Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Couple of Corrections from this issue

Oops! Your Humble Editor is blushing with all four cheeks....two corrections from the current issue of Swan and Iris....

One: a thousand apologies to Carol of Carol's Critter Care. It's Carol's Critter Care, not Pet Sitting. Gentle Readers, please say it with me: Carol's Critter Care. Thank you.

Two: Carol's Critter Care is near Athens, GA, not Atlanta. For those of us who grew up in Michigan, it's not unlike saying Lansing is a suburb of Detroit.

And a clarification--subscribers need to send me an email at fran at the journal coach dot net (no spaces). I only take checks and cash. No plans to take Visa or PayPal at this time so I can keep my prices fair.


Monday, July 26, 2010

What We're Working on for Late Summer

Ways to use zucchini....setting up interesting interview with fascinating people...reminders of the ongoing journal workshop benefitting Gulf disaster survivors....and much more.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hope for the Gulf: Please Join Me for a Benefit in Your Jammies Workshop

   We can sit and wring our hands and wait to be saved, or we can pick ourselves up and do what we can in the meantime.
    In my case, I developed a journal class to benefit three organizations down in the Gulf. You can do it at home in your jammies, and I won't tell. Just leave me a message here with your email, and I will ship you the PDF. Then you ship your love donation to the organization of your choice. Thanks!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Due to Circumstances....

Gentle ones, I must beg an indulgence of a few days.

As some of you may know, Orion, my furchild, crossed the Rainbow Bridge on 5/23 due to what ended up being lymphoma. I'm still struggling with getting this issue of S and I done, and I thank you for your patience.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Next Issue Due Out June 21

Hello, Gentle Readers.
Stories for this upcoming issue include
....a chat with Joe Larkin, starting a career as a standup comedian at age 70 about bioidentical hormone replacement
....warm weather recipes
....and whatever else the Muses gift me with.

Hope that you're enjoying your summer!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

As Promised, the Contacts

Gentle Readers, as I mentioned in the last S&I, we in the Chicago area are bracing ourselves for a media monstrosity of a June. Our former governor, Rod Blagojevich, goes on trial June 3. Later in the month, Drew Peterson goes on trial  on June 16, I believe, for murder.  His third wife, Kathleen Savio, was found dead in a dry bathtub. A second autopsy determined head injuries as the cause of death. His fourth wife, Stacey Peterson, is still missing some two and a half years after her disappearance.

The latter defendant's last round with the media turned into a circus of the worst sort, descending into tabloid-esque coverage of the sordid details and a local radio station planning a contest to win a date with him. Instead of using the story as a teachable moment (what to do if you're in that situation; survivors who went on to make lives for themselves; prevention programs), the coverage cheapened and trivialized a serious social issue.

TV stations especially need to know how the viewers feel. So, for those of us in the Chicago area, here are the contacts:

WBBM: , 312-899-2222

WMAQ: , no phone listed

WLS: , 312-750-7777



WFLD: , 312-565-5532

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Please Join Us

This Sunday is Mother's Day. Standing Women ( ) has an event you might be interested. At 1 p.m. your time, please take five minutes to pray for the children so that they may know a peaceful, green, just world. See you then.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

To Honor the Survivors

   Gentle Readers, we have a high-profile case coming up in the Chicago area in June. Drew Peterson, an ex-police officer from the souther suburbs, will be going on trial for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, in early June. His fourth wife, Stacy, has been missing for two and a half years. He claims that she walked out on him for another man.
     In any event, this story has been handled with the dignity of a tabloid scandal. By dwelling on the minutia, the coverage trivializes not just what (allegedly) happened to Kathleen and Stacy, but to everyone who survived domestic violence.
     I'd rather see stories about programs to help victims get out of these situations, legal steps to protect them, and resources for prevention. Please join me in holding the media accountable. In the next week or so, I'll post links to media outlets.
     Thank you.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

S and I slightly delayed

Gentle Readers, due to a personal crisis (dog had to have some tests; everything came back fine after 48 hours of hot coals and broken glass), S and I has been rescheduled for next week. Thanks for your patience!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Bloom Boxes: No, Not A Way For Plants to Listen to Their Tunes

