, really our family? Do we just keep being born into the same tribe, but different stations? Do we all finally get along?? Or are there still fights at family gatherings if there are family gatherings? Do our parents still get to criticize our choices if we are angels??? I mean we must have done something right if we ultimately landed in Heaven, although we might not have become a doctor or a lawyer like mom wanted…

Are the bad guys really frying in Hell? Is Hitler being gassed daily? Is there proof or is it hearsay? I mean are there field trips to Hell so you get to really understand your Heavenly reward? If you show bad manners on the trip and jeer at Hitler, you have to stay right?

Here’s the Hierarchy question. Is there social class stratification in Heaven? Are some people really holier than thou? Are great people great angels? Or are we all equal?

 Is Einstein doomed to be reborn as an average Joe? Do the intellectually disabled finally gain knowledge? If so, what a waste if they couldn’t have had it in life. That seems cruel.

Are there elections in Heaven? Is it self-ruling? It sounds like there are a lot of folks up there and someone has to organize it.  Does God spend as much time tending to souls in Heaven as on earth? Does God pay attention to all of us or some of us? Why?

Does God have a God? Is there a hierarchy of Gods? Who is the head God? Why? Does it change? Do the Gods have to petition each other for ranking? What does God’s resume and job application look like?

Was the parting of the Reed Sea real? (Yes Reed, not Red. Look it up). Why did God drown some of her children, the Egyptians, to protect the others, the Israelites? Then why did God turn around and allow millions of Jews and others to be systematically murdered in World War 2? If I saw my kids beating on each other, I would have stepped in to stop it. Does God love us as a parent? Does God actually know we exist? Does God exist?

Are we a happy accident? Are we really truly the only creatures in the galaxy? Yeah. I have a tough time buying that too.

Do we really fly in Heaven? How do we learn to do that? Are there clothes in Heaven? Do we all suddenly have perfect bodies and we run around unclothed? Do we get cold?? Is someone always fiddling with the thermostat? How could you possibly keep all those people comfortable at the same time???

Do we get hungry and thirsty in Heaven? Do people have sexual desire in Heaven? Are there marriages in Heaven? Do single people get to be married angels?

Are there police in Heaven? Good people bend the rules sometimes. Are there angels ensuring that the rules of Heaven are followed, or do you drop ten floors to “you know where” for rolling your eyes at someone during a conversation? Is there a list of infractions handed to you at the gates, or do you find out the hard way?  Is there a “three counts and you’re out” rule?

Are there jobs in Heaven? Does Apollo pull the sun across the sky every morning? What happens if he oversleeps or has a difficult day? If you hated being an accountant in life, but you’re good at it, do you still have to be one in Heaven? It seems like there would be a lot of counting to do in Heaven.

Do angels have mentors or personal coaches to help them acclimate? Is there a training manual or is everything transmitted telepathically? Do angels talk or just sing? How do they know what to sing?

Can you change careers in Heaven? Can you get an education?  Can you further your education? I mean you don’t want to be bored and presumably, you’re going to be in Heaven a long time. Do angels get bored in Heaven?

Which religion is correct? Are any of them? Do they all have it wrong? Does that matter? Is religion only for the living?

I have a lot more questions.

You can fabricate any answer you want to any of these questions. You can say that you just know that your religion is right and that you have all the answers. But you do not. The pope does not. The Indian chief does not. The head rabbi does not. No one does. No one knows for sure.

If we really understood that life is so precious and fleeting a gift, that nothing is for certain either before it or after it, that no faith or belief can protect you from whatever reality is, that there is no magic that makes you or your loved ones special, perhaps we would walk around each day and truly appreciate our miraculous present. We are here, now, in what seems a possible version of Heaven.

Not to be Pollyanna-ish but okay let’s give that a try today, because I would like to see us clean up the present scenery. The environment needs some help. We have to eliminate poverty, discrimination and warfare. We should stop fighting with one another and see the miracles that we truly are every single day.

We need to stop stealing, bullying and causing grief to one another and instead spread our good fortune to breathe this air and play in this sunshine. Kindness should be our currency. We should have faith in ourselves to be better and share our wisdom.  We shouldn’t need a Godly parent or a Heaven.

If they both exist, then that’s an unexpected bonus.

But we could be in Heaven right now, if we perhaps just tried a little harder to fix it, I think.

Still, I will always wonder if there is a city in the sky and if so, why can’t we see just a little glimpse of it once in a while.  God knows we need that…We really need that.


It riles me up when people call him, “Mr. Putin.” He doesn’t deserve even that small modicum of respect. The following are the notes from my phone that I write at two in the morning and then again at three, and four, because I cannot sleep. This monster on the other side of the world is keeping me awake and clearly my personal issues are meaningless. At least I don’t have to hide in a basement and listen to air raid alarms….yet.

Now I know what air raid alarms sound like. They used to go off once a month on Friday mornings when I was a kid growing up in the San Fernando Valley. They were “tests” and somehow, they were related to hunkering down under our flimsy, beige school desks, perusing bomb shelters with my dad when I was very little and dusting off the funky old box of dried food rations that my folks kept in the front coat closet. I just wasn’t sure how they were all related. Because I was a kid, and nobody was really going to explain it. My dad had a book on how to deliver a baby in an emergency because my mother was pregnant with my brother during the Cuban Missile Crisis. There was also one solitary gallon of water for all of us, stashed in that closet. I thought that was so half-assed, even as a child. Either commit to survival or don’t. My brother is very lucky that my dad didn’t need to use that book. My mother was lucky too. I knew about the book and assumed that all daddies had to understand how to deliver babies. I was a little precocious in some respects, yet still innocent. 

And these are the comments on my phone typed in my notes section in the wee hours of the morning:

  1. I’m not just afraid. I am furious. How dare a demented president in a country that my family fled over a hundred years ago, be a threat to us now. WTF?
  • What is the perfect storm that creates a dictator and how do we prevent that in the future… if there is a future? You can’t just go around killing despots. You have to prevent them from ever growing power bases.
  • The world should seriously spend some significant R and D money collectively, to scientifically increase penis size across the board, so big d***s like Putin don’t try to take over countries or bomb us all into oblivion. Any therapist will tell you that that’s the basis of this whole bullying behavior. Yeah, the stakes are clearly higher, but the basic pissing contest is the same. How sick is that? People never really grow up??

When I am wide awake, I of course watch TV and see the tragic, beautiful cities of a modern Ukraine being smashed and desecrated and I freak out.  The babies! The little kids! The brave mommies trying to hold it to f*****g gether, burrowing under cold, dark theaters that are literally falling down on top of them. And the brave heroes aka accountants, store owners and teachers who are grabbing guns and outwitting the Russian soldiers- how the hell can we see this happen and not go in and save the Ukrainians?

I get it. I am not stupid. I understand that we are freaked that Putin will spook us with nuclear weapons. And then I think, wait, WHY ISN’T HE AFRAID OF US? WHY IS THIS IDIOT CALLING THE SHOTS? WHY IS HE DETERMINING WHAT CONSTITUTES AN ACT OF WAR AND WHAT DOESN’T?

