Marion Franck

Franckly speaking: Today I write in praise of … pausing

This is a column in praise of the pause. I’ve been pausing for things all my life, but I recently realized that some pauses — not the traffic signal type — contain hidden wealth. The other day I was trying to remember who sang “If You Could Read My Mind.” I pictured the singer’s face […]

Franckly speaking: Wise words from the summer

Sometimes the only way to tap into wisdom is to make a deliberate, conscious attempt, like counting your steps instead of simply walking forward. That’s what I did this summer by writing down phrases, ideas and even questions that struck me as “wise.” My first entry was a question, back in June, from my friend […]

Franckly speaking: Lesson turned out to be a tough egg to crack

“The brown ones are friendly,” my friend Mary says. “The red ones, too. You can pet them.” Pet a chicken? Truth is, I’d like to feel their feathers, and I’d like my 2-year-old grandson to get a chance to feel them, too, but what about those sharp beaks? Are chickens dangerous? I wouldn’t be so […]

Franckly speaking: My vacation changes, even after I get home

My husband and I are camped on the wild and scenic section of the Rogue River in southern Oregon, our second night out. We arrived at this lovely riverside location in kayaks and rafts with a group of almost 30 people, including our son and his fiancée. Tent space is tight, so we raise our […]

Franckly speaking: It’s hard to decide how much to watch

A couple of weeks ago I found myself alone in front of the TV with my hand hovering over the remote. To click or not to click? I clicked, terminating the movie I was watching at the one-hour mark. “The Killing Fields” is a 1984 Oscar-winning fictionalized account of real events during the Cambodian genocide. […]

Franckly speaking: Should children come to funeral service?

I was in an audience in Sacramento, listening to Alan D. Wolfelt, a man whose speech topics are not cheerful. Wolfelt is a psychologist, workshop leader, and author whose 57 books are about death, divorce, suicide and other topics that involve loss and grief. It can be difficult to listen to him, but I enjoyed […]

Franckly speaking: What key figures populate our formative yeas?

Just before Christmas, Robert Bork died. My reaction surprised me. I paid attention, noting his age (85) and trying to recall details about his life. I remembered a little about his failed nomination to the Supreme Court by Ronald Reagan in 1987, but much more about his involvement in Watergate, when he was part of […]

Franckly speaking: How’s this remedy for dangerous cell phone use?

Last week on Facebook I ran into a post by a person in crisis. I don’t know the individual, but her situation was distressing. “Marie” and a male companion were completely stopped at a roundabout on a road into Aspen when they were hit at 45 mph by a young female driver who was looking down. […]

Franckly speaking: My role model is no bigger than my thumb

When I go to our place in the country, one of the first things I do is hang up our bird feeders. Minutes later the birds zoom in, like customers who’ve memorized the hours of their favorite ice cream store. I arrive. The birds come. What could go wrong? The hummingbirds are among the most […]

Franckly speaking: For good or ill parents leave a road map

I write this on my mother’s birthday — although I may not publish it right away. If she were alive, she would be 99 years old this year. She wouldn’t have wanted to live that long. A Christian and a believer, she expected to be reunited with loved ones after she died. I’m sure that […]

Franckly speaking: Got a book inside you? Here’s what you can do

“My goal,” says new author Dick Linford, “is to sell a minimum of 2,000 copies.” “Why that number?” I ask. “I have no idea.” Thirty-five years ago I worked for Dick as a river guide, and I’m happy to be one of his 2,000 purchasers. His book, Halfway to Halfway, co-authored with fellow raft company owner, […]

Franckly speaking: A homegrown salute to a special roommate

 In our house, there’s a room we call “Mim’s Room.” Whenever we have a guest, the first thing we say is, “You can stay in Mim’s Room.” Rarely do we explain who Mim is, why we named the room after her and why the name has stuck for 25 years after she left. Even I […]

Franckly speaking: A unique response to losing something valuable

Recently, I wrote a column about finding a lost purse. It was a conventional story: item lost, item found, item returned. But because I wrote that story, I heard another one — simple on the surface — but pretty darn unconventional underneath. That’s the tale Ill tell today. The date was Sunday, Jan. 17, and […]

Franckly speaking: People are waiting in long lines — for what?

A couple of weeks ago, my husband was surprised by something in downtown San Francisco. While walking to work, he saw about 30 people in the 900 block of Market Street waiting in line. He assumed they were homeless people, lining up for a meal. But when he encountered them again the next morning, still […]

Franckly speaking: When you turn 65 you get a big chunk of homework

A friend asked me what it was like to turn 65. “It’s such a big date in our culture,” she said. She was giving me a chance to express sadness about aging, but I hadn’t had time to feel sad; I was too busy signing up for Medicare. If that sounds like an exaggeration, you […]

Franckly speaking: Here’s a minority group to which many of us belong

This week Ive been reading a book that — whenever I mention it — people respond to and start talking. Its called “The Introvert Advantage” by Marti Olsen Laney. The subtitle is ”How to thrive in an extrovert world.” According to Laney, one in four Americans is an introvert. It’s interesting to think about whether […]

Franckly speaking: On top of everything, they’ve lost their marbles

I just returned from a part of the world where wars abound, and I find I want to join one, a cultural war. This all began when my husband got the travel bug and suggested a cruise in the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean seas. Before you could say “global hot spot” we signed up for […]

Franckly speaking: Cliché acquires new meaning after purse saga

Have you ever considered the cliché about walking a mile in someone elses shoes? I hadn’t, until recently when I walked a mile with someone else’s purse. It started when my husband and I got on BART. We were on our way to a daytime event in San Francisco, and we boarded at the Montgomery […]

Franckly speaking: A young performer nails Poetry Out Loud

Recently, I had the pleasure of being the first person in the world to interview Corbin Gomez. I have a feeling I won’t be the last. Last month, Corbin won the Poetry Out Loud contest in El Dorado County. In order to do so, he had to compete against first-place finishers from eight other high […]

March 23, 2012 | Posted in Opinion | Tagged | 1 Reply

Franckly speaking: Can I simply paddle my way to meditation?

A psychologist friend proposed a different definition of meditation that has my gears whirring like a GPS trying to “recalculate.” I’ve always had a respect bordering on awe for people who can meditate, but here’s what my friend said. “If you’re fully involved in something, active, paying attention only to that, you’re meditating. You don’t […]

Franckly speaking: Led by my palate into violating my principles

This is the story of a love affair, my love affair, a passion that I admit embarrasses me. What was so special? Why did I get so attached? It was the firmness, the sweetness, the hint of spice. But, like every romance, it wasn’t perfect. The first serving, before I got to the honey oat […]

March 02, 2012 | Posted in Opinion | Tagged | 1 Reply

Franckly speaking: Is the assertive response always the right one?

There was an uncomfortable moment between my daughter and me at the airport a couple of weeks ago. We both knew she might be taking a long flight with a crying baby. Trying to avoid that scenario, we stumbled into an experience that was unforeseen. My daughter, her 4-month-old baby and I were in Terminal […]

Franckly speaking: The curious case of the vanishing turkey

My husband is our Thanksgiving chef and the family that gathers to enjoy his meal now numbers in the mid-20s. When our oven could no longer hold a turkey large enough to feed everyone, he started buying two turkeys and cooking one outdoors. This allows him to strut his stuff. One turkey is conventional; the […]

Franckly speaking: In Normandy, soldiers find common ground

France gave the United States a piece of land in perpetuity for the graves of American soldiers who died on D-Day or in related operations. My husband and I visited in late September. It is not my habit to visit gravesites. The American Cemetery occupies 172.5 acres on the high ground above Omaha Beach where […]

Franckly speaking: Perplexing details surface as I explore a theme

Sgt. Curtis G. Culin III survived World War II but lost a leg. He became a salesman in New York, married and died in 1963, 1965 or 1981. He was awarded the Legion of Merit and mentioned in a speech by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1961. On the Web, the only recent references are to a […]

Fanckly speaking: How perfectly planned does this need to be?

My husband proposed marriage the moment the idea came to him, in a parking lot outside a restaurant in San Diego, without a ring or plans for a ring, and I liked it that way. Ever since, I’ve thought that spontaneity is the way to go with an engagement. However, recently my view has changed. […]

Franckly speaking: Acquiring wisdom, in three parts

My son and I are sitting in our cabin in Lotus looking at the swollen river some 400 yards away. Suddenly, a man in an inflatable kayak paddles quickly to shore, jumps out, and dashes up river on a deer trail. His speed, suggesting a crisis, inspires me to move fast, too. I gallop down […]

Franckly speaking: Reunion with Mama Duck

Nearly 20 years ago I drove six hours and arrived all alone at Sundance Kayak School in southern Oregon for my first lessons in whitewater kayaking. In order not to leave our young children, my husband and I had decided to try this new sport one at a time, I the first summer, he the […]

Franckly speaking: Piano music has wings that carry me home

I knew what was going to be special about the house concert I attended on May 22 near Placerville. I would see my new friend Dennis Johnson, an accomplished pianist, in his element, hear his music, and spend time with his wife and friends. As a young man, Dennis practiced up to five hours a […]

