Flying Over California in a Tiny Plane With My Son as the Pilot!

Approaching Morro Bay

Gorgeous scene, no? It would look good on a postcard don’t you think? As scenes go, it is one of thousands that can be seen in coastal California.
So what makes this scene and this picture so special?
Circling Morro Rock in a wondrous flying machine

I took it while sitting in the co-pilot’s seat of my son’s Beechcraft Bonanza! It is a beautiful little plane. And it symbolizes so much for him and our family.

A year ago in April, my son, Avram lost his precious youngest son, Thomas to cancer. It was a fierce battle, with hardly a victory for Thomas. And it was a battle we knew he could not win from the day he was diagnosed. We hoped the treatments-the horrific treatments- would buy Thomas time, and maybe new treatments would come along.
There just wasn’t enough time.

When Avram announced that he had decided to leave his flying club and buy his own plane, we were thrilled for him. He said that one thing he learned from Thomas is that life is short, and he was not going to put off his dreams any longer.

Pre-flight check. He keeps his iPad at hand for info.

Two years ago, we had flown with Avram in one of the small planes owned by his flying club. We were flying over the Santa Monica pier when we were ordered out to sea because President Obama was aboard Air Force One and it was entering our air space, we had to make way. We circled for a few minutes and were given the all-clear to return to our route During that same visit we joined the LAPD air support team on an actual shift in the police helicopter. We were warned if there were a big event like an O.J. chase, we would be in the helicopter until the event was over.
No crimes that day, just a false alarm at the local bank. But we did do a “beauty pass” of the HOLLYWOOD sign, which I blogged about two years ago.

HOLLYWOOD sign an American icon

So back to this past July. Avram took us from Camarillo airport to Morro Bay and we circled the famous Morro Bay rock.

He banked hard so I could get good photos. My Beloved in the back seat said he felt as if he was going to fall out. I kept the wing in the picture so you could see I really was flying through the air in a light plane.
Pre-flight fuel check,Avram and Ira, my Beloved

I loved every minute of it, even when on the way back the sun, and motion of the plane combined to put me to sleep. Good thing Avram was not also lulled!
After we secured the plane, we ate lunch outside at the Camarillo airport, a place where the rich, the famous and hardworking people with a love of flying hang out. We watched planes come and go, and felt very nostalgic. Small airports still have the romance of flying.
Last pass and then home

Baja Bottles and Shells, Magical Things From the Beach in La Paz!

Antique bottles nestled in one of Mary's Shell Wreaths

Beach, just seeing or hearing the word takes me away to a place of salt, sand, sun and peace.
I grew up in New Jersey, and Fort Hancock on the end of the sand spit called Sandy Hook was where I spent many a summer day.
The only day I did not go to the beach in August 1970 was the day my darling daughter Melissa was born. That was August 17th.
When we were kids growing up in Atlantic Highlands New Jersey, we lived a few blocks from the Sandy Hook Bay beach. My mother did not drive. So she gave us each an inner tube to carry, lined my brother, Merrell’s wagon with an army blanket, plopped La Princessa Patti ( my younger sister) in the middle and surrounded her with our lunch, our towels, change of clothes and beach toys.

Off we trekked to spend the day at the beach. And we loved it. Every second of it. And of course we collected shells and lots of other flotsam that washed ashore. My mother, as mothers do, had to limit what we could carry home, so we were told to only collect perfect shells. Otherwise we would have carried home every fragment, shard and sliver of shell.

Just an artsy shot of some candle ring shell wreaths on my patio

Now I live on the beach in La Paz, Baja California Sur. I collect shells of every size and color. For years I was addicted to collecting what we call jingle shells, gorgeous fragile, oddly shaped shells that range in color from pearly white to yellow, golden yellow and vibrant orange.
I love the gorgeous spiral curves of the inside of shells that I will dub “snails” anything that had a creature inside that spun their gorgeous homes.
These gorgeous yellow and white striped shells came from El Mogote, the sandbar that forms the La Paz harbor. We were wading and started to see these gorgeous shells lying on the bottom. We fulled bag after bag with them, and had to float the bags as we walked back to our chairs.

