Books

Coming Soon:
Marshallville Stories

Fifty Stories

Want to do your own fun-and-easy family history? Email Fran for a discussion.

Perilous Times

An Inside Look at Abortion Before- And After- Roe V. Wade

Dying Unafraid

Inspired stories of endings and the beginnings they encourage

Never In Doubt

A memoir of sorts … a man and his time

America

A New Year’s Ode to the Tree

Events and humankind in general being iffy these days, this seems a good time to talk about trees. I am a tree-hugger to the core. With apologies to Joyce Kilmer for probably never writing a blog as lovely as a tree, herewith. Other flora and fauna offer unique contributions to the planet and to us …

Reporting from the Facebook Dungeon

I have been disappeared by Facebook. Well, not totally disappeared yet, although I recognize that could happen any day now. So far, I’ve just been made essentially invisible. It happens. I do understand one should not get one’s feelings hurt by an app, but still. Facebook algorithms, I further understand, are managed by some faceless …

The Dark Side of Airline Travel

What is it with dark airplanes? Those of us addicted to sunlight, open air and cloud-watching may have to establish our own airline. Or unionize in favor of at least a passenger area dedicated to open window shades. We might, I fear, find it slow going. I am a confirmed window-seat person. I have nothing …

The Joy of Walking in the Rain

A walk in the rain! Among all glorious, inspirational, free things to do, I rank walking in the rain somewhere close to the top. I am admittedly a walking-in-the- rain nut; I don’t remember a time when sloshing along wet street and pathways, watching the ever-changing reflections, blinking away the water in my face wasn’t …

Covid

How to Handle Covid Exhaustion

Are we there yet? I am absolutely positively over Covid. I have reached the maximum exhaustion level where, as far as can be determined, everyone else in the U.S. also stands. Or lies, among those who are squashed flat under a purple cloud of weariness. We are all suffering from Covid Exhaustion. Covid Exhaustion, the …

Reach Out & Touch Someone in 2022

(Ed. Note: At the end of this essay is the solution to today’s major problem. You may want to skip right to the end and just blow off eveything in between. Or not.) One of my favorite memes, among those currently floating around, is this one: Nobody claim 2022 as your year. We’re all going …

Twisting a Friend on Twitter

“If you voted for Biden,” she wrote, “you are still my friend. If you voted for Trump, you are still my friend. We are all friends and neighbors, no matter what.” Can you argue with that? The writer is a 20-year-old college student; smart, pretty, popular and well-grounded. Someone who actually believes that business about …

New Year’s Day in July

My friend M reports losing five pounds since starting a new weight loss/mindfulness program. The next door neighbor is training for a marathon in the fall. Actually, I’m signed up to do the (virtual) Rabun Ramble 5K, having plotted an acceptable route in San Francisco not quite as challenging as the real Ramble’s North Georgia …

End-of-Life Issues

You can’t quite find the right words?

RECOMMENDATION Someone you know has just lost a spouse, a parent, a child? A friend is going through a difficult divorce? Perhaps you know a family member of one of the 550,000+ Americans who have died of Covid-19 since the pandemic upended our lives? You need this book. Dana Lacy Amarisa, who spent decades as …

Downsizing: The incredible lightness of being

On moving from a four-story, century-old Edwardian into a 1600-sq-ft condo eight years ago I wrote a lengthy feature for the local newspaper (The New Fillmore, May 13, 2013) titled “Lessons Learned from Downsizing.” It drew editorial applause and a bunch of affirmative comments. But it seems not to have sunk in all that well. …

Staring into the Great Beyond

Since this space is often devoted to end-of-life issues, today’s essay is offered as a new and unique perspective. And in case you need a laugh. It was written by my old and definitely unique friend Bob Dodge, a fellow supporter of End of Life Choices California. Asked for identifying bio he replied only that …

The F-Words of Senior Housing

Looking for a Senior Living spot for a parent or friend – maybe even for yourself? Here are a few tips to speed the process, in these upside down times when you can’t simply go visiting. Where to start? There are almost as many varieties of Senior Living as there are seniors on park benches. …

Feminist Collection

Watching Reproductive Justice Disappear

I am old enough to remember when, in 1973, Roe v Wade was ruled into law. I can also remember having a kitchen-table abortion, in 1956, after a workplace rape – in a time when both rape and abortion were too shameful – but only for the woman involved – ever to be mentioned.  So …

Gag Rule Harms Millions of Women

Can you muzzle a million women? Really? Unfortunately, that’s exactly what the Global Gag Rule seeks to do. Reinstated by President Trump two days after the Women’s March on Washington (take that, women of America,) the Global Gag Rule stipulates that non-U.S. nongovernmental organizations receiving U.S. family planning funding cannot inform the public or educate …

Protests, and Hope for the Future

We considered it a badge of honor. An event I engineered recently (with a LOT of help from my friends) in San Francisco drew luminaries from the interfaith community, women’s rights and reproductive justice groups – and several stalwart protesters holding signs aloft in the chilly drizzle. What’s a champagne reception without protesters? Actually, they …

Signs of Our Marching Times

The March was intended to be about women’s rights – workplace rights, immigrant and minority rights, the right to make our own reproductive decisions, all those rights that suddenly seem threatened. It turned out to be a celebration of the spirit. It was hard to separate rights & purposes from our new president, and hard …

Optimism

How to Build a Village: You May Need it One of These Days

Does it really take a village? Probably. Some of us need a sturdier village than others. But villages are good. Worth both the cultivation and the acknowledging. I admit to needing a LOT of villages; some cultivated, some spontaneous, most acknowledged, all appreciated. For instance. On getting home from a recent cross-country trip rather late …

The Luxury of Hope

“We don’t have time for the luxury of despair,” said a recent political pundit. Because this space tries to avoid politics the source will remain anonymous. But the pundit had a point.  Despair is easy to come by these days. Even if you’re not just a teeny bit worried about the future of democracy, or …

Optimism in Five Easy Steps

We’re still here. The Optimists of the World Society may hold its annual meetings in ever-smaller closets, but it is a relentlessly ongoing – optimistic, you could say – society. Here are a few steps with which you can guarantee continued inclusion. Faith. For example, I live in a 12-story building with two elevators, both …

Must Hate be Here to Stay?

When did instant hate become okay? There’s a charming new neighbor in my building. We have a lot in common: graduate-degree education, reasonably successful grown children, a fondness for historical fiction and long walks around San Francisco. One major difference: nobody ever yelled at me to go back where I came from. Or spat on …