I scream, you scream, we all scream “oysters?!!”

It ain’t Christmas. It’s way better!

National Ice Cream Day! Today!

My Most Favorite Sweet on the planet!

It’s also top-rated among Most-Beloved Foods. No. 3 is ice cream. No. 2 is spinach, namely fresh baby. No. 1 is quality sushi.

Quality ice cream only.

NO ghastly sugar-free or ice milk or soy milk (yech!) or Breyer’s — which ain’t ice cream, it’s a “frozen dairy product” and states so on the carton.

Despite my best intentions and determination, I cannot keep ice cream at home.

I’ve tried a zillion times and in all its forms: from cartons large and small to bars to sandwiches to slices. Results are the same. My willpower melts. The treat’s gone in an hour, a day, 3 days max.

I’ve brought a half-gallon home, eaten too much, then dumped the remainder just to roadblock future temptation!

Better for my wellbeing, waistline and wallet that I pay the high price for a single serving (i.e., Haagen Daaz in a mini-cup) or 2 scoops at an ice cream store.

Sane and satisfying and sans sugar crash of that pint of Ben & Jerry’s — and who hasn’t done that?!?

Due to health conditions, I’ve radically cut my ice cream consumption to nearly nil. I truly miss it. Especially in the summer desert heat. Kinda heartbreaking, truth told.

I “redirect” frequent cravings with a substitute that’s healthier but nowhere near as satisfying! Whey protein shakes. Chocolate powder, banana, peanut butter, cold water and ice in the Nutribullet. While my body appreciates it, my soul weeps.

Costco recently introduced ice cream to its food courts. Rather, a vanilla soft serve topped with a chocolate or strawberry syrup. Saucy! Or naked in a waffle cone.

Large servings and for Costco’s renowned low prices:  $2.50 (3.40 CAD) for a sundae and $1.99 (2.70 CAD) for a waffle cone.

After today’s big Costco shop … I indulged! I’ve no shame in saying.

Time to time, everyone needs to indulge in one’s culinary passion. It eases thy burdens and restoreth thy soul.

I went full-on restoreth. Got a hot dog too. LOOVE hot dogs! In the Top 10 Fav Foods! A nice thick dog in a big bun with a soda for $1.50 (2 CAD).

Due to covid, Costco removed its condiments: relish, mustard, chopped onion, sauerkraut. Mustard and onions at home but I did quite miss the sauerkraut. (I’m solid-Germanic in dog dressings!)

Now a hot dog — paired with an IPA — and an ice cream sundae on my fold-out chair on my little patio hardly qualify as Michelin 5-star dining.

Yet humble are my roots and honestly delightful was my meal of simple beloved foods. My soul and inner kid grinned ear to ear.

Cool factoids about National Ice Cream Day

It’s on the 3rd Sunday in July every year — so proclaimed in 1984 by President Ronald Regan, an avid “ice cream-teer.”

July was also proclaimed National Ice Cream Month … leaving you at liberty to patriotically indulge 31 days in a row.

The favorite flavor in Häagen-Dazs shops is cookies ‘n’ cream, then vanilla, dulce de leche and Belgian chocolate.

The average American consumes more than 20 pounds (9 kg) of it a year. (I’d better get crackin’!)

Turkey Hill churned out 30 million gallons of ice cream last year –enough to give “every man, woman, and child in Pennsylvania 112 scoops to celebrate National Ice Cream Day!”

Now for something totally different:

Oyster ice cream was a fav of Mark Twain.

The base is cream and oysters gently heated, then run through an ice cream freezer. The result is a savory not sweet “beautiful oyster salty briny flavor,” according to Chef José Andrés.

I’ll take chef’s word for it.

As for me today, no shellfish … only simple … sweet … satisfying … soulful …

icecream & dog

Celebrating Ice Cream Day … with a dog as dessert. Courtesy of Costco. July 19, 2020


Clamorous air-con still the hot topic

It may remain in Airplane Mode for  a while.

It — not my iPhone, the air conditioner.

My apartment cooler is in a nosedive. Mechanical hodge-podge of clamorous clunking, struggling sputterings and overworked chug-a-lugs signal that big repairs or replacement is due.

It’s not cooling as before and that smell … like dusty hot metal, like gears grinding without lubricant.

At any moment, the big machine above bathroom ceiling could cough a rugged rattle and groan and give up the ghost.

I’ve sought to ward that off by informing the apartment management and establishing a work order. Same reason you bring a vehicle problem to the mechanic when it appears and  before a breakdown.

I’m not just being a responsible tenant but a considerate one, trying to make management’s job easier. Tend to the problem sooner than later as it only worsens (and it has).

That was 2 weeks ago when I brought it to management’s attention. Still waiting. Patience thin, I followed up yesterday. Still nothing.

Followed up again today.

“He’s got your work order. We had 3, 4 air conditioners go out today,” she said.

