Archive for July, 2015

The Single Senior Goes All A Glitter

July 26, 2015

The Single Senior Goes All A Glitter

            When I went with friends to old downtown Cottonwood in May,  we went to The Glitter Factory retail store. (Yes, there’s a real factory next door.) There were fabulous painting with glitter on them and quilts and wall hangings glittered up. I immediately signed up to take Glitter 101. Joan and I went one day in June and made glittered cards, a glitter butterflies and a glitter dragonflies. Their glitter is powder fine and stuck to my clothes and skin as well as the projects.

Glitter 101 Projects

Glitter 101 Projects

I was contemplating a new quilt for my youngest son’s (Max) girlfriend’s three year-old daughter. She already calls me “Granny Annie.”  I envisioned one of flannel squares with hearts appliqued. It would look so cute with glitter around each heart. I bought the fabric adhesive and three containers of glitter.

I had bought some flannel at SAS in Phoenix and went to Joann’s to get more and other supplies. I took out the sewing machine and went to work cutting and appliqueing each square. When I got about half of the squares done I went back to The Glitter Factory for a brush up on glitter techniques.

When I got home I set up at the dining room table. These are the times I’m glad I’m single and don’t have to clean up a space for dinner. I sewed forty-two squares and managed to do a decent job of putting the glitter around the hearts. I was quite proud of myself until I looked around the dining room. The furniture, the table, and the laminate floor were covered with glitter. And so was I. It took a few days to “cure” the squares as I had to heat up the oven to three hundred degrees, arrange five squares on cookie sheets lined with aluminum foil, put them in the oven and turn it off. When the oven was cool, the adhesive was set. Luckily Aurora and Joselina were scheduled to clean and they did an amazing job of making the glitter disappear.

I still had thirty more squares to sew and glitter. I did the sewing and put off the glittering until a Saturday in July. The Glitter Factory has two sessions every Saturday where you bring your own project and they provide the glitter and adhesive. It’s a bargain at $5.00 a session. I already had my glitter and adhesive but I wanted to spread glitter all over their place, not mine! I’m not a perfectionist so I was able to accomplish my mission in one session. When I got home I spread out the squares on the guest bed and “cured” them in the oven.

Finally it was time to put the whole thing together. I happily sewed the squares, not noticing until later that the squares were still shedding glitter. Again I was lucky that Aurora and Joselina were due to clean the next day. I cut the selvage edges while sitting on the porch to prevent more glitter contamination.

close up of the quilt

close up of the quilt

I laid out my quilt to admire it and thought it looked a bit small, even for a twin bed quilt. My neighbor Elaine let me put it on a twin bed she had and it barely covered the mattress. There was no overhang.

What to do? I did not want to glitter anymore! I decided to do the border by quilting hearts on squares rather than appliqueing  and glittering  them. I went to Joann’s to try to match to the original fabrics but I could only find a few of them. I’ll look at SAS when I have to next brave the heat in the Valley for an appointment.

I’ve sworn off glittering at home, but I did sign myself and my granddaughter for Glitter 101 while she’s visiting in August.

Everyone Has a Story to Tell

July 15, 2015

            I interviewed my mother ten years ago and wrote a book using her voice and her information. She had dementia, but was lucid about the past when I interviewed her. The hardest part of putting the book together was choosing the photos to be included.  She told stories about her parents’ arranged marriage (they never learned to like each other although they stayed married until one died at age eighty-four,) her childhood growing up in the Bronx,, her fairy tale relationship with my father, and her civil rights and peace activities. I also had all the letters my parents had written to each other before they were married and during World War II. I even had a reply from General Eisenhower to my mother’s request that my father be returned home after the war as he was kept as part of the Occupational Force in Japan. I’ve been amazed how interested other people, outside my family, are in the book.

My mom, Rae Weissman, at a women's Strike for Peace march

My mom, Rae Weissman (on right,) at a women’s Strike for Peace march

            I recently ghost-wrote a book for a friend Joan about her life. It was for her family. I have known Joan for seven years but never realized that this sweet woman broke the glass ceiling in the airlines industry.  She was the first woman to be on several international committees and was the first woman chair of the Airline Clearing House Sampling Committee. I also enjoyed listening to her stories of her grandparents’ immigration, how her parents met on a blind date, and her exploits while living with friends after college.

Joan and her brother during the North Dakota Blizzard of 1942

Joan and her brother during the North Dakota Blizzard of 1942

At the Fourth of July barbeque at the Pinewood Country Club I met Angela, Luigi the Italian Stallion’s mother. She told me her story. She came over the United States from Italy at the age of twenty-one. She went to Des Moines, where her uncle lived and had arranged a marriage for her. If she had stayed in Italy and married, her parents would have bought her a house and she would have had servants. However, her uncle convinced her parents that the groom, from a family they knew, owned a business and a home. When Angela found out it wasn’t true, she called her parents and she complained and cried. Her uncle took the phone and said she was lying. She had to go through with the marriage so as not to bring shame on her family. She said she was a slave, taking care of the children during the day and working at night. She never reconciled with her family and is now a widow and lives with Luigi.

