Saturday, April 22, 2017

A cell phone phenomenon

Mar 24, 2017

Interesting phenomenon 

Imagine this. You're in a crowded restaurant and it is very noisy. Suddenly a piercing alarm goes off throughout the restaurant. The sound is that of the monthly emergency alert that appears on your television only highly more shrill!

Your first thought might well be " TERRORIST ATTACK!" 

Suddenly every cell phone in the restaurant lights up.Everyone in the restaurant has their cell out at once. There are seven phones at one table alone. It is a worry some scene!

So, imagine the monthly emergency alert sound, which is frightening when it is sounded on ones TV, resonated by every cell phone in the restaurant and you will envision the scene. 

The alarm was an Amber Alert. Each person reacted in their own way and then went on with their dinner and private conversations.

I reflected on the social scene that was so new to me. Only in the city, only with the technology of today would this happen. And in an instance, after a quick check of the phone, everyone was back to their normal life.

What a world!!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Native Women

"Native Americans represent just one per cent of the US population and some languages have only one speaker left. Now a new generation is fighting to preserve the culture." In an excellent piece in Marie Claire, you can meet a few of the women leading that fight, including 22-year-old Sage Honga, pictured here, who wants to encourage young people to leave the reservation, get an education, and then return home to make a difference in the community: "My tribe, the Hualapai people, is so small that I want to be a role model to show my community and youth that it is possible to come off our land and do big things."

Another woman featured, 30-year-old Evereta Thinn, a member of the Diné or Navajo tribe, aspires to open a language and cultural immersion school for young people. She explains, "Knowing who you are as a Native, know the teachings from your elders and engraining them as you go out into the modern world is how you maintain that balance... once the language fades, the culture will slowly start to go too. If the younger generations cannot speak the language, how will they be equipped to make decisions on policies and protect our tribes in the future?"

You can read more about Sage, Evereta, and other Native American women fighting to preserve their culture on Marie Claire at

To introduce children and teens to more Native American and Aboriginal girls and women -- both in real-life and fiction -- we feature many girl-empowering books in our blog post, "A Celebration of Native American and Aboriginal Mighty Girls," at

To inspire your Mighty Girl with stories that show girls and women leading the way, visit our "Initiative & Leadership" section at

And, in our "Multicultural Fiction" section, you'll find a wide range of Mighty Girl books about different cultures and ethnicities. These stories provide a terrific way to expand children's awareness of the diversity in the world and foster their acceptance for others -- to browse the collection, visit

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Betty Hagan reflects on the Reagan Library

July 2016

The recent death and the beautiful memorial service that followed Nancy Reagan’s home-going caused me to look back and ponder the lovely, exciting, unique and memorable hours I’d been blessed to share at the newly completed Reagan library in Simi Valley, in 1992.  

Having just had my own unanticipated loss I was yearning for a meaningful place to give my time and energy.  A very close friend excitedly called to inform me that she had been one of the first to sign on as a docent at the Library.  It was the perfect opening for my empty nest need.  How fortunate I was to be accepted as one of the first sets of docents at that spectacular library in the hills of Simi.  

Training followed as we were introduced to the various duties and skills required to represent the library to the public.  Historical information regarding many of the early presidents, President Reagan’s meetings with international political greats:  Helmut Kohl, German Chancellor, Margaret Thatcher, and Russia’s Gorbachev, to name a few; information regarding the Ranch in Santa Barbara so loved by the Reagan’s.

As I progressed with my Reagan education I not only had growing respect for his presidency, but joy in remembering significant moments in history. 

Then came the big memorable day – the opening celebration of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.  The music was spectacular, the gathering was enormous and thecast was amazing.  Standing on the stage were five living presidents:  Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, President George Bush, Former President Ronald Reagan, and Jimmy 
Carter.  Behind them sat former first ladies. Lady Bird Johnson, Rosaline Carter, Nancy Reagan and First Lady, Barbara Bush, Pat Nixon and Betty Ford.

Following this auspicious introduction to the Library, the docents were prepared to use their training and enjoyed many years as tour guides, gift-shop aides, assistants in the theater and greeters, all knowledgeable and prepared to answer questions regarding the presidency, the library, gifts from foreign dignitaries and history in general. 

