Stacy Alexander

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© Stacy Alexander – 2017
Reproduction or use of the content on this blog restricted without author’s permission.


Stacy Alexander – ARTE CALIFORNIA – Welcome!

Clemson Burgers


I pulled this from a Facebook post that did not give accreditation. When I find out what the author’s name is, I will post it here.

The problem with Trump’s McDonald’s party isn’t that McDonald’s is uniquely cheap or unhealthy or unfit for consumption or whatever other classist, pseudo-elitist, crap some of you folks seem to think. The unhealthiness of American fast food is generally overstated by almost everyone, as is its alleged inedibility, and the fact that people on a budget can conveniently access hot, delicious meals for the price of 15 minutes of labor is a miracle of the modern world and there’s no goddamn reason for an American President to be ashamed Americans know how to make some good, cheap hamburgers. Only a people as fat and comfortable and safe as Americans could be confused otherwise. Sorry, Belgium, you may have invented the french fry, McDonald’s made it into crack. Anyway, stop fronting. Y’all just had three cruncheritos and a mexican pizza from the Bell. Shit is good sometimes.

And the problem isn’t that Trump is a billionaire or that this repast took place at the White House on all their high falutin’ china, that fast food is somehow too undignified. America loves that shit. Billionaires eat McDonald’s, too (ask Warren Buffet), and when the fuck did we become the kind of nation that’s offended by our leaders having a goddamn burger on some fancy, company’s coming over, china, anyway? This isn’t Europe, the White House isn’t Versailles, as much as that doofus and our Centaurian first lady would like to pretend it is. McDonald’s is just fine on them high-class plates. (And by the way, the White House isn’t a palace because we don’t have kings and queens, we have employees, and as Trump’s employer, if he wants to snort addie off the Resolute desk and then piss on that big carpet seal while no one’s around, that’s fine with me. He should have the same right to misuse, abuse, and degrade his place of work as any other American worker. If your shirt is so stuffed shit like that is going to bug you, move to the 19th century or a Jane Austen novel or something.)

The problem, as always, with everything, is Trump. Trump isn’t just a rich guy, or the president. His every move, every thought, revolve around presenting himself as his own, vulgar, demented, version of what a rich man is. This is a man who lives in a gold tower and, so desperate to inhabit his sad, cartoon version of wealth, literally shits in a gold toilet. He is hyper-conscious of status signifiers, even though the signifiers he chooses signify exactly the opposite of his intention for anyone with a semi-functional aesthetic sense, the most famous, desperate, social climbing asshole in a world full of them. He is, always, always, always trying to look wealthy, special, “classy”, and terrified of looking otherwise. That’s the whole point of being Trump.

So this compulsive would-be elitist invites a college football team to the White House, many of whom come from modest backgrounds, to be feted by the leader of their nation on what should be one of the proudest days of their lives, looking forward to some sumptuous, chef prepared, eight course White House meal, and this cheap prick, rather than giving them something to remember, tosses a bunch of the same shit they’ve been eating their entire lives at them as a cute little publicity stunt. One of the players actually commented that he thought it was a joke.

Trump could have served almost any other guest to the White House exactly that meal, any president could have, and it would’ve been fine. Imagine Obama, or Clinton, or Reagan, serving a bunch of McDonald’s to Queen Elizabeth or Vladimir Putin. People would have chuckled a bit, and it would’ve shown the leaders to be human, just like us, juice dripping down their chins, just like every other “politician and foreign dignitary eat hot dog” shot.

But Trump is way too stupid to understand the endearing, folksy irony of that. Trump is never going to serve that shit to his Saudi buddies, or his Russian handlers, or any other VIP. He feeds those people steak at Mara Lago (because steak is his idea of the way rich people eat, of course).

Trump didn’t feed those kids McDonald’s because he genuinely loves McDonald’s, that would probably be a little endearing. Of course he genuinely does love McDonald’s, but that’s not why he did it. What’s bugging us all is that this compulsive, status-obsessed wannabe fed those kids McDonald’s because he looked at a bunch of working and middle-class kids, of various ethnicities, none of whom are famous or powerful, and he thought “People like this eat hamburgers, they don’t need steak. McDonald’s will be fine for these people.”

Trump, tone deaf and socially repulsive as always, managed to ferret out precisely the wrong thing to do and do it. Out of the sociopath’s inability to empathize with another, his would-be elitist’s obsession with class signaling, and likely just pure stinginess, he fed exactly the wrong food to exactly the wrong people, the one group of White House guests who really should have been treated like VIP’s. People who would have enjoyed it and allowed us to enjoy it.

What amazes us, what infuriates, us about Trump, is that while revelling in his abject personal grossness and complete lack of taste or class or style, as well as his touted working-class preferences, he has somehow convinced himself that he is the wealthy, cultivated sophisticate every fucking Burger King eating one of us knows goddamn well he ain’t. Somehow, some-fucking-how, he manages to both revel in his supposedly working-class appetites and then look down on people who eat the same shit he does. It’s fucking Apeneck Sweeney convincing himself he’s Louie the 14th because every day he voids his three Whopper lunch into a gold shitter, putting his nose up at the rest of us for having a cheeseburger and, you know, having porcelain in our bathrooms, too fucking stupid to know how completely, utterly, transcendentally boorish and cheap and gauche and truly nasty every single fucking thing he does and says is, as well as every toilet he has plated.

