Monday, April 18, 2005



I loved this site and, if you love fiction, you will, too.

A Thank You Tip for Readers: Coolibar

I have recently had a few posts from people who read my blog. It makes me feel great and I want to thank you all, whether you've ever posted a message or not.

There are several reasons I write a blog.
  • I'm a writer; it's what I do.
  • It's a creative outlet.
  • Ideas 'r me - I'm always thinking about something.
  • People reading my posts gives me a connection to the world.

So, it is very helpful and encouraging to find out that somebody IS indeed reading.

In honor of readers, I'm going to share some very neat information about a company called Coolibar ( As mentioned occasionally in my posts, I have lupus (SLE). One of the rotten things about the way my particular case of lupus operates is that I am photosensitive. (Allergic to sunlight is the closest I can come describing it.) When I am exposed to ultraviolet light, from the sun or from fluorescent lights, it makes the lupus flare up. I get severely fatigued - like my very cells are tired - my joints ache and I get the bright red "butterfly rash" of lupus across my cheeks and nose.

Aside: Once, before I knew I was photosensitive, Michael and I spent an August weekend in Laredo for my birthday. On Saturday, we walked across the bridge to Nuevo Laredo and spent the day in the marketplace, buying gifts to take home to our children and friends. Our big plan was to go to the famous (original, I think) Cadillac Bar in Nuevo Laredo for dinner that night after ducking back to our hotel for a little nap and shower. Which we did. We took a cab to dinner and ordered drinks - for Michael, probably beer, but for me, a sloe gin fizz, a drink I had read about in pulp fiction but never tasted. Very good, by the way. As the evening progressed, I started feeling a lot of pain in my hands, though, and by the time our dinners arrived, I couldn't even hold my knife and fork, let alone feed myself, because the joints in my hands were absolutely throbbing in pain.

I knew I was photosensitive and had to avoid exposure to sunlight from then on.

Back to Coolibar. My friend June gave me a catalog from Coolibar. They make clothing that is impenetrable to UV light, like clothes with sunscreen, really high SPG sunscreen. Wow - a way to be in the sun again. I ordered a pair of pants and a beach shirt, which is like a lightweight jacket with lots of airy, breathable places, that can take a dunking. They sent me a free hat to go with. The pants I selected are white, the shirt - hooded BTW - is pale pink, and the hat is white, so I am actually coordinated in this outfit. I plan to wear it gardening, walking, swimming ... well, maybe not swimming in the pants. But you get the picture. Oh, and the fabric is so lightweight and silky feeling that it is hard to believe it is cotton.

So, any of you who are sensitive to sunlight or just worried about skin cancer, check out Coolibar and maybe you will find something for yourself. They are not as expensive as I expected, but definitely more than Walmart or Target - think department store reasonable. And when you consider the benefits, they are very reasonable indeed.


Friday, April 15, 2005

Houston Holocaust Museum Visit

I'm not going to try to come up with a catchy title for this one. It was a powerful afternoon. My 13-year old had a school assignment to visit the Holocaust Museum and, since she was off school today, I decided to take her.

I remember finding out about the Holocaust at about the same age, maybe 12. It horrified me then and it horrified me in college when I saw the movie "Night and Fog." So now I'm 54 and I was horrified again to see it.

I had more of a personal feeling about it this time, actually. My friend Stephie and her family - who I didn't know until I was an adult - were on the last ship to make it into a foreign port without being turned away. So close to being lost. My Uncle Bob, as a young soldier, helped to liberate a concentration camp, something he never talked about and I didn't learn until I was an adult. So I have this new knowledge to bring to viewing the Holocaust, and it made the experience more difficult for me today.

There we were, walking along with the Mandy Potemkin narrating into our ears with his lovely voice over the headsets, and I was crying and my daughter was patting my shoulder to comfort me. She was sweet. I don't remember crying when I was 12 ... maybe the sadness comes with age.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Write Away

I spent last week in Reno, Nevada at the TMCC Writers' Conference. What a terrific week. I had the privilege of taking a memoir workshop with Joelle Fraser-Porter, author of The Territory of Men. This fine book is available in bookstores and I highly recommend it. Joelle was a generous workshop leader, giving a lot of excellent comments and suggestions to everyone in our group. If you ever get the chance to take a class from her, do it!

The most important thing I got from the workshop was a desire to revise my work. I saw how just a few well-placed revisions could dramatically improve my writing and I plan to put the time into making those revisions.

I have a lot more to say about the conference and about my very first forays into the world of gambling, but that will have to wait. I've only been home a day and I haven't got my rhythm back, so to speak. But when I do, I'll be back.


My Unitarian Jihad Name is: Sister Katana of Desirable Mindfulness.

Get yours.

When you get your Unitarian Jihad name, you will find a link to Jon Carroll's April 8, 2005 article in the San Francisco Chronicle about the Unitarian Jihad. It is wonderfully inspiring and I recommend everyone read it and take up arms ... well, link arms anyway!