Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy Almost New Year!

Watch this space!


is hosting a monthly

beginning MONDAY, January 24th 2011!

Special Guest writers from many genres will dialogue with older adult writers
regarding the writing process.
How to survive the writing blocks!
What drives a person to write and to keep writing!

Dessert Reception to Follow!

These events are free and open to the public, but you must RSVP to guarantee a seat!
Thank you, LAUSD Programs for Older Adults and North Hollywood Polytechnic Community Adult School!

Fjaere ("Fiera") Nilssen-Mooney, Instructor and Salon Organizer

Friday, June 11, 2010

You Are Invited
To a Special Screening
And Poetry Reading

“From Memories
to Monologues:
Voices Come Alive”

Valley Village Senior Apts
12111 Chandler Boulevard
Valley Village, CA 91607

Poetry from Tea and Tales
Award Ceremony

Instructor Fjaere Nilssen-Mooney
LAUSD North Hollywood Community Adult School

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Hope is in the Air

How nice to feel the love and faith
Of hope that is in the air.
We talk to each other sometimes.
We dare to relax our anger,
And remember why we are there.

Our lives have changed over time.
Sometimes good, sometimes bad.
Always a hope
That we will leave a good earth,
Happy, not sad.

We give to our children
A promise of faith
That we hope will last years.
Through it,
Lives this dream of ours
That all humanity,
No matter where,
Will share our dreams
And believe in our care.

The saying goes:
You live in hope,
You die in despair.

Larry Kal is a poet/writer and member of the "Tea and Tales" writing group, which is a part of the Programs for Older Adults, LAUSD, North Hollywood Poly Adult School.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Keep the Hope: An Armenian Genocide Memoriam

An Object with a Subject

A small plastic bag
Full of precious soil
From the occupied
Lands of my forefathers
Sits on the top shelf
Of my library.

A friend of mine
Brought as a surprise gift,
On her return
From Eastern Turkey,
Historic Armenia.

That handful of soil
Reminds me.
The drops of silemt tears
Of my mother and father .
It reminds me.
The persecutions and massacres
Of 1.5 million Armenias
95 years ago, as if yesterday.

It reminds me.
People leaving their homes
walking barefoot under the bruning sun
Into the unknown
Into the valleys of death.

The silent soil in my library
Looks at me
Inspiring me with hope
That those lost lands
Will be ours again.
"When and how?" I ask.
"Keep the hope," it says.

What a sweet hope
With which to live.

Jeanette Kassouny is an essayist and poet member of the LAUSD North Hollywood's "Tea and Tales Writing Group."


Isn't it funny when you think about sugar? Well, I could tell you all about sugar.
From the time I was a small child, I really enjoyed dipping my fingers into the sugar bowl, which was my favorite thing.
I used to get the little round stool, bring it over to the dish cabinet in the kitchen, climb up on it, reach up to the cabinet doors, and open up the dish cabinet.
I would dip my fingers into the sugar bowl while Mother was sitting in the living room reading.
"What are you doing?!" she would ask.
One evening, when the table was being set up for dinner, as soon as the sugar bowl was placed on the table, I started up again,until Mother had to put the sugar bowl on top of the grand piano to keep me out of it.
Meanwhile, a repeat performance took place in the kitchen. I would pick all of the pieces of the yummiest chocolate cake that my mother kept in the dish cabinet for tea time.
One afternoon, I got caught red-handed! Oh boy, did my other get angry when she saw that the cake had been picked over by yours truly. Who else?!
"Zoe! Naughty girl! Don't you touch that cake. Now, do you understand me?"
I can still see that angry look on her face.
Shortly, before we left for California, we went over to Uncle Milton's Candy Store. Uncle Milton and Aunt Ellie were taking over the lease on our apartment. While Mom was talking to Uncle Milton, I went back behind the candy counter and tasted an orange-sliced jelly candy, then a lemon one. This is one time Mother never found out about!
After we moved to California, we had company one afternoon. The chocolate cake had been taken back to the kitchen. I exited the living room, to get away from the boring grown-ups or so my parents thought. I then took part of the icing off the chocolate cake. When Mother came into the kitchen and noticed the partly naked cake, I went back into the living room. I thought all hell was going to break loose, when Mother said, "Zoe, you took the icing off the cake!!"
When I was in my teens, Danish Almond Horns were my all-time favorite, courtesy of Ralph's Market. One day, Dad pulled a royal trick on me. He put the package of cookies in the washing machine instead of back into the kitchen cabinet. (I wonder why!)
This was to keep me from nibbling on them, so incessantly.
His message, and one by which I still struggle to abide: Leave some sweets for others!

