Laws of Life

You wouldn’t chuckle at these, if they weren’t so darned true.

image courtesy

image courtesy

Murphy’s law – anything that can possibly go wrong, does.

Murphy’s First Corollary – Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.
Any attempt on your part to correct this will only accelerate the process.

Murphy’s Second Corollary- It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.

The Peter Principal – In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.

Murphy’s Constant – Matter will be damaged in direct proportion to its value.

Quantised Revision of Murphy’s Law – Everything goes wrong all at once. See: When it rains it pours.

Finagle’s Law – Once a job is fouled up, anything done to improve it will only make things worse.

Gumperson’s Law – The probability of anything happening is in inverse ratio to its desirability.


Let’s take a look at a few examples:

image courtesy

image courtesy

-Once a compter program or app is learned, the company who developed it will change it, making it unintelligible requiring a huge learning curve beyond normal human patience or time allotments to figure it out

-In the middle of the night–The sleepier you are the more likely your husband has left the toilet seat up

-the pot on the stove boils quicker when the phone rings

-frosted cakes only crack, earthquake style, when baked for a special occasion

-meeting an old boyfriend in the market guarantees you did not have time for makeup that morning

-your dog barks at a passerby exactly when the pivotal line of dialog disclosing who done it is uttered on your favorite TV show.

-The slice of bread lands buttered side down and in direct proportion to the value of the flooring.

-pears have exactly a thirty second period of ripeness, going from rock hard tasteless to grain mush in that span

-the sensor on your garage door pops it open after you have rounded the corner, out of sight of it

-the gas tank needle flirts with empty in direct proportion to how late you are for an appointment

image courtesy

image courtesy

-no police within miles when a guy cuts you off. One on every corner when you don’t need them

-no time to spare to make your flight? Slow TSA queue guaranteed.

-you make that half court shot only when practicing hoops–alone

-forgot your reading glasses? The new restaurant you are trying out is sure to have flickering candlelight only.

-New white jeans assure leaky soda cup, sloppy drip of mustard from hotdog and/or spaghetti that refuses to stay on the plate.

image courtesy

image courtesy

-That car in front of you with the never-ending left turn indicator will make their eventual lane change just as you are trying to pass them

-On a crowded sidewalk filled with bustling pedestrians. The one that decides to stop dead in his tracks to look at his phone is sure to be right in front of you.


Come play along.

What instance of Murphy’s law meets the Peter Principle meets any number of other ‘laws’ bugs you the most?

Examples…. DO SHARE!

Posted in Life, Musings | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Not Just A Nurse – What Are You “Not Just”?

Miss Colorado recently performed a monologue during the Miss America pageant showcasing her talent as a nurse. Her monologue included a story about her interactions with an elderly male Alzheimers patient. During his time in the hospital, he asked a series of questions, some about medications, some about his future care, to which she answered, “I’m sorry, I can not help you with that. I am just a nurse.” By the end of his stay the patient thanked her for all her care and kindness. He also admonished her to never again say that she is ‘just a nurse’ because she had made a real difference in his life.

image courtesy

image courtesy

Do you ever stop to think what your work yields?

I am a writer. Oh yes, I have been a lot of other things too: a mother, a teacher, a caregiver, an appointments clerk, a See’s Candy lady, a courier, to name but a few. Each and every one of these ‘hats’ have been worn with all the excellence I could muster, and love.

But it was not until I got my first heartfelt letter from a reader that I understood the true power of words. As writers, we pour our heart and soul into our work. We use our reservoir of past experiences comingled with the rainbow of our imaginations to create a story.

So what could be so important about a story, characters that are alive only in the mind of a writer?

Because it is through the vehicle of a relatable character and a universal story that readers can connect to something more real than anything in their everyday lives. A story can take the reader inside other’s lives, places, times and thoughts in a way untouchable in the ‘real’ world. When a reader reads that another person has had similar feelings, doubts, trials, successes and failures, he not only knows she is not crazy, he is not alone, but that there are many paths up the mountains in our lives.

image courtesy

image courtesy

To uplift, to educate, to entertain and inspire –these are the tasks of the writer. Within the body of a story, through the words of its characters, magic can happen.