I was frequently stationed in the Oval Office as well as acting as a tour guide.  People were drawn to the Oval Office and appreciated the information it provided.  Just an aside, did you know that each president has his own rug created for his term in office.  On the grounds is a section of the Berlin Wall that was torn down due to the relationship of President Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev.

Christmas was always a beautiful, special time of respect and celebration.  The Reagan’s
were gracious hosts and exhibited heartfelt appreciation to all the volunteers.  

It was a time of precious and meaningful memories.  A time I’m grateful to have had.  Another one of those seasons that gave me a sense of participating in life and my world.  They don’t come often, however, they are treasured and remembered with appreciation  and joy when they come into our lives.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Old Purple Glass

This little glass bottle has a history.  It is very old! Maybe a hundred years old or more. It used to be crystal clear and I'm not sure what the use was because the top is broken.

It was found in a junk pile in a little town called Searchlight, Nevada. You may be thinking why and how was it found. Searchlight Nevada

First I want to tell you about old leaded glass.

It was in the mid 19th century that manganese dioxide, popularly called "glassmaker's soap," began to be used by American glass manufacturers as a decolorizer. By including a small amount of this ingredient in the melt, they could produce glass that appeared virtually colorless.  
1899 publication by Benjamin Biser

An interesting characteristic of colorless glasses which contain manganese dioxide as a decolorizer is their tendency to turn different shades of purple when exposed to the rays of the sun or to other ultra-violet sources. It is a photochemical phenomenon that is not yet perfectly understood. It is generally accepted that the ultra-violet light initiates an electron exchange between the manganese and iron ions. This changes the manganese compound into a form that causes the glass to turn purple.

This lovely little piece of glass lay in a junk pile for many years in the hot Nevada sun.  So why was it there in the first place.

Searchlight was a boomtown born in 1898 of gold discoveries. Sometime in the early nineteen hundreds, great grandpa, Albert Calkins, moved to Searchlight to find gold. He bought a mine a few miles out of Searchlight and mined it until the nineteen fifties.

Great Grandma Calkins was a very proper lady that grew up in Saint Louis as a daughter of a wealthy railroad owner. I'm sure she moved to Searchlight kicking and screaming. Great Grandma brought her beautiful belongings with her to a very nice house in town that Great Grandpa had built for her. It was the nicest house in that tiny town.

But as luck would have it, there was a fire and nice house burnt to the ground. The town was largely a junk pile of stuff in yards that lay in the hot sun waiting to disintegrate.

Later Great Grandma moved to Los Angeles to a Victorian house that overlooked Echo Park and somehow, this lovely piece of glass moved with her. Years later it became mine.

Now why am I telling you this? Now I am considering moving and I have to get rid of stuff no one wants.

I happen to love the broken jar, so I thought I would tell the story of this beautiful piece of junk before I discard it.

Alas, my house is full of stuff that has a similar story attached to it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Dentist

Blessed are they who hold lively conversations with the helplessly mute, for they shall be called dentists. ~Ann Landers

We've all been to the dentist, and for most of us, it's a bit scary. In fact, more people fear going to the dentist than practically any other health care professional, even as good dental health requires visits every six months. It's a good bet that the reason so many people have dental problems today is because they are too afraid to go to the dentist for those check-ups. The question, then, is what can a good dentist do to convince people that he or she isn't frightening at all?

Well...You should meet my dentist! He is so much more than that.
He is a philosopher.
He can talk about solar power and explain how it operates. (Something about electrons and photons)
He can talk about nuclear power plants closing.
He can talk about Madonna (he always has music on)
He tells you about a concert he is going to attend with delightful anticipation.
He can talk politics without taking sides.  (doesn't want to make you more uncomfortable than you already are.)
He is always cheerful.
He talks about his amazing wife with love in his eyes.
He explains each dental procedure before he does it.
He tells you how much he loves his work.
And he makes you feel glad you came.
How good is that?


Saturday, June 11, 2016

The secrets of French women.

Ten lessons for living a beautiful life into old age, as told by French women

Ten lessons for living a beautiful life into old age, as told by French women

France is the country where almost every woman in her fifties looks beautiful and elegant. These women happily wear skirts that rise above their knees, pay no attention to their age, and just look — and more importantly, feel — great, even if their appearance, by conventional standards, is far from what it once was. They’re not afraid of aging, and they feel comfortable with their wrinkles.
Bright Side presents ten lessons from Rebeca Plantier’s book Lessons From France: Eating, Fitness, Family. There’s definitely something to think about here. Take a look.