But under all that, what bugs us, what really bugs us, what’s so infuriating about that photo, is that smug ass look on his face. Like he just did those kids the biggest favor in the fucking world. Yeah, kids, here you go – I eat steak (ketchup steak, but still steak) every night because I’m the fucking king shit on turd mountain, but you peasants will be overjoyed when you see that I’ve thrown these lovely hamberbers to you.” That look says it all – sure it’s your first time at the White House, the biggest day of your lives, but you’re still just peons. Behold the generosity of your leader and the bountiful table scraps he has laid before you, this day.

In those pictures, standing behind that table, that smug, shit-eating grin fuck, presenting his grand $3000 repast, is looking directly at us.That’s him telling us “yeah, I’m using the highest office in the land as nothing more than a grift to line my pockets, I’ve given all my friends and the actually wealthy people I want to suck up to all the favors I can as fast as administratively possible, but here you go, you jerks, serfs, fucking peons, eat the fuck up. I’ll be having prime rib, but you look more like the type to enjoy a couple bucks worth of cold ass McDonald’s.”

Like a five year old thinking he’s stealing candy when everyone sees exactly like he’s doing, this dumb fuck thinks he’s getting away something. He thinks he’s terribly clever and crafty for pulling the most blatant, obvious, half-assed political scam in the history of the republic, and to make matters worse, he thinks we’re a bunch of dumb assholes for falling for it. That’s what’s so fucking obnoxious about it. This knuckledragging imbecile manages to stumble ass-backwards into office on a wave of reactionary race-hatred and he fucking thinks he’s Machiavelli and PT Barnum rolled into one, pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes, when we all see exactly what the fuck he’s doing. It wasn’t brains or cleverness or tactics that got him elected, he was just the most evil, stupid asshole around at exactly the point that a bunch of people wanted exactly that sort of evil, stupid asshole.

That’s what’s really bugging us about those photos. He’s the shittiest, nastiest, most classless little punk fuck, a complete, daddy-gave-me-everything, failure, and everyone knows it, but there he is, the most powerful man in the world, telling us “I’m better than you, so I take what I want and you’ll like it, but here’s some good-ass fries on a silver platter. Tuck in, losers.”

Just like he tells us every fucking day, every time he opens his mouth.

Things Your Essential Oil Salesperson Won’t Tell You


This is what your essential oil salesperson isn’t telling you.

I first started using essential oils in 1977, about the time my daughter was born. I had a natural childbirth and was advised by my midwife at the time, that using essential oils could help relax me. It did. This was also the year I became a full-time vegetarian, started practicing yoga and introduced exercise into my daily routine on a more profound level. All of these things changed my life for the better. I continued to use the oils and learned to love them. I also became better educated about their limitations.

Over the last 5-6 years, the essential oil industry has flourished like never before, although they have been around for centuries. Sadly, essential oils are being peddled primarily by a large demographic of individuals with little or no scientific background, and who do not understand the differences between anecdotal and empirical research. They believe they’re going to get rich by selling these oils. Some do. The majority don’t. That’s how pyramid marketing works.

It is not unusual to hear an essential oil salesperson say, “I just slip two drops of Frankincense under my tongue and I never suffer from (fill in the blank) again. Well, I DIDN’T slip those drops of oil under my tongue, and I don’t have that ailment either….and I didn’t ingest the oil because scientific research suggests that doing so is risky. I trust science.

A lot of things about using essential oils is risky.

I know of 8 different people among my friends that sell essential oils. Some are even-headed. Some are irrationally enthusiastic. Some are in between somewhere. Even after 42 years of experience, because I refuse to go along with the financially-motivated findings of some of the large oil distributors, some of my oil selling friends won’t acknowledge that I know a thing about them. I’m quiet, and I don’t push my opinions off on people, so they just assume that my silence is one of agreement. It isn’t.

I have a master of science degree in Psychology, and many years of education in the area of research and brain chemistry. I work for a major independent research firm and conduct research on a wide array of topics and issues. In other words, I am a paid professional researcher who knows a thing or two about conducting research. I understand what real research is, and I understand what real research isn’t. I also understand how to read scientific studies, and while I know that some do, I am willing to bet that the majority of people selling essential oils do not have this knowledge. It took years…decades, in fact, to acquire, and involved intense education and supervised study to get to the level of knowledge that I have about research and I feel that I can only scratch the surface.

I remember presenting to a salesperson, some empirical scientific evidence that talked about the dangers of ingesting essential oils. The research had been compiled scientifically and was derived from empirical, peer-reviewed studies. It was quoted in a new book that had just been published about essential oils. The article was posted on a discussion group, and, of course, a salesperson from one of the major oil selling outlets commented that the person who wrote the article was “just trying to sell books.” The article had been heavily substantiated and had a long list of verifiable evidence attached. There was no counter-evidence given, no real discussion about the validity of the research, nothing. It was simply dismissed. The argument was that because the article had appeared in a book that was for sale, that the author must have made it up because she wanted to sell books. I was astonished, especially given the impressive substantiation that was attached. The person that made the comment had zero scientific background. In fact, the only qualification she had was being a top-tier essential oil SALESPERSON.

According to SPINS, an upper level marketing research firm, in the past year alone, U.S. retail sales of essential oils rose from $55 million in 2015, by an astonishing 14% to $133 million! This does not include the tens of millions in sales from multilevel marketers who bypass retail shelves and sell directly to people via independent distributors. The indies are their own animal. There are two major ones, the second being an offshoot from the first.

Those distributors, (most of whom conduct their own research), and a higher demand for over-the-counter “natural” remedies free of the side effects that can come with prescription drugs, has fueled a surge of interest in essential oils among people, especially those who use either alternative or conventional medicine. The oils can easily be found at major department stores, such as Target or Walmart, despite the objections of the pyramid-scheme style distributors that warn against using any brands other than their own.

As the popular use of essential oils exploded, so did the concerns about the oils’ safety. The truth is that a rapidly increasing number of people are turning up in emergency rooms with chemical burns, gastrointestinal problems, allergic reactions, respiratory issues, and other side effects from using essential oils. This doesn’t mean they are dangerous to use across the board. They can be used safely by most people. However, certain precautions should be observed.

The two major distributors of essential oils are infamous for overstating the potential of the oils while downplaying their risks.

There is very little scientific research on essential oils that can be considered valid and reliable. One of the reasons for this is that salespeople who are inexperienced with scientific research do not realize that when a retail company conducts its own research, by definition, that research is not valid and reliable. The research must be conducted by an independent research firm with no monetary interest in the outcome!

Many of the marketing plans of the major oil sales organization come up with schemes for their unwitting sales staff. For instance, one of the major independent distributors falsely claims that the FDA gave them a renowned “CPTG” designation, when, in fact, the company in question INVENTED that label FDA has nothing to do with it. CPTG Quality Testing is what they call their research….which is not independent research at all. The FDA doesn’t even recognize CPTG testing. It’s just a marketing ploy that fools many of the oil salespeople into thinking that this one brand is the exclusive brand of the hour, when, in fact, there are other brands with lower prices and quality just as high.

Among the REAL studies pertaining to essential oils are some promising findings. One recent scientific study found that lavender oil can lower cortisol levels. Inhaling lemongrass aroma before a stressful event can, in some instances, prevent anxiety. Studies also show that tea tree and oregano oils can fight microbes, making them popular treatments for dandruff and toe fungus, but they should only be used for these purposes under the guidance of a trained medical professional.

Some of the claims by essential oil salespeople are false or misleading. For instance, feeling sick to one’s stomach and throwing up after surgery is a common problem. Science has explored the possibilities behind treating nausea with ginger, but if you’re too nauseous to eat, what do you do? Researchers decided to put aromatherapy to the test.

Various studies have explored the possibilities that just the smell of peppermint help with nausea. Scientists had women take deep whiffs of peppermint extract…the same kind you get at the grocery store, and it seemed to work. While none sniffing plain water with green food coloring—the placebo—or the control group who didn’t sniff anything, felt better, 80% of the mint sniffers felt better within just a few minutes.

The study, however, was very small, and it did not use pure peppermint essential oil. Peppermint extract actually consists of peppermint oil and alcohol, and one scientist thought, “Hmmm. Maybe it was the smell of the alcohol that made people feel less nauseated! In 1997, researchers reported a simple and inexpensive treatment for postop nausea…which was the smell of isopropyl alcohol! They discovered that they could just effectively tear one of those little alcohol swab packets open and wave it under a patient’s nose, and this would relieve nausea and vomiting in more than 80% post operative cases. It’s been since shown to work as well as a leading anti-nausea drug, and may even work faster, cutting nausea in half within 10 to 15 minutes, rather than 20 or 25.

So was it the alcohol, the peppermint, or both? Essential oil companies LOVE to boast about how peppermint oil helps with nausea…so another test was conducted. Patients were instructed to take three slow, deep breaths, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth, smelling alcohol, peppermint, or nothing. The smell of peppermint cut nausea in half within 5 minutes, but then, so did the alcohol. However, so did smelling nothing. So maybe it had nothing to do with the scent; maybe it was just the instruction to take slow, deep breaths. That would make it a really cost-effective intervention. Maybe this discovery shouldn’t be so surprising, given the proximity of the vomiting and breathing centers within the brain, but the essential oil companies love to claim credit for it.

Controlled breathing was shown to be effective with or without any scent.

And this is the case with many, many essential oil claims. They are claims made by the manufacturers. They are claims made by the people that SELL essential oils….but they are not founded in science and, many times, the information is false. Thankfully, “double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials performed to evaluate the effect[s] of essential oils are gradually starting to appear in medical literature, but they are few and far between.

There are two bits of advice that I can leave with you, regarding this topic.

First, do NOT trust research conducted by the very company that is selling essential oils. They can make any claims they want to make. There are no laws yet governing these claims. They want you to drink their oils, because they sell oils. Period. And second…do not EVER ingest essential oils! Ingesting sage oil is associated with seizures in children. Ingesting oil of wintergreen can be deadly. Eucalyptus oil, when ingested, can cause seizures in adults or children. Camphor essential oil can be deadly when ingested. Essential oil of nutmeg can cause seizures, comas or death. The risks are simply too high.

I say use the oils. Use them sensibly. Use them for relaxation or for treating minor illnesses. Just don’t drink them, and don’t use the oils in place of advice from your doctor. There are safe ways to use them, and ways to use them in conjunction with any medical treatments your doctor prescribes. Be smart. Educate yourself with science and not with company-generated propaganda.


Botma M, Colquhoun-Flannery W, Leighton S. Laryngeal oedema caused by accidental ingestion of oil of wintergreen. Int J Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology. 2001; 58:229-232.

Halicioglu O, Astarcioglu G, Yaprak I, Aydinioglu H. Toxicity of Salvia officinalis in a newborn and a child: an alarming report. Pediatric Neurology. 2011; 45:259-260.

Khine H, Weiss D, Graber N, Hoffman RS, Esteban-Cruciani N, Avner JR. A cluster of children with seizures caused by camphor poisoning. Pediatrics. 2009; 123:1269-2097.

Kolassa N. Menthol differs from other terpenic essential oil constituents. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology. 2013; 65:115-118.

