10,000 Ways

With hackles standing erect along its spine, ears pointed at attention, and legs aggressively stiff, I stared at the mighty beast ready to charge. By the look in her inflamed eyes, I’d have to be a moron not to know I was in big doo-doo.

“Jackie, get in my office – now!” Bobbie, our manager, barked.

In 1976, my first job out of college was as a bookkeeper for Century 21 Real Estate’s regional office in San Francisco. I’d just graduated with an elementary teaching […]

75 Beats to a Happy Heart: Prologue

I had the privilege of being raised by parents who believed that there were two types of heartbeats: one that served as the life force within the physical frame, sending blood and oxygen to all parts of the body, and another that resided in the spirit, a mystical pulse that nourished the soul. In their opinion, tending to emotions with genuine care and attention was equally as important as leading a healthy lifestyle. They believed the golden path to fulfilling our divine purpose here […]

The Finishing Touches

Examining my reflection in the full-length mirror, I carefully added a few finishing touches. First, I donned the crystal, dangling earrings and cocktail ring. Next, I put on a gardenia encrusted bonnet, beaded handbag, crimson red lipstick, and sky blue eye shadow. Last came the piece de la resistance, a gray faux mink wrap, and two-inch plastic high heels. Even at four-years-old, I understood an outfit wasn’t complete without the right accessories.

As the granddaughter of a silent movie actress, the true meaning of being […]

Like a Girl

Growing up surrounded by highly explosive XY chromosomes, the expectation was clear from an early age: learn sports, play sports, love sports – or die. I chose to live.

As a child, if I wanted a playmate, I had to become one with testosterone and their activities. Not only did I live with three brothers, but the entire neighborhood was dominated by the male beast.

While my siblings were ok with the fact I was of the female persuasion (perhaps because I proved to be just […]

The Value in Junk Mail


Excited at the thought that someone sent me a present, I clawed my way into the dark mailbox hole with feverish hands and sent a pile of bills tumbling to the ground. No sooner had I extracted the large white mail carton than disappointment stomped its steel-toed boot on my big toe. The bane of every mailbox’s existence had done it again. It was just a piece of junk.

Looking at the sample of powdered Similac formula, I was sure it was meant for another […]

Sibling’s Love Language

Soaring my swing high above the ground, I was sure if I pumped my seven-year-old legs harder, my feet would touch the clouds above. I was blissfully unaware of how important that effort would soon become.

Distracted by my proximity to the clouds, I hadn’t noticed the pack of wild dogs gathered below, their fangs now salivating for the taste of blood. Each time I swung by, filthy claws reached out to scratch my legs. The barking turned into vicious howling threats as I started […]