Dr. Diane Watson: A Path to Follow

IMG_4364 At 78, she wears a walking cast as she steps slowly through the remodeled entry of her South Los Angeles home. She touches her swollen right knee, which is not unlike her front door—newly replaced. Retirement is long overdue for the former congresswoman who rarely slows down. Where her career ends her memoir begins.

The concrete path to Dr. Diane Watson’s Harcourt Boulevard home is painted cherry-cola red. Her front yard is narrow, freshly cut and green. Of all of the 1940s bungalows on her block, the white house with the deco columns and an English chime doorbell is where all the commotion is now.

Just six months ago she had the house remodeled to accommodate her late mother’s care. Her bungalow is a charming mix of new and old French ‘haute monde’ design. Each picture frame is a splash of gold. On the side table there are more than 20 framed photographs of family, friends and colleagues. Some are living. Some are dead.

Each mirror casts a spectral light. White settees adorned with crisp pillows beckon at the entry where a grand portrait of a woman who sits like royalty looks out from a massive frame. According to her houseguest, opera diva Brenda Jackson, the retired congresswoman never sleeps. Jackson warns that ‘Lady Di’s’ day began at 2 a.m. as she was called to hold vigil at the bedside of her first cousin Lynn; a proud woman well into her nineties. She passed away early that morning.

Now the retired Congresswoman sits on an ivory chaise. Two college-aged ladies bring her a tray of tempura and brown rice, begging that she rests, eats. Dr. Watson is the matriarch of her family. Her maternal grandmother, Edith once held the position. Edith was born a “slave master’s child”, so she was allowed to get an education. She studied at Providence hospital in Chicago. She knew that the only way out of that life was education, so she moved her children to California. She did not want her children or her grandchildren living in the South.


It took seven years to finally reach California soil. Edith’s husband, who she called Mr. O’Neal, only knew plantation work and wanted to start a farm at Watts Field — the large swath of land where Watts Towers stand today. “The only time my mother ever heard her mother yelling was on that day,” Watson says as she imitates her grandmother’s voice and throws up her hands. “Mr. O’Neal wants to take all of us to Watts Field to farm! Shrieked Grandma Edith, I cannot believe it—he wants to farm, and we have come all this way!” And so they went. But they did not stay. Watson’s learned grandmother saw to that. She had better plans for her children than selling fresh vegetables out of the back of their father’s pickup truck.

Watson’s mother was born in Chicago. Her father was born in Kansas. Watson and her siblings were born at County General Hospital in Los Angeles. At that time, 50th Street and Central Avenue was the borderline for people of color—just a few miles from the hospital steps. Her father worked for the Los Angeles Police Department and was transferred to the University Station in South Los Angeles, where he rented a house on nearby Cimarron Street. The neighborhood grew around their house to include many Hollywood personalities. Eddie “Rochester” Anderson, the sidekick to actor Jack Benny, and Man tan Moreland—a vaudevillian legend — built fine houses there. In the height of the golden age, the roots of Hollywood grew right underneath the saddle shoes of the Watson girls. But they would not become Hollywood starlets.

Young Diane was going to go even higher than the star walk. “Because of my grandmother and her sisters, we all understood that education was the thing,” Watson says. “And so I went to City College, I went on to UCLA, I continued my education and got my Ph.D. in 1987. I went to school at night and I would write my dissertation all night, even though I was already in the Senate, I would write and work on my education and go to the Senate Floor in the morning.”

Dr. Watson’s work may have kept her busy on Capitol Hill, but her small apartment in D.C., she says, was not her home. She longed for the Los Angeles Boulevards and the faces of her people. “Even when I was living up on the Hill, I knew that my home was here in my district,” Watson says. She moved into her own white house in August of 1970. Her modest home has hosted scores of her constituents, family, extended family and hosts of friends.