Mine in queue seems to be marching to the same fate.

The hardship of being without an air-con in 115 heat (44.4) in Phoenix is real. Every year people die from desert heat both outdoors and indoors. Sad.

That’s fact, not my irritation.

My irritation is the intent to do right, to act responsibly, maturely and with consideration toward management/maintenance, is foiled.

This touches upon my deepest and humble pride: I am a dream tenant.

I know every inch of any space I inhabit. I’m both neat freak and clean freak, an anti-clutter nazi too, for the record. One truly could eat off my floor any time.

I know every sound, feature and quirk to the detail.

Before I unpack and settle in, I deep clean on hands and knees into every corner and crevice. Floors included.

If a faucet presents a change, even a microscopic drip, I’ll notice. If a window rattles differently, I’ll hear it. A different or new smell, even slight, I’m a bloodhound.

Nothing gets by me. Hyper-sensitivity and alertness and attentiveness are wired into my nervous system (for positive and ill effects).

When something is amiss, I am on it. No dicking around, no delaying. I’ll either repair it myself or turn it over to management.

I treat EVERY space, regardless of quality, condition and — importantly — roommate abuse and madnesses  — with the highest regard and respect and as if it were my own.

I proclaim proudly that no matter how shitty any situation or space, I NEVER take it out on a space. I always take the high road. Could not do otherwise. Spaces and Places are woven into my integrity.

And, circling back, is why I’ma dream tenant.

So when I do the right and responsible thing — in this instance taking preventative action by reporting a dying air-con — and get repeatedly sidelined for emergency fixes, I’m frustrated and annoyed.

Here’s why. I’d venture that most if not all the air-con deaths are because the tenant did not report the problem prior.

Landlords through time have collectively said that most tenants do not report problems. They ignore that drip until it becomes a downpour into the apartment below.

It’s a common and understandable grievance among landlords for which I have great compassion.

“No worries,” I inform them. “The moment something’s amiss, you will be informed.”

My pledge my promise my integrity and my humblest respect and regard for Spaces and Places. I treat each as if it were my own.

Still. No good deed goes unpunished.

So as the air-con sounds its jet-engine roar in a nosedive, part of me can’t help but think:

Mature responsibility and thoughtful consideration of others are overrated.

I need a chilled beer, from the quiet cool functioning fridge, gratefully.  Ever silver linings, n’est pas.

Where Twitter and Twain intersect

Naya Rivera’s body is recovered. They’ve confirmed it’s her. Confirmed she drowned.

This’ll put an end to the shit storm, rampant conspiracy theories on Twitter — I thought.

Halt the bloody battles about her disappearance  — I thought.

Bring people back to earth. Restore their common sense. Enable them to accept fact and move along — I thought.

Like when a teacher enters a chaotic madhouse kindergarten and order is returned.

I was wrong. Very wrong.

Her body could be laid upon silk upon an open bed, wheeled through town square, accompanied by an archbishop from the Vatican on one side waving blessed prayers and the coroner waving an official certificate of death on the other — and STILL townsfolk would push and shove and shout dissent vociferously and violently!

“It’s not her!”

“It’s her but she didn’t drown! She’d never leave her son on the boat!”

“She was murdered! Why aren’t you out looking for the killer!”

“She didn’t drown! She hit her head on the boat! Did you even CHECK her head?!? Stupid inept coroner!”

“Cabins in the hills nearby were searched. And the next day suddenly she turns up floating in the water?! Who placed her there?!”

Not even a tip of the iceberg in challenges to and attacks on two simple and certain facts: It is Naya Rivera. She drowned.

I truly thought  that these inarguable facts would quiet the mad hyenas.

Evidently I don’t peruse Twitter in context of Celebrity Anything enough. But hey! I’ve acknowledged such in preceding posts! I’m learning! Indeed, it’s that curiosity and willingness to learn that fueled this first foray into Public Response in a Celebrity Category.

Broader intellectual issues — cultural, sociopolitical, national and such — are my passions and raison d’ etre.

Another observation.

The public has all but beatified Naya Rivera.

Pending Vatican approval, Saint Rivera shall walk amongst us — albeit not soon enough. Saint Rivera has already been inducted into our national lexicon. Informal and what the Vatican won’t do in annointing her to saintly status, we the public shall attend to — ardently and with adoration.

See, in this my first foray into Twitter Celebrity that I consciously and willingly took for educational purposes, I discovered some things.

Namely, I live in reality.

My common sense and reasoning are highly-developed and solid.

My IQ is no piddly number but that only complicates social-media dialogue so I’ll “set that aside” and celebrate common sense and reasoning.

I can connect dots with extraordinary ease.

I can separate fact from fiction — as well as lies, convoluted thought, fantastical conspiracies, insanities and any other tidbit of nonsense and garbage tossed onto Twitter.

