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First Full Moon in July

The first full moon of July.

It's the first of July and a full moon. That means there will be another full moon in July. This is our hottest month of the year. This is how we know it is July in Phoenix: We no longer need hot water. The water comes out of the cold faucet at above body temperature. Warm enough to shower with. Our hot water is solar, so it comes out of the faucet at 160ºF. I have to wash all the clothes on "cold" and everything that can't take warm … [Read more...]

Speed Reading


A good mystery book is like a cold drink to me. OK, a cold alcoholic drink that has a lot of lime in it. And is sweet. (I'm making up this drink. I don't drink anymore, but this one sounds good.) I often toss the current book in the car, put it in my purse, and read whenever I have a few minutes of waiting time. Pumping gas into my car, waiting for my number to be called at the deli--a good mystery is a joy. And I rip through them. The only … [Read more...]

Book-Spine Stories


It's time to de-stash, declutter, prune and get rid of deadwood. For me, it's easiest with clothes and hardest with books. I decorate with books. I have bookshelves in every room of my house, except for the bathroom. And I'm thinking about that, too. Sometimes when someone new comes into the house they look around and ask if I've read them all. Well, yes, most of them. There is a shelf that holds the new ones that I haven't read yet. I'm … [Read more...]

Lazy PowerPoint Presentations

A fence warped by a fast-drying paint job.

Poor PowerPoint. It's been so misused, I may have to open a shelter for abused PowerPoint presentations. You know them--the ones with overloaded slides. With charts that need an engineer and an book of explanations to make sense. The ones read by the person at the back of the room. While the audience struggles to stay awake. Not everyone who knows how to use a keyboard is a writer. Writing takes practice. Why bother? Without good writing … [Read more...]

“if you really cared. . .”

© Galifianakis

Yes, this is about Facebook. Again. And it's not about anyone who regularly reads and leaves a comment, so don't worry. This person, who follows me on Facebook is smart. And curious about the world. And very focused on protecting animals and people from all the wrongs in the world. I like that about her. I love dedication and those who protect others who cannot protect themselves. What bothers me is there is no fault that is not a threat to … [Read more...]

Stepping Out From the Crowd

Current state flag of Mississippi.

John Hawkins was the first African-American cheerleader at Ole Miss, the University of Mississippi. It was 1982, 20 years after James Meredith, another African-American, tried to enroll at the same University. Riots broke out, hundreds were injured and two died. The Kennedy administration called out 31,000 members of the National Guard to restore order on campus. In 1982 John Hawkins made a simple decision to act in accordance with who he … [Read more...]

Lending a Hand


Hands. They were the first tools, the first bowls, the first way to comfort, to fight, to feed ourselves, to make music, to count. Hands amaze me. The ancient image of a hand, the khamsa, is known to most ancient cultures as a protective talisman. Some have complicated, intricate designs. Some are shown with stones, generally blue ones, to indicate the eye of the almighty--the sky. We have two of them and can use them independently or together. … [Read more...]

Nix the Fix


Facebook is a competition for fixers. Last week when I posted what I thought was a clever, ironic vignette, the comments quickly filled up with what I could have done instead, and links to where I could find the item to do a better job and examples of what other people had done. Except . . . I hadn't asked for help. It wasn't a question. It wasn't until hours later that someone noticed I might have been wry, and commented on that. We … [Read more...]

Life Lessons for Father’s Day

Leaf and ruin study by my father, circa 1910.

  My Dad was a hard-working guy. I've often joked (sadly) that the view I remember best is the back of his head, as he sat at his desk, working and studying. My father was not much involved in his children's lives. That was my mother's job. As immigrants, they worried about fitting in and both spent a lot of time learning how to fit into a new culture. But some traditional values of the mid-20th century governed their lives: Dad was the … [Read more...]

Worn-Out Words

Yes, I have strong opinions, and no, I don't often express my political opinions. For many reasons. I respect other people to have a right to their opinion, and I don't want to cultivate an exchange of comments with strangers with whom I strongly disagree. It is highly likely neither person will change a single thought in the other. Still, I am a woman who lives by words. I love them, I value them, and the words people use are the words that … [Read more...]