The three Watson girls were tall and beautiful some say, but Barbara Jean and Patsy got all the boys, and ‘Di’ got all the books. She won all of the merit awards and all of the scholarships. There were debutante parties and white dress affairs that the Watson girls attended with the daughters of their mother’s friends. “My beloved sister Barbara Jean went out on dates and rode around in cars with boys — they all did. I just stayed behind and studied,” Watson says. As the other girls married and settled down to “homemaking” Watson says she could not be bothered. The future congresswoman was always leaving home for a meeting or an event. She wanted to network. Watson joined community organizations and was so well received that she says she eventually became president of all of them. She was popular with the older ladies, who she says mentored her lovingly.


Watson fondly recalls her days at City College because it was closest to her home. Also, it was small. The smallness of her classes and the individual attention that she was afforded from her professors in anthropology, geology and music, formed her academic foundation. Many of her classes were 20 or fewer students, unlike the UCLA Halls with more than 450 students in the lectures. There, Watson remembers professors did not even teach—the teachers’ assistants taught.

Watson said it was ingrained in all of “Grandma Edith’s kin” that education was the only way out of strife and hardship, for each of them and all of them. It was a group effort. Watson commuted by bus to and from the UCLA campus from 27th and Arlington Avenue. Then, Watson says, her great aunt did something for her that changed her life. She offered the retirement pay from her Post Office job and put up the money for Watson’s room and board at the university. This allowed her to live at Stevens House near Campus.

When the 27-bed residence opened in 1948, blacks, Asian Americans and Latinos could not get places in the school’s only dorm or access to Westwood apartments. “I thought I had died and gone to heaven. It was the first of its kind – an experiment in interracial living,” Watson says. “There were 27 girls. It couldn’t be too many blacks, whites, Asians, and there was just one Hispanic who was my roommate; a movie producer’s daughter.” Watson said that of the Stevens’ girls, those still living, are her friends today.

She recalls the excitement of being out on the town with the producer’s daughter, away from the watchful eyes of their mentors – at the age of 18 in the golden age of Hollywood. Sporting two cameras each and borrowing their friend’s good clothes to look the part as pre-viewers, they crowded into the streets. All of the producers and the biggest stars appeared at the “first-niters.”


The girls walked right up to Humphrey Bogart in his soft gray fedora. The young and the bright blonde actress on his arm was none other than Marilyn Monroe. The girls just smiled and busied themselves along with all of the other photographers and called out the stars to pose just like the real press people did and then snapped their pictures. That is how Watson met most of Hollywood’s hierarchy.

Watson planned to begin her career as a teacher after Pauline Slater, her great aunt became the first black teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District. The world map on the classroom wall was a constant reminder to her that there were many exciting countries to visit and exciting people to meet. Deep inside, she always knew that she was born to travel the world. She says she taught a third grade class for one year and then she took off. Her mother and her aunts watched with heavy hearts as she boarded a plane for Europe with a group of CSU students.


By the time she was 27, Watson had already traveled the world; Japan to England, France to China and Germany to Russia and back again. “I worked in Okinawa, Japan, I worked in France, I would just jump on with whatever group was going and go,” Watson says. “Never mind sleeping, I was too busy. I walked the wall, I did it all.”


In 1990, under Apartheid, Congresswoman Watson went to South Africa for the first time in a group of 20, and only four of them were people of color. The congresswoman and her group met with whom she called “Coos” van der Merva. He was the second in line in the apartheid movement. Watson recalls the meeting was overshadowed by the recent release of Nelson Mandela — a leading anti-apartheid campaigner freed from prison in South Africa after 27 years.

“We stood in the elevator lobby, none came to greet us or anything,” Watson says. “We waited there 20 minutes and then a tall man with a sweaty head and wrinkly clothes came to where we were standing — he looked like an unmade bed.” The man led the group to a larger room where there were two “official-looking” men already seated at the far end of the meeting room table. Although he received the group cordially, he made it clear that his meeting with them did not mean that he agreed with them. Nobody spoke. Then the big man slammed both of his fists down hard on the table and yelled “South Africa for the Afrikaners!” according to Watson. Then he spoke.