Separating wheat from chaff is a star of brilliance in my nature, I reveal humbly.

Not a one of these finer qualities has a place or serves me on Twitter.

Indeed, they work against me.

Here’s my blunt take on Naya Rivera’s drowning.

She didn’t wear the life vest provided.

Her son, 4, did.

They swam in the lake.

The lake’s known for its deceptively calm surface and strong undercurrents, shifting winds and drownings. Rivera was also a frequent visitor.

All irrelevant.

Relevant is that she did not wear the vest. This was irresponsible — for her and, most importantly, in the presence of a child. Any child. That it was her own further highlights her error and poor decision.

Had Rivera worn a vest, she’d be alive. And she would’ve spared her son the trauma of seeing his mother slip under the water.

Solid reality. Simple facts.

Dare to state them on Twitter and it’s OFF WITH HER HEAD! shouts the Queen of Hearts! Viciously.

A pack of rabid starved hyenas after a boar are tame and loving in contrast.

Circling home, I believed that reason and acceptance of basic fact would be restored on Twitter with confirmation of Rivera’s recovery, identify and cause of death. That madnesses, conspiracy theories and all that would naturally come to rest.

They have not.  So I’m learning.

Do I expect too much from people on Tweeter?

Am I barking up the wrong tree?

Looking for signs of intelligent life on a cold barren landscape?

Am I casting pearls before swine?

I stand firmly in excursions into Twitter pools for positive, reasoned, educational and illuminating purposes.

So why do I feel not uplifted by the journey but depleted? Troubled. Distressed. Frustrated. Frustrated to my core.

As if the sojourn were to a distant planet of aliens who I was told are my fellows and brethren, only to discover the truth is quite otherwise.

Been asking myself many times: “What would Mark Twain think of this — Twitter? What would he comment in his irrepressible wit and spot-on observations about people?”

Oh, Guru Twain, speak! Speak to me!

Oh I long endeavored mightily and fervently, with tremendous focus and dedication, to bring a morsel of mind, reason, common sense, intelligence in its stripped-down simplest form to tweeters.

Yet I failed.

Not only failed. I received in return insults and bashings galore! Shouts of “moron!” — more in 5 days than I’d received in 63 years!

What gives!?

Where DOES a mind at work go to play, and be, on social media?

Oh beloved Guru, do tell!

So thick and weighty is this mud on these rubber waders that I can traipse no farther.

Kindly lend this girl a hand! A scraper at least! Words to raise me from the (social media) muck and cleanse my mind. Sorbet for the soul.

Eternally obliged and grateful for you, dearest sir. {hat tipped}

Yours affectionately,


Good luck, captain, in Naya Rivera shit storm!

The Twitter shit storm around Naya Rivera is UN-REAL.

In terms of volume, heat and intensity of toxic waste, an explosion at a nuclear power plant pales by comparison.

My sole social media source is Twitter, always has been.

My excursions focus on issues political, sociopolitical, socioeconomic, cultural, local, national, global. The thinking man’s menu. A reporter’s nature. A researcher’s curious and investigative mind.

Even when celebrity Kobe Bryant died, I was indifferent to public opinion. Once the cause of crash became quickly and inarguably obvious to me, I moved on.

Sure, I caught wind of Twitter’s toxic commentary, conspiracy theories and  people being extraordinarily Stupid. Impossible not to. But I neither lingered nor engaged.

So this current plunge into Twitter Big Celebrity News — Rivera’s disappearance — is a first.

I took it on willingly — not for its news value, it’s certain she drowned for not wearing a life vest — but to observe my countrymen and fellow humans as a scientist might observe creatures in a lab.

Not pretty, in fact downright terrifying are my findings.

Can she be serious?!?!

What garbage!! 

Utterly absurd! Asinine. 

Get real!

Total lack of even common sense!

Any ring familiar in your social media experience?

Don’t even get me started on the illiteracy!! — to which as a wordsmith I’m highly sensitive and aware.

Now, pertaining to celebrity and journalistically “light news,” it could be proposed that the Lowest Common Denominators prevail … that those with the least thinking power and insight are most convinced that their thoughts are of tremendous substance and value and must be shared with the world, they simply must!

It’s hubris. Hubris is hell on social media. BUT hubris is what keeps wheels spinning and engine greased.

For fun, imagine what Twitter / social media would look like if to get in through the door, one had to prove an IQ of 110, minimum. Like ID checks at clubs.

While the policy wouldn’t eliminate moronic exchanges, it’d reduce their number — marginally perhaps but even that would bring a whiff of fresh air and relief at Club Stupid Stank.

None of this is news to you or me.

It’s me processing my First Feast at the Celebrity Table on Twitter.

Brutal, man, fucking brutal.

“No signs of intelligent life here” has popped up a lot.

BUT! I persevered. Soldiered onward. I stayed true to the quest.

I accomplished my goal of joining in the community in wake of a celebrity event.