Some days, I have to do a shell intervention with Mary. When she starts hodling her back, I know it is time to stop. She always says " Just one more...please."

My friend Mary and I spend hours in the winter collecting shells, and we are always surprised what we find. And certain days big shells attract us and that is all we will pick up, others it is small to tiny shells. And always oddly-shaped shells. Mary makes the gorgeous shell wreaths pictured in this blog.
I take credit for inspiring her.
We would collect the shells and take them home to pile around the house, or stored them in jars and otherwise drop them and forget about them. There was no mother to tell us to only pick the perfect ones, or to only take home five.

Then I decided to see how many household objects would look better adorned with shells. Out came the glue gun, and nothing was safe! I glued shells on mirrors, picture frames, I wrapped a yogurt container with fabric then glued shells on it. It was to hold a roll of toilet paper in my outside bathroom.

Soon Mary and I were having shell contests.
But she has created the most amazing objects, including seashore Santas, modeled after the Victorian Santas that are so popular. But hers were standing on a base of sand, garbed in pieces of Mexican cloth, and some palm bark. Slung over his shoulder was a bag of shells.

Mary’s work has evolved into gorgeous wreaths. I am proud to say my small wreaths pictured here are the prototypes of Mary’s ongoing work. She gave them to me for my birthday a few years ago.

These wreaths are wonderful candle rings. They become part of my seasonal dlsplays and centerpieces for dinner parties, and are always where I can see them.

Now when I need a gift, I call Mary.
Her wreaths grace the homes of friends and family all over the US. They are in Denver and Dallas. One large wreath made just for her, was the centerpiece at my sister’s wedding in Amagansett. And there is the all black one. Mary dyed all the shells and turned her fingers black, they stayed that way for weeks. From Minnesota, to Idaho, South Dakota, California and New Jersey, someone I know and love has one of these wreaths. And a few years ago, one of Mary’s shell wreaths went to Paris with Madam Francine Cousteau.
Francine was here to dedicate the Jacques Cousteau memorial at Centro Investigaciones Biologicas del Noroeste (CIBNOR).
And here is the wreath that is always on my dining room table it is really very big abut 12 inches in diameter. Take your time, look closely, and you can see hundreds of different shells, a sea star, and some broken shells with gorgeous shapes. If you would like to know more about Mary’s shells contact here here Mary’s Shells: bigfishes2@aoldotcom

Mary always makes sure there is an orange scallop, and often a piece of sea glass on every wreath.

Birdsong in Baja


What shall I write in my blog today?
I am always talking about the gorgeous view from my terraces, and my office and my bathtub.
I never get tired of the colors and textures, and the ever-changing sea and sky and in winter the colors are pastel in morning, and silvery for part of the day. Very different from the fire-y summer mornings, and hot sun drenched azure sea.
This morning as on many mornings, the sound of gulls and other shore birds squawking woke me, long before dawn. The birds, sea and shore dwellers fly by all night and honk, and squawk. I love the sound.
One particular great blue heron flies right across our terrace and honks, loudly! He has no care that people may be sleeping inside. He loves the updrafts that the shallow X shape or our house create. And I assume that the honk is one of sheer pleasure. Although it does not sound much different from his imperious honk when he is chasing other birds from his feeding grounds…or waters, I should say.

There are some birds whose calls I have dubbed “Jurassic Park” sounds. They sound as if they are huge and calling from deep in a distant jungle. You know the sounds that are background for jungle movies? That’s what some of these birds sound like…and I am charmed.

There are over 60 identified species of birds living in our neighborhood. We are surrounded by a biological preserve. We have a pair of Great Horned Owls. They are huge, and their haunting “hoo-hoo” can be heard throughout the area.