“When white man came there were no blacks in the southern tip of Africa,” he says. Van der Merva explained that he knows what is best for the next generation—segregation. The congresswoman says she could not sit by for that. She rose up in her chair and told him that she had learned in college that the “bushman” and the “Hottentot” inhabited the Cape of Good Hope. Her words angered him. He fired back that “they weren’t Africans they were Asians.” The man explained to the group that just because the Asians walked along a great land bridge and settled along the southern part of his country, they were not Africans. Watson told him that though he may be historically correct, her grandmother had told her they were not white. Silence filled the great room and the visit came to a swift end.


From there her group of 19 people traveled through the South Africa Creole and the dreaded Robben Island—situated 11 kilometers off the coast of Cape Town. The island was first used in the 1700s to hold captive slaves. In later years, it imprisoned the unwanted—Mandela was held captive on Robben Island for 18 years. They took the tour to where the wind blows up the Cape through the docks of the white traders’ ships. Watson says that the tours provide excellent insight into this historic place. Their guide was a man well versed in South African culture; a curator’s son from District Six Museum. A small boat carried them out to the dungeons across the channel in the rising sea air; she says that as the boat clipped along she could not escape the smell of flesh.

“The spirit of all of the ancestors comes flooding right down on you; you can feel it,” Watson puts her hand to her mouth. “It takes the breath right out of you to think of all that pain, and it makes the work that we do now so much more important.” Dr. Watson and the group stood in the small chamber cells where the captives had stood like cattle waiting to die.

They stood right where “the chained” waited for the boats to come and take them to the New World. It was dank. It was dark. She said it felt like the end of dreams. They sailed through the islands along the same shores where 11,128,000 live slaves were delivered to the New World during the Atlantic slave trade. “All of the sadness of this place,” Watson says, “It comes over like the ghosts.”

Watson’s group was sobbing by the end of the tour. All 19 of them in the group were sobbing. Black and white. Dr. Watson proudly held her seat as the 33rd District Representative of the United States Congress for eight years but spent 20 years in the California Senate. She worked through what she called the adversity of two Bush presidencies to do right by her conscience down to the last majority vote. The next president of the United States, Bill Clinton, would appoint her U.S. Ambassador to Micronesia — a cluster of 607 small islands just north of the equator.


When she first was invited to meet presidential hopeful William Jefferson Clinton, he was attending a convention in Arkansas. Watson looked up and saw him with “his curly blonde hair and striking blue eyes” and she was taken with him instantly. Watson says that the other members of her delegation said if he wanted to be the president he better forget it — he was the last speaker to speak and he talked for 45 minutes and everybody was trying to leave. After a hard year on the campaign trail, he came to California.

Watson recalls how she stepped up to show him around her home district. She says that he was well received by the congregations when they toured the “super churches” in Los Angeles County. Watson took the former governor of Arkansas to five services on a single Sunday. Some of these churches have 300,000 members. “And that is how we did it,” Watson says. “If you come out to church, then they all remember you at the ballot box.” Just a few months later, Clinton was inaugurated president.

To commemorate the event the congresswoman was invited to a convention in New York City. Watson was in her evening best. When she saw the placards on her box seats she could not believe where she was sitting. Lauren Bacall, Jackie Kennedy and Yuhl Brenner were already there. Then an usher told her that she was needed on the sixth floor and escorted her to the elevators.

Watson knocked on the door at the end of the lobby. A “stern man” opened it and asked her name. That man was Hubert Humphrey. “Humphrey was a tall man, a little taller than me, about 6-foot-6,” Watson says. “He was talking with a lady who had dark hair with a shock of white at the top. She could not have been more than 5-foot-4. He said, “I want you to meet Bill Clinton’s mother.” The two women became fast friends. Clinton’s mother adored her company. The two ladies spent most of the evening together and after that, Watson and the Clintons shared a special relationship. “I love Bill Clinton, and you can quote me on that!” Watson says. “I know that he is who he is because of the love of his mother.”