Once was enough.

My top takeaways:

I learned a lot about people on social media — a frightening amount —  and/or what is learned is frightening.

An unrelenting stream of attacks and hateful messaging isn’t my thing.

I’ve seen “moron” used more times in these past 4 days than in 63 years of living.

About myself I learned:

I can provide brain power to those lacking it only so much. Eventually I’m exhausted.

Yet still in my persevering determined nature I so want to keep pushing forward to fill that void. It’s been a significant struggle. I’ve had to teach myself to Let Stupid and Insanities Be. Just walk away. Very hard to do, to willfully not shine light in a dark room.

I prefer intelligent dialogue.

Above all, and until my last hour, I prefer books.



Awash in “Glee” gal & Twitter think tank

I waded through media mud so you don’t have to.

Naya Rivera.

An unknown to me — until Wednesday. Actress on TV’s “Glee,”33, singer.

She and her son were in a rental pontoon on Lake Piru in California. Lazy afternoon, fine weather, no crowds, boat floating.

From the craft mid-lake, they jump into water. Child is wearing a life vest provided on the boat. Naya is not wearing hers. They swim. She returns him to the boat. Then re-enters the water to swim. She disappears beneath the surface.

Presumed drowned — accurately.

Boat is soon easily found and in it her son, sleeping. He’s safe and reunited with family.

Search and rescue shifts to a challenging recovery. It’s a search and recovery of epic celebrity proportion. 

Trending story piqued my interest.

I jumped into Twitter with both feet.

Not because of who Naya Rivera is — a name only to me — but a passion for investigations, detective work, solving puzzles. And, frankly, I needed a break from the gluttony of covid – BS – scamdemic.

One more reason to take this rare celebrity-news plunge:

I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to observe my fellow humans on Twitter in the wake of a Top Trending bombshell celebrity event.

My kamikaze dives into social media satisfy my reporter nature. They maintain my finger on the pulse of America, her culture, milieu and state of being. 

So for 12 hours I was submerged in Twitter.

You know the COURAGE that takes?! Absorbing and sopping up streaming thousands of snapshots from brains of people re: Naya Rivera’s disappearance. I surfaced for air only for coffee then beers — increasingly the longer I read — and a meal.

From voluminous Tweets Into Infinity, I culled a cross-section of opinion, verbatim, numbered, loosely grouped and noted FYI when necessary for your educational ease.

Remember: I waded through media mud so you don’t have to. So hike up them waders and slosh onward.

Mantra Mojo

1. “naya rivera will be found alive and healthy

naya rivera will be found alive and healthy

naya rivera will be found alive and healthy

naya rivera will be found alive and healthy

naya rivera will be found alive and healthy

“I am manifesting this”

2. “Calling all of Gods divine angels to locate Naya. May she be found and united with her son and family. And so it is.”

Screw Searchers!

FYI: Multitudes of search parties from air to deep waters toil from daybreak to nightfall in and around the lake and surrounding hills. Then they pause work due to lack of visibility, risks and dangers and for safety, particularly for dive teams negotiating dark waters with 1-to-2 feet of visibility and a lakebed of twisted fallen trees, trunks, branches, roots and entanglements.

Many are majorily PISSED OFF by this. Pissed off and vicious, shouting “Searching should continue 24-7!!” 

3. “People are outraged because they stopped the search at what is the most crucial time. I’m from Colorado where hikers get lost ALL the time. Search parties have gone on through the night, in the snow, in the mountains using maybe not people on foot, but resources.”

4. “Tonight there’s a little child who wasn’t tucked into bed with a goodnight kiss and doesn’t know when mama is coming back out of the water. Get your ass back on that beach and bring Naya Rivera home!!”

5. “Your hearts and prayers did a real great job helping during the nine hours you wasted last night. Thanks. (ed. note: sarcasm)

There! There!

FYI: Video clips of airborne searches along the shorelines arouse tweets exclaiming “I see her! There on the shore! It’s her!” It’s not. It’s a shadow. A boulder. A land configuration. But you can’t challenge their certainty. Everybody on Twitter is a detective.


7. “There! By the water’s edge! A human shape!”

(No. It’s a log.)

Geographical Geniuses

FYI: Every Tom, Dick and Harry is qualified to tell highly-trained, skilled, experienced professional rescuers how to do their job.

8. “i looked and there are roads within walking distance from all points outside the lake. if she made it to one, she could of possibly flagged down a car and could be suffering from memory loss.”

9. “Many people who experience this become distorted. She may have passes out due to stress and wandered into the forest.”

10. “I’m sure she got lost and swam to the sand. the police need to pay attention to this.”


12. “it might also be a good idea to get dogs around the edges to see if they can smell a trace of her scent. since she was in water, it might be hard, but at this point it’s worth a try.”