This spring we heard a lovely birdsong that sounded somewhat like a burbling creek. We looked around to see where this sweet warbler was. To our amazement, a plain, scruffy black, bird was singing that perfect song. On the sill outside our eight-foot kitchen window were two of these plain birds.
The male, the one with the voice was strutting and preening for the not-so-interested female.
She would ignore him, and walk to the end of the sill. He would hop in front of her and puff up his chest and sing. She was not interested. She would turn and march to the opposite end. He would fly off and land in front of her and sing his heartbreaking song. This went on for days in front of this window. Showtime was just around our breakfast time, we would hear the first chirps, and drop what we were doing and head to the kitchen window.
Call us voyeurs. But we were also rooting for the little guy, hoping his beloved would accept his attentions. And finally, after many repetitions of the song, the puffing and preening, his lady love succumbed.

More than once I would hear the screeching of what sounded like a bird in distress. I would run out to the terrace with my binoculars, and there would be a baby osprey perched on a dead palm. Some baby, its talons were longer than my fingers, and it’s wingspan over six feet. I asked an ornithologist friend about this, and he said the bird had been pushed from the nest. It was able to fly and deemed ready to go out on its own by its exhausted , yet doting parents. It was screeching for mama or papa to come feed it. Mama and papa were clearly done with child–rearing, but baby was not happy. After an interminable time of pathetic screeching, the parents would fly by and coax the baby down and show it one more time how to hunt. The baby would learn to feed itself or die.
I have never seen a dead osprey on our beach or in the mangrove, so I believe that baby went off to feed, and soar, and mate and train babies of its own.

Soon I will write about “Eddie the Eagle’, that turned out to be a very sick baby osprey that turned up in our patio once many years ago.

Sexy, Exotic, Hawaiian Flower, Showing Off in La Paz Baja California Sur


Do you recognize this gorgeous, exotic bloom?
It is an anthurium, and it actually is native to Central and South America. Wikipedia says nothing about how it got to Hawaii, but that is how I think of it.
And Cecilia, a flight attendant friend of mine says cut anthurium are popular take home gifts for tourists leaving Hawaii. She has seen them specially packaged in small bunches for a lot of money and they are carried right on the plane.
Well, back to my anthurium.
My dear friend Maria gave me the plant for Christmas this past December 2011. It had much smaller leaves and was bursting with many blooms and some tightly rolled buds. I thanked her profusely, and wondered if it would survive my three-week Christmas vacation, with the maid caring for it.
To my surprise, it survived, and flourished. It had pride of place on our kitchen island where it was kissed by morning sun. But it grew so large and full, my beloved asked if I would consider moving it.
I was sure that moving it would mean certain death. But here is another picture showing how shiny and healthy the leaves are
And this is not the first time it has produced buds, here are two making their way out to the sun. It has been in constant bloom since December. It is still in the plastic pot. I am afraid to re-pot it and kill it. It s so healthy and shiny, and happily blooming, that I think I shall keep it right where it is!
One of the nicknames for the anthurium is the “boy plant”. Well it does have a big, yellow, penis, Uh, excuse me, it has a big erect, knobby spadix.

And when the flower starts to die, the red bract turns muddy green and the big, erect, spadix develops yellow bumps and lumps, I call it gonorrhea of the plant world.
I am sure my grandson Patrick aged 11, will just love seeing photos of this guy:

Before this bract withers and dies it will be covered with the yeloow bumps, which get uglier and uglier. The firts time I saw it I thought the plant was diseased! I am going to try to propagate the plant by laying the withered bract with it’s blistered spadix on a nice bed of potting soil. Stay tuned!

The La Paz Multiple Listing Service: A True Story for Sellers to Heed

By Susan Fogel


It happened in La Paz just a few weeks ago, and it is about the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

I have several nice properties in El Centenario and El Comitan. My colleagues make jokes about how I live in the desert, the boonies, or “way out there”. I invited them to see my properties and they said things like “some day”, “it’s a good idea” or “the next time I’m in your area I’ll make an appointment to see your properties.”

Others said if they had buyers for my properties they would be sure to show them. In other words, no one was going to make the effort to drive a mere 20 minutes even to see beach front and beach community homes, even though beachfront and beachview homes are in high demand even in this depressed market.

So back to the true story. I uploaded one listing to the La Paz MLS and encountered Internet issues. All I had to show was one listing. The next morning my phone rang and a colleague from La Paz said he was looking for an easy care, one-floor home with a pool and a view. And my listing fit the bill.