Franckly speaking: Maybe I could go back to school with a new major

I’m addicted to technology and I know I’m not alone. Recently, I hit rock bottom when I carried my cell phone up to bed and set it on the nightstand, even after what had happened the night before. The night before, I had awakened at 3 a.m. to go to the bathroom. Normally, I fall […]

Franckly speaking: Live the moment — consider the birds in the air

I thought the birds were my unique guilty pleasure. Then, about a month ago, we had new friends over for dinner at our place in Lotus. I know they participate in more overtly spiritual activities than I do — at church and elsewhere — but I was surprised, nevertheless, when Marsha said, “I just sit […]

Franckly speaking: People follow many trails in search of fun

I was about a third of the way through a morning of learning to identify animals from their tracks when the group leader told us something unexpected about the place we were exploring. “People like us, we’re the first to arrive,” he said. “Then the off-roaders. Then the paintball crowd.” The location was outside Nevada […]

Franckly speaking: I never knew poetry could make me sweat

“Poetry is a compressed way of expressing experience and that’s very powerful enlightenment.” — Ray Tatar, California Arts Council Talk about experience; Feb. 2 was the first time I got all nervous-sweaty about poetry. Normally, I receive a poem a day on my computer, but other than that, poetry is not a big part of […]

Franckly speaking: On death bed, a woman of faith shows her heart

The most devout person I’ve ever known died two weeks ago in a home for the aged in Queens. Vera, who had a firecracker brain, a loving heart and a great New York accent, had been my mother’s friend and became mine about six years ago when I re-met her as an adult. Ninety-two years […]

Franckly speaking: Experiment reveals habits I didn’t know I had

I read newspapers in the day, but I only permit myself books in the evening. I’m not the only person like this. In fact, this phenomenon led my women’s group, for the first time in over 25 years together, to create an experiment. The idea was born after one woman asked about our reading habits. […]

Franckly speaking: Tiger mom pounces on American parents

The 15 minutes of fame seized by Yale Law professor Amy Chua have ended — but what has she left in her wake? Something that disturbs me. Chua’s story first broke in the Wall Street Journal on Jan. 8 with an article she wrote provocatively titled, “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior.”  It was an excerpt […]

Franckly speaking: The many faces of Grandma and grandson

Here’s a story that illustrates how my face must have looked. After I dropped my daughter and grandson at the airport for their post-holiday flight home, I decided to eat lunch at In-N-Out Burger in Woodland. Although it was 12:15 p.m., the restaurant wasn’t crowded and a young woman motioned me to her cash register […]

Franckly speaking: Heading into autumn — let me count the ways

Marion Franck. Democrat photo by Megan Jeremica Last Saturday, for the first time this season, I thought about the end of my kayak trip before I’d even started. The daylight hours are growing shorter, and whitewater kayaking requires that you allow time for the unexpected. I wanted to be sure we were done before dark. […]

Franckly speaking: Time moves slowly when your only buddy is a baby

Marion Franck. Democrat photo by Megan Jeremica “I don’t have anything to write about,” I complain to my daughter. “Don’t worry,” she says. “After you take care of Carson for 24 hours, you will.” Good call. I arrive in Madison, Wis., for a seven-day visit that will include a day and night alone with Carson. […]

Franckly speaking: Tradition? We celebrate with a red balloon party

Democrat columnist It was hard to turn down an invitation to my friend GeorgeÕs 89th birthday party, but my grandson took precedence. He is 88 years younger than George. When I told George I was sorry to miss his party he said, ÒJust write about the red egg ceremony. I want to learn about that.Ó […]

Franckly speaking: Bereaved family receives the ashes, then what?

Democrat columnist Two weeks ago I got a phone call from a relative named Chris whom I have not seen since I was a teen and he was a 10-year-old. By the end of our conversation, a huge dilemma had landed in my lap. The issue? RuthÕs ashes. To follow the instructions in his motherÕs […]

Bereaved family receives the ashes,then what?

Franckly speaking Two weeks ago I got a phone call from a relative named Chris whom I have not seen since I was a teen and he was a 10-year-old. By the end of our conversation, a huge dilemma had landed in my lap. The issue? RuthÕs ashes. To follow the instructions in his motherÕs […]

Franckly speaking: Seeping reform meets resistance at home

Democrat columnist As I watched President Obama speak after signing the health care reform bill, I realized that he had been in conversation with my husband and had even covertly sided with him in the battle over remodeling our house. In fact, he stole words right out of my husbandÕs mouth. ÒItÕs been easy at […]

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