Dear Monica, Thank You for Tooting My Horn


I received this letter from Monica and I just have to let her toot my horn.

Every time I look back to my childhood, in one of those random reminiscent thoughts we get from time to time, I’m always reminded of my favorite teacher. And so, I was intrigued to look her up! What else is the World Wide Web good for anyway?

My 5th grade teacher at Calvert Street Elementary school in the little city of Woodland Hills, California was the best, and one of the only teachers from grade school I can ever remember clearly. Not only did she teach the normal 5th grade agenda in a fun, insightful way, she also taught me how to use and express my creativity, how to be accepting of others with Tolerance, and how earthworms help turn pencil shavings and food scraps into useful dirt. With her encouragement, and tenacity for creativity, she would assign my peers and I projects such as entering county art contests and making our own books. SERIOUSLY, she showed us how to write them, how to bind them and do everything ourselves…I even made mine into a pop up book. I also won 2nd place and a $500 savings bond in a county art contest. But, best of all, she taught me about life without me even realizing it.

Mrs. Clapkin, I was only 10 years old at the time I was in YOUR class. And now at 25, I can say whole-heartedly that I am so grateful for the experiences shared in your classroom. Because of your enthusiasm for knowledge and discovery, you shaped my perception of this world and our country in an enlightening way.

A fond memory I have is seeing my mother’s reaction to the Holocaust exhibit during a field trip to the Museum of Tolerance. Even my mother was taught something about history that day that I am sure she wouldn’t have ever known otherwise. She emigrated from Mexico when she was just 9 years old. After the field trip, she said that she had not ever seen anything like that when she was in school and that she really liked you as my teacher.

There are no words to express my appreciation for all you did for me and hopefully still do for others today. I think children in this generation would greatly benefit from more teachers like you, although I don’t believe there are any out there that can compare to you, Mrs. Clapkin. I hope you have had a blessed life and continue to do so.

Your former student,


Dear Monica,

Your letter wins all prizes. Thank you.

Please contact me with your phone or email.

I want to take you and your family out to dinner.

I forgot to tell you something.

Love and respect,

Mrs. Clapkin, but you can call me Sheila now.

The Road to Success By: Grandma Sheila


What is success?

The road to success is one that many people decide to take. When you take this road, you often come across many side roads. Sometimes you take a side road and find it to be a most interesting and rewarding journey.

Sometimes the side road you take is full of bumps and not a very good choice. So, once you recognize that this is not a good road, you either go back and get on the original road or take another side road.

This process on the road to success is full of many decisions and then, maybe a journey of deciding to stay on the current road or changing your mind and going on another road.

You say, well, tell me what the right road to success looks like so I won’t make a mistake and take the wrong one. Your answer is that I can’t. The roads are different for each person and what is good for me or someone else may not necessarily be the right road for you.

You can take the same road as someone you know now and it may be wonderful, but then again, it might not be right for you. The sooner you realize it is not right, get off and start on the next road that you will choose.

Road choosing is something you do all of your life. It is choosing the right road for the time and space you are in at the moment you need that road.

There is one philosophy: You can take the road less traveled and have better opportunities, but even that philosophy may not be right for you. For instance if you enter into a parking lot and follow another car, you will be less likely to get a parking space because the other car is also looking for that same parking space and will take it before you can. Or, you might get lucky and have someone leave a parking space and your car will be next in line for that space and move right into it.

If you go to another less crowded lot or aisle, your chances may be greater of getting a parking space and there may be more spaces available. You never know which road will yield up to you the treasures you are looking for. So be aware of what road you are on and be sure you are aware of what is happening on that road. If it is a good road, stay and if it is not, get onto another road.

You keep choosing roads according to what you want at the time you are choosing them. So long, safe travels, and perhaps, one day we will see each other along the same road


Hillary Clinton Does Not Drive a Car! So?