Ah, we have another cool article for S and I in the works: one on Bloom boxes. They are a new device to generate electricity for household and commercial use. Big names like Google and FedEx have made use of them. We'll be looking at their ins and outs in the April/May issue, out Thursday of Friday of next week.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Welcome to My New Favorite Film

         Does your idea of a good time involve a run to the grocery store? Do you feel as much satisfaction from seeing people you care about enjoy a meal that you've cooked as you do from partaking in it? I do.  Have you seen "Babette's Feast?" Do yourself a favor and put it in your queue or rent it.
         Two sisters, Martina and Phillipa, made a lot of sacrifices for their father's super strict ministry, including chances at love. One archetypal dark and stormy night (the story is set on Denmark's Jutland coast), a stranger named Babette shows up at their door. Babette had lost her son and husband during a conflict in the 1870's, and the former suitor of one of the sisters had sent her to Jutland for safekeeping. For fourteen years, Babette tolerates the local food. One day, she find that she's come into a substantial amount of money and wants to go back to Paris, but before she goes, she wants to cook an authentic French meal for the sisters and what's left of their father's flock.
          It's rated PG, with some caveats for kitchen prep scenes.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Happy Spring

Hello, Gentle Readers. The creation of the Spring Swan and Iris is underway.  Some of the things I'm working on for this issue include:

  • Kitchen stuff and cookbooks I like
  • A look at how the US became so economically enmeshed with China
  • Reviews of cinema, books, and films
  • Many other surprises so secret I don't know what they are yet
Hope you'll join us.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Swan and Iris Take on Cinema

     No, well, yeah, sort of watched them last night.  You know, the Oscars (TM)? The show that happens in March where all things movies get celebrated? The one where a lot of women do odd things with their posture to make sure they don't fall out of their dresses as they walk the red carpet? Yeah, that one.
       The one I don't really get excited about because I prefer films. Both film and movies are species of the motion picture.  Let us examine their differences:

  • Movies make money.  That is their raison d'etre. Their success is based on how much they make. Anything less than the GDP of a developing country is considered a flop. 
  • Films make art. Their success is based on feedback from the critics. 
  • Movies base their scripts on contrived formulas. Films use the conflicts basic to humanity, but encourage the development of new questions.
  • Movies are for feel-good purposes. Nothing wrong in and of itself with that. We all need a good excuse to munch popcorn now and then. If you want to see a story unfold as it should, you need a film.
  • Films place the emphasis on plot and character development.  Movies frequently use overblown special effects to override weaknesses in those departments.
     That, Gentle Readers, is why I choose films for review in S&I. We need the subtle, quiet moments as an antidote to an ever louder world. Some of my favorites are:

  • Casablanca--a timeless story of love and sacrifice that may be the most perfect film ever made.
  • Amelie--the tale of a young woman who struggles to make the world a better place for others and almost forgetting to do the same for herself.
  • Le Quai d'Orfese (sp?) is a suspense/mystery in postwar France that keeps viewers guessing until the last minutes.
    My Netflix subscription makes me a very happy girl, indeed.    

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Midwinter S and I is Out

Gentle Reader, you are cordially invited to request a sample issue of Swan and Iris.
The Midwinter '10 issue includes 
an interview with 
Kris Waldherr, creatrix of The Goddess Tarot, on courtesans,
a Cup of Tea and gossip with Heather Carroll of The Duchess of Devonshire's Guide to Gossip,
action alerts,
and other amusements and musings for your midwinter diversions.
Please send an email to Your Humble Editor:
(one word)
Thank you for your interest, and take that, spammers!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Action Alerts for January 14, 2010

Gentle Readers, we have two projects this week needing our attention:

1. Haiti needs our help. Please either text HAITI to 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross (billed to your phone account) or go to for a list of other organizations en route to help.

2. will open the page for those of us who wish to complain in the strongest possible terms about this tragedy being used by a certain televangical organization as an excuse to spew devisive hate speech.