“It was like a dream come true,” One reader said of a story in which an everyday girl’s world is changed by the kindness of a man who just happened to understand because he suffered the loneliness of fame. “I never knew it was like that,” another said in reaction to the trials of a young epileptic character as she tries to negotiate the world after her diagnosis. “This is such a realistic view of what an age difference really means,” another reader commented on May-December characters. “Being a military wife… I thought these feeling were just me,” said a woman about a novel looking at the tumultuous relationship between military Search and Rescue characters.

Most writers will never be on the New York Times Best Seller list. Most will never make a living at their craft, but if a writer touches even a handful of hearts –does that not make that author so much more than ‘just a writer’?

image courtesy

image courtesy

Do you think you are “Just a ____”? Come on now—think hard. What is one reason you are so much more?

Posted in Characters, Finding Your Passion, Writer's Journey, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sex, Lies and the Bathroom Scale

Did that get your attention? Truth be told, scales are pretty unsexy.

image courtesy

image courtesy

If you are like millions of people around the world, every morning you drop your bathrobe to the floor and step tentatively onto the bathroom scale, eyes winced shut in dread and anticipation. Your entire day begins either positively or negatively according to a number.

Ahh….validation! Or Eeeek… failure!

Don’t get me wrong. I am not one of those people who blithely look the other way as those numbers creep up and up. Nor can I blindly support obesity in the name of political correctness. If a person is unhealthily overweight, they know it. No need for a scale or reminder from society. Extra weight is the culprit in so many diseases and maladies, it would be prohibitive and repetitive to list them all here. Isn’t it just as irresponsible to

image courtesy

image courtesy

tell obese people they are 100% okay and ‘beautiful’ just the way they are, as it is to fat shame? It is so much bigger than the individual however. It’s a psychological, medical and societal problem—not an individual failure. We are all part of the society that glorifies fast food every bit as much as we worship unhealthy thinness.

image courtesy

image courtesy

Food as an addictive substance has been well studied by science and big agribusiness. As is true with most commodities in life, the profit margin often far outweighs any concern for health, safety or happiness. Ultimately it is the power of demand that will dictate the availability of wholesome healthy foods.

But come on folks…get off the bloody scale. You are giving it much more power than it deserves. The only thing a scale can tell you is your physical body’s relationship to gravity in numerical form. The force emanating from the Earth and the gravity of the potential adverse health situations with each extra pound, are as obvious as your reflection in the mirror.

A scale can NOT tell you how contagious your smile is, how amazing your compassion, how much admiration you deserve for facing a demanding world day in and out to earn a living, how strong you are for maintaining the power of love to raise children, what a good sense of humor and perseverance you have in the face of the numerous adversities of life or how uplifting your words are when you raise them in praise of another.

It cannot measure talent, purpose, life force, strength or love.

Isn’t that the real power, the real legacy of a person?

So take note of the number. Do what you must to work toward health and to demand better from agri-business through the power of your purchases. Then go out there and live your fabulous, difficult, challenging, rewarding, amazing life!


How have you been impacted by your weight, unnaturally enhanced foods and the scale?

Posted in Food, Health, Life, Opinion | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Should Reviewers Be Paid? – Caveat Emptor

As an author, I totally understand and have experienced frustration with promotions and the lack of headway. It is understandable that authors who have poured their heart and soul into a novel for countless hours want to have their work read.

Image courtesy

Image courtesy

All that said, if a review is paid for, it should be stated. Reviews that are not paid for are so stated by most authors. I think it comes under truth in advertising.

Please excuse me–this is perhaps as much to clarify my own thinking and feelings…

Because of the dream authors have to see their work read and the strength of the desire/emotions that fuel that dream, an entire cottage industry has sprung up around authors. Many spend thousands of dollars attending conferences, taking classes, paying for all the self publishing expenses for those who choose that route, advertise, and now, reviews?  etc, etc, etc…

I had the dream too. I know.

There are many who take advantage of said authors.

