Month: March 2017


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What is it that makes some conservative men react so negatively to strong women?  One is inclined to think only extreme hate—or fear—could produce such contempt and belittling of women who dare to assert themselves.  Or, maybe their attitude is merely an outgrowth of ignorance and insecurity due to inevitable changes in culture as history moves on.

Case in point: Mitch McConnell’s truly deplorable silencing of Elizabeth Warren on the floor of the Senate as she tried to read into the record a letter written by a (female) civil rights icon.  He then showed his true colors as he said not a word when several male senators read into the record that exact same letter!

Does the word hypocrisy come to mind at all?

The Republican Party is not without its share of strong women.  Susan Collins and Nicole Wallace, for instance.  But mostly Republican men seem to honor only strong women who assume a “proper” female role: supporting a man from a clearly subordinate position.  Women like Nancy Reagan and Ann Romney—proper students of Phyllis Schaffly.

The usual attack leveled at a woman who dares to take a stand on some social or political issue is to belittle, to disparage with contempt.  They hold up to ridicule some aspect of her appearance (her preference for pantsuits) or use a silly nickname (Pocahontas) to demean her as a person.  These are the tactics of weak men, of bullies.

Such men would, if they could, turn us back the 1950s—if not, indeed, to the 19th Century.  The 1950s.  That’s when Rosie the Riveter was told to put down her wrench, go back to the kitchen, and let the big, brave man handle things again.  Trouble was Rosie would not—or could not—just go back to the bad old days.

Few would want her to now.  After all, women account for a huge percentage of the America’s work force today.  It is highly unlikely that those “persistent” women will just sit down and shut up.


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First in the Once Upon a Bride series!

Available October 17, 2017


Book Blurb:

Well-bred, well-dressed, and well-read, Henrietta, Harriet, and Hero are best friends who have bonded over good books since their schooldays. Now these cultured ladies are ready to make their own happy endings—each in her own way . . .

Lady Henrietta Parker, daughter of the Earl of Blakemoor, has turned down many a suitor for fear that the ton’s bachelors are only interested in her wealth. But despite the warnings of her dearest friends, Harriet and Hero, she can’t resist the challenge rudely posed by her stepsister: transform an ordinary London dockworker into a society gentleman suitable for the “marriage mart.” Only after a handshake seals the deal does Retta fear she may have gone too far . . .

When Jake Bolton is swept from the grime of the seaport into the elegance of Blakemoor House, he appears every inch the rough, cockney working man who is to undergo Retta’s training in etiquette, wardrobe, and elocution. But Jake himself is a master of deception—with much more at stake than a drawing room wager.
But will his clandestine mission take second place to his irresistible tutor, her intriguing proposal . . . and true love?


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In the last few years I have had serious medical care several times—and on both sides of the continent—so I think can speak with some authority on the matter—anecdotally, at least.

a) Yes. Medical care in America is outrageously expensive—as are the drugs that are inevitably part of any medical issue.  As a former employee of the federal government, I have excellent health care coverage—such as members of Congress have.  You know: people like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell who want to deny ordinary Americans access to the kind of care they get.  The question is: WHY?  Could it possibly have anything to do with the pharmaceutical and insurance contributions to Congressional coffers?

b) In the last year or so, I have been treated by a neurosurgeon who is a native of India, by an orthopedic surgeon who emigrated to America from Pakistan, by a Hispanic doctor who is a physical therapy specialist, and by any number of immigrant nurses and technicians—all of whom have been competent, professional, and truly caring in the way they do their jobs. So there, DT and you other bigots out there!

c) While I admire—immensely—the work of nurses and medical technicians, you could not pay me enough to do the work they do!  From a neighboring bed I’ve heard them abused in loud, offensive language.  They are incredibly kind and understanding in dealing with even the most trivial and often distasteful of chores.

You gotta luv em!

d) Physical therapists are my nominees for heroes of any hour.  Marty and the crew at Carson Physical Therapy in Nevada have periodically put me through their paces, challenging me beyond what I think I can do.  Jaimie, Branden, and Matt at Healthsouth in Sarasota, FL, and now TJ and folks at Physioworks in Venice, FL, have been wonderful!  Optimism and encouragement must be part of the PT version of the Hippocratic Oath!


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As I write this we have passed yet another Valentine’s Day, that favorite holiday of florists and candy makers.  I know: from a sometime writer of romance novels, you are expecting a treatise on the glories of romantic love.  Romantic Love–always capitalized—that which, as the poets say, “makes the world go ‘round.”

However, at the moment I have something different in mind—maybe even higher.


Friendship, for—at its best—and if it is to last, Romantic Love must evolve into or from friendship.  Or so it seems.  (Why else would so many married folks insist “I am married to my best friend.”?)  Perhaps we could define marriage as “friendship with benefits.”  But I digress.

I want to talk about the plain, old-fashioned, garden variety of friendship which has little or nothing to do with sexual attraction.  I have waxed on at great length here before about how incredibly lucky I am in my friends.  In recent weeks, I have come to appreciate that key element of life—friendship—more than ever.

I am in Florida where, on January 17, I had surgery to replace my left knee.  Before and after that event, I have enjoyed—relished—cards, emails, phone calls, and visits from friends.  I’ve lost count of how many times Bill McGrath visited me in the hospital and has since made a party of picnic lunches.  This week Nisha and Grant Kremers—college buddies half a century ago!—are flying in from Nevada.

But—most of all—I am grateful—indebted—to Dottie—Dorothy Francis Behm–who, when I told her this surgery was a probability, invited me to come to Florida for it and offered to see me through the whole ordeal. She has been incredibly wonderful as secretary, chauffeur, cook, nurse, and “go fer” throughout.  She has been through this herself—twice!—so she has answers before I even know what questions to ask!

Dottie and I have known each other since the ‘70s when we worked together, along with Bill McGrath, at Kaiserslautern American High School in Germany.  A number of other former teachers from the American schools in Europe have retired to this area of Florida, so it’s always great fun to visit here—knee surgery notwithstanding.


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Recently, I watched—again—the award-winning German film The Lives of Others.  I was struck—again—by what a great movie it is.  Although this was the third time I had seen it (maybe the fourth), I was very interested in how the people joining me–who had not seen it–might view it ten years down the road.  I have to tell you: it held up very well for both them and me!  It continues to resonate even though it is still presented in the original German language with subtitles—the acting and the cinematography is that good!

Ten years ago it won the Academy Award as best foreign film.  Set in the 1980s, it tells the story of a Stasi man (think Gestapo or KGB) in East Germany who is required to spy on the life of a playwright.  The film focuses on the needs of totalitarians to suppress the work of artists in a culture and the lengths to which such people will go to dictate and control the lives of others in order to achieve their own private ends.  But it also shows the amazing resilience of the human spirit.

The most memorable line comes late in the movie, after the fall of the Berlin Wall: “And to think people like you once ran a country.”  Of course, having witnessed what is happening and may happen in our own government under the current leadership, I found the film even more powerful this time around.

In their denigration of the press and of artists who not only disagree with them, but also have the courage to call them out for errors in judgement, DT and his cohorts are already at cross-purposes with two of the four freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment: Freedom of the Press and Freedom of Speech. Nor are they especially respectful of the other two: Freedom to Assemble and Freedom of Religion.

Scary times ahead.

We must never forget that the price of liberty is constant vigilance.

Bottom line: If you have never seen The Lives of Others, hie thee to Netflix (or whatever) and see it.  If you saw it before, see it again.  ‘Tis well worth it.