Hiding behind the mask: a first date


Johnny and Jane met online. Perhaps she went a little fast. She will readily admit to not “Reading all the words.” She skims, looks at pictures of men served up on the online dating sites and gets excited.

She pushes the “Send” Button way too soon.

Johnny is a CPA named “John,” during the day. He works for a pretty famous company – and has been with this Fortune 400 company for over 2o years.

After 6:oo pm, the necktie and Hush Puppies disappear. John does a metamorphosis  and, bingo! he is Johnny. He posted photos of himself in leathers, near his bike, with a helmet, mostly not.

Women either love it or loathe it. Jane like that Johnny rode a bike, liked adventure, and wanted to join  a Club for couples who ride. He was cute – hiding behind the mask of sunglasses.

What the heck, she responded to his, “Hi, you look cute,” opening line.

They exchanged fifteen emails; both were highly curious about the other- and not wanting to appear too aggressive. Finally, Johnny asked Jane for coffee. She agreed. They met the next day and she was visibly taken back by his “costume” and size and noise of the huge, silver and black  motorcycle. Jane is a petite, Vespa kind of a girl.  She was wearing a brand new, really cute skirt.

He had dreams of taking her to Pacifica. After seeing him all dressed up, with the noisy machine, she ‘remembered’ an appointment. She kicked herself for not paying attention to details- all his photos were on or near the motorcycle. He asked if she would like to meet for lunch since they both worked downtown. Nervous and embarrassed, she agreed.

That Monday afternoon, Jane met John. She really liked John. And so it begins.couple-437987__180


Spring flowers and foul moods?


The Spring

Now that the winter’s gone, the earth hath lost

Her snow-white robes, and now no more the frost

Candies the grass, or casts an icy cream

Upon the silver lake or crystal stream;

But the warm sun thaws the benumbed earth,

And makes it tender; gives a sacred birth

To the dead swallow; wakes in hollow tree

The drowsy cuckoo, and the humble-bee.

Now do a choir of chirping minstrels bring

In triumph to the world the youthful Spring.

The valleys, hills, and woods in rich array

Welcome the coming of the long’d-for May.

Now all things smile, only my love doth lour;
Nor hath the scalding noonday sun the power
To melt that marble ice, which still doth hold
Her heart congeal’d, and makes her pity cold.

The ox, which lately did for shelter fly

Into the stall, doth now securely lie

In open fields; and love no more is made

By the fireside, but in the cooler shade

Amyntas now doth with his Chloris sleep

Under a sycamore, and all things keep

Time with the season; only she doth carry

June in her eyes, in her heart January.


Ice princess with a heart of January

The Magic Wardrobe


We loved reading C.S. Lewis’   The Chronicles of Narnia.

In the summertime, after chores were done, we would sit around the campfire and Donna, our teenager babysitter, would read three chapters of Narnia, every night. We kids – ages six to twelve- were enrapt and held on to every word.

None of our cabins had closets or magic wardrobes. However, we all had very active imaginations and knew the magic Redwood tree up the road had enchanting properties. We knew it. 

Where else in the world could you walk down four creaky, wooden steps and into the base of a massive, giant magic tree?  We all knew  it was an enchantment. We could  feel there was a another country beyond the walls of the underground room.

We would take expeditions – wishing we had a magic sledge to take us to the tree – throwing around Narnia quotes, “Joy shall be yours.” and “Oh! The sweet air of Narnia” Where is Aslan?” “Beware the White Witch!” “Turkish Delight – where is it?” 

That winter, the usual rainfall was biblical. It was  outrageous. It rained for weeks on end. The many rivers were swollen, threatening for days at a time –  then spilling over in massive muddy floods. Many small  communities that were once river front, disappeared.

In June, we all went out to see our cabins and we discovered, Our Magic Tree had disappeared. It was gone. The tiny village was erased from the face of the earth.

We knew the White Witch probably stole our tree from us. All summer long we looked for her – ready to kidnap her and feed her to Aslan.




The Fake ID – Trip Advisor, Yelp, life


Her real name was Annie Quillen. She worked as a dinner waitress in a very expensive restaurant on Nob Hill. Her restaurant-name was Monica. She was convinced Monica was a prettier, WASP-ier, more sophisticated  name than Annie. Translated, a Monica would get more tips that an Annie. She made big, huge, tips and brought home divine, gourmet, leftovers. The four of us, living in the flat near Japantown, packed on the pounds while Annie worked there.

dessert-615885__180Annie wrote Yelp reviews – every day. She was a foodie, an explorer and had  money to burn. Her nom de plume on Yelp was La Folie Girl. In no time, she was one of the most writing-est Yelpers and was elevated to status as an Elite member. She went to lots of parties -and complained it was mostly young, Asian girls.


One day, a cute guy she knew asked her to ghost write Yelp reviews. She would get $10.00 for every review. She created a new  Yelp ID. She was Rice Flower. She banged out 2-5 reviews every day. He gave her an envelope with cash every Sunday. She said she got bored and quit.


The restaurant sent her to Napa for a wine training. It lasted three intense days. Bored after work, and on a whim, Annie decided to branch out become a Trip Advisor. She became Laura Wingalls and wrote up every hotel, cafe, shop, bar, tavern she frequented. She did this for months. She was a “Bay Area Babe” a gaggle of Trip Advisor girls who knew the Bay Area intimately.


Then Annie got bored and tired. She was writing – for free for Yelp and Trip Advisor and all she got was a crummy key-chain.

One of the regulars at the restaurant was impressed with the style and decorum Monica displayed. They would chat causally. The executive said she had a great job coming up and asked her for her resume and writing samples. Within two weeks, Helene left the restaurant, went back to  her real-real name – nor Annie/Monica/ Laura Wingalls and has been at  the agency ever since.


Happily ever after.