Angela and Luigi

Angela and Luigi

I urge all of you to sit down and write such a book for your families. If you don’t, the family stories will be lost to future generations. Before you pooh-pooh the

idea, thinking that the grandchildren and great grandchildren are too wrapped up in their electronics and social media to be interested, you should know that Cole, my nine year-old grand-nephew, who is totally immersed in social media and video games has memorized the book I wrote about my mother!

P.S. The best kept secret in Munds Park is that family-friendly bands lay live music at the Pinewood Country Club on Saturday nights. See you there!

Check out my book, Reinvented Lives, available on, and my

website at and my blog at

Go East, Single Senior, Go East!

July 1, 2015

           I went East to visit relatives and friends, a whirlwind ten day trip. The purpose was not sightseeing but to reconnect. I was invited to stay with them rather than in hotels.

My cousin Steven, only eleven days younger than me, picked me up at the Boston airport. He plays A level tennis daily and works full time at his three businesses. He treated me to the best sautéed soft shell crabs I’ve ever had. I spent the night at his place. The next day, after he fixed a fine breakfast, he drove me around as I drank in the greenness. We drove through the DeCordova Sculpture Museum and drank tea on the patio of a restaurant before he dropped me off at cousin Debbie’s house. We shared diet sodas and our lives at her kitchen counter.

Debbie and I picked up her mother, my favorite aunt, Paula. She is ninety-three and a bit frail, needs hearing aids and lost some vision due to macular degeneration but her mind is intact. She is happily ensconced in an independent living community where she has aides come in every day. She’s made friends and remains active. I should be so lucky.

Aunt Paula

Aunt Paula

They took me on a driving tour. I saw Walden Pond, Louisa May Alcott’s house and Emerson’s house.  We met Steven’s daughter Erin and her daughter at the lovely Colonial Inn, established in 1716, for a Ladies Dinner. Great conversation and my lobster roll and Boston Cream Pie were outstanding.

I went back to Aunt Paula’s, where I was to spend the night, and we watched old movies on TCM. The next morning we ate Father’s Day Brunch at my aunt’s place and

Steven took me to the train.

I rode to Bridgeport where my friend from third grade picked me up and took me back to her charming condo complex in Shelton, Connecticut. We spent three days reminiscing, catching each other up on family and friends, and eating well. Linda has let her hair go white and we discussed this at length. I don’t think I’m ready yet.

Her hair looks great in natural white.

Her hair looks great in natural white.

I had made a reservation on Amtrak to go to Manhattan for the next leg of my odyssey. While I was waiting at the Bridgeport station, at least four metro-North trains went by. Then I got a text from Amtrak that my train would be forty-five minutes late. The ticket window was no longer open so I asked a man in uniform who told me I could have taken any of those trains. The next one was arriving in a few minutes. He showed me how to purchase my ticket at the kiosk. I forgot to cancel my reservation on Amtrak so I lost that money and my sister later told me I should have gotten senior fare for the train I took, half of the price.

I arrived at Grand Central Station and walked to Third Avenue. I considered walking from Forty-Second Street to my sister’s place at Eight-Fifth Street. I waited for a bus for fifteen minutes and finally hailed a cab.

My sister and I walked over to a park on the East River and enjoyed the human and dog parade.


The next day we met a friend of ours I hadn’t seen in many years. We had a four hour lunch at the Oyster Bar Restaurant at Grand Central Station, in the bar where fantastic sandwiches are on the menu.

Karen, me, and my sister at The Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station

Karen, me, and my sister at The Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station

The next day my sister and I took the train to High Bridge, New Jersey to see my brother and his wife. My sister met up with her boyfriend at my brother’s house and we all enjoyed hamburgers and hot dogs that my brother grilled on his on his charcoal Weber. We reminisced about our childhoods. I didn’t remember one of my father’s adages that my brother lives by. “If it’s not worth doing, it’s not worth doing well.”


My sister reminded me that when my brother got a horned toad, my father sold her insurance that would pay if the horned toad got in her bed. She paid on it monthly! Twenty years ago my sister visited my brother and his family in Florida. His children had heard the horned toad insurance story. They put Iggy, their pet iguana, in her bed that night.

My sister and her boyfriend went back to NYC and I got to visit with my brother and his wife for another day and a half.

I reconnected with my roots and collected stories and adages for a book for the family.  And I gained five pounds.