What an honor to return to the Micheal Pope online radio show: Life Is A Sacred Journey. Micheal of Alzheimer’s Services of East Bay makes conversations so easy as an interviewer. Thank you, Micheal, for promoting my newly released book, I Am Somebody: Bringing Dignity and Compassion to Alzheimer’s Caregiving. It is such a joy to converse with someone who holds similar views on caregiving.

To caregivers on the East Bay, we’re planning for a return lecture sometime this year. Until then, click here to go to Blog Talk Radio and hear how our conversation went for about an hour.

All your brain cells that gathered in the DMV office worked.

Got a 100!!! The DMV person said, “And you used the touch screen test, too.!

What spooked me is a friend, same age as I am, failed the test twice, failed the road test and so

I got to believe it was an age thing. Hey World, I defied age today!

Now to the next stress: I need to read my own book just published : I Am Somebody because I’m speaking about the book on radio on Thursday for the Alz Services of the East Bay with Micheal Pope.

I heard it’s a good book and the author can drive legally in CA.

Thanks everyone.

SOS: Help!


At 9:30 tomorrow, Tuesday, please pause and send me through mental telepathy, your brain cells. I’m taking my driver’s license renewal written test. I have put myself into a panic state these past two weeks. I have the DMV manual just about memorized and the numbers are all dancing in my head. Each time I take the on-line sample tests, I’m closer to Fail than Pass.


Five years ago I failed the first test with 6 errors. Five minutes later, I was able to pass the 2nd try with 2 errors. I usually fail objective type tests, will do far better with essays.


Had my first D in an objective test in college. Objective tests are like math equations, things begin to swim in my head as my math brain cells begin to disintegrate.

Now, essay tests are friendlier: During my Freshman year in my History course, the Professor gave me an A even if my essay was off the course. He said,” I’m pleased you still remember my lectures from last semester although they’re not relevant here. “   So I can smooth write myself into passing most essay tests, but can’t do that at the DMV office tomorrow.

No space for comments so I can’t tell the test givers how lovely they look or how my ego will be crushed beyond repair if they fail me and I’m old and poor and need my car to go grocery shopping.


So remember, 9:30, CA time, stop and send me some magic. I will drive you anywhere although I can’t promise we’ll reach there…but I’ll drive you with my renewed license.



Look, look, I can now say that I am an internationally published author!

Teacher You Look Like A Horse (Chinese edition)

My publisher just got a few samples of the Chinese edition of Teacher, You Look Like A Horse! Do you think I should start packing my bags for a signing in Beijing?

Going to have dinner tonight at Panda Express, the only Chinese restaurant in our area, to celebrate!

UPDATE: According to friends we have asked, the title the Chinese publisher gave the book is “A Classroom with No Barriers: An American Teacher’s 30 Years of Memories.” I like that!

Beware of Ambien

Beware, beware, this is worse than the Ides of March.

NO thanks for Ambien, I had to take MRI, MRA and EEG to test for brain tumor, Aneurism, epilepsy, acute ischemia, stenosis, dementia. All proved negative. Even got a 100 on the dementia test. Will tell you later how I passed. It was not a good two weeks. I was already dead before the results came in.

Story behind this:

I went to fill my car up with gas. On the way back, at an intersection, I saw two drivers around my car. The woman came from the lane on my right and the male driver from behind me. Woman kept yelling, “she was sleeping.” Male driver, a bit more polite, told me, “If you’re feeling tired, why don’t you park on the side and sleep it off before you drive.” I was puzzled…what was that all about.
Was I day dreaming and had ignored a green light? The light was green so I drove and the woman was still shouting to all the drivers, with her hand up in the air, “She was sleeping!”

Four hours later, I realized I had no recollection of having filled the car with gas. I went to the car and knew something was wrong when I saw the gas tank at full. The gas cap was on tight. I checked for my credit card and it was in my wallet. Receipt in the car. So I had gone to the gas station and had no memory.

Frantic, thinking I had my first episode of dementia I emailed my doctor since it was past office hours. She thought it was drug reaction, told me stop Ambien, don’t drive and come in for an appt.

Then stories began to come in. The technician told me of a friend who was in an accident while sleep driving after taking Ambien. Yes, the term is sleep driving due to Ambien. A niece’s friend was arrested for drunken driving after taking Ambien, and was jailed. Two people told me of friends who got up in the middle of the night to eat and had no memory, finding the dishes in the sink. A scientist friend said Ambien is poison like anthrax. Better to go without sleep than to take Ambien.

After researching on Ambien, all of the above proved right. Studies were made after one of the Kennedy’s was involved in an accident while sleep driving. She was on Ambien.

I have taken 2.5 mg Ambien during those years as a caregiver. I take AMbien with me on all my travels. They changed to pill to a round shaped one so during these past three years, I’ve been taking 5 mg since it’s difficult to split the pill.

That week of the amnesia, I had taken one Ambien. The week before that, I had one Ambien and couldn’t remember paying for my massage at a parlor but brushed it off.

I was spooked, scared and nervous thinking the worst had happened. So my next question is, why is Ambien still available. I’ve always had bouts with insomnia so am now trying lavender soap and oil. Are there any healthy suggestions out there?

Crow Haiku

crows 2


Even crows inspire haiku moments, moaning and groaning

like Poe’s bells…bells…bells…



Black crows punctuate

The silence of wintry fog

With conversation.


Edgar Allan Poe

There. Right there, reserved, a spot

For Raven’s Nevermore.



The Human Race

This poem was written and published in my youth during the 70’s when the world was in turmoil with racism, sit-ins, war, and ignorance. Sadly, hopeful as I was then, this is still relevant today. What is wrong with us?



The Human Race


a grain of sand

lonely nights

a cup of coffee

Stokely Carmichael.


sizzling sunset

a lava flow

autumn leaves

valentine’s day.


ginger slices

scrambled eggs

the orient

a spicy scent.


cotton candy

crested waves

drifting snow

foggy morn.


chocolate fudge


Hawaiian eyes

a glass of beer.


Each a color in its right

Yet not a rainbow in sight

Till each stands hand in hand

Across cerulean skies.


From Yellow Ginger Blossom

Frances Kakugawa





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