About Me

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Delray Beach, FL, Westport, MA, United States
Undergraduate degree, Colby College; MA in teaching, Columbia Teacher's College; former high school English teacher in three states; former owner of interior design co. with advanced degree from R.I. School of Design. Published first book in 2009 titled, MINOR LEAGUE MOM: A MOTHER'S JOURNEY THROUGH THE RED SOX FARM TEAMS. Her humorous manuscript titled ELDERLY PARENTS WITH ALL THEIR MARBLES: A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR THE KIDS was published in June, 2014. In 2015 A SURVIVAL GUIDE won a gold medal in the self-help category at the Florida Authors & Publishers Association conference. See website By CLICKING HERE.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

An Apple a Day Keeps ME Away (from the Apple store)

     I love my Apple 5S phone. It's like an old friend who's missing a few updates, slow to react, and shows some wear and tear. But it's reliable and fits in my hand perfectly and I think it's still beautiful. It provides everything I need and I don't have to go searching around.  So what if it needs a little attention - don't we all?

The Apple 3 Iphone, predecessor to my 5S.

     My old friend began to get tired. I remained faithful and swept open pages off the screen before putting it to bed every night in its plug on the kitchen wall. I deleted apps that were never used and removed some photos I'd never looked at twice to give it more space. I plugged it in more and more frequently, bonding with my old friend since I often needed energy boosts, too.

     Still, I got frustrated. It was taking ninety seconds to download twenty to forty emails - imagine the wasted time???

My Apple 5S Iphone

     I tried to be patient with my old friend. It might have been better for both of us if I'd put him on a shelf in my closet cemetery to Rest In Peace. But I listened to the news about the Keaton Harvey vs Apple, Inc., Lawsuit #3 of December, 2017, in which the plaintiff claimed Apple slowed older iPhones with older, degrading batteries to encourage customers to purchase new phones. Battery replacements became available from Apple stores for $29 instead of $79, following the announcement. And naturally there was nowhere else I could get one!

     Our nearest Apple store was in a gigantic mall in the next town of Boca Raton, Florida. I had another stop to make in the mall and hadn't eaten lunch, so I headed down. I stopped at the Apple store first, since I'd heard horror stories about the wait time.

     The glass-fronted store was double the width of Louis Vuitton's. Its bleached wood high-top islands stood several yards apart, five across and three deep. The rear of the store was padded in gray with built-in screens. At each island there were eight stools. Most were occupied.

     I entered and must have looked dazed. "May I help you?" a young man said, in the navy-shirt-khaki-pants uniform matching twenty other young men and women scurrying around the islands with Ipads.

     "I need a new battery for my 5S phone."

     "Please sit over at that island," he said, walking toward a high-top and using his Ipad as a pointer.

     I moved across the front of the store to sit with six others at the assigned location. It wasn't long before another young man in navy and khaki with a beard and tattoos covering his arms asked me the same question.

     "I need a new battery for my 5S phone."

     "Do you have an appointment?"

     "No. I have a couple of stops to make in the mall while it's being done."

     The bearded man with tattoos consulted his Ipad. "Right now the appointment wait time is about two hours."

     "I can do that."

     "I'll schedule you for a technician in two hours. Please return at four o'clock." (It was then 2:00.) He put my name on a list on his trusty Ipad.

     I went for some lunch in the food court. Normally I'd check my emails during lunch, taking time to read and delete or file in a folder what I only have time to scan during the rest of the day. But without my phone I munched and people-watched for forty-five minutes. Next I went to Nordstrom, where I'd purchased a pair of pants that needed alterations. I produced the heels I intended to wear from the tote over my shoulder and tried the pants on. Once the seamstress was located, I stood on a platform while she pinned up the hems. I arranged to have the pants shipped and walked the perimeter of the mall to window shop.

     At 3:50 p.m. I returned to the Apple store. "I have an appointment at 4:00 for a battery replacement on my 5S phone," I said.

     "Please sit at that table - the second from the rear on the left." I joined five others, all waiting for appointments on stools.