Watson was appointed Chair to the Department of Health and Human Services for the U.S. Senate for 17 years. “I am proud to say that I was the one responsible for getting the focus on the health and the welfare of the African-American on the 1980 Census,” Watson recalls how at the time there were only three categories for race. “Caucasoid, Mongoloid, or Negroid,” Watson peers over the rims of her glasses and crossing her arms she says, “I called up the director and pitched the idea that we should call ourselves where our gene pool was for identification —and that is how we got that changed on the ballot.”

During the Clinton Administration’s reworking of the welfare system, Dr. Watson was right at the helm speaking up for the thousands of families in her district. She says during the Rodney King riots, she was there for the angry kids in the streets, talking them back from harm’s way.

When the late Johnny Cochran was waiting for the O.J. verdict, she was in Germany and told her friends that she might need to fly back that same evening if the court decision came back guilty, because Cochran was in her district. Dr. Watson says that she will proudly live out the rest of her days here in Los Angeles, her first and only home. Times are still busy. There are local charity functions and caucus groups, and she says she does her best to show up and join in. There are many folks around Hollywood who still call her for help even though she is no longer an elected official. She answers her own single-line house phone. She plans festive agendas for community events and social gatherings. She attends Gala celebrations, weddings, birthdays, and christenings, even the after-parties of the Oscars. When asked to participate in official business, she refers people to the woman who now sits in her Wilshire Boulevard office—her successor, Congresswoman Karen Bass.


On Jan. 5, 2011, Watson spent the better part of the afternoon taking Bass around and introducing her to everyone before her swearing in with all of the other newcomers. At the end of the day, Dr. Watson said she wanted to introduce her successor to a woman who she lovingly calls her ‘BFF’. “So, I took Karen down to the Floor at the second row and when the woman looked up she said, ‘Oh, no Diane, you are not leaving us are you?’ I said, Karen, meet Gabrielle, she is dear to my heart and you are going to love her.” That woman was Gabrielle Giffords. Both women left the Hill that day. Gabrielle was the last person that Dr. Watson had spoken to on her last day in Washington.


ISP Y – I’ve got my eye on you.


This week the entertainment industry finally is getting a modicum of the control it has been craving since the Internet was born.

Meet the newly-transformed spyware. The next phase in pushing online piracy into the mass-market phenomenon it has become: a new Copyright Alert System (CAS) that turns Internet service providers into anti-piracy law enforcers.

Designed to make a chink in the armor of our over-sharing problems, the CAS is a pilot program for infringement control.  It’s a start. And if the industry’s assumptions are correct, it is just the first of consumer monitoring tactics we will all have to oblige.

It’s not as failsafe as the big thug record companies and Hollywood studios had proposed, and is designed to allow many sources of bootlegged music and movie files online if distribution is limited.

The CAS is the work of the Center for Copyright Information, a joint effort by five large ISPs — AT&T,Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and , wait for it…Verizon. The lesser players in our new and improved media monitoring system are four trade associations representing major and independent film and music companies.

So what does the CAS do for them? It allows for ISPs to notify customers of alleged copyright infringements (CI’s) that the trade associations’ members have detected on their broadband accounts, and to inform them of authorized sources of music and movies online that they can safely access.

If more CI’s occur after the initial “educational” notice, the ISPs will ratchet up the pressure on a customer through a graduated series of warnings and limitations on that person’s Internet connection—big brother is watching.

The most severe “mitigation” steps, which would come after the fifth and sixth detected CI’s, could reduce the customer’s bandwidth or redirect that person’s browsing automatically to an anti-piracy information page.

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It’s not as failsafe as the big thug record companies and Hollywood studios had proposed, and is designed to allow many sources of bootlegged music and movie files online if distribution is limited to a single user.

Notably, the ISPs haven’t been willing to go as far as the major studios and labels have sought, which would be to cut off someone’s Internet access after multiple alleged offenses.

Let’s be clear. The monitoring will be done by copyright owners and their hired guns—the  anti-piracy specialists, such as MarkMonitor who have been perfecting their spyware in preparation for the pending surge—not the ISPs.