As has been stated, each author has to decide what he/she is willing to spend, in time and money, to propel their work into the reader’s hands. There certainly is nothing ‘fair’

image courtesy

image courtesy

about any of it. Shite is sometimes published by the big six just as much as gems remain unread in the sea of self and small pubbed work. The big publishing houses have resources to pay the many pipers. The individual author, not so much. Not fair.

But once money enters the equation when we are talking about reviews, whether they be for a film, a hotel, a restaurant or a book, the authenticity is automatically put into question for ALL. Wherever their are artists, hoteliers, restauranteurs … who dream of having their work appreciated, there will be those ready to help them, for a fee. And those willing to pay. And those willing to take advantage of those willing to pay.

This author has made the decision that anonymity is the cost of unwillingness to pay. Yes–I paid for conferences, classes, professional memberships, ‘education’. I think any professional must put in their time, due diligence and effort to gain competence/excellence. I am not, however, comfortable with paying for reviews. I view paid reviews as a slippery slope UNLESS it is well publicized that said reviews are paid. The term ‘Caveat Emptor’ A Latin phrase for “let the buyer beware,” definitely comes into play. Essentially it proclaims that the buyer must perform their due diligence when purchasing an item or service. The integrity of providers of these paid service is maintained via disclosure.

I would like to believe that those service providers who do not disclose their methods will be found out and suffer the credibility consequences. Pollyannish?

As a reader, a vacationer, a restaurant client—I want to read unsolicited reviews and be assured that they are unpaid. Once paid reviews sneak in without disclosure, the

image courtesy

image courtesy

consumer is automatically placed in a tenuous position. What and who to believe?

For years lawyers were not allowed to advertise. Now they are on every TV station. But the consumer knows these are adverts.

There is no ultimate answer, except for each individual heart. All I ask for is the integrity of disclosure. “No review or reviewer on this site was paid.” Or “Reviewers receive compensation for the reviews posted here.”  

Until then…Caveat Emptor.

How do you feel about paid reviews? What has your experience been with them?


Posted in Integrity, Opinion | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Why Is England So Magnetic?

England and the English are front and centre in so much of American culture, it is hard to image a world without the rich heritage and contributions from this small island nation. Part of the United Kingdom, England occupies some of the most beautiful, verdant landscape in the world.

DSCN4962 DSCN5307

Not only does the English speaking world owe what has become the planet’s lingua franca to its mother nation, the world revels under the influence of her shore’s native sons and daughters.

“We may be a small country, but we’re a great one, too. The country of Shakespeare, Churchill, the Beatles, Sean Connery, Harry Potter. David Beckham’s right foot, David Beckham’s left foot…” – Hugh Grant as the British Prime Minister (Love Actually, 2003)

When this BeachsideLA girl had an opportunity such as the one offered her, to serve as England ‘expert’ and a two week tour co-leader, this gal jumped at the chance. For the past ten years I have written British-American characters entwined in life’s romantic entrapments whilst navigating the intricacies of the common language that divides us. A year spent as a student in London and many years hence chasing the illusive dream of deserving honorary English-ness via summer house exchange (ala the film “The Holiday”) have led me to this moment in time–

All the land higher than three thousand feet lies with Cumbria’s Lake district.

William Wadsworth's Dove Cottage

William Wadsworth’s Dove Cottage

DSCN4954 DSCN4959 DSCN4990DSCN4893

Poet laureate William Wadsworth’s home, this bucolic landscape hosts deep blue waters, vibrant flowers and the home of the original Grasmere house gingerbread.


DSCN4997York’s glorious ‘Minster’ juts from the center of old town and is ringed by the original city walls, still walkable by day.


With the lengthening of shadows, Ghost Trail guides emerge from the shadows, ready to spin their tales of plague, murder and execution.DSCN5000DSCN4998DSCN5027DSCN5020

World Heritage site Avebury is the local of the largest stone circles on the islands.

DSCN5193DSCN5181Stonehenge might grab the glamour, but Avebury still allows visitors the chance to hug these mysterious ancient upright boulders. Beware–the stuff of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series is at hand.