Honestly, we are the country that actually DROPPED the atomic bomb. WE SHOULD BE CALLING THE SHOTS imho. Now obviously I am not thrilled about the prospect of biological or nuclear warfare but being a realist, I have investigated which nearby buildings have basements or bomb shelters. I calculated where we could get in the 15-30 minutes or so that it apparently takes Russia to lob a missile this way. The prospects aren’t great. I know that there’s even houses in Thousand Oaks that were built during the Cold War and they HAVE SHELTERS that people probably haven’t explored in decades. If you’re not from earthquake country, you can’t fully appreciate the novelty of having a basement or shelter in Southern California.

I bought potassium iodide. I have the water treatment tablets and the Patriot food rations. I’m even looking into a ridiculously expensive camper van so we can dodge civilization and run to …where? Where are we supposed to run to? All four of us with my dad and the girls’ dogs and boyfriends in one camper van? Sounds tight. Yeah I know I mentioned the dogs before the boyfriends….I’m a mom.

My brother says screw it. He lives near a base….There’d be a nuclear winter and the only people who would survive are the SURVIVALISTS. And I say see- maybe they know what it’s all about. Then he says, Gayle, get a hold of yourself. They’re all TRUMPERS and they’d be combing through whatever is left and picking people off with their guns for a can of tomato soup. And I don’t mean the Warhol kind.

WTF? What the holy F?

Our president is on camera saying yes, he wouldn’t put it past Putin to use chemical agents. And I suddenly remember that there were previously Russian submarines off the coast of California once. And I have kids!!!! And so do the Ukrainians. I have precious kids! And my friends have kids! And my relatives are having babies and getting married and buying their first homes. And so were the Ukrainians. And you could buy McDonalds in Russia. And I wanted to see the beautiful brightly colored buildings in Moscow and St. Petersburg. And I haven’t been to the last five countries on my bucket list. And my kids are just getting started. And maybe there’s going to be grandkids one day. And there’s the Ukrainians. They had stuff to do and weddings to attend and businesses to start and graduations and—


Zelenskyy is about the bravest man in the whole expletive world.  And I take an immense amount of pride in the fact that he is Jewish. I read that meme where the guy says the first thing he does every morning is have his coffee and check on Zelenskyy. Can you imagine, even for one iota of time, what the hell this man is going through every single morning? His country is in shambles, but it’s not because of an unbelievable amount of shared courage and moxie. What do they feed these people that makes them so courageous? Oh yeah- FREEDOM. It will do that to you. LIBERTY. The right to live your own life and not kowtow to a bald-headed autocrat with poisonous mushrooms for character.

And when Zelenskyy says the Russians are gunning for his family, I can barely keep it together. I want to bawl. His kids? His family? They are so young and adorable, and OMG I can’t even-

I get it. We don’t want to provoke Russia. We are helping behind the scenes. God, I hope we have a *** squad in Moscow. I don’t want the details. I just want to know the deed is done. And that brings me to the last note I’ll share:

I resent that this monster who calls himself a human being, is making me question my character, because I would like to get every country to bomb the holy hell out of the Kremlin. And that goes against what I believe in. That is not a mature response. But at this point I don’t much care about that. Putin IS THE EXISTENTIAL THREAT to the WORLD.

I know that not every Russian is a bad person or that they even really understand what is going on. But it’s starting to look like a Cost/Benefit Analysis. I don’t think I have to explain that. We need to agitate the Russian populist into driving a coup or—

So, if a country signed a paper and joined NATO then it’s safe? Millions of people died or have become displaced because of a signature on a piece of paper? We owed it to our fellow democracy Ukraine to bomb the hell out of the Russian tanks and military infrastructure quickly before it ever got this far. And we obviously don’t really think that Putin is going to stop at NATO’s feet. What then? We head full force into a nuclear confrontation, and we sacrificed a whole country for what exactly?

I always wondered what I would do if I had lived in WW2. Would I be the brave one? Would I commiserate about the European victims while on a lunch date with a friend at some ritzy place sipping mimosas. Or would I do something?  I want to do something, more than just donating more funds. I wish I hadn’t downsized because I could have housed a refugee family. Hell, some of those people are probably distant relatives anyway. My ancestors are probably buried in Kyiv.

That’s a whole other issue. The refugees have rights to the captured yachts- to live on or sell for funds to get them started in their new lives elsewhere. Why aren’t we bringing them here? By the boatloads????

I am ranting now, and I will stop. I want to help and short of learning to fly overnight and stealing a bomber to get to Moscow and destroy the Kremlin, I don’t exactly know what to do. We’re acting like life goes on and while some nasty Republican senators were rudely interrogating our hopefully first black woman Supreme Court Justice, I was thinking, are they kidding? This is kind of an all hands on deck moment. The grilling could stop, Lindsey Graham. Give me a break dude. We have much more important things to deal with at the moment.

You see, I don’t have a bunker. I am not a senator. I don’t have a bunker.

I just have a few tubs with some dehydrated fruits and vegetables, and I don’t think that’s enough. And I don’t need the baby book…

I need, we all need, Putin to snap out of it and realize that there is no winning in this situation. He’s got to back off now. The gallon of water in the front closet is all we’ve got. We need to make it last.  

I Miss My Dog

I miss my dog.

That should be my whole essay. Those four words should be enough.

 It is late and I need to go to sleep. My client is not happy. I need to finish her project. There’s been a lot happening with Covid, and finances, and seeing doctors (finally) and a graduating senior who was cheated out of her last year of the college experience. I’m trying to figure out my long-awaited graduate school and in the middle of it all, I keep crying because I miss my dog.

 And I am not a crier.

Losing my dog set me off.

I dealt with a pandemic, our company that shut down, being locked in, caring for a stubborn, elderly father, adjusting to masks and gloves and the loss of independently picking up the things we needed without planning, cooking every meal at home ,not being able to help one daughter move and seeing our other daughter being depressed about all of her college plans. But losing my dog set me off.

I can only compare the grief to losing my mother a few years ago. I keep looking for my sweet puppy, my youngest baby, and she isn’t here. I keep wanting to call my mom to see how she’s feeling, to hear her voice and she isn’t there.  She developed dementia as soon as we moved back in town and it took time to fully realize what was wrong with her. I feel cheated too. I finally lived nearby enough to meet for lunch and the kids were in school full time, but I got cheated out of mom dates and a weekend girls’ trip here and there.

Loss is loss and love is love.  My love for my dog was total and resolute, pure and unconditional. Dogs don’t come with emotional baggage. That’s why our grief for their passing can be profound. And she was our child. She was totally dependent on us. I feel like we let her down in the end albeit I know that’s not true. But it still feels that way.

We had a lot of long conversations, my dog and me.  She listened while I thanked her for being so cuddly and soft. She looked at me with wise, beautiful eyes while I told her how much we all loved her.  More than a few times, I’d wake from a bad dream, and hug her. She often slept on our bed and just touching her soft fur and feeling her precious little heart beating would calm me down. And when my husband was on a business trip, she was very attentive and slept with me all night because she knew I needed her company.