Dear Hillary,

You do not drive a car?  You recently stated you haven’t since 1996.  It is so nice that you can be driven wherever your life takes you, but I have a concern that by being driven, you have lost some very important skills.  I am not approaching this as a political strategy, I just have a few thoughts on what it takes to drive, and many are the same thoughts on what it takes to be president of any organization, society, union, you get the idea? Many people do not drive cars for various reasons, but they probably won’t run for President of the United States in the near future. Perhaps you won’t either Hillary, but if you do decide to run, drive a car, please.

The reason I state driving a car will be so good for you is because so many skills necessary for leadership, believe it or not, are encompassed in being able to successfully drive a car. Skills like concentration and focus are extremely important.  Concentration means giving your undivided attention and singling in on something specific in nature. When you are skilled in focusing you are able to single out the main purpose. As a leader, knowing the main purpose of so many things are important in serving the interest of your people. Take the car out for a Sunday jaunt and keep your skills honed.

Anticipation and forethought are important when driving a car. You usually mentally plan out the route you will take and aimlessly driving is not productive. If you do not know where you are going, you really can’t get there.

Judgment when driving a car is paramount and particularly vital. When driving a car you must evaluate the road conditions and the position of other cars continuously in order to make a safe decision. Decisions are a constant in driving as well as being a person of authority.

Patience is a virtue not only in life, and a hard state to achieve, but exceptionally important when driving. Wikipedia states that patience is the state of endurance under difficult circumstances. Having patience is being steadfast and does not include hastiness and impetuousness. I see impatient drivers causing road problems on a daily basis. When involving yourself in a decision-making problem, do you not think having patience is a valuable tool in procuring long-term rewards?

Having peripheral vision in driving as well as all aspects of decision-making is enormously important, do you not agree? Having peripheral vision, seeing outside the center is enormously important.  It opens the field of opportunities and does not keep one looking only straight ahead. Think of how much you enlarge the playing field by not using only central vision and thinking. Think of how important what you are looking at can be in terms of leadership and as well as driving a car. Sometimes we simply need to open our field of vision to attain our goals.

Another important skill you need to keep in the forefront when you are driving a car is confidence. The roads these days have tripled and quadrupled in the gathering drivers and cars. People drive longer and longer distances, people who jump in their cars, put in the key, turn it or just press the on button take with them a bundle of skills all rolled up in the word confidence. They trust that their chosen actions are the best because they do this job of driving nearly everyday with success.

Driving keeps you on the ground, connected. We need a leader to bridge gaps and connect the world in as many ways possible. My dear Hillary, get out there, put on your seat belt, follow the rules, and get connected. Go for a drive. Do it yourself. Sharpen your skills.

Tell Me This is Not the Dreaded “It” Disease: Brain Freeze on Downers. Tell Me

When I realized that there were four jars of Best Foods Real Mayonnaise in my cupboard, I thought to myself, well this is how IT starts.  By IT, I mean the gentle demise of your brain and all of the functions it controls, literally Brain Freeze on Downers. You see, I still cannot mention the name of the disease that does this to basically elderly people because I am terrified.  I’ll bet you thought this is a commercial for Best Foods Real mayonnaise; well it is not. It is a discussion on a disease I must continue to call IT.  My doctors would like to know if I would like to be tested to see if I have the marker for IT.  Since my mother and father both had IT, I don’t need a damn test to tell me I will get IT, someday.  In the meantime, the health care specialists say, let us explore some ways to best help older adults lead happier, healthier lives.  I say this a crock for sure, because as I see it, it is more like let us see how little we can spend on health care for the aging and how to best use them as guinea pigs for new testing to gather results on the future of aging.

The UCLA Division of Geriatrics sends out a newsletter titled: Healthy/Years stating they are helping older adults lead happier, healthier lives. I say this is nonsense because everything I read in their letter and experiences as well about seniors leads to a brick wall.

This newsletter and the articles prepare you to fear for your life and the shoddy scary treatment yet to come. First of all, it states that 45% of all new breast cancer diagnoses is in women over the age of 65. Also stated that the risk of breast cancer does not start to decline until after the age of 85. Yet, they are promoting less mammograms for older women.