“The tallest stone of the circle was cleft, with a vertical split dividing the two massive pieces. Oddly, the pieces had been drawn apart by some means….   DSCN5196

There was a deep humming noise coming from somewhere near at hand. I thought their might be a beehive lodged in some crevice of the rock, and placed a hand on the stone in order to lean into the cleft.

The stone screamed.

I backed away as fast as I could, moving so quickly that I tripped on the short turf and sat down hard. I stared at the stone, sweating.

I had never heard such a sound from anything living.There is no way to describe it, except to say that it was the sort of scream you might expect from a stone. It was horrible.

The other stones began to shout. There was a noise of battle and the cries of dying men and shattered horses.

I shook my head violently to clear it. I stumbled to my feet and staggered toward the edge of the circle….a blind drifting through the fog of noise….the sickening sensation of falling at high speed. I experienced a feeling of elemental terror so great that I lost all sense of who or where I was. I was in the heart of chaos, and no power of mind or body was of use against it.”


The Royal Crescent is a row of 30 terraced houses laid out in a sweeping crescent in the city of Bath, England. Designed by the architect John Wood the Younger and built between 1767 and 1774, it is among the greatest examples of Georgian architecture to be found in the United Kingdom. Number one is open to be toured and restored to Georgian grandeur. On display within are numerous examples of detailed Georgian doll houses.

In 2007, a TV edition of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, included many scenes shot at the Royal Crescent, where the Elliot family was supposedly living while in Bath.

The Royal Crescent featured in the 2008 film The Duchess starring Keira Knightley.

DSCN5320DSCN5322DSCN5334DSCN5336DSCN5344DSCN5345DSCN5351Glastonbury is not only the location of the yearly huge pop festival, it is the alleged final resting place of King Arthur and Guinevere in the grounds of the Glastonbury Abbey ruins. A restored Medieval kitchen is on site as well. Here’s to the knights of the round table.

Nearby to Glastonbury is the town of Wells–a lovely cathedral.DSCN5356DSCN5364

Gotta love the London sights and sounds—even in this tourist drenched time of year… DSCN5427DSCN5438Dismounting and inspection of the troops ceremony all done under the watchful eye of armed coppers – Whitehall


The Tower of London, tours narrated by the proud ex-military veterans, The Beefeaters. Home of many fine specimens of military armor and weaponry. DSCN5389DSCN5395DSCN5400

My dear London…



Until next time, England…the land of brilliant flora and… (contrary to popular belief)…

DSCN5296 DSCN5288 DSCN5283 DSCN5275 DSCN5187 DSCN5154 DSCN5140 DSCN5088 DSCN5057 DSCN5047 DSCN4966 DSCN4949 DSCN4927 DSCN4893

…robust delicious feasts-

DSCN4901 DSCN4905 DSCN4942 DSCN5124 DSCN5122 DSCN5112 DSCN5149 DSCN5238 DSCN5314 DSCN5306 DSCN5383

All the love this Beachside girl can send….

DSCN5448 DSCN5424 DSCN5403 DSCN5375 DSCN5376 DSCN5300  DSCN5282 DSCN5293 DSCN5289 DSCN5154

DSCN5077 DSCN5071


Posted in England, London, Travel, Travel : Book research, Travel memories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christine Goes Philadelphia – Let Freedom Ring

DSCN4832When one finds oneself in a distant and unfamiliar city, what is the first thing to do? Walk about? Snap selflies in front of monuments? DSCN4828DSCN4827DSCN4817

Yeah…but come on. When visiting the city of America’s birth, you have to go on a ghost tour.

DSCN4843  so much fun—so many tales of yore.

This Beachside LA  girl adores the East Coast with its revolutionary history, brick and colonial buildings and charm. Mid June is a lovely time to visit. The trees are in full greenery, the main thoroughfares bustle with tourists and the smell of onions cooking to top the iconic Philly Cheesesteak waft from local eateries.

mmmm… DSCN4820But when you wander away from the crowd, the personality of the city opens its doors.


…and the memory of those who went before come alive ( Washington Square Park where thousands of unknowns from the revolutionary war times are buried beneath the now verdant grounds)

“Freedom is light for which many men have died in darkness”


DSCN4838 DSCN4839   The signers of our constitution, so honored in this grand city, whisper yet in those leaves as the sultry breeze warms another summer. The words penned in a time of upheaval and uncertainty echo down through the centuries–lighting our way into a future full of challenge to those liberties.