I was not really her favorite person though. She was madly in love with my husband, and she’d run up his chest to wake him up by barking some unknown language to him. She made her needs known. One bark meant open the doggy door to let her outside. Two or more sharp barks close together meant we were being stupid humans that she tolerated, but clearly, we forgot something important to her. And several barks meant open the dang door! You locked me in the bedroom!

In some ways, she was like a cat. When she was done being petted or snuggled, she got up and moved to her own bed. She allowed us the privilege of hugging her and I was okay with that. I swore there was a person inside that dog suit, but I only honestly realized that she was indeed a dog, when she pushed open the bathroom door once and scared the bunny, who was spending time outside his cage, behind the toilet. I screamed and scooped her up and put her in the bathtub because she was closest to me and she was too small to get out of the tub without assistance. I scolded her and explained how the bunny was in fact, her sister’s (my oldest daughter’s) son, her nephew. And we don’t eat our bunny nephews I explained.

Clearly when we adopt a pet, they are truly members of the family. And I am missing mine; terribly.  Presently our youngest daughter moved home because school was remote anyway and our small company was suffering greatly from Covid. She brought her own four-legged son and admittedly his presence has made it a little more bearable. But when he goes on to my daughter’s next home with her, we won’t be replacing our own dog. You can’t really do that. You can’t replace dogs any more than you can replace people. And we can’t go through it again. Our dog would have been 16 a week from today. We are thankful for the time we had with her, but I never really believed she would leave us one day.

She was a constant. We worried that this new house didn’t have a yard for her. The dog park sadly didn’t work out, but we still played fetch and ran around with her through the hallway and up and down the stairs. In the old house the neighbors came in many times if we were still out at dusk, to bring her in at the first hint of darkness to avoid coyotes.  We fretted about her food and sent her to be groomed monthly. Then we oohed and aahed and told her how pretty she looked. We constantly photographed and videoed her. She had daily walks and pet sitters who stayed overnight in our home when we travelled. She was too good for kennels. She had birthday parties and steaks. She had the people food that was vet approved.  We bought her a cute pink cape for cold days and fussed over her. We always made sure she had fresh food and water and nice toys and a ton of love. Everyone who came to our house hugged and kissed her too.  Neighbors knew her name, sometimes before they knew ours, and everyone was friendly to her. She was beloved by all who met her.

It happened so suddenly. She was sprightly and puppyish and always up for a good game of tug-of-war and then suddenly she wasn’t. She stopped hopping up on our bed and then she couldn’t walk. I had to carry her outside to pee. Her last few days were a nightmare. She’d been back and forth to the vet and a specialist. We had insurance because we never wanted to be in a horrible position where we couldn’t offer her medical treatment because of an outlandish cost.

It didn’t matter. She just got worse so quickly.  I kept holding her and rocking her and pleading with her not to leave.  And in the end, we realized too late, that we had waited too long. We should have taken her to the vet to put her down before she had convulsions.  It is a horrible thing to witness; to see someone you love go through so much.

My mother was in hospice during her last few months. We lost her in little pieces. Her sanity slipped quietly and then quicker. She had a few lucid moments here and there and said the most profound things and then suddenly she didn’t know who she was or who I was, and she lost one dignity after another.

And in my mind, my sorrow and grief for both has become conflated. One was my child and to one I was her child.

I haven’t been mothered in a very long time. I almost forget what that feels like, although I had her for 56 years.  In the end I remember most vividly what it was like to try to mother her. I didn’t do a good job at that either.

They are both gone now, and that grief is the most intense feeling I have ever had. I lost grandparents, friends and aunts and uncles. But nothing compares to losing your mother and in such a long, drawn out way where there is nothing you can do but to make her comfortable.

There is a picture of my mother and me on my dresser.  It is at my wedding before we came downstairs for the ceremony. She is smiling broadly, not something she usually did. She is uncomfortable being dressed up, wearing jewelry, and a little makeup. That wasn’t her thing. But she is nevertheless happy because I was happy. And I can see in the picture that I wasn’t nervous.  She was nervous for me. But I was calm. Every day I kiss my fingers, then lovingly touch the picture.

And on the glass desk in the living room, there is a small polished wooden box with a name engraved and a small pink collar next to it. Every day I kiss my fingers, then touch that box.

I like to think of them together in a beautiful field someplace running around and cuddling with each other. The field runs on forever and the sky is blue. The air is warm. There is a slight breeze.

I don’t really believe in that sort of thing, but the image helps me get through the day. I probably asked for a sign in my initial grief, but I don’t buy into that either. Still, yellow roses were my mother’s favorite flower. And the day after my dog succumbed, the vet delivered a large, beautiful plant.  And in the middle of it there was one, singular yellow rose.

I miss my mother. I miss my dog. I knew I loved them both when they were here. I hope they knew that too. I think they did. I wish I wasn’t kissing picture frames and boxes with ashes. I will not neglect my husband, and my children, my father, my family, and my friends. I tell them I love them often. But perhaps I need to step that up. Perhaps I need to buy myself some flowers, some yellow roses, as a reminder to keep imagining that field and to hope that we will all run around in it one day…together.


#FastestDeliveryEver #ComputersAndConsumers

OMG! In keeping with my promise to report on Consumer Advocate Affairs, I am here to tell you about the FASTEST DELIVERY SERVICE EVER.  Today, I decided my dad needed a break from his frozen dinners that he finally learned how to heat up in the microwave. (For a former engineer, microwaves, cell phones and iPads are still challenging. My brother says give the man gears and he’s fine, but anything digital is beyond him).

Anyway, dad had already eaten all the dinners that his gal Friday cooks and leaves for him a few times a week. So, I decided to send him Chinese food from Golden Hunan in Northridge. I thought he’d enjoy the change of pace.  A few days ago, I ordered a salmon dinner for his birthday from Outback Steakhouse. He is an enthusiastic salmon eater, but unfortunately cooking is also not his forte. Thank God for Outback. It was a good week for my dad gastronomically speaking.

Wowsa! I tried ordering the Golden Hunan eggrolls and chicken with vegetables online at first, but it looked like there might be a problem explaining to the computer app that the delivery address was different from the billing address/ zip code. I called the restaurant to ask if that was okay to type in both, before I entered the website of no return, since Door Dash had just deactivated my account for the same issue. (Now I am skittish).  Stephanie, of Golden Hunan, told me she would just take the order since I was already on the phone and that she could deliver it within 15 minutes. I was stunned. She took my payment and seriously about 8 minutes later, I got a call from her. She was watching from her car to ensure my dad picked up his food off the porch and brought it in. What a doll! He doesn’t hear so well so I don’t give out his cell number to restaurants.  I want them to check in with me if there’s a problem anyway.