Healthy /Years, says what we all know that, the cure rate is early detection and the best way to do that is to have regular mammograms. Yes, I agree, but they have suggested that providing mammograms for women over the age of 70 is something of a debate among the experts.  They also state that mammography for older women depends on life expectancy and whether you would undergo treatment if a tumor were found. Really? This is disgusting. The UCLA Division of Geriatrics is cutting you off so to speak at 70 and if you want to live longer, you should make that known.  How does anyone predict true life expectancy? Maybe a mother, father, or grandparents died younger, but the way modern medicine is contributing to longevity, I expect to be way over 100, don’t you? So, if I know I have the marker for the dreaded brain freeze on downers (IT), then I should not get mammograms, or should I or should I not try to increase my life expectancy with or without the disease? I really do not like to think of these things, but we cannot sit with blinders on our eyes as well as our conscience.

The article in the UCLA Healthy/ Years, also states that in fact being older is actually beneficial when it comes to mammography because they are more sensitive as women get older, because their breast tissue becomes less glandular and more fatty, which makes it easier to detect cancer. Plus it takes less radiation to get excellent quality mammograms in older women, and I know all mammography has not been adjusted to this stated fact. So now that in older women it takes less radiation, is easier to detect, and is important in ladies until they are 85, you, the medical profession has suggested that we actually stop giving mammograms to women over the age of 70 because they might not live very much longer and may not want to receive the cure opportunities.  I say, what a crock.

UCLA Healthy/Years further states in another article titled: Vaccination is Crucial to Ensure a Healthy Winter for seniors.  It is stated that in December 2009 the FDA licensed a high-dose influenza vaccine Fluzone High-Dose, which has four times the amount of each of the three influenza antigens that standard vaccine contains for seniors because producing an antibody response has shown to be diminished in older adults. Nothing was said about receiving four times the amount of preservatives and other particles in this vaccine. Now, seniors it is time to step up to the plate and become a human guinea pig and receive four times the amount of influenza. Gosh almighty, will it stop?  No it will not, and I have it on good authority that it will not stop for a long, long time or even ever.  Where money and expenditures are in the equation, you will get seniors chopped off first and foremost because as stated above, life expectancy. It does not take into consideration the time, money and service you have put into the system. I have always known this fact and here it is quite evident here.  It is not what you have done for me in the past; it is what you can do for the future and us now.

Another Letter to Granddaughter #1

Dear Granddaughter #1,

I just mailed a package to you. It was a little more $$ to get it to you faster, so I sprung for the extra change. I hope it fits. I think the guy put a small instead of a medium and I did not realize it. It looks plentiful in size. I hope it works for you, but either way, I do want you to let me know. It will keep you nice and warm.  I know it is hot now, but within a few weeks it gets cold, especially up by the mountains where you are located.

I also sent a letter with Glen’s address and phone number as per your request. When I spoke to him last month he was so delighted to hear you may be contacting him to learn more about your dad. I thought about some thing you may want to know about your father.  I have had quite a number of conversations with him over the years. I do miss him and I know that he loved you with all of his heart.  He thought you are the best thing to happen to him in his life. He was strong in his values. What he believed was unflappable.  He was very personable. He had a nice one on one personality. He liked to talk to people on an individual basis.  He would always say how beautiful Rachel is and how much he enjoyed you.

He was a reformed alcoholic but never did drugs.  He was very proud of the fact that he kicked the alcohol and did everything in his power to stay clean. He hated the thought of booze entering his life again in any way.

Your dad did not believe in drugs and never did any.  He was dedicated to his job and felt he was doing well for the people in his police community.  He stuck to what it was that he felt he had to do.  He just set about doing it.  He was strong mentally and physically. He believed in God totally and absolutely.  He turned to God and Christianity to survive.  He felt strongly that God was guiding him. He was not ready to die. God took him for a reason I do not know or can’t even guess.