     At 4:00 a technician came to our table and called out a name. It wasn't mine. It was the lady's next to me. She had basic questions about her Mac computer and the tech easily answered them. "Could you look at the list to see where 'Pam Carey' is, please?" I pleaded when he'd finished with the woman next to me.

     "You should be up next."

     "Thanks," I said, and waited till 4:30 p.m. for a female technician to call my name.

     "I need a new battery for my 5S," I said for the ??? time.

     "Follow me," she said . . . which I did to a high-top diagonally opposite where I'd been sitting. "This is Louis," she said. "He'll be happy to take care of you."

     "Louis, all I need is a battery replacement for my 5S."

     His swarthy complexion smiled down at me as I lifted my fanny into the stool. He emitted my first ray of light (and hope) since I'd entered the store at 2:00. Another man's new phone was plugged into the charging dock in the middle of the table. "I'm just reloading this man's information from his old phone into his new one, but I can help you while that's happening," he said. "Let me look at the diagnostics from your phone. Please open your phone with your password."

     He took my 5S and tethered it by umbilical cord into his iPad. "We can free up some storage space before you get a new battery," he said, and proceeded to do so.

     "Now, I must explain to you that a new battery on this phone will cost $79. If you get a new battery on a 6X or any succeeding model, it will cost you only $29."

     "So my phone's too old to qualify for the $29 battery replacement program advertised since the lawsuit was settled?"

     "Correct. Did you look at new phones?"

     "Yes, and I'll be doing that in a few months, but I don't have time today. The newer models start around $500 and up with a plan, correct?"

     "Yes. So you'd still like a battery for this phone?"

     "Yes, please."

     "Then I'll write a work order for this and the work will take at least an hour."

     "Can that be done today?"

     "If you have time today. I can print up a work order which you must present to get the work started. If you'd prefer to come back, report to the last tabletop in the rear on the left."

     "I'll be back tomorrow. Please print up the work order." I arrived home three hours after entering the Apple store the first time.

     The next day Charley returned with me. "Was I exaggerating?" I asked him, as we wound to the last table in the rear.

     "This is incredible," he said. "It's hell on earth."

     I presented the work order to a technician who was leaning over a woman with a Mac at the appropriate table. "May I give this work order to you?" I said.

     "I'll get someone for you." She spoke into a microphone on her lapel and returned to the problem on the screen in front of her.

     When a young man with the face of a fifteen-year-old and round gold-framed glasses sidled up to the stool next to me, I handed over the work order and my phone. He consulted his iPad. "It should take two hours," he said. "It's a Saturday and we're very busy. When you return, just go directly to the back padded wall and someone will meet you there to check the status of your order."

     "Well, we can go have some dinner. Thanks." We found the Grand Lux Cafe in the mall and followed the hostess to a padded booth. I ordered a Cosmopolitan and Charley ordered a beer. "Let's relax," I suggested. The dinner was delicious and we each ordered another drink.

     An hour and a half went by. "Let's go see if it's ready," Charley said, anxious to get home to watch the NCAA basketball playoffs.

     We weaved among the shoppers at the high-top tables in the Apple store until we hit the charcoal padded wall in the rear, where we stood waiting for someone to acknowledge us. "I have a work order and would like to see if it's ready," I said, stopping the first technician that went by.

     She was a young lady with dreadlocks and a very round pleasant face. She consulted her iPad. "You're very early," she said. "It won't be ready for another thirty minutes, at least. Come back then."

     We went out into the mall and snagged two armchairs directly across from the storefront. The chairs were not next to each other, which was good, since Charley was doing all he could to control his anger by watching the specimens of humanity, or whatever they were, passing by. At the appointed time we returned to the inferno.

     The same young man who looked fifteen was at a table nearest the back wall, second from the left. "We've been waiting two hours for a battery replacement," I said. "The name is Pam Carey."

     "Yes, here you are on the list. Well, it shouldn't be long now. Just sit at this table and I'll keep checking on it."

     Another twenty minutes went by, for a total of one hundred and forty minutes we'd waited for the battery replacement on the second day. "I'm showing it's ready now," he said. He disappeared and emerged with a thin white padded envelope. Inside was my beloved phone, which I slid from its wrapper and turned on. The young man took my credit card and I signed with my finger. "The game score is really lop-sided," I told Charley, checking into ESPN for the basketball scores. It was the least I could do.
An Apple a day may keep the doctor AND ME away!



Tuesday, February 13, 2018

There's Divorce and There's THE DIVORCE

     Plundering, lying, adultery - the makings of a good television series, right? In real life, it's the stuff of a Palm Beach divorce to divide a real estate empire - an empire worth approximately $750 million.

     And oh yes - the divorcing couple happens to be eighty-eight and near-ninety.

     "Lovey" and Burt Handelsman have been married almost seventy years. In those years, they amassed a commercial real estate empire which includes buildings on Worth Avenue and its side streets that are home to Ralph Lauren, Giorgio's, Brooks Brothers, and Jimmy Choo, among others. Their holdings reach from the Hogs Breath Saloon in Key West to Delray Beach, West Palm Beach, the Catskills, New York City, and Greenwich, Connecticut.

     Their condo above Worth Avenue and their palatial home in White Plains have been outfitted for handicapped access. "Lovey" needs a wheelchair, due to arthritis.

     The reason for the divorce? In 2008 "Lovey" discovered Burt was having an affair with their longtime family attorney, 62-year-old Jane Rankin of Ft. Lauderdale. "Lovey" overheard her husband tell Rankin on the phone he "loved her and missed her terribly." Subsequently, "Lovey" discovered Rankin coming out of the Palm Beach condo one afternoon, the access to which demanded a secret code for the elevator.

     "Lovey" has not had sex with Burt since, though she maintains residence at the condo and even shares a "very large bed" with Burt. Despite Circuit Court Judge Scott Suskauer's granting "Lovey" sole temporary use of the apartment, Burt has refused to move out. "Lovey" petitioned for temporary alimony and maintains a bodyguard 24/7 outside, due to Burt's "mean-spirited insolence."

     Burt now admits that Jane Rankin's portion of a story in November, 2017, helped commit "a fraud on the court" when Rankin helped him lie about the so-called discovery of a falsified document that Burt tried to use to strip his children of control of vast amounts of the empire.

     The couple's children are fighting to make sure their father has no claim to property they now control from offices in White Plains, N.Y. If the marriage terminates before "Lovey," under Florida law she would be entitled to 50 percent of the assets, which she plans to pass on to her children and grandchildren. If "Lovey" dies before the judge signs off on the divorce, her share could fall to 30 percent. Burt has filed separate lawsuits against his children, claiming they stole property from him. They have counter-sued.

     Judge Suskauer has pleaded for months with the couple and their children to resolve their differences and divide their holdings without court interference. The division is complicated because even if they could all agree on the value of the properties, in many cases ownership is split among the children, "Lovey," Burt, and others. "Lovey" and the children insist they won't own property with Burt.

     Burt had removed contents of safes from local banks to other banks. Still, he claims the marriage is not broken, saying he "cooks for her, cleans for her, helps her dress, helps her get to and from the bathroom." I wonder what he does for Jane?







Monday, January 29, 2018

Importance of Boca Raton, Florida, Airfield during World War II

     For you history buffs, here's an interesting item I read in South Florida's The Coastal Star newspaper:  even before Pearl Harbor, the military had begun building bases across South Florida's flat terrain to train air crewmen.

     The town of Boca Raton already had an airport then, although the population was only 700. And it had lots of vacant land, much of it owned by the Japanese-American pineapple growers at the struggling Yamato Colony. Susan Gillis, curator at the Boca Raton Historical Society, stated, "Before the war, the town had two traffic lights and two bars. It's changed a little."

