From the islands . . . . .

Carlos guitarist 1After postponing my annual trip to Honolulu I finally did arrive here on January 21. I have spent these weeks settling in, going to a few appointments, meeting up with old friends, spending time with daughter Sara, who lives here and son John who flew over from California.  Er, also a few medical visits to  some fine doctors here who found some good new answers for me.  i arrived here with cough and a limp. . . and I still  cough and   limp, Oh well. Maybe that’s what old people do. But the eyes and the heart are getting good care.,

One evening recently we were invited to the high penthouse of a gentleman whose visiting guest agreed to give a concert for his friends.  Turns out the visitor is a world-famous touring concert guitarist. I was fortunate to sit beside him as he played for a roomful  of people, It was delightful. His name is Carlos Barbosa-Lima.

Yes, that is a street lamp in the room, There are also small airplanes hanging from the ceiling, and collections of all kinds of interesting things in various rooms.

Meanwhile, we had a severe stormy day here yesterday.   High winds. Very high winds., The ocean was one huge white frothy scene and the wind blew huge old palm trees down, one lovely one gone right beside my building.

Actually, I have spent little time with TV news and maybe it’s a respite for my health. I went for lunch, however, with Canadian ladies to a most delightful Hawaiian lunchroom, open to greenery, flowers, the sounds of birds

We stayed for hours and we talked. Canadians are very interested in our politics and I suspect they are more up on it than we are. We always find things we are puzzled by, things we agree on, things we can learn from each other.











In Remembrance of my memory . . . . .

I had an experience today that I will never forget.

“Oh really. I thought you were having trouble with your memory.”

“Oh yes, I am. That’s why the doctor just prescribed a medication to help my memory. I picked up the prescription this afternoon.

Was that the experience you will never forget?

Actually it was.  Right there in the drug store. It was amazing. Although I was filling the prescription for a larger supply I had been taking a few of the pills from a small introductory one and now I had evidence it was already working.

How did you know?

Well, the clerk behind the counter said, “Wow. You just saved yourself a lot of money.” You only had to pay $69.

“Well, that isn’t so bad,” I said. “But where are the savings?”

“Er, er” the clerk said, “Your insurance company paid over $1,000

What?” I said. And then again “What??”,raising my voice slightly. “The pills cost something like $1069?”

The clerk repeated the information and it was then that I realized the pill had already helped me. Without knowing the cost I had been committed to, I was taking a pill that cost several times more than all my other pills combined, more than I spend for groceries in a month, more than I spend  to heat my home or fly to see one of my kids,

And then I knew for a certainty, deep in my heart I knew. This was an experience I would never forget. Never. Never. Ever. The pill is working.

An echo from the past . . . . .

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I just realized that I posted this picture on Facebook recently but not here. I need to share it simply because it is an echo from a story I wrote in my first book. I wrote about a day when my mother, at 93, asked me to take her to a casino.

So history repeated itself, but I didn’t realize it until looking at this picture weeks after it was taken. I was 93 and a friend took me to the casino.

I had money in my gambling fund from years in the past when I had good luck on a few occasions at a casino and had saved the money. And this September, returning with a friend from one of my speaking engagements, we drove slightly out of our way to stop in at a casino for break and a bit of fun. As luck would have it I hit $300 on a fun machine, slid over and hit $300 on another machine, and then we left with a profit

Meanwhile I lead a very quiet life, home most of the time. This week I have labored over the  decision whether or not to go to Hawaii for the winter as usual. I think I have decided to go.  I may do some writing there. I may feast my eyes on the ocean, the mountains, the flowers, the moon. Maybe I can leave my limp there. Maybe for a while I can feel young again.

Well, that was a stupid remark. As it happens, strange as it may seem, I still do feel young.  Can’t help it.








Baby it’s cold outside . . . . .

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I realize I haven’t actually written much on my blog recently, not because I’m lazy but because I have nothing to say. Actually my mind is into the busy-ness of trying to decide whether to spend a winter again in Hawaii. It would be my 43rd year in a row to make that trip, although in the early years our stay was just a short vacation time. In my later years w.e stayed all winter. . . and then I stayed all winter.

We tend to think of ourselves as indestructible and we view a life asomething that goes on forever. If it must end we (briefly) try to imagine how it might end. But then we erase those pictures that we created in our minds and accept the fact that a picture of ourselves as we are right now is not so bad after all. Can still sit, walk, eat and sleep. Can even smile most of the time. Actually I do smile most of the time. I walked past a mirror the other day and saw that alone in my home, still in my nightgown at 10 o’clock,  caught unawares, I was wearing a big smile.

I remember a time perhaps thirty years ago when I met a new friend on my travels, and one day she took me aside. “Doris,” she said, “you may not be aware but much of the time you are wearing a frowned look. You are developing a crease between your eyes. If you are worried about something, solve that problem and smile again. It will affect your whole life.

Maybe I lost the frown when I released the kids to lead their own lives or maybe I lost the frown when I organized my life to be kind to myself as well as to others. So life was going along smoothly and although not everything was perfect it was good.

Yet  I stepped out of bed one morning recently and limped. Just like that. I now limp and after seeing doctors who ordered an MRI and then agreed that yes this lady limps I was told there was no fix for old lady limping because her spine is old and showing wear.