I do know one thing for sure, if your dad could sit across the table from you he would be so proud of you and what you are becoming as well as your beauty would take his breath away. I have often thought since he passed that he would be ever hopeful that you would see the same light he has seen. Your father was very intelligent in his approach to life.

You are lovely and wonderful, capable, able and important. I know that and I hope you know it, too.

I think you will love moving on through school and being done with that era. You have grown away from that kind of education.  YOU are going to have to be willing to have some stress and some deadlines to meet, but the end results of satisfaction will override the means to the end.  You are like your father in this respect, if you want it you will do it and you will not stop until you get there. What he wanted for you was to have you learn as many positive things about life as you can, as any parent wants and he would want you to remember him in an encouraging way. He would want you to tell your children about him being a confident and strong-minded person and tell them how much he loved you. He would especially want to be remembered. He would never want you to forget him and he would want you to do some special things in his honor and in his memory.

Love, Grandma

Dear Granddaughter,













Dear Granddaughter,

I want to tell you something.

I want you to know that my life has been successful and I am proud that I came out of many situations ok.  I want to tell you how I got here.  It was not easy and shh don’t tell anyone, but I used to have a couple of bookshelves full of self-help books which helped to answer many questions I had and helped to pave the way for me to progress with understanding and a calmer nature. Living life helped somewhat, listening to others helped a lot, learning through experiences of mine and of others are good lessons, and especially learning to pay attention helped to make me quite observant.  Sometimes I stare at the person talking or giving a lecture and they seem to talk just to me.  It was that way when I learned to look and stare and it is that way now as I keep staring, listening and learning.

Now in life, I have worked hard, saved my money and spent it too for important things that made me happy and helped our family.  So maybe I sound like I was born a thousand years ago, with all of the stories and all the things I have done to stay afloat mentally and physically, but it has only been 71 years. Not long in the scheme of things, but long enough to have learned a trick or two. I remember I had a boyfriend when I was 16. He was desperate for some $$ to take a bus home to see his mother or something like seeing a mother and a bus ride. Sounded important, right?  Now I realize it was a crock, but he said he would bring the money back on the weekend.  He did not and I never saw him again.  He absconded with my $200.00 and I was horrified that someone would do such a dastardly thing to me. My mother was so mad at me and told me I had learned a lesson.  She said it was a cheap lesson because the next con artists would ask for more and I would know not to trust them. She was so right, because the next person that asked me for money did not get any. I said, “ I don’t have any money.” I lied, but I did not lose any more money to the “money crooks. “I learned to spend just a little money in public. I never let anyone realize that I might have more.  I learned to be very cagey in the public eye and I learned never to do way more than those around me. I am still very careful not to stand out in any way that would put me in jeopardy or draw unkind attention to me.

My parents taught me when I was very young that you do not show off. You do not show off with your clothes, with your money and your buying power; you never order more than others or more lavishly; you basically play the low-key card. This is a good lesson to learn and even more so in this ever changing, ever more dangerous world. You see that I am driving a very low-key car. I inherited it from the person who taught me to paint the low public profile picture.

A neighbor moved from our neighborhood to a very fancy upscale area. She sparkled her diamonds and tooted the horn of her fancy, shiny car. There was light all around her.  Some guys followed her home and when she went into her garage they followed her in. They tied her up and took all of her sparkling jewels and drove off in her fancy car.  She lived to tell about it, thank God, but no one told her about playing the low-key card or painting a low-key picture. Perhaps if she had been listening or learned to be low-key, she would not have sparkled so much. I’ll beet she doesn’t sparkle much anymore and is living a quiet good life. The best revenge, you know is living well.

Another Letter to My Granddaughter













I know I wrote earlier in the week, and I know you have not had time to respond, but an idea floated by and I caught it.  It is that you can do any thing; it is just a matter of what you want to do.