 After Door Dash infuriated me two days ago regarding another order and I battled them for over an hour, I suddenly remembered what attentive Customer Service actually meant thanks to Stephanie!!! So, Door Dash was on my naughty list, but Hunan was as great as Outback had been earlier in the week. When I ordered his meal from Outback’s curbside delivery, I mentioned that he was celebrating a milestone birthday. When I went inside dad’s house and plated his dinner, I saw that Outback had added a complimentary piece of cheesecake with a birthday greeting. That was so sweet!!!! Northridge has got it going on with Outback Steakhouse and Golden Hunan! Good work guys!!!

Now Door Dash…Ahem. On the same day that I picked up dinner for my dad’s birthday, I tried to send a nice lunch to my daughter to celebrate her birthday too. (Yes, it’s the same day ). Door Dash got confused apparently because I had been sending out food and groceries to a few different relatives and friends at about four different locations and my daughter had just moved within the same zip code. Then I had the “audacity” to use different credit cards albeit they are all in my name. I guess the Door Dash computer app didn’t understand that I sent hearing aid batteries to my dad one night at one address with one credit card, and that I tried to send a fancy birthday lunch to my daughter at a new address. I blew up the app!! The computer decided I was engaging in fraud and then my account was terminated. I called the bank who said my credit card account was fine and there was nothing wrong with the charge…. except it turned out that it didn’t go through on Door Dash’s end.

When I called Door Dash I got a couple of really rude “customer reps” one after another, who basically told me that I was being fraudulent and that the “computer made the decision to delete me.” That’s just great. As if 2020 wasn’t bad enough, 2021 was off to an ominous start as I was now determined to be disposable by a computer. The implications were freaking me out. What if this computer had other computer friends at an ambulance dispatch company or the bank that gets the mortgage payment or worse- with one of the vitals monitoring machines at the hospital? (We’re in a pandemic after all). I mean they could all talk to each other. It wasn’t entirely implausible.

I tried one more rep and he also said I was engaging in fraudulent activity although he stressed that he didn’t call me a liar, when basically he was calling me a liar.  I kind of wondered if my laptop was in on it all because I admitted before in a previous essay that I do yell at it a lot-especially after I watch the news. (I don’t take out my fury on people. I just yell at inanimate objects).

Well, the short version of this is that I gave the customer service guy a soliloquy on the merits of real customer service which fell on deaf computer parts, whatever they are these day- not vacuum tubes or integrated circuits-whatever their guts are. And then I wrote three emails to Door Dash customer service about how they better be careful who they call a liar and a fraud because some people sue over that. I was mad. In the meantime, I found other services that could deliver from the stores near my dad because I figured that I was not using Door Dash again even if they made up with me.

This morning I awoke to an email from a Door Dash supervisor who apologized for the error. He didn’t explain it, but he said I could use my account again. Ha! It’ll be a cold day in Outback country before I use Door Dash again.

This evening, I’ve been walking around with dread about how easy it was for a computer to just decide on its own that I wasn’t a good “community member” and then it terminated my account and PEOPLE defended the computer. Jeez!! All those creepy sci fi stories are going to come true because people are just passive followers. Only now they’re following a computer.

I fear what could happen next. I tried to talk myself into calming down as my pulse increased remembering the ramifications of Asimov’s I,Robot. Come on, I thought, dad got a couple of nice dinners, Hunan was great, and Outback understands customer service too. So, two out of three companies understand customer service. Right?

And then just before I went to bed tonight, I turned out the lights and I could swear I heard my laptop laughing at me. If I see in the morning that it left me a fortune, I’m donating it to Goodwill…



Yes, democracy is fragile. So are people. But we’re still here.

We have a raging pandemic and a would-be authoritarian. But we’re still here.

 We have half the country furious with the other half. But we’re still here.

 We think democracy is dead but it’s still here.

It didn’t have the **** kicked out of it because some asshats stormed the Capitol. It went down for the count and then it got up. And democracy logged one against the authoritarian today because he’s the obvious target and the instigator. BUT he did not rush the Capitol or steal a lectern or carry zip ties to intimidate a member of Congress or worse. He may have fueled that anger and used it, but he didn’t totally create it.

Where did it come from?

Where is it going?

Did we, the other side have a part in culling that fury too?

Do we feel like pulling out a few guns and zip ties of our own? Do we just not give into that baseness because we have higher standards?


 Why does some cop take selfies with the guys who broke into the Congress?


Why does a rioter beat a cop with a flag on a pole in the name of liberty no less?


How do we deal with the fury on both sides and purge it without escalating a terrible situation? Yeah, I’d love “to break a chair” over one of those Trumpster’s heads, especially the anti-Semites with the stupid shirts. But that’s not going to make me feel safer the next time I’m in Orange County or Simi Valley. And- that’s not really my M.O. (I just talk tough).  I scream at the computer or the TV when I am upset about politics. Everyone on the block knows that. Too bad. (My therapist said it’s healthy). I don’t wear buffalo horns, paint my face and break through windows in government buildings. I scream. At inanimate objects that do not scream back. I do not beat policemen or threaten to hang the VP.

Where in the hell did that come from???

The way I see it, we either have to split up the country literally and take different states OR we have to take a deep breath and come to the table to figure out what is really breaking up our family.  Do any of the Trump supporters have legitimate gripes, albeit they need to learn to express their anger like dignified adults and not mad hoodlums if they expect anyone to hear them. I don’t know what they want or what they are afraid of because all I’ve heard for the last four years is Trump’s voice, not theirs.

They want less taxes? I want less taxes too. Great we are in agreement about something? Is all of this fighting about taxes? And abortion? Because that’s no one’s business but the woman who’s pregnant and I don’t think there were any of those ladies climbing through the windows on Capitol Hill the other day.

So, what else? The Trump followers don’t want their jobs shipped off due to globalism? They need to get with the program and update their skill set then. That’s a good use of government money- retraining citizens to be current on marketable skills. I’d like that too. But I’m not going to tie up poor Nancy to get a word with her about that.

They’re not crazy about the economy being shut down. No one is but we are in the midst of a public emergency and we are figuring it out as we go.  If a lot of people die that will only help the funerary and the refrigerator truck industries. We kind of have to wait this one out until the cavalry comes in and it’s on the horizon.

They have a beef with “Fake News?” I think they’ve been lied to for four years and fed a steady diet of you know what BUT surely we can objectively review newscasts side by side and all study how propaganda has been used to bring us to exactly this point. Who does this schism benefit? That’s also something to review.

Ok so there are some concerns. But killing people because you want less taxes, you don’t agree with the anchorman or you don’t condone abortion is a little twisted. No. It’s a lot twisted.

Is this anger for anger’s sake or is there something else here?

“It’s the People’s House and that means it’s my house” yelled one of the fury-ridden, bile- spewing rioters yesterday. Really Dude? Is that how you treat your house? You get mad and throw trash on the floor and rip up papers and break windows? You threaten people’s lives? Nice. Remind me not to go to your house.


 Maybe that’s exactly what’s wrong. I haven’t been to your house and you haven’t been to mine.

