This is OUR America

I didn’t expect to be posting a new blog entry today but I felt compelled to respond to a question I saw posted on Facebook this morning. So, here goes.

“‘Why can’t you support our president? This is our America”

You are correct, this is OUR America. I will never support an admitted sexual predator who hates everyone who is not a rich white man. Blacks, Muslims, Jews and Mexicans are all targets of his hate. He has no respect for women and reminds us frequently that he believes himself to be superior to us. He is rude and arrogant in his dealings with women and if he gets his way with his legislation, he will decide what we can and can not do with our bodies.

His ignorance of our country and politics, his childish petulant behavior and his constant lies have already done so much damage to our country’s standing in the world it will take years to reverse, if that is possible . 

The repercussions of 45s admiration and his emulation of evil dictators may have catastrophic effects not just in this country but for people worldwide. 

45s mental health is in question. If you have known someone with dementia, you would recognize the behavior. 

Since he has taken office he has lied daily, attacked the free press, continued to divide the country -us against everyone who didn’t vote for him. He has benefited financially, broken the laws of nepotism, obstructed justice and he surrounds himself with unqualified people who he believes are his friends because they donated to his campaign, he has invited Russians to the Oval Office for a private meeting and today he meets with the man who poses the biggest threat to this country.

Honor, dignity, honesty and pride are not a part of this administration. The very foundations of our freedom are in question. The GOP continues to lower the bar every time 45 insults, disrupts, lies and obstructs. None of us benefit with this man in office. Yes, it is OUR America.


Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick

I remember the first bully I encountered as a child.

I grew up in Annapolis, Md. In the 60’s and 70’s it was a small town where everybody knew you.
My neighborhod was a mix of middle class white families and middle to lower class black families.
There were a couple of thugs who would steal every bike that wasn’t chained down.
We knew who they were & we got good at remembering to lock our bikes at night.
I don’t remember any fights or tension between the neighbors. It seems like everyone got along.

But just like every neighborhood who had a petty thief, we also had thug who was a bully.
I don’t remember his face or his name but if I asked my brothers, they would know.
He probably wasn’t older than early teens, if that. I can remember him being part of my very early memories so
I must have been in grammar school when he first started to torment me.
He was good at what he did which leads me to believe I was not the only girl he was harassing.

This guy lived in a predominately black section of our neighborhood. I would ride my bike down this street to go into the neighborhood store on the corner.
I liked flying down the hill full speed ahead with the thought of bubble gum, candy or a coke treat awaiting me at Mikelsons Grocery.
I guess it was during one of these bike rides that he first spied me and decided to make me a target.


Today I understand what he was doing was sexual harassment. But, as a kid, I didn’t have that label in my vocabulary yet.
Truth is, I was too young to understand most of the innuendo, suggestions, threats and gestures.
It was his tone that made what he was saying threating.

I was afraid of this guy and he knew I was afraid of him.

It seemed he would venture up to my block at lest once a week and wait for me to walk by on my way home from school.
I arrived pretty much the same time every day so it wasn’t hard for him to figure out my schedule. I wasn’t always alone; sometimes my brothers or sisters would be walking with me.
However, often I was by myself.

I hated when I saw him standing on the corner.
If I saw him before he saw me I would duck down the other street and sneak home through the neighbors back yard.
I would be shaking and nervous the whole time thinking he would catch up with me and start scaring me. I wouldn’t breathe easy until I was in my own yard.

But, usually he saw me first.

He would approach me saying things that he wanted to do to me. Sometimes he would try to grab me. I would try to keep walking but he often blocked my way.
If I ignored him, it made him mad and he would redouble his efforts. He said words I had never heard at that age. He suggested things that I couldn’t even imagine.
I didn’t know what he was talking about, but I knew it wasn’t nice. I knew he wasn’t nice. He would make me give him my candy or gum. I was too scared to refuse.
He threatened me saying if I ever told anyone about him that he would hurt me. I believed him so I never said anything to anyone.


I found myself changing my behavior to avoid him.
I stopped riding my bike to Mickelson’s Grocery for candy. In fact, I stopped riding my bike except for on my own
block. And, then later when I was allowed to, I rode it and to and from school. I was always on the lookout for him wondering if today ways the day when
I would not be able to get away from him. What if I didn’t have any candy or gum to give him? What then. He was always mean and pushy.
Would today be the day he would do some of the things he threatened to do to me?