So, you are scratching your head and saying, yeah, so what.  Well, so everything.  You just have to number your desires and set about achieving them.  I envision it something like a grocery list or “a what to do list.”  I make them all of the time and get most everything done. It is a little extra work, but I can’t remember everything; who can?  Well, those who have a photographic memory can remember EVERYTHING, and that is something I would dearly love to have and do not.  You can make up your mind about what you think, but in the mean time, make a “what to do list,” and do things on it.  Is there any reason why you shouldn’t?

Remember how we use to cook together and make really great meals.  We would make them here and you were to take them home and bake them or finish them off at home for a meal. I was told that while the things we made were delicious, you never followed through with the cooking; just left the goods on the sink leaving it to chance as to who would cook it.  So for me, the key to my success if you want to call living well, success, is something I learned in the third grade.  It is following through. I learned that I had to finish what I started. I have had many lessons in this area and I do everything in my power to finish what I start. I am obsessive about it.  Not that I condone being obsessive, but a little obsession is a good thing in my book of books.  When you are doing a job cleaning or fixing at home, and you finish a job and do it well it is respecting your home.  When you follow through with a friend it is respecting that friend.  If you say you are going to do something, do it. If you are going some place, be there and be on time. If you are having a conversation with someone, do equal amounts of listening and sharing.  If the person needs more attention, give it to them. You are respecting their needs. When an assignment is given, either at work or in your classroom, do it to the best of your being, which is showing respect for yourself and who you are. Respect for your self is the key to living well.

Sincerely and with a great love,

Your Grandma


Dear Granddaughter #1

At the birthday party you said, “When I was little everyone loved me and then, I grew up.” Well, for your information, everyone still loves you only you won’t let us show you. Really? Really.  Start thinking about the people who love you and count them. Probably, you should just look at your Facebook page. There you will find people who are listening. I hope you are listening and reading. I write to let you know I am thinking of you and I love you. I loved you when you were little and I love you just as much and even more now.

I was and still am a sort of wallflower. Do you know what a wallflower is: well, as I remember it and as it was explained to me when I went to a dance and no one asked me for a dance, I was considered a wallflower. Someone who hugs the wall and hopes someone else will ask them to dance. I was thinking last night that I was a perpetual wallflower and I only remember someone asking me to dance after he had been refused by 6 others. I remember that dance so well. I even got sort of popular over it and people talked about how I was such a good dancer.  I guess that time was part of my 15 minutes of fame. I am still sort of a wallflower.

Here is what the urban dictionary says about wallflowers. And I do like these definitions.

-A type of loner. seemingly shy folks who no one really knows. Actually these are some of the most interesting people if one actually talks to them.


“Someone, usually in high school, who sees everything, knows everything, but does not say a word; they are not loners; they are introverted, meaning they are shy and have a social disease; they cannot handle having someone pay attention to them even though they crave it as much as everyone else; wallflowers are just phased in, and faded into the background.”


Dear Granddaughter #1,

Dear Granddaughter #1,

I think it is time for another Grandma letter.  This is an important one to me because I have so many ideas to tell. I hope you are well and comfortable with all that is going on in your world and the worlds around you.

First of all, when I call you, please sound a little joyful. Even if you do not think I am the greatest, make me think you think I am and make me think you are glad to hear from me. Why not? What does a little cheerful sound and a lovely lilt to your voice cost you? Nothing. It is also good practice.  Sounding cheerful always gives the person on the other end of your conversation a good, happy, feeling. I know you are not responsible for the way others feel, but you are responsible to be cheerful as much of the time as humanly possible. It is good for your electrolytes. It is something good.

Today’s Bits and Pieces: Insurance Fraud?

January 2, 2009

Claims Examiner

RE: D236654

In response to your letter dated December 18, 2008 you mention

that our claim was not covered because of any serious Injury or any unforeseen serious Sickness…”

We stated the truth about our problem about not being able to take the Yellow Fever shot due to recommendations from our doctor. You also state in your coverage PAYMENT for medically imposed restrictions, as certified by a Legally Qualified Physician, which prevents an insured’s participation in the Covered Trip. So we are in fact covered. Our doctor stated these reasons why at our age he would not give us the shot to protect us. More

Previous Older Entries