I’m Sorry

  One of the healthiest things we can do for our mind, body, and spirit is to offer an apology to someone we've wronged, once we realize we've wronged them. If we avoid saying, "I'm sorry" because it makes us feel ashamed or it makes us feel weak, we're proving to ourselves that we do have something to be ashamed of, and we are weak. We're so weak, in fact, that we'll feel the need to go a step further to protect our fragile ego. We'll avoid the person we've wronged, for the reason that just seeing them reminds us of the wrong we did that we're too embarrassed to rectify with an apology. Eventually, since we now feel the need to avoid them, we actually start to resent them. By their … [Read more...]

Sylvia and Her Spinach Pie

A number of people have asked for this spanakopita recipe, after I posted Karen's photo of the one she baked using it. But, being a writer, I first want to tell you about the girl who created this version, Sylvia. You can scroll ahead, if you'd rather not hear about her, but I think you'll enjoy making the recipe all the more if you know a tiny bit of the long history between us. I haven't made this recipe in years, married as I am now to Mr. Davis, who wouldn't eat spinach if it came with a plate of solid gold coins. Everyone who might eat a spinach pie is long out of the house, and as for guests, I’d only make it if I were sure they weren't spinach-haters too, as it's a time-consumer. So … [Read more...]

Jellyfish

  All four letters in "fear" are in "failure."   It's human to fear, and it's human to fail, but neither fear nor failure are in the word, "loser". And yet, that is what's at the root of our fear of failure. We don't want the humiliation of telling people who matter to us that we've made a mistake. We're afraid of being laughed at, of being looked upon with mock sympathy or genuine pity.   So, we stay put.   Or, if we dare wade into the waters of adventure, and get stung by a jellyfish for our trouble, we wish we’d never tried. We feel compelled to defend and justify: "no one told me there’d be jellyfish. Someone should have said. It's not my fault."   Deep down, we … [Read more...]

20 Questions Every American Age 12 and Up Should Know the Answers To

  1. On what continent are these countries located? Egypt, Libya, Madagascar, Morocco, Seychelles. 2. Is Africa a country or a continent? 3. After the Civil War, the South entered a period lasting from 1865-1877 called Reconstruction. What was Reconstruction supposed to be? What was Reconstruction in reality? 4. What was the 13th amendment supposed to do? What did it do in reality? 5. What was the Niagara Movement? 6. What was the Harlem Renaissance? 7. What was the “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male?” 8. What was the Tulsa Massacre? 9. What Black jazz musician born in 1907 and associated with the Cotton Club in Harlem had college-educated parents? 10. … [Read more...]

Why I Won’t Be on Social Media for Awhile

  If you’re a reader who enjoys my writing, you’ll probably want to know why I won’t be so active on social media for the foreseeable future. In my Thanksgiving Facebook post, I wrote that our existence is short and capricious, and that both good and bad can change in an instant. The reason I wrote that is because two days before, on Tuesday, the ‘instant’ had already happened for us. Things in the Davis household are going to be very different going forward. On Tuesday afternoon, my husband was driving home on Highway 99 from Yuba City where he’d gone to pick up a pecan pie. You might remember this highway from one of my previous posts, when I wrote about my adventure hauling two … [Read more...]

Sure, Boo

  Hubs is the only one of four brothers who inherited their father's beautiful gray eyes. He got his generosity from the same source. His biting sarcasm? Um...I'd have to say that's from his mom. The genius IQ is from both parents. Overall, not a bad set of genes, but one thing he did not inherit was his dad's remarkable ability to fix things. Nope, that trait was passed to his older brother. For Hubs, it skipped a generation and went straight to his sons. For the most part, he accepts this limitation, but every now and again, he decides to make an attempt, the evidence of which is scattered throughout our living space: a part he bought for something that's still broken, a nifty … [Read more...]

