The Abu Sayyaf.

"Everything You Have Ever Wanted is on the Other Side of Fear."
In the mid to late 1990s, there were travel warnings for Americans traveling to the Philippines, and the warnings recommended NOT to visit the Southern Islands of Mindanao. I did not read travel warnings. I went where I wanted to go. 

Talikud Island in 1996 had a few tiny rustic resorts along the coastline that were mostly thatch roof huts on stilts and were we reachable only by water. The island was covered by dense jungle and primarily uninhabited. One tiny beachfront resort had about 8 cabins, no running water, and no electricity, except for a small generator. The resort was managed by a married local Filipino couple and catered to Filipinos tourists with the rooms renting for 200 - 300 Pesos ($8-12) per night for a small 12 x 12 ft thatched-roof hut on the beach. 

To get to the islands, one would take a small ferry from Davao City to Samal Island, the larger of the two islands.   Samal island was more developed…

The Watermelon Patch

It was a hot, dry summer in Grant County. My parents operated a large farm about 10 miles outside of Moses Lake. They farmed 450 acres, which included alfalfa, hay, and corn. They had 250 head feedlot for Holstein Heifers and small swine operation with 20-30 head. To make a little more income that summer, they planted 10 acres of watermelon with family friends.

The Weaver* family had a mom, dad, and 3 young boys. The boys always wore their hair parted on the side and slicked back. Their parents drove a small yellow VW bug, and all 3 boys could squeeze in the back seat. At that time, neither family had a lot of money when it came to the Watermelon patch, it was all hands on deck.

Mr. Weaver was a large quiet man with a kind smile who did his best to keep his boys in line.   Mrs. Weaver was a jovial heavyset woman with a great laugh. She would often work in the watermelon patch hoeing the weeds, She wore a  printed dress with an apron. When it came time to eat lunch, she would pull out…

The Round Waterbed

It was summer in Grant County. The days were long and hot with the dry heat of the high desert of Eastern Washington.

The giant round waterbed was in the middle of the living room. It was the old fashioned kind with brown leatherette padded edges, and it was about 7 feet in diameter. It was covered with one of those brown furry blankets with horses on them and many cheap pillows. It would have looked at home in a seedy Las Vegas honeymoon suite motel, but instead, it was in the living room of a family home. The family had three generations living under the same roof. The grandparents, two grown daughters, and their boyfriends and kids. My best friend was 16 and lived in the attic.  

In the attic, she had a single bed, one lightbulb, and some old milk crates to store her clothes in. The attic had wide plank 2x4s with plywood for the walls. My friend Irene* came from an abusive home and to avoid her family, she had been staying with friends. Now she was staying with "Uncle". …

The Jar

The Jar.

It was cold in February in Pullman, Washington, where I attended Washington State University. I was 20 years old and lived off-campus with a roommate. 
One day my friend Kathleen called crying. She was pregnant. For the past semester, she had been living with her boyfriend, a Vietnamese guy named Fong. He had a $5,000 aquarium in his off-campus apartment, was known to be a dangerous guy and carried a handgun, and there was no way she wanted to have his baby. They did not have a car. She wanted to see if I would drive her to Planned Parenthood in Spokane to get an abortion. The next week was her appointment. 
One cold morning with ice and snow on the ground we drove the 90 miles to Spokane.  I parked my car on the street next to Planned Parenthood, and we went upstairs to the waiting room. Kathleen was visibly nervous.  There were women of all ages, some with their husband, mom, or by themselves. The nurse called her back. Kathleen asked me to go back with her. I said I do not …

The Bus

The Bus

I was in Puerto Rico for vacation. My husband and I went to an island called Vieques and signed up for a tour to see the bioluminescent algae that light up in the bay at night. 

That evening we arrived at the location in front of a hotel to be picked up by the van. The "van" that was going to drive us to the shore was a converted American yellow school bus circa 1975.  It had high backed black Naugahyde seats. We sat down in one of the benches along with the other tourists.  Immediately I started to get extreme anxiety and turned to my husband:

"I have to get off this bus." 

My heart was beating really fast, and I felt like I was going to pass out or have a panic attack.  As I sat there trying to calm myself down, I realized it was on the school bus that freaked me out.  Just sitting on the bus brought back all the memories from my childhood...

My earliest school bus memories were when we lived out in Sage Brush Flats several miles outside of Ephrata, a small ru…

Fashion Slow Lane Trip to Israel and Palestine

Fashion Slow Lane in the Middle East
I just got back from a crazy trip to Israel and Palestinian territories. I went there on behalf of Two Neighbors to check our fashion production and meet with the team in Israel as well as in the village in the West Bank (Palestine area). It was a really good meeting with our embroidery ladies in the West Bank, as a designer myself I was able to give them design direction on new designs for 2019. Our Palestinian Co-Manager was there to interpret between Arabic and English for me.

We did a side trip through the Palestinian city of Hebron and that is where I saw the camel meat shop. The camel head was quite shocking, I am not sure why they wanted to hang the camel head in front of the shop, maybe so that people would know it was a fresh cut! Ewww

In the West Bank, we stopped to use a gas station toilet which was located near a Jewish settlement and when I came out of the bathroom, an Israeli army guy with a machine gun was standing by the car they d…

New Showroom/Retail Space for Two Neighbors in La Jolla!

I am pleased to announce that Two Neighbors - a social fashion brand between Palestinian and Israeli women has a new flagship store opening Monday, March 18 in downtown La Jolla, CA. La Jolla is a world-famous seaside resort town near San Diego, CA. It is a destination for Hollywood celebrities and well-heeled visitors from around the world. Situated in a new shopping complex called "La Plaza" - Two Neighbors is excited to be part of this beautiful seaside community known for its rugged coastline, posh boutiques and waterfront restaurants. Please stop and see us at:
hashtag Two Neighbors showroom/retail La Plaza La Jolla, CA 92037 7863 Girard Ave, Suite 106 email: