Friday, December 16, 2011


Dear Santa:

Yes, I am still a keeper, despite the recent move to one room.  Even after giving up several rooms of things, my old favorite storage gifts are still my favorites.  In case some other keepers need presents, may I suggest these:

Transparent plastic boxes, the flat ones so I can reach the makeup remover pads or whatever's in the bottom.

Transparent but colored big envelopes.  Blue for my writing samples, clips, and writing I will read aloud when I get brave.  Purple for stuff on fashion.  Other colors for other keepers' needs.

The tiny, transparent chest of drawers for ditsy labels, binder clips, and whatever would get lost in regular drawers.

The big transparent box that slides under the bed. 

(Do you see a trend here in the kind of boxes?)  It killed me to dump the pretty red boxes but I had no idea what was in the them until I moved.  Like my favorites of the photos I took walking Hollywood and walking the beach.

CAUTION:  I bet you already know this, Santa, but I learned the hard way that plastic storage turns white sweaters yellow! 

Happy holidays to you and the four-hoofed folk!
(photo by kflemingdesign)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Writing and Getting the BIG stuff

Right now I'm in a rush situation--life is in upheaval.  One thing helping me is a book my daughter gave me years ago.  

 Write It Down, Make It Happen by Henriette Anne Klauser. 

Her stories made me see that I need to write more and oftener about my current situation, even when I worry about it.  Especially when I worry about it.  I want and need some big things now.   If you do, and if you can lay hands on this book, why not give it a chance?  I wish you good writing.

I'll probably review this more extensively later. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011


My little metallic blue space-age flashlight wouldn't light.  I opened it and found something I didn't recognize.  Went to the drugstore where I bought it and asked a smiling, very young cashier what people do with these gadgets. 

She opened it up, discovered that the mystery object was in fact a cartridge that holds three batteries.  I groaned that they're the only kind I didn't have.  She marched over to the battery display that had the AAAs, opened the flashlight, pried out the old batteries and snapped in the new.  Since I tend to put batteries in upside down, I was impressed with her savvy--right side up first time!
I thanked, her.   I paid.

Then I did the next very important thing.  I marched over to the person with the necktie. 

Are you the manager?
I told him I absolutely had to have praise for the young cashier put in her file.
He assured me that he always does that, since I'm not the first to see how great she is with customers and with problems.

Moral:  In troubled moments, I should look for somebody who smiles.  THEN look for somebody who can reward the helpful, smiling one.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Just Plain Asking to Get What We Need

The city is doing something to the sewers that involves many holes in the street, many giant yellow machines, and many no-parking signs. Parking was a little tricky before this all started.

I went out one morning and looked around and just grabbed a handful of my hair. The project was underway, vehicles everywhere. I was sure that when I got home from work, there would be no place left to park. The foreman came over and talked with me. He reminded me that I was stressing myself, and also stressing him. I told him about my spine injury and what an adventure it can be to find a parking place or walk home from one on these root-swelled sidewalks. And someone in the crew had gone off with my red cones that keep my sidewalk clear. He sent a man to bring them back.

I finally gave up and went inside.

When I came home from work,amazingly: the yellow machines were parked somewhere out of sight. The place I usually park was not only empty, but the foreman or some dear person had put one of my red cones smack in the middle of it to save it for me! I've never seen him again, and may never get to thank him. The whole thing taught me that if you find the right person (even if you don't know he's the right person)just saying what you need can be enough.

Monday, September 19, 2011


I was going to save this for a blog on coping with spondylolisthesis, but even healthy people can do this, so here goes.

The thought of the nice, fluffy dust on those fan blades falling into my sleeping nostrils or my breakfast cereal is just disgusting. I have, from when I could paint anything, a medium-long paint roller handle for what they call a weenie roller. If you wrap the fluffy part in a sock, it can fit right over the fan blade and get most of the dust. If you only have the big fluffy paint roller, you may have to take a stitch or two in something. Or get a sock from a really big guy.