The agent and client came out within the hour. She liked my house, but wasn’t in love. I suggested that since she was here, she see another listing next door. That house is two stories, is high-maintenance, and has a slightly smaller pool. The would-be buyer walked in and said: “This is it!” I want this house, I love it!” She made a full-price offer that day and the transaction is set to close shortly.

What is my point? The agent said he was looking only on the MLS. He did not have the time to search individual websites, even if he knew whose sites to visit. If my listing had not been on the MLS, he would never have known about it. The MLS allows agents to post as many photos and videos as they want. A buyer’s agent can preview the property and contact the listing agent to get more information. Then she can put together a list of properties and email them to her client. It’s efficient and, because of the strict rules of the MLS, it is accurate. This also means that when homes sell, the prices are listed so that agents will have comparable properties that will support the price of your home to the buyer.

The very next day, I uploaded three more properties. Almost immediately after hitting “submit” I received an email from an agent in Loreto saying that she had sent all of my listings to her client in the USA that is interested in La Paz, El Centenario, and El Comitan.

“How did you get hooked up with a La Paz buyer?” I asked.

“He was searching my IDX pages,” she said.

Sellers, listen up! This is the key. Under the new IDX (Internet Data Exchange) system, buyers can type “La Paz homes for sale” into Google and La Paz real estate sites will pop up. They can click on the name of a page and those that are members of the MLS will have a search function on them that allows Susie Q. Homebuyer to search for homes in La Paz and the surrounding area. Now thousands of buyers back in the USA and Canada  and anywhere in the world, can look at YOUR house long before they book their flight to come to La Paz. They can narrow their search to just a few homes or they can expand out to other areas.

The “Loreto man” was fiddling around, looking at everything on the market, when he found La Paz and decided on our lovely town for his retirement.

And how do you as a seller get to have your house visible 24/7 to the entire world? It’s easy: (1) Contact an agent that is a member of AMPI (Mexican Association of Realtors) and the MLS. (2) Sign an exclusive listing agreement and they will upload your home with photos and a video.

So you will have one agent looking out for your best interests. And you will also have an entire sales force of other AMPI/MLS agents showing your home. Isn’t it a good feeling that your property is in the hands of professionals that subscribe to a high code of ethics and use the latest technology to sell your home?

It’s the Fourth of July; A Video with Danny Glover

Today is Wednesday the 4th of July. I meet three other women every Wednesday at Cafe Exquisito for coffee and conversation. The other three are Canadian. I am American and have lived here in La Paz, Baja California Sur for 12 years. As the years pass, American holidays and their importance fade.

Oh my birthday will always be the most important part of February. Thanksgiving is special to me and we share it with another couple every year.

And Christmas is a lot of fun here in La Paz, we have parties, go to parties, exchange gifts, then head north to be with our kids for the big day.

We were chatting about things in general and when school would be out, since one og u s is young enough to have kids in grade school. At that moment I remembered it was the 4th.

We have no special plans.

And that is OK. America has not lived up to her Constitution in years and these last 4 years with the racism and hate flowing from Congress, and the Tea Party there is very little in the way of celebration in my heart.
I saw this very moving video sent by Moveon.org they lifted it from:The Howard Zinn Facebook page
He is reading the words of a former slave, written 10 years before the Civil War. It is rlevant today especially to blacks, Hispanics, Women and Muslims:

The Yellow Beetle and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day*

My day started off beautifully last Thursday. My new glasses were finally ready.  I could now, read, write, sew, and drive again! It was a sunny day; I was wearing brightly colored gauze clothing. My leopard-print flip-flops showed off my bright red pedicure.

From the optical shop I was heading to a closing, and from there to collect some buyers, have lunch with them, and then show them pretty houses. Daisy, our little yellow Beetle had just been detailed and she was bright and shiny.

I made the left turn onto Cinco de Febrero from a side street; I was so happy to be driving and to be able to see again that I misjudged the turn and hit the divider and went up and over. Kaboom!  Down came Daisy. I could feel that the tire was flat. I limped her around the corner and parked.