You probably have some family pictures up on the wall just like mine.

Your kids are probably doing their homework, just like mine.

You’re probably steamed about the price of groceries just like me.

You probably think that Congress gets paid too much just like me.

Whoa…. we might actually have something in common if we could just sit down and discuss it.

I’m sorry I called you “bile-spewing rioters”. See how that works. I lost it and then I apologized. BUT I didn’t shoot anyone or threaten to hang them. Got it?

I think the people who trashed Congress need to go back supervised and clean it all up…. again….and again….and again….and again until they understand that you treat the “People’s House” with respect. Then they should pay for all the reparations and donate to the families of the people they killed. Donate until it hurts like “sign over their damn house” donations.

Then serve time.

BUT while they’re there in the clinker, they need to literally come to the table. We need to hash out what we need to fix. But we need to talk to each other and not through a middle party. I don’t want to talk through a Congressional Representative or Trump. I want whoever broke into that complex first to sit down at a table with the other side, calm and collected and lay out his grievances one by one. Then I want the other side to lay out theirs. Then we get to see if there’s a Venn diagram in there somewhere with an intersection of any of these things that we are all angry about; that maybe we can fix together.

I’d like to say to those people who broke into the Congress, that Trump doesn’t care about them or empathize with them or understand them. Whatever made them angry wasn’t worth killing someone over. But something is clearly terrifying the people who acted out last week.

What is it? Evidently, they hate Jews and Blacks and accomplished Women and well they are going to need some intensive therapy to get on track about that. (Do they know any Jews, Blacks or accomplished women?). I hear that people hate what they don’t understand and people they don’t know. Do you think that could be fixed?

They think the election was stolen? There were over seven million votes for the other guy dudes. Your buddy lost. The reason the voting process is split between the states is to protect voters from widespread manipulation. But if you need to go through the details again, then let’s go through the details about how this works.

I am very angry at the people who descended on the Capitol and terrorized our country. I can’t believe that baseless rhetoric led to people being killed. I am furious at Trump. I’ve been furious at him for four years. I don’t want to see the country blow up this week literally because of all of this collective misplaced fury and anger. But if this were my family and we were all so angry at each other, we would go to a psychologist, an objective third party to help us work through it.

And much as I am embarrassed by and furious at the people who did this, they are Americans. They are my family. And I am theirs. We share a profound history and a country that we truly love, even with its problems. I can only hope that we as a country can learn from this. I pray the families of those who died have our support and condolences. And I expect that we will somehow go forward together because we can’t ever let this happen again. It didn’t just happen to supporters of this side or that side. It didn’t just happen to families who lost loved ones. It happened to all of us…. together. We need to fix it together. Without our family, we are just states. Together we can be a crowning jewel of freedom and democracy and a beacon of hope for the world. Our tiara was just kicked across the floor.  It’s going to take a while to get that back.



It is poor timing to have the audacity to stoke a personal crisis in the middle of a pandemic. Is it still the middle of the pandemic? I guess we won’t know that until the end. And what exactly is the end of the pandemic? Does that mean no more people are dying from Covid or just fewer people are dying? If so, what exactly is the acceptable number of people dying from Covid? I guess the president thinks it is around four hundred thousand, but we clearly disagree.

Does it mean that hospital beds will be available for other problems too? How have we collectively asked our bodies to stop having strokes and heart attacks because it just isn’t a convenient time to mosey into the ER? Did I miss something? I wouldn’t be surprised.

 I can only handle Wolf so much now. And although he and Anderson have actually made my “coveted” fantasy dinner party team, I’m just a wee bit sick of seeing both of them rattle off numbers that are just getting worse. And if fantasy jail “teams” are a thing, then Trump, Pence, 11 Senate Republicans and Kirk Cameron belong in mine. I would love to see, well not actually, just know, that they are cuffed in a cell battling each other over one open latrine. (From my thoughts to God’s ears).

You know I’ve heard ambulances all day, but no one on social media has mentioned fires which we are unfortunately prone to in this area. I don’t think those are sirens for fires. I think those are different sirens now.

Today I faxed my hard-of-hearing dad a news article about how bad it is in California right now and how paramedics are not going to transport patients to hospitals if they don’t reach a certain percentage in the survivability matrix. Actually, I marked the fax in big letters and told him to “Stay the f**k inside” because “this isn’t a game.” I have a VERY stubborn almost 90- year- old father who thinks that since he survived the three notorious childhood diseases, that he has superman genes although the rest of us might be doomed. He has a big ego and doesn’t listen to reason, so I go for the shock effect to make a point. (The obscenity is usually an ice breaker. He calls back to say that isn’t appropriate language and then I try to educate him (again) on the perils of the plague). He is incredibly stubborn and “omnipotent”. I am but a lowly mortal who also has the audacity to be female. None of that ranks high in his world. Hell, here’s hoping he does have the last laugh. As I write this, though, he might be walking up to the corner with a crooked, used mask to get more fax paper because he can’t stand waiting for anything not even a delivery, once he has his OCD sights set.


 I do a lot of that lately.

So why am I having an existential crisis? I mean I’ve got a book to finish, that would be writing not reading, accounts to reconcile, P and Ls to complete and 1099s to mail. I am busy. So why am I letting this get to me? Human, I guess. That’s part of it.

My youngest daughter is moving home this week because school is remote anyways and the roomies are getting on each other’s nerves. She’ll be here and we can get on each other’s nerves which I guess is an improvement. Well, it is in the wallet department. And maybe I can coax her into some fun activities like hiking with the dog or remote tap dance lessons.  She’d like to be going out to parties and bars. We’d all like that but at least we got to do that in our twenties. It must be very hard to be a college kid right now.

Anyway, yesterday she asked me why she was knocking herself out to battle senioritis to graduate in the arts when she knows she’s going to have to fight for a career doing what she wants to anyway. She really wants to know if we’re going to drop dead from Covid and if so, why is this how we are spending our last days. My husband and I are trying to be optimistic, but the vaccine roll out is a definite ____________. Fill in the blank yourself. The audacity factor of congressional disbelievers who partied hardy and rolled up their sleeves first is, well my blood pressure is increasing thinking about that, so I’ll cool my jets. She’s right.

I am applying for jobs because our company is at a standstill. We have bought talent and produced concerts and live events for many years. There just isn’t a lot to do right now, so I dusted off my resume and started applying for jobs. Thus, the reason for my existential crisis. I do not like accounting, and it feels like the universe is blackmailing me, because that is what I am most qualified to do. I look at creative writing jobs and financial writer positions and I send in my CV but I’m not getting many bites.

Then I look at the political jobs. They don’t pay as well, but they look a lot more interesting. While I see job skills that translate to these positions, I’m not so sure this will be the view of the potential employers. After submitting ten resumes tonight, I saw a particularly interesting activist position for families with children.  They asked why I was interested and in lieu of writing a five-paragraph paper like Miss Hayley taught me to in A.P. English, I simply said I wanted “meaningful work.” Ha! I must be losing it.