Zoe Dawson is a member of the LAUSD North Hollywood Adult School's "Tea and Tales Writing Group." She is an avid chocolate fan, poet, essayist, as well as a lover of gardens, crafting, and singing.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Memories of My Grandfather, Julius Mendelson

I Still Remember

I was too young when you died.

I still remember.
I was just learning from you.

I still remember.

You were my mentor.

I still remember.

You taught me about a good life.

I still remember.

Simple things that now show up

I still remember.

Being kind to people
I still remember.
Sharing what you have with others

I still remember.

Simple pleasures we enjoyed together

I still remember.
Your love of horses
I still remember.
How you would feed

The mounted police horses sugar cubes
I still remember.

Taking care of your horse and wagon
I still remember.

I stayed behind at the cemetery
After everyone had left, to say

"Goodbye. I love you, Grandpa."
I still remember.

-Larry Kal

A member of "Tea and Tales Writing Group," Larry Kal is writing poetry for the first time. His work will be published in an anthology to be released in 2010!
This class is part of the Programs for Older Adults, LAUSD, and is taught by instructor Fiera Mooney.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Happy Poetry Month!

I Never Told Anybody

I never told anybody
That I am the Venus of Willendorf;
Jo March in Little Women, eating an apple in the attic, reading;
Nancy Drew, smartly solving mysteries, with a dad who loves her;
Marilyn Monroe, abandoned, neglected, orphaned by a mother
still living;
George Sand, a writer, divorcee mother with lovers;
Sylvia Plath, cold, depressed, suicidal;
Francoise Dorleac, dead in a car accident, in the 60's;
Vigee Le Brun, artist to European aristocracy during the
French Revolution;
Queen Lilioukalani, the last monarch of Hawaii, exiled;
Sister Maria Theresa of Spain, who experienced the Interior
Castle of the Lord's
many mansions;
Kiss Me Kate, Shakespeare's shrew,
and all of Matisse's women.

I never said that I was any of them
but some who knew me knew,
sous entendue.

Francesca Riviere is a poet, ESL teacher, and proud member of the "Tea and Tales Writing Group," a class offered by North Hollywood's Program for Older Adults, and taught by writer-poet Fiera Mooney.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

NEXT STOP ... Reality TV? Screenplays? Hollywood?

"From Memories to Monologues" Writers and Actors celebrate, and are awarded Certificates of Recognition from the LAUSD's Programs for Older Adults Advisor Arlene Torluemke (Bottom, right) as History is made in North Hollywood.
Never before, through North Hollywood Adult School, have older adult writers told stories about their loved ones that they then could turn into monologues which could then be performed by Older Adult actors.
A DVD of the event is being made, and will be available.
Instructor Buddy Powell coached the actors.
Instructor/Writer and Producer Fjaere Mooney developed the event and proudly facilitated the writing workshops which lead to the original monologues.
"Tea and Tales" will publish the full monologues as well as their complete anthology in June.
Thank you to all involved. You rock.
Next stop? Hollywood.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Hollywood is Calling!

You are Invited!

"From Memories to Monologues: An Historical Performance"

When: Monday, March 22, 2010
Where: The Valley Village Senior Apartments: Clubhouse 12111 Chandler Boulevard Valley Village, CA 91607
Panel Discussion following, and then Reception

What is Going On: Members of "Tea and Tales" writing group bring personal voices of the past to life through monologues enacted by actors from "Commercial Acting" class.
Sponsored by The Programs for Older Adults, LAUSD, North Hollywood Adult School (ECC)
Space is limited, and so you must RSVP!
Please email asap, as we are filling up fast!
PRESS contacts: we would love to see you. Be in touch.
Street parking is available. If you have special needs, there are limited underground parking spaces for you. Let us know and we will do what we can to help.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I offer a dissent as to the propriety of using that word as an essay subject.
One of the main meanings of the word, according to Webster's, has to do with judicial opinion, notably from the Supreme Court.
Although I may agree with many (or none) such dissents, I am not going to discuss them on this blog.
In the meantime:

I was decent, and declined to dissent.
I dissented to descend into the cave.
I canceled, or dis-sent the message.
I neutralized- or dis-scented the odor.

And finally: I bisect da cent and get two half-pennies.

