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Summer 2018: Summer is finally coming, and we are just a bit concerned about what it has in store for us, right? Weather forecasters are predicting more frequent and deadly hurricanes beginning soon, environmentalists are worrying about the polar ice shelves. Melting ice means flooding, broken shelves mean huge, drifting icebergs, huge like the size of Delaware, drifting who knows where. Other scientists are worrying about the melting of the Siberian tundra, which could release ancient viruses that would drift around the planet. Bill Gates has predicted that as many as 30 million folks could die of some unknown universal virus soon. That would be a monster plague.

We add to that our current batch of flooding, and strange weather. Hawaii is having serious environmental problems, while other parts of the country are already facing droughts. And spring is late. I have no idea what that means, most likely a huge, quick snow melt that is likely to cause even more flooding, mudslides and soil erosion will descend on us soon. Some areas haven't recovered from last year's devastation. And there is always the ever present, rarely predictable, forest fire worry. Of course, California is always worried about earthquakes. It goes on and on.

So we are facing very frightening physical threats to the planet from every angle, including the political ones. All-out war is not off the table, thanks to you know who. But as someone famous said, "nevertheless, we persist" or was it resist? Whatever, you get the idea.

Clever Magazine will give you a few minutes respite from worries, thanks to our many contributors still cranking out amusing and thought-provoking fiction and essays. I want to thank everybody for their hard work and creativity. Also, a big thank you to the loyal Clever Readers, who always show up. We are grateful.

So let's keep on keeping on, as they say. Have a wonderful summer. Stay watchful and alert, but have lots of fun while you are at it. Visit a national park!

Diannek, editor
Clever Magazine

Winter 2017-18: It's here, winter, but California feels like spring is in the air, along with the fires, smoke, ash and devastation. It's hard to be upbeat with all that is happening in our beautiful state, and our country in general. But here we are, another year beginning, and who knows what's ahead. One good thing, rains are coming. A mixed blessing. And ...my daffodils are ready to bloom.

Personally, things are okay. My knees are a little better, thanks to cortisone, and stem cell injections in both knees. My senior pals are all talking about stem cells for regeneration of knee cartilage, and some have tried the injections, with varying success. I had the procedure done a couple months ago. I am hoping to avoid the dreaded knee replacement ordeal. When we are young we take our health and our joints for granted, and then as we age, stuff starts happening, creaks and aches, and worse. The medical people are working hard to make life easier for us. I applaud them.

As far as Clever is concerned, we have had some technical issues that caused a big delay. I had to rebuild a lot of the site because of it. These things happen. I've been lucky not to have to deal with this more often. It was hard work, and the wasted time irritates me no end, but that's the price paid for working in this medium.

However, we continue. We have gathered up quite a few stories for you. Great work, my friends. Thank you for your effort and diligence. For those of you whose work was turned down, keep trying, there are lots of online journals out there. I'm always looking for interesting work, with a little sense of humor, if possible. I cannot actually define what interests me, but I know it when I read it. Other editors are probably looking for something slightly different. There's a spot for everything, as long as it is has been edited and spell checked, and it reads easily. If it teaches us something, or amuses us, brings us to tears, makes us laugh, or shocks us in some way, it's probably a good story.

Hope you enjoy this current issue.

Diannek, editor
Clever Magazine

Summer 2017:
It has taken awhile to get enough material together for a good issue. I'm very pleased with the content, which features two articles that are exceptional. I rarely do that. As usual, I've chosen quite a collection of stories that will amuse and interest you. Thank you all for sending in your work and waiting so long to see it published.

It's finally summer, but it's still a bit on the chilly side in Northern California. Don't know why, we are usually complaining about the heat by this time. Could it be climate change? Yes, it could and it probably is. But for us, finally, the drought is over for now. The trees and the grass are all greening up nicely, flowers are blooming like mad, and the shrubs are trying for all time record growth. I hear that we are in for some very hot weather, coming soon.

Personally, my arthritic knees are giving me fits at the moment. So I'm reading arthritis books. There is an arthritis remedy industry, writers are making big bucks telling us how to get over it. Hoping at this point that I don't have to have knee replacement surgery, but who knows. I'm not a happy couch potato. And all the advice, lordy, some of it works for some people, sheesh!

But I'm not trying to solicit advise or sympathy, just stating what it's like for me, growing older, as we all are. Complaining does sort of help, but action is better. I will do something very soon, just watch me. I just have to figure out how to get out of this chair first.

So without further ado, here it is, the summer issue of Clever Magazine!

Winter 2017:
As I write this it's raining buckets. It's supposed to be the storm of the decade. I believe, I believe. But I haven't been out much so I don't know what's really going on. No flooding here, just the steady plop of rain, and some wind. Other parts of the country are much worse off. Heavy snow where none should be. That's painful. Hope everybody is holding up just fine.

To be truthful, I haven't been feeling great these days, I'm horribly depressed with the state of the world. Trump has not surprised us. If you were looking for something more presidential from him, you are out of luck. I'm laughing, but it's gallows humor. I don't know how this disaster could have happened. We certainly didn't deserve it. I only hope that we survive it.

As a result, I'm not too motivated to work hard at anything. But I should be because this issue of Clever Magazine is huge. I'm calling it The Reading Frenzy because I don't think I've ever accepted this many submissions. And quirky, yes, you bet, we've got quirky this time. Thanks to all contributors, both the new ones, and my old stand by contributors. We are all going such great work.

Happy New Year everybody. Let's hope for the best and prepare for the worst!

Diannek, editor        
Clever Magazine

Fall 2016: as I finish up this issue of Clever Magazine, I'm getting ready for our latest Sweet Adeline chorus competition. My chorus will soon be heading (ha ha: "beheading") off to Sacramento for our send-off pep rally, and then next month to the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for the big show. We are once again revved up and ready to go. This photo shows part of my costume. For our second act, should we make it into the finals, I get to wear the bird hat. We will all be wearing different costumes that we have created ourselves. Shocking, I know. Adelines are known for unity and glitter. We do that too.

Our chorus pushes the envelope a little, singing rather edgy music for barber shoppers. We are singing Gimmie Gimmie from Thoroughly Modern Millie, and At Last, for our ballad. Big songs, nothing to lose! That's show biz. Hold good thoughts for us, we are definitely the longest of long shots.

Otherwise, I'm doing the usual stuff for a retired woman of a certain age. I spend lots of time in coffee houses, and restaurants, chatting with my very amusing and interesting pals. Combine that with small adventures like heading off to Santa Cruz for a look at the ocean, or prowling the Goodwill for undetected, probably priceless, artwork. I have found such treasures. One of these days I'll do an art piece and show off all the wonders that I've found. I make up little stories to go with the foundlings. Some are just small dramas: like grammy finally died, and look what ended up in the Goodwill. Shame on those rotten kids! Or, this piece was obviously stolen and the Goodwill sorters have no idea what they are dealing with. And my favorite: this painting was covered with so much exhaled smoke that nobody but me could even bare to bring it home.

I also check the thrift shops for first editions. Found a pristine 1st of Wild,  by Cheryl Strayed worth about $60. And just yesterday I got a Forest Lover, by Susan Vreeland, also a 1st and worth about $20. My combined cost: $3.30. I do hope my rotten kids know enough to get a book dealer in here when the time comes to get rid of this granny's things.

Now a word about the latest issue: it's great as usual. Some extremely accomplished writers have submitted charming stories that I take great pleasure in presenting to you. And don't skip the humor section. A big thank you to all contributors. You are wonderful, as ever.

We are rolling into fall and then winter. It happens so quickly. I do hope you all have survived the summer heat waves and rains, the fights, slander and bickering, the tornadoes and hurricanes and the near misses. So much for politics. When next I talk to you, we will know who the next president will be. I will still be here in San Jose or packing up for Canada. With fingers firmly crossed, which makes it hard to type, I send you all my love until we meet again,

Diannek, editor
Clever Magazine

Here's a rose from my garden. It's the first time in years that the roses
have looked
this good. It's the rain, of course.

Summer 2016: I was disappointed at the number of submissions for the spring issue, but there were loads of them for this one. I guess winter is the best time to whip up those short stories and send them off. Thanks for thinking of us when you are looking for a home for your writing. I do have to reject some material.  If you get rejected, send it somewhere else. It might be perfect for another ezine. We are always looking for the light touch, or a quirky sense of humor, even in the serious pieces.

Weather report: Northern California is still getting rain off and on, which is lovely for our gardens, and the watershed, and the thirsty reservoirs. The gloomy folks who try to predict the way-future weather are saying that this El Nino is gone and we are going back to drought conditions. Sigh. It's hard to think that we still have to (really, really) save water, after a nice rainy season. But it could be our new normal, as they say. Sure hope not.