DSCN4844 DSCN4871

If those old cobblestones could talk…what would they say?

DSCN4833           Visit that bell… by pony express, jet or “Back to the Future” flying car.

From sea to shining sea… let freedom ring.                                                                           DSCN4826

Posted in Cost of freedom, Philadelphia, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Little Bit Of London

Early June is a great time in Britain’s capital. Tourists are thick on the main streets–mostly European, as schools have not yet adjourned for summer in the States, but the weather is pleasant, sun flirting with clouds.

DSCN4641New model double decker buses jostle down the streets.

The South bank is like an outdoor carnival with street performers

The Bubble man enchants toddlers and adults

The Bubble man enchants toddlers and adults








new meets old architecture

The "Shard" mirrored Skyscraper in contrast to a minster and modern art statue

The “Shard” mirrored Skyscraper in contrast to a minster and modern art statue









a snog is a juicy kiss

a snog is a juicy kiss

Playfully sold cold and sweet treats







Shakespeare’s Old Globe Theater resurrected and beckoningDSCN4664






Round courtyard under glass - British Museum

Round courtyard under glass – British Museum

Greece's 'Marbles' - belong in the Parthenon, but under 'protection' of the Brits - a sore point of contention

Greece’s ‘Marbles’ – belong in the Parthenon, but under ‘protection’ of the Brits – a sore point of contention








The British Museum a staple of history-philes


Ale Pie, Fish ‘n Chips classic repast- a pint tooDSCN4607






DSCN4610 DSCN4606Gargoyles watching from above




Marlborough Arms pub







Westminister Abbey’s had a thorough scrubbingDSCN4602






Well known places bustle with life

Inside Victoria StationInside Victoria Station



and quiet side streets house families, bed & breakfasts and charm

DSCN4692       DSCN4691 DSCN4690Until next time..

Heathrow Airport’s facelift has left it wholly unidentifiable from the “Love Actually” days

DSCN4715huge hanging plane-like sculpture and see-through cab

DSCN4718 But we adore it all

Dustman's tools of trade

Dustman’s tools of trade

DSCN4683 DSCN4681



Posted in England, London, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mom, What Did You Do Before The Internet?

While we were having a discussion about the ‘old days’ before the digital revolution, my son asked, his face a mask of perplexity, “What did you do all day before internet?”

image courtesy

image courtesy

At first, I responded off the cuff, “read”, but as the day progressed the question followed me about, nagging a more in depth answer. What did we do? As my mind skipped over the years, I realized with increasing chagrin, that we did a whole lot that many folks either no longer do, pay someone else to do or engage in infrequently.

I may not be an expert at all this stuff, but how impoverished are we if we miss out on the wide breadth of skills and creative pursuits off-line, off-phone, off-tv?

-build and maintain raised bed vegetable garden, Grow and use veggies in daily food prep

-read music and sing in four part harmony group

-self taught home chef and baker – homemade breads, cookies and the like as well as multi course meals.

-mend clothes and sew using a pattern to construct basic clothing

image courtesy

image courtesy

-do basic home repairs–swing a hammer, use a miter box, electric drill and saw

-wash and hand wax/detail cars

-clean the house top to bottom

-cross stitch and other needlework art

-trim a bush, lace a tree, mow the grass, adjust sprinklers and just about any other yard maintenance

-papier mâche art, decopage

-paint on canvas with water colors and acrylics, sketch, work with clay/pottery

-write poetry, journal

-construct a novel, beginning to end

– give people haircuts; dog grooming

-cake baking and decorating

-refinish furniture

-Prep and paint walls

-Skateboard, beach volleyball

-Bike ride, jog, power walk

image courtesy

image courtesy

– learn calligraphy and use in invitations/ letters (what is a hand written letter?)