Now the decision is whether the old lady should limp in Nebraska or limp in Hawaii. Most of my friends say by all means you must limp in Waikiki, Limp to your favorite haunts, limp to the Elks Club on the water for dinner, limp to the palace, limp to the many concerts, limp to find old friends and make new ones., take a book and limp to a bench by the ocean.

In my writings I have sometimes compared our bodies to our cars. And to go along with that I might say that at this time in my life I am being plagued with one low tire. Perhaps I can add enough air to get me through a trip. On the other hand I may choose to park the car for winter and enjoy myself right where I am. I must decide.

I would toss a coin but I don’t have coins. I just have credit cards.

Merry Christmas Cookie . . . . .


I have a recipe I’d like to share with you. Perhaps I have done so before, but I’ve forgotten and this is a recipe worth remembering because it’s good and because it has a story.

Several years ago I read somewhere that a new magazine was seeking unique new recipes for their Xmas edition. They asked people to choose an old standard much-used recipe and then change it to a complete new recipe. I like to be challenged, so I got right on i. I chose  the old recipe we had all used:  Million Dollar Cookies.

I came up with this version and sent it off that week. Sometime later I received a letter with a check for $100.    Their letter also stated that plans for their new magazine had been cancelled but they still wanted to buy my recipe.

Now you know the whole story. Here is the recipe:

Egg Noggins

1 cup shortening

½ cup white sugar

½ cup  brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon  rum flavoring

2 cups flour

½ tsp soda

1  tsp. nutmeg

½ tsp salt

Coating mixture:  ¼  cup sugar mixed with 2 teaspoon nutmeg

 (either ground nutmeg or freshly grated nutmeg)

Cream shortening and sugars together.  Add egg, vanilla and rum flavoring, blending until smooth.  .   Gradually add dry ingredients that have been  sifted together.  (I stir them together with a whisk!) Refrigerate .at least one hour, or overnight.  To bake:   Form dough into one-inch balls, roll in mixture of sugar and nutmeg.  Place on cookie sheet that has been either greased lightly or lined with parchment paper.  Press each ball flat with a glass, dipping the glass  in the sugar mix often.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  (Variation:  press pecan halves into flattened ball of dough before stamping with glass.

Merry Christmas

















Screenplay . . . . .


Really really cold this morning. I lit the fireplace (with a button on the wall),  Keurig’ed a steaming cup of coffee and placed it by my chair. But before sitting I went to the front door to look out for signs of the weather. It was a quiet day with no hint of  trouble, except for one thing. It was snowing, one flake at a time floating down slowly, then joining the mish mash of  old slow on the ground.  The flakes in the air were few and far between but the view was interesting and i wanted a picture of it.

I went into my office, picked up my iPhone from the desk and took a picture through the picture window. (After all, what are picture windows for?)  Actually it wasn’t a picture window but three large windows in a grouping. When I looked at the photo I couldn’t see a single flake.  I saw my front yard as a generality, outlining few details.

Now, over coffee, I thought about that. It came to me that we are all looking at life through a screen. It is a screen that was placed there by teachings, experience and observations in our early learning years. It has served a purpose. Just like the screens on the window, the ones in our mind keep out thoughts or ideas that we fear may be harmful. But at times they also keep us from seeing the big picture.

I remember hot sticky days on the farm in Iowa when I was a child. Usually when such a day ushered in a thunderstorm, the old screen door was completely covered with flies. We were not to open that door unless it was an absolute must. When we did open the door we walked into a wall of flies, and of course some escaped into the kitchen. And there some of them met a slow frantic death when they landed on a long string of sticky coiled paper hanging from the ceiling.

We do that too. We take a second look at something we experience or at thoughts that have been introduced to our mind, and we decide whether to live with it or to shoo it out the door. (I’m not one to kill things, even ideas. There may be truth there for someone)

You may think it a strange comparison, but as I think of it I realize I have utilized my time spent in Honolulu to step out of old patterns, to stand apart and rethink my beliefs, my life’s direction. Although there may be flies up-island where there are crops and cattle and horses, there in the city by the sea few people have screen windows, few people have screen doors. When I go to my lanai to think, to write, to look down on the scene from a high floor, I leave my sliding door open.

I think someone recently visited this page and was offended, perhaps, by my poem about our differences. The poem that ended with “We take turns. Be patient. Be grown-up.”

Now, after one group lost and another gained the House of Reps, I wish she would read the poem again. It speaks both ways.

Sometimes we all need to remove our screens and wash the windows.







Grand Grand and Grand Grand . . . . .

Great Great Grandma 2

Not many people, in their lifetime, get to be either a great great granchild or a great great granmother. I had the privilege of being both. I can still remember my great great grandmother. Before I was five she had taught me how to knit.

This beautiful child (above) was born last week in Omaha.  Her name is Evelyn Schroeder. Yesterday she slept like this in my lap for a long nap, there in her grandparents’ brand new home . . . built after their house burned down last New Year’s Eve.

So, in our family it was a time for new things. Even my daughter Sara, who has a new home in Hawaii, is now a great grandmother. She can remember her great grandmother too, the one who was named Sarah.

An exciting time of hopes and .dreams and thanks.



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