So anyway, I reviewed the old grad school websites again. I’d love an MFA or a Masters of Professional Writing or perhaps a degree in Humanities. I long to study astronomy, photography, the classics, Latin or Comparative Literature.  But these don’t necessarily pay, albeit the programs cost mucho buckaroos. And I need to eat.

I wondered too, like my daughter mentioned, what if these were our last days?  I mean objectively. Not emotionally. How would I spend my last days if I knew that was my future?  I asked my husband if he thought that terminal kids should go to school like normal kids. What was the point?

The degree programs that I am most interested in are terminal programs.  You don’t necessarily get an MFA because you’re going on to a doctorate program.  I would personally like to tie up the rest of my days in a doctoral program. I would be thrilled to be a student. It is a lot less scary than out here in the real world. So maybe, I should find a doctoral program where I could spend the remaining years of my life expectancy. That sounds good to me. My daughter is rushing to leave school and I am dreaming about getting back in.

So that’s where I am right now.  I’m applying for jobs when I want a career. My daughter is afraid she won’t find a job in her career. And the ambulances just keep driving up and down Kanan Road next to our house. It is the main thoroughfare in our suburb. We are actually in Ventura County, so I guess a lot of the virus kind of ends two streets down where it’s officially Los Angeles County. Who knew it was so disciplined?

I think those traitors in my fantasy jail should be tried for treason. I hope we have enough collective strength left to do that when this ends, if we can figure out what that ending is. I hope that I am more optimistic tomorrow morning and that my daughter is looking forward to cleaner, more considerate roomies and help with groceries, meals and walking her dog. We will lighten her load a little so she can concentrate on the mental strength she will need to draw on to finish her senior year and maybe even have a little fun. 

I will figure it out this week. I will figure out if I am going for a terminal degree. And maybe someone will call me back about my resume.

In the meantime, I am going to get a glass of chardonnay and sit down and watch the Georgia races and hope to God that the Senate turns blue, because I don’t think our beloved country can handle four more years of division. I want America to go back to school too. Meaningful. That’s a good word. I want Americans to have a meaningful relationship with politics, social issues, history and our national identity. Oh, and the truth. I want us to have a meaningful relationship with the truth.

You know. I was wrong. I don’t think I’m the one having a crisis.


Tonight, my beloved youngest daughter cried to me on the phone. She doesn’t feel well. She’s got severe cramps. She has a headache. And her throat is sore. Really sore. So sore in fact that the Kaiser Permanente nurse on call ordered her a prescription of amoxicillin without seeing her in person because if it’s strep they want to treat it. If, God forbid, it’s Covid, I guess the antibiotic isn’t going to make a difference.  They want her to come in for a Covid test tomorrow. She thinks she has the flu, but she had the shot, and she’s not sure.

She cried because she’s overwhelmed.  She’s quarantined with two “ghost” roommates that went home to their folks’ house but surprisingly (to me) re-leased the apartment together with high hopes that the university won’t be remote in Fall.  She cried because she still has homework and a new dog, online classes, and a boyfriend who just moved in and it’s all a lot and she doesn’t feel well.  She cried because she’s staring at the same walls over and over and there’s no fun sorority activities to look forward to. She cried because food doesn’t even sound good to her anymore. She cried because she’s a junior in college and sometimes the pressure of the quarantine is intense. She cried that she feels like a “pussy” because she’s had it.  She feels like she isn’t measuring up in the courage department; that she should be able to take it all in stride.

Meanwhile, my 95- year- old mother- in- law, who was one step ahead of the Nazis all through Europe, is alone in her home, watching TV reruns and chatting with various grandchildren and great-grandchildren, a handful of friends, a lovely, watchful neighbor and one of her daughters who comes over once a week to help with groceries and her home management. My mother-in-law still cooks for an army and always has a complete meal for twenty on hand. Thankfully, she is also great with technology and converses with texts and visits by FaceBook. She has had many challenges in her life, and this is one more under her belt. She’s alone with her resolve.

And my own 89- year- old father is also alone in his home, but he isn’t good with computers, so he is more isolated. My brother and I call him several times during the day and bring over groceries and some hot meals. I grab his laundry and bring it home to do. We try not to stay too long because although we wear gloves and masks, he is a stubborn, proud man and when we finally took away the car keys, he showed us who’s boss and walked to the corner market, sans mask and gloves, to pick up orange juice; something he ostensibly would die without because he couldn’t wait a day or so until we did his grocery run.  In other words, we’re not sure if he’s a possible threat to us or we’re a threat to him. So, we try to keep the actual time we’re in his home to a minimum. He is isolated along with his pride.

My oldest daughter came home for part of the quarantine to finish a project for work. Honestly we struggled with limits and boundaries because she  is a full-fledged adult and I kept falling back into old mothering habits. It’s a transition and I didn’t do a good job. I wanted her to stay so my husband and I could brave the dangerous grocery store for her. I bribed her with cooking. Actually, I bribed her with my husband’s cooking. I really didn’t want her to go home so I could protect her for as long as possible. Bubble wrapping both my kids during a pandemic still makes sense to me. My daughter is alone now, albeit in her lovely new apartment that she furnished herself with all new items right before the pandemic hit. My daughter is able to work from home; her home, the home she created. She’s alone with her privacy and ambition.

My sister- in- law lost her husband during the pandemic although it was not to the virus. But she couldn’t go into the hospital with him because of the virus and she wasn’t with him when he died.  She is lonely and mourning and probably still in shock. There was no service and no closure. We didn’t even have a card on hand to send to her right away. I assumed I couldn’t send flowers and felt funny about that anyway. I do not want flowers in my house right now. I don’t want anything in my house from the outside unless I need it to live and I supposed the same thing about her.  She helps her mother. She helps out her son and daughter -in- law too. She hasn’t been the most talkative right now and I don’t want to bother her.  She is buying a new house and selling the one where she lived with her husband. She is alone with her memories.

My husband and I are functioning.  Our dog seems suddenly sick and we are worried about her. She is 15 years old and an integral part of our family. My husband and I both have some medical issues and neither one of us will go to the doctor right now. I was scheduled for some important tests as was my father frankly, when the shelter-in-place directive came down. And all of us are sitting it out right now. The problems are on hold.

My husband and I go to buy groceries only with great planning. I typed out the last list in order of the store aisles to cut down on our exposure time. We wear 95 masks that are getting battered. We had leftovers from the fires that came within 100 feet of our home last year. We wear gloves, carry sanitizer, wrap the phones in a plastic bag and I top it all off with a face shield and my hair hidden under a sweatshirt hood.

We compare the quarantine to the weeks after we survived the Northridge earthquake, but unfortunately our house didn’t. We’ve been through a lot, the two of us, in 28 years of marriage. We’ve been through a lot. And a couple of months ago, we woke up to a virus that destroyed our industry and our business that we have been building since 1993. Gone. Over. We lost thousands of dollars in one day when one of our big concerts was pulled. And still we cook up new recipes, and make phone calls, and look at new potential partnerships and bake banana bread and challah and talk to the utilities about deferred payments and splurge on green olives stuffed with bleu cheese. We’ve been through a lot. We are alone, together, with our grief.