Update on my postcard collection: I was looking through some old postcards the other day when I found one from WWII. It was one of those soldier comic cards so popular back then. It was from a soldier in boot camp at Fort Sills, Oklahoma, and addressed to a friend in the Bay Area. I don't remember where I got it, probably in an antique shop.

I could barely make out the soldier's name and address but I got to wondering if he still lived in that area. A quick google search led me to a funeral home website. Apparently he had just died a few weeks earlier. There was a condolence box on the site so I wrote a short note to the family, telling them I had the card and would send it to them if they wanted it. I heard back in a few days, from a cousin. He was delighted to hear about the old postcard. So I sent it to him. I'm sure it will mean more to the family than to me.

Now I'm wondering just how many more old postcards I could reunite. Might be a fun project.

Life goes on: I'm getting ready to make a quick run up to Reno with my chorus. It's competition time again. We aren't competing because we are going to the International competition later on this year, in Las Vegas. So we will be anxious to find out who the lucky chorus will be for next year's international. Lots of fun, but it's hard work too. Still loving it.

Hope this note finds everybody in good health and enjoying a pleasant spring. Check out the latest issue, and pass the word to other potential readers. Clever is ever so much more interesting than those ratty magazines in the doctor's office. And we are a friendly size for iphones.

Diannek, editor
Clever Magazine

Spring 2016 The sun just peeked out through the rain clouds. Lovely. It's been a rainy month, which we appreciate very much. No huge storms, not too much damage, some downed trees and a little flooding, but nothing to really get down in the dumps about. I'm actually enjoying the bad weather.

Unlike this little owl. I do feel sorry for all the urban wildlife during the winter. It must be tough out there. This little owl image and many of the others throughout the issue come to us as a gift from the New York Public Library free digital image collection. What a lovely gift. The website comes with a search feature. I never know what might come up but I have had a great deal of fun finding old illustrations for this issue. You will see more of them in future issues. They seem to strike just the right note for Clever Magazine.

I'm doing well these days. No complaints. I'm getting fewer submissions these days, so more time goes by between them. But I'm still pleased and surprised to receive them. Our readership is not growing much, but we still have a very good readership. We have lots of competition from all the interesting social media these days. It's a changing world, and there are so many sources of amusement "out there". The world is a most interesting place.

Thanks to everybody who submitted something to Clever Magazine. Keep it up. We are always looking for what's coming round the bend.

Sincerely, Diannek,
editor, Clever Magazine

Archive of Notes from the Editor

Fall 2015:
It's September already. Happy Labor Day! I'm laboring. That also means autumn is making its somber way back into our lives. Not that I mind so much. I'm ready for some cooler weather, and I have a couple of vacations planned. I didn't go anywhere so far this year. The summer days sped by with lunches, coffees, family stuff, my usual thing. Karen took off on a road trip with Barkley, more about that later.

I've got two trips in the planning stage, first is a run to Las Vegas for my Sweet Adeline convention in October, and then a week on the Big Island in February. Looking forward to both. Us retired types need to get away too. It's so easy to just loaf around the house. Taking off for a few days is good, sort of shakes things up a little. Most of my pals do way more tearing around than I do.

Our drought continues, of course. California summers are not rainy, unlike the rest of the country. We have had some unexpected drops here and there but nothing that helps much. I think it rained, with thunder and lightening, for 5 minutes the other night. Really surprised everybody. So the dirty cars, brown lawns and faded flowers are everywhere. Luckily, it hasn't been outrageously hot so we are coping well enough.

Re Clever Magazine: I was browsing through the traffic stats for the website. We continue to have a steady stream of readers, and they seem to be looking at the old stuff as well as the new, which continues to surprise me. We are removing a lot of old stories that aren't getting any hits. I'm happy to report that it hasn't effected our readership so we will continue with that process.

I noticed that my article on Emergency Preparedness was widely read. Here's something I found in my files that I didn't mention:

Emergency Tips and Checklist
from the Humane Society of the United States

1. Canned goods, including pet food
2. Eating utensils
3. Long burning candles and matches
4. Multi functional pocket knife
5. Water tablets to purify water
6. Water bowl for the animals
7. Thermal blanket (for adults or the pets?)
8. Bottled water
9. Disposable mask
10. Extra batteries for flashlight

At this point I've looked at a lot of lists and articles on this subject. We only think we are prepared but if and when the event actually happens, we will all be kicking ourselves for forgetting something totally obvious. Wish I could remember what that was.