     There was a ready-made military headquarters in the Boca Raton Resort, originally designed  by Addison Mizner and opened in 1926 as The Cloister Inn. During World War II army officials dubbed the barracks at the Resort "the most elegant barracks in history." The Army Airfield on what is now Florida Atlantic University grew to 800 buildings housing more than 16,000 troops and employing more than 1,200 civilians. Yet the base operated in secrecy.

     Why? Because it was our nation's only development and training center for a new technology developed by the British: radio detection and ranging - radar.

     Florida Atlantic University now occupies some of the remaining vintage buildings. When local journalist and author Sally Ling wrote a book about the Army Air Field during World War II (Small Town, Big Secrets: Inside the Boca Raton Army Air Field during World War II), Miami public television station WLRN produced a documentary. The film screened at Florida Atlantic University before its TV debut, and several airfield vets showed up to repeat the popular phrase, "Radar won the war; the A bomb ended it."

(Information courtesy of "Film recalls Boca airfield's vital contribution to victory in WWII," The Coastal Star, December, 2017, Pg. AT8.)

Monday, December 18, 2017

The Ten Most Embarrassing Questions Santa's Been Asked This Year


An author's list for Santa

     Another year brings another crop of kids sitting on Santa's lap working their Iphones for selfies, pulling on his beard to see if it's fake, or screaming because the gargantuan in red is going to eat them up.
     Here are the ten most embarrassing questions Santa's being asked this year, in ascending order.
Thank you, SaturdayNightLive, for a couple of ideas! Merry Christmas to all, and to all a healthy, happy 2018!

 #1. Why don't you get a cell phone so we wouldn't have to write those long letters and could email what we want?

 #2.  How many hours a day do the elves have to make toys, and do they get paid overtime?

 #3.  Why doesn't Mrs. Claus put you on a diet?

 #4.  Have the animal rights people ever reported you for abuse of Rudolph's nose? Why don't you just get a GPS?

 #5.  Why does your breath smell like Grandma's after she's had the eggnog on Christmas Eve? 

#6.  Who is this Grinch person that mom says is Dad's relative?

#7.  Is there a gift you could bring my mom so I don't get any more brothers or sisters?

 #8.  Is it true if you deny you did something wrong, you can keep your job? My dad just got laid off.

 #9.  Is Roy Moore on your "naughty" or "nice" list?


Ho! Ho! Ho!
#10. What was the toy Matt Lauer gave to the lady who worked with him?

Friday, November 17, 2017

Grandma's Thanksgiving Invitation

Adapted from something that came across the internet. Don't know the author...

Dear Family,                                                                             

I know some of you probably think I left this earth, because you haven’t heard from me in a while. Maybe if you’d picked up the phone, you’d have discovered I’m still around.

Thanksgiving is important to me. If being in my Last Will and Testament is important to you, you’ll probably want to be here to celebrate that I’m still above ground.

Dinner is at 2:00. Not 2:30. Not 3:00. The only thing reheating in the oven after we sit down will be the pies.

Last year, Marshall heard from his neighbor that frying a turkey in one of those contraptions made the best turkey anyone ever tasted. He almost burned the deck off my house. This year, the only peanut oil used in the meal will be the secret scoop of peanut butter I add to the carrot soup.

Jonathan, don’t arrive at someone’s house on Thanksgiving with a new wife we haven’t met who has to run to the bathroom to put on her makeup before she’s even introduced. Honest to God, I thought you’d learned after two wives – date them longer and save us all the agony of another divorce.

There will be paper plates and red Solo cups this year. They might be bad for the environment, but most of your kids have never eaten off good china, except at my house, and things always get broken.

The television stays off during the meal. I don’t care whose alma mater is playing in a bowl game!

There will be no soda cans for the kids. We will use 2-liter bottles because your children open a third can before finishing the first two. Parents, fill your children’s cups when they are empty. The cups will have names on them so there’s no excuse for anyone drinking from someone else’s cup.

Cloe, last year I looked the other way when your marshmallow fluff salad showed up. This year, if that salad comes in the front door it will go out the back door with the garbage. Save yourself some time, honey. You’ve never been a good cook and you shouldn’t bring something that wiggles more than you. Buy something from the bakery.