13. “Please search around the lake in the mountains or something like that and also the specific place where the boat was please please bring her save home”

Science Fiction — No Double Feature

FYI: Voluminous tweets are bad science fiction dramas.

14. “Was there other boats around that day? Just wondering if maybe she was hit by a boat while swimming. This doesn’t make sense at all. It’s definitely suspect.”

15. “Maybe she’s not in the water. Look for tags on all cars going in out of the area after she was last seen. It’s possible the son took a nap and while she was swimming someone kidnapped her.”

16. “scan the surrounding area, I look on google maps and it’s possible for humans to walk around the area! she could be lost and confused.”

She Was My BFF! — Though We Never Met

17. “I can’t stop crying. In my heart she is like family. Please find her soon. For her family, friends and especially for her son.”

18. “bro this naya shit is fucking me up. i’m refreshing the feed every two seconds because i need to know that’s she’s okay. i am manifesting it. she better be okay.”

19. “if anyone thinks naya rivera is a bad mother or has ANYTHING to say about her other than that it’s absolutely tragic what happened then please block me and seek some help.”

20. “I’m going to bed and in not waking up till naya rivera is found alive and well.” (editor’s update: this tweeter did wake up, making her a liar)

The Jog from Unreal to Absurd is Short

21. “Until now, I never knew whom Naya Rivera was. Honestly, I would hate to hear that anything awful happens to anyone, but I kinda believe she committed suicide. As for her leaving her kid, though…that doesn’t sit right with me.”

22. “Was there other boats around that day? Just wondering if maybe she was hit by a boat while swimming. This doesn’t make sense at all. It’s definitely suspect.”

23. “Maybe she’s not in the water. Look for tags on all cars going in out of the area after she was last seen. It’s possible the son took a nap and while she was swimming someone kidnapped her.”

24. “Can motorized boats be on that lake? I’ve seen instances of people getting carbon monoxide poisoning while swimming and passing out.”

Race Card. Because Each Moment These Days Demands One

25. “I bet if she was white they wouldn’t have stopped searching.”

Now … {drumroll} … the grand finale:

We go to the special winners in the final category: What THE Fuck?!

In 3rd place:

“Just drain the lake.”

In 2nd place:

“i have a theory that her ex baby daddy killed her to be with his son full time. naya and ryan didn’t get along and the song lyrics are abt the baby daddy killing the baby momma to be closer to his son. they match perfectly.”

And the winner of tonight’s WTF Award:

“Does anyone else think she might’ve been trafficked?”

+ + +

Incidentally, I didn’t touch the treasure chest bursting with conspiracy theories. Haven’t the time or patience for that and neither do you.

You’ve heard their input, now here’s mine:

Naya Rivera was not wearing the required life vest (supplied on the boat) while boating and swimming.

People make bad decisions every day. Some are fatal. Sadly, hers brought loss of her life and loss of a mother to her son.

All things considered, I predict the body of Naya Rivera will surface, possibly later than sooner. If not — also a possibility — the body is resting in a watery grave of thick entanglements.

On a closing lighter note — if by a miracle I’m proven wrong and the authorities establish that she was abducted by human traffickers (sprung from thin air) during a lake excursion, I hereby shall personally deliver to that top tweeter a juicy reward and handwritten apology for disbelieving her.

Postcards from Bali: but not in my box

I received a rather large postcard in the mail today.

It wasn’t addressed to me specifically, rather “Resident.” The address and apartment number are mine.

Might’ve been easy to dismiss it, lump it in with the bulk of supermarket ads. But I didn’t.

A photo in the upper left corner caught my eye. I read the card’s content.

Disturbed, I went online. I needed to know more. More than his name, age, height, weight, hair and eye color.

More than his face in his mugshot

More than his address next door.

For being 28, he’d built up a rap sheet. Certainly not the worst around but respectable as a small-potatoes thug. Notable is his investment of time and commitment to criminality: more than 14 years, more than half his life, back to his teens (if not earlier).

His list of infractions in prison is also noteworthy. You get the picture. Not a good dude or desirable neighbor.

All that said, it’s not his lengthy criminality that compelled my google search.

It’s this verbatim from the postcard (identifiers redacted):

“In 2016, Mr. C was convicted of sexual abuse and 3 counts of attempted molestation of a child in X-court. His victims were male and female family members.”

There’s SO much I can wrap my mind around in humanity. Even heinous crimes and serial killers.

This I cannot. Not molestation. And absolutely not molestation of your family.

He went to prison for it when he was 15.

His sentence: 4 years. That’s it.  Plus 3 lifetime terms of probation. Wouldn’t bank on his adherence, if prior parole records are any indication.

He is a level 3 sex offender. Level 3 is the highest.

The postcard from the local police department states that the information is being released pursuant to specific law.

It continues:

This notification is not intended to increase public fear; rather it is to inform the community of a sex offender living in the city” … toward an informed and safer community.”