I hated him. I hated that he made me afraid. I hated that he demanded I give him something just because he felt he was entitled to it.
I hated that I had to constantly be on the lookout for him.

One day his harassment session got particularly aggressive and I began to panic because I could not get away from him. He seemed to delight in my fear.
He cornered me up against a neighbors fence.
The more terrified I got, the more aggressive he got. I was shaking and scared but trying not to show him just how frightened of him I really was.
I always thought if I stayed strong that I would always be able to get past him and make it back home to safety.


It was an evil game of 3 Billy Goats Gruff where I was the goat and he was the evil troll.
I was sure this day I would not be able to keep him off of me or pay him off with gum or candy.

Just about the time I thought he would overpower me, my two brothers appeared down the street and they saw what was going on.
They told him to leave me alone or he would be in ‘Big Trouble’.
I wasn’t sure what ‘Big Trouble’ meant and I didn’t care. They had saved me from whatever harm this creep meant to inflict on me and I was grateful.

Magically, their threat seemed to work because this guy did leave me alone. In fact, after this encounter, I don’t remember ever seeing him again. Maybe I did, but he didn’t come after me.
I didn’t miss him.
I remember thinking maybe he was in jail for messing with the wrong person or stealing their candy.
I got back to riding my bike and playing in my neighborhood without fear. I did not ride to Mickelson’s Grocery anymore. I didn’t want to risk having him see me.
That might get him started up again.
Life continued on and I never really knew just how this bully was stopped. I always thought it was just the threat of my brothers that did the trick.

In 2014, Many, many years after this terrifying time in my life, I was talking with my brothers reminiscing about growing up in Eastport.
We shared memories about old friends, games, fun and the stuff we did in the neighborhood.
I mentioned this guy to them saying how surprised I was that he stopped picking on me and threatening me after that day when they played interference.

That’s when I learned what ‘Big Trouble’ in the minds of my teenage brothers meant to this thug.

Turns out, my brothers suspected that this guy wouldn’t really leave me alone unless they showed him who was boss. They wanted him to know his advances and bulling were not
acceptable. They wanted him to realize what a punk he really was. Harassing girls and taking their candy was not going to be tolerated.
So, one day Greg and Todd were walking home and they see this kid riding his bike toward them. They quickly devised a plan. Greg picked up
a very long and strong tree branch and waited for this kid to ride close. They knew he would be aggressive toward him since they had thwarted his plans with me.

Just as this punk came near them on his bike, Greg pokes the branch into the spokes of his front tire.

He never saw it coming.
He went flying head over the handlebars landing face down in the street. His face, body and ego had taken a beating.


Without a word, my brothers continued on their way home as he picked himself up out of the street. I believe he was crying.

The world needs more people like my brothers who walk softly and carry big sticks.


Cold Rape Case Solved!

Jennifer Wheatley-Wolf
Me in 1988 and 2011

On January 13, 2010 I testified against serial rapist, William Joseph Trice.

On January 21, 2010, he was pronounced ‘Guilty’ of all 5 counts -sexual assault 1 & 2 degree, Rape 1 & 2 degree and burglary.

One Voice Raised, A Triumph Over Rape           (available on Amazon)


This excerpt describes  the moment, 22 years after the crime, when I saw this man’s face for the first time.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

It was a really cold morning. The sun was bright, but it wasn’t offering any warmth. Glaring reflections of gold sparkled off the store windows and car bumpers shone with silver light. There were frozen puddles in the brick street. “Ego Alley,” Annapolis’ harbor area, was covered in a film of ice. A flock of seagulls circled around the boats in the harbor looking for a spot to make a clear landing. There were a few young people in the cyber café staring at their laptop screens and drinking coffee. Most of the stores on Main Street were not open. The street was mostly deserted, except for the trash men who were picking up bags from in front of the shops and a few men working on some telephone wires. Chick and Ruth’s Delly was busy with people having breakfast. A line was forming at the ATM machine.

It was just like every other winter morning in Annapolis.
It was like no other day in my life.
It was a day I had never imagined dawning.
It was the day I would be seeing, for the first time, the face of the man who had raped me.

I could have heard a pin drop when I walked through the courtroom door. I was alarmed at how much bigger the room appeared to be now that it was full of people. It didn’t seem this large the other day, I thought. How could that happen? Shouldn’t it feel smaller? Closer?

In fact, the room had taken on the feel of a fun house. Judge Hackner sat at his bench straight ahead, but he looked to me to be out on the fifty yard line of a football field and sitting way up high on a mountaintop. I was feeling small. I felt I would be engulfed by the space. I quickly glanced at the benches where the jury sat. They had all turned their heads to look at me as I entered the room. I looked away and my gaze passed over the benches where my friends and family members sat, behind the State’s table where Kathleen was headed. I didn’t want to look at anyone here too closely because I thought I would get too emotional. I didn’t want to fall apart. My eyes darted to the opposite side of the room and I couldn’t help but notice there were very few people sitting on the benches behind the defendant.

The balance of the room felt all wrong. Physically there were many more people sitting on the left side than the right and yet the floor seemed to be listing toward the right; tipped as if being weighed down by an invisible force toward the defendant’s table. The area around the defense table looked dark and uninviting, but I felt myself leaning into the tilt of the floor as if being sucked toward the shadow that hung there. I tried to straighten myself.

As I passed the seats where all my supporters sat, I was aware of a charged energy that was light, warm, and safe. I walked into this light and wanted to stay there. I couldn’t. I was being instructed by someone to approach the bench where the court stenographer sat. I didn’t want to walk toward her because I would have to pass through a section of the room that was dark and oppressive.

I felt dwarfed by the judge sitting way up high. I was being swallowed by the room with its heavy mahogany wood and thick carpet. I felt overwhelmed by what was expected of me. I took a breath and walked forward, being careful not to stumble. All eyes were on me. I could feel them. It was so quiet. I heard only a sniffle or two.

There was nothing inviting about this. The air felt heavy and thick.

I saw his face in profile. He was staring straight ahead with his hands in his lap. His features were sharp; a thin face with protruding cheekbones, a goatee, a widow’s peak, and a receding hairline. His complexion was pale. Way too pale to support hair and a beard that looked to be poorly dyed with inky-black shoe polish, and slicked back with Vaseline. Unnatural. Instantly I understood completely why he’d dyed his hair. I was sure it would soon be very clear to the jury.


William Joseph Trice Arrest Photo-1989 (Peeping Tom charge) and WJT arrest photo 2009


As I walked by the corner of the defense table, I was careful not to brush the edge. Darkness hung heavily in the air around the three people sitting there. I did not want to pass through it.

The stenographer stood and started to speak. Even this was odd. Instead of looking into my eyes when she spoke, she seemed to be looking at something just above my head behind me. I resisted the temptation to twist around to look up and see what her eyes were fixed on. Is she blind? I wondered.

“Do you solemnly declare and affirm under the punishment of perjury that the testimony given will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

I was thirsty. I was beyond thirsty. My mouth was so dry I was afraid I was going to start to cough uncontrollably. I wanted something to drink; I wanted a mint in my mouth. Kathleen started asking me her questions

I have no idea how long I was on the stand. The collective energy I felt when I entered the courtroom, coming from the 12 women there with me, grew stronger as I got further along in retelling the events of August 21, 1988. What I recognized as a comfortable and inviting light when I entered the courtroom became an energizing wave that continued to roll toward me — like an ocean — while I was on the stand. This wave calmed me and filled me.

Trice never met my eyes while I was on the stand. It was uncanny how, no matter when I looked at him, he was always focused on something else in the room. Maybe his lawyer told him not to look at me at all. Maybe he didn’t want to look at me.
But I wondered as I looked at him, “Does the face you are born with determine your fate? Or does the life you lead imprint itself onto you? Do lines etch and features reposition until you look the part of the role you have chosen for yourself? I’m not sure but I was struck by how his face told the story of his life. If I knew nothing about this man, and had seen him walking toward me, I would cross the street. If our meeting were in a dark alley, I would run in fear.

Each invasion, every surprise attack, and every scream he elicited from a terrorized victim echoed from his eyes. His eyes were light in color and ice cold. What must have once been smile lines in childhood had become twisted and carved into a sneer. His jaw was set and closed tight, giving him an angry look. If he had been a Hollywood actor, he would have been type-cast to play every role of sexual predator that came along. His face was one that conjured nightmares. No matter who he was as a child, his choices in adulthood had made him the bogeyman. He was surrounded by dark and evil-looking shadows.

The longer I spoke the more I felt his happiness fade. What had been joyful for him at the start had become a disappointment. I have no doubt he sensed the strength I garnered from telling this story. He had to have been aware of the purifying energy that surrounded me, but never made its way to his table. I have no doubt he realized, by the time I reached the end of my testimony, that I was not the small and frightened girl he had left face down on the bed twenty-two years ago.

The longer I talked, the further along I got in my story, the darker the air around him became. In contrast, the rest of the room was alive in a bright light. This light swirled and danced around the room touching every other person. There were no windows. It wasn’t coming from outside. The light was, I believe, the collective energy, love, and strength of the women in the room. The light was freeing, empowering, and uplifting.
I felt I had grown 12 feet taller when I exited the courtroom.



‘One Voice Raised: A Triumph Over Rape’ Winner of the 2013 ELit Bronze Medal Winner/True Crime!     (Available on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle)  To find out how my case was solved and hear from the detective who stuck with me for 20 years,  order your copy today.

Thank you to the thousands of people all over the world who have read my story. Thank you also to the survivors who have shared your story with me and continue to stand up and speak out against rape and sexual assault. We make a difference.

If you are interested in having Dave Cordle and me present my case at your conference, women group or club , please send an email to

All Is Vanity


All Is Vanity by Charles Allan Gilbert 1892


Charles Allan Gilbert drew this optical illusion picture in 1892, when he was 18 years old. After he sold it to Life Magazine and they reproduced it as a print, it became famous.

I discovered this image when I was a small child and I was immediately fascinated by it. How could something so beautiful also be so horrific?

At first I saw the woman at the dressing table and remember thinking “I wish I could draw like that.” As my eyes took in the details, I began to see the frightening image of a human skull emerging .

WOW! How cool is this?’

There is no doubt in my mind that this image impacted me so much that it made me want to be an artist.

As I shared this image with friends, I realized some could only see the woman at the dressing table and could not see the skull. There were others who only saw the skull and their eyes could not find the woman anywhere. And there were a few who, like me , could see both parts of the images. Try as they might, the people who could only see one part or the other could never see the parts they were missing.

I found this discovery interesting. We can all look at the same thing: a photograph, painting, print, movie etc and take away something different.  Perhaps more interesting to me was how the people who could only see one view of this image and not the other  insisted that I was making something up; I was lying to them. They were sure that I was trying to trick them somehow. I wasn’t. There was no trickery involved. In my perspective, both images were so obvious I could not understand how anyone could not see them.

I have been thinking a lot about this image these days.

How can millions of people look at the same person, evaluate his behavior and reactions and come away with extremely different and conflicting conclusions?

I think what’s happening can be explained by this print.

What did you see first?

Did you see the beautiful, pleasant woman gazing at her reflection? Or did you see the human skull?

Can you see both parts of this story or will your eyes only focus on one part of the image or the other?

Here’s ‘The Thing’. Once you can see the combined images, you can never unsee them. I will never be able to go back and see only the beautiful woman.

Once the evil has been revealed, it can not be unknown.

Our country is about swear into office of President the human equivalent of this image.

For his supporters, the PE represents the beautiful part of this print. These people see him as a good person who promises to make this country ‘Great Again’ . They cannot and will never be able to see the frightening  and evil persona that does not even try to hide its face.

For the rest of us, we can not see anything else.


A Nation Divided


Global Street Art- Statue of Liberty by NOK Crew

The majority of the people in this country did not vote for the unqualified man who will take office in January.

Think about that.

In any other election we scrawl a name on a small piece of paper indicating who we want to win. The names are counted and the one who has the most votes is the winner.

Except, this doesn’t happen for the most important election in this country.

Like the majority of people in this country, I did not vote for the malevolent circus clown who was cheered and admired through this entire election process by people who envy him, who want to be just like him.

His legion do not care that he is callous, crude, mean, vindictive, childish, selfish, prejudiced and unqualified.

They turned a blind eye to his mocking.
They turned a blind eye to his thousands of lies.
They turned a blind eye when he admitted he “Can’t stop himself” and feels compelled to kiss and grope women who he feels are worthy of him.
They turned a blind eye to him when he said he will round up all the Muslims in this country and ship them out.
They turned a blind eye to him when he said all Mexicans are rapists and murderers.
They turned a blind eye to his being endorsed by the KKK.

I could go on and on, but we are all aware of just how disgusting this man has proven himself to be.

