The Superwoman in My Hometown


Remember to Remember

Ahhh. Storyteller, book club and coffee.

My hometown is host to a superwoman. Many locals sip her steamy cappuccinos or me, soy lattes with her sweet barista stamp: a heart swirled into the milky froth. Most of us in town had no idea the owner of Café Papillon was a heroine in her home country of Cambodia, saving her family from starvation starting at the age of five. Her book, Remember to Remember tells us her story as written by Jil Plummer, a frequent patron.

Brenda, a superhero and super-barista sat with my book club buddies to discuss the making of her book. Brenda always told her daughters how lucky they were to live in United States with food, cars, cell phones and safety. Were her words sticking? She wanted to write it down but working seven days a week made the task all but impossible. Jil Plummer floated into her life and offered to write Brenda’s story for her. In the process of reminding her daughters of their fortunate circumstances, she reminded her coffee-lover customers how lucky they were too.

Brenda’s saga begins in the 70s, when a communist party, the Khmer Rouge, ruled Cambodia. Millions were sent to cooperatives to work the land and millions died in the process. Most of the story is about Brenda trying to help feed and house her family at a young age and her drive to be reunited with her father in the United States. My book club wondered how a five-year-old could be so wise and so brave? When you meet Brenda, it is clear she was born with a survivalist mentality.

One of her dreams was to finish a business degree but life did not take her the college route. She learned business the hard way by owning two storefronts: a donut shop and now a café. Her horrific childhood made her fearless to try anything, something business school could never teach anyone.

When Brenda and her husband decided to buy a donut shop, her husband was worried about the financials. Brenda very confidently told him, “I can take care of the business. You just make sure you know how to make donuts.”

That’s Brenda. She is ever the pillar of strength and the drive behind the family’s success. Read her book and I bet you will want to race over to her café to give her a huge, huge hug and drink her lattes forever.

*Remember to Remember books are available at Cafe Papillon and on

Share on Facebook

Music: What the World Needs Now.

Music made it better.  Friends since preschool.

Something is burning inside of me. I bet something is burning inside of you too. Crazy, crazy acts in our country and around the globe are making us feel as though we are living multiple decades all at once: wars, riots, twisted politics, discrimination. Times I only knew through school or movies and made me…

Share on Facebook

Italy Highlights 2016

Hubby says I stopped it from leaning in my photo.

For two weeks, my family traveled across Italy experiencing to-die-for wine and food, breathtaking views, impressive architecture and art, and a people so friendly we wanted to convert. ROME We started in Rome/Pompei. Hired guides educated us on the Vatican and Roman sights. Our heads were stuffed with historical facts, enough to last a lifetime….

Share on Facebook

Pope Francis at Vatican City and Me

Dang! Hubby is good!

At last, I finally got to see my favorite celebrity in person: Pope Fran! He was on his own turf, right in Vatican City. I wish I could say we sat down with a nice cappuccino. Instead, it was just myself, my family and 30K other crazy Pope Fran fans from all over the world.  …

Share on Facebook

New Stress Release: Coloring Books

collection of coloring books

“I feel like a kid again,” says anyone doing something they haven’t done in years. Eating cotton candy, riding a skateboard, watching the movie Cinderella. There is something about doing “kid” things that brings back fond memories of a worry-free life. Playing games with your kids or watching a Disney movie gives you permission to…

Share on Facebook

Girlfriends Are The Best!

Our first night in SF

You know those moments when you think, “Wow! I have the best girlfriends!” Sometimes I’m driving in my car thinking about how a friend who solved a problem for me. Or I might think about an acquaintance who gave me the low-down for writing a book and becomes my friend.  Girlfriends are the best in so many…

Share on Facebook

I Wanna Be A Millennial

Hipster ideas form here.

Millennials are cool. I want to be one, based on the two I met. I can also say I had a parenting epiphany at the same time. We can learn a lot from these hipsters.   I connected with two very bright ladies through my high school friend, an exchange student from Sweden from way…

Share on Facebook

The Easter Bunny Lives

small easter picture

    And that’s the way it was fourteen years ago. A two-year-old was in a face-off with the Easter Bunny, unsure of this tall furry creature in the park. Dozens of chubby-legged preschoolers dragged their brimming baskets from egg to egg, delighting in every pastel find. Candy-filled eggs with melting chocolate and jelly beans…

Share on Facebook

2016 Election: Vote for the Hair!

Which one is your favorite?

Regardless of your choice of candidates, most people would agree the 2016 Presidential Election is unprecedented. The frontrunners defied all odds. The lack of political experience improved a candidate’s chances. Usually, discriminatory or inflammatory remarks would sink a candidate, but not this race. Young people are making a huge difference. As long as we are…

Share on Facebook

PSA: Don’t Buy Cheap Mascara.

Don't be a Courtney.  Pat Benatar is on Trend.  80s are so NOW!

Don’t buy cheap mascara. If you do, you could look like Courtney Love from her 1993 album cover Live Through This, as pictured above. I was Courtney for Halloween one year. I did it up with an empty pill bottle in my pocket, tiarra,  smeared red lipstick and black eyes.  I bought some SUPER LASH mascara in a…

Share on Facebook