Still, the Internet providers will assume the role of the bereaved parent at a truancy hearing charged with delivering their teenaged piracy habituals to the courthouse for “punishment.”

The task of taking the IP addresses provided by the copyright owners and matching them—accurately—to the customers who had those addresses at the time the alleged infringements occurred—is the role they must oblige.

Jill Lesser, executive director of the center, said the five ISPs would send notices only about illegal file-sharing, though much of the piracy online has shifted to unauthorized streaming sites and locker services.

“It is certainly not the most innovative form of piracy,” Lesser says of file-sharing, “but it’s still among the biggest.” For the first phase of the system, she added, the center members wanted “to bite off what they could chew.” Once they’ve shown they can make the system work, we can find ways to expand it.”

And they will.

Similarly, the only copyright holders that will be using the system are the movie studios and music companies that belong to the four participating trade associations. But that could change after it’s up and running effectively. “We really hope that this will be the model for the way to move forward,” Lesser smiles.

The experience of France, which requires ISPs to suspend customers’ Internet access after three offenses, suggests that a single notice is enough to deter further incidents of piracy in most cases. That’s consistent with the entertainment industry’s argument that consumers don’t really understand what’s legal and illegal online, and that many don’t use legal music and movie services online because they don’t know how to use them.

The notices also goad people with wireless connections to stop making their bandwidth freely available to their neighbors, and forces parents to pay more attention to what their kids are doing online—on their parents internet connections.

Opponents of CSA warn that they have now done the groundwork for more invasive monitoring by ISPs, and that they threaten to hold people responsible for fair uses of copyrighted works (for example, sharing a home video that has 60 seconds of a copyrighted song playing in the background) or CI’s done by others (for example, by neighbors who secretly use their bandwidth).

Even if the system works, people who want to obtain movies and music for free online will find ways to get them. Pirates will be pirates. And if the league of pirates is large enough, don’t be surprised if six months from now the industry pushes Congress to require ISPs to take more aggressive steps.

The truth is, there are more people on the internet than pirates. ISP’s simply telling people to stop illegal file-sharing will be enough to transform much of the public into paying customers, or at least pushing the new agenda of respect deserved to our writers, artists, creatives, and even YouTube stars.

In the meantime, cover your own asses from the eyes on the masses.

First Lady, Last Award

So, the highlight of Hollywood’s biggest night of the year was not the Skype of William Shatner or the singing and dancing numbers of Mac Farlane and crew. It was the appearance of the First Lady‘s presentation of best motion picture to “Argo” near the close of the ceremony.

It is not like Mrs. Obama presented the award on the fly, she has been planning it for months even before her husband’s reelection.  In a recent L.A. Times post, Kristina Schake, a spokeswoman for the first lady says, The Academy Awards approached the first lady about being a part of the ceremony,” as a movie lover, she was honored to present the award and celebrate the artists who inspire us all, especially our young people, with their passion, skill and imagination.” Schake says.

Schake is speaking as the first lady’s confidante. Michelle the mom. Michelle the movie lover.   As if to say, NO PR STUNT HERE.



According to the Times piece, The idea to have Mrs. Obama participate in the ceremony was actually hatched by the producers of the show, with a big hand from the film executive Harvey Weinstein. Mrs. Obama was all for it. But in order to prevent a spoiler, secret negotiations ensued, including a final one involving a stealth flight from Los Angeles to Washington a few weeks ago to finalize the devilish details.

A buddy of mine works for NBC on Editorial staff. His office has been bringing the Oscars to our living rooms for the last 25 years. According to the powers that be around his water cooler, Neil Meron was hired last fall to co-produce the Oscar event with Craig Zaden. The Times post agrees:

“Literally from the first day we were hired we thought, ‘How can we make this special?’”Meron says. “We were hoping Obama would win so we could have our plan executed.”

After the election, Meron and Zaden decided the plan would need a shot in the arm if it were to really happen. Mrs. Obama would be in high-demand–stuck to the muck and the mire of the bureaucratic East Wing, so the two approached Mr. Weinstein. “We were very aware that Harvey was close to the Obama family,” Zadan says, “and if we went through normal channels, the odds were small it would happen.”