His followers do not care.

They voted for him saying they want change for this country and that is good. Finding ways to improve the quality of life for everyone who suffers financially is good.
Coming up with ways to make sure everyone has a job that pays the bills is good.
Making sure everyone has health insurance and don’t have to worry how to pay the bills when they get sick is good.

We all want these things.

But, achieving these goals at the cost of our humanity, humility, honor, security and personal freedom is not good. It is frightening and dangerous.
This is why so many people have been demonstrating the election results.
His supporters, those who turned a blind eye to all the hate and ugliness he handed out are now telling us, those who oppose him,  to:
‘get over it’, ‘quit whining’, ‘you lost, grow up’ etc.

It is terribly sad and horrific that some of the protesters have relied on violence and destruction to make their feelings known. But, they have been few.
Most demonstrators are stunned, frightened and angry but they are not violent.

I recently read a friends Facebook feed that said all of Clinton supporters are the same.
She made her comment in response to the protesters who have, sadly, turned to violence to express their grief and concerns.
I wanted so badly to respond to this comment, but I couldn’t.
She did, however spur me to write this post.
I know that she would not understand that her comment is EXACTLY the reason Hillary supporters are so fearful.

He has brought out the worst in so many people.

Lies are OK.
Disrespect is OK.
Hypocrisy is OK.
Bullying is OK.
Bigotry is OK.
Hate for those not just like you is OK.
Distrust of those with different colored skin is OK.
Belittling women and special needs people is OK.
Threatening retaliation on all who oppose you or who are not in favor of you is OK.
Being a sexual predator is OK.

This woman’s disrespectful comment, her hatred of millions of people, comes as an off-hand comment intended to sum up the majority of the voters in this country.

This is why there are demonstrations.

Don’t think for a minute that if the tables were turned, this same woman,
and millions who have allowed hate and distrust to take hold of their hearts, would not have taken to the streets in the same fashion.

I am disappointed Clinton didn’t win. Many of us were excited at the possibility of electing the first woman president. A woman who’s experience made her the most qualified candidate in history.

While I was waiting in line to vote at the firehouse I was chatting with a woman; small talk really. We discussed how we thought coffee and donuts would have been a nice idea, how beautiful the weather was and the length of the lines.
As we got closer to the front of the line, like me, she found the anticipation of voting for a woman for the first time in US history to be overwhelming. Both of us were crying. It was empowering. There was a bond so strong that maybe only other women who supported Clinton could understand.

I was and will always be proud to say I got to vote for a woman for president.


I voted for a woman to be president in 2016

Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. If our antiquated system of the electoral college were abolished years ago when it’s usefulness ran out, she would be our next president. But, she lost this election.

(To learn more about this system of government that was established in the days of slavery please read this article. The Troubling Reason the Electoral College Exists

I could have come around to accepting the 3rd party candidate if he had won.
It would not have been my favorite result, but I could have lived with that. I believe many others could have accepted that result in favor of the one we are presented with.

What his followers don’t understand is the demonstrations are not about who lost the electoral votes so much as it is about who won, who will be sworn in in January.

They chose to vote for him and his horrible plans do not concern them. They do not care.

They do not care how his plans to round up Muslims and deport them, abolish Roe vs wade, defund Planned Parenthood, reverse the gay marriage law, and build a wall of alienation threatens millions of people.


“A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.”
―Abraham Lincoln

These millions of people, who have felt safe in their country, our country, are now facing a genuine threat.

Millions feel threatened by the legion who, by voting for him, aligned themselves with him and his ideas. Of course, not all of his supporters are hate filled, vengeful people. But a lot of them are. And, a lot of them have  lashed out, followed his lead. They now believe it is OK to be everything he is, no matter how horrific.

The greatest  threat though comes at the hands of the next leader of this free country.
Millions are terrified their rights and personal freedoms will end when he is sworn into office. This is not a vague threat they feel. It is very real. He has made it clear throughout his campaign that he will take aim at abolishing everything that does not suit him.

A lot does not suit him.

His supporters do not care or understand that victims of sexual assault and rape are traumatized by having a sexual predator in control of this country.
This is the equivalent of being trapped in an abusive relationship on a scale that is beyond our comprehension.
Many women have reached out to me devastated by this. Many are experiencing PTSD symptoms.
Symptoms they thought they had under control during their journey from victim to empowered survivor. They are feeling powerless again.
Having a sexual predator in the Oval Office is a very real and frightening backwards slide for all survivors.

