Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I wonder how many of us even think about where all our conveniences originate.

Before I moved to Iran, I never considered where my drinking water came from, other than my kitchen faucet. I never considered where my electricity came from, other than the switches on lamps, walls, various and sundry plugs located at convenient intervals throughout my home. I never considered where the heat and air conditioning came from, other than the cutesy little louvered registers at ceiling level all over the house that blew out the required heated or chilled air.

I didn't consider what made them all work; how the gas went into the furnace, was then heated by a flame that warmed the heat exchanger, which in turn warmed the air, which then circulated through the vents and then was forced from the register to warm our house, our bodies, and made life in the winter comfortable.

Then we moved to Isfahan, Iran, in the 70s. As a new expat, I found myself worrying about everything that I had taken for granted: the heating pump in the basement; how to keep it full of oil (Naft) that kept us from freezing in 20 degrees, that kept the old radiators in each room putting out warm air and drying our clothes that stretched across them, or worrying about the cooling system when it reached 120F degrees outside, and which worked arbitrarily.

It all came down to when the "AC" or "Naft" man came to town to make it work. Some days he was busier than others and just couldn't get to our house. Busy also meant taking his four hours of Siesta time, prayer time and various obligations that he must attend to before showing up, if, indeed, he came at all.

I also had to fret about the water that came through our rusty pipes. Well, either the pipes made it rusty, or it came to us just plain rusty. I never did figure that one out. Where did the water originate?

A brief walk through town revealed water canals (jubes), running down both sides of the street, which were used for many conveniences; rinsing the vegetables that merchants sold from their carts, tossing rotted bits of produce into, urinating into by the merchants, or any male passersby if the urge to purge hit them, and a quick lap for the scabrous dogs who prowled the streets.

Which brings me back to my original thought: Sometimes we forget how lucky we are to live in the U.S.A.

Monday, March 30, 2009


As I delve into my next memoir, the story of living in Iran during the revolution of the 70s, I feel a need to post this somewhat revised blog to get myself in the writing mode.

I realize my Iran memoir won't be as easy as my first memoir: "A Broad Abroad in Thailand." The Thai people were gracious, happy, smiling and welcoming.

In the70s, with the revolution already in motion (of course we expats had no clue), the Iranian people seemed unhappy, cross, maybe even pissed that westerners had invaded their land.

In retrospect, it’s easy to look back now and understand why the Iranians so hated Americans, but at the time we assumed they weren’t happy campers and let it go at that. In our ignorance, we thought the shah was all about bringing his country up to the 20th Century, and not leave it lagging in the Old Testament era.

Hiring expatriates from all over the world to help bring his country to a new global respect seemed like a generous undertaking. But, retrospection is a wondrous tool. We seem to want to look at casualties “after the fact” and then sort out the problems. But, at the time, we didn’t know there were problems.

The people wanted their country back. Back from the onslaught of foreigners hired by the shah to make more money for his coffers. I guess ignorance is bliss, as they say, because we went on our merry way thinking that we were welcome. Oh how wrong we were!

What I did take notice of was the country and the incongruity of it all:

The well-dressed driver of a Mercedes-Benz lays on his horn as he is surrounded by a herd of sheep. They slowly meander across the potholed dirt road, brushing against the front, sides and back of his gleaming car with their filthy, wet coats, while he screams obscenities at the sheep, the herder and at his illiterate countrymen that would allow this to happen.

A chador-clad woman stands in the street. As she waves her arm and tries to hail a taxi, her chador rides up revealing a bare arm dripping with a fortune in pure gold bangles, while an ancient, blind woman squats at her feet, begging for money or scraps of food.

A towering mosque, laden with gold and jade, stands in tribute to the incredible architecture of centuries past, while beggars with limbs missing seek shelter in the shade provided by its magnificent minarets.

In the capital city of Tehran, a theater marquee stands twelve feet high and pictures a female strapped to a pillar; she is wearing black fishnet stockings, garter belt, stiletto heels, and black bra with cleavage pouring forth. Lined up on the sidewalks and spilling over into the dirty streets are throngs of men, salivating as they wait to enter the theater. Walking by the theater and on both sides of the street are other figures, covered from head to toe in the traditional black chador, eyes, nose and mouth the only indication that they are women, yet having to hide every strand of hair and femininity to insure they do not cause a man to have “unholy thoughts.” Hellllooooooooooooo!

Okay, now I have to get busy and turn this into a 300-page book and sell it.

Agents, feel free to contact me!

Friday, March 27, 2009


Wow! I just found an old email proclaiming me the "GOLD" winner for an article I submitted to a contest back in September, 08. (I told you the writing demons were out to get me!) I also won honorable mention for another submission. Now that has hyped me up, so look out, I'm on fire now.

The contest was the Solas Awards for excellence in travel writing and winners articles will appear in Traveler's Tales Books.

If you like reading stories about travelers; humorous, adventurous,whatever, you will want to check out these books at www.travelerstales.com and they're also available at book stores and Amazon.com.

Click here to view article

Just when I thought I would never put thought to paper again, things are looking up.

Onward and Upward!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Have you ever said… “Okay, tomorrow I start my... (in my case my manuscript)...” But tomorrow never seems to come. At my age, how many tomorrows do I have left?

Trying to get back to my next memoir, A Broad Abroad in Iran, I was caught up in problems that I soon realized were not going to go quietly in the night.

As I noted in my last blog, this past summer hubby’s Parkinson’s turned ugly and my writing was put on hold. His DBS (deep brain stimulation) hardware began hosting Staph. aurius, the nasty little bugs that like to eat up your good cells. So, the DBS was removed.

So far, the dyskinesia (involuntary movement) has not returned, however, his legs don’t seem to want to cooperate. His balance is precarious and his legs are weak, which makes for strange bedfellows; when he walks, they sometimes go out from under him. As I need to constantly monitor him, the writing and marketing had to be put on hold.

Then, squelching my writing even further, in January I had to have thumb joint arthroplasty (bone on bone) surgery. When I thought I could finally type again, my immune system decided to attack me rather than heal me after surgery, and there went more writing time.

Just when I thought I could start writing again, up jumps the writing demons to thwart me.

But, what is a writer if not an optimist? I’ll keep trying.

Friday, March 20, 2009


I thought I'd heard it all (at my age I should have) but this is soooo cool! A book trailer, like a movie trailer, should have some marketing savy built in. I hired a wonderful man, Chris, from ReaderViews.com and he did a spectacular job. Take a look. It's awesome. http://dodiecross.com/thai/index.htm#movie

Well, maybe I'm a bit prejudiced, because it is my first book and all, but, hey, I'm entitled.

It basically shows a quick summary of the book, and in less than three seconds it's over.

Let me know what you think of it.