First I put my raincoat over the bed, since no cleaning method is foolproof. Then I drag in my step stool and put it right next to the bed, under part of the fan. If your balance is at issue, a long handled roller might still allow you to do this. The roller fits right over the fan blade and the sock grabs the dust. The fan wants to revolve, so I have to hold on to the next blade. I may put an artistic dot of a favorite color on one blade, so I won't lose my place. 

On to the dining area. Fresh sock, repeat raincoat and all the other steps. Give self a gold star. Or something even nicer.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


I am shamed daily and threatened with global annihilation or at least detention by every magazine, webzine, and the occasional neighbor.  Why?  Because I don't recycle everything including leftover soymilk and purified water.  

Yes, I have tossed the occasional mooshy banana or unchewable melon half.  But please!

The real shame is in my bathroom.  A really good conditioner and sunscreen are available only in tubes.  Have you ever tried cleaning out a tube for recycling?   (We won't even go into the dabs of sunscreen on my clothes from a tube that gets surly most mornings.) 

 By some contrary coincidence, these tubes sprouted up just when the urging to recycle was upon us.

And dare I go into the matter of the really good body lotion, conditioner, or whatever that comes only in a skinny bottle with a pump?   The tubes, surely not by evil design, wear out long before the bottle is empty.  (Note the lotion bottle that's been on it's side on my nightstand.  When I have time, I can shake the last of the lotion out of the now-pumpless bottom. 

I could smear myself with honey instead of buying lotion (if it's good for a facial, why not?  Or are they designing a tube for honey?)  

This could go on for some time, unless some container designer has a horrible nightmare that his granddaughter is surrounded at sea by a million discarded tubes.  Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

 Or we could boycott.  Or write more letters . . .

Thursday, August 25, 2011

CRUEL SHOES: No help on web site

It's not easy being barefoot at work.
In desperation over a wounded foot and lack of shoes to wear to work (where I can’t hide my feet) I thought I’d try a web site that is supposedly for foot doctors. I found their name on an old inside heel lift cushion.

No luck. I found a lot of grade-school looking flats with big straps for some reason, and, as I mention in the e-mails, NO TOE ROOM.

I’ll let you know if I get any help from them.

Thursday, August 25, 2011 12:10 PM


I have ruined a big toe nail from wearing shoes too round and with toe box too flat. I need a tiny adhesive device that used to be available in drug stores to protect that toe.

I see no shoes on your site with enough toe room.

Can you help?


Thursday, August 25, 2011 
Also, I have to see the top and bottom views on line to see if there IS enough toe room before I buy anything.


Friday, July 29, 2011


Macy's sent me an e-mail asking for comments on my casual shoes purchases yesterday.  (Wisely, the Glendale store didn't ask for my comments on their shoe department!)

Luckily, clerk Alex in Burbank was a great help, but by the time I got back to her, I was frazzled.  She brought out a brand new pair of the sandals style I had just tried on, and I was too tired to try the new pair on.  Big mistake. 

All in all, the quality of the sandals (Clarks) doesn't compare with my old Clarks (neither does the fit--less secure) and Macy's did not have the colors like pewter and bronze that go on to fall in SoCal.  

I answered the survey, and later I will give a few well-chosen words to the manager.
(Wouldn't it be lovely to buy something that was even BETTER than your last purchase from that particular brand?)  PS  I did get a compliment on them, which makes me wish they fit well enough to wear all the time.

Happy feet to you.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Woman who have never met before are approaching each other in parking lots, talking urgently, and exchanging phone numbers and e-mail addresses. No, this is not espionage. They are not swapping names of Botox docs in exotic countries. It is part of a frantic search for shoes! Shoes that actually fit and shoes that might be kind to feet already damaged by shoes that didn’t fit.

One of my best friends reported a month ago that she had walked into and out of some of her formerly favorite stores thinking: Where are my shoes? Those of us with atypical feet have been wearing the wrong shoes for years and now have a set of damaged little toes and damaged big toes.

I've worn the dumb shoes, partly due to budget concerns, partly because I couldn't find any that fit, and I have the damage to prove it. I can’t have pedicures now, partly because of fear of more damage, and partly because a pedicure won't glamourize what’s left.

Face it, many working women cannot afford over $200 for the shoes designed by a podiatrist. And, remember, one shouldn’t wear the same shoes every day, so we’re talking maybe $500 for TWO pairs right off the bat.