So enjoy the new issue!

Dianne K.

A message from the editor:

Spring /15 It's late April and I'm once again working on the latest edition of Clever Magazine. I've been doing this for over 15 years now, good grief. I remember like yesterday when I put the first few articles together and started on this journey. Electronic publishing, brought to you via Silicon Valley, my hometown.

We've had springtime weather nearly all winter this year, it's been relentlessly pretty, except for the fact that we can only take a shower every other day or so, we rarely flush the toilet, restaurants no longer serve water, lawns will be going brown soon, a dirty car is a badge of honor, and the water police will be dropping by soon. I'm waiting for the city fathers to wake up to the fact that there's no water. We could try importing it, a desalinating it, recycling it, something, right? Time to get to work, folks.

I just got home from a few nights vacation in Santa Cruz with the family, a spring break for us. We rented an old beach house near the water. Actually it was two small houses connected so we had lots of room, a good thing. Santa Cruz is crowded and sort of old fashioned. It's been around a while. There's an old boardwalk with carnival rides and a roller coaster, a big screaming arcade for the kids, a miniature golf course, which I enjoyed, and plenty of sandy beach. I didn't set foot on the beach this visit. It was windy and sort of cold at the water's edge. But I enjoyed the beach house porch, old house cat that I am. I sat and sunned myself, reading and fiddling with my ipad like everybody else these days.

Now it's back to work for me, Clever, hanging around with my Sweet Adeline chorus (we are heading for the Reno competition soon), going to art class occasionally, and spending the rest of the time lunching and having coffee with pals, visiting doctors (honestly!) and herding my two old cats. Nice life, retirement suits me.

Although there are lots of other forms of social media these days, writers are still submitting articles and short stories to my ezine, so I keep at it. I think the submitted work gets better each year. Lots of writers have found their way to Clever Magazine, I'm happy to say. So once again, here we are, with a new issue filled with good stuff, plenty to think about and laugh at, maybe even a few tears here and there.

So without further ado, I humbly submit to you the Summer 2015 issue of Clever Magazine.

Dianne K.

Winter 14/15 As I finish up the latest issue of Clever winter of '14/15, it's raining. I think the rain is falling all over California, which makes us all very happy. And it's not letting up any time soon. We are so not used to wet weather. It's such a shock. Our umbrellas have been lost for years and we never knew it. I'm sure umbrella sales are are through the roof. I bought one. Also, accidents are way up and so is "ponding", and mud slides, broken trees, clogged drains, and so forth. But still, we are loving this wet and soggy time. Haven't seen blue skies in a while now. I commiserate with those who put up with this stuff all the time.

I've had an interesting fall, mostly spent recuperating my sore knee. It's much better now, no operation, just rest and lots of therapy. As a result, I was able to go to Baltimore with my chorus for the Sweet Adeline competition in November. We had a great time. I didn't see much of that city, mostly just the convention center. But I did spend a wonderful weekend before the event in Virginia with some old pals. They treated me so well, it was just so much fun spending time with them.

So as you will see, I did more reading than going to the movies. I still have a list of movies to see before the Oscars. It's a goal of mine to see as many as I can before the big event. I love watching movies in the theatre and there is a lovely new theatre just a couple of blocks from me. What luck!

Summer 2014

I know, I know. I'm a little late with the latest issue.

First, I wanted to wait until I had enough stuff for the next issue. People: check your work before you send it. If there are typos and other spelling errors, fix them. If some of the formatting is wonky, fix it. If it sounds weird to you when you read it to yourself, it will sound weird to me too. If it's dark and moody, with no hints of humor, I'm not interested. If it's just musings that should go into your personal journal, don't send them to me. No, I don't want to read your poetry. Yes, I did reject a lot of your work this time. Now that we are in the age of texting and twitters, it seems like everybody has forgotten how to spell, capitalize and write complete sentences. Unfortunately, that's mainly what I'm looking for. That and interesting stories with a touch of humor, if possible. I'm going to play the same waiting and rejecting game from now on. So who knows when the next issue will come out.

Second, I had a little injury to my "so-called" good knee. It's getting better now but I had a couple of rough weeks. I've come to the conclusion that I can no longer move furniture. Sigh.

I did go on a lovely family trip to Kauai in June. We stayed in Hanalei for a week (think The Descendants), and then a few days at the Marriott Beach Club for the pampering. Being on vacation with me is like taking the family cat along with you. I'm such a slug these days. I want to read in a comfy spot, take lots of naps, I never miss a meal, but I'm a finicky eater, and like I said in a FB post not too long ago, I need to circle the bed 3 times before I find just the right spot.