Grandmothers give grandchildren cookies and candy. That is a fact of life. Your children can eat healthy at your house. At mine, they can eat whatever they like as long as they clean their plates.

I cook with bacon and bacon grease. Your being a vegan doesn’t change the fact that stuffing without bacon is like egg salad without eggs. Even the green bean casserole has a little bacon grease in it. That’s why you like it. As far as being healthy – I’ve lived longer than all of you and I have bacon every mornin’!

Green salad at Thanksgiving is a waste of space on your plate.
Cell phones must be left in the car. No-one’s going to try to reach you from work because no-one will be at work. The important people in your life won’t be trying to reach you, either. They’ll be sitting right next to you.

Being a parent means you’ve got to pay attention to your kids! I won’t hide my stuff because toddlers are coming over. Mary, teach Gregory not to touch anything that isn’t his.

Rhonda, a cat that requires a shot twice a day is a cat that’s lived too many lives. I think staying home to care for the cat is your way of letting me know that I’ve lived too many lives. Will your cat be naming you in its will?

Words mean things. Consider the consequences of your words before you speak. I don’t want any yelling at the table or grudge matches after the holiday.

If I tell you I really don’t need anything, it means you really don’t need to bring anything. If you are bringing something, please listen when I tell you the quantity. Really, this doesn’t have to be difficult.

Dominos and cards are better than anything that requires a battery or an off/on switch. That was true when I grew up and it’s why my generation had so many geniuses.

Showing up for Thanksgiving guarantees a gift at Christmas. Not showing up guarantees a card that may or may not be signed.

Discussion of election results anywhere in the U.S. or anything that has to do with politics is forbidden.

In memory of your grandfather, the back fridge will be filled with beer. You’re welcome to indulge, but one from each family will be responsible for driving without drinking.

And that’s about it for ground-rules. Don’t forget what you’re thankful for – I’ll be askin’!

I hope everyone has a great turkey day.
Love, Grandma

Friday, October 27, 2017

More Travel Photos

Reviewing photos for my book, A Survival Guide for People Who Travel Together: Tales from the Road.

Streetside barber shop, Soweto, Johannesburg, So. Africa

Zulu woman's headpiece, So. Africa
Thornybush Preserve, So. Africa

On the road to Machu Picchu, Peru

Trulli houses, Puglia, Italy

Ice Sculpture, Vermont

King of the island, Galapagos, Ecuador

Which is a statue and which is a mime? Dublin

Human statue, Park Guell, Barcelona

Lifeguard station, Barcelona 

Gaudi's mosaic ceiling, Park Guell, Barcelona

Art exhibit on footbridge, Paris
Foundation Louis Vuitton Museum, Paris
Class learning about Monet in Musee D'Orsay, Paris

Luxembourg Gardens, Paris
Lake Orta, Italy
Bonding in Naples harbor, Italy
 A granddaughter's selfie
Tree root sculpture, Dreher Park, West Palm Beach, Fl.
Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

A Photo Trip

I think we're all in need of an escape at the moment from the ravages of weather and man's inhumanity to man. I'm posting some photos below of our travels, with more in succeeding weeks.

Zambezi River, Zambia

Hungry Hippo on Zambezi River, Zambia

Thornybush Game Preserve, So. Africa

Siblings in Kirstenbosch Botannical Gardens, Capetown, So. Africa

Wakodahatchee Wetlands, Delray Beach, Fl.

Berkshire Mountains Music Festival, Mass.

A sapling for dinner, Thornybush Game Preserve, So. Africa

Turtle Rehabilitation Center, Juno Beach, Fl.

Climbing Mt. Vesuvius, Naples, Italy

Campers, Casamicciola, Island of Ischia, Italy

School kids, Ardmore, Ireland
Cards on the beach, Casamicciola, Ischia, Italy

Conch shells, Harbour Island, Bahamas

La Mortella Botannical Gardens, Island of Ischia, Italy

Sunset, Key West, Florida

Westport, Mass.