Barefoot at my particular job is pushing it.  Well, actually, it's out of the question . . .so what do I do? What do YOU do?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


1. Bathroom scale (how the devil did I gain weight without toast, pasta, or maple nut scones?)

2. Pretty, comfy shoes

3. Margarita mix

4. Acne soap (how the devil did I get zits at my age without pizza, toast, or maple nut scones?

5. Bananas and almond butter; yogurt and cocoa powder

6. A blender I can clean in thirty seconds without using a laser

7. Prettier underwear

8. A bigger fridge for all those fruits and vegetables and fruits and vegetables

9. Interesting make-up to try on while I’m nibbling weird rice crackers

10. A drive-up coffee shop so I don’t see all those scones

Monday, July 11, 2011


This is what I have learned so far, over and over and over:

1. Some substances being sold to pour on your cereal or in your coffee can disgust you so much that you rush to a coffee shop and put three sugars and two creams in your coffee.

2. Absolutely put down the spoon between bites even if you are reading the exciting part of the mystery novel.

3. Chewing each bite 26 times prepares food for your stomach and can make you late for work.

4. After a certain age, losing a lot of weight can make your skin hang like a monk’s bathrobe.

5. After you reach a weight your doctor likes, you still MUST view your rear when trying on pants.

6. It is not nice to punish your kids by making them drink the stuff mentioned in #1.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


Two small gift certificates and a big, big sale.  Got a great top, still had money left on certificates.  Got a skirt, to checkstand.  Turned around, found another one of the skirt I really wanted.  That one fit.  Back to checkstand, skirt was on big sale, also.  A great outfit and only $11 out of pocket.  I've also had bargains there in the past on leather belts and leather watch band, and a leather bag!!

Monday, June 13, 2011


When the woman in the upstairs flat was in her bedroom tv phase (we're talking Drum Line and Full Metal Jacket at 11pm on school nights) I took to the popular village coffee shop to get out of here.  So did everybody else in town. 

When it's filled to the rafters, the overflow crowd lands in the Famous One (you know the one) across the street.  I met some nice people there, like The Working Screenwriter.  And I got some gift certificates and met the manager.

Then my spine got out of control, and the grey plastic chairs there were exactl.y the perfect size for my short legs and unhappy back.  Perfect for reading in front of the window with coffee.  Okay, yes, I ate the scones; we're talking chairs here.

 Then suddenly they renovate.  My beloved chairs are making someone happy in an alley somewhere.  The renovator apparently went to the same sale as the local library for the rock-hard Pappa Bear wooden chairs.  (Have you ever seen Edith Ann in her giant rocker from Laugh-in days?  That's me in Starbucks with my short legs sticking out in front of me.) The  grim monastery chairs are even too heavy for me to move.  

I persuaded myself that I may be only one of three short people whose feet don't reach the floor. Instead, I'm noticing there are plenty of us.

Then last week I met a taller woman whose feet do touch the floor, and she also hates the chairs.  

So I hurled an e-mail to customer service, who didn't seem to read it, but gave me some coupons for coffee I can drink standing up.

The question here is, would I only embarrass myself if I brought my own chair?  Or would some stand up and cheer?  Think I'll write to the big boss coffee man and get his opinion.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Good for John Frieda

When the sprayer stopped working on my daily standby Frizz-ease    leave-in conditioner, I had to go to work looking like...well, picture Raggedy Ann with her little cloth thumb in the electric socket.  The online help wasn't making me feel better, so this morning I called the 800 crew. 

I got an actual grown woman who seemed to want to help!  She asked for a lot of numbers off the bottle, and quickly promised me a coupon for a replacement.  

She said it will take 8 to 10 days for the coupon to get here, so til then, the looks of this hair will at least provide fun for the local grooming police.   But the bottom line is, John's customer service is SO far above the other companies I've called in years.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

NO more preaching to the choir, no more lousy statistics

Cc: Bulletin@aarp.orgDear Mr. Rand:

In your [april] Where We Stand, I read that AARP backed the ACA 2010. The rest of the article was enumerating problems and proposed problems and the AARP stand on the problems.

