Monday, December 26, 2016

Dining Etiquette for the 21st Century

A flurry of new books have hit the market promising to initiate the reader into the secrets of fine dining. Most of them are silly. Or obvious. Fork here. Elbow there. Don't talk and chew. Be clean. Yes. Here are FIVE TIPS for being a pleasant dining companion, whether in the fanciest restaurant or at home.

1) Don't talk on the phone.
This should be a no brainer. Sitting at the table carrying on a conversation with someone who is not there while ignoring your compagnons is worse than serving yourself mashed potatoes with your bare hands in our book. Yet a surprising number of people who view themselves as "civilized" will think nothing of receiving - or even making - telephone calls while sitting at the dinner table. RULE: if you must take a call, excuse yourself politely, get up, and go away. Do not come back until you are finished.

2) Put away the tablet/computer/video game and other attention grabbing electronic devices.
Even if they make no noise because you have earphones. It's simply rude.

3) Don't eat directly out of the serving dish. 
Put the food on your own plate with the serving spoon. And then, with your own fork, put it in your mouth.

4) Don't talk trash or call names. 
Even though every TV show talks constantly about human sex organs as proxys for courage, motherhood, masculinity, femininity, and just about every human emotion or situation, there's no reason for pottymouth at the dinner table. See if you can tell a funny joke without referring to a sexual organ. Make it a parlor game.

5) No screaming please.
Yes, the elections left more than half the country with PTSD. Yes, families disagree as ferociously as during the Civil War (though we had less weapons then). The dinner table is a time to come together, not stick forks into one another. If you can't talk politics politely, don't talk politics at all.

Bon appétit!!

about the author:
Geena Heart's Lifehacks for Over Fifty will be released in 2017.

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Time I Sent The Fish Back

"Is the cod fresh?"

The waitress, who is blonde and sweet and young, beams with pride. "Yes, of course it is," she says. "Just in this morning."
I order the cod. It arrives steaming hot, with perfect mound of mashed potatoes. I poke it with my fork. The fork sticks in it, quivering.
I lift it to my mouth, waiting for the flaky goodness to melt on my tongue. It does not melt. I chew. After concerted effort, it separates into stringy fibers. This is not fresh, unless fresh now means freshly defrosted.

What to do?

The girl looks so sweet. Somebody's daughter. A student maybe. Possibly waiting tables in order to pay for her degree in nuclear engineering.We are in New England. With clean salty ocean air only minutes away.

"Is the fish ok?" she asks. She looks worried. She should look worried. Still, I hesitate, not wanting to hurt her feelings. "If it's not," she adds, "you can have something else. It's really not a problem."

Remorse. The girl is dying with remorse. She knew the fish was frozen. But she lied about it. Now she wants to make amends.

"A salad," she suggests. "Would you like a salad? I'm really sorry about the fish."

"Thank you," I say, gratefully. Glad for the both of us.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

5 great tips for turning 55

Aging, especially for women, brings challenges. But also rewards. Here are five great tips for enjoying life after 55.

1) Your children should not only be cooking for themselves, but also, occasionally, for you.

2)  You will almost always sleep better and wake up feeling brighter if you eat little or nothing after 6pm

3)  If you do not know how to blow dry your hair attractively, now is a good time to learn.

4)  Unless you work in a dry cleaner, laundry is not your job. It is time to let family members in on the secret.

5)  If you are hoping for a promotion at work, don't wait any longer to speak to the the boss about it.

Have tips you want to share? Add them to the comments...

about the author:
Geena Heart's Lifehacks for Over Fifty will be released in 2017.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Trump Experts Interview Each Other

It's always interesting to listen to what the experts have to say. Following Donald Trump's win in the presidential elections, May Shroom, Professor of Political Sophistry at Expensive University interrogates Banan A Peel, CEO of Dark Money Think Tank.

Banon A Peel: Trump. Well, well. Didn't see that one coming, now, did you?

May Shroom: Actually Banon, our models showed Trump losing the popular vote, and we were dead on right about that.

BAP: Congratulations. Now that The Donald is President Elect, what insight can you give us into his goals?

MS: The main goal - to get revenge on all those comics who made fun of him - that's been achieved. President Obama and Seth Meyers are probably pretty much regretting those jokes they made now.

But is revenge a clear enough guideline by which to pilot a country in the 21st century?

Certainly. Especially coupled with profit. I'd be surprised if The Donald didn't make some pretty fantastic returns on this investment.
"Revenge and profit" is, by the way, a much easier doctrine to understand than "Monroe" or "Containment".

Trump's just joking about throwing Clinton in jail and silencing the press, isn't he?

Remember that game show, The Price Is Right? The climax was always that moment when the contestant had to decide to risk everything in order to see what was behind the curtain. I think that about sums up the situation today.

Hey Carol Merrill, what's behind door number three! Loved that show! So you're saying that America just voted out of curiosity to see what might be hidden behind the curtain?

A people gets bored. A people gets tired of blenders and sensible shoes. A people wants a little excitement. That's why we skydive and take ecstasy. Which is a pretty good description of what we just did.