I’ve memorized his face and physique not only because he lives next door. See, I often walk past that residence during my evening-into-night walks, when it’s “cooler” here in Phoenix, Arizona. We’re days from 110++ (43.3++ C), redefining outdoor activities.

My immediate area’s pretty ghetto. And while my apartment’s on a busy street, the sidewalk is shadowy, lit dimly if at all. I exercise extreme alertness and awareness of my surroundings — ahead, behind and from all sides.

Hypervigilance, intelligence and a lifetime of traveling alone in the U.S. and abroad have cultivated supreme common sense and street smarts..

I’d have made a fucking great detective/cop!

All said and noted, Mr. C. is an unsavory man. A lifetime as a criminal, in and out of prison, not a neighbor I’d choose.

I “get” some of his crimes.

But I cannot cannot cannot get molesting. Or trying to with children. In your own family.

Motherfucker can go to hell.

May Day, mom & merrymaking

She’d collect them from the big yard. Geraniums. Red, pink, yellow. Roses perhaps too.

She’d fashion sheets of white paper — construction perhaps? — into cones. Tape the edges.

To each cone she’d attach paper handles. I think. Memory’s unclear. The white cones are certain.

And into each cone she’d insert bright colored blooms. She crafted about a dozen. 

Then she’d hand them to my sister and me to distribute to the neighbors on the hill.

We lived on a hill. A big hill it seemed to our child eyes and legs. The homes were large, too the distance between each.

Traipsing through the hill was a workout, even to strong agile energetic bodies. Some sections were rather steep. All were winding.

Whether we rang each doorbell for personal delivery I can’t recall. It’s also possible that we covertly hung cones on the doorknobs and scuttled away in the not-so-secrecy of broad daylight.

Either delivery system, the outcome was unchanged.

A white cone bursting with colorful blooms. A lil’ something special from Santa some 7-1/2 months early.

Everyone on the hill knew one another.

Times have certainly changed. Distrust and suspicion in response to a knock on a door have replaced a welcome and gladness.

Would the enclave on the hill exist today? I’d like to think so.

The wisened self says nuh.

“You can’t go home again” is absolutely true. It is always best to leave memories intact. Even if they be hazy, weathered or sent somewhat adrift by the passage of time and aging.

My relationship with my mother was a horror, a living nightmare that at 63 I’ve yet to live down or through with any true full healing.

Through that blackness and destructiveness (hers), I saw still who she was and her positive qualities.

May Day was made for my mother — or she for it.

She genuinely loved clipping the geraniums — plentiful on our large lot. Constructing cones. Then having her two girls hoof from home to home on the hill.

It suited her.

Suited her playfulness. Her childlike qualities. Her taste for whimsy. Her marvelous gift at delivering surprises and delight.

Flowers at your door.

Delivered by FTD faeries. 

Mom made May Day memorable and merry.

For years, years and years, every May 1 is fondly remembered my mother.

Wherever she be on the other side, there appears a surreptitious arrangement on her front door out of thin air:


I crossed a line. It was cool but not.

Had to happen. Sure as the day is long.

Long and hot. My edit.

Summer is arriving in Phoenix. More precisely summer temps as summer’s official start is June 20. Hit 97 F. (36 C) today, April 24. Inches up to 101 F (38.3 C) in a day or two.

Then it’s a temp free fall — in the opposite direction of gravity. Shit.

Had to happen in my home.

My tiny studio has exactly two sizable windows. One faces east, the other west. Thus my space is bathed in sun from dawn to nightfall.

Circulation is also poor, making it a heat trap. Terrific in winter! Now, no.

I’m a nature girl. A vital factoid to put this post in perspective.

In a residence, I looove open windows. Fresh air. Light. My organic nature and free spirit cannot tolerate confinement or impingements of mother nature.

This in fact has been an issue with past roommates. They’ve gotten on my back for cracking windows or having the thermostat set at 60 (15.5 C).

Roommates and I are a toxic mix. So I’m uber-grateful to be living alone during covid confinement. Had to say that.

To date, I’ve been keeping my screened windows open from waking to bedtime. GOT to see the sky! The light! Breathe air!

Unfortunately, the end is in sight.

Increasingly, the Brutal Phoenix Furnace demands its own lockdown. Staying indoors. Windows ever shut. Curtains drawn. Air-conditioner and fans running 24/7. From now ’til October.

I resist, forestall, push back that sealed-up state with every fiber of my being.

Eventually Phoenix weather wins and I lose. It had to happen and it did.

Late last night. Windows open, two fans blowing. Still I felt uncomfortably heated — promising scant slumber among other discomforts.

So I bucked up to check my indoor temp. 90 degrees (32.2 C). A mere 7-degree difference from the day’s high.

There it was. Had to happen: I shut the windows. Pulled insulating curtains.

And did the dreaded deed. I switched on the air-conditioner.