Vigan M. Essential oils: renewal of interest and toxicity. Eur J Dermatol. 2010; 20:685-692.

Woolf A. Essential oil poisoning. Clinical Toxicology. 1999; 37:721-727.

N Engl J Med.
 2007 Feb 1;356(5):479-85.

Prepubertal gynecomastia linked to lavender and tea tree oils.

Henley DV1Lipson NKorach KSBloch CA.

Are you a racist?


How to determine if you are a racist.

You say “I’m not a racist” at least twice a week.
You say, “I’m not a racist, but…”
You say, “I don’t hate black people (or Mexicans, or Muslims), but why do they have to…”

You give what YOU feel are “cute” racist names to ethnic groups…such as “Mu-slimes” or “Nigg*ers”.
You feel compelled to point out undesirable characteristics or behavior by groups of people according to their skin color, birthplace, income level, religion, et al
You find yourself explaining to people why you are not a racist.
You defend racists, not for their racism, but for their “good qualities.”
You call any place where people of color live a “shit hole” or similar derogatory term. (Add an additional strike if you rent to them).
You tell people, “I don’t know the proper term to call you.”You have a black friend, or co-worker or one goes to your church. (We all do. But we like our friends, we don’t parade them like trophies. Get over it. Only racists feel the need to point to them like badges of honor.)
It’s important to you that people think you’re not a racist.
You say, “you don’t hear me complaining about Asians.”

You consider anyone who doesn’t adhere to white people socialization to be beneath you, wrong or inappropriate.

Scoring:If you fit two or more descriptions, you’re probably a racist. Four, you are one. All ten and you’re the President. And if you don’t think he’s a racist, that’s hint 12.
If you don’t think the President’s racist, you definitely are.



“It’s been a wild ride.

A lot of miles. A road sometimes smooth, sometimes hard and ugly.

And I guess I could tell you that if you look hard enough, that just next door is just as interesting as the other side of the world.

But … That’s not exactly true.

If I do have any advice for anybody, any final thought, if I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move.

As far as you can, as much as you can.

Across the ocean, or simply across the river.

The extent to which you can walk in somebody else’s shoes–or at least eat their food–it’s a plus for everybody.

Open your mind. Get up off the couch. Move.”

Anthony Bourdain

I met him upon two occasions. Once was at a restaurant in New York with a group of movers and shakers that I still hang with when we can all get together. The other time was through a friend of a friend. Both times, I found him charismatic and intelligent, funny, albeit self-centered. He worked hard, and loved what he did….but he was also full of piss and vinegar with a cynical slant on life. It really doesn’t matter who Anthony Bourdain was, in terms of the quote that I posted above. Those words are the words that I live by.

I try to move.

I am moving forward at this point in my life. At times, it all seems to be going by too quickly. I have been presented with some amazing opportunities and am taking this chance to cash in on them. I do so excitedly and with gratitude. Simply put…I have it made.

I take good care of my mind and of my body.

I move.

That is the key to life….movement. Don’t get stuck. Don’t get stale. Keep moving forward.

The Iraqi Dinar Scam


You Will Not Get Rich from the Iraqi Dinar Scam!

this MAGA or MDGA?

That would be “Make the Dinar Great Again.”

In the latest parody-to-real-life thing happening in the kingdom of MAGA, we see a nearly decade-old scam coming to vivid life for the faithful clingers to every, incoherent word of Donald Trump.

In this particular scam, Trump supporters have decided to invest hefty sums of money into the Iraqi dinar, a currency worth less than an American penny. The goal is to have enough invested in this worthless currency, so that when a coming “revaluing” happens, boosting the worth to somewhere around $3 or $4 for a single dinar, they’ll all be rich.

They’d be better off playing the lottery, here, but for these true believers, a single comment from President Trump in 2017 pretty much set them on fire. If he can be a messiah here, he can surely bring wealth and goodness to the whole world, right?

In what was a 2017 press conference, Trump said all currencies would be on a “level playing field,” soon. He was talking about those perceived trade imbalances with China, but that’s not how his followers took it.

One particular investor, Hayes Kotseos, of North Carolina, explains her family’s hopes for the dinar.

“I love my president, and I was like, ‘Oh my God,’” Kotseos told The Daily Beast.

The purchase, Kotseos said, cost her and her husband somewhere between $5,000 and $10,000, counting the cut to the company that sold them the dinars. Two of her adult children have bought millions more dinars, too.

“If it happens, it’ll be awesome and there’ll be a huge party at my house,” Kotseos said.

Of course, there was a time, before the first Gulf War, when the dinar actually was worth about $3, but war, sanctions, and time have taken a toll and driven the value to near-nothing.

State regulators have been warning against this scam. There have been indictments against dinar sellers, even, for misleading investors about the prospects. None of this is dissuading them.

The dinar scam has become particularly Trump-centric since 2015, over rumors that Trump has personally invested in the dinar (there’s no evidence that he actually does). Search-engine searches related to Trump and the dinar have shot up, according to Google Trends, returning hoax articles claiming Trump has bought millions of dollars worth of dinars.

They’re reaching out to Trump across social media, hoping he can fast-forward the process of making the dinar great again.

“MR TRUMP. I really admire you….please help us with this RV,” wrote one Twitter user. Another asked Trump to increase the dinar’s value to “give us the financial tools we need to support your efforts.”

Who wants to take the bet that the online conspiracy hucksters, QAnon are also hot with this crowd?

You’d be correct.

It would seem this is the kind of scheme crafted perfectly to take advantage of this really dumb era.

Jay Addison, an attorney who follows financial scams, watched for six years as dinar believers’ hopes for a revaluation failed to materialize. After writing a 2012 blog post about why the dinar was a bad investment, Addison heard from dinar investors who insisted the RV was about to occur.

Six years later, it still hasn’t happened.

Addison, who calls the hype around the dinar a “study in stupidity,” said he’s personally encountered dinar investors who were otherwise savvy in business but became entranced by the prospect of instant riches.

“I’ve had a few clients fall for it,” Addison said. “They weren’t really the sharpest knives in the drawer.”

“They’re basically told that it’s a sure thing. Nine out of 10,” Addison said. “When it’s actually one in a hundred billion.

He’s not even saying that it couldn’t happen. What he’s saying is that the likelihood is so small that investors in this particular scam are really throwing money away.

There are online clubs for these investors, with names like, “Dinar Vets” or “Dinar Detective.” They even have unboxing videos, where they video themselves opening up the boxes of dinar they receive.

These guys are really dedicated.

Did I mention it was a scam?

But the dinar-specific corners of the internet are also rife with manipulation. In October, the owners of a Georgia-based dinar reseller that made $600 million selling the dinar and other currencies were convicted of fraud for misleading investors about the dinar’s chances to gain value.

Their scheme, according to prosecutors, included paying off a dinar “guru” to tell his fans in chat rooms and conference calls that he had high-level sources in American and Iraqi government and international financial institutions who were sure a revaluation was imminent.

Dinar holders had what one of the accused sellers described as a “cult-like” devotion to their dinar guru’s news. But according to prosecutors, those government “sources” were entirely fictitious.

The most devoted dinar investors tend to become obsessed with the minute details of Iraqi politics, convincing themselves that a new director of the Iraqi central bank or a particular infrastructure program in Nineveh is all that stands between them and millions of dollars.

Chatrooms, “fake news” sites, and appeals to President Trump to wave his magic MAGA hat, to speed up the revaluing process – this is all part of the bizarre dinar craze.

Imagine if these people took the tens of millions they’re investing in a scam to make sound investments with their money. Where would they be in another ten years

I’m going to guess a lot better off than with this particular flimflam.



Rough and Tumble Holidays!


When a small child frequents your place of residence, chances are you’re going to pick up any disease they come home with, which has been the case this holiday season. Ingrid blessed us with her germs, and John and I have both been ill. Mine developed into pneumonia. Remarkably, I have continued to work, since I work from home, and have managed to wrap all the presents and get out of town presents mailed on time. Quite an accomplishment, considering everything I’ve been experiencing.

Feeling human again today. Still sniffing a little, and regrettably, I don’t think I’m going to feel like flying to Reno for our friends’ Kat and Len’s party on the 26th, but am doing pretty well and am ready for the festivities to begin!

My friend, Shannon Kringen is coming to town with her boyfriend tonight, and we’re going to listen to Rae Gordon’s Christmas show. Rae is my favorite blues singer, by far, and is always, always entertaining. After we hear Rae, we’re going to Wine-30 in Milwaukee to hear a Reno friend, Adlai Alexander, sing his incredible Brazillian jazz. Musical holidays are the best holidays!

John is going out to grab a tree this morning or tomorrow, and we’ll all decorate it later. I’m going to clean my already-clean house from top to bottom, start on my baking….oh….and work. I have to work today…..But I feel the excitement in the air. I’m happy. I’m hopeful. I’m as much in love as I ever was….. I’m ready for the new year to begin. Matters of the heart and mind are good. I am in a good place.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Happy Holidays!


Happy holidays to all my followers! In the new year, I will be taking more article requests, so please don’t hesitate to drop me a line if there is a particular topic you’d like for me to address.

As the holiday season is upon us, I’d like to remind everyone that many different cultures celebrate many different holidays. Please don’t think December is only for YOUR preferred belief system. There’s room for everyone!

Have a happy holiday, and a great beginning to the New Year! Prayers for peace. Action for peace. Think peaceful thoughts.

Holiday Season


Feeling especially joyful and grateful this holiday season.   Have been working very hard to make up for the near-month we spent in Reno, but am still trying to carve out the time to enjoy the season.   I’ve been shopping and baking, wrapping and cleaning.  I’ve been singing and volunteering and basically enjoying this time of year.   I’ve been going to see musical and theatrical events, Christmas lights, Christmas tree lighting,  Jewish Hanukkah ceremnies, a Kwanza musical…..I’m really getting into the spirit of the season. 

I’m still taking my long walks every day, and as the weather gets colder, I step a little faster.  It’s fun to see all the decorations

Planning to spend Christmas at home with the family this year.  It should be great.   However, I’ve really been bad about keeping up with my blog….but I’ll get better at that, too.  I have a lot of exciting information to impart in 2019!  

Happy Thanksgiving


Did you ever have one of those Thanksgivings where everything was just perfect?  That’s how ours turned out yesterday.  It was a study in synchronicity, in which all the pieces fell precisely into place.  Everyone had a great time.  The food was fantastic.  The company was incredible.  Yes…..this Thanksgiving will go down in history as one of the best we’ve ever had!


We have our son-on-law’s mother, Jaye, to thank for our perfect day.  What a sweet soul she is!

Portland still has an abundance of blooming flowers, and our tables were decorated with many gorgeous bouquets.

Friends and family members traveled from all over the place to join us.

Nathan put together an incredible snack tray filled to the brim with homemade bread, cheese and all sorts of picked things, from onions to beets….and some quince jelly for good measure. 


At the end of the day, it was the people that made the holiday so special.  I had text messages from people who couldn’t join us, and phone calls, too.  Started the day off with a long talk with my mother.  Other calls arrived throughout the day, making it feel like those who couldn’t be with us were there in some way.

I hope each of you had a great holiday, and that you’ll continue to enjoy the weekend!



Personal Projects


Just spent nearly a month in Reno.  Had quality time with all of our friends there.  Spent time at the lake.  Went out dancing.  Went to a party. Went out to eat a lot.  Met friends for drinks.  Hiked.  Laughed.  It was a great vacation.  

However, we’re home now, and are both faced with our own projects to get back to.

For far too long now, I have put the agendas of others before my own, which has resulted in my propping up some people and neglecting my own dreams.   With my birthday rapidly approaching, I have decided to turn the page on this chapter of my life and to embrace my own personal projejcts.  There are many of them.

Spent the weekend working on my cookbook project.  I am co-writing it with an avid meat chef, and am publishing my own vegetarian recipes to go with her meat recipes for the transitioning vegetarian family.  Now that I have it all formatted and outlined, the content seems to be flowing freely, and it is moving at a fast past….at least the skeletal portion of the book is.  I still have to actually cook and photograph the food, which is no small task.

I am also restocking my kitchen and bringing it up to date, equipment-wise, replacing my pots, pans, knives and electric equipment.  This, too, is going to be a slow process, as I have very expensive tastes.  Good thing I’m a bargain shopper!

Elated about the sale of one of my pieces that was in Guaardino Gallery for the Day of the Dead exhibit, I am also busily planning more art projects.  I took Michael DeMeng’s class about how to make a 3-D tarot card “monster” and plan to do other characters along those lines as well.  I am going to do some paintings and I’m also going to get back to my mosaic guitar project.  My plan is to create enough pieces for an exhibit.  However, every time I make one, I end up selling it to some admiring friend who can’t believe how beauitful it is….so I have no stock….for now.

The Portland autumn has been dramatic and beautiful.  I’ve been spending as much time as I can outdoors, taking long walks during the day, and working in the yard when I have time.  I’m feeling pretty good about life.  Things are going well……making the wait much less painful.

Three Weeks in Reno


Today marks the final day of three wonderful weeks in Reno.  We’re already set to return in March, for three more weeks of fellowship and adventure.  During this trip,  I cooked and cooked and cooked…because I am going down the final stretch in completing my cookbook.  I tested many recipes and am happy to say that the majority of them were successes….but some were flops, naturally.  In any case, I feel good about it all.


While in Reno, we spent an afternoon at the Italian Festival downtown.  Was the perfect venue for people watching!   Elio Satcchi entertained us beautifully.


We went to the lake twice, to Virginia City, to the hot springs in Carson City via the instructions of a close friend who told me all about “hammer time” a local phenomenon. The sunsets were magnificent.  We don’t have big skies like this in Portland because of the low cloud coverage.


The Lake Tahoe water was the most beautiful color!



We had a fantastic time and can’t wait to come back….however….

I’ve missed Portland and my family and friends there.  I’ve missed making art and making music.  I’ve missed our wonderful neighborhood and I’ve missed my fabulous, gentle art friends who would rather die than say anything negative about another person.  I love Portland.  Reno provides a much harsher culture and way of life.  Except for the occaional political flare up that is always confined to a small area and lied about regularly on FOX (Faux) News, it is the most peaceful and beautiful place I have ever lived.

Two of my sister wives are planning an April visit, and I can’t wait to see them again….which I will…in March.

Feeling good today, happy.  I have a great husband and two sweet little pups at my side.  Life is happy and good.


This is my dear sisterwife, Kat Wilson doing what she does best.  She is a true Reno star.IMG_7986

Here are some shots of the local art museum.  Saw an amazing and wonderful exhibit





R.I.P. Roger


Sad to report that our former neighbor in the SF Bay Area has died. Roger and his mother (pictured) both died within 10 days of one another. He was a well-known and tremendously talented photographer, who was one of the nicest, most helpful and creative individuals I have ever met. He will be missed by his family, many friends and fans.

So long, Roger.

A Lazy Day at the Lake


We’re spending most of this month in the Reno/Tahoe area. Today was a bright and breezy day that we decided to spend at the lake.  Here are some of the shots that I took.  They could have been better, but I shot the majority of them from a moving car, since I didn’t want to take my big camera on our hike.  Hope you enjoy.  Best viewed with your screen enlarged and sound on.

Busy September


September has proven to be one of the busiest months I’ve had in a long time.  Then again, I say that about virtually every month.  As I grow older, I really expected things to slow down rather than speed up, but that has not been the case.

(Charlie, I know I owe you a phone call.  I haven’t forgotten, and will call as soon as I can. #CharlieZero.)

Work has been overwhelming.  I’ve had three major work projects going on.  One has been professional fact checking that keeps me up late into the night.  The other is a research job that I’ve signed a NDA about, so can’t discuss, and the other one, of course, is the never ending Chinese catalog that Ive worked on for the past 3 years.

I have also been making art like a fiend, and have three pieces going into a gallery that I’ve always wanted to show in.  They are all Frida Kahlo pieces for a Day of the Dead Show.  I’ll write more about them at a later date.

Our granddaughter, Maya, visited recently, and spent a few days with us.  It was great to see her and to get caught up. Her life is as busy as mine, so our communications aren’t as strong as they could be, but the love is definitely still there.

John and I recently worked a wine festival in West Linn, just for the fun of it.  Had such a good time.  We were invited to sign up by Rae Gordon, a local blues singer with whom I’ve recently become friends.

I’ve been taking long walks and enjoying the incredibly beautiful, mild weather we’ve been having here in Portland.  This is such a beautiful city.  I couldn’t be happier here. I laugh at my stalker’s efforts to disparage it.

And on that note, I’ll sign off for now.  Ciao~  See you in the big city.


Recreating Memories


When my children were young, we had a beautiful 6 bedroom Cape Cod vacation home on a huge lake, at the edge of the woods in Maine.  It was an old home that we remodeled, one with hand-hewn beams, and a big concert grand piano sitting before a picture window that overlooked the lake.

I would awaken before anyone else each moring, and quietly sip my coffee as I watched the deer playing in the valley between us and the lake. There was always mist on the ground, swirly clouds of it, just before the sun came up fully.  It was a magical view.

When the sun had risen, I would go out back and pick fresh raspberries or blueberries, when they were available, and would wake everyone up with the scintillating aroma of fresh berry muffins.  When berries weren’t available, I would bake cinnamon or fresh vanilla ones, or sometimes, lemon poppyseed ones.  Each of my children, at one time or another, has recalled the feelings of walking up to those scents, and how, to this day, smelling any of them when they pass a bakery evokes memories of the wonderful times we had there sailing, hiking, roaming the woods, canoeing, and visiting with our copious Italian family around bondfires at night, or with the friends who would fly out from Texas to join us.

I thought about that this morning as I baked fresh muffins for John and for Maya.  I was with Steve, my now-deceased former husband, back then, and Maya wasn’t born yet….so today, I spent an extra hour recreating my own memories for them.  Albeit urban and not rural, their memories of this morning will mean awakening to the smell of fresh blueberry muffins. The berries are from the Farmer’s Market, and not the back yard, and there are no woods nor lake within site, but still, this will be a happy memory for them.

Today marks the last day Maya will be with us for awhile.  She is in nursing school in Seattle, and is working full time, so she doesn’t get to visit often.  However, when she wakes up, she will smell the muffins before she gets out of bed.  Same thing for John.  They will both remember how beautiful this day is in gorgeous Portland, where the temperatures are not expected to rise over 74 degrees. They will awaken to the music of The Mastersons, and the hot muffins and delicious coffee, and a hearty breakfast, and it will be a good memory for them, because they will always remember how much I love them.

That’s how things roll around here. We have such a good life.  Simple plesures are the best.

Ignoring My Stalker


Today marks the third anniversary of letting go of the emotional hold that my stalker had on me.  I simply turned my back and walked away and didn’t lose a thing, except a silly mosquito buzzing around my head.  Life is so much sweeter now.

Ignoring the stalker has made more room in my emotional headspace, so I no longer fear opening my door to find the stalker standing there with a gun.  I was told that it was a very real possibility for a long time.  Now, I feel zero fear, because I have taken away her power to affect me.

This decision ….the one to start ignoring her, was so powerful….so empowering and liberating that I can barely even describe its emotional impact.  She has continued her nonsense on a myriad of levels. I have simply ignored it.  This feels much better…..and nothing else has changed.  Nothing.

This video explains my feelings perfectly.  It’s called, “Forgive Assholes – Have a Little Faith.”

Thinking about the creative process…


Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.

—Steve Jobs

I woke very early this morning, still aglow from the excitement of the last couple of days.  I was dreaming of lying my head against the cool window of the return flight home….the buzz of the jet….the slight vibration and the faint voices from the back of the cabin. Then, I was awake….and now, I’m heading out for an early morning walk before  I go back to playing catch up with work.  Heading down to Lauretta Jeans for breakfast….or maybe I’ll walk over to Harlow on Hawthorne.  I won’t know until I’m actually outside.

I usually make a nice breakfast for the two of us on Sunday mornings.  John loves my cornmeal waffles….fresh OJ….et al….but today, I’m letting him sleep in.  I need the quiet as I contemplate the 3 art pieces I’m working on.  I’ve been pacing myself slowly, making careful decisions, but at the point where I now am, I have to make adjustments.  I have to spend time alone processing everything.  It can be an agonizing process.

I have learned to be quiet when I’m making these types of decisions.  I weigh my options…”Does the shading look better this way or that way?…..Should I use this mixed media element, or glass? …”  Unless one is an artist, I seriously doubt he or she has any idea of the internal process associated with creativity.  It can be hard work!

I’ve just taken two magnificent Michael DeMeng workshops that provided me with new skills and new options.  His paint applications are already hard at work on a sculpture that I’ve done. I free-handed a Frida Kahlo head from clay, and have now painted it, trying to immulate the look of Mexican folk art.  It is to be attached to a big mosaic butterfly that I’ve made from glass and wood.  The other piece is a penny mosaic that I oxydized wigh vinegar to get the turquoise copper patina. I’m doing a stencil cutout of Frida’s face, made of leather.  It’s coming along, and I’m happy with the background, but there is something about the face that is off…She looks unhappy.  Well, I guesss she WAS unhappy, so perhaps I shouldn’t worry about that one so much.  The third piece is a mixed media mosaic of her face, and I’m trying to decide whether I should stick it to a brightly colored resin background or onto a beautiful slab of walnut….and if I use the walnut, should I attach silver milagres to it?  Decisions…decisions….

People used to think that the left side of the brain was the analytical side and that the right side was the creative side. Subsequent research, however, indicates that the WHOLE brain works toward the creative process…..toward ANY process, actually. Everything from preparation to incubation to illumination to verification– consists of many interacting cognitive processes (both conscious and unconscious) and emotions. Depending on the stage of the creative process, and what one is actually attempting to create, different brain regions are recruited to handle the task.  So right now, I guess I’m at the incubation stage….mulling over what I’ve done up until now….thinking about the next steps.

The two main stages in my own creative process involve stimulation, then intense concentration and withdrawal into myself before I can finally culminate my thoughts into some kind of outward expression.  These processes can be agonizing, but then, something happens and it all seems to fit together in the end, and there is a sensation of relief….a relief of pressure and anxiety.

However these pieces turn out, they will be loved by some and hated by others.  That is the bittersweetness of being an artist.  In any case, I’m thrilled to be going in to this particulr gallery.  I’ve wanted to show there for years, but simply did not apply until now.  I’m happy….and feeling accomplished.



Celebration of a Sweet Man


Yesterday was my husband, John’s birthday.  He has a heart condition, so each birthday is a blessing.  As it stands, I cherish each moment that we can spend together. John is one of the kindest men I have ever met, always willing to jump in and help….not only me, around the house, but our family….and everyone, really.  If ever I take issue with anything he says or does, his response is always the same:  “Let’s sit down and talk about this. ”  He is an intellectual with a kind heart.  He is interesting, enormously talented and a lot of fun to be around.  We love taking day trips together, working on projects around the house and having long talks into the night.  He does tech work for me when I make art, and offers helpful suggestions.  He never raises his voice to me, is dependable and a good provider.  I am so lucky to have him in my life!

(Oh…and although his hair looks purple in this picture, it really isn’t. 😉 )

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Stacy and John in Reno.  Photo by Kat Wilson

My gift to him this year was a Tuck and Patti concert at the Alberta Rose theater. I have seen Tuck and Patti perform many times, beginning back in the 80s.  However, this show was the best one of them all.

My friend, Adlai Alexander opened.  He could have been the headliner.  I first heard of Adlai from my best friend, formerly from Reno, who lived and performed there at the same time as Adlai.  I was so happy to learn that Portland is Adlai’s home now.  What an enormous talent and a sweet-hearted man Adlai is!  We enjoy his work tremendously.  Tuck Andress was his guitar teacher back in Palo Alto, and he is close friends with Tuck and Patti.  The love between the trio was obvious.

Tuck and Patti are still very strong performers.  Tuck did a couple of guitar solos and told some great stories.  Patti also told some entertaining stories, one of which reminded me of John and myself.  Their relationship seems to be a lot like ours.

Like Adlai, Tuck Andress is a phenomenal guitarist, one of the best I have ever heard.  He definitely has a distinct style:

Tuck and Patti gave us a sample of a children’s album that will be coming out soon…in September, I think.  I cannot wait to buy it for Ingrid!     Rene Best

One of the highlights of the evening was when Hershal Yatovitz jointed Tuck and Patti and Adlai onstage for some amazing guitar playing and a beatuiful couple of songs. Adlai’s exquisite voice was the perfect match for Patti’s smooth-as-good-whiskey, velvety voice.

We also loved their rendition of “All of Me”.  It was fantastic!

John claims that I couldn’t have given him a better gift, which thrilled me.

Yesterday was his actual birthday, which we celebrated with family at Lauretta Jean’s pie shop, John’s favorite neighborhood haunt.  Pie and booze….which included a nice shot of Jameson for him.

I am so happy that we had this rich experience together, and I hope and pray for many more birthday celebrations together in our future.  It will be hard to top this one next year, though!

Thanks to Adlai, Hershel, Tuck, Patti, Sarah-Lynda, Nathan and, of course, little Ingrid.  It was a beautiful weekend.

Update from Portland


It’s been awhile since I’ve updated.  I have to be soooo careful about what I write here these days, that it just isn’t as fun as it used to be….but all of that is changing.  This has been a busy summer….between work, dragon boating, musical events, entertaining friends, taking care of Ingrid and going on day trips with John, there has been little time for the computer…other than work related stuff.

I was FORCED to take a break this past week, as my tiny granddaughter lent me her strep throat for a week, which has now developed into pneumonia.  sigh….But it takes a lot more than that to keep me down for long.

All in all, things are going beautifully.  I’ve been spending a lot of time speaking with my mom, and luxuriating in her final years upon this earth.  She has really opened up to me about a lot of things that are comforting to know.

In addition to my other jobs, I am also working part time as a professional fact checker now, too, which is VERY interesting.  When legislation is passed, I am required to read the actual legislation.  When a statement is made, i have to trace it to its sources.  It is difficult sometimes, but what it has done, is solidly cement my political convictions.  Now, I have NO DOUBT of who is lying and who isn’t.

Have been going to many, many, many musical events this summer.  Have made friends with an amazing blues singer, Rae Gordon, and we try to hit her shows whever she plays.  Think Aretha Franklin mets Janis Joplin.  The woman is amazing.

I have two art workshops coming up with Michael DeMeng, a rising star in the art world.  Really looking forward to these.  Coincidentally, they will take place in the same studio where I meet with my art group to create twice a month.

Dragon boating remains an outstanding outlet for me.  There is simply nothing like being out on the water early in the morning as the sleepy city comes to life.  We see all kinds of wildlife along the banks.  It is incredible….deer….eagles…beavers…

The weather has been very pleasant all summer.  Got up to 90 today, which is very unusual for us, but most of the summer has been in the low 80s and gorgeous.

Feeling joyful.  Feeling thankful that I live in this incredible city.  It just gets more and more beautiful all the time.  I’ve gained many new friends this year, and have lost ZERO friends, after a rough couple of years with the deaths of people who were close to me.  However, everything is going super well in life…..and in love. (wink wink)

For now….that’s all she wrote.  I’ll be back soon.