Maybe a Meteor

  Last night, in a way that seemed out of the blue (which, knowing him, means he's been thinking about it) my husband asked me a sobering question: "What would you do if I were to die tomorrow?" First of all, were we celebrating his birthday. I was all dressed up, I'd cooked one of his favorite meals, music was playing, we still had drinks in our hands. And, then--bam--that question. I waved my drink, and made a flip reply about pool boys. He smiled briefly, and said, "We don't have a pool." When I said "I'll build one," he got very serious and asked, "Could you afford one? Do you even have an inkling of an idea of what your net worth would be and how you would handle your finances … [Read more...]

An Honest Life?

    Today, I calculated that, based on the average lifespan of a female born and living in the USA, I have fewer than 5000 days left on the planet. And that's barring any possible illnesses that could cut those days down, considerably.   It wasn't for any morbid reason I calculated this. I'm not afraid of death, but I am afraid of not living to the fullest while I'm still breathing.   Too many people don't, in my opinion. They're afraid, of what I don't know. I've never known. At age 14, when I first absorbed what the word "mortal" means, I promised myself that if I had no choice but to die one day, then I wouldn't be one of those who are afraid of anything new or different, … [Read more...]

A Spectacular Fail

  I was raised to get married and have babies. Being female, that was to be the sum of my life accomplishments. They were the typical expectations of women for the time and place I was born, and it was tough going for me when I rebelled against them. I had to defy my parents in order to go to college, I became a pariah when I got my first divorce, I got worried looks when, married again, I held off having a child until I was over thirty, and the worry turned to judgement when I chose to have only one. My mother was annoyed, not proud, when I earned a teaching degree. My husband was annoyed, not proud when, after he relocated us to Greece, I quit a life-sucking job he wanted me to … [Read more...]

“a renaissance of wonder…”

  A thrilling moment for me in my writing career was to discover that my first published poem appeared in the same issue of New Press Literary magazine in which there a poem written by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. I'd read about the Beat Generation of poets and rebels who founded a whole new way of producing literarture and who used their platform to promote many progressive ideas. I dreamed that one day, I'd visit City Lights bookshop in San Francisco, the bastion of their independent thought and creativity. City Lights was the inspiration of Peter D. Martin, who first used 'City Lights'—in homage to the Chaplin film—in 1952, as the title of a magazine, publishing early work by such … [Read more...]

Rise Up, Again

  "...[We learned] how to cook and bake and do all kinds of crafts. We cleaned our houses and fixed things we’d been meaning to take care of for years. We gardened. We learned how to use Zoom... We got creative with masks. We hid our smiles, but learned to smile with our eyes..." ~ Laurie McLean Though Laurie, who is the founder of Fuse Literary Agency and the Director of the San Writers Conference, wrote this for her writers, her words above will resonate with everyone. This was the year of change, all right. Much of it was not good, not good at all. But, we sure did learn. One of my newest colleagues is an actor who just turned twenty-five years old. His profession keeps him in … [Read more...]

Here’s a Thing to Tell a Daughter

  Today I want to talk about something I've never talked about before. It's important, but I should warn you, it's not sexual, per say, but it has to do with female body parts. So, now you know that, you might want to move on, but if you have a teenage daughter, you might want to keep reading. The internet can be a wonderful tool. There's oodles of misinformation at your fingertips--a false story travels six times faster than a true one on the world wide web--but with a little patience, a little digging, you can discover and learn all kinds of things you won't learn from sitting in your house, everything from what NASA discovered most recently, to how to make chocolate cake using … [Read more...]

Of Books and Cookies

    There was a bakery in Astoria, New York , called Ditmars Bakery. It looked a lot like the one in the photo. They had these chocolate chip cookies that were so big, my six-year old and I could share one and be content. Those cookies were the perfect texture, the perfect sweetness.   The bakery was right next to the library. Every Friday, we'd go to the library, get a ton of books, and then go next door and have that cookie together. My son loved the library part of the experience even more than he loved the cookie. In fact, sometimes, he'd stay in the library so long--I'm talking hours--I had to lure him out of there with the promise of a cookie "before the bakery … [Read more...]