-reading bedtime stories every night to the kids

-Take adult education classes in areas of interest- some for fun, some for further education

-Maintain paper files for receipts and important papers

-play board and card games, four square, hopscotch, jump rope

-inviting friends to dinner, coffee, barbecue, play cards, talk

– using the (landline) phone to talk and catch up

-dream, be introspective

In times past there was even more focus on craftsmanship, art and self improvement. Did it have to do with less distraction and more time to do things by hand? Our transition generation knows the time before endless hours of online gaming, social media, and TV binge watching. There was the personal interaction and/or participation in things that were not as passive as today’s non-stop entertainment, flashing lights and short attention space go-go-go. Learning a skill, craft or artistic outlet usually required a mentor and/or book–thus patience and perseverance so often denied in the “I need it now” computer age. “What? Ten seconds for the site to load? I’m clicking elsewhere.”

When I think about the great buildings, paintings, mosaics, statutes and sculptures of the

image courtesy

image courtesy

Renaissance and the centuries before the tech revolution, it makes me melancholy. Most people’s lives are absorbed in daily tasks that technology is supposed to make easier, but the truth of the matter is are expected to accomplish more and more, multitask and spin  wheels until stressed into high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and worse. Our technological triumphs do not allow us more leisure. They make the world pace breakneck with expectations the same. They keep us emotionally and psychically chained to a chair—staring at a glowing screen.

What did you do before personal and professional tech filled your life? If you are not old enough to remember those days – are there things you would like to do that do not require a screen, but just don’t seem to have the time to do? Do you feel tech withdrawal if your phone or computer is not available?

What has tech added?

What have we lost?





Posted in Childhood/Growing Up, Family, Life, Musings | Tagged , | Leave a comment

“We Make Marines” – Marine Corp Recruiting Depot Graduation


Please indulge this proud mama–My daughter is Series Commanding Officer at Marine Corp Recruiting Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina.

Today was the FIRST graduation ceremony over which she presided as Commanding Officer—her two platoons of female recruits  (and their male fellow recruits) became Marines.  DSCN4747


About “Series Commander” :
She has responsibility and authority over approx 100 female marine recruits and their nine Drill Instructors. (There are two platoons of female recruits,  six to eight platoons of men)

“We make Marines by recruiting quality young men and women and transforming them through the foundations of rigorous basic training, our shared legacy, and a commitment to our core values, preparing them to win our nation’s battles in service to the country.”


About Parris Island:

Posted in United States Marine Corp | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Another June Day In Paris

Funny how life can sometimes be cyclical. A couple years ago I posted a pictorial about a June Day, Parisian style and here I am again, finding myself in what so many consider the ‘city of love’

With two days this visit, my camera and I put in some serious miles on foot, adding steps to my fit bit digital pedometer ( Think I spied it smokin’ ), fitness, and food for the soul.DSCN4463

DSCN4464 The east train station DSCN4465 DSCN4468  filled with street art    DSCN4469

DSCN4479 Nothing says Paris like Dominos delivered via scooter

DSCN4482 DSCN4485  Oooo la,la, le fromage et les gateaux

DSCN4486 small neighborhood sidewalk cafes

DSCN4487 DSCN4489


The Basilica of Sacre Coeur   DSCN4499 DSCN4502  a dinner at ‘home’–spaghetti, zucchini corgettes, seed encrusted baguette with buttery garlic, a splash of bordeaux and…                         DSCN4507    more walking to …

The house of Orchids  DSCN4524 DSCN4525 A freshly scrubber Notre Dame DSCN4529 DSCN4531 DSCN4532 DSCN4534

and twilight along the Seine   DSCN4552


One more day to stroll

DSCN4565  the internationally familiar

and the neighborhood quaintDSCN4580 DSCN4574 ….Shop dedicated exclusively to pistachios


Statue in memory of June 4th 1945 Churchill “We shall never surrender” speech – made in the darkest days of the war for Europe.

And then there are the doors—the marvelous doors…

DSCN4471 DSCN4477 DSCN4490 DSCN4491 DSCN4492 DSCN4510 DSCN4514 DSCN4515 DSCN4526 DSCN4567 DSCN4575 DSCN4581 DSCN4582 DSCN4593


Posted in France, Paris, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment