NY Times Oct 14

I have problems with numbers….my letter will appear in the Oct 14th issue.


Please go out and buy the NY Sunday Times this weekend. My letter to the editor will appear in the Book Review. Subject: Nobel Prize for Literature. And if you like my letter in this corrupt, fake news newspaper, do tell them ( or your own local paper)  to run my monthly Hawaii Herald  Dear Frances advice column for caregivers.


When I was in my 20’s, I was one of over a hundred in a group visiting the  Oslo building where the Nobel Prize for Literature is presented. The gentleman who was giving the tour looked us over and pointed to me and said, “Come.  You will go through the process of receiving the Nobel Prize.” Writing books were only a dream then and I thought for sure it was a premonition. So the premonition meant a letter to the editor on the SUBJECT of the Nobel Prize.  Do you know the steps up the building is very low so I wouldn’t trip over my gown?


Caregivers: A Dignified Life is cancelled due to lack of participants.

Thank you to those who registered.



Tick Tock, Tick Tock

I observed two men walk in Panera  Bakery this morning with a man with a walker. They took time in sitting him near the table. One man was in a three piece suit, the other in casual wear. I knew they were father and sons because of the “Dad, Dad,” I heard throughout their breakfast. They took out their smart phones and showed him photos and told him stories. After they left, I scribbled the following, thinking of other scenarios unlike what I had seen.

Give Me More Than a Second

Oh , oh, the test taker is here.

Didn’t I take my SAT in high school?

Didn’t I pass the Bar years ago?

Why is she here?


Here comes the test:

What did you have for breakfast, Mom?

How was dinner last night? What did you have?

Tick Tock. Tick Tock.

Oh no, what did I eat this morning?

I need more than a second.

Wait, wait. It’ll come.

Tick Tock. Tick Tock.

No time, the test continues.


Worse than the Bar, worse than college finals,

My mind aches, my heart beats.

My words have gone hide and go seek.

Tick Tock. Tick Tock.

I can’t remember.

Did John visit you yesterday?

Tick Tock. Tick Tock.

Did he? I can’t remember.



I’ll close my eyes and maybe she’ll leave.

Tick Tock. Tick Tock.

Ah good, she’s gone.

Who cares about what I ate.

I’d rather take the SAT or the Bar.

Than to be put on trial

On what I don’t know.


Oh, oh, another visitor.

Oh, I like him.

He tells me stories.

Yesterday I laughed

When he told me how he spilled his coffee

All over his shirt before his meeting.

I like the songs he sings –

Sometimes I sing along.

Today he’s sitting with his leg on my bed,

Reading. That’s nice.

I like how he smiles at me before

He turns each page with his fingers.

I like this silence.

My heart is calm, there’s no test,

It’s like being at the beach,

Watching the waves come in.

Ah…this is nice.

No tick tock, tick tock

Not even for a second.

frances: 9-24-18




  1. I bought a Raley’s gift card at the counter along with other groceries. When the recipient of the gift card tried to use the gift card, it was blank. I spoke to the cashier and she referred me to the manager on the floor. She said without proof of purchase, she couldn’t help me. I told her it would be difficult to find the receipt since I do all my shopping at Raley’s and the cost is included with other costs. She said she had no authority to help and I had to speak to the main manager.

Why is a manager  who has no authority to help customers placed on the floor?

She took my name, credit card # and said manager will call me. I never got the call. I went in person after a week and I was told, without a receipt, they can’t help me. That many customers walk away with those gift cards and later return to use them. Common sense tells me if this is a problem, why do they continue to have these gift cards made so available?

And why am I being treated with such indignities and distrust because of others who have abused these cards? I spend hundreds of dollars at this shop . Manager could have checked my purchases to see that I’m a regular customer and could be trusted with my problem.

I called my bank to send my July’s statement because that was the month I had purchased the card. Only after they saw a purchase  that had no taxes added, did they believe that I had purchased that gift card. It took over half an hour to resolve this after I had given all the information.

  1. I had to see three personnel to get the $5 sale price on Mondays. I finally called the manager and she apologized and said she needs to train her personnel. No, I told her, you don’t place workers on the floor who are not fully trained and haven’t this store been in business for months? Not a good reason.


  1. Produce dept: Filthy with poor signage. I tried to purchase white peaches but they were all placed together with other peaches and nectarines. I asked someone in Produce to  identify them and he couldn’t and he agreed that signage is very poor. There are no prices or  names of produce on many of the items. Raley’s TV ads promote local produce but you won’t find this to be true. Very limited Organic section.
  2. Since the store opened, there is yet to be someone at the Less than 10 Items counter. Customers need to go through long lines to pay for a cup of Peet’s coffee. Many don’t have the patience from my observation.



It was such a rich and inspiring two hours to see Sen McCain’s services this morning. For you who enjoyed one of his favorite poems The Cremation of Sam McGee, his daughter read a stanza from this. There were other poems read, all selected by the Senator himself.

A young woman walked right in front of my moving car today and I forgave her and even cheered her because she was reading a book!!!! Yes, a book, not a smart phone. The first glimmer of hope in a long long time..