I apologize for all of the above.

Local humorist-essayist J.D. Karr is also an actor-director, and member of the LAUSD's "Tea and Tales" literary group.

Friday, February 19, 2010

My New Digital Remotely Controlled Life

by Francesca Riviere

My relationship with my TV has intensified since the digital conversion deadline on June 12, 2009. I did comply by purchasing the cheapest rudimentary antenna: rabbit ears and the DTV converter with my government issued $40 credit card.
As a result, I find that, in order to watch television, I must renew my vows daily.
That is, when I turn the TV on in the morning, in want of a friendly, familiar voice giving the news, or the entertainment of silly, pregnant, over-accessorized, and under-dressed weather-tarts forecasting local climate changes, or traffic men with blinking charts and
hovering helicopters, I find the local stations and national networks are not where I left them.

In order to relocate them, I must re-boot, re-scan,re-add, re-edit, and re-manually adjust every station with my new digital remote control, and even that is no guarantee. When I hit Signal on the remote, I must re-align the signal’s beeps with a new antenna position. (My antenna has variously seen plastic hair clips, metal vegetable wires, jars of face cream. etc. to hold it in place.) This can take hours. Like a Pavlovian dog, I am trained to find the steady beep-beep-beep that coincides with clear picture and sound, and voila!, a new aerial lift-off.

I have come to describe the channels that are in between alignment as an artistic gallery of horrors, as each channel takes on its own unique digital aspect:

The Francis Bacon channel offers gouged flesh, multiple eyes hanging out of faces, with ragged mouths – the way people look to you when you are on a bad acid trip.

The Lucien Freud channel portrays smeared pastel flesh more lovingly, more tenderly, but smeared nonetheless.

The Seurat pointillism channel has dancing dots entwined with black mold.

The Salvador Dali channel features melting faces, eaten away by black digital acid.

Most recently, during our siege of wildfires burning our beautiful California landscape 24-7,
I have found several artistic stations merged into one: that of the burning of Cezanne landscape paintings covered by an announcing reporter who resembles Munch’s "The Scream." Outbuildings are from Picasso in his cubist period, foliage echoes Fauvian red and purple trees.

I am beginning to enjoy the multiple reassemblages of the aforementioned, as if artists in heaven are competing through the radio waves for my attention: stop watching TV, remember me? Here I am again, in living color, moving around in your living room, not in the museum where you last saw me.

DTV, at my rabbit ear consumer level, has taken on the same qualities that I don’t like about cell phones: spotty reception, static, and interrupted communication. We have sacrificed stability of reception for “improved”, yet infrequent, technological “quality” reception. I need a GPS to find my reception. The lingering captions onscreen from a previous station, the fluttering images,
the chopped distorted speech, like the sound of a Scandinavian language played in reverse are embedded in the viewing experience of one who does not have cable.

Occasionally, I am IN THE ZONE, where magically all the stations have perfect reception at the same time and do not have to be individually reconnoitered. Have the planets realigned? And that is when you appreciate the good old days before DTV reception, of just turning on your TV
and the sound and image were in perfect placement, right where you left them.

Or maybe I’m just watching too much TV.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Salute to a Doll

I didn't have any toy nor a doll, which I dreamed to have. My early childhood was during WWII, a time of survival only.
But I remember a special event in my life, related to a beautiful doll.
It was my first day of school, 1940 or 1942. My mother had prepared a school bag out of her old navy-colored coat. My father had given me a copybook, pencil and eraser. With all the excitement of a school bag and a blue uniform, I held my mother's hand and left home cheerfully.
As we approached the school, I started to tremble. Something was choking me,a feeling of separation from my mother.
At the door of KG, the teacher embraced me, held my hand, and said, "I'm Miss Shoushan, and you are very beautiful, a very nice girl. Come in."
My mother let go my hand and started to walk away, with tears in her eyes. I cried, too, and tried to run after her.
But Miss Shoushan took me in her arms, kissed me, and handed me a beautiful doll. She had big blue eyes, curly brown hair, and was dressed in pink.
I wiped my tears.
I didn't look for my mother any more. She had gone.
"She may sit by you in the class," said the teacher.
And that was it.
The doll sitting by me had opened the door to my love of education.
Now, many years later, I feel grateful to a teacher, who, most probably without the required credentials of nowadays, knew the simplest way to guide her students toward a love of education.
I say today, "Salute to a doll."
written by Jeanette Kassouny

An educator and writer of Armenian descent, Jeanette Kassouny is a dedicated member of "Tea and Tales" a writing class taught by Fjaere Mooney and offered by the Programs for Older Adults, North Hollywood Community Adult School, at Valley Village Senior Apartments.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

My Private Window to Knowledge

To Whom It May Concern:

Education is my private window to knowledge. Knowledge is the pathway that has broadened my horizons, and touched the four corners of the earth.