While I was examining the flat tire and bent and gnarled rim, a kind man pulled up and handed me my hubcap. That was like a gift from the goddess. I had just replaced all four hubcaps. Each one had fallen off over a few weeks. I had waited six months for the VW dealer to finally get four. I asked him to help me with the tire; he said he had no time. I thanked him again for retrieving my hubcap and off he went.

I called the closing attorney and asked him to proceed without me. He said, “Just tell me where you are and I’ll send Jorge to get you.”  Easier said than done. THERE WERE ABOSOLUTELY NO STREET SIGNS TO BE SEEN. I asked a man walking by, he motioned that he did not know the street names. And he walked off. A few minutes later, he came back and said that I was on the corner of Independencia and Cuahtemoc.

Jorge found me in minutes. He set up the jack, pulled out the spare, and then hunted for the lug wrench, there was none! We had clients waiting to sign their closing documents, so we locked up the car, I patted Daisy’s rump and off we went.

We got to the notaria; I was hot, dusty, and thirsty. I asked for a glass of water and was told that this notario publico did not offer any services like that. I asked the receptionist for water. A few minutes later, Jorge, my savior came with a glass of water.

I texted my buyers to let them know I would be late. They answered that they would come and get me. I responded that it would not be long and I could get there in 30 minutes. Dream on. The signing went smoothly. That was the end of the good day.

The accident did not upset me so much as embarrass me. But it was the hours and hours of waiting that ruined my day. We had left the car in front of someone’s driveway. Jorge went to the door to let them know we would be moving the car as soon as the tire was changed. No one was home. The neighbor came out and said that the homeowners would not be back until four. But if they did by chance return, he would explain the situation and point out the ugly damaged wheel. We asked the helpful neighbor if he had a lug wrench, he said no, but there was a llantera (tire shop) around the corner. When we returned after the signing, we asked another neighbor if he had a lug wrench. He did, but it was for an American car and did not fit Daisy. We went to THREE llanteras before we found someone that would come to us in a timely manner and change the tire. While we were waiting, we saw a man washing a VW Jetta. We asked him if he had a lug wrench, he was not the car’s owner, but he went inside and asked and was given permission to lend it to us.  The wrench fit the lugs, but they were on so tight, that Jorge could not loosen them.

And then a hunched man with a leg brace came to offer help! I am not making this up. Jorge went back to llantera number three to check on their progress. He called me to say he was leading the tire truck to me. We agreed on a price, and Jorge was off. The tire was changed in record time. I paid the man, and hopped in the car. Daisy would not start!

The tire man helped me look for the invisible hood latch. By now I was tired, had not eaten, had to pee, and saw the time racing away. I finally found the hood latch. The New Beetles are wonderful cars. They are also completely computerized and we could not figure out where and how to attach jumper cables.

Thanking the goddess for the second time, this time for the magic of the iPhone. I was able to look up the VW dealer and click on their number and was connected at once. We called VW, they said, “NO! Do not attempt to jumpstart that car; it will destroy the computer!” Off went tire guy. I called the VW dealer back and asked for them to come and get the car.  They said they would send a tow truck.

“But you have to pay!”

“Of course I will pay, just send the truck.”

“OK, we will, but service closes from 1-3 so you need to talk to the sales department when you arrive with the tow truck.”

It was 12:30. By 1:30, no truck had come. I called the sales department of the VW dealer, after explaining what happened, where I was and that yes, I knew I had to pay. A tow truck was dispatched.

I arranged for a rental car, and the ever-generous editor of this paper came for me and also paid for the tow truck. I only had $200 pesos in my wallet. She took me to the VW dealer, dropped her kids at home, waited for my next call, and took me to Budget Rental Cars near the airport. It was well after 4:00 p.m. By this time I had eaten one piece of toast at home and two hairy cough drops I found in the car. No lunch, no coffee, no clients, and I still had to pee.

But here is how I overcame this Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day:

*In 1972, Judith Viorst, author and poet, wrote a wonderful children’s book called

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No good, Very Bad Day.

Oh Mexico!

Since 1989 my Beloved and I have traveled to Mexico looking for the perfect retirement spot. We have been to small villages, tiny islands and big cities.

Not at all beguiled by the Disneyesque all –inclusive  tourist resorts, we opted for small posadas, charming B&Bs and private homes.  Some were wonderful, some forgettable and some simply awful.

But wherever we traveled in Mexico we had fun, and were open to adventure. We made friends with other tourists of all nationalities. We got to know local Mexicans. We played Good Samaritan one Christmas Eve. We were driving back from Tulum to Cancun. There was a young American woman standing in the teeming rain surrounded by Mexican workers.

She flagged us down. She had been waiting for the bus that never came. We stopped, backed up and offered her a ride. Her companions did not want her to get in the car. They heard about how Americans carry guns. They held onto the car and wouldn’t let us leave. After some sharp words from her, they relented. We headed for the Cancun airport where she was meeting her mother. And we listened as she told her story about running a dude ranch. We will never forget her, and that stormy night and the adventure.

We had the best lobster dinner of our life at a cute restaurant owned by a Frenchman in Playa del Carmen. And while waiting for the ferry to Cozumel, we had a plate of guacamole and chips that is indescribable in its delicacy of flavor and smooth texture.

We were sitting on a wall near the pier, waiting and loving every finger lickin’ scoop. It cost $3.00

This is the Playa del Carmen of the late 80’s not what it is today which would perfectly fit into Joni Mitchell’s song, Big Yellow Taxi the opening lines describe Playa del Carmen of the 21st century perfectly:

“They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot spot”

Whether it was a crepe place in a tiny space on a side street  on Isla Mujeres, a rooftop bar in Puerto Vallarta, a new, formal restaurant in downtown Cancun,where the owner  flamed the Bananas Foster with great expertise, the oldest restaurant with the biggest selection of mole in Puebla, a hopping and hip bistro in Tlaquepaque, or an Argentinean steak house in Mexico City, they all charmed us. And we can bring back the mood, and the food when  we reminisce about our trips.

And as we traveled through Mexico, we were longing to live there. We envied the foreigners already established in their now homeland.  We dreamed and schemed about what life would be like once we retired and moved to Mexico.

Now after eleven years of living and working in La Paz, that magic of the Mexico we imagined can come rushing back  when we hear a song, smell fresh fish being grilled, or the light on the water is just right.

We have magic here. And there are magical places, and wonderful restaurants, but it is where we live our daily lives. That exotic otherness of our romantic notion is gone.

When guests  visit and stay in our HoneyMoon Hut, they tell us how lucky we are. Our lives look exotic.  We have friends, I write for the paper, my Beloved walks to work along our beach.

So when I look at picture like the one at the top of this page, I can smell that special smell of Isla Mujeres. I can taste the succulent lobster of Playa del Carmen. And I want to dissolve into that setting, wearing a white gauze dress. I will be barefoot, and tanned with a ruby red hibiscus tucked behind my ear. My beloved will be in white linen and will hand me a tall cool glass of limonada.

How the Queen of Mod in a Mini-Skirt Changed My Life

For years I wanted to be a U.N. interpreter. I studied Russian and German in high school, and saw myself traveling the world in diplomatic circles. During those years I researched colleges and knew that the University of Indiana was the place to go for languages.

Indiana in the middle of the country. No ocean there.

But I was willing to compromise and endure being landlocked for my larger goal of becoming THE interpreter  at the U.N.

That was my goal, announced to the world. It was my course for years.

Then it happened. It was a signal, defining moment,, one that made me shiver. I was filled with electric excitement, and I had found my true calling in life: I was going to be a fashion designer.

It happened like this: I opened an issue of LIFE Magazine, and there was a two page spread talking about, the Beatles, and a wonderful fashion designer, Mary Quant. It was the first time I had ever seen her. She was smashing in her clean lines, severe hair and strong makeup.

Mary Quant was wearing a mini-skirt, shockingly short, six inches above the knee-long compared to what girls wear today- but shockingly short for the mid 60’s.

She was stick thin, wearing a top and opaque tights that matched. Her mini skirt was a contrasting color. The photo was black and white so I have no idea what the colors were. But even in black and white, my mind was an explosion of color and heat.  She was standing slightly behind John Lennon, and was unaware that the camera had caught her adjusting the strap on her flat sling back signature  shoes  I had shoes much like them. And even today, I  would pair flat shoes with a mini skirt not stiletto heels. Her geometrically bobbed hair swung to cover one eye, as she leaned forward. And at the same time she  reached behind  her, her leg bent up at the knee so the could reach the strap of her shoe. Her  heavy, artful, makeup completed a modern, hip look.   Her look was called “Mod” and for me, Mod said it all, and encompassed youth, style, innovation and color. Until the day she died in 2001, my mother called me her Mod Daughter.

John Lennon was wearing a snap brim hat designed by Mary. And it wasn’t long before I had one or two hats like that .I learned to duplicate the geometric Sasoon haircuts and cut my hair and my friend’s hair  the same way. We painted our eyes to look fierce and our lips white. It wasn’t Goth it was Mod.

In that moment with the LIFE Magazine,  years of thought and preparation and dreams about languages and travel and the U.N. went out the window.

I had been sewing since I was very young, and I cut apart my mother’s New Look dresses with the miles of fabric in the skirts and made dresses and jumpsuits and realized what I had been doing all along was designing fashion.

My parents supported me and said as long as I was accepted to a good design school I could go.

There was no Google to search for Fashion Design schools. The guidance office offered  Rhode Island School of Design and Parsons and a few other technical sewing schools.  I applied to them and others.

On a trip to visit her Manhattan friends, our “aunties” who moved in fashionable circles, my mother announced,  “Susie is thinking of going to fashion design school.”

“Well”, said my Aunt Judy, “There is only ONE school for her to attend, The Fashion Institute of Technology right here in New York.”

After one of her New York weekends with her sparkling friends my mother would burst in the front door and say “Girls you’ll never believe who I met.” “Or kids, just wait till you see what Auntie Annette sent you.”

So when she returned from that trip the fall of my senior year of high school, she threw open the front door, and said “Susie, I found the fashion design school for you.” I knew then that I was on my way, New York, the garment district, design, fame and maybe even meeting Mary Quant.

And I did make it there on a full scholarship.

Eat Ice Cream for Social Change

One lone corporate voice standing up for the 99%. I copied this from the Ben&Jerry’s website.

To those who Occupy: We stand with you.
We, the Ben & Jerry’s Board of Directors, compelled by our personal convictions and our Company’s mission and values, wish to express our deepest admiration to all of you who have initiated the non-violent Occupy Wall Street Movement and to those around the country who have joined in solidarity. The issues raised are of fundamental importance to all of us. These include:

  • The inequity that exists between classes in our country is simply immoral.
  • We are in an unemployment crisis. Almost 14 million people are unemployed. Nearly 20% of African American men are unemployed. Over 25% of our nation’s youth are unemployed.
  • Many workers who have jobs have to work 2 or 3 of them just to scrape by.
  • Higher education is almost impossible to obtain without going deeply in debt.
  • Corporations are permitted to spend unlimited resources to influence elections while stockpiling a trillion dollars rather than hiring people.

We know the media will either ignore you or frame the issue as to who may be getting pepper sprayed rather than addressing the despair and hardships borne by so many, or accurately conveying what this movement is about. All this goes on while corporate profits continue to soar and millionaires whine about paying a bit more in taxes. And we have not even mentioned the environment.

We know that words are relatively easy but we wanted to act quickly to demonstrate our support. As a board and as a company we have actively been involved with these issues for years but your efforts have put them out front in a way we have not been able to do. We have provided support to citizens’ efforts to rein in corporate money in politics, we pay a livable wage to our employees, we directly support family farms and we are working to source fairly traded ingredients for all our products. But we realize that Occupy Wall Street is calling for systemic change. We support this call to action and are honored to join you in this call to take back our nation and democracy.

— Ben & Jerry’s Board of Directors