As a rape survivor, I choose not to say his name now or ever if I can prevent from doing so.
I will have to listen to his voice on the news over the next 4 years and this disgusts me. Everything about this man disgusts me.
It’s a voice that makes me nauseous. His words fill me with shock. I, like the majority of people in this country truly hoped
we  would never have to hear his name or see his face again.
That will not happen any time soon.

The man who lost the election will be sworn into office.

However, I will never respect a sexual predator who tells me how he is going to make my life and America great again. Never.

He is a reminder of what is so wrong with so many of the very people who cheer and praise him.

They just do not care.



News photos of demonstrators. Sorry, I do not have the names of the photographers

Exposing America

A gentleman named Bill Howell eloquently wrote this letter.
Dear Mr. Trump,
It’s taken me a while to realize this and to admit it, but I’m grateful to you.
For the past few months I’ve spent a good deal of time lamenting your campaign and the poison it has so effortlessly generated.
I’ve watched our country imploding, our public discourse become polluted, our political climate grows ever more corrosive, and wrongly assumed you were to blame.
It’s only lately I’ve come to understand that you haven’t manufactured our current national ugliness—you’ve simply revealed it.
By saying the irresponsible, mean-spirited, ignorant things you say so freely and so frequently, you’ve given other like-minded people license to do the same.
You’ve opened up the floodgates for our corporate sewage to flow fully. People no longer conceal their vile mess, they now revel in it, they broadcast it and retweet it.
You’ve made bigotry and racism socially acceptable again and that has been a kind of twisted gift because
it’s allowed me to really see people; not as they pretend to be on the surface—but in the very depths of their wounded, weaponized hearts.
Over and over as your campaign has persisted, your supporters would tell me that they like you because you “speak your mind”.
It wasn’t until recently that I’ve realized that you speak their minds. You’ve given credence to their prejudices and made those prejudices go mainstream.
Thanks to the terrible ground you’ve broken, politicians, pastors, friends, and strangers, both in person and on social media
now regularly out themselves as hateful, intolerant, and malicious—and they remind me just how close they are to me, just how deep the sickness in us runs,
and just how far we have to go together.
You’ve emboldened people to be open about things they used to conceal for the sake of decorum, and though it turns my stomach,
I know that this is the only way we can move forward; to have that cancerous stuff exposed fully so that it can be dealt with.
Our progress as a nation is predicated on authentic dialogue, no matter how brutal and disheartening that dialogue is.
In other words, you’ve let us know what we’re really dealing with here and while it’s been rightly disturbing, it’s also been revelatory.
That’s the thing about that kind of harsh light: you’re forced to see everything. Beauty and monstrosity equally illuminated.
Now don’t get me wrong, I think you’re the least qualified, least knowledgeable Presidential candidate we may ever have had participate this far into the process,
and if you somehow were elected I’d fear gravely for the world my children would inherit—should it survive your Presidency at all.

I believe you’re reckless, bitter, and completely reprehensible; the very worst kind of bully.

But whether you win or lose, you’ve already allowed me the blessing of Truth; about me, about you, about other candidates, about our nation.
And in the process you’ve also shown me that I am not alone in resisting you and this ugly thing you’ve revealed about us.
You’ve generated an equally loud, equally passionate response to it and this is where I find my hope these days.

I find it in those for whom equality isn’t just a cheap buzzword, it’s the most precious of hills to die on.
I find it in those people who refuse to be silent in the face of our impending shared regression.
I find it in those willing to be bolder in defending the inherent value of all people.
I find it in the growing army of those who will not tolerate hatred as a core American value.
I find it in those who reject violence as our default response to dissension.
I find it in the ever rising voice of people who will not let malice and bitterness represent them in the world.
Today I find my hope in those who, like me, will not be complicit in allowing bigotry and intolerance to become a source of national pride, because we’ve seen where that leads.

Yes, Mr Trump, you’ve unearthed our hidden sickness and you’ve allowed it to go viral.
You brought every awful thing about us out into the open.
You will NEVER Get My Vote!


“For Crying Out Loud”

Anyone who knew my father for any length of time learned he was a talented and quiet man; a leader. He inspired those who knew him to be creative, be the best they could be. Your efforts were not acceptable if he thought them ‘Half-Assed”.

