Wednesday, July 28, 2021



I work as a part-time journalist as well as a romance author and am I aware that scintillating stories and descriptions allegedly sell books and papers… but I totally detest the concept of “Yellow Journalism”.


Yellow journalism and yellow press are American terms for journalism and associated newspapers that present little or no legitimate, well-researched news while instead using eye-catching headlines for increased sales.[  Techniques may include exaggerations of news events, scandal-mongering, or sensationalism.” (Wikipedia)


I want to read or watch the news for facts, details and not just to see people crying or in misery. The recent tragedy in Miami was used by media to attract viewers and readers. It is horrible and sad news about all the people who perished, but very little, if any, news was shared about the heroes who combed through the piles of what was once a building to rescue LIVING beings. Crews came from many places in our nation, they combed through the rubble for, in some cases, people they had never even heard of. Others provided food and shelter to those who lost their home.


We heard very little, if anything, about the efforts of rescuers, those who came to offer aid, and tales of families who were fortunate enough to be reunited. I scoured several articles and while I know I didn’t get to all of them, there wasn’t a single mention of the people who were actually saved by heroes. Yes, the tragic facts were that people died, it was unexpected and heartbreaking and by all means important. BUT people also survived and helped others to survive and that is news too.


How many times have TV reporters shown up, reported on the “story” and then lengthened their broadcast by thrusting the microphones at crying witnesses and simply asking, over and over again, “How do you feel?” As a former first responder I can tell you that seeing someone die in a tragic accident NEVER feels good… so why keep pressing those who are emotionally hurting to boost ratings with their despair? Stick to the facts, good and bad, to me that’s news.


A few decades ago my husband was working as a news photographer for a local newspaper. Part of his job was to listen in on emergency channels and photograph news events as they were happening. There was the one day he came across a devastating house fire. The family, including children and pets, all made it out alive thanks to the heroic actions of the responding firefighters. The house and everything they owned, in the material sense, was gone. 

Mark took dramatic photos of the parents hugging their children with tears running down their faces. He had shots of firefighters covered in soot and still entering the house to save whatever and whoever they could. When he got his photos back to the newspaper editor, the first question the man asked was “Did anybody die?” Mark answered, “No the firefighters saved them all.” The editor gave a simple answer which absolutely stunned my husband, “Too bad. That won’t sell.”


Please, News Editors for newspapers and TV media, give us news and facts, not sensationalism. We have enough soap operas and TV dramas to fill our appetites for scandals and tears. Let’s celebrate some of the good that happens, the heroes that come through for us, and the tragedies that “could have been worse” if not for the quick actions and selflessness of others.


Wednesday, July 21, 2021



Sounds familiar, yes? That is the title of a poem written by John Donne (the Dean of St Paul's Cathedral in London in the early 17th century).

No man is an island,

Entire of itself;

Every man is a piece of the continent, 

A part of the main.

If a clod be washed away by the sea,

Europe is the less,

As well as if a promontory were:

As well as if a manor of thy friend's

Or of thine own were.

Any man's death diminishes me,

Because I am involved in mankind.

And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;

It tolls for thee.


What does this mean? We do not exist by or for ourselves, we are not the only ones who matter. This also means that we tend not to thrive when isolated from our fellow men (& women). Ironic isn’t it how so many of us are still reeling from the isolation we experienced through much of 2020 and part of 2021?


It is no wonder that so many of us are ready to “get out into the world”, we need to hug our loved ones, kick up our heels a bit and party, take the family on that exciting vacation and mix with others… Yes, it is time to “live again”, but we still have to be cautious.


Just today I read an article how better than half-a-dozen ALREADY VACCINATED people came down with Covid after being a crowded meeting together. Admittedly, there was no report of how many total people there were who were NOT vaccinated. The thing is, is it really so hard to wear a mask for safety in a crowded indoor setting?


The vaccines offer up to about 94% immunity, that’s still not 100%, and depending on out individual immune systems, those few points might make a difference. And before you ask why bother getting the vaccine at all, the recorded statistics do show that fully vaccinated folks who do catch Covid-19 generally have milder cases than those without vaccines. And since they have found variants of the virus, we should still take precautions anyway. Down the road we will learn more about boosters and more.


It is very scary, but it is scarier to think of a widespread pandemic shutting off our contacts with family and friends again. We are in this all together — like Donne said, “NO man is an island”, so let’s work together and live life TOGETHER… SAFELY. 

Do it for yourself and for those around you.


John Donne

Wednesday, July 14, 2021



One of the best pieces of advice my late sister ever gave me was “Don’t expect everybody to be you.” My sister was a psychologist and interestingly we were both raised by a former Social Worker, so there was always a lot of advice going around.