I hope you all are having wonderful summers. There are a lot of summer storms across the country. Hope the rain isn't spoiling those grilling sessions and pool time.

Cheers for now,

Spring 2014

Spring is clearly here, except for the rain that is finally hitting California. We've had a remarkably lovely winter I know that many folks are suffering through a dreadful season. Soon it will be gone with blue skies coming our way. Here in California we usually have mild winters. We have gotten a little rain but not enough to stop the talk about our serious drought. We are on water restrictions. We know what to do, fewer showers, limit water for the garden, all the usual small economies that add up. And we're keeping fingers crossed that there are a few more drops of rain coming our way.

I put up a photo of Tooey, my office assistant. She celebrated her 14th birthday on the first of March. It's hard to believe she's been around for so many years. Her health hasn't been too good. The vet didn't have any suggestions that didn't involve extensive tests. So I changed up the cat food to IAMS for senior cats. It did the trick. Now Tooey is gaining weight and looking good. She even played with her cat toys the other day. So I'm thinking she will be with me for many years, sleeping the day away in whatever room I'm in. Good company.

A medical miracle: my knee stopped hurting. It's back to normal. So I won't be needing the surgery after all. Love that.

I still look forward to opening my email to check out the submissions to Clever. We have a nice handful for the upcoming issue. And every one of them is a little quirky, with a nice sense of humor. Hope you enjoy it.

Winter 2013-14
: Happy Holidays Everybody!

I'm sitting at a somebody else's dining room table window overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Cambria, California, a small beach town on the central coast. It's a beautiful fall day and my daughter and I are enjoying a great Thanksgiving weekend with friends. I always marvel at how lucky I am to be able to get away to places like this. And I appreciate the quiet time in the early mornings for reading and relaxing.

I'm still coping with a stubborn knee that refuses to get better. It looks like I'll need a little surgery in the new year, nothing major, but I don't look forward to it. A girl has to have knees that work properly, so I will do what I have to do to get back on track again.

I spent a week in Waikiki last month. It was a Sweet Adeline convention. My chorus wasn't singing, we were there to support our sister chorus, who did a fine job. I go to Hawaii fairly often but usually not to Waikiki. It was bittersweet to be back there again. I lived there for a few years when I was in my 20s, and still have such good memories of those "old" days.

Good news about Clever. We have finally moved into the 21st century. You will find buttons to link most of our pages to other social media, such as Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. It's about time. We are working on attracting new readers. So I'm hoping that if you read something you like, you'll share it with your friends.

Fall 2013

I've had exactly the summer that I predicted. Did some traveling to some old familiar places. Spent a week or so in Kauai with family, then another week with family in Cambria (that's a small beach town in Central California). The rest of the time I did what retired folks do, played some bridge, worked in the garden, went to numerous lunches and dinners, spent way too many hours with my Kindle, and generally enjoyed myself.

Then I took a little weekend driving trip up to Quincy to see my sister-in-law. The driving took its toll and I ended up with a very sore knee that might need some surgery. Rats. But for now I am feeling a little better, thanks to that magic elixir, cortisone.

Plenty of time to work on the next issue of Clever, which looks pretty good to me.

As I write this, I'm worried about Syria. I cannot for the life of me understand why the US would kill more Syrians with bombs to punish the Syrian government for killing people with gas. I am also worried about the Fukushima radiation problem. It is now polluting the ocean at a steady and alarming rate, fish are contaminated and who knows what else. We are simply ignoring that huge problem. Shouldn't we be helping Japan clean up this mess, for all of our sakes?

We are heading into fall now. It's in the air, even though the forecasters are predicting some hot days ahead. That's okay with me. It won't last...or will it? Global warming is definitely part of our lives now. Another problem we should be working on.

But these are not problems for Clever Magazine to tackle, so I just leave you with those thoughts, alarming as they are. Take a few minutes to enjoy some very good writing, some humor, and catch up on movie reviews and books that might interest you.

Summer 2013

Hi Everybody: Hope this email finds you all doing very well these days. Spring is quickly turning into summer and the usual summer pastimes: planning vacations, dragging out the barbecue, lathering on the suntan location, working in the garden, and of course, hours in the lounge chair with the lemonade and the latest thriller.