Set it to 82 degrees. Granted, 82 (27.7 C) is “too hot” by local opinion. Around 70 (21 C) is the going rate in Phoenix.

Me, I set it just enough to take the edge off and save money — ’cause lemme tell you, keeping cool in Phoenix is a VERY PRICEY endeavor.

I hated doing it! Don’t misunderstand. I’m grateful to have a (fairly) functional air-con — though a small one with only one vent — in my space.

Still, turning it on was a pivotal moment.

  • Don’t like air-conditioners to begin with.
  • It warns that the heat is rolling in like a troop of heartless whacked-out unrelenting soldiers.
  • A weather lockdown is imminent.
  • Paired with this virus lockdown, it ain’t pretty. It’s purgatory.

Last year marked my first full-on unchartered summer in Phoenix. I regret not giving this epic experience its due by journal or blog.

In truth, it was dreadful that I’d decided to not be here this summer or in any other — a mix of escapist road trips + cross-country relocation.

Well, that got screwed up by a virus and hysterical lockdown.

So I’m stuck.

To cope, to survive, I truly should learn from last summer’s mistakes and this summer express myself, write more, record the experiences. Would also help lighten a mountain of stressors and losses I shoulder.

I’d title this coming 6-month chapter perhaps:

The Adventures of a Water Baby in a Phoenix Furnace

Baking a Water Baby in a Phoenix Fry Pan

Woes of a Water Baby in a Phoenix Fry-Off

How to Survive Phoenix Summers as a Fish Outta Water

Whatever. I crossed a line last night. Studio sealed shut, air-con switched on. A turning point that was cool(ing) but not. It’s downhill from here. If only it were this downhill!


How to Survive a Phoenix Summer: Astral Travel

Virus Vote: Verizon: Yay. Cox: Nay.

We’re all gettin’ ’em.

Emails from businesses, service providers, eateries, every email list you’re on regarding changes in policies, procedures, operating hours, during this pandemic.

I wanna give a shout-out to Verizon. Yeah, that telecommunications behemoth with its indelible “Can You Hear Me Now?”

Yes I can!

My text alert buzzed a few days ago. I very rarely receive texts — and most are telling me some bill is due — so I didn’t open it with anticipation.

‘Twas a surprise awright:

“We have added 15GB of data to your plan at NO CHARGE.”


“For use from March 25-April 30.” A deadline, awrighty, I’ll take that!

“You can even use your phone as a mobile hotspot.” No need but nice to know.

See, I’m on Verizon’s cheapest bare-bones plan — 2GB a month. Piddly — even laughable — amount. Millennials and snowflakes would roll their eyes.

Yes, I’d tell ’em, I do live on data crumbs! ‘Cause my phone is a separate entity NOT welded to my body!

Anywho. This data gift comes at a great time! With the gym closed — and Phoenix weather still pleasant (though not for very much longer ) — I’m out walking every day, often listening to the radio on the phone. Bumps up my data use big-time.

Now I needn’t add overage fees to my stacked plate of worries!

Ultimately it’s not about the data bonus — still very nice! It’s about the goodwill: the heart of customer service.

And this gesture I shall remember should I re-evaluate my carrier down the road.

I Can Hear You — And Don’t Like What You’re Saying


Cox Communications on the other hand … too that telecommunications giant and leading Internet provider in my region.

My monthly bill just abruptly shot up from $60 to $90 — a 50% increase. No forewarning, no announcement, no knowledge and certainly no consent from me.


I’ll spare you the grisly telephone scenes … the sum hour on hold … shoddy “customer service” … Cox dropping the ball. We don’t need the stress.

In these troubled times, EVERY local service provider is recognizing tough times and stepping up with pretty remarkable and generous offers to ease the burdens on customers.

Everybody except Cox, to my experience.

Not only did they jack up my Internet costs 50% with no warning or *any* change in service whatsoever!, they played hard hard hardball in negotiating a new rate.

To be noted: I’ve been a model customer this past year. Not that they care, reward that or incentivize my continued business in any way. They don’t.

After grueling conversations, my increase is now “only” 15% instead of 50%.

Insert me on my knees in classic: “We’re not worthy. We’re worthy” from “Wayne’s World.”

Is it about the money?

It is, yes, in part.

Everyone’s finances are getting hit. Most of us are cutting back, cutting out and operating in survival mode.

Innumerable businesses and service provides are extending discounts, forgivenesses of late fees, etc. etc. etc. to ease burdens.

Cox is doing the opposite.

It’s raising my rate, regardless. Giving no incentive to continue giving them my business or loyalty.

It is partly about the money, the increased stress imposed during incredibly stressful times.

And it’s about the goodwill — or lack thereof.

Just as I shall remember Verizon for its generous gesture in a crisis, too shall Cox be remembered for being, really, cold-hearted dickheads.

(Were my Stressors Plate not already overloaded, I’d have dumped ’em. Just don’t have wherewithal for demanding research into Cox competitors, technology and equipment changes.)