Our parents raised us with a strong value system and they both believed in the “Golden Rule” – don’t treat others as they may have treated you, treat them as “you would want to be treated”. My sister reinforced that upbringing by reminding me that life was not always Tit-for-Tat, sometimes behavior would be disappointing, but ONLY disappointing if you expected folks to respond/react the way YOU would.


In our family at this time of sudden bereavement there have been discussions of “Oh we heard from so & so” or “She/he sent a beautiful card” or “What a beautiful Shiva basket!” (A “Shiva basket” is a way for friends to comfort and care for those who are mourning a loss) Of course, as all humans do, we also realize that we may not have heard from someone whom we had expected to.


My sister, Bobi, would explain that some folks cannot handle the idea of loss, either because of their own fears, or maybe they are also in a period of grief and cannot see beyond their own pain. If they have not offered words of comfort or even acknowledged your pain, they may not be able to as compared to not wanting to. Hence, “Don’t expect everybody to be you.”


This advice is solid and not just in times of grief. Someone may not react with delight over our accomplishments and joy, and we may feel that it dampens the mood. It is us that makes our own pleasure over happy times and, while it may be nice to receive the proverbial pat on the back, is it really vital? Would it make our own pride less or more? We know in our own hearts how we feel.


Sometimes someone we called a friend lets us down such as in the figurative stab-in-the-back. No, it isn’t right, but to react the same way because of disappointment lowers our own standards. While we need to protect ourselves and our loved ones from injury, emotional or physical, there is a level of being ourselves that we must maintain for we are the ones who need to live with ourselves and should not lower standards. True friends will stay by our sides, and those who are not true are not really vital to our day-to-day existence.


Don’t expect everybody to be you.”
I thank my sister for teaching me that very important piece of advice.


Wednesday, July 7, 2021




From early 2020 through spring of 2021, the COVID pandemic brought about so many losses and changes… in less polite terms, COVID was a b*tch!


Throughout the pandemic, which affected the entire world and not just our country, we heard of lives lost (sometimes whole families!), financial difficulties, closed businesses, inadequate schooling, jobs gone, and emotional trauma that will last forever. Politics and politicians became part of the blame game. Friends became adversaries about things like masks and vaccines. Increased racism became a focus for anger, fear and blame.


There was so much heartache as families could not see each other, grandparents felt forgotten, children only saw friends via computerized apps, and relatives in hospitals and nursing homes were kept isolated from family and friends. Healthcare workers were overtaxed and often driven into despondency because of the emotional toll. While many workers who were still lucky enough to have their jobs worked from home, it changed the relaxing escape to go home at the end of the workday, into the feeling of “living” at your job. Snow days no longer existed since many students were learning from their own homes via computer. And areas without decent internet and computers were often left without schooling, and “ZOOM” family get-togethers.


According to reports, here in America, there were 621,633 COVID deaths as of July 7, 2021 — yes, SOME of those who died had “pre-existing conditions”, conditions which they had lived with for many years before COVID struck. There were many TEMPORARY business closures that turned into permanent ones, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report, “the pandemic resulted in the permanent closure of roughly 200,000 U.S. establishments above historical levels during the first year of the viral outbreak”; that is ABOVE the national rate of normal businesses that close for reasons including bankruptcy, retirement, and general demographics. Many EMTs, Paramedics, Healthcare Workers and other First Responders died, they died doing their job to help others.


It’s been said that US job losses due to COVID-19 are the highest since the Great Depression. Food banks were overtaxed helping to feed families who couldn’t afford groceries. Prices on certain commodities rose because of hoarding and shortages, 2020 became the year of toilet paper and hand sanitizer shortages. Our economy suffered in every conceivable area. In June of 2020 it was estimated that nearly half of all American homeowners considered selling their home simply because they could not afford the mortgage payments. Over one-third of homeowners could not afford to hire outside contractors to make necessary home repairs and had to attempt the job themselves; about 18% of those were unsuccessful.


But even when the COVID illness wasn’t the threat, there were many lives lost because of it. People experiencing chest pains, severe “headaches” or other sudden symptoms were afraid to call 911 or go to the hospital and the waiting game caused a higher mortality rate. People in the often-unknown stages of Dementia or other debilitating conditions were not being seen in-person by their doctors and the isolation from family members and friends, as well as the lack of personal interaction caused many sufferers to deteriorate at a faster rate. According to the Houston News in May, 2021, “Dementia diseases were the sixth leading cause of American deaths during the Covid Lockdown of 2020” due to the severity of isolation brought on by the lockdown.  


Things will never be the same. There is no way we can go back. Just about everyone knows the empty hole that has been left in their lives by the loss of loved ones. Families who were uprooted are trying to make their new lives with different expectations. While the major lockdown restrictions have been lifted in our country, there are still CDC recommendations to wear masks (especially if you are not vaccinated). Some travel restrictions remain in place depending on your destination and departure point.


We can only go on from this point as wisely AND KINDLY as possible.