Tuesday, July 25, 2017


Oh, he's perfect now (Bud made me say that!!) but that wasn't always the case.  Here are just a few of the times he was Mr. Imperfect.

His chemistry teacher in high school, Mr. Seaman, had a hearing disability.  He wore a hearing aid which was connected by a wire to the battery in his shirt pocket.  Bud was reading a report to the class & he slowly kept lowering his voice.  The teacher kept fiddling with the hearing aid battery until he finally realized what was going on.  His comment: "There's a skonk (his pronunciation) in this class!!"

He claims not to remember everything he did, but he apparently stopped doing it.  Bud & a friend wanted to take Physics II without previously taking Physics I.  They need a recommendation from the same Mr. Seaman to get into the advanced class.  This is what he wrote: "Merrifield & Fischer were good boys the second ten weeks."  They got in.

Bud & some friends had visions of becoming teenage entrepreneurs.  One Christmas season they went to UCLA under the cover of night to build up their inventory.  They thought it would be a good idea to sell holly & pine boughs on a busy street corner.  They carefully clipped (stole) holly from a bush in front of Kerckhoff Hall (a major UCLA building) & found some pine cones nearby. They had also actually purchased a small amount from a florist so that they could have a receipt in case the police questioned them.  They took their stash into Westwood Village & set up shop in front of Woolworth's.  The manager came out to chase them away, but after the boys gave him a bottle of booze he gave them exclusive rights to sell in front of his store.  While on another trip to UCLA to replenish their supplies they were caught by the campus police.  The head botanist was called.  One of Bud's friends (We'll call him Max.  To see how Max handled another stressful situation, click here.told the botanist that of course they had stolen the pine boughs but that he wasn't about to admit that to the police.  The botanist laughed & said that they were about to tear down the tree, anyway, but that it should be done properly & then proceeded to cut down a bunch of boughs himself & give them to Max & the boys.  They also learned a little about pricing.  When they realized that one of their potential customers was Clifton Webb, who was a big movie star at the time, they tried to raise the price.  Mr. Webb was having none of that, but he did buy at the regular price.  

He's now a pretty careful driver; maybe a little too careful.  I have accused him of being a graduate of the HELEN KELLER SCHOOL OF DRIVING.  He is apparently more comfortable driving by Braille, because he is constantly on the Bott’s dots (the little reflective markers used to separate lanes) so he can feel his way along the road.  According to him, there are three types of drivers on the road.  They would be the maniacs (people who speed & cut him off), the putzes (those who drive way under the speed limit) & him.  The next two incidents also happened during his teenage days.

He was driving his mother's car home & was distracted by a posthole digger, as any man or boy would be. He found it fascinating, so much so that he drove into a bus that had stopped to pick up passengers.  When the police arrived they asked him how it happened & why he was driving like that.  He told them he didn't know; he always drove that way!!

Then there was the time he knocked a police officer off his motorcycle.  To be fair, that may not have been his fault.  His story: He was driving on Pacific Coast Highway, which is fairly narrow in some parts.  Somebody pulled in front of him & cut him off (obviously a maniac) & he swerved to avoid hitting him.  There was some gravel on the road which made it slippery.  There was a policeman standing in the road with his foot resting on his bike while he was writing someone a ticket.  Bud slammed on his brakes, but was unable to avoid tapping the bike, scaring the hell out of the officer & knocking him onto his ass on the street.  The officer was uninjured, but Bud doesn't remember what, if anything, the officer said to him (assuming he was still able to talk).

To show that Bud (& I) aren't the only ones who now think he's perfect, I'd like to share this email that he received from a client this past Father's Day:

As I sit here grateful for your help throughout the years during this Father's Day weekend, I realize that there are not many people in the world that can measure up to the things you have done for me. I know that I am simple and the problems I got into seem trivial to most but for me it was insurmountable at the time. With your help it seems I overcame these travails and came out smelling like a rose. I practiced for 52 years and you said anyone who would put a shingle up and build a practice is a man. I didn't believe you but it is one of the blessings that is paramount in my life. The reason for this writing is my father would be really be touched but he passed before I realized your help. My father was the reason that I accomplished my goal and I needed to be thankful for my dad and you on Father's Day.

Happy Father's Day and Aloha and Mahalo.

Since Bud is now perfect, this is his theme song:


Monday, July 24, 2017


(Some of this is from old posts, some of it is new.)

I was about 3 & my brother 5 when my grandfather took us to the park.  Grandpa was sitting on a bench, reading a newspaper, while my brother & I went to feed the ducks in the lake.  I leaned over a skosh too far & fell in.  My brother ran to get our grandfather & before they could get back, a stranger had pulled me out.  I developed a fear of the water & didn’t learn to swim until I was a teenager.

On one of our first trips to Hawaii, Bud & I went swimming with dolphins.  The Kahala Hilton Hotel had a large lagoon which was used as a “storehouse” for the local Sea World.  It was fun--more so for Bud than me.  Dolphins are much too fast to catch.  To interact with them, you had to float quietly until they came up to you.  I couldn’t just float; he could.  He was able to grab a dorsal fin & the dolphin took him for a ride!  I was so jealous that when we got home I took swimming lessons at the YMCA so I could have as much fun as him the next time.

For an even better dolphin experience with my son & daughter-in-law,

On one of our trips somewhere, we went out to the pool, ready to swim.  Bud & the kids decided it was too cold.  I told them they were all wimps & jumped in.  They were right!!  It was so cold that I felt like my stomach froze.  My other muscles weren't in such hot (pun intended) shape, either.  It was a good thing I was right near the edge because I don't think any of them would have jumped in to pull me out & save me from drowning.

We were on a family vacation in the Virgin Islands & everyone decided they wanted to go snorkeling.  I had never snorkeled before & I had never completely gotten over my fear of the water (see first paragraph).  I wasn't going to go in, but the (cute) skipper said he'd hold my hand. I finally agreed to try it & over the edge of the boat we went.  I was (almost) completely comfortable & insisted he let go of my hand.  It was absolutely beautiful; the fish were gorgeous!! I was so glad I changed my mind.  

After snorkeling we went to a place called Stingray Island.  It's not really an island, but an area in the ocean where stingrays congregate.  The stingrays are very tame because they are constantly being fed by humans & are quite accustomed to them.  They would even allow you to pick them up with both hands under their body.  Their skin feels like a wetsuit.  I have to admit it was a strange feeling when they swam between your legs.

Neither of my parents ever learned how to swim & had always avoided going to the beach.  My dad was a towhead & very fair skinned.  One of their best friends loved it so much she referred to it as "That place" because if she said "Hawaii" she got too nostalgic.  We had my folks join us on one trip to Hawaii.  While Bud stayed in Waikiki with the rest of the group who had previously toured all the islands, I took them on a private tour.  While on Maui, my mother & I went on an outrigger ride with 8 or 10 other people.  She enjoyed it so much that when we got back to the beach she went & got my dad & we immediately took another ride.  Later I found my dad standing in the lagoon in calm water up to his neck.  When I asked him why he was standing there like that he said, "Because I could never do it before!!"

On one of our trips to Europe we went to Austria.  While in Salzburg, we went to the Hellbrunn Palace nearby.  It was built in 1613–19 by Markus Sittikus Von Hohenems, Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg,  who apparently had a great sense of humor.

Hellbrunn Palace

There are many trick water fountains on the grounds & I'd like to tell you about one of them here:

The outside dinner table at Hellbrunn Palace was designed for very distinguished guests visiting the Archbishop at the palace during the Summer months. Markus Sittikus in all his glory and with his admirable sense of humor designed each chair at the table (except his own chair) with a trick fountain installed where your bottom sits. In those days, when you were in the company of someone as important as the Archbishop it was seen as very impolite to stand unless he was standing; when the Archbishop pulled the trick on his dinner guests, they were unable to stand up and move away from the water, in fear of being impolite. Instead, they received a very cold shower from the bottom up!!

Come on in; the water's fine!!----fishducky


Friday, July 21, 2017



(This is the last of a series of my earliest & most popular posts.  This was originally published August, 2012.  As always, all the cartoons are new.)

There’s an old joke about a guy who’s bragging in a bar.  He says, “My wife & I know everything!”  Someone says, “If you’re so smart, explain the theory of relativity.”  The first guy thinks for a minute & tells him, “My wife knows that!!”  

That’s how I feel about the modern electronics age.  I used to be able to go to a restaurant with my family & wonder aloud what time it is in Iceland or who played the villain in an old movie.  That, at least, gave you something to talk about for a while even if you didn’t really care about the answer.  No more.  Now, if I should happen to muse about Iceland’s time zone, someone will whip out a phone, click a couple of buttons & tell me, “It’s 7:30 pm PST here in California & Iceland is 8 hours ahead of us, so it’s 3:30 am UTC/GMT tomorrow there.”  That’s already more than I really wanted to know.  Then they will continue, “GMT is Greenwich Mean Time. UTC is Coordinated Universal Time or in French: Temps Universel Coordonne. UTC was decided as the acronym because it was thought CUT or TUC were not appropriate.  GMT & UTC are the same.”  I’m surprised they didn’t tell me how to make a watch.  I’ll have to ask them about that, sometime…

I’m a very good driver.  That’s my opinion, not my husband’s.  He thinks it’s my fault that trees like to jump out in front of me.  I have no control over trees!!  In October of 2010 he had to go to Cedars Sinai Hospital very early in the morning for some tests.  (He’s fine--thank you for asking.)  He wasn’t allowed to drive, so he had taken a cab there & I was on my way to pick him up.  Although I’ve driven past Cedars many times, I somehow missed the turn. 

I drove to the next major intersection, planning to turn left & circle back.  Robert Burns once wrote, “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley.”  Well, AGLEY they went!  I tried--unsuccessfully--to make a left turn.  I’m happy to report the airbag worked.  The paramedics thought I had two broken wrists.  It turned out only one was actually broken.  I now have a 7” plate in my arm. 

My new Mustang, which had less than 1,000 miles on it, suffered extensive damage.  It’s all better now.  The paramedics caused me more (mental) pain than the accident did.  They took scissors & cut off my brand new black leather jacket.  I loved that jacket!   I’d bought it in a consignment shop, but it was new to me.  We were less than a mile from Cedars, so that’s where the ambulance brought me.  Bud & I were reunited in the ER.  Since neither one of us (or my car) was in condition to drive, our daughter came to the hospital & took him home.  I stayed a few days.

(Are ALL paramedics cute?   It may be a job requirement.) 

My friend, Barbara, & I both love pork.  Early one evening Bud & I were driving from L.A. to our beach condo & stopped for dinner.  Barb lives across the street from us at the beach & we decided to surprise her.  I had a rib dinner & we bought another one to bring to her.  Bud was downstairs with the takeout box & I went upstairs to talk to Barbara.  She had no idea we had food—or anything—for her.  I asked her what would be the greatest gift one human being could give another & she said, “PORK!”   Bud was just coming up the stairs.  He said, “Right!” & handed it to her.

When we were little, my brother used to catch every childhood disease that was in town—mumps, chickenpox, etc.  My mom would throw me in bed with him so I could catch it when I was young & develop an immunity.  I never caught anything. As a child, that is.  I got measles the semester I was entering UCLA.  As a freshman, you couldn’t get your classes by mail.  You—or someone—had to enroll in person.  Bud was kind enough to sign in for me.  He figured that it would be no problem except for Women’s Phys. Ed.  It turned out that was the easiest.  The other prospective students must have noticed his embarrassment—they let him go to the head of the line.

            For you parents of young children:

You probably didn’t notice, but sometimes I have difficulty staying on one theme when I write.  That’s just the way fishduckies are.

See you later----fishducky