So yes, Verizon, I can hear you now! MERCI.

Cox, I can year you too. Cold-hearted Careless Meanie.

Meeting My Maker? Nah. My Manna.

Do you remember that very special birthday present you got as a child?

One that was a real surprise, not one you nagged for week after week. Coulda been anything … teddy bear … an article of clothing … a train set … a sketchpad with colored pencils … a bracelet … a rock ‘n’ roll album … pair of Keds … endless are the possibilities.

As a share, for me it was my first diary, hardbound in presumably faux brown leather, with “Diary” in cursive gold print.

Best of all, it had a little lock with a little key! A key that I assure you never got lost! Even as a child, I was extraordinarily meticulous and organized. It’s the German in me.

The diary was a total surprise. I was at the perfect age for one too (early adolescence). Even if the tag read “from mom and dad,” my mother, I’m certain, was behind it. We had a truly horrible traumatizing relationship indeed. Yet I must give credit where it is due. She had a real knack with gifts. Her gift was the ability to give spot-on thoughtful gifts.

I digress. Back to the question. Do you remember that surprising birthday present?

That’s what I experienced — albeit in muted fashion — yesterday.

I saw … for the first time … in 1-1/2 weeks … in any of some 10 stores I’ve been frequenting, some daily …  {drum roll} …

YES!! YESSSS! YESSSS! {insert Meg Ryan’s infamous orgasmic scene from “When Harry Met Sally}


Here, I’ll show you the (not-award-winning) snapshot so’s you can see for yourself the sight that stopped me dead in my tracks:


Boxes of Tissues. Witnessed for First Time in 10 Days. Recorded: March 26, 2020.

That, my friends, is: tissue.

Boxes of tissues!

Not just one brand but several brands and price ranges to pick from!

As you can see, the shelves were fairly stripped bare already, no argument there. Still. There were SOME! Blog-worthy!

Meanwhile, for full disclosure, the adjoining toilet paper shelves remain as barren as I’ve seen them also for the past 10 days (and growing).


Toilet Paper Used to Reside Here. It’s Since Been Relocated By the Human Hands of Greed. Recorded March 26, 2020.

I saw boxes of tissues!!! You’d think I’d spotted Yeti!

I studied those tags, price per unit, etc.etc. etc.  in a manner unprecedented for (1) one box of tissue and (2) an inherently careful comparison shopper.

Sorta like buying an iPhone! I wouldn’t waltz in and grab the first one that catches my eye. I research. Study. Break down. Discern. Decipher. Calculate. Meticulous Thinking German me.

I chose wisely. I chose well.

And — hear me, world — I chose one box. O-N-E.

1. 1. 1 1 1 1 1 1. ONLY ONE.

I could have taken 2 boxes — the store’s posted limit.


If more’s needed down the road, I’ll take my chance, roll the dice.

My rage at the greed, hoarding, blatant unfettered SELFISHNESS could set the universe ablaze. So I won’t venture there. Suffice it to say that reasons why I hate people are on full 24/7 display.

I walked the half-mile home last night with precisely two items in the bag: a container of ice cream (mistake) and one box of tissue.

I’ll be honest. I wondered what might happen if someone knew I was carrying … and by carrying, I do mean tissues, not heroin.

Hopefully you’ve seen the pix and vids of what people are doing to one another for coveted paper products … the assaults … arguments … fights … glass from a broken bottle in a store held against customers … so’s I don’t hafta explain this mad, mad, mad, mad world.

I arrived home safely. Opened that tissue box with indeed the care and attention I give a gift received.

Pulled a single sheet, whoooooosh! Two came out. I pushed the second sheet back in. Set the box in a place of prominence so I may enjoy its presence.

My single box holds 80 tissues. Each sheet I shall use over and over and over in thrift and mindfulness. I know, so know how to survive in lack and hardship.

I shall say: It is a true pleasure, this single box of tissues.

For what you don’t know in this story — and now shall — is that it’s now high-pollen season here in Phoenix / southern Arizona.

And though I’m not typically allergies-prone, the stuff — from pollens to pollution — in this desert metro sprawl are murderous.

I make due with little to nothing. That’s my nature (survive). My childhood damage. So using rough ‘n’ rugged paper towels as I’ve been doing for blazing allergy symptoms is no biggie.

But a TISSUE on a nose turned raw in this gawd-awful pollens-polluted Phoenix! … what luxury! Soooo soft! It’s manna, man! It. Is. Manna!

Meet My Manna in a Box:


There Is No Heaven. But There Is Manna in My Studio. Recorded March 27, 2020

Then, for a giggle, meet my other Manna in a Box … manna that nobody’s hoarding, stealing, price-gouging, selling on eBay for the price of a monthly mortgage. Give thanks to our blessings where we have them:


Merlot is Manna Too