1. An active lifestyle means staying active until old age

Being active in your leisure time is an integral part of French national culture, and, in practice, they don’t renounce it with age. The French go hiking, climb mountains, swim in kayaks, play tennis, jog in the park, go skiing and so on. That’s their lifestyle; it’s not simply a commitment to sport. Even on vacation the French prefer going somewhere where they can have an ’active rest’, and not just lie in the sun. However, French women aren’t crazy. They don’t overdo it when it comes to sports: too much is harmful to women’s well-being, Rebeca says.

2. A sense of humor is a powerful antioxidant

The country’s well-known capacity for sarcasm helps French ladies avoid seeing their age and aging as drama. No other language has so many sayings and jokes about ’life begins at 40′ and the second wind of passion coming at the age of 50.

3. Good food as religion

Everybody knows that French are obsessed with food, but the point is that they prefer to eat in small amounts, and only beautiful and exquisite food. French women don’t like big portions at all. As they get older, and when financial opportunities allow it, French ladies’ obsession with eating well only gets stronger: they eat at restaurants and cafes, enjoying miniature portions, wine and a good company more than ever before. All of that helps to keep a rather good shape; there is rarely such a big difference in their weight at this age compared to their 20s and 40s, sighs Rebeca.

4. French women permit themselves more with age, not less

It feels like French girls absorb healthy sense of their own worth with the mother’s milk, writes Rebeca. With age, when their children grow up and demand less attention, French women feel free to pay more attention to themselves. They spend more money on their own pleasures, can to take afford trips without their families, and buy more expensive clothes. A French woman at the age of 40 won’t be overwhelmed with remorse if she buys a new pair of good shoes instead of an Xbox for her teenage son. And even more, she would think it was the only right decision: if you want an Xbox, work. Usually, it’s not French grandmothers who take care of their grandchildren instead of the parents: nobody sees grannies as free babysitters there.

5. As they grow older, French women buy fewer clothes, but what they do buy is more expensive

And better quality. Even middle-income women buy expensive and comfortable things: cashmere, silk, good shoes and at least one expensive handbag. All those things make up part of the highly elegant style of older women.

6. Their social life becomes even more active and interesting with age

Unlike women in some other countries, who often prefer to stay at home in front of the TV, French ladies — especially those in big cities — become even more active than in they were in their youth. Children grow up and no longer need permanent attention, family life is stable and it’s time to go out, go to parties, cafes, the cinema, the Biennale, and so on. An active social life has its requirements: a good hairdo and an impressive style, well-groomed hands, beautiful clothes to go out and, as a total must-have, a comfortable pair of high-heeled shoes.

7. Age isn’t a disease, it doesn’t need any treatment

French women feel comfortable with their age and their wrinkles. Sporting an all to obvious face-lift is a cause for a disdainful smile rather than envy. Unlike other women who are still obsessed with the idea of looking young at the age of 80, French ladies believe that at a certain age the absence of wrinkles is a sign of mental health problems, and it’s surely not a cause for envy. In France, real beauty treatments are far more developed and popular than plastic surgery and Botox.

8. You can wear what you want at any age if it suits you

French women feel free to wear skirts that go above their knees and skin-tight leggings right into old age. In France, you are never ’too old’ to do something; a mother and her daughter can wear the same brand clothes. It’s clear that taste and financial possibilities can change with age, of course, and older women often prefer a more expensive, classic style. In spite of this, you won’t find in any other country in the world where so many 40 to 60-year-old women wear small dresses and skin-tight jeans.

9. There are no age limits on either sexuality or sexual life

On the contrary, if you live in France, you know that your second youth comes after 40: you’ve already achieved some success in life, learned something, and it’s time you enjoy your still great physical characteristics along with that life experience. This is good and bad at the same time, Rebeca writes. It’s good, because it positively influences a woman’s sense of self; it’s bad, because this age can produce a lot more divorces.

10. You can afford everything with age, but in moderation

This includes wine, late meals and even cigarettes. Rebeca describes her French friend at the age of 52 who smokes just one cigarette a day after breakfast. She has been smoking for many years, but thinks that the pleasure from a cup of coffee and a cigarette is better than the stress induced by forcing oneself to never smoke at all.