We need to know exactly, precisely what AARP is doing now and what AARP will do next week.

Please replace the Kaiser chart as soon as possible with a clear picture that shows the current situation of those who will be damaged and in some cases will die with the proposed cuts in Medicare. The Kaiser chart gives a MISLEADING, rosy picture for Congress to point to in justifying their plans.

The median is only the middle number in any set of statistics. The mode is the number that occurs most often. $30,000 is probably nowhere near the mode of retirees' financial assets. NOT EVEN CLOSE! Those of us who were damaged in a divorce, lost a spouse, or never married often have NO home equity, so $60,000 only represents a number between us and those with huge home equity. In other words NO HOME EQUITY is the modal situation as far as I can find out. ZERO is probably our typical home equity, not $60,000.

Please clarify with specifics.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Dear Senator: Now About MY money

There are Social Security recipients in California, as you know.

 I cannot help being angry when I hear Social Security lumped under "entitlements." This is OUR money. We paid it in whether we wanted to or not. We voted for people in good faith, and some of them "borrowed" it without our permission. It has not been repaid.  If we borrow without permission, or do not repay what we borrow, we are in serious trouble. 

Medicare is not a gift. It comes out of the Social Security I am STILL paying into. And my Prescription coverage is deducted before I see the money. Then from the check I receive, I pay almost two hundred dollars more for a supplement, without which I could not afford the hospital, the retina repair specialist, or even my personal physician.

This money is NOT the property of any political party to keep in part to make up for budget foolishness in other areas, or for whatever was financed with what they "borrowed."

My friends and I are still working. The Social Security we already get does not sustain us in frugal living, and so we work. Please do not allow anyone to take away more of our money, OUR MONEY, and leave us out on an ice floe to die.


Margaret Fleming

HELLO WORLD - Lady Antebellum

I may need to establish a new award.  This song by Lady Antebellum is blood pressure medicine for me--nothing better the radio could play when I'm on my way to work or on the way home thru evening traffic.  Confession:  the video brought tears to my eyes--something I never thought a music video could do!
So, yeah, I'm a fan now.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Just got my own copy of HOSTAGE.  And of course, the next MAJ goes to Robert Crais for showing that teenagers and kids can do important, demanding things, come up with creative solutions in the face of danger,  and even save the day. 
(Completely aside from the award, I just like his books.)

Friday, January 28, 2011


Announcing the debut of the MAJ award, which for now goes only to mystery writers, but later, who knows.  Obviously the MAJ isn't writing to get what we need, even tho some of us do sorta need our mysteries!  MAJ is for fun, and we do need fun.  

Since this is the anniversary of the death of beloved Robert B. Parker, the very first MAJ is awarded posthumously to him for Best Female Character Created by a Guy!  Sometimes I can almost hear Susan talking to Spenser-- or almost see her.


Friday, January 21, 2011

CLUTTER - getting smart to get what we need

Is your New Year's resolution to build some new drawers or cabinets or even more ambitious storage to hold what you haven't yet thrown away or given away?    

AARP (of all places) has a quickie six-step tutorial about hiring a contractor.  Hopefully, it applies to all states.  It includes checking out the prospects, what to insist on, even how to negotiate!

Now all you need is to get somebody fifty-something to admit he or she's a member, and to lend you the Jan/Feb 2011 magazine.    Or you can pretend you're going to build a store room and just read their bit on Dancing with the Stars!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Just put my money back where you found it!

For the first time in ages, I bought TIME at the checkstand.  I salute the woman named Phyllis for talking back to Michael Crowley, who supposedly wants Social Security payments cut.   So for the only time, I wrote to TIME:


Let's hear it for Phyllis Hagmaier, Williamsburg, VA (January 10)!
Social Security is not a gift. Not only have we paid into Social Security all our lives, but people working long past retirement age still pay in.

Then Medicare is deducted from the monthly payout. And it pays only part of medical expenses.

The names of people who authorized "borrowing" should be published. But above all, the debt should be repaid.
Maybe we should stop worrying for a minute about identity theft, and get our Social Security savings paid back.

Thanks to TIME for publishing Phyllis' letter.