But did we do it? What about those who say "it was the Russians wot done it"?

Lenin once said that capitalists would sell you the rope to hang them with. That's why he will make such a great Secretary of State.

I thought Trump named Tillerson?

Right, right. I get them confused. There was also some talk about Carly "The Face" Fiorina.

What is the place of Christianity in this administration? Is Trump as religious as he looks?

Absolutely. Christianity occupies a prime place in the Trump administration, like in Elmer Gantry

Wall Street has greeted the election of Trump with enthusiasm. The Dow has been hitting record highs. Is that because they are convinced he will be a good manager?

Ha ha. That's a good one. They've just blown off the doors and window and there's self driving cars and drones to spirit the stuff away.  Ever heard of the ransacking of Rome? Totally small potatoes compared to what is coming.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Flash Fiction: Vincent Forever

Vincent had loved sports, girls, his mother, father and brother. Unfortunately he also loved fast cars.
"Kill me," he signed with the only finger that could still move."Please".
In this way he dictated a book and addressed a letter to the President.
"Let me die," he repeated, in line after line, in the letter to the President.
The President, meaning well, suggested that Vincent try to regain his love of life.
Blind, mute and unable to move, Vincent could not regain his love of life. Vincent had loved life. Now that was gone. It pained him to know that his mother was there, every day, at his hospital bed, her life hostage to his. He loved his mother, and suffered to hear her gasp, every so quietly, before she took his hand. Dream, she told him. Soar, at night, inside your head.
Inside his head, he soared. Waiting, hoping, dreaming to die.

(image: credit Steve Garvie, "Bird")

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Grand olde dame

The heroine of this fine novel is in her seventies 

DRIFTING front cover
Readers will come to love feisty Charlotte “Muddy” Rewis who, despite the bad news in the world, triumphs by making a difference in her own way.

Chock full of humor…a beautiful story that makes you feel like you have been transported back to small town America.

- Winston Groom, author of Forrest Gump 


Book Reviewers, Bookclubs, please contact

Bookstores: distribution by Ingram Book Group and Baker & Taylor ISBN: 9781940333090

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Mysterious Tall Dark Stranger in IKEA Catalog Thriller

"There's always a place at the table."*

The photo is idyllic: candles flickering, lamps lit, sun streaming in from windows on three sides, Olga - or Bertha or Inga? -  delicious  in her white blouse, a clean kitchen towel tucked domestically into her waist, as she welcomes the new guest.  On her bare left hand, she effortlessly balances a clear Pyrex dish. With her right she touches (leans into?) the door frame. Around the table, a luminous picture of harmony.

There is the white-haired matriarche from Stockholm. And, across from her, a husband, most likely hers. One guesses a devilishly sophisticated commodities trader from someplace at once hip and rural, like Bergen. He's got the grey hair, the athlete's bod, the bracelet, and a perfect two days of beard. At the end of the table, like bookends, two attractive young women, one a short haired blonde, the other a Magrebine beauty with a crown of thick curly hair. Sisters? friends? Lovers? It's such an exciting world! 

And next to her, standing, holding a stemless glasses, white smile brilliant against his dark skin, a handsome black man. There's something about him. Something special. Yes!  He's wearing a hat.  Inside! And standing up while all the other are seated. Is it possible he's just arrived?

The others all have plates of half eaten food before them, forks and knifes crossed on porcelain. Olga our waitress or other daughter whoever the hell she is - is she surprised? 

Why else would she have stopped at the door of the kitchen, casserole dish suspended in mid air? 

And why, oh why, is the man in the hat smiling at her in that way? 

But maybe perhaps you weren't expecting me? 

And yet, in addition to a good seat at the head of the table, there is an additional empty chair. So maybe he's not unexpected. Maybe she's not breathlessly exclaiming, "Oh, what a delicious surprise! Welcome!" but "Where the fuck have you been! You're two hours late!"

That chair, that haunting, not quite empty, chair.
It's not really empty. There's some kind of rug on it. Is it the IKEA bathroom mat he just bought and is bringing as an offering (thanks for lunch, have a bathroom mat). Is it a coat, so coolly fashionable that it has armpits - what is it?
With all those candles and light streaming in from three sides plus an additional two lights over the bookshelf we should be able to make it out. But we can't! It's as confusing and convoluted as a millennium thriller!

There's always a place at the table.

Yes! Maybe! No!

The tension is unbearable.

*Ikea France Catalog. Page 56.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Are you a target for probate vultures?

Thirty TRILLION dollars are expected to change hands as the boomer generation ages. This treasure is attracting interest from many quarters, including Healthcare and Financial Professionals, as well as professional Guardians, Trustees and Private Fiduciaries,

Many are honest and competent. Unfortunately, however, not all.

Some exploit their position of trust to run up fees for themselves and their friends - at the expense of the person to be cared for and their heirs.

The multi-trillion dollar estate industry has attracted more than a few of these vultures.


See also:

Prosecution Toolkit for Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation

Ressources Elder Abuse - Fraud and Financial Abuse