Mr. Weinstein reached out to the White House, originally with the idea of having Mrs. Obama be a guest at the awards show–but as an in house presenter, sneaking backstage to morph into a secret gown. But because the Obamas had a conflict that night — the state governors would be in town for a White House gala — the idea of a remote crew was born.

Like the noise in a comic book, there to add the texture of a traumatic scene, only two top executives at ABC knew of the PR stunt, along with the actor Jack Nicholson, who was charged with presenting Mrs. Obama from the Mann’s Theatre stage in Hollywood. Meron and Zadan were shoved off in a private jet for the flight to D.C.


“Mrs. Obama, wearing a shimmering gown designed by Naeem Khan, was hand-delivered the shiny classified envelope containing the winner — “Argo,” the Ben Affleck-directed film about a C.I.A. plan to rescue Americans from Iran during the hostage crisis — by Bob Moritz, the United States chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers, which certifies the awards. White-gloved White House military social aides stood in the background.”

The first lady’s Oscar turn was one in a long line of PR stunts that humanize the role of our nation’s first mom. The Oscar presentation followed her appearance last week on NBC’s “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon,” where, to kick off the third year of her Let’s Move exercise campaign, she presented the “Evolution of Mom Dancing” next to a high-energy Fallon in drag.

But Washington was obsessing about the propriety of a first lady having such a central role in the Oscars, suggesting that it was less proper than, say, a president throwing out a fast pitch for open season, pardoning a Turkey, or making flapjacks in Iowa serving tables of voters.

“Now the first lady feels entitled,” said the Washington Post conservative blogger and republican columnist Jennifer Rubin, “with military personnel as props, to intrude on other forms of entertaining, this time for the benefit of the Hollywood glitterati who paid for her husband’s re election.”

As early as the next morning Pundits and talk show hosts were talking about “Mrs. Obama and the Oscars” Joking that it was a PR stunt for the networks, an outtake that they were witholding until the end of the evening like a silver bullet, and worse, suggesting that Mrs. Obama was hijacked from the gala event she was hosting and forced to play “Come out for Hollywood.”

The truth is, just like Schake says, Michelle loves the movies.

In my opinion, Mrs. Obama has every right to the limelight that her husband shares. If we rewind to PR stunts of administrations past, we recall Hillary Clinton on Sesame Street, Al and Tipper Gore on SNL, Nancy Reagan sharing in the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the first-ever Walmart store and the year President Franklin D. Roosevelt opened the 13th Academy Awards ceremony by addressing the nation and the crowd at the Biltmore Hotel.

Funnily enough, the Times writes, nobody seems to recall when Laura Bush taped a “What Do the Movies Mean to You?” segment for the Academy Awards while she was first lady in 2002.

Why does it always have to be a PR move that brings the president’s wife to the screen? Doesn’t she have equal rockstar status in America? Why does she need a reason to be wherever she wants to be?

After all, her husband spends more of his free time on The View than she ever does at the movies.


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The Skeleton Crew : SUNCADIA RESORT


Cle Elum, Wash. sure has its share of ghosts!  Tonight, our crew returns to the Evergreen State to investigate the latest hauntings at Suncadia Resort, the newest edition of ghostly charm to the oldest operating coal mining town in America. The beautiful and colorful resort, golf course, and twin sparkling swimming pools isn’t enough to cover up the local history of Cle Elum and nearby Roslyn’s rumors, mystery and murder!

David Guzman, former beat reporter for the local newspaper once covered the longtime resident of a nearby haunting, and his eerie findings were cut from the story entirely by his conservative and non-believing editors.  “I didn’t really see anything, but heard and sensed a real presence there,” Guzman says. “We were camped out in a one of the bedrooms of the old inn, and there was a tap on one of the bedposts. So the lead investigator guy says ‘We don’t want to scare you, we just want to know you’re here. Could you please tap the bed post again so we know you’re there?’ and then it tapped again.”

