thank-a-teacher Thursday

Growing up, I had some great teachers who inspired me to do more, to be more. Mrs. Lyles. Mrs. Pruitt. Mrs. Bourek. Mrs. Lawless. You get the picture. Which probably explains why I went through such a wide swing of career choices early on. It wasn’t until an 8th grade English teacher, Mrs. Brown, told me that I could really spin a story that I began to dream of a career in journalism. Did I make it? Not quite. At least not in the newspaper business. But Mrs. Brown’s initial suggestion that I had talent and her yearlong encouragement gave me hope. And from that hope, stories began to emerge. Spinning tales became more natural for me. Short stories gushed out of me I didn’t know I could write. Many a creative writing class later, here I am. So to all the teachers who planted the writing bug in me…thank you! After all this time, I still hear their echoes of optimism, their inspiration, their determination. They instilled in me a forever sense not to give up.

So take it from me, it’s never too late to thank a teacher.





mermaid Monday


One wall of my office with whimsical art.

The mermaid always reminds me it’s okay to giggle even when Skye Cree has a serial killer in her sights.


Always be yourself unless you can be a mermaid, then always be a mermaid.

Mermaids don’t lose sleep over the opinions of shrimp.

Be a mermaid. Make waves.

Sunday brunch and books

My turn to host the book club slash brunch today at noonish. A few may be running late due to Daylight Savings Time. We’ll wait. I’m serving a southwest breakfast bake as the main dish. The rest of the menu is salad and a bowl of fruit. For dessert…brownies, of course. For anyone who doesn’t like chocolate, there’s always a slice of sour orange pie with whipped cream. Oh my.
Southwestern Breakfast Bake

Credit: Mr. Food recipe and photo

Grab the ingredients:
  • 1 (30-ounce) package frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
  • 1/2 cups shredded Colby and Monterey Jack cheese blend
  • 1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chilies, drained
  • 1/2 of a red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
To make it happen:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9- x 13-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Arrange potatoes evenly in bottom of dish. Sprinkle with cheese, green chilies, bell pepper, and scallions.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine remaining ingredients; mix well then pour evenly over potato mixture.
  4. Bake uncovered 55 to 60 minutes, or until center is cooked through and set.

there’s a place for quirky, odd things

Lots of brides get odd gifts before their big day. A weirdly carved decorative bowl. Funky art that looks like a fertility statue. Ugly kitchen towels with weird patterns. Then there are the usual mixers and toasters. One of the oddest things I ever got as a gift was a letterpress drawer. Some people call it a printer’s tray. Letterpress DrawerIt was so NOT what I expected that I wasn’t sure what to do with it. For years.

Turns out, they’re used to hold knickknacks or jewelry. Lots of trinkets. Lots of tiny, miniature stuff. All these years mine sat empty. It wasn’t until recently that I found a  website called The Spruce Company with all kinds of cool ideas for upcycling and decorating with letterpress drawers that I borrowed inspiration from them.

My printer’s tray is now the perfect catchall for holding all the sea glass and small shells I’ve collected over the years. There used to be a spot in Torrey Pines where the tide rushed in at an angle near the bridge. For years that was my best spot. It’s where I found a treasure trove of pale pink, a few dark blue pieces, nicely frosted glass, and a ton of green. Now that I have my drawer filled up, I might just make a tabletop out of it. Idea #7 from the link. Glass tabletop. With all my treasures. Check.

March madness (it’s not basketball)

I always congratulate myself on surviving January and February. Why? Because I hate winter. Any winter. winter-bluesDoesn’t matter if I live in Texas or California or Timbuktu. I can’t explain it. Stems from childhood, I guess, when I had to bundle up in layers of coats and scarves and mittens. And it seemed back then I was always sick. Then there’s the cold itself. I hate being cold. Warm is better.

Maybe that’s why every March 1st I celebrate. I’ve made it through the worst of the winter and I’m rounding third, looking to slide across home plate to score the lead run. But then March comes and brings its own madness. imagesThis is the month I’ve picked to get my annual checkups, mammograms, etc. I may need to rethink the poor timing of this in the future, but now, it’s the way it is. Anyway, I recently found myself on a visit to the doctor, which prompts it’s own maze through the system of the medical world. The crappy medical world. There are rules to follow here which if you question those rules you get frowned at and receive stern looks from the staff. They don’t like patients who question things. It’s like being on an assembly line and you’ve lost control of your own momentum. It’s like going through security at the airport and you look wrong at the TSA staff and they mark you for life that you’re a troublemaker. It’s like looking up at the big board to make sure  your flight’s on time and you realize you’re screwed. There’s no way your flight is taking off on time.

The office visit isn’t geared for a friendly encounter anyway, which makes me wonder why these people chose the medical profession in the first place.  If you don’t like helping people, then why work in a doctor’s office? Am I right?

After I’m led into the exam room, I go through the usual Q&A session with the nurse. Have you changed your meds? That sort of thing. The Q&A reveals they have a few wrong dates in the system and certain things haven’t been updated. They don’t have my correct med dosage either. So I point these things out and get a look of disbelief in return. I can see at that moment they’d prefer to hook me up to a lie detector to make sure I’m telling the truth. Polygraph-Liar-818x300It’s like I’m being grilled under hot lights. Jeez. I’m not going to lie about the date I received my flu shot.

I finally get past the nurse and eventually the doctor comes in. This is where the real frustration begins. I tell him exactly what’s going on but he’s not listening. He has his agenda provided to him by the insurance company I suppose and he’s not backing off that.  Not one iota. I assess his unwillingness to move from that stubborn corner and realize arguing is hopeless. I give in to his, “Let’s wait 90 days” suggestion, and “Try this instead, and then we’ll see what’s up on your next visit.” Yeah, like my problem will magically go away or fix itself by then. I’ve had this problem since birth. It prompted a hospital stay in 2016. Which is why I seriously doubt that waiting will provide a solution. It’s either a crazy and unrealistic approach to medicine or it’s a scam to get me back in the door in three months. Either way, I’m not a happy camper when I exit.

I’m old enough to remember when doctors actually practiced medicine. My first doctor was a man named Harold Brown. OMG. The man made this kid feel like I was the most important eight-year-old he’d ever seen on any given day. And I was sick a lot as a kid so I saw Dr. Brown a lot. Best DoctorBut the man actually listened to what was going on in my life. He was such a wonderful doctor that I was still going to see him when I got married. Dr. Brown didn’t let the insurance companies push him around. No, sir. He’d been to an accredited medical school and finished his residency with plenty of hands-on experience and knew how to treat sick people. Dr. Brown actually made a ruling and followed through in the best interests of the patient. Dr. Brown passed away not long ago. But wherever he is, I loved that man! He was perhaps the best physician I’ve ever had. Harold Brown obviously set the bar way too high for me.

Nowadays, does it seem like doctors aren’t even that interested in the well-being of their patients? Becoming a doctor used to be a noble profession. As I drove home, I envisioned Dr. Brown lecturing the doctors of today on plain, common-sense medical care.

And in case your first instinct is to tell me to find another. Great idea, but I’ve tried that. There isn’t much difference. One is pretty much the same as all the rest.

Maybe I’m expecting too much. Maybe I’m getting old and crotchety. Maybe that’s the reason I bristle when some sharp-tongued woman directs me to go stand in a longer line just to check-in, even though I’m standing right in front of her. I grumble because she’s sitting there, not on the phone, not helping another patient, but staring at her manicure. It doesn’t make sense. But then neither do doctors who act more like shills for the insurance companies than someone who cares about their patients. I want to scream out and ask, “Then why go into medicine in the first place?” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