Today we saw on the news that people went out and about and acted like they were immortal. They are selfish and cruel. We have done our part. We have stayed in as asked except to venture out to the grocery store or my dad’s or the P.O. box. That’s it. For Weeks.  And now these selfish, cruel people have wandered out and crammed beaches and pools and parties. And if they wind up in the ICU at the same time as me, or my husband, or my sister- in- law, or my father or my mother- in- law, we will not be the ones who get the ventilators. It won’t matter that we stayed home. We are too old. We have an expiration date. That’s been made very clear.

So, my 20 year- old daughter was crying on the phone tonight and telling me that the quarantine is too much; that she feels weak. And I told her that I am very, very proud of her and her boyfriend. They are only kids. They are by themselves in this unprecedented event in our lifetime and they are living. They are finishing classes and running a household. They are taking care of another living being; a new dog. Her boyfriend is completing his final classes and interviewing for jobs. He’s starting a career hopefully, but sadly missing graduation.

They are just kids. My comfort is limited to FaceTime and encouraging words. My daughter is not weak. Her boyfriend is not weak. They are resilient. Crying is OK I tell her. She would be crazy not to be scared; not to be overwhelmed. She is strong I tell her. She is really strong. I say it again. I hope she is hearing me through the tears and garbled crying. She understands, I hope, that one can be strong even if one is afraid.

I am proud of my family.

I am proud of them all.

I bought industrial toilet paper from China, MREs and backpacking dinners. I got cans of food, hand sanitizer and masks galore. I stocked up on gloves and frozen food but deferred the car payment. We signed up for unemployment for the first time in forty years and managed to secure a small PPP loan. I don’t know how we are going to get through this as I perceive that we are still in the middle of it. And now it’s been made longer by people who had to run outside without masks and gloves and forgot what six feet looked like or worse; it appears that they just didn’t care.


I won’t be in line for a ventilator. I won’t even be considered for one.

I still have a lot of things I want to do. I haven’t been to Israel. I haven’t gone skydiving. I still want that advanced degree. I want to try being a stand-up comic- at least once- even if I have to pay the audience to come! I want to finish writing my book. I want to travel to the national parks with my husband in a spanking new Sprinter. I want to see my kids get great jobs, and maybe get married and have kids if that’s what they want.

My wishes don’t have an expiration. Which one of the selfish people in the pool yesterday got to decide that my goals have an expiration?

I just called my daughter back to check on her.  She’s holding off on getting the prescription until the morning. She sounded a little better. I pray her test is negative tomorrow. I hope she realizes how strong she is and how honored I am in knowing her.

And if I wind up on a one-way ticket to the emergency room, during this pandemic, that I probably won’t survive, I hope she’ll let me go gracefully and with dignity and know that she will never really be alone.

Her zeide, grandma, aunt, sister, father, and me her mother, her other aunts and uncles and cousins galore; we will always be with her. We will always be with her, in her strength and in her solitude.

She will never be alone.








I would be surprised if you ever saw this. And then again, maybe I wouldn’t. Information can be transmitted so easily now; although I don’t know if you get AOL or newspapers in your cave—assuming you are still there.

But since you found a way to send a message to this PTO mother of two, who was quietly raising a family and trying to figure out a way to save for college educations and retirement and contemplating what job I would return to when my little one was old enough for pre-school; who scrambled to call anyone and everyone I knew in New York and Washington; whose family members were stranded by your actions; whose husband lost his job because of you; whose friends are shaken to their core; who is afraid to gather in public or fly or send my children to religious school; who cries inside for so many who can not cry now for themselves—I thought I’d send you a message.

You got my attention. Blowing up thousands of my countrymen, who were quietly raising their families and who went to work one day to save for their children’s college educations and their retirements; that got my attention.

And the truth is I’m not sure that the people at the top of my government are sure that you did this.  I’m not sure that I am not being manipulated in some ways by the media.  But I am sure that you had some hand in this or some influence and for that reason, I am sending this letter to you. To the Taliban. To Sadam Hussein. To the PLO. To any terrorist anywhere. And for that matter to the Christians and Protestants who continue to blow each other up in Ireland.

I do not care about your ideology. I do not care about who is living on whose land. I do not care about which G-d you pray to; if you do at all. Did you ask me about my ideology? Did you ask what I care about? Did you ask if someone on the 105th floor of Tower One believed in Allah just like you?

What exactly is the message you were trying to send? Surely, if you are that wealthy, you could have taken out a full-page ad in the New York Times or perhaps the Washington Post.  Maybe CNN could have hosted a round-table discussion for all you holy warriors. I would have listened. I would have tuned in to your opinions. You could have opened up the phone lines for a poll.

Do you know what I care about? I care about gray children lying in streets, who cannot raise a tiny bit of precious food to their cracked lips. And women who can’t read a book, much less feel a breeze on their naked face for fear that they will die gruesome deaths. I care about families who cannot find each other.  I care about young boys, babies still, who are forced to become warriors and then have their legs blown off.

I care about people telling the truth. I care about mothers everywhere who have witnessed horrible things that I don’t even want to pretend I understand.

I think I believe in G-d. But I think that you cannot even begin to comprehend a Supreme Being. Because nothing that is higher than mankind would encourage such horrid acts on its behalf. Nothing…. no one. I do not care what name you call it. I do not care if your G-d is someone’s Son or Father. Destruction is not holy.

When do you see G-d? When you crash a building down on thousands of unsuspecting people whom you’ve never questioned about ideology? When you have diabolically convinced someone to become a human inferno?

I see G-d when I bathe my beautiful children; soapy and silly and giggling.  I see G-d when my babies sing to me; when they draw a picture for me; when they share what they learned at school…. when they speak to me of tolerance.

 I am not violent. I do not pray for your destruction. I would not pray to a Supreme Being for the destruction of another human being.  I am angry. I am furious. I am beyond fury. I pray that you will be captured and jailed and treated miserably in solitary confinement for a very long life in silence and darkness.  I pray that impoverished people will be fed and kept warm and educated. I pray that other mothers, everywhere, will be able to enjoy bathing their beautiful babies—soapy and silly and giggling.

I pray that mad men will not ruin more lives….

If making me afraid makes you holy, then you are holy. And I will freely admit that I am afraid. I am terrified. But I will live.

I am pushing aside the fear. I am stomping on it. I am screaming. Can you hear me yelling at you? Because I am not alone. I am almost 300 million strong. You will not make me a prisoner as you have done to others. My husband will find work. We will go out in public. We will take a trip by plane. I will smile at the strangers I may have ignored last week. Because they are Americans too…. And yes, my children are going to religious school. They need G-d ; a G-d of caring and compassion.

Do you know what else I am doing?  I am trying to read your Koran.  I am looking for some way to comprehend what you have done.  But I don’t think the answers are there.

With all of your money you could have tried to help the people around you by repairing roads and buildings. You could have taught your warriors to repair lives. Instead you have destroyed souls and families.

If you have children, I hope they are safe and warm someplace. And I hope, no pray, no there is no word for what I am doing tonight…I am asking the Almighty to protect my beautiful children.  I am bargaining. I will never ask for anything except the grace to see my children grow up in safety.






I know there are much bigger news stories at the moment but this has been bugging me. 

I get the intent about gender- unbiased bathrooms but while clever corporate MBAs, lawyers and COOs were figuring out that changing signs cost less than building new bathrooms or remodeling existing ones to squeeze in a new space, my rights were violated. And I know it isn’t PC to complain about this but I call them like I see them especially after I dragged my wobbly, elderly father out for a night on the town- Mexican food and home to have the lights out by 8. You can imagine the bathroom issue was a little confusing to explain. He didn’t know which one to use—not enough choices. And yes I digress, as my good friend John would say, because this isn’t about politics or being a consumer advocate; the supposed focus of my blog. 

But in a way it still is. I eat out a lot. I work at home with my husband and we need breaks.  Eating out while running corporate errands, is sometimes deductible and always cheaper than renting office space.  So yes, I use public restrooms- a consumer service. 

So anyway, in a rush to be ahead of the ball, sorry no pun intended, somebody forgot about my right to privacy. I do not like sharing public bathrooms with men.  Yuck!  I will spare you the details.  And I know women are no saints either but there is a difference. 

I feel like Erica Jong who wrote a chapter on the idiosyncrasies of international toilets. After having marveled at the self-cleaning toilets in the sparkling Hong Kong airport and freaking out about the hole in the floor with the two painted feet at Club Med in Corfu, I am somewhat knowledgeable in this area too. In fact I think it’s clearly a better way to measure civility, travelability ( yes I made that up) and hell GNP. It’s true people.  You CAN judge a nation by its plumbing—but not people by their’s. 

I don’t care if women who are changing into women want to use the same potty space, different stall please, but guys who think they’re still guys, could you go back to the old way? I live in fear that the next time I duck into Starbucks and I don’t know if the lock works well,  that some guy is going to accidentally push open the unisex door. (If you have dealt with man spread in public, you know men tend to be a little more aggressive about things, including apparently knocking first on a closed door as opposed to brutely pushing it in ). Hey I know it’s sexist that I don’t care as much if it’s a pushy or desperate woman, even if  that’s embarrassing anyway. If it’s a strange guy I would be mortified until my dying day.

In the world of public restrooms sometimes there are family bathrooms and that’s a cool invention, although my kids are grown and the only way I will personally benefit is I ever have grandkids. Human ones, because I don’t take the grand-bunny shopping at Macys. But I don’t begrudge families that improvement. 

I agree that we shouldn’t worry about people transitioning and which bathroom they use in public in general. I would however be uncomfortable if I was a middle school girl asked to share my locker room with a boy who is contemplating changing his sex or is it gender?

I’m so confused. When did this get to be such an issue? I mean people had this angst when I was coming of age right? What did they do then??? Read that with empathy because I really do wonder how they managed.  

Then there’s the norms in TV land. Where do the firemen and women change in Chicago Fire because it looks like they share a locker room and that freaks me out? It literally gives me anxiety. 

Also, why was there an eight -year -old boy running around the ladies room  yesterday in that aforementioned Mexican restaurant? You know men designed ladies rooms, halfheartedly and without much consideration. We don’t have urinals next to each but there are always huge gaps in door jamb hinges in public women’s bathrooms and I’ve never understood it. They couldn’t make the stall doors and the frames FLUSH? ( You can laugh now). At some point young boys do not belong in the ladies room. Eegads! I want a little privacy please. 

Digressing again, I must share that my daughter laboriously wrote out a whole chart for me about genders, binary and sex and I really am mystified. She said people needed it spelled out so they could identify and be identified correctly. Now I am even more mystified. Honestly I don’t care if people are bi gendered fluid whatever. Just be neat, clean, honest, fair; the things that matter. Have a good solid handshake and wash those hands in whatever public restroom you use. What you do in your bedroom or your own bathroom with whomever you choose is your business as long as it is between consenting adults who understand that chart a whole lot better than me. 

So I ask you, if people don’t want to be boxed in why are they putting themselves in boxes? 

 Maybe we just need a ton of partitions everywhere. It’s kind of like our all-encompassing use of social media, unrestricted and unfiltered. How can we be our best selves in public if we don’t have a little private space sometimes? Oh yes, that is definitely a metaphor. So happy public rest-rooming! May yours be single sex, er… gender, uh ….clean. 



The political warmongering will be heating up soon and frankly there is a lot at stake. I see 2020 as a battle between the survival of our democracy and an autocratic wanna-be dictator but then that’s just me….(or maybe not).

As we file in to the ring to watch these gladiators duke it out for the next 20+ months, I am making my request known.

This is what I want from EVERY candidate:


I don’t care if they publish them in a written version of the speech concurrently, text them out to attendees, show them on a webpage or run them on a video screen in the back of their podium while they give a speech.


I want to know who said what when. Who produced the study? What were the prerequisites? What exactly is “a lot?” Who exactly are the “people who say”? What makes up the demographic tested or polled? What was the purpose of the study? Did it prove its objectives? Was the methodology standard?

In essence each thesis is supposed to be built by the scientific method. The evidence should be organized and every statement should be referenced to or supported by a published work. Every statement should be correct and easily defended logically with facts.

I resent the manipulation and propaganda spewed forth daily by the current occupant of the White House and he owes me, nay all of us, at least the consideration of proof of his “facts.” I don’t want to read a summary two weeks after the speech. If the speaker can’t prove the facts, he shouldn’t be allowed to say them. It’s intellectually lazy and contemptible to constantly muscle in on veracity and squelch it into subordination.

The unprecedented lying in the Oval Office is clearly emotional abuse. That’s right, we are being emotionally abused by the guy at the top.  I can only imagine what he did to his wives and children. Every day he tries to rule by tweets, giving in to his impetuous snarkiness, while literally influencing the lives of over 300 million people in this country alone. WHAT IS WRONG WITH US that we allow him to continue his assault on facts? And he is not alone, clearly, as we can see what happens when other politicians debate or hold a public hearing.

Tump’s fancy footwork dancing around lies and half-truths doesn’t make him intelligent or me gullible. I, as many other Americans, literally hunger for the truth. And I don’t think I can hang on for another two years while he and his cohorts strangle the truth at every turn. Is there nothing more precious, flaws and all, than the beauty of knowing the reality of an event? We are free to make our own opinions and vote on policy, but we are never liberated if all of our decisions are based on fraud.

So that’s my request. I want citations and documentation. I want journalists to hash out the studies and confirm that they are valid.  If our high school English teacher insisted on accurate footnotes and annotated bibliographies, why would we expect anything less of our political candidates and oh yeah, the guy with the bad haircut in the Oval Office?