In my many accumulated birthdays, I have learned two very important lessons. The first: how much I don't know. The second: there is much power in listening, and, in order to achieve that power, we not only have to listen: we must learn to hear with minds and hearts.

Education has become an essential part of my golden years. it has stimulated my mind, body and spirit. It has challenged my imagination, by stirring my poetic ability to plant seeds for thought, not only for myself,but, hopefully, for others as well.

Education has become conducive to my curiosity in my search and journey into Capricorn. It has kept me alive and alert, wondering what awaits me around the corner, over the hill, and at the top of the mountain, It excites me in the race and chase toward the unknown at the end of the rainbow.

Education has stirred every emotion, to the point of my raining tears in the bittersweet world of poetry and pain, success and failure, joy and sadness, laughter and depression, happiness at its very best, war at its worst, to the moment of truce.

I have learned from my many journeys, experiences and adventures, and, very best of all, from a cross-section of cultures and peoples. I have been blessed with the ability to make life a little less difficult for others, with the stroke of a pen.

But, most of all, education, to me, means that I am able, through my writing to share with others the deliverance from out of the darkened shadows of ignorance.

-Joe Jelikovsky

Joe Jelikovsky is a poet, visionary, and member of the LAUSD Programs for Older Adults, "Tea and Tales" writer's group, Valley Village, CA. He'd love to read your comments.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Birth of Anne Dudnick Cohen


by: Anne Dudnick Cohen

Anne Dudnick Cohen, a girl, was born on February 19, 1920, in a bed placed in the dining room of her parent's home in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In truth she was not wanted, coming too soon after the birth of her sister and her parents did not need another mouth to feed. Times were bad and the effects of the first World War were still being felt, as well as the aftermath of the flu that had run rampant throughout the United States. Nevertheless, this baby decided she was entering this world and nothing would stop her. There must have been a doctor that came to the house, but the birth proved to be an easy one. Her parents, Hyman and Blanche Dudnick were married August 5th, 1916, and after this baby was born, she was very much wanted and loved by everyone in her family.

The year 1920 proved to be an interesting year: Warren G. Harding, a Republican, was president. For the women of American, however, it was a most successful year because the Suffragist Movement finally paid off, after many years of marches and spending months in jail, women got the right to vote. Refrigerators were not as yet invented, and everyone had an ice box with a basin underneath that collected the water as the ice melted. Washing machines also had not been invented, and housewives washed clothes in a round metal tub placed in the kitchen and scrubbed away on a washboard, and then boiled the bedsheets in a metal tub on the kitchen stove, and finally finished by hanging all of the washed items outside on clothes lines with wooden pegs. Wagons were pulled by horses, carrying ice, bread, fruit and vegetables. These were the days before Supermarkets were formed, and housewives had to go to the various stores for the individual items they needed to make the meals they put on the table for their families.

In some ways, it was a happier time in spite of the financial problems that affected everyone. Housewives made friends with the storekeepers, most people sat out in front of their homes after dinner and conversed with their neighbors. Children all played together on the pavements or out in the street. I remember going to the public library on Saturday mornings and listening to the stories the Librarians would read to us. The movie houses were close by and a great form of entertainment, people listened to music on their victrolas while playing their records, or spent a little time listening to other people's conversations on their two-party telephones. I can remember someone ringing our house bell and telling us that we have a telephone call at the corner drug store. It was customary to give the kid a nickel for his trouble, run to the drug store, enter a booth, sit down, close the door and have a telephone conversation.

The technological development that has occurred by the end of the 20th Century and continuing into the 21st Century is absolutely astonishing! However, the human need for love, friendship, companionship, stimulating conversation, education and entertainment is just as strong as today as it ever was!!

Anne Dudnick Cohen is a published writer, former member of The Royal Belllingham Literary Group, and now a proud member of Tea and Tales Writing Group. She loves writing poetry, telling stories and cracking people up. She is 89 years young. She is currently working on a dramatic monologue which will be performed Monday, March 22, 2010. More details to come on that!