Guzman and his cameraman said the group spent a bout four hours lurking around the old Roslyn Inn.  He was taking notes in the hallway when he caught a whiff of cigarette smoke he says, from out of nowhere. “The smell of smoke and then something brushed across my arm and made the hair on my arm stand up, it was spooky.”

During the interview the owners were talking about how things would get moved around…cups, plates, etc. (this was an old bistro from the mining hey days) People staying at the old Inn reported sightings of long dead guests and employees. Many of the sightings are of the same characters; a young maid in an apron, an old miner in the bar, and a lady and a boy in Victorian dress.

These sightings caught the attention of the investigators of Paranormal Investigations of Historic America (PIHA) to the little town of Roslyn.

An excerpt from the PIHA website:

“On behalf of the volunteer paranormal investigators of PIHA, I invite you to experience Washington State’s amazing historical sites and museums like never before. Through our process of networking with local historical societies, museums and registered, public historical sites, PIHA hopes to encourage public interest in the ghosts of Roslyn, Wash.”

Read more:


Since that night in July, 2010, Guzman admits scribbling in his notebook as the owners recalled the way that dishes and things would move from shelves and tables and get broken—while many of the locals remained skeptical and even quit going to the Inn—there was a ghost hunting crew at the ready.


There are rumors that the hauntings continue in the old Inn, and all around the once boomtown to this day, and now even the newly built Suncadia Resort has reported a few sightings of its own.

The property brokerage agency Kennedy Wilson, are already onto the phenomenon that ghost chasers bring. The following post from their blog features a haunted resort and an eerie photograph of a Victorian lady on the beach in front of the grand hotel.


“I used to watch those Ghost Hunter type shows on TV and think it was all a crock,” Guzman says, “and a lot of it is…the stuff on TV, anyway, but that night I was convinced that ghost activity exists.”

Mr H, the current groundskeeper at Suncadia, is skeptical of paranormal claims.  But his crew has seen more than their share of activity around the grounds of the stunning resort.  Shadow figures, moving blue lights in the bar windows, voices, whispering, doors swinging and even a face-to-face encounter with the ghostly figures of miners!

The crew is freaked out by the increasing intensity of the experiences, and a few of these men suspect that the activity has moved to the resort grounds from the neighboring buildings of old Roslyn.

Mr. H would like PIHA to put his night watchmen at ease and bring back the crew to the resort officially—and they hope that patrons, who are into ghostly visitors, mysterious lights, and whispering voices, will plan their next Washington stay at the newly haunted Suncadia Resort.


Spring Vogue Mornings

IMG_3885I will always have a place in my heart for the March issue of my Vogue Magazine. Its weight in my still-gloved fingers, the covergirl’s dim eyes staring matte through the magazine’s plastic slipper–insulating the muted colors warm in the winter air of my mailbox.

Coffee in my cup, french-milled and steaming, sticky bun not yet on my morning plate. I have been taking in my big fat first-of-spring-fashion issues of this zine [this year’s page count is 619] with my fattening brekkie rolls and caffeine for over twenty years.

Prying open the tiny shears from my trenchcoat-colored sewing purse I zip through the glassine slipper–flinging them on the table as the floral-scented pages of lack-luster fragrances with bland aspirant titles waft from my naked-nalied grip.

A ritual of over twenty years comes into high focus in my mind–what else have I done the same week every year for so damn long?

Been a mom? Not until December of this year. Stayed married? Nope. Not even the first time and barely by half. The ipod dock whistles in the morning sunshine at my kitchen table…the table that I bought when I was just eighteen. The old round cafe table–I bought in 1989. There we go, I have a glimmer of continuity in my life that makes me laugh to myself.

My mind takes me back to the cold afternoon that I bought it at that small antique shop on the westside where I used to wander and wait for my bus. It dons on me that in all of the apartments I have rented and kept–my god there must be a dozen–and still it always fits in.

So, who can say that they have had the same kitchen table for longer than I have read Vogue magazine?

To be continued…