First Meeting

The bones of the house are the same. The color is different; it was white when I lived there. Jackson Street 1 I remember a well-tended lawn with shrubs in front, all neatly trimmed.  An affordable residence for two young women on their own.

The second floor apartment on the right side included a living room, a kitchen, one bedroom, and a bath.  Across the hall was another tenant, one we never saw.  Our elderly landlords lived downstairs.  They provided us with a refrigerator, and heat through cast-iron radiators – when they were at home.  We furnished the rooms with two used metal-framed beds, an old oak kitchen table and, for living room relaxation, bucket seats pulled from a junked MG.

December 26, 5:30 pm – After a long day at work, I keyed open our front door.  I wore a rust-colored corduroy dress and heavy wool coat.   I first saw him with a book in his hands, leaning back in the MG’s bucket seat on the living room floor.  As I entered the room, he looked up.  “Hello,” he said.  I returned his greeting.   Much later he would tell me his first sight of me was my legs.

He was a friend of my roommate’s fiancé, a college student, visiting him for a few days.  We saw each other a lot that weekend.  A week or so later he called me from Milwaukee.  We talked for over an hour.  We began dating, often long distance through real letters and phone calls.  No emails then.  Our reunions were magic.

I lived in that upstairs apartment for a short six months yet it brought many changes in my life.  It was where I first really listened to Simon & Garfunkel, and came to love the creative genius of Bob Dylan.  It was where I first read Tolkein’s The Lord of the Rings.  It was where I met my one true love. 

Where did you meet your love?

Valentine’s Day

How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? To me, the most special gift ever is giving one another time…together.

valentine-heartsOne perfect start to the day would be making him breakfast in bed.  Or maybe going out for some waffles and steak and eggs at a down-home diner. Weather willing, how about a leisurely walk, hand-in-hand?   In the evening, turn off the TV, put on some music and just cuddle.  Or talk…and listen. Good ol’ back rubs are always nice.  Maybe bake some cookies together, or mix up a from scratch cake.

Here’s a recipe from my childhood, one of my husband’s all-time favorites.  I bake it only once or twice a year.  This Saturday – Valentine’s Day – will be one of those days.


  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 oz. red food coloring
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Hershey’s unsweentened cocoa
  • 2-1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Make a paste of cocoa and food coloring.   Cream shortening and sugar.  Add eggs one at a time, beating after each.  Add red cocoa mixture and blend.  Combine sifted measured flour with salt.  Add vanilla to buttermilk.  Combine flour alternately with buttermilk to creamed mixture.  Fold in vinegar and baking soda.  Pour batter into 3 (8-inch) layer pans that are greased and lined with waxed paper.  Bake at 350º for 25 to 30 minutes.  Let cakes cool in pans for about 10 minutes before removing.  Frost with Seven Minute frosting.


  • 2 egg whites
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

In top of a double boiler, combine egg whites, sugar, water, and cream of tartar.  Beat with electric mixer at high speed for 1 minute.  Place over simmering water, cook 7 minutes beating constantly with electric mixer at high speed until soft glossy peaks form.  Remove from hot water.  Stir in vanilla.  Makes 2 cups.

Wishing you a lovely VALENTINE’S DAY!

San Francisco – July 25

From now until the RWA National Conference ends August 3, I plan to post daily about events here in San Francisco. If the mood strikes, please take a minute or two to comment. To other writers attending – please share a link to your own blog posts about RWA National.

Friday morning we visited the award-winning Stack’s Restaurant where, against the backdrop of red impatiens and beneath blue skies, we savored our eggs, orange juice, and steaming coffee. Going out for breakfast has always been a pleasant date. Doing so outside in the cool, sun-drenched San Francisco air turned mere pleasant into memorable.

After breakfast, we took the bus to the Golden Gate Park. Built on a rectangular site on the city’s west side, the 1,017 acre park is larger than New York City’s Central Park.

The DeYoung art museum is located just inside the park. The closest entrance to the museum is at Fulton and 8th Streets. We bought our tickets and immediately took the elevator to the 9th floor viewing tower. Here is a view as seen from the tower. Off to the right you can see the top of the Golden Gate Bridge. (Again, click pictures twice & wait for larger view.)

Inside the museum were a wealth paintings, sculpture, furniture, and glassware. I especially enjoyed the 19th century Impressionists. The cafe had both inside and outside dining next to a lawn filled with sculptures. Tourists and locals sat soaking up the peace and sunshine. Moms played with their little ones on the lawn.

The Shakespeare Garden is said to contain every flower and herb mentioned in Shakespeare’s work. It’s not large but the setting is serene (or will be again once the construction is complete on the Academy of Sciences building.) Yesterday when I visited, a wedding rehearsal was taking place. Imagine, being married in Shakespeare’s garden!

The Japanese Tea Garden sits next to the DeYoung. Admission is $4, well worth the price. Inside, along its winding paths and gardens, another bride and groom were posing for formal pictures. San Francisco truly defines romance!

Last night we dined on Sushi in JapanTown then found a shop that sold Dreyer’s Ice Cream and other yummy sweets.

The weather remains sunny and cool – and perfect!

Today, we’re off to Santa Cruz. Hope you stop back tomorrow for more updates.