You will notice that I've spent lots of time at the movies this quarter (last quarter too). I keep thinking that movies I'm interested in watching will disappear for a few months. After seeing the trailers for the summer season, I'll definitely be taking a break from the local Cineplex. Most of the new "action-thrillers" seem to be about the end of the world as we know it. Dark stories about super heroes and super villains, evil invaders, calamities galore. Not for me. I can't watch the previews of things to come.

I like my thrillers in book form. I am getting ready to start my summer reading program, all thrillers for the next two months straight. Can't wait for that.

In the meantime, take a look at clevermag.com. You will notice that we have many new contributors with us for this issue. I have enjoyed getting to know each one of them. Lots of new voices, ideas, and laughs coming your way.

Have a great summer.

Diannek, editor (aka The Phantom)

Spring 2013

You will notice that I've become obsessed once again with environmental problems. Please forgive me if that sort of thinking puts you off, but it is a serious problem that we definitely have to put back on the front burner. The climate change deniers should be ashamed of their fine selves by now. It's time for all national, state and local government officials to get moving on this. It's also time for a collective societal movement to spring forth and advocate for change if we want to insure humanity survives another century. Past time, I'd say.

But as far as more "normal" things go, you will see that Clever has once again come up with some great writing for your amusement and consideration. I want to thank all contributors, both new and regular writers for sending us some interesting articles and short stories. 

Despite some awful winter weather in different parts of the country, life goes on. Hope this message finds you all safe, sound and warm as we once again await spring.

Diannek, editor

Dear Readers:

Here it is Christmas again, so first off let me start by sending out my best wishes to everyone.

It's time to wrap up another publishing year. An interesting collection of stories showed up in my inbox and I think I selected a quirky bunch for this quarter's theme: "What's Next?" Notice the goldfish on the opening page. That's what's next for me. When things get tricky, I think of what the Ellen DeGeneres fish kept saying in Finding Nemo: Just keep on Swimming...

Several of you have tried to convince me to continue on with Clever for a while longer so I've decided to do just that. So keep sending your best stuff, and if it's short and has a little sense of humor or quirkiness, we'll see what we can do.

Here's wishing you plenty of eggnog, gifts with your name on them under the tree, and friends galore.

Happy holidays and don't forget to just keep on swimming!


September 2012
Leaves are falling and I'm procrastinating, as usual. This is my favorite time of the year and I want every minute to last, so I slow the pace even more. Well, that's not entirely true. I have lots of irons in the fire, lots of things to do these days, all of them fun, so I jump from one thing to the next and as a result, things get a little stressful.

Regarding Clevermag.com. I'm flirting with the idea of wrapping it up for good, but I said from the very beginning that I would continue to publish until there were no more responses from writers. So we continue on. It's still fun, so I guess we'll keep on a while longer.

When I do wind things up, I will leave the site up and running and will occasionally update it. There is no timeframe currently in place to close up shop but it's been a long run, so the clock is ticking.

Comments and suggestions are welcome.

The Phantom

Winter 2011-12: Many of you have been wondering why it has taken so long for the next issue of Clever Magazine to get published. And for those of you who could not wait any longer and had to withdraw your materials, I am sorry. Sometimes stuff just happens.

In my case, life just got turned upside down last year. I lost my husband of 40 some years to cancer. It was sudden and really took me and the family by total surprise. Dale hadn't been feeling well and was seeing doctors but it took a while for them to figure out what was wrong with him. When they did figure out that he had lung cancer, he only had about a month left, even though they thought he would have more time than he did.

I know that many of you have gone through this same ordeal with friends or family members. It's truly heart breaking, and it takes a long time for life to get back to some sort of new normal. That's where I am now. Getting back to normal, figuring out how to live as a widow, with two bereft cats and a small family, who are all still in shock as well.

But we adjust and then turn to familiar pastimes and old friends, go out to the movies, find new restaurants to call our own, move to a different residence, clear out the clutter of a lifetime, and move on.

So it's with pleasure that I return once again to publishing Clever. There were lots of emails waiting my attention, and of course, all those pesky technical issues that accompany this business. So it was more time-consuming than it usually is to produce this issue. But I loved working with this material. As you will see, there are lots of laughs, some intrigue, some nostalgia -- the usual stuff.

Many thanks to everybody who patiently waited around for something to happen! I promise that the next issue will arrive in a more timely manner. As I've said in the past, we'll continue publishing until there are no more submissions. Until then, thanks for thinking of us.

Dianne (aka The Phantom)

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