Dads Army Portrait

Dads Army Portrait

A couple things I have done in my lifetime made him proud. I got sober and started concentrating on my talents as an artist. He bought a few of my paintings because he liked them, not just because I painted them.


He inspired my latest art quilt, Geisha in The Snow
He gave me a print-out of an image he found on line and liked. I remember dad asking me if I thought I ‘could do anything with this’ as he handed the piece of paper to me. Although the quilt is not completely finished, I was able to show it to dad when he was back east in July. It knocked his socks off!

Geisha in the snow (quilt)

Geisha in The Snow-Step-By-Step

After I wrote my book-One Voice Raised: A Triumph Over Rape, he called to tell me he thought it was very well written and wished it could be read by all rape survivors. I know he passed his copy on to so many friends it was a dog-eared mess by the time he got it back. Or, maybe he never got it back? I don’t remember. It would be pretty awesome if my book were still being passed along with my dad’s recommendations.

One Voice Raised (Amazon)

Some of my earliest memories from childhood are of me standing by dads drawing table watching him work on his architectural drawings. I found the process fascinating. I imagine it must have been difficult for him to concentrate with me peering over his left shoulder while he drew, but dad never seemed to mind. I guess it must have been during these times with dad that I decided I wanted to learn to draw.

Pastel 1980

Pastel 1980

I spoke with dad about a week before he died. He told me he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and his doctor thought it had spread to his hip. I had the feeling he didn’t want to hang up from the call and that it would be the last time I would talk with him. I tried to shake the feeling, but it wouldn’t go away. I think he knew he was sicker than he let on.

He told me he wished he could go to Venice again. One of my sisters and a few friends and I were heading to Italy on October 10th. I promised we would send photos and told him I hoped he would get the chance to return.



On the 13th of October dad had what was supposed to be the first in a course of chemotherapy treatments. After the treatment he said he felt better-no pain in his stomach from a lingering bout of diverticulitis. It was the best he had felt in weeks and he said he thought he was on the mend…happy to feel like his old self again.
The next day dad enjoyed a big lunch and was in good spirits. He went to lay down for a nap and didn’t wake up.
Around 11pm the doorbell to our apartment in Venice rang. My sister unlocked the door and no one was there. It was just about the same time dad laid down for his nap in California. I guess dad made it back to Venice after all.
It would be just like him to ring the bell and hide.

sm-doorbell-© ArtGiftsEtc.com36

My father was an architect who played a part in the construction of many malls and buildings around the country and in Europe. Although these buildings will be around for years, I think his legacy will live on in his 5 children, grandkids, great grand kids and his friends. He taught us to try our hardest at what ever we pursued. By striving to be the best, you will never be disappointed in what you accomplish knowing you have given it your all.
And, he taught us to laugh. He loved to make us laugh.



Dads heart was to be out on the water and as often as he could he would be on his boat sailing.
Lately I have been hearing a Tom Waits song in my head:


Shiver Me Timbers

I’m leavin’ my fam’ly
And leavin’ my friends
My body’s at home
But my heart’s in the wind
Where the clouds are like headlines
On a new front page sky
My tears are salt water
And the moon’s full and high

And I know Martin Eden’s
Gonna be proud of me
And many before me
Who’ve been called by the sea
To be up in the crow’s nest
And singin’ my say
Shiver me Timbers
Cause I’m a-sailin’ away

The fog’s liftin’
And the sand’s shiftin’
And I’m driftin’ on out
And Ol’ Captain Ahab
He ain’t got nothin’ on me.
So come on and swallow me, don’t follow me
I’m trav’lin’ alone
Blue water’s my daughter
‘N I’m gonna skip like a stone

Everyone who met my father learned a lot about themselves by listening to the advice and teachings from a man whose harshest words were
“For crying out loud.”
And when he was really mad, he added,
“You Jerk!”
Love you dad…gentle breezes…till we meet again.

Dads 80th Surprise Birthday Party

Dads 80th Surprise Birthday Party

The Gift Of Robin Willams

    In my lifetime I have witnessed the passing of many public figures but none so sad and frightening as the recent suicide of Robin Williams.


     Sad because we all lost a gem. He made us laugh and cry wanting the performance or movie we were watching to never end. I know I always anticipated his next roll and tried to catch every TV appearance. I envied his carefree and spontaneous manner. I admired his way of making us laugh at ourselves.

     Robin’s death is frightening because it reminds me that we are all vulnerable. Fame and fortune are not enough to isolate us from mental health problems like depression and substance abuse. They may, in fact, make things worse for some. Each of us has burdens but do we have to suffer alone? 

    He was loved by millions and he was alone.  I cannot imagine how horrible that isolation must have been for him. Was there no one he could reach out too? Did he feel he had tried everything and there was no help left?  His despair led him to take his own life to end his pain and all of us are desperate to make sense of it all.

    I read something on Facebook this morning that prompted me to write this entry. It references a Tweet about a movie Robin did the voice-over for. I didn’t see the movie>>>


“Suicide contagion and social media: The dangers of sharing ‘Genie, you’re free’

More than 270,000 people have shared the tweet, which means that, per the analytics site Topsy, as many as 69 million people have seen it.

The problem? It violates well-established public health standards for how we talk about suicide.If it doesn’t cross the line, it comes very, very close to it,” said Christine Moutier, chief medical officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. “Suicide should never be presented as an option. That’s a formula for potential contagion.” <<<

      I agree that suicide should not be an option. But, sadly we are reminded that too often it is. Maybe the “standards for talking about suicide” should be revisited.

    As a reformed alcoholic with 24 years sober, I know how difficult the discussion of addiction is. I know too the shame and humiliation felt by those who suffer. Choosing not to drink is a daily decision. But facing and slaying the demons that guided me to the path of drinking in the first place is what keeps me balanced and prevents me from slipping off of the very thin tightrope. Sobriety really is ‘One Day at a Time’ 

     Perhaps the most generous gift Robin Williams has given us is the opportunity for the discussion, recognition and treatment of mental illness, depression and addiction without social recriminations. Creating an environment where those who suffer begin to speak openly and freely can help us recognize red flags and find a way to help. Open discussion may offer hope to some and lead to fewer suicides.

     When a man who was loved by millions the world wide feels so alone and desperate- isolated in his own home that his only solution was to take his own life, we have to wake up. He is free of his pain and we can learn from it.

 Be at peace Robin Williams


 National Suicide Prevention Life line: 1-800-273-8255

A Farewell To Cancer, Farewell To Mom

The first time I can remember hearing the word ‘Cancer’ was when I was in Jr. High School. My grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her doctor convinced her he could ‘Get it all.’ if she had a mastectomy. So, Nana agreed. I believe he removed her spunky spirit when he removed her breast. And, he did not “Get it all.” Nana died when I was in High School.


When I think of all the people who, since Nana, have died from cancer I get a sick feeling in my stomach. The mother and father of my best childhood friend, another good friends mother, a couple of neighbors, several friends and co-workers and today, my mother.

mom-October 2, 1931 to January 18, 2014149_n

The number of people who I know who have had cancer and gone through treatment and not survived is staggering and too many to name.

7 (2)

I use to believe a cure for cancer was close. I use to have hope. Now I don’t. I don’t believe the cure for cancer will never be released. It may have already been discovered years ago. When I consider all the diseases science has conquered in my lifetime, it is impossible for me to believe cancer isn’t on that list. But then I think about the size of industry that is devoted to cancer research and treatment and I get cynical. It’s easy to see how finding a cure is counterproductive to the search for a cure and detrimental to it all is the announcement of a cure for cancer.

Just imagine the staggering number of people who would be instantly out of work if a cure for cancer was announced today. Oh, sure, some would go on to research other diseases, but not many if you consider the big picture.
Scientist, Doctors, Hospitals, Pharmaceutical Companies, Medical Equipment Manufacturers, Therapists, Holistic Healers, Fashion Industry, Fund Raisers and on and on and on, would all out of work.

The never-ending search for a cure for cancer may just be one of the largest employers in this country. I am tired of hearing about the search for a cure. For almost ¾ of my life I have heard some mention of finding a cure for cancer every day. Oh how I would love to turn on the TV, radio or computer and see “Cure For Cancer FOUND!!” I have lost hope.

It was determined several years ago that breast cancer is hereditary. My grandmother died of it and today my mother died of it. I do not believe the cure will ever be announced in my lifetime so it’s likely I will die of it too.
If there is a heaven or here-after, I hope my mother made it there and she is finally at peace.
Give my love to Nana for me mom.